SEIZING THE FUTURE ON OUR KNEES
This service was designed for the Solemn Assembly of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church held on August 23-24, 1996 in Fayetteville, NC. It is our hope and intention that each pastor and local church will utilize this material (with obvious schedule and feature adjustments) to plan a Solemn Assembly with your congregation. Feel free to print and copy these pages for your use. There is no copyright and duplication is encouraged.
It is imperative that we as a people process this necessary repentance throughout the entire church. Only as we humble ourselves before the Lord can we expect the healing and blessing of our church and land.”If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” II Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)
Statement of Purpose
Solemn Assembly is an expression of common resolve by a people to corporately join together before the face of God to be reconciled from sin and to seek His will for their future. Bishop B.E. Underwood and the General Executive Board of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church have in obedience to God called us together to repent of the sins of our past and to seize by faith the promise of our future.
Our church can rejoice in the legacy of achievement left to us by our forefathers in the faith. There are many spiritual giants in our history whose performance has been a great inspiration to our own efforts today. As a denomination we can boldly say that there is “a past to build upon.”
However, there are systemic sins in our past that if ignored will prevent us from the promise of our tomorrow in Christ. There is a “future to fulfill” for the International Pentecostal Holiness Church, but the seven deadly sins of our past that we confess today cannot be a part of it, i.e. spiritual pride, judgmentalism, controlling spirit, racism, male domination, elder brother syndrome, and greed.
In recent years the Lord has graciously given prophetic direction to our church concerning His intended future for us. He declares,
“This is a new dawn, child. It is a day when I am calling you to take a ‘big step’ with Me. This is not a day for smallness. This will not be a small step. As you move forward we will take this step together. You are coming up to a new plateau in Me, and in this place you will see My spaciousness and graciousness. This is not a time to shrink back! Step forward, receive my spaciousness and graciousness.”
When Abraham left Ur of the Chaldees, it was a big step filled with uncertainty. The seed of promise, Isaac, did not appear until Abraham was well increased in years, and it was not until Isaac was placed on the altar that the promise was truly fulfilled.
The International Pentecostal Holiness Church began almost 100 years ago. The promise of God was that in us “all the peoples of the earth would be blessed.” Now that we have come to place this church upon the altar we can fully expect the promise to be fulfilled.
In October of 1991 John Dawson, author of “Taking Our Cities For God”, prophetically portrayed the International Pentecostal Holiness Church as God would have us be:
- A people prepared for harvest confidently asking for great things
- A movement characterized by joy
- A people identified by their ability to know, encourage and serve the whole Church
- A tribe that raises up leadership for a vision as big as the world
- A strategic, informed army of intercessors who carry the nations in their heart
- A people who are poor in spirit and understand the fellowship of the rescued
- A people that condemns no man, having a spirit of adoption to the rejected and unlovely
- A people containing an extended family of many cultures and nationalities
- A people with liberty to create, without fear, forms of worship and ministry that release the full personality of the Creator
- A pioneering people of radical generosity, doing bigger things than our resources allow us to do
Before this shadow “seen through a glass darkly” can become substance the International Pentecostal Holiness Church must address its sins of the past. That is our purpose and intent. Join in agreement with this exercise of repentance and faith as the dear children of God fulfilling all righteousness.
The Sin Of A Controlling Spirit
CONFESSION: God has gifted every member of the body of Christ for ministry. It is the work of church leaders to help them discover and develop their gifts and build in them the character of Christ. Each member of the Body is a minister whom God has called into full partnership (1 Corinthians 3:9).
The Pentecostal revival that swept the world at the turn of the 20th century spread rapidly, because Spirit-filled believers saw themselves as ministers. As Pentecostals, we still affirm that every Christian has access to God through prayer, worship and service, and that ministry is the domain of the whole body of Christ. A “controlling spirit,” however, has often hindered us from releasing people into their God-given ministries.
