The only 1st-Century church known to have been pentecostal was the church at Corinth. Modern pentecost bears a strong resemblance to it. Corinthian pentecost in no way resembled the genuine and truly exciting benchmark events of the Day of Pentecost recorded at Acts 2. The blatant blasphemy of the church people at Corinth may have been the primary reason why all the other 1st-Century churches chose to avoid similar behavior in their meetings.
Those other 1st-Century churches weren't the only ones to avoid the practices that might be called "Pentecostal," though: A full eighteen Centuries passed before Corinthian pentecost resurfaced, in the Spring of 1830. Most pentecostal believers don't know that. And many of them don't know the real history of the modern pentecostal movement. That's why we have decided to publish this critical series...about Weapon of Mass Deception(SM) #3 of four: The culprit is not Pentecost, but Corinthian pentecost.
"The illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn." --Alvin Toffler
Got this from an Arizona reader in the early Fall of 2015, via email—
“I'm curious about why you are no longer in the Pentecostal church, TC.“
Here's how I responded—
“Our adult children have asked me the same question, my friend. And maybe they're still wondering, because we raised them in the pentecostal movement. Here's what happened a few years ago, after they had moved on to start their own families:
"On a Pentecost Sunday during my Sunday School lecture, a sweet-spirited Southern Baptist lady asked several questions about our doctrines and practices that I couldn't answer with scripture. That was initially troubling to me, but it became more and more troubling as I continued to search the scriptures for credible answers. The straw that broke the proverbial camel's back was when I started discovering the incredible HISTORY of our movement. It was then that I knew WHY there was no credible scriptural support for much of what I had been teaching for decades.
"I had to repent for having misdirected so many good people who had trusted me to dispense the same truth that Jesus and the 1st-Century apostles taught. I have now concluded that Revelation 3:1 is addressed to today's pentecostal movement: '...thou hast a name that thou livest and art dead.'"
She wrote back—
"TC, I feel drawn to pentecostalism, but I also don't see some of the teaching supported in the Word. I think I'm just tired of the lackluster worship I see in most of the churches I've attended. I believe I am missing something deeper. I know I can't trust in or look to experiences but isn't it a part of our walk with God?"
"Here's the bottom line, my friend: Pentecost is very real. Corinthian (a.k.a. modern) pentecost is Satan's cheap imitation of it. I think God has decided to withhold the real thing until so many gullible church people stop being so anxious to embrace Satan's clever imitations of it [See 1 Timothy 4:1 and 1 John 4:1.] When he (Satan) comes here to successfully masquerade as Jesus Christ, I think the people he'll attract first will be those who think with their 'feelings' instead of with their brains: Smart Christians base their faith on what's WRITTEN in God's word...and in church history. Those who think with their 'feelings' almost always ignore what's written.
"Meanwhile, you clearly have a God-given yearning to get really, really close to Him. We enjoy that yearning, in common! And, yes, a legitimate Pentecostal relationship can be very much a part of getting really close to Him. The problem that you and all other genuine seekers of the Original Truth face is that you simply cannot find (or exercise) legitimate Pentecostal gifts within any of the existing 'pentecostal' churches that I know of...
"An upcoming article in our new 'Rapture' series will address 'The Great Falling Away. ' Given the fact that unbelievers cannot 'fall away,' that leaves the majority of today's naive churchgoers. That'd be those who trust career religious 'experts' to do their studying and critical thinking FOR them. That, my friend, is precisely why in several places on our web site we tell our readers to be skeptical of our conclusions and then form their own conclusions based on what the rightly-divided scriptures say. Paul called the Berean Jews of Acts 17:11 'more noble, ' because that's what they did.
"My Very Special Prayer Language"
A saintly sister wrote, "Praise the Lord, brother! I have a very special prayer language that the devil can't understand!"
I replied, "While I am certain that feels really good, I will appreciate your sharing even one scripture that implies the existence of a language (heavenly or human) that Satan cannot understand."
She must have searched long and hard and probably prayed hard and even asked her preacher for help – because it was more than a week before she responded: "Romans 8:26 says that the Spirit intercedes for us with groanings that cannot be uttered."
My response: "How significant is the phrase, 'cannot be uttered,' in that verse?"
I never heard from her again. Had she learned? Had her preacher convinced her, "In matters like this, dear sister, we just have to have faith!?" Sounds really religious; doesn't it.
A seminary student burning with pentecostal zeal wrote, "The apostle Paul talked in tongues more than all those people in the church at Corinth!"
I answered, "While at 1 Corinthians 14:18 Paul said, 'I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all,' he went on to explain that he preferred to speak in a tongue that everyone could understand when he was in church.
"Here are some critical facts that most pentecostal believers and their preachers appear to have overlooked. On the other hand, maybe they just don't know. Not knowing might be okay for a parishioner but there are no excuses for preachers, theologians and seminary professors. Because a preacher is what you aspire to become, there may be a chance for some really critical learning for you here, my friend. Please let me know:
"The language at Corinth was Greek, but Greek was not Paul's native tongue. Fortunately, though, it was one of several languages he spoke and wrote fluently. Having studied at the feet of Gamaliel, Paul was among the most highly educated people on Earth at that time. Then, as now, the study of foreign languages was considered an important part of higher learning. While we don't have a record of all the languages Paul spoke, it is quite apparent that he was at least fluent in Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, Latin and (possibly an early form of what would later become) Castilian Spanish. So, yes, Paul would have been thankful that he spoke in more languages than all the church people at Corinth. But, to be effective in that church, he chose to always speak and write in the Greek tongue—the only language most (probably all) of the Corinthians could understand.
