Help with Pentecostal friends

Discussion in 'Cults & World Religions' started by Average Joey, Oct 12, 2005.

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  1. Average Joey

    Average Joey Puritan Board Junior

    A certain couple where I work are involved with an Apostlitic(spelling) church and believe in "slain in the spirit" and prophecying type of stuff.Any good references to check out to use with them?
  2. Poimen

    Poimen Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    "Charismatic Chaos" by John MacArthur.
  3. Average Joey

    Average Joey Puritan Board Junior

    Will do.I would really wish for them to read it but I doubt that would happen.Deborah(the wife) is in much deeper.She says she sees visions of some people`s futures and all that mess.She`s also seemingly in control of her husband.
  4. Bladestunner316

    Bladestunner316 Puritan Board Doctor

  5. BrianBowman

    BrianBowman Posting Priviledges Revoked


    I spent several years in such movements back in the 80's and then for about 1 year in the mid 90's after several more years living as a profligate. There are ususally a number of reasons why people are drawn to these types of Churches. I've listed the ones personally observed below. I'm sure others can comment on good books/Web sites. One I've found to be particularly helpful is:

    I list the following with one general caveat. The Charismatic/Pentecostal/Apostolic/etc. movement is not one movement but many. There is a wide range of doctrines taught and experiences/practices can be quite "fluid" over even a few months time.

    1) Deep personal grief and/or a sense of powerlessness in life. Some such Churches "pump people up" with a strong focus on experience *without* having to "pay the price" to get rooted in a knowledege of Jesus Christ through the Doctrines of Grace in true sanctification. (It is this "rootedness" that ultimately results in a stable/mature life of peace and Christian service, but many believe they can "short circuit" this long and often painful process with "Pentecostal" experiences).

    2) Many Charismatic and "Apostolic" Churches appeal to folks who need physical healing from disease, accidents, etc. Many belief that "personal and corporate faith" determines "what we get" (including health, wealth, a sexy spouse, etc.). Hence there is an emphasis on positive confession, "seed faith", and other such concepts. Almost everyone I've known in the "Word of Faith" movement believes that God is *not* ultimately sovereign and that He rewards people on the basis of the faith _they_ exercise. There is a great deal of misapplication of Scripture relative to this.

    3) Although there are a relative handful of Ministers/"Bisphops"/etc. in such movements/Churches that are well educated (e.g. modern theologians Gordon Fee and Wayne Grudem have some loose ties to modern Charismatics, and Pat Roberson and others have advance degrees), many simply "feel called to ministry" and often have little more than a 2-year diploma from a "Word of Faith" oriented "Bible Training Center" (most have a belief that the "traditional Church" is wholly ineffective and even dead; the "frozen chosen" to borrow a quote from one of Matt McMahon's recent sermons). Therefore, it's not difficult to see how they misconstrue the Scriptures.

    4) Within these movements, there often much confusion and misunderstanding as what real scholarship in the Bible really means. For example, many Word of Faith "ministers" can quote Scripture profusely and even blend in Hebrew/Greek words as they preach. To the Theologically uneducated this can be very impressive. Some leaders, like Perry Stone, even have advanced education in Hebrew and Greek. They use this, along with their "Power Gifts" (tounges, "prophesy", etc.) to establish their credibility and authority as experts in the Scriptures, which in the minds of their following has the effect of squelching criticism against their teaching.

    5) The underlying premise that God is to be experiencef, the Scriptures bear witness to such, and that our Christianity should consist in "power, not in words alone . . . ", etc. etc.

    [Edited on 10-12-2005 by BrianBowman]
  6. LadyFlynt

    LadyFlynt Puritan Board Doctor


    Also, your toughest issue with these ppl will be the Trinity as they do not believe in the Trinity. First God is the Father, THEN He becomes the son, NOW He's in the form of the Holy Ghost. To them He is never in more than one form at a time...thus the term "Oneness Pentacostal". They use the term "Apostalic" as a means of staying away from the term Oneness.

    I have also seen ppl nearly die from their distorted practices. It's easy to mistake a heart attack and panic attack as being "in the Spirit". :banghead:
  7. Average Joey

    Average Joey Puritan Board Junior

    The husband(I haven`t talked to his wife) does believe in the Trinity(the right way).At least so far.He is newly born-again.His wife I really am concerned about because of her being part of the charasmatic influence for so long.
  8. Average Joey

    Average Joey Puritan Board Junior

    Thankyou sir.This is very helpful.

