Are Pentecostal Churches Cults?
A reader wrote, "I was wondering are you saying Pentecostal churches are cults ? thank you."
Gerald, Nashville, Ill.
The following question was asked. He did not specify the article he had read that raised this question; but if I were to guess, it would be my article on, "Tongues."
This is a tricky question. Why? Because I believe that in every denomination there are those who are saved, not falling into the traps set by false teachers. To say every Catholic, every Pentecostal, every Baptist because they may disagree with my thinking or yours, are not saved, would be ludicrous. God always has his remnant working in the darnedest places.
In the midst of all the religious confusion today, can we as Christians reduce the Bible to its' original first principle? And if we were to ask, Is God the author of confusion?" Our answer should be "NO." The answer can be supported in the following verse.
1 Thes.5:21, "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good."
This verse is particularly worthy of our notice. No man who writes a commentary or holds to a particular truth is an infallible judge of the whole sense of Scripture. As Christian's, we need to examine closely the explaining of certain passages and subjects, and include the PROOFS by which they support their interpretations.
Those attending a particular denominational church should NOT be influenced by any popularity of a certain teaching, or the outward appearances, supposed happenings, or any other novelties going on in that church.
Any authority a pastor, teacher, or commentator may appear to have, is merely a human one only. Why, because they are in the world to be witnesses to the Word of God. Most divisions in the body of Christ lie in the doctrines of false teachers.
One of the great errors most church members have, is to the exclusively of certain teachings. The understandings of most who attend a particular church come from the insight or precepts their pastors, or teachers have committed to. Without proper discernment, some may teach erroneous doctrines to their congregation, this without any stop-gaps, or any insightful Scriptural comprehension.
2 Tim.3:16-17, Paul writes, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."
There are some difficulties connected with the study of Scripture in the English language. Sometimes the translations do not fully convey the sense of the original languages.
Because the Pentecostal movement is growing faster then any other denomination, and has so many various teachings, their guides and leaders need to be asked pointed questions by other Christians outside their denomination pertaining to certain aspects of their doctrines/actions.
What is their reasoning behind exercises such as, snake handling, shaking, laying on of hands, demon chasing, speaking in tongues, or praying to others, besides Jesus Christ.
To Christians outside these movements, it appears that those who practice these things seem to have a very private understanding of Scripture, an understanding that no others in the body of Christ understand, or believe to be Biblical. Because of the confusion it creates, and sometimes divisions they cause, certain questions need to be put forth.
There is a program on Television called, "Ask the pastor." They have a variety of pastors from around the country, representing various denominations. I believe most are of the Pentecostal faith.
The following questions are called in several times a week by listeners which are,
"What does it mean to speak in tongues?" or, "Why can't I speak in tongues?"
The guest speakers which are for the most part Pentecostal refer to tongues as if every passage in Scripture means it to be a private prayer, an exclusive way of teaching, or a language that God understands and not Satan. After these responses, my question is, does the Hebrew and Greek of the Bible support these comments, and reasoning?
The other question, "Why can’t I speak in tongues? The common reply is, "Your faith is not developed enough," or, "It will come to you one day," or you need to attend a church that practices this sign.
"What is the Hebrew, Greek and English meaning of the word "Tongues?" With the proper research, the truth of the answer can be achieved and understood without question that is if a person is willing to admit to the truth.
Let’s get to the question asked of me by a reader. "Are you saying Pentecostal churches are cults?
My response to the reader is, "If any teaching does not line up with the word of God, my response is, YES. This is not an opinion, for I have none. My reply is based on the lack of Scriptural evidence produced by the leaders of the Pentecostal movement concerning this matter.
I have asked the following question for the past 5 years to those who speaks in tongues, be they pastors or members of that church. The question is,
In what recognized Greek or Hebrew dictionary, can I find the word tongues, meaning anything else other than a know language, a language spoken by a people of a particular country, an idiom, or a dialect of a known language?" When I say a known language, I mean languages such as, English, German, French, Aramaic, etc.
