Wednesday, October 11, 2006

New International Study on Pentecostals & Charismatics

In case you haven’t heard yet, a new study has just come out on Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity around the world. Here are some significant quotes from the introduction…


By all accounts, pentecostalism and related charismatic movements represent one of the fastest-growing segments of global Christianity. At least a quarter of the world's 2 billion Christians are thought to be members of these lively, highly personal faiths, which emphasize such spiritually renewing "gifts of the Holy Spirit" as speaking in tongues, divine healing and prophesying. Even more than other Christians, pentecostals and other renewalists believe that God, acting through the Holy Spirit, continues to play a direct, active role in everyday life.

Despite the rapid growth of the renewalist movement in the last few decades, relatively little is known about the religious, political and civic views of individuals involved in these groups. To address this shortcoming, the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life recently conducted surveys in 10 countries with sizeable renewalist populations: the United States; Brazil, Chile and Guatemala in Latin America; Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa in Africa; and India, the Philippines and South Korea in Asia. In each country, surveys were conducted among a random sample of the public at large, as well as among oversamples of pentecostals and charismatics.

I believe this Pew Forum study, entitled "Spirit and Power: A 10-Country Survey of Pentecostals," sheds some interesting light on several myths regarding Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity around the world. Among the findings of the study, a few statistics I think are interesting for us as Southern Baptists (especially in the context of cooperation and fellowship on the international mission field) are:

*(you can download the entire 233 page study here)

1. In every one of the 10 countries, Pentecostals are more likely than other Christians to say the Bible is the Word of God, to be taken literally. In 8 of the 10 countries, this is true of Charismatics as well. The exceptions are Brazil and the Philippines, where the high percentage of Charismatic Catholics (as compared to other countries, where most "Charismatics" are Protestants), no doubt skews this statistic.

2. In every one of the 10 countries, both Pentecostals and Charismatics are more likely than other Christians to say they pray to God daily, and read the Scriptures daily.

3. In every one of the 10 countries, both Pentecostals and Charismatics are more likely than other Christians to say they share their faith at least once a week.

What this study does not tell us is how we as Baptists (as a group separate from other Christians) would compare in these areas. However, I think it is significant that Pentecostals and Charismatics apparently share many of the same values we as Southern Baptist profess to hold as important. I don’t have the hard facts in front of me to prove it, but I would be surprised if the percentages of Pentecostals and Charismatics who accept the Bible as the Word of God, and who actively share their faith, are not higher than that of Baptists in most countries. I also think it is significant they are growing so fast, all around the world. I know, for example, that here in Spain, the churches that are growing the fastest are Pentecostal or Charismatic. Even within the Baptist Union, the churches that are growing the fastest almost all take a more open stance toward charismatic gifts.

From some of my recent posts, and from what I say here, some might think I am trying to convince us all as Baptists to become Pentecostals or Charismatics. I want to make clear that is not my intention. I am Baptist by conviction, and am not planning on changing my affiliation anytime soon.

The point I am trying to make then? As Baptists, a little "cross-pollination" every now and then with some of our more Pentecostal, Charismatic and/or Third Wave brethren is not necessarily a bad thing. We are concerned about declining growth and baptism rates. We are trying to get our people more excited about sharing their faith. Maybe we could learn a thing or two from some of those who seem to be having a bit more success at these things.

"But," some people say, "we must be careful that our people don’t get sucked into false doctrine. The Pentecostals and Charismatics are notorious ‘sheep-stealers.’"

I am by no means against teaching sound doctrine, especially if it is done in an up-beat, non-condemnatory attitude towards other groups of Christians. But, take a look at this statistic:

4. In 7 of the 10 countries, when Pentecostals were asked about their previous religious affiliation, a "whopping" 0% said they had previously belonged to another Protestant group. In the other 3 countries, 27% in the United States, 12% in Kenya, and 2% in South Africa, said they had previously belonged to another Protestant group.

Very interesting. In the United States, for some reason, perhaps the "sheep-stealing" accusation has a little bit of warrant. But, for some reason, in the majority of the rest of the countries around the world, the Pentecostals and Charismatics are growing, not so much by winning converts from other Protestant groups, but apparently by people being born again and accepting Christ for the first time. In Latin America, and the Philippines, a big number of their converts are former Catholics. In other parts of the world, more are from non-religious, Muslim, or Buddhist backgrounds.

Now to close, one more statistic I’ll leave you to ponder for yourself:

5. In the following countries, the percentage of Pentecostals who said they had never spoken in tongues was:

United States 49%
Brazil 50%
Chile 45%
Guatemala 35%
Kenya 27%
Nigeria 32%
South Africa 41%
India 54%
Philippines 45%
South Korea 18%

The percentage of Charismatics who said they had never spoken in tongues was:

United States 32%
Brazil 84%
Chile 38%
Guatemala 39%
Kenya 53%
South Africa 57%
India 34%
Philippines 65%
South Korea 12%

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

David,

I actually agree with you about "cross-pollination." I would point to the influx of the Separate Baptists from Congregationalism in the First Great Awakening as one occasion where Baptist life was greatly invigorated by a rapid infusion of new Baptists. Of course, this did not take place because of any accommodation toward Congregationalism—God just moved folks like Isaac Backus through their study of the Bible to adopt Baptist views.

Grosey's Messages said...

