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Andrew
11-08-01, 01:59 AM
Found this article rather informative for background info, thot i might share it here

The Faith Movement, By Tom Brown, tbm.org

When you look at all the Christian denominations in the world, you begin to wonder which is the right one. Well, the truth is, most of them have a lot of good, yet I believe God is wanting to do something better than simply build a bunch of denominations.

In order to understand this controversial movement, we have to go back to the Bible and see God's plan for the Church.

Jesus spoke to Peter and said, "And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it" (Matthew 16:18). If you listen to a few negative folks, you'll get the impression that the Church is going to be a defeated, beaten-down, rotten, sin-filled group of hypocritical people. But Jesus said that the gates of Hades will not overcome it. Jesus is coming back for a glorious, victorious Church.

How is the Lord going to accomplish this task of making the Church an overcomer? By using people. Yes, by using people just like you and me.

Notice carefully that the Lord is speaking to Simon. He changes his name to Peter, which means a little rock, and declares that He is going to build his church on the rock. Many wonder if Jesus was building His church on Peter. Yes and no.

Ephesians chapter 2 verse 20 says that the Church is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. Peter is definitely one of the people who are part of the foundation; however, all the apostles including many prophets are considered the foundation of the Church as well.

Do you remember what the New Jerusalem looks like? John saw the Holy City with twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles. So Peter was a rock that the Lord was going to build His Church; yet, Peter declares in his writings, "As you come to him [Jesus], the living Stone...you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house ..." (1 Peter 2:4,5).

Peter testifies that Jesus is the Stone, the Corner Stone to be exact, and that we are living stones which the Lord is putting in place, such as a mason places brick upon brick, until the building is finished. The Lord has been in a building project for the last nineteen hundred years. The Lord is not interested in doing a quick work, but a quality job.

Now understand this: Each part of the building is essential for the completion of the whole. There can be no missing parts. Not only is this so, but every part adds something that is missing. This is where the Word of Faith movement comes in.

The Word of Faith movement adds to the Church what has been missing for the last several centuries, primarily the teaching that the believer can receive answers to every prayer that is based on God's Word, as long as he has enough faith and that there is nothing in his life that could be hindering his prayer. This is a revolutionary thought to most of Christendom.

Let me explain how the Word of Faith movement got here.

The early church began with a burst of power and glory. They were invincible. Every believer acted as priests of the Lord and preached fervently the truth. They did such a wonderful job that their critics accused them of turning the world upside down.

The early church fathers continued living in the same spirit of the apostles after the apostles died. But little by little, through the centuries, Christians abandoned the faith and dynamic lifestyle of their predecessors. They entangled themselves in silly controversies, which split the unity of the Christians. One group built their headquarters in Constantinople; they became the eastern church. And the other group had their headquarters in Rome and called themselves Roman Catholics. These churches never did reunite.

Since most of us have our roots in the West, we have been influenced by the western branch of Christianity called the Roman Catholic Church. I want to focus on this part of the Church.

During the dark ages, the Catholic Church had a monopoly over most of the Christendom, and she used her power in terrible ways. This church deserted the ways of Christ and His teachings. They put fear in the hearts of the peasants by making them seek the church for forgiveness. They promised an easy salvation to those who would purchase indulgences. They exalted Mary nearly to the same position as Christ. They offered prayers to her as well as to many of the saints. In summary, they rejected most of the clear teachings of the Bible.

This branch of Christianity needed reformation. And God was going to bring it to her. For almost the last five hundred years, God has brought to western Christianity six major restorational movements: 1) the reform, 2) the evangelical, 3) the holiness, 4) the pentecostal, 5) the charismatic, 6) and the word of faith. Each movement has been used of God to restore to the Church truths and practices that were lost by the Roman Church.

In 1517, a German monk named Martin Luther, who discovered from the Bible that salvation was not earned, but that it was a free gift to all those who believed resounded a loud and clear message, "The Just shall live by faith." This doctrine that the just shall live by faith is the most basic doctrine of the Bible. We could not preach anything else without this truth. True Christians everywhere believe that salvation is a free gift to those who truly believe.

This monk brought in the first restorational truth to the Church. This movement took on his name. His followers were called "Lutherans." His following, though, was mainly in Germany. Others followed his same doctrine and beliefs in other countries, and they were called different names. In Scotland, the reformers were called Presbyterians; in England they were called Anglicans (or Episcopalians). Basically these three denominations believe the same things.

Although the reformed movement embraced the all important way of salvation, there were still some old Catholic ways and doctrines that they continued to cling to. They still believed that the Church should use the State to persecute dissenters and they also practiced infant baptism. These practices and beliefs were clearly not biblical.

