The Gift of Tongues


by Gary Kukis

Revised and updated November 13, 2006 Footnote


This doctrine is going to be quite lengthy, covering several passages of Scripture in great detail. Footnote Since this study is so lengthy, you may get the high lights by going directly to the summary. Also below, you will find quick links to the relevant passages of Scripture as well as other sub-topics covered:


Primary Topics

Preface

Acknowledgments

Introductory Points

Historical Perspective of Signs and Miracles

The Charismatic Big God

 

 

 

Apostleship

History of Tongues and the Charismatic Movement

Why was There no Pentecostal Movement Until the 1900’s?

Descriptions of Charismatic Meetings

How Pentecostals See Themselves

The Pentecostal Articles of Faith

Arguments in Favor of Speaking in Tongues

 

Advantages Claimed by Charismatics

Problems with the Charismatic Movement

Museum of the Weird

Distortions of the Charismatic Movement

Exegetical Approach to the Gift of Tongues

Our Lord Outlines the Book of Acts

The Sign Gifts

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit

God’s Word and Experience (Read This!)

The Dying out of the Gifts of Prophecy, Knowledge and Tongues

The Witness of the Church Fathers

The Gift of Healing

 

Regulations Versus Reality

Over 20 Reasons Why Tongues Have Ceased

Why Do I Feel I am Lacking as a Christian?

What Tongues Are and What Tongues Aren’t

Separation from Charismatics

Problems with the Charismatic Experience

Summary

Exegeted Scriptures

John 20:22–23

Acts 2:1

Acts 2:2–23

Acts 2:32ff

Hebrews 2:2–4

Acts 6–8

Acts 10:44–46a

Acts 11:13–17

Acts 19

1Cor. 12:1–2, 4–11

Matthew 3:11–12

1Corinthians 12:12–13

1Corinthians 12:27–31

1Corinthians 13:1–3

1Corinthians 13:8–10

1Corinthians 13:11–13

1Corinthians 14:1–21

Isaiah 28:9–12

1Corinthians 14:22–28

Matthew 6:7

1Corinthians 14:34ff

Romans 8:26–27

Isaiah 8:19

2Peter I:17–21

Charts

Time Line of Signs, Miracles and Wonders

God’s Fourfold Purpose of Miracles Footnote

Basic Rules to Follow for Studying God’s Word

The Feast Days

Is the Gift of Knowledge a Separate Gift?

The Greek and the Passing Away of Gifts Footnote

What Does Téleios Really Mean?

Tongues in the Bible Versus Today’s Tongues


Listen, members of the family of God: I do not want you to be ignorant concerning the spiritual gifts (1Cor. 12:1).

And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition, as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words (Matt. 6:7)

Prove all things; hold fast to that which is good (1Thess. 5:21)

I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him Who called you in the sphere of the grace of Christ, for a different gospel, which is really not another [of the same kind]. Only there are some who are disturbing you, and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should proclaim to you a gospel which oversteps the boundaries of that which we have proclaimed to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is proclaiming to you a gospel which oversteps the boundaries of that which you have received, let him be accursed (Gal. 1:6–9).

But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times, some will fall way from the faith, listening instead to deceitful spirits and to the doctrines of demons (1Tim. 4:1)

“Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?” (Mark 12:24).

And when they say to you, “Consult with mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter,” should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living? To the Law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this Word, it is because they have no light (Isa. 8:19–20).

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but analyze the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world (1John 1:4).

For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work, only He Who now restrains until He is taken out of the way, and then the lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming. [This lawless one is] the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan with all power and signs and false wonders and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish because they did not receive the love of the truth in order that they might be delivered. And for this reason, God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe the lie, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took please [instead] in unrighteousness (2Thess. 2:7–12).

And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore, it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works (2Cor. 11:14–15).

“Not every one who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” (Matt. 21–23).


P reface: I became interested in the gift of tongues early on in my Christian life. When I became a believer, my two younger brothers were charismatics, my best friend was a charismatic and my wife’s best friend was a charismatic. At the time of my salvation, I was reading everything Christian and quasi-Christian that I could get my hands on. I read Jehovah Witnesses’ literature, Children of God literature (a Christian cult back in the seventies), and just about every inexpensive pamphlet and booklet that I could find. Before I made any theological decisions, I did a lot of reading, pro and con. I learned early on as a believer that the final authority was the Word of God. This did not negate the other reading which I did. I just had to be careful to weigh the various arguments from Scripture. I also learned early on that the context of a verse, both literary and historical, as well as the correct understanding of the original languages, was the only way to evaluate proof texts. Let me give you a completely unrelated example of this. As you know, there are some Christian (and I use this term as the world uses it) cults that observe the Sabbath—that is, they believe that the Sabbath is Saturday (which is correct) and that all believers (or cult members) ought to observe the Sabbath as their holy day. And I recall seeing an extremely persuasive speaker, Gardner Ted Armstrong—one of the most dynamic and convincing of the cult leaders—tell me to just open up my own Bible and read it with my own eyes: Hebrews 4:9: There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. This, along with his other arguments, appeared to be pretty darned convincing to me, a relatively new believer. I later found out that there are several passages in the book of Hebrews that, if read outside their context, or apart from careful exegesis, that they meant something entirely different than what the writer of Hebrews was saying. The passage I used in my illustration does not mean that believers ought to observe the Sabbath as a special day of rest and worship, but to young believers, that’s what it appears to mean. So, we will, therefore, stop periodically in this doctrine, and look at some extended passages of Scripture in context and exegete them properly.


Keeping that in mind, do not expect this study to be like most of the tripe that you have been fed in church or on the web. I am not going to give you my point of view, quote a few Scriptures, and let it go at that. This study will take some time. God’s Word takes time. It is not instantaneous. Don’t think that you will begin reading this examination today and finish it in the next five minutes. Probably not the next five hours. Some of what you will read here, you have read before. However, there are a number of things covered here which you have never heard before. There is at least one passage that you have never heard correctly exegeted, and, as I examined it, I was amazed that no one has ever gotten it correct before (at least, not to my knowledge; and I include Thieme and McGee, two of the greatest Bible teachers of the 20th century, in those who didn’t quite get it right). But this study will require your time. You must either choose to properly examine this gift, examining all the pertinent Scripture in context, from the standpoint of the original languages, lines upon line, precept upon precept; or you can allow what you have experienced to determine for you what is truth. It’s up to you. Salvation was instantaneous, although there may have been a long road getting you to that point. Spiritual growth is not instantaneous. Do not think that you progress from a spiritual baby to a spiritual adult in a year or two. And don’t ever think that your growing process comes to a halt. Therefore, anything of a controversial nature will require time to examine it. What I will guarantee you that, once we get through the history, the background, the pertinent portions of the book of Acts, and finally start with 1Corinthians, you will begin to see every hole plugged up, every single controversial stand clearly explained, and based upon exegeted Scripture. You must examine the background, which is why it is there. However, once we get into Paul’s writings, and we begin to tear some verses apart, word by word, examining the morphology and the context, you will find that there is no room for well, you see it this way, and I see it that way. There are some topics where there is only one clear view, and this is one of them. Prior to reading this, due to your sloppy spiritual upbringing, you may have a dozen different wrong ideas about the gift of tongues. If you stay with this study, then when you are finished, then the only way you will have any wrong ideas about the gift of tongues is you will consciously choose your experience over Scripture.


If I was allowed to approach this topic from my predisposition, then my personal preference here is to be able to say that I, a noncharismatic, should learn to co-exist and to work cooperatively with charismatics, accepting that most of them have the gift of tongues and that I do not. I don’t look up to them or down on them because they have a gift which I do not. I may or may not like everything which occurs inside their church, and they may or may not like everything which occurs inside my church, but those are non-issues. I would love to completely agree with David Shibley, the author of A Charismatic Truce, and say that my church could use a little more life and spontaneity, whereas the charismatic churches which I have attended could stand to focus more often on Bible teaching—however, we are all one in the body of Christ and family of God for eternity, and we should work together, capitalizing on each other’s strengths. You see, I have many friends who are charismatics. I don’t say that to sound condescending—it is the truth. However, I must take my theological stand with the Bible; and this issue is far more than just a slight, doctrinal difference. Tongues are either a part of today’s church or they are not; an additional experience with the Holy Spirit is either a part of today’s church or it is not. These are not two minor theological issues on which we can simply disagree, yet still enjoy Christian fellowship with one another. The basis of our salvation, our spirituality and fellowship are all called into question, depending upon where with stand with regards to speaking in tongues.


For you, there are two things that you need to check before you go any further: are you a believer in Christ Jesus? Have you placed your complete trust in Him so that your eternity is taken care of? If you have not done that, then you need to read what I have written on salvation first; or, you need to simply place your faith in Jesus Christ, Who paid for your sins, shortcomings, and mistakes on the cross. There is one Person Who stands between you and eternal fellowship with God, and that is Christ Jesus; you must go through Him in order to have a relationship with God the Father. Now, why anyone would read this (or begin to read this) apart from being a believer is beyond me.


If you are a believer, then you need to approach this study while in fellowship with God. This can be accomplished simply and quickly. You quietly, in your mind, name your sins to God. He will then forgive you those sins and cleanse you from all unrighteousness (1John 1:9). That way you will walk in the light as opposed to walking in darkness.


Now, after awhile, you are going to wonder what ax I have to grind here—you might be a charismatic and more than willing to tolerate me as a fellow heir to the kingdom; so, why don’t I tolerate you? In fact, why do I not embrace your Christian fellowship? Have I had bad experiences with charismatics? Well, two, that I can think of immediately; but I have had more bad experiences with non-charismatic Christians (simply because there are more non-charismatic Christians out there). I’ve known a huge number of charismatics, some that I like a great deal and respect for some of their personal qualities; and others which I don’t like so much—just like anyone else. There are even several charismatics who are friends of mine that I would almost rather they didn’t read this because I don’t want them to be upset with me. The problem is drawing a line between that which is true and that which is false. Paul had to sweat Peter’s shadow into the wall when Peter was wrong (Gal. 2:11). So, no matter what, we must take a stand for the truth and a stand against error.


Not only will I make it abundantly clear, from Scripture, what is true and what is false; I will also tell you why I would not tolerate a charismatic practicing speaking in tongues in my own church (if I had one). Similarly, I know many Catholics, some that I like and some I don’t. The Catholic church has some saved people and some unsaved people. But their essential doctrine, at the core, is false. Therefore, I cannot condone what they teach. On the other hand, the essential doctrines of many Baptist, Presbyterian, or Lutheran churches is fundamentally the same and I therefore don’t have any real problems with those denominations. So, I have no personal ax to grind here; there are not a few charismatics out there who totally pissed me off and now I’m going to write some scathing criticism of what they believe. Furthermore, I am not jealous of what charismatics have or do, nor am I opposed to enthusiasm or excitement in worship services. I tend to be laid back, but I have attended churches where the congregation was much more vocal than I was and I have no problem with that. The problem is that the core and the thrust of their beliefs are anti-Biblical, and I therefore oppose their teachings for that reason.


I will spend a great deal of time on this topic—for most of you, much more time than you think is warranted. I will eventually begin exegeting verses of Scripture and spending much more time on them than you might think is warranted (it is actually less time than I would if I were specifically exegeting the passage). If you are a charismatic, you may think I just need to be slain; I simply need to get the baptism, and that would end all discussion. Not so—when it comes to the truth, sometimes it requires a great deal of time and effort. You won’t be able to sit back and read this in one or two sessions on the web. There is nothing more important than God’s Word, and it deserves the time and effort required in order to examine it. Because so many cults and charismatic groups have taken various Scriptures and have quoted them out of context, intending them to mean one thing when they mean something totally other—it will take time to carefully examine these Scriptures and to put them in their proper context and give them their proper interpretation.


You’re going to get several pages into this treatise and either think that I haven’t even begun to convince you, or, wonder when am I going to actually start talking about tongues. I plan to take my time with this doctrine and cover it thoroughly. What you will notice, however, is that, unlike other approaches to this subject, I will not be quoting from too many charismatic spokespersons. Although arguing against something because it is mis-used or misapplied has some merit, that is really not a sufficient argument against anything. I will mention some of the things spoken by charismatics and relate some of the stories of what occurs in these meetings often because I feel, you just have to hear this. However, in dealing with their doctrinal misinformation, that will be handled by God’s Word.


I am also going to make several assumptions here: first, I will assume that if you read over two or three pages of this, you are probably a believer in Jesus Christ. Although I will spend some time with the gospel, this information in this document is applicable only to believers and will have little meaning for the unbeliever. Secondly, I believe that the final word of authority is God’s Word, the Bible. I believe that the Bible is God’s complete and inerrant Word. Finally, as I will refer to him now and again, I do believe in a literal Satan. I paraphrase from the film, The Usual Suspects: “The greatest feat of Satan today is to convince people that he does not exist.”


A reasonable question is: Do I think that I might convince some of you who speak in tongues that you are wrong? Actually, in all honesty, no, I doubt that any person who speaks in tongues will change his mind after reading this. For those who read this, I suspect that most won’t get very far or give this a careful read (people who speak in tongues generally have a limited interest in Scripture). And I have spoken to many people who are charismatics without ever having one leave the charismatic movement. One person even told me that it didn’t matter what I showed her in Scripture, because she knows what is real because she experienced it for herself. In fact, I would think that it is safe to say that the charismatics gain many more converts from the non-charismatic body of believers than we ever get back. John exhorted us to test the spirits in 1John 1:4. Obviously, this would not be based upon whether they just feel right or whether they are really good, persuasive teachers, but testing the spirits depends upon their doctrine. John provides us a rule of thumb: if they confess that Jesus is from God, they are from God; and if they do not, then they operate in the spirit of the antichrist. Now, please understand that this is a basic test, which, at the time that John wrote, was sufficient. However, Satan has become more sophisticated since then. Whereas, in the first century, Satan eschewed all that had to do with Christ, he has since become a part of mainstream Christianity, attacking us more often from within than from without. Catholics, charismatics, Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, and the old Armstrong cult all confess that Jesus is come in the flesh and that He is from God. When a believer gives the gospel correctly, in that way, he is of the Spirit of God. However, some believers, influenced by the spirit of Satan, seek to derail you after salvation. Always bear in mind that Satan comes as an angel of light (2Cor. 11:14), and is able to confuse the very elect, if possible (Matt. 24:24). And always bear in mind that he can work signs and lying wonders (Matt. 24:24 2Thess. 2:9).


So, I don’t expect to change the mind of many charismatics. The experiences which they tout as spiritual act upon them the same way drugs act upon a drug addict. Some drugs, such as marijuana, may begin subtly, and not appear to cause to many changes in the user. However, the user requires it more and more and cannot give it up. A second common affect of a drug upon the drug addict is that, when first used, the drug causes an intense euphoria that, several weeks or months later, cannot be fully recaptured. The addict continues to take the drug in pursuit of these early intensively-pleasant experiences. He never quite hits those early high marks of euphoria, but is still spurred on to continue with the taking of the drug, even though the experience becomes less intense and less euphoric. In fact, at some point, for some addicts, the drug is taken just to get even or just to feel even. The charismatic is the same way. Let me give you the quote of a friend of mine who will go unnamed about his or her spiritual experience: Footnote So anyway, I went home that night and prayed all by myself in my bedroom. I told God that I wasn't sure what this experience was, and I was a little scared, but I wanted to receive everything He had for me. Right after that I had an experience that convinced me God was actually touching me and letting me know how much He loved me. I felt the sensation of hot oil being poured over my head and felt that I was loved, totally loved, beyond anything I had ever experienced. I also started speaking in tongues. It's not that I was TAKEN OVER or anything strange like that. I could start and stop as I wished. It's just as if I suddenly could speak a new language, even though I didn't know what the words meant. But I did know that it was sort of like a love language between me and God and I was telling Him how much I loved Him. I never again felt anything like that first experience, Footnote although I sometimes feel a milder sensation, almost like a breeze blowing over me when I'm singing in worship, or praying. (I pray mostly in English, of course!) I had never heard of any experience like that, although since then I've heard a few people describe similar sensations. It seems like it's different for each person. What I do know is that it has been an entirely benign experience. It strengthened me somehow, but I can't tell you the logic of why it would. The charismatic needs to have this charge, this experience, this boost in what he believes to be his spiritual life. Periodically, he must get the drug. It won’t do for him what it did at first, but it provides a boost or a jolt or, who knows, maybe it just gets him onto an even kilter. Just as I have been unable to convince an addict to give up his drugs, I don’t expect to convince charismatics to give up their experiences and this seemingly necessary jolt to their spiritual lives. What I do hope is that those of you who are on the fence, who are uncertain which way to go, that this will provide you with an over-abundance of reasons to pursue God and His Word as opposed to some false, quasi-spiritual experience.


Now, I will quote some charismatics occasionally, and you may think to yourself (if you are a charismatic), that isn’t what I believe. I may list some common doctrines shared by those in the charismatic movement, and you may think, that isn’t what my church teachers. I fully understand. While there are a lot of similarities in charismatic groups, they certainly have their differences. Most charismatics believe that they can lose their salvation; many are moving toward that oneness of God doctrine, which is actually a relatively recent doctrine in charismatic thought; and many believe that most people can and should have an experience with the Holy Spirit after salvation which usually results in the speaking of tongues. Obviously, there will be a few who would disagree with some of those points. All charismatics, of course, believe that they have had an additional experience with the Holy Spirit that I have not had; and all believe that the various sign gifts of the Apostles can still be found today.


The experience of tongues is a result of very, very sloppy exegesis—in particular, the exegesis of 1Cor. 13:1–3. I have never once heard or read, even in the church I attended, this passage properly exegeted. In all of the reading I have done, I have seen, at best, a half-assed exegesis of 1Cor. 13—obviously, Paul’s point is that love is more important and enduring that the gifts of tongues, prophecy and knowledge. However, that really is not exactly the point (most, but not all, exegetes miss that) and I have never once seen anyone correctly explain Paul’s reasoning, which belies great Greek debater’s technique that is apparently lost on most believers. Footnote In this treatise on tongues, you will see the passage more or less properly exegeted (I normally would go into more detail concerning that passage here; however, this study primarily deals with the gift of tongues). However, I want you to know right up front, right here in the preface of this examination, that the only Scriptural support for speaking in tongues to be some unknown, holy angelic language is in this passage. Personally, I would feel on shaky ground if one of the most fundamental elements of my faith—praying, speaking, singing or telling jokes in a holy angelic language—in a language unknown to man—depended upon one and only one passage of Scripture.


I have read quite a number of books on the tongues movement and I have spent innumerable hours studying it and far too many hours discussing it with charismatics whom I know. The primary difference between what I will do here and the works which I have read, is that much of my emphasis will be upon the classic passages taken to support tongues. These passages will be carefully exegeted with regards to their historic, linguistic and literary context. I will not state a controversial point, cite two Scriptural passages, and then move on. That is the lamest, most sorry way to ever deal with any difficult doctrine of Scripture. In all cases, I will exegete the passages in question phrase by phrase, and sometimes word by word. I guarantee you that there will be a great deal in this book which you have never heard about or thought about before. I just need to warn you that it will take awhile before we get to the proper exegesis of the passages at hand, and, that when we get there, they will be painstakingly examined.


Furthermore, in this study I will correctly explain, from Scripture, what the gift of tongues was about and what it was not. I will also tell you what the so-called gift of tongues is today.


O ne final note: When I began this study, I attempted to remain focused upon the gift of tongues. However, it is impossible to approach the gift of tongues in a vacuum. Contained herein is one of the better historical surveys of tongues throughout the Church Age, which required me to deal directly with the Pentecostal/charismatic movement; the post-salvation, baptism of the spirit experience; and the gift of healing. In other words, I strayed now and again from the intended topic, the gift of tongues. Herein is likely the most thorough approach to the gift of tongues that you will ever read. With regards to the other related topics, this study is adequate, but not nearly as detailed. However, in today’s day and time, when fantastic encounters with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are reported as commonplace. Personal messages from God are supposedly routine. Healings of all kinds are claimed. It is not unusual to hear striking testimonies about how God, in response to faith, has corrected spinal injuries, lengthened legs, and removed cancerous tissue...some of the miracles seem almost bizarre: one-dollar bills turn into twenties, washing machines and other appliances are “healed,” empty fuel tanks fill up supernaturally, and demons are exorcized from vending machines. Footnote When dealing with the issue of tongues, the personal experiences demand that we take a few side trips.


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A cknowledgments: Although there were be certain thoughts and approaches in this book which, insofar as I know, are original with me, including a more careful exegesis of the pertinent Scriptures than I have found in any of the writings on this topic, the major portion of this examination is not original, and I have included material and relatively long quotations from those of both sides of the theological fence. I do not see this work as simply mine, but more as a compilation of information from several dozen different authors who wrote on the topic of tongues.


For the definitions of the Greek words, although I occasionally used Baur, Arndt and Gingrich’s A Greek-English Lexicon; the University of Chicago Press; ©1957; as well as Balz and Schneider’s Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament; Eerdmans Publishing Company; ©1978–1980; I depended first and foremost upon Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary New Testament; AMG Publishers; ©1992. I often quoted or paraphrased his definitions without giving him credit; however, his work in the Greek was invaluable to me. Furthermore, invaluable to this study was The NKJV Greek English Interlinear New Testament; Thomas Nelson Publishers; ©1994. I owe a tremendous debt to R.B. Thieme Jr. for guiding me though my spiritual childhood, as well as the excellent teaching of J. Vernon McGee. In fact, Thieme probably had the greatest influence over my spiritual growth, and I will probably quote from him the least, as God’s Word, as taught from his pulpit, was inculcated into my soul. After getting about 80 or so pages into this study, I re-discovered Donald Burdick’s outstanding book Tongues—To Speak or Not To Speak. At about 170 pages, I reread John MacArthur’s tremendous book, Charismatic Chaos. Let me tell you, I was tempted to quote almost every page of these two authors verbatim (I must admit that I quote from MacArthur and Burdick extensively). For those whose appetite is whetted by this study, theirs would be the first books which I would suggest locating and reading. One of the last books that I read was Joseph Dillow’s Speaking in Tongues. By that point, I was pretty worn out and thought that I had examined the charismatic movement from every standpoint. However, his book added a great deal of information and you will see that I quoted liberally from him as well. In fact, at the end of his book, he had perhaps one of the most important set of chapters of any of these books stating what I scattered throughout these pages: he lists all of the reasons that the gift of tongues ceased in the first century. I have listed these reasons throughout this examination, and never thought to organize them into one section until I read Dillow’s book again.


You will also note that there are areas where I quoted extensively from John Nichol’s The Pentecostals. He presents a very well-researched, fair and even-handed history of the modern Pentecostal movement (he is a Pentecostal himself). Along with these principal reference works, I used approximately another 30 or so books and pamphlets in putting this little study together, along with another 30 or so Bible reference books (various translations and language helps). Few believers have any clue as to how many shoulders it is that they stand upon in order to grow. Barnard Ramm wrote: It is often asserted by devout people that they can know the Bible completely without helps. They preface their interpretations with a remark like this: “Dear friends, I have read no man’s book. I have consulted no man-made commentaries. I have gone right to the Bible to see what it had to say for itself.”  Footnote I am just the opposite. I wrote about 50 or 60 pages of this on pure steam, consulting only various Bibles and language textbooks; however, the bulk of this material came directly from other sources. I fully recognize that without the thousands of theological shoulders upon which I stand, that I would have very little more to offer.


Obviously in this study, I examined both charismatic and anti-charismatic literature. In general, the former quoted very little Scripture and when they quoted Scripture, it was often taken out of context. The books which were anti-charismatic Footnote concentrated on two things: they took the Scripture often quoted by charismatics and looked at it from its historical context as well as from the standpoint of the original languages; and they often examined where the charismatic movement has gone experientially. One might object to the latter approach; however, the validation most often given for the charismatic experience is the charismatic experience. Therefore, examining real and alleged experiences which have been recorded is legitimate in the examination of the charismatic movement.


Let me add something: do not think that after hours of study and after being a Christian for two or three years that you know what’s what. And don’t think that you can study carefully a topic such as this in a few hours. This particular book took me nearly three months to write, writing 2–4 hours each and every day. And as I wrote, I learned a great deal from the sources that I used. If you actually want to know about this topic, keep in mind it took me about 300 hours to compile this material. I am thinking that it might take you over an hour or so to peruse it.


I mentioned J. Vernon McGee; he prefaces his second book on the gift of tongues with: We recognize that the subject of this message is controversial, and we appreciate the fact that many good and sincere people disagree with us. Our thought is not to continue to controversy, but to present the Scriptural teaching on the subject of tongues. It is being given a prominence today that it never had in the apostolic church. Only one epistle discusses it, and that is to control and discourage the practice of it. If the Corinthians had not gone to excess in this practice, would there by anything in the epistles on the subject?  Footnote


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1.    One of the most devastating influxes into Christianity over the past century has been the second-blessing crowd, those who speak with the so-called tongues of angels, those who manifest the so-called charismatic gifts. In general, they are known as charismatics, which comes from the Greek word charisma (χάρισμα) [pronounced KHAHR-ees-mah], which means gift, and it is found primarily in the book of Romans and 1 and 2Corinthians. Strong’s #5486. When I use the term charismatic, I will be referring to a group of people who believe that the gift of tongues is for today and, in most cases, they have that gift. These charismatics tend to emphasize the need for the second-blessing as well as a manifestation of same, which is usually the speaking in an unknown tongue, thought to be tongues of Angels. As of recent, some of the fringe and not so fringe elements have incorporating slaying in the Spirit into their repertoire.

2.    Throughout this study, I will tend to use the terms charismatic and Pentecostal almost interchangeably, even though they are not. Pentecostal, properly, refers to several denominations—however, some who belong to denominations without the word Pentecostal in it refer to themselves as Pentecostal. There is even a group or movement calling themselves the Third Wave, who specifically do not want to be called Pentecostal or charismatic; however, the distinction appears to be little more than semantic. You would know that someone from California would call something the Third Wave, as in surf mythology, waves always come in three’s, the third way being the strongest and the highest wave. C. Peter Wagner, a professor of church growth at Fuller Theological Seminary School of World Mission, and a leader in the Third Wave, coined the term (it has been used before for other things). He identifies the Pentecostal movement of the early 1900’s as the first wave; the charismatic movement of the 1960’s as the second (when charismatics began cropping up in mainline denominations), and this Third Wave began in the 1980’s. Footnote This is not a term which I have heard very often and will probably deal little with them specifically. Their doctrinal emphasis upon a post-salvation experience with the Holy Spirit, a belief in the contemporary gift of tongues and other sign gifts of the Spirit, places them in the same grouping as Pentecostals and charismatics. Although, the thrust of this study is the Doctrine of Tongues; one cannot fully separate this gift from the baptism of the Holy Spirit or from the gift of healing or from other gifts which supposedly accompany the post-salvation experience of the Holy Spirit.

3.    I’ve been told by various charismatics that I would just have to experience it before I should make a judgment. Footnote Charismatics of note have made the same sort of statements: Baptist charismatic, Howard Ervin wrote: The attempt to interpret the Charismatic manifestations of the Holy Spirit without a Charismatic experience is as fatuous as the application of the “Christian ethic” apart from a regenerate dynamic...Understanding of spiritual truth is predicated on spiritual experience. The Holy Spirit does not reveal spiritual secrets to the uncommitted, and quite frankly, the Pentecostal experience is one of total commitment. Footnote J. Rodman Williams: Against the background of sharing in the Holy Spirit and the consequent gifts of the Holy Spirit, information, instruction, and teaching concerning them becomes relevant. A fundamental thesis may here be set forth: Any vital information concerning the gifts of the Spirit, the pneumatic charismata, presupposes a participation in them. Without such a participation, whatever is said about the gifts may only result in confusion and error. Footnote I’ve also been told by others that no matter what they read, they cannot deny what they know to be true inside their own souls. Now, I want you to know that if every experience in your life and the lives of every person you know tells you that X is true, and the Bible tells you that X is false, then X is false. It is as simple as that. Now, if you are a charismatic and you do not believe that, then we have no basis whatsoever for argument. And why you would even bother to read one more paragraph into this book, I do not know. You really ought to go back to your little experiences, because I am going to cover this from the Biblical standpoint. When we get to the verses in the Bible which charismatics stand upon, we will evaluate those verses bit by bit, word by word, so that there is no confusion as to what they mean.

4.    That previous point being made, I have since come to find that there are several Bibles which lean toward the charismatic point of view—James Moffatt’s translation (more or less) along with the NAB, NEB, NJB, NRSV, REB, and the TEV (the Good News Bible). One of the key passages is 1Sam. 10:10. In the Hebrew, Saul simply prophesies with the four prophets that he meets. All of these translations have him going into this state of ecstasy (which is not found in the Hebrew or the Greek). Some mistranslations are more pronounced than others. The NRSV, which I had thought was a reasonably literal translation, says that Saul fell into a prophetic frenzy. If we were to accept that, then every time that Jeremiah or Isaiah went to prophesy before kings, they would therefore fall into a prophetic frenzy before these kings. In the TEV, Saul does not prophesy, but he joins in their ecstatic dancing and shouting. When a charismatic reads a translation like this, looks at the behavior of those in his church who also fall into these ecstatic states, how is he going to think any different?

5.    John urges us: Do not believe every spirit, but analyze the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world (1John 4:1). Now, how do we analyze the spirits? Do we have a really good feeling about them? Do they change and impact our lives, and therefore they are from God? Do they makes us feel really holy and spiritual? We analyze the spirits based upon the Word of God. Frederick Dale Bruner: The test of anything calling itself Christian is not its significance or its success or its power, though these make the test more imperative. The test is truth. Footnote In the next 250+ pages, we will cover each and every Scripture which deals with the so-called gift of tongues, and we will also spend a great deal of time examining a post-salvation experience with the Spirit of God. In this study, regardless of what side of the fence you are on, you will be exposed to things that you have never heard before and have never thought of before.

6.    Thirdly, when it comes to interpretation of Scripture, you must be absolutely careful when it comes to taking a meaning based upon inference. That is, there are a few incidents in the book of Acts which suggest one thing to some people and suggests another to others. It is obvious that when the actions of a person are looked at, or the history of something is examined, that two people can take it to mean different things, or for these incidents to have different inferences. I will grant that. However, you never ever base an important doctrine upon inference—NEVER! Furthermore, if you have taken the inference of one passage to mean one thing, but the direct, incontrovertible Word of God contradicts this later, by doctrine, then you must accept the Word of God and drop the inferred meaning which you got from that other passage. You can go to the book of Acts and tell me what this incident means to you—however, if Paul directly states something which contradicts your inference, then Paul is right and your inference, no matter how well thought out, is wrong. When Paul states a doctrine which you do not care for, he is right, and you, no matter how nice a person you are, are wrong.

7.    Frank Stagg, in introducing his portion of the book Glossolalia, writes: “Speaking in tongues” is the popular phrase for what scholars term glossolalia. This phenomenon, appearing from time to time in the Christian world, is unmistakably reflected in the New Testament. To some it is a sign of church renewal and is to be cultivated. To others it offers only dubious rewards to some individuals, cell groups, and sectarians but leaves disillusionment and disunity in its wake. To some it is the gift of the Holy Spirit, offering a new dimension in Christian fulfillment. To others it is an egocentric escape from the heavier demands of the Christian calling and is more damaging than helpful to the body of Christ and to its witness and work in the world. Some point to the “good” it does; others point to the “harm” it does. Footnote

8.    Vocabulary is extremely important, and it is upon vocabulary that doctrines are built. I have recently been to web sites where they first falsely defined baptism and repentance, and then built their theology upon those incorrectly defined terms. One great different between the Protestant and Catholic church is the difference between their respective definitions of the simple word grace. Footnote Even the tenor of a definition can be misleading. Conrad Murrell, almost at the beginning of his book, To Profit Withal, defines a spiritual gift as the ability to do something that cannot be accounted for in the realm of the flesh...Its success is not enhanced by training, practice or any skill developed through human resources. Footnote Now, whereas Murrell is not completely wrong in this definition, it lends itself to the wrong idea that a gift just is and anyone who has it can immediately use it. The gift of pastor-teacher, for instance, requires many years of study and preparation. Obviously, this must be done while filled with the Spirit of God, learning through the grace of God (which are not human resources); but the person who thinks he ought to preach should never go from that thought directly into a pulpit.

9.    We have three basic positions concerning the sign gifts found in the book of Acts:

       a.    These gifts have always been with the church (apparently some Catholics hold to this).

       b.    These sign gifts died out due to man’s unbelief, but have, in the past century or so, have been revived through the faith and perseverance of the Pentecostal movement. These gifts are the latter rain of God’s plan. A study of church history would bear out that these did disappear for about 18 centuries.

       c.    These sign gifts had specific purposes: (1) to verify the authority of those who had them (Matt. 11:1–6 Isa. 35:5–6 61:1 Rom. 15:18–19 2Cor. 12:11 Heb. 2:3–4); and, (2) to speak to the nation Israel (Isa. 28:11–12 Acts 2:1–12 1Cor. 14:21–22). When God set Israel aside for a time, when the authority of the Apostles was clearly established, and when the completed canon of Scripture came into being, then these gifts were no longer necessary, and God withdrew them (1Cor. 13:8–10 1Tim. 5:23 2Tim. 4:15).


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10.  An historical perspective on signs and miracles is sometimes helpful to clear the air. Most people think of the Bible as being filled with miracles and wonders and healings, when in fact, in the Old Testament, there are perhaps a half dozen men who performed signs or miracles; and the relative amount of time in history during which these occurred is absolutely minuscule.

       a.    We think of the mighty miracles of Moses when in Egypt; however, most of these occurred during perhaps a two month time period. For well over four hundred years prior to this time, there were no miracles or signs—in fact, there appears to be no direct contact with God. For the first forty years of the life of Moses, there was very little by way of sings or miracles. Here is probably the greatest spiritual leader of the Old Testament and in forty years, he sees a burning bush and luckily escapes two life or death situations in Egypt. Don’t misunderstand me—I am not minimizing the burning bush, thereby his direct contact with God—however, I am putting that into perspective that over 400 years in Israel’s history had passed, as well as forty years of Moses’ life, and nada by way of signs and miracles. For a brief period of time, when God was to take Israel out of Egypt, there were a handful of signs and wonders. When Moses and the sons of Israel walked the desert, there were a few miracles—however, given the fact that they were out in the desert for forty years, it was damn few. In fact, at one point in the desert, Moses wrote just about the most mournful psalm you’ll ever read, one which he did not even include in his own personal writings, as it was so downbeat. So, if Moses viewed his time in the desert as slow and lacking in signs—a man who had seen more miracles than any other man to that point in time—then should we expect a lot more by way of signs, wonders and healings? Now, I chose a man from the Bible who would be naturally associated with signs and wonders. For every Moses, I can point out 40 or 50 named believers from the Old Testament who observed no signs or wonders. As I write this, I think of this woman who fancies herself an evangelist, who, in what she said to me, implied that I had a small god because my God didn’t heal or perform miracles like hers did. She simply believed in a Big God. God is very capable of performing miracles which would rock us to our very foundations—however, if the Old Testament record is to be believed, then He performed damned few miracles in the Old Testament. Does that mean that He was not a Big God in the Old Testament? Now, Moses, through these great signs and miracles which God allowed him to perform, established his authority, first before Pharaoh and then before his people (Acts 7:35–36). It was this established authority, along with the visible power of God (Ex. 20:18–20), which allowed Moses to bring the Word of God to the people (Acts 7:36–38, where Stephen calls them the Oracles of God).

       b.    After the time of Moses, we do not have some uninterrupted series of miracles. Miracles during his time were rare, most of them occurring during a couple years of their leaving Egypt and then that year prior to entering the land. It is noteworthy that not only did not the Egyptians or the Pharaoh believe, but that the generation of Israel who witnessed these great miracles, although they believed, went down in infamy as one of the most degenerate generations of Israelites (Heb. 3:7–11). Many psalms and several prophets look back on this period of time, glorifying God for the miracles which He gave; and almost an equal number excoriates that generation of Israelites. God killed off that entire generation in the desert! Two points: (1) they witnessed great miracles and signs, and yet had the hardest of hearts. Secondly, (2) had miracles continued uninterrupted throughout Scripture, there would be no reason for several psalms to glorify God for what He did in Egypt—the writers of Scripture would be too busy recording the myriads of miracles which were still occurring. However, in truth, there were not myriads of miracles to follow the time of Moses and Joshua.

       c.    The second time in the Bible where we find several consecutive miracles in during the ministries of Elijah and Elisha. Although there are some miracles which occur prior to their time and some after; for the most part, those are isolated incidents. You may wonder why did God work miracles through them? God was establishing the authority of the office of prophet (Heb. 1:1). The prophet would record God’s Word to Israel, and this was confirmed by signs and miracles.

       d.    It would be important to note that following the confrontation between Elijah and the prophets of Baal, when God clearly set Elijah apart from them by a miracle (1Kings 18), by the next chapter, Elijah is fleeing for his life.

       e.    The most concentrated time period of miracles was in the 1st century at the hand of our Lord. Now, what is quite fascinating to note is that after three concentrated years of healing the sick, the blind, the lame, those indwelt by demons, and speaking to crowds of 4000–5000, but there were very few converts. Do you recall that some of the cities where our Lord did most of His miracles remained unrepentant? Chorazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum—read Matt. 11:20–24. There are incidents where a large number of people followed our Lord because of His healings and signs (John 6:2), but withdrew from Him because of what He taught (John 6:66). Perhaps our Lord’s greatest miracle, the raising of Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus had been dead for four days and his body was beginning to putrefy (John 11:39) and Jesus called to him from outside the tomb: “Lazarus, here, outside!” There were some who believed in Him as a result (John 11:45), but there were many who did not and went to the pharisees, who then began to plot His death (John 11:46–53). But, though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they continued not to believe in Him (John 12:37). Perhaps you are so focused on miracles that you never read what the historical records say. We only have a small cluster of dedicated disciples after our Lord’s death and resurrection (120 by Acts 1:15). This is fewer than the number of people who Christ appeared to after his crucifixion. Now, for those who read Scripture, they fully understand that Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ (Rom. 10:17). Some think that the power is in miracles—even these puny, unverified and anemic healings performed by so-called divine healers; but the real power of God is in His Word, under the convincing ministry of the Holy Spirit.

11.  It may also be good to have an historical perspective on the sign gifts in the days of the Apostles:

       a.    These sign gifts gave evidence that Jesus was the Messiah (Isa. 35:5 Matt. 11:2–5 Luke 7:18–35 John 10:25, 38). This does not mean that people would accept the evidence.

       b.    When Jesus sent to Apostles out to proclaim the good news and to perform signs and wonders, they were told not to go to the Gentiles, but only to the lost sheep of Israel (Matt. 10:5–8 Mark 6:7).

       c.    These sign gifts continued beyond the cross into the beginning of the Church Age (Acts 14:3–11 19:11–12). These sign gifts were employed to convince the heathen gentiles (Rom. 15:18–19); to vindicate the ministry of the Apostles (2Cor. 12:12); and to confirm the message of salvation (Heb. 2:3–4). Footnote

       d.    Just because the Apostles performed great miracles, this does not mean that all those who witnessed these acts believed. In Acts 3:1–10, Peter cures a man who had been lame since birth—he went from completely atrophied leg muscles, which did not function since birth, to walking and leaping—no physical therapy. God did not heal him slowly, curing first his lameness and then allowing him to increase the strength of his leg muscles—God healed him all at once. Nor was this some completely unknown man—he spent all day, every day in front of the temple begging for money after being carried there and dropped off. Everyone in the temple knew who he was. Peter preached a sermon (Acts 3:11–26) and then he and John were arrested (Acts 4:1–3). Even though many believed in Christ Jesus (Acts 4:4) Footnote and even though the priests and the Sadducees could not deny this particular miracle took place (Acts 4:16), these same priests and Sadducees, who had day in and day out seen this lame man in front of the temple begging alms, still ordered Peter and John not to proclaim Christ (Acts 4:18).

       e.    As Paul turned toward the gentiles, we have fewer and fewer records of signs and wonders. From the book of Acts chapter 20 (which would be about 58 a.d.), we hear little or nothing about signs and wonders in the book of Acts nor do we hear anything of these things in any of the epistles written after this point.

       f.     After that point, in the epistles, we have four mentions of illnesses which were not cured by someone with the gift of healing (and some of them were not cured at all). These case histories will be covered in more detail later.

       g.    The Apostles performed many miracles until around the late 50’s a.d., and, suddenly, there is little or no mention of signs, miracles and wonders—not in the final few chapters of Acts nor in any of the epistles written from that time forward. I mention this, so that you who think that you should walk into a church a view a half dozen miracles are totally without historical perspective. These miracles and signs not only disappear from the Biblical record at the point, but also from extra-Biblical sources as well. So, as you go to church expecting to be jazzed by such things, realize you pretty much expect to see on any given Sunday morning, as much by way of wondrous events as any 1000 Old Testament saints combined. However, what the signs and miracles did was establish the authority of the Apostles, and through them came the final words of God to man (Heb. 2:3–4 Rev. 22:18–19).

       h.    When the spiritual gifts are named prior to 58 a.d., we have several sign gifts listed (1Cor. 12:9–10); when they are enumerated in a later epistle, no sign gifts are mentioned (Eph. 4:11).

       i.     We have a corresponding time period in the book of Acts—from Acts 1–19, we have miracles, tongues, healings, miraculous prison breaks, etc. This takes us to about 58 a.d. From Acts 20 on, we have no tongues, no baptism of the Spirit, no miracles or healings apart from Acts 28 when Luke and Paul are stranded on Malta.

       j.     Not only does Paul tells us that prophecy and tongues would cease (1Cor. 13:8–10), but that several things in the plan of God ceased when they were fulfilled. The ceremonial aspect of the Law ceased when our Lord was incarnated, thus fulfilling the shadows speaking of His coming. The pillar of cloud and of fire which led Israel in the desert wilderness was withdrawn when it fulfilled its purpose as well.

       k.    You see, things have a definite purpose; this purpose is stated in Scripture; and when this purpose has been fulfilled, then there is no longer any need for these things. The sign gifts had specific purposes, as did prophecy. Once those purposes were fulfilled; or once a gift was fulfilled by something else which came to pass, then there is no longer any necessity for the gift. Again—simplest and easiest to understand: animal sacrifices continued until they were fulfilled in Christ. The Old Testament writers of Scripture continued until there was no longer any reason for them to record Scripture. Then we had 400 years of silence from God.

       l.     For the first fifty years of the post-Apostolic church, we have practically no mention of signs or miracles. In the next 50 years, we have slight and unimportant mentions. We see an increase in the 3rd century and a steady increase for the next several centuries, according to the ancient literature. Footnote Dillow: However, Warfield then goes on to devote the rest of his book to the thesis that this “evidence” really is evidence of counterfeit miracles and has no connection with the divine attestations of the first century. A. J. Maclean has reached the same conclusion: Moreover, most of the ecclesiastical miracles are mere prodigies, and can in no sense be called signs. In many cases they are demonstrably the invention of later biographers, and contemporary writers show no knowledge of them. Footnote What this means is that those who wrote during the time that these miracles allegedly took place do not record the miracles as occurring. It is those who lived sometime after the miracles occurred who record the miracles. It is like knowing someone who knows someone who got healed of an organic disease fifty years ago. This is not a dependable witness.

       m.   Certainly, most charismatics believe that the gifts of healing and miracles are in existence today, because we live during a time of great apostasy and unbelief, but, seriously, now—charismatic churches do very little, if anything, to convict the unbeliever, apart from their occasional use of God’s Word. We do not have unbelievers who flock to charismatic churches and are completely blown away by the signs and wonders. It is a sad commentary that many believers are less discerning that smart unbelievers. Our Lord told His disciples to be “...as wise as serpents, and as harmless as doves” (Matt. 10:16). Unfortunately, there are an awful lot of believers who have very little doctrine who are bamboozled by all of this. Now, there are some bona fide conversions of unbelievers in charismatic churches—fewer than you would think—but they were not convicted by the signs and wonders, but by God’s Word when it is spoken. Very few believers, charismatic or otherwise, have any idea as to how powerful the Word of God really is.