> 'Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues [i.e. languages other than your
native Greek] what shall it profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by
knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine? And even things without life giving sound,
whether pipe or harp, except they give adistinction in the sounds, how shall it be known
what is piped or harped? For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare
himself to the battle? So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be
understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air. There
are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without
signification. Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that
speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh [shall be] a barbarian unto me. Even so ye,
forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual [gifts], seek that ye may excel in the edifying of
the church [implied: any gift but 'tongues'] Brethren, be not children in understanding:
howbeit in malice ye be children, but in understanding be men.'
"Given the apparent perpetual immaturity of the Corinthian congregation [See 1 Corinthians 11:21,22.], it is not surprising that the focus of their zeal was, first and foremost, on 'tongues and interpretations.' The scriptures tell us nothing of that practice in ANY of the other New Testament churches. That's curious, at least. Were all those other 1st-Century Christians less spiritual? Or, were they perhaps more noble – as had been the Acts 17:11 Bereans?
"Scriptural Tongues = Languages of Men; known languages, always. Holy Ghost inspired tongues are no different from any other foreign language, except for the supernatural origin of their utterances and the supernatural wisdom of their timing.
"To be effective in the ministry of the church, a spoken tongue must be easily understood by at least one foreign-language-speaking unbeliever, with no supernatural assistance, as at Acts 2. On any occasion when such an unbeliever is not present, the Holy Ghost will NOT inspire a tongue. That is precisely why, at 1 Corinthians 14:22, Paul wrote, 'Wherefore tongues are for a sign NOT to them that believe, but to them that believe not.' That least-to-be-desired-of-all-the-spiritual-gifts is to be exercised very sparingly. We must be careful not to hyperspiritualize a ministry tool that exists only for an extremely limited, very pragmatic function: 'And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not [the author] of confusion…' —1 Corinthians 14:32,33"
Might that seminary student ever gain comparably valuable insight from his fully informed pentecostal professors?
"Don't bother us with what the Bible says; we KNOW 'what we believe' about that!" Such was the tone of a lengthy message from the pastor of a small pentecostal church who had received a copy of one of my earlier essays from a one of his church members. He wrote, "By what authority do you attack the foundation of our Pentecostal faith?"
This is what I wrote back: "I am happy to apologize for any such attack if you will be kind enough to direct me to the specifics of it, sir. That may be a difficult task, though: While it is true that I have cited an impressive collection of scriptures that appear to, jointly and severally, be a strong indictment against some of your doctrines and practices, my initial thought is that it is those scriptures that have angered you. That would be because our two-edged sword hurts when it cuts. I, too, have experienced that hurt. My pain has subsided in proportion to my willingness to acknowledge that I cannot grow without a few of those cuts and scrapes.
"I am particularly burdened by something you have written, though: Is the practice of 'tongues' and 'interpretation' the foundation of your faith?"
Should I have expected to hear back from that pastor?
A sincere believer (not a clergyman) approached me in person: "I think you're mistaken about tongues having to always be a known language. Didn't Paul say that God would speak to the Corinthians with stammering lips and other tongues?"
I responded, "You may be thinking about what Paul wrote at 1 Corinthians 14:21. What is the significance of that passage to you?"
"God speaks to us with stammering lips and in tongues, too!" she offered.
"Okay, but are you aware that Paul never actually wrote anything about stammering lips? And did you know that Paul also made it really clear that God never speaks to believers 'in tongues'?"
"Oh, really?" she blushed, "Then where did I get that?"
"You may recall it from a sermon you heard, where a preacher paraphrased what Paul said. But let's take a look at the actual scripture," I replied. "Let's look at it, first, in your Bible [NIV] and, then, in mine [KJV]. But let's also read the verse that precedes it and the verse that follows it – to make sure we both understand the context; okay?" I listened as she read from her NIV and then she listened as I read from my KJV:
> 'Brothers, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking
be adults. In the law it is written: 'Through men of strange tongues and through the lips of
foreigners will I speak to this people, but even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord.
Tongues, then, are a sign, NOT for believers but for unbelievers.'
—1 Corinthians 14:20-22a [NIV]
I reviewed with her the phrases that I have emphasized before I read from the KJV:
> 'Brethren, be not children in understanding, howbeit in malice ye be children, but in
understanding be men. In the law it is written, with [men of] other tongues and other lips
will I speak to this people; and yet for all that they will not hear me saith the Lord.
Wherefore tongues are for a sign, NOT for them that believe, but to them that
believe not…' —1 Corinthians 14:20-22a [KJV]
"Wow! That has a totally different meaning from what I had thought! So…ummm...do you think my preacher made up that 'stammering lips' thing?"
"No, he didn't make it up; but did you know that human nature is the Sin nature?" I queried.
"No, I've never heard that, but it does make sense," she responded.
I continued, "Human nature often prompts us to try to get the Bible to say what we want it to say…you know, to support our denominational doctrines and such. Your preacher probably got that from the Old Testament, at Isaiah 27. Shall we do what we did before?…read from your NIV and then from my KJV?"
