Delivered!
~a newsletter for former Pentecostals/Charismatics everywhere~
a service of ex-pentecostals.org
Copyright © 2001-2002.  The Association of Former Pentecostals  All Rights Reserved.

 

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August 15, 2002
Volume 1, Issue 5
TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

1.      Welcome
2.      Pentecostals in the News
3.      Letters to the Editor
4.      Announcements
5.      Final Prayer
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WELCOME

 

Well, we're on our fifth issue for our maiden year, and the news keeps pouring in.  We had so much news this month that we did have to edit out some stories, or the newsletter would have been just too long.

We are continuing to grow and change at ex-pentecostals.org.  At the end of the letter, we have some great announcements about changes to our services.  I know it seems like there something that's changed nearly every month; but please be patient as we try to make our site, newsletter, and all of our services more user friendly for you!  Again, this is all about YOU, the ex-Pentecostal!

And, the only way I know I'm doing my job, or know that I need to do better is if I hear from you, the reader.  So, tell me how I'm doing, and how we can best serve you!

The Association of Former Pentecostals
Editor
contact@expentecostals.org

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Pentecostals In The News*
 

AUSTIN AWAKENING

Move over Brownsville, Toronto . . . and even Azusa, there's a new movement in town!  Everyone in Austin, Texas is abuzz about a return to humility before God -- or at least that is what the pastor of a church there wants you to believe, according to a report by the Dallas Morning News.

Two years ago, Pastor Kenneth Phillips stood up before his congregation at PromiseLand Church in Austin and tore off his toupee -- an act of humility as he preached a sermon on vanity and pride.  This not only shocked his congregation, who had no inkling of the aging pastor's balding nature, but also his family who felt he would never reveal the "naked" truth about his hairline.

Since his sermon, the church has stated that they are in a state of "revival" as many in his congregation emulate his actions by ridding themselves of things in their lives that they feel come between them and God -- from fancy cars to fancy clothing.

This revival, entitled "Austin Awakening" has caused the church to grow, but critics within the greater Pentecostal and Charismatic movement downplay its success; stating that the growth in this "Oneness" church (apparently, formerly associated with the UPCI) is a fluke, and not a great movement such as the "gold dust" phenomenon, or the "laughing" revivals of the last decade.
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THE DAY THE LAUGHTER STOPPED

Carpenter's Home Church (AG) in Lakeland, Florida has had its ups and downs, but they are taking it all in good humor as things are perking up a bit -- and that's no joke!  During the mid-eighties, the church had an explosive growth period due to a revival held by Rodney Howard-Brown.  The South African minister, famous for his "laughing" revivals, introduced this so-called movement to North America in that suburban church.  As a result, the church grew to nearly 5,000 members, and built a mammoth 10,000 seat auditorium in anticipation of greater things to come.

Eventually, the laughter stopped and the church shrank after financial scandals and a split that rocked the church.  As their numbers dwindled to 1,200 members; things seemed hopeless.

Things turned around when the pastor of Without Walls International Church (14,000 members) in Tampa responded to an offer by the pastor of the shrinking church, according to a report by the Lakeland Ledger.  After a short joint venture, WWIC will purchase the building and half the 100+ acre property as they expand their ministry into Central Florida.  This will leave the smaller of the two with enough dough to get out of debt and build a smaller church on the remaining property.
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BAPTICOSTAL REVIVAL

Many churches within the Baptist faith are experiencing a "Pentecostal renewal," according to a report by Charisma News Service.  Though often frowned on historically by the faith's largest organization, the Southern Baptist Convention, the report implies that there is a growing tolerance for charismatic worship and the use of "gifts of the spirit."

Though the article seemed to imply that this movement is spreading throughout the entire Baptist faith, examples provided were from churches within the more moderate Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
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COMING TO AMERICA

Those we once witnessed to are now missionaries to America.  Members of the Redeemed Christian Church of God -- founded by Nigerian immigrants -- want nothing more than to bring America back to its religious roots and more in line with the holy living that takes place daily in their native land, according to a recent story by the Chicago Tribune.

This isn't just hopeful thinking, this is a growing faith with over 5,000 churches in 80 different countries.  Historically, this church that has existed in the U.S. for nearly 50 years has mostly attracted other Nigerian immigrants.  Now, it is attracting quite a few African-Americans -- as well as others -- with its mix of traditional Pentecostal message and African music and dance.
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ASHCROFT ANGERS RIGHT

Conservative Assembly of God member John Ashcroft has angered many fellow conservatives due to what they perceive as a preoccupation with post-September 11th issues instead of focusing on what they want: imposing the ultraconservative agenda on the country from his bully pulpit, the Office of Attorney General of the United States.

Besides neglecting these right-wing promotions, many Republicans are angry over the Justice Department's greater powers of investigation, according to a report by the Washington Times, fearing -- perhaps -- that it is turning the government into "Big Brother."

