Saturday, 21 February 2015


Speaking in tongues was always a real language. (’Tongues' means languages.)

The Bible mentions new tongues; an unknown tongue; divers kinds of tongues; and tongues of angels.

The speaker didn't understand the language. He or she spoke as the Spirit gave utterance.

Sometimes it happened that the audience heard their own language.

Other times it happened that no-one in the audience heard their own language.

In cases where an audience was addressed in an unknown tongue and no-one heard their own language, only the speaker benefited spiritually, unless of course it was interpreted.

The gift of the interpretation of tongues was placed in the Church for such occasions. It was a spiritual gift - not a learned ability.

If no-one in an audience heard his known language, or if no-one present in an audience had the gift of interpretation, the speaker had two options:

One, he could pray that he could interpret what he had just spoken. (Similarly to how the unknown tongue was translated as a result of prayer, in the Book of Daniel. The interpretation was revealed, it was not a learned mental ability); or

Two, the speaker could refrain from addressing the congregation in the unknown tongue and instead speak it to himself and to God.

Paul told one congregation that he himself spoke in tongues more than all of them - in private prayer.

But in public, Paul preferred to speak in a known language, so his audience could benefit and not only his own spirit benefit.

Paul advised that two or three speeches in tongues would be enough for a regular public gathering, with one interpreting.

But in other situations it was fine for a dozen, or even ten times that number, to all speak with tongues at once (such as at Ephesus, in Cornelius' household, and in the upper room on the Day of Pentecost). On those occasions many - more than two or three - spoke with tongues at once. Even interrupting Peter's sermon on one occasion!

That wasn't disorderly because none of them were holding the floor addressing a congregation per se - it was a general outpouring where everyone present was being filled with the Spirit at the same time. No individual was being obtrusive or disruptive to the proceedings.

Whereas during regular church services, it wouldn't be beneficial if everyone took turns to stand up, hold the floor, and address the whole congregation in a language which no-one understood, expecting the audience's undivided attention. That's common sense which even an uninitiated person ought to have known. Common courtesy.

Speaking with tongues could be done at will. The decision whether to pray with one's understanding or with one's spirit (that is, in a tongue) was the responsibility of the speaker.

Paul expected the Corinthians to steward the gift sensibly. He never said their tongues weren't real - in fact he said they were - he just expected them to think of what benefits the gathering.

A speaker could even decide whether to sing with tongues or with his understood language. But he was responsible to decide with the good of others in mind.

A person could bless and give thanks in tongues - but no-one could intelligibly say Amen to his prayer, despite how truly and spiritually he had given thanks. So he had to decide sensibly when to pray in tongues and when to pray with his understanding.

Tongues was never the source of New Testament doctrine. It was a sign that followed those who heard and had believed the doctrine.

No part of the New Testament is a transcript of tongues and interpretation - signs confirmed the Word, they didn't write the word.

God spoke to unbelieving Jews through the sign of tongues (on the Day of Pentecost) - but the same thing was to occur among Gentiles and for Gentiles, and did occur, with regularity (such as at Ephesus, and in Corinth).

The outpouring of the Spirit, and signs, was to be for all flesh, near and far, right up until the Day of the Lord.

Then we shall see face to face. Then we shall know even as we are known.

There is no sense in which the later canonisation of the New Testament marked the occasion when Paul finally began to perfectly know as he himself was known.

But Paul - and all of us - will know perfectly - face to face - as we are known - when the Lord comes.

The Pentecostal/charismatic understanding of spiritual gifts is the same as the Apostolic understanding of it.

Apostolic truth is unchanged no matter whether many or few understand and receive it.

God's Word doesn't change - but our understanding of it can grow.

There are documents of believers receiving spiritual gifts throughout church history, even tongues, even long before the 1900s.

In the early 1900s multitudes began receiving the gifts - and the number still grows.

Many of them are people with a good understanding of the grammar used in New Testament passages such as Mk 16; I Cor.12-14 and in the Book of Acts.

Many were highly educated professors. Many were leaders in Denominations including Reformed. Many intelligent and sincere Bible scholars.

And successful missionaries. The impact on the spread of Christianity has been significant.

