More About the Gifts of the Spirit
Do not put out the Spirit's fire;
do not treat prophecies with contempt
(1 Thes 5:19,20, NIV).
Therefore, brethren, desire
earnestly to prophesy,
and do not forbid to speak with tongues
(1 Cor 14:39, NKJV).
In Opposition Against The Power Of
God, we broached the controversial subject of supernatural spiritual
gifts. In many quarters of the Church, this issue has long since passed
its sell-by date. Pentecostals will wonder why all the fuss. There is simply
no argument any more. Supernatural gifts are fact!
Their modern day 'Pentecost' occurred
in Azusa Street, Los Angeles in 1906, when an outpouring of the Spirit
brought forth manifestations of speaking in tongues and other amazing
phenomena. For ardent seekers of holiness, a spiritual thirst was
satisfied.... in, of all places – a horse stable!
That was where this twentieth century
outpouring of the Spirit began. Since then it has spread around the globe.
The knowledge of and demonstration of the gifts was preserved by the
Pentecostal churches. It was their 'baby'. They nurtured and promoted this
wonderful truth. It was their calling to do so.
Gradually, the word spread. Other
denominations and groups came to hear about these strange 'goings-on'.
Through contention and controversy, the move of the Spirit which some have
considered a major facet of the work of the end-time 'Elijah', gained
Gamaliel, in the 30's AD, stated by
divine prudence that:
...if this plan or this work is of
men, it will come to nothing (Acts 5:38, NKJV).
Well, the Pentecostal phenomenon has
not come to naught. It is still thriving, and gaining ground over ninety
years later! And the fruits bear testimony to positively changed lives. So,
those who still want to find fault and dissent about the relevance of
supernatural gifts for the Church today, should think again. Could it be
that these Pentecostal 'things' are bona fide? Could it be that the critics
who have not experienced such gifts might be the deluded ones, and not vice
Some thirty years ago, several
non-Pentecostal churches – mainline denominations such as Episcopalian
(Church of England), and Methodist – began to examine Pentecostal teaching
about spiritual gifts. In some cases, this was not by voluntary
investigation, but from an uninvited exposure. They had a rude awakening!
As Dennis Bennett relates in his
humorous account of what occurred in the Episcopalian Church,
an insignificant couple in his church began speaking in tongues. The church
was challenged. What was this 'thing' of tongues? Why had it 'invaded' their
territory? What was its origin? Was it of God, or was it something more
When tongues is outside your
experience, it is natural to allow your prejudice to lead you to only one
conclusion. It must be from Satan! Sadly, that was the conclusion many of
the scribes and Pharisees drew from seeing Jesus cast out demons. They
thought the very power at work in doing such good was actually from the
arch-enemy of God!
To them, black had become white and
white had become black.
Of course, there was more than just a
lack of understanding at fault behind their reasoning. There were wrong
motivations of the heart. This new thing detracted from their supremacy.
Jesus was dramatically eroding their influence and power. They were rapidly
And so it is today, that with many
leaders of traditional church groups, prime motivational factors which
affect their behaviour are less than honourable.
God is still in the habit of doing a
'new thing'. He hasn't changed. And He's got more up His sleeve, too! He is
still testing people's attitudes. He is still sifting out the hearts of men
before His judgement seat.
At this time, there are two primary
testers which are 'crunch' issues for Christians.
1. Spiritual gifts of power in the
2. Sabbaths and holy days to be observed.
In the sector of the Church for whom
gifts are no longer an issue, the Sabbaths are often the prime bone of
contention, and will become increasingly so.
In the alternative sector, where
Sabbath observances and memorials are not a major issue, the gifts are still
That is a generalisation. I realise
there are some Sabbath keeping groups who have no problem accepting the
supernatural giftings of the Spirit – tongues, interpretation of tongues,
prophecy, casting out demons, etc., and even slaying in the Spirit. But for
most – like the Pharisees of old – they are the most contentious issue
possible. And contention will intensify!
Much personal correspondence has
highlighted the difficulty some brethren encounter coming to terms with
accepting the gifts.
Thank you for the videos, tapes and
literature you have sent over the last few weeks and months. Although I
myself find them personally encouraging and uplifting, I find there is still
much resistance from others who are now UCG or ex-UCG regarding ministries
which do not keep the laws of God (i.e. Sabbath) or ministries which
basically endorse a trinitarian view of the Godhead. Another problem is that
many people no longer trust ministries because of the betrayal of certain
ministers in either the WCG or UCG and therefore basically have become
independent and refuse to look elsewhere or at anything. The 'falling away'
is really quite devastating and sad. R. Australia
Jesus did warn us to beware of men
(Matt 24:4; Jn 16:2-4). We can only look to God. Reliance upon men –
principally church leaders – is a compromise of true worship. Satan can then
ensnare ones thus compromised. It is a tragedy which Jesus predicted:
If anyone causes one of these
little ones who believe in Me to sin [to be
ensnared] it would be better for him to have a
large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the
sea.... such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come!