The sin of control has caused us to withhold recognition from qualified people and to prevent the releasing of divinely-gifted ministries. We have often based our elections and appointments on favoritism, rather than upon the giftedness of individuals. We have often manipulated to gain and maintain position, rather than recognizing and releasing those who are anointed for leadership. Our desire for control has hampered newcomers from rendering gifted services that would have enhanced our church ministries. A controlling spirit has hindered the gifts of the Holy Spirit from operating freely within the body of believers.
REPENTANCE: Father, we confess the sin of control that has reaped in us spiritual leanness and barrenness. We confess our failure to train Your people for ministry, to release them for the development of their gifts, and to accept those whom You have sent to us. Forgive us and deliver us from this controlling spirit with its hurt, stinginess and evil. We cast it from us in the name of Jesus. Give us eyes to recognize the giftedness of every member and the loving concern to develop and affirm those gifts.
RESPONSE: Hear us, O sovereign Lord, as we make this confession, and deliver us from a controlling spirit.
AFFIRMATION: Father, we affirm that You have given gifts to every member of the body of Christ, and You have called us all into full partnership in ministry with You. We have cast from us the controlling spirit which has hindered the releasing of Your people into their God-given ministries and we surrender all control into Your hands.
RESPONSE: For You are the sovereign God.
AFFIRMATION: We accept those You send to us and will encourage and train them to reach their full potential in You. We release Your people into Your harvest for the work You have called them to do.
RESPONSE: For You are Lord of all.
AFFIRMATION: We receive and affirm the diverse and multiple ministries of all members of the body of Christ that You may bring wholeness and fruitfulness to the Pentecostal Holiness Church.
RESPONSE: Father, we now declare that we have been delivered from the spirit of control and acknowledge that You are sovereign God and Lord of all.
REFERENCE SCRIPTURES: I Samuel 9-15; I Samuel 15:22-23; I Samuel 18:7-9; I Samuel 18:28-29; I Samuel 28:4-7; I Samuel 28:15-18; I Samuel 31:3-4; John 14:6 Galatians 5:1; Galatians 5:7; Galatians 5:13, 16; I Timothy 6:15
Elder Brother Syndrome
CONFESSION: No story confronts us with the Father’s love like the parable of the prodigal son and his older brother. In this illustration, Jesus contrasts God’s boundless love with the total ineptness of human affection. Both the prodigal and his brother needed the embrace of a forgiving father and a sense of “coming home.” The difficult point of the parable, however, is the older son, who believed that by “staying at home” he deserved priority treatment. His refusal to join the celebration revealed his flawed understanding of the father’s love. It also exposed pride, because he considered himself more worthy than his prodigal sibling.
Knowing that God has called us to be one (John 17), we acknowledge the sin of the elder brother in the Pentecostal Holiness Church. This “elder brother syndrome” has caused us to resist God’s love rather than rejoice in seeing it lavished upon penitent prodigals. This syndrome opens the door to anger, bitterness, jealousy and complaint. Old resentments, rooted in pride, intensify our withdrawal from God and His family and deepen divisions that dishonor and wound others.
The elder brother’s selfishness reveals spiritual poverty which closes the door to communion with the Father and fellowship with His family. Like the elder brother, we have hardened our hearts against those who have left us and wanted to come home. We have often failed to demonstrate that God is full of grace and mercy. Instead, we have manifested a spirit of legalism that is based on works. We remember offenses and forget the love and generosity of the Father.
REPENTANCE: Forgive us, our Father, for all the ways the Elder Brother Syndrome has worked in our hearts, causing us to be territorial concerning our positions, possessions, churches, conferences and denomination. Free us to exercise with joy and gladness the wonder of Your love toward all Your family.
RESPONSE: Hear our confession, O Lord, and forgive us of the sin of the elder brother, for we want to love, honor and accept all members of Your family.
AFFIRMATION: Father, we have acknowledged the sin of the elder brother, and we reject the arrogance and anger that accompanies it. We rejoice in knowing that You embrace all who return to You in repentance and that You restore them to full fellowship in the body of Christ.
RESPONSE: We love, honor and accept all members of Your family.
