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There is always the argument that the stunningly exotic, the staggeringly exciting or the immediately impactive is well worth the dollar it costs, since the results may be profitable.

Such may be the narrowly commercial consideration of some. Christ quite evidently was unimpressed with any such calling. Not only did He forthrightly reject the concept of a launch from the temple peak (Matthew 4), when such a suggestion was fittingly presented - in the sense of belonging - by the devil, and think what an impact THAT would have made! but He was even silent in the presence of Herod, the fox-king, to use Christ's thought concerning him! (Luke 13:32, 23:6ff.). What a sensation He might have made if He had played about with a few odd miracles to sate the curiosity of the king: what fame, what name, what privileges He might have gained!

Commerce has no soul when it is slave to the philosophy that profit is all that counts, or even this, that it is the main concern. Is food the main concern ? is income the main concern ? If it is so for you who read, how is quality a consideration, not merely 'quality of life' that effete phrase, but moral quality, spiritual perspective, purpose of life! Is the need for purpose the acquisition of means to continue. Does anyone who thinks so realise this, that such a view is like saying that anything that is necessary boils down to this (if such were not counter-productive even in the image!), to petrol, and oil, and tyres and a good engine.

Does not the concept of the DIRECTION, the METHOD OF DRIVING and the DESTINY OF THE TRIP enter the occluded mind, then, at all ? Christ has no interest whatsoever in 'performing' like a circus dog for Pilate, no, not even if it led to superficial splendour, meretricious marvels of social elevation or temporal power. He had had all that out in the beginning as you see in Matthew 4, when the silly slant of wanting this world was presented, as if this had any comparison with WHAT YOU ARE, WHO YOU ARE and WHY YOU ARE!

Getting people to like you, admire you, pay you and support you, flatter you or congratulate you, what is it but a bauble, a bubble soon burst. They may praise you on your Palm Sunday and crucify you the next! What does it matter! It is necessary to find values that last, truth that is and purpose that is pure in terms of it; and ultimately, one must find the Creator and consult the hand-book not merely in order to avoid running out of oil or petrol, mere energy supplements (though energy is of considerable importance), but in the case of man, to find the purpose and the plight of man, the remedy and the resultant for his life, and to be realistic, not fantasising in the flesh as if it were its own master and origin (cf. Wake Up World!
Ch. 5, TMR Ch. 6).

Is life to be sold for an admirer, be it crowd or professional association, family or friends ? Why ? Are they God that they should know ? Is not the truth andt he reality and ultimately the Lord what matters when you look at the shuddering inability of 'Nature' to produce, for it merely continues (cf. Spiritual Refreshings Chs. 6, 13, 16, TMR Ch. 1), and the actual source is the actual need to find, and then to follow. But some may say: Why should I be concerned at the Source ? The source of a stream does not necessarily take precedence over its water falls, like Niagara's case, where much profit may be found in the exploitation of the rainbow with motels and the like.

Yet the exploitation of beauty is not the same as its estimation and realisation. Why exploit indeed ? Moreover the source of a stream is not the origin of water, whereas God is the source of man in spirit, mind and body (cf. SMR Chs. 1,3,5,10), so that it is to Him as Creator one comes. Now if a character in a book could think and then consult with the Author, might that not be interesting ? Yet even if he could, would this constitute worship or obeisance ? Might he not argue that the way he was made could have been, and in his own personal view should have been most different ? Of course he could: but then the author is merely a producer who, limited and possibly obfuscatory, is not a standard, merely a point of creative origin. When you come to God, there is no limit, no impurity, there is no need of anything, and there is as we find on opening the Bible, demonstrably the word of God (SMR loc.cit.), no manipulation of man, since he gives to God no need, and fulfils no psychic or other lack.

God we find is good, as well as just; and though He judges at times with severity, yet is most longsuffering and in fact loves to the point, this creation called man, that He even sought and found the format of man for the incarnation of His everlasting Word, who having made man, then became one, yet without losing the sublime intimacy with the Father which in infinitude of power and grace was and is His nature. Crucified for sin, He became Saviour from it.

Wisdom is His, and none can add to it since all are exhaustively His product; and even when that magnificent gift of liberty for man is sadly sundered with slights and feints, so that man becomes both deaf to truth and unreasonable, yet the Creator loves and His gift to man of eternal life loses nothing because of the misuse of the life man now has. Indeed, when infinity grants to finitude, there is no need of anything slender!

