The Pentecostal Problem.

Those of us who would contend for the faith today based on the Bible,
we are grateful that Paul dealt with the Pentecostal Problem (PP) in the
first century of Christianity, and as an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ,
recorded it in the Word of God in I Corinthians 14.  Today, as the PP
becomes a larger problem, we as faith contenders need only remind
and refer people to I Corinthians 14, with background for understanding
in chapters 12, 13, as well as the total context of Corinthians.  {See in
the Learn Christ Commentaries, volume 3 on the “Life and Letters of
the Apostle Paul”, the two chapters on
“Understanding in the
Corinthians".}  The part that is hard to proclaim publicly {the real
meaning of prophesy and prophets in the NT} these days is that the
speaking in unknown tongues is being used as a substitute for the
progress of maturity in the Christian life, whether you call it
sanctification, godliness, fruits of the Spirit, or the additions to Christian
faith that the Apostle Peter admonishes in II Peter 1:5-8.  And Paul also
dealt with that not only in the background of the rest of Corinthians,
especially on the gifts of chapter 12 and the more excellent way to
covet the best gifts of chapter 13, but in the last words of I Corinthians
14, where he expounds the word of God as,
“If anyone thinks he is a
prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that these things I write
are commandments of the Lord”  (I Corinthians 14:37)
.  And also he
adds, for those who would be in any local church or denomination
stubborn about the matter,
“But if anyone is ignorant, let him be
ignorant.”  (14:38)  
Where we will have difficult today as contenders
and protectors of the faith once for all delivered to the saints in the
Bible, is in labeling such groups of the PP as superstitious and ignorant,
a noted characteristics of certain regions of the United States more
than others; but also we can gleam this from how Paul told the people
of Mars Hill in Athens, the close neighbor to Corinth, that “they were too
superstitious”  (Acts 17:22).  It is not without significance that those who
still practice and spread the PP, will most frequently use the word
“Ghost” in Holy Ghost, rather than Holy Spirit.
3-1:  You defenders of the faith should not use up all your ammo on
the PP as there are also two other major doctrinal problems
reaching up their ugly heads today in Contemporary Christianity,
that of the “secret rapture” and that of “Messianic Judaism”; and
both like the PP dealt with in the NT and in NT times, the secret
rapture in II Timothy and Messianic Judaism at the great Jerusalem
conference recorded in Acts 15.
1.  We as Christians, must ask “why”, why when we have so many
battles with our own sinful natures, with Satan, and with the world,
should we also have to do battle with fellow Christians.  Think about it,
however, these and many more unsound doctrines and practices are
just part of the great departures from Christian faith near the END that
the Bible calls the great apostasy or Falling Away (II Thessalonians).  
Even as Paul in II Thessalonians characterized this time of the Falling
Away as a time of the “rising tide of sin and lawlessness”, a mystery,
and even as Jesus in the great eschatological chapter of Matthew 24
connects this “as sin abounds” with the love of many Christians waxing
cold (24:12), so you have two big explanations--the flood of sin and the
diminish of love for Christ--that inevitably lead to intolerances toward
sound Bible teachings and doctrines (II Timothy 4:4,5).  It is not all
stubbornness and even ignorance, but is also sin and diminished real
love like in I Corinthians 13 where the more excellent way to covet the
best gifts is presented and expounded!
2.  Generally the same kind of Christians and churches who deny or
ignore the present existence in history of the great Falling Away are
also those of the PP!
