No Apologizing

Christian Apologetic, and Social Commentary in a world gone mad

Tag Archives: Tongues

TOP TEN posts for for our year!


Well, we have ended our first year of the No Apologizing Blog.  When we first started this blog we weren’t sure what was going to happen, thanks for coming out to view some of our top posts.  That being said here is the TOP TEN for the No Apologizing Blog: Read more of this post

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Are you a God? Part 2


This is part 2 of the “Are we gods”.

God called us little gods, so we are what the word says we are.  This argument is based on John 10:32-36, and Psalms 82.

Word of faith preachers lean heavily on this text to show that we are little gods.  Here is John 10:32-36:   but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”   33 “We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”   34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods’? 35 If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and the Scripture cannot be broken— 36what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world?

Word of Faith preachers say “Scripture calls us little gods.  We must follow the scripture.”  This argument offered up by the word of faith preachers offers more of a challenge because it is so easily misinterpreted if it is taken out of context.  When you read John 10:34-36 it says you are “gods”.  When you read Psalms 82:6 it says you are “gods”.  Like I mentioned before, when you listen to a word of faith preacher discuss these two verses in particular this would be about as deep as they go.  “It says it, so you are.”  So let’s put these into context…

When you are looking at this section of John, Jesus is standing before the Pharisees.  They are ready to stone him for claiming to be God.  Christ defends himself in 34-36 referencing Psalms 82. 

1 God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:

2 “How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Selah

3 Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.

4 Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

5 They have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken.

6 I said, “You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you;

7 nevertheless, like men you shall die, and fall like any prince.”

8 Arise, O God, judge the earth; for you shall inherit all the nations!

 Psalm 82 was written in reference to the judges and magistrates.  These people are official representatives and agents of God.  I am going to break Psalm 82 down and look at it verse by verse to help you gain better understanding of what Jesus was referencing in John 10:34. 

Look at verse 1.  This is notification to the “gods” that God gives judgment on them.  This statement is followed by a plea to the “gods” in verses 3-4.  Verse 5 offers truth, without these things anarchy will ensue.  Then, in verses 7-8, comes the reckoning… Though they are honored in verse 6 God also humbles them by reminding them  in verse 7 that they are only mere mortals and that they will, therefore, die.  Basically, these two verses are saying that these judges are NOT god-like, because they are imperfect and mortal then verse 8 definitively declares that God has authority and will judge all of them.  If you read Psalm 82 through the lens that the “gods” are just the average person (as opposed to leaders and judges), it makes no sense.  Let’s dig a little deeper.

Look at verse 2.  When the question is asked “how long will you judge unjustly, and show partiality to the wicked?”  Focus on the word “you”.  The word “you” in verse 2 can only be referencing God or “gods”.  God does not judge unjustly, so then the reference must be to the word “gods”.  The “gods” judge.  On to verse three…the “gods” are able to give justice.  Now, if the “gods” judge and are able to give justice, are they average folk or are they people with power and authority (like leaders, kings, judges, rulers, etc.)?  The actions described in Psalm 82 describe the actions of people in leadership.  The actions they perform are “god” – like in that they judge and have a certain (limited) amount of power and authority.  They are judging and leading others with the possibility of liberating them.  This is similar to the way that God will one day judge the world, but in a limited way. Of course leading other people and/or judging for them is an awesome and powerful responsibility – one that carries a heavy burden  One last comment on Psalm 82.  When you read this verse, think of a local or national leader.  Keep them in mind as you hear God’s plea to them to be fair, and righteous.  Keep them in mind as God reminds them that his judgment will happen.  When I do this I am filled with the instant need to pray for them. 

Let’s jump now to John 10:34-36.  Here, Jesus quotes Psalm 82 to make a point.  So who is Jesus talking to here?  The Pharisees.  The keepers of the law (magistrates), and the judges of the law.  So when Jesus says “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”’, he is referencing the judges and magistrates of His day (like Psalms 82 was).  What we are seeing Jesus do in John 10:34-38 is draw a comparison between himself, and the Pharisees.  The Pharisees, administers of the law of God, and Jesus the one the Father consecrated and sent into the world.  Both are the word of God delivered.  This is cemented by what Jesus says in verses 35-36.  “Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods'[e]? If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and the Scripture cannot be broken— what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world?

If “gods” in John 10:34-36 means just anyone then this verse becomes superficial, and meaningless-There is no power to the analogy that Jesus draws between the two groups, because is no distinction between the groups.

There is danger in claiming that we are gods, even if it IS with a little g, because it minimizes God, and lifts man up to be more than what we are intended to be.  If, in fact, we have God like authority on Earth why would we need to submit to God?  If this sounds silly, then think about this…  Many word of faith preachers go so far as to teach that God has to submit to US!  That God cannot act on this Earth without our consent (much more could be said about this clear fallacy, and probably will be in a future post).  Any preacher who teaches that man controls God, or preaches that you are god like preaches a God that does not exist in the Bible (cf. Romans 11:33-36), and deliberately, or otherwise, misleads people into thinking they have God like power.  Keep in mind that this type of teaching has been used before (when Satan told Eve that she could like God). Of course, we know that Adam and Eve’s response to this false teaching had a catastrophic effect on the history of the world – Let’s be wise and refuse to listen to that same lie again.

