Scriptural challenge


Many people think I am off my rocker for insisting that the local church is not functioning as it should.  Another way to say it is the local church is not biblical.  My concern is more that a perception.  I write this to challenge people to actually compare what they practice with the instructions of scripture concerning our gatherings.

Who is it that Paul taught should speak in church?  Did he teach the one who gives the announcements?  Well of course the pastor, right?

I asked people before, and even a pastor who is like a father to me, who put the pastor in charge?  We have Apostles, Prophets, Evangelist, Teachers and Pastors, so who says the pastor is in charge of the local church?  Why is the pastor the one who tells the prophets, evangelist, teachers and apostles when to speak and if their word is applicable?

Where in scripture do we see the instructions from the Holy Spirit that the pastor is over the other offices and has authority to release or hinder those offices in the local service?  Where in scripture do we have the instructions from the Holy Spirit the pastor is the one who teaches the congregation, does the “vision casting” is the main one who sets all agendas?  I can find no such scripture. 

So who is it that the Holy Spirit has instructed us in scripture to speak at the local assembly?  We know from Paul’s writings that one who has the gift of tongues is eligible to speak in church.  And this can be done by two or three individuals at one local gathering.  Then scripture teaches that someone must interpret, either the one who spoke or a different interpreter.

So now we have two kinds of people who can speak in the local assembly.  The first is one who speaks in tongues, provided there is an interpreter.  The second kind is the interpreter if the one who speaks in tongues is not the one to interpret, depending on the Spirits leading.  So far so good.  We can see how all the local bodies are in line with scripture here, because we allow this in our meetings, but let’s keep going. 

If anyone speaks in a tongue, two–or at the most three–should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret.  If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God.[1]

Paul has given us further instructions that prophets should speak, and again only two or three per local assembly.  Oh and if someone has a special revelation, maybe a word of knowledge, then they too are someone who can speak to the congregation.

Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said.  And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop.[2]

Let’s see, we have several people that Paul instructs us to have speak at the Sunday service.  We have those who speak in tongues, those who interpret tongues, those who prophecy and those who have a special revelation.  That is four different types of people giving different types of instruction, exhortation, correction or possibly rebuking.  Imagine all of this without the use of the word “Pastor”.  Oh my goodness, the office of the Pastor is not even mentioned in the local assembly.  In fact no office is mentioned at all.  Could it be because Christ is our head and not the office of a man in the church?

This doesn’t mean the man who wants to be a shepherd doesn’t get to speak during the Sunday service.  No indeed, for he too can speak if he speaks in tongues, interprets, prophecies or has a special revelation.

For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged.[3]

We are instructed by the Holy Spirit to seek the greater gift if we really want to make an impact on peoples lives on Sunday morning meetings.  It is further revealed that Paul desired everyone to speak in tongues or prophecy making every individual eligible to give a word at the local assembly.

Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy.  But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort.  I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may be edified.[4]

The instruction we have from the Holy Spirit to edify the church by strengthening it, encouraging it and comforting it is by allowing those who speak in tongues, interpret, prophesy or have a word of revelation, to be those who instruct on Sunday mornings.

In fact the best way to win the world is to do just exactly that.

But if an unbeliever or someone who does not understand comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all, and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”[5]

How about that for a Sunday church service!

So my challenge to those who swear by what we have at the local church, please find me the scripture to support what you do.  You know and I know there is none.  The reality is we have forsaken what scripture says for our own way.  We do this while we worship Him.  How ironic, isn’t it.  We have decided to follow the teachings of men on this matter.  How the Lord must be pleased.

“‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.  They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'”[6]


[1] 1 Corinthians 14:27-28

[2] 1 Corinthians 14:29-30

[3] 1 Corinthians 14:31

[4] 1 Corinthians 14:1,3,5

[5] 1 Corinthians 14:24-25

[6] Matthew 15:8-9

19 thoughts on “Scriptural challenge

  1. Pastor John MacArthur teaches the speaking of tongues by believers at Corinth was demonic. [Truth About Speaking In Tongues-John MacArthur 1, T. 7:38-8:27] Because of the deadness in the church, he teaches the believers in Corinth were deceived into feeling God by speaking in tongues. This is why he teaches the work of the Holy Spirit within the Charismatic movement is a counterfeit of Satan. The night I prayed to be baptized in the Holy Spirit I had never seen anyone speak in tongues. Reaching out for some ecstatic experience was the furthest thing from my mind. I simply wanted more power to be a better witness for God. It’s true, especially in the past decade; admired teachers have deceptively introduced heresies within Pentecostal and Charismatic churches (2 Pet. 2:1). This still doesn’t nullify the godly lives of over three hundred million Christians in the world that have been baptized in the Holy Spirit with the physical evidence of speaking in tongues (Acts 1:5; 2:4; 8:17; 10:46; 19:6). Paul encouraged all the saints to speak in tongues (1 Cor. 12:1-11). He also instructed us how to properly give and receive an interpretation of tongues in a church service (1 Cor. 14:23-33). Any believer can pray and receive the gift of tongues. Not all have the gift to give an interpretation of tongues (1 Cor. 12:30). I cherish speaking in tongues because this gift was given to me by Jesus (Acts 1:5). Yet, pastors like John MacArthur, Charles Stanley, and David Jeremiah, have convinced millions of Christian’s speaking in tongues is demonic. The truth is, God desires every believer to be baptized in the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues (Acts 1:5; 2:4, Mark 16:17, 1 Cor. 12:10; 14:39).