(Matt 18:6,7, NIV).
It is well known how doctrine can be
used by the devil to divide, and even ensnare. That should not be.
In the Church – among those who are
truly seeking truth – it should UNITE! However, accepting pure doctrine is
not easy. The hard part for most is swallowing our pride, admitting we have
been wrong. Then, there is the added obstacle to hurdle of changing our way
of thinking or doing things. Old habits die hard!
Human weaknesses prevent us moving
forward. The devil knows how to exploit people's foibles for maximum effect!
The Biggest Obstacle –
In 1995, on our way to keep the Feast
with a small group in Wales, God spoke to me and said that the biggest
obstacle preventing the spiritual growth of these people was prejudice. [For
many, it still is!]
This small fellowship had just come
into a basic understanding and experience of the gifts of the Spirit. My
intention was to add more, to help consolidate them in this area.
Some were open, some were not. Some
were breezing through, on a purely physical jaunt, without any awareness or
desire for spiritual matters. But worse for those who had just come into
their first experience of this wonderful phenomenon, there were hostile
elements there who wanted nothing to do with tongues or 'tongues-talkers'.
They made their antagonism against the
gifts amply evident. They left before the event was over, and left a note
behind. It stated that they felt unwelcome because of those who had accepted
these gifts. [It was not that they were unwelcome. They were made welcome.
But they didn't want to accept God's spiritual gifts. They resisted His
Spirit. They were of a different spirit.] The letter was a clever ploy of
the enemy to cause division, and cast doubt on the gifts by making these new
'converts' feel guilty about their latest acquisition. Some people were
taken in! Naive ones felt sorry for these tricksters! They could not see
that they were false brothers.
Behind our backs, those who left in a
huff circulated evil reports, exaggerating and falsifying what was actually
going on! They spread their malicious gossip to all they could – preventing
other true brethren from investigating such things. Their bizarre tales were
believed by those already polarised against these gifts. Prejudice seemed to
have won the day.
Others farther afield, who should have
learned from the experience, were turned against it by the malicious
slander. And in the group itself, other divisive things occurred to turn
people against moving on in the Spirit. Two years later, that little group
is still no further on than it was then. Their spiritual growth was stunted
by spiritually deficient mouths.
The tongue is a little member and
boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the
tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity... it defiles the whole body.... and
is set on fire by Gehenna (Jas 3:5,6 NKJV).
They entertained darkness – just a
little, and that compromised their spiritual walk.
Darkness does not want to dwell with
light. That is the root of the problem. It is why those dissemblers
departed. And prejudice is a powerful weapon of the enemy.
If a person will not humble himself to
receive what God is offering, that's too bad. But it is foolish to try to
accommodate such folks if they are intent on undermining a new work of the
Spirit. Never make the devil welcome in your midst! The way to expel him is
to turn up the spiritual heat. Accept all God is offering.
Don't turn anything down. Humble yourself. And don't rely on human
The first reactions to what God wants
to tell us can be entirely wrong. Our prejudice will cause us to respond
subjectively. We will miss what He is saying, as this letter illustrates:
We have received many of the items
and tapes that you have sent. So much of what you have to say is indeed
edifying. It was TW who sent us the article on the 10 virgins and that was
very timely. We had just heard a tape on that subject and the parable was
very much on my mind when we received the article from T. If ever there was
a time for the church of God to wake up it is now! I can appreciate the
title that you have chosen for your publication. [Actually, we did not
choose it, exactly. We were led to Isaiah 52, and God highlighted the words
"Awake! Awake" to us. He impressed upon us that that was to be the
....We have just lately received a
video tape that you sent.... Moving Mountains, by David Carr. I have a real
curiosity about the entire tape. I also noticed that you give some
consideration to what I shall call the charismatic movement and I believe
that this video by Mr Carr was along these lines. I am not very familiar
with this type of thing and so to some extent it is very new to me and my
wife. If I may speak very bluntly with you, [of course, please do] I must
say that I do not see much value in this type of thing. I truly see it as a
danger to God's anointed people to get so wrapped up in emotionalism.
