Monday, May 17, 2010

#154-Prayer as a video game

One of my bff's made a comment and it went something like this...


"You know what I get frustrated about? How it takes me a long time in prayer to be able to speak in tongues but yet some people can just speak it tongues in the first 30 seconds of prayer..."


And not within one minute later did we have the idea for this post...


You see for the vast majority of us....Prayer can be a very tenacious effort.....


Like a video game...


Of course the ultimate goal of a video game is to defeat the game, the process itself is where the enjoyment is to be had, and much effort and failures along the way as well...


So for most of us we start prayer like the first level of a video game....


Level 1


For beginners, the first level is all about learning the controls....the A button jumps and the B button shoots fireballs...


In prayer, like the need to understand the controls in a video game, it's the easy but necessary stuff one must learn in order to play the game (who you are praying to, what we are praying for, the need for prayer, etc...)


But for the the veteran of prayer, the first level of prayer can be done in your sleep like the first level of a video game. It's quite routine. Usually it revolves around the same 5 or 10 phrases of praise and thankfulness that we have grown so customary too (regretfully we do level 1 so much, that a lot of times it can lose it's meaning)....Bottom Line: Our level 1 is the praise and thanksgiving to God of Who He is. Before we can even begin to think about ourselves and our needs, we must put ourselves into perspective of the Infinite God before us and his displays of love on that cross and resurrection.


If you want to advance anywhere in prayer, you must have the praise. Like a video game, you cannot bypass level 1 at all. It is an absolute necessity.




Obstacles


Of course in our generation, we can be guilty of the sin of distraction far more than those before us. We may be headlong in our video game of prayer, but alas there are many obstacles that we will face in prayer that are not necessarily wrought by the Enemy himself, but rather are there in our own mental weaknesses and our inability to stay focused. Text messages, phone calls, visual distractions, facebook...all of these serve as possible barriers that while minute in themselves can certainly be our ends in the video game of prayer....


Bad Guys
Perhaps the most peculiar part  of prayer for the younger generation is spiritual warfare, where in our prayers, we may become face to face with these strange demonic forces that are wreaking spiritual havoc in our material universe. It's such a weird aspect to our prayer, that more times than not we are just ignoring the spiritual realm as if like the child who covers his eyes with his hands will somehow make the fire he started in his bedroom nonexistent. Needless to say, while not necessary for our ability to pray, and no matter how much we want to ignore the spiritual unseen universe because it's far too vague and irrational, we must always remember it is present and quite biblical. 

At the same token,  as for those who do endeavor consistently to fight the demons in prayer...it is here more than anyone else that their prayer life reflects that of an actual video game...


Defeat by obstacle or by enemy can lead to....


Dying/Restarts
Ah the painful agony of death in the video game. Of course you don't physically die, but it's more about the time you wasted in getting to a certain point in the video game and having to start all over again either at the beginning of the level or the checkpoint.

Should you fall victim to the mental traps of distraction, your train of thought is lost and it's like all your momentum you had going into that prayer is lost.....

Should the enemy get you down enough, you may even have trouble defeating level 1 of prayer...

Either way, when we die in prayer, we learn how much we need some kind of supernatural help to get us by. And thus we learn our weakness (repentance), and how great it is that our ability to defeat the prayer game is not up to our finite abilities but rather aided along the way by a  strategy guide of sorts (i.e. Bible).

Okay, while I could get loss in many other terrible half-hearted analogies between video game and prayer, I will jump to the whole reason why the post was created...

The Boss

Okay, while the comparison here is no way a perfect analogy...but bare with me...

For many of us apostolics, the ultimate ends of prayer is speaking in tongues....

Since the initial evidence of the holy ghost in us is speaking in tongues, we somehow have culturally made the speaking tongues the desired climax of prayer (although, interestingly, Paul lists those who have the gift of tongues as the least of all offices within the church)....Whether for better or worse, speaking in tongues is the epitome of the apostolic prayerful experience....

And as my friend pointed out, you gotta go a long way in prayer to get to the point where your spirit is impressed to speak these divine utterances which no man can understand.....

Tongues then is the final boss at the last level (or the last level in each series of levels).

But what about those my friend brought up who seem to have it so good that there is no challenge to get to tongues but rather are heard praying in tongues less than a minute into prayer?


Game Cheats/Secret Code

.....(prepare for complete nostalgic early-to-mid-90's flashback).....



It seems that some have been born with the unique ability to put in cheat codes in their prayer to have infinite health in their prayer life and also to skip levels at will...

It is they who can speak in tongues at will....

And it is them whose house I will go over constantly to play the video game at....

Because who doesn't love infinite ammo and the ability to skip levels when a level gets too difficult?

91 comments:

  1. where does the idea of tongues as "initial evidence" come from? is it inferred from the upper room "experience"? i have often heard Acts 2:38(and a few other verses) quoted along with an ending added by the speaker(something usually along the lines of "it was the evidence" or something similar). i was quite taken aback when blueletterbible.com revealed that tongues is never explicitly called initial evidence or its equivalent. not to say that this doesn't mean that it isn't so, still it threw me for a loop. and i haven't centered my prayer life around tongues since, or sought to speak "tongues".

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  2. Hayden, Evidential tongues doctrine was established shortly after Azusa. It defined Pentecostalism early on. We can thank William Seymour for initiating this.

    There are mainstream denominations that hold to evidentiary tongues (AOG is one of them). Of course, the AOG (like many Christian groups) sees the Baptism of the Spirit as one function of the Spirit in the believer's life, and not part of the salvation experience.

    3 out of the 5 instances in the stories in Acts indicated that the people spoke with tongues. Additionally, they magnified God, prophesied, etc.

    Simon the Sorcerer in Acts 8 is a good proof to the story that something observable happened when one received the baptism of the Spirit. Many have argued it was tongues.

    You are correct that this is not explicitly taught in Scripture, though many have deduced it from the stories we find primarily in Acts.

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  3. I still find it hilarious that people believe you HAVE to speak in tongues in order to make it to heaven. I guess you best fulfill the rest of the gifts of the spirit before your time's up, or you'll be getting a swift boot to hell.

    Who can actually prove that they've been speaking in tongues. (referring to the fast trackers who get there in 30 seconds) I mean, aside from the people who spoke spanish and a mexican was standing next to them saying "Oh wow they're speaking spanish but don't know the language". I believe in tongues fully. Just not that it's the main achievement in getting Saved. I think it's safe to say that at least 75% of apostolic's fake it the majority of the time. I mean, I have felt that complete unyeilding spirit of God take over my whole body and soul resulting in Tongues, and it is something that is so deep and overtaking that you can't even focus on things around you. So when people just "roam the aisles" at church supposedly speaking in tongues, it's hard to take it seriously.

    I think a better analogy for those who try to reach the final climatic moment of the much sought after "tongues", would be best compared to two people having sex. lol.... 'nuff said?

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  4. Anon, you believe when one receives spirit baptism via tongues they are "taken over" and "out of control"? Interesting.

    Throwing a stat out about fakers isn't very honest either.

    I do agree that for God to grant mercy and grace, but deny heaven to someone based on something only He could give (Spirit baptism) doesn't add up.

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  5. I'm in agreement with Lee. I think we have to be very careful with how we speak about tongues in church, within the community.

    Coming into church as a teenager I was not one of those people who just started talking in tongues thirty seconds after they walked in the door the very first time. I was told it was a gift, free from God and that all I had to do was repent and I could have it. there wasn't really a problem initially, but as time wore on and I didn't get it right away I began to feel like something was wrong with me for not being able to get something that should be free. No one made judged me or made fun of me, in fact they were very understanding and always willing to offer words of encouragement, but I felt like an outsider all the same and from talking to others with similar experiences I know I'm not the only one that ever felt that way.

    What I'm saying here is that even phrases which can seem casual or self-assuring can occasionally become negative (in affect, not intent). I don't think we need any politically correct police running around guarding our language, but we should try to be mindful, and not just in this area.

    In an aside, Joel, your use of the original Super Mario Brothers as an analogy is interesting and creates quite the field of possibility. The game was more or less linear, straightforward towards the final level w/no backtracking. Does prayer have to be like this? Especially considering that modern gaming has evolved to the point where the telos of the story is not even the most desired aspect of the game, rather it's the many side-quests and such that the developers offer that determine how good a game is. Staying w/in the gaming analogy, should tongues be considered the solely desirable endpoint? I think that there can be all kinds of purposeful, meaningful, and deep prayer that has no tongues in it at all. Further, video games entail internal and external metrics of performance--something I think is highly problematic to apply to an individual/group's prayers, even though I hear it far too often. (Just some random thoughts on the post, if I misinterpreted the point of it, please disregard this last paragraph).

    p.s. Total agreement, the people (my cousins) who had a Game Genie were the people whose houses I wanted to go over and hang out at.

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  6. lee, yes that is what i believe. true tongues is given under the full impression of God, hence, it should take us over completely. my opinion. take it or leave it.

    i apologize if my "stat" on fakers offended you. It was meant to be less than serious, fyi. (lol)

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  7. Suggest turning this into a track...Salvation explained by gamers.

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  8. lee and anonymous,

    Thank you for the more civilized disagreements. I kid you not, I was encouraged by how you guys handled each other, in spite of the fact that I would argue what you two are discussing here is of infinite more importance than the pettiness about holy magic hair....

    And anonymous, I struggled with how much control happens when one is "in the spirit" and speaking in tongues....

    And I really think Paul really sets this question home in I Corinthians 14 (can't recall the verse, but I read it today), where he says if you are speaking in tongues you are edifying your spirit but doing absolutely nothing for your reasoning part of your brain....This to me means there is kind of a dual nature in prayer where spirit and reason can cooperate, or diverge. And Paul acknowledges there can be a divergence...therefore I do not think it absurd to think that our reasoning need not fly out the window by an "all-encompassing" spirit takeover whenever we speak in tongues....I hope that makes sense, because it's such a vague issue in wordage....

    Long story short, I agree with Lee...(but once again, thank you for healthy dissent)

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  9. Chady,

    Should speaking in tongues be the desired ends for prayer? Absolutely not...I was more speaking about it from what we are led to believe as apostolics....But as you pointed out, it is very problematic....

    In fact I was asked by my youth leader to speak on this issue (video game as an analogy for prayer) today after the person read this post....

    And quite frankly, your further analogy about video games (mario brothers as linear whereas modern games present many free trajectories) wraps up my ultimate point for tomorrow night all too well (the idea that we should not be taking a "a,b,c" systematic, formulaic approach to prayer)...Honestly your point will be the heart of the message. Thank you thank and thank you...

    And John, if you are reading this, I am speaking on it tomorrow (less sarcasm though), if it goes well I will consider....

