Why I Left Pentecostalism

A post for my Pentecostal friends and family…

It was 1906

People in Topeka and Los Angeles were looking for… something.

What they found at the Apostolic Faith Gospel Mission on Azusa Street in Los Angeles – tongue-speaking, ecstatic experiences, alleged prophesying and divine healing – gave birth to the modern Pentecostal movement.

Azusa Street, Los Angeles 1907

[The Apostolic Faith Gospel Mission, Azusa Street, Los Angeles, circa 1907.]

It was 1979

I was 16, and I was looking for… something.

For the previous two years I had been becoming more and more aware of what some call the “God-shaped hole” in my soul. I had also recently learned what God’s “peg” was: the gospel.

My father and the pastor of the Pentecostal church we had begun attending told me the good news that God sent His only Son, Jesus, to rescue me by bearing the punishment for sin I deserved, so that I could receive pardon and eternal life through faith in Him. It wasn’t quite in those terms, but it was clear enough for me to understand. I refused and resisted at first, playing a game of cat and mouse with God. But eventually, as C. S. Lewis wrote in Surprised by Joy, I discovered that I was the mouse, and having exhausted myself, surrendered to the Divine cat.

It was 1999

I was 36, and I was praying for people who were looking for… something.

I was a Pentecostal pastor, who alongside another pastor and a visiting evangelist, was laying on hands and praying for people who were crowding around the platform (Pentecostals call it “the altar”) after a rousing sermon and invitation that covered pretty much any possible spiritual or felt need the people had.

These people were sincere. Most, if not all, were Christians. Some wanted healing. Some wanted an answer to a specific prayer. Some wanted a greater sense of God’s presence in their lives. Some wanted freedom from sinful habits.

All were caught up in the swelling emotions of the crowd, the music, and the fervent, clamorous prayer.

And I, as I was laying hands on someone — I forget the face, the need, the gender — I thought to myself,

“You hypocrite! You know this emotion-driven form of religion is not what these people need, and yet here you are promoting it.”

It’s now 2012

I am 49, and no longer a Pentecostal pastor. I am a Christian lay person who identifies with the historic Reformed stream of faith. The more I studied the Bible, theology, and Church history, I found myself unwilling to embrace the modern Pentecostal stream of Christianity, even though it was that stream that introduced me to Jesus way back in ’79.

I’d like to tell you why because, frankly, I want to encourage every Pentecostal Christian to reconsider whether the modern Pentecostal stream flows as close to the ancient biblical river as it should.

To keep this tolerably short, I’ll just tell you where I stand today, and offer no defense. I’ll simply lay my cards on the table honestly, and I hope, with humility, as an offer of food for thought.

(btw – If you couldn’t care less about theological discussions you might want to stop here. Sorry.)

I have become convinced that…

1. Pentecostalism is on the wrong side of the Bible in the Arminian vs. Calvinist debate, a huge issue which impacts our understanding of God, freedom, sin, grace and salvation.

2. Pentecostalism wrongly sacrifices sound interpretation and application of biblical doctrine in favor of spiritual experiences. Officially many Pentecostals would deny this charge. But in practice, a person’s experience always seems to trump doctrine, so as to avoid “grieving the Spirit.”

3. Pentecostalism has been historically, and continues to be, an anti-intellectual movement, devaluing the development of Biblical thinking, and holding suspect the study of theology as a critical element of faithful Christian ministry. Most would deny this as well, but it’s the reality in the pew.

4. Pentecostalism wrongly promotes emotion-driven, crisis events to foster spiritual growth (e.g. “Revivals” and “Altar Calls” like the one I described above) instead of God’s regular (i.e. prescribed) means of grace: regular prayer, regular study and hearing of Scripture, and regular reception of the sacraments.

5. Despite claiming to preach “all the gospel,” Pentecostalism ends up distorting the gospel. It lacks biblical discernment because it eschews theological study. As a result, it perpetually falls victim to the fad-doctrines and false teachings of the latest charismatic personalities: prosperity teaching, word-faith, positive thinking, anti-trinitarianism, etc. Blown about by every wind of doctrine, the average Pentecostal will believe anything delivered with sizzle and style because biblical and theological training/catechism were never part of their spiritual growth plan.

6. The Pentecostal understanding of the Baptism with the Holy Spirit and speaking with other tongues is wrong. The familiar phrase from Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost, “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel…,” (Acts 2:16) referring to the miraculous events of that day is borrowed by modern Pentecostals to substantiate tongue-speaking today. But, I now believe today’s “this” is definitely not the ancient “that.”

7. Pentecostalism misunderstands the relation of the New Testament to the Old Testament. As a result, they are susceptible to modern theological errors like belief in a pre-tribulation rapture of the Church, an exclusively futurist reading of the book of Revelation, and a dispensational view of Israel’s role in God’s eternal plan.

And that’s the theological side of my departure from Pentecostalism story. As Martin Luther said to his examiners, “Here I stand. So help me God.”

Are you uncomfortable with the Pentecostal version of Christianity?


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90 thoughts on “Why I Left Pentecostalism

    • Thanks Amy, I know it’s just a list of “where I’m at now” items, but it really does represent my attempt to let scripture define my experience, rather than the other way around.

    • Thanks Bobby, I’m so glad to be where I am now (though I think I’d say “convinced” rather than “convicted”), and I wrote this because it has brought greater joy and peace that I wish all my Pentecostal friends (who are also my brothers and sisters in Christ) could share in.

  1. Lon, this is interesting..to say the least. I am interested in why “that” isn’t “this” concerning point #6.

    • Hi Kathy, thank you for your question. I’m going to attempt a brief reply. But if you’re interested in a longer dialogue on this topic, please email me. Here’s what I think are the details we see in Scripture:

      1. The tongues of Acts 2 were known human languages that were understood by the foreign Jews present that day (v8).

      2. The content of what they heard was “the works of God” (v11). Perhaps they were prophesying the message of Joel 2:30ff, or that God had raised Jesus from the dead, showing Him to be Lord and Christ.

      3. Peter preached that the reason for that miracle (it was a miracle) was that it was a public sign that the day of salvation prophesied in Joel 2:32 had come (v21), and that this salvation was offered in Christ alone to all who would believe. A similar event happened at Cornelius’ house in Acts 10, as you know.

      So that’s the character of the biblical tongues: miraculous public speaking in multiple, known languages as a sign that the time of salvation had come, and that that salvation was through Christ alone.

      The tongues of modern Pentecostalism (including mine – the former Pentecostal) don’t share any of those marks. Nor do I see any concept in Scripture of tongues being used for private prayer and edification.

      So, despite my own experience as a genuine, modern Pentecostal, I eventually concluded that the Bible didn’t support my experience.

