Posts Tagged ‘Pentecostal’

When I was a full-blown Word-of-Faith-er, I hated John MacArthur. Now that I have seen the dark side of WOF, (and its unBiblical underpinnings), and the refusal of Continuationists to take a stand against the downright evil elements of the health-and-wealth gospel, I love the man with all of my heart.

I don’t agree with a total Cessationist point of view, but the simple fact is that Charismatics and Pentecostals will not exercise discipline on its own members. For that reason alone, reasonable and discerning continuationists owe Dr. MacArthur a great debt.

This reminds me so much of the call for moderate Muslims to speak out against the radicalized Islamists. Their silence, and the silence of moderate Continuationists, should remind us all that silence is the greatest of tyrannies.

Until someone in the Charismatic/Pentecostal community speaks up with the brutal honesty and integrity of Dr. John MacArthur, I’m throw in’ my stuff in the other camp’s boat, thank you very much.

Thus endeth my rant.

simul iustus et peccator, 

 
Eric Adams 
Rossville, GA 
godsguy12@comcast.net 
christianreasons@gmail.com 

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In my previous post, My Experience In The Word Of Faith, Pt. 1, I began to relate my experience in what I now consider a heretical movement in Evangelicalism. I will now continue.

It was my senior year of high school. Up to that point, I had been your average Evangelical. We lived as practical atheists during the week, and devoted Christians on Sunday. I was no different.

I began to be convicted over what I saw as a contradiction in what I believed and how I was living. Probably every Christian has that existential moment when he realizes his “praxy” is not matching his “doxy”.

As it was, I spent quite a few nights crying out to God to help me reconcile my life with my beliefs.

My conversion had been real. I know now that at that moment in a revival at Chattanooga Valley Baptist Church in the late Aug. of 1976, before my hands unclenched the back of the pew, I had been granted a new heart, and was given faith to repent of my sins and believe the Gospel.

My problem was Sanctification. I now know that Conversion is a Monergistic endeavor, with God being the sole initiator of the process. Sanctification is synergistic, requiring my cooperation, with help from the Holy Spirit. Confusing Justification with Sanctification is very common among uncatechized Evangelicals like myself.

As much as I despise dead orthodoxy, willful ignorance of one’s worldview is worse. I once heard a former bank teller describe the way they were taught to recognize a counterfeit. They studied the true currency carefully, and were able to distinguish the true from the counterfeit. Would that young Christians were so taught today!

My interest in Christian Apologetics stems from the confusing jumble of doctrines I was exposed to as a young believer. My prayer is that younger Christians may benefit from my chaos. I had to learn truly Biblical Christianity on my own.

It was out of this pleading, that I believe The Lord had mercy on me and filled me with His Spirit. It had nothing to do with making me any holier before God. We are Imputed with the alien righteousness of Christ through Faith the moment we repent and trust in Christ. There are no classes of Christians before God. Different maturity levels in righteousness before men, yes.

Ultimately, it had nothing to do with tongues or the miraculous. It had everything to do with illuminating His Word to a darkened and ignorant mind.

I have had to make distinctions between the actual work of the Holy Spirit and the false teaching I had filled my mind with. I will detail the bad ideas of the WOF movement in my next post.

Simul iustus et peccator,

Erik Von Adams

In my previous post, I discussed my dilemma in finding the proper theological stance when dealing with the Cessationist/Continuationist brouhaha. I made a distinction between the Word of Faith, Pentecostal/Charismatic, and Continuationist theologies. By Continuationist, I am distinguishing a narrow band of the more orthodox (and saner, might I add) group who hold closer to the Reformers, yet still holding a soft non-Cessationist theology.

Today, I want to explain my own experience in the WOF movement.

I was raised in a solid Christian home. We attended both United Methodist and Southern Baptist churches. My father was exposed to the Charismatic Movement through a Methodist minister who pastored Flinstone UMC, in Chattanooga Valley. He was a very nice man who simply prayed for my dad’s bad back. Dad recovered miraculously, and it made an impression on him.

On a side note, I need to chastise my Cessationist brethren lovingly here. It is very easy to form a bifurcated view of Christianity, where on the one hand you vigorously defend God’s immanent and active role in the universe in time past, but take what appears to be a deistic view of God’s action in present history. It’s almost as if one becomes anti-supernatural in the belief that The Lord will not move supernaturally at all today. That is as presumptive as believing you can force God to act just because you command it.

Later, when I was in High school, my parents became very interested in Kenneth Copeland. It was 1981. President Reagen had made us all feel better about America, and Copeland was preaching from the Lincoln Memorial. (I believe I am correct here, it was 32 years ago). He was positive, upbeat, charismatic (in the original sense of the word), and persuasive. We were all very open to what he had to say. Although Copeland preached the prosperity Gospel back then, he didn’t seem quite as fixated on it. That began our foray into the WOF.

I had my own Pentecostal type experience myself, along with a friend. We both experienced the same thing, at the same time, in a Baptist church parking lot. Both of us had had a previous conversion when we were younger, so it wasn’t regeneraton. We did not speak with tongues that night, but we both became completely captivated with Christ and His Word, which would lead us both out of spiritual chaos later on.

Eventually, my family ended up in a Word Of Faith church in Chattanooga. The Church of Today was pastored by Don Clowers. He continues to preach the prosperity Gospel to this day: http://www.donclowers.com/page.asp?nvc=952&page=3500&topic=About

We were exposed to the “big Whigs” of the Faith movement through the Chattanooga for Jesus campmeetings of the mid-80’s. Names like Marilyn Hickey, Bob Tilton, Charles Capps, Jerry Savelle, Kenneth Copeland, and Kenneth Hagin were the staples of our diet.

Even as a young man, I noticed the polarities of the Faith movement. There was an economic disparity there; the very rich came (I am conjecturing for the reason of justifying, legitimizing, and protecting their wealth), and the very poor (for the possibility of gaining wealth through positive confession). This is only my observation and I am no diviner of hearts.

I became a devoted follower of Copeland and Hagin. I loved their “down-to-earth” style of preaching, their emotional fervor (compared to their denominational counterparts), and their doctrine of Divine healing and positive confession. To a healthy teenager, this all fit right in with my idea of the American Dream and pop Christianity. I listened to every cassette sermon series I could get hold of. I read every Hagin book I could obtain. I even carried a red Kenneth Copeland Study Bible (which was basically a standard KJV with his sermon outlines crammed in the front).

I was always uneasy with the flippant way they used God’s Word and God’s Name, but not enough to question deeper. I had also never been around suffering, so the health and wealth gospel made sense to me.

I will continue this story in another post.

simul iustus et peccator,

Enrico the rednecked tractor boy