God has given to us, His creation,
the gifts of intellect and emotion. Neither of these are in any way bad or
evil – they are indeed very good. But God clearly says that we who worship
Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. The emotions which spring from
the heart are deceitful (Jer 17:9) and the intellect which springs from the
mind is enmity against God (Rom 8:7). I heard a preach once say that the
worship of God in spirit and in truth is worship with emotions and intellect
[it is part of it, Mark 12:33]. But this is not so [you are right that it is
not the whole story]. John 4 says that God is Spirit and He seeks those who
will worship Him in Spirit. If we say that God in the Spirit is all emotions
we have no knowledge of the God of all the universe. [I would prefer to say
we have a very limited knowledge of Him, not no knowledge of Him.] We begin
to create God in our image.
Again I know nothing of David Carr
but I must make righteous judgement about the Spirit of God and I saw only
"self" speaking from the stage. The first few minutes of his speaking came
across as a "would-be" comedian and not of a preacher of righteousness. I
will not judge the man himself but I did not feel the anointing of the
Spirit in what he had to say. [The power of prejudice in colouring our
impressions of others is astronomical!! David Carr IS a preacher of
righteousness. He was so emotional and ebullient 'on stage' because Jesus
had appeared to him! But the viewer couldn't see this because his judgement
was coloured by his prejudice against 'Pentecostalism' and tongues, and
anything which has more emotional expression than he is used to.] The
emotionalism of the audience has nothing to do with the power of the Living
God in His people. Praising God can be a very emotional experience but it
must go far beyond this. We limit our praise of God by not correctly
understanding the power of utilizing the Spirit of God in our praise of Him.
As a fellow believer of Jesus
Christ and a brother to you Malcolm, I feel I must write to tell you this. I
pray that you find my words edifying and not offensive. [No, they are not
offensive.] It is from a sincere love of God and of His people that I write
these words. Hope to hear from you again. B. USA
seems genuinely concerned. I do not want to doubt his motives. But the
colour of his vision is affected by the prism of truth through which he
views others. The Light of Truth has many component colours all combining to
make up pure light. Since he has only ever experienced one end of the
spectrum of the Spirit of God, it is not surprising that his appreciation is
limited by his past experience. Prejudice is at the root of his failure to
judge righteous judgement. I replied:
17th November 1997
you for your letter. No, I don't find your words offensive. Thanks for
expressing what you felt you should. It is good when brothers express their
thoughts even if they are controversial. Where there are differences, those
views should be aired, unless of course, they are hostile or unnecessarily
divisive. Otherwise, cant will reign and those in the wrong won't be able to
reform their views and move forward spiritually. When brothers and sisters
do not express their inner disagreements, resentment or other negative
emotions will only gnaw away at their heart. They give the devil latitude to
torment God's children.
sure which article on The Ten Virgins
you received from T. Just in case you didn't get the earlier one, I have
enclosed the former one from AA2-2.
One To Whom
regard to the video message by David Carr. One reason he behaves in such an
'outlandish' manner is because Jesus appeared to him. He mentions this about
half way through his message. He was so moved by the experience that he was
perhaps to some, excessively 'un-normal' in his manner. He is that way to
some extent anyway in his personality. Some people are quiet and reserved.
Others are vivacious and extrovert. He is the latter. But he is a deeply
converted person, as should be apparent to those who are spiritually
Worship Not Emotionalism
understand your reaction, however. When we were first introduced to the
charismatic 'side' of the Church a few years ago, almost fresh out of the
WCG, it was like going from a Brahms piano recital to a country-and-western
festival. Many things seemed bizarre and 'over the top'. Raising of hands in
praise, often loud and highly expressive, spontaneous talking in tongues,
and even outbursts of applause or religious phrases by members of the
audience during sermons, all these seemed a bit much. But it was only
because they were outward expressions we were not used to from our
background. They may constitute culture shock to some, but for us, once we
got to see underneath these expressions, we found many sincere and devout
people who believe in full latitude of emotional expression in worship. It
was not emotionalism. What we were seeing was emotional, yes, but uplifting
positive emotions are not wrong. They are very right.
is joyful. His being exudes so much love and joy that those who have
been in His presence testify to being overwhelmed by it. It isn't wrong to
express that depth of emotion in meetings if that comes from the depth of
one's being. If it is put on, I concur with you that such expressions are
merely phoney – useless emotionalism. It is true that some charismatic
meetings have degenerated to that level. But we must beware categorising
such charismatic behaviour as charismania, because God has been very much IN
that move of the Spirit. The Pentecostal churches kept alive the true gifts
of the Spirit, when their exercise had all but died out in most of
Christendom. Then, about 30-40 years ago, more mainstream churches began to
learn from the Pentecostals and God moved through them, revitalising
millions of individual lives in what has become known as the Renewal
movement. This gave rise to the charismatic 'church'.