      I hope that answers your question. Thanks again.

  2. In my search, I found I like order and liturgy. I like the old fashioned churches, with stained glass and high altars. I love the saints who shed their blood for the Gospel, and I’m into reverent worship. Many churches offer this…I found “home” in the Anglo-catholic faith.Not Roman, but C.S. Lewis’ church. This isn’t a plug for my church, but I also had my own journey and God knows where we need to be. I respect many other traditions. The Roman Catholic because they gave us the ancient faith, the Baptists for their love of Scripture, the Pentecostals for their embracing of the Holy Spirit. …etc..but without the Sacraments, I feel empty. Nice arcticle! I enjoyed reading your take and experience. I agree.

    • Thanks Holly. Like you, my journey has been leading me toward higher and deeper valuation of the Gospel and the Word & Sacraments that proclaim it.

  3. Awesome post Lon! After being in the Word of Faith movement for ten years, and even writing a book defending it, my wife are now in the process of abandoning the movement (as well as Pentecostalism). As soon as I get my secular job back I will leave my current post as an Associate Pastor. It will take us a while to find a good (likely reformed) church, but we are excited to start the search.

    It will be so relieving to depart from the fake demonstrations that look nothing like the book of Acts (i.e. people falling, screaming in ‘travail’, copy-catting the tongues experience as others do it, psychosomatic healings, etc). I want the real deal, if God so chooses to ever grant it again. I find myself not a full cessationist (yet), but in the “open but cautious” camp of Saucy. Please pray for us for a quick Exodus from this ministry (as it’s been a year already), as well as new Genesis in a healthy one. Blessings!

    • Start your own church and do it in your own flavor and style. If God called you to be a pastor stay a pastor. Just change church affiliations but whatever you do don’t become a cessationist! Then you wouldbe in error.

      • Thanks for that… but starting my own flavor would only add to the disunity problem that makes non-believers doubt Christianity. As for being a cessationist — I’m not committed to that and didn’t mean to imply it in the post. I don’t believe the Pentecostal claim to be the modern revival of New Testament gifts, but I’m pretty sure those gifts can and are granted in many ways and times.

      • Hi my name is Pat, I am not a Pentecostal and never have been. I was a Catholic and when (by the grace of God) I became a Christian, I left that false religion and all of its false teachings behind. Much of what Pentecostalism holds to is false, so it is good to hear that you left that movement! Leave its false teachings behind you as well and you will do even better! Regards Pat.

  4. Awesome post Lon! After being in the Word of Faith movement for ten years, and even writing a book defending it, my wife and I are now in the process of abandoning the movement (as well as Pentecostalism). As soon as I get my secular job back I will leave my current post as an Associate Pastor. It will take us a while to find a good (likely reformed) church, but we are excited to start the search.

    It will be so relieving to depart from the fake demonstrations that look nothing like the book of Acts (i.e. people falling, screaming in ‘travail’, copy-catting the tongues experience as others do it, psychosomatic healings, etc). I want the real deal, if God so chooses to ever grant it again. I find myself not a full cessationist (yet), but in the “open but cautious” camp of Saucy. Please pray for us for a quick Exodus from this ministry (as it’s been a year already), as well as new Genesis in a healthy one.

    Blessings!

    • Thanks for your Comment Sid. I’ll pray for your transition, as saying good bye to some things can be pretty painful. BTW – two thoughts I could share. 1) – After I left Pentecostalism, I found J. I. Packer’s book “Keep in Step with the Spirit” a useful tool for setting a new course in understanding the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives. 2) – I have decided not to decide about the cessation of gifts, though I think I should say that despite 20 years of experience in the pentecostal world, I doubt that I’ve ever seen or heard or experienced a spiritual gift that was genuine like those in Acts. God bless your journey!

      • Hello Lon and hello to all. My wife and I were looking at a few of your posts tonight. She was reading. I was on dish detail and listening. My question is, How big is the reform that the Lord desires to bring to any one of us or to the Church Body He calls His own? Are we willing to give our Creator His creative rights. The reform He brings forth ln this hour will look like Him. Are we ready. What do people really look like when Jesus,the Christ in us begins to display Himself? All that Jesus did He accomplished through his Holy Spirit without exception. He wants our experience to be large in the Holy Spirit. In Him we are learning to live and move and have our being. Life has its practicalities for sure but we want the renewed mind and we want the whole gospel. Let’s not compromise now, we have put in some years all of us. There is only one who is the measure of all things and we are conforming to His image are we not? That goes for the Church also. He Himself is the measure of that, Lord of the Development. Are we hungry. John 17 is quite a picture. Consider John 14:21,23. Let’s press on. God is bigger than Pentecostalism. We are called to be the house that God inhabits individually and corporately. To be born of the Spirit is essential and Jesus gave His disciples commandment to wait for the outpouring of the Holy Ghost. They waited ten days in Jerusalem. Weare here today because of them and Paul, Paul the apostle. Consider Ephesians 1:16-23 and 3:14-21. Consider Colossians 1:9-23.Consider Romans 12:1-2. ConsiderJohn 4:35-38. There is a larger place for all off us. People don’t be tripped up on words.It is Jesus we seek. Check these out: Reinhardt Bonke Nigerian Campaign, David Hogan missionary-resurrections from the dead, 23 minutes in hell Bill Weise, Roland and Heidi Baker of Iris Ministries. Found on You Tube. There are some great places for all of us in Christ.Be enlarged. On the day of Pentecost all 120 recieved the flame and the Spirit not only the twelve. He has created you to look like Him. Let’s press into this. He has something more for us. The Body is still being developed. Blessings to you all.

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  6. I really enjoyed reading this. My husband and I left Pentecostalism 2 years ago, after many long years of feeling that something wasn’t right. We now attend a reformed church in our area. I have such amazing peace now that I never had in the Pentecostal years of my life. Thank you got sharing, it’s nice to know we are not alone.

    • Thanks for your comment, Sissy. Transitions like this are never easy, and often there are conversations for years to come as we take stock of our experiences. No christian movement is perfect, but I think on the whole, the Reformation brought the Church a lot closer to the doctrine and practice of the Apostles than the Pentecostal movement has. Thanks again for sharing. Feel free to follow us if you like. We’ll keep the content coming.

  7. Hi, These are good thoughts, but in some of them you sound bitter with Pentecostalism, and I also think that some of them are extremely off. I
    went to a Pentecostal Bible College and I think that you need to broaden your explanations on why you think our understanding on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is wrong.
    I agree that people can get caught up in their emotions and that we are not to be controlled by our emotions, but on the other side of the coin, God gave us our emotions and they are clues as to what’s wrong or if we are connecting with our Creator.
    I think this statement is dead wrong: “Pentecostalism wrongly promotes emotion-driven, crisis events to foster spiritual growth (e.g. “Revivals” and “Altar Calls” like the one I described above) instead of God’s regular (i.e. prescribed) means of grace: regular prayer, regular study and hearing of Scripture, and regular reception of the sacraments.”

