"Unquenching the Spirit"

From the "Patriarch", Mar/Feb 1996


While many Christians are flocking to the charismatic movement, Jones felt he had to leave it for several reasons:

*AWE. Charismatics are contemptuous of noncharismatics whom they regard as moribund and spiritually impoverished. Do they think that their giddiness and exuberance is proof of their relationship with God? Consider Job's awe in the presence of God: "I am unworthy - how can I reply to You? I put my hand over my mouth" (Job 40:4).

* PROPHECY. Current charismatic prophesying does not hold a candle to the "death penalty" seriousness of Biblical prophecy. "But a prophet who presumes to speak in My name anything I have not commanded him to say .. must be put to death" (Deut. 18:20). Clearly, charismatics lack the certainty that their prophecies are from God. In fact, they dismiss this requirement by arguing that the New Testament allows fallibility that the Old Testament did not. Not true, according to Joel 2:28 and Acts 2:17.

*TONGUES. What many charismatics do not understand is the vital role that tongues played in first-century conversions. Old Testament prophecy regularly carried God's promise that in the face of continued disobedience, Israel would be dominated by people who spoke foreign languages (Deut. 28:49; Jer. 5:15). Furthermore, Paul makes it clear that tongues "are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers" (1 Cor. 14:22). Tongues, therefore, were a clear and powerful signal of impending destruction which did indeed bring foreign domination by those who spoke other languages in 70 A.D. That significance is now lost if the "charismatic mixture of odd sounds" is considered to be tongues instead of the actual foreign languages supernaturally produced in the book of Acts.

*PRIORITIES. The most devastating assault on charismatic priorities comes from the Bible itself. Nowhere does the Bible give prominence to spiritual gifts. In fact, Paul says that someone may have the gifts of prophecy and tongues and yet be a "clanging cymbal" and "profit nothing" (1 Cor. 13:1-3). Charismatics say the opposite. They denounce those who oppose their "gifts" as opponents of the Spirit.