Some tangents broke off from it (such as Oneness, and such as the wrong belief that a person must speak in tongues in order to be saved). Just as some wrong understandings had to be addressed even in the days of the Apostles. But those were not the mainstream Pentecostal belief. Just as some Presbyterian churches might make decisions which don't reflect mainstream Presbyterianism (decisions such as one American Presbyterian group's decision to endorse gay marriage).

Arguing with the Pentecostal understanding of tongues therefore needs to involve logic and grammar - not merely emotive attacks and character denigration.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Christ in You

There is a problem which every person faces.

No rehab can fix it.

No medication can fix it.

Some people may struggle with one type of addiction - others may have other struggles. But this is something everybody who has ever lived has faced...

It is: death.

Death is the great leveller.

No matter whether rich or poor.

Sometimes I walk down the street and I think, "Not one person alive today will still be alive on this planet in time to come (if the Lord tarries)".

I look at old photos from the 1800s, and I think, "None of these people are still alive".

Death came because of sin - but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord!

God promises to raise us up from the dead, when He comes.

And we have proof of that promise - the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

No other ideology or religion provides a solution to the problem of death; and certainly no other religion has the proof on the table to back-up its claim. But God raised Jesus Christ from the dead as proof that He has taken away our sins, and proof that He shall raise us up also on the last day.

He was seen by His disciples after His resurrection. He was seen by over 500 people. The Apostles were eye-witnesses. They saw Jesus physically ascend into the clouds in heaven.

And the angel promised them, "He will come again in like manner as you have seen Him ascend."

Jesus is coming again! The dead will be raised. And we shall forever be with the Lord.

He has promised to share His throne with us for ever and ever!

Imagine if a monarch invited you to share his or her throne with you.  That's what God has promised us in Christ!

Actually we already have it inside us now. The indwelling Spirit of Christ is a guarantee - a foretaste - of the eternal glory that will be ours when Jesus comes.

We have it now! Christ is in you. We have eternal life now. It's only out body which is waiting for resurrection.

Greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world!

Christ in you is greater than any addiction - greater than any temptation. There is no mountain that cannot move in His Name!

I want you to walk out of this place today knowing that Christ who is in you is greater than anything in the world. He is greater even than death.

He has dealt with sin. He has given us His own righteousness.

He doesn't want us to struggle to overcome sin or anything else. He has already done the work.

The Book of Hebrews invites us to come boldly to the throne of grace. Someone said it means to come boldly to the throne of love-gifts. Isn't that nice!

Come boldly to the throne of love-gifts.

What father would not delight to give love-gifts to his daughter or son.

God desires us to come boldly and freely receive His love-gifts today.

Sometimes I think God delights in giving love-gifts when they are least deserved!

It doesn't matter how you've sinned. It doesn't matter who you've hurt. You can have a good conscience today.

And God can even heal the people we've hurt.

I imagine a big tap here today - and we're going to ask the Father to turn it on today. Turn on the flow of His grace.

He doesn't want you to struggle - He just wants you to soak up all of His grace. It is God who works in us both to will and to do what He desires.

The work is all His.

Come and receive from His goodness today.

- Shared at Transformations Chapel Service 
Surfers Paradise, Qld 
Tuesday 17th February, 2015

Thursday, 19 February 2015

I Corinthians 14

What matters is not how popular a view has been throughout history, but what the Scripture says.

Justification by Faith wasn't too popular for centuries either! Just because it was rediscovered after many centuries doesn't mean it wasn't the Apostles' doctrine all along.

Same with Pentecostal beliefs about spiritual gifts. Just because their popularity increased in the early 1900s doens't mean it wasn't the Apostles' doctrine all along. 

I CORINTHIANS 14:13-19;27-28
13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret. 

[That's a spiritual gift of interpreting - not a learned natural ability. Because you can't learn to interpret in a single meeting!]

14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth but my understanding is unfruitful.

[It's legitimate to pray in tongues.]

15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.
[It's legitimate to sing in tongues.]

16 Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?
[It's possible to bless, and to give thanks, in tongues.]

17 For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified.

[The issue was not with the tongues, not that it wasn't possible to give thanks in tongues - the issue was that it wasn't understood, unless it was interpreted.]

18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: 19 yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.

[He contrasts two occasions of speaking in tongues - privately and publicly.]

27 If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.

[If tongues are spoken publicly, two or three is enough during any single gathering. And it ought to be interpreted.] 