    • I was shocked to read your comments. How can it go well with someone who says that I will never know? I used to listen to John MacArthur every day and had no idea. Charles Stanley bugs me. Something in his messages rub my inner being raw. As for David Jeremiah I had no idea either.

      Is this something they have changed their minds on or is this their stance today?

  2. Glasseyedave,
    I agree with you 100 percent on this issue. The reason why “no one” takes you seriously though is because you are not a “pastor”. People in churchianity today have been trained to believe that only the “pastor” has credibility to speak in church on doctrinal matters. As a result you are seen as an upstart trying to kick at the foot of the “establishment”. As such most people do not study these things objectively in order to come to the knowledge of truth as they think they already know the truth and the truth for them is how their church operate. I mean many people in churches today believe that theirs is the true church even when you and I know they have long departed from the faith.

    • As a funny, my wife and I could only read to the word “because” on the comment summary page. We both thought you were going to say that I had no credibility, not because I was wrong about what I said, but that I was too sarcastic.

      But you are right. In today’s post I speak of the spiritual laziness and apathy that is in the churches today. In fact I should have said the spirit of laziness and apathy are moving in the church far more than the Holy Spirit. But I already posted it.

      Thanks for your comments.

  3. Glasseyedave,
    I meant to point out the irony at the centre of your cononundrum here. But this is a very serious issue though. What this imply is that a vast majority of church folk are in deception. I am reminded of the scripture, “Narrow is the way that leaves to life and few there be that find it but braod is the way that leads to destruction and many there be that fall there in” (Paraphrasing here). Immediately after this teaching from Jesus He said, “Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheeps clothing but inwardly are ravening wolves”.

    Keep reclaiming the gospel my friend.

    • Sadly it reminds me of the scripture that speaks perfectly of a people who think they are enlightened by their understanding and following the Lord.
      (Luke 13:24 NIV) “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.
      Many people on the narrow path, not the wide one, will go to hell, just because they think being on the narrow path is good enough. As if that was their destination. We the church have become the new Samaritans, worshiping what we do not know.

  4. Paul,

    I respect your knowlege and understanding of scripture but I believe you have made several points which are unbiblical. I have higlighted the points in question here:

    1)Paul encouraged all the saints to speak in tongues (1 Cor. 12:1-11).

    2)Any believer can pray and receive the gift of tongues

    3)The truth is, God desires every believer to be baptized in the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues.

    I know there are churches such as the apostolic pentecostals (Oneness) which believe that every believer MUST speak in tongue as a sign of the Holy Spirit but this cannot be truth. You have used 1 Cor 12:1-11 to support the view that all believers can speak (or should) speak in tongues but if we read further in the passage we note that Paul ask some rather rhetorical questions one of which was: “Do all speak with tongues?” Clearly Paul intended to show that not all believers spoke in tongues in the same way that not all believers will heal the sick, cast out demons, preach, teach etc. But all of these different gifts work together in the body to profit everyone. Mark 16:17 therefore could not mean that all believers would individual speak with tongues, take up snakes and drink poison and not be harmed. I have often seen Mark 16:17 used to support the view that every believer who has been baptised by the Holy Spirit must speak in tongues yet if you should check every beliver who claims to have this tongues, none of them can manifest the other signs that Jesus spoke about that would follow “them that believed”. Indeed on the day of Pentecost those that were present spoke with tongues and also in other places in Acts we see gentiles who believed speaking in tongues but Paul makes it clear not all speak with tongues.

    We need to read the scriptures in context because if we don’t we may overthrow the faith of someone who believes but because he/she can’t manifest tongues they then believe they were never baptised and perhaps fall from the faith out of despondency.

