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Posts Tagged ‘Pentecostal Movement

Is Jesus His Own Father?

One cannot read the New Testament and see that Jesus is distinct from His Father.  He speaks of His Father, prays to His Father, and says that He has come to do the will of His Father.  Jesus said that His food “is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work” (John 4:34).  Jesus said that He does not nothing by His own initiative but He only spoke the things as His Father taught Him (John 8:28).  Jesus said that He proceeds from the Father to do the Father’s will (John 8:42).

And on and on it goes.  The Lord Jesus is portrayed as the Son of God, equal with the Father (John 10:30) but He is never said to be the Father.  The Father is God.  The Son is God.  The Holy Spirit is God.  Yet the Bible affirms that there is but one God (Deuteronomy 6:4; Ephesians 4:4-6).  1 Corinthians 8:6 has stumbled some but John MacArthur writes:

Paul repeats the truth that there is but one God.  He is the one from whom are all things, and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.  There is only one true God.  He has come to us in the person of the Son, Jesus Christ, and we are brought to the Father through the divine Son.  Everything comes from the Father, and all believers exist for the Father.  Everything is by the Son, and everyone who comes to the Father comes through the Son.  This is a powerful and clear affirmation of the equality of essence of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 8:6, rather than denying the Lordship and exaltation and deity of Jesus Christ, actually makes Him equal with the Father.

In Hebrews 1:2 tells us that God the Father made the world through the Lord Jesus Christ.  In Hebrews 1:3 it is Jesus who upholds the universe by His Word.  In Hebrews 1:8 the Father says about the Son that He is God.  In Hebrews 1:10 we read that Jesus is Yahweh (see Psalm 102:25-27).

So the question is whether Jesus is His own Father?  The Oneness Pentecostals and other modalists insist that Jesus as the Son is less than the Father and that the Father alone is truly the eternal God.  The Oneness Pentecostals teach that Jesus is the Father, Jesus is the Son, Jesus is the Holy Ghost.  In Oneness teachings, Jesus is God but He alone is God and God is unipersonal (meaning that there is only one Person in the Godhead; Colossians 2:9).  Trinitarians teach that there is only one God but we believe in three persons (unitarian versus trinitarian).  I reject the Oneness view that Jesus is His own Father.  I find nothing in the Bible to suggest that Jesus is His own Father nor can one find a passage without extreme twisting.

The closest text we have is Isaiah 9:6.  Oneness Pentecostals will quickly quote this verse when defending the idea that the Father is Jesus and Jesus is the Father.  They teach that one of the titles of the Lord Jesus would be “eternal Father.”  Yet Oneness Pentecostals are alone in their unique view of Isaiah 9:6.  The titles found in Isaiah 9:6 are part of who Jesus would be.  He would be like a wonderful counselor.  Jesus would be the mighty God.  Jesus would be like an eternal Father speaking of HIs Fatherly role as our Redeemer, and He would be the Prince of Peace.  These are not offices Jesus would be fulfilling but titles He would take upon Himself.

Consider this: does the New Testament ever say that Jesus is the Father or the Father is Jesus?

The Oneness view destroys so many precious doctrines.  The Person of Jesus suffers.  One has to read the New Testament with a weird “key” of trying to figure out if Jesus is speaking as the Father (as God) or as a man (as the Son).  The sacrifice of Jesus is not infinite in its value because Jesus is just a man who is dying on the cross for our sins rather than God manifested in the flesh (John 1:14).  The nature of true love is lost because the Lord Jesus is but a created being of the Father (who alone is God).  Prayer suffers as we pray to Jesus (the Father, the eternal God) in the name of Jesus (the Son, the flesh but not God) rather than seeing that Jesus is God the Son praying for the saint before the throne of God the Father through the power of God the Spirit.