Up to now I have heard nothing; complete silence dominates the airwaves. Why has no one stepped up to the plate? Most likely because there is no evidence! Because of this, I believe that a part of the truth has been extracted, and certain personal agendas injected in.
So does the meaning of the word tongues, or language throughout the old and new testament have anything to do with an incoherent, or a private dialog with God?
Tongues are a sign. 1 Cor.14:22, "Wherefore tongues are for a sign, NOT to them that believe, but to them that believe NOT."
When Christians meet in church on Sunday, it is to give honor, and thanks to God for the blessings He has bestowed upon us. These services are usually filled with believers. Because tongues are for a sign to those who believe NOT, why would anyone speak in tongues to an audience of believing Christians?
The speaking in tongues is a sign for who? "An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign (as in tongues,)" Compared with,
Matt.16:4, "A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign (as in tongues;) and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jo'-nas."
Jonah gave a message from God to the Ninevites, a nation of pagans. They received this message, repented of their sins, therefore the Lord spared them. On the flip side we read of the good news of God being given to the Jewish people.
The difference was, the Jews rejected the message, and were destroyed. The message was then given and received by the Gentile.
The church had its first major growth on the day of Pentecost through a sign given to the unbelieving Jews'. The Jews' came to Jerusalem from all around the Roman world, many speaking different languages. The apostles were given by the Holy Spirit the message of Christ, and the hearing of those in attendance was fines tuned by the Holy Spirit to receive the message.
Acts 2:6, "Every man heard them (the apostles) speak in his own language." So the apostles words were being interpreted by the Holy Spirit in the ears of those in attendance.
What happened in Acts 2, was a reversal of the events of Gen.11:1 and 7, This event on the day of Pentecost was necessary in order to jump start the new Christian movement. 3000 became Christians because of this sign.
Gen.11:1-7, "The whole earth was of one language, and of one speech." Ver.7, "Let us go down and there confound (put into disorder) their language, that they may not understand one another's speech."
The dispute between various Christian groups comes from the difference of interpretation of 1 Cor.14, which Paul addresses. The seed bed for Paul's theological concepts and the usual source of his terms was the Old Testament. Paul used the word tongues, 21 times in 1 Cor.12 through 14, but only 3 other times in his other letters. The three times Paul used it outside of 1 Cor. and in all cases, they came as a quote from the Old Testament; Tongues meaning a specific language.
It is a language spoken for the use of communication between people. In some cases an interpreter is needed. Example, If an English speaking pastor is about to speak to a French audience, before he begins, he needs an interpreter. That's simple enough.
At the end of this article is a full definition of the Greek word, and all that the word tongues imply concerning this subject.
Therefore the idea of a private unknown language with God is ridiculous. God hears all who pray to Him through His Holy Spirit, and even if Satan understood, so what? What power does the devil have over Jesus Christ or His Holy Spirit?
The answer is, none. How can Satan touch a child of God? He can’t! Also this issue of an incoherent language has caused a great division in the body of believers, and God is not going to divide His church, nor will He cause confusion.
If you don't understand what your praying for this private language, how than do you know your not praying to Satan himself?
This was done in the city of Corinth. The oracles of Delphi, where women who engaged in sexual activities for money, they babbled (incoherently) to their gods for wisdom. They were paid well by soldiers and seamen alike. This practice soon crept into the early Christian community at Corinth. It can also be found in nations that practice false religions, they praying in an unearthly language to their gods are Witch doctors, Shamans, those who consult the dead, etc. What has this to do with a Christian?
Jesus gave us an example of prayer. It starts out, "Our Father, who art in heaven." This type of prayer can be spoken in many tongues (Languages.) German, French, English, Russian, etc. and God hears them all.
The Pentecostal church has become the second largest church in the world, second only to the Catholic Church, and is growing rapidly world wide. Yet the Scriptures tell us, when the Lord returns, few will be found that retain the faith He left us with.
What's wrong with this picture? Modern day Christianity has also taken on many new faces. The only guide lines we have are the Scriptures.
Again the question is, are these actions supported by Scripture? Are these pastors and teachers tending their flock? or have they written their own dictionary, reinterpreting certain words to fit their actions?
