A Nostalgic Trip Down Pentecostal Lane

July 6, 2007 at 9:47 am 21 comments

This filmclip is from the Academy Award winning documentary Marjoe, a film in which evangelist Marjoe Gortner exposed himself as a charlatan. This type of ultra Pentecostalism is the crap that I was raised with during the late 60s- early 70s Jesus Movement. From the looks of it, it was filmed at about 1970 – about the time my mother used to frequent these types of services and bring me along to experience the power of the Holy Spirit. Watch at your own risk – this 10 minute clip includes hyper-emotional preaching, anointed handkerchiefs, speaking in tongues, pleas for seed-faith offerings, and people slain in the spirit. This is truly a pagan freakshow, and I witnessed it all as a youngster.

Don’t worry, I have gotten over it and have no bitterness towards these experiences. You grow up, you get wise, and you move on. Funny thing is, I have a feeling that this is an example of how the early Christian church really was. I think this has more in common with the churches built by Peter and Paul than today’s insipid Sunday Morning emergent Dr Phil sermons. What else could Paul be talking about than the miraculous signs taught in 1 Corinthians 14:20-40? I wonder why today’s mainstream denominations sort of gloss over those bizarre passages which mention the more “charismatic” gifts of the Holy Spirit?

Anyway, does trip down Pentecostal Lane bring back any fond memories from De-Converts? Are there any readers who are still living on Pentecostal Lane? Share your stories.

-HeIsSailing

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So You Do Want Me To Read Your Holy Book (a FVC) God’s Wrath Dealt on the Apostate Christian

21 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Stephen  |  July 6, 2007 at 11:26 am

    I was raised in Oneness/Holiness/Jesus-Name-Only/Apostolic/ Pentecostalism and was in that church for nineteen years. I can’t watch the video (I’m on dial-up ATM), but have you seen the Borat movie? In it, Borat goes to a UPCI conference meeting; the UPCI is the organization my parents’ church was associated with. That church scene is actually tame and mild compared to the typical Sunday night service at my parents’ church.

  • 2. HeIsSailing  |  July 6, 2007 at 11:41 am

    Stephen, if you have been in those kinds of churches for 19 years, this clip from ‘Marjoe’ will be very familiar to you. Probably even tame. I have seen much wackier stuff than what is shown in this clip.

    No, I have not seen the Borat movie.

  • 3. Lyndon Marcotte  |  July 6, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    Feel like I need an exorcism after seeing that. Looks more like an orgy than a church service.

    “Dr. Phil” sermons! LOL

  • 4. Thinking Ape  |  July 6, 2007 at 12:47 pm

    ” Funny thing is, I have a feeling that this is an example of how the early Christian church really was.”

    I definitely agree that Paul’s churches were definitely like this, or at least this is how Paul probably preached, especially early on in his ministry: “how that our gospel came not to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit, and [in] much assurance; even as you know what kind of men we showed ourselves toward you for your sake.” (1 Thes. 1:5)

    But I highly doubt that the James and Peter churches were like this.

    Remember, early Christianity was not as uniform as Christians like to think (see works of… welll… lots of scholars… Bart Ehrman is a quick read. Check out “Lost Christianites”).

  • 5. HeIsSailing  |  July 6, 2007 at 12:54 pm

    Thinking Ape:
    ” Bart Ehrman is a quick read. Check out “Lost Christianites”.

    Great book. I am taking Ehrman’s suggesting and working my way through Walter Bauer’s “Orthodox and Heresy in Earliest Chrsitianity”. You are probably right about Peter and James’ church based on this.

  • 6. karen  |  July 6, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    today’s insipid Sunday Morning emergent Dr Phil sermons
    :-) For some reason, that description made me laugh! I agree with you, Peter and Paul wouldn’t be able to relate to today’s liberal Christians. For one thing, they certainly weren’t universalists!

    I remember being a kid when Marjoe first came out and what a stir it made. Unfortunately, it didn’t have a long-lasting effect in terms of debunking these kinds of phonies.

    I wasn’t involved in the Pentecostal movement, but given how many ex-Pentecostals I’ve heard talking about it, I wonder whether all/most of these “gifts of the spirit” are really about people “performing” as they feel they’re expected to do? Maybe it’s a combination of pressure to perform and emotional frenzy unleashed that seems to be “a sign” from the holy spirit?