The next time someone asks you if you’re a god you SAY…


The title may look a little familiar to you.  This is the response that Winston gave to Ray after the Demon spirit in Ghostbusters fried them.  This is relevant to today in that many word of faith preachers say that we are “little gods”.  Some of the more well known preachers associated with this doctrine are Joyce Meyers, Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Creflo Dollar, and Bill Winston.  Some quotes from the preachers:

Hagin:  God “made us in the same class of being that he is himself”. 

Copeland: “You don’t have a god in you, you are one”

Meyer:  “Now you understand I’m not saying you are God with a capital “G””.

The argument:

The “little gods” doctrine is based largely two key points. 1. God produced after his own kind, and two that God called us “gods”.   The ramifications of this doctrine are far and wide.  If we are in fact little gods, there isn’t anything on this earth that we cannot control.  Weather… no problem.  Sickness… no problem.  Whatever it is we have control of everything because we have been created as gods.  Word of faith preachers will follow these arguments up with statements of “there is divinity in humanity”, and some will say “You don’t have to go to Him (God), to take care of any problems” (This is from Bill Winston).  Anytime I listen to a sermon regarding this doctrine, I always see a high level of excitement, and the reading of these Bible verses.  Never, have I seen a pastor go into the context of the verse being used.  I get the distinct feeling that there is no thought put behind the use of these verses, rather just a superficial use of the verse to demonstrate a point that then comes off as being hollow.  As I mentioned in my previous posts, without context you can make the Bible say just about anything you want.  If you pull two obscure verses out of thin air you can warp it to mean….that you are gods on earth – Which is coincidently very similar to Mormon doctrine.  Here is what the Bible verses mean in context.

Today we will take a look at the first point…

  1. God produces after his own kind.  The scripture used to support this is Genesis 1:26.  The argument is as follows…Well let’s just use Mr. Dollars own words from a sermon given to his own congregation:

Dollar: “If horses get together, they produce what?”
Congregation: “Horses!”
Dollar: “If dogs get together, they produce what?”
Congregation: “Dogs!”
Dollar: “If cats get together, they produce what?”
Congregation: “Cats!”
Dollar: “So if the Godhead says ‘Let us make man in our image’, and everything produces after its own kind, then they produce what?”
Congregation: “Gods!”
Dollar: “Gods. Little “g” gods. You’re not human. (The) Only human part of you is this (the) flesh you’re wearing.”

 This argument focuses on the first sentence of Genesis 1:26:  Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.   It also takes the central theme that each produces after it’s own kind.  This theme can be found the 1st book of Genesis.

  1. God produces after his own kind.  We have to start at this point because it (for me at least) is the underlying theme to the little gods doctrine. 

Genesis 1:26:  Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…

In this verse word of faith preachers will tell you that because everything produces after its own kind, and God produced man in his own image and after His likeness that we are in fact gods on earth.  If we follow this argument all the way through to conclusion…God created Adam.  Adam, being produced by God, was…god (Hagin and Copeland both assert this).  Adam sinned meaning what….God can sin?  Even if we work it backwards….If Adam could sin, and Adam was a carbon copy of God…does that mean that God could sin?  Of course, the answer is no.

What do you think of when you hear the word image? Do you think of a carbon copy of yourself?  Would an image of yourself contain all of your qualities, all of your mannerism’s, all of your talents?  Because this is exactly what God did.  God created man in his own image (Genesis 1:27).  He did not create a clone of himself.  But what about the word likeness?  Wouldn’t that mean that that we were like God?  No.  The Hebrew word used in this verse was “dmwt”,which means “image.  Thus, Genesis 1:26 could really read “Let us make man in our own image…”.  When you hear the word image do you think of a carbon copy, or do you think more of a picture? Which makes more biblical sense?

There are none who are LIKE God. Take these bible verses into consideration when praying about this point…

Ray, the next time someone asks you if you're a god you SAY YES!

Isaiah 43:10 – “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen,   so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.

Isaiah 46:9  – Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other;  I am God, and there is none like me.

God makes it extremely clear that there are NONE LIKE HIM, and that there will be no god  formed before him or after him.  There is a clear contradiction between the word of faith interpretation of Genesis 1:26, and the word of God.

Part two tomorrow!  Stay tuned!

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All you need is faith, faith. Faith is all you need.


Is faith in Christ enough for salvation?  This simple question can ignite a war of words.  The “Word of Faith” doctrine holds, on many levels, that there are “side effects” to your salvation.  These side effects would include speaking in tongues, being healed from affliction, and gaining prosperity.  The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the method to how these “side effects” are given to believers.  The natural question based on the above argument is…”If I don’t speak in tongues, or get sick, or do not prosper…am I saved?”  While this is a question that I have struggled with, and one I think that is worth asking, I believe that this is the wrong question.  The primary question that needs to be asked should be “Is faith enough?”

