[guess i am not pentecostal]

[guess i am not pentecostal]

Disclaimer right away: I am not directly opposed to Pentecostal Christians. I just… don’t feel at home with some of the teachings and ways. But that’s MHO.

At the Church board meetings, we have been talking about evangelism. I usually kept quiet because for me, it is quite weird to come to someone on the street and start telling them “You need to be saved.” Yes, I believe there are moments when God is directing you to speak to someone and those are the so-called Divine Appointments. But to be honest… If someone strange whom I do not know would walk up to me and start talking about God… I’d walk away. *Shrug* I tend not to trust strangers, even when they are talking about God. If I know the person, however, I watch how they live and then compare it to what they say.

So based on my own experience, that’s also my way of sharing Christ. I try to live my life how He would want me to live it (yeah, I admit – I still stink at it quite often, but He’s helping to become better) and when people ask, that’s when I share… or if there is a situation when I feel like it’d be good to share something about God right now.

But, back to my friends at the Church. This weekend, the famous evangelist Reinhard Bonnke was in Kyiv. From what I saw on TV… I did not want to go there. My friends, however, talked me into it. So just out of curiosity (and they promised that Bonnke doesn’t yell, it’s the other guy who yells), I went.

I liked the beginning. They sang a few songs that I knew (Our God is an Awesome God, Amazing Grace, and something else). Then the preachers started talking. I was getting cold (it was outside and we were in the shade because a friend of ours did not want to sit in the sun) and bored.

Honestly? When I am told that 55 millions of people accepted Jesus as their Savior at Bonnke’s conferences and that he is the greatest evangelist who ever lived… I scowl. Call me a cynic, but that’s standard psychology – yell at people and tell them they are doomed – of course they would come at the altar call. The real question is  – will they remain with Christ?

When I shared these musings with my friend, she told me “Well, people want a show these days.”

I retorted in angry whisper (since the discussion was taking place at Church during announcements), “Yeah, a show they get, but faith ain’t no show. People wanted miracles and divine signs throughout history. But faith is believing things we do not see, yet hope for.”

“Yeah, but still…”

“Mmm hmmm, and what if God decides NOT to heal that particular person? What then? Is He a genie from a bottle? Is He there just to do what we want Him to do? What’s the point of a God like that, then?”

She fell silent, knowing that I was in one of my moody moods. But although I wasn’t whispering audibly anymore, I was still arguing in my head.

Seriously. All those “shows” are based on someone getting healed or restored to life or people speaking in tongues, or whatever, right? That’s what you usually hear when someone’s telling of a conference like that. But what if there are no magical healings? What if the dead remain dead because God wanted them with Him? What if He chose the ultimate healing?

Why don’t people notice the other miracles? The daily kind? When you wake up early in the morning (and you WAKE UP, i.e. you’re alive) and you see the red sun hanging low over the horizon, warming everything with its gentle rays… When a thunderstorm passes by and you see the astounding lightnings and hear the thunder… When after the rain, there is a rainbow – which is produced with the help of transparent water and colorless light. Why don’t people notice those miracles? Just because science explained how it works doesn’t mean it ceased to be a miracle.

Why do people have to be yelled into confessing their sins instead of finally admitting to themselves what they’ve known for so long – that this life isn’t all and that there is God. Why do people find it so hard to believe there is God? (And I am not talking here about believing that God is good… that is a bit tougher in our world… but there are people who are trying to deny His existence altogether!)

HOW?! I simply don’t get it. What’s the point of life then? Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die? C’mon, we know better than that.

A few years ago I have read of a wonderful way of falling asleep. Instead of counting the sheep who merrily jump over the fence, try counting your blessings… just for one day. To be honest, I have always fallen asleep before I reached the end of the list.

The point of the post? There are other means of evangelism other than yelling at people and telling them that they are sinners in the hands of an angry God (to quote Jonathan Edwards).

  • Okay Zee. confesson time. I AM NOT PENTECOSTAL EITHER AND HAVE A SERIOUS PROBLEM WITH THE WHOLE THING! how's that for subtle? Not very I know. I don't doubt that God can and does do things (miracles) but I don't follow that He does them through people like you mention. It certainly don't fly with me that the contemporary "evangelists" (translated: money grubbers) are legit. The "name it/claim it" guys are bogus. Got the gift of healing? Go to the hospitals privately and walk up and down the halls. Nope, gotta do it in front of a camera so it can be faked. And please don't tell me that I am not a real Christian or I am missing something deeper because I haven't spoken in gibberish. And finally: don't yell and scream at me. I will turn you off quicker than a light bulb. So…now that I am done with my rant yours doesn't seem too bad does it? 😀

    • heh, thanks Bill. it does help to know that i am not the only rebel.

      yeah, but those who walk up and down the halls in the hospitals (since i guess there are people like that) usually keep quiet and don't shout to the whole world to know about what God is doing through them. but instead they deeply impact those whom they've helped. like in good ol' times – when Jesus healed, He did not claim that He was the most famous evangelist and human who ever lived (although He, of all people, had the actual right to do so), instead He kept asking people to be quiet about what He did. they didn't remain silent, but that's besides the point.

