User talk:One Salient Oversight/ - theological dialogue with 5727sbj

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5727sbj[edit]

Benny Hinn and the "Nine persons in the godhead"[edit]

See, God the Father is a person, God the Son is a person, God the Holy Spirit is a person. But each one of them is a triune being by himself. If I can shock you, and maybe I should, there's nine of them. Benny Hinn Broadcast, recorded 10/13/90.

Please read This article here and give me your thoughts about what you have read. Don't foget to read the multiple pages (hit "next page" when finished the first page) One Salient Oversight 02:58, 30 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I cannot respond to the above quote, because it is out of context and I do not feel it wise to make a statement on someone's doctrines :based on a statement that was originally in part of a 30-minute discussion.
Also, I do not believe the apologetics index site is a valid source for criticism because it attacks Charismatic doctrine as a
"heresy". Examples...
"His theology is based largely on that of the Word-Faith movement, with a heavy emphasis on the so-called "Prosperity Gospel." His teachings, behavior and practices have made him controversial among Christians and non-Christians alike."
taken from article on Benny Hinn
also...
Many charismatic churches, movements and proponents are controversial because of an overemphasis on the spiritual gifts, and not enough emphasis (if any) on the practice of Biblical discernment.
taken from article on the term "Charismatic"
I would like to add that I do not appreciate the fact that it is stated in this article that Charismatics do not emphasize Biblical discernment...this is NOT true...it is of the highest importance to me and all those I interact with who are Charismatic.
"Apologetics Index" cites BHM's Charismatic doctrines as reasons for his "heretical" nature...therefore, they have lost my trust and confidence in their ability to objectively critique BHM.
I want to know your response to the information I gave you...

here is the excerpt from the statement of faith (http://www.bennyhinn.org/about/statementoffaith.cfm) on his website:

We believe the one true God has revealed Himself as the eternally self-existent, self-revealed "I AM" and has further revealed
Himself as embodying the principles of relationship and association, i.e., Father, Son, and Holy Ghost (Deuteronomy 6:4; Mark
12:29; Isaiah 43:10, 11; Matthew 28:19).

(sounds like the Trinity to me)

also...

The salvation message preached by BHM.

THIS is where we should be getting information about the beliefs of Benny Hinn and his ministry, NOT "Apologetics Index".

I did some research and found a Charismatic apologetics article (here) debunking the arguements in Hank Hanegraaff's book "Christianity in Crisis". This is what this Charismatic apologist said about the above quote from Benny Hinn's program (emphasis added):

"There is another dirty trick. This one involves the Benny Hinn statements about the trinity, ie, there are nine of them. This is in reference to Hinns view that God like man has body, soul and spirit (trichotemy) and that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, so the conclusion is that there are nine of them.
The problem with the inclusion of the quotes in the audio tape CinC series is that Hinn had already repented publicly of the statement. He had admitted to the error. The author of CinC chose to include it in the tapes stating that although Hinn had repudiated his prior view, it was still illustrative of something. The question is illustrative of what? Illustrative of the fact that Hinn made a mistake and admitted to it? After Hinn publicly confessed the error, there was no reason for it to have been put onto the tapes (unless they had already been prepared and the publisher did not want to be bothered to remove the statements). Maybe there is some real reason yet to be heard.
Incidentally the point about the nature of man being dipartite or tripartite is another interesting theological point. Many scholars hold that man has two parts, a material and a non-material part. J. Oliver Buswell in his Systematic Theology gives a good defense of the dipartite view. On the other hand, the WoF teachers hold that man has three parts, body, soul, and spirit. This is a very common view outside of the WoF movement particularly in other parts of the Charismatic movement. This is another area of contention that good men on both sides disagree about. We should listen patiently to the opinions of others on these subjects, but reject anyone that labels those who hold different views as heretics."

So, the conclusion we can come to is that Pastor Benny did in fact make this statement, but later repented. Therefore, this accusation against BHM should be dropped by its critics. However, we cannot say that because he made this erroneous theological statement that he is a false prophet. We need to get our information about someone's doctrines from that person. When you look at their doctrinal statements, you can see exactly what they believe in.


Thanks for the time you have put into your answers. Unfortunately I don't see much chance in us coming to any agreement. So let me just say a few things about your argument.
  1. I have a problem first that you "write off" apologetics index so quickly. It is almost as though any person or organisation that puts forward a point of view that conflicts with yours is automatically biased and wrong. Yes AI puts forward the view that Benny is in serious error and for that you totally reject their stance. Is it possible that you might be misled and in error here? Is it possible that God is speaking to you now through this dialogue to bring you back to correct belief? You place no trust or faith whatsoever in any person or organisation that asserts that word-faith theology is heretical and that Benny Hinn is guilty of teaching this. Since you're part of the word-faith movement, I do expect some level of scepticism and defensiveness. But what I think is bad is that you do not even attempt to look at what they say in a neutral light. Being objective is important - stepping out of yourself and asking yourself "is what I believe true?". None of us are good at it but I always like to engage in debate with people of a different perspective so that I can at least understand things from another point of view. It does not seem as though you are wishing to do that.
  2. I also have a problem that you accept a person's faith statement as truly indicative of his or her true theological position. I used to work for a Christian school that had a statement of faith that appeared to be on the surface to be thoroughly orthodox, but after a few months I realised that key people held to doctrines that were contrary to the public statement of faith. BHM and others have all of these statements of faith, but I simply do not believe that they are telling the truth on this. Notice, by the way, that the BHM statement of faith didn't actually use the word trinity. Someone who accepts the teachings of Oneness Pentecostals could quite easily like Hinn's statement of faith, despite the fact that these Oneness Pentecostals deny the Biblical teaching on the Trinity.
  3. I believe that in these last days, Satan is working very hard to lead the elect astray and to ensure that the Christian church is as ineffective as possible. The way he does this is by raising up people who appear to be wonderful godly Christians who then teach all sorts of heresies to a Christian people who are ignorant of what the scriptures say. Benny DID say the quote I gave above, and I challenge you to search the internet and find a transcript of the sermon he gave to find out for yourself whether this is true or not. When a person makes a statement that the three members of the trinity are themselves tripartite (even though the Bible explicitly states that neither God the Father nor God the Holy Spirit have physical bodies), then the assumption MUST be made that the man is teaching false doctrines and is an antichrist (the 1 John version, not THE antichrist). Even if Pastor Benny repents, then why the hell is the guy still in ministry? Anyone who publically teaches heresy MUST NEVER BE ALLOWED IN THE PULPIT EVER AGAIN. Let the guy be a member of your church - fine - but Paul makes it clear that elders and overseers should be sound in their biblical doctrine.
  4. Let me just say a few things about word-faith. Firstly, I DO NOT believe that God wants us to be happy, wealthy and healthy. He allows us to suffer and get sick and does this so that our faith may be strengthened. He does not want us to lust after physical possessions, but to store up treasures in heaven. While God has the power to heal, and no doubt DOES heal, there is absolutely no way that God promises physical and/or emotional healing to anyone who comes to him. All the Bible verses that word-faith teachers use to back up this claim have been misinterpreted and taken totally out of context. I believe that one day Jesus will return and we will have new bodies, and that in those days we will never see any more sickness or suffering or poverty - but that is a future promise rather than a present one. I also find it offensive to think that God sits there in heaven waiting to dispense his blessings upon Christians who try so very very hard to gain them - I believe that in Christ, all Christians have every blessing possible, and that it is God who is fully active, and we are fully passive.
From what I have read about Benny - and I'm sure that I have heard him on TV - is that this man, along with all the other word-faith teachers, are unwittingly leading people away from the truth and preaching another gospel. I am so broken with sadness and anger that so many Christians around the world are being swept up in this work of the Devil. And I honestly think that my sadness and anger are caused by the Holy Spirit within me, who has been able to give me a vision of a church that is no longer preaching the gospel and no longer teaching God's true word. And I also honestly believe that God is telling me to tell you, brother, to look into your belief system, to read the Bible and to ask with all your heart for God to reveal the truth to you about whether Hinn and the other word-faith teachers are either servants of God or servants of Satan. Do the research, read books from both sides of the argument and read them critically. Read Hank Hannegraaf's works, for I think they are some very good work - and this despite the fact that Hannegraaf himself has used his position to hurt those who worked with him. Keep all these things in mind.
You have to remember that I'm a preacher. At this moment you may feel enraged. This is all I can do. I have never met you, brother, but I speak these hard words in love for a person I have never met. I pray that God will reveal to you the truth, and that he rebuke me severely if I have said anything that is not God's truth.

Opinions do not create Doctrines[edit]

NOTE: I am not angry with you...I am full of conviction and a defense of the Scriptures.

I am deeply disturbed by your response to my latest entry. You have an attitude that does not foster unity. I can tell you with full confidence that there are things that are much more important to do than label good Christians "heretics". This is not profitable. Rather, it is a DISTRACTION to the true call of God for our lives. What is that call? PREACHING THE GOSPEL. There is not much of a difference between the heresy hunters of today and the pharisees of Jesus' day. They look for a minister they resent to slip up or distort their message to make them sound heretical, and then announce their "heresies" from the rooftops. I am not enraged, but I do feel a sense of righteous indignation. Your calling is NOT to shoot at your fellow Christian soldiers...that only weakens the entire Army.

Also, I am frustrated because I see you ignoring my Biblical and other such PROOF that there is a common bond between us and that we BELIEVE THE SAME CORE TRUTHS. I see you as saying "don't confuse me with the facts, my mind is already made up!" Let me discuss your "arguments" (or, opinions) one-by-one...

NUMBER ONE...

"It is almost as though any person or organisation that puts forward a point of view that conflicts with yours is automatically biased and wrong."

I NEVER SAID THAT! That is a distortion of my argument! What I said was that AI's arguments against BHM are based in the fact that BHM holds to a Evangelical Charismatic doctrine. If they use these doctrines as the basis for his "heretical" nature, I cannot accept their "evidence".

"Is it possible that you might be misled and in error here? Is it possible that God is speaking to you now through this dialogue to bring you back to correct belief? "

This is an illogical arguement! Do you want to know my "beliefs"? I believe that the One true God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I believe in the Trinity. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and is Himself God. He is fully God and fully man, born of the virgin Mary. I believe in the inerrancy and authority of Scripture. I believe that man fell into sin and the only way to salvation is to believe in Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord, who died on the cross for the sins of men. I believe that He rose again and ascended to Heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. I also believe that He is coming again. // I believe that the gifts of the Spirit are for today and that God has promised health and healing to His people. However, just like salvation, it must be accepted by faith in God and His Word. I believe that if we are obedient and faithfully tithe, "my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:19).

YOU SEE! Besides the gifts of the Spirit, healing, and blessing, WE BELIEVE THE SAME THING!!!!!!! If you do not believe the doctrines listed before the "//", then you are not an orthodox Christian. Lets continue...

"Being objective is important - stepping out of yourself and asking yourself "is what I believe true?". None of us are good at it but I always like to engage in debate with people of a different perspective so that I can at least understand things from another point of view. It does not seem as though you are wishing to do that."

You're absolutely right! My desire was NOT to "understand a different point of view". My desire was to promote UNITY by graciously demonstrating that WE BELIEVE THE SAME CORE TRUTHS! And then you respond as you did in this last entry by questioning my committment to the historic Christian faith?!

NUMBER TWO...

"I also have a problem that you accept a person's faith statement as truly indicative of his or her true theological position."

Ok, so the statement that lists the doctrines that an organization holds most important does not represent the doctrines that the organization holds most important. That arguement can't go anywhere, because at close examination, it contradicts itself.

"I used to work for a Christian school that had a statement of faith that appeared to be on the surface to be thoroughly orthodox, but after a few months I realised that key people held to doctrines that were contrary to the public statement of faith."

This is something I most definitely can comment on. I graduated from a Christian High School. They had a statement of faith that I know 100% you would agree with. However, there were key members of the faculty who held to positions that contradicted the statement of faith of the school. HOWEVER, they aren't the one's who wrote the statement of faith, the founders of the school were.

"Notice, by the way, that the BHM statement of faith didn't actually use the word trinity."

SEMANTICS, IRRELAVENT. The doctrine was in there. I know this ministry better than you could possibly know. HE BELIEVES IN THE TRINITY. You apparently didn't read my response. Benny Hinn withdrew his statement about "9 persons in the Godhead". HE DID SAY IT, but REPENTED. We should not continuously attack someone who slipped up and then repented. Unless you can say with a clear conscious that you have never made a mistake in the interpretation of the Scriptures, you have no right to hold this to him after he has repented. That is not what God desires. We all make mistakes, myself included. However, we can't beat each other over the head with them for the rest of our lives.

NUMBER THREE...

"I believe that in these last days, Satan is working very hard to lead the elect astray and to ensure that the Christian church is as ineffective as possible. The way he does this is by raising up people who appear to be wonderful godly Christians who then teach all sorts of heresies to a Christian people who are ignorant of what the scriptures say."

The same thing was said of Jesus in Matthew 12:22-33(NKJV)...
"Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw. And all the multitudes were amazed and said, "Could this be the Son of David?" Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, "This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons." But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can one enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house. He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad. "Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come. "Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit."

Your statement above shows a lack of knowledge. You are citing your opinion about Charsmatic Evangelicalism and then backing it up by saying that Charismatic believers are "ignorant of what the Scriptures say". This is no evidence for the "heretical" nature of Charismatic Evangelical theology, but is instead an unfounded opinion. It is laughable to think that Charismatic Christians do not know what Scripture says...nothing could be further from the truth. I know the Scriptures and a majority of the Charismatic believers I know study them fervantly as well. This is a personal attack logical fallacy and is therefore an invalid arguement.

" Benny DID say the quote I gave above, and I challenge you to search the internet and find a transcript of the sermon he gave to find out for yourself whether this is true or not."

I already responded to this.

"When a person makes a statement that the three members of the trinity are themselves tripartite (even though the Bible explicitly states that neither God the Father nor God the Holy Spirit have physical bodies), then the assumption MUST be made that the man is teaching false doctrines and is an antichrist (the 1 John version, not THE antichrist). Even if Pastor Benny repents, then why the hell is the guy still in ministry? Anyone who publically teaches heresy MUST NEVER BE ALLOWED IN THE PULPIT EVER AGAIN. Let the guy be a member of your church - fine - but Paul makes it clear that elders and overseers should be sound in their biblical doctrine."

What?! Let me ask you something? Where would YOU be if, when you made a theological mistake while a minister (which I'm sure you have...if you say you haven't then you would be lying, because no one is perfect), even after repenting of that mistake, you were still treated in the manner you believe Pastor Benny Hinn should be treated? Just a thought...
ALSO, what is the deal with this statement...

"Even if Pastor Benny repents, then why the hell is the guy still in ministry?

Why the HELL?! WHY THE HELL?! Is this appropriate language? Let's take a look at Col. 3:8 (NKJV)...

"But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth."

NUMBER FOUR...

"Let me just say a few things about word-faith. Firstly, I DO NOT believe that God wants us to be happy, wealthy and healthy. He allows us to suffer and get sick and does this so that our faith may be strengthened. He does not want us to lust after physical possessions, but to store up treasures in heaven. While God has the power to heal, and no doubt DOES heal, there is absolutely no way that God promises physical and/or emotional healing to anyone who comes to him. All the Bible verses that word-faith teachers use to back up this claim have been misinterpreted and taken totally out of context."

You believe this, but you give no evidence from the Scriptures (which you so aptly claim we do not respect) to back up your doctrines. Also, we do not believe that we should "lust" after physical possessions. We believe that we should earnestly seek God and His plan for our lives. However, because of our obedience to God's law and our faithfully tithing, God will bless us physically. We must remember, however, that "we are blessed to be a blessing". How could we fund the preaching of the Gospel if we were poor and barely had enough to get by and were so sick we couldn't stay out of the hospital? Let me give you an illustration...

If you worked for a corporation as a travelling salesman, and they gave you a car to use to be about their business. Let's say that this car was working on and off. How would you be expected to focus on going to where your company needs you to go? What about if they refused to fix the car and also refused to pay you enough to fix it yourself? What would happen...you would have a great amount of trouble getting the job done. Why? Your focus would be on other things, such as patching your car up so it would work and scrounging up resources to live by. However, what about your customers? What would they think of your company? What would their response be when you said, "my company is trying to get me to trust them, so I can do the job they want me to do." They'd laugh! They'd say, "buddy, you need a new job!" In the same way, sickness and poverty are not the ways to godliness, this comes out of the pagan influences that were involved in the Roman Catholic Church. However, God isn't a "sugar daddy", either. The Biblical doctrine is what is known as "stewardship". In other words, God blesses us with more physical blessings as we show ourselves to be good stewards of what He has already given us. This includes tithing and giving, as well as managing our physical possessions wisely. THIS is what mainstream Charismatic Evangelicalism teaches. How can someone give to advance the Gospel when there focus is on paying there electic bill, or paying for medical treatments and medications? Is the person who doesn't have enough money at the end of the month have there focus on God...or is there focus on how they are going to make ends meet? Let me list some Scriptures that support the doctrines of divine healing, stewardship and blessing, and joy... -Luke 19:12-29 -Luke 6:38 -3 John 1:2 -Isaiah 53:5 -John 15:11 -2 Cor. 7:13 -James 5:13-16 This is a short list, for the sake of time, but a good list nonetheless. Also you have not substantiated the hasty generalization that "all word of faith teachers take their verses out of context" with Scripture, therefore, it is an invalid arguement.

