The False Doctrine of Pentecostalism


Matthew 24:24  For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”


I John 4:1Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”


            During the past weeks I’ve spent quite a bit of time dealing with the false doctrine of Pentecostalism with several of my Bible Correspondence Course students.  Most of these people are very dedicated, some to the point of being fanatical and several Pentecostal groups are considered to be very cult-like in their organization and conduct.  You may not encounter this body of teachings in your everyday activities but then again perhaps you do and do not recognize it as it travels under a multitude of names.  The most prominent groups in the world are the Apostolic World Christian Fellowship, Assemblies of God, Church of God, Church of God in Christ, International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, International Pentecostal Holiness Church, the United Pentecostal Church International.  We can add hundreds of other splinter organizations and groups that may not carry any of these names but hold to and teach a similar doctrine.  This is true to the extent that Mircea Eliade, a prominent religious historian and professor who died in 1986 wrote that “Due to the indistinct nature of many Pentecostal Groups and the vast number of names and organizations, it is difficult to recognize all Pentecostals.”

The Pentecostal Church Inc. is the foundation organization for many of these groups and one of the more prominent.  “The Pentecostal Church, Inc. traces its beginning to New Years Eve, 1899.  In Topeka, Kansas, a band of earnest hungry-hearted Christian people, being hungry for more of God, called a fast that lasted twenty-one days.  During this time they prayed earnestly for a great out pouring of the Holy Spirit, which to their joyful surprise came at midnight on New Years Eve, 1899.  Mighty manifestations were witnessed in the meeting soon after midnight, and people were heard speaking in other languages as the Holy Spirit gave them utterance in the same manner as the 120 received it on the Day of Pentecost, when the multitudes came together and they were understood to speak in the different languages of the earth.”

“Ministers and evangelists came from every section of the United States and missionaries returned from the foreign field to learn more about this strange doctrine.  Many who came received a like experience of the group in Topeka, and returned to their field of labor preaching that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever . . . .  But in the year 1914 a conference was called at Hot Springs, Ark., during which a General Council of the Assemblies of God was formed.  Later because of what many believed to be new revelation of doctrine this group was divided and two or three other smaller groups soon formed, among them being what is known as The Pentecostal Church, Inc., was formed, composed of white brethren only.” (Bodies, Statistics, History and Doctrines Vol. Il, p. 1334-5, quoted in Modern Churches and The Church p. 205

A man by the name of Jimmy Jividen wrote in a book called “Glossolalia” (1971), pp 73-74  A neo-Pentecostalism has arisen in the last ten years.  Its origin has been traced to St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Van Nuys, California.  The Rector Dennis Bennett first became involved in glossolalia.  It then spread to the members of the church where he preached.  It was at first bitterly opposed by the Episcopal religious authorities, but it spread like wildfire.  In ten years it has touched nearly every religious group in the United States.

One of the chief means of the spreading of this neo-Pentecostalism has been the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International – FGBMFI.  Oral Roberts helped at its organization in Los Angeles in 1960.  Now there are chapters throughout the United States and in many parts of the world.  Three of their magazines are Voice, Trinity and Testimony.  Advocates of this neo-Pentecostalism include business executives, movie stars, TV personalities and college professors.”  FGBMI was a forerunner to Promise Keepers and very similar in organization and doctrine.  Over the past 36 years this neo-Pentecostal movement has exploded in numbers and some of its doctrine has even been absorbed by what were once faithful members and congregations of the Lord’s church.  We will spend the balance of our time reviewing some of the basic elements of their doctrine and comparing it to what the Bible teaches.




            Pentecostalism teaches that through the instrumentality of the Holy Spirit, miracles of healing incurable diseases occurs today, as well as other notable miracles such as characterized the apostolic church of the first century. p. 25, A. B. Simpson, The Gospel of Healing and E. E. Bynum in Divine Healing, p. 36.


            Jesus said that those who are sick need a physician:


But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. Matthew 9:12


            The same men who were to heal the sick in the name of Jesus Christ could also drink deadly poison, take up serpents, raise the dead and perform various other miracles as well:


And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” Mark 16:17-20


Now some of these followers of the Pentecostal religion will handle poisonous snakes but they are few and some have died as a result.  You won’t get any of them to drink poison, raise the dead or attempt to heal someone with an obvious physical problem such as a missing leg, arm, hand or anything of that nature.  If they could we could put a lot of hospitals out of business and spare a lot of folks a lot of pain and suffering.


