If you are not aware, the former President of the Brownsville Revival School of Ministry has came under attack by some online heresy hunters that want to attack him, Daniel Kolenda, myself and about everyone who was ever connected with the Brownsville Revival at all. I am aware that Dr. Michael L. Brown did a show of over an hour to address the attacks. Continue reading Revival and Heretics : In Defense of Dr. Michael L. Brown against the gossippers
If you are around ministry for long, you will hear the heresy know as “the local church.” It is something that many talk about, write about, and even sing about but it is still not biblical. Just this morning, Rick Warren was tweeting about it.
I respect Rick Warren, Jack Hayford and the others but they are the Jesus, Peter or Paul. The books they write are not canonized and they are part of the New Testament. The bible talks very little, if at all, about local churches. The issue has theological problems all over it. I do mean, all over it and through it too.
At the core of this discussion is thinking patterns. We have yet to repent (change your life by changing your mind) of cultural norms that we hold. For generations, we believe that everything must be local to us. This was because moving products and services large distances are just not possible. Everyone bought and sold from local shops out of need. How we saw church was no different. This is why a town can have a few hundred small places called the local church.
Times have changed and people think more regional and national now. It is not uncommon for us to buy things from New York and get services from California. Our spirituality is no different,. We have at our fingertips teaching from all over the world and we are not limited to what is possible in our locality. It is a game changer.
Why Local Church is heresy
The whole idea goes against the nature of the gospel and the Bride of Christ. If we believe in the local church, how many brides does Jesus actually have? Millions? The Bible only talks about one Bride, the Bride of Christ. If that is true, there is only one Church as well: the global Church. The believers in the underground meetings in China, the worshippers in Toronto and the intercessors in Kansas City are all expression of one Church. Anything less than this is starting down the road of being heretical in nature.
It is an old wineskin that was about about being biblical but being practical. The need has disappeared and with that, the wineskins has been broken. The old concept of a local church down the street with a resident pastor and all the programs focused on local members is outdated and no longer needed in the information age we live in.
Prophets have been speaking about this for centuries. Think about this: We are living in the moment that prophets have been dreaming about for five centuries or more. We want to live where they were out of need. They want to live where we can live out of want.
One of my heroes is none other than Count Zinzendorf. He preached in the 1700’s about the world being his church. This was back when people could not communicate with the next village easily. He saw something in the future. We live in that future.
John Wesley got this vision from Zinzendorf and believed that the world was his parish. Again, he was two centuries too early but he saw into the future that we live in and live among. We are that future!
Local Church is a dying doctrine
The supply chain of spirituality has expanded and with the wineskin expands, it breaks. We have a new wineskin! Our spiritual understanding might come from Redding, California as well as Toronto, Canada. We live in a time that we can receive whatever stage of life we are in quickly and do not have to rely on a pastor or another ministry. The “middleman” (local pastor) has been taken out of the picture.
The other day, I attended a church in California that was teaching on healing ministry as well as a church in North Carolina that was preaching on the prophetic. I did it all in real time without even leaving Starbucks. This is the power of the times that we live in and are among. The internet really did change everything.
I understand that many pastors do not like this new wineskin and many are preaching against it. The reason is it is a threat to their own survival as a paid hack for Jesus. The level of importance that a pastors plays in people’s spiritual life has reduced as the need for the local church has been exposed. Pastors are worried because it is causing issues with their financials.
Rethinking Church Planting
When we realize the time in which we live, we need to re-think how we view church planting. We need to quit think locally and start thinking nationally and globally. Are you looking to plant a local church or do you have the vision to plant a mega-church? We need to be thinking national impact from the first service we have. People perish for the lack of vision or the lack of foresight for revival in the nation.
As the heresy of the local church is more exposed, we will see more and more people thinking globally and seeing the world as a global village. When this happens, we will be better ready for the greatest revival known to man: the one billion soul harvest.
Most Christians just do not have the capacity for it yet. They are still thinking in the local mindset. The ability for the anointing to expand is beyond anything we can see with our own eyes. A outbreak in Nigeria can be seen globally within seconds. Moves of God can air around the world via God TV. This is the spiritual game changer in our generation.
While in Ohio, he spend time learning about entire sanctification and Church of God Evening Light disregard for movements and fellowship. He seem to be happy and was ready to settle down there and start being a holiness preacher. There was nothing that would point us to believe otherwise….besides he tend to move around alot.
While at some point in 1903, he got a letter from his family asking him to join them. They had moved from Lousiana to Houston, Texas. No one is sure why but it is assumed it was for economical reasons. Jobs for black Americans were not common in rural Louisiana.
However, there would be another reason: racism was alive in well in Louisiana. We have no reason to believe the issue surrounding Anthony Crawford murder was not happening across the southern United States. He was a very successful black businessman in the cotton industry. He wanted fair pricing and because of them he was beated, dragged through the black part of the town, tied up to a tree and shot by over 200 white people in the town. His family run for their lives to the North.