    I think the Lord really helped me to say the right things to Joey.I was as kind as I could be with my words.I even encouraged him to read scripture and pray that if what he does believe is false,that God would pull him away from it.
  9. heartoflesh

    heartoflesh Puritan Board Junior

  10. Ravens

    Ravens Puritan Board Sophomore

    Ladyflynt is right,

    The biggest problem with Apostolics-Oneness-Jesus' Only Pentecostals, is that they are modern day modalists, or Sabellians, and deny the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity, saying that there is only one Person in the Godhead.

    However, unlike other Pentecostals, they also tend to make "tongues" an evidence, not of some second-work of grace or "baptism in the Spirit" but of salvation itself.

    Also, I know some that would tell a person who spoke in tongues, and believed in their doctrine of the Trinity, yet had not been baptized "in Jesus' name", but only according to the orthodox formula, that they were going to hell. Their usage of that baptismal formula supports their rejection of the Trinity, and vice versa.
  11. Saiph

    Saiph Puritan Board Junior

    Read the MacArthur book but be careful. Although I believe he is right about many things he goes way too far on the side of total cessation. The real point is, these sign gifts are not being practiced biblically, not that God cannot use miracles today. It is a great book for exegeting the difficult Corinthians passages though.

    Also read "Salvation on Sand Mountain : Snake-Handling and Redemption in Southern Appalachia" by Dennis Covington. Simply for the sole purpose of balancing the ideas, and giving you a great measure of mercy towards people stuck in charismania teachings.
  12. heartoflesh

    heartoflesh Puritan Board Junior

    I found it much cheaper, new and used...

    Seriously, this is an awesome book. You won't be disappointed.

    [Edited on 10-12-2005 by Rick Larson]
  13. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    The most concise yet exegetically challenging and to-the-point book I have read on the subject is O. Palmer Robertson's The Final Word. It was actually the book that finally convinced me of cessationism, and he does an excellent job at exposing the complete difference between contemporary "prophecy" and "tongues" and the biblical gifts, as well as refuting the arguments for any continuing revelation (from men such as Grudem).

    Some of the points revolve around a look at the offices of the New Testament Church. For instance, Scripture always speaks of the church being built on the foundation of the "apostles and prophets" (Eph. 2:19-20; 3:3-5), and there are no apostles left since there is no one who has visibly seen Christ, so it is illogical to assume that there are prophets remaining. Robertson also gives a great deal of exegetical focus to 1 Cor. 13:8-12, the end goal being to show that it is properly interpreted by Heb. 2:1-2, showing that Christ was the final word in this redemptive period. He also explains the unique revelatory, "perfect" nature of biblical prophecy; if one presumes to prophecy, speak in tongues, or give any revelation on behalf of God, they had better be absolutely certain that God is commanding them to speak it, or else they should lawfully die by Deuteronomy 18:20. One also cannot escape the fact that if God still reveals today, His Word in the Bible is insufficient for our instruction and living today, by the very definition of the word "sufficient."

    Robertson's small book touches on many, many more categories and subjects than that of course, and his treatment of each does a great job at considering the possible objections and looking at the issues comprehensively. My points above are simply a skeletal example of some of the relevant issues at hand.

    As Brian well noted, however, an exegetical case for cessationism may well not even mean much to many Pentecostals due to the faulty, sloppy understanding of systematics, exegesis and the very nature of theology, Scripture and doctrine in the Christian life. So many people in the movement are so entrenched in the centrality of experience that they would be hard-pressed to even begin to tell you what something like Sola Scriptura or exegesis means, and even less how systematic theology relates to the Christian life.

    So in order to pave the way for a discussion on cessationism to even begin, you very well may need to take them to Scripture and discuss things like the biblical concept of spirituality itself, as well as the nature and role of revelation as spelled out throughout biblical history.