The Word of Faith’s basic answer to this question is as follows:  “Upon salvation you receive the Holy Spirit; however your baptism of the Holy Spirit is separate from salvation.  Upon the Baptism of the Spirit, you will demonstrate certain sign gifts… In fact, you should be able to successfully call on Him to deliver you from sickness.  If your faith is strong enough, you will be healed.  If you are in poverty, and your faith is strong enough you can bring wealth.”  Or how about this “The baptism of the Holy Spirit is evident by speaking in tongues” (this from Gloria Copeland).  These messages are being preached in churches across the world.  The premise is simple.  In order to avoid issues with affixing anything to salvation, the word of faith movement creates two baptisms or assigns the baptism of the Holy Spirit to a point after salvation.  This premise allows a word of faith preacher to say that powers are received upon baptism of the Holy Spirit.  What they normally won’t say but end up implying is that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is separated from salvation.  The timeline for a born again Christian would then be as follows:  Profession Jesus is Lord – salvation/indwelling of the spirit; Baptism of the Spirit – taking place at some point thereafter.  Either way the word of faith movement is consistent in saying that the sign gifts are required.  If you don’t have the sign gifts, you have not been baptized by the Spirit.

How does this process stack up against the Bible?  Word of Faith preachers point the Pentecost to answer the question.  The argument; All of the apostles were saved prior to the day of the Pentecost.  Jesus explicitly told them they would then be baptized by the Holy Spirit.  This shows two points for the apostles, salvation upon faith, and then baptism of the Holy Spirit.  Word of faith preachers argue that they are two distinct events.  Upon receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit the apostles were able to speak in tongues, and perform miraculous signs.  Thus if you do not speak in tongues, et al.  then you have not been baptized by the Holy Spirit.  This statement gets to the heart of the matter.

What if there is only one salvation, and one baptism?  The natural implication would be no sign gifts, no salvation.  Thus the dilemma.  If I don’t speak in tongues have I been baptized by the Holy Spirit? 

The Bible offers a number of answers in regards to the questions I asked above.  The best way that I can answer this is in timeline fashion.  First let’s take a look at whether or not there is separation of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit from salvation. 

When do we receive the spirit?  1 Corinthian 12:3 gives us the answer:  Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.  When do we proclaim “Jesus is Lord”?  We sincerely proclaim it upon salvation for the first time.  At that point in time…we are in the Holy Spirit.

When does the baptism of the Holy Spirit take place?  The baptism of the Holy Spirit takes place when we enter the body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:13 illustrates this point.   For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

When do we enter the body of Christ?  Upon Salvation.  If this is not the case, then we would actually have those who have faith in Christ, but do not belong to the body of Christ.  Also take this into consideration:  If we have believers who are not one with the body, then Christ’s prayer in John 17:11, 21-23 has not been answered.

How many Baptisms’s are there?  According to Ephesians 4:5, there is only one baptism. “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all

So what does all of this mean?  The Word of Faith Preachers use a piece of the Bible to illustrate a point that the baptism of the Spirit can be separated from salvation.  However, the use of all of the New Testament demonstrates that, from a practical stand point, this is impossible.  If we enter into the body of Christ upon salvation, then we have to be baptized at the point of salvation for 1 Corinthians 12:13 to hold true.  We also know that sincerely proclaiming Jesus is Lord is made by someone in the Spirit.  This proclamation is made at the point of salvation.  This means that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is not separated from salvation.  They happen all at one time.

So what does all of this really mean?  Let’s go back to the very first question, “If I don’t speak in tongues, or get sick, or do not prosper…am I saved?”  If you can show that the baptism of the Spirit takes place at the time of salvation, then according to the word of faith movement….you are not saved.  This creates a fundamental issue on one of the primary tenets of Christianity, salvation through faith.  This brings us to the primary question, is faith enough?

Is it really true that all we need is faith? Absolutely.  There are a number of verses in the New Testament that support through faith alone (Romans 3:28-30, Romans 4:5, Romans 5:1, Romans 9:30, Romans 11:6, Galatians 3:5-6, Romans 1:16-17).  My personal favorite is Ephesians 2:8-9; For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. 9Not by works, lest any man should boast.”  On this point many preachers of the word of faith movement would not disagree.  Here is where the problem is, when you establish that the baptism of the Holy Spirit takes place at salvation, word of faith preachers add to the requirements of salvation. 

If tongues are needed to demonstrate the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and the baptism takes place upon salvation…word of faith preachers are saying that you must speak in tongues in order to demonstrate that you have been saved.  And it’s not just tongues that would fall into this category.  It could include water baptism, prayer, and anything that someone says you must have in order to show you are saved.  These are counter to the teachings of the Bible.  Since the protestant reformation, we have correctly understood that all you need for salvation is faith.  At the point of salvation, you are baptized by the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit assigns gifts at His will.

When sign gifts, or anything for that matter, are attached as requisites for salvation it becomes an obstruction to the primary tenant of the Christian faith.  That tenant….salvation through faith alone.  This is something that cannot be blown off or left alone.  In today’s society many of us are offended by educators teaching erroneous ideas such as global warming, and evolution.  We also become frustrated by the notion of revisionist history being taught because of political correctness.  This is should concern you because of its nature. 

But we aren’t about just attacking folk’s ideas… Instead, this info is actually REALLY Good News!! How so? Well, for the Christian who has ever doubted their salvation because of their not feeling moved to or experiencing any of the sign gifts you can rest in the knowledge that these signs and wonders are NOT linked to your salvation in any way shape or form… In fact, I’d venture to say that most of our Charismatic friends would even agree whole heartedly with that. We would be content to just live and let live if it were not for the fact that many of the proponents of Word of Faith make this a primary (salvation) issue… Hopefully, we’ve shown well enough that it is NOT a matter of one’s salvation… If you still believe that it is, we respectfully ask that you reexamine God’s Word on this issue with an open heart and mind… We’ll examine more Word of Faith claims from a biblical perspective in posts that are soon to follow.