3.  It also hurts to say, but this is also based on the Bible on the Falling
Away of the last of the last days, and according to Jesus:  even as the
PP as dealt with in I Corinthians 14 is a matter of a lack of priorities
between prophesy and prophets versus unknown tongues, so false
prophets and false teachers of false, or at least perverted doctrines, are
a very big sign from Jesus and others of the last of the last days.  Once
again, today in Contemporary Christianity, we don’t have to say it as it
has already been said for us by Jesus and the Apostles and Prophets in
the Bible!  Not to knock popularity, fame, and wealth and worldly
success {but why not}, it has been stated over and over that when
evangelists or preachers are popular and wealthy or very well-to-do,
they are so because they have made one or more comprises with the
world; and this very popularity itself during this incomparable time of
history known in the Bible as the Falling Away, then they are also
sort of II Timothy 4:3,4 that have “itching ears” and itching ears
doctrines, also that sort of 3:1-9 that are “lovers of self, lovers of
money, boasters, and proud”.  {Check it out for yourself if you have not
done so already!}
4.  We defenders of and contenders for the faith once for all delivered
in the Bible, must use these contemporary problems in Christian
doctrines and practices as an opportunity to PROCLAIM that same
faith once for all delivered to the saints and recorded in the Bible.  After
all, that preaching--same as proclaiming publicly and prophesying, the
work of prophets--is our prime job anyway!

“Preach the word!  Be ready in season and out of season.  
Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.  For
the time will come...{has come already in the Falling Away}.  (II
Timothy 4:2-4)
NOTE:  We may have to dig a little deeper down into the Word, the
Bible, than we orderly do, go back over some of the many verses
of the Bible often slighted or neglected, like we are now doing in
this expanding series on the Epistles of Peter and Paul, but that is
our obligation to God, Christ, and faithfulness to the Bible!

3-2 Gist of the PP.
Gist:  The heart of the Pentecostal Problem is that some pastors
and churches strive to duplicate the first day of Pentecost after the
Ascension of Christ {FDPAA}, which can not be duplicated as it
was a one time historical event like the birth of Christ with signs
and wonders, only the was the coming of the Holy Spirit with signs
and wonders, to take the place of Jesus on earth and expand His
work.  There is no need to duplicate it as He, the Holy Spirit, our
Helper, will be here until, as in II Thessalonians He is withdrawn
from this earth in preparation for the END.  The solution is to read
and heed I Corinthians 14, with the background additions of
chapter 12 on diversity and ranking of gifts, and chapter 13 on
Christian love. Pentecostals really try to manipulate history and the
Holy Spirit for self-edification.
We can only tread lightly around the Pentecostal Problem so long, as
we did in the first of
this series, “Joy in the NT” and second “Filling in
the book of Acts”, before we have to take head on the pentecostal
problem as Paul also had to do about “known” and “unknown” tongues
{languages} in I Corinthians 14.  
1.  Why did Paul and the Holy Spirit through Paul chose the church at
Corinth of Achaia only to deal with the matter of speaking in unknown
tongues?  You can search the 14 epistles of Paul to the churches, and
no where except in the cluster of I Corinthians 12-14 will you find
anything, outside the book of Acts, that informs us about the first
century problems with tongues.  Why in the world is it, that any time
there is a weird doctrinal emphasis out of churches or in some cases
denominations, it has something to do with teachings seldom
mentioned in the Scriptures?  One case in point, is these teachings on
Messianic Judaism, that Pastor James dealt with terminally, we had
hoped, “troubling the souls of Gentile believers” (Acts 1524) to go back
to the law of Moses; another is this incessant gospel of prosperity,
coming like charismatic movements in all denominations, now heard
with direct statements and undertones by those preachers and pastors
who would cater to popularity {it is strange in the very book where
Judah after Israel previously had lost peace, joy, and security, even
freedom, these advocates of a substitute gospel for the gospel once
for all delivered to the saints quote as teaching their brand of
prosperity}; and the most detrimental today are both the misuses of
houses of God as a business {See “Den of Thieves” from Jesus in
Matthew 21:13 and from Jeremiah 7, and in the SunGrist_Bible book on
the same subject}, and the second is lead by the
Bible Baptist
Fundamentalists {BBFer} who repeat another doctrinal problem dealt
with by Paul in II Timothy, where some of “that sort” were teaching a
false rapture.
2.  Even though we must speculate the answer to why Paul chose
Corinth to correct the unknown tongues problem {
The Pentecostal
Problem} in terms of the most probable answer, it could be either that
only the church at Corinth had that problem, or that the churches of the
larger region of Achaia--Corinth and Athens among them of Achaia--or
that the Pentecostal Problem was far more prevalent in Achaia than in
any other regions of early Christianity.  
