A Baptist, a pentacostal, and an…Anglican

Ministry Testimonials

By Rodney Kirkpatrick

1 Thessalonians 4:9-10 NASB

Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; [10] for indeed you do practice it toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more,

There are at least three things to consider from this scriptural exhortation.  First of all it is clear that seeing love among Christians is important to the Apostle Paul to teach, reinforce and see generally present in The Church.  Second, if you are close to God, living in relationship with Him, He will ensure that loving other Christians is a priority. Third, walking in the Love that comes from God, especially for members of the Christian Faith, is something every Christian should set as a goal to continually grow in.  Loving one another is a central tenant in New Testament Scripture (John 13:34-35, 1 Pet 1:22, Heb 13:1, etc.) and The Body of Christ will never fulfill its purpose unless this is demonstrated as a clear priority.

A Baptist…

Trina and I come, by and large, from a Southern Baptist background.  We both became Christians in Baptist Churches and spent the bulk of our youths attending services that were part of this historic and proud denomination.  Both of our families have numerous examples, past and present, of ministers in this context. The personal impact of this history has been great and I often reference Scripture in sermons, to this day, that I memorized as a Southern Baptist Youth! 

The Southern Baptist Church is also a big part of our present walk with Christ.  Just before we left for Africa in 2007, we were led to join Acton Baptist Church near our home in Granbury, TX.  While we have biological family in this Church, we are exceedingly blessed by the spiritual family that The Lord has given us here over the last 13 years! We can’t even count the number of examples of encouragement that we have received both personally and for our present missionary work from this community.

A pentecostal…

Trina’s grandmother, Oneta Jones, is the most recent member, from either of our direct family lines, who was clearly identified as a member of a traditional pentecostal denomination. While we did meet at a Church affiliated with the Assembly of God, Bethesda Community Church, the connection was so loose that I knew nothing about it for more than a year.  There is very little historic influence on either of us from any of the traditional pentecostal denominations like United Pentecostal, Assembly of God or The Foursquare Church.  

In the early 90’s, my walk with Christ took a significant turn and I encountered the Holy Spirit in a way that I had not when I became a Christian in my youth (see Acts 8:14-17 or Eph 5:18 as Scriptural Examples of encounters with the Holy Spirit after the point of salvation). One of the most significant aspects of my encounter was the discovery of the present day reality of spiritual gifts (1 Cor 14, 1 Thes 5:19-20, 1 Pet 4:10-11, etc.).  It was against the backdrop of this discovery that I sensed the call to ministry which became our livelihood. Having served as both a pastor and a missionary for 25 years, I have seen and believe the modern practice of spiritual gifts is a vital component in preaching Jesus.

The term pentecostal was first given to us in Africa by my friend, colleague and current Anglican Rector, Tim McGowan. This was a loose reference to a Christian that prioritizes the Holy Spirit in Church Ministry & everyday life.  Despite the lack of historic ties, we do presently work with many Churches who are affiliated with these formal denominations in Africa, Europe and the USA.  We are personally enriched and encouraged through a growing relationship with a wonderful United Pentecostal Church in Lumberton, TX, Parkway Life.  

An Anglican…

Trina and I not only don’t have any historical influence from The Anglican Church, we also had never heard of it until we first went to Africa on a short term mission trip in 2001.  It wasn’t until years later, when the Episocopal Church divided in the USA in 2009, that we ever saw the word Anglican associated with a Church in the USA.

We first became associated with this denomination after living for a year in Africa.  We were attending another church in Ballito when I had a dream that both Trina and I felt certain was God’s leading for us to join the local Anglican Church, Allsouls Umhlali. Though we (really me) were initially skeptical about the move, what followed were ten years of some of the most fruitful, blessed times of fellowshiping with The Body of Christ that we have ever experienced.  

In addition to the love this precious body showed us personally, we also met many people whose families had generations of history on the North Coast of Durban, South Africa.  Before we knew what was happening, we had relationships with people who had extensive knowledge about the area we were living in. Our twelve year long outreach to a local township area, Etete, wouldn’t have been possible without the wisdom that came from the people in this context.

History & Conviction

One reason for the Tales from Africa writings is to share testimony about what the Lord has accomplished in our years living on African soil.  He really does deserve the glory for what has taken place because it was far beyond what our intellect, personal resources or abilities could have ever accomplished. It is our hope to encourage others that faith in Christ makes anything He directs possible. 

