Scripture Research - Vol. 5 - No. 1 Second Edition
Scripture Research, Inc., P.O. Box 51716, Riverside, CA 92517
Ewalt Memorial Bible School, Atascadero, California
Introduction .. i
by Russell H. Schaefer
Though I Spoke With Tongues ... 1
by Dr. Andrew Jackson Roddy
Dr. A. J. Roddy "has been there." This is an account of his experiences in and exodus from the charismatic-tongues movement. Dr. Roddy not only feels that all experiences are to be judged by The Word of God, but that the very use of the sign-gifts were fenced-in by judicial controls and restrictions. Not only this, but he also shows, that while many profess to believe The Word, they know nothing about dividing it rightly, and having read that "these signs shall follow" they determine they shall have them, even in a pseudo way for the so-called "tongues-movement" of today bears no resemblance to the initial Biblical facts of Acts 2:
... every man heard them speak in his own language. (2:6) ... and how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? (2:8)
... we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. (2:11)
"Tongues" at that time were a divine provision to enable unschooled men to speak to unbelieving Jews in the real languages of their dispersion of The Christ that their "at-home" rulers had rejected.
If the much sought after charismatic-sign-gifts "that were to follow them that believe" were operative today, then the charismatic movement should be the greatest home and foreign mission force ever seen in the world. Not having to learn the foreign languages, being able to handle serpents with impunity, being able to partake of poisoned or contaminated food or drink, being able to heal millions in pain and illnesses, being able to "raise the dead"... what more proofs would the world need to argument the claims of Christianity if these signs did indeed "follow them that believe" now?
No thinking person would limit how God would act at any given time, He is sovereign. He was pleased to show unlimited power during the Book of Acts period in signs, wonders, and miracles. He does not choose to do so now.
Russell H. Schaefer
THOUGH I SPOKE WITH TONGUES
Andrew Jackson Roddy, M,A., Th.D.
Chairman, Department of Modern Languages
California Baptist College
"Saved, Sanctified, and Baptized with the Holy Ghost."
As a child one of nine eventually I received no definite religious guidance from my parents other than a Sunday washing, dressing, and sending off to town to attend Sunday School wherever I pleased. In the course of time, I made the round of the denominations in our little town of Hartsville, South Carolina, becoming exposed to every thing from measles to Presbyterianism. ([t was the young people's service of this group which appealed to me, for I understood it to be the "Christians and Devils." It lost its charm when I learned its correct, and for me, meaningless name was "Christian Endeavor.") I was at different times a member of the Methodist, Baptist, and Holiness Sunday Schools. There were spiritual climaxes for me in all these groups at various states in my preteen age which I shall not enumerate for the simple reason that I wish to begin with the first real experience which came to me.
Living out in the east side of Hartsville, when I was about fifteen years old, I heard one evening drifting across the wheat field and the "Chancy" trees a joyful singing which I recognized immediately and which called to my mind scores of scenes and services under tents, tabernacles, brush arbors and in churches scattered from Darlington to Camdenthe inimitable singing of the holiness congregation. There is nothing like it in the world. It can be described only in terms of itself. I have never seen any group so whole-heartedly enter into the singing' of their hymns (unless it be the First Baptist Church of New Orleans). There was a strange magnetism about the whole that drew me from the front porch, up the highway and up the hill to the shabby canvas top under which this service was being held.
I knew the songs; I had heard them from many a contact with holiness services and hill-billy bands, and I found an extreme delight in joining in with the group. Nothing was strange to me the loud playing, the holy dancing, the rolling, the jerking, the "unknown" tongues. Nor was the preaching strange; the themes I
knew from just so many contacts. In spite of all my experiences in all the churches, including my then current endeavors in the local East Side Baptist Church, I knew as I saw the exuberant gladness of those people that I was lost and miserable.
That night, when the altar call was given, I knew that I must find peace in my own heart. There was no pressure except from The Spirit of God. No one else spoke to me. To the contrary, in order to assuage the burning pain in my own heart, I turned to invite to the altar, a young male who I had reason to believe was unsaved also. I was reluctant to make a move myself, for everyone (so far as I knew) received me already as a believer. But that young man refused to go. Then I saw at the altar another young man I knew, McKiever Walters by name, and I resolved to go down and help him "pray through." But when I knelt, a man whom I afterwards came to know as Brother Willie Bussell came and asked me what I was seeking. When I explained that I was praying for Brother Mc- Kiever, he advised that I had better rather pray for myself ... which I set about to do.
I could have had peace that night had I been given the right instruction. But the impression was left with me that night which I afterwards instilled in so many: that God must be "sought" by the mourner. My prayer was that he should "please save me" from my sins. He had to be put in the mood to do it. The unmistakable assurance that I was saved would come through a. "witness of the Spirit in my heart" which would express itself in some physical phenomenon. This display finally came. I expected to shout which term includes almost any physical demonstration and I did, though I do not recall now whether at that first experience I jumped, rolled, wept, or cried out.
I fully understand the zeal of those dear people when after that experience of regeneration they urged me on to the "higher works of grace," for they themselves believed in them with their whole soul. When I requested Scriptures on the doctrine of sanctification, Sisters Nettie Mayfield and Ruth Evans (the former the evangelist, the latter a zealous lay-worker) went to the trouble of copying from the concordance of Miss Mayfields Bible all the Scriptural references containing the word "sanctification" both in the Old Testament and the New. As one may imagine, few of these
passages could be related to the Pentecostal doctrine of sanctification (more nearly valid proof-texts may be found where the word itself does not occur), and I realized that then. But I was extremely happy and terribly desirous of that and any other blessing The Lord might have in store for me. I was told to pray for it and believe that I had it and I should receive it. I did so. The next experience of shouting I had in prayer was proof for my friends and for me that I had been sanctified. That experience "purged" my heart from the last remaining traces of inbred sin and depravity and prepared me for the infilling of The Holy Ghost, for which I had not been morally fit before.
The baptism of The Holy Ghost, with the initial evidence of speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance, is the highest spiritual attainment taught by these groups. There are indeed some who teach a fourth work known as Dynamite, based upon Acts 1:8"Ye shall receive power (Greek, dynamis)after that The Holy Ghost is come upon you"; but these were regarded as fanatics by our church. As a boy in Camden, South Carolina; I had one very vivid recollection of a tall, square-faced young fellow, lying in the shavings of Brook Faith's tabernacle between the Wateree and Hermitage mill villages, jerking, digging his heels in the dirt beneath the shavings, and repeating the prescribed formula, "Praise Him, praise Him, praise Him," ad infinitum. I had seen others seeking Him, using the simpler formula, "Glory, glory, glory, etc." These words were to be spoken continuously, as rapidly as possible and without breathing. Such an exercise was the way to "get" The Holy Ghost. That was how I now sought Him. I was told or else I soon learned, I do not remember which to get into a comfortable position (kneeling, sitting, lying) and repeat either of the formulas I desired. The important thing was to repeat the words without ceasing and without breathing. After all, were not the disciples "continually in the temple praising God" before Pentecost?
There were days of fasting, for I was told that the mortification of my body would show God the intensity of my desires, and He would be more likely to grant my pleading for the Holy Ghost. I became a walking skeleton. My sisters and my mother wept at my physical condition. But I would not be denied:
As Jacob in the days of old
I wrestled with The Lord,
And instant with a courage bold
I seized upon His word.
I would not be denied!
I would not be denied!
'Til Jesus came and made me whole,
I would not be denied!
I desired that experience and the ability to talk in other languages with all the earnestness of my soul. Yet I sought vainly for what from this remote point seems like months surely several weeks.
In the meantime I met a young lady, the sister of our pastor, with whom I became infatuated. She had been saved after I had, but as I recall had not yet been sanctified. It was the word from her (which came to me by letter) to the effect that she had been sanctified and had "gone on to Pentecost" in the same evening that brought me to the place where I was determined at all costs to go through also. As I look back, I am ashamed of my feelings at that time; but I must confess that I became insanely jealous of that young lady that evening. Had I not sought The Holy Spirit all those weeks in vain? Had I not fasted and prayed and then fasted again and sought until I was hoarse, pale and thin, but all in vain? Had she not been saved only recently and now had gone through without any such physical suffering? I determined that no flippant young girl would so out-do me.
That night as we met for cottage prayer meeting in her brother's home, I was asked to lead in prayer (which, by the way, means nothing at all for all pray at the same time, each louder than the other). As I prayed, I became oblivious to all who were with me. I remember feeling exceedingly happy, rising from my knees and jumping lightly around the room. When I became conscious of where I was again, I was lying partly under the bed, one of the windows was minus a pane (which I had kicked out), and those dear people were all around me, faces glowing and shouting, "He's got it! He's got it!" That meant that during my period of unawareness I
had "talked in tongues" and "got" The Holy Ghost. I did not know it.
However, I certainly knew it later. In another cottage prayer meeting at the home of Brother Irvin Mason, as we sat in a circle taking turns reading The Scriptures, I opened my mouth to read when it became my turn only to discover that I could not control a syllable I uttered. For what they later described as hours I sat there talking, without any control at all over my vocal organs. The next day I could not talk to my mother, for when I opened my mouth, I made those uncontrollable sounds. And when my mouth was closed, I still talked or went through the motions. The experience produced a physical ecstasy I cannot describe. I was particularly happy, beyond the enjoyment of the experience itself, that the end had come for the tension of long weeks of seeking.
Trances, shouting and prayer, experiences thereafter followed in the same patterns. An account of them would add nothing, therefore, to the general picture already described.
Speaking in Tongues
Rather than satisfy the curious, I wish therefore to make a few statements to correct false impressions held by outsiders regarding this experience. In the first place, although many people arrive at the tongues experience through the use of the formulas mentioned above, and therefore may be charged with simply losing control of their tongues and inevitably lapsing into meaningless jabber, it is not always so, as may be attested by my own experience. Likewise, it needs to be stated that one does not thereafter (after the initial experience) engage in this exercise only after working himself up into a state of spiritual ecstasy. Often the phenomenon presented itself to me with no more prompting or preparation than a sudden "flash" (like a chill) of that ecstasy, occasioned by a thought in a hymn or prayer or message. Often while singing I found it impossible to use the words in the hymnal because of the irresistible urge to speak with tongues. This I observed in others, also.
I recall once when, for the amusement of some young people,
I sat in a home interpreting into Spanish an impromptu "message"
by my friend Gaines Sorrow, a godly lady (who later became the mother-in-law of one of my sisters) sitting quietly there on the sofa, began to speak with tongues... just as calmly and quietly as she spoke in her English drawl, though not as slowly. This I say out of
Christian fairness to the group, though I have left it now. Such statements need to be qualified, however, with the recognition that much of the tongues speaking is the result of personal effort.
There was in my church in Edgefield, South Carolina, a lady who sat by the stove in the winter services and apparently went through the entire service in the kind of half sleep which proximity to a coal heater can so easily produce. Yet invariably when the time came for testifying, she arose and declared in no uncertain terms her victory over sin, her voice rising as she spoke both in pitch and volume, always with the same pattern, and she never finished until she had reached a sort of orgasm in which she repeated the syllables "daa daa daa daa" several times.
To my utter shame I shall confess that on occasions when I could not speak in tongues and all the others were doing so, I committed the sin of deception by uttering a few words of Spanish just to save my face. As a judgment of God upon me, I remember distinctly one such experience in Darlington, after which one dear lady was heard to say, "I wish I could talk in tongues like that boy." Her words lashed at my heart in deep conviction.
When one speaks in tongues, the muscles of the face, particularly those of the lips and tongue, contract and relax of their own accord. There is no control of them. Sometimes this motion is rapid, sometimes it is slow and difficult. If one sets his vocal cords in motion, "words" are formed. I have observed that the commonest consonant sounds made are labials, dentals, and occasionally a lingual. The sound of the English long "i" is the commonest vowel. I have heard very beautiful tongues-speaking, and I have heard people get stuck on one syllable, like the lady mentioned above. There was one person who always said repeatedly, "High diddimy oh tye," in a high-falling pitch. Others , with no set pattern, sounded more like real languages.
Dr. Howard M. Reeves, now the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Mobile, Alabama, was the pastor of the First Baptist
Church in Hartsville when I joined the Pentecostal group. That God-fearing servant of Christ dealt with me patiently and lovingly when I went to him with my newly found treasures. He tried to help me particularly by explaining the matter of how sin could be real in the life of a true believer, drawing charts about punctiliar and linear action. My smattering of privately acquired New Testament Greek made those explanations have some meaning, but my joy with my experience was more intense than my willingness to listen to reason. He prayed with me, and in love sought to remove from my own praying that sing-song lilt which was characteristic of the praying of our group. He talked with God as he talked with me a thing which I could not understand as I do now. I felt that my praying with a plaintive pleading would convince God of the sincerity of my desire. Later, those words and helps of Dr. Reeves came back to my mind and had delayed-action explosive power. Such is God's faithfulness to His truth.
Other Facets of My New Faith
My dear father, who in the meantime had become, with my mother, a servant of our Lord, tried to dissuade me from my Arminianism; our conversations always resulted in heated argu-ment. I was Pentecostal; like all Pentecostals of my acquaintance, I perverted the teaching of the Grace and Mercy of God into a view which we said maintained that every Christian "had to sin a little bit every day." In my opinion at that time, every Calvinist was lost, my parents included.
I had many friends, none of whom could reason with me. After all, I knew that The Scriptures demanded absolute holiness of the believer and I knew just as surely that I was sinless. When they accused me of sin, it bothered me not a whit. Nor could they, any more than my father, dissociate from my thinking the doctrine of "falling from grace." For me, the doctrine of the eternal security of the believer was diabolical. I felt that it always led to anomianism. It appeared to me that Calvinists were saying that if a man were once saved, he might do as he pleased and yet never lose his "hold" on God. Since holiness was demanded, and I knew it was possible (for I enjoyed it), sin was impossible in a believer's experience. Consequently, anyone who sinned became lost, according to our teaching.
Once Brother Willie R. got in a fight down at the Hartsville Print and Dye Works. It was the judgment of all of us that he was therefore lost and would go to Hell if he died in that state. He made sure this latter thing did not happen, however. I recall the Wednesday night when he "prayed through from regeneration to Pentecost" at one kneeling. This sort of thing occurs often, in spite of the clear statement of that main proof-text in Hebrews 6, that should one apostatize, he cannot be brought again to repentance.
These references will become clearer if at this point I state what I came to know, bit by bit, to be the doctrinal tenants of my faith.
The various churches which come under the general name of "Pentecostal" assemblies, though disagreeing on minor points of doctrine and practice, agree on the following points (to my knowledge) almost unanimous.
