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Total Surrender: Finding Messiah at an Italian Pentecostal Church, an interview with Michael Brown

Those who are familiar with the New Testament book of Acts, perhaps especially Pentecostal believers, know that people in various places in the first century world received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit with the physical sign of speaking in tongues. Both Jews (Acts 2) and Gentiles (Acts 10) had this experience. This pattern has been repeated numerous times throughout history. Many are aware of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Azusa Street. One significant move of God that is not as well known is the Lord’s work among the Italian people. had the opportunity to speak with two scholars about this move of God, each of them giving an interview. The first of these interviews was with Dr. Paul Palma. He has written a significant book called Italian American Pentecostalism and the Struggle for Religious Identity, published in August 2019. In this book, he has written about the Italian Pentecostal Movement in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The second interview is with Dr. Michael Brown. It may be a surprise to some but an Italian Pentecostal Church played an important role in his spiritual journey. We trust that you will find these interviews informative and inspiring. You were born into a Jewish family. How did you happen to go into an Italian Pentecostal Church?

Michael Brown: Because I was not a religious Jew, I got caught up in the whole counterculture revolution of the 1960s, playing drums in a rock band and becoming a heavy drug user. My two best friends and fellow bandmembers (and drug users) liked two girls whose uncle was an Italian Pentecostal pastor and whose dad had been praying for them for years.

When the girls started attending services there, my friends went with them, first just to hang out, then because the church fascinated them, both because it was Pentecostal and because the pastor was teaching about the end times. When my friends started to change, I went to the church in August 1971, to pull them out. I was sixteen at the time, and, as they say, the rest is history. How were you received by the people there?

I was received warmly and with real love – and it got my attention. —Michael Brown

Michael Brown: I was received warmly and with real love – and it got my attention. The people there seemed quite traditional – the men with ties (and some, in suits), the women, in dresses – yet they welcomed me with smiles and kindness. Even though, there I was, a longhaired, hippie rebel.

It made such an impression on me that I said to my friends, “Fine, if this is the direction you want to go, I won’t fight you over it.”

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Category: Fall 2019, Living the Faith

About the Author: Michael L. Brown, Ph.D. (New York University), is founder and president of FIRE School of Ministry in North Carolina, Director of the Coalition of Conscience, and host of the daily, nationally, syndicated talk radio show, The Line of Fire, as well as the host of the apologetics TV show, Answering Your Toughest Questions, which airs on the NRB TV network. He is the author of more than 30 books including Our Hands Are Stained with Blood: The Tragic Story of the “Church” and the Jewish People (1992), Playing With Holy Fire: A Wake-Up Call to the Pentecostal-Charismatic Church (2018), Israel’s Divine Healer (1995), Saving a Sick America: A Prescription for Moral and Cultural Transformation (2017), Breaking the Stronghold of Food: How We Conquered Food Addictions and Discovered a New Way of Living with Nancy Brown (2017), Authentic Fire: A Response to John MacArthur's Strange Fire (2015), and the highly-acclaimed five-volume series, Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus. Read full biography at AskDrBrown Ministries. Google+. Twitter: @DrMichaelLBrown

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