Finding your individual purpose, and that for the race then becomes the obvious desideratum; and if your will leads you to dislike any such investigation in case it is aborted or thwarted, is this not like a ten-year old in a tantrum ? Is this any way to live ? No sensationalism for the purposes of increasing the means or mere satisfaction of life for a time, this is not to the point. What is necessary is truth, and truth is not on display for other purposes, but has its own majesty: indeed, Jesus the Christ declared, I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE (John 14:6).

His whole-hearted detestation of mere display (cf. Isaiah Ch. 29:14, and Ch. 1) is no perfunctory profession but an attestation of its actual value. Nought.



One of the most sage commentators on display and sensationalism
especially in the arena so dear to what appears the bulk of those afflicted
with the frequently found aberrations of Pentecostalism,
is none other than John Bunyan.

He is speaking beyond this mere excitement, however, in more general terms;
yet are they most applicable. Let us consider from his work,
Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners,
a special classic from the tinker's hand.

Bunyan here impacts deeply on the almost commercial culture of much of what is called Pentecostalism. There is often a  sense of showmanship, of crass arousal of emotions by noise, clamour, sound, loudness in talk, chanting, clapping, stentorian singing that verges on the precipice of mere ostentation, with as little sense of reverence as that of dogs barking. Indeed, strange practices have  become for some elements in this domain, an actual ingredient in worship service!

Now of course the most extreme aberrations and uncomely approaches to comedy are not pervasive, but on the other hand, such can be deeply insulting to the Lord in its turmoil as when, for example, in one of its manifestations which spread to a remarkable number of Pentecostal preaching places.

What was this ? It was nothing less than the imitation of dogs barking, and one heard in the tape of it all, laughing while the scripture was being read! Various such devices appeared more as a comic relief from life than a reverence of awe before the majesty of the Lord, such as Psalm 89:7 requires. GOD, we there read, is greatly to be FEARED in the assembly of the saints, for who in the heavens can be compared to the LORD. One could wish Jehovah's Witnesses and such propounders of anti-biblical heresies would get it into their minds that this is the case, so that all their little gods have NO comparison with God, whereas the actual Christ is the exact image of the invisible God. Another 'Jesus' is no other, just as a another Gospel is no other as Paul declares roundly (in II Corinthians 11:1ff., and Galatians 1:6-9). It is then mere imposture.

The 'fear' here of course is what the multiplied contexts show, as with Moses, Samuel, David and Joseph for example: it is an acute sense of the majestic splendour and awesome wonder of the God who made us (as in Psalm 145), and a desire to avoid anything lacking responsibility or possessing alien thought from His presence. One comes before Him in worship with something deeper than respect such as towards a king, but not less, with reverence and awe. This often referred to as fearing God (as in I Peter 2:17) is a thing of radiant delight and deepest regard.

As has been shown (The Christian Pilgrimage, from Grace Triumphant to Face Divine Ch. 2),it is not craven fear; for it is this which  loves casts out (I John 4:18). Nevertheless, reverence is not found in antics and explosions of laughter in a service of worship, however beneficial some may find this to too taught psyches, their composure eclipsed with various worldly fears in this life,  or perturbed by fiascos.

When Psalm 90 is pondered, its sense of the antiquity of the fear of the Lord, its cleanness (cf. Psalm 19:9), then the follies that may so readily arouse wrath for the idle or spiritually indolent are seen in perspective, whether perpetrated in a 'church' or in a hotel! Divergent from all this, the self-control (II Peter 1:1:6) and application which true faith breeds, as dog kennels breed champions, this with reverence become a pair for a contrast  that could scarcely be greater.

So teach us to number our days that we may gain a harvest of wisdom is the sense of Psalm 90:15. Then there is the assurance that the Lord will establish the work of one's hands and show His glory to the generation to  come (Psalm 90:16-17). While strength of emotion is certainly always apt in love, mere hullabaloo is another matter; and speaking as if God is speaking directly through the one who utters words in His name, this is another alien aspect that seems almost to reach epidemic proportions in many arenas of Pentecostalism. Spiritually, it horrifies; for it is one thing to understand the will of the Lord instead of being vague (Ephesians 5:17), but quite another to open your mouth in His name, with your own thoughts.