Thank you David for tht post. I think you are very wise to get hold of this sort of material.
I think it is very valid to read all materials on the pentecostal movement very thoroughly. I have found it personally a very helpful activity.
Yes, David I agree that they are the fastest growing group in Australia as well as elsewhere in the world. I wonder though whether the statistics are the same world wide as in Australia: The greatest ecclesiastical problem with pentecostalism is the watered down gospel (similar perhaps to what is being seen in Seeker driven churches in the USA) where 75% of "converts" go out the back door of the church. Hillsong.. adds 400 new members every 3 months, and wipes off 300 old members every 3 months. (I was excited when the leaders of the movement here in Australia joined me in working with Lifeway to utilise Lifeway discipleship materials into their churches).
The pastor of the then larger Paradise AOG church in South Australia said to me that the 80 % of his "converts going out the back door are more blasphemous, more immoral more pagan than before they walked in the front door of his church."
He found it very interesting that though they (the 18,000 that went out the back door) all spoke in tongues, he didn't think any of them (the back doorers) were born again, becasue of their lifestyles.
A local AOG church near by me has 550 members but an attendance of 70 per week.
While the people inside the pentecostal church at the time may be VERY similar to Baptists, I think the real issue is the issue of genuine regeneration. While there are the signs of life (fervour for bible reading, witness and prayer), sadly, the reality of life appears to be absent. FOr this reason many of the AOG (a traditionally calvinistic group funny enough) are adopting either the "Non-Lordship salvation" viewpoint or are getting rid of the doctrine of the perserverance of the saints altogether.
I had one AOG pastor comment to me recently about pedophilia admissions by Frank Houston, (ex-Senior pastor of Hillsong and Brian Houston's dad), that "God mustn't look at this sin like we do, because He continues to bless Hillsong so much!"
Another interesting quirk I have found is the push to reunion with Rome among Pentecostals.
Ten years ago I was discussing with the wife of the Australian head of Promisekeepers (an AOG pastor and wife team) the potential of this organisation in Australia. She bubbled over to me that she felt that Promisekeepers was wonderful because "it will bring all the protestant churches back into the fold of the Roman Catholic Church under the Pope as head". Now I was very surprised. Do I think that will happen? No way! Do I think she was naive? Yes.
Do I think that it demonstrates the pluralism and vagueness of modern christianity? Yes.
SAdly, Promisekeepers in Australia has mainly featured charsimatic catholic speakers, and no Baptist speakers.
I am concerned that this pluralism demonstrates a Laodicean attitude in the church, Rev 3:17 ‘I’m rich; I have become wealthy, and need nothing,’ and you don’t know that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked, "
Could a church be a mile wide and an inch deep? Could a denomination? Could a movement b a mile wide and an inch deep?
I believe it is a strategic time for Lifeway to influence these growing Pentecostal denominations and point the "converts" to Christ!
As I said earlier in my comment, Hillsong actually had the opportunity to take up Lifeway materials (I don't know that they have followed up on this and seen it come about).
If anything, I believe that there should be arterial doctrine flowing just the one way from Lifeway, through to the newer denominations. However, sadly, it is my experience that many of the pentecostal pastors act more like cult leaders than a bible teachers.

Anonymous said...

Rather than a lengthy response, I will just say praise God for His excellent greatness!!! It is almost as though some people are amazed or shocked that God works in ways that are outside of their experience or expertise... Praise God He uses frail humanity to accomplish His purposes and plans!

Anonymous said...

This is your colleague again - I would echo the observatons that Grosey makes - and I do not live in one of the countries studied. One of the extremely large charismatic churches in a neighboring country to the south of mine boast of adding 1000 new believers every week - for he past 6 years this has been their claim. Now by doing some simple math you would find a problem - because at this rate of growth over 6 years - they should have half of the coutnries populaiotn attending their church every week - over 2 million. And yet they only have their 10,000 and most of them I have observed have many of the same characteristics of those who I have seen brainwashed by other cult-like groups. The wife of one of the head pastor recently opened a Ed Hardy tattoo wear shop in their city. This clothing depcits all sorts of designs made popular by the tattoo artist Ed Hardy - and shows videos of attractive women in thongs modeling their tee shirts. This church had a giant youth event in my country a few weeks ago and they were giving away Ed Hardy tee shirts as door prizes tot he youth who came. I think that the issue in many cases comes down to the points that you seem to make all sound great in theory and yet Grosey and I point out the reality of what actually occurs during the implementation of your ideas. I spoke to someone yesterday whose wife grew up in your home church and whose parents are still active there. This friend made the observation that you seem to be naive about the damage, split churches, and other diviseness that has been caused by charismatic views in Baptist churches in many places. Again - I hear your points and appreciate your heart - however I find no evidence of places where this sort of things takes place and Biblical guidelines are followed.

David Rogers said...

Grosey & Anonymous,

I hope nothing in what I have been writing communicates a denial of the excesses, extremes, and blatantly false doctrine present in SOME charismatic and pentecostal contexts.

However, I believe it is the most extreme groups that get the most press. For every Benny Hinn, Rodney Howard-Brown, and Frank Houston out there, my experience has been there are 10 non-assuming, warm-hearted, soul-winning Pentecostal and Charismatic pastors in small (and sometimes big) churches, who just love Jesus and love people.

If we wanted to start pointing out extremes and defects in other groups, we could probably do a good job starting with ourselves, as, for example, Nathan Finn has ably done in this post.

tim rogers said...

