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Posts Tagged ‘Pentecostal’

Are the Sign Gifts for Today?

A Brief Look at Sign Gifts, Faith Healing & Tongues

 Written by Mike Gowens             

 

 

“The last century brought a significant change to the religious landscape of the West. With the upsurge of Pentecostalism in the early 1900’s and the Charismatic Movement it spawned, the configuration of the Christian community was significantly altered. No longer was Christianity defined by the two traditional categories of emphasis—Evangelicals and Catholics. The growing influence of a third but more amorphous influence—the Charismatics—proved “a force to be reckoned with”. By the close of the twentieth century, popular writers regularly grouped professing Christians into three, not two, schools of thought—Evangelicals, Catholics, and Charismatics. Within a mere one hundred years, charismatic influence surged from the fringes of Christian culture to center stage. No longer is it merely an exception to the rule of traditional Christian emphasis. The movement’s remarkable growth and widespread influence argues that it is here to stay.”

This article gives a scriptural response to all who hold to the belief of “continuationism” concerning the sign gifts. Read the rest of the article here.

 

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Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 3

In my first installment of this article I discussed leadership within the church. I then went into some of the doctrinal differences I had between myself and the Charismatic congregation headed up by Otis Graves. These doctrinal differences were not something that was a struggle between Otis and myself per se, but were doctrinal differences that represented the struggle between true Biblical Christianity and pseudo-Christianity.

My second article covered the topic of using a proper methodology when it comes to interpreting scripture. I discussed some basic principles of how we are to approach scripture. These principles are essential tools to proper understanding of the scripture. Without these basic principles we will all misinterpret scripture all the time.

In this portion of my post I want to examine the concept of whether the early churches were independent churches and if so were they free to preach whatsoever they desired or were they commanded to preach the word of God as the apostles established, nurtured, or guided them?

As we look at the New Testament we see that the apostles and certain evangelist went into many different areas and founded churches. After founding these churches the apostles particularly Paul, sent men back, such as Timothy and Titus, in order to ordain men to oversee these congregations. These congregations could have been called independent churches because there was no governing body over these congregations.

It is true that the early apostles held a council in order to examine more closely certain issues. Upon holding this council a letter was drawn up and sent to the Gentile churches. This letter gave basic rules of how to conduct oneself as a Christian. Paul later went back and wrote too many of these Gentile Christians and gave them a fuller explanation on what it meant to be a Christian and how to live as a Christian. Yet my main point here is to state that no where any command was given that would suggest that all the Gentile congregations were in some kind of denomination or had some kind of governing body over them, except for the local elders ordained within each congregation.

I have labored all of this to state that my opponent ‘The Teacher’ told me that an independent preacher could preach what he so desired. Drawing from this statement it is clear that he was stating that since Otis Graves was not in a denomination, then he does not have to teach what any particular denomination teaches, but is free to teach what he so desires. I admit that Otis does not have to teach what a denomination teaches; nevertheless he is not free from what is commanded in scripture.

It is clear in scripture that Paul gave Timothy the express command that he should preach the word while reproving, rebuking, and exhorting with all long suffering and doctrine because the time was coming when men will not endure sound doctrine but will heap to themselves teachers having itching ears and will turn their ears away from the truth. Paul told Titus that he is to ordain those into the elder-ship who hold fast the faithful word as they have been taught that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

My opponents, the ‘Teacher’ and Mr. Otis Graves will state that they do teach sound doctrines. They will proclaim that they are teaching the word. Yet I will state that they do not teach the word. When they pull a scripture out of context and make it say what they choose to, then they have distorted the word. When they preach moralistic sermons and call upon their congregations to quit sinning so that they will make it into heaven, then they are not preaching the word.

Matters of fact, when they preach any other thing than justification by faith alone, then they are preaching another gospel. There congregations are receiving another Jesus. Their Jesus is one who aides the individual in being justified by becoming sanctified. This is Roman Catholicism in a nut shell.

When someone knows not the difference between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, then it is time that they take a seat until they be taught the word of God. They may argue that God called them and placed them where they are at, but that is debatable. God does not call ignorant and unlearned men into pulpit ministries. God expects ministers to study to show themselves approved unto God, a workman that needs not be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth.

So again my challenge goes out for the ‘Teacher’ and Mr. Otis Graves to prove me wrong in what I have written. I call on them to refute these charges. I call on them to refute my doctrines. I hold to the 1677/89 London Baptist Confession of Faith as being an expression of what I believe that the scriptures teach. My side bar to my blog contains a link to a Pdf version of this confession.

