Firstly, CW challenges people to reveal gospel theology, so it is only fair we check out their own doctrine of the gospel, as revealed in their own resources and comments. CW is falling short, as revealed in the article “What is the Gospel?”.
Secondly, CW extensively promotes Reformed/Cessationist theology. Thus CW endorses resources, sites and influences that believe and teach that the gifts, miracles and signs of the Spirit ended some time after the last of Christ’s Apostles died.
There is no scripture for this. Reformed theology insists on referring everything to scripture, with which we agree. Yet, despite their appeal to Sola Scriptura, they have no Biblical evidence for the end of the work of the Spirit.
Speaking in other tongues
Moreover, CW mocks the Spirit by asserting that the gift of tongues has ended and that the gift heard in Pentecostal, Charismatic and Contemporary churches and ministries today is merely ‘psychobabble’ and ‘gibberish’.
Of course, the challenge to the gifts of the Spirit is not new. The Apostle Peter met with the same scepticism when he returned from Roman centurion Cornelius’ household with the news that God had poured out the Holy Spirit on the Gentiles.
Acts 11:1-3 Now the apostles and brethren who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. And when Peter came up to Jerusalem, those of the circumcision contended with him, saying, “You went in to uncircumcised men and ate with them!”
Peter then went on to explain that he had been sent to the Gentiles by the Holy Spirit through a vision he had received which told him that the Gentiles had been accepted by God and that Peter was to go and preach the gospel to Cornelius’ household. In the vision, Peter was told by an angel that men would come for him, and he was to go with them.
Acts 11:11-18 “At that very moment, three men stood before the house where I was, having been sent to me from Caesarea. Then the Spirit told me to go with them, doubting nothing.
“Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house. And he told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house, who said to him, ‘Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon whose surname is Peter, who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved.’
“And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John indeed baptised with water, but you shall be baptised with the Holy Spirit.’
“If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?”
When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.”
This passage of scripture blows away Reformed/Cessationist doctrine.
First of all, Peter, who was resistant, as a Jew, of going to the Gentiles because he considered them unclean, was commanded by the Spirit to go anyway, without doubting. God opens up the gospel to all Gentiles, not just a limited select few, but all who would believe on the name of Jesus and be saved.
What is it that saves them? ‘Peter, who will tell you words by which you and your household will be saved.”
The gospel preached
Words. What kind of words? The gospel. The Word of Christ. What Paul called ‘the Word of faith, which we preach’ (Romans 10:8-17). Peter preached the gospel.
As he was preaching, something astounding took place. The Holy Spirit fell on them as it had in the beginning, that is, when the disciples were baptised with the Holy Spirit and with power on the Day of Pentecost in the Upper Room where they waited on the Spirit, according to Christ’s instruction.
Acts2:1-4 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
How did this happen for the people in Cornelius’ household? Because they ‘received the word of God’. When the Word was preached they believed and they were saved. During the ministry of the word, we are told, they were all baptised with the Holy Spirit. This is the Promise of God. Is this Promise still for us today? Of course. Will the same thing happen to us today? If it happened then, it will happen now, because the Promise is to all, whether near or far.
What happened in both cases? They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and all began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. They were all filled. They all spoke. It was the Spirit who gave them utterance.
When people call speaking in tongues ‘gibberish’, or ‘psychobabble’, they should repent because they are insulting the Holy Spirit. He gives the utterance. The utterance magnifies God. The utterance is speaking to God, not to men. The utterance is holy, being from the Spirit.
The same thing happened in the household of Cornelius as had taken place on the Day of Pentecost. How did Peter know that they had received the Holy Spirit? They began to speak with other tongues. As Peter said, “If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?” What was the gift God gave them?
Acts 10:45-46 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.
‘For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God’. The same gift poured out on the Jewish disciples was now poured out on the Gentiles. How did they know? They began to speak in tongues, that is, languages unknown to the speaker, and magnify God. Speaking in tongues is magnifying God. It is of God. It is a gift from God. It magnifies God.
It is not gibberish, as CW claims. It is not psychobabble. It is languages. It is the Promise. It is speaking to God in mysteries.
1 Corinthians 14:2 For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.
When Cornelius’ household began to speak in tongues it was evidence of the outpouring, it was magnifying God, they were speaking to God in mysteries.
Baptism with the Spirit
Of what did this remind Peter? ‘Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John indeed baptised with water, but you shall be baptised with the Holy Spirit.’ Peter identified the outpouring of the Spirit on both the Jews and the Gentiles as the baptism with the Holy Spirit Jesus spoke about to his disciples.
