Pentecostalism vs The Charismatic Movement
Pentecostalism (from Pentecost, the day on which the gift of the Holy Spirit was given to the Apostles) originated from the Wesleyan Holiness movement of the nineteenth century, which emphasized personal faith, proper living, and the imminent return of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. This belief was manifested in Topeka, Kansas, in 1901, where the first “baptism of the Holy Spirit” in modern times was recorded. The movement began to spread; it only gained momentum, however, in 1906, with the Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles, California. The “massive outpouring of the Holy Spirit” which occurred at Azusa Street gained national notoriety, and the majority of Pentecostal denominations originated in individuals affected by the events of Azusa Street. These first believers in the gifts of the Holy Spirit were not accepted by their denominations, and many therefore began their own or joined such fledgling groups.
Beginning in the 1960s, many members of denominations began to “receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit,” and yet did not leave their respective denominations. These individuals began what is deemed as the “Charismatic Movement” (from the Greek charisma, or “gift”). Before long, there were Charismatic associations within the Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican/Episcopalian, and Calvinist churches, and the movement spread to encompass almost every denomination within Christendom.
Pentecostalism and the Charismatic Movement are identifiable by their belief in the latter-day outpouring of the Holy Spirit, much like the day of Pentecost. Many of the members experience what is deemed the “baptism of the Holy Spirit,” which is supposedly evidenced by the act of speaking in tongues. These groups tend to bring a great deal of emotionalism and activity to their services, generally allow for the full equality of men and women in the activities of the worship service, and focus on the emotional aspects of Christianity.
Sections on this Page
- General Considerations
- What is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?
- Glossolalia: Speaking in Tongues
- Oneness Pentecostalism
- Word of Faith Movement
The Pentecostal/Charismatic movement is heavily splintered; the number of groups within this movement number in the tens of thousands. We can, however, examine the major groups of the movement. Pentecostalism and its offshoots can be divided into three groups: “Classical” Pentecostals, those who are members of the standard Pentecostal groups, most of which originated in the first quarter of the twentieth century; the Charismatics, or those in other denominations who received the “baptism of the Holy Spirit;” and the so-called “Neo-Charismatics,” the groups formed in the last half of the century, most of which are not affiliated with the Pentecostal denominations. We will examine the “classical” Pentecostal groups in more detail; it will suffice to say for the Charismatics that they are present in the majority of the denominations of Christendom, normally having their own associations as part of their denominations.
The chart provided should assist in understanding the creation and organization of the “classical” Pentecostal denominations. Let us speak of them now.
We must first examine the “pre-Pentecostal” era, the time before 1901. Many churches received the message of the Holiness movement, which stemmed from Wesleyan theology. Many of these groups were looking forward to a “renewal of the Holy Spirit,” when the gifts present on the day of Pentecost would return to the churches. Many of these Holiness groups became Pentecostal after the turn of the century; others did not accept the message. Therefore, when we discuss a denomination that existed before 1901, we must understand that the denomination was founded first and only later became Pentecostal.
Despite the first demonstration of the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” in 1901, the movement would only begin to take off with the Azusa Street revival five years later. Many of the ministers of the Holiness congregations, along with other interested parties, visited this revival to observe the events and possibly become a part of them.
One of the first denominations to accept Pentecostalism was the Church of God in Christ [COGIC], founded in 1897 by Charles Mason. In 1907, he received the “baptism of the Holy Spirit,” and soon the majority of his denomination was Pentecostal. This group remains one of the largest denominations within Pentecostalism.
Other denominations also accepted the Pentecostal doctrine. The Pentecostal Holiness Church, founded in 1898, became Pentecostal in 1908. The United Holy Church, founded in 1886, also became Pentecostal.
