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Featured My Life Journey through the Lens of My Charismatic Experiences

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Deadworm, Sep 12, 2022.

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  1. Deadworm

    Deadworm Member

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    This thread is intended to complement my other thread on speaking in tongues by focusing on some of the key charismatic and paranormal experiences that shaped my faith and thought throughout my life. These experiences will eventually illustrate what it can mean to grow up Pentecostal and how speaking in tongues can serve as a gateway experience leading to other gifts of the Spirit. This post gives my first 2 examples.

    (1) There was no children's church in Calvary Temple. So I was a squirmy unhappy 5-year-old when I was forced to sit through a 1 1/2 hour long Pentecostal Sunday worship service week after week. In frustration my parents stayed home one July Sunday and I was ecstatic. I rode my little tricycle up and down the block, noticing the newly polished blue Chevy with huge tailfins parked behind the Jewish shoe store on the corner. I delighted in how it shone in the sunlight and returned to renew my delight again and again.

    Then it happened. As I again approached the Chevy, my attention was suddenly directed to patch of blue sky next to the sun. Wave after wave of liquid love surged through my being, as I suddenly became aware that there really was a God who loved me. I told my parents about my experience, but it didn't register--until neighbors later came over and expressed delight in my testimony to God's love to their own little children.

    I still hated church and used to sneak out to buy life savers and browse comic books at the little store across the street from the church. After a while, the storekeeper shooed me out and I vividly recall standing outside the store, sucking on my life savers and pondering the meaning of life.

    (2) At age 11. I decided to please my parents by requesting water baptism. I had to attend catechetical classes and was the only child present. I recall all the abstract talk of propitiation, justification, and sanctification, which added up to so much excruciation for me because I had no clue what those big words meant. The teacher told us (quoting Colossians) that we needed to be "circumcised in spirit," which might have been meaningful if I'd known what circumcision was!

    Finally, 11 adult men and one child (me) were baptized in a Sunday evening service before 1,5OO people. I was terrified, especially because we were all expected to share our personal testimonies and I was too nervous to address that huge crowd. When my time came to wade out in the huge baptismal tank behind the pulpit, I was afraid my black robe would float up, exposing my nakedness. I was humiliated when the pastor asked me to share my testimony because I was the only one who declined to do so. So the pastor asked me some catechetical questions about what I believed instead. By this time, humiliated, I just wanted to get it over with. But after being dunked, I emerged from the water to be greeted by a vision of a smiling Jesus--the only waking vision I have ever had. He conveyed both amusement and empathy at my predicament and His presence transformed an embarrassing experience into one of the most sacred moments of my life. Like Jesus, I had experienced a vision of the divine at my baptism.
     
  2. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    @Deadworm,
    Here is what I would like hear from you. What would you now explain to someone, as to how to know for sure that when one should die, know how to go to Heaven and be with our Lord zJesus Christ?
     
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  3. Deadworm

    Deadworm Member

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    Your post reminds me of a local mega-church Baptist pastor who was giving an altar call and bellowed, "If you come down to this altar, confess your sins, and accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you can curse God to His face when you walk out of this church and you can "know for sure" that you're still saved based on your altar confession."But how can the subjective experience of redemptive certainty be distinguished from wishful thinking? Salvation depends not on a cerebral profession of faith, but rather on the EXPERIENCE of the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. If you read post #26 in my tongues thread, you'll see how important this distinction is for Paul.

    Gospel texts like John 3:16, Ephesians 2;8-9, and Romans 10:9-10 explain necessary but not sufficient conditions for salvation. Only the inner witness of the Spirit provides the sufficient condition, but this witness is authentic only if one has experienced the transforming "power" of the Spirit. Inner certainty can be temporarily sabotaged by the honest doubts of the sincere Christian seeker, but the Spirit can help us overcome such doubts in God's own good time.

    As a young man, I was plagued by serious doubts that came and went at various times as I strove to get my burning questions answered. The next part of this thread will initially deal with how the Spirit continued to woo me in the midst of those doubts.
     
