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Against the Doctrines of the Trichotomists

The false teaching known as ‘trichotomy’ is a belief that man is made up of three parts. The trichotomists say that man is spirit, soul, and body. There are no such doctrines in scripture. The Bible is plain that God took the dust of the earth and formed it into a body and breathed into the nostrils and man became a living soul. The word soul  and spirit are interchangeably used throughout scripture to speak of that part of man which is immaterial. Man is material (body) and immaterial (soul or spirit).

This heresy has been refuted by the early church. I want to give you an great article that refutes this doctrine today.

Trichotomists, Charismatics, and 1 Corinthians 14 by Daniel M. Brown

1 Corinthians 14 is one of the most popular chapters in the Bible for Charismatics. Practically every Charismatic author that writes anything on the gifts of the Holy Spirit will refer to this chapter. Ironically, 1 Corinthians 14 is one of the strongest rebuttals against the modern Charismatic teaching on tongues, but Charismatics are completely oblivious to this fact because they read the chapter with a trichotomous mindset. In a nutshell, this argument against Charismatic tongues goes as follows:

Read the full article here.

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A Simple Commentary on 1 Corinthians 14:14

Charismatics are big on using this scripture to try and prove that there is a prayer language in tongues that cannot be understood by those who are praying. The fact is, however, that no such prayer language is ever revealed in scripture. When men spoke in tongues in the book of Acts they spoke in the languages of the nations. When Paul speaks of tongues in 1 Corinthians 12-14 he is speaking of the gift of tongues that was manifested on the day of Pentecost or he is speaking of the pagan false god tongues that were being manifested atCorinth.

First I will say that those at Corinthwere using the same pagan gibberish that they were using down at the pagan temples. The terms lalein glossei/glossais (to speak in a tongue/in tongues) that Paul uses so frequently in chapter 14 were commonly used in his day to describe pagan ecstatic speech. Also Paul opened up the whole discussion on spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12 by saying, “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” In other words those atCorinth were still being led by the dumb idols at the pagan temples. This is why Paul had to write to them. He had to rebuke them and straighten out their church worship. They were getting drunk and dancing into a frenzy till they passed out or went into a subconscious state. (Paul also dealt with this atEphesus see Ephesians 5:18).  While under these pagan ritual influences they would curse Christ in these ecstatic utterances. Paul told them that no one who truly has the Holy Spirit would ever curse Christ. If one truly has the Spirit he would call Christ Lord.

The whole letter to the Corinthians was a rebuke. Paul got onto the Corinthians for divisions, holding onto worldly knowledge above the scriptures, fornicating, going to law against one another, coming to church drunk, taking the Lord’s supper while drunk, despising the poor with the Lord’s supper, operating in pagan spiritual manifestations over and against the true worship of Christ, etc…. No one can convince me that those atCorinthwho were practicing all the fleshly stuff that they did were actually using gifts given by the Holy Spirit. Paul had to rebuke them time and again and remind them that their bodies were the temple of the Holy Spirit and not to be used in idolatrous practices.

Let’s now go to our interpretation of 1 Corinthians 14:1-14.

I have been asked by some why Paul used the word ‘unknown’ if the tongue was a language that could be known. My answer is that the King James translators supplied the word ‘unknown’ into the translation. This is why the word is italicized. Those who publish the King James Version will italicize the words in the translation that are not in the manuscripts that were used to translate the scriptures. These are words supplied by the translators. These words were added to make the sentences flow more smoothly. Therefore the word ‘unknown’ should be omitted from the text.

What I want to deal with today is the interpretation of 1 Corinthians 14 because there are Charismatics who think that Paul was saying that when he prayed his understanding was unfruitful. The reason Charismatics get this interpretation is because they take this one scripture out of the context of the entire chapter and interpret it by itself. This is wrong. When interpreting scripture we must leave scripture in context in order to understand what is being said. No one who reads the Newspaper, Comic Strips, Field and Stream Magazine, TV Guide, or any publication will take sentences out of context and make them say something that is foreign to the concept of what the author’s original meaning was. Yet when it comes to Holy writ men will take and dissect the Bible by pulling scriptures from context in order to prove their made up doctrines. This much said we will now begin to show what Paul was saying in the chapter of 1 Corinthians 14.

 

1Co 14:1 Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.

 

There should not have been a break between chapter 13 and 14. Paul is still speaking about the greatest of all gifts—charity (love).

 

1Co 14:2 For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.

Charismatics read this and think that Paul is saying that the speaker is speaking in words that no one can know and therefore he is speaking mysteries to God. But this is a wrong interpretation. Let me give a correct interpretation.

The word ‘unknown’ was supplied by the translators and throws off the meaning of the text. Paul is discussing the right use of tongues, therefore these tongues would be defined as languages that people understood, but was unknown to those who heard it. This definition comes from the tongues which were used on the day of Pentecost. The Jews heard every man speak in their own language.