Back then, Texas was a little better at enforcing the new laws during Reconstruction. It is my guess that this was a major reason that the family landed in Houston. It is important to note that Houston was not a large city with the Oil industry and NASA back then. It was a little over 40,000 people at this point.
William Seymour meets Lucy Farrow
He wanted to find a place to worship Jesus in Houston. He ultimately came to gather at a holiness church pastored by Lucy Farrow. I am sure where he learned his view on women in ministry as it was not common in those days. However, he did attend the church pastored by Farrow while in Houston.
Sometime in 1905, she would go to work for Charles Fox Parham in Kansas. Unsure of what to do with the fellowship in Houston, she asked Seymour to lead it. At this point, we know nothing of public ministry or that he even felt a call to the ministry. It was said he could hardly preached with the Holy Spirit baptism; it would never even been worse without it.
After about eighteen months or so, Lucy returned. I am sure everyone was happy to have someone that could speak back. However, she came back with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This would be William’s first encounter with someone actually praying in tongues. He did not know what to do with it. He just didn’t have a grid for it.
What he did know was Farrow was preaching with more boldness, authority and wanted more of the presence of the Lord in her lives and through her preaching. That made him start to ask questions and desire more of the Holy Spirit in his life as well.
This would later become a pattern in the Pentecostal revival. People saw someone they knew was transformed and they wanted what they had.
Seymour meets Charles Fox Parham
One thing you need to know about Parham was he had some issues; Spirit filled or not. He was quite the racist and later was believed to be a child molester. However, the good news is God uses the weak and the broken. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit empowers you but having it does not make you perfect.
Many historians clean up Church History and claim it was Jim Crow laws that caused Parham Fox’s behavior. I do not believe that. He is just quite the racist. It is as simple as that. Other accounts of Parham later in life prove this to be true.
No matter where you stand on the racism and Charles Fox Parham , we know that he would not allow Seymour in the class so William listened from the hallway. Nothing was going to keep him from receiving everything the Lord wanted to do in his life. He would be mistreated for being black before he would missed the blessing of Heaven.
At some point, Seymour came to believed that the initial physical evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit was the ability to pray in tongues. He was convinced long before he actually received the baptism of the Holy Spirit himself.
A common trend that we see in William’s life is his hunger for the things of the Holy Spirit. He did not care what stood in the way, he would overcome them. He didn’t care if he had to listen to a racist preacher from Kansas to get an impartation. He would going to do it!
Are you ready to pay the price?
What will you do to get a fresh touch from the Holy Spirit? If you want to get more of the Lord in your life, you need at identify what is hindering you from receiving revelation. It might even be something like Parham struggled with: racism. If you care more about the person delivering the word of God than the word itself; that could be your hindrance.
One thing I see among the revivalist over history is that all of them would let nothing stand in their way of getting all the Lord had for them. John Wesley was touched on a boat to America by a Moravian missionary that “very sorrowful and heavy in heart.” Peter Cartright walked miles to the Red River meeting house. Charles Finney sit in a dead prayer meeting for six months before he was touched.
If you will determine to not let anything stop you from receiving from the Lord, you will get what you ask. We know that the Word teached to ask, seek and knock. It does tell us that He will answer us if we come to Him in expectation for the Holy Spirit to touch us, fill us, and transform us by His glorious light. We can sure that God is the giver of all good gifts.
Count the cost then pay the price!
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.
William Seymour went to Indianapolis to work as a waiter because there was no hope for him in Lousiana. However, while in the northern United States; he found more than just hope, he found the Hope of the Nations.
At some point during this time, he was converted to Christianity. The details of where and when are not totally clear but we do know he was born again in Indianapolis. From research, I do not think it was some radical conversion but he did come to to faith in Christ there.
I do find it interesting that he was led to Christ in the North and not the South. The southern states were far more religious in those days (and still are). A retional mind would think he would have been led to the Savior in deeply Christian Louisana, not the emerging liberal states north of Mason–Dixon line.
William Seymour meets Hope of the Nations
In 1914, William Seymour told Dr. Charles Shumway that he was glorious saved in a colored Methodist Episcopal Church. We do not know which one but we do know that there was only two in the area. One was by his work and one by his apartment. It could have been either one.
Later, he did become a member of Simpson Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church but it is not believed that this is where he was born again. The church was located at Eleventh and Missouri. There is something very interesting that led William to this church (we will talk about in a minute)
It is interesting that he was part of a movement in Christianity that starting in 1876 has been sending black leaders as ministers and church planters. This was not common in the late 1800’s. They rose above culture and answered the call to Heaven. I question if they had not; Azusa Street Revival would have ever happened.
Seymour loved the Word from early on. He was always studing the Word and trying to get deeper revelation. It was here that he read Matthew 12:21, “In his name the nations will put their hope.” The call to humanity came early. He never wanted to locked into a niche; he wanted the every person to come into saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
I am sure that he had no idea that his ministry would end up with a move of the Holy Spirit that spread to every nation in the world and what would someday become known as Megachurches would be part of it. There is no way he had that on his grid. All he knew is Jesus was the hope of the nations and that he wanted to see the gospel preached to everyone everywhere.