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  10. I hope to God that the people posting on this blog are NOT indicative of true Apostolics today! I could see if they were some other Christian denomination (not target audience), but to call yourself Apostolic and not clearly see the "evidence" that is manifest when a person receives the Holy Ghost is ridiculous and alarming and makes me question your understanding of the Word.

    It is clear that there was some initial evidence to signify the infilling of the Spirit and as Jesus stated in John 3, you cannot see the wind, but you can HEAR it and FEEL it and so it is with the infilling of the Spirit! That was made clear when the PROMISE was poured out at Pentecost and they heard them speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave utterance. REMEMBER, God promised the Holy Ghost and if you're truly seeking as He requires, you will receive it with that initial evidence of tongues (ie. He didn't set a bar too high for you). If you didn't, you don't have it and are not qualified to speak on the subject, even if you have a PhD.

    Tongues is not the end-all-be-all for prayer, but it is necessary for a true prayer warrior because our mind fails to know how to pray like we should at times and there are things in the Spirit we won't always know so the Spirit makes intercession for us with moanings and groanings that cannot be uttered.

    I did not intend on rebuking you, but if you call yourself Apostolic and you don't hold to this, you are in error and need to be careful that you aren't send a strong delusion, if it's not already too late! If you are NOT Apostolic, then please receive this admonishment in the Spirit.

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  11. jason --

    obviously i do not associate myself with apostolics, nor to i attend a church of the apostolic/pentecostal denomination. (people with attitudes like yourself have driven me farther and farther away, sadly. however, blogs with authors such as this make me believe there is still hope for the apo denomination)

    i do have a right to talk on this subject because i have and still do speak in tongues as God allows me to operate through the gifts of the spirit.

    my point was and still is this: if you believe there is something you must accomplish or achieve outside of receiving God's grace, then grace and Jesus' sacrificial death was all for nothing. apostolics are notorious for negating grace all for the sake of giving people more and more things to do in order to EARN grace. i don't know how else to say this except for: GRACE ISN'T SOMETHING THAT CAN BE EARNED.

    i'm saved by grace. don't know 'bout you.

    clearly, we believe different things and that is fine and well, and you do not offend me.

    to do my best and keep with the lightheartedness of this blog, i will stop my commenting here.

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  12. Anon: It is you who does not understand "grace". Grace TEACHES us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts (Titus 2:11-12). Frankly, I'm sick of apos getting accused of NOT understanding grace. Are you trying to tell me that you are a "free spirit" without any godly convictions, because after all, you are saved by grace? Be careful......you wouldn't want to be accused of EARNING grace now if you actually try to follow Titus 2.......

    I'm with Jason on this. There is no way you can have the baptism of the Holy Ghost WITHOUT the evidence of speaking in tongues. That is pure, 100 percent scripture, and anything less than that is pure HERESY. (Since heresy is a favored word on this blog about "other" doctrines).

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  13. I'll go one step further...Anon, you are a reprobate! You don't have any understanding of God's grace, but I hope it will still extend to you. Remember, we CAN frustrate the grace of God.

    I will pray that God draws you to repentance, but I do fear for you.

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  14. Anon,

    Firstly, I am about to agree with "concerned Apo" on this one, but that does not mean in any way I am agreeing with his/her tone, nor all of his/her arguments....

    But you mentioned how apostolic take grace away. I really do believe this is one of the worser misconceptions about apostolics from non-apostolic denominations. We obey His word, and flee from wickedness and what not as a RESULT of His grace. Therefore, I would argue there are things that happen as a result of His redemptive process that happened on the cross. We are not baptized in order to acheive grace. Rather we are baptized as a result of the recognition of the fact that Christ died for our sins and we are to be symbolically buried in Him (Romans 6). We are to be resurrected With Him with the infilling of the Spirit. This infilling once again is a RESULT of Christ's grace. And when the Spirit is moving within us, we will bear visual fruit.

    As James points out, faith without works is dead.

    I think some apostolics do get confused as the purpose of their obedience. They confuse what should come as a RESULT in obedience to the gift of grace, as a CAUSE to God's grace.

    No works can cause God's grace. However, how we respond to God's grace I think is indicative of who is In charge of our lives, God or ourselves.

    Whether tongues is the evidence of the Holy Spirit or not (I have not indicated my stance), we must not use the argument that through tongues as evidence, apostolics are making salvation a works-based salvation. Rather, apostolics, if their theology is sound, should argue that the tongues as evidence is simply a RESULT of what the Spirit is doing (once again tongues would then not cause salvation, but rather is a result)....

    Lastly, please note that while I disagree, I am not calling you a reprobate. I apologize for my brother Jason...He knows not what he does....

    Humbly,
    Joel

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  15. No, I know "what I do"...please feel free NOT to apologize on my behalf. Furthermore, I CANNOT understand how you (Joel) as an Apostolic can hold the position that tongues is not the initial evidence. I realize you DIDN'T state your position, but in so doing, you've stated your position clearly. Remember, silence can be construed as complicity.

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  16. Interesting tones on these blog comments (Jason/Anon). A civil discussion quickly becomes a test of "you aren't really APOSTOLIC." Does anyone ever tire of that?

    The very thing we are talking about concerns the Apostles.

    You said:
    "It is clear that there was some initial evidence to signify the infilling of the Spirit and as Jesus stated in John 3, you cannot see the wind, but you can HEAR it and FEEL it and so it is with the infilling of the Spirit!"

    That's a nifty, post-modern approach to "piecing together the mysterious puzzles of scripture" but it falls woefully short of proper exegesis. I would urge you to understand John 3 in the context of John and what he was communicating.

    I find it amazing that Scripture "hints" with secret code that "everyone must speak in tongues to be saved" but never actually explicit states as much, nor from Christ's own mouth. Such an important detail was surely overlooked.

    To Chady who spoke about grace, I know what he meant. Many Pentecostals aren't seeking tongues as a gracious gift of God, they don't want to be lost and/or they want the screaming maniac (aka "Tongues Coach") out of their face. Acceptance is a big part of this.

    I am a "tongue-talker" but to say others who haven't experienced glossalalia cannot approach and discuss Scripture is a greater misnomer. This one-dimensional view of the Spirit is where the problem comes from.


    Concerned Apo said:
    "I'm with Jason on this. There is no way you can have the baptism of the Holy Ghost WITHOUT the evidence of speaking in tongues. That is pure, 100 percent scripture, and anything less than that is pure HERESY."

    Pure, 100% scripture? Please point me in the right direction.

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  17. Jason,
    Just remember that 1 Corinthians 13 was sandwiched in between two of the most prominent portions of scripture concerning tongues. *wink*


    Your witch hunt of "Apostolic Credibility" is amazing. The man decides to not comment, and you put him on trial for it. This attitude is horrifying.

    The diversity of views concerning Spirit Baptism isn't unique to today. In fact, yours and my grandparent's had the same conversations. That converation continues -- and mostly continues among those who actually DO speak with tongues.

    Further, your calling of "ANON" as reprobate is laughable, except I would be concerned for you more than Anon. To sit in judgement on a man/woman over a paragraph of thought, a person whose background you don't know, and condemn them as a reprobate? Talk in tongues until your throat is dry, that doesn't sound very Christian.

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  18. Joel Riley - you are one to speak about "tone". Honestly, talk about the pot calling the kettle black. No one is more sarcastic, cynical or harsh than you, and for you to get after my tone - which I believed was guarded but blunt - is laughable.

    And Chester - If you were not apostolic, I would take the time to point out obvious scripture. However, since you consider yourself apo, I will not. If you don't believe the solid scriptural references are sufficient that tongues is the sign, then there really is no point (and I'm not sure why you would consider yourself to be apo). I do find it ironic that you were one of the biggest on the HMH bandwagon being a heresy - BLESS GOD! - yet you are questioning the necessity of tongues as the evidence of the Holy Ghost.

    Some things never cease to amaze me.

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  19. One thing you people forget, aside from the fact that I don't need your support on this, is that the apostles spoke very plainly against teaching any other doctrine than what the apostles were teaching and to mark them that cause division among you. Unless you are willing to discredit the books of Acts, the initial evidence of receiving the Holy Spirit was tongues.

    I would speak kindly to those who are 'new' to the Word of God and are seeking understanding, but that is not the case here. Several have already stated their position that they don't believe tongues is the initial evidence and not necessary for salvation and they are in direct contradiction with scripture. Jesus called them 'ravening wolves' in sheep's clothing. They are headed in the other direction and proud of it. Again, we don't seek tongues, it's a by-product of the infilling! If you haven't spoken in tongues, you do not have the Holy Ghost. Sorry, but I can't spare your feelings. You may be 'moved' by the Holy Ghost. You may cry or pray fervently, but that is not the same as HAVING the Holy Ghost. Yes, you do exemplify the fruit of the Spirit as well, when you have the Spirit. And remember, anyone can do good deeds and yet that does not mean they have the Spirit.

    Notice that I didn't say that I hated anyone or that I wished ill-will on anyone, only that I would be praying (I already have actually) and that I hoped they wouldn't continue down that road. I'm just as concerned for those so-called Apostolics that are afraid to condemn sin and false teaching and take a solid stance than I am for someone like Anon, if not more! You are trying to be PC and walk the line, playing arbitrator, but God did not call us to arbitrate between false doctrine and apostolic doctrine. He called us to teach/preach the truth, condemn sin, and if the people receive it, great! If they don't, continue praying for them. That's the position I take. Some Apostolics need to grow a backbone.

    Lastly, I thought this was an Apostolic site? This sounds more like a place for detractors of the common salvation, as Jude called it (even among the moderators/bloggers), which speaks more to my original post (above). Is this still 'stuffapostolicslike' or did this become 'stuffcharismaticslike'?

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  20. chester, you wanted it, you got:
    Acts 10:44-46
    44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
    45 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.
    46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God.

    This is just one example, but please tell me how the apostles, or anyone else for that matter, knew that the Holy Ghost fell? The answer is in verse 46 obviously. It happened in a particular time and manner and it was OBVIOUS to all on-lookers. Maybe they were all just standing around saying "Praise the Lord brother!" DON'T BE RIDICULOUS! Tongues was the evidence of the infilling here just as it was on the day of Pentecost.

    SIDE NOTE: Don't you think it's funny how most of these other denominations (non-Apostolic) believe that speaking in tongues is scriptural and that most believe it's simply the 'gift of tongues' that only few possess, and yet few, if any, have actually ever spoken in tongues when asked, nor do any of their church leadership speak with tongues. Something's fishy here! =)

    Btw chester, Jesus was speaking of the 'born again' experience in John 3 and that's where the illustration of the wind comes in. Amazing, isn't it? Furthermore, are you going to let a backyard mechanic work on your 67 Chevy, or a doctor operate on you that's never been in surgery? Exactly! That's why I say, people who have not received the Holy Ghost as evidenced by tongues are not qualified to speak on the subject. You are a self-professed 'tongue-talker' and you can feel free to let someone who hasn't spoken in tongues teach you all about it I guess? You can if you want, but that's not where I'm seeking my direction.

