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Reformed. Christianity. Evangelism. Modern Culture.
It’s a while now since we last saw Todd Bentley warn a bewildered chap that he was just about to leg drop him so that he could earn a “revival” in his church. Another time he supposedly gave another man a two minute head start before he broke his teeth and sternum. Bentley’s erratic behavorisms were outlandish but they drew crowds. People came to see and be subjected to mesmerising antics. No one seemed to question the biblical basis of his practices.
People actually will crown any one as king if he can create an illusion or pretend to conjure up one. A couple of years before Mr Bentley graced the Evangelical scene, there was a like minded charismatic man called Smith Wigglesworth. No, he didn’t knock people around with his coat like some famous televangelists do on television or huff and puff a glory cloud to make people drowsy “in the holy ghost”. Mr. Wigglesworth is said to have punched a man so hard during one of his “revivals” that the man died. He then went on and raised him back to life, or so the legend goes. Today we will look at the teachings of Mr. Smith Wigglesworth. So, to begin with – who was Wigglesworth? Was he orthodox or a heretic? I am glad you asked….
SMITH WIGGLESWORTH (1859-1947) was a famous Pentecostal evangelist and faith healer. Many books have been written about his unusual life. He was converted in a Methodist church, confirmed as an Anglican, and as a young man was associated with the Salvation Army and Plymouth Brethren. In 1907 he claimed that he was “baptised in the Holy Spirit” after hands were laid on him by Mary Boddy, who alleged to have had a Pentecostal experience only a month prior to that. Mrs. Boddy believed in the doctrine of healing in the atonement, but she spent the last sixteen years of her life as an invalid. Wigglesworth, too, believed that physical healing is guaranteed in the atonement of Christ. He taught against the use of all medicine. He believed that signs and wonders should always follow the preaching of the Gospel. He taught that a Christian can be justified and sanctified but still not have everything necessary from God. “People are never safe until they are baptized with the Holy Ghost” (Wigglesworth, “The Place of Power,” June 1916, reprinted in The Anointing of His Spirit, p. 151). He taught that handkerchiefs which are prayed over will bring life if carried in faith to the sick (The Anointing of His Spirit, p. 231).
Early this week an Evangelical Christian young man who has always appeared to profess faith in Christ alone (and had preached that salvation is by Faith alone, in Christ alone, by Grace alone and by Scripture alone to the Glory of God alone) dropped a note to his local congregation and fellowship of believers. The message said he was no longer going to walk with them and he had come to a place where he wanted to go back to Roman Catholicism. It is always a sad thing when we see a falling away of supposed believers. It’s sadder when we see apostasy. I may have covered Apostasy in some earlier posts but today we will look at Roman Catholicism. What are the errors of Roman Catholicism? Why should one be extremely cautious of her allure?
A key distinction between Catholics and Christians is the view of the Bible. Catholics view the Bible as having equal authority with the Church and tradition. Christians view the Bible as the supreme authority for faith and practice. The question is, how does the Bible present itself? 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Scripture, of itself, is sufficient for the Christian to be thoroughly equipped for every good work. This text tells us that Scripture is not “just the beginning,” or “just the basics,” or the “foundation for a more complete church tradition.” On the contrary, Scripture is perfectly and fully sufficient for everything in the Christian life. Scripture can teach us, rebuke us, correct us, train us, and equip us. Bible Christians do not deny the value of church tradition. Rather, Christians uphold that for a church tradition to be valid, it must be based on the clear teaching of Scripture, and must be in full agreement with Scripture. Catholic friend, study the Word of God for yourself. In God’s Word you will find God’s description of, and intention for, His Church. 2 Timothy 2:15 declares, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
It’s Saturday and the door bell rings. Voila! Its your local Watch Towerites with their colourful tracts and booklets. Not to mention you had prepared to take them down on their own turf but forgot to read up and get ready for this round of theological gymnastics. So are these bunch of ever smiling, (walking in pairs) religious troops really Christians or something else? How do I witness to them? I am glad you asked…
Jehovah’s Witnesses say they are the only true Christians, but they are neither Protestant nor Catholic. The fundamental doctrinal issue that distinguishes them from orthodox Christianity is the Trinity. They say it is a pagan teaching, but they misrepresent it, saying that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit must be three gods. They actually agree with the Trinity doctrine when it says that the Father and the Son are two Persons, but imagine they need to prove this to Trinitarians! They fail to grasp how the three Persons comprise the One Being of God, and so they come up with the idea of a Big God and a little god – two gods. They say Jesus was created (Arianism) and was Michael the archangel and that Jesus’ body was not resurrected; it simply disappeared and He rose as a spirit creature. They say the Holy Spirit is not a person but is Jehovah’s active force or energy. …Read more!
Ever asked yourself about the Doctrine of the Trinity and whether it has ever come under attack?
One of the most hotly debated theological issues in the early Christian church was the doctrine of the Trinity. How do God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit relate to one another? How can there only be one God, but three Persons? All of the various early heresies resulted from individuals overemphasizing or underemphasizing various aspects of the Godhead. Ultimately, all of these false views result from attempts by finite human beings to fully understand and infinite God (Romans 11:33-36). Sabellianism, Modalism, and Monarchianism are just three of the numerous false views. Monarchianism had two primary forms, Dynamic Monarchianism and Modalistic Monarchianism. Dynamic Monarchianism is the view that Jesus was not in His nature God. It is the view that God existed in Jesus, just as God exists in all of us, but that God existed in Jesus in a particularly powerful way. Jesus was God because God inhabited Him. Modalistic Monarchianism, also known as Modalism, is the view that God variously manifested Himself as the Father (primarily in the Old Testament), other times as the Son (primarily from Jesus’ conception to His ascension), and other times as the Holy Spirit (primarily after Jesus’ ascension into Heaven). Read More
The music weeps, the preacher pleads, “Give your heart to Jesus. You have a God shaped hole in your heart and only Jesus can fill it.” Dozens, hundreds or thousands of people who want to get their spiritual life on track make their way to the altar. They ask Jesus into their heart.
Cut to three months later. Nobody has seen our new convert in church. The follow up committee calls him and encourages him to attend a Bible study, but to no avail. We label him a backslider and get ready for the next outreach event.
Our beloved child lies in her snuggly warm bed and says, “Yes, Daddy. I want to ask Jesus into my heart.” You lead her in “the prayer” and hope that it sticks. You spend the next ten years questioning if she really, really meant it. Puberty hits and the answer reveals itself. She backslides. We spend the next ten years praying that she will come to her senses.
Telling someone to ask Jesus into their hearts has a very typical result, backsliding. The Bible says that a person who is soundly saved puts his hand to the plow Read More
The Pied Piper of Hamelin is the subject of a legend concerning the departure or death of a great many children from the town of Hamelin (Hameln), Germany, in the Middle Ages. A narrative in the 16th Century said, the Piper dressed in pied or multicoloured clothing and had been hired by the town to lure the rats away with music from his magic pipe.