AFFIRMATION: We open our hearts and arms in celebration to welcome penitent sinners and returning backsliders. We open the doors of our fellowship to receive those who have left us and want to come home.
RESPONSE: We love, honor and accept all members of Your family.
AFFIRMATION: We exult in Your love and forgiveness and celebrate the talents You have placed in each member of Your great family. We release these individuals to the positions and ministries You have chosen for them.
RESPONSE: Father, we rejoice in the unique gifts of every Christian, and we love, honor and accept them all.
REFERENCE SCRIPTURES: Luke 15:11-32; Galatians 6:1-3; I Thessalonians 5:15; John 17:15-23
Sin of Greed
God’s principle of sowing and reaping declares that when we scatter, we increase, and when we withhold, we come to poverty. Greed has turned us from this divine rule to follow the god of materialism, and this is an abomination in Your sight (Luke 16:15). Greed has caused us to pursue the “American dream” which has ensnared us in the cares of this life. Often, our conversations and joys have centered on the abundance of things, rather than on spiritual riches.
Greed has caused us to rob God by withholding our tithes and offerings. This sin has brought a curse upon us as individuals and as a church. It has blinded us to the truth that radical generosity releases abundant blessings from God’s hand. Greed has kept us from giving joyously and from teaching about the blessing of giving. We have allowed a “poverty complex” to make our giving and our thinking small. Greed has caused us to withhold our offerings for evangelism outreach at home, and it has limited our spreading of the gospel around the world. It reveals our lack of faith both individually and corporately.
Father, we now repent and turn from our greed. We declare that all we possess comes from You. We lay at Your feet the greed that has ensnared us in the cares of life, caused our minds to be upon material things, and crippled our world outreach. We confess that we have robbed by not giving You what is Yours-the full tithe. We repent of our lack of faith and our failure to follow Your principles for giving and receiving financial blessing.
Forgive us, O God, of greed and all that it has caused in our lives as individuals and in the International Pentecostal Holiness Church. Fill us with joy as we learn radical generosity.
RESPONSE: Hear us, O Lord, as we make this confession, and forgive us of the sin of greed, for all we have comes from You and belongs to You. We will be radical in our giving, for You love a cheerful giver.
AFFIRMATION: Father, You have exposed to us our sin of greed. We have repented of this sin and now celebrate Your abundant generosity toward us. We affirm our covenant to bring the whole tithe into the storehouse and to give ourselves to a lifestyle of radical generosity.
RESPONSE: For You love a cheerful giver.
AFFIRMATION: Beyond the tithe You require of us, we will joyfully release into Your hands generous offerings for the expansion of Your kingdom around the world.
RESPONSE: For You love a cheerful giver.
AFFIRMATION: Enlarge our thinking and increase our faith to recognize that You are the eternal Resource to fulfill the Great Commission. We will live to give that others may be blessed.
RESPONSE: Father, we now reject the greed and materialism that have ensnared us, and affirm that all we have comes from You and belongs to You. We will be radical in our giving, for You love a cheerful giver.
REFERENCE SCRIPTURES: I Corinthians 6:9-10; I Corinthians 5:11; Matthew 6:24; Matthew 6:19-21 Isaiah 32:8; Luke 6:38; John 3:16
Sin of Judgementalism
We have read our Lord’s warning not to judge lest we be judged, yet we have judged. We have judged unbelievers, hindering their entrance into the kingdom of God. We have judged faults in the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ. We have often emphasized outward appearance, rather than the condition of the heart. Our judgmentalism has excluded people from the church, thus condemning ourselves to stagnation and slow growth.
We have judged non-Pentecostal believers for rejecting the Pentecostal Renewal and have minimized their value to the kingdom of God. We have judged Charismatic Christians for staying in their own denominations rather than becoming a part of the classical Pentecostal Movement.
Judgmentalism has broken our fellowship with other members of the body of Christ. It has caused us to confuse personal convictions with the eternal principles of God’s Word. Judgmentalism has given birth to the sin of hypocrisy and put people into bondage to traditions instead of freeing them to minister. We have often overemphasized the negative, while neglecting positive ministries such as worship, witness, and service to others.