"I believe that one day Jesus will return and we will have new bodies, and that in those days we will never see any more sickness or suffering or poverty - but that is a future promise rather than a present one."

This is a classic anti-Charismatic arguement that holds no water at close examination. Our bodies in Heaven will not be sick, your right. But it will not be because they are "healed". It will be because they will be immmortal and incapable of being sick. Let's take a close look at John 10:10 and what it really means...

John 10:10 (NKJV)

"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."
STRONG'S DEFINITIONS
steal: klepso - To steal furtively, to take by stealth; syn. to plunder, to sieze, to embezzle, to take away, to cheat, deceive.
life: zoe - Generaly, physical life and existance as opposed to death and non-existance.
abundantly: perissos - Superabundance, excessive, overflowing, surplus, over and above, more than enough, profuse, extraordinary, above the ordinary, more than sufficient.
PARAPHRASE OF JOHN 10:10 IN LIGHT OF STRONG'S DEFINITIONS
"The thief does not come except to steal [plunder, sieze, embezzle, take away, cheat], and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life [physical life], and that they may have it more abundantly [over and above, more than enough, more than sufficient].

As you can see, this verse is not referring to spiritual Life, like many have argued. Rather, it is speaking directly about physical life. Therefore, we can come to the conlcusion that anything that steals abundance out of our physical life is not of God. Therefore, healing is for the here and now.

IN CONCLUSION...

"From what I have read about Benny - and I'm sure that I have heard him on TV - is that this man, along with all the other word-faith teachers, are unwittingly leading people away from the truth and preaching another gospel. I am so broken with sadness and anger that so many Christians around the world are being swept up in this work of the Devil. And I honestly think that my sadness and anger are caused by the Holy Spirit within me, who has been able to give me a vision of a church that is no longer preaching the gospel and no longer teaching God's true word. And I also honestly believe that God is telling me to tell you, brother, to look into your belief system, to read the Bible and to ask with all your heart for God to reveal the truth to you about whether Hinn and the other word-faith teachers are either servants of God or servants of Satan. Do the research, read books from both sides of the argument and read them critically. Read Hank Hannegraaf's works, for I think they are some very good work - and this despite the fact that Hannegraaf himself has used his position to hurt those who worked with him. Keep all these things in mind.
You have to remember that I'm a preacher. At this moment you may feel enraged. This is all I can do. I have never met you, brother, but I speak these hard words in love for a person I have never met. I pray that God will reveal to you the truth, and that he rebuke me severely if I have said anything that is not God's truth."

You do not provide a convincing argument that Benny Hinn is "preaching another Gospel". This is a ridiculous and unfounded opinion. You apparantly did not read the Gospel message on BHM's website that I gave you the link for. Let's see if he is preaching a "different" gospel than that of non-Charismatic Evangelicals. Billy Graham is perhaps the most well-known and the most widely accepted evangelists of modern times...the Salvation message on B.G.'s site. Let's compare it to Benny Hinn's website.

You want me to look and see if I have been taught "another gospel". I told you a few days ago that I used to attend non-Charismatic Evangelical Church and graduated from a non-Charismatic Evangelical High School. I still to this day have exposure to traditional churches and I do have a respect for them as brothers and sisters in Christ. However, I cannot deny the truth of mainstream Charismatic Evangelical doctrine...no more than you or I can deny the existance of Jehovah God. And why can't we deny His existance? Because we have had an encounter with Him and know He is the real deal! In the same way, I have had experiences and studied Scripture passages that convince me that mainstream Charismatic Evangelical theology is the real deal. I have experience healing 3 times in my life...from things that don't just "go away". I have experienced the power of God personally in a Benny Hinn crusade and know that it isn't fake or emotional, nor is it satanic. Why? It drew me closer to Jesus...something satan does not want to happen. Remember, "a house divided against itself cannot stand".

You have mentioned the "scholarly" work of Hanegraaf. I beg to differ. I have read numerous articles that show that Christianity in Crisis distorts Charismatic docrine to make it sound "heretical". Incidentally, here is a link to a site that has a wide selection of Charimatic apologetics articles.

I think you need to consider whether or not it really is profitable to continuously attack your brothers and sisters in Christ. We ARE brothers in Christ! I encourage you to pray and ask the Lord to, if Charimatic doctrine is true, to open your eyes to the truth in it. Remember, THE GOSPEL IS THE MISSION! God bless you and I hope you will receive my words as coming from someone who is a FELLOW BELIEVER!!


Clarifying a few issues[edit]

I am sincerely sorry that you may have misunderstood my words that I have written. I felt that, by calling you "brother", I was indicating my acceptance of you as a believer. Moreover I will state quite explicitly that I believe that many people who call themselves Christians who are from Charismatic churches are my brothers and sisters in Christ.

I suppose that I am at a loss because from my point of view, the word/faith section of the Charismatic movement is a serious breach of Biblical teaching. That is why I feel compelled to speak to you about it. I can sort of understand that if I was within the movement and accepted its teaching, that I would find such opposition petty and stupid, especially with the world so needing Christ.

However, let's assume that I am correct (just pretend!!) then wouldn't it be important to warn people about this movement? I honestly think it is leading people away from God, that is where my motivation comes from. I do not for a moment think that your defence of Word/faith belief comes from some dark, evil place inside you where you are trying desperately to lead people away from God. No. You are motivated by what you see is right and you are passionate about it. The problem is that I hold a completely opposite viewpoint and that I am probably just as passionate about it too. And my motivation is not based on trying to lead people away from God either.

One of your concerns is that my attitude does not promote unity. My feeling and belief is that it does. In 1 Peter 3.8, Peter says Have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart and a humble mind.. In Ephesians 4.11-16, Pauls states that God gaves us leaders in the church so that we may all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God. Why? So that we may no longer be children, tossed too and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. The point I am making here is that unity can only exist in terms of unity of belief - of the substance of our faith. That is why I am in dialogue with you. Both Peter and Paul talk about unity of belief, and Paul goes on to link this to the importance of resisting strange teachings.

To tell you the truth I hate getting into conflict with people and, strangely enough, I also hate getting into conflict when writing things on the internet. In the past two days I have dreaded visiting my user page, knowing that you would be disagreeing with me. My motivation for continuing is because I believe that it is important and that God will be using our discussion, no matter how bad we might feel as a result of it.

But while you and I may share the same core truths, and in so doing you ARE promoting our unity as fellow believers, it is my assertion that Word/faith teaching, and therefore one of the backbones of your own personal faith, is seriously in question. While I accept that you are a believer, and rejoice that one day I will meet you person in glory, my feeling is that your adherence to word/faith doctrine may actually lead you away from this future. (By the way, I do believe in "once a Christian, always a Christian", which means that if a person "falls away", it means that they will either return or that they were never really a Christian in the first place. But this is a topic we shouldn't discuss here.)

A note about Hank[edit]

I visited a web page today that spoke about his growing salary with CRI (currently $250k+), the fact that his wife is now employed by CRI for a large sum of money (doing who knows what), that the financial controller, (who is still employed by CRI) dumped his wife and ran off with a younger woman, and that CRI is run by a board of only three unaccountable people (one of whom is Hank). I retract my remarks above about Hank. By my own reasoning, Hank should not be in ministry either. Discount anything you read from him. The man may write things that I might agree with, but his private life has disqualifed him from ministry.

A note on swearing[edit]

I apologise for using the expression I did. Here in Australia that particular expression is not considered swearing by anyone, including most Christians. I should have realised that I would possibly offend a brother from another culture.

Benny Hinn's Repentance[edit]

You say that Hinn repented from his 9 persons in the godhead teaching. You have to remember that if Hinn believed this teaching then he was literally believing in a different God to what actually God is. If I added another member to the godhead I would literally not believe in the real God. I see this as a lot more serious than swearing occasionally or going over the speed limit. Sin may be sin, but when a person is teaching about God, any wrong thing they teach is going to have massive implications on the body of Christ - it is far more serious than people think.

I read something about this whole dilemma recently - between acceptance of a person's past sin verses not accepting it. I have no problems with people coming to our church to worship God who have come from broken, sinful backgrounds. Jesus came as a spiritual doctor, so we should open membership of our church to anyone who declares that Jesus is lord of their life. However, when the time comes for a person to move into a leadership role, Paul makes it very very clear in 1 Timothy 3 that only men who are above reproach should be considered as elders and overseers. Their life must be godly and their beliefs must be sound.

Therefore, if this is true, then if Benny has repented of this teaching then by all means accept him into the church as a fellow believer. Pastor to him and minister to him. But there is no way that the man should ever assume the role of preacher or teacher again.

Moreover, if Benny truly believed what he was preaching at the time about the 9 persons in the godhead, then logically he could not have been a Christian at the time. Why? He didn't believe in God (as per my argument above). I am not saying that a person can only be a Christian if they are able to believe and hold to the historical teaching of the Trinity. But I am saying that a person cannot be a Christian if they hold to a contrary position. My 4 year old son cannot even begin to comprehend the Trinity, but I have told him about God as our Father, and that Jesus is his son, and that Jesus is God too. (That reminds me, I must start telling him about the Holy Spirit soon...)

Benny Hinn and the little gods[edit]

Please tell me about this teaching of Hinn's. I have read about his teaching that we are all little gods, and that has been used by opponents of his ministry. Has he repented of this as well? Elohim vs. Angellos. Where Psalms does reference to the quotation Jesus also later refers to. We are magistrates, elohim. Paul says, Know ye not that ye are saints? You shall even judge the angels? Magistrates. When we are told not to judge, we are told not to Condemn. Just like the 10 Commmandments,Thou shalt not kill. The word is Murder. I also believe that from the very beginning GOD said Let us make made in our image. You know, I try not to complicate this verse anymore than that God made Adam out of the dust. I truly appologize if any quoting or scripture isn't perfect in your eyes. I've studied a few. I know the word is in my heart. If there is a particular version you all use, please let me know. In the old covenant, we were to read line upon line then revelation, in the new covenant we are to have revelation first to solidify the lines. It's too bad this generation has lost this. The Lord said He would write His Words Himself. It is an amazing and awsome thing to have the Holy Spirit teach you the word of God.

I realize there is more to this little gods thing, but its easier

to get it when you get these scriptures first.

                             Peace, and all blessings
                                 in Jesus Name and Love,
                                     Stacie Pinn

Heresy hunters and the Pharisees[edit]

Jesus condemned the pharisees because they were adding to the word of God. They were leading people away from God because they did not preach the truth. I know that this is hard to swallow, but from my point of view, the Pharisees are people like Benny Hinn. Jesus criticised them for their legalism, but this was not a legalism based upon the Bible, but upon the teachings of men. I believe that all Christians are called to be discerning and to make noise when these pharisees do appear.

Those Christians who do make noise about false teachers do not see themselves as Heresy hunters, but as operating like the prophets in the Old Testament. These prophets, especially Elijah, were usually a lone voice of warning in amongst a world of those who disagreed with them. The fact that we are in the minority makes no difference - we are not seeking the praise of men but of God. (Mind you I also believe that nutcases do exist as well and that nobody should listen to them!)

God's Authority and Interpreting Scripture[edit]

This is a big topic and I think this is one area that you and I will come to blows over. It will probably help you to understand where I am coming from and why I assert that many Charismatics are "ingorant" of the scriptures.

I believe that the Bible is God's word. I believe that it is inerrant, authoritative and inspired (God-breathed). But I also believe something else that you might not. I believe that Scripture is the SOLE authority in matters of faith and morality. The traditions of the church and the minds of men hold no authority at all over the Christian life. This also includes personal experience. I do not believe that God gives us direct, experiential guidance - outside of Scripture - about things such as the content of our faith and how we should live our lives as Christians. For me and the millions of Christians who hold to this (Sola scriptura), the Bible is divinely sufficient - it is all we need to live the Christian life.

I was not always like this. When I was younger I did seek feelings and impresions and visions from God. Not to the same extent as a Charismatic, but that belief was there nonetheless.

It's hard for me to explain exactly what I am talking about here. So I'll give you three examples.

  1. Let's say that I have a dream where an angel of the Lord comes down from heaven and reveals to me the glories of heaven. As I stand there stunned, the angel then tells me that, in order for me to have a greater understanding of the glory of God, then I must stop eating McDonalds hamburgers. What is the result of this vision? I reject it. Jesus declared all foods clean. (Mark 7:19) Paul says that the Kingdom of Heaven is not a matter of food and drink (Romans 14:14-17).
  2. Let's say that I am heading along a freeway and notice that there is a turnoff to a small town about 2 kilometres ahead. I then have this major feeling that God wants me to take that turnoff for some reason, even though I am a long way from my destination. What should I do? Moreover, what would happen if I decided to go against this feeling? Since there is no passage in scripture that tells me that I should take this turnoff, then if I keep going I am not sinning. I am not disobeying God's commands for they are only found in scripture. Now it may be that in God's sovereign plan he wants me to go that route, in which case I will choose to go there and whatever happens may happen.
  3. (this one is a true story). I saw a wonderful graph that charts "arguments won" by the man and woman according to their relationship status. Of course it was not serious, it just tried to make a point albeit humourously. During the courtship phase, any arguments that the couple have will be won equally - that is the man wins 50% and the woman wins 50%. When the relationship enters the engagement phase, the ratio changes. The man wins only 25% of the arguments while the woman wins 75%. After they are married, the ratio drops to its maximum point. The woman wins 100% of the arguments and the man wins none. Now while I laughed at this graph, it did raise an idea in me in relation to my own wife. "How about I get myself a secret notebook that I write all our arguments down in? That way I can write them all down and give a result after twelve months, thus proving that she wins far more arguments that I do! That'll teach her!" Then suddenly something popped into my head "Love does not keep a record of wrongs" (1 Corinthians 13:5). I now know that this was rhema in action - the Holy Spirit making clear to me God's word in scripture and applying it in a direct way to my conscience. This form of guidance - the experiential that is based enitrely upon the Biblical - is something I truly accept.

When it comes to interpreting scripture, a strict rule applies - interpret scripture according to its literary, grammatical and historical context. Therefore when I read in James 2:24 that "A person is justified by works and not by faith alone", I need to read the entire letter in context, and taking in the rest of the Bible as well. By doing this I come to understand that James was saying that a faith that is without works is dead, and that there are not two contrary forms of justification in the Bible (one by works, one by faith). The Bible is not to be read like a horoscope, with each verse acting as a sort of direct summary of what God is trying to say.

Now I don't know what your particular views are but I do know for sure that there is a huge range of folks within the Charismatic movement who hold to all different sorts of ways of understanding how God guides us, what place the Bible has in this, and how to interpret the Bible for yourself. My guestimate, from your responses so far, is that you probably fall into a more "conservative" position within the Charismatic movement - you're not like those people (if they exist? I hope not) who rely on nothing but their own subjective experiences and do not open the scriptures at all.

So in conclusion (gee I feel like I've spent hours on this), this particular issue is salient (heh heh, I like my moniker) because it is my assertion that Christians who do not hold to this position open themselves up to false teaching and to be biblically ignorant.

Zoe[edit]

This is the greek word for life that you quoted from John 10:10. Please allow me to comment on your interpretation of this and why I think it is wrong.

  1. The interpretation you have given from Strongs is only half correct. Yes it does refer to physical life but, like our own English word, has multiple meanings. There are seven words for life in the New Testament: zoe, bios, psuche, biosis, agoge, anastrophe and zao. The last one is used only once (in 2 Corinthians 1:8) and it is reference to Paul "despairing of life" because of the hardships he was in. anastrophe and agoge refer to conduct and behaviour. bios and biosis are in the same vein. That leaves two: zoe and psuche.
  2. psuche almost always refers to physical life. Check out "life" in Matthew 2:20, 10:39, 20:28; John 10:11 is great because it contrasts the zoe of 10:10 to the physical psuche of verse 11; Acts 27:22; 1 John 3:16; Revelation 12:11. There are a few more but I decided to abridge it.
  3. The phrase "Eternal life" is zoe ainoin and is found in John 3:16,36. zoe by itself or in connection with ainoin is also found in Matthew 7:14, 19:29, Mark 9:43 (which compares "life" with hell), John 6:47,48, 20:31; Acts 3:15; Romans 8:2,6,10,38; Gal 6:8 (compares "life" with the "flesh"/sarx, another way of saying physical life); Ephesians 4:18 (where the gentiles are said to be alienated from the life of God - obviously not a reference to physical life); James 1:12 (where the steadfast man is promised "the crown of life" - a reference to a future blessing); 1 John 1:1-2 (where Jesus is the word of life and is "made manifest" amongst the apostles ie he became physical).; Revelation 2:7. I have given here but a fraction of the references. Virtually all of them, in context, refer to the life we have in Christ and do not denote physical life.
  4. sarx is the greek word for Flesh and pretty much refers to physical life. It is used often to speak of our worldly desires - the desires of the flesh (negative) - as well as being a mere indicator of physical life (neutral). Romans 1:3 (neutral), 4:1 (neutral), 8:1-9 (negative), 1 Cor 1:26 (half and half), Gal 1:16 (half and half); Col 1:22 (neutral); 1 Cor 15:50 (flesh and blood cannot enter the kingdom of God). Yeah there are plenty others but I'm getting tired.

