Apologetics

Church, Tongues and Prophecy

cri-blog-hanegraaff-hank-tongues

Is speaking in tongues Scriptural or Satanic?

I certainly do not think speaking in tongues is Satanic. I think that there are people who prostitute tongues. We have a great example with Rodney Howard-Browne and Kenneth Copeland, and when they prostitute the gift of speaking in tongues, I think it is a very serious thing because now you are attributing something to God, which has nothing whatsoever to do with God. That is the quintessential definition of blasphemy.

When Paul says, “Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues.  But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way” (1 Cor. 14:39-40),* the apostle is pointing out that what we want to do is to edify, strengthen, and encourage the body of Christ. We do this by doing what we do in a way that is pleasing to the Lord, and not deflective to the body of Christ.

If someone is speaking in a tongue, in a language you do not understand, there has got to be an interpretation because you might be edified by what you say but those around you within the context of the church are not going to be edified. Tongues that are interpreted have the effect of prophecy (1 Cor. 14:26-33).

Unfortunately, there are so many examples in the church today of people who prostitute the gift and they make it something other than what it really is. As mentioned, Rodney Howard-Browne, a notorious Counterfeit Revivalist, and Kenneth Copeland, a leader of the Word of Faith movement, do that on a regular basis (i.e. prostitute the gift of speaking in tongues). When they were speaking together in dueling tongues in front of thousands and thousands of people, and the people thought they were very, funny doing this, what Howard-Browne and Copeland were actually doing was saying that this was the gift of the Holy Spirit being manifested through them but in reality it was nothing but sheer blasphemy (An audio clip of Howard-Browne and Copeland dueling in tongues can be heard on September 14, 2016 Bible Answer Man broadcast, which is introduced at the 25:28 mark.)

Is speaking in tongues at church ok?

One of the great texts to go to is 1 Corinthians 14. If you look at verse 22, Paul says there, “Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is for believers, not for unbelievers.” So Paul is saying that if you are prophesying—and not in the sense of telling the future but forth telling, equipping, encouraging, exhorting, the saints—you should be prophesying because that’s for believers, but tongues then is “not for believers but for unbelievers.”

Paul then says, “If the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and some who do not understand or some unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind” (v. 23)? The apostle is giving a rational thereabout why believer should not speak loudly and many at the same time in tongues in the context of a church. And now if someone gives an interpretation within the context—what is tongues but a prophecy.

If there is a tongue, according to Paul, you cannot all be talking at the same time, and loudly, and be disruptive. If a tongue is given within this New Testament context there has to be an interpretation because then a tongue can serve to edify the body of Christ. But in general what is the principle? The principle is “tongues then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers.” And then he gives a very strong warning about what happens when you speak in tongues in public and how that can be disruptive and discombobulating for an unbeliever and instead of reaching that unbeliever you end up repelling the unbeliever.

—Hank Hanegraaff

“For this reason anyone who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret what he says” (1 Cor. 14:13)

Learn more about speaking in tongues, spiritual gifts, and Holy Spirit in the following equip.org resources:

Is Speaking in Tongues the Evidence of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit? (Hank Hanegraaff)

What Does It Mean to Say that The Holy Spirit is In You? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Is There a Difference Between Indwelling and Infilling? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Are There Apostles and Prophets Today? (Hank Hanegraaff)

The Counterfeit Revival (Part One): Rodney Howard-Browne and the “Toronto Blessing” (Hank Hanegraaff)

The Counterfeit Revival (Part Two): Visionary Hoaxes And Revisionary History (Hank Hanegraaff)

The Counterfeit Revival (Part Three): Separating Fact from Fabrication on the Pensacola Outpouring (Hank Hanegraaff)

The Counterfeit Revival (Part Four): Modern-Day Mesmerists (Hank Hanegraaff)

The Counterfeit Revival Revisited (Hank Hanegraaff)

Counterfeit Critique (Hank Hanegraaff)

Questions & Answers on Holy Laughter (Hank Hanegraaff)

Scripture vs. the Spiritual Gifts? (Elliot Miller)

Fivefold Ministry Makes A Comeback (Douglas LeBlanc)

This blog adapted from the September 14, 2016 Bible Answer Bam  and “Is speaking in tongues for today?

