Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Second Sunday in Lent.

The Collect

ALMIGHTY God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves; Keep us both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls; that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Collect from the First Day of Lent is to be read every day in Lent after the Collect appointed for the Day.

Daily Bible Verse

Thursday, January 26, 2012

T. D. Jakes and the Elephant Room Controversy

 "But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”" (John 8:45-47, NKJV)

 I posted the following comment over at the Daniel's Place blog.  Daniel is a student at Westminster Seminary, California.  He has been covering the controversy over the invitation extended to the heresiarch T.D. Jakes to speak at The Elephant Room.  You can see Daniel's article by clicking here: News: James MacDonald resigns from TGC .

I agree that inviting T. D. Jakes to the Elephant room is a tacit endorsement of Jakes' theology. But I hate to break this news to you. The fact is the vast majority of Pentecostals and Charismatics these days NO LONGER REGARD ONENESS PENTECOSTAL TEACHING AS HERESY. Excuse me for yelling:) But I think this emphasis needs to be made. Basically, the Charismatic movement is more concerned about spreading Pentecostalism and Charismatic teaching than about correct doctrine on the ESSENTIALS OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH. For example, The Society for Pentecostal Studies, which publishes a theological journal called, Pneuma, does not require belief in the trinity or triunity of three persons in one divine nature. That can be easily demonstrated in the compromise of their original doctrinal statement here: Wikipedia: The Society for Pentecostal Studies. The short of it is that Pentecostals and Charismatics are compromised from the get go because their emphasis on the "gifts of the Spirit" and the "baptism with the Holy Spirit" trumps the orthodox and essential doctrine of the trinity. I've been saying this for several years now and I'm wondering why so few are listening?

The fact that T.D. Jakes enjoys such mainstream popularity among Charismatics and Pentecostals and on "Christian" TV is proof enough that the movement as a whole is cultic, heterodox, and heretical. Yes, you heard me right.

Another indication of this sort of heterodoxy is the widespread acceptance of the Word of Faith doctrines on health, wealth and prosperity--doctrines which come from Christian Science and New Thought. Included in that package are extremely heretical doctrines on the incarnation of Christ and His deity. Word of Faith teachers say that Christ is not fully God but is simply a "Spirit-filled man". They also teach that Jesus was demonized on the cross and that He suffered for three days in hellfire.

It is beyond my comprehension why anyone who considers themselves Reformed in theological perspective would want to lead others into this heretical and heterodox movement. I'm thinking here of "non-cessationists" like John Piper, Wayne Grudem, Vincent Cheung, Mark Driscoll, Vern Poythress, and others. This wrong emphasis is akin to saying it's ok to be Mormon! In fact, the Word of Faith movement also incorporates some Mormon doctrine since Kenneth Hagin taught that God has a "spiritual" body, i.e. a spiritualized physical body.

I could go on but I'll stop there. The short of it is that I think Evangelicals in general are way too gracious toward Pentecostalism and Charismatic theology because of the fear of losing support.

Sincerely yours in Christ,


Addendum:  I know some of you think I am overgeneralizing since some Pentecostal and Charismatic churches take a strong stand against modalism and the Word of Faith movement.  However, to take a strong stand against false teaching while continuing to fellowship with heretics is duplicitous.  This sort of dissimulating compromise reveals that Pentecostals and Charismatics are more concerned with ecumenicalism than with Scriptural truth.  But if the souls of millions of adherents are at stake, why invite false teachers to lead them astray?  That is the question at issue here.  It is impossible to follow false teaching while at the same time following the truth. 


CD-Host said...

I could go on but I'll stop there. The short of it is that I think Evangelicals in general are way too gracious toward Pentecostalism and Charismatic theology because of the fear of losing support.

I think Evangelicals are tolerant of Pentecostalism because it is already the largest form of Protestantism and is probably a generation away from being the largest branch of Christianity. It is one thing to be aggressive towards a church with 10k members; another to a church with 10m members, but at 500m you are the one in schism.

Even if one is orthodox with respect to the creeds, one does not rule out all of Protestantism because it gave birth to Unitarianism.

Charlie J. Ray said...

First of all, numbers do not make certain doctrines true. If that were so then Islam should be the accepted world religion instead of Christianity. Islam is now equal in numbers to Christianity if you consider all the traditions and denominations together. (Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Protestant).

Second of all, the Pentecostal movement has its genesis in 1906 at the Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles, California. Prior to that it did not exist. So it is not representative of the Protestant Reformation but rather a "new" restorationist movement. The trouble is that the Pentecostal movement has from the beginning emphasized ecstatic experience and not doctrine. In other words, it has a closer affiliation with Mormonism or the New Age Movement than with biblical Christianity.