  5. Henry,
    You need to read my comments very carefully before passing judgment. I never said you had to speak in tongues to be saved. I never said all who are saved will speak in tongues. UPC Oneness was declared a cult in 1913 by the AOG.
    Paul’s point is clearly not all will speak a message in tongues in a church service. Any believer can pray and be baptized in the Holy Spirit with the initial physical evidence of speaking in tongues. And yes according to Jesus speaking in new tongues is a sign that will follow believers. Those who deny this are deceiving the church. Anyone teaching the gifts have passed away are deceiving the church. And yes all ministers that teach tongues is demonic are teaching heresy. Its so sad to witness such teachers sowing destructive heresies denying the Lord that once bought them by His blood (2 Pet. 2:1) Exactly what Peter predicted would happen in these last days.

  6. Paul,
    Thank you for your clarification and my apologies if I have misread you and passed an incorrect judgment. It’s just that when you used the words “baptised in the Holy Spirit with the physical evidence of speaking in tongues” it sounded like you were implying that everyone who were baptised by the Holy Spirit must necessarily manifest the tongues experience. Since this is therefore not the case I retract my comments. Please forgive me for the misinterpretation.

  7. Hi Henry,
    I appreciate your sincere and humble attitude. Your right I should frame my words in a clearer manner. This is an excerpt from my new book, Til Eternity, on how I was baptized in the Holy Spirit and received the gift of tongues.

    “The time was March 22nd, 1975. The place was a cozy town off the coast of California called Santa Barbara. I remember a breeze that warm Saturday night. Some friends were witnessing to me in the living room of their condominium. They lovingly shared the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus and His promise to come back. It lasted three hours but felt like twenty minutes. After they finished, I got on my knees, repented of my sins, and asked Jesus to be my Savior.
    “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 5:1)
    I’ll never forget the peace with God I received that night. This is what Jesus did when He rose from the dead. That evening He breathed on His disciples and they received the Holy Spirit.
    “… Peace to you. As the Father has sent Me, I also send you… He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:21-22)
    There was no doubt I was born again (John 3:3). The next year, on July 14th, I finished reading the Book of Acts. The acts of the apostles are so inspiring. Deep down I knew I needed more power to be a better witness for Jesus. So I asked the Lord to baptize me with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5). The presence of God was so powerful as I began to speak in tongues for the first time. Now I understood what really happened on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). The next morning I shared this with my young adult Sunday school class. It was like a bomb going off. Welcome to spiritual warfare 101. A few days later I got a call from our youth pastor. He taught the gifts of the Holy Spirit passed away in the first century; the church will be raptured before the Man of Sin is revealed, and a real Christian will never depart from the faith. When I met him in his office he angrily rebuked me. He insisted anyone speaking in tongues is being used by Satan. For a baby Christian it was challenging to say the least. He forbid me to even mention I speak in tongues (1 Cor. 14:39). What was I to do? According to Jesus, speaking in tongues is a sign of those who believe (Mark 16:17, Acts 1:5; 2:4; 19:6). Yet some of my closest friends were members of this church. I could either yield to this spirit of fear or I could obey the Holy Spirit and be free from it. My decision to leave served as a catalyst to help me defeat the fear of man later in my life. After thirty four years this same spiritual warfare rages on.
    “…’The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?'” (Heb. 13:6)
    Pastor John MacArthur teaches the speaking of tongues by believers at Corinth was demonic. [56. Truth About Speaking In Tongues-John MacArthur 1, T. 7:38-8:27] Because of the deadness in the church, he teaches the believers in Corinth were deceived into feeling God by speaking in tongues. This is why he teaches the work of the Holy Spirit within the Charismatic movement is a counterfeit of Satan. The night I prayed to be baptized in the Holy Spirit I had never seen anyone speak in tongues. Reaching out for some ecstatic experience was the furthest thing from my mind. I simply wanted more power to be a better witness for God. It’s true, especially in the past decade; admired teachers have deceptively introduced heresies within Pentecostal and Charismatic churches (2 Pet. 2:1). This still doesn’t nullify the godly lives of over three hundred million Christians in the world that have been baptized in the Holy Spirit with the physical evidence of speaking in tongues (Acts 1:5; 2:4; 8:17; 10:46; 19:6). Paul encouraged all the saints to speak in tongues (1 Cor. 12:1-11). He also instructed us how to properly give and receive an interpretation of tongues in a church service (1 Cor. 14:23-33). Any believer can pray and receive the gift of tongues. Not all have the gift to give an interpretation of tongues (1 Cor. 12:30). I cherish speaking in tongues because this gift was given to me by Jesus (Acts 1:5). Yet, pastors like John MacArthur, Charles Stanley, and David Jeremiah, have convinced millions of Christian’s speaking in tongues is demonic. The truth is, God desires every believer to be baptized in the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues (Acts 1:5; 2:4, Mark 16:17, 1 Cor. 12:10; 14:39).