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  21. Concerned Apo. You have the opportunity to help a brother instead of red-faced rhetoric. All you can do is ask if I'm Apostolic and put me to a litmus test if you will bother or not?

    Yes, I am "questioning" the relationship to tongues and Spirit Baptism. Heaven forbid. Those concerned with heresy are careful in their theology. I am a tongues-talker. My church talks in tongues. Read: "I speak in tongues more than ye all." However, as a duty to be student of God's Word, we don't fear putting any question on to the scrutiny of faithful study. Apparently, you do.

    I find it amazing you are so concerned with heresy that you were SILENT on the HMH thread. How's that go?

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  22. JASON QUOTED: "One thing you people forget, aside from the fact that I don't need your support on this, is that the apostles spoke very plainly against teaching any other doctrine than what the apostles were teaching and to mark them that cause division among you. Unless you are willing to discredit the books of Acts, the initial evidence of receiving the Holy Spirit was tongues."

    Jason, the question remains what WAS the Gospel and teachings they delivered? I've yet to find clear teachings of "Behold our Savior, who has given grace to all who will come, and all the Savior finds worthy enough to speak in glossalalia to earn salvation."

    So yes, let us defend the Gospel, and separate what is Gospel from what are gifts.

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  23. Jesus called people that didn't believe in evidentiary tongues (or who proposed to have doubts) "ravenous wolves?"

    Maybe we should let Jesus know what he intended. It sure doesn't appear to be that way in his story. Do you think you might be reading it to it just a hair?

    "We should baptize the dead. Anyone who opposes this viewpoint ignores a reference in Corinthians, and are who Jesus called 'ravenous wolves'." Not really logical.

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  24. QUOTED TO ME BY JASON "Btw chester, Jesus was speaking of the 'born again' experience in John 3 and that's where the illustration of the wind comes in. Amazing, isn't it? Furthermore, are you going to let a backyard mechanic work on your 67 Chevy, or a doctor operate on you that's never been in surgery? Exactly! That's why I say, people who have not received the Holy Ghost as evidenced by tongues are not qualified to speak on the subject. You are a self-professed 'tongue-talker' and you can feel free to let someone who hasn't spoken in tongues teach you all about it I guess? You can if you want, but that's not where I'm seeking my direction."

    Yes, Jesus was speaking of being born again in John 3. We agree :0 Your reference seeing "wind" and automatically thinking Luke's description of literal "sound of wind" in Acts are the same needs some fleshing out.

    Are you aware that Azusa began with a room full of Christian believers who had NEVER spoke with tongues? Should they have waited around for someone who had? (Ironically, the first person to speak in tongues, Agnes Ozman. admitted to faking it later in life). Seymour preached about Spirit Baptism BEFORE he spoke with tongues. Your view of Spirit Baptism discounts the activity of the Spirit before, during and throughout a believer's life, apart from Spirit Baptism.

    The fact is, the KJV you hold in your hand is the work of individuals who likely haven't spoken in tongues. You should discard immediately and have one of your own handle OT and NT manuscripts (that these others have spent multiple generations dealing with) and come up with a New Spirit-Filled Version of the Bible. Spiritual arrogance if you ask me.

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  25. I will respond to some quotes to me by Jason:


    "chester, you wanted it, you got:
    Acts 10:44-46
    44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
    45 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.
    46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God."

    NOTE: This is your 100% clear teaching that one must speak in tongues to be saved? Really?? Tongues or hell? You read me part of a story where believers had this amazing experience and you come away with a dogma that says "talk in tongues or die?"

    BTW... quit singing songs of those who believe are reprobate "charismatics." Quit preaching sermons from their study. Quit going to their concerts. Quit reading their devotionals. If you are so superior to your brothers and sisters, then isolate yourself completely.

    "This is just one example, but please tell me how the apostles, or anyone else for that matter, knew that the Holy Ghost fell? The answer is in verse 46 obviously. It happened in a particular time and manner and it was OBVIOUS to all on-lookers. Maybe they were all just standing around saying "Praise the Lord brother!" DON'T BE RIDICULOUS! Tongues was the evidence of the infilling here just as it was on the day of Pentecost."

    NOTE: That's a worthy conclusion, offered with greater evidence than you've presented here. I wouldn't say anything is "OBVIOUS" or reach the conclusion that "this is how they knew" because it's simply not there.

    "SIDE NOTE: Don't you think it's funny how most of these other denominations (non-Apostolic) believe that speaking in tongues is scriptural and that most believe it's simply the 'gift of tongues' that only few possess, and yet few, if any, have actually ever spoken in tongues when asked, nor do any of their church leadership speak with tongues. Something's fishy here! =) "

    NOTE: No, I don't think it's funny at all. I'm not sure where you get your stats from, but Classical Oneness Pentecostal is a blip on the radar of the Pentecostal Movement. The way you seem to spit on your brothers and sisters is amazing to me. The difference is one group makes it the center-stage of their theology, the other welcomes and invites the Holy Spirit in an uncontrolled, non-manipulated way, and sees the Spirit as a paraclete (helper) and Comforter. The gift is complimentary, but it's not the goal. The goal remains Mt 28:19.

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  26. Chester, you are failing to make a distinction in the infilling of the Holy Ghost as evidenced by tongues AND the gift of tongues & interpretation. They are distinct.

    Your observations about not reading their devotionals, singing their songs, preaching their sermons, etc. is a great one. I've been avoiding it as much as possible. And as far as sermons go, I don't preach anyone else's, including other Apostolic men of God. Not that I feel it would be wrong to do so, it's just not my style. I do glean from them though. Not false teachers however! And in terms of the KJV, it is a direct translation from the Hebrew & Greek of the original writers, who were inspired to write by the Spirit of God. So regardless of whether King James' scribes spoke in tongues, I can take confidence in the translation from the original writers. I've taken and will continue to take Hebrew and plan to take Greek and I think continued education is needful for all. That doesn't invalidate the KJV however. I like some other translations also and am seeking those out with caution as man tends to corrupt through his bias.

    In terms of the Azusa street revival, I don't care if they were all hard-core Catholics, when God pours out His Spirit to those truly seeking, man better get out of the way. Those who truly received it didn't receive it from man (to my point). And you think because someone faked it that should invalidate the real thing? I don't think Paul would agree with you. If someone opposes apostolic doctrine, I would not be comfortable calling them my brother or sister.

    You obviously aren't Apostolic, so why are you on here other than to be a thorn in my flesh?

    Anon, the instruction that Jesus gave in Matthew 7 where he referenced false prophets being ravening wolves is a valid one. At the end of that account, Jesus said something scarier. Those who called on the Lord and said, "didn't we prophecy in your name, didn't we cast out devils in your name, didn't we do many mighty works in your name" and he told them that he never knew them! Do you think these people realized at the time that they were in error? Do you think every false teacher/prophet knows he is a false teacher/prophet? I would have to say no, many do not.

    Not sure what baptism for the dead has to do with our discussion on tongues? Those who oppose basic apostolic doctrine (disregard Acts) are 'ravenous wolves'. If a person hasn't been obedient to the instruction in Acts, anything that is written in the epistles doesn't really apply to them. Those whom the epistles were written to had already been through Acts and obeyed the apostle's doctrine.

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  27. There's a whole lot of sounding brass in these comments.

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  28. Jason,

    Real quickly. the reason I have not spoken up about tongues as evidence is really that I do not have a conclusive stance. Does that make me uncomfortable? Absolutely... Will I come to an answer? God-willing...

    I just am at the stage that I feel I can't like at scripture honestly yet regarding this issue because I have been raised in an environment that has obviously conditioned me to read scripture a certain way with certain presuppositions (as like any Christian growing up in a specific denomination)....

    I was told every instance in Acts that when someone got the Holy Ghost, they spoke in tongues growing up. Acts 4:31 (the second time there is a falling of a Holy Ghost), which is the conclusion from Peter's message of salvation through repentance of Acts 3, find people, "And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly."

    Now my pastor tells me that we can infer that they spoke in tongues. But I am not so sure. I do think this verse necessitates an argument from silence (especially considering there was only One other example previous of getting the Holy Ghost).

    Acts 19 has John's disciples receiving the Holy ghost followed by Speaking in tongues AND prophesying.

    SO it is clear that prophesy also came as a result of the HOly Spirit. So why can't I just infer that anytime someone receives the HOly Ghost in Acts (such as Acts 4) that they also prophesied? And thus when someone gets the Holy Ghost they should speak in tongues and prophesy?

    I gave you two of my biggest challenges to my traditional belief system. Further the lack of explicit command for tongues as evidence of the Holy Ghost does demand some concern. We are not using prescription for our tongues as evidence beliefs, but rather using description (Acts 2 "speaking in tongues" being a description how things happened, not saying "this is how to do things.")....And ultimately I think this makes our task very difficult (but not impossible) to divide what in the Word is descriptive of a story for us in Acts, and what is descriptive for us as a precedent.

    But that said, Acts 2 does have a very strong claim for precedence, and thus cannot be ignored. And I love being pentecostal and our freedom of spirit that we encourage. Jason I like what you said about how denominations that allow for tongues as a "gift" rarely ever have people actually speaking in tongues. I think that is a very very true observation in many cases and it should cause a bit of hesitancy to the traditional pentecostal to move to that conclusion.

    Like I said, I am unsure right now. And i'd rather be unsure than be believing a lie (whether the lie for for or against tongues as evidence of the Holy Ghost).

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  29. Also, Jason, you belief about the KJV...I do find it wanting. The idea that the KJV was translated directly from the HEbrew and Greek that the initial authors wrote it is quite problematic. I would suggest an introductory book on textual criticism to better understand the nuances that involve what you are saying. In short, the KJV was translated from manuscripts which were translated from manuscripts which were translated from manuscripts and so on and so fourth over. And no two manuscripts that have ever been found have every been the exact same. There has always been differences in each manuscript from the rest....

    the earliest Greek manuscript which the KJV was based off of came from the 5th century...and along with this manuscript, the KJV had access to 8 other manuscripts in ancient greek but also relied heavily on the Latin Vulgate......

    Meaning, the manuscripts the KJV translators had access to was not so close as you suppose to the original writings. For proof look up I John 5:7 in the KJV. It's the most trinitarian verse in the bible.

