SermonIndex Audio Sermons
Image Map
Discussion Forum : General Topics : EXPERIENCE - and the Rise of Emotionalism

Print Thread (PDF)

Goto page ( 1 | 2 | 3 Next Page )

Joined: 2008/5/3
Posts: 435

 EXPERIENCE - and the Rise of Emotionalism

by William (Bill) Davis

"I would like to begin by giving some background information concerning my roots in Pentecostalism. I believe it is important for anyone reading this to understand that I am not someone new to the Pentecostal or Charismatic movement. My roots go down deep into Pentecostalism. I was a third generation Pentecostal. My maternal grandparents were “old time” Pentecostals and my grandfather was a Pentecostal preacher of the old style. As a matter of fact, I was a Pentecostal before there was anyone known as a “charismatic.”

"I was in Pentecostalism over 50 years of my life. As a boy I can remember the old camp-meeting days when we worshiped under a tin roof and sawdust on a dirt floor. My family’s roots were originally in the Congregational Holiness denomination - a group that splintered off from the Pentecostal Holiness. I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida, a fairly large city, where you could always find a variety of Pentecostal churches to attend. While attending the Arlington Church of God at the age of twenty, I believed I was being “called” into the ministry and so I started preaching. The following year I was married. In time, my wife and I eventually ended up in the Assemblies of God where I was a licensed preacher for 27 years. "


"The Bible has a secondary place with Pentecostals as compared to experience. This does not mean they do not claim to love and honor the Word of God. They do. However, they constantly show by their actions that experience is far more important than what Scripture says.

Pentecostalism is all about feeling good. Charismatics speak about celebrating where worship is concerned. They all want an emotional high when they come together for worship. They believe these positive emotions are an indicator of the presence of God and that presence takes priority over what is written.

Listen to one of the leaders in the Assemblies of God. George O. Wood writes: “As Pentecostals, we intuitively approach the biblical text in a manner different from most of our evangelical brothers and yes, sisters. We factor in the element of experience as a lens through which we look at Scripture.

The problem with this is that it leads to subjectivism. When experience is your highest priority, truth becomes subjective, Scripture is ignored."

"Pentecostals wrongly believe that their precedent for emotionalism was established on the day of Pentecost. They believe the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost was more about an emotional experience than anything else. They stumble over the simple truth that the apostles spoke foreign languages by the operation of the Holy Spirit in order to communicate the wonderful truth of God (Acts 2:11). The context of Acts chapter two never reveals that the Holy Spirit came as an emotional experience as we see Pentecostals encouraging today. Emotionalism was not the purpose of the Spirit’s coming. There is nothing bizarre taking place in Acts two or any other place in the New Testament. The Holy Spirit did not come to excite anyone. He did not come to stimulate anyone. He did not come to cause anyone to flail, thrash or whirl about uncontrollably. The Spirit came sovereignly, filled the apostles and they spoke in languages they had not learned."

"During my 50 plus years as a Pentecostal, I had been involved in countless Pentecostal and charismatic influences. It would be safe to say that I have been in hundreds of various meetings or gatherings in one form or another. I attended several meetings involving the “Prophetic Movement.” In one conference we were taught how to prophesy to people. They call it being “activated.” My wife and I made two trips to Toronto for “Catch The Fire” conferences. This is where the famed “Toronto Blessing” took place. "

"After all the claims of healings, salvations and miracles, no one was any different. After the scores of people who attended and our building being packed night after night, our attendance was less and our finances depleted. By this time, my wife and I felt depleted ourselves. We had put our hearts and souls into these efforts because we believed it to be God-approved; and who doesn’t want to experience the same power and miracles we read about in the New Testament? I can’t tell you how many hours we spent in prayer or the number of meals we fasted, all because we wanted nothing more than God. But after all of this, it wasn’t God that we saw, it was man. From Toronto, to Brownsville, to Cottage Hill, and many more places I could name, there were no miracles, no power, no gifts, no healings, nothing but the theatrical antics and delusions of men. What was claimed for the great power of God was nothing more than musical hype and psychologically induced emotionalism. "

The Rise of Emotionalism

By Jerry Wragg

"Evangelicalism’s descent into spiritual lethargy and sensuality over the past forty years has been noted by almost every student of the church and culture. The naked result from years of entrenched pragmatism is a superficial, narcissistic Christianity that exalts emotional experience over just about every other consideration. Emotionalism plagues our corporate praise, our counseling, our preaching, and our approach to spiritual growth."