Andrew
11-08-01, 01:59 AM
part 2

So within these denominations, in about the 1600's, men arose to confront the reformed movement just as the reformers confronted the Catholic church. They began by first insisting that all believers who were baptized as infants be rebaptized. They did this because many Lutherans, Presbyterians and Anglicans had never experienced the new birth; they were erroneously told that they were Christians because they were baptized as babies. Many experienced true salvation through the efforts of the evangelicals. It was the evangelicals rebaptizing efforts that caused the critics to call them "baptists."

The baptists also demanded separation between state and church. They believed that everyone should be able to worship God according to their own consciences, without the intrusion of the government. They won, although at a huge cost. Many lost their lives for standing up against the reformed churches, just as many reformers lost their lives by standing up against the Catholic Church.

The baptists were correct in their beliefs concerning adult baptism and freedom of worship. Today, almost all Christians believe these things. God restored adult baptism and freedom of worship for the Christians.

In time, even the baptists began to experience a need for reformation. The shortcoming of the baptists was a lack of holiness. The baptists had so emphasized that salvation was by grace alone, not by works, that many baptists refused to work out their salvation with fear and trembling. They reasoned, as many do today, "Since salvation is by grace, through faith alone, there is no real need to do good works." Many baptists were living ungodly lives because of the Calvinistic teachings about election and the perseverance of the saints. These teachings, in essence, gave many people a license to practice immorality, or at least, gave them freedom to live undisciplined lives. Even today, baptists have a terrible reputation of hypocrisy--that they teach one thing, but live another way.

As you can see, there needed to be another restoration, and this one would emphasize holiness. John Wesley would be the main leader in this next restorational move. His movement was later called, methodism, termed after his disciplined, methodological approach to holy living.

Today, we need Wesley's message like never before. There is a great need for holiness in American churches. John Wesley and others taught the past restorational truths, but they also emphasized the need to live discipline christian lives. They rejected much of the Calvinistic ideas of the past. They laid stress upon personal works, without neglecting salvation by grace. Like the other restorational leaders of the past, they too were persecuted, mocked, and criticized. But today, many Christians acknowledge a real need to discipline their lives. Many Christians no longer take the grace of God in vain. They work out their salvation with fear and trembling.

Many in the holiness camp saw that there was still things lacking in their lives--primarily power. They lived separated from the world, but they lack supernatural power.

So in 1901 some Bible students in Topeka, Kansas began to study the subject of the Holy Spirit. They quickly discovered that they lacked the Bible experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit. They began to seek God for this experience, and God graciously met their faith. He filled them with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues.

One man who got filled, left the school and began preaching this new-found experience in Los Angeles, California in a small cottage on 312 Azusa Street. He was the first black man to lead a restorational movement. His name, William Seymour.

Today, millions of people claim to adhere to the pentecostal experience of being filled with the Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. This truth is firmly established in the Bible.

Since the pentecostal movement came out of the holiness movement, there were some errors that permeated the pentecostal movement. The main error had to do with "who could receive the Holy Spirit?". Most pentecostal leaders believed that a candidate for the Holy Spirit had to first sanctify himself and live holy for a period of time before he could receive the Holy Spirit. This rule was of course unscriptural.

The Bible plainly shares accounts of people receiving the Holy Spirit when they were first saved. They did not have to tarry and sanctify themselves for the Spirit. They could receive this gift immediately upon praying for this experience. Hence, the charismatic movement took off.

The charismatic movement was led by many people, the most popular one being Chuck Smith, who founded the Calvary Chapel's. He began baptizing hippies, andpraying for God to fill them with the Holy Spirit. And sure enough, God did.

God was pouring out his Spirit on all people, including long-hair, pot-smoking, bare-footed hippies. This made the old-time pentecostals upset. They couldn't believe that these people were receiving the Holy Spirit without first cutting their hair, throwing away their dope, and dressing modestly. But God was filling them with the Spirit despite their objections. The pentecostals criticized Church Smith and many of the charismatics, including the Catholic charismatics. But time showed that the charismatic movement was here to stay.

This brings us to the current move of God: the word of faith. This movement is an extension of the charismatic movement. It is bringing to Spirit-filled Christians everywhere the message of uncompromising faith--that believers can receive answers to their prayers, including healing, so long as they exercise sufficient faith.

The charismatic movement experienced dramatic healings, but most people were not taught that they could be healed on their own faith, and that they didn't need to be healed at a great miracle service like Kathryn Kuhlman's. The word of faith ministers have shown the power of faith, and that God will bless the believers in every way, including materially, if they will live according to the Word. This is revolutionary to many Christians.

