THE WILLIAM BRANHAM MOMENT

The William Branham Moment

The William Branham Moment

By Mario Murillo

 

William Branham shocked the world by ripping the thin veil between science and the supernatural.  His ministry did not just bless…in many instances, it terrified.

In Los Angeles, a man with cancer stood in the healing line for hours.  While waiting, he witnessed every kind of healing imaginable.  However, when it was his turn for prayer the evangelist refused.  Indignant, the man demanded to know why.   Branham said, “You don’t want me to tell you.”  The man was now furious and refused to leave without an answer.   “You are sleeping with your secretary,” said the evangelist.  With that, the man dropped his head and rushed out of the meeting.

William Branham was an answer to desperate prayer and an act of love by God the Father.   The Pentecostal movement was dying because of infighting and immorality.

Divine healing had fallen into disrepute.  Meetings were often fraught with emotionalism.  Charlatans whipped audiences into frenzies.  Most healing testimonies were sketchy at best.

Things were also bad outside the church.  America was in the grip of fear of nuclear war.  Psychiatry was replacing faith.  A whole generation was racing away from God.   Preachers were at a loss about what to do about it.

Bran 1

Today, the Spirit-filled movement finds itself in the same predicament.  Once again, we are mired by division and emotionalism.   Only this time it is much, much worse…I’ll tell you more about that later.

1946: Enter William Branham.  The atmosphere is low key.  There is no attempt to manipulate the people.  Branham tells the audience when the angel of the Lord is present—a statement that should sound preposterous, except that astounding things start happening.

Oral Roberts once told me, “There were no hard cases for Branham while he was enveloped by the anointing.”  Growths vanished, lifeless limbs awakened, blind eyes opened.

American historian, David Edwin Harrell Jr. described Branham as:

An unlikely leader….his preaching was halting and simple beyond belief. But William Branham became a prophet to a generation. A small, meek, middle-aged man with piercing eyes, he held audiences spellbound with tales of constant communication with God and angels. Night after night, before thousands of awed believers he discerned the diseases of the sick and pronounced them healed.

Like few men have ever been endowed with the raw supernatural power of William Branham.  There, for the entire world to see–for medical science to test, were signs and wonders that were incontrovertible.

Bran 4 copy

Branham’s innocence and simplicity would have been his demise had it not been for Gordon Lindsay.  Harrell said of Gordon Lindsay, “. . . more than any other man, [he] brought system and unity . . . contributing an orderly mind, keen business sense, boundless energy, badly needed literary skills and an ecumenical spirit.”

Together, Branham and Lindsay were used of God to birth an era.   A young Oral Roberts went to Kansas City to hear Branham.  The experience led him to resign his church in Enid, Oklahoma and obey God’s mandate to “take my healing power to your generation.”

In Portland, Oregon, T.L. Osborn sat transfixed by the word of the Lord from Branham.  This simple sentence from the lips of Branham launched Osborn: “God the Father heals the sick to prove that He raised His Son Jesus from the dead.

Just being used by God to launch Roberts and Osborn made him a vessel that touched millions.   But more than that…signs and wonders became a standard part of Spirit-filled soul-winning.

Now we have come to this terrible moment for the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement in America.  Compromise has hit us from the most unlikely sources.   A pandemic moral/political cowardice paralyzes our pulpits.  The wholesale removal of freedom of speech and freedom of religion has met only token resistance from “Spirit-filled” pastors.

Today we have widespread reports of “revivals” that are hugely disappointing.  In our heart of hearts we know they are total hype.  Healings are claimed but not confirmed.

We have witnessed the rise of an entire “revival” industry that hawks imaginary authority. People are reveling in spiritual fantasy worlds, blending astral projection and UFOs with Christianity.

Travelling ministries today sell high-pitch ecstasies that promise towering results over the enemy, but deliver zero impact on the culture.

branham-and-roberts copy

I have my suspicions.  I wonder if the voices that scream revival the loudest are simply trying to drown out their own unbelief, or if the abuse of GRACE –that has pastors drinking hard liquor after church–is merely defeatism that says, “What’s the use in trying?”

The times are dark, so dark in fact, that they carry a strange hope.  Maybe we are finally, finally willing to shed the stubborn sins that have imprisoned us in religious irrelevancy and deception.

Perhaps we are witnessing the creation of a positive vacuum in Pentecostals and in society.  This is our best chance to save America.  This vacuum is making Charismatic/Pentecostals replace things. These replacements are the key to power.

A real hunger for truth is replacing political correctness.   Donald Trump is a symptom of widespread anger with political correctness.   We are a fed up culture now.  People agree with Trump about America and that is why all of the criticism the media is throwing at him does not stick.

Many believers are angry with politically correct preaching.  The cry now is, “Quit feeding us junk food!”  We want experience power, not a feel good message.  Look around you… the hunger for truth is rising.