It is one thing to expound the Bible, but another to expound some  alleged new revelation, hot from the baker's oven of spirituality, and in daring defiance of scriptural prohibition, to attach the name of the Lord to it.

As to the actual doctrine, dogma, teaching, word of God given to all mankind, this is established, finished and complete (cf. SMR Appendix  C,  D); and thus Revelation 22:18ff.  tells us that to add to these THINGS is accursed - though they occur in Mormonism, as they may do in sundry other parleys from 'inspired' speakers which afflict Pentecostalism's range. Similarly, says Revelation, is there curse on the subtraction  from the WORDS spoken. This likewise an intolerable intrusion into the mind of God. Thus NOT A JOT will be subtractable from the law and the prophets till ALL is fulfilled, the Lord declared, and again, "Why do you call Me Lord,  Lord and not do the things that I say!" He expostulated (Luke 6:46).

The path of His revealed word and way is exceptionally narrow, as Christ makes most clear in the Sermon on the Mount - there is right and wrong not only in mathematics, but in morals and spiritual truth - and FEW enter this narrow way. Truth is like that. It cannot be bent. The will and word of God is like that: it has been made plain to man and to this nothing may be added.

As to this narrow way (Matthew 7:15ff.), it is not entered by entertaining ideas of making anew path! Such broadening is mere imagination; the path remains what it was (cf. Isaiah 35:8), narrow, based on  God's word and not about to change any more than God does (Malachi 3:6, Psalm 102, Hebrews 1).

While the Gospel is so steadfast that what Paul had ALREADY preached with his fellow apostles is the CRITERION (Galatians 1:6-9), so that another Gospel than THAT becomes a subject for sanctions and indeed curse as in Revelation, which prohibits the addition of things; yet some bring forth 'success' Christianity where new doctrines 'arise', new thoughts and new aspirations are born out of thin air.

How does such a worldly view of things work ? It appears to be like this. You earn a lot, give a lot to the church and in general so love this world that it pays you wonderfully and everything is most snug and as unlike carrying a cross, emblem of execution, as a merry-go-round is to a funeral.

There is abundant life in Christianity (John 10:10) for Christ makes it so; but it is the life of Christ, not a clown or one suborned by commercial considerations, crowd pleasing or 'success' in the eyes of a world, which is not to be loved any more than is the lust of the eyes (I John 2:15ff.). Similarly in the environs of
I Cor. 7:31 - Paul declares this, that one should not be preoccupied with this world or its possessions, wants or ways, and pursues his advice.

These words of the apostle speak clearly of categories, and he gives this exhortation to -

"those who use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passes away.
But I would have you without carefulness."

So far from seeking such 'success', then, man is to seek first the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 6:33), and is there to have his thoughts, there to find his criterion; and he is to LET the other things be added. Faith trusts God to do this; and it is not disappointed.

YOU do not do the adding; God does. YOU do the concentration on what matters. This is to be found in Christ's sermon on the mount (Matthew 6 expands the matter). Whether it is the clean fear of the Lord, the careful non-addition to the words of the Lord (cf. Proverbs 30:6), or the concentration on the work of the Lord, there is nothing at all of the spectacular, "for the fashion of this world is passing away," and it is not even to be valued highly at all, far less sought.

All these things are obvious, yet they are transgressed with an open hand, 'in the name of the Lord'. How like the day of Jeremiah it therefore is; for we not only find the principles of such conduct wrong, but the examples from the Old Testament of just such wrongs. Thus in Jeremiah 23 we read this:

"My heart within me is broken

Because of the prophets;

All my bones shake.

I am like a drunken man,

And like a man whom wine has overcome,

Because of the Lord,

And because of His holy words.


"For the land is full of adulterers;

For because of a curse the land mourns.

The pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up.

Their course of life is evil,

And their might is not right.

For both prophet and priest are profane;

Yes, in My house I have found their wickedness," says the Lord.


"Therefore their way shall be to them

Like slippery ways;

In the darkness they shall be driven on

And fall in them;

For I will bring disaster on them,

The year of their punishment," says the Lord,


"And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria:

They prophesied by Baal

And caused My people Israel to err.