12.  Summary points on signs, wonders and miracles:

       a.    Signs, wonders and miracles were both valid and vital during the time periods in which they occurred. They often signified a great change in the plan of God; and with that change, God would mete out authority (Moses, the prophets, the disciples). God also used them to verify the uniqueness of His Son.

       b.    If we are to take today’s signs and wonders as a fulfillment of what was spoken by Joel, then we must accept a watered-down fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. Not only do we accept essentially lame signs and wonders as a fulfillment of God’s power but we then accept a kind of imperfect fulfillment instead of a full, literal, and glorious fulfillment which the plain reading of the ancient prophecies demands. Footnote

       c.    The Bible is not filled from cover to cover with signs, miracles and wonders. We have three relatively short periods of time where God performed many signs, miracles and wonders. God performed signs, wonders and miracles for relatively short periods of time (less than a generation), and then there would be long periods of time when few if any miracles were performed. Perhaps a chart might help here:


A Signs, Wonders and Miracles Time-Line

2500 b.c.

1441–1370 b.c.

 

9th century b.c.

 

 

 

1st century a.d.

500 a.d.

Very few miracles

 

Very few miracles

 

Very few miracles

 

Very few miracles

Legend   

 

 

= the miracles in the time of Moses and Joshua

 

 

 = miracles during the time of Elijah and Elisha

 

 

= miracles during the time of Christ and His Apostles

Each square = 100 years. The period of time during which miracles took place was generally 40–70 years, so the squares would actually be smaller. If we were to take all of human history between 4000 b.c. and 2000 a.d. and break it into increments of 100 years, our chart would look like this:

4000 b.c. Very few miracles

 

 

 

 

 

Very few miracles 2000 a.d.


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       d.    As you can see from the chart, the time period recorded in Scripture when there were signs, miracles and miracles is relatively brief. This is certainly not to say that God did nothing miraculous during those middle periods of time; however, the frequency of miracles was reduced considerably.

       e.    If miracles were the norm throughout history, then just how important were the signs and miracles of Moses? Of our Lord?

       f.     There was more to the miracles than the evidence of the divine power backing them. The miracles that we find in Scripture often teach a great truth or truths to those who witness them.

               i.     When God brought the various plagues upon Egypt, each one was an attack on a specific god of Egypt. We covered this in detail when we went through the book of Exodus.

               ii.     The miracles of Elijah showed the superiority of the God of Israel over Baal (1Kings 18:20–40).

               iii.    The miracles of Jesus often illustrated the power and reality of salvation; and they presented Him as the Messiah. People possessed by demons were cleansed of the demons, just as we are controlled by our old sin natures and are given temporary power over them in this life, and are separated from them in eternity. The cleansing of the lepers illustrates how we look to God before and after salvation, which is not based upon anything that we do, but is based upon His work.

       g.    Let me tell you one of the things that makes me grind my teeth. I heard it on the radio the other day, and had heard it from an acquaintance of mine: they used the term Big God. What they meant was, a person like myself, who does not believe that miracles (as we would so recognize miracles) are a commonplace activity on this earth in the plan of God, believes in a little God; that is, an impotent God who cannot, in our own estimation, perform miracles. Because of our lack of belief, God allows this prophecy to be fulfilled in my life and I therefore observe no miracles. It’s because I believe in a little God (they actually have not used this terminology, insofar as I know). However, they are big on using the term Big God. They believe in a Big God; their God not only can perform miracles but does so at the drop of a hat—at their churches, God is constantly performing this miracle or that, because He is a Big God, capable of performing such miracles. How do I express my thoughts here? That is the biggest load of crap the charismatic movement has tried to pawn off since tongues. I believe in the God of the Bible, the God revealed to us by His Word. This God has chosen, by His Own Divine Plan, to, historically, perform miracles on a very limited basis (in fact, it is very likely that many of the events which we classify as miraculous were actions of great power which conformed to the laws of this universe). He has also chosen to communicate with man on a very limited basis as well. During the 400 years that Israel was in captivity in Egypt, we have no evidence of God speaking to man. During the 400 years between the testaments, even though we have very sincerely religious men, we have no evidence of God speaking to man (and, of course, no recorded miracles during either period of time). I have chosen to believe in God as He has revealed Himself in Scripture. Just because the God of Scripture does not routinely perform miracles like some divine magician, this does not mean that He is a little god. That is simply how He has chosen to fulfill His plan on this earth.

       h.    The result was not always that men were convicted and believed. In fact, there were innumerable instances where undeniable miracles were observed, and the hearts of the observers did not change.

               i.     Although the people of Israel believed Moses, the Pharaoh of Egypt and some of the people of Egypt did not (Ex. 7:14 8:15 11:9–10 14:9).

               ii.     Despite the miracles of Elijah, Ahab and Jezebel did not believe that he was a man to be feared as a prophet from God and pursued him, intending to take his life (1Kings 19:1–3). Although Elijah was not the only one faithful to God who remained, there was still widespread negative volition (1Kings 19:14, 18).

               iii.    Despite the ministry of our Lord, there were only a handful of believers at the cross (just one Apostle) and about 120 of them faithfully gathered in prayer after His resurrection and ascension (Acts 1:15).

               iv.    Despite the miracles of the Apostles, many of them were imprisoned and all died martyr’s deaths, except for John. Paul faced several riots whose overriding emotion was negative volition.

       i.     Signs, wonders and miracles were used to authenticate God’s power and His message. Once His Word and His messengers have been affirmed, God does not have to re-authenticate them. His Word stands and those who wrote it were clearly establish as genuine. God does not have to reaffirm His Word.

               i.     Even though there were some spectacular miracles in the book of Exodus and a few in Numbers and Joshua, once Israel was established, God did not reaffirm Israel with continued signs and wonders (there are very few miracles in the book of Judges, Ruth or 1Samuel—and none which are designed to confirm that Israel has been taken out of Egypt and none which are designed to prove that the Law of Moses is from God).

               ii.     The office of prophet is clearly authenticated in Elijah and in Elisha, but not every prophet then confirmed His message with miracles. The fact that what he said always came to pass was proof enough.

               iii.    As we will study in depth, the signs and miracles wrought by the Apostles came to an end—not just after their deaths, but actually during their lives. Whereas the first two-thirds of the book of Acts is filled with signs, wonders, and miracles, the final one-third barely mentions such things. Paul’s epistles written prior to 58 a.d. often mention various miracles and signs; his epistles written after that, if they refer at all to such things, do so in the aorist tense (which is similar but not equivalent to our past tense). If you will examine two preachers from charismatic groups who meet on friendly terms and discuss what is going on (on, say, some religious talk show), you will note a stark contrast between their conversations and Paul’s letters to Timothy and to Titus. Not only does it appear as though we are looking in on a different religion, it appears as though these faiths are from different planets.

       j.     Signs and miracles never preceded the coming of the messenger. John the Baptizer, the herald of our Lord, worked no miracles. Only after the messenger arrived were miracles done. Jesus was 30 before he performed any miracles. Moses was 80. Miracle-workers do not precede the coming of our Lord; it is the mystery of lawlessness which precedes the coming of the lawless one (2Thess. 2:1–10). God will send false signs and wonders. And for this reason, God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe the lie, in order that they all might be judged who did not believe the truth [God’s Word, the Bible], but took pleasure in unrighteousness (2Thess. 2:11–12). Although this study will examine in some detail the validity of the signs and wonders being done today, the thrust of this study will be what does the Bible say about tongues in this time period?

       k.    We have both internal and external evidence that the miracles performed by the Apostles came to an end.

       l.     There is a clear distinction between the quality of the miracles found in the Bible and those performed by charismatics today. Magicians perform more impressive miracles than do the so-called faith healers of today (we will cover that in much greater detail). The fact that signs and miracles in this time period are far less impressive than they were during the days of our Lord’s first advent only serves to cheapen what He did. Don’t you understand that when a wide-eyed believer points at some TV evangelist sign-worker and says “There’s the power of Jesus” that the discerning unbeliever can see right through this sham? The unbeliever is not convicted of his standing before God; furthermore, he clearly recognizes a huckster when he sees one and thinks less of you because you don’t.

       m.   MacArthur: [Thus]...The underlying assumption that drives the whole Third Wave [the newest charismatic movement] is wrong. Miracles, signs, and wonders are impotent to produce either faith or genuine revival. Furthermore, power-encounter ministry misses the whole point of our witness. We are not commissioned to confront satanic power with miracle power. We are commissioned to confront satanic lies with divine truth. Footnote

13.  I want to make this next point with great care: the great signs and wonders of the Bible always introduced a new message, new messengers and a change of God’s program. Is this what we have today in the charismatic movement? In this case, I would have to answer in the affirmative. We do have a new message, a different Jesus, a changed gospel, and new messengers. However, just as most of their signs and miracles are faked, so is their message one of false hope, lacking in power and authority. We really have a message of works instead of grace—it’s not a new message, it is just in somewhat different packaging. Do not forget the pattern for our age: We walk by faith and not by sight (2Cor. 5:7).

14.  No Apostle ever urges believers to seek after or to seek for signs and wonders and miracles. Paul urges pastors to study (2Tim. 2:15), for believers to let the Word of Christ indwell them (Col. 3:16) and to walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:25) and John urges believers to walk in the light (1John 1:7), but none of the writers of Scripture ever suggest that believers look to signs and miracles for their truth. MacArthur: The book of Revelation is full of visions, wonders, and signs. It would be a perfect place for the writer to urge believers to seek such miraculous manifestations, but what did he say? “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it” (Rev. 1:3). Footnote

15.  Dillow has a chart in his book Speaking in Tongues which I will replicate here, with some modifications: Footnote


God’s Fourfold Purpose of Miracles

Purposes of God

Moses and Joshua

1441–1390 b.c.

Elijah and Elisha

870–785 b.c.

Christ and His Apostles

 a.d. 28–95

To introduce a new era:

God formed the nation Israel (Ex. 6:6–7 19:8 33:13 Deut. 4:4–6). “Has a god tried to go to take for himself a nation from within another nation by trials, by signs and wonders and by war and by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm and by great terrors, as Jehovah your God did for you in Egypt before you eyes?” (Deut. 4:34).

God established the office of prophet and established that He would now speak to Israel through the prophet (1Kings 17:1)

God offers His kingdom to Israel (Matt. 4:23 15:23 10:7–8 Luke 4:18–19)

God establishes His church (Acts 15:12)

To authenticate His messengers:

Moses (Ex. 4:1–9, 29–31 14:31); Joshua (Joshua 3:7)

Elijah (1Kings 17:1, 24 18:36 2Kings 1:10)

Elisha (2Kings 5:8)

Christ (Matt. 11:4–5 Mark 2:7 John 10:25 14:11 20:30–31 Acts 2:22)

The Apostles (2Cor. 12:12 Heb. 2:4)

To authenticate their message:

To pharaoh (Ex. 7:17 8:19)

To the people of Egypt (Ex. 8:21–27)

To Israel (Ex. 6:6–7 14:31)

Forsake the idols and return to Jehovah (1Kings 17:24 18:36)

The offer of His kingdom (Matt. 12:28 John 10:37–38)

The re-offer of His kingdom and its establishment to the Church (Acts 3:1–8 4:16 8:5–7 14:3 Rom. 15:18–19)

To instruct the observers:

Israel (Ex. 10:12 14:13–14 16:2)

Pharaoh (Ex. 8:10, 22 9:14)

Egypt (Ex. 9: 20 11:7 14:4)

The nations (Ex. 9:16 Joshua 2:9–11)

Prophets of Baal

The people of Israel (1Kings 18:39 2Kings 5:15)

To the leaders and the people of Israel (Matt. 8:26 Mark 6:50 John 6:5–6 Acts 5:1–11)


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16.  Part of the problem is that some do not actually realize what an Apostle is. Apostleship is a specific gift given to very few believers. In the New Testament, fewer than 15 are called Apostles, and a case could be made for the proper use of that office as versus the authority which was passed along to one who was called an Apostle, even though he really did not have the true office of Apostleship. However, that is a whole other topic. What is clear is that an Apostle had authority over more than one church, which authority Paul felt himself obligated to defend in 2Corinthians 12. The signs of a true Apostle were produced among you with all perseverance, by signs and powers and miracles (2Cor. 12:12). In fact, the only sign gift which is historically documented as being used by one who is not called an Apostle is the gift of tongues. Footnote The only other ones who ever demonstrated such gifts were those commissioned directly by the Apostles (Stephen and Philip in Acts 6). MacArthur: ...from the day the church was born at Pentecost, no miracle ever occurred in the entire New Testament record except in the presence of an apostle or one directly commissioned by an apostle. Footnote

17.  As a corollary to the above point, let me give you several reasons why we no longer have the gift of Apostleship today:

       a.    All New Testament Scripture was composed by either an Apostle or someone closely associated with an Apostle (Mark or Luke). The New Testament canon was closed (Rev. 22:18–19); along with several prominent bodies of believers throughout history. Once the canon of Scripture is closed, we no longer need authoritative pronouncements from an Apostle.

       b.    The Apostles proper were all chosen personally by Christ Jesus (Matt. 10:1–4 Luke 6:12–16 Gal. 1:1 1Tim. 1:1 2Tim. 1:1). I say Apostles proper, as there were a couple of others called Apostles to the Church (e.g., 2Cor. 8:23), which some take as the nontechnical use of the word Apostle. In case you are hesitant here, there is also the technical term Church (for the Church universal) and the nontechnical use, where it stands for a local church.

       c.    The Apostles (as well as others) were all eyewitnesses to the resurrected Christ. Am I not an Apostle? Have I not see Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? (1Cor. 9:1b; see also 1Cor. 15:7–8). there are charismatics who claim to speak with Jesus regularly: one has washed dishes while Jesus put his arm around his shoulder; another was watching Laverne & Shirley when our Lord dropped by to sit on his couch (the same person also got into a splash fight with Jesus in the River of Life in heaven); and still another was cruising down the road, and Jesus appeared on the passenger side and visited with him. Footnote Interestingly enough, our Lord only appeared to groups after His resurrection; and, after His ascension, He only appeared to Paul (who was with other people—Acts 9:1–9 18:9 23:11) and to Saint Stephen, who was also with others, who apparently did not see Him (Acts 7:54–60). Isn’t it odd that to charismatics, He only appears to one of them at a time?

       d.    The Church, for which Christ is the cornerstone, is founded upon the Apostles (New Testament) and the prophets (Old Testament) (Eph. 2:20). Footnote

       e.    In his epistles to Timothy and to Titus, Paul speaks of the leadership of a local church, and he never mentions the Apostles as a part of that leadership structure.

       f.     Only Apostles and those commissioned by the Apostles (who might be considered the nontechnical Apostles) performed signs, wonders and miracles.

       g.    Whereas, those in the early church with the gift of prophecy were subject to careful scrutinization (1Cor. 14:29–33), the Apostles had absolute authority (Jude 17).

       h.    In the New Jerusalem, there will be twelve foundation stones, upon which are written the names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb (Rev. 21:14).

       i.     MacArthur: The apostles were unquestionably a special breed; they had no successors...their office is unique, their ministry is unique; the miracles they did are unique...The age of the apostles and what they did is forever in the past...the apostolic age was unique and it ended. History says it, Jesus says it, theology says it, and the New Testament itself repeated attests to it. Footnote Let me add that we have no historical records of Apostles after the first century (this is Romanism aside, which began several centuries later).


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18.  Pentecostals have two basic choices: (1) either the gift of tongues died out and was revived at the turn of this past century; or, (2) the gift of tongues has always been a part of the Christian church. Those who take the latter view will be quite interested in the next point:

19.  The History of tongues and the charismatic movement:

       a.    Introductory points:

               i.     It is my understanding the John Sherrill’s book, They Speak with Other Tongues, documents the occurrence of tongues over the past 2000 years. I thought that I had a copy of this book, but I do not. Dillow: The citations in Sherrill’s list are scanty and cover 2,000 years of history. There are often gaps of 500 years or more between the appearance of tongues outbursts. This can hardly be said to argue in favor of the gift remaining in the church. It may argue that God occasionally enables men to speak in tongues, assuming that the cited instances were indeed legitimate manifestations of the New Testament gift. But it no more proves that the gift of tongues is in the church today than does Jesus’ raising of Lazarus prove that god’s norm in the first century was to raise the dead. As alluded to above, it should be noted that some of the outbreaks of tongues speaking mentioned by Sherrill occurred in connection with known heretical movements. Footnote What I will provide herein is more instances of the gift of tongues with probably more detail than Sherrill provides.

               ii.     Nichol: [Despite differing opinions as to exactly when the modern Pentecostal movement began] ...all Pentecostals appear to agree on one fact: that the Pentecostal experience is not a religious innovation, and that in on form or another it has manifested itself throughout the history of the Christian Church. Footnote With that in mind, we will spend some time with the actual history of the charismatic movement itself. As you read these various occurrences of tongues in history, note that, no matter where you choose to see the beginning of the tongues movement, from that point on, there was always a certain amount of evolution which took place. That is, it starts out as one thing, but later becomes something else.

               iii.    There are some charismatics who believe that there are evidences for the gift of tongues throughout church history. Donald Gee writes: It is a commonplace of Church History that the special phenomena now associated with the Pentecostal Movement have occurred again and again during periods of spiritual revival and enthusiasm. A long list of such happenings could be cited, but it will be sufficient to quote such an acknowledged authority as the Encyclopedia Britannica...that the Glossolalia “recurs in Christian revivals in every age; e.g., among the mendicant friars of the thirteenth century, among the Jansenists and early Quakers, the converts of Wesley and Whitefield, the persecuted Protestants of the Cévennes, and the Irvingites.”  Footnote Nichol, who is rather level-headed about this, disagrees with Gee and the Encyclopedia Britannica; however, I will provide this long list. That is what is to follow. The most well-documented use of the gift of tongues in past times (apart from the Apostolic era) is by the Irvingites—we will spend a lot of time with them. Once we have finished, some Pentecostals will not want to be associated with their historical brethren.

       b.    There appears to be a Hellenistic gift of tongues—that is, those who belonged to some of the Greek religions spoke with ecstatic utterances during their religious services. Footnote

       c.    Historically, we do have a dying out of tongues and the sign gifts. Origen writes that he believed them to be still in existence. He lived in the late second and early third centuries.

       d.    There have been outbreaks of this movement or similar movements in previous times. There were the Montanists of Phrygia during the second century a.d. The Bishop of Hierapolis, Apollinaris, circa 170 a.d., described Montanus, the founder, saying: [Montanus]...became beside himself, and being suddenly 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. The two associates of this sects founder were, surprisingly enough, female (Prisca and Maximilla) who claimed to be organs of the Divine Comforter promised of Christ. Footnote E. Glenn Hinson further writes: Apollinaris reported further, he enlisted two women whom he filled with “the false spirit,” “so that they talked wildly and unreasonably and strangely,” like Montanus himself. Footnote The emphasis of this small group appears to be upon prophecy rather than upon tongues. Their prophetical statements tended to be very brief, but understandable. And note the emphasis, which was mine—the observer states that what Montanus did was contrary to the custom of the church—this was not a continuation of Pentecost but an aberration of same. This sounds more like the leader of a Pentecostal church rather than a representative of the early church. Bear in mind that if the use of tongues were as some have given, to bolster one’s faith and to make a person more at one with the Spirit by first surrendering their tongue, then our earliest historical records, even apart from the epistles, should be brimming with information about this particular use of the gift of tongues. However, what we have is this quote, which sounds modern, but is contrary to the custom of the early church. Hmmm...if you are a charismatic, doesn’t that pose some problems for you? And, as a charismatic, you cannot distance yourself too much from this early group. Larry Christenson (a charismatic author) accurately identified them as forerunners of the charismatic movement. Footnote

       e.    Irenæus, the Bishop of Lyons, mentions glossolia three times. On the first occasion, it refers back to the day of Pentecost. On the second occasion, he apparently is explaining the word perfect in 1Cor. 2:16 (obviously, it was not the same word to him). He wrote: [”perfect” refers to those]...who have received the Spirit of God, and who through the Spirit of God do speak in all languages, as he (Paul) used Himself also to speak. In like manner, we do also hear many brethren in the church, who possess prophetic gifts, and who through the Spirit speak all kinds of languages, and bring to light for the general benefit the hidden things of men, and declare the mysteries of God. Footnote His third reference is to Marcus, possibly an early Gnostic, who would seduce women with the promise of some manifestation of the Holy Spirit. His encouragement to them, not too unlike the encouragement given by charismatics to those who have not yet spoken in tongues, resulted in: She then, vainly puffed up and elated by these words, and greatly excited in soul by the expectation that it is herself who is to prophesy, her heart beating violently, reaches the requisite pitch of audacity, and idly as well as impudently utters some nonsense as it happens to occur to her, such as might be expected from one heated by an empty spirit...Henceforth, she reckons herself a prophetess, and expresses her thanks to Marcus for heaving imparted to her of his own Charis. Footnote

       f.     Tertullian, the African theologian, converted to the cult of the Montanists in 206. He blasts Marcion for his doctrine of the two gods (the God of Wrath in the Old Testament and the God of Love in the New), and then challenged him to produce prophecy in his group as Tertullian observed in his own group, which were Montanists. An extended quote from Tertullian, which many be found in Glossolia, indicates that Montanists experienced ecstasy, rapture, and prophetical sayings. That they spoke in mysterious tongues is not stated directly, but might be inferred. The pagan philosopher, Celsus, made these comments, apparently about the Montanists: [They speak]...strange, fanatical, and quite unintelligible words, of which no rational person can find the meaning; for so dark are they, as to have no meaning at all; but they give occasion to every fool or impostor to apply them to suit his own purposes. Footnote

       g.    We have two church fathers, Augustine and Chrysostom, who clearly state that tongues died out by their era (the 4th century a.d.). I will quote these early church fathers in when we get to 1Cor. 13:10. However, let me give you a quote from Nichol: Except for a somewhat ambiguous reference in Irenæus (ca. a.d. 130) and Tertullian (ca a.d.160) little more remains in patristic literature concerning Pentecostal gifts in the second century. Footnote So that you don’t think that the early church fathers didn’t write much, it was determined by Sir David Dalrymple that, if all 24,000+ Greek manuscripts of the New Testament had been lost, that he could piece together all but 11 verses of the New Testament from the writings of the church fathers of the second and third centuries. Footnote If tongues are what charismatics say they are, and if their use was never terminated, and if their early church fathers were so prolific as to, in their writings, include the entire New Testament, save eleven verses, then don’t you think there would be some mention of this gift of tongues? If it is that important to bolster the faith and that important as a giving over of the will to the Holy Spirit, and if the early church fathers were so concerned with God’s Word that they wrote so much, why do we not find innumerable references to this gift? Pick up a book by any Pentecostal who deals with what he believes and count the number of times that we find the word tongues in his writings—now compare that to the early church fathers—do you see a problem with the modern charismatic movement? Do you see how incongruous their claims our with the historical record? Charismatics cannot point back to a contiguous use of the gift of tongues—particularly not as they present this gift for today. You should not be embarrassed that Satan has fooled you—he is more intelligent than all of us put together. Our only weapons against his lying deceptions are the filling of God the Holy Spirit along with a thorough knowledge of God’s Word. Some holy experience is not a reliable weapon against the confusion wrought by Satan.

       h.    The Gnostics, who were opposed to Christianity, also had prayers and incantations which were akin to the use of tongues. These gifts, not necessarily valid ones, died out with the Gnostic and Montanist movements before the beginning of the fifth century a.d.

       i.     At this point in time, we have few if any references to the gift of tongues. J. J. Görres wrote Die christliche Mystik, where he names at least seven different Catholic saints who were able to speak in foreign languages that they had not learned. At face value, this would seem to be a validation of tongues for all of Christianity; however, one of those named wrote several letters indicating the difficulties that he had encountered in communicating with different tribes. He had tried numerous approaches—translating some of the main church formulas into the language after he had learned enough of the language to do this, getting help from others to patch together some doctrinal statements to be memorized, employing interpreters, missing various dialects, or even using signs. Footnote His alleged gift of tongues was not mentioned until a century after his death. Just as everything that you read on the web is not necessarily true; not every historical document from the ancient world is accurate.

       j.     Apparently, there has been no similar systematic search of the East during medieval times, but it is theorized that they were probably more prevalent there than in the west (where they were almost nonexistent) due to their more mystical, individualistic, otherworldly, introverted piety. Footnote

       k.    There are the Ranters of England (I believe) between the years of 1648–1660. They were involved with various types of speech and they possibly believed that, because they were indwelt by God and Christ that they lay claim to being God and Christ, or so said one detractor. Excellent moniker, by the way.

       l.     The Quakers probably had some involvement with the gift of tongues. Fox and his followers often reported visions, groanings, quaking or trembling, weeping, outburst of prophecy, foaming at the mouth, faintings, and the like as a result of their meetings. Quakers got their name, of course, from the jerking spasms which they experienced when under strong religious emotion...[they] minimized glossolalia. They placed their primary emphasis on intelligible prophecy. Footnote

       m.   We also have the Camisards of France in the 1700’s. This was a strange group. During the heavy oppression of the Catholic church during that time, wherein public and private worship apart from Romanism was forbidden. This would have been the late 1600’s. France did have a significant Protestant population, who resisted these laws. One group of resistors were some peasants in the Cévennes Mountains of the Languedoc province Under the most distressing conditions of poverty and terror a sort of religious hysteria seized some of them. One of their own was a young girl named Isabeau Vincent, a woodcutter’s daughter, who was said to have prophesied for hours in perfectly cultivated French. Subsequently, as the fervor of persecution heightened, reports of spiritual inspiration increased, touching all ages and both sexes. Various physical phenomena accompanied it—convulsions, foaming at the mouth, sobbing, and glossolalia. One of the most surprising things was its incidence among small children, even infants. Footnote These peasants raised up an army in 1702, known as the Camisards, who were so successful in their resistance that the French authorities granted them considerable concessions in 1704. Their resistance died out around 1710, as apparently did their movement.

       n.    There was a group in England called the “French Prophets” who seem to have some relationship to the Camisards of France, although it was not clear what that relationship was, whether simply by being of a similar ilk or some of the Camisards who fled to England for religious freedom. They prophesied, worked miracles and spoke with tongues. There was a Mr. Dalton who spoke with great readiness and freedom complete discourses in Hebrew, for near a quarter of an hour together and sometimes much longer even though he did not know one Hebrew letter from another. Even giving him the benefit of the doubt, if you have ever attended a Catholic mass spoken in Latin, then you pretty much have the idea of what it would have been like listening to Dalton expound in Hebrew. There was also a Mr. Lacy who could speak Latin, Greek and French, although French was apparently the only one of the languages that he actually knew. These prophets made the mistake of making predictions which were just too specific. They claimed that Dr. Emes, who had died on Dec. 22, 1707, would rise again March 25, 1708. Needless to say, the late Dr. Emes passed on this opportunity to wake up from his dirt nap, and Lacy had to back-peddle somewhat on his position, writing and publishing a paper on why Dr. Emes did not rise from the dead. They had also prophesied that great and terrible judgments would fall upon England in three weeks. When it didn’t happen, they decided that these must be three prophetical weeks. They explained, as do some charismatics today, that the Lord was returning during their time, and that this was the pouring out of the Holy Ghost in the last times. Footnote

       o.    The Roman Catholics have had at least one old encounter with the gift of tongues in 1731. The Jansenists of France had a tongues experience, which the church attempted to quench, making it more intense. The French state authorities apparently put an end to this behavior. Footnote

       p.    In the early -mid 1800’s, we have the Irvingites in England, a group that I will spend some time with, as there are many common characteristics between these people and the modern-day tongues movement, both as to their experiences and personal testimonies and as to the testimonies of their detractors. The leader of this movement was Scottish Edward Irving (1792–1834), who, by nature, was a mystic and a charismatic. He led a Presbyterian church in London. Irving apparently did not speak in tongues himself. He had heard of a young farm girl in Scotland, Mary Campbell, who claimed to speak with prophetic inspiration after being delivered from death’s door. Well, she had friends who had gifts of tongues and healing. On April 30, 1831, the gift of tongues was made manifest in his own church when a Mrs. Cardale spoke in tongues and prophesied (there are implications that an instance like this may have slightly predated this incident and there are three or four different women who are also named as a part of this beginning). A second-hand description of their speaking in tongues sounds decidedly modern: To some, the ecstatic exclamations, with their rolling syllables and mighty voice, were imposing and awful; to others it was merely gibberish shouted from stentorian lungs; to others an uneasy wonder, which it was a relief to find passing into English, even though the height and strain of sound were undiminished. Footnote These tongues appeared to give away to short bursts of English in the end. At first, these bursts into tongues were presented as real languages. Mary Campbell claimed to be speaking the language of the Pelew Islanders. Erskine, in his tract, On the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, 1830, wrote For the languages are distinct, well-inflected, well-compacted languages; they are not random collections of sounds, they are composed of words of various lengths, with the natural variety, and yet possessing that commonness of character which marks them to be one distinct language. I have heard many people speak gibberish, but this is not gibberish, it is decidedly well compacted language. Footnote Cardale, an observer, wrote: The tongues spoken by all the several persons who have received the gift are perfectly distinct in themselves, and from each other. J. Macdonald speaks two tongues, both easily discernible from each other. I easily perceived when he was speaking in the one, and when in the other tongue. J. Macdonald exercises his gift more frequently than any of the others; and I have heard him speak for twenty minutes together, wit all the energy of action and voice of an orator addressing his audience. The language which he then, and indeed generally, uttered is very full and harmonious, containing many Greek and Latin radicals, and with inflections also noticed that he employed the same radical with different inflections; but I do not remember to have noticed his employing two words together, both of which as to root and inflection, I could pronoun to belong to any language with which I am acquainted. Footnote Mary Campbell’s written-tongue was later submitted to a George Staunton and Samuel Lee, who concluded that it was not any real language at all. Footnote Soon thereafter, they began to regard their tongues as heavenly languages. Irving described the heavenly language of one as follows: The whole utterance form the beginning to the ending of it, is with a power, and strength, and fullness and sometimes rapidity of voice, altogether different from that of the person’s ordinary utterance in any mood; and I would say, both in its form and in its effects upon a single mind, quite supernatural. There is a power in the voice which I have never felt. Carlyle, another observer, gave a slightly different view: It was in a neighboring room...There burst forth a shrieky hysterical ‘Lah lall lall!’ (Little or nothing else but l’s and a’s) continued for several minutes...‘Why was there not a bucket of water to fling on that lah-lalling, hysterical madwoman’ thought we or said to one another. Footnote In writing all of this, I had decided that I have really spent too much time on the Irvingites, and then I read what appeared two more observations of a typical church service there. The first observer, Henry Vizetelly, in Glances Back Through the Years (1893), wrote: What chiefly attracted me to the chapel in Newman-street was the expectation, generally realised, of the spirit moving some hysterical shrieking sister or frantic Boanerges brother (posted in the raised recess behind Irving’s pulpit), to burst forth suddenly with one of those wild rapid utterances which, spite of their unintelligibility, sent a strange thrill through all who heard them for the first time...He has grown gray and haggard-looking, and this, with his long, straggling hair and restless look, emphasized by the cast in his eye, gave him a singularly wild and picturesque appearance. His voice, too, was piercingly loud, and his gestures were as vehement as those of any street ranter of the day. Footnote The second observer wrote, speaking of a prayer meeting which occurred before dawn, at six in the morning on a cold winter’s day: The church appeared to me to be pitch dark; only the lights from the gas lamps shining into the windows enabled us to grope our way forward. It seemed to be entirely full, but my friend accosted a verger, who led us to an excellent seat, nearly opposite the reading desk. After the people were seated the most solemn stillness prevailed. The sleet beating upon the windows was the only sound that could be heard. The clouded sky and the driving snow increased the obscurity, and it was not for some time that we could perceive our nearest neighbors, and assure ourselves that the place was full from one end to the other. I quite believe in the exquisite simplicity and entire sincerity of Mr. Irving’s whole character. I believe him to have been incapable of deliberately planning the scene which followed. Had he, however, been the most consummate actor that ever lived, had he studied the art of scenic portraiture and display from his youth up, he could not have produced a finer effect than on this occasion. Just as the clocks outside struck six, the vestry door opened and he entered the church with a small but very bright reading lamp in his hand. He walked with solemn step to the reading desk, and placing the lamp upon it, immediately before him, he stood up facing the audience. Remember, this was the only light in the place. It shone upon his face and figure as if to illuminate him alone. He had on a voluminous dark blue cloak, with a large cape, with a gilt clasp at the throat, which he loosened at once, so that the cloak formed a kind of a background to his figure. Tall, erect, and graceful, he stood for a few moments in silence, his pale face in the white light, his long dark locks falling down upon his collar, his eyes solemn and earnest, peering into the darkness of the building...After a few musical, earnest words of prayer, he opened the Bible before him, and began to read the twenty-second chapter of Revelation. If I were to live a hundred years I should never forget the reading of that chapter. I believe it exceeded in effect the finest speech and most eloquent sermon ever uttered. The exquisite musical intonation and modulation of voice, the deep and intense pathos of delivery, as if the speaker felt every word entering into his own soul, and that he was pouring it out to create a sympathy with his own feelings in others—all this was very wonderful, and totally absorbing every thought of the audience. But when he came to that verse, ‘I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and Morning Star,’ the effect of the last five words was electrical. The people could not cheer nor applaud, nor in any way relieve their feelings. There was a kind of hard breathing, a sound of suppressed emotion, more striking than the loudest plaudits could have been. The reader himself stopped for a moment as if to allow his unwonted emotion to subside. Before he could resume there came from a woman who was two or three seats behind me, a sound so loud that I am sure it might have been heard on the opposite side of the square. I have been trying to find a word by which to describe it, and the only word I can think of is the word ‘yell.’ It was not a scream nor a shriek; it was a yell so loud and so prolonged that it filled the church entirely, and as I have said, must have been heard far beyond it. It was at first one single sound, but it seemed in a short time to resolve itself into many separate sounds—not into articulate words by any means. They were far more like the sounds uttered by a deaf and dumb child modulating its tones, but wholly innocent of speech. This was the beginning and the ending of the so-called ‘unknown tongues’ in Regent Square, by which I mean they never varied from nor improved upon this type. How any one could be so deluded as to fancy in them any words or syllables, to say nothing of any language, I could never understand. There was no articulation, and no attempt at it. Had there been now and then something like a word, it was mixed up in such a jargon of sound, it was uttered with such rapidity, and in such a long continued and prolonged yell that, led up to it as I had been by the adjuncts of the scene, by the weirdness and obscurity of the building, I was never deceived by it for one moment. After a few minus’ utterance of these ‘unknown tongues,’ the excited woman began to speak in articulate English words. It was still in the same loud yell, slightly subdued by the necessity of speech. The utterances were chiefly texts of Scripture of an exhortative kind—the first word being uttered three times over, each one louder than the last, the last calling forth the woman’s powers to the utmost, her breast heaving and straining with exertion. On this occasion the English began oddly enough, with the word, ‘Kiss! Kiss!! Kiss!!! the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way.’ This morning there was only one manifestation. Generally there were two; on several occasions I heard three, and once four. They proceeded, however, from the same woman, for while the second was speaking the first recovered her strength, and as her companion’s voice died away in subdued murmurs, she burst out anew, as if a dozen spirits were contending in her. When I look back on that first morning, I feel moved with the deepest pty and regret for poor Edward Irving. He was greatly excited and overcome. In his honest heart, he believed that God had honored him and favored him above all the ministers in London. I can see him now before me, as I saw him then, meekly and humbly saying, “I will now finish reading the chapter in which I was interrupted by the Holy Spirit, speaking by this young woman.” Yes I heard him say this with my own ears. Already the charm of the service was gone. He seemed glad to conclude it, as if he were afraid his own gentle words could detract from and injure the holy impression that had bee produced. Footnote Into this church came a Robert Baxter, who, when under the spirit, would prophesy. He once ordered Irving to go to the Court of Chancery to deliver a message, which, apparently, would just come to him when he arrived there. He should then expect to be put into jail. Irving did go, no message came to him, and he was not cast into prison. Footnote Irving was later deposed from this ministry, in part due to his heretical view of our Lord (that, although Jesus was sinless, he nonetheless possessed an old sin nature), and he returned to his church as a deacon. He died two years later. It is possible that some members of that church continued to speak in tongues after his demotion and death. These appear to be scattered cults which possessed some decidedly non-Christian doctrine. However, for the most part, they seemed to have died out in the first century or two (at the longest). Near the end of her life, Mary Campbell recanted what she had presented herself as, which was, for all intents and purposes, the original push which got the Irvington movement started. She wrote, It is no light thing to use the holy name irreverently, as I have been made to feel. Robert Story sent Irving her note to Irving and also commented: [It was] disappointing a career hers had turned out, especially as eh was considered the most remarkable and conclusive evidence of the Holy Ghost being again with power in the midst of the church. Story, in his note, expressed great remorse that he had not exposed Mary Campbell earlier. Apparently, Story’s note was delivered after Irving had died. Irving did write him on January 27, 1841, saying: Oh, Story, thou has grievously sinned in standing afar off from the work of the Lord, scanning it like a skeptic instead of proving it like a spirited man! Ah! brother, repent, and the Lord will forgive thee!...Mrs. Caird [Mary Campbell’s married name] is a saint of God, and hath the gift of prophecy. Footnote Thomas Bayne wrote, concerning Robert Story: In 1830 his parishioner, Mary Campbell, professed to have received the ‘gift of tongues,’ and though Story exposed her imposture, she found disciples in London, and was credited by Edward Irving, then in the maelstrom of his impassioned fanaticism. On the basis of her predictions arose the ‘Holy Catholic Apostolic Church.’  Footnote In other words, here we have one of the most well-documented original tongues groups, and it is based upon a lie to begin with. You may think that this is an example of Satan counterfeiting God’s work, which, obviously it is. However, during that time period there was no other tongues group to counterfeit—that is, this is not an apostate tongues group which led some of the godly tongues people away—this was the only known group like this from that time period. When Satan counterfeits God’s works, it is to lead some astray. Satan was not leading people from other tongues groups astray; Satan was leading believers astray with he Irvingites.

       q.    Nichol: On October 19, 1832, the Exhibition Hall off Oxford Street was acquired and made into a church. Needless to say, “Pentecostal” manifestations occurred at the opening meeting and continued thereafter. As a matter of fact, the “Gifted Prophets” and the new order of “Apostles,” among whom Irving was not numbered, took over the church, subjecting their minister to their prophetic utterances and rulings, and even interrupting his sermons and the administration of the ordinances with their charismatic outbursts. Footnote

       r.     Nichol points out four similarities between the Irvingites and contemporary Pentecostals:

               i.     Speaking in tongues was considered evidentiary of spirit baptism.

               ii.     Speaking in tongues and receiving the spirit post salvation was initially necessary in order to receive one of the charismatic gifts of the Spirit.

               iii.    The gifts manifested by the Apostles at Pentecost and soon after are gifts which have belonged to the church throughout its history, which had been withheld as the church had been unfaithful.

               iv.    The Presbyterians expelled Irving and his charismatic following, forcing them to begin a new denomination, the Catholic Apostolic Church.

       s.    The early Methodist groups, particularly those in Northern England and Wales, had some experience with extraordinary spiritual phenomena. When Dr. Conyers Middleton claimed that the gift of tongues and miracles had died out with the Apostles, John Wesley countered with the example of the Cévenols. Wesley gave an account in both his Journal and in A Short History of the People Called Methodists of a meeting in Huntingtonshire in May of 1979, during which both the adults and children fell under the power of the Spirit. They shrieked, swooned, fell to the floor as if dead, babbled senselessly, cried out in praise of God, and so on...The Great Awakening and subsequent revivals produced some unusual by-products...the demand for a tangible display of the receiving of the Spirit...[created] astounding physical demonstrations. Barking, violent jerking, shrieking and shouting, wild dancing, fainting, and the like were common. Footnote I have seen short arguments that Wesley did approve and others which said he did not approve of this behavior. David Shibley claims that John Wesley was really the precursor to the charismatic movement in the 1700’s. Footnote In my five volume set, History of the Christian Church, it makes mention of Wesley having an interest, if not a leaning, toward mysticism early on during his days at Oxford, but that he later appeared to repudiate this viewpoint. Footnote Given that the Methodist Church does not have any stated doctrinal leanings towards mysticism, speaking in tongues or a second experience with the Holy Spirit, to me that would indicate that this was not a part of his doctrine. Footnote In any case, such a point is moot—that these things did occur has his testimony. I had personally thought, until this study, that the phrase slain in the Spirit was a relatively new one. John McGee, an evangelist of that group, recounts the following incident from the summer of 1799: William (John’s brother) felt such a power come over him that he quit his seat and sat down on the floor of the pulpit, I suppose not knowing what he did. A power which caused me to tremble was upon me. There was a solemn weeping all over the house. At length I rose up and exhorted them to let the Lord God Omnipotent reign in their hearts, and their soul should live. Many broke the silence. The woman in the east end of the house shouted tremendously. I left the pulpit and went through the audience shouting and exhorting with all possible ecstasy and energy, and the floor was soon covered with the slain. Footnote

       t.     The Shakers were founded by visionary Mother Ann Lee, who considered herself to be the female equivalent of Jesus Christ. She claimed to be able to speak in seventy-two languages. The Shakers believed sexual intercourse was sinful, even within marriage. They spoke in tongues while dancing and singing in a trancelike state. Footnote They moved from England to the United States in 1774, first settling in New York and then branching out from there. According to their “Summary View of the Millennial Church,” published in 1848, they regarded tongues, dancing, and various ecstatic states as the highest expressions of worship. Footnote

       u.    The Mormons, who are considered by the majority of Christendom to be a cult (they have additional Books of Truth besides the Bible), also had an involvement with these gifts of the Spirit. Joseph Smith, their founder, mentions the gift of tongues and the gift of interpretation of tongues several times in the Book of Mormon, giving his tacit approval. Mormon 9:7–9: And again I speak unto you who deny the revelations of God, and say that they are done away, that there are no revelations, nor prophecies, nor gifts, nor healing, nor speaking with tongues, and the interpretation of tongues; Behold I say unto you, he that denieth these things knoweth not the gospel of Christ; yea, he has not read the scriptures; if so, he does not understand them. For do we not read that God is the “same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing”? Joseph Smith, by the way, translated this book from a set of gold plates written in reform Egyptian Footnote hieroglyphics, and, surprisingly enough, even though this was translated in the mid-1800’s, it read as if old King James of England of almost three centuries previous had commissioned this work. He was able to read these reform Egyptian hieroglyphics by means of “Urim and Thummim,” a type of miraculous spectacles, which the angel Moroni had the foresight to provide for the budding seer. Footnote In more recent times, the Mormons have downplayed tongues, although they have not forbidden its use.

       v.    A separate experience with the Holy Spirit was reportedly espoused by Charles Finney in the mid-1800’s (again, according to Shibley). From him came several smaller denominations: the Church of the Nazarene, the Christian and Missionary Alliance, the Church of God, which Shibley classified as non-charismatic holiness churches, whatever the hell that means. Footnote Although I could not find evidence of Finney’s charismatic leanings in either the History of the Christian Church or in the World Book Encyclopedia, both mentioned that he believed in human perfection on earth, which is a sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit (he only thought that perfection on earth was possible and did not claim to reach it himself). He was apparently an outstanding evangelist who probably should have stuck with the gospel and left theology to those with the gift of pastor-teacher.

       w.   Wesley had some trouble explaining sanctification, and his church split into a holiness faction and an anti-holiness faction. This took place during the last two decades of the 19th century. My sources were unclear at this point, but I would assume that the holiness faction purported that a man could reach spiritual perfection here on earth. That faction eventually split from the Methodist Church entirely. I do not have any information concerning their views toward the gifts of the Spirit, but theologically, they don’t appear to be too far afield from some Pentecostal groups.

       x.    Interestingly enough, only one of my sources, Nichol, mentioned the Church of God. In 1896, several years before the beginning of the modern tongues movement, 100 people in Shearer, North Carolina, received the post-salvation baptism, as well as the gift of tongues, while worshiping at a local schoolhouse. Their organization was called the Christian Union, which they later changed, in 1902, to the Holiness Church, which gave way to the name the Church of God in 1907. I don’t know if this group is generally ignored because there is less historical record Footnote or because they were so small (by 1907, there were only 200 members of this group spread between five churches in three southern states). Their movement was also damaged when A. J. Tomlinson, the one who, throughout most of their early history, was their leader and responsible for their finances, was removed for financial impropriety in 1923. However, this group has grown considerably since then, establishing several Bible colleges and junior colleges, it’s membership at over 200,000 as of 1960. They are one of the few churches which practice foot washing ceremonies.