    This has been done in the past, yes, but I think we are moving away from that. I go to a very Biblical based church that is Pentecostal, that encourages all of these things, but we aren’t extreme, As well there is nothing wrong with revivals, alter calls or anything like that. What matters is balance. There is always the expressive wing nut that is out of balance, but for the most part people try to balance that well.

    To number 3, I’m not sure what kind of Pentecostalism you were apart of, but we aren’t uneducated Pentecostals, it does NOT continue to be an anti-intellectual movement. We have extremely educated people in the PAOC, (Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada) who are very well studied and versed in the Bible, and have an extreme amount of letters behind their name, But are able leave room for the Holy Spirit to work. In my 16 years as a Pentecostal Christian, I have never come to these conclusions about Pentecostalism, and I’m a deep thinker.
    There are always those that take it to the extreme, but I completely disagree with your interpretation of Pentecostalism.

    Thanks for your thought, but I think you need to do some more study on Pentecostalism.

    • Thanks for your comments Gillian. I’m glad your experience isn’t the norm I described in this post. And yes, I do believe it is still the norm, though, happily, it is changing in the direction you mention. My motive for writing this post was simply to describe my reasons for leaving (since I have a lot of Pentecostal friends with whom I’ve never had the opportunity to talk this over). I didn’t attempt any sort of detailed defense, and I won’t try to compare my experience in Pentecostalism with yours. I think you and I both want to bow the knee to Scripture and Jesus with joy and love. However, of all the versions of Christianity that can be compared to Scripture, I believe my present Reformed Theology is more reflective of the whole of Scripture than my former Pentecostal Theology. Since we have so many Christian streams to evaluate, it will serve you and I well to read church history and theology from many perspectives (both our own, and those that disagree with us) as we both walk with Jesus. God bless, Lon

    • I go along with Gillian Blomsma above. Half of us, our family go to a very special good Baptist church, the other half to a very special good Pentecostal Church. We love the Lord, and walk closely to the word daily in obedience. prayerfully. Apart from being familiar with both denominations I also am familiar with the Reformed denomination.
      If it was necessary to make a move from my Pentecostal church to that Baptist church that would be easy as I spend part of my time there already. but the Reform church is a different matter. I am age 76 and over the years had some bad experiences both in the Baptist and the Pentecostal church, things do happen, unchristian stuff, but find no reason to move.
      Nice to hear some one is happy in the Reformed denomination. Blessings. Chris.

  8. Good post.. makes sense for a lot of things. I would be interested to hear your non doctrinal issues for leaving.
    I left the Pentecostal church about seven years ago for some similar issues… I couldn’t reconcile the insistence that someone has not been infilled with the Holy Spirit unless they spoke in tongues, when the Bible specifically states not all have the gift of tongues… I couldn’t buy into a ‘cult of personality’ where the pastor was always right and you were in rebellion if you didn’t listen to him and do as he said and he could do no wrong… I couldn’t accept a system that stated we are accountable to each other but accountability only ever flowed downhill… cherry picking scripture and taking things out of context during sermons and talks…. placing themselves as the absolute authority on moves of God and saying a renewal or a group that was experiencing a deeper encounter with God through life changing events and sound Biblical teaching wasn’t of God because it didn’t look exactly like what happened at Azusa Street… the ‘living in the victory’ mentality rather than telling the truth and acknowledging need…. the list goes on and on…

    • Yes, I bought in to all of that. And then I slowly began to think things through for my self over many years. It took me 19 years to leave Pentecostalism after my first experience reading the Bible and thinking, “Hey, this sounds like that thing they told me not to believe…” I tried to hang on the nuggets of gold and ignore the “baggage.” But the baggage got heavier and harder to ignore over time. I wish you well in your spiritual journey and encourage you to love all the brothers regardless of their theology or the personal treatment you receive from them.

      • Hi, I really have enjoyed reading your stuff. I completely relate! I was raised in Oneness Pentecostalism. My wife and I have been removed for roughly 4 years. The transition had been so freeing. I now consider myself a reformed charismatic…..though I am a reluctant charismatic.

  9. Thank you for your honest reflections on the Pentecostal movement. I am a bit confused though as to what your take would be on the “tongues” are that are actually used today, if not a filling of the Holy Spirit. How do they manifest themselves if not from the Spirit? Would you agree that they are a “counterfeit”?

    • Thanks for stopping by to read and discuss. I think, first that I wouldn’t use rigid categories like “of the Spirit” vs. “Counterfeit” because counterfeit implies that they are inspired by satan. I don’t think that’s the case. Second, I’ll answer for myself, not others. I think my “tongues” were inspired by myself, my acceptance of what I was being taught, and my own wish to be filled with God, to know Him, to express my love to Him. So, for me at least, I think it was a case of some good motives plus bad teaching that gave rise to a personally meaningful experience. But I came to believe that I was forcing the Bible to align with my experience. I had a pentecostal Bible school teacher who told us, “A man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with an argument.” I applauded this when I was young. But I came to realize that this makes my personal (subjective) experience the canon to which Scripture must bow. And I knew that was backwards. I hope this makes sense. We are free to agree or disagree on this as long as we both bow the knee to Scripture and are not too quick to condemn people because we disagree with their theology. Thanks again, Lon

  10. Well Lon here’s the skinny mate.You have alot of points i agree on, but i am a reformer and a pretrib,premill man just like John MaCarthur, but i am a covenant believer not a dispensationalist.Also i was raised pentecost and am no longer a pentecost.My parents have been pentecost for 40 years and are both sick and dieing.They teach healing in there church and everybody in there church is sick.So i have study the Word and God brought me out of that situation and i praise him for that.Ibelieve the worst thing about that stuff is there will be many in the last days that say lord,lord and say to Jesus”didn’t we cast out devils and prophecy and do many wonderful works and Jesus will say to them “I NEVER KNEW YOU”, now Lon what other religion would these be?They have to be pentecost or charismatics, right, May God have mercy on them!!!!!!!!!! GOD SPEED LON!!!!!!!

    • Well I like being called “Mate,” but let’s not be too quick to condemn people who don’t share the same theology. Perhaps there are some who fit your description (teachers are always held more responsible), but Pentecostalism probably has just as many great souls as my movement or yours. And I’m sure I don’t stand out as the greatest in the kingdom. In this post I tried to be careful to disagree with Pentecostalism, and not condemn Pentecostals. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.”