Brother David,

I do not know how you can find these things so readily. It takes me years to find this stuff. :>)

Seriously, I will be downloading the study because I believe it to be beneficial reading. I do want to ask a couple of questions. First, does the study take into consideration the house churches that are started and then left to lay leaders? As I understand the CPM, and please understand I do not have the most in-depth insight on this, house churches are started and are not identified as denominational until they begin supporting themselves. Second, does the study differentiate between Pentecostals as being those groups that started in 1900 and Charismatics as being another group?

Blessings,
Tim

Grosey's Messages said...

David,
As we have said before, what you are experiencing is no longer the norm in most parts of the world.
Your experience of pentecostal pastors reflects what is called here "the old guard", an all but defunct representation of Pentecostalism. Most Pentecostalism ific rim is more reflective of the excesses. Its sort of like the Catholic church I guess, when in the minority numerically it is kind and gracious, when in the majority it is controlling in politics and life.
When Pentecostalism is dominant, then many strange aberrations occur.

In my experience, the odd is the normal now in Australia.
I have been in the one town for 10 years. (A town of 400,00)
I meet the ex pastors of these churches in the course of normal life. The average Pentecostal pastor of any variety burns out or blows out here after 3 years.
I think burn out occurs because there has to be a new excess, a new "thing" every two years to keep the congregations from floating to the next place.
Here in Australia there have been several "movements" that nearly every pentecostal church has followed. If the pastors don't follow the new excess they are struck off and ousted (take the example of the past national superintendant of the Australian AOG churches, who now runs an anti Hillsong AOG ministry :
http://www.christian-witness.org/aog/hillsong1.html

One comment I read recently said "why don't pentecostals go for prophecy as well as tongues?"
You guys must be way behind the times!
In 1977 pentecostals disrupted the Leighton Ford crusade in Wollongong insisting that all should speak in topngues as a proof of salvation.
In 1986 came the heavy shepherding emphasis. I had Pentecostals coming to me wondering if I advised couples of the days in the week the Holy Spirit was saying was right to sleep together.
In 1988 There was the healing epidemic. Consulting a doctor on cases of cancer was anti-faith. Many died.
In 1990 there was the demon- sniffers movement. A pastor proved his spirituality by being able to sniff a demon. When he sniffed one, he would start to jerk and walk about the area looking like a chicken scratching and strutting. Oh and you could buy special stickers for your windows and doors that stopped demons from entering your homes. Of course they were only for demons that stood between 5' and 6' tall. I am not sure what they did for the shorter ones ( I am not jesting).
In 1992 there was the first wave of prophecy; prophetic utterances dominated church meetings taking most of the time, but that was ok because these utterances were Equal to and more important than the scriptures.
Then came the Toronto Blessing 2 years later. If you didn't fall on the ground laughing you were unspiritual. (This had a longer influence than most, only fading away from MOST pentecostal churches in Australia a couple of years ago).

Then came the Name it and claim it... I remember hearing so often "If you give God $10 He must give you at least $100 back this week!"
Then came the second wave f prophecy... this time it was recognised that it might just be a word of knowledge that might be wrong (becasue so many of the prophecies were wrong).

Then came the change your fillings to gold movement. This was short lived, when dentist fees exceeded the value of the new fillings.
Then came the Prosperity Gospel. Brian Houston is pushing this now, and so all pentecostal churches in Australia have to fall into line.

Then came the mega denomination! The AOG's almagamated with all pentecostal bodies to form the Australian Christian Churches with Brian Houston as President. Now Hillsong influence became universal and all pastors and churches had to toe the Hillsong line or be ostracised.

Even the secular media now poke fun at the cycle of movements and excesses
http://www.chaser.com.au/index.php?option=co ... t&task=view&id=2988&Itemid=127

And then there is the fallout. I know personally the last 3 pastors of 1 AOG church , none of whom attend church any longer.
I know 2 other pastors from AOG churches that have bailed from church altogether. And this is normative. 3 years, and their gone!

One of the most interesting cases is of the author of many of the Hillsong songs, Geoff Bullock. He wrote recently
"Yes, it’s the “real Geoff Bullock” whatever that means. After all, the real me has nothing to do with Hillsongs, Houston or the things I have written, composed or done. I have struggled for years with my involvement with the first 12 years of Hillsong. As I reflect on the life I struggled to live all i can say is that it was the pain and shame of the failure of my marriage, my inadequacies as a leader,(in the eyes of Houston), and my continual search for “wholeness” that shows me that grace comes to willfull failures and finds it’s place in guilty hearts. I cannot take any moral “high ground”. I was a willing partner to all that they have now enshrined in their methodology of power, personality and works. Brian and Bobbie have built an empire that has all of church history stacked against it. How tragic. I wish that honesty would break out of all the spin, but I fear that it will simply overwhelm their best efforts to continue to present human perfection as an outworking of faith. Surely the cross shows us that the best we offer God, in the name of religion, is our ability to kill God’s living grace to enshrine our own identities of power and prosperity. To that obscenity God answers us with unmerited and unconditional grace, mercy and love. Please focus on all that God offers us rather than all that we offer God. "
http://www.signposts.org.au/2005/08/23/a-comment-from-geoff/#comment-128165

This is why I say continually, you guys from the USA and Europe have only experienced the old version of pentecostalism. The new version is VERY different and is characterised by the excesses.

