SERIES - Parts 1 to 5

Part One

  • In this series John Aldworth, a former Pentecostal pastor, but for years now a grace bible believer, critiques the fast-growing global Pentecostal movement.
  • Published 4 Oct 2014

Pentecostalism has two faces. One is its huge and apparent success in Christendom and the world. The other is the heavy toll of ruined, disillusioned and stunted spiritual lives it leaves in its wake.

Undoubtedly, as its supporters claim, Pentecostalism is growing and changing. But is it changing for the better? That is the real issue for the tongues-speaking movement that now comprises 600 million adherents worldwide – a fourth of all Christendom in fact.

More user friendly services, mega churches, a widening theology and a deeper concern for social welfare of the poor are being hailed in high circles as important advances in Pentecostalism worldwide. Against that, however, loud bleating can be heard from millions of shattered sheep who say that, at rock bottom, the Pentecostal-charismatic church experience is still the “same old, same old”, and hasn’t and doesn’t change.  What’s more, while Pentecostalism is exploding in Africa and still rapidly expanding in South America, as elsewhere, many new found converts to the persuasion leave almost as quickly as they came. Indeed most sizeable Pentecostal churches expect their entire congregations to change almost entirely every three to five years.

But before we get too critical, let’s hear from those applauding Pentecostalism’s ‘advance’. According to widely read Christian commentator Robert C. Crosby, Pentecostalism is getting ‘better’.  It’s no longer just about raising a hand to God but now also about reaching out a hand to the needy, he says.

Noted Pentecostal leader Jack Hayford concurs: ‘There is a huge awakening for social concern today … it is a welcomed renewal’.  Meanwhile social concern and prosperity teaching spearhead the advance of huge African transnational neo-Pentecostal churches such as the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) which has 10,000 churches in more than one hundred nations

Also in America, Rev. Samuel Rodriguez president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, with 30,621 member churches, says demographics is one driver for change amongst tongues-speakers. There is both a generational change and an ethnic one, he says; by century end most North American Pentecostals will be non-white and well under 30, with an urban (not rural) vision for a ‘salvation and transformation dynamic that fuses the covenant and community, righteousness and justice visions of Billy Graham and Martin Luther King’. Sounds great but will it really be the ‘mixture as before’ when it is put into practice, one wonders.

Now it is true that some churches have toned down Pentecostal basics. Tongues speaking is out in some services and talking yourself into a better person by positive thinking has taken the limelight from prophecies and supposed miracles in mega ‘seeker friendly’ churches

Theologically, however, Pentecostalism remains fundamentally the same seeing itself as a valid and ongoing re-enactment of Acts period miracles. Indeed, its ‘signs and wonders’ stance on the Bible is seen as ‘coming of age’ and about to more fully establish itself among other traditions, according to Fuller Theological Seminary systematic theology professor Veli-Mattu Karkkainen

Yet for all these claimed advances, there is much that should cause concern. For example, there is the vast multitude of disillusioned, one-time followers who still love the Lord but recoil in horror from their experience of Pentecostalism itself. Here’s a sampling from their recent Internet blogs:

CharlesinCharge: When I left Penteism in the 90s popular trends were crowing like a rooster,  roaring like a lion and birthing spiritual babies … recently I switched over to get a kick from the ‘Brownsville revival’ on God TV and what I saw was the same old crap as usual. It made me angry and sick to my stomach.  I can’t believe that stupid garbage is still going on in Texas and Florida after all these years.

Blackdog: Not much changes. They just keep rebranding the same old crap. They credit blind chance or their own manipulations to divine intervention.

Lozza: I walked out … as I had a dread of going through the same motions a decade later. Same people seem to fall for it too.

Elizabeth Niderer: When I left Willow Creek was all the rage. Less frothing, less emoting, more pseudo connecting, lots of positive thinking and ‘recovery’ blather. But there had to be a message in tongues with interpretation in very service just to prove we were Pentecostal. (Heck, I gave a lot of the interpretations; they probably sounded the same too).

CharlesinCharge: I wondered why God changed his mind so often and why none of the prophecies ever came true. I was always feeling like something big was about to happen but it never did. Even in the mega churches nothing of significance really happens. PCism is really a spiritual growth stunter. All the people are the same after 30 years and seem very immature and socially backward.

Lovemylife: Penties are such an inward-looking bunch. It’s all about ME, ME, ME … Their ‘big things’ are things that draw attention to themselves.

Well, that’s what they say. What has been my own experience?  As a former Pentecostal pastor, graciously rescued by God from that predicament, I care deeply about what is happening to people in the movement to which I once belonged. And just recently that concern has been sharpened by discussions with sincere ministers and believers in the movement.

In fact several disturbing things emerged from hours of talking with them about what the Bible really says about tongues and other Acts period miraculous experiences, namely that they have passed away. We also discussed Pentecostalism’s indifference to the Bible’s insistence on a present day experience of the grace-mystery revelation of the Apostle Paul as recorded in his later epistles.  Among others my concerns were:

  1. Eclectic accretion of other truths from scripture without ever fully believing what the words actually say or questioning basic Pentecostal beliefs in the light of them.
  2. Ongoing belief that the tongues, prophecies, miracles and signs and wonders of the gospel and Acts periods are still normative for today.
  3. A stubborn insistence that today real public miracles still do happen and spoken prophecies are fulfilled when the evidence is that repeatedly they do not.
  4. Preaching of doctrines that cannot be proved scripturally and teaching of ideas and practices that derive from paganism and ‘science falsely so called’ that are condemned as such in the Bible.
  5. Preaching from Old Testament and New Testament scriptures that totally ignores the Pauline prison epistles revelation of grace and the mystery that scripture states is God’s new dispensation of truth for today.
  6. Preaching of ‘grace’ that is really Pentecostalism in disguise.
  7. Rejecting the Apostle Paul’s command in scripture to cease speaking in tongues and prophesying

Now one Pentecostal evangelist I spoke to readily affirmed that the mystery (Eph. 3:1-4), of us being made one in Christ’s death, burial, resurrection and glorification, was truth but felt it more important to reach the unsaved by demonstrating miracles. Such truths as being saved by grace alone, being “made accepted in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:6) and being joined to Christ in one joint body, the ‘one new man’ (Eph. 2:15) were wonderful, he agreed.

