Tagged in: William Seymour

Has Brian Zahnd lost the faith?

Brian Zahnd is my former pastor. My father grew up in King City, Missouri and Brian is from Savannah. I spend several years at Word of Life Church in Saint Joseph, Missouri. The pastor I remember was up to his eyeballs in the word of faith movement and the focus was completely focused on “faith, life, victory.” The Church was basically the local version of Victory Christian Center (Billy Joe Daugherty’s church). In fact, Victory’s long time youth pastor came from Word of Life.

Faith was everything at the church. Brian proclaimed often that Acts 16:5 was his key for ministry. He believed that the preaching of faith was critical to the growth of the church. His testimony was “God said to preach faith and the church will grow.” He was amazing at doing two things: preaching faith and doing altar calls. He could not do alot of things in ministry but these he did very, very well.

I look back at many of the services and realize that God did some amazing things. I was there where people like Steve Hage, Jesse Duplantis, and Eastman Curtis came to do ministry. Lives were forever changed in those meetings. It was not just having church, it was about expanding the Kingdom.

Brian Zahnd departs from faith

I do not mean that he lost his salvation or he is a heretic. I am not willing to make that call. What I am willing to say is that he did leave the faith message behind. In his words, “I am packing my bags and leaving the Charismatic movement.” His emphasis on faith became an emphasis on the desert fathers that had mostly views of catholicism. He has a special place in his heart for St. Augustine of Hippo. I am not saying that we should not study history (we should and I encourage it) I am saying things changed.

Word of Life Church saw about a third of the membership leave for other churches. The reason was spiritual. God said to Brian (his own account) that if he preach faith, the church would grow. Now, that he was not preaching faith, it is only natural to assume that he was not doing what God had told him to do. People need faith, not history lessons.

I have been gone from Saint Joseph for many years and when I am in town, I preach in smaller Pentecostal churches. I have not been to Word of Life Church for many years but I do follow them from a distance. I have watch the transformation of the messages from the pulpit and I must say I am surprised at it.

This is a trend that I see with friends in ministry that are dabbling in the writings of NT Wright. I have read his books but it was not anything that I would throw out centuries of revelation and prophetic understanding to embrace. Wright has some good things to say but pastors changing their whole doctrinal statement and focus the Holy Spirit has given them is too much.

Brian Zahnd misses something about history

He loves history. He always has. He used it often in preaching faith. I do not question his study of the history of the church one bit. He probably knows it better than most professors do to be honest.

However, I think he misses something very important: Church history is not the study of names and events but it is the study of mantles and mandates. When we understand this truth, it changes everything that we need see and know about that great cloud of witnesses.

When we realize there is power in the stories; the power of the testimony; then we can respond with our heart positioned to cry, “If you are still God, you can still do it!” History should create in us a desire to see what they saw in our lives in our day in our culture. It is doesn’t, we missed the point of church history.

I find it hard to read the stories of men like Count Zinzendorf, William Seymour and TL Osborn and not be inspired to see what they saw in my life, in my city and through my ministry. It is hard to read it as mere facts. Church history is living and in for us to receive as an impartation. I truly believe in the words that I cried so many times on the floor in Toronto, “There MUST be More!”

Zahnd is still my brother

Even if I am a strong Pentecostal with an emphasis on faith and he does not, he is still my brother and I would still share communion with him as part of the brethen in Christ. Relationship is based on blood (of Jesus), not common  agreement to doctrinal truth. When we rally to doctrines, we form demoninations. When we rally to the blood, we form the Kingdom of God. Personally, I am far more concerned about the Kingdom of God in and through our lives than I am about being part of a “corporate fellowship” that is more dogmatic about a position that dynamic about the gospel of the Kingdom.

We have to be careful to not make theological differences more important than being a brother or sister in Christ. I might not attend Word of Life again (over doctrine) but that does not mean I would not welcome them as my siblings in the Lord. Jesus said whoever believes in Him is my brother and sister in the Lord.

It is impossible for God to raise up fathers in the faith and spiritual sons and daughters when we determine our relationship based on theological statements. I am not sure what we are doing with 1 Corinthians 4:15? Where is the spiritual fathers and mothers that relate to in love, not doctrine? They are few and far between.



William Seymour’s Divine Connection

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.

Houston Texas 1900

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.

Charles Fox Parham

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!

weeping revival

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 Seymour departs Methodism

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.