In closing, let me state that as I write this I am listening to a oneness Pentecostal preacher preaching.  Ironically, he is shouting over and over again that Jesus is God, that Jesus alone is God, and that there is no God but Jesus.  Yet he is borrowing from a trinitarian presupposition by borrowing our language to speak of God.  He speaks of the Father and he preaches about praying in the name of Jesus and worshiping God through Jesus but all of this involves having to “split” Jesus up.  The oneness Pentecostal must borrow from the trinitarian view to make their theology work but they then must hate the Trinity lest they be a trinitarian (which condemns the sinner).  They must speak of Jesus as a unipersonal being with dual personalities (at least while on earth).

I rejoice in the doctrine of the Trinity.  It is a precious doctrine.  The Trinity makes sense of the Bible and helps us to see the infinite value of the atonement of Christ.  Further, the work of sanctification in the disciple is enhanced by understanding that the entire Trinity is involved not just in my salvation but in my sanctification.  I worship God and rejoice that He is wonderful and worthy.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

09/29/2015 at 7:24 PM

The Draw of the Oneness Pentecostal Movement

I have been studying the doctrine of the holy Trinity now for some time.  I love the doctrine!  It is amazing how Scripture opens up when you begin to study the nature of God.  Fred Sanders is correct, “The trinity changes everything.”  The holy Trinity changes our understanding of love, creation, humanity, order, prayer, worship, and salvation.  Without the Trinity, these doctrines become confusing and twisted.

In my studies, I have been reading books from the Oneness camps to see where they are coming from.  I have listened to many hours of lectures and sermons from Oneness Pentecostals.  Some of the sermons were just normal sermons while most of them I tried to pick that focused on my studies.  I will not, for the sake of time, try to dive into the Oneness views regarding their view of God.  It is suffice to say that Oneness Pentecostals are “Jesus only” meaning that, in the words of one of their preachers, “Jesus is everything.”  In Oneness Pentecostalism, Jesus is the Father, Jesus is the Son, Jesus is the Holy Spirit.  There is more to it than just that but they hold that Jesus is God and that there is only one God and thus Jesus is the only person of the Godhead and He alone is all three modes or manifestations of God that we read in the Bible.

What is the draw then to Oneness Pentecostalism?  I think the appeal is the same as the draw to Trinitarian Pentecostalism in many ways.  First, there is the focus on experience.  Oneness Pentecostalism is very emotional.  The worship is dramatic.  People often shake, dance, run, lift their hands, speak in tongues, etc. in their worship services.  The God of Oneness churches is a very personal God who wants to interact with his people.

Secondly, the preaching is more dramatic than the average evangelical sermon.  While I enjoy a good expository sermon, I detest a lifeless one.  I want a preacher who preaches with passion the truth of God with sound exegesis.  However, the average evangelical pulpit is often shallow and lifeless.  Not so with many Oneness Pentecostal churches.  They preach with power (anointing they would say).  While their message is often shallow and not based on exegesis, they preach with conviction and shouting and fire that is often missing in evangelical churches.

Third, they present themselves as the keepers of the truth.  Oneness Pentecostals (most of them I have listened to) believe that all are lost but Oneness Pentecostals.  If you have not been saved according to their view of Acts 2:38, you are lost.  This would be all Trinitarians including Trinitarian Pentecostals.  You must be baptized in the name of Jesus to have your sins forgiven.  To be baptized in any other way is damnation.  This twisting of Acts 2:38 leads Oneness Pentecostals to feel that they alone are the keepers of the truth of God.  Their duty is to evangelize all who are not Oneness.  This “cause” helps people find purpose in their existence.

Lastly, simple answers.  People want to know who is God.  Oneness Pentecostals are ready with an answer: Jesus is God.  Of course, Trinitarians believe the same but Oneness groups don’t teach that the one God is three persons but rather they teach that Jesus is God and He alone is God and He alone has always been God and He alone will forever be God.  There are no persons in the Godhead but only Jesus (Colossians 2:9).  If you’ve seen Jesus, you’ve seen the Father (John 14:8-9).  Oneness groups provide answers for who is God and what is He like.  Like cults, they have answers for God where confusing may exist.  They have their God figured out.