NOTE:  Greece then as part of the Roman Empire was divided into
the northern half of Macedonia and the southern half of Achaia,
with both the cities of Athens and Corinth and no far apart.  Even
today, to a certain extent those two major divisions of Greece
remain, but no where in the Bible is the Pentecostal Problem {PP}
mentioned as a problem in Macedonia {recall that Paul wrote the
book of Philippians to Philippi of Macedonia}, nor is the PP
mentioned in any other books of the Bible.  So before we speculate
on the most probable cause of the PP, just to keep our feed solid in
Scriptures, let us take a quick look at Philippians as typical of all
other epistles of Paul, on words often related to the Pentecostal
Problem--joy, peace, “filling”, Holy Spirit, and “tongues”, known
and unknown, holy and holiness, and sanctification.

3-3:  Words must often referenced by the Pentecostal Problem as
used in a typical NT epistle of Paul, that of Philippians.  {For a more
thorough look at “joy” in the NT, see the first in this
series, “Joy in
the New Testament”}.
                            Joy in Philippians.
6 times the word “joy” is found in the book of Philippians:  (1)
Philippians 1:4, “making request with joy”, where Paul after addressing
the saints, bishops, and deacons at Philippi, tell them how often he
thinks of them with fond memories and then in his prayers has joy as he
makes requests or petitions to God for the benefit of those believers at
Philippi; (2) “joy of faith” in 1:25, where Paul is in a strait as to where he
should desire to depart this life on earth, and be with Christ, which is
much better, or to stay and help the church at Philippi with their
“furtherance and joy in the faith”; (3) “my joy”, Paul’s joy in 2:22, where
Paul requests that the church be like-minded, and of one accord, that
they might fill up or make full his joy; (4) & (5) Philippians 2:17,18, “I joy”
and “you joy” respectively, where for several reasons mentioned in the
verses before, Paul rejoices with the church members and they in turn
rejoice with him {those reasons, for our own joy, will be listed below in
section 3; (6) “my joy and crown”, Paul’s joy and crown in 4:1, where the
“brethren” are dearly beloved, longed for, and the joy and crown of Paul.
3-4:  Joy starts in Philippians chapter two, before coming to usage
#5 and #6 of the word “joy” in 2:17,18 {this is sort of a conclusion
or sub-conclusion in Paul’s joy and their joy in verses 17 and 18 of
what was before}; and what it starts with is THE MIND OF
CHRIST, which should be in all Christians like it was in Christ.  
NOTE:  We are laboring some of these Bible words like joy, peace,
filling, and the Holy Spirit, because it is considered that what many
believers after in the filling of the Holy Spirit with speaking in
unknown tongues, is inward joy and peace.  Also as previously
seen on filling, filling is used in the Bible for more times on other
inward fillings and feelings of believers than of the Holy Spirit, per
se in those words!  Perhaps many times, what we really want is to
take on internally the mind of the Lord Jesus Christ.  In either case,
in public worship, our minds should be more on the Mind of Jesus,
and like mindedness with Him, who as far as we can tell in
Scriptures never spoke in an unknown tongue.
1.  (Philippians 2:1)  We know that there is consolation in Christ,
comfort of love, fellow hip of the Holy Spirit, affection and mercy in the
body of Christ; and Paul only uses the word “if” for effect, and just in
case some church members have not come to that fulfillment of joy with
2.  (Philippians 2:2).  Okay church member and Christian, you have
passed from the “if” into the assurance, then take that comfort and
assurance, and BE LIKE-MINDED with it.  {Paul as he often does piles
up other words to say the same thing:  to be like-minded is to (1) have
the same love, (2) be of one accord, and (3) be of one mind.}
3.  THE BIG ONE:  “ Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ
Jesus...”  (Philippians 2:5)
“Christ Jesus, WHO...”   It did not hurt to remind them, as most of them
(1) Who?  He who was in the form of God from before the beginning of
Creation; (2) Who?  He who did not count lightly to be One with God,
and be the mediating cause in Creation and salvation; (3) Who?  He
who came to earth in human form, in the likeness of man and a
bondservant; (4) Who?  He who becomes obedient to the will and way
of God on earth to the full extent of death on the cross for the sins of
the world; (5) Who? Because of all this, He who God exalted with a
name above all other names; (6) Who?  He who at whose name every
knee should bow in heaven and earth; (7) Who?  He at whose every
tongue should confess that Jesus in Lord to the glory of God the Father.
