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Examining the Pentecostal Statement of Faith - "What We Believe"
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1. Error begins when we add to, remove from, or otherwise change God's word. That is why God warns us time and time again not to do such things to his word. (Deut 4:2; Prov 30:6, Rev 22:18) When we don't rightly divide the word of truth, then false doctrine shall result. Regrettably, the Pentecostal denomination is rife with false doctrine.
2. It is neither our intention nor our mandate to expose error in every document in the world. Regarding those things that impact our life, however, it is our intention and our mandate to Prove all things (I Thess 5:21), to judge righteous judgment and to hold fast that which is good. We believe that all true Christians will take action after learning these things. They will either:
a. Help to change the error and to educate others who presently adhere to it,
b. Correct us, scripturally, if we are in error or misunderstanding, or
c. Separate from that which is incorrigibly in error
* * *
3. For several decades, the doctrines of the faith "held by the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, and shared by the majority of Pentecostal groups throughout the world." have been summarized in a booklet compiled by Dr. J.E. Purdie and entitled, "What We Believe".
4. This article will examine some of the statements/beliefs in this booklet with the intent to Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. (I Thess 5:21). Quotations from the booklet will be identified by italics and then be analysed, as follows:
a. Statement No 1 (pg 4). "The verbal inspiration and absolute authority of the Old and New Testaments is firmly believed in by the Pentecostal Church, as set forth in her Articles of Faith. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God" (in the original languages in which it was written) and is infallible, absolutely supreme, and sufficient in all matters of faith and practice."
i. The bible says, "Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar." (Prov 30:6).
ii. By adding, in his own words, the parenthetical statement (in the original languages in which it was written) Dr. Purdie departs from scripture. The bible does not specify in which language(s), if any, that God has chosen to restrict his preservation of "scripture".
iii. The added statement serves only to support the false teaching that, today, we no longer have access to words that were given by inspiration of God, or that (at best) only an elite group of scholars has access to copies of those words and has the knowledge and ability to interpret the true meaning for us. (This is a popish doctrine.) If true, we would only have copies of translations of those words (which Bible correctors would like for us to believe, so that their translation is arguably equivalent to God's original).
iv. Also, if Dr. Purdie's addition is true, then nothing in existence today is actually "scripture," because this very verse teaches us that ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God, and Dr. Purdie has restricted the application of that statement to the original languages, to the end that only words in the original languages are given by inspiration.
v. The truth is that ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God. So, the scripture we have today is given by inspiration of God and the scripture that the apostles had was also given by inspiration of God.
vi. Many people assume we have inspired scriptures; but that is not what the verse says. The phrase, "by inspiration" is an adverb phrase that modifies the verb "is given". Therefore, the process of giving was inspired. God moved holy men to speak his words, God moved certain scribes to record his word, and God moved certain men to translate his words. Therefore, we have "scripture" that "is given by inspiration of God" and is "preserved" as he promised, for us to read today.
vii. After the addition, Dr. Purdie further departs from truth by structuring the rest of his compound sentence in such a way that his list of characteristics describing scripture appears to be the rest of his quote of II Tim 3:16. At best, his paraphrase is inaccurate and incomplete. The scripture actually says, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:"
viii. Notably, the phrases "for reproof" and "for correction" are missing from Dr. Purdie's list, omissions that are common amongst bible correctors for reasons that are probably obvious.
b. Statement No. 3 (pg 5). "In the second chapter [Gen 2] we have a summary of the nature of the creation as stated in chapter one." Although the first few verses appear to summarize or to complete the creation of chapter one, the better part of chapter two is actually a more detailed explanation of what happened on day six. This pattern of 'looping' back to provide more detail is common in the bible (and is especially evident in the book of Revelation). We point out this difference of opinion with Dr. Purdie because many people use his teaching to argue that the bible is contradictory in its description of creation. For instance, without carefully reading the passages, they erroneously argue that the bible contradicts itself between chapters one and two by changing whether:
i. The animals were created before Adam (Gen 1:25) or after Adam (Gen 2:19)
ii. The birds were created out of water (Gen 1:20) or out of earth (Gen 2:19)
c. Statement No. 14 (pg 22) "The question is often asked, 'What is the evidence that one is filled with the Holy Spirit?' The Biblical evidence that one is filled with the Spirit is that he speaks super-naturally in a tongue he has never learned (Acts 2:4)"
i. In over 33 years of faithful participation in Pentecostal churches, I don't recall ever having heard that question asked by a seeker. However, I have found it typically asked by those whose agenda it is to spread their doctrine of tongues-speaking to others. Perhaps the question most often asked by such people is, "have you received the gift/baptism of the Holy Ghost with the initial evidence of speaking in tongues?" - a question that pre-supposes that modern day gjbberish is tongues, that modern day tongues is evidence, that tongues is the initial evidence, and that without tongues such a gift cannot be given.
ii. The Biblical evidence suggests no such thing. Jesus plainly stated that the Biblical evidence was power to become witnesses for him, when he stated in Acts 1:8, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me…"
iii. Tongues was a legitimate supernatural ability to speak in a known human language. Tongues was not, and is not, found in the modern day counterfeit of gibberish.
iv. Biblical tongues is found primarily in the book of Acts - which is a transitional book in the establishment of the church. It is also found in Paul's writing to the Corinthians - people whom he had to rebuke and correct for being carnal and for misusing the legitimate gifts. It is not found in any of the epistles to the church.
