“And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
The “spiritual gifts” that began in the book of Acts are one of the most misunderstood doctrines of modern Christianity.
These gifts include speaking in tongues, prophesying, and healing. Pentecostal and charismatic churches across the world claim to perform these gifts.
They often quote Acts 2 as the Biblical proof text that Christians can manifest these abilities (and Pentecostals named themselves for the place in which these gifts were first given in this chapter).
However, context matters. Doctrine matters. I will list a few reasons why they are incorrectly using Scripture to justify a false teaching.
1. Acts is not a doctrinal book for Christians.
You see, Acts is a transitional book between the fulfillment of the Law through Christ’s death and the beginning of the Church Age in Romans. It’s meant as an historical book. If you notice, the disciples were Jews and were speaking to Jews in Jewish cities throughout the book of Acts.
The Jews are not the Church.
2. Modern churches do not perform the gifts Biblically.
It is clear in Acts 2 that the apostles were speaking in tongues, but each person in the area heard the words in their own native tongues.
This is not the same as the gibberish you hear from a Paula White or Kenneth Copeland. If charismatics were speaking English, but Spanish speakers heard the words in Espanol, we might be on to something. The “secret” or “angelic” language that charismatics use is not Biblical.
Furthermore, Paul clarifies the gifts in 1 Corinthians 14 – which IS a book for the Church.
In verse 19, Paul says “Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.”
Verses 22-23 read, “Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe. If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?”
If a church was Biblical in the speaking in tongues, it would be for the benefit of unbelievers. However, unbelievers think a church speaking in tongues sounds more like an asylum.
In verses 27-28, Paul writes “If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.”
There are no interpreters in these services.
Back in verse 1, Paul says, “Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.”
Prophesying here is not receiving a divine vision of the future, but preaching. It is better to preach and teach the Gospel than to speak in tongues – but the latter is the emphasis in charismatic churches.
I believe what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13:8, “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.”
Prophecies (visions, not preaching) and tongues have ceased. they were given to the disciples shortly after Christ’s resurrection and ascension. They no longer exist 2000 years later.
If they did, wouldn’t a church filled with healers be out there in the hospitals?
3. Signs and wonders are not for Christians
I already mentioned that signs – and “spiritual gifts are signs – are not for believers. 1 Corinthians 1:22 states, “For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:”
The Church is more Greek than Jew. Greece was the epicenter of Western logic in ancient times. Roman society at the time Christ was crucified was rooted in Greek tradition, and America today has followed suit.
Thus, Western Christians seek after wisdom, logic, and apologetics – not signs and wonders. Signs are for the Jews. As we approach the “End Times,” Old Testament style signs and wonders will return, but that is the time of JACOB’S (i.e. Israel) trouble, not the Church Age.
4. “Spiritual gifts” may be from a spirit other than the Holy Ghost.
I wrote a book about this very subject. I believe that Satanic spirits have infiltrated churches across the globe as preparation for the Antichrist’s “one world religion.”
Part of the evidence is the eerie similarities between charismatic “slain in the spirit” and “spirit laughter” when compared to the Hindu “Kundalini spirit.”
There are countless videos on YouTube where you can view the shaking, writhing, convulsing, and “speaking in tongues” done at charismatic churches and those very same things that happen at a Yoga studio when chakras are aligned.
Charismatic “Christianity” is not Biblical Christianity. They might use the same language and terminology, but they are not the same.
And yes, I do believe that Christians can be possessed by evil spirits. I also believe that many pastors and attendees of charismatic church are not born again Christians. They are shamans and charlatans who dabble in pagan spiritism.
If you are an American Christian who attends a charismatic church who is not Biblical when performing spiritual gifts (and I don’t think it is possible to speak in tongues or heal people as the apostles did in Acts 2) – GET OUT of that church immediately.
It is increasingly difficult to find a Biblical church these days, but it can be done. If you need help finding one, or are seeking advice on how to know if a church is doctrinally sound, feel free to reach out to me.
And of course, if you want a more in-depth look into the roots of charismatic “Christianity,” you can click here for more information.