28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.

[The speaker could continue to pray in tongues to God privately - if there was no interpreter, or if he didn't choose to pray for the gift of interpreting.]

Gramatically and logically the text doesn't preclude the possibility of the above understanding of this passage.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015



The unsure one - that's probably you.

The loud one - that's the devil.

The quiet, confident voice - that's usually the Lord.

(Thoughts shared by Ps Michael Barrett.)

Continuationism and Doctrine

Calvin wasn't a Cessationist in the sense usually meant by cessationism.

Here's something which has seldom been argued: sign-gifts were never the source of doctrine in the Church. I'll explain:

God revealed His will through the holy apostles and prophets, and through our Lord Himself, and through the Scripture-writers.

But the simple gifts of prophecy, tongues, interpretation, healings etc were never the source of doctrine even in the early churches.

Rather, prophecies had to be judged - judged against the already-established doctrine of the Apostles.

The Apostles' doctrine was laid by eyewitnesses of our Lord's ministry.

These men also confirmed Paul's doctrine and ministry.

Sign-gifts followed and confirmed the Apostles' including Paul's and other apostles' doctrine - sign-gifts did not precede the establishment of doctrine by the Apostles.

Sign-gifts were not the source of it.

The Lord Himself and His Words and ministry was the chief cornerstone - built on the foundation of the Scriptural Prophets - and propagated by the Apostles who were eye-witnesses and by others named as apostles such as Paul who wrote canon, and Barnabas who did not.

New Testament doctrine was not sourced in sign-gifts. Sign-gifts followed the preached word.

Signs point to something. Confirm existing reality. The pre-existing reality was New Covenant doctrine. Signs only confirmed it.

So although God no longer reveals new doctrine - there are no apostles today in the same category as the Twelve (although there still are "sent-ones" today though in a different category to the Twelve, as there also were in New Testament times) - the place and purpose of sign-gifts can remain unchanged.

Sign-gifts can therefore still follow and confirm the preached Word today.

Not to relay the foundation - for that was laid by the prophets, the Lord and the Twelve apostles (eyewitnesses) and Scripture-writing apostles.

But to follow and confirm. And to heal. There are still sick in need of healing today!

These are covenant promises which continue.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Turn on the Tap

I was invited to minister at Surfcity Transformation's chapel service this morning.

During the songs I knelt down and asked for God's help. I sensed my mouth (and my hands) were anointed. I felt to stand, confidently.

As soon as I got to the front I knew what to talk about. An anointing to preach good news came on me!

I had a sense of a big tap of the Father's love-gifts, and that we would prevail to get it flowing.

Some prophetic words were given. One person was in tears. Another person fell to the floor shaking, and laughed.

The Father's love was so gentle. 

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Something Better

Sometimes when something doesn't work out for you quite the way you'd hoped, it's because it wasn't the perfect will of God for you, and God had something else and better for you.

Holy Spirit

Quoted Tweet:

@diann3: I love it when the Holy Spirit comes, even the leading minister shuts up. The whole room is His. #glory


If a meeting-leader sees demons cast out in his meetings, it's because he spoke it and claimed it.

If someone sees laughter. Or healings. Or an outpouring of the Spirit. Or visions. Or prophesying. Repentance. Salvations. Teaching. He sees it because he spoke it and claimed it.

What you say, desire, say, believe and say - you have.

If we take God at His Word, He'll take us at our word.

We don't have to wait for the type of meetings we desire. We can enact them.

"If the Holy Ghost doesn't move, I move the Holy Ghost," said Smith Wigglesworth.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Throne of Love Gifts

Come boldly to the Throne of love-gifts, to obtain mercy - mercy means you're weak, or you've done something bad. 

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Time Tells

Time reveals what something was always made of.

How you see something says something about you. 