They believe that Jesus Christ shed His blood for the remission of sins that are past, for the regeneration of sinners who repent, turn from sin, and come by faith to Christ for salvation both from sin, and sinning. They also teach and firmly maintain the Scriptural doctrine of justification by faith alone; yet they do not regard faith as the basis on which the Christian experience is sustained. The permanence of that experience is based without question upon the conduct and faithfulness of the believer. (This statement will be qualified later.) They teach that Jesus Christ shed His blood for the complete cleansing of the justified believer from all indwelling sin and from its pollution, subsequent to regeneration; and that entire sanctification is an instantaneous, definite, second work of grace, obtainable by faith on the part of the fully justified believer. They teach that the Pentecostal baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire is obtainable by a definite act of appropriating faith on the part of the fully sanctified believer, and that the initial evidence of this experience is speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance.
Their eschatology includes the premillennial teaching concerning the return of The Lord. However, there is wide variety here. Some within our own Congregational Holiness Church were
amillennialists. Yet all Pentecostals are ardent apocalyptists. They look for the return of Christ at any day, describing the attending phenomena through the literal interpretation of the Apocalyptic writings of the Old and New Testaments.
In the atonement made by Christ, they believe that provision was made for the healing of the body ("with his stripes we are healed") but do not antagonize, as a rule, the practice of medicine as something essentially evil, emphasizing the claim that there is a more excellent way. Some, indeed, will use no medicine at all, and others will use it only after failure to be healed through prayer. "Ask God to heal you; if He doesn't, then use medicine," is a code of many. Others who will not employ a physician do not see any inconsistency in the use of patent drugs and medicines. There are many professional healers ministers or lay workers claiming to possess the gift of healing. (Our own church was very careful about this matter. In all my experience, I never met one of our number who claimed to have this gift, though we did see definite answers to prayer in the healing of many of our sick, as do all Christian's. Ministers of the Congregational Holiness Church tended to distrust sensationalism in professional divine healing.)
Two ordinances, baptism and The Lord's Supper (often with feet-washing), are recognized. Baptism is usually by immersion, but the local option may decide for any one of the three modes. Only those are received by baptism into membership in the church who say that they have been consciously regenerated. They must give evidence of the fact that they intend to press on to the complete cleansing of the heart and soul from all remaining sin that is, that they shall seek entire sanctification and the real baptism with The Holy Ghost. The ordinance of feet-washing is carried out in strict decency, the men being separated from the women, and both from the congregation of non-participants, by opaque curtains.
Specifically, then, as a Spirit-filled Pentecostal believer in the Lord Jesus Christ:
1. I was forgiven of past sins.
2. I was, in sanctification, rid of the tendency to sin, and so capacitated to live "above sin."
3. I was, through the baptism with The Holy Ghost, a partaker of the highest spiritual experience this side of Heaven, and in line for any of the spiritual gifts the Spirit distributes according to I Corinthians 12, though I (with all others who had been baptized with The Holy Ghost) possessed the uni- versal gift of tongues.
4. I could at any time forfeit all these blessings through a lapse into sin, which tragedy would necessitate my beginning at the bottom of this hierarchy of experience and proceeding again to the top.
5. As one baptized with The Holy Ghost, I would be in the Bride of Christ, hence in the rapture of the Church at the return of The Lord (though there was anything but uniformity of opinion about this matter).
6. As one baptized with The Holy Ghost, I had been empowered for service above my fellows who did not have that experience; I should make a more powerful preacher, personal worker, missionary, than one without The "Holy Ghost Baptism."
It will be readily seen that my mortal enemies were the Calvlnists who were decidedly in the ascendency in my home town. The principle points of conflict lay in the Calvinists denial of sinless perfection for the present life and of the validity of the tongues experience, along with their insistence upon the faithfulness of God, which we Pentecostals called the teaching of "once saved, always saved."
My Exodus Begins
The steps by which God opened my eyes and led me out of that confusion, which I was enjoying so much, will now be indicated. But let it be understood that I was never dissatisfied with my relationships in Pentecostalism and found myself freed from it quite by surprise, as will be shown. That is an important factor for me. I was not seeking to find deliverance. The steps by which it came to me were clearly the working of The Lord Himself; to whose Name be praise. At the same time, I would desist from saying one word which
would suggest that my beloved Pentecostal brothers and sisters are maliciously deluding those who will hear them, those of my acquaintance love God and desire to live the kind of life they feel God expects us all to live. Yet I am sure that they have a misguided zeal for many unscriptural emphasis.
I have discovered that godly non-Pentecostals and genuine Pentecostal believers have much more in common than is generally believed. This surely is true experimentally, though wide theoretical divergencies exist between the groups.
We, of course, do not accept the gifts of I Corinthians 12 as indispensable to the assurance of The Spirit's presence in us and our knowledge of that. We look rather for the moral expression in the fruits of The Spirit. At the same time, we recognize the indisputable fact of the reality of those gifts. We cannot deny The Biblical record, nor are we disposed to do so. It is one thing to acknowledge that record, however, and quite another to accept the contemporary Pentecostal displays as valid expressions of those charismatic gifts. In fact, there are insoluble points of conflict between the modern and the Biblical phenomena, as shall be shown.
With our Pentecostal friends, we do rejoice in the ability of God to heal. We are glad that in His wisdom the natural desires of our frail hearts are often so satisfied. But we know that He has never exercised that power "wholesale." Faith is its strongest when it surmounts the inevitable longing of human weakness and it rests its problem upon the wisdom and loving kindness of a God whom we shall trust even when longings go unsatisfied.
What our friends describe as second and third definite works of grace we accept as parallel, progressive experiences issuing from the initial experience of regeneration. Their doctrine of sanc-tificatlon allows for a paradoxical "growth in grace." We recognize with the New Testament (we believe) the reality of the process of sanctification from the moment of conversion, as well as the reality of The Spirit's presence In the believer from that same point. At the same time we recognize the fact of growing upward in our submission to God's determined desire to make us conformed to the image of His Son, and prayerfully submit to The Holy Spirit of God as the indispensable factor in victorious living.
We, as they, desist from sin with a high hand, but acknowledge furthermore as real moral offenses what our holiness friends explain as mistakes or weaknesses. Yet we are agreed in our emphasis upon the separated life, no more than which is meant by the average Pentecostal in his doctrine of sanctification, at least experimentally. The problem growing out of the sins of the believer can be removed if our beloved friends can be led to see the meaning of the loving kindness and mercy of God, and can perceive the New Testament distinction between the ideal standing and real human living; if they can see the Evangelist John's portrayal of the present as well as the future aspects of life and death, justification and judgment.
These and other issues which occasioned what my friends describe (and honestly consider) as my falling from the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ will become clear as the steps of my exodus are delineated. My prayer is that the enlightenment which came to me might come to them, heightening their understanding of the grace of God and intensifying their determination to "keep themselves in the Grace of God" unspotted by the world, wholly, unconditionally unto Him.
Looking back at the process by which I came out of the Pentecostal movement, it is perhaps inevitable that my subsequent rationalizations should have colored that picture somewhat for me. Therefore, I shall endeavor to be as objective as possible in outlining the course of events. I shall continue to mention real names and places in an attempt to make clear my intention to truthfulness and exactness. Only where offense might be taken (in my judgment) have I withheld names.
The first step was indubitably my appointment to the foreign missionary service by the Congregational Holiness Church when I was eighteen. After months of traveling about among the churches seeking to raise interest and money for this the first missionary project of our denomination, I finally was brought in February of 1939 to New Orleans and dispatched on the Santa Marta of the United Fruit Company, with San Jose, Costa Rica, as my destination. The unforgettable Incidents of the voyage, with the long stopovers in Havana, Colon, and Bocasdel Toro, must be passed over here as irrelevant to the matter under discussion. Leaving the Julia Street
wharf at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, February 25, 1939, we arrived at Puerto Limon of Costa Rica at 12:30 a.m. on Monday, March 6.
The Pentecostal work there was represented by Dr. A. B., although it was not Indeed the same branch of the Pentecostal church to which I belonged. This ancient missionary from that northern church met me and conducted me to San Jose, the beautiful capital of Costa Rica where I was given a room in his mission until I should obtain from that government my own personal permit to establish work for our own little group. The first stage of my departure from Pentecostalism began in that very mission house.
The work was absolutely dead. Mr. B., though a man of good character, did not shout or speak in tongues for the simple reason (as his co-worker in Cartago, Miss Carrie Zeisloft told me) that the people would not tolerate such goings-on. In the many years he had been there, he had no converts in the real sense of the word, though I must confess he had drawn a little congregation around himself. Those few grown-ups who came to his mission were proselytes from other protestant bodies such as the Central American Mission or the Strachans' Biblical Temple. Mr. B., a proud, conceited and powerless soul, was-regarded with a great deal of pity, and some respect by the aged women who came to his services, yet with much love by the children (which was to his credit), to whom he catered. It was to my utter amazement that after preaching he would ask for those who desired to surrender to the Lord to indicate that desire by the mere uplifted hand, which he accepted and registered as a conversion. There was no conference, no altar service. This astonished me as being decidedly irregular and even looser than the method of the Christian groups whom we most strenuously opposed (as I had observed it).
It was my privilege within a matter of days to visit at the Biblical Institute of the Strachans a young Cuban with whom I had been corresponding for some time. There in that environment I found a deep spirituality, a determined separation from sin unto God; a warm Christian atmosphere thoroughly evangelistic and missionary, which was a welcome relief from the frigid state of the Holiness Mission en Fourteenth Street.
To our mission came a young Negress, a nurse, with her
friends from the Hospital San Juan de Dios, which stood some blocks toward the Paseo de Colon from our mission, opposite the Iglesla de la Merced. She and her friends, Jamaicans and so English speaking, were members of a very progressive Methodist fellowship in the city. They glowed with an experience which made my own Holy Ghost baptism seem like something from the elementary grades.
Betty Roiz Madriz, a little ten-year old girl (in 1939) who regularly came to our afternoon Sunday School, took me one day to her own Central American Mission, Presbyterian in doctrine, where I saw hundreds of consecrated young people, young adults and older believers, serving The Lord in a lively evangelistic program that put to shame any of the efforts of our largest holiness congregations in America.
Not only did the (Baptist) Strachans have a large worship house and a Bible Institute serving the Caribbean area, but they had a hospital (Clinica Biblica) whose service was indeed worthy. (Likewise, even the Seventh Day Adventists I found to be well established in a growing program of education there in that capital.) Moreover, the young Latin students of the Strachan program were being schooled in the rigors of real tropical missionary advance through pioneer labors in the interior of Costa Rica. Their devotion has become a proverb for me. In a word, the protestant work was being kept alive in that beautiful little land by the zealous witnessing of the non-Pentecostal, and so (at least in the sight of the Pentecostals) powerless congregations. All of this had its effect on me. No longer satisfactory for me was the glib statement that numbers and buildings do not spell spirituality, that "few" are saved, and that we in our minority constituted the spiritual elect with special insights and prerogatives.
But were we not indeed the most spiritual of all peoples? With our experience of The Holy Ghost, did we not possess an enlightenment and superior insight as well as an inimitable power to proclaim the truth to the conviction of hearts and the salvation of souls? Did we not possess the marvelous gifts of The Spirit could we not heal, speak in tongues, interpret, prophesy, display of faith in unusually powerful manners completely unapproachable by those uninitiated into our superior experience? Were we not potentially the best missionaries in the world?
Yet was not indeed ours the least powerful movement here? Where were the gifts ? If we had no hospital, where was the power to heal? Indeed, why did I not myself speak in tongues here, all alone now, and have other physical manifestations I had back home with the crowd? I was as willing as ever, and even more desirous of these things, to be sure. But those things did not come. Why were all these other people so happy and so victorious and enthusiastic in their witnessing? (It never occurred to me that their victory and joy were founded upon an experience far too deep to be shaken by the absence of physical ecstasy in moments of loneliness!)
These and myriad other questions bothered me, and I spent long hours in prayer pondering these problems. No answer came immediately. But I sought God for truth for an experience that would be real, like that of these joyous people, and whose reality would reflect Itself in a powerful service. I was not crying for the gifts, I was not praying for the return of tongues and jerking but I was crying for something to satisfy a longing deep, deep inside. And God heard.
I was dealing one day with a young man (Armando Saenz Otarola) who had come to the mission to study English with me. Trying to get him to give his heart to Jesus, I followed the holiness personal approach pattern of mixing warning with invitation, inviting him to believe God for salvation but warning him at the same time that any lapse into sin subsequently would invalidate his experience. But Armando was too keen for that kind of talk. I have long forgotten his exact words in Spanish, but his thought I shall never forget. He expressed disbelief that God would save one upon one basis (faith) and determine his being kept upon another (works). As he spoke to me, he kept thumbing through a little book on my desk; the book was a translation Into Spanish of Spurgeon's sermon, "All of Grace" (Toda de gracia) and had been given to me by Miss Zeisloft, who did not know the nature of its contents, apparently. Armandos eye caught a word as he talked, so he said, "This is what I mean!" and proceeded to read to me Romans 4:5, "To him that worketh not but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." Then he added words to this effect, "It would seem to me that if I am not initially saved by works, and through faith, that God should not change His method of dealing with me after that first experience." Oh, that this boy had
had within his heart for me all the mass of Scriptural support for that momentous insight! It could have saved me weeks of conflict. Inasmuch as I had no answer for him and none for myself, we turned to the matter of English grammar. Then, after he had gone out, I went back to that book and that Scripture. But all my prejudices were too strong for me to grasp all of that just then. As I read the Word, I inevitably sought to adjust It to my preconceptions. To make a parody of a sublime verse from a great poem, "Fear wist not to follow as truth wist to draw."
Mr. B. made himself so obnoxious to me through his continual denunciation of Roosevelt and the Jewish race in general, and displayed such conceit and hatred in doing so, that I finally left his mission and took up my abode across town, in Barrio Otoya, at the home of a sweet old lady, ancient of days, Miss Ester Silva, a heap of loveable wrinkles. I am sure Mr. B. was happy to be rid of me, for I stubbornly rebelled (I confess it with shame) against his missionary methods which to me had apparently not been very successful and insisted upon following another. This spirit on my part displayed more conceit and zeal than love and wisdom. In my new apartment I shared the fellowship of the pastor of Scofield's mission (the Central American Mission), Mr. Victor Ramos.
But that arrangement proved unsatisfactory. We had con-stant arguments about doctrine, I still adhering tenaciously to my Arminianism and he defending his Calvinism. One good came of that for me, however; I saw the difficulty of defending my position and of withstanding the wisdom with which he spoke. Yet, as on every occasion when someone argued with me, I closed my heart to the inevitable conclusions to which I was led.
Word eventually came from the Costa Rican government on June 6 that permission could not be given to establish a new church in that land. So after about a month I went to Panama, hoping to settle there. Finding a room in the, American Bible Society's building, through the kindness of Mr. Gregory, the Director, I found myself in a position to meet many missionaries who came and went through that city of Cristobal-Colon.
