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Leaving the NAR Church: Christopher’s story

posted by Amy Spreeman on May 5, 2017

http://bereanresearch.org/

“There is a deep sadness in me, a sorrow over wasted years and opportunities. I get angry with myself for having been deluded and so easily led into false doctrine and practice.”

Christopher got swept up in the “Third Wave,” another term for the New Apostolic Reformation. I love how he tells of his journey out! He has allowed me to include his story in this series about a movement called the New Apostolic Reformation, or NAR for short. In this series, I want to take readers beyond the textbook What is the New Apostolic Reformation Movement explanation, into the personal experiences from those who have been there, and what happened when God opened their eyes to the truth.

Here is Christopher’s story in his own words:

You would probably be surprised that I have a degree in Microbiology and that I practice dentistry and consider myself a scientific person. And that I have had a number of wonderful Bible preaching pastors over the years, men committed to the gospel and the inerrancy of the scriptures. And that I was even trained in and practiced inductive Bible Study, accompanies with a reference texts such as Vines and Strong’s. Boy, did I let my guard down and embrace false illumination! And I thought God was in the middle of the craziness. I thought God was doing something wonderful. I even wrote defenses for all of it, to counteract the “haters” and “heresy hunters.”

Four months ago I renounced my twenty years of involvement with the Third Wave charismatic thing as well as a more recent connection with the “New Apostolic Reformation”. I immediately experienced a relief, a lifting of a burden.

I had begun to grow tired of the promises of coming breakthroughs. I had spent my share on books, tapes, and conferences, all promising to prepare me for what was coming next. I went through Inner Healing and SOZO only to become worried that my great grandparents might have done something which I would never be able to discover which might have opened a doorway for spiritual oppression in my life.

I had been Slain in the Spirit many times, and had received my share of “visions”, but the quest became about more and more of it. It was about finding and riding the next wave of the Spirit, always. And it became about speaking things into existence. Doing greater works than Jesus. Doing spiritual warfare. And marching around the church building speaking in tongues, waving flags, blowing shofars, and ignoring the incredulous looks of onlookers.

Two things happened that probably pushed me over the edge.

Finish article HERE

Speaking in Tongues, Questions and Answers

1.Can/should all Christians speak in tongues?
2. Is speaking in tongues to speak in the tongues of angels?
3. Is speaking in tongues a private prayer language?
4. Should we speak in tongues to edify ourselves?
5. Does praying in the Spirit mean to pray in tongues?
6. Should we speak in tongues at church when there is no interpreter?
7. Is the groanings which cannot be uttered referring to speaking in tongues?
8. Is the baptism of the Spirit a second blessing that is evidenced by speaking in tongues?
9. What is the fire of the Holy Spirit?
10. What happened at Pentecost?
11. Were tongues real human languages?
12. What was the purpose of tongues?
13. Are the tongues spoken today the same as the tongues in the bible?

1. Can/should all Christians speak in tongues?

“And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.” -1 Corinthians 12:28-31

Clearly the answer is no, not all were meant to speak in tongues, as “there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. ” -1 Corinthians 12:4

“There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.” -1 Corinthians 12:4-11

God gave different gifts to whom He willed, not to who wanted each specific gift, and not all the gifts to everyone, including speaking in tongues.

2. Is speaking in tongues to speak in the tongues of angels?

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3.

“Tongues of angels” is not speaking about speaking in tongues, otherwise Paul also would have all knowledge and he would have also burned his body. We know he did not have/do all the things he listed. Paul is saying that EVEN IF angels had a language that he was able to speak, EVEN IF he burned his body, he would still be NOTHING without LOVE. Paul was simply using these illustrations to make a point, it is hyperbolic language to show that love is the greatest thing! We see that love is the more excellent way!

3. Is speaking in tongues a private prayer language?

“For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.” 1 Corinthians 14:2

Sounds like a very spiritual and commendable thing at first glance. It is an interesting passage, let’s look at the context:

“Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification. ”

-1 Corinthians 14:1-5

“Speaking mysteries to God” is not meant as a commendation but as a rebuke, it was not a good thing, but a bad thing. This passage is telling us that it was loveless to pursue speaking in tongues unless it was interpreted, otherwise it was worthless, it was like speaking mysteries that no one understood and that did not edify the Church.

4. Should we speak in tongues to edify ourselves? 

“He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself” is also a rebuke. The gifts of the Spirit were meant to edify the Body, not to edify self, that is why prophesy is greater because it edifies the church. People speaking in tongues without an interpretation were misusing speaking in tongues for their own selfishness, maybe to appear as more spiritual or to experience some sort of elevated ecstatic feelings. Self-edification is never promoted in the bible, it is condemned. We are to edify one another, not to please ourselves. “We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification. For even Christ did not please Himself.” -Romans 15:1-3a. “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all.” -1 Corinthians 12:7.

Paul says “I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied.” Paul knows that not all do nor can speak in tongues, not all do nor can prophesy (as the same Spirit gives different gifts), he just wishes that everyone had the gifts so they would edify the church, and stop playing games with the gifts to show off and appear more spiritual than the next person.

“Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding. Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say? For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified. I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all; yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue.” -1 Corinthians 14:13-19

Tongues were not meant to be a private prayer language because they were meant to be a gift to edify the Church.

5. Does praying in the Spirit mean to pray in tongues?

“Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.”

“Unfruitful” is never a good thing. We don’t want our understanding to ever be unfruitful.

This again is a correction and rebuke for the misuse of tongues.

