Want Some Answers ???Pentecostalism
Hello Sandy the apostle :)
I was once impressed with your website. But after a few of your emails, your defence leaves a lot to be desired. You wrote,
>>I see where you are coming from now. I thought you were another Third Waver. Sorry about that.<<
Yes I know you don’t read my mail properly (twice now). But that you (a Pentecostal) called me a ‘Third Waver’ was surprising. The 'third wave' is also claimed to be the work of God's Spirit and tongues authenticating it. Any preference to which ‘wave’ you belong depends on your choice. But they are all basically the same! “Similarities between the movements outweigh their differences” (pg122,136-51 ‘Power Evangelism’. J.Wimber. San Francisco, Harpa & Row 1986).
The ‘first wave’ are called ‘Pentecostals’, the second wave ‘Charismatics’, the ‘third wave’ is a signs and wonders movement. They are evangelicals who prefer not to be called either ‘Pentecostal’ or ‘Charismatic’ because of the stigma of these churches. Peter Wagner (Fuller Theological Seminary) coined the phrase ‘third wave’, it’s “evangelicals who, for one reason or another (have) chosen not to identify with either Pentecostals or the Charismatic's” (p.18 The Third Wave of the Holy Spirit. Am Arbor. Vine 1988). But the signs and wonders of the ‘third wave’ are joining these holly rollers.
I call them all ‘Pentecostals’. They all claim miraculous and sensational experiences to various degrees. They all tend to underemphasize the traditional means of spiritual growth, prayer and Bible study.
The fact a Pentecostal (you) has a website exposing Pentecostals might be considered odd to some. But that you endorse the doctrine that makes them what they are is heartbreaking. Persuading Pentecostalism to heed Scripture is nice, but almost impossible. They are drawn to sensational experiences and revelations. The more spectacular the better they like it. Tongues, prophecy, visions and dreams are all revelations that circumvent Scripture and go direct to an individual. You wrote,
>>But I disagree with you. There are clearly apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers today. When we come out with our video we will have some experts in the Bible talking about that subject, but it is basically as I have already laid out in the newsletter in simple form.<<
Your newsletter said, “The gift of prophecy and apostleship is also somewhat different today… no one today fits the criteria to be a foundational apostle”. Indeed ‘clearly’ an argument for their absence. Just like faith healers without real healings to prove they are genuine.
Yes your mail and ‘newsletter’ are ‘basically’ the same. And your ‘experts’ will be Pentecostals with your views. If Pentecostalism is apostolic and Bible-based there shouldn't be any difference. Yet today's 'apostles and prophets' are pseudo, in name only and different to Scripture. Evangelists, pastors and preachers have a real biblical meaning and function today, but when you call someone a ‘prophet’ don’t expect people to over look the correct biblical meaning. They were given by God when He was speaking. Today God has spoken (Heb.1:1-2). He has spoken in His Word, to expect prophets today is a sign of unbelief and denies the sole sufficiency of Scripture. In fact whenever God sent one it was a sign people were disobedient.
Pentecostals claim the same apostolic authority and power and not a ‘different’ kind. Their prophets sound biblical but make stupendous claims from their imagination, not from God.Even if what they predict occurs, it says nothing about the spirit behind them. Even though they have spiritual food it doesn’t automatically mean it’s from God. You wrote,
>>You are clearly a cessationist. That position has very weak support, in my opinion, and hinges on a few verses. I believe that balanced position is the one I take, which takes into account all the teachings of Scripture on the subject.<<
“Weak support”? Well nothing yet from you proves that. No, I just look at the confusion in Pentecostal churches and find the evidence is strong. Most Pentecostals I know are messed up theologically and psychologically. The Bible documents many examples of miracles for special periods that ceased shortly after bestowal. My ‘position’ is based on many reasons and not “a few verses”. In fact the whole Bible is a powerful reason why special revelation is not required today. God communicates all we need through His Word, apparently that’s not enough for you.