However, his praying so that a woman could find her lost cat took precedence in his testimony. And, while the Apostle Paul said he would ‘not dare to speak of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me’ (Rom. 15:18) this man had no hesitation in saying he personally (not God, evidently) had lifted a man’s lame arm and that he was ‘instantly healed’.

When I insisted no such immediate miracles really happen today (only Jesus and his apostles and prophets being biblically recorded as doing such), he asked, ‘Where is the verse that says tongues, signs and wonders have stopped?’ I suggested he read the whole of 1 Cor. 13 for starters but evidently that was too much trouble. ‘Just show me one verse,’ he repeated.

Of course, there isn’t just one verse, nor even one chapter that does so; there are several. They should all be read in context but, if one had to be singled out it should be 1 Cor. 13:8:

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.

Paul here is speaking with full apostolic authority. He is not prophesying a yet far distant future event; rather he is commanding or speaking into being an end to tongues speaking and prophesying special revelation in the Corinthian church.  You see, apostles have God given power both to define doctrine and to mandate it into being. They can bring some things to an end and inaugurate others at God’s behest. Just as surely as there was no rain for three years at Elijah’s word in the Old Testament, so tongues were to stop and did stop at Paul’s word in 1 Cor. 13.

It is ironic that Pentecostals would deny Paul’s power to do this when they believe they themselves have power to speak better things into being in their own lives. Remember, it was Christ who did the miracles through Paul in the Acts period and here in 1 Cor. 13:8 it is Christ speaking through Paul when he orders tongues speaking to stop.

Sadly, much false doctrine, including that of Pentecostals, comes about because people simply do not read what the Bible actually says. 1 Cor. 13:9-10 is a case in point:

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.

Please note this passage does not say ‘… when He which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away’. It says ‘when that which is perfect is come’. God is not so crass as to describe his glorified Son as ‘that’; He well knows how to use the personal pronoun. Therefore the Pentecostal theory that tongues will only cease at the Lord’s second coming is demonstrably false.

But there is further proof. I pointed out to the evangelist that if Pentecostal churches actually obeyed the Apostle’s Paul’s instructions to the Corinthians about speaking in tongues (only three at most, and then interpretation, for example) the practice would cease in short order. The fact that it continues demonstrates only that Pentecostals remain wilfully blind to what scripture actually says.

You see part of 1 Cor. 12 and the whole of 1 Cor. 13 was written specifically to stop churches speaking in tongues but today, 1950 years later, many so-called Christians still don’t get that. Paul approached the matter diplomatically but put in plain language his basic message was: ‘Speaking in tongues? Shut up already’. Tongues, prophecies and miracles were, he explained, ‘kid’s stuff’ (1 Cor. 13:11):

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child: but when I became a man I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part, but then shall I know even as I am known.

What is it to ‘see through a glass darkly’? To begin with, it is to ‘know only in part’ and to prophesy (speak) ‘only in part’ (1 Cor. 13:9). But there’s much more to it than that. I have to confess that for many years as a Christian and, thank God for forgiving me, as a minister, I was in darkness, spiritually speaking.

You see, as a Pentecostal I was always seeking fresh revelation – that is a clear understanding of truth in the Bible - and never really finding it. I recall saying to a fellow minister when travelling to a Pentecostal pastors’ conference that I hoped I would learn new truth from the bible from the speakers there. His reply:  ‘If want revelation you’d better bring your own with you. You won’t learn much there.'

And as it turned out I didn’t. You see, I had yet to learn that God in the King James Bible means exactly what He says, and that that is all-sufficient. The Lord doesn’t need, or want, anybody to get up on their hind legs and ‘prophesy’ things that aren’t in scripture anyway. But at that time I still thought He did.

Fact is I was still seeing ‘through a glass darkly’.

©John Aldworth, Oct, 2014

Part Two

Published Oct 17 2014

By John Aldworth

1 Cor. 13:11: When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child: but when I became a man I put away childish things. For now we seen through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part but then I shall know even as I am known.

1 Cor. 13:9-10: 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.

Eph. 2:13-15: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off have been nigh by the blood of Christ. For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us: Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments, contained in ordinances, for to make in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace.

The problem with Pentecostalism is, not only that its supposed tongues speaking and baptism with the Holy Ghost is past, having been ended by God way back in the 1st century AD, but that even when it was in order it was at best only truth about God in part. The whole, the complete, the perfect was yet to come as the Apostle Paul teaches several times over in 1 Cor. 13.

The ‘inconvenient truth’ for Pentecostals today is that actually the perfect came during Paul’s lifetime and has been with believers quickened to God’s latest word through his apostle ever since. It is the perfect and complete truth of grace and the mystery that God is calling the saved to today, as He has been for the last 1960 years.

In Eph. 3:3 the Apostle says that at the time of writing to the  Ephesians                (AD64) he had already received that which was perfect, to wit the revelation of the mystery (Greek: musterion), which according to Vine’s, means a secret now made known. Vine comments that while in in the ordinary, Agatha Christie sense, musterion means ‘knowledge withheld’ and revealed only to the mustes, the initiated, its biblical meaning is ‘truth now made manifest to his saints’

Though little known and still less preached in charismatic and most other Christian circles, the heart of this mystery is the most wonderful truth God ever proclaimed to sinful man. Found only in his prison epistles (Ephesians to Philemon) it is not announced in Paul’s earlier, pre-prison epistles, Acts, the gospels or the Old Testament. The heart of it is twofold:

First, that God now saves believers saved by grace not by our works or anything else we do. . This is because, even when we were dead in trespasses and sins He hath already quickened us together with Christ (Eph. 2:5)

Second, it is that on the cross Christ abolished the law so that, in his death and resurrection, He could ‘make in Himself of twain (that is us as sinners and He Himself as the One made sin for us) one new man, so making peace (between God and us, that is)’ (Eph. 2:15).

