In my most recent sermon, As the Spirit Gives Utterance, I established an irrefutable link between the modern day Pentecostal movement and ancient African Voodoo. I did a significant amount of research on this topic and needed to present the research to make the link clear. In the interest of time, I ended up cutting some scriptures at the end of my sermon. I’d like to present them here.
First, many believe the CGI Toronto congregation is or is becoming Pentecostal. What they are referring to when they say this is the emotional expression they see in our congregation. We can see from the scriptures, however, that genuine emotional expression is perfectly acceptable to God:
Neh. 8:6 And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground.
1Kings 1:40 And all the people came up after him, and the people piped with pipes, and rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth rent with the sound of them.
Referring to the genuine expression of emotion as Pentecostal is based on ignorance of what Pentecostalism is. In my sermon, I defined Pentecostalism, and then I explored its history and its origin. It is abundantly clear that Pentecostalism traces its path from Benin, Africa to 312 Azusa Street in Los Angeles and from Azusa Street to the rest of the world. When the French exported slaves from Africa, they transported them to sugar plantations in French-owned Louisiana (Louisiana had not yet been sold to America). Unwittingly, they also transported the Voodoo religion.
Warning Against Sorcerers
In the Fon language, Voodoo means “spirits”. Voodoo is a religion where the practitioners develop a relationship with a hierarchy of spirits. They allow these spirits to possess them. Developing relationships with the spirit world is known in the Bible as sorcery. God continually warns His people to beware of sorcery. Sorcery is an ancient and powerful religion. It cascaded down from Egypt into west Africa and from west Africa, through the institution of slavery, throughout the world. The Bible often translates the word for sorcery into the phrase “familiar spirits”.
Lev. 19:31 Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.
Lev. 20:6 And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people.
The Easton Bible dictionary says the Hebrews called sorcerers “obs”, which means leathern bottles. Sorcerers were considered by the Hebrews as vessels containing demons.
It is ironic that in seeking Christian perfection, Pentecostals seek the very thing that pollutes them before God:
Deut. 18:9 ¶ When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.
Deut. 18:10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,
Deut. 18:11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.
Deut. 18:12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.
Deut. 18:13 Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God.
Seeing spiritual power overtaking someone bewitches many in the Pentecostal movement. The Bible warns us to be more discerning.
1John 4:1 ¶ Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
1John 4:2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
1John 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
Not all spiritual activity is of God. There are false prophets and evil spirits. The scripture teaches us to discern spirits through what the spirit confesses. When Pentecostals “catch the Holy Ghost” and tremble and convulse and bark and engage in inarticulate vocalizations, how are they confessing that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh? When we observe the Feast of Pentecost, we are confessing that Christ is come in the flesh. We have to calculate the day of Pentecost from the Wave Sheaf Offering. The Wave Sheaf Offering pictures Christ’s successful sacrifice. When we observe the Feast of Pentecost, we picture our birth into God’s family, our glorification and our marriage to Jesus Christ. We confess that God became man so that man can become God.
Not everyone will accept the truths of God.
1John 4:6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.
This is how we discern the spirit of error (or deception). When the truth of God is presented, is it resisted or embraced? Sorcery focuses on personal experience. It bewitches people through their feelings. This is why we mustn’t use personal experience as the foundation of our faith but God’s truth. If we commit to personal experience, it will be easy for us to be deceived. This is as true today as it was in the time of the apostles:
Acts 8:9 But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:
Acts 8:10 To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God.
Acts 8:11 And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.
Simon bewitched everyone because of what they experienced in his presence. The scripture says that everyone gave heed to him from the least to the greatest. They believed he was the great power of God.
This is the same reaction to the miraculous events that took place in 1906 at 312 Azusa Street. The spiritual forces at work were so powerful, people from all over America, from the least to the greatest, came to experience miracles of tongues and healings. What they experienced, however, was the spirit of sorcery not God’s Holy Spirit.
