Monday, October 22, 2012

Emotionalism vs Rationalism, A Measured Response

Emotionalism vs Rationalism? Sometimes a Pentecostal believer is accused of emotionalism. We are called Holy Rollers and such like. I remember shortly after I had turned to the Lord at age 23, a fellow came up to me at work and said, "I hear that you are one of those holy rollers!" I, not knowing that he professed to be a Holy Ghost filled believer replied, "If I am going to roll, I would rather do it holy than unholy." But in this post I would like to take a, er, rational look at the charge of emotionalism today.

The Bible Says
In Acts 2:1-4 when God poured out His Spirit on the Day of Pentecost that those that were gathered together in the upper room at Jerusalem, "...were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." They did get somewhat emotional about what they had just received for in Acts 2:13 some of those standing by "mocking said, These men are full of new wine."   Those onlookers apparently thought that they had too much to drink and were ready to discount what was happening. But the Bible account goes on and says, "But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel..." This was the fulfillment of the prophesy of Joel 2:28-29 "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit." What happened on the Day of Pentecost was very much in God's order of things. It was God, indwelling Himself in the hearts of His people. It is no wonder they acted a little funny.

But lets look at one of the strange occurances of the Book of Acts. In Acts 10:3-6 the Bible tells us that a man name Cornelius, a Gentile in the service of Rome as a Centurion of the Italian band, had a vision about 3:00 PM in which an angel told him that God had heard his prayers and recognized his faith and that he was to send for a man named Simon Peter who "...shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do." Cornelius did as he was told. At the time when Cornelius's servants were getting to Peter's lodging place, the Bible says that Peter was on the roof of the house at noon, praying while lunch was being prepared. As he prayed, the Bible says, "he fell into a trance,  and saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven." Peter fell into a trance?

Boy if ever one were to think something weird was taking place it would be here, he fell into a trance? I looked up the word trance in Strong's Greek Dictionary to find out exactly what it meant. I have copied and pasted the definition in its entirety below:

From G1839; a displacement of the mind, that is, bewilderment, “ecstasy”: - + be amazed, amazement, astonishment, trance.

The fact that the Bible says in verse 17 that "Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean," speaks to me that he was more astonished and bewildered than out of his mind. God told him to do what he, as an observant Jew, had never done. No wonder he was bewildered. While he thought on the things God had just showed him the Bible says, "behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made enquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate, And called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there." The Lord told Peter to go with them, "nothing doubting." I won't take the time to tell the rest of the story as you can read it for yourself in Acts chapter 10 but the result was Cornelius and his household were baptized with the Holy Ghost and were subsequently baptized in Jesus name. (See also Acts 8 and Acts 19 for strange occurances)

I remember early on in my walk with God, someone said, "I don't care how high you jump, its how straight you walk when your feet hit the ground." The Bible says in 2nd Timothy 2:19  "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity." The Bible also says in 2nd Corinthians 6:17-18 "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,  And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." Do not think that you can be a child of God and be part and parcel with the world.  We are in the world but not of the world. Jesus said in John 15:19  "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." This is the teaching of the Bible. 

I know that this has been a long post but for those who have read thus far let me say "finally brethren..." My desire has been to give a rational response to the charge of emotionalism. The Apostle Paul said in 1st Corinthians 14:33 that "God is not the author of confusion..."  And in 1st Corinthians 14:40 the Apostle goes on and says, "Let all things be done decently and in order." This was spoken by the one who had just said in 1st Corinthians 14:18, "I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all..." God knew what He was doing on the Day of Pentecost and in the early church and He still knows what He is doing today in the 21st century church. In the first account of the gospel being preached, the Bible says in Acts 2:37-39 that the hearers "were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." The promise is still unto all people today! And the promise is to you! If you have been pricked in your heart yet have never repented of your sins, do so today. If you have never been baptized in Jesus name for the remission of those sins, find someone to baptize you in Jesus name. If you have never received the gift of the Holy Ghost, as they did on the Day of Pentecost, ask God to fulfill His promise to you also. And you too will speak with other tongues (languages) as God's spirit give you utterance.

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