About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman

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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 Methodist roots, 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.  It reads:       


"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 debauchery.   


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 Ephesus , for example, their devotees engaged in open sexual expression while in an alcoholic induced drunken stupor.  No wonder Paul told the Ephesian believers to not get drunk with wine that might associate them with pagan worship.         


With Scriptural 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).   


Post Script

I do believe the presence of the Holy Spirit can lead to an emotional response within us, varying from joy to sadness, but to say He removes our ability to maintain self control is not Biblically founded, or so I believe.       


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