Sadly, many Trinitarian Pentecostals often fall into prey with Oneness Pentecostals.  The reason is that pragmatism abounds among the Trinitarian Pentecostals.  One could easily attend a Trinitarian Pentecostal church and never know that it was Pentecostal.  This is not so with Oneness Pentecostals.  They have the feel of the old Pentecostal services where the music is jumping, the people are jumping, and the sermons are “anointed.”  The average Trinitarian Pentecostal looking for an “experience” with Jesus will find one in Oneness churches and will remind them of “the good old days.”  Due to pragmatism, doctrine among many Trinitarian Pentecostals is weak and thus a Trinitarian Pentecostal is easily drawn into the Oneness groups and led astray.

For more information on Oneness Pentecostals, I recommend this book.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

09/18/2015 at 5:17 PM

Quick Post on Oneness Pentecostals

Oneness Pentecostalism is a growing sect.  From its lowly beginnings around 1916 from a split within the Trinitarian Pentecostals, the Oneness Pentecostals have grown to well over 5 million people.  The largest of the Oneness denominations is the United Pentecostal Church International based out of Hazelwood, Missouri.

I have encountered only a few Oneness Pentecostals.  While I am sure there are a few militant followers among them, the ones I have met were not your typical Oneness followers.  In fact, they embraced me as a Christian which is not the case from what I have been reading regarding Oneness Pentecostal.  Very quickly let me establish what makes Oneness Pentecostals unique.

1.  Modalism.

As the name states, Oneness Pentecostals are sometimes called “Jesus Only” churches.  They hold that Jesus is the one God and He alone is the one God.  Of course, we Trinitarians believe the same but Oneness Pentecostals differ with Trinitarians by saying that the Lord Jesus is the Father, Jesus is the Son, and Jesus is the Holy Ghost.  There are not three divine Persons but only one Person in the Godhead, the Lord Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:9).  While Trinitarians believe in only one God (monotheism), we believe that the Bible teaches that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God yet there is only one God but three persons in the Godhead (Matthew 3:13-17; 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14).  While I admit this is mystery, I believe the Bible affirms one God and three persons in the one Godhead (1 Corinthians 8:4-6).

Oneness Pentecostals believe that Jesus is the mighty God.  They affirm His deity and will defend the deity of Christ against others.  However, they deny that Jesus the Son was eternally the Son of God.   They hold that Jesus took on flesh (John 1:14) and so the Son has a beginning in Bethlehem (Luke 1:35).  The Son was not eternal.  Only the Father is eternal and the Father is Jesus (Isaiah 9:6; Malachi 2:10).  But what about where Jesus makes Himself distinct from the Father you ask?  Oneness Pentecostals would say that Jesus as divine is the Father but Jesus as the Son is just a man.  So when Jesus says in Matthew 24:36 that only the Father knows the time of Christ’s return, Jesus is referring to His divine nature.  When Jesus died on the cross, the man Jesus died but the Father lives forever!  When Paul refers to Jesus being our intercessor before the Father in 1 Timothy 2:5, they point out that he points to Jesus the man because it is Jesus the man praying to Jesus the divine Father.

2.  Salvation.

Oneness Pentecostals believe that Jesus gave Peter the Apostle the keys in Matthew 16:19 to build His church and Peter preached Acts 2:38 on the day of Pentecost and this set the pattern for salvation.  First a person must believe in Jesus (Acts 16:31).  Second, a person must repent of their sins (Acts 3:19).  Third, a person must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins.  Lastly, a person must receive the gift of the Holy Spirit which must be evidenced by speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gives the utterance (Acts 2:4).