"I'd like that." She appeared to really appreciate the reciprocal exchange. How likely is it that she enjoys this kind of exchange with her pastor or any of the leaders at her church?
Again, we each listened as the other read:
> "Very well then, with foreign lips and strange tongues God will speak to this people, to
whom he said, 'This is the resting place, let the weary rest;' and 'This is the place of
repose'—but they would not listen." —Isaiah 28:11,12 [NIV]
> "For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom
he said, This [is] the rest [wherewith] ye may cause the weary to rest; and this [is] the
refreshing: yet they would not hear." —Isaiah 28:11,12 [KJV]
"Okay, so that's where the 'stammering lips' thing is!" she exclaimed.
I offered this: "Lots of pentecostal preachers choose to use Isaiah's KJV words instead of what Paul wrote…well, because it fits better with the prescribed pentecostal 'tongues' narrative. It behooves us to always remember that Paul's message to those extremely immature believers at Corinth was not intended to edify them (as you may have heard) but to chastise, scold and even rebuke them. That's precisely why he referred to Isaiah 28:11,12—because Isaiah's intent was also to chastise, scold and rebuke. Do you suppose your preacher knows that?"
"Well, we pay him to know stuff like that, so I hope he knows it!" she blushed again.
I explained the context: "Isaiah was warning the nation of Israel [not Judah, to the south] of their upcoming defeat and captivity by the Assyrians – people of a foreign language for whom stuttering and stammering were possibly a genetic characteristic. But, you see, our pentecostal preachers are prone to embellish what Paul wrote by substituting selected parts of what Isaiah wrote."
"My goodness!" she exclaimed. Why would they do that?"
"Human nature is the sin nature; remember? And that's exactly the kind of question all pentecostal churchgoers should be asking their preachers. It's precisely why we must each study the scriptures for ourselves, my friend. It's also why we are repeatedly warned about the danger of trusting others – any others – to do our Bible studying and critical thinking for us."
I perceived the need to delay our parting with this: "There is one more thing we may need to address for your maximum benefit."
"Oh? What's that?" she asked with a warmth that suggested she'd be back for more.
"You may recall telling me that you've been taught that God speaks to us with stammering lips and in tongues."
"Yes, I do remember saying that, but I now understand the 'stammering lips' part of it," she acknowledged.
"You're not alone in thinking that God speaks to believers 'in tongues.' Most pentecostals think that, because it's what they've been taught to think. But the scriptures say it can NEVER happen."
"Really?" she asked, "Where does it say that?"
"Again, let's read it from your NIV Bible, first:
> "For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God."
—1 Corinthians 14:2a [NIV]
> "For he that speaketh in an [unknown] tongue speaketh not unto men but unto God."
—1 Corinthians 14:2a [KJV]
And then I probed, "What does THAT say about all those 'interpretations' in your church that start out with something like, 'Thus sayeth the Lord thy God!'?"
"Oh! My goodness! Now I'm getting really nervous!" she admitted. I'm going to have to do some really hard praying tonight! You have given me some major cause for concern!"
She had sidestepped my question, but that was understandable. "Actually, it is not I who have given you just cause for concern," I explained, "but the written word of God, Himself. We must be very thankful that God is smart enough to have left his word in writing for us, so that we don't have to take anybody else's word for it. He knew, in advance, that many of the blind would become leaders—career professional leaders of the blind."
"That is soooo true!" she sighed slowly, eyes wide open with amazement.
To bring our learning experience to a close I offered this: "There is a quotation that I am compelled to recite to myself often. It is this:
> 'Most of us have to admit that on occasion we have used the Bible the way a drunk uses
a lamppost—for support rather than light.'
"That was written by Mart DeHaan. He's the publisher of the well known 'Our Daily Bread'
pamphlet series. Are you familiar with those?"
"Yes!" she beamed, "And I've learned so much, today! I can't wait to share all this with my Sunday School class and with my pastor!"
I cautioned her, "You may be very wise to reflect on something Upton Sinclair once said:
> 'It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not
"Oh! I get it," she smiled—and blushed a third time, gripping her Bible so tightly that her white knuckles revealed a stark contrast to her very red fingers.
Was she to survive the inevitable attacks? I prayed that night, that she might be granted wisdom...
A former pastor, full to overflowing with righteous indignation, challenged me via email: "You're dead wrong about tongues always having to be the known languages of men, sir! Paul said he spoke with the tongues of angels!" He was recalling Paul's "Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels, and have not charity, I am become [as] sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal." —1 Corinthians 13:1
I wrote back, "As always, my friend, I appreciate scriptural feedback and rebuttal, but here are some things you may want to ponder on that topic: At 1 Corinthians 14:2, Paul wrote, 'Wherefore tongues are for a sign not to them that believe, but to them that believe not'."
"If there were Holy Ghost inspired utterances of angelic (i.e.: truly unknown) languages, how and why might they ever serve as a credible and effective sign to any unbeliever? How and why might an unbeliever's heart be pricked to repentance unto salvation because of them, as was the case with the known tongues of men at Acts 2, our only clear and credible precedent?
"If there were utterances of angelic (i.e.: truly unknown) languages, how might they serve any useful purpose except, perhaps, to inflate the egos of the tongue-talkers?
> "He that speaketh in an [unknown]^ tongue edifieth [i.e.: entertaineth] himself."
