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Evangelical Collapse and Pentecostal Revival

“The coming evangelical collapse,” a recent bombshell article in the Christian Science Monitor, has stirred fundamental Christians in a way that nothing has for a long time. The author, Michael Spencer, points to the increasing secularization of Christian positions and dogma as the underlying reason for this major shift in the religious world. He believes that succumbing to the pressure within denominations and churches to buy into the cultural agenda has driven the final nail in the coffin. He says, “Evangelicalism doesn’t need a bailout. Much of it needs a funeral.”

Those of us who adhere to basic Bible beliefs have chronicled the liberal trend in mainline Christianity for decades. What we didn’t necessarily see was that the trend couldn’t last forever. Eventually, a tipping point had to be reached. Now, it can be seen with greater clarity than ever. The landscape of traditional Christianity is about to undergo vast changes. Spencer says, “This collapse will herald the arrival of an anti-Christian chapter of the post-Christian West. Intolerance of Christianity will rise to levels many of us have not believed possible in our lifetimes, and public policy will become hostile toward evangelical Christianity, seeing it as the opponent of the common good. Millions of Evangelicals will quit. Thousands of ministries will end. Christian media will be reduced, if not eliminated. Many Christian schools will go into rapid decline. I’m convinced the grace and mission of God will reach to the ends of the earth. But the end of evangelicalism as we know it is close.”

Remarkably, however, the author predicts that Pentecostalism may be the last best hope for the evangelical movement. He says, “The ascendency of Charismatic-Pentecostal-influenced worship around the world can be a major positive for the evangelical movement if reformation can reach those churches and if it is joined with the calling, training, and mentoring of leaders. If American churches come under more of the influence of the movement of the Holy Spirit in Africa and Asia, this will be a good thing.” This article which has drawn a tidal wave of attention creates an unprecedented opportunity for the Apostolic church to move into the vacuum left by the declining church movement. We must take full advantage of the moment and act with swiftness and force.

While the Apostolic church has shown support for conservative values in our culture such as anti-abortion and anti-gay convictions, we have refused to turn these beliefs into crusades. We know that the only real hope for transforming the culture is not through political or financial policy, but through a genuine salvation experience and by falling in love with Jesus Christ. This is why we emphasize doctrine and discipleship over everything else. Even our children and young people know the basics of the Apostolic faith—repentance, baptism in Jesus’ name, receiving the Holy Ghost, the oneness of God, holiness—and we strive to keep these truths in the forefront of our evangelistic thrust and pulpit offerings.

It is time for all Apostolics to renew our commitment to our doctrines and practices. If we lose them, we will soon follow the rest of the evangelicals down the road to eventual demise. Let us endure the criticisms to be more relevant. Let us resist the pressure to be more in tune with the secular world. Let us dismiss the calls for us to disconnect from our past. Apostolic truths are not only timeless; they may also prove to be the reason why we remain a viable force in a postmodern world.

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Reader Comments (3)

the thing that will be added in these last days in addition to repentance, baptism and aquintance of holy spirit is yhe apostolic doctrine in its full swing.....

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjames jose


This is why we emphasize doctrine and discipleship over everything else. Even our children and young people know the basics of the Apostolic faith—repentance, baptism in Jesus’ name, receiving the Holy Ghost, the oneness of God, holiness—and we strive to keep these truths in the forefront of our evangelistic thrust and pulpit offerings.

This encapsulation has emerged as the defining doctrine in the name of the apostolic faith as its particular signature that differentiates it. These "basics" as commented that are inculcated in the believer as the first principles of the christian-apostolic faith confer a hermeneutic to the believer by which the rest of scripture is extrapolated. This particular view and following method of interpretation and subsequent doctrine eclipses grace and truth found in Jesus Christ and stunts ones growth. Our interpretation of the scripture is skewed by holding to this viewpoint of what is presumably the basics.


