Whatever happened to the Baptism in the Holy Spirit? You don’t hear about it anymore. Churches don’t pray with people to receive it anymore. There’s a big reason why.
Preacher, if you stopped presenting the Baptism of the Holy Spirit to your people—Satan made you do it. If there is no room in your service for people to receive this urgent gift—the enemy seized control of your agenda. If your people don’t even know what it is—you will answer to God.
No matter how noble, persuasive, or convincing the argument, the decision to exclude the Baptism of the Holy Spirit from the life of the church, is a decision conceived in hell.
Omitting this Baptism was a masterstroke of Lucifer.
He knew this was the most destructive deception possible. It created lukewarm Christians. It single handedly wiped out a huge amount of our soul winning. And, it opened the door to untold heresy.
Today we are swimming in more false teaching, false prophecy and false Christianity than ever before. All across the internet ministries dabble in new age hybrids of Christian faith, exotic extremes, drunkenness and even perversion. Turns out, the church is the other swamp that needs draining.
Noted Christian Apologist Ravi Zacharias said, “I had dinner with the most popular preacher on television. He told me that he did not see much difference between Islam and Christianity.”
How can we hang the blame for such foolishness on neglecting the Baptism of the Holy Spirit? Let’s examine the evidence.
Jesus said, “John 16:13 “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”
Jesus calls Him the Spirit of truth. He imparts hunger for truth. It is futile to layer truth on the unwilling soul. False teaching abounds from the lack of hunger the Holy Spirit awakens. Let’s go back to the root:
Don’t make a move without it!
Acts 1: 4 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; 5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
The church has no witness without it. Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
The Apostles considered it an extreme urgency for all who believed to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
–Acts 8: 14 “Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, 15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.”
-Acts 19: 1 “And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples 2 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.”
5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.”
We have two extremes in the church: Those who believe in nothing and those who believe in everything.
Or to put it another way: We have those know nothing of what the Bible says and those who believe anything, anyone says about the Bible. Both are products of a lack of discernment and power. It is only after you experience the real presence and power of God that you know what is fake.
Look at the discipleship result of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost:
Acts 2: 41 “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.”
One big reason that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is not preached today is because it is the natural enemy of church marketing.
When God falls, church culture instantly changes. Human promotion becomes obsolete. An audience morphs into an army. An insatiable hunger for the Word of God replaces sales pitches.
The preacher who withholds the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is guilty of treason—of withholding a priceless gift bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus—of holding back an edge of power that would keep the believer strong, alert, and able to win others. It endows them with a prayer language that pierces all adversity. How dare we hold this back!
The Pentecostal revival is the greatest Christian revival in history. Beginning in the humble Azusa Street Mission, it has blazed for on for over 100 years, with over 650 million converts. Only one thing explains it: The Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
From Sesame Street to Azusa Street
By Mario Murillo
If the modern celebrity preachers of today were the captain of the Titanic they would have told the passengers, “We didn’t hit an iceberg, we stopped to get ice.” It takes skill to stand on a sinking ship and convince people it is a pleasure cruise. Some of these deceitful voices claim to be spirit-filled.
I want to drag you from Sesame Street back to Azusa Street. Playtime and nap time are over. I am going to use this blog to rebuke extremes in the Spirit-filled movement. My special wrath is reserved for the Spirit-filled community. Pentecostal, Charismatic, Spirit-filled, call it what you will. I am directing this to all who trace their roots to the Azusa Street Revival but run their church and take their orders from spiritual gurus who oppose the Holy Spirit.
If you are spirit-filled and you nurse hidden sympathies that there is same sex marriage, limited inspiration of the scripture and no hell, I have news for you. You are not an enlightened renaissance man. You are the plain, garden-variety hypocrite. It’s time to be honest. Renounce your roots or return to them. Quit the charade.
I am being blunt because you are helping keep a false narrative alive and at the same time you are hindering true revival by opposing it. 2 Timothy 4:2-4 says, “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”
Why are you emulating these false voices who preach that, “Everything is peachy because God is so into you, so enjoy the happy times?”
But what happy times are they talking about? If you are among those who want Christianity removed from America, then the last 7 years have indeed been amazing. An impressive string of uninterrupted legal victories for atheists and radical Muslims in the United States has dechristianized marriage, prayer, free speech and all of culture in general. Korans are in where Bibles are out. Christian prayer is out in virtually every sporting and civic event.
