Are Charismatics Going to Hell?
Hi Pastor, I have been going to a cessationist church. Well almost 2 months ago I had an experience where I spoke in another tongue – it just happened out of the blue. I told my pastor this and his first response was it was demonic. Well 2 months later I was prompted to leave the church because I was questioned “Why am I still here if I don’t believe what the pastor teaches?”
The pastor is going to address the church body about why I left and ask them to pray for me. He told me that he says the Lord might one day say, “Depart from Me for I never knew you” and the pastor questions my salvation.
My heart is broken, and I am scared. Can I lose my salvation for believing in the baptism of the Holy Spirit baptism and the gifts of the Spirit for today?
Karen, I am so sorry to hear of your experience. I hope that it is a rare experience, but surely you can’t be the only one whose salvation is questioned or even denied because of this disagreement about the work and the gifts of the Holy Spirit among Christians.
In the broader Christian world, there are at least two groups that understand the work and the gifts of the Holy Spirit in different ways. One group is commonly called “Cessationists,” because they believe that the more evidently miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit are no longer given by the Holy Spirit to the church today. Some cessationists say that these gifts of the Holy Spirit “ceased” with the death of the New Testament apostles, and other cessationists say they “ceased” when the New Testament was completed (these two positions are basically saying the same thing).
The other group is commonly called “Charismatics” or “Pentecostals.” They believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit as listed in Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 are still given by the Holy Spirit to His people today, as the Spirit wills. It’s not up to human ambition or desire; it’s never a matter of saying, “Oh, I would like to do miracles, so now I will do them.” The valid gift has to be given by the Holy Spirit.
In general these groups also have a disagreement about something that the Scriptures call “the baptism of the Holy Spirit.” I’m speaking very generally here now, but most (not all) Charismatics or Pentecostals – you could call them continuationists – believe that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is often an experience for the believer after they are already saved. I’m pretty sure that all cessationists think that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is something that is given to all believers at their conversion, when they are born again.
So here’s what it seems like happened with Karen. I must first point out that whenever someone tells me about a bad experience they had at a church, all I can do is respond to the matter as they explain it to me. It is possible that someone, intentionally or unintentionally, can misrepresent a situation. I do understand that. However, what seems to have happened with Karen is that she had an experience with the Holy Spirit – she was, “baptized with the Holy Spirit,” and then she spontaneously began to speak in prayer and praises to God in a language she did not know. This was something that the Bible calls the gift of tongues or languages.
In response, her pastor puts her out of the church and questions her salvation.
Brothers and sisters, this is wrong on many levels. If – and it is a big if – but if this woman was causing trouble in the church because of her experience with the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues, IF she was causing trouble – then perhaps it might be best to ask her to attend another church. But if she wasn’t causing trouble, I think this is way out of bounds for the pastor to do.
In my mind, the greater offense is calling her salvation into question. As I said before, I hope this kind of thing is rare among our cessationists brethren, but whether it is common or rare, it should not happen. We should not declare other people to be outside the kingdom because they disagree with us on such an issue.
To be fair, there are sometimes Charismatics or Pentecostals who deny that someone is saved if they don’t have a particular experience with the Holy Spirit – and when they do that, they are also wrong!
I believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit for today. If there are any gifts that are not given today, I would not say they come from the lists given in Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12. The gifts that are not given today are these: the “gift” (or better, office) of Apostle equal to the Apostles of the New Testament, who had God-given authority to speak with authority to the entire church, and the gift of hearing God perfectly.
I have great respect for many of our cessationist brethren, especially when it comes to two points.
The first point is that cessationists often do an excellent job of exposing and pointing out the foolishness that is often present in the Charismatic or Pentecostal world. Foolishness is not only found among Charismatics and Pentecostals, but there are plenty of extreme, crazy, fools who claim their work is the work of the Holy Spirit when it is not.
