Tag Archives: Pentecostal

A good Wiki page, giving both sides

The first two issues show the main Cessationist concerns about charismata and reveal the underlying rationale for Cessationism. The sections below describe what kind of disagreements emerge between Cessationism and Continuationism in their respective understandings of the gifts, and further issues then arising from these disagreements. Different understandings of charismata give rise to various tensions in the dispute.

White Horse Inn weighed in a couple of years ago:

Particularly in the wake of the Pentecostal and charismatic movements, this question has divided Christians into two camps: cessationists (believing that the gifts of healing, prophecy, and tongues have ceased) and non-cessationists. Non-cessationists find no exegetical reason to distinguish some of these gifts and offices from others in terms of their perpetuity. However, cessationists hold that the New Testament itself makes a distinction between the foundation-laying era of the apostles and the era of building the church on their completed foundation (1 Cor 3:10-11). Although the New Testament establishes the offices of pastors/teachers, elders, and deacons, it does not establish perpetual prophetic or apostolic offices with their attendant sign-gifts. With this in mind, we must examine each gift in question.

Reformedpresbytery.org has a position paper quoting Calvin:

... concerning Prophets, I have before showed out of Justin Martyr (Dial. cum Tryph. Jud.) that, in his days, their were still some in the church who had an extraordinary gift of prophecy, and such there have been also in other places, and at other times; of which there might be diverse instances given.



As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground. (John 18:6)

As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground. This is the main one falling backward to the ground is slain in the spirit. Itsa phrase used by pentecoastal denominations to describe falling backward under t he power of the holy spirit . this scripture mainly supports it but here 2 more

I would suggest that moving backward and (then) falling down is not the same as "falling backward." Moreover, it does not suggest even a hint at an altered state of consciousness.

The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying...

There! See? Slain in the Spirit!

And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord (1 Kings 8:10-11

We,, I couldn't stand to be put in the cold yesterday, but I wasn't slain in the Spirit.


From the outside looking in, it seems to me that Pentecostalism is very "self" centered theology.

There is a lot that is about "self".

"I claim..."

Some teach that if you pray in the right formula, use the right words, then God is honor-bound to give you what it is that you ask for. The Holy Spirit becomes something like a magic genie in a lamp. Rub the lamp the right way and you get your wish.
Some real life examples...

I was at my mom and dad's church on Sunday morning (if Mom reads, please let me know if I get this wrong.) The man who said the public prayer - in the prayer he told the congregation of a situation of a man who is sick or injured (I wasn't very clear which, but God knows).

"Lord, WE claim healing...You promised that if WE have faith you will give us what we ask for."


At work a woman I work with had a cold - and so did I. I took ester-C, echinacea and zinc (my usual "cocktail".) She said, "I'm CLAIMING my healing!" My cold lasted for about 10 days...hers lasted for about a week and a half.


I hear on a pretty regular basis, "the power of life and death is in the tongue, you know!" My reply the first time was "my future is in the hand of a sovereign God who is in control of the universe." After that I let it slip by.


Before I went "reformed", even before my husband died, I remember being on the way to a quiz meet with the kids and one of the church leaders was telling us on the way (in a van) how important prayer is. The reason?

Because without our prayers God is helpless to give us what we need or want. The power of God is released by our prayers.

Now I am Reformed and I find myself seeing how this warped sense of "self" has infiltrated many, many churches. I belong to a sovereign God who is in control of the universe.

The whole of TULIP is wrapped up in the power of God, not the power of "me".


"A God without wrath brought man without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross." (H. Richard Niebuhr)

I had the opportunity to visit the "Cathedral of Faith" Sunday.  They are a Pentecostal, Word-of-Faith church.  This week they started a new series, "Treasure Hunters".

Key words:  "self esteem",  "abundant living", "finding your dream".

this week's lesson - what is stopping you from reclaiming your dreams is fear.  The speaker said several times that the "greatest - ahem...the commandment given most often in the Bible is 'not to fear'.

If only we would stop being afraid, there is nothing that we could not accomplish.  Let go of our fear, grab onto the power within us and remember our dreams!

"Star Wars" theology.

No mention of the cross, of Christ's finished work, of redemption, repentance.

Only "get out of the boat", "expect to get wet", "Jesus won't let you drown".

"We are saved, after all that we can do."

It's all about what is within us, helped by the "genie in the bottle", Jesus.  The "stuff" that we have forgotten how to access can be ours once again.

"A God without wrath brought man without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross." (H. Richard Niebuhr)

For those for whom the terms of that sentence are well nigh incomprehensible, English biblical scholar T. W. Manson's spoof may strike closer to home: "Jesus goes up to Jerusalem to give a course of lecture-sermons on the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man, and then becomes the victim of an unfortunate miscarriage of justice." Substitute one or another therapeutic banality ("I'm O.K., you're O.K."? "Follow your bliss"?) for the subject of the talks, and Manson's jibe still tells.