If you read all the passages that I quote from above you should work out that zoe does not refer to physical life in its New Testament context. If that is true then your interpretation of John 10:10 is incorrect.

Feelings and experience do not create truth[edit]

While I do not deny that you have experienced something I question whether what you have experienced is the basis of absolute truth. The fact is that, despite being Christians, we are sinful - a Christian without sin is a Christian in glory. That being the case, any experience we have may not be valid. I'm not saying here that all experiences are not valid, but that there is a chance that they may not be. The fact that you might "feel" closer to Christ does not mean that you are closer to Christ (on an aside, God is everywhere. The fact that we might feel close or far away is of no consequence. God is as near to us as he always has been. The problem is with our perception.)

So while I do not question the fact that you have had experiences, I do question whether you have been able to interpret them correctly. When I was younger I made a lot of decisions based on what I "felt" God was saying to me, but this ended up being quite confusing.

2 Timothy 3:16-17[edit]

This actually should be in the authority bit above. But I'll put it here to finish my diatribe.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

A few things to note here:

  1. "Scripture" refers in its direct context to the Old Testament (which is what Timothy had been taught as a child). If we take 2 Peter 3:16 into context we see that Peter saw Paul's letters as being scripture. So therefore scripture refers to both OT and NT.
  2. "Breathed out by God" is theopneustos. pneuma is the word used quite often to refer to the Holy Spirit. What this indicates is that both God the Father and God the Holy Spirit were involved in the writing of scripture. I might have to argue this at a later point, but one of the things which I believe that Scripture teaches is that you cannot have a break in the relationship between the Spirit and the Word. If you want the Spirit to be at work, then read and teach the Word - which is the Bible. If you want to quench the Spirit, then stop reading or preaching from scripture.
  3. "Teaching" so people may know more about God and how to live their lives.
  4. "Reproof" "Correction" - to rebuke ungodly lives and beliefs and to change the way that people act and think so that they may please God - "Training in righteousness"
  5. "Competent", "Equipped for every good work". I like the NIV when it says "thoroughly equip". The point here is that Scripture "thoroughly equips" the Christian for their Christian life. If they are thoroughly equipped then they need nothing else for guidance.

Something I haven't done yet but will[edit]

After working on my response for some time I have realised that I haven't as yet directed any response to the actual problem of word/faith teachings and to the promise of healing. I see what I have written above as a basis of what I am saying - so I will have to come back soon to continue. In the meantime, pelase feel free to respond.

Luke 19:12-29[edit]

This is known as the parable of the ten minas. Basically a nobleman had a number of servants to whom he entrusted money. One seravnt had invested well and his mina brought back an additional ten. Another servant had also invested well, and his mina brought back three. The third servant tied up his mina in a hankerchief because he didn't like his master - his master was the sort that takes where he does not deposit, and reaps where he does not sow. The third servant is treated harshly, and his mina is taken away from him and given to the first servant. After this occurs, verse 25 records the rather cryptic "And they said to him, 'Lord he has ten minas!'.

First of, we have to understand that this is a parable. In other words, it is a story in which the principal characters and what they do are a representation of something else. So without further ado, here are the characters and who they represent:

  • The Nobleman represents God.
  • The servants represent the people of God, the church, and perhaps Israel at the time as well.
  • The rebels in the far away kingom represent the world of unbelief.

Given that these are representations, we must also, in order to be consistent in our interpretation, to work out what the "cities" are that are given as rewards to the faithful servants, and what the "Minas" are which is the currency used. They obviously do not literally refer to real cities and real money. It has to be something else.

The best way to interpret this is to look at what the nobleman says in response to the work of his servants.

  • 17 And he said to him "Well done good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities" (He then gives the authority over five cities to the next servant)
  • 22-23 He said to him (the wicked servant) "I will condemn you with your own words, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping where I did not sow? Why then did you not put my money in the bank, and at my coming I might have collected it with interest?"

(A quick not on the nobleman. Obviously the nobleman is quite a dictator and does all sorts of unfair things. Why should he then be taken as a representation of God? It is actually a technique that Jesus used in a number of parables whereby God is represented by someone who is not very nice. The point of this is not to make God look bad, but to make the listeners realise that if an evil person is right to act in such a way, then the story makes them realise that God should act in such a way too. If a servant is likely to be punished for disobeying a bad master, how much more will he be punished by disobeying God? It makes the position of the bad servant even worse, and acts as a real warning to churches and Christians who do not bear fruit.)

Notice first of all that the minas do not belong to the servants. They are taking care of them for the Nobleman. It is not their property - they are given stewardship over someone else's property. The reward too, is important. The first servant is given authority over ten cities, while the second servant is given authority over five cities. They are not given the cities as their own private property - the nobleman still owns them. Instead, their reward is to be in an honoured position of authority over the nobleman's cities. The giving of the one minas to the best servant is expected, but it is the removal of the one minas from the wicked servant that is important here.

So I would take it that the currency - mina - is representative of the Gospel in our lives. We have accepted it - we have repented before God, we wish to serve him forever and we trust in Jesus as the means by which our sins are forgiven. The interest gained on the minas is the fruit of the gospel in our lives - our godliness, our rejection of evil, our own communication of the gospel to others. Those who have these fruits in their lives are "given authority" somewhere. It says somewhere that we will judge the angels, so I think that the cities refer to our promise of eternal life.

The Word of Faith position
I am assuming that, while it is obvious that the nobleman is God and that we represent the servants, the Word/faith position probably holds to the belief that the minas (currency/riches) do not represent anything expect literal wealth. Therefore we are to use our finances to give to God's glory (ie give to the church or other forms of Christian ministry). God will respond by blessing the person with their own riches - the one who is successful will recieve one minas and, according to verse 25, will naturally get 10 more. Is this how the Word/faith movement interprets these verses?

If so then it is incorrect. It makes no sense to interpret a parable with an element of literalness. A parable is meant to be metaphorical - the characters and situations mentioned have a real-world representation. Therefore, if we take the nobleman to represent God and the servants to represent us, it makes no sense to not find a representation for the minas or the cities and assume that they remain literally money and wealth. By not allowing the minas or cities to be represented as something else, the interpretation of the passage falls apart.

Verse 25 is problematic. "Lord he (the good servant) has ten minas!" could either be an exclamation, a statement of present fact or even a complaint. These servants may simply be pointing out to the nobleman that the man who has ten minas is deserving of the one minas reward. In this case, the verse could possibly mean "Yes we agree that he should get the one minas reward - after all, he was the one who gained for you ten minas!". It could also mean that when he gets the one minas, suddenly ten appear (in which case it is the nobleman's surprise gift - a supernatural "appearance" of ten minas does not fit in with the non-supernatural storyline). It may also be a complaint - that they servants thought it was unfair. This last one is the least likely. the surprise appearance of ten minas is probably the most likely, in which case we could assume that if we live godly lives, God will continue to bless us with godly lives (and not anything necessarily physical).

Keeping it in context
The passage is immediately preceded by the story of Zacchaeus. This is a man who promises to use any dishonest gain he has made to give back to those he has cheated. Jesus' response to this action is to say "Today salvation has come to this house". There is no mention at all, no mention whatsoever, of Zacchaeus being promised even more worldly wealth and physical health for his godly actions. The only thing that Jesus speaks of is salvation.

The passage immediately proceding the parable is the triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Apart from anything else the passage means, notice that him riding on a donkey is not the ancient equivalent of driving around in a Lexus - for a king to ride a donkey would be like the Presidential motorcade consisting of one VW "beetle". It refers to humility in contrast to overt wealth.

Luke 6:38[edit]

(37) Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; (38) give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put in your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.

This passage could be interpreted on its own, but it is best to interpret it in light of Matthew 7:1-5 (which is Matthew's record of the same event) and Romans 14:13.

Essentially the passage is a warning against make quick and especially hypocritical judgements against people. Matthew speaks about the speck in your brother's eye and the log in your own.

Unfortunately this passage in Luke and Matthew is used by many Christians to argue that people should not judge others. This is actually an incorrect interpretation. What Jesus is actually saying is that the same yardstick you use to judge another person will be used on you. Jesus is aiming at hypocrisy here.

If I see a Christian involved in an adulterous affair, I will confront him about it, rebuke him, and command him in the name of the Lord to repent of his sin. If, however, I too am involved in an adulterous affair as well, then there is no way at all that I could do this.

This is essentially what these two verses in Luke 6 are about. God is fair and he when it comes to justice, he does not stand for hypocrisy.

Word/Faith interpretation
I'm assuming that the phrases "Good measure, pressed down. shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you." Taken totally out of their context, these verses sound like they could support word/faith teaching because it seems to point out that people will "get" in measure to what they "give" - God will bless Christians with wealth and health if they use their own finances for God.

This is not what the passage is saying. It has been taken out of context. The passage talks about judging, condemning and forgiving people - it has nothing to do with God promising us wealth.

I believe that while we can infer different teachings from one passage, I do not believe that God is speaking a completely different message through the same text. God has written the Bible for us to read - but we are to read it in the way that he has given it to us. We can't take verses out of context, picking and choosing individual verses, and expect God to speak through the mess we've made.

3 John 1:2[edit]

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. (3) For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in truth.

What we have here is the opening line of the Apostle John's letter to a man named Gaius and his church.

In his opening, John naturally prays for the readers' health. Notice that he prays for their physical health, but then notes that their spiritual health "goes well".

All this is is a description of what John is doing - he is praying for their health. He makes no causal link at all between their spiritual health and physical health, as though by being spiritually healthy they are therefore physically healthy. No. He notes their spiritual strength (which is recorded as well in verse 3), and asks God to keep them physically healthy as well.

The fact that John prays this does not mean that he expects them to be totally healthy. All he's doing is asking God to keep them healthy. He makes no further comment at all about this.

What we have here is a description of John's praying for their health. It is not a prescription for us to follow to assume that our prayers for health will be answered.

Isaiah 53:5[edit]

(5) But he was wounded for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace;
and with his stripes we are healed.
(6) All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned everyone to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

These are some of the most wonderful verses that can be found in the Old Testament. They are a prophecy of what was to come - that Jesus Christ would take upon himself the punishment that our sins deserve, and by this sacrifice we are forgiven.

Notice that Isaiah has written in a typically poetic structure. If we look at the first two phrases in verse 5 we see that they end with the words "transgressions" and "iniquities". OT poets quite often used this technique to add to what they are saying. Transgression is the hebrew word pesha while iniquity is the word avon. The former refers to sins done deliberately to defy God while the latter deals with sins that are the result of lack of control (and probably directed towards others). The fact is that both forms of sin are dealt with by Christ. (see Sin#Jewish_views_of_sin)

The next two phrases are important too - especially in light of word/faith teaching. "brought us peace" and "healed" fit together in the same poetic structure outlined above. They are both related, too, to the sins mentioned:

  • The intentional sins against God have made him angry - but now we are at peace with him.
  • The sins that brought about by lack of control against others - they are now in the process of being healed.

There is also the importance of a reverse comparison between "stripes" and "healed". chaburah (stripes) refers to physical bruising, bandages or scars, while rapha refers to be, or to become, physically healed. Our healing therefore comes via Christ's suffering.

Word/Faith Issues
I take it that the word/faith movement has used this verse as backup for their idea that Christ's death upon the cross will bring us physical healing.

The question arises whether Isaiah was actually referring to physical healing here. While the word rapha literally does mean healing, given that Isaiah was writing poetically at the time gives enough evidence that this meant a form of spiritual healing rather than a physical one. The fact is that verses 6-12 (the verses immediately proceeding verse 5) speak exclusively about how his physical death brings us forgiveness and righteousness. The only time a possible physical healing is spoken of is at the end of verse 5. Given the total lack of detail given by Isaiah for our supposed new physical bodies that have been healed through the Messiah, it is my assertion that the only possible interpretation is that our "healing" is synonymous with forgiveness and a new spiritual life.

But even if the phrase was intended to mean physical healing, there is no part in the immediate context of the verse that suggests that the healthy physical state will exist previous to glory. It can be argued that, yes, 1 Corinthians 15 promises us a new body but that occurs ONLY when Christ has returned, the world has been judged, and we live in the new heavens and the new earth. A totally healthy and sickness-free body BEFORE this time is not spoken of here in Isaiah (and, as I would naturally argue, nowhere else in the Bible).

John 15:11[edit]

(9) As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. (10) If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father commandments and abide in his love. (11) These things I have spoken to you , that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full

John mentions that Christ has given us joy - chara. It might be inferred from this verse, from a word/faith persepctive, that the Christian life should be one of neverending joy and happiness.

The word joy here does not denote a continual state of bliss. One way to prove this is to examine the opposite of joy - sorrow.

lupe is one of the common NT words for sorrow.

  • Matthew 26:37 Jesus, before entering Gethsemane, is full of sorrow.
  • Romans 9:2 Paul has great sorrow and unceasing anguish for the Jews.
  • 2 Corinthians 2:2 Paul causes pain/sorrow for the Corinthians because of his letter.
  • 2 Corinthians 7:10 Godly sorrow produces repentance and salvation.
  • Philippians 2:27 God saves Epaphroditus from death, thus saving Paul much Sorrow.

Another word is odune, which means pain or consuming grief

  • Acts 20:38 The Epehsian elders are in great emotional pain because they will never see the Apostle Paul again.

What we see here from these references is that sorrow and grief are a normal part of the Christian life. We have joy and sorrow at the same time. Only when we enter the new Heavens and the New earth (Revelation 21.1-4) will our lives be one of complete joy and no sorrow.

2 Cor. 7:13[edit]

same argument as above

James 5:13-16[edit]

stay tuned...

When All Is Said and Done.[edit]

I apologize for the delay in writing. I have been milling over in my spirit what the Lord would have me to say, and I feel now is the time to respond. My main objective in this entry is to explain my stance, that will not change, for it cannot...I feel to do so would reject what is clearly laid out in God's Supreme Word -- the Bible, as well as what experience I have had in my life that can have no other explanation but that God is a good God and He wants the best for His children down here on earth and in the life to come. I know you believe I have been "confused" by "cultic heresies", but at close examination, that is not Scriptural nor logical. For centuries, the Church Universal has believed that a person is saved if they embrace with all their heart the doctrines laid out in the Apostle's Creed. If someone does not believe this, they are not saved, and are a heretic. However, I am a Charismatic Evangelical Born-Again Believer, I embrace the Apostle's Creed wholeheartedly. When I went from a non-Charismatic Evangelical church to the church I attend today, those beliefs did not change, nor did my church encourage me to change them. Instead, my church in their doctrinal statement (a RHEMA affiliated church), states that they embrace the Apostle's Creed as orthodox Christian doctrine. Since I have explained that the Apostle's Creed has been considered the orthodox doctrinal statement that unites all believers, if someone is not a believer, it is because they have a different stance on one of the points of the Apostle's Creed. The mainstream Charismatic sector of the Body of Christ embraces the Apostle's Creed wholeheartedly. The Apostle's Creed makes no mention of the Charismata as being necessary for salvation, therefore, we can safely assume that someone's salvation does not rest on whether or not they believe in the Gifts of the Spirit. The doctrines about the Charismata are not doctrines "unto death". What do I mean by this? What I mean by this is that our salvation or damnation does not rest on these doctrines. Our salvation rests no more on the doctrines about the Gifts than it does on tithing or alcohol consumption (which I believe is not something a believer should participate in). If someone believes tithing is optional, they aren't going to go to hell (even though I believe it is not optional). If someone believes it is OK to drink alcohol moderately, they are not going to hell (even though I believe it is not OK). In the same way, if someone believes the Gifts and healing are for today, they are not going to go to hell. It does not challenge the message of the Gospel in any way, but rather, uplifts it.
I also want to mention that through my research, I encountered an excellent article linked from this page. This article (linked here) discusses how during the Great Awakening here in the U.S., the teaching of people now embraced as great ministers (such as Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield) was considered heresy. The teachings and services held by these ministers were not much different than those of Charismatic Evangelical churches and ministries today. I encourage you to read this article, it is an eye-opener. One of the things mentioned in this article was how in Acts 5, the Sanhedrin was thinking about killing the apostles who were in Jerusalem because they were preaching "heresy". However, Gamaliel, a rabbi, said the following to the Sanhedrin...
Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God. -Acts 5:38-39
So I submit to you...quit trying to save Charismatic Believers from "heresy". If Charismatic doctrine is of human origin, it will fail. HOWEVER, if it is the move of God, you will not be able to stop it...you will only be fighting God's work on the earth. Something to consider...
I feel, at this point, that to continue in this discussion is a fruitless distraction...for I feel that you will never accept that Charismatic doctrine is not dangerous "heresy", and I have already established that you cannot dissuade me from what I believe...what I KNOW...is sound doctrine. I encourage you to make a concerted effort to study Charismatic teachings directly, not through the eyes of the critics, but from the source itself...the books, sermons, TV programs, etc. produced and presented by Believers who hold to Charismatic doctrines. Watch Benny Hinn...watch Richard Roberts...read Kenneth Hagin, and I believe you will begin to perceive that we have more in common than we realize!
Finally, I want to say to you that you can feel free to respond to this entry...NOT TO CONTINUE THE DEBATE, however. I have enjoyed talking with you...you seem like you have a very likeable personality. I want to end with this statement...
When all is said and done, the only thing that matters is not whether we spoke in tongues or not. The only thing that matters is that we were obedient...that we did everything we could to reach as many people as possible with the message of the Gospel, the message about Jesus.
GOD BLESS YOU!!

