Want Some Answers ???
Greeting Nick, you wrote,
>>Mark, Even before I read your second email I want to send a quick note of affirmation to you that you are on the right track, your questions are not burdensome to me, and I am appalled that I appear to be the only one among the pentecostals to reply in any length to your inquiries. You say you are going abroad for a week shortly. This brought the thought to me that perhaps what I need to do is take a week or two myself and come down to see you, spending the time to personally walk you through these issues, probably going through a proper volume of theological study dealing with these beforehand (both of us) and then reviewing it together.<<
Good of you to reply so quickly Nick. Certainly the choice is yours whether you want to visit New Zealand or not. I wouldn't wish to put you off, or beg your visit, but will be pleased whatever you decide. I would have thought however that if you write from ICI University that you would have all the resources available to you there to undertake a "proper volume of theological study". But if you feel we can't 'review it' as you wish, then sure, come visit I would love to chat with you.
The only problem I see is regarding 'time'. I don't mind meeting people but explained the problem of time. As I wrote last time, it appears to me that "Pentecostalism truly is based on experience not Scripture". Or it could be as you say, they don't "have the time, inclination and the requisite background to correspond".
I believe one can read, study and reflect on the subject better [and keep a written record]. For me writing is the best way to cover the issues. When I mentioned your emails were "the only substantial reply" I didn't mean they were so enlightening that the truth of Pentecostalism convicts me. I meant that in comparison none else have given a persuasive word. If I was under conviction by your guidance - "that the Holy Spirit [was] revealing himself to [me] and that [I want to] speak in tongues" then, a meeting would be useful. The problem Pentecostals are having is convincing me from Scripture. You wrote,
>>At any rate, I believe I will take some time later to see what I may reply to these two emails, and I would hope Dr. Teague will at least reply, perhaps with a recommendation of a good book that would answer these questions<<
Yes indeed. I will wait. There's an interesting Court Case in New Zealand recently. A Pentecostal Pastor [and others from his church] performed a weird exorcism on a sick person [but she died]. They kept the dead body in a house believing God would raise it from the dead three days later to reveal His glory. I don't know what the secular world thinks of Christianity when it sees "Christians" shake uncontrollably, laughing, barking like dogs, having spasms, and believing that God gives them gold fillings and gold dust on their hands.
Would they want to become a Christian based on that information? Our primary purpose here on earth is to reach the lost and instead we are delighting in these questionable weird things, which alienate people from Jesus. This is reprehensible. Jesus is the only way to God and we are meant to positively promote the way, not discredit it. If we discredit it, then we are doing the devils work. Christianity is the most sensible, most rational, most historically reliable, most experientially proven religion out there. It eats Hinduism for breakfast, it obliterates Islam, it stomps all over Atheism and it chews Buddhism up and spits it out. But what is the point, if the lost think we are a bunch of nut cases? Why give the world ammunition to publicly malign the way?
Someone mentioned the other day that they noticed in Pentecostal circles there is the idea that the weirder something is the more spiritual it must be. They gave an illustration; What if well-known Pentecostal teachers in their books and TV shows started preaching that standing and laughing on street corners brings a tremendous Holy Spirit blessing? And what if we assume that lots of Christians are doing that in America and testifying to feeling an awesome spiritual ecstasy. Ok, lets think about that. First, is it Biblical? No, this is not mentioned in the Bible. Second, does it promote Christ to the world? No it will make them run a mile. So why do we do it?
The same person pointed out that they also noticed in Pentecostal circles the idea that if it feels good it must be right. The people are constantly searching for the next wonderful experience. No way could it be wrong, as long as it delivers great feelings! What, like marrying a non-Christian? Or perhaps punching your boss in the chops. It might make you feel good, but they are against God's commands. I'm sure you agree Nick, if all we care about is feelings then we are no better than the modern drug taking age we live in. Christianity is not about experiences, it is about being born again, reaching the lost and developing a Godly character.
However, don't want to be writing too long always complaining. God bless.