I was on Facebook and I noticed that Brownsville Assembly of God has become Brownsville Church. While this is popular to do these days, I do not think it is good or wise for churches to try and look non-denominational. Pentecostal churches should be proud of their heritage, not ashamed of it.
Brownsville Assembly of God was started as a Pentecostal church in 1939 as the great depression wages on in the deep south of the United States. They were thought the baby boomer generation with seasons of renewal that ultimately lead up to Father’s Day 1995.
It was then that the Brownsville Assembly of God became known for the Brownsville Revival that was poured out and millions of people came to have powerful encounters with the Lord. This is not mere history. This was the place between porch and altar for thousands of people called into the ministry.
They completely gutted the Brownsville Revival School of Ministry. It does not even exist today. John Kilpatrick left for Mobile. Now, they want to distant themselves from the Brownsville Revival, the greatest Pentecostal revival since Azusa Street by pretending to be a Charismatic church?
As a former student and someone who got saved, healed, delivered and baptized with the Holy Spirit in the revival, I have some thoughts on the issue.
The problem with Pentecostal churches doing name changes
We was started in the fires of revival. Most of us point back to Azusa Street, besides a minority that point to Barney Creek in North Carolina. We are a revival or restoration movement. As a matter of doctrine and experience, we believe in things like divine healing and deliverance. It is who we are and should be proud of our heritage.
It is not just our history, it is our experience. There is nothing a year goes by that God does not pour out in our churches somewhere. It might have been Brownsville Assembly, Bethel Redding, Lakeland Revival, or the Los Angeles Dream Center. That is not something we should ashamed of. It is something that we should cherish.
I am not saying that every church should be Pentecostal. In fact, I want the Methodist to be more Methodist. The more Welseyan they become, the better. I want the Baptist to become more Anabaptist. I want the Moravians to become more Moravian. You see every movement in church history started with a revival. Every one of them should rekindle that fire that birth them.
For Pentecostals, and especially the Assemblies of God, that means being the soul saving, hands laying, demon casting, firebrand that got enough tomatoes thrown at us to start a ketchup factory. We need to have confidence that we are known in heaven and feared in hell for being soul winners and tongue talkers.
It is very important that we do not try and become more Baptist and that we do not expect them to become more Pentecostal. We do not want to end up like YWAM that in the name of diversity, we expect every wind of doctrine.
Why is matters to the world?
People have expectations based on our branding to the world. As Pentecostal and Assemblies of God, people have come to believe that we stand for things like divine healing, deliverance, miracles and supernatural experiences. We have yell this from the mountaintops for over a century and it is what we are known for. We are not seeker sensitive. We are Heaven sensitive. We are not purpose driven. We are presence driven.
You see, when Judy drives by the local Assembly of God, she knows that that is the place that she goes if she needs a miracle or set free from her drug addiction. She simply connects the supernatural encounters with the words Assembly of God. If she wants outright community, she goes to the Methodist church but if she wants a miracle, she know to head straight for the Assemblies. This is the reputation that we have given to the world.
We need to realize this is the connection that people make with the movement and namely the cooperative fellowship and own up to it. It is our heritage and our history but it is also our message and our calling as well. It is not something to be ashamed of.
Why Brownsville Church might be doing it
They have a hard position right now. The church lives in the shadows of the Brownsville Revival. There is no way they will shake that off. If calling themselves Brownsville Assembly, it will be forever connected with “God use to move there.” In some ways, I guess they could be trying to distant themselves from the vibes of the Brownsville Revival is over and the church is broke because of it.
The other consideration for Brownsville Church could be that some Pentecostals have went overkill and scared the crap out of people. To the heathen, some of what we do in our churches just might be a little over the top. Let’s not forget that there was a time that handling rattle snakes was actually somewhat normal in Pentecostal churches.
I can’t tell you exactly why they are doing this and I do not know Dr. Evon Horton besides things I see on Facebook. Do I think he is trying to get some space between what he has for a vision of the church and the Brownsville Revival? I honest do. Dealing with that is worse than dealing with any very successful older brother mentality.
Personally, I think they should scream to the world that God touched the world from that campus and that they are Assemblies of God. They should make it very clear it is a classic Pentecostal church that believes in divine healing and casting out devils. I am not sure that calling yourselves Brownsville Church will do that.