Not long after I came to faith in the Messiah, and still working my way out of the wild life I was mixed up in, I came to a crossroads, a decision between two choices of where to move. I was obviously stuck between the two choices and didn’t see any clear way to know which was best. What ended up making the decision for me was a series of three events, events which I took to be signs from God. These three perceived signs shifted my decision finally in one direction. And in the midst of a life in which I travelled frequently, I chose a destination based on them. They were not the only pieces of knowledge I was going by, of course. They informed me along with a matrix of other kinds of information, yet they were what ultimately pushed the decision one way. At the time, I was not so confident that they were signs from God, but looking back, and seeing the effects of that choice and what I did in my destination, I became more confident than ever that I had correctly taken them to be from God, from Adonai (the Lord) speaking in my life.
At other times later, I believed I heard clearly from the Lord, even in His voice. One day, still a very new believer, a baby in the faith, I wondered alone in my room about a time in my youth in which I thought I might have given my soul to the devil. I somberly contemplated the event, and spoke to the Lord in prayer, asking if I indeed had given away my soul. Now, I didn’t really expect to hear a tangible reply, but I did, immediately; I heard a clear audible voice saying to me – Your soul belongs to me. The voice was kind and calm, and I heard it speak clearly two times – Your soul belongs to me.
I relish these incredible moments Yeshua our Savior has given me. Perhaps the most powerful time I saw Him act was when I was teaching, and still fairly new to the faith. I chose one day to share with my class the message of God and Jesus Christ, something I could get away with overseas, but would be fired for here in my allegedly free home country. Well, I communicated the Word of God as best I could, several of the students actually asked fairly intelligent questions, and I did my best to answer. Yet I felt afterward that my performance had been poor. I should have spoken better. I should have answered their questions better. As I was walking home out of the campus, still doubting myself, ahead of me several hundred feet was the campus gate. There in the distance stood the school guard and he held something in his hand above his head. I look at him holding it aloft, and it appeared to me that it was a snake. As I got closer, I could see clearly that he held a serpent aloft over his head. As I approached the gate itself, the guard laid the serpent on the ground next to where I was walking, and as I looked down to examine it, I could see that it had one striking wound, a crushing blow on the back of its head. This must have been the blow which killed it. Later, after taking its picture and dwelling on this moment, I realized that Adonai had given me this amazing sign as a word of encouragement in my efforts, showing me the serpent from the Bible, lifted aloft, as Moshe (Moses) had lifted him prophetically, and also crushed on the head, as the book of Genesis tells us the Savior would do. I never tire of telling that story, or remembering the image and feeling in my mind. I know that I walk with a God who walks with me.
I think you know a lot of believers would tell you stories like that. They would tell you times they felt that God was acting in their lives or speaking with them. As long as we recognize that these moments do not have the authority of the Torah or are believed in with the credulity of scripture, they can be a regular part of our faith life, something that interweaves our days and our consciousness. Yet, there is a movement today, an aberrant form of belief, which does not merely treat events like the above as perceived signs, but actually claims that we have the revelation of prophets like Moshe or Eliyahu (Elijah). Moreover they claim we should be doing the many miracles that these figures from the times of ancient Israel did, even the same miracles that Mashiach (Christ) and the apostles did in the first century. In a nutshell, this movement falsely claims that the miracle gifts given to the apostles two thousand years ago – those of healing, tongues and prophecy – continue up to this very day. This of course is the Pentecostal movement, and it has tragically deceived countless millions in the Body of Messiah. Currently it has penetrated nearly every branch of the Christian faith and countless small sects and only continues to grow.
In fact it gets worse than that, as the problem with the Pentecostal movement (hereafter Pente) is not only the false claims to continued miracle gifts, but also, I believe because of its foundation on falsehood just over one hundred years ago, that it has sprouted some of the most outlandish heresies and ridiculous practices seemingly without end. Major leaders of the movement, from its inception to the present have taught major spiritual heresies. Some of the most outrageous false teachings today being the Word Faith doctrine, the prosperity gospel and the claims that children of Yeshua are, and I quote, little gods. The movement, being based on falsehood, is also a den of immorality, having some of the most debased and immoral characters from the beginning to the present leading the movement. Immorality in a movement does not in itself prove its claims false, but it certainly is a sign that something is very wrong especially when it seems perpetual. These problems do not just exist in fringe figures or fringe congregations by the way. They are common in the movement, and exist among the major players throughout its history.