God bless you too brother[edit]

I have actually enjoyed the time spent answering your points above - especially in relation to the Bible verses you mention. I would actually appreciate it if you read some of my examinations into those important texts. I'm obviously hoping that you will do your own research and find out for yourself that what I have said is actually true and Biblical... But, I know that at this stage you are not wishing to debate any more, and I will respect that. I know what it is like to be debated "at" by someone when I was not willing to discuss issues so that is fine.

I would actually like to ask two favours of you.

  1. I would really appreciate it if you could tell me a bit about yourself. Where you live (I assume USA), age, highlights of life and so on. Obviously you can tell a bit about myself on my own userpage, but I am happy to divulge more info.
  2. I would really like to hear from yourself, articulated in your words, about word/faith belief. What this would involve would simply be you explaining more about why you see the teaching as important and so on. In response, I would ask you detailed, "neutral" questions and not seek to challenge you or debate with you. Eventually I would like to ask your opinions of texts that do not seem to back up word/faith belief, but that does not have to happen if you do not desire it to. Why am I making this request? I think it is important to listen to adherents of teaching that I may not agree with in a respectful manner, hoping to gain more insight into it. I'm willing to put my own beliefs on hold if they do not correspond with the teaching of the Bible - the point being that God is the one who determines what we believe. You are the first person I have spoken to who holds to word/faith theology. I wish to know more.

--One Salient Oversight 07:38, 3 Feb 2005 (UTC)

My Stance on Charismatic Doctrines[edit]

I apologize for my delay in writing. I have been, once again, quite busy. I'll tell you about myself...
My name is Ben and I am from upstate New York. My father is a travelling minister who teaches on Biblical stewardship and God's plan for how to handle our money. He is affiliated with Crown Financial Ministries. This is a non-denomonational Christian ministry that is dedicated to teaching people God's financial principles. It is the ministry that was created as a result of the merger between Larry Burkett's ministry "Christian Financial Concepts" and Howard Dayton's ministry "Crown Ministries". Larry Burkett passed away in 2003 and Howard Dayton is currently the CEO of the ministry. I am 18 years old and am currently enrolled at Oral Roberts University in the second semester of my freshman year. My major is Mass Media Communications with a concentration in Multimedia Production. I want to add in here that you should not think that due to the fact that I am an ORU student, I am not credible. Rather, it is the opposite. I sit under the teaching ministry here at ORU 5 days a week. Also, while in Tulsa, I attend RHEMA Bible Church. Take these facts as adding to my credibility, because you can't be in a better position to know any more about these ministries than the position I am in...unless you work for the ministries in some way. I also want to add that I am not affiliated with ORU in any way except for being a student and I am not affiliated with RHEMA in any way except for attending RHEMA Bible Church.
Now on to your second point...
Word of Faith (or Charismatic Evangelical) doctrine is something that is most often misunderstood. The phrase "Word of Faith" referrs to the passage in Romans 10:8. Many believe that the phrase "word of faith" is talking about what people say is "blab it and grab it". That is not what we mean by "word of faith". Rather, the term referrs to the preaching of God's Word..."the Word of Faith, which we preach", as it says in Romans 10:8. We believe that the only way to receive salvation from eternal damnation is to receive Christ as your personal Savior. How do you do this? As it says in Romans 10:9-10...
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
As you can see, to receive the gift of salvation, you must believe in your heart and confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus. This is a major basis for Word of Faith theology. To go on, the Bible says that "the just shall live by faith" (Rom. 1:17). It also says in Mark 11:22-23...
"And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith."
In context, this was when Jesus spoke to the fig tree and said that it would never bear fruit again. He was saying in this passage..."have faith in God." He was speaking about the fact that whatever difficulty you are facing, if you stand on the promises of God, written in His Word, and confess in faith to God, your belief of His Word, He will turn your circumstances around for good. This does not mean that if you want a Jaguar XJS, if you say "God, I believe I am getting a Jaguar XJS, in Jesus Name", you will get one. This is NOT Word of Faith doctrine!! Rather, a more Biblical thing to pray for is "Father, I don't have a car. I need a car to be able to work and live. I am believing that you will provide a way for me to get a car, in Jesus Name!" You leave the rest in God's hands, if He provides a 1995 Honda for you, that's OK. As you prove you are a good steward with a little, He will bless you with more. We also believe that God's blessings will be hindered if you do not faithfully tithe. We believe that in the Atonement, the Blood of Jesus was shed for our sins and our salvation. We also believe that health and healing were provided through His beaten body. We also believe that the Blood of Jesus provides delieverance from the attacks of satan. Finally, I want to discuss our belief in the Gifts of the Spirit. We believe they are for today, because, while the Word of God is inerrant and inspired, it cannot be "the perfect" described in I Cor. 13. Why? Because we do not "know fully as we are known". While the Word of God is His revealed Will, because of our mortal, sinful nature, we cannot understand everything written in it. However, when we reach Heaven, we will no longer need the Gifts because we will, then, "know fully as we are known". We also believe that any word of prophecy, etc. received in prayer MUST line up with what the Word of God says, or it is a true word. I tried to be as concise as possible because I have a small window of free time right now, before I go to class, and I wanted to reply to you now so I could be sure to remember!

Thank you so much for replying[edit]

I appreciate the time you have spent so far and that you have chosen to respond. Make sure you don't miss any classes!

I'm neutral on ORU[edit]

Here in Australia, Evangelical and Charismatic Christians only represent about 5% of the total population. Like America, we have conservative politics too but many in Conservative politics are not necessarily Christian. There is a growing trend towards a "religious right" that is similar to the American model, but it is still very much in its infancy. I'm saying all this because I have only learned about ORU and similar "Big" things that American Evangelicals have done via reading and the internet. Moreover, I find that to judge a person as credible or not simply because of their choice of college is a bit silly - I am talking to you, not a "Clone" from ORU.

You attend RHEMA Bible church. Do you go to any Bible studies or prayer meetings during the week? If so do you focus mainly on word/faith theology or is it broader?

Romans 10:8-10[edit]

rhema and pistis - Word and Faith. I would see this as Paul and others preaching the Gospel. The Gospel being "The word of faith" - that we are saved by faith. I'm fairly sure that this is what you're talking about here? If so we probably have no disagreements at this specific point.

Mark 11:20-26 and its implications[edit]

I won't attempt to exegete this text or publically disagree and do that stuff that I told you I wouldn't! I need to know something important however. Can you comment on the following assumptions that I am making:

  1. Given that this passage has been truthfully understood by those in the Word of Faith movement, it would seem that importance is placed not so much upon faith but also lack of doubt.
  2. If the person prays but is unable to gain what he/she asks for then is the reason because of their lack of faith (ie doubt?).
  3. Going along a bit further in terms of theological implications, is God somehow unable to execute his plans for us if we do not act in a certain way? This is a bit of the Arminian vs. Calvinist, freedom vs. determinism position.
  4. What do you think of the position that argues that "It is not the strength of our faith that is important, but whom our faith is in"?

(I've had to remove some questions here because I was getting too covertly argumentative!!)

Being a Steward[edit]

As you prove you are a good steward with a little, He will bless you with more. We also believe that God's blessings will be hindered if you do not faithfully tithe. We believe that in the Atonement, the Blood of Jesus was shed for our sins and our salvation. We also believe that health and healing were provided through His beaten body. We also believe that the Blood of Jesus provides delieverance from the attacks of satan

  • There seems to be a logical progression here, a sort of "If... then..." argument. IF you are a steward with little THEN God will bless you with more. IF you tithe your income THEN God will bless you more. Would this be an accurate description?
  • On the basis of what Jesus did on the cross you believe that health and healing are now currently available. Why is it then that Christians get sick and die? (This is not an angry question but an honest query). And if your answer is that they doubted and did not have perfect faith, then why is such a belief also not commensurate with salvation? I'm sorry if I am seeming covertly polemical here so feel free to not answer, but here goes. If Christ's death provides us with both Spiritual health (eternal life) and physical health... and if physical health cannot be procured because of a person's doubts and lack of obedience... then is it also true that a person's Spiritual health relies upon the same things? And if a person's Spiritual health is reliant upon their strength of faith and their obedience, then wouldn't that be considered justification by works? Again feel free to not answer this because this is the problem that is going around my head. Why would God grant us eternal life with no strings attached, but only grant us a better physical life based upon our love and obedience?

Gifts of the Spirit[edit]

I agree with most commentators that 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 CAN'T be used to justify cessationism. I am a cessationist but that is based upon some logical assumptions based upon other Bible passages. But a question about prophecy and tongues:

  • Do you see the role of prophet, or of modern day prophecy, in line with what is seen in the Old Testament? One of the criticisms of people like Benny Hinn was that he got prophecy wrong and that Deuteronomy 18:15-22 applies to him. I know that theologians like Wayne Grudem argue that NT prophecy is different and that occasionally getting things wrong is not really a problem. What is your position on this?
  • Do you hold the classic Pentecostal position of second Baptism as being essential for continuing Christian growth, and that Tongues should always follow such a Baptism? Morevoer, what is your position on the argument that Tongues is actually the least of all spiritual gifts? Additionally, what is your position on the argument that Tongues was actually another human language and not ecstatic speech? (Geez I'm rude. How's that for a veiled attempt at an argument? Again, feel free not to answer. I will not try to convince you of my position, but I would like you thoughts on those who do hold to my position)

Guts[edit]

Again, thanks Ben. It takes guts to keep in dialogue with someone whom you have major disagreements with. You have my respect. One Salient Oversight 03:40, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)

The Travelling salesman anecdote[edit]

If you worked for a corporation as a travelling salesman, and they gave you a car to use to be about their business. Let's say that this car was working on and off. How would you be expected to focus on going to where your company needs you to go? What about if they refused to fix the car and also refused to pay you enough to fix it yourself? What would happen...you would have a great amount of trouble getting the job done. Why? Your focus would be on other things, such as patching your car up so it would work and scrounging up resources to live by. However, what about your customers? What would they think of your company? What would their response be when you said, "my company is trying to get me to trust them, so I can do the job they want me to do." They'd laugh! They'd say, "buddy, you need a new job!"

Compare this story to the following quote from a fortune 500 reporter:

Needless to say, these diagnostic tools vary with the company. You don't analyze a new entrepreneurial company the way you do a Fortune 500 giant. One of the tools I'm best known for is Folding Table Theory of Start-Ups. It says that when you walk into a new entrepreneurial company and you see a nice lobby and expensive office furniture, that company has its priorities screwed up -- either it is more interested in comfort than success or it is over-capitalized and lazy -- and it will never make it. By comparison, when you see the start-up team working at folding tables or old army surplus desks, you know that it is properly focused both on getting the job done and financial discipline -- and has a good chance of being a winner. That's what I saw at the beginning of eBay (and Siebel, Tivo, Electronic Arts, Atari and a host of other great companies) and it's telling that Jeff Skoll kept that table near him during his entire tenure at the company. [1]

RESPONSE[edit]

I don't see any support for being poor and unhealthy in this report. I never said that we need Cadillacs and 2 million dollar homes. In fact, I said the opposite. My point was that if a "company" is not meeting the needs that need to be met so that you can do your job, it is hindering your ability to complete your mission. The hard facts are that if you are deep in debt with all sorts of sickness and bills piling up while dealing with depression, you cannot be an effective witness for Christ. YOU DO NOT NEED TO HAVE LUXURIES TO SERVE GOD! THIS IS NOT WORD OF FAITH DOCTRINE! However, your true needs have to be met for you to be FREE TO SERVE!

Response to Previous Entry.[edit]

Hi...I apologize for my delay...anyway, I will jump in and start my reply, I will try to organize it as logically as possible...

"I'm neutral on ORU" - RESPONSE[edit]

I appreciate the fact that you have a respect for the fact that I am an ORU student and not a "clone"...I just made that comment because I know that there are people out there who would tune me out because of that fact.

I do go to RHEMA for Sunday church service, as well as what is called "School of the Bible" (Sunday school). I'll clarify here that Word of Faith theology is not just the charismata and faith, but is also, first and foremost, those doctrines laid out in the Apostle's Creed. That being stated, the specific differences that are found in Charismatic Evangelical doctrine are not focused on solely. They desire to preach the whole counsel of God's Word. Recently, my Sunday school teacher has taught on things such as humility, walking in the Spirit as opposed to walking in carnality, being a person of your word, etc.

A Brief Comment[edit]

Several times in your response, you have used the expression "The Word of Faith Movement". I believe it is erroneous to refer to it as a "movement". It is no more legitimate to say the "Word of Faith Movement" than it is to say the "Presbyterian Movement" or the "Baptist Movement". All the term "Word of Faith" referrs to is those churches that are a part of the RHEMA Ministerial Association International (RMAI). This is NOT a denomination, but an affiliation...mainly consisting of pastors who have graduated from RHEMA Bible Training Center. I am not being a "nitpicker", I believe it is an important clarification.

"Romans 10:8-10" - RESPONSE[edit]

Yes...we do agree.

"Mark 11:20-26 and its implications" - RESPONSE[edit]

"Given that this passage has been truthfully understood by those in the Word of Faith movement, it would seem that importance is placed not so much upon faith but also lack of doubt."

Saying that someone is standing in faith and saying that someone is lacking doubt is virtually the same thing. Let me interject here that what it says in Romans 12:3...
For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one the measure of faith. (KJV)

So we can see that it is not a matter of having faith, but using the faith God has given us...faith as a mustard seed (Matt. 17:20). If you want me to expound, please let me know!

"If the person prays but is unable to gain what he/she asks for then is the reason because of their lack of faith (ie doubt?)."

This kind of ties in with what I said above, but goes a little deeper. The point in this case is when do you stop believing? When do you stop standing on God's promises? The answer -- NEVER! We cannot give God a timetable. Now if there is a situation such as praying and believing for the ability to pay a debt that has a deadline, that is different. In this case, our need is time-sensitive, and this is part of our prayer. However, in general, we don't ever resign to a circumstance just because our need hasn't been met in our timetable. That is limiting the sovereignty of God...because He has His own timing.

"Going along a bit further in terms of theological implications, is God somehow unable to execute his plans for us if we do not act in a certain way? This is a bit of the Arminian vs. Calvinist, freedom vs. determinism position."

In general, Charismatic Evangelicals believe in predestination by foreknowledge. I won't delve to deep, because it would take too much time. However, like salvation, ALL the promises of God are available to us. We just have to reach out and accept them. Just like all we have to do to be saved is reach out and accept the free gift of salvation, the same applies with other things. Yes...Charismatic doctrine does not necessarily include Calvinistic teachings such as predestination and limited atonement.

"What do you think of the position that argues that "It is not the strength of our faith that is important, but whom our faith is in"?"

Like I said above...Romans 12:3 says that God has given to each one the measure of faith. So it is a matter of using the faith of God. I like how Young's Literal Translation translates Mark 11:22...
"And Jesus answering saith to them, `Have faith of God;"
So, you can see that our faith for God's provisions comes from God Himself...like Rom. 10:17 says...
"So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. " (NKJ)
And yes, our faith cannot be in faith, our faith must be in God and His ability to do what He promised.

Being a Steward - RESPONSE[edit]

"There seems to be a logical progression here, a sort of "If... then..." argument. IF you are a steward with little THEN God will bless you with more. IF you tithe your income THEN God will bless you more. Would this be an accurate description?"

Yes, God requires that we are good stewards. Let me say here that in the matter of tithing and giving...God doesn't need our money, He needs our obedience. Giving to God is a matter of obedience. Also, Luke 16:11 says...
"Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?" (NKJ)
We must be faithful stewards of what God has given us. EVERYTHING belongs to God, we are only managers of what God owns. Also, Crown Financial Ministries has some excellent resources on Biblical stewardship on their website.

"On the basis of what Jesus did on the cross you believe that health and healing are now currently available. Why is it then that Christians get sick and die? (This is not an angry question but an honest query). And if your answer is that they doubted and did not have perfect faith, then why is such a belief also not commensurate with salvation? I'm sorry if I am seeming covertly polemical here so feel free to not answer, but here goes. If Christ's death provides us with both Spiritual health (eternal life) and physical health... and if physical health cannot be procured because of a person's doubts and lack of obedience... then is it also true that a person's Spiritual health relies upon the same things? And if a person's Spiritual health is reliant upon their strength of faith and their obedience, then wouldn't that be considered justification by works? Again feel free to not answer this because this is the problem that is going around my head. Why would God grant us eternal life with no strings attached, but only grant us a better physical life based upon our love and obedience?"