As I close I want to say that the reason American Evangelicalism is in a dung heap is because we have men in our pulpits that know no theology, no church history, have no stable doctrines, and believe in a creed less Christianity. God’s word states that it is through the foolishness of preaching that saves those which believe. But in an age when everything is being preached under the sun, except for Christ and him crucified, then it is little wonder that we are seeing few saved. It is little wonder that society is degenerating into an immoral heap.

God help us.

Hershel Lee Harvell Jr.

Footnote: I did not plan for the quote by Thomas Watson on “Heresy Will Send one to Hell” to go out with this article, but I couldn’t have asked for a better quote for this article.

Read Pt 1 of this article here

Read Pt 2 of this article here

A Testimony from one delivered from Charismatic Doctrines

I came across a letter on the internet of a woman who was delivered from the false doctrines of the Charismatic movement. I wanted to pass this letter along in order to help some soul who is still bound by this movement. I hope and pray that you are blessed by this letter.

 

Hello SisterTracy,

I want to thank you for your wonderful site. When I first came across it, about a year and a half ago, I was a Charismatic who adhered to the NIV (although I rarely read the Bible!). When I first read some of your articles (particularly against Charismatics and the NIV “translation”), I was so furious! I started to study some things, in an effort to prove you wrong, but all I ended up doing was proving that you were right. A few months ago, I tossed out all of my new age Bibles and bought an AKJV. It’s truly amazing, before when I had the supposedly “easy to read” Bibles handy, I couldn’t get motivated to read them. I just couldn’t bring myself to read them. Now, with my AKJV, I read it with no problem at all. I love the Word of God, love studying it, love reading it. A few weeks ago, I also left the Charismatic church I had been attending on and off for nearly eight years of my life. After visiting your site, I started noticing things that you mentioned, like the tongues and the “holy laughter” and being “slain the spirit” and all. As I read my KJV more and more, I started repenting for ever participating in these things. You see, at one point in time I spoke in tongues, and participated in “holy laughter,” and was even supposedly “slain in the spirit.” I have ceased from all of this and repented before my Lord Jesus of ever being involved. I now attend a Baptist church, I plan on becoming a member soon and being rebaptized (I was baptized in the Charismatic church, but I want to disassociate myself from all things and events in that church). I can’t explain things that went on in that church, but now that I look back I can say that they weren’t of God.

Read full article here.

Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 2

Last week I began a post discussing two Charismatic Pastors, of which I know personally. The first Charismatic I called ‘The Teacher’ and the second Pastor’s name is Otis Graves. Before I begin my post concerning these two individuals I want to lay down a few things concerning examining other ministers.

I realize that what I proclaim from this blog is not popular in today’s church world. Many think that it is condescending or critical to examine a Charismatic’s doctrines. They think that you are being unloving because you examine what Charismatics have preached from the pulpit. The reason that I know that these things are unpopular is because I can get almost a hundred views on these post and not one person will comment. If I were spreading the doctrines that the Charismatics do, then my comment section would fill up.

I want to say from the beginning that it is not unloving to examine what another minister states from the pulpit, over the radio, or through the television screen. I happen to believe that it is unloving to stay silent if you hear something that is unscriptural and do not speak out against it. Paul told the elders atEphesusin Acts 20:28-30 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed thechurchofGod, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after themselves.

The reason men like Harold Camping can gather disciples around him are because people have remained silent. They fear persecution and do not want to live a life of being shunned or spoken evil against. I am not going to be unloving when I examine other ministers’ doctrines, but I also will not be ashamed of the gospel of Christ. I will not shun being persecuted by remaining silent concerning the truth of God’s word. Therefore I will not be silent concerning the doctrines of the ‘Teacher’ nor Otis Graves.

One thing I will commend Otis Graves for is that he is not like the ‘Teacher’; he has refrained from putting his sermons on audio. This is because he contradicts himself so much that if someone went back and listened to his sermon from last week, then they would catch him saying something entirely different this week. Though he doesn’t record his sermons on to audio, nevertheless when I was under his ministry I wrote down some of the stuff he stated from the pulpit.

