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Archive for October, 2013

We continue with yesterday’s evaluation of a sermon by Joseph Prince that argues “Speaking in tongues make you supernatural.  So that is the prayer language that every believer should have.” (8:05-8:13).Joseph Prince preacher

We are responding to this video:

And for today, we will concentrate on the following excerpt:

They [Note: “non-Charismatics”–Slimjim] will say that we are also baptized in the Holy Spirit.  It’s one thing to have drunk some water, it’s another thing that when you jump into the swimming pool.  One is the water is in you the other is that you are in the water.  How many understand?  Once you received Jesus Christ the Holy Spirit is resident in you.  But once you are baptized in the Holy Spirit the Holy Spirit is president over you.  And you want Him to control your life…For all those who are wondering what’s the benefit of this language?  Well, let me just reason, come let’s reason together, would God on the most important day, on the day of Pentecost, of all the gifts, alright, of all the things God could have done, God gave them the baptism of the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues, would you for one moment that God would give them something that would not benefit them, glorify Christ, magnify God?  So whatever the reasoning that people have for not speaking in tongues alright, it is not coming to the level of God’s Word and God’s personal opinion about it.   

(1:35-4:36)

Note in the quote above that baptism of the Holy Spirit is seen as the same thing as speaking in tongues.  Or at least that speaking in tongues is a necessary sign of being baptized in the Holy Spirit.  Joseph Prince even says that those who disagree with his articulated view is contrary to God’s Word.

But the Word of God teaches that the Baptism of the Spirit is distinct from speaking in tongues.  1 Corinthians 12:13 teaches that all believers are baptized by the Spirit into one body:

For [j]by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

Then a few verses later 1 Corinthians 12:29-30 states:

All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of [t]miracles, are they? 30 All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they?31 But earnestly desire the greater gifts.

Note verse 30, which ask rhetorically whether all speak in tongues, with the answer being assumed as no ( unless one disagree, in which case then he or she must believe all are prophets and teachers, etc, stated in verse 29, but that would conflict with 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, and 12:14-26 that teaches that the members of the body of Christ have different gifts).

So we see here all are Spirit-baptized in the Body of Christ but that does not mean all will speak in tongues.  One see Paul making that distinction.  Moreover, Paul teaches that all true believers are baptized by the Spirit, while not all speak in tongues.

However, Joseph Prince in our video tries to take the force out of the argument from 1 Corinthians 12:29-30 by making a distinction between the gift of tongues and  speaking in tongues which all believer should have.   But we have already shown in part one that this false distinction does not hold up.  1 Corinthians 12 does have bearing against Prince’s position.  Verse 30 itself says “speak with tongues.

Concerning his argument from Acts 2, no Christians would deny that on Pentecosts it was beneficial to the believers and that it glorified God.  The question however is whether speaking in tongues is something all believers must have today, so his argument from Acts 2 does not reaches it’s goal posts, since one can logically affirm the benefit and glory to God of the speaking in tongues in Pentecosts without embracing the view that all believers today should speak in tongues.

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From the Election Forum Website.

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City

Member, City Council; City of Bell GardensClick here for more info on this contest including known links to other sites(3 Elected)

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Local Measures

NO –  Measure A Four-Year Term for Mayor — City of Hawthorne (Ordinance – Majority Approval Required)
Shall the directly elected mayor for the City of Hawthorne serve a four-year term of office rather than a two-year term of office, so that all members of the City Council of the City of Hawthorne serve four-year terms of office, effective for the 2015 election?
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Shall Ordinance No. 1044, which would increase the oil barrel tax charged to operators of oil wells in the City from $.20 per barrel to an amount ranging from a minimum of $.41 to a maximum of $.52 per barrel, be adopted?
YES – Measure W Formation of a Wiseburn Unified School District — Proposed Wiseburn Unified School District
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Shall the Wiseburn School District be reorganized to form the Wiseburn Unified School District from part of the territory formerly covered by the Centinela Valley Union High School District?
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Shall the term of office for the elected office of Mayor be extended from two (2) years to four (4) years, commencing with the 2015 General Municipal Election cycle?
NO –  Measure GG Temporary Essential City Services Preservation Measure — City of El Monte
         (Ordinance – Majority Approval Required)
To preserve and stabilize funding for essential public services such as keeping the City’s four fire stations open; maintaining staffing levels for emergency response police services; street lighting and repair; senior services; and youth parks programs and to build the City’s “rainy day” general fund reserves, shall the City’s existing one half of one percent (1/2%) transactions and use tax be extended for five years?
YES – Measure RM Rotating Mayor Measure — City of El Monte (Ordinance – Majority Approval Required)
Shall the City Council be reorganized to replace the current structure of one elected Mayor serving a two-year term and four elected Council Members serving staggered four-year terms with a structure composed of five elected City Council Members who will share the title of Mayor on a rotating basis subject to voter approved procedures for accomplishing the rotation?