* All Scripture cited from The Holy Bible: New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1984), unless noted.

Apologetics

Magic Charms Enchant Apostolic-Prophetic Movement

Pivec, Holly-Magic Charms Enchant Apostolic-Prophetic Movement

Article: JAA167 | Author: Holly Pivec

This article first appeared in the News Watch column of the Christian Research Journal, volume 30, number 4 (2007). For further information or to subscribe to the Christian Research Journal go to: http://www.equip.org

Kits to remove curses, cards to interpret dreams, and music to heal people have become popular products in the apostolic‐prophetic movement, also called the “New Apostolic Reformation.” The movement, which is fast growing in charismatic churches, has long been criticized for its promotion of modern “apostles” and “prophets” who claim to have great authority and to speak for God. It is now being criticized for selling products that—many Christians believe—have more in common with the magic charms used in occult practices than with Christianity.

Property Dedication Kit. One organization that sells these products is the Elijah List, based in Albany, Oregon, which is founded and run by “prophet” Steve Shultz. The Elijah List e‐mails daily newsletters that feature prophecies—and advertisements for products like these—to more than 130,000 subscribers, according to its Web site (www.elijahlist.com).

One of the Elijah List’s top‐selling products is the “Portals to Cleansing Property Dedication Kit”—sold for $12—which is supposed to remove curses from houses and properties. Created by Henry Malone, a professional “house cleanser” and founder of Vision Life Ministries in Irving, Texas, the kit contains anointing oil and wood stakes, with Scripture verses on them, to drive into the borders of a property.

“Use it and make the enemy flee!” Shultz promised his Elijah List readers in an advertisement for the kit, sent on October 16, 2006. Shultz personally vouched for the kit, saying he’s cleansed his own 20 acres of land three or four times and, each time, has seen “a noticeable change in the atmosphere and circumstances.” He said curses are the only explanation for “certain sicknesses, diseases, and even death that comes upon very anointed and pure‐hearted people.”

A companion book written by Malone—titled Portals to Cleansing: Taking Back Your Land from the Hands of the Enemy (Vision Life Publications, 2002)—is sold separately from the kit. It promises to teach readers the “keys to reclaiming [their] land, home, possessions and animals from the power of Satan and his demonic forces.” (See the book and kit at: www.elijahshopper.com.) The book recommends holding a communion ceremony at the center of a property—where family and friends gather inside a circle drawn on the ground with anointing oil—then burying the unused bread and juice or wine.

After following the book’s advice, Matthew Spencer posted a review on Amazon.com saying that his home had a new “peace” and “lightness of spirit.” Spencer said, “I no longer feel uneasy walking through the house in the dark. Honestly, it is a night and day difference.”

Marcia Montenegro, author of the book Spellbound: The Paranormal Seduction of Today’s Kids (Cook/Life Journey, 2006) and founder of the Web site “Christian Answers for the New Age,” however, said Christians don’t need to worry about curses since they aren’t emphasized in the Bible. Even if curses were a threat, though, she thinks the kit would be powerless against them.

“How is that going to remove curses?” said Montenegro, a former professional astrologer and occult practitioner who converted to Christianity. She told the Journal that the kit has more in common with an occult worldview, comparing the anointing oil and wood stakes to “amulets”—objects that occultists believe have powers to protect them from evil, disease, or other harm.

“[With the kit,] it’s like you’re engaging in the occult to protect yourself from [the occult],” Montenegro said, adding that occult practices are banned by the Bible in Deuteronomy 18:10–12. She believes that a biblical response to threats is prayer to God—which goes straight to the source of divine power—rather than relying on magic charms. “What happened to regular prayer?” she asked.

Amulets have a long history, according to Dr. Ron Rhodes, founder and president of Reasoning from the Scriptures Ministries in Frisco, Texas, and author of New Age Movement (Zondervan, 1995). The ancient Babylonians, for example, wore cylinders that were supposed to ward off evil spirits, Rhodes told the JOURNAL.