"Why is it that Christians get sick and die?": This is because many people who become ill either don't know God's promises of healing, don't believe God heals, don't believe God always heals, or they simply don't exercise their faith in God for healing. However, this does not mean that Christians shouldn't die. The Bible is clear on this issue (Heb. 9:27). God's plan is for His people to live a full life and be called home...not through sickness...God's plan is simply for the Believer, at the end of their life, to die of old age. God wants us to have long life (Ps. 91:16). I want to mention here that Kenneth Hagin said his entire life that when he died he would eat a meal with his wife, then die. Well, the day he died, he was eating breakfast one morning with his wife, looked at her and smiled, then put his head down. One thing that is important to remember is that once a person calls on the Name of Jesus and believes on Him for salvation, their spirit is sealed until the day of redemtion (2 Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:13 & 4:30). Our physical bodies our still corrupted. It is not a matter of "working" to receive physical healing...it is as easy to be healed as it is to be saved...same process. I'm certain you would agree to the fact that to receive salvation, or, spiritual healing, you must confess your faith in Christ's atoning sacrifice and make Him Lord of your life. In the same way, in order to receive physical healing, you simply have to say "Thank you Jesus! I believe that you have provided physical healing for me and I believe that I am healed!"...same as when you are born again, saying "Jesus, I believe you died to redeem me from Hell and give me eternal Life. I thank you for saving me!" The reason that we must be obedient in order to receive physical healing is because the Bible teaches that disobedience can bring on sickness. For example, James 5:16 (NKJ)...
"Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much."
This one example where Scripture ties repentance in with healing. Healing is one of the blessings of God...one of the promises of God. However, God will not bless disobedience. You can't rebell against God and stand in faith for His promises at the same time. Now, don't get me wrong, I do not believe that you can lose your salvation. Physical healing is not our salvation, it is a blessing and benefit of our salvation.

Gifts of the Spirit - RESPONSE[edit]

"Do you see the role of prophet, or of modern day prophecy, in line with what is seen in the Old Testament? One of the criticisms of people like Benny Hinn was that he got prophecy wrong and that Deuteronomy 18:15-22 applies to him. I know that theologians like Wayne Grudem argue that NT prophecy is different and that occasionally getting things wrong is not really a problem. What is your position on this?"

We have to look at the purpose of prophecy in the OT vs. the role of prophecy in the NT. In the OT, prophets were the people through which God's Word came. They were often a sole voice in the midst of the people. The NT is clear that prophecy is no longer the method through which God's Will is conveyed. The role of prophecy in the NT is to edify believers (1 Cor. 14:3-5). It is to encourage believers on in the faith. It cannot go against the Scriptures. However, we all are fallen, imperfect men. People through which the gift of prophecy operate will not always be right. This is impossible due to the fallen nature of man. NT prophecy must always be viewed in light of what the Bible says.

"Do you hold the classic Pentecostal position of second Baptism as being essential for continuing Christian growth, and that Tongues should always follow such a Baptism? Morevoer, what is your position on the argument that Tongues is actually the least of all spiritual gifts? Additionally, what is your position on the argument that Tongues was actually another human language and not ecstatic speech? (Geez I'm rude. How's that for a veiled attempt at an argument? Again, feel free not to answer. I will not try to convince you of my position, but I would like you thoughts on those who do hold to my position)"

It was interesting this week...one of the classes we are required to take is called "Charismatic Life and the Healing Ministry". This course gives an overview of Charismatic doctrine and the role of healing evangelism in the Church. It is taught by President Richard Roberts (for ease, I will refer to him as RR). This weeks lecture was on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Let me clarify what this means. One of the things RR said in his lecture was that many fellow believers have misconceptions of what we believe as Charismatic Evangelicals due to the fact that we have often, unfortunately, used poor semantics. For example, many Charismatics have used the phrase "When did you get the Holy Ghost?" RR's response to this was that we "got the Holy Ghost" at the time when we were born again. Many mean by saying this "when did you receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit". Now, to answer your question, yes...I believe there is a baptism of the Holy Spirit as well as water baptism. Don't get me wrong...THE HOLY SPIRIT COMES AND DWELLS IN YOU WHEN YOU BELIEVE ON CHRIST AS SAVIOR AND LORD. However, by looking at Scripture, we can see that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the baptism of the Holy Spirit are two seperate things. In John 20:21-22 (NKJ), it says...
"So Jesus said to them again, "Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you." And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit."

This speaks of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which every believer receives when they are born again. However, Jesus later speaks of a "baptism" of the Holy Spirit and power. In Acts 1:5 & 8 (NKJ), it says...

"for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now...But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

This speaks of something that is going to happen in the future . We can see this occurance at Pentecost. Let me also say that receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit is not required for salvation. It is a matter of choice. That power is available to every believer...all the baptism of the Holy Spirit is is "turning on the light switch", so to speak. I do also believe that the initial evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues. Let me clarify that there is a difference between our "devotional prayer language" and the gift of tongues. Our prayer language is not a human language. This is not possible due to what 1 Cor. 14:2 (NKJ) says...

"For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries."

This disproves that theory about devotional tongues being a human language. It also says in 1 Cor. 14:4 (NKJ) that "he who speaks in a tongue edifies himself." This is speaking of devotional tongues. HOWEVER, the gift of tongues is different. This MUST operate in tandem with the gift of interpretation of tongues for the church to be edified. THIS is also the case where someone is given the ability by God to speak a language they have not learned. About tongues being "the least of the spiritual gifts". First of all, in 1 Cor. 13, Paul is not belittling tongues. What he is saying is that if you do not have love, then your spiritual giftings are worthless. We must understand that love is not a spiritual gift, it is a virtue. Also, it also says in 1 Cor. 14:5 that Paul wished the Corinthians all spoke with tongues...but more than that, he wished that they prophesied. Why? Because prophecy edifies the entire church while tongues only edifies the individual believer. So, in essence, Paul was saying that while it is important to speak in tongues, prophecy's role is important in the corporate setting for the edification of the entire assembly.

Well, I hope I was clear enough. It is getting late and I am getting tired, so if I became less and less clear as my response progressed, that is why. Anyway, I hope this is helpful...God bless...Ben.

The Flu[edit]

This is interesting - I now have a very bad case of the flu[edit]

It is 1.00am in the Morning and me, my wife and son all have bad flu. (erased after realising it was flaming) One Salient Oversight 14:03, 12 Feb 2005 (UTC)

What do you think of this?[edit]

God wants to bless you, but can't unless you do your part. CAN't CAN'T CAN'T (From a website I visited where the writer was critical of Joel Osteen)

RESPONSE[edit]

I will pray for you and your family to have a quick recovery! Also...

"God wants to bless you, but can't unless you do your part. CAN't CAN'T CAN'T (From a website I visited where the writer was critical of Joel Osteen)"
This is true. What he is saying here is that God requires us to put our faith and trust in Him before He will move on our behalf. This isn't isolated to Charismatic Evangelical doctrine...a large part of the non-Charismatic/non-Calvinist (ie. Baptist) sector of the Church believes this to be the case in salvation. When I attended a non-Charismatic Baptist church and went to a non-Charismatic Evangelical High School, I was taught that for someone to be saved, they must accept Christ by faith. God wants to save them, but they must accept His free gift. We can see this issue in Matt. 13:58 (NKJ) where Jesus leaves Nazareth and it says...
"Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief."
As we can see, He didn't perform mighty works as a result of unbelief.

Also, in Matt. 17 (NKJ) it tells of an incident where the disciples could not deliver a man's son. The disciples ask why they could not do this, and in verse 20, Jesus says...

"...Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you."
The point here is that Joel Osteen was not saying that we are more powerful than God, or that God is bounded by human beings. NO! What he was saying was that God has set up spiritual laws, and we must obey Him in order to receive His blessings. How do we obey Him? By praying in faith and showing God that we trust Him.

Theological Questions for the ORU student[edit]

Here are some deep questions that I would love you to answer. They aren't all specifically to do with our discussion, but they should come in handy at some point.

1. At what point does the Holy Spirit enter into a person and Spiritually Regenerate them?

a) A person has to repent of their sins and place their faith in Christ before the Holy Spirit can enter into them.
b) A person's repentance and faith occurs simultaneously with, and in conjunction with, the Holy Spirit entering into them.
c) A person cannot repent of their sins or place their faith in Christ unless they have first been regenerated by the Holy Spirit.

2. When God blesses us (with salvation, health and so on), what is the most accurate description of what is going on?

a) God will give us his blessings regardless of whether we want them or not.
b) God will give us his blessings, but only when we appropriate them by our faith.

3. God and the future. Which do you think is the most accurate description?

a) God knows the past, present and future perfectly, but does not cause everything to happen.
b) God knows the past, present and future perfectly, and has caused everything to happen.
c) God knows the past and present perfectly, but cannot know the future.

4. Jesus' death on the cross. Which is the most accurate description?

a) By dying on the cross, Jesus shows us how we should live our lives, in total faith and obedience to God.
b) When Jesus died on the cross, he took upon himself the punishment that our sins deserved, in order to satisfy God's desire for justice.
c) When Jesus died on the cross, God paid the price that was owed to Satan.

5. Christians and sin. Which is the most accurate description?

a) When a Christian sins, they no longer have the assurance of salvation - unless they repent and trust in Christ again.
b) When a Christian sins, they are still saved - regardless of whether they repent of what they have done.

6. More on sin.

a) Sin is all the bad things we do against God.
b) Sin is a condition that everyone has, which causes us to do bad things.

7. Perfection and Sanctification.

a) A Christian will continue to struggle with sin for his/her entire life and only stop when he/she dies or Jesus returns.
b) A Christian should expect that a sinless life after salvation is not only possible, but an inevitable result of the Spirit's work in their life.


How much faith is required?[edit]

Okay - I'm beginning to understand your POV. Here are some questions about faith:

1. How much faith does a person need before they can be assured of their salvation? Obviously there are people out there with small amounts of faith and large amounts of faith. How confident can the individual be that their faith is strong enough to save?

2. When Jesus spoke about faith being the size of a mustard seed in Matthew 17.20 and yet it being capable of moving mountains... does this mean that those with a little amount of faith who cannot "move mountains" have a faith that is even smaller than a mustard seed?

3. If a Christian does not have enough faith to be healed, does that mean he does not have enough faith to be saved? Why/Why not?

4. Is it possible to interpret "lack of faith" to mean "zero faith" rather than "a very small amount of faith"?

5. What is your definition of faith (one which is not just a quote from Hebrews 11)?

I would really appreciate it if...[edit]

...you spend the time reading the essay below and thinking about what it says. It would also be great if you could comment on it.

http://www.internetmonk.com/archives/2005/02/019855.html#more

(The author is a Christian blogger who lives and works in Kentucky)

By the way, I'm a former English and History teacher. Please feel free to give me a buzz if you need some help on any of your essays or ORU work (obviously not including some understandings of theology!!)

--One Salient Oversight 08:16, 13 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Latter Rain Movement[edit]

Oral Roberts was associated with William Branham and the Latter Rain movement. Can you comment on the following webpage? http://religiousmovements.lib.virginia.edu/nrms/Latrain.html

I'm Back.[edit]

Sorry for the delay in responding. I'll not delay and will get right into my response.

Answers[edit]

1) a

2) b

3) a

4) b

5) b

6) I believe that it is both a and b. When man fell, he developed the sin nature, which is why we need Christ. As Romans 5:19 says (NKJ), "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous." Also, sin is any thought, word, or action that is not in accordance with what God has said in His Word. If it is outlined in Scripture as a "sin", it is a sin.

7) a

Faith[edit]

1. How much faith does a person need before they can be assured of their salvation? Obviously there are people out there with small amounts of faith and large amounts of faith. How confident can the individual be that their faith is strong enough to save?

I think you have misunderstood my position, I'm sorry if I wasn't clear enough. Let me first quote my previous response, and then I will add some more...

" Saying that someone is standing in faith and saying that someone is lacking doubt is virtually the same thing. Let me interject here that what it says in Romans 12:3...
For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one the measure of faith. (KJV)
So we can see that it is not a matter of having faith, but using the faith God has given us...faith as a mustard seed (Matt. 17:20). If you want me to expound, please let me know!"

ALSO...

" Like I said above...Romans 12:3 says that God has given to each one the measure of faith. So it is a matter of using the faith of God. I like how Young's Literal Translation translates Mark 11:22...
"And Jesus answering saith to them, `Have faith of God;
So, you can see that our faith for God's provisions comes from God Himself...like Rom. 10:17 says...
"So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. " (NKJ)
And yes, our faith cannot be in faith, our faith must be in God and His ability to do what He promised."

One person does not have more faith than another, faith is not a quantity. It is like a light switch...you can either turn it "on" or "off"...so to speak.

2. When Jesus spoke about faith being the size of a mustard seed in Matthew 17.20 and yet it being capable of moving mountains... does this mean that those with a little amount of faith who cannot "move mountains" have a faith that is even smaller than a mustard seed?

It is not possible to have faith smaller than a mustard seed. Why? What this parable is referring to is not the size of a mustard seed in relation to the rest of the universe. The mustard seed was the smallest seed known to them, yet when planted it grew to cover an entire hillside. What Jesus was saying was that if you use your faith as a seed, and "plant it" (or use it), it will reap great results. So in effect, there is no way you can have faith smaller than a mustard seed.

3. If a Christian does not have enough faith to be healed, does that mean he does not have enough faith to be saved? Why/Why not?

I've already explained that faith is not a quantity. It is a matter of using the faith God has given you. Many are not healed just because they have not appropriated it by faith. You know, many find it easier to believe God for salvation than for healing. Why? Because, number one, salvation is spiritual, healing is physical. Also, many find it difficult because they have the voices of those skeptics of divine healing nagging their mind. It is difficult for them to continue to believe when fellow believers are calling it "fake" or "satanic". (now, I know you do not believe in divine healing...but don't take that as a personal attack...it is not. I am simply stating a fact.).

4. Is it possible to interpret "lack of faith" to mean "zero faith" rather than "a very small amount of faith"?

I have already spoke on this a little. Basically, faith can either be used, or not used. Jesus often said that a miracle did not take place because of "unbelief". Now, let's look at the word "unbelief". The root word is "belief". When the prefix "un" is added, it negates the word. Therefore, the word "unbelief" means the absence of belief. This does not mean that the person is not saved, you can have faith for one thing and not for another (for example, I have faith for salvation and divine healing, but you do not believe in divine healing, so you are not exercising your faith for healing.).

5. What is your definition of faith (one which is not just a quote from Hebrews 11)?

Faith in Christ and His finsished work is the "title-deed" that God has given us to appropriate ALL His promises (from salvation to healing and everything in between IF it is provided for in Scripture). (However, I think Hebrews 11 gives a pretty good definition of faith.).

Internet Monk[edit]

This man, in the first paragraph of this article says that he "does not subscribe to the language of inerrancy", in regard to Scripture. Since he said this, he loses all credibility. If he does not believe that Scripture is inerrant, that opens the door for all sorts of unBiblical doctrines. Also, on other articles on his site, he has said some abrasive and disrespectful things about Charimatic Christians. I would like to ask you...if you agree with him when he doesn't support the inerrancy of Scripture while calling Charismatic believers "heretics" when we believe in the inerrancy of Scripture 1,000,000,000%...why?

Latter Rain Movement[edit]

I spoke with my Humanities professor on this topic, since he is well studied on Pentecostal/Charismatic history as well as because we have been discussing medieval Church history in class. What he said was that it would be "disingenuous" to associate Oral Roberts with the Latter Rain movement. He said that in actuallity, Oral has a background in Pentecostal Holiness, which took a strong stand against the errors in the Latter Rain movement. He also said that the erroneous doctrines such as "manifest sons of God" were not embraced by mainstream Latter Rain. Rather, it were fringe groups who taught this doctrine and mainstream Latter Rain people separated themselves from these groups. Let me also say that you will have error in every sector of the Body of Christ. For example, my great Aunt is a elder at a Presbyterian Church. She was relating to us a year or so ago that she had to vote on whether or not the Presbyterian Church should allow gay men or women in the pastorate. Now I could take that and say that Presbyterian Christians believe it is OK to be gay. Now, I know from your user page that you attend a Presbyterian church. However, I know you don't belive this to be true, regardless of what certain people in the American branch of the Presbyterian Church say. So, don't be too quick to assume that everyone in a certain denomination believe what the extreme members belive. Let me add in here that I know that Oral Roberts doesn't believe those erroneous doctrines associated with certain sectors of the Latter Rain movement. ORU, the university founded by Oral Roberts, which I attend, does not teach us those erroneous doctrines. I live here on campus, walk by the Prayer Tower on the way to classes and sit in ORU chapel services twice a week. Also, I feel it is good to tell you that I know President Richard Roberts personally, and I know he does not believe in these erroneous doctrines. I KNOW this to be true FIRST HAND. Now, you may say that U. Va. has associated Oral with this movement, and that is evidence of his asociation with these erroneous doctrines. However, in a Court of Law here in the U.S., second hand proof is not considered valid evidence, it is considered "hearsay". So, take my word as a first hand witness...IT'S NOT TRUE.

Again, I hope I was clear. Thanks for your offer of help with papers, etc. If I find I need some assistance, I will take you up on that offer! God bless.