"Truth is utterly objective. It comes from God—from outside of us—and is revealed to us by His special grace. As its subjects, we are called to respond to its inherent objectivity, clarity, and authority. It is neither legitimate nor wise to debate with God or “filter” His revelation through our own subjective judgments. And it is exceedingly dangerous to pursue and measure a relationship with God by means of sense and experience. The word of God alone grants us “everything pertaining to life and godliness” (2 Pet 1:3). When we entrust ourselves wholly to divine truth we are never on unstable ground. In fact, humble faith—not feelings—is how the believer “walks” in the power of the Spirit and grows strong against temptation (Galatians 5:16)."

By Brian Schwertley

"It is ironic that Charismatics, who consider themselves experts on the Holy Spirit, completely misunderstand the purpose of the Holy Spirit’s ministry. Does the Bible teach that the Holy Spirit came so that we could have a wonderful, subjective experience? So that we could have wonderful religious sensations? So that we could feel electric current in our bodies? So that we could have an exciting, mind-blowing experience? So that our worship services would make people go, “Wow, how thrilling”? Does the Bible teach that the Holy Spirit came so that people would focus on the Holy Spirit? So that people would hang banners with representations of doves in their churches and have seminars on Spirit-baptism, etc.? No, not at all. Listen carefully to what Jesus Christ says about the Spirit’s ministry: “When He, the Spirit of truth, has come...He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you” (Jn. 16:13-14). The Holy Spirit came to point men to Christ and to glorify Christ. "

 2017/8/7 8:02Profile

Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7470

 Re: EXPERIENCE - and the Rise of Emotionalism


Thanks for posting this article. Am wondering - is this article detailing your experience or is it of another?
We have limited interaction with Pentecostals but those that do are left shaking their heads with the lack of holiness as demonstrated by them.

In my experience as a counselor at a CPC the most difficult client I would see was one who was raised in the Pentecostal tradition. They were defiant to an extreme - no matter what you said they would contradict it; they were bitter. Clients who were raised in the Baptist or Catholic or whatever never demonstrated this kind of behaviors. Often wondered why. Maybe you would have an insight to this?


Sandra Miller

 2017/8/7 11:29Profile

 Re: EXPERIENCE - and the Rise of Emotionalism

This is a caricatural view of Pentecostals. And of course, there is the co-mingling of pentecostal and charismatic. The equivalent would be for me to say that all Baptists are dead emotionally when it comes to their faith and that they only have head knowledge and approach the Scriptures with the deadness of a pharisee. It would be silly for me to say that even if in my own experience it were true, but then my own experience is just that, and of course is limited.

The good pentecostals I have met are glorious saints who first and foremost love the word and the experience they have has nothing to do with "feeeling good."

Dont get me wrong, I reject almost entirely, the charismatic movement for everything that was written and more. But long before the charismatic movement, the Pentecostals had their enemies within Christendom who hated them for the mere fact that they had any experience at all.

If you have never "experienced," the Lord my advice would be to check your spirit and see what spirit ye are of.

Life in the presence of God should be known to us in conscious experience. It is a life to be enjoyed every moment of every day. -A. W. Tozer

How utterly foreign that is to the spirit of modern orthodoxy.How foreign to the bland assurances that because we can quote the text of Scripture we must have the experience. This strange textulism that assumes that because we can quote chapter and verse we posses the content and experience is a grave hindrance to spiritual progress. I think it is one of the deadliest, most chilling breezes that ever blew across the church of God - Tozer

The deadliest breeze and the greatest danger to the Body of Christ comes from the man or woman who has no experience at all other than the knowledge that lies within their heads...............bro Frank

 2017/8/7 12:43

Joined: 2005/6/6
Posts: 655
Campbell River, B.C.


