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Total Surrender: Finding Messiah at an Italian Pentecostal Church, an interview with Michael Brown Were you baptized in the Holy Spirit in this church?

Michael Brown: Yes, at a Monday night prayer meeting, January 24, 1972, without anyone praying for me. What positive lessons did you learn at the Italian Pentecostal Church that have influenced how you live and serve others?

Michael Brown: Before I was saved, I gave myself totally to drugs and rock music. Totally. When I got saved, I was ready to give myself to the Lord the same way – once my head cleared and I started to get grounded. Thankfully, the church had a strong emphasis on prayer, on the Word, on outreach, and on experiencing the joy of the Lord in worship. And by the time I was saved for one year, I would spend six-seven hours alone with God every day: at least three hours in prayer (including one hour in tongues); two hours reading the Word; and one hour memorizing the Scriptures (I would memorize twenty verses a day, without fail, every day, and did this for about six months). These devotional habits laid the foundation for the rest of my life and ministry.

I am truly indebted to the saints who prayed me in and became my examples and friends. —Michael Brown

Something else that helped me (but, I’m quite sure, hurt many others) was the unwritten tradition that if you were anointed, you didn’t use notes to preach. And so, that’s how I learned to preach, starting on August 21, 1973 when I was eighteen-years-old. To this day, I’m totally comfortable standing up to preach with no clue what I’m going to preach on, right until the moment I start the sermon. I’ve even taught complete seminary classes of almost thirty hours in one week, all without notes. I guess my mind is wired in a certain systematic way and my memory retains things well, and with the anointing on my life to teach and preach, things flow smoothly.

This has been a Godsend when ministering overseas, as it has happened many a time at that I had to preach upon arrival, sometimes traveling up to forty-five hours and thinking I had a day of rest, only to be brought to the meeting. The Lord’s grace has never failed me!

Image: Aaron Burden


To be sure, there were aspects of the church that were not ideal, in particular a theological narrowness and a real skepticism of higher education. But without a doubt, for me, this church was just where God wanted me to start and lay deep foundations. To repeat: I am truly indebted to the saints who prayed me in and became my examples and friends.

And there’s one more thing: Quite providentially, in 1974, when I was saved for two-and-a-half years, a nineteen-year-old Jewish woman came to the service, herself a hardcore atheist whose mother had been married four times. That woman, then Nancy Gurian, came to faith not long after that, and she has been my wife since 1976. Who but God could have planned something like that?




Further Reading

The Global Reach and Lasting Legacy of Italian Pentecostalism: An Interview with Paul Palma

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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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