Former pentecostal church member shares her experience serving in the church and how God convicted her to come out of the Charismatic movement.
I grew up in a semi-Christian home (saved mom, unsaved father) and remembered being saved, baptized by immersion in the Name of the Triune GOD, and filled with the Holy Ghost on May 3, 1998, after hearing a sermon in Children’s Church at Concord Missionary Baptist Church. My mom also planted seeds of righteousness, which led me to desire a relationship with Christ on my own.
I was never a Charismatic to begin with, but I was exposed to the Pentecostal church in 2010, while living in Kansas. It was Mike Purkey’s church, an AOG.
One time, he preached that if we did not speak in tongues, the Holy Ghost was not dwelling in us. I never tried to attempt the sign gifts; I made up in my mind that I didn’t want to know how to speak in tongues. I figured GOD could understand me in my native English language.
I did remember my first encounter with tongues – my childhood church, Concord Missionary Baptist Church visited the Potter’s House (Dallas main campus) for a youth revival. I went down to the altar to pray, and remembered hearing a girl next to me “speaking in tongues”, which gave me a mixture of feelings from “that was cool” to “that’s a bit creepy”.
The Lord heard my prayers while in Kansas, and moved me and my mom back to my hometown in Texas in 2012. We joined a Bapticostal church, not knowing they were secretly Pentecostal.
As I continued in the charismatic church, I suffered from unemployment. Instead of helping me or providing words of comfort, many of the church members dismissed my life trials as signs that I “lacked faith” or that I was “not speaking things into existence” enough.
As far as I was concerned, Jesus said “mustard-seed faith” (Matthew 17:20) was all I needed and “according to my faith, it’ll be done to me” (Matthew 9:29). I’m not asking God for major things in my life, just the essentials (stable employment, and a God-fearing, Baptist husband, which I’m still praying for). Even though I did not correct the members, I lost some friends over their overly-charismatic beliefs, not just about the Holy Ghost, but also about women being able to preach to and lead men.
On the other hand, I admit I stayed on because I was drawn to the upbeat worship atmosphere. They sang lots of songs with horn accompaniment, and it broadened my classically trained horizons, which I enjoyed. But I now learned the hard way: praise and worship is not to be enjoyed for my own good; It’s more about the lyrics than the beats. I’m always saying “Sing more hymns!” because of the truth they contain; I also grew up in Bible Study Fellowship as a child and that’s why I love the hymns so much, now, even if I put a “twist” on the beat.
The pastor was very politically involved with the SBC and influenced them to stop being racially segregated recently. I’m glad for his influence, but he condones speaking in a private prayer language, speaking in tongues, allowing women to be ordained into the ministry, and allowed wicked men to teach and preach in the church (i.e. the late Myles Munroe).
In 2012, I remember during the Kingdom Word Spirit Power Conference, I was the only horn player who played the entire week. The guest preacher told the congregation to speak in tongues until they were in a trance-like state. That made my spirit so uncomfortable. Trying to make people do things that aren’t Spirit-led is truly spiritual abuse.
The members of the church tried to get me to stay there in many ways, mainly because I was in the horn section (I played the clarinet) of the music ministry, and I taught 7th-9th grade girls at Sunday school for a few months. I found the latter to be unsuitable as I prefer teaching adults who are new to the faith and not to children.
Thankfully, the Holy Ghost prompted me to leave the Bapticostal church in July 2017 once more after learning that my friend was raised in a traditional Baptist church, which I joined last August because they teach sound doctrine, don’t have women preaching men in any fashion, and they take baptism (by immersion) and Holy Communion seriously. I’m glad He led me out of that foolishness, and others have left the same church (the Bapticostal church) for various reasons. I only miss the worship sets, and being able to play my clarinet weekly. I don’t miss the overemphasis on the Holy Ghost or Pentecost.
Right now, I’m in a great place in my walk with the Lord. I’m studying Romans in my spare time, and love being in a church with experienced saints who are like-minded when it comes to desiring sound doctrine and applying it to their lives.
As it was hard finding a job, I got a job working for James Robison’s ministry “Life Today” as a data-entry clerk, and the chapel is very charismatic in nature. There are lots of “decreeing and declaring” going on, even when you ask for prayer, and there are many people from other denominations working for him.
Please pray that I’ll keep rooted to God’s Word and not be swayed, and ultimately find somewhere suitable where I do not have to compromise with my non-charismatic biblical faith.