       y.    Donald Burdick and John Sherrill mark the beginning on New Year’s Eve, 1900, at Bethel Bible College in Topeka, Kansas. Charles Fox Parham, a former lay preacher in the Congregational Church, who had moved then to the Methodists, and then to the Holiness movement, founded Bethel Bible College in October of 1900. While he seemed to have more in common with the Holiness movement than with his previous two associations, he felt as though there was something lacking. In his own study of Acts 2, he said: If God had ever equipped His ministers in that way [then] He could do it today...Anybody today ought to be able to preach in any language of the world if they had horse sense enough to let God use their tongue and throat. Footnote Obviously, he did not take note of the fact that Peter preached the sermon in koine Greek, which Peter spoke and the crowd fully understood. In December of 1900, Parham had to go to Kansas City, so, upon his departure, he instructed his students to study their Bibles, examining the baptism of the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts. Upon his return, his students told him that the baptism of the Spirit was usually accompanied in the book of Acts with speaking in tongues. At that point, they began to pray for the same manifestations of the Holy Spirit. On New Year’s Eve, there were 40 students and 70 other gathered when a student named Agnes Ozman asked for the director of the school to lay his hands on her head and pray that she might receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. When he did so, immediately Miss Ozman spoke fluently in syllables which no one understood. This occurrence was the beginning of the modern Pentecostal movement. Footnote Parham described it in this way: I had scarcely repeated three dozen sentences when a glory fell upon her, a halo seemed to surround her head and face, and she began speaking in the Chinese language, Footnote and was unable to speak English for three days. Seeing this marvelous manifestation of the restoration of Pentecostal power...we decided as a school to wait upon God. We felt that God was no respecter of persons and what He had so graciously poured out upon one, He would upon all. Footnote Then Nichol makes a phenomenal statement: This event was significant not because Miss Ozman had spoken in tongues, for there had been sporadic outbursts of glossolalia throughout the history of the church...The importance of these events in Topeka is that for the first time the concept of being baptized (or filled) with the Holy Spirit was linked to an outward sign—speaking in tongues Henceforth, for the Pentecostals the evidence that one has been filled with the Holy Spirit” is that he will have spoken in other tongues...This decision to seek for a Holy Spirit baptism with the expectation of speaking in tongues, says J. Roswell Flower, was a momentous one. “It...made the Pentecostal Movement of the Twentieth Century.”  Footnote

       z.    This group under Parham was struck with a tremendous sense of urgency. They had just experienced the gift of tongues, which they associated with the latter rain of the book of Joel. They decided that the events and time period of the book of Joel (the latter days) must be their time period. Therefore, Parham and company suspended all classes and those at the school prayed for each one of them to get this second blessing. Parham and his wife and Agnes Ozman and others began an evangelical tour. Obviously, if they were blessed by the Holy Spirit in this special way, then their evangelism would also be dramatic. Recall that the Apostles had 3000 converts in one day on the Day of Pentecost—so how could they expect less? The evangelical tour was unsuccessful and the school itself had to be closed and moved. It was not until 1903 that their movement began to gain some momentum. Two cures caught the attention of the outside world; then there were more. Mary A. Arthur of Galena, Kansas, had dyspepsia for fourteen years. She also suffered from prolapsus, hemorrhoids, paralysis of the bowels, her right eye was virtually blind from birth, and her left eye suffered from inflammation and nerve strain. Mrs. Author had tried oculists, allopathy, homeopathy, osteopathy, Footnote Christian Science and her own pastor. She went to a meeting of Parham’s where he was teaching divine healing, and returned to Galena healed. A friend of hers was soon thereafter healed of a cancerous tumor. Suddenly, Parham’s ministry took off. He was holding meetings at Mrs. Arthur’s house which then had to be moved to a tent outside, and then, due to the weather, moved to the Grand Leader building on Main Street. His fame quickly spread, and Nichol quotes a story from the Cincinnati Inquirer from January 27, 1904: Almost three months have elapsed since this man [Parham] came to Galena and during that time he has healed over a thousand people and converted more than 800...During the services there have been as many as 50 people at the altar at one time seeking to be restored in soul and body. Here people who have not walked for years without the aid of crutches have risen from the altar with their limbs so straightened that they were enabled to lay aside their crutches, to the astonishment of the audience. These cures, they claim, are effected solely through prayer and faith. Nothing else is done, though Mr. Parham often lays his hands upon the afflicted one while the devotions are going on...Here women who have formerly lived for society and gaiety kneel beside some fallen sister and endeavor to point her heaven war, and here the “followers” receive what they term “the Pentecost,” and are enabled to speak in foreign tongues, in languages with which they are, when free from this power, utterly unfamiliar. This alone is considered one of the most remarkable things of the meetings. Footnote By 1905, Parham had lit a fire which resulted in over a half dozen cities which had their own full gospel meetings and, in Texas alone, there were now 60 full gospel preachers and 25,000 full gospel converts.

       aa.  Burdick records that this spread from Topeka to Azusa Footnote Mission in Los Angeles by way of Houston, Texas. According to McGee, the modern Pentecostal movement broke out right down the street from his famous Church of the Open Door in a Methodist Church on Azuza Street in the heart of Los Angeles, April of 1906. Black minister W. J. Seymour, who had been schooled as a holiness minister in Houston at another school founded by Parham, was called to pastor a church in Los Angeles. For his first sermon, he preached that those who received the baptism of the Spirit would speak in tongues, as the Apostles had on the day of Pentecost. This severely offended Julia Hutchins, who believed herself to have received this baptism of the Spirit subsequent to salvation (as did many holiness types), and in Seymour’s sermon, he was telling her that she didn’t get it all. The congregation as a whole was apparently offended that, despite the fact that they had, for the most part, been baptized by the spirit, that Seymour told them that they did not get the fullness, so, when Seymour returned for the afternoon service, he found the church door bolted. A Richard and Ruth Asberry invited Seymour to conduct worship services which met at their home at 214 North Bonnie Brae Street in Los Angeles. On April 9, 1906 (another account gives the date as the 12th), seven were apparently seized by a spirit and they spoke in tongues. Nichol says that they shouted and praised God for three days and three nights, which would account for the date discrepancy. Footnote The following week, they moved to new digs on Azuza Street, renting out a building which, ironically enough, had been, at one time, the meeting place for a Methodist Church. The place was filled with building supplies; they put long boards on top of empty nail buckets for seats. The meetings ostensibly began 10:00 am on Sunday and continued until 3:00 am the next morning, with people seeking salvation, sanctification, the Holy Spirit baptism, or healing. Footnote When the press heard of this unusual revival, they gave them enough publicity which helped the church to increase considerably in size. Shibley also agrees with this as the proper beginnings of the Pentecostal Church, and from this came several unabashedly charismatic churches, e.g., the Assemblies of God, the Pentecostal Holiness Church, and the Church of God (in Cleveland and Tennessee). Footnote So, either 1900 or 1906 seems to be the most likely date for the modern-day Pentecostal movement to begin. This is likely the first notable outbreak of the modern tongues movement, as my one set of church history books, completed in the late 1800’s, do not even mention this gift in the modern era (from the reformationist’s on).

       bb.  Interestingly enough, Seymour invited his mentor, Charles Parham, out to the Azusa Street Mission so that Parham could put the reigns on some fanatical behavior. Apparently, he spoke once or twice, and then was denied direct access (it is unclear whether this access was denied by Seymour or by prominent members of the congregation). William H. Durham received the holy ghost at Apostolic Faith Mission on Azusa Street, and had apparently became an early teacher of note. When he returned to his old church to teach, he was locked out, as his teaching contradicted a theory of sanctification held by Seymour. Nichol reported that a woman only identified as Bridgitt actually attacked him with her hatpin.

       cc.   Coterminous with the Pentecostal revival in Los Angeles, but more difficult to trace its roots, was a similar sort of religious happening in Mukti, India. We do not have a record of anyone speaking in tongues, but there appears to be ample evidence of a spirit baptism. ...the baptism of fire...burned away such negative qualities in the believer’s life as pride, anger, worldliness, selfishness, and immoral tendencies. Footnote Some of the girls responded to this “baptism” by shaking, dancing, seeing visions, and dreaming dreams. Footnote An actual instance of speaking in tongues in India appears to have taken place almost coterminously with the events previously described on Azuza Street. A nine year old girl had been to a meeting and was convinced that she needed the baptism of the spirit. When she returned to her boarding school, she and four other girls began to pray for the spirit. One of them began to speak in a language that she did not understand. A Canon Haywood sought a linguist to listen to this little girl, and later reported that she had been pleading to God for salvation in Libya in an unknown tongue. It is unclear who the linguist was or how much of this was Haywood and how much was the linguist.

       dd.  This movement has several synonyms: it is called the full gospel movement, the charismatic movement, the Pentecostal movement. Since it has only made true inroads into mainstream Christian thought in the past century, calling this the full gospel indicates that the Christian church has limped along for almost two centuries on the 80% gospel. Footnote Somewhere during the 1950’s and 1960’s, this full-gospel movement filtered into other major denominations, notably Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and Baptists.

       ee.  Along with this early infiltration, there came a reaction from the churches that they infiltrated. Many churches excluded those who were charismatic; some denominational churches which has become charismatic were separated from their original denomination; and there was even some scattered violence. Nichol chronicles much of this in his book, The Pentecostals. I am hoping that it is obvious that a fundamentalist church has the right to disengage from charismatics and to remove them from their congregation. I hope that it is also obvious that there is no excuse for violence or the destruction of property.

       ff.    Neo-Pentecostalism: the charismatic movement has gone full circle in its approach. It began in various denominations, and those who experienced the spirit were often urged to remain in the denomination wherein they were found. Many were forced out and they had to reorganize. Until about 1959, the charismatic movement was primarily confined to specific denominations. This more recent charismatic thrust has invaded Catholic, Episcopalian, Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, and Lutheran groups. Most of these churches then experience a split into charismatics and noncharismatics.

       gg.  Obviously, there is a great deal of history still to be covered, but the purpose of this study is not the historical background of the Pentecostal Church or of the holiness, full-gospel movement. For those who would like to continue this, may I recommend The Pentecostals by John Thomas Nichol or Glossolalia by Stagg, Hinson and Oates.

20.  Now, in this portion of the study, you will note that I have given you one of the most comprehensive lists of the use of tongues throughout the history of the church, and you will note that it has never been associated with any significant Christian movement or believer, apart from Wesley, and, as has been discussed, that is debatable. In the past, the tongues movement has always been viewed as an heretical movement or as a fringe element, when it existed. Harris Kaasa writes: In summary we may say that there is considerable evidence for the recurrence of this phenomenon. At the same time, no one can fail to be struck by its relative infrequency and by the fact that it occurs mostly among members of (in context) radical sects. Its exceptional presence should not blind us to its general absence in the main stream of church history. Footnote Hinson writes: If it is indeed to be seen as an evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work, why did it have such an inconsistent and intermittent history? If it were as significant as Pentecostals maintain, would it not have occurred regularly and without letup throughout the many centuries of Christian history?  Footnote The fact that we do not ever find this gift or movement associated historically with hundreds of great men of church history cannot be overemphasized. Only recently has the charismatic movement made great inroads into the church of God. We may have a large number of Christians and Bibles in this day and age, as well as a plethora of Christian radio stations, but we have very few believers who really know the Word of God and damn few pastor teachers who bother to teach it.

21.  Charismatics essentially have two choices: tongues have either been with the church for the past 2000 years or it has not.

       a.    This puts the charismatic in a bad spot. If the charismatic chooses to believe that the Christian church has always had tongues, then they are faced with their history, most of which is cultic in nature. If the charismatic believes that tongues are a revival for the last times, then he is faced with two problems: (1) where in Scripture can this be justified? And, (2) why do the tongues groups of the past century have much more in common with the cult groups of the past than they do with the gift of tongues used on the day of Pentecost?

       b.    The other option is that tongues returned to Christianity at the turn of the century, because we just happen to have men in this century who are deeper and more devoted to God than in the previous 18 centuries. This means that Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Knox, Bullinger, Augustine, Whitefield, etc. just did not have what it takes as believers. However, those in the present-day charismatic movement are at a spiritual plateau superior to these men, and thus more deserving of the gift of the Holy Spirit.

22.  Charismatics often have a way of quoting a Scripture here or there, taken generally out of its context, to justify anything, and they often do so with Joel 2:28 and connect it with Joel 2:23. Peter quotes Joel 2:28 at Pentecost: “And it will come to pass after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind, and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams and your young men will see visions.” Then, the charismatic who has really studied, points to Joel 2:23, which mentions the early rain (which he interprets as Pentecost) and the latter rain (which he interprets as tongues in the 20th century). However, the context of this passage speaks of Jesus Christ, the God of Israel, reuniting with Israel, as Israel returns to God (Joel 2:12–17). This will all take place in the tribulation, once the Church has been removed from this world. Israel will be back in the land and surrounded by armies—the northern army is in view in Joel 2:19 and the armies of the nations around Israel are in view in Joel 3:1–3. We cannot even interpret this as the early rain refers to Israel under God’s great blessing, under David and Solomon and the latter rain is the great blessing and protection from God in the end times (rain, in an agricultural society, is often a term for blessing from above). For an agricultural society, both rains are required. The early rains are fall rains and the late rains are those in the spring. Together, they refer to blessing—not to blessings at different times. Vv. 21–27 speak of the blessing that God gives to Israel in the last times. As a part of this, God will pour out His Spirit upon Israel, which is vv. 28–29. However, what will also be a part of the last days are great signs in the heavens, as are mentioned in vv. 30–31. As you see, there is nothing contextual whatsoever to refer to the gift of tongues; and certainly not convincing proof that men will speak in tongues during the times of the Apostles and during today’s time. Now, why did Peter quote this? What happened at Pentecost 30 a.d. got a lot of attention. Those who were there had never seen anything like it before. What Peter does is point to the Old Testament Scriptures which indicate that there are great works of the Spirit to come; and that Pentecost was simply one of them. Pentecost is not a fulfillment of Joel 2:28 by any means; it is a similar situation. We cover this in more detail when we get to that point in Peter’s Pentecost speech.

23.  Furthermore, we also have the speaking in tongues among Hindus, Mormons and other pagans. Footnote Actually, the list of those nonchristian cults and groups who speak in tongues is just about as long as the entire history of speaking in tongues in Christian cults. Footnote Dillow: Tongues speaking as manifested today is a purely heathen concept. Never since the Fall has God employed such a method to enable man to communicate with Him. It is entirely unnecessary. Pagan tribes all over the world have been speaking in tongues for centuries. The similarities between their practice and that of the tongues movement are striking. At its root the movement is simply a merger of Christianity with paganism. Footnote Now, just how on earth do you determine which is true and which is false? Any charismatic will tell you that they just know that it is from God, and if I was to experience what they experienced, then I would know as well. I’m certain that any religious person who experiences tongues will attribute it to God and that is how they will sincerely feel. There is nothing in the Bible that indicates that we can discern between what is true and what is false by what feels right. I’ve been in several holy roller churches early on in my Christian life and let me tell you, they did not feel right nor did they feel holy to me. However, that in itself, was not good enough to write them off as unspiritual and unscriptural. In a couple of points, I will explain fairly thoroughly that charismatics deviate from the faith with regards to salvation and spirituality. Just because they continually shout out the name of Jesus, this does not make them believers. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Fathers who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ ” (Matt. 7:21–23; Psalm 6:8).

24.  Union by the spirit? Although there is an initial bond between people of different denominations who have received the holy ghost experience, there has also been some very serious internal dissension throughout the history of the century old charismatic movement. I already mentioned the schism between Parham and Seymour’s congregation, despite the fact that Seymour was mentored by Parham. Nichol records a great deal of this early internal dissension, attributing some to the original denominational affiliations and some simply to human failings.

       a.    One of the points of contention concerned sanctification. One branch, the holiness contingent, felt that, subsequent to salvation, there is this experience which a believer goes through which makes him dead to sin. His soul becomes free of sinful inclination. Once we had purified ourselves to a certain point, then the holy ghost would come and indwell us, as He obviously would not indwell an unclean vessel. Durham claimed that there was no need for this second work of grace, because salvation changed a man’s heart and his nature. Durham backed up his argument by the conversion of those who were also filled with the Spirit, although they had not gone through some cleansing period first (Nichol did not indicate that Scripture was a basis for arguments on either side).

       b.    There was also a serious schism in the Pentecostal faith in England, although I did not really understand the issues that they were disputing. It appeared to be more of debate over the extent of the practice of the gifts of the spirit.

       c.    The Pentecostal movement in Germany and Sweden butted heads as well. The Germans apparently leaned more toward visions, prophetic announcements and personal revelations than did the Swedes. The Scandinavians in particular objected to matters of dispute being settled by some prophetic statement. Interestingly enough, according to Nichol, these kinds of prophetic pronouncements were never given near as much credence in the United States when it came to matters of doctrine and organization. Personally, I see this as a problem for the charismatic—someone either is a prophet or he is not. In the Old Testament, God ordered false prophets to be executed. If any Pentecostal group has determined that Charlie Brown doesn’t always give prophetic utterances which deserve credence, then Charlie Brown should be, at the very least, disfellowshipped. You don’t get to have it both ways—you don’t get to flaunt all the gifts of the Spirit, but then denigrate one when you don’t like it.


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25.  Additional miscellaneous descriptions of charismatic meetings:

       a.    Robert Richardson: Concurrently with the speaking in tongues, dancing is going on...An elderly matron arises and holding her arms out horizontally, pirouettes majestically to and fro in front of the altar. A sturdy, bearded, son of the soil jumps up and down, rising each time an astonishing distance in the air. On the platform the pastor, while likewise leaping up and down, whirls around and around like a dancing dervish. A female saint takes i into her head to dance up one aisle and down the other, and proceeds to do this, keeping time to the music provided by a burly negro who follow her with a banjo...All the saints proceed to stand on tip toe and groan and shriek at the top of their voices for several minutes. Footnote

       b.    Soon after becoming a believer, I attended several churches, looking for one which taught the Bible. One such church was called the Open Bible Church. Nothing really occurred for the first 45 minutes or so. The pastor’s sermon was a complete waste for 45 minutes as he had an electric guitar strapped on his person and he was complaining about the more recent gospel music and how we should return to the older gospel tunes; and, periodically, he would play what I guess was an old standard. At the end of the service, there was a prayer, and then dozens of people began speaking all at once in various tongues, one powerful woman’s voice was above all the others. That’s when I bolted for the door.

       c.    At another charismatic church that I attended, it was a small group and they tended to meander about the church in a pack in order to heal those who were sick. I recall the pack of a dozen people, led pretty much by the pastor and his wife (if memory serves) would go from person to person needing healing or prayer, place their hands on them (most everyone in the group would do this) and they would pray. I don’t recall whether praying in tongues was a part of this. One thing which I recall clearly, however, is, as they were about to leave one person and move on to the next, a young lady in the transient group suggested that they remain praying for this man until he was completely healed. The pastor flashed her what I can only imagine was a dirty look; they stayed another few minutes with this person, and then moved on (I don’t believe he got fully healed, however).

       d.    Tomlinson: Yesterday was a wonderful day in the camp [meeting]. In the beginning of the service in the morning, one or two messages were given in tongues, and I gave the interpretation. Afterwards I was seized with two or three spells of weeping and finally fell on my back under the overwhelming power of God. After screaming for a while as though my heart would break, I became a little more quiet...The meeting that followed during the day is indescribable. Men, women and children screaming, shouting, praying, leaping, dancing, and falling prostrate under god’s overwhelming power. Wonderful!  Footnote

       e.    This is not to say that each and every charismatic group have meetings which degenerate into carnivals. In the middle of a sermon, Pastor Frank Lindquist was interrupted by a woman who began to sing in the spirit. He asked her to be silent and she explained that she was moved by the spirit. Lindquist countered that he had been impelled by the spirit to deliver this sermon, so she would have to be quiet, as the spirit would not contradict himself.

       f.     Also, on the more conservative side, we have Dingman: It has been well said that the Holy Spirit is a gentleman—He does not disturb meetings. There is a proper time and place for manifestations of the Holy Spirit and it is not a time when it will inject a harsh note into the meeting and disturb either speaker, singer, or audience. May God grant that we may never quench the Spirit, but may He also grant that we do quench emotional outbreaks that are not of His leading. Footnote

       g.    I have mentioned the movement, the Third Wave; although they have attempted to distance themselves somewhat from Pentecostals and charismatics, and their excesses, that does not appear to be the case. MacArthur writes: Some men from our church staff recently visited Wimber’s Vineyard in Anaheim. The evening they were there, they witnessed virtual pandemonium. Wimber tried to get everyone speaking in tongues at once. Women were convulsing on the floor; one man lay on his back in a catatonic state; and all around, hundreds of people were dancing, running, shouting, and standing on chairs. Footnote If anyone speaks in a foreign language, two or at the most, three, and each in turn, and let one translate....let all things be done properly and in an orderly manner (1Cor. 14:27, 40).

       h.    I include these various happenings inside the charismatic church so that the reader does not need to experience it first-hand. Although such excesses to not show the charismatic movement in a favorable light, these actions are not in themselves the problem; they are the result of the problem, which is the teaching of anti-Biblical doctrines.

       i.     There are even television shows of various churches where the minister of the church, in front of the church, speaks in tongues; his wife following suit, as do the members of the congregation.

       j.     I need to add that not all charismatic churches are like this, which actually was a surprise to me. I have two personal friends of mine who attend The Home Church of San Jose, California, Footnote which is a church which believes in the second work of the Spirit after salvation, as well as in the gifts, which would include the gift of tongues. However, no one speaks in tongues during the service, and, apparently, no one gets the baptism while in church (or, there is no manifestation of it as is found in many other churches). What the church does is teach two classes, from time to time, on the gifts of the Spirit and Spirit baptism; and then, a third class is given, sort of as an option, to those who want to receive this filling or baptism of the Spirit. Whereas, this appears to be more civilized, we do have a problem here. If this second work of the Spirit is so important, to which all Pentecostals and charismatics would agree, then, isn’t there a problem where this is presented as an option in the Christian life? Salvation by faith in Christ is no option; you are either a believer or you are not. You have either chosen to spend eternity with God or you have chosen, each and every second of your life, to spend a life apart from God. If there is a second work of the Spirit, a baptism which occurs apart from salvation, and, because we can do nothing apart from the Holy Spirit, how can a church present this as an enhancement to or an option of the Christian life. Such a position denigrates the power of the Holy Spirit. Secondly, is there any Scriptural support for a person choosing that, at some point in time, they will receive the so-called spirit baptism, and then they do? That is, do I, by choice, have the option of living my life apart from the Holy Spirit for a month, two months, or ten years; and then, with some fervent prayer and assistance of others, can I suddenly call upon the Spirit to baptize me? It would seem to me that the first order of business of a charismatic church for the new believer would be to get that person baptized in the spirit. Now, I fully realize that I have placed the charismatic in the position of damned if they do and damned if they don’t. However, where would the proper balance be between the excesses found in most charismatic churches and a church where the ministry of the Holy Spirit is an option?

26.  Leadings of the spirit: it is difficult to determine when someone is speaking from the Holy Spirit and when they are speaking from their own spirit. Pentecostals have certainly discovered that. Nichol mentioned that some people were sent out to the mission field on the basis of the prophetic utterings of another—people who were wholly unsuited for that ministry. Others have been married, resulting in horrendous mismatches, having been first urged by prophetic utterance. Footnote When a person claims to speak from the spirit, and it is a matter outside the realm of doctrine, how do you determine whether it is true or false?

27.  Animosity between charismatics and noncharismatics. There has been fault on both sides here, but the animosity between the two groups does not go hand-in-hand with the unity of the Spirit.

       a.    Nichol records incidents early in the charismatic movement of persecution by noncharismatics which were utterly deplorable acts. There was a group of Pentecostals in Cherokee County, North Carolina, who had moved into a log cabin to worship. That log cabin was subsequently burned; and when a rain doused the fire, their opposition used dynamite. A leader of theirs was shot with buckshot, various homes were broken into and things were stolen, water sources were polluted and individual homes were burned. Footnote Although we do not have a plethora of such incidents, even just one is a black eye and a terrible embarrassment for noncharismatic believers. These methods of opposition are reprehensible.

       b.    Their doctrine of a post-salvation experience was declared heretical by many bodies of believers and charismatics were often disfellowshipped. For reasons which I have discussed, there is nothing wrong with a church excluding those who (1) do not adhere to their beliefs, and, (2) subvert the authority of the pastor or the denomination.

       c.    Charismatic leaders have also expressed some rather unkind thoughts toward their critics. Benny Hinn, in 1990, on television, said: Somebody’s attacking me because of something I’m teachings. Let me tell you something, brother: You watch it!...You know, I’ve looked for one verse in the Bible, I just can’t seem to find it. One verse that said, ‘If you don’t like them, kill them.’ I really wish I could find it!...Sometimes I wish God will give me a Holy Ghost machine gun; I’ll blow your head off!”  Footnote

       d.    Paul Couch’s public response to those who criticized him based on the basis of Scripture: “I think they’re [his critics] damned and on their way to hell and I don’t think there’s any redemption for them...I say, To hell with you! Get out of my life! Get out of my way!...And I want to say to all you scribes, Pharisees, heresy hunters—all of you that are going around picking little bits of doctrinal error out of everybody’s eyes...Get out of God’s way; quick blocking God’s bridges, or God’s going to shoot you if I don’t...Get out of my life! I don’t want to even talk to you or hear you! I don’t want to see your ugly face! Get out of my face in Jesus’ name.”  Footnote

       e.    One woman wrote to John MacArthur because of his stance on the charismatic movement, and said: You resort to Greek translations and fancy words to explain away what the Holy Spirit is doing in the church today. Let me give you a piece of advice that might just save you from the wrath of almighty God: put away your Bible and your books and stop studying. Ask the Holy Ghost to come upon you and give you the gift of tongues. You have no right to question something you have never experienced. Footnote

       f.     So there is no mistake: any body of believers can exclude those who do not adhere to their doctrinal teachings (I am hoping that it is obvious if a church removed all of those who had sinful transgressions which are against church teaching, then there would be no one left, including the pastor). Any group of religious types can go off and organize or not organize. Whereas, it is proper and correct for us to espouse what we believe to be true, even in opposition to other groups of believers; it is not our business to infringe on their rights to worship in whatever manner they deem proper. Footnote If we have animosity, it should be confessed as a sin to God. And there is no excuse on either side making threats or vague threats to the other—particularly by so-called spiritual leaders.

       g.    There is a more subtle disunity which is caused by those who have the baptism. MacArthur explains: If you are a Christian who has not experienced some supernatural charismatic phenomenon, perhaps you are feeling left out. You may be wondering whether God views you as a second-class Christian. If he honestly cares about you, why haven’t you had a special miracle or manifested some spectacular gift? Why haven’t you ascended to a higher level of spiritual bless? Why haven’t you heard Jesus speak to you in an audible voice? Why hasn’t he appeared physically to you? Do our charismatic friends really have a closer walk with God, a deeper sense of the Holy Spirit’s power, a fuller experience of praise, a stronger motivation to witness, and a greater devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ? Could it be that we non-charismatics just do not measure up?  Footnote it should be obvious that if just half of what the charismatics say is true, than we who have not had these experiences are truly second-class Christians.

28.  Schizophrenic unity:

       a.    However, what we do not have is one, all-encompassing denomination called the Charismatic Union which has a set list of doctrines to which they all adhere. We have covered the history of the charismatic movement. We have superficially examined the infighting and the doctrinal disputations. Dozens of charismatic-based denominations cropped up, not just one. Whenever I mention an historic viewpoint, and you, if you are a charismatic, thought, well, that’s from way back then; or if you heard a more contemporary charismatic viewpoint, and you thought, well, that’s just goofy, then you illustrate my point. There is no true doctrinal unity within the charismatic movement. Most agree that there is some big experience after salvation which adds something vital to the believer’s life, but after that, charismatics splinter—even, as has been documented, on the gift of tongues (some groups believing tongues to always be the result of the baptism of the spirit and some which believe that is often, but not always, the result).

       b.    On the one hand, the charismatic experience gives a superficial unity to those of different backgrounds. Catholics embrace Lutherans who embrace Pentecostals who embrace Baptists—as long as they have all had a similar experience. There are even some who hope for a united ecumenical coalition between many churches and church groups under the leadership of the Pope. Footnote Thomas Edgar: Is it not inconsistent that a movement which claims to be in direct contact with the Holy Spirit, to have all the gifts such as prophecy, apostleship, and the word of knowledge, to communicate directly with god by tongues-speaking and other means, can at the same time include Roman Catholics, conservative and liberal Protestants, amillennialists, premillennialists, Calvinists, Arminians, those who deny the verbal inspiration of the Bible, and those who reject Christ’s vicarious atonement on the cross? Apparently the Holy Spirit is not concerned with communicating any information to correct all these differences, many of which are crucial and some of which are incorrect. All this direct communication with the Spirit has apparently done nothing to correct even basic errors. It has not produced unity among charismatics regarding the nature and purpose of many of the gifts. This movement has solved no theological issue, produced no advance in biblical knowledge, and has not produced more spiritual Christians. Would such an effusion of the genuine Spirit of God produce so little?  Footnote

       c.    Gordon Clark: Several things immediately strike any reader who is not asleep. First, the tongues experience is tremendously important. If it is not true to say that nothing else matters, it nonetheless seems true to say that nothing else matters very much. Speaking in tongues is the chief mark of a dedicated Christian. The clear implication is that the worship of the virgin Mary is unobjectionable, if one speaks in tongues. There is little point in justification by faith alone, one can accept merit from the treasury of the Saints, transubstantiation can be acknowledged; if only one speaks in tongues. Still more fundamental, one can place tradition on a level with Scripture and even assert new revelations from God, if only one speaks in tongues. The Pentecostalist minister [mentioned in the article in question], note well, say, “There has been no attempt [by the Protestant Charismatics] to proselyte [Roman catholic Charismatics].” In other words, Romanism is acceptable, if only one speaks in tongues. Footnote

       d.    There are apparently charismatic cults cropping up in Asia which combine Christianity with Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism.

29.  Charismatic claim that the giving of the Holy Spirit and the gift of tongues is the latter rain given to the church because it had fallen into such a state of decay. Friend, the church has always been in a state of decay and one could take pretty much any century and find hundreds of things wrong with the church in general. There have always been great men who have stood their ground, standing on the firm Word of God, and there has always been a wayward church. Is our church filled with lame believers today? Absolutely. Was it this way a century ago or two centuries ago? Absolutely. From the Apostles to this day, the local church has always been in a deplorable state. There is no reason that God would suddenly restore something that believers have always had (the Holy Spirit); and no reason for Him to suddenly thrust upon the church gifts of healing, which are pretty unconvincing; and gifts of tongues, which do not bear any resemblance to their historic counterpart. Now, would Satan set up a program to lead believers and unbelievers astray with such a movement? The Bible continually points to that as the most reasonable explanation. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will continue to do so until He is taken out of the way. And then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be delivered. And for this reason, God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe the lie in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in unrighteousness (2Thess. 2:7–11). If you speak in tongues and you have decided already, no matter what you say and no matter how carefully you exegete the Word of God, I know what I have experienced is of God and I am sticking with that. You, friend, have not received the love of the truth. God’s Word is greater and more important than any experience that we may have. It supercedes our upbringing and our prejudices. We either go with the Word of God or we don’t; but God promised, through Paul, to send you a deluding influence because you have not received the love of the truth.

30.  I should point out one of the conclusions of Hinson, that one cannot stereotype the charismatic. They come from all roads of life, various economic levels, and they have a variety of personality types. Hinson is more specific in his portion of Glossolalia and gives specific instances from the historical examples in his book.


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31.  After examining the history, there are very few charismatics who would see their movement as one which has gone throughout all of history. Some very cultic groups practiced the gift of tongues and we have no historical mention anywhere of a group fundamental in doctrine which practiced these spiritual gifts until the turn of the century. Why now?

       a.    This is the latter rain; what the apostles practiced was the early rain and this is the latter rain. You cannot argue anything from analogy—this is not logic and it does not prove anything. Analogies are properly used to illustrate, but they do not prove anything.

       b.    We are in a period of spiritual decay. We have always been in a period of spiritual decay. Whereas, there are a number of very bright spots in Christian history, historically, in general, we are an embarrassment to Jesus Christ.

       c.    We are in a period of great revival because the reformation put the Bible in the hands of the common man. There are two problems with this explanation:

               i.     With the reformation, the Bible was in the hands of common man for several hundred years prior to the outbreak of charismata.

               ii.     Our reformation fathers, who put the Bible into our hands, were not charismatics nor did they teach any charismatic doctrine. The great Bible teaching over those past centuries did not bring out anything to do with charismatic doctrine. Strong, careful doctrinal teaching is not generally associated with charismatic groups as much as emotional displays, experiences and appeals are.

       d.    We are in a great period of revival. Throughout Christian history, we have many revivals which have broken out. In this past century we have the first time the those who spoke in tongues as a part of a giant movement. That we are in a time of great reform and revival is debatable.

       e.    These are the last days, and God is pouring out His Holy Spirit upon the church in these last days. Of all the arguments, this is perhaps the most compelling, particularly because Peter quoted this Scripture on the day of Pentecost. However, you need to stop for a moment and realize that when Peter spoke, he was not thinking about 1900 years in the future. He was speaking of his day and time, during which all of the Apostles thought that Christ was returning for them during their lifetimes. Now, this is the tricky part, but we will cover it in more detail. Peter lived during a time in which revelation was progressive. That is, God did not reveal His plan to anyone in its entirety until John penned those last words on the Isle of Patmos in 100 a.d. Whether Peter thought that he was living in the last days is one thing; however, this is not what he says in the books of Acts when he launches into his sermon. We will cover that when we move into the exegesis of that chapter.


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32.  How do Pentecostals view themselves? It is obvious that I, as a person who does not believe in the validity of a necessary post-salvation experience with the Holy Spirit, and, as person who does not believe that speaking in tongues, might be the last person to write this point. I will try to stick with what I have read and with people I know.

       a.    John Thomas Nichol: Pentecostals...are sometimes crassly emotional, too often exhibiting holier-than-thou attitudes, often suspicious of change, anti-intellectual; but, on the other hand, [they are] genuinely sincere, vitally enthusiastic, and utterly evangelistic. Footnote

       b.    They trace their spiritual roots to Acts 2 where the Apostles tarried for the Holy Spirit.

       c.    Although I and others classify them with cultic movements, they do not see themselves that way. They see themselves as the third great force of Christianity, along with the Catholics and Protestants. They are likely to be part of mainline Catholic and Protestant churches and do not necessarily view themselves as being outside whatever institution they are a part of, even if there are significant areas where their doctrine clashes with that which is that church or denomination’s. Nichol: Pentecostals subscribe to the Reformation principles that salvation is a free gift of divine grace apart from deeds and efforts or ecclesiastical sanction; that all Christian believers are priests by virtue of their association in the Church, the Body of Christ, and as such minister to each other in matters of faith; and that the Word of God must be the norm for faith and practice, and that it is each Christian’s right and duty to interpret it for himself. Footnote I should mention that of every charismatic which I have personally interviewed—several of whom are either evangelists or closely related to evangelists—they all had repentance from sin as a necessary ingredient of salvation. Despite the subtlety here, that is still works being added to faith. Secondly, the Catholics believe in salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ—however, they interpret grace as being infused rather than imputed (I am now referring to Catholic theologians who actually know something about their faith). The charismatic often has a concept of grace which is more akin to the Catholic’s concept of grace—i.e., after salvation, we sort of act like we are saved. And, I need to add one additional fact, which we will cover in great detail in the future: here, this Pentecostal says that we are all in the Body of Christ. 1Cor. 12:13 tells us that the Holy Spirit baptizes us into the Body of Christ. If this is the case, then why do charismatic feel that it is necessary for most Christians to be baptized by the Holy Spirit some time after salvation?

       d.    Although I personally would associate them more with the snake-handlers and the poison-consumers, the Assemblies of God in 1928 formally denounced that sort of activity in their 23rd Annual Assembly. Footnote

       e.    They view the push of Pentecostalism as being a back-to-the-Bible movement and that their experiences can be firmly backed with Scripture. Conn: There is absolutely no evidence during any period of the Pentecostal revival that the people ever considered themselves other than simply, orthodox Christian believers. The British Pentecostal Fellowship concurs that they would heartily subscribe to the Apostle’s Creed. Footnote

       f.     Many Pentecostals and charismatics see their movement as one of the most powerful and one of the greatest movements in the history of the church. In terms of numbers, we do see a tremendous increase in the number of people who claim to have charismatic affiliations. However, bear in mind that many of these were confused believers who have already been evangelized and they were sucked into this movement; and realize that a great following is not validation of any ministry (II Peter 2:2).

       g.    One of the items suggested by Nichol is this: ...the Christian can attain full holiness (sanctification) only when he abandons all efforts and allows the Holy Spirit to live within him the life of Christ.” When the Spirit makes His abode within, it will be manifested by the believer’s experiencing a definite emotinoal reaction. This is his baptism in the Spirit—his “second blessing.”  Footnote in a footnote on the same page, Nichol adds: Sanctification, or the “second blessing,” is an experience subsequent to and distinct from justification or conversion, among holiness people. Its effect is the eradication of natural depravity or inbred sin. Now, I will certainly admit, that if I thought for even a second that this post-salvation experience would deliver me from my natural depravity or my inbred sin, I would be first in line to get it. Unfortunately, I have known too many people who have gotten the baptism and their lives are no better than mine.

       h.    They see themselves not only as a vibrant force which is interdenominational, but as a unifying factor, as the Spirit unifies those that are His. Thus Arminians and Calvinists, Holiness folk who believed in a “second work of grace” and Baptists who adhered to the theory of “the finished work at Calvary,” Methodists, Brethren, and Anglicans—all of whom represented variant forms of church doctrine and polity—all met around the same altar to pray and to expect the impartation of the Holy Spirit and his charismatic gifts...[they think] of themselves as a movement within the Christian Church, used of God to revitalize it. Footnote There are certainly divisions within the charismatic movement. Certainly, many charismatics stand ready to embrace their brothers from other denominations, including Catholics who have gotten the baptism, but there are disagreements as to the outward manifestations of getting this baptism. Nichol admits to this, saying that one faction expects, at the most, the experience might be attended by boisterous praying, great bodily exercise, or vociferous and constant shouting. However, there is the other group who expects that the experience would be certified by some supernatural sign—a vision, dream, speaking in tongues. Footnote

       i.     The Pentecostal’s view of tongues:

               i.     Charles W. Conn: When the disciples first spoke in tongues, it was in clear, precise, understandable languages. Those gathered in Jerusalem heard the gospel proclaimed in their own tongues. They speaking was not in unintelligible gibberish...God has not yet stooped to repetitious and meaningless banality. Gibberish is not the language of the Spirit!...The unknown tongue is not the stammering of excited vocal organs, but rather the clear utterances of spiritual ecstasy. When the Spirit speaks through you, it will be exalted praise and convicting exhortation. Footnote

               ii.     A Pentecostal Brit, Harold Horton, explains that tongues are a supernatural utterance of the Spirit of God employing human speech organs. When man is speaking with tongues, his mind, intellect, understanding are quiescent. It is the faculty of God that is active. Man’s will, certainly, is active, and his spirit, and his speech organs, but the mind that is operating is the mind of God through the Holy Spirit. Footnote

       j.     How Pentecostals view their own speaking in tongues:

               i.     Cutten: In this way a wonderful language arose in sounds that I had never spoken before. I had the impression according to the tones, that it might be Chinese. Then came an entirely different language with an entirely different position of the mouth and wonderful sounds...I do not know how long I spoke thus—surely some minutes. Then I had to break out in German in praise and worship of my God. I was sitting during all this; nevertheless my body was shaken by a great power, though in no wise unpleasant or painful. Footnote

               ii.     Reverend Bill L. Williams of San Jose: It involve you with someone you’re deeply in love with and devoted to...We don’t understand the verbiage, but we know we’re in communication. [That awareness is] beyond emotion, beyond intellect...It transcends human understanding. It is the heart of man speaking to the heart of God. It is deep, inner heart understanding. It comes as supernatural utterances, brining intimacy with God. Footnote

               iii.    James R. Brown: As I meditated and prayed the Holy Ghost came upon me. Deep within, I began to magnify the Lord. Soon there came from my lips a language I had never known or uttered. A warm fragrant oil, it seemed, was poured over me. I found a place of rest in God that I had never experienced until that time. Footnote

               iv.    T. B. Barratt: I was filled with light and such power that I began to shout as loud as I could in a foreign language. I must have spoken seven or eight languages, to judge from the various sounds and forms of speech used. I stood erect at [the] time, preaching in one foreign tongue after another, and I know from the strength of my voice that 10,000 might easily have heard all I said. The most wonderful moment was when I burst into a beautiful baritone solo, using one of the most pure and delightful languages I have ever heard. The tune and words were entirely new to me and the rhythm and cadence of the various choruses seemed to be perfect...Oh, what praises to God arose from my soul for His mercy! I felt as strong as a lion.. Footnote

       k.    Pentecostal testimonies concerning the baptism of the spirit:

               i.     A. J. Tomlinson: On Sunday morning, January 12, [1908] while he [Cashwell] was preaching, a peculiar sensation took hold of me, and almost unconsciously I slipped off my chair in a heap on the rostrum of Brother Cashwell’s feet. I did not know what such an experience meant. My mind was clear, but a peculiar power so enveloped and thrilled my whole being that I concluded to yield myself up and await results. I was soon lost to my surroundings as I lay there on the floor, occupied only with God and eternal things. Footnote

       l.     A charismatic testimony: When I started praying in tongues I felt, and people told me I looked, twenty years younger...I am built up, am given joy, courage, peace, the sense of God’s presence; and I happen to be a weak personality who needs this. Footnote

       m.   And the Pentecostal’s rationale behind speaking in tongues can seem quite eloquent, humble and holy: As we humble our proud spirits and allow the Holy Spirit to speak through us in a language unfamiliar to our rational minds, we are making a step of consecration toward god. We are allowing Him to have His way with us rather than having our own way...The relinquishing of our tongue to God is, then, the first step toward the Spirit-directed life. Footnote Now, what is wrong with some very holy, sincere statement like this? The problem is that none of the meaning given to the experience gift of tongues comes out of Scripture. If this was an important and necessary step for some, you would think that Paul, who spoke in tongues more than all of the Corinthians, would be pushing this experience as an important step in one’s spiritual growth. Instead, Paul, in 1Corinthians, will seek to severely limit its use. If this is what the gift of tongues is all about, why don’t we hear that in Scripture? Yes, I am fully aware of all of the statements found in 1Cor. 14—if you stay with this study, you will be fully aware of each verse of that chapter as well.

33.  Here is one Pentecostal’s way of helping a person to speak in tongues. Charles Hunter: When you pray with your spirit, you do not think of the sounds of the language. Just trust God, but make the sounds when I tell you to. In just a moment when I tell you to, begin loving and praising God by speaking forth a lot of different syllable sounds. At first make the sounds rapidly so you won’t try to think as you do in speaking your natural language...Make the sounds loudly at first so you can easily hear what you are saying. Footnote Now, Charles and Frances Hunter hold what are known as the “Healing Explosion” meetings where up to 1000 people attend. Although the way a person is encouraged to speak in tongues is not any sort of a constant, the encouragement is similar, and has no foundation whatsoever in the Bible.


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34.  The eight articles of faith subscribed to by Pentecostals (this was adopted and approved by 15 major Pentecostal groups in 1948):

       a.    We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible authoritative Word of God.

       b.    We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

       c.    We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning sacrifice through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and His personal return in power and glory.

       d.    We believe that for the salvation of the lost and sinful men regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.

       e.    We believe that the full gospel include holiness of heart and life, healing for the body and the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the initial evidence of speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance.

       f.     We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.

       g.    We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.

       h.    We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ. Footnote

35.  It is obvious that these articles of faith are, for the most part, what any believer could subscribe to. In fact, all but the fifth article came from the Statement of Faith drawn up in 1943 by the National Association of Evangelicals. Footnote Because of this, many fundamentalists would hold that we should enjoy fellowship with our Pentecostal brethren. We have the following problems:

       a.    Even though there is verbal ascension given to the Word of God, I have been told on several occasions that it did not matter what the Bible seemed to say, they knew that what they experienced (the post-salvation baptism of the Spirit and speaking in tongues) is from God.

       b.    Article 5 is obviously the crux of our differences—where a post-salvation experience is deemed necessary.

       c.    And, finally, even though charismatics and noncharismatics hold to article 6—we believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life—we have the problem of millions upon millions of believers who have not gotten the post-salvation baptism of the Spirit—does this mean that there is no ministry of God the Holy Spirit in their lives? Since God does not give the Spirit by measure (John 8:34), that means that God does not give a small amount of the Spirit to the noncharismatic and a big helping of the Spirit to the charismatic. What this means is that we have a handful of believers who have gotten the Holy Spirit and we have a huge number of believers who have never received the Holy Spirit in any way, shape or form. Does this make sense?

