CHARISMATIC & PENTECOSTALISM
Truth overview: There are many churches and denominations with charismatic and Pentecostal beliefs and tendencies. Along with false love and ridiculous “healing” services, three themes often characterize this emotion-driven, sign-seeking crowd: tongues, belief in water baptism to obtain the Holy Ghost, and shallow worship. Completely devoid of sound doctrine, such churches are filled with individuals who worship they know not what (John 4:22).
LIE #1: "Speaking in tongues is Biblical for Christians today"
In the same way He gifted men and women of the Old Testament with abilities to prophecy and do miracles, God gave first century believers the gift of tongues for a specific purpose and a specific time period only. Those who study the issue will clearly see that tongues, like prophecy, passed away when the Bible was completed. Those who do not study the issue will often make “speaking in tongues” the major doctrine and theme of their life as they faithlessly seek after a sign.
TONGUES WERE A SIGN GIVEN TO THE JEWS
Isaiah 28:11 “For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.”
Prophesied in Isaiah, tongues were a sign to the Jews that God was extending the gospel to the gentiles (all nations), not just the children of Israel. This was a major shift for the Jews because, as God’s chosen people, they were accustomed to exclusivity. It should be noted that in Acts and I Corinthians, the only two books that speak on tongues (outside of prophetic references in Isaiah 28:11 and Mark 16:17), tongues are only spoken when a Jew is present. This is the case in Acts 2, 10, and 19.
Once the Jews had been shown the sign and it was clear that the gentiles could be saved as well, the gift of tongues passed away and is never mentioned in the Bible again after I Corinthians. We’ll touch more on this in a bit.
1 Cor. 14:22 “Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not…”
TONGUES WERE REAL LANGUAGES
Another key to understanding tongues and how they are misunderstood today is to note that when someone spoke in tongues in the Bible, they spoke in a real language! It wasn’t gibberish, it wasn’t a heavenly language, it was a real foreign language.
Acts 2:7-11 “And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.”
If there was such a gift as tongues today it would be used on the foreign mission field and not within the church. To be sure, Paul taught that within the church tongues have no place.
1 Cor. 14:18-19 “I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.”
Note: When Paul says “though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels” in I Corinthians 13:1 he is speaking hypothetically. We know this because he also says in the following verses “though I … understand all mysteries … though I have all faith … though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor … though I give my body to be burned.” Paul hadn’t done any of these things and neither had he spoken in an angelic tongue. He was making the point that even if he did the most miraculous, impossible things it wouldn’t matter if he didn’t have charity.
TONGUES WERE REBUKED IN CORINTH
Tongues are only mentioned in Acts, a book of history, and in I Corinthians, which is a written rebuke to a carnal church. When Paul mentions tongues in I Corinthians he usually speaks of it in a negative sense. Why is it that some churches emphasize it so heavily when Paul always deemphasized it? The answer is that some churches do not know their Bibles.
1 Cor. 14:6 “Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?”
TONGUES HAVE CEASED
Just like other signs such as raising the dead and giving blind men their sight, tongues have ceased.
1 Cor. 13:8-10 “Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.”
The above passage tells us that prophecies shall fail and tongues shall cease. The question is when? For this answer it is helpful to know that I Corinthians was written in A.D. 59, at a time when only 39 of the Bible’s 66 books had been written and canonized (the Old Testament). In other words, only a “part” of the Bible was finished. It is also helpful to note that the passage tells us prophecies and tongues will cease when “that which is perfect is come.” But what is “that”? The tongues-babbling charismatic would have us believe “that” is referring to Christ’s second coming. But this is a stretch for a number of reasons including the fact that the passage would have said “he who is perfect” if it were referring to a person. No, instead it uses “that which is perfect” because it is talking about an inanimate object – the Bible.
After the time of I Corinthians 13 the rest of the New Testament’s 27 books are completed and canonized to complete the Bible’s full 66 book collection. Not coincidentally, the final book written is John’s final prophesy regarding the end of the world in the book of Revelation. When John ends his prophesy and simultaneous completes the Bible, he added what you would expect at the end of such a document – a note that the book is complete and that no more should be added to it. In other words, John gives us further proof that tongues and prophecy ceased at the moment the Bible – that which is perfect – was completed.
Rev. 22:18-19 “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”
After the completion of the Bible, actually after the writing of I Corinthians, tongues are never mentioned again in history. No, not mentioned in John Wycliffe’s day, not Martin Luther’s day, not Jonathan Edwards’ day. No, tongues are not mentioned at all until an ungodly group came together in 1906 at the Azusa Street Revival in California. Here is where tongues “miraculously” popped back into existence after ceasing for over 1800 years and the Pentecostal Movement was born. It was demonic then and it is demonic now.
The best advice for those who are dabbling with or completely caught up in this Satanic movement is found later in chapter 13 of I Corinthians. To put it plainly, the advice is to pick up your Bible and trust its clear and powerful words as all you need in this life.
1 Cor. 13:11 “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
Back when the Bible was only in partial form Christians relied on prophecy and tongues to aid them in daily life and ministry. Today, we have the full 66 books available and it is through studying them that we grow from the childishness of Christian infancy to spiritual adulthood.