Another large group that became Pentecostal was the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee). This group, founded in 1886, became Pentecostal in 1908, in a large part influenced by A. J. Tomlinson. By 1922, however, the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee), could no longer stand the dictatorial nature of Tomlinson; therefore, Tomlinson was removed, and he himself created another Church of God, known first as the “Tomlinson Church of God” until 1943, when Tomlinson died. His two sons, Milton and Homer, began to quarrel over who should take over control of the church. Milton was chosen, and in 1952 he chose the name “Church of God of Prophecy” to replace “Tomlinson Church of God.” Homer left that group when he was not chosen and founded his own group, the Church of God, World Headquarters, in 1943.
The denominations listed above are considered the “first wave” of Pentecostalism, since they essentially were Wesleyan Holiness groups who incorporated the glossolalia (speaking in tongues) and other gifts into their theology. They believed that one was saved, then sanctified, and then received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Beginning in the 1910s, however, a new line of theology emerged, known as the “finished work” belief system. These individuals tended to come from outside the Wesleyan Holiness movement, and thus did not share the emphasis on personal sanctification as the Holiness groups did. They believed that sanctification was a gradual process, and that one need not be fully sanctified before one received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This rift in theology prompted what is known as the “second wave” of Pentecostalism.
One of the largest and best-known churches of this “second wave” is the Assemblies of God [AG or AoG], which divided from the Church of God in Christ in 1914 over the “finished work” theology and also racial issues. The Assemblies of God themselves saw division occur within the next two years over the “oneness” theology, that the name of Jesus was the only name of God, that one needed to be baptized in the name of Jesus alone, and that speaking in tongues was necessary for salvation (more will be discussed about this theology below). This group was eventually cast out of the Assemblies of God in 1916 to form the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World. This group itself divided because of racial differences in 1927, forming a group known as the Pentecostal Church, Incorporated, which later merged with other “oneness” churches to form the United Pentecostal Church (UPC) in 1945.
The Assemblies of God saw further divisions in the next twenty years. The next division occurred in 1919, when John Sinclair of the Assemblies of God became very concerned when the church adopted a “Statement of Fundamental Truths,” which went against, in his opinion, one of the founding premises of the denomination to not hold to any doctrinal statements. Therefore, he, along with George Brinkman, left the Assemblies of God to form the Pentecostal Church of God of America.
In 1927, a former Assemblies of God minister named Aimee Semple McPherson founded the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, a Pentecostal church that grew around the healing and witness of its founder. This church also suffered a division in 1932 with the creation of the Open Bible Evangelistic Association, which eventually merged with another group to form the Open Bible Standard Church in 1935.
Finally, a “third wave” of churches began to form in the later part of the twentieth century, involving many of the mainline evangelicals who had seen and performed the signs and wonders of the Pentecostal movement but did not desire to be labeled with the terms “Pentecostal” or “Charismatic.” The foremost group of these individuals is the Association of Vineyard Churches, founded in 1981. These “third wavers” are the ones known as the “neo-Charismatics,” and their numbers throughout their many groups are the largest in the Pentecostal movement.
There are many other groups that are part of the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement, including the majority of the televangelists and those who perform “healing revivals.” “Charismatic communities” have also been founded, consisting of groups of Charismatics who wish to create their own community of faith.
These are the major groups in the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement; it would be a large task indeed to discuss every little group within this movement. It is believed that for every individual congregation within one of these denominations, there exists one independent Pentecostal/Charismatic congregation. Let us now examine the general belief systems of these groups.
What is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?
The fundamental premise of the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement is what is deemed the “baptism of the Holy Spirit.” It is believed that the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” is given today, and that from this event the ability to speak in tongues, to heal, and possibly to prophecy, is given1. They believe that the “outpouring of the Holy Spirit” as seen in the twentieth century is evidence of the “end time” return of the Holy Spirit, believed to have been prophesied by Joel inJoel 2:28-322. The whole Pentecostal/Charismatic belief system requires the baptism of the Holy Spirit to exist for one to be able to speak in tongues, etc. Is this the teaching of the Scriptures concerning the baptism of the Holy Spirit?
