By Charles T. Crabtree
I met a distinguished-looking gentleman in his mid-40s, who immediately
began to impress upon me how educated he was. After a few minutes
of a well-rehearsed oral résumé, I must confess I
was impressed. He had several advanced degrees from an outstanding
college and a prestigious university.
I mentioned our conversation to the pastor who informed me that
the man was a professional student. "He has never held down
a decent job," the pastor said. "His wife works day and
night to support the family and pay his school bill."
While advanced degrees are laudable and often necessary, they are
worthless if there is no application in real life. It would be interesting
to ask the mans wife how impressed she is with her husbands
Sadly, many people wish to impress the world with their long association
with and knowledge of a particular religion or denomination without
an attending personal witness of how their stated religious views
and associations make a difference in their lives. They are all
profession and no practice. They have learned the concepts and ideas
of a religion, but they have not learned a working faith; that is,
an applied faith which is at work Monday through Saturday.
Pentecost came to this world as a gifting of God to His people
for the express purpose of moving a religious faith out of the realm
of thought to action, from promise to possession, from helplessness
to supernatural power. But most of all, Pentecost is to reveal Jesus
Christ as Savior and the source of a new, abundant, overflowing
life that changes everything.
Some people today have trouble defining and intellectualizing Pentecost.
They are desperately trying to explain the unexplainable and analyze
supernatural life. They remind me of the scientists who proved beyond
any doubt that a bee with its large body and small wings cannot
fly. One problem: The bee stung their theory to death.
From the beginning, Pentecost was intended to be applied in reality,
not in theory. In His wisdom, God took the baptism in the Holy Spirit
out of the theoretical by giving the believer an undeniable physical
evidence when the believer was filled. That evidence is speaking
with other tongues.
When a person becomes hungry for the gift of the Holy Spirit, that
person does not have to be in doubt or in question whether he or
she is filled. The fact is those who receive the gift of the Holy
Spirit will speak in tongues.
Someone says to me, "I have received the gift of the Holy
Spirit, but I havent spoken in tongues."
I say, "The promise of the Father without tongues is just
a promise. The promise without tongues is not a possession
any more than a promise of a gift is not the reality of the gift
itself. I believe I will receive a gift, but I cannot apply the
gift until I have taken possession."
The world is looking for applied Christianity. The answer to that
need is in a church empowered by the Holy Spirit in New Testament
fullness. It is difficult to argue about the supernatural when the
evidence is physically seen and heard.
Our forefathers came into Pentecost because they saw and heard
applied Pentecost. Thousands came out of dead, cold, analytical
religion because they saw the mighty works of God in miracles of
healing. Others came into Pentecost because they heard anointed
preaching and singing. There was a dimension of Gods presence
and power beyond human ritual and form. Still others came into Pentecost
because they heard about the fullness of the Spirit and then saw
the results of that fullness in transformed lives.
Pentecost is the undeniable witness of a living Christ through
human instrumentality. Pentecost is more than a doctrine to be questioned
and analyzed; it is a reality to be sought after and possessed.
Pentecost is proof positive that the gates of hell will not prevail
against the church that believes the promises of God are applicable
to the realities of life.
Charles T. Crabtree is assistant general superintendent
of the Assemblies of God.