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Assembly of God wrestles with speaking in tongues (link)
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Post Re: 25 Gifts? This is exactly the problem! Link
MS7777 wrote:
While God gives "gifts" to His children, these might more accurately be defined as "talents". There are 9 SUPERNATURAL Gifts of Charisma (1 Cor. 12:4-10) including the Gift of tongues which, although simialrto, is distinct and different from the the initial evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.


There are lots of 'charismata' in scripture, more than just 9. The gifts listed in Romans 12 are 'charismata' in Greek.

I Corinthians 12 doesn't call the 9 gifts 'supernatural gifts.' It does call them 'manifestations.'

Quote:

The idea of 25 gifts waters down the supernatural aspect of the true gifts and makes people more comfortable with the fact they haven't received the the real baptism in the Holy Spirit. THis is exactly the problem in our churches today. This kind of thinking and teaching minimizes the power of God and relegates Him to gifts of celibacy, poverty, etc which may be God-given but are more likely personal prefences and pre-dispositions.


This is an area where traditional Pentecostal thinking is limited. I Corinthians 7:7 indicates that marriage or celibacy are 'charismata'-- the same word translated 'gifts' in I Corinthians 12. They would probably be better translated 'grace gifts', but our Bibles translated 'charismata' as 'spiritual gifts.'

We need to recognize that things that aren't spectacular-looking can come from God's grace, too.

Quote:

God deliver us from such thinking. We need the power of God today as never before.


I agree we need God's power. We need the non-spectacular looking gifts, too, though.

Quote:
I know others disagree but the only entry way into the Gifts of the Spirit is by being Baptized in the Holy Spirit and the only way (yes, I said the ONLY way) to know if you have been baptized in the Spirit is by some outward evidence. THat's what the Apostles believed (see Acts 11 for Peter's remarks to the church in Jerusalem after he witnessed the outpouring of the Spirit at Cornelius' house.


Emphasis mine. Show me where you get the bolded part from scripture. Peter did not say that the only way to know if someone was empowered by the Spirit was by outward evidence. And one of the forms of evidence in that passage isn't even that spectacular. They 'magnified God.'

In Acts 19, one of the things that happened when the Spirit came on certain men was that they prophesied. Why do so many traditional Pentecostals say that tongues is THE evidence? The Bible doesn't teach that.

And if someone does believe in initial evidence, how does using the phrase 'spiritual gifts' to describe 'charismata' mentioned either in I Corinthians 12 or 7, or Romans 12, or some other passage mean he is minimalizing the importance of God's power? That doesn't add up.
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Post Re: Let Me Recommend Two Books Link
FG Minister wrote:
I think a church that has the gifts of hospitality and mercy are perfect churches for the vocal gifts.


I don't object to the idea that someone might have special grace for hospitality, but on the other hand, it irks me to read about the 'gift of hospitality' for two reasons.

1. The Bible doesn't call it a gift.

2. Showing hospitality is a COMMAND.

Romans 12 lists gifts and then commands believers to show hospitality. The problem with telling everyone about the 'gift of hospitality' is that some people will think, "that isn't my gift."

It's like talking about the "gift to be able to love your neighbor." Some people may be gifted with special grace to love their neighbors more than others. But loving ones neighbor is a command that all who are in Christ have access to grace to fulfill.
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Post Re: 25 Gifts? This is exactly the problem! Randy Johnson
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Last edited by Randy Johnson on 9/23/09 11:16 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post NOMINATED: THREAD OF THE YEAR Rafael D Martinez
fwiw .. so glad this one got stickied
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Post I have appreciated the civil dialogue MS7777
Thanks to all who have posted. I do want to add one more thing however. The original post has a link to a Christianity Today article that was quite accurate and an apt description of the tension in the two camps in the AG.

I didn't want this thread to devolve into an intial physical evidence thread, it is not. Whether anyone chooses to believe this doctrine is immaterial to the discussion. The AG (and as far as I know the COG) has it as part of their foundational doctrine. The tension that exists in the camp is what role should the manifestation of the Holy Spirit (the 9 gifts of 1 Cor. 12 and more specifically the vocal gifts) have in our normal worship services?

