Home
`                Current World Issues
Globalism and N.W.O.
Global Sunday Laws Agenda
Religious Liberty
`                   Science and Bible
Laws of the Universe
Sacred History
`                                    Bible
God
Jesus Christ
`                  Ten Commandments
Sabbath
Sin
Spiritual Warfare
Sanctuary
`            Three Angels Messages
Prophecy
Time Prophecy
`                                Sermons
More Bible Topics
More Articles
Bible Questions and Answers
More Resources
What Does the Bible Say About ...
Bible Slides
`                 Satan's Counterfeits
Paganism Baptised
Papacy
All the World Wonders After . . .
Secret Societies
Occult / Magic
`                                   Health
Health Principles
Nutrition
Bad Nutrition
Healing Foods
Home Remedies
Physical Ailments
Mental Ailments
Medical Fraud
Recreational Drugs
`                     Biblical Lifestyle
SDA Issues
Sunset Times
Site Map
Ask a Bible Question
Religious Survey
Site Feedback
About Us
Contact Us
Links
e-mail me

Fire in the Church


 

Lloyd Grolimund, Senior Pastor of Wahroonga Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sydney, Australia

lgrolimund@kooee.com.au

As I write this article (December 203–January 2004), the church in Australia is undergoing a considerable transformation in worship. Hillsong, Parachute and other Pentecostal influences are having an extraordinary influence on the shape of worship in the Adventist context. This development includes the introduction and practice of drama, Christian rock music, and an informal approach to worship that is directed toward reaching the un-churched secular mind of urban Australia.

Many argue that the vast numbers attending churches that practice this approach is evidence in itself of God’s blessing. Almost on this basis alone the proponents of this phenomena insist on an aggressive and sustained effort to introduce and incorporate this worship into the church. To a large degree their efforts have borne fruit and Pentecostal worship is becoming part of mainstream Adventism in Australia.

This is especially evident in youth work where the Pentecostal form and style of worship is used almost universally by all the local conferences. A typical youth rally involves powerful preaching, drama, and plenty of Christian rock music. In many youth rallies/camp meetings etc, the music is the largest part of the worship experience often going for over an hour. The youth are taken to the mountaintop with heavy driving rock songs and then down into the valley with quite gentler tunes. Accompanying this music is dancing and clapping. Unquestionably many of the youth support this approach and this can be seen in the thousands of young people who attend youth rally’s, Campoorees, camp meetings etc.

The inspiration for much of what is developing through worship in Adventism is not created from within our own ranks. To a large extent mega Pentecostal churches are driving Christian training in Australia. Many Adventist pastors, and local church officers are attending training symposiums and seminars that are as professionally planned, organized, and directed as any secular program. In five star venues students are told of the infinite value of adopting the Pentecostal approach. Slick bands, experienced song leaders, powerful presenters, and worship that totally overwhelms the senses is an irresistible tonic for Adventist pastors and local church youth leaders struggling to see growth in their churches or youth groups. Add to this the statistics that boast explosive church growth, and a powerful argument to travel the Pentecostal road is complete.

The pressure this movement brings to church leaders who set the direction and focus for the Seventh-day Adventist Church is immense. It is hardly surprising that many are loathe to oppose this Charismatic drift, and it takes great valor to stand against such an overwhelmingly popular and apparently successful approach. That some do is evidence of their commitment to God and their courage.

This phenomena is not restricted to age, gender, or geography. From small country churches to large city ones the Pentecostal fueled revival burns its way through pews and minds all over Australia. Old and young alike are taken up with the excitement and vibrancy of this movement.

Those who dare to oppose this direction are marginalized as fanatics and placed with the lunatic fringe from the far right. Opponents are seen as traditional and narrow who are not capable of adopting a positive attitude to contemporary approaches to a secular un-churched society. Reputations vanish, friends are lost, and others are ostracized because of their opposition. Many are afraid of the consequences of standing against this movement and therefore allow its progress unopposed.

Others have embraced this Pentecostal drift and endeavor to advance its cause at every turn. They promote it in their churches; encourage people to the symposiums and seminars, then ensure its passage into the worship experiences at every opportunity.

More than one Adventist church has been split irreconcilably because of this. Throughout the length and breadth of the country there are churches, families, and friendships shattered by the impasse that Pentecostalism brings to Adventism.

Because of the metamorphosis of worship in Adventism in Australia, the church faces an uncertain future. Few would argue that the post-modern church will be very different to that of the past. How it shapes up as the current generation of young people, immersed in Pentecostalism, takes over leadership is unknown. Whether it is to late to reverse the trend is questionable. Only God, who knows the beginning from the end, truly knows where these disturbing phenomena will take us.

Worship is the Issue

Worship has always been the issue between Jesus and Satan. This point is very clear in the Bible. Who we worship determines our eternal existence. How we worship determines who we worship, likewise who we worship determines how we worship.

Just as worship has always been the issue, so to it will continue to be the point of contention as the people of God travel through the time of the end. This demands from us a careful and sober study of the subject. Only then can we come to conclusions that will be in harmony with the will of God.

God is Fire

Hebrews 12:29: “For our God is a consuming fire”. Throughout the Bible God is likened to fire. We can see this in a number of places. Here are a few examples.

1. God was the fire that Cain and Abel were both seeking. Genesis 4
2. God was the fire that called Moses to leadership of Israel. Exodus 3:2
3. God was the fire that protected Israel in their sojourn through the desert. Exodus 13:21
4. God was the fire who gave the Israelites the Ten Commandments. Deuteronomy 4:12
5. God was the fire that brought Israel to repentance in the days of Elijah. 1 Kings 18
6. God is the fire that brings revival and forgiveness at baptism. Matthew 3:11 & Luke 3:16
7. God was the fire that set the Apostolic church ablaze. Acts 2

It is this Fire (God) that a post-modern world is looking for in worship. In fact worship is about the presence of Fire (God). Without Fire (God) there can be no true worship.

Adventism —The Fire Church and the Formal Traditional Church

People (especially young people) are looking for Fire (a real God) in the church. They have been coming to the church in expectation of such an experience since our beginning. For those who have found God in the context of Australian Adventism, we should be thankful. However, for many this has not been the case. Often converts come into Adventism expecting to meet a real God leading a vibrant on fire movement. Instead they are met with formalism and tradition that rivals Catholicism.1 This is a devastating experience for new believers.

Fire is present when the members of the church are committed, practicing Christians. This includes regular daily Bible Study and prayer, together with a spirit of humility and repentance. Church members with this type of experience bring Jesus to church with them. They are exciting, vibrant, happy people who are at peace with God and the church. Others are drawn to them and their church because they see Jesus through their lives.

Churches full of saved people are growing churches. The fire of God burns hotly from the pulpit, in the Sabbath School classes, and in the board and business meetings. Evangelism of the lost is the primary function of this church and all other activities are subservient to this mission. The Bible is the only practice of law, and all decisions and questions are resolved through adherence to its Word. The fire-saturated church is open to change when the change is in accordance with the Bible and furthers the cause of Christ.

The formal traditional church practices very little of the converted on fire church. This church is bound by history and common practice. Worship services are staid, monotonous, and predictable. Any change is seen as threatening and dangerous and is to be avoided at all costs. It is common for this church to be constantly looking within, and evangelism is a very low priority. This church builds walls rather than bridges to the community. It is not unusual for this church to be losing members rapidly. A few powerful leaders often dominate. Cold formalism has replaced vibrant spirit filled worship and as a direct result this church is dying or is already dead. Throughout Australia the bones of these churches lie in the sun as a testimony to the foolishness of such an approach – an approach to often taken in the conservative Adventist movement.