My initial shock was my first acquaintance among these missionaries; a Four Square Gospel missionary. That initial sight of
him was significant, though possessed of the gift of The Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking other languages as The Spirit gave utterance, he was sitting and studying Ramsey's Spanish Grammar. What a pity that The Holy Spirit in His wisdom had not fulfilled that preacher's hope that, once in the land of his choice, The Spirit would supply the language he needed! (I had always allowed my friends to say that my alleged command of Spanish was God-given. In fact, Gaines Sorrow, a godly young man of godly stock, in an enthusiastic build-up In Gainsville, Georgia, on an occasion, said, "We might even say God has given Brother Jack this language." It seemed to me a very natural thing that he should say that. I easily forgot the months of digging and memorization in my zeal to see something of the miraculous in my very poor Castillan. But here I found this man, studying as I had. I must confess that this made a more profound impression upon me later than at that moment.)
Then in a service with that man I became aware of something else. He had a "healing service" after his message. The altar was lined with those dear black people and Indians with their illnesses. He urged me to come with him to pray for them. Anointing each with oil, he assumed the appearance of a wild man, praying over each, shaking in a way that frightened even me, ordering the unclean spirits to come out In the name of Jesus. I became aware that not only could I not conscientiously assist him, but the whole affair seemed to me to be repulsive and diabolical. I was glad to get away. However, at the time I was still not disposed to doubt my own personal experience in those matters.
But alone in the Bible Society room I had time for thinking, and that is Just what I did. Thank God that some of that thinking was guided by Him and His servants! Into our fellowship dropped, one day, a young Australian, Lincoln Burrows, a Baptist, who is now in Bolivia, wearing himself out for The Lord Jesus. Not once did we discuss doctrinal matters, but his quiet humble spirit before The Lord, his calm confidence in prayer, made me increasingly ashamed of the childishness of my own intellectual apprehension of God. His unassumed sincere confession of his sins over against my proud denial of its place in my heart began to awaken within me a sense of sin which I had long excused as mere weakness of the flesh and mistakes of the head. I found as I reflected upon my condition that the holiness of our movement was a thing of theory.
Influence of Schaefer
Then one day there came to the Society building a young man who had just been denied an entrance permit Into Ecuador, whither he had been journeying from Hawaii with a view toward doing Independent missionary work. He, while waiting In Panama for final action in his case, took another room at the Society compound and so became for me a companion in sorrow, inasmuch as I had not yet had any success in obtaining a permanent visa either. Russell H. Schaefer never asked me about my religious experience or my church affiliation, evidently taking for granted that I was a believer. But Russell was in love with Christ; he spoke incessantly (and I mean exactly that) from our first "Good morning" to our parting "God bless you" at night of the marvelous grace of God that is greater than all our sin.
Schaefer did not know that I had never understood that great attribute of God. How can anyone possibly understand what grace means who rests his security within the limits of his own moral capacities rather than in the love of God? Russell lived in The Book of Romans at that time and without asking whether I should like it or not, spent the days interpreting the great doctrines of that book. He did not know it, but as The Spirit of God worked mightily in him to bring out those majestic truths, He worked mightily in my heart to bring them in. Though I dared not say it (for sheer shame), yet as I listened I knew that my heart was turning to God in a sense in which I had never understood Him. I knew that I was seeing for the first time in my life the meaning of those great terms such as love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, justification, and reconciliation. I saw that God does not demand that we beg Him to come to us, that there is no difficulty in the heart of God, but that God has indeed been seeking us all these years.
He stood at my heart's door 'mid sunshine and rain
And patiently waited an entrance to gain;
What shame that so long He entreated in vain!
For He is so precious to me.
I remembered hours I had spent begging God to save others as at first I had begged Him to save me, and saw the folly of such a
misconception of God. I remembered how I had mortified my body seeking The Holy Ghost of God, when all along God had been disposed that He should belong to me. I learned from those glorious days with Schaefer that from the moment I trusted God for the forgiveness of sins past, He had committed Himself to me for the perfecting in my life of a program which could be brought to maturity in nothing short of glorification, and whose end was sure because of the nature of Him who propagated it. The ponderous truths of Romans 5 through 8 overwhelmed me, and I found myself believing them.
I prayed in Schaefer's presence, as I had been taught, "O Lord, give me more old-time religion!" until he showed me that what I needed was rather absolute surrender to The God who had come into my life. He preached to me a message which went so deep into the things of God that the finest offerings of Pentecostal emotionalism seemed like so many nursery toys.
I did not tell Russell why, but I knew I must come home. Then Brother Watson Sorrow, General Moderator of our Church, wrote me that the congregations would no longer send me my thirty dollars monthly, since my becoming established in Panama was being so long delayed. At the same time a plantation owner" in Panama offered Russell and me jobs on his banana farms, with visas for permanent stay there and liberty for preaching as we pleased. But both of us felt that The Lord would have us come home. I in particular felt that I had a job to do.
Through a stirring provision of Providence, we found pass-age on a boat closed to us until the last moment, and went to Cuba. There, as Russell talked to me over a restaurant table in Havana, my soul became engaged in a terrific struggle as Pentecostalism went down within it in one last paroxysm of death; I wept for the joy that there suddenly came to my heart like a gigantic jigsaw puzzle of dissembled truth, suddenly putting itself together in one glorious picture the truth of the sovereignty of Grace, of a God whose very nature is love. Then I had knowledge that I was a saved man. There for the first time I knew that I was saved for eternity on a basis other than superficial jumping, rolling, or crying out. My heart knew and understood that the basis for my salvation as for my security forever lay in the unchangeable truth of The Faithfulness of
God. What from the outside had seemed presumptuous claims to perseverance on the part of the saints now was seen in its true light as an unwavering trust in the unchangeableness of The God who saves.
A few hours later, lying not upon but within the spoon-like surface of a Salvation Army cot in downtown Havana, as I pondered the glories of this wondrous revelation, and as Schaefer continued to speak in praise of the glory of His grace, I wept with a. joy that I had never known before. Two years ago a student in the seminary here remarked as we discussed in class I Corinthians 12-14, "Brother Roddy, I think if I could just speak in tongues, that would be the happiest experience I could ever have." I was glad, remembering these hours in Havana to tell him that the soul who comes to believe from the heart the truth about the grace of God experiences a joy which far exceeds any physical emotional demonstrations of Pentecostalism. If it was joy I bad been seeking, I now had it. Furthermore, I was conscious of belonging to God, not on the basis of personal merits of my own, but in spite of my lack of merit. I saw that God had loved me intensely while I was a sinner, and much more so would He love me as a son. I rested in the knowledge of deliverance through forgiveness of the past including my proud claim to sinlessness; in the knowledge of the presence of The Holy Spirit of God in a supercharge of spiritual dynamics that I had never known before; and in the knowledge that my own determination coupled and supplied with God's committal to see me through to the end, aided by the power of God working within me, would lead me through an experience of sanctification which would be real not some overnight pseudo-experience of alleged instantaneous maturity.
But there was a new conflict. I felt a moral obligation to those fine people who had given of their hard-earned dollars to pay for my trip and to support me while in Costa Rica and Panama. I felt that their well-intended beginning in foreign missions had gotten an ill start with me. I still loved (and do love) every one of them those who loved me so lavishly and sought to the full extent of their knowledge to lead me into what they felt, and feel, with firm conviction to be the will of God. They had taken me up and given me a chance at the thing which I felt was the highest calling possible for me, work in a foreign field. And I had, in a sense, let them down.
However, I knew two things; I knew that I did not now really belong to their number and that they would not tolerate me if they knew the change of heart that was mine. So I resolved to let things take their natural course; I must declare my heart, and the rejection would come from them inevitably.
The Final Break
After returning to the States with Schaefer, I responded to a call from the Congregational Holiness Church in South Carolina. I led that congregation in a revival meeting and accepted the call as pastor immediately afterwards, making a flying trip to Huntington, West Virginia in the meantime to become the proud husband of Miss Madaleine Jane Murrill of that city, herself not Pentecostal (though of the holiness church).
As pastor of a holiness church, but no longer one of their number in heart, I entered into days of sore tribulation. I tried to lead those people, without making my intention obvious, into my new insights. That is to say, I sought to produce in them the same sort of gradual enlightenment which had been mine. But this created situations impossible for them and for me. Dissatisfied with my doctrine, they had me investigated by the moderator of our Southeastern Assembly, and even became enraged in their opposition in some instances. This was, of course, the mere fulfillment of my expectations and provided me a legitimate excuse for leaving the church. Returning to my home town and uniting with the East Side Baptist Church there, my wife and I began the happy life of Southern Baptist believers.
In Hartsville, I worked in grocery stores at first, and later in the Sonoco Products Company (a paper factory) until 1942, when accepting a challenge from Mrs. William Henson (of Taylors, S.C.) and Brother Ralph West (now missionary in Africa), we came with our three-year-old son, David Livingstone, to the Baptist Bible Institute (now the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary) as certificate students.
God's marvelous grace has never failed. He has led since that climactic move in a way that has served to validate for us the decision made in Cuba and in South Carolina. I would that all my
friends in Pentecostalism might be blessed with this "fourth work of grace."
After the Tongues Experience Left
So many have asked, "Well, what about the tongues? Do you ever talk in tongues now? Do you ever shout?" (These questions were asked even in that South Carolina pastorate.) Or, "What is your opinion now about the Christian's moral conduct if you have given up the doctrine of sinlessness? Do you still believe God can heal, etc., etc.?" These are logical questions, some of them already answered by implication above. They may all be answered by the simple statement that once my heart grasped the meaning of grace, the whole Pentecostal platform fell through, for it is ultimately not founded upon grace, but works. Yet, such an answer is inadequate and I shall therefore go through some of the logical processes which have strengthened my position since that initial move. There is no attempt made here, however, to discuss all the doctrinal issues which might be raised.
In the first place, it never occurs to me to speak in tongues. For me that ceased to be an evidence of The Spirit's presence, for several reasons. In I Corinthians 12, which formerly served as a chief text for the support of our position, the tongues gift (whatever It was In the first century) is listed as only one of several gifts "apportioned by The Spirit as He wills." Even there it is not said that everyone must have one of these gifts in order to be sure of his possession of the Spirit. Paul does not once state that the gift of tongues is to be expected or to be had by all. He shows quite to the contrary that not all spoke with tongues. His motive in discussing the matter at all appears to be the use he makes of these various gifts from one Spirit as an appeal to unity in a divided congregation and as an appeal to order in a disorderly worship practice. Yet, we in Pentecostalism made that one gift distinctive evidence of The Spirit's presence. Though we said in our church handbook that it was the "initial evidence," it was generally understood that that evidence must continue as the abiding assurance of His presence. One's reaching the place where he could no longer speak in tongues was an indication that one had lost The Spirit (had lapsed only into the state of being sanctified). Accordingly, I was often asked, as a sort of
periodic check-up, "Brother Jack, do you ever speak with tongues now"?
Then, too, a reason why I do not ever think of talking in tongues is that such demonstrations have become unimportant to me. Formerly I desired the experience of tongues above life, itself, as a sort of spiritual attainment. Now the more excellent way of I Corinthians 12:31-13:13, has precedence. God gives graciously and often periods of deep spiritual refreshing, usually when I am alone with Him experiences which for their sacredness I should not mention anywhere and which I refer to now only for the purpose at-hand. However, I have learned that there is a relationship under-lying even these sweet emotional moments which is steadfast and not liable to variation as are all physical evidences; and it is in that dear relationship that I have been taught to put my trust. This trust is fixed, even in spiritual drought, in the abiding faithfulness of God. It gives no place to fear of spiritual death when physical demonstrations are lacking.
He has taught me yet another thing. I cannot explain the phenomenon in modern Pentecostalism called tongues, of which I was such an ardent partaker and advocate; nor does God tell us all about the experience of tongues as recorded in His Book. But God does tell us enough about that Biblical experience to leave me convinced in my own heart that the two experiences are not the same. This is the result of study subsequent to my departure from that movement. The truth is, as I stated above, that the tongues phenomenon left me when I saw the truth of the meaning of the Grace of God and submitted to God for salvation and keeping on that basis. The experience left before I had begun to test its validity.
In the first place, the modern experience cannot be the Biblical experience for the reason mentioned above; the modern one is general, universal, whereas the Biblical one was not. For modern Pentecostalism as I knew it, The Spirit always announced His entrance in tongues. Again, in I Corinthians, the thing to which Paul refers is controllable. He says in I Corinthians 14;27 that the speaking should be done by two or at the most three, and that by course, and that one should interpret. This certainly implies that the experience was controllable. Every honest Pentecostalist must confess with me that we made (and, unless they have changed, they
make) no effort to control this phenomenon. The command not to quench The Spirit seems to take precedence over this instruction of Paul's. Nor was there any effort to limit the speaking to three in a service, for the same reason. In all my experience in churches from Cincinnati to Panama, I have never seen any regard made for the matter of interpretation. In Hartsville there was a simple lady (whom I could name) from "across the creek" whom everybody knew to be lacking mentally who alone of all the holiness congregations of our city professed to be able to interpret. No one trusted her renderings. It seems to me that, although I cannot explain my own experience, it is impossible to reconcile that experience with the Biblical one. I do not know where that is or what this is, but I know that this is not that.
My heart tells me that if modern Pentecostal tongues-speaking is not of God, it is no indictment against these sincere folk for they do love Him. However, in the view of the fact that in Central America, away from the expectancy always present in the services here in our land, and so away from the mass influence other missionaries, as I did not display the evidence of tongues, it, would seem that to some degree at least its recurrence may be explained by the psychological factor of that mass influence and the fact that in every service it is desired and expected.
An error is committed by our Pentecostal friends when they conclude that we, in rejecting the tongues, reject the fact of the indwelling of The Holy Spirit. How good it is to see the growing recognition of the place and power of The Holy Spirit in the believer's life on the part of other non-Pentecostal groups! The reluctance on our part to refer to Him under the same terminology as our holiness brothers is due largely to our desire to dissociate ourselves from their excesses, I think. We know that He is real and that He may be known experimentally in a power whose greatness corresponds to the mighty working of God when He raised Jesus from the dead (Ephesians l:19ff). He Is there in the saved soul, ready to be exploited. We know that He is The returned Christ, too, in a sense, as promised in the Comforter passages in John's gospel. But we look for Him to manifest Himself not in spectacular physical demonstrations, but in the Christian graces of Galatians 5:22 which are "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." We have no law against these. They are
the evidences of His presence. Such evidences leave no place for that proud disdain of the uninitiated seen in the Pentecostal system, nor for the passing physical pleasures and destructive spirit of division issuing from the perhaps more colorful and showy displays.