The pattern here is clear. The disciples preach the gospel. Those that hear and believe are saved, and receive the Spirit within. Then they are baptised with the Holy Spirit, with the evidence of speaking in other tongues, having received the Promise of the Spirit.
Is speaking in other tongues necessary to salvation? No. But it is evidence that the gift has been poured out on the believer. The gift is proof of empowerment by the Holy Spirit to be witnesses of Christ.
Jesus had promised the disciples who waited in the Upper Room that they would be baptised with the Spirit and with power.
Acts 1:4-5 And being assembled together with them, [Jesus] commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptised with water, but you shall be baptised with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
What would be the result of their being baptised with the Holy Spirit, according to Jesus?
Acts 1:8 “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Is this an integral part of the gospel? Undoubtedly. If we deny the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for today we are removing a key element of the gospel message from the equation. The Promise is to all who believe. The Promise has not ended. Jesus commanded the disciples not to depart from Jerusalem until they had been endued with power from on High.
Luke 24:49 “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”
Of course we do not have to tarry, or wait, in Jerusalem to be baptised with the Spirit. That was the beginning of the outpouring. Cornelius was in Caesarea when his household were baptised with the Spirit. The outpouring is for everyone for all time wherever we are until Jesus comes again for the Church. It is the Promise. It is the baptism with the Spirit.
On the Day of Pentecost, there were Jews of the diaspora who heard the disciples magnify God in their languages as they spoke in tongues, and many of the were convicted by the preaching which followed as Peter explained what was happening. They asked what they should do.
Acts 2:38-39 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
The promise of the Spirit, called the outpouring and the baptism with the Spirit, was to those present, for their children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord will call. There is no limit to the outpouring, unless the Lord has stopped calling people. No. He is still calling us all to repentance and salvation.
The First Council
What did the gathering of the Council at Jerusalem conclude after Peter announced the outpouring at Cornelius’ household?
Acts 11: 18 When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.”
God’s grace is to all nations. ‘Gentile’ is another word for ethnic group. The word used here in koiné Greek is ethos. God has granted all ethnic groups repentance to life. All they have to hear is the gospel and believe unto repentance and they will be saved. The outpouring is for all.
When CW denies the outpouring of the Spirit CW takes away from the reader the true teaching of the New Testament on the baptism with the Holy Spirit. CW utilised cessationist teaching which deprives its hearers of the truth about the gifts and manifestations of the Holy Spirit.
We have merely touched on this vast subject using scripture accurately. There is far more. This is a taster.
Speaking in tongues is a gift from God and an integral part of the outpouring, which is a key element in the gospel message. To reiterate; it doesn’t prove we are saved, but it adds power to our witness.
The Full Gospel
Let Paul give added weight to this piece for us as he outlines the truth that the key elements of the gospel of Christ he preached to the Gentiles included the outpouring, distributions and work of the Holy Spirit wherever he was obedient to go in the name of Jesus.
Watch as Paul declares that he ‘fully preached the gospel of Christ’ and see him reveal clues about the full gospel.
Romans 15:15-19 Nevertheless, brethren, I have written more boldly to you on some points, as reminding you, because of the grace given to me by God, that I might be a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
Therefore I have reason to glory in Christ Jesus in the things which pertain to God. For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me, in word and deed, to make the Gentiles obedient– in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.
We need to be engaged in the full gospel, including the works and manifestations of the Spirit, which are evidence of His interaction with us as God’s children.
Taking the Holy Spirit’s works of grace from the Church through poor doctrine is wrong. When CW aligns itself with Reformed/Cessationist theology it denies truth and diminishes the effectiveness of those who read and hear its teaching.
Word of caution
Be careful what you read, people. Don’t let CWs quest and hunger for a bad report, gossip or scandal be a detour from the truth that is in the Word of God. Don’t let their biased opinion, sensationalism and appeal to innuendo distract you from the reality of the work of God in your life. The Word is true. The Spirit is pure. Seek God through the Word and Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is as powerful and accommodating to the Church of the Living God as he was on the day of pentecost. the outpouring has not ended. Tongues have not ended. Prophecy has not ended. Knowledge has not ended.
As Paul reminded us, at first, we see in a glass dimly, but, day by day, as we look into the perfect law of liberty through the Holy Spirit we become more like Christ as his face shines upon us through the Word and Spirit.