This is the third and concluding part of this series. Kindly follow these links for the part one and two. In the part 2, we established that there is a manifestation of God beyond Pentecostalism, and the failure of Christians to move beyond that has largely been responsible for the many disheartening stories coming out of the Church today. We have looked at the journey of Israelites from Goshen in Egypt to the Promised Land as the spiritual reality of the New Testament Church. The implication of this is that we have to keep advancing in God, the failure of which would cause us to lag behind His agenda.
This journey can be described as having increased sight (knowledge) of God which is accompanied with internal transformation that eventually manifests in who we become and what we do. The knowledge of God that we have is valid to the extent that we are transformed and become increasingly like Him. That is the whole essence of this journey. And the moment you stop changing and becoming better, that is the point you start lagging behind God’s agenda, which gives room to the enemy to invade our folds with all manner of works of the flesh. And that will not stop the miracles and supernatural manifestations, because His gifts are without repentance. Also note that miracles and supernatural manifestations are not signs of God’s approval (Matthew 7:22).
However, in line with His declaration in Matthew 16:18, the Church of Christ is truly been built. This is not referring to the religious expression of Christianity that is prevalent out there, but the true body of Christ that exists in the heart of the Father. After the truths as established by Jesus Christ and propagated by the disciples were lost during the Dark Ages, God raised Martin Luther in the 1500s to lead a reformation that set the Church back on the journey. This reformation marked the beginning of the restoration of truths that were lost during the Dark Ages, and a journey into the fullness of Christ.
The message of Martin Luther was that we are justified by faith and not by purchasing indulgence or penance as popularised during the Dark Ages. People began to know the simplicity of accessing God. It was around that period that the printing machine was invented, which paved the way for the mass production of the Bible in other languages that gave people access the written word. Aside Martin Luther, God also used William Thindale and John Calvin to set the Church back on track during that period.
This great reformation which came at a very high cost paved the way for the restoration of other truths which has continued till this present moment. There was the restoration of water baptism by the Anabaptists in the 1500s; Holiness, Sanctification and Perfectionism by the Wesley Brothers in the 1700s; Divine Faith Healings by Alexander Dowie and Maria Woodworth-Ether in the 1800s.
The prevailing Pentecostalism is made up of series of restored truths that can be said to start in the 1900s with Holy Ghost Baptism and Other Tongues by William Seymour; Laying on of hands and Personal Prophecies by Oral Roberts, Paul Cain et al in the 1940s; Charismatic Renewal by Demos Shakarian, Kathryn Kulman et al in the 1950s; Demonology by Derek Prince, Bill Subrisky in the 1960s; Discipleship, Family Life Church Growth by Yonggi Cho, Bill Bright in the early 1970s.
1970s was an era of increasing supernatural manifestation ushered in by the Faith and Prosperity Message by Kenneth Hagin, Ken Copeland, Fred Price and our own Benson Idahosa, among others. And then there was the Prayer Global Movement in the early 1980s by Peter Wagner, Cindy Jacobs, Emeka Nwankpa et al. It was a season when the emphasis was physical manifestation of healing, prosperity and other miracles. The emphasis of different churches in the Pentecostal paradigm today is one or a combination of these truths restored during this period. Majority of believers have however refused to move beyond this point that has become their comfort zone.
In the mid-1980s however, God used the likes of Bill Hamon and Rick Joyner for the Prophetic Movement, and then the Apostolic Reformation of the 1990s, alongside Noel Woodroffe, Robert Munien, John Singleton etc. The Apostolic and Prophetic reformation movement has provided a platform for increasing sight of God meant to prepare the saints for the accomplishment of God’s end time agenda. The emphasis at this point is no longer what blessings we can get from God, but decoding His intents and accomplishing them here on earth.
Majority of believers have remained in the Pentecostal paradigm with a ‘bless me’ mentality. That paradigm has become their comfort zone, which they are not willing to move away from. The experience beyond Pentecost is not characterised by what we can get from God, but discovering and bringing His purposes to completion. If you are still locked in the Pentecostal or older paradigm, then you are lagging behind God’s agenda, and it is not a safe place to be. Pack your bags and get on this train to continue the journey.
Fred Adetiba, a staff of Premium Times, is currently a graduate research student at the Stellenbosch University in South Africa. You can connect with him via @fredor4c on twitter and firstname.lastname@example.org.