Therefore, I have put together this page at Holiness of the Bride to provide information showing the claims of continued miracle gifts to be false. I also intend to call out the other false teachings and unspiritual practices commonly seen. I don’t plan to deal with every aspect here or in the informative links below, but I will deal with its major claims and I encourage anyone in the movement to consider everything you read here, and that this criticism comes from a friend, rather than an enemy. A friend cares about your spiritual benefit. I have spoken with many people in the Pente movement, some of them personal friends of mine, and have been blessed with the chance to understand better how they think and why they believe as they do. Yet after any number of discussions and sometimes long debates, I believe only more strongly that these people, many of whom are sincerely brothers in Messiah, are simply deceived.
Miracle Gift of Healing
I would like to start and focus on one major claim in the movement — that of having the healing gifts of the first century A.D. As you know, Yeshua and the apostles did many miraculous healings. Even the apostles, who at times failed in their miracles, did many healings sometimes of entire crowds. Now one of the commonest reasons that millions of people are deceived by the Pentecostal movement and believe that Christians today can do the same thing, is a very simple reason – they lump every kind of healing together and call it a miracle. There are other reasons for deceptions too, such as bold lies and hoaxes, but this massive amount of conflation probably results in the majority of deceptions. I’d like to ask you, if you belong to the movement, to examine yourself and see if that’s what you do. Are you taking more ordinary kinds of things – like generally feeling better, having lessened symptoms, healing a lot but over a long period of time side by side with medical techniques – and calling these things miracles? If that is what you are doing, then recognize it. Also recognize that this is certainly NOT what Yeshua and the apostles were doing. They were doing many great miracles. If what you witness today is radically different, then do not claim that it is the same. The miracle gifts spoken of in scripture have ended. That is observable fact.
Just to review, the miracle healings of the New Testament contain certain major characteristics that help define them. Here they are, and feel free to check to make sure I am correct here:
1: They are many
2: They are healings of major organic illnesses
3: They are complete healings, not just temporary or partial improvements
4: They happen immediately or in a very short time
Now I think you will find those four characteristics to be true. Yeshua and the apostles were healing many major organic illnesses, completely and either immediately or in a short time. These are miracles, and God used these miracles to verify His Son as Savior and bring in the foundation of the Church. Yet just like the frequent miracles at the time of Moshe or at the time of Eliyahu, they ceased. Nobody is going around regularly cleansing lepers, making the blind see and the lame walk. No one. And if they were doing so, they would be on the evening news. So as I always do, I would challenge Pente believers to show that anyone today is doing these things. If they are not doing them, please accept that the claims of the movement are false, that it is founded on a fractured base, and then please find a solid, Bible-believing church to belong to. It does not mean you will have to have a dry, boring, dead walk with Messiah. You can still walk with Messiah each day. It simply means you must leave this deception behind.
One last thing about healings brother: in the century-plus that the Pente movement has been with us, a number of alleged healers have been investigated by independent parties. What do you think the investigators found? Well, they always pretty much find the same things:
1) The person allegedly healed never had the alleged condition in the first place.
2) The person allegedly healed still has the condition they were allegedly healed from.
3) The person allegedly healed has since died of the allegedly healed condition.
4) The person allegedly healed basically feels somewhat better from a condition, but was not (and this is very important) not healed of a major organic illness.
Beloved, if these are the only results that alleged healers of this movement can produce, why continue to support its claims? Why even be silent about what is going on? Maybe instead it’s time to speak out against such incredible falsehood.