In South Carolina I met a situation which confirmed my decisions of Panama and Cuba. Visiting our church for a revival meeting, sweet old Brother Joe used to plead with those folk during his invitation service to deal with the unsaved in the congregation with a view toward getting them to surrender to Christ. Not once did I see one of them make a move in that direction. To the con-trary, they charged that my wife and I were driving their young people away from the church by dealing personally with them. Those "Holy Ghost" Christians, as they were styled, stood or sat through the invitation, many of them I knew harboring hatred in their hearts, and none of them making any effort to win anyone else to surrender. And in spite of the fact that they possessed The Spirit and so were empowered above other folk for the purpose of witnessing and winning. Then, after the altar call, Brother Joe would take out his battered guitar, rest his big right foot on the altar rail and the guitar on his knee, and start his post-worship singing of some tuneless, but quite rhythmical, spiritual "song." As he said, "When the sinners don't come, we can still let the saints have a good time." He strummed his guitar and "sang" in his hoarse voice, pounding the time into the rostrum with his left foot. One could seldom hear the words or distinguish a melody, but the rhythm was there, which was apparently the only needed factor. One by one those Holy Ghost people who would not witness, now began to jerk, then to yell "Glory!" or some other expression, then to rise and begin the jumping, finding their way to the aisles somehow. invariably there was jumping, hand clappmg, singing, tongues, and all the other "proofs" of The Spirit -- until Joe stopped his music. Then the demonstrations subsided. This came to disgust me. I be-gan to see through it all. I observed that there was an Inseparable connection between the Winsett, Stamps-Baxter, Vaughn, Sisk, and Morris-Henson music and the physical demonstrations of the Pentecostal movements. I have yet to see one of them jump to the singing of "Amazing Grace"!
Now, in that sense, to be sure we do not accept the "baptism" of The Holy Ghost. Yet in a far deeper and more satisfying sense I
discovered that the non-Pentecostals do seek to yield to the transforming and life-giving power of The Spirit of the indwelling Christ, for cleansing, empowering and the production of the fruits of the Spirit in their lives. Thank God for the deliverance from that former night! (See supplement to this paper.)
As regards the matter of the believer's living "in sin" it needs to be stated that non-Pentecostal s approve no less than holiness folk; the difference between the two is only a matter of vocabulary. In a real, Biblical sense the non-Pentecostals are indeed holiness advocates. It is a lexical and not a spiritual difference that exists between us. What God caused me to acknowledge as sin finally, I had formerly explained away as weaknesses or mistakes. Some honest Pentecostal s observe this. Mrs. Lorena Mason, one of the godliest women I have ever known anywhere, once said to me as we walked from my mother's house up to Miller Avenue, "Brother Jack, sometimes I think we ought to come out from under this name 'holiness'." That servant of Christ possessed an insight unusual among her people, and one which at that time I did not understand. Likewise, at a camp meeting at Piedmont, Alabama, I once heard a dear, shriveled old saint, Brother Lyons, roar about the platform concerning the sins of believers. This made me feel so unclean, I thought I had completely backslidden. Sister M. of Cedartown, Georgia restored my equilibrium, persuading me that I was a good boy.
The superior sanctification these people claim is in actuality no more than that consecration of life enjoyed by any godly believer. By "living above sin" 'they mean no more than we mean by our appeal to the separated life. They can boast of no keener consciousness of moral and social evils than any group of Christians who want to live Christ-filled lives! (May God forgive even this much boasting on our part!)
One may abstain from dancing, murder, smoking, drinking, etc. (which abstinence usually exhausts the meaning of living above sin for the average Pentecostal), and yet be guilty of attitudes of greed, stinginess, jealousy, vanity, pride. One day, to be specific, I saw that dear man, Brother Baldwin, pastor of the Hartsville
Pentecostal Church (not the Congregational Holiness Church), standing outside the church door when, the morning crowd had left,
with a look of utter despair on his face, his eyes fixed upon his open hand, in which lay a little pile of nickels and pennies amounting to thirty-five miserable cents. He had a wife and two beautiful daughters to support for a week on that. Small wonder he left without telling us where he went! Greater wonder that some weeks later he returned, bringing with him one of the Sorrow brothers, who preached to us. The service was wonderfully fraught with all the Pentecostal demonstration; shouting, singing, tongues, dancing. There was a marvelous "outpouring of the Pentecostal power" until in the midst of his message he disclosed the horrible fact that he knew about those thirty-five cents. The sudden quietness was appalling. A good bath with First Corinthians 13 certainly quenched the spirit.
Abstinence from commonly condemned social evils does not spell sinlessness in any language ... even in that of angels!
One can well picture for oneself my joy upon finding that non-Pentecostals do not revel in the dubious prerogative of sinning a bit daily, as I had charged them. Rather do we recognize as sins those things which I as a Pentecostal would not dare so describe. It is not a matter of our inviting in sins of which holiness folk would not dare to become partakers; it is rather that when we chance to commit the sins of which they are guilty, we dare to call them sins, and to confess them as such. This is done with no sense of boasting, except as it magnifies the Grace of God. The contention that we resign ourselves to the necessity of Indulging in a quota of sins daily is unfair, untrue and unthinkable. Such a position were Impossible for a saved man, a travesty of the grace life. Rather we are engaged with God in a glorious work of sanctification whose end is sure. The purpose of heart of our holiness brothers Is one with our own: To keep the affections set on things above and the life tempered to the wondrously high calling which is ours in Christ Jesus.
Superficial talk about perfect love, holiness, sanctification, etc., does not lift the life from its real state and, to put it crudely, no holiness person is, for all his claims, any holier than the saint of God anywhere who dares to call his sin a sin, and submits to Odd to the end that he might be made conformable to the image of His Son.
"We all, with open face, beholding as in a glass the
glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory." (II Cor. 3:18) Amen!
Many join my sightless brother in concluding that I have "gone back" (see Foreword). For them it is unthinkable that the step I have made is a forward one. In truth, I can understand how they feel. For I know how my prejudices in Pentecostalism gave to the doctrine of Faithfulness of God that off-color which led me to condemn it. It may be a hopeless task to try to convince any of them that resting the soul without reserve upon the Grace of God is not presumptuous and proud, but rather an act requiring a complete self-emptying. All boasting must be laid aside, except the boast of the Cross as one takes it up as a personal way of life. Surely the way for this enlightenment to come may be exclusively the way through which God led me: It may necessarily involve being taken to some remote place apart from the influence of the brother-hood, to be left in emptiness and loneliness, where the soul can listen to God's voice without the confusing din of the established system and pattern, and where the individual may be led through sore humiliation to recognize the absolute sovereignty of divine initiative and grace.
Much needs to be said yet, but this short testimony must be closed. Many problems issuing from the doctrine of "falling from grace" so unworthy of God and so devastating to the Christian experience require a separate treatment. Let it suffice to say that the grace and mercy of God remove all the problems for one who is willing to cease all his striving and commit his way unto The Lord, to cease from self and sinning, as the grace of God works that miracle in his experience! That one comes to the sense of God's having been calling him long since, of His having freely and fully acquitted him once for all, and of His ability to lead to glorification, standing under the falling, supporting the weak, until He accomplishes His determined purpose to have us be conformed to the image of His dear Son. That one knows that since Christ has acquitted, there is none to condemn. He knows that the one who so follows Christ cannot come Into condemnation, having already passed from death unto life. That one knows that no force, no person (not even him-self), no conceivable thing of the past, present or future, can separate him from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord!
Yes, 'tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.
I'm so glad I learned to trust Thee, Precious Jesus, Saviour, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me, Wilt be with me to the end!
LET THE SCRIPTURES SPEAK
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, A workman that needeth not to be ashamed, Rightly Dividing The Word Of Truth. 2 Tim. 2:15.
The answer to the contemporary confusion about the so-called baptism with The Holy Ghost stands in The Word of God RIGHTLY DIVIDED. One who sees the Biblical phenomenon of Holy Spirit baptism in its Biblical context, and who is willing to have his personal experience ordered and judged thereby, is not apt to be seeking in these days the signs of apostolic times, i.e., the gifts of 1 Corinthians, chapter 12, as evidence of the presence of the indwelling Spirit of The risen Christ.
Miles Coverdale (1535) has given us in the following words an elaboration of the principle of right division which Paul so well stated in 2 Timothy 2:15:
It shall greatly helpe ye to understande Scripture, if thou mark not only what is spoken, or wrytten, but of whom, and to whom, with what words, at what time, where, to what intent, with what circumstance, considering what goeth before, and what followeth.
When this simple principle is not applied when understanding of The Word Of God is sought, confusion reigns.
Let us accept as true the principle that whereas God does not change. His economies or dispensations do. He does not do in Nazareth what He did in Capernaum. He does not perforce do in this present economy of grace what He did in the days of the apostles. It is entirely possible that what He did then was unique. It is the conviction of this believer and many others that it was unique, indeed.
Consider Matthew 10:5-10 in this regard. If "every promise in the Book is mine," then every word of these directions is as well. If they are addressed to us for our obedience at this time, then all of us who are of Gentile heritage are barred from hearing and partaking of these precepts, and all the centuries of mission work among Gentiles are in error, the result of un-scriptural zeal: "Go not into the way of the Gentiles !" (Matt. 10:5). Likewise, any message not saying specifically that the "Kingdom of Heaven is at hand" (10:7) is wrong. In this present economy of God's grace directed to Gentiles (Eph. 3:1, 2) no one is justified in claiming Matthew 10:5-10 as authority for healing the sick, cleansing lepers, raising the dead, casting out demons, not taking any money, taking no change of apparel. The restrictions of the time, people and place are implied in the first command, "Go not into the way of the Gentiles," hence Gentiles are immediately excluded from all this. The temporary nature of these instructions is evident from The Scriptures. For instance, Luke 22:35-37 rescinds the commands respecting finances; the command to buy swords would void the command not to carry a walking staff (so easily turned into a weapon). That He was to be denied by Israel would, set aside the then "at hand" phase of the kingdom; that He was to be "reckoned among the transgressors" would indicate the rejection of Christ as Israel's King. Instead of being in need of nothing, they would be eating the bread of affliction. It is evident that it would be unscriptural, and therefore wrong, to extend the instructions of the Matthew 10 episodes beyond the context in which they were given, or to claim their authority beyond those contexts.
In the same way it can be demonstrated that the nine gifts or charismata of 1 Corinthians 12-14, along with the promise of being baptized (filled, endued) with, or being recipients of power from on high (holy spirit) were a part of God's economy with Israel during the period whose written record is in The Book of Acts; and that these charismata were promised to, given to, and received by only Jewish believers (except in the unusual case of Cornelius and his household), and were never intended for, promised to, or received by the Gentiles who believed (except for Cornelius and his household). Although there is no Scriptural evidence of these gifts beyond the Book of Acts period, however there is indeed a different list of gifts from the ascended Christ (Eph. 4:8-12) given to, and received by Believing Gentiles. The evidence points toward the fact that, after t
the close of the Book of Acts, Paul did not practice such gifts as he had prior to that time, and during his ministry among the Jews. These things will be examined in the following pages.
In Mark 16:17, 18 our Lord promised:
These signs shall follow them that believe:
In My Name shall they cast out devils;
They shall speak with new tongues;
They shall take up serpents;
And if they drink any deadly thing,
it shall not hurt them;
They shall lay hands on the sick,
and they shall recover.
Accordingly, these promises were fulfilled through the Apostle's ministry in The Book of Acts period. Indeed, even then signs and wonders were done among the Gentiles, but not by them. Although Ephesians 1:3 states that God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus, there is not in that Epistle (or in any of Paul's post-Acts writings) any suggestion of the occurrences at that time of the nine workings of 1 Cor. 12-14. Gifts in evidence when Paul wrote Ephesians are listed in Eph. 4:11. (Accordingly, the "spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, Eph. 1:17, " is not to be taken in the sense of 1 Cor. 12:8, "a word of wisdom.") Paul, indeed, prays that we may know "what is the hope of His calling, what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints (Eph. 1:18), " but there is no indication that the nine workings of 1 Cor. 12 are a part of that inheritance.
None of this is meant to "relegate God to the days of the Apostles" or limit what God "can do" or "could have done" as some may surmise. The Scriptures do show what He does, has done, and shall do. God surely expects the student of His Word to observe the contexts of Scripture and to be guided thereby. If it is shown that signs and wonders and gifts of holy spirit were phenomena uniquely attending the ministry to Israel during the Acts period, that truth should be accepted, and one should not claim those things for this present program of God.
In the study to follow Scriptural references to the
phenomenon of holy spirit baptism will be carefully examined. Close attention shall be given to the very wording of the original record as far as one can ascertain this in the Greek text of today, all in order to test the validity of the things asserted in these paragraphs.
The Holy Spirit and holy spirit
Is there significance in the Greek variants reflected in the English phrases Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, and The Spirit the Holy-One? English versions may have here and there ghost instead of spirit: both of these words represent one word in the Greek original. Both ghost and spirit are translations of the Greek pneuma. It is true, however, that in the standard English versions both the Holy Spirit and the Holy Ghost are used indiscriminately to translate expressions which in the Greek text are not identical. The reader may easily verify this for himself by referring to any of the existing interlinear Greek texts. Either of these English phrases may represent any one of the following Greek patterns:
hagion pneuma. holy spirit
pneuma hagion. holy spirit (lit., spirit, holy)
to hagion pneuma. The Holy Spirit
to pneuma to hagion. The Holy Spirit (lit., the Spirit, the Holy)
This writer does not know why translators ignore these important distinctions, but one must raise the question whether or not they are justified in doing so. If one affirms verbal inspiration of The Word of God then it must be felt that The Lord intended all these distinctions to be noted; and translators must by all means do so and try to determine what difference there is between the first two (without the article the) and the last two (with the article the) in their contexts.
The reader is directed to an appendix reproduced from the Companion Bible (at the end of this booklet) for a concordance of the places in Scripture where the expression hagion pneuma occurs (without the article the) in the N.T., since the standard versions do not indicate this omission. In that Appendix it will be seen immediately, too, that not every occurrence of the word spirit in the Greek text has to do with The Spirit of God.
It is the purpose of this section of this testimony to determine the precise meaning Of the expression hagion pneuma. herein translated simply as holy spirit in lower-case letters, to distinguish it from references to the Person, Who is designated The Holy Spirit. In the original N.T. Autographs, of course, this distinction by means of lower-case letters would have been impossible since the entire text was probably written in uncials, corresponding to the capital letters of later Greek.
The Promise Of John
Fourteen and Sixteen
This passage has been used to support a teaching of "baptism with The Holy Spirit" (although that language was not used here by Christ) as something in addition to and therefore in some sense apart from the "mere" presence of The Spirit of God in the believer and apart from the presence of The risen Christ Himself in the believer. One may have The Christ, it is felt, and yet not have the alleged baptism or filling of the person of The Holy Spirit.
Observe that in these chapters there is no reference to being baptized, filled, or endued with the Comforter. He is to come. to be sent. Consider, moreover, the promise concerning the Comforter in John 14:16, 17 (And I will pray The Father and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever: even The Spirit of Truth, Whom the world cannot receive) with the immediate promise of 14:18, where Christ Himself says, "I will not leave you comfortless; I will come unto you," and that of 14:23, "if a man love Me, he will keep My Word: and My Father will love him, and we will come unto him and make our abode with him." In the light of the context, can the fulfilling of that promise be considered as the coming of one isolated Person of the Three, as apart from the others? Indeed, in the light of The Lord's words, "I will not leave you comfortless (desolate)," can one ever think of the believers' being left for a moment without His spiritual presence once His visible form was removed? In the moment of His ascension did He not say, "Lo! I am with you (not 'will be' with you)!"? Does not this last assertion reinforce the teaching of John 14 to the effect that once His physical presence was removed, these believers would know His presence in the Spirit, and not only His, but the Father's as well? "I will not leave you comfortless ... I will come ... We shall come!"
