Where to From Here
By Fred J. Foster
Revival must not die! It must not cease to spread. Pentecost must continue its history of evangelization. Its saving and teaching zeal must still be uppermost in its thinking. Its drive and motivation must continue to come from the vast need of the lost millions around the world.
History is quick to point its finger at other church groups founded upon noble ideals and then becoming self-satisfied and at ease in Zion after some successes. In this chapter we set forth certain practical “musts” for the future of the Oneness movement and, in particular, the United Pentecostal Church, if she wills to survive the tragic fate of others.
REVIVAL MUST NOT DIE
The term revival when associated with religion means “a period of religious awakening, or renewed interest in religion after indifference and decline.” (1) It also means “an awakening in a church or community of interest in, and care for, matters of personal religion.” (2)
The spirit that causes this must continue. The burden, compassion, feeling, and urgency which bring /this to pass in an individual’s heart, must live on. Great sacrifice has brought the truths expressed in this book to the present time. This must persist.
History tells us that true Scriptural revival fires have been fanned into existence through man’s facing up to his personal responsibility to God. The Oneness movement must continue to bring man face to face with this solemn duty.
Anointed evangelistic preaching, fervent altar appeals and heart-warming altar services must be, as in the past, the order in our modern age.
Some have said, “The day of revival is over,” but this is not true. Wherever honest, Scriptural and dedicated effort is being made to have revival, God is blessing in this hour. This does not necessarily mean that large numbers will come in (on the contrary, it may mean just a few), but gradually churches are growing, with new people taking their places in the congregation; older saints are encouraged to press the battle on, and morale, as a whole, is high.
But the price for revival must be paid today, and, as always, it involves a determined dedication to the following:
(1) Prayer–Prayer must be an integral part in the life of the individual Christian and the complete church. We will do well in keeping prayer a vital element in the Oneness movement.
(2) Fasting–Jesus said, “This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting,” 3 teaching us that some things can only be accomplished through such desperate action.
(3) Faithfulness–Church attendance, tithing, offerings and other numerous things are done only by faithful people. God blesses a people who will sincerely pursue them.
(4) Personal Work–Slowly the Oneness movement is recapturing this vision. One of the things they said about the early twentieth century Pentecostals was, “Everyone of them is a preacher.” This wasn’t true, of course, but all testified of their experience everywhere they went, endeavoring to bring others into this glorious experience.
In some quarters it is suspected that some are just trying to hold their own, harboring the pessimistic idea that no one is going to come in anyway. Let us not be deceived. This kind of attitude will rock us to sleep, and the movement will become as others.
We “must” persist in a strong evangelistic effort.
SUNDAY SCHOOL–A VITAL PART OF EVANGELISM AND EDUCATION
Sunday School has taken on new meaning for Oneness thinking in the last several years. The Oneness movement is recognizing clearly the vast potential in reaching souls through the Sunday School department.
In a changing world it is true that we have a changeless gospel, but effective methods must be wisely adhered to in order to get those outside the church to hear the same gospel the early church preached.
Gradually we Pentecostals are finding out how a well coordinated Sunday School effort can attract the outsiders into the church, and how much easier it gets the work of the church: evangelization and indoctrination, accomplished.
A well-organized systematic Sunday School is a must to the future Oneness movement because it does three things: first, evangelization; second, indoctrination; and third, it offers many avenues of service in these two fields to the individual church member.
Combining avenues of service with the two first mentioned, let us see the terrific push it gives to the propagation of the gospel message.
(1) “Evangelization”–Jesus commanded the church, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” 4 He also stated the tremendous task of the church when He said, “Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and ye shall be witnesses unto me.” 5
We see by this that the main and predominant work the church must be devoted to is evangelizing the world. This must permeate the very air we breathe, and never should we lose consciousness of it. That is where the Sunday School comes in.
The Sunday School offers a wonderful medium in getting this tremendous job completed.
Sunday School drives had been the mode in most churches for a long time. The number was run up for a few Sundays and then it would fall back down to normal again, with the chance of gaining a few. This helped morale for a while, but after the drive most quit working, waiting for the next drive.
Then the question came, “Why not have a Sunday School push all the time?” This seemed logical, but how best to keep the interest high and people working continually? It was deduced that this would come through an organized, active weekly visitation program. Sunday School administrative workers, teachers and members of classes could meet, to go door-to-door, seeking new ones and taking care of follow-up work on those who recently attended. Various methods have been devised. Conclusive proof has been offered that it works, and works wondrously, with many more being brought into this New Testament truth.