Now I realize it can be intimidating to speak out. And I realize a lot of people would even complain about my writing this critical article; they’d say there are four hundred million Pentes in the world and you shouldn’t want to offend them. But let me tell you my philosophy and encourage you to hold the same – I would rather offend four hundred million people than deceive four hundred million people. More importantly, it is our moral obligation to speak out against what is wrong, especially when it is dangerous and affects our community. If you believe I am dangerously wrong, it is your obligation to tell me. In the same way, it is my obligation to tell you, if you happen to belong to this movement. Please join me in saying this. The movement is founded on falsehood. No one is going around doing what Yeshua and the apostles did or even anything close. Anyone who claims they are is either deceived or is a LIAR.
Tongues and Prophecy
To continue to other false teachings of the Pente movement, I want to stop briefly at the allegation that the gift of tongues and the gift of prophecy continue today. It is important to note here, that scripture itself specifically says that both of these gifts would cease. 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 tells us this: “Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.” That is two of the miracle gifts according the scripture ending. With those two ending, we ought to at least have an open mind toward the third ending with them. I realize many will protest that scripture says they will cease when the “perfect” comes and then claim the perfect hasn’t come yet. However, objectively speaking the words tell us that the gifts will end. The meaning of the perfect might be ambiguous when looked at in isolation, but when we observe and see that nobody is doing the miracle gifts anymore, we can limit what the perfect means to how it was commonly taken historically – it speaks of the coming in of New Testament scripture, or the foundation of the Body of Messiah itself. That interpretation would also fit in with the pattern of scripture from beginning to end, a pattern in which Elohim (God) uses miracles to verify a prophet or a messenger, but does not continually use miracles, at least not with great frequency. In this scriptural pattern, Elohim gave many incredible signs and wonders to the apostles to verify His Son and bring His saving truth to many nations, and like the other times, He ended them when it was accomplished. That does not mean that God never does any miracles today. Of course not. It DOES mean that the miracle gifts have ended. We should not expect Christians to go about doing great miracles, though they might happen on a very rare occasion.
Additionally, and in harmony with scripture plainly telling us that tongues and prophecy will cease, observable reality tells us the same thing. Tongues, according to Acts 2 which describes their first appearance in history, are clearly a miracle gift of languages. Just go back and read the chapter again yourself. The disciples are given an incredible ability to speak or understand foreign languages. Thus in understanding these languages, they are able to understand each other, since they come from all over the known world. The chapter is very clear, and in fact is the only clear passage in scripture describing the gift of tongues. Not only that, but the Christian fathers from the earliest centuries of the Church attested together that the miracle gift of tongues was a gift of languages. They said nothing about it being a gift of gibberish, which is what modern Pentes commonly practice. Nobody today is experiencing a miracle gift of languages. No ministry is sending out missionaries who do not have to study the language of another country because they can miraculously learn it through this gift. None. Missionaries today have to study the language over time, just like anyone else. There is no miracle gift today. Rather the gift was for the founding of the Body of Messiah, and facilitated the spread of the faith by helping it cross over language barriers.
Many Pentes will protest and claim that there is a second gift of tongues, one described in 1 Corinthians 14 and which amounts to speaking unintelligible syllables. Yet 1 Corinthians 14 is very ambiguous, and I think in fairness we can agree that it could be read in a couple of different ways. Yet if it is truly ambiguous, we should not make it a source of doctrine. Please review it yourself, and I think you’ll see what I mean. Let’s not build a doctrine on an ambiguity. Moreover, there is strong reason to believe that 1 Corinthians 14 does NOT speak of what modern Pentes call tongues. Number one, it tells us that tongues should be said with understanding (vs 13, 19, 26, 33) and should be interpreted (vs 14, 27-28). Pentes today do not do this. It also says that tongues are for a sign to the unbelievers (vs 22). Modern Pentes nearly always take it to be a private prayer language, or as a sign to the congregation. This is in direct conflict with what the passage teaches. On top of that, it seems strange that scripture would use the same word for tongues here as it does in Acts 2, if they are in fact remarkable different activities. It also seems strange to speak of gibberish talk as a sign and wonder when there is really nothing wondrous about it. Anyone in the world can do it. However, NOT anyone can speak miraculously in other languages. That is a true sign and wonder. That is the true gift of tongues some of the early believers had. They could speak or understand other languages.