Today, New Agers wear crystals to ward off negative energies. The purpose of amulets—like all occult charms—is to harness and manipulate the power of a deity or the forces of nature, according to Rhodes. He sees this as the purpose behind the property dedication kit.

“It is definitely an example of paganism making its way into the church,” he said.

Third Heaven Vision Anointing Oil. Another top‐selling product for the Elijah List is “Third Heaven Vision Anointing Oil,” which is supposed to give visions of the heavenly realm. Sold by Tom Panich of Vancouver, Washington, it’s made with a base of virgin olive oil and six fragrances that are mentioned in the Bible: calamus, cassia, frankincense, myrrh, Rose of Sharon, and spikenard. A half‐ounce sells for $12.

Anointing oil often has been used by Christians on sick people—along with prayer—in accordance with a Scripture passage, James 5:14–15. Christians historically did not view the oil as having any special power, however; they saw its use simply as an act of faith in God. They also did not use the oil to induce visions or cleanse homes from evil, as it is used in the apostolic‐prophetic movement.

In this movement, different brands of oil are depicted as “anointed” and, therefore, as more powerful than other “non‐anointed” oils. For example, in the Elijah List’s first advertisement for Third Heaven Vision Anointing Oil, sent on March 22, 2004, Shultz said, “We’ve carried different anointing oils in the past. But I always try to carry anointing oil with true anointing on it. This oil fulfills that anointing ‘standard.’”

Panich—a graduate of Norvel Haye’s New Life Bible College in Cleveland, Tennessee—claims that, in 2003, God told him to make the oil. Panich said, later, he was in the shower one day when he was hit with “a lightning bolt of God’s Glory,” and the Holy Spirit gave him the name, “Third Heaven Vision.”

Panich said, “Every time I mix up a batch [of the oil], a strong anointing hits me and I shake vigorously…Also, on the occasions that I have put a full box (144 bottles) of the anointing oil in the hands of two separate strong intercessors, they have been hit by the power and anointing of the Lord, almost to the point of falling to the ground.”

Panich also recommends that the anointing oil be poured over the wood stakes from Malone’s property dedication kit, something Panich said he has tried. “After I drove the first stake into the ground, I felt the Presence of the Lord come across the yard, hit me, and then I almost fell over,” he wrote on the Elijah List (Oct. 16, 2006).

Such descriptions of anointing oil (as having magical power) concern Montenegro. She said that it’s one thing for Christians to use the oil symbolically, “but it’s another thing if you think that the oil itself is somehow going to magically protect you,” she said. “To think that an object in and of itself has power is [to think according to] an occult worldview.” Such a use of anointing oil reminds Montenegro of the New Age practice of burning sage to cleanse and bless houses, she said.

Dream Cards. The Elijah List also sells “Dream Cards,” created by Barbie Breathitt of “Breath of the Spirit Ministries,” based in North Richland Hills, Texas. The laminated cards contain common dream symbols—such as numbers, colors, and animals—and their interpretations. They are sold for $10 each or in sets of 6 and 12—for $50 and $96, respectively.

Breathitt’s Dream Cards are endorsed by Patricia King, the founder of Extreme Prophetic Television with Patricia King—a half‐hour program featuring well‐known “prophets” that airs on Canada’s Miracle Channel.

“So many believers are having significant dreams but do not always understand the significance of the symbols within them,” King said. “Barbie Breathitt has done a marvelous job of preparing dream cards as a tremendous tool to help this process.”

Besides dream interpretations, one of the cards lists colors and musical keys that are supposed to bring healing to specific body parts. The use of music and colors for healing is also promoted in occult circles, as on New York psychic Ellie Crystal’s Web site (http://www.crystalinks.com/colors.html).

Rhodes said that dream cards that are similar to Breathitt’s are common in New Age stores: “The idea that it [dream interpretation] is penetrating the Christian church is kind of scary,” he said, adding that this represents a growing acceptance of mysticism among Christians.

Rhodes admits that the Bible records times when God’s people, like Daniel, interpreted dreams. He says that in those cases, however, they always made it clear that God gave them the interpretations, not dream cards.