A person must do all the above to be saved.  Throughout the history of the Oneness movement they have held that even Trinitarian Pentecostals were unsaved due to not being baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins despite Trinitarian Pentecostals speaking in tongues.  It seems today that Oneness Pentecostals are distancing themselves from that position.  In fact, I listened to one Oneness preacher who was teaching from a Trinitarian book and calling him “brother” throughout.

Yet if the “formula” of Acts 2:38 is true then nearly all Christians are not true Christians.  Only Oneness Pentecostals are and some hold to that position.  For years the Oneness Pentecostals have largely done evangelism among Trinitarian Pentecostals.  Entire Trinitarian churches have been “evangelized” by Oneness Pentecostals.

Do Oneness Pentecostals teach salvation by works or grace?  It depends on the preacher.  Some try to hold that salvation is all of grace despite preaching the Acts 2:38 formula.  Some flat out deny that salvation is by grace alone and emphasize that works play their part.  Some will quote Ephesians 2:8-9 but deny that salvation is faith alone in Christ alone by grace alone.  I would think that most Oneness Pentecostals hold to some form of works-righteousness holding that while Christ certainly is to be honored for His death and resurrection, man plays his part in this work of salvation.

3.  Holiness.

Oneness Pentecostals are known for their holiness standards.  By this, I mean that they believe that both their men and women should dress modestly, no jewelry usually, no makeup on women, no haircuts for women, complete abstaining from alcohol or tobacco, and separation from the world (1 John 2:15-17).  I don’t fault them per se for these positions.  I agree with them in many cases.  However, I would never stress that this defines holiness.  A man can look “holy” while being full of sin in his heart.  I have been there!  Sin doesn’t start from what I wear.  It comes from my heart (Matthew 15:18-19).  Holiness doesn’t start with what I don’t do but with Who I know (Hebrews 10:10, 14).  While the Spirit of God does help me to turn from sin and He convicts me of sin (John 16:8), I must depend on Him to help me overcome what is inside of me (Galatians 5:16-17).

Some Oneness Pentecostals stress that a person must fulfill the formula of Acts 2:38 and then keep the holiness code or they will lose their salvation.  Others are now stressing that while the holiness code is good, it is not salvation and should not be the test of salvation.  To merely own a TV use to be a sign you were going to hell in the Oneness churches but today they are relaxing that code.  I listened to one large Oneness church preaching that a person should be holy but holiness comes only by grace and not by works.  This is not the historic view of the Oneness movement but is becoming the view today.

Conclusion

What do I think of the Oneness Pentecostals?  I think that they are misinformed on the doctrine of the Trinity.  I believe they misunderstand the Lord Jesus Christ and even His saving work.  I believe they are a works based faith.  I believe that some may be true disciples of Jesus in their movement despite their ignorance of the Lord Jesus as the eternal Son of God.  I believe they are wrong on the view of Acts 2:38 as the formula for salvation.  I believe their holiness codes, while needful in our wicked age, should not be viewed as true salvation simply because a person does or does not keep them.  I pray for the Holy Spirit to move among Oneness Pentecostals to go back to the Scriptures to search yet again the truth of God and His being.   I pray for reformation among Oneness groups.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/07/2015 at 12:52 PM

Posted in Cults

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Final Thoughts on Strange Fire Book Review

My review of John MacArthur’s Strange Fire has been a long process.  For that I do apologize.  I actually read the book in January and started my review then.  However, because of my work schedule and family duties, etc., I have had to post here and there on the book.  I pray that you did learn something from the review as I tried to be fair with the book and the content.  You can find the first post on this series here.