Search the Scriptures; be sure of your teaching, and that which you hear is supported by God's word and being led by His Holy Spirit.
The English, Greek, and Hebrew meaning of the word tongues follows,
Tongue: Tongues: Greek is, glossa.
A. Metonymically, or putting one work for another. It is speech, language.
b-1. Genr. 1 John 3:18, "Let us not love in word, neither in tongue = (speech only)." Septuagint, "A soft tongue (or soft words) breaketh the bone," Prov.25:15, 31:26, "Her tongue (speech) is the law of kindness."
A-2. Of a particular language or dialect, as spoken by a particular people:
1. Acts 2:11, "Cretes (Greeks) Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues (languages) the wonderful works of God."
2. 1 Cor. 13:1, Paul wrote, "Though I speak with the tongues (language) of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal."
3. Gen.10:5-20, "These were the Isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue (language,) after their families, in their nations."
4. Dan.1:4, "Whom they might teach the learning and the tongue (language) of the Chaldeans."
Put for the people who use a language, as in,
1. Rev.5:9, "Out of every kindred = (tribes) and tongue (language) and people, and nations."
2. Rev.7:9, 10:11, 11:9, 13:7, 14:6, 17:15, "The waters which thou sawest, where the wh*re sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues (languages.)"
Isa.66:18, "I will gather all nations and tongues (languages of the people) and they shall come, and see my glory."
Dan. 3:4-7-30-32. You can examine these yourself.
In the phrase;
1. Acts 2:4, "To speak with other tongues," or, as in Mark 16:17, to speak in, or with other, "New tongues = (new languages)."
2. Acts 10:46, 19:6, "Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied." These men began to speak in languages they had never been taught or studied. This was the beginning of the Christian church, the gospel message was knew, and was to be spread to others, the Jew first and then the Gentiles.
1 Cor. 12:30, 14:2-4-5-6-13-18-23-27-39, "Speak with tongues."
1 Cor. 14:14, "If I pray in an unknown tongue (language) my spirit prayeth, but my understandings (to others) is unfruitful." If Paul had prayed in an unknown Language, others would not have understood, therefore it would not have benefited them.
1 Cor. 14:19, to discourse in an unknown tongue (language,) or simply tongues (languages,)
1 Cor.12:10, "Divers kinds of tongues," with ver.28, "God hath set some in the church, first apostles --- helps, governments, diversities of tongues (languages.)"
1 Cor.13:8, 14:22-26. Here, according to the two passages in Mark and Acts, the sense would seem to be, to speak in other living languages; but if the passages in, 1 Cor. be taken as that basis, these phrases would seem to mean, to speak another language, a language familiar to that person, but not to the others in attendance.
This being done perhaps a person in a state of high spiritual excitement or ecstasy from inspiration, unconscious of external things and wholly absorbed in communion with God, breaks out into abrupt expressions of praise and devotion, which are not intelligible to those present. They praising God in their native language, the language of their ancestors. This language or tongue may NOT be familiar to the others in the church. Compare the following verses, 1 Cor.14:2-4-6-7, seq.
Another reader wrote,
Calling an entire movement or denomination is a very serious charge. It is likely to enflame some very intense reactions on both sides, so I want to inject a cautionary note here.
First of all, Phillip LaSpino I think it's very important for you to explain whether you are referring to a particular denomination such as the United Penticostal Church or are you referring to the general penticostal movement. It sounds to me as though you are referring in general to the penticostal movement and in particular to any church that endorses the gift of tongues.
Second, I think it's important to define what a cult is and to recognize that just because a group of people takes a different position on theological issue than we do doesn't necessarily make their church a cult. Is the issue of tongues an essential tenet of the Christian faith? Or is it a non-essential issue where Christians can disagree without their soul being in jeopardy.
On this latter point, I will share with you OurChurch.Com's position. Generally speaking, we believe the issue of tongues is a non-essential issue. I can find no place in scripture that says a person cannot be saved if they claim to speak in tongues. Also, I cannot find on place in scripture that says tongues are a requirement for salvation. That is the one position that we take issue with. We welcome those who speak in tongues as brothers and sisters in Christ unless they profess a person must speak in tongues to be saved. That would violate the essential principle of the Christian faith that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone, not by anything we do.