He that speaks in a foreign language (tongue) speaks not to men, unless there is an interpreter. This is why Paul later explains that one needs to pray to interpret the tongue. If no interpreter is present, then the speaker is speaking unto God and not man because what the speaker is speaking is a mystery. Therefore no one understands the speaker because he does not understand the language.

 

1Co 14:3 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.

 

Paul shows the Corinthians that if one prophesies (preaches) he speaks to men to edification, exhortation, and comfort. But speaking in an unknown language does nothing.

 

1Co 14:4 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.

 

A man that speaks in an unknown language edifies himself because he is built up in himself as the Spirit moves through him. But the man who prophesies edifies the church because they understand what he is saying.

 

1Co 14:5 I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.

 

Charismatics believe that all who receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit will speak in tongues. I argue that there is no second baptism. Paul states in Ephesians 4:5 that there is one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. If a man is not born of water and Spirit then he is not born again. Yet if he is born again, then he has the Holy Spirit.

This scripture disproves the Charismatics notion that all are to speak with tongues as evidence for the baptism. Paul here states that he wished they all could speak with tongues. The fact is that there were several there who manifested this gift because an apostle was present among them. Paul told them in 2 Corinthians 12:12 that truly the signs of an apostle were present among them. Only an apostle had the signs that proved that he was sent from God. Others who were claiming to speak in tongues were doing so by the power of the dumb idols that they used to worship at the pagan temples.

Paul explains that speaking in unknown languages is a lesser gift than preaching, unless you interpret what you are saying because no one understands you. But he that prophesies (preaches) edifies the whole church.

 

1Co 14:6 Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?

 

Now brothers, if I come speaking in tongues it will not profit you, unless I speak in languages that you know by speaking revelations, knowledge, preaching or doctrines to you, then you are not profited.

 

1Co 14:7 And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?

 

There are things in this world that have no life in and of themselves, but even when they are heard there is no profit or purpose in them, unless they bring forth sounds that have distinction such as musical instruments.

 

1Co 14:8 For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?

 

If the bugler gives an uncertain sound on his bugle, then who will know that another army is approaching?

 

1Co 14:9 So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.

 

If a man does not speak in a language that everyone understands, then what he says cannot be known and he just speaks into the air.

 

1Co 14:10 There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification.

 

There are many kinds of voices in the world and they all have significance.

 

1Co 14:11 Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me.

 

If two people meet who know different languages, then they cannot communicate and therefore are barbarians to one another.

 

1Co 14:12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.

 

Paul told the Corinthians that he knew that they were zealous of spiritual gifts, but that the gifts that they need are the ones that edify others. When someone speaks a word of comfort to a dear brother who is hurting, then he is edifying the dear brother.

 

1Co 14:13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.

 

Paul tells the Corinthians that if any man speaks in tongues or languages unknown by the hearer then the speaker needs to pray that he interpret it.

 

1Co 14:14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.

 

Charismatics rip this scripture from context and try to say that Paul is praying in an unknown language and his understanding of what he is saying is unfruitful or he doesn’t know what he is saying. But if this interpretation is correct then it fits nothing that Paul has said up to this point or nothing after it.

Interpreting this scripture with the one above we see that Paul says that if he prays in the assembly in a foreign language (tongue) and he does not interpret it, then the understanding of what he has said is unfruitful to all those who heard it. In other words, if I pray in a foreign language, my spirit prays, but my understanding to those who are present is unfruitful. See verse 16.

I will prove this interpretation with the next few verses.

 

1Co14:15 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.

 

I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray in the congregation so that I am understood. I will sing with my spirit, but I will sing so that I am understood. The reason I added the word ‘my’ is because Paul stated in verse 14 that he prayed with his spirit and not the Holy Spirit. Therefore in this verse when he states that he can pray with the spirit, then the word ‘my’ fits because he was praying with his spirit.

 

1Co 14:16 Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?

 

Paul states here that if a person prays in a foreign language ((tongue) and those in the room know not the language, then they understand not what has been spoken. Notice in verse 14 Paul states that his understanding is unfruitful. Charismatics say that Paul knew not what he was saying. But in this scripture we see that it wasn’t Paul’s understanding that was unfruitful, but the congregations understanding that is unfruitful, for Paul says that the congregation cannot say Amen because they understand not what you are saying.

 

1Co14:17 For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified.

 

If someone prays in a foreign language (tongue) they may pray well, but no one is edified. Why? Because no one knew what was said.

 

1Co14:18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:

 

Paul said that he thanked God that he spoke in tongues more than all the Corinthians. This was because that the gift of tongues was the gift given to an apostle, whereby he could go into other cities and countries and preach the gospel in the language of the people without ever having learned the language.