A true desperation is replacing our attitude of entitlement.  Americans know that they are losing their future to our government.  They no longer harbor the fantasy that tells us we’re going to pull out of this just because we are America.

Bran 3

Many Christians realize that they have never known true desperation until now.  They don’t want church to make them feel good anymore, they want church to put them right and make them strong.  They want something real so badly that they will take it straight—not sugar-coated or diluted.

A true spirit of prayer is replacing artificial prayer.   Believers are waking up to the fact that they prayed wrong.  They had agendas in prayer.  Pastors prayed as if prayer was a booster rocket for their pet program.   Prayer is returning to the raw, unconditional surrender that it was supposed to be all along.

The real message here is not the arrival of a man but of an era of explosive miracles.  That is what I am sensing and expecting.   What we have been waiting for will come in an unexpected package—Branham did!

Maybe we have finally reached total desperation.   Maybe now we will trade the unreliable for the undeniable.   Let it be, Oh, God.

The William Branham Moment

The William Branham Moment

The William Branham Moment

By Mario Murillo

 

William Branham shocked the world by ripping the thin veil between science and the supernatural.  His ministry did not just bless…in many instances, it terrified.

In Los Angeles, a man with cancer stood in the healing line for hours.  While waiting, he witnessed every kind of healing imaginable.  However, when it was his turn for prayer the evangelist refused.  Indignant, the man demanded to know why.   Branham said, “You don’t want me to tell you.”  The man was now furious and refused to leave without an answer.   “You are sleeping with your secretary,” said the evangelist.  With that, the man dropped his head and rushed out of the meeting.

William Branham was an answer to desperate prayer and an act of love by God the Father.   The Pentecostal movement was dying because of infighting and immorality.

Divine healing had fallen into disrepute.  Meetings were often fraught with emotionalism.  Charlatans whipped audiences into frenzies.  Most healing testimonies were sketchy at best.

Things were also bad outside the church.  America was in the grip of fear of nuclear war.  Psychiatry was replacing faith.  A whole generation was racing away from God.   Preachers were at a loss about what to do about it.

Bran 1

Today, the Spirit-filled movement finds itself in the same predicament.  Once again, we are mired by division and emotionalism.   Only this time it is much, much worse…I’ll tell you more about that later.

1946: Enter William Branham.  The atmosphere is low key.  There is no attempt to manipulate the people.  Branham tells the audience when the angel of the Lord is present—a statement that should sound preposterous, except that astounding things start happening.

Oral Roberts once told me, “There were no hard cases for Branham while he was enveloped by the anointing.”  Growths vanished, lifeless limbs awakened, blind eyes opened.

American historian, David Edwin Harrell Jr. described Branham as:

An unlikely leader….his preaching was halting and simple beyond belief. But William Branham became a prophet to a generation. A small, meek, middle-aged man with piercing eyes, he held audiences spellbound with tales of constant communication with God and angels. Night after night, before thousands of awed believers he discerned the diseases of the sick and pronounced them healed.

Like few men have ever been endowed with the raw supernatural power of William Branham.  There, for the entire world to see–for medical science to test, were signs and wonders that were incontrovertible.

Bran 4 copy

Branham’s innocence and simplicity would have been his demise had it not been for Gordon Lindsay.  Harrell said of Gordon Lindsay, “. . . more than any other man, [he] brought system and unity . . . contributing an orderly mind, keen business sense, boundless energy, badly needed literary skills and an ecumenical spirit.”

Together, Branham and Lindsay were used of God to birth an era.   A young Oral Roberts went to Kansas City to hear Branham.  The experience led him to resign his church in Enid, Oklahoma and obey God’s mandate to “take my healing power to your generation.”

In Portland, Oregon, T.L. Osborn sat transfixed by the word of the Lord from Branham.  This simple sentence from the lips of Branham launched Osborn: “God the Father heals the sick to prove that He raised His Son Jesus from the dead.

Just being used by God to launch Roberts and Osborn made him a vessel that touched millions.   But more than that…signs and wonders became a standard part of Spirit-filled soul-winning.

Now we have come to this terrible moment for the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement in America.  Compromise has hit us from the most unlikely sources.   A pandemic moral/political cowardice paralyzes our pulpits.  The wholesale removal of freedom of speech and freedom of religion has met only token resistance from “Spirit-filled” pastors.

Today we have widespread reports of “revivals” that are hugely disappointing.  In our heart of hearts we know they are total hype.  Healings are claimed but not confirmed.

We have witnessed the rise of an entire “revival” industry that hawks imaginary authority. People are reveling in spiritual fantasy worlds, blending astral projection and UFOs with Christianity.