36.  There are two reasons that we have experienced a recent outbreak in the speaking of tongues. It is not that we are entering into some great revivalistic period of time, but that careful Bible study is almost nonexistent, which means that believers have an incredible hunger for something, although most of them do not know what this is. If there is a void in your life because you lack God’s Word in your soul, then you will fill it with whatever you can. Thieme explains: There has not existed a bona fide gift of tongues since a.d. 70—more than two thousand years! Why do people who are born again accept this reversionistic doctrine? Why do they fall prey to its apparent attraction? When a believer fails to learn Bible doctrine on a daily basis, he inevitably reverts to the human viewpoint systems of rationalism, ritualism or emotionalism. These are as satanic as any system of modernism. Emotionalism has great appeal today, possibly because it is a reaction to the ritualism of the past generations and appears to be spiritual power. Footnote

37.  The problems experienced in Corinth were similar, but not the same as we find in the charismatic community today, the chief difference being that the gift of tongues is not a valid gift for today. The Corinthians had the greatest Bible teaching of their time—Paul and his traveling seminary taught in Corinth. But they rejected the truth and 2Corinthians 6:11–12 tells us why: O you Corinthians, our mouth is open to you [we are teaching you doctrine], our heart [mind] is enlarged. You [all] are not limited by us, but you are limited in your own bowels [which refers to their emotional patterns]. Footnote You must place God’s Word above how you feel.


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38.  Arguments in favor of the gift of tongues:

       a.    If I ask God for the gift of tongues and receive it, then it must be valid. Then they quote Luke 11:12, which is Jesus speaking, telling the disciples that they should ask for the Holy Spirit and he concludes by saying, “Or, if he [a father] is asked for an egg, he will not give him [his son] a scorpion, will he?” Actually, this is not bad for a charismatic argument, because it is almost contextually accurate. However, Jesus is speaking to His disciples, who do not have the help of the Holy Spirit, as this was prior to the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Even though the charismatic may appear to have the purest of motives, he is telling God in prayer that God has just not given him enough, even though God has given this person the Holy Spirit and a spiritual gift already. And for this reason, God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe the what is false (2Thess. 2:11). Near the end of this study, I will show that most people who speak in tongues do this as learned behavior

       b.    Let me give you an example of another passage taken out of context and misapplied. Charismatics have been known to quote 1John 4:2–3: By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. Then someone will speak in tongues, then someone will interpret this as Jesus has come in the flesh; and that is their proof positive that they are from God. Not so fast. First of all, we have the problem with the interpretation of these tongues, to which we have already spoken. But also, there are millions of people who believe that Jesus was a real historical person who came in the flesh. In fact, most unbelievers believer that Jesus was a real person who came in the flesh, and if quizzed on that, they would confess to it. This does not make them believers nor is God the Holy Spirit speaking through them. The historical context of that passage is that the Gnostics were teaching that Jesus was not completely human—that he was an angel, or the Son of God, but certainly not human. The reason they would take that tact is that there were still too many eyewitnesses to His miracles to deny His deity, so they instead denied His humanity (it is just the opposite today). This is the historical context of John’s letter. For this set of false prophets, if they did not teach that Jesus was fully human, then they were not of God. Footnote

       c.    Charismatics claim that Paul spoke with the tongues of angels, quoting 1Cor. 13:1: If I speak with the tongues of men and the tongues of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. We will cover this passage in great detail when we exegete that passage.

       d.    Paul spoke in tongues more than any of the Corinthians and specifically said, “Do not forbid to speak in tongues.” (1Cor. 14:18, 39). This will be covered in the exegesis of that passage.

       e.    Whenever someone received the baptism of the Spirit in Acts, all of them always spoke in tongues. We will cover each and every instance of this when we cover those passages as well.

       f.     The gift of tongues has been with the church since the first century. It never died out.

       g.    The gift of tongues in the 20th century is a part of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit as the latter rain spoken of in Joel 2.

       h.    Whereas, there are certainly abuses of the gift of tongues in many churches, there are many people that speak in tongues who:

               i.     Do not push tongues on other people.

               ii.     Lead a very dedicated Christian life.

               iii.    They walk by faith and not by sight and not by feelings.

               iv.    They do not feel that everyone must speak in tongues.

               v.    They grant that others without having had this great experience may still have the Holy Spirit.

               vi.    They only use tongues in private to edify themselves.

               vii.   They do not pro-actively discuss the gift of tongues with anyone.

       i.     I personally know some people who speak in tongues, who, at least from what I know about them, tend to fit into that last description. Does this mean that the gift of tongues is for this time? If you haven’t been out in the world, you may not realize it, but there are many genuinely nice and respectable unbelievers out in this world. This does not justify their rejection of Christ as savior. Just because a very nice and respectable believer holds to a doctrine also does not validate the doctrine—what determines what is true or false is God’s Word.


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39.  There are advantages cited by believers in the charismatic movement; they include: Footnote

       a.    The charismatic claims to have an increased devotion. Where their life was once dry and their Christianity perfunctory, it is now vibrant and alive. They are more enthusiastic in their commitment to the Lord and more desirous to know His will and to perform His will.

       b.    Their prayer life might be improved. Burdick cites one person who once had difficulty praying for ten minutes. Now, after having experienced tongues, he can pray for two hours at a stretch.

       c.    Their relationship with God and with Jesus Christ are now personal and experiential. Prior to this, it was intellectual and theological. This is felt to be communion with God in the most personal sense. Footnote

       d.    Renewed emphasis upon the person and the work of the Holy Spirit, as well as upon the gifts given by the Spirit.

       e.    The previous Christian experience did not satisfy the emotional needs; since allying with a charismatic church, their relationship with God is alive and vibrant. They feel a part of the church and a part of God’s plan. There is a resultant feeling of love, joy and peace, which transcends all understanding. The Christian experience is real in their heart.

       f.     The use of the gift of tongues tends to, at least temporarily, reduce conflict and tension in the believer’s life.

       g.    They have a new feeling of power, which is sometimes described as electricity.

       h.    Tongues and the baptism of the Holy Spirit have been associated with improved morality, in the cessation of alcoholism, in the integration of disturbed personalities, in the curing of various psychological or even physiological disorders, in the restoration of marital harmony, and in the revitalization of Christian fellowship within the churches. In brief, people and churches have “found” themselves through the experience. Footnote E. Glenn Hinson adds that, although these results may not by typical, they would have an obvious appeal to men and women from any sort of church who seek solutions to these problems.

       i.     Rector Morton Kelsey concludes that the gift of tongues can make a contribution to the individual and to the Christian community, if exercised discreetly and with humility within the community. “It is,” he notes in conclusion, “one entrance into the spiritual realm; by giving access to the unconscious, it is one contract with non-physical reality which allows God to speak directly to man.”  Footnote

       j.     Chantry sums this up: The [charismatic] movement claims to hold the secret to godliness, spiritual power and revival. Every true servant of God has a longing to be more useful in our Master’s kingdom on earth. Many churches desire revival. Individual Christian humility produces grief for impurity, worldliness and weakness. Love of Christ issues in mourning over the absence of success in one’s own service or in the church at large. Footnote Obviously, a movement which promises all that the Charismatic movement has must have some great good within it. Chantry goes on: Agents of ‘charismatic revival’ tell Christians, ‘Your religion is fine as far as it goes. You have been converted and have the hope of everlasting life. But you need a second experience, something beyond conversion. You must be baptized in the Spirit. This needful experience is the key to entering the door of joy, victory over sin, and effectiveness in bringing men to Christ. It will draw you nearer to the Lord and place you on a generally higher spiritual plane.’  Footnote


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40.  You may wonder, what is the harm in this? The charismatics are decidedly more enthusiastic, evangelical; can’t we at least live side-by-side and write this off as a non-essential doctrine? After listing several personal testimonies on how tongues affects them, MacArthur asks: And what could possibly be wrong with such an experience? If it makes a person feel good, closer to God, spiritually stronger, or even delirious with joy, can it in any way be dangerous or deceptive?  Footnote After all, the only thing the charismatics are trying to do is put the Holy Spirit back into the church; the only real problem that fundamentalists have with the charismatics is a fear of the unknown. An eight member committee of the Lutheran Church, after a two year study, published a report in December of 1963 which agreed that the gift of tongues was one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and that they would not forbid the private exercise of the gift of tongues for the individual’s personal edification. Footnote The charismatics are filled with sincere enthusiasm: Can it be that God produced the Reformation to return the church to New Testament doctrine and He is now producing the charismatic movement to return the church to New Testament power? God is calling His church to more than just renewal. He is calling the church to restoration—a restoration of the dynamic and “cutting-edge” influence of the early church. In my opinion, the charismatic movement is helping to bring this about, more than any other group. Footnote Listen, it is true that many charismatics are believers, and the vast majority of them are very sincere in their beliefs. But their beliefs are firstly experienced-based, which are then loosely justified by Scripture. Therefore, let me give you a list of reasons why there is great harm in what they teach:

       a.    So that there is no misunderstanding—the problem with the charismatic movement is not their excesses but their doctrine—to be quite frank with you, I don’t care too much for most churches, because God’s Word is not being taught carefully in most of them. However, the problem with the charismatic church is what they are teaching is anti-Biblical and anti-God.

       b.    The greatest problem of all is that charismatic doctrine introduces a false system of spirituality—that is, they teach false mechanics for being filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is our spiritual life. Without the Holy Spirit, we do not function as spiritual beings. I don’t care how religious you are, how often you go to church, how often you read your Bible, how sincere you are, how moral you are—if you are not filled with God the Holy Spirit, then you are only marking time on this earth. Nothing, and I mean, absolutely nothing that you do will have any true spiritual impact, whether you give, pray, or do whatever works you deem as good—these things will have zero impact insofar as eternity is concerned. You must be filled with the Holy Spirit in order to properly function as a believer. Now are charismatics ever filled with the Spirit? Certainly, on occasion, and generally by accident. And they could never, if their life depended upon it, tell you how it happened. Furthermore, most of the time, they are unaware of it. Therefore, before we go any further, you should know the correct mechanics of being filled with the Holy Spirit: you name your sins to God; when you sin, you acknowledge that sin to God. Jesus Christ paid for that sin, it is instantly forgiven, and your temporal fellowship with God is restored. Obviously, when you sin, you break fellowship with God. Obviously, because you have an old sin nature, you will sin. For the believer, getting out of fellowship is inevitable. Getting back in is an act of free will—you name your sin(s) to God and God instantly forgives you. In the New Testament as well as the Old, there are several references to these mechanics, as well as innumerable references to the doctrine of fellowship. At the end of 1Cor. 11, Paul is dealing with the problem of believers being out of fellowship, and therefore, being judged by God. But, if we judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judges, we are disciplined by the Lord in order that we may not be condemned along with the world (1Cor. 11:31–32). In 1John, John deals with the fellowship of believers (he is not speaking of or to unbelievers in this letter); he writes: If we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin [sin, as a singular noun, generally refers to the old sin nature in Scripture], we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess [or, name, acknowledge] our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us (1John 1:6–10). This doctrine of spirituality is a whole other doctrine, which I have only briefly alluded to here. The primary reason that I refer to it here is (1) so that you can see what the truth is when it comes to being filled with the Spirit; and, (2) so that you can be filled with the Spirit—otherwise, this study will not benefit you in the least. If these mechanics—the naming of one’s sins to God—are not carefully taught and stressed in a body of believers, and if they do not know how they get out of fellowship or how they get back in, then you have a congregation of neutralized Christians. You may have hundreds or even thousands of believers whose combined total divine good would not even fill up a thimble. Whenever a church does not know how to be filled with the Holy Spirit, then they are a completely neutralized congregation. Now, Satan may not be able to keep some people from believing in Christ (in fact, he really can’t keep anyone from believing in Christ); however, he can and does neutralize whole congregations.

       c.    Charismatics offer a different means by which to be spiritual, which is fairly hard to nail down in terms of mechanics. Most would agree that the results are the same—when you are baptized in, filled by, or slain in the Spirit, you will know it; and often this is accompanied by speaking in tongues—but the exact road to get there in terms of mechanics is nebulous. What it tends to generally be is praying for the Spirit while being amongst a group of believers. There might be some yieldedness involved and enthusiastic praying and a group pressure to manifest something—and, get this, it might not happen the first or the second time. It could happen while one is alone as well, although the results tend to be while in a group of believers who know what to expect and desire this experience for you. The end result, where you just know that you have gotten the Holy Ghost, is generally accepted as proof, even though the road there is curiously indistinct (at least, for the first-time people). Now, those who speak in tongues at will afterwards tend to be able to bring it on at will, some requiring more fervent prayer and others can just do it. In any case, the result to the charismatic is key—not the means. This is a truly dangerous approach to spirituality. No matter how marvelous and spiritual and empowered you feel, you cannot make that the criterion for your spiritual walk. Scripture is the source and the evidence of our salvation—Scripture must also be the source and evidence of our having been filled with the Spirit.

       d.    The second problem, which is a problem throughout all Christianity, is the introduction of false methods of salvation. Although this is not unique, by any means, to charismatics, it is prevalent in charismatic evangelism. Salvation comes by believing in Jesus Christ—by placing your faith on Him—by believing that He alone is 100% the source and basis of your salvation and that your entire contribution is 0%. Believing is a non-meritorious system of perception, which is in contrast to empiricism or rationalism, which are meritorious systems of perception. Note what is not included in the mechanics of salvation: asking Jesus into your heart or into your life (there is no Scriptural basis for this, apart from a complete misinterpretation of Rev. 3:20, a passage which is written to believers, not to unbelievers); nor does salvation include: baptism, repentance (and here I mean regret, which is not what repentance actually means) from sin, feeling badly because you have sinned, promising God that you will not sin, promising God that you will lead a better and more moral life, determining that you will change all of your bad habits and sins, etc. These things are works, and if you think that you are contributing even 0.001% towards your salvation, either through your feeling badly, your determination to do better, your desire to do better, etc. etc., you are not saved. You salvation depends completely on Jesus Christ and not even a little bit upon what you have done with your life or what you plan to do with your life (most charismatics understand the former, but do not grasp the latter). Can you be a murderer, a rapist, a child molester, a drug dealer Footnote and be instantly saved by believing in Jesus Christ, and then immediately go back to being a murderer, a rapist, a child molester and a drug dealer? If you can quickly and easily answer that question with an unequivocal yes, then you grasp the power of what Jesus did for us on the cross. If you are the least bit hesitant, then you do not understand salvation, which possibly even means that you are not saved. In case you have never gotten this straight before: Jesus Christ died for each and every sin that you have ever committed and for every sin that you will commit in the future. Every single wrong deed and thought that you have done or will do was taken care of on the cross. If you place your faith in Jesus Christ for your salvation, you are instantly and eternally saved. No one, including yourself, can ever cancel the work of Jesus on the cross on your behalf.

       e.    Now, I want you to know that every time I have come in contact with a charismatic, I have asked them, how does one become saved? Only two of those answers was close. The daughter of a missionary-evangelist (whose job it is to give the gospel day in and day out) and an author (whom I did not meet, but read) were the closest. They both said that in order for a person to be saved, they needed to repent and then believe in Jesus Christ. The author, David Shibley, wrote (this was a book which attempted to get charismatics and non-charismatics to call a truce): [we should] agree on two points: (1) The final authority on any doctrinal issue is the Bible, and (2) a person becomes a Christian by repenting and placing personal faith in Jesus Christ as Savior. Footnote By repentance, they mean to realize that you have sinned and to turn away from your sins—this is an integral part of salvation. Now, certainly, repentance is named several times in the Bible along with salvation. And, what I will agree to is that, repentance is definitely a part of salvation—as long as you understand what repentance means; however, they do not (nor do most charismatics; few believers know what repentance actually means). There are two Greek words and their component parts that we need to examine. One of them is metamélomai.(μεταμέλομαι) [pronounced meh-tah-MEH-loh-my]. This is made up of two Greek words: metá (μετά) [pronounced meh-TAH], which means (among other things) to change. Strong’s #3326. The other half of the word is mélô (μέλω) [pronounced MEH-loh], which means to have concern, to regret. Strong’s #3199. Together, they mean to change one’s mind or purpose after having done something regrettable. If you are a believer who is confused about salvation, then right now, you are thinking to yourself what’d I say? Metamélomai is often translated to feel remorse, to regret. We do not find it in conjunction with passages dealing with salvation, Footnote but we do find Judas regretting his betrayal of our Lord (Matt. 27:3), recognizing that he had betrayed innocent blood. He was so upset over this, he committed suicide (Matt. 27:5); furthermore, Judas was not saved (John 13:11–12). Strong’s #3338. The word generally rendered repent (and distorted by most fundamentalists) is metanoéô (μετανοέω) [pronounced meh-tah-noh-EH-oh] and it comes from the Greek words metá (to change) and noéô (νοέω) [pronounced noh-EH-oh], which means to think, to understand, to perceive. Strong’s #3539. Its noun cognate is noús (νούς) [pronounced noose], which means mind. Strong’s #3563. Metanoéô means to change one’s thinking, to change one’s mind. This is the word that we find repeatedly as a part of salvation. The key is whatever it is that we are to change our minds about, which is generally found in context. However, when we do not have an obvious target, then it means to either change one’s mind about Jesus Christ (we all had preconceived ideas as to Who He was; and we are to change those to recognizing Him as our Savior) or we are to change our minds about our dead works—that is, the things that we have accumulated in order to get us into heaven (Heb. 6:1; spoken of, in that context, as being one of the fundamentals of the faith). Do we find this word associated with sin? Not really; in the gospels, it usually stands alone. One say, what about Luke 15:7, 10?, but only the kind of person who does not understand the difference between the subject of the verb and the object of the verb. Footnote Strong’s #3340. So if you tell someone that they must repent and believe, make certain that you explain that they are either changing their minds about Jesus Christ or they are changing their minds about the good works that they have been performing in hopes of salvation. When you throw in regret because you sin, with the idea that, in order to be saved you must turn from your sins, to must repent of your sins, you must vow not to sin (or, at least to cut back substantially), then you are adding works to faith. When evangelicals get the gospel wrong, this is not a small matter.

       f.     Why do most charismatics have a distorted understanding of grace and salvation? That is simple—charismatics have been taught that when a person is not healed, then it is that person’s fault for not displaying enough faith. When a person has not received the holy ghost, then he has not cleansed his life enough to be baptized in the spirit. In other words, the charismatic is taught that you must earn what you get from God. Therefore, salvation is not any different. They will expect, in some way, that salvation must be earned.

       g.    What is particularly embarrassing to the Christian movement is the charismatics who get weirder and weirder. One of the recent allegations of some charismatics is that God has turned their fillings into gold. First off, God, if He were to fix a tooth, he would fix the tooth and make it whole. God does not mess with fillings. Secondly, those who have been investigated who have made these allegations have turned out to have dentists who have come forward who have claimed to do the work. When people make claims like this, the unbeliever looks upon them as the goofs they are, and associates them with Christianity. When it is shown that they are perpetrating a hoax or a fraud, they make Christ seem dishonest and goofy by association. Now, who do you think is involved in this kind of evangelism—the Holy Spirit or demons?

       h.    Dillow on charismatic evangelism: Middle-class America and even most of the youth culture is offended by the emotional excesses of the charismatic movement. In the minds of the average non-Christian, Pentecostalism is identified with the most fanatical form of religious ignorance. In their mind the movement tends to associate Christ with all kinds of violent jerking, convulsions, ecstatic gibberish, and other emotional excesses. Footnote

       i.     Thieme gives an example of one group of charismatics and their views on salvation: Wherever tongues flourish, confusion reigns. A group of people in southern California, who claimed that they spoke in tongues, were questioned recently regarding their knowledge of salvation. Each one insisted that not one but five or six steps were necessary for salvation. All had erroneous beliefs concerning the issue of the Gospel and the mechanics of spirituality. This is not surprising, for confusion is a part of the pattern in the tongues spectrum. The devastation which the modern tongues movement leaves in its wake is prodigious. Not only does this apostate activity mislead the unbeliever, but it inhibits the believer from getting into doctrine. Changes are that such an individual becomes more intrigued with the promise of ecstatic experiences than with the prospect of learning the Word, a task that requires consistent self-discipline, positive volition and subjection to the pastor’s authority!  Footnote

       j.     In the previous few points, I have actually been very generous to the charismatic movement, assuming that the gospel is presented. Let’s take the Third Wave’s primary textbook on evangelism, Power Evangelism by John Wimber. MacArthur: [This book]...omits any reference to the cross of Christ or the doctrine of atonement. Under fire for that deficiency, Wimber has published a new book that devotes thirteen (our of more than two hundred) pages to the cross, Christ’s death, justification, regeneration, and related issues. Still, soteriology (the doctrine of salvation) and an accurate gospel message can hardly be considered major thrusts of the movement, despite all its heavy emphasis on how to evangelize properly. Footnote MacArthur suggests reading Wimber’s witnessing to a man and a woman on a plane. Wimber apparently read the word adultery on the man’s forehead and therefore boldly confronted him about that particular sin (I don’t know that I would want to be sitting next to Wimber on a plane). Both the husband and wife were converted, although there is apparently no mention of the gospel in this account. In case there is any confusion, recognizing that you have sinned does not mean that you have been reborn. Feeling badly about what you have done wrong does not mean you have been reborn. Confessing this sin to God and repenting of that sin does not mean you are reborn.

       k.    Mark Thompson recorded his observations of an evangelistic meeting held by Third Wave in Sydney, Australia: The team affirmed their concern for evangelism. John Wimber was especially at pains to deny he wanted to distract people from this task. And after all, hadn’t they planned a “Healing and Evangelistic Rally” at Sydney Showground for the Thursday night? Yet two things undercut their stated concern. Firstly, the cross of Jesus got only one brief mention in all the General meetings and workshops I attended during the conference...Secondly, and even more seriously, there was no gospel in the so-called evangelistic meeting. The cross of Jesus was not central; the atonement not explained; and mankind’s need and the provision of redemption not even cursorily treated. Believing himself to be following the example of Jesus and the apostles, John Wimber called out for those who needed to be healed—bad backs got a mention, short legs, neck pain and a whole host of diseases. People were asked to stand and team members dispatched to pray for them while on the stage John Wimber demanded that the Spirit come. After a few minutes of silence several screams were heard and people sobbing. A little later, Mr. Wimber declared that people had been healed and that God had given it as a token, a sign to those who did not believe. In short, they were asked to base their decision on what they had seen, or rather on Mr. Wimber’s interpretation of what they had seen. The sacrifice of Christ for the sin of the world didn’t get a guernsey. I was left wondering what faith people would have been converted to that night. It did not resemble New Testament Christianity except in name. Footnote

       l.     MacArthur gave another rather humorous example. Wagner was quite impressed with the results of Argentine evangelist Omar Cabrera, and commented, “People often will be saved and healed in Cabrera’s meetings before he starts preaching.” Footnote How on earth is anyone saved prior to hearing the gospel? Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). How then will they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? (Rom. 10:14).

       m.   In sort, the gospel is either lost in charismatic evangelism, overshadowed by the signs and miracles that they purport to deliver; or, the gospel is distorted.

       n.    A serious problem with the charismatic movement is the threadbare appeal to Scripture. McGee writes: I have examined their literature and find that there is almost a total blackout of the Bible. This is not a movement which is based on the Word of God, neither does it promote searching the Scripture to see if these things are true. They present a few threadbare “proof texts”, but beyond that, there is no study of the Scriptures...I have examined a suitcase full of their literature and I find that there is practically no Bible study or Bible teaching whatsoever. Footnote There have been many books written about the tongues movement from both sides. Of all which I have read, those which were pro-charismatic made few references to Scripture, every one of which will be exegeted in detail in this study. Let me give you one of the classic examples: Conrad Murrell: There are three basic positions in relation to the [gift of] tongues...The first position is that there is no scriptural gift of the tongues in operation today. Therefore any seeming manifestation of such a gift is of the devil and to be rejected...Position number one hardly justifies much discourse since it is so completely without scriptural support. If it were not for people who had lived for years as Christians, ignoring certain prominent passages of scripture and failing to come in contact with a demonstration of this gift being accompanied by the power of God, no such position would exist. Footnote Murrell then spends less than a paragraph disputing this position, and making references to three passages of Scripture. Those books which were critical of the charismatic movement appealed primarily to Scripture, although they certainly dealt with the experiences of charismatic movement. The book that you are now reading will deal with the passages of Scripture in much more detail than you are probably used to, although in less detail than I am used going (since my subject matter is limited). If you are a charismatic has this great interest in things spiritual, then it should be easy for the charismatic to plow through these extended passages. It will be quite a change from citing a doctrine and then citing a passage to back that doctrine up. Footnote

       o.    One of the greatest problems of the charismatic movement is that they place God’s Word second to their experience. Walter Chantry observed: A survey of ‘charismatic’ meetings reveals a very low esteem for God’s Word. Those who attended are more elated over the words of the twentieth-century prophets than over the inscripturated words of Christ and his apostles...As the ‘gifts’ increase, exposition of God’s Word decreases. Meetings are filled with ‘sharing experiences’ but with only an occasional reference to the holy Word of God...They live on visible, emotional experiences and not upon truth. Even some who spend hours perusing the Bibles do so nor for the purpose of grasping truth but in the hope of inducing a new thrill in their truth-parched souls...Some would deny that their new messages add anything to the existing canon of Scripture. They only receive direction as to what portion of Gods Word should be called to the attention of the church at the moment. Or they only receive warnings of providential calamity. Or they only receive specific guidance in personal or church affairs. Nevertheless, it is a fresh message from heaven, which provides the desired guidance, not the Scriptures...Neo-Pentecostal enthusiasts are implying that the Bible is not able to make a man ‘thoroughly furnished unto all good works’ [2 Timothy 3:17]. Footnote Rarely does a charismatic leader ever publically berates the Bible; they are generally much more subtle than that. They denigrate Scripture in more subtle ways. First, they make the Bible subservient to their experience. What they have experienced is from God and it is truth. Whatever we find in the Bible must agree with that (which is the typical approach for almost any new believer). You don’t need to take my word for this—listen to Gordon Fee, who is a Pentecostal: ...their attitude toward Scripture regularly has included a general disregard for scientific exegesis and carefully thought-out hermeneutics. In fact, hermeneutics has simply not been a Pentecostal thing. Scripture is the Word of God and is to be obeyed. In place of scientific hermeneutics there developed a kind of pragmatic hermeneutics—obey what should be taken literally; spiritualize, allegorize, or devotionalize the rest...Secondly, it is probably fair—and important—to note that in general the Pentecostals’ experience has preceded their hermeneutics. In a sense, the Pentecostal tends to exegete his experience. Footnote

       p.    Secondly, charismatics often look to their pastor for additional divine guidance and truth apart from the Bible. That is, they believe that their pastor or leader will periodically spout prophecy or theology apart from the Bible which is more contemporary and exciting than the Bible. Of course, it is possible that there are a few charismatics that believe in the gift of tongues, but not in the gift of prophecy, but most of them believe that it comes in one complete package: if the gift of tongues is for our time, so is the gift of knowledge, prophecy, healing and miracles. What this belief in prophecy—or inspired speaking of information which comes directly from God—does is undercuts the authority and the sufficiency of the Word of God. We have the same position in Catholicism: the pope makes pronouncements which spoken ex cathedra. That is, the pope makes a ruling, a judgment, a decision regarding truth and doctrine which is to apply to the entire Catholic church, and this comes at the direct inspiration of God, not from correct interpretation of Scripture. Almost all of the historical evils of Romanism—which many associate with Christianity—can be traced to authoritative papal pronouncements outside of the Word of God. If you understand nothing else, realize that this is a vicious attack on Scripture (too subtle for some; quite obvious to others). Chantry: ...the most fundamental element of the Reformation was the cry of ‘Sola Scriptura’ from the students of the Bible. The ‘charismatic movement’ does not carry on the Reformation, but rather strikes a damaging blow to its very roots. They would destroy the Protestant foundation of confiding in Scripture alone. Footnote Even though the Apostle John tells us that the canon of Scripture is closed (Rev. 22:18–19), the charismatic tells us that there are just a few more tidbits of information which God left out, or that God did not have the foresight to inform us of in the Bible, or that the Bible is okay, but it just does not have everything that we need for today. When Moses completed the Law, he said that nothing was to be added to the Law (Deut. 4:2). God continued to add Scripture, but the Law itself was never changed until Christ fulfilled the Law. What the Jews did is they developed the Talmud and the Mishna, which , was both a commentary and a clarification of the Law of Moses. Much of it is a long list of the traditions of the Jews when it comes to obeying the Law—for instance, it goes into great detail about keeping the Sabbath and exactly what you can and cannot do on the Sabbath. Let me give you an example: if you are wearing your Sunday best (on Saturday of course), and a horse trots by and splashes your cloak with mud, you may not take the cloak to be cleaned and you may not clean it yourself. You may wait until the mud to dry and then squeeze that area once with your hands and then let go. The Jew studies the Mishna with the same fervency as he studies the Law of Moses, although he will certainly claim that the Law of Moses is inspired, or more inspired (whatever that means). In any case, it completely undermined the authority of Scripture. When a religion allows for additional written authority (Mormonism, Judaism, Catholicism) or additional spoken words from God (Catholicism and Pentecostalism), then that religion attacks the power and the primacy of the Word of God. At what point does the charismatic draw the line between experience and Bible doctrine when they are in conflict with one another? Is it never? Do we reject the experiences of random believers who give their testimony, but not those of recognized Christian public figures? Listen to me very carefully: Every single source which I studied that did not teach that the gift of tongues was for today continually stressed the importance of Scripture over experience. Even if these writers were all wrong, how does it make sense that they see God’s Word as superior to the experiences of man and those writers who believed speaking in tongues was a gift for today depended more upon experience for that validation than they did upon God’s Word?

       q.    McGee discusses the problem with the charismatic movement as follows: This movement has not promoted Bible study. By contrast, the Reformation did. And not only did the Reformation, but the Moody revival promoted Bible study. In fact, the Bible Institute movement came out of the Moody meetings. Bible Institutes were built because the converts wanted to know the Word of God. We do not see that today. All is experience. I have had, I suppose, a dozen letters this weeks from folk who have attempted to tell me about their experience with tongues. May I ask, what does the Book say? Are you as eager to study and share God’s Word as you are to tell about some little experience you have had?  Footnote Throughout the gospels, the Holy Spirit is often referred to as the Spirit of Truth (John 14:17 15:26 16:13) Wh would guide us into all truth. It was He who moved men to write holy Scripture (I Peter 1:21). The Holy Spirit will not inspire men of God to subordinate His Word for the sake of a common ecstatic experience.

       r.     Now, I said, rarely does a charismatic speak against Scripture. Jack Deere, an assistant to John Wimber at The Vineyard Christian Fellowship in Anaheim, was a former professor of the Old Testament in a prominent seminary, and had personally told MacArthur that he believes in and affirmed the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture. However, he distributed some printed notes at the 1990 Spiritual Warfare Conference in Sydney, and had a section entitled “A Demonic Doctrine Illustrated,” which referred to the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture. It read, in part: In order to fulfill God’s highest purposes for our lives we must be able to hear His voice both in the written word and in the Word freshly spoken from heaven...Satan understands the strategic importance of Christians hearing God’s voice so he has launched various attacks against us in this area...Ultimately this doctrine [the sufficiency of Scripture] is demonic even [though] Christian theologians have been used to perfect it. Footnote

       s.    With speaking in tongues often comes the gift of prophecy. That is, there are those who think that they speak with authority which is on par with Scripture without resting upon the authority of Scripture. Their revelations can be trivial, they can be accurate, and the can even contradict what Scripture says. MacArthur gives us one of the most incredible examples from Kenneth Copeland. While Copeland was involved in a three day Victory Campaign in Dalla, Jesus gave him the following message: It’s time for these things to happen, saith the Lord. It’s time for spiritual activity to increase. Oh, yes, demonic activity will increase along at the same time. But don’t let that disturb you. Don’t be disturbed when people accuse you of thinking you’re God. Don’t be disturbed when people accuse you of a fanatical way of life. Don’t be disturbed when people put you down and speak harshly and roughly of you. They spoke that way of Me, should they not speak that way of you? The more you get to be like Me, the more they’re going to think that way of you. They crucified me for claiming that I was God. But I didn’t claim I was God; I just claimed I walked with Him and that He was in Me. Hallelujah. Footnote This is a blatant attack upon Scripture and upon Jesus Christ; but Kenneth Copeland is a person of note in the charismatic world and he spoke those words by prophetic gift. Larry Lea relates a pastor who had a vision of Larry wearing big Mickey Mouse ears, the meaning being, of course, that Larry had improved his spiritual ears. Footnote It should be easy to grasp that we have people who contradict God’s Word, and others who make a complete mockery of the gift of prophecy and visions with such nonsense as Mickey Mouse ears. This moves the believer’s focus away from God’s perfect Word to the word of man (at best). And, if believers get to a point where they believe that these things are words from God, then it simultaneously trivializes Scripture.

       t.     Walter Chantry gives us an analogy. When Philip asked Jesus to see the Father, as that would be sufficient for them (the Apostles), our Lord answered: “Have I been with you this long and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how do you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (John 14:9b). Philip’s search for something more was an insult to the Son of God...A similar insult is given by the modern desire for further revelations. It is an indication that seekers of ‘charisma’ are failing to see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Though the infallible words of Jesus Christ have been so long time with them, they look for something more in order to know the living God...Some blinded eyes read the very sayings of the Son of God and look away to more exciting prospects. Footnote Do not think that we are overstating or misstating the case. Charismatics give great lip service to the Bible; they just believe that there is something a little bit more out there. Do not forget that almost the final words of Scripture, the very words of Jesus Christ, are, “If anyone adds to these words, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book.” (Rev. 22:18b). Of these final words of the book of Revelation, Matthew Henry wrote: This sanction is like a flaming sword to guard the canon of the Scripture from profane hands. Footnote

       u.    Now, I want to sum up, before I move on: charismatics attack Christianity in the three most fundamental foundations of our faith: salvation, spirituality and the sufficiency of Scripture. If they can’t keep you from entering into the kingdom of heaven by confusing the means of salvation, then they will derail you after salvation. It’s not like this is some brand new strategy of Satan. You’ve heard of the Catholic church, have you not? Satan attacked Christianity from the Catholic church primarily in three ways (1) by distorting the means of salvation; (2) by confusing the mechanics of spirituality; and (3) by subtly (and not so subtly) devaluating God’s Word. When it comes to the problems inherent in the charismatic movement, these are the primary ones. This is obviously how Satan will attack any church. There are other problems, of course.

41.  The charismatic movement and evangelism. One of the things stressed by the charismatic movement is their powerful evangelistic push and the tremendous results of their evangelistic programs. This is a problem in the charismatic movement (that they obviously do not see as a problem) which deserves consideration all by itself.

       a.    Some charismatics lay claim to great evangelical movements. We have several problems here:

               i.     No charismatic evangelical comes even close to, say, Billy Graham or Billy Sunday in the realm of evangelical work.

               ii.     Although they lay claim to great enthusiasm, the fervency of the Jehovah’s Witnesses is just as great, if not greater. However, both groups prey heavily upon men and women who are already believers.

               iii.    Their enthusiasm aside, it must be pointed out that if you are not giving the correct gospel message, as has been discussed, then how worthwhile is the evangelism?

       b.    Let’s define power evangelism, which, although it specifically belongs to the Third Wave, is common in theology to the charismatic movement in general (bear in mind that the distinction between the Third Wave and the Pentecostal or charismatic movements are substantially semantic): it is defined as ...a presentation of the gospel that is rational but that also transcends the rational. The explanation of the gospel comes with a demonstration of god’s power through signs and wonders. Power evangelism is a spontaneous, Spirit-inspired, empowered presentation of the gospel. Power evangelism is evangelism that is preceded and undergirded by supernatural demonstrations of God’s presence. Through these supernatural encounters people experience the presence and power of God. Footnote The following few points explain why this is a fallacious approach.

       c.    Putting your faith in miracles which you have observed or think you have observed is not saving faith. Putting your faith in the people who have seemingly performed those miracles is also not saving faith. We have only one object of faith, and that is Christ Jesus.

       d.    Next, often the so-called signs and wonders and miracles are hokey. They are not things which an intelligent unbeliever can observe and not be skeptical.

       e.    Charismatic evangelism isn’t. The power is in the Word of God, not in the signs and wonders which have accompanied it in the past. Our Lord, in evangelism, did not push signs and wonders. The signs and wonders which our Lord did testified to Who He was and Who He represented. Sometimes these signs and wonders would convince someone to believe in Him, but often they did not. Sometimes people requested the signs and miracles for pure titillation or just to test Him, as these signs would not caused these ones to believe. We have instances of that in Matt. 12:38–39 16:1–4 Mark 8:11–12 Luke 11:16, 29 23:8–9 John 4:48. The Bible must be taken as a whole; you don’t get to just look at your favorite verses taken out of context. Many in Jesus’ generation will stand before the judgement seat of Christ with no excuse because He performed signs and miracles in their sight and they did not believe.

       f.     Not only are signs and wonders not a part of evangelism today, they were not always necessary when our Lord taught. There were several recorded instances when Jesus taught without doing miracles (Matt. 13:1–52 18:1–35 John 7:14–44). And just because His miracles attracted attention; this did not mean that was the response of positive volition. He performed signs and wonders in Galilee in Mark 1:29–34; however, when the Apostles told him the next day that everyone was looking for him (obviously because of these signs and wonders), Jesus told them that they were moving on. I don’t know if you can grasp this, but there were certainly some who saw what our Lord did as we might view street theater today. It was interesting and entertaining, but there was nothing beyond that to which they responded.

       g.    One of the things which has come out of the charismatic movement is what is called pragmatic evangelism. What it means is that if it works, then it is the working of the Holy Spirit. That is, if an evangelist is successful or if a church is successful, then the ends justifies the means. The noncharismatic does not define truth in terms of what is successful and what is not. As has been mentioned, our Lord, the Son of God, evangelized for three years, performing incredible signs and wonders and miracles, and then, after His death, he appeared to over 500 different people—so, at Pentecost, all we have are 120 of His disciples gathered. The very people who witnessed some of His greatest miracles were the ones who were instrumental in His being railroaded through the legal systems of the ancient world, as well as His sentence of death. Obviously, our Lord had not heard of pragmatic evangelism, as His methods did not work as well as they should have. It does not matter how fast a church grows or how large a church gets. Either people are accurately evangelized or they are not. They are either taught doctrine correctly or they are not. Whether people respond in great numbers or not is not the issue; whether people respond in great numbers or not is a reflection upon the people, not upon God’s Word.

       h.    The first and foremost problem is that charismatics evangelize primarily noncharismatics. Many of these meetings are attended by born again believers whose life is in the crapper. They were promised all kinds of things when they heard the message of salvation, and responded by believing in Christ, and now their life is not full of whatever it is they expected it to be full of (and, most often, the problem is that they do not have a stitch of doctrine in their souls).

