SPIRITUAL GIFTS FOR THE BELIEVER
ABUSES OF TEMPORARY SPIRITUAL GIFTS
Rev. Thomas Tyree, Jr., Pastor, Grace Bible Church of Costa Mesa, California
Copyright © 1995-2014 Rev. Thomas Tyree, Jr., All Rights Reserved
Remember that the gift of tongues was never necessary for salvation, but the result of Gods grace gift of salvation. We studied the details of that from 1 Corinthians 12:3-5. Also, the proper perspective concerning the gift of tongues was that it was never a sign of spirituality. Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 12:11, that spiritual gifts are the work of the Holy Spirit. God the Holy Spirit gives them to each believer just as He sovereignly wills. The pentecostals have reversed that Biblical principle erroneously and under arrogance. They say that every Christian should have the gift of tongues. The Bible says only a few ever did between 30 A.D. and 70 A.D. and NONE have the gift today.
Therefore I make known to you, that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus is accursed"; and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit. Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. (1 Corinthians 12:3-5)
But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills. (1 Corinthians 12:11)
It is only the unbeliever or believer out of fellowship who can say, Jesus is cursed or that they no longer believe in Christ. Even if someone tries to throw Christianity overboard, Paul says that even if we deny Him, He remains faithful. He cannot deny even Himself. We still have eternal security, even though we may become atheistic. Paul also says that no one can say Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. No matter what passages we may refer to in the Word of God that deal with spiritual gifts, there is nothing that would suggest that any of these gifts have anything to do with receiving salvation. You receive salvation by receiving Christ, and when you do, you receive a spiritual gift. Paul did not say to the Philippian jailer to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and speak in tongues and you will be saved. He said that simply believing in the substitutionary work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross for all of your sins will result in salvation. Faith alone in Christ alone for salvation has and will always be THE issue in life.
Abuses of the Temporary Gifts of Healing and Miracles
Healing and miracles are really glorified by the charismatics today. Do healings and miracles actually occur today? The answer is yes, but they are never the result of the temporary spiritual gifts of healing and miracles. Therefore, they either occur because God made them occur through His sovereign will and omnipotence, or they occur through demonic power. There are instances of healing as a Satanic operation and have always been. There are also miracles as Satanic operations. There are weird and goofy things going on out there that work. Why? It's a demonic operation. This is a part of the New Age Movement. This is related to rubbing your crystal ball or using crystal power to make things happen. In many cases, it does work. It is a satanically-induced miracle. Satan is in the miracle working business to counterfeit God. Martin Luther called him the ape of God. Anything God had that was a part of His plan has been copied by Satan to lead people astray. The charismatics put their emphasis on signs and wonders. They believe that if you're not witnessing with signs and wonders, you are not with it and might not even be saved. If you are saved, you are definitely not spiritual if signs and wonders do not occur.
The temporary gift of healings and miracles were legitimately used to call attention to the message of Jesus Christ given by the person. It was their credit card. They never left home without it. It established the authority of the Word of God being communicated by the individual. The purpose was not to alleviate human suffering. Our Lord healed people of all manner of diseases. He raised the dead and cast out demons, but that was not to ease human suffering. He loved people. He loved to see their suffering alleviated, but that was not the primary purpose. Indeed, if this was His purpose, our Lord was terribly remiss as were the apostles because they only healed in a small geographical area and healed only a small number of people. Since the pentecostals believe this was the primary purpose, then our Lord should have healed everyone everywhere.
These gifts were only to establish the authority of the one giving the Gospel. The apostles to Israel took the Gospel to the lost sheep of the house of Israel and later became apostles to the Church. The apostle Paul replaced Judas Iscariot and performed miracles wherever he went. They would heal people and that always drew a crowd. People were impressed. Then they gave the message of the Gospel.
Perversions of the Gift of Tongues
The gift of tongues has been perverted today just as it was in the time of the Corinthians. This perversion is practiced by pentecostals today as they did at the turn of the century. Their whole emphasis was and still is that after you are saved, you are to seek the second blessing or the baptism which they say is characterized by speaking in tongues. By this second blessing, you can have the other manifestations of the Spirit which are signs, wonders, and miracles. This perversion of tongues later led to todays Charismatic Movement. Today, we have the new charismatics which still believe all those doctrines, but they have added a new important and dangerous element to their theology. No matter which of the new movements you talk about (i.e., Vineyard, Latter Rain, or other new movements), they teach that the gift of prophecy has been restored to the Church. Pentecostal, charismatic, and vineyard ministers believe they can now receive revelation directly from God. This is being abused in many ways. A few years ago, two of these charismatic ministers took a liking to a couple of women in their church who were separated from their husbands. They told these women that they should divorce their husbands and live with them. That is the type of evil revelation they receive from these "ministers" now.