Response to the Formal Traditional Church

Inevitably the formal traditional approach is a church that young people and un-churched Australians find unattractive. Jesus is largely not present and there is no fire. This approach very rarely wins souls to Christ and the reformation of the Middle Ages was a direct God led refutation of such formal traditionalism.

There are many basic responses to the formal traditional approach. Following are a few:

1. Stay in the church and help to build the walls and maintain the status quo. It is surprising how many feel secure and safe with this approach.
2. Leave Christianity and Adventism altogether.
3. Attempt to revive the church from within through a personal fire driven experience.
4. Attempt to revive the church from within with the Pentecostal model.
5. Leave the Adventist congregation and set up another Adventist church based on the Pentecostal model.
6. Leave the Adventist Church for another – usually Pentecostal Charismatic.

Point number 3 is the only response a fire driven Adventist can have. To often we take other approaches to the detriment to the church and ourselves. Each of these points deserve time and study. However it is point numbers 4 and 5 that the rest of this article will concern itself with.

The Pentecostal Wave and Seventh-day Adventism

It is distressing for most Adventists to witness the demise and deterioration of Adventism in Australia. Generally the church is not in good shape. Tithe is decreasing in real terms,2 attendance is falling away rapidly3, and we are no longer able to support the mission fields as we once did.4. Our young people are leaving us in epidemic proportions, 5 and any way you look at it the church is rapidly going backwards. As members and financial support disappear, pastors, administrators, and concerned church members are left wondering where this disturbing trend will end. What future, if any, does the Seventh-day Adventist church have in Australia?

Comfortingly, Adventism is not alone in its dilemma. Most traditional Protestant Churches are facing the same scenarios, and in most cases are in a more devastated state than we. Entire denominations are in danger of disappearing off the Australian religious landscape. Perhaps the only Christian groups perceived to be having any success in postmodern Australia is the Pentecostals. With their mega churches, large youth groups, and massive conversion rates, it is hard to argue with their approach6.

Because of their successes the Pentecostals are now the benchmark for modern Christianity. Their music, style, and spiritual approach have been accepted and incorporated into every facet of Protestant worship and practice.

Good theology demands that more than success be the catalyst for change in Adventism – especially a Pentecostal change. The Bible says, “Thy word is truth and a lamp unto my path.” Surely if we are to accept as a denomination the Pentecostal wave that is currently swamping Protestantism and subsequently us, then it must stand up to the time honored test of truth.

What is Wrong With Pentecostalism?

What the Bible has to say about the Pentecostal movement is both interesting and sobering. It is only when we understand the biblical perspective on this amazing phenomenon that we will be able to deal with its advance upon the Adventist Church at the beginning of the 21st century.

As we have already seen, God’s presence in the Bible is often depicted as a consuming fire. Every approach God has had to mankind, Satan has created a counterfeit. Take the following for example:

i. God created the world
Satan counters through evolution
ii. God created the Sabbath
Satan counters with Sunday worship
iii. God says the soul that sins will die
Satan counters that the soul is immortal
iv. God says that the second coming will be visible
Satan counters with a secret rapture
v. God created marriage
Satan counters with the concept of partners
vi. God creates sex
Satan counters with immorality
vii. God creates food
Satan counters with gluttony

Satan counters every action of God. Each counterfeit is designed to confuse and deceive.

Gods presence as a consuming fire also has a satanic counterfeit - a counterfeit designed to weaken and eventually destroy the Adventist movement and its message? I propose that this counterfeit is the worldwide Charismatic Pentecostal movement.

False Fire in the Bible

In Acts chapter 2 the Holy Spirit empowers the infant church with one of the most dramatic experiences in the Bible. The power of God was unleashed in the hearts of 120 ordinary men and women. Flames of fire descended into the room and alighted upon the heads of the believers. With their lives awash in the molten power of the Holy Spirit, this small band of pilgrims changed the world with the story of Jesus forever. As a result of this experience Jesus was taken to every corner of the earth. This could not have happened except through the power of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of the believers.

It was the presence of God through fire (The Holy Spirit) that brought about the miracle that birthed the apostolic Christian Church (Pentecost in Acts 2). Seventh-day Adventism is the direct descendant of this Fire driven movement. Not only has God blessed us with the truth, but He has also granted the Holy Spirit (Fire) to advance the truth. This is why a tiny movement in the 19th century has mushroomed into a large international faith that has twenty million participating worshippers in almost every country of the earth.

Throughout the years Adventism has faced many crisis. Kellogg thought to bring the church to her knees. The influence of Desmond Ford saw dozens of ministers and hundreds of church members leave the work and the faith. At times, but for the direct intervention and leading of God, the church may have fallen. And yet through all the controversies, apostasies and divisions, the church has moved on resolutely because Jesus is her captain. She cannot flounder. Yet now a new and different kind of threat menaces the church – Neo Pentecostalism6. This is the most dangerous challenge she has faced in her entire history, and it is this particular movement that this article is concerned with.

Pentecostalism is an interdenominational movement. Its sweeping influence pervades throughout the Catholic, Protestant and Seventh-day Adventist churches’. This phenomenon has arguably had more influence on modern Christianity that any other factor. Nevertheless there is still something wrong and there is good reason why this movement is so dangerous to Seventh-day Adventism?

At the basis of the Pentecostal Charismatic movement is the powerful leading and ministry of the Holy Spirit (Fire). Religion based on experience, and then truth, is the model advocated by the Neo Pentecostal. The evidence of this is manifested in a myriad of phenomena’s and successes. Some are as follows:

1. Speaking in tongues
2. Healings and miracles
3. Spectacular growth
4. Prophetic utterances and ministry
5. Unity
6. Spiritual gifts
7. Secular success and wealth
8. Colleges and schools
9. Medical clinics
10. Powerful culturally relevant worship
11. Original music
12. Huge slick training conferences

Despite these attractive features that are leading many to believe in the Spirit driven success of this movement, a lingering doubt remains in the minds of many Seventh-day Adventists. There is an uncomfortable suspicion that all is not right in the headlong rush some of our leaders are encouraging the Adventist church into with Neo Pentecostalism.

The current generation of young Seventh-day Adventists are seeking God. They come to the church of their heritage (SDA) looking for Fire (God). In many cases, tragically, they are not finding it (God). However, unlike previous generations that left Adventism and Christianity altogether,7 these young people do not leave Christianity – they just leave Adventism. The vast majority end up in Charismatic churches basking around the Pentecostal fire — and the fire burns hot. On any given Sunday afternoon countless numbers of Adventist youth can be found worshipping at Hillsong in Sydney. The overwhelming problem with this is not just the concept of counterfeit Sunday worship – it is the fire – the Pentecostal fire —it is false.

The Biblical Case Against the Fire of Pentecostalism

In Revelation chapter 13 we are confronted with two beasts. The first beast (verses 1–10)8 has been clearly identified by Bible students since the Protestant Reformation as the Church of Rome. As we approach the end of time this religious power leads a great worldwide rebellion against God.

The second beast (verses 11–17)9 is understood by Seventh-day Adventists to be the United States of America. With this in mind note verses’ 13 and 14: “And he (USA) performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven10 to earth in full view of men. Because of the signs he (USA) was given power to do on behalf of the first beast (Church of Rome), he (USA) deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He (USA) ordered them to set up an image (false worship) in honor of the beast (Church of Rome) that was wounded by the sword and yet lived” (Rev 13:13-14).11

Remember that the fire of Acts 2 is the Holy Spirits presence and anointing, yet unlike the fire of Acts 2 that brought about the birth of the apostolic church, this new fire serves a dark and sinister purpose. Primarily the purpose of this false fire is to cause men and women to be deceived and leave Jesus. It does this by encouraging the world to set up an image (false worship) to the Church of Rome.