The second point is that cessationists are zealous to protect the integrity of the Bible. That is a good thing. Often, one of their central arguments against the continuationist position is that they believe that if God were to speak to anyone today – through speaking to an individual, through a prophetic word, through a dream or a vision, through the gift of tongues – they believe that if God were to speak to anyone today, it would mean that we don’t need our Bibles anymore and that we should be more interested in spontaneous words from God than in what He has written.
This is an absolutely unnecessary conclusion. With all my heart, I believe in the sufficiency, in the integrity, and in the central place of the Scriptures – and I do not believe for a moment that this contradicts the truth that God may speak to someone today.
The word of God is perfect, and it is universal. If God speaks to someone today, it is not perfect, and it is not universal. It is crazy to think that something that God speaks to someone today could replace the Bible, the word of God.
When God speaks today, it is not perfect – not because God is less than perfect, that could never be. It is because we are less than perfect. When God inspired the authors of the Bible (Old and New Testament), Heperfectly guided them. If that is thought of as a gift, that isn’t given today. Again, the imperfection is not on God’s part, but ours. So, even if you believe God has spoken to you, be humble about it. Don’t put too much confidence in your ability to hear “perfectly” from God.
Also, when God speaks today, it isn’t for the church universal as it is in the Bible. It is for a personal or perhaps local application.
For these reasons and more, I would never believe that a word from God for today would be on the same level as the Bible. In fact, we are to judge whatever is claimed to be spoken by God by the Bible, what we know to be spoken by God.
One more thing: if every word spoken by God is on the level of Scripture, what we have in our Bibles – then our Bibles are incomplete. Because we know that in the days of the New Testament, there were true, valid, prophets operating, and we don’t have their recorded words. We know that Philip’s daughters prophesied (Acts 21:8-9) – but we don’t have the book of the prophesies of Philip’s daughters. We know that prophets spoken among the congregation in Corinth (you can find that in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14); but we don’t have their words recorded in the Bible.
We can see a clear difference between God’s inspired, eternal word, and what God may say to an individual or a congregation by a work of the Holy Spirit today.
So Karen, let me tell you: praise God for your experience of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and your experience of speaking in tongues. I’m sorry you have gone through all this with your church, but based on what you wrote to me, you have no reason at all to fear for your salvation. I hope that is a help to you, and I ask my cessationist brothers and sisters to stop declaring their continuationist brothers and sisters out of the kingdom.
What is “insulting the Spirit of grace” as in Hebrews 10:29?
What exactly is insulting the Spirit of grace, according to Hebrews 10:29? Does this verse have any relationship with Galatians 5:4?
Hebrews 10:29 says:
Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?
This speaks of a clear rejection of Jesus Christ and in particular, the work that Jesus Christ did for us on the cross. In other words, just look at what he describes here: who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, that is, who has insulted and rejected Jesus. We also see that is speaks of the one who counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, they think little of the blood of Jesus and the New Covenant. Finally, the one who has insulted the Spirit of grace.
This is to reject Jesus and reject what He did for us on the cross. I believe that the aspect here is the aspect of rejecting or insulting the Holy Spirit, and what He has to say to us in and through the work of Jesus on the cross.
It’s not exactly what is spoken of in Galatians 5:4:
You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.
This speaks of falling from grace, and it’s not exactly the same as Hebrews 10:29, but it’s certainly connected to it. I find it fascinating that Paul, in the New Testament speak to us very strongly about the importance of continuing on in the grace of God, and that’s what we need to do. Obviously, this person described in Hebrews 10 has not continued on in the grace of God – most specifically, by insulting the Spirit of grace. This is insulting the Holy Spirit, who speaks to us God’s gracious word about who Jesus is, and what He did for us on the cross. Basically, you could say, the Holy Spirit speaks to us about the gospel of Jesus Christ.
How should we treat those who have fallen away?
How should we treat those who have fallen away? When a Christian friend fell away or husband asked me to talk with her, she laughed at me and denied Jesus. I’m not sure that I understand how Hebrews 6:4 connects with this.