This context is the promise respecting a Person, beyond any doubt--not power from on high, not gifts, but the promise of a Person--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Indeed, does not 1 John 2:1 refer to Christ under the same epithet as in John 14 is used of the Spirit? -- a fact veiled in the A.V. where paralketos is translated "Advocate" as over against "Comforter" in John 14:16. Shall we separate what God fuses?*
The question now is whether or not references to being baptized with, by, or in holy spirit (not The Holy Spirit) are intended to refer to the Person, as in John 14, or are intended to have another meaning. The Scriptures of Truth must decide. May the reader observe at this point, moreover, that nowhere is one told in Scripture to seek to be filled, baptized, or endued with The Spirit, The Holy One--The Person of The Holy Spirit.
Faithful exegesis of Scripture demands that the distinction between the Giver (The Holy Spirit Himself) and His gifts (holy spirit) be carefully observed.
The Promise Of Power
From On Hi gh
In order to arrive at an understanding of the particular significance of the expression holy spirit (pneuma hagion). compare the language of Luke 24:49 with that of Acts 1:4, 5.
Luke 24:49 Acts 1:4, 5
I send forth the promise of My wait for the promise of The Father Father
tarry in the city charged them not to depart from Jerusalem
until ye be clothed ye shall be baptized with
with power from on high holy spirit (pneuma hagion)
That these two passages are parallel is evident. Surely they refer to one and the same thing, the same promise. It should follow that the promise of being clothed with power from on high is
Parakleos is translated Comforter in John 14:16 and Advocate in I John 2:1, A.V.
equivalent to the promise of being baptized with holy spirit.
Holy spirit here (Acts 1:5), as in Matt. 3:11; Mk. 1:8; Lk. 3:16; Acts 2:4; 8:15, 17, 19; 19:2, 3 (as also in other places in Acts, to be duly noted) is in the Greek text simply holy spirit. The article the is absent.
May it be tentatively concluded, upon the basis of Luke 24:49 and Acts 1:4, 5 that where the expression holy spirit is found it may be understood as meaning power from on high? In such passages, then, it is not the Person of the fourteenth and sixteenth chapters of John that is meant, but His given power.
A study of the appendix, pp. 60-62, or any concordance which shows the wording of the original Greek text, will reveal that where the Person is unmistakably meant, the Greek text has the definite article the, or else some defining word, such as of God, of Christ, of Truth, etc., and usually in a context where actions predicable of persons are evident ("spoke, " "said, " "forbade, " etc.).
In these strategic places cited above, however, which have been traditionally (?) interpreted as having to do with the coming of The Person of The Holy Spirit, The Holy Spirit has chosen to inspire the text with the simpler phrase pneuma hagion (holy spirit), which this study takes to mean power from on high. We must examine each of these occurrences in order to see whether or not this definition of holy spirit fits. If it does, as the writer feels it does, it becomes immediately evident that the common view is to be seriously questioned, if not rejected.
Now there is a use of the Greek definite article in which it has the force of a demonstrative word (such as this, that). Once a thing is mentioned, subsequent references to it may include the article; the thing becomes thus identified as "that which we have already so named." A simple English dialog will illustrate this.
"What is that in your hand?"
"Cast the rod [not a rod] on the ground. "
Any subsequent reference to this rod should be definite, i.e., should have the article the or some other defining word. This use of the article occurs in Acts 1.
You will be baptized with holy spirit. Acts 1:5.
You will receive power when the ( = this aforementioned) holy spirit comes upon you. Acts 1:8.
The surprising thing is that not every reference to holy spirit after Acts 1:5 has the article. The article could have been expected. Now and then the expression does have it, but always in contexts which relate to the thing promised in Acts 1:5, and which by means of the article are related to it, or its initial fulfillment in Acts 2. .
Thus it cannot be said that every occurrence of the full form of the expression (The Holy Spirit) refers to the Person. What is asserted is that references to the Person are all definite and few references to holy spirit ( = power from on high) are definite. whereas the strategic points of reference to the thing experienced at Pentecost bear the simple expression holy spirit -- and no reference to being baptized, filled, or endued with the holy spirit has to do with the Person.
Since we have traditionally used the article the with Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost, it may at first seem strange to the English-speaking person to say simply "holy spirit"; but the Greeks did not have this tradition to hinder them. As an exercise prior to any further study, read aloud the following quotations, then read them again substituting for holy spirit the phrase power from on high to obtain the full meaning, linguistically, of what The Holy Spirit is saying in these contexts.
I baptize you with water: He will baptize with holy spirit, Matt. 3:11.
You shall be baptized with holy spirit, Acts 1:5.
They were all filled with holy spirit, Acts 2:4.
They prayed for them to get holy spirit, Acts 8:15.
They began to place their hands upon them, and
they began to get holy spirit, Acts 8:17. Contrast
Acts 8:18, "When Simon saw that the
spirit was given he brought money to them,
saying, "Give this authority to me, too, so that
the one upon whom I put my hands may get
holy spirit [no the]"
[We wish to know] whether you got holy spirit
upon believing, Acts 19:2.
We did not hear whether or not holy spirit was,
Acts 19:2. The last clause may be translated,
"whether or not there was any holy spirit." Cp.
Acts 19:6, where we are told that the [ = this]
spirit, the holy one [i.e., the one in question]
came upon them.
If one objected by stating that the article may legitimately be omitted from a prepositional phrase in the Greek idiom, let it be noted that this grammatical principle would not explain all these references.
The Case Of Cornelius and His Household
Behind the experience recorded in Acts 10 and 11 involving the household of Cornelius and Peter's part in that drama lie the reluctance of Simon Peter to witness to that group, and possibly the whole question of the acceptance of the Gentile into The Way apart from circumcision. *
The use of the full expression (The Spirit The Holy One) in these chapters surely is meant to identify (his experience with that of the Jewish believers at Pentecost, where holy spirit ( = power from on high) was received. This was that. Let is be observed, moreover, that the order of events here is not that suggested in Acts 2:38. Here holy spirit is given before baptism! It amazed the Jews that the gift of holy spirit (10:45) had come upon uncircumcised , unbaptized Gentiles. This gift of holy spirit, with the very evidence the Jews had known at Pentecost (spirit-inspired languages) validated for these Jews the experience of Cornelius and his family-household. This was surely the purpose of The Holy Spirit in this departure from what God had done prior to this (assuming Acts 2:38 is stating the Divine usual order). This is the only recorded occurrence in Scripture of the
*Cornelius, according to Acts 10:2-4, was a devout worshiper of The God of Israel, nearly a proselyte. How apt an experience!
holy spirit's coming upon Gentile converts. Given this setting, without this experience on behalf of these Gentiles, these Jews would likely (in the added light of the Galatian Epistle and Acts 21:22cp.) not have been convinced of the validity of that experience. The rest of Acts and the Epistle to the Galatians are proof of this.
Moreover, the fact that this, experience, described demonstratively as the spirit the holy one, was identical to that of Acts 2:4 is evident in the context. Thus we know the meaning of the spirit the holy one in this context. Peter, in justifying his going to Cornelius before the Jewish believers in Jerusalem, who had called him to account regarding it, made this point, as seen in Acts 11:1, cp., particularly verses 12,15, and 17.
What happened at the house of Cornelius was identical to what happened at Pentecost, although the definite article is used with holy spirit in the case of Cornelius, but not in Acts 2. This issue will come up again in the discussion of the purpose of the gift of languages as seen in the Book of Acts.
Holy Spirit Elsewhere In Acts
Attention has been called to the promise of holy spirit (Acts 1:5), the promise of power when that spirit came (Acts 1:8), and the initial fulfilling of that promise (initial, because it was filled later again and again) at Acts 2:4. It is necessary now to look at other occurrences of the expression holy spirit in Acts. The whole matter, however, needs to be seen against the back drop of Paul's language in 1 Corinthians chapters 12 through 14. The Holy Spirit, the Person, was distributing His gifts, His charismata, "accordingly as He purposed." It was He Who decided to whom and when and with what gift. This whole affair was His operation. In Acts The Holy Spirit is seen giving holy spirit to believers, The Giver giving His gifts, as defined in 1 Corinthians 12.
In the paragraph found in 1 Cor. 12:4-11, Paul speaks of gifts (charismata), ministries (diakoniai). workings (energmata. energizings). In 1 Cor. 14 he speaks of spiritual (gifts. pneumatika. 14:1) and spirits (pneumata 14:12, and possibly 14:32). See the varied language used to describe the workings of The Holy Spirit in holy spirit! There are nine gifts (workings, spirits) seen in 1 Cor.
12:7-10; all of them "energized" by One Spirit: a word of wisdom, a word of knowledge, faith, gifts of healings. [not the gift of healing], workings of powers (miracles), prophecy, discernment of spirits, kinds of languages, interpretation of languages. Not one of these was universal (14:29 cp.).
One would expect to find these nine evidences in contexts in Acts, where holy spirit is mentioned as operating. The gift was promised to every Jewish believer in Acts 2:38 (there is nothing in Scripture to indicate at this point in time that Simon Peter had any Gentile in mind). "You shall receive the gift of this holy spirit." (The word the occurs as identifying the holy spirit, just as it occurs in Acts 2:42 to identify bread and prayers: "in the breaking of the. bread and in the prayers," the specific spirit, bread, and prayers of the fellowship.). A believing Jew, then, could expect this holy spirit after baptism. He was not told to tarry for it or to seek it, however.
Due to some primitive error, Acts 4;25 has a confused text, as may be seen in comparing the various readings of Greek MSS. These MSS show the following variants for this verse, here translated:
Who said through holy spirit (through?) mouth of David your son
Who through holy spirit through the mouth having
spoken of David your son
Who through mouth of David your son through
holy spirit said. Who to our fathers, etc.
Inasmuch as here the subject is God (God Who spoke), the expression holy spirit may be understood as that power by which God inspired men to speak. However, since the article may be omitted from prepositional phrases, quality being stressed in that case, the reference may be to The Person of The Holy Spirit. In any event, the subject under discussion is not the holy spirit promise of Acts 1:5.
Acts 4:31 has the holy spirit, indicating a filling (Aorist participle) now, in addition to that of Acts 2:4, of the same power.
Acts. 5:32 has the holy spirit fc. this holy spirit, this power from on high, as itself a witness, evidence of the truth of the things
Peter affirms (cp. Heb. 2:4).
Acts 6:3. full of spirit, even wisdom (cp. 1 Cor. 12:8, a word of wisdom). No article.
Acts 6;5. full of faith, even holy spirit (cp. 1 Cor. 12:9). No article but in 6:10, "they could not withstand the wisdom [just mentioned], the spirit, with which he was speaking."
Acts 7:55. being full of holy spirit, no article.
Acts 8:16. 18. 19. that they might get holy spirit they began to receive holy spirit that he may get holy spirit (referred to in verse 20 as the gift of God and in verse 18 as the spirit, the gift, not the Giver, references discussed earlier). The particular gift here is not defined, but it was observable to Simon, whatever it was.
Acts 8:39. It is significant that this Gentile is not said to have received holy spirit! Philip apparently did not need the persuasion which Peter and the Jerusalem group had needed in the case of Cornelius. Observe, however, that The Spirit caught Philip away.
Acts 9:17. so that you may be filled with holy spirit. What the spirit was which Paul received is suggested in 9:22, "Saul increased in strength (endynamouto. related to dynamis. power)"
Acts 9:34 does not mention holy spirit, but there Peter is being used to heal (The Lord Christ was doing the healing, however).
Acts 10 and 11. See page 34. But note how in 11:15 to pneuma to hagion (the spirit, the holy one) is said to be exactly what Peter spoke of and received at Pentecost, which was there described as pneuma hagion. holy spirit.
Acts 11:24. full of holy spirit, even faith. No article.
Acts 13:9. Saul ... getting-filled with holy spirit. No article. In the context the gift is discernment of spirits.
Acts 13:52. they were repeatedly (Imperfect tense) filled with holy spirit (or. in a stative sense, they were full of. etc.).
Joy is mentioned here; compare Eph. 5:18 ff.
Relate Acts 15:8. the holy spirit, to what has been said earlier regarding the Cornelius episode. Also, notice that there is no mention of the coming of holy spirit upon other Gentile converts in the missions narratives recorded in Acts.
Acts 19:2, Jewish disciples of John the Baptist in Ephesus. Did you get holy spirit upon believing? ... We did not hear whether or not there was any holy spirit (did they mean, "we had not heard whether or not the prophecy of John had been fulfilled"?).
Acts 19:6. the holy spirit came upon them and they began to speak with tongues and to prophesy.
Whereas in Acts are seen the words baptizer fill, endue. receive, and the adjective full used with reference to holy spirit. Paul does not use this language in chapters twelve through fourteen of 1 Corinthians. In Corinthians, however, Paul is not speaking of the experience itself, but the gifts. These The Spirit distributed. It must be evident to the reader, moreover, that although 1 Corinthians 12-14 does not reflect the language used in Acts to describe the coming of holy spirit, still all the evidences of 1 Corinthians 12 are seen in Acts except the gift of interpretation of spirit-given languages (unless it is implied when the content of what was said is given, as at Pentecost and in Acts 19). It should be evident, then, that the experience of holy spirit in 1 Corinthians 12-14 is the same as that seen in Acts. The Bible does not distinguish, as some contemporary tongues enthusiasts seek to distinguish, between spirit-given languages as the evidence of holy spirit infilling and tongues "as an abiding gift" of The Spirit. (In fact, one may question the language-speaking as being an "abiding" gift of The Spirit. It is easier to point out specific infillings in specific instances of need.)
It is argued that whereas the "abiding" gift of 1 Corinthians 12-14 is not universal, it is nonetheless supposed that the "initial evidence" of holy spirit baptism is universally tongues. (Women were forcibly forbidden to speak in a church. The silence enjoined upon them, 1 Cor. 14:34-35, followed the pattern of the Jewish synagogue as did many of the practices during Acts.) The three places in Acts where the gift of languages occurred do not exhaust
the places in Acts where holy spirit came, however. There were other evidences. There is no Scriptural justification for affirming that when God was baptizing Jewish believers with holy spirit, the initial sign was always languages. There is no justification in Scripture for any Gentile's seeking holy spirit baptism, and certainly none for his seeking the gift of languages (or any other evidence) as the validating evidence of the experience. In fact, no one is ever told anywhere in Scripture to seek to be baptized or filled with The Holy Ghost. (See the discussion of Ephesians 5:18, page 46.)
John the Baptist had said, "I baptize with water ... He will baptize with pneuma hagion." Jesus had said, "Ye shall be baptized with pneuma hagion not many days hence You will receive power when this holy spirit comes upon you." In Acts 2 it is said that the disciples were filled with holy spirit. They were to be clothed with power from on high. The Samaritans received holy spirit. The power fell on Cornelius and was said to be poured out on the Gentiles. The power came upon the disciples. This power was the gift of God. It was given to Cornelius as to the Jews. In Corinthians, it is the gift image that is used, and the gifts are said to be distributed by one Spirit.
