Well, Ladies and Gentlemen, I think each of us here myself as much as anybody else must ask ourselves the question: Are we humble to the Word of God? Tonight, this minute. Are we humble to the Word of God?
Now, one of the reasons why I personally just cannot accept that the claims of Charismatics today are true is because of one of the points that has been raised in the questions, that if we have the comforter, we are guided into “all truth”, and, as the questioner said, the fact that we have so many churches believing all sorts of different things indicates that they have not been guided into all truth, or else there would be no difference.
I would also point out in conclusion that I think the majority of the points that I have made have not been answered and I think that when you get the transcript of the debate, God willing, I would like you to read through and in your own mind answer what has failed to be answered.
Now, regarding the leg-lengthening, well, this is one of the many cases that I have often heard of, people telling me about their legs being lengthened. And it is funny isn’t it how leg-lengthening is something that is very very popular amongst Charismatics, saying “oh I got my leg lengthened” “yes, so did I” sort of thing. It’s quite popular! There is a leading medic here in this University of Leeds who is a Christian who doesn’t actually believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit being possessed and she has studied many, many cases of leg-lengthening and her conclusion is that most so-called leg-lengthenings are only apparent leg-lengthenings because apparently the pelvis can flip back to normal position enabling the leg to apparently go out straight and grow apparently by a couple of inches even. Now, therefore, that sort of thing can happen through emotional stimuli, I’m afraid to say in the same way as this sort of thing has happened after an earthquake, when in the shock of what has happened people who were deaf have suddenly been able to hear and things like that.
Now, I do not deny that God is at work. The debate tonight is about how God is at work. God is at work “effectually”. He is at work mightily through His Word. No question about that. So I am not saying that God is not at work in His church.
So then, I think we have to address ourselves to the question “what is the gospel”. There is one Lord, there is one faith, there is one baptism. I am afraid I can’t really agree that different doctrines are acceptable. No, there is “one Lord and one faith and one baptism” (Eph. 4:4). Now Christ said “Thy word is truth” (Jn. 17:17). Now truth is an ultimate thing. You either have truth or you do not have truth, and the Word of God is the truth. If you correctly understand the basics of the Word of God then you have the truth and there is therefore fellowship between those who all believe the truth. So then, what is the gospel? Well, it is a question I often ask to people who claim and tell me they have these gifts of the spirit, and they each seem to give me a different answer. Some of them do not even know! So I will sum up how I understand the Gospel.
Galatians 3:8, Paul said that the gospel was preached to Abraham. So it is not something that just began with Jesus. It has been always preached right from the beginning of the world. He said it was preached to Abraham in the form of the promises that God made to Abraham. God promised Abraham two things. He told him that he would have a special descendant through whom the whole earth would be blessed and who would overcome the enemies of mankind and Paul says Galatians 3: 16 “that seed, that descendant, was Christ”. And secondly, Abraham was promised that he would have many descendants who would reign forever, he was told, upon this earth. Romans 4:13 “the promise that Abraham and his descendants should be heirs of the world was made to him”, we are told. So, he was promised he would have a great descendant, Jesus, and that he would have many descendants, as many as the stars in the sky, who would live for ever upon this earth; and they are the two elements of the gospel.
In Acts 8, something which I think John has already referred to, verse 5 it says that Philip came to Samaria and “preached Christ”. Now many of you would say “well, there you are he turned up and said believe on Jesus and you will be saved” but it goes on in verse 12 to say what he did preach. It says that “he preached the things concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ”. Exactly the same two elements of the gospel that were preached to Abraham. The things about the Kingdom of God were preached to Abraham in the form of the promises about his descendants living for ever on the earth, the things about Jesus Christ were promised to Abraham when he was told he would have this great descendant, Jesus. That is why Jesus says in John 4:22 “salvation is of the Jews”. It is only by being “of the Jews” that we can be saved because to Abraham, Galatians 3:16 “to Abraham and his seed (descendant(s)) were the promises made.