A few quick things to say[edit]

The Internet Monk[edit]

This guy's website is reasonably popular, with scores of visits each day by Christians all over America and the world. You wouldn't BELIEVE the furore the poor guy has got himself into by saying he "doesn't subscribe to the language of inerrancy". He seems to have lost a lot of friends as a result.

The problem is that he really didn't clarify himself properly. If you look at all the stuff he's written, you can tell he actually does subscribe to inerrancy. The problem is that he is fed up with the idea that people interpret the Bible without taking genre into consideration. The upshot is that many people who believe in inerrancy appear to demand that Scripture be interpreted in a very "un-literary" way. In essence, he is arguing that we should not have a "literal" interpretation of scripture, but a "literary" interpretation of Scripture. In that sense, I agree with him.

Given that this is the case, can you re-read the text with this in mind? Apart from that one silly comment it is actually a good article.

Latter Rain Movement[edit]

I searched in vain to link Oral with Branham/Latter Rain on the internet but there was nothing at all that appeared to link the two, except for their work together in the early days. The only things that Oral seems to be criticized for are the 900ft Jesus and the "God will kill me" prophecy. No, don't bother to respond about these two things because I have read a lot of the information about the two and I'm only using those terms in good humour!

Healing and stuff[edit]

I've already explained that faith is not a quantity. It is a matter of using the faith God has given you. Many are not healed just because they have not appropriated it by faith. You know, many find it easier to believe God for salvation than for healing. Why? Because, number one, salvation is spiritual, healing is physical. Also, many find it difficult because they have the voices of those skeptics of divine healing nagging their mind. It is difficult for them to continue to believe when fellow believers are calling it "fake" or "satanic". (now, I know you do not believe in divine healing...but don't take that as a personal attack...it is not. I am simply stating a fact.).

Okay, this is where I'm obviously going to get confused. Are you saying that salvation is easier to believe in than the miraculous? Are you saying that our entire future life of glory in eternity is far easier to believe in than a small healing event here on sinful earth? You see, to me this is a matter of perspective. For me, the eternal reward of heaven is far more important and far more amazing than anything we have here. To me, physical healing is of secondary importance. I hope you're with me on this one.

I suppose one of the main reasons why I don't hold to the belief that "God is willing to heal us but we have to ask in faith" is threefold. 1. I don't think it can be backed up by the Biblical witness, 2. It seems to be based upon our actions rather than upon the actions of God, and 3. I haven't seen it work - especially in one particular case when a Christian in a coma died and many "Word/faith" people were praying for him. (I don't expect you to debate this, nor do I view you personally as being "blameworthy" for it either)

As far as my opinion of divine healing goes. Yeah, I believe that God can divinely heal a person; I believe that God does divinely heal people; but I don't believe that God will always heal a person. Obviously this doesn't fit into your system of belief - but just for the record I do believe that God can and does choose to heal people today.

Prevention or cure?[edit]

Actually another issue that I'm trying to understand from your POV is the issue of sickness prevention. Since we have the Spirit dwelling in us, why then can that Spirit not ward off sicknesses? You believe that God will divinely heal us when we are sick, but do you also believe that God will keep us from getting sick in the first place as well? Why/Why not?

Holy Spirit and Salvation[edit]

At what point does the Holy Spirit enter into a person and Spiritually Regenerate them?
c) A person cannot repent of their sins or place their faith in Christ unless they have first been regenerated by the Holy Spirit.

I would appreciate it if you check out Ezekiel 37, Acts 16:14 and 1 Corinthians 12:3b. These parts of the Bible seem to indicate that Spirit birth occurs before repentance and faith. This, believe it or not, is actually very important for us dreaded Calvinists!

Alas! Presbyterianism[edit]

One of the advantages of being part of a religious movement that has been around for a number of centuries (as opposed to the Word/Faith movement which basically started with EW Kenyon in the 20th century I think) is that it has given the Christian world a great deal of information about what happens when heretics, antichrists and other assorted riff-raff take over the church. It also gives a good account of those who fought for Christ against such works of the devil.

I have a lot of my faith informed by the history of places like Princeton Seminary and in individuals like Charles Hodge and J. Gresham Machen, who fought for the truth in a denomination that was being fed to the wolves by liberal theology.

In my denomination in Australia, the Presbyterian church was the main base for freemasons and anyone who wanted a God who was no longer going to challenge them. A small, vocal, group resisted. Providentially, in 1977 the Presbyterian church of Australia merged with the Methodists and the Congregationalists to form the Uniting Church of Australia. Most of the liberal Pressies led the way, but a small remnant of Presbyterians refused to join. Since then, God has been blessing the Presbyterian church with evangelical pastors - and now is probably the most Biblical the denomination has been in its history. In 1992 we even put a minister on heresy trial for doubting some important parts of the Christian faith.

The God who knows the future vs the God who moulds the future[edit]

This would be another one of our disagreements. I see God as not only knowing the future, but also determining all things to occur. The Greek word proorizo, used in 1 Cor 2.7, Rom 8.29,30, Eph 1.5,11 literally means "Fore-ordained" that is, God making a decision in the past for something in the future to happen.

I would be interested to know what you have been told by others regarding Calvinists and those who believe in Predestination. I wager that some of it may be true!

Broadening our minds[edit]

I'm really happy to keep our dialogue going Ben. Thank you for all your answers so far and the gracious way you have responded to them. I understand all too well the pressures of writing essays and studying so I appreciate the time you have given so far. This has been a great chance for me to engage in conversation with a person who does not necessarily hold to my point of view, but whom I can respect as a brother. I hope that you feel the same and can continue our dialogue.

By the way... how did you find Wikipedia? Have you ever read anything else or contributed to any other articles? May I encourage you to get a username so you can join our efforts here!

--One Salient Oversight 10:04, 21 Feb 2005 (UTC)

More interesting resources[edit]

If you have time, it would be great if you could also check the following out:

These are two recent "statements of faith" which I hold onto. You'll love the first one, but probably not like the second one so much...

--One Salient Oversight 09:16, 23 Feb 2005 (UTC)

RESPONSES[edit]

The Internet Monk[edit]

I looked again at his website, and I still have to say that he is extremely confusing when it comes to his theological stances. It seems that at one point, he is saying that the Bible is inerrant, and then another, he says that he does not believe in inerrancy. I looked at his articles and they aren't very well written, in my opinion. He jumps all over the place and appears to be somewhat of a flip-flop.

Latter Rain Movement[edit]

I'm glad to see we agree on this. About the "900 ft Jesus" and the "God will kill me" prophecy...those really are all people criticize him over. These criticisms are basically due to misunderstandings and the misrepresentations of the media.

Healing and Stuff[edit]

I believe you may have misunderstood me. What I was saying is that it really is difficult for Christians to embrace the fact that God will heal them if they trust in Him and His promises. This is because for so many years, it has been rejected by the Church at large. Talk to anyone who has had to trust God for healing and they will tell you it was definitely a walk of faith. I believe that our eternal salvation is of far greater importance than any physical healing. I like what Benny Hinn always says...

The greatest miracle is not a healing of cancer or diabetes (examples). When Jesus Christ comes into your heart...THAT'S THE GREATEST MIRACLE!

So as you can see, "even" Benny Hinn agrees with the two of us! Now onto your three points...

(1) It would take bytes and bytes of Wikipedia server space to delve into all the evidence I have seen through study of the Scriptures that supports healing as provided in the Atonement. I suggest you read up on this topic for yourself...one excellent book is a relatively old book titled "Christ the Healer" by F.F. Bosworth. It clearly explains the doctrines of divine healing as a covenant right.
(2) It is not based upon our actions...it is based upon the sacrifice of Christ. All our job is is to BELIEVE IT! This is no different than our responsibility in our eternal redemtion...believe in our heart and confess with our mouth "the Lord Jesus" (Rom. 10:9).
(3) Let me tell you that I have seen it work NUMEROUS times...
- As a baby, I was healed of a hernia that, according to the doctors, could only by repaired through surgery.
- As a baby, I was healed of asthma.
- As an 8-year-old, I was healed of polycistic (can't recall the spelling) kidney disease.
- My father prayed for a young, deaf Kenyan girl on a missions trip to Kenya we went on with a group from our church. Right in front of his eyes, she was able to hear for the first time.
- A friend of my family was diagnosed with lymphoma...no trace remains in her body years later.
- Another friend of my family had a tumor that miraculously disappeared.

As you can see, I have seen it work MANY times, these are only a sampling. I can't give you a response to the situation with the person who had been in a coma, because I do not know all the details of the situation.

Prevention or cure?[edit]

I believe that God desires we have a life free from sickness and disease. One Scripture that supports this is 3 John 1:2. Psalm 91 also says that God shows His salvation "with long life". We must believe God and His Word on healing...this is what God requires of us in order to reap these particular blessings.

Holy Spirit and Salvation[edit]

These Scriptures, I believe do not support answer "c". Ezekiel 37 is talking about the return of the people of God to the Promised Land...that He will bring them back and they will not remain in exile forever. Acts 16:14 does not say that the Holy Spirit indwelt her before she believed. Rather, it is saying that the Holy Spirit was drawing her to Jesus and she responded...this passage is giving God the glory for her conversion, which is VITAL. I Corinthians 12:3b is, in context, speaking of the Gifts of the Spirit. This verse actually defends the modern manifestations of the Gifts in Charismatic circles, because it is saying that no one can say that "Jesus is Lord" unless it is originating with the Holy Spirit. Someone is not truly operating in the Gifts of the Spirit if they curse the Name of Jesus.

The God who knows the future vs the God who moulds the future[edit]

God has ordained all things, but in our individual lives, He HAS given us free will...this is an undeniable fact of the Scripures. He didn't want robots to serve Him. If He did, He would have never put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden. He gave man a CHOICE as whether or not to serve Him. If He causes us to do what we do, whether or not we believe and so forth, then we are no more than robots. I have several Calvinist aquaintances and I have done reading of Calvinism. As a result of my study of Scripture, I have come to believe that Calvinism is not doctrinally sound and it over-intellecutalizes the Gospel...it seems to undermine the necessity of faith, which is central in Scripture. It also appears to be in direct conflict with specific Scriptures and the explainations I have heard don't hold any water with me. I am not condemning you and other Calvinists, I am just stating my view of the theology...I still belive Calvinists are born again and going to Heaven. I'm sure you understand.

More Interesting Resources[edit]

I thoroughly enjoyed reading these two documents, and I emphatically embrace BOTH of them. I looked carefully at the Cambridge Declaration to see what you thought I would disagree with, and I believe I see what you saw. Let me expound...

The work of the Holy Spirit in personal experience cannot be disengaged from Scripture. The Spirit does not speak in ways that are independent of Scripture. Apart from Scripture we would never have known of God's grace in Christ. The biblical Word, rather than spiritual experience, is the test of truth.
This is something that Charismatics emphasize. We do NOT believe that anything truly recevied in prayer through the Gifts of the Spirit will contradict the Biblical witness. For example, if someone believes they are to rob a casino because God told them to, this was NOT from God, because it clearly contradicts Scripture.
Unwarranted confidence in human ability is a product of fallen human nature. This false confidence now fills the evangelical world; from the self-esteem gospel, to the health and wealth gospel, from those who have transformed the gospel into a product to be sold and sinners into consumers who want to buy, to others who treat Christian faith as being true simply because it works. This silences the doctrine of justification regardless of the official commitments of our churches.Unwarranted confidence in human ability is a product of fallen human nature. This false confidence now fills the evangelical world; from the self-esteem gospel, to the health and wealth gospel, from those who have transformed the gospel into a product to be sold and sinners into consumers who want to buy, to others who treat Christian faith as being true simply because it works. This silences the doctrine of justification regardless of the official commitments of our churches.
This statement comes from a misunderstanding of true Charismatic doctrine. Yes, there have been abuses of Charismatic doctrine. For example, Robert Tilton, I believe, preaches a distortion of Charismatic doctrine...I do not view him has a Word of Faith teacher, but, rather, as someone who is misled, his motives only God can judge. Charismatics do not base their doctrines in human ability, but rather in the Word of God and the fact that God will do what He promised...He cannot lie. We believe that God has ordained that redemtion as well as His other blessings are appropriated through faith in Him and His Word...why? He wants us to show Him that we TRUST Him.

I also want to say that Charismatics place a high value on missions, like the C. Dec. says. In fact, ORU has a student missions program that they encourage every student to participate in. RHEMA is big on missions as well...here are some links to some info. you may be interested in...

-ORU Missions
-RHEMA Outreaches

Broadening Our Minds[edit]

Thanks, also, for the additional information about Prebyterianism. I want to affirm that, yes, I believe that you are a fellow believer and brother in Christ. Also, I found Wikipedia because I was searching on Google for O.R.'s educational background because someone had asked me if I knew what it was...sufficed to say, Wikipedia was the first to pop up (ORM's website was down that day). When I saw the article and that there was alot of information in it that I knew was inaccurate and incorrect, I corrected it...that's how I met you (and I'm glad I did)! I may at some point do some work on Wikipedia, it is an interesting idea. I do have a user name, but I forgot my password!! Anyway, I tried to be concise for you, I hope I wasn't unclear or confusing. I look forward to hearing from you...God bless...Ben.

Calvinism 101[edit]

Calvinism is only called that by its adherents in order to distinguish it from other areas of Christian belief. Although we hold John Calvin in high regard as a theologian, we do not believe that we hold his "teachings", as if they were new... but that he was able to summarise Biblical Christianity so well. So within the Calvinist circle, we simply believe that our doctrinal statements and system of belief is just Biblical Christianity at its purist. This does not mean that Calvinism is monolithic in its beliefs - paedobaptism is favoured amongst the Presbyterians while credobaptism (believer's baptism) is favoured amongst Reformed Baptists.

Calvinism has produced its fair share of idiotic failures. Both Oliver Cromwell and the Apartheid-supporting Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa were both thoroughly Calvinistic in their theology, even though I believe they did great sins in the name of it (sort of like Robert Tilton from your POV except 100 times worse).

Calvinism can be summarised by what is known as The Five Points of Calvinism which are popularly known by the acrostic TULIP:

  • T -Total Depravity: The belief that all of mankind has sinned and deserves to be sent to hell. This slavery to sin has made it impossible for man to respond to God's offer of salvation.
  • U -Unconditional Election: The belief that God has foreordained / predestined people to become Christians from the beginning of time. God has essentially chosen who is to be a believer and who is not. This choice is not conditional - that is it is not based upon the merit of the individual, but upon God's grace entirely.
  • L -Limited Atonement: The belief that the death of Christ as an atonement for our sins is limited only to those who are Christians (and thus, only those whom God has elected). So while the atonement is enough to take away the sins of the entire world, it is only effective for those who believe (Those who do not believe have not been forgiven)
  • I -Irresistable Grace: Because it is God who ultimately chooses who is a Christian, there is no way that an individual, once elected, can resist God's grace.
  • P -Perseverence of the Saints: Because it is God who has given us new life, it is God who maintains our faith. No true Christian can therefore fall away - they will continue in their faith.

Calvinism and my own testimony[edit]

Let me tell you how I became a Christian. My parents were not Christians and, although I was occasionally sent to Sunday School (Australian parlance for children's Christian education during church time and NOT the American usage) I eventually gave up church because mum and dad didn't go. Although I believed in God, he was not real to me, nor was he important to me.

When I was about 11, Mum sent me away on a week long Christian camp. On that camp I heard the Bible taught for the first time and, even though I was not converted, I purchased a Bible. Over the next 18 months I read the entire Bible. It didn't really make any sense, but I did give up pork for a while. When I was 13, I went to another Christian camp, where things began to make more sense. I was told that I was sinful, and that my sins had cut me off from God and that I was headed to hell. I was told that God sent Jesus to die for us, so that he would take the punishment that I deserved so that I could be forgiven. And I was told that I needed to come to God in repentance, admitting my sin to him, believing that Christ died to take away my sins, and to commit my life to serve Christ. I did all this, and on August 28th 1982 I became a Christian.

But things were tough. My parents weren't Christians and I was a typical teenager. Fortunately a friend of mine (this is his website) also became a Christian the following year, and together we grew in the faith.

I'm saying all this because the experience which I outline above is not foreign to Calvinism. You may have heard over time some of the "loopy" ideas that Calvinism has. Of course, when you believe in Determinism (as all Calvinists do), then obviously there arises some philosophical problems ie "Is God unfair", "What about Prayer?", "What about Evangelism?", "What about free will?" and so on.

The fact is that true Calvinists believe fervently in prayer and evangelism. A Calvinist truly believes that a person who dies and goes to hell does so because he deserves to be punished for his sin. A Calvinist truly believes that all who refuse to repent and believe bring down upon themselves the wrath of God. A Calvinist truly believes that when a person becomes a Christian, that they are truly repenting of their sins and placing their trust in Christ. The human action of repentance and faith may have been divinely predetermined, but it stills needs to occur for a person to be converted. Added to this is the rock solid belief that when the Gospel is preached and when the Word is preached, the Holy Spirit works in the lives of those who hear. Moreover, a person cannot come to faith without hearing the gospel, which means that, in order for the elect to come to faith, God's people must be active in proclaiming the gospel.