  8. I believe Jesus breathed on His disciples on the first day of the resurrection and they received the Holy Sprint (John 20:22). Fifty days later, during the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) the Holy Spirit came upon the 120; not in them. This is the promise of the Father, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, for empowerment to witness not salvation. Once must be born again before being baptized in the Holy Spirit. I was saved a year before being baptized in the Holy Spirit with the physical evidence of speaking in tongues (like Acts 2, 8, 10, 19) According to scripture, no one is baptized in the Holy Spirit unless they speak in tongues.

  9. Glasseyedave,

    You’ve isolated one particular section of the NT and attempted to draw mighty significant conclusions from it. But there’s much more in the NT relating to the subject and that must be addressed.

    Let me make a few observations and questions in no particular order of significance:

    1. Nowhere in 1 Cor. does it say that *only* prophets, tongues-speakers, interpreters, and those with a special revelation can speak in the local assembly. Clearly elders are expected to speak as well
    2. You never address the issue of preaching and teaching in the church. Who is to do this?
    3. Explain your understanding of elders and deacons.
    4. How do you understand the leadership aspect of the church?
    5. Not all churches have a single pastor/elder, and not all of those churches have a pastor/elder who “lords” himself over the congregation. You’ve painted with a broad brush.
    6. Explain your understanding of church discipline.
    7. There’s nothing inherently wrong about *how* most churches worship on Sunday mornings.
    8. Are you a Quaker? (I mean this seriously)
    9. Please explain how to incorporate these verses into you understanding of the local assembly: 1 Timothy 3:5; 5:27, Peter 5:1-5, 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, James 5:14, 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13

    • Jason,

      My post today “Preaching it all wrong” should address some of your questions.

      Number 1
      Number 2
      Number 7

      Thank you for not taking what I say blindly and defending what you know. It is a good challenge you have put forth, I just hope you can see how far away the church has gotten from what is written in scripture for what men teach and accept.

      I will address the other questions as well.

  10. Jason, clearly you have never been baptized in the Holy Spirit with the physical evidence of speaking in tongues. Its tragic to see the Christians that don’t speak in tongues claim to somehow know what this gift entails. Of course teachers who don’t speak in tongues, like John MacArthur, Charles Stanley, and David Jeremiah, are deceiving millions of Christians by distorting the power and genuineness of this precious gift. How many they deceive will be revealed at the judgment seat of Christ, when this false teaching along with once saved always saved are burned up. May the Lord have mercy, for they know not what they do!

    • Paul,

      “Jason, clearly you have never been baptized in the Holy Spirit with the physical evidence of speaking in tongues.”

      What did I say that caused you to say this? Please explain.

  11. Dave,
    One is spiritually saved when they believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior and in His death,burial, and resurrection. The evidence of this in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. When Jesus says those who endure will be saved at His coming He is referring to physical salvation not spiritual. No believer is spiritually saved at His coming, we are physically saved from the wrath that is coming upon this Christ rejecting world. Paul and Peter knew who were saved and who is written in the Book of Life.

    • Paul,

      I wanted to mention that today’s post “Salvation the hope” and tomorrows post “The Holy Spirit and the hope of salvation” is meant to address the comments you made on “Scriptural challenge”. I admire your devotion, but ask yourself, is God one who calls things that are as if they are not, or is He one who call things that are not as if they were? This is the essence of our hope found in our gospel.

  12. Hey Glasseyedave,

    It’s Daryl here from the other blog Realchristianity.

    I think you have missed the mark here and place too much emphasis on one subject. Try to remember here that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are just that, Gift’s. They do show evidence of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and they are for edification, exhortation & comfort and they are important but not as important as someone’s salvation.

    1 Cor 12:31 after talking about Spiritual Gifts for the whole chapter then says,

    31. But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.

    Read on into 1 Cor 13 and it clearly states that without love:-

    (V1) I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
    (V2) I am nothing.
    (V3) It profits me nothing.

    It also continues to say that:-

    (V8) Love never fails.
    But Prophecies will fail.
    Tongues will cease and
    knowledge will vanish away.

    You see the Gifts of the Holy Spirit are not the be all and end all. Just like salvation they are the beginning.

    People get hung up to much on this

    About order in church meetings or who is in charge or what happens or does not happen, Paul continues to explain 1 Cor 14:40 Let all things be done decently and in order. Yes all those things can be done in our church meetings but they don’t have to be done and God will have His way if that’s what we are praying for. God’s ways are bigger than our ways and he places shepherds over the flock to help us not to hurt us. They are only human as well and will make mistakes just like us but what the church is there for is so we can all grow.

    But just like in the other blog we are all important and God wants us in church. He just hasn’t said which one. That’s for us to decide. We all don’t have to agree on absolutely everything and that is part of the journey. Yes you may not like something that this church or that church does but you don’t have to go there. God’s amazing and has given us the decision.

    Daryl.

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