Truth Matters February 2014

23 03 2014

Prophecy, the Gift that “Says” Something Part Five

By Rev. Bob Liichow

1 Corinthians 12:10 (KJV 1900) To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: Of all of this listing of nine spiritual gifts the vocal gifts are the easiest to be abused and frankly “faked” by people.  When it comes to the working of miracles or divine healing either things actually happen that can be quantified or they do not.  For example, when Benny Hinn commands people to “be healed” or “rise and walk” and the people do not (nor have they ever done so due to Hinn’s SINistry) then a decision must be made; either Hinn is to blame or the sick person.  If someone stands up and declares that the Lord has “shown them” three people in the audience that need deliverance (a word of knowledge) — and no one comes forward or if someone does and they are not “delivered” what does that demonstrate?  It is impossible to fake a healing (apart from the use of shills, which does happen), just as it is impossible to reveal something about someone to the individual that is not true, i.e. “The Lord says you have a daughter” and the person is not married and chaste. However, when it comes to the vocal gifts can people discern if in fact: (1) they actually possess such vocal gifts and (2) that others are genuinely being used by the Holy Spirit to speak?  After all, if a person is speaking in an “unknown tongue” how is anyone else supposed to be able to understand it?  Thus, who is to say authoritatively that one does not have the genuine gift apart from knowing all languages? Concerning these specific gifts the apostle Paul goes to greater lengths to bring correction to the people regarding speaking in tongues because it seemed to be problematic to the congregation whereas the other gifts are simply cited.  For some strange reason these vocal manifestations have proven “problematic” throughout the entire history of the Church.  As has been the pattern let’s begin with some definitions.

The Gift of Prophecy

Prophecy is a supernatural utterance in a known tongue. Divers kinds of tongues is supernatural utterance in an unknown tongue.  Interpretation of tongues is a supernatural showing forth of that which has been said in an unknown tongue.1 But the gift of prophecy is when words of English are given to an individual’s spirit, by the Holy Spirit—as the Spirit wills.  And words of English in a known language begin to boil up out of your spirit, supernaturally.  That is when the gift of prophecy comes into operation. . .The spiritual gift of prophecy comes boiling out of an individual, and sometimes, it will nearly lift you out of your seat.  It builds up, and it comes to you supernaturally. . .Brother Kenneth E. Hagin was sitting in the congregation, and he said, ‘Boy! Norvel, I tell you, that blasted against the wall.  I said, ‘I know it, Brother.  It didn’t even sound like me.  I could not believe what was coming out of me.2 DMI has covered in prior writings that according to the sign-gift enthusiasts there are various degrees of the expression of the prophetic gift.  Hagin, Hayes, Copeland et al. declare that there is the so-called “simple gift” of prophecy, which any Spirit-filled Christian can utter to one another personally or maybe in a small group.  Also there is the gift as expressed by a pastor and/or one in the “prophetic office.”  In their belief system both types of prophecy, personal and corporate come from the Holy Spirit but it is only the secondary type of utterance by “God” that carries true gravitas.  Is this what the Bible teaches regarding the prophetic gift?  Is there a lessor and greater manifestation of prophecy depending upon the human mouthpiece?  What does the apostle Paul have to say about this gift? As we have covered in the previous issues Paul’s approach in this letter is one of correction.  The Corinthian Church was a carnal group in every area whether it was having a divisive spirit, suing one another, sexual immorality, and abuse of Christian liberty causing weaker brethren to stumble.  For some reason most sign-gift folks seem to think the Corinthians got it “right” somehow when it comes to these spiritual gifts.  Paul’s tone in his writing does not change one iota (or any “alphas” either I suppose, a little Greek humor) and after listing the gifts he brings yet further correction to the Church at Corinth. But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:11–12 (KJV 1900)

GIFTS DO NOT EQUAL MATURITY!

The people in Corinth ranked people’s value and/or spirituality by the charismata he or she manifested.  Some people desired the gifts that others had (envy), those possessing such gifts saw themselves as superior (pride) and others felt of no value at all (despair).  Paul addresses all of these attitudes when he describes the Church as a body in 1 Cor. 12:27-30. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.  Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?  Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? 1 Corinthians 12:27–30 (KJV 1900) The Church is one Body but many diverse parts.  Just as in the human body each part is vital to the overall health of the body, even so in the Church.  The gifts and callings are initiated by God (Romans 11:29).  It is God who calls a man into the holy ministry, the role of the people is to validate that divine call by acknowledging and accepting the ministry of Christ through that servant.  The Church is built upon the foundation laid by the apostles and prophets with Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Corner stone (read Ephesians 2:19-22).

The fact that Paul assigned ordinal numbers (first … second … third) to the first three gifts suggests that these may have been relegated to a lesser role by the Corinthians (cf. 1 Cor. 12:21–24). Those three kinds of gifted members—apostles … prophets … teachers—probably were rated lower than those who had the more spectacular gift of tongues. But the first three gifts may have been greater (v. 31) because of their extensive value to the whole body of Christ. This may be why he listed them first and then said that the church should eagerly desire (v. 31) the exercise of those gifts in the assembly (cf. 14:1–5). Gifted apostles, prophets, and teachers characteristically ministered to a whole church, and so would engender unity and mutual edification. The gift of tongues, on the other hand, suited the Corinthian penchant for self-expression and the pursuit of personal freedom. This self-centeredness also afflicted the church in other areas (e.g., eating sacrificial foods, women in worship, celebration of the Lord’s Supper). Love for others was an essential need in the Corinthian church, and to that fundamental attribute Paul then turned to pay eloquent tribute.3

It seems the Corinthian’s were exalting some gifts and gifted people are downplaying others.  Paul continues his exhortation by asking a series of rhetorical questions — “Are all apostles? Are all prophets . . .?”(v.29) NO.  “Have all the gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? (v. 30) NO.  As the citation by Walvoord and Zuck states it seems the Corinthian’s were coveting what was dramatic and self-directed over the gifts which were really needful, such as the foundational work of the apostles and prophets.  Paul tells them if they must “covet” spiritual gifts, at least covet the “best” (most profitable for the church) gifts.  Higher than all these gifts is manifesting the love of God. Some Bible commentators try to “punt” on the issue of prophets by simply relegating them to the Old Testament and the Apostles to the New Testament birth of the Church.  As tempting as this approach may seem (it does simply things a lot if you go that route) it does not represent the plain teaching of the New Testament concerning the prophetic ministry. Paul tells the Corinthians that God has placed in the Church first apostles and then prophets (v.28).  To the Ephesians he writes:

And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; Ephesians 2:20 (KJV 1900)

Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; Ephesians 3:5 (KJV 1900)

He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Ephesians 4:10–12 (KJV 1900)

At the beginning of the Church there were recognized God-sent prophets, such as Agabus who is the only named “prophet” in the N.T (Acts 21:10).  We also read of an example of some young women who prophesied (Acts 21:9) but were not designated as female prophets per se .  The only N.T. reference to a female “prophetess” is found in Rev. 2:20, and she is a false prophet whom the church is rebuked for listening to! The two specific “ascension gifts” of apostle and prophet were given by our Lord to lay the foundation of the Church.  Once the foundation of a “house” has been laid what happens next?  The superstructure is then built upon (up on) the foundation that has (past tense) been laid.  There is no longer any need to rebuild the foundation once it has been laid.  This is exactly what every restorationists group, sect or cult has attempted to do —- re-lay the original foundation, as if this was even possible! We know from the O.T. what the role of the prophet was and there is no reason to believe that it changed in nature during the founding of the Church. What is fascinating in the N.T. is that the prophetic ministry was not written down for us.  Unlike the O.T. the Church does not have any “major and minor” prophets.  It seems that a portion of what the prophetic gift did was to reveal things to people that only God, certainly not some “stranger” would know:

But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth. 1 Cor. 14:24-25

At this point in time there was no canon of scripture collected for the Church; apart from the O.T. writings which Corinthian Gentiles would not be familiar with.  This fact may help explain the supernatural manner in which God was working by His Spirit in and through His servants. The Bible tells us the prophetic role was indisputably foundational and important but it is the writings of the apostles that were preserved by the Holy Spirit and nothing remains of anything (apart from Agabus) of the N.T. prophets. Of all the three categories of gifts here (basically, those that do something, reveal something, or say something) it is the vocal gifts that Paul spends the most time on correcting.  The gift of prophecy garners much of his attention:

Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.  For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. 1 Cor. 14:29–34

In this pericope Paul is addressing the public use of the gift of prophecy.  If several people have been graced with this gift, fine and dandy, but the underlying principle is the revealing of God’s will, the instruction and comfort of the people gathered. Note also that just because someone may have the gift of prophecy does not give them carte blanche to say anything and mislead the people.  Whatever is prophetically spoken is to be judged (30.109 ἀνακρίνω; διακρίνω: to make a judgment on the basis of careful and detailed information—‘to judge carefully, to evaluate carefully.’)4 as to whether or not what is being shared is from the Lord. As to the who are the “ye all can prophesy” refers to is simple — Paul is still speaking of those prophetically gifted NOT all Christians.  We know this because he continues to speak to prophetic “order.” In v. 32 he lets them know that the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. This is a crucial point to keep in mind.  In the pagan world then and now people worked themselves up into ecstatic frenzies and while out of their minds but into the spirit they would speak.  The Corinthians were no doubt influenced by the various cults and oracles in their city and may have believed that those who had a prophetic gift were “expected” to behave in certain ways under the influence of the ‘gods.’ Paul says not so, The Living God is a God of order and not confusion.  He does not speak through His vessels giving conflicting messages (as is very common today among the so-called restored prophets), nor does He shout over the top of several others engaged in “revealing” something.  God’s ways are those of order, clarity/certainty and peace in ALL church congregations. The comment regarding the role of women is also still within the context of prophesy and public ministry.  The women simply were to keep silent during the service.  They were not to prophesy publicly or teach the men of the congregation.  Paul mentions the women because the Corinthians had problems understanding their proper roles as men and women in the totally new social family called the Church. We are told of the future of the gift by the apostle when he states: Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 1 Cor. 13:8-11 After showing the excellency of walking in love (God is love) over expressing the gifts of the Spirit we read that these gifts are temporary in nature and they will come to an end when they no longer serve the purposes of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church (Col. 1:18). Prophetic utterances in the Church will be done away with —- 2673.  καταργέω katargĕō, kat-arg-eh´-o; from 2596 and 691; to be (render) entirely idle (useless) –abolish, cease, cumber, deliver, destroy, do away, become (make) of no (none, without) effect, fail, loose, bring (come) to nought, put away (down), vanish away, make void.5 The purpose of prophecy (and to some degree other tongues + the interpretation) was to reveal a portion of the mind/will of God to those gathered.  At that time they had no canon of scriptures; at best they had Paul’s letter(s) and their own leaders.  What the Corinthians had then was a partial revelation, which Paul did not denigrate, but he tells the people they are moving towards (teleos) the “perfect” or full revelation and when that has come, all these partial bits of understanding will cease.  We know that Paul was speaking of the time when God’s revelation would be a complete record.  How do we know this?  Because of what Peter says in his second letter the following: For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 2 Peter 1:16-20 The more sure word of prophecy is that which is recorded for all time and for all people in the writings of the Holy Bible.  Personally I believe the perfect (complete revelation) ceased the moment the last word was spoken & transcribed by the last living apostle.  True, the letters were not gathered and agreed upon until many years later, but they were completed much earlier and I believe that was all that was necessary.  The chart on page nine gives us a little idea of the various gatherings of the writings of the New Testament. Paul makes it abundantly clear that these dramatic gifts will cease but that the power of God’s love, which is superior, will never cease. Love will always “trump” gifts because love is the fruit of the spirit.  Fruit is produced over time, it requires patience, pruning at times and fertilizing and it is FRUIT that we have been appointed to bear (see Matthews 13:23; John 12:24) in our lives: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-24 God has commanded all of His children to be fruitful and multiply, both literally and spiritually.  He does not command us to be “gifted” supernaturally.  Jesus said that the world would know we were His disciples by our love (John 13:35) not by our alleged giftedness. When it comes to the prophetic gift/office the New Testament has more to say to the Church by way of warning us about the inherent danger associated with the pseudo-prophets. Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits. Matthew 7:15–20 (NASB95) Jesus warns His disciples to beware, i.e. BE AWARE of the reality of false prophets. They dress up just like the followers of Jesus, they will look like sheep not something else.  How will we know them?  Discerning these frauds does not come by looking at their gifts which can be counterfeited to some degree by Satan but at their fruit, which cannot be faked because it comes from within the heart, which is either dead or alive unto God.  Death produces nothing alive, it produces only more death.

The Inherent Danger in the Restored Prophetic Voice

If I can get you to believe that I have been called to hear from God on the behalf of the Church and individuals such as your “needy” self then I can (and often will) absolutely control your life.  Some of the most tragic events in the history of the Church have occurred when people relied on people claiming to be restored prophets sent to guide their lives.

