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and Faith Movements
the Test of Purpose
and Verifiability (Part 2)
Tests for Authenticity: The Test of Apostolic Continuity
The Test of Origination
The Test of Quality (or Ecstasy)
The Test of Heresy
Defining the Test of Purpose
On Faith and Miracles
The Sign Sign-Giver Process
Applying the Test of Purpose
and Verifiability (Part 1)
Applying the Test of Purpose
and Verifiability (Part 2)
Section 1 | Section
2 | Section 3 | Section
| Section 5
at this point we should note that it is neither possible nor
necessary to examine every claim of tongues, healing, or other
miracle that is reported to have taken place in the rise of
the modern Charismatic and Faith Movement up until the present
If someone suggests that this or that group or person, even
themselves is legitimately speaking in tongues, we can ask
how they know? In other words, we can seek verification of
the supernatural. The question is NOT whether or not the early
Church spoke in tongues? They certainly did. The question
is NOT whether or not the early Church spoke in tongues when
they received the Holy Spirit? They certainly did. The question
is NOT whether God is currently capable of doing the supernatural?
He certainly is. The question is, "If I speak in tongues today,
how do I know that it is really the authentic gift of tongues
practiced in the New Testament and first few centuries AD
and not just made-up non-sense words?"
God does not ask us to take things on blind faith. God has
given proofs that Christianity is real. Christianity is objectively
verifiable, even from a historic point of view. Faith should
never be used to substantiate that a miracle has occurred.
Instead, miracles are given by God so that we can know what
to put our faith in. If the miracle itself requires faith
to accept, then we might as well just put our faith in the
person without a miracle in the first place. In such cases,
miracles that require faith serve no purpose at all. Such
miracles are inconsistent with the Biblical precedent and
requirements for miracles.
And the same is true for other miracles and signs besides
speaking in tongues. It is absolutely certain that healing
miracles did occur in the Bible in both the Old Testament
and the New Testament. But if someone suggests that either
they or someone else is performing healing miracles, we can
and should ask for verification that the supernatural is going
If the healing can be explained by other factors besides the
supernatural, then we have no reason to accept that a healing
miracle has occurred. If the symptoms cannot be detected,
diagnosed, or verified, then we should not accept that a miracle
has occurred. Back pains, tooth aches, headaches, and other
unverifiable symptoms are impossible to verify. We have no
way to know if the person was faking, exaggerating, or maybe
the pain just went away on its own. Not to mention that the
relationship between psychology and pain is not entirely defined
or understood by modern science. Many primitive worship practices
involve exciting people to a hyper-emotional state where they
are able to walk on hot coals or do other unimaginable feats
and dull the mind to pain in the process. But more importantly,
if the symptoms cannot be objectively identified, we have
no way to determine if those symptoms actually went away or
were there in the first place.
If the healing took a long time to occur, then we have little
reason to accept that a healing miracle has taken place. The
human body is designed to heal over time. Headaches go away.
Bones mend. Illness is fought off by the immune system. And
some diseases even go into remission. Before we accept that
the miraculous is taking place or that someone else has the
power to perform miracles, we need to make sure that the events
are actually miraculous in character. If the events can be
explained by ordinary, natural factors, we should not accept
that someone is performing the miraculous or has the power
to perform miracles.
If the healing takes place while the individual is obtaining
medical treatment for the problem, then we should not accept
that the miraculous is taking place. After all, how do we
know that the healing did not occur because of the medicine,
chemo therapy, physical therapy, radiation-therapy, or whatever
other treatment or procedure was being received.
With medical science as advanced as it is today, it should
be easier than ever to verify symptoms and verify the loss
of symptoms and illnesses. There should be no reason to resort
to accepting the unverifiable "on faith." In short, if someone
cannot provide verifiable evidence that supernatural healing
has taken place, we should not accept the claim that an individual
or group operates using miraculous healing power.