And I just want a million dollars


Anybody a big fan of Friends?  Remember the first episode?  Ross, is sitting on the couch having just been divorced.  Ross says “I just want to be married again”.  Rachel comes running through the door in a wedding dress.  Chandler (ever the opportunist) screams “I just want a million dollars!”

Over the last month-month and a half I have been studying the word of faith movement.  I needed to know if what these preachers were saying was biblical or not.

I started by looking at what the word of faith movement was.  What is included in it?  The word of faith movement is basically described as follows:  “Say what you want in faith, and it will be yours.”  You may have heard of the word of faith movement by some of the following names:  the prosperity gospel, health and wealth gospel, or name it claim it gospel.

The history of the word of faith movement is pretty well documented.  Many of the word of faith teachings can be traced back to E.W. Kenyon and include;  Christ going to hell, positive confession, God creating the universe based on faith, etc…There is debate about who the true founder of the word of faith movement.  Some will argue Kenyon, others Hagin.  To me this really is irrelevant.  It was a nice to know, as it kept showing up in text describing the word of faith movement.  While I understand that this can prove to be relevant, I am only concerned about how their preaching stacks up against the Bible.

Who are the preachers of the word of faith movement?  Preachers of the word of faith movement would include; Kenneth Copeland, Gloria Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Jr, Benny Hinn, Paul Crouch, Creflo Dollar, Joel Osteen, Oral Roberts, John Avanzini, Robert Tilton, Fred Price, Bill Winston, and a whole host of others.

Up until a couple of months ago I looked at the word of faith movement as something that was just there.  I may have disagreed with it, but I thought that there was nothing dangerous about it.  Now I know the truth.  The word of faith movement is dangerous.  It is harmful.  It is misleading.  And those that follow the word of faith preachers follow a gospel that is not biblical.  Furthermore, any gospel that assigns anything to salvation (healing powers, becoming god like, speaking in tongues or the like) is not biblically founded as well.  Those that preach these things alienate people who are moved to Christ, but do not speak in tongues or because they can’t heal.  They also lie to those who are poor or sick and tell them that it is because they do not have enough faith.  These “preachers” draw in crowds based on the false premise that they receive special revelation that you do not.  They claim that they are special instruments of God, and you are to listen to what they say – Even if it contradicts the Word of God itself, they expect you to take THEIR word for it and not research it on your own.  All of this to me is dangerous.

I spent a lot of time reading into this for personal reasons.  I had to make sure that I got this right.  I couldn’t be sure solely based on other peoples’ opinions…  I had to do my own research, pray, and have the Spirit of God draw me in the right direction.  I had to understand the Bible, understand the context, and know, what was really there.

There will be several posts following this one that will take a biblical look at the flaws of the word of faith movement.  There are several videos on YouTube that will give you a quick version of it.  We hope to provide a comprehensive version of it here.  If we hurt some feelings, if we offend any of the readers, that is not our intent… However, we’re not apologizing for the truth.

Have tongues ceased? The debate…closing arguments


Robert – If we were to look at the most basic argument against tongues and prophecy not existing today it would come down to 1 Corinthians 13:8-10.  It is here that Paul says they will cease:   “8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.”  So then the question becomes, when, and has perfection come?  Kevin has offered two points here.  He states that because tongues is not mentioned in the Epistles after 1 Corinthians that tongues ceased then.  Then he suggested that perhaps the perfection that is mentioned is the canonized Bible.  If we take both of those statements at face value, then there is a time contradiction.  It has to be either or, and cannot be both. 

There is another point that I have to make here because Kevin has eluded to it on several occasions.  The Bible is clear as to how these gifts are to be used.  Tongues/ Prophesy have abusers just as does many aspects of the Bible.  That fact cannot support the argument against tongues and prophecy.  If you were to base any argument based on that rule, then you would have to eliminate several portions of the Bible. 

History has shown that God can move in a number of ways.  Historically, we have to remember the shock waves that were sent by Martin Luther and John Calvin during the reformation.  They were labeled heretics, not true to doctrine. Similar to today, there are those who would deny any reformation or revival because it does not fit into their world view.  A play that would be and possibly is similar to the response of the Catholic Church during the reformation.  If it was possible then, why is it so impossible now?

Kevin – In total, my impression of Robert’s argumentation reminds me of the old adage “where there’s smoke there’s fire”. We all know that’s not true. It’s like Robert’s saying: Smoke doesn’t necessarily mean a current fire… Maybe the fire was put out… nor does a fire truck roaring by – there could be an accident. But when you see a fire truck roaring by, then you look to the horizon and see smoke and then as you get closer to the smoke you feel heat most reasonable people would say that there is most likely a fire… What’s most reasonable?

1 Corinthians 13 doesn’t say when tongues will cease… so, I guess, they could maybe still be current. Silence in scripture about sign gifts for the most part doesn’t necessarily  mean that 1 Corinthians 13 has been fulfilled… Sign gifts disappearing almost completely off the scene historically from after the apostolic era until about 100 years ago (except in rare and dubious circumstances) isn’t an air-tight case against the biblical validity of their current manifestation – maybe God had no use for them then (why does He need them now?)… But, when you take all these into account… Where there’s fire trucks, and smoke and intense heat… What’s more reasonable… Fire or maybe no fire?

