07 October 2010

Christianity Today: Biblical, Reformed confidence = baaad, ignorant Pentecostal hubris = A-OK

by Dan Phillips

My reader David Elliott pointed me to this Christianity Today interview from April. The author of An Eyewitness Remembers the Century of the Holy Spirit (Grand Rapids: Baker [?!], 2010), Regent University professor Vinson Synan, is asked a series of questions centered loosely around his book.

Sidenote: "THE Century of the Holy Spirit." Don't miss that. It begins with the Azusa Street "revival." Before that — Holy Spirit? Not so much. Nineteen centuries, not much Holy Spirit... until the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements. Ahh, now, all sorts of Holy Spirit!

Read the interview, it's fairly brief. But do it in private. That article will have most of you talking aloud to yourselves. Particularly, you should read that interview in light of CT's snarky profile of Al Mohler, which has been much discussed of late. The contrasts are... interesting and informative.

As has been pointed out even by those lofty souls who find it distasteful to give Christianity Today the general drubbing that it (to my mind) so richly deserves, the Mohler piece was disdainful and slanted. Readers were encouraged to view Mohler askance and critically. It couldn't be (to the writer) that Mohler was a sharp man living from Biblical convictions; everything was seen to be crafted, disingenuous, a bit sinister.

Contrast that with the softball questions lobbed at Vinson Synan in the interview above — and, particularly, at the astonishing assertions and responses allowed to go unchallenged.
Question: What to you has been one of the most unexpected changes of the past century?

Answer: The biggest surprise was the Catholic-charismatic renewal that started in 1967. That came as an utter shock to me, to most of my friends, and probably to the Catholic Church. It gave legitimacy to the movement, that the largest and one of the oldest churches in the world was seeing a Pentecostal movement.
I noted this at the time of which Synan speaks. It wasn't important to the Charismatic movement that the Roman Catholic church preaches a false, damning non-gospel, that it encourages idolatry, that it adds to Scripture and a host of other ills. They speak in tongues! They're big! They like us! We're validated! Ergo, the Holy Spirit is sweeping through them... er, evidently not in any way affecting their hatred for Christ's Gospel, but, well, they like us! They really like us! Yayyy!

There's more, much more.

Synan says the high point was some big meeting, the low point was — what? What do you think? Word-faith heresy? Barking like dogs, mooing like cows, gold dust, whiter teeth, behaving appallingly and blaming it on the Spirit? False prophecies? Perverting the Gospel? Abuse of thousands of adherents? Shelving the Bible?

Nah; a couple of televangelists' moral scandals. (And, btw, they're back, accepted by the same movement — a fact Synan doesn't mention.)

But no fear, those same morally-corrupt televangelists "still helped spread the movement worldwide" — that would be the "movement" of the non-Gospel-centered, non-sanctifying, non-Christ-exalting "Spirit" (i.e. fake tongues, fake prophecies, etc.). What matters more than anything is the legitimization and spread of "the movement."

And, Synan is asked, what do non-Charismatics most need to understand about Pentecostals?

The answer is simply amazing. We nons most need to understand that "Pentecostals are the most successful at converting people in competition with Islam."

I. Am. Not. Kidding.

And who are Synan's prize examples of these more effective evangelists?

Benny Hinn.

Reinhard Bonnke.

Brothers, sisters, it just goes on and on. Like:
  • Africans and Indians are more receptive to Pentecostalism because the don't really "have to change [their] culture or paradigm" to be Pentecostals.
  • A big leader to keep one's eye on is T. D. Jakes (who is, at best, wobbly on the Trinity — one Person of whom is, as I recall, that selfsame Holy Spirit whose century this has been).
  • Oral Roberts is the previous "transformational" paradigm. Baptists and Presbyterians can't equal him. ("Thank God!" is heard 'round the land.)
The CT interview is all like that, just a series of friendly softballs. Not one of these ridiculous responses receives a challenging followup.

Worst of all, to bring this post full-circle, the title goes without the least challenge. This has been "the century of the Holy Spirit"? Meaning what, exactly? On whose authority? By what evidence?

In a dozen different ways, Phil and I in particular keep asking: what does the Pentismatic movement have to show from its distinguishing doctrines from the last century? Our author suggests a remarkable list:
  1. Oral Roberts
  2. Benny Hinn
  3. T. D. Jakes
  4. Jimmy Swaggart
  5. Jim Bakker
  6. Reinhard Bonnke
  7. Televangelists
  8. Sidelining the Gospel (i.e. treating the Roman Catholic church as a big Christian denomination — if they are friendly to Pentismatics)
These are the grand trophies of Pentismaticism.

And before that? Before the Holy Spirit really-really got going with spiritual giants like Bakker and Hinn and Bonnke and Swaggart and Jakes?

Well, I guess it was a pretty pathetic offering. All we had to show for the non-Holy-Spirit era is Augustine, Athanasius, Anselm, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, John Owen. You know. Pikers. Those guys, their work, their sermons, and those books they wrote which are still opening treasure-caskets centuries later.

But CT, as I say, has no challenge for Synan.

But Mohler? Oh,  yeah. After all, remember: CT kissed-and-made-up with the world decades ago on the issues of female "pastors" and ditching Biblical cosmogony — and Mohler is on the (to them) wrong side of both of those issues. So Mohler gets elitist mocking and disdain, while folks like Synan get a pass.

Bonus thought 1: note that there is no reformation going on in the Pentismatic movement, if Synan is any representative. Everything that fueled the last century of Pentismatic-inflicted miseries and errors is still embraced and enabled.

Bonus thought 2: also remember, Reformed Charismatics, by their distinguishing doctrines, necessarily own these folks as well.

Dan Phillips's signature


Anonymous said...

I like to think that I am fairly up on Christian terminology. But, "Pentismatic" is a new one for me. Even doing a google search didn't help as it garnered a whole 3 hits, two being this post. I can break the two words down that you are using, but what is it precisely you are communicating with the term? Have I created a mountain out of a non-existent mole hill?

Thanks Dan.

DJP said...

Try searching Google again in a few days.


Strong Tower said...

Pent- shut-up

i- imaginary

matic- willing

ergo: self-trapped in one's own imagination

Strong Tower said...

Pent- shut-up

i- imaginary

matic- willing

ergo: self-trapped in one's own imagination

John said...