The “baptism of the Holy Spirit” is seen twice in the New Testament, and that terminology is only used either before or after the event happens. In Acts 1:4-5, Jesus foretells the baptism of the Holy Spirit for His disciples:
And, being assembled together with them, He charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, said He,
“ye heard from me: For John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit not many days hence.”
This was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost according to Acts 2:1-4:
And when the day of Pentecost was now come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound as of the rushing of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them tongues parting asunder, like as of fire; and it sat upon each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
The next and last instance of the term “the baptism of the Holy Spirit” in the Scriptures is during Peter’s relation to the Christians in Jerusalem concerning what occurred to Cornelius and his men, Acts 11:15-16:
“And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them, even as on us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said,
‘John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit.’”
This event occurred in Acts 10:44-45:
While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all them that heard the word. And they of the circumcision that believed were amazed, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit.
These two events are the only recorded baptisms of the Holy Spirit within the Scriptures. Many times the gift of the Holy Spirit is given, but it is always done with the laying on of hands, as is evidenced by the example in Acts 8:14-17:
Now when the apostles that were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit: for as yet it was fallen upon none of them: only they had been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
We see here that when the Spirit was given to men from the Apostles, hands were laid upon them. This action represents the vast majority of the transmission of the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures.
We can therefore see that the baptism of the Holy Spirit was not to be a common event. It was a miraculous event to demonstrate to the people that Jesus Christ was Lord, and that all must obey Him to receive eternal life. In Acts 2:1-36, the baptism of the Holy Spirit occurred for the Kingdom of Heaven to be established on Earth in the form of the church. In Acts 10:44-48, the baptism of the Holy Spirit served as a sign to Peter that the Gentiles were to be a part of the Kingdom. These two events signify the fulfillment of the multiple prophecies in the Old Testament concerning the establishment of the heavenly Kingdom and the acceptance of the Gentiles into the fold. There are no Scriptures that would demonstrate that God would bestow any more baptisms of the Holy Spirit beyond the two events in the first century.
It is argued that the prophecy in Joel 2:28-32 concerning the dispensation of the Spirit demonstrates that the Holy Spirit would be again poured out upon Christians in the “end times.” We have seen, however, in Plymouth Brethren: Joel 2: The Gift of the Holy Spirit, that Peter spoke very clearly in saying that the day of Pentecost was the fulfillment of the prophecy given, and thus there does not need to be a later outpouring to make it so. Therefore, we can see that the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” was a miraculous event for the benefit of the Apostles, first to be able to teach and then to show that the Gentiles were to enter the fold, and thus there is no longer a need for such a miracle. The only possible way that the Holy Spirit could be transferred to a Christian would be by the laying on of hands by the Apostles.
Can the gift of the Holy Spirit be imparted today? We can examine the Scriptures to see if it is so. The Scriptures show that only the Apostles were able to transmit the Holy Spirit by means of the “laying on of hands.” We do not see anyone else transmitting the gift. This is made manifest by the example of Philip and Peter and John in Acts 8:12-17:
But when they believed Philip preaching good tidings concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. And Simon also himself believed: and being baptized, he continued with Philip; and beholding signs and great miracles wrought, he was amazed. Now when the apostles that were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit: for as yet it was fallen upon none of them: only they had been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
We see that Peter and John came down from Jerusalem to Samaria in order to give the gift of the Holy Spirit to the Samaritans. Why did Philip not give the gift to them? The only reason that we can accept is that Philip was unable to give the gift since he was not one of the Apostles.
The last Apostle died around the year 100 CE. Therefore, none have been able to give the gift of the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands since that time. We see, therefore, that the Scriptures teach that not only the baptism of the Holy Spirit but also laying on of hands are practices not performed today.
Glossolalia: Speaking in Tongues
In the Pentecostal/Charismatic belief system, once one has received the “baptism of the Holy Spirit,” the “initial evidence” of this occurrence is the glossolalia, or speaking in tongues3. The Pentecostals teach that this speaking in tongues is reminiscent of the day of Pentecost in Acts 2:1-36. Do the Pentecostals today receive the same gifts as the Apostles and the Christians of the first century received?
