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Fundamentalists And Charismatics Part 2

Posted by Job on August 3, 2008

From Sharper Iron.

Some Reflections on the Pentecostal/Charismatic Movements, Part 2

by SharperIron at 12:00 am July 28, 2008. 263 views. Filed under: Charismatics, Pentecostalism

Note: This article is reprinted from The Faith Pulpit (January 2001), a publication of Faith Baptist Theological Seminary (Ankeny, IA).

Read Part 1.

by George Houghton, Th.D.

III. Some Observations and Comments

1. The teaching common to all of these groups, which states that all of the gifts given by the Holy Spirit in New Testament times ought to be observed and practiced by Christians today, is definitely unbiblical. The supernatural sign gifts were intended by God for the Apostolic Age and were designed to be temporary. It is not the purpose of this paper to deal exhaustively with the Bible passages which support this view, but if it is true, we should not be taken in by contemporary experiential phenomena—no matter where they are found. The Bible must be our standard.

2. What does the Bible really say about tongues-speaking?

First, there are not very many passages which actually mention it. Mark 16:17-18 lists some historical phenomena experienced by the early Christians, which demonstrated the validity of their message. Acts 2 narrates the occurrence at Pentecost, Acts 10 describes the conversion of the first Gentiles, and Acts 19 describes the conversion of the disciples of John the Baptist. I Corinthians 12-14 presents Paul’s corrective message to a carnal church abusing spiritual gifts.

Second, other than the Corinthian passage, tongues-speaking does not appear to have been a regular, ongoing occurrence.

Third, tongues-speaking in the Bible seems to have involved actual languages. Acts 2 describes the phenomenon in the following language: “Every man heard them speak in his own language” (verse 6), and “How hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God” (verses 8-11). When the Gentiles in Acts 10 experience this phenomenon, Peter likens it to precisely what had occurred at Pentecost (10:44-48). In I Corinthians, Paul seeks to establish guidelines for the proper use of spiritual gifts. When dealing with tongues-speaking, he states that its purpose is to be a sign (14:22), and he bases this statement upon an Old Testament passage (Isaiah 28:11-12) where the Lord told the nation of Israel that He would use “men of other tongues and other lips” (I Corinthians 14:21) to “speak” to them—”yet for all that will they not hear Me.” This is a reference to God’s disciplining His people by means of the pagan Assyrians. As E. J. Young says in his commentary on the book of Isaiah, “The thought then is that God will speak to Judah by means of people who speak a language different from that of the Jews” (Vol. II, 277-78).

Fourth, tongues-speaking was designed to be a sign to the nation of Israel that God is now accepting Gentiles who trust in Him (I Corinthians 14:22). As such, tongues-speaking was only in operation during the decades immediately following the Messiah’s coming to earth. Tongues-speaking certainly served this purpose when Jewish Christians had to decide if the Gentile Cornelius and those with him would be accepted by God (Acts 10:44-48).

Fifth, some spiritual gifts clearly were intended by God to be temporary and not permanent. Apostleship, for example, is a part of the foundation of the church (Ephesians 2:19-20), and an apostle had to be one who had been an eye-witness to Christ’s earthly ministry (Acts 1:21-22; I Corinthians 9:1; 15:8-10). Some would even say that Paul was God’s replacement for Judas, and that the number of authentic apostles is limited to twelve (see Revelation 21:14).

Sixth, I Corinthians 13:8-10 tells us that spiritual gifts related to revelation would be temporary and would cease once completed revelation had been given.

In light of the above-mentioned survey of biblical evidence, we believe that the New Testament spiritual gift of tongues-speaking was intended by God to be temporary, operating in the foundational stage of the church before the completed revelation of Scripture had been given. Therefore, when someone asks how we explain the present-day phenomenon, it seems to us that the burden of explanation rests with the tongues-speaker. We may not always know what it is, but we do know what it is not.