If “true fire” is the workings of the Holy Spirit that brings about revival, repentance and change, then the “false fire” of Revelation 13 must be the outpouring of a false spirit that deceives and leads people away form God.

Could it be that the false fire of Revelation 13:13 is nothing short of the spirit led Pentecostal Charismatic revival (false fire) that has taken the world, and subsequently much of western Adventism, by storm?

Note the following from verse 13 again:
1. The fire comes from the second beast – USA.
2. It is miraculous.
3. It comes down from heaven (Is spiritual).
4. It causes the whole world to worship the first beast – the Church of Rome

Now consider the following in the light of the above points:
1. The Pentecostal movement comes primarily from the USA. This great nation is still the power base of this vibrant movement.
2. The Pentecostal movement is rooted and immersed in the miraculous. This includes healings, prophecies, speaking in tongues, dreams and visions.
3. Fire is the supernatural presence of a supernatural being. Christians identify this as God. The spirit that drives Pentecostalism is supernatural – it comes down from heaven and is spiritual – but I am proposing that it is not of God. As this article will show, the fire that burns hot in this movement has its origins in a darker realm.
4. The Pentecostal movement is uniting the churches of Christendom into an ecumenical whole. Baptists, Methodists, Congregationalists, Seventh-day Adventists, Catholics – we all find unity in a common worship experience – a Pentecostal one. It is not unreasonable to expect this to play a large part in the ecumenical movement that will unite the churches and religions of the world just before the end of time.

If the above hypothesis is true, then we must address the following questions:
1. How can the Pentecostal movement be accused of being driven by a false spirit?
2. Even if a false spirit drives Charismatic Pentecostalism, how does this movement aid in setting up an image in honor of the Church of Rome?
3. What role is Pentecostalism playing in the ecumenical movement?

The final instalment of this article will investigate these challenging questions.

Lloyd Grolimund
lgrolimund@kooee.com.au

ENDNOTES

1 I believe that the formalism and tradition that is found in many conservative Adventist churches is a recent phenomenon. My grandfather, a minister in the early to middle years of the 20th century, used to talk about a vibrant growing church. Many old time preachers alive today talk about a vastly different church to the traditional one some now worship in.

2 See the recent and continuing study of Avondale College theologians Rob McIver and Steve Currow on tithing–their overall conclusion is that real tithe is depreciating at an alarming rate.

3 Many city and country churches that once thrived have lost so many members that they are being forced to close and cease to exist.

4 In the PNGUM over 50 pastors have been retrenched for 2003 alone. This is on top of the hundreds and hundreds of teachers, pastors, and church workers who have lost their jobs in the South Pacific Division mission fields over the last 5 to 10 years.

5That our young people are leaving us in epidemic proportions cannot be argued when an honest appraisal of our real situation is undertaken

6 Hillsong Church (Pentecostal Church in Sydney) has an attendance of over 12000 people every weekend. Their annual budget for charity is over 4 hundred thousand dollars. Last year their offerings topped 10 million and their bookshops sold over 8 million worth of books and music. They have bought into medical centers and their Bible College has over 1700 full or part time students. This one church has a staff of over 200, including 70 pastors. The church building is worth over 25 million. There are five television cameras and their services are recorded in more than 80 countries. (Source material from the
“Good Weekend, Jan 25, 2003”)

7Neo Pentecostalism is not heavily based in tongues, holy laughter and faith healing. These elements are only present in a limited fashion. The excesses of traditional Pentecostalism often come under criticism from the Neo Pentecostal. Neo Pentecostalism is more Biblically based than its happy clappy, tongues speaking, miracle-healing cousin—old fashioned Pentecostalism. With these extreme elements in the back closet, the Neo Pentecostal movement has found it simpler to gain acceptance into the mainstream Protestant denominations. Nevertheless Neo Pentecostalism is still a religious experience based heavily in experiential rather than truth based religion. One of the reasons this movement is so dangerous to Seventh-day Adventism is because the apostasy is closer to the truth and more difficult to recognise. In this article Neo Pentecostalism is the movement under discussion.

8My experience is similar to hundreds of others I have talked to over the years. In a class of some 30 Adventist youth at an Adventist High School (academy), there are less that five still serving the Lord as SDA. Look at your own church–where have all the youth of the last twenty five years gone? How many are still serving the Lord? The answer most of you will conclude is frightening.

9Revelation 13:1–10: ‘I looked and saw a beast coming up from the sea. This one had ten horns and seven heads, and a crown was on each of its ten horns. On each of its heads were names that were an insult to God. The beast that I saw had the body of a leopard, the feet of a bear, and the mouth of a lion. The dragon handed over its own power and throne and great authority to this beast. One of its heads seemed to have been fatally wounded, but now it was well. Everyone on earth marvelled at this beast, and they worshiped the dragon who had given its authority to the beast. They also worshiped the beast and said, “No one is like this beast! No one can fight against it.’ The beast was allowed to brag and claim to be God, and for forty-two months it was allowed to rule. The beast cursed God, and it cursed the name of God. It even cursed the place where God lives, as well as everyone who lives in heaven with God. It was allowed to fight against God’s people and defeat them. It was also given authority over the people of every tribe, nation, language, and race. The beast was worshiped by everyone whose name wasn’t written before the time of creation in the book of the Lamb who was killed. If you have ears, then listen! If you are doomed to be captured, you will be captured. If you are doomed to be killed by a sword, you will be killed by a sword. This means that God’s people must learn to endure and be faithful!”


10Revelation 13:11-17: “I now saw another beast. This one came out of the ground. It had two horns like a lamb, but spoke like a dragon. It worked for the beast whose fatal wound had been healed. And it used all its authority to force the earth and its people to worship that beast. It worked mighty miracles, and while people watched, it even made fire come down from the sky. This second beast fooled people on earth by working miracles for the first one. Then it talked them into making an idol in the form of the beast that did not die after being wounded by a sword. It was allowed to put breath into the idol, so that it could speak. Everyone who refused to worship the idol of the beast was put to death. All people were forced to put a mark on their right hand or forehead. Whether they were powerful or weak, rich or poor, free people or slaves, they all had to have this mark, or else they could not buy or sell anything. This mark stood for the name of the beast and for the number of its name.

11Emphasis mine

FIRE IN THE CHURCH” Second and final Part.

Lloyd Grolimund, Senior Pastor of Wahroonga Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sydney, Australia

lgrolimund@kooee.com.au

The church in Australia is undergoing a considerable transformation in worship. Hillsong, Parachute and other Pentecostal influences are having an extraordinary influence on the shape of worship in the Adventist context. This development includes the introduction and practice of drama, Christian rock music, and an informal approach to worship that is directed toward reaching the un-churched secular mind of urban Australia.

Many argue that the vast numbers attending churches that practice this approach is evidence in itself of God’s blessing. Almost on this basis alone the proponents of this phenomena insist on an aggressive and sustained effort to introduce and incorporate this worship into the church. To a large degree their efforts have borne fruit and Pentecostal worship is becoming part of mainstream Adventism in Australia.

This is especially evident in youth work where the Pentecostal form and style of worship is used almost universally by all the local conferences. A typical youth rally involves powerful preaching, drama, and plenty of Christian rock music. In many youth rallies/camp meetings etc, the music is the largest part of the worship experience often going for over an hour. The youth are taken to the mountaintop with heavy driving rock songs and then down into the valley with quite gentler tunes. Accompanying this music is dancing and clapping. Unquestionably many of the youth support this approach and this can be seen in the thousands of young people who attend youth rally’s, Campoorees, camp meetings etc.