Look… If Robert’s point is to argue that God CAN assign the sign gifts to Christians in the modern era, I will concede the debate – God CAN do anything He wants. However, if he is trying to talk about what happens currently then the history of how this doctrine came to be debated in modern times needs to be examined. Now, to be fair, Robert has divorced himself from groups who have propagated sign gifts in a way that is inconsistent with 1 Corinthians 14. The problem is that the modern practice of tongues and “prophetic words” had resurgence and kept momentum due in large part to groups and theologians who, by and large,  do not conform to biblical mandates regarding how they should be used (see 1 Corinthians 14) and/or make them an additional requirement for salvation (a notation that is clearly unbiblical). Again, this IS NOT Robert’s position, however the modern manifestation of sign gifts are, to use a law term, fruit from the poison tree. This wouldn’t even be an issue had the current manifestations not happened.  

In looking at the whole picture to determine our present circumstances, one must examine Scripture (1 Corinthians 13:8-10, among others); look at the silence in the scriptures about this issue after Paul said that they would stop; look at the historical use of spiritual gifts in total; look at the history of the use of these gifts in light of 1 Corinthians 14 and then ask themselves: What’s more reasonable and logical? That the sign gifts took an 1800+ year hiatus and are now completely valid. Has God left 1800+ years of Christians without some key revelations that He is just now revealing to these generations? Should we assume that God is erratic or inconsistent or schizophrenic since the end of the apostolic era? Or should we take 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 at face value; cling to the fact that the Bible is perfect and sufficient for instruction and prophecy; and trust that God has been consistent in the post-apostolic era? Which position is more logical and reasonable?

Overall, however, I think a focus on the “powers” of the Holy Spirit is a bit misguided. I think a better focus (especially in light of how the spiritual gifts lists interplay with the theme of love in 1 Corinthians 13) is for us to focus on the FRUIT of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-26). We should use whatever gift(s) God has given us to love one another and to strengthen the church and to point others to Jesus. Let’s do a better job of that and leave the secondary/tertiary issues alone until we get the primary stuff down cold. Let’s focus on how the Holy Spirit empowers us to live a godly life and then submit to His leadings. Robert and I have done our best to do that in our own lives and in our friendship with one another in spite of our differences on this topic.

Have tongues ceased? The debate…Part 2


I have a hard time limiting the ability of God to allow someone to speak in tongues or prophesize.  The whole Bible demonstrates various ways that the Holy Spirit moves.  None of them are identical.

Robert – God is capable of doing anything that is not contradictory to Himself.  Allowing these powers to continue on today is not a contradiction to any Bible verse.  If God wants people to speak in tongues, He can and will make that happen. 

Kevin – Rest assured. No one is trying to limit what God can or cannot do – You or I certainly could not even if we tried. Beyond that, I’m not sure what you are trying to say here. Of course the Holy Spirit does things differently with different people, just look at 1 Corinthians 12:4-6: Gifts are used in different ways to serve the Church and those different means of service are worked out differently by each individual. I have a hard time getting my brain and heart around the concept of Hell… Does that make it any less real… any less biblical? Of course not. God said that tongues and prophecy would cease – Why because He couldn’t sustain them… Again, of course not!

No one is questioning God’s ability to give the gift of tongues or prophecy to people, rather the question is whether He does give people the gift of prophecy and tongues. God could give people any number of abilities… the question is not can He, but why would He? The same has to be asked of tongues and prophecy, especially in light of the fact that (in spite of your dismissing 1 Corinthians 13:8-10) He said He would stop giving those gifts at some point.

One more thing that needs to be pointed out… we need to clarify what we are talking about when we mention prophecy… I am NOT talking about the simple bold proclamation/preaching of the Word of God, but rather the supernatural ability to accurately predict the future – i.e. reveal an, before unforeseen portion of God’s plan. Claiming that gift is still needed is, in essence, claiming that the Bible is incomplete and inadequate – it is saying that God has not sufficiently revealed His plan and intentions for mankind and the earth. I have a hard time limiting the completeness and perfection of the Scriptures that way.

Omission of the prophecy/tongues gifts from the Epistles is NOT admission they have stopped. 

Robert – My understanding of the Epistles is that they are not a complete look at God.  They were written to answer very specific issues for the growth of specific churches that allow us to learn.  There is theology involved but it is specifically aimed at specific circumstances.  Paul wrote ad nauseam about tongues in 1 Corinthians (Chapters 12, 13 and 14).  Then it seemingly disappears.  That to me is not an indication that tongues ceased… rather, to me it could indicate Paul instructed his students so well that it was no longer an issue.

This issue ties in with the previous issue in my mind.  How about this… Perhaps there was no need for tongues or prophecy during those previous revivals.  I mean let’s be honest here… what would have happened during the medieval age if someone was speaking in tongues?  They would have been drawn and quartered or tried as a witch.  Would it make more sense for the Holy Spirit move in a way that was conducive to the environment?  My answer would be yes.

