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Pentecostalism
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Hi Sandy

In reply of your email. You wrote,

>>I have considered what you have said long ago, before we ever discussed these issues. I have also read John MacArthur's book you suggested and many other things on this subject.<<

If true, your comments ‘LONG AGO’ would reflect this. And you would have had GOOD scriptural answers and reasons for you’re doctrine. With GOOD explanations why MacArthur and myself are in error. Instead, there’s NOTHING like this from you. Is truthfulness you’re specialty, or boasting? You boast, “900 articles, 100’s emails a week, studied hours and hours of video and audio, read hundreds of books, and gone to many false teacher's meetings…..I figured from the beginning….I know exactly what I am talking about…. I have a very good understanding of the issues and I am very well read, especially in the Scriptures”. All just big talk, with no illumination, explanations or anything else.

>>I have formed my opinion based on many years of the study of Scripture. You can continue to hold to your "no more gifts" ideas, but frankly your position has always been an argument from silence in most cases, and a distortion of the Word in others.<<

Not true either. I never said God gives “no more gifts” but said the gifts are not the miraculous ones Pentecostals claim. I wrote – “God gives gifts, but not the miraculous and revelation sign gifts given before the completed NT”. You say this is “a distortion of the Word” Yet NOT ONE of your emails pointed out ANY ‘distortion’ in my Scriptural position. You do NOT quote or expound scripture.

And you ‘
study Scripture’? No, you base your doctrine on experience (as you state continually). It’s not true my position is silent or "a distortion of the Word". Here’s part of my position again. Why don’t you answer it systemically this time? Don’t just boast and brag, do some study. Open your Bible and stop listening to ‘prophets’ who tell you they have the answers. Come-on, answer this -

The first Christians had a disadvantage without the NT and they lived in a transition period (Judaism to Christianity). So God gave Apostles, Prophets, and gifts of revelation and sign miracles for a special purpose. Eg. The sign gifts had a purpose, they confirmed apostolic teaching and revelation (note the words “signs” and “confirmed” Mk.16:17 Heb.2:2-3). When the church foundation was finished there was no need for the signs (1 Cor.13:8-10 Eph.2:20 3:5). Today for example, tongues have no purpose, but are simply gibberish. NT Apostles and prophets spoke what was to become Scripture, before the written revelation was “perfect” (1 Cor.13:10). They spoke with divine authority delegated by God; a declaration as God’s Word. The early Jewish converts required guidance and confirmation God was giving His Spirit to Gentiles. So God sent apostles and prophets with signs and miracles (Gal.2:1-2 2 Cor.12:12). Scripture says, “prophecies…will cease” and “tongues…shall cease” (1 Cor.13:8). “Prophets” today are adding to Scripture, their prophetic utterances, gifts of prophecy and revelations really do just that. As they add – however unwittingly – to God’s final revelation, they undermine the uniqueness and authority of the Bible. God gives gifts, but not the miraculous and revelation sign gifts given before the completed NT.

I have yet to find Biblical evidence the miraculous gifts didn't cease with the completion of the NT. Where is it? If they didn't cease where does Scripture say, I should seek a 'Baptism of the Spirit'? The real test of spirituality is not having 'gifts' but walking in Christian love [1 Jn.3]. Paul says they "will pass away" [1 Cor.13., an early epistle] but when he writes his later epistles, Ephesians and Romans and discusses "gifts" of the Spirit at length, there’s no mention of the miraculous gifts. In fact, the writer of Hebrews [a later book] regards miracles as past [Heb.2:3-4]. By then, apostolic authority and the apostolic message needed no further confirmation. Before the first century ended, the entire NT had been written and was circulating through the churches. The revelatory gifts had ceased to serve any purpose. And when the apostolic age ended with the death of the Apostle John, the signs that identified the apostles had already become moot [cf 2 Cor.12:12]. The early church Fathers are silent concerning the miracle gifts and regard any who are claimed ‘prophets’ as heretics. Since the Scripture canon was complete no genuine revival or orthodox movement has ever been led by people whose authority is based in any way on private revelations of God. Many groups have claimed to receive new revelation but all of them have been fanatical, heretical cultic or fraudulent. You say,


>>Pentecostalism has many errors, studiously detailed on my site. Hyper-fundamentalists also have meny errors also, one of which is the extreme position that the Holy Spirit no longer gives gifts. <<

Why not read my emails properly? I’ll never said, “the Holy Spirit no longer gives gifts”. I said at the beginning “every generation of Christians since apostolic time has been given Evangelists, Pastors and teachers. These are the permanent gifts, but they are not miraculous, one must study and exercise their gift”. Why deliberately distort my position? The only group that claim there are ‘no gifts’ given today are Christadelphians. They started as "fundamentalists" but followed a ‘prophet’ and went into error (discern that).