Dan: welcome back.

dlight365: Pentecostal + Charismatic = "Pentismatic" in the unique and compelling eytomological world of Mr. Phillips.

And as he himself said: check google again in a few days.

Robert said...

Should I be concerned that I was angered in reading the op-ed piece about Mohler? I mean, I kind of expected the Q & A with the guy chasing the latest high/experience to be fluffy. I certainly didn't expect somebody to come out and try to write that Mohler doesn't really study and isn't intellectual...that he just repackages the thoughts of others. And why didn't the author feel the need to defend his clear position on the matter of egalitarianism? How is it that we fundamentalists (i.e. inerrantists) are always made to be cuckoos and these guys can't make a good case from Scripture (meaning all of it) against complimentarianism?

And, as should be obvious from previous posts, I am right there with you on the whole community of continuationists having to take ownership of the people you've listed (and many more) based upon their defense of continuation of sign gifts. That includes Piper, Mahaney, Chandler, etc. Let me be clear...I respect these guys, but I don't respect their interpretation of Scripture with regards to their belief in the continuation of sign gifts and the cover that gives to Hinn, Jakes, Copeland, etc. Why did Paul tell the Thessalonians not to quench the Spirit? What is the work of the Spirit in our lives? I'd like to hear that explained by these guys in light of Scripture (all of it).

Anonymous said...


Way to go, brother! CT has been catering to Pentismaticm for decades now. As a teenager I can remember their baseless, strawman, scathing review of Hanegraaff's good book Counterfeit Revival, done by Toronto "revival" sympathizer James Beverley. It was used by many in my church to "prove" Hanegraaff was wrong about the Toronto and Brownsville movements (of which we gladly drank). I believed them--until I read the book myself--three times. My youth pastor found out about it, and warned me that I was letting Satan control my mind and that I should stop reading the book immediately. Yes: critical thinking has always been a hallmark of Pentismaticm ;).

I've also met Vinson Synan when he was lecturing at a Pentecostal conference. Truth be told, brother, the "facts" he gave concerning Pentismaticm's growth were so outrageous they were beyond rational belief. The whole earth should have been converted to Pentismaticsm ten times over. Here's an axiom for ya: Pentismaticm's "facts" > real numbers.

FX Turk said...

When I'm in LA in November, we need to get a TeamPyro picture of the 4 of us dressed as the Ghostbusters.

David said...

Let me add to that list: Eric Liddell, Liddell's parents and siblings, the faithful nurse praying at midnight during the Blitz, and my own father-in-law pastor visiting the sick in SE Missouri unnoticed.

Robert said...


You should include some heretic or worldly deceiver that you are blasting with the Word of truth in your picure. Perhaps you guys could be fighting against Benny Hinn and his machine gun (I refuse to use his descriptors there as it disturbs me). That'd be a classic.

John said...


Where can I find the cessationalist doctrine somewhere in writing? A book, webpage whatever. Especially the source that the authors of this blog hold to.

Thanks, Ian

DJP said...

(This no-profile David is evidently a different David than the banned David the Unteachable troll. We have many Davids.)

DJP said...

John, there are many books that are good in part or in whole.

I like Victor Budgen's The Charismatics and the Word of God. Other good titles come from Thomas Edgar and Waldron (whose book I reviewed here).

I'd love it if Frank and Phil weighed in with some of their faves.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

"CT kissed-and-made-up with the world decades ago on the issues of female "pastors" and ditching Biblical cosmogony — and Mohler is on the (to them) wrong side of both of those issues."

Charismatic Pentecostals have been ordaining women to the pastorate for many decades.

Phil said...

Christianity Today DOES hard hitting interviews on people like T.D. Jakes: http://www.christianitytoday.com/workplace/articles/interviews/tdjakes.html

AND you will also notice that Jakes mentions the 10 commandments and Jesus in that short interview. What do you have to say for yourself now?

Chris said...

Q: "Who are some up-and-coming Pentecostals whom the rest of the church should pay attention to?

A: It's hard to put your finger on them. T.D. Jakes is a very important leader. I don't see denominations like Baptists or Presbyterians producing transformational leaders like Oral Roberts.

The reason you don't see Baptists or Presbyterians producing said leaders is because these denominational cultures don't lend themselves (rightly so) to the Celebrityism/Personality cults that pervades Pentecostalism.

DJP said...

Phil - What do you have to say for yourself now?

How about, "QED"?


Dave .... said...

As a young believer I got swept into charismatic foolishness. Somewhere along the way i got the polluting idea in my head that God's Word trumped opinion and subjective experience. I was not long for their fellowship. They had no tolerence for truth, reform and repentence. Add to the "gifts" the disciplines of "christian stupidity", "the blind eye", and "back scratching (ear tickling?)", and you have, well, a movement. From the bowels of hell, it seems. And so much folly and degradation result. The charismatics are the wolves that prey on "weak women" (of either gender). That the church does not VALUE being defended against them shows how late these days are. Will it not only get worse. Keep up the admonission, Dan.

DJP said...

You have a perspective others lack, Dave....

They come here (and will probably arrive later), having been dissatisfied with their experience, ablush with the promise Charismatics make of greater intimacy with God and so forth, charged up with the promise, sure it's not a hollow one.

If we could fast-forward another 5-10 years, we might see a very different story.

Mike Westfall said...

The foolishness started well before the Azusa Street "revival."

As in, Charles Grandison Finney.

Matt Aznoe said...


You said:

"The reason you don't see Baptists or Presbyterians producing said leaders is because these denominational cultures don't lend themselves (rightly so) to the Celebrityism/Personality cults that pervades Pentecostalism."

Are you serious? John MacArthur? John Piper? Rick Warren? Each was transformational in many ways (some good, some bad) to the way the church looked at God and our relationship with Him.

We are human, therefore we are susceptible to elevating and following certain leaders. This is the same across denominations; it is just that our leaders are "respectable".

Perhaps we should work harder at not dividing the Church by making such proclamations. Call out the wolves and keep an eye out for the goats, but we shouldn't make blanket statements that tear down our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

Anonymous said...

The contrast IS striking. It's amazing to see CT hitting at those schemes of conservative South Baptists taking over (and that the library was an attempt to look intellectual) but it's okay to hold up Benny Hinn as an example? I guess the people with money must buy CT for their church lobbies or something.