Thus there was no one particular way of referring to the experiencing of holy spirit, and there was no one evidence given as proof of the experience.
Three Occurrences Of The Gift Of Languages
There being no one universal evidence of holy spirit infilling, it becomes significant, then, that languages were mentioned three times, while not in every occurrence of holy spirit. It was precisely at those points where Christianity made forward steps in its breach with exclusive "Christian" Judaism [Gentile believers were called Christians, apparently to distinguish them from believing Jews, and from Gentiles who were proselytes to Judaism; Jewish believers are not spoken of as Christians in the Acts record] that God sent the "Pentecostal" evidence (so-called; in no case were all the features of the Pentecostal experience repeated). Was it not for the purpose of authenticating what was happening and of convincing the hard-to-be-convinced Jewish believers (who were still good Jews, as stated in Acts 21:20-26) that the Christian experience could be a reality
outside of rigid Judaism? Why else the words of Peter in Acts 11:15-18? Why else repeat this one evidence when the gospel reached the Roman Cornelius, the disciples of John the Baptist, and possibly the Samaritans?
Since tongues (by Spirit inspiration) were a sign to unbelievers, as Paul affirmed in 1 Cor. 14:22, then Paul so speaking must have been speaking in the presence of and to unbelieving Jews, likely speaking to them in one of the languages of their dispersion. The use of tongues, therefore, by Pentecostals, among themselves as believers, or privately, as proof of having been "baptized with the Holy Ghost" is not Scripturally valid. To some, tongues have been made a proof, a sign, to believers that they have "the Holy Ghost." So does error ignore or seek to explain away the clear assertion of God's Word.
The gift of Spirit inspired languages was a sign to unbelievers.
Wherefore tongues are for a sign,
Not to them that believe,
But to them that believe not.
1 Cor. 14:22.
With men of other lips God would speak to that nation. With the languages of their dispersion God spoke to the nation Israel at Pentecost, where some "believed."
... Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judea and Cappadocia, in Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, in Egypt and the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and the strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes, Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God (Acts 2:9-11).
Peter explained that this was through The risen Christ Whom they had murdered. This same Christ gave the same evidence of holy spirit, perhaps with tongues (it was something observable to the magician) when the Samaritans believed. The blessing of the devout Cornelius is perhaps more outstanding, since he was a
Gentile. What could have provoked Israel more to see his privileges (Rom. 11:11) than this obvious equal acceptance of this uncircumcised Gentile? What could have been more convincing to a bigoted, race-conscious Peter and his Jewish companions than the phenomenon they witnessed in the house of Cornelius?
The Jewish community at Ephesus would have been as far from Pentecost (though some could have been present at that even as the list of places represented in Acts 2 would indicate) as the disciples of John the Baptist mentioned in Acts 19:6-10. The Jews generally accepted John the Baptist as God's prophet. Can one fail to see the significance for these Jews when disciples of that prophet (whom they had seen killed by their king, and whose Lord they themselves had put to death), after being baptized in The Name of The rejected Messiah, should be so blessed with holy spirit, the gift of the living, ascended Christ? If the gift of these languages, moreover, was fitting evidence for Jews at Pentecost in Jerusalem, it was no less fitting for these in Ephesus (Isaiah 28:11 ff.)! And yet for all this the people (the Jewish nation as a whole) would not believe.
Is it not significant that languages, where recorded, were an evidence for that people, for unbelievers? Yea, for Peter and others slow to believe the acceptance of the Gentile in the case of Cornelius!? Can it be that the Corinthian situation became a problem because Gentiles there were seeking to duplicate the gifts which they saw Jewish believers receiving? This would have caused confusion then, as it does now, in producing counterfeit experiences which could not be brought under the scrutiny and controls Paul laid down. Had The Holy Spirit Himself been producing those effects, that disorder would surely not have been in evidence (1 Cor. 14:33 !).
First Corinthians Fourteen
Since certain verses of 1 Corinthians 14 are cited in support of contemporary experiences in "tongues, "this chapter should be examined with some care. (The practice of right division, heeding its principles, however, would obviate this part of this study.)
It is asserted that one may speak in tongues merely to edify himself. Did not Paul say so in 1 Cor. 14:4? Paul pointed out that all the gifts of holy spirit were for the common good (1 Cor. 12:2).
In fact, the whole appeal of 1 Cor. one-twelve is the edification of the brother and the congregation. A prophet, Paul said, does indeed edify the congregation. Interpretation is better than merely to be able to speak in a foreign language, because if one were thus speaking in a foreign language to a congregation to whom it was not a familiar language, the congregation would be edified only if there were an interpreter to translate (1 Cor. 14:5). There is a negative ring, then, at 14:4 when Paul said that one speaking in a tongue "edifies himself, " as though he were saving, "merely himself, not the congregation." This statement of Paul's does not support private tongues-speaking; rather it is an indictment of it.
The restrictions Paul placed upon the use of the gift of languages in l Cor. 14:27-29 were surely intended to correct the abuse of the gift, not to guide The Holy Spirit in His distributing of it:
If any man speak in an unknown tongue* let it be by two, or at most by three, and that by course: and let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to him-self and to God. Let the prophets speak two or three and let the other judge (1 Cor. 14:27-29).
Would these instructions be needed by individuals under the power of the Holy Spirit? What Pentecostal group seeks to apply these restrictions today? There seems to be a "higher" rule: "If The Holy Spirit makes me do it, I must not quench Him or His power." How often has the writer heard this said!
That Paul is said to have thanked God that he spoke in tongues more than all the others is offered as a defense of the alleged experience of the gift today. Did Paul, indeed, make that boast?
So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is
*The word "unknown" is not in the Greek text. All languages are known to someone or they are not languages. All Paul is saying is that in the event one sought to speak a language foreign to the hearers, without an interpreter present, he was to desist. R.H.S.
spoken? Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest? For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified. I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue. 1 Cor. 14:16-19.
In a day when God was giving holy spirit, Paul, a Jew, was certainly a recipient of such gifts. He surely experienced The Spirit-given gift of languages, as he said. (What an asset this would be if it were operative now as it was then, to do missionary work among those speaking alien-unknown languages without laboriously having to learn the language!) If Paul prayed in this way "by spirit" his "mind" was unfruitful, or barren. It was, then, a fruitless personal thing as far as his understanding was concerned. He would pray, rather, both by spirit and with understanding (1 Cor. 14:14, 15.)
The blessing in the public service (14:16) was a case in point. If that portion of the public service were given by means of the exercise of tongues (i.e., in some language other than that of the locality, foreign to the hearers), how could one who had not been to school (unlearned, or uneducated, and who had not studied foreign languages) know when to respond with the Amen when the one giving the blessing came to the thanksgiving? (If these "tongues" were mere "ecstatic utterances," and not orderly languages, what difference would the hearer's having been to school or not having been to school make? The interpretation of "ecstatic utterances" could not have been taught there.) The hearer would not know what the one giving the blessing was talking about. One might be giving thanks "beautifully," but the other would not be edified! (The text gives no commendation for one seeking merely to edify himself, either!) Then Paul added in verses 18 and 19:
I thank God more than you all I speak with tongues but in church I wish five words with this mind of mine to speak that I may instruct others than tens of thousands of words with a tongue.
Now, in the underscored part of this utterance we have what is called technically asyndeton, no-joining, or the absence of a conjunction, a connecting word. The standard versions supply one after "I thank God" with the resulting translation, "I thank God (that) I speak with tongues more than you all"; or they imply a connective by joining more than you all with the following verb I speak in the resultant translation. It would be equally correct to make the break elsewhere. Paul is talking about giving thanks in the service, an exercise to which the brethren were expected to respond with the Amen (Paul did not say simply "amen"; it is the Amen, a definite but now unknown part of the service.) His meaning at verse 18 may well be this:
I offer thanks (in the public service) more than all of you, and I speak with tongues. However in the church, etc....
The words do not necessarily mean that he spoke with tongues more than all of them. Perhaps he did. But in this context, would he be boasting of it?
Dialektos and Glossa
It is argued that the glossai (A.V. tongues) were not real languages, but ecstatic utterances, and that the word dialektos (dialect, language) is not used to describe the tongues experience in the Scriptures.
In reply, let it be pointed out that the one time when The Bible does speak on this subject, the glossai were described as real languages.
And there were dwelling at Jerusalem, Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because every man heard them speak in his own language (dialektoi). And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another,
Behold, are not all these that speak Galileans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue (dialektoi) wherein we were born? ... we do hear them speak in
our tongues (glossais) the wonderful works of God.
All the above is in keeping with Greek usage (see Liddell and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon under the word glossa). Dialektos is defined as discourse, conversation, debate, argument, speech, language, the language of a country, technically a dialect.
Luke has written that the disciples, filled with holy spirit, "began to talk with other glossai just as the Spirit was appointing them (lit., giving) to speak (apophthengesthai)" (Acts 2:4). This last verb is distinguished from the former, to talk, in that its meaning is to speak one's opinion plainly. Acts 2:5-11 makes it clear that the disciples were speaking real languages. Then when Peter stood to speak, as is recorded in 2:14, Luke has written that he "lifted up his voice and spoke to them, etc." The verb translated spoke is apephthenxato, a form of the very verb used to state what the disciples were doing under the power of holy spirit. Peter was obviously speaking an understandable language, probably Aramaic. How can one interpret glossa as anything but a true language?
"Very well," it is said. "But in Corinthians the glossai are called "unknown" tongues and are clearly ecstatic utterances, not true languages." The word "unknown" does not occur in any Greek text; it is an interpolation by the translators, and that without any foundation. It is misguiding and misleading. Paul wrote simply the phrase with a language, or with languages. In Acts 2 it is said that the disciples "began to talk in other languages." where the Greek word for other (heterais) is said by some to mean "languages of another kind," therefore, not human languages. But how can this be argued in the Acts 2:5-11 context (see preceding page)? Was not the marvel that these people from all over the Roman world were now hearing the mighty works of God in the languages of their historic dispersion and in other than the sacred Hebrew or the vernacular Aramaic? The disciples began to speak in tongues other than that. Moreover, 1 Cor. 14:16 ff. (pages 41 & 42) makes no sense if the glossai were not languages which, could be learned. The objection Paul raises has meaning only if real languages were meant.
1 Corinthians 14 laid down controls, apparently to correct abuses of this gift of languages. These are found in the paragraph beginning with 14:26:
... Let all things be done unto edifying. If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.
In situations known across the years to this writer, no such controls were applied. It was felt that any speaking in tongues was of The Holy Spirit, Who should not be quenched at any cost. These controls were gotten around by saying that here Paul was speaking of the "abiding" gift of tongues and not the tongues which are an evidence of the baptism of The Holy Spirit! The creed had said, "I believe in the baptism with The Holy Ghost, with the initial evidence of speaking in other tongues as The Spirit gives utterance." But the word initial was either misunderstood or ignored.
Today where there are those who profess to "interpret," there is no way at all to check on the validity of the interpretation. But there are amazing discrepancies between the length and variety of the glossai and the alleged interpretations. Too, the interpretations are patchwork quilts of Scriptural allusions and quotations.
While the N. T. Cannon was being formed, i. e. , during the Acts period when the churches obviously did not have a N.T., the purpose of the "psalm, teaching, revelation, tongue, interpretation" of 1 Cor. 14:26 can be seen. But with the completed and full Canon of Scripture now with us, what can be revealed as "truth" which is not already in The Book? And if someone under the alleged inspiration of The Spirit comes out with a "truth" not in The Word of God, who of those who believe in the authority of Scripture is going to accept it ?
Paul did indeed say in 1 Cor. 14:40, "Do not forbid to talk
with tongues." Of course he would not forbid it! It was then a part of God's economy among the Jewish people, and Paul was not one to withstand the then purpose of God. Here, as in Matt. 10, is a place where the principle of 2 Tim. 2:15 must be applied. What Paul would not forbid there is not necessarily to be permitted now any more than the injunction "Go not in the way of the Gentiles" is to be enforced now. One needs to examine The Biblical literature after the turning of Paul from the mission to the Jews, unto Gentiles, to see whether there is any indication that anything such as the baptism with holy spirit (even in the sense which we have been considering it in Acts and Corinthians) is in the economy of God for "you Gentiles."
Moreover, if one claims for himself the gifts of 1 Corinthians twelve through fourteen, he must also operate under the those controls. But there is another control in 1 Cor. 14 which must be applied:
Let your women keep silent in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church (1 Cor. 14:33-35).
The Pentecostal movement, however, is largely a woman's movement. This is no indictment of Godly women, who make valuable contributions to The Lord's work. But this is an indictment of the inconsistency of unbiblical enthusiasm. If the gift of languages were for today, women should never engage in its use in the churches.
And, "the spirits of the prophets is subject to the prophets" (1 Cor. 14:32); confusion is not of God (1 Cor. 14:33).
"Be Filled with the Spirit"
In Ephesians 5:18 Paul wrote, "Be filled with the Spirit" (AV). These words have been cited as proof that Holy Spirit infilling is intended for "us Gentiles" and that present-day believers are thereby commanded to seek this infilling. To force Ephesians 5:18 to
mean what these folk say it means, it is necessary to ignore the context, also its parallel passage in Colossians, and to impose upon its English wording that which the Greek text does not warrant as well as misconceptions built upon references in the Book of Acts to coming of power from on high.
The imperative of Eph. 5:18 is present passive. This means that a full translation of it would be, "keep being full," or "keep being filled." Thus, whatever Paul meant, he was not speaking of something which happened once for all. It was something to keep doing.
The phrase translated, "with the Spirit" in the A.V. is literally "with spirit," or "by spirit," or "in spirit." It is the same phrase as is found in Eph. 6:18 to qualify praying. Paul has in mind, "Keep being filled with/by/in spirit." That is the thought.
Beyond the impositions fostered upon the text mentioned above, in an even more arbitrary manner well intending men have used the terminology "filled with the Spirit" to describe any number of mystical experiences which they have had, as though any new awareness of God, of Christ; any new warmth of experience; any deepening of commitment to The Lord, could be so described. Laying aside personal "experiences," daring to subject them to the principle of 1 John 4:la, 2 (Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they be of God ... Hereby know ye The Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God.), using revealed truth as the form for testing the spirits, and any ensuing experiences, one must see what The Scriptures have to say in this regard.
Precise semantics need not be used in describing experiences, except that great harm is done to unsuspecting believers who are urged to seek duplicate experiences in their own lives as being demanded of God, or expected of God, Who still wishes to "baptize" them or "fill" them with His Holy Spirit, as apart from and in addition to the infusion of the indwelling, risen, glorified Christ, The Christ Who though filling the universe -- dwells in the believer. The pursuit of truth demands a further examination of these things, lest unsuspecting earnest believers suffer frustration through being led to believe that they yet lack some great thing which God is eager
to grant them -- if they make the proper sacrifices. A yielded life, a renewed consideration of and for Christian potential and dedication to Christ, the appropriation of provided power already there -- all these naturally issue in a more effective witness and a richer fruitfulness. But why is this experience called "being filled with the Spirit?" And why the disdain toward, the feeling of spiritual superiority over, other Christians who are content to regard such events as more profound revelations of Christ, and who do not use the other terminology?
