Denominations typically are seasonal in influence, as they are products of people of faith responding to cultural conditions of their point of origin. Unless you are living in the time when a movement begins, denominations are collections of yesterday’s revelation, guided by principles for living in days that are long gone. They are yesterday’s bread with Jelly covering the mold. Let me explain. Menzies(Assemblies of God theologian) wrote an excellent book on Denominational life span’s when he was in Office. He was disturbed at his own conclusions, as he identified 5 cycles within the life of every movement or what would become a denomination. In his opinion, the A/G was in cycle 4 in the 70’s. An honest assessment of his findings would put them in cycle 5 now. The 5th cycle is the death cycle, particularly as a dead entity although those in it would not concur with Zimmerman’s prophetic assessment, most scholars would. Incidentally, by the 5th cycle, denominational death isn’t closure and irrelevance. It’s conformity to the religious structure and beliefs of all the other groups that preceded them, minus the basic Tenet positions (Calvinism vs. Arminianism).
It’s the loss of the original focal points that made them unique, which normally includes the exclusion of those who want to revive the old ways. In the A/G Pentecostal world, this would be seen as snuffing out the embers of revival, diminishing gifts, moving away from highlighting Tongues and insisting on their evidence in ALL church leaders, having dynamic Altar minister times that would include embracing and teaching being Slain in the Spirit (old school A/G) among others.
When Pentecostal services and churches look like, feel like, sound like and act like non-Spirit filled denominational expressions like the Baptists/Presbyterians/Methodists/etc, the death knell has sounded. It is evidenced by forced removal or pressured removal of old school hold outs. Zimmerman, without identifying Bethel Redding or other similar churches, said you would when the cycle was in full force by how that type of church or leaders were treated. When you see them being kicked out or forced to leave, it’s the new reality.
The exclusionary practice has a very real function among ministers, as it creates a climate of fear concerning trying to advocate whatever new model rises to replace what was given by the previous generation. Advocacy and fear are huge, as it can mean loss of income, position and prestige. New systems today would be seen as Vineyard/Toronto, Redding’s reassessed configuration, Harvest Rock, MorningStar, etc. the former paradigm has always created a climate where the new is bastardized and diminished. Thus the cycles begin again.
If you don’t mind, I’ll also comment on the exclusion of the Apostles and Prophets in most Pentecostal denominations dating to the early 20th century and their aversion to a proper, biblical view on demonization. They are simply a product of their time period. Most leaders in the early Pentecostal movement were ill-educated and they relied on the study tools that were easily available, which included the Scofield Study Bible. Many pastors and evangelists used this Bible’s study notes for sermon creation and for doctrine in most areas minus the Baptism in the Spirit and nominal gift expressions. Scofield along with Dakes and most Evangelicals were Dispensationalists, and that view dominated the day, which explains the exclusion of the Apostles and Prophets concerning offices in the church. It was a grave error that also exposes the problem of Denominationalism beyond the first thru fourth cycles of advancement.
Denominational structures very rarely ever go back and change the verbiage and beliefs of the original cardinal points of practices (orthopraxy), while conversely shedding the Doctrinal pillars (Orthodoxy) that made them different and that made them unique, setting them apart from their contemporary ecclesiastical forces that they were attempting to be known as being separated from. This is why denominations cease to be relevant once they cross the tipping point where status and possession preservation become more important than advancing the Kingdom. The lack of reassessment typically leads to beliefs and practices that do not progress into the next move of God and/or cultural changes and values.
I was at the A/G meeting where the tipping point was crossed. It was at General Council in 1997. Rick Warren had just won a Lawsuit against the A/G over Plagiarism and Copyright infringement, as Springfield’s publishing arm, Gospel Publishing House had created a then new program titled: We Build People. It was based solely on Warren’s work, with LARGE tracts copied word for word. Because he patented his ideas, he won big time, and the A/G was forced by Judiciaries to pay him royalties and were required to use the program. Warren, a Dallas Theological Seminary graduate, gleefully told us that this would change the A/G, virtually making them look just like his views in 20 years. His views include a diminished view of Holy Spirit as active, the gifts, the Offices, etc. He was right. Warren’s Purpose Driven model purposefully excludes the supernatural as it a dispensational based paradigm. Clara and I walked out of the meeting where he was speaking, which was also a concession based on the Lawsuit. He has made millions of dollars off of the A/G and his views have helped to tamp out the old revival fires that had once burned bright.
