Keuruu midsummer conference, bible study June 21, 2012, Jouko Ruohomäki: “The revival of Holy Spirit”
Early in the last century the revival of Holy Spirit had been prayed hard for. It was preceded by a prayer campaign, which was inter-denominational. All the evangelical world was having prayer meetings. Prayer cards were internationally delivered asking for a daily prayer. The prayer pleased the Lord. In the 1920’s the revival started, first mildly and occasionally, but later widely and in an international level. This is what we call the Pentecostal Revival. Also in Finland there were lots of prayers. When the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission (FELM) was having the anniversary of 50 years in 1908, lutheran Kotimaa-newspaper published a declaration of many church leaders: a moment for worship is hoped to be organized in churches for the anniversary of FELM. The pouring of Holy Spirit to our nation, its missionaries and its church employees was asked to be prayed for so that in faith and in repentance we would realize our mission with more passion. The prayer pleased the Lord, and He answered the prayers.
Employees of churches were speaking in tongues. Ordinary people got answers to prayers. God let His answers amaze. It’s better to let the form of answers to prayers to be decided by God. Now I want to survey the base, on which the Pentecostal movement was started to build, and the preconditions on which we can go on.
The baptism of Holy Spirit is preceded by a purification of heart, which means an experience of sanctification. The baptism of Holy Spirit is accompanied by fullfillness of spiritual gifts and unity of believers. These principles are based on the word of Bible.
1. The baptism of Holy Spirit, indicated - as Bible proclaims - by speaking in tongues
How do you answer to the question: how does Pentecostal movement differ from other revival movements? The difference appears by the baptism of Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues, by the doctrine of spiritual baptism, which is concretely indicated by speaking in tongues. Many people think this is wrong and caused by demons. Pentecostal movement is blamed to be generated from the depth, and speaking in tongues has been considered as a psychological phenomenon without God.
Is it possible, that a believing christian receives a spiritual baptism without the gift of speaking in tongues. There are exceptions, but I wouldn’t want to be one. If the first pioneers of Pentecostalism had withdrawn, there would probably be no Pentecostal revival movement. Why didn’t they withdraw? They based their doctrine to the word of Bible and to conforming experiences. I just mention one evidence in Bible which locates in the house of Kornelius, Acts 10:44-45: “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles.” Peter had few times to defend his reasons to visit the house of Kornelius. Everyone didn’t accept speaking in tongues, they were demanding respect to law of Moses and circumcition. Even today there are people who don’t accept speaking in tongues as a sign of spiritual baptism. They are right. Speaking in tongues isn’t the only sign of spiritual baptism. The conference of Amsterdam in 1912 gave a declaration about the spiritual baptism: we don’t proclaim, that all the spiritually baptized, even speaking in tongues, would have received the full blessing. We believe that spiritual baptism is always succeeded by the fruits of the Spirit, so we can receive the same gifts as the Apostles on the first Pentecost.
2. Unity of the Pentecostalist believers
The plan of forming an international alliance just partly realized. Different doctrinal opinions weren’t allowed to hinder the unity of Pentecostalist believers. Different point of views were expected to be expressed in a spirit of love and respect. A principal of Pentecostal alliance: tolerance, complaisance in relations to other believers.
3. Purification of heart
According to John Wesley is borning again succeeded by a complete purification of heart made by God. In the period of the first pentecostalists the history led to the statement of belief conformed to the sanctification doctrine of Wesley. There would be two different endowments for believers: 1. Justification by faith, borning again. Most of people understood what it means and had experienced that. 2. Complete sanctification according to Wesley. That means an experience after being born again, the victory over sins, the complete love to God and to other people, which was possessed by faith like justification.
Most of the first Pentecostals were coming from the sanctification movement. They added the spiritual baptism to be the third endowment: the baptism of Holy Spirit was considered necessary. Those who are seeking we asked to put away the roots of bitterness, so that they couldn’t hinder receiving the spiritual baptism. “I’m saved, I’m sanctified, I’ve been fulfilled by Holy Spirit.” They also believed in the healing power of Jesus Christ and to the second coming of Jesus Christ. By these elements was formed the “five-fold evangelium”.
For a human it’s characteristic to aim for the medium. But normally, when something significant has happened in the church history, it has taken place on the “extreme-level”, on the fringe. Some might warn: “it’s dangerous”, “please, don’t go”. Are we really aiming for a real purification of heart? It’s important to remember the words of Jesus Christ (Mt 5:8): ”Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God”.
“May the Lord make His face shed light upon you!” Do we realize, that we are asking for a pure heart by wishing a blessing to someone? It is true that a mortal human can’t see God, but it’s paradoxical, that God may lift up His face unto him. When David was repenting sins, he said: “God, create in me a pure heart and renew a faithful spirit within me.” ” Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? He who has a pure heart” (Psalm 24: 3-4) “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.“ (Proverbs 4:23)
You can feel free to have your own conception of sanctification, but on this way of purification of heart were received the first experiences the Pentecostalism. It’s useful to ask: would any Pentecostal revival have been born, if no one had felt it important to search for the experience of a pure heart? When was the last time when you were searching for a pure heart? In the churches and congregation, there’s a need for revival movement of purified hearts. That would be the remedy for those who are blaming others, it would cease speaking of evil, gossips and harassment. That would make church a better place, also for the employees in the sense of coping at work.
What does a pure heart concretely mean? It is something very close to an ordinary everyday life. In our sermons we’re often too abstract. I hope you will remember these three things: 1. Pure heart means aiming for righteousness. You don’t treat other people wrong, and you don’t accept, if you see someone treated wrong, even if you would self miss you popularity or priviledges. Defending righteousness has been blured, and it’s treated same as arguing. It’s important to remember that God is righteous. 2. Apologising: many people would suffer less, if this was practiced. It’s a part of being pure at heart. 3. Searching for the truth in a manner that doesn’t include lies, gossips and defaming other people. One tool of evil is disgracing. Blaming someone to be a narcistic or a psychotic person. It’s regrettable, that also many pentecostalist are doing the same. Sometimes the preasts are blamed to be narcistic persons. Humiliation doesn’t belong together with a pure heart. If you have a pure heart, you don’t harass. In Pentecostal church we’re having problems with harassment. Why are so many church employees needing health care for that? Speechlessness is an important problem. If you have a pure heart, you don’t abuse people for example mentally. Strong mission and willingness to serve have been abused for example in making decisions of hiring in church.
Do we need to be pure at heart? Do we have to search for sanctification?
Which are the preconditions with Pentacostalism can go on? Preconditions are the same on which the revival movement was based and built. Baptism of Holy Spirit, purification of hearts, unity of believers - if they realize, Pentecostal movement is able to gain success. We have a choice.