Also I have seen a horrible thing in the prophets of Jerusalem:

They commit adultery and walk in lies;

They also strengthen the hands of evildoers,

So that no one turns back from his wickedness.

All of them are like Sodom to Me,

And her inhabitants like Gomorrah.


                          "Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts concerning the prophets:


‘Behold, I will feed them with wormwood,

And make them drink the water of gall;

For from the prophets of Jerusalem

                           Profaneness has gone out into all the land.’ "

(Colour added for ease of impact in this case.)


The profane is something unholy, ungodly which arises within one's own heart and is used instead of the sacred.

Further, relative to the usage above: Adultery is not only in flesh; it can be in spirit too (cf. I Corinthians 7:1ff., and the entire book of Hosea, with Revelation 13, 17 where a spiritual vagabondage receives the divine designation of 'harlot' as in Ezekiel 16). Nor is this all. Sexual laxity can and does become a symbol of spiritual mixture of the things of God with other things felt convenient or attractive: like BEING a wife or husband (in name) and then fornicating with someone else. Here it is God who is the focus, and using HIS name while adding one's own intimations or desires is like adultery. Such is the impact of these passages.

A little later in Jeremiah 23, God speaks in a most decisive fashion, embroiling our own Age in the situation by prediction, that is "the latter days" which so often are a mere prelude to His return and coming in power, and He makes revelation about this,  as in Joel 3, Habakkuk 3, Micah 7, Deuteronomy 32.

"For who has stood in the counsel of the Lord,

And has perceived and heard His word?

Who has marked His word and heard it?


"Behold, a whirlwind of the Lord has gone forth in fury—

A violent whirlwind!

It will fall violently on the head of the wicked.

The anger of the Lord will not turn back

Until He has executed and performed the thoughts of His heart.

In the latter days you will understand it perfectly.


"I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran.

I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.

But if they had stood in My counsel,

And had caused My people to hear My words,

Then they would have turned them from their evil way

And from the evil of their doings.


"Am I a God near at hand," says the Lord,

"And not a God afar off?

Can anyone hide himself in secret places,

So I shall not see him?" says the Lord;

"Do I not fill heaven and earth?" says the Lord.


"I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in My name, saying,

‘I have dreamed, I have dreamed!’

"How long will this be in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies?
Indeed they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart,
who try to make My people forget My name
by their dreams which everyone tells his neighbor,
as their fathers forgot My name for Baal.


"The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream;

And he who has My word, let him speak My word faithfully.

What is the chaff to the wheat?" says the Lord.


"Is not My word like a fire?" says the Lord,

                           And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?"

(Colour added.)

In this way the phenomenon of false prophecy is defined, exemplified, predicted to come to its 'perfected' or consummate fulfilment in the latter days, those where the Age comes to its concluding phases; and it is this which we ourselves are now seeing. It is predicted in similar and parallel impact from the words of Christ in Matthew 24:24 where MANY false prophets and for that matter,  false christs are shown to be appointed for the last stages of the play of this world's puny pretension, before the Lord from the next world, Maker of this one, comes back to complete the TESTING, TESTING program.




Consider now the good sense of John Bunyan on this whole matter of 'gifts' in which the Pentecostals seem so much to major that they most frequently seem to forget such simple prohibitions as

bullet speaking tongues without an interpreter,
bullet glorifying tongues,
bullet and indeed, at times making it appear that such a gift is necessary to sanctification or salvation,

while in fact and by total contrast, Paul so clearly depicts it as a lower level gift.

It this it is depicted as categorically unlike prophecy, which is to be ZEALOUSLY SOUGHT.

This gift, that of tongues, Paul shows as one which is optional in the sense that only some will be occasioned to use it (I Corinthians 14).

ARE ALL APOSTLES ? asks Paul (I Cor. 12:28ff.), who binds his own authority as apostle so contradistinctly in I Corinthinans 14:37, as to make his words commands. Do all heal! he asks, pursuing his theme. Are all speakers in tongues ?

Even if plain English did not bite, one would hope that to be clarity itself  - and we are looking at the obvious. Paul's use of  illustration of the human body as a thought basis for the body of Christ, so that NO ONE is to want to be the eye, who is the foot and so on, this too is the very acme of lucidity. Gifts resemble working members, each different in the body, but in cohesion a unit. Since ALL are members of one another, to be one thing would suffice. Others become that other thing which God appoints and not man (I Corinthians 12:11).