BTW: Thomas Zimmerman served as General Superintendent of the Assemblies from 1959-1985 and presided when the A/G rejected the Jesus Movement, the Charismatic Movement and the Word of Faith Movement as being “not of God,” concurred with Menzies conclusions, and was a vocal advocate of this position. I would say they were “of God,” just not of the Assemblies of God, which is another indicator of the decline of a denomination as seen in the rejection of any similar movements that happen that were not exclusive to them in origin. The final capstone to this phenomena is witnessed when the movement actually rejects sub-movements within its own structure, like the rejection of the Brownsville Revival and to a lesser extent, the rejection of Bethel Redding. I say to a lesser extent with Redding only in the sense that they voted to disassociate with the Assemblies and became a uniquely new expression.
According to Scripture, Jesus is the Anointed One. He is in turn the Anointer, as He passes on the fullness of His Holy Spirit to others. When we come to the Lord Jesus as our Savior, the first thing that happens is Holy Spirit comes in to dwell. Then Jesus as our Good Shepherd, can pour Holy Spirit over us like oil over the sheep’s head (Psalm 23:5), so we not only have the Spirit dwelling within us but also overflowing in our lives, You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.
Oil in the Scripture is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. The meaning of “anointing” is related to oil. His presence as the Spirit of Truth enables you to know the truth, But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things (1 John 2:20). Jesus says the Comforter is the Spirit of Truth and He will guide you, lead you into all truth (John 16).
The fundamental nature of living in the Spirit of Truth is learning to obey what Holy Spirit speaks to you, as you become inured (trained/disciplined) by the Word. Can I share with you a very deep concept? Alright, but I need you to listen, OK? Truth is not just a coordination of beliefs where you sit as an arbitrary judge and decide between what is accurate or what isn’t. The essence of real truth is not simply an intellectual issue; it is a spiritual issue. Don’t get me wrong, intellect is always involved, but the essence of truth isn’t just accumulation of facts; it’s catching the Spirit of Truth teaching us, confirming truth for us and affecting our lives with the impact of truth.
Are you still listening? This is the root of the issue: The Bible is full of facts that we can reject or accept. Acceptance of truth is really important initially, as it makes us aware of our condition. When that happens, we are then left with decisions. We have to decide whether or not to live in truth, which is the most important of all the matters. When you make a choice to live in truth, Holy Spirit is freed to say, “Now I will accompany you in it”.
You can’t live apart from truthfulness, and expect to keep truth clear in your head. You will become confused because you are surrendering to the spirit of error, which leads to confusion by living out falsehoods, which in turn influences what you believe. When we talk about responding to Holy Spirit of Truth, we’re talking about living in what He tells you to do through what He has shown us as truth, which is why the anointing is so important. This message is about how to keep the anointing alive and active as we press in to the LORD for revival, which is especially helpful in being trained to activate that “sense” of the LORD’s presence in us and in those around us. Let me illustrate this by drawing your attention to a few things about Holy Spirit and how He anoints us for extreme seasons of refreshing, renewal and revival. They are:
1) Holy Spirit comes like Rain
Rain has a dual implication: Rain brings refreshing where dryness and barrenness have prevailed, and restoration for things that have been lost Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God; for He has given you the former rain faithfully, and He will cause the rain to come down for you—The former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. 24 The threshing floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil. 25 “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you.26 You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you; and My people shall never be put to shame… 28 “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. 29 And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days (Joel 2:23-29).
“To restore the years” is a metonymy, a figure of speech in which an attribute of something is used to stand for the thing itself, e.g. “laurels” when it stands for “glory” or “brass” when it stands for “military officers.” Joel’s metonymy is addressing the destruction of previous harvest yields of several years, Make us glad according to the days in which You have afflicted us,
The years in which we have seen evil (Ps 90:15). This clarifies in retrospect the dimension of the catastrophe described in 1:4. “To restore” (שׁלם pi˓el) is an old legal term for the adjustment of damages; it designates the rendering of a substitute payment or restitution.
The outpouring Peter speaks about at Pentecost in Acts 2:17 was the “latter rain” that brings about the quick maturing of the harvest and the creation of fruitful crops. YHWH is saying that He will send rain to the fields (us) even when we are totally barren and have been barren for years, which is a promise of hope.