When somebody falls away from Christianity, we need to treat them as an unbeliever. What does that mean? Number one, it doesn’t mean that we hate them. It doesn’t mean that we refuse to associate with them. Instead, what it means is that we should treat them with love and grace, but we should not pretend that they are Christians.
I think that that’s the big key there, that we should not pretend that they are Christians – that is the very important part about it. So, be loving and gracious to such people. But don’t pretend for a moment that they are Christians, and don’t treat them as if they’re Christians. Treat them as those who need to come to faith.
It’s another case with people who are dangerous to the health of God’s family – the church. I mean those who are spreading false doctrines, who are trying to bring other people into false beliefs. That is a much more serious matter. With those people, you may need to consciously disassociate yourself from them – but that is different from the idea of simply treating people as unbelievers.
Is it OK for a Christian to listen to secular music?
I’m 15 and wanting to devote my life to Christ. My question is, should we listen to Christian music only? Or can we listen to secular music as well?
First, I’m so happy that you’re devoted to Jesus Christ and want to say to you – serve Him!
Let me respond to this question to you in a few ways.
First of all, because you’re 15, and I’m going to presume you’re still in your parents’ home. I think that it is important for you to regard and obey what your parents would have you do. I think that at your age, your parents still have a large say in this. If your parents have instructed you, that you should not do this, that you should not listen to secular music, then I think you should respect that.
Now, let’s just say that it isn’t a matter of your parents – that they really haven’t given an opinion on this subject, then this is what I would recommend to you. Understand that you won’t be harmed by not listening to secular music! I want to make that clear. If you’re going to err on any direction, you can err on the side of not listening, to secular music.
However, you also want to avoid the error of what we would call legalism. And legalism in this context simply means that we make as a law of God something that God has not declared in the Scriptures. I believe that in general, Christians have the freedom to listen to secular music. Of course, I suppose there are certain secular songs that are so offensive, so against Biblical morality, that you should not consider them at all.
Then, there’s a whole other arena of secular music that is, in general, morally neutral, so to speak. I think that Christians in general do have the freedom before God to listen to that. But again, don’t think that you’re doing anything bad by denying yourself. There are certain things in the Christian life that God would grant to one believer, and deny to another believer. So, it could be okay for another brother or sister in Christ to listen to secular music, while maybe God is speaking to your heart and saying, don’t do it. There are different ways that the Holy Spirit may speak to an individual on this.
What is the book of Enoch and why was it taken out of our Bibles?
Can you explain the Book of Enoch and many other books were taken out of the Bible?
First of all, these books were never taken out of the Bible. They were never in there to begin with! Regarding the Book of Enoch, it is an ancient Jewish writing that’s not inspired by the Holy Spirit. No doubt, there are some true things in it, especially because Jude in his brief letter, quoted from the Book of Enoch. We understand that, but what we don’t need to say that a book like that belongs in the Bible or at one time was in the Old Testament. These books were never considered part of the Scriptures.
That is not to say that you can’t find some ancient Jewish person somewhere who said that it belonged in the Scriptures – of course you could find such people. I’m saying that the consensus of opinion says that these books do not belong in the Old Testament, in the Bible. Don’t be afraid to read it – go ahead and read it! But you should not regard it as part of the Scriptures.
What is the New Age?
I want to ask, what is the New Age?
The New Age movement is a false religion. It’s a mystical, false, religion that is out in the world today. The New Age movement is not Christianity. Christians need to be careful that they don’t bring in New Age thinking into their Christian practice. We do understand that may be some things that New Age practitioners do that Christians also do. For example, it could be said that New Age practitioners pray, that they pray to their “higher power,” whatever it is, and Christians also pray. Of course, whom New Age practitioners pray to is not the same thing as the true God that believers pray to – not by any means! But no one can say, “Well, Christians shouldn’t pray because New Agers have a form of prayer.” As well, no one should say, “Christians should not read the Bible because New Agers have a form of the scriptures that they read.” But in general, Christians should avoid New Age practices and they should not bring new age practices and thinking into their exercise of Christianity.
