Church – What Is It Exactly? (Part 4) Home | Seminars | Preaching | Teaching Series | About Pastor Peter | Contact Pastor Peter | God’s Fire Blog Index By Topic | Blog Index From Newest To Oldest

From the time of the Reformation, started by Martin Luther in A.D. 1517, and signifying the breaking away of Christian believers from the Roman Catholic Church – and right through to the present time, the truth and existence of the ‘baptism in the Holy Spirit’ and the ‘gifts of the Spirit’ have continued.

In relatively modern times you have Pentecostal Christians like:

George Fox (1642-91, founder of the Quakers),

Maria Woodworth-Etter (1844-1924),

Smith Wigglesworth (1859-1947),

William Seymour (1870-1922),

John G. Lake (1870-1935),

Charles Fox Parham (1873- 1929),

Aimee Semple McPherson (1890-1944),

A. W. Tozer (1897-1963),

William Branham (1909-1965),

Charles & Francis Hunter (1916-2010),

David Wilkerson of Teen Challenge, ‘The Cross & The Switchblade’ and Times Square Church fame. 1931-2011),

Reinhard Bonnke (1940 – 2019),

Jackie Pullinger (charismatic missionary ministering in Hong Kong since 1966)

Oral Roberts, Demos Shakarian, Paul Cain, David du Plessis, Benson Idahosa, Earl Paulk, and so many others that all believed in the ‘baptism of the Holy Spirit’ and the continuing ‘gifts of the Spirit’.

Oral Roberts concentrated upon healing and was one of the most widely known Pentecostal healing evangelists in the world.

Roberts supported Demos Shakarian the founder of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International in 1951. The purpose was to take Pentecostalism into areas outside the Pentecostal churches.

There have also been many Pentecostal/Charismatic  awakening revivals over the years, For example:

the Welsh Revival in 1904,

Azusa Street Revival in 1906,

the Jesus Movement of the 1960’s, 70’s, and 80’s,

John Wimber and the Vineyard Ministries International revival of the 1970’s and 80’s

the Toronto Revival in 1994

Reinhard Bonnke’s African Revival

John Wimber originally came to faith in a Quaker church and was associated with the Quakers for many years. And some practices of the Vineyard today have Quaker-like roots, particularly the tradition of quietly waiting for the Spirit to speak.

The 1904–1905 Welsh Revival laid the foundation for British Pentecostalism and especially for a distinct family of denominations known as Apostolic Pentecostalism.

Apostolic Pentecostals are found worldwide in 30 denominations, including the Apostolic Church based in the United Kingdom.

These Pentecostals are led by living apostles, prophets, evangelists, teachers and pastors as per the New Testament teaching of the 5-fold ministry as per  Ephesians 4:11-13

“So Christ Himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip His people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” This is completely Scriptural.

Appointing Archbishops, Bishops, and ministers as leaders, and who are not called by God as part of the 5-fold ministries mentioned in Ephesians 4, and who are instead appointed by men, by vote, or some other means, is not Biblical.

Further confirmation of this is given in Ephesians 2:19-22

“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of His household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone. In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.”

“In terms of overall numbers, The World Christian Encyclopedia, 3rd edition (2020) currently counts 644 million Pentecostals/Charismatics worldwide, including all the members of Pentecostalism’s 19,300 denominations and fellowships as well as all charismatic Christians whose primary affiliation is with other churches.

This is 8.3 percent of the world population, so that one in twelve persons today is a pentecostal or charismatic Christian.

Looking at the current global distribution of pentecostal/charismatic Christians, the Encyclopedia counts 230 million in Africa, 195 million in Latin America, 125 million in Asia, 68 million in North America, 21 million in Europe, and 4.5 million in Australia and Oceania.

Pentecostals/Charismatics, who totalled less than 1 million in 1900, will likely be over 1 billion in 2050.”

The Society for Pentecostal Studies at 50 Years (The link downloads the PDF in a new browser tab)

I mentioned Reinhard Bonnke earlier. Reinhard Bonnke (19 April 1940 – 7 December 2019) and his team believed in ‘baptism of the Holy Spirit’ and ministered in the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit’.

It is estimated that over 79 million people were converted to Christianity, most in Africa, as a result of Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke’s “Christ for all Nations” ministry. He has been called a “giant and a general in the Army of God”.