Indoctrination Against Spiritual Gifts
cults like the WCG indoctrinated their members against the gifts of the
Spirit which the Pentecostal and charismatic churches perpetuated and
promoted. Equally prejudiced, WCG offshoots, for the most part, continue to
polarise their members against other brothers and sisters who accept and
demonstrate these gifts today. Speaking in tongues and associated spiritual
gifts do seem to appeal more to the 'emotional' type of person than the
purely intellectual. You and I were more intellectual in our pursuit of
'truth' than those God reaches via the charismatic sector of the Church.
But, our experience via that avenue was not complete. As Ron Dart says in
his most recent newsletter, none of us can claim complete knowledge of God.
There is always more to learn. ....coming to know God is a life-long process
and has several aspects to it.
Appreciation Of God Not Enough
know certain things about Him intellectually, but that is not enough. We
should come to know Him emotionally, too. That alone is also not enough.
Neither aspect is complete by itself. Each complements the other and should
lead believers into experiencing God's sublime nature of love.
gifts of the Spirit are incomplete by themselves, without love, as Paul said
in 1 Cor 13. But so too, is knowledge OF God and His plan, as the
Sabbatarian sector of the Church is wont to champion. Sabbatarians
desperately need the gifts, and the charismatic church needs the Sabbaths.
Both are from God. Gifts of the Spirit are from Him just as much as the
Sabbaths. Both are good, although both can be abused. I do not subscribe to
perversions of either. However, I am dead against criticisms of either by
those who do not understand, and who criticise from a vantage point of
ignorance and inexperience. It is one of the easiest things to do.
Should Express God's Nature
may, can I comment on your interpretation of Jeremiah 17:9? You said "the
emotions which spring from the heart are deceitful." They may be sometimes,
but it is not true in the blanket way you implied. When Mother Teresa felt
pity (an emotion) for the poor and destitute who lay dying on the streets of
Calcutta, was that deceitful? No. It was a virtuous emotion, and it promoted
her to do a work for God (despite the fact that she had many biblical
doctrinal misunderstandings). God is more concerned about true expressions
of love than getting all our doctrine correct (an impossibility for most in
this deceived world). You probably know this already. That good woman will
have her reward. Jesus accepted her because she did what she understood to
be right and wanted the love of God in her life. What Jeremiah condemned is
the selfish (insincere) heart that doesn't want God's nature – His love
(which can be expressed through right emotion). There is an element of that
sinful woman (maybe a former prostitute) fell at Jesus' feet weeping, was
that outburst of emotion wrong? Was it a sin? No. The opposite! (Luke
Mary wept outside the empty tomb, thinking Jesus' body had been stolen, was
her emotion another vain show? (Jn 20:11.) No. Her deep personal love for
Him was properly expressed in that situation.
Peter and John raced to the tomb after hearing from Mary that it was empty,
their response was an emotional one. Was that wrong? It was a natural
response, but that didn't make it deceitful and wrong.
David danced in rapturous abandon was his expression of emotion wrong? (2
crowds welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem in a spontaneous outburst, cutting down
tree branches, spreading their clothes on the road in front of Him, and
crying out in praise and honour (Matt 21:1-10), was that the result of
deceitful emotions? Not at all. These are expressions of joy and positive
made us with emotions that we are meant to express. The Holy Spirit will
heighten them, too, if we allow God's Spirit that much latitude. Tragically,
too many from our background don't.
negative emotions which Satan works on are the ones we should suppress:
unrighteous anger, hostility, malice (Col 3:8) and envy.
emotions are encouraged by the Holy Spirit in us. And those good emotions
will also gain greater expression through the manifestation of the gifts of
the Spirit. To express joy and heart-felt praise towards God is impossible
without emotion. The deeper it is, the more it is in the Spirit. In other
words, the more it encourages the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in us,
merging with our spirit. And we are commanded to worship "in Spirit and in
truth". "In truth" means in sincerity, not in doctrinal perfection (no one
has that at the moment).
receive the gift of tongues experience an emotional uplift through the
exercise of this gift. They talk to God in the prayer language He gives
them, and as they pray in tongues, the Holy Spirit prays through them and
lifts them up. It can be an acute emotional experience.
It is a
tragedy that so many have been turned off the charismatic gifts by wrong
teaching which has labelled it all emotionalism and hype. It isn't. True
praise begins with emotion and goes deeper into worship.
His heavenly gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise (Ps 100:4).