Amen Frank. "A man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with an argument." (I forget who said that, but I think it was Ravenhill.)

It is my personal opinion (and experience) that when God touches you, He touches the whole man, emotions included. I don't know where I'd be if it wasn't for the manifest presence of Jesus.

Nigel Holland

 2017/8/7 18:44Profile

Joined: 2010/1/9
Posts: 241

 Re: EXPERIENCE - and the Rise of Emotionalism

Sounds like some disappointment here in this post,which we all have had some I am sure.
Could not agree more that the Holy Spirit glorifies, and points to Jesus continually1 Amen!
When Jesus says 'if the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed..' I 'think' we believe that we are body, soul, and spirit. So every part of us is made free in Jesus. I am not a professional but I think traditionally the soul is thought to be the 'emotional' part of our being.
Being made free to love, God and man, free to be who God created me to be in Him, to praise Him day and night, to walk in the unspeakable joy of His Presence.

Is somebody saying we can do all this and not consider it an experience!? Life changing! Experience the metamorphosis and not be emotional! Are you serious! Go from caterpillar to butterfly and yawn! If we ask for bread he will not give us a stone... etc

The Kingdom of God is Righteousness peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. This is an experience of deepest proportions.




 2017/8/7 20:16Profile

Joined: 2008/5/3
Posts: 435


Sandra, no I'm not William (Bill) Davis or any of the two other authors,
although my personal experiences in charismatic church services
made me come to the same conclusion.

"They were defiant to an extreme" - maybe if you are more specific
with details that would help to understand their reasons, otherwise
I can only guess: a) "they had their priorities wrong" b) "they were
of a different spirit"

Personal experiences are important, but just because I have seen
many true and lasting healings of people I don't run around and claim
that I have a healings ministry, it was Jesus that answered prayers,
has nothing to do with me, except faith that accompanied the prayers.

Demons got cast out of people, real ones that identified themselves
by name, and visibly tortured people, but that has nothing to do
with any spirituality of people that do it, they had to go out in and
by the name of Jesus Christ. He is the Lord they 'know' by name.

Charismatic worship services where music is used in the wrong way
I despise very strongly, because I was an 'euphoria expert' long
before I became a Christian, now I'm only interested in the truth
regardless how it makes me feel. Sensing is very much abused.

Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go
away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you;
but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come,
he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of
judgment: John 16:7  

So real comfort is in the truth, not neccessarily in pleasure of the
senses. But it takes experience and age to differentiate the two.


 2017/8/7 21:04Profile

Joined: 2009/4/5
Posts: 2000
Joplin, Missouri


George: Hey brother. It is a blessing to know your name. Thank you for sharing.

I have been in charismatic services where I was pretty eager to find a door out. I have seen people "pitching quarters" for the anointing, passing around mirrors to see who got gold teeth, and several other very odd and flaky practices. I have seen believers who were into themselves and who were totally unteachable. I have seen this equally in pentecostal and non-pentecostal people. The problem is not pentecost. The problem is fleshliness.

I do not believe that the fact that people get odd and even very OFF sometimes means that there is a problem with the Holy Spirit or with Pentecost. I have also experience the very real power of God with many gifts of the Spirit in operation. I have seen peoples lives be totally transformed through the experience of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Its the old baby and bathwater cliche.

I will say this pretty emphatically, because I believe it wholeheartedly and because I have experienced it for myself. God never intended for us to know about Him, He intended for us to encounter Him in a very real and very personal way. This is an experience. We do not learn spiritual truth, we experience spiritual truth.