All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.  And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.  And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. Matthew 24:8–12 (KJV 1900) In speaking of the end of time our Lord reinforces His earlier message concerning these tares among the wheat —- “and MANY false prophets SHALL rise.” ‘Many’ in the Greek (πολλοί/polloi) refers to a great number and He uses the same word regarding those who will be led astray.  From these two statements alone the Church it seems should expect numerous false prophets and that hosts of people will be deceived by them. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.  Behold, I have told you before.  Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. Matthew 24:24–26 (KJV 1900) In the same discourse our Master gives further insight regarding the danger these SINisters (pseudo-Christs and pseudo-prophets) will pose for His people.  Not only will there be a whole bunch of these frauds released upon the Church but they will be fueled with demonic powers.  The word for ‘great’ is megas in the Greek from which we get our word “mega” — mega signs and wonders will be such an astounding nature that they could potentially deceive even the elect (but they will not). I think it is fair to translate “false Christs” into meaning more than just individuals who proclaim themselves to be Jesus Christ (DMI has covered several of these blatant idiots in the past) but it also can refer to those who are “falsely anointed,” i.e. the unseen power operating in and through them is not from the Holy Spirit but a demonic influence. Jesus has warned us repeatedly that these counterfeit ministry “gifts” are coming (beware 7:15, I have told you 24:25, believe it not 24:26) and not to fall prey to them.  Our Lord’s warnings have largely gone unheeded by the Church from its inception. But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. 3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. 2 Peter 2:1–3 (KJV 1900) Here the Holy Spirit through the apostle Peter warns of false prophets and false teachers (I have yet to meet a restored prophet who does not also teach).  As his Lord told him “many” polloi, SHALL follow their direction.  Their words will drip with honey and they will teach the people doctrines the people want to hear for the purpose of transferring the hearer’s money into their pockets.  It is because of these tares and their way of life/lifestyles that the Gospel is spoken evil of.  The world sees people like Paul Cain, Robert Tilton, Benny Hinn and Rev. Ike (all call themselves prophets) and wants nothing to do with the “Church” because of their foolishness.  Isn’t it odd how the world does not seem to be fooled by these people, only the Christians? Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1 (KJV 1900) At the end of his life on earth John the beloved warns His Master’s flock not to blithely believe everything that is being proclaimed.  We are told to test, to examine what is offered as to whether or not it is genuine (remember Paul’s exhortation earlier for those “sitting by to judge” the prophecies).  Why does he tell us this?  Because MANY false prophets were already alive and active in the world and attacking the Church at the time of John writing this letter. John’s direction was for the Church to test the prophecies and do not believe what every spirit is saying through whatever yielded/gifted vessel.  How were they to test the spirits and the words delivered?  Does what is being shared agree with the teachings that have been handed down?  When he penned this letter John’s life was almost over and the “faith” had been delivered to the saints. Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. Jude 3 Jude, often considered the brother of James the Just was not an apostle and wrote this letter later on when the foundational doctrines of the apostles were in place.  How were people to test “prophetic” utterances and those bringing them?  They were to look to the teaching of the apostles which the people had an understanding of or some access to the texts.  I believe my argument is buttressed further by the example of the Bereans: 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. Acts 17:11 Once the cannon of scriptures was set down there was and is simply no need for a “prophetic” word from the Lord.  God has already spoken what more needs to be said? God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Hebrews 1:1–2 (KJV 1900) Yes, God once spoke through the prophets, but now He has spoken to us directly through His Son and the apostles have recorded all that the Spirit brought back to their remembrance to share (see John 14:26) with the Church.  The eternal Word of God is totally sufficient for the Christian to live a fruitful life of godliness in service to their neighbors. The Church does not need anyone to stand up and declare “thus saith the Lord” when we have in our laps, the complete revelation of what God has “said” to humanity. The gift of prophecy and the role of prophets are over.  The foundation has been laid 2,000 years ago and God, the Master Builder, has been building on this foundation ever since. In closing, The Church does not need a “now word” or a “new word” from the Lord.  The Church needs simply to be faithful to the faith that has been delivered unto us.  We need to be doers of the Word, not chasing after some other highly suspect and uncertain proclamations.

Athanasius (b. 296) Origen (b. 185) Irenaeus (b. 130) Marcion* (b. 85)
Matthew Matthew Matthew
Mark Mark Mark
Luke Luke Luke Luke
John John John
Acts Acts Acts
Romans Romans Romans Romans
1 Corinthians 1 Corinthians 1 Corinthians 1 Corinthians
2 Corinthians 2 Corinthians 2 Corinthians 2 Corinthians
Galatians Galatians Galatians Galatians
Ephesians Ephesians Ephesians Ephesians
Philippians Philippians Philippians Philippians
Colossians Colossians Colossians Colossians
1 Thessalonians 1 Thessalonians 1 Thessalonians 1 Thessalonians
2 Thessalonians 2 Thessalonians 2 Thessalonians 2 Thessalonians
1 Timothy 1 Timothy 1 Timothy
2 Timothy 2 Timothy 2 Timothy
Titus Titus Titus
Philemon Philemon Philemon Philemon
Hebrews Hebrews Hebrews
James James James
1 Peter 1 Peter 1 Peter
2 Peter 2 Peter 2 Peter
1 John 1 John 1 John
2 John 2 John 2 John
3 John 3 John 3 John
Jude Jude Jude
Revelation** Revelation Revelation

End Notes

1. Hagin, Kenneth. The Holy Spirit and His Gifts.  Faith Library Publication, Tulsa, OK. 1991, p.121

2. Hayes, Norval. The Gift of Prophecy. Harrison House Publishers, Tulsa, OK. 1980, p. 6, 7, 8

3. David K. Lowery, “1 Corinthians,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 534.

4. Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 363.

5. James Strong, A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek Testament

A Current Example of the Prophetic Madness

This deluded soul, David E. Taylor told his congregation and the world that “God” had revealed to him the winner of the Super Bowl.  Even with a fifty-fifty chance he guessed wrong and ended up (1) lying in the name of the Lord he says he serves, (2) embarrassing the Church which he represents as a public minister by being exposed as one deceived and deceiving others. For whatever reason he decided to promote this specific revelation from “God” on a global basis.  One can only surmise that he did so in the hopes of expanding his influence among the hugely competitive prophetic marketplace.  Here is a statement from his website: David E. Taylor is first and foremost, a friend of Jesus Christ, which allows him to serve in all the five-fold ministry offices, in which the offices of apostle, prophet and healing evangelist are the most notable. These offices enable him to conquer spiritual territories and dethrone demonic princes and their principalities in different cities and regions he goes to on behalf of a breakthrough for God’s church the Body of Christ.  They serve to equip, empower and launch sons and daughters into God’s vineyard, to minister Jesus Christ and demonstrate His Latter Rain Glory to this generation. This man, who was completely wrong about his word from “God” would have people believe that he is an omni-competent healing evangelist!  Folks, it is people like this who bring shame and ridicule upon the Body of Christ and rightly so in cases like these if we, the Church, do not do all we can to rebuke this man in love and bring correction to him. Much of the foolishness taking place in the Church today is due to the tolerant attitude and silence on that part of those who are orthodox Bible believing Christian leaders.  Many solid pastors vacillate between on of the following three men: Wonderfully pious words to try to live by if you are an ostrich.  The love of God compels us to warn our brothers and sisters of the grave spiritual danger they are facing by listening to the myriad of false teachers and false prophets. ious words to try to live by if you are an ostrich.  The love of God compels us to warn our brothers and sisters of the grave spiritual danger they are facing by listening to the myriad of false teachers and false prophets.  Pastors especially are charged with guarding their portion of His flock by feeding them the pure Word of God.  It is only through a steady diet of sound teaching that we will become equipped to discern truth from error.  This implies first that pastors must teach sound doctrine and secondly, that the flock will be faithful not only to hear but to act upon the glorious truths shared!





Truth Matters January 2014

9 03 2014

Part Four on Ecstatic Speech
by Rev. Robert Liichow

To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles…”
The Apostle Paul

This has been somewhat of a longer rabbit trail than I usually take our readers down but it is important to have some working knowledge of the so-called “sign gifts” of the Holy Spirit, since so many people are claiming divine abilities on a global basis. As Christians we are called to give an answer (apology) for what we believe (see 1 Peter 3:15). I admit the context of Peter’s statement is directly pertaining to our hope within us, eternal life; however, we should be able to defend all of our beliefs regarding our faith. Last month we briefly considered the three gifts that supposedly “reveal” something, yet as we discovered two of these three gifts are never defined for the Church and thus no one can honestly claim to possess gifts which we cannot even define according to the Bible itself.

The Gifts that Do Something

    The next triumvirates of gifts are often referred to as the “power gifts” or supernatural abilities to perform various tasks.

The Gift of Faith

As with all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, these are supernatural abilities and not mere human abilities on steroids or something. Thus the “gift of faith” is not the gift of believing the Gospel; although the ability to believe is not a human endeavor either (see Eph. 2:8) it too is a gift. Yet the gift of faith to receive Christ Jesus is not the same as the gift of faith spoken of here by Paul. All Christians are recipients of the gift of faith in Jesus Christ by God’s grace. This gift of “faith” is an additional gifting that enables the recipient to believe God with an unshakable resolve. The enthusiasts among us define this gift as follows:

The gift of faith is a gift of the Spirit to the believer in order that he might receive miracles . . . Those who operate in special faith, the gift of the Spirit, can believe God in such a way that God honors their word as His own, and miraculously brings to pass the desired result.

God gives a believer a gift of power because there is something that He wants to do. It is always to bless somebody or help somebody. Or, God can give a believer the gift of power to stop something that is evil . . . He will give you the gift of faith: the amount of power to get the job done. . .

The gift of faith may be defined as the special gift whereby the Spirit provides Christians with extraordinary confidence in God’s promises, power, and presence so they can take heroic stands for the future of God’s work in the church. The spiritual gift of faith is exhibited by one with a strong and unshakeable confidence in God, His Word, and His promises.

Πίστις is the Greek word for faith in this text and it simply means to believe to the extent of complete trust and reliance in God and His promises. The book of Hebrews the eleventh chapter gives us a plethora of examples of Old Covenant people who overcame through the gift of faith. In simplest terms the gift of faith would be the divinely granted ability to believe the unbelievable in the face of all adversity based upon nothing more than faith in God and His promise(s).

The Gifts of healing

    This gift, like all the others, is supernatural and has nothing to do with medical science or serving in the vocation of a doctor or nurse. The reason I stress the supernatural facet of these charismas is because there are those among us who would relegate these gifts and many supernatural biblical events to really “natural” occurrences, i.e. there is an anti-supernatural vein in our Body.

    The gifts of healing —

The gifts of healings are manifested for the supernatural healing of sickness and disease without any natural source or means.

It’s a plural gift because many things cause sickness. Some sicknesses are caused by accidents. Some are caused by personal neglect. Some sicknesses are caused by bodily abuse. Some sicknesses are caused by organic ailments. Some are caused by a spirit of infirmity or actual satanic oppression.

Tracy and I were taught by Mr. Hayes (above), Robert Tilton and many others that there was a specific “gift” of healing for every disease and ailment afflicting mankind. Robert Tilton claims to have a “gift” for healing people’s back problems. T.L. Osborn claimed to have a divine healing gift for people with deafness. He once claimed to have healed 99 deaf people in one village (naturally this occurred somewhere overseas). The gifts of healing is the second most abused of these nine gifts cited here by Paul, the first being speaking in other tongues (I promise we will get to this gift eventually). The following is a more theological consideration:

23.138
ἴαμα, τος: (derivative of ἰάομαιa ‘to cause to be well again, to heal,’ 23.136) the capacity to cause someone to become healed or cured—’the power to heal, the capacity to heal.’ ἄλλῳ δὲ χαρίσματα ἰαμάτων ἐν τῷ ἑνὶ πνεύματι ‘and to another man the same Spirit gives the power to heal’ 1 Cor 12:9. In some languages it may be difficult to speak of ‘giving the power to heal.’ A more natural form of expression is ’cause to be able to heal.’

The Bible is filled with examples of how our God healed people supernaturally. We naturally read of our Lord Jesus Christ HEALING ALL who were oppressed by the devil (Acts 10:38). Peter and John on their way to the temple to pray healed a lame man who was over 40 years old (Acts 4:22). In Acts 5:12-16 we read the account of the people in Jerusalem and surrounding towns bringing their sick and those tormented by unclean spirits — and ALL of them were healed. Acts 9:32-35 shares the account of the man with paralysis whom God healed via Peter. Paul healed the father of Publius of a fever and dysentery in Acts 28:7-9. We see in the founding of the Church a great display of the power of God and a careful examination of the healing accounts will demonstrate that many of them were part of the redemptive history of God towards a specific people group. For example the people of Lydda and Saron “turned to the Lord” through the signs confirming Peter’s preaching. Healing(s) as with everything our Lord does is not without a purpose, everything that happens is a part of the tapestry of our existence in this life, including sickness and healing.