Our need or acknowledgement for refreshing doesn’t mean we are backslidden or that we are living in sin. In California where I grew up, when your lawn goes through a long hot day, it dries up and needs to be watered. When Holy Spirit coming as rain, He comes to bring refreshing and restoration.
2) Holy Spirit also comes as Rivers
Rivers are channels or conduits that travel to places where refreshing, nourishing waters are needed. John pinpoints that the work of Holy Spirit as “rivers of living water” was to become available after Jesus’ went back to Heaven, On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified (John 7:37-39). Our understanding of Holy Spirit manifesting in rivers shows us that the rain is not just refreshing for us alone, as it shows us that the Lord wants to make you an overflowing tributary of His Holy Spirit fullness to others. This is your purpose in revival, as you reveal Him.
standing, beholding the multitude engaged in the ceremonies of the last day of the Feast, and moved by the sight, He cried aloud. These words recall Isa. 55:1 and Rev. 22:17, Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk Without money and without price… And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely ὁ διψῶν ἐρχέσθω. This is a reference to the custom of pouring water at the Feast of Tabernacles. On all seven days water was brought from the pool of Siloam and poured into a silver basin on the western side of the altar of burnt offering. Apparently this was not done on the eighth day. On day eight, Christ comes forward and fills the gap, directing them to a better water than that of Siloam.
Some people have said this isn’t the point, as the water is only poured and not drank. That’s not true, however. Jesus frequently took an external fact as a text and shifted its meaning or elaborated to make a point. The pouring of the water would be suggestive enough, especially as it represented the water from the rock, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ (1 Cor. 10:4).
The pouring of water alone can never satisfy thirst; only Jesus can satisfy our spiritual thirst, Therefore with joy you will draw water out of the wells of salvation (Isa. 12:3). John is prophetically telling us that Christ is our hope, as symbolized by a Brazen Serpent (John 3:14) Manna (John 6:51), and now the Rock. Sorry Duane. Jesus is the refreshing drink. As His representatives on earth, we are to be a drink for a thirsty world.
3) Holy Spirit comes as Wind
When Holy Spirit is shown as coming as wind, it depicts both His power and His guidance. When Jesus was telling Nicodemus about the new birth experience in John 3:8, The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit, Jesus told him that it is not like a physical, tangible birth where you can see the baby is born and check the clock for its time of arrival chronologically. The work of Holy Spirit as breath is seen as He breathes into a life and divine life enters you. We call it a Kairos moment, as God breaks into our realm.
At Pentecost, the sound of a wind—like a hurricane, drew the crowd in, And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance (Acts 2:3). Friends, Holy Spirit as sovereign God is dynamic, irresistible, overwhelming and unstoppable. When He wants to come as wind, it is our duty to get ready for the tempest!
There are three points of comparison between the wind and the Spirit in the work of regeneration: 1) the freedom and independence, 2) the irresistible effect, 3) the incomprehensibility: οὐκ οἶδας, both as to origin (πόθεν) and termination (ποῦ ὑπάγει). There is also a possible fourth analogy, not stated in the text, relating to the different degrees of power of wind as breeze or tempest. Holy Spirit acts like a gentle breeze upon minds as tenderly constituted as John, Melanchthon, Zinzendorf, and like a sweeping storm or whirlwind upon characters strong like Paul, Luther, Calvin, Knox. It is presumptuous and maddening folly to make our own experience the measure and rule for everyone else. Instead, we should adore the wisdom and goodness of God in the variety of His operations.
4) Holy Spirit appears as Oil
When Holy Spirit comes to us to bring the abiding presence of His power and anointing to us, it’s for four things: qualifying, releasing, enabling, and sanctifying.
The anointing or the oil of blessing in Scripture, is directly related to the Holy Spirit’s work in our life, Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, 22 who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee (2 Corinthians 1:21-22). Holy Spirit’s anointing makes us sensitive to the things of the Kingdom of God, But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things (1 John 2:20). Holy Spirit does, by His anointing and presence, confirming what He is — the Spirit of Truth, of Holiness, of Wisdom. He turned your Knower on, and He communicates with you.
Scripture says that anointing, peace and presence comes through abiding. When it seems like we have lost our anointing, it’s really not gone, it just goes below the surface. The way you draw the oil drawn back to the surface, is by an action of your will, as you turn on the faucet of worship, which lights the fire at the top of the candlestick.
