DELIVERED!                        ex-pentecostals.org
a monthly publication for ex-Pentecostals & Charismatics!
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vol. 1, issue 6                Copyright © 2001-2002.  The Association of Former Pentecostals  All Rights Reserved.
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This Issue . . .
-       Welcome
-       Pentecostals in the News
-       Famous Pentecostals (A Pentecostal in "Big Brother's" House)
-       Too Much Grace? (Cover Story)
-       Announcements
-       Spotlight On . . .
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WELCOME!

October 1, 2002.  Thanks to all who have subscribed!  We've got a slightly different format this month, and some interesting stories.  We hope you'll tell us how what you think!  In the interest of keeping it short and sweet, let's get on with the news!  ~The Association of Former Pentecostals, Editor
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PENTECOSTALS IN THE NEWS*  . . .
Copyright © 2001-2002.  The Association of Former Pentecostals  All Rights Reserved.

COMING TO AMERICA (Part 2)

Not to be outdone by the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Nigeria (see "Delivered!" 8/15/02), the Assemblies of God is also sending missionaries from that country . . . to America!  According to Charisma News Service, the AG converted more than a million Nigerians in the last decade -- but many of these African Pentecostals lose their faith when immigrating to America and other countries.  These missionaries will primarily be used to minister to these African immigrants, and to create new African churches.
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PAW MEETS, PROMOTES WOMEN


During the last week of July, the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World met in Washington, DC for their annual convention, according to a Washington Post report.  During this meeting, it was decided that women could hold the position of district supervisor -- a first for this denomination that had believed men should be the only ones to hold such leadership positions.  Despite this expanded role for women in the church, the offices of bishop and presiding bishop are still "male-only."

The PAW is one of the largest Pentecostal denominations in the US, easily rivaling the membership of the Assemblies of God and the United Pentecostal Church with whom they share a "Oneness" doctrine.  Created by African-American Pentecostals during a time when many white churches and organizations excluded blacks, this church has a membership of nearly 1.5 million.
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EX-PENTECOSTAL CHURCH

In yet another example of an entire Pentecostal church converting to another faith (see "Converting the Chosen," Delivered!, 7-15-02), a Korean Pentecostal church in Nashville, Tennessee, converted last month to the Episcopal Church.  Bishop Bertram Herlong and retired Bishop William Sanders laid hands on each of the church's 100 or so members in a service that Sunday -- not only creating a relatively large congregation for that diocese, but also one of the largest Korean-American churches in the Episcopal community, according to a report by The Tennessean.

The change did not occur overnight.  Over the years, Pastor Moon Lee developed a friendship with a former Presbyterian minister (also Korean-American) who had led his own congregation through the same process.  The conversion experience was not a "walk in the park" for Rev. Lee; he had to complete a course of instruction in a local Episcopal seminary for the diocesan officials to deem him qualified to serve as an  priest in his new faith.

Though the new Episcopal church did have to make some changes in their services, they were not as magnificent as one might suspect.  Korean Pentecostal services are more structured than those in traditional Pentecostal congregations -- resembling the style of worship in many mainstream, traditional churches.
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NEO-PENTECOSTALISM INVADES COMMUNITY CHURCHES
Lois Gibson provided some of the information for this news story


For decades, the local church was the center point of the black community in America.  They served as civic centers, community meeting places, and served to create a voice for a people who were often neglected or oppressed by society and politics of the day.  It was in the churches of the black community that they found their political power, as leaders rose from these churches to the forefront of the civil rights movement.

Is the role of church as a community center and a forum for civil rights for the black community a thing of the past?  Many pastors of these historic churches believe the "writing is on the wall" as many traditional black churches and those that would fill them fall under the sway of the ever expanding Pentecostal and Charismatic movement, according to articles in the Baltimore Sun and the Houston Chronicle.

