Wrested Scriptures


British Israel
of Christ
  Mark 16:17-18
  Romans 5:6,8
  1 Cor. 14:2


Carbon Dating

& Inaccuracies

Suggested Strategy
  1. Christ predicted that miracles and prophesying would be done in his name, apart from his sanction or power. (Matt. 7:21-23; see also 2 Thess. 2:9). This is why an experience or miracle, no matter how great, cannot be appealed to as the sole judge of the source of that event. A discussion with a Pentecostal can often be more effective if a simple, yet important, ground rule is laid down at the beginning - that if anything is said in the discussion, even if attributed to extra-Biblical sources, it must stand the test of Scripture.1 To assume such a posture in the discussion is to follow the instruction of the New Testament. Consider the following:
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    1. Paul establishes the test of sound doctrine as the criterion by which claimants to Spirit-gift powers can be examined. "Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Spirit." (1 Cor. 12:1-3). The lord prominent in the first century was "my lord Serapis".2 The Gospel challenged allegiance to this god through converts made to the Hope of Israel. No teacher with Spirit gifts would say "Jesus is accursed", but on the other hand, no teacher who followed the pagan cult would assert that Jesus was lord. The test of the claimant to Spirit powers, was, therefore, the test of the doctrine he taught.
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    2. Similarly, John applied the test of sound doctrine: "Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God . . . " (1 John 4:2-3). The test is the same - Is the teaching of the one who claims Spirit gifts in accordance with the revealed Word?
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  2. Now an area of discussion can be selected. But where should one start? The recurrent theme of Pentecostal services is the weight of man's sin, the suffering of Christ in vicariously atoning for man's guilt, and the debt of gratitude which all believers owe to Jesus who relieved them of their guilt. It is in this context that the Pentecostal evaluates Christadelphian teaching about the kingdom of God and the nature of man - interesting discussion, perhaps, but hardly fundamental to the "gospel". It certainly could be effectively argued that both of these areas are fundamentals of the Gospel. There are times, however, when it is advantageous to work within the belief system of the non-Christadelphian and in so doing, become "all things to all men" (1 Cor. 9:22) that some might be saved. What better place to start than the nature, death and atonement of Christ?3 The implication of such a discussion would be to imply, if not to state, that the Pentecostal claim to be led into all truth by the Holy Spirit is wholly unjustified, since the doctrines taught are unscriptural and therefore subject to the severe condemnation of Gal. 1:8,9 ("As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.")
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  3. Sooner or later the Christadelphian will be required to provide proof that the Spirit gifts are not available today. The following summary attempts to compile the evidence:
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    1. The ability to pass on the Spirit gifts seems to have been the special privilege of the Apostles only (Ananias being a possible exception - Acts 9:17). This is indicated by the fact that although Philip's preaching was accompanied by miracles (Acts 8:7), the Apostles at Jerusalem sent Peter and John to Samaria to transmit the Spirit gifts by the laying on of hands. (Acts 8:14-18). Why should Peter and John be sent to Samaria to transmit Spirit-gift powers, if this power were available to all believers? Hence, with the death of the Apostles, there was no one able to transmit these gifts and so they ceased. As Peter said, the gift of the Holy Spirit was promised "to you [the Jews to whom he was speaking], and to your children, [two generations], and to all that are afar off, [Gentiles]4, even as many [i.e., of these] as the Lord our God shall call." (Acts 2:38,39).
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    2. In 1 Cor. 13, the Apostle Paul contrasts the temporary character of the gifts with the permanence of faith, hope and love. "But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way". "Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, [i.e., the gift of prophecy, 1 Cor. 12:1,9,10] they shall fail; whether there be tongues, [i.e., gift of tongues, 1 Cor. 12:10], they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, [i.e., gift of knowledge, 1 Cor. 12:8] it shall vanish away." (1 Cor. 12:31; 13:8). When is this to take place? Paul says, "But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away." (1 Cor. 13:10). Two interpretations are usually given to this verse. Pentecostals argue that the "perfect" which is to come refers to the return of Christ, while others, such as the Christadelphians, argue that it refers to the maturity which would come to the ecclesia with the completed Scriptures. If the latter could be proven, then, of course, this would amount to a proof that the Spirit-gift powers ceased about the end of the first century. The following is advanced in support of the latter interpretation:
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      1. The Spirit gifts would pass away before the advent of Christ since Paul says, faith and hope abide (vs. 13). But when Christ returns one will have no need of hope, for "hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?" (Rom. 8:24). Nor would one have need for faith, since faith is "the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen". (Heb. 11:1, R.S.V.). Therefore, there must be a period of time after the passing of the Spirit gifts in which faith and hope "abide". Hence the passing of the Spirit gifts cannot be at the return of Christ, but must be at some time prior to this.
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      2. The Apostle stressed, "Now abideth faith, hope, charity . . ." (2 Cor. 13:13). This stress indicates that the Apostle did not consider the Holy Spirit gifts would continue past his age.
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      3. The immediate context to verse 10, ("But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away") is the knowing "in part" and prophesying "in part", (vs. 10). The term "perfect" is, therefore, qualified by the subject in the context - the possession of the knowledge of the purpose of God. The impartation of this knowledge was dependent in the first century upon the presence of believers with the gifts of "knowledge" and "prophecy" until the completion of the New Testament. Since the completion of the New Testament no claimants to Spirit-gift powers have been successful in adding to the perfected5 (completed) Scriptures. Why this lack of new knowledge, if in fact the Spirit gifts have been available from the first century until the present day?
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      4. The most frequent use of "teleion" is for the maturity of believers.6 It is sometimes used in contexts which imply that the maturity is reached before the judgment at the return of Christ. Note the following:
        • "Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect [teleiois, "mature", R.S.V.] . . . " (1 Cor. 2:6).
        • "Let us therefore, as many as be perfect [teleioi, "mature", R.S.V.] (Phil. 3:15).
        • ". . . in understanding be men [teleioi, "mature", R.S.V.]. (1 Cor. 14:20).
        • "For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat beIongeth to them that are of full age, [teleion, "mature", R.S.V.] even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil." (Heb. 5:13, 14).
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  4. The purpose of the Spirit gifts was to confirm the word which was spoken (Mk. 16:20), and to equip the saints for the work of the ministry and for edification (Eph. 4:12), but when the mature state of the ecclesia was reached with the completion of the New Testament Scriptures, that which was "in part" (the Spirit gifts, e.g. some had the gift of tongues, others the gift of prophecy, etc.) ceased.
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  5. An explanation must also be offered for two comparisons which the Apostle makes:
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    1. "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." (1 Cor. 13:11). The Apostle's personal life illustrated the development of the ecclesia, (the comparison of the ecclesia to a human body is made in chapter 12, cf. also Rom. 12:4-8) from the immature state which depended on Spirit gifts, to the maturity reached with the completion of the Scriptures. There may be a subtle allusion to the gift of tongues ("I spake"), and the gift of knowledge ("I understood"), and the gift of prophecy ("I thought", "reasoned" mg.). These would "be put away" - rendered inoperative by maturity.
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    2. "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." (1 Cor. 13:12). By looking into the partially revealed Word, man obtained a partial picture of the revelation of God to himself, but with the completion of revelation, man could then see himself as he was seen by God in the divine purpose.
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  6. Since Jesus Christ is "the same yesterday, and today, and forever" (Heb. 13:8), the modem tongues movement claims that the Spirit gifts must be available today. It is argued that Jesus can do today what he did in the first century - send the Comforter to divide "to every man severally as he will". (1 Cor. 12: 11). Two points require stressing:
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    1. It is not a question as to whether Christ can make the Spirit gifts available today. He obviously has the power to do so. The question is rather is it his purpose to make the Spirit gifts available today.
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    2. To argue that Christ must do today what he did in the past is to put a limitation upon his sovereignty. Jesus is immutable (unchanging in his character and person) as is his Father (cf. Num. 23:19; Mal. 3:6; Jas. 1: 17), but he is not confined to do in the present and the future what he has done in the past. To argue otherwise is to ignore the history of the relationship of God and Jesus Christ with men. Two examples illustrate this point:
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      1. The disciples were told not to preach to the Gentiles - Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (Matt. 10:5,6). After the resurrection of Christ, the disciples were told to preach the gospel to all nations. (Mk. 16:15). Philip preached to the Samaritans (Acts 8), and Paul was specifically sent to the Gentiles. (1 Tim. 2:7; 2 Tim. 1 :11).
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      2. Nearly all Pentecostals would agree that Apostles who strike liars dead (Acts 5:3-10) and raise the dead (Acts 9:40) are no longer in existence. The fact that such are not in existence, does not reflect on the essential character of God, but rather indicates that the purpose which they served is now past.
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  7. Today most claimants to Spirit powers stress the gifts of tongues and healing, yet the Apostle says "And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, governments, diversities of tongues". (1 Cor. 12:28). Why the importance today on the gifts of less importance? It is significant that the gift of prophecy is seldom claimed today by Pentecostals, yet it is the most amenable to the test of truth or falsity. Its greater value is set forth by Paul, in its great benefit and profit in the development of faith and character. This would lead one to expect that if any gifts were present, this one would be.
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  8. A reasonable case can be made from the testimonies of Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Origen, Chrysostom, and Augustine that in the post-apostolic era (100-600) speaking in tongues ceased.7