42.  Charismatics take a stand against knowledge and learning, substituting for it experience and feeling:

       a.    What the charismatic offers is the secret experience which leads to the great, victorious Christian life. Paul also claimed to have an incredible experience; one which would pretty much relegate any charismatic experience to the dumpster. In 2Cor. 12, Paul tells how he was caught up to the third heaven—it was so incredible that he does not have any idea whether he remained in his body or whether this was imply a vision. In any case, he was permitted to see Paradise, a sight if even a vision is beyond our comprehension and far outside the realm of any believer’s experience. However, what followed this experience in time was Paul’s struggles with the flesh (2Cor. 12:7–12). What God gave Paul, to accompany this phenomenal experience was a demon from Satan who would continually slug Paul—from this, Paul received the rather inglorious thorn in the flesh. Now, although there are a lot of theories as to what this was, most agree that this was painful and that it stayed with Paul his entire life. Paul also testifies as to the continual struggles with the flesh in Rom. 7:14–22 (which would have occurred after the tremendous vision alluded to in 2Cor. 12). Chantry: Far from transporting Paul to a plane of victory and grand sanctification, extraordinary revelation signaled the start of a more desperate struggle against sin and the flesh. Footnote It is amazing how the Pentecostal offers you an experience which leads to the greater, fuller, more victorious life; and yet Paul offers up his own experience, much greater than any of us could imagine, and the result is not an easy, spiritual coast down ecstasy mountain, but a continued struggle with the flesh and with a painful physical ailment which plagues him for the rest of his life. It is not as though you have a choice between the Pentecostal experience or the Pauline experience—I simply offer Paul’s experience to offer a Scriptural balance to what the charismatic claims offer.

       b.    In fact, let’s continue to use Paul as an illustration. The charismatic experience offers you great victory and power—so, what was Paul like? When he first came to Corinth (and this was after his glorious experience, which occurred 14 years prior to writing 2Corinthians), he came in fear and trembling, lacking both eloquence and confidence (1Cor. 2:1–4). This is the greatest Apostle of the twelve, and this was his approach to Corinth. Paul was not a tremendous public speaker nor did he have any sort of imposing presence (2Cor. 10:10). However, this is how he preferred it. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I would rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore, I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong (2Cor. 12:9–10). Does this sound like the promise of the charismatic experience? Chantry: Super-sanctified Christians would be lacking in a major qualification which God requires of his servants, namely, a deep sense of personal unworthiness and uncleanness. Footnote When Peter first met Jesus and witnessed a miracle, he fell down before Jesus, saying, “Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” (Luke 5:8b).

       c.    One of the greatest problems of the charismatic movement is that it is experienced-based. Dr. Frederick Bruner: It is important to notice that it is not the doctrine, it is the experience of the Holy Spirit which Pentecostals repeatedly assert that they wish to stress. Footnote McGee: And they [Pentecostals] always reason from experience to doctrine or to truth. Always reasoning from experience to truth. Personally I believe this is a dangerous procedure. We are to reason from truth to experience—always. Footnote John Wimber: Some truths in Scripture cannot be understood until we have had certain experiences...God uses our experiences to show us more fully what he teaches in Scripture, many times toppling or altering elements of our theology and worldview. Footnote I have been told on several occasions by charismatics you just have to experience it; or, I know what I experienced is real and from God; or, you don’t know what you are missing until you have experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I have personally heard similar statements from people who use drugs. Listen carefully: you do not have to experience something in order to determine whether it is true or false, good or evil, right or wrong. The only judge of truth that we have is the Word of God. It either lines up with God’s Word or it does not. If the baptism of the Holy Spirit apart from salvation and the subsequent bestowal of spiritual gifts is an absolute necessity to the spiritual life, then throughout Scripture we would have more than an occasional mention of these things—we would be commanded to go out and get these things. However, as you will see when we get into a careful, verse-by-verse study, that there is no imperative associated with the baptism of the Holy Spirit (as misunderstood by the charismatics). There is no imperative associated with the use of the gift of tongues (although there are several associated with the abuse of that same gift). In no epistle does Paul ever tell the church is there problem is that they need to seek a spiritual awakening via God the Holy Spirit, by getting the second blessing or by being slain in the spirit. When Jesus addressed the lukewarm church in Laodicea (Rev. 3), He did not tell them, “Your problem is obvious—you all need to go out and get baptized by the Holy Spirit and snap out of it.”

       d.    Because charismatics base what is right and wrong more upon experience than upon Scripture, they will often disparage the use of reason and logic. Kenneth Hagin explains how to distinguish between true and false spiritual gifts: When God moves, everybody will be blessed. If something is of the flesh, everybody will have a sick feeling. And if something is of the devil, it seems like the hair will stand up on your neck. That’s a simple way everyone can judge, whether they’ve got any spiritual discernment or not. Footnote

       e.    I finally obtained a copy of John Sherrill’s book, They Speak with Other Tongues, which is, by my impression, the handbook or even the bible, if you will, of those who are charismatic. Already on p. 2, of his book, Sherrill quotes from a sermon which would have an impact on his life: “But, you see,” said the seminarian, “as long as Nicodemus was trying to come to an understanding of Christ through his logic, he could never succeed. It isn’t logic, but an experience, that lets us know who Christ is. Christ, Himself, told Nicodemus this: ‘In very truth I tell you, unless a man has been born over again he cannot see the kingdom of God.’”  Footnote

       f.     David Shibley, who writes a most even-handed book, given that he is a charismatic and that most of what he said is wrong, concludes with: It may seem like a simple answer, but the fact is, you will know when you are filled with the Holy Spirit. You won’t need anyone to verify it for you or to decide for you whether or not you have been filled. You will just know, and that knowledge comes from faith in God’s Word. Footnote You will note carefully, although Shibley pays careful lip service to the Word of God, the basis of knowing whether you are filled with the Holy Spirit is not really God’s Word, but you will just know it. It doesn’t get any more experienced-based than this.

       g.    Just about every charismatic that I have talked to, when they quote their threadbare Scripture verses to substantiate their position, and I explain what the passage means in context, will then fall back on how the experience feels and the ends justify the means. In other words, if it feels right and holy to them, it is right and holy—as if Satan is not smarter than they are; as if Satan is not in the business of counterfeiting. If the result of the gifts of the gifts of the Spirit make them feel or act spiritual, then these were valid gifts.

       h.    Kenneth Copeland: Believers are not supposed to be led by logic. We are not even to be led by good sense...The ministry of Jesus was never governed by logic or reason. Footnote I read things like this and I wonder, how can anyone take Kenneth Copeland seriously as a spiritual leader? Apparently, Mr. Copeland never read any portion of the gospels when Jesus taught? I could fill pages with examples here, but let’s start with Jesus and his disciples on the Sabbath picking and eating from a grainfield on the Sabbath. When the Pharisees questioned him on the legality of their actions, Jesus first appealed to Scripture and later illustrated with a healing on the Sabbath, giving a logical rebuttal to the pharisaic position (Matt. 12:1–13). His disciples recorded lengthy discourses of His teaching, e.g., Matt. 5–7, 10–11 24–25. The Pharisees and Sadducees continually approached our Lord on the basis of the Scriptures and logic, and Jesus continually responded on the basis of Scripture and logic (see, for instance, Matt. 22:15–46). What I don’t recall ever being an issue is the feelings of the Pharisees and Sadducees or the feelings of the followers of our Lord.

       i.     Finally, when it comes to logic, no one depends more upon logic than does the Apostle Paul. His letters, particular Romans, I and I1Corinthians, and Galatians, are fueled by logic. If you were to remove Paul’s arguments from logic from these books, they would literally be reduced by half. Paul never points toward experience as being the deciding factor nor does he depend upon experience as his reason for taking this position or that—the basis of Paul’s arguments for any point is generally Old Testament Scripture, explained and fleshed out with ample logical arguments. Paul never once suggests that the readers of his epistles just set aside those dusty old Scriptures and simply lean into the spirit for guidance, experience, support and strength. Quite obviously, our strength and our spiritual essence is completely dependent upon God the Holy Spirit; however, nowhere does Paul approach this as if logic, Scripture and the Holy Spirit are mutually exclusive. They are all mutually supportive. Footnote

43.  Testimonies of former charismatics:

       a.    Wayne Robertson, once the editor-in-chief of Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association Publications, wrote: In the past few years, I have become more and more convinced that the test, not only of tongues but of any religious experience, cannot be limited to the logic and truthfulness supporting it. There is also the essential question, “What does it do in one’s life?” More specifically, does it turn a person inward to self-concern and selfish interests, or does it open him up to others and to their needs? I know people who testify that speaking in tongues has been the great liberating experience of their lives. But juxtaposed with them are a great many others for whom speaking in tongues has been an excuse to withdraw from confronting the realities of a suffering and divided world. For some, tongues has been the greatest thing ever to happen; others have seen it disrupt churches, destroy careers, and rupture personal relationships. Footnote

       b.    Ben Byrd, another former charismatic, writes: To say that speaking in tongues is a harmless practice and is all right for those who want to IS AN UNWISE position when information to the contrary is evident...Speaking in tongues is addictive. The misunderstanding of the issue of tongues and the habit plus the psychic high it brings plus the stimulation of the flesh equals a practice hard to let go of...[But to] equate much speaking in tongues with advanced spirituality is to reveal one’s misunderstanding of Bible Truth and to reveal one’s willingness to be satisfied with a deceptive and dangerous counterfeit. Footnote

       c.    Let me give you the testimony of George Gardiner, who was a pastor and a former charismatic in the Pentecostal movement: The enemy of the soul is ever ready to take an advantage of an “out of control” situation and thousands of Christians can testify with regret to the end results. Such experiences not only give Satan an opening he is quick to exploit, they can be psychologically damaging to the individual. Charismatic writers are constantly warning tongues-speakers that they will suffer a letdown. This is ascribed to the devil and the reader is urged to get refilled as soon as possible...So the seeker for the experience goes back through the ritual again and again, but begins to discover something; ecstatic experience, like drug-addiction, requires larger and larger doses to satisfy. Sometimes the bizarre is introduced. I have seen people run around a room until they were exhausted, climb tent poles, laugh hysterically, go into trances for days and do other weird things as the “high” sought became more elusive. Eventually there is a crisis and a decision is made; he will sit on the back seats and be a spectator, “take it,” or go on in the hope that everything will eventually be as it was. The most tragic decision is to quit and in the quitting abandon all things spiritual as fraudulent. The spectators are frustrated, the fakers suffer guilt, the hoping are pitiable and the quitters are a tragedy. No, such movements are not harmless. Footnote

44.  Additional problems with the charismatic movement:

       a.    One of the false impressions given by charismatics is that a church is either going to be jumping, or it’s going to be dead (lukewarm or worse). Shibley states: Although it is bad when an outsider comes in and says we are crazy, it is worse when a visitor comes in and says we are dead!  Footnote Churches become staid because (1) they lack the power of the Spirit (which is usually a matter of simple mechanics) and because (2) they lack the power of the Word of God (few believers have even a clue as to the power resident in God’s Word). Such churches are always ripe for cultic attacks from any group, whether they be charismatics or Jehovah’s Witnesses. Churches do become lukewarm, but this has nothing to do with their lacking the so-called second blessing. I’ve been in non-charismatic churches where there was excitement and fervor, and I’ve been in dynamic churches which were quiet and laid back. A lack of jumping up and down and random yelling does not indicate that a church is dead.

       b.    Now, what you often see is this great enthusiasm of these charismatics. They are jumping up and down for God; they are excited and happy and plugged in. They are dedicated, prayerful, etc. etc. etc. My friend, do not confuse enthusiasm with spirituality. You are probably reading this on the Internet where I have this posted. Through one service on the Internet, Inside the Web, I have come to know of dozens of very enthusiastic believers who have put up their own web sites, have their own letters pages, etc. Although I have visited many of these homemade pages, I have never found even one which teaches salvation correctly, although they all purport to (these are not charismatics to whom I am referring; just enthusiastic Christian cultists). All of them have a mixture of faith and works as a basis for salvation (and anytime that you add works to faith, you are not saved). And, on their discussion pages, they will either not post any opposing views; or, if they do, and then find out that they are unable to come up with a good argument, then they simply erase the letter. Now these people have gone to a lot of trouble to set up these web pages and to post their drivel, which no doubt is the result of great enthusiasm. However, what they spout is the devil’s own lie—that you must, in part, earn your salvation or do something in order to maintain your salvation. So that you might even better understand this, when a kid begins to use drugs, he becomes often very evangelistic in his use, as well as enthusiastic. This does not mean that what he is enthused about is an activity in which we should all partake. The Bible never sets forth enthusiasm as the mark of a growing believer, or as the aspect of a person’s life which most clearly represents his spiritual growth. Please realize that some people are enthusiastic and some are not. Many times, it is a matter of personality. When it is a matter of personality change (which occurs in some cases of these charismatics who are reborn a second time), then this enthusiasm borders on mild psychosis. In any case, enthusiasm is not a good argument for anything.

       c.    Here is a problem which I have not seen stated elsewhere. If the gift of tongues is no longer a gift for today, and born-again believers are engaging in this learned behavior of speaking in tongues (more about that at the end of this study), then they do not exercise their own spiritual gift. That is, God gave them a gift to exercise for the benefit of others and they are off edifying themselves speaking in gibberish.

       d.    Another serious problem is that most charismatics do not believe in eternal security. This is the once saved, always saved doctrine. This is a study in itself, which I have covered in part in Salvation. However, the principle is simple: if you think that you must believe in Jesus Christ and lead at least a mediocre or better Christian life in order to be saved, then you are not saved. Again, your salvation depends 100% upon what Christ did on the cross; it depends 0% upon you and what you do or intend to do. Let’s say, you are an unbeliever and you are reading this and you suddenly get the idea, can I believe in Jesus, and then just go out and do whatever evil and hurtful things that I want to do? Absolutely, unequivocally yes. Footnote You may think that we shouldn’t teach this. Or, even if it is true, maybe we should back peddle on this doctrine somewhat—de-emphasize this aspect of salvation. What you don’t grasp, is there are a whole lot of unbelievers out there hungry for the gospel, but they don’t want to be the self-righteous ass that you are. They need to know that salvation is 100% free to them—salvation is not free, mind you—our Lord paid for it—but it is free to all who believe in Jesus Christ. Now, I know you are totally concerned about their sinful behavior after salvation. Do you want to know something? What they do after salvation is none of your damn business. Now, don’t misunderstand this simple point. I am not saying that sin is not wrong or that believers should be encouraged to sin after salvation. However, a person’s life after salvation is a separate matter from the mechanics of salvation. Properly understanding this is a part of correctly dividing the Word of Truth. And every evangelist should be able to separate this clearly in their message. Unbelievers should never be sent a mixed message of grace and works. Once a person is saved and decides to do wrong (everybody decides to do wrong after salvation), do not panic; God’s discipline is real and God can take care of His Own after salvation. He doesn’t need your help and He does not need your interference. If you are so damned concerned with someone’s salvation and what they might do after salvation, then it is permissible, when you give them the gospel, to also sternly warn them that, in salvation, God becomes their Father, and that they will probably receive discipline after salvation for sins that they commit prior to salvation with impunity. You see, God is not everyone’s Father, as Jesus pointed out to the pharisees (“You are of your father, the devil.”). Therefore, God does not spend His time disciplining unbelievers as He would His children. Does He deal with the sins of unbelievers? Certainly: (1) God placed the punishment for those sins upon Jesus Christ on the cross; (2) God often nudges the unbeliever with what may appear to us to be discipline; and, (3) God may discipline the unbeliever who is harassing the believer. However, I have gotten off course here. The primary point that I am making is that charismatics generally believe that you can lose your salvation; and this logically means that your salvation is a combination of what Christ did for you and on the cross and what you do in your spiritual life. When that is taught, then you derail people from salvation.

       e.    Another problem with the charismatic movement is its emphasis. It points toward the Holy Spirit, which contradicts what our Lord taught, predicting the coming of the Holy Spirit: “But when He, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak, and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and He will disclose it to you.” (John 16:13–14). The emphasis of the Holy Spirit will be upon Christ Jesus and not upon His own power and glory.

       f.     If you have a moment, go back and reread all of those advantages which have been cited by charismatics. You will notice two persistent, common threads: (1) their previous Christian experience used to be unsatisfying; and, (2) their present experience in the Holy Spirit is emotionally much more satisfying. These common threads often blind others to what is going on. A considerable majority of those in the charismatic movement have been culled out of other churches. Footnote This is how most cults operate—they find and capture believers and take them out of their home church. Secondly, the resultant feelings of this post-salvation experience are taken as a justification for the experience. They can point to a few passages which, when not carefully analyzed, could lead to their position; but the chief reasons cited are personal emotional fulfillment. No matter how good something makes us feel, that cannot be our justification for what we believe in. I know an alcoholic and also a drug addict who began going to AA and improved their lives considerably. They are living happier, more stable lives. In one of those cases, AA seemed to lead this person away from Christianity. I know of another person who lacked self-esteem, and became a Scientologist and his self esteem improved, as did his life. I knew another guy who was somewhat of a sponge and a border-line alcoholic who became a Mormon and his life improved considerably. We cannot confuse results with truth. Let me explain what happened in each of these lives; they began leading lives where they sinned less. When you sin less, as a believer or an unbeliever, your life, in general, is going to get better. If you used to do drugs and alcohol, and then you stop; your life will be better; if you used to feel sorry for yourself and thought about how lousy your life is, and then you refocus on something other than yourself, you are going to feel better; if you start paying your own way and stop sponging off others, you are going to have more self-esteem. However, making these changes in your life does not mean that you have believed in Jesus Christ.

       g.    Although the charismatic movement gives lip service to evangelization and separation to God, etc., the selling point of the second blessing is often personal satisfaction, joy, thrills, excitement...spine-tinging encounters. Chantry warns: Any religious experiences which bring immediate rejoicing and uninterrupted cheerfulness are not to be trusted...He is not the ‘Jolly spirit’ but the Holy Spirit. Footnote

       h.    Charismatics are embracing believers and unbelievers of all Christian and semi-Christian faiths, in the name of Christian unity, but the real reason is that they agree upon this additional experience after salvation. Full gospel societies embrace nuns and priests who continue to believe unbiblical doctrines. Some pentecostal Catholics have been so bold as to confess that their experiences of speaking in tongues have given them a deeper appreciation for the spiritual blessings of the mass, or have given them new dimensions of adoration for the ‘blessed mother of our Lord’. The spirit of truth will never move lips to utter such blasphemy and heresy. Neither will the Spirit of Christ silence his servants in the name of love and unity while soul-destroying doctrine is being taught. Footnote As Chantry then points out, the greatest revival since the first two centuries was the Reformation, when God’s Word became available to all men and the central topic of the Reformation was the false doctrine promulgated by the Catholic Church. It is from this period of time that all the great names of history, Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Zwingli, began to struggle with the great doctrines of justification, Biblical authority, Christology, Soteriology, free will vs. predestination, the nature and authority of the Christian church, imputed grace vs. infused grace, etc. This took place based upon the concern for correctly understanding God revealed Word and not through some post-salvation experience.

       i.     Some charismatics actually believe in healing through relics of the saints, a Catholic doctrine. John Wimber called that a point of faith; that is, a point at which a sick person could place their faith. Footnote

       j.     Furthermore, despite the unity that this movement professes, tongues is one of the most divisive coalitions in Christianity. Now, I would not walk into a church where they speak in tongues and try to convince them not to. In fact, I will not walk into a church where they speak in tongues at all anymore. However, a person who speaks in tongues has no problem walking into a non-charismatic church and spreading their doctrine, often splitting the church in half. The psalmist wrote: Observe how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity (Psalm 133:1). Does this sound like a church where charismatics have infiltrated? What Paul wrote to Timothy sounds more like charismatic-infiltrated churches. They hold to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; and avoid such men as these. For you see, among them are those who enter into households (or, churches) and seduce weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth (2Tim. 3:5–7). Those who belong to the full gospel businessmen’s association are encouraged to remain in the churches where they are and to make converts out of the other members (they certainly don’t put it like that, but that is the end result).

       k.    McGee points out that the fruit of the spirit is meekness and humility (humility, in Scripture, is grace orientation). Then he writes: I have never met the lady that seems to be the promoter of this movement, but I was flabbergasted to read a statement of hers. Let me insert an observation before I give you her statement. There never has been a movement of tongues that the woman was not in it. And I wish they would follow the Scripture Paul said in 1Corinthians 14:34, “Let your women keep silence in the churches.” That refers to speaking in tongues. We have used that Scripture incorrectly by maintaining that a woman ought not stand behind a pulpit and pray or say anything. People have even said to me that a woman missionary from the field should not come here and speak. Why not? Paul is speaking only about women keeping silence in the matter of tongues. You take women out of the tongues movement and it will die in Los Angeles over night. Now let me give you her statement. She quotes one who was “originally a skeptic” but has been convinced and thinks the current tongues movement is the greatest movement since the Reformation. That is bad enough, but she adds, “We think it is greater than that!” I do not know this lady, but I am not yet prepared to put her down by Martin Luther and John Calvin and John Knox. Humbleness would not make such a statement. Footnote

       l.     Along the same lines, James writes of tongue of fire: So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. Observe how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed, and has been tamed by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison (James 3:5–8). If a charismatic does not bridle his own tongue when it comes to speaking gibberish, we would expect them not to do so with regards to other things as well. McGee tells of those from the charismatic movement who have written to him: These folk who say they have something superior are not only trying to divide, but they say the harshest things to those who differ with them. They write the ugliest things to me that possibly can be written! May I say to you, beloved, we are to keep the unity of the Spirit. This movement today is dividing churches. Can that be of God? Can division be the work of the Holy Spirit?  Footnote

       m.   McGee puts together some reasoning which is well worth carefully examining: Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed; and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:31). When he makes the tremendous statement, “No man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed,” what does he mean? In the Epistle to the Galatians, Paul said, “Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8). Now what had prompted him to say that to the Galatian believers? The Judaizers had come into the Galatian country after Paul had been there with the Gospel. Although the Judaizers did not deny the death and resurrection of Christ, they said something like this, “Paul didn’t tell you everything. You not only should trust Jesus, but you should get under the Mosaic Law. The death and resurrection of Jesus didn’t give you everything.” Paul declares, “You say Jesus is accursed when you say a thing like that.” Now today, when you come to me and say, as I read in these letters I have before me, “McGee, your trouble is you’ve never had the experience of the baptism of the Holy Spirit,” you are implying that when I cam to Jesus Christ and trust Him as Savior, I didn’t get everything, and that now the Holy Spirit has something else to give to me. My friend, when you say that to me, you are saying that Jesus is accursed—because when I came to Christ, I got everything from Him...Everything I have was given to me when I came to Christ, and trusted Him as my Savior. Now I may not appropriate all of it, but I’ve been blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies; they’ve all been made over to me. Everything was given to me when I cam to the Lord Jesus Christ. And, my friend, you are saying a dangerous thing when you suggest that I must now go to the Holy Spirit, come around, maybe to the back door, and He’ll slip me something that Jesus did not give me. You are saying my Lord is accursed when you do that. Footnote

       n.    McGee mentions a former Southern Baptist preacher who had become prominent in the tongue movement, who wrote an article with the title “The Glory of the God of Israel Has Returned.” McGee points out that this is another clear misunderstanding of Scripture. The text from the book of Ezekiel which he quotes actually speaks of the shekinah glory which was in the tabernacle as well as in Solomon’s temple. This same glory returned to heaven, but is to return to the Millennial temple. It has nothing in the world to do with the church. And yet this preacher has it coming back today—and it is down in Texas, according to him. Now, I would be the first to admit that there are a lot of great things in Texas, but the shekinah glory is not one of them. McGee heard this man over the radio in Dallas, urging people, “We are having a banquet down here in a hotel in Dallas. And I want you to come down and buy a ticket. I want you to hear me. I am going to tell you how I got my great power.” McGee asks if we could imagine Paul arriving in Corinth and telling them to meet him in the temple for a meal so he can tell them how he got his great power. Paul did not do it that way, my beloved. He just did not do it that way. Footnote

       o.    Originally, I was going to insert many quotes from the books of charismatics. However, as I pour through them, I find a few generalizations, and very little worth quoting.

               i.     The charismatic movement is growing by leaps and bounds and the denominational church is dying out. Richard Wilke, for instance, writes: Authentic vitality seems to pulsate where a congregation is most in harmony with the apostolic witness. Footnote Translated Footnote this means, where people are speaking in tongues.

               ii.     They tend to use (and I have no idea why) a ton of analogies. I make this only as an observation, as I am not opposed to analogies.

               iii.    When they quote Scripture to make any point, even when it has nothing to do with supporting their position on tongues, it is taken out of context a significant number of times.

       p.    Were you aware, by the way, that there is much more in Scripture concerning the abuse of the tongue than the abuse of alcohol? James warns us not to speak with an unbridled tongue. Does this accurately describe believers who speak with tongues? What we say is of great importance in our walk as believers. Does babbling really glorify God?

45.  Hand-in-hand with the post-salvation baptism of the spirit and the gift of tongues is the gift of healing.

       a.    Now, it is certainly true that some people are healed in charismatic churches. There are several reasons for that: post-hypnotic suggestion, the placebo effect, mind over matter and the removal of demonic attack upon the body. However, most of the healings are either bogus, trivial and unspectacular, or exaggerated. What would cause great attention would be for there to be verifiable miraculous healings. There is an Argentine faith healer named Carlos Annacondia. The Spirit works through him to fill teeth (or so it is alleged). Apart from the fact that this is a pretty goofy kind of cure and apart from the question, why doesn’t God simply heal the tooth, this would be easily verifiable. However, what we do not have is third part confirmation of this kind of healing. MacArthur observed: The most dramatic miracles come with sketchy details and are nearly always anonymous. Rarely do they even involve people who are known personally to those who report the miracles. Corroborating eyewitness accounts are sometimes cited but never documented. Most UFO sightings come with more convincing evidence. A group of five Christian medical doctors attended a recent conference led by John Wimber in Sydney, Australia [John Wimber is a Third Waver]. These men were hoping to establish the truth of Wimber’s claims that miraculous healings were taking place in his meetings. One of them, Dr. Philip Selden, reports, “The fact that John Wimber knew we were present and observing may have served to “tone down” the claims which we understand were made at previous conferences...Mr. Wimber himself referred to bad backs and indicated that people could expect pain relief, but no change which could be documented by a doctor. He admitted that he had never seen a degenerated vertebra restored to normal shape...As I suspected, most of the conditions which were prayed over were in the psychosomatic, trivial, or medically difficult-to-document categories: problems with the left great toe, nervous disorders, breathing problems, barrenness, unequal leg lengths (my favourite—I can’t measure legs accurately), bad backs and neck, etc. Footnote

       b.    In John Wimber’s book, Power Healing, he first gives a list of reasons why people are not healed (they do not have faith in God for healing; there are unconfessed sins in their lives; there is widespread sin and unbelief in the believers in that periphery or in the person’s family; they do not really know what to pray for; and, my favorite, since God may not heal instantly, they just stop praying before a healing has been effected. Furthermore, John Wimber later writes: I never blame the sick person for lack of faith if healing does not come. Footnote Wimber admits: I have a continually expanding group of disgruntled people who have come for healing and don’t get it. Footnote Anyone who has even a precursory understanding of any of the gospels cannot help but compare and contrast his healing ministry to that of our Lord’s; or even to that of the Apostles in the first portion of the book of Acts. The healings were instant, complete, successful, clearly miraculous and observed by many who knew the patient. We do not hear a plethora of excuses why the healing didn’t take and we certainly do not find God healing someone eventually over time after long and fervent prayer. Footnote

46.  Another reason that the charismatic movement is fundamentally wrong is that they have developed unusual, and at times, bizarre doctrines throughout the years which are legalistic at best and contrary to the faith at worst. When you lack careful Scriptural study, this is the inevitable result. Let me give you a few examples:

       a.    We’ve already covered salvation as a combination of works and faith.

       b.    We’ve already covered spirituality by doing something other than naming your sins to God.

       c.    We’ve already covered their rejection of eternal security.

       d.    Historically, the Pentecostals have entertained such heresies as the necessity of being baptized in the name of Jesus (rather than in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit), which caused many of them to be re-baptized.

       e.    Early on in the charismatic movement, there was the Jesus only heresy, which denied the Trinity, allowing that only Jesus was God and that there was no other member of the Trinity.

       f.     In the early days of the Pentecostal movement, the southern Pentecostals frowned upon the wearing of colorful dresses by women or ties by men; some groups did not allow their women to wear jewelry or wedding rings. Many forbid the ownership of a television (which actually makes more sense today than it did then). The United Pentecostal Church organization put out a 16 page booklet giving 15 reasons why women should not cut their hair.

       g.    Many groups were involved in ceremonial foot washing.

       h.    Many early Pentecostals were against the use of medicine and they did not believe in going to the doctor. I mention these early misguided doctrines because we are dealing with people who have a special relationship with God—they are receiving almost daily communications directly from God—yet their doctrine is all screwed up. That doesn’t make any sense.

       i.     Rather than having a body of believers which was immediately unified, early Pentecostal groups differed with regards to the eating of pork, the use of tobacco, the drinking of coffee and soda pop, participation in the military, labor unions, etc. Footnote I hope that it is clear that most of these are practically non-issues, apart from serving in the military; therefore, to be split on such inconsequentials is nonsensical.

       j.     One writer, Conrad Murrell, proposed that the gift of Apostleship is still with us, spending a very short time upon this revelatory insight, saying that the gift of Apostleship would be removed only after ...we all come to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ (Eph. 4:3). We haven’t gotten there yet and so we can expect to find the apostles still among us. God has not abandoned his Church. He is still perfecting her. And the apostles will be with us until the work is done. Footnote The Catholic church has believed something akin to this since its inception, maintaining that the authority of Peter over the Church was perpetuated in the office of Pope. This opens up a whole new can of worms that I don’t believe I’m ready to launch into yet. Murrell is almost a study in himself. He maintains, of course, that not only do we have Apostles today, but we also have prophets, their jobs being to tear down structures (Jer. 1:10) and to then lay foundations for new structures (Rom. 15:20 Eph. 2:20). Therefore, they often work consecutively and sometimes are one and the same person. The evangelist does an incomplete job if they only give the gospel. It is also their job to raise those whom they’ve evangelized. Conrad does not quote Scripture here, but prove that point by analogy: To accept a man into a household and never introduce him to his family, to fail to instruct him in its order and blessings, to rob him of the knowledge of his rich inheritance, the unlimited power and love of the Father is a poor evangelism indeed. Footnote Murrell also has pastors administrating and coordinating and teachers teaching and lists them as separate gifts (obviously ignorant of the Granville Sharp rule in Greek which tells us that these men are one and the same). Now, I realize that most charismatics do not believe all these things, but once we lay a poor foundation with a faulty vocabulary and misinterpretation of Scripture, then we can go off in all kinds of weird directions. If you allow God’s Word to be taken out of context a few times to set up your most fundamental doctrines, then you can do almost anywhere, doctrinally speaking.

       k.    On the fringes of Pentecostalism, there are the snake handlers. The founder of this movement is generally ascribed to George Went Hensley, who began handling snakes in 1909, and, for about ten years, there was only one incident of a snake bite. Until then, the faithful “carried their Bibles and their snakes to meeting, chanted, spoke in tongues, prayed, and suffered ecstatic seizures. Footnote Apart from the snakes, this bare-bones description is not much different from mainstream Pentecostals.

       l.     MacArthur mentions several other not-so-fringe elements: Robert Tilton, a charismatic evangelist, would mail out a miracle-coin to those who sent in an offering to his program, “Success-N-Life,” and promises that with that coin a financial miracle. The Dallas Times Herald called his program The fastest growing empire in Christian television. Footnote

       m.   MacArthur: A close associate of mine attended a charismatic businessmen’s meeting in Chicago where a Catholic priest testified that Mary had given him the gift of tongue while he was saying the rosary. Then the charismatic pastor leading the meeting got up and said, “What an amazing testimony! Aren’t you glad God isn’t bound by our ideas of what’s doctrinally acceptable? Some people would try to dismiss this brother’s testimony just because it doesn’t jibe with their doctrinal system. But how you get filled with the Holy Ghost doesn’t matter, as long as you know you’ve got the baptism!” The audience, numbering in the hundreds, broke into wild, sustained applause. No one seemed to question whether that man’s testimony, so obviously in conflict with biblical truth, might be spurious. Footnote The key to these people is not does it line up with Scripture, but, have they experienced something similar to what I have experienced?

       n.    Many churches have slain in the spirit as being a church activity, an act which bears barely a casual resemblance to anything found in the New Testament. Benny Hinn, who is the charismatic pastor of the Orlando Christian Center, is one of the many who either touches his followers on the forehead or waves his hands, and they are knocked out as if he were a spirit-filled Mohammed Ali. MacArthur: The charismatic practice of slaying people in the Spirit has become so commonplace that many charismatics may be surprised to learn that Scripture is utterly silent about such a gift. Footnote

       o.    Another doctrine recently being perpetrated by the charismatic movement is the oneness of God is now being applied to His person, as opposed to just His essence (they are as confused about Deut. 6:4 as the Jew is).

       p.    And, finally, some of the stuff that they have come up with is just downright goofy: telling jokes in tongues and then laughing in tongues has to be on the top ten list of lame things to do in church. How these people think they have any sort of testimony before unbelievers is beyond me. What is happening is that they are not converting unbelievers, but they are converting believers whose understanding of the Word is weak. Which logically leads me to the next point:

       q.    You may wonder why I am not spending a great deal of time refuting these doctrines. At a later date, I might. However, the primary focus of this study is the gift of tongues and whether or not what we see today is a continuation of what occurred at Pentecost two millennia ago.


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47.  We should also visit the museum of the weird: experiences which Pentecostals have had:

       a.    Dr. Percy Collett, who is a charismatic medical missionary, put together an extensive series of detailed messages on heaven, based upon his being transported into heaven for 5½ days in 1982. During that time, he saw Jesus, who was supervising the building of the mansions there, and Dr. Collett was also able to speak face to face with the Holy Spirit. Some excepts: Everything God created upon the earth is in heaven—horses, cats, dogs. Everything that He created upon earth is in heaven—in the way of animals, only these are perfect. For example, the dogs do not bark,...You don’t need plumbing. You can go to the Banqueting House and eat all you want and no plumbing is needed...[the Record Room is] an immense area where all the ‘idle’ words spoken by Christians are being retained until after Christians give an account of them, or are judged, at which time these will be emptied into the Sea of Forgetfulness. Footnote

       b.    Dillow relates an acquaintance of his who was a charismatic Christian: When I was a new Christian, I met a man I’ll call Bill. Bill was given to seeing visions and regularly claimed he received direct revelation from God. He saw the Lord working in every conceivably circumstance of life. Every inner impression was examined as to the Lord’s leading. One night he called me at midnight because he had a message from the Lord that he had to share with me. Bill was in his forties and lived alone about an hour’s drive from my house, but he still wanted to come and deliver the message in person. I was touched by his concern by told him it wold be all right with me if it waited till tomorrow. He insisted, so I invited him over. When he arrived, he was visibly shaken. At the time I had just decided to go to seminary. Bill was very upset about this (“The letter kills,” he said, “but the spirit gives life”), and now he had a message from the Lord warning me not to take this step. He had been reading in Isaiah and the Lord gave him a special revelation that said, “If you go to seminary, your wife will be eaten by lions and you will lose your eternal salvation!” It was rather frightening but I didn’t buy it. He lived in a world of superstition which his theology of tongues had fostered. The centrality of the Word had been lost in his life. The last I heard of bill he was in jail because the “Lord had told him” that he was to disobey constituted authority and not comply with a zoning ordinance!  Footnote Dillow dedicated this book that I quoted from to his wife, so I assume that the lions never got to her.

       c.    Marvin Ford has also been to heaven. His tie, at least for awhile, smelled like heaven, so he kept it and smelled it periodically. He reported this on the 700 Club during the summer of 1976. Footnote

       d.    Roberts Liardon, at age eight, was given an extensive tour of heaven—his guide was none other than our Lord. Roberts gives us something that we do not have anywhere—a physical description of Jesus. Our Lord is 5’11” to 6 ‘, with sandy brown hair, not too long and not too short, and he just looks like the perfect man. When wading in the River of Life, Jesus engaged in some horseplay with Roberts, dunking him and splashing him. Roberts describes the laughter of Jesus: ...when He laughs, it’s the most hilarious thing you’ll ever see and hear. He leans back and roars with laughter. You’d think He was going to collapse from laughing. He gets into it so much! That’s one reason He’s so strong. He laughs so hard. You see, the joy of the Lord is His strength!”  Liardon has actually met with the Lord three times, the first being his trip to heaven, which occurred in 1973, that he made public eight years later. The second time was to sacred to talk about, but the third time went as follows: The third time I saw Jesus was when I was about 11 years old. Jesus walked in through the front door of my home while I was watching “Laverne & Shirley” on television. He cam e over and sat down beside me on the couch, kind of glanced at the TV, and everything in this natural world clicked off. I couldn’t hear the telephone or the television set—al I heard was Jesus and all I saw was His glory. He looked at me and sad, “Roberts, I want you to study the lives of my generals in my great army throughout time. Know them like the back of your hand. Know why they were a success. Know why they failed. And you’ll want nothing in that area.” He got up, walked back out through the door, the TV clicked back on, and I resumed watching “Laverne & Shirley. Footnote

       e.    John MacArthur listened to one man on the radio give his testimony as to how, out of nowhere, sitting next to him in his car, was Jesus. Another unnamed but prominent preacher said that Jesus came into the bathroom and placed his arm around him while he was shaving. Peter wrote: And though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible, having received glory (I Peer 1:8). So most of the believers in the first century, so close to the time of our Lord, so close to a time when it is not in dispute that many miracles occurred—and Peter writes to them and indicates that Jesus doesn’t suddenly appear next to them on a camel; Jesus doesn’t suddenly wander into their bathroom while they are shaving. In fact, Peter’s reaction to meeting our Lord is: Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” (Luke 5:8).

       f.     In a 1977 issue of The National Courier, a charismatic newspaper, we have the following advertisement: A genuine photograph of our Lord. Yes, I believe I have one recorded on film. In mid-summer I awoke at 3:30 a.m. to a strong voice-thought impression, “Go and photograph my sunrise.” Beside the river I set up my camera and waited for the sun. In that predawn, I felt so very close to God, perfect peace. On one negative is the perfect shape of a figure, arms raised in blessing as reflected in the water exactly opposite to every other shadow. I believe God gave me an image of Himself to share. This photograph was available as an 8x10 glossy for $9.95 from Dudley Danielson, who photographed it. MacArthur: It does not seem to bother Dudley that the Bible says, “No man has seen God at any time” (John 1:18). Nor does it appear to matter to him that the Bible says, “God is spirit” (John 4:24) and “no man can see Me and live!” (Ex. 33:20). Evidently what Scripture says is not as weighty an issue to him as “a voice-thought impression” and a feeling of peace and closeness to God. Footnote

       g.    Kenneth Hagin passes along this little tidbit of Pentecostal history: Sister Maria Woodworth-Etter was an evangelist during the early days of the Pentecostal movement in this country. I read the newspaper account concerning what happened in St. Louis, sometime before 1920. She was in her 70’s, preaching in a tent which was full, when right in the middle of her sermon, with her hand uplifted to illustrate a pint and her mouth open, the power of God came upon her. She froze in that position and stood like a statue for three days and three nights. Think about that: All her body had to be under the control of the Spirit of God. She had not bodily functions the three days and nights she stood there. According to the newspaper account, it was estimated that more than 150,000 people came by to see her in that three-day period. The third night, the Spirit of God released her. She thought it was the same night, and the same sermon, and she went right on preaching at the same place in her sermon. Footnote That is so way nutty; and how anyone ties this to Christianity and the Holy Spirit is totally beyond me. First of all, we’re talking a true story which probably got embellished several times over. There was a Mrs. Woodworth-Etter who did go into a trance during a service, who would freeze in position for an hour or so. The service would go on, and suddenly, she would come back to earth. But, listen, now, this is theater, not the Holy Spirit. I have seen Black street theater dudes in San Francisco hold a position for a long time and by there feet would be a cap where you could put your money. That’s called theater, not the Holy Spirit.

       h.    MacArthur also gives an extended quotation from Hagin who observed a 16-year-old girl who froze in position for eight hours and forty minutes. Hagin said that she went into a spirit of intercession. How threadbare and lame is that? Hagin relates another story of a woman who levitated and danced in the spirit in the air during a service. MacArthur: Levitation, altered states, feet nailed to the floor—those are the apparatus of the occult, not genuine spiritual gifts. Masters and Whitcomb: If Christians believe the unsubstantiated claims of present-day charismatic leaders they will believe anything! If they believe the ludicrous and extravagant yards of extrovert, spiritually-deluded showmen, how will they stand against the lying wonders to be unleashed by the devil during the final apostasy?  Footnote

       i.     Also on the fringes, we have a woman who claimed her flat tire had been healed by God; another who taught her dog to bark in an unknown tongue. Footnote I realize that these are way goofy, but when your discernment is not based upon Scripture, but upon how the spirit moves in a person’s life, then it is up for grabs with regards to what one believes. MacArthur gives the example of Jan Crouch, the wife of Paul Crouch, who told a live audience in Costa Rica, “God answered the prayers of two little twelve-year-old girls to raise our pet Chicken from the dead!” She repeated this on their TBN broadcast, which is aired around the world. Footnote

       j.     One of the most famous revelations given to a charismatic was when god spoke to Oral Roberts and told him that he would be killed if he didn’t raise $8,000,000 for his creditors. My first thought was mafia connection; however, at the last minute, Roberts got a large check from a Florida dog-track owner. Roberts still closed down his City of Faith, a medical and faith-healing center in Tulsa, OK, two years later. Here is the actual conversation between god and Oral Roberts: God said in my spirit, “I had you build the City of Faith large enough to capture the imagination of the entire world about the merging of My healing streams of prayer and medicine. I did not want this revelation localized in Tulsa, however. And the time has come when I want this concept of merging My healing streams to be known to all people and to go into all future generations.” As clearly in my spirit as I’ve ever heard Him, the Lord gave me an impression. “You and your partners have merged prayer and medicine for the entire world, for the church world and for all generations,” He said, “It is done.” I then asked, “Is that why after eight years you’re having us close the hospital and after 11 years the medical school?” He said, “Yes, the mission has been accomplished in the same way that after the three years of public ministry My Son said on the cross, ‘Father, it is finished.’ ”  Footnote Certainly, these words convinced me; however, how on earth does the God that Oral Roberts speaks to misunderstand the words of Jesus, “It is finished”? How on earth can Oral Roberts, supposedly an evangelist, misunderstand Jesus’ final words, “It is finished” to mean that was simply the completion of His three year ministry?

       k.    John MacArthur lists several other very amusing stories, among which is a minister who, in the midst of his own sermon, was transported to the back of a car where he observed his girl friend commit adultery with another man. MacArthur’s book is well-worth reading if only for the entertaining revelations and experiences of the charismatics. However, don’t let me mislead you—his emphasis is upon what does the Bible say.

       l.     How does the charismatic wade through this and determine what is truth and what is fiction? So many of these goofy ideas fall outside the realm of Scripture, that it would be difficult to determine when do we accept a person’s word that he really has spend a week in heaven hanging out. Now, comparing Collett’s experience with Paul’s would give us reason to doubt Collett—but if experience is the criterion, then how can we doubt anything that a charismatic tells us?

48.  Not every experience of the charismatic is as wild and crazy as the ones previously described. I have mentioned the friend of mine whose first experience with the spirit made her feel as though she had been touched by hot oil. John Sherrill’s experiences early on in his book, They Speak with Other Tongues, is also rather tame by the bar set in the previous set of sub-points. He was relatively new in the faith, laying in the hospital after open heart surgery with tubes running in and out of him, and he was in severe pain. One evening he passed from being asleep to being awake without any sort of a transition. He saw a light which seemed to be quite different from the other forms of light which he was used to seeing. He began to pray for his two sick roommates, and the light seemed to rest over them and their ailments apparently ceased. When Sherrill told this to two other people, a man and his wife, they had both experienced this one-on-one with Christ as well, although, of course, the experience was not exactly like his. And the wife was quick to point out that Sherrill might not ever again experience the presence of Christ, so he would have to walk by faith and not by sight.


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49.  An interesting study is the similarities between the Roman Catholics and the contemporary charismatics. When I first looked at this group, I was exposed to a magazine from Australia called Present Truth. One of their articles dealt with certain questions that the reader was to answer. These questions expressed some of the fundamental differences between the reformationists and Romanism. Most charismatics would answer the same questions, siding with the Roman Catholics. Footnote John MacArthur also spends a few pages remarking on the similarities. Footnote

50.  Distortions of the charismatic movement: The charismatic movement has taken two doctrines from the New Testament and has distorted them tremendously: the gift of tongues and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. What I will list is not necessarily taught be each and every charismatic church, but by a significant number of them. The practices as well may not occur in every charismatic church, but in enough of them to warrant a few words.

       a.    Charismatics teach that tongues are to be used in private and/or public prayers and often say that when they have a burden on their hearts to pray for something, they pray in tongues, as they don’t know what exactly it is they are supposed to pray about.

       b.    Charismatics teach that tongues are used to praise God in a public place.

       c.    Charismatic teach that tongues are to be used in private prayer.

       d.    Charismatics teach that the majority of tongues found today are the tongues of angels, or angelic languages.

       e.    Charismatics teach that most or all believers must have a spiritual experience after salvation with the Holy Spirit; this experience often results in the believer speaking in tongues as a sign of getting the Holy Spirit.

       f.     When getting the ghost, believers are taught to desire to speak in tongues.

       g.    Charismatic churches often fall into tongues worship where dozens of people are all speaking at the same time in tongues, ostensibly glorifying and worshiping God.

       h.    All the gifts of the early church are still with us today, including the gifts of healing, tongues, prophecy and miracles. God speaks directly through some charismatic leaders with new doctrines and information not found in Scripture. Footnote

       i.     Charismatics assume that when someone’s spiritual life is dry and lifeless, the problem is that they do not have the Holy Spirit experience.

       j.     All of the foregoing sub-points are either cultic practices or heretical doctrines and will be dealt with in the points and exegesis to come.

51.  The third largest Pentecostal group are actually a nonchristian, unitarian cult call ed the United Pentecostal Church. This is the church which denies the Trinity and they claim that only the second person of the Trinity is God; therefore, they often refer to themselves as the Jesus only movement. Let me emphasize that these are Pentecostals who have received the spirit of truth, just as the other Pentecostals have.

