By T. F. Tenney
Winston Churchill said, “History, with its flickering lamp, stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its themes, to revive its echoes, and to kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days.” So be it, Sir Winston. Now comes the question: As we are looking to the past, what has made the Pentecostal movement different from all other contemporary religious movements? I could speak of the Word, of truth, of organization, or personalities, and many other things. All of these would have validity. But you can have form without fire. You can have truth without the torch. You can have organization without passion. There is nothing any more unpalatable than dry truth. One thing that has been the hallmark of success for the Pentecostal movement has been the anointing of the Holy Spirit. This is something we must never lose.
What is the purpose of the anointing? Isaiah 61:1-3 describes it well. He said, “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me.” The counter-question immediately comes—why? The answer is clarion: “because the LORD hath anointed me.” He then proceeded to give the purpose of the anointing, and the purpose is always for others.
“[He] hath anointed me to preach good tidings . . . To whom? “the meek”—that’s others. “To bind up the brokenhearted”—that’s others. “To proclaim liberty to the captives”—that’s others. “Opening of the prison to them that are bound”—that’s others. On and on I could go. The anointing is never something I enjoy. It is for others.
The Book of Exodus placed a curse upon a man who used the sacred anointing oil, dedicated to the Tabernacle, for himself. It was always something given for the benefit of others. It was never something to simply be enjoyed by self. The prophet said it well, It is only the anointing that breaks the yoke. The anointing adds power to truth.
There is no doubt that God anoints individuals to fulfill His purpose. Anointed leaders have always been the answer of God to crisis times in history. We must never lose it and always contend for it. I do not worry that my church will carry on as a society. We have enough denominational loyalty to hold us together as a movement. As I have often said, the machinery can clank on long after the oil has drained out. If we lose the anointing oil, we’ll not be the first denomination to bleach in the boneyard of what used to be.
- Richard Niebuhr wrote a book entitled The Social Sources of Denominationalism. In this book he made an interesting observation: “Rarely does a second generation hold the convictions it has inherited with the fervor equal to that of its fathers, who fashioned their conviction in the heat of conflict and at the risk of martyrdom.”
How do we convey to the coming generation the movement that God in His gracious love has given us? How do they inherit vineyards they have not planted and houses they have not built? Can convictions be inherited? Traditions can—but not convictions. Opinions can—but not convictions. You will change your opinion, but you will die for your conviction. Only the anointing can cut through the worldliness and the lackadaisical atmosphere that prevails in our world today. Only a fresh touch of the world beyond can insure that the blessed truths of the Book we love and the gospel of the Lord we adore will continue to be preached with power.
Someone well observed, “We who preach Pentecost must practice Pentecost. We who preach revival must experience revival personally, to lead our church into revival.” Anointing is not something you can talk about in the past tense. It has to be brought into this present generation.
Years ago I read where one said that no fellowship has ever endured over fifty years while maintaining the same fervency and convictions of its founding fathers. May that not be said of us.
John Wesley once wrote, with reference to Methodism, “I am not afraid that the people call Methodists should ever cease to exist either in Europe or America. But I am afraid lest they should only exist as a dead sect. having the form of religion, without power.”
We know what has happened in Methodism. They once preached the power of God, sanctification, and an altered lifestyle. Now, one of their own bishops authored a book entitled, Are We Yet Alive?
God is calling us back to get under the anointing. May we unfurl our banner in the twenty-first century and may it say the same thing it said in Zechariah 4:6, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” May we reiterate the words of the prophets that were emphasized by Jesus—”the zeal of thine house bath eaten me up.”
I feel a fresh wind of the Spirit moving among us. God is raising up anointed leadership—those who fear not the face of man, but look only for the approving smile of God.
It has been well-said that if poverty has killed its thousands, prosperity has killed its tens of thousands. One writer said, “The tragedy of a lost experience is the tendency to develop a lifestyle that no longer needs to depend on the Holy Spirit for daily renewal. Consequently, our daily habit of reading the Word, intercessory prayer, and doing those things that are well-pleasing in Jesus’ sight are lost. We find ourselves in a lifestyle which walks according to the flesh instead of the Spirit (Romans 8:1).” When Pentecostal leaders adopt such lifestyles it is not long until Pentecostal zeal is lost in our churches.
Oh, God—send a fresh anointing to break the yoke! Break the yoke of complacency and worldliness and spiritual laziness! Let us recapture the passion of Pentecostal purity.
We need leadership anointed to discern between the real and the counterfeit. Author J. K. Bridges once said, “If the genuine exists, then look out for the counterfeit.” Pentecostal leadership can have the genuine New Testament Pentecostal experience and does not have to settle for a counterfeit experience. We don’t need a “virtual Pentecost” which looks, acts, and talks like old-time Pentecost but doesn’t measure up in substance and fruit. We can have the genuine article. Pentecostal leadership must be able to discern between the real and the unreal. Leaders must constantly be on guard as to whether it is a demonic spirit, human spirit, or Holy Spirit being manifest in our meetings.
Bridges went on to say,
“Genuine Pentecostal leadership is not cultic. One of the characteristics of a cult is its blind devotion to gifted leaders, who generally become quite autocratic and soon require unquestioned allegiance. To the contrary, the mark of a true Pentecostal leader is his aversion to the glamour and sensationalism so often accompanying successful ministries. Rather than building a fan club and a following of radical devotees, he rejects self-aggrandizement and adheres to the admonition of John the Baptist who said, ‘He must increase, but I must decrease’ (John 3:30). The Pentecostal leader takes seriously the words of the apostle Paul, not to ‘think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, . . . as God bath dealt to [each one] the measure of faith’ (Romans 12:3).”
Even in our day we see the carnage of Pentecostal preachers strewn all along the pathway—those who allowed their lives and ministries to become cultic. Some Pentecostal leaders have, like Balaam, started out with right intentions, but self-indulgence and covetousness have led to doctrinal error, moral corruption, and eventual loss of the blessing of God and of the Pentecostal anointing.
My brothers, let us contend for the continual anointing of the Holy Spirit. The Lord of heaven is saying, “Back to the basics—back to the altar of prayer—back to fasting and waiting on God—back to a passion and love for souls—back to the time when priorities were set by the Holy Spirit and not by our DayTimer—back to loving God more than we love pleasure.” Yes, we need the anointing—and the anointing is for others.
The above article, “The Purpose of The Anointing,” is written by T.F. Tenney. The article was excerpted from the twentieth chapter of Tenney’s book, The Lord Said… Or Was That Me?
This material is most likely copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.