The claim that modern believers have the gift of prophecy or the office of prophet is a bit more complex than the above two claims. This is because prophecy can legitimately refer to a variety of activities. It can refer to speaking forth the word of God, which we do anytime we speak from the Bible or even expound on it. The word is also sometimes used to speak of prophetic social criticism, such as preaching on society’s sins and their just punishment. Yet the most common characteristic that comes to mind in hearing the word is the predictive characteristic – prophecy is to predict the future. Indeed biblical prophecy does, but not the false kind today. Scripture gives only one clear condition for what makes a prophet, and that condition is complete predictive accuracy. Scripture tells us: And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’— when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him. (Deuteronomy 18:21-22) Nowhere else in scripture is this condition rescinded. Now if alleged prophets today in the Pente movement are really prophets, why don’t they have predictive accuracy? In fact if alleged prophets today were held to this standard, what do they deserve to be called? False prophets. And why should anyone listen to a false prophet? For all of those involved in the broad expanse of Pentecostalism and the Charismatic movement please ask yourself why you would accept someone who according to the word of the living God is a false prophet. Why would you base life decisions on their utterances? Make investment decisions based on them? Listen to them even about spiritual or moral truth? Scripture gives only one test for a prophet of God, and alleged prophets today fail that test. All of them.
Before ending, let me also remind my audience, especially any one of my Pentecostal friends out there, that the falsehood of this movement is only confirmed by the gross amount of satanic heresy passing through it. I realize this is not proof in itself, but it is a powerful sign. These disgusting heresies are abundant in the movement and are taught by some of its most influential and popular figures. The prosperity gospel, which at the minimum claims believers ought to expect to have health and wealth, simply because they are believers, and at the worst that Elohim wants us to get rich, is taught at the majority of Pente churches in many countries. That’s the majority. Moreover, a theology that sounds identical to Mormonism is also common, one which teaches that we are all “little gods”, begotten by the Father just as the Son was; one which claims we are all sons of God in just the same way as Yeshua is Son, that we are moreover incarnations of God just as He is. This is outrageous falsehood brothers, and is evil. Yet it is absorbed by countless crowds of gullible Charismatic Christians. False Pente teachers also spread a form of warmed-up Kabballah and sorcery, one which claims we can create things with only our words, just like Almighty God, and can speak reality into existence, as Elohim did in the beginning. God said – Let light be. So can we. On top of all these obscene heresies, the movement from its inception has been one of the main conduits of feminism into the man-headed Body of Messiah, being practically built on women preachers and women heads of congregations. Other than the mainline churches which entirely abandoned the authority of scripture, it is hard to find any other group of churches which have drowned the community so deep in feminism. It is almost a defining trait. While it’s true there are some Pente congregations which lean towards being more orthodox, which are mostly theologically sound, these seem to be in a minority and of very little influence. The movement as a whole is clearly drowning in heresies and gross deception. Please for the love of God think about leaving the movement if you are in it.
I mentioned at the beginning of my commentary here that it’s pretty clear how many people get deceived by the claims of this movement. The biggest way is that they lump many good events into the category of miracle, where they absolutely do not belong, and then claim their people are doing many miracles. Here is another way that souls in the movement get lost: They become convinced that their experiences in Pentecostalism are the way to have a spiritual and living relationship with Elohim, and that people in other congregations must not have such a spiritual relationship, or must worship a god that no longer lives. This mindset too is a deception. Nothing could be further from the truth. Countless non-Pentecostals speak with the Lord every day, trust in Him, know His incredible indwelling, seek His aid and guidance in all things and are confident in His amazing, unending power and mercy to win the victory. That is a fact. They believe in a God who acts to this day. Therefore, in inviting my Pente friends to leave the movement I want to remind them that there is an awesome, incredible living relationship with God outside of it. There are signs from God outside of it as well, simply not the many and miraculous ones we read about in the Bible.
