It seems to me the doctrine of cessation is for those who like me were fearful of receiving the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts or who asked God but never received them. In turn they comforted themselves by adopting such doctrine to explain their lack, but it is a false comfort rooted in nullification of God’s Word. I suppose the appeal of such a doctrine is that it’s easier than persisting with God until He grants your request for more of His Holy Spirit and His gifts. It is through persistence that my wife received the gift of tongues some twenty years before we met, married, and I received the gift for myself.
Biblically, the doctrine of cessation is rooted in a poor interpretation of the passage “when perfection comes” found in 1 Corinthians 13:10 which holds the Bible itself to be the “perfection” Paul wrote about. Adherents to the doctrine consider tongues and all the other spiritual gifts to have “passed away” when the Bible was completed. Whether “completed” refers to the date the last book was finished or to one of the various canonized (ratified) versions of the Bible, I’m not sure. Regardless, adherents generally believe spiritual gifts passed away between 1600-1900 years ago. Naturally that puts cessationists at odds with countless believers who have received the Holy Spirit and practice using spiritual gifts today. That leaves them with just 2 choices concerning those who speak in tongues: admit their doctrine is in error, or persecute those who do. Sadly, in my experience they have always done the latter and with great zeal. If only they realized that they are in fact persecuting (and grieving) the Holy Spirit by assailing believers who speak in tongues by the power of the Holy Spirit.
If as I have, you’re wondering why you’ve never heard the gift of tongues in your church, perhaps it is reluctance to teach about the Holy Spirit and gifts and so ignorance abounds. I can empathize with that however, in the sense that teachers ought not teach about gifts they do not have. Such isn’t really teaching, it’s opining and the way I see it, that’s vanity. For example, I wouldn’t dream of trying to teach someone the guitar if I couldn’t already play it myself. If not that, then perhaps your church just isn’t welcoming of the Holy Spirit. Over the years I’ve met a few pastors who have the gift of tongues, but their congregations forbade them to use their gift or to even talk about it. Or I suppose a thief could have ripped the book of Acts and Paul’s letters out of the pew Bibles, but it’s more likely the so-called “controversial” passages are simply avoided. After all, who doesn’t like the love chapter in 1 Corinthians 13? It’s 1 Corinthians 12 and 14 where people get all worked up.
Where it is commonly taught that the Holy Spirit is received during water baptism and that’s all there is, the church has effectively raised a generation of believers who are unaware they can ask for MORE of the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13) and His gifts (1 Corinthians 12:31). But try as I might, I never could figure out the why of it all, for the New Testament clearly describes the Holy Spirit and His gifts and contains instruction for their use in the body, with numerous exhortations to seek the Father and ask for more of Him. Whatever the reason, it’s seems clear that fear and/or ignorance are at the root of resistance to the Holy Spirit.
Having been driven out of a few congregations, it is apparent “non-charismatic” churches turn “anti-charismatic” if ever a believer who speaks in tongues joins the fold. In all the years the Holy Spirit sent my wife and I to “non-charismatic” churches, we never used the gift of tongues in public. Nevertheless, where ignorance and fear rule over a church, members can quickly turn mob-like to run off any threat to the status quo. In our case the results of our “spiritual gifts assessment” were leaked to a few members who gossiped about us, rumors were started and some people feared we might speak in tongues and thereby turn them into a “holy roller church”. Clearly they did not practice the principle of receiving those whom God sends as illustrated by the parable of the vineyard tenants (Matthew 21:33-41 and John 13:20). Specifically, receiving the one sent is the same as receiving the sender. To refuse the one sent is to refuse the sender. By driving us out of “their” church they effectively drove out the Holy Spirit who sent us and abides in us.
Three times the Lord said “Open wide your mouth and I will fill it” (Psalm 81:10) and each time I responded fearfully. When I opened my mouth to give voice to my ignorance for the 3rd time, the Holy Spirit washed over and through me in what felt like a flood of warm pure love. At the same time, it felt as if His hand took hold of my tongue and stretched it out until something hard and lifeless broke off from the end of it and I began speaking in a language previously unknown to me. Overwhelmed with emotion, tears of joy ran down my face as the words which could only have been highest praise for almighty God rushed from my tongue. For several hours I didn’t speak another word of English except to confess “I can’t believe I ever feared You”.