  4. canadyjd

    canadyjd Well-Known Member

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    Really? Please name that Mega-Church Baptist pastor so I can find the video of that comment.

    peace to you
     
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  5. Deadworm

    Deadworm Member

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    (3) These 2 ecstatic and visionary childhood experiences made me hungry for more of God, or rather, more direct encounters with God. Bible reading and sermons didn't fulfill this need; so my attention was riveted to messages in tongues and the interpretations that often highlighted Communion service after Sunday morning worship. I was thrilled by the prospect of hearing direct revelation from Jesus that was relevant to my life. I had one of 2 reactions to Jesus' so-called messages through tongues: either I was profounded moved to tears the moment the speaker erupted in tongues or I froze as if confronted by a cobra the moment the message was given. I just ached to hear the real thing. Unfortunately, my negative reactions far outnumbered the awesome blessings and this triggered doubts not only about the genuineness of the gifts of the Spirit, but about whether the Bible really contained God's Word after all. My skepticism was increased by the fact that these negative discernments usually applied to interpretations of tongues given by authoritative denominational leaders. Decades later, I came to realize that the Lord had in fact given this 12-14 year-old this gift of spiritual discernment. \

    These doubts were compounded by exposure to evolutionary theory and apparent errors and contradictions in Scripture and my faith crisis became so severe that I think I would have permanently lost my faith and become an agnostic, were it not for an unbelievably awesome experience of Spirit baptism at age 16, which was BY FAR the highlight of my life. I will recount the build-up to that experience in my next planned post.
     
  6. AustinC

    AustinC Well-Known Member

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    Question:

    Does experience trump doctrine (theology) expressly taught in the Bible?
     
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  7. AustinC

    AustinC Well-Known Member

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    I would also note that, so far, this thread has all been man-centered. I, I, I and me, me, me.

    Note, that this was the same behavior Paul was writing against when he wrote to the infant church at Corinth.
     
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  8. Deadworm

    Deadworm Member

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    (4) In desperation at age 16, I sought to regain my devastated faith by attending the Pentecostal camp meetings at Manhattan Beach on Pelican Lake (Manitoba). Of course, speaking in uninterpreted tongues was not allowed during the public evening services, but we were encouraged to tarry at the altar after the service to seek God's face. When I tarried there, I was determined not to succumb to wishful thinking by just "stepping out in faith" and speaking in tongues. So I just waited there, pleading with God, but with no expectation of a divine answer. Then on Tuesday, I went on a 7-mile prayer walk toward the nearest town (Ninette) during which I made 2 points clear to God: (1) If I was going to serve Him, I needed to do so with integrity; so I needed Him to make Himself real to me to prevent me from renouncing my faith. (2) I promised Him that if He made Himself real to me, I'd serve Him with all my heart and mind throughout my life.

    When I returned to the campground, I was very hungry and went to the refectory to buy dinner. Then the thought occurred to me to do something I'd never done in my young life--to fast instead and put my dinner money in the evening offering. After the evening service, I dutifully went to the altar and knelt woodenly in unexpectant prayer, resisting every impulse to surrender to contrived wishful thinking. Then a strange thing happened--I felt what I assumed was an evening breeze coming into the amphitheater off the adjacent lake. But it was no ordinary breeze; it was the wind of the Holy Spirit enveloping my entire being, possessing me and compelling me to speak in tongues at the top of my voice. Wave after wave of liquid love surged through me, each wave more intense than the last! It was a hundred times sweeter and more powerful experience of God's love than anything I have experienced before or since. At one point it seemed like my mind was about to be absorbed in God mind and this was both marvelous yet terrifying because it felt like me ego was about to be extinguished in the absorption. I have no doubt that any of my readers had this experience they'd view it as the happiest and most spiritually profound experience of their lives!

    By now the amphitheater was darkening and I noticed a man and a woman sitting nearby. I asked the woman why she was staring at me and she replied, "Don't you know? Your face is glowing in the dark!" A Lutheran pastor approached me and said, "I'm just here as an interested observer and I don't believe in speaking in tongues, but I can see that God is doing something special in your life." Rather than argue with him, I gently touched him on the forehead and he just exploded in other tongues.
    I soon realized that God had been speaking to me through this experience. He said, "Son, you're desperate for answers to your difficult burning questions, but right now such answers aren't good for you because you need to live from your heart rather than your head. Instead, I want you to just live with the big questions until they lead you to the center of my heart."
    Then I realize that this tongues experience had transformed my mind and I received a word of knowledge that I would be acknowledged has having the highest academic average in the province in my senior year of high school. A blown-up photo of the premier of Manitoba, Duff Roblyn, shaking my hand at my graduation in acknowledgement of this achievement sits on my living room table as a testimony to God's grace and transforming power. The scholarships arising from that achievement helped finance my long educational pilgrimage (MDiv--Princeton, doctorate in New Testament and Judaism--Harvard).
     
