Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Is Pentecost Dead?

I have heard from many of my non-pentecostal friends that Pentecost or that which the early church experienced was just for that time, and has since ceased. It sounds scholarly, and rational, but it is a mistaken notion. Let me explain why.

Let's look at the growth of Pentecostal denominations around the world. The Assemblies of God alone has 58 million adherents, or people that consider their neighborhood Assembly of God to be their church. The work of the Spirit is not just for Pentecostal churches, but for every man, woman, boy and girl that would desire the gift of the Holy Spirit. If the work of the Holy Spirit has ceased why is it that even today in 2009 do we hear about people experiencing what the Early Church experienced? To those who would say that Pentecost is dead, I would say they are mistaken. But, let's not just talk about what is going on some foreign land. I would like to focus on what God is doing in our church in Eastern Washington.

We asked David Woods and his family to come and conduct a revival for our community. I first met David in Bible College about 20 years ago. David and I have reconnected in the last year, and I realized that the Lord was leading us to have a revival in our community. Let me tell you what God has done in the last three services.
We have seen people healed, delivered, and saved. My children (11 and 9) received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit in one of the services. My children are getting up early and reading their Bible. The people in our community have witnessed the tangible presence of the Holy Spirit. David is being used in the prophetic gifts. As a pastor I am amazed at the accuracy of the prophetic words that are given. I am amazed because I have not spoken to the evangelist or told him about the people in our church. There is a great deal of excitement in our town because of how the Holy Spirit is moving in our services. People are inviting people to come to church because they want them to experience what they have experienced.

So back to my initial question, is Pentecost dead? Not from where I stand.


  1. Very good blog John. I'll go ahead and throw my two cents in. Yes I agree the gifts of the spirit are still very much alive and well. No question. However, not all church's practice what some of us grew up with. Now I realize you're not saying that a church that DOESNT display certain charismatic behaviors isn't on fire. I think thats where we all as believers get hung up sometimes. There's a church here in Socal that's very popular called "Harvest Christian Center". Every year they do their annual "Harvest Crusade" in a 40,000 seat stadium, and man oh man, if they don't get people saved each service by the thousands. Now whether or not they believe it, what is taken place there is actually the spirit of God moving. Now I've been to this church a few times and I can tell you that you'll never see someone stand up and go off in tongues in a service there. At least not without being shut down. I can also tell you that Pastor Greg Laurie of that church is an incredible Bible teacher and in my opinion, a very annointed man of God. Yet by the same token, over the years, I've had a few friends that have attended there tell me that virtually all I've grown up with in pentecost is all emotion and hype and not of God. Now at my home church, my pastor is all for the gifts of the spirit in operation, however he believes strongly in order and accountability, and you still can't just show up this sunday, and just go off in the spirit from your seat either. Or become a distraction during worship by putting on some bizarre spiritual display. Having said all that, we constantly pray for the sick, and have seen God do his healing work. One guy in our church about died from a motorcycle wreck, was supposed to be a vegetable, and God totally healed him. As far as deliverance goes, we very much pray for those with addictive behaviors. At the same time, we have recovery class to help those trying to kick certain habits. And yes, the Holy Spirit can move in a classroom setting as well. Having said that, we've had a few over the years leave our church because there was no great big charismatic revival there. We don't have people running the isles, and we don't have 3 hour services, so some had left saying "we're not on fire" or "we water down the gifts" which i know for a fact isn't true. But we dive head first into the presence of God during worship, and we pray for the sick, and the oppressed, and we minister to the poor there, and we're constantly getting people saved there. You're right John, the gifts are still here and available to those who seek them, but I just think sometimes we as pentecostals need also not put God in a box by thinking that if it didn't happen while you were "swinging from the shandleers" it must not have been of the spirit, and again, im not saying that's what YOU're saying. I think it's awesome the report you shared from your home church. Yes I wish more church's dug deeper in that area. But we know that not all will. So what's our attitude about that? Do we believe God still works in church's where there's no teaching on the gifts of the spirit? My opinion? Anyone (non-pentecostals included) can lay claim to this scripture, mean it, and God will give to that person wisdom. Job 33:3 "call to me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things which you know not".

  2. Billy,

    I can tell that you have thought this through. I certainly do appreciate what you have said. You need to know that I grew up Baptist. Yet the church we were in was open to the gifts of the Spirit. They were a million miles away from being called Pentecostal. I even sought the Baptism of the Holy Spirit at that church, but I didn't receive the Holy Spirit until I went to Swaggart's. My life was changed, and I still pray in tongues today. I operate in the gift of prophecy and the word of knowledge.
    Billy, I think you know me well enough that I would not allow people to minimize the work of the Holy Spirit or to attribute foolishness to the Holy Spirit. I gave an altar call for the Holy Spirit in our church about two years ago, and two people came to receive.
    Here is my point, we are missing something when we do not include the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of our church. There is a big difference between the deposit of the Holy Spirit at salvation, and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit as a second work of grace.
    Thanks for sharing your experience.