The inspiration for much of what is developing through worship in Adventism is not created from within our own ranks. To a large extent mega Pentecostal churches are driving Christian training in Australia. Many Adventist pastors, and local church officers are attending training symposiums and seminars that are as professionally planned, organized, and directed as any secular program. In five star venues students are told of the infinite value of adopting the Pentecostal approach. Slick bands, experienced song leaders, powerful presenters, and worship that totally overwhelms the senses is an irresistible tonic for Adventist pastors and local church youth leaders struggling to see growth in their churches or youth groups. Add to this the statistics that boast explosive church growth, and a powerful argument to travel the Pentecostal road is complete.

The pressure this movement brings to church leaders who set the direction and focus for the Seventh-day Adventist Church is immense. It is hardly surprising that many are loathe to oppose this Charismatic drift, and it takes great valor to stand against such an overwhelmingly popular and apparently successful approach. That some do is evidence of their commitment to God and their courage.

This phenomena is not restricted to age, gender, or geography. From small country churches to large city ones the Pentecostal fueled revival burns its way through pews and minds all over Australia. Old and young alike are taken up with the excitement and vibrancy of this movement.

Those who dare to oppose this direction are marginalized as fanatics and placed with the lunatic fringe from the far right. Opponents are seen as traditional and narrow who are not capable of adopting a positive attitude to contemporary approaches to a secular un-churched society. Reputations vanish, friends are lost, and others are ostracized because of their opposition. Many are afraid of the consequences of standing against this movement and therefore allow its progress unopposed.

Others have embraced this Pentecostal drift and endeavor to advance its cause at every turn. They promote it in their churches; encourage people to the symposiums and seminars, then ensure its passage into the worship experiences at every opportunity.

More than one Adventist church has been split irreconcilably because of this. Throughout the length and breadth of the country there are churches, families, and friendships shattered by the impasse that Pentecostalism brings to Adventism.

Because of the metamorphosis of worship in Adventism in Australia, the church faces an uncertain future. Few would argue that the post-modern church will be very different to that of the past. How it shapes up as the current generation of young people, immersed in Pentecostalism, takes over leadership is unknown. Whether it is to late to reverse the trend is questionable. Only God, who knows the beginning from the end, truly knows where these disturbing phenomena will take us.

Worship is the Issue

Worship has always been the issue between Jesus and Satan. This point is very clear in the Bible. Who we worship determines our eternal existence. How we worship determines who we worship, likewise who we worship determines how we worship.

Just as worship has always been the issue, so to it will continue to be the point of contention as the people of God travel through the time of the end. This demands from us a careful and sober study of the subject. Only then can we come to conclusions that will be in harmony with the will of God.

How Can the Neo Pentecostal Movement Be Accused of Being Driven By a False Spirit?

What makes the neo Pentecostal movement so subtle is its apparent compliance to the truth. However underlying this faith is a set of doctrinal approaches that are neither compatible with Adventism or the Bible.1

Isaiah 8:20:“To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” This is a simple text that introduces a simple concept. When a movement does not speak according to the law 2 or the testimony 3, then the Bible states it is because there is no light in it. If Pentecostalism is to set itself up as the spiritual leader of Christendom (and subsequently Adventism), then at the very least it must embrace God’s law and His Scriptures. That it does not embrace this narrow standard disqualifies it from authority and leadership.

The Pentecostal movement falls down in a number of areas in respect to the law and the testimony. Take for example the following:

1. Total disregard and denial of the Sabbath – (Contrary to the law).4

2. Rejection of the literal Second Coming of Christ – (Contrary to the testimony).5

3. Immortality of the soul resulting at death in either eternal life or eternal hell – (Contrary to the testimony).6

4. Baptism of the Holy Spirit separate to conversion and evidenced by speaking in tongues. (Contrary to the testimony).7

5. Following the secret rapture there will be a period of 7 years called the tribulation. After this period Christ will return and personally establish his rule over the nations for a thousand years period known as the millennial reign” – (against the testimony).8

Through three waves over the last 100 years, the Pentecostal movement has not developed into a pillar of truth.9 If anything, the third wave commonly known as the “Signs and Wonders Movement” has drifted further away from the truth than either the “Old Pentecostal Movement” of the early 20th century or the Neo Pentecostal approach of recent times.10

The claim of Pentecostalism to the Holy Spirit is not necessarily a validation of its legitimacy. Its relationship to the Scripture (the testimony) and God’s law (the law) must determine this. If this is the benchmark, then Neo Pentecostalism is indeed in serious trouble.

Role of the Holy Spirit

The Word has some clear insights into the work of the Holy Spirit and His influence and direction to the church:

1. John 14:26: “But the Holy Spirit will come and help you, because the Father will send the Spirit to take my place. The Spirit will teach you everything and will remind you of what I said while I was with you”. (CEV) One of the central roles of the Holy Spirit is to teach. But what is He to teach?

2. John 16:13: “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” (CEV)

It is the function of the Holy Spirit to teach all truth. If Pentecostalism claims Spirit led inspiration and leadership, then it MUST be a storehouse of truth. It must teach the truth, preach the truth, practice the truth, draw deeply from the truth, obey and follow the truth. As has already been illustrated, this movement is neither a bastion nor proclaimer of the truth. Because of this the Holy Spirit cannot possibly lead this movement.11

The Difference Between Adventism and Pentecostalism

Adventism cannot claim to have the entire “truth”. What sets Adventism apart from Pentecostalism is its willingness to grow into “the truth”. As the SDA church has developed over the last 150 years it has been a work in evidence of this fact. Take for example the following:

1. Changed from Sunday to Sabbath worship.

2. Changed from eating of anything to an understanding of the Biblical food laws.

3. Changed from misunderstandings on the Trinity to a Biblical understanding of the Godhead

4. Progressive understandings on righteousness by faith.

5. Acceptance and assimilation of the truth on the state of the dead.

6. Understanding and conviction of the sanctuary message.

This SDA Church is an illustration of how a denomination can move into a deeper understanding of the truth in its journey. This is clear evidence of the leading of the Holy Spirit – evidence that is not forthcoming in Pentecostalism.

False Fire Stoked by a False Spirit

Because the Pentecostal system practices and encourages false doctrine, false worship practices have inevitably followed. This is best seen in its integration of the flesh (world) with the things of God. This practice makes the Pentecostal worship approach very dangerous.

1 John 2:15 says “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” Pentecostal worship is saturated in the “flesh”. At the forefront of the Charismatic approach is the use of rock music in worship. This phenomenon has taken the church (Christian and Adventist) by storm and its origins and roots are found in the Pentecostal experience.12 Rock music is the front line in the Pentecostal assault, and it is used to advance its message into mainstream Christianity and Adventism. Although this article is not largely concerned with the issue of rock music in the Christian church 13, its huge impact on the spread of Pentecostal practice among Christian denominations cannot be ignored. Rock music is the Pentecostal vanguard into mainstream Christianity (and Adventism). With its acceptance comes a host of other Pentecostal influences and practices that are crippling the Christian (Adventist) church and hijacking its mission.14

We are crippled and hijacked because our youth are the ones ordained by God to finish the work. They are the ones who are impacted most by the Pentecostal approach. When they become immersed in the Pentecostal experience, it becomes almost impossible for them to have an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is not present at many of our youth programs when the youth are called to surrender, full commitment, and unselfish service. The use of worship based in the flesh while our youth are called to Jesus causes the Spirit to flee. It is only through a genuine walk with the Saviour that young people will find the power from the Spirit needed to finish the work. This will not and cannot happen while we continue to immerse and drown our young people in Pentecostalism.