And Reinhard Bonnke once said: “The less Holy Spirit we have, the more cake and coffee we need to keep the church going. Nothing against cake or coffee, but the Holy Spirit cannot be substituted.”

I also mentioned A. W. Tozer before who once very famously, and very accurately, stated:

“If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95 percent of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference.”

Think about our churches today. Think about your own church.

What, if any, church activities would stop if the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from our church?

Would people even notice if the Holy Spirit was gone?

Or would it just be business as usual?

My purpose in delivering these blogs on “Church What Is It Exactly?” is not to make you leave your church or denomination, but to help you realise that genuine Christianity, since its New Testament inception as the Body of Christ, is authentic Pentecostal/Charismatic Christianity.

However, if there comes a time when a church or denomination compromises the Bible and goes ‘off the rails’ then we all need to understand that we can no longer be a part of that compromise.

Because we all will have to answer to God for what we believe as shown by our own actions.

My purpose is also certainly not to have you move churches and have you join some Pentecostal denomination because, sadly, it seems all “denominations” traditional and Pentecostal, end up being organisations that run more as businesses than as Biblical New Testament Christian fellowships.

Salaries, greed, profit, and their 30 pieces of silver become more important than staying faithful to the Gospel and the teachings of God in the Bible.

Just like Judas betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, with Judas caring more for money than for the extension of God’s Kingdom, so also many churches and denominations do the same today. Money and status and protecting their institutions, has become their gods, their idols.

As such denominational organisations often compromise, or go into error, just to keep, or add to, their congregations.

Rather my purpose in delivering these blogs on “Church What Is It Exactly?” is to help you understand, whether or not you are actually New Testament Pentecostal/Charismatic Christians already.

I believe that a time is coming where genuine Bible-believing Christians, particularly in Western countries, are going to come under persecution.

And that persecution is just as likely to come from within denominational churches, as it is from governments or “the world”.

I believe that denominational churches will be, and in many case have been, bought with their 30 pieces of silver from governments.

One of the most tragic things that has happened to denominational churches, and many Christian organisations, is accepting money from governments for welfare and other purposes – with government conditions, strings, and expectations attached.

The other tragic thing that has happened to many denominational churches, and many Christian organisations, is they have become like the world, accepting the things that worldly society accepts – supposedly just to try to bring people into the church.

That is straight-out compromise.

I also believe, that a time is coming where people who are genuine in their faith, and affirm the teachings of the Bible, will probably end up meeting in home fellowships.

At that time Christianity will have come full circle.

Christian believers, that is, the Body of Christ, started originally meeting together in homes in the New Testament, and it will probably end the same way with us meeting in homes.

So to summarise:

  1. Christians, genuine disciples of Jesus, are the Body of Christ – the only real “church”.
  1. Christianity is about “being the church” – it is NOT about “going to church”.
  1. Real church, according to the New Testament, is anywhere two or more Christians meet together in any place in fellowship, prayer, Bible reading, worship, loving one another, and discussing the things of God
  1. Genuine Christianity, right from the start of the New Testament believers in Acts, and on throughout history right up to the present time, has always been Spirit-filled.

That is, there has always been a Pentecostal/Charismatic dimension to believers’ life and faith.

You have now had the history of church, and what the church isn’t, in these four blogs; the next blog will focus from the Bible on what church is and is meant to be.


For anyone interested in reading more on the history of charismatic Christianity I would encourage you to buy and read the book:

2000 YEARS OF CHARISMATIC CHRISTIANITY” by Eddie L. Hyatt (Available at Christian Bookstores, or Amazon)

“Instead of being on the fringes of orthodox Christianity, Pentecostal/Charismatic Christianity is the mainstream of both Biblical and historic Christianity.

The fact is that Pentecostals and Charismatics have a legitimate history, it is a history found in the various revival and renewal movements that have emerged constantly in the life of the church throughout history.

The early church’s expectation of supernatural ministry was rooted in a lie and teachings of Jesus Himself.

Most books that we have today on church history are written from a “Catholic” theological perspective, and as such do you not even consider the Pentecostal/Charismatic nature of the church throughout history.

In fact, for much of church history the Roman Catholic Church considered moving in the gifts of the Spirit, including healings and speaking in tongues, as heretical.

And any who did move in the ‘gifts of the Holy Spirit’ were considered demon possessed and the occurrence of miracles among the common people was looked upon as the work of sorcery or witchcraft.”




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