The bottom line, though, is I want to strongly caution against calling any Christian movement a cult. Just because you disagree with someone's interpretation of scripture doesn't mean they are a cult. We should be careful not use such an inflamatory accusatory term loosely.
I'm not saying we should not point out beliefs and practices which we believe don't line up with scripture. But we have to be careful about how we do it so we don't end up condemning an entire group of fellow Christians and creating disunity within the body.
In His Service, Paul.
The best way to defend the Scriptures is to turn them loose. Whenever there is a debate, it appears one party or the other gets offended. The offended party is usually the one who cannot prove his/her point.
Concerning the above article, tongues in the Pentecostal church, I thought it to be well researched and documented. It was not meant to be offensive to any person or community of people but it was meant to inform.
One thing about conflicting thoughts, (debates) they bring everyone into the conversation, and nobody has to be left out. Concerning my word research, I am extremely careful in each Greek word's smallest detail, correct according to the Greek and Hebrew that has been passed down over the centuries. Now if it offends people, I can't help that!
The reader wrote, "I think it's important to define what a cult is and to recognize that just because a group of people takes a different position on theological issue than WE do doesn't necessarily make their church a cult."
Phil wrote: One question must be asked concerning your use of the pronoun "We" in your comment. Every pronoun must have a reference noun which is missing here in your statement. Does "We" refer to you and me or to the opinion of the O.C.C? If O.C.C., are you the censor, or spokesman for the group? Clarification would be essential to the pronoun used.
Phil wrote, "I have been given a gift. It's not a popular gift, and usually turns people away because it is the gift of discernment. I made a promise many years back to uphold the truths written in the Bible, and I intend to keep my word to the Lord. I am the nose, the bloodhound in the body of Christ. I have a good sense of smell when it comes to bad doctrines and bad teachings, because, this is my gift. When people say I am wrong, I don't get offended; I will try to prove my point through the Scriptures. I intend to stand firm in upholding Scriptural truths. I am not accusing anyone of anything, but I will speak out against what I call deceptive, unscriptural doctrines.
I never have a preconceived opinion. If I did, it would be no better than anyone else's opinion. I prove and support my comments with Scriptures. I also do an intensive word study when I respond to questions. Whoever may disagree with me has this forum to prove diverse thoughts, or opinions."
Reader wrote, "First of all, Phillip LaSpino I think it's very important for you to explain whether you are referring to a particular denomination such as the United Penticostal Church or are you referring to the general penticostal movement."
Phil wrote, "pdstein, My reply was to a question asked of me in reference to the tongue's movement in the Pentecostal church. It went like this,
Question, " Phil, I was wondering are you saying Pentecostal churches are cults ?"
My response was,
"This may be a tricky question. Why? Because I believe that in every denomination there are those who are saved, not falling into the traps set by false teachers.
Note, this would include the Pentecostal church."
Reader wrote, "Second, I think it's important to define what a cult is and to recognize that just because a group of people takes a different position on theological issue than we do doesn't necessarily make their church a cult. Is the issue of tongues an essential tenet of the Christian faith? Or is it a non-essential issue where Christians can disagree without their soul being in jeopardy."
Phil wrote, "non-essential?" A different position?" Let's examine the results of this non-essential teaching.
1. The meaning of the Greek and Hebrew word "tongues," has been changed, and given a very different meaning. I can't believe that the Lord would consider twisting His word to be called "a non-essential matter."
2. This practice of speaking in an incoherent language has divided many in the church. So my question is, If God is not the author of confusion, then who or what is causing this confusion?
3. The roots of incoherent speaking came from various sects (idol worshippers) especially in the city of Corinth. The oracles of Delphi, where women prostitutes who babbled (incoherently) to their gods. We also see this in Voodoo, and other ancient cults who practiced this very thing. The Pentecostal church is the new guy on the block, life span to this day, about 120 or 130 years.