For instance, onAugust 31, 2008Otis Graves made the statement, “that whosoever Jesus sets free is free indeed, but not entirely. Once Jesus sets us free, then we must go on and set ourselves free from things that Jesus did not free us from.” Otis was actually saying that Jesus is not enough and we need something more. This teaching denies the Reformation principle of ‘soli Christo’ or Christ Alone. This teaching also is a distorted interpretation of John 8.  A more fitting interpretation would be: The Jews believed that they were not in bondage, but Jesus goes on to explain to them that if they commit sin (and we all do) then they are the servants of sin. In other words they are slaves to sin. Jesus tells them that if he makes them free, they shall be free. In other words if they become his disciples, then they will no longer be a slave to sin.

This leads me to my next point and that is that we have no right to twist or distort the scriptures to fit our doctrines. I am not going to defend the Roman Catholic Church, but to its credit I will say that they warned Luther against putting the scriptures into the hands of ignorant and unlearned men. They told Luther that if the scriptures were translated into the common language of the people that a flood gate of sin would come out of it. They told him that the church would begin to split and splinter into all kinds of different denominations. This is because that unlearned men will not take and interpret scripture according to the tradition of the Church. Luther responded by saying that he knew that if he put the scriptures in the hands of ignorant and unlearned men, that it would open a flood gate of iniquity, but nevertheless every person ought to have the scriptures to read for themselves.

So the Reformation opened the door for private interpretation. But just because we have the right to interpret scripture privately does not mean that we have the right to distort scripture. The Reformers taught what is known as the perspicuity of scripture or that the scriptures are so plain that even a child could understand it. This doctrine does not teach that scripture is plain in every place, but it teaches that the doctrines that are essential to salvation are so clear that even a child could find his was to Christ by reading them.

The main point I want to focus on today is the principles of a proper methodology. In other words, Mr. ‘Teacher’ and Mr. Otis Graves, it is unreasonable to expect that everyone will agree on the exact interpretation of every scripture, but we should agree on the fundamental approach to biblical interpretation. In other words we ought to be using the same methods on how to interpret scripture. There is a difference between an occasional misinterpretation and unacceptable methods of biblical interpretation. The former is common to us all and the latter no one should be guilty of holding to.

Had you two studied you would have realized that the church has developed a method of interpretation that makes everyone approach the scriptures the same way. The church developed a science of interpretation known as ‘hermeneutics.’ Hermeneutics is the science and art of interpretation. Holding to a proper hermeneutic will keep us from falling into much error when we interpret scripture. (I challenge both of you to go to my web site and click my Hermeneutics page link and study up on this principle.)

Many today claim to hold to a literal interpretation of scripture, but what they are talking about has nothing to do with proper interpretation. In other words they believe that if the Bible plainly says something, then we can take that something and use it anyway we want to. This is not literal interpretation. The word literal comes from the Latin word ‘literalis’ and means the literature in which it was written. In other words, to use the literal interpretation method means that we are to interpret scripture according to the literature in which it was written.

Scripture is written in many forms of literature, some of which are: poetry, proverbs, narrative, didactic, apocalyptic and so forth. We are never to take narrative scriptures and make doctrines out of them because they are giving us a story of what happened and not trying to teach us what we should or should not do. For instance Charismatics are big on using the book of Acts to build their doctrines on, but the book of Acts is recording events that happened within history and not trying to teach us doctrines. There may be doctrine within the book, but it is still a history record. We are to only use the didactic or the instructional material of scripture to build our doctrines on.

While the Bible is filled with many types of literature it also uses many forms of speech within that literature. The Bible uses hyperbole, simile, symbolic, irony, sarcasm, metaphor, parallelism, synonymous parallelism, metonymy, personification, anthropomorphisms, anthropopathisms, and many more. The Bible also uses types and shadows to convey its message. So without a properly working hermeneutic we all would misinterpret scripture all the time.

I want to say one more thing before I close this post. I want to tell the ‘Teacher’ and Mr. Otis Graves that there is only one interpretation to every scripture in the Bible. In other words the writer was writing to a specific audience of his day and meant a specific thing when he wrote what he did. Therefore we should try to understand the Bible in its grammatical-historical-redemptive setting. In other words we are to interpret a scripture according to the grammar it was written in, according to the historical setting of which it was written, and according to the redemptive plan of God in history.