Why This Gift Is Abused

Two forces work together to cause this gift to be abused by unscrupulous people. First, sickness and death are universal to us all. There is absolutely no one born of man that has not suffered the ravages of sickness and eventually succumbed to death itself. Secondly, the Bible seems to be replete with examples of God’s divine healing and miracle power setting people free from the ravages of sickness and death.

People who are very ill or have dying loved ones will virtually do almost anything, believe anything and give whatever is asked of them in order to receive their healing. What is it worth to see your wife healed from Lyme’s disease or your child delivered from leukemia? Is a donation of $50, $100, $5,000 enough to “prove God” of the sincerity of your faith when the healer asks for it?

    By taking biblical examples and inserting stories (lies) of the tremendous outpouring of healing in the last meeting in the other town the SINister works the people up into an altered state of consciousness rendering them devoid of critical thinking. Loud music, lighting, the psychological dynamics of masses of people in confined spaces, the subtle manipulation of wish fulfillment and the natural smarmy charisma of the SINister him or her all work together forming a synergy of deception on those in need and a huge payday for the fake healer.

    The question really is, does God still heal people today? My answer is, simply yes He does, but He does so according to the sovereign good pleasure of His will and not at the command of any man or woman. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

    Does God heal through healing evangelists? No. To begin with there is no such ministry in the Bible. There is the ministry of an evangelist (see 2 Tim. 4:5), but even Timothy, the evangelist, needed to take some wine for his stomach ailments (see 1 Tim. 5:23) but there is no such designation as “healing evangelist.” Aimee Semple MacPherson, Kathryn Khulman, A.A. Allen, William Branham, Oral Roberts, T. L. Osborn, Peter Popoff, W. WV. Grant, R.W. Schambach, Benny Hinn, etc. are ALL FRAUDS, LIARS and DECEIVERS. They possess no healing gifts at all.

    What is miraculous about the so-called “healing” evangelists is that NONE of them can offer any independent verifiable PROOF that people have been or are being healed under their SINistries and yet still have huge followings and reap millions of dollars each year they are in existence! One would think after a year or two of non-miracle crusades people would have quit listening to Mr. Hinn or others. Yet almost 20 years later, they still flock to his false promises and lies, leaving sick and much poorer spiritually and financially.

The Working of Miracles

One can “fake” healing by simply paying shills to claim they have been healed in the meeting. Miracles are a different manifestation altogether.

Although they are often lumped together healing and miracles are not the same. A healing is when someone is sick, say with cancer and after prayer it is totally gone, no trace, nothing on the X-ray. A miracle might be someone without an arm or a leg that suddenly has a new arm or leg appear on their body, they were not sick, merely missing a limb in this hypothetical case. A better example might be when the dead are raised. Paul raised a young man (Eutychus) from the dead who fell out of a third story window due to Paul’s long sermonizing (see Acts 20:7-12). Eutychus received a miracle, not a healing.

When the working of miracles is in manifestation, there is a divine intervention in the ordinary course of nature.

What is the working of miracles? Well, there are a lot of different kinds of miracles, but it’s a power gift, where power from God is sent from heaven down to earth to do something that’s beyond the natural, beyond the natural thinking of a man.

BUBBLE BURSTING ALERT!!

Very few people were ever used by our God to work miracles, the list is very short. Start at Genesis and go through to The Revelation and jot down: (1) who God used and (2) what was the miracle about, you end up with a pretty short list. What is more, when you consider the nature of the miraculous events in the Bible they are all of significance to the redemptive history of God’s people.

If you listen to any of the “purveyors of power” on the circuit today you will be given the false notion that miracles were occurring left and right in the daily lives of the believers. There are many books in circulation concerning miracles, let me cite just a few:

“I Believe in Miracles” – Kathryn Kuhlman
“Miracle Signs & Wonders” – Marilyn Hickey
“The Price of God’s Miracle Working Power” – A.A. Allen
“Chaos of Miracles” – LaDonna C. Osborn
“Miracles Just Don’t Happen” – Lester Sumrall

What the above books attempt to do is basically to reduce the definition of what is a miracle according to biblical standards, by watering down the definition the miraculous becomes commonplace. I have heard Marilyn Hickey say many times how she “prays” for a closer parking space at the mall and then when a space opens up close to the door she proclaims it a “miracle.”

Bible miracles include manifestations like parting the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21-22), walking on water (Matthew 14:22-33), turning water into wine (John 2:1-11), blindness coming on a blasphemer (Acts 13:11), etc. Can Mr. Hinn, Dollar, Copeland, Meyer, Price or anyone else point us to an actual miracle in their SINistries? NO, they cannot do so because despite all their testimonies of the great things “God” is doing through them, they can produce NO evidence of any divine healing or miracles.

In the New Testament miracles either validated the personal ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ or authenticated the ministry of the apostles:

I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing. Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in
all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds. 2 Cor. 12:11-12

And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. 1 Corinthians 2:4–5

But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power.  For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. 1 Corinthians 4:19–20

Only those divinely authorized by God can perform miracles. I agree with what fellow I.O.H.H. member, Dr. R.C. Sproul says on this topic:

If anybody can perform miracles, if a person who’s not an agent of divine revelation can perform a miracle, then obviously a miracle cannot certify an agent of revelation. Let me say it again. If a non-agent of revelation can perform a miracle, then a miracle cannot authenticate or certify a bona fide agent of revelation. Which would mean that the New Testament’s claim to be carrying the authority of God Himself, because God has certified Christ and the Apostles by miracles, would be a false claim and a false argument.
So what’s at stake here is the authority, the authenticity, and the truthfulness of the Bible itself. That’s why I have this tight definition, and why I don’t expect miracles, because I don’t expect to find Apostles running around today. So the narrow miracles, they stopped at the end of the Apostolic age.

This is why we are warned several times about the danger of being misled by those proclaiming the ability to work miracles which are really nothing but false signs and wonders:

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Matthew 7:22–23

And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not:  For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. Mark 13:21–22

But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:  To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. Acts 8:9–10

Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.  And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.  And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?  And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. Acts 19:13–16

Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:  That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thessalonians 2:9–12

What is truly amazing to me is how desperate the extremist “faith” people are in seeking to either feel or see something or be involved in doing something phenomenal and sadly, they often base their faith on these tangible experiences. Yet the Bible plainly teaches that our faith is based on what we have not
seen or felt. I agree with Sproul that the time of those performing biblical miracles ended with the death of the apostle John.

As was stated earlier miracles were performed to validate Jesus earthly ministry and those of His chosen apostles. Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven; He sent the 12 and at the death of the last apostle there is nothing more to validate miraculously.

How can anyone hold a “miracle crusade” due to the divinely sovereign act in manifesting a miracle? It is the height of PRESUMPTION (not faith) to declare what the Holy Spirit is going to do on any evening or moment for that matter. The Spirit gives His gifts as HE WILLS (1 Cor. 12:11) not when Mr. Hinn or Copeland demand an appearance or manifestation of them.

I openly challenge any of the living self-proclaimed miracle workers to please provide DMI with just one independently verifiable example of a miraculous event tied directly to their organization. I know the atheist James Randi has a $1,000,000 prize for the first person who can perform a miracle in his laboratory, as of today (12-30-13) the money still sits in Randi’s account.

In closing this section out, please understand I am not saying that our Lord does not move supernaturally on our behalf or in our lives, He most certainly does. When my daughter and I were T-boned by a semi at about 60 mph, destroying our very small Saturn and we got out without a scratch that was the mercy of God. That was not a “miracle” it was an answer to prayer as I cried out to our Lord immediately and He spared our lives. If we loosen our definition, then we lose biblical authority. So yes, our Lord answers prayers, heals people, grants faith in the impossible at times, but there are no godly miracle workers roaming the land today, only wolves in sheep’s clothing. Selah.

Endnotes

  1. Hagin, Kenneth. The Holy Spirit and His Gifts. Faith Library Publications, Tulsa OK. 1991, p. 102
  2. Hayes, Norvel. The Gift of Faith. Harrison House. Tulsa OK. 1980, p. 16
  3. Obtained from http://www.gotquestions.org/gift-of-faith.html#ixzz2oyhSZ27l
  4. One of the almost impossible positions to attain in this life is that of BALANCE!  We tend to make everything supernatural (charismatic extremists) or we deny the power of God and make everything natural (some neo-evangelicals).
  5. Hagin, Kenneth. The Holy Spirit and His Gifts. Faith Library Publication, Tulsa OK. 1991, p. 115
  6. Hayes, Norvel. The Gifts of Healing. Harrison House. Tulsa OK. 1980, p. 5
  7. Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 268.
  8. Hagin, Kenneth. The Holy Spirit and His Gifts. Faith Library Publication, Tulsa OK. 1991, p. 108
  9. Hayes, Norvel. The Gifts of Healing. Harrison House. Tulsa OK. 1980, p. 5
  10. The International Order of Heresy Hunters, is a small elite by invitation only cadre of truth-tellers.  One can be invited by submitting a check for $25 to DMI and a certificate suitable for framing will come your way.
  11. Obtained from http://www.ligonier.org/blog/does-rcsproul-believe-miracles/. Bold type added for emphasis




Truth Matters December 2013

31 12 2013

Part Three on Ecstatic Speech
by Rev. Robert Liichow

The apostle Paul continues bringing divine correction to the young church at Corinth. Last month we noted how Paul’s entire letter has been one of rebuke concerning many issues in their midst (see 1 Cor. 8:12; 10:6, 7:14; 11:17) and for some strange reason sign-gift enthusiasts want to take the church at Corinth as the example of how the sign gifts are to be used. As we shall see the Corinthians were as wrong about the spiritual gifts as they were concerning the Lord’s Supper, the role of women, their own carnality and divisiveness.

He begins his discourse by saying he does not want them to be ignorant (ἀγνοέω, to lack information) implying that they did not possess the correct information about the Holy Spirit and His gifts. In vs. 3 Paul lays out what I consider a governing principle regarding the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The gifts will always glorify Jesus Christ and not curse His holy name.

It may well seem amazing that the Corinthians should need instructing that such awful language could not be uttered by any one speaking “in the Spirit of God.” It is evident, however, that such expressions had been uttered by persons who were, or seemed to be, carried away by the impassioned impulse . . . So terrible an outrage on the conscience of Christians could never have passed unchecked and unpunished, except from the obvious inability of the young community to grapple with the new and perplexing phenomena of an “inspiration” which appeared to destroy the personal control of those possessed by it. . . They would not like to call any one to task for things spoken in a condition which they regarded as wholly supernatural.1

Obviously some of the Corinthians while in some state of ecstatic bliss were calling Jesus accursed. Such statements never came from the Holy Spirit and never will. Proclamations like these come from the demonic realm or from some fleshly pretender aping what they think is spiritual.

In vv. 4-8 Paul begins to give some clarity to the Corinthians concerning how the Holy Spirit operates and why the gifts exist and he does so in beautiful Trinitarian language. In verse 4 we see there are various (diversities) gifts but they all come from the one Spirit. There are various (differences) of serving others (administrations) but the same Lord. Lastly, verse 6 informs the reader that there are various ways God’s power operates, but it is always the same God who makes it possible.

Verse 7 is very important and is easily lost sight of — the purpose for any spiritual gift is right here: “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal (the common good).” Before Paul even begins to list the gifts he has informed his readers that the gifts in all their variety come from God and anyone under the power of the Holy Spirit will glorify Jesus Christ in what is said (I might add what is done as well). The reason God gives His children gifts is for the benefit of others! It is not to “bless” the one who has been entrusted with a gift, nor is said gift supposed to be used to “lift up” the gifted individual by that person or those who fawn over him or her.

Something to Think About

The temptation for self-aggrandizement or hero worship is a genuine danger regarding the “sign-gifts.” Consider in our times people like Oral Roberts or Benny Hinn. These men profess to possess healing gifts and yet neither can independently verify any miraculous healing due to their SINinstry. They have gotten wealthy off the desperate needs of people seeking relief by a fraudulent claim of being gifted when they clearly are not. Imagine what manner of men they would be if they possessed the genuine gift of healing via the power of the Holy Spirit?


Before we consider the gifts themselves, let’s not ignore the underlying context in vv. 8-12 which points to the Person of the Holy Spirit as Initiator. Three times Paul uses the phrase “same spirit” (8, 9, and 11) to emphasize that the gifts and their manifestations are up to the Holy Spirit. It seems that Paul is emphasizing the centrality of the Holy Spirit’s role in disseminating the gifts and then their operation through those He has given them too possibly due to some people claiming that their gift(s) came from Jesus or maybe the Father. This is speculation on my part, but considering the Corinthians earlier claim to be of “Apollos” or of “Paul” (see 1 Cor. 1:12).

