“This is what the LORD says: “Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls. But you reply, ‘No, that’s not the road we want!‘” (Jeremiah 6:16)
Pentecostalism in America is suffering an identity crisis, it simply doesn’t know who she is anymore. Nor does she grasp what hour she is in, nor the broad road she is taking. Since the days of William Seymour and Charles Parham (the father of modern Pentecostalism) the movement has taken a drastic turn – for the worse. Growing up as a traditional Pentecostal believer, I remember the days of holiness preaching. I remember full well the all night prayer meetings, where holiness was embraced and not looked down upon. In the days of early Pentecostalism, I can remember as a young boy in the early 70’s, where preachers preached hell hot and heaven wonderful. But something has happened within this mighty movement which sparked several of the largest Denominations across the United States, which spread out across the globe.
From the time period of the older generation, things have been steadily getting worse it seems as standards and its ideology has changed from the foundation of the word, to a more current sentiment found in many textbooks relating to self help, psychology and higher education. Pentecostalism as I knew it has a problem and its problem is it has moved away from the source of its strength (the cross) to something else (human effort).
Today much of what is being passed off as “Pentecostalism” is nothing more than a cheap imitation. Where pastors have stopped preaching the foundation of the gospel (the cross) and instead, preaching the current best seller on the New York Times list. Instead of a call to prayer, or all night prayer meeting, we now have movie night. Instead of revival meetings, we now have “Superbowl Sunday”. Instead of gospel singing, we have allowed rock and rollers onto the stages of many Pentecostal churches, where even secular songs are known to be played before the beginning of service.
Modern Pentecostalism has a problem, as many within the movement are complacent in their duties to expose false doctrines which are running rampant in its midst. From false signs and wonders, gold dust, angel feathers, diamonds falling from the sky, Pentecostalism has been hijacked by a spirit of deception, and if we do not root out this deception soon, what we call “traditional Pentecostalism” will be nothing but a memory.
God has established one way and that way is through the cross. Not 200 ways – one way. The problem within many today is that we have allowed liberal theologians to breach the walls of this great movement God has used to bring about his glory across the world. Yet when pulpits fail to preach against sin, or allow another type of gospel message to creep into its midst, the ultimate result is many end up being deceived. We see that currently within many of the so called “revivals” which have sprouted up within the past 25 years. The so called “Toronto” revivals which birthed the IHOP gathering from the likes of Bob Jones and C. Peter Wagner. To the false revival in Lakeland Florida which produced Todd Bentley and the false signs and wonders.
These are yet another example of how far this movement has suffered due to the irresponsibility of leadership within many of its Denominations and Organizations which followed out of Azusa street in 1906. One of which is the Assembly of God, which sadly has given way to a rejection of the cross, and instead, a focus on the prosperity gospel preached by many of its more popular acclaimed preachers and prophets. Even in recent days as of this writing, the A/G is changing its ideas concerning alcohol, where it was once considered “sin” is now being considered as permissible.
Yet, Pentecostalism is finding itself being attacked by its own through the likes of Kenneth Copeland, who has shocked many within the Pentecostal/Charismatic branch by beginning to bridge the gap between Pentecostal and Roman Catholics. Copeland made national news recently by going to Rome, his purpose? To work with Pope Francis on ways to bring about a new level of relationship between the Vatican and Pentecostals and Charismatics. Copeland is selling out his own for his 30 pieces of silver!
I could go on and on, but the reality is, things are drastically changing in the Pentecostal movement and if the current slate of events these past 5 years are of any indication, then it tells me that it’s only going to get worse – much worse. I believe that within the next 10 years, many churches and even Pentecostal Denominations will come to the point where same sex marriage will not only be tolerated, but in many cases – embraced. Strange times we are living in these last days, but it’s a reminder of the warning of the apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 4:3-5 that many within the church will begin to embrace false teachings, another gospel, another message. We see that now within so many Pentecostal churches with the acceptance of the Hebrew roots movement, the gospel of works, the secularization of the gospel to become more inclusive and more tolerant of others, even of different faith. Modern Pentecostals are falling deeper into a state of one which will bring about something else entirely – a gospel of antichrist.
The only remedy for what is taking place in the Pentecostal movement is a complete rejection of the current deception which is being taught on TBN and Daystar. The gospel of Bethel church and Bill Johnson. The rejection of Todd Bentley and Rick Joyner, and a complete rebuttal to IHOP and those within that camp. We must reject the teachings which take men away from the central theme of the gospel (the cross) and embrace Jesus Christ and him crucified. As Paul said in Galatians 1:8, “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.”
If modern Pentecostalism is to succeed in the coming decades, (should Christ tarry – which I believe he will), then we must stand opposed to any and all that is presented that takes man’s solution to sin and his moral decline away from the cross, and reject it. There is only one answer to the problems within the church – the cross. Unless these Denominations repent and come back to Christ and submit to the power of the cross, we will begin to see the breaking up of these Denominations and a remnant of believers, full of the power of God and his spirit, as well as his gifts, begin to undertake the work others have failed to do. If this must come to pass, then tear down the wall of the Assembly of God, the Church of God (Cleveland Tn) and Foursquare, and raise up the remnant who will boldly go and boldly proclaim the truth, risking all for the glory of God.
Change is the only salvation some can ever understand, and this change would be better than to watch it die – and God will not allow what he built and the upper room to fail, no matter what he has to do, it’s better to end that which pride has corrupted than to stay and die in the process. It’s time for a change.