  • 7. Slapdash  |  July 6, 2007 at 2:35 pm

    Man alive, and I thought my fundamental/evangelical upbringing did damage… I’m so glad I was never a Pentacostal!!!!

  • 8. Jamie G.  |  July 6, 2007 at 5:56 pm

    Oy! I dwelled in the realm of the Word-of-Faith movement most of my teenage years. This video brought back horrible memories. I am so glad I left. I wished my inlaws would wake up.

  • 9. pj  |  July 6, 2007 at 6:52 pm

    i remember being at a meeting like this over 20 years ago, the speaker had a scripture verse that he kept repeating where God promised a 100x return on your gifts to him. I put $10 in the offering and I’m still waiting. My friend who brought me convinced me to go up so I could be annointed by the Spirit. Nothing happened so he told me to just start making sounds, I started letting gibberish come out of my mouth and he told me it was the Holy Spirit. I didn’t have the heart to tell him I was making up the sounds on my own. Praise the Lord and pass the plate!

  • 10. HeIsSailing  |  July 6, 2007 at 7:05 pm

    pj,
    you might be interested in this article I wrote which describes my childhood experiences with Speaking in Tongues.

    http://de-conversion.com/2007/05/25/shandalahai/

    Pentacostalism – ya gotta love it!!

  • 11. Thinking Ape  |  July 7, 2007 at 3:39 am

    HIS says: “…and working my way through Walter Bauer’s “Orthodox and Heresy in Earliest Chrsitianity””

    I’m jealous, I haven’t found that at my used bookstore and its too expensive online, but its on my wish list.

  • 12. HeIsSailing  |  July 7, 2007 at 9:20 am

    TA, I downloaded the book. It is free – as are many, many other great books:

    http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/onlinebooks.html

  • 13. Thinking Ape  |  July 7, 2007 at 1:39 pm

    How do you read it? (I’m a troglodyte, I need to print everything off to read).

  • 14. HeIsSailing  |  July 7, 2007 at 2:08 pm

    That is exactly what I did. I copied and pasted the whole book onto a MS Word document, formatted it the way I liked, converted to PDF format (or for extra credit, into LaTeX format first) then printed it. The cost in paper is much less than buying some of these books – and free is good! I have an old binding machine at work that will bind the whole thing into a spiral bound ‘book’. The bonus is that I can choose whatever I wish as my cover.

    I have printed and read several books from this and a couple of other sites, and here they sit – spiral softbound free books that I don’t feel guilty scribbling notes all over. I find the effort to be really minimal, and is well worth it.

  • 15. Thinking Ape  |  July 7, 2007 at 3:08 pm

    Free, or close to free, is definitely good. Thats a really good idea. Now that I think about it, the price for all those coursepacks I had to buy or print was so high because of copyright.

  • 16. thebeliever  |  July 10, 2007 at 7:46 am

    Marjoe Gortner – real interesting guy. Check out this little piece on him – http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/marjoe.htm

    I have to say, despite what he did I appreciate his honesty.

  • 17. God’s (Honest) Con Man « keep it real  |  July 10, 2007 at 4:01 pm

    [...] (Honest) Con Man 10 07 2007 The fantastic blog of de-conversion (see specific post here) alerted me to a man by the name of Marjoe Gortner. Gortner was an charismatic evangelical minister [...]

  • 18. Slain in the Spirit… by an Atheist? « de-conversion  |  December 12, 2007 at 2:12 pm

    [...] reminisced on several posts, including one on glossolalia, and another on self-exposed charlatan, Marjoe Gortner; The de-Convert also posted a humorous clip by an infamous prosperity gospel teacher. If you are in the [...]

  • [...] ATM),but have you seen the Borat movie? In it,Borat goes to …Read the whole article here:A Nostalgic Trip Down Pentecostal Lane « de-conversionJuly 16th,2011 | Tags:archives,atheism,funny,gospel,power,religious,scripture,stumbleupon | [...]

  • 20. chris richwine  |  June 2, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Thanks. I’m 42 and was born into a family of Assembly of God preachers and spent much of my childhood living in parsonages adjacent to the “sanctuary”. Marjoe’s film was documentary of the year in 1971. (1 month before I was born) It’s so nice to hear from like minded individuals. Prior to the advent of the internet, I was completely unaware how absolutely crazy it all was. Even after having my eyes opened by people looking from the outside in, it was tough mustering up the courage to turn from everything I knew. Pentecostalism infiltrates every aspect of life, so your frame of reference on all points of life is obliterated. Thanks again.

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