| Re: |
I have spent some time in these denominations and know what they believe at ground level even if it is not admitted officially. They think that God has deserted the traditional denominations because they grieve the Spirit in formality. I have not quoted anyone so don't see why you need a reference and I hardly see it reasonable to question those well known belief of theirs that anyone who has spent time with them knows about. I am really surprised that it is news to you.
| 2010/3/11 8:49|
| Re: |
You have made a valid point I think - that the ministers I am referring to are high profile, but note that I was speaking of the leaders and not the man in the pew. I find it hard to believe that an unbaptised believer would get through the ranks to be in leadership and if so then there is something seriously wrong with denominations that understand the necessity of rebirth and the necessity of baptism in the Spirit.
Since you didn't mention anyone in particular, it would be difficult to distinguish what you mean by "leaders." Many of these men boast in their testimonies that they started their congregations with a small handful of members...or that they were thrust into their position by a majority vote of a board. This does NOT mean that they were prayerfully selected by men or women who were undeniably baptized in the Holy Spirit.
However, I think that I understand your underlying point. What good is it for a man to be a highly visible minister who purports to be a Spirit baptized miracle worker...if that man is caught up into the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes or the pride of life? Of course, this was covered by the Paul in I Corinthians 13...in which instructions from the "love chapter" were spoken in the middle of instruction about the gifts of the Spirit (I Corinthians 12 and I Corinthians 14). Paul started off by saying, "[i]Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity...[/i]" Supposed gifts (or even real gifts) that result from a purported Spirit baptism are useless if they aren't accompanied by real faith and love.
I am amazed at the statistic you quote that 85% say they have not experienced the blessing which is taught to be vital in the Christian life, and even elders included. There is something amiss here and only 15% should be speaking in tongues yet from my own experience only a few admit they do not. No doubt they are aware that disclosure would cause others to see them as second class.
Well, that was not the statistic of the congregation itself (or a denomination or national fellowship)...but the stats for that particular evening meeting. However, I do think that this might be indicative of a greater situation in Pentecostals and Charismatic congregations. I don't know what would cause a man who is not truly Baptized in the Holy Spirit to pretend that he is. However, I have spoken with people who admitted that they faked being "slain in the spirit" at some charismatic gatherings out of a weird form of peer pressure (in which they feared being considered less spiritual if they didn't fall down). I have also met men who admitted that they were never baptized in the Holy Spirit but who had been "speaking in tongues" for years. Again, they blamed it upon peer pressure mingled with a little doctrinal and anecdotal confusion.
At the same time, I have met some wonderful men and women who were baptized with the Holy Spirit and lived very godly lives.
My earlier point though is that these denominations are claiming for themselves a higher ground than other denominations in that they feel they are not grieving the Spirit whereas they feel that others are which is in direct opposition to what is heard though the media concerning great falls from grace and there have been many you must admit that some of them quite shocking. But now that this is pointed out, suddenly they are just the same as other denominations - do you see the contradiction?
If a group are claming a higher ground then they should be showing this in their behaviour and not be just like the rest.
Are we speaking about denominations or individual men? Again, it is difficult to comment when you haven't really named the denominations of which you are referring. I suppose that the same issue can be raised in regard to any "holiness" congregation. There have been independent baptist churches that have been engulfed in scandal, albeit at a more local (and less visible) manner.
Personally, I found my own experience to be a bit different from much of what is taught in Pentecostal or charismatic circles. I think that I am, by nature, rather skeptical of the claims and teachings of men (including those that come in the form of denominations or local congregations). I was not baptized with the Holy Spirit until a certain amount of time after I surrendered my life to the Lord. After much study, I was convinced that this experience existed and did not cease with the first apostles or the end of the first century.
I sought the experience with great diligence...but it just didn't happen. After one day spent seeking this experience, I remember just giving up. I was somewhat disappointed, and reflected that I might have been seeking gifts rather than the substantive effect that those gifts could have on my relationship with the Lord. I poured out my heart to the Lord in prayer. I told the Lord that I didn't want to be baptized in the Holy Spirit so that I could speak with tongues, prophesy, or have some other recognizable gift. I told the Lord that I just wanted to know Him more...to be more intimate with Him...and more readily equipped to serve Him while I walk on this earth. I got to the point where I didn't even care about "tongues" and told the Lord as much.
I began to worship the Lord in tearful sincerity. As I worshiped the Lord, the baptism came. As I wept, my mouth uttered words that I did not understand...but understood were not meaningless babel. As logical, analytical and skeptical as my mind can be, I even considered those words and phrases. But I quickly realized that it was not from me. The words of James 1:17 immediately came to my mind. Those words that I was speaking flowed with joy and tears as they poured from my mouth. The only thing that I can compare that experience with is the one in which I came to Christ...in that my heart was completely enraptured with the knowledge that I, a mere teenage boy, did actually know the Lord God -- the one true Living God.
I knew that there was a difference immediately after this experience. However, my experience was different than what is often shared from pulpits in charismatic churches. In regard to tongues, I couldn't simply "turn it on" or "turn it off" like pastors in many churches (who often instruct believers to speak or pray in tongues on cue). However, there are moments when I am praying...thinking about something or someone...and even while reading a newspaper article about something...when I am overcome with passion or compassion...and it happens afresh (just like that first time). The tears flow...and so do the words.