The Sign Gifts Themselves

I am willing to give our sign-gift enthusiastic brethren credit where it is due when considering these gifts specifically. They have spent one hundred (100) years trying to discern and define these gifts, more so than any other movement within the Church’s history. However, as an evangelical catholic (aka LCMS) I must confine my comments to the Bible Itself as the authority. Where I agree with the Pentecostals is in the following chart breakdown of the nine sign gifts. It would seem that these nine gifts do seem to fit into a pattern of 3 gifts X 3 categories per se. I love the symmetry, but the Pentecostals depart from the Scriptures in defining some of these gifts.

The Nine Sign-Gifts As Shown in 1 Corinthians 12
The Gifts that Reveal Things
V.8 The word of wisdom Revelation Bible is silent?
V.9 The word of knowledge Bible is silent?
V. 10 The discerning of spirits Reveals the inner spirit motivating a person. Or demonic activity
The Gifts that Say Things
V.10 Prophecy Verbal To reveal, inform, proclaim
V.10 Divers kinds of tongues Speaks an unknown message
V.10 Interpretation of tongues Reveals what was said in an unknown tongue
The Gifts that Do Things
V.9 Gift of Faith Power Ability to believe the unbelievable
V. 9 Gifts of Healing Healing(s)
V. 10 Gift of Miracles Miracles are not just healing

When considering ANY of the gifts of the Spirit we must first acknowledge that these gifts are divine in origin. These are not normal human abilities, nor are they nascent seed gifts which develop over time and use. When the genuine gifts of the Holy Spirit are in manifestation, “God” is working immediately in that context of ministry through His chosen vessel.

The Gifts That Reveal Something

The Word of Wisdom

In this listing of the gifts we read about the three gifts that would, logically, seem to reveal something. First we read of the word of wisdom and that is all he ever has to say about this gift! No one knows exactly (1) what this gift was or (2) how it was manifested at Corinth.

Fortunately, Pentecostalism has supplied some definitions to the Church that God seemed to have left out of the bible. These gifts, which have hitherto remained undefined and seldom referenced in two thousand years of recorded Church history . . . came back into the Church via Alfred Howard Carter. Carter was a Pentecostal minister who was in prison in Wormwood Scrubs England as a conscientious objector in 1917. While there he claimed the Holy Spirit revealed to him all nine gifts cited in 1 Cor. 12 and bestowed all nine of them on him. In his books, Questions and Answers Concerning Spiritual Gifts and Spiritual Gifts and Their Operation he shares with his readers what each gift is and how is operates. This insight was supernaturally bestowed on him at a time when he admits to almost going insane in prison. Mr. Carter’s definitions were accepted by Pentecostals and to this day his definitions have been parroted by all the other sign-gift teachers:

“The gift of the word of wisdom is a word of God’s knowledge of what is going to take place in the future, a divine revelation of future events.”2

“On the other hand, the word of wisdom always speaks of the future.”3

“this is a direct supernatural act of the Holy Spirit to grant wisdom to a specific believer at a specific time to deal with a specific situation. So there is that kind of general wisdom that we all have, but there are times when God grants unusual wisdom, it’s a spiritual thing.”4

“The definition of The Word of Wisdom is: A Supernatural revelation of the plans & purposes in the mind of God that deal with the future. This is not a Gift of human wisdom or the “wise” kind of wisdom. With this Gift only part or a fragment of information is given. God is all knowing but he only gives us what we need to know at any given time.”5

Pentecostals seem to agree that the gift of the word of wisdom is a revelation by the Holy Spirit of some future event. This is pure speculation on their part. Honestly, we are not told what this specific gift was or what its purpose was. According to their definition this spiritual gift differs little from the gift of prophecy which can be either a (1) foretelling or a (2) forth telling or proclamation. Once Carter came up with a definition then some enthusiastic people began to claim they had this gift; again based on his novel classification.

The Word of Knowledge

Dovetailed with the word of wisdom is the word of knowledge. As with all the spiritual gifts, this gift is spiritual not a natural ability. It concerns itself with some form of supernatural knowing (γνῶσις/gnosis) that is not available under normal circumstances.

“The revelation of the word of knowledge brings is always present tense or concerning something that has happened in the past.”6

“It is part of God’s knowledge, a supernatural manifestation from heaven to a believer that comes into us. It lets us in on information and shows us things the way they are RIGHT NOW. It deals with facts.”7

“The definition of The Word of Knowledge is: A Supernatural revelation of certain facts in the mind of God that deal with the past or present. This is not a Gift of human knowledge or the “smarts” kind of knowledge.”8

This is the only time this phase is also used in the entire Bible. We are given no examples of its use or manifestation in or out of a worship service. Everything written since the death of John the Apostle about these two gifts is conjecture. There is no biblical proof that proves the word of wisdom is insight into the future nor is there anything indicating that the word of knowledge is a revelation of a past or current event.

Let’s confine ourselves to the FACTS. We know these gifts existed and were understood by the recipients of the letter from Paul. We know biblically that there is a distinction between wisdom, knowledge. Wisdom is basically the proper application of knowledge to bring about the best outcome. One cannot be “wise” without the information to discern and act upon. Knowledge is simply raw data, it is the facts. One can possess knowledge but not possess wisdom (i.e. the educated “fool”).

These two gifts of the Holy Spirit granted (as He willed) believers wisdom and/or knowledge for the “profiting” of the entire congregation. How these insights were given is not shared. We do not know if God revealed His wisdom/knowledge in a vision, like Peter or in a dream like Joseph or simply “dropped” the revelation into their minds immediately during the service. Since we do not know really what or how these gifts operated it seems to be the height of hubris to claim that one possesses such gifts! How do they know? What is the authority upon which they base their claims? This much is certain, it is not biblical authority.

The Discerning of Spirits

Many people err from the get-go with this gift. It is not the “gift of discernment,” there is no such “gift” it is called the discerning of spirits.

“The discerning of spirits gives supernatural insight into the spirit world. ‘To discern’ means to perceive by seeing or hearing. Therefore, discerning of spirits is the same as seeing or hearing in the realm of spirits.”9

“Sometimes the person actually physically sees the evil spirit at work in the person or situation.”10

I concur with the above definitions for the most part because they seem to fit the language Paul uses. This gift, when in operation, is the supernatural ability to correctly judge the spirit behind what is being done or said. Unlike the word of wisdom/word of knowledge we have some biblical examples of discerning of spirits:

Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!  Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? John 1:47

For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. Acts 8:23

How did Jesus “know” the inner condition of Nathanael? Jesus discerned his spirit as did Peter with Simon the sorcerer. Another example is when Paul, after several days turns to a possessed woman and casts out the spirit of divination (Acts 16:18).

This gift when in operation enables the person to discern between what is of the Spirit of God, the human spirit or a demonic spirit. It is obvious that currently within the ranks of our sign-gift enthusiasts this gift is NOT in operation. If it were, then how do they explain Benny Hinn, the Crouch’s and all the nonsense that is believed and followed by the multitudes of sheeple?

End Notes

1. The Pulpit Commentary on First Corinthians 12:3.

2. Hayes, Norvel. The Word of Wisdom, Harrison House, Tulsa Ok. P. 3 1979.
3. Hagin, Kenneth E. The Holy Spirit and His Gifts, Faith Library Publication, p. 88, 1991
4. Hocutt, Brad. Obtained from http://seatedprophetic.wordpress.com/the-holy-spirit-his-gifts/gift-of-the-word-of-knowledge-the-word-of-wisdom-the-discerning-of-spirits/

5. Hagin, Kenneth E. The Holy Spirit and His Gifts, Faith Library Publication, p. 88, 1991.

6. Hayes, Norvel. The Word of Knowledge, Harrison House, Tulsa Ok. P. 3, 1980.

7. Obtained from http://seatedprophetic.wordpress.com/the-holy-spirit-his-gifts/gift-of-the-word-of-knowledge-the-word-of-wisdom-the-discerning-of-spirits/

8. Hagin, Kenneth E. The Holy Spirit and His Gifts, Faith Library Publication, p. 89, 1991.

9. Obtained from http://hannahscupboard.com/ST-discerning-spirits.html

10.





Truth Matters Dec. 2013 TBN

31 12 2013

Wasted Opportunity?
The Death of Paul Crouch Sr., Founder of T.B.N.
By Rev. Robert Liichow

Crouch died Saturday November 30, 2013, he was 79 years old. Pastor Jack Hayford, whose services at the Church on the Way in Van Nuys were broadcast on TBN for more than 30 years, said: “It is no exaggeration of terms to describe Dr. Paul Crouch’s contribution to global Christianity as incalculably broad.” DMI disagrees strongly with Hayford’s assessment of Mr. Crouch’s influence for the good of the Church on a worldwide basis. There can be little doubt that Crouch was possessed by a business acumen that excelled many others when it came to television broadcasting.

At the time of his death, some estimate the value of all of TBN’s holding at close to a billion dollars and there is little doubt that over the forty (40) years of broadcasting the Crouch Empire syphoned off close to two billion dollars from legitimate Christian ministry. The last reported figure DMI has found states that TBN was bringing in over 100 million per year in donations currently. Pro-rate that over forty years, with even gradual growth over the years, plus interest, yeah it is 100′s of millions at least.

The massive holdings and opulent lifestyle of the Crouches has been well documented over the years. DMI has to our knowledge currently the only book in publication exposing TBN and the Crouch family. It is titled “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About TBN *(But Were Afraid to Ask)” is a full color, 8.5 X 12 inch spiral bound “coffee table” book available for $25.00 per signed copy (this publication is limited to 250 copies period). Each copy is compiled and signed by me the “heresy-hunter” himself. My honorary title “heresy-hunter” comes from a “curse” uttered on TBN by dead Paul Crouch against those who dared to speak out against Dad Hagin’s teachings on television in 1990.

TBN’s Televised “Footprint”

TBN owns 35 full-power television stations serving larger metropolitan areas, and, at its peak, 252 low-power television stations in the United States, which are mixed among stations serving medium-sized cities and rural translator stations in order to maximize the network’s reach as much as is permissible. TBN also has several hundred affiliate stations throughout the United States, although just 61 of these stations are full-power UHF or VHF stations. The rest are low-powered stations, requiring a viewer to be within several miles of the transmitter to receive the signal. According to TVNewsCheck, TBN was the third largest over-the-air television station group in the country as of 2010, besting the station groups of CBS, Fox, and NBC, but behind Ion and Univision.

Back in 1971 Mr. Crouch began with one weak station, by the end of his life he had purchased 35 full-power stations and 252 low-power stations. TBN owns them outright folks, they do not buy time for them, and this is a HUGE deal in broadcasting. What is more they are able to “buy time” on several hundred “affiliate stations” as well.

TBN is now the world’s largest Christian television network. Across America and around the world TBN is carried by TV stations and cable systems to millions of homes. As a matter of fact, TBN is featured on over 5,000 television stations, over 70 satellites, the Internet and thousands of cable systems around the world. And the number continues to grow! Programs are translated into numerous foreign languages at TBN’s state-of-the-art facilities at the International Production Center in Irving, Texas.

If you are virtually anywhere in the world and have access to a television signal or internet capability you can watch TBN! Twenty four (24) hours, seven (7) days a week you can see and/or listen to the stable of TBN shills exclaiming the glories of what TBN is doing and will be doing in the future . . . if only “God’s” people will support the vision!

Praise to Pry Partner Money Loose

Here is the dirty little secret concerning Mr. Crouch’s empire. Each station was simply a steppingstone to the acquisition of the next available station. With the very first station Crouch instituted the ubiquitous and infamous Praise-a-thon’s. These fund-raisers were supposed to mimic “revivals” of yesteryear. Filled with emotional music, sung and played by famous Christian artists, all of the stable of preachers would be brought forth to twist the Holy Word of God into nothing more than a “bless me” device for the SINisters and their deluded followers.

The secret is this —- these Praise-a-thons existed for one purpose only: to transfer money from the current viewing audience in order to buy more stations to get more viewers to get more money and buy more stations to get newer viewers (untapped) to get more money.

The purpose of this empire was NOT to lift up our Lord Jesus Christ and boldly and in an unfettered manner (which when one OWNS the stations one can do) proclaim the full fury of the Law and the sweetness of the Gospel in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ. How do I know? Regardless of whatever TBN says about proclaiming the Gospel the FACT remains that for the last forty (40) years THEY HAVE NOT DONE SO.