While some feel this "neo-Pentecostal" movement is reviving these more mainstream churches, many worry as the "celebratory" style of worship with the message of "individual empowerment" supplant the mission of community involvement and social progress.  Many traditional pastors continue to hold their ground as this movement spreads through churches not normally associated with the Pentecostal movement, resisting the trend to become mega-churches.  These leaders continue to hope that the church's role as a center for community activism is not a dead one.
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FAMOUS PENTECOSTALS*   (well, almost!)

A Pentecostal In "Big Brother's" House
Copyright © 2001-2002.  The Association of Former Pentecostals  All Rights Reserved.


In July, Jason Guy's biggest dream had come true.  CBS television notified the 25 year old that he had been chosen to be a house guest on their reality TV program, "Big Brother 3."  One catch, though: he had to leave the next day.  This member of Mobile, Alabama's Knollwood Assembly of God had no idea what was in store for him as he left for his adventure.

Being a Pentecostal on a TV show that monitors your every move with 11 other house guests would have its difficulties for Jason.  The show confined the 12 participants in a closed, cramped studio. From these confines, they would plot and scheme as each individual would try to avoid being "evicted" from the house (and likewise -- the show) during a weekly ceremony.  Whoever made it to the end would win the $500,000 prize.

Jason seemed silent for the first week or so of the competition, but quickly "came out" as the show's resident "virgin," and practicing Christian.  After his "announcement" warranted a few odd stares, he pretty much faded into the background, not participating in the temporary alliances that seemed to change weekly.  He did make friends with several of his housemates, including one of the show's strongest players; Danielle.

During the game, it seemed Jason was being manipulated by either Danielle or another extremely powerful player, Roddy.  Regardless of Jason's outward comments about his own wishes concerning who should be evicted, he seemed to always kowtow to either Danielle's or Roddy's wishes -- depending on who was most masterful at manipulating him that week.

Although he was strategically weak during the game, he seemed to hover below the radar of other players, and by the end of the last week of the show, he was among the final three players left.  Although he had never once been nominated for eviction, and had won the coveted position of "Head of Household" twice during the game, luck had finally run out.  On September 21, he was evicted on the show's next to last broadcast. 

In his private life, Jason's occupation is listed as being a "videographer."  He seems to be attracted to sho-biz (as a quick visit to his vanity site,
www.jasonguy.com will attest). This culminated in him being an extra once on the soap opera, "Guiding Light."  He is a gifted vocalist, and has performed on local Christian TV, as well at his local AG church. 

Will he be a Contemporary Christian recording artist, or an actor? No one has really ever been successful at using these "reality shows" and games as a springboard to pop stardom, and this show has already given the poor guy more than his entitled "15 minutes of fame."
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TOO MUCH GRACE?*
Bishop Carlton Pearson's Controversial Message
(Cover Story)  Copyright © 2001-2002.  The Association of Former Pentecostals  All Rights Reserved.

For those familiar with the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement, the name Bishop Carlton Pearson meant nothing more than one of the many pastors of mega-churches frequently parading on TBN and other Christian programming.  But, don't let that fool you!  The message preached by Bishop Pearson is far different from what one might hear in other Pentecostal churches, or even other Evangelical or Fundamentalist churches.

The majority of Christianity's non-Orthodox churches teach that one receives salvation through acceptance of Jesus Christ, but Bishop Pearson teaches that Christ's Blood extends even further than that.  While he believes that Jesus saves, he teaches that He saves even those that don't believe in Him, or know Him, according to several news sources.

This "Universal Reconciliationist" view of salvation has not endeared the bishop to those in Pentecostal circles.  Since stories of his self-styled "paradigm shift" first appeared earlier this year (see "Delivered!" 4-15-02), the bishop lost a mayoral primary bid, has been forced to resign from the Board of Regents of Oral Roberts University (and been barred from using their facilities), has been removed from scheduled conferences, and is even in trouble with his record label who is trying to decide whether or not to release his latest album on the Christian market.  Since the controversy was made public, hundreds have left his congregation at Higher Dimensions Family Church in Tulsa, OK.