Ian said...

"They come here (and will probably arrive later), having been dissatisfied with their experience,"

I watch the "Journey Home" a Catholic program that chronicles the journey of dissatisfied Protestants that eventually find satisfaction at the mass and in the Catholic church. Pretty much the same argument I keep reading here.

Is this the cessationist argument?

You can make a top ten list of well known Pentecostals who have had scandals?

Was it Jim Bakker's doctrine that led him to jail? Was it Jimmy's Swaggart's doctrine that caused him to sin?

If we are going to use experience as the barometer to refute a doctrine then cessationists are in trouble because my local Reformed CHurch, which once was a thriving congregation, is now down to a few cars in the parking lot on Sunday because of a scandal involving the Pastor.

Of course I wouldn't use that in my argument against cessationism.

Sola-scriptura .... sola-scriptura ... sola-scriptura

I look forward to the day when a post here actually deals with the Biblical issues that are in play here. I'll try to clear my schedule that day.

DJP said...

Christianlady, I am really, really slow to reach for that answer - though many do right off. But I have long wondered if Charismatic acceptance isn't simply a matter of $ + # — in other words, money plus numbers. You want to sell anything, you'd better not offend the Charismatics.

DJP said...

First-time reader, then, Ian?


Matt Aznoe said...


I was tracking right with you until the very last thought. Why do you insist on tearing down your fellow brothers in Christ? Could it be that they are simply trying to recognize the person of the Holy Spirit and come to a Biblical understanding of how we are to relate to Him? We may disagree on the exact interaction with the Holy Spirit, but if we believe in the same faith, the same God, the same Gospel, the same resurrection -- if our hope is in the shed blood of Jesus Christ -- does that not mean that we will be spending eternity together regardless of our differences?

I realize that I have made some hurtful and wrong statements. I ask for your forgiveness and any others who have been hurt by my sinful attitude, and I ask that God will help me to demonstrate His love on this forum and in my life. I have harbored resentment toward my fellow brothers here, and for that too I ask for forgiveness as I seek to learn from you even as I disagree.

Let us meet in heaven as friends and not as distant strangers.

Robert said...


How about Benny Hinn's doctrine? Todd Bentley? T.D. Jakes? You are cherry picking and using the very names that CT used.

Ian said...


Actually been reading for quite a long time. I read alot about modern day charismatics and the abuses that are perceived, but read nothing about the doctrine you guys hold to. Entertain me, throw it in the mix in the near future.

Ian said...



Robert said...


Did not Paul rebuke Peter to his face? Did Paul not write to the Corinthians to address their various issues and problems? What about his letter to the Galatians? He didn't even start his letter to them with anything positive. Are we not to imitate him as he imitated Christ? Did Jesus ever refuse to correct and admonish those who had wrong beliefs or did something wrong?

DJP said...

Matt - Why do you insist on tearing down your fellow brothers in Christ?

Are you referring to my saying that false teachers are false teachers?

Because God told me to.

Matt Aznoe said...


Yes they did, but they also did it in love and in an effort to restore and build up their listeners. I find that my attitude has not been right in that area.

Dave .... said...

Matt wrote: "Why do you insist on tearing down your fellow brothers in Christ? Could it be that they are simply trying to recognize the person of the Holy Spirit and come to a Biblical understanding of how we are to relate to Him?"

That's a generous first thought, Matt. But when you've walked in that swamp, read/heard the outright lies and false teaching, the self engrandizing pimping of the Holy Spirit, and seen the human spiritual carnage that results, you may think differently. Their teachers are no "brothers" of mine. They are the "savage wolves", "not sparing the flock" that Paul warns about in Acts 20.

Generosity needs to be wise, especially in what we approve. Woe to them that call evil, good (Is 5). The coming-along-side, the admonission, the reproof are long since delivered to these guys and they have refused it. You entered the conversation at the point of open rebuke - that doesn't turn it into "tearing down your brother", it just makes you late to the party.

Take some time to review the theological history of the issues and you might share our opinion.

Robert said...


You did not answer the question. Are you validating those three? Do you realize that the interpretation of Scripture used by charismatics gives cover to what they do?

And I know the solas...that's what brought me out of the RCC. Do you realize how condescending your words appear? Like we don't get sola scriptura or something?

trogdor said...

Sola scriptural being invoked in defense of errant extrabiblical sorta-revelation may be the highlight of my day.

Ian said...


What is the "false teaching" that troubles you so much about those guys. Take one at a time please.

DJP said...

It's "Everyone pretend there aren't at least fifty posts already answering the question, including this one" day at Ian's place.

Robert said...


I would welcome an honest treatment of this subject by Piper, Mahaney, Chandler, etc. I would love to see them examine what/who they give cover to and have a true understanding of that. I see these men as brothers in Christ and I think that they don't really think through the implications of what they are saying with respect to this matter.

I don't put myself in a better place than them and certainly don't even consider myself worthy of the positions they hold in the ministry. I want to always have in my mind, like Paul, that I am the chief of sinners.

I have strong convictions and I defend them strongly, but I also have a strong love for my brethren in Christ. When I react strongly, it is because of the harm to the church and what I see as a bad interpretation of the Word.

Ian said...


Sola-scriptura being used to refute the cessationist argument. Nothing else. Sorry to ruin your day.

Matt Aznoe said...


I am not excusing the actions of the charismatics. 95% (if not more) of it is complete falsehood and satanic -- doctrines of demons. But not everyone who believes that the Holy Spirit can still act today is a false teacher. Just because I believe that the Holy Spirit can speak to us today does not mean that I endorse demonic activity. To lump someone who believes that God is unchanging in His power and relationship with His people with those who abandon God and pursue power in its own right without any submission to God or His Word -- that is irresponsible.

We desperately need discernment, and these blanket assertions muddy the water so that we cannot see clearly.

Consider, for example, the Sovereign Grace Ministries denomination or people such as Paul Washer. They believe that the Holy Spirit is still active today. Are you saying then that these men are false teachers?

Ian said...


Please don't send anyone my way, I found blogging was a full time job that didn't pay well.

Robert said...

Benny Hinn thinks Adam could fly because he had dominion over all the winged creatures of the earth. He thinks he can heal people, even though his healings have been debunked. He teaches that there are nine members of the Godhead. He says that God the Father and the Holy spirit have bodies. He thinks he is a prophet. He called himself "a little messiah walking on earth."