You know when I began my project at Holiness of the Bride, it was a major decision for me. It was a major decision both in the effort, the risk and the money. The very same day that I paid for my website I happened to get a phone call from a constituent at the ministry where I worked. This man told me point blank that I was about to embark on something big, and assured me that everything is possible with God. At the end of our conversation he even repeated himself, reminding me that with God all things were possible. Not only that, but the next day I was talking with a constituent, and he told me this – please do all you can to turn around the Body of Messiah. It is in terrible condition. I have been in the Church for 60 years and I have seen what it has become. Well, what he was asking me was exactly a major part of what my project intends to do. And how often do people talk to me like those men did? Only very rarely. A small handful of times a year. Yet the conversations happened exactly as I began this project in the Lord. And it still gets better. After I paid for it, it took me a couple of weeks to figure out how to get my holiness website correctly up online. Yet two weeks later when I finally got it working, I received a certain phone call. This was on the exact same day I got it running. The phone call was from the very friend who had inspired the project. She lived over a thousand miles away, but was already heading my direction and wanted to stop by and visit the next day. Now what are the chances of that happening? I was stunned. Needless to say, she and I rejoiced together over the event, and I was elated for weeks. Who wouldn’t see the hand of Adonai in her coming on that exact day?
Naturally as you can guess, I recall those stories to assure you that we DO have a living relationship with Adonai, and we do not need the false claims of the Pentecostal movement to do so. We sense His speaking and His working in our lives; we just don’t put the kind of stock in that sense as we would prophesy. We just don’t call ourselves prophets, because we are not. Not only can we have signs from Adonai outside of the movement, but more importantly we can also focus on what the Ruach haKodesh (the Holy Spirit) primarily does in the sons of God. And what does the Spirit of God do in us? He points us to Yeshua. He strengthens our faith. He comforts us. He sanctifies us. He purifies us. He helps us to love the good. He helps us to hate evil. He helps us to repent sincerely of our sins. He helps us to live in all we do for the Son of God as we walk continually toward the Father. That is the primary work of the Ruach haKodesh in our lives. It is not boring and dead, as some put it, but is wondrous and alive. We are simply to trust and obey unto eternal life. For: Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie….And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. (Revelation 22:14-15,17)
To the Restoration of the Bride:
General Material about the Pentecostal and Charismatic Movement
Strange Fire Videos — The Strange Fire Conference by John MacArthur contains a broad array of excellent material about Pente errors. He has earned plenty of enemies because of it, which anyone who speaks the truth can expect. More men need the boldness of Pastor MacArthur.
Links to text of videos from Strang Fire
An Overview of the Pente Movement
A Large Cessationist Website
The Ending of Spiritual Gifts in History and Scripture
A Response to Common Pentecostal Arguments — I am not a pastor, but here I respond to many arguments and claims made by Pentecostals. It is in large part based on conversations with good friends and acquaintances in the movement. Yeshua, release them from deception.
A Case for Cessationism — This is from the Strange Fire Conference
The Challenge for Pentes — Here is my challenge to our Pentecostal friends, to either show that it has what it says it has, or admit the error of the movement.
Charismatic Movement History and Error — This is a long and very informative video by David Cloud. One of the Pente televangelists actually claimed God had struck down one of Mr. Cloud’s partners in writing his cessationist book. The partner had in fact been suffering from serious illness for years before he passed away. It tells you a little about the televangelist though.
Of Chaos and Confusion — This is a movie about the Charismatic movement.
The Truth about Tongues and the Charismatic Movement — These are selected pages from the e-book. Pg.111 begins some personal accounts of how Charismatics take over churches. This clearly describes orchestrated and well-coordinated attacks on non-Charismatic pastors. This may be only one book, but by all accounts I have read, Charismatics have been responsible for taking over or dividing countless thousands of churches across the world. It is interesting that they still have the mind to call their critics divisive.
