Revival haters : Open letter to Roger Lewis
Yesterday, I posted an article about a pastor who called me “delusional.” Here is that article. I purposefully did not name any names in hopes the pastor of this church would contact me privately about what he said (which was out of line) and make things right. Actually, the opposite happen. He seems to be feel entitled to gossip about me.
With that said, I am going to write an open letter to Roger Lewis, the current senior “pastor” of Life Church in North Richland Hills, Texas. Interestingly, according to the Assemblies of God directory it is called Life Church of the Assemblies of God but there is nothing on the website that says they are Assemblies, especially the name. Don’t worry, there is a lot more questions that I have about this pastor who calls people who want revival delusional.
Most of the information in this article will be directly from their website. I will seek to keep what they do state in its’ proper context; something Roger Lewis does not afford me. It is a shame that addressing the disagreement has came to this but after calling me names for simply disagreeing with him on a minor issue; I feel the need to correct this publically. I have made every effort to do this privately. The following is a message I sent him,
Roger, I really don’t get what you are trying to do here. This is NOT how to minister to someone. If you feel there is something the Spirit is showing you for me…. you are communicating completely wrong. This is very reason that I do not trust pastors anymore.
So, let’s get started is exploring the website of Life Church in Richland Hills, Texas and they really believe.
What does Roger Lewis teach?
The first thing that really grabbed me was not the lame marketing stuff about powerless faith. Roger is, as far as I can tell, a PINO or Pentecostal in name only. Be forewarned, the more I get into the website; the more surprised I am at little Pentecostal values there is. You could be reading the statement of First Baptist Church of Dallas and being closer to Pentecostal theology.
For the sake of not making this a 10,000 word article (you are welcome), I will focus mainly on the landing page and the statement of faith or what they loosely call beliefs and values.
At LIFEchurch, we understand and cherish the role of relationships and the unique impact relationships have in our spiritual journey.
At a distance, this looks like it sound and everything is at least look like decent ecclesiology until you release this nothing more than a bunch of seeker sensitive nonsense just like you would see on any Baptist website or Joel Osteen meeting.
I am not sure how Roger Lewis understands and cherishes relationship when he calls anyone who believes in Pentecost or Holy Ghost revival as “delusional.” Does someone that still believe that the only answer for the world is the blood bought and fire baptized Pentecostal church considered to be “out of their mind” according to the pastor of Life Church of North Richland Hills? It is safe to assume that he does believe that.
I am not sure what he thinks relationships are or how conditional they considering some of the outlandish things he said about me on a forum that is made up of people who are suppose to be Pentecostal in doctrine.
We read on to see more of this same religious talk but lacking any real definition,
We encourage everyone to become involved in one of our Family Circle groups, to provide that special opportunity of getting to know others, to allow for individual encouragement and for friendships to grow.
I am not sure how calling people you disagree as delusional and out of their mind for having a difference of opinion as a “special opportunity to get to know others.” One thing is for sure, he did not take any special opportunity to get to know me or try and understand me before blasting me privately and publicly. That much is clear.
Encouragement is a spiritual gift outlined in Romans 12 which is parakaleó is greek. It means to be “up close and personal” with someone. There is no way anyone can say that Roger Lewis of Life Church from North Richland Hills was up close and personal with me in any way, shape or form.
Just a quick tip to people: calling people names is probably not how you will have “friendships to grow.” Just an FYI!
Now, let’s look at the theology statement of the Church and we will put it against the official 16 fundamental truths of the Assemblies of God that Life Church and Roger Lewis claims to be part of. You will see he is not really Assemblies of God in doctrine or practice.
According to their website,
It is living, powerful, without error, and holds all the truth we need for living in today’s world.
The points that we can agree on. The Word (Jesus) is living, active, powerful and true. The scriptures (which is what he means) is the record of His ministry. It is completely true but it does not hold “all the truth we need.” This is not Pentecostal theology nor is it what the Assemblies of God believe about the scriptures. God can speak to us through many means and one of them is the bible but he uses prophecy, tongues with interpretations and dreams as well.
Here is what the Assemblies of God actually believe about the scriptures officially.
The Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments, are verbally inspired of God and are the revelation of God to man, the infallible, authoritative rule of faith and conduct.
Now for the major issue that I have with the theological statement of the Life Church of North Richlands Hills. To be blunt, how the Assemblies of God should be doing something about a pastor teaching Pneumatology that is not Pentecostal in perspective. There are two of what we call “cardinal truths” that we will not debate and I have seen people lose their right to pastor in the Assemblies of God over. I am surprised that Roger has not faced the same fate.
