In preparation for “blogging” I read a column written by a veteran and well-known blogger. His advice to beginners like me was simple. “Choose a topic that interests you and one in which you have an above average measure of expertise. This will allow you to present insights and knowledge that others interested in the topic may not know. They will look to you as a source of dependable information.”
I have chosen as my topic THE PENTECOSTAL/CHARISMATIC WORLD WIDE MOVEMENT. If you accept me A aource for dependable information you need to know upon what my information is based. To provide that you must know more about my background. I am 86 years old, almost 87. I was reared in a Pentecostal home and my parents served as an Assemblies of God pastoral team for more than half a century.I was thoroughly indoctrinated in the teaching and tradition of American Pentecostalism. Here is a thumbnail sketch of my education and ministry experience that lends credence to my trustworthiness about knowledge of my subject.
Trinity university -1947-48
Univ. of Hawaii—–1948-49
Univ. of Denver—–1950-52 BA degree
Denver Seminary—–1954-58 MDiv.degree Following graduation I was ordained by Assemblies of God
Princeton Seminary–1967-68 THM degree
Senior Chaplain’s Course–1973-74 Certificate of Completion
Elected leader of Youth ministry, Calvary Temple, Denver, CO – 1950-52, 1954-55
Founding Pastor of Central Assembly of God, Granby, CO 1955-60
Us Navy Chaplain 1960-1978
Pastor, Faith Chapel Assembly of God, Pleasanton, CA 1978-91
1993 to present, Mission to Ukraine
Was ordained with Assemblies of God from 1958 to 2010, a total of 52 years. Now associated with Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches
Since 2009 I have written five books, four of them deal with the subject matter of my blogs. You can view the four published on my web site: www.pentecostrevisited.com
More important than my schooling and my years of experience is the fact that I take Scripture seriously. The Holy Spirit is constantly surprising me with new insights from inspired passages. The Bible is its own truest commentary. The most common enemy of the ‘whole counsel of God’s Word’ is a proof text taken out of context. I pledge to make the total context of Scripture my standard for determining doctrinal truth. Now that you have my topic and my credentials listed let’s get on with the subject.
I rebelled against the rigid external legalism that pervaded Pentecostalism in North Carolina in the 1940’s. IN 1946, contrary to my parent’s wishes, I enlisted in the Army Air Corps following graduation from high School. I was confronted by Jesus Christ in 1948 and made a commitment to serve him if he would empower me by the Holy Spirit. Shortly thereafter I experience an infilling of the Holy Spirit. And, yes, this was accompanied by an expression of praise in a language provided by the Holy Spirit. I’ll have much more to say about that later.
After serving my three year enlistment I enrolled in Denver University. In 1950 the Korean War broke out and I signed up for advanced ROTC. Upon graduation I was commissioned and served two years active duty before reverting to the inactive Reserves. Upon release I enrolled in the Conservative Baptist Theological Seminary (now Denver Seminary) I graduated in 1958 with academic honors. During my time in the Baptist seminary I defended vigorously my Pentecostal tradition. I used the arguments I had been schooled in from childhood by godly parents whom I respected. My academic stature won me a hearing if not the argument.
While in Seminary I established a new Assemblies of God church in Granby in 1955. It was about 90 miles west of Denver, high up in the Rockies. After graduating from seminary in 1958 I was ordained to Christian ministry by the Rocky Mountain District of the Assemblies of God and shortly after in June I married Donna Lee Wirth. We began our married life in Granby, CO where I served as pastor for two more years until I was called to active duty as a U.S.Navy Chaplain in April 1960. I was one of four Assemblies of God Navy chaplains on active duty at that time. Throughout this entire period I was fully committed to the established doctrinal tradition of my church
As my career progressed I was selected for a year of post-graduate studies at Princeton Seminary and graduated with a Master of Theology degree. I was unexpectedly honored by an invitation to preach in historic Miller Chapel. I addressed students and professors on the subject of the Holy Spirit. The president of the seminary later said to me, “Chaplain, we need more preaching like that in Princeton.”
Throughout the period of time in two seminaries and in the chaplaincy, my biblical studies had been making plain that my church erred in insisting the purpose of tongues at Pentecost was to give initial evidence that the 120 had been filled with the Holy Spirit. My church erred even more grievously when it insisted that no one was baptized in the Holy Spirit unless he had the initial evidence of speaking in tongues. I began to understand that the tradition about speaking in tongues was based on a series of invalid assumptions and a wrongly interpreted purpose for the supernatural languages that accompanied the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost. I was facing a theological crisis concerning a doctrinal position that I could no longer assent to. If I acknowledged my dissent it would likely mean the end of my career as a Navy Chaplain. I was convinced the Lord had prepared and called me into the military chaplaincy. Had I mistaken my call? It would all come to a head in Vietnam where I was headed following my year at Princeton. But that’s for the next blog.
I welcome questions and comments.
Chaplain Glenn Brown
Published on on September 8th, 2014