Volume 22 Issue 3
Ren Descartes is believed by many to be the first modern philosopher. At a young age, while attending a Jesuit school, he doubted that what he was being taught was actually reliable. Out of that doubt he began to establish foundations upon which indubitable knowledge could be built. Through a process of radical doubt he established the idea that there must be an I who is doing the doubting; I therefore may not be doubted. Or as Descartes put it, I am thinking, therefore, I exist.
Leaving philosophy aside, since we are living in an age full of doubt, should we not ask ourselves, is there anything that we would define as–beyond doubt? If we cannot deal with this question, dare we go any further? If there is no indubitable truth, can the church survive with doubt? Can we live with it, work with it, tolerate it, or build on it? Think what we may of Descartes, but surely we admire the fact that when he doubted he searched for truth. He searched for that which was beyond doubt — the indubitable.
While many of us feel the need to resolve the doubt issue, some have decided to take it on as a posture of sophistication, a badge of intellect. However, reducing everything we believe to an uncertainty leaves the future uncertain. If we doubt the value of democracy, individual rights and freedom of speech, how then do we dare ask men and women to die in defense of what we doubt? Will not doubting eventually destroy the spirit of this country?
Do we doubt the Pentecostal outpouring of Gods Spirit? Is it everything? Can we say, without doubt, that the kingdom of God is, righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost (Romans 14:17). What kind of Christians do we become without indubitable faith AND indubitable doctrine?
Do we encourage our children to march against the gross darkness of these times carrying weapons of uncertainty? Do we teach them that, in the name of academia, it is acceptable to negotiate their doctrine with endless questioning? We must be committed to defining the Apostolic message as a message that is beyond doubt and therefore non-negotiable. Maybe some would be satisfied to become spiritual bohemians: talking, ever learning, and never coming to any conclusions (2 Timothy 3:7). Are we willing to create a so-called evangelical community to wind up like the beatniks of the sixties who, filled with their utopian philosophies and humanistic ideas, socialistic politics, and Hindu markings, gave long speeches filled with generalizations, empty words, and sang Kum Bah Yah through the night, or at least until the drink and pot-smoking high had worn off, but who stayed locked in the battle of the mind? Very few actually rose to deal with realities of a war-torn county or the lost immoral Woodstock generation.
When we doubt the fullness that is in Jesus Christ and the redemptive work of His shed blood, then where do we go from there? To whom shall we go? Is that not still the big question? Do we send people to yoga classes that are cleverly disguised as something Christian? Do we search for fulfillment in body worship? The point here is not to criticize bodily exercise to improve or sustain one’s health, but to warn against the growing ideology that correlates exercise and redemptive, spiritual discipline. What hope lies in suggesting that people look inward to find the essence of their true selves, or whatever the latest self-help guru calls it? The seminar may be well polished, the booklets may be cleverly written, the speaker may be captivating and charming, but if the end result leads us toward ourselves, toward human wisdom and human philosophy it will leave us self-reliant and powerless.
Let it be boldly stated, without the baptism of the Holy Ghost there is no New Birth power (Acts 1:8). If man could save himself then Christ died in vain.
It’s a dark, dark day when Pentecostals allow even the slightest bit of false teaching to lead away from the idea that all fullness of joy, peace, happiness, and salvation lies in Christ alone. That truth needs no supplementation. It works. Let’s have church. Let’s pray until the power comes down. Let’s wait on the Lord. God Himself verifies the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
Recently I traveled to India and preached a crusade. Not far from where our meeting was held, nearly 7 million people were attending one of the world’s largest religious festivals. They had waited in line for days to get to an altar that accommodated 40,000 people at a time. The masses created a traffic jam 40 miles long. It took days to serve the people. They gave large offerings, all for a ritual, a touch. And, there was no redemption, no anointing and no joy. There was no rushing mighty wind, no cloven tongues of fire, no Pentecost. Yet, they will repeat this event over and over during their lives, hoping, believing and searching for power that will not come. Here Americas Christians sit, proud, intellectually advanced, filling themselves with questioning and doubt adding to the Holy Writ bits and pieces of these dead religions, miscalculating the consequences of their actions.
History demonstrates clearly that the Apostles were without doubt. The Pentecostal surge of the past 115 years has been carried on the shoulders of believers who served, witnessed and preached without doubting. Can this generation put forth the Acts 2:38 message as that which is beyond doubt indubitable? If not, then where will we go? What will we look like? What will we settle for? What will we follow after? How will we really feel when the next generation says, So, what’s the point. What is dubious is unsustainable, unable to be contended for, and ultimately will fail.
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints (Jude 1:3).