    Also look it up in any other bible (save maybe the NKJV)....notice that the verse in any other translation either is missing or has a citation next to it noting that this verse was found in only late manuscripts. Meaning the original bible never had it. It was added in! And the KJV has it, but the other translations are more honest to admit it shouldn't be in there!

    Note that while the KJV had access to 8 manuscripts, other more modern translations have had access to hundreds and thousands of early manuscripts (meaning that have more variety to be more precise about proper translations, edits)...and some of these manuscripts date back to the second century! So to say KJV gets as close as the original author is misleading. Also, look for a post on the KJV next week (much of what you read here will be in it)..

    Jason, I see that you have researched and are an educated fellow and do have a desire to learn more and go deeper. So note that my disagreements are not a polemic against you as a person, but rather just a disagreement with the material you presented.

    Cordially,


    Joel

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  30. jason --

    i fear for your soul. you may not realize it but you have placed yourself in the position of God by calling me a reprobate. who exactly do you think you are?

    God forgive you.

    it does not bother me what you or any one else on this blog may think of me or my view point. i know who my God is. i know that i speak in tongues on a regular basis as gifted to me by God, and while it edifies me, it does not determine my salvation.

    my day to day lifestyle, attitude and confession of faith is what determines my salvation and where i will spend eternity.

    i'm not even going to bother arguing any of your scriptural arguments because frankly, because clearly we live under two different interpretations of the scripture. i know what i believe.

    people who think so highly of themselves that they feel ok with taking on the position only God is entitled to, have no place in my life or communication.

    God save us all.

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  31. JASON SAID:
    "Chester, you are failing to make a distinction in the infilling of the Holy Ghost as evidenced by tongues AND the gift of tongues & interpretation. They are distinct."

    Indeed, they are. But is not the "GIFT" of the Holy Spirit still a gift? Is it not a part of the charismata? Paul praying to himself in tongues and tongues in public for interpretation, they are different, but both are charismata. Further, I do believe the experience of Spirit baptism to be a distinct "spirit" encounter also, and most definitely not the only.

    JASON QUOTED:"Your observations about not reading their devotionals, singing their songs, preaching their sermons, etc. is a great one. I've been avoiding it as much as possible. And as far as sermons go, I don't preach anyone else's, including other Apostolic men of God. Not that I feel it would be wrong to do so, it's just not my style. I do glean from them though. Not false teachers however!"

    At least your consistent! :)

    Joel commented plenty on the Bible translation issue. You did say you use caution in fear of men's bias. That was wise. What's to say King James himself didn't have a bias? But I think a healthy skepticism and caution are good. So bravo.


    JASON QUOTED: "In terms of the Azusa street revival, I don't care if they were all hard-core Catholics, when God pours out His Spirit to those truly seeking, man better get out of the way. Those who truly received it didn't receive it from man (to my point). And you think because someone faked it that should invalidate the real thing? I don't think Paul would agree with you. If someone opposes apostolic doctrine, I would not be comfortable calling them my brother or sister."

    What we have here is not people who oppose apostolic teaching, it's people who are asking to define apostolic teaching by the apostle's themselves. (Not exclusive to movements in the last 75 years). So, it's not anti-Apostolic, it's quite Pro-Apostolic. My point with Azusa was that none of them had the Spirit yet were teaching and handling scripture concerning it. You said no one without Spirit baptism has any business even talking about tongues.

    JASON QUOTED: "You obviously aren't Apostolic, so why are you on here other than to be a thorn in my flesh?"

    A thorn in your flesh? Sorry to offend you so much. Believe it or not, I didn't log on thinking about an anonymous poster. I also consider myself Apostolic, meaning I believe in the teachings of Jesus, as they were passed down and taught to the Apostles. I share my opinions independent of others on this site. I disagree with your opinion, but would stop short of saying they are a "thorn in my flesh." If you're referring to Paul's use of this phrase, I assure you it's not in even close to the same context.

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  32. JASON QUOTED: "Anon, the instruction that Jesus gave in Matthew 7 where he referenced false prophets being ravening wolves is a valid one."

    If you say so. It's a blank check for anyone to throw at anyone who disagrees with them. Those who disagree with placing additional tasks on receiving salvation are believed to be false prophets. Their dissenters believe THEY are false prophets. It turns into a high-profile name-calling session that really gets nowhere. So I guess we go back to determining what is true and what is not.


    "Not sure what baptism for the dead has to do with our discussion on tongues? Those who oppose basic apostolic doctrine (disregard Acts) are 'ravenous wolves'. If a person hasn't been obedient to the instruction in Acts, anything that is written in the epistles doesn't really apply to them."

    Baptism for the dead is related to my prior comments. It was part of an argument, not directly-related content. As far as "obedient to instruction in Acts," I must remind you that Acts is not written, as Joel clarified, as a didactic Text, meaning it wasn't prescriptive at all. So I'm not sure what instructions you are referring to.

    JASON QUOTED: "Those whom the epistles were written to had already been through Acts and obeyed the apostle's doctrine."

    Actually many of the Epistles, including Romans, was written BEFORE Acts was even penned. It is correct that the Apostles lived during this period of stories that Acts gives account of. And it's also true they "obeyed the Apostle's doctrine!"

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  33. Jason, (i have yet to read Chester's comments)...

    Just wanted to add, that if I did have a conclusion about Acts and tongues at this moment, I would say speaking in tongues is the normative process for salvation. Meaning it's what happens the majority of the time in Acts, but I do not think it therefore sufficient to say it is the only process by which salvation may be achieved. I can't judge the others, and I think it safe to seek the way of normative salvation in Acts, but I do not think it sufficient to rule all of the Christians between 200 A.D.-1900 AD as hellbound because at least a vast vast majority never spoken in tongues (but i understand this is an appeal more to emotion than anything)

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  34. I find it sad that people would not want to be sure of their salvation. If the Bible mentions speaking in tongues, if the Holy Ghost was poured out and they spoke in tongues, I am not seeing the issue here. There is a distinction in the spirit when someone gets the Holy Ghost. They start to speak in other tongues, and you can feel it if you are sensitive enough to the spirit. Speaking in tongues is a sign of complete surrendering to God, and while it is not the be-all and end-all result of prayer, it demonstrates that a person has completely yielded themselves to God. And, to be used of and by God, it is something that needs to be put into practice on a frequent basis. The Bible is clear on this; people have taken it and twisted it around to suit their own agenda. I am secure in the fact that I have the Holy Ghost, as evidenced by speaking in another tongue. Regardless of what people try and turn the scriptures around to be, salvation is not something to be messed around with.

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  35. Joel, your conclusions make the assumption Spirit baptism is essential to salvation in general. I think this is a worthy topic to consider. The question: Does John 3 have Acts 2 in mind/view when penned? Does John speak for John and Luke for Luke? Is this Spirit isolated to tongues and Spirit baptism, or is the Spirit involved in regeneration, justification, sanctification? Can anyone even come to Christ except the Spirit leads him? How broad is our view of Spirit? Is the Spirit a component of God, or similar to the role of Jesus, fully God?

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  36. not even sure where to begin...

    chester:
    The Holy Ghost is the Spirit of Jesus. Remember, WE are Oneness! =) In fact, if the Holy Ghost is not Jesus' Spirit, He lied to us when he said "I will come to you", because physically He never came! But thank God He is not a liar; He did come as our Comforter! Additionally, the Spirit is not limited in any way; remember, it's the Spirit of God, so there can be no limitation. He's apparent in all the areas you mentioned. Again, John 3 does make the baptism of the Spirit (as well as water baptism) essential to salvation, as Jesus told Nicodemus. I find it interesting that later in that same chapter, Jesus and his disciples went out baptizing more disciples.

    Anon/chester:
    Remember, the Holy Ghost infilling as evidenced by tongues was not only COMMANDED, it was PROMISED! When they asked Peter at Pentecost, "what shall we do?", he told them how to be saved from their sins (crucifying the Lord of glory). Repent, be baptized in Jesus' name, and be filled with the Holy Ghost! He went on to say that this promise was for them, their children, and their children's children (us). Also remember that Peter had just received the Holy Ghost himself and spoke with tongues. He didn't know any other way OF receiving the Holy Ghost! That was all he knew at that point in time, and it's logically inferred that the experience was/should be the same (ie. tongues). To say otherwise is being contrary and ignorant to the Word of God. Let's face it, people want to make a bigger deal out of tongues that they really are and most are scared to death of the idea! Some people that claim to speak with tongues are also afraid, or don't want to say it's necessary because they might offend their "brothers" who don't believe in tongues and they are afraid that friends/relatives who have died and never received the Spirit as evidenced by tongues might be lost, so they don't want to proclaim tongues as being NECESSARY. Only a dishonest, disingenuous person gets caught up on the whole tongues issue! They focus on tongues more than a sold-out Oneness Pentecostal because they're fighting it. Honest to God, they focus on it more than we do, and yet they claim to the contrary!

    And yes, John did speak for Luke and Luke for John. They were in agreement. The 12 were there at Pentecost and scripture does not record any of them disagreed with Peter. They all held this doctrine. They may have disagreed on pettier issues, but not the plan of salvation. Remember, Peter had the keys to the kingdom! Jesus was honoring his preaching.

    Anon:
    I'm the man of God, so I make no apologies for what I said. If you were one of my own, I would tell you what Paul told Timothy when he charged him to teach no other doctrine than what he had received from Paul, as Paul received it directly from Jesus. He also charged him to allow no one else to teach any other doctrine. However, you are not with us, you are against us, yet you claim Spirit baptism. Again, I make no apologies. Some things are just black and white, as this is. If you will receive the rebuke (and I hope you do), praise God! If not, you are still in error.

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  37. Joel:
    King James probably did have his bias, but I do believe God used him as an instrument, just like he used Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, etc. Additionally, be careful about 1 John 5:7 (the Johanine comma issue). That scripture is not a problem for Oneness Pentecostals and nor is any other scripture. That scripture points out that the water, blood, & Spirit AGREE in one. Notice it says that the Father, the Word, and the Spirit ARE one! Don't you think the same terminology would have been used in translation. After all, that is the trinitarian teaching that the Father, Son, & Spirit AGREE in one, not that they are NUMERICALLY one, as we do.

    In regard to the Christians between 200-1900 A.D., there were still born again "tongue-talkers" in those days, albeit fewer and farther between. That's why Paul mentioned a "great falling away." But just as Elijah was not the only prophet that had not bowed, there were still many Spirit-filled believers prior to 1900 A.D. and there have been some scholarly works done on these. Please research Bro. Marvin Arnold's works on the subject. He was a scholar and wrote on this (Modalists, Sabellians, etc.). Personally, I don't ever get into "this verse really should not have been in the final translation/manuscript/etc." and "this was added." When you start doing that, you can tear the whole Word apart. I'll leave that to the "intellectuals" of our society! As Paul described, "ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."