“I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.” This is not saying that sometimes I will pray in tongues where I don’t understand it (“in the spirit”) and then other times I will pray in my real native language (“in the understanding”), this is saying I will pray with the spirit and understanding AT THE SAME TIME. Praying in the spirit is not praying in tongues. Praying in the Spirit is much like walking in the Spirit, and being filled with the Spirit, which has nothing to do with speaking in tongues, it has to do with submission to His will, to be led and controlled by the Spirit.

We want to pray with understanding EVERY single time that we pray, we want to pray in the spirit and in the understanding.

We should always be praying without ceasing and it should always be with the Spirit and in understanding.

“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.”
-Ephesians 6:18.

“These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” -Jude 1:19-20

6. Should we speak in tongues at church when there is no interpreter? 

“How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God. ”  -1 Corinthians 14:26-28

Clearly, there should never be someone speaking in tongues in church unless an interpretation is given.
7. Is the groanings which cannot be uttered referring to speaking in tongues?

“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us[a] with groanings which cannot be uttered.” -Romans 8:26

Let’s look at the context of this verse:

“For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body….Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” -Romans 8:22, 23, 26-27.

Notice that it is the Holy Spirit who groans and not believers, furthermore the groans that the Spirit makes cannot be uttered.

In this passage, we see that the creation is groaning and obviously the earth and universe and plants and animals do not speak in tongues, this is a metaphor. In this passage we ourselves are also groaning within ourselves, and that cannot be referring to speaking in tongues either because it is within us, not vocalized. Then we see the Holy Spirit making intercession with groaning that cannot be uttered, and we cannot hear nor understand this. The Holy Spirit is interceding for us, not through us or in us or by our tongues, but by His own groanings that cannot be uttered.

8. Is the baptism of the Spirit a second blessing that is evidenced by speaking in tongues?

The baptism of the Spirit happens to ALL believers, at the very moment of salvation. If we are not baptized with the Spirit, we are not His. It has nothing to do with speaking in tongues.

“For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.” – 1 Corinthians 12:13

“But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” -Romans 8:9-10

“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” -Ephesians 4: 4-6

9. What is the fire of the Holy Spirit?

“John answered, saying to all, ‘I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather the wheat into His barn; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.” Luke 3:16-17.

The fire is a judgement, it is damnation, while the baptism of the Spirit is salvation.

10. What happened at Pentecost?

Pentecost was the coming of the promised Holy Spirit.

Jesus said, ‘He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” -John 7:38-39

“And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, ‘you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.'” -Acts 1:4-5

In John and in Acts 1, Jesus promised the Holy Spirit, and in Acts 2, the Holy Spirit came, as promised.

He did not come because He was invoked by earnest prayer or seeking, but by the exact plan, promise, and will of God. They were told to wait for the Holy Spirit, they waited, and they prayed while they waited for the promise, and SUDDENLY the Holy Spirit came.

Acts 2 is where the Church was born, a new era began, at Pentecost.

Acts 2 is where the Holy Spirit first baptized believers. The first time the Holy Spirit baptized was the only time it occurred after the believers were saved, there had to be a first time at some point, but after that first time, all new believers were/are baptized with the Holy Spirit at the very moment of salvation.

Acts 2 is also the first time believers spoke in tongues.

“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” -Acts 2:4

They spoke in different tongues, representing that God was taking the gospel throughout the whole world, into all nations.

11. Were tongues real human languages?

“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.” So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?” -Acts 2:1-12

Note, tongues were known human languages. There is a list of 16 languages noted in this passage. Tongues did not then change from being human languages to being a heavenly prayer language. This is the clearest description and example of tongues we have in the bible, it is evident that they were real intelligible languages, never meant to be used for self-deification or for personal prayer.

12. What was the purpose of tongues?

Besides being edifying to the Church, they also validated the gospel or authenticated the gospel message, and were a sign to unbelieving Israel as a judgement.

“Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature.

In the law it is written:

“With men of other tongues and other lips
I will speak to this people;
And yet, for all that, they will not hear Me,”
says the Lord.

Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe.” -1 Corinthians 14:20-22.

“With men of other tongues and other lips I will speak to this people; and yet, for all that, they will not hear Me” is a prophesy from Isaiah 28: 11-12.

Tongues were also to show that God was saving Gentiles, which in itself is a judgement to Israel as well (although God has not cast away His people Israel and their judgement is not final. Read Romans 11).

“While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, ‘Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?’” Acts 10:44-47.

It was the same gift as it was in Acts 2, it was intelligible human languages. They heard them magnifying God, they understood the tongues. Peter says that they (the Gentile) received the same Holy Spirit that the Jews received at Pentecost.

13. Are the tongues spoken today the same as the tongues in the bible? 

An honest evaluation of the biblical description and prescription for tongues leads to the conclusion that the tongues that Charismatics/Pentecostals, Mormons, Catholics, Hindus, Shamans, Muslims, Buddhists, and Voodooists practice today are not the same tongues of the bible.

Polemics Report

Part 1 HERE

The days passed and the months came. The dissapointments had taken a spiritual toll on me and I began to withdraw myself from Church functions and other ecclesial events. I had become a youth leader at the Church I was attending. Whereas initially I had been  outwardly enthusiastic and committed, inside my mind was roiling. I began to grow non-committal and distant. I was the one guy who didn’t speak in tongues. I was the one guy who couldn’t get it together. I was singled out by the Lord as unworthy of his gift and unworthy to communicate with him in this manner. Hell, I probably wasn’t even saved. The impact that had on me was devastating, and it meant I had to live a lie for a long time.

During Church services we usually had people come up and give prophetic messages. They would say “Thus…

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