Here is a link for you, Ian. I am assuming most everybody else knows most of this already:


Ian said...


So I guess that proves the gifts ceased the moment John lifted his pen off the original Revelation manuscript.

Robert said...


See...here we go. I answered your question and you go off in a whole other direction. Are you really Brian McLaren in disguise? Because you make your arguments and carry on dialogue in much the same fashion as he does.

David Regier said...


They only stopped for 1900 years.

Then the Pentecostals dug them back out.

At least that appears to be what they're saying here.

Nash Equilibrium said...

Wow. Great post. Those guys at CT must be off the deep end. I'm glad I haven't read it in the past 30 years.

One nitpick: Nary a mention of making both legs the same length. Why surely that's a fruit of Pente-whatever-ism? (Even if they were the same length before).

Ian said...


Your right I don't want to argue with you about Benny Hinn etc.

Ian said...


To the misfortune of biblical christianity there is the understanding that Asuza was a "2nd pentecost". The gifts have never ceased and have been active in the church in some aspect since 50 days after the ressurection.

Robert said...


Sorry for the meltdown derail. Thank you for the post and showing once again just how far out there CT is. It really does bother me greatly to see them mischaracterize the work of Mohler with all he has done for the SBC and Christians in general. I have benefitted greatly from his writings and sermons that I have heard/read.

John said...

(Sigh...and with great reluctance as the thread appears to be quickly spinning out of control)

Re: naming names; exposing false teachers/prophets; exposing false doctrine.

"This you know, that all those in Asia have turned away from me, among whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes." (2 Tim. 1:15)

"Be diligent to come to me quickly; for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica—Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia...Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works. You also must beware of him, for he has greatly resisted our words. (2 Tim. 4:9–15)

Some of Moses and Samuel; some of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and the other prophets; Matt. 7; a lot of 2 Tim; a lot of 2 Peter; a bit of 2 John; most of Jude; Rev. 2-3

A sampling of the passages that give us license to expose names, teachings, etc. of anyone aberrant or inconsistent with Sola Scriptura with some (but not a lot) of consideration for the spirit in which it is done.

Robert said...


Please tell us of the workings of these gifts throughout church history. I've been working on my own research and I'm curious to see what I have missed.

DJP said...

No, Ian, don't.

Folks, read the post, talk about it. Isn't there enough in it to talk about?

Ian said...


I made a boo-boo and offered an argument that wasn't sola-scriptura so it doesn't serve my purposes but anyway define "the gifts" first so I know we're on the same page. Pleae use scripture when you do so.

Aaron said...

We nons most need to understand that "Pentecostals are the most successful at converting people in competition with Islam."

After yesterday's post, I was thinking (and chuckling) that Rick Warren would probably dispute this.

Honestly, Dan, this reminds me a lot of the people (read suspects) that I deal with at work. You just can't argue with crazy people. Because no matter how much evidence that you present that the moon isn't made of bleu cheese, at the end of the day they'll still believe it to be so.

Aaron said...

don't fall for it, Robert....

Matt Aznoe said...


This is not an issue of whether or not we should call out names. It is the lumping of godly men in with ungodly men just because of some perceived connection between the two.

A lot of people distort the Bible. The Jehovah's Witnesses and the Mormons are notorious for re-interpreting or twisting the words to mean different things. The charismatics and health-wealth preachers also distort the Bible to their own ends. Does this mean, then, that anyone who believes that the Bible is our authority for life are lumped in with these other groups?

There is a huge difference between how a truly godly man views the working of the Holy Spirit and how the majority of charismatics do.

As of right now, Dan is essentially calling Paul Washer and C. J. Mahaney false teachers because their view of the Holy Spirit says that God can still speak to His people and work miracles through them. Is that really the assertion he intends to make? Is he prepared to back it up?

The issue here is one of discernment. Making blanket statements like "remember, Reformed Charismatics, by their distinguishing doctrines, necessarily own these folks as well." is wrong and damages the faith of the Body of Christ.

We should call out the people who are clearly false, but we need to be more careful when getting into the realm of non-essential doctrines. The men I am talking about would probably agree with you on nearly every doctrinal point except for the working of the Holy Spirit.

Nash Equilibrium said...

What if Joseph Smith (a pre-Azusa modern-day-prophecy guy) had been interviewed by CT with the same lack of challenges that Synan was afforded?

Or maybe he was. Now look where we are.

On a more modern note: Would the author of the Celestine Prophecy be interviewed more aggressively by CT, than was Synan?

David Kyle said...

It's funny you should say this Matt:

"Does this mean, then, that anyone who believes that the Bible is our authority for life are lumped in with these other groups?"

That's the point... whether or not the Bible is your authority, or... well... something else. As soon as you move into the realm of the experiential than you have moved beyond the bounds of biblical authority.

But this is all stuff Dan, Frank, and Phil have said about a zillion times.

FX Turk said...

I'm making a chart.

Critize Piper and Reformed people: BAD

Critize Rick Warren: GOOD

Critize people like Benny Hinn, Jimmy Swaggert and those who coddle them: BAD

Criticize DJP for critizing BH, JS and TWCT: GOOD

It's an interesting trend-line.

Unknown said...

Moralistic, Therapeutic, Pentismaticism?

Matt Aznoe said...

As I said, I completely track with Dan for most of his article. That interview turns my stomach, and it certainly does sound like the Catholic church renewed: "you don't have to change your beliefs or religions -- just add Jesus!" This is heretical and ungodly, an outrage. It should be condemned, and Christianity Today is revealing its true identity by the publishing of this article.

This movement, much like Rick Warren, is man focused, not God focused. I found this line most telling: "If [its leaders] keep the excitement and the fire going intellectually and culturally, the [movement will] continue to grow." Excitement and fire, not repentance and obedience, prayer and study of the Word, discipleship and faith. The Holy Spirit works in His own way and in His own time. We are called to walk in faith and humility before God trusting that God will provide what we need when we need it.

If God is not at the heart of a movement and is not directing its course, then that movement is not of God.

FX Turk said...

You might also try "criticize" as well. It actually works better.

Robert said...


I'm still kicking myself for doing so the first time. I must be like the dumbest fish seeing the bait over and over again, forgetting the pain of the hook and going after it with full force.