I have a few friends who are the old version Pentecostal (most of them pastors). They are now the minority , and these have gone to non pentecostal baptist churches for the sake of their sanity.
More than half of the pentecostal baptist churches in Australia are into excess. The others resemble old style AOG churches of the 50's and 60's.
The excessive Baptist churches burn their pastors out in under two years (we had a Baptist Union Assembly about this in 1998).
I think the burn out is because somehow or other the pastors feel they have to generate miracles to keep their congregations dazzled.

Wow I am so sorry this is so long, but I don't think you guys are up to speed with what is happening in this region.And through Hillsong, this will be the norm.

Anonymous said...

Hey David:-
I take away two things from what you posted about this interesting study:

1) Apparently Pentecostals and charismatics are doing effective evangelism in non-Western countries and little or no sheep-stealing. And in the West, by contrast, there are more dissatisfied or nominal Christians who switch to a “Spirit-filled” or “full-gospel” church and find it more ______ (attractive? meaningful?)

2) The fact that many Pentecostals and charismatics don’t speak or pray in tongues affirms to me what Gordon Fee has written: the gift is normal with Spirit-fullness, but not normative.

Dear Grosey and Anonymous:-
Despite the scandals and extremes on every side, I still say let's humbly pursue a balanced ministry characterized by the love of the Father, the wisdom of His Word (written and incarnate), and the power of His Spirit.

I grieve over the excesses and hypocrisy of charismatics (and Baptists!), but I am in no way deterred from pursuing intimacy with the Father, and at the same time, eagerly desiring spiritual gifts to use in serving Him and others. (1 Cor 14:1)

With you, for Jesus’ maximum glory in the nations,
Todd

Joel Rainey said...

David,
Thanks for pointing us to this insightful study. I look forward to reading the whole thing.

No one would deny that there are excesses, sometimes extreme, among some Pentecostals. At the same time, it would be blatantly unfair to paint everyone with the same brush and/or refuse to cooperate with those of a more solid theological stripe in reaching the lost . . . they certainly seem to be effective at this!

As one who is himself a convinced Baptist, and at odds with many of the second and third-order doctrines confessed by Pentecostals, I must admit that the first time I heard the Word of God preached WITH AUTHORITY was NOT in a Baptist church, but in a Pentecostal church. God send us more of these brothers and sisters with whom we can partner.

David Rogers said...

Tim,

I first saw a link to this study through Bart Barber's blog.

The "Executive Summary" gives the answers to your other questions as follows:

"In this report, the term pentecostal is used to describe individuals who belong to classical pentecostal denom-inations, such as the Assemblies of God or the Church of God in Christ, that were founded shortly after the famous Azusa Street Revival in the early 20th century, as well as those who belong to pentecostal denominations or churches that have formed more recently, such as the Brazil-based Universal Church of the Kingdom of God.

Charismatics, by contrast, are a much more loosely defined group. The term generally refers to Christians who have experienced the "in-filling" of the Holy Spirit but who are not members of pentecostal denominations. Indeed, most charismatics are members of mainstream Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox denominations. In the surveys, respondents were categorized as charismatic if they met one of three criteria: (1) they describe themselves as "charismatic Christians"; or (2) they describe themselves as "pentecostal Christians" but do not belong to explicitly pentecostal denominations; or (3) they say they speak in tongues at least several times a year but they do not belong to pentecostal denominations."

I haven't found anything in the study that differentiates one way or another about "house churches" or "lay leaders."

Also, the above description leaves me wondering how they would classify "Third Wave" believers.

David Rogers said...

Grosey,

Wow. It looks like you've really gotten your share of the extreme side of Pentecostalism and the Charismatic movement over there "down under."

Do you suggest we cut off fellowship with all those who answer to the name Pentecostal or Charismatic?

Grosey's Messages said...

No David,
I believe engagement is the biblical directive.
As I said in an earlier comment, there is a recognition among their senior pastors that there is a problem with the Big Back Door.
There is an openess among them for Lifeway's Discipleship materials.
Lifeway did a reasonable job 6 years ago in reaching out to them here in Australia: they ran 1 day seminars in each major city taregetting the pentecostal pastors with their Lifeway materials. This was initially succesful, but there was not any real follow up.
The issue is the same as in your USA SBC Baptist mega churches. The issue is getting the church members converted (and some of the pentecostal pastors).
A good gospel teaching ministry in these pentecostal churches would do wonders. (Sadly, some of the "old style" pentecostal pastors capable of doing this have been "targetted for removal" by their denomination and removed).

Perhaps the emphasis on "the mega church as proof of success" needs to be changed to a biblical view of success (wow sounds anti- american doesn't it?)

Mark 10 You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles dominate them, and their men of high positions exercise power over them. 43 But it must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first among you must be a slave to all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many.”

Perhaps if this was emphasised by US mega church pastors, along with the validity of every size church and ministry, then it may filter over here.

I do believe that a solid gospel ministry will always take care of the excesses.

As I said earlier, the bottom line always is engagement with the gospel. And Lifeway is peculiarly situated to be able to bring that about.

My main reason for spending so much time talking about these issues here on various blogs (while I have been on my holidays, which ends today) is to be involved in that engagement process.

David, thank you for the opportunity and time you have given to these matters.
Thank you again for your kindness and willingness to work at this really important issue for this century. It is obviously the most important issue worldwide since the reformation.

