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Pentecostal Apologetics

Pentecostalism

 "Pentecostalism" (a Life of Tongues and Prophecies) is Considered to be The Normative  Christian Experience.

By looking at 1 Corinthians and The Book of Acts It Will Be Seen That Contrary to Cessationist Teaching; Pentecostalism is The New life in Christ.



Cessationists say that Prophetic speaking (tongues included) is not a normal part of the Christian's life. Their argument usually consists of the following ideas:

1) "Prophetic speaking is written about in detail in only two books (1 Cor and Acts) therefore God does not want much emphasis on it
2) "In the book of Galatians (Gal 5:22-23) Paul describes the "normative" Christian life, and makes no mention of prophetic speaking."
3) "Even the Corinthians stopped prophetic speaking because by the time Paul wrote 2 Corinthians he does not even mention tongues and prophecies."

 
Number 3 is a favorite line of cessationists. However, what they do not seem to realize is that 2 Corinthians was written just months after 1 Corinthians (they were both written the same year). It is utterly ridiculous to think that Paul gave 3 chapters of instructions (1 Cor 12-14) concerning spiritual gifts—including telling them to seek the gifts—if they were going to die out in a few months. Also, 2 Cor 8:7 (below) is a reference to prophetic speech (this is realized by reading the last paragraphs of "1 Cor 1-2" on this site where it discusses 1 Cor. 1: 5)

 "Therefore, as ye abound in everything, in faith, and utterance [speech], and knowledge" 2 Cor 8:7 

Number 2 is set aside just as handily. Galatians chapter 5 describes the "friut" of the Spirit that all Christians are to have—it is not discussing the "gifts" of the Spirit that are given at God's discretion. Galatians 2 is certainly not describing the "normative" Christian life—for there is no mention of evangelism, preaching, worship, baptisms, etc. Also, in Galatians 5:22, the word "fruit," is singular. The 9 aspects of the Spirit listed there are all one fruit that all believers are to have; though all believers do not have all of the same "gifts." It is also noteworthy that not even the "conservative" gifts of pastoring, evangelism, helps, teaching, administrating etc. are mentioned. Therefore, the cessationist argument that, "Paul is showing the Galatians that the normative Christian life is without prophetic speech"--is not valid.

Number 1 is partialy true because: Acts is the only Bible book of the church-age that is written in narrative (the book of Revelation excluded) describing prayer/worship services—Tongues and prophecies happen during such services. 1 Corinthians is the only book that describes how church services are to be held. 1 Corinthians covers the handling of the Lord's supper in church, the role of women in the church, and the use of spiritual gifts in the church etc. Therefore, Acts and 1 Corinthians are the two books that have the most references to prophetic speaking.

Hermeneutics
 
The issue is one of hermeneutics. The hermeneutical rule that applies here is that of "occasion." What occasioned the letter? In other words, "Why was an epistle written?" For instance, the book of Philemon was written to give instructions concerning a runaway slave; the book of Galatians was written to refute the "Judaizers" who were trying to bring the Galatians back under the Old Test. law. This is why there is no mention of prophetic speaking in those two books. Cessationists would have us believe that there is no mention of the prophetic in those two books—because prophetic speaking had died out by the time they were written (It is ironic that Galatians was written before 1 Cor.).

The basic reason that one does not read more of prophetic speaking is simply because the New Testament is a small book (respectively)--especially after discounting the four Gospels because they do not speak of post-Pentecostal events. Luke, who wrote Acts, primarily concerned himself with the Apostle Paul's ministry. If Luke had managed to follow the other church leaders (Peter, John) around also, then he could have recorded many more instances of prophetic speech. In fact, when we do read of Peter and John in Acts they are involved in prophetic speaking ( Possibly John—certainly Peter). Acts chapter 8 says that there were believers in Samaria, so Peter and John went up there to pray and lay hands on them so that they might receive the Holy Spirit. And in Acts 10 it is seen that Peter was involved with the Gentiles as they began to speak in tongues. As seen in the verses below, it is normative for believers to be involved with the prophetic. Churches in Judea, Jerusalem, Antioch, Caesarea, and Tyre accepted prophetic utterances:
 
"During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch ... predicted ... a severe famine ... help for the brothers living in Judea." Acts 11: 27-29
 
"Landed at Tyre ... through the Spirit they urged Paul not to go to Jerusalem ... reached Caesarea ... he had four unmarried daughters who prophesied ... a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea" Acts 21; 3-10

