About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman
I was raised in the
Methodist tradition in the 1950's and 1960's.
When I came of age in the Lord in 1970 by no longer clinging onto
to my parents' Methodist coattails, I ended up in the Charismatic
Movement. This became
controversial in my local church. I
do appreciate my Methodist heritage. I
just don't adhere to every doctrinal distinctive.
Neither do I embrace all that is Charismatic.
In 1971 I was blessed
with the gift of tongues and that escalated the controversy.
I was told to seek the Giver of the gifts, not the gifts, which I
was doing. I figured that if
Jesus was handing out gifts, I could stand in line to receive one.
I was also warned about the emotionally frenzied outbursts that
could be seen in Pentecostalism.
That wasn't me. I
calmly received my gift while playing my guitar and singing to Jesus alone
in my bedroom.
In defense of my
I have seen the loss of self control among the emotionally frenzied in
Pentecostal and Charismatic circles. They
say they had no choice in the matter.
The Holy Spirit overpowered them as they claim He did with the
disciples on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2).
Was that really the case?
Acts 2:12 and 13 state
that those watching the Spirit-filled believers were amazed and perplexed.
Some, but not all thought they were drunk.
If those watching were so amazed and filled with doubtful
perplexity, as the Greek text seems to imply, can we trust their
evaluation of the situation without question?
Can we rightly claim that losing total self control is par for the
Spirit-filled Christian? If
the disciples were drunk in the Spirit, as some claim, they recovered from
being intoxicated pretty quickly. With
a sound mind and Scriptural clarity, Peter effectively preached Jesus.
Some refer to Ephesians
5:18 in support of what they call being drunk in the Spirit.
"Do not get drunk
on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead,
be filled with the Spirit
Paul didn't say don't
get drunk with wine but get drunk in the Spirit.
He said don't get drunk with wine but be filled with the Spirit.
Being drunk and being filled are two distinctly different things.
Peter's so-called intoxication didn't lead to wine-style
With the above in mind,
I see self-proclaimed prophets losing all control of themselves as they
speak what they say is the prophetic Word of God.
In light of Ephesians 5:18 and the mystery cults of Paul's day,
what might Paul think about this?
Such emotional frenzied
outbursts were common within pagan worship in Paul's day, which all agree
was not Christian. As an act
of worship to the goddess Cybele and Artemis in
soundness we are to evaluate what we see and hear from the prophets (1
Corinthians 14:29) because false prophecies are an ever-present reality.
Jeremiah addressed this in his day (Jeremiah 5:31) as did Jesus
(Matthew 24:24). Prophetic
seduction will climax when God hands a truth-rejecting world over to a
spirit of deception so it will embrace the anti-Christ's big lie with
frenzied fervour (2 Thessalonians 2:11).