Try as I might the next day, I could not begin speaking in tongues again. When I expressed frustration, the enemy whispered in my ear “God gave you the gift of tongues just for the day so you could see what it used to be like. It is not your gift to keep.” In my other ear I heard a different voice say “That is a lie. The gift is yours to keep. Now take your concordance and look up every scripture in which I say that I’ll put my words into your mouth and read them aloud”. Still feeling frustrated, I did as the second voice said, reading the first scripture timidly, the second more loudly and with authority, and the third I yelled at the top of my lungs “Open wide your mouth and I will fill it SAYS THE LORD! Now GET OUT of my HOUSE Satan and TAKE your LIES WITH YOU!” With a welcome rush of the Spirit I began speaking in tongues once again and did so all day long every day for the next 2 weeks since I was at home at the time and out of work. What a joyous experience it was to receive such fullness of the Holy Spirit and the gift of tongues! Though it was 22 years ago now, I still remember the gentle beauty of it all as if it were yesterday. It was truly ignorant of me to have ever feared the Holy Spirit.
This I believe is the first short article I ever wrote, about the fall of 1999. I had forgotten about it until recently when the Father thought I needed encouragement and reminded me about the article by His Holy Spirit. The message is simple for the family of God in Christ who are down and discouraged by the evil goings on in the world today: WE WIN! I hope this blesses and encourages you as it has me. Jack
When I was 14, I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Not long after, some of my new Christian friends introduced me to various beliefs about the Rapture of the Saints. That was the 70’s, and Hal Lindsey’s book “The Late Great Planet Earth” was causing quite a stir, and prompted many rapture debates. I can remember one sister asking me: “are you pre-, mid-, or post-trib, pre-, post-, or a-millennial”? Biblical scholar that I was then (I knew John 3:16 inside and out), I gave her my most profound answer: “Both!” and then I changed the subject. Eventually, I adopted as my own the popular beliefs at the time. Certainly that was easier than searching for the answers myself.
As I’ve grown in Christ, those early ‘hearsay’ beliefs, are being challenged and changed by what I read in scripture. While I still believe in the Rapture of the Saints, my view of the church at the time of the rapture has changed.
At that time, the popular belief depicted the Church as on the verge of annihilation at the hands of Satan, when Jesus would come and ‘rapture’ the church like a holy ‘Superman’. In that scenario, Satan nearly defeats the Church, and Christ takes a victim bride.
There are 7 articles in the original “Tithe” series, written between 2000-2002 and posted to my former web site Lord, You Are (dot) com, now defunct. This article consolidates the 7 articles in the order they were published. Exposing the falsehood of the modern tithe doctrine was one of the instruments God used to set me free from man’s dead Laodicean church system. As always, I pray the Lord will use them to set you free from false teaching and guilt-based giving.
To Tithe or not to Tithe: the $earch for Truth
Though I’ve always struggled with the tithe, I still shook my head in disgust when I heard about the preacher who’s congregation quietly left the church during the prayer following a long sermon on tithing. He said “Amen”, looked up and cried out “half my church is gone!” I laughed saying “they must have fled the conviction of the Holy Spirit”.
What the Lord said took me completely by surprise: “They fled from error and guilt-based giving”. “What?!?” I’ve heard more sermons on the tithe than on any other topic except perhaps our need of Jesus for eternal life! After I picked up my jaw from the floor, the Lord prompted me to study tithing and giving.
Throughout the Bible study I prayed for His guidance and in the end I reached the inescapable conclusion that the “tithe” is to the modern church what the issue of “circumcision” was to the church in Paul’s time.
NOTE:Nothing in this article is intended as an excuse to stop giving as the Lord leads you to give.