52.  There is another charismatic group which has become a fixture at some college campuses called the Way Biblical Research Society, whose head is V. P. Wierwill. They deny that Jesus is God and they deny that the Holy Spirit is a distinct member of the Godhead. What has happened is the emphasis upon experience has allowed for extremely nonorthodox doctrines to find fertile ground in which to take root. Footnote

53.  When it comes to receiving the Holy Spirit, there are several theological problems with the charismatic movement: Footnote

       a.    One of the conditions of receiving the Holy Spirit is yieldedness to God; often sinlessness is required (i.e., there is to be no sin in the heart of the believer at the time of receiving the Holy Spirit). This is because, the charismatic reasons, the Holy Spirit will not enter into an unclean vessel. There are several problems here:

               i.     In the Bible, sin can refer to a state of being just as it can refer to a particular word, thought or deed. We are all sinners by nature; we are indwelt by our sin nature and we have Adam’s imputed sin. Christ went to the cross on our behalf not because we were righteous but because we are unrighteous.

               ii.     When we believe in Christ, we are cleansed from all sin positionally. Temporally, until we sin again, we are cleansed of sin. We do not lose the old sin nature in this life.

               iii.    Such an approach puts the cart before the horse. If the Holy Spirit is instrumental in our fight against sin, which He is, then it makes little sense for us to deserve the Holy Spirit or to enter into some state of temporary sinlessness apart from His help. Does it make sense that we should deserve and earn through sinlessness the very One Who helps us with our sins? If we can live a yielded, sinless life without the Holy Spirit, then, quite frankly, why do we even need the Spirit?

               iv.    Even though it sounds good that the Holy Spirit would not indwell a corrupt vessel, this is not the teaching of Scripture. Have you never read of Paul’s personal struggles in Rom. 7:14–22 or what he wrote in Rom. 6:12?  Have you never read John’s writings in 1John 1:7–10? The Holy Spirit indwells us because we have been positionally cleansed of sin. If you are a charismatic, do you really think your life is that sinless? Are you that self-deluded?

               v.    This complete yieldedness turns grace into law. A believer may yield to God as a result of grace. They recognize what God has done on their behalf and they may yield to Him at various points as a response to what God has done on their behalf. The charismatic teaching has this all turned around. Charismatics teach that we must yield completely to God in order to get something from Him. These two approaches are the very essence of grace versus law.

       b.    Along with have some sort of state of sinlessness, those desiring the spirit are told to both empty themselves and yield themselves fully over to God. Ralph Riggs: Body, soul, and spirit must be yielded. Our physical bodies must be pliable under His power...Utter and complete baptism in the Holy Spirit...is reaches only when there is a perfect yielding of the entire being to Him and one’s tongue is surrendered to the control of the blessed Holy Spirit. Footnote

               i.     We have the exact same problem here as with the previous point. How on earth do you yield yourself completely to God apart from the Holy Spirit?

               ii.     Second problem is that Paul tells us: I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind (1Cor. 14:32). The emptying out of our conscious minds is something never encouraged by Scripture.

       c.    Faith is also a requirement for the receiving of this spirit of which the charismatics speak. As there is a faith toward Christ for salvation, so there is a faith toward the Spirit for power and consecration. Footnote Furthermore, it is alleged that this faith must be complete and total. Thomas Ball Barratt: As you were justified and regenerated by faith and sanctified by faith, so also you must receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire—the Comforter, by faith. I am supposing that you have yielded to God at every point...Are you willing to go all the way with Christ?  Footnote

               i.     There is nothing in the Bible which speaks of a second faith toward God the Holy Spirit. That is totally made up.

               ii.     Again, although this total devotion and total faith sounds very, very holy, it’s not what the New Testament calls faith...Instead of the believer depending on God in simple trust to effect a total dedication, he is asked to accomplish this dedication by himself before he is worth to receive God, i.e., the Holy Spirit. Footnote

               iii.    If simple faith of Scripture is really absolute surrender, then how many of us are absolutely saved in the first place? Is there anyone who has absolutely surrendered to our Lord prior to salvation? Is there anyone who has gone even a week of their lives absolutely surrendered to the Lord?

       d.    The person seeking the holy ghost experience is encouraged to yield everything and at every point.

               i.     Again, it is backwards. How on earth does anyone expect a yielded life apart from the Holy Spirit?

               ii.     This is the Law thinly disguised. In the Old Testament, complete and total obedience to the Law was required (which was only fulfilled by Christ).

               iii.    Furthermore, this leads to all kinds of introspection and worry as to whether he has “really yielded everything” and so on. Since no believer could ever say yes to that without claiming sinlessness...guilt complexes and bondage and self-absorption inevitably result. The appeal to interior works of devotion is much more enslaving than an appeal to external works such as church attendance, not drinking, not playing cards or dancing, because it appears to be more “spiritual.”  Footnote

       e.    At the same time, the charismatic asserts that the gift of the Holy Spirit comes completely apart from works or merit. Seekers...after the baptism in the Spirit should always remember that this experience is also called “The Gift of the Holy Ghost.” Gifts are not earned or won by price or merit. Gifts cannot be forced from the giver. The Holy Spirit is a gracious...God-sent Gift, and we receive Him by faith and by faith alone. Footnote

               i.     We have just examined several conditions which various charismatic authors set down as conditions required to receive the spirit. You cannot have it both ways.

               ii.     If the gifts cannot be forced from the Giver, then why are people urged to search out the Holy Spirit? Why are there conditions set, conditions to be met, things to do, and group participation in this effort? If this is God’s sovereign decision, then what exactly are we doing?

               iii.    And again, concerning faith: are we talking about simple trust or are we talking complete, an absolute faith? You will note, when things don’t go as planned, the charismatic loves to blame your lack of faith—if you aren’t healed, if you don’t get the ghost, if you don’t speak in tongues, then it is your lack of faith. Since that person obviously has received the spirit and has spoken in tongues, then his faith is obviously greater than yours; furthermore, you, like any other person, can honestly look inside yourself and find doubt and a lack of perfect faith. The charismatic cannot lose on this point. Where the charismatic loses is that his doctrine does not line up with Scripture.

54.  After Paul had evangelized the Galatians and moved on, a group of legalists moved in and began to teach that in order to have a complete life in Christ, the Galatians needed to follow the Law. Paul wrote to the Galatians: You foolish Galatians—who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed crucified? This is the only thing I want you to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? (Gal. 1:1–3). First, it is clear that the Galatians had received the Spirit by the hearing of faith (and it does not appear as though some had and some had not; nor is there any word in the letter to the Galatians that the Spirit is received separately from salvation). Furthermore, notice Paul’s last question: Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? The person who seeks the charismatic experience seeks to be perfected in the flesh in order to receive the spirit. A gift either is received freely or earned by devout effort but not both...the thing that made them [the legalistic teachers who came to Galatia] so bewitching was that their message appealed to people’s needs, seemed to be based on the Bible, and sounded spiritual. Footnote

55.  Revelation has been distorted by many charismatics. You must decide whether you would rather believe Scripture, which has stood the test of time, or the recent revelations of a charismatic.

       a.    Kenneth Hagin claimed: The Lord Himself taught me about prosperity. I never read about it in a book. I got it directly from heaven. Footnote

       b.    Kenneth Hagin spends a great deal of time developing a doctrine which teaches that Jesus has no authority here on earth—that He delegated this authority to the church. Footnote What appears to be the case is that Hagin plagiarized long quotations from a faith evangelist named E. W. Kenyon, whose roots are in the metaphysical cults. A third author, D. R. McConnell, in A Different Gospel, shows in parallel columns that Hagin copied roughly 3/4ths of this book word-for-word from Kenyon. So much for direct divine revelation. Footnote Apparently McConnell’s book is a good starting place for one who wants to examine the Word Faith movement with a critical eye. McConnell, by the way, is a charismatic author. Additional sources on this movement can be found on p. 291 of MacArthur’s Charismatic Chaos.

       c.    Charles Capps: In August of 1973, the Word of the Lord came unto me saying, “If men would believe me, long prayers are not necessary. Just speaking the Word will bring you what you desire. My creative power is given to man in Word form. I have ceased for a time from my work and have given man the book of MY CREATIVE POWER. That power is STILL IN MY WORD.”  Footnote

       d.    Norvel Hayes: You aren’t supposed to talk to Jesus about it. You’re suppose to talk directly to the mountain in Jesus’ name—whatever the mountain is in your life...Don’t say, “Oh, God, help me. Remove this sickness from me.” Say, “Flu, I am not going to let you come into my body. God from me in the name of Jesus!”...Say, “Cancer, you can’t kill me. I will never die of cancer in Jesus’ name.” Do you have a financial mountain in your life? Start talking to your money. Tell your checkbook to line up with god’s Word. Talk to your business. Command customers to come into your business and spend their money there. Talk to the mountain!  Footnote

       e.    Kenneth Copeland: He imparted in you when you were born again—Peter said it just as plain, he said, “We are partakers of the divine nature.” That nature is life eternal in absolute perfection. And that was imparted, injected into your spirit man, and you have that imparted into you by God just the same as you imparted into your child the nature of humanity. That child wasn’t born a whale! [It was] born a human. Isn’t that true? Well, now, you don’t have a human, do you? You are one. You don’t have a god in you. You are one. Footnote Kenneth Copeland and Paul Crouch had a conversation which confirmed this teaching on July 7, 1986, along with quotes from several other who affirm this heresy, which is recorded in MacArthur’s book Charismatic Chaos, pp. 273–274.

       f.     MacArthur goes into great detail concerning Kenneth Copeland’s blasphemous teaching about Jesus in the same book; pp. 274–280.

56.  There is an additional distortion which accompanies some charismatic ministries and that has to do with wealth, prosperity and giving. Listen to the titles of some of the books and pamphlets put out by these charismatics: Kenneth Hagin: “How to Write Your Own Ticket with God,” “Godliness Is Profitable,” and The Laws of Prosperity. Oral Roberts: God’s Formula for Success and Prosperity. Gordon Lindsay: God’s Master Key to Prosperity. Jerry Savelle: Living in Divine Prosperity. MacArthur groups them under The Word Faith movement, which apparently has several synonyms and sub-groupings. These people often want your money and they often promise you in return financial prosperity and perfect health. Now, God does bless with financial prosperity and with health—and there are many believers who have received these things as blessings; similarly, many have been blessed with marvelous families, a wonderful husband or wife, etc. etc. God can and does bless. However, not every believer is promised wealth and good health. Not every believer is promised a successful and blessed marriage. Furthermore, God cannot be bribed. As Thieme used to put it, “You cannot bribe God with a measly 10% of your income.” He was not implying that it would take 20%; but he was stating a principle. God is not in the business of accepting bribes. Giving is a result of obedience and maturity and, sometimes as a result, God provides you with more to give. And there are those who are tight-fisted when it comes to spiritual giving who are not blessed with great material benefits. But, we do not have the automatic “Give God $10, and He will give you back $100.” There are times that you can only give a meager amount of money and there may be times that you barely have enough to get by on (I can recall many years like that). This did not mean I was outside the will of God nor does prosperity automatically mean that I am in the will of God. The main point is that giving to these ministries does not guarantee you great financial prosperity. If a ministry has taught that believing in Christ will bring you happiness and joy all of the time; then they may feel as though they need to up the ante if they want to put their hands into your pockets. Therefore, as you become more and more knowledgeable about their doctrines, giving to ministries like this could result in discipline, which may include negative financial repercussions. I should add as an addendum that this is not simply a problem with charismatics—many different ministries are confused and teach distortions when it comes to giving. Early on when I became a believer, I recall listening to a radio program where, for the greater part of the 15 minutes or so that I listened, the speaker begged for money to keep the show on the air—presumably so that he could come back the next day and beg for more money.

57.  One of the classic signs of a cult is that they will perform as much evangelism within the church of God as they do outside of it. That is, they often recruit from and even infiltrate other churches.

       a.    Donald Burdick, in describing the origin of modern-day Pentecostalism, adds, Through the years Pentecostal congregations have experienced phenomenal growth, thriving especially on the failure of the old-line denominations to foster a vital, experiential Christianity...For the most part the Pentecostal viewpoint was confined to Pentecostal churches until the late 1950’s and early 60’s when, as John Sherrill puts it, “The walls came tumbling down.” It began to be apparent that more and more people in the traditional churches were speaking in tongues. The event which focused national attention on this new invasion occurred on April 3, 1960, at the 2,600-member St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Van Nuys, California. Father Dennis Bennett, the rector of this influential church, received the gift of tongues and upon announcing the fact was forced to resign. Footnote

       b.    The classic illustration of this cultic behavior are the Jehovah’s Witnesses. They may be out in the world going door to door, evangelizing; however, their membership grows because they end up recruiting more people who attend church already than from those who are heathen. Similarly, charismatics often prey upon believers as well—those who are saved, but whose Christian life seems to be going nowhere. It is a believer without doctrine who is an easy mark for any cult. Furthermore, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of churches that charismatics have infiltrated and caused a split in the church.

       c.    According to Shibley, the full gospel businessman’s position is that when a person has this additional experience of the spirit, that they are to remain in the denomination that they are in and help others to have the same experience. The charismatic does not seem to realize how underhanded and divisive that stance is. They may be proud of the various Baptist, Presbyterian or Catholic churches that they have infiltrated and turned into charismatic churches, but such infiltrations always led to great schisms and disagreements, and whenever any church goes from non-charismatic to charismatic, you can rest assured that a great exodus of people also occurred.

       d.    The early Pentecostal movement in England urged its members to remain within the church from which they were converted to Pentecostalism. The dominant leaders in the earliest years of the Pentecostal Movement in the British Isle never encouraged the formation of the separate Pentecostal assemblies as such...The counsel usually given was to “receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit, but remain in your church, whatever the denomination may be. Footnote

       e.    Nichol sums up what he calls the initial historic thrust of the Pentecostal church; however that thrust has not ever changed. The thrust of the Pentecostal message during the early years of the revival was directed at the nominal Christian, the lethargic believer, rather than to the unconverted. The view was that the Holy Spirit baptism was considered to be an enrichment of power for more effective Christian service by those who were already followers of Jesus Christ. It was the culmination of a person’s spiritual growth which had commenced with the experience of conversion. By adhering to this principle of “undenominationalism” the Pentecostals were able to infiltrate various segments of the Christian Church...apparently, it was not until the Pentecostals began to manifest certain eccentric tendencies, irritated their more quiescent brethren, or felt that their own spiritual growth was being stultified, that they decided (or were forced) to withdraw from having fellowship with some of the established churches...their views had appealed to many people within these communions, therefore, when the Pentecostals separated themselves and opened their own missions and store-front churches, virtually a host of people from various denominations followed them, thus forming the nucleus of hundreds of Pentecostal churches. Footnote There are two sides to this: (1) the opinion of the charismatic is that they are not a separate entity, and therefore should not come out of their own church. On the other hand, it does not seem to occur to them that they are teaching subversive doctrines or doctrines which are contrary to what their church teachers. They lead astray the pastor’s flock (and, if he hasn’t taught them much, then it is easy for them to confuse and to take the unlearned). When a group intentionally or even inadvertently takes from the flock of another pastor, they are exhibiting cultic behavior.

58.  With respect to the charismatic movement and evangelism in general. Our evangelism has become somewhat slick and superficial. In not just charismatic circles, but many groups overemphasize the joy and happiness which accompanies becoming a believer. There is a joy and there is a happiness, but it comes with spiritual growth; and it doesn’t make you laugh all the time; and sometimes, you’re simply given the strength to endure that which is in your life without going postal. The essence of the gospel is that our lives are in direct opposition to God. We were created by God and we live in direct rebellion against Him. God has a design and plan for our lives and we are, by our natural spirit, against that. Much of our lives is spent in selfish pursuits which has resulted in pain for those who live around us. And there are many times when we realize what is right and what is wrong, and we choose to do that which is wrong. This is our nature, and it is against the God Who created us. Knowing nothing else, we have absolutely no relationship with a holy and just God. However, God took the form of a man and lived on this earth for 30 years, without sin; and then, being innocent, took upon Himself our sins—he took upon Himself the penalty for our sins and endured the equivalent of our punishment on the cross in His humanity. Jesus has become the only bridge between us and God. A relationship with God is possible, but only through Him. We gain that relationship by putting our faith in Jesus; trusting in His work on the cross on our behalf, that we might be made, positionally and, eventually, eternally, righteousness in Him. It means that we, in our fallen state, can enjoy fellowship with God. Now, salvation doesn’t mean that we have miserable lives that will be transformed overnight into joyous lives of unbridled gaiety. For some, there is an initial joy; and for others, there is not—or, at least, this joy does not last and perpetuate itself. Unfortunately, many evangelists and individuals present salvation as our door to joy and happiness, ignoring the fact that salvation places us in Christ as sons to God, which can often result in discipline (God does not discipline us as unbelievers). When people become believers, the often expect that everything is going to be alright immediately after salvation. Since most churches do not provide a place for us to grow, we become discouraged and malcontent. When someone comes along and tells us that what we are missing is the Holy Spirit in our lives, and that will give us this dynamic relationship with God—well, unfortunately, having been evangelized with promises of joy and happiness which have gone unfulfilled, this promise of the charismatic looks good. We start to think that here is our problem; we lack the Holy Spirit. And we get sucked into this apostate movement.

59.  When you read through various charismatic literature, or listen to their broadcasts, you run into a lot supernatural and phenomenal experiences. However, when Paul has to defend his authority as an Apostle to the Corinthians in 2Cor. 11–12, he does not defend it primarily from the standpoint of his phenomenal experiences. He did have one phenomenal experience where he was caught up into the third heaven; however, as a result of that, God left him with a severe and painful ailment which He would not remove. We do not know the nature of the ailment and all we are told is that a demon of Satan was given permission to strike Paul. Paul concludes that God has given him sufficient strength in his weakness—in fact, that when Paul was weak, this gave God the opportunity to manifest strength through him (2Cor. 12:1–10). Paul also spends an equal amount of time telling of the pressure and pain that he had endured as an Apostle: Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers upon the sea, dangers among false brothers. I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from this external pressure, there is a daily pressure upon me regarding all the churches. Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern? If I have to boast, I will boast of what pertains to my weakness (2Cor. 11:23b–30). Several of the references which I read pointed out that Paul wouldn’t have made it on any charismatic circuit—live in person or televised. Paul wouldn’t have found a place in most noncharismatic arenas either.

60.  On a related note, in these two chapters of 2Corinthians, we do not find that Paul is miraculously delivered from a life of pain. In fact, in his life, because of his stand for the gospel of Christ Jesus, he had endured enormous amounts of suffering. Don’t let anyone, charismatic or not, try to sell you on the idea that becoming a Christian or being a Christian suddenly puts you on this roller coaster of thrills, excitement and happiness. There are pains in this life which we endure as believers—in some cases, lifelong pains, as Paul experienced.

61.  Let me also include some information about various charismatic groups:

       a.    McGee: May I give you a personal experience? Before we went to Honolulu last fall, I was sent a magazine put out by one of the tongues groups...an don the front cover I was startled to see a picture of my very good friend, Dr.—— and his wife. The article in the magazine went on to say that Dr.—— and his wife were speaking in tongues and the church in Honolulu, of which he was pastor, was experiencing a great revival. Now I had been to that church several years before, and I never shall forget the last night I was there. We were having an evening service when one of their tropical storms moved in; the lights went out so they put up candles. The place was packed out and they were sitting along the sides. In the semi-darkness I could see their eager almond eyes, wonderful folk drinking in the Word. It was almost like revival. But when I went back this time, the crowd was not there, and instead of revival, division had come. We sat one night after the service, talking to Dr.—— and his wife. He is one of the finest men I have ever met...He is a man whose heart is hungry. He was brought up in liberalism. He went to the University of Chicago, a student with a very sharp mind, and while he was there he was saved—saved as a liberal. He never had any Bible training whatsoever. He was hungry, hungry for fellowship, hungry for reality. He frankly told us, “I felt my ministry was bankrupt and I wanted something.” I do not intend to ridicule or even criticize this man, because he is a sincere, fine fellow. But I want to say this to you, he is not sure and his wife is not sure that this is of God. They are not sure that they have found the answer. Yet the magazine published over here would give you the impression that a great revival had broken out! May I say, there was no revival. Footnote

       b.    Tongues are often used entirely inappropriately. McGee, again: Dr.——, my friend in Honolulu, told me that he practiced tongues when he was alone. There is no Scripture for that! But the reason he gave was that he wanted to praise God and he could not find words. I rather had to smile at that—he, a brilliant fellow, could not find words to praise God! And I notice that this same thing si being said in this area also—they speak in tongues because they cannot find words to praise God. I would like to pass on something to you, if you cannot find words to praise God...[then] what is wrong with the book of Psalms? The Holy Spirit gave that . Is it not better to use the books of Psalms to praise God than some gibberish? I can think of nothing better than this: O Give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good: for His mercy endureth forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so. Whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy (Psalm 107:1, 2). God has provided us the book of Psalms which are filled with praise for God, yet people will speak in tongues, by themselves, thinking that this is superior praise. McGee also suggests Rev. 5:9–10: “You are worthy to take the book, and to break its seals, for You were killed, and you purchased for God with Your blood, men from every tribe, and tongue and people and nation. And You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.” Do you have a better song than that in any tongue? That is the new song that will be sung in heaven, and it will be sung so that you can understand it. My beloved, you cannot improve on the words the Holy Spirit has recorded for us!  Footnote

       c.    MacArthur comments about charismatics on television: The Christian television station in my area features a live talk and variety program every night of the week. The program is broadcast nationwide and features some of the biggest names in the charismatic movement. Turn it on almost any night of the week and you will see the same thing. The emphasis is almost totally on amusement and frivolity. There is a lot of laughing and breathless gushing. The time is normally filled with entertainment, buffoonery, silliness, and shallow talk. The expensive, lavish clothing, thick makeup, behavior, and talk of most of the women who appear clearly violate every possible interpretation of I Peter 3:3–6 and 1Timothy 2:9–10. Frankly, I am embarrassed to know that many unbelievers get their idea of Christianity from people like that. And I am not talking about unknowns or fringe charismatics; these are people at the forefront of the movement’s visible leadership. Footnote

62.  The stance taken by charismatics:

       a.    Conrad Murrell dispenses with the idea that tongues are no longer a gift for this time in less than a page. The...position...that there is no scriptural gift of the tongues in operation today...hardly justifies much discourse since it is so completely without scriptural support. If it were not for people who had lived for years as Christians, ignoring certain prominent passages of scripture and failing to come in contact with a demonstration of this gift being accompanied by the power of God, no such position would exist. Usually this tenet rests with the broader unsupported assertion that all supernatural works of the Spirit ceased when the “twelve apostles died.” Support is supposedly drawn from 1Cor. 13:8: “whether there by tongues, they shall cease.” The Greek word for cease in the sense of coming to an utter end is katapauo. He hath ceased from his own works. Hebrews 4:10. The Greek word for cease in the sense of an intermittent cessation or a pause is pauomai. When He (Jesus) had ceased (praying) one of His disciples said- - . This is the word that is translated cease in 1Cor. 13:8. If the tongues have utterly ended, so did Jesus’ praying. If we are to say there are no more tongues, we must say Jesus intercedes no more. But the text indicates a pause. Tongues do not continue ceaselessly. Praise the Lord for that! Who could bear it? But love does not wax, wane, start and stop. It continues without pause. Love never fails. Footnote Although the passage in 1Cor. 13 will be covered, the other passage to which Murrell refers is Luke 11:1. The short explanation is difference tenses, different contexts. The longer answer is to find the same word in Eph. 1:16 Col. 1:9 and tell me that it means to pause in those verses. Or go to Heb. 10:2 and tell me that the word means something other than to cease there. Admittedly, the purpose of Murrell’s book was not to justify the gift of tongues for today—however, if he is going to give one argument against the correct position, it should at least be his best argument and not this lame paragraph which leaves out the verses which would contradict his viewpoint. Now a charismatic may point out that Murrell doesn’t speak for all charismatics, and I fully realize that. For all I know, he is but a teeny tiny voice in the charismatic movement—however, he is a man who has been ostensibly baptized in the spirit, he knows that all these sign gifts are for today, and he is obviously one who has been given the gift of teaching (if you read his book at the passage on teaching, you know that’s how he sees himself)—so, how on earth can someone who speaks in the power of the Spirit not convey truth for the entire charismatic movement? Truth is that charismatic believers differ radically in practically every doctrine other than this post-salvation experience and the belief that the sign gifts to Israel belong in today’s church.

       b.    David Shibley also makes a point, which, on the face of it, sounds good: Even if it could be proved (which it cannot) that some of the gifts of the Spirit were withdrawn at the end of the apostolic era, we could not conclude that the Spirit is not able to bestow them again for such an hour as this. The traditional evangelical teacher certainly has no teaching from Scripture that proves that any spiritual gift would cease to function in this period of the church. So he must try to pick for himself which gifts are valid and which are not. We dare not try to bind God’s hands with a questionable theological theory. How dare we try to deny God the right to bestow gifts to His church!  Footnote Let’s examine what he says. Shibley refers back to the Apostolic era—by such language, he has assumed that the gift of Apostleship has died out, which, according to his argument, probably has not. Secondly, the basis for our determining whether anything is true or false is the Word of God. Theology, based upon sound Bible truths, is the final determining factor, insofar as we are concerned.


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63.  It’s about time that we began to actually deal directly with the subject at hand. Therefore, we are going to cover several passages of Scripture, some in great detail; and some we will skim through. First of all, we should looks at the Greek word for tongue, which is glôssa (γλσσα) [pronounced GLOHS-sah], and it primarily is used in Scripture to refer to a person’s literal tongue in Mark 7:33, 35 Luke 1:64 16:24 Rom. 3:13 14:11 Philip. 2:11 James 1:26 3:5, 6, 8 I Peter 3:10 Rev. 16:10. It is used clearly to refer to a human language in Acts 2:2–4, 11, 26 Rev. 5:9 7:9 11:9 13:7 14:6 17:15. It is used to refer to something which someone says in 1John 3:18, completely apart from the concept of a foreign language. To try to make this word mean ecstatic utterances, angelic languages, etc., is to read your interpretation on top of the Greek. You supplant what we know about the Greek in order to substantiate your view. You are forcing the language to accommodate your theological views. Strong’s #1100 Arndt & Gingrich #161. The term unknown tongue occurs nowhere in Scripture. The word unknown was added by the King James translators; for those with a KJV, you will see that unknown is in italics, which means it was added by the translators and is not found in the original manuscripts. Footnote The gift of tongues (glôssa) is found in the book of Acts (in three primary passages) and in 1Cor. 12–14. The only other occurrence in Scripture of this gift is at the end of the book of Mark and most of the last chapter of the book of Mark is not found in the better Greek manuscripts (this means that it was added by someone other than Mark). The book of Mark either ends abruptly at Mark 16:8, or the ending has been lost. This particular ending to the book of Mark is not found in any manuscript until the later half of the second century a.d. Footnote There are two other short endings, as well as several other endings, bringing into question the authenticity of all of these various additions. Now, the phrase tongues of angels (and virtually everyone who speaks in tongues, speaks in angelic tongues) occurs only one time in the Bible, and that is in 1Cor. 13:1, in one of the most misunderstood passages in the Bible—at least, when it comes to the charismatics. Most charismatics could tell you, in very general terms, what the 13th chapter of 1Corinthians is about—it’s about love and how important love is (which, strictly speaking, is not really true, by the way). Furthermore, not one charismatic in a thousand could explain Paul’s classical Greek debater’s reasoning which he uses in the first two verses of that chapter, Footnote nor is one charismatic out of a thousand able to see much beyond the phrase of tongues of angels. Okay, let’s just suppose for a moment that I am a charismatic. I get filled with the Holy Ghost and speak with angelic tongues periodically—every couple days or once or twice a week in church; in fact, it is often the energizing element of my Christian experience. I have encouraged others to get this baptism and speak in tongues (of angels, of course) to the point of having almost a missionary zeal. Now, I find out suddenly that Mark 16:17 does not belong in my Bible; I find out that there is no such phrase as unknown tongues anywhere in Scripture, and that the only mention of speaking with the tongues of angels is in 1Cor. 13:1; you know what? I now have two basic choices: either I had better make damn sure that 1Cor. 13:1 says just exactly what I think it says or I had better admit, at least to myself, that my many experiences of speaking in so-called unknown, angelic tongues is more important than the Word of God.

64.  We also need to look at a second Greek word, diálektos (διάλεκτoς) [pronounced dee-AH-lek-tos], which means language, or, more properly, dialect (it is obviously from whence we derive the term dialect). Strong’s #1258 Arndt & Gingrich p. 184. It is, for all intents and purposes, a synonym for glôssa and often translated tongue in the KJV (Acts 2:8 21:40 22:2 26:14). In the last three passages, it refers to speaking in Hebrew dialect, which is, specifically, Aramaic Footnote by a person who knows Jewish Aramaic (Paul, in the first two verses, and Jesus in the third). Glôssa emphasizes the person speaking the language by focusing on his tongue, the member of speech; and diálektos emphasizes the linguistic nature or the language itself. In Acts 2, when the first incident of speaking in tongues occurred, the remarks of those who heard, Jews who had gathered from all over the world to celebrate Pentecost, was that the disciples, who were Galileans mostly, were speaking in their dialect. This was amazing to these Jews, as, in a world where most people were bi and tri-lingual, Galileans were known for being mono-lingual—so to hear a Galilean speak your language pretty well would knock your socks off. That was amazing and that would get the attention of any person who had previously looked down upon these disciples as intellectual chumps (which they were, by the way Footnote ).

65.  Before we get in the exegesis of several passages, we need to get a quick understanding of the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Old and New Testaments. In the Old Testament, maybe one-tenth of one percent of the believers actually had the Holy Spirit, and they could lose the Holy Spirit. After committing adultery and then having the husband of this woman killed, David was put under divine discipline and prayed, in Psalm 51:11, for God not to remove the Holy Spirit from him. Obviously, since this is in Scripture, this tells us that he could lose the Holy Spirit. Several of the men who worked on the tabernacle and the priest’s clothing were filled with the Holy Spirit (Ex. 28:3 31:3). Furthermore, the trinity is taught in the Old Testament (e.g., Gen. 1:1–2, 26 Isa. 48:16), but, for the most part, there is really very little said about the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament (as compared to the New), Footnote because the average believer was not indwelt by the Spirit. When Jesus was on this earth, speaking to His disciples, he occasionally told them, “You know, you guys are really a bunch of knuckleheads, and this whole disciple-thing might make a lot more sense if you were to ask for the Holy Spirit.” Footnote Of course, because they were knuckleheads, the disciples never thought to ask for the Holy Spirit. Now, this was prior to the crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord. But this He spoke of the Spirit, Whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified (John 7:39). So that you can differentiate all of this in your mind—the Holy Spirit was given to some believers, and Jesus encouraged His disciples to ask God the Father for the Holy Spirit. However, the Holy Spirit, prior to the death and resurrection of our Lord, was not given to all believers. After that, beginning with the day of Pentecost, the life of the average believer changed drastically. What we have after Pentecost is groups of believers who had believed in our Lord prior to Pentecost, and therefore, had not received the Holy Spirit.

66.  The next thing that we need is a balanced historical perspective. There are three occasions in the book of Acts where we find the baptism of the Holy Spirit associated with speaking in other, human languages (this will be justified in later points). We have fourteen instances (actually, fifteen) historical incidences where we have salvation mentioned, but this is not accompanied by a manifestation of the sign gifts. First of all, there is no evidence that anyone other than the Apostles spoke in tongues on the day of Pentecost (and Peter gave the message in Greek). In other words, we have no historical mentioned of them being baptized by the Spirit or of them speaking in other languages. The fourteen similar instances are: Acts 3 5:14 6:1 8:12–13, 32–39 9:5–9, 32–35 13:43 14:8–10 16:29–33 17:1–4, 11–13, 34 18:8 19:18. No tongues, no manifestations of sensational gifts by those saved, no unusual experience of the baptism of the Spirit. So, even in a day when speaking in other human languages was bona fide, and even in a day when there were some instances of the baptism of the Spirit being either (1) a powerful experience or (2) an experience separated from salvation; the majority of case histories recorded have no such thing. The point is, even if things in our time were exactly the same as they were then, the charismatics would still be considered as going overboard.

67.  We are about ready to launch into an exegetical study of the typical passages used by charismatics to justify their theology. We will carefully examine the Greek and the Hebrew, as well as the historical and contextual context of each passage. In most cases, we will examine every verse. However, in the case of 1Cor. 14, we will just hit a few verses. Even though this is the classic passage dealing with tongues, it deals with the abuse of tongues while it was a valid gift of the Spirit. If the Corinthians had not misused this gift, there would be not a single verse in the epistles—which contain the bulk of Christian doctrine—concerning the gift of tongues.

68.  Before we launch into exegesis of these passages, let me include a few rather simplistic, but true rules concerning the study of God’s Word:


 

Ask these questions when reading a passage:

(1)WHO is speaking?

               (2)   TO WHOM is the speaker speaking?

               (3)   ABOUT WHAT is he speaking?

               (4)   WHEN was it spoken?

 

Remember that “While al the Bible was written FOR you, it was not all written TO you, nor was it all written ABOUT you.” Footnote


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69.  There are only five passages in Scripture which deal explicitly with the gift of tongues. First of all, we can dispense with Mark 16:9–20, as most textual scholars agree that this is not a part of the original text (we have already covered this point early on). The handling of snakes and drinking of poison mentioned in that passage is practiced, however, those only by the most fringe elements of Pentecostalism (and most Pentecostals see them as a fringe group). The remaining five passages are the three historical accounts of tongues: Acts 2:1–13, 10:44–47 and 11:15–18, and 19:1–7. The only passage which deals with this in the epistles is 1Cor. 12–14, where the intention of that passage is to correct the misuse of the gift. Then, Paul mentions an Old Testament verse, Isa. 28:11–12, which explains and substantiates the use of tongues. We will exegete all of these passages, and then we will throw in a bonus Pentecostal verse.

70.  Prior to moving into the book of Acts, we need to stop and pause at John 20:22–23:


And this having been said, He breathed and he says to them, “Receive the Spirit Holy. If of whom you forgive the sins, they are forgiven them; if of whom you retain, they have been retained.”

John

20:22–23

And this having been said, He breathed and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If of any you may pardon sins, they are pardoned to them; if of any you may retain, they have been retained.”

And having said this, He breathed upon them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you pardon a person’s sins, that person’s sins will stand pardoned; if you retain a person’s sins, that person’s sins will be retained to him.”


There are various explanations for this passage, and I do not hope to clear this up completely in your mind with the short exegetical explanation of it. The first thing that our Lord does is the aorist active indicative of emphusáô (ἐμφυσάω) [pronounced em-foo-SAH-oh], which means to breath, to breath on, to blow in or on. Strong’s #1720. Now, there is disagreement whether Jesus here breathed upon the disciples and thus gave them the Holy Spirit or whether the gift of the Holy Spirit came later. What He says to them is the 2nd person plural, aorist active imperative of lambánô (λαμβάνω) [pronounced lahm-BAHN-oh], which means to take, to receive. Strong’s #2983. There are two ways this can be taken—some noncharismatics take this to mean that our Lord is telling his disciples to receive the Holy Spirit, although that would not occur until the future. Others take it to mean that there is some sort of endowment of the Spirit, different from what we have in Acts 2.


We have already spent a short time with the Holy Spirit as He is found in the Old Testament, and we found that He had a somewhat different ministry to the saints during that time period. He was given to a minuscule number of believers for service and the Holy Spirit could be taken away. For all intents and purposes, we are still in that time period. The Spirit had not yet been given—not as Jesus had promised (John 14:16–17, 26–28)—because Christ had not yet been glorified (John 7:39); and Christ is glorified at the right hand of God (Heb. 1:3–4). Several times, Jesus told the disciples that He must go to the Father in order to send to them the Helper (John 14); so, what occurred here was clearly different than Pentecost. Now, we may debate back and forth just exactly what the Apostles had then which would be different than what they would have in Acts 2, but our Lord explained it immediately. They would be given an authority here. We have the 3rd class condition of if; maybe it’s true and maybe it’s false. Then we have the aorist active subjunctive of aphíêmi (ἀφίημι) [pronounced af-EE-ay-mee], which means to send forth, to send away, to dismiss, to pardon, to forgive. Strong’s #863. The result with be the present passive indicative of the same verb—these sins will be dismissed or pardoned with respect to that person. The converse is also true—if the Apostles did not pardon the sins of any person, then those sins would not be pardoned. In other words, the Apostles had a clear enough understanding of the gospel at that point to present the gospel, and with confidence, make it known that a person has been forgiven. In other words, this is an issue of authority. Our Lord, when He was continually with them, had the spiritual authority. Now He would be leaving them, and He would give them the authority of the Holy Spirit—the authority to pardon or not to pardon a person of his sins. This was all tied to the gospel—i.e., Peter could not choose some dude out of a crowd whom he liked a lot and tell him he was saved, apart from the gospel. Their authority extended to a correct pronouncement and application of the gospel of Jesus Christ. As is true throughout much of Scripture, a passage is often explained by the context in which it is found. What we do not find here is conclusive proof that the Apostles received a little bit of the Holy Spirit when they were saved (this passage occurred long after they were saved), but that they would need to seek a greater experience with the Holy Spirit in the future. The context reveals that authority is the issue here—that is stated, as well as the clear parameters of that authority—and nothing more is stated or implied.


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71.  A brief outline of the book of Acts: Our Lord Himself gives us the outline for the book of Acts in Acts 1:8: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judæa and Samaria, and even to the most remote part of the earth.”

       a.    First, God gave the Holy Spirit to the Apostles (Acts 2:1–4). The Holy Spirit is clearly given to the disciples (Acts 2:4).

       b.    Then the Apostles were witnesses to the Jews in Jerusalem and throughout all Judæa (Acts 2:5–8:3).

       c.    Then they witnessed to those of Samaria, which were part Jewish and considered outcasts by the Jews (Acts 8:4–9:43). The Holy Spirit is clearly given to the Samaritans (Acts 8:14–17). Furthermore, this comes from the laying on of the hands of the Apostles Peter and John, something that the disciple Philip was apparently unable to do, even though he was able to do signs and wonders and healings (Acts 8:4–8, 14–17)

       d.    Finally, the Apostles go to the remotest areas of the civilized world (Acts 10:1–28:31). The Holy Spirit is clearly given to the gentiles just as it had been given to the Apostles (Acts 10:44–46 11:15–16). This occurred while the Apostle Peter was speaking the gospel to them (Acts 10:44). During Paul’s missionary travels, Paul comes upon some of the Jewish disciples of John (the Baptizer). Although it is not perfectly clear, they appear to be believers and the Holy Spirit is given to them by the laying on of the Apostle Paul’s hands (Acts 19:1–7).

72.  Let’s summarize what these last three incidents of the bestowing of the Holy Spirit had in common: the Holy Spirit was given only through an Apostle or Apostles.

73.  Let’s summarize the differences of these last three incidents when the Holy Spirit was given:

       a.    Timing: the Samaritans (and the Apostles) were given the Spirit after they believed; the gentiles were given the Spirit while they believed; and it is uncertain as to the timing of the giving of the Holy Spirit to the Old Testament saints of Acts 19.

       b.    Ceremony: the laying on of hands was used with the Samaritans and with the Old Testament saints; the gentiles received the Holy Spirit while Peter was giving them the gospel.

74.  How can be apply this to ourselves today?

       a.    The book of Acts is a transitional period of time. Previously, the authority of God rested in the Old Testament Scriptures, in the temple, in the synagogue, in the prophets and in the priesthood of Aaron. Now the authority of God would be shifted to the New Testament Scriptures, to the Church, to the Apostles, and eventually to the pastor-teacher. This transition of authority was accompanied by signs, wonders and powers. God bore witness to the authority of the Apostles from which the transfer to the new authorities followed.

       b.    The book of Acts marks a change in God’s plan with respect to the Jews: God, for over 2000 years, had worked primarily through the Jews and those who believed in Him often became Jews. When Jesus first sent the Apostles out to proclaim the kingdom of God, they were admonished not to go to the Samaritans or to the gentiles (Matt. 10:5). However, this changes in the book of Acts. The believers in Jerusalem were scattered under great persecution, sending them out to Judæa and to Samaria (Acts 8:1). Only the Apostles remained in Jerusalem, so they expanded their evangelism beyond Jerusalem. One of their disciples was evangelizing in Samaria, and the Apostles Peter and John went to assist. Then Peter was sent by God the Holy Spirit to a gentile home. Now, when the Apostles went to the Samaritans and to the gentiles, this was marked by the giving of the Holy Spirit to these two groups. Very few of us appreciate how disharmonious the Jews, Samaritans and the gentiles were; add to that, the cultural barriers between men and women, and between slaves and free. Therefore, in the book of Acts, we see some of those barriers erased, always presenting the Apostles as the clear authorities in the area of spiritual things. Paul confirms this in his epistle to the Galatians: For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:26–28).

       c.    If we would take our cue from any of these disparate groups in the book of Acts, it would be from the gentiles, who received the Holy Spirit as they believed.


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75.  Keeping these points of summary in mind, the first passage that we will examine in relative detail is Acts 2:


Historically, Biblical exegetes have understood the general idea behind the book of Acts—this is an historical record of the Church of God in its infancy. Dillow: We have to remember that Acts is a transitional book, spanning the years between the synagogue and the church, from the law to grace, from the Old Testament saints to the New Testament Christians and from an exclusively Jewish body of believers to the body of Christ, in which there is neither Jew nor Gentile. Footnote This change from the synagogue to the church did not take place overnight. Most of the first century was included in this transitional period. Even Paul taught in the Temple of Jerusalem as late as Acts 21 (which would have been about 56–58 a.d.). This marked the end of Paul’s ministry to the Jew (which continued through Acts 23). The negative volition was so intense against Christ Jesus, that there was a near riot, and many Jews took a vow not to eat again until Paul had been assassinated by one of them. This probably marked the end of the sign gifts, as Paul’s dealings from that day forward were with gentiles and gentile churches (which may have included some Jewish believers). Paul remained under Roman house arrest for the next year or so (it is generally agreed that he was incarcerated in 60 a.d. when he wrote four of his epistles).


Take any church which is older than 20 years—it has a certain way of doing things. What they did the first day or the second day that it opened is not how that church operates today. When I first moved from my studying under a pastor teacher to more of a self-directed study, what I did the first few days is not the same as how I operate today. So, it should be understood that what occurred historically in the book of Acts is not necessarily exactly how things are done today or should be done today—we would go to the epistles of Paul for that. The accurate comments of charismatic Gordon Fee are applicable here: If the primitive church is normative, which expression of it is normative? Jerusalem? Antioch? Philippi? Corinth? That is, why do not all the churches sell their possessions and have all things in common? Or further, is it at all legitimate to take [any] descriptive statements as normative? If so, how does one distinguish those which are from those which are not? For example, must we follow the pattern of Acts 1:26 and select leaders by lot? Just exactly what role does historical precedent play in Christian doctrine or in the understanding of Christian experience?  Footnote So, if the Bible says, Jesus Christ, the same today, yesterday and forever; does that mean that all of these churches were founded and operated incorrectly except for one of them? Certainly not. Not only is that verse completely misunderstood and completely misapplied by charismatics, that verse does not mean that God does not have different programs for different time periods. The divine essence of Christ Jesus is the same today, yesterday and forever. His programs periodically changed with regards to mankind. If you do not recognize that God does things differently from time to time, then your ignorance of Scripture should be considered profound; even legendary.


Now, if anything is obvious to charismatics and to noncharismatics, is that a person who believed in Jesus as the Messiah during the life of Jesus did not receive the Holy Spirit because Christ had not yet risen. I don’t believe that there are any believers of any denomination who would deny that. Therefore, all Old Testament saints (those who believed in Jesus prior to His resurrection and ascension) would have to receive the Holy Spirit after they believed. A noncharismatic should not be disturbed by this; nor should a charismatic point to this as proof of Spirit baptism after salvation as the norm for all believers.


MacArthur: ...the book of Acts was never intended to be a primary basis for church doctrine. It records only the earliest days of the church age and shows the church in transition from the Old Covenant to the New. The apostolic healings, miracles, signs, and wonders evident in Acts were not common, even in those days. They were exceptional events, each with a specific purpose, always associated with the ministry of the apostles, and their frequency can be seen decreasing dramatically from the beginning of Acts to the end...Acts, therefore, covers and extraordinary time in history. The transitions it records are never to be repeated. And so the only teachings in the book of Acts that can be called normative for the church are those that are explicitly confirmed elsewhere in Scripture. Footnote


Now, there is a point of view that I have only recently come upon which I should touch on. This point of view is that this portion of Acts is spuriously recalled. It is suggested by some that (1) Luke deliberately misrepresented the facts of Pentecost, and that the believers there actually spoke in ecstatic, heavenly languages. (2) Others maintain that this portion of Acts was reworked sometime later by another author to distort the nature of the gift of tongues. To answer the first objection: if we cannot trust the writers of Scripture, than we have absolutely no Scriptural basis for argument. We either agree that the Bible is God’s Word or it is not, textual criticism aside for the moment. I will approach this subject primarily on the basis of Scripture (although you wouldn’t know that after gone through 30 or so pages of what is essentially introduction). If we remove Scripture from this debate, then I can call this gift whatever I want and others can call it whatever they want—but we have no true foundation from which to argue. I personally approach this topic believing the Bible to be the Word of God. I have covered the topic of inspiration elsewhere.


The second objection, although interesting, has no basis in textual criticism. We have no alternative manuscripts which give a different point of view. This is simply someone coming along centuries and centuries after the fact who decides to simply say I don’t agree with Acts 2; therefore, someone must have changed it to suit their theological bend. I guess I should present the actual theological position. B. L. Königsmann, in 1798, suggested that because the latter portion of the book of Acts uses the verb we and the earlier portion does not, that there were two sources for the book of Acts woven together. The author, Luke, clearly indicates that he attempted to carefully record the life of Jesus and the early church by using various source materials—chiefly eyewitness reports, to produce a proper chronological history (Luke 1:1–4). We find the pronoun we later in the book of Acts because that is where Luke hooks up with Paul and becomes an eyewitness himself. To depreciate the previous chapters is to take the position that God’s Word is not God’s Word. Footnote Furthermore, one does not get to slander Luke’s account of Pentecost to the end of keeping that portion that one likes and dispensing with that with which one does not agree. I would also like to point out that if Luke’s account were spurious, then the other Apostles would have had something to say about this widely circulated history.


