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Archive for the ‘Strange Fire Conference’ Category

The Master's Seminary
John MacArthur’s Strange Fire Conference has definitely generated a lot of debate and discussion concerning the Charismatic movement.

It turns out that The Master’s Seminary, where John MacArthur presides over, has also done their annual Faculty Lecture Series also on the topic of “Strange Fire.”

Here are the videos!

 

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David_Yonggi_Cho_w_church_original

NOTE: We have written on the topic of “Strange Fire,” specifically the problems of Charismatic and Pentecostal Theology in the Asian context here on the blog in the past and will continue to do so from time to time in the future.

“Pastor” David Yonggi Cho is the founding pastor of the Yoido Full Gospel Church in the Assembly of God denomination and reputed as the world’s largest congregation.  There are concerns about his theology being biblical since he’s an advocate of Word of Faith teaching, among other things.

“Pastor” David Yonggi Cho was recently on the news this month, having gotten himself in legal trouble and found guilty by the court.  A Gospel Herald news article writes,

According to reports, Cho was identified as an accomplice through committing breach of trust in 2002 by ordering the church to purchase his elder son Hee-jun’s stocks at four times the market price. The transaction resulted in the church’s loss of 13 billion won (US$12 million). Moreover, Cho was also found guilty of tax evasion of 3.5 billion won (US$3.3 million). In the same ruling, Cho’s elder son Hee-jun, the former CEO of the church-affiliated local daily Kookmin Ilbo, was sentenced to three years in prison for colluding with his father in the embezzlement scheme.

Over at Charisma News, there’s even a piece titled Setting the Record Straight on David Yonggi Cho by a friend of his ministry for forty years that provides some more context, making the point that Pastor Cho was misled by his “prodigal” son.  I think it’s worth reading to see this situation as charitable as possible.

But even in the most charitable reading of this news there are legitimate concern from a biblically driven point of view especially with his ecclesiology and understanding of church office:

1.) Church buying stocks?  I think the church’s shouldn’t have it’s business in stocks in the first place.  One can see how a church driven by a prosperity message would be tempted to live out their pastor’s teaching and moves the church and the pastor stepping towards the direction of this scandal.

2.) The Charisma News piece is out to defend Cho by admitting this:

Cho has three sons. The second and third sons are very productive and work in church-related ministries. His eldest son has been the prodigal. He has been married four times and has been involved in sexual scandals with national personalities. In addition, he has served prison time for investment scams and embezzlement. His scandalized life has been an embarrassment to his family and the church.

I think this open up a whole can of worm.  Don’t forget the qualification for an elder/pastor in 1 Timothy 3:4-5,

“4 He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity 5 (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?),”

Biblically speaking, “Pastor” Cho isn’t qualified to be a pastor; or if he was qualified he has disqualified himself beforehand.  I imagine it’s very hard to remove a charismatic, “successful” pastor on pragmatic grounds no matter what theological stripes you come from, but it must be even more difficult among Charistmatic circles with their ecclesiological baggage of a man of God being “anointed,” having special insights, revelation, etc., that gives more immunity than it is healthy.

3.) The Charisma News piece also mentioned that this “prodigal” son approached the dad with his dad’s choice elders to sign the paper work that got him in the quagmire.  It’s important to avoid appearance of evil–and that means family business and church funds shouldn’t mix in the first place.

4.) One can’t help but to wonder about the role of prosperity Gospel in all this.  In Cho’s book, Prayer that Brings Revival, he wrote “The gifts of the Holy Spirit are available for the asking. Healing, deliverance,  prosperity, and blessing are all to be asked for” (75).  With an unbiblical understanding of church leadership coupled with a wealthy church, a bad ecclesiology, and a prosperity gospel, you’re ASKING for this scandal.

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strangefire

In light of the Strange Fire Conference, we just completed our mini series focused on the problem of Charismatic excess/Prosperity Gospel influence in Asia.  The following are the links not only from the past two weeks but also over the years on Veritas Domain.  Lord willing, if we were to write more on this topic we will put the links on here as well.

Foundational

Why will we focus our apologetics on Prosperity Gospel/Charistmatic Excess?

The Prosperity Gospel’s Functional Idol and its fruit

Kong Hee and City Harvest Church

Incorrect: Kong Hee say we love God because of what we can give him

Sun Ho the Pastor’s Wife or the Pastor’s Ho?

Jaeson Ma

Jaeson Ma’s New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) roots

Jaeson Ma: False Prophet about Los Angeles 2006?

Keeping ‘Prophets’ Accountable: Jaeson Ma on Korea Revival by 2021

Frequent Objections defending Jaeson Ma Answered

A Closer look at another defense of Jaeson Ma’s False Prophecy

Jaeson Ma: Epitome of the unbiblical Hipster and ‘Celebrity’ Pastor

Jaeson Ma’s New Song “Rise and Fall” is heretical  NEW!

  NEW!

Joseph Prince and New Creation Church

David Yonggi Cho Guitly and  Yoido Full Gospel Church

“Pastor” David Yonggi Cho Guitly, another case of Strange Fire in Asia     NEW!