  9. canadyjd

    canadyjd Well-Known Member

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    Here, you compare yourself to our Lord Jesus, Christ, Almighty God. You then go in to say that experience wasn’t enough, that you told God He must make Himself real to you and then and only them you would serve Him….
    Here you compare yourself to Moses complete with a direct revelation from God and shining face reflecting His glory.

    The result, however, was not to proclaim the gospel, but rather to make you really smart so you could get advanced degrees from secular universities.

    Congratulations, you have received your reward.

    I’m still waiting for you to name that Mega Church Baptist pastor that told his congregation if they came to the altar and said a prayer they could curse God to His face and still be assured of salvation.

    If you can’t give the details, I’ll be forced to call “cowpie” on your story.

    peace to you
     
  10. canadyjd

    canadyjd Well-Known Member

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    I’m curious, @Deadworm. You claim Jesus appeared to you at age 11, in a vision at your baptism, giving you comfort not to be embarrassed.

    Yet, by age 16, you claim you were ready to renounce your faith unless God “made Himself real” to you.

    My question is, why was seeing our risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in a vision not enough to make God “real” to you?

    peace to you
     
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  11. Deadworm

    Deadworm Member

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    canadyjd: "You claim Jesus appeared to you at age 11, in a vision at your baptism, giving you comfort not to be embarrassed.
    ...Here, you compare yourself to our Lord Jesus, Christ, Almighty God"

    Nope! I don't compare myself to Jesus; I merely glory in the privilege of receiving an unexpected vision of the divine at my baptism just as He experienced at His. Yes, His reassuring presence comforted me, but more importantly, it prevented my baptism from being recalled as a dead ritual to please my parents, a ritual with no meaning.

    canadyjd: "Yet, by age 16, you claim you were ready to renounce your faith unless God “made Himself real” to you.
    My question is, why was seeing our risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in a vision not enough to make God “real” to you?"

    The mystical experiences described in this thread were given to me to counter my growing perception that Christians were not transformed by God's power and that the Bible was not God's Word. I was a natural skeptic headed for agnosticism and I share these experiences to illustrate how God loved and pursued me through my continuing dark night of the soul. In other words, I',m celebrating the wonders of His grace, not my personal accomplishments.

    canadyjd:."You then go in to say that experience wasn’t enough, that you told God He must make Himself real to you and then and only them you would serve Him…."

    Yes, my fervent prayers now seemed a waste of time and I was on the verge of agnosticism. I felt the need to be both brutally honest with God and yet willing to serve Him with all my heart if He made it possible to decisively overcome my skepticism.

    ….
    canadyjd: "Here you compare yourself to Moses complete with a direct revelation from God and shining face reflecting His glory.
    How judgmental I never even mentioned Moses; I merely mentioned the glowing face that the female witness saw as my tongues speaking ecstasy intensified. Most Baptist have no clue what the modern experience of speaking in tongues is like. My point was to illustrate how unspeakably glorious this experience can be--so glorious that I have no doubt that if you had thisk experience, then you (like me) would recognize it as the highlight of your life.

    canadyjd: "The result, however, was not to proclaim the gospel, but rather to make you really smart so you could get advanced degrees from secular universities." Congratulations, you have received your reward."

    An unfair snide remark that blasphemes the power of the Holy Spirit! Here is the point you willfully ignore: Paul teaches that private prayer language edifies the believer,but doesn't clarify this comment. My experience illustrations just how gloriously transformational this edification can be. In my case, it served as my boyhood call to fulltime ministry.

    canadyjd: "I’m still waiting for you to name that Mega Church Baptist pastor that told his congregation if they came to the altar and said a prayer they could curse God to His face and still be assured of salvation."

    The guilty party was a guest preacher in the 1960s--too long ago to recall his name. I'd mention the Baptist church, but I don't want to tarnish its reputation here. But at the time we were disgusted by the apalling cheapening of God's grace. Besides. if you read my post carefully, you'd realize my main point: confession of sin and profession of faith are necessary but not sufficient conditions for salvation. But the regenerating experience of the Holy Spirit is the sufficient condition, a condition that the Baptist preacher mentioned shamefully trivialized.
     