    • I can’t tell if you are asking a sarcastic question or not, so I’ll assume the best in this reply: If you and I belong to Jesus, He will welcome us both home to the place He has prepared for us regardless of the church circles we fellowship with. I’m reminded of the first Q/A of the Heidelberg catechism: What is your only comfort in life and in death? — That I am not my own, but belong body and soul, in life and in death to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. Thanks for your question, Lon

  11. Hello, Lon!
    I’m glad to have the benefit of not only reading your post, but also a diverse roll of comments. I believe t.u.l.i.p., the 5 solae, and Scripture interpreting Scripture. I read early literature, modern literature, and study Koine. I participate in church, fellowship groups, and bible studies. And, I agree with many of the things you have expressed. I suppose I would like to see a formal defense for your views, but am encouraged to see you stepping up nonetheless. I humbly ask that you elaborate on your seventh point,

    “7. Pentecostalism misunderstands the relation of the New Testament to the Old Testament. As a result, they are susceptible to modern theological errors like belief in a pre-tribulation rapture of the Church, an exclusively futurist reading of the book of Revelation, and a dispensational view of Israel’s role in God’s eternal plan.”

    Specifically, I request that you explain what rapture scenario you do hold to, what kind of hermeneutic you do use in Revelation, and what your view is on Israel’s role in God’s eternal plan. I am not sure how deep your study has been or strong your convictions are in these areas, but would like to encourage you to provide more information as to what you do believe, and why. Thank you in advance, Matthew.

    • Thanks for your question Matthew. I’ll defer to make a theological defense here since that would take an entirely new post and Average Us is not primarily a forum for theological discussion/debate.

      But, here goes the short answers/explanations, not defense provided….

      1. On the rapture, I believe it is part of one event we call the 2nd Coming of Christ. I don’t believe there is any intermediate time (a tribulation period, or a millennium) between the two. Amillennialism makes the most sense to me.
      2. Revelation is an apocalyptic book of symbols relating to 1st century Roman context and the end of the age, whenever that is. It tells us nothing about 20-century events. Whether it tells us about 21st century events remains to be seen ;)
      3. Dispensationalism, invented in the 1800s by John Darby, is widely held by Pentecostals. It holds to a radical difference between the Old and New Testaments, that of law vs grace. It teaches that OT prophecies regarding Israel must be literally fulfilled in national Israel. From this arises Christian Zionism, support for Israel as “the people of God,” and belief in a future restoration/salvation of Israel apart from faith in Christ (e.g. by rebuilding the Temple and renewing the sacrificial system). I hold to Covenant Theology, which posits a radical unity of Old and New Testament, that of shadow/fulfillment. Both Law and grace are aspects of both the Old and New Covenants, and these are part of one eternal covenant of redemption between the Father and Son. Old Testament prophecies are fulfilled in/by Christ, and by extension, His body. Christ’s followers are the people of God, whether Jew or Gentile. No special salvation apart from Christ awaits the Jewish people in the future.

      That’s the brief explanation. You’ll have to study the experts to read a full defense. Thanks for asking, Matthew. God bless.

      • Futurism is a Christian eschatological view that interprets the Book of Revelation, the Book of Daniel, the Olivet discourse and The Sheep and the Goats as future events in a literal, physical, apocalyptic, and global context. By comparison, other Christian eschatological views interpret these passages as past events in a literal, physical, and local context (Preterism and Historicism), or as present-day events in a non-literal and spiritual context (Idealism).

        You said that the book of Revelation is, “an apocalyptic book of symbols relating to 1st century Roman context and the end of the age.” I understand there are 4 major views on Revelation, and I am curious which view is your view of interpreting Revelation?

      • I believe all scripture concerning the Jews and their land must be fulfilled, but that does not include eternal salvation for each and every Jew apart from the Messiah Jesus Christ.

      • Thanks for your comment Christiaan. Your perspective is the prevailing modern interpretation popularized by a theological system called Dispensationalism. I won’t argue the point, but I now believe that the perspective of Covenant Theology is summarizes the teaching of Scripture more accurately. Thanks so much for your comment. Grace and peace, Lon

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  13. Lon,
    My husband and I “came out” of Pentacostalism about 1 1/2 years ago (although I think he is still a believer in it), due to our 2 oldest sons leaving our church and getting involved in a Reformed Theology PCA church. I love it, and was weary of the “showiness” of a lot of pentacostal churcues, and the push for experiences, etc. My problem is that being extremly involved in pentacostal churches for so long-and my husband being a pasrot in one, I am still confused. Someitmes I long for the intensive worship services we used to have. I miss that. Sometimes I get confused about what is “right”…I do feel that the scripture is presented more “correctly” in the PCA church we attend. Any suggestions?

    • Thank you for stopping by to read this. I’m sorry you’re experiencing this difficulty. Change is painful. Finding what is “right” is a journey because it takes study and thought and prayer. I suggest that only good study of the Bible and theological perspectives other than the one you were brought up on will help you (eventually) move from confusion to conviction. We must all take some theological stands, on central things, at least. I’d suggest trying J. I. Packer’s, Keep in Step with the Spirit for a solid reformed perspective that is still very open and conversational about modern pentecostalism. It’s the first book I read when I stopped trying to marry my pentecostal experience with my reformed theology. I understand the desire to express emotion in worship, and the sense that you may not feel free to do so in a PCA church. I can’t advise you there except to say that my worship became, not less passionate, but less loud; not less intense, just less vocal in respect to those around me. Also, reformed worship centers on the gospel hope offered by Jesus presented in Word and Sacrament, not love songs sung to Jesus. This is the gospel of which we read “faith comes by hearing…” My former pentecostal worship experiences were satisfying emotionally (even fun), but they didn’t fuel my faith and spiritual growth. That came from the regular means of grace. I hope this helps some. God bless, Lon

    • I would miss the worship of my Pentecostal church too if I had to go to a reformed church as I know reformed churches. Solid doctrine is good but the letter only, kills.
      the Baptist as I know have a good balance, at least the one I know, they do differ a lot.
      It is of great practical use to know a few denomination well, it stops me from easily running away from my church when some irregular things happen, knowing it won’t be better elsewhere.

  14. Hi Lon, I can identify with most of your comments and they mirror my own experience. I have attended or been a member of a Pentecostal Church for over 50 years. If I read your article only a few years ago I would have perhaps been very offended by your comments. Since then I have been exposed a clear gospel message,Reform Theology and Calvinism. I have found truth in their teaching but they have ditches too that they tend to fall into. Covenant Theology is one such ditch. I do not believe the Pentecostal doctrine of the evidence of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. In September 2012 my wife and I now find ourselves fellowshipping in a Conservative Brethren Assembly that honors the Bible in practice by giving it its proper place in our meetings. We now feel like we have a banquet table spread before us every week when we open the pages of Holy Scripture. It has been painful to leave people we love and with whom we have walked through the mountains and valleys of life. I am so grateful to the Lord for leading us out. Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

    • And thank you for sharing yours! Our theology will never be perfect in this life, but Christ is honored when we bow the knee to His Word.