3. The so-called Charismatic phenomenon is an experience which adapts to a wide spectrum of doctrinal views, including those of some of the cults (The Shakers and Mormonism, for example), Roman Catholicism, and others. This adaptability certainly ought to make those Charismatics with more traditional evangelical convictions think twice before joining others who differ widely with them regarding the teachings of God’s Word. Genuine Christian experience will always be consistent with what God has told us in Scripture.

4. The Charismatic experience has been used by some to lead people into the Ecumenical Movement. David DuPlessis has documented this trend from its early stages in his book, The Spirit Bade Me Go. Ecumenical cooperation has taken place on the local level as well as on the national and international levels because of the Charismatic Renewal Movement.

5. Some who support the tongues movement have said that speaking in tongues is an experience which changes one’s Christian life, giving one the power to live victoriously. Yet this is neither the teaching of the Bible nor the experience of believers in New Testament times when it was observed within a local church context, namely in the Corinthian church. Victorious living is possible because of Christ’s death and resurrection and is appropriated through yielding to God (Romans 6:1-13)—not through a Charismatic experience. And the Corinthian church where tongues-speaking had been so evident was characterized by carnality (I Corinthians 3:1-4).

Related to claims for the charismatic experience is the term “full gospel,” used by many who support it. How offensive this is to the Bible believer who by genuine trust in Christ’s death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins (I Corinthians 15:1-11) has heard the complete gospel! That wonderful message is not lacking because no tongues-speaking occurred. The great Bible passages on salvation do not ever ask us to seek a tongues-speaking experience (John 3:16-18, 36; 5:24; Romans 3:21-28; 5:1; Ephesians 2:8-9; etc.).

6. We recognize that seeking a Charismatic experience may be the result of genuine longing for spiritual reality on the part of some very earnest people. This, of course, does not make it right, but it does serve as a good reminder to us to make certain that what we teach, how we live our lives, and how we express our love for Christ are biblically balanced. Sometimes a nearly exclusive emphasis upon intellectual content which does not reach down into the reality of a person’s life may be the problem. What is the solution? The answer is not found by joining the Tongues Movement nor by de-emphasizing sound Bible doctrine. The answer is to present in our churches and in our own personal lives an aggressive and vibrant Christianity that isn’t afraid to reach both head and heart—to show piety and tenderness, as well as ( not instead of) teaching doctrinal content from God’s Word. And we aren’t really helping the charismatic person unless we can show him from our lives and from the Scriptures that seeking an experience is not the ultimate solution. The solution is found in understanding what God’s Word teaches, yielding to the Spirit’s control in our lives, and living out the victory that is possible because of the death and resurrection of Christ on our behalf.

Bibliography

Much has been written in this area, and the materials listed are only a few of these works. Some of the listed works are older and may not be in print. Some who critique the Word of Faith aspect of the Charismatic Movement may still accept basic Pentecostal theology, so the reader needs to read with discernment.

Stanley M. Burgess and Gary B. McGee, Editors. Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements. Grand Rapids: Zondervan/Regency, 1988. An excellent resource volume covering many aspects and personalities within the Pentecostal/Charismatic Movements, written by people who are favorably disposed toward those movements.

Joseph Dillow. Speaking in Tongues–Seven Crucial Questions. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1975. Well worth finding and studying.

Thomas R. Edgar. Miraculous Gifts: Are They for Today? Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1983. A good treatment of the major issues involved in evaluating the present-day movement from a biblical perspective.

Robert G. Gromacki. The Modern Tongues Movement. Philadelphia, PA: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1967, 1972. A classic work surveying and evaluating the tongues movement from God’s Word.

Hank Hanegraaff. Christianity in Crisis. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House, 1993. A well-researched critique of the Faith movement (”Health & Wealth,” “Name It & Claim It” theologies).

Hank Hanegraaff. Counterfeit Revival. Dallas: Word Publishing, 1997. A critique of the revival phenomenon characterized by the Toronto Blessing and Pensacola Outpouring movements.

John F. MacArthur, Jr. Charismatic Chaos. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House. Deals very well with the doctrinal and practical aspects of the tongues and healing movements.