How Deception Happens — This is my article covering what I see as the main errors which lead people to buy into continuationism, sometimes quite sincerely. Some are easy mistakes to make.
Reading about Key Pentecostal Figures
Charles Parham — One of the founders of Pentecostalism at the turn of the twentieth century.
Aimee McPherson and Other Key Figures
EXCELLENT Material on Major Pente Figures
Lives and Teachings — This piece provides abundant material on many influential figures throughout the history of the movement, both their lives and their doctrines. It is tragic what these people have done.
What Does the Holy Spirit Do?
Sanctification — The work of the Holy Spirit
Regeneration and Sanctification
The Essential Ministry of the Holy Spirit
The True Prosperity Gospel — Paul Washer talks about the wonder of living in Yeshua
False Healings of the Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements
Benny Hinn — Where are the verified healings?
Brownsville — This “revival” can’t document healings.
Todd Bentley — No verified healings
Leroy Jenkins — Fake healer exposed
Randy Clark — Seems like a real nice guy, but very self-deceived.
Leg Lengthening Trick Exposed HERE and HERE
Word Faith Heresy
Word Faith Origin and Error — This is very valuable material which contains some excellent teaching.
Death by Faith — On Word Faith practices and sick, dying preachers
Word Faith Heresy — This is part 1 of 3 very good videos by Justin Peters. I hope you can make it to part 3. If you do, go to about 1:04 and watch to the end of the song. Amazing!
Atonement in Hell? — This refutes the common Word Faith claim that Yeshua didn’t pay for our sins on the cross, but paid for them in hell.
Is Healing Promised in the Atonement?
Is Healing Promised in Isaiah 53?
4-Hour Program on Word Faith
In Search of Ecstasies — Here’s my article on “mystical” practices both ancient and modern. It addresses things such as modern tongues, formulaic prayer and word faith claims. The article goes through many examples of scriptural prayer and shows conclusively that we should not approach God searching for ecstasies. We should approach in prayer.
Little gods doctrine
Let Us Reason — An article biblically detailing the error of the “little gods” teaching
In Their Own Words — This is evil.
Same Heresy as Jim Jones — They teach just about the same thing as the homicidal cult leader. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are homicidal, but it is ominous to see their own words side by side with his.
I Can Still Smell the Sulfur — More little gods preachers in their own words
Speaking in Tongues and the ending of the Miracle Gifts
Is Speaking in Tongues Demonic — by John MacArthur
Speaking in Tongues — MacArthur from 1991
Bible Tongue Speaking versus the Modern Kind — This is an easy-to-read useful resource.
Early Church Fathers on Tongue Speaking — Did the earliest Christian leaders report languages or gibberish?
Tongues Have Ceased — Scriptural proof
Early Church Fathers on Prophets outside the Bible
When Did the Gifts End?
Has Knowledge Ceased? — This answers the claim that if tongues have ceased then knowledge should have as well, and it hasn’t.
No One’s Perfect — Here’s my refutation of the claim that “the perfect” from 1 Corinthians 13 must refer to Yeshua at His return, plus a baseball reference.
Emotional Buffoonery and Demonic Behavior
Some Video Clips — Outragious emotionalism and possibly demonic spirits
More Ludicrous behavior — This is from the “Toronto blessing.” Gentlemen, do you honestly think that the apostles and the early congregations behaved this way? Did they behave like imbeciles? Some people go so far as to defend this ludicrous behavior, pointing out that the disciples in Acts 2 were accused of being drunk. But you know, maybe that was because it was early in the day, and they were worshipping joyfully and speaking in many languages. Just read the text. It does not need to mean that they were behaving like complete idiots, you know what I mean. They spoke in many tongues and worshipped joyfully. If you are Pentecostal just ask yourself if you sincerely believe that Paul and the others behaved this way. Did they roll around on the floor and get goofy? Did they purposefully act drunk? Be honest with yourself here. Is this Christian worship?
Clips of “holy laughter”
Drunk in the spirit and holy laughter
Toking the ghost — No, this is not a joke.