Kevin – Robert brings up an interesting point… Why did Paul quit talking about how the sign gifts should be regulated? Why do the other NT writers not address the topic? The burden of proof is upon Robert to demonstrate why this topic drops off the face of the earth after Paul says that tongues will cease, if it’s not because they HAVE ceased.

Robert – To answer your other question… Why do the other NT writers not address the topic?  Speaking of hermeneutics you of all people should know that the Epistles are not a complete theology.  These books are Paul and Peter addressing specific theological issues as they arose.  To say that because there is an absence of issue there is an absence of power is insane.  I may not talk to my wife about a communication for months…it doesn’t mean that we aren’t communicating.  Seriously, Kevin!  Your Pastor may not talk about regeneration for a year…it doesn’t mean that the Holy Spirit has stopped!  Burden of proof is on you Kevin because neither of us contest that tongues were there.  You say they simply stopped because they were no longer talked about…Prove it.

Kevin – I never said that they “simply stopped because they weren’t talked about”. I said that Paul said they would stop, THEN shortly after, he stopped talking about it. This is a classic attempt at twisting my words. I’m not going to hang the entire debate on an argument from silence. There’s any number of possible reasons as to why God didn’t speak about these gifts elsewhere, but the silence coupled with 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 and history make it pretty clear as to why. You have to take the argument in context and in light of the rest of the debate. Also, shame on any pastor who would not talk about salvation for a whole year… they’d be completely ignoring the Great Commission – I’d not be a part of a church like that – that’s ludicrous.

1 Corinthians 13 does not mean that tongues/prophecy stopped in the apostolic era.

Robert – There is no date or time stamp assigned to 1 Corinthians 13:8.  There is only the vague reference offered in verse 9 that states when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.  There is only one perfection: God.  Since perfection has not come… then one could argue that these gifts have not ceased.

Kevin – If “tongues and prophecies will (have) ceased” is not what 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 says, then, what does it say? One cannot say that something with seemingly plain meaning doesn’t mean what it plainly seems to mean without offering a plausible suggestion as to what it DOES mean. The text clearly states tongues (one of the “sign gifts”) will cease – the questions are when and why?

You say that the only thing that is perfect is God. What about God’s word (i.e. the Bible)? I would suggest that in light of Hebrews 2, the “perfect” thing spoken of in 1 Cor. 13 is the canon (i.e. the 66 books we call the Holy Bible). Once all the books of the Bible were written and in circulation there was no need for miraculous validation of what was being taught, because by and large early church leaders exclusively taught from the writings that soon after became the “Holy Bible.” These teachings (and the letters from which they came) had already been validated and accepted as truth. Given your high view on the Bible (see your previous post on biblical inerrancy) I am surprised you do not consider the Bible perfect!

Robert – Kevin you want to talk about putting words in someone’s mouth!  I said God was perfect.  I figured that you would know this… that if God is perfection, his word is also.  Lets not be ridiculous.

Kevin you can’t have it both ways.  Did tongues and prophecy end with the apostolic era (approx 33 A.D – 100 A.D) or did they end with the canonization of the New Testament (approx 374 AD)?  If you believe that it ended when perfection came (canonized bible) then that is well beyond the apostolic era.  If you believe they ended with the apostolic era then what is perfection and when did it come?

Kevin – Actually, I’m not trying to have it both ways. The epistles and books that became the Bible were in wide circulation well before the formal settling of the cannon. The cannon was settled upon (through God’s direction) the miraculous and wondrous signs that helped confirm the validity and authority of the apostles and other church leaders, was no longer required, because they were already accepted as scripture (check out 2 Peter 3:15-16). The acceptance of the cannon supports the idea that prophecy had ceased because the church fathers in 374 AD determined that there was no further revelation that was required past Revelation (widely considered the last of the biblical books to be written), and they therefore closed the canon. Further “revelation” and “prophecy” had not occurred from the end of the apostolic era (approximately 85-86 AD) through 374 AD when the canon was finalized – this is STRONG evidence for the cessation of the type prophecy you are advocating.

Why again would it cease? Because we have the only source needed to know with certainty what God wants and requires. There is no need for further “prophesies” (foretelling of the future of the Church), or revelations, etc. Because God has already given us enough material to chew on and apply in our lives – the Bible is complete, and perfect and sufficient for one to study without supplement – all other theological instruction should be commentary upon God’s Word, not addition to it – this is where many cults get in trouble (i.e. Mormons, Muslims…) by saying that the Bible is insufficient and needs to be added to and/or correction – that is what both Joseph Smith and Mohamed claimed.  But hey, if you think the Bible is inadequate for instruction and that God needs to reveal more prophecies, knock yourself out – I just can’t go there.

The lack of historical evidence of prophecy/tongues/healing in historical revivals does not mean that they have ceased, it only means that perhaps God had no use for it then.

Robert – I look at it this way… If historically a group of people thought that the earth was flat, would they live their lives according to that idea?  If, historically, men are closed off to the idea that there is healing/prophecy/tongues would they exist?  The fact that tongues/prophecy was not used previously for revivals does not mean that they no longer exist.  As I have already established…There is no repetitive nature to the Holy Spirit.  What is good for one age/revival may not have been good for another.  God knows what will work and when it will work.  Not you.

