Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Impact of the Doctrine of Eschatology on Pentecostal Movement in the Past and Present

Looking back to the early years of Pentecostalism, it was not surprised to see the impact and impassion in their strong belief in the doctrine of eschatology that was influenced strongly by the Holiness Movement and Fundamentalism. There were already strong gravitation to living holy life and having strong expectation of fulfillment of the book of Joel before the returns of Christ. One of the few key factors in their expectations were firstly before the end time is to come there will be a great out-pouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Church (Joel 2:28) it was meant to enable saints to live a sanctified life (Rom.8; Gal.5:16; 1 The.4:7, 8; Jn.16:8). Secondly, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit will empower the saints to fulfill God’s purpose to reach the world before the returns of Christ (Acts 1:8; Matt.24:14). It was God’s purpose to fulfill His plan through the Church (Matt.28:18-20; Mk16:15, 16). The return of Christ was imminent. Two key reasons in their urgency in reaching out to lost-souls; concerned for their eternal condemnation and speeding up of Christ’s return through global evangelism. The interpretations of the crisis events example bad economy; unstable political conditions also affect the Pentecostal movement in the belief of eschatology.
In our present time; the teaching of eschatology has taken a back-seat. Globally the economic and political conditions generally have improved with many people affordable of luxury in life. Different philosophical mindsets e.g. influence of post-modern culture also played key role in influencing churches today. Pentecostal churches in general hardly touch on the subject unless certain unpleasant events took place – example recent tsunami (on boxing-day); September 11th event etc. There is a lack of urgency in soul-winning; holy living as been compromised with approval tolerance from churches. Hopefully the recent global economic slump might once again helps to wake believers to realization that the coming of Christ is even more imminent than 100 years ago.

12 comments:

ƈϞɕяιʈɣ said...

In our present time; the teaching of eschatology has taken a back-seat.


But as far as i know in our times with the news of war and political unstability and natural disasters, many preachers are preaching that theseare fulfillment of the prophecy of the signs of His return. And people are feeling the urgency.

your comments please..;)

Freddie Ong said...

Hi Charity,
It is true that crisis events do help churches into realization the urgency to do something about it. As mentioned about the mother's nature crisis like Tsunami; 9-11 did cause many pastors and leaders to preach about the end-time message. But when these events died down over a period, churches resumed their lacklustre attitudes. Therefore, we seriously need the re-visitation of the Spirit's fire of the early Pentecostal movement to shake or bring about revival to our spiritual 'luke-warm' conditions today.

ƈϞɕяιʈɣ said...

Thanks Freddie,

In your opinion don't you feel that as the years past, the return of Christ is drawing nearer but the sad thing is that it's also getting harder to reach the generation today. The post modern generation!... Any ideas how can we sound the urgency to a generation that is so post modern?

kenrick said...

Hi Pas Freddie,
Do you think that if the same message was preached in the earlier years of Pentecostalism compared to our 21st century listeners, the outcome have been differed? Many of us know about the urgency to preach the gospel but we still don't really react to impacts of the doctrines of eschatology. How 'cold' can we get? What is the root cause of this?

Heart of Dorcas said...

Hi,
Seeing that disasters as well as upheavels, whether natural, economic or political are happening in both the Eastern and Western worlds today, how can Pentecostals leverage on this wake up call for people to seek God and return to holy living throughtout the world today? /Yet Meng

Freddie Ong said...

Hi Readers,
Thanks for your comments.
For Charity, Kenrick and Tet Meng,
Since all of you asking more or less similar questions; I will reply with my comment here. Usually, the sense of urgency has to do with individuals' perceptions; experiences; understanding of events, needs or crisis. These can relates to both past and present situations of life. My personal opinion of the early Pentecostals has to do with the same conditions; ethically and spiritually. God works through the Holy Spirit in the 'appropriate' timing in a given situation whereby the needs experienced by the believers in a certain settings of environment.
I recalled the incident of May 13th 1969 in Malaysia; whereby the racial tensions was at its utmost testing; those people gone through that period will experienced a life-time impacted to their lives. The economic down-turned in 1985-87 in Malaysia was another difficult period. The people who had experienced that tends to react or response quickly to the similar situation of global economic melt-down today. But looking at today's generation; the younger ones are having indfferent attitudes to it. Maybe this can help us to understanding why churches with the younger generation find it difficult to comprehend the urgency to eschatology responses. The only thing i can thing of is God may have to 'revive' and 'rekindle' that kind of senses to our younger generation as what the early Pentecostals had gone through.

Jase Foo said...

Hi Freddie,

The Bible says that "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come." Matt.24:14. I believe you can agree with me that there are still many who have not heard the gospel right, so is Christ second coming really gonna 'come soon'?
also, what would make Christians wanna speed up the coming of Christ?

Freddie Ong said...

Hi Jase,
Matt.24:14 has been one of the key verses that prompted the Pentecostals to believe that there is a role for us to perform in 'assisting' the returns of Christ. Nevertheless, whether this is literally intepreted has a prophetic means or just an encourgement for Christians to assume the responsibility of the great commission is subjected to individuals stand of belief. It is difficult for me to comment prophetic interpretion of it by just one verse. Therefore, my only suggestion is regardless of it, the great commission given (Matt.28:18-20; Mark 16:15. 16; Acts 1:8) we are to reach the world in our context of understanding as much as we can; and leave the rest to God.

Bryan Boo said...

Hey,

Some comment that the missions and evangelism movement of the church is not so much due to the Doctrine of Eschatology but rather viewed as a requirement and routine job that the church has to do. That is why in some churches, they urgency isn't evident. what is your take on that?

Freddie Ong said...

Hi Bryan,
Well, if I am right, this group is usually 2nd generaton Christians. Nevertheless I believed that they too were mindful of the importance of soul winning as practised by the church they are attached to. What the pastor needs to do is to bring them to better understanding posible through teaching and preaching of it.

Peter Kwiatkowski said...

Excellent truths. maybe you will post more sometime. Thanks

Pete said...

You have an excellent blog. When are you going to post some more writings?