Too many institutions entice young students to look for “truths” rather than the TRUTH
When I was in middle and high school, I was definitely a “seeker.”
I had grown up immersed in pluralism. I had never heard of the “Full Gospel.”
By junior year of high school, encouraged by “pastors” of the United Church of Christ (UCC), (a sect I now consider heretical), I had read all sorts of books from so-called “Christian” mysticism. I was particularly interested in such works as “The Cloud of Unknowing” and Thomas Merton’s writings recommended to me by the pastors of the church our family attended. I dabbled in Buddhism and other false religions. I was considered “well-rounded.”
In college, I visited a local Hindu temple as well as a mosque outside of Chicago. My friends were also exploring world religions, but the frightening thing is, we were all studying to be “Christian pastors.” We weren’t just learning about world religions so that we could properly share the Gospel with the lost, we were learning because we wanted to participate in their practices.
The UCC “associate ministers,” as they were called, (like bishops) were aware that we were learning about Islam and even sat across the table from us during a Ramadan dinner at that mosque that we had all been invited to by an interfaith council. There was no effort on their part to correct our course: all of us who were theology majors were encouraged to explore the commonalities between different faiths. But believe me, we were never encouraged to visit an evangelical or Full Gospel church.
When I was in grad school, we were required to read many books that were also rooted in mysticism. I remember observing (sadly!) that my Divinity School peers were intrigued and absorbing these ideas, likewise encouraged by the seminary’s professors. It is no secret that many who enter seminary lose their faith: but the true tragedy has to do with the leadership of these institutions who entice young students to look for “truths” rather than the Truth. By this time, I had already met my Savior (to the dismay of many of my theologically liberal professors who wished I had retained my interest in ecumenism and interfaith activities).
If you want to read more about my experiences growing up in a universalist environment, check out my post on Divine Empowerment in an “Inclusive” Age.
Many professors have really gotten into using icons (a form of idolatry). Christian schools and churches now incorporate yoga into their programs despite yoga’s inherent spiritual connection to Hinduism. I have a missionary friend who is a native of India. She is so dismayed by how many American Christians have accepted and incorporated yoga into their “Christian” practices. She shakes her head and says, “if they only knew . . .”
See, you don’t need a whole host of odd rituals or candle lightings or chants. You just need the Full Gospel, brought to you by the power of the Holy Spirit.
I share all this because so many people truly don’t know the Gospel, let alone the Full Gospel.
I feel like Peter writes more succinctly than Paul. He writes in a nutshell, the Gospel is:
It is very simple.
You might say Paul was more long-winded:
“For I will not dare to speak of anything except what Messiah accomplished through me, to bring about the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed, in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit of God. So from Jerusalem and around even to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the Good News of Messiah.” Romans 15:18-19
In their own ways; however, both Peter and Paul describe what is termed, the “Full Gospel.”
Besides the death and resurrection of our Savior, He also brought healing, signs and wonders. We are saved, and we are healed. We are saved, and we receive the divine infilling of the Holy Spirit, if we will submit to the Holy Spirit’s authority.
“Fully” proclaiming the Good News, as Paul writes, is preaching what Messiah Jesus has accomplished (forgiveness of sin through His death on the cross and resurrection) with power. This is the Full Gospel!
In other words, preaching should be accompanied by signs and wonders – as something normal.
That doesn’t mean a worship service should become an entertainment spectacle.
And certainly none of this has to do with “manufactured miracles.”
But it should be completely commonplace for Gospel preaching to be accompanied by miraculous healings, deliverance, speaking in tongues, etc. The purpose of the spiritual gifts manifesting in power is to essentially give credence to what is preached. That God would heal someone is proof He is living! That God would deliver someone is proof He has power over sin and darkness!
This is the fullness of the Gospel!
A Gospel preached without power isn’t the full Gospel. And do you really want to settle for half?
Paul warned Timothy of those who have an “outward form of godliness but denying its power.” 2 Timothy 3:5b.
This verse speaks to both sides of an issue.
- There are some followers of our Savior who care so much about their outward looks they forget they are quite rotten in their speech and other aspects of their lives. They deny the power of the Gospel through their pettiness and gossip.