I was wondering where I stood with critizing. Thanks for clarifying so that I know I'm in the BAD camp today.

Matt Aznoe said...


I am not taking issue with Dan criticizing Synan or Benny Hinn or T. D. Jakes or Jimmy Swaggart.

My issue is that he is criticizing Paul Washer, C.J. Mahaney, Leonard Ravenhill, Brother Andrew, Keith Green, George Muller, Hudson Taylor, and countless others who believed that God could speak to and direct His people, that God could work miracles of healing, that God is the same God today as He was two thousand years ago. Is it wrong to believe that God can still work the miraculous in His people today? Is it wrong to look to God for guidance in how we should perform our ministries or which ministry He would have us do?

Dan paints with a broad stroke while completely ignoring the details of why these men believe how they believe, and the fact that fundamentally, their faith is grounded in the same thing as he is: the blood of Jesus Christ shed for sinners.

DJP said...

< face-palm >

Why do I bother writing?

David Rudd said...


I understand your question. If you're looking for a public forum in which to debate this, you'll probably want to go elsewhere.

If you're seriously interested in discussing this with a cessasionist, feel free to email me and i'll be more than happy to give you my take, insult free.

Webster Hunt (Parts Man) said...

I thought this article was about CT's giving praise to a man more concerned with a "Movement" than the Lord God, and bludgeoning a man obviously concerned with what God says over his own feelings and opinions. How has it devolved into random rants and worries of broad strokes?

Magister Stevenson said...

Since no one seems to want to stay on topic, I just want to say I love my wife's cooking.

Ron (aka RealityCheck) said...

Cover me… I’m going in.


I have a question for you. Do you really… and I mean REALLY have any doubt as to where Dan stands on the issue that you keep bringing up?

IOW, when he (Dan) paints with that broad stoke that you mention, are you really confused as to who he includes in that stroke and who he doesn’t?

I mean… seriously… does he really have to clarify, each and every time, just who he is… and isn’t… referring too!?!

Matt Aznoe said...


Please understand. I appreciate your drawing attention to the problems of Pentecostalism and the rampant spirituality that is absent of Biblical truth. Your article was well written and made great points about the similarities of the current Pentecostal arguments and Catholicism. If you had left out the last line, it would have been a great article.

There is disagreement concerning the nature of the Holy Spirit today, and both claim Biblical support for their views. But both camps, if they are truly of Christ, acknowledge the importance and supremacy of Scripture. Both call for discernment and restraint, a proper understanding and acknowledgement of the sovereignty of God. This is what separates those who do not believe in cessationism and the rest of the charismatics. I think if you sat down with Bob Kauflin (Sovereign Grace), you would find my to agree upon. You would find him to truly be a man of God committed to bringing glory to his Creator and Savior. Why then do you continue the snide remarks that cast derision and division within the Body of Christ.

Bob Kauflin would reject those Charismatics just as strenuously as you do, and on many of the same grounds.

Rachael Starke said...

First, Dan, you might want to create some kind of warning graphic, ala the ones on heartstopping rollercoasters, to put at the top of posts like this. I seriously had chest pains.

The Holy Spirit prevented me from being able to weigh in on yesterday's, um, exchange, so it would be cheating to comment here on that. But I'm totally with Frank on the chart thing, only I'll say it differently:

I would be geninely edified to see which members of the following three groups would be most willing to even acknolwedge (at the risk of being disfellowshipped) that the road on which some of their most sincerely-held beliefs is built, can lead the undiscerning and unwise (meaning, any of us, at times) in a really treacherous direction:

-Reformed charismatics
-Warren FanBoys and Girls
-Cessationist dogmatists
-Continuationist dogmatists
-The Island of Misfit Toy Christians who aren't sure what they are but sure don't want to be any of THOSE guys

Matt Aznoe said...

Alright. Fair enough. Perhaps I have been wrong in my concern.

Dan, who do you mean when you say "Reformed Charismatics"?

Matt Aznoe said...


I will take you up on that. I am indeed greatly concerned that I could go wrong (and I have) in regard to my current views. That is why I continue to read about the lives of other Christians as I try to discern how best to find God's will for my life. I continue to wrestle with scripture to bring my theology more closely in line with God's Word. Ultimately, I fall in faith upon the arms of God to see me through and to teach me wisdom and discernment, because if left to myself, I will fail.

DJP said...

Anyone who claims to be reformed and tries to connect anything anyone is doing today with the revelatory and/or sign gifts that the Bible describes.

Ron (aka RealityCheck) said...

Or… Ian… you could go to the top of the Pyro page and type in “cessationist” (with a “t”... sorry David) and read some (or all) of the 123 references that come up.

Matt Aznoe said...


So basically anyone who believes that the "sign gifts" did not end at some point following the writing of the New Testament and claims reformed doctrine is a Reformed Charismatic.

So what does it mean if someone is a Reformed Charismatic? Are they Christians? Are they false teachers? Should they be excommunicated?

Further, how do we delineate between the "sign" gifts and the other spiritual gifts listed by Paul? Or have all of the spiritual gifts ceased with the completion of the canon?

Matt Aznoe said...


By the way, Dan's answer was exactly what I understood him to mean by "Reformed Charismatic". By that definition, it encompasses a lot of godly men who do not believe the gifts of the Spirit have ceased. Those men resoundingly denounce the false doctrines and practices of the modern charismatic movement.

donsands said...

"Nineteen centuries, not much Holy Spirit... until the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements. Ahh, now, all sorts of Holy Spirit!"

Those in that realm, the tongues speaking one that is, think unless you are baptized in the Holy Spirit, which is subsequent to your salvation, you cannot serve the Lord with all He wants you to.

So if we take a Hudson Taylor, Dwight Moody, or a William Carey, or any of the heros of the Church, they could have done much more with the "baptizm in the Holy Ghost".

Been there and argued that one.

Also, the reason some Pentecostals are falling is because Satan fights agaisnt them with more fervancy, because they are so full of the Holy Spirit, and doing so much for the Lord.

Been there and heard this one as well.

I think the Charismatic thing is simply a goose-bumps religion, for the greater part, or at least 50% of it is getting this feeling or adrenaline rush, which is the filling of the Spirit, and so forth.

Very deceiving.

Nice post to expose this terrible CT article.

What's wrong with CT? Man! Get back to the Scriptures CT!