What has the purpose been then? TBN existed for the self-aggrandizement and financial enrichment of Paul and Jan Crouch. How do I know? Again the FACTS are patently obvious. Here is just a small “peek” into their holdings (a wee bit dated):

Paul, 70, collects a $403,700 salary as TBN’s chairman and president. Jan, 67, is paid $361,000 as vice president and director of programming. Those are the highest salaries paid by any of the 12 major religious nonprofits whose finances are tracked by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.
The Crouches travel the world in a $7.2-million, 19-seat Canadair Turbojet owned by TBN. They drive luxury cars. They have charged expensive dinners and furniture to TBN credit cards.
Thirty ministry-owned homes are at their disposal — including a pair of Newport Beach mansions, a mountain retreat near Lake Arrowhead and a ranch in Texas.
The Crouches’ family members share in the benefits. Their oldest son, Paul Jr., earns $90,800 a year as TBN’s vice president for administration. Another son, Matthew, has received $32 million from the network since 1999 to produce Christian-themed movies such as “The Omega Code.”
Overseeing these expenditures is a board of directors that consists of Paul Crouch, Jan Crouch and Paul’s 74-year-old sister, Ruth Brown. Control resides primarily with Paul. In a 2001 legal deposition, Jan said she did not know she was a corporate officer and could not recall the last board meeting she attended.
TBN’s declared mission as a tax-exempt Christian charity is to produce and broadcast television shows and movies “for the purpose of spreading the Gospel to the world.”

The biblical Gospel has not been preached by Crouch, or by those he had paraded before the world for forty (40) years. In fact, he is accountable before God for every person and what they said on his programs. Did Mr. Crouch every bring correction publically to anything that was taught from a TBN stage? NO! So, either he agreed with what was being taught or he was afraid of offending the speaker and possibly losing some potential income based on the current popularity of the speaker.

Keep in mind that Crouch had a regular “stable” of speakers and none of them is doctrinally sound. This stable includes Mr. T.D. Jakes, a Oneness Pentecostal heretic; Benny Hinn, a false prophet, false teacher and fake-healer; Joyce Meyer, false teacher; Kim Clement, another false prophet, Creflo Dollar, false teacher, child abuser and Jessie Duplantis, another documented liar and fraud just to name a few “stars.”

In every TBN production utilizing these SINisters, they always make sure and bring whatever the “message” is around to giving money to TBN. Although DMI has no proof yet, it seems that the speakers may possibly be given an “honorarium” based upon the take that evening. The triumvirate of money-makers for TBN over the years have consistently been Rev. R. W. Schambach, John “the bagman” Avanzini, and Benny Hinn. These three alone have brought in multiple millions to TBN and are in their own rights multi-millionaires.

Sadly, to date TBN has NOT been a godly influence. It has frankly been a canker on the Body of Christ due to its self-serving motivations, their ungodly lifestyle, their demonic doctrines and aberrant practices. Now that Paul has assumed room temperature and Jan is not getting any younger either; perhaps the next generation of Crouch’s may repent and actually use their capacity to proclaim God’s Truth. If they do, it will be a FIRST for TBN and actually something that will glorify the God they claim to serve.

Audio clip of Jan Crouch during a Praise-A-Thon around 2009:

Its always been the little women who caught the vision of giving, Some of you precious little ones have that little grocery money some of the little money set aside assure tonight the blessings of God on your family by giving it to God and speaking that say it ‘God this is for blessings on my family’ I love that.”

Jan actually asked for women to give TBN their little grocery money that they have saved for FOOD. Keep in mind, TBN has been sitting on interest bearing cash reserves in the millions of dollars for many years, yet they still wanted more.





Truth Matters October 2013

11 11 2013

Supernatural Speech In Acts
Part One

By Rev. Robert Liichow 

The 40-member church is among many nationwide that are reducing or cutting out speaking in tongues as they become more popular and move to the mainstream. It’s a shift that has unsettled some more traditional Pentecostals who say the practice is at the heart of a movement that evolved out of an interracial revival and remains a spontaneous way for the poor and dispossessed to have a direct line to God.

Last month on Issues Etc. radio I was asked, along with our discussion of Mr. Copeland’s measles outbreak at his compound to share my insights regarding recent articles that had come out stating that the defining mark of Pentecostalism, ecstatic speech, was not being practiced openly in many Pentecostal denominations and in some cases was no longer being emphasized. Harvey Cox, a Harvard religion professor said “This is a long-developing phenomenon . . . they don’t want what appears to be objectionable to stick out or be viewed with suspicion.”

First of all, we must begin with the biblical
evidence. Once we know what this expression of speaking in other tongues was biblically, then and only then can we determine if any Christian body is following the biblical practice or not. If on the one hand their practice has indeed been biblically correct, then why are they compromising their stance? If however, their practice has not been in accord with the Bible, then it is a good development that it is decreasing. What doth the Bible saith regarding what actually happened on the Day of Pentecost and throughout the history of the Book of Acts?

Prior to that Day – - -

Although many times sign-gift enthusiast proclaimers will begin their message on the validity of speaking in other tongues with this passage of text (which is probably as well known by Pentecostals as John 3:16 is to Baptists) they are already building on a faulty biblical understanding.

And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen. Luke 24:46-53

Only the 12 NOT the 120    
Our Lord Jesus was with the twelve. He is addressing His hand-picked witnesses moments before His ascension back to the Father and they are told that they, they who? The eleven disciples/apostles are the ones being addressed. This is a crucial point, do not forget it. They are the ones who will be initially clothed with power from on high and our Lord lifts up His hands, blesses them; they worship their Lord, and being filled with great joy return to Jerusalem.  Before the tongues as of fire rested upon the apostles they (the apostles) had to select another man to replace Judas. The qualifications are stated very clearly for all succeeding generations: First, Jesus said His men were witnesses of His ministry in Luke 24 and then again in Acts1:

Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a
witness
with us of his resurrection. Acts 1:21-22

The eleven prayed and sought the will of the Lord and they chose by lots between Matthias and Justus, with the result being the selection of Matthias. Remember in Luke 24 our Lord said they (the apostles) would be “witnesses” this is the same masculine term used again here for “witness.” The witnesses were the 12 apostles according to the context of this thought. After the number of apostles was restored to twelve and the “day of Pentecost” had fully come:

Pentecost or Shavuot has many names in the Bible (the Feast of Weeks, the Feast of Harvest, and the Latter Firstfruits). Celebrated on the fiftieth day after Passover, Shavuot is traditionally a joyous time of giving thanks and presenting offerings for the new grain of the summer wheat harvest in Israel. The name “Feast of Weeks” was given because God commanded the Jews in Leviticus 23:15-16, to count seven full weeks (or 49 days) beginning on the second day of Passover, and then present offerings of new grain to the Lord as a lasting ordinance.

Keep in mind that during this celebration Jerusalem would have been packed with people from all over the known world. “The Law of Moses required that all men make a pilgrimage to the temple three times a year to celebrate the feasts or festivals of Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles.” The city was already filled due to the major Passover and now 50 days later most people were still in the city and surrounds to fulfill their next obligation. This helps explain the wide divergence of languages in evidence during this observance.

When the Day of Pentecost Had Fully Come

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Acts 2:1-4

The “they” being spoken of are the same “they” Luke referred to in his Gospel account. There is nothing that indicates that the 120 other people gathered in that room were also recipients of that vocal gift. There is nothing stated anywhere in the Book of Acts that states or intimates anyone other than the apostles initially received this spiritual ability.

It is a question whether only the Twelve spoke in tongues or all 120. Several factors support the idea of only the Twelve being involved in this phenomenon: (1) They are referred to as Galileans (Acts 2:7; cf. 1:11–13). (2) Peter stood up with “the Eleven” (2:14). (3) The nearest antecedent of “they” in verse 1 is the “apostles” in 1:26.

We do read that it was the apostles who went outside and began to glorify God supernaturally in a genuine language unknown to them as the speakers, but known to the one being addressed hearer(s).

And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Acts 2:4-8

    The ones filled were the same ones who went outside and began to speak intelligently and the ones speaking were Galilaeans (male verb, male adjective in the Greek), the apostles were all male. We know that there were women that comprised a good part of the 120 people with the apostles but none of them is mentioned as receiving this gift at this time.

Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. Acts 2:9-13

    The apostles amazed their hearers because they were extolling the “wonderful works of God” in their own native languages. Languages that “ignorant and unlearned men” (see Acts 4:13) would not have known how to speak. The purpose of this gift was evangelical in that it got the attention of the people by proclaiming the wonderful works of God, which is simply another way of telling people about what God has done for us all in His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. From this account we know: (1) Jesus told them to go and wait, they did not know what to expect, i.e. they were not seeking the “gift of tongues.” (2) The apostles were the ones initially empowered with the Holy Spirit. (3) The gift was for the benefit of others not the personal edification of the speaker. (4) The messages were spoken to other people in their own language by a man who did not know the language he was speaking in, i.e. it was a genuine supernatural experience. (5) The content of the messages was clearly understood and glorified the works of God. (6) Lastly, this unusual manifestation was also a duel fulfillment of an Old Testament prophecy:

For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; And this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. Isa. 28:11-12

The context is God’s judgment against Judah and foretold their going into Assyrian captivity, a people whose language they did not understand. “Men who mock God’s servants and message will ultimately be mocked in turn: delivered into the captivity of people who speak with what seems to be a stammering or mocking tongue (Isa 33:10). This was fulfilled as Isaiah prophesied, yet the apostles seem to apply this past event to what was now taking place in the Church.

The extreme enthusiasts today claim that because some of the mockers (Judeans) said the apostles were acting like people totally out of control on alcohol that we should expect the same drunken manifestations today when we are “filled” with the Spirit. The entire “holy laughter” movement was buttressed on this faulty concept.

But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. Acts 2:14-14

Peter corrects the Judeans who were the ones casting aspersions. There is nothing in the text that indicates the apostles were “acting” drunk at all. The Judeans heard them, did not understand the languages, knew they were from Galilee (hicks) and thus mocked them. Peter says “these are not drunk” and dismisses the notion altogether and begins to explain what is transpiring.

Peter begins to preach what is taking place, in his own native tongue, and he tells them (and us) that what is taking place is THE fulfillment of the prophecy given by Joel [not "a" fulfillment]:

But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: Acts 2:16-18

“This” is a demonstrable pronoun pointing to what was taking place right then and there. It was prophesied to come to pass and it CAME TO PASS on that Day. The grammar is always important in Bible study and many people have missed its importance here. Peter stated unambiguously that “this,” what is transpiring in their midst is the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy. Enthusiasts through the ages have tried to claim that their movements were birthed out of additional fulfillments of Joel’s prophecy.  Montanus claimed “Joel” as did the people at Azusa Street in 1906, later on the New Order of the Latter Rain declared their movement a fulfillment, as did the Roman Catholic Charismatic renewal movement in the mid 1960′s at the University of Notre Dame. All of them are wrong. That specific prophecy in Joel was fulfilled in the Church then, period.

Without going into the meat of Peter’s sermon we do learn one thing virtually all people fail to mention. When the 3,000 hearers are pricked to their hearts and are brought to faith in Christ Jesus and baptized —- NONE of these men began to speak in other tongues upon believing and baptism.

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. Acts 2:38-41

The “promise” of the Holy Spirit is given to all (note also, Peter included children) who are brought to repentance and are baptized into Christ Jesus. Every Christian receives the Holy Spirit at their new birth, but not all Christians spoke with new tongues. Speaking in other tongues is not “proof” or evidence that an individual is “filled” with the Spirit per se. The “proof” of being indwelt by the Spirit is found in the waters of holy baptism. If you were baptized into Christ, then you are indwelt by the Spirit of Grace, like everything else in our walk, this is an article of faith and it is not based on whether we feel His presence or not.

What we should focus on in this event is that the Spirit had just been poured out on the apostles; they were not seeking this gift of other tongues, yet they received it — why didn’t these newly minted “Christians” also speak with new tongues as well? Peter just preached that the gift of the Holy Spirit was for all God’s children . . . so why are not all reported to be glorifying God wonderful works supernaturally? Obviously, this supernatural ability was not given to all believers, then or now. About five years after the Day of Pentecost (DOP) the Gospel message begins to make Its way outside of the converted Jews. In the following event we read of Phillip preaching Christ to the Samaritans. They received the Word of God and were converted (see Acts 8:11).

Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. Acts 8:14-17

 Phillip shared the Gospel with the Samaritans, yet he was not authorized to impart the gift of the Spirit, only the apostles had this ability. They had to send for the apostles Peter and John. The apostles prayed for them, laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Ghost. There is no mention of these believers speaking with other tongues when they received the Holy Spirit. We are not given many details of how the Spirit manifested Himself among them, but something was evident by reading the account of Simon the sorcerer:

Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Acts 8:13, 18-20

Simon became a believer, he was baptized into Christ and he continued with the evangelist Phillip. Simon saw that through the laying on the apostles‘ hands the Holy Ghost was imparted and he wanted to do the same thing as the apostles and even offered to pay for this ability, which probably made perfect sense to his yet carnal mind. THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT EVENT! We read of a believer who tried to TRESPASS into a ministry arena that he was unauthorized to engage in and Peter rebukes Simon and calls him to repentance for his presumptuous sin, he repents (vs. 24). Here are the vital points; first of all, we read that the Holy Spirit was imparted/given via the ministry/authority of the apostles alone. Secondly, one cannot purchase the gift of God. Thirdly, it was (and is) God alone who determined who and what gift they shall receive. What we are reading about is not the unique gift of speaking in other tongues, instead we are privy to reading about the unconquerable spread of the Gospel, the gates of hell (Matt. 16:18) are indeed no match for the power of God (Romans 1:16) and now the Samaritans are united in one Body with the Jews.