When we 'bless' His name as that verse says, a true expression is an
emotional one. If it is devoid of emotion, it is devoid of what God means it
Repentance Is Accompanied By Emotional Expression
emotional experiences when God first called me. They were very much part of
my repentance. That is not to say that all spiritual experiences since have
been emotional. They haven't. But I have had some. On occasion, God has
brought me to tears. I have wept as God has laid His feelings upon me for
another person. He means us to 'feel' for others, and those feelings or
emotions are expressions of God's compassionate, caring nature. So,
emotional expression is not always wrong. What is wrong is when it is put on
for show, when it is false and does not arise from sincerity. I do not judge
'charismatics' who express true emotional praise and worship. God is in
them. And their emotions can be an expression of God's Spirit moving them.
Demonstrates His Presence
enclose a video of Benny Hinn on which you will see how sincere praise can
lead to true worship and bring God's presence amongst believers in
demonstrable ways. Spiritual gifts are demonstrated. People are edified
(which is the purpose of meeting together). And lives are changed. This
charismatic stuff is not a sham. It is for real. God is present and makes
Himself 'felt' (sometimes in emotions, but also through spiritual gifts
which edify). This is all scriptural (1 Cor 14:3,4).
kept the Feast [of Tabernacles] in 1995 with a small group who invited us to
be with them at that time, I spoke briefly on the subject
If Any Man Thirst...
quenched that thirst at that time and people also 'felt' various phenomena
that they had never sensed before, such as tingling in the arms or hands,
being 'weepy', invigorated inside, deep emotional warmth for another, etc.
person even 'smelt' an unusual and beautiful scent. This was the fragrance
of the Holy Spirit, a manifestation that many have experienced when God
demonstrates His presence amongst us.
Experience Jesus 'Tangibly' And Some Don't
said that where 2 or 3 gather together in His name, He will be in our midst.
He demonstrates that by various means. It's not always through a beautiful
fragrance, or the phenomena I have mentioned. The reason few from our
background have ever experienced this in 'tangible' ways is partly because
low level of faith. Most don't expect Jesus to show up. They think He's so
far away from them that to expect Him to manifest Himself to them is out of
2) Another reason is that His main avenue of expression is through spiritual
gifts, which most sabbatarians reject.
3) And thirdly, if He were to give most people these experiences, they would
be scared and think they were being taken over by the devil! They are so
fearful of Jesus' real presence.
I am not
encouraging seeking phenomena. That is wrong. We are to seek the Giver. But
I am trying to make people aware that it is not wrong to have them if God
provides them. [If you want to know more about these amazing things, read
John White's excellent book When The Spirit Comes
The Dangers Of 'Charismania'?
recently had to write to another about this same subject, and include a
portion of that letter here:
the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. You feel I am too one-sided in my approach,
that I don't warn enough of the dangers you claim are inherent in an
acceptance of the gifts.
ask you, then, what spiritual gifts do you demonstrate? Tongues?
Interpretation of tongues? Prophesying? Discernment of spirits and
associated casting out demons? Healing? Working of miracles? You don't
demonstrate any one of those gifts, do you? Then how are you in a position
to judge when it comes to being wary of false manifestations?
spoke this prophetic word a few years ago for those who criticise Morris
Cerullo and other charismatic/Pentecostal preachers:
First rise up to the same level of power, then you will
be in a position to properly judge.
same with emotionalism. Of course there's emotionalism, but I don't foster
emotionalism. I write to encourage people who have never experienced the
gifts of the Spirit to rise up from their mundane level of spiritual
inexperience and take on board all Jesus wants for them. He wants them to
demonstrate spiritual gifts in meetings. Emotions are often heightened
through the operation of spiritual gifts.
Jesus emotional when the Spirit moved him to weep over Jerusalem?
the disciples emotional when the Holy Spirit descended with tongues of fire?
Weren't they emotional when the place where they were praying shook?
Holy Spirit is allowed full latitude, of course there will be emotional
scenes! Emotions are one of the most expressive avenues of the working of
the Holy Spirit. If we quench good emotions, we quench the Spirit.
We need to get away from
old-fashioned, staid, dry, conservative 'religion'. It is not true religion.
True religion allows a complete expression of the Spirit through emotion.
aware of those who go too far. I don't advise anyone to go to Toronto for
their 'blessing'. I have written articles against the over- emotionalism of
some charismatics and what is encouraged as a result... (in the book
Testing The Spirits).