Montenegro, who knew dream interpreters before she became a Christian, said that the assignment of meanings to symbols is subjective. “Who’s going to say what represents what? You can make anything be a symbol for anything,” she said, adding that the people she knew couldn’t agree on the meanings of symbols.

Besides being a waste of time, dream interpretation can encourage egotism, according to Montenegro. “If you start focusing so heavily on your dreams and think everything has a meaning, it leads to self‐ absorption,” she said.

Prophetic Worship CDs. Another growing industry is “prophetic” worship CDs—combinations of music, teachings, and prophecies that are supposed to bring healing, visions, and supernatural encounters just by listening to them. Many of the CDs are recorded in live settings, where the musicians and “prophets” perform spontaneously, without preparation. They, allegedly, are taken over by the Holy Spirit—composing music and lyrics that come from the “throne room of God.”

One of these CDs, sold by the Elijah List for $15, is called Invitation to Intimacy. It was recorded by James W. Goll, the cofounder of Encounters Network in Tulsa, Oklahoma, while he was “caught up into another realm,” according to the advertisement. The CD contains over an hour of “prophetic, spontaneous worship and teaching with keyboard and instrumentation in the background.”

Divine encounters are offered by Ryan Wyatt’s CD, titled The Overshadowing. Wyatt—founder of Abiding Glory Ministries in Seymour, Tennessee—urges his listeners to “sit back and relax as you are taken into the Open Heavens and experience Visions of God! Rest under the wing of God as He overshadows and saturates you with His thick, weighty, intoxicating presence!”

CDs that offer physical healing include one by “prophetic revivalist” Matt Sorger of Seldon, New York, titled Healing in His Wings. The advertisement says the CD combines instrumental music and many other “heavenly sounds, healing scriptures, spontaneous healing prayers and prophetic song.” It claims to be a “powerful combination of both the biblical healing word and the manifest healing presence of Christ.” Another CD by Canadian “prophet” Todd Bentley, titled The Voice of Healing, promises to “bring the transferable, tangible healing anointing and atmosphere to your home, hospital room, or healing service.”

The concept of music or teaching that is composed directly by the Holy Spirit alarms Rhodes. “That whole idea assumes a direct pipeline to God,” he said, adding that if someone claims to receive revelation from God, then it needs to be perfectly consistent with the Bible. “But oftentimes it’s not,” he said.

Rhodes also objects to the idea that an anointing can be transferred through a CD, saying, “There is definitely a pagan connection there—a transference of anointing or power or energy.”

Rhodes said that New Agers also have released music they claimed was inspired by the Holy Spirit, but they redefined the Holy Spirit in non‐Christians terms—as a nonpersonal force rather than as one of the three Persons of the Godhead. In the same way, people in the church sometimes redefine the Holy Spirit, Rhodes added. “Just because someone is talking about the Holy Spirit doesn’t mean it’s the Holy Spirit you and I know from the Bible,” he said.

Hocus Focus. Rhodes suspects that many of the people who sell dream cards, prophetic music, and similar products are motivated by a love of money—something the Bible warns against in places such as 1 Timothy 6:10. “People are capitalizing on, and ripping off, gullible people,” he said.

Rhodes believes the biggest danger for Christians, however, is not being conned out of cash, but being deceived by a magical worldview that diverts their focus. “Their attention is being taken off of God and put onto objects and potions,” he said.

Holly Pivec holds an M.A. in Christian apologetics from Biola University and is the managing editor of Biola Connections. She has a blog at spiritoferror.wordpress.com, which examines the apostolic and prophetic movement.

Apologetics

Apostles, Prophets and Aberrant Doctrine

Pivec, Holly-Apostles, Prophets, Aberrant Doctrine

Article: JAF075 | Author: Holly Pivec

A book review of Understanding the Fivefold Ministry by Matthew D. Green, editor (Charisma House, 2005).

This review first appeared in the Christian Research Journal, volume 30, number 1 (2007). For further information or to subscribe to the Christian Research Journal go to: http://www.equip.org

Advocates of the growing, controversial New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) movement believe that God is raising up modern‐day apostles and prophets to lead the church in the end times. They believe that such apostles and prophets will have great authority, supernatural power, and divine revelation to defeat demonic principalities, convert nations to Christ, and establish God’s kingdom.