Prominent among these are drama, creative expression (dance), speaking in tongues, holy laughter, prophesying, and healings. Through these Pentecostal mediums the focus of the Christian (Adventist) message has become an experience. Worldly entertainment and titillation is at the basis of this experience. The truth of the Bible has become subservient to the “experience”. This is why key doctrines of the Word are totally ignored in the urgent search for an experiential high. This spiritual high is induced through rock music and cheap Hollywood style entertainment - modes that are clearly not influenced by the Spirit of God, but rather the spirit of darkness.

These weaker and less effective vehicles have replaced the preaching of the Bible. This is Satan’s stated purpose. In many Christian churches the preaching of God’s Word has been substituted 15 by long drawn out theatrical dramas 16, hours of heavy rock music, and a smattering of creative dance.17 Bill Hybels, senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, states this principle when he says, “The weekend worship services rely on music, drama, and the preached gospel, largely in that order”.18 This is in direct contrast to the apostle Paul exhortation to “Preach the Word”.19

The ambivalent attitude of Pentecostalism to the preaching of God’s Word has brought about the “dumbing down of Christianity” (Adventism). While thousands of people are experiencing the highs of Pentecostal worship, very few know about the precious truths of scripture that have shielded the church from error and apostasy through the millennia’s.

Pentecostalism is a movement based in false doctrines and half-truths that relies on a powerful sensory experience to overwhelm any defence or reservation the sincere Christian may have.20 This is what makes it so dangerous to the Adventist church and its people.

How Will the Pentecostal Movement Aid In Setting Up An Image to Rome?

Basic prophetic Adventist understanding has held that some force will unite the churches of Protestantism to reach across the gulf to Rome and join in a worldwide rebellion against God.

This truth has been ridiculed and derided by many scholars as being far fetched and ridiculous. At the basis of their scorn has been the unlikely “union” of Protestant denominations who for centuries have been deeply divided over theological beliefs and doctrines. In fact almost every attempt to find unity amongst the warring denominations of Protestantism has met with ignominious failure. However the advent of Pentecostalism has irreversibly changed all that forever!

The Pentecostal juggernaut has rolled into the ranks of every mainstream Christian movement. The Baptists, Catholic, Uniting and Anglican denominations are all caught up in the controversy and influence of this movement. While some theologians and pastors decry its manipulative sway,21 many more are accepting it as the new wave of a future. Generally the pastors and protectors of the flock are promoting Pentecostalism as a movement that speaks to a rebellious generation in both effective and powerful terms. Pentecostalism’s acceptance into mainstream Christianity (including much of western Adventism) is almost complete.22

Christian commentators outside Adventist circles are recognizing this. “Christianity’s “next wave” may (will)23 come in Pentecostal form.With an estimated 500 million followers, Pentecostalism now comprises the second largest communion of Christians in the world, more than Protestants and Anglicans combined. With its continued growth and its unique understanding of Christian experience, Pentecostalism promises to reshape Christianity in the 21st century.24

“The Pentecostal movement is not simply a new denomination,” says Margaret M. Poloma of the department of sociology of the University of Akron. “The rise of Pentecostalism is more analogous to the rise of Protestantism in Christianity than the birth of a new denomination. It’s an example of the restructuring of Christianity”.25

Because Pentecostalism is a movement rather than a denomination, it has been able to infiltrate into Christianity smoothly. This is evidenced everywhere.

Most major Christian youth festivals in Australia are organized and run by the Pentecostals. “Youth Alive” is an example of one of the largest ministry programs in our country and is arguably the most successful.26 Thousands attend these youth events that are saturated and immersed in Pentecostalism.

Those youth programs not run by the Pentecostals are so heavily influenced by this genre of youth ministry that they are all but indistinguishable.27 A interdenominational Christian rock festival in New Zealand called “Parachute” is an example of a mega Christian event that attracts young and old in their tens of thousands.28 Peoples of all faiths and religions are a part of this exciting gathering, and it too is immersed in the Pentecostal wave.

In every major city of the western world it is Pentecostalism that is overwhelmingly driving Christian education and training of the laity.In Sydney, “Hillsong” 29 sets the pace in Christian conferences and training.30 Christians in there thousands (including hundreds of Adventists) are attending these training events held in up market city locations. Armed with new knowledge and exciting ideas that seem to work, leaders from every faith stream back into their churches to implement what they have learned. Almost all of Protestantism(including Adventism)is gathering at the feet of the revered Pentecostal elders.

Where once there was theological division among Protestant denominations, now there is spiritual harmony and it is authored and held together by a Pentecostal worship experience. This sense of unity, through worship, powerfully overrides long held suspicions, bigotries, and doctrinal differences among the many denominations. This is a watershed in the experience of the Christian faith and especially Adventism.

I believe that this new Christian unity, driven by the spirit of darkness and powered by false doctrine and half truths, will allow a united protestant movement to reach across the gulf and grab the hand of Rome.31 It is still difficult to do anything but speculate on how this will exactly happen. Nevertheless, I believe that this phenomenon will continue to evolve and the future will answer our questions as it unfolds.

FIRE IN REVELATION 13

Revelation 13:13, 14: “And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men. Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived.”

What we can be sure of is that the fire of Revelation 13 that unites Protestantism and prepares her to join with Rome can be no other power other than the mighty movement of Pentecostalism in Christendom. This conclusion can be justified by the following:

i. A false Spirit leads Pentecostalism.

ii. This is exemplified in the reticence of this movement to follow or obey the truth.

iii. Because of this, Pentecostalism is a mixture of half-truths and falsehoods, relying on an “experience” rather than“the experience embedded in the truth”.

iv. Pentecostalism is a religious experience and so because of this can be seen as “being from heaven”.

v. All three waves of Pentecostalism rely on the miraculous rather than the truth to legitimize their positions.32

vi. Pentecostalism’s influence on Christianity is profound and overwhelming – it is truly a world wide phenomenon.

vii. Christianity has been united through Pentecostal practice.33

viii. All previous doctrinal objections and differences are presently being overlooked or removed to acquiesce to the power of the Pentecostal phenomena.

ix. Because the Pentecostal movement is “spirit” (false) driven it is fire (false) based.

x. It is a fire driven movement that is leading people away from the truth and thus away from God.

xi. Because of all of the above, Pentecostalism can safely be said to be the fire that deceives the whole world and drives Christianity into the arms of Rome.

An Important Observation

At this juncture we should note that this would not be possible if the Christian church would acknowledge and practice the truth as found in the Bible. Protestantism has rejected Sola Scripture. That it openly disobeys the truths of the Bible 34 has left the church wide open to Pentecostalism. The Spirit is forced to flee in the face of disobedience, the Bible is rejected as the source of truth,35 and the Christian church falls to the deception of a good-looking fire driven movement authored and directed by Satan.

That Adventism in Australia is being caught up in this last day deception is probably unavoidable considering the enormous influence Pentecostalism has been able to exert right across the pendulum of Christianity. However it is not justifiable. Of all the Christian movements, it is Adventism that should have been most immune. We have wonderful insights into prophecy together with the counsel of Ellen White’s ministry. That we are so easily led is a wonder.

Pentecostalism’s Threat To Adventism

The threat of Pentecostalism to Adventism is unparalleled in its danger. Following are some of the perils this “spirit” driven movement poses:

1. Loss of Identity – As we have embraced the Pentecostal movement Adventism is loosing its spiritual and doctrinal identity. Our “worship experience” is the same as any other denomination or church. Because of this many of our people (especially youth) are leaving us for a “better worship experience” – a Pentecostal one at a Sunday worshipping church.

