I’m neck deep in reading to prepare for my upcoming conference sessions in April. As I’ve been going berserk in searching through old papers, archives, and innumerable books, I’ve run across plenty of enjoyable tidbits and quotes. Today, I was looking at the archives of Word & Witness, an early newsletter from the initial years of the Pentecostal movement. In Hot Springs Arkansas, there was a conference on April 2-12, 1914. In that conference, five distinct “Pentecostal” (for lack of a better term) groups came together and the Assemblies of God was formed. In the May issue of Word & Witness, the newly established Assemblies of God denomination was articulating their statement of beliefs for their new denominational members. It’s in that statement that the following quote appears:
No Rolling or Nonsense:
“Because people often fall in our meetings under the power of God, those who are ignorant or who desire to slander us call us Holly (sp) Rollers. But we have never been in any way associated with the real Unholy Rollers wrongly called holy, nor do we practice or believe in such shame and folly as rolling from one side of the house to the other. This is nonsense and dishonoring to God. But if God’s mighty power takes all the strength out of one and he falls in a heap before the Lord, this is not foolishness and we say to God to work as it pleaseth Him. Daniel fell before God, Dan. 10:5-10; Ezekiel fell on his face, Eze. 1:3, 24; John fell as one dead before the glorified Christ, Rev. 1:17. It is an honor from heaven, if the real power and presence of God does the same today.”
Wow. Three thoughts:
1. If you have to spell something out that clearly in the statement of faith, one has to wonder just how much of a problem it is…?!? (It’s worth noting that two of the groups involved had historically been known for wildly unrestrained activity in their worship services)
2. I wonder what the contemporary churches that have practiced such things (especially the Assemblies of God churches…) would say to their forefathers who called such things “nonsense and dishonoring to God” or “foolishness”?
3. Beyond the shallow proof-texting, why is “Spirit-induced” falling into a heap totally acceptable where as falling into a heap and then moving around totally unacceptable?
It seems like rolling around would be exactly what a person should do when they catch the fire from the…oh wait
Just a quick tidbit from all the research I’ve been doing.
Lyndon “Always sharing my best stuff” Unger