>>I have addressed these issues in a systematic way, though others have done a better job.<<

Are you the same 'Sandy'? What truth is there to this? You have not answered my mails in a systematic way. You reply in a general way ignoring anything that challenges your experience or too difficult to answer.

>>Frankly that's not my ministry though. Mine is one of exposing false prophets, false apostles, false teachers, and false Christs. But I am not silly enough to deny that God has and will always have His true prophets in His Church, as well as gifts as I have detailed. My position is one of balance and is held by many Christians. Your position is reactionary, but you need to learn to discern instead of just putting your head in the sand.<<

You don’t expose 'false prophets'. There is no way to test prophets, tongues, healing etc once you accept these gifts are given today, because of their supernatural nature. And when I explained why, you never answered a word. Quite frankly, if this is your ministry it’s a mess. You open the door to deception and confusion and encourage the very error you pretend to expose. It’s the non-Pentecostal position that’s one of “balance and held by many Christians” for centuries. Montanism was rejected by the early church fathers. Pentecostalism is a late twenty century extremism that ultimately accepts anything ‘from God’. It’s “origins…may be dated to 1 January 1901” (pg.503 New Dictionary of Theology).

It doesn’t encourage ‘
balance’ or ‘discernment’ but blind acceptance, excess, lack of control, confusion and division. Anyone can 'discern' just who ‘has their head in the sand'.

>>I think you'll just have to realize there are many true believers who understand that their are spiritual gifts beyond natural gifts, and they are still active in the body of Christ today as they have always been through the centuries. You have probably never spent any time on a foreign mission field, so you wouldn't know what I am talking about.<<

Anyone who claims the miraculous gifts God gave the early church, is deluding themselves. And spending time on a foreign mission field doesn’t alter Scripture. Doctrine is not formulated by experience. People believe all sorts of things based on experience. The first Pentecostals (1900’s) believed God gave tongues to witness to foreigners. So at great hardship some travelled the world only to discover nobody on earth understood their gibberish. Don’t assume those who are not Pentecostal are ignorant.

>>I grew up as an MK, learned a foreign langauge, lived in a Two-Thirds world culture. I am not talking about the misuse of gifts in Pentecostal churches. I am talking about the real gifts that God gives so that His people can do the His will, and these often show up when you are far away from home preaching the Gospel and ministering to people.<<

No you were talking about prophets who explain Scripture (?) and how to discern true prophets (?) You were ‘talking about’ prophets in the CHURCH. When I wrote that the Bible said, “the sign gifts "ceased". Tongues, etc "vanished away" when their purpose ended [1 Cor.13:8f].” You replied, Sorry. I don't agree….the Lord still gives gifts. They are used to build up the body of Christ”.

God’s Word doesn’t change from country to country. Pentecostals are notorious for bizarre unprovable stories from “far away” places that confirm Pentecostalism (of course). Like Roman Catholic's and weeping Mary. Perhaps you could describe these ‘real gifts’ that don’t ‘show up’ back home, that God doesn’t give the rest of us. For one does not need ‘real gifts’ to do “His will”, one needs obedience.

>>I hope someday you will wake up and allow the Holy Spirit to use you beyond your natural abilities. I test everything by the Word, as we are to do. You need to read the Bible again and understand that the Lord's commands for us in spiritual matters are still as true today as they were when they were written.<<

What? You hope I ‘
allow the Holy Spirit’ to make me do miracles? And develop an unhealthy quest for supernatural ‘abilities’ like you? It’s the unbelieving who seek after signs and wonders (Mk.8:12). Scripture is the ‘real’ test for truth. Not miracles, supernatural ‘abilities’ or special gifts when ‘far away from home’. Yes the Bible’s "as true today" but I don’t start picking up snakes, drinking poison etc (Mk.16:18 note "they shall..."). Why? Because I do read the Bible, I know God intended some things for historical occasions and never repeated. The Lord does not ‘command’ us to seek miracles. Unless you see signs and wonders will you not believe? (Jn.4:48) “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe”. (Jn.20:29). Explain where I’m wrong about this.

