Why I Never Went Back to the Pentecostal Church
By Douglas Alvarenga
1. Good evening! I hope you are doing great tonight and that the Lord continues to bestow His great blessings upon you!
2. Let me ask you something, what would you do if you grew up in a church where you thought the truth was being preached, but all of the sudden you started studying the Scriptures on your own and you realized that there were a lot of things being preached and being practiced there that were not in harmony with the Word of God – would you say something about it to your “spiritual leader”? Or would you just keep quiet, stay there and pretend everything was ok? What would you do?
3. I’ll have you know brethren that unfortunately many choose to keep quiet and pretend nothing is happening, because after all, they “feel right” in that place. You see, emotions become the standard of authority for them: “If it feels good and looks right” then whatever God’s Word says is not important.
4. But fortunately, others choose to say something and when they see that the Word of God is not being respected, they go to a place where someone will respect and practice what the Scriptures authorize.
5. This is basically what happened to my father. He was a Pentecostal, member of the Pentecostal church, but he started studying the Scriptures and realized that the truth was not being preached there. He confronted the so called “pastor” and after a couple of hours of discussing various doctrinal issues, the “pastor” said to my father: “You know what Frank, you’re right, what you’re saying is Scriptural, but if I quit teaching what I’ve been teaching for almost 20 years, how am I supposed to support my family?” And my father said to the “pastor”, “Well, then maybe it’s time for you to start trusting in God.” And after that, my father left and later on through a radio program he came in touch with the church that he had read about in the Bible – The N.T. church, the Church of Christ.
6. He started attending there, he obeyed the gospel and we followed his example.
7. Now having shared that with you let me give you the title of the lesson tonight: “Why I Never Went Back to the Pentecostal Church.” I could easily give you the title others have given “Why I left the Pentecostal church” but I wouldn’t be honest if I did that, because honestly, I never left the Pentecostal church – I just quit going there when my dad said we wouldn’t go there anymore. But during my time away from it, I came to the knowledge of the truth, decided I wouldn’t go back there and then obeyed the Gospel as is presented in the Scriptures.
8. Now before I give you the reasons why I never went back to the Pentecostal church, let me make something clear: “this is not a personal attack against the Pentecostal church.” I’m simply going to point out things that were being taught there, things that I learned there that were not in harmony with the teaching of God’s Word.
9. What I’m going to present to you is part of the same material that helped me convert my mother from Pentecostalism to Christianity.
10. But before I do that, let me give you some quick facts:
I. There are 2 different main groups in the Pentecostal church.
A. The Oneness Pentecostal church.
1. What this group believes is that there’s only ONE GOD and that there is no such a thing as the TRINITY.
2. They believe that this god plays three different roles.
B. And there’s also the Trinitarian Pentecostal church.
1. They do believe in the TRINITY.
2. They believe God to be one in Divine Essence, Nature and that this Divine Nature is shared by God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
C. So these are some quick facts. I’m not going to get into more details because the rest of their beliefs are very similar.
II. Why I Never Went Back to the Pentecostal Church.
A. # 1. Because of their unbiblical 10% teaching – Tithing.
1. Why is it unbiblical? Because it’s not the same tithing that was commanded in the Old Testament (it focuses on money, money, money!).
2. You see, many faithful brethren in the church have debated with the Pentecostals the subject of tithing by trying to prove that tithing is not binding on Christians today, because we’re not under the Law of Moses anymore.
3. But honestly, to me if the tithing being required today is not Biblical, then whether or not we’re under the Law that’s irrelevant, because Biblical tithing was commanded and was binding and now is not, but unbiblical tithing never was commanded, never was binding nor should be binding on anybody period!
4. So, how do we approach the subject? (This is what I did with my mother and others) We approach it by: a) Presenting Biblical tithing, b) presenting its regulations and c) proving that is not binding on Christians today. Usually, when some people see the first two and they’re honest, they get the point.
5. So, what is Biblical Tithing? Giving 10%
6. Giving 10% of what? Let us read the two main passages on tithing – Leviticus 27:30-34; Deuteronomy 14:22-29; 26:12 (Numbers 18:26 Levites gave the tithe also) none of these asked for money! – Explain passages, mention some of the regulations along the way and make the comparison with today’s tithing.
a. Leviticus 27:30-34 – Some regulations: 1) Tithing consisted of edible products NOT MONEY, 2) If someone wanted to redeem part of his tithe he would have to add one fifth to it [e.g. if the value of the redeemed portioned was $100.00, then one fifth needed to be added – one fifth is 20%, hence, people would have to pay $120.00 to be able to buy it back, redeem it], 3) The commandment was for the children of Israel.
b. Deuteronomy 14:22-29 – Some regulations: 1) Tithing was to be given faithfully, each year; i.e., ONCE a year, 2) People would eat the tithe before the Lord, 3) The Lord chose the place where the tithe was to be taken, 4) If the place the Lord chose was too far for someone, he could exchange his tithe for money (interesting, because many say the reason the children of Israel gave edible products as tithe was because they did not have any money – according to the text this is false), 5) The money was not to be given to the priest, it was to be spent on whatever one’s heart desired, 6) Every three years the Levites got the tithe, not every week or every two weeks or every month – even the Levites had to pay a tithe of the tithes they received (Deut. 26:12; Num. 18:26) and they were supposed to share it with the less fortunate.
7. This was a commandment for the children of Israel (Lev. 27:34; cf. Deut. 5:1-4) and is no longer binding under the New Covenant (Ephe. 2:13-16; cf. John 1:17; Heb. 8:6-7; Rom. 7:4-6; Gal. 2:16; 5:4).