From the DOP nothing is mentioned about speaking in other tongues until the event with the Centurion Cornelius in Acts 10. If the gift of other tongues was the be-all and end-all of Christian spirituality why isn’t it mentioned as taking place more often in the account? We know Peter goes with John and he preaches in the temple and this time 5,000 men are converted (see Acts 4:4). As with the earlier 3,000 converts, these 5,000 also did not speak in other tongues at their conversion either.

If one is honest with the Book of Acts then one MUST admit that speaking in other tongues was not a universal experience for Christians. As we shall read, it was in fact a unique and surprising infrequent occurrence. The next citation of this specific gift is almost ten years later after the DOP at home of Cornelius!

While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days. Acts 10:44-48

    Years had passed since that DOP was initially celebrated. Many Jews have been converted, for even as Paul said later that the Gospel was to “the Jew first, then the Gentiles” (see Romans 1:16). The divine encounter between Cornelius and Peter was completely orchestrated by God. The Lord spoke to Cornelius by an angel (Acts 10:3) and gave hardheaded Peter a vision and brought them together defying tremendous racial animus between the Jews and Greeks.

    While Peter was still preaching to those gathered (Cornelius, his household and devout friends, v. 24) the hearers were brought to faith and the Spirit of Grace fell upon the Gentiles for the first time. How did Peter and those on his ministry “team” know they had received the Spirit? “For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God” (v. 44). There are several very salient facts in this account to keep in mind when it comes to the issue of ecstatic speech.

    First, Peter as apostle was present and conducting the service which was his calling as a “witness” (that word again from Luke 24, Acts 1, Acts 10) — apostolic presence and authority. No one in the book of Acts received the gifts of the Spirit apart from the presence/ministry of the apostles. Secondly, some years had passed since the birth of the Church and Peter, Cornelius nor anyone else gathered were expecting (seeking) this capability. At this point in the Acts account we have no proof that anyone spoke with other tongues again after the Day of Pentecost. There is nothing in the text to indicate that speaking in tongues was in evidence in the worship services in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria at this (or any other for that matter). Thirdly, this manifestation was the same as occurred on the Day of Pentecost. The Gentiles did not receive some other demonstration of this gift than the Jews. We know they received the same experience as the Jews by Peter’s own testimony:

And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.
Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? Acts 11:15-17

    Upon returning home Peter is questioned by the circumcised believers and he recounts to them the entire event. Peter clearly states that the Holy Spirit fell on the Gentiles as on us at the beginning (Pentecost). They received the same expression “as he did unto” the Jews. Peter and those with him at the home of Cornelius heard the Gentiles magnify God, and although the text does not state it, it is very safe to conclude that some people in attendance could interpret/translate what was being vocalized or else they would not have known they were “magnifying God.” Also, it makes perfect sense that since the Gentiles received the same manifestation of the Spirit as the Jews, then the gift would have been the same, i.e. in this case Gentiles speaking supernaturally and someone being able to understand that they were in fact glorifying God. In this case it seems that the manifestation of other tongues was to convince the Jewish believers of the validity of the salvation of the Gentiles, even as tongues were used to help convince the pious Jews and proselytes of the reality of Peter’s sermon. What we see on the Day of Pentecost is the outworking of “to the Jew first” and then a few years later the Gentiles are brought in – “then to the Greeks.”

    First we read of the dramatic birth of the Church, the Church being opened to the Samaritans (Acts 8) and now in Acts 10 we read of the Church doors being opened to the Gentiles and the beginning of global evangelism. On these occasions nobody was expecting and thus not seeking the gift of tongues. On these occasions the vocalization of this special gift was spoken in a known language by people who did not know that language but a language that could be understood. Initially the apostles were the recipients and from that point on the apostles were always present when spiritual gifts were imparted. In Acts we read of no accounting of the Church gathering together to speak in tongues as part of worship, nor of any lay people going about distributing the gifts of the Spirit.

    For almost another ten years the Book of Acts is silent about the use of this gift until we come across the apostle of untimely birth (1 Cor. 15:8) Paul in Acts 19:

And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. And all the men were about twelve. Acts 19:1-7

    Paul and Apollos are on their way to Ephesus and they encounter a group of John’s disciples. Beyond them being disciples of John the Baptist we know very little about them. We know they were baptized with John’s baptism and they did not knowing that the Holy Spirit had been given by Jesus Christ who came baptizing with the Holy Ghost and fire (Matthew 3:11). The apostle Paul corrects their theological ignorance and they received the Word and were baptized into Christ Jesus. Then Paul the apostle laid his hands on these men and the Holy Spirit came upon them and these twelve men both spoke with tongues and also prophesied. Again, let us focus on what we do know, not what we speculate about! The Holy Spirit was given/imparted/bestowed through the ministry of an apostle to believers who had no idea of what to expect, they did not even know of the Spirit’s ministry through the Church at this point, again they were not “seeking” an experience or encounter with God. We read that the “gifts” given are according to the will of God, they spoke in tongues and also prophesied, two of the nine gifts Paul delineates in 1 Corinthians 12:8-11. This encounter is the last mention of speaking in/with other “tongues” in the Book of Acts.

    The fact is there are only three actual texts that deal with speaking in other tongues —Acts 2:4, 10:46, and 19:6—are the only instances regarding speaking in tongues in the book of Acts. Some Pentecostal and sign-gift enthusiasts assert that tongues also occurred in Acts 8:4 but, there is no textual support for their belief, it is pure speculation. All three events treat the gift of speaking in tongues as the public and intelligible (understandable) communication of truth about God. Each event also show the gift of speaking in tongues as a verifying sign of the unique coming of the Holy Spirit upon a new group of people, thereby incorporating that group into the church.

    In conclusion let us also remember the examples of when people were converted and filled with the Holy Spirit without any evidence of speaking in other tongues. In Acts 2:41-42 we read where the three thousand were converted and baptized. Phillip preached and men and women were converted and baptized in water and filled with the Spirit, no mention of other tongues however, Acts 8:12. When Phillip witnesses to the Ethiopian eunuch who converts and is baptized does not speak in other tongues, Acts 8:26-40. There is no evidence at his conversion and baptism that the apostle Paul spoke in tongues (Acts 9:17-19), although later he thanks God he speaks in tongues “more than ye all” in 1 Cor. 14:18. It is obvious that the gift of speaking in other tongues was not a universal experience or practice. When the Spirit manifested Himself in such a manner He did so through apostolic authority and not the laity. Lastly, it was not an experience to be sought, nor did it seem to be for personal edification. Then how did the sign-gift movement get to be the largest segment of the Church? Stay tuned as by the grace of God DMI will continue to endeavor to unscrew the inscrutable.

ENDNOTES & REFERENCES:

An important FACT to remember when you read the Book of Acts is that what we read in an hour covers many years of Church history.

This is one of several recent stories on this topic http://bigstory.ap.org/article/messages-tongues-down-among-pentecostals. The underlining and bold type were added by the author for emphasis.

Christian people need to regain their objectivity.  It matters not how long a group of Christians has done something nor does it matter how many millions embrace a practice or dogma that does not make it true.  Our first and foremost authority is the Bible itself.

Obtained from http://christianity.about.com/od/biblefeastsandholidays/p/pentecostfeast.htm on 9/24/13

http://emp.byui.edu/SATTERFIELDB/Rel211/TEMPLE.html

Stanley D. Toussaint, “Acts,” ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 357–358.

Walter C. Kaiser, “1118 לָעַג,” ed. R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999), 481.

When Pentecostal/sign gift folks teach the Book of Acts the people are given the impression that all of these “supernatural” events take place one after another quickly and that all the members of the early Church were all supernaturally empowered by the Spirit and that the rank-N-file believers were imparting gifts, working miracles, having a revival time in the Lord per se.  This is simply invisibly written into the account.  There is nothing that indicates this sort of hyper-Pentecostalism was transpiring at all in the lives of the people.





Truth Matters November 2013

11 11 2013

Other Tongues Part Two
Rev. Robert S. Liichow

     For argument’s sake let us agree that 100% of the people in the upper room on the Day of Pentecost (DOP) received the Holy Spirit and began to speak supernaturally in other languages as opposed to the view of myself and a host of other theologians which holds that only the apostles received this supernatural ability on that day. In reading the rest of the Book of Acts ask yourself the following questions. Did you read anywhere of the use of this gift by “laypeople” in the temple or in house to house worship? No. Did you read anywhere of non-apostles imparting/bestowing the Holy Spirit on believers? No. Did you read anywhere about people seeking the ability to supernaturally speak in other tongues? No. Remember your answers, you will be tested.

    Some might try to argue that the event with Phillip is an example of miracles being done by a non-apostle as seen in Acts 8:

Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert place.  And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship  and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah.  And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” Acts 8:26-29, ESV

    Phillip obeys the divine directive and joins the chariot and he enlightens the Ethiopian court official regarding the meaning of the text. Phillip shares the Word of God, the Holy Spirit convicts the man of his need of the Savior.

And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. Acts 8:26-39

    There is MUCH that can be said of this amazing encounter, but let us focus in on a couple of aspects. We read of the eunuch making the good confession “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” This confession can only truly be made by a person who has already been brought to faith in Jesus. Note what his “faith” desires immediately —- water baptism! Phillip baptizes the eunuch, whether Phillip immersed the eunuch or stood with him in the water and poured it over his head is not stated nor does it matter; the “mode” of water baptism is not an issue. We do read they come out (ek) of the water together. Before, during or after his baptism does the Ethiopian speak in other tongues? No. Does Phillip mention that he needs this gift or experience so he has “evidence” that he is in fact now filled with the Holy Spirit? No. The only really miraculous experience occurs after the ministry work is over when Phillip is “caught away” (harpazō to snatch away) by the Lord and simply vanishes before the eunuch’s eyes who goes home rejoicing. I believe this event helps solidify my strong belief that no one received the “gifts of the Spirit” apart from apostolic presence or direct ministry. Again, please call to mind Acts 10:44while Peter yet spoke. . .” the Spirit was given. Earlier in Acts 8:14-15 we read:

Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:

In closing out this short review from last month let me restate the obvious to any reader of the Book of Acts, but apparently is not so obvious to many enthusiastic readers — there is NO

contextual
supportive
evidence:

  • That speaking languages supernaturally was a common experience to all or even most believers.
  • This gift {however it is understood} was ever part of the public or private worship of God’s people.
  • This ability was sought by believers.
  • After the DOP we have no indication whether the apostles themselves spoke or heard again in such a manner until some years later during a specific event in a specific place.
  • No one ever received these gifts of the Spirit apart from apostolic ministry.

Biblical scholars are in agreement (as much as they can agree on anything) that Luke, the physician wrote the Book of Acts and they also agree that Luke was indeed a close associate of the apostle Paul. Furthermore the dating of the Book of Acts is placed around 60-62 A.D. This is as important fact to “tuck away” in your mind as you re-read First Corinthians, which is dated around 53-57 A.D.

Luke wrote Acts ten years after Paul wrote the Corinthian believers. What is more Luke was well acquainted with Paul’s ministry. Yet for whatever reason the Holy Spirit did not allow anything to be shared of their ecstatic practices. This “silence” speaks volumes. If indeed the Church at Corinth was acting appropriately and were indeed these highly supernaturally gifted super-saints, then why aren’t they upheld as wonderful examples of faith and practice in the Book dedicated to the history of the beginning of the Church? Certainly Luke knew about what was taking place in Corinth, news travelled more slowly back then, but travel it did and he would have known, yet he is silent about them.

 The Confusion at Corinth

  Space does not permit me to go into detail about all the abuses taking place at Corinth, nor can I take us through a verse-by-verse study, although such a study is well worth the time and effort. With a cursory glance let’s get some sense of the condition of these believers and then focus in on their understanding of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in next month’s article.

    Lest we be tempted to think of ourselves more highly than we ought (see Rom. 12:3) one thing Paul’s letter to Corinth teaches us is that sinful flesh does not change regardless of the age or degree of technology it is born into. The problems that plagued the Church then STILL plague us to this day and the answers given then are the SAME answers for us today. God changes not (see Mal. 3:6) nor does His truth, Truth Matters.

Some of the Systemic Sinful Abuses at Corinth

Paul learned of what was taking place at Corinth from two sources: (1) the household of Chloe (see 1 Cor. 1:11) and (2) a letter possibly written by Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus (see 1 Cor. 16:17). The reason for writing this letter boils down to correcting
sinful abuses being practiced and false doctrine that is being believed.