A central teaching of the movement, called “fivefold ministry”—based on Ephesians 4:11–13—is that God has given the church five ongoing governmental offices: those of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. Two of those offices, apostles and prophets, have been ignored since the first century, according to the movement’s advocates.

This oversight is the subject of Understanding the Fivefold Ministry, edited by Matthew D. Green (an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God denomination and the managing editor of Ministries Today magazine), with a foreword written by Jack W. Hayford (president of the Foursquare Church International and senior editorial adviser to Ministries Today). More than twenty Pentecostal and charismatic leaders contributed chapters to the book, including C. Peter Wagner (former professor of church growth at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, and a leader of NAR, Ted Haggard (former pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and former president of the National Association of Evangelicals), and J. Lee Grady (editor of Charisma magazine).

Written for a lay‐level readership, the book has six sections: one on each of the five offices and a final section with a self‐test to help readers find their place in the fivefold ministry. Its purpose, according to Hayford, is to “contribute something of substance” to a subject that he believes has been treated recklessly, with many “apostles” and “prophets” becoming preoccupied with “power and position.” Hayford says he hopes the book will refocus the movement on the “servant leadership” that Jesus, the giver of the five “gifts of leadership,” modeled (foreword, p. xi‐xiii). The book does stress the importance of humility among apostles and prophets, but it fails to make a solid, biblical case for the basic issue of the continuation of those offices.

The Case for Modern Apostles and Prophets. Few Christians will object to its chapters on evangelists, pastors, and teachers, so this review will focus on the chapters on apostles and prophets. Understanding the Fivefold Ministry presents two main arguments for the continuation of these offices.

First, it claims that Scripture gives no indication that these offices will cease. Second, it claims that there are contemporary Christians who have all the characteristics of the New Testament apostles, which Green lists in the first chapter as humility and servanthood, the equipping of others for effective ministry, a dramatic call from God, unique giftedness, signs and wonders, and sound theology.

Grady finds both arguments compelling. In his chapter “Stuck on Titles?” Grady says that the question, “Are there apostles today?” is “dumb…since the Bible never says the ministry of apostles would vanish before Christ’s return, and there are so many gifted people functioning in this vital role today” (193).

It is odd, however, that Grady would call this question “dumb,” when, before this movement’s rise in the 1980s, almost all Protestants viewed the office of apostles as one that belonged to the first century. Wayne Grudem, for example, argues in his book The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today (Crossway, 1988) that the purpose for which Jesus called apostles (to found the church, which included writing Scripture) and the criteria for being an apostle (having seen the resurrected Christ and being appointed by Him) limit the office to the first century. He points to Ephesians 2:20 and Revelation 21:14 as support for the role of apostle as foundational. Grudem, however, allows that the word “apostle” may be used today in a lesser sense, to refer to missionaries and church planters. He argues against a modern office of prophet, contrasting Old Testament prophets—who spoke God’s very words and had tremendous authority—with Christians today who have the gift of prophecy, but do not hold that office and whose words are not authoritative.

Some of the book’s contributors seem to believe that modern apostles and prophets have extraordinary authority. Wagner, for example, does not address the authority of modern apostles and prophets in his chapter, but he does address it in his other books (including some that are recommended in Understanding the Fivefold Ministry). In Churchquake! (Regal Books, 1999), Wagner argues that the authority of the apostles cannot be questioned, even by the pastors or prophets under them. (One may wonder why this controversial teaching—held by many in the movement—is never mentioned in the book.)

Cindy Jacobs (co‐founder of Generals of Intercession, a prayer and spiritual warfare ministry in Colorado Springs, Colorado) argues that prophets have great authority to guide world leaders and nations. She compares modern “prophets,” such as Bill Hamon and Chuck Pierce, to Old Testament prophets, such as Elisha and Daniel (see her chapter in Understanding the Fivefold Ministry, titled “Prophets—A Voice to the Nations”).