The body needs no multiplication of members: this is the message of Paul. No, it is in diversification, specialisation and co-operation of those of vastly differing gifts, that it is to proceed, so that as one all may act. The message is pellucid. Don't envy or seek to be what you are not; be what you are, and being different in gifts from others, yet work together with them, each in place, as if a toe, or eye or knee. Clearly, eyes and knees have little in common, each is so VERY different; but there work is in common because, though different, they work with the DESIGN as God appoints it (as in I Cor. 12:11). It is not only foolilsh to seek gifts of one's own accord, as if to tell God, it would produce the most monstrous miscreant, a sort of 'sport'! God does not speak in order not to be heeded; nor does He appreciate it, as Jeremiah is used to show so emphatically, people ADDING to what He has to say. The little word 'no!' is here an addition which echoes like a scream or groan as His word is read.

Yet for some, the Bible is to be mentioned on the one hand, and hammered, harried and harrowed on the other. This then can become an acute form of double-mindedness, the lips in one area, and the hart in another; and indeed, in this case, even the lips giving forth two contrary streams.

As to the Bible in such a case, it is in form emphasised, and the parts which are desired are imposed; while breaches of the first order of magnitude are shrugged off as if everyone knew that psychological release in passions and crowd pyrotechnics is so important that the word of God just has to be bent a little; or even a lot.

One has even found one Pentecostal elder virtually doing just that, as if it were a mere trifle to make allowances ... in the sense that God's way in the Bible is not to be regarded as too imposing. One may vary from it if the need comes, and so there are two lords, the pastor or church, and the Lord of the Church.  Yet how is He Lord who is dispensable, or Master who is not obeyed; and how much more is this travesty augmented when the Lord is THE Lord of glory! He remains the Lord who became gory for the vicarious acceptance of the guilt of sin, but when such things are pursued, He lacks the place as Director, far less that of Lord,

Some try to wriggle about outside the clear contradiction of the apostolic RULING, and ILLUSTRATION and PERSPECTIVE, all three, by saying that that the prescriptions about gifts in I Corinthians were for Corinth alone. Yet also obviously, in the first verses of I Corinthians, Paul makes his words applicable to the churches. Indeed it is for those who IN EVERY PLACE call on the Lord. Is every place to become one place ? Is the Master Builder of the church of Christ to become a spot builder ? (I Corinthians 3:10). Is no word of God to matter to those who mouth it ? We shall see that this is not a new phenomenon, but one which afflicted Israel when, ignoring the warning, it was moving to its early ruin. Let us however for the moment pursue the teaching of the apostle Paul.

The church in Ephesians 2:19ff. is seen as having been built on the foundation of the prophets and apostles (PAST tense), and what then ? would some new architects displace them and insert themselves into the foundation ? Is it possible that anyone finds this difficult to understand, since the Bible teems  with passages about false prophets in the past, and predictions of false ones as the Age ends!

The whole sensationalistic, and often selfishly indulgent seeming stress on getting GIFTS, as if it were some commercial bonanza, actually going here or there to find some 'blessing' in some crowd disobeying the word of God: this seems all but infantile, and certainly does not partake of the way of God's own children who recognise HIM as Father, not someone else.

In what then does it so seem ? It is in this, that it appears more like a charge into more for me than an opening for finding the WORK the Lord wants of you, so that you may sacrificially DO IT. If it were otherwise, would ME be the fee, the tee off point, for me to have this or that gift at my request, such as tongues when it is CLEARLY WRITTEN that GOD determines the gifts (I Corinthians 12:11), each for each, as HE WILL. Is His authority in this also to be supervened by the sensationalism of this odd exploitation of bravura! Are feet to clamour for their place, and eyes to be objects of fancy ? or is God to be God!


In his "Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners", John Bunyan shows some excellent and scriptural sentiments concerning all this show and play, and puts it in its place with a very sound application of I Corinthians 12-14 indeed. Little was his education; YET not small his grasp of the thing. As in the Pilgrim's Progress, the hearty wisdom of the word of God can be seen creeping out in this or that phrase or emphasis, and what 'development' is this in our modern era which so neglects what was as plain as a tinker's face!