Now those who no longer wish to peer ‘through a glass darkly’ should rejoice that these two verses pronounce a new gospel, one that supersedes all the good news that has gone before. This is because in this gospel of the mystery all that is needed to save us, sanctify us and present us ‘holy, unblameable and unreproveable in his sight’ (Col. 1:22) has already been done by God, leaving us nothing to do but to believe and receive.

But, and it’s a big but, if you cling to the past, to enigmatic promises shrouded in dark shadows because they are only seen through a glass darkly and only ‘in part’ (1 Cor. 13:9), then the fullness  of God’s grace  will not shine unto you. This is because it is the very nature of prophecy, to reveal truth only ‘in part’ and that ‘darkly’ so as not to be clearly understood. God Himself said so in Num. 12:6-8.

Determine to hang onto the baby stage of tongues and prophecies and you will stay in the dark. To you the glorious truth the Lord and the Father now make known to grace-saved believers will be an ‘enigma wrapped up in a riddle’; it will make no sense to you. For us who believe it is the joy of our life but to you it will be nonsense. As one Pentecostal put it: ‘If it means giving up tongues and prophecies, then I don’t want to know, whatever it is’.

Fact is that as long as you remain rooted in Pentecostalism you won’t even see, let alone experience, the glories of the mystery that God the Father wants to show to you.

A consequence of this is that, since God brought public miracles, prophecies, speaking in tongues and other ‘foretastes’ of the kingdom experienced during the Pentecostal dispensation to a close by the end of the Acts period, the attempt to recover them today can only be seen as a Satanic deception. It is a counterfeit designed as a false substitute for the real thing

The truth is that a spiritual diet based on charismatic phenomena that in reality rarely happen is anything but satisfying. It soon becomes a case of same old, same old. You see, God has placed a hunger in the heart of everyone who begins to trust in Christ for more solid food. And that food is found in the complete and perfect revelation of grace and the mystery found in the ‘sound words’ of Paul’s prison epistles.

So, if you want to see clearly, not ‘through a glass darkly’; if you want to know, not in part, but even as you are known and ‘face to face’, then this second study in the series, The Two Faces of Pentecostalism will set out the scriptural stepping stones of faith for you to do so.

Let us start with seeing clearly as opposed to peering through ‘a glass darkly’.  Fact is that there are only two references in the Bible to ‘darkly’ or ‘dark speeches’ that employ the same Greek word en ainigmata. One is 1 Cor. 13:12, ‘For now we see through a glass darkly’. The other is in the Septuagint Old Testament in Num. 12:6-8 where en ainigmata is translated ‘dark speeches’. Of course, it is from ainigmata that we get our English word enigma.

In Numbers 12 we find the Lord rebuking Miriam and Aaron for speaking against Moses; for saying the Lord also spoke by them, not just through Moses.  The Lord explains that:

… if there be a prophet among you, I the Lord, will make Myself known unto him in a vision and will speak to him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. With him I will speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches…

You see, to speak mouth to mouth is to see the one speaking to you. And back in 1 Cor. 13 didn’t Paul say that when that which is perfect was come he would ‘see face to face’? Dark visions, clouded dreams, things which nearly seem so but are not quite, or don’t happen the way they are supposed to, are the stuff of ‘knowing in part and prophesying in part’. Sadly, in today’s Pentecostalism it is the common experience. But in Moses we are given an Old Testament example of one who saw and spoke to God face to face. And what he heard and said came to pass.

Now consider what it is to ‘know even as also I am known’ (1 Cor. 13:12). Pentecostals believe this experience will only occur at the Lord’s Second Coming, this because in their view only He is perfect. But they err. Through grace God is making believers perfect even as we speak, and has been doing so from Paul’s time until now. Thus Col. 1:26-28 clearly explains just what it is that is perfect and that it did indeed come in Paul’s time. What’s more the passage sets out how experiencing it by faith makes believers themselves perfect:

Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations but now is made manifest to his saints; to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man and teaching every man, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.

Christ is indeed perfect and if He is in you and I, and we in Him, then we, as the ‘one new man’ Christ created in Himself on the cross (Eph. 2:15), are perfect too. That is because we were by the Father quickened together with Christ, when both He (as the Holy One made sin for us), and ourselves as sinners, were ‘dead in trespasses and sins’ (Eph. 2:5).

It is God’s making peace through the blood of Christ’s cross and his quickening of us together with Christ that makes us perfect. Indeed that is how God the Father ‘reconciles’ us to Himself and in the process makes us perfect. Proof of this is found in Col. 121-22, where we learn that:

And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled, in the body of his flesh to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.

So the perfect has come, but how do you know that is true in your case, and how do you know yourself even as you are known? The short answer is that you listen to what God says about you in scripture and believe it.

For example, if God says that you are ‘holy and unblameable and unreproveable before Him’ because of what Christ has done in dying for your sin and his making you one with Him in sin and death so that you can be one with Him in sinless resurrection – the quickening – then that is what He knows about you as a believer. He also knows that you:

Have been delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of his dear Son (Col. 1:13).

Are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God who raised Him from the dead (Col. 2:12).

Blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ (Eph. 1:3).

Chosen in Him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love (Eph. 1:4).

Have been made accepted (by Him) in the beloved, i.e., his Son (Eph.1: 6).

Have been saved by grace by being quickened together with Christ (Eph. 2:5).

Can by grace stand ‘perfect and complete in all the will of God’ (Col. 4:12).

If you believe what God says in the Pauline grace revelation about you as a grace-saved believer then, indeed, you will know yourself as you are also known. Furthermore you will see the wonders of his grace and complete salvation very clearly and ‘not through a glass darkly’.

©John Aldworth, Oct. 2014

Part Three

Beware the boozy babblers

Proverbs 23:29-32: Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at wine: they that go to seek mixed wine … At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.

1 Tim. 6:20-21: O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.

2 Tim. 2:15-18: Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.

By John Aldworth

Published Oct 28, 2014

In the countryside a soft babbling brook is a joy to hear. However, the babbling of many today who call themselves Christians jars like a loud clash of cymbals on the ears of those who truly know the Lord and experience peace through his grace.  