The book has an appendix in which MacArthur quotes from various Church Fathers and leaders through the centuries about the nature of spiritual gifts.  His point is to prove that many church leaders including men like Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, and Charles Spurgeon all held to modern cessationists views.  Of course, modern charismatic theologians will often respond in two ways.  One is to say that even such views were held, this does make them right or wrong simply because they held those views.  The bottom line for authority is not Augustine or Gill but the Bible.  I know that MacArthur would agree.  Secondly, some charismatics would argue that the Pentecostal revival brought back an emphasis on the ministry of the Holy Spirit that had been buried by tradition and unbelief.  Others, like Dr. Jack Deere, would argue that it is just unbelief and a presupposition argument against miracles that leads to such views.  You can find Deere’s views in his book Surprised by the Power of the Spirit.  

In conclusion to my review, let me state that I do believe that charismatics would benefit from reading MacArthur’s book.  I said the same when he released Charismatic Chaos back in the early 1990’s.  I read Charismatic Chaos three times!  I agreed with much of what he wrote back then and still do today.  I think most charismatics (and I do not align myself with this camp) would agree with much of what MacArthur points to in his books.  The errors of the prosperity gospel, the errors of the healing movements, the sinfulness of some charismatic leaders, etc., are all things that we should all oppose.

Nonetheless, MacArthur painted with a big brush.  He grouped together men such as Dr. George Wood with men such as Todd Bentley.  He grouped together even Reformed charismatics like Wayne Grudem with the likes of a Rick Joyner.  He blasted all charismatics as blaspheming the Holy Spirit while ignoring the good that is done in the name of Jesus by groups such as the Assemblies of God, Church of God (Cleveland, TN), or the Foursquare Gospel Church.  What about ministries such as Teen Challenge that was started by a Pentecostal (David Wilkerson) and is still maintained by Pentecostals?  Teen Challenge remains the top ministry for those addicted to drugs and alcohol.  I personally have visited Teen Challenges and seen the good that they do.

Two prominent seminaries, the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (AGTS) and the Church of God Theological Seminary (now called the Pentecostal Theological Seminary) are both schools that seek to glorify Christ and exalt the Word of God.  AGTS teaches its students that expository preaching should be the norm for biblical preaching and teaching.  These are both seminaries with theologically trained teachers.  These are not fanatics are they?  Should we lump AGTS alongside Bill Johnson and Bethel Church?

However, the main issue is what does the Bible teach.  It is easy to lump people together in groups and say that they are all the same.  Both Arminians and Calvinists and have done this for years.  Yet people are still people.  Some charismatics are out there.  Most are not.  There are false teachers among Pentecostals.  There are also false teachers among the Presbyterians as well.  People have fallen into sin in the Pentecostal movement.  The same is true of people in all other circles as well.  None of us escape the temptations of the flesh.  But we must seek to be biblical.  The Bible must be our guide.  Not one teacher or group.  The Bible is where we must fall or stand.  I am grateful that I personally know godly Pentecostals who love the Bible and preach the Bible.  They would be appalled if someone said that they were basing their faith on their emotions and not the Word of God (2 Peter 1:19).

I pray that God would use MacArthur to call all of us back to the Bible.  The Bible and not MacArthur or a study Bible or a denomination must be our foundation (Matthew 7:24-27).  We must be people who love the Word of God and delight in His commandments (Psalm 119:131).  We must be like the Bereans and search the Word of God for truth (Acts 17:11).  We must not be foolish and fall prey to false teachings (1 John 4:1-2) but we must embrace and love the truth of God (Psalm 119:173).  This is my earnest prayer, that God would help us all to love the Word and follow Him with all our hearts.

Strange Fire Review (Chapter 12)

This is the final chapter of John MacArthur’s book, Strange Fire.  To find the previous posts, you may begin here.

In this final chapter, MacArthur writes an open letter to his continuationist friends.  This would include mainly Reformed theologians and preachers who are charismatic such as John Piper, Wayne Grudem, CJ Mahaney and Sam Storms.  Both Piper and Mahaney have spoken at MacArthur’s church and at conferences with him and I believe that Grudem has taught some classes at the Master’s Seminary.  All of these men (and many other charismatic Calvinists) would disagree with MacArthur over some (not all) of what he has written in this book.