A tinkling cymbal is an instrument of music with which a skilful player can make such melodious and heart-inflaming music, that all who hear him play can scarcely hold from dancing; and yet, behold, a cymbal hath not life, neither comes the music from it, but because of the art of him that plays therewith: so then the instrument at last may come to nought and perish, though in times past such music hath been made upon it. Just thus I saw it was and will be with them that have gifts but want saving grace: they are in the hand of Christ as the cymbal in the hand of David;
and as David could with the cymbal make such mirth in the service of God as to elevate the hearts of the worshippers, so Christ can so use these gifted men as with them to affect the souls of His people in the church, yet when he hath done all,  laid them by as lifeless though sounding cymbals.

This consideration therefore, together with some others, were for the most part as a maul on the head of pride and desire of vainglory. What, thought I, shall I be proud because I am as sounding brass ? Is it so much to be a fiddle ? Hath not the least creature that hath life more of God in it than these ? Besides, I knew it was love that should never die, but these must cease and vanish; so I concluded a little grace, a little love, a little of the true fear of God, is better than all gifts; yea, and I am fully convinced that it is possible for souls that can scarce give a man answer but with great confusion as to method - I say, it is as possible for them to have a thousand times more grace, and so to be more in the love and favour of the Lord, than some who by the virtue of the gift of knowledge can deliver themselves like angels.

Thus, therefore, I came to perceive that though gifts in themselves were good to the thing for which they are designed, to wit, the edification of others, yet they are empty and without power to save the soul of him that hath them, if they be alone; neither are they as so {to be} any sign of a man's state to be happy, being only a dispensation of God to some, of whose improvement or non-improvement they must, when a little more time is over, give an account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.

This showed me too, that gifts being alone were dangerous, not in themselves, but because of those evils that attend them that have them, to wit, pride, desire of vainglory, self-conceit, etc., all which were easily blown up at the applause and commendation of every unadvised Christian, to the endangering of a poor creature to fall into the condemnation of the devil.

I saw, therefore, that he that hath gifts had need to be let into a sight of the nature of them, to wit, that they come short of making him to be in a truly saved condition, lest he rest in them, and so fall short of the grace of God. He hath cause also to walk humbly with God and be little in his own eyes, and to remember withal that his gifts are not his own, but the church's, and that by them he is made a servant to the church; and he must give at last an account of his stewardship unto the Lord Jesus; and to give a good account will be a blessed thing. Let all men therefore prize a little with the fear of the Lord: gifts indeed are desirable, but yet great grace and small gifts are better than great gifts and no grace. It doth not say the Lord gives gifts and glory, but the Lord gives grace and glory; and blessed is such an one to whom the Lord gives grace, true grace, for that is a certain forerunner of glory.

These are the words of Bunyan on and to the point! for they mirror a myriad of scriptural emphases and declarations

Thus Paul in I Corinthians 12-14 tells us THREE TIMES to seek with ZEAL for something. NOWHERE is it for tongue speaking. It is for PROPHECY which can help people understand. As shown in A Question of Gifts,  in view of the doctrinal completion, THIS prophecy becomes interpretation and application, not addition to the word of God, since His word is complete. Accordingly, even in the day of I Corinthians, the 'prophets' of this ilk were to assess each other (I Cor. 14:29-32); and therefore they were far removed from the Old Testament authority, or apostolic example of being able to say, with Paul (I Cor. 14:37), "the things that I write to you are the commandments of the Lord."

Imagine Paul declaring, Oh yes, you have a point there, and yes, that was an error I made in that doctrine, how careless of me. Thank you for helping me; and I hope that as the centuries pass, some will be even better - with more people over more time, you see, better enabled to correct the doctrine so who knows how it will all end. I am sure I do not know!

That is rather different from his words being the commands of the Lord ? Is it not obvious ? A command of the Lord is one from His lips and with His authority (I Cor. 2:9-13). On the part of those not apostles or foundational, who are millenia past this advent of Christ and the apostles, it is making words and forcing them into an unwilling mouth, ostensibly that of the Lord; and that is corruption, not least of the word of God itself (cf. Mark 7:7ff.).