My concern, and many others' concern, is that our churches have bought into a mindset (that is most often promulgated by the "Seeker/Emergent/Missional" church growth adherents - not that all of them do - just many) that not just diminishes the manifestions, it outright makes them unwelcome in our churches. While this is fine in churches who do not have this doctrine as part of their DNA, it is quite something else to have a name on a church that says one thing and in practice be something else.

Throughout the world as I preach, where we are seeing the most success evangelistically and where the church is growing the most, is where the Holy Spirit and His manifestations are made welcome (yea invited and expected) in the services. It is tragic that we in America and the Western church which launched Pentescost to the world have become too sophisticated to allow Him in our meetings today.

This turn of events prompted my first post and still moves me and makes me promote the Cause of Holy Spirit to my peers (not to the exclusion of the rest of the Gospel). I want a church where the Spirit of God is embraced and welcomed and where everything is done " decently and in order". We have been frightened off by wild fire so we toss the baby out with the bath water. Teach your people, do not be afraid of the Holy Spirit, train them how to act but by all means stop grieving the Spirit in our churches.

be blessed, my brothers and sisters.
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Post Re: I have appreciated the civil dialogue Travis Johnson
MS7777 wrote:
This turn of events prompted my first post and still moves me and makes me promote the Cause of Holy Spirit to my peers (not to the exclusion of the rest of the Gospel). I want a church where the Spirit of God is embraced and welcomed and where everything is done " decently and in order". We have been frightened off by wild fire so we toss the baby out with the bath water. Teach your people, do not be afraid of the Holy Spirit, train them how to act but by all means stop grieving the Spirit in our churches.

be blessed, my brothers and sisters.
Maranatha


MS,

These are good words. I would further contend that we have overly fixated on the gifts and failed to focus enough on why the Holy Spirit brings power. In fact, it may more rightly be argued that the initial evidence of Spirit Baptism, according to the words of Jesus, is "power." And, the reason why the American Pentecostal church isn't growing is because we are being baptized into all too often culturally learned hand-me-downs as opposed to the Power of the Holy Spirit. Consider the words of Jesus:
Quote:

4 Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. 5 John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
The Ascension of Jesus
6 So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?”

7 He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” ACTS 1:4-8


What higher authority on Spirit Baptism do we have than Jesus? He says, we will A) receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on us. B) And, we will be witnesses.

To me, we have short circuited our credibility as Pentecostals by our reductionist approach to the powerful, mysterious, holy, and supernatural person of the Holy Spirit. He is powerful. But, we box Him up and merchandise Him like He's some kind of trick pony. He deserves better than that. And, if we don't learn to re-engage discussions about hard-to-understand aspects of experiential theology, we will lose whole swaths of people to the Gospel. They will find our hard-to-defend dogma synonymous with the simple, horrible, and life-changing Gospel of Jesus as we speak to both with the same level of certainty.

In our desire to make it make sense, we undercut our power to preach and communicate Jesus.

MS, I want to say thank you to you for letting me share honestly without mischaracterizing me. This is a refreshing discussion. Thank you.
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Post Pentecostal Growth Ichthus77
What I don't understand in this desire to "remove Pentecostal elements" like speaking in tongues in order to be "not offend anyone" and thereby grow faster is:

Don't they realize that the very nature of Pentecostalism and those very elements is WHY Pentecostalism and Charismatic type churches are the fastest growing religion?? I mean, duh....

SOMETHING attracted people to these movements like A/G and COG to make them grow from little obscure groups from 1914 (A/G) to 50-60 million around the world today. Or like the COG only existing since 1886 and from the hillbilly woods to what it is today. Double duh....
Something draws people to this kind of church and it ISNT video vignettes and secular rock clips, or dancers shaking their hips, or Starbucks coffee. All that stuff is the last few years or so....

And these movements grew swiftly even when they were clothes-line legalistic!!! Even look at the UPC today, millions strong, and still strict and emotional. It's not dying or disappearing.