  12. canadyjd

    canadyjd Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for addressing each point that I made.

    I believe you have completely misunderstood Paul’s teaching on “tongues” from 1 Corinthians. When Paul says that the use of tongues, without interpretation, only edified the person, he is saying that to shame them. He desires any “tongues” to be interpreted, so the gospel will be revealed to those that speak that language.

    You have developed an extensive theology around the use of tongues that is not supported by scripture, imo.

    When combined with your claims to be receiving direct revelation from God through the “tongues” experience, you are only a few steps away from full blown heresy, imo.

    I had a pastor friend of mine confide in me that he had seen a vision of Jesus and had been commanded by Jesus to “preach the gospel”. I am always skeptical of such claims, but since the command to “preach the gospel” is consistent with scripture, I simply encouraged him to obey our Lord.

    The things you have described are not consistent with scripture, such as describing God Holy Spirit as “liquid love” and the extreme focus on tongues and private revelation from God through tongues and especially the idea, whether you have stated it directly or not, that tongue speaking is normative for all Christians.

    I urge you to compare any “revelation” you receive with scripture.

    Thanks for the conversation. You have interesting views and experiences.

    I apologize for the snarky comment

    peace to you
     
  13. Salty

    Salty 20,000 Posts Club
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    Me thinks Deadworm did NOT answered your question - or did I somehow miss it?
     
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  14. Deadworm

    Deadworm Member

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    canadyjd: "I believe you have completely misunderstood Paul’s teaching on “tongues” from 1 Corinthians. When Paul says that the use of tongues, without interpretation, only edified the person, he is saying that to shame them."

    I repeat: all academic book commentaries on 1 Corinthians agree with what I said and I challenge you to find even one exception. Paul encourages tongues as a private prayer language (14:28), a point you conveniently duck from my prior post.
    In fact, Paul wants them to exercise their private prayer language even more! "I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you (14:18)."

    canadyjd: "He desires any “tongues” to be interpreted, so the gospel will be revealed to those that speak that language."

    You don't know Greek and thus wrongly assume that "glossai" must mean "human languages. I will demonstrate this error in detail in my tongues thread. This thread is intended to complement that thread by focusing on my own life in the Spirit, including speaking in tonguesl.

    canadyjd: When combined with your claims to be receiving direct revelation from God through the “tongues” experience, you are only a few steps away from full blown heresy, imo."

    And you are a few steps away from blaspheming against the Holy Spirit by dishonoring His ability to continue to bless His church with spiritual gifts. The first century church viewed the unpardonable sin against the Spirit as a refusal to honor the authentic exercise of the gift of prophecy (DIdache 11:7--"The Teaching of the 12 Apostles").
    Also, you violate Paul's stress on paranormal power:
    "But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the [God-] talk of these arrogant people, but their power. For the kingdom of God depends not on [God-] talk, but on power (1 Cor. 4:19-20)."
    {Baptists?) "holding an outward form of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid them (2 Tim. 3:5)!"
    I
    The things you have described are not consistent with scripture, such as describing God Holy Spirit as “liquid love”...I urge you to compare any “revelation” you receive with scripture.

    And it is your ignorance of Scripture, including Paul's poetic image of the Spirit pouring out liquid love, that blocks you from receiving the riches of the Holy Spirit:
    "The love of God has been POURED INTO our hearts through THE HOLY SPIRIT (Romans 5:5)."
    "Through renewal by the Holy Spirit...this Spirit HAS BEEN POURED OUT ON US RICHLY through Jesus Christ our Savior (TItus 3:5-6)."
    "In the last days,,,I will POUR OUT MY SPIRIT on all flesh...and your young men shall see visions (Acts 2:17)."
    So my vision of Jesus at my baptism fullfills God's promise..
     
    #14 Deadworm, Sep 15, 2022
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2022
  15. canadyjd

    canadyjd Well-Known Member

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    Please help me overcome my ignorance of scripture by pointing the passage where Paul refers to God Holy Spirit as “liquid love”?

    Please don’t say, “well Paul says Holy Spirit is poured out upon us, and other scripture says God is love, so therefore, God Holy Spirit is liquid love.”

