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Pentecostalism
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Hi Shawn,

>>Dr. Mark: I haven't had the time to properly theologically respond to your comments but I still see a recurring "MacArthuran (i.e. John MacArthur) tendency to misrepresent the views of the vast majority of Pentecostal/Charismatic beliefs.<<

I look forward to that, you're welcome to correct me. But if you don't get time, thanks for writing anyway.

>>The biggest problem deals with the idea of Cessationism and the confusion concerning the difference between OT prophets who were acted directly upon by the Holy Spirit (He came upon them in the OT) versus NT believers moving in the gift of prophecy who learn to hear the voice of God.<<

Yet Easton's Dictionary didn't make that distinction. It indicated NT prophets were not 'simply' 'preachers' or 'teachers'. They "made new revelations from God. They differed from the “teacher,” whose office it was to impart truths already revealed."

Those today who refer to themselves as 'prophetically gifted' hear all kinds of 'voices from God'. They don't claim the same authority as bible prophets, or infallibility and even admit they are wrong at times. So when they claim to have a 'word from the Lord', it can be false! Therefore, it is more likely you would have "
confusion" 'Cessationists' don't have.

>>Again NT prophecy is conditional, the believer must obediently surrender to the work of Christ in His life in order for the prophecy (or divine fortelling/guidance) to come to pass.<<

Do you defend 'the vast majority' of modern prophets and blame others for their failure? The bible doesn't. If you accept they can prophesize wrongly (at times) and yet have a message from God, you open the floodgates to false teaching and confusion. How could a message genuinely inspired by God be tainted with error or lies? Failed prophecy is a sign of a "false prophet" (Deut.13.1-4). You won't criticize them, but God does -

"They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, The LORD saith: and the LORD hath not sent them: and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word. Have ye not seen a vain vision, and have ye not spoken a lying divination, whereas ye say, The LORD saith it; albeit I have not spoken? Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye have spoken vanity, and seen lies, therefore, behold, I am against you, saith the Lord GOD. And mine hand shall be upon the prophets that see vanity, and that divine lies: they shall not be in the assembly of my people" (Ez.13.6-9).

If God's Word is all we need, then I don't need a prophet to go between the Saviour and myself, nor does He need a prophet to speak to me.


>>Concerning cessationism you argue that pentecostal beliefs just suddenly sprang up (say, for example, with Azusa Street in the early 1900's) and that the early church fathers knew nothing of tongues/prophecy and other gifts. However, this is simply not the case and isn't factual.<<

You create a straw-man and knock it down. What I wrote was, "the 'slaying in the spirit' started at the birth of Pentecostalism." And "The modern Pentecostal movement as we know it today started in the 1900's." This is 'factual'. Pentecostalism today is a modern phenomenon and often called an 'apostolic revival' or 'latter rain'.

>>Consider: (1) Jerome (A.D.347-420) who often mentionned the miraculous in his writings. In his work, The Life of Saint Hilarion, he speaks of Hilarion stilling a raging sea. Concerning such an event he stated: "Verily, what was said to the Apostles, 'If ye have faith, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove into the sea, and it shall be done,' may even be literally fulfilled if one has such faith as the Lord commanded the Apostles to have" (see Eddie L. Hyatt, 2000 Years of Charismatic Christianity, Charisma House 2002, pgs.43-44).<<

Historians and theologians don't regard Jerome as 'Pentecostal'. He never claimed tongues, prophecy, a 'spirit-slaying', spirit-baptism, laughing, snake handling, gifts of healing, gift of miracles, etc. I realize Hyatt's wife (Susan) is called an 'historian' but this label is given by the Pentecostal college she attended. E. L. Hyatt calls himself a 'prophet' and gives 'divine utterances' and of course, rubbishes other Pentecostal prophets that don't fit his version of a prophet.

After the apostolic era, the first 3 centuries have only 2 references to tongue-speaking (ie Montanus and Tertiullian who was a Montanist). Montanist's (rejected by the Church) were closer to Pentecostals than Jerome. It's said Montanus "….in a sort of frenzy and ecstasy, he raved and began to babble and utter strange things, prophesying in a manner contrary to the constant custom of the Church handed down by tradition from the beginning" (Eusebius, Church History).

Jerome wrote that he "refuse(d) to receive prophets" and opposed "Montanus and those demented women Prisca and Maximilia; and that thus the mutilated and emasculate….. To expose the infidelity of the Montanists is to triumph over it. Nor is it necessary that in so short a letter as this I should overthrow the several absurdities which they bring forward…." (The Principal Works of ST. Jerome. Letter 41 'To Marcella' 385.AD).

Tell me, why didn't God give Jerome (or Luther & Moody) the 'gift of interpretation' or the "gift of tongues"? (1 Cor.12.10). Instead they had to study literature, languages and scripture. There is no easy miraculous short cut for translators (ie Jerome/Luther). Since NT days there is no 'gift of knowledge', all must study and go to college.


