Want Some Answers ???
Thank you for the kind words of reassurance and good to hear from you. And thanks for your answers and patience. There was so much in you email that got me thinking. What I would like to do is post two emails or this will become too long. With the other email, a suggested exposition of 1 Cor.13 that could be passed on to the good doctor and perhaps you might also comment.
I've emailed 17-18 times in relation to that USA AoG website [including the Australia site you mentioned]. Yours is the only substantial reply. Your "33 years of marriage" is a good witness and "three children", well what can I say? Praise God! I'm just a young chap in the 40's with wife and 8-year-old daughter and yet to learn your patience. You wrote,
>>"difference of opinion" among Bible scholars which has historically led to the establishment of different schools of theological thought and Christian denominations. The points you've brought up have been the subject of discussion over many hundreds of years, as have other points of different understanding in relationship to water baptism, the trinity, church dispensations, pre-, post-, or mid-tribulationalist, millennialism (A thousand-year period of holiness mentioned in Revelation 20, during which Jesus and his faithful followers are to rule on earth.)<<
True, but ecumenical and charismatical seem to go together like hand in glove. Liberal's, amillennialist, Arminians and Roman Catholics all speak in tongues. Yet the Holy Spirit doesn't communicate correct information to correct their basic errors, but just gives them the gift of tongues. Strange don't you think? Many who hold corrupt doctrines, speak in tongues and it seems to unite them together under a charismatic banner. That questions whether the tongues movement is the movement of the Holy Spirit.
>>The Assemblies of God web page to which I sent you have the statements of belief and the scriptures relevant to those beliefs. They do not answer your questions because you do not see the connection between them.<<
I "see the connection" but perhaps my understanding of them needs to be corrected by some kind Pentecostal. You have [or had] my last email in which they were discussed, so could point out (if desired) why I have misunderstood. Or pass the mail on to one who might have the 'Gift of Discernment'. If it is biblical exposition we are involved in. If we view the Bible as foundational for belief and practice we can only be helped by Scripture study. I had hoped that 'spirit-filled' Pentecostals to answer in the power of the Word. The lack of replies suggests Pentecostalism is based on experience not Scripture. The web sites do not answer questions.
>>So, Mark, you have not asked a question satisfied by simply a yes or no, but perhaps an extended discussion and personal tutoring series of email communication to present to you how it is we believe as we do (much less explain the experiential fact that I "speak in tongues" and did so, in fact, this very Saturday morning, just minutes ago).<<
My 2 questions allow lengthy answers if people desired. Any decent study of Scripture involves more than "yes and no" answers. I was sure some spirit-filled AoG would have loved to exercise their special 'Gift of Knowledge'. Your mention of 'experiential' again makes a point tongue speaking is often explained from experience than Scripture. From the reports I have heard, it appears experience is the authority charismatics most frequently cite to validate their teachings. The experience centered approach to truth even influences the way they handle Scripture. And this is seen in your next statement. You wrote,
>>I pray with my mind and with my spirit that the Holy Spirit himself shall reveal himself to you and that you yourself shall "speak in tongues as the Spirit gives the utterance" to edify and build you up in your spirit, speaking mysteries in the spirit, speaking to God. (I Cor 14)<<
This makes me wonder if you read my last email. In order for me to "speak in tongues" I would prefer to have the matter justified from Scripture first.
Interesting the Scripture you quote is Acts 2:4. Historical evangelical theologians have drawn the heart of their doctrine from Bible passages penned expressly to teach the church. And understood Acts as an inspired historical record of the apostolic period, not necessarily viewing every event or phenomenon recorded there as normative for the entire church age. Charismatic's, however, craving the experiences described in Acts seem to have assembled a doctrinal system that views the extraordinary events of the early apostolic age as necessary hallmarks of the Holy Spirit's working for all time.
Acts was never intended to be a primary basis for church doctrine. If I am wrong then I need to be corrected, clearly the websites do not go into any deep understanding of the verses they quote.
You pray that I receive the gift of tongues, although Paul would pray "rather" that I seek a "greater" gift 1 Cor.14:5. So why tongues? Marks Gospel lists five sign gifts that "shall follow them that believe" [vs.17]. Why not handle snakes or drink poison? Should I beg God for these gifts? The only condition in the Bible to receive these is to "believe" [vs.17]. Surely all five sign gifts are valid today or none.
Clearly these miracles authenticated the message of the gospel revelation. They were not simply exhibitionism; they substantiated and authenticated the prophets claim that they spoke for God. There is clear evidence the sign gifts occurred during the apostolic era - but not thereafter [2 Cor.12:12 Heb.2:2-4].
There are many examples where God gave special miracle gifts for a special time - Moses before Pharaoh, Israel in the wilderness, Elijah and Elisha, those of Christ [Jn.10:24-25], when the purpose was fulfilled they were on longer given. So why would the Spirit "reveal" to me anything other than what Scripture teaches? Or should I purse personal experience - and not Scripture - as the foundation for my belief system [contrary to what it should be]. Scripture should provide the bases for experience. But I am still learning and look forward to corrections and answers. So thanks again Nick for your words.