For the first time, major companies fire leaders simply for being Christian. Mozilla fired one of their founders, the Golden State Warriors fired a winning coach, and the city of Atlanta fired its fire chief. Professors routinely threaten and even flunk students for Christian values. And now the gay lobby is striving to make it illegal to believe that homosexual behavior is sin.
Never in the history of America has church attendance fallen so fast and persecution against believers risen so high. Never have more pastors been giddier over non-results. I am sorry to say this but you are in denial if you look at your packed out church and spike the ball while America and the world drown in a sea of Islamic terrorism, atheism, drug addiction, hunger and debauchery.
Yes, some churches are packed out; but like the Titanic, the crowded rooms are a misleading picture. The boat tilted and people slid into certain ballrooms. What you don’t see is the floating debris and the masses that fell into the icy sea. The facts do not lie; mega churches have not had any meaningful effect on America’s steep decline.
We have so many wrong ideas about millennials and we have so much ignorance about Azusa Street!
We hear preachers say “millennials” are too skeptical and cannot handle Bible doctrine. That is so wrong. Did you know that Darwin and Karl Marx were more popular at the time of the Azusa Street Revival than he is today? In fact, fundamentalism was organized at that time to stem the tide of atheism, Marxism, and a worldwide rejection of the Bible.
God’s remedy for the dark, disbelieving early 20th Century was to pour out His Spirit. And that is the answer for today!
Millennials want to deal with racism and social injustice and Pentecostalism is too conservative. False again! Azusa Street started the conversation on race long before Eric Holder’s pathetic attempts. Masses of white believers came to the mission and repented over their racial prejudice.
Another false notion: True Pentecostalism is too legalistic for today. The accusation of legalism at Azusa Street is a canard! The good people of the mission may not have danced or worn make up but it had way more to do with a glorious distraction than guilt. They simply lost interest in vanity and distractions. By no means did the Holy Ghost make them judgmental. That came from the next generation who kept the forms but did not experience the fire.
Organic Pentecostalism had great impact on the culture by sweeping millions into a Christian faith that had power, proclaimed victory over habits and trusted the goodness of God to meet every need. To say that this would not work today is to show ignorance of both millennials and history.
Here is the most painful question: Have you looked in the mirror and asked yourself how much suffering you are allowing in recovering drug addicts and those fighting sexual sin by not telling them about the Baptism in the Holy Spirit?
If you repent and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit right now you will indeed lose people, but you will gain an army. You will lead a congregation rooted in power. You will not live in the tyranny of the latest church growth gimmick.
What America needs right now is lions in the pulpit, men and women of conviction, full of the Holy Ghost who will, no matter what, obey and declare the full counsel of God.
A Christian Convention for these dark times
By Mario Murillo
The odds are that this year you will attend a seminar, a conference or a convention. The question is why are you going? Is it to receive power, guidance, vital information, or to fellowship with friends and people of like mind?
The times we are living in demand something much deeper. We are facing a threat to our freedoms, our loved ones, our ministries and our souls like never before. We are at a spiritual point of no return.
You do not have time to sit in sessions that do not deal with your actual life. You seek a new level in God. You want something that lasts, something that addresses this dark time.
Recently, someone asked me why the early Pentecostal movement spread so fast. I found that question to be profound and insightful. The asker was assuming that its growth had slowed down. And he is correct. For example, under Reinhardt Bonke, Nigeria became Pentecostal but today it is drowning in radical Islam.
I fear that one reason for this reversal is that the lukewarm mutation created by American Christians spread to the rest of the world.
Spirit-filled Christianity here at home, even as recently as the 1990’s, was focused on winning souls and living pure lives. Since then, sadly, North American Christians have come to fulfill 2 Timothy 3:5 “having a form of godliness but denying its power.”
Spirit-filled preachers leave out vital doctrines from their sermons and caved in on moral issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion. The occasional mega church does not change the fact that we are losing the battle to our culture and that is the only thing that matters.
Others leaders go to the opposite extreme delving into exotic emotional binges.
Many lament the fact that our movement has polarized into both the frozen and the freaky. We now have to choose between churches with either no fire or strange fire.