To say the prophetic gifts didn’t ‘cease’ is contrary to 1 Cor.13:8. No where is it written the miracle gifts were to be permanent. They were to confirm the spoken word and claims of the Apostles note the word ‘confirming’ (Heb.2:3-4 Mk.16:20 Acts 5:12). Christ and the Apostles were the “foundation” of the Church (1 Cor.3:3-11 Eph.2:20-22 1 Pe.2:4-8). Once that was laid the sign gifts also vanished, as the writing of the NT apostles and early church fathers confirm. You wrote,
>>There will clearly be prophets in the end times (though we will see predominantly false prophets), and there have always been those, as I have outlined, who speak prophesy for the modern church when they are exegeting Scirpture.<<
All verses of 'end time' prophets describe ‘false prophets’ (1 Jn.4:1 2 Pe.2:1 1 Cor.14:29 Mt.24:24). What verses refer to true prophets today? So why look for what we don’t need? (Or tarry for tongues?). Those claiming gifts of prophecy today are adding to God’s Word and came under the judgment of Rev.22:18.
To “exegete Scripture” is not miraculous, but requires prayer, study and wisdom. Evangelists, teachers, preachers expound scripture, that relates to ‘illumination’ (Jn.16:12,15). The prophets of the Bible times spoke in accordance with Scripture and gave new revelation from God. Today we have God’s complete revelation in Scripture. We don’t need prophets anymore. There’s a need for illumination but no need for new revelation. Pentecostal’s focus on new revelations, this is contrary to Scripture. They have confused inspiration and revelation and clouded their ability to receive truth.
In Pentecostal assemblies prophets don’t open the Bible, they go into traces. Their prophecy occurs like tongues, often in an ecstatic or para-ecstatic conditions (1 Cor.12:1-2). In the quieter atmosphere prophecy predominates, in the more supercharged tongues. You wrote,
>>Otherwise you are left with no special guidance for the Church in particular circumstance, other than general precepts and examples from the Word to apply to life.<<
Yes your prophets have a ‘word of prophecy’ for everything under the sun. God’s Word for them (like you) is somehow deficient and just ‘general precepts’. Seeking ‘special guidance’ from modern prophets is why Pentecostals become deceived. For normal Christians God’s Spirit provides ‘special guidance’ in all circumstances via God’s Word, without prophet or priest. You wrote,
>>I believe Jesus Christ not only guides the individual through the Word, but also His Church. The Word of God is living, not dead. It addresses every situation, and when applied correctly it speaks to modern issues just as well as it did before.<<
And I agree, so I don’t need apostles and prophets today. Only a faithless people won’t believe the Bible without signs and wonders or 'special guidance'.
>>Those who are able to apply the Word correctly are also prophetic, just as the prophets of old applied the Scriptures.<<
But they can’t speak God’s ‘infallible’ word as in Bible times. Its true Bible prophets did expound Scripture but they also proclaimed new revelation God was revealing. In that sense no one today can speak “just as the prophets of the old applied the Scriptures”.
Modern prophets don’t just claim God speaks through scripture, they claim God speaks ‘directly’ to them. Their favorite words are ‘The Lord told me so…’ They have so many predictions they sound more like soothsayers and fortune tellers. We don’t need a ‘prophetic’ gift to ‘correctly’ apply scripture. We need the Holy Spirit with study and prayer and obedience. You wrote,
>>Do you deny that people still have visions and dreasms from the Lord? Are they all false?<<
Not that God can’t give these but He has given something more certain and sure - His Word gives clear illumination. Why base guidance on what could be imagination? God’s Word is better, inerrant and it doesn’t fade like dreams. Compared to Scripture they are not needed because they discourage discerning clear truth from Scripture. They are ‘not needed’ because they foster pride and make people think they are superior (2 Cor.12:1-2, 7-12). Signs and wonders are the opposite to faith (Jn.4:48 Rom.14:23).