4. When people who profess to be Christian, add or subtract words, rewrite word definitions, change doctrines, mislead, etc. I call this the work of anti-christs. Example, the New World Translation of the Bible, complements of the Jehovah Witnesses. Are we not to speak out against their anti-christian work? Or am I to worry about offending someone in that organization?"
Reader wrote, "On this latter point, I will share with you OurChurch.Com's position. Generally speaking, we believe the issue of tongues is a non-essential issue. I can find no place in scripture that says a person cannot be saved if they claim to speak in tongues.
Calling an entire movement or denomination is a very serious charge. It is likely to enflame some very intense reactions on both sides, so I want to inject a cautionary note here."
Phil wrote, I never called an entire movement a cult. You need to reexamine my whole article carefully."
"You say tongues is a 'non-essential issue." You would be correct if the Greek and Hebrew meaning of the words were adhered to, however, when words are changed to say what they were NOT meant to say, this is mis-leading and dangerous.
A little leaven will leaven the whole loaf. The Greek and Hebrew meaning of the word Tongues, or Languages is quite clear throughout Scripture. It does NOT mean to speak in an incoherent language; therefore, I challenge that teaching.
Reader wrote, "It sounds to me as though you are referring in general to the penticostal movement and in particular to any church that endorses the gift of tongues."
Phil wrote, Reader, it depends on what YOU mean by, "gift of tongues. If you mean to speak in known languages never studied, this being a gift from God, I agree, but to speak in a language not known on this earth? It's the Bible that would disagree in both the Greek and Hebrew. I just researched, wrote, and then printed my findings. Again, I have no preconceived opinion on this matter."
Rev.22:18, "If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book." To add means to give another meaning to what is written.
Reader wrote, "Second, I think it's important to define what a cult is and to recognize that just because a group of people takes a different position on theological issue than we do doesn't necessarily make their church a cult. Is the issue of tongues an essential tenet of the Christian faith? Or is it a non-essential issue where Christians can disagree without their soul being in jepardy."
Phil wrote, "Cult, sect, heresy all take on the same meaning, to imply discord, dissension. That which is chosen, a chosen course of thought and action; hence one's chosen opinion, tenet; Acc. or Accommodation. theology, Cult, sect, or heresy imply any application of a passage to something not originally intended by it, on the ground of resemblance or analogy. The context, if an opinion varying from the true exposition of the Christian faith, or the specific time the Scripture was written, is referred to as "heresy."
My final statement; I love the Lord Jesus Christ with all my heart and soul. I will defend the Scriptures at whatever cost. Why, because I believe the Scriptures to be the infallible word of God.
I have been given this gift of discernment. I try to use it wisely, and I will use it when necessary. If the truth hurts, let it hurt here, and not in eternity. I will not be accused when I stand before the Lord, of burying my gift because I was afraid to offend someone.
This debate is a hot issue, but definitely not "a non-essential matter." The body of Christ has split because of it. I believe a great deal of information can be exchanged between various writers who desire to get involved in this discussion. The truth needs to be aired.
Those who disagree with what I publish will NOT be heard from concerning the meaning of the word "tongues." Why, because no lexicon or dictionary will support their position.
I publish my articles carefully, and with a great deal of research behind them. If I am going to be told, don't say this or don't write about that, I will lodge my protest now. How can we profess to be Christians, teach the Scriptures, and not offend people? That is a foolish and ridiculous notion; Christianity is offensive in itself to most of the world's people.
Christ offended many. The apostles offended many. History is littered with the bodies of those who chose to offend and confront.
When Christian children pull out a Bible in school they are told, "Put that book away, you are offending others." We are told not to speak up in public meetings, court rooms, don't pray in school, don't talk about God on the job, you are offending people. Christians are like ostriches that have their heads buried in the sand.
To conclude, if anyone can show me that my articles are incorrect, I will be the first to put in a correction, and add an apology. What I do, I do in Love. Hopefully this is not the beginning of censorship on this forum. Is it?
Thank you, Phil LaSpino
David and PhillipLaSpino, thank you for your responses. Let me begin by saying I have no issue with your positions regarding the pentecostal movement. I'm not saying I agree or disagree with them, but my reason for injecting my comments into this conversation is not to debate the validity of the pentecostal view of tongues.