It is not too difficult to see the divine detestation as in Deuteronomy 4, 12,  Galatians 1, Revelation 22, Proverbs 30, Jeremiah 23 of people having nice little spiritual forums where they give out the latest bulletin from a silent heaven. Silent ? Yes, the Christ HAS come at the appointed DATE (Daniel 9:24ff., cf. Highway of Holiness Ch. 4); and following His works and words, the Gospel has come just as Isaiah predicted (Isaiah 50-55 cf. SMR Ch. 9); and it has been based on what Christ was and did (Acts 1-5), so that there is absolutely nothing that can be done except believe it or reject it.

But it is most popular to have a sort of sanctum of sanctification of some exotic kind, and to add 'God' to this in some special and peculiar way, or this or that to God on the other hand, so that the synthesis of sin and salvation may become whatever sticky messes normally become when too many cooks proliferate their concepts in one kitchen.

Let us however consider a little further the zeal of the Lord, where it is to be placed in man, as shown in I Corinthians 12-14, to which we made reference a little earlier. We found there were three times in these chapters that the apostle referred to being zealously desirous of something.



One time for the 'zealous' seeking was this: it was to be spent in aspiration for the gift of prophecy, for such a thing is most profitable to the Church (14:39). Another occasion of the mention of zealous seeking in this context (12:31) is directed expressly to "the best gifts" once again; and of course the acme is as 14:39 indicates, qua gift, is prophecy.  Again, in 14:1, just after the famous LOVE ABOVE ALL GIFTS chapter 13, there is direction to desire ; but it is not 'spiritual gifts' to which such desire is directed, but literally 'spiritual things' (I Cor. 14:1). It follows the direction in I Cor. 13 to seek love, without which no gift is of any value: seek love and earnestly desire spiritual things. It is therefore  understandable that this broader term is used, for there is more to the realm of spiritual things than mere gifts!

Even so and even in that case of 14:1, it is for prophecy that people are explicitly told "rather" to seek. Some may retort to the apostle, in the British idiom, "rather not"! but this is mere rebelliousness.

Always it is for the higher or best gifts that one is to seek, not the categorically lower ones, which are limited as to how and when and now much. I Corinthians 14:2-3 following, shows just how much lower is the apostolic rating for 'tongues'! It is of such lower gifts that the apostle remarks, in the  case of speaking 'in tongues',  that five words with the mind excel ten thousand of that type!  Hence they are reduced for times to 2 or 3 such speakers maximum (14:27ff.), to be accompanied by mind on the part of others, and never to be more than one at a time. It is a gift therefore of dependency in a double sense, and there is not to be a sensationalistic wallowing, derived from this "do not forbid", this permission; for tongues are at all times here contrasted with the spiritual payload of prophecy, the real need of the church.

With the gift of prophecy, by acute contrast, it is not a question of toleration but necessity; not one of permission but of direction to SEEK it, and to minister with it!

Imagine anyone making a thing apostolically rated as to he permitted on sufferance (zealously desire to prophecy and do not forbid to speak in tongues -  14:39), to become a thing which is a criterion, as some do, yes and that even of salvation itself! It is like being told that talking in Class is permitted, but that the point is to concentrate; and then making talking in class a criterion of scholarship. It is so obvious that it is a thing of wonder that man can so twist or ignore the truth, even when affirming the biblical faith, that this is EXACTLY CONTRAVENED, as if it were part of the show.

And show it is, when such things are done.

Nevertheless we must see our point in Christian apologetics, that this sort of degeneration of scriptural conditions and program in the NAME of the Lord is PRECISELY what is predicted. It was to happen, does happen and proliferates. Indeed 'great swelling words of vanity' is one of Peter's designations of the false prophecy disease against which he so categorically warns, and this once again, FOR THE LAST TIMES. For this, see II Peter 2:1, and note the motivation which is exposed as relevant to such things - the love of lucre: here the pathology is clear. It is notably in making merchandise of people that such false teaching is to come; but also note the swelling words exhibit in II Peter 2:10-18.

It is not necessarily the case in all spiritual pathology that this is the motive, but it is clearly depicted in the Bible, from Balaam on, as one of the controlling dynamics! (cf. II Peter 2:;15-16).



