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Particulars of Christianity:
310 Pentecostalism,
the Charismatic
and Faith Movements

The Test of Origination

5 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 and Verifiability
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 4
| Section 5

The Test of Origination should not be confused with the Test of Apostolic Continuity. The Test of Apostolic Continuity deals with whether or not the charismatic gifts were handed down through continuous, unbroken practice from the apostles to modern groups practicing the charismatic gifts. As we have shown, all modern Charismatic groups fail that test because history records that the gifts did cease by the time Augustine and John Chrysostom in the fourth century AD. Therefore, the practice of the gifts was not continuously practiced or handed down from the Apostles to modern groups and all modern charismatic groups must be considered hypothetical restorations.

On the other hand, since modern gifts cannot be traced back to the Apostles, the Test of Origination deals with tracing the practice of the gifts in a modern group back to where it originated. This includes not only the initial group or individual who reportedly received the restoration but also all those individuals and groups through whom the practice passed along the way until it arrived at the modern groups and persons practicing it. On its own this test does not conclusively demonstrate anything because it only identifies who the initial recipients of a hypothetical restoration of the gifts were. However, when combined with the following three Tests of Quality (or Ecstasy), Heresy, and Purpose and Verifiability, the Test of Origination becomes critical.

For example, if a modern occurrence of the charismatic gifts originated with a heretical group, then God must have given authentic gifts to heretics who then passed them on to the modern groups. This notion must be rejected since it requires that God endorsed heresy with signs and wonders and so is complicit in misleading people with false teaching.

Additionally, suppose that it is not possible to determine whether or not the original recipients of a hypothetical restoration were orthodox or heretical. If the practice of the gifts passed through any heretical groups along the way to modern groups, then the gifts of that modern group are invalidated because the continuity to orthodox origins is broken and the reliability is corrupted by the intervening heresy.

In either case, even if the heresy is removed, the authenticity is in question because at some point in the chain the modern charismatic group received the practice from preceding heretics.

This is just an example created by combining the Test of Origination with the Test of Heresy but it works similarly for the Test of Quality (or Ecstasy) and the Test of Purpose and Verifiability described below. And the following sections will explain how this works in greater detail and with actual historic examples. For now, it is important to understand that the Test of Origination allows us to evaluate the authenticity of modern charismatic gifts by tracing the groups through whom those gifts have been handed down to modern charismatic groups.