Tagged in: Pentecostal movement

TL Osborn: Grandfather of Evangelism

T.L. Osborn was one of the most humble men I know and one of the most anointed I know. He had been all over the world and led more people to Christ than anyone in history but you would not know it chatting with him at a coffeehouse in downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma. He was just that humble.

The man is known as the grandfather of mass evangelism for a reason though. He lived for the gospel. He believe the soul winning was the chief calling of every believer. He is right too. We might not like the fact that we are to preach the gospel but that does not change the great commission. Preach the gospel and you must use words!

The purpose of a spirit filled life is to demonstrate the supernatural power of our living God so that the unsaved multitudes will abandon their dead gods to call upon the name of The Lord and be delivered. (T.L. Osborn) 

I remember the last time I saw him before he checked out for his heavenly reward. He was decicidating the new ministry center on Memorial in Tulsa. (The famous old one was part of the new highway project). I was struggling with doing a conference in Congo at the time. I have every reason to go but I also had every reason to not to go. He talked to me and with a smile on his face, “If you do not go, who will? They need the gospel.”  It was the tipping point for me to go to Congo.


TL Osborn was a man of faith & action

We all know that without works, our faith is dead but most of us still have a life void of any real works for the Lord. We do not do the great commission. We do not feed the hungry. We do not see visit those who are locked in their homes or in prisons. We know we should but we don’t.

Brother Osborn was always the sweet, loving, and compassionate guy that would kick up in the backside to remind us what the Bible told us about the gospel. I am not sure I have seen a person with a better grip on the issue on soteriology (doctrine of salvation) in my life. He had some serious revelation and it was all scriptural based.

He is the man you could not help but love. He has passion for the things of the Spirit, cared about people and have a devotion to the New Testament. He is everything a man of God should be.

He lived with a deep concern that we have preached faith, destroyed hope and ignore love in the Pentecostal and Charismatic movement. We pushed faith so much because lost hope if they did not see their naming did not become claiming.

The hallmark of TL Osborn was his commitment to preaching the compassion of Jesus, not the fire of hell. He did not have a problem with people preaching hell, fire, and brimstone but he focused on compassion as his niche of the gospel.

Every time I met him, I walked away with a deeper love for people, a deeper commitment to the great commission, and a deeper understanding of soteriology. That was the TL Osborn that I knew.


He understood the Pentecostal mission

There is only one purpose of pentecost; that is to effectively evangelize lost souls. (TL Osborn)

Those words would give us the heartbeat of Pentecostal ministries from Azusa Street and even since. The problem is many of the Spirit-filled ministries today are worried about everything but actually doing the Great Commission. Pentecost was always about reaching the lost at any cost.  He has a deep conviction that signs and wonders must confirm the gospel. The good news is Jesus had the same view on the subject.

The message was always at the core of anything that he did: the gospel of Jesus Christ. He did not try and make it creative. He believed the gospel presented just as it was powerful. He led more people to the cross that any man in history, including Billy Graham, in the process as well.

It was the simplicity of the gospel that was his hallmark. He did not live like most of the faith preachers of his era. He put as much money as he could in the gospel work around the nation. Until his day, his publication were made very cheap (and you could tell) so he could give away books to people in Africa.




TL Osborn changed the world

I had the privilege of standing next to him in Manila, Philippines when he came with Mike Francen for a gospel crusade in 2000. I was a young, big, buff guy that told to run “security” for him. I was more interested in impartation than security to be honest. After all, I though the angels were provided a hedge of protection pretty well myself.

The time I spend with him in the Philippines was a great time and it really changed some of my focus in life. It was not until years later that I was freed up to just do evangelism but one of the prophetic moments that made that happen was the four days I worked security for TL Osborn.

The people that he touched are many and I am happy to say I am in that company. I have many friends that also was touched over the years by him. He carried a mantle for evangelism that few have. That mantle has yet to be picked up. I wonder if the burden is too much for one man to bear.

I believe we need a movement of crusade evangelists that will answer the call to preach the gospel from the stadiums of the world and reach the lost at any cost. Men (and women) who will stand up and declare the saving, healing, delivering and touching power of the Holy Spirit to a world that is broken and downcast.


Miracles become common: Thoughts on Todd Bentley

Todd Bentley, that wild, crazy, bearded evangelist from Canada. He is seeing miracles in Pakistan. I always love to see the miraculous happen right before our eyes. There is something about when you have someone that is crazy enough to believe God at His word and you mixed that with one of the most radical Islamic cultures. It is a recipe for revival and world evangelism.

