Christians are not saved because they are Lutheran, Baptists or Pentecostals, but because they ARE IN CHRIST, and there is nothing to be redeemed outside of Him ( Ephesians 1:10). Of course doctrinal fidelity exists, but at the end of the day I am not MORE or LESS saved because I became Pentecostal or any of the other many denominations. I am saved because the Good Shepherd sought and found those that were given Him by His Father (John 6:37).
Though we play our own parts in God’s drama, Christianity is something that God is doing, not us. It was GOD that chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world and predestined us to be “conformed into the image of His Son” (Ephesians 1:4, Romans 8:29), and that process takes time.
Which of us interprets scripture after 20 or 40 years the same way they did a week after Christ found them? None of us (I hope)! We all GROW in Christ as we abide in Him day after day, year after year, decade after decade, and slowly and certainly we are changed! The Spirit of God guides us faithfully into ALL Truth just as Jesus promised (John 16:13)! And in this process of picking up certain beliefs - and rejecting old ones - it becomes very natural and even necessary to repudiate things we no longer believe. It is the life- long synthesis of our ever-developing theology. But in that understandable repudiation of our errors we can and do injure our own family. Are we correcting Pentecostals? Remember, they are FAMILY. Are we rebuking Baptists, Calvinists or Arminians? Remember we are correcting FAMILY. We don’t want to make a Man an “offender for a word” (Isaiah 29:21). Now, I am guilty of this and maybe you are too. Aren’t you glad God has not dealt with us according to our sins” (Psalm 103:10). Isn’t God patient?
I was raised in Pentecostalism, baptized at 12 or so, and that is where I first stood in an assembly of believers with my grandmother and heard them worship and sing the songs of Zion. Like many I drifted from God in adolescence but returned at 23. Was I less His when I wandered from the fold, or even before I was born for that matter? When I joined a little Village Missions Church at 23 in my pre-pentecostal days was I lost? Of course not! 5 or 6 years later I became a Pentecostal for 40 years or so. Was I more or less saved? Of course not! We are not saved because we’re RIGHT. We are saved because God loved and foreknew us from the beginning! It has nothing to do with desert, knowledge or faithfulness, but with God’s faithfulness to His Son and to all that pertains to Him, including us!
As you grow older you will look at things differently, I promise. I have MANY dear, DEAR friends who are “Pentecostal” and many who are not, and I love them all.
Pentecostalism has errors just like every other denomination built on the self-willed intellect and understanding of Man. And in the Postmodern world of today when every attempt to establish a foothold of Truth is attacked, we tend to get into “foxhole” mode, shooting down every different belief-system, thinking it establishes our own. It is VERY easy in our battle for “truth” to forget we are often shooting at FAMILY. Doesn’t Christianity have enough enemies right now without us trying to take each other out?
Many of the issues plaguing Evangelicalism in America are about to become very insignificant. Our Father, “of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named” (Ephesians 3:15) is so patient and wise! And with a simple stroke can bring powerful TRUE love and unity to American (and world) Churches.
When prosperity and fatness are removed, when the Master Husbandman turns His green thumb upon His vine, His flock, and purges us of our many idols, REVIVAL and BEAUTY will return to His bride.
There will be a false unity which is already underway, for “that is first that is natural” (1 Corinthians 15:46) but a TRUE, beautiful, spiritual unity approaches. Can you hear it?
It’s beginning to rain . .