Well SavedByGrace, at least we're agreed on something . Another reason I grew indifferent to the Initial Evidence doctrine is because I've been in other non-pentecostal churches where the pastor prayed that God would fill believers with the Holy Spirit, yet none spoke in tongues. Many churches confess with the ancient creeds "I believe in the Holy Spirit..." yet they don't all speak in tongues. It's my understanding the Initial Evidence doctrine caused permanent division which continues to this day. Example: Church of the Nazarene lays emphasis on the Holy Spirit and infilling yet never accepted the initial evidence doctrine while the Assemblies of God, stemming from the same early revivals accepted the doctrine. From the point of view of the Nazarenes and other Holiness churches(among others outside the Holiness Movement), this doctrine was a novelty and aberration and was not accepted. For this reason, what was once the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene became the Church of the Nazarene. Just a little interesting history.
Concerning Scripture Alone, the Lord has declared "Ye shall not add unto this word; neither shall ye diminish ought from it." Logically, Scripture Alone is a true doctrine and the Scriptures are sufficient in and of themselves for life and salvation. Jesus also said "Search the scriptures for in them ye think ye have eternal life." Notice He did not condemen people for searching the scriptures for eternal life. However, we have multiple churches which have either officially or passively condemned the doctrine of Scripture Alone. This is a doctrine needing major study and unwavering allegiance in this day.
Saddened, It's a matter of obedience. The church in the New Testament confessed that homosexual offenders shall not inherit the kingdom of God(1 Cor. 6:9-11). There's not one word of evidence that God provided an alternative lifestyle or gave approval to the homosexual movement. Homosexual people need to be told the truth that it's sin and needs to be confessed and forsaken and overcome. Christian people should help them in this endeavor.
SavedByGrace, I hate to disappoint you (and myself), but it may be a while to locate good documentation(books, preferably). I don't have time space and money to locate these books and research them at this time. Until then I'll not argue so much over the issue. I still do maintain that speaking in tongues is not the uncontestable initial evidence of the Holy Ghost. Why? The Initial Evidence doctrine confounds scriptural justification and separation from ecumenism. Some folk will say unless you have spoken in tongues you really have never received the Spirit and are not saved. Others will say you are saved but really aren't full of the Spirit. Both ideas stem from the initial evidence doctrine and place one's sure standing(justification by simple faith in Jesus Christ-Acts 16:31) on shaky and uncertain ground: "Does God love me? Am I acceptable to God? Am I saved? Was I saved, I haven't spoken in tongues for a while? I'm not as good as the rest of us in church, etc." also ecumenism: "Roman Catholics have charismatic groups and some speak in tongues, so they're alright despite glaring differences, As are Mormons, they officially believe in all the gifts and offices(from tongues to prophets to apostles) for the church today." Some concerns I've had and feel like inquiring about.
Earlier there was mention made of liberalism and arminianism. I found the following to be intriguing in regard to this: Remonstrants..."As a church, in 1911, they numbered 27 communities with about 12,500 members, in a flourishing condition and respected for their traditions of scholarship and liberal thought." The word "liberal" stood out upon remembering multiple times on SermonAudio arminianism(remonstrantism) has been tied to liberal ideas. The article in its entirety can be read here=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remonstrants
Abigail, you are probably right about that. I think the greatest abuses are in the charismatic/word of faith camp, which really is a far cry from classical pentecostalism. As I pointed out I was raised in a mix of both, probably at a time when the two were beginning to mesh together.
My view is that the Epistles, possibly Acts, are the correct and only infallible teaching and interpretation about the Gospels. CBC, would you also include Acts to be only interpreted correctly in light of the Epistles? I'm wondering if this may be a more safe approach to interpreting Acts. Abigail, it's true the gifts are important and many denominations are in conflict. I'd ask though, why are the Pentecostal groups themselves in conflict(I named the three main conflicting views, but there are more) even if they claim to be the custodians of the full Gospel and the true understanding of spiritual gifts and manifestations? Next will begin the discourse on Justification, separation vs. ecumenism, and scripture alone and how these may be compromised by certain doctrines surrounding the Holy Spirit. First will be justification, but let me take a break first. I just got home from work.
SavedByGrace, That's a key word there---documented. Something that's rather difficult to do with the tumultuous history of Christianity is determine what is a true document vs. bias. I might have to pause but I'll put it simply: I've read about tongues being reported among various groups in history: Albigenses, possibly Waldenses, Huguenonts, Lutherans, Methodists. However, I think much was secondary documentation from pentecostal authors. This may be a hurdle and I may have to do more precise research among actual documents of such groups(although this may be difficult with Albigenses and Waldenses). Back to chores.
