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Posts Tagged ‘supernatural’

Third Wave Pentecostalism And Why Miracles And Signs Exist

Posted by Job on August 11, 2008

I cannot say that I am surprised, because he also endorsed the Pensacola and Brownsville revivals and the Toronto Airport Christian fellowship, but Sid Roth is fully aligned with the third wave pentecostal movement in his endorsement of Todd Bentley. See this link on his website. Yep, Sid Roth is yet another one of the prosperity/Word of Faith teachers that I used to watch religiously and send money to. I continued to support Roth even after I began to turn away from the likes of the Crouch family, T. D. Jakes, etc. because I did not see where any of the discernment or apologetics ministries had addressed him. Also, I must admit that I hesitated because I personally believed in Roth’s ministry and especially his powerful testimony because it was so similar to my own! But I have to follow God rather than man, and that includes the desires of my own heart! Looking below, it appears that Roth has been supporting Bentley ever since at least 2007, because the fellow has at least 16 articles authored by Bentley on his website.

Building Dreams and Visions, Part 1 (Bentley)

Building Dreams and Visions, Part 2 (Bentley)

Discerning the Call of God, Part 1 (Bentley)

Discerning the Call of God, Part 2 (Bentley)

Encounter With Heaven Part 1

Encounter With Heaven Part 2

Encounter With Heaven Part 3

Healing and God’s Sovereignty (Bentley)

Open Heavens, Part 1 (Bentley)

Open Heavens, Part 2 (Bentley

Reigning and Resurrection, Part 1 (Bentley)

Reigning and Resurrection, Part 2 (Bentley)

Restoring the Voice of Healing (Bentley)

The Gifts of Healing and Miracles

The Spirit of Infirmity, Part 1 (Bentley)

The Spirit of Infirmity, Part 2 (Bentley)

What is the third wave? Here is a fundamental Christian viewpoint:

1. Its History

In the early 1980s the Vineyard Christian Fellowship movement began with the ministry of John Wimber in California. He believed that people would become convinced of the genuineness of Christianity by seeing miraculous signs and wonders from God more than by being convinced doctrinally. He not only practiced this belief in the church he pastored, but he also teamed up with missions professor Peter Wagner to teach and encourage its practice in the Signs and Wonders class at Fuller Seminary. Others who emphasized these signs and wonders include Christian psychologist and speaker John White, former Dallas Seminary professor Jack Deere, and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School faculty member Wayne Grudem. Support for this emphasis has also come from the ministries of such recognized Christian leaders as John Piper.

2. Distinctive Views

The movement’s supporters come from various evangelical backgrounds and do not necessarily want to be identified with traditional man-centered Pentecostal views. Some, in fact, have strong Calvinistic convictions. But all stress the presence of genuine signs and wonders from God today. Tongues-speaking is not emphasized as much as in the more traditional Pentecostal groups, but healings and especially the gift of prophecy are very prominent.

D. Other Contemporary Charismatic Emphases

Also present in more recent years are the ministries of several others who have a strongly charismatic approach and emphasis. These include those who emphasize a “health and wealth” gospel; the ministries of charismatic teachers such as Benny Hinn, Kenneth Hagin, and Kenneth Copeland; and the current ministries of Oral and Richard Roberts, John Arnott and the Toronto Blessing, Paul Cain and the Kansas City Prophets, and Rodney Howard-Browne and John Kilpatrick of the Brownsville Assembly of God Church and the Pensacola Outpouring Revival.

For more, please see George Houghton’s part 1 and part 2 on the topic of Pentecostalism in general. I am aware that some have accused me of being opposed to the supernatural, of miracles. To answer those charges, read my testimonies part 1 and part 2 of miraculous faith healing from asthma, addiction, and a lung infection that doctors could not cure, killed several other people around the same time (including the actress that played the bride in “Meet The Parents”), and had stopped my breathing (I was minutes away from dying people). Also search my archives and take notice of how LEGITIMATE faith healing, miracles, and deliverance from evil spirits is a major area of attention of mine (regrettably I have gotten away from those topics in these past months and need to get back into them). 