The answer to our early movement spread because it was real. The fire of God was real. The miracles were real. By trying to “improve the Gospel” we made it unreal. By taking self out of the Gospel preachers can again have great power.
Back to my original point: The odds are that this year you will attend a seminar, a conference or a convention. The question is why are you going?
I am asking you to join me in the mountains receive fresh fire, clear direction and LIVING PROOF
Please make your plans now to be at the Living Proof World Convention. We are gathering in Reno in the Boomtown Hotel and Casino. This site was carefully chosen because it is a much more peaceful setting than the downtown strip plus there is plenty of easy free parking.
The convention is free but you must register to attend the Living Proof World Convention,
Plus, we can get you hotel rooms for amazing prices. For a regular room the convention price is…get this $25 a night. In their new North Tower a larger room is only $40! Let us give you the special code to reserve these amazing rates.
Click here to be a part of this historic event : http://mariomurillo.net/contact-us/
Pentecostal Denominations Uniting After Nearly 100 Years of Division
After nearly 100 years of separation caused by a single decision in 1917, the Assemblies of God (AG) and the United Pentecostal Council of the Assemblies of God (UPCAG) are uniting for the cause of Christ.
“We have been on a four-year journey with the United Pentecostal Council of the Assemblies of God, which was birthed in 1919 because of racism in the Assemblies of God,” says Dr. George O. Wood, the general superintendent of the AG. “Now the Lord has brought us together again in a more formal partnership to hold high the name of Jesus and advance His mission in the power of the Spirit.”
The AG organized in 1914, and three years later, Alexander Howard, an African-American Pentecostal believer from Chicago, approached the AG and asked to be sent as a missionary to Liberia.
AG leaders at the time refused to appoint Howard—on account of his race.
Ultimately, Howard connected with a group of African-American churches in New England. This group organized in 1919 and in 1920 became the UPCAG partly to fulfill Howard’s purpose of going to Liberia as a missionary.
The AG and UPCAG remained separate organizations for nearly a century. Four years ago, Rev. Thomas Barclay, the international presiding elder for the UPCAG, was stirred to connect the two fellowships and mend the divide.
Under the banner of 1 Corinthians 1:10, which says, “I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought,” Barclay reached out to Wood, and they soon began an eager discussion on how to repair the relationship.
Barclay’s declaration began an important process of reconciliation. In recent decades the AG has sought to build bridges across ethnic, linguistic and cultural divides. More than 40 percent of the current AG membership in the United States is made up of ethnic minorities. To connect now with the UPCAG is both a natural and redemptive shift, one Wood calls “a vital forward step.”
Last year, UPCAG delegates and the AG executive presbytery approved plans for the cooperative affiliation. Under this agreement, any UPCAG church that so desires will be welcomed into local AG districts, as well as all national AG programs and missions while maintaining their own credentialing practices and autonomy.
It seems fitting that this historic reconciliation would culminate during Black History Month, when the UPCAG leadership joined the AG national team for a celebratory chapel service on Feb. 11.
“God has put us together, and there is something about to happen,” Barclay shared in his chapel sermon at the AG’s National Leadership and Resource Center in Springfield, Mo. “No longer will we be separated from you. We came to lock arms with you.”
Society for Pentecostal Studies President Paul Alexander of Palmer Seminary. (Photo: Evangelicals for Social Action).
By Jeff Walton
(Note: this is the first in a series of articles covering the 2013 meeting of the Society for Pentecostal Studies that met March 21-23 at Seattle Pacific University).
The largest and most prominent academic society within the Pentecostal tradition should be open to the promotion of homosexual, transgender and intersex “realities” as faithful representations of Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity, according to an address given by the society president.
Society for Pentecostal Studies President Paul Alexander’s address was suffused with liberation theology themes in which he denounced “white racing,” “male sexing” and urged gathered Pentecostal academics to accept “LGBTQI realities” in their churches and seminaries. Alexander also outlined his vision for an essentially interreligious society open to non-Christian members and leaders and unbound to any historic “capital-P” Pentecostalism.
Central to Alexander’s address was a liberation theology reading of the Exodus that portrayed both oppressive Biblical Egypt and later freed Israelites inhabiting the Promised Land as “the construct of Whiteness.” The Palmer Seminary professor described whiteness as a “super-ordination that subordinates the other.”