As a man involved in missions (we have sent people to the mission field from every church I have been in, even when our church plant only numbered 30 adults),
could you tell us a little about your ministry there in Spain? I have always felt a burden for the people of Spain, since a friend spent 2 years as an oil platform worker (as a missionary) there 20 years ago.
What is your ministry there?
What encouragements and discouragements have you seen?
Every Blessing,
Steve
Rom 1:14

tim rogers said...

Brother David,

Brother Grossey asks some great questions concerning your ministry in Spain. This would be interesting to see in a post.

Also, Brother Grossey. While I agree with LifeWay and its mission, I do have some areas of concern. This concern lies at the heart of your statement. Your statement appears to point at the infusion of success in the US is based on mega. The more numbers you have the better the success of your ministry. This is the same problem within the IMB. I have spoken to M's that tell me they are driven by producing numbers because their ministry area is determined priority or not based on numbers.

This is just a matter of my personal opinion, but I feel that when large Bible conferences begin bringing in pastors that run 100 in Worship and Sunday School because they are in a situation where the work is difficult, you will see this success syndrome change. Go to any major Bible conference and what do you find? Pastors of mega churches preaching and saying things like; "if God can do it through me He can do it through you." While I know this is true, it places many pastors in the syndrome, I am not praying, visiting, witnessing, studying, or preparing enough. After 16 years in ministry I have finally come to realize that giving God my best means loving my brother as myself. My brother includes my wife and child. I pray every day, "God help me not fall into the clutches of the success syndrome."

On a side note. Brother Grosey, is it true that you guys down under eat with the back side of your fork?

Blessings,
Tim

Kevin Bussey said...

David,

I don't speak in tongues or have a PPL. In fact I wrote a term paper
@ SWBTS on I Corinthians 12-14 that was very MacArthurish.

As I have grown in my faith and been exposed to Godly Pentecostals and Charismatics my views have softened. I agree with the assessment that they are very spiritual. The ones I meet are very sold out for God. Maybe we can learn from them.

David Rogers said...

Grosey and Tim,

Thanks for the suggestion. I'll try to put together something more specifically about ministry here in Spain to post in the next couple of days. I think I've probably "beat the dead horse" of the Pentecostal/Charismatic" issues enough already, at least for the time being.

Alyce Lee said...

David,
Having been raised in SBC, I received Christ in a home Bible study filled with "Charismatic" believers. I had no idea they were, didn't care. All I saw and knew was they loved God and pointed me toward Him. I began a journey then 1972 and was discipled (not to seek the gifts) but the seek the giver. As a new believer I was first taught the Government of God. To this day, I can't believe I even understood it, but I did. I was taught the sovereignty of God. These people were our mentor's in Christ. This early teaching was invaluable to us, for today we do not question who is in charge. When people discuss the "automy of the local church" I just smile, knowing that we have no such automy. We are not a democracy, there is but one head, Christ Jesus. I owe this to my fathers and mothers in the faith.
I am no longer inhibited in my praises to God, because I was taught according to the scripture how to praise, and how it pleases Father God for me to bring Him my sacrifice.
By the way, there is a world of difference between denominational Pentecostals and charmatics.
I believe in the larger Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ. I owe this to my early teachers, for I'm certain I have never heard this and still to this day don't hear it in Baptist churches, who continue to remain "closed" in cooperation, communion, baptism, you name it.
Remember I told you that I came to the faith in 1972. These home Bible studies lasted sometimes till midnight. Nothing strange about them. However when the local church got wind of them, our pastor and chairman of the deacons decided to send someone over to "teach" us "Baptist Doctrine" We were thrilled and agreed with all of it.
Today, 30 + years later that church of over 400 people is dead. 25 people left, they have booted out over 7 pastors, the building is paid for, no outreach ministry survives. Nothing.
My charismatic mentors, spiritual fathers and mothers remain alive, strong and working in the kingdom, passionate for my Lord.
I thank God for them for without them I might also be dead.
Agape

Grosey's Messages said...

Amen Tim, I agree with you about the success syndrome.
And Amen Tim, like the brits, we were taught good table manners :D
Turn your fork over and squach the vegies to the outside of it!
ou can also try eating with the handle end, that works well too::)
Steve

Anonymous said...

I wanted to make one last comment - for now at least. :) Grosey point out so many of the same excesses that I have seen in my country. Just this last week I met a man who said his son is being sexually molested by demonic spirits and he wakes up with his anus wet. It was really bizarre all of the things that charismatic people can come up with. However I guess the point I wanted to make was a few years ago I was sitting in a church I heard a chaismatic "pastor" admit that many signs and maifestaitons were from Satan, some were self-induced and some were genuinely from God" - but that because SOME were from God we needed to accept all lest we end up rejecting something that is from God. And as I was reflecting on that last night - I thoght - - a lot of people are telling us we need to accept all of this because SOME of itis genuine. These people also admit that there are some excesses. However they give no instruction on how to discern which is which. How do I know if someone is speaking in tongues if it is the real thing or not. The author of the book you read on "search for Charismatic Reality" concluded that his were not genuine at all and yet I would imagine that if you had met him David he would have bene categorized in the category of those wonderful quiet people who have the real thing. And yet he now by his own admission admits it was not. So exactly HOW do we discern - or do we like this lady suggested accept it all because some of it might be genuine? I find that troublesome - so what about the issue of discernment - is that based on how quiet they are about their gifts - is that how we discern? What about those - who at one time I thought were genuine and then later by their own admission they say that their experience was deifnitely not from God. Are we not therefore opening the door for anyting if we adopt your position David. So therefore David - if I were to buy into your position - (which I do not) - and if there are some genuine and some excess - how does the church - or the IMB - discern which is what - or else do we jsut accept it all?