One of the critical understandings in Calvinism is that mankind is unable to respond to the gospel that God presents to us. The reason is that we are spiritually dead and that our natures automatically reject God. So, in order to bring us to faith, the Holy Spirit enters a person first (via the preaching of the gospel) and regenerates them spiritually. Now that the person is spiritually alive, they respond to the gospel call by repentance and faith. This belief is called Monergism.

Calvin taught this. So did Saint Augustine. And both argued that this teaching was written by the Apostle Paul.

Hypercalvinism[edit]

Unfortunately, the sinful depravity that Calvinists believe in has ironically caused problems between groups of Calvinists. One such group are called hypercalvinists - much of the critical information against Calvinism is actually aimed at hypercalvinism. The two are different.

Hypercalvinists believe in a whole mish-mash of strange teachings. I have copied the following text from http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/topic/hypercalvinism.html that shows what many hypercalvinists believe:

  • that God is the author of sin and of evil
  • that men have no will of their own, and secondary causes are of no effect
  • that the number of the elect at any time may be known by men
  • that it is wrong to evangelize
  • that assurance of election must be sought prior to repentance and faith
  • that men who have once sincerely professed belief are saved regardless of what they later do
  • that God has chosen some races of men and has rejected others
  • that the children of unbelievers dying in infancy are certainly damned
  • that God does not command everyone to repent
  • that the sacraments are not means of grace, but obstacles to salvation by faith alone.
  • that the true church is only invisible, and salvation is not connected with the visible church
  • that the Scriptures are intended to be interpreted by individuals only and not by the church.
  • that no government is to be obeyed which does not acknowledge that Jesus is the Lord, or that Biblical Law is its source of authority
  • that the grace of God does not work for the betterment of all men
  • that saving faith is equivalent to belief in the doctrine of predestination
  • that only Calvinists are Christians (Neo-gnostic Calvinism)

As you can see, some of this stuff is rubbish. Most true Calvinists do not hold to any of the above beliefs (including myself).

Response.[edit]

Calvinism 101 response[edit]

I can agree with you and tell you that both Calvinists and Charismatics call themselves such only to differentiate the finer points of their doctrines from those of other segments of the Church. However, I would beg to differ in saying that all Calvin did was summarize Biblical Christianity. Like any other theologian, he interpreted Scripture...sometimes correctly, sometimes incorrectly. Don't get me wrong...I don't believe he was heretical...he still held to the central, core doctrines of God's Word...those laid out in the Apostle's Creed. Also, I am familiar with TULIP.

Calvinism and my own testimony[edit]

"One of the critical understandings in Calvinism is that mankind is unable to respond to the gospel that God presents to us. The reason is that we are spiritually dead and that our natures automatically reject God. So, in order to bring us to faith, the Holy Spirit enters a person first (via the preaching of the gospel) and regenerates them spiritually. Now that the person is spiritually alive, they respond to the gospel call by repentance and faith. This belief is called Monergism (http://www.monergism.com/)."

While I am not going to get into a long debate over why I believe Calvinism is not 100% accurate, I do want to write a brief response to this segment of your last entry. I don't believe that mankind will ignore the issues of salvation and eternity completely. Like Blaise Pascal said, men are born with a "God-shaped vacuum" on the inside. If mankind ignored these issues completely, then people wouldn't create and participate in all sorts of false religious systems. God has placed inside man an innate desire to seek Him, often times, however, that is suppressed and rejected by those who live for the flesh and the things of this world (Isaiah 55:6; Jeremiah 29:13). People do seek God, but often times in all the wrong places. That is why (as you have stated) evangelism is vital.

Also, thanks for the info. about Hypercalvinism...I had a general understanding of the theology, but didn't know some of the more specific things you have provided.

At this point, I would like to know where you stand, I hope you have come to understand where I (and mainstream Charismatic Christians in general) are coming from. I would like to emphasize that while I do not agree totally with Calvinism, I do believe that you and other mainstream Calvinist Christians are saved. I appreciate the effort you have put into your responses...I look forward to hearing from you.

The why and how[edit]

Harmonizing[edit]

One of the problems that people have in interpreting scripture is the fact that many do not harmonize what appear to be contradictory teachings.

Therefore, in response to the verses you have cited above, a Calvinist would say that these do not presuppose an innate ability to respond to the gospel, but rather a general call to repent. Most calvinists would argue that the call to repent is necessary, which is what these verses explore, but that, in reality, the human nature cannot repent without the Spirit's regenerative work beforehand.

Arminians also attempt to harmonize scripture. They do not believe in predestination but embrace foreknowledge - that God knows the future but hasn't determined it. Thus verses Calvinists use to support predestination are harmonized by Arminians in this fashion. I could go into the nitty gritty and prove that the Arminians have gravely misinterpreted certain NT words - but that would take time and you'd probably not be interested!

Determinism and healing[edit]

The reason why I took the discussion briefly into Calvinism was to show you how difficult it is for a Calvinist to embrace the idea that we can be assured of physical healing. You see, for Calvinists, it is entirely God's work to regenerate us to be saved in the first place. Therefore, given the idea that God actively determines all events in the universe to happen, a Calvinist would therefore see healign in this light. Therefore, when calvinist Christians pray for healing, we pray "if it be your will". If it is God's desire to heal us of our physical sufferings, then he will do it - regardless of how much prayer and angst and faith we produce. The Calvinist would argue that our faith, while not perfect or strong, is a gift from God via the regenerative work of the Spirit, and its power lies not in the amount of faith or the strength of faith, but the object of that faith - which is Christ (and you have agreed with this point). However, when faced with the assertion that our faith can physically heal us - and that if we are not healed then we lack faith - then the calvinist will be confused. "If God wishes to heal us, he will heal us. After all, he determines what happens in our universe. Besides, why would it be more difficult for us to embrace physical healing than salvation?". And you've probably heard me talk about this before.

So does this help you understand why I find word/faith doctrine hard to embrace? Does it also help you to understand why I reacted so passionately against word/faith a few weeks ago?

I'm not provoking you into a defensive repsonse here. All Im asking is - can you understand the logic behind my position? One Salient Oversight 05:32, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)

My response.[edit]

Hello, again. Let me tell you, it is good to be back responding to you...I recently, in my research, ran across a website that was trying to paint Charismatic Christianity as a New Age cult. I wrote to the man, and he would not listen to my defenses, he would give me rhetoric, it was frustrating, disconcerting, and hurtful. I say all this to say...I appreciate your objectivity! Anyway, here is my response...

Harmonizing[edit]

I think, in regard to how to interpret these Scriptures, we can agree to disagree.

Determinism and Healing[edit]

I can see your logic, but I can also see a missing piece. Believe it or not, Calvinism and the Charismatic view on physical healing fit together perfectly. Follow my logic for a moment... OK, so let's say we agree that Calvinism is 100% correct...then that means that God indeed does predestine those He redeems and those He does not. Now, if, as Charismatic doctrine states, healing is a blessing provided in the Atonement, then doesn't that mean that if God has elected us for redemtion, that includes the promise of health? Just a few thoughts...God bless, I look forward to your response!

Interesting Paper[edit]

I just ran across a paper written by Dr. J. Rodman Williams who is a theology professor at Regent University, sister school to ORU. Here's the link...

The Charismatic Movement and Reformed Theology

I thought you might be interested.


I'm being persecuted now...[edit]

Have you ever heard of The Potter's House or Christian Fellowship ministries? Well, after making some rather innocuous changes to the article, I have incurred the wrath of one of the church members. See here: Talk:Potter's House Christian Fellowship.

The guy got so mad at me that he even published personal details about myself - address, phone number and so on. Incredible. It got him banned by one of the sysops, but he's managed to get around it because he has some hacking skills.

I'd be the first to admit that I will confront those with whom I disagree - you have firsthand experience of that! But, as you know, I will also engage in respectful debate with them if they so desire. Moreover, I feel no need to attack someone personally. However, this guy has attacked me directly, calling me all sorts of names and threatening legal action against me for even daring to write negative things about his church.

It's a real mess. However in the midst of all this is good news. I'm a Dad again! My daughter was born on Friday night. That gives me and my wife two kids now.

One Salient Oversight 01:51, 7 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I Need Some Clarification[edit]

Hi, again. I looked at the article, user talk, and the Potter's House website. First of all, I believe it was wrong for that person to attack you personally. In fact, there is one particular logical fallacy referred to as the "Personal Attack" logical fallacy. Secondly, I looked at PH's doctrinal statement...and I saw nothing objectionable or heretical in it. I am baffled, because I thought we had made some headway in bringing reconcilliation between you and I. Didn't we? I realize we still don't see eye to eye on some doctrinal issues, but I thought we had worked through the disingenuity of calling Charismatic/Pentecostal organizations "cultic", which it appears like the PH issue is addressing. Where are we at now? Also...I would like to hear your response to my last entry whenever you have time...no rush.

Congratulations![edit]

Congratulations on your new baby! God bless you and your new charge!

This is from an outside website[edit]

Cult?

Though a cult of Christianity is determined primarily theologically - by its denial of one or more of the essential teachings of the Christian faith - a wider definition takes actions and practices into account as well.

A movement that appears theologically sound with regard to the central doctrines of Christianity, but whose actions and practices are - sociologically - cultic in nature, can still be considered a cult of Christianity (e.g. International Churches of Christ).

Is is not clear whether the cultic tendencies noted in some CFM-churches are present in all of the movement's churches throughout the world.

We advise those who are involved in churches affiliated with Christian Fellowship Ministries (as well as concerned friends and family members) to:

  • Read: Is Your Church Free from Cultic Tendencies?
  • Study the characteristics of cults
  • Read up on spiritual abuse. Suggested books include:
Healing Spiritual AbuseOff-site Link, by Ken Blue
The Subtle Power of Spiritual AbuseOff-site Link by David Johnson, Jeff Vanvonderen.
Twisted ScripturesOff-site Link by Mary Alice Chrnalogar
Grace Plus NothingOff-site Link, by Jeff Harkin

Response.[edit]

Hi...I am not entirely sure that was what I am looking for. What I want to know is...have we come to an understanding about the fact that Charismatic Believers aren't preaching "a different gospel"? Have I explained well enough that we do hold to all the central doctrines of Christianity? Have we come to a consensus? I can't say anything in-depth about PH, because I do not know really anything about them. Also, I am familiar with the issue of spiritual abuse. In fact, a year or so ago, my pastor (not Hagin, my home church in NY) did a series on spiritual abuse, and how to recognize it. Anyway, I would also, when you have time, like to hear your response to my last detailed answer (on determinism and healing, etc.).

Feeling better[edit]

The offending person has now been banned properly. I feel better now.

Potter's House as "Cult of Christianity"[edit]

I checked out the PH doctrinal statement too and it is what I would call "Classic Pentecostal". This means that it is not too different to other Pentecostal groups and contains much that is biblical. Naturally, by being Pentecostal, it contains stuff that I would class as being "unbiblical", but that is not something that is unique to Potter's House. I have no doubt that the PH is populated by lots of believers.

The issue is, however, control. It appears as though the Potter's House has a very large amount of control over its members. So even though it may be doctrinally sound, they appear to act like a cult in their behaviour towards others and towards themselves. In that sense, PH is unlike many Pentecostal and Charismatic churches.

Determinism and Healing[edit]

Okay, this is what you've been waiting for.

Now, if, as Charismatic doctrine states, healing is a blessing provided in the Atonement, then doesn't that mean that if God has elected us for redemption, that includes the promise of health?

There is nothing wrong with that logic at all. If the Charismatic and Calvinist positions are right, then God would grant health to those whom he redeemed.

But.

If as Ephesians says that "we have every spiritual blessing in Christ", then healing and health would come to us as a gift from God that does not require a "continual" faith response. It would just mean that once a person becomes a Christian, they are healed of every affliction they have and would never get sick - not as a result of their faith, but as a result of God's grace to them.

I have faith in Christ. That faith that I exercise comes only because the Holy Spirit regenerated me in August 1982. That faith is a gift from God. Now that I have accepted Christ, every spiritual blessing has been poured out upon me. The gifts aren't waiting in heaven for me to pick them, God places these gifts into my hands. I need nothing but Christ.

If this line of reasoning is true, and if God promises healing, then God would have healed me. There would be no action on my part to appropriate the healing because my faith in Christ is the supreme and sole act of faith that I have. The fact that I will get sick and suffer is because God has chosen not to heal me.

I realise that this is rather fatalistic and not exactly "pro-active". I suppose it is because I have realised that I have no real control, and that I am not really free. I cannot stop my body ageing. I cannot fly. I cannot make something from nothing. These freedoms are denied to me because I am limited in my humanity. I am not God, and it is God alone who is free and is capable of doing whatever he wants. I could not choose to be spiritually reborn in the same way that I could not choose to be physically born. It was God who chose me from the beginning of time to be born; to be regenerated; to be healed whenever I was healed; to suffer when I suffered. In the end, I know for sure that my God and saviour will bring me into his glorious kingdom, for my faith is not in my hands, but in his.

Preaching a different Gospel?[edit]

I will be honest. I think that the Charismatic movement preaches "Gospel-plus". This means that the content of the Gospel is preached, but in addition to this is the promise of healing, health and happiness. Most, if not all, Charismatics would agree that salvation and eternal life are of prime importance. However, by adding to this the additions I describe, the actual Gospel message is muddied. In fact, in the Charismatic meetings I have attended, there was no mention at all of the Gospel.

Now after that statement I'm sure that you'd love to respond. Let me see if I can view this from your point of view. For you, health, healing and happiness are promised to us via the atonement. Because I refuse to acknowledge that, I am therefore guilty of preaching "Gospel-minus". Yes, I am a Christian, but I am not adhering to the full Gospel message and, as a result, I am living in disobedience to God. That will have consequences - in this life and the next - but I will still be in heaven. Please feel free to comment.

We can't both be right. Either I am wrong or you are wrong (or we're both wrong). God knows the answer, and one of us is not listening to him.

Here is a sermon I preached about 13-14 months ago. I suppose it encapsulates a lot of what I have said here. Feel free to read it when you have the time.

One Salient Oversight 10:53, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Where the Issue is At.[edit]

Potter's House as "Cult of Christianity"[edit]

I agree with you...while a church can be doctrinally sound, there can be the case where they have too much control over the lives of their members. However, unless I have first-hand knowledge, I am EXTREMELY careful about jumping to conclusions about a ministry or church. Why? I don't want to end up critical of an organization that is truly being used of God. That is why, since I do not know much about PH...I will not make a judgment about whether they have cultic tendencies or not. While it may be true, I am still cautious about doing so. Now, I would still be cautious about becoming involved with that ministry, but if I took the initiative to find out what it was truly like and found it NOT to be as it has been made out to be, then I would feel OK with it. I believe the key is to be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. We need to test the spirits of any minister or ministry, but not be quick on the trigger to criticize it.

Determinism and Healing[edit]

While I see your point, let me explain why I believe it is inaccurate to say that God will heal me without my prayer and faith involved. In Romans 1, what does it say? It says "the just shall LIVE by faith". Let me say this again..."the JUST shall LIVE BY FAITH." What does that Scripture say..."the JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH." That means that in EVERY area of our lives, we are to use faith. I like what Richard Roberts says all the time..."Faith is the key that unlocks the door to God's mercy". I also believe (and this is not a personal criticism...it is an observation) it is extreme ignorance to say that Charismatics are incorrect in their belief about divine healing...because in Charismatic services, healings occur all the time. To say that these are fabricated is only an excuse, and a poor one at that. For example, President Roberts will NOT read a testimony of a healing from a serious disease without medical documentation. In the same way, I have seen healing personally MANY times. This is NOT what we base our theology upon, we base it upon Scripture. But we still CANNOT deny the fact that scores and scores of people are being healed and delivered when they exercise their faith in God and His Word. Let me give you an illustration that I think is somewhat helpful. Here in Tulsa, the NCAA Mid-Continent Conference basketball tournament has just been completed. ORU was in it (actually, we were winning until a few seconds till the end of the championship, the women's team did win). Because it had to be at a neutral venue, it was held at a Tulsa high school arena (an unusually LARGE high school basketball arena). As a result of this, in order to attend the games, you had to buy tickets, whereas if they were at ORU's Mabee Center, it would have been free for any ORU students. However, in order to encourage students to attend the games, ORU provided approximately 300 complementary tickets. All you had to do was go to the Mabee Center ticket office, present your student ID, and redeem your tickets. They aren’t going to come up to your dorm room and hand you the tickets. In the same way, as Christians, God has already provided health, healing, and other blessings for us. All we have to do is exercise our faith, and redeem what is already ours as a covenant right. Now, would you say it is bossing around ORU to drive down to Mabee Center, and ask for tickets...and expect them? Absolutely not! They provided them, they WANT you to have them! In fact, it would be disrespectful to the University if no one redeemed any tickets. In the same way, it is not "bossing around God" to ask Him for those things He has promised and expect them? NO! He has already provided them! Now, don't get caught up in the details of this illustration like what happened with the traveling salesman anecdote. Take it for what it is...an illustration to help clarify the issue. Another issue is…if God does not want us to be healthy, then that means it is wrong to seek to be healthy. That means it is wrong to see a doctor and receive medical treatment. Why? Because whether a healing comes through medicine or through divine intervention…it IS still a healing. The glory belongs to God either way. He created medical science. So, if God does not want us well, then we are defying His Will if we seek medical treatment.

