Pentecostal religious organizations cover a wide field of various
churches, sometimes harboring contradictory beliefs within their
own ranks, but each claiming to have special religious experiences
which they mistakenly suppose to be authored by the Holy Spirit
of God. "The Pentecostal experience may be defined as seeking
and receiving the gift of speaking in tongues as a sign of the
baptism of the Holy Spirit" (Encyclopedia of Amer. Religions,
Melton, vol. 1, p. 243). I state here, that the phenomenon
of tonguespeaking is only a selfdeception among them,
for the Bible teaches that miraculous gifts, including this one,
ceased after the first century. Besides, the tongues of the New
Testament consisted of known languages, not charismatic gibberish
(the tongue talking I refer to later in this piece is not really
so). It is my intention to demonstrate by fair reasoning and Scripture
why such a belief as the above poses a danger-it is to lean upon
a "broken reed." First, note the history of this movement;
second, the hazard of such rash belief.
History of Pentecostalism
The first manifestation of tonguetalking in the modern era
occurred in 17th century France during state suppression of Protestants.
In the 18th century the Quakers also believed in these manifestations
of the Spirit. In the 1830s the Mormons, led by Joseph Smith,
claimed miraculous gifts were worked through them.
The current affair of tongues began in 1901 in Topeka, Kansas.
Charles Parham, the director of a school, led his students on
a search for the baptism of the Holy Ghost. They concluded it
was for today and on January 1, they claimed to have received
it. From that day to this, Pentecostalism has become extremely
popular in spite of the fact that their adherents have divided
up into MANY different factions, some of them holding contrary
doctrines to one another. Consider:
All charismatic groups have been founded upon socalled revelations
from God; but they are 1900 years too late to be the church of
Do Pentecostals, who claim to have the Spirit, accept such groups
as the Mormons who pretend the same? Mormons are more consistently
wrong than other charismatic groups because they teach that if
signs are still occurring today, then twelve apostles must also
still be living! As a matter of fact, if apostles, or miracles
continue now, Scripture is still being revealed! Will Pentecostals
endorse Mormons? Why or why not?
The splintering within Pentecostalism is frequently over points
of doctrine. There is a variety of Pentecostal groups, each claiming
to be miraculously led by the Spirit, which teach a variety of
doctrines contrary to one another. This alone proves that the
Spirit is not the author of their excitement. Otherwise, the Spirit
would be the author of confusion.
A belief that miracles are performed today on earth endangers
the soul who so believes it. First, simply because it is false
Jesus said the truth makes one free, not error. One apostle told
a congregation that those who teach a different doctrine have
"cut themselves off from Christ" (Gal. 5:14).
A person cannot be saved who holds to error.
Pentecostals believe that "tongue-speaking" is the evidence
that they have the truth. The United Pentecostals say "tongue-speaking
is the initial evidence of Holy Spirit baptism" and without
tongues "you have not had the baptism" without which
you cannot be saved. The harrowing hazard here is that when participants
"come to themselves" and realize they have been duped,
they suppose there is no foundation for faith at all.
Most Pentecostals think that the miracles they claim today are
the same as the apostles gave in the first century. When the discovery
is made that the miracles are either faked or that they are not
miracles at all, they may commit the blunder that the apostles
never did any real miracle either. Hence, the New Testament is
without miraculous confirmation in their mind.
There is also the acute danger in the modern "miracles"
since the effect is to cause people to place more confidence in
their own feelings than in the Word of God and thereby jeopardize
their souls. Not only does the Bible teach that miracles have
ceased, but the hyper-emotional nature of their meetings are designed
to spark the emotions of individuals. I attended a meeting in
Arkansas of this sort, and if the Spirit was the one causing the
hopping and bopping and shouting amidst the blare of popstyle
music on stage, then I must confess the Spirit does the same thing
at any rock concert. With friends whirling you about, music reverberating
through your very spine, preachers squeezing your head like a
cantaloupe while shouting, "Receive the spirit,"
in your ear, hands clapping in beat, and bodies sweating
swaying, and swinging-it was a firstclass emotional display
falsely called "movement of the Spirit."
Those who participate in such scenes usually care not what passage
of Scripture you may place your finger upon which teaches that
miracles have ceased, their reliance is upon what they feel.
John Sherrill, a popular Pentecostal writer, was even instructed:
"It is not logic but an experience
that lets us know who Christ is." (They Speak with Other
Tongues, p. 2). He was further taught that "you
can't approach Christianity through your mind or your intellect.
Instead," he was told, "Say yes to Christ, accept him
as your personal Savior, and take the leap of faith. Without understanding,
without even knowing why, say 'Yes to Christ'" (p. 3).
Pentecostalism destroys faith in the Christ of the Word, and insists
that you disengage your mind, and makes you lean upon your own
(Editor's note: A reporter recently visited a Pentecostal type
service called "The Toronto Blessing." It is
put on at the Airport Church in Toronto. The article said, ''[O]thers
responded to the prayer by yelling, grunting, yelping, screaming,
coughing, twitching, doubling over with cramps or taking what
looks like a fit.")