A major distinction must be made between the majority of the speaking in tongues today and the speaking in tongues of the first century. The speaking in tongues of today is generally what is deemed a “heavenly language,” which is not able to be understood without inspiration and is considered to be “prayer in the Spirit, not linguistic expertise4.” We read the following in the Scriptures in Acts 2:6-11:
And when this sound was heard, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speaking in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying,
“Behold, are not all these that speak Galilaeans? And how hear we, every man in our own language wherein we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, in Judaea and Cappadocia, in Pontus and Asia, in Phrygia and Pamphylia, in Egypt and the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and sojourners from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians, we hear them speaking in our tongues the mighty works of God.”
We therefore see that the Apostles spoke in legitimate tongues (languages), each understood clearly by those who spoke it. The Jews of the various languages did not need special inspiration to understand the language that the Apostles spoke, nor was it a “heavenly language.”
It is interesting to note that when missionaries attempted to go to other countries, expecting the Holy Spirit within them to speak in the tongues of the people, they were not able to do so5. Instead, it is taught that “speaking in tongues” today refers to the following statement by Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:13-15:
Wherefore let him that speaketh in a tongue pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.
Does this statement demonstrate that speaking in tongues is prayer? By no means! Paul is saying that if one prays in a tongue, the spirit prays, but the mind is not fruitful! We can see his statement concerning this in 1 Corinthians 14:16:
Else if thou bless with the spirit, how shall he that filleth the place of the unlearned say the Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he knoweth not what thou sayest?
Therefore, we can see that Paul is advising to not pray in tongues; thus, it is evident that tongues are not “heavenly language” that is “prayer to God” because its chief purpose, edification, was lost when none could understand the meaning of the prayer.
Let us now examine whether or not there are Scriptures that teach that speaking in tongues is the “initial evidence” of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Do the Scriptures teach that the emphasis is on speaking in tongues? Paul says the following in 1 Corinthians 14:1:
Follow after love; yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.
This truth is made evident in 1 Corinthians 14:2-5:
For he that speaketh in a tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God; for no man understandeth; but in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men edification, and exhortation, and consolation. He that speaketh in a tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. Now I would have you all speak with tongues, but rather that ye should prophesy: and greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.
Paul exhorts the Corinthians to recognize that speaking in tongues is not as edifying to the church as prophecy is. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:2 that those who speak in foreign languages really speak to God alone; one can imagine how much edification could be gained in the Greek-speaking church in Corinth if someone began to speak in, say, the language of the Celts. If one prophesies, however, one builds up not only himself but also everyone around him, for all may be convinced of the power of God. Therefore, the Scriptures teach that prophecy is preeminent amongst the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and speaking in tongues follows. This hierarchy is reversed in modern Pentecostal/Charismatic groups.
Finally, are the gifts of the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues, prophecy, and knowledge, even for today? Can anyone speak in tongues today moved by the Holy Spirit? We have evidence given to us in 1 Corinthians 13:8-10:
Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall be done away; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall be done away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; but when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away.
The interpretation of this verse hinges on the “perfect.” The exact Greek word in this text for “perfect” is teleion, the neuter form of the noun teleios, meaning “perfect, complete.” The verse could read, therefore, in the following manner: “but when that which is complete comes, the partial will be done away.” The Pentecostals and Charismatics argue that the “perfect” refers to Christ and His Second Coming; the text, however, does not support this conclusion. We have stated that the word teleion is in the neuter gender; therefore, how can it refer to the masculine Christ? The best interpretation of this verse is to see that “the perfect” refers to the New Testament, the mystery of Christ unfolded. This process ended between 70-100 CE, depending on one’s view of Revelation.