>>Stop denying portions of the Word that don't fit your ideas, and learn that we must teach exactly what the Apostles taught. One definition of a heretic is a person who is picky about what they will and will not believe in the Bible. Don't be one.<<

I’m not ‘denying the Word’ but ‘rightly dividing the word’ (2 Tim.2:15). And you don’t ‘teach exactly what the apostles taught’ either. You argue modern day ‘prophets are not the same’ and their prophecy is not the same (your words). So your definition of a ‘heretic is a person’ who disagrees with your brand of Pentecostalism, which you are very ‘picky’ about. Because all must accept what you define as supernatural gifts just the way you dictate. You are the one ‘picky’ about which prophets/apostles are real and which aren’t.

>>Stop calling all Pentecostal, charismatics and anyone else you disagree with deceievers, and start to realize that God has his people in many places doing His work today. <<

Give just one quote where I call “Pentecostal, Charismatics and anyone else (that I) disagree with…deceivers’. It’s doctrine that is deceptive. In fact it’s your website and newsletters that call those YOU disagree with “deceivers in the church”. Yes God “has His people in many places doing His work today” but that doesn’t make Pentecostalism Biblical.

>>The Lord Jesus Christ has His faithful followers that believe in the core doctrines of the Faith, preach the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit, stay true to the Word of God in all things, and stand firmly against heresy in the Church. You need stop beating people up over secondary issues and join the fight against those who deny the core doctrines. Fundamentalists today are also being taken out of the game by silly arguments like KJV-Only and others issues that are not core doctrinal issues.<<

So to ‘stay true to’ God’s Word in all things one must not be critical of your form of Pentecostalism. What a lackadaisical attitude that modern prophets are a ‘secondary issue’. False teaching and cults originate from the insistence that someone has a true scriptural prophecy. And they insist their prophets are tested and true to Scripture.

Perhaps you should “stop beating” them-up, over your idea of modern prophets. Your idea of modern prophets is justified by Pentecostal interpretation or you call them ‘false prophets’. Your acceptance of modern day Prophets is a ‘core doctrinal issue’. It questions Sola Scriptura and the uniqueness of God’s Word. The Bible’s claim for itself is challenged.

Pentecostalism attacks the very core of Christianity, a major cause of division in the church. Not only does it degrade Scripture but the emphasis on bodily healing also distorts the gospel. Not to mention the shaking uncontrollably, laughing, barking like dogs, having spasms, tongues, prophets, rolling on the floor, dancing in frenzies etc. All which are basic Pentecostal practice, not “secondary issues”.

Who honestly would want to become a Christian when Christians behave like that? Our primary purpose here on earth is not a ‘game’ but to reach the lost, not to promote those weird things. Sandy virtually every cult and false teaching ever spawned was begun on the premise that its leader(s) had access to new revelation. All abandoned the principle of Sola Scriptura JUST AS Pentecostalism. And they accept revelation from God beyond Scripture. And you defend this.


>>I am an evangelical, but I have gone to all different types of churches in my time, funadamentalist all the way to charismatic. I have a very good understanding of the issues and I am very well read, especially in the Scriptures.<<

Bragging is unconvincing. You accept modern day prophets as a means of receiving spiritual truth. That belittles Scripture and is a major flaw in understanding Scripture. You formulate doctrine by what happens in ‘far away’ places, equally flawed. And ignore the fact ‘heresy’ and confusion is rampant in churches where people (just like you) think they have real modern day prophets. You ignore the clear parallel between cults and the modern charismatic movement.

And anyone who thinks Pentecostals don’t ‘
jump to extremes’, but those who believe the miraculous gifts have ceased do, has an extremely poor “understanding of the issues”. And with emails that lack Scriptural proof texts, of your position is woefully weak.

>>So there we have it. Apparently we are at an impasse, which I figured would be the case from the beginning. I hope you will learn to discern. In Christ, Sandy <<

More empty boasts, with no substance? An ‘impasse’ is a deadlock. It’s you who are unable to offer a decent explanation. You avoid the issues, criticise the other guy and boast yourself. Don’t expect me to remain silent about Deception in the Church. You need to get your doctrine sorted out or do some serious study, I believe you haven't but you are 'away with the fairies'. The whole tongues movement from the start is NOT of God's Spirit, tongues in the Bible were REAL and with a purpose, but today its gibberish and a fraud. The same goes for all the other so-called miracle gifts. Each of them can be shown be anything but miraculous, most thinkers can see that but not Sandy.

Regards
Mark



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