A few days ago, Vice President Mike Pence addressed the students at Lee University. While his message to them was not really that out of line, the issue remains: Mike Pence is NOT a Pentecostal!
It is beyond me why a Pentecostal school would have a “I’m a born-again, evangelical Catholic” (by his own admission) be a keynote speaker for any reason. This is not to mention that throwing in born again and evangelical before stating he is a Catholic is all about votes.
While it is true that he did attend Grace Evangelical Church in Indianapolis, a look at the Evangelical Free doctrine is pretty telling. They are biblical sound and a legit expression of the Church at large but they are far from Pentecostalism.
Building your speaker list is more than to if they are pro life or not if they support traditional marriage. There is many atheists that are against abortion and gay marriage. Does that mean that we hand the platform of a Pentecostal college like Lee University? To put it bluntly: the answer is no!
I would have no issue with Pence speaking at Notre Dame but I do have with him at Lee.
Why Mike Pence shouldn’t speak for Pentecostals
I am under no confusion about the state of Lee or the Church of God at large. The university has been slowly becoming much more liberal and seeker sensitive than ever before. The whole Amway mess started it and now there is a large group of students who are not even Pentecostal and in some cases, they are not even saved.
However, Mike Pence does not believe in the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, praying in tongues or that divine healing is part of the atonement. The cardinal truths of our movement are not shared by the Vice President. It should go without saying that people who do not care our values as Pentecostals should not even see the shadow of our pulpits.
This is not about what tribe a group is of. I have no problem with John Ashcroft speaking at Lee or if Perry Stone wanted to speak at Evangel University. Both are Pentecostals speaking at Pentecostal schools and only disagree on minor issues. Neither of them are going to question the Baptism of the Holy Spirit or praying in tongues.
The same can not be said of Mike Pence. It is not about if he is a believer or not. It is about values. The following is straight from the Evangelical Free’s website
We do not believe that a post-conversion baptism of the Holy Spirit evidenced by speaking in tongues is required to live a full life. Other than this theological conviction, the EFCA is on a continuum from cessationist to continuationist, on this side of classic Pentecostalism.
What is even more telling is how they take time to directly confront Pentecostalism right on their website in the following words.
no churches within the EFCA are Pentecostal, i.e. they believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit which happens after conversion and is evidenced by speaking in tongues
As stated, there is no reason that someone like Mike Pence that is clearly NOT a Pentecostal got behind the pulpit to speak. None whatsoever.
The wider problem with Pentecostal Schools
This is not just a Lee University problem and this is not just a Church of God problem. Evangel has been just as guilty of it. Oral Roberts University is known to have people who do not share Pentecostal values regularly visit.
While our schools should be taking a stand on our values and say “this is what we believe… if you disagree, we are still brothers but we are not of the same tribe,” that is just not happening. There is nothing wrong with being Baptist or Methodist in theory but they do not share our theological convictions. In most cases, they actually are at odds with them if we want to be honest.
In many cases, they have given people the platform who are not even born again because they have influence politically or socially. I just can’t see Jesus inviting Pilate to speak at one of his gatherings, can you? Why didn’t He ask Nicodemus to speak privately to his associate preachers?
The real issue here is that our schools have become very well oiled business machines that are driven by marketability. It is not really right but it is the truth. Schools like Lee University and Evangel open their platforms to people who can’t create news for the school.
Lee University needs Holy Ghost revival
One thing I am convicted of is that bringing in speaker who are not of our convictions will NOT bring revival to our schools and to our churches. I have not seen anytime in history since Count Zinzendorf in Germany that a political movement inspired a spiritual revival. It is always the church that sets the government on fire; not the other way around.
The world is not waiting for our to give them great ideas or even great sermons. The world is waiting for the Pentecostal church to set the nation on fire with great awakening anointing. Paul was very clear that Kingdom is not of talk or ideas but of power and authority.
I understand that they want to give the politic discourse from a Pentecostal point of view. However, they are missing the point. We do not need to have townhall meetings to change the society. Revival changes discussion around the table at the town diner much faster than endless debates. Just saying.
Note: I realize that Mike Pence spoke at an event that was not officially part of Lee University but it was on the campus and was approved at the highest level by the Administration.