This study, the third in the series on The Two Faces of Pentecostalism, aims to discover just what babbling is and why it not only sounds off key to true believers but should be off limits to them as well. And we can note at the outset one reason for that. It is that, according to 2 Tim. 2:15-18, babbling is sheer ungodliness. That is, it is something that God is not like and would never do. Jesus never babbled, neither did Paul. What’s more the verse says that when practiced, babbling leads to even more ungodliness.

Now without argument babbling gets a bad press in scripture. So bad that in Proverbs there are no babbling brooks, only babbling drunkards. And in the two letters to Timothy, the only other places in the Bible where the word is used, Paul’s young disciple is urged to avoid and shun babblings altogether.

What’s more in Proverbs 23:29-32 the word of God clearly links babbling to drunkenness in both a literal and spiritual sense. Thus, just as in the natural prolonged drinking brings sorrow, provokes rows and causes men and women to mispronounce words, say things they don’t mean and don’t make sense and get into fights as a consequence, so spiritual ‘drunkenness’ also wreaks havoc in the Christian life.

If you doubt this, watch a video of renowned Pentecostalist Kenneth Hagin preaching up spiritual drunkenness and releasing it on his congregation. It is entitled Kenneth Hagin and the Spirit of the Serpent. In it Hagin prophesies a new interpretation of Acts 2:15. The Apostle Peter told Jews at Jerusalem hearing the apostles speak with other tongues – that is real languages – that ‘…these are not drunken as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that spoken of by the prophet Joel”.

Hagin’s spin on that was that the apostle were really drunk, but not drunk in the way their hearers supposed. They were, he averred, drunk on the Holy Ghost and therefore speaking in gibberish or babbling meaninglessly as Pentecostals do today. The apostles were spiritually drunk, Hagin insisted, and he wanted his congregation drunk too. ‘Drunks fall down’ he said repeatedly as he hissed serpent-like at people who then slithered uncontrollably out of their seats down to the floor.

Coincidence? Far-fetched nonsense? A harmless theatrical performance? Hardly. Through his prophecy and enacted pantomime Hagin actually released a spirit of drunkenness, laughter and sleep not only on his church but upon all Christendom. The ‘Laughing Revival’ swept the globe. Rodney Howard Brown went from city to city as the ‘the Holy Ghost bartender’ getting self-proclaimed believers and gospel preachers so spiritually drunk some were actually pulled over by police when driving home. Others said that after RHB laid hands on them they remained in a drunken stupor for days.

But the party was far from over. Uncontrollable laughter swept church after church. Wild scenes ensued in which Christians effected to flap like eagles, howl like dogs, bray like donkeys and roar like lions ‘as the spirit led them’. A video clip I saw showed one revivalist releasing ‘a laughing spirit’ on an African pastor in London. Untouched by human hand the minister was thrown 20 metres and left quivering and helpless against a wall. And Rodney Howard Brown regularly called for ministers of the gospel to come on stage then “shut them up and put them to sleep”. After his ministrations they could not speak, though called on to do so, and slumped silent to the floor.

When the discerning denounced this revival as spurious and not of God, the Hamilton pastor of a large Pentecostal assembly protested “but it filled my church. We’d have been sunk without it.”  Anything to get bodies on seats, it seems.

What has this got to do with babblings? Answer: much in every way. Babbling in tongues gibberish was the modus operandi of the Laughing Revival throughout. And as the Apostle Paul warned they would such babblings ‘increased unto more ungodliness’ (2 Tim. 216). One revivalist pastor publicly shut the Bible up saying ‘We’re through with that; it’s just party, party, party from now on’. Another said that through the spirit he had ‘shot the sheriff and was drunk, drunk, drunk’. Others sang, ‘No more Bible study, we’re going to see the king’.

Today the Laughing Revival has faded off the scene but the effect of its babblings remain. Long soaked in spurious spiritual experiences gibberish speakers today remain impervious to real scriptural truth. They have been put to sleep by a spirit of drunkenness that closes their eyes to truth and their ears to hearing what God is saying today. When pressed they will sometimes acknowledge some grace truth in the Bible but instead of pursuing it they always revert back to tongues. The ministry of Joseph Prince is a case in point. Prince undoubtedly teaches elements of real grace truth but he mixes it with ongoing approval of tongues, supposed signs and wonders and miraculous healings. In reality of course none of the above really happen. Granted there is may be a temporary sensation but at best it is only ‘a form of godliness … lacking the power thereof’.

What’s more it seems all but impossible to persuade Pentecostals exposed to tongues that there is a whole higher realm of truth in grace. After explaining for some hours the wonderful truth of the mystery – that we are made one with Christ irrevocably, for example – one Pentecostalist’s response was: ‘Yeah but I’ll stick with tongues. It’s what I know’.

Now people usually only babble when they are drunk and the Bible clearly links gibberish tongues with drunkenness, a weapon Satan has used against God’s people from the Flood until now. Noah, remember, ‘began to be a husbandman … planted a vineyard, drank of the wine … was drunken and uncovered in his tent.’ (Gen. 9:21). The devil obtained open entry into his life because God’s covering for his nakedness had been removed through drink.

In Isaiah 29:9 the prophet describes Israel’s similar spiritually fallen state due to their turning from the Lord:

They are drunken but not with wine, they stagger but not with strong drink. For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep and hath closed your eyes and the prophets and your rulers the seers hath he covered. The vision of all is become to you as the words of a book which is sealed.

That in a nutshell is what has happened to Pentecostalism. It has received a spirit of deep sleep to the truth of the latest word from God dispensed through the Apostle Paul to all men. It is, of course, a result of refusing to heed the apostle’s injunction to ‘rightly divide the word of truth’ (2 Tim. 2:15) and thus realise that God brought tongues and other supernatural manifestations of kingdom powers to an end in Acts 28:28 in order to bring in the totally new dispensation of grace and the mystery in Paul’s prison epistles.