  15. Wow — that is a profound statement!!! Amen, amen, amen!!!

    “4. Pentecostalism wrongly promotes emotion-driven, crisis events to foster spiritual growth (e.g. “Revivals” and “Altar Calls” like the one I described above) instead of God’s regular (i.e. prescribed) means of grace: regular prayer, regular study and hearing of Scripture, and regular reception of the sacraments.”

  16. Lon,

    I “stumbled” across this post while doing some research on tithing, another post of yours. I want to thank you for them both. I am presently a member of an A/G church and have been over 30 years. My wife and I were involved in the charismatic movement from the early 1970’s. But one day I came across I came across “Desiring God” by John Piper and have not been the same since. It rocked our lives. One book led to another (more Piper, Schaeffer, Calvin, Luther, Sproule, Carson, Pink, Ware, Boyce, Schreiner ….etc.) and my wife and I have become of the Reformed theological view. You may wonder why we we still are attached to an A/G church. We have many long time friends there who love Jesus and are His sheep as we are, and to this point have found it unnecessary to leave. By that I mean, I have made it known that I am a Calvinist (5 pt), and through the years have taught adult classes not based on the Gospel Publishing House material, but on the Bible alone. And what would be one of the TULIP points arises from the texts, people seem to receive as being the common sense view of “what the Bible says.” So I have hope.

    And yet, we are a pentecostal church with most of the trimmings, though the vocal “gifts” seem to be receding. I do struggle with whether we should move on, but to date that seems more like abandonment than transition. But your post and your experience is encouraging to me as I wait on the Lord. It is frustrating at times though.

    Dick Thurston

    • Thanks for you comments, Dick. I am familiar with feeling like a duck out of water in the A/G while at the same time feeling very loyal to it. I came to Christ in the A/G. Went to an A/G Bible College. Pastored two A/G churches. For many year I tried to unify my pentecostal experience (which I no longer explain as the A/G would) with my reformed theology. However, it became clear to me that neither my church nor my district officials wanted me to do so. Leaving was a painful transition, but ultimately very freeing to us. We are very glad to be where we are, but I want to encourage you to follow the Lord Jesus in your own journey. It won’t match mine. Unity with non-reformed people is possible in the Lordship of Jesus and I encourage you to pursue it as long as your are welcome where you’re at. Thanks again! Lon

  17. Lon,

    I was raised in the assembly of God Church and shift at wind that came my way, healing word of faith, say it claim etc. About 3 months ago I started down this road and I see that all you need is salvation. I praise God a few of you have stand firm and left all this mess. I am looking for a bible believing church that preaches the Gospel and not all the other garbage. I think that this could be part of the great decption that is suppose to happen at the end times. I would like to hear more from and look forward to it
    .

    bill in Wisconsin

    • Hello Bill in Wisconsin. Sorry for the delayed reply; I’ve been away on vacation. I’m so glad you shared your comment because I love to hear about Christians relentlessly pursuing faithfulness to Scripture in their whole life. If I may, I’d like to offer some tips from my own journey.

      1. Beware of pride/arrogance. We are all afflicted by this when we begin to suspect something we were taught is not wholly true.
      2. I’m not sure what you mean by “all you need is salvation,” but I’ve come to see that most attempts to reduce Christianity to something other than, or smaller than, Jesus, his message, his work and why it was necessary, ultimately distort the gospel. So, be careful.
      3. No church is perfect, and neither are we. So, expect to always attend a church that you disagree with somewhat. But try hard to give up peripherals and focus on fundamentals. In my own case, I attend a Presbyterian Church even though I don’t fully agree with infant baptism, because their reformed and covenant theology is the best summary of the main themes of Scripture I know of, imo.
      4. The great deception is now. The church age is filled with deception, partly as the result of the enemy’s work, and partly because we are so flawed. The mere existence of 100’s of denominations and sects is testimony to this. So, don’t be too hard on your pentecostal friends. Assume they are brothers and sisters in Christ unless they truly abandon the gospel (which a few do, I know).

      Thanks again, Lon

  18. I had been years in pentecostal until I heard a message “we are saved by grace through faith to do good” work hit me in small lutheran church. From there, I am born again. Before that, it was all about acceptance by God through work. Our dictatorial pentecostal leader also compound the problem. My take is Pentecostal theology is swallow and too much emphasis on what we can do for God. In extreme case, how we can manipulate God to our favour. Rather childish. Lack of check and balance, focus on personality, demanding money based leader vision from “God”, etc. It is like a circus!. Sadly, many Pentecostal are sincere people but misguided. I do think, more pentecostal are moving toward solid words of God, instead relying on personal subjective experience(no matter how valid) it is.

    • Thanks for your comment. I’m sorry for the experience you shared. I know that some pentecostal churches (not all) can err toward dangerous levels of legalism, mysticism, and personality worship. I suggest you learn the essence of the gospel (1 Cor 15:1-3) from great writers like J.I. Packer, John Piper, Michael Horton and others, and look for a congregation based on their faithfulness to the biblical gospel. But no church is perfect, and neither are we, so, be prepared to be flexible.

  19. I just want to say thank for this article. I am a United Pentecostal Church member for almost 5 years and it came to a point that by God’s grace somehow my minds became enlightened about the truth and the manipulations that is happening within our church. I am currently withdraw my church affiliation in the UPCI and starting to meditate, study thoroughly the word of God and seeking the will of the Lord. This article somehow help me in my healing process because honestly its really hurtful to leave the congregation with my beloved pastors and brothers and sisters in faith there but I have to do it by faith and trust in the Lord. I realized that when you submit be rest assured that you are submitting to the authority which is right and true. Blind submission results to destruction. Scriptures alone are the sole authority on the truth. I now definitely sure that my decision is right and accord to God’s plan in my life. i praise God that I found joy and peace in my decision right now. God bless your ministry in Jesus name :)

    • Thank you, and may God reveal the height and depth of His great love for you, and His power at work in you through Christ. May this comfort you as you grieve parting with fellow believers you love. Standing upon what Scripture teaches is often a painful step. But there is freedom and joy in His Spirit. Thanks again, Lon

  20. I was pleased to find your post, I’ve just finished reading J.I Packers book “Keeping In Step With The Spirit”, and it was the first book that I’ve come across that is well balanced and respectful in it’s critique of Pentecostal theology (or lack of it). Most of my relatives on both sides of my family are associated with AOG in some way, but has never been a comfortable fit for me. I remember even as a kid thinking most of the preaching was bragging about how much the pastor had achieved because of God (not much humility), and all the drama! As if one poor choice is all it takes to be on the road to hell! Fear based indoctrination. I felt questions about why something was believed were always answered in circular way that had no depth of understanding or accountability (sort of how a child believes something and answers “because my mum said so”). I lived in the UK for a couple of years, and it was there I encountered really good theological teaching (but it could be so dry!). Packers book has given me some balanced understanding which makes me more sure of what I believe, but also less critical (& defensive?) of how and why people end up in Pentecostal churches.
    Have you come across “generational sin”(Ellel Ministries I know promotes it) and theophostic prayer ministry or Arthur Burk? Some of this has been part of the Baptist church I now attend, and I find it a little concerning.
    Lynette

    • Thanks for your comments. Feel free to share this post with your A/G family members if it will foster a positive discussion.