Evidence of Christian perfection through the indwelling Holy Spirit is not the convulsions and inarticulate vocalizations as Pentecostals teach. Evidence of Christian the indwelling Holy Spirit is love:
1John 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
1John 4:17 ¶ Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
We have to be very careful not to be ensnared by the Pentecostal movement. It is the fastest growing denomination in Christianity. It boasts half a billion adherents and is adding thirteen million per year. The influence of Pentecostalism is everywhere. We must be on guard against allowing it to infiltrate our congregation. It is easy for us to see practices in Pentecostal churches and adopt them. We should exercise extreme caution when doing this.
Deut. 12:29 When the LORD thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land;
Deut. 12:30 Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise.
What is Central to the Church?
What differentiates God’s church from false churches is not our personal, subjective experiences. Our foundation is truth. That’s not to say that personal experience is unimportant. It is important. However, it is not the foundation. Those who use their personal experience as their foundation are easily deceived. Our foundation is truth. Notice in Acts 2 that the emphasis is on truth.
Acts 2:5 ¶ And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
Acts 2:6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
Acts 2:7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
Acts 2:8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
The miracle of languages was given to reverse what happened at the tower of Babel. At the tower of Babel, languages were given to separate men from each other and prevent them from working together. Here language was given to bring people together. Jews from all nations heard the truth in their own language. Consequently, they were convicted and converted. What did they continue in?
Acts 2:42 ¶ And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Doctrine is paramount. Doctrine influences everything. We behave the way we do because of what we believe to be true. As a result, God’s church emphasizes doctrine. God educates. Satan deceives. Note the following scriptures, which emphasize doctrine:
Neh. 8:8 So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.
1Tim. 5:17 ¶ Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.
1Tim. 4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
Rom. 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
God’s Spirit is a teaching spirit. We have much to learn and we have much righteousness to develop. The concept that by speaking in inarticulate vocalizations demonstrates that we have achieved Christian perfection is deception. We have a long way to go to achieve perfection. That is why God’s Spirit emphasizes teaching.
John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
Those of us called into God’s church have an awesome responsibility ahead of us. This is why the church is future oriented. We are in preparation mode. We must be constantly edified to achieve a state of perfection for our marriage to Christ. False teachers will try to get us to take our eyes of our future and focus on the present. They will emphasize healing and relief from trials. Healing and relief from trials are wonderful, but they are not our focus. Our focus is marrying Christ and assisting Him in bringing the whole world to the knowledge of Him.
Rom. 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Sorcery in our Midst?
Whether we call it Voodoo, sorcery or Pentecostalism, God’s people have always had to be on guard against people who interact with the spirit world. The biggest danger is when these people are in our midst. As the early church evangelized their Jewish brethren, sorcerers were present even among the Jews:
Acts 13:5 And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister.
Acts 13:6 And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus:
Acts 13:7 Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God.
Acts 13:8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.
Acts 13:9 Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him,
Acts 13:10 And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?
Acts 13:11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.
Acts 13:12 Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.
From the moment Adam was created and God breathed His Spirit into him, Satan sought spiritual control over him. Many have succumbed to Satan’s demonic influence. This will continue until the end.
Rev. 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
Sorcerers will always try to influence God’s church. They will come in different disguises. We must be perceptive and recognize them in whatever form they come.
2Cor. 11:13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
2Cor. 11:14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
2Cor. 11:15 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.
We must be established in God’s doctrine. We must understand that what is central to God’s church is not healing or miracles but DOCTRINE! If we focus on healing and miracles, sorcerers will easily deceive us. We must focus on doctrine. We must realize the path to perfection is not in ecstatic experiences but in doctrine and the effectual work of God’s word when we inwardly digest it. Finally, we must honour those God gives us as teachers for edification will come into the church through those who accurately expound God’s word.
Eph. 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
Eph. 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Eph. 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
Eph. 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
Invitation to Discussion
What is your opinion on this topic? Have you had experience with the Pentecostal movement? Have you looked into the topic of speaking in tongues? Do you have questions? Let’s talk.