Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Passing the Baton between Generations.

Passing the Baton between Generations.

"One generation will praise your deeds to the next.
Each generation will talk about your mighty acts" (Psalms 145:4 GW).

For this "Truth for the Journey" let's look in detail at recent church history in order to view how the "baton" was successfully passed from one generation to the next. Knowing that through the perseverance and obedience of others - History as we know it was altered forever! In particular we are going to look at how things progressed from the "Azusa Street Revival" onwards and how certain individual's effected their own era, while still affecting our lives today.

To begin with and in addition to the ministers who received their Pentecostal experience at Azusa Street, thousands/millions of others were indirectly influenced by the revival in Los Angeles. Among them was Thomas Ball Barratt of Norway, a Methodist pastor who became known as the Pentecostal Apostle to Northern and Western Europe. After being baptized in the Holy Spirit and receiving tongues in New York City in 1906, Barratt returned to Oslo where, in December 1906, he conducted the first Pentecostal services in Europe. From Norway, Barratt traveled to Sweden, England, France and Germany where he sparked other national Pentecostal movements. Under Barratt, such leaders a Lewi Pethrus in Sweden, Jonathan Paul in Germany and Alexander Bobby in England were brought into the movement. From Chicago, through the influence of William Durham, the movement spread quickly to Italy and South America. Thriving Italian Pentecostal movements were founded after 1908 in the United States, Brazil, Argentina and Italy by two Italian immigrants from Chicago, Luigi Francescon and Giacomo Lombardy.

In South Bend, Indiana - near Chicago - two Swedish Baptist immigrants, Daniel Berg and Gunnar Vingren, received the Pentecostal experience. Believing they were called prophetically to Brazil, they embarked on a missionary trip in 1910 that resulted in the formation of the Brazilian Assemblies of God. The Brazilian Assemblies developed into the largest national Pentecostal movement in the world and had some 25 million members by 1990. Also hailing from Chicago was Willis C. Hoover, the Methodist missionary to Chile who in 1909 led a Pentecostal revival in the Chilean Methodist Episcopal Church. After being excommunicated from the Methodist Episcopal Church, Hoover and 37 of his followers organized the Pentecostal Methodist Church, which has some 1.5 million adherents in Chile.

African Pentecostalism owes its origins to the work of John Graham Lake (1870-1935), who began his ministry as a Methodist preacher but who later prospered in business as an insurance executive. In 1898 his wife was miraculously healed of tuberculosis under the ministry of Alexander Dowie, founder of the religious community called Zion City near Chicago. In 1907, Lake was baptized in the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. Zion City also produced almost 500 preachers who entered the ranks of the Pentecostal movement. After his Pentecostal experience, Lake abandoned the insurance business to answer a long standing call to minister in South Africa. In April 1908, he led a large missionary party to Johannesburg where he began to spread the Pentecostal message throughout the nation.

Lake succeeded in founding two large and influential Pentecostal churches in South Africa. The white branch took the name Apostolic Faith Mission in 1910, borrowing from the name of the famous mission on Azusa Street. David du Plessis, known to the world as 'Mr Pentecost,' came from this church. The black branch eventually developed into the Zion Christian Church, which had six million members by 1993. Soon after Lake returned to the United States, the movement reached the Slavic world through the ministry of a Russian-born Baptist pastor Ivan Voronacv, who received the Pentecostal experience in New York City in 1919. Through prophecies, he was led to take his family with him to Odessa, Ukraine in 1922. There he established the first Pentecostal church in the Soviet Union. Voronacv was arrested, imprisoned and martyred in a communist prison in 1943. The churches he founded survived extreme persecution and have become today a major religious force in Russia and the former Soviet Union.

Pentecostalism reached Korea through the ministry of Mary Rumsey, an American missionary who had been baptized in the Holy Spirit at Azusa Street in 1907. At that time, Rumsey believed that she was called to Japan and Korea. It was not until 1928, however, that she landed in Korea. Before World War II, she had planted eight Pentecostal churches there before being forced out of the country by the Japanese. In 1952, those eight churches were turned over to the AG, whose missionaries immediately opened a Bible School in Seoul. One of the first students to enroll was a young convert by the name of Paul Yonggi Cho. After he graduated from Bible College, Cho pioneered a Korean church that became the Yoido Full Gospel church. By the time it had over 700,000 members it was heralded the largest single Christian congregation in the world.

As for the Neo-Pentecostals, Charasmatics & Third Wavers - the first wave of the Pentecostal pioneer missionaries produced what has become known as the Classical Pentecostal Movement, with more than 14,000 Pentecostal denominations throughout the world. This phase was followed by organized Pentecostal denominational mission efforts that produced fast growing missions and indigenous churches. The final phase was the penetration of Pentecostalism into the mainline Protestant and Catholic churches as 'charismatic renewal' movements with the aim of renewing the historic churches.

It is worth noting that these newer 'waves' also originated primarily in the United States. They included the Protestant Neo-Pentecostal movement, which began in 1960 in Van Nuys, California, under the ministry of Dennis Bennett, Rector of St Marks Episcopal (Anglican) Church. Within a decade, this movement had spread to all the 150 major Protestant families of the world, reaching a total of 55 million people by 1990. The Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement had its beginnings in Pittsburgh in 1967 among students and faculty at DuQuesne University. After spreading rapidly among students at Notre Dame and the University of Michigan, the movement spread worldwide.