Is Ephesians 5:18 after all speaking of what these seek who urge the seeking of the infilling of The Holy Spirit? Is this verse in any sense a command to seek to be filled by The Person of The Holy Ghost?
In Ephesians 5:18ff., those so filled address each other in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in their hearts to The Lord, are always and for everything giving thanks in The Name of The Lord Jesus Christ to God The Father, and are being subject to each other out of reverence for Christ. This, indeed, is powerful living; but the word power (having been exhausted in chapters 1 through 3, leading to the grand climax of chapter 3) is not used in connection with this command to keep being filled with spirit.
Still, it is said that we should seek to get filled with The Spirit according to Eph. 5:18 so as to be more powerful witnesses a borrowing of the Acts 1:8 concept, to be sure. That would be anticlimactic here, for these who are now told to be filled with spirit have already been told that they have been blessed by God in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies, and that their need is to know (among other things) the immeasurable greatness of His power in us who believe, according to the working of His great might which He accomplished (worked, energized) in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and made Him sit at His right hand in the heavenlies; and that "by the power already at work within us (present participle) by which He is able to do far more abundantly than all we may ask or think." Indeed, does the believer then dare affirm that additional "power" for any purpose is needed beyond that? Paul's prayer here is that they may know the resurrection power already within, not get it, and that they may be made strong
enough to know the dimensions of the love of Christ. Paul knew that God communicated energy in him (Gal. 2:8), a fact inevitable in view of Gal. 2:20 -- Christ living instead of him, in him. How, then, can the exhortation to "be filled with spirit" in any sense mean, as is said, to seek a baptism which will "purge out" every sin, "destroy the old man." or "infuse power for service"?
Far from being an exhortation to do what is currently urged upon believers by those who speak of Spirit baptism, Ephesians 5:18ff. must be viewed in another light, in the light of its context. The larger context includes the parallel passage in Colossians 3:16ff. Observe the comparison of the ideas in the two passages:
Be filled with spirit (no the) Let The Word of Christ dwell
speaking to each other in you teaching and admonishing
with psalms, hymns, spiritual songs with psalms, hymns, spiritual songs
singing and singing-along- singing with grace
in your hearts in your hearts
unto the Lord unto God
always giving thanks giving thanks
to God The Father to God The Father
in the Name of The Lord through Him
Jesus (The Lord Jesus)
being submissive be in subjection
Would it not seem odd, with so very many parallels in the two passages, if the opening words did not also stand in parallel relationship? Can it be that be filled with spirit and let the Word of Christ dwell in you are mutually explanatory?
In Colossians 2:10 is an assertion which ought to be seen in its original form (given here in transcription) over against the imperative of Ephesians 5:18.
* psallontes implies singing to the accompaniment of a stringed instrument.
Col. 2:10 este en autoi pepleromenoi "Ye are complete in Him"
Eph. 5:18 plerousthe en pneumati "Be filled with the Spirit"
Now see the parallel in this rearrangement of the words:
Col. 2:10 este pepleromenoi en autoi ye are filled in/with/by [ Him
[plerousthe en pneumati be filled in/with/by spirit
The antecedent of Him in Col. 2:10 is The Christ, in Whom The Fullness of Godhood dwells. Compare Eph. 3:19. Filled with His Person, are they now being told to keep getting filled with the Person of The Spirit? If any man have not The Spirit of Christ, he is none of His! (Rom. 8:9).
Can one rather take the invitation, "Be filled with the spirit, speaking ..." as being equivalent in meaning to the words, "Let The Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom/teaching.."? Is there Scriptural justification beyond this context for that meaning of spirit/words-of-Christ? If that is needed, John 6:63 gives it in unmistakable language: "The words which I have spoken to you, they are spirit and they are life.
It has been suggested that en pneumati. "with spirit" in Eph. 5:18 be translated "by the Spirit" (the Person), the meaning being that one is to submit to His filling one with the graces then mentioned. It would be very unusual for the personal agent to be indicated with the preposition en in Greek. This would normally be done with hypo (hypo tou pneumatos). On the other hand, although the expression as it stands may be used after the verb fill to show that with which one is filled, the normal wording would be rather plerous pneumatos. for that meaning. In Eph. 5:18 with spirit bears the same relationship to be filled as with wine does to be not drunk.
A possible paraphrase, consistent with the larger context, including Col. 3:16, and in agreement with the light from John 6, might be:
Keep being filled with The Word of Christ, which is
spirit and life; speaking to each other, teaching and admonishing each other, etc.
In any case, the passage must be taken out of context to be made to have anything to do with the baptism of The Holy Ghost as it is taught by charismatic enthusiasts in this day.
The Gifts of Ephesians Four
In words clearly meant for "us Gentiles" now made nigh by the blood of Christ, Paul has listed the gifts of the ascended Christ for His churches in Ephesians 4:11 ff. The work of the apostles and prophets here named is seen in Eph. 2:20 to be foundational. Are we not right in understanding that those offices did not extend beyond the closing of the Canon of Scripture? If not, the word of contemporary "apostles" and "prophets" would be equally authoritative with The written Word, and the revelation of truth would not yet be complete. It would appear that one is left today with evangelists and pastor-teachers. Yet the purpose of God in these gifts (of persons) is as before with the gifts of 1 Corinthians 12: "for the edification of the body of Christ"-- not the private edification, but the building up. In this case, of the body of Christ (Eph. 4:12 ff.) See also in Eph. 4:16 the telic phrase unto edification.
The miraculous powers seen in Paul's life during the period of the Acts ministry notwithstanding, he was apparently unable to use these powers when he wrote to Timothy to take "some wine, a little bit" for his stomach and his frequent sicknesses (1 Tim. 5:23); or when he said "Trophimus I left behind on Miletus ailing" (2 Tim. 4:20); or when Epaphroditus lay sick near him in Rome (Phil. 2:30), It is senseless to argue failure of miracles here because of lack of faith on the part of one of these men.* Obviously, God was no longer working through Paul, for healing, as in Acts.
*No intimation is given that Epaphroditus' recover was miraculous. It is plainly spoken of as a natural event. This instance, together with the one in 2 Timothy ("Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick"), affords a proof that the power of performing cures, and by parity of reason, of working miracles, was a power which only visited the apostles occasionally, and did not at all depend upon their own will. Paul undoubtedly would have healed Epaproditus if ->
The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews spoke in 2:3ff. of the signs and wonders and sundry powers and distributions of holy spirit (no article, and no prepositional phrase in Greek!) as things of a day now long gone (when he wrote round 68 AD?), as things which were in evidence "when God was bearing witness (through them)" in apostolic days, "according to His wishing. "
All of this means that by the middle or late sixties the signs and wonders of the Acts ministry were no longer being worked by Paul and were remembered by the writer to the Hebrews as things of another day, as though before his time. This would explain the list given in Ephesians 4 and would confirm our understanding that those nine evidences of holy spirit seen in 1 Cor. 12 were designed for, promised to, given to, and received by Jewish believers alone (except for the experience of Cornelius and his household). This is consistent with 1 Cor. 1:22. This will explain why there is so much disappointment in this day on the part of many earnest believers who feel, to their sorrow, that they are failing God because they cannot get Him to do in this day the things He was freely doing among the apostles.
In this connection, the reader should study the Gospel of John afresh, giving particular attention to the development of believing in that Gospel (see Scripture Research. Vol. 2, No. 8, pp. 239-254). There it will be seen, as by way of an extended illustration of 1 Cor. 1:22, how the Jewish nation consistently could accept and believe the signs Christ was giving but at the same time refuse to believe His Word and believe Him personally. "What sign do you work, that we may see and believe?" was their cry. Christ's commendation is never given to that kind of believing. See John 2:23, 24. However, He did commend a Gentile nobleman who "believed the word which Christ spake unto him," Nathaniel who
he could. [And Trophimus as well. He would have healed Timothy rather than send a prescription of "a little wine for your stomach's sake. "--] Nor, if the power of working cures had awaited his disposal, would he have left his fellow traveler at "Miletus sick." Paul had readily boasted in his being used to heal and is as ready to admit his continued inability to do so at the close of his ministry, to assist his devoted and faithful friends when they needed it most and he needed them most. RHS.
"came" prior to his "seeing," the Samaritans who "believed because of His word, not the woman's," and finally all who believe without needing to "see" of whom He spoke to Thomas: "Blessed are the not-having-seen-but-believing ones!" The Jews seek a sign, not The Christ. Are they not under that implied indictment in this day who need the sign to provoke faith, trust, confidence in addition to the indwelling Christ?
"Should I seek the baptism with The Holy Spirit? "
How sad this question makes the heart of one who has been through the Pentecostal syndrome! Invariably those who claim to have had an experience of "Spirit baptism" will say to the writer (as he so often said himself in other days) that speaking in tongues makes Christ "feel near," or makes them "feel near to God," or that it "strengthens them, " or "confirms their faith." How sad it is that we need any gift from God to confirm His Word or insure us of His presence - -the greatest gifts! How sad it is that in receiving Christ we demand or expect that He have something for us in His nail-scarred hands in addition to Himself! How tragic that the physical sensation of mouthing meaningless syllables in a state of emotional --even spiritual -- excitement can do for the believer what The revealed Word of Truth and the indwelling glorified Christ do not do!
But this is precisely the case with those who seek tongues or any other alleged charisma as evidence of spirituality. Oh, that we might be willing, as the rich young ruler was not willing, to be left with Christ and The Word (Mark 10:17-22)!
When holy spirit was given in Acts 2, it was to the surprised disciples in the upper room. Paul, to those who were abusing the charismata, did indeed urge the seeking of "the better" or "higher" gifts. Even if God were distributing those gifts in this day, we would do well to remember that nowhere are we told to tarry for them, to expect them, or to seek them in the way in which they are urged upon us today. Would He not still be distributing them according to His purpose, according to His willing?
Many are disturbed by the present lack of the signs which were seen during the Acts ministry. Many sincerely seek these
evidences. Baptist pastors, "even Episcopalians!" (we are told with evident wonder) have "talked in the unknown tongue" or (more correctly as regards the wording) "spoken with tongues." Many are disturbed and Christians without this "wonderful experience" are chided, blamed, charged with indifference or even apostasy. "The gifts are lacking because zeal for God is lacking. People do not wish to pay the price," we are told.
Perhaps many Christians are indifferent. But a close examination of the Book of Acts will reveal that indifference reached its apex in the Jewish believers when it was a matter of witnessing outside the nation, except in the case of those who shared the views of Stephen and Philip. The eleven disciples were snugly and smugly secure in Jerusalem when believers like Stephen (with his supra-racial and supra-national vision) were being ferreted out, chased out of the land, or killed; when a man like Paul could see himself urged by James (!) to act like a good Jew in order to save his neck (Acts 21:17-26). What meaning could Christ's redeeming work have had for Jewish "believers" who still were all fanatically zealous for the Law? Can Christians at our worst today be worse than the Corinthian church, the church of the gifts? Can there be less love (agape) than then? More division than there? More selfishness? Less perception of spiritual values? Less awareness of world need? Less concern for the brother and for the group? Less grasping the meaning of it all?
"There are no gifts now, because Christians are so far from God," another claims. He forgets that the elder brother, at home with his father, was as far away as the prodigal. Shall we erroneously assume that their chronological position with reference to Christ's incarnation made the disciples so different from today's man in Christ? The Acts and the Epistles deny this. They were much closer to rank paganism too!
It becomes clear, even if The Word of God did not make it so clear, that the gifts were not given then according to merit. Neither are they withheld today, we believe, because of lack of spiritual merit. Dr. Frank Stagg has often said that the gifts, when real, themselves created merit. They received their own merit from agape, love like Christ's, the highest Gift (1 Cor. 13). They made the personality, as in the case of Stephen. The personality did not merit
the gift. Nor should it be expected now that personality merits the gift. 1 Cor. 12:11, let it be repeated, gives the canon God used in the dispensing of this power from on high: "As He purposes." See also 1 Cor. 12:18. The secret of the why and the when rests then secure in The Mind of God, except as those texts and others reveal it, as the above paragraphs have sought to show.
How simple the matter becomes when one applies the earlier mentioned principle of 2 Tim. 2:15 to the subject and recognizes that God is free to operate as He pleases in His different economies! How much one would benefit from letting The Scriptures speak for themselves and from letting God answer for believers today the mighty prayers of Paul in Ephesians and Colossians! How great is our need to see what God has provided for the believer already! Oh, for wisdom to understand, for example, the assertion of Colossians 2:10!
Not all are willing to regard these things as part of God's program for Israel alone, however. Let those remember, then, that those gifts belonged to God. He was The Giver. He purposed within Himself (the verb in 1 Cor. 12:11 is Middle) in the giving, to confirm The Word in the days of the apostles, thereby as well to edify the assembly. There was an oikonomia (economy) of gifts for the oikodomia (edification, building up) of the group. The Holy Spirit dispensed His gifts (pneuma hagion) not to puff up the individual, but to build up the assembly. Would not the same be true now, if the same program were actually in effect?
If someone is still asking, "if then, why not now?" Let him read again the opening words of this second part of this booklet. Christ indeed is the same Christ, yesterday, today, and forever; but God's programs change.
Todo se pasa.
Dios no se muda.
(All else passeth.
God never changeth.)
Is not presumption at its highest and lowest when it assumes that because God acted thus and so at one time means He must ever act so, and especially "in my own individual case!"?
Consider the mistake of Mary and Martha: "Lord, if Thou hadst been here, our brother would not have died." Why not? Because Christ had healed others and would thus surely heal Lazarus, whom He loved? Where is it stated that God must do for me what He does for you, or that I have the right to demand or expect it? God had acted in administering the gifts within the framework and according to the canon of His sovereign grace, His sovereign purpose, as in all His acts. In His love for Mary, Maratha, and Lazarus, He was able to "stay where He was yet two days!"
Let no tears be shed if God has altered His economy and now offers to you a higher, if less spectacular display of spiritual evidences. Weep not over that which He may not purpose to give you, even if it be the shimmering glory of apostolic days. The signs did not lead to Him, to His Christ, then! Why expect that they would now? Do they not indeed lead away from Him and His Word when they are needed in addition to Them? Ah, friend! Look rather away unto our timeless, ageless Christ, making sure that He, on the other hand, gets from you (as F. B. Meyer said it) all He died for! Let Him become to you all things. If our search has been for "all the benefits of the atonement," let it now be that The Redeemer gets from us the full amount purchased. You, in having Him, have all.
The Holy Spirit, The Person, bears witness to Christ. In my own experience, alleged present-day "Holy Spirit baptism "exalts the individual, or the "Holy Spirit." In our particular fellowships, it created a special "spiritual elite" class. Others were "just saved" or "just sanctified." This disdain of the uninitiated is a frightful thing. Beware, lest our claimed Spirit-infilling exalt the flesh, satisfying the craving for physical ecstasies, nothing more. Beware, lest this lead to admiration for the supposed (or real) gifts of God more than for God -- to one not being satisfied with God alone, or perhaps to your not even being sure of God unless these supposed evidences are there to confirm His Word.
