Firehouse Family Ministries (Guest Speakers at my Church)
“Apostle” Sherman L. Shelton and “Prophet” Corrine Shelton of “Firehouse Family Ministries” in New Orleans, LA.
I have concerns. BIG concerns.
I’m not quite sure where I stand on “prophetic gifts” and one thing I’ve said pretty consistently is that whether “gifts” are active today or not – the Pentecostals are doing it wrong (according to the Bible). But that’s for another day.
Today, let’s talk about doctrine.
I’m “reformed”. Not “Truly Reformed”, but reformed, so I’m coming at this from the reformed direction. I won’t be quoting the Confessions or Catechisms as though they are the Bible, but as a summation of what we believe the Bible teaches.
(words from Firehouse Family Ministries will be in green)
Section 1. The Scriptures Inspired.The Bible is the inspired Word of God, a revelation from God to man, the infallible rule of faith and conduct, and is superior to c onscience and reason, but not contrary to reason. (II Timothy 3:15-17; I Peter 1:15-17; Heb 4:12)
The Westminster Confession says, “IV. The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, and obeyed, depends not upon the testimony of any man, or Church; but wholly upon God (who is truth itself) the author thereof: and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God."
The last of the Scripture they list here (Hebrews 4:21) says: “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
This is important, because it says the Bible judges my thoughts and attitudes. I don’t know about anybody else, but my thoughts and attitudes (and thus, my reason) are contrary to Scripture on a regular basis. By saying that Scripture is not contrary to (man’s) reason, we are using our own humanity as a God’s judge. Not a good plan. As the Confession says, the authority of the Holy Scripture does not depend on the testimony (or reason) of any man.
This is important, because antitrinitarians claim that the doctrine of the Trinity is contrary to reason; their statement of faith says that the Bible cannot be contrary to reason, therefore the doctrine of the Trinity is false.
Section 2. The One True Godhead. The triune Godhead is comprised of three (3) separate and distinct personalities, The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit, who are eternally self-existent, self-revealed and function as one entity. Jesus Christ, who is God manifested in the flesh, is the second member of the Godhead, co-equal and co-eternal with The Father and The Holy Spirit.
It is not entirely clear here whether this church is anti-Trinitarian. I suspect that they are. Key phrase is “three (3) separate and distinct personalities”. A Website that Firehouse Ministries links to says that “We believe in one God, eternal and self existent, self-revealed and manifested to man as Father, Son and Holy Ghost.” This denies the Trinity, in that they deny three persons – instead claiming “personalities”.
As the “United Pentecostal Church” website asks and answers, “Do these titles (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) as used in Matthew 28:19 mean that there are three separate and distinct persons in the Godhead? No, they refer to three offices, roles, or relationship to humanity."
The Westminster Confession states: “In the unity of the Godhead there be three Persons of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son."
I’ll let you decide where you think Firehouse Family Ministries fall.
Section 4. The Salvation of Man.
Man’s only hope of redemption is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. On the cross Jesus Christ became sin and sickness providing both salvation and divine healing for all mankind.
Key phrase: “sin and sickness” – providing both salvation and divine healing. This opens the door for “Word Faith”.
2 Corinthians 5:21 says, "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."
There is no mention of Christ becoming "sickness".
Section 8. The Evidence of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. The full consummation of the Baptism of believers in the Holy Spirit by the initial physical sign of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance,
At least some of the early Christians spoke in tongues. There is not Biblical evidence to say that all believers spoke in tongues or that it is the “initial physical sign”.
1 Corinthians 12: 29-31 asks, "Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31But eagerly desire the greater gifts."
The answer is clearly, "no." Not every Christian in the apostles' day spoke in tongues - thus it could not have bee the evidence of the "Baptism of the Holy Spirit".
Paul goes on to say, "And now I will show you the most excellent way." This way is love, not tonuges.
Section 10. Total Prosperity.
“Name it and claim it”. “Blab it and grab it”. “Health and wealth” Gospel.
Section 14. Five-Fold Ministry. We believe that in order for the Church to truly reach God’s expectations we must have the presence and influence of the Apostle, the Prophet, the Evangelist, the Pastor and the Teacher operating through us. (Eph 4:7-16)
This is the sole passage for the “five fold ministry”. Here is a great article on apologeticsindex.org.
There are 15 sections; these are the most problematic. Thoughts, anybody?
I'm coming from a similar place Ellen. I am an elder at a church [http://voxchurch.org] in South Louisiana and our area deals with these kinds of lies all the time. It's pretty rampant down here.
The problem ensues because what is taught is so enticing and fantastic that it's very hard to walk away from. In college, I actually prayed for the gift of tongues myself. It wasn't given to me, but I'm no less of a believer because of it.
