Want Some Answers ???


Hi Shawn,

Thanks for writing again. I would like to reply to few points. I mentioned that the 'slaying in the spirit' started at the birth of Pentecostalism.

>>**Dr. Mark- I don't know that I believe 'slaying in the spirit' began with Pentecostalism. I would say it began probably with the advent of the Christian church, upon the indwelling of the Holy Spirit with Christ-centered conversion in the NT. I would just place it as one of the means the Spirit can have His way with us, much like initial salvation<<

Best records are it began in the early 1900's (birth of Pentecostalism). The European father of Pentecostalism (1906) “I was like Daniel, powerless under the divine touch….and slid down to the floor” “For a long time I was lying upon my back on the floor, speaking…” (When the Fire Fell. Pas. T.B.Barratt A Hansen & Sonner 1927 pg.103, 108). Another key figure in Pentecostalism in 1908 wrote, “Almost without my notice my body slipped gently to the floor, and I was lying under the power of God….down they went right and left, in the aisles ….” (This is that. A.McPherson. Echo Park Evan. Ass, Inc 1923. pg.44). So these are the experiences of the first Pentecostals.

The modern Pentecostal movement as we know it today started in the 1900's. Let me quote, "The origins of Pentecostalism may be dated to 1 January 1901, when Miss Agnes Ozman a student at Bethel Bible College, Topeka Kansas, spoke in tongues after the principal, Charles Fox Parham (1873-1929) laid hands on her and prayed for her to receive the power of the Spirit…." (p.503 New Dictionary of Theology Inter-Varsity Press 1988).

So it started with the 'slaying in the spirit'. Something unknown to Calvin, Luther, John Owen, John Wyclif, C.H.Spurgeon, D.LMoody, C.S.Lewis, etc. It was not a practice of the Roman Catholic Church or the churches of the Reformation. And it was not a practice of Paul, Peter, John, James, Luke or Jesus.

It is completely foreign to the work of the Holy Spirit. The Laughing revival, the slaying, etc are completely foreign to the fruit of God's Spirit, ie "self-control" (Gal.5.23). Paul says every man should "exercise self-control in all things" (1 Cor.9.25). And in the church "all things" should "be done decently and in order" (1 Cor.14.40).

>>(even though I hope you would agree that salvation is an ongoing process "i.e. work out your salvation with fear and trembling" or gain maturity in your walk with Christ, grow in grace), the process of sanctification etc.<<

I believe there’s a difference between a true Christian’s Walk and Standing. He is to walk the talk, but his walk can change. It might be spiritual, or unfaithful, or weak [1 Cor.1:11 3:1-3 4:18 5:2 6:7 Col.2:20 3:8,9 Phil.2:12]. But his Standing never changes; he is always a child of God [1 Cor.1:2-9 6:11,15 Mt.16:17 Col.1:12,13 Rom.6:6 Mt.5:14].

>>Of course, concerning your personal bible study, I think even like a professor of mine said in history from a state school, 'anyone can prove what they want from the Bible', if we do not take a global approach to analyzing the scripture or at the minimum perhaps be receptive to what the Holy Spirit is leading then we will not benefit from scripture. I think you would agree to this as probably during your own walk the Holy Spirit has "quickened" certain scriptures to you or texts have jumped out at you.**<<

My point was that the bible revealed the error of Pentecostalism. Yes the Holy Spirit takes scripture and opens our eyes to what it says. I asked the Lord to help me and He did, and I encourage everyone to do the same.

I mentioned that the modern so-called "gift of prophecy" challenges the bible. You reply,

>>**whoa, whoa Dr. Mark. Who says that the end result that once the gift of prophecy is accepted that the Bible is challenged. This is ridiculous. "Prophecy" much like preaching is simply divinely guided utterance. Surely when a minister from an evangelical church preaches you do not feel the Bible is challenged. On the contrary guidance through prophecy will only uplift and uphold scripture. Lets not get confusted here. I don't even like to here people refer to themselves as "prophets" or even people in the church refer to themselves as "in leadership" For crying out loud we are Christians plain in simple.<<

"Prophecy" is not "much like preaching" its more than that. We cannot ignore the biblical meaning in the bible. "In New Testament times the prophetical office was continued. Our Lord is frequently spoken of as a prophet (Luke 13:33; 24:19). He was and is the great Prophet of the Church. There was also in the Church a distinct order of prophets (1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 2:20 ;3:5), who made new revelations from God. They differed from the “teacher,” whose office it was to impart truths already revealed." ('Prophet' Easton's Bible Dictionary. M.G.Easton AGES. 1997).

Scripture is "already revealed" by prophets and used by teachers. Prophets are different. They say, 'thus saith the Lord' and speak directly from God and claim a special revelation from God. No one can claim this today.

The Bible is inerrant and the final word on all doctrinal issues. All modern day prophets claim to be true doctrinally with divine revelation from God. So the uniqueness of God's Word and its authority is challenged. The only prophets today are false prophets.

