In today’s charismatic churches we can find anything from speaking in tongues and having an interpretation, to rolling around on the floor acting like animals, to shaking uncontrollably in fits that look like seizures. How do we know what is the Holy Spirit and what is not the Holy Spirit? What ever happened to the gift of discernment? Do we allow anything to enter the church unquestioned? If we question things why do people become defensive and say, “You’re not spiritual enough to understand it,” or, “You are just religious,” (meaning being like the Pharisees). What does scripture say about these things? Or does scripture even talk about it? I would like to look at the scriptures to see what we can find. For those reading, I would really like you to contribute your feedback, but remember this before you leave a comment: Opinions or experiences mean absolutely nothing. Only the the Word of God can discern the truth, not an opinion or an experience. (As a side note, before we go further, do we hold more to our experience or do we hold closer the written word of God as our guide and light?)
2 Tim 3:16-17
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
If we are going to find what is truth or what is false, we must always cling to the Word of God no matter what our experiences, thoughts, or denominational views are. We cannot hold fast to what WE want to believe. We need to hold fast only to the truth of scripture. We need to search scripture, for it is our only hope and lifeline. Without it there is no anchor in our lives and we may believe every wind of doctrine that comes our way. We will not be able to identify the doctrine of devils that the bible promises that will come in the end days.
1 Tim 4:1
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
Let’s look at some examples of what happened in the past—when strange fire is allowed in the temple of God.
And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not.
And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.
I am using this scripture to show that in God’s temple there is order and instruction. Nadab and Abihu brought a strange fire before the Lord. Their punishment for doing so was death. If we continue reading we learn that Aaron was not even allowed to morn for his sons.
Today we are allowing strange fires into our churches and into our temples; falling under its authority and submitting to it, claiming that it is God when it does not meet the criteria of scripture. Maybe we fall under its spell because we want God so desperately, or because we think it is spiritual. In either case we could very well be deceived and our Lord and Saviour has strictly warned us in scripture that these days would come.
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
Let’s get down to what I have seen in churches as I travel and preach, as well as on TV with these so-called revival meetings.
- People shaking uncontrollably in the middle of the service while there is preaching going on;
- People falling to the ground and rolling around like a snake or an epileptic;
- People screaming and yelling like they are in pain or in distress;
- People acting like animals: roaring, barking, etc;
- Speaking in tongues randomly in service WITHOUT an interpretation (we will address that with scripture).
These are only some examples. There are a vast amount of other things that happen. How are we to determine what is of the Holy Spirit and what is not of the Holy Spirit? If it is not of the Holy Spirit then we come to one of two conclusions: It is either the person worked up doing it, or it is a devil doing it. There are people that will get very offended at what I have to say because they practice such things believing it is God, yet are not obedient to what scripture says. They make excuses instead of taking scripture seriously and being obedient to the written word. Some would rather be obedient to the modern day prophet who claims they are speaking from the Lord but their words contradict the written word. When this happens we can easily identify that they are false. The problem is people are not regularly reading and studying the word of God.
Let’s look at scripture to determine what would be of the Holy Spirit.
But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
Here we see that the Comforter, who is the Holy Spirit, will testify of Jesus. His job is to speak about Jesus; to tell us about Jesus’ ministry: who He is and what He has done. The Comforter points to Jesus Christ. Now I ask in all these manifestations we see, are they pointing to Jesus? Are they testifying of Jesus? In the majority of cases I would say, no they are not.
When we see the Holy Spirit come in chapter 2 of Acts, we see that the manifestation of the Holy Spirit was to testify of Jesus Christ. They all spoke in tongues but all heard in their own language and it was testifying of Jesus. There were none of these modern manifestations happening. Now some try to argue with a straw man’s argument quoting Acts 2:13, “Others mocking said, ‘These men are full of new wine.’” (KJV) trying to make a case that they acted drunk because of what was said. But we see that they were mocking. There is no indication that they were actually in disorder, looking drunk. We will address this further with other scriptures.
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
Here we will find two more MAJOR points about the Holy Spirit.
He will guide you in all truth. How shall he guide us. Through His Word. This is what king David said about God’s word.
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. KJV
- The Holy Spirit will guide us in His Word. It is our lifeline. It will tell us everything we need to know about God. His hates, His loves, His character, how He acts. We cannot get any of these characteristics about God from anywhere other than the bible. We are guided through His Word. The Holy Spirit will NEVER contradict His own word. Everything the Holy Spirit does will glorify Jesus Christ. He does not ever glorify Himself.
- If we see any manifestation of any kind in church we have to ask ourselves this: Is it glorifying Jesus, the individual, or the manifestation? The Holy Spirit will not glorify Himself.
- Does it speak of Jesus, the person, or organization—bringing them into the spotlight and receiving the attention?
- Does it distract from the Word of God or contradict the Word of God?
- Does it distract us from a walk of holiness, from seeking God, or cause people to seek a manifestation?
These are just some of the questions that need to be asked. We must be biblical Christians and operate according to the bible, not what we feel. Things can make us feel good but that does not mean they are of God. We cannot accept teachings that are not based in the bible.
An example of this is the Gift of Tongues. I have been in many churches where people sing in tongues, talk in tongues, pray in tongues. I have even seen TV preachers apparently talking to each other in tongues without an interpretation. There is no respect for the word of God, and they dismiss all concerns. This is what Paul says about tongues. (Before I continue I would suggest every one read all of 1 Corinthians chapter 14.)
1 Cor 14:23-28
If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?
But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:
And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.
How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.
If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.
But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.
Here we see the order Paul has set in the church. When we gather together as the church there must be an interpretation. If an unbeliever comes in they will think we are crazy if there is no interpretation. Verse 27 tells us if someone speaks in tongues and there is no interpretation to sit down and speak to God quietly. So if this is what Paul says why does the church ignore it? Because it does not fit with their own desires, so they are rebellious to God’s word. Some would say that it was just Paul writing and not God’s command, but reading further tells us otherwise.
1 Cor 14:37-39
If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.
But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.
Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.
Let all things be done decently and in order.
- Paul is saying if we are a prophet or are spiritual we have to acknowledge that these things he wrote are the commandment of the Lord.
- Paul also states that we are not to forbid speaking in tongues but it has to be done as the scriptures dictate. The Holy Spirit will never contradict Himself.
- Paul then states that ALL THINGS must be done decently and in order.
God is a God of order. If He is so concerned about tongues being in order because otherwise unbelievers will think we are crazy, what do you think that these manifestations of screaming, yelling, shaking, acting like animals, acting drunk, etc. would make an unbeliever think? I would go as far as to say they are not done decently nor in order. They do not point to Jesus, do not glorify Jesus, and do not speak of Jesus; therefore, in conclusion of scriptural evidence, cannot be of the Holy Spirit.
We must decide if we are going to agree with scripture even if it contradicts our desires and or denominational doctrine, or if we are going to believe every wind of doctrine. I, myself, will stand on the word of God as my only authority and I hope many of you will do the same.
I implore you, if you are involved in these things, please repent, ask God to forgive you and become a student of the word of God. Do not let this strange fire into your temple. Guard your heart, renew your mind, and be transformed more into the image of Jesus. There is nothing new under the sun, Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. Please don’t seek after a new thing, but seek after Jesus Christ.
May God bless you who read this.
Rev. Dale Turenne