Apostles had credentials or qualifications. I.e., they had to have seen the resurrected Lord (Ac.1:22 2 Cor.12:12 Lk.6:13). The 'last' person Jesus appeared to was Paul 1 Cor.15:5-9. Jesus is not appearing to people today or it makes a lie out of 1 Cor.15:8.
Pentecostals promote visions and dreams for guidance they tell the most ridiculous stories. The typical Pentecostal error is drawing doctrine from experiences. The reason Pentecostals are wiling to believe such nonsense without question, is because their teaching lowers the credulity threshold of all its adherents. The practice of tongues, the relegation of the understanding to a minor place, the diet of miracles, and the extreme subjectivity of Pentecostal's all result in the same. People who are mentally conditioned by that environment will accept anything as ‘a new thing God is doing’. “Charismatic practices loosen up the mind in such a way that people will believe almost anything” (pg.67 ‘The Charismatic Phenomenon.’ London. The Wakeman Trust 1988).
>>We are not to destain prophesy, but test it. We don't discount it all, we test it all. Test everything, hold on to the good. Prophesy starts and ends with the Word because it comes out of the Word and is tested by the Word.<<
Which proves we don't need modern day prophets, or priests we need the bible. Pentecostals only consider ‘tested’ what agrees with their doctrine. They ignore the fact that if our interpretation of Scripture is wrong, our testing of prophets will be wrong. Any true prophet in the cults? ‘No, they must be tested by Scripture’ you say. Whose interpretation of Scripture? Sandy’s! He selects true prophets by his theology and ‘discounts’ the others. Benny Hinn says the same, we shouldn't ‘discount’ the ‘good’ signs and wonders which prove he is genuine.
Every Sunday Pentecostals want to ‘believe’ the thousands of utterances of those sounding like bible prophets. They ‘discount’ any idea of deception since they can’t test predictions still in the future. But how many mistakes do prophets make before considered false and thrown out?
>>I am not a cessationist. As I have outlined there are no more foundational apostles, but there are sent out ones and we call them missionaries.<<
You sign your mail as a ‘missionary’ and here indicate ‘apostles’ are the same. How long have you considered yourself an apostle? Do you do miracles to authenticate your apostleship? (2 Cor.12:12). Your doctrine is corrupt, that makes you a ‘false apostle’ (2 Cor.11:13). That’s a very serious matter (2 Cor.11:13-14).
>>There are no more foundational prophets, but there are prophets today though they are not the ones who go around telling people they are.<<
That’s deceptive. A secret apostolic office denying who they are (2 Cor.11:14-15). Only flake apostles hide who they are, because to claim openly to be a prophet or apostle today is ridiculous. You wrote,
>>Keep reading the materials on our site. I suggest that you read articles by Jacob Prasch and Arnold Fructenbaum who have a very good grasp of this subject from a Jewish Christian persepctive and they will address it on our upcoming video which will expose the heresies in the New Apostolic Reformation. Sandy<<
I don’t suffer from a lack of learning on the subject of Pentecostalism and need your books and videos to make you money. Your suggestion is exactly what Roberts and Copeland would make. I hope you can do some hard thinking and study on these matters sometime. Ask the Lord concerning these matters, He opened my eyes to the error of Pentecostalism, He can do this for you.
His reply -
>>I'm not a Pentecostal. Is this discussion going anywhere?<<
All I'm saying is that there's a good case that 'apostles/prophets' are not for today. And also the miraculous sign gifts of the NT church fulfilled their purpose and ended. And there are good reasons to get those books I mentioned. You disagree? Why? Surely any further reading would fine tune your ministry and sharpen your pen.
Your not a Pentecostal? Well you certainly fooled me. You might prefer 'Charismatic' but it's all Pentecostalism to me, whatever's 'over the door'. You defend Pentecostal doctrine.
I might not convince those who don't want to see the truth (only God can do that) but its better to speak out when someone's insisting we discern 'prophets' today.
Your website has value. I pray the Lord be with you and your fellows in the USA in these days of terrorism. God bless America.
Thanks for taking the time.