>>Remember, Dr. Mark, St. Paul himself encouraged that members of the church to desire to prophesy above all the spiritual gifts. (Naturally he emphasized love was most important of all) Doesn't it strike you as logically odd that St. Paul would have us desiring this gift if such a gift were not offered today or was just preaching? Anyone can share the gospel of Christ, can they not (well, at least Christians can)? - "Then upon hearing a prophesy a sinner shall fall on his knees in repentance as the secrets of His heart are revealed" Is this referring to just generalized preaching or something more specific, more divine? <<

When Paul wrote Corinthians the miraculous gifts still existed. This was a very early period of church history when they did not have the complete bible (as we). Paul said they should seek gifts that edify the church. Today we should be on our ' knees in repentance' because of God's Word, not because of someone who you think is a prophet. Am I to mediate on their prophecies? No! Is ignoring them is sin? No! But if the answer is 'yes' then they should be canonized as revelation, but if not they are superfluous.

>> Prophesy means a desire to hear from God clearly (or at least as clear as possible) so that you may impart guidance to others. Prophesy does often come out more "specific" than preaching; Preaching, for example, as in a Baptist sense is often more generalized, than prophesy (unless of course a prophesy is intended for the whole congregation) It isn't perfect as in the Bible but must be tested according to the word of God.<<

There’s a difference between the Holy Spirit’s illumination of Scripture and one speaking as God’s mouthpiece. Scripture is not clarified by listening to someone who thinks he has the gift of prophecy. Scripture is clarified as it’s carefully and diligently studied (Ac.8:28-35). There’s no short cut to interpreting God’s Word, don’t play fast and loose with the issues of inspiration and revelation. The fact is, so-called prophecy today is really empty nonsense from someone’s imagination and their ‘dreams and visions’ rather than God’s Word. Often the ‘new revelation’ is held as binding on believers as any NT book.

>>** Me oh my. Again lets lose the "prophet" label. Some people may be set in by God into this position but remember that is up to the Church to further gain Sprit-led validation of such a position. Remember, if someone speaks from God they are NOT giving out more Scripture. They are simply imparting divine guidance not final authority. New Testament prophesy must be judged. Remember, your being convicted and led by the Holy Spirit is quite unique and "special revelation" as you refer. This is contradictory to deny guidance by the Holy Spirit when I assume you are a converted Christian, who upon conversion receives the Christ and thus the Holy Spirit into his heart. Of course, no one is rewriting the Bible. God's guidance on such leadership is sealed.**<<

You have a strange 'Pentecostal idea' about bible prophets. The fact is the bible prophets were and are very different to your Pentecostal 'prophets'. The bible prophets were (1) specially selected by God, (2) their message became as God's Word (scripture), (3) what they prophesied happened, (4) they were rarely popular, (5) if their words did not 'come to pass' they were to be stoned to death and ignored. Today Pentecostal prophets have prophecy which (1) doesn't 'come to pass', (2) it changes, (3) it will even at times contradict scripture, (4) it will even contradict last weeks prophecy, (6) they are rarely thrown out of churches (7) their words should never ever be compared to the bible.

So I suggested 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.

>>**Whoa, were did these ideas come from? I do not seek energy from empty prophecies. I instead worship God. Isn't this why you come to church? "Everyone is free to do and say whatever this week's personal prophecy supposedly reveals?" What? That is incredulous. Do you think I don't have the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit would be convicting me if something was off key (and sometimes it is).<<

Use the bible to determine what is 'off key'. Pentecostal prophets claim to be speaking by the Holy Spirit to the people. They claim God is speaking through them. So many are fooled by their own prophets.

>>Listening to God is a learned activity, something which grows with maturity. One can tell when someone is more clearly interpreting God's will in a situation. No one is free to do what they think. Folks in my congregation would be objecting and going to the Bible if someone started babbling nonsense or something for self-gain. Scholarly study is NOT swept aside in favor for "private" messages from God. I (and my church) seek God, the Giver, not the gift. We desire to prophesy so that we can build up the church, edify others, and thus edify God.**<<

I didn't say this applied your church. But just because it might not apply to your church, the fact remains that generally, Pentecostalism suffers with the lies of its prophets and ignores the bible. I have seen it, they believe what the 'prophets' say. The vast majority of Pentecostalism emphasize experiences and regard the prophet's guidance as scripture. Prophecy to them is God speaking directly, why spend hours in study for guidance.

So the new birth is a miracle but there is a difference between that and the gift to perform miracles. You reply

>>**True but both have a divine origin, wouldn't you agree? God is still alive and kickin' so to speak, isn't He?**<<

Yes indeed to both statements. But you didn't answer the point that Scripture distinguishes between the two (1 Cor.12.29-39). True God doesn't change He is still the same. But His purposes and plans do change. Regarding "perfect" (1 Cor.13:10). You wrote,

>>**"Perfect" to many Christians does not refer to the sealing of God's word but is referring to the return of the Living Word, Jesus Christ. Just as through prophesy we only see dimly now, with the actual appearance in the 2nd coming of Christ we will be able to see clearly**<<

Paul's subject in 1 Cor.13.8-13 is illumination, the part illumination gives away to "that which is perfect." The gifts provided the early Church what was later provided by the NT. The early Church had a disadvantage, so God gave the miraculous gifts to enable the assimilation of NT truth (available to us). Those gifts were "in part" compared to the "perfection" of the completed Scriptures. So when the perfect came, the part was done away.

