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The Pentecostal movement is at a breakpoint moment.
She has never faced such a challenge in the one hundred and thirteen years of her history. It is the making of a perfect storm spiritually, with cultural pressure from without and ecclesiastical pressure from within.
This hedonistic, pluralistic cultural of relativism is no longer demanding the church to be tolerant and sensitive to the new norms, but to embrace them or be labeled as intolerant, homophobic, Islamophobic, and extremist.
The Equality Act of 2019 that has passed the U.S. Congress and is now in the Senate increases that pressure exponentially.
At the same time this cultural pressure is reaching unimaginable proportions the Pentecostal movement has a new generation of spiritual leaders that have never experienced authentic revival and spiritual awakening, but have been educated from kindergarten through university in a post-modern system.
Their entire education and training have been within a system that has rewritten history and moral values.
Even within our Christian universities the influence of Christianity upon U.S. history and the significant impact revival movements have made upon our culture has been rewritten.
This is a very toxic spiritual cocktail.
It has created a spiritual prism vastly different from their spiritual grandfathers who gave birth to the Pentecostal outpouring at the turn of the twentieth century and the spiritual fathers and mothers who came to faith and the baptism of the Holy Spirit during the Jesus People Movement and the Charismatic Renewal.
We are facing a challenging task..
4 Breakpoint Moments for Pentecostal Churches Today
Current spiritual trends in the Spirit-filled church do not give a solid foundation for the next generation.
Forty-six percent (46%) of born again millennials, those who are twenty-three years old to thirty-eight years old, believe the Bible is the actual Word of God and should be taken literally, word for word.
That is not a strong spiritual pool from which to raise up the new generation of leaders in the Pentecostal movement.
The framework being built on this foundation is just as weak.
1. Tongues or No Tongues
Recent research has revealed one-third or less of those attending a Pentecost-Charismatic church speak in tongues.
Added to this spiritual weakness is the new trend that some of the founding movements within Pentecost have changed their stance regarding the initial evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
They are now teaching speaking in tongues maybe one of the manifestations of the baptism not necessarily the initial evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
2. Open Manifestation or Behind Closed Doors
According to a recent survey only fifty percent of Pentecostal/Charismatic churches have an open display of the manifestation gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Spiritual gifts such as prophetic words, tongue and interpretation, and healing and deliverance are not permitted in the Sunday morning worship celebration.
The expressed concern is for the un-churched or pre-churched attendees.
They would not understand and might become disturbed by such a display. It may cause the public to think we are a “holy roller” church.
Pastors find it difficult to regulate and to make certain such a display is done in proper order. If permitted at all, spiritual gifts are to be exercised in home groups, small Bible studies, or in private meetings.
3. Gender Dysphoria or Abomination to God
Leading proponents of the new psychiatric disorder gender dysphoria are having far reaching impact into Christian universities through the psych departments.
The impact is even being seen in the board meetings of leadership and pastor’s offices as pressure mounts for the church to embrace the medical model of human behavior.
Alcoholism, narcotic addiction, sexual addiction, depression, anger issues and others are commonly referred to as a sickness.
The church has slowly embraced dealing with such human behavior from the medical model and not from the Holy Scriptures that refer to them as sinful behavior that require repentance and cleansing by the blood of Jesus.
Now the pressure is coming for the church to embrace gender identity disorders (GID) or gender dysphoria as a medical issue.
The church is being asked to accept the possibility for someone to be a born again, spiritual baptized believer and be a boy in a girl’s body or a girl in a boy’s body.
After accepting GID we are asked to embrace same-sex relationships, transgender, and the LGBTQ+ agenda.
The church is under great pressure to embrace a world view of human sexuality from the new psychological perspective and social normative rather than a biblical perspective.
4. Infallible Scripture or Cultural Correctness
The psychological perspective and social normative of human sexuality are called an abomination by God in His Holy Word.
With less than half of the born again millennials embracing the Word of God as being infallible and should be taken literally, pressure is rising from within the church to embrace the social norm as well as from without.
The question arises will the new generation of Pentecostal pastors and leaders be influenced by cultural demands and political correctness or by the conviction of the infallible inerrancy of Holy Scripture?
At this point, what used to be the obvious is no longer so.
Too many Pentecostal leaders are softening their position on the initial evidence of Holy Spirit baptism; the public display of the gifts of the Spirit and same-sex relationships.
What is so amazing, almost mind boggling, is everywhere you look in church history and around the globe today, authentic revival has always been accompanied by the following characteristics.
- A great conviction the Bible is God’s holy and infallible Word that must be taken literally and obeyed;
- A great outpouring of the Holy Spirit accompanied by unusual signs and wonders; people falling in trances, sounds of wailing and crying, other manifestations;
- Usual order and liturgy were set aside for the deeper working of the Holy Spirit;
- Sinners, un-churched, pre-churched, were called to repentance openly and great conviction of sin followed;
- Holiness and sexual purity were understood to be the biblical standard of living for a true follower of Jesus Christ.
Revival and spiritual awakening always awakens the sleepy church and calls the sinful culture to repentance.
When the church remains sleepy conviction of sin is weakened and the culture proceeds deeper into sin and the level of acceptable immorality becomes more and more extreme.
That is the grave issue today.
Many will question why I would juxtapose accepting the infallible Word of God, speaking in tongues, and open manifestations of the gifts of the Spirit with the pressure to embrace gender dysphoria.
This is the reason.
A sleepy church has little power to bring conviction of sin and to call for purity and holy living. The church slowly embraces sinful behavior while the world runs full speed into deeper darkness.
John the Baptist promised, “He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Matthew 3:11b MEV).
The only hope for the world is an awakened church baptized in the Holy Spirit and fire.
We are in desperate need for a new Pentecostal outpouring, a Jesus People Movement, a Charismatic Renewal. Yet, the new awakening of God will be as different as each of those were from one another.
What will not be different, is the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit working and moving in the hearts and transforming lives of men and women.
It is truly a breakpoint moment for Pentecostal churches.
God grant a new outpouring of your Spirit on your church.