—Paul, at 1 Corinthians 14:4
^ In the KJV, whenever a word or phrase appears either in square brackets or in italics,
that is to indicate that neither that word or phrase nor its English-language equivalent
appears in the original-language manuscripts. It follows, then, that there was/is no such
thing as an "unknown" tongue...unless it is uttered by a seducing spirit, masquerading
"And of what possible ministry value is speaking 'into the air?' [1 Corinthians 14:9] Unbelievers who witness the unintelligible utterances of postmodern pentecostals for the first time are observably and consistently scared to death! (Note: My 'scared to death!' phrase, here, is a classic example of the figure of speech known as hyperbole.)
"Those amazingly naive Corinthian believers were clearly out of control. Paul's 1 Corinthians 12, 13 and 14 message to them was not one of encouragement and edification, as you possibly suppose; but of strong rebuke, chastisement and correction. His statement at 13:1 is objectively characterized as classic hyperbole; i.e.: an extravagant statement or figure of speech not intended to be taken literally.
"All other pertinent scriptures serve as overwhelming indictments of the notion that the Holy Ghost will ever inspire a 'language of angels.' He gives utterance ONLY to languages that, although unknown to a speaker, are necessarily heard and understood with no supernatural assistance, whatsoever, by at least one foreign-language-speaking unbeliever, as at Acts 2. There exists no other credible precedent. The jury is in: That point is not intelligently debatable.
"The 'gift of tongues' (plural) is never the gift of a tongue (singular). 1 Corinthians 12:10 and 28 are the only two Bible references to the 'gift of tongues.' Given that, how credible can be today's postmodern pentecostal gibberish, with each 'gifted' tongue-talker repeating the same sounds and phrasings with each new 'message from God to man?'
"Why, then, is there the Holy Ghost 'gift of tongues?' So that, no matter what the native tongue of an unbeliever is, he may be drawn to belief and repentance unto salvation by hearing praises to God (never a message to anyone from God) in his own native language (a.k.a. tongue) and hometown dialect....just like on The Day of Pentecost."
That preacher (my former pastor) chose not to respond. Had he learned? If not, then of what possible value is God's clearly written word to him?
> "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine...they shall turn away
their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." —2 Timothy 4:3,4
> "...thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead." —Revelation 3:1
It's true! An awful lot of new time religion masquerades, successfully, today, as old time religion.
"'This' is 'That?' Are Your Sure?"
Acts 2:14-41 records what was perhaps the most effective sermon ever preached. But to fully comprehend the essence of Peter's Day-of-Pentecost "this," one must revisit the substance of Joel's Old Testament "that."
Peter quoted some of Joel's words, but not his exact words. Most pentecostals seem to think Peter quoted Joel's words, verbatim. He didn't. That's why some amazing questions float, with no assistance, to the surface. They are legitimate questions, demanding credible answers.
> "For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is [but] the third hour of the day.
But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the
last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh…" —Acts 2:15,16
The operative phrase in verse 16, is this: "…spoken BY the prophet Joel." But all the pentecostal believers I know seem to think Peter said "…spoken OF by the prophet Joel." If that stark contrast is news to you, then you must know that it is not by chance that you're reading this. Hang tight, though, because there are more surprises...
We have presented Joel 2:28,29 and Acts 2:15,16 side-by-side, above, for the purpose of making it a lot easier for you to fully comprehend the right division of these joined-at-the-hip Old and New Testament scriptures.
Some readers may not know that Peter spoke just one language: He could not possibly have understood what his companions were saying in all those different foreign languages, except for the supernatural revelation of the Holy Ghost. But that large gathering of devout Jews understood every word that was spoken, and with absolutely no supernatural assistance:
> "And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and
Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia,
in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about
Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear
them speak in our tongues THE WONDERFUL WORKS OF GOD." —Acts 2:8-11
Those Jews were multilingual. How can we know that? In addition to their respective native tongues, they had to also understand the Aramaic tongue. Why? Because Aramaic was the only language Peter knew. They had to ask those Acts 2:8-11 questions, above, in Aramaic, or Peter couldn't have understood them. To understand Peter's Acts 2:14-41 sermon also required full comprehension of the spoken Aramaic language. They had to also be fluent in the Hebrew tongue, for the scriptures with which they were all familiar were written in Hebrew.
So Peter's primary function as a supernatural interpreter was NOT to "interpret" what was said for the hearers—because they didn't need an interpretation. Instead, Peter simply helped them connect-the-dots! His role was to CONFIRM the substance of what they had just heard—and to jog their memories (the already-vivid memories of the HEBREW-language-version of what they had just heard)! So why were the hearts of those unbelieving, multilingual Jews pricked to repentance? Here's why:
1. Because they recognized the fact that – by comparison to themselves – Peter and his companions were mere "unlearned Galileans." They recalled that, almost without exception, the people from Galilee were monolingual; i.e.: they spoke only the Aramaic tongue. They were having trouble connecting-the-dots, though: With their own ears they had just heard those same "unlearned" folk proclaim "the wonderful works of God" in their own multiple native tongues and village dialects!