Father, we confess the sin of judgmentalism with all of its ramifications. We took on a job that was not ours-we judged Your servants, a responsibility that is Yours alone. Forgive us for developing and nurturing a disposition to judge others and forgetting that Your kingdom is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. We repent for omitting the weightier matters of love, mercy and justice while emphasizing issues of lesser importance. Set us free, and help us to free others from this deadly sin.
RESPONSE: Hear us, O Lord, as we make this confession, and forgive us of the sin of judgmentalism. You are the only Righteous Judge.
AFFIRMATION: Father, we have confessed and repented of the sin of judgmentalism. We turn away from this critical spirit and commit ourselves to the ministry of edification and encouragement. We will heed Your instruction to “judge not,” and we will seek to restore fellowship with members of the body of Christ whom we have offended.
RESPONSE: You are the only Righteous Judge!
AFFIRMATION: We affirm our acceptance of all Christians and bless their ministry in the body of Christ.
RESPONSE: You are the only Righteous Judge!
AFFIRMATION: Thank You for restoring us to a place of fellowship with all Your children and for setting us free to reach this generation for Christ.
RESPONSE: Now according to Your Word, we have been forgiven and cleansed of the sin of judgmentalism, and we proclaim that You are the only Righteous Judge!
REFERENCE SCRIPTURES: James 4:11-12; Matthew 7:1-2; Ephesians 4:29-32 Romans 12:9; Romans 13:8
Sin of Male Domination
Maximizing the gifts of both men and women is essential if we are to fulfill our purpose as a church. The Bible clearly defines the distinctiveness of male and female and their importance in God’s plan (Genesis 1:27; 5:2; 6:19). Gender differences are never to become a platform for discrimination and division, but rather are attributes to enhance and complete Christ’s body.
The Bible clarifies that both men and women are responsible before God and reveals God’s impartial treatment of all individuals regardless of gender. The apostle Paul declares that “there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for [they] are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). Christ did not abolish our gender differences, but rather the discrimination that historically has resulted from them.
We, the men of the Pentecostal Holiness Church, confess that we have not honored the precedent set forth in God’s Word. Often, we have not treated our wives as equal partners in marriage and ministry. We have distorted the doctrine of holiness by focusing on the external appearance of women. We recognize the sin of male domination and acknowledge that we have withheld from women places of honor in the church. We have not affirmed the ministries of qualified women by releasing them to serve in places of leadership. We also have shown inequity regarding their wages.
Forgive us, O Father, of the sin of male domination which has made our spouses feel like unequal partners. We repent of our unbiblical treatment of women with regard to their ministries and wages. We repent of targeting them in our teaching on holiness and of abusing them verbally, both in public and in private.
Create in us a new sensitivity to the God-given gifts of the women of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church, that there may be unity and greater power in our worldwide ministry.
RESPONSE (men): Hear our confession, O Lord, and forgive us of the sin of male domination, for we are all one in the body of Christ.
AFFIRMATION: Father, we recognize that You created male and female to enhance and complete Christ’s body and that these differences are important in Your plan. We affirm that we are equal partners in the work of Your kingdom and commit ourselves to recognize Your gifts in all members of the body of Christ without regard for gender.
RESPONSE (men and women): Male and female, we are one in the body of Christ.
AFFIRMATION: We acknowledge that You have called women to definite ministries and gifted some for leadership roles in Your Church. We affirm them in their spiritual gifts and callings and will compensate them accordingly.
RESPONSE (men): We are one in the body of Christ.
AFFIRMATION: We honor women as equals, both in public and in private, and reject attitudes that are dishonoring and reflect a gender bias.
RESPONSE (men and women): Father, since Your Word clearly states that in You there is neither male nor female, and since You have forgiven us of the sin of male domination, we declare that we are all one in the body of Christ.
