I teach at a denominational school. I pastor in a Pentecostal denomination. My life has been immersed in Pentecostal practice all my life. So, I offer some thoughts with some trepidation. There is always the risk of being misunderstood by people you really need to have understand (like denominational officials who can pull your credentials or keep you from teaching). Nevertheless, here it goes.
I write this to young students and older Pentecostals.
Quit fixating on tongues. Both of you. I mean it. Just stop.
Let me start with the older guys. Learn some history. In my denomination, we just don’t know history, so we refuse to know what certain things mean. Please visit Azusa Street once again. Learn from William Seymour and how he viewed Pentecostal experience. What mattered most to him?
Please review the life of D.W. Kerr, the man who penned the doctrine on initial physical evidence.
And quit insisting on YOUR view of tongues when it comes to doctrinal issues. It’s causing young guys to have conniption fits. We need young guys, so quit making them nervous. You know what? They believe in the gifts of the Spirit. They actually are not opposed to the sign of tongues. Ask them. I have.
To you younger guys… quit blowing your brain gaskets. You’re young and you’re exercising your brains for the first time and you think you can out-think older guys. Therein lies your problem. You’re thinking a bit too much and you need to ease off the gas pedal just a tad.
First of all, tongues is truly a minor issue. You get it in your head that it’s something more. MAKE IT A MINOR ISSUE. Just ease up. You love Jesus. You long for the power of the Spirit. I get it. You also like arguing. You like picking apart things. All well and good… in its season. Learn to find the right season for the right issues. Learn to take the long view. Believe me, you’ll sleep better at night. You’ll have less stress.
Dear friends, it is about empowerment. That is the crux of the baptism of the Spirit. It is about the power to truly love God and love our neighbor. And your shouting at each other or stubbornness toward each other is not really showing the power of the Spirit.
In the past I have had people tell me what we need are more sermons on the baptism in the Holy Spirit. I disagree. We need more prayer. We’ve lost our way in prayer. When we become people of prayer again, and get hungry for God again, we’ll find the power of the Spirit again. Until then, we’ll just keep nitpicking. And young guys will stay away from credentials, and old guys will huff and puff and grouse about that “younger” generation.
Enough for now. I’m going to go find my credential card and an envelope just in case someone misunderstood…