Ernest Pickering. Charismatic Confusion. Decatur, AL: Baptist World Mission, 1976. This pamphlet and the next one listed by Dr. Pickering are excellent (yet brief) resources which any Christian leader ought to have on hand to give to those who want to understand the tongues movement from a Scriptural perspective.

Ernest Pickering. The Gift of Tongues: What the Bible Says about Speaking in Tongues. Vol. 4, #4 in the ABWE Insight Series. Harrisburg, PA: Association of Baptists for World Evangelism, 1985. An excellent (yet brief) resource.

Merrill F. Unger. New Testament Teaching on Tongues. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1971. A fine treatment of the tongues issue.

George W. Zeller. God’s Gift of Tongues: The Nature, Purpose, and Duration of Tongues as Taught in the Bible. Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1978. A thoughtful and careful survey of what the Bible teaches about the gift of tongues.
George G. Houghton, Th.D., serves as Senior Professor, Vice President for Academic Services, Academic Dean at Faith Baptist Bible College Education. He has the the following degrees: B.A., Bethel College; B.D., Central Conservative Baptist Theological Seminary; Th.M. and Th.D., Dallas Theological Seminary. He has served in the following ways: Faculty, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1967-73; Faculty, teaching Bible, Theology, and History subjects, Faith Baptist Bible College, 1973-; Academic Dean, Faith Baptist Bible College, 1982-; Vice President for Academic Services, Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary, 1986-.

17 Responses to “Fundamentalists And Charismatics Part 2”

  1. steve said

    There is no scriptural evidence that tongues is no longer biblical, or that is is temporary. You presented opinion, not scripture to show this. Also, there are
    2 kinds of tongues

    1. “New tongues” is described in 1Cr 14:2: For he that speaketh in an [unknown] tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understands [him]; howbeit in the spirit he speaks mysteries.

    2. “other tongues” is described in (Acts 2:4) where the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language (Acts 2:6)

    They are not the same in purpose. We still need revelation today, and it did not end with the apostles. There was no timeline set in the bible for tongues. As long as the gospel needs to be preached, we will still need tongues.

  2. Job said

    steve:

    “We still need revelation today, and it did not end with the apostles.”

    So then, you are a Roman Catholic? And what pressing need in the church or in your life does this continuing revelation serve?

  3. Fran said

    I must agree with Steve. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. People get off into emotionalism and zeal, and claim it is the Holy Spirit that is moving them. All God’s gifts are good and perfect. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are good and perfect. People are not all good and perfect.

    Those that do not believe in tongues should let go. They will never speake in tongues without the faith to believe the word of God. Why would the Holy Spirit give you a spiritual gift that you don’t believe exist?

  4. Carlotta said

    Job, you beat me to this post! But I’m still going to dedicate an entire post to “speaking in tongues.” I do agree with you that tongues today aren’t the same as the tongues as described in Acts 2. Many of our churches are trying to teach two types of tongues, but that’s not scriptural at all.

    Excellent writing and this is my first time commenting on your blog. Just want you to thank you for having such a wealth of information at a click of a button!

  5. David L. Williams said

    I see three ways tongues are described in the NT, if we include Peter’s speaking in his own language and each person in the crowd heard the words in his own dialect.

    As above described, praying in tongues is speaking to God, not man. It can be done anywhere, anytime, and can even be done silently under your breath. This is often praying in tongues because we know not how to pray over a problem. The Spirit prays thru us.

    The third way is speaking them out among others, and this requires someone with the gift of interpretation. I think this is usually, if not always, exalting God.

    Tongues didn’t come easy for me at first because of my doubts. Yet I began to see good results from them. For example, I often pray in tongues during corporate worship, while watching in my mind’s eye. Doing this, I often I see visions that have meaning for someone there, and usually words of knowledge come with the vision. An example below:

    In a homegroup meeting during worship I was praying softly in tongues. I saw two parallel curved metal tubes, and thot they looked most like the frame of an old style girl’s bike. Immediately, it became the whole bike, and it was painted bluegreen with gold trim. I noted the gold trim shine extra bright. I “felt” a situation about that, and after worship spoke out what I felt God was tellng me.