村人全員の回心 ーミンダナオ島での出来事ー 










我々の村の態度が非常に良くなり、政府に対し、山岳部族の中では我々が最も問題が少ない部族、という評判を得ました。それほど良くなったので、私の名前は、Datu Malinaw (平和をもたらす村長、という意味)に変わりました。






最初、私は村長さんの受洗に対する反応を残念に思いました。私は、村長さんの神への従順が完全なものであったなら、 私達が新会堂の建設を手伝うことに同意するか否かに関係なく、受洗をすることに喜んで従うべきであると思いました。 しかし、主は私の心を和らげ、心に次のような印象を与えてくださっているように感じました。

「この部族は、何世代にも渡って住んできた土地の法的所有権を持っていないのです。彼らは、低地に住む人々に比べ、正式な教育を受けておらず、富もないと感じています。村長は、村人の受洗の許可を、村人を訪問者との契約関係に置こうと思っているのです。彼がしていることは、あなた方が誠実かどうかという証拠を探るためだけなのです。もし、村人が不当に扱われる危険にさらされ、土地から追い出されることがないと確信すれば、彼は喜んで洗礼を許可するでしょう。」 そのように、主が私に語っておられるように思いました。

チームメンバーに、私が感じたことを言いました。すると、チームの一人がさっと、100ペソ(たった5ドルぐらい)を村長さんに渡しました。するとすぐに、村長さんは、村人達の洗礼の許可を出しました。 それだけしかかからなかったのです。誠実さという、名ばかりの5ドルで。驚きました!




村長さんは、彼の言葉を守り、一日のうちに、彼と彼の村全員が、川で洗礼を受けました。最初の礼拝には1300人が出席しました。それ以来、数人の村の若者達は聖書学校を卒業し、4つの近隣の村々に福音の矢を放ちました。しかし、数多くの村々に住む特定の部族には、福音がまだまだ伝えられておらず、 全人口約25,000人がこの特定の言語グループにいます。



今、私達は、神様が私達の前に開いてくださった扉を通って歩んでいく時だと思います。 遅過ぎてしまう前に。


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Sunday, 8 February 2015

Spiritual Food

I reckon we need preaching which doesn't merely make people aware of their need, doesn't merely make them feel that they need to do something - but preaching which lets them hear something so good which they need only believe and they are blessed. 

Thursday, 5 February 2015

How to Minister Healing

Sometimes people ask you to pray for someone's healing.

Now if someone asked you to meet with someone to try to get him or her saved, you couldn't just get them saved by praying a prayer for them, could you - no matter how much faith you have that praying for salvation works. The unsaved person himself needs to exercise faith before you can see him get saved.

Or if you meet someone who hasn't yet been baptised with the Holy Spirit, you can't just get him filled with the Spirit using your own faith alone without any co-operation from him. He's got to come to the place of receiving-faith himself, and then you can see him receive the Holy Spirit.

Same with healing, isn't it? If they aren't already there, often we have to help the person get to the place of having receiving-faith before we can actually minister healing to him.

Some people are already there when they come to us. But many aren't.

Our job is to help them believe they receive.

Then we can minister healing.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015


Some Reformed Covenant theologians seem inconsistent in their treatment of terms such as 'Jerusalem'. 

One said tongues was a sign specifically for Jews". Yet the same person insists on an exclusively spiritual meaning for Jews in the Bible.

So when he says tongues are a sign for Jews, Jews in what sense? True Jews? Could a true Jew be an unbeliever? Have true Jews ceased?

Joel's prophecy about spiritual gifts referenced mount Zion and Jerusalem. Spiritual Jerusalem? Did spiritual Jerusalem cease?

Did promises concerning Jews and Jerusalem not continue to the Gentile Church?

There was a use for tongues beyond being a sign for unbelieving Jews. 

I Corinthians 14

Verse 2

"For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God..."

aka prayer

"...for no man understandeth him..."

Meaning, Tongues were not always understood by the audience.

And legitimately so, for 

"...howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries". 

Personal edification was one purpose:

"He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself..." (Verse 4)

Verse 5

"I would that ye all spake with tongues..."

Not impossible! It happened in Jerusalem, Cornelius' household and at Ephesus.

"...greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying."

So tongues + interpretation was = to prophecy, and it was for the church's edification. 

A Gentile church!

Verse 6

"Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?"

That means tongues was not always understood by the audience, and didn't serve to introduce new doctrine.

Verse 12

" that ye may excel to the edifying of the church..." (a Gentile church, mind you)


...verse 13

"Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret."

So tongues + interpretation edified the church.

Verse 14

"For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful."

Praying in tongues.

The speaker does not understand his own tongue.

Verse 15 "What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also."

He contrasts understanding (mind) with spirit (using tongues).