But I must say that I was motivated to finally deal with Sid Roth after seeing him promote a pastor who claims that during his worship services, angel feathers, gold dust, and precious jewels would appear out of thin air. The pastor was also selling a book – with companion DVD – claiming to have discovered in scripture the secret for unlocking the power of God in your life that he was using to bring forth these manifestations (it is humility). Let me first state that Christianity IS NOT a secret religion. It is based on revelation from the Bible that is freely available to all. People speaking of finding secrets and unlocking spiritual keys are actually practicing gnosticism, which is based on using gnosis (secret knowledge) to advance spiritually and attain salvation. Gnostics were syncretists who assimilated elements of virtually every religion and belief system of the time that suited them in order to create their own abominations. And no, the gnostics did not invent the notion of secret or magical spiritual keys or codes embedded in religious texts. That idea long predated them, coming from the ancient near east mystery religions and cults. Basically, gnosticism was a mixture of Christianity, Judaism, and western (especially Greek) mythology and philosophy, and who knows what else. So, the third wavers that are convinced that they are finding some new – or rediscovering some lost – way of reading the Bible and worshiping God through Jesus Christ under the Holy Spirit are actually just rehashing the same vile dark deceptions that John, Jude, Paul, etc. took up most of the New Testament contending against. So much of what we know about Christian doctrine and practice in the New Testament was not information volunteered at the author’s initiative, but rather came from an apostle writing an epistle to oppose some lie that people claiming to have secret knowledge or special revelation was passing around! 

But the primary issue that must be dealt with is the erroneous fascination of third wave pentecostals on signs and wonders: miracles and revelation. The reason is that it is BACKWARDS. This fascination is due to faithlessness by the alleged faithful. If you truly believe nothing else in the Bible but Genesis 1:1, the idea that God can work a miracle should be presupposed, basic, nothing to get excited over. Why? Because it is merely God changing something in the natural realm that He created in the first place … very often things that would change anyway without a miracle! Further, not everyone who witnesses a miracle responds with faith. Case in point: the Pharisees. Despite all that Jesus Christ did, they kept telling Him “OK, just do one more miracle or give us one more sign and THEN we will believe that you are the Messiah.” The Pharisees were simply the spiritual descendants of the children of Israel who refused to enter Canaan after seeing God work the greatest miracles that the world had ever seen to crush the greatest empire of the world AND miraculously sustain them with food and water AND the glory of God on Sinai AND the rock that followed them AND the pillar of fire by night/cloud by day that guided them. What was the problem with those Israelites? Well the least favorite book of this movement, the Book of Hebrews (which says that revelation was completed and ended with Jesus Christ in its opening verses … or maybe 1 Corinthians with its denunciations of confusion and disorder in the church are the least favorite!) it is FAITHLESSNESS. If the basis of your Christian doctrine and affiliation is miracles and signs, trust me, it is never going to be enough, because just like a glutton with a piece of pie or a fornicator and sex partners or a greedy man and dollar bills, you will never be satisfied, you will always seek JUST ONE MORE no matter how much you have already had! 

So, the FAITHFUL who know well and good that God can perform miracles on the natural order … we praise and glorify God over those things true, but those are not the things that we focus on, not the least because evil spirits can emulate those. Do not be offended! Evil spirits emulated several of the signs and wonders of YHWH in Egypt during their contest with Moses. People follow false religions for a reason! And the Bible itself says that the anti-Christ will deceive the whole world with his evil fantastic works, and that but for the grace of God even the very elect would be deceived by him also! 