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  38. Wow! I'm so glad that I found this website. I think I fall into the camp of Joel Riley. I have grown up in the UPCI my entire life, but over the past few years, I've begun to study the Word for myself, and not just take anyone else' word (which I should have done from the beginning).

    With my whole heart I believe that speaking in tongues in the result of God taking residence in our hearts. I believe that it is the beginning of our spiritual birth.

    However, I cannot with my mind see a 1 to 1 correlation with salvation and speaking in tongues in the Word. I have prayed and begged God for clarity, and for some reason, I struggle with it...

    I believe that I struggle with it for a reason. It has caused me to question things, and I think that questioning our beliefs will only make them stronger. If I question something, it causes me to study it until I know it without doubt for myself.

    But to keep to the topic being discussed, what about Paul and the jailer in Acts 16: (NLT translation)

    29 The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.30 Then he brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
    31 They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household."32 And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household.33 Even at that hour of the night, the jailer cared for them and washed their wounds. Then he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized.


    The question was clear... "What must I do to be saved?"

    The answer Paul gave was clear "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved".

    They were also baptized "Then he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized"

    I know that we have to use scripture to interpret scripture, and we can't form an opinion based off of one passage of scripture, but how can we negate what happened here, or how can we prove that they spoke with tongues...

    Like I said. I believe it in my heart, but I'm questioning it in my mind...

    What are ya'lls thoughts on this?

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  39. KP: Why do you believe that just because you question it, that the questions are from the Holy Ghost, and not another spirit trying to lead you astray? That is the danger we fall into when search these things out. Be careful which spirit is leading you.....

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  40. anon-

    I realize that the minds of men can be pulled astray. That is why I have spent much prayer and study on the topic.

    I do still believe that if we question things, and diligently and prayerfully seek God and His Word for answers that when he does provide the answers that we will be much stronger in our faith than just accepting someone else' word for it.

    Philippians 2:12 "...work out your own salvation with fear and trembling"

    That's exactly what I'm trying to do.

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  41. anon (different anon):
    good point!

    kp:
    It is ok to question. The verse you quoted is valid for sure and we need to study to show ourselves approved. However, you make one big assumption in terms of the Philippian jailer...you assume he was saved AT THAT MOMENT! The bible does not clearly indicate that. For that matter (not trying to blow anyone's theology but), are any of us "saved"? What did Paul say? "Contend for the faith", "fight the good fight", "run the race"...we are saved when we are actually "saved", that is to say, when we are standing both feet firm in heaven before Jesus! Obviously, we use terms like "saved" to indicate someone is in obedience to what the Word of God teaches, but that's only as good as they follow it! To the point however, the jailer received the gospel message by believing in Jesus and being baptized in His name, including his household. He may not have gotten the Holy Ghost at that time! We don't know. Maybe the writer (Luke) made an assumption that we would logically conclude that he did...but maybe he didn't! Maybe he didn't receive the Holy Ghost for some time afterward. I personally believe that he received it there or shortly afterward, but I can't prove it. That doesn't change any position on the necessity of the baptism of the Spirit. Remember, John 3. Plain and simple, because we don't know every detail doesn't invalidate what was preach at Pentecost and various other places in Acts. Our notion of "saved" is comical sometimes (if it wasn't so sad). Not trying to belittle you btw, many Apostolics fall into that!

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  42. TO JASON:
    Spirit Baptism is commanded OR promised? Both???

    We are oneness, indeed. But there is a definite distinction in father,
    spirit and son. Not separate "persons" but a relational discintion.
    Promise of Father, and Spirit of Jesus, are same.
    My point was, the Spirit was promised as a comfort to the disciples
    before Jesus. He said they would be empowered to do the great task
    before them, that was establishing the church. The Spirit was never
    the end-all, it was the means.

    Your treatment of John 3 would require us to spend additional time.
    To conclude John 3:5 has in view the Spirit Baptism of Acts (as well
    as the water baptism you threw in) is a stretch. I challenge you to
    study these passages (outside of a Search for Truth Bible Study). Your
    reference to baptism in Chapter 3: it's quite obvious this baptism
    is not the same as Acts, even you'd agree with that. So what was
    the significance of baptism at this point? Think about it. Why
    were "disciples baptized?"

    YOU QUOTED:
    "Remember, the Holy Ghost infilling as evidenced by tongues
    was not only COMMANDED, it was PROMISED!"

    Was it "commanded?" Really? Or was it rather promised? How could God
    command someone to receive something only He can give? The only command
    to his disciples was "Go and wait for the Promise that I told you
    about." Further, tongues were not promised. Spirit baptism was promised.

    Acts 2. In context, their "what shall we do?" was in reference to their
    guilt, since Peter basically just told them they crucified the Messiah.
    That's pretty important to realize. They were cut to the heart and
    wanted help.

    The way Peter knew of receiving the Spirit was xenolalia at this point.
    Men of every nation heard them speaking and glorifying God in their
    language. Doesn't sound like glossalalia. The only Spirit Baptism Peter
    knew was raging wind, divided tongues, etc. I'd say his experience
    was unique in degree. I've had some great joys in the presence of God
    but have never had divided tongues sit on me yet.

    Nothing is logically inferred in the Acts account. Others make that
    inference today. It's not ignorant to the Word of God. It's trying
    to read it as objectively as possible. I'm not scared to death of the idea
    of tongues as you stated, so your motive assignments are off and
    skewed. Further, your motives about not wanting to "offend" couldn't
    be further from the truth. It's wanting to "rightly handle the Word."
    Good enough motive? For you to purport another Gospel that disqualifies
    people who are called by God's grace, heart toward Jesus with repentance
    and have even been baptized because they haven't spoken in tongues
    seems to be ludicrous. Especially considering your evidence is shoddy.
    Even if Spirit baptism is evidenced by tongues, to suggest this experience
    of Spirit baptism is essential is another drastic leap. And yes,
    it disqualifies the majority of Christendom.

    Only a dishonest, disingenuous person gets caught up in the tongues issue?
    How can you say such things? You speak as a fool. I don't think Gordon Fee is
    dishonest or disingenous. I'll give you slack, because that was definitely
    ignorant to say. Pardon us for getting caught up in studying biblical teaching.
    Sheesh. You were doing so well with being civil too.

    No one focuses on tongues more than you and your types do. When a soul comes
    to pray at the altar, it's the entire destination everyone is pushing them
    through. We coach them, guide them, whisper and/or scream it in their ear. We
    feel only like WE'VE accomplished something in that moment if they've spoken in
    tongues. Nothing more ironic than for you to say others focus on it more. Comical.

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  43. John spoke for Luke? Luke spoke for John? That they were in agreement is one consideration. That they "spoke for eachother" is goofy hermeneutics. Lukes story wasn't a didactic or theolgical treatise on HOW to be saved. Paul takes on that task in moments of his Epistles. Luke is a big boy. John is a big boy. They are speaking of the Gospel in their own language.
    Not leaving empty blanks that we can piece together another letter to figure it all out.
    Each letter is complete in thought.

    I don't just claim Spirit baptism, I have Spirit baptism, as do millions of humans on the planet. The same ones your kind celebrates to show how much "Pentecostalism" is spreading, even though you silently think 90% are disqualified because of other matters.

    This is far from BLACK and White. But I'm glad it is for you.

    Who are you to rebuke me? I'm not in community with you, nor in fellowship with you. Take it down a notch and have a discussion or leave. This isn't the ecclesia here. NEWSFLASH. You're hilarious.

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  44. SORRY FOR THE FORMATTING ISSUES. HOPEFULLY YOU CAN STILL READ MY RESPONSE, JASON.

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  45. KP, any group that tells you not to question or think you ought to be suspicious of. Jesus certainly welcomed questions, and in fact, that's how his discipleship operated. It wasn't lecturer to hearer. It was constant question and answer. His answers weren't always direct, but led his disciples questions along. This is the way Judaism disciples, the way Jesus did, the way the Bereans did and the way we should.

    People that frown on questions and get uncomfortable make me suspicious. Cultures of fear that stifle these things are manipulative, and Jesus surely was not manipulative.

    Keep pressing forward on your journey. He loves you and the Spirit of Truth will be your guide.

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  46. Philippian Jailer

    How can that be a big assumption to whom he was saved, when afterward he was baptized? What did the writer leave out. He's telling a story about a man who wants to be saved, and the only passage where it is explicitly asked and Luke misses it in giving us what happened?? Really? Talk about assumptions.
    Maybe Luke should've added "but as of yet he wasn't saved, only until he spoke in other languages." Seriously. Listen to the intellectual acrobatics we do to support OUR teachings.

    Your questions of "when" we are saved further contradict your mess to deliver that there is no clear point of being justified, regenerated, washed and redeemed. Salvation is an eschatological reality in the now even though it is "not yet fully."

    Your being honest. Many have this unspoken concept that they aren't saved and each day is fear that they are disqualified. What a sad, sad, sad view of the love and grace of God. Fragile faith.

    Going back to John 3 because Luke needs help again is just plain silly. SOLA SCRIPTURA. Let the scripture say what it wants to.

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  47. Jason:

    I agree with you about the way we use the word "saved". We do horribly mis-use the term, and I know that we are not saved until we hear "Well done."

    Also, the point about the jailer's salvation is a good one. We don't know if he was "saved" that night, or much later.

    However, my question lies in Paul's answer. "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household."

    There is no mention of tongues in his response.

    On a side note, there is also no mention of repentance, but we have to infer that it happened. So maybe we can infer that he spoke in tongues.

    It's just not black and white, and it is wreaking havoc on my brain! :-)

    At this point, I think that "salvation" starts with faith in Jesus Christ and that his blood is enough to free us from our sins. I believe that with our faith in Jesus and after true repentance, the free gift of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us is available to us. I believe that speaking in tongues comes as the result of the Holy Spirit filling our hearts. I also believe that Baptism in Jesus name is part of our salvation.

    At what point in this process we are actually considered "saved" is rather vague to me at this point... I am so sincerely praying for clarity!

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  48. Or... repentance is not a step. It's an inseparable part of coming to faith in Jesus? Turning our hearts toward God?

    When we are sanctified at regeneration, the Spirit is at work in our hearts. Moral actions are part of coming to maturity in Christ, not coming into Christ. We are ALL a work in process.

    Jason, not one instance in the stories of Acts is the Spirit spoken of in terms of regeneration. Find me just one. Thanks.

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  49. Lee: What part of "be careful of what spirit is leading you" says "do not seek out deeper understanding". I absolutely HATE it when words are intentionally misunderstood.