            Jesus and the apostles spoke God’s word and it was confirmed by miracles and signs:


How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; 4God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?” Hebrews 2:3-4


            The facts of the gospel, that which these miracles confirmed has been delivered “ONCE AND FOR ALL”, consequently there is no longer any need for miracles to be performed:


Beloved, while I was giving all diligence to write unto you of our common salvation, I was constrained to write unto you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints.” (ASV) Jude 3


            Now, in today’s world, our faith comes by hearing that gospel that was once for all delivered:


So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17  


The False Doctrine of Pentecostalism




            Pentecostalism teaches that a person may speak in tongues today while under the influence of the Holy Spirit, just as did Peter and the other apostles on the day of Pentecost, A.D. 33.  Cf. Pentecostalism’s magazines: Truth, Voice and Testimony, and other writings.


            Three representative supernatural gifts are listed by Paul writing by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in:


I Corinthians 13:8-10Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 9For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.”


            When Paul penned these words the complete New Covenant of Jesus Christ had not yet been revealed.  But it was when John closed the book of Revelation.  Consequently men are no longer able to prophesy, the ability to speak in tongues has ceased, and miraculous knowledge of God’s will is no longer available to man.  He must study the Word of God for himself.  James tells us we are to now look “INTO THE PERFECT LAW OF LIBERTY”:


But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” James 1:25


            Miraculous gifts were given to men for a specific purpose and for a specific period of time:


And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13Till 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.” Ephesians 4:11-13


The time has come when God’s revelation is complete.  We now have in our possession all that is necessary for man to come to position of being “IN THE UNITY OF THE FAITH, AND OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE SON OF GOD, UNTO A PERFECT (or complete) MAN…” Ephesians 4:13


            The purpose of giving the apostles, and subsequently those upon whom they chose to lay their hands, the ability to speak in tongues was for the benefit of unbelievers:


Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.” I Corinthians 14:22


Its purpose was to allow the unbelievers to hear the good news of the gospel of Christ in their own language, just as they did the first time it was used:


And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? 8And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?” Acts 2:7-8


God’s Authority Replaced by Men’s Feelings


            Pentecostalism espouses religion as a “romantic” philosophy – that “the heart of man has reasons which his mind knows not of” (in making decisions on religious questions).  Under this philosophy truth is subjective; that is, it is not something which has objective reality, but is changed or even comes into existence by the mental states of thinking minds.  Men’s feelings are the highest authority.

            This philosophy completely ignores God’s warnings:


O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.” Jeremiah 10:23


For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9


            The Word of God, the Bible is TRUTH:


John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”


Truth is not subjective; it does not originate in the minds of men. The scriptures are truth.  Truth originated in the mind of God.  The truth of scripture is the absolute, inspired and authoritative truth of God:


All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” II Timothy 3:16-17


Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” II Peter 1:20-21


But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” I Corinthians 2:9-10


When man comes to regard his own feelings and desires as his basic authority for his life he has rejected God.  He becomes like King Saul and will be rejected by God as his child the same way God rejected Saul as being King over his people:


And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. 23For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.” I Samuel 15:22-23


Women Preachers/Teachers


            Pentecostalism teaches that women may participate in leading in public prayer, teaching and preaching – Commonly practiced.  This is also a practice that is coming to those who call themselves churches of Christ.  The praise team churches have women participating in leading the singing, some are using women to serve at the Lord’s table and mixed classes are not unusual.  Mixed classes being taught by women is one of the problems that surfaced at the Jubilee in Nashville several years ago.  Now they’re going further.  While searching for a congregation with which to worship in California in February we found two with female youth ministers and there are more in other locations.  Women are being hired as “Family Life” ministers by some congregations that claim to be churches of Christ.  But what does the Word of God tell us?

            The Holy Spirit contrasted the duties of men and women in public worship:


I Timothy 2:11-13Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. 12But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. 13For Adam was first formed, then Eve.”