REFERENCE SCRIPTURES: Genesis 1:27; Genesis 5:2; Genesis 6:19; Galatians 3:28 Romans 12:1-5; Romans 12:10; Romans 16:1-2
Sin of Racism
The initial outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost occurred in an interracial setting as some 16 people groups were numbered. The Azusa Street revival that began in 1906 in Los Angeles, California, was also interracial, breaking down racial barriers as the Holy Spirit united people from many cultural and ethnic backgrounds. William Seymour, the Black pastor, believed that the dissolution of racial prejudice was a sure sign of the Spirit’s presence.
Many Whites, however, became uncomfortable with the interracial worship and its Black leadership and chose to abandon it. The racist culture gradually eroded the unity, particularly in the southeastern part of the United States, the birthplace of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church. The General Board in 1922 agreed that anyone, regardless of race should be accepted into the denomination. Racism in the church, however, was revealed by a statement of that board recorded in the January 4, 1922, Minutes: “1st, That the colored element shall always be confined to the Conference, or Conferences, north of the Mason and Dixon line; provided 2nd, That no colored person shall ever hold office in an Annual Conference; and provided 3rd, That no colored person shall ever be a delegate to a General Conference.” We weep for this dark blot on the pages of our history.
Father, we confess that racism, with its hatred, bigotry and exclusion, is a sin which has brought division to the body of Christ. We have excluded a part of our Pentecostal heritage. By doing so, we have lost blessings of life and growth that could have been ours. We confess that we have overtly and covertly participated in our racist culture. We failed to support our Black brothers and sisters in their long struggle for equal rights. We now renounce and turn from our racist views and actions and celebrate our unity and equality in the body of Christ.
RESPONSE: Hear us, O Lord, as we make this confession. Forgive and cleanse us as we renounce and turn from the sin of racism and commit to use our differences to build Your kingdom.
AFFIRMATION: Father, we have recognized and confessed our sin of racism. We now turn away from this sin, which has brought division to the body of Christ. We declare that Your family is one, without regard to race, color, language, or national origin. We commit ourselves to do everything within our power to eliminate the sin and injustices of racism within the church and within our society.
RESPONSE: May our unity build Your kingdom, Lord!
AFFIRMATION: We affirm that every member of Your Church is needed for worship, fellowship and evangelism.
RESPONSE: May our unity build Your kingdom, Lord!
AFFIRMATION: We recognize the importance of working together to build bridges between the races. We affirm that Your Church is one and our task is one; therefore, we declare our love and acceptance of every member of the body of Christ.
RESPONSE: Now we accept Your forgiveness for the sin of racism and openly declare that we will work side by side with all people to build Your kingdom.
REFERENCE SCRIPTURES: James 2:1-10, 12-13; Isaiah 58:6-12; Titus 3:1-2; Romans 12:16-21; Ephesians 4:1-3
Sin of Spiritual Pride
The original sin was pride. Lucifer exalted himself against God and brought sin into the universe (Ezekiel 28:11-19). The sin of pride was introduced into the human family when Adam and Eve yielded to Satan’s temptation. Man still exalts himself and declares his independence from God. This temptation often seduces the Church.
Pride has deceived us so that we have tried to accomplish God’s work in our own strength instead of in the power of the Holy Spirit. We have sought our glory instead of giving all glory to Him. Pride has caused us to contend with one another rather than edify the church. It has caused the heavens to be as iron and the earth as brass, rendering our labors unfruitful.
Pride has resulted in a sectarian spirit that has kept us from participating in what God is doing in the world. We have rejected other denominational fellowships, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on non-Pentecostals, and other aspects of God’s work in the world today. We have seen ourselves as defenders of the faith and orthodoxy, but our self-righteousness has given birth to a critical spirit. While we have longed for signs, wonders and miracles, pride has stifled our faith and quenched the operation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Father, we humble ourselves before You and confess the sin of pride that has separated us from intimacy and fellowship with You, from knowing and seeing the greatness of Your power, and from experiencing Your blessings. We confess the superior attitude caused by pride, and we acknowledge the division it has brought to Your Church. Forgive us of the sectarian spirit that has isolated us from the work of Your Kingdom. Restore us to communion with You and all members of the body of Christ.