So no, those who truly believe in God are not after by angel feathers, gold dust, and jewels popping up out of thin air! We are not after new visions, revelations, and secrets. Why? The reason is that those things, while impressive to behold, have no lasting value. They are not the things that the kingdom of heaven is built on. So what true believers love to see and hear about are CHANGED HEARTS as evidenced by CHANGED BEHAVIOR. Unbelievers hearing the gospel and getting saved. People confessing their sins and turning from them rather than using their works, church membership, background, or “anointing” to justify remaining in them. People overcoming the grief of losing a loved one. People forgiving those that have done them grievously wrong. The fearful becoming bold, the haters becoming lovers. THAT is what Christians should seek after and try to participate in. And those are what we Christians should be after. For it is a certainty that demons can motivate tongues and private prayer languages. That goes on in Hindu temples all the time! I have no doubt that a demon can cure – or at least temporarily alleviate – physical ailments. Were that not the case witch doctors, rootworkers, medicine men and women, etc. would go out of business tomorrow. The same with the diviners, necromancers, fortune tellers, etc. People have been seeking out mighty wonders, strange works, new revelations, etc. ever since man rejected the knowledge of God as Paul told us in Romans 1:18-32 for a reason! Not a few missionaries can relate dark spiritual happenings involving the demons that work through those false religions that would curl your hair even if you were bald! Check out “And The Word Came With Power” by missionary Jo Anne Shetler if you doubt. But an evil spirit cannot save someone’s soul or change their heart! So why put all the emphasis on the things that Satan can imitate while ignoring the things that he cannot? I don’t know about you, but while hearing testimonies about people delivered from asthma personally touch me because I was healed of the same, what I really love hearing about is testimonies of God delivering them from selfishness, hate, pride, lying, meanness, sloth, lust, and irresponsibility, for those character flaws and many more I had them, and let me tell you they were much more destructive to me and those around me than my asthma was! 

So then, why DO miracles and revelation occur? Why does God work them? Let me start with my own personal testimony and go from there: God healed my body as part of His plan to draw me to Him and save me from my sins. And that corresponds to the Biblical record. God was not some two bit Las Vegas entertainer performing tricks for the ooohs and aaahs of alcoholics, adulterers, and gamblers. Some say every miracle, every revelation, every prophecy regarded in the Bible played a part in salvation – redemption history, a rough English translation for the German term Heilsgeschichte, God’s plan to redeem mankind from His sin. Others take a broader view and say that it was part of God’s plan to reveal Himself to mankind, with the ultimate and final revelation being His Son Jesus Christ. So, God parting the Red Sea was a salvation – historic act to deliver Israel, His elect nation that He planned to use to be a light to all nations and use to incarnate Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ’s healing the Gentile woman’s daughter in Matthew 15:21-28 was an act of revealing both God’s love and mercy to mankind. Peter’s vision while on the tanner’s rooftop was God letting the Jews know that Jesus Christ came to bring salvation to the Gentiles as well as the Jews. You want to know about the importance of the floating axhead? Well try this link. Ultimately, God had a higher purpose for every miracle, every prophecy, every vision in the Bible. They were not done because people like to see visions. They were done to reveal Himself to sinful men living in a sinful world so that His chosen among them would turn to Him. 

The main thing to remember, third wave charismatics, is that the Bible makes it clear that everyone who works mighty works even in the Name of Jesus Christ will be saved. See Matthew 7:21-23! The Bible even makes it clear that everyone who receives a miracle in the Name of Jesus Christ will be saved! Remember the ten lepers! They all had faith to be healed by Jesus Christ. They were all healed by Jesus Christ. BUT ONLY ONE LEPER BOTHERED TO FALL AT THE FEET OF GOD AND GIVE HIM THANKS! Are you going to allege that a person who is not thankful for the work and person of Jesus Christ is going to be saved by Him? And let me tell you about the one … HE WAS A GENTILE! Let me tell you about the nine … THEY WERE JEWS! Do not misunderstand me, I am not going anti – Semite on you here. Just let me put it into the context. The Jews were in it for the miracle, the Gentile was in it for the God who worked the miracle! So, the Jews in it for the miracle in this story represent church folk who continually need to see signs and wonders to have some semblance of outward faith. In other words: THIRD WAVE CHARISMATICS AND ALL LIKE THEM WHO WILL ABANDON TWO THOUSAND YEARS OF SOUND DOCTRINE BASED ON THE BIBLE TO FOLLOW EMMA THE ANGEL AND SOME MAN WHO KICKS A STOMACH CANCER PATIENT IN THE GUT AND THE GUY DOES NOT EVEN GET HEALED! But Gentile in this story represents the person not in the church who repents and follows Jesus Christ not because they were looking for a miracle, but because they were seeking the God that works the miracle!

And guess what? At the beginning of the leper story, all ten were unsaved. Both groups were all in the same boat. But by the end of the story, only one group was saved, and the other group was unsaved. Can you guess based not on my words but on your knowledge of the Bible which group was saved and which group wasn’t? And after you do that, apply that Sunday school Bible story to your own life situation and ask yourself which group YOU are in!

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