I was in a meeting this last week and the subject came up about Pentecostal perspective. The person who was the special speaker in that meeting talked about how he was thoroughly Pentecostal, but he thought the gifts of the Holy Spirit needed to get out of the box (church) and into the market place. This person went on to say that when the gifts stay exclusively in the box (church) that is where weird stuff happens.
I will have to disagree with this person. I have been in the Pentecostal church most of my life. I remember as a small child falling asleep in my grandparents Pentecostal church as people were dancing in the Holy Spirit, doing Jericho marches around the building, falling out under the power of the Holy Spirit, crying, and laughing; which are human expressions of what the spirit is doing in a person, not the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
I have seen people wait at the altar for hours for the spirit of God to accomplish what He desired to accomplish in their lives. I have witnessed healings and deliverances by the power of the Holy Spirit. I have watched in awe while God spoke to His people through tongues and interpretation, and through prophecy to strengthen and edify His people. I have not witnessed the wholesale abuse that everyone is talking about as an excuse to remove the gifts from the box (church). How can a man declare to a sovereign God when and where He may speak or communicate to His people? Foolishness!
If this is the weird stuff that he is talking about, then please call me weird.
“A Pentecostal church that does not have what we call altar services, does not lay hands on the sick, or does not listen to the voice of the Lord in messages in prophecy or tongues and interpretation really isn’t committed to being Pentecostal. We may fear that such things will drive people away, but experience has shown us over and over again that live Pentecostal churches grow, and dull churches fade away.”
I really understand what is going on here. The postmodern church has no place for Pentecostal practices. Healing lines, altar calls, singing and speaking in tongues, prophecies, and interpretation of tongues; these are now considered WEIRD STUFF by the postmodern church.
What a shame that we have forsaken our Pentecostal heritage for a nice clean little gathering where leaders know exactly what is going to happen, when it is going to happen and everyone will leave with little or no change in their lives.
“When everything is controlled, from first impressions in the parking lot to the wardrobe colors and stage movements of the platform party, who controls the church and who controls the controllers? Something of the mysterious and loveable but unwashed reality of the real-life bride of Christ is lost. Something of the impossible-to-predict, category-shattering sovereignty and grace of God is walled off.”
At this same meeting and by the same special speaker, we were told that young Pentecostals will not be told how to worship God. A few years ago I was lectured to by an Assemblies of God minister who told me, “Young people are not going buy into Pentecostal practices of old. We have moved into a new age where these things are no longer acceptable.” There is this idea that Pentecostal expression is going to be different in the Twenty-First Century. My response to that is, really?
Did God not have the ability to look forward in the Twenty-First Century and know enough to give us what we needed to see a world impacted and changed for Him?
1 Cor 14:22-27
22 Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe. 23 Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind? 24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. 25 And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you. 26 How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.
God’s plan for strengthening and equipping His church is the same as it was in the First Century. It is the hope of the Pentecostal that people will come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, that the sick and lonely hearted will find the healing that they need, that those who are bound by life controlling issues will be set free by the power of the Holy Spirit, that the gifts of the Holy Spirit will be present as God equips and empowers His people to set the world on fire for Him and that the fruit of the Holy Spirit will help each and every believer to grow to full maturity in Him. If that is WEIRD STUFF, then Lord come and mess us up in Your glory and mercy!
1 Cor 1:18-31
18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” 20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence. 30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God — and righteousness and sanctification and redemption — 31 that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”
 Thomas Trask and David Womack, Back to the Altar: A Call to Spiritual Awakening (Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, 1994), 108-109.
 Os Guinness, Dining with the Devil: The Megachurch Movement Flirts with Modernity (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1993), 20.