David Rogers said...

Anonymous,

I think we must discern by several different ways:

1. If someone's doctrine does not square with the clear teaching of Scripture, we must point out the errors of their ways, and if they insist on continuing on teaching false doctrine, and, as a result, causing division, we must separate from them (Titus 3.10-11). Obviously, the big problem here is what is clear Scriptural teaching to some is not so clear to others. But, I, with my conscience before God, have to do the best I can at "handling correctly the word of turuth" (2 Tim. 2.15).

2. Jesus said "By your fruit you shall know them." I must examine the fruit of their Christian character, not a quiet, nor a more extroverted, personality. Sometimes, however, we must take a "wait and see" attitude. "The sins of some men are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them. In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not cannot be hidden" (1 Tim. 5.24-25).

3. "Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters..." (Romans 14). I believe this entire chapter is a key passage regarding the things we are talking about. Once someone has made it through the "filter" of the first two qualifications above, I believe we must recognize there are other matters about which there are always going to be differences of opinion and interpretation. In these cases, we must humbly admit that we ourselves are neither perfect nor infallible, and, with the same grace our Lord shows to us, accept one another in Christ. This doesn’t mean we should “swallow” every “wind of doctrine” that comes along. But, it does mean, in my opinion, that we should place the goal of unity, even with those with whom we do not share uniformity, high up in our scale of values.

I would be interested to know if you have any other practical steps to help in the process of discernment.

Blessings,

David

Anonymous said...

Again - just as your attitude toward charismatic gifts seems to be in the theory stage - so are your ideas about discernment - and I think this is the difficulty that the IMB BOT finds itself in. How do you make a discerning judgment in these cases. Do you set up a discernment comittee? What does it look like and how does it function? I look at your three points and they look great on paper (or on the screen) - however how does it work itself out in the life of the church. I have on one person's blog suggested possibly a "don't ask, don't tell" policy in which the board would not ask about PPL so that indeed it could be private. Once it ever became public then that would be grounds for dismissal? Would this not be a more traumatic thing than not being appointed in the first place. One thing that really disturbs me is the number of friends that I have that are wonderful godly people - but who also feel compelled to share with me that they have a private prayer language - which makes me wonder just why - if it is indeed private - there is a need to tell me at all.

Todd Nelson said...

David, I think your three points about discernment are spot on. There is also the spiritual gift of discernment mentioned by Paul. Like tongues and intepretation of tongues, it seems to be ignored by most Baptists.

I know people personally who are gifted with insight into spiritual realities. They have a heightened sense of the presence of evil or of the Lord. I'm more Word-based. We make a good team when it comes to counseling and praying for people. My friends and fellow church members have been helpful to me in situations where we needed to take authority over unclean spirits and send them away from believers and/or seekers.

BTW, I'm the Todd who didn't mean to post anonymously above. :-)

David Rogers said...

Anonymous,

Maybe I'm forgetting something that was said somewhere along the way in the whole PPL policy saga. But, I don't see how "Private Prayer Language" necessarily means "Secret Prayer Language." The problem, as I understand it, is not so much in keeping it a secret, as not letting it become "disruptive" or teaching it as something "normative" (i.e. "if you don't do it, your spirituality is somehow defective").

To me, these two things are fairly easy to "discern."

David Rogers said...

Todd,

Thanks for your additional insight. I had thought about the gift of discernment, but didn't say anything about it, since most "cessationists" would probably think that went out with the apostles as well.

Also, I just noticed that, upon switching over to Beta, apparently some of the commenters' names were changed to anonymous. For instance, the first comment on this page used to say "Bart Barber."

Todd Nelson said...

Some verses on discernment...

"I want you to know how to discern what is truly from God. No one who is speaking by the Spirit of God can curse Jesus, and no one is able to say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor 12:3, NLT)

"The Spirit gives one person the power to perform miracles, and to another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to know whether it is really the spirit of God or another spirit that is speaking. (1 Cor 12:10, NLT)

Todd Nelson said...

Hey David,

Looks like our comments crossed in cyberspace.

It's true that I recently switched to Beta Blogger. That's probably why ...

And I agree that cessationists might see no need for the gift of discernment today, thinking that it's passed away as well. I wonder about our a priori cessationists? :)Or other Baptist friends? Anyone else believe they've seen it in operation?

Anonymous said...

So then what if there are disagreements in those who discern. For example - some have told me they thought I had the gift of discernment. I have never claimed the gift for myself and do not intend to. I had a student once who became a believer and his parents were into the occult and astro-soul projeciton and the like. Every time I went into their home I could just sense some sort of a presence that made be very uncomfortable - the spirit there did not agree with my spirit at all. However I have to say that I cannot think of one instance of tongues speaking I have encountered where I did not have the EXACT same feeling. Now I am not saying I have the gift of discernment - it may have jsut been indigestion all of those times. However if I wanted to I guess I could really lay claim to the gift of discernment and have other that have given witness to it before indicate that - and then I could tell exactly what I have felt before. But then what if someone else came along and discerned differently. There is one small city in our country where there are now a total of 14 different charismatic churches at last count which all came out of one charismatic church. Most of the splits came because one group int he church had a "word of knowledge" that another group had a contrary "word of knowledge" about. Again I ask - how does this work - do you have a disrcernment committee - and if 3 out of 4 say it is genuine - go with it - or does there have to be an odd number so that there is never the possibility of a tie. What if the discernment committee differs from the pastor - what then? I tend to be a practical person and I just want to see who this works itself out.