The Bible says out of your inner being will flow rivers of living water (John 7:38). Open up your heart and draw near to Jesus to praise Him. Make true contact; don’t just do the religious thing like getting hands laid on you, responding to an altar call, claiming a prophetic promise, etc. Again, don’t get me wrong. I think all of those things are great. But if they are done just to do, they are religious expressions, void of life.
When the living water begins to rise, the oil that’s already in you will be pushed to the top, allowing Holy Spirit to come and light it on fire. Light and warmth can then drive away the darkness and the shadows. But you’re the one who needs to turn on the faucet.
The Lord also wants to anoint us with the oil of rejoicing for a new season of refreshing for all those who have been overcome by the spirit of mourning. This form of anointing brings about the lifting of our heads to look beyond today, not with superficial optimism, but with a deep abiding presence and promise created in you by God.
5) Holy Spirit comes as Wine
God has given Holy Spirit as wine, And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins… Others mocking said, They are full of new wine (Mark 2:22; Acts 2:13). In the Gospels, Jesus describes the new work of God, which is conveyed by the ministry of the Spirit, as new wine poured into old vessels. If the old wineskin isn’t prepared, it is ruined. This is why you see a lot of people say they want more of Holy Spirit, but when He shows up and does things differently than they were used to, they freak out and say it can’t be God.
6) Holy Spirit comes as Fire
Holy Spirit comes as fire to work deep into the substance of who you are in order to shape things around us, rather than us taking the shape of what is around us. As fire, He works in a dual way:
To probe the inner recesses of our life, refining us as gold or silver is refined in the fire, 4 When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purged the blood of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning, 5 then the Lord will create above every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and above her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night. For over all the glory there will be a covering. 6 And there will be a tabernacle for shade in the daytime from the heat, for a place of refuge, and for a shelter from storm and rain (Isaiah 4:4-6), which then tempers our personalities by allowing penetration of fire into our heart system. Why is this important?
The purifying fire burns out the adversary. When the three Hebrew children were thrown into the furnace, not only were their lives spared, but their clothes didn’t burn. But the ropes holding them in bondage burned. By the “spirit of judgment”—or deliverance—“and burning” the Holy Spirit burns away the binding things that the enemy has placed on us.
7) Holy Spirit comes as a Dove
Holy Spirit as a dove is gentle and a symbol of peace. What the dove did is important as well—the dove came and rested on Jesus, When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him (Matthew 3:16).
Holy Spirit wants to rest on you. He wants to descend on you. Not sweeping throughout the world as a tidal wave of revival, but He wants to come to you personally. Invite Him by saying, “Holy Spirit, come and rest on me.” You see, revival isn’t just about the masses being affected. It’s about you being affected and then becoming infectious.
- Discernment: You will recognize the truth As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as His anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in Him (1 John 2:27). Something to remember: this passage was written to believers who John had instructed and who were in danger of being deceived by false teachers! Their ability to discern came from their previous teachings which existed in their hearts.
- Deliverance: What seeks to dominate and mock you will be broken. It shall come to pass in that day. That his burden will be taken away from your shoulder, and his yoke from your neck, and the yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing oil (Isaiah 10:27).
- Refreshing: (Psalm 23:5) You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
The shepherds of the Middle East would stand in the door of the fold, and as the sheep came back from grazing to their place of shelter for the night, the shepherd examined each one. If there were any wound or bruise upon a sheep, the shepherd would pour oil on it as a healing ointment. But if there wasn’t anything the sheep needed, the shepherd would pour a little oil on the sheep’s head anyway just because sheep like it. David, who was a shepherd, is saying with this imagery: There are times when I don’t need anything but the Lord pours His oil out on me just because He knows I like it.
- Healing: Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. The oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit’s presence to heal (James 5:14). The healing isn’t in the authority of the elders’ office, or the power of their hands or even the power of the oil. The healing is in the anointing that the oil represents that’s ministered by the hands of those that carry the office of elders. The presence and power is the Holy Spirit’s, and He heals.
- Victory: Where the anointing is, there is life and victory. The Lord touches all the bases when people seek to walk in His Spirit and in His way. He providentially leads and guides and protects. 2 Samuel 1:21 is an example of this: “Omountains of Gilboa, Let there be no dew nor rain upon you, nor fields of offerings. For the shield of the mighty is cast away there! The shield of Saul, not anointed with oil.”