Thanks Dan.

lee n. field said...

"Why do I bother writing?"--DJB

Because, often, things need to be repeated over and over (and over, and over) before they're heard.

"The biggest surprise was the Catholic-charismatic renewal that started in 1967. " --Vinson Synan

The claims of the two are the same -- continued binding extra-scriptural revelation. The Roman Catholic Church is just more sedate and cerebral about it.

I recommend giving a listen to Danny Hyde, The Pentecost Church in an Age of Pentecostalism, on the role of the Holy Spirit.

Death or Glory Toad said...

In an amateur (very) attempt to stay on topic:

Bonus thought #2: Lending credence to these "continuationist" practices, I think, tends to perpetuate a general impression that the pentismatics are just wayward children.

Validating one falsehood, however possibly harmless in a given environment, ends up throwing a blanket "okay" to anyone who also holds to the falsehood.

There isn't a solid stand against heretical pentecostals because we have pentecostals in general. The fail is NOT in the end-product of bad theology. The fail is at the source of departure.

Toss up one self-centered, Christ-avoiding idea, however tiny and compromising, EVEN AS YOU PROFESS TO CONFORM to the Scriptural Gospel, and you have admitted error into the sanctuary and it gives a stamp of approval to all the rest to pursue that error with abandon -- it's not an error if the goodguys teach it.

I'm not interested in fighting the pentismatical thing either. BUT: I think the fight should be taken back to the tiny little loophole that was the source in the first place.

We see the symptoms and end products in Team Pyro's regular posts. What we "Nons" most need to understand is that symptoms have a source and that the source is this insufficient view of Scripture that, over time (usually SHORT periods) ultimately renders Scripture insufficient.

I hope I'm getting the point that this is at least part of what DJP's getting at around here. I ain't bright-shining like these guys, but dang...

Ian said...


I did whay you suggested and within the time I browsed the posts I get more of the same: an argument against or with modern day charismatics, not a clear presentation of the cessationist doctrine. So perhaps I can wait for that presentation here.

I have to be honest if the doctrine is as crystal clear, open and shut as is suggested by the posts here it shouldn't be too much trouble.


I need your email, thanks for the offer.

mikeb said...

Matt said "As of right now, Dan is essentially calling Paul Washer and C. J. Mahaney false teachers because their view of the Holy Spirit says that God can still speak to His people and work miracles through them."

Matt, if you take the view that the sign gifts are present today, are you not in essence calling all great teachers in church history (Calvin, Luther, Warfield, etc, etc) false teachers as well?

This quote encapsulates the major turn that occurred:

"Nineteen centuries, not much Holy Spirit... until the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements. Ahh, now, all sorts of Holy Spirit!"

Matt Aznoe said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
DJP said...

Matt, I am banning you from this thread until I figure out what to do with you. For now, that's it.

Suggestion: use the time to start in 2006 and read five years' worth of careful explanation, illustration, and exegesis on the topic.

For now, for this thread, you're in time-out.

Jeff B said...

Dan, you are a very patient man. Thank you. And I appreciate the time and effort that you put into your writing.

Stefan Ewing said...

Is it just me, or is there a snide implication in the article that Dr. Mohler is not a real intellectual, but just a "fundamentalist" passing himself off as an intellectual?

I wouldn't expect anything less from a Yale doctoral candidate, though.

And the irony that his mentor is none other than CT's founder, Carl F.H. Henry!

Robert said...


Have you ever heard of any of the leading voices from the reformed charismatic crowd (Piper, Mahaney) addressing the issue of giving cover to people such as Benny Hinn? I was just curious what type of response they would give (or have given) based upon their interpretation of 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22.

Sorry again as I feel like I've broken three of the rules on here today.

DJP said...

No, that's clearly the implication. Mohler's depicted as arranging things to give that false veneer of sophistication and intelligence, but at heart he's just a conniving, rigid, shallow, fire-breathing patchwork of slogans.

greglong said...

Wow, Synan witnessed the entire "Century of the Holy Spirit"??!! How old is he, anyway?

The Squirrel said...

Aw, come on, Dan! Christianity Today isn't all bad... after all, they once quoted me...

To Dan's list of folks who give cover in some way to the Todd Betleys and Benny Hinns of the world, let me add the non-reformed "tongues-less charismatics" such as Henry Blackaby and Beth Moore.


DJP said...

Well yes, there is that.

Ron (aka RealityCheck) said...

Well Ian,

I guess you’ve tapped into something that causes us all problems with this blog. I mean if these Pyro guys can’t make themselves clear in 123 post that you browsed in… what… 39 minutes… it’s pretty obvious to me that these guys just don’t make their positions clear.

It’s no wonder I’m always walking away from this blog saying to myself, “I wonder how they really feel about…”


Unknown said...

Synan must have quoted CS Lewis at the start of the interview process that went un-quoted in the article. Going Clive Staples on a CT staffer is sure to get you tossed softballs and avoids pesky little critical follow-up questions.

I commend you on adding to the Pyro lexicon and avoiding the urge to call the periodical "Christianity Astray."

Well written as always, Dan.

David Regier said...

How firm a foundation
Ye saints of the Lord
Is laid for your faith
In His excellent word!
What more can He say
Than to you He hath said
To you, who for refuge
To Jesus have fled?

BobT said...


One of the best sermons I ever heard (and I'm not a young fella) on what you might call the "cessationist doctrine" was John MacArthur's evening sermon on Sept. 19, 2010 (and Sept. 26), available at Grace to You.

Jacob said...

Great post, DJP. Thank you for the open critique of the inconsistency and imbalance found in that embarrassing branch of Evangelicalism!

Btw, if "penta" is related to "five", then I vote we call them Fivers. Sort of like Islam has its Twelvers. =P

David Rudd said...

My address:
Bishoprudd. At. Gmail

Nathan W. Bingham said...


You asked about resources to do with a cessationist position, try this site: Cessationism.com

Mike Westfall said...

Thanks, David Regier. Now I've got the sounds of J. Vernon McGee circulating through my head.

David Regier said...


Nothing like a little McGee to brighten up the day.

threegirldad said...

I really appreciate your insights on this subject, Dan. Thanks for this post.

Chris said...