Let me give you an example. A few months back I was having a pretty rough few days. I was really being fought against spiritually. I determined that it could not persist and decided to get alone with God until all was well again. I began to pray and the Lord directed me to the first three chapters of Ephesians and He instructed me to, "Read this in order to see how much I love you." So I did. Within 30 minutes, the Holy Spirit had so quickened this truth to my spirit that I was jumping up and down and dancing around in my kitchen, tears streaming down my face, yelling, "He loves me, He loves me, He loves me." It was a new level of revelation of His love for me and it has radically transformed my walk with God ever since. The truth of the word of God experienced as revelation in my spirit. I really don't think you can divorce the two. To do so is to try to have an intellectual relationship with God. That would be like trying to have an intellectual relationship with your wife...and we could try to see how that one would work out.

You are right. Demons go, sicknesses are healed, etc., through the NAME of Jesus. I totally agree. I don't think any pentecostal would disagree with that. You are also right in saying that the fact that God uses a person to do this is not a measure of that person's spirituality. I believe we get into trouble when we are so insecure in who we are in Christ that we need some kind of miracle or manifestation to make us feel spiritual. Those who know their God will do exploits.

I would also add this. We get into trouble when we compare ourselves among ourselves and try put our perceived spirituality on a scale somewhere. One should never think of himself as more spiritual than another.


 2017/8/7 21:47Profile

Joined: 2010/7/9
Posts: 295
Canton, Michigan


A quote from Bill Davis,
“As Pentecostals, we intuitively approach the biblical text in a manner different from most of our evangelical brothers and yes, sisters. We factor in the element of experience as a lens through which we look at Scripture.

The problem with this is that it leads to subjectivism. When experience is your highest priority, truth becomes subjective, Scripture is ignored."

The bible uses the word Charisma at least 18 times in the NT which is translated “Gift”. Strongs definition of Charisma says this:

From G5483; a (divine) gratuity, that is, deliverance (from danger or passion); (specifically) a (spiritual) endowment, that is, (subjectively) religious qualification, or (objectively) miraculous faculty: - (free) gift.

Thayer Definition:
1) a favour with which one receives without any merit of his own
2) the gift of divine grace
3) the gift of faith, knowledge, holiness, virtue
4) the economy of divine grace, by which the pardon of sin and eternal salvation is appointed to sinners in consideration of the merits of Christ laid hold of by faith
5) grace or gifts denoting extraordinary powers, distinguishing certain Christians and enabling them to serve the church of Christ, the reception of which is due to the power of divine grace operating on their souls by the Holy Spirit

A Charismatic is a spiritual person endued with a gift from God. It is not based on human emotion but on the power of God; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These individuals who are incessant on attacking the Holy Spirit, His function, His representation of the Godhead; His promise to lead, guide, and empower the saints because of those individuals the bible, Jesus Christ, and the apostles warned us about is very sad.

It is unfortunate that those of us who have partaken of such a glorious promise which is not based on fleshly emotionalism must continually defend God for it is He who promised the indwelling Holy Spirit who would cause His people to worship him in Spirit and truth. They would also preach the word of God with God Himself confirming that preaching with spiritual signs following.

When I was saved I went from being a Catholic to a Pentecostal church. I experienced supernatural manifestations of the spirit by faithful individuals yet I never received the Baptism until 9 years later. During that time the Lord protected me from numerous individuals to neither follow nor give heed to their words or teaching.

These men included both so called Charismatics as well as those men who continued down a path of attacking the Holy Spirit. While I could not explain why I was kept from following these men, once I received the Baptism it all became clear.

Most false Charismatics preach another jesus and one who paid for our sins in hell and not on the cross, this is a common theme with these men and women. On the flip side you have those who are so focused on the false that they cannot see, discern, or receive the real.

These men claim that spirit filled people base their faith on emotions which is the farthest thing from the truth for a true Charismatic. For those who feel a need to constantly apologize for being a Charismatic will have to remove several key and important verses from the bible.

Are you ready to apologize on Gods behalf for Romans 6:23, For the wages of sin is death but the gift (Charisma) of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 1:11 For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift (Charisma), to the end ye may be established;

1 Corinthians 1:6-7 (6) Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: (7) So that ye come behind in no gift (Charisma); waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:

1 Timothy 4:14 Neglect not the gift (Charisma) that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.

1 Peter 4:10 As every man hath received the gift (Charisma), even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

As a Charismatic believer I readily admit there are truly false deceptive behaviors going on in Charismania but I also admit that there are those outside of this experience who are just as false and deceptive because they are unable to discern as the scriptures clearly teach and they willing deny the gift (Charisma) of the bible.