      I have read Packer’s book. Everything I’ve read from him is outstanding. I think I’m familiar with the generational sin thing. Before I left Pentecostalism, people started talking about “cursing the root” presumably of some generational bondage/sin. This was concerning because a simple reading of Scripture shows that only God curses with justice and power, and that His curse is the punishment for sin.

      For non-dry, AND theologically rich preaching, try podcasting R. C. Sproul, Tim Keller, John Piper, Allistair Begg, or Martin Lloyd-Jones.

      Thanks again.

      • Hello, and thanks for reading and reaching out. I try to encourage all our readers to use the comments section to add to or question the content of this post. I do this by responding in the comments myself for everyone’s benefit. Thanks again, Lon

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  23. It behooves us to look at WHY Pncsts practice what they do as they do. Interesting that Jews demanded signs back in the day. We still do, in the flesh. It’s a lust for an immediate, visible sense of gratification (that, as leaders or preachers we have “borne fruit,” or as members we have met with God in a spiritually commendable way.)
    The Living Word, is no longer enough. We want signs and wonders. Mike Horton is great on this, the sufficiency of hearing and believing, and the power of God to save through the Word.

    I believe that even the more conservative churches fall, on this issue: music is used – albeit and hopefully unwittingly, not intentionally – to help manufacture or engineer a certain atmosphere for worship, to “warm us up” before the drier preaching, or to encourage an emotional response to the Word. Though far be it for Presbyterians to get as crazy as the Pents.

    Thx for the follow, Lon.

  24. A few months ago I left a pentecostal “lite” church, not too bad at first, but then it seemed every week was devoted much time to having people come up for a healing. Then presented that to worship God properly, you should be raising your hands and/or jumping. My Bible was telling me true worship was obedience to God, not waving my arms. Many alarms were going off in me spiritually. I prayed for guidance and where to go. it also seemed many people wrre not growing, mention to them they shld be reading Gods Word every day and you could tell it wasn’t sinking in. So I had a great conversation with my eye doctors receptionist and where she attended. i checked it out online for beliefs and listened to some sermons and then checked it out.. i didn’t want to leave….been about 3 or 4 months now and can not express enough joy to God for leading me there.. Teaching is biblically sound, mix of old and new hymns which i had wanted….gave lot of thought of what other things i would want in church beside sound doctrine.. The other people there seem much more mature in tbeir walk and more sincere. i likenew songs but I think the older hymns have more meat on the bone. I’m just very thankful for the move God lead me in and where he has put me for now.

  25. Hi Lon, we share the same last name. I recently left the Pentecostal church. It first started with a study into Reformed Theology, where I began to see the Doctrines of Grace very clearly in scripture. Even though I am now more reformed in my views, I am still studying the continuation of the sign Gifts in the church. I haven’t spoken in tongues in probably 6 months, where as it used to be a daily experience. I have been studying the history of the Pentecostal church and the Word of God, concerning the issue, and I am finding I can’t settle the matter in my heart. Is there anything you may have to offer that would be of benefit? I appreciate your time.

    • Hello Josh,

      Great surname, brother! I really appreciate you’re taking the time to read, comment, and ask a question. I’ll try to answer in a way that gives you food for thought rather than try to settle the matter.

      I remained committed to both reformed theology and my pentecostal experience until I was in my late 30’s. After I gave up on Pentecostalism, I was left with a gaping hole in my theology regarding the continuation or cessation of the sign gifts. I left that hole open for many years, trying to keep an open mind, and avoid a knee-jerk jump to the cessationist side. I read J. I. Packer’s “Keep in Step with the Spirit” which was very useful. Today, I’m still not 100% committed to either side of this debate, but let me tell you the few things I have decided…

      1. The sign gifts and other supernatural phenomena described in the NT bear no resemblance to the practices I observed (and practiced) in 20 years as a modern pentecostal. Further the nonsense promoted by many charismatic leaders is even further removed from the Christianity of Peter, Paul, John, etc. What is today called tongues, interpretation, prophecy, etc, (all of which I’ve practiced in) simply aren’t. They’re different. My best guess (sorry, that’s all I’ve got) of how to understand my own experiences as a pentecostal is that it is psychological in nature. My opinion. I could be wrong. I encourage you to reach your own conclusions.

      2. Is it still plausible that the sign gifts continue? Of course. I don’t think any thoughtful Christian would put God in a box and say, “He doesn’t do that anymore.” But, the real question is not, “Could He?”, but “Is He?” In other words, do we actually see the sign gifts in use as a regular means of edification of the church? I don’t think I’ve every seen/heard anything that I would call the genuine article (although I’m told that frontier missions is where the “genuine” actually occurs). This sounds plausible to me, but unfortunately, this leaves me unable to say I’m a continuationist, AND unable to say I’m a cessationist. All I can say is that I have seen no evidence of continuation. Btw – there are a few reformed people who believe in the continuationist position, but I think their practices are very, very different from the typical pentecostal/charismatic.

      3. I can say that the regular means of grace (hearing the gospel through preaching, personal study, prayer, communion) have been far more useful to my spiritual growth than the ecstatic, crisis emphasis we often see in pentecostalism. I encourage you to read about what it means to be “filled with the Spirit” from a reformed perspective.

      I know all that I’ve said here can be pretty unsatisfying, but I hope it gives you an angle to investigate. My journey isn’t complete yet, either.
      Thanks again!

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  27. My background was charismatic – a milder version of pentecostalism in the denominational churches. I became a cessationist when I realised that the spritual gifts are fake – as you say above, psychology is the explanation.

    But, whilst there are a lot of bad things in the pentecostal movement (including its core theology), I can’t dismiss everything as worthless. I think it has really shaken up all the churches and encouraged them to become more creative in their approach, getting them out of a cultural timewarp, promoting every-member ministry and a joyful living faith.