2. They were frustrated because they were unable to make a clear connection between those "wonderful works of God" they had just heard and anything they had read in the Hebrew scriptures. That frustration yielded in them a condition that Jesus called "ears to hear." That's when someone's curiosity is so strong that they feel COMPELLED to get answers. When that condition exists in a person he can be easily taught...only because his listening efficiency has piqued.Jesus knew that: He never shared any of the really important stuff with anyone until they had demonstrated "ears to hear." There were, of course, those occasions when He did things, said things or asked questions that were intended to generate maximum curiosity in a person. Two examples come to mind:
a. His amazing encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well. That fascinating story
is at John 4:7-42.
b.The critical end-times exchange between Jesus and His closest disciples after they
had prompted Him to observe the enormous beauty of the Temple. His reply, at
Matthew 24:1-3, compelled them to ask, "Okay, Lord, what's the rest of that story?"
Only at that pivotal point did they have "ears to hear" and understand such critical
3. All Peter had to do was to jog their memories! He reminded them that what they had just heard were the words that had been spoken BY the prophet Joel. Each of them had read Joel 2 many times...but in the HEBREW tongue. They didn't immediately realize that what they had just heard were the verbatim words of Joel 2, but in their various NATIVE tongues. Peter just helped them make the connection! What resulted for them was a major "Ah Ha!" moment.
Later, when Paul was delivering a scorching rebuke of those foolish church people at Corinth for their juvenile blasphemy, he wrote this:
> "Wherefore tongues [i.e.: languages of men that are foreign to the speakers, but not to
bilingual or multilingual unbelievers] are for a sign NOT to them that believe, but to them
that believe not." —Paul, at 1 Corinthians 14:22
So, how many of those foreign-language-speaking (always bilingual or multilingual, as on the Day of Pentecost) unbelievers have been present in YOUR pentecostal services over the last 100 years? Then, how would YOU answer this question from one who is genuinely curious: "What's the scriptural function of and purpose for all those 'unknown' tongues and interpretations in YOUR pentecostal church?"
Suppose that same person were to express genuine curiosity about Paul's startling proclamation, "For he that speaketh in an [unknown] tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God," at 1 Corinthians 14:2. Suppose that person were to ask this: "So, please explain to me how is it that almost all the 'interpretations' of 'tongues' in your church are characterized as 'messages' from God to men? And why is it that they all start out with something like 'Thus sayeth the Lord, thy God!'"? How would YOU respond to that person?
For a "sign" to unbelievers to be effective it must be a credible sign. If those unbelieving, but knowledgeable and devout Day-of-Pentecost Jews out of every nation under heaven had heard the incredible, unintelligible gibberish that is characteristic of today's pentecostal "tongues" would they have been pricked in their hearts [Acts 2:37] with conviction to repentance? Or would they have quickly distanced themselves from the tongue-talkers—like almost all unbelievers do, today, when they hear pentecostal "tongues" for the first time?
Think about that: Would a genuine manifestation of a Holy-Ghost-inspired language likely frighten an unbeliever? Then why does it? And why do pentecostal preachers almost always feel the need to "explain" the phenomenon whenever they perceive the presence of someone who might've been frightened because they'd never heard such strange goings-on in a church before? These are the bankable facts:
> "For God is not [the] author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints."
—Paul, at 1 Corinthians 14:33
Paul was still engaged in his fiery rebuke of those amazingly foolish church people at
Corinth when he wrote that. So, might one justly extrapolate something like this from
what he wrote? —"In those churches where there is such confusion, there is no
gathering of the saints"...?
> The unbelieving hearers on the Day of Pentecost were certainly curious about what they
had heard – and understood – but there is no evidence, whatsoever, that they were
frightened. Nor did they have any reason to be frightened. (Those Jews who quickly left
were simply amused!)
> The unbelieving first-time visitors to modern and postmodern pentecostal churches have
every reason to be frightened. How many of those foreign-language-speaking
unbelievers (first time visitors to your pentecostal church) have rushed to your altars to
"get 'saved'" as an observable result of a Day-of-Pentecost-styled tongue?
> The church people at Corinth were zealous for "tongues"...but not according to
knowledge. (See Romans 10:2.)
While it is true that the Holy Ghost can speak supernatural interpretations through humble
believers, those interpretations can, scripturally, serve only to confirm what a given
bilingual or multilingual unbeliever has already heard and understood in his native
language. That's precisely what happened at Acts 2, our only clear and credible precedent.
Given a perfect match, the unbeliever's heart may only thence be pricked to repentance
If those unbelieving Day-of-Pentecost Jews had heard "a 'message' from God" telling them to "repent and be baptized," then we might credibly enjoy "'messages' in tongues" and "Thus sayeth the Lord, thy God!" interpretations in our churches. But they didn't and we can't, either! The Day-of-Pentecost message was exclusively the Joel 2 "wonderful works of God."
> "Wherefore tongues are for a sign NOT to them that believe, but to them that believe not."
What about those preachers who (like the pastor of a very large pentecostal church near us) growl into their microphones "Who was that for?" after each "interpretation" of another "message from God"? Will God hold such pastors accountable on the Day of Judgment for their naïve followers who, with tears in their eyes, raise their hands...by what spirit?
Given what we've established at this point, Peter's "But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel" is objectively and sensibly paraphrased thus: "THIS (i.e.: the words of Joel 2 that you've just heard the Holy Ghost proclaiming through my companions in each of your own native tongues) is THAT which was originally spoken and recorded in the Hebrew tongue of your own familiar scriptures BY the prophet, Joel!"
