We should maintain that if an interpretation of any word in any religion leads to disharmony and does not positively further the welfare of the many, then such an interpretation is to be regarded as wrong; that is, against the will of God, or as the working of Satan or Mara.
Buddhadasa Bikkhu, a Thai Buddhist Monk
Saturday, September 14, 2013
AOG & The Spirit
In that light, the observations of one knowledgable commentator, Steve Strang, in a posting entitled, "Pentecostal Fire Still Driving Assemblies of God Growth" are helpful. He writes, "The baptism of the Holy Spirit and the belief that the power of the Spirit is for today caused the Assemblies of God to start in 1914—only eight years after the Pentecostal revival broke out at Azusa Street in Los Angeles. From talking to leaders, experiencing the services and my firsthand knowledge, I believe this Pentecostal fire is still important and fueling the growth." Strang elaborates, "Sure, there are many problems with the Assemblies, including how to cope with worldliness that inevitably creeps into the church as well as a drift toward liberalism, modernism, complacency and denominational bureaucratic lethargy. But there is still a desire and a fervor for that Pentecostal power and a desire to reach the world that seems to embody what is happening in the Assemblies of God in 2013." I added the emphasis.
Mainline congregations can and do grow. The churches of other evangelical denominations can and do grow. The difference is that the AoG continues to sustain its growth across the denomination, internationally as well as nationally. Out here in the mainline world, we have to acknowledge the Pentecostal connection to the Spirit continues to have a life-changing, trends-defying power. The heart of the matter is not doctrinal nor is it driven by trendy strategies. At the heart of the matter lies the Spirit.