 

1Co 14:19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.

 

Paul said that he would rather speak five words with understanding among the congregation, than ten thousand words in a foreign language (tongues). The reason is simple; those who are present cannot be edified unless you speak in their language so that you are understood.

 

1Co14:20 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.

 

Paul tells the Corinthians that they used to be children in malice (evil), but now in understanding they are not to be children, but are rather to be men. So when one goes into a Charismatic church and they hear all this gibberish, then those speaking it are acting just like little children.

 

The commentaries that agree with my interpretation of 1 Corinthians 14:14:

John Calvin Commentary (1509-1564)

Geneva Bible of 1599

Dutch Annotated Bible by Theodore Haak 1657

Matthew Henry Commentary on Bible (1712-1714)

Adam Clarke Commentary on Bible 1825

Albert Barnes Commentary on Bible

John Gill Commentary on Bible (1697-1771)

Matthew Poole (1688) Poole had passed on by 1688, but his annotations were finished by others

John Trapp Commentary on New Testament 1656

John Wesley Commentary

Primitive Baptist Commentary

Charles Hodge Commentary on 1 Corinthians

Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary

Self Interpreting Bible 1914

The King James Study Bible 1988

B. H. Carroll (1843-1914) Interpretation of the English Bible

John MacArthur’s Commentary on Bible 1997

The Reformation Study Bible 1995

 

I will say as I close that I know of one man in particular and also there are other examples that I have either read or heard about, who have went into Charismatic churches to test them and have spoken a language such as French, Hebrew, etc…. and then someone got up and supposedly interpreted what was said. The sad part was that when this happened the Charismatics were exposed as fraudulent because the one speaking the foreign language told the congregation what the true interpretation was. I warn you that you ought to be careful when you claim that you can speak a language that you do not know because God might expose you next.

 

Hershel Lee Harvell Jr.

 

Read my previous articles on “Today’s Charismatic Tongues Examined”.

Today’s Charismatic Tongues Examined Pt 1

Today’s Charismatic Tongues Examined Pt 2

Today’s Charismatic Tongues Examined Pt 3

Today’s Charismatic Tongues Examined Pt 4

 

Charismatic Leaders Controlling Ways

April 28, 2011 2 comments

I have been in Charismatic Churches whereby the leader or head Pastor will condemn or pronounce curses on anyone who leaves their church. They will say things like, “God put you here, so this is where you are to stay.” Or “You will never be blessed unless you stay here and stay underneath the umbrella of our Charismatic truths.” But I want to say that Charismatic leaders take upon themselves authority that does not belong to them.

I give you another short article exposing the captivation of people within charismatic Churches.

Charismatic Captivation Exposed by Steven Lambert, Thd.

Multitudes of sincere and trusting believers are caught in the virtually invisible web of religious captivation in Charismatic and other Neo-Pentecostal churches, and don’t know it. They are unaware victims of spiritual abuse and exploitation under the heavy-hand of hyper-authoritarianism. That is to say, the leadership of the church-group of which they are a part is dominating, controlling, and manipulating their followers, and exploiting them for their own personal gain and private kingdom-building.

Read the rest here.

Most Charismatics in America belong to Roman Catholic Churches

April 28, 2011 2 comments

Most Charismatic Protestants today have no idea that the very thing that they believe distinguishes them from other denominations or religions is being practiced among those who do not claim to be Protestant or Christian. Charismatics claim that every Christian ought to be baptized with the Spirit which will be evidenced by speaking in tongues. Yet the very sign they claim is being manifested largely within Roman Catholicism, Mormonism, and occultic religions who claim to have the true way to God.

Our doctrines and our love for the brethren are to distinguish us from the world, not some outward charismatic manifestation.

I will leave you with an article put out by ChristianPost.com on Jan. 7, 2008

Myths Exposed on Charismatic Christianity in America by Jennifer Riley

Charismatic Churches are growing in number in the United States, but many Americans still have inaccurate assumptions about the particular brand of Christianity according to surveys released Monday.

Many people believe that charismatic Christianity is almost exclusively a Protestant phenomenon, but research shows that one-third of all U.S. Catholics (36 percent) fit the charismatic classification, according to the new Barna study. And nearly one-quarter of all Charismatics in theU.S.(22 percent) are Catholics.

Read the rest of the article here.

Today’s Charismatic Tongues Examined Pt 4

April 21, 2011 1 comment

The past few weeks we have looked at the Charismatic use of tongues in our present churches. We have discovered that the tongues that are practiced today, among Charismatics, are not the same as the tongues manifested among the early Church. First the early church spoke in other languages and not just several syllable words that are nothing more than gibberish. Secondly the tongue gift used in the early church was a sign to the unbelieving Israelites and not for the believing Gentiles. Thirdly we examined why Paul wrote to the Corinthians in the first place. In other words was he trying to show them how to use spiritual gifts or was he rebuking them. We saw in our last post that Paul was rebuking the Corinthians because of their misuse of the sign gifts. Finally today we will examine the right order for the gift of tongues if the gift were still available today.