Have mercy on us, O God, and forgive us of pride. Blot out this transgression and cleanse us of this sin. Give us an humble spirit that we may embrace all that You have for us as Your people. Fill us with the grace You promised us for our lives, our churches, our conferences, our leaders, and the worldwide fellowship of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church.
RESPONSE: Hear our confession, O Lord, and forgive us of the sin of pride. May You alone be glorified.
AFFIRMATION: Father, we come before You as representatives of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church. We have humbled ourselves before You and confessed and repented of the sin of pride. We now turn away from the pride that leads to exclusivism, self-righteousness and attitudes of superiority. We affirm the equal worth and significance of all Your children. We resist the temptation to exalt ourselves and receive glory that belongs to You. We affirm that You alone are worthy of all praise.
RESPONSE: May You be glorified!
AFFIRMATION: Receive glory for the outpouring of Your Holy Spirit upon Christians of all denominations around the world.
RESPONSE: May You be glorified!
AFFIRMATION: Receive glory for the harvest of souls You have promised to give us when we humble ourselves before You in repentance.
RESPONSE: Now, according to Your Word, we receive forgiveness and cleansing of this sin. May You alone be glorified!
REFERENCE SCRIPTURES: Ezekiel 28:11-19; Psalm 147:6; Proverbs 8:13; Proverbs 11:2; Proverbs 16:18; Jeremiah 13:17; James 4:10; I Peter 5:5b
Night of Prayer
You are invited to remain through the night of prayer as long as possible or to come in during the night as you feel led. Welcome to the presence of the Lord.
Please enter and exit the sanctuary in SILENCE, focused on the Lord and our mission.
You are free to enter or exit the sanctuary during the 15-minute breaks or as necessary, but please do so reverently. These 15-minute segments will be times of worship and we do not want to break the flow of the Holy Spirit.
Markers will be in the hallway to direct you to restrooms and to refreshments (coffee, juice and water). Please DO NOT take refreshments from the designated room.
PRAYER TIME INSTRUCTIONS
Each session will have a designated leader to introduce the hour of prayer, give definition to the sin we are confessing and to submit the hour of intercession to the Lord.
Each session will have a presenter to speak 5-8 minutes, thus clarifying biblically what we are turning toward in God as contrasted with what we are turning from in our sin. The aim of true repentance is always to embrace heart changes that allow (and assist) the process of complete restoration before the Lord.
Each session will have a designated responder to initiate the prayers of confession. The congregation will be asked to join this time of prayer in different ways (individually at microphones, in small groups, or corporately and by proclamations in unity, etc.)
If any individual feels at any time during an hour of prayer that he or she has a prophetic word from the Lord, you are asked to submit this to a word-gift team to be judged. The word-gift team will not only decide if the word needs to be given to the entire body, but in what manner and time. The word-gift section will be designated with a sign near the front of the sanctuary.
Please bring a Bible with you if possible for the prayer times. There may be special times we will read from God’s Word or the Holy Spirit may quicken something from the Word as a foundation for your prayer.
Remember we are called first to honor God, seeking His face in a spirit of humility. Secondly we are commanded to show honor to one another, esteeming others better than self. A spirit of genuine love, acceptance and forgiveness protects us from the dangers of presumption and deception.
Maintain an attitude of praise to God, even in confession, for He alone is worthy.
7:00 PM Musical Presentation Northwood Temple Choir
“Make Us One” Buck Hodge, Director
7:50 PM Communion Service Bishop B.E. Underwood
8:15 PM CONFESSION OF SINS General Executive Board
CORPORATE REPENTANCE All Night Prayer Meeting
10:00 PM Judgmentalism
11:15 PM Controlling Spirit
12:30 AM Racism
1:45 AM Male Domination
3:00 AM Elder Brother Syndrome
4:15 AM Spiritual Pride
5:30 AM Greed
9:00 AM CONFIRMATION Affirmations of Repentance
10:10 AM CELEBRATION Service Celebrating Victory
11:30 AM Benediction