Baptists and others have been around for CENTURIES and yet Pentecostals have become the fastest growing religious phenomena in under 100 years. They didn't get that way by softening their distinctives, or underplaying their differences. In fact why do you think Baptists are now raising their hands, and using Praise /worship music instead of hymns at times, etc. It is the influence of Pentecostalism!

The very things that make the Penteocstals different are what have made them grow like wildfire, and are the very things that non-Pentecostal churches are now imitating to some extent.

Sure, on a local level, you can surely find many COG dead and boring and stuck in the 1950s and up the street a seeker sensitive church with lively music and 5000 attendees. But the growth hasn't stopped in those COG churches because they haven't adopted new styles or fads, but rather becuase they have become luke-warm and indifferent and lost the true Pentecostal fire. As well as losing the evangelistic zeal. True Pentecostals have always been intensly evangelistic and fervent in sharing their faith down thru the years, even with their wild emotional services and strict legalistic clothes-line preaching. And they grew like crazy!! Not from new methods or new fads, or from "toning things down" even the least bit,but from zeal and the fire of the Holy Ghost baptism.
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Post Good Dialogue Mark Hardgrove
This thread is a good read. I will say that after attending the Symposium on the Great Commission I have been challenged to become more missional minded. That is, I want our church to think like and live like missionaries. This means that we must attempt to understand the culture in which we live, while offering a counter-culture. We must learn to start with where the people are if we hope to connect, and to show them (through our lives and love) the way toward hope and healing.

I am radically Pentecostal, but the people we are trying to reach are radically lost. So like Paul we may start with the unknown god and point them to Christ. I think part of the problem with church is our obsession on Sunday morning. It's time for our church to be the church beyond the walls.

It is not unsual for tongues and interpretation in our services. We have a choir who worships with gusto while they sing. We teach and preach tongues as initial evidence for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. But when our members are missionaries, I don't expect that they will necessarily sit down with their lost friends and start speaking in tongues. I hope they will begin with a discussion the other persons concerns, fears, hopes, etc. and then help their lost friends connect the dots that lead to Jesus as their hope and healer, as the source of peace in a land of termoil, as rest in weary land, and so on.

As a missionary outpost our church should be identifying the needs of our community and finding a way to touch people at their pointof need. This week we are going out to mow yards for elderly people, working in the community food pantry, collecting resorces for the crisis pregnancy center, visiting the nursing homes and shut-ins, an much more.

It is strange that there is so much termoil in denominations about such small slice of the church's existence. I know that the doctrinal foundations are important for what occurs beyond the doors of the church, but some churches never get beyond the doors so for them the discusion is just a distraction.

Just wanted to add my voice to a great discussion. Thanks MS and Travis.
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Post Maybe I am "old school" BUT... Pastor Jim L. Hamby
I still believe in a demonstration of the Holy Spirit and that includes a public gift of speaking in tongues and interpretation of those tongues. Of course, I know there is a difference in devotional tongues and the public gift of tongues and I want the devotional tongues in a service to be prvate and quiet.

I still preach and strongly believe that Jesus is coming back for the same kind of church that He left when He ascended on the Mt. of Olives; a church that is seeking all that He has for them (including speaking in tongues). I know that they did not become pentecostal for 10 days after He ascended but they went straight to the upper room and sought Him intensely until the Comforter came and then they went out and turned the world upside down.

Why are we not affecting our society like that early church did? Maybe it's because we have put our pentecostal distinctive on the back burner.
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Post Randy Johnson
I don't have Scripture for this, but I believe that God wants us to eagerly desire the manifestations of the Holy Spirit in our church meetings and in our lives. I also believe tongues is the easiest place to start, but God does not intend for us to stay there.

My mother and I were discipled in the things of the Spirit by an older saint who is now in her mid-80s and still pastoring a church in northern Vigo county in Indiana. She taught us to act in faith when we felt the Spirit prompting us to give a message in tongues in a service and to go on from that and pray for the interpretation. Being a highly impressionable 11 year old boy taught to respect his elders (I still don't call anyone by their first name unless they tell me to), I obeyed her instructions and began giving messages in tongues appropriately.

I don't know how the people in the church reacted to it, but the pastor thought it was genuine and he was no pushover (when I got to be an older teen he once told me I had an ego that needed flushed down the toilet, I've been carrying a spiritual plunger around ever since). By the time I was eighteen I had progressed in faith to give interpretations. I say progressed in faith because, quite frankly, it takes faith to operate in the manifestations of the Spirit, at least faith to believe it is the Holy Spirit prompting you to speak (I never lost consciousness or the ability to stop).

I believe it is God's will for all of the nine manifestations of the Spirit to be present and active in all of our churches at the appropriate time. In the past, we have settled for three or four, but I think we receive what we have faith for. It takes faith to speak out in tongues, it takes more faith in my opinion to speak out in interpretation and prophecy (because people understand what you are saying and can judge it).

The Charismatic movement had faith for the word of knowledge but I think it has been turned into a carnival sideshow by some. Who is having faith for, and can recognize, a word of wisdom when it is spoken under the inspiration of the Spirit? These manifestations should be present in our churches and not just reserved to the professional Christians who have bible college and seminary degrees and hold credentials with manmade organizations.

People who have tender hearts stand in awe at the genuine manifestations of the Holy Spirit among God's people. Those with hard hearts despise them and simply look for more loaves and fishes.
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Post Re: Maybe I am "old school" BUT... Travis Johnson
Pastor Jim L. Hamby wrote:
Why are we not affecting our society like that early church did? Maybe it's because we have put our pentecostal distinctive on the back burner.



Pastor Jim,

I share much of what you wrote, especially that we ought to see a full demonstration of the Holy Spirit in our churches. To your last question, I would begin one chapter earlier than what has come to dominate our camp meetings and denominational culture as it pertains to what exactly our Pentecostal distinctive is. I would continue on through Acts 2-28 as well. In fact, I continue to find myself somewhat troubled by choosing the Day of Pentecost as the hinge point/starting point for what is deemed foundational to our tribal interpretation of what defines the substantial evidence of the Holy Spirit coming on us.

I fear that in our obsession with some sort of statistical analysis of Spirit Baptism, we fail to obsess with who the verbal authority on it is and what He said, instead leaning on the experiential inference of what should happen in that moment.

OUR PRIORITY IS GIVEN TO THE EXPERIENTIAL INFERENCE

3 of 5 times in the book of Acts, we see tongues accompanying Spirit Baptism. I don't dispute that. I welcome it, embrace it, teach it, and have also experienced it and continue in that experience.

THE AUTHORITY SHOULD BE GIVEN TO THE EXPLICIT PROOF FORMULA AS STATED BY JESUS THEN SECONDARILY TO THE EXPERIENTIAL EVIDENCE AS SHARED IN 60% OF INSTANCES IN ACTS
Jesus stated explicitly in Acts what would happen:

Quote:
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” -ACTS 1:8


Formulaic expression would seem to be:

Quote:
HOLY SPIRIT BAPTISM + THE BELIEVER = POWER TO WITNESS


This is the explicit detailing of this experience by Jesus. His stating of this establishes that this is the PROOF. Yet, we create our bedrock faith statements based on a less authoritative tool, evidence. Evidence leads us to the proof. Yet, evidence can be wrong. Proof is the conclusion, beyond all of the evidence. Proof is more authoritative than evidence.

We almost completely disregard the authoritative words of Jesus on our formation/modeling of this doctrine in favor for a subjective evidentiary claim.

I say this and even wade into this, not because I want trouble in a denominational hot topic. But, I say it because I want a pure heart in my relationship with the Holy Spirit. I'm somewhat troubled that even in anticipating tongues accompanying Spirit Baptism, we would so marginalize and diminish the Chief Shepherd, highest initiator and embodiment of doctrine in favor of our subjective ability to know better or to elevate experience to a more prominent position than His Word.

I say this not to pick a fight over initial evidence. I say it to challenge our priority in discerning what is primal, original, simple, authoritative. I want a powerful move of the Holy Spirit with Charismatic gifts flowing. But, surrounded by an orchestra of cheap imitation evidences, I simply ask God for a primal and supernatural power to witness as Jesus said we would receive when the Holy Spirit comes upon us.
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Post Randy Johnson
Travis, it is power to be a witness, not power to witness.

Not everyone has the gift of evangelism anymore than all have the gift of tongues.

Jesus said you shall be witnesses not you shall do witnessing.

Witnesses testify to what they have witnessed.

So the power of the Holy Spirit would be to make us witness something to which we can testify.
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Post Travis Johnson
Randy Johnson wrote:
Travis, it is power to be a witness, not power to witness.

Not everyone has the gift of evangelism anymore than all have the gift of tongues.

Jesus said you shall be witnesses not you shall do witnessing.

Witnesses testify to what they have witnessed.

So the power of the Holy Spirit would be to make us witness something to which we can testify.


Power to be martyrs...living/dying testimonies of His Revolutionary Life powerfully and explosively functioning through us. And, not to discount tongues but, it is not power to simply utter other languages within the confines of a dying social gathering.

It is primal, powerful, simple, and mysterious. And, that's what I want- a mysterious and sudden and abiding empowerment in my life, expressing everything expressed by the Holy Spirit through me and us as recorded in the Book of Acts...without excluding the authoritative proof Jesus said to expect in Acts 1.
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Post Power to BE witnesses MS7777
I too decry the notion that tongues and the vocal gifts are the be all and end all for the Pentecostal church. I think that the 9 gifts and all the fruits of the Spirit should be in evidence in our lives personally and corporately in the manner the Spirit of God dictates. To relegate ourselves to be described by tongues is an aberration of who we are.

My contention has always been that the church should allow the Spiritual Gifts to be manifested in the life of the church. My main point has been to decry the notion that the realm of the supernatural has NO role in the life of the church today, especially on Sunday morning. Initial evidence notwithstanding, the entry way into the power to BE witnesses is the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. To diminish this understanding and truth is to diminish us as Pentecostal and relegate us to the great evangelical hordes of today.

1Co 4:20 For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.

1Co 2:1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.
1Co 2:2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
1Co 2:3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.
1Co 2:4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
1Co 2:5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

Paul understood that it took the power of God in physical manifestation to express who God was and that His words were true. THe miraculous, supernatural manifestations of God always bear witness and often provide a preaching point to the Word of God.

Wherever I preach around the world, the Word of God is preached but as God confirms the Word with signs following, people understand the Words we have spoken are indeed the Word of God and they believe it.

It should be understood that the Western Church still needs a demonstration of the power of God. It doesn't need wild fire, or just tongues or even prophecy but when God manifests His power in a service in the real way, whether it is tongues or the miracle of healing, people understand that only God could hav done this and it make them prone to beleive the other word spoken.

When we disallow the move of the Spirit (whether from fear or lack of teaching or whatever) we have diminished our ability to BE witnesses. IT takes the Spirit and His power to show a world bereft of love, bereft of hope and bereft of faith that there is a God in heaven who still cares for His creation. And He shows His care by His power!

The only way to access that power is the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and we must allow the Spirit of God to still operate in our churches. That has been my consistent point. Styles of preaching, styles of dress, style and preferences of singing are just that - style preferences. Be as relevant as you wish, but I contend that the POWER OF GOD IS STILL RELEVANT TO GOD"S CREATION!

Forbid not tongues and might I say Forbid not the Spirit.
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Post Re: Pentecostal Growth Emergent Earl
Ichthus77 wrote:
Something draws people to this kind of church and it ISNT video vignettes and secular rock clips, or dancers shaking their hips, or Starbucks coffee.


Why must you demean those of us who are emergent?
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Post RE: Rick Metzgar Jr
http://www.christian-life.com/index

I have very close friends of mine whom I attend church with on a regular basis, they were big members at christian life assembly in camp hill pa. They don't actively teach on tongues nor have they heard it embraced in membership of over 20 years. They are more of a Neo pentecostal approach. There is a lot of autonomy given to the local churches in the a/g now days so basically its as it is locally interpretted.