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I have not heard of Joseph Prince before our mini-series focusing on popular leaders of the Charismatic movement in the Asian scene.  Our other blogger, EvangelZ, was the one who told me about him and how I should look him up.  It seems like he is a Charismatic prosperity gospel preacher with a big church in Singapore call New Creation Church.  His popularity is beyond Asia, and even here in the US.

Joseph Prince false teacher

His ministry uploaded a clip on Youtube from his sermon titled “Tongues–The Key To A Spirit-Led Life.”

The purpose of his message is clear:

Speaking in tongues make you supernatural.  So that is the prayer language that every believer should have.” (8:05-8:13).

He believes Christians SHOULD speak in tongues.  But in order to make his argument, he has to make two assumptions necessary for his case:

  • Speaking in tongues is not the same thing as the gift of tongues.
  • Those baptized in the Holy Spirit will speak in tongues.

In this post we will focus only on the first premise, that speaking in tongues is not the same thing as the gift of tongues.  Joseph Prince articulates and argue for this distinction between speaking in tongues and the gift in tongues seven minutes into the clip, saying:

So the biggest problem, the body of Christ today is that Charismatics who is baptized in the Spirit see it as a sign, alright, that they are baptized and that’s it but they don’t exercise the gift.  Now, many a times they exercise the gift when they come to church.  And that was the problem in the church of Corinth where Paul wrote trying to control of the gift of tongues.  Now gift of tongues, not everybody has the gift of tongues mentioned in 1 Corinthians 14, 12 and all that, where it talks about where you don’t have an interpreter, keep quiet.  Now that’s the gift of tongues.  All of us have the sign that Jesus said in Mark and this sign will follow those that believed, alright?  One of the signs is that they shall speak with new tongues.  Our Lord Jesus said that.  This sign will follow the believers.  Didn’t say pastors.  Believers.  Didn’t say Apostles and prophets.  Believers.  One of the biggest sign is what?  They shall speak with new tongues.” (7:01-7:58)

So while “not everybody has the gift of tongues,” Joseph Prince believes that the Bible teaches all believers “shall speak with new tongues.’

Joseph Prince might say this distinction parallel evangelism and giving:

  1. While some have the spiritual gift of giving (Romans 12:8), yet all believers are commanded to give (Romans 12:13, 1 Corinthians 16:1-2, 2 Corinthians 9:6-7, etc).
  2. While some have the spiritual gift of evangelism(Ephesians 4:11), yet all believers are commanded to evangelize/witness (Matthew 28:19-20, 1 Peter 3:15, etc).

Spiritual gifts will differ from individual to individual (Romans 12:6) but that doesn’t mean if we don’t have the spiritual gift of evangelism or giving that we cease giving and witnessing.

But does this distinction applies to the issue of speaking in tongues?  It doesn’t seem likely.  Note that in order for the gift/general function distinction to apply, it is necessary that God’s Word gives a command to believers in general to practice it.  While God does tells believers in general to witness and give, there are no imperative verbs in the New Testament ordering believers to speak in tongues.  Thus, Joseph Prince is not biblically warranted to make such the distinction between spiritual gift and practice of tongues.

However, Joseph Prince does attempt to show from the Bible that all believers should speak in tongues.  Recall how in the quote above he said, “All of us have the sign that Jesus said in Mark and this sign will follow those that believed, alright?  One of the signs is that they shall speak with new tongues.”  That passage in Mark in Mark 16:17, which says

These [d]signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues

As Prince stated, here in verse 17 it says “those who have believed,” and not just a subset of believers such as Pastors, apostles, etc.

But there are two good reasons why Mark 16:17 doesn’t support Prince’s cause.

First off, there is an issue of textual criticism with the end of Mark 16, in which verse 9 and following is disputed to be part of the original since many of the older and reliable manuscripts does not attests to anything beyond verse 8.  I myself believe the Gospel of Mark ends in Mark 16:8.