Factions & Schisms

For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? 1 Cor. 1:12-13

The Corinthian, blood-bought baptized believers were in serious strife with one another in their church family. The Greek word for “contentions” refers to severe disagreements:

33.447
ἐρίζω; ἔρις, ιδος: to express differences of opinion, with at least some measure of antagonism or hostility—’to argue, quarrel, dispute.’
39.22
ἔρις, ιδος: conflict resulting from rivalry and discord—’strife, discord.’ ὅπου γὰρ ἐν ὑμῖν ζῆλος καὶ ἔρις, οὐχὶ σαρκικοί ἐστε; ‘when there is jealousy and strife among you, doesn’t this prove that you are people of this world?’ 1 Cor. 3:3. In a number of languages the type of strife referred to by ἔρις is frequently described as verbal, for example, ‘always saying bad things about one another’ or ‘never having a good word to say to one another.’

    The people were dividing themselves into “camps” based upon their favorite style of preacher whether it was Paul or Apollos and some pious folks claimed only to follow “Christ.” Absolutely NOTHING has changed to this day (thus PROVING my contention that our flesh never changes) in this regard. Christians today lump themselves together by their favorites preachers. Today it is “I am of Copeland,” or “I follow Walther and not Melanchthon.” How about “I am Lutheran, or I am a Calvinist?” Same fleshly outbreak as back then, just different characters today. Paul deals with this issue in his letter from 1:1 up to around 4:21.

Sexual Immorality

It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.  And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. 1 Corinthians 5:1–2

    It seems the Corinthians thought themselves so spiritual (1 Cor. 1:7 tells us that they lacked no spiritual gift) that the normal rules of morality did not apply to them any longer. The sexual degradation they tacitly approved of was of such a nature that even the pagan Gentiles did not fall to such depths of depravity. What is even worse than the individuals sins itself, as hideous as it was, was that the Church felt “good” about their liberty in Christ due to their inflated (φυσιόω/puffed up) egos. Instead, they should have mourned over the sin of one of their members, not approved of it in any way and sought to restore their brother who fell and at all costs uphold the holy name of Jesus into which they were baptized. Paul deals with this sad abuse in 5:1-13.

Litigious Libertines

Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? 1 Corinthians 6:1–3

The congregants did not get along, they did not trust nor particularly “like” one another, so it is not stretch to see them take their issues to an “impartial” party as opposed to their own brethren. This was (and is) a massive failure on the part of these people. First, it indicates those involved in such activities were not walking in love towards one another. Later on Paul will remind them exactly how the love of God expresses Himself through us (see 1 Cor. 13). Secondly, for a people so “filled with the Spirit” (as we shall see) how is it that they cannot depend upon Him within them, to give them discernment in judging common events in life? These super-saints were obviously not “hearing from God” in these matters. Lastly, to whom do they appeal? They go before the unjust, judges whose understanding belongs 100% to this world and its defeated non-god, Satan (see 2 Cor. 4:4). The Corinthians had not considered the BIG picture, we, the Church shall judge the angels . . . and these people cannot figure out an equitable outcome to simple things in this short life?

Strolling with Strumpets

All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.  Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.  What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. 1 Corinthians 6:12–16

    The Greek culture thought it perfectly normal to satisfy all the desires of the body which included the meats they ate and giving expression to their sexual lusts. Much of the eating and fornicating were done within the confines of various pagan mystery religions temples. The members ate the foods sacrificed to the idols and then engaged in sexual activities with the temple prostitutes (both male and female prostitutes) of their selection. This was the normal accepted manner of behavior and departure from it would have been considered abnormal. The members of the Church of Corinth were drawn out from this type of society mostly as adults, to them Christianity probably seemed like a newer and more superior mystery religion.

    The Corinthians had taken their true freedom in Christ to mean they could pick and choose who they listened to biblically. They were not obligated to love one another and get along; instead they would rather sue one another and sleep around. Paul saw this danger and rhetorically responds to this prevalent attitude by saying “all things are lawful to me but all things are not expedient.” He limits our liberty by tempering it with expediency. Christians are not free “to” sin but we have been freed “from” sin. Unfortunately the Corinthians took their liberty in Christ to mean they could indulge their flesh and in thinking they were free, they had in fact come under the power of sin (see John 8:34, Romans 6:16,20). As children of God we are now in Christ Jesus free to obey and free and empowered to say no to sinful temptations. Paul brings correction and continues operating on the flock.

Eating the Wrong Things

     Not only were the Corinthians guilty of abusing sexual relations, they were eating foods sacrificed to idols, whether directly in the various cultic temples or in the public markets which bought their meat from the temples often. Just as a point of history, the Greeks only burned the inedible portions of animals sacrificed, they ate everything else themselves.

    It seems evident to this author that the Corinthian’s were decidedly on the “libertine” side of the “scale” whereas the Galatian believers were being led to the opposite pole, that of “legalism.”

As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. 1 Corinthians 8:4

    Paul begins addressing this “abuse” by appealing to the power of love over “knowledge” (vv.1-3) and he acknowledges that some might have the correct understanding that an idol is in fact nothing, thus eating sacrificed to “nothing” had no effect on the meat whatsoever. Like my mother used to say to me at times “Robbie, it is not enough to be right sometimes.” Those with this view were correct, but as Paul reminds these haughty saints walking in “revelation knowledge” that godly love trumps knowledge.

Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. 1 Corinthians 8:7

    Not all the Corinthians had arrived at the correct understanding and some believed that food dedicated/sacrificed to an idol actually did something to that food which caused the people partaking of it to be united with the god or lord of the temple of origin.

But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.  But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.  For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;  And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? 1 Corinthians 8:8–11

    What we eat does not matter to God per se. What does matter is when we use our legitimate liberty in Christ in such a way that it leads the weaker (in the faith) brother/sister to engage in something that they do not properly understand in Christ, and are destroyed by it.

But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend. 1 Corinthians 8:12–13

Causing my brother or sister to stumble and wound their weak conscience by my liberty, then not only have I sinned against them but against our Lord Jesus Christ also. Like the Corinthians we often see our sins as “personal” between me and God and that my sin only impacts my fellowship with God. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are all members of One Body —- thus my sins impact ALL of my family in some manner. Paul reminded the Ephesians (and us) of the following:

From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. Ephesians 4:16

Every member of the Body of Christ has been given gifts, talents and abilities that are NEEDED to be used, when we sin we become sort of a “joint out of place,” which will slow down the Body, if we become so diseased by sin, then we have to be removed from the Body, lest the cancer spread (this is what happened to the brother sleeping with his mother-in-law, he was excommunicated – but he is restored by the next letter, which is the goal of Church discipline).

The Lady Has the Floor

The Corinthian’s were so “free” that they were allowing the women in their services to participate in ways not granted to them by Christ Jesus, the Head of the Church. Not only were some women out of divine order, they (with the men’s permission/approval) were violating the traditions that Paul delivered to them.

Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.  But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. 1 Corinthians 11:2–3

Paul begins by reminding them of the divine order (headship) of creation [PLEASE keep in mind that what is being discussed is not about "competence" but "faithfulness" to God's order for His Church].

The word head (kephalē) seems to express two things: subordination and origination. The former reflects the more usual Old Testament usage (e.g., Jud. 10:18), the latter that of Greek vernacular (e.g., Herodotus History 4. 91). The former is primary in this passage, but the latter may also be found (1 Cor. 11:8). The subordination of Christ to God is noted elsewhere in the letter (3:23; 15:28). His subordination to the Father is also true in His work as the “agent” of Creation (8:6; cf. Col. 1:15–20).

The Corinthians thought themselves so “free” in Christ, no doubt due to their high degree of self-perceived
pseudo spiritual advancement that they overthrew the biblical and cultural distinctions between men and women. “All things are lawful” was extended to women’s participation in worship:

. . . the Corinthian women had expressed that principle by throwing off their distinguishing dress. More importantly they seem to have rejected the concept of subordination within the church (and perhaps in society) and with it any cultural symbol (e.g., a head-covering) which might have been attached to it. According to Paul, for a woman to throw off the covering was an act not of liberation but of degradation. She might as well shave her head, a sign of disgrace (Aristophanes Thesmophoriazysae 837). In doing so, she dishonors herself and her spiritual head, the man.

It is not our goal to consider the proper biblical role of women in the ministry of the Church at this time. The focus is that obviously the Corinthians were guilty of abusing the role of women in their midst.

In the church—as elsewhere—men and women need each other, and God intends them to be complementary in their gifts and personalities. Some gifts and aspects of personality may be the same in the man and in the woman, but not all. They were created to be different. Physical differences between the sexes are matched by differences of gift and personality.

Abusive Table Manners

Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. 1 Corinthians 11:17

    It is interesting to take note of that Paul uses the words for “idol” and “Idolatry” fifteen (15) times in 1 Corinthians and only six (6) times in his remaining letters. Contrast this with his use twelve (12) times of “impurity.” I agree with William Ramsay when he says that Paul is more concerned with the reality of idolatry versus impurity, which is the wrong view of many other commentators.

    The people were gathering together for worship and to share the Lord’s Table together. They were to be united as one family in Jesus Christ and yet they were anything but united.

For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. 1 Corinthians 11:18-19

    When they gathered to be receive God’s good gifts of Word and sacrament they probably associated with one another based on their proclivities regarding their favorite teachers, based on their perceived spirituality and economic status.

    Paul is not surprised to hear about this extremely sad state of affairs. After all, the entire congregation seems to be a very “mixed bag” of exceptionally carnal Christians and sincere believers who wanted to please their Lord versus themselves.

    Up to this point of doctrine and practice Paul has been exposing and correcting their abuses regarding virtually everything they were doing as God’s people, so he is not surprised to learn of their abuses at their Lord’s Table.

Paul says in v. 20when therefore ye assembly yourselves together, it is not possible to eat the Lord ‘s Supper.” For a host of reasons the Corinthian believers were not conducting the sacramental meal as taught by our Lord Jesus Christ at His last supper with His disciples prior of His death (see Matthew 26:17-30). When they gathered together they were in essence eating their own supper (vs. 21-22) and some people were actually becoming drunk (μεθύει/methyō) during the meal!

    Concerning the “Eucharist” (Greek for ‘thanksgiving’) meal the Corinthian’s were in serious, sometimes fatal error. They erred in discerning exactly what was taking place at the Lord’s Table both vertically in their relationship with God and horizontally with one another as God’s own dear children.

Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
For this cause many are
weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 1 Corinthians 11:27-31

Paul again brings correction by teaching them that they need to begin with self-examination:

1507 δοκιμάζω (dokimazō): 1043; 1381; 2.255—1.
examine, try to out, test (Lk 14:19; 1Co 3:13; 11:28; 2Co 8:8; Gal 6:4; 1Ti 3:10); 2.
regard as worthwhile (Ro 1:28). 3.
judge as good, regard something as genuine or worthy (Ro 1:28; 14:22)

This self-examination is a critical and necessary aspect of properly receiving the benefits given by our risen Lord through His supper.

But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.  For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are
weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. 1 Corinthians 11:28–30

Obviously these disciples were failing to judge themselves (the examine “himself”) properly in relation to what they were about to receive (the “Lord’s body”). Their abject failure regarding the holiness of God in the meal resulted in:

For this cause many
are
weak and sickly among you, and many
sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 1 Corinthians 11:30–31

Specifically because of their carnality at the communion meal MANY (‘polloi’, indicates abundance) people were receiving judgment DUE to their behavior including:

Weak — 23.145
ἀσθενής, ές: pertaining to being ill and, as a result, weak and incapacitated—’sick, ill, weak, disabled.

Sickly — asthĕnēs, from 1 (as a negative particle) and the base of 4599; strengthless (in various applications) feeble, impotent, sick, without strength, weak (er, -ness, thing).

Sleep — And not a few sleep (και κοιμωνται ἱκανοι [kai koimōntai hikanoi]). Sufficient number (ἱκανοι [hikanoi]) are already asleep in death because of their desecration of the Lord’s table. Paul evidently had knowledge of specific instances. A few would be too many.

Let me just put this thought out for readers to ponder — if the Lord’s Supper is merely symbolic, as many denominations teach, then why was God judging them for their ill treatment of a mere symbol? I agree with the apostles and Paul when he states:

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. 1 Corinthians 10:16-17

The cup of wine we bless is a communion, or better translated “participation” in the blood of Christ, even as the bread we break is a participation in the body of Christ, the Corinthians had lost sight of this fact.

The solution was self-examination (diekrinomen, 11:31; cf. vv. 28–29; 5:1–5; 10:12), self-discipline (9:27), and promoting of unity. The alternative was God’s judging (krinomenoi, 11:32), which was a discipline that they were then experiencing. This was not a loss of salvation, but of life (cf. 5:5).