No one reads a newspaper, magazine, book, or any other piece of literature any different than what I have described. If we ripped a sentence out of a newspaper article, then we could make it say whatever we wanted it to. We must understand it within the author’s original intent and within the context of what has been said around it. We are then to take it and apply it to today. Though there is only one true interpretation of every scripture, nevertheless there may be many applications to that scripture. In other words we may be able to apply that scripture to many of today’s problems and so forth, but we should only do that after we have understood that scripture within the author’s original meaning.

So I am calling on both of you to study the science of hermeneutics. We may misinterpret a scripture from time to time, but your methods of approaching scripture are unacceptable and lead to distortion.

I will close for now and come back later and finish some more on this article.

 

Hershel Lee Harvell Jr.

Do Charismatics have a Specific Bible Commentator they Use?

It is really hard to define what Charismatics believe because they have no set beliefs that have been embedded in a creed, confession, or statement of faith. I am not saying that there are not several Charismatic denominations which have not put out some kind of small statement of what they believe the scriptures to teach; nevertheless, for the more part, Charismatic beliefs vary from Church to Church.

One of the main sources where Charismatics get their false views is from a Bible called ‘The Dake’s Annotated Bible.” Finis Jennings Dake was the compiler of all the notes and commentary that is prevalent in this annotated Bible.

Finis Jennings Dake was born in 1902 and died in 1987. He claimed that upon receiving conversion that he was able to quote thousands of scriptures, even though he had never once read the Bible. I want to say that there has never been any person in the history of the world who has ever received such a gift. God does not bypass our intellect when he works through us.

What most Charismatics do not know is that Finis Dake is not far removed from the Charismatics of today when it comes to gross and immoral sins. Finis Dake served six months in jail in 1937 because he had plead guilty to having sex with a sixteen year old girl, of whom he registered at a motel with, feigning to be husband and wife.

The doctrines taught in the Dake’s Bible are being used by Kenneth Hagen, Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, Paul Crouch, and a host of others through the TBN network. These doctrines have more to do with occultic beliefs such as those put forth by Mormons.

I will retire from speaking for now and leave you to the article:

The Dake’s Bible and Confused Charismatic Theology by Joseph Chambers

This quote from Dake’s Bible is the very first New Testament note in the edition that I have owned since the early seventies. The edition I am quoting from is the sixth printing, December 1971.“Gr. Christos, ‘Anointed.’ – Used in N.T. 577 times. Like the name “Jesus” it has no reference to deity, but to the humanity of the Son of God, who became the Christ or the “Anointed One” 30 years after He was born of Mary. God “made” Him both Lord and Christ. The Heb. Is ‘Messiah’.” (Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, Finis Jennings Dake, published by Dake Bible Sales, Inc, Lawrenceville, Georgia, New Testament, p. 1.)No Biblically solid minister or Bible student would accept the quote above. It is rank heresy and must be totally rejected or our view of Jesus Christ as the eternal Son of God is compromised. To suggest that Jesus became the Christ or the “Anointed One” thirty years after His birth is to commit heresy. This is an ancient heresy that is called “adoptionism.” Kenneth Scott Latourette stated in his book, History of Christianity, Volume I, the following:

 Read more of this article here.

Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 1

The other day I had an interesting discussion with a Pastor. This Pastor tried his best to defend the right of women preaching from the pulpit. As our conversation turned we went on to discuss a Pastor I sat under in the lastCharismaticChurchthat I attended. For sake of clarity we will call the first Pastor ‘The Teacher.'(1) The second Pastor’s real name is Otis Graves. (2) The ‘Teacher’ also knows Otis Graves personally and has attended church with him; long before either man became Pastors.

First I want to say that it is not unfair of me to examine both of these men. I am commanded in scripture to test all things and to try every spirit because many false prophets have gone out into the world 1 Thess. 5:21; 1 John 4:1. Secondly I will say that if a man puts himself into the spotlight, by stepping into the pulpit, then he is open to critique and his doctrines are open to critique. Concerning Paul the Apostles trip toBerea, the scriptures declare, “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” Act 17:11. In other words the Bereans did not just take Paul’s word as the final say so, but instead searched the Old Testament scriptures to see if Paul was right in what he said.

Having clarified my right to examine a minister’s doctrines I will go on to say that both of these men, ‘The Teacher’ and Mr. Otis Graves are Charismatics. Both are Pastors of small independent churches. Both believe it to be alright for women to preach from the Pulpit. ‘The Teacher’ actually has named his wife as his Assistant Pastor. Mr. Otis Graves on the other hand believes it to be alright for women to preach, but not to Pastor.