Pearson hopes to clear up what he deems "misunderstandings" about his position at a conference early this month.  Many friends in the P/C movement have shunned him, but the bishop remains optimistic about his future in this movement.  Many Pentecostals and Charismatics may never be comfortable with his position, illustrated by a recent statement he made on TBN, "the world is already saved, they just don't know it."  The bishop states he has plenty of scripture to back him up (check out his statement on his website,
www.higherd.org), but perhaps his ideas simply are not ready for prime-time Christianity. 
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ANNOUNCEMENTS
Occasionally, people aren't satisfied with what they see or read in Delivered!, and they'll resign their subscription.  As much as I'd like to change that, it is often difficult to make improvements without feedback from you, the reader.  Of course, there's no way I can please everyone in this endeavor; but I can certainly make it better!  I truly value each and every opinion from the readers -- this newsletter is supposed to be a service TO YOU, and if it is failing that task, I need to know about it.  To write me about comments, concerns, or opinions, please email me at contact@ex-pentecostals.org.  Please indicate whether or not your comments can be included in a future edition of "Delivered!" under "Letters to the Editor."

Also, if you want to read past issues of "Delivered" newsletter, they are now posted on our website!  Check out
http://ex-pentecostals.org/newsletter.html !
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SPOTLIGHT ON . . .
Azusa Street Survivors


Nearly 11 months ago, I had an urge to create a discussion group for former Apostolics through Yahoo!Groups after becoming involved with such email lists through another endeavor.  After creating it, I quickly realized that I had competition, that two other such groups existed and were serving the same community (and still are doing excellent at it -- I might add).  I created a greater niche for our group, to try and reach all former Apostolics -- not just those who had left the UPCI.  Although I was the "new kid on the block," I noticed a great hunger for such fellowship among those who've left this faith.

As we grew, many others joined as well -- all having stories about how Pentecostalism had wrecked their lives, along with stories of how they recovered.  Although this stories were very similar, I was surprised to find that these were stories from people within the Assemblies of God, other Pentecostal groups, and even from Charismatics.  Eventually, I knew I had no choice to expand the focus of this group to include all who've left the Pentecostal faith and its successors.

If you're not already familiar with it, Azusa Street Survivors is a support and discussion group for all former Pentecostals and Charismatics.  It functions as an email list and brings together some 120 participants on a daily basis.  On a slow day, we may only have one post, but often as many as 20.  A record day brought nearly 100 responses.

What do we talk about?  Our painful experiences, our path out of our faiths, and our joyous road to recovery!  We are from all walks of life: many have simply switched denominations within the world of Pentecost, while others have adopted other faiths -- some leaving religious life altogether.  Despite the differences we hold now, we come together in unity as we help each other grow emotionally and spiritually.


If this group seems like something you'd be interested in, simply click here to join online (recommended).  If you don't have Internet access, or you don't want a FREE Yahoo! ID, or if you simply want to receive each message in your email inbox, simply click here and send a blank email to us.

If spiritual abuse and pain is something you're still dealing with, or you just want to help other people -- then this is the group you need to join!
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About Delivered!
Delivered! is a FREE monthly newsletter for former Pentecostals/Charismatics everywhere, distributed by e-mail only.  It is affiliated with ex-pentecostals.org.  The next publication date of the general newsletter is November 1, 2002. For more information concerning services and forums offered, check out ex-pentecostals.org.

Comments? Submissions? Letters to the Editor?
Check out ex-pentecostals.org/newsletter.html for more information, or e-mail: contact@expentecostals.org
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*information compiled from several independent media sources are considered "public knowledge," and sources are not identified.  Articles compiled from one source, the source was identified, and a story written extracting the news using "fair use" rules without intentionally infringing on their copyrights.
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Copyright © 2001-2002 by The Association of Former Pentecostals All rights reserved.  All stories, opinions, and other text in this newsletter, Delivered!, are the personal copyrighted property of The Association of Former Pentecostals, unless otherwise noted. No portion of this newsletter may be reproduced by any means without the expressed permission of the author(s).  To request permission for reproducing original materials contained within this newsletter, please e-mail The Association of Former Pentecostals at contact@expentecostals.org for more information.
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