Could I really go back to a Pentecostal church again?
I had walked away from all of that years ago. I had done everything but literally shake the dust off my feet. And yet, over the previous few months, I had been questioning whether I had “thrown out the baby with the bathwater” so to speak.
But when I left that unhealthy church I described earlier, I had also been warned that I could never come back to that kind of relationship with God again, because of Hebrews 6:4-6. I didn’t want to think that applied to me, but part of me couldn’t help but wonder if that was possible.
I was drawn to what I had sen at the Resurrection Life prayer meeting. And before I left Baton Rouge that week, I had the opportunity to ask Pastor Cody a LOT of questions about it. And most of those questions were about the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
I had been a part of churches before that believed in the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but it seemed like there was a lot of emotional stuff and manipulation, and I had written them off. In one church, I had been told that I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit – but it was a kind of coached / repeat-after-me thing. The initial experience was the whole focus, and there was no expectation that it would continue. And for me – the introvert who really didn’t like to be touched and have folks crowd around me – I was just grateful that I didn’t have to go up for another altar call!
So whatever did or didn’t happen in the past… I certainly didn’t have the kind of experience described on the AG website. Unlike Oneness Pentecostals, the Assemblies of God doesn’t believe that it is a requirement for salvation, but that it is a second experience after salvation, and something every believer can have – and it’s not just about tongues or a one-time experience, it’s an ongoing thing that has just as much to do with being empowered for ministry.
By the time I left Baton Rouge on Friday morning, I knew I still needed to do some studying and searching for myself just to settle things in my own mind. I knew that I had no business being a part of a church if I couldn’t get behind what they believed. But I had already shifted from “not wanting to believe” to “wanting to believe.” If the baptism of the Holy Spirit as Pastor Cody described it was the real thing… I wanted it.
(To Be Continued…)