Kevin – This argument of Robert’s doesn’t hold water. God predicted that at some point sign gifts would cease. Then they disappear off the scene for like 1800+ years only to be resurrected and we are supposed to just accept that God has suddenly, without reason or precedent decided to start granting the gifts of tongues and prophecy? In Acts, tongues were used to validate certain movements of the Spirit and yet there are no records of tongues during the Reformation or prophecies of that movement beforehand. One would think that these would be immeasurably useful to legitimize the massive changes taking place in Christianity… And yet, nothing. Strange.

Another thing Robert fails to answer is: Why tongues now? Why additional prophecy now? Robert’s only defense is “Why Not?” I don’t know why God chose to inspire Paul to write 1 Corinthians 13:8-10. I don’t know why God has done or refrained from doing a lot of the things He has, and I don’t worry myself with much of it – His ways are higher than mine. However, in light of Christian History, Scripture, and the history of the manifestation of spiritual gifts and the circumstances surrounding the relatively recent resurgence of tongues and prophecies these current manifestations are dubious at best.

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Have tongues ceased? The debate…Part 1


Robert – Here are the points where I believe that gifts (or sign gifts as Kevin would call them) are still active today:

  1. The gifts were given to fulfill the great commission (Acts 1:8).  The great commission is not fulfilled thus the gifts have not stopped.
  2. I have a hard time limiting the ability of God to allow someone to speak in tongues or prophesize.  The whole Bible demonstrates various ways that the Holy Spirit moves.  None of them are identical.
  3. Omission of the prophecy/tongues gifts from the Epistles is NOT admission they have stopped. 
  4. 1 Corinthians 13 does not mean that tongues/prophecy stopped in the apostolic era.
  5. The lack of historical evidence of prophecy/tongues in historical revivals does not mean that they have ceased, it only means that perhaps God had no use for it then.

Kevin – Let me clarify… I have never said that Spiritual Gifts are not active today. They absolutely ARE. I do believe, however, certain Spiritual Gifts (a.k.a. “sign gifts”) have served their purpose and, according to Paul’s prophecy in 1 Corinthians 13:8-10, have ceased.

Robert – First let me begin by saying that these points were not chosen randomly.  They are the most common points argued for and against the use of tongues and prophecy.  I hardly think that we will be breaking new ground here but at the very least these arguments will be our own.  So the first point…

The gifts were given to fulfill the great commission (Acts 1:8).  The great commission is not fulfilled thus the gifts have not stopped.

Robert – Acts 1:8 provides a pretty clear connection to the commission (Matthew 28:16-20).  The Holy Spirit delivers these powers for the witness.  As the great commission has not been fulfilled… the gifts of the Holy Spirit are continuing to be delivered.

Kevin – Again, we are not talking about ALL gifts here… However, the premise that spiritual GIFTS were given to fulfill the Great Commission is based on a flawed hermeneutic – Robert here is confusing a function/role of the Spirit (Empowerment – which is general and thus universally belongs to all believers to carry out the Great Commission), with specific gifts of the Spirit (of which there are many and assigned individually to believers at salvation – i.e. no believer has every spiritual gift.)

When studying the Holy Spirit one should look at Him from every angle: His Role, His Work, His Fruit… We don’t have time and space to chase all that down here, but suffice it to say that empowering people to live the Christian life and imparting Spiritual Gifts to believers are two different aspects of the Holy Spirit’s work that should not be confused.

  • So, why are they given? Spiritual Gifts ARE given to build up the body (1 Corinthians 12-13, especially 12:7) and to confirm the validity of authoritative teaching of the apostles (cf. Hebrews 2:3-4)

The context here points to the surrounding passage as talking to believers in how they are to function together within the context of the church. Spiritual gifts (especially the ones listed in 1 Corinthians) are, then, more for the building up of the Church rather than evangelism. An integral part of building up the early church was confirming what teaching should be considered authoritative and what should be disregarded as heretical. God used spiritual gifts to confirm which teachings were false and which were true (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:1-3)

Robert – Kevin, you talk about how the gifts were to be used.  I am confused.  Weren’t ALL gifts given to build the church?  If the body of Christ is the Church then don’t all gifts support the body of Christ?  I understand that not every believer has every spiritual gift, and I make no assertion of that kind.  You say that I am confusing the function and role of the Holy Spirit with the specific gifts, but I make no mention of former.  I think you are unnecessarily bringing in the function and role of the Holy Spirit.  You call it bad hermeneutics, but I call it plain reading…

Acts 1:8 – “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Emphasis on and you will be my witnesses. 

For  some reason you are wanting to isolate two specific gifts (tongues and prophecy) from the list.  Do these two gifts not build up the body of Christ as well?  According to Paul they do if done correctly (1 Corinthains 14).  If tongues and prophecy were not intended to be a gift, why did Paul list them?  Kevin…you have the last word.

Kevin: When I say your interpretation of Acts 1:8 is a case of bad hermeneutics it is because Acts 1:8 doesn’t specifically talk about spiritual gifts, yet you are tying it to spiritual gifts – forcing scripture to say something it doesn’t isn’t plain reading it’s bad logic. Acts 1:8 says that “you will receive power”. Without getting overly technical the original Greek word here is not the same word as is used for spiritual gifts… Therefore, to say that God is talking about spiritual gifts here is mistaken. I draw the distinction between different roles of the Holy Spirit because there is no link between Acts 1:8 and spiritual gifts. The word for “power” used in Acts 1:8 does not refer to specific talents, skills, or spiritual gifts, but rather the general strength to complete the task God has assigned – One of the roles of the Holy Spirit is to empower us to obey God (in general) and to embolden us to fulfill the Great Commission.

