The Trinity, The Assembly, and Sweet Potatoes

It seems like everyone and their dog is hearing “the voice of God” these days.

“Hearing the voice of God” used to be the mark of a prophet of God, but over the last century or so, it’s slowly become the mark of a “mature believer.”   These days, “conservative” folk (like Beth Moore or Francis Chan) regularly suggest that God speaks to them…not in audible voices, but definitely in some sort of propositional statements (ultimately the audible/inaudible distinction is meaningless).   The issue of “hearing the voice of God” is probably the most significant infiltration of bad Charismatic theology into non-Charismatic circles.

 

It seems like everyone and their dog is hearing “the voice of God” these days.

“Hearing the voice of God” used to be the mark of a prophet of God, but over the last century or so, it’s slowly become the mark of a “mature believer.”   These days, “conservative” folk (like Beth Moore or Francis Chan) regularly suggest that God speaks to them…not in audible voices, but definitely in some sort of propositional statements (ultimately the audible/inaudible distinction is meaningless).   The issue of “hearing the voice of God” is probably the most significant infiltration of bad Charismatic theology into non-Charismatic circles.  It’s a train hauling insanity and heresy that is steaming through Evangelicalism and it seems like there’s no stopping it.

Part of the danger of “God told me” train is that it’s seemingly immune to both Scripture and logic.  As illustration of that, I recently was doing some historical research into the foundation of Assemblies of God.  In 1906-1915, the “God told me” train was chugging like mad all over North America.  It was quite revealing to see how quickly the “God told me” train derailed when everyone and their dog was getting divine revelations.

In 1906, the Asuza street revival happened and Pentecostalism (at the time known asthe Apostolic Faith movement) spread the “Baptism of the Ghost as exclusivelyevidenced by tongues-speaking” idea (among other ideas) throughout North America like wildfire.  For the record, I’m well aware that Asuza was preceded by an outbreak of tongues in 1901 in Topkea, KS.  There were also outbreaks of tongues every 5-10 years all the way back to 1830 (actually, long before 1830), so tongues wasn’t what was new.  The idea that tongues was the exclusive mark of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is what set the Topeka “outpouring” apart, and Asuza is what popularized that new idea.

By 1914, there were hundreds of Baptist, Methodist, Christian & Missionary Alliance, Congregational, etc. churches who had accepted this new “Apostolic Faith” and broken off from their denominations. 300 pastors and missionaries from these various churches/organizations (including several followers of John Alexander Dowie, aka “Elijah the Restorer.”  Here’s the nicest summary of his life I could find.  This one not so nice.) met together at Hot Springs, Arkansas in April, 1914, and banded together to form the Assemblies of God. (I just cannot resist mentioning something else. At that meeting in 1914, the closing address was by Bishop C.H. Mason, founder of the Church of God in Christ; America’s first and largest Pentecostal denomination.  He preached a sermon from Acts chapter 2, verses 16-21 [pg. 8] which was revealed to him by God speaking to him through a sweet potato.  You read that right.

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