2. False Worship – Thousands of our youth (and others) are worshipping to the heavy throbbing beat of rock music. Together with flashing colored lights and dancing, the end time worship scenes (in our churches) prophesied by Ellen White almost 100 years ago are coming true in this generation.36

3. Ecumenism – The shared Pentecostal worship experience is making it simpler for Adventist to identify with the other denominations. Because the worship experience has become so central, doctrine has become unimportant. Often it is seen as being nothing more than a divisive irritant. In many instances it is no longer fashionable or permissible to concentrate on distinctive doctrines that may cause disunity and disharmony with other Christian denominations. The Sabbath, the Sanctuary, the Mark of the Beast, and other distinctly Adventist beliefs are in many quarters becoming an embarrassment. The unity Adventism now shares with most other Christian religions through the Pentecostal worship experience is cultivating pressure on these distinctive doctrines and those who promote them. As we lose our doctrinal inimitability together with our unique approach to worship, Adventism risks being swallowed up in the “feel good” ecumenical wave sweeping across Christianity.

4. Loss of Spirituality – Spirituality comes from experiencing and being with God. Because the spirit behind Pentecostalism is not of God, real spirituality in the presence of this false spirit will decrease rather than increase. This is why we see the increasing introduction of the “things of the world”37 into corporate Pentecostal (and Protestant) worship.

5. Loss of tithe and offerings – Parallel to the advent of Pentecostalism is the real loss of tithes and offerings. This has come about largely because of two factors:

i. Disaffected members are sending their tithes and offerings to independent ministries who oppose the Pentecostal drift.38

ii. The loss of spirituality through Pentecostalism is bringing about a lack of commitment. This is seen in the massive loss of revenue the church in Australia is currently experiencing. Many members no longer see the Adventist church offering anything distinctive or unique and thus do not practice sacrificial giving at any level. It is my opinion that until we recognize this fact and allow God to cleanse us from this phenomenon plaguing the church, we will continue to see the revenue from tithe and offerings decrease.

6. Loss of members – The church in Adventist Australia continues to loose members on a grand scale. Many local churches are closing their doors. Where once Adventism thrived it now is weak or tragically non existent. I believe the strong Pentecostal thrust of many churches and worship services is directly responsible for the majority of the apostasies and departures we are now faced with. No longer can people call on a unique experience with God based in His Word. Without this practice, the troubles, trials and challenges of life are sweeping us out of the church and its message.

What Can We Do?

1. Love – The battle over Pentecostalism in the Adventist Church is fierce. Friendships are lost and families are split. This is antichrist behavior. God is love (1 John 4:8). There is no room in the experience of Christians for animosity, impatience or loathing of others – no matter what their views may be. As Adventists we must love each other. It is our love for each other that confirms our love for God and irrefutably establishes our claim to Christianity. If we do not love our brothers and sisters then we do not love God (1 John 4:20, 21). It takes God breathed wisdom and love to be able to discuss these issues – disagree – and continue to love. If we do not love then we may be theologically right (or wrong), yet loose everything.

2. Respect – In this discussion we need to continue to respect each other and our differing views. Even when the discussion is hot and the disagreements intense, God demands that we treat each other with mutual respect and forbearance. There is no place for rudeness, arrogance or condescending attitudes. This increases misunderstandings and tension making it more difficult for progressive and fruitful conclusions.

3. Silence – If the spirit of love and respect is not present then it is sometimes better to keep silent.

4. Prayer – Both sides in the discussion need to pray – by themselves and with each other. Prayer is one of the mediums God will use to unite His church and settle this discussion.39

5. Go to the Bible – We are the church of the Bible. This book must be studied and adhered too if we vision the continuation of a strong Adventist church free of the influences of Pentecostalism.

6. Ellen White – Ellen White’s writings have a powerful amount of material on this subject. If she is God’s messenger to His last day church, then surely it is time that we started to acknowledge and credit these writings with authority. If we had heeded her council on this subject we would never have found ourselves in this inexorable mess!

7. Have a relationship with God – It is very difficult to reach a satisfactory conclusion on this subject when all parties are not fully committed to Jesus. When both parties in the discussion are dedicated to a daily walk with God, then they will find God’s will. However if both or one of the parties is outside the Kingdom of God then tension, arguments, and hostility will usually ensue.

8. Be relevant in corporate worship – There is no excuse for the church to reside in the 1950 or 60’s. Worship must be relevant. Relevance is not Pentecostalism. We should continually endeavor to reach the public and our members in a language they understand while not crossing the God given boundaries as outlined in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy.

Our music must be vibrant and enthusiastic. The worship service should be well planned and must have as its focus the honor of God. Good worship is also inclusive worship. Both the youth and the aged together with our families ought to be actively involved. The Bible should be the basis of our preaching and study during the corporate Sabbath worship services. Entertainment must be avoided, and we must do our part by bringing the Holy SpiritWITH USas we come to worship God each Sabbath.

While endeavoring to experience worship in a relevant setting it is also very important to remember and incorporate all that is positive from the past. True worship that honors God will include that which is good from the past while integrating that which is proper from the present.

Resistance of the faithful church to Data Projectors, Overheads, and other technological tools is foolish. This foolishness includes the unnecessary prohibition of musical instruments.40 It is the musicians not the instruments who choose to uphold or dishonor God.

The Pentecostal movement in Australian Adventism uses every vehicle it can to promote its unrestrained message. When possible and appropriate our church should use vehicles and modes 41 of the 21st century to encourage beautiful worship that uplifts and honors God.

9. Recognize that our youth 42 are different from the older generations of the church – They often don’t wear ties and suits. Their language and interests are different.43 Sometimes their approaches to life, God, and worship are unlike the expectations and practices of some in the older church.44 Nevertheless many of our youth love Jesus. They are seeking God. We need to encourage them into the truth, rather than the customs and traditions of OUR past.45

10. Resist – Pentecostalism in Adventism should be resisted. This must be done in an orderly fashion through the appropriate means.

The resistance should (in most instances) be in-house (through church board and business meetings, Conference, Union, Division and General Conference sessions). We should talk to our church elders, pastors, conference administrators, leaders etc. about our concerns. When nothing seems to be achieved we must keep talking, keep writing, and keep praying – NEVER EVER GIVE UP.

Our resistance must be long and sustained. It should be patient and gentle. We should try to present the truth in a clear and precise manner. When we present at board and business meetings our approach should be well founded, rational, and sound. At all times we must argue the cause with the gentle Spirit of Jesus permeating our own lives.

When the faithful continue to experience failure and rejection in their efforts to advance the truth on this matter, then they should meet together for prayer. Gather together in each other’s homes, and bring the presence of the Almighty down upon your church and its leaders. Let Him change what you can’t. I believe this is the finest form of resistance each of us can participate in.

Options We Can Take

I am a pastor who believes in the Seventh-day Adventist message in its entirety. At times I run across strong opposition, yet in 15 years I have never had to leave the church to remain faithful. I am preaching the straight Word in one of the largest churches in the South Pacific Division. I am not getting any significant trouble from any of the brethren or leaders of our Division, Union or Conference Church. I believe that there is room in Adventism to practice and preach a faithful walk with Jesus without Pentecostal influences.

People who consider that the only option to “progress” the church is to initiate or join an unfaithful independent ministry, do nothing more than participate in an organization that is unsympathetic to the cause of the church and ultimately to God.

If we attend a church that continues to participate in unfaithful practices then there are options we can take:

i. Find another faithful church.

ii. Plant a new church through the appropriate channels.

iii. Stay in the unfaithful church praying, talking, and agitating for change! I believe more of our faithful members need to stay with our unfaithful churches. Such people are the salt, the light on the hill – through them God will bring about the revival we all long for. The strength of our relationship with Christ should be in our own private devotions – most of us should be spiritually mature enough to stay in an unfaithful Pentecostal worshiping Adventist church while gently encouraging true worship.! (Despite the fact that we are sometimes criticized, demonized, misunderstood, ostracized and maligned).