One thing I'd like to add is about the language used in these circles. Terms like "full gospel" and "spirit-filled" smack of arrogance and indicate that somehow people who do not have the gift of tongues are "half-gospel" or "spirit-empty". Are there similar problems where you're from?
Thanks for dropping in!
We see it more and more.
Those with "half-gospel" or who are "spirit-empty" are also known as the "frozen chosen"
Phil in CA
I'm an ex-Pentecostal and knew what I was dealing with the second I heard that this guy called himself an "apostle". Nearly all Apostolic Pentecostals are of the "Oneness" anti-trinitarian variety, which disturbed me all the more when I heard Ellen's church had turned their pulpit over. One thing that I noticed about this Fire House Ministries is the apparent lack of Biblical church structure; no elders, no deacons, etc. Who needs elders when you have an Apostle, eh?
The five fold ministry stuff is just the evolution of Pentecostalism. Where you find the spawning ground (Pentecostalism) you'll find the degenerate theological offspring: Word of Faith, Five Fold ministries, Apostolic holiness, Latter Rain, etc. When debating the harmlessness of Pentecostalism, one cannot overemphasize the simple fact that the vast majority of theological heresies assaulting the church today came out of Pentecostalism.
So what we have here is a Christian Reformed Church in the heart of Reformed territoy, turning over their pulpit to an Apostolic (likely Oneness) Pentecostal "apostle" and his "prophet" wife. Turning over the pulpit, for which they have been granted stewardship, is not an action the church leaders should take so lightly. Then again, scarier still, this might be an omen of things to come.
You hit the nail on the head about the terminology--especially "full gospel". As an ex-Pentecostal I can tell you first hand the endemic arrogance that flows throughout this very two-faced movement. What you see from the outside is not what you get once you're involved. I, too, was taught terms like "frozen chosen" and it was made clear that we were the gifted spiritual elite, and thus God's rightful inheritors of His "outpouring of the Spirit" in the latter days. I didn't know Jesus until I left Pentecostalism because He was always the middle man until the man of the hour -- the Holy Spirit -- showed up to give us power, gifts, rid us of demons, and the courage to actually be seen in public with the standard issue Pentecostal mullet haircut.
Out here in the SF Bay Area churches come in three flavors: Charismatic/Word of Faith, fluffy Osteen wannabe's, or liberal. One thing I also notice is that Pentecostalism is extremely popular among ethnic churches (e.g, "Koren Full Gospel Church") and ethnic minority Christians. This probably mirrors the worldwide growth of Pentecostalism in cultures where superstition and spiritism are culterally embedded. I wonder if that aspect (at least as I see it) has anything to do with the growth in the South?
There are groups everywhere that range from slightly nutty to wholly heretical. But I still don't get how saying the Bible is "superior to conscience and reason, but not contrary to reason" in any sense conflicts with the Westminster confession or scripture. Surely neither the Westminster Confession nor Scripture teach that Scripture is necessarily contrary to reason?
Reason is clearly incomplete, when it comes to determining matters of faith. But not necessarily in conflict, surely? However fallen, is reason not a God-given gift?
On your specific example, just because antitrinitarians claim that the doctrine of the Trinity is contrary to reason does not make it so.
It simply means there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in their philosophy!
Surely neither the Westminster Confession nor Scripture teach that Scripture is necessarily contrary to reason?
Necessarily? No, but when man's reason contradicts Scripture, Scripture wins.
1 Corinthians 1:20
Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
I found this blog through internetmonk.com. Anyway, I'm a southern louisianian emerging from an "apostolic" (under the guise of charismatic) church youth group. Here is a link I think you'll like concerning the fivefold ministry. He explains really well the history of this strange distortion
oh, and in the spirit of warning others, here is one of today's rising stars of the "apostolic" movement, also calling himself an "apostle": http://www.hanby.org
Mark Hanby is a UPC backslider. I don't know the specifics of his fall, but we like other movments, have ministers who are not sincere or submissive.
By the way, if you want to really know what a UPC'r believes, ask me. (yes, the trinity is a problem for us, but Judaism has a problem with it as well)
Dwight, where I've quoted the UPC, it came cut and pasted from the official website.
The Jews do have a problem with the Trinity - and they're not Christians.
MzEllen & Co. » Blog Archive » The Ongoing Saga of My (old) Church
Firehouse is neither Pentecostal nor Apostolic for starters...
It is possible that you googled a different "firehouse family full gospel ministry" - the people who spoke at my church were Pentecostal (complete with impartation ceremony) and apostolic (people don't claim the title "apostle" otherwise.)
It's also possible that Firehouse Family Full Gospel Ministries has repented and moved away from the Oneness Pentecostal movement. Their original website is gone and a new one is not up yet. If so, Praise God!