Matt Aznoe,

I understand what you mean, but maybe I should've been more precise and elaborated further. My entire background is pentecostal/word of faith. Leaders in that culture set themselves up as "God's anointed" and their followers treat their leaders differently then Piper's or MacArthur's followers.

Ron (aka RealityCheck) said...

Careful Chris,

Around my house, a person who talks to someone in timeout… also gets a timeout. ;-)

Steve Berven said...

Here you go, Ian.


It's called "Google." Might want to look into it.

Jacob said...

My issue is that he is criticizing Paul Washer ... who believed that God could speak to and direct His people, that God could work miracles of healing, that God is the same God today as He was two thousand years ago. Is it wrong to believe that God can still work the miraculous in His people today?

What? None of that has anything to do with Charismaticism. And Paul Washer is not a charismatic. So on both ends of your comment - the person you listed and the evidences you listed - you missed the topic completely.

Also, word verification: barbi

Jacob said...

Here, let's take the argument to its final opposing argument: "But they make such nice worship music!"

Sorry, couldn't resist. :)

Mark B. Hanson said...

Jacob - Actually, in my opinion they don't. At least not if "Breathe" is any example...

Bu the way, I always spell it "Christianity Toady".

Ian said...

Thanks guys for the links, a very big thank you to Steve B for leading me to this thing called Google, wow, I even typed in my name and it appears there is unclaimed money somewhere for me.

Dan, Do you agree with John MacArthur's teaching on the subject?

Steve said...

You might find the following blogs of interest about C.J. Mahaney and the group he leads, Sovereign Grace Ministries:


They tell another side. Hope this helps.

DJP said...

I don't know that much about MacArthur's teaching, when the size of the mass of it is considered. So let's focus on his book on Charismaticism. I more agreed than disagreed, by a large margin, but I do differ here and there.

Robert said...

I was just rummaging through some old stuff on a few of my favorite sites and ran across the following:


I couldn't help but post it here as it really nails the CT attitude towards true biblical Christianity.

DL said...

"Reformed Charismatics, by their distinguishing doctrines, necessarily own these folks as well."

And all Christians, by their distinguishing doctrines on the existence of the Holy Spirit, necessarily own these folks as well.

What an absurd connection you've tried to make with this point.

Robert said...


Go back to previous posts on the subject and maybe you can attempt to make a more sound defense...I have yet to hear one that convinces me.

Ron (aka RealityCheck) said...


“And all Christians, by their distinguishing doctrines on the existence of the Holy Spirit, necessarily own these folks as well.”

Nonsense! Maybe you do, but I don’t.

Jesse said...


My favorite comment of the thread so far was yours: "Because God told me too." I don't know if you meant to be funny or not, but that made my afternoon.

DJP said...

Thanks for noticing.


Bill Honsberger said...

DJP - you will love this. I saw a video at IHOP site a couple of years ago where this young blond guy declared under the power of the Holy Ghose that the Bible was not inerrant but that his prophecies were!!!

Also for fun, I was always confused by Piper giving cover to the Toronto Blessing nightmare many years ago!!!

Jacob said...

"I saw a video at IHOP site a couple of years ago where this young blond guy declared under the power of the Holy Ghose that the Bible was not inerrant but that his prophecies were!!!"

Hey why not? I mean when you can claim special revelation from God, you can say whatever you want (so long as it's not easily testable) and fool at least some of the hearers into believing you.

candy said...

Steve. How is your comment helpful?

Anonymous said...

Sir, Before reading any article, book or blog, I always have to take into consideration the author, the format, and the general tenor.

In this case, the fact that it was CT, gave it a 99.99% chance that it had an incredibly liberal, post-modern slant. The author of the Dr.Mohler piece I did not know, so I had to read with a raised eyebrow, shield at the ready to fend off garbage.

In the former q&a, the subject and the source guaranteed it's outcome of being totally uncritical and shallow before I read it.

That being said, from a layperson, aside from the obvious slaps at Dr.Mohler, I found it surprisingly balanced, and somewhat detached. It certainly did not go the "I've been dissed, I'm going to Huff post" route, but it was obviously slanted in a liberal direction.

But sticking with your post title and conclusions, you are right on. Thank you.

mikehoskins said...

I was born and raised Pentecostal (3rd generation AG). I saw first-hand a bunch of abuses of Scripture, a host of false miracles, immorality in the church, etc. I remember vividly the Bakker and Swaggart scandals, as a teenager. (Those scandals rocked our denomination).

It made me wrestle with the question of whether what I was seeing was Biblical or not and whether I could follow Pentecostalism. Obviously, the immorality wasn't Biblical, but I started wondering about the miracles and doctrines.

I went to one of our AG colleges in Springfield, MO and wrestled more and more with our doctrinal distinctives. I saw more examples of good Christians but more examples of questionable beliefs and practices.

Now you provide a list of some of the more modern examples of false teachers, charlatans, and immoral leaders (Bakker, Swaggart, Roberts, etc.)

Those teachers, themselves, caused me to begin to really doubt our movement. Benny Hinn was just getting popular while I was in college. I spotted him as a fake, just like Robert Tilton, who got caught in money scandals.

However, just because a few guys are messed up doesn't ruin the whole movement -- just look at the Church in Corinth!

While taking Pentecostal Foundations, I found that the Movement also *started out* really badly in 1901 at Azusa Street.

There were false miracles, communes, false prophecies, racism (which along with most of this list fortunately mostly went away,) female pastors, people going to the mission field because of their prayer language, barking like dogs, Oneness Pentecostalism (which was fortunately corrected,) a hatred of intellectualism and of creeds, and on and on.

It was probably crazier and scarier during the beginning decades of the movement than it is now. At that time, Christian denominations were calling Pentecostalism a pseudo-Christian cult.

This class was surprisingly open about our history! They actually had us read the "DPCM" (the Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements - http://www.amazon.com/Dictionary-Pentecostal-Charismatic-Movements-Stanley/dp/0310441005). All I could say about the history of the movement was, "Wow - I'm still a Pentecostal after reading this?!?!?"

(Now, the movement sought legitimacy for a few decades, until perhaps the 80's or 90's, with the Word of Faith Movement, in the wake of the Bakker and Swaggart scandals. Mainline churches were already more accepting of the Charismatic Movement, so the timing was ripe).