This is a very serious subject because the bible says that the wheat and tares will grow together until the harvest. While I will not forsake the Holy Spirit within me or apologize on Gods behalf for the gift of the Holy Spirit, I know that there are those outside of this experience who are the wheat of God.

But those who teach others that the Holy Spirit is something evil or wicked that is a whole other story.

David Fella

 2017/8/7 21:50Profile

Joined: 2009/4/5
Posts: 2000
Joplin, Missouri


The problem with this is that it leads to subjectivism. When experience is your highest priority, truth becomes subjective, Scripture is ignored."

I would say that this is not a pentecostal problem. Emotional response is emotional response, regardless of the emotion being felt. The author might well say that the problem with charismatics is that they allow emotional experience to override scripture, and in doing so they become subjective and get off. But the emotion of fear will cause us to do the same thing. It does not matter what side of the road you are on, for you are stuck in a ditch either way.

Put another way. I have seen many who, out of fear of getting carried away, will only approach scripture based upon their own intellect and power of reason. Their statement is, "We base our doctrine upon sound study of truth, not upon experience." But in doing this they must ignore scripture and base their walk on their own subjective logic.

I have seen many who, getting carried away with euphoria, approach the spiritual walk almost entirely ignoring scripture for the sake of some supernatural word from the Lord. their statement is, "God told me this and I have a word straight from Him." To do this, they ignore scripture and base their walk on their subjective emotions.

Are these not one and the same? Both lead to error. No, actually I should say both are error.

Another verse that came to mind. How many times did Paul say, "I say this through the gift that is given to me.", and then proceed to give counsel. The gift (Charisma) is the Holy Spirit empowerment that accompanied Paul's apostolic calling. According to Eph. 4, every man has the same charisma, according to the measure of Christ, that is to accompany his ministry.


 2017/8/7 22:14Profile

Joined: 2008/5/3
Posts: 435


"We do not learn spiritual truth, we experience spiritual truth."

....the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. John 6:63

some say that's not possible, since His words are printed on paper,
so how can they be spirit, so they look for something that is "more real"
and turn their attention and focus to "gifts" instead to the Giver of gifts.

yes we dont learn His word, we eat it, it's an experience, hahaha,
intellectual undstanding is of the flesh, just like a constant occupation
with gifts, I cannot understand how people are so unsure about
themselves to constantly want to discuss "toungues" for example,
as if that would explain anything one way or the other.

On the other side of the spectrum are these people that claim
"Paul is actually shorter in reality than I thought" after their alleged
visit to heaven. That is when experience has blinded some to the
objective truth of scripture. How can they be saved?

Youtube wasn't invented at time of Azusa, but Toronto is fully covered,
so we can evaluate if William (Bill) Davis has a point or not.
I saw many of those videos and discovered something much more
troublesome than he did: By that time the satanists had moved into the
movement, and the Holy Spirit can show you that if you listen carefully.
They not only not speak in toungues, they place satan worship within
their toungues.

It's great to defend 'charisma' in order to concentrate on the true
and associate with that by name, and try to forget the fake. However,
all the warnings in the Bible are there for a reason, and that is that
even the 'elect' are so tempted to be seduced by the fake (if it were
possible) that there is some 'anti Christ' at the end of times that
wants our worship and basically forces us to reveal our true
heart condition and tree we belong to.

And that puzzle is solved who that will be after you can piece it all
together. The global religion of the anti-Christ is freemasonry,
they control the Jesuits and Rome. Above them sits British Israelism
that never went away, just is more subtle today than at the days
of Parham. Their "Masonic Christ" will appear to test our faith, our
heart our spiritual condition and all of our understanding.

 2017/8/8 6:05Profile

Promoting Genuine Biblical Revival.
Privacy Policy