I just posted on hope - and how knowing the future can interfere with it.

It's Wednesday now and I've had a little more "processing time" after seeing the "prophet" at my church. I've been waiting on a call from my pastor since Monday (sometimes it takes a while to get through his assistant, who was out of the office).

I've led a sheltered life. This is the first time that I've seen (in person) a "modern day prophet" in action.

I didn't trust her. Here's what happened. The "apostle's" wife (the prophet) came up on the stage at the end of the service and offered a prophecy to the pastors and their wives. She had talked about the time they had all spent together and the prophecy didn't seem like anything that she would not have gleaned just from being with these people for several hours over dinner. Then she "prophesied" over the church. Basically, follow your leaders. (I think there might be a reason for that.)

Then, after the congregation was released, she stayed on the stage and "prophesied" over individuals. Some things I'm pretty sure that she could not have known, others she might have asked a question or two and found out something.

But there was a crowd of people who wanted to know what was in their future. Is this what God wants for us - really?

Does He really want us chasing after the Christian equivalent of fortune tellers, or does He want us leaning on Him; trusting in His goodness?

God didn't send His prophets to tell His people that they (as individuals) were going to marry this man or that woman; that they were going to move to a different city, that they were going to change jobs or that their future was rosy.


When God sent His prophets, they told the people exactly what they did not want to hear.

The woman I saw on Sunday told people only good things. And vague things. And things that will be forgotten in a short time.

We laugh at the "prophet" on the street corner. You know - the one that doesn't look the way we think a prophet should look. The one that probably looks the way John the Baptist looked after living in the desert and eating grasshoppers for a few months. The one that tells us that the end is near. Yeah. That one.

But the pretty one in the nice suit, we flock to. You know - the one that tells us that everything is going to be good. The one that tells us we're going to lose weight. Or that we're not going to be alone. Yeah. That one.

It brings doubts to my mind when we only embrace the "prophet" that tells us the pretty things.



I have days when I feel like I have no future. It’s not that it’s not there…it’s just that I can’t see it. And that’s a good thing. Not so long ago I thought that I knew what my future would be. It might not have been great, but it was at least consistent.

Now – not so. I don’t know what the future holds – it’s hidden from me. And that’s a good thing.

We had a “prophet” at our church on Sunday. It disturbed me. A lot.

I sat in the sanctuary for the time that she was speaking (after the service) and just watched. I’d really like to be able to look into the future and see how a couple of different things turn out – but I didn’t want to ask a “prophet”. There were other reasons, but my spirit just wouldn’t let me.

It dawned on me yesterday. It’s hope.

If you already know what is ahead of you on this earth – there is no reason to hope.

Romans 8:24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has?”

We run around like mice worrying about the future.

Matthew 6:27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life ?”

Planning this way and that way.

Matthew 6:34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Planning our own plans, going our own way, but we just don’t get it.

Proverbs 20:24A man's steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand his own way?”

Who do you (I) trust?

Psalm 52:8But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God's unfailing love for ever and ever.”

Do we really trust God?

Psalm 91:2I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."

Are you (am I) in a hurry, or do we rest (wait) in the promised of God?

Psalm 130:5I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.”

How do you (I) get this hope? It is through the trials of life.

Romans 5:3-4 “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint… “

Is it really worth it – all this “hope”?

Romans 5:5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”

A long time ago, I had a friend whose brother died at age 29 of a heart attack. She went with her sister to consult a psychic. He told them what they wanted to hear and he sent them away with hope.

On Sunday, I went to church and saw people crowd around a “prophet”, who told them largely what they wanted to hear and she sent them away with hope.

But that is not where our hope should be. We don’t need to know the future – in fact, if we do know the future, we are less dependent on God’s promises!

People can (and will) disappoint us. The “prophets” of today can (and will) disappoint us. Ecclesiastes 8:7Since no man knows the future, who can tell him what is to come?”

But hope will never disappoint us.

Read that last verse again – “Hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.”

Today, I do not have my future. God does. My hope lies in Him.

I don’t need a prophet to tell me that God holds my future in His hands. That’s what I’d really like to sink in (for me).

I don’t know what lies ahead for me – but my trust is in God.

Psalm 13:5But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.”


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?


Searchlight Radios, "A Survey Through Scripture", by Pastor Jon Courson

I just listened to the first part of a two-part sermon on-line - My goodness! This man took a series from Genesis and Abraham and spent the better portion of his time teaching about the gift of tongues....

He starts out in Genesis 17, where God is giving Abraham a "sign" or "token" of the promise. Mr. Courson noted, God does that which is unexpected and unconventional. God promises to give Abraham a token of the covenant, an emblem. This token would be an item that would remind Abraham of the covenant that God was making with him.

So far, he's ok.

But then, he starts thinking...