    Regarding possible resources to supplement that Scriptural study with them, as you've probably heard me say before, one book I could not recommend too highly for that is Michael Horton's In the Face of God. That is because it is extremely unlikely that they will be willing to read material by any of the Reformers, Puritans or anyone who is not a contemporary author for that matter - and even if they would, it is doubtful they would be able to apply much of it to their thinking right away. In light of that, as far as contemporary works go, I have yet to see one that does a better job than Horton's of articulating the biblical, Reformed concepts of spirituality and the Christian life, and showing the importance of theology, Scripture and the Church in those things, and is specifically geared toward an evangelical audience that is relatively unfamiliar with them. Horton paints a picture of Christianity that challenges the evangelical, subjective notions of those concepts and the essential doctrines, and does so in a way that presents it all in a gestalt fashion, going beyond the individual doctrines themselves.
  14. BrianBowman

    BrianBowman Posting Priviledges Revoked

  15. ReformedWretch

    ReformedWretch Puritan Board Doctor

    I've beaten myself silly and gotten to the point of exhaustion trying to help friends like the ones you describe here. My prayers are with you.
  16. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Several other helpful discussions on the matter occurred here, here, here, here, here and here. Most of them talk about cessation of the revelatory gifts, but the first one talks about the Pentecostal notions of healing and miracles in general.
  17. Average Joey

    Average Joey Puritan Board Junior

    Joey mentioned in his "arguement" about Daniel "dancing in the spirit".Any scripture that you can show?
  18. BrianBowman

    BrianBowman Posting Priviledges Revoked

    . . . folks, I could "write a book" (and I may someday - after finishing an advanced education in Historical Reformed Theology) on the intersection of what Chris shares here with the "Marks of the True Church", apostasy, failed marriages/suffering famililes and the like. I think that we call see that the HUGE MIS-MASH of "Apostate American, Have it MY WAY NOW Religion" is a "parter-in-crime" to the very destruction of morality that we are seeing in our society. I'm not a conspiracy-theorist, but the connections are simply too plain to ignore.

    The fact is that we need 10,000 Matt McMahons and CCRCPS' right now in North America alone.

    [Edited on 10-13-2005 by BrianBowman]
  19. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Did he mean David? If so, then for one thing, if I'm not mistaken the Bible never says he "danced in the Spirit," anywhere. It says he was "leaping and dancing before the LORD" (2 Sam. 6:16) and that he was "dancing and rejoicing" (1 Chron. 15:29), but never "dancing in the spirit."

    Secondly, even if it were to say that, your friend would have to do a great deal to show that it was the same thing that went on at Pentecost in the New Testament. If the Bible had made a reference to David, Daniel or anyone else "dancing in the Spirit," it could mean any number of things when looked at apart from the rest of Scripture. It could mean He was dancing because of great joy the Spirit was bestowing upon him. It could merely be noting how his dancing was an act of God's providence and the Spirit was in his life. For such a reference to mean that the same thing was happening to David at that moment as happened at Pentecost with special revelation from God, much more Scriptural evidence would need to be given for such a claim.

    Thirdly, even if your friend could show that a hypothetical reference to David dancing in the spirit was referring to the same work of the Spirit that happened at Pentecost, he would still have the huge problem that what Scripture tells us happened at Pentecost bears little to no resemblance to what is going on in Pentecostal circles today. 1 Corinthians is especially relevant to that. Not everyone was meant to have the gift of tongues (1 Cor. 12:30), tongues were only useful as they were interpreted (1 Cor. 14:6-12, 19), prophecy was for the rational building up of the entire congregation and there was no subjective, gray area about anything that was being said (Deut. 18:20).

    Fourthly, even if he could somehow eventually show that the Scriptural references to David's dancing were connected with the Spirit, and that that work of the Spirit was the same as the Spirit's work at Pentecost, and that the biblical account of Pentecost included things like private tongues for everyone and subjective prophecy, there would still be a huge, fatal flaw in his argument: It would be completely begging the question! The cessationist position does not for a minute claim that prophecy, tongues and direct revelation by the Spirit never happened, but rather that those very real things ceased after the New Testament generation. So to answer that claim of cessation with something like, "See, David did it" could hardly miss the point to a greater extent.

