I was going to watch the first service online and then go attend the late service at my Pentecostal (Assembly of God) church that I am a member. However, what I saw this morning made me think twice about it and even ask some hard questions about my own future with this Assembly.
Before I start, I have been part of this church for years. I have prayed there, worship there, and done evangelism through there. I love the church. The pastor’s father, the former pastor, is an amazing leader and theologian. The current pastor has tried to make the pulpit into a Fox News Broadcast discussing the trending issues of the nation. This is how we got where we are today.
As a prophet, an intercessor and an evangelist; I have become deeply concerned with the joking in sermons and “pop culture” teachings but let it go as some people are getting saved and mentored. I did not want to like Jeremiah and be known as the weeping prophet. However, enough is enough.
The heart of the Holy Spirit was grieved by this. To consider that is Pentecost Sunday and the message was another “trending issue” and not about the Pentecostal experience; it is alarming. In fact, I plan to resign my member in the morning over it.
Scriptural answers to racism
Without question. It is a reality and it can be deal with but Pentecost Sunday is not the time. The answer to racial differences is found in Romans 10. The passage is a very popular passage but rarely handled in a biblical matter. Let’s look at the text actually says,
For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him,for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:12-13)
Paul was addressing racism head on right here. He was saying it does not matter if you are a Jew or not, everyone gets the gospel and everyone equally is a sinner. He was confronted elitism in the churches and among the believers in the region of Rome. Little has changed in the hearts of the faithful in Rome or the faithful in the United States. The issue is still the same.
You could read this as “there is no difference between a white man or a black man- the same Lord is Lord of all….everyone gets the same gospel.” Racism is dealt with in the gospel. In the racial issues of the world, there is condemnation. However, we know there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. The Church must be apolitical and be about the gospel, not social issues that trend. The racial answers are given in scripture.
The nation may be burning but the faithful should be burning with a different fire: the Holy Spirit fire. We do not think as the world thinks. We do not behave as the world behaves. We are the called out ones. We are a holy nation that is in this world but not of it.
Pentecost Sunday matters
Today is Pentecost Sunday. This is the biggest day of the year for believers, especially Pentecostals. This is the “super bowl” of church services for us. For many, it is the first time in months we have been in services. There is nothing, I mean nothing, that should be preached besides the Acts 2:1-4 experience. To push this to the back of the minds of believers is sinful in my view.
It leads me to the next question: Does my pastor at the local assembly see value in the Pentecostal experience? If he would not preach on the subject and give most of the ministry time to praying for people to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (with the evidence of praying in tongues), is it of real value to him? I am led to believe that is not. Sadly.
Then, I have to ask another question: Does the Assemblies of God value the Acts 2 experience as a whole? Studies show that 1 in 12 members report to praying in tongues daily. That means that up to 95% of people who sit in our pews do not pray in the Spirit during the week. That should break our hearts and lead up to the prayer room more than ever.
If we have lost our way on Pentecost, what is next? The death and resurrection of Jesus? What about the virgin birth? Pentecost is just as important as the birth, death and resurrection of Christ. While having the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is not a salvation, it is what keeps us in Him ultimately.
The way forward for Azusa Report
The ministry is independent of every movement and church network. It is governed by the Spirit and through a board that has different thoughts theologically. All of them are Pentecostal but they range from Assembly of God to Word of Faith to Church of God in Christ. The focus is Pentecostal revival and being prophetic in this generation. This is bigger than a movement or a “cooperative fellowship.”
Nothing will really change. I always try and have fellowship with Pentecostals (and Charismatics) of many assemblies across the city. On most Sundays, I attend two different churches. One of them is the Assembly of God and the other one is a charismatic church in Grandview. I will remain visiting several churches a month and practicing cross pollution.
This is a very biblical practice. We do not read about specific assemblies in the scripture but believers that are in a region or a city. There was dozens of gatherings in Ephesus but we only see a letter to the region, for example. God’s model is a church that is governed at the city level, not the assembly level. This is why we need overseers and Bishops today.
My heart breaks because many relationships that I have in that assembly might not exist after writing this article but I must take a stand for Pentecost and for cleansing the house of God. We know that judgement starts at the house of God.