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.
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!
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.
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.