Related

October Links Related to Strange Fire and the Charismatic

Aftermath of Strange Fire    NEW!

Review of    NEW!

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Joseph Prince false teacher

We continue with our closer look at Joseph Prince’s arguments for his position that every Christians should speak in tongues.  For those who may not know, Joseph Prince is a Pentecostal preacher from Singapore, who’s popularity is felt not only in Asia but even here in the United States.

The video we have been examining is this particular clip from Joseph Prince’s channel:

Eight seconds into the video he tries to argue that it is biblical for Christians to ask other Christians whether they speak in tongues, implying that believers should speak in tongues:

One time the Apostle Paul passed by a group of people and he asked them, ‘Have you received the Holy Ghost?’  And the Bible says they were disciples, they were believers in Christ.  ‘Have you received the Holy Spirit?’ he asked them.  Now, today that is not the question we ask people after we see that they are saved.  We don’t asked them, ‘Have you received the Holy Spirit?’ because it is insulting to many “denominations” to suggest that, to ask the question ‘Have you received the Holy Spirit?’ is insulting.  Yet I think it is in Acts 16, or 19…and in Acts 19 when you look at it the Bible says that Paul passed by a certain region and then he found disciples.  The word there is disciples.  These are believers in Christ.  Christians.  And he asked them the question, ‘Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?’  So they said, “We never heard of anything called the Holy Spirit.’  ‘So unto what baptism were you baptized?’ “John’s baptism.’  Well Jesus said what?  You will be baptized by the Holy Spirit.  And the Bible says that he prayed for them, laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit and the Bible says what was the evidence for those of you on the page?  They spoke with tongues and prophesied, right?  So we don’t want to compromise just because some denominations are of the persuasion that tongues has ceased alright, we don’t want to compromise because our standard is the Bible.  Can I get a good Amen?”

(0:08-1:35)

Joseph Prince is appealing to Acts 19.  Let’s take a closer look:

1.) Prince makes much out of the point that its to “disciples” (verse 1) that Paul asked his question “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”  (verse 2).  Specifically though, these disciples were those of John the Baptist since they didn’t know about the Holy Spirit (verse 2) and only knew about John’s baptism (verse 3).  This observation should make us cautious in assuming these are regular New Testament Church era Christians.

2.) In light of the fact that they were John’s disciples who only knew up to the baptism of repentance and never even heard about the Holy Spirit, one must be sensitive to progressive revelation and how redemptive history unfolds.  This particular episode is unique in that as the church began and started from Acts 2 onward, there were a number of believers who were disciples before hearing about the Holy Spirit such as John’s Disciples.  Yet by God’s providence the Lord brought those like the Apostle Paul to fill them in about the Spirit.  We expect that as the book of Acts progress, with the church growing more and more, that the number of such disciples of John who didn’t know about the Spirit would decrease.  When we fast forward to today, there are not John’s disciples who haven’t heard of the Holy Spirit.

Thus, if one is sensitive to the context, Acts 19 is not a text to justify asking other Christians whether they have the Holy Spirit and implying that they should speak in tongues.

Don’t forget also how earlier in part two we established the biblical truth that baptism of the Holy Spirit is not the same thing as speaking in tongues, since one can be baptized by the Holy Spirit without speaking in tongues.

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Jaeson Ma Aziatix controversy

Earlier I wrote a post identifying the fruits of Prosperity Gospel and extreme Charistmatics preachers and how it reveals their functional idol.   Among the “fruits” mentioned is an infatuation of trying to enter the entertainment industry.   I think the preachers in the reality show, “Preachers of LA,” is an example of my thesis and another case study is the anti-nominian, false prophet and Pastor Jaeson Ma.

Although Jaeson Ma retains the title “Pastor” (see this video of him in Malaysia), he has been spending most of his time being a musical artist.  And for Jaeson Ma that means hanging out with artists, music industry reps and insiders.  Of course, there is nothing wrong in of itself reaching out to people who are lost and being their companions so long as one doesn’t compromise their belief and behavior before the Lord.  Has Jaeson Ma been above reproach?  Here I am not merely trying to catch him on a “slip-up,” a moment of weakness when he fails to be consistent to the standard he holds to;  rather, I’m trying to ask a more foundational question, of whether it is biblical with his particular approach in associating with those in the Asian entertainment industry?  I’m more concern about the method driving him than an inconsistency to one’s method since after all, we are all prone to sin and deviate from our professed standard.

One such association (among many) that Jaeson has is with the group Aziatix.  Note Jaeson Ma’s facebook:

Here I quote again what Jaeson Ma wrote just in case the picture on facebook disappear:

Ones up to the sky with @aziatixallday at their new music video shoot single produced by @redone_official They are the first Asian American group signed to @ymcmbofficial (Young Money) and they didn’t get here by chance these four brothers got here by faith. Faith is spelled R.I.S.K. & I saw how each of these men risked it all to follow God and start @aziatix this is just the beginning & I’m serious when I ask all of you following me to pray daily for them as they make this God given music and shine light in the darkness. Aziatix all day!!!!! #salute #respect #proud #pray4aziatix

Note how Jaeson Ma describe this group as following God, having faith, being a light and them taking risk for Him in their musical career.