Hebrews 5:13-14 “For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
Does I Cor. 14 teach that tongues are an angelic or spirit language?
No, the full context of I Corinthians 14 completely undermines the belief that tongues are some sort of spirit language.
The chapter begins and ends with how prophecy is a better gift than tongues because if you’re speaking in a tongue that nobody in the room understands, it is worthless. And then goes on to say how these “unknown” tongues should only be spoken with an interpreter. This means they were real languages (or how could they be interpreted?), but that the carnal church of Corinth was using the languages to simply puff up their own flesh instead of actually edifying the church.
1 Cor. 14:4-5 “He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. I would that ye all spake with tongues but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.”
Verse five tells us that the tongues in question can and should be interpreted. This means they’re not unknown to mankind, just unknown to the wayward user of the tongue. This is reiterated in verse 11 when it equates the “unknown” tongues with a barbarian tongue – a real but unknown language.
1 Cor. 14:11 “Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me.”
Additionally, if “unknown” tongues is speaking of a spiritual language, why in verses 13-14 would Paul say to pray that you can interpret the language so that it can be fruitful? The language cannot be interpreted, correct? The answer is that, just like in Acts, tongues were real languages meant for to witness to unbelievers.
Lie #2: "The Holy Ghost comes from water baptism"
Besides being heretical, to say that the Holy Ghost comes at baptism is to admit that you know nothing of true salvation, i.e. what washes your sin away and allows for God to dwell in you. God word clearly teaches that the Holy Ghost comes into your heart at the point of belief/salvation. This is shown in Acts 10 as the gentiles heard the word of God (verse 44), believed and received the Holy Ghost (45), and then Peter suggests that they be baptized (verse 47).
Acts 10:44,47 “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word ... Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?”
Some point to Acts 19 as an example of believers not obtaining the Holy Ghost until the point of water baptism, however, this crowd in Ephesus was still following John the Baptist and had not even been saved yet. They were still looking forward to a coming savior, and didn’t know the Savior Jesus Christ. Paul tells them that John taught the baptism of repentance, but that they needed to believe on Jesus Christ (verse 4). They believe and are subsequently baptized in the name of the Lord. It should be noted that it isn’t until verse 6 that the Holy Ghost is mentioned at all and this is only to say that the Holy Ghost moved them to speak in tongues (i.e. real languages as it shows in Acts 2). In other words, Acts 19 is in no way a proof text for the heretical belief of baptismal regeneration or that water baptism in some ungodly Pentecostal church is needed to obtain the Holy Ghost.
The Bible is clear. You believe first for salvation and this is when you obtain the Holy Ghost, and then you’re baptized second to show what you believe. Don’t ever be fooled into thinking that the work of water baptism saves or brings the Holy Ghost into your heart. Water is just water. We’re not saved by works or by anything we can see or touch. We’re saved by faith.
Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Acts 8:12 "But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women."
If the Holy Ghost does come from water baptism, Paul the Apostle certainly did not get the memo. He said that God did not call him to baptize people, yet we see him leading people to the Lord and the Holy Spirit working in lives all around him.
1 Corinthians 1:17 "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect."
Lie #3: "Contemporary [looks like a rock concert or a zoo] worship practices are of God"
Isaiah 33:14 "The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?"
John 4:22 “Ye worship ye know not what…”
One reason some churches never mention hell or sin is because they’re too busy holding shallow praise and worship services. Gone are the old hymns written by true believers with deep conviction in the face of great adversity and persecution. Gone are the meat-filled lyrics pointing to the cross, the blood of Christ, and saving grace. Today, projectors display songs containing just a few superficial words and church goers mindlessly raise their hands to praise a God they do not know. Meanwhile those on stage, who often look like they’ve just concluded a heavy metal tour, draw all attention to themselves. Sadly, there is little difference between today’s secular concerts and the average “praise and worship” service. Both glorify man, edify the flesh, and are a stench in the nostrils of a holy God.
What’s wrong with worship today? IT IS SHALLOW. It does not emphasize the truths of the Bible, it emphasizes and appeals to the worthless emotions within man.
John 4:23-24 “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
What’s wrong with worship today? IT IS FAKE. Anyone can raise their hands, smile, and say they love Jesus. But can you actually submit your heart to Him and obey His word?
Matt. 15:8-9 “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”
What’s wrong with worship today? IT IS CLUELESS. Thousands of church goers know the lyrics “Lord, Lord” in today’s contemporary Christian songs, but they do not know the Savior and the Savior does not know them.
Matt. 7:21, 23 “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven ... And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
Above all, praise and worship services have TAKEN THE PLACE OF SOUND DOCTRINE and conviction from the pulpit.
II Tim. 4:3 “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;”
II Peter 2:3 “And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you...”
Matt. 21:13 “And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.”
For further evidence that charismatic/Pentecostal churches are false, look no further than their confusing and chaotic church services. Between people babbling in tongues, gyrating in the pews with their hands in the air, or laying under pews as they’re slain in the spirit, such churches are a zoo. The poor visitor, somehow duped into visiting such a service, is left bewildered at the sight. God is not the author of this confusion.
I Cor. 14:33 “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.”
Acts 13:10 "And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?"