>>(2) Martin Luther. Luther might not have been so "anti-gift" as you presume. Luther despised the spiritual abuse (i.e.paying for salvation) which was occuring in the Catholic church as well as the superstition associated with the RCC and the miraculous.<<

You overlook what I wrote - "The 'slaying in the spirit' (was) something unknown to Calvin, Luther, John Owen, John Wycliffe, 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." This remains true.

Luther was not a tongue speaker, healer, prophet, or experienced the 'slain' or 'spirit baptism' like Pentecostals today. He didn't seek a 'second blessing', " God does not want to see us put our trust in anything else or commit our hearts to anything other than Christ in his Word, be it ever so holy and full of the Spirit" (Cited in 'A Theology of the Holy Spirit' F.D.Bruner p255).


>>…when Cochelus asked Luther if he had received special revelations, Luther was quiet but then replied 'Est mihi revelatum' or "yes, he had had revelations". Apparently, like Paul, Martin Luther had been caught up into the third heavens (see Hyatt, 2000 Years; also Bengt Hoffman, Luther and the Mystics, Augsburg, 1976, pgs 154 and 170).<<

I cannot find any mention Luther was ' caught up into the third heavens' and received "revelations". It is so contrary to what he taught and believed –

"Nay, though an angel should come and appear before mine eyes from heaven, yet it would not add to my belief; for I have of my Savior Christ Jesus bond and seal; I have his Word, Spirit, and sacrament; thereon I depend, and desire no new revelations. And the more steadfastly to confirm me in this resolution, to hold solely by God’s Word, and not to give credit to any vision or revelations" (p.110 Table Talk 236 AGES Library). He appealed to God's Word in any search for truth and based everything on that alone.

Regarding Hyatt; As the 'Amazon Review' says Hyatt "brings out things from an historical view of the charismatic/pentecostal view". He thinks Pentecostalism is credited for all that is good in church history. I question Pentecostal authors who rewrite church history to validate their experiences. Most cults also rewrite their version of church history to fit their doctrine. Modern Pentecostals are going up to '
the third heavens' all the time, and receiving "special revelations". While they boast about them, Paul didn't (2 Cor.10:17. 11:30 12:1,5-6). Their ' revelations' are always weird. Visions, dreams and 'prophets' are a very poor substitute for the clarity of scripture.

>>(3)Moody. Dwight Moody was quite charismatic. Moody embraced the teaching of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Moody claimed that his life and ministry were forever changed as the result of such an experience. In 1871 Moody had such an experience saying: 'I was crying all the time that God would fill me with His Spirit. Well, one day, in the city of New York-oh what a day!-I cannot describe it, I seldom refer to it; it is almost too sacred an experience to name……. <<

I accept that Moody often sounded like a 'charismatic'. But stand by what I wrote, that the 'slaying in the spirit' (was) something unknown to…. Moody". And having read his writings, its clear his doctrine of the "filling of the Holy Spirit" was not like Pentecostals today with their 'out of control' 'spirit baptism' type of experiences. There is no mention he spoke gibberish.

So Jerome, Luther or Moody are never compared with 'Pentecostals' by church historians. Pentecostalism gets it's distinctive name from Acts 2. And it insists that all Christians without the gift of tongues (as the sign of Spirit baptism) are inferior, or lack power, or lack the 'full gospel'. This was never Jerome's, Luther's or Moody's contention at any time.


>>And I could go on and on. There are numerous more examples throughout history. Well, I will try to directly discuss some of the other issues you brought up later Brother Mark. It was good, once again, hearing from you and I hope you have a blessed day. In Christ Alone, Shawn<<

So the truth remains as Millard Erickson writes, "On January 1, 1901.. ….tongues… This, in the judgment of some church historians was the beginning of the modern Pentecostal movement….for many years the Pentecostal movement was a relatively isolated factor in Christianity….in the early 1950's however this began to change…" (p.855-6 'Christian Theology' M.J.Erickson Baker Book House 1985). And the "New Dictionary of Theology" is correct. "The origins of Pentecostalism may be dated to 1 January 1901."

The advent of Christianity resulted in the end for the pagan sleep temples and the hypnosis it branded a work of Satan. But now the advent of Pentecostalism has brought it into the church, replacing the true work of the Holy Spirit. (p.281 'Blessing and Slaying' N Mikhaiel publ. by N.M 1996). The Slaying belongs to the realm of the occult and the hypnosis is what the bible calls divination. There is clearly an unclean spirit behind these things and Pentecostalism has swallowed Satan's bait hook, line and sinker.

Thanks for writing. Ask the Lord to help your bible studies and He will.

Regards,
Mark



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