    We have seen in Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church that these people were carnally minded in the grossest forms. They erred in their morals, their relationship to leaders, and their lack of love towards one another, spiritual pride and arrogance. It seems they had at best a tenuous grasp of the Gospel message and yet they saw themselves as highly spiritual people whom God was using in marvelous ways.

    It is the view of this author that what Paul is doing throughout this letter is showing the Corinthians their sinful abuses. What I am endeavoring to point out is simply WHY do so many people look to the Corinthians when it comes to the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit as the experts? What basis do we have to believe that they got “this right” where the entire letter is an open rebuke and not too subtle correction of their other many errors? There is no basis to believe their use of the gifts was any more sound than their communion practices. Next month we shall consider the Corinthian abuse of the spiritual gifts and hopefully address whether or not speaking in tongues is disappearing from charismatic public assemblies.

REFERENCES:

Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 437, 494, 269.

David K. Lowery, “1 Corinthians,” ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 528–529, 532. Underlining added for emphasis.

Derek Prime, Opening up 1 Corinthians, Opening Up Commentary (Leominister: Day One Publications, 2005), 96–97. Underlining added for emphasis.

[1] The Corinthians came from a background of eating ‘sacred food’ in their temples.  They were formerly schooled in believing that what they ate was an actual encounter with their gods.  Perhaps when they learned as Christians that idols were nothing, thus the meats sacrificed to idols was “nothing” and perhaps they carried this over to thinking that the Lord’s Supper was also just a sort of “memorial” meal with nothing really taking place.

James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament) (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).

James Strong, A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek Testament and The Hebrew Bible (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2009), 16.

A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1933), 1 Co 11:30.

 





Truth Matters Newsletter Sept 2013 Extra Article

8 10 2013

Measles Outbreak in Copeland’s Congregation. How Can These Things Be?
By the Rev. Robert S. Liichow
Heresy Hunter, Master Sniper First Class
Dr. of Doctrine, Founder of The I.O.H.H.
Grand Pooh-bah, Humble Slave
Forgiven Sinner

Measles Cases Put Texas Megachurch Under the Microscope http://www.stltoday.com/news/national/measles-cases-put-texas-megachurch-under-scrutiny/image_8cba3753-386f-5843-92b9-47b745014c5f.html

This Aug. 27, 2013, photo shows a sign at the entrance of the Kenneth Copeland Ministries Eagle Mountain Church, in Newark, Texas. The Texas megachurch is linked to at least 21 cases of measles and has been trying to contain the outbreak by hosting vaccination clinics, officials said. (AP Photo/LM Otero): The teachings of televangelist Kenneth Copeland and his family focusing on the virtues of trusting God to keep healthy are under scrutiny after a cluster of measles cases linked to his family’s North Texas megachurch revealed many congregants hadn’t been vaccinated against this highly contagious disease. (1)

On September 3, 2013 I was honored to speak on the nationally syndicated radio program Issues, Etc. regarding the very recent outbreak of the highly contagious disease, measles in the pseudo-Church called “Eagle Mountain.”

In the Word of Faith (WOF) cult, the worldview they present is MECHANISTIC —- the universe operates on SPIRITUAL LAWS. If one understands these spiritual laws and principles, then one can live a life of health, financial prosperity and victory. In the past I have personally heard Mr. Copeland say “if you play the game right you win” —- this was in reference to properly working the spiritual laws that govern this life. Obviously, with over twenty people sick with the measles Copeland’s people are not “winning” the battle over disease.

According to their doctrine sickness is a result of the curse that came upon the earth due to Adam’s sin. Jesus came and destroyed the curse of the law (Gal. 3:13) and thus they believe it is the will of God that all of His children walk free from the ravages of the curse in this life. This freedom is not ours automatically upon regeneration; we have been given the spiritual force
of faith which is the “key” to unlock the treasures of heaven, to move mountains, to literally create reality.

Sickness is not viewed as a result of simply living in a fallen world due to sin. Everything we experience is more or less “causative” in nature. All good and evil experienced (blessing or curse) has a reason or cause for being, either God, man or the devil. Marilyn Hickey, the aging WOF docent of deceivers taught us in Robert Tilton’s Satellite Bible School in the 1980′s a “bedrock” Bible text proving what I have just restated:

As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, So the curse causeless shall not come. Proverbs 26:2

There is always a cause for a curse and sickness is a curse, therefore there must be: (1) a cause and (2) a solution. The Bible tells us that we are not to give the devil any place (see Eph. 4:27). Satan cannot simply come into our lives and “do” things to us; we must give him the permission to do so. Copeland and the others of his ilk teach that we give the devil permission either through passive acceptance of whatever comes our way or through speaking the wrong negative words.

Here are some of the usual reasons cited for “faith failures” and all of these reasons can be equally applied to any area in which faith was exercised and the desired result was not obtained.

Shots Are For the Weak in Faith

Vaccinated? According to the article many people at Copeland’s church had never been vaccinated at all and the reason why is because their leader, Mr. Copeland is on record as being against getting vaccinated. Why? The WOF cult teaches that people get vaccinated out of fear. Those who get the shots do so because (1) they have been misinformed so they passively do whatever they are told to do and (2) others are afraid of getting whatever the disease the shot(s) is created to resist.

Fear is the direct opposite force from faith. Fear, doubt and unbelief unleash Satan and his demons and our lack of faith is like a huge “come and dine” sign over our heads somehow in the spirit realm. Getting a shot is tantamount to saying “I don’t trust God to keep me safe from the measles.” Getting a shot is saying “I am afraid.” We all know what happened to Job, right?

For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, And that which I was afraid of is come unto me. Job 3:25

The result of his fear was that the very thing he was afraid of came upon him. Thus (implied without having to actually say it) if one, say gets a shot, then the odds are pretty good they might get sick. (2) How is that for cultic logic?

The end result is a congregation filled tightly with people who have never been vaccinated at all and others who’ve let their booster shots lapse. To those of us who live in “Realville” (a little Rush Limbaugh lingo) this would seem to be the optimal place for an outbreak to occur!

Without knowing any of the sick people involved I can assure you how this outbreak took place. First “Patient Zero” (could be an adult or child) begins by feeling some of the symptoms of being sick (in this case with the measles). In the WOF when you do not feel something is right REBUKE IT immediately in Jesus name. As a child of God, a member of the Kingdom of God, priest and a king sickness has no place in you.

As to the symptoms, why “dad” Hagin told us many times that “the shadow of a dog never bit anyone,” this was in reference to his having had “symptoms” of a headache but had not had an actual headache in over thirty years. The point is simply this — having the symptoms of an illness ARE NOT the same as having the illness itself in their thinking. Thus just feeling sick and having some symptoms are no reason to stay home, in fact, which is what the devil wants you to do, stay away from church!

Patient Zero rebukes the symptoms, is unmoved by the way he or she feels and bless God goes to church. Patient Zero is unconcerned about hugging a bunch of folks because he is the “healed” whom Satan is trying to convince is sick. Over the next few hours Patient Zero sits tightly packed with a multitude of others like a sardine and afterwards maybe share a crumpet and coffee in the fellowship room. Is there really any mystery how 21 people came down with measles?

Know Your Limitations

Faith grows as it is used. How does a person of faith get sick? We were taught that faith was like a muscle; it develops and grows stronger through use. This is why the first thing people learn to do in WOF circles is to speak only positive “faith-filled” words over every circumstance in life. You begin by confessing for a “good day” or a “parking space” in the mall and as you receive the result(s) of your free exercise of your faith your faith grows stronger. In the gym you do not begin by bench pressing 300 pounds, you begin with a 5 lb. dumb bell and grow to where you can easily lift the 300 pound weights. Even so with the force of faith. Their view is NO DIFFERENT than young Luke Skywalker starting by lifting a small rock and then after some additional Jedi training Luke is able to lift his entire fighter out of the primordial goo! Thus if a WOF’er has not been faithfully expressing their faith in words and corresponding actions they will be unable to “lift” the weight of the illness attacking them. If you do not know how to get “victory” over a headache, then forget battling measles or cancer!

It’s All in Your Head

Head knowledge will not get one healed. Obviously (to the WOF adept, such as myself) these people got measles because they possessed only a head knowledge regarding divine healing, divine health and divine life. This is a bit confusing so stick with me here — we must renews our minds (Rom. 12:1-3) but in the WOF cult, this is but a part of the process. WOF’ cultists all begin by “faking it till they make it.” Everyone begins by feeding new biblical data into their brains. This is done by hearing the Word taught and by confessing it ourselves. From our minds the Word eventually makes its way down (up?) into our re-born spirits. Then when it is confessed from our spirits NOT our minds it comes out with divine power and produces the result confessed. How does the person know if they have a genuine spiritual revelation or merely a head-knowledge? The proof is in the pudding, i.e. results demonstrate the validity of the faith confessed. One person confesses divine healing and is healed — he had the revelation, the person next to him confesses the same thing and remains sick — she had only head knowledge. The formula for success is really very simple: (1) Confess what you want, (2) speak to the mountain, (3) doubt not and (4) believe that you have received what you confessed and you shall have it (assuming you do not violate any of the spiritual laws I am writing about in their article) and this dogma comes via Mark 11:24.

Sickness a Result of Personal Sin

Unconfessed sin in the life of a believer will immediately STOP the power of God from flowing.

But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. Isa. 59:2

I remember getting food poisoning while a student at the University of Michigan, at the time I was attending a small Pentecostal Church of God in Ann Arbor. The pastor’s son, Timmy, used to pick me up for church and that morning I told him I was sick as a dog. His first question was “is there any sin in your life?” I thought about it for a moment, but realizing that now I am “the righteousness of God in Christ” (see 2 Cor. 5:21) and that I used to be a sinner, but now I am saved, thus sin could only be a remote possibility. So I told Timmy “no” not to my knowledge, and he dragged me off to worship service.

This is an area that is very lightly considered, because WOF people do not see themselves as sinners any longer. Sin is in the past, they are children of God now period. When a WOF’er falls into sin it is because of a lack of mental renewal in that specific area (more data will usually correct the problem) versus something inherent within them, i.e. the old man. For the WOF devotee to confess that they are “sinful and unclean” is an impossibility. They simply do not believe this to be true of a Christian.

I See You Devil

Satanic attack by the devil himself or his demons is a very real possibility. What was very sad in looking back was how we in the SINistry viewed the congregant’s sickness as evidence of the above causes (I could have thrown in lack of tithing on the gross too) but any attack on SINisters was viewed as a demonic assault. When leaders got sick it was due to them being highly anointed and pivotal soldiers in God’s army. When leaders got attacked the entire congregation would fast, pray (sometimes this same care was shown towards others in distress, but always for the leaders) and rebuke the enemy. Any problems in the lives of our leaders were a sign that the followers had wittingly or unwittingly let down the hedge of protection (a little Job 3:23 lingo) around this valuable spiritual commodity.

These are some of the usually responses trotted out by the various sign-gift enthusiasts to help explain away the obvious “faith-failures.” In the case of Mr. Copeland, we simply see what happens when a large group of people ignore common sense. Why not get vaccinated and trust the Lord to keep you safe from anything harmful in the vaccine? I can assure you that those people who did get sick took medicine; some went to the hospitals for treatment and now clinics are being held in the Eagle Mountain facility (I cannot call it a church in good conscience) which has to be an affront to Mr. Copeland’s great faith. Please remember the people involved in this incident. I know that many of them have had their understanding of faith, divine healing, and themselves rocked by this outbreak (thanks be to God) let us pray that our Lord uses this to wake up His people to the error of their ways.

Why didn’t Kenneth Copeland heal those sickened in his midst? He stated on television 9/8/13 that “we are as much like God as Jesus is,” the Jesus I serve healed them all (Luke 4:40; 4:19) and Mr. Copeland has healed no one ever. Frankly, I seriously doubt Mr. Copeland laid hands on any of the infected, and if he did where are the results?

Thankfully only 21 people were infected and none of them has died as a result of their lack of wisdom. Time does not permit me to share the many reports of people who DIED because they “stood in faith” trusting a manmade doctrine regarding their healing, a doctrine God did not and does not honor. I personally hope that our Lord uses this “chastisement” of the flesh to cause those in error to turn back to the ancient and narrow road of orthodox Christianity.

ENDNOTES:
1. Obtained from http://www.stltoday.com/news/national/measles-cases-put-texas-megachurch-under-scrutiny/image_8cba3753-386f-5843-92b9-47b745014c5f.html
2. Here is the cold reality. If one is consistent in practicing the WOF doctrine regarding divine healing then one would not have any health insurance, no medicines of any variety in their homes and they would have their children at home as well. 99% of most divine healing professors are not really “trusting God” as they proclaim to others because they do use doctors, do take medicine and generally have their children in hospitals. I know of only a few sign-gift groups that are truly considered “full-faith” (as my wife and I were for a time) and what became known as “hyper-faith” by the detractors







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