Other contributors view modern apostles and prophets in the same lesser sense Grudem describes. Eddie Hyatt (author of 2000 Years of Charismatic Christianity), for example, argues that modern prophets can’t prophesy God’s will, as Old Testament prophets did. In his chapter, titled “Putting Personal Prophecy to the Test,” Hyatt says that there is no example in the New Testament of a prophet being sought for guidance. He states, “In the New Testament, the indwelling Holy Spirit is the right and privilege of every believer, making the mediation of a special prophet unnecessary” (60). The purpose of prophecy today is to confirm and encourage—not to mediate or legislate, Hyatt says, citing 1 Corinthians 14:3.

Hyatt also opposes the idea that God is restoring apostolic government. His Web site features an article (available at http://www.eddiehyatt.com/article01.html) that states, “No such order or government is either delineated or prescribed in the New Testament. The New Testament writers, in fact, show very little concern for church offices and organizational structure.”

What the Book Doesn’t Say. One wonders why the book doesn’t clarify that some of its contributors are defining apostles and prophets in very different ways. Without these distinctions, readers may be misled to think that all the contributors are in agreement. Also, much of the aberrant teachings that contributors promote in the book, ironically, can’t be found in the book itself. They are found, rather, in books that the authors recommend for further study at the ends of the chapters.

For example, three different contributors—Jacobs, Green, and Grady—recommend Bill Hamon’s books, including Apostles, Prophets and the Coming Moves of God (Destiny Image Publishers 1997). This is troubling, since this book, which has a foreword written by Wagner, teaches that Christians need new doctrinal revelation. Hamon says, “He [Paul] also reveals that this anointing for divine revelation was not just given to the prophets of old but has now been equally given to Christ’s Holy Apostles and Prophets in His Church” (Apostles, Prophets and the Coming Moves of God, 140). Extrabiblical revelation in Hamon’s book includes the teaching that modern apostles and prophets are going to become so powerful that Christians who come into their presence with sin will be struck dead.

Dismissing Concerns. Despite the book’s silence on these controversial issues, Doug Beacham (executive director of church education ministries for the International Pentecostal Holiness Church) seems to be aware of them. In his chapter, titled “The Leadershift,” Beacham expresses concerns that modern apostles may use their authority to promote “authoritarianism” and that prophets may attempt to give new doctrinal revelation.

In response to Beacham’s concerns, Wagner agrees that preventing apostles from abusing their authority is a challenge. He reassures readers that the International Coalition of Apostles—a network of over 330 apostles led by Wagner—is addressing the issue.

Wagner’s response, however, is inadequate. Are Christians simply to trust that the International Coalition of Apostles will provide its own oversight? Some of these same “apostles” have already abused their positions by teaching that they have great authority and the ability to give new doctrinal revelation.

Wagner also agrees that Beacham’s concern about new doctrinal revelation is legitimate. Wagner says that, in the past, some “prophets” and “apostles” claimed to give revelation that “superceded” Scripture, such as the Book of Mormon. Wagner assures readers, however, that the apostles he knows “would tremble at the thought that new truth that they receive would in any way violate the integrity and the authority of Scripture” (31).

Wagner’s response, nonetheless, sounds hollow, since he currently promotes “apostles” and “prophets” who proclaim new doctrinal revelation. This includes Hamon, whom Wagner elsewhere calls one of his “closest prophetic colleagues” (Changing Church [Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 2004], 11).

Final Thoughts. Some contributors, such as Haggard, commendably acknowledge abuses among modern “prophets,” such as proclaiming false prophecies and “explain[ing them] away” (35). Contributor R. T. Kendall (former pastor of Westminster Chapel in London) encourages teachers to promote the written Word over prophetic words. Kendall also urges readers to contend for sound doctrine—the faith “once for all” delivered to the saints, which is refreshing in light of the book’s endorsement of those who promote new doctrinal revelation.

Hayford’s endorsement of the book, likely and unfortunately, will cause many Christians to feel safe accepting the aberrant teachings associated with the NAR movement. It is troubling to see Hayford’s credibility used in this way.

 

Holly Pivec holds an M.A. in Christian apologetics from Biola University and is the managing editor of Biola Connections. She has a blog at spiritoferror.wordpress.com, which examines the apostolic and prophetic movement.