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!

prophetic word

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.

IHOP University and its challenges

Thinking of going to IHOP University at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City? You might want to do some more research. There are some major challenges to the school that are hidden on the websites and some of them are not even mentioned.

I went to the school when it was the Forerunner School of Prayer. It was more of a prayer focused version of the Berean School of the Bible back then. Most of the teaching was by Mike Bickle, Kevin Matthews, and a little by Graham Walsh. It was great and focused on revival. However, it was not legit education.

Before we go any futhur any into this, I want to say I have the deepest respect for Allen Hood and Mike Bickle. Allen is a solid guy and was always there when I had a question. I thought the world of him. He also knew how to let education be inferior to the move of the Spirit. Something most people with a seminar degree just can’t do.

With that said, I strongly suggest you re-think going to IHOP University.

IHOP University has a history of cancelling class

Around the House of Prayer, they tend to let a few people; Mike Bickle, Julie Meyers, Misty Edwards and a few others make the schedule for the school. What do I mean by that? They will call classes off for a month because someone had a prophetic dream that if they have a fast and do not but contend in prayer; breakthrough will come.

Instead of being in class, students are expected to be in the prayer room contending for whatever Misty, Julie or Mike thinks needs to be contended for. This is great in a ministry context but this is hardly serious academia research.

There is no library to speak of on campus. Nothing anywhere close to the ORU library, William G. Squires Library at Lee University, or Cordas C. Burnett Library at Assemblies of God Theological Seminary.

IHOP University is more of a pay to pray thing than it is a real academic research type of thing.

IHOP University gives you useless degrees

I do not know why they will not seek some type of accreditation

This is straight from the website of IHOPU

IHOPU is not presently pursuing accreditation. However, the values represented by accreditation (particularly academic excellence and relationship with other theological institutions) are very important to IHOPU. For this reason, IHOPU is not opposed to pursuing accreditation in the future if it can be done without compromising our vision and core values, and if it actively builds relationships with theological institutions to transfer credits.

I know for sure that in the last 14 years they have not made one step towards getting any accreditation in any way. I do not think they will in the next 14 years either. This is a problem because all you get is a paper than no one will honor and you can forget higher education.

One reason I believe they don’t want it is many of the “professors” are not qualified to even teach their own subjects. Many of them do not have legit bible training.

Realize you will graduate without any degree that mean anything in the real world and will have no marketable skills.

Need financial freedom? Not at IHOP University

According to their website, your tuition as a freshman is $2,275 per semester, zero help from the school and you are not allow to work. Either you have upper middle class parents, your church paying, or you will struggle. I could not have done it at 19 years old, that is for sure. My parents are Gates, Buffet, or Waltons.

What is could cause is a bunch of William Seymour that sit in the hallway hoping to hear the class and get what he could. In that case, it was race; in this case, would be economical class.

You also have to consider that this does not include housing or food. Throw around $4,000 a year into the mix and you are looking around $10,000 with no help, no job and no chance to do anything with your degree.

In reality, for most this will spell trouble for many students at IHOP University.

What options are there besides IHOP University

My suggestion is find either a real bible school that works for what you want to do, what you can afford and give you the tools to move forward or look at a training school such as Youth With A Mission, Iris Ministries (Heidi Baker) or a short term school in Toronto or Bethel Redding.

If you have the resources, Oral Roberts University is a great school to be train in and you will get real experience for ministry. I have never been a student here but I hear great things about Elim Bible Institute as well.

I left bible school (Central Bible College in Springfield, Missouri) and finished through Global University. It is not cheap but you can do one class at a time and work your way through it. They are full accredited as well.

Master’s Commission is another amazing opportunity to get training. For less than IHOP University, you could be trained in the middle of a move of God at the Dream Center Leadership School that includes room and board. Theology and practical ministry married together.

Are you called to the mission field? Harvest School in Mozambique is another option that you have. In the midst of world missions, you learn on the job from some of the best missionaries that are alive today. You can do it for about half what IHOP University wants as well.

Am I telling you not to go to IHOPU?

Not at all. I am telling you to get all the facts before going. There is alot of things on the website that are not full truths and half-truths is what sets you up for failure in life. I just want people to make an informed decision about what path is best for them in the quest for biblical education and getting to the ministry.

I hope this helps.

William Seymour & his inheritance of freedom!