So why was that introduction to Peter's sermon such a major "Ahh Ha!" moment for those devout Jews? That'd be because each of them had been having to juggle three (3) very different languages—and at 9:00 o'clock in the morning, already! Here's how those "dots" connect.
(a) Each of them had just heard verbatim quotations from the text of Joel 2, supernaturally
translated into his own native language.
(b) They had frequently read the text of Joel 2, but in the original Hebrew language
because that had been Joel's native tongue. Note: Along with Chaldee, Hebrew was
the original written language of the Old Testament.
(c) They were listening to Peter, who was speaking to them in the only language he knew:
(d) The Holy-Ghost-inspired introduction to Peter's sermon [Acts 2:14,15] served to help
them quickly connect-the-dots! Once they connected-the-dots, their "ears to hear" were
proportionately intensified; i.e.: they felt like they HAD to get some additional
information and insight—fast!
(e) Because the fullness of time was prime, the remaining words of Peter's sermon
[Acts 2:16-41] yielded the pricking of their hearts to repentance. That event, my
pentecostal friends, is our ONLY credible precedent. How does it compare to the
doctrines and practices of your pentecostal church and denomination...?
It was because those devout Jews were very familiar with Joel's words in the Hebrew text that they were able to connect-the-dots immediately after Peter had jogged their memory. They quickly recognized a perfect match between the words they had just heard and understood (a critical component) from the Galileans and the suddenly refreshed words of Joel. If you're as familiar with the scriptures as were those Jews on that special Day of Pentecost you've already connected-the-dots, too. Have you?
March, 2016— We've just discovered something absolutely startling! Is it simple coincidence? Is it more likely the brilliant timing of Satan to yield confusion to the majority of sincere believers? It's the latter, we think, and we also think YOU really need to know about it:
April, 1830, was a truly "magic" time on BOTH sides of the Atlantic. On the American Continent the angel, Moroni, delivered to the infamous Joseph Smith his "new revelation" of the gospel of Jesus Christ to latter-day saints on April 6, 1830. You may think there is just ONE church that exists, today, as a result of that. But there are more...which try really hard to keep it a secret! Why? It could be because they know that many informed Christians are familiar is the strong warning of Galatians 1:8. (Click on the blue text to read that verse.)
Continue reading to learn the frightening significance of April, 1830...on the OTHER side of the Atlantic Ocean.
So, where and how did the current new wind of Corinthian pentecost start?
Most pentecostals I know think their movement started at Azusa Street. There is widespread misinformation about that, some of it malicious. We'll explore it all in the next section. Meanwhile, here's an introduction to the real scoop on the rebirth of Corinthian pentecost:
1830-1831 was a magic time of emerging spirituality in some places east of the Atlantic, especially in the area of Port Glasgow, Scotland. The operative word, there, is "magic." Not all spirituality is righteous: At Port Glasgow it was Occult spirituality. Some of those Occultists were were key players in the rebirth of Corinthian pentecost. The well-documented historical record has been fully vetted. Want more info? Just explore our www.DYPK.org/Rapture page..Bet you'll be amazed!
Perhaps you've already guessed why Corinthian pentecost (a.k.a. modern pentecost) is our Weapon of Mass Deception(SM) #3 of 4. It may interest you even more to learn that the exact same Occult practitioners also gave birth to WMD #4. For some truly amazing info about that one, click HERE. You'll find a fascinating story there about "The Magic Twins."
Mary Campbell..."was a young woman of intense psychical power…Had she lived at the end of the 19th Century instead of at the beginning, her energies would probably have found expression as a 'medium.'" —Edward Irving and His Circle, 1937, pp. 141-2
Isabella Campbell...was Mary Campbell's younger sister who often participated in Mary's escapades of Occult ecstasy.
> "I have seen both her [i.e.: Mary Campbell] and Miss Margaret Macdonald stand like
statues scarcely touching the ground, evidently supernaturally."
Note: Some, today, who teach the Occult practice of levitation often seek to entice naïve
Christian believers with this: "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift
you up." —James 4:10
The older brothers of Scots lassie, Margaret Macdonald, they were partners in a maritime shipping business. Enthralled by the never-before-witnessed hyperspiritual manifestations of the Campbell sisters, the Macdonald brothers started hosting regular cottage prayer meetings. The excited guttural sounds of indecipherable words and phrases by which the Campbell sisters (and 16-year-old Margaret) had become known became typical of those prayer meetings.
Given all this, there are two critical questions worth pondering:
(A) Weren't these people just reviving the practices of the "Book of Acts" church?
You may safely answer, "No:" The tongues that were spoken on the Day of Pentecost
and recorded at Acts 2 were known tongues—clearly decipherable and promptly
understood by the multilingual hearers for whom they were intended. That is not
Are the tongues in your pentecostal church known or unknown...?
(B) Weren't they just reviving the exciting pentecostal practices of the 1st-Century church
You may safely answer, "Yes." Why? Because entertainment sells! "He who speaks
in a tongue edifies himself..." —Paul, at 1 Corinthians 14:4 [NIV]
The practice of unknown tongues in the church at Corinth is precisely what had infuriated the apostle, Paul, a full 18 centuries earlier. It's what compelled him to write chapters 12-14 of his first letter to those hopelesly hyperspiritual, incredibly ignorant and blatantly blasphemous Corinthian church people.
