An Examination of Kingdom-, Dominion-,
and Latter Rain Theology
An Apologetics Index research resource
An Examination of Kingdom Theology - Part 1/3
The Vulnerability of Pentecostalism
There are inherent problems in every system of theological expression. Fundamentalism is often fraught with a legalism unintended by God and unsupported by Scripture. The Reformed churches have given us, among other things, "Liberation Theology" - a "social gospel" that bears little resemblance to the dynamic of true Christianity. These have sprung up to a large extent because orthodox Christianity has been content for centuries to cling to a formalism that denies the power of godliness. In short, every discipline within the Church has allowed deception to enter in. What makes Pentecostalism vulnerable to deception is the emotionalism that has become attendant to it. Not that Pentecostals don't love Jesus and desire to keep their doctrine true. But unless they test all teachings by the Word of God and recognize that experience must be secondary to truth, deception has an open door. I remind the reader of Paul's warning to the Corinthian Church in speaking of false apostles and deceitful workers transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ: "...for Satan Himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works" (II Corinthians 11:15-15). Satan's ministers will preach righteousness, morality, and family life. They will preach against pornography, crime, homosexuality, abortion, and the corruption of the world system. While these are legitimate issues of vital importance, they are irrelevant in determining whether the voice is from God or from Satan. Many cults stress righteousness and morality. The only means we have to test the spirits is rightly dividing the Word of Truth. Even the preaching of Christ crucified and resurrected is no longer a means of determining if the spirit speaking is of God or Satan. Many cults call Jesus "Lord and Savior," and "the only Way to the Father." Mormons believe in the Lord's bodily Resurrection. They and Jehovah's Witnesses testify that they are saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. But these declarations are nullified by deeper teachings to which adherents are gradually indoctrinated. Satan uses this same tactic through various "new revelations" within the Church itself. The tares are truly among the wheat. For this reason, today more than ever, Christians must learn to distinguish between the words of a teacher, and the spirit behind those words. Often the purity and simplicity of the Gospel will be encroached upon by other teachings that, in aggregate, nullify the Gospel and lead the hearer astray into doctrines of demons (I Timothy 4:1). True humility on the part of any person should prompt recognition of his vulnerability and raising of safeguards. This should be especially true of Pentecostals and others who believe in God's continual working through supernatural means. Because we are more receptive to supernatural input we should recognize our vulnerability to the spirit realm - both God's working and Satan's. God's Word tells us that "a little leaven leavens the whole lump" (I Corinthians 5:6; Galatians 5:9). All the wonderful preaching and spiritual insight a man brings is nullified if he has the leaven of false doctrine sprinkled among ninety-nine percent truth. That's not to say that every man is unsaved who has succumbed to deception and, overcome by its "spirituality," spreads it to others. No man has all truth, and all are tempted to make Scripture fit their personal biases and pet theories. However, greater is the condemnation upon those who teach if they lead others astray, even in the name of righteousness (James 3:1). Many desire to be teachers, "but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm: (I Timothy 1:7 NIV). This is why Jesus commended the Ephesian Church for trying the words of those who call themselves apostles (Revelation 2:2). These truths must be kept in mind as we study this phenomenon called "Kingdom Theology" and its impact upon the Church.
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