Preaching a Different Gospel?[edit]

Why would saying that God is a good God who loves us and cares for us be a different gospel? How does it muddy the one true Gospel? It does not, I repeat, it does NOT muddy the Gospel, rather, it glorifies God. Another one of the statements Richard Roberts makes all the time is "God doesn't want you to NOT have things, He just doesn't want things to have you." You have said that every Charismatic service you have been in hasn't spoken of the Gospel. I don't know where you have had that experience, but that is not a good picture of a true Charismatic service. My home church in NY takes the Gospel very seriously…in fact…words cannot express how seriously it takes preaching the Gospel, there is an altar call for salvation and rededication in every service. In fact, if you were to talk to my pastor, he would say that it is totally WRONG to ignore the fact that there are people at your church who are visiting and have never heard the Truth that Jesus Christ died for our sins and we must except Him as our Savior. No ifs, ands, or buts. If you don't, you will be in Hell...separated from God...for all eternity. If you do, you will be in Heaven with God for all eternity. There is NO option in the matter. We MUST repent and receive Christ. At RHEMA, at the end of EVERY...I say again...EVERY service, there is an altar call, not any different than any I have heard in any non-Charismatic Evangelical churches. Also, at the recent Lindsay Roberts Women's Conference (I went because we got extra credit in our Charismatic Life and the Healing Ministry class...not because I think I'm a woman, or something...just a joke!!) Lindsay Roberts, Richard's wife, said in reference to the blessings of God and the proper approach to them (this is a paraphrase I am creating from memory)..."now if you are believing for a car, well, I hope you do get a car. BUT, it is far more important to make sure you are right with God than ANY physical blessing". I apologize if that is vague, but I had to scrounge that out of my memory. I hope you get the general idea. So you see, while we believe that the Gifts of the Spirit and abundant Life are promises of God that should not be ignored, we believe that they pale in comparison AND importance to accepting Christ as Savior and Lord and making sure you know where you're going for eternity. Do you see my point?

The Conclusion[edit]

I believe that the issue here is not whether or not Charismatic theology is correct. Rather, I believe that the issue here is free will vs. determinism. Now, that being said, it is EXTREMLEY disingenuous to say that free will theology muddies the Gospel...because that alienates and nearly ostracizes a large part of the Church of Jesus Christ. It is OK to say that you believe it is inaccurate, but to say that it is a different gospel is EXTREMELY ridiculous. You see, I have just as much the ability and right to call Calvinism a different gospel as you do to say that free will theologians are preaching a different gospel. So, my point is, we need to focus on the main thing...THOSE TEACHINGS CENTRAL TO SCRIPTURE...those teachings laid out in the Apostle's Creed. The other doctrines, if they do not contradict the Gospel, are not grounds on which to call a group of Believers heretical. Inaccurate, maybe, but not heretical.


Some responses[edit]

Being wise about things[edit]

I think it is very important for Christians to be told the truth about any teaching or church. The research that I have conducted into the Potter's House, including my friendship with a former member, has led me to believe that the church, generally, is one in which cultic practices and member control is present. I think it is my responsibility to speak the truth about this to other Christians, to warn them and to encourage them to do their own objective research into the movement. If they do so, I am confident that they will come up with the same conclusion that I have.

The Just shall live by faith[edit]

A better interpretation of this would be He that is Just by faith shall live (Reference: Leon Morris' commentary on Romans). "Life" here does not refer to the ongoing living of life, but the granting of life that comes by faith. Let me simplify it: If a person has faith in Christ, then they are justified, and they are given new life. I think your interpretation of this verse is incorrect.

The blessings that God wants to give us, if only we ask[edit]

This is obviously one big area of difference between us. My belief is that once we have become a Christian, God has given us absolutely everything. My belief is that there are no additional blessings that God wants to provide for us after this fact - and to assert to the contrary is to downgrade the gift of Christ.

Ephesians 1 is probably the best example of this. I won't copy it down for you but read it from your own Bible. Essentially it is saying that the greatest thing God ever did was give us Christ, and the only "inheritance" we get is in the future, and is guaranteed for us by the Holy Spirit (1:13,14). 1:18 also points out that our "inheritance" in solely linked to Christ.

If I were to use your allegory in this situation it is this: You walk along the corridors of ORU and President Roberts places a Basketball ticket in your top pocket, and he does the same for the other 299 tickets. I know that sounds strange, but that is how I (and many other reformed Christians) view God's blessings. We are passive, God is active.

I know that I promised not to debate with you over this issue too much, so I will stop here. What I would really like are some Bible references that back up the claim that Christians can have more than just Christ after they have been saved. I'm not talking about the healing verses you gave a few weeks ago, but specific verses that promise something additional to just Jesus.

Experiences of healing[edit]

I'm afraid that any story you give me about how people were healed will not wash with me. I don't really care how amazing it is. "Jews demand signs, and Greeks demand wisdom..." I will not be convinced by any healing because it is not an automatic validation of God's work in ministry.

My advantage (or problem if I take it from your pov) is that Scripture is the SOLE authority in matters of faith and conduct. I'll only be convinced of word/faith teaching if it can be proved to be scriptural.

Read the following articles and see what they say about the belief in miraculous healing:

A different Gospel?[edit]

I knew that my comments here would be hard for you to understand, but I won't back down. You ask Why would saying that God is a good God who loves us and cares for us be a different gospel? How does it muddy the one true Gospel?, but that's not the point. Yes God does love and care for us, but my assertion is that it does NOT include health and happiness. My assertion is that when you add those things to the Gospel, it distorts it. THIS is why so many Christians have such great trouble with word/faith - we believe that it strikes at the very core of the Gospel and must be resisted.

I believe in Romans 1:16 when it says that the "Gospel is the power of Salvation". Whenever the gospel is preached - this must happen:

  1. There must be an explanation of how sin has cut us off from God and that we deserve death.
  2. There must be an explanation of Christ's atoning death on the cross - that he took the punishment for our sins.
  3. There must be a clear explanation that those who place their faith and trust in Christ will be saved.
  4. There must be some form of call to repent and have faith.

Now I have been to many Charismatic churches where people are called upon to become Christians and rededicate their lives and come down to the front. But in none of those cases was the Gospel preached in the way I described it above. In fact, there was no mention of sin, of justification or of forgiveness. "Come to Jesus and you will be happy" was the general message.

I obviously can't talk about your church, but I can, with certainty, claim that Hillsong Church does not preach the Gospel in the way I describe it above. Other Charismatic churches I have been to have done the same.

The problem of Free will[edit]

it is EXTREMLEY disingenuous to say that free will theology muddies the Gospel...because that alienates and nearly ostracizes a large part of the Church of Jesus Christ. It is OK to say that you believe it is inaccurate, but to say that it is a different gospel is EXTREMELY ridiculous.

My assertion is that any church that does not hold to determinism is in danger of emphasizing the "Free will" of humans too much. Pelagius and Arminius did this, and I hold them to be heretics. I'm certainly not saying that not holding to predestination cancels out one's faith (that would be sheer arrogance), but I am saying that the majority of the church today is sick and miseld because the free will of humans is taught to an unbiblical degree.

There are plenty of churches out there who are Arminian in their theology and are full of Christians. Many of these Arminian churches would not hold to the belief in additional blessings that I describe above - The Southern Baptists are a very good example of an Arminian church group that opposes Charismatic teaching (and, to a much lesser extent, the additional blessings).

My problem is that I believe that most churches around the world - Evangelical, Charismatic, Pentecostal - are no longer understanding the Gospel. Yes they are Christians, but they are so caught up in other things that the important things are missed - such as Gospel preaching and sound Biblical exposition. Morevoer, it is also my assertion that these churches will begin to deteriorate as time goes by, with a gospel of works being preached instead.

--One Salient Oversight 01:51, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Please stand by...[edit]

I have just flown home for spring break!! Only 4-5 more weeks left!! (We start at the beginning of August) Anyway, the past few days have been tied up with the logistics of coming home and as soon as I get a chance, after some prayerful consideration, I will respond fully. I don't want to pound out a quick response...you deserve better than that. God bless!

Spring breaaaaaaaak!!!! WOOOOOOOOO! What do ORU students get up to I wonder? One Salient Oversight 06:42, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)

A Brief Response, and a BIG Emphasis[edit]

Hello!! I apologize about my delay in responding, but while on Spring Break (which, believe it or not, many people stay on campus for!!), I only have access to a slow Internet connection, and that is an extremely big obstacle to doing anything online. I am back in Tulsa now, and I am ready to respond.

Before I get into my discussion, let me say that I believe (and so do all mainstream Charsimatics) that the greatest Gift we could ever have is Jesus Christ, far greater than ANYTHING ELSE -- that is NOT the issue under debate...we agree on that.

I was not saying that the Gospel is all about money and miracles. The Gospel is first and foremost about God's gift of HIs Son for our salvation from eternal damnation. But, as His children, God has given us promises for an abundant Life down here on earth. Let me get into my discussion...

ON HEALING AS A BLESSING IN THE ATONEMENT[edit]

In F.F. Bosworth's book (beginning on p.25) "Christ the Healer", he makes an interesting point...

"If healing is not in the Atonement, why were types of the Atonement given in connection with bodily healing throughout the Old Testament?"
Exodus 12: If the Israelites took of the passover lamb in order to strengthen themselves physically, can't we too receive the same from Christ? After all, Paul refers to Jesus as "our Passover, sacrificed for us."
Leviticus 14:18: The priest had to atone for the healing of the leper.

Bosworth goes on to another example...

In Luke 4:19, Jesus says that He came to preach "the acceptable year of the Lord" -- the year of Jubilee from the Old Testament. Thus, He is connecting the blessings of the year of Jubilee to His Work. In Leviticus 25:9, it says that none of those blessings included in the year of Jubilee were to be declred (with a trumpet sound) "until the Day of Atonement." On the Day of Atonement, a sacrifice was made as an offering for the sins of the people. However, mercy wasn't given until the blood of that animal was sprinkled on the Mercy Seat.
Numbers 21:9: The Israelites were ALL healed physically after looking at the brazen serpent...another type of the Atonement.
Psalm 103:1-3 gives us a clear picutre of God's blessings (NKJ)...
"Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,"

Also, another point is what is said in Galatians 3:13:

"Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"),"

Part of the curse of the law was sickness and disease.

At this point, I am not going to delve any deeper, although I most certainly could.

My "BIG Emphasis"[edit]

The main focus of my message is what I feel you keep missing in our talk. My desire is to come to a consensus...an understanding...that Charismatic Christians are truly preaching the Gospel, and that we believe the same core truths. I don't know what Charismatic churches you have been to, but let me tell you, mine does not preach "Come to Jesus and you'll be happy". They preach the Gospel...that you must repent and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior in order to receive salvation from an eternity separated from God...to be honest I don't know what Gospel you want me to believe, because, I concur with your statement of what the true Gospel is completely. If the issue is Calvinism...well, that is a non-issue...because a person's orthodoxy does not rest on their stance on Calvinism (and I'll also say that a persons orthodoxy does not rest on their stance on the Charismatic gifts)...a person's orthodoxy rests on whether or not they believe in the CORE doctrines of Christianity, those laid out in the Apostle's Creed. They must agree with these doctrines...

"I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. AMEN." [taken from www.creeds.net/ancient/apostles.htm]

Finally, I want to explain to you the best I can the beliefs that set apart the Charismatic portion of the Church. The best explaination I can find is that given in the syllabus for my class "Charismatic Life and the Healing Ministry"...

"Presents Christian charismatic theology from both the theoretical and practical standpoints.

Emphasizes the importance of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer and the fact that God is still in living commerce with man, working supernaturally through healing and the gifts of the Spirit. In keeping with the founding purposes of Oral Roberts University, these beliefs are taught from an interdenominational and charismatic point of view to demonstrate the relevance of the Biblical truths not only for what Christians believe and say (faith) but also for what Christians do in Spirit-empowered action (ministry). Course Prerequisites: None

Oral Roberts University was conceived in the midst of the Charismatic Movement and stands as a living witness to the impact that this worldwide ecumenical [note: this does NOT mean "all roads lead to God"...what this means is that the Charismatic portion of the Church crosses denomonational barriers...Baptist, Presbyterians, Methodists, etc.] movement is having upon the Church Universal. The Charismatic Movement represents that portion of the Christian church which is characterized by the belief that the occurrences mentioned in Acts 2 on the Day of Pentecost not only signaled the birth of the Church but described an experience available to believers in all ages. This experience of an endowment with power is referred to as the “baptism in the Holy Spirit” and is believed to be accompanied by the Spirit-given ability to speak in tongues. A central principle of charismatic theology is that God is still in living commerce with people, working supernaturally through healing and the gifts of the Spirit."

Now, finally, if you want to study up on what we as Charismatic Christians believe, I am MORE than happy to mail you some resources. Being in the "buckle of the Bible belt", this is very easy for me to do. If you wish me to do so, do not think I am asking you to post your address here for the whole world to see. I'll give you my email address so that you can give me your address privately. I look forward to hearing from you.

Response[edit]

That would be Great[edit]

What I suggest, though, is to create a temporary email address (with hotmail or gmail) that you can post here. I'll then use my own personal email account to email you, and you can then copy my address into your personal email account. Then you can close down the temporary email address. That way it can all be private.

Giving me URLs would be preferable, but I'll check out whatever you send me. I'm more than happy to keep going here at Wikipedia, simply for the fact that there will be a permanent record of our conversation here for decades to come. Moreover, it will ensure that our conversations are polite because if one of us goes off the deep end and says something bad then there is the Wikipedia police who can kick them out. I don't think that will happen, but I think our conversation here may one day be referenced by those researching into the whole Reformed/Word-faith difference. It's up to you though.

Those Bible verses you quote[edit]

Look, I agreed not to hotly debate things so I won't. I will say that the verses you have quoted from that support your thesis have been misinterpreted, misunderstood and used against their natural meaning. In other words, I am saying quite simply that they do not and can not support the Word faith position. It's not your fault, it's the fault of those who taught you those verses. I'd love to go into detail for each reference, but until you are willing to engage with me on this I will refrain out of respect for you. I'd love to explain to you why, but it is mainly to do with the idea of proper hermeutics - that is, reading the Bible in its grammatical and historical context.

Spring Break at ORU[edit]

So what sort of things did ORU students get up to? Wet bible competitions? Seeing how many jugs of tang people can drink? Fasting competitions?

I obviously jest... not being American I had no real idea what Spring Break involved until I read about it in the last few years. There is no real equivalent here in Australia. So my little jokes above are the result of stereotypes - the mixing of stereotypical "Spring Break" behaviour with stereotypical "Bible belt" behaviour.

--One Salient Oversight 08:31, 23 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I apologize for my delay![edit]

I am really sorry I haven't gotten back to you. To be honest, it has been hectic and I have not had an opportunity. I apologize. Anyway, this is one of the reasons I want to give you some resources, not the main reason however. I want to give you the teaching resources of some of the more well-known Charismatic ministries. This way, you are getting your information "from the horse's mouth". You can email me at my temporary email address: bentemp710@yahoo.com I will get you some resources that will give you a clear understanding of Charismatic Evangelical doctrines.

A Brief Addition[edit]

We recently had a lecture in my "Charismatic Life" class on the role of healing in evangelism. Here is an excerpt from my lecture notes...

7 Reasons You Can Know that Jesus Heals Today

1. Jesus heals because He has compassion.

Mark 2:40-41
Hebrews 4:15

2. Jesus heals to bring glory to His Father.

Matt. 15:31

3. Jesus heals to fulfill the Father's promise.

Matt. 8:16-17

4. Healing belongs to God's children..."the children's bread".

Matt. 15:26
Mark 7:27

5. Healing demonstrates the power of God.

John 10:37-38

6. Healing demonstrates the power of His Blood.

Isaiah 53:5 (cross-referenced with Matt. 8:16-17)

7. Jesus heals to destroy the works of the devil.

I John 3:8
Luke 11:19-22
Acts 10:37-38

I want to add here again what my main emphasis is. What I desire is for us to come to an understanding that Charismatics Christians are not believing a different gospel. To be honest, and I've said this before, if what I believe now is not the one true Gospel, than I don't know what to believe...why? Because WE HAVE THE SAME CORE BELIEFS!!! I'M NOT JUST SAYING THIS...IT'S THE TRUTH! Anyway... Before you write to that email address, let me know that you've sent me an email on this page. Thanks!

I HAVE EMAILED YOU
One Salient Oversight 04:15, 4 Apr 2005 (UTC)

P.S.:

At ORU, Spring Break consists of guzzling tang by the Arkansas River...that sugar can give you quite a rush!! No, unfortunately at alot of the secular colleges, Spring Break fits that stereotype. However, here, in general, that is not the case. Of course, I am certain there are those who attend here who do such things...no one I know, mind you. But no matter where you go if you go to a Christian school, there will always be those who don't care about spiritual things, unfortunately.