MacArthur gives eight reasons why he believes that the continuation of the revelatory gifts is dangerous.  I will only list them without comment:

1.  The continuationist position gives an illusion of legitimacy to the broader Charismatic Movement.

2.  The continuationist position degrades the miraculous nature of the true gifts that God bestowed upon the first-century church.

3.  The continuationist position severely limits the ability of its advocates to confront others who fall into charismatic confusion.

4.  By insisting that God is still giving new revelation to Christians today, the Continuationist Movement opens the gates to confusion and error.

5.  By insisting that God is still giving new revelation to Christians today, the Continuationist Movement tacitly denies the doctrine of sola Scriptura.

6.  By allowing for an irrational form of tongues-speaking (usually as a private prayer language), the Continuationist Movement opens the door to the mindless ecstasy of charismatic worship.

7.  By asserting that the gift of healing has continued to the present, the continuationist position affirms the same basic premise that undergirds the fraudulent ministries of charismatic faith healers.

8.  The continuationist position ultimately dishonors the Holy Spirit by distracting people from His true ministry while enticing them with counterfeits.

MacArthur ends by calling his continuationist friends back to the Reformation and what it means to be Protestant.

Interestingly, I read after the Strange Fire Conference that MacArthur stated that he wanted to draw a line in the sand at some point and ask all who agree with him to stand with him.  He stated that he would ask his friends who share his theology (Reformed) to cross over and denounce the charismatic movement once and for all.  I have not heard more about this as of this post.

In my estimation, Satan usually offers counterfeits to the truth.  Cults often take some truths of Scripture and build on them but they deny the gospel in essential ways.  Satan will take some truth and sprinkle it into many lies but he seeks to counterfeit the power of God.  This is the case with false healings.  Satan raises up fake healers to spread their heretical “health and wealth” gospel while using a truth about God, that He can do miracles but they ignore that God does them for His glory.  I think that we should not cast away our desire for God to do miracles, for His name to be glorified through His divine intervention simply out of fear of fakes.  This is what I see and hear when I read Strange Fire.  

MacArthur has made many valid points and Pentecostals can read this book and will no doubt amen much of what he has written.  I believe that all disciples of Jesus (whether you agree with MacArthur or not) would agree that the Bible must be our sure foundation.  The Bible alone is the inerrant and infallible Word of God (John 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12-13) and we must stand on the Word of God (Matthew 4:4).  This must be the case when examining healings or those who would claim to speak for God (1 Thessalonians 5:19-21).

Yet I also believe that MacArthur has labeled many people in the Pentecostal or charismatic with tags that they would not appreciate.  I know of godly Pentecostal missionaries who are gospel centered in their preaching and are in foreign nations now preaching the gospel to the lost.  These are not heretics who are wishing to dethrone Christ from His place of honor and worship.  These are godly men and women who have given up everything for the King.  I know of godly Pentecostal prayer warriors who spend hours in prayer for others and for the nations.  I know of godly Pentecostals who love the Bible and seek to exegete the Word of God using sound skills of interpretation.  To simply label the entire charismatic movement as a false manifestation of the Spirit is misleading and wrong.

That said, all of us need godly correction.  None of us (including MacArthur) are perfect in our understanding of God or His Word.  We see through a glass rather dimly (1 Corinthians 13:12).  While our hearts must be for sound doctrine (Titus 2:1), we humbly acknowledge that we are imperfect people seeking to know a perfect God.  I rejoice that God reveals Himself to us in His Word (John 20:31) and I rejoice that the Holy Spirit leads us into His truth (1 Corinthians 2:12-13).  I rejoice for the grace that He has given to me to know Him (Philippians 3:9-11).  None of us have arrived to perfect doctrine but we strive to know God, to understand His truth, to interpret His Word, and to preach His gospel.