- Then there are other followers of our Savior who carefully appear to be very godly in their doctrine and behavior, but literally deny the power when they claim that the Holy Spirit isn’t working and moving among the body of Messiah as He did in the past. This leads to anemic doctrine, lacking the vital nutrition of the full understanding of the Gospel.
The LORD is still working modern miracles today! Don’t be afraid!
This weekend we celebrate Shavu’ot, also known as Pentecost. A special time to celebrate this Full Gospel I am telling you about!
We rejoice knowing that the same God who gave us His Torah is the same God who gave us His Spirit!
Now, let’s be realistic.
A lot of people have been trained by our society to be afraid of “Pentecostals.”
I know I used to be!
The only reason anyone should be afraid of a Pentecostal is if they don’t want any deliverance in their lives.
Because when a true Pentecostal believer prays, you better watch out, the demons flee!
Some Pentecostals or Full Gospel folks might dress a certain way or wear their hair a certain way, and I’m not saying any of that is necessarily bad. But your outward appearance isn’t what makes you Pentecostal – its the Holy Spirit within you.
If you have been baptized by the fire from above with the evidence of speaking in tongues, you are Pentecostal. You might attend an Assembly of God church or Church of God (TN), or Pentecostal Holiness, or United Pentecostal. While there are disagreements among Pentecostal people (just as there are disagreements among any group of people!) about things like Trinitarianism or dress codes, we serve the same Mighty God who has this awesome plan to heal you and deliver you.
When you know that you are saved from your sin, you need to know that you weren’t saved just so you’d go to heaven one day.
You were saved so you could start living with the joyous benefits of heaven, starting even now, here on earth.
Life won’t be perfect, but you have access to so much divine opportunity to pray and to witness great miracles occur, even now. Heaven will be wonderful, but we don’t have to sulk while we bear with the sufferings of this life. We can pray in confidence for the LORD to enable us to live in victory, empowered by the Holy Spirit.
You have the opportunity to be saved – and sanctified! Set free to live in abundant joy and peace. Receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit is described in the Scriptures as a deposit, a seal, so you know without a doubt that you are indeed saved!
The Full Gospel is for you!
If your pastor always stops preaching after Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, you may need to start asking some good questions about the rest of the New Testament.
Starting in the book of Acts, you will discover how the early believers operated, constantly ministering to others in power. Healings and miracles were part and parcel of the Gospel Truth.
Your faith walk will be greatly enhanced by knowing this powerful Truth, that the Fullness of the Gospel is for everyone, and you are invited to live endued with power from on high! Whether you are a student or a seasoned believer, don’t ever pass up the opportunity to live your life yielded to the Presence of God in your life and the Full Gospel Truth!
Why does everyone need the Full Gospel?
Everyone needs the Full Gospel because everyone needs the Holy Spirit!
The Holy Spirit (Ruach haKodesh) will help you when you need to make important decisions. He will lead you closer to the Father. He will help you discern your next steps in life. The Spirit of God (Ruach Elohim) will anoint you and bless you. Your prayer life will improve, your worship will be deeper, and your longings will be much more satisfied.
If you have been a Christian for a really long time, but still feel like you’re missing out on something, don’t turn to mystical and false religions, turn to the Holy Spirit, who will take you to a new level in Him. If you do not yet speak in tongues, don’t think of it as something too strange for you. If Paul spoke in tongues, why can’t you? Our faith is not of this world, so dive in and allow the Holy Spirit to have His way!
A lot of people won’t talk about “speaking in tongues” because our culture has derided people who do as “wackos” and “crazies.”
Don’t let culture define you nor limit your experiences with God.
Follow the Word of God, and He will provide you the Full Gospel experience that you need.
Some great songs for Pentecost/Shavu’ot
I will leave you with some great praise and worship songs that I love! They are perfect for Pentecost/Shavu’ot, and all year round, too. May they benefit you spiritually as you seek the blessings of the Holy Spirit, our Eternal Comforter! I pray He baptizes you with His Holy Fire, even today! It is an experience that will transform your life!
Holy Spirit, How I love You
Send the Fire
Welcome, Holy Spirit
The Comforter has Come
Bo Ruach Elohim (Come, Spirit of God)
Please leave a comment or send a message to [email protected]. I’d love to hear from you! May you be endued with power from on high!