Yes, tongues were of God in the Pentecostal dispensation of the kingdom of heaven running through Acts. But the tongues speakers then spoke in real languages, unknown to them but fully intelligible to those that as a result heard ‘the wonderful works of God’ proclaimed in their native tongues. No such gift operates today for all the pretensions of Pentecostalists to the contrary.

What passes for tongues in Pentecostal churches now then is not scriptural tongues but meaningless gibberish invoked by evil spirits. It is in fact babbling.

Importantly, the Apostle Paul characterises such babblings as ‘profane and vain’, meaning that they are of a profane, non-sacred, idolatrous nature. In short, he deems them the work of evil spirits. They are also ‘vain’, meaning empty of any good effect. Fact is scarce a single true convert to Jesus Christ can be found as a result of the ‘Laughing Revival’. What’s more its global ongoing effects undoubtedly have made make it much harder to win souls to truth in Christ. And there’s nothing funny about that.

What’s more, not only is babbling the product and cause of spiritual drunkenness; it also produces the madness idolatry brings.

Jer. 51:7: Babylon hath been a golden cup in the Lord’s hand that made the earth drunken: the nations have drunk of her wine; therefore the nations are mad.

Didn’t the Apostle Paul tell the Corinthians that if outsiders came into their meeting and heard them all speak in tongues they would think them mad? And didn’t he order a halt to their Lord’s suppers because some were drunk? Didn’t he warn those tongues speakers that they could not ‘drink of the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils’ (1 Cor. 10:21).

As we have seen babblings are both profane and vain. Profane translates a Greek word bebelos that is the opposite of sacred. It means that which is trodden down by the godless, that which is not of God. So, if you don’t want to be trodden down by the godless, quit babbling in gibberish.

As to ‘vain’ that translates kenophonia, meaning empty sounds. It thus embraces not just tongues gibberish but all ‘vain’ talk that is not firmly founded in God’s holy word, the scriptures. And Christendom in almost every denomination and persuasion is full of that. Unscriptural schemes of interpretation and schools of theological thought that step outside the sacred written word abound. And their words are ‘vain talk’, they are the ‘jangling’ Paul warned Timothy to avoid.

            Eph. 5:6: Let no man deceive you with vain words

1 Tim. 1:5-6: … faith unfeigned, from which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling.

Let’s heed the apostle’s commandment: Avoid profane and vain babblings and shun them.


Part Four

Is Pentecostalism bringing in a new Dark Age?

By John Aldworth

Published 17 Nov. 2014

2 Cor. 11:3-4: But I fear lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds might be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received or another gospel which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

2 Cor. 11:13: For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostle of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

In 6000 years the devil’s tactics haven’t changed.  What’s more from his viewpoint they don’t need to. For, just as giving the lie to God’s commandment in Genesis 2 worked by tempting Eve in Genesis 3, so down the ages Satan, by discrediting God’s word and offering emotional, illusory experiences in place of it, has succeeded in subverting much of the professing Christian church. And he still does so today.

In the 21st century, as in time past, he masquerades as an angel of light. What’s more, as the Apostle Paul said would be, his ministers appear as ministers of righteousness when, when their conduct and teaching is studied, it is found they are anything but.

Accordingly, in this the fourth study in this studies, we submit that what’s really wrong with Pentecostalism is it that it substitutes its own prophecies and experiences for the grace of the written word of God?

Both church history and current conditions in Christendom support this conclusion. In fact some commentators go so far as to  believe that just as the tongues-speaking heresy of Montanism brought in the Dark Ages 1400 years ago, so today’s Pentecostalism is fast putting out the light of revealed grace truth from the Bible and plunging the world into a another night.

So we ask two questions:

  1. Did Montanism with its prophecies, babbling, tongues, ecstatic experiences bring in the ‘Dark Ages’, the spiritual and intellectual blackout that eclipsed the world from 200AD to the 1500s?
  2. Is the current Pentecostal movement bringing blindness to the professing church and in consequence contributing to the growing darkness engulfing the world?

First let’s compare Pentecostalism with Montanism to see if they are truly the same. Then later we will look at evidence of their respective effects both on the historical past and on our present day experience of conditions in the world.

Montanism (150-451AD)

Montanus, a former pagan priest of Cybele, had not long been baptised as a Christian in the 2nd century when he began to speak in tongues, fall into trances and see visions. This was at a time when, according to church father Tertullian, the charismatic or spiritual gifts of 1 Cor. 12, had all but ceased. One history of church heresy describes Montanism as an ‘emotional, sensational and charismatic sect’ that attacked the priest-craft, ritualism and hierarchy of the then ‘church’, which was incipient Roman Catholicism. A reformer and ‘prophet’ Montanus condemned the church for lax morals and poor discipline. Like the Gnostics he despised and rejected ‘the flesh’ in favour of spiritual experience. While in a trance Montanus prophesied the imminent advent of Christ and inveighed against corruption in the church. He proclaimed that in him was fulfilled Christ’s promise of the ‘Paraclete’. In other words he felt he was anointed to guide the church into all truth. From what they say Joel Osteen, Brian Houston and other mega-church Pentecostalists of today evidently feel they occupy a similar role today.

In practice Montanists spoke in tongues, believed they were cleansed through water baptism and baptised with the ‘Holy Spirit’. They proclaimed miracles that didn’t happen and prophesied dire warnings that didn’t come to pass. They forbad marriage, longed to be martyrs and stressed personal piety and holiness. Two famous Montanist prophetesses Prescilla and Maximilla hung themselves when their predictions failed to come to pass

Importantly, as honest historians such as Gibbon have found, far from the ‘Dark Ages’ being caused by Christendom being overrun by ‘heathen barbaric hordes’ the blotting out of civilisation was brought about actually by the undermining of true, apostolic Christianity. According to Wikipaedia two Roman emperors, Constantius II and Valens, became Arians, as did prominent Gothic, Vandal and Lombard warlords both before and after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. Long before then Paul’s teachings of grace had been replaced by a moribund, sacerdotal religion of unbiblical dogma and ritual in the organised church. Then, in reaction to it, the devil (always a master in dialectic confrontation), brought in ‘lying signs and wonders’ - the counterfeit supposed recovery of the spiritual gifts and manifestations of apostolic Acts period under Montanism - to combat the ‘deadness’.