According to their website,
He makes us a new creation in Christ and empowers believers through the baptism in the Holy Spirit as in Acts 2:4.
I realize he throws the the Acts 2:4 tag at the end to make it look Pentecostal but that is not cutting it. You will see why when we look at the official theology of the Assemblies of God. This is something that the the movement is very clear on historically and doctrically. To see a pastor be so wishy washy about it is concerning at best.
It is like he doesn’t really believe in the Holy Spirit and the work of the Spirit to speak to us through prophecy, tongues with interpretation and creative miracles but throws a few lines on the website to keep the Assemblies head at bay and the conservative Pentecostals such as myself happy. Putting Acts 2:4 at the end of something you don’t even really believe or practice is not going to make me smile.
Now, the official position of the Assemblies of God,
All believers are entitled to and should ardently expect and earnestly seek the promise of the Father, the baptism in the Holy Spirit and fire, according to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ. This was the normal experience of all in the early Christian Church. With it comes the enduement of power for life and service, the bestowment of the gifts and their uses in the work of the ministry.
Do you see a major difference in the two statements. One of them is saying “we don’t believe it but we better put something down” and the other is “we are ready to fight for what we believe.” The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is for every believer and it should be expected. In fact, it was (and I believe still is) required for any level of service in the Assemblies of God including a Sunday School teacher. We do not even want a bus driver that is not baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire!
The statement from the Assemblies of God goes on,
The baptism of believers in the Holy Spirit is witnessed by the initial physical sign of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit of God gives them utterance.
This is why Roger Lewis threw up that quick Acts 2:4 verse. If an Assemblies of God does not believe that speaking in other tongues or “praying in tongues,” they can be asked to leave the movement. It is taken that serious. There is nowhere on the theological statement from Life Church from North Richland Hills that lays out clearly that they believe that the initial physical evidence of the Holy Spirit in speaking in other tongues. It simply is not there. It leads me to believe that Roger Lewis doesn’t really believe it but out that Acts 2:4 at the end to save his butt.
Divine Healing is not much better. I thought maybe they were a little weak on praying in tongues but they loved healing the sick and was trying to be Benny Hinn Jr. Not a chance. It is just as wishy washy as the rest of the theology they put out.
God still heals the sick.
Again, this is just enough to keep them from getting in trouble with Springfield but not a clear call to the world that they really believe in healing. It is my hunch that you rarely see healing meetings at Life Church in North Richland Hills. I doubt that extensive time is spend laying hands on the sick so they can recover. If anything, it is probably more a ” by the way, God might heal you if he be His will.” (which is not Pentecostal doctrine either)
Historically, we put healing at the forefront of all we did. In fact, it was during the healing revival that the Assemblies of God had their heyday. Healing was the focus of everything that was happening in the 1950’s when the movement exploded. I could not dream of A.A. Allen or Oral Roberts be so laid back about the issue but I am sure Roger Lewis is. 🙂
What does the Assemblies of God officially believe about it?
Divine healing is an integral part of the gospel. Deliverance from sickness is provided for in the atonement, and is the privilege of all believers.
This is a much clearer understanding of what we believe as Pentecostals. Healing is not just some added benefit of being a believer but it is part of the atonement. The same blood that saves you heals you. It is up to the believer to be healed. God is never to blame for someone not being healed. The problem is always on the other end.
Roger Lewis & Added doctrine
While several statements are missing like about praying in tongues, there is a list of things that he has added to the list that is worth discussing. He calls these “intrinsic values.”
Out the gate, he goes back to favorite nonsense doctrine about “family.” I guess he believes calling people out of their mind for believing in Holy Ghost revival and contending for souls to come into the Kingdom makes one delusional and not in fit to be part of his so called “family.”
Next up is generosity. There is not much here to go on but I assume this means giving to the church and preaching prosperity. I believe in prosperity and have no issue with that. However, I do take issue with WHY we give. We give for souls; not for church programs for pastor’s salaries.
Discipleship is on the list and everyone that follows me knows I could blow a fuse about this. I will just say if Roger Lewis of Life Church really believes that “ Salvation is a process not an event,” he has some really odd Soteriology at best. A bunch of Sunday School classes does not save you, the work of the Cross saves you.