To say so in any manner is inaccurate and error. You trump the gospel itself by making such a statement. It is out of order and declared to be so by the fact that this is what you site. It is secondary and not primary in what we are to believe. Consider the following scripture 1 Cor. 15:3-8 and notice what was stated and emphasized as FIRST (not what the author states what is first) and how this FIRST was also held as such by the apostles and witnesses. They first gave testimony to what they saw, Jesus raised from the dead. Their witness is an integral part of the gospel and covers the full scope of the story without which the story could not hold over the ages. You can not fail to include in the gospel how that Christ was seen by the apostles after his resurrection. Without it the story is incomplete and not validated and therefore an essential component to the gospel message. Notice the colon (:) used at the end of verse 4. The church is built upon the prophets,apostles and Jesus. So then also is the gospel message supported by the apostles and without them it would unravel. It is their witness that gives the death, burial and resurrection its efficacy and must be incorporated in the telling of the story. Further the gift of the Holy Ghost serves as the same as what the apostles served. That is we are a witness to Jesus Christ resurrection just as the apostles gave witness so do we. This is the meaning and correct interpretation of "you shall be witnesses unto me". Witness of what? That through him we receive remission of sins. And how is that possible? Because he was raised from the dead. And this is what we believe as a witness. That first thing out of my mouth is what I believe (I believed therefore have I spoken) and for with the heart man believes unto righteousness and confession is made unto salvation. Unfortunately the confession of faith among believers that adhere to the basics of the apostolic faith is not this but rather that which has been stated by the author.

1 Cor 15:3-8

3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:

6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.

8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

For example, ask the believer that adheres to the aforementioned basic tenets of the apostolic faith why are you saved or will be saved. The answer almost without variance will be because they have been baptized in Jesus name and filled with the Holy Ghost. This answer obviously is congruent with the tenet but I contend incongruent with scripture. Rather a more scripturally aligned answer would be because I believe in my heart that God raised Jesus from the dead.

Rom 10:8-10
the word of faith, which we preach;

9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

This scenario is likened to word association where one says coffee and the other says cup. It is undoubtedly revealing where ones priority and emphasis lay. One says baptism in Jesus name & Holy Ghost and the other says because God raised Jesus from the dead for me. The former speaks to a trust in one thing and the latter another. Which trust is absolutely central to our faith, growth and sanctification. It is not without consequence the role the foundation and cornerstone (the basics) of our faith plays in how and what we grow up into. More specifically the fullness of Jesus Christ as an individual and corporately as the body which both are not without one another. They are inseparably intertwined and one can not be without the other.

The message to the fallen world needing reconciliation to God can not be the stated basics of the apostolic faith. I believe it is an unintended evolution and deviation from the original intent.

Mankind being faced with eminent death is provided through God's love a gift to us in his Son. By the same faith of Abraham who against hope believed in hope trusting in him that justifies the ungodly we trust that God sparred not his own Son and raised him from the dead for us. Which is the same faith of Abraham at mount Moriah where he was to offer Isaac. In fact the scriptures employ this very event with the requisite faith for believing unto righteousness by Jesus Christ. An impossible situation against hope being duly convicted we believe unto righteousness.

God gave the gift of his son in order to destroy him that had the power of death. Which fear of death we were our whole lifetime were held prisoner to but are freed from by the faith of resurrection of Christ.

It is scripturally heretic to emphasize the doctrine of the 'basics' over the faith of the operation of God who raised Jesus from the dead.

In closing I want to go on record that the 'basics' are correct but misapplied to the new believer. It is without question the only and truly apostolic response to the gospel of God. And utter folly and damning to believe otherwise. But these pulpits that herald the 'basics' at the forefront of the ministry do so in contradiction to Paul and what was at the forefront and the thrust of his ministry, "I determined to know nothing among you save Jesus Christ and him crucified".

March 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJim

I think Acts 8:26-38, the baptism of the eunuch by Philip, rather supports what Jim is saying:

(1) The eunuch is reading a prophecy of Christ in Isaiah, specifically about Christ's death.

(2) Philip preaches Jesus to him

(3) By and by, they come to a place where there is and water, and it is the eunuch who suggests baptism, but Philip says, "If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest."

(4) The eunuch replies, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."

It seems, then, that the critical foundation in this passage is belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and that this belief is in turn founded on the death and resurrection of Jesus.

October 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTim Garcia

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