I. Accept the leadership of the church as God appointed.Sometimes the leaders are faithful and at other times they fall short. Nevertheless God put them in their positions! He sets up and pulls down leaders in His time and in His way. God did this in Scripture and He continues to do it in the church today. We need to do all we can to maintain spiritual purity in the church and then we must lean on God. He is the Father of the church. He is in control. We must exercise patience and learn to watch as He works marvelously with the church and its leadership.

We should never forget David’s example in his treatment of Saul—the unfaithful king of Israel. In voice or action David refused to harm the anointed of God. This must be our attitude.

I am convinced that we have many leaders who love Jesus, are faithful, and are doing the right thing by God and His church. Our perception of them is often tempered by misunderstanding and ignorance of what they have done and what they are doing. I believe that the church of God should be praying daily that God will endow the leaders and pastors with wisdom, courage and grace. They surely need prayer support in the current times of apostasy, confusion, and fear.

When leaders are unfaithful we should talk to them, pray for them, and then speak up clearly in nominating committees(that appoint our leaders)with fearlessness and love (when we are appointed to them).

II. Avoid extremes — This includes extremes in Christian lifestyle and practice. The 27 fundamentals represent Adventism. These great Biblical truths should be the theological foundation of our faith and practice. Each fundamental is rooted in Jesus and the Bible!

It damages the cause of Christ when the church clings to ways that are not rooted in the Word. Insistence on the sole use of the KJV 46, the needless and pointless opposition to modern technology 47, the insistence on certain forms of dress 48, the dogged slavery to a certain structure of worship 49; all play into the hands of Satan and those who walk the Pentecostal Road. Our youth (and others) rightly see this as hypocritical and un-Scriptural. We must be seen as fair minded people who can rightly divide the word of truth. Let us move when we can, advance the gospel through every means proper, and stand firm when sin and deception endeavor to enter the holy doors of God’s church.

Conclusion

Pentecostalism presents extreme danger to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. This is an end time battle for the people of God. I am not sure how much damage the church will sustain in this battle. However I believe we are at present losing thousands and thousands of precious youth to this apostasy. I pray that we will through God’s grace navigate through this storm—nevertheless I am deeply concerned. Because of this I would like to end this series of articles with a challenge and a call:

1. Leaders of the Church – Be sure of your calling. You are where you are because God has put you there. In your life and in your ministry God has seen qualities that He wants to use – that is why you are a leader. Be faithful to this calling. Realize your potential and be what God wants you to be. Be strong and courageous and stand up for God and truth at ALL COSTS!

Evaluate and pray about this phenomenon. Let God lead you through your daily experience with Him in His Word and prayer. When you become convicted – ACT!

Protect the church as God has called you to do. Stand up and be men and women of courage, see evil and deception for what it is, and then lead us out of this apostasy and through God’s grace bring the church home to God.

There are thousands and thousands of us in the corporate church who will support you if you stand. Above all you will have the support of God. With Him you will never loose. We love you and are praying for you – please lead us!

2. Church members – Pray for your elders, pastors, and presidents. Resist this apostasy in your own small way. Be Christians of balance and reason. Do not make your stand on the traditions of the past but rather in the timeless truth of God’s Word – pray for wisdom to know the difference.

Above all continue to unconditionally love others. If we loose this we loose everything. If we maintain this we gain eternity.

Feel free to can contact me via email. My email address is:lgrolimund@kooee.com.au

ENDNOTES

1 On Hillsong’s (large Australian Pentecostal church) website under “what we believe” is a description of the basic tenets of their faith. Their belief structure as displayed on their Internet site could be the belief structure of any Adventist Church in the world.

See:http://www.hillsong.com/church/bin/view.pl?sitename=church&page=beliefs&showAboutUs=true&showAboutUs=true&showbuilding=true

2 Exodus 20 is a succinct compilation of God’s law – the Ten Commandments

3 Revelation 19:10 identify’s the “testimony of Jesus as being the “Spirit of Prophecy”. 1 Peter 1:19 – 21 clarifies the “Spirit of Prophecy” as the Scripture. 2 Timothy 3:16 reinforces the authority and truthfulness of all Scripture.

4 The Sabbath is at the very heart of a Christian walk with God. It is Divinely designed for the genuine Christian to spend time with a personal God in an intimate relationship. This is a day of worship and fellowship with Him. It is the central plank of Christianity as it is the central theme of a genuine relationship with Jesus. To openly refute this doctrine as the Pentecostal movement does, is to question the foundational principles as set out in the Bible for a relationship with Him i.e. Bible Study, Prayer, and the Sabbath – the 3 planks of a successful relationship with God. See Gen 2:1 – 3; Ex 20:8 – 11; Lk 4:16; Isa 66:22, 23.

5 Most Pentecostal groups reject the literal Second Coming of Jesus choosing rather to accept the secret rapture. For a brief summation of Pentecostal beliefs follow the links below.

http://www.aog-harlow.co.uk/what_we_believe.php; http://experts.about.com/q/2256/1864929.htm; See point 7

6 The misunderstanding that the majority of Pentecostals have over the immortality of the soul leaves this movement open to the occult. If we never die then it is feasible that we can have contact with dead loved ones!

7 Christians believe that baptism of the Holy Spirit cannot be separated from conversion and is evidenced by any or all of the gifts of the spirit – including tongues. See 1 Corinthians 12 and 13 together with Matthew 3:1 – 12.http://experts.about.com/q/2256/1864929.htm; See point 13

8 http://experts.about.com/q/2256/1864929.htm; See point 14. The Bible clearly teaches in Revelation 19 – 22 that Christ will come, with the saints’ returns to heaven for 1000 years, and then re-establishes His Kingdom on earth for eternity.

9 See http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/Psychology/char/abrief.htm

10 The term “third wave” was first coined by C. Peter Wagner in 1983: “I see historically that we’re now in the third wave. The first wave of the moving of the Holy Spirit began at the beginning of the century with the Pentecostal movement. The second wave was the charismatic movement that began in the fifties in the major denominations. Both of those waves continue today.

“I see the third wave of the eighties as an opening of the straight-line evangelicals and other Christians to the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that the Pentecostals and charismatics have experienced, but without becoming either charismatic or Pentecostal. I think we are in a new wave of something that now has lasted almost through our whole century”(Peter Wagner, “The Third Wave?” PastoralRenewal, July-August 1983, pp. 1-5).

This movement is also called the Signs and Wonders Movement and the Vineyard Movement. It has been a rapidly growing movement, drawing adherents from both charismatic and non-charismatic churches. The movement stresses “power evangelism” whereby the gospel is explained and demonstrated by way of supernatural signs and wonders.

There are three key leaders of this movement: (1) John Wimber, probably the central figure of the movement. He was the founder of the Vineyard church movement upon coming out of Chuck Smith’s Calvary Chapel movement, and he taught with C. Peter Wagner at Fuller Seminary. The course was entitled “Signs, Wonders and Church Growth.” (2) C. Peter Wagner, professor at Fuller Seminary School of World Missions, where he co-taught with John Wimber. (3) Paul Cain, an influential “modern day prophet,” a disciple of William Branham whom Cain called “the greatest faith healer of our time” and the “greatest prophet of all time.” Branham was a heretical false prophet who held erroneous view on the Godhead and on the Trinity.

In the Signs and Wonders movement, tongues speaking can be found, but the gift of tongues is not stressed as much as it is in the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements. The Signs and Wonders movement (Vineyard movement) does stress the gift of prophecy (insisting on the importance of modern day prophets) and the gift of healing.” Pastor George Zeller, The Middletown Bible Church adapted from the Appendix of a paper (“The Charismatic Movement: 35 Doctrinal Issues”) See:

http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/Psychology/char/35.htm, (worth reading)

11 Of course this is not the same as saying individual Pentecostal believers are without the Holy Spirit. It is the system of Pentecostalism that is under discussion, not the walk of individual Christians with Jesus.