    • Agreed. I left because there are more biblically faithful bodies. But there is much that we can give thanks for and praise God together with them.

  28. Reblogged this on Working It Out, With Fear & Trembling and commented:
    I just happened upon Lon’s blog, and this post pretty much sums up where I’m at, and where I’ve been heading for the last 18-24 months. My walk is not perfect by any means, and I routinely fall on my face. But I do believe that God has led me out of error, much like He has Lon. To my Pentecostal friends & family, please no that I do not re-blog this out of malice or bitterness or rebellion. It is done out of love and humility.

    • Hey John, Grace and peace to you. I know “coming out” to tell friends you disagree is fraught with peril. No matter how you try to speak your conviction with humility, someone will always judge you negatively. Conviction is threatening, and even when you’re willing to “agree to disagree” amicably, not all of your friends will reciprocate. I hope your experience in this brings you more joy and confidence in the gospel. Lon

  29. Pingback: Why I Left Pentecostalism « Average Us | ThrivinginTruth (UnTangled)

  30. Lon,

    Thank you for this. In reading your post, I have found extremely close similarities to my life as well. I would like to briefly share. I grew up in a pentecostal church from birth until I was 16 or so. Many years after going through life the hard way I returned to a pentecostal church where the associate pastors were my old pastors growing up. After about 3-4 years of reading the Bible faithfully and learning the scriptures for myself, I started questioning the leadership of the church in my mind. I started questioning doctrine. My wife and I ran a ministry solely for alcohol and drug addiction. After spending one week away to go to my son’s basketball game, we were kicked to the curb. I had felt God leading me to teach large groups but the pastor didn’t want that to happen. He thought the other person teaching did a better job. After 3 years of leading that ministry my wife and I were heartbroken. I questioned their doctrine and they could not give me any suggestive answers except that if I questioned the pentecostal doctrine then I lacked faith. The functionality of the church was to listen to the pastor and not question him. Therefore, they had and still have mindless followers who do not read the Word of God for themselves to see what God has to say. Over the course of the last year I started listening to a Calvinist preacher online. Everytime I would questioning something, it seemed that the Calvinist preacher would hit the part right in the sermon and explain it. These little confirmations came out of the blue. I started seeing where the pentecostal flaws were. The Lord opened my eyes.

    More recently my 18 year old daughter went on a prison ministry trip with that church. When they arrived back here, she would not come home. Then finally she decided to move out. The leaders of the pentecostal church were encouraging her to be rebellious and defiant. They were coddling her and would not even talk to my wife or I. We had a meeting with the associate pastors who I have known my whole life. I discussed the leadership and quoted the book of 1 Timothy on Pauls letter to Timothy on how leaders are doubly accountable and the qualifications of leaders. I explained that we got the cold shoulder when we would see the church people in town. They would turn the other way. I asked why we are treated that way and they said it was because they thought I was talking bad about that church. My wife clarified for them that I wasn’t nor had been. I was sharply yelled at and rebuked by the associate pastor for this. He said, “Enough! This subject is closed!”. It seems as if they see their beliefs are wrong as well as their choice in leaders. They chose their leaders at the time because the current leaders were “generous tithers”. I was also told by the associate pastor’s wife that if it is not “positive thinking” then its not of God. I was told that if I say what I am discerning and its not uplifting then I am cursing the person. I don’t mean to go off on a tangent but there is so much more than just what I have listed. My family has almost been destroyed because of pentecostalism. The article we all read explains most everything incorrect about pentecostalism and sums it up.

    If anyone has any questions about what I have learned or anything else that might be going through the same thing, feel free to contact me. sjcdjcliving4god@gmail.com

    • I’m so sorry to hear your experience. I would say what you shared may indicate a church that is near to cult status. Very few churches go this far, and those that do are usual of the independent type and may or may not be Pentecostal. Where did these pastors get their theological education (if at all)?

      • Lon,

        The pastor got a bachelors from Northwest University in Washington. My wife’s aunt and uncle used to be former pastors so we asked them to go online to listen to a sermon. They replied back and said the pastor did not seem educated and it appeared that he dictated rather than taught. My personal opinion is that I heard way too much law with no grace. In one of his sermon clips he stated, Jesus said “be perfect as my Father in heaven is perfect”. Then he left people hanging on that. He could have at least delivered something after that comment such as, “Jesus was perfect for you”. Instead its a dose of law with nothing else. I got burned out on that. It is a “do more, try harder approach” and multiple people have left that church because of it. They gossip about people and justify it by calling it “the grapevine”. Anyways, sorry about the soapbox comments. They don’t really seem educated at all. The church has tried to build a new church building where the parsonage used to be. They bulldozed the parsonage so the pastor could buy a quarter million dollar home. The second most expensive home within miles of him. They have lectured the members to give more to build the “new church”. I advised them before trying to build that they should make sure that they have the funds to do this for it would be wise. They claimed they are building in faith. They had their new “stewardship pastor” preach a sermon last september and he included that “maybe God wants you to mortgage your home to build the new church”. A member in the audience chuckled and the pastor flipped out and said “Im not kidding. I’ve had to do that”. It seems the legalism and dictatorship has turned cultish because they are barely hanging on financially and don’t want to trust God. I hope I answered your question. I apologize for the rambling of the other things.

  31. Wow. I just discovered your post today. I could basically substitute my name on your post. Right down to the age I came to Christ (16) in 1979. My early Christian years was under a female pastor, which brought its own challenges as I was in search for male role models..but there weren’t many. I too, was a pastor for a few years. But I also started to doubt certain things as I got to know some of the big pastors in the NYC area. Some were power hungry, some were gay, some didn’t have a clue. I got frustrated with the whole thing and with my own shortcomings as a minister. I left the church altogether for a few years in the early 90’s. But I started listening to radio ministers like R.C. Sproul, D. James Kennedy, John McArther, Hank Hanegraaff and the like. I began to really search the Scriptures and read all kinds of books. I started to understand grace and faith and realized that all the theatrics and manifestations were not all genuine. I found a healthy, well balanced church and went there for 8 years. I went to seminary and got an advanced degree in theology. I’m currently working on my second advanced degree and I’m planting a church in NYC.

    I still have friends in the Pentecostal Church. I do not doubt the sincerity of many of them. And there are different levels and kinds of Pentecostal churches, so I do not paint with a broad brush. But even among the moderate there are things that go on that are not sound. Unfortunately, my wife is still involved in one of these churches and it is a source of constant difficulties. It is very hard for someone to pull away from this because it breeds a certain kind of spiritual superiority complex. I know because I felt the same way at some point. We felt we had the Spirit and no one quite got it. We would call other churches (Like Presbyterian and Reformed folks) “dead” and “lifeless” and quote Scriptures (or should I say misquote) like “The Letter Killeth” and “Dry bones” because they didn’t dance in the aisles or preach with fire and brimstone. Little did I know that those same accusations would be hurled at me.