Likewise, the Bible also does records miracles that involve
material provision. In 2 Kings 6:1-6, we see that a man was
indeed miraculously freed from debt when a metal axe-head
floated to the surface of the water. But that defies the laws
of nature involving gravity and density. Wood floats. A metal
axe-head, which had already sunk does not. In Matthew 14,
Matthew 15, Mark 6, Luke 9, and John 6, Jesus feeds thousands
by multiplying loaves and fishes. In 1 Kings 17:8-16, Elijah
multiplied the widow's oil so that it did not run out. These
Biblical examples defy natural explanation. They are verifiably
supernatural in character.
But when we compare that to the types of financial miracles
occurring in the modern Faith Movement, we must inquire as
to whether or not the events are actually supernatural in
character. Or are these events explainable by ordinary, natural
Unlike the floating metal axe-head or the multiplied food,
getting a raise at work or having someone give you money or
a car can happen quite naturally. People can be generous.
People can also be persuaded to give. Sometimes, these things
maybe coincidences, but by no means do they require supernatural
activity. Additionally, when you survey the distribution of
wealth among the Faith Movement, you invariably find that
the rich are the leaders and the poor are those who "sow seed"
into their ministries. This doesn't require something supernatural.
It can be explained simply by the fact that large numbers
of people give their money to the leaders whether as outright
gifts or to purchase books or tapes. Thus finances to flow
into those leaders by purely natural means.
And because these types of "financial miracles" can come about
entirely by natural processes, we should not accept the claim
that they are supernatural.
And once again, if it takes faith to substantiate that a miracle
has actually occurred then you are simply taking the person
at their word. If you are going to just take the person at
their word, then the miracle serves no purpose. And, by just
taking the person at their word, you are going against the
Biblical instructions to test and verify a teacher or prophet's
claims. If a miracle is real, then it should be verifiably
supernatural in character. Only then does it substantiate
our faith in someone's claims. Only then does it operate within
the Biblically prescribed model, function, and purpose of
signs and miracles.
So, when faced with the claim that financial miracles are
taking place, verify that something supernatural is responsible
for the financial change. If the events can be explained by
natural means, then we have no reason to accept the claim
that something supernatural is occurring. When faced with
the claim that healing miracles are taking place, verify that
something supernatural is responsible for the healing. If
the events can be explained by natural means, then we have
no reason to accept the claim that something supernatural
is occurring. When faced with the claim that someone is speaking
in tongues, verify that it is an actual language and that
the person has not previously learned that language. If it
cannot be verified that they are speaking in an actual language,
then we have no reason to accept the claim that something
supernatural is occurring.
Finally, as far as prophecies go, consider that the Biblical
standard for prophets as recorded in Deuteronomy.
Deuteronomy 18:21 And if thou say in thine heart, How
shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? 22
When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing
follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the
LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously:
thou shalt not be afraid of him.
God told the people of Israel that they could determine which
prophets were from him and which were not by whether or not
what the prophet spoke came to pass. If the prophet spoke
something that did not come to pass, then that prophet had
spoken presumptuously and was not from God. The Biblical standard
for those who claim to be prophets then, is 100 percent accuracy.
Anyone can make predictions and be right some of the time
and wrong some of the time. Anyone can play the odds, predict
according to what's likely, and end up right some portion
of the time. Anyone can make vague predictions that can later
be interpreted in whatever way will fit with actual events.
Anyone can predict obvious things. Such predictions don't
require God's involvement and should not be taken as signs
of God's endorsement.
For example, when a friend or relative becomes pregnant, it
is often fun for people to try and predict whether the child
will be a boy or a girl. But this does not require God's involvement.
There chances of getting that right are 50-50. The same goes
for predicting who will win the Super Bowl or some other sports
match for example. The odds are such that you are going to
be right some of the time. Even people who guess on standardized
tests like the ACT or SAT are likely to get some of their
guesses correct, particularly if they are systematic. Being
right some of the time and playing the odds doesn't require
Likewise, predicting vague things such as "A breakthrough,"
"big things," "God's going to use you," or using other such
undefined and unspecified descriptions does not require God's
involvement either. These things are sufficiently vague to
the extent that their meaning can be determined "after the
fact." Anything that remotely fits these vague descriptions
can be said to fulfill the prophecy.