Pentecostalism (1900-2014 and ongoing)

Like Montanism, Pentecostalism burst on the scene in 1900 through one man. As Montanus did long before him, an itinerant turn of the century American preacher Charles Fox Parham sought to rediscover the ceased spiritual gifts of 1 Cor. 12. On New Year’s Day 1900 in Topeka, Kansas, he laid hands on Bethel Bible College student Agnes Ozman to receive the supposed baptism of the Holy Spirit as “a second work of grace’ – and she spoke in tongues.

Thus was the latter day, ‘latter rain’ movement conceived, but the man who brought it to birth, as it were, was the Rev. W.J. Seymour. This black American conducted wild revivalist meetings in run-down premises in Azusa St, Los Angeles. Seymour would cover his head with a shoebox as those who had had hands laid on them babbled in tongues, rolled on the floor, fell down, and lay motionless, cried, laughed, convulsed and even at times levitated off the floor.

Word spread and people flocked to Azusa St from through the United States and around the world to get the tongues experience and take it back to their churches. Pentecostal churches sprang up everywhere and in 1914 the Assemblies of God Pentecostal denomination was formed. In the 1960s the Charismatic Movement saw the Pentecostal experience introduced across the board to all denominational churches from Roman Catholic through Baptist to Presbyterian and even Calvinist congregations.

The comparison …

Is exact in every detail. Montanus spoke in babbling gibberish he called tongues but could not speak a real human language he did not know, as the apostles really did in Acts 2. No more can Pentecostalists today. Wild behaviour, ecstasies, visions dreams and false prophecies have abounded in both outbreaks of the phenomenon. Both movements became hugely popular; both have claimed that the tongues experience is “a second work of grace”, thus denying the full atonement wrought in Christ through his death, resurrection, ascension and glorification, all of which took place before the outpouring in Acts 2 which, granted, was only revealed in stages later.

As with Montanus, so with Pentecostalism; there is a constant diet of miracles and spiritual experiences that rarely happen. And when they don’t occur it is never the fault of the church and its teaching but always that of the devotee who has not been blessed. Hidden sin, lack of faith, wrong attitude, insufficient prayer, delayed spiritual self-development, or failing to have the right values system, are all blamed. Indeed the preaching theme of mega churches is always the same: the need to change oneself and wait with patience to receive the long promised miracles. It seems there is no such thing as grace ‘meeting all your need all the time’ or being ‘complete in Christ’ in Pentecostalism.

As to the scriptures, both Montanism and Pentecostalism both manage very well without them. After all who needs bible verses when you have the direct experience of the ‘Holy Spirit’ instead? Paul urged believers to read, not ignore, his epistles and he counselled Timothy to ‘study to shew thyself approved’ (2 Tim. 2:15). Sadly among both Montanists and Pentecostalist his advice fell on deaf ears. The 2nd century church preferred icons and rituals to the word of God and, perhaps not coincidentally, by 200AD illiteracy became widespread among its converts. Historians point to sacerdotalism and the Montanist stress on ‘hearing from God direct’ and not through scripture, as the primary causes for this.

And it’s the same today. Don’t take your bible to the Pentecostal mega-church service; it won’t be needed. Joel Osteen can preach a whole sermon and mention only one verse. Houston quotes scripture less and less and, when he does, uses the vague unrecognizable words of the Eugene Peterson translation. Expository preaching – the exposition of a whole chapter or book or the Bible - is unknown in such churches. Yet it is only the scriptural word of God that actually “works effectually in you that believe’ (1 Thess. 1:13).

Pentecostalism and the new Dark Ages

But what of the accusation that Pentecostalism is helping to usher in a new Dark Age in the world? If the Tongues Movement is truly of God, as is claimed, then it should produce noticeably better effects in society and the world. Certainly the Reformation did. Grace preached from the King James Bible reformed Christendom and reshaped the world. Christianity flourished, tens of thousands of churches, schools, hospital were built, despotism was driven back, moral values raised, the family upheld, slavery abolished and a fairer and more prosperous society brought in.

On Pentecostalism’s watch the very opposite has happened. Both moral and living standards have slumped, Not only have homosexuality, lesbianism, feminism been legalized; they have been solemnized by churches as well. Child abuse and adultery have flourished, with Pentecostal ministers numbered among the abusers. Fact is that we now have a far more godless society in the world than was the case more than a century ago when modern Pentecostalism began.

What’s more the dark forces of Islam, intent on global domination, were held at bay when Bible based Christianity and grace preaching flourished in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Today by contrast they are running rampant and riding roughshod over once Christian nations like Britain, Australia and America. Western leaders walk in fear of offending the Moslem minorities in their countries; indeed such Islamist conclaves have become the tail that wags the political dog. What’s more Muslims in western countries have sent thousands of British, American, Canadian and Australian citizens to fight in the front lines for ISIL.

Around the world Christians in their millions are being slain, persecuted, enslaved or driven out by Muslims. Jihadist Islam is taking over country after country in Africa, the Indian subcontinent, in Asia, the Middle East and elsewhere in the world without serious Western opposition.

Take Nigeria, for example. Once a model Christian African nation, with most of its schools, hospitals, clinics built by Western Christian donation, it is now being overrun by the murderous Jihadist thugs of Boko Haram and neither the Nigerian Government nor the huge Pentecostal mega churches that flourish in the oil-rich state are effective in doing anything to stop them.

Pastors of such mega churches enjoy multi-million dollar incomes and fly their own personal jets but could do nothing when 240 secondary school girls were snatched by Boko Haram and raped into marriage with Moslems. Nor did the Pentecostal prayers and prophecies prevent a Boko Haram suicide bomber blowing himself and 50 students to death at a secondary school. Yet even while this was happening the leader of the country’s largest Pentecostal denomination told President Jonathan that God had told him that this year ‘no evil force will be able to stand against us’.  