(2) “Indoctrination”–Jesus is the great commission said, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations…teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. . . .” (6) We readily see that after we lead men to obey the gospel we must indoctrinate them in the things of God. Where is a better place than the Sunday School?
Most churches allow one hour and fifteen minutes for Sunday School, with the most time devoted to class work and study. This affords the church a fine opportunity to complete this essential task commanded by the Lord Himself. We must teach or perish! We must recognize that Sunday School is that great opening the church needs in this hour.
If Oneness Pentecostals do not indoctrinate the students in their Sunday School now, and in the future if the Lord tarries, the young generation will not appreciate the basic fundamental doctrines, and will be swallowed up in ecumenism.
In a recent test the author gave to 131 freshmen Bible college students, he was shocked at the lack in knowledge of basic Oneness truths. The Pentecostal Conquerors tested students at several youth camps in a recent year, and found, to their amazement, that the basic truths were the least understood. The greater majority in these two tests had grown up in Pentecostal Sunday Schools.
This speaks loudly to us all. For years we have taken for granted that they were getting what they needed. As we are awakening to the fact that they were not, let us reevaluate our teaching principles and rise up to meet this crucial challenge.
So, as the Oneness movement steers its ship unto the uncharted waters of the future, she MUST be profoundly Sunday School minded. She must recognize its invaluable contribution in putting the church to work doing the job Jesus commanded us to do. Usually the larger the Sunday School, the larger the revival crowds! The larger the revival crowds, the more the people who pray through to the Old Time Religion.
BIBLE COLLEGES MUST SHARE THIS RESPONSIBILITY
Because the majority of the students presently attending our Bible Colleges are prospective ministers of the gospel, it is awesomely imperative that the schools share the burden of evangelization and indoctrination.
If the Lord tarries, some of the leaders of the future church are being taught in our colleges. Where will they take the church? What will they teach our children and grandchildren? This is extremely important to us all.
As the administration of each college ponders this type of thinking, it becomes a front-running job to make sure that each student spends many hours studying basic Pentecostal Doctrine. The Godhead, Baptism, Holy Ghost experience, and Holiness must be properly dealt with, and each student receive a clear understanding.
The contribution our Bible Colleges can make must not be underestimated. They can be our salvation or our ruination.
So another must is that Bible Colleges must challenge students to take the gospel into all the world, and at the same time indoctrinate them with sound teaching from the Word of God.
Foreign and Home Missions must be mentioned here in the light of the above. The eyes of the Oneness movement must continually be upon the harvest fields. Jesus admonished, “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.”
We dare not forget our missionary endeavor. The missions spirit must envelop our activity, and continued effort be made. The challenge of this hour is to do better than we ever have. We must ever launch farther out into the deep of missionary accomplishment.
More prayer, sacrifice and finance is the future’s crying need, to be able to send other devoted men and women to the mission field, both foreign and home.
On every hand it is believed that this is our hour, this is our time, this is our opportunity, this is the chance we have waited for. Let us move out with accelerated speed to new horizons, and conquer new frontiers in this vast field.
LOSE NOT THE PIONEERING SPIRIT
The spirit of sacrifice that has established churches across the world must not be lost, for this is the spirit which has made Pentecost strong. Her bravery, and willingness to labor in the difficult places has made the march to victory progressive.
In the age of ease in which we live, this spirit will not be hard to lose. Our young people will have to be taught to be pioneers. The dying, hell-bound mass of humanity must be kept continually before them, along with the power of the gospel to save. If so, it is sure that such a great challenge will, with the call of God, cause them to reach for a more fulfilling work than the church has ever known.
God is calling more preachers, more than we have churches for them to preach in, so the answer must be that He is wanting churches to be established in the “next town ” (8) “for a witness.” (9) This will only come through a continued pioneering spirit.
1 Webster’s Dictionary.
2 The New Century Dictionary.
3 Matthew 17:21
4 Mark 16:15
5 Acts 1:8
6 Matthew 28:19, 20
7 John 4:35
8 Mark 1:38
9 Matthew 24:14
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS TAKEN FROM 20th CENTURY PENTECOSTALS AND PUBLISHED BY WORD AFLAME PRESS, 1980, PAGES 180-187. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.