The verse most often cited in support of the tithe is from the Old Testament, found in Malachi 3:8-10: Continue reading →
In the spring of 1966, the entire 4th grade class was marched to the gym where we were made to take a musical aptitude test. Other than listening to single notes played on a variety of instruments and answering whether or not they were the same, I remember little else about the test. Weeks later, I came home from school and my parents greeted me saying “the school called.” Oh, how those words could make me sweat bullets and launch my suspicious mind into a frenzied inventory of excuses even before hearing the school’s complaint.
“Do you remember the music test you took?” my parents asked. “Uh, no” said I. Dad continued with a grin “it’s difficult to believe, I know, but the school says you have a talent for music.” My little mind did a Bat-Turn** trying to Continue reading →
Years ago I was blessed to take part in a traditional Jewish Seder meal where the Messianic Jewish host explained the meaning and spiritual significance of each element of the meal. When we were finished, the host encouraged all the Christian participants to observe the traditional Jewish Sabbath. It was a moving experience and launched me into prayerful study to determine how my wife and I should approach the Sabbath. In the end, neither my wife nor I felt led to observe it on a weekly basis as do the Jews. Speaking for myself, I felt that way long before ever attending the Seder meal. What the study did do for me was to show me why I feel the way I do about traditional Sabbath observance. Such is not unusual, for simple discernment often precedes knowledge and understanding.
Controversial as the subject is and having had my fill of so many self-appointed defenders of man’s religious kingdom who were threatened by the many tithe articles (link) the Father led me to write, I never figured to write anything about the Sabbath. That is until recently when I heard a man argue for keeping the 4th commandment with the following twisted logic: “I recently informed my wife that I will begin sleeping with other women because of this new found freedom (that) I have (in Christ) to disregard the 7th commandment which says ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery’.” The man’s inference being IF in Christ the 4th commandment (Sabbath) no longer applies, neither does the 7th (Adultery). I hope dear reader, that you find the man’s crass and manipulative analogy as nauseating as I do.Continue reading →
If there were a meter by which to measure introversion, I’d register in the hermit zone. That means few people other than my wife and father know me well. While I prefer it that way, it’s often frustrating, especially where sharing my faith and talents are concerned. Not surprising then that I blog, journal, and post my original tunes on the web.
From time to time the Father has given me a friend with whom to break bread real and spiritual; someone to listen, offer wise counsel and encouragement. A friend is one of God’s greatest gifts as we make this pilgrimage through life.
The wounds from a friend can be trusted; but an enemy will smother you with kisses (Proverbs 27:6).
A true friend will point out an issue, that on my own I’m blind to or simply refuse to deal with. Anger is one such issue. Decades ago, a friend observed when it comes to dealing with anger, I do a “slow boil”. Eventually that simmering pot of upset within me would boil over and I became “hell on wheels” in dealing with every unjust situation or person who had wronged me.
Upon that all-too-familiar battlefield, the grace and peace of Yeshua takes a stand against the scars and injuries I’ve accumulated over a life time and the wearisome struggle to forgive those who inflicted them. These issues, together with the all-too-frequent Continue reading →
In the gospels, the word “stone” is used literally and spiritually. For example, Matthew 7:9 appears to be a literal use of the word.
“Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?” Matthew 7:9
Likewise, Matthew 28:2.
“And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it.” Matthew 28:2
Matthew 21:42 and 44 on the other hand, use the word “stone” as a spiritual metaphor, in reference to Yeshua.
Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:” ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? Matthew 21:42
And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.” Matthew 21:44
Driving west on I-80 in Iowa, we followed another car for about half an hour before we both exited for the rest stop. Gesturing at road signs, the passengers shot looks at each other several times, but I thought nothing of it. After using the facilities, my wife and I observed the foursome huddled around the map with bold red “you are here” arrow, arguing among themselves. The driver stopped me to ask for directions, explaining they’d come from Davenport and were on their way to Peoria, where in less than an hour, the girl was scheduled to open an important social event as Queen. “Oh my”, I replied; “Peoria is about 3 hours back that-a-way”.
So how does a driver miss the mile markers posted every mile or the large green and white traffic signs that count down the miles to the next city or interchange? You’d think that first sign “Iowa City 40 miles” would have told the driver they were headed in the wrong direction. Surely “Iowa City 30 miles” would have Continue reading →