First, we must get integrated into the context. Our Lord had already breathed the Holy Spirit upon the disciples following His resurrection (John 20:22), something which apparently lasted a relatively short time. 50 days had passed (Pentecost means 50), and the disciples were back to being the lunkheads that they always were. In Acts chapter 1, they come up with the brilliant idea that they ought to elect a twelfth Apostle. The main difference between the disciples at this time and while our Lord was with them is now they were misapplying Scripture. Before, they didn’t know enough Scripture to misapply, but now they had grown some. They cast lots for their hand-picked candidates, and the lot fell on Matthias, of whom we never hear again.


What was happening outside was that Jews from all of the surrounding areas had come to Jerusalem to celebrate Pentecost. Most of us drive around the corner to the nearest church and spend our Sundays there. From the very beginning, wherever the Ark of God was, that is where the people of Israel would gather to worship. They gathered periodically for certain feast days in one place. Part of the emphasis was that there is One God. The Israelites were never to become confused and think that other heathen worshipped the same God, only gave Him a different name. They worshiped the one God, and therefore, they had to gather at the temple, which spoke of Him. Therefore, all of Jerusalem was filled with Israelites from all over the surrounding areas.


Slavishly literal: Footnote

 

Less than literal:

And in the fulfilling of the day of Pentecost, they were all of one mind at the same place.

Acts

2:1

And when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all [gathered] in agreement in one place.

When the day of Pentecost had come, they all gathered in the same place as they had previously agreed to.


After the kaì conjunction, we have the articular infinitive of the verb sumplêroô (συμπληρόω) [pronounced soom-play-ROH-oh], which literally means to fill a ship with water. However, the more often used figurative meaning is to fulfill, to approach, to come. Strong’s #4845 Arndt & Gingrich p. 787. The articular infinitive, when used with the en (ἐν) preposition, generally expresses the time in which something occurs; we often use the words when or while to convey this meaning.


We actually don’t have the word one in this verse. We have the adverb homothumadón (ὁμoθυμαδόν) [pronounced ho-moh-thu-mah-DON], which means of one mind, by mutual consent, by unanimous consent, in agreement, in one accord. Strong’s #3661 Arndt & Gingrich p. 569. This means nothing more or less than they agreed to gather together on that day. Thieme: ...the word HOMOTHUMADON has additional implications: it depicts minds that were free from mental attitude sins and harbored neither antagonism nor hostility. It showed both outward and inner accord—oneness of purpose, oneness of mind. This state of mind characterized the 120 disciples gathered “with one accord in one place”—not because they were such wonderful people or because they tarried and agonized, but because they had by grace been given the Holy Spirit. Together they awaited the dawn of the new dispensation—the Day of Pentecost. Footnote


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Now, there are denominations and groups which make a big deal out of Pentecost. What occurred at Pentecost was a one-time event (when our Lord sent the Holy Spirit), and, although there are two subsequent references to Pentecost (Acts 20:16 1Cor. 16:8), these references are simply to the annual Jewish feast of Pentecost (the Old Testament references to Pentecost are Lev. 23:15–21 Num. 28:17–25). Since the average Pentecostal has little or no understanding of the day of Pentecost or of the Pentecost Feast, it would be beneficial to examine the first few feast days:


The Feast Days

Name

OT References

NT References

OT Time


Modern Time

Description and Purpose

Symbolic Meaning





Passover



Ex. 12:1–14, 21–27, 48 Lev. 23:5 Num. 9:1–14 28:16 Deut. 16:1–3a, 4b–7




Matt. 26:17 –19 Mark 14:12–26 John 2:13 11:55 1Cor. 5:7 Heb. 11:28









1st month:

Abib 14





March or

April

This was Biblically the beginning of the months for the Jews (Ex. 12:2). A lamb was slain and eaten with bitter herbs and unleavened bread in every household (leaven was removed from the house prior to the slaying of the Passover lamb—Ex. 16:14). More importantly, this commemorated the passing over of the death of the firstborn in Israel for those who slapped the blood up upon the door sill. This looked backward to Yahweh delivering Israel from bondage to Israel. The man who was clean and did not observe Passover was to be cut off from his people and to bear [the punishment for] his own sin (Num. 9:13). Aliens could observe the Passover (Num. 9:14). The sacrifice for the Passover was only to occur where Yahweh designated (Deut. 16:5–6). Our Lord's last supper with His disciples was the Passover. In connection to this, the first day of unleavened bread in Mark 14:12 was probably the day before the feast began (as only unleavened bread could be eaten with the Passover). Our Lord changed the Passover into the Eucharist (Mark 14:22–24). The wine and bread taken during the Eucharist, are obviously unleavened (Deut. 16:3–4).




The Passover also looks forward to our Lord, the Passover lamb, sacrificed on our behalf. Recall the chilling Ex. 14:5–6: The lamb is to [all of] you an unblemished male a year old...and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel will kill it between the evenings. The blood on the door sills of their original homes in Egypt caused they and their families to be passed over and the first born was spared and represented the bleeding of our Lord Jesus Christ which took place on His hands, His feet and from His head. Jesus is called our Passover in 1Cor. 5:7. The unleavened bread eaten at the last Passover was our Lord's uncorrupted body and the unfermented wine was His blood of the covenant shed on behalf of many (Mark 14:22–24).

Unleavened Bread


Ex. 12:15–20 13:3–10 23:15 34:18 Lev. 23:6–8 Num. 28:17–25 Deut. 16:3b, 4a, 8



Matt: 26:17 Mark 14:1 Acts 12:3 1Cor. 5:6–8


1st month:

Abib 15–21



March or April

The Passover was to then be commemorated with a week long feast. An assembly was held in at the beginning and at the end of this week-long appointed time and all bread eaten had to be unleavened, as leaven represents corruption of the world. The unleavened bread was the bread of humility (Deut. 16:3). This feast did not necessarily begin on a Saturday or a Sunday. However, no work was to be done on that first and seventh day. This one of the great pilgrim or regathering feasts of Israel, one of the three when all males were to appear before Yahweh. None were to appear before Yahweh empty handed. The Feast of Unleavened Bread also looked backward to the deliverance of Israel from Egypt. Several burnt and tribute offerings were presented to Yahweh during this appointed time.

The Jews were given the truth directly from God and they were nationally a light unto the world. Leaven represents corruption and their memorial to the Passover, their witness for Jesus Christ, was to be uncorrupted worship. Scofield writes this feast speaks of communion with Christ, the unleavened wave loaf, in the full blessing of His redemption and of a holy walk. The divine order is beautiful; first, redemption; then, holy living. Footnote Passover occurs for a day, just as salvation occurs in an instant of time. The Feast of Unleavened Bread, wherein we have fellowship with our Lord, continues for a longer period of time.

Firstfruits


Lev. 23:9–14



Rom. 8:23 1Cor. 15:20–23


Abib 16


March or April

A sheaf of the first of the barley harvest was offered to Yahweh as a wave offering, along with a burnt offerings and a tribute offering. The seed dies, is put into the ground, and the first sheaf to arise was the firstfruit of the remaining crop to be harvested later. This originally recognized our Lord's provisions for the Jews in the land.

Being filled with the Holy Spirit and having our own spiritual gift(s) are the firstfruits to us from God, in anticipation of our resurrection bodies. Our Lord, risen from the dead, represents the firstfruits of the resurrection (1Cor. 15:23). Notice how this is long before the celebration of the harvest, as He was raised long before we receive our resurrection bodies. The seed dies, is put into the ground, and the first sheaf to arise was the firstfruit of the remaining crop to be harvested later.





Weeks (or Harvest or Pentecost) Endnote





Ex. 23:16a 34:22a Lev. 23:15–21 Num. 28:26–31 Deut. 16:9–12







Acts 2:1–4 20:16 1Cor. 16:8












3rd month:

Silvan 6







May or June

Fifty days after the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread we have the Feast of Weeks where mandatory and voluntary offerings were brought to the Lord, along with the firstfruits of the wheat harvest. This is roughly equivalent to the amount of time that it took to travel from Egypt to Mount Sinai. The offerings were burnt offerings, tribute offerings, sin offerings and peace offerings. Two loaves of unleavened bread were also offered along with ten animals. However, leavened bread is allowed as this is our time here on earth. Scofield writes: Observe, it is now loaves; not a sheaf of separate growths loosely bound together, but a real union of particles making one homogeneous body. The descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost united the separate disciples into one organism. Endnote It was at this time that the priest emphasized the needy and providing for them (Lev. 23:22 Deut. 16:11–12). This is the second feast where the males of Israel were to gather themselves before Yahweh. Later on, the Ten Commandments and the book of Ruth were read publicly during this feast day. The timing of this feast is quite interesting. The fifty days are seven Sabbaths, (Sabbath means seven and is the Biblical number referring to perfection) and one more day. This places the feast day on a Sunday, which is quite unusual for a feast day. This day appears to just be inserted into the feasts, just as the Church Age is inserted into the Age of Israel. Furthermore, what they brought was interesting—Israelites brought not grain, but the bread which had been made out of the grain, as an offering to God.




This is our life here on earth. Leaven speaks of corruption because we live in bodies of corruption. Our salvation and initial fellowship our past, ultimate sanctification is future, and in between we have this very short amount of time here on earth. That is Pentecost, which is why God chose this day to give us the Holy Spirit. The gleanings of the field which are left behind for the poor is what the sons of Israel left for us and we have been able to feast from the Old Testament since that time. The fact that Pentecost occurs on a Sunday is significant, because the official day of worship of the church is Sunday, as that day commemorates the day our Lord was raised from the dead. Finally, the bread made from the grain which God has given speaks of the transformation by God the Holy Spirit from the raw material into divine production.

You will note in all of this that the mystical experience touted by the charismatics appears to be missing when these feast days are carefully examined. We do not find it even in shadow form.


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The short version is the our Lord died on Passover, as our Passover lamb. Then He was resurrected on the Feast of the Firstfruits, as Jesus Christ was the firstfruits of all that are to be resurrected. Then, 50 days later, we have the celebration of the harvest, or Pentecost, where God gave the Holy Spirit to the Church.


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And came suddenly from the heaven a sound as of a carried breath, violent, and filled whole the house where they were sitting.

Acts

2:2

And [there] suddenly came from the heaven a sound as a driven, violent breath, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.

And, suddenly, from the heaven, there came this sound, like a powerful directed wind which filled the house where they were sitting.


What came from the heaven was a sound. This is followed by the conditional adverb hôseí (ὡσεί) [pronounced hoh-SIGH], which is used in comparisons (as if, as it were, as, as though, like) and before words of number or measure to indicate and approximate value (approximately, roughly, about). Strong’s #5616 Arndt & Gingrich p. 907.


What this sound is, is described by the present passive/middle participle of phérô (φέρω) [pronounced FEH-row], which means to bear, to carry. In the passive, this means to be carried, to be borne. When used with wind, the concept is that this is a driven wind—something is forcing it along and causing it. It is controlled and not random. Strong’s #5456. The next word used to describe it is the adjective bíaios (βίαιoς) [pronounced BEE-aye-os], which means violent, vehement, and it is used of the wind. Strong’s #972. The noun which is being described is pnoé (πνoέ) [pronounced pnoh-AY], which means breath more than it means wind (it is found in Gen. 2:7 Isa. 42:5 Acts 17:25). Strong’s #4157. Luke, the writer of this book, was a scholar, a doctor and an historian. He could have used the word for wind, but he did not. He used the word for breath, yet described it with adjectives that we would associate with a violent wind. A wind gives us the concept of something which is uncontrolled and unpredictable. This breath, despite the fact that it is powerful, is controlled and purposeful. This is the same word used in Gen. 2:7, where God breathed into Adam the breath of lives.


The description that we find here of the Holy Spirit is unique. We do not have a repeat of v. 2 anywhere else in Scripture. The Holy Spirit came to this earth one time, and He was then here. There are some things which are a one-time experience. The incarnation of our Lord occurred but once; His death on the cross on our behalf occurred but once. What occurred at Pentecost, for the most part, did not reoccur. Once the Holy Spirit came, He was here. He did not have to come back. Now, certainly, a person who knows a little Scripture will point out that there are three other instances in Scripture (all in the book of Acts) where the Holy Spirit was given in what appears to be a separate experience from salvation. Actually, only two of the incidents occurred after the salvation of those involved. You see, there were Jews, Samaritans (who were half-Jewish), Footnote and gentiles. God had changed His program or His dispensation, and the Apostles—Paul, primarily—were in charge of establishing this new program, which included local churches with both Jewish and gentile believers. For those who had been reborn prior to the death of our Lord and the giving of the Holy Spirit, this change of administration and the change of authority had to be authenticated. Therefore, rather than send the Holy Spirit to fill all believers from the previous dispensation all at once, they were filled in the presence of an Apostle, so that the Apostle’s authority could be simultaneously established. Had it been done any other way, and the authority of the Apostles would have been undercut.


And were seen to them divided tongues as fire and it is seated upon one each of them,

Acts

2:3

And appeared to them distributed languages like fire and it remained on each one of them,

And languages, as if a judgement from God, were distributed to each one of them, as a pronouncement of judgement [against the Jews].


The verb is the aorist passive indicative of optánomai (ὀπτάνoμαι) [pronounced op-TAHN-oh-my], which means to see, to perceive with the eyes, to look at; however, we have more than the simple act of seeing here (which would be blépô), but we have a correct perception or understanding of what one is observing, or a concentrated effort to examine what is occurring. In the passive, this is often rendered to appear. Strong's #3700.


We then have the present middle/passive participle of the word for divided; and we get all kinds of renderings here: cloven (like the hoof), divided, separated. We find the same word used by Luke in Luke 12:52 23:34, and what is being done is that these tongues are distributed to the various disciples. Whatever was brought into the room was distributed to the disciples. This is followed by the plural of the noun tongues; however, bear in mind that it also means languages. I certainly hope that you don’t have this goofy picture of burning human tongues being tossed around the room by some chaotic wind and these tongues are dropping out of the sky and landing on everyone. First of all, yuck; and secondly, that would be goofy and meaningless. What gets distributed to the Apostles in the room are languages.


We have hôseí again (as, like, as though) and the genitive neuter noun pûr (πύρ) [pronounced purr], which means fire, and is used that way literally throughout most of the New Testament (e.g., Matt. 3:10 7:19 13:40 John 15:16). It also has several symbolic uses. However, so that we don’t get way out there (because when dealing with symbolic language, that is easy to do), the preponderance of symbolic uses of fire deal with judgement (e.g., Matt. 18:8 1Cor. 3:10–15 Heb. 10:27). One of the incredible Old Testament prophecies which, in this verse, is being fulfilled, is a judgement from God, upon Israel. That is Isa. 28:9–14—but don’t go there yet; we will get there eventually. Strong’s #4442. However, let me give you the gist of what the prophecy is and what is really going on: God will speak through the Apostles to their fellow Jews in the languages of Gentiles, to evangelize them. This is a great judgement against Israel, predicted back in the book of Isaiah. God would leave the hard-hearted Jews and go to the Gentiles and this was one incredible sign of judgement against them. We might better understand tongues of fire to mean languages of judgment [upon the Jew]. This is what they are here and this is how Paul will properly interpret them in 1Cor. 14, which we will also exegete. Just keep in the back of your mind the fact that we have the mention of fire here and that fire represents judgement.


Now, I need to stop for a moment to those people who always say, “Well, a lot of people interpret the Bible in a lot of different ways”; somehow, implying in that statement of unparalleled brilliance that there are many different ways to look at God’s Word and we won’t really have it figured out until we go to heaven. Bull crap—people interpret the Bible in a bunch of different ways because they have their thumb up their ass. God the Holy Spirit inspired Luke to use just the words that he uses throughout this narrative for a reason. Each of the words means something and we can and will understand them. So far, every word in these past few verses which didn’t make sense to you before or you read over them quickly, not giving them any thought, should now make sense to you. When we have worked through enough passages of Scripture, what we should end up with is a theology where we have no internal contradictions. That is the proper way to unveil God’s Word.


The we have the aorist active indicative of kathízô (καθίζω) [pronounced kah-THEE-zoh, which means to sit, to sit down, to sit down with and the implication can be to abide, to continue with, to remain, to stay (see Luke 12:49 Acts 18:11). Strong’s #2523. We don’t have this wind rushing in and rushing out, and some temporary thing occurs. The Apostles are sitting (v. 2); these languages sit with them. The preposition which follows is epí (ἐπί) [pronounced eh-PEE], and it means on, upon. Strong’s #1909. This is followed by two adjectival nouns (adjectives used as nouns). The first is heís (εἵς) [pronounced hice], which means one. Strong’s #1520. Then we have hékaston, the neuter form of hékostos (ἕκαστoς) [pronounced HEH-kas-tos], which means each, every one. Strong’s #1538. Finally we have the personal pronoun. All this simply means is each Apostle received one language that he could speak—and it remained on them (this was quite unusual for the Apostles, who were used to breaking fellowship about every 25 seconds).


What is taking place here is a one-time event. Our Lord continually spoke of this as a future event. There was no indication in anything that He said that the sending of the Holy Spirit would be repeated again and again. Our Lord ascended once into heaven and He sent the Holy Spirit, our Helper, to us one time. The Spirit came down one time and baptized the believers into Christ, first beginning with the Apostles, so that it was clear where the authority was. We only find the mighty, rushing wind one time; there is no celebration of Pentecost recorded again in Scripture, in terms of a repeat performance by the Spirit of God. The Lord sent the Holy Spirit at a specific time—the Day of Pentecost (Acts 1:5); the Spirit was sent to a specific city, Jerusalem (Luke 24:49); He was sent to a specific group of people—the Apostles (Acts 1:5–8). All subsequent baptisms and fillings by the Holy Spirit were done at the hands of the Apostles; and in only one case did this giving of the Spirit clearly take place after salvation. Please note carefully what the charismatic does: he takes this one-time event and extrapolates it throughout an extended period of time. He scraps the Apostle angle and the one-time event and the speaking in known foreign languages; he ignores the cloven tongues distributed to each Apostle and the mighty wind which is so loud that it brings people from all over into the Apostles’ meeting place—in other words, when the charismatic relives his own made-up Pentecost—it is a different, counterfeit Pentecost. There was a world conference in 1976 in Jerusalem by Pentecostals to celebrate the ongoing miracle of Pentecost” Significantly, delegates had to have interpreters and headphones in order to hear and understand in their own languages!  Footnote Getting the right city is just not enough. Every other detail is wrong! They are preaching another Jesus and they tout a different spirit.


And they are filled all by a Spirit Holy and they began to speak in other tongues according as the Spirit gave them to declare.

Acts

2:4

Then they were filled with the Holy Spirit and then they began to speak in other languages just as the Spirit had given them to speak.

Then they became filled with the Holy Spirit and they began to speak in other languages, just as the Spirit had given them to speak.


You will note that the disciples were not straining or praying to get the Spirit, and nothing that they did or didn’t do would have prevented the Spirit from coming. Jesus said that He would go to the Father and send a helper to them, and that is what he did. This is simply the fulfillment of the promise. There is no indication in Scripture that there is some sort of an elevator where Jesus comes down to earth, and then goes up again and sends the Spirit again. The Spirit is first given to those who have the authority.


The first verb is the aorist passive infinitive of plthô (πλήθω) [pronounced PLAY-thoh], which means to be filled [with something], to be totally imbued, affected or influenced [by something]. Strong’s #4130. By is not a preposition found in the verse, but placed there because Spirit is in the genitive case.


Began is in the aorist middle and it is followed by the present active infinitive of to speak. The aorist tense refers to the point of time that they began to speak; and the present tense of to speak (which is continuous action) means that they kept on speaking. The word for other is héteros (ἕτερoς) [pronounced HEH-ter-os], which means another, other. There are two words for other in the Greek and this is the stronger one; it is often thought of as another of a different kind. Strong’s #2087.


The word for tongues, as we have mentioned before is glôssa (γλσσα) [pronounced GLOHS-sah], and it never, ever, ever means some unknown, holy angelic language. It simply means foreign language, where the emphasis is upon the sound of the one speaking. It is used clearly to refer to a human language in Rev. 5:9 7:9 11:9 13:7 14:6 17:15. When you find the words unknown tongue in your KJV, the word unknown is in italics, meaning that the translators did not find that word in the original Greek, but they supplied it, hoping that it would be helpful. Since it is misleading, it is obviously not very helpful. The NKJV leaves the word unknown out of its translation (which is the case for most of the English translations). Footnote Strong’s #1100 Arndt & Gingrich #161.


We then have, literally, according as the Spirit gave them and then we have the present middle infinitive of apophthéggomai (ἀπoφθέγγoμαι) [pronounced ah-pohf-THENG-oh-mai], which means to utter, to speak, to declare. Zodhiates calls these pithy and remarkable sayings. Strong’s #669. Footnote


So far, what we have is the Apostles being filled with God the Holy Spirit and a foreign language as of fire, or divine judgement, is distributed to each one of them. Now this is extraordinary and a miracle (and there are very few real miracles in human history—although that is a whole other story). Footnote


I do want you to note one thing in particular: the Apostles are speaking in tongues in public. There is no justification anywhere in Scripture for praying quietly or loudly in tongues (we will cover 1Cor. 14:28, which is one of the many verses distorted by charismatics). But to hold you until that time, keep in mind that in 1Cor. 12:7, Paul tells the Corinthians: But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good (1Cor. 12:7). Or to profit withal, as the old King James Version has it. It is not a little ironic that one of the books I own which favors the use of tongues in prayer is To Profit Withal. Footnote This simply means that the exercise of spiritual gifts is to profit the congregation as a whole, and not for personal use, like, say, a set of weights. A lady who attended J. Vernon McGee’s Bible class in Orange County approached him and said, Dr. McGee, I speak in tongues, but never publicly. I do it in my private devotions, and I do it for my own spiritual benefit.” And I tell her, “Dear lady, ‘love doesn’t seek its own.’ A gift is never to be exercised like that . A gift is to be used to build up the church. And it you can’t use it to build up the church, you’re not going to use it privately.” To begin with, how can you become spiritual by speaking in tongues? What is it that you can say in tongues that you can’t just tell the Lord? He’ll understand you. Just tell Him in plain English because He understand English too. And you can worship Him; you can grown in grace and in the knowledge of Him without going off in tangents. Love, you see, seeks not her own Footnote


Were also in Jerusalem dwelling Judæans—men, pious, from every nation of [those] under the heaven.

Acts

2:5

Jews were also residing in Jerusalem—devout men from every nation of those under heaven.

There were also Jews temporarily residing in Jerusalem [for the religious celebrations of Pentecost]; these are religious men who have come from all over the world.


The Hebrew and the Greek tend to begin almost every sentence with a conjunction (the wâw conjunction in Hebrew and the kaí conjunction in Greek). The first word in this verse is not the first word in this verse. It is the post-positive conjunction dé (δέ) [pronounced deh], which indicates a simple transition from one thought to another. It can be opposed to the previous thought, or simply continuative or explanatory. It is generally rendered but, and, or also, namely. Post-positive means that this word never comes at the beginning of a sentence, although this is where we would place it in the English. Strong’s #1161. What begins the verse is the 3rd person plural, imperfect indicative of the absolute status quo verb to be, which is followed by in Jerusalem. This is followed by the present active participle of to dwell, to reside. The ones dwelling in Jerusalem are called Ioudaíos (̓Ioυδαίoς) [pronounced ee-ou-DYE-os], which means Jew, Judæan, from Judea. Strong’s #2453. It is in the plural here.


Then Luke describes these men. The noun for men is the one which is often used to distinguish males from females (as opposed to the more generic anthropos). They are described by the adjective reverent, devout, pious. It is not a negative or a positive term—that is, we cannot unequivocally say that we are speaking of believers or simply religious unbelievers by the use of this word apart from the context. These are simply religious Jews who have gathered in Jerusalem from India, Asia Minor and North Africa. For many of them, their roots in these countries go back three hundred years to the time of Alexander the Great, during which time they had been dispersed on friendly terms. Thieme: After the conquest of Tyre and Sidon, Alexander intended to invade Jerusalem. To his surprise, Jaddus the high priest, followed by the priests and the citizens of Jerusalem, came out to welcome him. Jaddus was carrying the Word of God in his arms. Solemnly, he unrolled the sacred scroll and stopped at the Book of Daniel; he showed Alexander that his conquests had been prophesied. So impressed was Alexander with these Jews that he appointed them as ministers of his far-flung empire. Alexander established many cities in the ancient world, some as far away as India. To all these, he sent the Jews, and they became prominent and respected leaders in their communities. Footnote In fact, the group which had settled in Alexandria, Egypt were later responsible for the Old Testament translation of the Septuagint. While under the rule of Caligula and Claudius, other Jews also either were moved or chose to move out into these countries as well. During various holy days, they came back and stayed in Jerusalem to celebrate.


The only portion of this verse which is rather difficult is that we have the ablative plural form of the definite article which precedes under the heaven. In this case, the article acts as a pronoun, generally referring back to the nearest masculine plural noun. Now that we know its function, it is still not easy to deal with. To show you that this is rather difficult, I will list what two other translators did (I will be staying with the most literal translations):

 

NASB                                   Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men, from every nation under heaven.

Young's Lit. Translation        And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation of those under the heavens.


Most of the translators completely ignored that article (e.g., KJV, NKJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, REB). I will go with Young's understanding of the article, which refers back to nation, although they do not agree in number. The proper understanding is that these Jews came from every nation of the nations under heaven.


Coming to pass, also, the sound this came together the multitude and they were confused, because was hearing one each the his own dialect spoking them.

Acts

2:6

Also, this sound coming to pass gathered together the multitude and they were perplexed because each one heard them speaking his own dialect.

Furthermore, the sound of this rushing wind caused a multitude to be gathered [around the Apostles]. And they were quite perplexed, as each man heard them speaking his own dialect [to him].


V. 6 is a deceptively simple sounding verse, from the standpoint of the English, but it is rather difficult in the Greek. It begins with the aorist middle participle of gínomai (vίνoμαι) [pronounced GIN-oh-my], which means to become, to come into existence, to come to pass, to be. Strong’s #1096. This is followed by the post positive conjunction dé again, and the genitive/ablative noun the sound. This is followed by the aorist active indicative of sunérchomai (συνέρχoμαι) [pronounced soon-EHR-khoh-my], which means to come together, to gather together, to convene, to assemble. Strong's #4905. This is followed by the neuter noun plthos (πλήθoς) [pronounced PLAY-thos], which means a multitude [of people], a throng [of persons], a crowd, a large group. Strong’s #4128. It was the occurrence of the sound mentioned back in v. 2 which was very localized and brought together a very large group of Jews to where the Apostles were. You see, the participle, the coming to pass of the sound, acts as the subject of the verb to gather together, as this verb is in the active voice. If the multitude assembled themselves, it would be in the middle voice; if they were assembled by someone else, the verb would have been in the passive voice. However, the multitude of people are the ones who are assembled here.


Then we have the reaction of the multitude—the aorist passive indicative of sugchéô (συγχέω) [pronounced soog-KHEH-oh], which means to cause a multitude or an assembly to be confused, to be excited, to be put into an uproar; for individuals, to cause them to be amazed, to be placed into consternation, to be confused and perplexed. Strong’s #4797. Why they are confused will be only partially explained in the following verses. But the general idea is that these Galileans, these fishermen, these men who barely speak one language, their own, are now speaking in the languages of the hearers, and that is amazing. Pick someone out of your periphery who strikes you as being pretty stupid, but with enough sense to dress himself, and suddenly, one day, he begins speaking in a second language and speaking in such a way that he sounds intelligent and grammatically correct in that language. This would cause you to become quite confused. Suddenly being able to speak in a second language is not what you would expect from something that lacking in intelligence.


Now, I want you to listen carefully to this: this is the only passage in Scripture which clearly defines the nature of the gift of tongues (although it is implied in 1Cor. 14 when Paul refers back to Isa. 28). Nowhere else is it positively clear exactly what the gift of tongues is. We remove this passage from Scripture, and one could debate pretty much anything they wanted to with regards to the nature of the gift of tongues. The tongues movement takes the stance that those who speak in tongues, for the most part, are not speaking in a know, human language but that they are speaking or praying in a heavenly language or a language of angels as the Spirit gives them utterance. Please realize that nowhere in the Bible is this use or this angle on tongues ever explicitly stated. Understanding the gift of tongues to be something other than the speaking of a human foreign language that the speaker has not learned must be taken from (1) experience and/or (2) from inexplicit references and desired implications. In other words, in this passage only, can any person read it and say, this is what tongues are, and I grasp the concept. Anywhere else, a person must determine that this is what I want tongues to be, so this is how I will interpret these passages. Essentially what a charismatic holds to is that there are two different gifts of tongues—one where a foreign language is spoken and those present understand it and another where an unknown language is spoken (generally thought to be tongues of angels) that no one understands except, occasionally, someone with the gift of interpretation of tongues. Charismatics may try to convince you that it is all one and the same, but it is not. These are two separate gifts, with two entirely different purposes and results. In fact, a case could be made for there being three separate gifts, the latter two being (1) speaking in angelic tongues during a church service, where they will be interpreted; and, (2) speaking in angelic tongues in prayer, which will not be interpreted. Again, if you choose to believe that the latter two are valid gifts, realize that there is no explicit statement in Scripture to warrant this viewpoint—you must hold to this position by the inference of Scripture. “Here is what the gift of tongues means to me in this passage,” is your doctrinal position. I’m not certain that I would want to hold to merely the inference of Scripture as I choose to interpret it as the foundation for a significant portion of my spiritual life.


At this point, as to exactly what was occurring, we may have to do some conjecture. There were men from all over the surrounding areas and each of them heard his own dialect, or language spoken, which would indicate probably that we do not have all the Apostles speaking at once, but speaking in some kind of order. Either this, or they walked out into the multitude, each one carrying on a conversation in another language with whomever was in his periphery. In any case, the fact that these Galileans were speaking in a language other than their own was quite surprising.


Amazed, also, all, and [they] marveled, saying fact to face with one another, “Not, behold, all these are the [ones] speaking Galileans?

Acts

2:7

Furthermore, all were amazed and they marveled, saying one to another, “Listen, are these not all Galileans [who are] speaking?

Furthermore, all of the Jews were amazed, and they were astounded, and they kept saying to each other, “Aren’t these men who are speaking Galileans?


We have two more verbs which describe the way each person in the crowd reacted to this gift of tongues. The first verb is the imperfect of exístêmi (ἐξίστημι) [pronounced ex-ee-STAY-me], which means to remove out of a place or state. We only find this verb used when one stands outside his mind; when one is beside himself. More clearly, to be astonished, to be amazed, to be astounded. Strong’s #1839. The second verb is the imperfect of thaumázô (θαυμάζω) [pronounced thau-MAUd-zoh], which means to wonder, to marvel, to be struck with admiration or astonishment. Strong’s #2296.


After the present active participle saying, we have the preposition prós (πρός) [pronounced pros], which means face to face with. Strong’s #4314. When followed by alllôn (ἀλλήλων) [pronounced al-LAY-lohn], which means one another, another. Strong’s #240. When found together, they mean one to another, to each other.


What they say begins with the negative and then we have the demonstrative particle idoú (ἰδoύ) [pronounced ih-DOO], which means behold, lo. Although we do not use this language anymore, it was found in the Hebrew, the Greek and the King James’ English. To give a modern translation, we might use something like listen, listen up, focus on this, get this, look, look here. Strong’s #2400.


We have in here the definite article and the present active imperative of speak. This could be rendered the speaking ones, the speakers, or, literally the speaking. Now, what is so amazing. We have Israelites throughout all the populated earth who all speak several languages and here they are listening to other Jews speak several languages as well. So, what’s the deal? Why do we have three words which tell us that they were totally blown away by this? The key is that these men are Galileans. They live near the Sea of Galilee and they were primarily fishermen. They were uneducated and barely spoke their first language. You don’t know this to read the book of John, but you will not find a simpler, more basic vocabulary anywhere. If you are a first year Greek student, you can read the book of John in the original Greek and get 90% of it. The disciples were well-known, but not well-respected. These were uneducated, blue collar workers. That they had any religious leanings was a fluke; however, the idea that they had any idea how to speak these different languages was amazing. In the south, we have the Judæans, who were more academically accomplished and comprised the Jewish aristocracy. The spoke Latin, in order to communicate with the Romans; Greek, which was the language of that culture; and Aramaic, which was a combination of Chaldean and Hebrew. Footnote If these Apostles had been Judæans, then their ability to speak in the dialects of the surrounding areas would not be so astounding; but that they were Galileans, who pretty much struggled to communicate in any language—that was phenomenal. The Galileans spoke Aramaic primarily, although the Apostles wrote the New Testament in Greek, as that was the more prevalent language (some think that Matthew may have been written in Aramaic, originally; and, as was mentioned, the Greek of John’s writings is unbelievably simple).


God has a sense of humor and a sense of irony. The pharisees and the scribes and the Sadducees were well-educated in the matters of religion, and probably had a relatively thorough liberal arts education as well. They were certainly tri-lingual at the minimum. However, they do not even understand the Sacred Scriptures, which was the focus of their academic as well as current studies. Now, here we have a dozen or so Galileans giving them the gospel in the dialect where they were born. Afterwards, Peter will stand up and explain the Old Testament to them. If it weren’t so tragic, it would be humorous. In any case, God has chosen the foolish things of the world to discredit the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to discredit the strong (1Cor. 1:27).


Now, we probably don’t have one Apostle reeling off sentences in several different languages, but each Apostle is probably speaking in one to maybe three different languages. If he is in the front speaking, he probably speaks in one language, then another Apostle stands up and begins to speak (as the Spirit gave them utterance). Or, the less likely scenario, but also a possibility—these disciples mingled with the crowd and spoke the native language of whomever they happened to be speaking to.


Now, regardless of the way in which this was presented to them, each Jew leans over to the Jew next to him and makes these remarks. What we have in vv. 7–8 are the gist of what each man said. After being totally amazed, he looks to the man next to him and asks, “Aren’t these Galileans? Aren’t these fishermen? Where did they suddenly learn to speak all these languages?”


Now you ought to ask yourselves—when an unbeliever wanders into a church where the gift of tongues is used, do they ever respond in this way? Do they quietly converse amongst one another in amazement that they are so totally impressed, yet confused with what is being done? Do they hear, say, a foreign language of their parents or grandparents being spoken? You know damn well that most unbelievers, and many believers, when a holy roller church suddenly bursts into tongues, it just about scares the pie out of them and they start looking for the door. Many of them just walk on out. It is an unnerving experience, but not because something amazing is occurring. It is unnerving because something frightening and psychologically suspect is occurring.


“And how we are hearing the his own dialect of ours in which we were born?”

Acts

2:8

“So, how are we—each one [of us] hearing his own language in which we were born?”

“So, how is it possible that each one of us is hearing them speaking in the language of our birthplace?”


Prior to the word dialect, we have the definite article and the adjective ídios (ἴδιoς) [pronounced IH-dee-os], which means one’s own. It refers to something which belongs to oneself and not to another. Strong’s #2398. After dialect, we have the personal pronoun hêmn (ἡμόν) [pronounced hay-MOHN], which simply means ours. Strong’s #2257. It places emphasis upon the fact that these are their languages, not those of the disciples who are speaking.


This is followed by the preposition in, the relative pronoun which, and the 1st person plural, aorist passive indicative of gennáô (γεννάω) [pronounced gen-NAH-oh], which means to sire, to bear [a child]. In the passive, it means to be born. Strong’s #1080. The hearers cannot believe that they are hearing these Galileans speak in their language. You see, the Israelites had been scattered out of their country; and much of their country had been conquered by Gentiles. Therefore, even those who lived inside what would have been Israel proper a millennium ago were now living amongst the Gentiles and they were raised with Gentile languages. In fact, most Jews—not the Galileans—learned Aramaic, Greek and the dialect of the land in which they were born. Now, that a Galilean would know their language is incomprehensible to them.


Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and the [ones] dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of the Libya, the one toward Cyrene, and the [ones] visiting [from] Rome; both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians;

Acts

2:9–11a

[There were] Parthians, Medes and Elamites, as well as the one dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontius and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya, which is toward Cyrene; and the ones visiting from Rome; both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians.

There were Parthians, Medes and Elamites. There were men who lived in Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia and Egypt. There were those who came from Libya, which is toward Cyrene, and others visiting from Rome—both Jews and their converts, as well as Cretans and Arabians.


There is some disagreement as to whether this belongs to the extended quotation between vv. 8 and 11b, or whether this is simply a parenthetical insert to give us an idea as to from how far these Jews had come. The general result is the same. There were Jews there who had come from all over to be in Jerusalem for the holy days. Few pastors have the grasp of ancient history that Thieme does, so I will allow him to give us some background: Parthia was the buffer nation between the Roman Empire and India. Its original inhabitants were the Scythians, an Indo-European and Mongolian mixture. When Alexander defeated the Parthians, he established a few cities in that land and left behind his Jewish administrators. Few outsiders spoke or understood Parthia’s guttural language, and the nation was and remains today one of the most mysterious aggregation of people of the ancient world. Rome conquered the world in its day; but Rome could not conquer the Parthian vernacular. Yet fluent Parthian came from the lips of Spirit-filled Galileans!


In the high plateaus beyond Assyria, a wild and rugged people called the Medes had united with the Persians to master the world in the time of Cyrus the Great. Then, suddenly, they disappeared again into their native highlands and, of course, took with them their strange language. But note that even in those geographically isolated regions the Jews had put down roots. They had adopted the language of the Medes, and—to their utter surprise—that language was clearly voiced in the streets of Jerusalem.


The Elamites were a fierce race in Abraham’s time. Partly Persian and partly Semitic, they posed a constant threat to Babylonia. Aggressively, they swept down from their high mountains east of Chaldea and subjugated the Chaldeans. They moved on to dominate the Arabian desert, but soon afterward they were riven back into their secluded, mountainous retreats, cut off from contact with other people. Here, too, Alexander the Great left Jewish administrators in the wake of his rapid conquests. Now these Jews’ progeny had returned in  a.d. 30 to Jerusalem, where they intended to celebrate the feasts in the Holy City. It was God’s design, however, that they hear the Gospel declared in the language of the Elamites!


The phrase “dwellers of Mesopotamia” incorporates several languages that were spoken by this group of people, among them, Chaldaic (Akkadian) and Syriac. The Judeans spoke excellent Aramaic, which was quite a contrast to the curious, guttural language of the Cappadocians. Cappadocia, comparable to Armenia in Asia Minor, has an inaccessible mountainous terrain interspersed with valleys. This presented a problem of communication in the ancient world. Hence, the Cappadocian dialect would be among the lesser-known tongues; yet it too was represented among the languages spoken on the Day of Pentecost.


Pontius, then a Roman province north of Asia Minor and now Southern Russia, is that area along the Black Sea coast where the Scythians had settled and where the Greeks had traded on occasion. In Phrygia and Pamphylia, a mixture of Greek and ancient Phrygian had combined into one vernacular under the Greeks. In Egypt, Coptic was spoken, while in parts of Lybia the population conversed in an obscure, antiquated dialect of North Africa. The Cyrenians were bilingual, and, of course, the “strangers of Rom” spoke fluent Latin. Yet the Gospel was heard in all these languages!


In addition to foreign-born Jews, native Jews, who had come to Jerusalem from other parts of the Land, were present. Upon hearing the Lord’s disciples witness in all these strange languages, they should have understood that Isaiah’s prophetic message was being fulfilled right before their eyes. Nor does the divinely-inspired reporter of these incidents overlook the proselytes—converts to Judaism. They too had made the annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem.


Then there were the Cretes who were known fo have talked in a rare and difficult form of Greek and the Arabians who boasted many dialects. A diversity of languages indeed! Yet in all that babble of voices there was only one aim—the declaration of the Gospel of salvation. Each person present on that momentous day heard “the wonderful works of God” (the content of the Gospel) in his own native tongue. Footnote


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Now, we are going to fast forward, past the next few verses to v. 11b. It is not my intention to carefully exegete this passage of Scripture (I may have exegeted more than you have every heard before, but if I were to carefully exegete Acts 2, we would have spent two or three times as long on each verse. We are skipping over the names of the birth places of the Jews who were in Jerusalem for the religious holiday to their own theories of what was occurring. In giving their pet theories, not a single one of them realizes that this is a fulfillment of Scripture.


“We keep hearing speaking, them, in the our own tongues the great [things] of the God!”

Acts

2:11b

“We [continue] hearing them speak, in our own languages, the great works of God!”

“We are hearing them speak, in our own languages, the great works of God!”


We begin what they say with the present active indicative of the very common verb akoúô (ἀκoύω) [pronounced ah-KOO-oh], which means to hear. Strong’s #191. The present tense indicates continuous action in present time—they continued to hear this. This is followed by the present active participle of to speak and the personal pronoun they or them. Then we have the our own tongues; i.e., our own languages. Now, we simply do not have phrases being spoken of, e.g., hey, how’s it goin’? Are you from Pamphylia? I’m not. We have the content of the messages. We have the definite article and the noun megaleíos (μεγαλείoς) [pronounced meh-gah-LEE-os], which means, in the plural, great works, wonderful works, great things; it is an outpouring of the greatness of God’s power and glory. Strong’s #3167. Now, we are not given any more by way of specifics here. We don’t know if the Apostles were quoting Scripture from, say, the book of Psalms, or whether they were saying things from the top of their head. It does not appear to be the gospel, as Peter will Launch into that in Greek, a language which all of the hearers could understand.


McGee: Pentecost was God’s answer to Babel. God was here breaking through the sound barrier that He had put up at Babel when He had confused the language. Now the gospel is to go out to all people—that is the message of Pentecost. The gospel is for all. Pentecost is a blessing: Babel was a judgment. On the day of Pentecost, 3,000 were saved and made one in Christ; on the day that God came down at Babel, men were scattered and there became tribes and tongues, peoples and nations. There was made one body at Pentecost; there were made many divergent peoples at Babel. Footnote


Now, isn’t it peculiar that Pentecostal and charismatic missionaries must spend a great deal of time learning the language of the people to whom they go? In fact, take any non-charismatic missionary, and any charismatic missionary, and they will spend roughly the same time learning a foreign language. You would think that they would simply follow the example of the Apostles here and begin speaking in the appropriate foreign language. After all, it is abundantly clear that God worked this great miracle through the Apostles on the day of Pentecost; why on earth would God withhold His Spirit from those who proclaim its importance so fervently? If we are supposed to follow the example of the Apostles, why go half way? Now either God is holding back, or the Pentecostals just don’t have enough faith, or—now here’s a thought—perhaps they have completely misunderstood Scripture and are unable to distinguish between what has occurred historically and what we are to do.


Now, I want to point out something. It is obvious that the Apostles are speaking in languages that others understand. They are not babbling in some energized, frenzied, ecstatic trance state. Now, nowhere in the Bible do we have anything to indicate that the gift of tongues changed or mutated or evolved into something different. Brumback wrote: We vigorously object to the teaching that this was the primary purpose of tongues in the early church. It was the exceptional and not the usual manifestation of tongues in those days, and likewise, in its subsequent manifestations. Footnote When you point to this passage and say that these are known human languages but the tongues spoken of in 1Cor. 14 are ecstatic utterances, you are taking your experiences (or the experiences of others) and superimposing them upon Scripture. You are taking an experience, calling it reality, and then forcing it upon God’s Word, and you then force God’s Word to adhere to this reality. There is no clear statement anywhere in Scripture that the gift of tongues and its manifestation ever changed or evolved into angelic languages. Now, I realize that some of you right now are telling me, under your breath, that Paul specifically talks about tongues of angels in 1Cor. 13:1. Again, you have taken your experience as spiritual reality and you have made Scripture fit into this reality. We will get to 1Cor. 13:1—we are taking it a step at a time. No one learns God’s entire Word overnight. When I first believed in Christ Jesus almost 30 years ago, I began within that first year or so to study the Bible (primarily under the guidance of a pastor teacher) an hour each and every day. This gave way to several hours a day studying over the past five years or so. During this time period, I feel that I have got a reasonable grasp of most important doctrines. I can go to a reasonably number of passages and exegete them correctly. However, there is no way that I can lay claim to having a complete knowledge of God’s Word. That is a lifetime goal, which will not be fulfilled. Don’t expect your understanding of God’s Word, and therefore, your understanding of your place in this world, to be finished by next week. And do not expect this study of the gift of tongues to be something that you can read through in an hour and a half. The weakness of the studies of tongues which I have read are generally that they do not go into great enough detail when it comes to exegeting the Scriptures. That is from where we mine the truth. Therefore, I am going to spend a great deal of time when it comes to God’s Word. You either hang in there because you are interested in God’s Word or you do not. There are no cliff notes for the Bible Footnote and no shortcuts to your spiritual life. When someone indicated to you that you could go from a staid, stuck-in-the-mud Christian life to a vibrant, exciting, powerful walk with God overnight (or, by means of one experience), they lied to you. What you think you have experienced is actually the result of auto (or group) hypnosis, suggestion, peer pressure, and/or the placebo affect. There might even be demon activity to some degree. However, you do not get to take this experience and superimpose this upon Scripture and twist Scripture to fit what you think you have experienced.