What is the Word of Faith Movement?
What is the Word of Faith movement?
The Word of Faith movement is basically a segment of the Charismatic and Pentecostal world. It does not define the entire Charismatic and Pentecostal world, but it is a segment that basically believes that we as believers have the power and the authority to create our reality, and we do it by the words of faith that we speak. They believe that we can really create our own reality in regard to our wealth; we could be rich if we just spoke the right words of faith. And as far as the immediate healing of the believer, the Word of Faith movement believes that every believer can be immediately healed, if they just speak the right words of faith.
Those are unbiblical teachings. I can’t go into any great depth, but those things are not biblical teachings, and they do great harm to the cause of Christianity.
What is modalism?
What is modalism?
Modalism is a wrong teaching about God. It’s a heresy. Modalism denies the Trinity. It denies the idea that there is one God in three Persons simultaneously. Modalism denies that there is a Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Modalism says that God was the Father, then He became Jesus, and now He is the Holy Spirit. Their idea is that God just simply adopted different modes of being. Simply said, without going into a lengthy explanation, that is not what the Bible teaches.
What about supposed Roman Catholic miracles?
What do you think about suppose a Catholic miracle such as bodies not decomposing after death due to a holy life prior to the person’s death? A recent example of this was Carlos Acutus.
This is something that I have not researched in much detail, but I can speak to this in general terms. On the one hand, there’s a lot of superstitious foolishness out there. And if things lead people to superstitious foolishness, instead of directing them towards God and trusting in Him, then that’s something to question right there.
But I also want to suggest something else. I tend to be very skeptical of such things, because I know that through history, it is common for people to fake and feign miracles. At the same time, there are strange spiritual things that happen – that I feel no need to explain. I don’t have any burden to explain them. It’s just as if I could say, “Well, wow – that happened. I don’t know about that, but let’s see the fruit of it.” There are strange spiritual things that happen, and we should not form our theology around those things – that‘s very important. And secondly, we should not make too big of a deal about such experiences.
I released myself from a burden a long time ago, the burden of feeling that I had to have an explanation for every strange spiritual thing that happens.
Does Hebrews 1:1-2 say that God no longer speaks?
What is the correct interpretation of Hebrews 1:1-2?
Here is Hebrews 1:1-2:
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds
I’m wondering if you’re asking this question as something connected to our lead question. Because these are verses that cessationists often bring up, making the argument that God, no more speaks to people, because God finished speaking to people in the days of Jesus.
Because it says in verse one that God has spoken in various times and in various ways. And now in verse two, it tells us that He has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed the heir of all things Of course, I believe Hebrews 1:1-2 with all my heart. Jesus Christ is the essence of God’s revelation. He is the perfection of God’s revelation.
But what I don’t find in here is a compelling argument that God no more speaks to individuals today. I say this because the Bible tells us that God spoke to individuals after Jesus ascended to heaven. The ascension of Jesus to heaven did not end the revelation of God. The words spoken by Jesus while He was on this earth – both during His earthly ministry and in the 40 days that He appeared on earth after his resurrection – those words do not comprise the entirety of God’s authoritative revelation, nor His revelation to individuals.
Of course, this is evident in all the authors of the New Testament – all of whom wrote after Jesus ascended to heaven. If the ascended Jesus could speak to those in the first century, then I don’t see why He could not speak to believers beyond the first century. We also see this in those other than the authors of the New Testament. To use the example at the beginning, we see this through the daughters of Philip, or in those practicing the gift of prophecy in the church of Corinth.
So, I just don’t see here a compelling argument to say that after Jesus, there was no more revelation from God. To repeat what I said earlier, after the New Testament was completed, there was no perfectly receive and universal revelation by God.