But, just because there are false manifestations, should they receive
emphasis? We must beware throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
About The Gifts Is From The Devil!
present highly conservative approach [which is actually a denial of truth]
will have that effect on those we are trying to reach. They are so turned
off to any supernatural gifts being demonstrated that an imbalance in
teaching by accentuating the negative at the outset will erase any good
which the positive teaching MUST accomplish.
this negative stuff is based on a wrong fear engendered by the devil. Some
of the arguments are very subtle, too. But you don't tell people to worry
about getting a demon spirit when they are baptized for the receipt of the
Holy Spirit, or when they go to God in prayer, do you? So, why undermine the
gifts in this way?
nothing to fear from false manifestations. No true child of God will ever
get a false 'gift' while they are truly seeking God. A pure heart is under
God's protection and guidance. So there is no need to fear and warn so much
about the charismatic hype which the devil enjoys getting involved in. Those
from a WCG-type background will be streets away from getting the sort of
things that detract in Toronto or similar places where many people really
seek manifestations for their own sake. WCG folks need loosening up, not
restricting by fear-based warnings.
Gifts Are The Testimony Of Jesus In The Church
reason there is so much flack against the gifts of the Spirit is because
they are the testimony of Jesus in the Church. That is what He said about
the Spirit of prophecy in Rev 19:10. Have you got the Spirit of prophecy? Is
it active in you so you can speak forth words from God for others?
reason Satan has filled believers with distrust of the gifts is that they
are the major tool for edification in the Church. 1 Corinthians 14 describes
prophecy primarily. But the gifts of healing and working miracles also edify
tremendously in the Church. They really lift people's spirits, and tongues
lifts the individual who speaks in tongues (1 Cor 14:4).
says we should desire EARNESTLY to prophesy (1 Cor 14:39). He didn't say
to warn people that they might get a wrong spirit if they try. He did say
that all prophecies must be weighed (1 Thes 5:21), but let's get things in
perspective! The Church (the sectors which have not yet accepted spiritual
gifts) is never going to move forward and embrace the gifts if negative
doubt about being wary of the gifts is promulgated!
you see danger in a lot of it. Fine. But encourage people to receive the
gifts first, then warn of excesses and abuses later. Otherwise you will put
them off altogether because they are already prejudiced against spiritual
gifts by their former teaching.
bringing a new convert to Christ, do you warn him that there are false
Christs lurking around the corner? Do you negate his confidence in Christ?
Or do you tell him that Jesus is able to keep him from falling? (Jude 24).
try and instill fear or faith?
gifts are accepted, received and practised, that's when you can warn of
dangers which come through self-seeking, and going over- the-top –
'emotionalism'. But until then, there needs to be a major effort of
'evangelism' towards promoting the gifts because those from an anti-
Pentecostal or anti-charismatic background will immediately dismiss their
benefits. They would rather stay put in unspiritual mediocrity. They don't
need any encouragement to criticise or dismiss spiritual gifts because of
abuse. Such folks are already polarised against their use!
with you that a message about the centrality of the cross is correct.
Without using those words, I effectively say that in much of what I write.
But let's not leave the resurrected
body hanging there. Jesus is actively involved in a life of the Spirit. We
must crucify the illicit desires, but not those which encourage the power of
this puts things in better perspective. Please take time to listen to the
tapes enclosed, and if after hearing them you want anything clarified, do
write back. Keep in touch. [He didn't.] Thanks. MBH
Coming out of darkness and into the
full light of what Jesus has made available to us is not something that is
Spiritual gifts are meant to edify,
uplift, enlighten and empower. They are also major tools to unify in the
Church. No wonder the devil is so hot against them!
Gifts Gaining Acceptance
What God begins like a grain of mustard
seed, germinates and grows. So, while there is a groundswell of negative
opinion against this issue, here and there acceptance of the Spirit's gifts
is gaining ground.
This letter recounts one man's
the Fall Festival season was joyous and spiritually rewarding. The
additional tapes and books have been arriving. True to your word, it is
different than what we were taught in the Worldwide culture, and it has been
difficult at times to put aside 14 years of indoctrination.
to share some impressions of the Festival spent at United's site in Snowmass
Village, Colorado. It was very dismaying. Now that the "crisis" [of the
breakaway from WCG to UCG] seems to be over, there is determination to get
back to the way things were. One particular example occurred over dinner.
There were a few younger men, two middle-aged couples and myself. One of the
younger men mentioned he was studying the calendar issue and reading
literature from channels outside United. The older couple admonished him,
warning him that such literature would only "confuse you". A second thing I
observed were numerous messages about what H W Armstrong taught and "honouring
his memory". This trend gained momentum after the Feast. United is turning
into a living mausoleum for HWA!
sixth day came a shocking realization: I have precious little in common with
people in United. The sense similar to how you described your visit with a
Seventh Day Adventist church. That evening (Tuesday evening) an unusual
thing happened. Something from within told me, "Leave!" After some
hesitation, I packed and left Snowmass Wednesday morning, spending the Last
Great Day at United's site in Corpus Christi. The following Sabbath
attendance was sparse at my local congregation. You see a sizeable portion
went to Snowmass. A snowstorm struck Colorado late Thursday (just after the
Last Great Day and a day earlier than expected). Two families from..... made
it out, not without problems. The rest were stranded in Colorado until
Monday. Was this the "word of knowledge"? [Yes!] By the way, I made the
"mistake" of mentioning the incident where I left Snowmass to a local church
elder. He made some small fun of it.