    I said there is a woman here that as a little girl had a bike that was her treasure. But it was somehow taken from her and she still is affected by that to this day.

    A lady spoke up and said she had a bluegreen bike as a kid, and her dad got angry at her and gave her bike to a neighbor girl, who she rode it back and forth in front of her. This hurt her very badly. I asked if the bike had gold trim. Her eyes glazed a moment while she pictured it in her mind, and then she said it did.

    This was an example of the Holy Spirit opening the heart of this woman for ministry to forgive her dad, and to heal her bitterness toward others who seem to get more than she did. DavWms

  6. […] Sharper Iron (blog) – Some Reflections on the Pentecostal/Charismatic Movements, Part 2 Jesus Christology (excellent sources at the end of the post) – Fundamentalists and Charasmatics Part 2 […]

  7. Carlotta said

    David, you’re right that praying in tongues is to God and not man, but what you’re missing is that Paul is chastising the Corinthian believers for doing just that! By the example in Acts 2 AND with the description Paul gives in 1 Corinthians 14:22, tongues is a sign for unbelievers.

    The whole reason Paul wrote 1 Corinthians 14 was to admonish his little “children” for misusing God’s gifts. This is the same church that he’s scolded for various pagan practices and this time is no exception. (My blog gives a breakdown by Pastor John MacArthur on the various practices that this church has been chastised for.)

    I did tell Job that I was writing on this same topic (because two of my five children are now practicing this tongue thing) so if you care to check out my blog, feel free to!

  8. David L. Williams said

    Hi, Carlotta. Nope, I didn’t miss that point. I was merely describing the 3 kinds of tongues shown in the NT, not doing a critique on propriety. I have also seen a couple of times when tongues was out of order and if new people were there, they would have thot it was madness. I’ve also seen sometimes when almost everybody was singing in tongues and it was awesome worship, and even a newcomer would have felt the Holy Spirit atmosphere.

    I would love to visit your blog, if I knew how to go there. DavWms

  9. Carlotta said

    Sure David, just click on my name and it will take you right there!

  10. David L. Williams said

    Thanx, Carlotta. I saw no argument there that I haven’t seen before. Many times over. Let’s make an example: If someone came to you and tried to give you all kinds of evidence that Jesus is not available today for a personal relationship, it would roll off your back like water off a duck, wouldn’t it? You have experienced Jesus, so no amount of argument by even the smartest man in the world could persuade you otherwise.

    Likewise with tongues. If you have experienced the good from it, no one else can take that away from you. This is not to say that tongues are not misused and misunderstood. You and I have seen much of that. But the devil always tries to get into the mix when he can, doesn’t he? That is all the easier when people lump the 3 ways of tongues into one and draw conclusions on the mixture.

    I was once on a deliverance team at my church. There, 3 of us would minister to a demonized person. 2 would pray softly in tongues, while one would do most of the speaking to the victim. This brot a Holy Spirit atmosphere and more often than not, the demon manifested so we could cast it out. The 2 that were praying in tongues often got visions and/or words of knowledge that helped identify the demon and how it got in. It’s hard for me to go against what I’ve seen many times over.

    One thing I did not like in the argument presented against tongues was choosing a certain way to inerpret “edifying yourself.” Taking it that this meant being selfish was a choice in order to help make a point. I don’t agree that this is the point Paul was making. Let’s consider that eating food is “edifying” our physical body, building it up. Likewise, speaking in tongues “edifies” our spiritual being, building it up. Neither is being selfish in this.

    I also have to consider a person’s motive for writing against “tongues today.” Having myself written a book on the subject of hidden motives, I have reason to doubt MacArthur’s premise. Now, know I’m not saying he is intentionally hiding his motive. My book is about motives we don’t even know we have within us. This “hidden motive” thread starts in the Garden and goes all the way thru the Bible, but is not often seen.