We can examine the historical records and see further demonstration that these gifts passed on by 100 CE. We see this is especially true concerning “knowledge.” The last book of the New Testament was written most probably around 95 CE, and there has not been any individual since then who has brought forth further revelation that agrees with the gospel of the Apostles. Since the end of the first century, Christians have used the knowledge given to the Apostles and their immediate followers to guide their lives, and have not relied on supposed further revelations. Therefore, it is very accurate to say that the gift of knowledge ceased in the end of the first century.
It is interesting to note the following statement made by a Pentecostal:
AD 70: After the apostolic age, many small or local renewals or revivals occur, with scores of isolated charismatic believers (often in monasteries) but no global renewal until the 20th century6.
This admission, that there was no “global renewal” until the modern day, demonstrates that the Pentecostals admit that a change occurred after the end of the first century. It should also be stated that many of these “small or local renewals or revivals” are either heretical sects (like the Montanists) or a re-interpretation of the lives of some monks and nuns based on the current belief in the charismata (gifts). Therefore, it is evident that there are only a very few isolated cases of individuals believing in the charismata between 100-1900 CE, with even fewer after 450 CE. The only possible explanation that could be given by the Pentecostals concerning this silent period is that which they give concerning Joel 2:28–32 and the supposed “latter day dispensation of the Holy Spirit,” which we have shown to be false. Therefore, it is evident from the Scriptures and affirmed by the historical record that the gifts of prophecy, speaking in tongues, and knowledge ceased by 100 CE.
There is a group within the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement known as the “oneness Pentecostals,” the origins of which are discussed above. The “oneness” Pentecostals teach that the only valid baptism (the immersion in water, not of the Holy Spirit) is in the name of Jesus alone, and that the “Trinitarian” baptism (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) was forced upon the church by the Nicene Creed7. They further believe that the name Jesus was the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, since God is one and thus must have one name, and that name in the new covenant is Jesus8. They also believe that speaking in tongues is essential for salvation9. Is this what the Scriptures teach?
The Scriptures teach that Jesus is God, but they do not teach that the name of God is Jesus. We have evidence of this in many places, including 1 Timothy 2:5-6:
For there is one God, one mediator also between God and men, himself man, Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all; the testimony to be borne in its own times.
There is also the greeting often used by Paul to the churches, e.g. 1 Corinthians 1:3:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
If the name of Jesus refers to the whole God, why does Paul differentiate the two often?
Paul is not alone in doing this; James does the same in James 1:1:
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are of the Dispersion, greeting.
If Jesus were the name of God, would not “a bond-servant of God Jesus” be satisfactory? Yet they all use the term “God” or “God the Father” along with the “Lord Jesus Christ.” Therefore, it is evident that the idea of the name of Jesus referring to the whole Godhead is inconsistent with the Scriptures.
And Jesus came to them and spake unto them, saying,
“All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”
And Peter said unto them, “Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
It is argued by these “oneness” Pentecostals that Matthew 28:19 is a command, while Acts 2:38 demonstrates the command put into action. The language of the text, however, does not support this: Acts 2:38 is a command in no way different from the command in Matthew 28:19. We see in these two texts that either baptism is valid, for both call upon the authority of God. There is no evidence from the Scriptures that would show that either form of the baptismal formula ought to be bound.
The Oneness Pentecostal view of God is little different from the ancient Modalist/Sabellian heresy and would posit the idea that Jesus spoke to Himself when praying, or the idea that the Father and the Spirit equally suffered with the Son on the cross. This idea of God as one Person is inconsistent with Jesus’ testimony in John 8:17-18:
“Yea and in your law it is written, that the witness of two men is true. I am he that beareth witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me.”
Jesus clearly indicates that while He and the Father are one (John 10:30), they are yet distinct in person, enough so to represent two witnesses. Furthermore, manifestations of the triune nature of God, as in Genesis 1:1-2, 26-27 andMatthew 3:16-17, do not lend credence to the modalist view. The Scriptures reveal that God is one in three persons, not three manifestations of one.