    Most of these churches that I grew up around were personality driven, and were borderline cults. When the church becomes your whole life, and the pastor basically runs all aspects of your life, drains your wallets in the name of the Lord and isolates you from family and friends, then this is basically a cult. So, in support on what Lon is saying, I urge those still in to think, study and understand what God’s Word says. To those already out, be encouraged and build on what you have come to discover. Pray and stay close to the Lord. You do not have to go to seminary to get knowledge, but you do have to become a student of the Word. There are plenty of resources on the web and there are still a few good teachers out there you can listen to. Sermonaudio has tons of good teaching ministries available.
    BE Encouraged!

    • Thanks for the encouragement! I hope you found the same here. “theatrics” is a good word for what is done and “vacuous” is a good word for what is believed. Pentecostalism rejects almost all that went before it as sub-par, and therefore they don’t learn from the past, are open and eager to hear the latest thing (usually errors) and have have rather childish doctrines and practices. (No offense intended.) I hope your spiritual leadership results in greater spiritual unity with your wife. Dawn, went through a brief period of “God, you tricked me,” when it became apparent I was moving toward Calvinism. But now she is grateful.

      I do wish Presbyterians were more comfortable with engaging emotions in worship. But, catering to emotions without doctrinal moorings is a far worse place to be spiritually.

      Grace and peace, Lon

  32. Wow. I just discovered your post today. I could basically substitute my name on your post. Right down to the age I came to Christ (16) in 1979. My early Christian years was under a female pastor, which brought its own challenges as I was in search for male role models..but there weren’t many. I too, was a pastor for a few years. But I also started to doubt certain things as I got to know some of the big pastors in the NYC area. Some were power hungry, some were gay, some didn’t have a clue. I got frustrated with the whole thing and with my own shortcomings as a minister. I left the church altogether for a few years in the early 90’s. But I started listening to radio ministers like R.C. Sproul, D. James Kennedy, John McArther, Hank Hanegraaff and the like. I began to really search the Scriptures and read all kinds of books. I started to understand grace and faith and realized that all the theatrics and manifestations were not all genuine. I found a healthy, well balanced church and went there for 8 years. I went to seminary and got an advanced degree in theology. I’m currently working on my second advanced degree and I’m planting a church in NYC.

    I still have friends in the Pentecostal Church. I do not doubt the sincerity of many of them. And there are different levels and kinds of Pentecostal churches, so I do not paint with a broad brush. But even among the moderate there are things that go on that are not sound. Unfortunately, my wife is still involved in one of these churches and it is a source of constant difficulties. It is very hard for someone to pull away from this because it breeds a certain kind of spiritual superiority complex. I know because I felt the same way at some point. We felt we had the Spirit and no one quite got it. We would call other churches (Like Presbyterian and Reformed folks) “dead” and “lifeless” and quote Scriptures (or should I say misquote) like “The Letter Killeth” and “Dry bones” because they didn’t dance in the aisles or preach with fire and brimstone. Little did I know that those same accusations would be hurled at me.

    Most of these churches that I grew up around were personality driven, and were borderline cults. When the church becomes your whole life, and the pastor basically runs all aspects of your life, drains your wallets in the name of the Lord and isolates you from family and friends, then this is basically a cult. So, in support on what Lon is saying, I urge those still in to think, study and understand what God’s Word says. To those already out, be encouraged and build on what you have come to discover. Pray and stay close to the Lord. You do not have to go to seminary to get knowledge, but you do have to become a student of the Word. There are plenty of resources on the web and there are still a few good teachers out there you can listen to. Sermonaudio has tons of good teaching ministries available.

    Be Encouraged!

  33. I’ve read this a number of times and finally registered so I could comment.
    I am surprised that you still urge unity with the UPC’ers. By their published doctrine, we are all going to h___ in a handbasket! I have had a number of pentecostal friends who have ALL abaondoned me, to a person, as soon as they realizes that (a) I wore shorts and (b) I watched what they term ‘hollywood-style’ movies (c) that I played what they term “worldly” sports and (d) accept that women wear pants. To the UPC’er, any of the above can and will send me straight to h___./ Although I agree that theaters are not conducive to Christianity and I still believe in many of the UPC ideas such as that (bars, bowling alleys, etc). I am 100% ostracized. So be it. I am just a bit surprised that you espouse fellowship .. when none can exist as I see it. Oh well.

    • Hi Tom, Thanks for your comment. I’m really sorry you’ve been treated so by others who claim the name of Jesus. I’m not sure where you got the idea that I urge unity with the UPC. I re-read the post to double check and I don’t mention the UPC (United Pentecostal Church, right?) at all. I did respond to a comment from a former UPC person whom I encouraged that God would comfort and guide as that person left what was familiar. For the record, since the UPC is non-trinitarian, I couldn’t in good conscience advise any Christian to join their fellowship. Since non-trinitarians get the Godhead wrong, they also tend to be prone to fall into other doctrinal errors: the nature of Christ, His redemption work, the Holy Spirit, salvation/justification, and sanctification/holiness. I hope that clears things up for you. Let me know if it raises new questions. Thanks again for reading! Lon

  34. Hi Lon, I found your blog through a Google search. I am part of a pentecostal church and I have become uncomfortable with their teachings (I am a new Christian of only 6 months – grew up atheist. 31 years old)

    My concerns are around how emotional the whole experience is. I realised today that it doesn’t actually feel good to be so up and down.

    I still love God and the bible. I have started doing research as you mentioned in your blog about Christianity origins..

    I am going to try some new churches. What was your experience in finding a church? I randomly bumped into a Catholic the library yesterday and he was able to tell me about the orthodox bible study guide..

    What did you find a helpful place to begin?

    Are all the satan/enemy battles normal in all Christianity? It doesn’t feel good to be in battle all the time…

  35. Hi Lon, I found your article very interesting. Do you by any chance have an e-mail address where I can reach out to you in private? Thank you

    • Sorry – I wouldn’t be able to answer all the emails I would receive. However, I’m in process of writing new posts on Pentecostalism over this year if that is the subject you want to think more about.

  36. Thanks for this post. Im a young pentecostal struggling with a lot of points that “pentecostal theology” makes. Somebody said to me, Im a reformed baptist in a pentecostal denomination. It’s been hard, but as Luther said “so help God.” God bless you!

  37. Pingback: The Spiritual Health of Pentecostalism — Part 1 | Average Us

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