8. Even in the N.T. when Jesus mentioned tithing, he never said anything about money (Matt. 23:23; Luke 11:42).
9. Do you want to know what happened if you didn’t give your tithe? If you didn’t give your tithe Malachi 3:8-10 was rubbed on your face! And people get so intimidated by that, that they miss the fact that the text says, “That there may be FOOD in my house.”
10. Therefore, this is one of the reasons why I never went back to the Pentecostal church.
11. Before I move to the next point, let me share a story with you. [Tell my dad’s tithing story – how the “pastor” used my dad’s and the rest of the church’s tithing to purchase expensive shoes for his kids, trips to the U.S.A., expensive watches, etc.].
B. # 2. Because of their unbiblical way of praying in the assembly.
1. Why is it unbiblical? Because it is a complete disorder and because they let women lead the prayers in the public assembly!
2. The Bible tells us everything should be done decently and in order (1Cor. 14:40). This never happens in the Pentecostal church when they’re praying – Everybody screams, cries, undo’s each other’s hair and all kinds of crazy things which they claim is just the Holy Spirit working through them! Some of them even confess their sinful weaknesses and trust me; you don’t want to hear some of the things they say!
3. The way to do it: When a brother leads the whole congregation in a prayer, we should be paying attention, we should be listening to what he’s saying so we can understand and then say “amen” to his prayer (1Cor. 14:15-17).
4. Whenever I lead prayers there – by the way, they let me do that even though I had never gone forward to “accept Jesus Christ as my personal Savior;” I always wondered if they paid attention to anything that I had just said. And many times I was done with the prayer and everybody else was still praying; so I had to repeat aloud several times, “In Jesus’ name AMEN!” and every time I repeated that I had to get louder because they went on and on screaming, crying, etc. It was terrible – especially when the prayers had to be “One Hour Long and they said kids close your eyes because a demon might possess you if you don’t!”
5. The Bible also tells us the men must lead the prayer (1Ti. 2:8) and not the women. Is not an option. The pastor’s wife even taught that Paul was a chauvinist, someone who discriminated women, which was strange because they taught that Silas was a woman!
6. Therefore, this is another reason why I never went back to the Pentecostal church.
C. # 3. Because of their unbiblical way of identifying themselves.
1. Why is it unbiblical? Very simple brethren, because when you obey de gospel of Jesus Christ you become a CHRISTIAN NOT A PENTECOSTAL!
2. Here I was facing a weird dilemma: Am I an evangelical or a Pentecostal? Some would say, mocking me, “ah, you’re an evangelical right?” And I was like, “not really, I’m a Pentecostal.” “But you go to the Evangelical Pentecostal Church: Tabernacle of Faith, don’t you?” And I would say, “Yeah, so I guess I’m a little bit of both.”
3. So I was a little confused until I later learned that “The Bible makes Christians only and the ONLY Christians!” (Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1Pet. 4:16).
4. Therefore, this is another reason why I never went back to the Pentecostal church. I don’t want to be a Pentecostal, I want to be a Christian, someone who belongs to Christ and follows Christ – Just a good old N.T. Christian!
D. # 4. Because of their unbiblical beliefs about baptism.
1. Why are they unbiblical? Because they are contradictory and are not in harmony with the Word of God.
2. How so? You see, if you want to obey the gospel in the Pentecostal church all you need to do is go forward, accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and then say “the sinner’s prayer.” Then they tell you, “you’re saved, if you die tonight you will go to heaven.”
3. But you tell them, “I want to be baptized for the remission of my sins.” Guess what their answer is: “Well, you can’t be baptized right now. We have to get a group of people to take some special lessons on baptism and if you complete them successfully, then you can be baptized.” And usually the process takes about 3 months.
4. Where do you read that in the Scriptures? Exactly! Nowhere!
5. Being baptized is essential to salvation because it is part of obeying the gospel and it’s the way you come in touch with the blood of Christ to get your sins remitted!
6. Nobody in the book of Acts waited 3 months or weeks to be baptized.
7. So, what was their excuse? Well, they said, “Because baptism is a VERY important step and you need to understand it good because if you sin after you’ve been baptized, then there is no more sacrifice for you – you will be lost.” (Heb. 10:26)
8. Well, of what material did the lessons consisted? An overview of what the Assemblies of God believe with a special emphasis on tithing and offerings. Wow, no kidding, uh?
9. So, if you were successful you could be baptized with others. It had to be in a river though. And one strange, but important detail: “After we baptized everybody in the river, we’re all going to the beach to swim, but those of you who have just been baptized, don’t go in the water or else you baptism won’t count because you will get all your sins back!”
10. Therefore, this is another reason why I never went back to the Pentecostal church. I have others, but I believe these are enough to help people understand that if the truth is not being preached there, then get out and go to a place where they WILL teach you the truth and help you obey the gospel the way it’s presented in the Scriptures.
Conclusion: When I learned the truth I said to myself, “I don’t want to be a Pentecostal anymore. I just want to be a Christian – someone who belongs to Christ, follows Christ and is a member of His church. Some may be wondering: How do I become a Christian? The answer is very simple: 1) By believing with all your heart that Jesus died for your sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried and that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (1Cor. 15:1-4); 2) By repenting of all your sins (Luke 13:3, 5; Acts 17:30-31), 3) By confessing Jesus Christ as Lord and Son of God (Rom. 10:9-10; cf. Acts 8:36) and 4) By being baptized RIGHTNOW for the remission of your sins (Acts 2:38). Once you’re saved, Jesus Himself will add you to His church. You don’t have to go JOIN a church that believes in the Bible, because there are a lot of those out there, but that doesn’t mean they have the truth. Let the Lord add you to His church by obeying the Gospel TONIGHT!