Travelling ministries today sell high-pitch ecstasies that promise towering results over the enemy, but deliver zero impact on the culture.

branham-and-roberts copy

I have my suspicions.  I wonder if the voices that scream revival the loudest are simply trying to drown out their own unbelief, or if the abuse of GRACE –that has pastors drinking hard liquor after church–is merely defeatism that says, “What’s the use in trying?”

The times are dark, so dark in fact, that they carry a strange hope.  Maybe we are finally, finally willing to shed the stubborn sins that have imprisoned us in religious irrelevancy and deception.

Perhaps we are witnessing the creation of a positive vacuum in Pentecostals and in society.  This is our best chance to save America.  This vacuum is making Charismatic/Pentecostals replace things. These replacements are the key to power.

A real hunger for truth is replacing political correctness.   Donald Trump is a symptom of widespread anger with political correctness.   We are a fed up culture now.  People agree with Trump about America and that is why all of the criticism the media is throwing at him does not stick.

Many believers are angry with politically correct preaching.  The cry now is, “Quit feeding us junk food!”  We want experience power, not a feel good message.  Look around you… the hunger for truth is rising.

A true desperation is replacing our attitude of entitlement.  Americans know that they are losing their future to our government.  They no longer harbor the fantasy that tells us we’re going to pull out of this just because we are America.

Bran 3

Many Christians realize that they have never known true desperation until now.  They don’t want church to make them feel good anymore, they want church to put them right and make them strong.  They want something real so badly that they will take it straight—not sugar-coated or diluted.

A true spirit of prayer is replacing artificial prayer.   Believers are waking up to the fact that they prayed wrong.  They had agendas in prayer.  Pastors prayed as if prayer was a booster rocket for their pet program.   Prayer is returning to the raw, unconditional surrender that it was supposed to be all along.

The real message here is not the arrival of a man but of an era of explosive miracles.  That is what I am sensing and expecting.   What we have been waiting for will come in an unexpected package—Branham did!

Maybe we have finally reached total desperation.   Maybe now we will trade the unreliable for the undeniable.   Let it be, Oh, God.

Why American Preachers will not unify against the anti-God White House.

 Why copy

Why American Preachers will not unify against the anti-God White House.

By Mario Murillo

You deserve to know why.  There are 500,000 ministers in America.  If they would unify and stand for Bible values, it would end the insanity of the White House overnight.  Why won’t they unify?

Make no mistake.  I am not anti-church and I am especially not anti-pastor.  I am loyal to my fellow preachers.  I am committed to the local church.

But I am also against the lie that says ministers should mind their own business while America is ringing down the drain.

This post has one passion.  It is to provoke someone far more influential than I.  Whoever that person is needs to stand now and use every last drop of their influence.  They must unify the ministers of America into one mighty voice.  It is time for a non-violent revolution; a firewall against the onslaught of evil…it is the only way this nation will be spared.

Half a million ministers should be able to do something!  Sadly, Satan has done a number on a great many of them.  In fact, this is by far the most widespread dereliction of duty by any generation of American preachers.  The enemy has neutralized pastors.  He has paralyzed some of them with fear.  He has deceived a host of them with false doctrine and false guidance.  He has seduced many of them with compromise.

I praise the faithful preacher, but I herewith indict the compromised preacher.  As I said, you who are in the pews deserve to know why your minister refuses to speak out.  Here are the reasons listed in order of importance.

  1. Fear of losing non-profit status. In the 1950’s, Lyndon Johnson caused the church to make a deal with the devil. The deal is known as the 501C3 designation.  Frustrated by pastors who were telling their people not to vote for him, Johnson introduced legislation that silenced the church.  In exchange for IRS status, churches agreed not to endorse political candidates.  The church did not need this designation because they were already tax exempt in the Constitution.  This fear is utterly unfounded because no pastor’s free speech can be overruled by the IRS.

It makes no sense to say you fear losing your status.  Unless we begin speaking out, an America is coming where it is illegal for your church to meet.  What good will your nonprofit status do you when you are an underground church?

  1. Lifestyle: 50% of all preachers who were polled said that if there was another way for them to make money they would leave the ministry. That means that for many preachers the ministry is just a paycheck.

If speaking out against Obama will cost them tithers, if standing for marriage and the unborn will offend some, they will not risk anything that could threaten their lifestyle.

  1. Racism: This happened in the midst of Andrae Crouch’s funeral. Stevie Wonder said, “The only reason that people have rejected Obama’s policies of inclusion is because he is black.” In a spirit-filled church, during the memorial to a Gospel legend who did more than anyone before him to cross racial lines with Gospel music, Mr. Wonder had to inject race.  When you value the race of a politician above Christianity, Bible values, and morality, it is racism.
  2. Ignorance of Scripture: Preachers today do not know the Bible. Many no longer believe it is the inspired Word of God.  They have crafted their sermons from pagan writers, motivational speakers and secular music lyrics.  They do not pray and search the scriptures. Instead they research pop culture.