Robert, before linking spiritual gifts to Acts 1:8 you should take a hard look at 1 Corinthians 14:20-25. This passage clearly states that not all spiritual gifts are for evangelism, therefore, they should not be linked to the Great Commission, which is a command to evanglize.

Holy Spirit…..Batman


What is the Holy Spirit?  More appropriately asked… WHO is the Holy Spirit?  When does the Holy Spirit come into someone’s life?  How does it happen?  What gifts does He bring?  These questions can fill a 300+ page book.  Because the Holy Spirit moves in so many different ways there is no pattern for us to look at and say… ”Well, there goes the Holy Spirit!”.  It is perhaps this single point that divides a number of churches as to what the Holy Spirit is capable of.  I mean let’s be honest… our lives would be a lot easier if the Holy Spirit was predictable, and easy to figure out and when I get to Heaven… I am going to drop that in God’s suggestion box!  Since He is not, we are left to debate scripture, and sharpen our own iron.  The topic I want to cover in this post are the giftsof the Holy Spirit.  In order to do that, I feel like there are some points that have to be made.

First of all…  Though the Holy Spirit is a… Spirit… He is a real person.  He shows intelligence (1 Corinth 2:10-11, Romans 8:27, 1 Corinth 2:13), He shows feelings (Eph 4:30), and He has a will (1 Corinth 12:11, Acts 16:6-11).  The Holy Spirit also exhibits the actions of a person.  He guides us to truth (John 16:13), He convicts us of sin (John 16:8), He performs miracles (Acts 8:39) and He intercedes (Romans 8:26).  The Holy Spirit receives Ascriptions.  He should be obeyed (Acts 10:19-21), He can be lied to (Acts 5:3), He can be resisted (Acts 7:51), He can grieve (Eph 4:30), He can be blasphemed (Matt 12:31) and He can be insulted (Heb 10:29).  ALL of these things, all of these traits, all of these idiosyncrasies belong to a person.  They belong to the Holy Spirit, and one must conclude based on these facts that the Holy Spirit is a person.

Second of all… and perhaps most important… The Holy Spirit is God.  He exhibits all of the signs of being God.  He is omniscient (Isaiah 40:13, 1 Corinthians 2:12), He is omnipresent (Psalms 139:7) and He is omnipotent (Job 33:4, Psalms 104:30), and He is omnibenevolant (1 John 4:8; James 1:17).  His actions are also of God.  He caused the virgin birth (Luke 1:35), He was the agent in giving the inspired scriptures (2 Peter 1:21) and He was involved in creation (Genesis 1:2).

So can you get the Holy Spirit?  Sure!  But not through some 800 number or through the QVC.  The Holy Spirit is delivered at Salvation.  We can see this in Romans 8:9, Acts 22:16 and 1 Corinthians 3:16.  With the deliverance of the Holy Spirit we receive gifts (special distinction… it is not a reward).  Acts 11:16-17 (along with Romans 5:5, and 1 Corinthians 2:12) bear this out.

This is the Holy Spirit.

At this point we will begin to take a look at the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  First, we go Romans 12:6-8 for a pretty clear list of the gifts given by the Holy Spirit.  These would include prophecy, ministry, teaching, exhortation, giving, leading and compassion.  Another list is found in 1 Corinthians 12.  Here Paul goes on to be more specific.  Among this list are words of wisdom, words of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, working miracles, prophecy, discerning spirits, different kinds of tongues, interpretation of tongues, apostles, prophets and administration.

Pretty healthy list of gifts provided to us by God through the Holy Spirit.

I do feel like there is something else that has to be said here.  Specific gifts are not required to demonstrate that you have been saved.  There can be no doubt here.  Salvation is conditional upon faith.  The gifts are unique to each individual, and do not demonstrate salvation.  What I am trying to debunk here is any notion or idea that… if you don’t speak in tongues you are not saved.  This statement is biblically inaccurate.  The proof is in the pudding.  1 Corinthians 12:27–30 demonstrates this.  The questions asked here are rhetorical.  As I said before, all gifts are unique to the individual to serve the body.  There is no scriptural support that shows that tongues are mandatory.

These gifts are assigned to us all upon salvation and the indwelling of the Spirit.  All gifts are given to us individually, but are given for the benefit of the entire body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:4-7).

The remaining part of this post was originally intended to take a look at the gifts of the Holy Spirit as they function today.  This is a heavily debated topic amongst Christians from a number of denominations.  This is a point that Kevin and I heavily disagree on.  As we started to work through how we could display the debate we came to the conclusion that the debate itself needed to be its own post.  Our disagreement does not take away from the fact that we are both brothers in Christ, and that we can disagree (respectively) and sharpen iron.

In an effort to demonstrate this Kevin and I will be posting a debate on the gifts of the Holy Spirit as they exist today.  Specifically on the hotly debated topic of tongues, and prophecy.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are awesome.  There are a few things we can draw from all of this…The Holy Spirit is active, the Holy Spirit is moving, and the acts of the Holy Spirit are not repetitive.

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