In my conversation with ‘The Teacher’ a comment was made by him that showed the heretical views of Charismatics. In this conversation he actually told me that since Otis Graves was an Independent Church Pastor, then he can preach what he wants to. By saying this, he was also pointing to himself and stating that he could preach what he wanted to because he is an independent Pastor.

Therefore my first question is this: Can an independent Pastor preach what he wants to? The answer to this question is, yes. People can preach what they want to preach inAmericabecause we have no laws governing what can be preached from the pulpits. Matter of fact people do not have to even be called of God or can claim they are and make up their own religions as Joseph Smith and Charles Taze Russell have done. (For those who don’t know it: Joseph Smith founded Mormonism and Charles Taze Russell founded the Jehovah’s Witnesses.)

My second question is this: Does a minister have the right, according to scripture, to preach what he wants to. The answer is: No, he does not. A Pastor is God’s spoke person or is to speak on behalf of God. He is not to make up new doctrines, but is to be faithful to the written word of God. Paul told Titus to ordain elders in every city and their qualifications were that they were to hold fast the faithful word as they have been taught that they may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers Titus 1:9.

This is what is missing from Charismatic Churches. They hold to extra-Biblical revelations and claim that God has spoken to them or that prophets are getting a new word from the Lord. If Prophets are getting a new word from the Lord, then the scriptures are still being written. Since whatever God says is authoritative, then the so-called new words or prophecies from God would be on the same level as scripture. The reason Charismatics have no sound doctrines and one can believe it to be alright for women to Pastor, but the other Charismatic only believe it to be alright for them to preach, is because both have went beyond scripture.

‘The Teacher’ actually told me that Paul had surrounded himself by women preachers. I have searched the scriptures and cannot find any place where Paul surrounded himself by women preachers. When Paul went on his missionary journeys, he went with other men. Barnabas, Mark, Luke and Silas were Paul’s companions. Also when Paul went toJerusalemto discuss the question of whether or not the Gentiles should be circumcised and keep the Law of Moses, we see that an assembly convened together on this matter, but only the elders spoke. All the elders were men. There are no places in scripture where women were put into places of authority.

From Genesis to Revelation we see men being used by God to lead. There was only one case where a woman might have been used to lead God’s people and this was in the case of Deborah, Judges 4:4. In this special instance Deborah actually called on Barak and told him that God had commanded him to go fight. Deborah leading God’s people was not God’s revealed will, though it was his sovereign effective will, because it came to pass. In other words God gave specific instructions from Genesis to Revelation concerning who is to be over his people, the services of God, and the congregation. God always chose men. When Jesus chose disciples, he chose men. When Paul commanded Timothy and Titus to ordain elders in every city, they chose men because Paul gave them the qualifications that only a man could meet.

Paul also gave three reasons why a woman is not to usurp authority over a man or teach, but to be silent in the churches. First, Paul stated that this command is rooted in creation, when he said that Adam was first formed and then Eve. Secondly, Eve was in the transgression because she was deceived. The sin nature passes from man to his children because Adam willfully ate of the tree. He was not deceived. Finally Paul said that a woman is to be silent in the churches because the law also commanded this 1 Tim 2:13-14; 1 Cor. 14:34. After Paul gets through telling the Corinthians, in 1 Cor. 14:34, that women are to be silent in the church, he goes on to tell them that the things of which he writes are the commandments of the Lord 1 Cor. 14:36. Many people speak of keeping the commandments of the Old Testament, but break those of the New.

Now I want to turn the subject from leadership to right doctrine. I was the Assistant Pastor under Otis Graves and was voted in by the people. I preached and taught Reformed Theology the last 4 years that I was under Otis. Reformed Theology is the true Biblical doctrines of the faith. At the time I was teaching word for word through the book of Romans or expositionally teaching and preaching the book of Romans. I have witnesses that heard Otis’ wife stand a few weeks before I was asked to leave and proclaim that she thanked God that I had been teaching through the book of Romans because what I was proclaiming was the truth of God’s word. Otis himself called me to the office secretly and told me that he was having me to step down. He told me that what I was preaching and teaching was the truth, but as long as I was there he could not teach that healing is in the atonement according to 1 Peter 2:24.