    Any moron who isn't careful is looking to be led astray. Seek. Pray. Study. All excellent things. Just be care of what spirit is working on you. THAT'S ALL. DO NOT READ ANY MORE INTO THAT!

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  50. You said: KP:
    "Why do you believe that just because you question it, that the questions are from the Holy Ghost, and not another spirit trying to lead you astray? That is the danger we fall into when search these things out. Be careful which spirit is leading you..... "

    Sounds like you are challenging him that his questions aren't of God to me. Forgive me if I misunderstood your intent.

    How can I know if it is the Spirit of God or Devil that invites me to plunge into God's Word? :) "Spirit working on me?" We say funny things.

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  51. Anon said:
    "I absolutely HATE it when words are intentionally misunderstood."

    Imagine how Peter, Paul and Jesus feel.

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  52. Somebody needs a binky!

    Can't keep from coming back to Bitterville can you?

    I don't think most who take the time to post here are hesitant to disagree with another poster. That's the beauty. But none of us sink as low as you, who arrogantly come on here and blast every poster with broad generalizations that amount to nothing more than hot air.

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  53. Sorry, my comments were directed toward anonymous on the other post. I clicked the wrong comment box.

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  54. Chester,

    I am just not getting to all these comments for today....sorry about the delay...

    If you read one of my comments to Jason you'll note that I was hesitant to answer about what is necessary about salvation because I don't have a definitive position. It's positions like the one you offered that make me so hesitant. And honestly I never considered the possibility that I need to not let John speak for Luke and visa versa. At the same time I am so scared of allowing for a position of "mental assent" of the recognition of Christ as deity as acceptable. To me, there were definable things that made other Christians know they were part of the community. An initiation process. Baptism definitely seems like a solid indicator. The presence of "gifts" also seems an indicator. And I do think "something happened" within the person at the onset of the infilling of the Spirit. Although this "something" may have been more vague than we like to admit...honestly i dont have a firm answer....los siento

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  55. Jason,

    firstly, I am dismayed you have not answered my dilemma regarding the issues in Acts I brought up (acts 19 and acts 4)...

    Secondly, trinitarians to not believe God is three and thus promote a tritheism (as the Mormans do), and it's not like they deny the truth of Deut. 6:4 and try to hide it from their eyes. I john 5:7, thus is the best explanation of the trinitarian position (3 in 1)....

    Thirdly, I am very dismayed at your refusal to further seek truth through textual criticism because "it's for the scholars." It seems that in order for you to think the bible is perfect in it's kjv translation is more out of want that it is solidifiable. The argument goes like this, "the Word of God is perfect" in it's present form so therefore anything that may suggest otherwise is not to be paid attention to. By the same argumentation I may decree in faith that the apple that I am eating is perfect from God, and if there is a worm in it, I must ignore it because that would mean imperfection, so therefore I will choose not to acknowledge the existence of the worm and then further conclude that if the worm is present it's not for me to decide, but rather the biologist.

    It's very circular reasoning: this thing is perfect, so I won't acknowledge possible imperfections on account of it opening up the possibility of imperfection which would then make the thing imperfect which I know at first assumption that this is not true.

    It's like refusing to look in the mirror at fear of what you may find.

    Textual criticism is more available to the lay reader than ever before. It demands to be studied because it has serious imperfections. You say that it may tear all of scripture apart if you allow it as a proper methodology. While the possibility is there, it simply is not true. Corinthians is well established as a unified whole under all kinds of criticism. In this instance Corinthians (and many other part of the bible ) are solidified in their biblicism even more so.

    The fact that I john 5:7 is not found in the bible in any earlier manuscripts is proven in every manuscript before the 5th century. To look away and say "that's for the scholars, not me" is a sad example of willful ignorance. And it's of the utmost sins against truth. And it deserves nothing short of a proverbial lashing.....

    You admit that KJV had a bias, but yet do not trust other translations because that have a bias too? Not very consistent.

    But I guess we like our truth in a perfect box so that we may not have a care....or concern....

    Which i guess if that's what gets you by I admire the persistence to jump through all the hoops you have to get by in order to not want to confront what you see in the mirror....

    Godspeed,

    Joel

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  56. Joel,
    This is where one would need to clarify that having faith in God, and being born again are not a matter of assent. It is not mind-level, but heart level. To articulate what happens there, I can only lean on Paul, in that we have become a "new creation." The believers weren't made believers though because an experience convinced them. All of them heard the message, saw God revealing and responded by faith, believing that Jesus was who he said he was.

    Baptism was definitely part of the initiation process of the early church. Without a doubt. Whether we can dissect if baptism has regenerative power is another argument. But we do know that something more than just symbolism is happening in baptism. There is a very real presence and awareness of Christ Himself.

    We don't recognize Christ on our own will, and by intellectual exercises. It is the Grace of God, the Spirit active in this process (no man comes except by the Spirit), and even in confession (no man can confess He is LORD except by the Spirit). The Spirit is there from the very beginning, all throughout. Distributing gifts, protecting, interceding, ministering, and finally at the day of Resurrection to quicken our mortal bodies in that great bodily resurrection (1 Cor 15). It's all Spirit!

    A litmus for how one knows they are saved is an interesting topic. The Spirit Baptism was unique in Acts in that this huge event happened in Acts 1/2 to Jews and the Jews saw the same event happen to the Gentiles. They associated Acts 1/2 with Joel 2, thus saw these events as eschatological. It was a big deal that the Spirit came the way it did. And that it also fell on the Gentiles validated the inclusion of Gentiles into salvation history.

    I too am cautious about pontificating a position here. But I see salvation coming the same way it did for Abraham, and the same way for us today... by faith (Romans 4). As you know, faith is not wishful thinking, intellectual posturing, it's a heart level response to God's initiating act of Grace.

    Enjoying the dialogue.

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  57. I've heard some thoughts from scholar Gordon Fee on this that were interesting. Anxious to read his book, "God's Empowering Presence."

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  58. I maybe completely off the subject but when is the blood of Jesus applied to the life of the believer? Far as I know, in the UPC there is no official statement on atonement. I have asked a few UPC Pentecostals and I get a different answers. "The blood is applied at repentance," "the blood is applied at baptism," or "the blood is applied after receiving the Holy Ghost." I have even been told, "Does it matter? Just complete all three steps." Complete all three steps? That is unacceptable.

    What does the Bible say about appropriating the blood of Christ to your life? Does not the Bible say, “Without shedding of blood there is no remission.” It is the blood of Christ that removes the penalty of sins. The penalty of sin is death, which specifically the “Second Death.” So again, if the blood of Jesus removes the penalty of sin, how do we appropriate it to our lives.

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  59. Joel/Chester/Anon/Anyone else that agrees with your positions here:

    One thing is apparent: this is not an APOSTOLIC site. I thought it was because of the URL but I was wrong and I apologize for coming here and posting. This is not my place. Regardless of anyone else's positions here, the author is supposedly Apostolic, but he's not. He's not solid on any of the foundational apostolic teachings of baptism by immersion in Jesus' name, nor the necessity of the Holy Ghost WITH evidence of tongues, or "holy magic hair" (which I just recently learned and made me lose respect for you, teaching against Bro. Stoneking). So, I guess I can't consider it strange that the crowd that it draws is "less than apostolic" (I don't mean that in a derogatory sense, just a matter of fact). In fact Joel, I gotta believe you're about a hop-skip-and-a-jump from being Trinitarian yourself...just give it time for it to settle in. The Word of God in it's plainest form is not enough for you people, you go the long way around to try to "decipher" true meaning! Wow! Btw, I didn't argue against "scholarly" criticism...you misquoted me. I argued against "intellectual" reasoning and said I left that to others (yourself obviously) and it in itself was a tongue-in-cheek statement. But thanks for misquoting me twice.

    Anyway, personally I don't think any of you (kp aside) will ever come to the knowledge of the Word that you seek because just when you think you do, some "intellectual" will be there to talk you back down and you'll go. Then you'll have some big discourse about how people like me are too "simple minded" to have "scholarly debate" and how the KJV is OK for people like me but not for a true "scholar" (ha). Did I use the word "scholar" yet? j/k. Anyway, I digress to my rebuke. Any further discussion on the issues you raise are circuitous at best. We are fundamentally opposed so the conversation cannot be fruitful and it would be a waste of time. Call it a cop-out if you want, don't care really. Anyway, here's to hoping you will still make it into the book of life! I say that seriously, because I don't think that's something to joke around about.

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  60. Corey:
    I'll give you some slack considering you just jumped into this firestorm...however, keep in mind that you're in direct opposition to Peter at Pentecost (Acts 2:38...Joel, is that still in the Bible?). When they asked he said that is what you MUST DO! So you can worry about where the blood is applied 'til you're blue in the face if you want. I have a friend that did that and he's nowhere to be found in church today. Personally, if you want to be truthful about it, the ceremonial law of the tabernacle/temple was that the blood was applied (literally) inside in the Holy of Holies and since this is indicative of the infilling of God's Spirit, I guess one would be forced to say that the blood is not "applied" until you receive the Holy Ghost. And that makes sense considering it's the "last step" of the three mentioned by Peter and the bible refers to it as the "seal". But also remember, if you don't "continue in what you've learned" (apostle's doctrine) and "run the race" and "grow in grace" etc., you'll still be bound for a devil's hell. Acts 2:38 was the beginning, not the ending!

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  61. Disappointed in SALMay 21, 2010 at 8:33 AM

    Jason: bravo, and well said. Thank you for representing true Apostolics. This blog is definitely not Apostolic in its spirit or content. I will find elsewhere to spend my time.

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  62. Brother Jason,

    I say that without a hint of sarcasm, because, unlike you, I'm not going to arbitrarily throw people out of the community of faith simply because they don't believe in what I believe.


    You haven't named academics or scholars explicitly, but let's be honest, that's who you're talking about.

    "I digress to my rebuke."

    Where is your authority to rebuke? It's certainly not any more legitimate than Joel's or anyone else's to criticize Stoneking (which you are apparently horrified by). Either you're incapable of maintaining a singular logic within your own arguments or you're just arrogant enough to not care--either way it smacks of severe narcissism and I find it hard to take your opinions or even the views you espouse seriously.

    Which leads to this:

    "Any further discussion on the issues you raise are circuitous at best. We are fundamentally opposed so the conversation cannot be fruitful and it would be a waste of time. Call it a cop-out if you want, don't care really."

    Yes, you're right, it is a cop-out, a rather pathetic one, and sorry to say, if you really don't care what anyone thinks, it isn't reflected in your tediously repetitive posts. You really care, a bit too much, it would seem. That last portion of your rant quite accurately represents the same dismissive, obnoxious, and ultimately ignorant attitude so many people associate with the UPC.