There may have been many New Testament churches that engaged in prophetic speaking as much as the Corinthians did, but we do not hear of it because there are no epistles written to them that we may read. Churches mentioned in Acts, such as at the Antiochs, Iconium, Lystra, Derbe, Berea, Caeserea, Troas, Tyre, Ptolemais, etc. may have all operated in the prophetic. Of course they did. To say that they did not, simply because it is not mentioned in Acts, is equivalent to saying that the Thessalonians and the Corinthians did not use the prophetic either—because Acts is silent concerning the prophetic in those two churches also (Acts is silent concerning Paul's tongues-speaking also). Therefore, the silence of an epistle to a church, concerning the prophetic, or the lack of an epistle to confirm the prophetic at a church, is not evidence that the prophetic was not going on at such a church.
1 Corinthians is an excellent example of this truth. As already mentioned, the book of Acts is silent concerning the prophetic at Corinth, even though the prophetic was going on strong there. In other words, if we did not have a "1 Corinthians," cessationists would say that there were no prophetic gifts in operation at Corinth. The relevance of this statement is that we almost do not have a "1 Corinthians." The only reason we have it is because while Paul was at Ephesus, a Corinthian church leader named Chloe, sent a delegation, with a letter, to Paul. The purpose of the delegation/letter was to explain to Paul the problems that their church was having with the Lord's Supper, baptisms, and the spiritual gifts (among other things). Paul wrote 1 Corinthians in response to the delegation/letter.

The question is asked, "Why, if prophetic speech is normative, do we not hear more of it in other epistles—such as to the Philippians, Colossians, Galatians etc.?" Well, did the Philippians, Colossians, Galatians, etc. send a delegation to Paul with a letter asking his advice on the spiritual gifts so that he would write a reply instructing them how to use tongues and prophecies properly? Stepping outside the book of Acts and Corinthians, we see that it is normative church life for elders to lay hands on people expecting spiritual gifts to be imparted, with accompanying prophetic utterances. Paul's words to Timothy:

"Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, witht the laying on of the hands of the presbytery." 1 Tim. 4: 14
 
"This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare." 1 Tim. 1: 18

James describes the work of elders as powerful:

"Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray. Is any merry? Let him sing psalms. Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up... pray one for another, that ye may be healed." James 5: 13-16
 
Most cessationists would down-play these words of James. They think that instead of getting a group together to pray for miraculous healing, we should simply ask God to "give the doctors wisdom." (which means, I suppose, that we should anoint the doctors with oil!!!)

The Samaritans

The apostles believed that it is normal Christian life for people to experience manifestations of the Holy Spirit. This is why the church sent Peter and John to Samaria; so that they would pray that the Samaritans would be filled with the Holy Spirit.

"Now when the aposltes which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:" Acts 8: 14-15

The apostles at the Jerusalem church believed in supernatural manifestations of the Holy Spirit; not just for special apostles, but also for ordinary belivers. This is why they sent Peter and John to Samaria--Because they heard that the Samaritans had gotten saved, but without supernatural manifestations. Therefore Peter and John laid hands on them that they would receive the Holy Spirit (in an observable miraculous fashion as an extra baptism).

"Then they laid there hands on them and they rteceived the Holy Ghost." Acts 8: 17
 
Cessationists do not like the fact that the Samaritans received the Holy Spirit at a later date (possibly weeks later) than their salvation experience. The Samaritan issue confuses them. They believe that when people accept the word and become born-again, that they are immediatly indwelt by the Holy Spirit--This is true, of course. However, cessationists do not believe that people can receive the extra, "Baptism of the Holy Spirit" (with accompanying signs, wonders, or tongues, or prophecies). Therefore cessationists try to explain away the Samaritans extra filling of the Holy Spirit.

There are two things that cessationists like to say regarding the Samaritans' extra filling.
 
First: They say that the Samaritans were not actually saved (born-again) until Peter and John went to see them. By saying this they imply that the Samaritans received the Holy Spirit only once--When Peter and John (supposedly) preached a salvation sermon to them and immediatly laid hands on them as they received the Holy Spirit. This line of reasoning is just an act of desperation. The Samaritans were definitly saved at Philip's preaching (before Peter and John went to Samaria). The following verses show that the Samaritans heard the salvation message from Philip, and that they responded properly; and thus, they had to have been born-again with the indwelling Holy Spirit:
 
"Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria , and preached Christ unto them. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did... But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women... the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God" Acts 8: 5-14
 