During college, I also asked about the doctrine of the Second Work of Grace (the initial physical evidence of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is believed to be speaking in tongues, which I thought I did). I got no good answers after taking 4 years of college; after asking peers, pastors, and teachers; and after reading books on the subject.

I still was Pentecostal, for a short while after taking this class. My wife and I were married about 3 years later, in an AG church and left soon afterward.

The Pentecostal Foundations class; the issues I saw in church; the indefensible doctrines; the scandals; Hank Hanegraaff's book, CHRISTIANITY IN CRISIS; and finally, the ordination of Benny Hinn, caused me to leave the AG and to leave Pentecostalism behind.

We were still Arminian at the time, so my wife and I went to another Arminian church, which taught that the Second Work of Grace would lead to Sanctification (the eventual end to sin in this life). Well, I was already sensitive to TSWoG doctrine, so that raised an eyebrow or two.

Well, in a little over a year, our next church was Calvinist-leaning ("Once saved, always saved.")

About 13 years later, I am one of those five-pointer Calvinist, ex-Pentecostals spoken against in this article.

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...


Mike said: "About 13 years later, I am one of those five-pointer Calvinist, ex-Pentecostals spoken against in this article."

Well now, there you have it, Mike. God is still in the business of performing miracles.

I am a cessationist, too!

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'm wondering if people bother reading the articles that are posted here or simply grab whatever related topic is a hobby horse and then start going nuts?

Thanks for the article Dan. Good heads up on the CT article and good thoughts. I'm quite agreed and loathe that the majority of the unchurched that I encounter think that the "barking" and "health and wealth" component of the charismatic movement, along with the Catholic church, ARE basically the entirety of what Christianity is.

And now, for something completely different:

Is the Bill Honsberger on here the Bill Honsberger who runs Haven ministries? Just crazily curious...

DJP said...

... I'm wondering if people bother reading the articles that are posted here or simply grab whatever related topic is a hobby horse and then start going nuts?

We share that wonderation.

THEOparadox said...


As a former Pentecostal who saw (in person - and was unimpressed by) Vinson Synan, I share all of your thoughts here. Except the last line. After so many good points you had to ruin it by taking a swipe at Reformed Charismatics.

For the record ... being charismatic, we look for the Spirit's work in our midst. Being Reformed, we thoroughly reject the "charismatic movement" at large with all of its excesses and heresies.

Pastor Phillips, I have to tell you, in love, that you might have a tiny little blind spot here. Can we say by the same logic that you cessationists have to claim and be responsible for Bob Jones? And the whole NON-GOSPEL-CENTERED brand of IBF legalism? I no more claim identity with Jakes or Oral Roberts than you claim identity with them. Your statement was divisive, and I honestly think you should repent by striking it from an otherwise powerful and cogent article.

Derek Ashton

Aaron said...

First, you'd have to draw a link between cessationism and anything Bob Jones does. You can't because there is no casaul link. Whereas, Benny Hinn is a direct result of charismaticism. He couldn't act in his crazy ways if charismatics of all stripes didn't open the door first.

Brendt said...

While I recognize that the OP is moreso directed at the double-standard employed by CT rather than the Mohler profile that shows CT's hypocrisy plainly, it occurs to me that (regarding the article) we should expect no less from Molly Worthen than a sloppy hatchet-job that's grossly skewed by personal opinion. She, after all, is also the author of last year's article about Driscoll for the NYT, which starts with an easily demonstrable falsehood and goes downhill from there.

Thank goodness no one ever represented that lie as truth to make a larger point, say like in a sermon to a few thousand pastors.



THEOparadox said...


Saying continuationism directly causes charismania is like saying Calvinism directly causes hyper-Calvinism. After all, we Calvinists opened the door for all of that.

Does the abuse of a doctrine by unstable lunatics prove anything against the doctrine? Peter mentioned that unstable people distorted the doctrines taught by Paul. Can we blame Paul for distortions of his teaching on grace? Should we reject that teaching because some people use it as an excuse for sin?

[shakes head incessantly]

And that's not a charismatic manifestation. :)


DJP said...

Derek, I appreciate your concern, but you haven't actually given me any reason to repent except that you don't like what you think I said. I'm going to need a bit more.

Actually, both your previous mind me of the comment of mennoknight immediately above. You aren't engaging, you're just reacting.

So no, I certain don't retract, much less repent. It's Charismaticism that is divisive, not those who object and instead affirm (with uncrossed fingers) the sufficiency of Scripture. "Reformed" Charismatics provide cover for the crazies, as I've shown in a number of posts now.

THEOparadox said...


Okay, I don't mind if you find my argument unconvincing and choose to stand by your statement. But for the record I did read your entire article and the entire CT article about Mohler (I had enough of Synan when I was in college so I didn't bother to read that one). I responded to what you wrote, and remember it was you who brought up the supposed connection between Reformed charismatics and fruit cakes.

The difficulty, for me, is that you and I agree on so many things. I love to read what you write. But then you shock me by making the most ludicrous (in my opinion) arguments against continuationism, and I think, "Why does he insist on driving a wedge between cessationist Calvinists and non-cessationist Calvinists?" Do you think implying a connection between someone like Piper and that Koran-burning guy helps to build unity in the body, when there are so many essential things for us to agree on? Like the TULIP, the 5 Solas, the orthodox creeds, inerrancy, etc.? Do you think continuationism is a topic otherwise agreed Calvinists should divide over?

I can understand a cessationist making a Biblical, textual, exegetical, even a historical argument against the opposing position. But when you point to kooks and say Reformed charismatics are somehow connected to them I can only shake my head in wonderment.

Have I misread you?


DJP said...

And I'd say I agree with "Reformed" Charismatics when they talk about Bible truths, like the doctrine of God, the Gospel, and the like. But then they get into crazy and divisive stuff — like redefining tongues to accommodate babble, redefining prophecy to grant false sanctity to hunches and notions and to move it to the realm of the untestable, implying that Scripture really is not sufficient for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness, finding themselves unable flatly to denounce nonsense like barking and mooing and Todd Bentleys and such — wellsir, there they lose me.

For starters.

THEOparadox said...

They lose me there, too. But having spent several years in a Reformed charismatic group (Sovereign Grace Ministries), I can say I never saw a hint of those things. Things like that would have been corrected swiftly by my pastors. These are not the way SGM defines itself as Reformed and charismatic. We may be using the same term for two very different things.