Because it is the current move of God, we should expect it to be criticize more than any other movement. And this is the case.

I am not surprised at all when we are criticized. We should expect it. After all, every past restorational movement was criticized by the religious establishment: the Catholics persecuted the Lutherans, the Lutherans judged the baptists, the baptists ridiculed the holiness people, the holiness community criticized the charismatics and today, many charismatics unfairly accuse the word of faith ministers of heresy.

The Heresy Hunters are still here today. When will they learn from the past and quit criticizing what God has begun?

Fledge
11-08-01, 09:21 AM
Heresy Hunters? That article made it sound a bad thing to see falsehoods within a movement and counter falsehoods with the truth.

OK, granted, criticizing what God is doing is one thing. Criticizing and slamming the Lord's work in a person, a movement, or a denomination isn't what we should be doing.
But we are called to criticize a message. To judge that message and it's "biblicalness" (is that a word?)
Is it criticizing, is it bad, to point out false doctrines, doctrinal errors, and biblically divergant teachings?
Nope.

Brandan
11-08-01, 09:24 AM
Thank you Fledge....

Fledge
11-08-01, 09:36 AM
that believers can receive answers to their prayers, including healing, so long as they exercise sufficient faith.


In Hebrews 11, often referred to as the "Faith Hall of Fame," we read of those who were commended for their faith, yet were destitute, persecuted, imprisoned, and suffered torturous deaths. These men and women set examples for us, and yet their lives were characterized more by perserverence than by prosperity.

Certainly, this message will not sell well in a self-indulgent age.
Nonetheless, we had better be glad that our heavenly Father decides what is best for us and not we ourselves, because only He truly understands what we need and what we can handle. One shudders to think of what would happen if God gave us everything we clamored for.

I do not wish to be misunderstood: I believe in divine healing and in God's provision for every detail of our lives. In addition, I do not associate piety with poverty. I thank God for those He has prospered who are dedicated to using their resources for the extension of His kingdom.

But for the word-faith teachers, healing and prosperity became so important that they had to find some way to guarantee them, and they did this by exalting man's faith at the expense of God's sovereignty. Thus, they developed the doctrine that God created the world out of nothing by faith, and that He created men as "little gods" to exercise the same kind of faith. Faith therefore becomes a powerful force that gets results, whether in the hands of a believer or a nonbeliever.

On the basis of this virtual deification of human faith, the purveyors of the word-faith message promise health and wealth to those who exercise faith in their faith rather than faith in their God. As has been well said elsewhere, faith is only as good as the object on which it is placed.

Fledge
11-08-01, 09:45 AM
Exposing Doctrinal Errors: Heresy Hunting or Biblical Mandate?

Well, I’m sure you’ve all heard by now, that Christians are simply
supposed to love one another and be united together in faith. Should we, therefore, regard as divisive those Christians who speak out against teachings in the church which are clearly unbiblical?

Paul instructed Timothy, we are to zealously guard the purity of the message God has entrusted to us, and for good reason (1 Tim 1:18-19; 6:20; 2 Tim. 4:2-5).

We read in such passages as Acts chapter 20, and 2 Peter chapter 2, that false teachers will arise, bringing with them destructive heresies, distorting the truth and destroying the faith of some. Moreover, it is clear that these teachers will come not only from outside the church, but also from within the body of Christ as well.

It is therefore imperative that we test all things by Scripture (1 Thes. 5:21). It was in this spirit that the Bereans examined the words of the Apostle Paul, for which they were reckoned as noble in character (Acts 17:11).

Indeed, not only can the Bible be used for preaching, teaching and encouragement, but, it is equally valuable for correcting and rebuking (2 Tim. 4:2). As a matter of fact, we as Christians are held accountable for proclaiming the whole will of God, warning others of false teachings. (Acts 20:26-28; cf. Ezek. 33:7-9; 34:1-10).

This is not merely a suggestion, it is, in fact, a divine mandate. Of
course if heresies are coming from teachers within the church, we ought to try and approach them first with our concerns. Should that fail to resolve the problem, we are told in Matthew 18 to expose their errors to the church; and if need be, divulge their names. (1 Tim. 1:20; 2 Tim. 2:17-18; 4:14-15; 3 John 9-10).
We would, therefore, do well to heed Scripture’s explicit warnings to be on guard for false teachings (Rom. 16:17-18; cf. 1 Tim. 1:3-4; 4:16; 2 Tim. 1:13-14; Titus 1:9; 2:1), and to point them out to brothers and sisters in Christ (2 Tim. 4:6). At CRI, it is not our practice to make an issue out of peripheral matters on which honest Christians can differ.