However, it seems to me that neither of you is understanding what I am saying concerning essential and non-essential issues of the Christian faith. When I call something a "non-essential" issue, that does not mean it's unimportant. It simply means that a persons beliefs in that area will not impact their eternal destination.
I am concerned because it sounds to me as though in your view nothing is "non-essential." This seems to be your reasoning:
1) I have the God-given gift of discernment
2) Because I have the gift of discernment, my interpretation of scripture is the only correct interpretation.
3) Because my interpretation is the only correct one, everyone who disagrees with me is teaching false doctrine.
4) Everyone who teaches false doctrine is a cult
5) Therefore, everyone who disagrees with my interpretation of scripture is a cult.
Is this accurate or have I misunderstood?
If this is accurate, then according to that reasoning there is no room to "agree to disagree" on even the smallest issues within the body of Christ. For example, should women be required to have a headcovering when they pray per 1 Cor 11? Either the pro-headcovering teachers or the anti-headcovering teachers are false, therefore are the false teachers on headcoverings a cult?
Again, I am not trying to make light of false teachings and I encourage you to continue to bring them to light in these forums, but I am quite confident nobody is going to hell over head coverings. Therefore I am also quite confident that teaching a false head covering doctrine does not make one a cult.
The bottom line question I have for both of you is... is there any room to "agree to disagree" concerning scripture within the body of Christ? Or are you intending to call every Christian denomination (outside of perhaps your own) a cult?
Phil wrote, our reader wrote, "However, it seems to me that neither of you is understanding what I am saying concerning essential and non-essential issues of the Christian faith. When I call something a "non-essential" issue that does not mean it's unimportant. It simply means that a person’s belief in that area will not impact their eternal destination."
Phil wrote. "Everything written in the Scriptures will impact our eternal salvation. Let's begin with Adam's bad judgment. Abraham's liaison with Hagar, resulting in Ishmael, eventually costs millions of lives over the centuries, and the birth of the Muslim religion. Moses's striking the rock instead of speaking over it resulted in his not entering the promised land. David's numbering the people when God told him not to, resulted in thousands of deaths. Saul's offering a sacrifice in the temple cost him his kingdom and his life. Ananias and Sapphira kept back a small part of the land funds they received, and in doing so, lied about the total amount they profited for the land. Because of this, Ananias and Sapphira forfeited their lives.
We have these and many other cases, all because people have decided to give a little twist to God's commands. What may be non-essential to humans, may NOT be non-essential to God. Christians must pay close attention to God's exact words, because the penalty has often been severe.
1. Reader, are you saying the things of Scripture, be they great or small, are not relative, meaning not absolute concerning our salvation?
2. That there is NO correct or incorrect way in which God commands us to worship Him, both in large and small things?
3. That there exists a gray area of personal choice that we all have, and this is how we can individually or denominationally worship God?
I am going to use your comments to show why we have an extreme variety in the interpretation of the Bible, and in the worship of God.
Let me start with an illustration. I once knew three men who purchased for their sons a toy, a robot, that could talk, walk forward, backward, and sideways. Each man purchased the toy, brought it home, opened the box, and displayed the parts in an open area of the room.
Now there were various bolts, nuts, and screws of varying lengths and thickness, about 25 small parts, two major parts, and a remote control. Ten of the parts resembled each other in some areas, the others not so much. Also the box contained a set of instructions of how to assemble the Robot.
After each man had displayed the parts, he took the instruction manual and opened it. The manual was 8 pages long, and needed to be examined closely in order not to make an error in the toy assembly.
The first man read the manual closely, made notes, separated the parts, collected the proper tools needed for assembly, and began his work.
The second man, speed read through the manual, assembled the tools he thought he could use, jotted down a few notes, but did not separate the various bolts or similar parts.
The third man was extremely arrogant. Setting the instruction manual aside, this man picked up a few tools, piled all the nuts, bolts, and parts in a heap before him to hastily begin the project.