v. "There is no evidence whatsoever in the New Testament that the power and Infilling of the Spirit has ever been withdrawn from the Christian Church." Although this is a true statement, it is clearly presented to imply that, 'therefore we can still speak in tongues today', (because Dr. Purdie already claims to have established that tongues is the evidence of infilling with the Spirit - gift of the Holy Ghost, baptism with the Holy Ghost, etc - and that the 'tongues' today are the same as the tongues of Pentecost). But we know of no one who has spoken in biblical tongues in our present day. The 'tongues' of today are mere gibberish; not the tongues of Pentecost. Dr. Purdie's theology is in error, his logic is in error and his history is in error. Dr. Purdie, and Pentecostals in general, ignore the scriptures which say:
a. Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? (I Cor 12:30) The answer to each in this series of these rhetorical questions is obviously, "no".
b. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. (I Cor 13:8)
c. To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: (I Cor 12: 10)
d. Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my woice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue. (I Cor 14:19)
vi. Today, (false) tongues is presented as the evidence of spirit baptism; and even the initial evidence of such. But on the day of Pentecost, visible cloven tongues like as of fire and a sound as of a rushing mighty wind were equally "evidence" that the Holy Ghost had fallen. In fact, these preceded the tongues. Yet these 'evidences' are ignored and tongues is promoted as "the evidence" and "the initial evidence" .
d. Statement No. 16 (page 26) Dr. Purdie describes the healing ministry of Jesus and how he commissioned the disciples to go out and heal in like manner. He then quotes what Jesus said when he departed, "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you …" and concludes that, "This indicates that the glorified Lord was to be with His Church in Divine Healing even unto the end of the Church Age." But, it indicates no such thing, as can be proven by passages where many in the church remain unhealed:
i. Paul was not healed of his "thorn in the flesh", whatever infirmity that may have been. (II Cor 12:7-9)
ii. Timothy was often ill, so Paul told him to, "Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities." (I Tim 5:23)
iii. We are to examine ourselves before participating in the Lord's supper, "For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. (I Cor 11:29, 30)
iv. Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick: (II Tim 4:20)
e. Statement No. 17 The Second Coming of Christ (page 28) We realize that Dr. Purdie's beliefs in this section are widely held. Nevertheless, they remain unscriptural, as follows:
i. Dr. Purdie states that the Second Coming, or "The Second Advent of the Lord consists of two stages" meaning that Jesus is coming FOR his church in the "rapture" and then he is coming again seven years later to establish his Millennial Kingdom. Dr. Purdie provides no scripture for this assertion - because there are none. However there are several passages that refute his position and teach that the catching away of the saints ("rapture" as he calls it) occurs at his coming, a single and singular event. (Matt 24:29-31; II Thess 2:1-3; Rev 20:4,5)
ii. Dr. Purdie states that at the time of the "rapture" Jesus "will appear invisibly in space" confusing the reader as to whether he will actually appear, or whether he will remain invisible. Such confusion is not found in the bible (I Cor 14:33) which clearly states that "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him". (Rev 1:7)
iii. Dr. Purdie says that the time between the two 'phases' of Christ's second coming, "covers seven years of time and will be the Great Tribulation…." Again there is no scripture offered - again, because there is none. In fact, the Great Tribulation is only three and one half years long (Dan 7:25; Dan 9:27; Rev 12:6; Rev 13:5; Matt 24:15-21)
5. This Pentecostal statement of faith is by no means exhaustive, nor is our analysis of it. Pentecostals share many other unscriptural beliefs with the Charismatic movement, Word-Faith movement, ecumenical movement, Toronto Airport movement, Catch the Fire, Laughing Revival, Joel's army, God Chasers, Prayer of Jabez, Transformations, Megashift, etc.
6. As well, some of the statements contained within the statement of faith which happen to be scriptural, are not actually believed by Pentecostal churches or taught by them in practice. For instance, (page 4) Dr. Purdie correctly states that the "Bible does not merely contain the Word of God, but in reality it is the final and complete revelation:" Yet, he takes liberty to correct it himself, and Pentecostals in general (including many pastors, if not most) draw from man's revelations which are packaged and taught as God's word in numerous contradictory modern versions. Dr. Purdie goes on to say that God, "does not give new revelation apart from, or beyond the Bible."
7. But the reality is that most (and probably every) television evangelist/pastor promotes his own direct hearing from God. Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, John Arnott, Tommy Tenney - the list is near endless - are not the only ones; small, medium and larger assemblies alike propagate the same bizarre and unscriptural practices.
8. Local Pentecostal pastors everywhere (for all practical purposes) either speak on behalf of God themselves or allow members of their congregations (usually women - I Cor 14:34) to speak countless blasphemies in the Lord's name. (For example, in a small, rural Pentecostal church in central Ontario, Canada, one woman - who habitually was permitted to 'speak in tongues' on behalf of the Lord - was given the microphone by the pastor during one service and allowed to ramble on for several minutes about how 'Jesus is just like a shot of brandy, and ….ooooooh, he makes me feel so good.') Although bizarre and unscriptural, such blasphemy is not unusual today. In fact, regrettably, it is so common that it is now often the norm.
9. Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. (Jer 23:1)
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The "Berean Research Institute" is a scripture-based, family-oriented area of cyber-space wherein men, women and children can research beliefs and doctrines that impact their assembly, ministry and/or personal lives.
We encourage all to fear God and to keep his commandments by searching the scriptures daily and by being doers of the word.
Many people today claim to be Christians, disciples of Jesus, but fail to continue in his word as commanded in John 8:31, and therefore are deceiving even themselves. (James1:22) The result of such deception will be exclusion from the Kingdom of God (Matt 7:21-23 and Matt 25:8-12).
Not everyone ... shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (Matt 7:21)
If you consider yourself to be a Pentecostal, Baptist, Catholic, JW, Adventist - even a life-long one - and are convinced that you are on your way to heaven, we encourage you to consider some of the biblical doctrines that we examine in these articles and videos - and be SURE that you are on your way to heaven.
That is our ultimate goal for you - that every one of you obtains eternal life!!
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