Andrew
11-08-01, 07:50 PM
i thot i shld have deleted that heresy hunter part. *LOL
what i wanted to share was just the developments in recent church histroy to give us some background knowledge, not to start a debate about heresy hunters or the "doctrines" of the various moves themselves.

peace

blackhaw
11-08-01, 08:30 PM
I enjoyed your post Andrew. personally i think that all denominations have stregnths and weaknesses. All have something to share to every Christian. I was raised Baptist. Not charismatic at all. But recently i have realized that my church can learn a lot from the pentacostals and charismatics. Also that they could learn a lot from us. I read a book called the Wrod and Power church. It weas very good. It showed that indeed both sides of the camp can learn from eachother. But why limit it there? I think i can learn things from all different churches. I won't go into what from whom but I can. Right now i have ben reading a lot of books by catholic monks. They are really neat people. they really do love God. i have found new insight into who God is. I think sometimes people are just so set in their church, their practices, their doctrines (except the essential doctrine), and their ways to see how others can help them grow. WE must listen to all sides of god's church. All parts of the body and maybe we can then see more of who God really is. I just wanted to share this. I hope it is rellevant.

Blackhaw

Fledge
11-08-01, 10:45 PM
I just hope that nothing I said stirred anybody up too much. I can get a little heated sometimes, and if I did, I apologize.

It was meant as nicely as could be, but after reading it a second time I realized that maybe I was being a bit strong as well.

Guess it is pretty obvious how I feel about the whole Word of Faith movement. From a few posts here and several in the previous forums.

Anyway...sorry if I get a little fussy about things sometimes...not always meant to be that way!

Andrew
11-09-01, 03:38 AM
great attitude blackhaw!

reminds me of what my Pastor said:
" Just what are we (refering to our church's "denomination")? I really dont know. Call us baptist becos we believe in baptism by immersion, call us presbyterian cos we believe in eternal security, call us pentecostal bcos we believe in tongue speaking, call us charismatic becos we believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit.... we'll just take whatever God gives..." *LOL :D

Fledge,

no problemo! :D

Fledge
11-09-01, 09:41 AM
I do think there are positives of just about all the denominations. Not ALL, but many of them anyway.

There are also downsides, some major errors, some minor problems.

SO, although I nearly totally disagree with what the WoF movement teaches, there are also aspects of Methodists, Baptists, Pentecostals, and other denominations that I disagree with. I'm not saying that that I am right, and everybody else is wrong and if you don't agree with me you are doomed to hell. But there are aspects that I disagree with.

Most disagreements are secondary and debatable. There are a few that are just plain and simple false doctrines.

Guess the best way to avoid being sucked into false doctrines is to be so aware of the Truth you can see a counterfeit a mile away. And that is my goal, to know the Truth so well that false doctrines will stick out like a sore thumb.

blackhaw
11-09-01, 12:03 PM
Fledge:

You are right. I do not believe all the doctrines of evey denomination. Some are not right. However I like to look at it in a positive manner. Like you said most doctrinal differences are minor. "They are secondary and debatable" Just do not let your debate get in the way of good fellowship with your christian brothers and sisters from other denominations. I am saying that you are doing this but most of us here like to debate. That is why we are here. Right? Sometimes peope get lost in debates and winning debates becomes bigger than people. I think it is very sad when I see christians breaking fellowship with eachother over something like church government or what is the right way to baptize. I am not really talking about the WoF movement. I think they go to far and some others do too but I think that most are fine. and we can learn different things from the different denominations. Like i find that presbyterians really have a good knowledge of the word. Pentacostals know how to worship. Catholics really have the reverance thing down. ALutherans the saved by grace through faith. Baptists the priesthood of the believer. These are just examples but they are some of the things I have learned from different denominations. Have a God filled day.

Peter
11-09-01, 12:10 PM
Just a curious thought. I've read lots of OPINION about denominations. Could anyone give me a Biblical foundation for them. I thought the Church was to be united, not divided. If the Holy Spirit is leading each, then why does He tell each group something different?

blackhaw
11-09-01, 06:33 PM
Ther is no mention of denominations in the Bible except maybe in a negative way. However the denominations has served very useful. They have kept the peace. They also show us easily the theological differences between different christians. The holy wars were replaced wiht peaceful denominations. So no denominations ae iblical in the strict sense but in a fallen world they serve us very well. that is my 2 cents on it I might be a little off but that is why we discuss things. right?
Blackhaw

Peter
11-09-01, 07:28 PM
Thank you for your 2 cents. You ask very thoughtful questions and seem to be open to the idea that you might be wrong. This is an admirable quality.