      And finally: don't yell and scream at me. I will turn you off quicker than a light bulb. – LOL, i'll keep that in mind 😉 😀

  • I wish I weren't so dadgummed behind on all this work I need to do, cause I'd love to chat about this.

    I'd love to talk about the frustration I continually endure of sensing that "something is wrong" with virtually everything I hear in Christendom these days. Of never being satisfied that ANY speaker has his theology "right" and that I can sit and listen in a bit of trust. How I love my pastor to death and trust his heart deeply but still walk away from virtually every service with something that was said not quite sitting right. How I am confused about Arminian / revivalistic evangelism methods but yet am deeply entrenched in a part of Christian culture that regards "preaching about hell" to be a needy part of the Gospel. How I can see no way that God can be sovereign without also electing and predestinating whom He will, yet aware that this mentality leads to Adolf Hitler being intended and predestined before the beginning of time just as much as Billy Graham was. How I sing songs, or play songs, or hear songs, that once stirred me deeply but no longer do, and how I am troubled painfully by that. How I encounter sin in my life and wonder if my realization of it as "sin" is truly the Holy Spirit or is it the legalism that was ingrained in me for many years. How to experience and rejoice in the grace of God and yet be properly repentant and sorry for my sin without somehow feeling monkish and mentally flagellating myself so that God will forgive me. How to resolve the fact that I have totally realized that I DON'T have it all together and yet knowing that I am in a position of leadership and thus must have some sense of direction for those who would follow?

    Why do I say all that? Because I identify with your discontent with pentecostals, just that my discontent is with MANY things. I am incredibly sad with my own spiritual condtion at this point in my life, yet I am convinced that the solution is NOT to return to a life of legalism and "feel good religion".

    I suspect that this doesn't appear to connect at all with what you've written, but somehow it does, in my tired mind. Forgive me for being terribly off-topic 🙂

    I realized a lot of my discontent at a Promise Keepers event about two years ago, where I felt so incredibly out of place that it was shocking. The music would have previously ( 5+ years ago) have been so inspiring to me, and many of the speakers were really good. But I felt wrong. I can't trust my "feelings" at all any more it seems, and that has caused me to turn off so many of them. After my heart surgery, I went through such a period of intense fear regarding my salvation that I had to shut down parts of me, it seems, and those parts of me are apparently connected to the same parts that used to get so excited by powerful worship events and things of that nature. Now, I just feel hollow and determined to not let myself be dragged into fear in those events.

    So, yeah, I'm not a pentecostal, either. Not a revivalist, either. Not much of an evangelical. I have no idea what the devil I am. 🙂

    • 🙂 actually, you're not off-topic. i was reading your comment and nodding in agreement because, frankly, in describing your situation / feelings, you described mine as well.

      it sucks that i cannot be as accepting as i once was, just a few years ago, that i got to test everything and i hate not being able to trust some people because they… just aren't to be trusted. i don't like it when instead of listening to a sermon, i mentally dissect it (and not on purpose, my mind's just wired that way)… sometimes i really wish that i wasn't a PK and seen too much Church from the inside. you expect one thing only to realize that people, who claim they are Christ followers, are just like the other people. i once shared with my pastor that i feel more at home at my work lately rather than at my Church. people i work with are a lot more accepting and they don't judge me. is that nuts or what? aren't WE, the ones who follow Christ, called to do just that – not judge? but then… i guess by saying they are judging me, i am judging them too…. bleh, catch 22.

      How to experience and rejoice in the grace of God and yet be properly repentant and sorry for my sin without somehow feeling monkish and mentally flagellating myself so that God will forgive me – no idea how to get out of that catch 22 either, since i am stuck in it most of the time. it just seems…. too easy. i don't know. maybe i am complicating matters for myself.

      but yeah, all that to say… i hear ya, brother. thanks for taking the time to comment.

  • It is in the heart and the hidden places of our lives that God works – amen.

    thanks for stopping by, Dusty 🙂

  • We have to be careful not to blanket the entire Charismatic movement this way. But you are right many pentecostal types are like this and follow none sense like this. Evangelism comes in different forms, my particular type is through making friendship. On planes, at work etc. Bill Hybels has a great book ( and dvd studies) "The Contagious Christian" and "Walk Across the Room." Really focusing on relational evangelism. We also have to note that there is a difference between scaring people into Christ and preaching the truth in love. Great post.
    My recent post Books I am excited to read

    • hey Justyn,

      Yep, i agree – just like there are true believers in Orthodox Churches. i am not saying that all Charismatic people are wrong. it's just that because there are few charismatic Charismatic (sorry for tautology) evangelists, who just go… a bit off the plane *shrug*

      relational evangelism is the way, i think. Christianity is all about having relationship with God and how can you tell someone about that relationship really without first establishing the relationship with that person?

%d bloggers like this: