Written: April 8, 2017 | Updated on February 15th, 2020 | Jun P. Espina | 7 min read
I have an eBook with the Amazon that is related to extreme Pentecostalism. The title of the book is: Pentecostalism, Its Theology, and the Charismatic Chaos Revisited: Reexamining the Scriptural Works of the Holy Spirit on Miracles, Speaking in Tongues, and Church Worship of Extreme Pentecostalism.
This post is part of the Introduction portion of the book.
MOST CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALISTS view Pentecostalism as a deviation from orthodox Christianity. The problem is that most Baptist leaders, for example, don’t want to explore and study the Pentecostals’ so-called strange doctrines. It is just like describing the city of Paris through the Google Map; without visiting the place. Some argue, however, that one need not experience speaking in tongues to understand this heretical teaching. Everything is already taught in the Scriptures. Or, how sure are we; every leader has his own different conviction and truth corner?
I know I don’t have the authority to write about the spiritual transformation that most Pentecostal Christians have experienced through private and corporate worship or maybe through their tongues sessions or baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Pentecostals write about it, the so-called transformation. I didn’t take it seriously until I found it from the book “Real Worship” by one of the best fundamentalist Christian writers, Warren Wiersbe. He is a fundamentalist like me, but he wrote about how worship could transform the believers of Christ.
Wrote Warren Wiersbe:
“Christian worship must be intelligent, but there are some things that we cannot explain. Christian worship must be based solidly on objective truth, but it must include subjective experience; and that is where Christian mysticism enters in. God is a Person, and our relationship to Him must be personal. Just as a devoted husband and wife, or parent and child, will experience what they cannot easily define or explain, so the devoted saint of God, thirsty for spiritual reality, will enjoy and experience of God that transcends the academic. Even the biblical writers had to resort to divinely inspired signs and symbols in order to express the inexpressible. . . . True worship must always involve mystery.” 1
Who can refute Wiersbe of the blend of mystery in worship? The very first time I heard the Gospel through a Bible-preaching church I was convicted; I was saved that one Sunday—it was just so mysterious in my experience. I used to play hard to get in religion, but God’s Spirit worked in my heart that day, caused me to trust in Christ Jesus and saved my soul. For Christ “has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10) In my experience, my Lord Jesus came to my soul in a manner so spiritual and beyond words. Wiersbe is right; there is mystery in worship.
I had a friend, a valedictorian and a Pentecostal. He was a neighbor; and his comments after attending a worship service were more of the same: “What fun. . .we’ve fun in our church today!” I don’t have objection to such a church culture. I can tolerate it although I believe there is no Bible record that Christ laugh. My God is holy and I don’t know how to offer Him a “holy laughter.”
What I cannot accept as “pure Christian” is the volumes of YouTube presentation from the mega churches of the extreme Pentecostalists; the demon possessions and the pastor’s power to quench the mystery that is of “demonic origin,” to use Merrill Unger’s description of it. My Facebook Timeline is full of them. I cannot just sit down watching faithful Christians turned paganistic. That is the one thing I want explored in this material.
“The Holy Spirit was with us,” the confident Pentecostalists claimed. But judging from their “dancing Christ” we need more Bible lessons than heavy exposure with this objectionable Pentecostalism.
Any study of the Holy Spirit and His works is always urgent and far-reaching. I pray Christ’s blessings on this work that carries the message from the Scriptures concerning questionable teachings introduced by extreme Pentecostalism.
The original manuscript of this book composed of three chapters only in 1999 grew since then into twenty-six compelling chapters under five divisions or parts.
Signs and wonders occupy most of the extreme Pentecostal Theology. We give them latitude in this material.
Some topics extend across other chapters to build up the exposition and enlarge their application.
Preserving our Lord’s glory, honor, and teaching becomes this volume’s guiding rule. (See Mark 7:7)
I wrote somewhere in this book on the impossibility of understanding completely the extreme Pentecostal’s major teachings: the baptism of the Holy Spirit; speaking in tongues; miracles; and, praise and worship.
The Scriptures talked about these doctrines. Dwight L. Moody talked about his own baptism of the Holy Spirit. John Wesley, too, but both great evangelists did not speak in tongues.
The journal of John Wesley (1703-1791) as quoted by Wesley L. Duewel, the author of Ablaze for God, states:
“Monday, January 1, 1739. Mr. Hall, Kinchin, Ingham, Whitefield, Hutchins, and my brother Charles were present at our love-feast in Fetter-lane, with about sixty of our brethren. About three in the morning, as we were continuing instant in prayer, the power of God came mightily upon us, insomuch that many cried out for exceeding joy, and many fell to the ground. As soon as we were recovered a little from that awe and amazement at the presence of His majesty, we broke out with one voice, ‘We praise thee, O God, we acknowledge thee to be the Lord.’” 2
John R. Rice said the “Wesleyan revival saved England from a French Revolution.” Rice’s observation was: “How Different Is Present-Day Christianity From That of the Great Revivals!” 3
“In The Life of D. L. Moody, written by his son,” continued John R. Rice, “is a very simple but striking account of the secret of D. L. Moody’s power. Here is the story of Mr. Moody’s enduement of power, as given on pages 146, 147, and 149. . . . Then the narrative continues:
“During this Eastern visit the hunger for more spiritual power was still upon Mr. Moody.
“‘My heart was not in the work of begging,’ he said. ‘I could not appeal. I was crying all the time that God would fill me with His Spirit. Well, one day, in the city of New York—oh, what a day!—I cannot describe it, I seldom refer to it; it is almost too sacred an experience to name. Paul had an experience of which he never spoke for fourteen years. I can only say that God revealed Himself to me, and I had such an experience of His love that I had to ask Him to stay His hand. I went to preaching again. The sermons were not different; I did not present any new truths, and yet hundreds were converted. I would not now be placed back where I was before that blessed experience if you should give me all the world—it would be as the small dust of the balance.’”
What about Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the Prince of Preachers, what was his teaching on the anointing or baptism of the Holy Spirit?
Wrote John R. Rice: “In the sermon, ‘The Outpouring of the Holy Spirit’ (p. 50),” wrote John R. Rice, “Spurgeon says:
“’Jesus Christ said: “Greater works than these shall ye do because I go to my Father, in order to send the Holy Spirit”; and recollect that those few who were converted under Christ’s ministry, were not converted by Him but by the Holy Spirit that rested upon Him at that time. Jesus of Nazareth was anointed of the Holy Spirit. Now, then, if Jesus Christ, the founder of our religion, needed to be anointed of the Holy Spirit, how much more our ministers. . . .Let the preacher always confess before he preaches that he relies upon the Holy Spirit. Let him burn his manuscript and depend upon the Holy Spirit.” 5
Some leaders of the fundamentalist camp preached that there is no such thing as baptism of the Holy Spirit today since it was a onetime event at Pentecost. I heard such teaching Sunday after Sunday. I was searching for answers since those great revivalists who taught the anointing of the Holy Spirit were fundamentalists; some preaching the doctrine even before the birth of the Pentecostal Movement.
This paper intends to place the extreme Pentecostal doctrines under the light of the Scriptures. I believe in the fullness of the Holy Spirit, in miracles, and speaking in tongues as I found them from the Holy Bible. The extreme Pentecostals interpretation and application are just far different.
Wrote J. C. Ryle that “he who has not the Spirit has not Christ. He who has not Christ has no pardon of his sins—not peace of God,—no title to heaven,—no well-grounded hope of being saved….Settle these things down in your memory…No Holy Spirit in you,—no part in Christ! No part in Christ,—no forgiveness of sins! No forgiveness of sins,—no peace with God! No peace with God,—no title to heaven! No title to heaven,—no admission into heaven! No admission into heaven,—and what then? Aye: what then? You may ask. Whither will you flee? Which way will you turn? To what refuge will you run? There is not at all. There remains nothing but hell. Not admitted into heaven, you sink at last into hell.” 6
I love the way Ryle composed his thoughts on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. But this material is not about the Spirit’s indwelling that he discussed; but rather the fullness or baptism of the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues, and miracles. Most conservative preachers don’t like even to hear the mere mention of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. When you hear them talk, you discover that they really ignore the doctrine. Their natural gifts and skills in public speaking reveal themselves like the oratory of a politician—but without the wonder or anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Wrote A. W. Tozer:
“I once joined a small group attending a noon-day service in New York, and the minister said something which I cannot forget.
“He said, ‘We assume that if a man has heard the gospel, he has been enlightened. But it is false assumption. Just to have heard a man preach the scripture does not necessarily mean that you have been enlightened.’
“No, it is the voice that enlightens, it is the Holy Ghost, the point of contact. It is the Spirit of God speaking within. It is that which illuminates a man, and makes him accountable to God. The words of a text falling on his human ear may not mean anything—that inner voice means everything! A man has not been illuminated until that inner voice begins to sound within him, and that voice is the voice of conscience, the voice of conviction.” 7
This voice of conviction does not just inflame by human eloquence alone but by the power of the Holy Spirit. “The sermons were not different;” said D. L. Moody after experiencing the anointing of the Holy Spirit, “I did not present any new truths, and yet hundreds were converted.”
- Extreme Pentecotalism (On Speaking in Tongues)
- Tongues Speaking Examined Biblically
- Flawed belief system before learning real Christianity
- Saved Eternally and Assuredly from God’s Wrath
- Real Trust is the Result of Genuine Faith
- Fake Christians and Their Beliefs
- Human Responsibility to Believe in Christ