I helped a guy brainstorm about SEO (doing better on Google) and to my surprise, he gave me a $30 gift card for my Amazon Kindle. So I picked up a couple books on William Seymour for the blog. I want to really zero in on the life of the man that started the Azusa Street Revival.

If everything goes as planned, I will focus on the man for a few weeks then we will focus on the revival for a few more weeks.

What could this man born 50 miles outside of Lafayette, Louisiana in a town called Centerville that today is a main city today with a booming 1,976 people have to with revival? Who knows what the population was in May 2, 1870. It was probably a few hundred at best.

Like Jesus, the events around his birth hardly speak of anything of importance to become of him. In you look at the natural, he is destined to become a cotton farmer or some other job that required alot of hard labor. Nothing to do with church or ministry whatsoever.

In fact, he grew up just like any other black kid in Lousiana in the 1870’s’ there was nothing special that you could think do….really.


William Seymour’s seed of freedom

Wait, there was one thing if you notice generational blessings and impartation. His father fought in the civil war for the North so he children could live in constitutional freedom. Simon Seymour was one of the fifteen thousands blacks who fount for freedom on their own free will. He was part of the Corps d’Afrique.

Simon gave his life to the United States in Louisiana and Florida until September 1866 when he was discharged and all of his family was free and citizens of the United States.

When his parents got married, while free was still educated; only drawing a X for their name. It was all they could do.

The prophetic act of Simon in the Civil War to give his family freedom was something that not only William Seymour inherit but also Rosalie, Simon, Amos, Julia, Jacob, Isaac and Emma. They received what they did not labor for because someone came before and did it on their behalf.

He was probably raised in Roman Catholicism with several mixes of African Voodoo. It is safe to say that even though he was a recieptance of the inheritance of freedom; he was raised in a environment of superstition no matter if it was Catholic idol worship or voodoo witchcraft.

However, the voodoo very well may have been used by God to create in William a desire for miracles, signs and wonders. He are getting the application of Pentecost long before he got the message of Pentecost.

Freedom does not come without setbacks. As a young boy, he watched the United States Army pull out of Louisiana. They were replaced with what we call Jim Crow laws: no voting, no education, no jobs. His inheritance of freedom has took a serious hit to say the least.

The teenage years of William Seymour saw the complete withdraw of military from Louisiana in exchange for the white citizens voting for Rutherford B. Hayes as the President of the United States. When it happened, what little progress that was made for the new Americans was history. No enforcement means no opportunities.

At the age of 26, William Seymour went to Indianapolis, Indiana. He had heard that black people could work, vote and have places to lives. He ended up working three jobs to make a living: Bates House, the Denision House and the Grand Hotel


William Seymour’s Inheritance of freedom is a testimony

Alot of people do not like to talk about it but it is a testimony of keeping faith and receiving what you have been imparted with. He was born to be a free man. That did not come easily. It has its set backs, its struggle, and its challenges.

When you receive an impartation to go futhur faster in the Spirit; you can expect there to be a time of testing. It will not be a free ride and an easy walk in the park. It might even be the hell it was for William Seymour. Challenges will come.

Don’t forget the the people of God went around the mountain for a generation and that Jesus went into the wilderness for over a month with the spiritual inheritance of being God’s only Son. If Moses did it and Jesus did it, you will have to do it as well. Just prepare for that.

As William’s legal freedom was his inheritance, your spiritual freedom is yours. You will get your breakthrough. He is planned in Heaven and the angels are on assignment for you. The question is not if but when.

The highest life expectancy a man can live is to commune with with God, being born again and being filled with God’s Spirit. – William Seymour.


Inheritance comes in many ways

A father can leave for his only son all his money and land so he can do more in life faster that he could otherwise. That’s his inheritance. The same is true for spiritual father to a spiritual son. Lester Sumerall could do more in the Spirit because he had the impartation from Smith Wigglesworth.

America is a nation of inheritance and impartation. In our universities and college, we give scholarships and grants. They are a type of inheritance. We are helping the young person speed up their ability to make change in society but our gifting them a seed offering.

I pray that we never need to have another generation that need an inheritance of legal freedom but every generation must get their own inheritance of spiritual freedom. Your momma’s deliverance just won’t cut it. You have to have your own encounter.

I believe there are many like William Seymour that are being raised in some very hard conditions, are around the supernatural but don’t understand and are being set free to be a deliverer to their generation.