unusual event happened, this time during the Last Great Day. The morning
sermon was given by a pastor who asked, "What is the source of your
decision?" His answer was the Holy Bible, but something from within
immediately said, "Incomplete!" A scripture came to mind and, after fumbling
around for a few minutes, I found it in John 5:39. Another major point was
his castigation towards "following our hearts" which brought Jeremiah
31:31-33 to mind. During the entire sermon scriptures came to mind exposing
the incompleteness of the sermon. Having scriptures come to mind like this
during any message has never happened in my experience. Anyway, the pastor
did not once mention the Holy Spirit, without which is not the Holy Bible
useless? A last scripture came to mind exposing the full irony of the
situation: John 7:38-39. Neglecting mention of the Holy Spirit on the Last
Great Day must surely "take the cake"?
reason I still attend United are some friendships I've made with people who
know the Worldwide's history and have no illusion about its pretensions as a
"loving church". The Last Great Day was spent with an elderly couple from my
local congregations (who served as deacons for nearly 30 years). The wife
went livid at the morning sermon. She kept muttering that she's heard the
same stuff for 30 years and asked, "When do we graduate?" Over lunch, they
confided numerous run-ins with previous pastors, demonstrating rather
questionable spirituality on the pastors' parts. [Indeed! Rev 2:9 and 3:9
relates about the presence of the synagogue of Satan troubling the chosen
ones. There are many UCG pastors who are not converted. Mind you, the same
could be said of most church organisations.]
somewhat at a loss about "life after United", or "Where do I go from here?"
I am coming to believe the validity of most of what you are saying regarding
gifts of the Spirit and the bareness of our ritualistic background. What
happened during the Feast and two vivid dreams, which I'll describe in a
moment, is an indication of something.
Traditionally, I didn't pay attention to dreams. Even now, I'm not sure if
the vividness of these two dreams stem from a greater awareness of dreams
from reading your literature or a greater spiritual receptiveness on my
part. It's not a matter of doubt, but simply the fact that all of this is
new to me and the realization that you might have greater experience in
these type of things.
first dream came 3 or 4 weeks ago. I was driving an ambulance. The weather
was awful, driving rain. Controlling the ambulance was very difficult. Cars
were cutting in front of me and even turning onto side streets directly in
front of me! It was exasperating! I reached an intersection which I
recognised as near my home. I began to turn left only to discover that a
railroad crossing gate was down. After looking carefully both ways, there
was no train in sight. So, I managed to steer around the gate. Afterward the
scene shifted. The rain had stopped, but I was riding a bicycle along a road
leading to my house. There was a little girl (about 10 years old) riding a
bicycle, but circling me. She was chastising me for crossing the railroad
crossing. I tried to explain that I checked very carefully for oncoming
trains and didn't see any, but she continued to chastise me anyway.
second dream came last night. It was after dark and I was in a stadium with
many other people. For some reason, I got the sense of attending a "crusade"
(which I've only done once in my life). Police began arriving and taking
people away. Some of us tried to get away, but were forced higher into the
stadium seats. After a while, the police left, leaving a few of us at the
top of the stadium.
I'm not sure if they have any meaning and would appreciate help in figuring
appreciate the literature and tapes that have arrived since the last
request. The series about the gifts of God's Spirit... are particularly
local Friends of the Sabbath Bible study before the Festival, Xxxx Xxxxx was
our guest speaker. When I figured out you were in Bricket Wood at the same
time, I asked him about you. He mentioned hearing that you had "some
unbalanced ideas about tongues". He was honest enough to say that he had not
read any of your literature and so couldn't draw any conclusions... A. USA
Isn't that typical of the ignorant
prejudice in most people? They think they are so right, while they are so
uninformed! And yet, they don't want to be fully educated. They would rather
continue to sleep. (See Matt 25:1-6.)
Meaning of his Dreams
My reply to the above correspondent
explained the meaning of his dreams:
15th December 1997
Speaks To Us
experiences at the Feast were of the Spirit of God speaking to you. This is
one major way He speaks – in thoughts and impressions. Yes, they were 'words
of knowledge'. God doesn't have to whack us over the head and speak audibly
in our ears to reach us. If He did so, He would unnerve us. It would have
the opposite effect to what He desires. So, He often speaks 'softly' in
'couched' language, and sometimes cryptically so we take the effort to use
our minds to fathom or search out the meaning, which causes us to learn more
from His written Word in the process.
explained one of my experiences when new to receiving words of knowledge. I
was introducing] the gifts of the Spirit to a small ex-WCG group. I did so
by covering the subject of Hearing From God.