"Token" of the covenant...Outward sign, seal...Token of the covenant God made with Abraham. Circumcision is the sign and the seal.

Courson says, in the New Testament, "sign" and "seal" are almost always connected with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the seal that was given to the believer, according to Eph 1:13 (In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit...)

So, the correlation made - in the OT, the sign is circumcision, in the NT, the sign is the "Internal work of the Spirit within" (quoted from Mr. Courson)

Note: in this next section, Mr. Courson makes the subtle statement that "praying in the Spirit" = "speaking in tongues"

Courson asks, "What is the sign? The sign is connected with the work of the Holy Spirit in a most particular way." 1 Cor 14:22(a) says, "Tongues, then, are a sign" - now, Courson is beginning to see something...(right). He's asking if seal of the Holy Spirit and the sign of praying in the Spirit (tongues) are connected with the idea of circumcision in some way,

Next, Mr. Courson makes the "solid" connection between circumcision and speaking in tongues

He asks, "Is there really a connection that we can make with integrity?" He quotes Phillipians 3:3 "For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God" Paul uses the idea of circumcision to give a NT application. The sign, the seal - are now words connected to the working of the Holy Spirit in the life of believers - not just correlated with the cutting away of the flesh (physical or spiritual), but with the sign and seal of speaking in tongues.

According to Courson, people get uneasy when talking about speaking about speaking in tongues - like when you talk about circumcision - because they're related. He says that there's a tendency to be embarrassed about tongues-speaking "perhaps because of the abuses of radical Pentecostal." People tend to say "oh, this tongues area is a little -" just like circumcision.

Here, Courson makes a statement that will enable his followers to make the statement that if one Biblically and theologically rejects speaking in tongues as the sign of the Holy Spirit - that one is speaking in the flesh.

According to Courson, just as Abraham may have sat back when learning about the sign of his covenant, so believers today rebel against the "sign" of the New Covenant. He quotes 1 Corinthians 14:14 (For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful) to explain why our "flesh" reacts against speaking in tongues. Our minds like to engage in things that we understand and comprehend intellectually. Courson says that Paul writes, "although the mind is unfruitful, but the spirit is edified." (I couldn't find that part in this chapter).

Courson preaches, your mind (flesh) may rebel against the sign or seal of speaking in tongues. The flesh doesn't like circumcision and it doesn't like "praying in the Spirit" because the flesh and the Spirit are at enmity one with the other.

Courson adds that Paul says that when it comes to speaking in tongues, our mind (flesh) doesn't get it, because we don't understand what's happening. The Spirit is praying through us. Edification is happening within us, but we don't have a clue intellectually - we do it (speaking in tongues) in faith, according to what the Scriptures tell us - but t doesn't please the flesh.

Further (I think he's getting even farther awry here...) even as the flesh rebels against circumcision, so the flesh rebels against praying in tongues - the sign that we are the circumcision which worships God in the Spirit...He says: both tongues and circumcision deal with reproductive organs.

Courson states: there are only two reproductive organs in your body, one is physical, the other is spiritual. Proverbs 18 says that the power of life and death is in the tongue...

Here is where Courson introduces Word-Faith

He says that Christ taught us that when you want to see things happen in the spirit, say to the mountain be removed, don't wish it, think it - go on record - say it - faith is released through the words that we speak. The tongue has the power of death and life - your words will either 18:44 be reproductive or they will be murderous and detrimental.

Next, the implication that tongues-speakers are persecuted, just like the Jews, for their sign.

Further correlation between circumcision and tongues...Both are called sign and both are embarrassing. From that point forward (until fairly recently), Jews would be persecuted over circumcision. So also, today, people make fun of those who speak in tongues. "if they think I'm one of "those guys"...So there can be embarrassment for both the Jew and the believer who is doing the sign and seal in the NT of the tongue being expressed.

The, the "reason" that speaking in tongues disappeared from the face of the earth, after the closing of the canon.

The Jewish went for centuries ignoring circumcision...Let's not even do it, it's causing too much trouble...And in their history, both Biblically and historically - just like Christians, who say why even bother with this controversy. Christian community ignores speaking in tongues because of the repercussions

We are a marked people - we are different from the other folks - it was a continual reminder that we are different than other people - but it was a difference that was noted in either privacy or intimacy - like tongues.

1 Corinthians 14 - Paul said "I would" - not wish you could... (Check out the Greek - or the ESV)
Mark 16 - and these signs shall follow them...(note from my Bible: ((The most reliable early manuscripts and other ancient witnesses do not have Mark 16:9-20.))

Paul told us "Follow me, as I follow Christ"
Point - I don't believe Christ ever mentioned Himself speaking in tongues, so if we limit ourselves to following Paul as he followed Christ, tongues is not on that list.

Paul also said, "But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.
(Which is the beginning of Mr. Courson's next sermon...)