Your home church suits you, right? That particular church brand probably aligns with your personality, your values. The first church I attended was Baptist, and I have never looked back.
We have different denominations, that's not going to change any time soon. With different denominations there are different focuses. With different focuses there are varying strengths and weaknesses. Every church has flaws. We are human, it's unavoidable.
One denomination, although, seems to be on the end of a lot of criticism.
The Pentecostal Church
It has garnered much attention and momentum. Heightened popularity has been accompanied by criticism. A lot of believers, discredit their theology and behaviour. There's too much emphasis on miracles people say. Well, I have said that a few times myself actually....you caught me. Even so, I have greatly benefited from teachings and examples from the Pentecostal Church. There are many lessons I have learnt, and this has excited growth in my faith walk.
Application of Faith
I've noticed a typical Pentecostal sermon is often very practical and rich in testimonies. Often dealing with various nuances of applying the word. Clearly, Pentecostal preachers, in their daily lives, are honestly trying to figure out what it looks like to practically live like Jesus. Don’t miss how beautiful a thought that is! I have been both inspired and convicted by practical examples. Radical giving, miraculous healings, words of knowledge in outreach, these examples, these testimonies, create a new reality. They extend our understanding of what is possible when we partner with the one true living God.
Learning about the gift of healing has had a huge impact on me. The influence of people like Todd White and Dan Mohler inspired me to dig deeper into this healing gift. Miracles followed. But the miracles weren't the greatest thing about it. The most amazing thing was - the miracles linked me to a deeper understanding of who God is. The miracles helped me learn about the miracle worker! I learnt about God's readiness, God's willingness to intervene. I more deeply understood the fact that God is alive. I learnt about the restoring nature of God. That he wants to restore not just the physical, but the emotional and spiritual. The miracles will pass, but those spiritual revelations will never fade.
Child Like Relationship
I love that people pray by starting off with Dad. God is a sovereign Lord, the Alpha and the Omega, this is the truth. Yet he is our father too. From a spirit of adoption, we call out Abba father, or dear daddy. Jesus prayed - our father. Language effects the way we think, and this language implies intimacy and a precious bond.
Whether it is boldness in worship, boldness in prayer, boldness in outreach, this is one thing that we can characterise the Pentecostal Church by. It models an example. The lesson is that a wholehearted embrace of a Jesus-like identity is where boldness stems.
There are many perversions of the gospel that we need to be wary of. We desperately need spiritual discernment to recognise truth. I don't want to undermine this fact. Paul was emphatic about this: "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God's curse." (Galatians chapter 1, verse 8)
The bible also warns us we need both passion and wisdom, so we don't miss the mark. "Zeal without knowledge is not good - how much more will hasty feet miss the away." (Proverbs chapter 19, verse 2)
We need to be wary of warped gospels, I agree. But wary is not all we should be. Criticising other churches can't be our sole agenda. Each denomination has their own strengths. Each denomination has their flaws. While we think our own church has got it down pat. There is no perfect brand of Christianity.
There is no superior denomination.
We need to repent from a 'one of us' mentality.
""Teacher," said John, "we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us." "Do not stop him," Jesus said. "For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us." (Mark chapter 9, verses 38-40)
The ‘one of us’ mentality mentioned here, reminds me of the mentality so pervasive in today's church.
I praise God for my Baptist roots. That's where I belong, that is what my personality and values dictate. I cherish the impact of more conservative preachers like Steven Lawson, A.W Tozer and David Pawson. But I also praise God for the Pentecostal influence in my life. Luckily, I was influenced by the Pentecostal Church before it was too late. Luckily, it happened before I was too ingrained in a Baptist state of mind, before I was too closed-minded because of an ethnocentric mentality. I don't agree with every single Pentecostal teaching. I have seen some wacky things, no lie, but, I know the Pentecostal Church sincerely love Jesus - and that is enough.
I enjoy reading, playing basketball and going to the gym. I am studying mental health at TAFE.
Roden Meares enjoys playing basketball, reading comics and going to the gym. He has a passion for evangelising and helping others in their faith through writing.
Roden’s previous articles can be viewed at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/roden-meares.html