Other conservatives are angry over Ashcroft's apparent decision to not ban a gay pride celebration by Justice employees, a decision that drew condemnations from Concerned Women of America, the Culture and Family Institute, and the American Family Association.
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FIGHTING FOR JESUS

Cage fighter Casey Jean Noland hopes that while she is kickboxing and wrestling her mostly secular opponents in this violent sport, that they and others will be witnessed to by her Christian example, according to a Charisma News Service report.  Publisher Cameron Strang of Charisma is profiling her and others as part of an upcoming book, entitled "I Am Relevant," which speaks of young Christians sharing their faith in nontraditional ways.

Some may wonder if such violent activities really are appropriate in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ, but critics beware!  In the same article, Dan Haseltine of Jars of Clay tells how such reveals a gospel "of substance" to a world that views the church and the ". . .gospel (as) irrelevant or inconsequential."
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HIP-HOP 4 JESUS

A recent Fourth of July celebration presented by ABC television shared events from around the country; from outdoor events, to concerts, and even religious services.  They spotlighted Christian musician Kirk Franklin's church -- where he is pastor -- where the members there were having their own celebration.  While Pentecostals have long been reviled as having services that resemble dance halls, it was apparent with the layout of the building and gyrating that this particular Pentecostal's church was indeed just that: a dance hall.

Charisma & Christian Living magazine spotlighted this trend in their August issue, stating that many of these "hip-hop" churches are springing up around the country, and alluding that this seems to be the fault of traditional churches being resistant to this trend.  While most of these churches are popping up in larger, urban areas, and attracting mostly black audiences, Charisma listed at least one church that is affiliated with the mostly white Assemblies of God organization.

To the uninitiated, hip-hop gospel may not sound any different from its mainstream pop cousin, with its DJ's, provocative clothing, and materialistic message.  After listening to many of these songs, viewing such videos or these "church" services, one will find there is virtually no difference -- except that Jesus is mentioned a few times in the lyrics.
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PENTECOSTAL EXECUTION

In 1988, the Reverend John David Terry of Emmanuel Church of Christ Oneness Pentecostal Church in Nashville, TN, murdered Chester Matheney in the church before a planned fishing trip they had scheduled that day, according to ninetyandnine.com.  Rev'd Terry had been embezzling money from the church, and apparently was distraught over not receiving a promotion there, and the then-recent death of his mother when the incident occurred.

He was convicted of the murder, but it was overturned due to technicalities.  A second jury convicted him again, and he was condemned early this summer to die by execution.
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ROBERTSON DOGGED BY FORTUNE

Televangelist Pat Robertson can't win for losing . . . money, that is.  This perception that Fortune magazine created when reporting on his failed businesses is one the aging tongue-talker is fighting tooth and nail.  The magazine claimed that the preacher burned through $80 million dollars of his trust's $109 million start up money on bad business gambles in an apparent attempt to wean his ministry off of viewer contributions that may dry up once he is no longer able to function in the ministry.  These businesses include a failed gold mine in Liberia, and an old oil refinery that Robertson spent the lion's share of cash on in a failed attempt to refurbish it, according to a Charisma report.

Robertson came back swinging, apparently having been warmed up by earlier media attacks due to his controversial ownership of race horses.  He said that the remarks claimed by Fortune were completely false, and that the money from his trust (Robertson Charitable Remainder Trust) did not use viewer donated money for his failed businesses.  Delivered! wonders exactly where that money did come from, if not from his television solicitations?
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HOLY GHOST FIRE

While many watched the sky light up on the Fourth with fireworks, members of Brownsville Assembly of God saw their new sanctuary light up as well.  Instead of burning with the "Holy Ghost fire" that put their church in the national spotlight during to their multiyear revival, the fire this time was real; due to a lightening strike.

The fire caused $1 million dollars in damage, but the pastor says it was a "blessing in disguise" since the sanctuary had been well worn by the attendance of thousands of revival participants over the years.  Insurance money will rebuild the facility that apparently needed many repairs.
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NO SANCTUARY!

When Rosanne Willcocks rented a small caravan parked in park owned by the Assemblies of God in Busselton, Queensland, Australia, she knew her life would turn around for her and her four children after leaving her husband.  The Sunday Times in Australia reported that the church had no intentions of operating their park as a homeless shelter, and sought to evict her after three months.  Mrs. Willcocks was distraught by their decision, and fought them; stating that the caravan's owner made an oral contract with her to use the habitat for four months.

