I recently received a loving rebuke from a pastor who is a long time friend and a Pentecostal. He was concerned that I had painted all Charismatics with the same brush. I read that letter in its entirety today on our Stand Up For The Truth program, and you are welcome to hear what he said in the recorded podcast.
Here is my response.
WHAT I KNOW:
- There is ONE GOD—YHWH of the Bible. He is perfect, right, just, merciful and loving.
- Jesus Christ—God—took human form to live with us and die for our sins. He is perfect and is the model every Christian should strive for in this life. His death paid the price for our sins, paying the price of death that a just God demands for our sins.
- The Holy Spirit lives in the hearts of born again believers. He teaches, guides, encourages, rebukes and empowers us through grace to love one another as Jesus loves us, and to deny ungodliness and become holy in this life.
- Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords—He will return one day to judge all men. Those who have received the imputed righteousness of Jesus will live with God for eternity. Those who have rejected His lordship will spend eternity in hell.
This is everything I know about God beyond the shadow of a doubt. Everything else is my opinion. I am sure I get some things right and I am sure I get some things wrong.
If I have ever come across as arrogant or sounding like I am smarter or holier than anyone else I apologize and ask your forgiveness.
If we have ever said anything that would lead someone to believe that Pentecostal or Charismatic Christians are not Christians or are weaker brothers in the faith, that was not my intent.
I did say that perhaps people who constantly seek after greater signs and wonders might be considered weaker brothers in their faith—and I said this because Jesus Himself chastised the Pharisees and the Jews for constantly asking for another sign that He was the Son of God.
I believe faith is crucial if we expect God to bless us and move within our lives. I do not believe the extreme “Word Faith” movement is something Christians should get involved in—there are a lot of charlatans out there looking to steal your money, asking you to seed them so God will bless you. But I know that faith—faith that God can do anything, not that he will do anything, is crucial to the life of a born again believer.
I believe the gifts of the Holy Spirit are alive and active to this very day—if you are a cessationist I do not believe that disqualifies you as a Christian—it simply means we interpret God’s perfect teachings differently. And both sides of this issue or any issue need to humble ourselves and admit the possibility that we could be wrong.
Yes we face a time where the church is being divided—and we are warned in scripture that there would be a great falling away. There are biblical teachings and positions we must take a firm, unwavering stance on. But there are many more where we must be humble and admit we are imperfect humans and we will never completely understand the ways of a perfect God in this lifetime.
I believe we are headed to a time when the little things that might divide us today will be insignificant—insignificant as the world tries to crush us because we have the audacity to believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven—and that the Bible is 100% true, 100% of the time. When we as Christians start to face persecution—losing our jobs and trying to make ends meet—if a Christian in your neighborhood is into signs and wonders and you are not—would you deny Him help when he needs it? Maybe that should be something we all consider when we decide who to break fellowship with or call a heretic…
And lastly, there is one more thing I know—I will be wrong at times. I will have an opinion that must be challenged and I welcome you at anytime to do that. That is why every show we encourage you several times to take nothing we or any guest says as absolute truth—only God’s Word is absolute truth.
Someone once asked me what I think God will say to me about SUFTT when I stand in His glory. I said, “I believe He will say this: Mike, some of the shows you did you hit a home run on—thank you for clearly speaking what needed to be said. A couple other shows—just what were you thinking? You were operating not by the power of My Spirit, but by the power of your own flesh.”
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share this with you.