I am not say that I endorse Todd Bentley’s theology or agree with him on every issue. In fact, in many ways, we disagree on some pretty important issues but healing and deliverance is not on that list. He know how to get the power of the Holy Spirit to fall like fire….like in Acts 2. God confirms the gospel in Todd’s meetings.

His past and even his failed marriage (and re-marriage) does not bother me too much. Charles Fox Parham was a racist child molester, Aimee Semple McPherson walked out on her husband, A.A. Allen was a drunk, Kathryn Kuhlman was divorced and had moral issues… the list goes on. God uses us inspite of our problems. Our attempts are holiness are rags, filthy and nasty rags at that.

Am I saying it was ok? Not at all. I am saying it is under the blood. When we came to Jesus singing “come just as you are;” it does not change once you get saved. It is just come to Jesus as you are.

Todd Bentley praying

Todd Bentley and Miracles in Pakistan

I have been following Todd’s ministry trip to Pakistan and have a friend that is there. Pakistan is also a special nation to me. It is a key in the natural (anti-terrorism) and in the spiritual. I know that country and in their soil is memories I would rather not have.

I see the miracles happening and I see the masses coming to Jesus. That is what I love about Todd. With all his issues, he still preaches the gospel with power and authority. Many are coming to Christ in the meetings and many are being healing and delivered because Todd will stand and pray “come Holy Spirit, come.” That is nothing but positive.

Do I question that all 60,000 decisions are new believers? Of course but if only half of those are new converts; that is still huge for Pakistan. The Angels throw a party when even one get born again. People are getting saved because of Todd’s willingness to go to the country believing for miracles.

What I have always liked about Todd, despite his issues, has his heart in the right place to just be used by God. There is something to be saved to someone with their heart positioned to the Holy Spirit and say “Here I am, Send Me. I will go anywhere you want me to go.” That willing spirit will anoint you far more than having flawless theology.

I have friends who have as sound of theology as they come but that doesn’t mean that I would hand them a microphone in a healing meeting. You can’t give what you do not have. If someone needs healing, they don’t need a bible study.

todd bentley ministry

Miracle workers and holiness

First of all, we are made holy by being born again. Holiness is not something we do. Our holiness is based on Christ living in us, not how we dress, speak or how good manners we have. Alot of people confused good southern manners and Midwestern hospitality with holiness.

Without said, many people before us had issues but they were still used mighty because they were willing. There was evening that A.A. Allen was too drunk that he had to ask Don Stewart to preach the message. I am not talking drunk in the Holy Spirit either. Aimee Semple McPherson disappeared for a week just to get in the newspaper because she need some publicity.

The list could go on about people that God used to reach their generation that had major character flaws. I think John Alexander Dowie would take the award. He died claiming he was Elijah in the flesh. Guess what, he was critical to the healing theology of the Pentecostal movement.

What I saying? Having a “holy life” (or what we call moral purity) is a good thing to preach but God has used alot of people in their weakness. History is full of examples and guess what? The bible is full of screw ups like Moses, David, and Peter as well.

Miracles are through you

Miracles are not for you. They are through you. It is about impartation. Your healing is not for you. It is so you can give away what you have received. When you are healed, you have the testimony, the rhema word for healing to the world. Your deliverance is a testimony of God’s power; not just so you can live a little “cleaner.”

I am convinced that the world do not care about how Christianity makes you have better homes and garden. if that is what they want, all they need to do is tune into Dr. Phil. What they need is the power of God. Does Jesus still do what the Bible says about him.

And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.

The world wanted to know if this Jesus we talk about still will heal their sick baby and if He can deliver their son that is addicted to crack. They do not need to know how to have better “community,” they need the power of God to break the spirit of shame and fear over them. That is our assignment.

The world is looking for a people of God that actually represent Jesus: healing the sick, raising the dead and casting out devils. They have read the gospels or seen movies about Jesus. They are waiting for us to show them the “stuff” as John Wimber would put it. How long will they wait?

William Seymour departs Methodism

William was a man that was deeply touched and he was living in the revelation of Jesus as the Hope of the Nations. He was hungry for more of God. He lived to study the Bible and he wanted everything God had for him.