    If you can’t find anywhere Paul actually uses the phrase “liquid love” to refer to Holy Spirit, you are going beyond scripture, whether Kone Greek or English.

    peace to you
     
  16. Deadworm

    Deadworm Member

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    canadyjd: "Please help me overcome my ignorance of scripture by pointing the passage where Paul refers to God Holy Spirit as “liquid love”?

    <snip> I never claimed that Holy Spirit is liquid love; I described my EXPERIENCE of speaking in tongues as an outpouring of lever intensifying liquid love, to find a way to describe an experience so powerful it requires poetic language to convey what, I repeat, would be by far the highlight of your life, if you had experienced it.

    The central figure of the 2nd Great Awakening, Charles Finney, also used the expression "liquid love" to describe his Spirit baptism, an experienced that gave him an anointing that converted thousands. I only discovered his description years after I had my own experience of liquid love. You need to ask yourself why God often uses the "pour" metaphor to describe how we experience His Spirit and His love. God uses experiental language to describe the ineffable.
     
    #16 Deadworm, Sep 15, 2022
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  17. canadyjd

    canadyjd Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the conversation

    peace to you
     
    #17 canadyjd, Sep 15, 2022
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  18. Deadworm

    Deadworm Member

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    The Book of Mormon ends with a challenge to ask God whether the book is true and a promise that God will confirm its truth to the honest seeker. Millions of Mormons have taken this challenge and feel like they now know their theology is correct. So how is this relevant to the truth of biblical theology? Arguments for theological truth claims are only as good the premises on which they are based and premises are shaped by experience. So ultimately theological truth is only as valid as our experience in appropriating it.

    Biblical truth is worthless to us unless it is quickened by the Holy Spirit who reveals its application to us and our assessment of biblical theology depends on whether we have had the experience of regeneration by the Holy Spirit, an experience of power. Thus, Paul asks the Galatians, "Are you so foolish? Having started with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh? Did you EXPERIENCE much for nothing (Gal. 3:3-4)." Galatian conversion experiences occurred in an atmosphere of miracles ( 3:5). Paul describes the Corinthian reception of the Spirit this way:
    "My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a DEMONSTRATION OF THE SPIRIT AND OF POWER, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom but on the power of God (1 Cor. 2:5-6)." Just how important this experience of divine power is for Paul is established by his subsequent warning to the Corinthians:
    "I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not your [God-] talk but your POWER. For the kingdom of God depends not on [God-] talk but on POWER (1 Cor. 4:19-20)." Paul urges us to avoid Chrisitans who depend on "the outward form of godliness," but don't experience its "power" (2 Tim. 3:5).

    So to answer your question, experience cannot trump biblical doctrine in the sense of contradicting it. But experience trumps doctrine in the sense that without the right experience of the power of the Spirit, doctrine is worthless to the believer. In the early church that power commonly mannifested as speaking in tongues. But the Spirit's power can manifest in many different ways.
     
  19. Eternally Grateful

    Eternally Grateful Active Member

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    this reminds me of a person who can not answer a simple question. so he has to deflect from the fact he can not answer by making up a strawman argument.

    I would like to know also what you would tell a person he or she needs to do in order to have eternal life in heaven
     
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  20. AustinC

    AustinC Well-Known Member

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    Utterly false.
    Any Mormon who reads the 66 books of the Bible will see that the God of Scripture is vastly different from the god of Joseph Smith. Feelings do not define truth. Facts fuel our feelings, but feelings never fuel facts. If you fuel yourself on feelings you will quickly burn out and stop functioning by faith.


    Indeed, an unregenerate person will find God's word to be foolishness. This is because they are dead in trespasses and sins and have not been saved by grace alone and justified by faith alone.

    You entirely miss Paul's point. Paul is addressing Christians who are being taught that they need to live their lives by the law, not by grace. They are being told that they can only experience God through the law, not by grace through faith.
    Deadworm, your demand for an experience in order for God to be relevant in a person's life is simply a twisted variation of the Judaizers works experience. You are preaching a message that Paul would call "Anathema."

    Here you show us your twisted "Judaizers" variant where works trumps grace. Your teaching is anathema to God's grace expressed in scripture.

    You may go your way. Your teaching is empty of any biblical substance. We are at an impasse.
     
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