  1. The Bereans were commended as follows: "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." (Acts 17:11). If the inspired teaching of the Apostle Paul was put to the test of Scripture, how much more the statements of latter day claimants to Spirit gifts! Return
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  2. This foreign god was imported to Egypt where in Alexandria it was regarded as a protector. A temple was built for Serapis which "rivalled the pride and magnificence of the Capitol". The god was similar in appearance to Jupiter and it was confidently affirmed by his votaries that if any impious hand should dare to violate the majesty of the god, the heavens and the earth would instantly return to their original chaos. See Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, (New York: Harcourt Brace and Co., 1960 ed.), pp. 415-417. Return
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  3. The following is a brief outline of Pentecostal belief in these three areas, as defined by J. A. Synan et. al. (eds.), The Pentecostal Holiness Church Manual, (Franklin Springs, Georgia: Board of Publications, Pentecostal Holiness Church, 1965):
    1. Christ's Nature - He was "a perfect, sinless human being . . . very God and perfect man." p. 29.
    2. Christ's Death - "Christ lived in a mortal body subject to suffering and death." "He 'dropped out' of the mortal body on the cross." p. 25.
    3. Christ's Atonement - "We believe, teach and firmly maintain the . . . doctrine of justification by faith alone . . . We do not believe that any sort or degree of good works can procure or contribute toward our justification or salvation; that this is accomplished solely and exclusively upon the basis of our faith in the shed blood . . ." p. 31. Return
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  4. Note the use of "afar off" for the Gentiles in Ephesians 2:13,17. Return
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  5. The Greek word translated "perfect" in 1 Cor. 13:10 is "teleios" which means "ended, complete". Robert Young, Analytical Concordance to the Holy Bible, (London: Lutterworth Press, 1965). Return
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  6. "Teleion" is used once in reference to the Scriptures in Jas. 1:25 - "The perfect [teleion] law of liberty". Return
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  7. An excellent historical survey of "speaking in tongues" is developed in Robert Gromacki, The Modern Tongues Movement, (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1967), pp. 50-51. Return