Multiplication is a buzz word in church leader circles these days but all I see is about messed up ministries from it. G12 Vision is a great example. We are called to reach the lost, not start ministries.
The next value or doctrine is really funny. It is to have excellence. What exactly is it that and what does that look like is different for every person but the to make that an “intrinsic value?”
Finally we reach something I can agree on. They do value evangelism (I think…. on paper). However, they think it is this servert evangelism stuff. I take it there will be no Reinhard Bonnke or Carlos Annacondia meetings at Life Church in North Richlands Hills, Texas anytime soon.
The last value or doctrine he list is change. This is part of the whole “family ” focus. He thinks we come to Jesus to be better husbands and dog owners. I guess we can better gun owners too. The liberals would be happy to hear that, Roger.
PINO: Threats to Holy Ghost Revival
Pentecostals in name only are a direct threat to seeing true revival break out in our churches and cities in America and around the world. The truth is that the Pentecostal movement is like dry wood that is slowly burning. It has all the right conditions for nation shaking revival. When the fire from Heaven falls, it will see the world ablaze.
I can’t tell you all the people I have prayed with in prayer meetings or meet in revival meetings over the years (Sorry about that, Roger) but I can tell you about the times God came down! We need God to rend the heavens far more than we need more “relational ministry.” Hugging each other is not going to set the demonized free but the fire of God falling on the Assembly will!
I am a student of revival history dating back all the way to the Apostolic age. I have yet to read about a major national revival that was started by a family emphasis or calling intercessors delusional. It has always been the answer to a people to separate themselves from the the things of this world in desperate for apostolic power. It happened that way at Herrnhut, Cane Ridge, Azusa Street, and even Brownsville. This has not changed nor will it in the future.
I wish the leadership of the Assemblies would deal with these pastors who are not really Pentecostals and cleanse the movement. However, that is not going to happen. This is partly due to the most of the national leadership is just as backslidden as these pastors. The fact that Rick Warren and Ed Stetzer, known Baptists, are getting the microphones are major meetings is proof of that.
The reality is that people wanting Holy Ghost revival is going to have to co-exist and tolerate these type of pastors in these last days. We can look at through the lens of the ten virgins. Half of them lost their ministry but keep doing everything they were doing before but with no anointing. That is churches like Life Church in North Richland Hills, sadly.
The very encouraging thing about it is when the Holy Ghost revival that we are contending for, the end time harvest or Stadium Christianity does break out and millions are being swept into the Kingdom overnight; many of these dead Pentecostal churches will wake up from their sober and receive the move of God. I hope this church is one of those who refused to till the ground for the harvest but is able to reap where they did not sow.
The following is a short podcast about it.
Am I mad at Roger Lewis of Life Church?
I am more disappointed that these type of pastors exist in the Pentecostal movement than I am upset. I see pastors who are so earthly minded that that no heavenly good as a direct threat to Holy Ghost revival. Roger is far from the only one doing this seeker sensitive leadership model. In fairness, about half the Assemblies of God are little wannabees of Rick Warren and Joel Osteen.
If he comes to me and seeks to correct some of the harsh things he has said about me and my calling, this article will disappear. I am not asking him to become the second coming of Leonard Ravenhill or A.W. Tozer, either. I am asking him to respect those who are revivalist and value what we are doing for the Kingdom; even if it looks different than what he is doing.
If he has legit concerns about what Azusa Report believes and teaches (there is a few pastors out there that do and I respect that), build the necessary relationship to address it. Correction always flows out of relationships and any attempt to correct someone without ends up with where we are today, brothers in Christ throwing around unnecessary names at another. It is not how men of God should carry themselves.
If he was really that concerned about what I teach, what I believe and my untamed passion for Holy Ghost revival; it would be much better handled by a simple contact asking for a good time for us to Skype and try and understand the others’ point of view. that is the biblical way to handle this type of misunderstanding.
He is far from the first pastor who had made some seriously out of line comments about me and misrepresented what I believed. However, the ongoing attacks against the ministry by pastors needs to stop somewhere and it has reached that point. It just happened to be his out of line comment was the tipping point.
I hope I never feel the need to confront a pastor for hurting and out of line statements again. I do not like doing it this time. However, I have given him room to correct his comments. My prayer is this article gets the point across that what was said to me was hurtful, wrong, and unbecoming of a pastor. If you see this article removed in the future, it was become Roger Lewis did the right thing. If you do not see it removed, you know the reason as well.