    Really, though, it's not even about you as an individual. Let's be honest here for a moment, it's about all of us as a community.

    It isn't the uncut hair, the number of services per week, or even the eccentricity of the apostolic service that turns so many people off to us; that's the stuff we like to say shocks the world and makes them hate us. (sound familiar? Hint: See the decadence of second temple judaism) In reality it's the prideful, heavy handed, pharasitic, dismissive airs we put on. We refuse to even take the rationale of others who don't think like us seriously. Why should they care if we can't even be bothered to care?

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  63. Chady:
    Well, it's not surprising that you would have the same spirit and hold the same positions as Joel, being a blogger on this site, so consider myself "not surprised." However, I think you double-negated your opening paragraph concerning me being a "Brother" and then suggesting it's "without a hint of sarcasm."

    In any event, where you're wrong is in assuming that I don't care. When I said that it doesn't matter who agrees with me or not, I wasn't saying that I didn't want you to agree. I obviously want you to be every bit as strong in the apostolic doctrine as I am, if not more. Unfortunately you guys aren't (yes, we disagree on that I realize). I'm not even really sure how you guys can consider yourself Apostolic...like I said, you're disgust for me is equally shared on the other side of the aisle. In terms of my rebuke, I haven't over-stepped my bounds. Any follower of the Gospel (that is one who believes and holds to the Apostolic doctrine) is allowed to rebuke another as long as it's in accordance with the Word. That goes into the concept of "not allowing your brother to be overtaken in a fall" and "restoring" him and "removing stumbling blocks". You can feel free to issue me a rebuke, or admonish me, but it's up to the individual whether or not they will receive it. Based on your positions, I obviously would not receive yours, and I'm quite sure, as evidenced by your angst toward me, that you will not receive mine. That's why I said we fundamentally disagree and any further conversation would be unfruitful. Maybe I shouldn't be posting now, but like I said, I do care. Can't ever accuse me of not caring. I am not going to dignify any more of your anti-Apostolic positions with scriptural responses because, as I said, it would be circuitous. So call it a cop-out (as you did) and that's ok. I cannot convince you and you cannot convince me on these positions. So please tell me, what's the point? I'd rather go smack my head into a wall. Even if I could convince you, the saying goes: "He who is convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still." And that applies. Notice how Jesus didn't answer the Pharisees, Caiaphas, and Pilate many times, all the while Christians reading the Word just wanted him to yell out "I AM that I AM!" one more time! Did he cop-out?
    Sometimes it's better to leave a fool to his folly.

    And yes, I was referring to many "scholars" of our day...of course, I don't consider them to be true scholars. They have hardened hearts and a natural bias and it shows. That's why I said "intellectuals". A true scholar like a David Bernard would roast your butts and I'm sure his rebuke would be stronger and more eloquently spoken. There, I referenced a scholar. Ha! Take that Gordon Fee! haha. But seriously, the way Paul referred to those "scholars" is, "ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth". And so it is. Maybe if they just learned a little bit more, got another PhD in the great world of academia, you would call them "Brother".

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  64. I've been pretty quiet on SAL lately but I've really enjoyed watching the debate and stuff and I'm proud of everybody holding their ground. But if I had to side with anybody I'd definitely side with the "liberal" Apostolics. Conversations like these are the reason that we have so many Apostolic organizations and why we could never have one big International Apostolic Conference where all organizations came together to lift up the name of Jesus...it's so sad that we all proclaim that we have the truth, but we don't discuss the truth in love and those that do try to are attacked and damned to hell. Not really fair. I'm not in the business of condemning those whom I don't know personally and those that the Scripture has not condemned already. I think and I believe that Scripture teaches us to continue to STUDY and to SEARCH the Scriptures, not always rehearsing them over and over again without deep thought on its workings and application AFTER you've accepted the basics. You take things step by step. You first acknowledge that you're breathing. Then later on you learn that you're breathing in oxygen and expelling nitrogen. Then you learn about the nature of oxygen, and how the lungs work, etc. After a certain point its ok to hypothesize, theorize, and call things into question in order to LEARN, not to cast doubt and thats all our brothers and sisters are trying to do.

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  65. I almost guarantee you that EVERYBODY that identifies with the Apostolic church that has commented on this blog, 1) truly does love the Lord, unless they're just a Bible debater for the sake of of debating 2) if someone asked them what they need to do to be saved they would somehow lead them to salvation by acknowleding the Acts 2:38 message. Once they acknowledge their sin and express their trust in Jesus, I almost PROMISE you that Joel, Chester, Chady, and others would expound and impress upon the individual to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ and then help them grow and mature and prepare them to recieve the Holy Ghost. THAT is what makes us Apostolic. The belief in Jesus Christ and him crucified is our Message, the knowledge of the work and power of the Holy Spirit empowers us, and the knowledge and defense of God's UNIQUE Oneness gives us our distinction.

    I think some of us who use more salient terms are taking our zeal to Saul like persecution. The message isn't being compromised. Not at all. These conversations are conversations that are for those who are more mature and advanced in their knowledge of the Scripture and our tradition. None of the people who commented would take a new believer to the side and ask them about their opinion on the harmony of Pauline, Johannine, and Lukan pneumatology...that's just not wise and I think we all understand that.

    This is supposed to be a safe haven for Apostolics so that we can enjoy our culture and I've found it to be a place to broaden my understanding of Scripture through dialouge and debate. I have yet to see anyone question the diety of Christ or anyone question the necccessity of the Spirit. We question the nuances of Scripture that aren't clearly spelled out and we're trying to get a better understanding of God and his Word in order to remain in Truth. That's the only way that more light can be brought into play. That's how Baptists, Catholics, etc are becoming Spirit filled. That's how Jehovah's Witnesses are coming into True Light...through study and questioning of the Scriptures. If one is truly saved then their learning will lead to a deeper knowledge of their God and savior, not lead them away.

    Keep the Jews in Acts 17 in mind and let's all strive to keep on loving how we should and be like the Bereans and search the Scriptures to see if these things are so....

    P.S. small pet peeve...can we practice addressing the Holy Ghost as He and not it...that can be misleading to people when we speak about the Spirit and gives Jehovah's Witnesses fuel and ammo for their debate. I'm not rebuking, just lovingly pointing something out. I know we all know He's a person, just an oversight that we make alot.

    Ok I'm done. LOVE YOU GUYS!!! and keep the faith! Happy studying!

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  66. oh and last thing, just in case somebody wants to hop on this too...nobody negated the fact we should be baptized in Jesus' name...that gives us some distinction as well. {gotta be careful on SAL these days lol}

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  67. louis d.:
    I liked MOST of what you had to say, but I don't really believe you've been reading the whole thread. You've put us all on the love boat together without reading respective positions. Go back and read thoroughly and you might be surprised...or maybe you won't. Don't know all of your positions, just that you think yourself more "liberal".

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  68. First, while I failed in this discussion, I think Louis' comments were a good summary of what we should all be striving for in discussion.

    Secondly, as to your frustration about Holy Magic Hair, I guess you should be mad at David Bernard and many other of the UPC scholars (Daniel Segraves, David norris). All of them have taken an obejective opinion against the preaching of HOly Magic Hair. So if your beef is with me and Holy Magic Hair, write a letter to Bernard and Segraves. Norris has an academic article against it dating back to 1994. Segraves has an article against it in the Herald and Bernard has been vocal about it as an unacceptable doctrine.




    Thanks

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  69. well that's the thing Jason, I did read it all. But I will go back and read it again because I feel like I missed something pretty big because there was a noticable shift in the tone of the conversation. I see myself as more of a moderate Apostolic than anything else. I wholeheartedly believe in the truth of the Acts 2:38 message, but I'm an English major in school so I believe in the validity of Joel's assertion about the necessity for textual criticism. All that really does is bring things to light and most times reaffirms or brings a different angle to things that we believe.

    When I was younger I had little to no wiggle room in my stance on salvation. But I started thinking about the nature of God and I had to reconcile the truth that God stands with his Word and the fact that he is gracious, understanding, and looks at the heart of the matter. When someone presented me with the classic "what if somebody was on their way to church to be baptized or tarry for the Holy Ghost but died in a car accident are they going to hell scenario..." I'd much rather say...they're going to hell so as to eliminate any space for my soteriological position. But then I'm forced to remember God's grace and how he operates, especially in this dispensation. Things like that I simply leave in the hands of God to declare and pronounce, and thats what i tell them BUT in the same breath I emphasize that since it is unknown to man...that they need to get some personal insurance and obey Acts 2:38.

    After we've become rooted and founded in certain things do you think its cool to explore certain things and dig deeper? The digging won't lead you to Communist China and in bondage, it should actually lead to a new sense of freedom ya know? Granted I do believe if someone is off base then you should try to bring them back home, and I think that's what you're trying to do. But from what I've seen its just Brothers and Sisters in the midst of addressing their thought out and often times logical questions to the Scripture and they're going to the Scripture for answers. Let me qualify my statement and say that that is for those who are seeking to increase their knowledge and faith, not ones seeking to disprove what we love.

    I think that's the crux of the whole argument. Trust me if we could have one-on-one time you'd soon find I'm the last person with the love-boat mindset lol. But I do value a level of unity and understanding with Apostolic believers. But like I was about to say the crux of the matter comes in when we look at the intentions of others. The Apostolics who commented and questioned are trying to VERIFY the notions that we've held to for so long. The knowledge of Christ and his power have alread been confirmed in their lives and they're good with that. No one is setting out to disprove or dismantle the Apostolic doctrine.

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  70. And anytime somebody calls somebody else a reprobate that's going to hurt and those are like Apostolic fighting words.

    And let me pose this question to you, and I hate the internet sometimes because people can apply a tone to writing that the author never intended, so for the record this is a real sincere question. But if someone has believed in their heart that Jesus is the Christ, the very God in Heaven, and that he died and rose for our sins and declares them Lord and Savior and responds to that by submitting themselves to water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ and truly undeniably speaks in tongues as God gives the utterance will they be barred from the Kingdom for QUESTIONING what EXACTLY happened during that process? They've already gone through it, still preach the messaage, but are now simply trying to understand the Biblical mechanics of it all. Does this questioning for further understanding make them not Apostolic or is it an actual affirmation of their faith for trying to get ALL that they can from Scripture? Kind of like a spin on James...