Grosey's Messages said...

Hey anonymous, that is interesting.
I too have been told by many that I have a gift of discernment. (Is it because we are both cynical?)
Cessasionists don't believe all gifts have ceased Todd, just the ones the scripture says have ceased, revelational gifts and foundational gifts of apostelship and prophecy (eph 2:20) and sign gifts such as tongues.

With the gift of discernment:
I think the issue is an ability to note lots of issues around a situation or person, the ability to sum up a person's character and motivations, a good understanding of theological matters, a good memory for scripture. (By the way, why, if I can know the address of every passage of scripture in the Bible, why can't I do a simple thing like my taxes?)
The downside is, that if someone is a false teacher they usually don't like to have such people around, and so we are termed "divisive".
It has been rather sorry that I have seen some of those who I picked as being problem people go on to become real big problems in the church at large. So what do we do? Give them enough rope so that they hang themselves? And destroy the credibility of the church at the same time?
You are correct.. by their fruits you shall know them... but sadly the destruction they produce means that the whole world knows them about the same time the local church does.

Of course, if someone is fair dinkum (oops on reread I recognised you guys don't know what that means.. it means tru blu), they will be pointing people to the true Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour.
2 Cor 11: 3 But I fear that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your minds may be corrupted from a complete and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if a person comes and preaches another Jesus, whom we did not preach, or you receive a different spirit, which you had not received, or a different gospel, which you had not accepted, you put up with it splendidly! 5 Now I consider myself in no way inferior to the “super-apostles.”

The great difficulty is that Satan doesn't advertise who his people are.
2 Corintians 11:12
"But I will continue to do what I am doing, in order to cut off the opportunity of those who want an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in what they are boasting about.
13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.
14 And no wonder! For Satan himself is disguised as an angel of light.
15 So it is no great thing if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their destiny will be according to their works. "

They exalt Jesus, but a different Jesus from the scriptures. They communicate the Spirit to others, but a different Spirit from the Holy Spirit.

Better be careful who you allow to lay hands on you.

David, have you never regretted someone you laid hands on too fast?
I have appointed someone an elder another a deacon, and another time just bringing a couple into membership was a destructive thing I had done. Each time I did it so as not to be judgemental. Everyone said they were fine folks. Every time I suspected there were issues that would result in sin, and every time they brought public embarrassment to the body of Christ.

Personally, I think laying hands (appointing to ministry) on someone who has made a deal of having a gift of tongues in any way, tells you that there are issues of immaturity, loss of mental and emotional balance or conceit that are themselves reasons to disqualify someone for ministry.

I have never heard someone with the gift of giving make a deal out of it (I wish they would, so I'd know who to talk to).
I have never heard someone who has the gift of service tell others that was their gift.
I have never heard someone who has the gift of helps tell about it.

It seems the desire for being known to have a certain gift seems to be related to issues of self image, the necessity of proving one's self, or displaying one's self. If we are filled with the Spirit, then self honouring displays should be swallowed up by a desire to honour Christ.

Perhaps having an automatic negative policy on tongues may be simpler than going the long difficult route of inquisitional interviewing.

Grosey's Messages said...

David,
Can I ask your advice.
I have already mentioned that the conservatives are outnumbered by the charismatic baptists in my region. I just attended a ministers association meeting where a regional superintendant has appointed someone on his own say so to be deputy regional supt. In charge of natural church development. Without the church's authorisation he can now enter churches and demand they come under his direction for NCD. He announced to us that he is personally planting a charismatic baptist church right across the road from ours. (of course, he had not consulted with me or even knew my face).
I pointed out there are 4 areas that uimmdiately need a Baptist church to be planted with populations in excess of 30,000 without ANY church of any sort.
What would you guys do now?
Steve

Todd Nelson said...

Steve,

You wrote above, "Cessasionists don't believe all gifts have ceased, Todd, just the ones the scripture says have ceased, revelational gifts and foundational gifts of apostelship and prophecy (eph 2:20) and sign gifts such as tongues."

1) I never said or implied that cessationists believe all gifts have ceased, did I? Just that they may believe that the gift of discernment has passed away along with the others that they no longer see a need for (the revelational, foundational, and sign gifts, acc. to your categories.) I was agreeing with David's explanation of why he didn't mention the gift of discernment in his previous comment.

2) Steve, could you quote me chapter and verse where the Bible says unequivocally that any spiritual gifts have ceased? Not that they will, but that they have? It seems to be a logical impossibility since the gifts were operating at the time the Scriptures were written. But I'm curious if you mean that they will cease when "the perfect" comes (1 Cor 13:10) - meaning when the canon is closed (the usual cessationist argument).

I would argue that "to teleion" ["the perfect" (NASB, NIV) or "the end" (NLT)] refers to the parousia, Jesus' second coming, or when the Kingdom of God is finally established in its fullness.