Let’s examine 1 Corinthians 14:1-2

 

1Co 14:1 Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.

1Co 14:2 For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.

 

Charismatics usually use the last scripture quoted to say that there are tongues that no man understands or that there is a prayer tongue. This tongue, they claim, cannot be understood because it is a special prayer language or an angel tongue. I asked a charismatic one time to show me where this special prayer language or angel tongue was in scripture. He could not find a scripture that taught such things.

In 1 Corinthians 14:2 Paul is not claiming that there is a tongue that can be used that is not known to men. Paul simply says that if a person speaks in a strange or foreign language, then what is being spoken cannot be known to those who hear it, because in the spirit the speaker is speaking mysteries. If we keep the scripture in context we will see that Paul states that an interpreter ought to be present in order to reveal what has been spoken and then it is no longer a mystery that is being spoken because what was spoken has been manifested in the language of the person who heard it.

Paul goes on to say that he would rather that they all prophesy or speak unto men in their own language words that will edify, exhort, and comfort, because he that speaks in an unknown tongue only edifies himself. In other words he that speaks in an unknown tongue feels built up, comforted, and ecstatic as the Spirit works through him to speak in other tongues. But the one who prophesies in a known language is edifying all those who hear.

Paul tells the Corinthians that if he comes to them speaking in foreign languages that it will not profit them. The only way he could profit them is to speak by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine in their language. Paul then goes into a discussion of what it is like for someone to come in speaking in tongues. Paul likens them to a battle trumpet which gives off uncertain sounds and therefore the troops are unsure whether or not an enemy is approaching. So Paul is showing them that the best gift is not the gift of tongues, but the gift that can be used to edify the church.

Paul tells the Corinthians that if they do speak in tongues, then they need to pray that they may interpret what they said. While using himself as an example Paul says that if he prayed with the spirit, then his spirit prays, but his understanding is unfruitful or those who hear will not be able to understand what Paul is saying because the understanding of his words cannot be known by those who do not speak that language. Therefore Paul said that when he prays with the spirit, he will pray with the understanding also and when he sings with the spirit he will sing with the understanding also. In other words Paul is not saying that he will pray or sing that he might understand, but that others might understand. 1 Corinthians 14:6 agrees with what I have said. I am saying that Paul is not saying that when he prays with the spirit that his understanding is unfruitful or that he does not know what he is saying, but that those who hear him cannot understand and therefore Paul’s understanding to them is unfruitful or produces no results. Therefore he will pray and sing in a language that might be understood by all.

In 1 Corinthians 14:6 Paul says that if someone is occupying the room in which you are praying and they hear you speaking in a foreign language, then they will not say amen when you get through because they understand not what you are saying. What you have said is unfruitful because they do not know what you have said.

So here I am simply trying to show that Paul leads the Corinthians to a point whereby he tells them that the best way to speak in a congregation is in a language that everyone understands. Paul said that he would rather speak five words that they could understand than ten thousand in an unknown language. He follows this by saying that in understanding or in dealing with others they ought to be men and not children.

Next Paul shows them that a tongue was a sign to the unbelieving Jews and is not a sign to believing Christians. We discussed this two weeks ago.

Finally Paul lays down the order of the gift of tongues and teaches them that if one speaks in tongues, then he or someone else ought to interpret the tongue. In other words there ought to be order in the church service because God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. Therefore if one speaks in tongues let it be interpreted or else keep silent.

Right in the middle of dealing with the tongue gift Paul addresses a serious problem that was among the Corinthians. He adds that women are to be silent in the churches because they are not permitted to speak, but are to be in obedience as the law says. Why did Paul address this issue? The simple reason is that the women were the main tongue speakers. They remembered their days down at the pagan temples where they used to go into uncontrollable utterances. So they would stand up in church and just talk away in nonsensical gibberish.

Many do not like the fact that Paul told the women to keep silent in the churches, but these same people boast of keeping God’s commands in the Old Testament, yet the New Testament commands are overlooked. A few verses later Paul told the Corinthians that the commands he was giving were the commands of the Lord.

So I will conclude that today’s charismatic circles are out of order. Instead of reading 1 Corinthians and seeing the order that Paul spoke of, on speaking in tongues, they instead proceed to disrupt entire services just to try and make a show of their so-called spirituality. They say the spirit, the spirit. To this I reply as Luther did, “I slap your spirit on the snout.”

Hershel Lee Harvell Jr.