Its tragic that so many people have been duped and suckered into this apostasy. It is apostasy of the worst order. You parents should teach your children about this travesty and to warn them not to make friends with these people for any reason. We should all be separated from charismatics. Romans 16:17-18 commands us to avoid or turn away from those who live by their emotions. You can be with them socially, at school, or on the job, but not in a close friendship relationship. That is a command from the Word of God.
Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting. (Romans 16:17-18)
You may want to share the Gospel with these misguided people. Simply tell them, that's what the Word of God says. Don't get into a shouting match. You are not going to solve their problems or meet all of their arguments. Stick with the Scripture. Stick with the Gospel. Tell them these things will be solved when you become a Christian and grow under the Word of God. Tell them that what they need to do is simply believe in Jesus Christ. Sometimes we have a tendency to try to answer their questions. If we do, they sometimes become irritated and you might win the war, but lose a soul. If they get upset, you might not have the opportunity to lead them to Christ.
The Neo-Charismatic Movement
The headquarters for the Neo-charismatic Movement is in Orange County, California. The major expression of the Neo-charismatic Movement is called the Vineyard Movement. It was started by a charismatic named Wimber. You should question the accuracy of theology started by the ex-drummer of the Righteous Brothers band. That's great theological qualification, isn't it? It's also known as the Latter Rain Movement or the Signs and Wonders Movement which are especially dangerous manifestations of the Charismatic Movement.
Even some of the middle-of-the-road type of charismatics, such as Chuck Smith at Calvary Chapel are included. They believe in speaking in tongues and subscribe to lordship salvation along with other concepts which are not Biblical. They are not as radical as these new charismatics described above. Chuck Smith says they have taken all of the worst elements of the Charismatic Movement and emphasized them. They emphasize that for a person to be saved, you have to speak in tongues or its a sign that you are not saved. If you don't speak in tongues, it means that you really weren't saved in the first place. This is also true of lordship salvation people. David Hawkings has joined the ranks of that particular group. They say that at the moment of salvation, it's not adequate to express faith alone in Christ alone to be saved. They say that at that moment you make your decision to believe in Christ, you also have to make a commitment to His lordship and promise never to waver. You have to promise always to hang in there in the Christian way of life. If you don't do that, they become calvinistic and say, well, you just didn't persevere because you really weren't a saint. You really were not saved when you thought you were. If you really were saved, you would have persevered in fulfilling the mandates of the Christian life.
You may be thinking this evaluation of the Neo-charismatic Movement is nothing more than judging other believers. You probably think that this is the same as what is mentioned in Matthew 7:1-5. Matthew 7:1-5 refers to some person trying to judge another person who has a speck in his eye, while he's got a 2 x 4 in his own eye. Remember, the whole emphasis is to remove the 2 x 4, then you will see clearly. Get rid of your hypocrisy and you will see more clearly to judge, evaluate, and to help your brother in removing the speck from his eye. We judge all the time. We are to make judgment calls as believers as in John 7:24. We are to evaluate what is right and what is wrong in our personal life and our business life. We are to evaluate others on the basis of Bible doctrine resident in our souls. For pastors, they are required to protect their congregations by pointing out who is contrary to the Word of God. This is righteous judgement. It is not maligning, gossiping, or criticizing when we point out others who are wrong based on what the Word of God says.
"Do not judge lest you be judged. "For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. "And why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? "Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye? "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. (Matthew 7:1-5)
"Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment." (John 7:24)
Remember, in Ephesians 4:14-15, we are to speak the Truth in unconditional love. The Greek word for speaking is laleo which means speaking in a conversational way or to share with others in relating the Biblical viewpoint concerning spiritual gifts. You have the privilege and responsibility to do that, especially to Christians who might be tempted toward, or involved in the neo or old line Charismatic Movement.
As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, (Ephesians 4:14-15)
This is what the Scripture has to say about spiritual gifts. I am telling you these things in unconditional love, which means you also have virtue love. Virtue love means you have such a strength of character from your spiritual growth that you can be thoughtful, kind, and considerate when you share what the Bible says about spiritual gifts.
