An old friend of mine requested that I listen to a certain minister in his neck of the woods. I did that, and then offered to him the following observations on the man’s latest sermon. I expected the loose interpretation of Scripture and the failed articulation (which I said nothing about in the critique.) But it is the emphasis on ‘signs’ that makes the sermon so representative of Pentecostal preaching.
Hi _____, I put off listening to a sermon from that church you told me about because I suspected that it would be a negative experience. It was just about what I expected, for I know what to expect from Pentecostal ministers. So here, I have prepared some comments on the sermon for you. I may send these notes to the pastor in question, without mentioning your name, of course. I might polish them up a little more before I do that, maybe not. Anyway, here are the notes as they stand so far.
(Now I don’t doubt for a moment that this man is ‘a nice guy.’ What is his pulpit performance like? This is the question that you need an answer to.)
To summarize very briefly, Mr. Lava teaches this: We all have defining moments; they set the course for our lives; we ought to get involved and not hide, for God wants to bless us. Some defining moments in the lives of Bible characters are rehearsed for us in order to bring the message home. The main point of the sermon, though, is that God is okay with granting us a sign to confirm some defining moment in our lives, and he may do it through this prophet or that.
Not long after the sermon begins, mention is made of a pastor who prophesied over ‘certain people’ (probably some members of Mr. Lava’s church.) The instance is mentioned in order to show how hard it is to interpret a prophecy like that to our lives. Then Mr. Lava has the nerve to denounce false prophets! Who are the false prophets? The false prophets are those who ‘prophesy’ over us and then allow us to be in confusion over it. The true prophet interprets the word of God instead. What is the difference between God bestowing to Gideon a sign and these modern day Pentecostal prophets prophesying over us? The sign from God can be readily interpreted. If God is okay with us asking for a sign, as Mr. Lava says, then be sure of at least this: he will entrust that sign to someone better equipped to give it than the man who prophesied confusion over this people at the Brantford Worship Centre! And how equipped is Mr. Lava? He is not equipped to teach, much less be a medium to convey signs!
Pretty soon the subject turns to bodily healing and healing from demonic oppression. “Mighty man of valor! Mighty woman of valor! That’s your potential!” How will this people interpret exclamations like these? Because of what Mr. Lava focuses on, the congregation will interpret them in a materialistic way. The people will hear, in such exclamations, promises of fame, health, or prosperity. Their eyes will be turned to earthly things that are ready to perish instead of virtues, graces, and things above.
This message is calculated to puff people up, not humble them before God. It will make people proud. ‘I can’t’ should not be part of our vocabulary, says the pastor. What if we, unlike Gideon, are pursuing a path (maybe because of some ‘sign’ or ‘prophecy’ from a wacked out pastor) that is not the one we should be on? Would it not be good to say ‘I can’t’ in that instance? I think it might be a good thing to say ‘I can’t’ go to the Brantford Worship Centre to get taught the Bible, especially since the pastor there denigrates education in his sermon.
In addition to examples from the Bible, a defining moment from the pastor’s life is used to teach about defining moments: when his church came up with, or gave out, 100 backpacks. Is that the best example the man can give? I hope not. He should be able to come up with some better example than that, especially considering that he has personally witnessed a person being raised from the dead! Yes, with that tidbit of information, we know right where this pastor is at. He’s right on the Pentecostal track, swallowing deceit and spreading lies. If there are resurrections going on and apostles in the midst, like he asserts, why all the effort to produce an experience near the end of this sermon by playing music in the foreground of the message? The man is interactive with his audience during the main part of his message (asking them to repeat this and that phrase or word) because his sermon and preaching have no power. And then near the end he hopes that music will do the job. The worst of it is that he makes false promises of great magnitude too, like: “You shall not die.” People die every day, Mr. Lava, even Pentecostal persons, no matter what defining moment they’ve had, no matter what sign they think God gave, and no matter what lying prophecy the last Pentecostal minister belched out of his blasphemous mouth.
Thanks _____, I will listen to that sermon one more time to make sure of all the points that I made. I usually listen twice to everything I critique. It is a given that a person who goes to a Pentecostal Assembly to learn (not to listen critically) cannot be very swift. If he were swift, you would not find him there trying to learn something because he would know better.
Yes, these people are ignorant about history and what's going on in the world. But they know a lot about movies, toys, and the latest program line-up on television. More importantly, they are ignorant of the most important doctrines of God: like justification, redemption, and the substitution of Jesus on the cross. Because Pentecostal ministers are so ignorant, proud, and misleading, I pull no punches in my criticisms of what they preach. The resurrection of Christ means little to these people; but the rumor that someone might have been raised from the dead around town somewhere, this is everything. The truth seems like nothing to them, while lies take center stage. I get a little angry about that because it is through diversions, lies, and deceit that souls are being led down the path toward hell.
Yes, I get what you say. Well, I have listened to that crummy sermon for a second time, and had to change very little in my critique before I sent it off to Mr. Lava. May the lava of hot criticism do Mr. Lava some good! May it burn off some of the dross that he is encrusted with!