Archive

Archive for March, 2011

Concerning Describing Heaven

To pretend to describe the excellence, the greatness or duration of the happiness of heaven by the most artful composition of words would be but to darken and cloud it; to talk of raptures and ecstasies, joy and singing, is but to set forth very low shadows of the reality.

Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)

Today’s Charismatic Tongues Examined Pt 1

Charismatics, or if you prefer Neo-Pentecostals make much of the fact that they can supposedly speak in tongues. They boast of this ability and make those who do not manifest this phenomenon feel inferior. They claim that everyone ought to seek this supposed gift and if they do not, then they are being disobedient to God.

What I want to examine today is whether or not today’s Charismatics actually manifest the same gift as that which was given in the book of Acts? If they do, then maybe the Cessationist has missed something. But if what they have does not measure up to what was given to the early Church, then they ought not to be participating in such phenomenon.

Let’s look in the book of Acts and read what happened when the day of Pentecost was fully come.

 

Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

Acts 2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

Acts 2:3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Acts 2:5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.

Acts 2:6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.

Acts 2:7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?

Acts 2:8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?

 

The last verse of which we read is the clincher that disproves the tongue speakers of today. This scripture plainly declares that Jews gathered from all nations heard the apostles and their group speak in their own language. You see there were Jews gathered together from many different countries who now spoke in the language of the country from which they came. When the Spirit came on the apostles and their group they were given the ability to speak in the language of all these other Jews. Therefore the gift of speaking in tongues was the apostolic ability to go into any city, area, or country and speak in the native language without having ever learned the language.

Do today’s tongue speakers measure up to the phenomenon which was given on the day of Pentecost? Do they have the ability to go into any country and preach the gospel in the language of the people there or do they have to go to school and learn that language before they go on their missionary trips?

I want to tell you today that all Charismatics will readily admit that they have to go into a school and learn new languages before they can go witness to other nations. They readily admit that they have no ability to speak in foreign languages when they meet someone who speaks a different language.

I know the objection of today’s Charismatic. He will say that the tongues that he speaks with are a heavenly prayer language that no one understands. Yet I challenge him to show me in scripture where any such language was ever given or manifested? Paul told the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 14:

 

1Co 14:15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.

 

You see the same phenomenon that is going on in today’s Charismatic churches was also being practiced at Corinth. Before the Corinthian was saved and came to the knowledge of Christ he would go down to the local temples and speak in gibberish. They would make sounds that have no meaning. This is why Paul writes to them and rebukes them for speaking in all kinds of gibberish and nonsense that cannot be understood.

As someone who was in the Charismatic churches from 1992 to 2008 I can tell you that all the tongue speaking that I ever heard was nonsense and gibberish. The tongue speaking that went on would be one or two syllables repeated over and over. After the tongue speaker would get through there would be at times someone who would get up and supposedly interpret these so-called tongues. When the interpretation would come forth there would be five or six sentences (sometimes more) worth of interpretation. I want to tell you that there is no known language on the face of this earth whereby one can get five or six sentences from two syllables.

Some of the main people that were doing the supposed tongue speaking were women. This is why Paul commanded the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 14:

 

1Co 14:34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.

 

And he said three verses later

 

1Co 14:37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.

 

Almost always a Charismatic is an Arminian and he boasts of being able to keep God’s commands, yet he ignores the New Testament commandments. In the scripture I just read Paul says that what he writes is the command of the Lord. Therefore “Let your women keep silent in the churches” is a command of the Lord.

So what I want to conclude today is that today’s Pentecostals should not call themselves Pentecostals. This is because the so called tongue speaking that they do does not resemble that which was given by the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Instead they ought to call themselves Corinthians. Today’s Charismatics are just like the Corinthians who were speaking gibberish and disrupting the service and had no order in the things that they were doing.

Next week we will examine the reason tongues was given or in other words what was the purpose of this sign?

Hershel Lee Harvell Jr.

Concerning the Christian’s Life

Whomever the Lord has adopted and deemed worthy of his fellowship ought to prepare themselves for a hard, toilsome, and unquiet life, crammed with very many and various kinds of evil. It is the Heavenly Father’s will thus to exercise them so as to put his own children to a definite test. Beginning with Christ, his first-born, he follows this plan with all his children.

John Calvin, The Institutes of the Christian Religion [1559]

God’s Grace is Sufficient

Ah! the bridge of grace will bear your weight, brother. Thousands of big sinners have gone across that bridge, yea, tens of thousands have gone over it. I can hear their trampings now as they traverse the great arches of the bridge of salvation. They come by their thousands, by their myriads; e’er since the day when Christ first entered into His glory, they come, and yet never a stone has sprung in that mighty bridge. Some have been the chief of sinners, and some have come at the very last of their days, but the arch has never yielded beneath their weight. I will go with them trusting to the same support; it will bear me over as it has borne them.

C.H. Spurgeon (1834-1892)

Consumer Driven Gospel

Is your church consumer driven or should I ask do you have a consumer driven gospel?

Many today try to sell the church of Christ as they would a product that is on the market. I pass Church announcement boards all the time that read something like this:

 

Have a better life, try Jesus.

Heaven or Hell, Your Choice.

If you would like to go to heaven, then come to Jesus.

 

These examples and many others are nothing more than advertisements for the consumer driven gospel. This gospel tries to appeal to the natural desires of men. It promises a better life, better marriage, or better way. This gospel promises to give the natural man what he wants without making a commitment to God. In other words natural man certainly does not want to go to Hell, yet he certainly does not want Christ either.

When I pass Church signs with their little slogans on it, I shake my head and laugh because I see that the sign is just an ad. It is no more than the beer ad that I passed before I got to the church. The beer ad promised a smooth, cool, refreshing drink. The church ad tried to sell the kingdom of God just by trying Jesus. What is the difference? They are both trying to sell something.

However let’s turn this around and place it back upon the Christian. I have heard many Christians speak of not liking a service because they did not get anything out of it. They complain because the Pastor never shook their hand. They complain that the music was not to their liking. I know that this has more to do with consumer driven worship, but what is similar in the two scenarios just given? There both centered on a consumer driven gospel.

I realize that what I have stated in this small post is simple, but that is my purpose. I do not wish that anyone miss what I am saying. The gospel is not to be centered on man. The gospel is not about how we may profit if we try it. Nor are we to come to Church expecting the service to be centered on ourselves. But we ought to center the gospel on Christ where it belongs.

The gospel has an object and that object is Jesus. His life, death, burial, and resurrection are the gospel. So the objective part of the gospel is about Christ. Nevertheless there is also a subjective element to the gospel and that is the benefits that we derive from it. In other words Christ lived, died, was buried, and resurrected, but he did not do this for himself, but done these things for his people.

Therefore we ought to think before we decorate our signs with ads of eternal bliss. We ought to think before we get into the pulpit and preach our messages. We ought to stop and ask ourselves several questions. Did Jesus have to die for this church slogan to be placed here? Did Jesus have to die in order that this message that I am about to preach could be preached? In other words what we do should bring glory to Christ and ought to bring glory to the gospel of which he is the central part.

Hershel Lee Harvell Jr.

R. C. Sproul, Albert Mohler, and Ravi Zacharias on the Emergent Church

Concerning Believing the Gospel

If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.

 Saint Augustine (354-430)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 834 other followers