In the wider church scene Pentecostalism has failed to stand up in the fight to uphold sound doctrine or to retain the King James Bible as God’s perfectly preserved word. Still less has it defended the unique revelation of grace and mystery given the Apostle Paul for Gentiles. In Western society tongues speaking churches have failed dismally to stop the Government-led nosedive into the dark abyss of rejecting Christianity and removing all evidence of it from political decision making, science, education, the arts and the economy. They have acquiesced in the legalization of evils such as abortion, same sex marriage, prostitution, lowering the drinking age and the banishing of bible-based Christian prayer at public functions.

Thus despite being the fastest growing, and the third largest movement, in current Christianity, Pentecostalism can provide no evidence to date that it has halted, let alone reversed, the world’s fast accelerating slide into godlessness and violence. Of course, only Paul’s gospel of the grace of God and ‘the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery’ (Rom. 16:25-26) can stop things getting worse in the world. Yet Pentecostalism as we know it stubbornly rejects and resists such truth. Why? Because it would have to abandon its Pentecostal roots to take hold of it.

By contrast bible believers know that like charity, grace ‘never faileth, but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there shall be knowledge, it shall vanish away’ (1 Cor. 13:8).

High time then for Pentecostalists to get with the grace of God that never lets you down. And ‘grace’ is indeed the current buzz word in Pentecostal circles. But is it grace as the Apostle Paul taught it in his prison epistles?  And can this grace that meets every need (2 Cor. 9:8) really be experienced by those who cling to tongues, miracles that don’t happen and prophecies that don’t come to pass. God willing those questions will be addressed in the next study in this series.

©John Aldworth, November 22, 2014.

Part Five

The great anointing deception

By John Aldworth

Published 15 December 2014

Acts 10:38: How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power, Who went about doing good and healing all those oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him.

Ex. 28:41: And thou shalt put them (coats, girdles and bonnets) upon Aaron they brother and his sons with him; and shalt anoint them and consecrate them and sanctify them that they minister unto Me in the priest’s office.

2 Cor. 1:21-22: Now He which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us is God, Who hath also sealed us and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

Charismatics ignore it but It is a scriptural fact that only one person in the whole Bible has been anointed prophet, priest and king to Israel; and that that person is Jesus Christ. Prophets were anointed as prophets, priests and priests and kings were anointed as kings. David, anointed by the prophet Samuel, was both a prophet and a king but he was not a priest. The prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel were also priests but not kings. Melchisedek was king and priest but not a prophet. Only Christ was, and still is, anointed to be all three.

Consequently only his name can be said to be ‘as ointment poured forth’ (S of S 1:3). Only He is recorded as having not his head but also his feet anointed (Matt. 26:7, Mark 14:3 (his head), Luke 7:38 and John 12:3 (his feet).

What’s more today, in the pro-Gentile dispensation of the grace of God, there is actually only one Anointed One, Christ, as his very name attests. And, lest the significance of the very words ‘Christ Jesus’ be lost in translation, we should remind ourselves that they mean the ‘Anointed Saviour’ – and that Jesus is the only one acknowledged by God as such.

How come then that Pentecostals such as Benny Hinn, Bill Subritztky  and a string of other would-be healers and devil chasers, claim that they have a personal anointing  to do what they do? How is that Joseph Prince can claim people in his congregations miss out on healing and blessings because they don’t know how to grasp it (as the woman with an issue of blood touched the hem of Jesus’ garment, he explains) and consequently miss out on the healings and blessings in the ‘anointing’ produced by prolonged singing?

Answer: Because they are deceived. For sure, as explained earlier in this series, emotions are powerfully stirred during what Pentecostals call  ‘praise and worship’, just as they were when ‘all kinds of musick’ caused people to fall down and worship the golden image Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up’ (Dan. 2:&).

But, Joseph Prince lamented to his congregation on a recent video, “Many of you are not receiving healing and miracles because you are not seizing the moment and grabbing the anointing while it’s there’.  Acts 10:38 says that God Himself anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power. But, the Lord’s chosen apostles aside, He didn’t anoint anyone else, and there is not a scripture in the whole Bible to suggest that He did.

In what he says Joseph Prince  acknowledges, that the ‘anointing’, whether a collective church experience or the supposed personal empowering of person with a special ministry, is an ephemeral, experience. Sometimes there, often not, occasionally working but mostly not. This was not the experience of Christ or his apostles.

Fleeting as it is, today’s supposed Pentecostal ‘anointing’ does, however, create an unquenchable thirst for more. Enough is never enough; it’s more addictive than caffeine and cocaine combined. In fact desire for miracles or ‘a fresh touch from the Lord’ keeps millions upon millions coming back every Sunday to Pentecostal assemblies in the hope of experiencing more. I know; years ago I was as hooked on the supposed ‘anointing’ as any one. But, believe me in reality it’s the most frustrating and disappointing religious experience you can have.

Which is why it definitely is not of Christ. It is a false anointing which, like the ‘false fire’ Korah and his followers put in their censers long ago, burns up and ultimately spiritually destroys those seek it. In Christ, by contrast there are ‘blessings for evermore’. And while there’s no great emotion or drama with it, every day in every way those trusting in God’s grace find it’s totally sufficient, always there, always reliable and always works to meet the believer’s need (2 Cor. 9:8, Phil 4:19).

Benny Hinn and Joseph Prince both insist the ‘anointing is the power of God’. As a former Pentecostal I know they base this assertion largely on Isaiah 10:27: ‘… his yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing.” But they misunderstand the verse’s meaning. The anointing mentioned there belongs to a singular person; it does not exist or operate outside of Him. What’s more that person is named right there in the context (Isaiah 10:33), as the ‘the Lord of Hosts ‘… (who) shall lop the bough with terror, and the high ones of stature (i.e. the attacking Assyrians) shall be hewn down … ’ Thus the ‘anointing that breaks the yoke’ is actually the intervening warfare of the Lord Almighty. Does this mean that some 3000 years later any self-proclaimed Pentecostal devil chaser or healer can use it when they pray for someone? Absolutely not.