JD, Thanks for the explanation. Later I'd like to present some discourse on Justification by faith, separation(vs. ecumenism), Scripture Alone and how some doctrines surrounding speaking in tongues(or other charismata) may be undermining these three doctrinal positions.
Wayne, I'd like to discuss further Justification by faith and Scripture Alone and how some novel doctrines may possibly be violating these. I'll be back later to put forth these for some dialogue to help me and possibly others.
Looks like a good sermon, Wayne. I believe justification by faith apart from works is a most wholesome and true doctrine. "We maintain a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law." This has got to be proclaimed faithfully in this day and age when so many churches are suggesting their own unbiblical laws and ideas upon their members.
Savedbygrace, thank you for the info. I'm not sure I totally agree with the 2,000 year absence idea though. You may come to that conclusion depending on how you interpret historical events and people in Christianity. Other folks will come to an opposite understanding depending on they interpret the same history.
Interesting interpretation WR. It might have some value. Either way, it cannot be denied that people other than the Apostles spoke in tongues upon hearing the Gospel. Read the accounts in Acts(10 and 19). I've heard of similar experience in the present time as well. Sure, we might have the whole Bible now, but do we all know it perfectly? Have we all memorized it word for word and can speak accordingly?
JD, If your answer is yes to my question, what with Jesus' words "These signs shall follow them that believe...they shall speak with new tongues." Also the records in Acts(as well as present day testimonies) of people who believed the Gospel and spoke in tongues.
I can see some logic in the signs of the Apostles, so that those unbelievers with whom they came in contact would have a sign whether tongues, or other miracles and manifestations.
Wayne, I'm just going by my experience from growing up and studying up. My childhood faith was shaped by a mixture of pentecostal(of the Assembly of God variety) and word-faith doctrine. Later I studied more about the points of view among the various major pentecostal approaches to God's grace and the believer's experience of it. I didn't know about the three major divisions until I began studying to figure out which one I identified with most or was most scriptural. You are right about Justification. It is the most important doctrine. This doctrine alone is very crucial as to how we will be addressed when we stand before the Judgment Throne of God.
Wayne, In the Pentecostal movement(at least historically) there are two major approaches to experience. 1.(the older "Wesleyan" view) Three definite experiences:a person is first justified, subsequently sanctified, then receives the Holy Ghost after the experience of sanctification. 2.(the "reformed" or "Finished Work" view) Two definite experiences: Justification(at which point sanctification begins and progresses in the believer) and the receiving of the Holy Ghost. A third view is sort of like number 2, but says one is saved and must live out sanctification after repentance, baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost. Many in group three have negative ideas of the standing of those baptized in the Trinity(incomplete Christian, unsaved, or something similar), because these emphasize Jesus' name in the baptismal rite.
The odd thing is, Abigail, I was baptized long before what I'd call my personal repentance(although I'd asked Jesus into my heart many times prior). It was like just the thing to do out of convenience, get baptized along with everyone else at a time when the tank was filled, satisfy the family suggestion to get baptized and so forth. I think I had mental assent and believed the facts but really didn't truly repent till later. Another strange thing is I spoke in tongues even before that crucial conversion experience. Makes me wonder, was that speaking in tongues of God or of my own volition. I still believe it's possible for believers to speak in tongues if the Spirit wills it to be so, but I don't accept the idea that speaking in tongues is the uncontestable initial evidence of having received the Holy Ghost.
What one Reformed confession says about the Church: "With respect to those, who are members of the Church, they may be known by the marks of Christians: namely, by faith; and when they have received Jesus Christ the only Savior, they avoid sin, follow after righteousness, love the true God and their neighbor, neither turn aside to the right or left, and crucify the flesh with the works thereof. But this is not to be understood, as if there did not remain in them great infirmities; but they fight against them through the Spirit, all the days of their life, continually taking their refuge in the blood, death, passion and obedience of our Lord Jesus Christ, "in whom they have remission of sins, through faith in him." As for the false Church, she ascribes more power and authority to herself and her ordinances than to the Word of God, and will not submit herself to the yoke of Christ. Neither does she administer the sacraments as appointed by Christ in his Word, but adds to and takes from them, as she thinks proper; she relieth more upon men than upon Christ; and persecutes those, who live holily according to the Word of God, and rebuke her for her errors, covetousness, and idolatry. These two Churches are easily known and distinguished from each other."