The Perfect Revival?
By Julio Severo
Brazil has experienced an explosive growth of Pentecostal and neo-Pentecostal (neo-charismatic) churches. Large crowds of poor people have been attending these churches looking for answers for their physical, material and spiritual needs.
The Brazilian Catholic Church, plagued by the Liberation Theology, has been worried about this growth. And even mainline Brazilian Protestant churches, similarly plagued by Protestant versions of the Liberation Theology, have been worried.
International onlookers see such growth as a phenomenon or even evidence of “revival.” Yet, Brazilian Calvinist critics question that if it were genuine, Brazil would not have now a socialist government. But what if Brazil depended just on the Catholic Church and its Liberation Theology? It would be already a Catholic Cuba. What if Brazil depended just on mainline Protestant churches and their Protestant versions of the Liberation Theology? It would be already a Protestant Cuba.
The Pentecostal and neo-Pentecostal growth in Brazil is far from perfection. But virulent critics from mainline Protestant churches, which are very small in Brazil in comparison to large Pentecostal and neo-Pentecostal churches, have used the imperfections to point that the “revival” in Brazil is counterfeit, misleading, and even demonic. Calvinist critics have consistently condemned the Pentecostal and neo-Pentecostal growth in Brazil.
They ignore that revival does not equal perfection. They ignore the grave imperfections of the perfectly charismatic church of 1 Corinthians.
They point that the result of a perfect revival is change and transformation in Christians and their behavior. This change affects everyone: lawyers, farmers, and even politicians. If there is a large numbers of Christians in a government, it is expected that it will conform to the Christian values and justice by the testimony and presence of Christians.
They point that the perfect revival was the Great Awakening in America and the preaching of men like Jonathan Edwards.
Let us use their standard to analyze a “perfect revival.” First, came the Great Awakening, by Jonathan Edwards and others. Next, the birth of the United States by men simultaneously Protestant and Mason. This is, most of the Founding Founders were Protestant at the same time affected by the Great Awakening and Masonry!
If America is today plagued by Mason symbols and taints, the example was set by these Mason Protestants who lived under the influence of the strong spiritual culture left by the Great Awakening.
The largest Presbyterian denomination in Brazil, founded by U.S. Mason Presbyterian missionaries in the midst-1800s and cradle of the first Protestant version of the Liberation Theology in the 1950s, has a difficult time to discipline its countless Mason ministers and other leaders, who nevertheless have been busy criticizing the many “heresies” of the Pentecostal and neo-Pentecostal growth.
So by their logic, if the Great Awakening was a perfect revival, it follows that Masonry plaguing Protestant politicians is ok, because if it is not ok, it follows that the Great Awakening was an imperfect revival. And Calvinist critics in Brazil have just one answer to imperfect revivals: systematic criticism.
Never mind that what God’s Word says also applies to Masonry among Protestant ministers, politicians and other leaders:
“Stop forming inappropriate relationships with unbelievers. Can right and wrong be partners? Can light have anything in common with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14 GWV)
The Great Awakening was the greatest blessing for the birth of America. But Masonry was not a blessing, and it will be, with its schemes of New World Order, her fall.
The Great Awakening was not a perfect revival. Only God is perfect. The Pentecostal and neo-Pentecostal growth in Brazil is not perfect. Only God is perfect.
If Brazil is today more socialist, Pentecostals and neo-Pentecostals are not to blame. In the 1990s, Rev. Caio Fábio, the greatest Presbyterian leader in the Brazilian history, led the Brazilian Church to support the Workers’ Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores), which is the ruling socialist party in Brazil, and today Rev. Fábio is a fallen man, because of his sexual and financial scandals. More information about his huge influence in the Brazilian Church can be found in my free e-book “Theology of Liberation Versus Theology of Prosperity” here: http://bit.ly/15AJmMC
The Workers’ Party and other socialist parties are determined to impose abortion and homosexuality in Brazil. The only hindrance to their project, by their own admission, is the daring testimony of neo-Pentecostal televangelists, who are under a heavy barrage of “theological” criticism from Calvinist critics comfortably in a religious environment plagued by Masonry and the Theology of Integral Mission, which is the Protestant version of the Liberation Theology.
Their inspiration is often John MacArthur, a Calvinist theologian who believes the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit have ceased. Calvinist churches increasingly embracing homosexuality, abortion and stances against Israel and MacArthur and his Brazilian followers worried about what the Holy Spirit can or cannot do today. Why do not he and other Calvinist critics use their judgmental “gift” toward PCUSA and many other cessationist, liberal Protestant churches?
Why do not they use their judgmental “gift” toward the Theology of Integral Mission and Masonry?
If they did it, many Calvinist critics in Brazil would begin to busy themselves with these colossal problems in their own midst, and understandably they would be left no time to attack Pentecostals and charismatics and much less to require their growth to conform to Calvinist expectations of the Great Awakening.
If they want to criticize “imperfect” revivals, what about Masonry among Founding Fathers who were affected by the Great Awakening? Why do they refuse to see Masonry as intricate witchcraft? If they want perfection in others, why is their midst plagued by the Theology of Integral Mission? Why does this liberal and leftist theology affect predominantly Calvinists in Brazil? Why do they have never criticized their former theological celebrity, Rev. Caio Fábio, for his instrumental role promoting the Theology of Integral Mission and evangelical involvement with the Workers’ Party?
Is there a perfect revival? Of course, not. But if Pentecostals and neo-Pentecostals do not criticize the Great Awakening, why do Calvinist critics consistently criticize the Pentecostal and neo-Pentecostal growth in Brazil?
As for me, I say: there is no reason to reject the Great Awakening and the Pentecostal and neo-Pentecostal growth in Brazil because of their imperfections. Mature Christians will appreciate both events and will know how to reject their imperfections without tossing away what God did and is doing.
Portuguese version of this article: O reavivamento perfeito?
Liberation Theology and Neo-Pentecostalism: A Leading Challenge to the Evangelical Churches in Brazil