Our history & present connection with all of the streams mentioned in this article haven’t occurred without difficulty. Though we believe God led us to be involved with all of these groups, we have been challenged by differences in scriptural emphasis, personal conflicts, and leadership styles along the way.  The reason we have been able to navigate such a diverse experience boils down to one thing: personal conviction. It is clear that The Lord has led us down this path so that we could effectively encourage others to walk in a similar manner.  Ephesians 4:1-6 NASB says,

Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, [2] with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, [3] being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. [4] There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; [5] one Lord, one faith, one baptism, [6] one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

Even though there are considerable differences in doctrine & styles of worship between groups like Southern Baptists, Pentecostals and Anglicans, they are all part of ONE larger spiritual body, The Body of Jesus Christ. The only way we will adequately portray this is to love other Christians regardless of their preferred place of worship, doctrinal convictions, or difficult personalities.

There is no better place to start a new year than by asking The Holy Spirit to personally examine our hearts.  What is your attitude toward any part of The Body of Christ that you have touched in the past or present? If anything is diverting you from love that Scripture indicates we must have, repent and ask for God’s help.  Your calling, OUR CALLING, depends on it.  1 Thessalonians 4:9-10 NASB says, “Now as to the love of the brethren…we urge you, brethren, to excel still more.”

Comments 10

  1. How wonderful to read this! Thanks Rod and Trina, for your ministry with us at All Souls and for this new communication tool! Loving hearing from you and hopefully sharing your new adventures. Ann

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      It is always great to hear from one of our spiritual Aunties!

      I am praying for a deep revelation of spiritual unity for my sister in 2020!

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      This comment begs for another blog/teaching on Love from God vs. love from the world.

      While the term love in a worldly context is often self centered and stated for the pupose of getting something in return, Love that comes from God is defined by 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 NASB which says,

      If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. [2] If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. [3] And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. [4] Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, [5] does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, [6] does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; [7] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. [8] Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. [9] For we know in part and we prophesy in part; [10] but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. [11] When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. [12] For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. [13] But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

  2. Hi Ron and Trina, Cheryl and I hope you are both well and we wish you all the blessings for 2020. God bless, regards John

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      Hello John and by extension, Cheryl!

      We are praying for you both to have a better 2020 than anyone, including yourselves, could have imagined possible!

  3. Amen Brother. Sometimes I wonder if God is not saddened by all the different denominations caused by brothers in the faith showing a lack of love by having differences in the interpretations of His word, thereby causing a split within the brethren. Should we not have only one denomination – THE CHURCH OF CHRIST?

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      Arno, elder to the Church of Jesus, brother in Christ, friend,

      That is a great question that is crucial to understand and answer correctly. I believe that denominations, predicated on doctrinal & worship distinctives, aren’t evil and contrary to God’s will. In fact, I believe that they are given by God and will exist when Jesus returns.

      Israel was divided into tribes who had different names and responsibilities yet they were still one nation. There rallying points were worship, The God that they served (Jehovah), and warfare, when another tribe was in trouble they fought on their behalf.

      The Church of Jesus is called in a similar manner. Every group or denomination that is born of God must give preeminance to Jesus. Hebrews 1:1-4 NASB says,

      God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, [2] in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. [3] And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, [4] having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.

      Secondly, the joining of His Body insn’t a natural one, but one that exists in spirit. Remember Ephesians 4:3 NASB which says,

      3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

      We will only ever be the true Body of Christ in spirit.

      Lastly, remember that the devil wants to draw you and every other Christian down to His level, a natural one. It is a trap to focus on the natural distinctions represented by different Christian groups and denominations. Lets take God’s approach which is to be planted where He places us and love other Christians wherever they are called to worship and belong!

  4. Hi Rodney and Trina,
    I am keen to keep touch with your prophetic voice. I am a friend of Ruaan Slabbert and one of the elders in Josh Gen.
    When you come to Cape Town, please contact me as I own a car hire business and would love to give you wheels. Rentacheapie Car Hire caters for the young and adventurous, but also has new cars unbranded for the more discreet over 40’s.
    If you have a news letter or monthly message. Please keep me in the loop.
    Bless you guys
    Grant and Lorna Baker

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