At one point in my life, though a very short one so far, (considering that I am 21,) I was Pentecostal. If you don’t know what that means, it basically means I was a crazy Evangelical Christian. To be more exact, I was raised in the Assemblies of God. (You may have heard of this denomination because they established the famous Southeastern University in Lakeland, FL.) It is the 4th youngest denomination, and one that I wouldn’t recommend going into. (I should say, but I am not bashing the denomination, but purely giving my feelings on the matter.)
The theology of the church has 16 fundamentals that you will never hear from any of their Pastors, so if you’re even curious about it, just google it. I don’t even remember them anymore.
My parents were Pastors on and off for 17 years and we have experienced a lot of things; from church outings going wrong, being forced to do things when you think it shouldn’t be done, standing up for your family, getting phone calls about a broken toe and praying for them over the phone, picking up a stoned and alcoholic mother because she looks lost, disagreements on theology, people that shouldn’t be Pastor or to be called Pastor, when they have no experience to be called one, who can and who can not be on the worship team, and probably the worst, Pastor Kids; I mean the list just goes on and on. And yes, all of that is true.
Let me first start off with the things that I have issues with of the church. (The Assemblies of God.) Tithing. Tithing. Tithing. The prosperity doctrine lies in there. You are supposed to tithe the church 10% of your gross income and I even had the issue before getting my first job. I am someone that thinks about priorities first and then give what I think that I can give. So I went through a list; gas, gas and gas. I worked for Disney and I practically needed all of it for gas. You shouldn’t have to give 10%, but at least give generously. Give with a generous heart.
I even gave to non-profit organizations before church, which lies within my problem. I’ve never really attended large churches. Most small churches that I attended, could barely afford the Pastors, or there was a good income but there was a large amount of debt. One church, I didn’t even know where that money went. It seemed to have disappear. I began to question it. Another church, they already had Sunday and Wednesday services, and because of poor tithing, added a Thursday night service, so they could get more money. For those reasons, that’s why I gave to organizations first. (Though I do not have problems about giving money to help out your church, for that is the purpose.)
This is where it gets crazy. The Prosperity Doctrine. Let me give you the most popular example; you’re on your way to work, and you get a flat tire, do you know why that happened??? It’s because you didn’t pay your tithe. Yes, that was the teaching. It’s ridiculous.
Prosperity was just one of the key problems. Word of Faith somehow penetrated the denomination, and it struck a chord in the churches that me and my parents attended. Word of Faith is basically the power to speak something into existence. For example, if you are in poor health, just saying, “I am healthy, I am healthy, I am not sick but healthy,” turns into reality. It is basically the unbiblical version of positive and negative confession. That is what Word of Faith is though: unbiblical and heretical.
I could probably go on and on about this but I think I have made my point. In the denomination that I grew up in, I don’t think I could ever go back to it for these reasons. That’s the main reason for writing this. I did not write this to throw them (the Assemblies of God) in the dirt. I wrote to be open and honest about this denomination.
I am no longer affiliated with the Assemblies of God. I have left the church to go to a much better church. I am converting to become a Catholic, and in 24 days, at the Easter Vigil, I will officially become one. I’m not just excited to call myself a Catholic, but also for what occurs every Mass; and that is the Eucharist.