What is the purpose of
Association of Former Pentecostals?
- Simple! It was created as an
information and fellowship community for former Pentecostals and
Charismatics. Check out "About Us" for more details!
I still don't
understand. Why does this site and its "services" need to exist? What
makes an ex-Pentecostal any more special than, say, a former Baptist or
- Pentecostalism is unique among
Christian faiths in that it often creates lingering anxiety and low-self
esteem in adherents, a situation that often "hangs around" even after
some have left the faith. Our site allows such individuals to find
fellowship and information about their former faith with complete
anonymity -- shining light on matters that could still be causing
problems in their lives. We hope to let current and former Pentecostals
know that there is life after Pentecostalism, and we're not talking
about Hell (the special place of judgment for all that "leave the
faith," according to Pentecostal teachings).
But the whole premise of this site seems
negative. Wouldn't it be better if you spent your time trying to build
the Kingdom of God rather than trying to tear it apart?
- This is a highly subjective question,
and really depends on what you define as "the Kingdom of God." Most
Christians of all faiths are at least slightly critical of other
Christian interpretations of "truth." Most Christians have no problem
criticizing other faiths, especially those faiths that seem to be a
little odd. This site is a critique of the Pentecostal and Charismatic
movements, and does not apologize for that. We do not view this
movement as a movement from God, but an errant interpretation of man
that completely ignores historical Christianity and 2,000 years of
scriptural interpretation and doctrines. Instead of "tearing apart" the
Church, we seek to help those trapped emotionally and spiritually by the
imprisoning doctrines of the Pentecostal Movement and her Charismatic
authority do you declare that Pentecostalism isn't the one true way?
- Pentecostalism is an amorphic and
ambiguous faith. It often contradicts itself, contorts vague
scriptures, and allows multiple interpretations of certain passages to
fit their doctrines -- even within a particular sect of this faith. The
Bible is molded to fit the doctrine, not the other way around. The
Bible in Pentecostal faiths is a blank slate -- completely pliable in
the hands of the speaker behind the pulpit. Because of this, many
Pentecostal and Charismatic preachers constantly claim to receive "new"
revelations, though no new books, chapters, or words have been added to
the 66 books in over 1,500 years. Most Pentecostal faiths are strangely
absent of Christian doctrine of any sort, save a few salvational
policies, or lifestyle guidelines. This "interpretive authority" given
to ministers allows ministers in these churches to assume unchecked
powers, which more often than not leads to manipulative abuses by church
been Pentecostal all my life, and what you are promoting on this site has
never been my experience!
- Then, please consider yourself quite blessed. The authoritarian
powers that most Pentecostal ministers assume are a corrupting power
they often find too hard to resist.
Comparing religion to politics: we know that history has examples of
good Kings or dictators, but such absolute authority is often a
corrupting influence, and as such creates a bad system. Since human
beings populate religion (as they do politics), such unchecked authority
often leads to the same result. It creates a bad system when a minister
has unfettered access and control over matters of church governance,
funds, or in matters of doctrine. It may not happen to every
Pentecostal/Charismatic minister, but such a corrupt system creates
enough problems that such abuses are rampant within this movement, and
to a higher degree than within Christianity at large.
I am currently
attending a Pentecostal church. I am often depressed, always feel
condemned, and although I feel that "something is wrong" with this church,
I'm really unsure of how I can leave it. I'm afraid I'll lose all my
family and friends, and I don't want to go to Hell. Can you help?
- Some may say, "All you have to do is
leave," but as an ex-Pentecostal myself, I realize that it is often more
difficult to do this than to say it. Often, we are deeply entangled in
"the faith," especially when family and friends are also involved. You
will ultimately have to make the decision as to what is best for you,
your family and your situation.
I suggest to all current Pentecostals or Charismatics that are
contemplating leaving their faith or current congregation to do the
following: Before you run out the door, do some in-depth research about
your faith, about Christianity in general, and about spiritual systems
world-wide. Be bold and read critiques of your particular denomination,
and experiences from people who "got out" and stayed out. These
experiences are often "lifesavers" because they often show examples just
like yours or mine, and can help us in making our ultimate decision.
Again, do "the math" before you bolt for the door. If you leave not
armed with the knowledge necessary to explore your spirituality and
survive outside of your denominational mind-set, you may find yourself
running back to the church you were trying to leave -- only this time
you'll be more cemented in their garbage than you were before.
Also, check out our site and its
resources, especially our "forums."
Finding friends online that can encourage and enlighten can make all the
difference, and that's what our