What then is the purpose of it all ? To have thousands of people gaining 'psychological release' in desperately degraded departures from the very word of God which ostensibly they revere, so that the concept of twisting and turning while still talking about God is given an illustration for sin to build on, a sort of foundation in fiction and friction ? or is it to have people find the narrow way which is truth, and the lovely crisp reality of righteousness, knowing this full well (Matthew 7:15ff., 5:17-20), that in the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, teaching and keeping the least of the commandments is a source of greatness, whilst not doing them and teaching contrarily is a shoe horn to the foot of pride, and becomes a ground for abasement.

The Pentecostal movement,

bullet when it addressed luke-warm denominations falling prey to radical modernism, humanism and unbelief, and living on the spiritual capital of their past,
bullet when it stressed the power of God and spoke of believing the Bible,
bullet in this did well.
bullet Yet how often, as frequently here, does some corrective work become
a new and radical departure from the same Bible which it affects to believe!

Thus Jehovah's Witness people tried to emphasise, as do the Christadelphians, prophecy, and in giving this stress they did well,  as a corrective for a church becoming too sophisticated to bother. However they both throw out the very foundation of the church in Jesus Christ, equal with God in His own eternal realm (Philippians 2 cf. SMR pp. 532ff., Things Old and New Chs.  9,10 Epilogue, Appendix ).

It is not throwing out the baby with the bath water merely, but throwing out the Lord with the religion that is displaced, not corrected. Corruption thus develops into disruption, division and defeat; and many follow their ways, as Peter declared would happen (I Peter 2:1), while in their confusions they will press hard on people and would, if it WERE possible deceive even the elect. This, it is the dictum of Jesus Christ Himself. In this respect, they join Romanism with its bread Christ, its Mary only hope of sinners and papal authority to invent and add doctrine at will (cf. SMR pp. 1032-1088H).

Such it was to be; and now is. The thing, long a challenge to the church, has now become an invention with myriads of pretensions on many sides, organised, pressing; and the world has joined in, trying to merge religions for peace and convenience, for some are indeed violent, doing violence not only to the minds and spirits, but to the very bodies of the saints.

Let us make further comparisons in order to see more of the scope of this predicted phenomenon.

Christian Science, neither Christian nor science, which departed from the ransom in Christ and the reality of evil such as the devil showed to Christ as seen in Matthew 4, did well to stress healing; but then this is at the expense of sober biblical foundations in Christ! The Mormons give a sense of going somewhere in a spiritual pilgrimage, and to the extent that this had become weak in some churches, this was potentially good; but they have done so in the site of enormity, making some men to become gods, and making God to have a beginning in the realm of creation!

Their way of works is in desperate conflict with the Bible (Romans 3:23ff., Ephesians 2:1-10); but this appears no problem for them. They can even have their own apostles, apparently jousting out those in Ephesians 2:19ff., the foundation in a desecratory invasion of the things wrought (cf. Acts 1:21-22).

Thus do sects use the Bible to teach appalling departures from it; but this was to be, and now is; and the departures are so obvious that a child could see them, and often does no doubt; but grown people find the succulent attraction too much, it would appear, for they talk of the Bible while they transgress, in the most notorious rebellion, departing from its words.

It is just like someone offering to carry your bag, and then taking it with him on HIS way, while ignoring yours, but not your bag! This is in no way to make any comment on the conscious desires of all those in sects; but it is to apply biblical wisdom and categories to what is happening, yes and biblical prediction. When people ignore both of these warning lights, is it surprising that their engines overheat, and may need replacing; or else that they are brought to a stand-still! There is a price for not accepting what you affect! Near in their words and far in their hearts, once again, was precisely the procedure in Israel which led to such judgments of yore (Isaiah 29:13), and is it not a warning to see this illustration, like the impact of the ice-berg on the sides of the Titanic ?

But for millions, it seems the crash is not perceptible, and the sinking of the good ship on which they stand, in the waters of mist and cold, becomes a substitute for standing securely on the rock, or following the paths provided.

Jeremiah put it this way:

"But if they had stood in My counsel,

And had caused My people to hear My words,

Then they would have turned them from their evil way

                            And from the evil of their doings."

It is well to have real life boats, not inadequate ones, standing by; for at the cry for mercy and help, in faith, for salvation in repentance, the Lord is near! (cf. Psalm 145, Acts 2, Romans 10:9, John 10:9,27-28).