Some of them weren't that open to this sort of thing. Their level of faith
was very low and so the level of God's manifestation was equally low. But,
after the message I did ask if anyone needed healing. About three or four
hands went up, and as they did, I received a very feint thought in my head
which was "bad leg". I thought, "That's just me thinking that. That couldn't
be a word of knowledge." Then, I thought to myself, "What if it is and I
ignore it?" "What have I got to lose?" So I asked, "Is there anyone here
with a bad leg?" Immediately a lady put up her hand. I was a bit taken aback
because it was the first time I had done this sort of thing. I didn't know
what to say, so I merely said "I suppose God wants to heal you."
expected another word of knowledge to know whether that was the case, but
there was nothing. Anyway, the woman came forward and she received her
healing. The leg was healed, there and then. Two others came forward for
healing, but they did not receive healing at that time. One received it a
few days later.
gifts are wonderful blessings to the Church, but oh how few really believe!
They are quenched by unbelief. We don't take Jesus' words literally enough:
"I am with you always, even to the end of the world." He wants to converse
with us more than we are prepared to believe it!
asked about your recent dreams. They are significant in the light of
your recent experiences. You are beginning to see what is wrong with the
churches of our former association. They are operating mostly 'in the
flesh', so to speak. Their level of spirituality is very low.
these brethren are like babes, spiritually, which is why you saw the young
girl encircling you on a bicycle, chastising you for going across the
crossing. Their worship is not "in the Spirit" as Jesus said it must be. It
has degenerated to the level of legalistic pettiness, engulfed in rules
taught by men.
bit more that may be useful to you in understanding the meaning of the
Dream. You were driving an
Ambulances carry very sick or injured people to safety, or to a place where
they can get better. You want to help take people on spiritually, away from
the sick spiritual environment which holds them captive, into a new place of
healing and spiritual health.
weather was awful.
Cars were cutting in front of you, etc. This symbolises the constant
obstacles we all face in trying to help deliver these people from their
changed your mode of transport from a car to a bicycle. This may symbolise
the change in your spiritual journey, but the main emphasis here is on the
girl who is intent on finding fault with your conduct. The pickiness,
legalistic pettiness, and fault-finding is typical of spiritually immature,
self-righteous ones. But, they don't listen to reason.
Xxxx Xxxxx, he probably hasn't read any of my 'stuff' about tongues, yet he
is sure I am 'unbalanced' about the matter. If he knew I
speak in tongues on a regular basis (it is not a gift of the Spirit God has
given me), that ought to make him wonder why I promote speaking in tongues
so much. But would it? Whatever we say, they don't consider objectively, and
least of all that they might be in the wrong.
Dream. I believe this is a warning in allegory of what is to come upon
the Church. After dark:
We must work the works of Him who has called us while it is day, the night
comes when no man can work (Jn 9:4). We are approaching the time of greatest
spiritual darkness, the Great Tribulation.
had a dream about darkness last week, too. She saw hills and valleys all
enshrouded in darkness. God is saying that this is the state of the Church,
not merely of the world. The Church slumbers at this time
You were in a crusade.
The gospel is becoming more
and more public. With crusades like those of Benny Hinn, millions are
hearing about Jesus and, through the power of God demonstrated in those
crusades, a lot of controversy is being generated. The end result of too
much controversy is civil action by the government against the supposed
instigators of it. This is what happened in the early Church. Persecution
engulfed the Church and it was scattered.
dream, the persecution comes from the state.
are the official arm of the state authorised to deal with insurrection and
disturbances. They symbolise the organised persecution coming upon
believers. God makes it possible for some to escape, depending upon His plan
for them. The only escape is to move onto higher spiritual ground. To go
downwards is to move into the grasp of Satan. By
moving upwards, you
will assure your spiritual safety. (It doesn't matter about the physical
aspect; it's the spiritual which counts. The main meaning of dreams is the
spiritual one which is conveyed in allegory.)
enclose some other items which we are sending to about 130 others still in
the WCG, and to about 50 more who have left and joined United or some other
groups... keep hammering away at the walls which surround these folks...
make a big enough hole for them to see outside and get a glimpse of the
spirituality that is there if they would only look!
feel free to copy anything which you feel you can send to friends. Personal
challenges by friends are the most effective... [If we send it] mostly it
just gets binned or ignored!
Such is the stupidity
of a closed mind!
Malcolm B Heap