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Pentecostalism’s Future: Where Do We Go Now?

There is nothing wrong with carpet, sound systems, PowerPoint, three-piece suits, TV cameras or Plexiglas. But in some cases those things are used today to mask our superficiality—and our corruption. If sawdust could take us back to the deep spiritual conviction and passionate prayer on display at Azusa, I would roll in it myself. But what we really need is the brokenness Seymour modeled.

Meanwhile, as we reclaim the lost values of the past, we can’t fall into the nostalgia trap. We are called to worship Jesus, not Pentecostalism. We can’t go back to the “good old days.” We cannot make idols out of old church buildings. That’s one reason I am glad the Azusa mission is gone.

The cloud of His presence always moves, and we must follow the Holy Spirit as He leads us toward a new horizon. While we hold fast to the values of the past, we must bury what has become stale and religious.

God warned through the prophet Isaiah that we must never become locked in the past, even to the good memories. “Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past,” He said (Isaiah 43:18), speaking of the good things God has done. “Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth” (v. 19, NASB).

As much as I appreciate Azusa Street, I am eagerly awaiting “the new thing.” If William Seymour were with us today, he would agree.


April 28, 2006


Used with permission of the author.

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Category: Church History

About the Author: J. Lee Grady is an author, award-winning journalist and ordained minister. For 17 years he worked for Charisma magazine, one of America ’s most widely distributed evangelical Christian publications, and he served as editor for 11 of those years. He is the author of several books including Set My Heart on Fire: Ignite Your Confidence, Boldness, and Passion for God (2016), Ten Lies The Church Tells Women: How the Bible Has Been Misused to Keep Women in Spiritual Bondage (2006), 10 Lies Men Believe: The Truth About Women, Power, Sex and God—and Why it Matters (2011), Fearless Daughters of the Bible: What You Can Learn from 22 Women Who Challenged Tradition, Fought Injustice and Dared to Lead (2012), 25 Tough Question About Women and the Church: Answers from God's Word That Will Set Women Free (2013), and The Holy Spirit Is Not for Sale: Rekindling the Power of God in an Age of Compromise (2010). He founded The Mordecai Project, confronting the abuse of women globally and helping release women into ministry. Twitter: @LeeGrady

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