Alexander, who is a licensed Assemblies of God minister, cited inspiration by mujerista (feminist Latina) theologians, among others. He declared “we’ve been raced by a system” and argued that a “collective confession and repentance” was needed to redress “systemic and ingrained violence that has been such a consistent part of the American experience.”
Alexander argued for deconstruction of norms within Pentecostalism: “All manifestations of lighter skin privilege and silent conflations of whiteness with superiority and the norm must be openly challenged and dismantled.” Alexander applied this liberationist hermeneutic to various issues, claiming manifestations of “whiteness” within Pentecostalism included male privilege, acceptance of violence in war, and boundaries regarding doctrine and sexual ethics.
In his address to the society, Alexander noted that some Christians who are “gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and intersex” are also Pentecostals and Charismatics, urging that the society should openly discuss “our diversity of perspectives” without “fear of reprisal.”
“Some of these LGBTIQ — and whatever other letters come along – Pentecostals attend Pentecostal universities and seminaries and worship in Pentecostal churches,” Alexander stated. “Some Pentecostal churches believe that homosexuality is a sin and oppose civil and human rights for LGBTIQ people. And some do not. Some members of SPS think homosexuality is a sin and some members of SPS think homosexuality is not a sin and want to work against heteronormativity and heterosexism.”
The SPS president left little doubt that he was among those in the latter category, detouring into a scolding about how an SPS member who presented a controversial paper on sexuality at the 2012 annual meeting experienced difficulties with her denominational officials after her presentation was brought to their attention.
Charging that SPS was not “a place where anyone uses fear to limit discourse or argument” Alexander revealed that the incident inspired the SPS executive committee to consider adopting a civility statement and alleged that informing the leadership of the Fellowship of Christian Assemblies of Canada of the academic work of feminist theologian Pamela Holmes constituted bullying. As the SPS president argued society scholars should be welcome to research and write about sexuality “in whatever ways they prefer” a “no bullying” advertisement was flashed on the screen behind him. [IRD’s Julia Polese reported on Holmes’ presentation from 2012 that can be viewed here.]
Alexander asserted that “pentecostalisms” and SPS members had a diversity of hermeneutical methods and understandings of scripture and tradition.
“We do not even agree on the Trinity or the lack thereof,” the SPS president noted, in a nod to Oneness Pentecostals who have been invited to join the society. “I am hopeful that we can thrive as a society even as we argue civility and charitably about Biblical, theological, ethical, historical, philosophical, practical, ecumenical, missional and cultural perspectives regarding LGBTQI realities both within and beyond the pentecostalisms we experience and study. SPS should continue to be an open space for the presentation of research and argumentation regarding the many issues of sexualities, of faithings, of genderings and of racings.”
Way Down in Egypt Land
Quoting theologian George E. “Tink” Tinker of United Methodist Iliff School of Theology that “white American Christians need a liberation theology of their own to free them from the denial of their own past,” Alexander proceeded to offer his liberation reading of the Exodus.
Alexander identified Pharaoh and his son as the “sexed-as-male raced-as-white coercive voice and structures of whiteness.” Arguing that Pharaoh’s “whiteness” was irredeemable, Alexander charged it is a construct “that must be exited completely so that it can deconstruct into nothingness.”
“All white male constructs must die,” Alexander flatly stated, adding with a smile “and I’m a pacifist saying this, that’s crazy!”
Describing the son of Pharaoh as “the white Jesus” and “the only begotten son of empire,” Alexander interpreted that “the white Jesus must die if humanity is to be delivered from oppression and live in the Promised Land.” In the plague that killed Egypt’s firstborn sons, Alexander explained that “the construct of a white Jesus will die at the hand of God.”
The Assemblies of God minister then transferred the designation of “whiteness” to the “resurrected white male in the conquest of Canaan.”
“In the Exodus, God kills the son of whiteness and the white male drowns in the sea,” Alexander read. “In the subsequent conquest of Canaan led by the first Yeshua [Joshua], God kills the indigenous on behalf of this resurrected yet unnamed whiteness operating through Joshua. Just when it seems possible that whiteness has been exited, the coercive voice and structures are at it again. Exiting it and entering the Promised Land with the conquering Yeshua and the conquering God still does not yield the world beyond whiteness that humanity needs. Theories, methodologies and theologies raced by whiteness while in Egypt enter into a pseudo-promised land where the Canaanites are utterly destroyed because they are raced non-white.”