Edward Irving (1792-1834)...sent a delegation of churchwomen to Port Glasgow from his London church, for the purpose of observing the “tongues” phenomenon there. Their subsequent report included personal spine-tingling reactions to the magic of it all.
We have uncovered no historical evidence to indicate that Edward Irving ever talked in tongues, himself, but he did encourage the frequent spontaneous and ecstatic utterances of indecipherable sounds and phrases by several women and at least one man in his church. Among those hyperspiritual women Irving encouraged was Mary Campbell. Remembering that Miss Campbell was Margaret Macdonald's best friend at Port Glasgow, I was shocked to learn (in 2011) that she moved to London to be a part of Irving's church, perhaps "to help with the ministry" there. Best I can determine from our research, her move was in late 1830 or early 1831.
There is no evidence to even suggest that the female-dominated "tongues" at Irving's London church were naturally intelligible to foreign language speakers who may've been present, as on the day of Pentecost. Nor is there even so much as a suggestion that any unbeliever was ever drawn to repentance and "salvation" because of them. This is quoted from page 234 of John F. MacArthur's Charismatic Chaos:
> "... Irving and members of his congregation practiced speaking in tongues and
prophesying. Irvingite prophets often contradicted each other, their prophecies failed to
come to pass, and their meetings were characterized by wild excesses. The movement
was further discredited when some of their prophets admitted to falsifying prophesies
and others even attributed their 'giftedness' to evil spirits. This group eventually became
the Catholic Apostolic Church, which taught many false doctrines, embracing several
Roman Catholic doctrines and creating twelve apostolic offices."
Irving is sometimes called the father of
the modern pentecostal movement. Comforting?
Want more insight? Explore our www.DYPK.org/Rapture page.
But where and how did it get started in the U.S.A.?
Every churchgoer likely knows something about The Day of Pentecost. Some even know the history of the Feast of Pentecost. But how many know the history of the modern Corinthian pentecostal movement?
My brothers and I were typical pentecostal preacher's kids. We didn't know. Did our mom and dad know? How about our maternal grandfather, who co-founded the world's second largest pentecostal denomination? Did he know? (The largest one claims not to be a denomination.)
I also wonder about my preacher friends and my professors at the well-known pentecostal university that is my alma mater: Do they know? Some of those fellows have risen to the highest levels of leadership within that denomination. Do they know? How about the long parade of pentecostal pastors with whom I served faithfully for decades? Do they know? The answers to those questions may never come, but I wanted to know. Felt like I needed to know. And I think you need to know, too. So here's an introduction to what I've learned so far:
Charles Fox Parham
There is evidence that, in late 1899, the
pioneer of modern pentecost had anticipated that unknown tongues are
not scripturally credible. That was Charles Fox Parham (1873-1929). You'll want
to remember his name. He ran a school for missionaries at Topeka, Kansas.
Later, he co-founded the World Assemblies of God Fellowship, commonly known as the Assemblies of God. That's the world's largest pentecostal denomination...although it claims NOT to be a denomination.
We have uncovered no evidence that Parham ever spoke in tongues, himself. Much of what is written about him suggests that he had never even heard about modern-day pentecostal phenomena. A substantial body of historical evidence indicates otherwise. We'll shine a spotlight on that later.
Parham taught his missionary students that there should be no need for them to study the foreign languages of the countries where they were to minister. He insisted that, according to the Bible, those foreign languages should spring forth automatically, for fully efficient and effective communication of the Gospel message to any group of foreign-language natives.
Parham's student, Agnes Ozman (1870-1937), seized the opportunity to confirm the phenomenon her spiritual leaders had been teaching about. Most writers insist that, on January 1, 1901, Ozman became the first U.S. resident ever documented to have spoken, supernaturally, in a supposed known tongue. That language is said to have been perfect German. I have found nothing at all to indicate exactly how Parham and/or his other students might have concluded that. Perhaps it had just "sounded" German to them.
At least one report insists that Ozman's "tongue" wasn't German, but Chinese—that she spoke only in Chinese for three days and that she could only write using Chinese characters. The author of another report seems quite confident that it was an unknown tongue.
Whatever the truth about that, preacher Parham promptly embarked on a 6-month tour of the Midwest and Southwest to market his doctrine of "xenoglossolalia." He preached that the xenoglossolalia phenomenon was soon to become widespread and the primary tool for world missionary evangelism: "Just go to any country and open your mouth. God will take over from there," characterized his message. Many of his hearers got really excited about that, as you might imagine. Still, there was no discernible "beginning of the North American pentecostal movement." Parham's xenoglossolalia revival fizzled almost as quickly as it had started. Hype. Parham's Topeka, Kansas school for missionaries closed its doors in the Spring of 1901. That was just a few short months after Miss Ozman's amazing "Holy Ghost" experience. (If it had been genuine, shouldn't it have caused that school to grow...???)
William J. Seymour
Enter William Seymour (1870-1922). The female pastor of a holiness church at Houston, Texas introduced preacher Seymour to the subject of "tongues." She had previously served as a "governess" at Parham's school for missionaries at Topeka, Kansas. She had learned about Parham's "tongues" theory there, although it is deemed unlikely that she had ever actually observed the phenomenon or spoken in tongues, herself.
In 1905, Seymour enrolled as a student in a six-week Bible school that preacher Parham agreed to bring to Houston in 1905, at the behest of that female pastor. Because of Seymour's race, though, Parham insisted that he always sit in the hallway.