Look at the churches doctrinal statement, nowhere is tongues even mentioned.
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Post Re: RE: Randy Johnson
Rick Metzgar Jr wrote:
http://www.christian-life.com/index

I have very close friends of mine whom I attend church with on a regular basis, they were big members at christian life assembly in camp hill pa. They don't actively teach on tongues nor have they heard it embraced in membership of over 20 years. They are more of a Neo pentecostal approach. There is a lot of autonomy given to the local churches in the a/g now days so basically its as it is locally interpretted.

Look at the churches doctrinal statement, nowhere is tongues even mentioned.


That's sad, really really sad.

There has always been autonomy local A/G churches, that is, for the congregations (they are the ones with the most "rights").

Maybe the real problem is that Pentecostals have shot themselves in the tongue by not doing more with their "Pentecostal experience" than speaking in tongues and having emotionally driven church services.
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10/7/09 5:40 am


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Post This is exactly my point MS7777
While local AG churches are sovereign (that is they call their own pastor, own their own buildings and land, can incur indebtedness and set their own membership, etc.) they are still bound by the charter of the AG General Council. EVERY AG church has in its constitution a statement endorsing ALL 16 tenets of Faith (which includes a statement on the baptism in the Holy Spirit and a statement endorsing the Initial Physical Evidence of speaking in other tongues). Just because a local church doesn't have this statement on their website (intentionally) http://www.christian-life.com/aboutus/whatwebelieve.html doesn't mean it's not in their constitution - it has to be!

If an AG (or COG) church goes away from it's foundational moorings then while it may be able to in practice it is not technically able to do so in theory. This is exactly why the issue arose in our last General Council as we re-affirmed the Initial Physical Evidence doctrine. THis is how this thread got started - see the first post. You are being disingenuous (liar) if your constitution says one thing and your practice another all for the sake of getting a crowd.

I have no trouble with a church moving away from their Pentecostal roots (actually I do but....) but don't stay affiliated with an organization that is Pentecostal (at least in name). Leave quietly, go be a cessassionist in a denomination that believes the same as you (Reformed, Baptist, Presbyterian et al). (The reason they don't leave is 2 fold: 1) In many instances there is a reversion clause in the local constitution reverting the property to the AG if the local church leaves and 2) The General COuncil would lose members and more imprtantly serious money (as every AG church sends a portion of their General FUnd each month to the District COuncil and annually to the General Council and also these churches still support missions in a BIG way - which is why the Districts and General COuncil don't call these churches on their beliefs and practices - kind of like don't ask - don't tell).

We have bought into the lie that the Holy Spirit has no active role in visible manifestation in our world and churches today. It is sad!

Blessings
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Post It seems odd ... Mat
It seems odd to me that "Initial Evidence" is the "line in the sand" that many Pentecostal denominations and organizations (like the PCCNA) have chosen. Yes, being raised in the COGOP I have both preached and taught the "concept" of Initial Evidence, however, as I have "grown in the Spirit" over the years, and as I studied Pentecostal history, as well as my own family’s experience in the Baptism of the Spirit, I have come to question the focus on "Initial" and the lack of focus on continuing "Evidence" in the operation of the "Gifts of the Spirit". Often at the local church I pastor we have the operation of the Gifts of the Spirit, including but not limited to, speaking in Tongues. Those visiting from larger Pentecostal/Spirit-filled type churches (including AGs) will say to me or other members of our church that it has been years since they heard "tongues" in their church. I do not feel taking a "hard line" on "Initial Evidence" is the key, rather, it is the pastoral leadership of the local church allowing and seeking the operation of the Gifts in the worship service that is the issue. Why now and why "Initial Evidence", as the dividing point, when so many other "hard line" teachings developed during the formative years of Pentecostalism has been "soften"? Is there a secondary agenda of denominational leadership?