Now the natural descendants of Abraham are the Jews, but you and I are not Jews. Galatians 3 at the end of the chapter verse 27 says “as many of us as have been baptized into Christ become the descendants of Abraham”, and he said “if you are the descendants of Abraham, then you are heirs according to the Promise”. What promise? The promise of eternal life on this earth made possible through the work of Jesus. Abraham’s great descendant, Jesus, we are told (Matt. 4:23), preached “the Gospel of the kingdom of God”- the good news of this return and the setting up of this kingdom here upon this earth. That is the gospel and that is the gospel which just does not seem to be preached by the Charismatics. The minute you believe in the Trinity, you believe that Christ could not have been a descendant of Abraham because if he pre-existed as a person, how could he have been the descendant of Abraham according to the flesh? If he was God himself, how could he be a descendant of a man, Abraham? If you believe that when you die you go to heaven and you spend eternity in heaven, well then you also do not fully understand the gospel of the Kingdom of God, because it is the good news of what is going to happen to this earth. “Blessed are the meek they shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5). If you inherit something, if has been promised to you. Who has the earth been promised to? Romans 4:13 – to Abraham’s descendants. How are we Abraham’s descendants? Galatians 3:27-29 – through water baptism. So then water baptism is vital if we are to be saved. That is why Jesus said, John 3:3-5, unless we are “born of water and of the spirit we cannot enter the kingdom”. So then, water baptism is being born of water; what is being “born of the spirit”? 1 Peter 1:23 it says we are born again “not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible by the word of God”. The Word of God then is the seed, the sperm of God which gets into a man and creates the new man within him. James 1:18 says we are begotten by God by the word of truth. So then we are born again by the Word of God forming the new man within us and as we go through our lives we should be having the new man, the spiritual man, born within us.
So then, I plead with all of you here tonight, not to rest on your laurels, not to rely on the feelings of your own heart, which the Bible says in Jeremiah 17 is so desperately deceitful that it is impossible for us to fully understand how deceitful and wicked it is. But instead to apply yourselves to the true Word of God, “thy word is truth”, Jesus said (Jn. 17:17). It is the only source of truth in this life. And humbly, seriously consider the fact that you may have taken a big wrong turning in your spiritual life due to wrongly matching the emotional responses of men with the Word of God.
Now, I know, as John has said, this makes us sound very pompous, very arrogant, very proud. But I don’t believe that those who share my views are any of those things. Yes, we can show love to all men, there is no question about that. It is not a question of being unloving, but it is a question of being humble to the Word of God because, if the Word of God is truth then we have to accept that there are certain fundamental beliefs about the gospel which we must hold to be saved.
So then, let us each be humble to the Word of God tonight. Please give yourselves no rest until you have found that real truth that is revealed in the Bible, not anything that has come out of you as Christ said there is nothing good inside a man, (Mk. 7:20-21) nothing good at all, Christ said, can come out of a man. Give yourselves no rest until you have been born of water by true baptism and then apply yourself to the Word of God to be spiritually reborn.
So I will conclude with those words of Jesus to Nicodemus on that night so long ago now, “Marvel not (please, you Charismatics, evangelicals, in fact, all of us here tonight) that I say unto you, ye must be born again”.
Good night and God bless you.
Thank you, Ladies and Gentlemen for your attention and thank you to the speakers from myself for their careful adherence to their time allocations.
Two things. The cost of the debate this evening and arrangements have been considerable. If anybody would like to make a contribution and I stress from the organizers that it is entirely voluntary, the green boxes which are situated in the hall are labelled for those contributions. You have on your seats slips advertising a lecture tomorrow and also an invitation to have a transcript of the debate. If you want more, fill in more slips and just post those in the red boxes. They of course, are free of charge.
Thank you, and on behalf of the organizers, I wish you a safe journey home and thank you very much for coming.