I am not arguing for an open canon or the continuation of the NT office of apostle in the sense of writing Scripture, but I would say with confidence, based on biblical and observational grounds, that the revelatory and sign gifts still operate today, as do the five offices mentioned in Eph 4:11 -- in ways that do not contradict the Scriptures.

I was taken aback by your writing, "the scripture says [they] have ceased", when I think you mean to say that your interpretation of Scripture declares that some gifts ceased after the close of the canon.

Just trying to clarify ...

Todd

Grosey's Messages said...

Wow Todd, you really bit on that one! :)
umm lets see.. the revelational gifts have not ceased but they have ceased... umm which is it?
Its an either or case here.
If its revelation from God, it is infallible revelation (because God is not the author anything fallible, for His nature is infallible). Any modern day revelation necessarily then is infallible and inerrant. Wow just like the scriptures!...hmmm ok... then Rev 22:18 says

I testify to everyone who hears the prophetic words of this book: If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book.
19 And if anyone takes away from the words of this prophetic book, God will take away his share of the tree of life and the holy city, written in this book

I don't think I would like to add anything to scripture somehow. Nor to take away from it!

I think I'll stick to the Revelation the church has had for 19 centuries (unless you include Joseph Smith's canon... but I guess pentecostals have no reason to dismiss his canon, as he spoke in tongues as a sign of his apostolic office too).

After all ,
Ephesians 2 So then you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household,
20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone.

That's why I called revelational gifts foundational.

But Todd, please... expound to us how these new revelations can be sometimes wrong (as they so often are...for example Phil Pringle prophecied last year of the revival that would convert the population of New Zealand in 2005...It hasn't happened yet, and its 2006.. or maybe he wasn't using the Gregorian calendar when he prophesied... ahhh.. ) and still be infallibly inspired by the Spirit of God. Or are they fallibly inspired by the Spirit of God.. like the scriptures ?
I look forward to your reply :)
Steve

David Rogers said...

Grosey,

RE: "Without the church's authorisation he can now enter churches and demand they come under his direction for NCD."

It sounds like Baptists down there have a little different idea of the autonomy of the local church than what we do in the SBC. Do you know if your church signed on to that type of understanding when they joined the association?

RE: "He announced to us that he is personally planting a charismatic baptist church right across the road from ours. (of course, he had not consulted with me or even knew my face)."

I would suggest calling him up and having a cup of coffee (or whatever you do "down under" in these situations) and say you'd get to know him. I would consider broaching the subject of locating right across the street without consulting you first, but only after attempting to build some sort of rapport or trust relationship first. Maybe the Lord would guide both of you to understand His will more clearly about this, if you could pray together about it.

But, then again, I'm not there and I don't really know the real circumstances. So, I suppose the main thing is to pray for wisdom, and guard your heart against bitterness in the meantime.

Grosey's Messages said...

Yeah thanks David,
The situation is that Baptist convictions that the church signed on to 150 years ago, and I signed on to personally 30 years ago are all being removed from us by the charismatic groups.
We lost our church buildings ten years ago. They are all owned by the denomination now through an act of State Parliament pushed through by the charismatic / Willow creek assoc that took leadership here 12 years ago. I guess that effectively eradicates autonomy of the local church.
Baptism by immersion has been removed from most Baptist churches as a membership requirement about 7 years ago.
Many churches have abandoned congregational government becasue their prophets or leadership team are more capable leaders.
This fellow has appointed himself regional superintendant (against the advice and direction of our Union), so I guess there goes
associationalism as well.
Well it wouldn't matter. Conservative churches are not told the correct date and place of association meetings anyway.

I asked him why he hadn't consulted me about this church plant. He refused to answer. I have approached the guy who was involved in his appointment. He basically said, tuff! Its going to happen! Wear it.
I am not so much concerned that they will attempt to do this. This group did it just 4 years ago, and attempted to do it again 2 years ago, by attempting to orchestrate a church split (not ours)
3 months ago they attempted to by slander to split our church.
Should we continue to contribute funds to a group intent on destroying our church and other conservative churches?
Should our church and the other three local area baptist churches that still have congregational govt, and hold to our Baptist distinctives,just abandon the local association, knowing that as a result we will be evicted from our buildings?
Steve

Grosey's Messages said...

In case you are thinking this is bogus. Its not. I have had lots of phone calls yesterday with our denominational leaders (who now are tending to be more baptistic because the former willow creek leadership blew itself out of the water with bogus investment deals 2 years ago. 4.1 million went missing from our denominational funds)
A promise was made (by the charismatic willow creek leadership) to sell off one of the smaller buildings in our local region to give the money to the charismatic baptist church involved in this push, contrary to the wishes of the congregation of that church who had paid for that building.
I guess we are just seeing the effects of the new apostles and prophets (they call themselves that now)who are struggling to gain leadeship of our denomination.
Steve

tim rogers said...

Brother Grosey,

After reading your last posts to Brother David, I know why God has you in Australia and me in the US. I would be so much in the flesh by now that it would ruin my Christian testimony. I can just feel the pressure rising up inside of me as I read your circumstances.

Man, I am praying for you. To know that you will loose your building because of a self appointed Supt. is beyond my belief. I want you to know that I am praying for God to give you and the others wisdom. Also, you would do well to go to the Joshua Convergence web site and listen to Dr. Emir Caner's definition of affirmation of being a Baptist.

Blessings,
Tim

Grosey's Messages said...
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