Self-fulfilling prophecies also don't require the supernatural.
For example, it doesn't require God's involvement to tell
someone, "God said if you would help someone else you will
feel better about yourself." If the person helps someone else
and ends up feeling better about themselves, this doesn't
require the ability to see the future. Likewise, predicting
that someone will end up being a missionary overseas doesn't
require God's involvement either. When you tell someone that
you see them as a foreign missionary, that person may go and
become a foreign missionary motivated by the belief that God
has spoken it through a prophet. Thus, the prediction is fulfilled,
not because someone saw the future, but the prophetic statement
caused them to carry it out. In such cases as these, one person
is just carrying out another person's advice or instruction.
There is nothing supernatural about it.
Therefore, prophets who speak vaguely or who are only right
part of the time should not be accepted as authentic or from
God. It does not require God's involvement to make such predictions.
We must remember that we have a responsibility according to
the Biblical instructions to verify and test miraculous claims
because false prophets, false teachers, and false miracles
will occur. Not every miracle is from God and not every prophet
or teacher is either. (Exodus 7:11, Exodus 7:22, Deuteronomy
13:12-14, Deuteronomy 18:21-22, Matthew 24:11, Matthew 24:24,
Mark 13:22, 1 Corinthians 14:29, 2 Timothy 3:8, 2 Thessalonians
2:9, 2 Peter 2:1, 1 John 4:1-3, and Revelation 19:20.) Therefore,
we must look to the Biblical models of doctrine and miracles
for comparison. And anyone or anything that does not line
up with what is recorded in the Biblical must be rejected.
In the end, any reported miracle that can be explained by
ordinary, natural factors should not be accepted as an authentic
work of God. Because such events do not require God's involvement
but can happen without God, they do not prove God's endorsement.
Since God's endorsement is the Biblical purpose for signs,
any event that cannot prove God's endorsement is not a Biblically
legitimate sign because it is inconsistent with the occurrence
of miracles in the Bible itself.
And in conclusion, we can see that the modern practice of
the Charismatic gifts has great difficulty passing any of
the 5 Tests for Authenticity. Since history records that the
gifts had disappeared by the time of John Chrysostom and Augustine
in the fourth century, no one can trace modern charismatic
gifts through continuous practice back to the Apostles. Therefore,
all modern charismatic gifts fail the Test of Apostolic Continuity.
Since the rapid expansion of the modern Pentecostal, Charismatic,
and Faith Movements which began in the nineteenth century
either initially involved or has since passed through stages
involving ecstatic behavior of various kinds, heretical statements,
or miracles that were readily explainable by natural, rather
than supernatural, factors, modern gifts fail the Test of
Origination as well as the Test of Quality (or Ecstasy), the
Test of Heresy, and the Test of Purpose and Verifiability.
Ultimately, since documented history provides evidence that
makes it extremely difficult to substantiate that the modern
gifts are authentic and since the Bible instructs us not to
accept every person who claims to be from God but to test
their claims, we find no reason to accept the modern charismatic
gifts as authentic. In fact, based upon the documented evidence,
we find every reason to believe the modern charismatic gifts
are simply a reemergence of the counterfeit gifts practiced
by the early heretics of the first few centuries AD. Whether
or not most modern charismatics are sincere and simply unaware
of this history and evidence is irrelevant. Using the standards
applied by the early Church when rejecting those early counterfeit
gifts, we also reject the modern charismatic gifts as counterfeit
as well. Those who practice the modern charismatic gifts should
lovingly and kindly be made aware of the facts of both early
Church history concerning the charismatic gifts and modern
history regarding the reemergence of these gifts.
Basically, as these 5 Tests for Authenticity reveal, the history
and circumstances leading up to the modern practice of the
charismatic gifts creates a field of land mines, which
make it impossible for any modern practitioner of the gifts
to trace how the gifts came to them without tracing through
ecstasy, heresy, events that can be explained without the
supernatural, or other marks of the counterfeit somewhere
along the way.