Finally, do the Scriptures teach that speaking in tongues is required for salvation? We have already seen above that Paul’s directive to the church in Corinth was to prophecy above speaking in tongues; furthermore, we have seen in 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 that the gift of speaking in tongues was to cease. There are no Scriptures that show that speaking in tongues is required for salvation; in fact, there is no evidence from the Scriptures themselves that anyone spoke in tongues beyond the Apostles, Cornelius et al, Paul, the Corinthians, and some others. Therefore, it is evident that there is no evidence from the Scriptures that demonstrates that speaking in tongues is required for salvation.
Word of Faith Movement
The “Word of Faith” movement (WOF) is a “neo-Charismatic” movement that teaches that the validity of one’s faith is demonstrated by one’s material health and wealth10. This movement is popularized today by many of the televangelists, including Kenneth Copeland, Joyce Meyer, Benny Hinn, and a multitude of others11. They also teach that we are like God, that God is like us, that Jesus took on the nature of Satan and suffered in Hell to accomplish the work of redemption, and that even humans can be gods12. Do the Scriptures agree with these teachings?
We have seen in Eastern Orthodoxy: Theosis and Mormonism, II: Doctrine: Eternal Progression, that man most assuredly cannot become a god. Concerning the relationship between God and man, we read the following in Isaiah 55:8-9:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” saith the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Therefore, it is evident that there is a wide separation between God and us.
Did Jesus have to go to Hell in order to be saved? As can be seen in Creeds: The Apostles’ Creed, it is inaccurate to presume that Jesus descended into Hell after His death, for we have the words of David in prophecy concerning Him inPsalm 16:10:
For thou wilt not leave my soul to Sheol; Neither wilt thou suffer thy holy one to see corruption.
Furthermore, did Jesus Himself need salvation? By no means, for God declared concerning Him the following in Matthew 3:16-17:
And Jesus when he was baptized, went up straightway from the water: and lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon him; and lo, a voice out of the heavens, saying,
“This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Therefore, it is evident that Jesus did not need salvation, for in Him God was “well-pleased.”
Finally, there is the doctrine concerning material wealth and health and one’s faith. The Scriptures make it evident that our faith is not based in our material possessions, nor are we guaranteed material wealth because of our faith. Let us read the witness of the Scriptures in Matthew 19:21-24, Philippians 4:11-12, and 1 Timothy 6:17-19:
Jesus said unto him, “If thou wouldest be perfect, go, sell that which thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.”
But when the young man heard the saying, he went away sorrowful; for he was one that had great possessions. And Jesus said unto his disciples,
“Verily I say unto you, It is hard for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therein to be content. I know how to be abased, and I know also how to abound: in everything and in all things have I learned the secret both to be filled and to be hungry, both to abound and to be in want.
Charge them that are rich in this present world, that they be not highminded, nor have their hope set on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, that they be ready to distribute, willing to communicate; laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on the life which is life indeed.
These verses do not speak about the wealth one will receive if he or she has faith but the opposite: with faith, one learns to be content with what one is given and should not be seeking for riches on Earth. The Scriptures teach that those who are rich in material wealth are better served to give it to those in need; in so doing, they store up spiritual wealth. We can see from the Scriptures, therefore, that the faith of Christians is not measured by the size of wealth or the portion of health that they have.
Baptism of the Holy Spirit/Glossolalia
- The Charismata
- Have You Received a “Church Prayer Rug” in the Mail?–refuting a commonly distributed WOF-like hoax.
1: Vinson Synan, The Century of the Holy Spirit, p. 3
2: Ibid., p. 71
3: Ibid., p. 3
4: Ibid., pp. 56, 81
5: Ibid., p. 81
6: Ibid, p. 416
7: Ibid., p. 141
8: Ibid., p. 142
9: Ibid., p. 141
10: Ibid., p. 337
12: Benny Hinn, TBN, 12/1/1990; Copeland, Kenneth, Walking in the Realm of the Miraculous (1979), 77; Copeland, Kenneth, “Believer’s Voice of Victory,” TBN, 4/21/1991.