Want Some Answers ???Pentecostalism
Thanks for writing. You wrote,
>>Hi Mike- I haven't really read everything on your website but from what I did read on Pentecostalism/Charismatics, I was a bit disturbed. I'm not emotionally distraught but as a Baptist turned Charismatic I feel I am relatively well-versed biblically as well as in-tune with much Charismatic doctrine (I also hold a bachelors degree in psy from a private university and have almost completed an associate's from a charismatic bible school) .<<
Interesting that the 'slaying in the spirit' started at the birth of Pentecostalism. But some put Pentecostalism in nice clothes and avoid the extreme behavior. Re. your studies. I also studied with 'a charismatic bible school '. Yet God opened my eyes to the charismatic error. I prayed and He answered as I searched scripture.
>>Perhaps what bothers me most about what I read in some of the comments on this web page was this continuing lack of clarity concerning Charismatic giftings and revelation. As a member of a large Charismatic fellowship I can speak for my church in stating that we do not believe in further divine revelation in the Biblical sense. The Bible is not to be challenged. It is inerrant and the final word on doctrinal issues. Prophecy or other spiritual gifts subordinate themselves to what the Bible has taught; they do become addtional Scripture. New Testament prophecy is not equal to the Bible but has to be judged according to New Testament guidelines.<<
I agree "The Bible is not to be challenged. It is inerrant and the final word on doctrinal issues. " But the end result is that the moment one accepts the "gift of prophecy" operates today the bible is 'challenged '. Prophecy is a claim of special revelation from God. Virtually every cult starts on the premise that its leader(s) were prophets and with true divine revelation. The uniqueness of God’s Word is at sake. The Bibles own claim for itself is being challenged.
Deception begins when we accept the authority from modern day 'prophets' who fool people into thinking they speak from God. The Bible is the primary witness to the events associated with the supreme revelation of God - in Christ. And the apostolic witness is the final word of objective revelation. When redemption reached it's climax, special revelation reached it's climax. With the end of the events of redemption came the end of special revelation. The NT as written by the apostles is the delegated authority of the Lord Jesus, no one has that authority today [Eph.2:20].
So the Charismatic acceptance of modern ‘prophecy’ abandons the principle of Sola Scriptura. I would urge you not to seek energy for the spiritual walk in the empty ‘prophecies’ of someone’s imagination, but from God’s Word alone. The Charismatic problem is that everyone is free to do and say and teach whatever this weeks personal prophecy supposedly reveals. Scholarly and careful study is swept aside in favour of private messages from God.
>>We do not exalt experiences and definitely do not place the guidance of spiritual gifts as greater than the word of God.<<
The vast majority of Pentecostalism claim the same. While its not "greater than" they regard prophecy as scripture. Prophecy is God speaking, 'guidance' from God Himself. So their "experience" becomes the evidence for belief, it becomes God at work.
>>However, just as the rebirth is a real, live spiritual transformation and as all Christians possess a real, live Holy Spirit we know that God leads and guides Christians. That some are gifted, just as a minister is gifted to preach, to prophesy (not in the sense of canonical, OT prophets but NT prophesy) shouldn't be such a surprise. To say that spiritual gifts don't operate is almost confounding when one considers that the rebirth is in of itself supernatural. I hope you can see the contradictory nature of denying God's more verbal guidance with prophecy (or Words of Wisdom, Knowledge etc) yet "allowing for" God's very supernatural work of conversion. That some can put the convicting or other work of the Holy Spirit into words or even divinely inspired guidance should not seem so unimaginable to the Christian.<<
Yes the new birth is a miracle. But there is a difference between that and the gift to perform miracles. Scripture distinguishes between the two (1 Cor.12.29-39).
Today no one can prophesy "in the canonical" sense. 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. A reason for the miracle gifts was so the early Jewish converts had 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).
Regarding 'gifts' today generally. A gift is only a gift when exercised as God works through an individual. They must be developed and used or they waste away. It’s questionable in Paul’s mind if a gift can be said to exist for the individual if it is not employed for the church (1 Cor.12:7).
>>Well just wanted to add my comments. I love discussing theology so please feel free to e-mail me. I am on my brother's computer and using his e-mail program so please don't hit reply. Instead please send your message to my e-mail address. I hope you have a great day. Sincerely, Shawn (B.S.)<<
No problem, thanks for writing. And feel free to reply. If I might sum-up the argument. In the early church before the New Testament was written, they had no bible. So God gave miraculous gifts of revelation and illumination to the apostles to reveal His will (ie Paul - letters, John - Revelation). They were not 'subordinate' to Scripture, but the means whereby God spoke to His church. Their utterance became the New Testament and finally they were withdrawn.
God gave Apostles, Prophets, gifts of revelation and sign miracles for another special 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 of an apostle or the miraculous gifts (1 Cor.13:8-10 Eph.2:20 3:5).
God doesn't give apostles and prophets today. They were given when God was speaking forth New Testament truth. The first Christians had a disadvantage without the NT and they lived in a transition period (Judaism to Christianity). But evangelists, pastors and preachers have the real biblical meaning and function today. 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.
So there are no gifts of prophets, apostles, healing, tongues or miracles today. They were for a limited time now we have the bible, God speaks through His Word as everything we need and His finally Word. All other 'prophets' can only pretend. Besides, there is no way to test prophesy, tongues, healing etc once you have accepted these gifts are given today.