Second: Cessationists like to say that the Samaritan issue was a special case. They say that up untill that point only Jews were getting saved and God witheld the Holy Spirit from the Samaritans until Peter and John arrived so that God could show the apostles that the Samaritans can now be saved. This, again, is silly. The apostles in Jerusalem knew that the Samaritans were saved by the testimoney of Philip (or whoever told the Jerusalem group about Samaria). Therefore, they did not send Peter and John to Samaria to preach a salvation message to them; but, rather, to lay hands on them and pray for the (extra) infilling of the Holy Spirit--For the apostles knew that salvation is not given by the laying on of hands. Also, God did not withold the Holy Spirit or salvation from the Samaritans or anyone else--For the five years from Acts 2 (Pent) to Acts 8 (Peter and John at Samaria). The Samaritans were saved and had the indwelling of the Holy Spirit at the preaching of Philip. At the Acts 2 Pentecost there were Gentiles from many nations (who believed in Judaism) (per Acts 2:11), who may have; as part of the 3000, gotten saved and spoke in tongues. There is nothing special about Samaritans (as they and all non-Jews are called "Gentiles" by the Jews) that would prohibit them from receiving the Holy Spirit at salvation. It is interesting that the apostle Paul was very used to people getting saved and yet not receiving the (extra ) filling of the Holy Spirit until a later date. This is realized by reading Acts 19: 1-7. Paul met some disciples (these disciples were faithful Jews or proselytes) of John the Baptist's teaching of repentance. But the wording of the account shows that Paul thought they were born-again believers that were saved but had not yet received the extra (baptism) infilling of the Holy Spirit. Notice in the verses below that Paul did not ask them if they were saved--He already thought they were; instead he asked if they recieved the (extra baptism) Holy Spirit.
 
"And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is,on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them; they spake with tongues, and prophesied." Acts 19: 1-6

Now Paul is a theologian. He knows that people are filled with the Holy Spirit when they believe; therefore, he must certainly have been asking them if they received the extra Pentecostal baptism when they believed. 

Four Occurances

Cessationists have a strange way of thinking concerning the four "pentecosts" below. They do not like baptisms of the Holy Spirit, so they try to compartmentalize them in order to make each one unique and non-repeatable. They say that the Pentecost of Acts 2 was God's original showing that the Holy Spirit is here. They say that the "Pentecost" of Acts 8 may not have even included tongues and prophecies. They say that the "Pentecost" of Acts 10 was God's initial outpouring upon the Gentiles, as God was (supposedly) showing the apostles that the Gentiles may now be saved. This idea, while sounding scholarly, is still an incorrect assumption. This was simply an instance of people receiving the baptism (tongues and prophecies) at the same time of their salvation experience. God did not cause tongues and prophecies to happen to show the apostles that the Gentiles are able to be saved. The Holy Scriptures never say that tongues and prophecies are a "showing;" to show the apostles that people have gotten saved. The real reason for tongues and prophecies are not for a "showing," but for power to praise God in Spirit and in truth. When questioned about the so-called "Ephesian Pentecost" of Acts 19; cessationists are at a loss for words. For this Pentecost came 25 years after the Jewish Pentecost of Acts 2, and 15 years after the "Gentile Pentecost" of Acts 10. God had already poured out His Spirit upon the Jews and the Gentiles. What purpose, then, does the tongues of the Ephesians in chapter 19 serve? They do not know. What they say at this point is that it does not matter because tongues and prophecies supposedly ended after an "apostolic-age." 

approximately 30 AD (The first Pentecost of Acts 2)

Approx 30 AD "Jewish" Pentecost Acts chapter 2

Approx 35 AD "Samaritan" Pentecost Acts chapter 8 Approx 40 AD "Gentile" Pentecost Acts chapter 10

Approx 55 AD "Ephesian" Pentecost Acts chapter 19

By reading the New Testament it is seen that it is normal workings of the Holy Spirit to cause people to speak in tongues and to prophesy when they receive what is called, "The baptism of the Holy Spirit;" (sometimes this happens at salvation, and sometimes it occurs at a later date) This term comes from Jesus' words of Acts chapter 1:
 
"For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence." Acts 1: 5

Cessationists try to turn the Samaritan, and the Gentile outpourings into theological issues--But it is just normal workings of the Holy Spirit. So normal that Paul gave instructions to both men and women, as he expects them to prophecy in the churches:

"Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. But every woman that prayeth ["prayeth"--probably meaning a Holy Spirit prophetic prayer] or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head:" 1 Cor. 11: 4-5