As great as an experience as this was in my life, I am still me. I am not Superman, Superchristian or some sort of Christian robot. I am always thinking about the Lord. He is the center of my universe and the central theme of my life. However, unfortunately, I am still me. This is the great wrestling as I endeavor to rid myself of, well, myself as I am formed in the image of Christ. Yet, sometimes, I am still tempted by the things of this world. I am tempted by pride, laziness, gossip, lust, anger, etc... Of course, it seems that this was true in the early church too. Paul and Barnabas had a divisive split in regard to taking John Mark with them on a journey -- so much so that they split fellowship over it (Acts 15:36-40). Likewise, the Apostle Paul had to rebuke the Apostle Peter in front of other believers over something as superficial as circumcision and other former legal requirements (Galatians 2:11-16). These men were certainly baptized with the Holy Spirit and spake with tongues...yet were still prone to error.
However, I do agree that it is unbecoming to proclaim to live for the Lord in a highly visible manner and with such an "enhanced" experience and then live, move and even preach things that are contrary to the Word of God. The world looks at that and cries, "Hypocrite!" They are correct. You would think that a Todd Bentley, Ted Haggard, Aimee Simple McPherson, Earl Paulk or other charismatic preachers were perceptive or "gifted" enough to realize that they shouldn't be preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ while living in gross sin. You would think that the often-charismatic prosperity preachers like Benny Hinn (and perhaps 90% of those that appear on TBN) would know better than to teach men to covet the things of this world (if they were truly baptized with the Holy Spirit).
The examples you quoted from scripture are indeed true but they were not in proportion to how many fall today and with the benefit of being in NT times. This period of history is unpresidented in the shame which is being brought upon the church. Others did fall in the past but even the fact of the immediacy of the media does not stop the MANY who are betraying Christ today.
It is a common device to claim that all sins are as bad as each other but this is not true. Some sins are much worse in the destructiveness they have for society and family life and sexual sin is one of them.
Well, sin is still sin. "Little foxes" can destroy vines far more effectively than a wild fire because the casual observer won't notice or take precautions against them. For every high profile preacher that falls into physical sexual immorality, I suppose that there are many more non-TV preachers who are secretly trapped in the sin of lust. According to Christ, lust is the equivalent of adultery...because it is adultery of the heart (Matthew 5:27-28). The Lord said similar things about hate and murder (Matthew 5:21-22).
Yes, there are plenty of high profile preachers who have fallen into sexual sin. However, we can't properly compare this handful of high profile supposedly-charismatic ministers with the many thousands of ministers (career ministers or lay ministers) who have existed over the past 2000 years. However, I have read local articles about preachers from many denominations who have fallen into sin (including sexual sins). Thus, this isn't confined to charismatic or Pentecostal circles. However, I suppose that you are correct in that it looks worse when it comes from men who present themselves on such lofty pedestals.
The best thing that we can do as believers is realize that "all men are grass." We should "test everything" and "hold onto the good" (I Thessalonians 5:21). That way, our faith will not rest with man but with God.
| 2010/3/11 13:23||Profile|
| Re: |
It seems among many who claim the baptism that they feel with this second experience they now have it all. Thats how it was among the holiness people of the 19th century
and also among the Pentecostals of the 20th century, generally speaking I think. But it isnt all. Far from it. It is but the beginning.
Very true. In my estimation, the baptism of the Holy Spirit was never intended to be "optional equipment" for a believer, but was intended to be integral to our walk with God. It is not a plateau to be scaled and stood upon, but the indwelling presence of God, the same power that raised Christ from the dead, that empowers us. It is a little bit like purchasing a new tool. It is not for the sake of placing in the living room and admiring with pride, but rather it empowers you to go out there and get the things done that you needed the tool to do.
| 2010/3/11 17:29||Profile|
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I did not feel it was necessary to name names as I am sure that we are all aware of the people and denominations that have caused all of the scandals in the last few years. The judgement is so much harsher on leaders than the ordinary man in the church and the damage done so much more severe. Atheists stand by and gloat. I believe that these leaders are going to be instrumental in the persecution ahead for us all - have you heard the hatred from atheists already?
I am not sure what you were saying about your own tongue speaking - do you mean that it is out of your control? What about the verse that says that the spirit is to be subject to the spirit?
For myself I take great care about sensations, and any other outward physical things. I agree with St John of the Cross that they are best disregarded due to the risk of deception from the enemy and I would particularly be cautious of anything that took dominion over me as it says that the Holy Spirit is likened to a dove. His dealings with us are gentle and can be resisted.
I would also be wary of anything which proported to be a baptism of the Spirit which did not leave me in the same state as the apostles - totally tranformed and able to live in holiness.
It is often pointed out that Peter and Paul in fact sinnned but the mistake is made in assuming that they always sinned and not that scripture pointed out two rare occurances when normally they walked in holiness as according to verses which let us know this.
Sinless perfection does not say that one can never sin again - this is a gross misunderstanding. It does say that one can fall from this state and Wesley found that most believers that he interviewed who claimed SP did in fact go through a falling back but were restored before the blessing could establish itself.
St John is describing this as the dark night of the spirit and it is a necessary part of the process of being united eventually with Christ and walking as He walked in this life not the next.
The difference between us is that I expect to be a super Christian in that I am willing to pay the price and look to being as useful in His hands as any other of the super saints.
| 2010/3/12 4:02|