Secondly, even if we assume Mark 16:17 is part of the Greek autograph and therefore is legitimately part of God’s Word, this still doesn’t help with Joseph Prince’s cause.  I believe that the context of the immediate verse in Mark 16:18 strongly imply that we see a limitation of Mark 16:17 applying universally to all believers at all time.  Note verse 18 states:

 they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

I would not want to see Joseph Prince pick up dangerous serpents and drink poison today.  If he believes that there are some exclusion to verse 18 being the case today, then I would say that to be consistent the context strongly demands an exclusion for the application of verse 17 for today also.  Thus Mark 16:17 does not provide (1) the warrant for Joseph Prince to assert that all believers are obligated to speak in tongues, (2) nor that which is necessary to establish the distinction of the gift of tongues and the act of tongues.

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SWy6ibx

The following are links on Presuppositional apologetics between October 15th-21st, 2013.  Enjoy!

1.) Review of Van Til’s An Introduction To Systematic Theology

2.) Van Tilian Poetry

3.) Presuppositions and Harmonization: Luke 23:47 as a Test Case By Vern Poythress

4.) Peripatetic 20 – Islam and the Continuing Assertions of Yasser Ali

5.) A recent teaching by Jeff Durbin on Presuppositional apologetics:

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This video says it all.  No additional commentary needed.

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Strange fire

Here are some great links that I encourage you to read if you want to know more  in order to sharpen your discernment in the area of the Charismatic.

1) Here is an open letter to Mark Driscoll by a seminary librarian who I know and have made various conversations with.  This is an excellent post clarifying the Mark Driscoll arrival at Strange Fire Conference: Open Letter to Mark Driscoll

2) Here is a great post by a brother concerning the charismatic chaos in Africa: Strange Fire – The African Import of Charismatic Chaos – Conrad Mbewe

3) Here is a video of an individual who reveals a major flaw by implying that cessationism has a deficient Gospel.  But how does Cessationism impact soteriology?  Sovereign Grace, Spiritual Gifts, and the Pastor: How Should a Reformed Pastor Be Charismatic?

4) Great summaries concerning the messages at Strange Fire by Tim Challies:

5) Here is a classic book written by the great B.B. Warfield, a  bona fide scholar: Counterfeit Miracles

6) Here is another book to read that provides the exegetical basis for cessationism.  It is written by NT scholar, Dr. Robert Thomas, Understanding Spiritual Gifts: A Verse-by-Verse Study of 1 Corinthians 12-14

7) Strange Fire Audio is now up: Audio

8)  Here are some other articles on Cessationism and Continuationism that was complied by Fred Butler (http://hipandthigh.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/articles-on-cessationism-and-contiuationism/) and Lyndon Unger’s “Quick Thought: My Response to Mark Driscoll on Cessationism and the Trinity” over at http://mennoknight.wordpress.com/2013/10/18/quick-thought-my-response-to-mark-driscoll-on-cessationism-and-the-trinity/

9) Here is a website that has great Cessationism resources: The Ultimate Cessationism Resource

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NOTE: This book is provided to me free by Reformation Heritage Books and Cross Focused Reviews without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

18184924

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

This is a short paperback devotional commentary on the book of Ezra and Nehemiah.  It is written by a faculty member of the Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary.  I appreciated the work’s devotional flavor.  Reading through the book I wanted to see how the author would go about using other Scripture for cross referencing in light of the fact that Gerald Bilkes is a professor of biblical theology.  He definitely is Christ-centered and Gospel driven.  In addition, he gives New Testament priority in his hermeneutics.  Thus, Bilkes sees both the book of Ezra and Nehemiah as being about the journey of conversion which leads him to notice that both Ezra and Nehemiah resembled the parable of the Prodigal Son: The fallen son has returned home to the Father.  However the author sees it more than mere similarity since Bilkes invokes this parable again and again: It would be correct to say that Bilkes sees Ezra and Nehemiah through the interpretative lens of the parable.  I think this can downplay other details and movements within the passage of Ezra or Nehemiah.  I also wished that the book could have gone deeper in it’s exposition of Ezra and Nehemiah; I was yearning for more moments in the book where perhaps the author might have given exegetical insights that I would have not gotten if I were to read Ezra and Nehemiah on my own.  Nevertheless this devotional was spiritually profitable and I appreciate Bilkes format of ending each chapter with some follow up questions.  One definitely sees the influence of Puritans upon the author, with the book’s probe of the reader’s heart and motive.

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