Amazed, and all and thoroughly perplexed, each one face to face with each one, saying, “What would wish [or purpose] this to be?”

Acts

2:12

They were all amazed and thoroughly nonplused, each saying to each, “What does this purpose to be?”

The continued being amazed, as well as perplexed, each one saying to their neighbor, “What is going on here?”


We begin this verse with the imperfect of exístêmi again; (ἐξίστημι) [pronounced ex-ee-STAY-me], means to remove out of a place or state. This is actually a compound verb from the word out and the verb to stand. Literally, it means to stand outside [onself]. We only find this verb used when one stands outside his mind; when one is beside himself. More clearly, to be astonished, to be amazed, to be astounded. Strong’s #1839. We then have the post positive connective dé and the word for all; then we have kaí and the imperfect of diaporéô (διαπoρέω) [pronounced dee-ah-por-EH-oh], which means to be thoroughly perplexed, to be much in doubt, to hesitate greatly [due to doubt]. Strong’s #1280.


Let’s see what others have done in translating what they said:

 

CEV                                     “What does all this mean?”

The Emphasized Bible         What doth this please to be?

NASB                                   “What does this mean?”

Young's Lit. Translation        ‘What would this wish to be?’


It looks like we are pretty much in agreement when it comes to what and this. After what, we have the generally untranslated particle án (ἀv) [pronounced ahn], which indicates uncertainty, and very occasionally rendered perhaps. It is found with the optative, subjunctive and indicative moods. Zodhiates: In interrogations, direct or indirect, where the thing inquired about is possible, or certain, but the inquirer is uncertain when or how it is to take place. Footnote Strong’s #302. This is followed by the optative of thélô (θέλω) [pronounced THEH-loh], which means to will, to have in mind, to wish, to desire, to purpose, to intend, to please. One’s active volition and purpose are implied. This gives us Strong’s #2309. “What would purpose [or, wish] this to be?” They are confused as to the mechanics and the meaning of what they are seeing. Now, we have a dozen or more dialects being spoken, so that many people may recognize two or three of them, but, for the most part, the others will seem like gibberish. Their response is recorded in the next verse:


Others, and, mocking, kept saying, “Because, sweet wine—filled they are.”

Acts

2:13

So, others, mocking, kept saying, “[It is] because they are filled with sweet wine.”

Others mocked them, saying, “They are speaking in other languages because they are filled with sweet wine.”


The last words in this quote is they are. We actually begin what they say with hóti (ὅτι) [pronounced HOH-tee], which means that, because. The intention is to give an explanation for what is occurring. Strong’s #3754. The second word in this quotation is gleúkos (γλεύκoς) [pronounced GLYOO-kos], which means sweet wine (there’s much more to the explanation than this). Strong’s #1098. Then we have our verb, the perfect passive participle of mestóô (μεστόω) [pronounced mes-TOH-oh], which means to fill. In the passive, it means to be filled. Strong’s #3325. The perfect tense refers to an act which occurred in the past with results that continue into the present. This is followed by the 3rd person plural, present indicative of to be. What we have is a continuation of the speaking back and forth of those who are watching this. We have people who make the accurate observation that there are Galileans speaking their personal dialect; we have some who suspect that this might mean something, or that it should mean something. We have your scoffers who don’t give much thought to the fact that they heard their own language spoken—they make a joke, saying that these are simply drunken Galileans. Some charismatics have pointed to this passage to prove that what the Apostles used were ecstatic utterances like the tongues spoken today. Sorry, that dog won’t hunt. Luke has already told us that these Apostles spoke in the dialects of the visitors—vv. 7–11 make that fact abundantly clear. There are over a dozen different languages being spoken by the Apostles. Obviously, not all of those present understood each and every language. Furthermore, Luke tells us exactly what the motivation is for saying that they are drunk—the Apostles are being mocked. It says that right in the verse. When you cannot explain something, or you disagree with someone, yet the facts are not on your side, then the best way to deal with it is to mock them. By the way, the second reason that we know that the Apostles were not babbling nonsense is that there were 3000 converts added to the Church of God that day. An unbeliever does not listen to eleven people babbling nonsense and suddenly decide, I really want to be a part of this—this is alright; this is what I have been looking for. Stupid believers would be so inclined because they tend to pursue almost anything but the truth, but not unbelievers.


Then, of all people, Peter stands up before the crowd and speaks.


Standing up, and, the Peter with the one-ten, lifted up a sound of his and said to them, “Men, Judæans and the [ones] residing in Jerusalem all [of you], this to you [be] known and listen to the words of mine:

Acts

2:14

And Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice and said to them, “Men, Judæans, and all those residing in Jerusalem, this [be] known to you and listen to my words:

Then Peter, who was standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice and he said to them, “Men, Judæans, and all of you who reside in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and listen carefully to my words:


Peer stood up with the héndeka (ἕνδεκα) [pronounced EN-deh-kah], which means one-ten, being a combination of the Greek words for that. This was the word used for the eleven disciples once Judas had deserted them (Matt. 28:16 Mark 16:14 Luke 24:9, 13 Acts 1:26 2:14). Strong’s #1733. Do you recall that phoney election in Acts 1? The disciples are still referred to as the eleven.


Now I realize that many translations have Peter lifted his voice up to men of Judæa; however, both men and Judæans are in the vocative (for this to read men of Judæa, Judæa would be in the genitive singular). Footnote Then we have the definite article and the present active participle of katoikéô (κατoικέω) [pronounced kah-toy-KEH-oh], which means to live, to reside; this is a word which usually refers to one’s semi-permanent dwelling. Since this is also the word found back in v. 5, the implication is that this is not always a permanent dwelling place. Strong’s #2730. This is followed by the word all, which refers back to those living in Jerusalem.


Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, begins to speak to these men. He gives them a reasonable introduction. Bear in mind that Peter was not speaking from notes here, but from the top of his head. He says This to you [be] known and...” Known is an adjective and not a verb. The verb to be is understood. He follows this with the aorist middle imperative of listen. This is followed by the words of mine. Words is the neuter noun hrma (ῥμα) [pronounced HRAY-mah], which means words, that which is spoken. Strong’s #4487. This is followed by of mine.


Now, something that you may not realize here or fully appreciate, but Peter stands up and speaks in Greek and everyone understands him. It is not as though the people from all of these other areas could not speak Greek and the only way to reach them was through their native language. Greek was the universal language at that time. So, communicating truth to the crowd via their own language was not the end in itself, but simply a sign. It was a sign to these Jews, a sign which had historically meant that they were going to be dispersed by the Assyrians, and now it meant they would be dispersed by Rome. It was a sign, not a necessity. It got the attention of the crowd, and now Peter would give them the gospel.


“Not, for [you see] as you are taking up these being drunk; it is, for [you see] an hour third of the day.

Acts

2:15

“For [you see] these are not drunk, as you are thinking because it is the third hour of the day.

“First of all, these men are not drunk, as you have supposed, as this is the third hour of the day.


I almost skipped this verse, as it does not pertain directly to our subject. I do want to make a stop at one verb—the present active indicative of hupolambánô (ὑπoλαμβάνω) [pronounced hu-poh-lam-BAHN-noh], which means to take from, to receive from; and figuratively to take up the discourse and continue with it, to take up a thought and to go with it. Strong’s #5274. Men, when faced with something that they do not want to face, will take on to themselves any explanation whatsoever. The explanation is that these men are simply drunk. The fact that they stupid fishermen speaking in foreign languages is simply explained away that they are drunk. Had no one said anything, this would have been the explanation that they would have clung to. You may think it seems goofy that they could actually latch onto an explanation which was offered in a mocking way, but they had nothing else that they liked. Peter will straighten them out. First thing, he explains, is that it is way too early in the morning for these men to be drunk.


“But, this is the spoken [thing] by the prophet Joel:

Acts

2:16

“But, on the contrary, this is the spoken [thing] by the prophet Joel:

“On the contrary, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:


The first word in this verse is the adversative particle allá (ἀλλά) [pronounced ahl-LAH], which serves to mark opposition, antithesis or transition. It is generally rendered but; however, after an full negative, allá is used as an emphatic antithesis, and can be rendered but, but rather, but on the contrary. Strong’s #235. Then we have the demonstrative pronoun toúto (τoύτo) [pronounced TOO-toh], and it means this, this one. It is used to refer to that which follows, as in Luke 18:11. Strong’s #5124. What this is, is the perfect passive particle of eréô (ἐρέω) [pronounced eh-REH-oh], which means to say, to declare. With the definite article and the participle, this is something which was spoken. The perfect tense means it was spoken in the past with results that continue into the present. Strong’s #2046.


Now I should touch on a doctrine that we will not go into any great detail on, which is called the Doctrine of Intercalation. From the Law and the Prophets to the epistles of Paul, there was a great change in the program of God. Some churches, falling under the misconception of Covenant Theology, seem to thing that the Church began in Abraham’s tent and that the assembly of Israel in the desert is essentially the same thing as the church today. This is a goofy theological perspective held to by people who have either spent about 7 minutes of real study in the Old Testament or they have ben taught this be people who have been taught this, so they just hold to it. I can show anyone that they are, in truth, a dispensationalist, whether they think they are or not. What was done in the nation Israel is so much different than what is done in the Church Age. However, that is also another topic, your position on which will not affect the approach to our topic at hand, which is the gift of tongues, or languages. However, the concept of intercalation is this: the Church Age is a parenthetical doctrine which is not found in the Old Testament. There are many doctrines which pertain directly to the Church Age and only to the Church Age (the universal priesthood of the believer, the universal indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the distribution of gifts to all believers, the great body of believers who function outside of the nation Israel) which are not found and never taught in the Old Testament. In fact, whenever the Tribulation and the Millennium are spoken of, the Church Age is completely and entirely ignored. Therefore, Old Testament passages jump from the Age of Israel, to the incarnation of our Lord, to the Tribulation, the judgement seat of Christ (or, Yehowah in the Old Testament), and into the Millennium, yet nothing is said about the Church Age. Old Testament passages which make this jump are: Psalm 22:22–23 Isa. 61:2–4 Dan. 2:40–45 7:23–27 8:20–26 11:35–36 Hosea 3:4–5 5:15–6:3. In every one of those passages, we would expect the prophet to say something about the Church Age, but nothing is ever stated. It is always as though this Church Age was not a separate period of time. In Daniels 70 weeks, 69 of these weeks have transpired (the Age of Israel) and there is one week left to occur (the 7 years of the tribulation). Nowhere does Daniel ever hint that there will be this period of time inserted in between these weeks. The Apostles expected our Lord to return during their lifetimes. Even though they wrote all of the Church Age doctrine by which we live, not one of them realized that His coming was at least 2000 years away. Joel promised the coming of the Holy Spirit, and, had Israel turned toward our Lord, that would have been that time. Our Lord offered the kingdom of heaven to the Israelites, and had they taken it, there would have been no Church Age (this is all theologically theoretical). God knew that Israel would reject Him and turn to legalism. Now, the understanding of this passage is a bit tricky. Had Israel turned toward God at this time, this would have been the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel. What Peter is stating is accurate. However, the final fulfillment of this prophecy will be the Millennium. What we have here in between the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the prophecy of Joel is the intercalation of the Church Age, which Peter will set forth the doctrine of in his later epistles. So, what we have is a partial fulfillment of what Joel spoke of—the Holy Spirit was poured out upon true Israel.


Now, all that having been mentioned, let me add that Peter, when he said this is the spoken [words] of the prophet Joel, is not thinking of the doctrine of intercalation. He does not even realize that Jesus is not returning in his lifetime. He does not even realize that he will not observe what Joel spoke of in his lifetime. He is simply saying that what follows are the words of the prophet Joel. We often and mistakenly think that Peter is applying it to the speaking in tongues. Peter actually, nowhere in his message, explains to the crowd what exactly this gift of tongues was all about. That was not the focus of the message. As with all signs, the sign itself is never the focus—the focus is what the sign points to, which will be Peter’s message (which we will not study in full).


Now what is said and what Peter is thinking is moderately complicated. What he really is saying here is: “This [what I am about to say] is something which Joel, the prophet, has spoken...” These are religious Jews and he will engage them first with some Scripture. Then he will give them the gospel. Few believers appreciate the concept of progressive revelation. Progressive revelation means that God did not reveal His entire plan all at once to man. In fact, it was not until John, the Apostle, on the Isle of Patmos, penned those last few words of the book of Revelation, that God had finally given us an outline for the remainder of history. Here is where things get a little tricky, as we are going to both read Peter’s mind and exegete a portion of what he has to say. Peter may—in fact, he probably does think that he is living in the last days, and that what occurred at Pentecost was a fulfillment of the Scripture from the book of Joel. Given the doctrine of intercalation, this could be considered to be the pouring out of the Holy Spirit as per the book of Joel. However, this is also the beginning of the Church Age, something which Peter was not fully aware of. Now, here is one of the most remarkable aspects of the Bible: throughout Scripture, from Adam to John, each writer of Scripture had a piece of the puzzle. No writer of Scripture ever had the entire puzzle, although, once John had written those last few words of Revelation, he probably had more pieces of the puzzle than anyone else. Now, what God the Holy Spirit did throughout history is He took men, who had an incomplete knowledge of God’s complete plan, and had them record what they knew of this plan. If any of them had a misconception due to the fact that they did not have knowledge of God’s complete plan, this misconception was not recorded. So, every Apostle had a piece of the puzzle; no Apostle, when he wrote, had the complete puzzle. God the Holy Spirit so directed the writers of Scripture as to record what was true and accurate, and to leave out what was false and misleading, even if they believed what was false and misleading. Let me give you some examples: I would dare to say that all of the Apostles believed that Jesus would return in their lifetimes. However, what they taught was the imminency of the rapture—that is, that the return of Christ for the body of believers could occur at any time. No Apostle wrote that Jesus would return in their lifetime, even though they probably all thought that. God the Holy Spirit saw to it that they recorded what was accurate, despite what they believed because they did not have a full and complete revelation from God. One more example: let’s say Peter decided to hold a question and answer period after the service at Pentecost and someone in the crowd raised their hand and asked if the Holy Spirit would be poured out upon the gentiles as well. I would guarantee you that Peter would have said, “I don’t think so.” Therefore, even if Peter did have a question and answer period after his message here, it is not recorded. When Peter was filled with the Spirit, he spoke the truth, even though he may have had a few personal misconceptions. Now, later in the book of Acts, which we will study, Peter will find out that God will pour our the Holy Spirit upon the gentiles just as He did upon the Apostles and the disciples of Christ on the day of Pentecost. Now, this will surprise him, which means that he did not realize prior to that experience that the gentiles would very much be a part of God’s plan after the resurrection and ascension of our Lord. In other words, Peter, while giving this message on the day of Pentecost, is laboring under some misconceptions. He will not teach these misconceptions, as he is being guided by God the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, he has these misconceptions, just the same. So Peter may have even thought that the day of Pentecost was the fulfillment of the words of Joel—he does not say that, however. He says, this is what Joel wrote. Perhaps you don’t follow this, or you understand, but you just don’t buy it. Then, skip ahead in your own Bible and read vv. 19–20. I will wait right here while you do that.....see what I mean? Was that fulfilled? Did Peter teach that was being fulfilled?


When we study the book of Acts, we will cover all of this in much greater detail. However, note that once the tongues were over, once the sign had been given, once the attention of the crowd had been gotten, then Peter launches into his sermon. Then he gives the gospel to this crowd. Even though tongues were a sign, and even though various individuals throughout the crowd recognized their own dialect being spoken by the Apostles, the bulk of what is said is by Peter in the common language of the day, which was koine Greek.


‘And it will be in the last days,’ says the God, ‘I will pour out from the Spirit of mine upon all flesh, and will prophesy the sons of yours and the daughters of yours; and the young men of your visions will see; and the old men of yours, dreams they will dream.

Acts

2:17

“ ‘And it will be in the last days,’ says God, ‘I will pour out from My Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters will prophesy; and your young men will see visions; and your old men will dream a dreams.

‘And it will come to pass in these last days,’ said the God, ‘I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters will prophesy, and your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams.


Peter will now quote from Joel 2:28–32. We begin with the future indicative (deponent) middle of the verb to be. Those who were brought up with the KJV recognize this beginning phrase as And it will come to pass. Then we have that phrase in the last days. This phrase is not found in the Old Testament—neither in the Hebrew or in the Greek of the Septuagint. Peter adds this by way of interpretation. In the Hebrew, it reads after this; after this refers to the restoration of Israel. Now, it is going to be very tough to restrain myself at this point in time. These four words which Peter uses—in these last days—opens up a whole host of topics. We find this phrase, or the phrase the last time(s) in 2Tim. 3:1 Heb. 1:2 James 5:3 I Peter 1:5, 20 II Peter 3:3 1John 2:18 Jude 18. Without going into detail, Old Testament believers, who did not know that there were be such a thing as an assembly of Jews and gentiles, considered the time of the Messiah to be the last times. Our Lord’s incarnation and His return over the tribulation are properly the last times. Also during that time, there will be the restoration of Israel after, apparently, great judgment and humiliation. However, sandwiched in between the first and second advent is the Church Age. Even if the Church Age lasts for ten millenniums, because it is sandwiched between these two advents, which together make up the last times, the Church Age becomes a part of those last times. There is actually a trigonometric theorem used in calculus which is very similar to this. Footnote If you read through those passages, you will see that such an interpretation is easily sustained (you may also note the irony that Peter spoke more of the last times than any other Apostle, yet it was to Saint John that the revelation of the last days was given).


Peter does not attribute these words to Joel, but to God. This is part of the Doctrine of Inspiration. Footnote However, said is not in the aorist tense (which generally denotes past time) but in the present active indicative. God is speaking to the Jews in this crowd right now and He keeps on speaking to them.


If you are a charismatic, and you often quote Joel in order to support the gift of tongues and prophecy, you may want to examine what Joel said more carefully. Then Jehovah will be passionate about His land and He will have compassion for His people. And Jehovah will answer and say to His people, “Listen, I am going to send you grain, new wine and oil. And you will be satisfied with them, and I will never again make you a reproach among the nations. And I will remove the northern army far from you and I will drive it into a parched and desolate land. And its vanguard into the eastern sea and its rear guard into the western sea and its stench will arise and its foul smell will come up for it has done great things.” Do not fear, O land, rejoice and be glad, for Jehovah has done great things. Do not fear, beasts of the field, for the pastures of the desert-wilderness have turned green, for the tree has borne its fruit and the fig tree and the vine had yielded in full. So rejoice, O sons of Zion, and be glad in Jehovah your God, for He has given you the early rain for vindication and He has poured down for you the rain, the early and the latter rain as before. And the threshing floors will be full of grain and the vats will overflow with the new wine and oil. “Then I will make up to you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the creeping locust, the stripping locus, and the gnawing locus. My great army which I sent among you. And you will have plenty to eat and you will be satisfied. And you will praise the name of Jehovah your God Who has dealt wondrously with you. Then My people will never be put to shame. Thus you will know that I am in the midst of Israel and that I am Jehovah your God and there is no other. And My people will never be put to shame. And it will come to pass after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind, and your sons and your daughters will prophesy and your old men will dream dreams and your young men will see visions.” (Joel 2:18–28). Has Israel suddenly become incredibly prosperous and has Israel turned toward their true God? Perhaps I missed this in the news as of late. It is clear from any English version that the pouring out of God’s Spirit in the last times would occur when God has restored and prospered Israel and Israel has turned toward God.


I hesitate to bring this up, but there is a certain brand of believers (and this is cross-denominational) who hold to what is called covenant theology. Briefly, this is a doctrine that holds that Israel has been spiritualized and has become the church. That is, God’s promises and dealings with Israel in the past have been transferred over to the church and, insofar as God is concerned, there are no more Israelites and there is no more Israel; furthermore, they, according to covenant theology, are a non-issue since the book of Acts throughout eternity. All of God’s promises to Israel can be considered null and void insofar as Israel is concerned and that these promises will be given to the church in sort of a spiritualized form. Some hold that there never was really an Israel but that the church began in Abraham’s tent. This is the sort of theology that arises when men study the New Testament and simply read quickly through the Old. No one can carefully examine God’s covenant to Israel and ever think that He has cast aside Israel as a nation forever. Continually throughout Old Testament, God warns that Israel will leave Him and pursue other gods and that, in the end times, they will return to Him. We are not in the end times and Israel has not yet returned to God—but listen to me carefully, God chose the Jew long before He chose you and me; and God has not forsaken Israel, Israel has forsaken God. Reread that passage from Joel. Israel will return to Jehovah and Jehovah to Israel. Our world is filled with Jews in every nation, as this is what God promised would happen as far back as 1440 b.c. (Lev. 26:33). The fact that Israel rejected her God and rejected her Savior and that God scattered her throughout all the nations of the earth—this is no surprise to anyone who has read the Old Testament. Nor should any believer be surprised when God returns to the nation Israel and prospers her in the Millennium. Obviously, this is a whole other subject.


Covenant theology is blasphemous and ignores the Old Testament. The true understanding of God’s plan is found in dispensational theology; and everyone, including covenant theologians, are dispensationalists to some degree. If you understand that at one time, man offered God animal sacrifices and that such sacrifices are no longer necessary, then you are a dispensationalist. You believe that God had one plan at one time for one people and that this plan changed somewhat. In 3000 b.c., there was no nation Israel; there was no Abraham—does this mean that God had no plan for the people at that time? Certainly not. God saw to it that His Word was recorded and He had a relationship to man through the death of Christ Jesus even then. With the birth of Abraham, and more accurately, with the leadership of the people of Israel under Moses, we have a great change in God’s program—a change which is verified by signs and wonders and miracles.


I was first exposed to the dispensational teaching in, of all places, a charismatic book store. However, I have since had conversations with two charismatics who were adamant about covenant theology as being the accurate understanding of God’s program. The reason for this, is that they must take passages like this one from Joel 2 and spiritualize Israel so that, if we don’t look too closely, we interpret this as God giving great blessing to the church and then pouring out His Spirit on the church as the latter rain. The result is that almost all of this passage must be spiritualized and parts of it ignored (e.g., “I will never again make you a reproach among the nations, but I will remove the northern [army] far from you.”) or spiritualized out of recognition. What I mean is that this symbolizes that, that symbolizes something else, and the result is that the passage has been so far removed from what any normal person would read that it loses all of its meaning and impact. What such an approach does allow is for anyone to come along and interpret a passage in almost any way that they would like. This turns passages where God’s passion toward Israel is so evident and overpowering into almost meaningless devotions to whomever reads it. The more symbolizing and spiritualizing that is done, the less important becomes God’s Word. However, as I said, one of the attacks of the charismatic movement is against God’s Word—it does not matter how much lip service they give to the Bible; if they don’t like what the Bible says, they spiritualize it. If the Bible contradicts their experience, then they reinterpret the Bible. If someone puts too much emphasis upon the Bible, then they emphasize that God just said this to them yesterday; or they will glibly quote, “The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (2Cor. 3:6), completely ignoring its context.


What is most important for us to ascertain is just exactly what this passage means. You do not get to quote this verse, associate it loosely with Pentecost and a Holy Ghost revival and then go on your merry way. We need to know why Peter quoted this passage (and please note that he does not stop with this verse). If all Peter wanted to get across is that this day of Pentecost was a Holy Ghost revival, then he would have stopped quoting Joel at this point. The audience is made up of over 3000 religious Jews. They have read much of the Old Testament or they have had it read to them. They know the verse and they know the time period that Peter is talking about. Some rejected the Messiah because they did not expect Him to come and die on the cross. They expected their Messiah to deliver Israel from the domination of Rome. Now, before we get into the interpretation of all this, let’s examine the next verse.


“ ‘And upon the male slaves of Mine and upon the female slaves of Mine in the days those, I will pour out from the Spirit of Mine and they will prophesy.

Acts

2:18

“ ‘And, in those days, upon My male servants and upon My female servants, I will pour out from My Spirit and they will prophesy.

“ ‘And in those days, I will pour out My Spirit upon My male and My female servants, and they will prophesy.


This verse continues in the same vein as the previous verse; and, if Peter was indicating that this was a simple fulfillment of what Joel prophesied, then this would be the end of his quotation for Joel. You will note that Peter adds the last phrase by way of interpretation. It is not found in the passage that he is quoting.


In the next verse, it will be obvious that Peter is not referring to that day at Pentecost as a fulfillment of Joel 2; it is a similar situation. The Jews believed in what Joel wrote; therefore, what they were hearing and seeing at Pentecost should not be difficult to believe. What we do not have here or in Joel 2 is any indication at all that the various sign gifts will suddenly re-emerge in the end times. However, what we can be certain of is that false prophets and lying wonders will increase as we move closer to the end times (Matt 7:22–23 24:11, 24 2Thess. 2:9–12).


“ ‘And I will give wonders in the heaven above and signs upon the earth below—blood and fire and vapor of smoke.

Acts

2:19

“ ‘And I will give wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth beneath—blood and fire and vapor of smoke.

“ ‘And I will give wonders in the heavens above as well as signs on the earth below—blood and fire and great columns of smoke.


Peter appears to be quoting the Septuagint (the Septuagint and the Hebrew Bible do not appear to be very different in this passage. But Peter adds a word—signs. When Paul discusses the gift of tongues, he will call them signs as well. Peter is speaking by means of God the Holy Spirit and this is recorded as Scripture, so we know that the addition of these few words is bona fide.


Now, you need to stop and ask yourself—do Peter and his audience now see blood and fire and columns of smoke? Is this why Peter is quoting this passage?


“ ‘The sun will be changed into darkness and the moon into blood before the coming the Day of [the] Lord—the great and glorious [day].

Acts

2:20

“ ‘The sun will be changed into darkness and the moon into blood before the coming of the great and glorious Day of the Lord.

“ ‘And the sun will be made dark, and the moon will appear blood red prior to the coming of that great and glorious Day of the Lord.


Peter continues to quote the book of Joel, but there is no indication that the sun had gone dark or the moon had become red as blood. During the three hours of judgement of our Lord on the cross—the sun was made dark then.


“ ‘And it will be, all who call the name of [the] Lord will be saved.

Acts

2:21

“ ‘And it will be [that] all who call the name of the Lord will be saved.’

“ ‘And it will come to pass that all those who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.’


It is in this verse that we see why Peter was quoting all of Joel. He was going somewhere with that. He was not saying that what Joel said was being fulfilled. Those in his hearing did believe in the Day of the Lord. They did believe that God would cause wonders to occur in the sky and that He would cause there to be signs on the earth below. And, Peter’s first point: his listeners believed that God would, at some time, pour our His Spirit upon all flesh—therefore, what they observed—the Apostles speaking their own dialects and declaring the marvelous works of God—this is not unheard of. It is in Scripture. Therefore, if the listeners believe Scripture, then the pouring our here of the Holy Spirit and giving them the sign of speaking in their own dialect is reasonable. Now, at best, Pentecost was a partial fulfillment of Joel. The Holy Spirit was not poured out upon all flesh nor did with have the same reaction which Joel described. The sun has been turned to darkness during the crucifixion.


The question that you should be asking yourself is, still—why did Peter quote all of this passage? Two (and possibly three) reasons: (1) what was being observed by the audience at Pentecost with the sign of the gift of tongues—that was simply not that wild of an occurrence. In Scripture, which they believed in, there were much wilder things that would occur. Peter, in quoting these, reveals that what has occurred is minor league compared to what will occur. (2) Here is a rather obscure reason why Peter quoted this verse: the Apostles believed the Jesus would return in their lifetimes. They saw themselves as living in the last days. Therefore, Peter may have been thinking that he was in the last days and that these things would occur. Now, note very carefully—Peter nowhere says that these things were about to occur, as he is speaking under the control of God the Holy Spirit. But he may have expected that the signs of wonders of that passage were about to be fulfilled any day. (3) Finally, this passage of Joel’s led Peter right into the point of his message: Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.


Now let’s go back to the phrase in the last days: one can give two different interpretations to this phrase, and either one will be fine for us with respect to this study. (1) The last days in their entirety were future from Peter’s speaking; or, (2) the last days began to be fulfilled with our Lord upon the cross, with the parenthetical Church Age. Although I believe the latter to be the correct interpretation, taking either does not do damage to our interpretation of Peter’s quotation of Joel.


Peter now confirms that the credit card of the Messiah were the signs and miracles which our Lord performed:


“Men, Israelites, hear the words these: Jesus the Nazarene, a Man from the God, having been attested to you by powers and wonders and signs, which [were] performed by Him, the God in a midst of your, just as also yourselves, you know this one by having been determined purpose and foreknowledge of the God delivered up taking by hands, lawless, nailing, you killed Him.”

Acts

2:22–23

Men, Israelites, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man demonstrated by God to you by powers and wonders and signs which were performed by Him—the God in your midst, just as also, you yourselves know this One by a predetermined purpose and foreknowledge of God, was delivered up, taken by lawless hands, nailing [Him to a cross], you killed Him.”

“Men of Israel, listen carefully to these words: this Jesus of Nazareth, a Man approved of God to you by great powers and wonders and signs which He performed—God in your midst—just as you yourselves also know that this one was delivered up—taken by lawless hands according to a predetermined purpose and the foreknowledge of God, and then He was nailed to the cross—you killed Him.”


We will look at just a few translations:

 

Interlinear idiomatic              Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man having been attested by God to you by miracles and wonders and signs which God performed by Him in your midst just as you yourselves also know, this One delivered up by the defined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you took by lawless hands nailing Him to a cross you killed Him.

NASB                                   “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know— this Man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and the foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of Godless men and put Him to death.”

Young's Lit. Translation        ‘Men, Israelites! hear these words, Jesus the Nazarene, a man approved of God among you by might works, and wonders, and signs, that God did through him in the midst of you, according as also ye yourselves have known; this one, by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, being given out, having taken by lawless hands, having crucified—ye did slay;...’


After a man, we have ἀπὸ το θεο. The preposition apó (ἀπό) [pronounced aw-PO], which means from, away from, by. Strong’s #575. Then we have the God. This phrase is followed by (and, in some editions, preceded by) the perfect passive participle of apodeíknumi (ἀποδείκνυμι) [pronounced ap-od-IKE-noo-mee], which means to show, to demonstrate, to exhibit; in the perfect passive participle, it means approved, confirmed. Strong’s #584. We would expect this verb to precede from the God, which it does in some manuscripts. The applicable rule of textual criticism is that we take the rendering which makes the least sense, unless we have a specific reason why a copyist made the error. However, we will puppy out here, and simply go with the accepted approved by God or demonstrated by God. This is followed by the preposition eis (εἰς) [pronounced ICE], which means into, to, toward. Strong’s #1519. This gives us: ...a man confirmed by God to you [all].


Pretty much, all that we were after here is the means by which Jesus was approved (we can argue at a later time whether this should be Jesus, a man from God, attested to you or Jesus, a man approved by the God to you. What we are after for this study is the means by which He was approved, attested, demonstrated, confirmed. He was confirmed by powers and wonders and signs. This is how our Lord stood out from every other man. God chose not to speak to Israel for 400 years; He performed no mighty works or signs in Israel for 400 years. Then, when our Lord came on the scene, God gave Him confirmation via the signs and wonders which He performed in the power of the Holy Spirit.


Now many people go off the deep end with these powers, signs and wonders and point out John 14:12, where Jesus tells His disciples: “Certainly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father.” The key word here is works, which is érgon (ἔργον) [pronounced ER-gon], which means works. Strong’s #2041. This is not the word for powers, signs or wonders. It is ironic. Charismatics focus in on the spectacular, although they rarely see anything which is all that spectacular. Jesus raised from the dead; he returned a withered hand to new again; he cured lepers; people went through unmistakable visual changes. The closest that we can come to this is by the special effects of a movie. We don’t see anything like this occurring on a regular basis anywhere in any charismatic church. Besides which, these are relatively unimportant works, other than to confirm the person of Christ. When He left this earth, suffering continued; in fact, suffering, pain and disease continue, despite all of the medical advances that we have—and it all continues despite the increased number of charismatics. What is far more important than the miracles which our Lord performed is regeneration. The response to our Lord was quite mixed—He came to His Own people and His Own people rejected Him. Even the early church, although it had its moments (the Day of Pentecost being one of those moments), began with a relatively small following of believers who were easily corrupted or led astray. However, what we have today is sometimes tremendous responses to evangelists. I like using Billy Graham as an example—he speaks to millions upon millions of people and huge numbers respond to the gospel as he presents it. This is a great work and this is the power of the Holy Spirit working in him. The regeneration of one human soul is worth a million healings. Just as Paul would rather speak 5 words that made sense in a church, rather than 10,000 in a foreign language; so we would rather see 5 souls come to Christ rather than 10,000 healings. You must have the proper perspective and emphasis. Powers, signs and wonders were simply done to establish Who our Lord was—they were means to an end. If you focus on the miracle, you lose sight of what is important.


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“This the Jesus raised the God, of Whom all we are witnesses, to the right hand, therefore, of the God, having been exalted; and the promise of the Holy Spirit, having been received from the Father. He poured out this the [signs] now you see and hear.”

Acts

2:32–33

“This Jesus, God raised up, of Whom we are all witness, therefore, having been exalted to the right hand of the God. Furthermore, the promise of the Holy Spirit, having been received from the Father—He poured out this [that] you now see and hear.”

This is the Jesus Whom God has raised from the dead—and we are witnesses to this raising from the dead, and therefore, He was also exalted to the right hand of God. Furthermore, He fulfilled His promise of the Holy Spirit, Whom we have received from the Father. He poured out these signs that you now see and hear.”


What Peter does in this verse is finish answering the question from v. 12, what does all this mean? What they see, which is not altogether clear; however, what they heard was this sound like a tornado, which gathered them to the disciples, and then they heard the Apostles speaking to them in their own dialects. Peter gives them the gospel and then confirms that all that they see and hear is a result of the pouring our of the Holy Spirit. Now we will jump ahead to the final words of Peter, after giving the crowd some Old Testament background:


“Assuredly, therefore, let know all the house of Israel that both Lord and Christ Him the God made this the Jesus whom you crucified.”

Acts

2:36

“Assuredly, therefore, let all the house of Israel know that God made Him both Lord and Messiah—this Jesus whom you crucified!”

“All the house of Israel should know, therefore, that without a doubt, this Jesus, whom you crucified—God made Him both Lord and Messiah [Christ].”


For the previous verses, Peter has been quoting from the Old Testament, giving the audience Scripture about the Messiah Who was to come. And then he identifies the Messiah as Jesus, the One whom the Jews crucified (Peter uses the 2nd person plural, which refers to those who are present and listening to him).


Then, hearing [this], they were pierced in heart, and they said to the Peter and the remaining Apostles, “What will we do, men and brothers?”

Acts

2:37

Then, hearing this, they were pieced in [their] heart, so they said to Peter and the rest of the Apostles, “What will we do, men and brothers?”

Upon hearing this, their hearts were deeply moved and they cried out to Peter and the other Apostles, “What should we do, men and brothers?”


in this verse, we have the aorist passive indicative of katanússô (κατανύσσω) [pronounced kaht-an-OO-soh], which means to pierce through. Metaphorically, it means to be greatly pained or deeply moved. It is only found here and in Psalm 109:16 in the Septuagint. Strong’s #2660.


In this verse and in v. 41, we see how Peter does works which are even great than our Lord’s, as he is equipped with the Holy Spirit. Peter, having only use the gift of foreign languages to get the attention of those present, now teaches them what is in the Old Testament and they are convicted of the Holy Spirit and 3000 of them will respond with positive volition to the gospel. Although Jesus spoke to crowds that large, He never had a response like that which has been recorded in any of the gospels.


Then Peter said face to face with them, “Change your mind and be baptized each of you upon the name of Jesus Christ for a standing away from sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, for to you is the promise and to the children of yours and for all those far away, as many as will call Lord the God of ours.”

Acts

2:38–39

Then Peter said to them, “Change your mind and be baptized each [one] of you on the name of Jesus Christ for the freedom from sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, for the promise is to you and to your children, and to those [who are] afar off—as many as will call to the Lord, our God.”

Then Peter said, facing them, “Change your minds and be baptized, each one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for remission from your sins, and then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, for this promise is both to you and to your children, as well as to those who are afar off—it is to those who will call out to the Lord, our God.”


The first verb that Peter uses is the 2nd person plural, aorist active imperative of metanoéô means to change one’s thinking, to change one’s mind. This is the word that we find repeatedly as a part of salvation. The key is whatever it is that we are to change our minds about, which is generally found in context. However, when we do not have an obvious target, then it means to either change one’s mind about Jesus Christ. Strong’s #3340. Peter, in the previous verses, has not been talking about sins; so many people want you to repent of your sins, meaning they want you to feel bad about what you have done. This is not what Peter is saying. This word simply means to change your mind. The context tells us about what their minds should be changed. Peter, from vv. 22–36 has spoken of the Messiah and has told these men, some of whom were complicit in the crucifixion of Christ Jesus, that the man they crucified was the Messiah sent from God to them. They had certain ideas about Who and What the Messiah was, and they had certain ideas about Who and What Jesus was—Peter tells them to change their minds. Now, did they feel badly? Certainly, they were complicit in the crucifixion of the Lord of Glory (1Cor. 2:8). Were they saved because they felt badly about that? Absolutely not! They were saved because they changed their thinking concerning the Lord of Glory.


What they would receive is the áphesis (ἄπεσις) [pronounced AWF-ess-iss], which means forgiveness, remission, freedom. Its verb cognate means to stand away from, to cause to stand away from, to release from. Strong’s #859. They are both freed from and stood at a distance from their sins. With this remission of sins, they would also receive the promise of the Holy Spirit. These promises are to those who call out to the Lord, Who is their God.


Now, note carefully from here until the end of the chapter, there is not a word about these converts having a charismatic moment. There is no speaking of tongues since the beginning of this service. Now, I want you to notice that, after all of this has occurred, and 3000 souls were added to the church that day (Acts 2:41), and there is nothing said about the Holy Spirit being given a few days or a few weeks after they believed; there is nothing said about these 3000 converts speaking in tongues. You would think that if 3000 people began speaking in tongues that Luke might have mentioned that little fact.


Then they were continuing in the teaching of the Apostles and in the fellowship and in the breaking of the bread and in the prayers. Then came in every soul fear, and many wonders and signs by the Apostles were being done.

Acts

2:42–43

Then they continued in the teaching of the Apostles and in the fellowship and in the breaking of the bread and in the prayers. Then fear came to every soul, and the Apostles performed many signs and wonders.

Then they continued in the teaching of the Apostles, as well as in their fellowship, the breaking of the bread an in the prayers. And a sense of awe came upon all of them as the Apostles performed many signs and wonders.


We do not have the converts of the Apostles doing anything other than being in awe of the Apostles. It was the Apostles who performed the signs and the wonders.


What charismatics do is they see what they want to see and ignore what they would like to ignore when it comes to Scripture. Even though the three key, differentiating doctrines of the charismatic are never taught in the epistles, and even though these three fundamental, differentiating doctrines are not found consistently in the book of Acts, they take the few places where they are possibly found and build their entire theology upon these places. Some small groups have done the same with the next verse. In the next verse, which we will not study, all of the Apostles and their converts held all their worldly possessions in common, sharing with one another as they had need. They often sold their property and more expensive possessions. Now, there are some cults which do this, and one would think that a charismatic church, which takes its fundamental differentiating doctrines from the book of Acts, would also take v. 44 to heart as well.


Now, I do not have to go too far afield of our topic, which is the gift of tongues. We will leave Peter here, speaking to this crowd. Now, I want you to notice the importance of the miraculous gifts: they gave the speaker some credibility. Thieme always referred to the sign gifts as the credit cards of the Apostles. Our Lord used the gifts of healing and miracles in the same way. He could have, with a wave of His hand (had he wanted to be that demonstrative), removed illness from the earth, not just then, but forever more. Footnote This was not why He came to this earth. Our Lord cured illness because this gave Him an audience. They realized that this was not just some ordinary man. Now, there are a lot of believers who believe in the sign gifts, such as the gift of healing—and they believe that people have and demonstrate these gifts today. Not one of these healers ever gets off of his butt and walks into a hospital and begins healing person after person, giving them the gospel as he goes. They might blame it on that it is not God’s will, that God may not want Charlie Brown healed, that Charlie Brown may not have enough faith to be healed—whatever kind of crap they want to feed you—even though our Lord never gave excuses like these (nor did the Apostles). And since I have mentioned this, although this is not the focus of our study, let me explain what the gift of healing was all about. God was about to make a major change in His program. He had, for centuries, worked through the nation Israel. He came to their nation and their nation alone, and for centuries, Jehovah God was the God of Israel, and there was no other God. Israel was responsible for writing and preserving Scripture, and for evangelization (although, most people actually came to them, rather than the other way around). Now, this was about to change. God was about to turn to the Gentiles. There was going to be a radical change in organization. God, any time there is a radical change in His plan, always makes this known with signs and wonders. These signs and wonders are given by His spokesmen; these signs and wonders give credibility to what his spokesmen have to say. Once their authority is firmly established, the sign gifts are pulled. When Timothy has a continuous upset stomach, Paul doesn’t visit him, lay hands on him, and heal him. He suggests that he take a little wine for his stomach’s sake (1Tim. 5:23). When Trophimus took ill in Miletus, Paul didn’t heal him—Paul left him there (2Tim. 4:15). Today, no pastor ever rests his authority upon some bogus sign gift. His authority rests firmly upon the Word of God. When Paul writes to Timothy and to Titus, pastors that he had trained, he gives them no advice or guidance concerning their sign gifts (which they did not possess)—Paul’s emphasis in these epistles is often the Word of God (1Tim. 2:7 4:1, 6, 13, 16 6:3 2Tim. 3:14–17 4:2–4 Titus 2:7–8, 11–15).


Now, how does the charismatic explain these things away? Easily, the gift of healing in the Bible is different than the gift of healing and the promise of healing for the church. Healing today is part of the atonement—the sanctification of the body. Healing in the Bible was mostly a sign gift. People in the Bible with the gift healed at will; they walked up to a blind man, a man lame from birth, and, apart from any faith or lack of faith on the sick person, they healed the man. Contrast this with the healings found in charismatic churches, some which appear to be miraculous, but most of which appear to be spurious. Sometimes God heals, sometimes He doesn’t. Sometimes it doesn’t really appear to be all that miraculous. Sometimes it seems to take, but then it doesn’t take. So, all the charismatic has to do is put a slightly different spin on the gift, just as they have done with the gift of tongues. It was used for this purpose then; it is used for this slightly different purpose now. You want to know the real problem? The real problem is that the doctrine of the charismatic does not stand up to careful Biblical exegesis—so they have to fudge their doctrine just enough so that they have one foot in the Bible and one foot in experience. You know, I don’t care what incredible, miraculous healings you have observed; I don’t care if you witnessed actual, almost instantaneous, physical changes in a person’s burned skin; and I don’t care if someone came and spoke in tongues with a hundred different known languages and then spoke in a hundred different angelic languages, and you and everyone else felt really holy and spiritual and your life was completely changed for the better ever since. Do you know that is not the issue? Not even a little? The issue is, what does God’s Word say?


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76.  A great deal is made out of the sign gifts of our Lord and of the Apostles of the first century, as well they should be. These sign gifts were essential to the identifying Jesus as the Christ and they were absolutely necessary to the Apostles to establish their authority.

       a.    First of all, the sign gifts were the credentials of the Messiah. No one was certain exactly what to look for when Jesus came in the flesh. What most people expected was a strong, political leader, like Moses, who would successfully lead the Jews in revolt against the Romans, just as Moses led the Jews out of Egypt. And, in part, they were correct in their expectations. It is true that our Lord will return at the end of the tribulation and destroy huge populations of those who are antagonistic toward the Jew. However, no one expected someone like Jesus (and there was a reason for that, by the way). However, when His office was questioned by one who believed (John the Baptizer), Jesus fell back on His sign gifts as proof of Who He was. Now when John in prison heard of the works of the Messiah, he