The mark of the believer is not how high he can jump or how loud he can shout, but how far he has gone with his cross. Count, yea; but do not count your gifts: count your scars.
Let us not join the frenzied search for "power" (usually measured in terms of noise and commotion) or these illusory
evidences, all bound up in a madness for assurance based upon emotional response. Such seeds do indeed grow quickly; but how quickly do the plants wither!
These in like manner are they that are sown upon the rocky places, who, when they have heard The Word, straightway receive it with joy; and they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of The Word, straightway they stumble.
Mark 4:16, 17.
The heart remains deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it? Who dares to trust it? Who dares not be guided by the unchanging Word of God?
Paul knew a more excellent way than the spectacular splash of spiritual showmanship. Let us seek it.
THE EXCELLENT WAY
For there is a higher way. Paul, at 1 Corinthians 13, proposes a highway, a way "still more excellent." Here he speaks of a grace which is greater than faith (as producing it): its cause, its course, its consummation -- as giving value to faith ... and hope. But of what is it a more excellent way?
The context reveals that the comparison is with these very gifts, even when they were in true evidence, in God's economy for the apostles. Thus, surely, the comparison can be made with claimed contemporary experiences, urged upon us by some as being identical with the apostolic experiences, and with the highest evidences of the highest Christian experience; for if these are real, the contrast still holds. If they are not real, the contrast holds all the more. How often in the Acts period the multitude was amazed, or was afraid, seeing the signs and wonders (as Acts 5:11,12b), even as occurred in the case of their witness of Jesus' miracles in the days of His earthly ministry! "We never saw it on this wise," "astonished," "dumb-founded." This is the attitude of one before the apparently and the truly miraculous; the unexplainable, whether it is of God or not. So Acts 8:9-11; 9:13c: "the people were amazed," "he was amazed." In this regard remember that John's gospel shows how Jesus did not trust a faith based merely upon this surge of awe (start with John 2:23-25).
It is natural for the childish mind (this is Paul's word, 1 Cor. 14:20) or even perhaps the mature mind at an unguarded moment, to feel this sense of awe. Thus the Guaymi of Panama felt that the American Bible Society's little plastic finger-phone was "the great power of God." We are not far removed from the primitive in this, being amazed by seemingly instantaneous or even rapid recovery from diseases doctors cannot explain.
Paul dares to suggest that there is a way higher far than the spectacular, even when this is genuinely divine in its origin. This higher grace alone gives a meaning and value to the divine gift.
It is a highway, a way cast up, where every milestone is a cross, and where every wanderer is bidden to lay down his life for the brother. Ah, yes! It leads not to marveling so much as to martyrdom. Therefore, it is so. little sought. Jesus walked this high-way. He left us the example, that we should follow in His steps of love. It is the way of agape: unselfish, self-giving love.
Herein is love: "By this we know love, that He laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren (1 John 3:16)." "in this God's love was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another (1 John 4:9,11)." We are able to do this because He loved us first. The first fruit of the Spirit is love ...
Even when the gifts of 1 Corinthians 12 were in effect, ecstatic speaking of unlearned inspired languages was mere noise if not born of love. Tongues, prophecy, knowledge, faith, helpers, to all these agape gave meaning.
Small wonder that Paul, after reflecting upon the vanishing charismata and the permanence of agape exclaimed: "Pursue love!" Thus he speaks in the first words of chapter 14, although in that economy he could still say, "Forbid not to speak with tongues" within the limits and controls he then ordered.
I challenge all who are seeking tongues to seek first agape. the laying down of the life as Christ did, to the same majestic degree ("As I have loved ... "). This is the highway, the way cast up, the more excellent way, which abideth. There can be no lack of "power" in such a life. When Christ is unveiled in a man, He communicates energy to him (Gal. 1:16; 2:8). To this Christ we can say,
Thou need'st not give me aught that I
should love Thee;
Were there no hope above or fear
Just as I love Thee now, then should
I love Thee."
Oh, Ascended Christ, Thou alone sufficest! Thou art all, and in having Thee, we have everything. What can we need besides?
Once it was the blessing,
Now it is The Lord;
Once it was the feeling,
Now it is The Word.
Once His gifts I wanted,
Now The Giver own; Once I sought for healing Now Himself alone.
Once was painful trying,
Now 'tis perfect trust;
Once a half salvation,
now the uttermost.
Once it was my working.
His it hence shall be;
Once I tried to use Him,
Now He uses me.
Once for self I labored,
Now for Him alone.
Once the power I wanted.
Now the Mighty One.
A. B. Simpson
Who can pray for power when he is indwelled by The Mighty Christ? If He is made unto us power, wisdom, holiness, righteousness, and redemption, why pray for power, wisdom, holiness, righteousness any more than redemption? In having Him, we have all these.
Christ is the power of God for those who are summoned (1 Cor. 1:24). His divine power has granted us all that pertains to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him Who called us (2 Pet. 1:3). He is indeed made unto us all things.
It is Christ Himself we need: not a broken heart, but Him Whose heart was broken, indwelling us, weeping through us; not His strength, but Christ in us, Who is our strength; not holiness like His, but Christ Who is made unto us sanctification, wisdom, righteousness; not zeal for souls, but Christ, living in us, loving men
to the death, and loving them through us. It is Christ we need. He is All.
He would become everything to us. To me this is a new and wonderful and glorious revelation of The God in Christ. In Him is The All. He is therefore wisdom, He is zeal, He is power, He is comfort, He is victory All. It is one thing to know that Christ gives strength; it is quite another thing to understand that He is strength and is strength in us.
O Christ, think, speak, decide, walk, act in us! Not we, but Christ, living! Not these hands, but Thine in ours! Not we praying, but Thou in us praying in Thy Name, in Thy very Person.
1 CORINTHIANS 13
I am about to point out to you a way cast up above all other ways:
If you perchance should hear me speaking, not only with dialects of men, but those of angels as well, without experiencing unselfish Love, Already I have become a noisy gong, a clanging cymbal.
If I perchance exhibit prophetic insights, as may happen, perceiving truths known only by special revelation,
If I should actually have all there is of faith, and you should see me lift mountains from their foundations and set them yonder, without experiencing unselfish Love, Call me "nothing." And if I give away whatever I call my own, even this body should I betray it to consumption, and in that do not experience unselfish Love, Nobody owes me anything. This unselfish Love has a long heart. Kind is this love, Nor can it boil in jealous heat. Love cannot act the braggard, has no inflated ego, goes not about in search of what is its own, can never be on edge,
forgets to write in its ledger wrongs,
is never joyful in the presence of iniquity,
but joins inseparably with truth in its joy.
In every situation, Love stays put;
In every situation, Love keeps on believing;
In every situation, Love keeps on hoping;
In every situation, Love remains constant.
Unselfish Love does not know what it is to fall.
Now as for prophecy,
it will one day be discarded as no longer
useful or operative;
As for these languages we speak,
they will one day cease like a noisy child
suddenly fallen asleep;
As for this knowledge of which we so vainly boast,
it too, will one day be discarded as neither
useful nor appropriate.
For we do have a knowledge, but we know only a part of what may be known.
We do prophecy, but only a part of what may be prophesied.
When in God's providence shall come that which
is indeed complete, there will be no more
place or need for these imperfect experiences.
I was a small child:
I used to talk a baby's language;
I use to think a baby's thoughts;
I used then to reason as a baby reasons.
But now I am a man:
those things which were good and useful
and inevitable in my babyhood.
Have neither place nor function in my adult experience.
For now we are gazing into a mirror:
Is that really my face I see?
But then a real face,
gazing into a real face.
Even now, I do not know it all;
But then I shall know completely just as I
have been known completely all along.
As for this present
Faith, Hope, Agape (Love),
Stay and stay and stay. . .
The greatest of these?
It Is LOVE.
Brethren, do not be children in your thinking ... in your thinking be men (1 Cor. 14:20).
THE USAGE OF PNEUMA
Pneuma = Spirit, is the Greek word corresponding with the Heb.
ruach in the Old Testament.
The usage of the latter will be found in Ap. 9, and
should he compared with this Appendix.
As to the Greek word (pneuma): we must consider
I. the occurrences, and II. the usage:
I. Pneuma occurs in the Received Greek Text 335 times. Of these, all the Critical Texts (see Ap. 94. vii) agree in omitting nine1 (or in substituting another reading) and in adding three.2
The occurrences are thus distributed:
Received To be To be Net
Text omitted.(1) added result
In the Gospels 105 2 -- 103
In the Acts 69 1 1 69
In the earlier Paulilne 21 2 -- 19
In later Pauline 110 2 1 139
In the Apostlic Epp. 27 2 -- 25
In the Apocalypse 23 -- 1 24
385 9 3 379
The above 385 occurrences in the Received Text are thus rendered in the A.V.
"Spirit ", 133; "spirit", 153; "spiritual", 1;
"ghost", 2; "life ", 1; and "wind", 1 = 291
In the Genitive Case, "spiritually", = 1
With "hagion" ( =holy) = "Holy Spirit ", 4;
"Holy Ghost" ,89 = 93 = 385
In the margin:
"Breath" is given twice as an alternative for
"spirit", and once for "life".
"Of the spirit" is given as an alternative for
"spirit" is given as an alternative for "spiritual".
II. The usages of pneuma. The following have been noted in The Companion Bible. It is used for
1. god. " God is pneuma," (John 4.24-). Not "a"
spirit, for there is no indefinite Article in the Greek.
(1) Luke 2:40; 9:55. Acts 18.5. Rom. 8:1. 1 Cor. 6:20. Eph. 5:9. 1 Tim. 4:12. 1 Pet. 1:22. 1 John 5:7.
(2) Acts 4:25. Phil. 4:23. Rev. 22:6.
2. christ, as in 1 Cor. 6.17; 15. 45; and especially 2 Cor. 3.17, 18 ( = tbe pnema of v. 6-, &c.).
3. the holy spirit, generally with the Article, denoting the Giver, as distinct from His gifts. See No. 14, p. 147. After a Preposition the Article is sometimes to be understood, as being latent.
4. the operations of the holy spirit, in the bestowal of spiritual gifts, as in 1 Cor. 12.4-11.
5. the new nature in the child of God, because " begotten" in us by God, as in John 3. 3-7. 1 John 5. 1, 4. See note on Matt. 1.1.
This is more especially the Pauline usage: spirit as opposed to what is of the flesh (John 3.6). Rom. 8.4). Hence called " pneuma Theou " ( = Divine pneuma (Rom. 8. 9, l Cor. 7.40; 12.3-), and pneuma Christou (= Christ pneuma) in Rom. 8.9.
6. man (psychologically), pneuma being imparted to man, making him "a living psuche" ( "a living soul ", or being, as in (Gen. 2. 7. Ps. 104 29, 30. Ecc. 12. 7). When taken back to and by God, man, without pneuma, becomes and is called "a dead soul" in each of the thirteen occurrences rendered in A.V. "dead body", &c. See Ap. 13. ix, p. 21.
7. character, as being in itself invisible, and manifested only in one's actions, &c. Rom. 8. 15. (2 Tim. 1. 7, &c:).
8. other invisible characteristics (by Fig. Metonymy, Ap. 6): such as feelings or desires (Matt. 26.47, &c.); or that which is supernatural.
9. man (physiologically), pneuma being put by Fig. Synecdoche (Ap. 6) for the whole person ; a part for the whole (as in Luke 1.47, "my spirit' = I myself.) See Ap. 9. VII.
10. adverbially. But this is only once, in the A.V., where it is translated "spiritually" in Rom. 8.6. Cp. the R.V. rendering.
11. angels, or spirit-beings. As in Acts 8.29. Heb. 1. 7, 14. 1 Pet. 3.19. Rev. 1.4.
12. demons, or evil spirit-beings, as in Mark 7.25, 26. Luke 10, 17, 20. &c.
13. the resurrection body, as iu 1 Cor. 15. 45. 1 Pet. 3. 18; 4.6.
14. Pneuma hagion = holy spirit, and is so printed in the
Companion Bible. This usage (without Articles) occurs 52
times in the N.T., and is always wrongly rendered "the Holy
Spirit" (with the definite Article, and capital letters).
Consequently there is no stronger rendering available when
there are two Articles present in the Greek (to pneuma to
haaion), which means "the Spirit the Holy [Spirit]". Hence,
the English reader can never tell which of- the two very
different Greek expressions he is reading-. I'newna, hagion
(without Articles) is never used of the Giver (the Holy
Spirit hut only and always of His gift. What this gift is may
be seen by comparing Acts 1.4, ft with Luke 24. 41.), where "
the promise of the Father " is called (in the former passage)
pneuma hay ion, and in the latter is called "power from on
high". This " power from on nigh " includes whatever gifts
the Holy Spirit may bestow " according to His own will".
What particular gift is meant is; sometimes stated, e.g.
"faith", "power", &c. This will be found to be the case iu
every one of , the 52 occurrences. See Acts 2.4 (the first oc
currence subsequent to Acts 1.4, ft), where we read " they
were all tilled > with jtneuma, hat/ion, and
began to speak with other tongues, as THE Spirit gave ".
Here the Giver and His gift are strictly distinguished.
The following are the52 occurrences of pneuma haaion. Those marked"1" are the subject of a various reading, and * p. denotes hagion pneuma: Matt. 1.18, 20; 3.11. Mark 1. 8, Luke 1.15,35,41,67; 2.25; 3.10; 4. 1-; 11.13. John 1. -33; 7. -3!); 20. 22. Acts 1. 2, 5; 2. 4-; 4. 8, 31*; 6. 3, 5; 7. 66} 8.15,17, 19; 9.17; 10.:»; 11. 10,24; 13.9,62; 19.2,2. Bom. 6. 5; 9.1; 14.17; 15. 13, ic. l Cor. 2. 13*; 6. 19 A.J*.; 12. -3. 2'Cor. l>. c. l Thess. 1. 6, e. a Tim. 1.14, Titus 3.6. Heh.2. 4; 6.4. l Pet. 1.12. 2 Pet. 1. 21. Jude 20.
The above 14. usages of pneuma, and the 52 occurrences of pneuma hagion, are all indicated in the notes of The Companion Bible.
i The Verb to fill takes three Cases after it In the Active, the Accusative of tliu vessel, or whatever to filled and the Genitive, of what It ia filled with. In the Passive, the Dative, of the filer; and the Genitive, of what the vessel \* filled with. In Epli. 5.11 it In the Dative, strengthened by the Preposition (en vnetimati), denoting the Holy Spirit Himself an being the one Who fill* witli other gifts than "wine".
THOUGH I SPOKE WITH TONGUES
A. Jackson Roddy, M. A., Th. D.
Former Chairman, Department of Modern Languages
California Baptist College Riverside, California
Seventh Printing, Reformatted
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