    [Edited on 10-13-2005 by Me Died Blue]
  20. Average Joey

    Average Joey Puritan Board Junior

    This is a good time to say I love you guys.:up:
  21. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    My area has a lot of United Pentecostals (oneness) and some Apostolics in the country as well. However, I haven't had much interaction with very many of them in recent years. But I remember an old man accosting me with the Jesus Only teaching years ago.
  22. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    Some Oneness Pentecostals today downplay their Sabellianism/modalism in the interest of gaining a foothold within evangelical circles. Prominent examples of this include T.D. Jakes, Tommy Tenney and the popular CCM group Phillips, Craig and Dean, all three of whom are active in ministry in Oneness churches with I think two of them being pastors.

    Besides denying the trinity, Oneness Pentecostals teach that one must be 1)immersed in Jesus name (Trinitarian formula incorrect) 2) receive spirit baptism with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. Typically, they have also tended toward legalism and in some cases "shepherding" (a form of discipleship where the leaders exert inordinate influence over the member's lives), the women can't wear makeup, cut their hair, wear pants, etc., although some churches have relaxed this. But it is still fairly common in more rural areas near here, where women wearing pants is initial evidence of backsliding.

    Basically they teach salvation by works. I would probably focus on the Trinity first, then move on to the idea that you must be immersed and get the "baptism" etc.
  23. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    I saw something a few years ago that was very surprising when I was engaged in work in the pest control industry. During an inspection, I happened to find myself alone in a UPC pastor's study that contained dozens of MacArthur's Bible studies! I wasn't able to ask him about it, but it certainly was incongruous, moreso than another evangelical leader less opposed to continuing sign gifts would have been. Not to mention that MacArthur's soteriology is Calvinist. But these were mostly the older study guides from Moody Press, where his Calvinism may not have been as prominent as it is now.

    In some rural areas around here, I would guess that UPC and Apostolics may be nearly as numerous as Baptists.
  24. Average Joey

    Average Joey Puritan Board Junior

    I wonder why he had John MacArthur study bibles around?Do you think it had to do with giving an answer to those opposing by studying his arguements?
  25. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    I didn't see the Study bible, it was MacArthur's Study Guides that Moody? put out in the '80's and early '90's. There were more of them than I think someone would have for opposition research, and they weren't just concerned with the sign gifts, if I recall. If I remember right, there were dozens of these, maybe including some of MacArthur's books. And as at least one other list member will attest, MacArthur's views aren't too prevalent in this area. Most Baptists here are the OSAS "walk the aisle and you're saved" type to whom full-orbed Calvinism is anathema. MacArthur is popular with some, but to the vast majority of Baptists (SBC and otherwise) around, if you don't have an "altar call" you haven't preached the gospel. I've seen some SBC pastors give a somewhat Calvinistic sermon followed by a Finneyistic invitation, practically berating people to come forward. Sometimes this goes on 10-15 minutes or more.

    Perhaps this guy simply liked MacArthur's expositions but rejected the Calvinism, cessationism, and presumably, his Trinitarianism!
  26. Average Joey

    Average Joey Puritan Board Junior

    Oh boy,here we go again and sin confession on my part.

    I have become closer friends with Joey and we were talking about movies yesterday.I was saying how I cannot wait to see King Kong.He said he wanted to see it but his wife Deborah will not let him."Why?" I asked."Because she saw the preview which showed Kong blow air out his nose that caused the girl`s dress to fly up."Not long after this happened we were passing by his wife and I asked if she and Joey were going to see King Kong.She went into a fit.Here is two things she said to me and I qoute:

    "How can you being a Christian want to see that movie?!"
    "We screen the movies coming into our home!"

    Alright,this is bad enough that somebody who is a "Christian" to say this to her fellow Christian.Especially considering "Not of works lest a man(or in her case woman)should boast.There is something else however.After Starwars came out there was a perfect bootleg going around.I unfortunately got a copy from a friend.Honestly,I felt conviction and confessed it as sin.When it came out on DVD I BOUGHT it.Well,Joey and Deborah hadn`t seen it yet and they got a copy as well.I asked them when the official DVD came out if they were to buy it.Deborah`s reply"Why would we buy it?We already have it."I wanted to scream.Why does she feel no conviction over this sin?Oh,and she bought War of the Worlds when it came out.How is King Kong worse than that?Oy,pentecostals are so hypocritical.
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