    Love, DavWms

  11. Carlotta said

    David, you’re coming from the dangerous perspective of basing your experiences on the good it produces. That’s why many of our cults are thriving today. They figure, if good comes out of it, then it must be okay. We’re to never rely upon our experiences but test them to the word. Otherwise, just think of pagans who also use “speaking in tongues” because to them, it’s pretty good too! How can we discern the counterfeits from the real thing? It has to be measured to God’s word.

    Paul’s letters on tongues are a good start for us to test our tongues. Self-edification is what tongue speakers primarily use the gift for because it certainly doesn’t edify the church. There’s no special interpretation needed to see that Paul is not praising anyone for self-edification, but quite the opposite. Gifts of the Holy Spirit were not given for us to edify ourselves but for the purpose of building up the church.

    That’s a quick way to test whether or not the gift you are using is truly of God. Is it for the church or for self?

    As for motives, that’s kind of dangerous to judge motives because then you begin stepping on God’s territory. Only He can judge motives but we can judge actions. I could never question why someone would want to speak in tongues, but I can judge if they are using it correctly or not.

  12. David L. Williams said

    Hi again, Carlotta. If you consider what I wrote besides the experience, you will know I don’t use that alone to judge whether tongues is proper for today or not. I do test the spirits. Note that when I mentioned hidden motives, that is also testing spirits.

    Note i did not make an accusation, nor did I wish a penalty on the man. We all need to see what Jesus meant when He said He came not to judge. He certainly assessed every one He met, didn’t He? But real judging means carrying out the second part, applying a penalty. So it is proper for you and me to assess everybody we meet, and to choose whether to be friends or less with them. That is discerning the spirit, isn’t it?

    When I see someone using a choice between two possible uses of a word in order to make a point, I want to know why, for that is discerning the spirit. Personally, I would have chosen the other use of “edify.” That completely changes the meaning, and supports the need for tongues today.

    Like I said, I wrote a book on the subject of hidden motives, motives we don’t know we have. This did not come about thru guesswork, but came about thru God putting me thru many hard trials so i could see my own hidden motives. Tho it took my being persecuted by my church and loved ones, it was worth it in the end for the deliverance it brot me. But in seeing my own hidden motives, it opened me to also see hidden motives in others.

    I don’t use this knowledge to accuse others, for like Jesus said, “They know not what they do.” But I use it to discern the spirits. Having been delivered in this, I saw i knew not what I did. And how then can I hold anything against others who know not what they do? ..DavWms

  13. Carlotta said

    Well David, it looks like we’ve covered the most important arguments to tongues and we still disagree – which I’ll agree to leave alone at this point.

    I do appreciate you taking the time to read my notes on this topic but as we both know, the church will never completely agree on anything until Christ returns! I won’t write anymore on this topic unless you have something else you’d like me to comment on.

    cm

  14. David L. Williams said

    Hi, Carlotta. You and I feel the same way, that neither of us is going to convince the other. So it is best to leave it at that. It is wonderful that we can still love each other in spite of our differences of opinion. Thank You, Jesus!

    BTW, if you or anyone wishes to, you can d/l my book about hidden motives free by requesting it at:

    DavWms777@aol.com

  15. Carlotta said

    That I will do David! I am interested in what you have written.

    Thank you!

  16. … what people need firstly is getting the book of acts Pentecostal experiences.. and they will naturally next care for the poor people, act like real anointed Christians. http://groups.msn.com/HolySpiritCome

    …Many Christians are doing their own thing, trying to live a life without Jesus, without even taking to him now often too.. Jesus himself hath said without me you can do nothing.. nothing!!!

    http://anyonecare.wordpress.com/2008/08/02/great-links-great-christian-literature/

  17. dawkinswatch said

    Those cats are to qualified to talk of what they know not of.

    Tongues can be a human language or an angelic tongue. 1 cor 13.

    Paul instructs people to pray in the spirit which is pray in Tongues.

    The interpretation of tongues is prophecy. 1 cor 14.

    I Hong Kong the is a Mission which prays for people off drugs by praying in tongues over them, many come off drugs pain free.

    Paul would advise these distinguished writers to be drunk in the Holy Spirit.

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