12 As Pentecostalism began to develop in the early 20thcentury loud music dominated by drums and noise was used to drive worshippers into ecstatic spiritual experiences. This is why Ellen White spoke against such excesses. See http://www.egwtext.WhiteEstate.org/cgi-bin/egw2html?C= 39426599&K=205057022610418661

13 You can receive my article “Rock Music and the Christian Church” by emailing me on lgrolimund@kooee.com.au. I will send it to you immediately.

14 We are crippled and hijacked because our youth are the ones ordained by God to finish the work. They are the ones who are impacted most by the Pentecostal approach. When they become immersed in the Pentecostal experience, it becomes almost impossible for them to have an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is not present at many of our youth programs when the youth are called to surrender, full commitment, and unselfish service. The use of worship based in the flesh while our youth are called to Jesus causes the Spirit to flee. It is only through a genuine walk with the Saviour that young people will find the power from the Spirit needed to finish the work. This will not and cannot happen while we continue to immerse and drown our young people in Pentecostalism.

Seehttp://www.egwtext.WhiteEstate.org/cgi-bin/egw2html?C=77039259&K=204235022610418298;http://www.egwtext.WhiteEstate.org/cgiatement-bin/egw2html?C=3984109&K=204634022610418607

15 The following statement on Willow Creek’s (contemporary church in Chicago attracting over 20000 people every Sunday) approach illustrates my point; “Willow Creek’s investment in contemporary music and drama strategically avoids the usual over reliance on the preached wordÉ” How to Reach Secular People, p.152

16 At a recent Pathfinder Camporee I witnessed the demise of the preaching hour. Each evening program was preceded by an hour-long drama production. At the conclusion of the drama, when the preacher got up to speak, hundreds of Pathfinders together with their leaders streamed out of the amphitheatre leaving God’s messenger with very few Pathfinders to speak too.

17 If you live in the Australia you can validate this claim for yourself. Go to almost any SDA youth rally, the youth & teen tents at camp meetings, or one of the many summer camps the church runs. You will find in almost every case, the described Pentecostal model is the one being used by our Conferences, Union, and Division youth departments. It is to be expected that many of the local churches will follow suite, as it is the church organization that rightly sets the pace on the direction and style of worship in Australia. That they have largely chosen the Pentecostal approach should be disturbing!

18 How To Reach Secular People, p153

19 2 Timothy 4:2

20 This is a sensory experience induced by rock music, flashing lights, hype, and noise. Too often this is leading to tongues speaking, prophesying, and healings – even among Adventists. What makes these phenomena’s so disturbing is that they are not based in the truth, but rather in a spirit that neither upholds or practices the truth. The Holy Spirit will move through the speaking of tongues, prophesying and healings, but only when the vehicles for such miraculous phenomena’s are practicing and promoting the truth. Then we will see the true work of the Spirit and we will experience the real fruit!

21 See the following 3 links: http://www.traditioninaction.org/HotTopics/d002ht.htm; http://www.pbministries.org/Baptists/Laurence%20Justice/embrace_pentecostalism.htm; http://logosresourcepages.org/charismatic.htm

22 This is borne out in the increasing number of Protestant and Catholic churches accepting and practicing the Pentecostal approach to worship.

23 Italics mine

24 See: http://hirr.hartsem.edu/research/quick_question32.html

25 Ms. Paloma authored the study, “The Spirit Made Me Go”. See it at http://hirr.hartsem.edu/research/research_pentecostalism_palomaart1.html

26 See http://www.nsw.youthalive.org.au/events.htm;

27 Many SDA youth programs in Australia are indistinguishable to the ones run by the Pentecostals.

28 See http://p04.parachutemusic.com/frameset.asp

29 A large Pentecostal Church based in the affluent northwest Bible belt of Sydney.

30 See http://www.hillsong.com/conferences/colour/bin/view.pl?sitename=colourconference&page=index&showcolourconference=true; http://www.hillsong.com/conferences/colour/bin/view.pl?sitename=colourconference&page=index&showcolourconference=true; http://www.hillsong.com/conferences/colour/bin/view.pl?sitename=colourconference&page=index&showcolourconference=true.

31 See http://www.egwtext.WhiteEstate.org/cgi-bin/egw2html?C=20881961&K=193849022210405633 I believe that the false working of a (dark) spirit in Pentecostalism has at its base the power of the Occult. That is why we see such disturbing spiritual phenomena’s – tongues, raucous laughter, false miracles etc. I am at present putting together another article re this aspect in Pentecostalism.

32 Neo Pentecostalism relies on prophecies and visions – sometimes healings and rarely tongues or miracles.

33 Including some of Adventism

34 Mainstream Christianity mostly rejects the truths of the Sabbath, Investigative Judgement, Health Message, Second Coming, State of the Dead, Coming Judgement, Creation, etc..

35 That is why issues such as homosexuality, abortion etc, are issues in Christianity.

36 See http://www.egwtext.WhiteEstate.org/cgi-bin/egw2html?C =22646438&K=214634031410426798

37 Rock music, dancing, flashing lights, long theatrical dramas etc.

38 All tithes should enter the storehouse of the corporate church. Supporting Independent Ministries do not accept tithe. 3ABN, Voice of Prophecy, Carter INC., Amazing Facts – are all examples of independent ministries who do not accept tithe and yet are thriving through the support of generous gifts from the laity! They have a powerful influence on the mission and spirituality of the church in America. I have yet to meet anyone who can mount a successful defense for the taking of tithe to support an independent ministry. There is absolutely no Biblical example of any ordinary Israelite taking tithe away from the Levitical priesthood – who incidentally were often very unfaithful!

39 Certain sections of the Adventist church are so far down the Pentecostal road that it is probably only the intercessory prayer of God’s faithful saints that can ever bring them back

40 I have found it very difficult to incorporate drums into worship. They inevitably get louder to the point where they are uncontrolled. Because of this I have chosen to keep them out of worship services I have an influence over – and I do encourage others to do the same.

41 Data Projectors, Overhead Projectors etc..

42 It is our youth who are most dramatically effected by the Pentecostal push into Adventism.

43 We should not exclude youth from participatory or leadership roles in the church because of their contemporary dress or youthful language.

44 At times youth will make mistakes when leading out in worship. They should be treated gently and led lovingly.

45 Although the worship expectations of our youth can be divergent to that of the older church, this is not an open door ticket into the Pentecostal approach. Likewise the customs and traditions of the older church (order of service, use of hymns only, only piano and organ used in music, suits and ties only in church, no technological helps) can be a hindrance to our youth finding Jesus. Both the older and younger generations need to respect each other’s expectations and in a spirit of humility and reverence work together to find corporate worship that blesses all and honours God!

46 I love this beautiful old translation, however it is not the only one that God is using. It is a sin to stop the Word of God reaching the people in the modern vernacular – this is what Catholicism attempted to do in the middle ages. Let us thank God that there are so many accurate translations that can bless the people in their language.

47 Let’s use the data projector, computers, and anything else that will help to uplift Jesus, honor His cause, and share His message.

48 Suits and ties are not the only appropriate form of dress for men while worshipping God. There is certainly more room for women regarding dress than a below the knee skirt and long sleeved blouse.

49 God is a God of creativity. We do not need to be tied down to just three hymns, a prayer, followed by an offering and the sermon. There is nothing wrong with this approach, however to move outside these barriers while adhering to the principles of worship as espoused in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy is both good and proper.