Apparently, this prompted one of Jaeson Ma’s fan to comment his concern about Aziatix:

Those guys have such amazing music n talent, its crazy. They are humble brothers, though not to hate just being honest, their album Awakening is amazing, but Godly isnt on the menu, especially one of the songs talking about taking some other guys girl and clubbing.

One can find online and read Aziatix lyrics and it seems that Jaeson’s fan had this particular song in mind.

Jaeson Ma’s response is very telling:

Michael what you need to understand is that music is a gift from God that expresses emotion, experience and personal truth for each artist. A song can talk about God explicitly or not explicitly. I personally don’t believe music should be categorized as Christian or not, what matters is that the music is good, is true to ones experience and honest. Sadly most so called Christian music is not honest or authentic, rather it is predictable and created in a certain way to fit a specific religious expectation. Study the gospels and you will see that when Jesus spoke to the masses He didn’t use religious jargon or language, but He spoke in parables with culturally relevant stories that the everyday person could relate with. When Jesus spoke to His disciples He spoke plainly about kingdom truths. there is music inspired by God for the world and there is also music inspired by God for the church, neither one is more acceptable than another. What God loves is that we use our musical talents by, through and for Him, Aziatix is doing just that and before casting a stone of judgment you should spend more time praying for them then judging them or any musician because you don’t know where they are coming from. I really do pray that people who follow Christ would follow His example of loving and appreciating each person human experience, for the only judgment Jesus made was against the religious who saw themselves as better and holier than others. With that being said, Aziatix all day and much respect to my man Jae Chong and the whole crew! God bless & God is love!

What are we to make of his comment?

Point 1: Note how Jaeson Ma comment doesn’t address his fan’s chief concern at all, that Aziatix’ musical content isn’t godly with the specific example of girls and clubbing.  Ma doesn’t even acknowledge his fan’s concern but goes off in a different direction.  He is committing the logical fallacy of red-herring.

 Point 2:  Jaeson said, “A song can talk about God explicitly or not explicitly.”  It seems reasonable that not every song has to be about God explicitly.  Moreover, if every song was about God explicitly there’s nothing wrong with it.  But what if the band’s entire musical career has never explicitly shared about Jesus and the Gospel at all?  How could Jaeson describe them as taking risks and who “shine light in the darkness”?

Point 3: Jaeson said: ” I personally don’t believe music should be categorized as Christian or not, what matters is that the music is good, is true to ones experience and honest.”  Note here that what matters for Jaeson is not the category of Christian and non-Christian but whether it’s “true to ones experiences and honest.”  But how do we know if that person’s experience was honest?  Or is really true?  Here it is important to see that there is a need for a Christian worldview to be worked out and applied to the area of music–and that in order to even talk about “honest” music even require things that ultimately can only make sense in a Christian worldview.

Point 4: Jaeson points out how “Sadly most so called Christian music is not honest or authentic, rather it is predictable and created in a certain way to fit a specific religious expectation.”  I’ll grant that, but what does this “wrong” have to do Aziatix’s worldliness in their music?  We must also remember that two “wrongs” don’t make a right.

Point 5: Jaeson Ma asserts that “Jesus spoke to the masses He didn’t use religious jargon or language,” which is quite unbiblical if one were to realize Jesus’ claim to being the Messiah involve Messianic titles there were explicitly religious and Scriptural (Old Testament) in nature!  One must understand that titles such as “Christ,” “Son of Man,” “Son of God” is rooted in the Old Testament!

Point 6: Jaeson also present a false dilemma between using “religious jargon or language” and speaking in ways “that the everyday person could relate with. ” The two are not mutually exclusive!

Point 7: Jaeson is begging the question when he asserts “What God loves is that we use our musical talents by, through and for Him, Aziatix is doing just that…”  One can’t really make a song for Him that glorifies Him if one goes about it in a worldy way or end up glorifying the lust of the eyes, and the love for this World.

Point 8: Jaeson use a popular line used by those who engage in verse abuse: “and before casting a stone of judgment you should spend more time praying for them then judging them or any musician because you don’t know where they are coming from.”  In essence, “Don’t judge,” says Jaeson Ma, who a few lines ago was the same one who said “most so called Christian music is not honest or authentic..[and] fit a specific religious expectation.”  If one looks at the context of Matthew 7 where the verse of not judging comes from, one will realize it’s against hypocritical judgement.  Jesus points out the irony of someone with a larger serious problem pointing out someone’s lesser problem in Matthew 7:3.  I submit such is the case with Jaeson Ma: When a fan points out the problem of his “spiritual” promotion of a band that’s worldly, he goes ahead and points out the speck that’s in the musical “authenticity” of Christian music.  He needs to remove his log out of his own eye!

Point 9:  Again the irony:  “for the only judgment Jesus made was against the religious who saw themselves as better and holier than others.”  Isn’t this truly the case that when a fan points out the issue of holiness and godliness, Jaeson Ma then proceed to make himself better and holier than his fan’s biblical conviction of being holy (set apart)?

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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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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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