Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Circus Pentecostalis

This keen observer obviously talks from experience:
Among Pentecostals, with whom I’ve fellowshipped for 17 years, I have seen the very best and the very worst evangelical Christianity has to offer. I’m not quite sure why we seem to have such a monopoly on the extremes, but for the individuals I know who were instantly delivered of drug addictions, alcoholism and serious illnesses through the power of the Holy Spirit, there were also the freaks and flakes who thought they deserved pulpit time to showcase their dubious gifts and messages. And I mustn’t neglect to mention the innumerable “shakers and fakers” who made public displays of themselves during services by hollering, yelping, jerking and even trying to throw a punch at someone — all at wholly inappropriate times, and all under the guise of being “moved” by the Holy Spirit.
And she is also not blind to the elephant in the room either:

But we have got some big-time problems.

I know from my own observation that sexual immorality is widespread among Pentecostal clergy, and in many cases no church governance structure exists to do anything about it. Church leadership is frequently passed down in families as though salvation is acquired through DNA.

Prosperity teaching — which, when taught responsibly, can extract people from the mire of poverty mindsets — has degenerated into unabashed greed and charlatanism, with preachers shilling for multilevel marketing schemes that will never benefit the vast majority of the peons who buy into their promises of easy money.

Well-known ministers flaunt the trappings of wealth while Pentecostalism draws in more and more of the desperately poor in the developing world, and believers follow Jesus Christ in jeopardy of their lives in hideously repressive places such as Saudi Arabia, the Sudan and Pakistan while we believe God for a tricked-out Crossfire.

Bible Girl then concludes with:

The recent scandals among Pentecostals have shaken me. I struggle to understand how people who’ve come into contact with the very presence of God through worship, who’ve seen the power of the Holy Spirit at work in miraculous ways, can get involved in such craziness.
The problems continue and will continue to be problems when they pursue such wrong teachings as prosperity doctrine; the inherited church franchise system; the multi-level marketing schemes; the lucrative speaking circuit; the self-grandizing; the spiritual abuse; the lack of financial and ethical accountability; the nepotism; the selective out of context abuse and distortion of scripture verses to self-justify their position; etc etc - the list should never be this long for people who claim to be modeling their life on Jesus and His commands.

(H.T. 4:14)


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