Mat
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10/7/09 12:29 pm


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Post Re: It seems odd ... Randy Johnson
Mat wrote:
It seems odd to me that "Initial Evidence" is the "line in the sand" that many Pentecostal denominations and organizations (like the PCCNA) have chosen. Yes, being raised in the COGOP I have both preached and taught the "concept" of Initial Evidence, however, as I have "grown in the Spirit" over the years, and as I studied Pentecostal history, as well as my own family’s experience in the Baptism of the Spirit, I have come to question the focus on "Initial" and the lack of focus on continuing "Evidence" in the operation of the "Gifts of the Spirit". Often at the local church I pastor we have the operation of the Gifts of the Spirit, including but not limited to, speaking in Tongues. Those visiting from larger Pentecostal/Spirit-filled type churches (including AGs) will say to me or other members of our church that it has been years since they heard "tongues" in their church. I do not feel taking a "hard line" on "Initial Evidence" is the key, rather, it is the pastoral leadership of the local church allowing and seeking the operation of the Gifts in the worship service that is the issue. Why now and why "Initial Evidence", as the dividing point, when so many other "hard line" teachings developed during the formative years of Pentecostalism has been "soften"? Is there a secondary agenda of denominational leadership?

Mat


Mat, I agree with you, we should be seeking the operation of all the manifestations of the Spirit in our worship services, however, you have to start somewhere, you have to have a point of beginning.

The point of beginning is the event of being baptized in the Holy Spirit in the first place. The question is, and was historically, how can we know when we have been baptized in the Holy Spirit? How can we know when the event has happened? Seeking to answer this question is what led to Parham's students studying the Scriptures in Acts. From that study came the conclusion that when people were baptized in the Holy Spirit in Acts, most often they spoke in tongues (3/5 or 60%, more than half, of the times).

Expecting and looking for continuing evidences is a valid exercise and expectation as well, but it is a different issue entirely from determining the way to know one has been Spirit-baptized to begin with.

All initial evidence is concerned with is initial baptism; not the continuing walk in the Spirit and His manifestations - which is certainly a second valid and necessary concern.

We must not judge a valid Scriptural teaching on the basis of the behavior or misbehavior of people who incorrectly or inadequately try to practice the teaching. Yet, I believe that when it comes to the teaching of initial evidence, that is exactly what many people do. They judge the teaching by the behavior of Pentecostals they have known or heard about, instead of searching the Scriptures for themselves and finding out what the text teaches.

My own personal study of the Scriptures have led me to honestly say that speaking in tongues and/or prophecy may be an initial evidence of Spirit baptism; or possibly even one of the other 7 manifestations of the Spirit. In any event, something supernatural should take place when one is baptized in the Holy Spirit. The Scriptures point to this fact no matter which manifestation of the Spirit you choose as evidene.

One thing I am convinced the Scriptures do not teach is that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is identical with the New Birth. I believe the Scriptures teach that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is an event separate from and subsequent to the New Birth (even though the passage of time between the two events may be milliseconds, as in the case with Cornelius' household).

I believe the Shearer Schoolhouse Revival of 1896 demonstrates and supports the idea of Spirit baptism separate from the New Birth. Especially since the attenders were already saved and they weren't seeking tongues. The Holy Spirit came upon them and the tongues came with Him, just like they did in the New Testament.

What they, and other Pentecostals, have done afterwards, after receiving the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, in no way reflects falsely on the truth of the Scriptural teaching of Spirit baptism. Let God be true and every man a liar!

Paul had to address similar type issues in Romans regarding grace and people continuing to sin after they had made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. Some were accusing Paul and others of saying that Christ promoted sin because people were no longer under the law but under grace. Paul refuted that assumption and laid the blame of continuance in sin at the feet of the sinner where it belonged, not on the teaching salvation by grace.

The same principle is true of Spirit baptism and initial evidence. The truth of a Scriptural teaching is not negated by the ill-advised behavior of its supposed adherents. It is still true regardless of how people act.
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Randy Johnson, Pastor
Ickesburg Church of God
85 Tuscarora Path
Ickesburg, Pennsylvania
Hon. Dr. in Acts-celeratology
Posts: 5433
10/7/09 3:27 pm


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