From the rest, please, I'd like to hear what you know about God's purpose in denominationalism.

Andrew
11-09-01, 09:50 PM
Peter,

The Bible certainly encourages unity of thought and not disunity among the brethren.

1 Cor 10: Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

But until "that which is Perfect comes", we will still know in part and thus have denominations. Of course we try our best by the grace of God to be united. And I believe in many ways there is unity. There are many things the various denominations agree on. But man tends to focus on the negatives.

I believe when God moves, He's right (obvioulsy) but it's how man perceives what God is doing and how he interprets and uses it that causes another denominaition to spring up.

eg when tongues was "revived", it was a good thing. but some tongues speakers began to get puffed up, and started thinking that they were better and started saying that unless you speak in tongues you aren's saved, and set up another denomination. it is like begining in the spirit but carrying on in the flesh. or begining in grace and faith but reverting back to works.

so i look for the original truth/purpose of God and take hold of it.

God bless

Peter
11-09-01, 10:20 PM
In light of the fact that Jesus said the gates of hell would not penetrate the Church, where does that leave denominations?

Andrew
11-09-01, 10:31 PM
Peter,

I dont quite understand your question and why you say "penetrate" the church

The KJV says "prevail":

Mt 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

According to Strong's "prevail" in the Greek means

1) to be strong to another's detriment, to prevail against
2) to be superior in strength
3) to overcome

Peter
11-09-01, 10:42 PM
You do understand the question. If the gates of hell will never prevail, it will also never even penetrate. The gates of hell cant even scratch the surface of the Church.

Protestantism is based on the notion that the Church had fallen into error. If this is so, then the gates of hell have certainly prevailed.

But the Reformers were not revolting against the Church. They were revolting against a splinter group of the Church.

blackhaw
11-10-01, 12:30 AM
I think that what needs to be defined is what is "the church"
I think that we might find that we do not mean the same thing. Peter tell me if i am wrong but does not Catholicism teach the The Church is the Catholic church. that that is the only true church. So the Catholic church would be your definition. While i know the protestant defintion is the universal church is the church. meaning that catholics, baptists, pentocostals, etc. really all that are saved are in teh church. I think that a knowledge of the difference of our definitions and maybe a discussion of them might help this discussion.

What do i believe? The protestant defintion of course. first i will discuss probably the most important verses on this debate.

matt 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Mat 16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed [it] unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

Mat 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Mat 16:19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Catholics interpret these verses as it saying that the "Rock" was Peter himself. So on this rock (peter) I will build my church. So peter is the 1st Pope and then there is one church. the one that Peter stated. Any kind of deviation from that one is not right.

Now protestatns say that the "rock" is not Peter it is Peter's confession. The confession that " Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." So then that opens it up to the universal church.

Now i believe the protestant view. Why? because of the wording. Why did not he just say "you are Peter and on you the rock..." It seems like to me that He is saying that his name is peter but then changes back to His confession that He was speakng of earlier. I have other reasons but it is late. i will wait and see what othhers say about it first but i think we must define what we mean by "The Church" before we can really talk about denominations.

Fledge
11-10-01, 09:23 AM
On a real basic level, I see denominational differences as "a different style of worship for different styles of people". Yes, the different denominations came about largely due to doctirnal differences, but also because of worship differences.

So to put it in a nutshell...we all do things differently, we all worship differently, and we all like a certain different "style". Denomination serve in that aspect.

And yes, some of us believe differently about things and denominations are a way of identifying with other people of similar beliefs.

And as I said in another post, the majority of the differences are secondary issues and can be debated, but not divided over. There is nothing wrong with believing differently, so long as the essentials remain intact. When the essentials begin changing, and people believe vastly differently...it is not a new denomination, but a pseudo-christian cult.

Andrew
11-11-01, 09:12 AM
Peter you said,
-----------
If the gates of hell will never prevail, it will also never even penetrate. The gates of hell cant even scratch the surface of the Church.
-----------

No offence, but aren't you interpreting the word "prevail" into your own terms? As mentioned earlier, according to Strong's "prevail" in the Greek means
1) to be strong to another's detriment, to prevail against
2) to be superior in strength
3) to overcome

It does not mean that Satan cannot even corrupt the church or cause disputes and disagreements. It's obvious he can. Even Catholic priests have made embarrassing mistakes like adultery. It just means that the church (Christians) can never be snuffed out by Satan. And that's true since we're still around after 2000 years!