Seymour did not have the Baptism of the Holy Spirit yet but he was hungry for more; that’s a great place to start in faith for the infilling of the Holy Spirit. He had what we learned in the renewal at John Arnott’s church: More, Lord, More.

When you are hungry for the things of the Holy Spirit, there is a place that you can only go with the teachings around you. Sometimes, you just have to go deeper. William’s though the teaching the African Methodist Eposical Church just was not cutting the mustard for him. He wanted deeper truth and more of the Lord.

SEYMOUR REJECTS METHEDISM AND AMILLENNIALISM

John Wesley believes in amillennialism and sadly in the creeping back into our Pentecostal ranks through people like Steve Gray at World Revival Church. 

Methodism

What exactly is amillennialism anyways?

Amillennialism (Greek: a- “no” + millennialism) is the view in Christian eschatology which states that Christ is presently reigning through the Church, and that the “1000 years” of Revelation 20:1-6 is a metaphorical reference to the present church age which will culminate in Christ’s return. It stands in contrast to premillennialism, which states that Christ will return prior to a literal 1000 year earthly reign; and postmillennialism, which states that Christ’s return will follow a 1000 year golden age ushered in by the church.

William did not see this in the Bible and completely rejected it as heresy. To be fair, Seymour was not alone. Most of the Church at the time and to this day reject amillennialism as heresy. There are a few that believe it but they are the minority.

Seymour believed that in the Pre-Tribulation catching away or “the rapture” that the Bible teaches. This would become the hallmark of the revival at Azusa Street and the wider Pentecostal revival. Most, if not all, of the Pentecostal movement that would come out of revivals would hold this position.

There would be a few movement, namely the Vineyard with John Wimber, that would hold a Post- Tribulation view but very few would hold a position of amillennialism. The only group that I know of does is the bunch out of the Smithton Outpouring.

One thing is for sure: God was putting in William a passion to understand the Kingdom through the teaching of Jesus, not man’s opinion. He was not led by the teaching of men such as John Wesley and others in Methodism. If it was not in the theology of Jesus, he rejected it. That was something that would become very important later as many heresy would come up in the early days of the Pentecostal movement.

We know that he was a simple man, loved the Word, didn’t have theological education, only took Jesus for His word and moved in faith. That is the man that God can use for revival!

prophetic word

Seymour believed in the power of prophecy

William was struggling with the Methodism as well over what he called “Special Revelation.” He believed that God could and would speak to us today about spiritual things and the Holy Spirit would us into all truth. He did not yet understand the Baptism of the Holy Spirit but he did believe in the prophetic at this point.

One reason that I believe that he had this position was he was raised around African voodoo and had seen supernatural things happen. He knew that if voodoo doctors could do it, the Holy Spirit could do it for sure.

Seymour also had a very strong view on the power of dreams and visions. He saw that many in the Bible was led by dreams and visions and he believed that God had not changed. This was not a position of John Wesley or Methodism.

I am sure taking a strong position on the supernatural in the late 1800’s was not an easy thing to do. He was not in the majority at the time as most believe God stopped speaking or if He did, it was not very often and not to very many people. It was only to super anointed people like George Whitfield and John Wesley.

In all fairness, I do not believe that John Wesley would have being part of Methodism then and without question now. It has changed a lot and Seymour’s views where closer to Wesley than the Methodism he was confronted with at the time.

prophetic-dream

Paying the price for the move of the Spirit

As Seymour had to pay a price for hold biblical truth and believe in the supernatural, the problems has not changed that much on this side of the Pentecostal revival. We might not having rocks threw at us, tomatoes hitting us the face, or our churches burned to the ground. However, we will be mocked by many and slandered beyond anything a person should have to deal with.

If you want to be used by the Holy Spirit today, you will still deal with a lot of the problems that Seymour dealt with. You might not be received because of one non-essential position such as Eschatology. Many movement gather based on doctrinal positions, not a common vision for revival. Many care more about their fundamental truths than they do the end time harvest.

Most of the Church, dare I say Pentecostals included, struggle with prophetic dreams. They might believe it on paper and each preach about it. However, it is a whole new ballgame when someone actually has a prophetic dream. People start question if they are crazy or they are think making things up. In the end, we struggle to believe God speaks to normal people as much as people as Methodism do.

Are you a doubting Thomas when it come to the voice of the Holy Spirit? Do you have the faith to believe in people’s experience with the Divine. Many do not.