This is why they are ignorant of their calling to be watchmen over the flock of God.  This ignorance of the Bible is why we hear them agreeing with atheists and secular humanists.

  1. Ignorance of America: They do not value America. They have forgotten the way God worked in our history. Linked to this ignorance of America is their ignorance of the threat to her existence.  They do not understand what moral awakenings have meant to the United States.  Since they are ignorant of this miracle called America, they are also ignorant of the urgency for revival.
  2. Apathy: Two extremes create apathy; one is self-sufficiency and the other is total discouragement. When ministers have too much or too little, they say, “What is the use in trying anymore?” One has given up because they don’t need the drama. The other has given up because they believe it is hopeless.

Even though the causes are totally opposite, the result is the same:  A nation dies because leaders cannot muster the necessary outrage to take appropriate action.

  1. Competition: Many preachers do not see their fellow ministers as brothers in arms. They see them as competition.  They see them as predators of their people.  Wanting the biggest church has blinded them to the fact that we are all in the same army; that we are on the same side.  Some preachers actually relish the idea that their competitor is losing members and suffering loss.

So here is the bottom line.  Our refusal to repent of these things, our rebellion against our duty to stand as one voice against the evil of our government, will cost us the nation.

I am not the man to unify the leaders.  It is quite possible that someone reading this is the person to make it happen.  As I said at the very beginning, we could wipe out the insanity of the White House in no time if we would stand together.  If we do not, we will go down in history as the worst generation of preachers in American History.

“But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, ‘Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.’”- Acts 5:19, 20.

 

From Sesame Street to Azusa Street

Azusa blog

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.

Insert 1

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?”

insert 2

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.

insert 6

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.

insert 3

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.

insert 4

THE RENOVATION OF YOUR LIFE

Renovation copy

THE RENOVATION OF YOUR LIFE

By Mario Murillo

We have learned that the vast majority of those who read this blog regularly are concerned about three things: America, your loved ones and your walk with God.  We also know that you are not afraid to speak out against the tyranny of our government.

All of that tells us something else: You are seeking more of God.   Because of this, you are likely to attend a conference, seminar, convention, or retreat this year. 

Let me suggest that you pray seriously about the Living Proof World Convention.   I could promise you a no frills truth centered event that will confront all of the matters that I mentioned but the big reason you should come is something different: An outpouring of the power of God that will root out the things that are holding us back and will imbue us transforming power and fire.

You will meet the growing number of believers who are finished with dead religion and compromise.  Join hearts with those who love America and believe that there is a supernatural solution.  If you are facing the battle of your life maybe this convention is the answer from the Lord that you have prayed for.

Our conviction: The American Church will not be turned around by supermen but by supernatural men. We do not need better equipment, new organizations, novel methods, but vessels that the Holy Ghost can use—vessels who pray with prevailing might.  God does not flow through religious machinery but through human beings, he does not anoint plans, but people—people of prayer.

BOOMTOWN

Do not sit back and watch dark clouds gather.  Sweep away the cobwebs, underbrush and weeds of despair and take action!  It is high time for you to put on the full armor of God’s power.

This prayer of Peter embodies this convention:  Acts 4: 29  Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

Here are some urgent final statements.  Pray and ask God if you are to be a part of this groundbreaking event.  Act boldly and do not let fear stop you from coming.   God will make a way if you are truly serious about having power in these end times.  Join Mechelle and me for the renovation of your life and ministry.   The Living Proof World Convention has one simple goal:  To restore the roar of the American Church.

The Living Proof World Convention will be held at the Boomtown hotel and Casino in Reno in just a few weeks: March 30 and 31.    There is no registration fee for the convention but you must register.  We are at 75% percent full right now so please act now.   Click on the link below and you can register instantly.   You can also call us at 775 432 1665

Come and be a part of God’s miracle to restore America!

CLICK HERE NOW TO INSTANTLY REGISTER:       http://mariomurillo.net/living-proof-world-convention/

P.S  Call (775) 345-6000 to get a very special room rate at the Boomtown hotel.  Use the rate code SLPWC

LOOKING FORWARD copy

Pentecostal Denominations Uniting After Nearly 100 Years of Division.

Pentecostal Denominations Uniting After Nearly 100 Years of Division

UPCAG and AG leadership teams
UPCAG International Presiding Elder Thomas A. Barclay (center left) and AG General Superintendent George O. Wood (center right) are surrounded by their leadership teams as they sign an agreement of cooperative affiliation during a special chapel service at the AG national office in Springfield, Mo. (AG News)

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.”

Pentecostal leader opens his mind and his brains fall out.

Race, Sex and Liberation: Pentecostal Studies President Steers Society in New Direction

 

 

Society for Pentecostal Studies President Paul Alexander of Palmer Seminary. (Photo: Evangelicals for Social Action).

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.

“LGBTIQ Realities”

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.”