The fact of the matter is I had exegeted 1 Peter 2:24 from the pulpit a several months earlier. (3) I had showed that this scripture is not teaching that healing is in the atonement, but that our spiritual healing is in the atonement. All through the New Testament we are told that Christ Jesus died for sins. We are never told as Charismatics teach that Jesus died for our health, for our healing, or any other thing. We are sick because Adam sinned. Sickness is the result of sin. Jesus died for sins, but as long as we are in this body we will continue to get sick and die because the redemption of our bodies are not to take place at the present moment and the last enemy to be destroyed is death.

The reason I was asked to leave was because Otis Graves has many views that are not scriptural. As I proclaimed the Biblical doctrines of the Reformation they would bump into or condemn his false views. For instance, I heard him preach that people could walk in health if they obey God. He preached moralistic sermons or sermons that proclaimed that you can overcome what your in if you abstain from sin. His conflict against me had been building because everything that he had ever been taught was being demolished through my clear exposition of the scriptures. I gave him some material on Arminianism and he brought it back lamenting that he did not realize that he had been teaching these false principles until now. This is what happens when a man steps into a pulpit with no knowledge of what the universal church has condemned as heretical.

Otis Graves would not baptize because he took Paul’s words out of context. He proclaimed that Christ had not sent him to baptize. Paul was giving his own testimony of what God called him to do. An apostle was not sent to baptize, but the local Pastor is to do these things. Otis would not partake of communion because it was tradition and Otis was against tradition. This again is a Charismatic false concept. Otis finally had communion in his church after I left. I was sent word by the congregation that they appreciated my theology because now Otis was allowing communion to be partaken of. Otis had been the Pastor of that congregation for around fourteen or fifteen years and never had allowed communion in the church. (4)

When Protestants came away from Roman Catholicism they defined what the marks of a true church were. The Protestant Reformers gave three marks of a true church. The first two marks are that the ordinances handed down by Jesus should be observed. These two ordinances consist of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The third mark is that the word of God should be preached in its purity. In other words if the scriptures declare that women are not qualified to rule or lead the church and we then presume to allow women to preach or lead the church, then we are not preaching the word of God in its purity.

I sat in Charismatic churches from 1992-2008. All the years of which I attended charismatic churches (and believe me I have been in a heap of them) I had never heard a sermon on God’s absolute sovereignty over his creation, of God’s predestining men to life and death, of Christ substitutionary sacrifice, Christ ruling and reigning from heaven now, or of Christ as the central motif of the scriptures, etc, etc…. It wasn’t until I began to proclaim these things that I had ever heard a live sermon on these biblical truths.

These truths were proclaimed by all the Protestant Reformers. All denominations drew up creeds and confessions and proclaimed these things. It wasn’t until John Wesley organized the first denomination that taught the heretical doctrines of Arminianism that all Protestant churches began to go into demise. Out of Wesley’s Holiness second grace denomination came all the holiness churches of today proclaiming the heretical views of Arminianism and Roman Catholicism. These views have spread over into the Protestant denominations, among those who used to be true to scripture, so that now you have an amalgamation of heretical doctrines.

I have much more to say, but my post has went overboard in its length already, so I think I will title this post Pt 1 and come back to it later.

Hershel Lee Harvell Jr.

 

Footnotes:

(1) I am calling the first Pastor ‘The Teacher’ only because he is supposed to teach what scripture states, but tells me that he doesn’t care what it states. Also he acts like he is a learned man, but reads no Bible through the week. His job works him 65 or so hours a week and while working he listens to secular radio all day.

(2) Otis Graves is in the same category as the ‘Teacher’ when it comes to knowing nothing about the Bible. His job makes him work from daylight to late in the evening and when he isn’t working he is visiting people here and there. I know for a fact that he never got his sermon up for Sunday morning service, until it was time for Sunday school. He then would go into his office and study for the sermon. I know for a fact that he drags in to church late and then holds up service talking about the football game with the congregational members. I was under Otis from 2003 to 2008 and began many a service without him, because he simply had not showed up yet.

(3) One can hear my teaching on 1 Peter 2:24 on my web site http://www.reformedontheweb.com/hermeneutics.htm   entitled “Exegetical Mistakes Most Students Make in Interpreting Scripture.”

(4) One of the last questions Otis asked me in his office was: “Do you think I am wrong for not allowing communion in the church?” I told him that he was wrong. I told him that Christ Jesus himself commanded us to partake of his supper until he return. Paul stated that Jesus said that we do show his death, in doing this, until he returns 1 Cor. 11:26

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