Evangelist Wayne Neal's sermons mix the elements one would expect of a Holy Ghost Pentecostal revival, but the Southern Baptist church setting is raising eyebrows in Marshfield, Missouri, and beyond. Neal hops and skips across the platform at Calvary Baptist Church in the small town near Springfield. He paces the center aisle while telling a story. People respond to his loud and spellbinding message with "Preach it" and "Come on," occasionally clapping and rising to their feet at a particularly salient point.Sometimes Neal speaks in tongues. Children dance joyfully near the platform. Adult members are "slain in the Spirit." This is all part of the nightly pattern for the past year at Calvary, despite the vote by other Southern Baptist churches in the county to withdraw fellowship from Calvary for "unBaptistlike" activities."Many [charismatics] are wonderfully sincere, but we do believe they are misled and have the wrong emphasis," Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) President Paige Patterson told CT. "The focus of the New Testament is on Jesus. Much of the charismatic movement is [focused] on the emotions of man."Calvary Baptist pastor Roger Hicks, 42, has allowed Assemblies of God (AG) evangelist Neal, 51, to preach at the church's revival services—which are held three nights a week—since March 1999. Despite criticism, Hicks and Neal say their cooperation is biblical.
Hicks believes prayer is a key to the church's growth and revival. About 40 people pray at the church at 5:30 weekday mornings as well as half an hour before the evening services. Children are also important members of the prayer team, and they worship with intensity.A recent Tuesday-night service lasted a typical three hours, starting with ...1
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