The truth is that only Jesus Christ - or Christ Jesus, as He is to believers today - is the Anointed One and thus has the anointing. Like prophets, priests and kings who were anointed in ancient Israel He is anointed because of his office as Saviour and Coming King. The biblical anointing then has to do with position not power per se. Therefore the anointing stands for the power and blessing that is Christ’s, and his alone, because of who He is as the Son of God and what He does as our Saviour and Lord. It is available only for his personal use, according to his grace, and not otherwise. Accordingly both Ps. 45:66-7 and Heb. 1:9 confirm:

Thy throne O God is forever … God, thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

In the light of that what makes Pentecostals think they can have for their personal use the same anointing God the Father gives his Son the Lord Jesus Christ? The only ‘fellows’ the Lord will have when his earthly kingdom is established in a time yet to come will be the ‘manifest’ sons of God that creation now groans in pain waiting for. Have these sons been manifested yet? Not according to any sane Bible believer but some deluded Pentecostals with high profile ministries of deception, lay claim to be such, William Branham, Benny Hinn, Oral Roberts, Kenneth Hagin among them.

Actually there are no scriptural grounds for claiming a special anointing from God today, but, I hear a protesting Pentecostal say, doesn’t 1 John 2:27 say ‘The anointing which ye have received teacheth you of all things and ye need not that any man teach you’? No, it doesn’t. What it does says is this:

But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him.

The condition here is abiding in Him, and He in you. When the Acts period believers to whom the Apostle John wrote abode in Him the anointing abode in them, inasmuch as Christ Himself abode in them to do as He willed. There is no mention here of an anointing which breaks yokes, destroys enemies or drives out devils. Rather the context makes clear the anointing or ‘unction from the Holy One’ (John 1 20) was to teach believers John wrote to how to abide ‘in Him” and how to discern and distinguish Christ from seemingly plausible other ‘anointed ones’, the antichrists and deniers of the Son mentioned in verses 18-23.

2 Cor. 1:21-22 is the other verse used to support claims by self-promoting Pentecostal prophets, healers and miracle workers that they – and not others – have a special anointing from the Lord:

Now He which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us is God, Who hath also sealed us and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

This verse is also misused and misinterpreted to try to prove the Pentecostal case. It does not say the Corinthian believers have been anointed along with Paul. That anointing was a special apostolic one given Paul, as he says in 2 Cor. 12:12 and Rom. 15:18-19:

Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds.

For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient by word and deed, Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.

The apostolic anointing then empowered Paul to do surefire miracles, ranging making the lame to walk to raising the dead, with nothing less than a 100 per cent success rate. Contrast that with Benny Hinn’s inability to produce a single genuine, significant and medically certified case of real healing from his many years of campaigning. His meetings certainly raised money. Lots of it, but they never raised the dead.

So when 2 Cor. 1:21-22 speaks of God ‘anointing us’, the Apostle Paul is using the royal ‘we’ to describe Christ’s anointing of his own personal ministry. True, God was ‘stablishing’ Paul together with the Corinthian believers but He was not extending Paul’s anointing to them.

What’s more Paul’s anointing was only temporary; it was given in the Acts period of Paul’s ministry as part of the foretaste of the ‘powers of the (kingdom) world to come’ (Heb. 6:5) but ceased with the setting aside of Israel and the Gentile hope attached to her in Acts 28:28. That is why the apostle had no anointing from the Lord to heal in his later ministry. He could not heal Epaphroditus (Phil. 2:25-26) for example, Trophimus he left sick at Miletum (2 Tim. 4: 20) and, as to Timothy’s ‘oft infirmities’ ,Paul did not pray for his healing but advised that he ‘use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake’.

Significantly, the words ‘anoint’, ‘anointed’ or ‘anointing’, do not occur in Paul’s prison epistles, Ephesians to Philemon, for the simple reason no such anointing to do outward, earthly signs and wonders was now available. ‘Tasting’ of the powers of the world to come ended with God’s removing his ministry from Israel and sending it to the Gentiles in Acts 28:28.

In its place God brought into being  the hitherto unknown ‘dispensation of the grace of God‘ and the Mystery (Eph. 3:1-4) in which He now makes grace abound to meet every need to believing grace-saved saints.

Accordingly, the watchword now is grace, not ‘anointing’ nor an extension of the ministry of the Holy Ghost drawn to a close at the end of Acts. In Phil. 4: 19 the Apostle Paul assures us that through grace:

                … my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Importantly, it should be understood that when God was still dealing with Israel  - and He is not now, as explained above – the then experience of the Spirit of God for believers was the pledge (earnest or down payment) of the New Covenant extended to Gentiles. Thus 2 Cor. 1:22 speaks of God giving the Acts period believers ‘… the earnest of the Spirit’. The context and meaning of this is found in 2 Cor. 3:3-6. Here Paul states that he and his fellow ministers were at that time ‘able ministers of the New Covenant’ and that the Corinthian believers were then …

… manifestly declared to be the epistles of Christ (i.e. the Messiah to Israel), ministered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not in tables of stone but in the fleshy tables of the heart.

This is a clear reference to Jer. 31:31-33 where God says that under the New Covenant He will make exclusively with the house of Judah and the house of Israel (and extended to Gentiles only through water baptism in the Acts period), He will ‘… put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God and they shall be my people’.  

No argument that this sealing and down payment at that time enabled believers to speak in tongues and to prophesy but this experience has not been carried over to today. Consequently there is no scriptural ground to claim it as an ‘anointing’ today.

Among other reasons this is because Gentiles today are not under the New Covenant. In fact they are saved not through any covenant or by keeping the law but by being ‘quickened together with Christ’ This, Eph. 2:5 explains, is how Gentiles today are saved by grace. Furthermore Eph. 2:12 states clearly that until grace came to them through the Apostle Paul’s prison epistle ministry we Gentiles were ‘in time past’ and ‘strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world’.

Thank God that ‘…but now ye who were sometimes afar off are made near by the blood of Christ’, not by a spurious and fleeting so-called ‘anointing’ that doesn’t come from Christ, the Anointed One, at all.

©John Aldworth, Dec.2014