Declaring “we have to find another Yeshua” Alexander proposed looking to a “Cannanite Jewish Yeshua hermeneutic” that embraced faith in “Joshua the Christ” rather than “Joshua the conqueror.”
“I propose an intertextual reading of Yeshua the conqueror in which a Canaanite, Jewish Yeshua of the first century critiques the conquest of his namesake: a post-white liberation exodus from whiteness that imagines a world where liberation does not lead to conquest. Yeshua contra Yeshua, with the second Yeshua following the lead of the Hebrew midwives in disobeying God’s commands to the former Yeshua which was ‘you must utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no mercy to them.’”
Alexander offered an unorthodox interpretation Christ’s interaction with the Canaanite woman in Matthew Chapter 15 who seeks healing for her demon possessed daughter, charging that she did not come to worship Jesus, but to challenge him.
“The Canaanite woman’s reframing of the dog-bread metaphor elicited the transformation in Jesus that he needed to escape the confines of whiteness,” Alexander asserted. “He suffered the humiliation of the Canaanite woman and learned deeper obedience to God’s will.”
The SPS president seemed to deny Christ’s sinless nature, proposing that “in recognizing her humility and challenge, Jesus exited whiteness.”
“The story says that her daughter was healed that very hour,” Alexander noted. “Jesus was also healed from that hour.”
Mario’s note: A person who identified themself only as apcroft33 wrote this:
“This Pentecostal pastor is doing a 1970s retro, which unfortunately is true for a number of “evangelicals” also. Does he realize that his humanistic interpretation of Exodus is not exactly new, it was the big thing in liberal seminaries in the 1970s, the sugarcoated Marxism called Liberation Theology, which is by no means dead in the mainline denominations, it just metamorphed into feminism, gay activism, all the other trendy isms. Not only is this Alexander guy totally wrong in his biblical interpretation, he’s making a fool of himself, like showing up in bell-bottom jeans and hoping he looks really “groovy.” It is sorta sad but sorta funny too, watching conservative Christians suddenly “discover” these theological fads that were already stale 20 years ago. When a Pentecostal starts quoting a professor at ultra-lefty Iliff School of Theology, red flags ought to be popping up everywhere.I know lots of Pentecostals, and they’re more grounded in theology than this character. I hope his career as a loose cannon is brief.”
Please look at the ad from the Catholic Church before you read my blog.
Here is my question to all of the Christian leaders who have remained silent and have criticized preachers like me for speaking out. How will you sleep at night?
One of the most common criticisms that I have received it that, “You have gone political.” I can understand the criticism and under normal circumstances I would agree. However, these are not normal circumstances.
What is the dynamic about Obama that made me begin to speak out? He declared war on the church. He became the champion for Socialism, Gay Marriage, Islam, and Radical Abortion (babies that are born alive after an attempted abortion should be killed by the attendant physician).
How can Islam and Gay Marriage mix? In Moslem countries they execute Gays. The answer is that Obama recognized he could not be reelected on his record. His presidency has been dismal. He knew that he would have to create the strangest coalition in American History to win. He had to create it without revealing just how contradictory this coalition is to his victims.
The only thing consistent about Obama is the fact that he knew he had to make war on the Church. He assumed that black pastors had nowhere else to go so he risked losing them by embracing gay marriage. He felt that Moslems would follow him anyway and that Gays would not mind his Muslim sympathies.
The question is not why has Mario gone political but why have so many of you Christian leaders refused to speak out against Obama? The answer is most surprising. They criticize me for getting political when it is their silence that is political. It is the worst kind of politics, church politics. Some of you just want to hold on to your people, your career and your popularity. If we lose this great nation, what good will all of those perks be?
So my final plea to Denominational Leaders, my brothers and sisters in ministry, Christian Television Networks on this final Sunday before the election is…How will you sleep if Obama wins because you, unlike the Catholics refused to create powerful ads or rally your people to vote against what is without question the most dangerous tyrant to inhabit the White House? How will you sleep at night?