He was also deeply impacted by the teaching of slavery by John Wesley. It was not just something that he read about. His parents were born into slavery! It was real to him. He knew people who knew what it meant to be slaves. Here is the text of Wesley’s position.
Seymour found unity of races
The Methodist Episcopal Church has already changed their position before William become a Christian on race. They was one of the first, if not the first, movement to openly have inter-racial churches and open embrace black members. This was very uncommon in the late 1800’s and to be honest, is still very uncommon in the twenty first century. It was a window of opportunity for William Seymour.
I believe it was here that God revealed to him that a move of the Lord must be about every race, every tongue, every age, etc. It would become real during the Azusa Street because it was very multi-racial and multi-generational.
This was not an easy position for churches to make then. Churches were being burned to the ground by members of white supremacy grounds like the Ku Klux Klan and a few smaller ones. Preachers were burned alive for welcoming “them niggers.” This is why white churches remained white and black churches remained black.
I believe because Seymour saw a church of different races and what he saw in the New Testament; he openly embrace people of many backgrounds in the move of the Holy Spirit. It was here that dividing walls of racism was shattered in the heart of William.
This does not go to say that everything was easy for him in a very racist America. I am sure he had many challenges as a black believer in a white movement. While it the walls had come down officially, I am sure many still have personal issues they was working through at the time.
What have we learned from Methodist Episcopal Church?
Not much. America is still very racial divided in terms of religions. Black Pentecostals go to Church of God in Christ and white Pentecostals go to Assemblies of God. Our churches are still very much made up by race. It is rare to see a multi-racial fellowship today.
I was like William Seymour in the sense that I was raised in a church that is about forty percent black, forty percent white and the rest are Latinos, Asians and other nationalities. However, growing up at Sheffield Family Life Center in Kansas City, Missouri is not your common church. Thank you, Dr. George Westlake.
I have preached in all white churches in the middle of the all black ghetto. I am not sure who they are reaching out to because there is not many white people in the neighborhood. I believe these churches are not biblical. In fact, they are a complete embarrassment to the Pentecostal Church at large. They should not be as racist as they are.
The sooner we open our hearts and the doors of our churches to people of every tongue, race, and generation; the sooner we will see pure revival in America. A revival that reaches to every group and every sector of life. We are not there yet but I believe we can get there in our lifetime.
Oswald J. Smith is a former pastor from Canada and he carried a very powerful anointing for writing. One of his prophetic words was The Revival We need. It might be as old as my mother and it is still just as real today.
After all, if the foreward is written by Jonathan Goforth, the man that took the gospel to China; I am going to listen. Jonathan Goforth is one those with the “Spirit of Elijah” in history! Continue reading The REVIVAL we need!
There is something to redigging the roots of our movements. Every movement started with revival fire and most have lost it about 30 years into the work. My heritage is the Pentecostal Movement. We brand the nation with revival from 1901-1930’s then we started to pull back and “enjoy the fruit of our labors.” Then, in 1948, God restored the power of Pentecost afresh with the healing revival of the 1950’s. Then about 30 years after it started, laziness kicked in that movement. Then in the 80’s the Vineyard or “Third Wave” hit and now 30 years later, laziness has came on us again.
Why do we lose the fire and need another movement to stir the fires again? It is because we lose the vision and need to return to the heart of God concerning His purposes. The reason every revivalists have had a problem with the next revivalist is the coming of another means the ending of the prior. For the latter to emerge, the prior would have admit that they have lost the vision and made a movement into a religious “fellowship.”
As I write this, I ponder what would happen if every movement, Assemblies, Foursquare, Methodist, Baptist, etc. were to return to their roots of histoical formation and restored the vision of their founding fathers. Church of God (Cleveland, Tn), Assemblies of God and Foursquare were all formed as a way of providing fellowship and acountability to the thousands of young church blowing up the countryside in the early 1900’s. What would happen if we saw a massive church planting movement among Pentecostals that was not based on great methods and models we learned at a confernce but it was an overflow of direct encounter with the glory of God like they had at Azusa Street. The type of glory that people up to three miles away was being blasted with the presence of God. Some report even seeing physical “tongues of fire” at those meetings.
If you are Pentecostal, go back and study Azusa Street and the mission movement following and allow the vision to be restored in your heart. If you are Methodist, go back and study the vision of John Wesley and let it be branded in your heart. If you are a Charsmatic, study of the ministry of the your fathers like Oral Roberts and T.L. Osborn and let that vision be burned into you.
Church history is not the study of what God has done but it is the study of mantles and mandates. In those old “history books” we find little nuggets or clues about what God is waiting to do in this generation. Along the way of history, we have little secrets that will empower the “end time revival” we are believing for and expecting in faith, in hope, and in love.