The expression "that which is perfect" doesn't refer to Christ's return, its in the neuter gender in the Greek. Note, Gen 6:9 Dent. 32:4 Ps.19:7 Mat.5:48. Rom.12:2. In none of these does "perfect" refer to the future eternal state, but life on earth - also in 1 Cor.13.10. The Gifts exercised at Corinth were "in part" and for use in the early days of the Church. It was to this scene that, "that which is perfect" was to come. The Gifts would he "done away" when the perfect "is come."

See dimly now…….see clearly" 1 Cor.13.12 explains why the miraculous gifts cease. The reflected truth was blurred or imperfect compared with the full revelation of Scripture. The gifts of Prophecy, Knowledge and Tongues, reflect the glory and truth of God "in part" or "through a glass." The early Church received truth "mirrored" and "as in a riddle" through the gifts of Prophecies, Knowledge and Tongues.

Paul says "Now" (when he wrote) truth was mirrored and "in a riddle" but "then" (when Tongues cease, Prophecies and knowledge vanish away) ''Then'' when the full revelation of God is given to man through the completed NT, "Then" you shall see "face to face." And that's exactly the wonder of God's Word in its completed form. We do not have divine truth, mirrored or in a riddle, but face to face. The full Divine Truth shines face to face with us as we read it, with the Spirit's help.

This is exactly what the Word of God achieves for us. We do not see God physically. Moses spoke with God "face to face" yet he didn't see God's face (see Ex.33). But as the revelation does its work with us, powerfully and clearly we are made to feel and know that we have been "face to face" with God.

>>**Concerning miracles, miracles are an awesome sign, signs which have been given no scriptural indication as to have ended (as previously discussed concerning the revelation of the word 'perfect' in 1Cor. 13:10. )** **Again, there is no biblical precedence for such a claim as cessationism.**<<

There is plenty of 'biblical precedence' for such a claim. As I said, 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 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 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 said any who are claimed ‘prophets’ were 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.

>>Yes, of course, gifts are solely for the edification of the church. Arguably tongues are often used to "build one up in the Holy faith" (see Jude) to help keep the believer strong spiritually so that he may continue to then pour out his life to others.**<<

Tongues didn't build up the Corinthian Church even though it was a real gift in those days. Today Pentecostal tongues are just gibberish which doesn't do any good.

>>**Good grief Brother Mark. There aren't problems everywhere the tongues doctrine goes. Division etc. unfortuanately can happen in every church. Never is division or any of this a move of the Holy Spirit. Please let's not tie tongues with division. There is no substantiation biblically for such a claim. **<<

Sorry but the history of the tongues movement has been one of division. If you want a biblical example, the Corinthians had all the special gifts (1 Cor.1.7) yet had many "divisions" (1 Cor.3.1-9).

The fact is today the tongues movement causes division. I have seen that too with my own eyes - the arguments, broken churches and families, a characteristic of the tongues movement. This is well known to most Christians but not to you?

>>**Again, again, again, NO ONE is rewriting the Word of God. Good grief we test everything by guidance by the Holy Spirit. Are you denying the power of Christ to convict and save?<<

Of course they are ' rewriting the Word of God'. As I said, the prophets of the cults do just that. Joseph Smith, John Thomas, Rev Moon, Ms White, Ms Baker, Russell, Armstrong, Berg, Swedenborg, Stanton (tongue speaker) etc. All prophets and there are hundreds more. There is no way to test prophesy, tongues, healing etc once you have accepted these gifts are given today.

To think the '
guidance by the Holy Spirit' helps you to test prophets is problematic. The 'guidance' you claim is coloured by your erroneous doctrine that prophets exist today. In other words your mind determines what a real prophet is and isn't. Every Pentecostal group has a different idea.

>>Didn't you know when you received Christ? Was this totally intellectual? Surely not. My brother (a Baptist) and I have both received guidance from God at the same time. Once when standing outside of a movie theater the Holy Spirit convicted us both about not watching a movie we wanted to see. This was divine guidance and we weren't rewriting the Bible, only confirming that as the word of God says, "His sheep know His voice" I enjoyed hearing from you Mr. Mark and look forward to your response. Sincerely Shawn.<<

Yes God guides His people with conviction. But the problem is that what one Pentecostal group regard as a 'prophet' another regards as a 'false prophet'. The same with miracles, tongues healing etc. Every Pentecostal group have their own idea what's 'of God' or not. They claim theirs are real, yours false. They say the Holy Spirit guides them into the slaying, laughing revival, animal noises, fighting demons, screaming, snake handling, dancing, etc. Not to mention the vomiting and nudity in healing meetings, going to the toilet, smashing chairs, kicking holes in the wall, etc. And yes, they all insist it was the ‘Holy Spirit’, in the name of Jesus, and claim biblical support.

Mark Purchase