I pray that whatever areas of correction I needed while reading Strange Fire, I pray that the Lord does use MacArthur and the Word of God to correct me.  But I equally pray that for MacArthur.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

04/26/2014 at 9:02 PM

Strange Fire Review: Chapter 11

I am nearing the end of my review of Dr. John MacArthur’s book Strange Fire.  You can find the first post on this review here.  Now I will review chapter 11.

This chapter is on the issue of the Holy Spirit and the Scriptures.  In this chapter, MacArthur gives a biblical overview of the Holy Spirit and His work in giving us the Bible and also in helping us to understand, apply, and preach the Bible.  The Bible, for the disciple of Christ, is precious.  It is the believer’s weapon according to  Ephesians 6:17 and is the only inerrant and infallible book that God has given to His people.  The Bible is a remarkable book that God has faithfully preserved for us for 2000 years.

MacArthur begins by pointing to the sad story of liberal German theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher.  Schleiermacher’s fall into liberalism in the late 18th century and he plunged many others with him with his liberal views.  As typical of liberals, he didn’t believe in the Bible anymore so he had to replace his faith with something else.  In this case he replaced it with Romanticism or subjective experience.  This has been the case for liberalism ever since.  Liberals are always replacing God with social causes and their seek to build their own heaven here (since there is no heaven over there).

MacArthur believes that charismatics have done the same by emphasizing dreams, visions, prophecy, etc. over the Bible.  MacArthur is clear that true disciples do not worship the Bible but love the Bible because God Himself has given us His Word.  We worship the God of the Bible and we love to read His Word because it faithfully reveals Him to us unlike subjective experiences.

I will add here again that I suppose there may Pentecostals out there who would reject the Bible but I have never met one who did.  Like any other movements, I fear that the Pentecostal movement is moving away from proclaiming the inerrancy of the Bible.  I would love to see Pentecostal fellowships such as the Assemblies of God or the Church of God (Cleveland, TN) or the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) come out and declare that the inerrancy of the Bible is something to be held and defended by all their ministers.  I fear that there are many now in the Pentecostal seminaries who do not hold to inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible.  I worry that pragmatism is now dominating the Pentecostal church and the Bible no longer is being preached as absolute truth.

That said, historically the Pentecostal movement has always held to the authority of the Bible.  Even the heretical United Pentecostal Church (UPC) holds to the authority of the Bible (though twisting it in many ways to teach their false doctrines).  I have heard many Pentecostals preach over the years and have fellowshipped with many of them and have seen a deep love for the Word of God.  I even once heard a “prophecy” given in an Assemblies of God church and one godly man stood up and said, “We must reject this prophecy because this man has spoken against the Word of God” and he proceeded to state how this was so.  He was obeying 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 in this case.

The Bible must be our final authority and it alone speaks for God.  Everything else must submit to Scripture.  We don’t need a new revelation from God but a fresh understanding of God’s inerrant and infallible Word.  2 Peter 1:16-21 is clear that subjective experience will never be the solid foundation for the disciple.  Scripture must be.  Jesus said that God’s Word cannot be broken (John 10:35) and therefore we must submit to the final authority of God (John 17:17).

I pray that many godly Pentecostals and charismatics would rise up and preach the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible.  This is not a side issue.  If we fail to stand on the Word of God, we will fail.  The Methodist are a case in point.  The rise of liberalism in the late 19th century doomed in the Methodist church.  Instead of remaining faithful to the Word of God, liberal Methodists rejected the Bible and today are left with a dying church.  Why?  Because they have no gospel.  When we reject the Word of God, we are left with nothing just as Schleiermacher was left with nothing.  The Bible faithfully reveals the gospel and if we reject the Bible, we are soon to reject the gospel.  We are then left with nothing to stand upon (Galatians 1:6-9) and we soon wander off into errors (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

May God give us an increase in those disciples who believe, preach, stand upon, and live the inerrancy and infallibility of the Word of God.

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