He could pray, speak or sing either with his spirit (a tongue) or with his understood language at will - but he had to decide with the benefit of others in mind.

Verse 16

"Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?"

Bless in tongues. Give thanks in tongues. Pray in tongues. Speak in tongues. Sing in tongues. 

Each were possible to do in tongues - but not publicly beneficial to the audience unless interpreted.

Verse 17 

"For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified."

Nothing wrong with thanking in tongues itself - just not helpful to others unless interpreted.

The validity of it is shown in

Verse 18 

"I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:"

When he was by himself.

Verse 19 

"Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue."

Public ministry and private use of tongues (valid) contrasted.

Also shows tongues wasn't used to introduce doctrine.

Verse 22 

"Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.

Except it be interpreted. In which case it edified the church.

Verse 23 

"If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?"

Because tongues wasn't always understood, not even by unbelievers.

Verse 24 "But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not..." it makes a big impact even on an unbeliever (verse 25) even though prophecy was said to be for believers. 

Not that the tongues were false, for

Verse 27 

"If any man speak in an unknown tongue (at church), let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret."

Verse 28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God."

Valid to speak to oneself (for edifying) and to God (pray) in tongues.

Also shows that tongues wasn't always understood and wasn't only for unbelieving Jews but for Gentile churches too.

Verse 29 

"Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge."

Judged against what? Against apostolic doctrine.

Prophecy didn't introduce apostolic doctrine - it had to be judged by it.

Verse 31 

"For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted".

Learn through prophecy, yes - yet prophecies had to be assessed for their compliance with apostolic doctrine.

Verse 32 

"And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets."

Meant they had to be responsible to express gifts helpfully, no matter how valid the gift was.

Verse 39

"Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues."

Paul's issue was not with the validity of the tongues nor with other valid uses of tongues, but only that their public gatherings be helpful to all.

On Canon and Cessationism


//The three gifts that Paul mentioned (prophecies, tongues, knowledge) were the gifts whereby God communicated authoritative truth.//


This is your assumption. God communicated authoritative truth through the Apostles (NT) and Prophets (OT). That's why the canon was established as either written by the Apostles or nearest association therewith. The gift [charismata] of prophecy is NOT the same as that which gave us the canon. There are several noted prophets in the NT whose prophecies were not recorded, so this is not a logical claim at all. Those prophecies were not as authoritative as the writings of Paul, else they would have been recorded as scripture. The church has always been able to tell the difference.

Apostles had a specific ministry which included bringing us the word of God. Prophets in the church are a separate issue. Calvin and Knox both affirmed the existence of prophets apart from the canon. This is not a novel concept by any means.


//What is the completed thing (perfect thing) that is God speaking to his church authoritatively?//


That's not what the text is talking about at all. That's your assumption, once again. The completed thing is our maturity, which is only completed ultimately at the consummation.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Electoral Reform

What would you think if legislation was made with regard to our electoral system, to the effect that in the event of a hung parliament, a party can't form government based merely on deals with Independents, but based instead on being the major party which won the second-most votes in the Independents' electorates.

Based not on deals but on figures.

Not on the whim of the elected individual, but on the expressed preferences of the majority of the electors.

Afterward and Before

I want you to notice two words in Joel's prophecy about the outpouring of God's Spirit upon all flesh:

the word AFTERWARD; and

the word BEFORE.

AFTER the fulfilment of certain preceding things (things which concerned Israel, while they were still under the Law) and BEFORE the great and terrible day of the Lord come, the following things were to occur:

the outpouring of God's Spirit upon all flesh;

the accompanying signs of prophesying, dreams and visions;

wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke; the sun turned into darkness, and the moon into blood;

and whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be saved.

It means spiritual signs and gifts belong up until the Day of the Lord.

There aren't two dispensations of the Church.

The continuation of prophesying, visions, signs and wonders is an issue of the continuation of covenant.

Spiritual gifts is linked with eschatology in this passage.

To divide up Joel's statements about the period in between 'afterward' and 'before' into two concocted different dispensations of the Church would be inconsistent with the way the Reformed themselves insist on treating the Olivet discourse.

Joel also said it was to begin in Jerusalem, which is why Jesus instructed the disciples to tarry in Jerusalem. He took Joel's reference to Jerusalem geographically.