I can say this with confidence because I was a Pentecostal for over 10 years and was an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God at one time. I would have made the same argument you are making at that time. Since then God has opened my eyes to the fact that Pentecostals and Charismatics are more concerned with prosperity teaching and false ecumenicalism than with Scriptural truth. They are quick to jump with any new wind of doctrine that might give their "experience" a stamp of approval from the world and from the liberals in the church world. Harvey Cox is one example of a liberal approving of Pentecostalism.

The fact that the Society for Pentecostal Studies approves of Oneness Pentecostalism and its deliberate denial of the Trinity is proof enough that the Pentecostal movement in general is heretical.

The other heresy is the Word of Faith movement. That movement also has aberrant views of the incarnation of Christ, the Trinity, and the doctrines of salvation. The Word of Faith Movement is essentially Christian Science mixed with Pentecostalism.

That's why I am an outspoken critic of the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement. It is nothing short of cultic.

Sincerely yours,


Charlie J. Ray said...

I should add that the numbers are exaggerated by Pentecostals and Charismatics due to the Charles Finney mentality that a "decision" means a genuine conversion. Many "decisions" last only for one day. Christianity is not measured by how many hamburgers you served at the counter. It's measured in real attendance numbers and actual participation in worship and Christian education. Your appeal to sociological factors rather than doctrinal purity is telling.


Charlie J. Ray said...

The Pentecostal/Charismatic is by no means the "largest branch" of Protestantism. The sociological numbers are greatly exaggerated.

Be that as it may, Arminianism is a heresy condemned by the Synod of Dort in 1619. I also disagree with Arminianism for other reasons. Even Arminianism is not as far gone as the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement, although both have more in common with each other than with Biblical Christianity.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Society for Pentecostal Studies: Statement of Purposes

You will note that any doctrinal affirmation of the triunity of God as three persons and one divine being/nature is conveniently missing:

To support fully, to the extent appropriate for an academic society, the statement of purposes of the World Pentecostal Fellowship, which reads as follows:

To encourage fellowship and facilitate co-ordination of effort among Pentecostal believers throughout the world,

To demonstrate to the world the essential unity of Spirit-baptized believers, fulfilling the prayer of the Lord Jesus Christ,

To cooperate in an endeavor to respond to the unchanging commission of the Lord Jesus, to carry His message to all people of all nations.

To promote courtesy and mutual understanding, “endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, until we all come in the unity of the faith”

To afford prayerful and practical assistance to any Pentecostal body
in need of such.

To promote and maintain the scriptural purity of the (World Pentecostal) Fellowship by Bible study and prayer.

To uphold and maintain those Pentecostal truths, “most surely believed
among us.”

It should also be noted that Classical Pentecostals are Arminians. The few charismatics who are reformed are therefore in unity with a man centered theology from below.

Charlie J. Ray said...

I should tell you that I was ordained with the Assemblies of God in Kentucky in 1992. I was also a member of the Society for Pentecostal Studies during my time at Asbury Seminary. I have read widely in Pentecostal/Charismatic theology, including Pneuma and the Journal of Pentecostal Studies.

In fact, I would attribute part of the reason for my departure from the classical Pentecostal camp to the articles I read in both those journals. In particular, the use of reader response theory applied to Pentecostal exegesis was alarming. The other alarm bell was the emphasis on the "community of faith" as the center of authority for Pentecostal theology rather than Scripture as Sola Scriptura. Basically, Pentecostals have adopted a Roman Catholic view of ecclessiology and polity where for all practical purposes the Pentecostal "tradition" and the Pentecostal "community of faith" tells Scripture what it can or cannot say based on the ecstatic experience of Pentecostals. This can be traced to the Pentecostal hermeneutic that says experience is a factor in exegesis, not a pure reading of the text from a historical/grammatical perspective taking into consideration the original author's perspective, the cultural setting, and the perspective of the originally intended audience or receptors of the text.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Another issue is the complete rejection of the five solas of the Reformation and the Protestant Reformation by Pentecostals. This is deliberate on their part because they see the intellectualism and scholasticism of the Reformers as hostile to their cause. The emphasis on continuing gifts, miracles, revelations, and apostolic authority has more in common with Rome than with Geneva, Canterbury, or Wittenberg. Azusa Street is really the genesis of another world wide religion, not the restoration of biblical Christianity. T.D. Jakes, the prosperity gospel, and the Word of Faith movement accentuate that viewpoint.

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