Every one of us who has ever labeled ourselves pentecostal or charismatic at one time knows about these two key, pivotal moments in history. The Day of Pentecost occurred around 50-60 A.D. It is described in Acts 2 in detail. ‘This is THAT!’ is frequently quoted when someone asks about speaking in tongues. Acts 2:4 is often used to propagate the doctrine of the infilling of the Holy Ghost.
I remember the very first time I heard of the phrase ‘being filled with the Holy Ghost evidenced by speaking in other tongues.’ I had already gotten saved, yet I ‘hungered’ for more of God, so I sought out bible school. On the bible school application is where I first read that phrase: I was 20 years old, and yet I had never heard of that before. The bible school wanted to know if I ‘got it;’ since I didn’t know what ‘it’ was, I answered no.
Many of us on our spiritual journeys came across this question. And many felt the pentecostal peer pressure to endeavor to speak in tongues or you were not saved.
Recently, I just was sitting and thinking about the FRUIT of both events: the fruit of the Day of Pentecost and the fruit of Azusa Street.
I thought about the fate of the ‘founders,’ if you will, of each movement and what happened to them.
I thought about a lot of this and God began to show me some things.
The Day Of Pentecost
On the day of Pentecost-on the days leading up to the Day of Pentecost-people were unified, in one accord, one mind seeking God. They were following the instructions from Jesus Christ to go to the Upper Room, until they be endued with power from on high.
On the day of Pentecost, they did speak with new tongues (different languages that were understood by their native tongue speaking people).
The fruit of that move of God was people were saved. Many were brought TOGETHER, UNIFIED in the faith. Every race and creed was represented at the Day of Pentecost. All together worshipping God in spirit and in truth. The real gospel was spread. Some were martyred for THE faith. Royalty and politicians of their day were witnessed to. Some even were converted. A group of scared, wet- behind-the-ears men (and women) were converted to movers and shakers that turned the earth upside down with the truth of the gospel. MANY were delivered. There was NO greed in what was known as the church after the Day of Pentecost.
And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.
And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
Signs and wonders-while they were performed as the Spirit of God saw fit to do them-were NOT emphasized and stressed. That would be in direct contradiction to the word when Jesus said ‘a wicked and evil generation seeks after a sign.’
I underlined key points that I believe are grossly lacking and missing in today’s so called church. There is no healthy fear of God anymore. There is no unity. And NO ONE shares anything anymore. The prosperity gospel has made people greedy and selfish, only looking out for themselves. The early church had favor. They were NOT mocked. Kings and priests called upon the apostles to give them counsel, prayer and advice on issues pertinent to that day. The early church was a thankful church-‘eating their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.’
Read the book of Acts. You will be utterly AMAZED at the fruit of the Day of Pentecost!
The only way the early church could be ‘stopped,’ not that it was….really-was to try and kill off the founding fathers & their followers AND try to infiltrate and corrupt the early church with religious doctrine.
Azusa Street ‘Revival’
At Azusa Street, yes, folks spoke in some kind of ‘tongue.’ Most of the ‘tongues’ spoken were not interpreted, unintelligible to most. Many signs and wonders took place. And all pentecostal, charismatic and even non-denominational AND catholic churches (that believe in charismania, or call themselves ‘charismatic catholics’) have been borne out of the Azusa Street experience.
But since we have no bible to tell us what was going on before or after Azusa, we have to do our homework…and research. Not only should we research the events of Azusa, but we need to research WHO were the people who we call the founders of Azusa of the pentecostal movement. The two that come to mind are William Seymour and Charles Parham. Before I get into what happened at Azusa, allow me to present a brief history of who these two men were.
Charles Parham is known as the father of the pentecostal movement. He started out teaching bible studies on speaking in tongues and infilling of the Holy Ghost in the church. William Seymour, a black man, actually heard his first lesson on this while sitting OUTSIDE of the classroom because whites and blacks could not fellowship together at that time.
Right away, I have to say…if people of all nations and ethnicities were ‘allowed’ in the upper room prior to the Day of Pentecost with no problem or confrontation, then how is it that a black man could not sit in on a bible study on ‘the Holy Ghost’ prior to Azusa Street?
Anyway, since it was not ‘allowed’ for blacks and whites to congregate together, Seymour started his own thing. In a little house on Bonnie Brae Street during a prayer meeting, Seymour and others began to speak in other tongues. They soon moved to Azusa Street to the Apostolic Mission above in the picture….and the movement grew from there.
If you do your research, you will find that every church that speaks in tongues today traces its roots back to Azusa Street, either directly or indirectly. But I can tell you what happened immediately afterwards.
The coming together of the races never took place after Azusa Street. There were reports of factions of believers breaking off from the Mission because they didn’t believe in one point or the other. There was NO unity, but constant bickering of who started the movement, Seymour or Parham? (Reminds me of the scripture where the Corinthians were boasting, ‘I am of Paul, I am of Apollos..’)
No one could agree on anything. Not on baptism. Not on race relations. Not on anything. So people started their own churches. Their own denominations. According to the World Christian Database, today there are hundreds of millions of pentecostals and charismatics combined, dispersed among thousands of different denominations.
That does not sound like unity to me.
The early church was ONE church. They were unified. They had ALL things in common. They were together.
The modern church is anything but unified. No one shares what they have, and if you are taught to do so, you are accused of being a socialist (I have actually heard a mega preacher say this in one of his sermons). In DIRECT contradiction to the word of God. It’s this selfishness that is breeding like puppies in the so-called church that causes so many in the modern day church to eat up this prosperity message. Which leads me to my next observance.
In the modern day ‘church’ as we know it, greed is celebrated. It is encouraged. People flock to cathedrals week after week and are taught to not care about their fellow man; its each man for himself. The prosperity message is widely accepted because no one cares about the poor anymore. As a matter of fact, church folks treat the poor like they have the leprosy….’don’t come near me, I might catch being broke…’ And they will not lift a finger to help out their brother or sister man.
Ok. We all know that perversion has hit an all time high in the modern church world. In the early church, there were no homosexual preachers or priests. There were no pedophile pastors. The apostles were not laying up with anything and everything….everywhere. I can honestly tell you I never knew what perversion was until I entered into the ministry while in the I.C. I got to see up close and personal the vilest of the vile. Truth be told, I STILL see it. And it troubles me… I wonder if Peter and Paul had to deal with perversion in the pulpit???
Ok. The Word of God says that the early church had favor WITH ALL MEN. Yet today, the modern day church is mocked. Turn on SNL or any comedy act, and you will find a comedian mocking church folks, preachers especially. ESPECIALLY preachers who speak in tongues! I think of Rev. Lonnie Love from the 90s hit sitcom ‘Martin.’ All three of these traits are mocked…Rev. Lonnie Love likes his women, his money and operates in the ‘gifts’ of the (or A) spirit. People do not take the I.C. seriously. It has lost its relevance. Even with all her attempts to become impactful and relevant, people still don’t trust the I.C. Politicians only come to the church when they are trying to buy votes to win the next election. The schools won’t allow the church in. And the government? The government controls MOST of the churches today, when it should be the other way around…the CHURCH is supposed to impact the world! But instead, the I.C. is mocked. And truthfully speaking, it should be. The I.C. is a caricature of what GOD intended for it to be. Man came in and mixed it up and messed it up…so now the world has little or no respect for the I.C.
We have to look at what we call the founders of pentecost to see some other things.
Charles Parham was not a clean cut preacher who was looking for holiness. Neither was William Seymour blameless in the division that took place. And the entire Azusa movement was sent FROM THE DEVIL!
‘How can you say that?’
Read part 2 and you will find out why I say that…