Seymour went on to found the famed Azusa Street Mission in a poverty-stricken Los Angeles neighborhood. The year was 1906. Excited about his early success, Seymour invited Parham to visit his revival meeting. Parham came, and immediately wanted to take charge of it. You can imagine, with me, what his motives might've been. Miffed when he didn't get his way, Parham left to start another pentecostal mission nearby. It quickly fizzled. Hype.
Soon after that, he was arrested and charged with sexual molestation of several young boys. The charges against him were dropped, though: Some claim that each of the boys refused to testify. Charles Fox Parham became a vicious enemy of William J. Seymour and the Azusa Street Mission. In his monthly newsletter he dubbed it "a darkie camp meeting." Parham, the much lauded co-founder of the largest pentecostal denomination on Earth – the one that issued my late father's ordination papers – was a member of the KKK.
Seymour quickly became disillusioned with white tongue-talkers. All the white folk left. The Azusa Street mission and its fiery revival slowed to a nearly all-black simmer and then faded into complete oblivion. His question was valid. It may've gone something like this: "How can and why would the Holy Ghost speak through people who hate other Christians? He doubted the validity of their "tongues" and their "interpretations."
Seems to me his doubting was fully justified. I cannot help but wonder, though, if Seymour ever studied to learn what the Bible specifically says about tongues. You may wonder, too, whether he ever read those strong warnings at 1 Timothy 4:1 and 1 John 4:1 about the seducing spirits that can evoke the same "warm fuzzies" that most Christians (the evangelical ones, at least) associate with The Holy Spirit. If so, shouldn't he have known that those seducing spirits were the driving force behind his flash-in-a-pan Azusa Street Revival? You've heard something different?
There were open displays of Occult activity in those meetings: Spiritualistic manifestations, hypnotic forces and fleshly contortions were reported. Caught up in the spirituality [Occult spirits are real, too!] of the environment, some even tried to conduct séances. The Azusa Street revival, in fact, attracted quite an amazing gaggle of gregarious charlatans. Among them were magicians, spiritualists and Occult practitioners. And there were lots of preachers—apparently looking for something new and exciting that they might use to attract followers...and followers' dollars. Reasoning that "This stuff is extremely marketable!" most of that group jumped at the chance to start their own pentecostal churches and/or organizations of churches. Entertainment sells. Read 1 Corinthians 14:4a to confirm that. Visit any U.S. megachurch to observe that.
> "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have
erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man
of God, flee these things…" —1 Timothy 6:10,11
Most of those churches failed, but
least two of them had staying power. Today, they are denominations. The
African-American Church of God In Christ and the mostly-white Assemblies of God
are said to be among the "legitimate" groups that abandoned Seymour's Azusa Street Mission.
Seymour seldom preached at Azusa Street. When he did, he typically read just one or two words at a time from a really small Bible. Then he would walk the room, challenging unbelievers face to face, shouting to those kneeling at altars to "Let the tongues come forth!" or "Be empathetic!"
> "[The] first wave of Pentecostal pioneer[s]...produced what has become known as the
'Classical Pentecostal Movement' with over 11,000 denominations throughout the world.
These continued to proliferate at an amazing rate as the [20th] Century came to an end."
Frank Weston Sandord (1862-1948)
You may be convinced at this point that Charles Fox Parham introduced the modern pentecostal movement in the United States. He didn't. Parham modeled his Topeka, Kansas school for missionaries after "The Holy Ghost and Us" Bible School, in coastal Maine. That school was founded by Frank Weston Sandford. "Shiloh" (the informal name of Sanford's school) is reported to have been an abusive cult center. The school's official name, later, was "The Kingdom" by which name the associated commune was also known. It is said that residents "lived by faith," rather than seek gainful employment. Sandford was convicted of manslaughter in 1911. He served seven years in a federal penitentiary. There were also multiple charges of abuse against other Shiloh members.
Charles Fox Parham first heard tongue-talking when some of Sandford's students emerged from the Shiloh's Prayer Towers during his visit there in the summer of 1900. He studied at least six weeks at Shiloh. After his studies he and Sanford went together on an evangelism tour through Canada.
Sandford insisted to the local newspaper that "speaking in tongues" meant foreign language tongues (i.e.: not what later came to be called "glossolalia") a full six months before Parham arrived at Shiloh to study: —Fair Clear and Terrible, by Shirley Nelson, p. 453
There is strong evidence to suggest that Parham's illustrious student, Agnes Ozman, had also known the Maine cult leader, Frank Sandford. She named [A. B.] Simpson and his colleague, Steven Merritt as two of her more esteemed spiritual teachers. Interestingly, Steven Merritt is credited with leading Frank Sandford to his understanding and acceptance of the Holy Spirit. —Charles W. Nienkirchen, in A. B. Simpson and the Pentecostal Movement, p.31,32
ALL scriptural examples of interpreted genuine Holy-Ghost-inspired tongues have three things in common:
1. What is spoken is either praises to God – a.k.a. "prophesying" in the New Testament context – or, as
at Acts 2, proclaiming the wonderful works of God.
2. What is spoken is only for foreign-language-speaking unbelievers; NEVER for the benefit of believers,
especially monolingual (single-language) believers.
3. ONLY when a tongue is a perfect match for an unbeliever's hometown dialect is it a credible and,
therefore, effective sign.