When finished, the first man picked up his remote, and the Robot performed exactly as the instructions stated. It worked perfectly.
The second man pressed his remote, and the toy walked forward, but not backward, nor did it move side to side. It mumbled a few words and inadvertently halted for no apparent reason.
The third man pressed his remote. This toy hissed a few incoherent words, and fell over.
So what's the lesson here? If the second and third man had been diligent in examining the instruction book, the robot would have worked perfectly, just as it had for the first man. Because the second and third men had not spent sufficient time, nor given their attention to the specific instructions for the toy, there was failure in their efforts, and a disappointed child as well.
This can also be applied to the study of the Scriptures. Those who read through, but do not examine closely the Greek and Hebrew words, the text, and context, relevant to other parts of Scripture, particular supporting verses, who is speaking, to whom they are speaking, the economy of the day, and the setting, these teachers fail in the final product of understanding the Scriptures. It's a long process, one that requires dedication, hard work, love, and servitude toward Christ. Today's church is crumbling from within. There are over 2000 supposed Christian denominations in the U.S.A. Cults or sects are springing up within the Christian community.
I will now use exact wording to show the meaning from dialogue.
Reader wrote, "I am concerned because I sounds to me as though in your view nothing is "non-essential." This seems to be your reasoning:"
1) I have the God-given gift of discernment
2) Because I have the gift of discernment my interpretation of scripture is the only correct interpretation.
Phil wrote, Discern: Discerning: Greek is, diakrisis. Discerning of spirits. The ability which the Holy Spirit gives to some Christians to discern between those who speak by the Holy Spirit and those who are moved by false spirits.
Phil wrote, "I never implied in any way that my interpretation of the Scriptures was the only way. I have no idea from where this idea originated, certainly not from my article."
3) Reader wrote, "Because my interpretation is the only correct one, everyone who disagrees with me is teaching false doctrine."
Phil wrote, "An examination of my article closely reveals only the Greek and Hebrew meaning of the word, "Tongues." This is not a personal interpretation, but rather the meaning from dictionaries and lexicons, and they all agree.
4) Reader wrote, "Everyone who teaches false doctrine is a cult."
Phil wrote, "Yes, this is a true statement. Teaching false doctrine places one in the category of an anti-christ. These false teachers will be cast into the lake of fire on that great day of judgment. Our Judge, Jesus Christ states this from the Scripture, and that is irrefutable.
5) Reader wrote, "Therefore, everyone who disagrees with my interpretation of scripture is a cult."
Phil wrote, "Question four (4) does not apply to question five (5.) I never said anyone who disagrees with me is in a cult. Nothing in my article even remotely implies that statement. I only post the research that is available from documented sources.
There is a problem, a real condition that exists in society today. People are in a hurry. Some read the Bible through once, or listen to a local pastor on Sunday. These hurried individuals jot down a few notes, restrict themselves to only one teaching, and close the door to other opinions. Some may spent an hour a week in study, even take one course in Greek, and give everyone the impression that they are authorities in that language.
Most do not want to spend quality time examining the Scriptures thoroughly. Everyone wants to be a teacher. Most people simply repeat what a local pastor states, or believes, and then repeat what they hear on TV, radio, or read from some book they found. All this activity occurs WITHOUT a full examination of what one has heard or read. This apparently gives everyone a licence to teach, even if what one teaches is only partly correct.
Many are careless in their reading the instruction book. From personal experience, most people have learned, after placing one part or piece together incorrectly, the rest of the project becomes a failure. The results of incorrect information, or an improper procedure, always lead to incorrect findings. The result will always be a total failure, a failure in the eyes of God. All who have been given so much will be without any legitimate excuse. If one leads others astray, the consequence will be devastating."
Reader wrote, "If this is accurate, then according to that reasoning there is no room to "agree to disagree on even the smallest issues within the body of Christ."
Phil wrote, "I did not mean to appear hard, or confrontational, but Christians cannot be moved by every wind of doctrine. Christianity has become a raging sea, voices coming from every small corner. Time is short, so please read the instruction book carefully. How one receives God's instructions will surely determine one's eternal destiny.