A Busselton magistrate sided with her, but the church continued its eviction proceedings, stating that the church was actually leasing the property from Busselton shire, and anything longer than a three-month stay was in violation of that lease.  No word if the church attempted to assist the homeless family find other housing.
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PENTECOSTAL MP

The "Ashcroft Phenomenon" is taking the world by storm!  The Pentecostal Attorney General and former US Senator has international fellowship with the recent election of Andrew Evan to South Australia's Legislative Council, the legislative upper house of that Australian state.  Evans is a retired AG pastor, and the founder of the Family First party which won the seat.  This is the first victory for the small party, and Evans is apparently the first Pentecostal elected to a major political seat in that country.
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MIRACLE POOL

Longing for the healing pools mentioned in the Bible?  Well, search no more!  No, they haven't been excavated in the Middle East; rather, a South African pastor has built one in his church in Lofdal, Stilfontein.  Anyone wanting a miracle is invited to walk through "the Bath of Bethesda," and Rev'd Kobus van Rensburg claims many have done just that.
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GIVE UNTO THE LORD

Church of God members thought they were doing a good thing when they invested hard-earned monies in the investment division of Church of God Ministries (Anderson, Indiana).  Church Extension was in theory a fund raising arm of the church to help build and renovate churches in this denomination; instead, they found themselves having to settle with the Securities and Exchange Commission last month after it was discovered they had defrauded investors to the tune of $85 million dollars.  Church officials have promised that all investors will be repaid, according to a report by Charisma News Service.
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~Letters to the Editor~
 

Dear Editor:

I was raised UPC, have been out of that for many years.  A woman I work with is in it though.  I've tried to talk to her about the Oneness vs. Trinity issue.  I've never in my life heard a Trinity preacher/teacher refer to three gods and shared that with her. (Plus the fact that my Bible has always read exactly the way they preach it no matter how hard I tried to understand their twist on the scriptures.) In turn she shared something about a Trinity tract she'd come across years ago.  In it, at the end, there are three thrones in Heaven.  Now, reprints of the same track show just one throne.  It's her opinion, as well as many others, that God is revealing Oneness to the "heathen" (she didn't use that word but you know the attitude) Trinitarians.  They are having the "truth" revealed to them just like the Bible says would happen?!?  So I'm sure that many of them would have basically the same response to the article "Will the UPC Change?"  That is so frustrating.  My parents, in their 70's, are still thoroughly immersed in the doctrine. 

Well, I just had to vent a little.  I really enjoy your newsletter!  Keep up the great work and may God bless you richly.

Sincerely,
D.F.

Thanks for your kind words, D.F. I certainly know how frustrating it can be communicating with a current Pentecostal about the word "truth."  And then, I have to remember that I used to be the same way, so I have to give 'em a little credit!  I like to think of the different Christian denominations as different understandings of Christ and His gospel, and since they are human understandings, there are flaws in each of them, and none is perfect.

About the UPCI in particular, it is kind of hard to imagine that church ever moving an inch.  Founded when many Christian faiths shared common Victorian social codes and dress, it alone isolated itself and has remained virtually unchanged for the nearly hundred years Apostolic Pentecostalism has been on the planet.  A humorous memory from childhood is a play our church used to put on about the early Pentecostal revivals.  The ladies did not have to do much with their hair to mimic the styles and length of Victorian Age women.

AFoP Editor

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~Announcements~
 


About the newsletter: First, the good news!  After taking a break in September, Delivered! newsletter will be published on a monthly basis, coming to you 11 months a year from then on.  The schedule for the rest of the year will be a newsletter for October and one for November.  No commitment yet on a December issue (this may be the one month that it will not be published from now on -- I haven't decided).

This decision was made due to the regular influx of news relating to Pentecostals I receive almost daily, and often waiting for two months to publish a certain article greatly decreases the newsworthiness of the piece.

Now, the bad news: The newsletter starting in October will be shorter and more palatable.  In the past, I've compiled newsletters that probably took nearly a half-hour to read, and that really is a bit much for a e-mail newsletter.  Each newsletter will be compiled of two to four news stories, a feature commentary, and letters to the editor.  Each should be short enough for quick and easy digestion, and not something of the megalithic proportions I've been known to send out.

The "feature commentaries" will remain, but each will not appear in every newsletter.  "Famous Pentecostals," "Spotlight On . . .," "Cover Story," "A Pentecostal Experience," and "Editorial" will all continue, but only one of them will be featured in any one issue of the new and improved "Delivered!"

About the website: As of now, our website is fully functional -- with most of the bugs worked out.  We now have a links and resources page, and a guestbook for passersby.  During the month I'm taking off (September), I will be marketing this site on the Internet, and finding other ways to get the word out about the site and our services.  Any hints or ideas would be helpful, and greatly appreciated.

About the Mailing List: Want to remain part of our services and mailing list, but worried about your confidentiality?  Within the two weeks, an announcement will be released to ex-pentecostals.org Mailing List that explains the new plan to not only perfect confidentiality, but to add controls for individuals to add or delete their name to the list independent of ex-pentecostals.org's participation.  Be sure and read this "Memo" as it will contain vital information.
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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 www.ex-pentecostals.org.  The next publication date of the general newsletter is October 1, 2002.

ex-pentecostals.org
For more information concerning services and forums offered by the Association of Former Pentecostals, 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 without intentionally infringing on copyright laws.
**contributions and experiences by former Pentecostals do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editor of this newsletter.  Contributions many be edited for grammar, punctuation, or length.
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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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