That is our watchword for everything we are considering in this book on spiritual gifts. Some of the neo-charismatics believe you have to speak in tongues to be saved or show evidence of being saved. In studying their materials and talking with them, this is typical of their belief. Also, they erroneously believe that you cannot be spiritual or fulfill the Christian life unless you have the baptism, which they believe is the second blessing experience after salvation. The Bible teaches that the baptism of the Holy Spirit takes place at the moment of salvation. God the Holy Spirit places each of us into union with the Lord Jesus Christ only at salvation. It is our eternal relationship with God. However, the neo-charismatics say it's something you receive after salvation and it's characterized by speaking in tongues. They teach that if you don't have the baptism and gift of tongues, you're not spiritual and you are not living the Christian life. This belief is wrong and is not based on the Word of God.
In addition, the neo-charismatics emphasize the gift of healing, which as we've already studied and proven was a temporary gift. When God heals today, it is because of His sovereignty. He makes the decision that a few believers should be healed as He did with J. Vernon McGee many years ago, before he went to be with the Lord. He had lung cancer and the Lord cured him, giving him many more years. I believe the most effective years of his ministry were those after his healing by the Lord. That's the exception to the rule that proves the rule. The Church Age is not primarily an age of miracles. Our miracle, of course, is the miracle way of life. This supernatural way of life demands supernatural means of execution under the filling of the Holy Spirit, which is NOT speaking in tongues. This gift ceased in 70 A.D.
I am speaking Gods truth in love, and our hearts go out to people involved in the Neo-charismatic Movement and people who are being tempted to become involved. The Neo-charismatic Movement has added this very dangerous addition to the whole spectrum of the Charismatic Movement. They say that in these latter days of what they call the Latter Rain Movement, God has reestablished all the spiritual gifts of the early days of the Church Age. Some of their ministers actually think of themselves as apostles to the church. As prophets to the church, they can receive special divine revelation for God's people, rather than holding with the watchword of the reformation which was "sola gracia, sola fide, sola scriptura." This Latin saying means grace only, faith only, the Scripture only - nothing less, nothing more.
Cultic Behavior of Neo-Charismatics
Neo-charismatics have become cultic or quasi-cultic. You have quasi-cults that are theologically out of line, or out of line because of a personality. There are groups today that are not cults in the sense of Jehovah's Witnesses or Mormons, where there is total departure from the fundamental and cardinal doctrines of Christianity. However, quasi-cults glorify a personality. They keep their eyes on one person just as the Roman Catholics keep their eyes on one Pope. They are not a cult, but they are like a cult. If anybody says anything the slightest bit different from what their leader or doctrinal guru says, they say that person is apostate and not really doctrinal in teaching the Word of God. That is a personality cult.
The pentecostals are in the ranks of a personality cult. They look unto their ministers, pastors and leaders and they say, this leader has received a special divine revelation from God. He has received a great breakthrough for these last days. They believe this information is just as important as the Bible and has just as much validity as the Bible. We see it in the extreme today. There are ministers of the neo-charismatic churches who are teaching ladies in their church that they ought to divorce their husbands and live with the minister. This is "additional revelation?" This is "divine revelation?" This is not the teaching of the Word of God. It is the Neo-charismatic Movement in its extreme. You can get into extreme concepts and extremes in the areas of faith and conduct when you believe you are an apostle or prophet and that God can give you divine revelation.
Please don't think me judgmental or criticizing when specifically mentioning Christian leaders. Sometimes, you have to mention names and call a spade a spade, as Paul did in referring to apostates in the first century A.D. For example, Dave Hunt believes tongues can be a bona fide experience, and thereby leaving the door open for the charismatics. We close the door entirely in understanding what the Scripture teaches between temporary and permanent spiritual gifts. What I do admire about Dave Hunt is that when someone is out of line, when someone is apostate, or when someone or some group is not doctrinally correct, he doesn't hesitate to point out their names. Pastors are to point out the error as well as those who are promulgating the error.
I think the newsletter "Biblical Perspectives" by Robbie Dean and Tommy Ice is good at pointing out doctrinal errors. This is necessary to warn the sheep and keep the sheep in the proper perspective of doctrine as their highest priority in life. In our scale of values, we should always be occupied with the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, loving Him so that we in turn can love others and speak the Truth in love to them.