NOTE:  If you want to find a good use of your tongue in public worship,
let it be in order to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, and that will within
itself, and mainly itself, be glory for God the Father.  No where in the
Bible does it tell us publicly and in worship to glorify the Father with an
unknown tongue, just the opposite in I Corinthians 14, even though as
standard practice in the PP is the repetitive use of the word “glory”.  
Within itself not conducive to matters “done decently and in order” in
public worship, the bottom line of I Corinthians 14:40.
3-5:  However it was not the church at Phiippi in Macedonia which
had the Pentecostal Problem, it was the church at Corinth in
Achaia; and Paul dealt with that directly in I Corinthians 14, with a
preface in I Corinthians 12 of respect for other and higher ranking
gifts, then going in the famous love chapter of I Corinthians on to
the “more excellent” way than to “covet earnestly the best gifts”.
Lest the reader become impatient, let us set forth in order the bottom
lines of I Corinthians 12 and 14 on God’s ordained solutions for the
Pentecostal Problem.
1.  First of all, let it be stated again as emphases from the previous in
the Bible study sessions, “Filled in the book of Acts”, that the crux of
those who would repeat the Pentecostal Problem today, much like in
Corinth and corrected in I Corinthians 14, is that many strive to
duplicate the historical day of the first day of Pentecost, FDPAA, after
the ascension of Jesus; and being a one time only first coming of the
Holy Spirit in power and glory can not be duplicated.
2.  The one who speaks in an unknown tongue in public worship “edifies
himself” (I Corinthians 14:4; but he who preaches, teaches, and gives
testimony in a known tongue that the congregation knows as a
language, prophesies to the whole assembly.
3.  I Corinthians 14, most of the time, distinguishes between unknown
tongues, those not spoken in any language known on earth, and known
tongues, languages of the earth; and so should we in our Bible
understanding and preaching and teaching.  If we do not, the false
impression is created that somewhere on the face of the earth--it just
has not been found yet, and that is hard to believe--that unknown tongue
is a language.  {A good working definition for public worship is that if the
whole congregation does not have the language capabilities to
understand it, say it is not in English, French, Spanish, or whatever the
local dialects, then it is an unknown language.}  After all the whole import
of I Corinthians 14 in the use of prophesying is to communicate with
understanding; and it is amazing that those who so often can make
beautiful distinctions in sounds of music, can not also rightly divide the
tongue to make distinction in understandable words of worship.
4.  Most of the time those with the PP also have a problem with “special
revelation”, often using such words as “God told me” or “God said to
me”; and far beyond the ordinary Bible understanding on Revelation and
illumination, where Revelation came only from Apostles and Prophets in
the Bible--you know, the same as the “faith once for all delivered to {all}
the saints” (Jude 3) and recorded as complete in the Bible--and what
our misguided brothers mean instead of an special revelation that adds
to the Bible, sometimes called isogesis instead of the reading out of the
Bible the read meaning, is that God has given them some new
illuminations!  All 3 of the major doctrinal problems today--unknown
tongues, Messianic Judaism, and the secret rapture--can be traced
back to misguided special revelation that tried to add to the Bible by the
way of isogesis.  Those who have a habit of homiletics by spiritualizing
tend to also drift into the problem of special revelation, and you will
more often note it among preachers that preach and teach more from
the OT than the NT.  But this last point must be clarified more after
consideration in the series of understanding
skill in I Corinthians.

NOTICE:  See the newest Bible study series "Christian Fables".
May 2014 Newsletter
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