    Long story short I kind of interpret their actions and even my actions as a work that proves my faith. Its kind of like a convo I had with Joel on head coverings. I'm not from a UPC background and that's a hot topic in some of the circles that I run in (bka predominately Black Apostolic churches). I've concluded that at this very moment I don't have a conclusion on head coverings, but its not a heaven or hell issue per se, as some would have others believe and its actually good and healthy to have those kinds of conversations, but it should never lead to accusing a brother of having lost their faith in the teachings of the Apostles. It can get pretty ugly sometimes. But don't confuse me saying be open minded to mean allow heresy to creep in. But then we all differ I guess on what point of distinction calls for heresey.

    With the love thing, I'm just saying that we all take this personal because we love the Lord and we love our unique culture. I'm calling for open-mindedness and space to breathe so that the truth that you stand firm on will be confirmed in the minds of others. Different stances and different places in understanding, acceptance, etc. Get what I'm saying? I hope it made sense.

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  71. Louis, thanks for chiming in. You've said it much better than most could.

    Jason, your quote:
    "The Word of God in it's plainest form is not enough for you people, you go the long way around to try to "decipher" true meaning!"

    Actually, that's my struggle with many of your positions. It isn't "plain form." We read Romans and think Luke has to contribute to his letter. We read the Gospel of John and go to Luke to validate the letter. That's not "plain, simple meaning." That's creatively propping up a doctrine as elastically as possible.

    The fact is, and let's be real, reading texts from antiquity are neither simple nor plain. We are reading excerpts in time from a cultural thousands of years earlier, with cultural, religious and sociological influences shaping what the message meant to the audience at that time. Interpreters are dealing with manuscripts that are not original, but are still penned in Koine Greek, and try to use different schools of interpretation -- some word-for-word, and others thought-for-thought, both with pros and cons for each. Thankfully, there has been plenty done in the interpretation field. Our task today is to read with understanding. If one were to just open the book and read it, without a theological background, what conclusions would they come to? Add in the influence of the Holy Spirit on our search and what then?

    Louis has said it perfectly. We are questioning the mechanics. In that question, may we have the courage and humility to admit when we are wrong, no matter which side of "wrong."

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  72. I do find it amazing the conclusions you've come to about those you don't know personally that post here (reprobate, too-far-gone, a waste of your time, etc). This is an attitude that has troubled many who have left the church recently, and many that are still there but have to deal with that frustration.

    If someone points out the naked emperor, we assure them the emperor is clothed, and are incredulous that they would even consider otherwise. If they still insist, we inform them they are delusional. Fear and open discussion are not partners.

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  73. "Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees." Mt 15

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  74. Jason,

    I just reread some of your comments. (I was reading in a hurry earlier at work)...I realized you accused me of being a trinitarian and apparently that if you don't say anything, the silence means you are what you are accused of. So let me clarify that i am not a trinitarian. I made an argument that a trinitarian would make to a oneness advocate (such as myself and you). To then assume that I am trinitarian from this is sad. Let me repeat, I am a monotheist.

    As I read that, I realized what is going on. You are Joseph McCarthy in the midst of the red scare and willing to indite anyone who has any scent of disagreement with an proto-typical UPC stance that really has only been developed in the the past 30 years or so. (there was much more room for discussion amongst apostolics and ability to disagree pre-1992)....

    But i guess with the McCarthyism in mind, it makes this all the more exciting.

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  75. I suppose this discussion is over, but having just read it all at 2 a.m. I would like to throw in that Paul's comments in Corinthians after he has said how thankful he is that he speaks in tongues more than all of us is that he would rather teach intelligibly in church rather than speak in tongues. I have to say that opinion wouldn't go over well in the majority of our churches today. Aside from the initial evidence discussion, can we say that we are not as Biblical regarding the subject as a whole as we would prefer to think ourselves to be?

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  76. RJ, I totally have that same question... At what point are we becoming like the Corinthians, and at what point are we operating in the spirit in our church services...

    I seriously think we as a movement need to take a very hard look at our practices and traditions and compare them to the New Testament... we need to weed out the man-made aspects, and get back to the NT church. Just my thoughts on the matter...

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  77. Just call me Joe Mack! haha

    No, seriously though...my biggest problem with the majority of you on this thread is that you claim to have the Holy Ghost with evidence of tongues and yet you don't think it's (HG WITH tongues!) necessary for salvation, or are not sure! To me, that's a red flag! I can't imagine anyone, after having received that, to say anything less than this is the Pentecostal experience, the born again experience, and you have to have it and be passionate about it. I seriously question your sincerity of either having truly received it, OR being guilty of being a reprobate. So that's really what fueled me on this issue.

    RJ:
    "I have to say that opinion wouldn't go over well in the majority of our churches today."

    Well, I'm not sure what churches you've gone to, but I think the people that struggle with this concept are newer in the church and don't have much experience in the "meat" of the Word! So they rely on this initial experience of tongues and fail to seek greater depths in the kingdom. Nothing wrong with tongues of course (necessary), BUT there is much more and that was Paul's point. We have to move beyond JUST self-edification without simultaneously renouncing self-edification.

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  78. Jason,
    Do you believe in ministers telling others to speak in tongues on cue? Do you agree with believers yelling in tongues simultaneous? You are able to reconcile that with 1 Corinthians 14? Unbelievers won't think you are crazy people?


    Also, you said:
    "No, seriously though...my biggest problem with the majority of you on this thread is that you claim to have the Holy Ghost with evidence of tongues and yet you don't think it's (HG WITH tongues!) necessary for salvation, or are not sure! To me, that's a red flag! I can't imagine anyone, after having received that, to say anything less than this is the Pentecostal experience, the born again experience, and you have to have it and be passionate about it. I seriously question your sincerity of either having truly received it, OR being guilty of being a reprobate. So that's really what fueled me on this issue."

    So to have my doubts, I either don't really have it or I'm reprobate? There's no Option C, Jason? Ah man. That sucks for me.

    I do believe it's a Pentecostal experience, and that it was genuine (most of the time) and am passionate about it. But connecting Luke's Spirit Baptism to regeneration is a lofty goal. And by be having that discussion, to have to endure criticism of my own spirituality is all the more interesting.

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  79. I am so glad someone has brought this up....it seems like you cant walk into an Apostolic church any more, anywhere in the country, where one of the ministers doesnt get up at some point during the service and demand that the members start speaking in tongues when he points at them or calls out their name.

    And then when they bring out the snakes and force the member to drink the poison on cue is so embarassing especially when you are sitting next to a visitor that you invited. I mean when did all of this start happening. I heard of it years ago, but now all of sudden like over night ...bing, bang, bowey..... Susie speak in tongues, Henry pick up that python, Bertha drink that poison...where do they get off.....

    If any of you know of an Apostolic church that is not doing this please let me know....I would love to find a church that wasnt involved in this madness.

    Jason listen to Chester, you would have a hard time finding an Apostolic church that was not wrapped up in this nonsense. Even if you dont see it in the first service, they are either doing it in the back after service or you just havent hit them on the right night.

    Havent you heard how many poisonous snakes are mysteriously missing from pet shops all of the country? Now I think we know why.

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  80. Oh, I get it. TR is trying to be funny now.

    I've been born and raised in this and have heard it my whole life, including at General Conferences, Camp Meetings and Youth Conferences. Let's not play stupid.

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  81. Somebody is just trying too hard and instead of funny and cute it's coming off as dorky and awkward.

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  82. You are spot on Joel. Once someone hits the status of "tongues" during an altar call, people all around the speaking usually celebrate as they just witnessed their home team score a touchdown, which includes clapping and jumping up and down, etc.

    Ever noticed that frequent tongue speakers often say the same thing, be it a few words or an entire phrase over and over again? Week after week, it's the same "utterance".

    You think some people can just "fake" tongues and mimic another speaker, with a slight variation added?

    Is the Spirit restricted in its phonics with certain individuals?

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  83. Mark:
    good point about the same "utterances"...I think it's a lack of spiritual maturity. I've noticed in my own life that when I was younger and not seeking as much, my tongues were the same and never changed...however, now that I'm older and seeking more, the tongues change more frequently, are more pronounced, etc. I think it's an amazing comparison with the "new birth" or being "born again". When you were a baby, you spoke in simple phrases and stuttered your words, but as you grew, you matured in your speech, and I think the same is true with speaking in tongues. Some children don't mature their speech OR need significant help (obviously, that is between them and God in this case).

    Also, I don't like how everyone seems to gather around a "new convert" and "listens" for tongues either, and I don't suggest people do that. By the same token, I'm not going to bash anyone for doing it specifically...I think that's just what they are used to. I don't feel like anyone needs to be convinced that they received it...otherwise, they didn't. However, on the flip-side, some people who are truly new, may have no idea what just happened, even they know it's powerful and supernatural. So, I think this IS where instruction comes in. Additionally, going back to the "new birth", when a baby is born, everyone wants to see it and welcome it, so to speak.

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  84. I've never heard of a "spiritual maturity" regarding tongues. I figure that it's digital; either on or off, not analog; babysteps onward to Grand-Pumba-Tongue-Talker.

    I'm cautious to buy in to that, but I cannot take your personal experience away from you. The thing that pops in my head is that since we mature spiritually and mentally, that we can "learn" more things to say while speaking in tongues.

    Don't get me wrong, tongue talk'n is biblical, but from my experience some people seem to fake it out of habit.

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  85. Yes, the Spirit gives the utterance, but I have noticed, and forgive me if I come off as non-spiritual, but some men and women at my church have the same words, or utterances as my pastor or other elders on the pulpit or near the altar..., so maybe not learn, but more likely influenced.

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  86. ...but that implies that it's not really the Spirit giving the utterance (which for some could be true). I've heard similar utterances by different people but I have to attribute that the will of the Spirit.

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  87. Mark, I share the same experience. Who doesn't? Let be real. There aren't many varieties to "IBOUGHTAHONDA" and "E TABO" -- but I'm no judge of heavenly tongues (glossalalia) or other foreign languages (xenolalia). But I definitely agree with Mark, that it's not odd to have those observations.

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  88. I've never heard the Honda one, but the "E TABO" hits home. I wonder if there are translators out there who have heard these. I have heard stories about people speaking in tongues, perfect dialect, according to a visitor of that nationality, and when the subject was done, revealed that they honestly knew no other languages. But again these are all second hand (or third possibly).

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  89. Yeah, that happens. A friend of mine who has no pentecostal background went to a pentecostal church here by me. She took her aunt who is Jewish and speaks Hebrew. She also had no pentecostal background, but she wanted to know why some people were joined hands and speaking Hebrew!

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  90. That's a lot of comments...

    Mark and Jason,

    I've noticed the same thing about the "limited" tongues. I've heard that's because of our spirit crying out, not God's spirit talking through us. I do think there is a difference: when people at my church speak in tongues at the alter, it's usually the same phonics time and time again, but when he have a tongues with the interpratation, the phonics are all over the place.

    Also, I remember that Hewbrew story Jason!

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