The Greek word translated teach in I Timothy 2:12 is didasko, defined by Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament words in this verse as “to give instruction”.  Every usage we find referenced in that dictionary is related to giving public instruction, or as one source states it “deliver didactic discourse”, hence women are forbidden to preach or teach mixed audiences.  But women may teach and must teach as disciples of Jesus Christ.  They should teach children and other women:


Titus 2:3-4The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,”


And we have the example of Priscilla and Aquilla teaching Apollos the way of the Lord more perfectly.  An example of a woman assisting her husband in teaching this eloquent young man what was needful.


Acts 18:25-26This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. 26And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.”


Holy Spirit Baptism


            The Pentecostal denominations teach that Holy Spirit baptism is for today. 


Jesus did indeed promise his disciples that they would receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit:


But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1:8


That promise was fulfilled on the Pentecost day that followed:


And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts 2:4


The only other people that received the Holy Spirit in this manner were Cornelius and his household as Peter testifies:


Acts 11:15And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.”


Today there is only one baptism as the Holy Spirit tells us through Paul:


One Lord, one faith, one baptism,” Ephesians 4:5


That baptism is the baptism commanded by Jesus Christ that man must do, not the baptism of the Holy Spirit that only God can do:


Mark 16:15-16And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”


Instrumental Music in Worship


            The Pentecostal denominations teach and practice the use of instruments of music in worship to “glorify” God.

            But vocal music is the only music commanded, authorized or found in the New Testament worship of God.  This was true in the first century church and in all churches, even the denominations until over 600 years after Christ died.


Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Colossians 3:16


Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” Ephesians 5:19-21


Healing is the Atonement


            Pentecostalism teaches that Christ redeemed us “from the curse of the law,” and sickness is the curse of the law, destroyed by Christ.  Oral Roberts, If You Need Healing – Do These Things, pp. 25  Is Divine Healing in The Atonement?  We believe it is…Through the Fall we lost everything.  Jesus recovered all through His atonement…we are redeemed from the entire curse, body, soul and spirit.”  F.F. Bosworth, Christ The Healer, pp 25, 38  The Pentecostals teach that physical as well as spiritual losses were sustained through Adam’s rebellion and this is true.  But they also teach that Christ regained all that was lost through Adam.

            Oh! If only this were true!  If we have regained all that was lost to mankind through the sin of Adam then we should be able to heal all diseases and never have to face death.  If not, why not?  What does the Bible teach?

            The Christian is not promised release from sicknesses, but grace to endure them.  When the great Apostle Paul was afflicted Jesus told him this:


And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” II Corinthians 12:9


As a result Paul counted those things he was required to suffer for the sake of the cause of Christ an honor, including his physical infirmities:


Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” II Corinthians 12:10


As we reviewed at the very beginning of this lesson, miracles, including the power of healing, was given for the purpose of confirming the Word of God and the office of the apostles as inspired representatives of Jesus Christ.  That power was not used for the personal betterment of his messengers.  Paul tells us in:


II Timothy 4:20Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.


If healing and the removal of sickness from the troubles of man was accomplished by the death of Jesus Christ there would have been no need to Paul to leave his companion anywhere because he was sick.  All physical illness is a part of the process of dying, which has come as a consequence of the sin of Adam.  Christ removed the spiritual consequences of sin for those obedient to the Word of God but not the physical.




The Pentecostals teach miraculous healing today, the Bible teaches that miracles were given only as signs to confirm the Word of God.

            The Pentecostals teach that we speak in tongues today and give us unintelligible gibberish for proof.  The Word of God tells us that the ability to speak in tongues was to enable men to teach others languages that they had not learned and that this gift from God has ceased.

            The Pentecostals teach that their feelings supercede the authority of God.  God tells us that man is unable to direct his own steps.

            The Pentecostal have women preachers and teachers serving over men, the Word of God specifically forbids this practice.

            The Pentecostals teach Holy Spirit baptism in today’s world.  The Word of God gives only two occurrences of Holy Spirit baptism and tells us that there is only one baptism, baptism in water for the forgiveness of sins.

            The Pentecostals use instruments of music in their worship copying the Catholic Church and the other denominations; God’s Word commands us to sing only.

            The Pentecostals teach that the atonement of Jesus Christ released us from the physical consequences of Adam’s sin as well as the spiritual consequences of that sin.  Nothing in scripture supports this notion.