In the subsequent years since its inception, the Catholic movement not only has gained the approval of the church but also has touched over 90 million Catholics in 120 countries. The newest category that was added to these was called the 'Third Wave' of the Holy Spirit. It originated at Fuller Theological Seminary in 1981 under the classroom ministry of John Wimber, founder of the Association of Vineyard Churches. This 'wave' comprised mainline evangelicals who experienced sign and wonders but who disdained labels such as Pentecostal or charismatic. The Vineyard was the most visible movement of this category. By 1990, the Third Wavers were credited with some 33 million members worldwide.

Evangelists & Healers: Throughout the previous century, Pentecostals produced many evangelists who were known for their mass healing crusades. These included Maria Woodworth-Etter, Aimee Semple McPherson (Founder of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel in 1927), Oral Roberts, Kathryn Khulman, Reinhard Bonnke, Benny Hinn and Peter Youngren. Beginning in the 1950's with Oral Roberts, the 'televangelist' genre appeared bringing healing, tongues, prophecies and other spiritual gifts into living rooms across the nation. Some of the most successful ones included Pat Robertson's Christians Broadcasting Network and Paul Crouch's Trinity Broadcasting Network. Notable evangelists Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker fell in the televangelist scandals of the 1980's.

Most religious and secular press carried news of the renewal. This was paralleled by the publication of millions of books and tapes sold in conferences and crusades internationally. New periodicals spawned by the movement included Dan Malachuk's Logos magazine and Stephen Strang's Charisma and Ministries Today magazines. In the late 1970's a newer movement of 'faith' teachers drew national attention. These included Kenneth Hagin Sr., Kenneth Copeland and Fred Price. In this 1990's millions of people tuned in to the teachings of Copeland and Price, while others enroll in Hagins's Rhema Bible College in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, and a host of other Spirit-filled Bible schools. Overseas, the crusades of the German Pentecostal evangelist Reinhard Bonnke regularly drew crowds of up to 500,000 in cities throughout Africa; (then later on up to one million in one crusade; truly phenomenal!) the same is true of Rev. Peter Youngren's crusades in India

Major educational institutions arose during the 20th century as well. Healing evangelist Oral Roberts founded a university under his name in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1965, and Pat Robertson founded Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in 1978. In addition, liberal arts colleges and Bible colleges were planted worldwide. In a sense, the charismatic movement in the United States reached a peak in 1977 when 50,000 people from all denominations gathered in Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, for the General Charismatic Conference led by Kevin Ranaghan. Planners for this conference were confronted by the major controversy of the era, which involved the 'shepherding' teachings of four charismatic leaders from Fort Lauderdale, Florida: Derek Prince, Bob Mumford, Charles Simpson and Don Basham. This movement fell apart after the four separated in 1986.

In the 1990's, Pentecostals and Charismatics were re-invigorated by new waves of revival that featured such Pentecostal spiritual manifestations such as 'holy laughter', 'falling under the Spirit', and other 'exotic' manifestations. Leading in this new wave was the South African Pentecostal evangelist Rodney Howard Browne. Beginning in 1993, manifestations appeared at the Toronto Airport Vineyard church led by Pastor John Arnott. Although Arnott's church was disfellowshiped by John Wimber and the Vineyard movement, the force of the revival has continued throughout the decade.

Another wave came in 1995 when a notable revival began at Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola, Florida. Led by Pastor John Kilpatrick and evangelist Steve Hill, the Brownsville meetings have attracted more than two million visitors, and recorded almost 200,000 conversions. Those resulting 'times of refreshing' revealed at the end of the Pentecostal century that the movement was far from over and poised itself when entering the new millennium with undiminished power. Only time can reveal the true impact on the world that the Pentecostal movement had throughout the 20th century.

Finally - from the likes of Rev. Charles F. Parham, William J. Seymour, John Wesley, , Thomas B Barratt, John G. Lake, Alexander Dowie, Maria Woodworth-Etter, Aimee Semple McPherson, Oral Roberts, Kathryn Khulman, Reinhard Bonnke, Benny Hinn and Peter Youngren, Kenneth Hagin Sr., Kenneth Copeland and Fred Price, John Wimber, Oral Roberts, Pat Robertson, John Kilpatrick, Steve Hill to the infamous Rodney Howard Browne; everyone of these above mentioned gifts to the Body of Christ had a responsibility to "catch" the baton held out to them... Had they dropped their baton, then life as we know it today, just wouldn't be the same! These men and women of God, epitomize what it is to RUN WITH THE FAITH OF THE SON OF GOD in our time.

Father in Daniel 4:3 it says that Your "...kingdom is an eternal kingdom" and that Your "...power lasts from one generation to the next." Thank You that I can be a baton passer by the Help of Your Holy Spirit and that I will never drop that baton all the while I allow Him to guide my steps totally. I ask you Father to continually help me so that I can leave a mark for You on my generation which will help mark the next - for your Glory. Amen.

Today I am used by God to help bring progression to the things of His Kingdom. I invest my life in His Kingdom and deposit my life completely. Nothing will be "stalled" or "delayed" because of me. I flow with God's Spirit and keep in step with His infinite timing. His divine plan for each generation supersedes all that I am or aspire to be. Hallelujah!


Motto: ‘God Chooses, then the Spirit Tests, but You Must Respond!’

Copyright 2011 © Alan Pateman Ministries


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