New Teachings

Some charismatic Christians are attracted by parts of the new teachings I describe below. I have tried to show how these new teachings contrast with a more standard evangelical/pentecostal position.

Sometimes the new teachings add on to the standard teachings, at other times they replace them. I have intentionally not mentioned the names of movements or teachers.

This document is a table and best viewed on a larger screen or in landscape on a small screen.

John Robertshaw  

Bible References - Touch or hover over the Bible references to bring up verses in ESV. Follow more» to get the whole passage. If it's not working, touch another part of the page and try again.

Standard Bible Teaching - evangelical/pentecostal
New Teachings - various popular modern TV/internet preachers etc.
JR - My comments look like this

Standard Bible Teaching New Teachings
Mankind (Standard Teaching)
  • Human beings are made in the image of God to be in charge of living things, to care for the earth and to relate to God. (Gen 1:28, 29, 2:15)
  • Adam and Eve sinned and their relationship with God was damaged. The image of God in mankind was spoiled and the earth became fallen and inhospitable (Gen 3:6, 8, 17-19).
  • Adam's sinful nature was inherited by all mankind. (Rom 5:12, 1 Cor 15:21-22)
  • Jesus died on a cross to carry our sins and remove the penalty of our sin - if we believe in Jesus, we are born again, justified and saved! (Jn 1:12-13, 3:16, Rom 5:9)
  • We are provided with a powerful gospel message (Rom 1:16), open access in prayer to our Father (Heb 4:16), the name of Jesus (Jn 16:23) and the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8).
  • Our task is to spread the gospel throughout the world. (Matt 28:19-20, Rom 10:13-15)
  • We are made righteous and holy(sanctified) in God's sight through the blood of Christ. However, as our behaviour changes we become more righteous and holy(sanctified) in practice - this is a process. We will become fully like Christ when he appears. (Col 3:1-4, Heb 10:10, 1 John 1:6-10, 3:2-3, 1 Thess 4:3)
Mankind (New Teaching)
  • Adam was made in the image of God and was like God in every way.
  • When we are saved and born again, we recover the image of God and become sons of God. (Gal 3:26)
  • We are in fact little gods (Ps 82:6, John 10:34).
  • Like God, we have the ability to create by our words. This is part of our nature as human beings. (Prov 18:21)
  • We are seated with Christ in heavenly places and are kings and priests to God. We can make things happen here on earth by our declarations and decrees. (Eph 2:5-6, Rev 1:6)
  • We are just like Christ and are capable of living sin-free lives by the power of God.

JR - This inflated view of human beings is based on a small number of Bible verses and is not the impression given by the whole Bible.

As Christians, any supernatural ability we display is not due to our human nature being like God but due to the power of God, the name of Jesus and the indwelling Holy Spirit.
God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) is the only creator - we are created beings who have sinned and been redeemed.

Jesus (Standard Teaching)
  • Jesus is the eternal Son of God, the Word, the creator who became a human being by being born to the virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit. (John 1:1-3, 14, Col 1:15-20, 2:9, Rev 1:17-18, 22:13, Phil 2:5-11, Heb 1:1-4, Luke 1:35, Matt 1:20-21)
  • Even as a baby, Jesus was the Lord, Christ (Messiah), Son of God, and God with us (Immanuel). (Luke 1:31-32, 35, 43, 2:11, 25-26, Matt 1:20-23, 2:10-11)
  • Mary was a normal sinful human being but Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and was himself sinless. (Luke 1:35, Heb 4:15, 7:26, 1 Peter 2:21-23, 1 John 3:5)
  • Until about age 30, he lived with his family and was a carpenter in Nazareth. (Matt 13:55-56, Mark 6:3, Luke 2:39-40, 3:23)
  • After his baptism, he spent 2 or 3 years teaching, preaching, healing the sick and casting out demons (Matt 3:13-17, 4:23-25, 5:1-7:27, 7:28-29, 9:35, Mark 1:32-34)
  • Throughout his life, Jesus was fully human (Matt 21:18 26:38, John 1:14, 4:6-7, 11:35, Heb 2:14, Acts 10:38) and fully God (John 5:23, 8:56-58, 10:30-33, 38, 12:45, 14:9-10, 17:5, 20:27-29 etc.).
  • Jesus' death on the cross was the final sacrifice for sin and his work of salvation was completed there. (Luke 23:46, John 17:4-5, 19:30, Col 1:19-20, Heb 2:14, 9:28, 10:12, 1 Peter 2:24)
  • On death his spirit went to the care of his Father and his body to the grave. (Luke 23:42-43, 46, Matt 27:59-60)
  • He was raised from the dead on the third day with a new resurrection body and after a further 40 days ascended into heaven. (Mark 16:6, Acts 2:24, 31-32)
  • 10 days later, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to his disciples as he had promised. Jesus Christ is now seated at the right hand of God. (Acts 1:4-5, 2:1-4, 33, Rom 8:34, Heb 12:2)
Jesus (New Teaching)
  • At birth, Jesus, the Son of God, was stripped of some of his divine nature and lived life as a perfect human being.(Phil 2:5-11)
  • He was filled with the Holy Spirit at his baptism and ministered as a perfect man filled with the Holy Spirit. (Matt 3:13-17, Acts 10:38)
  • When he died, he died spiritually and took our sinful nature upon himself and went to Hell to finish his work.
  • In Hell, he preached, rescued souls, completed his work of atonement and wrestled with Satan for the keys of Death and Hades. (1 Peter 3:18-20)
  • He was born again and then was raised from the dead with God's nature.

JR - Unfortunately these alarming New Teachings reduce the nature of Jesus Christ and the power of the cross.

The Son of God humbled himself and became a man, (Phil 2:5-11) but never lost his divine nature. As the Son of God, he was always filled with the Holy Spirit. He ministered to people as the incarnate Son of God. His work of salvation was completed as he carried our sins in his body on the cross and defeated the devil there. (1 Peter 2:24, John 19:30, Heb 2:14, Col 1:20, 2:14).

The story of Jesus going to Hell/Hades after his crucifixion is not believed by many Bible scholars. The Bible verses are not clear.
"Hades" (Old Testament "Sheol") is the place where the souls of dead human beings wait until the resurrection of the dead.
"Hell" is the lake of fire prepared for the devil and his angels and unfortunately will also be the final destination for unsaved human beings. (Matt 25:41, Rev 20:10)

Prayer (Standard Teaching)
Significant elements of prayer in the New Testament are:
  • Repentance (Matt 4:17,  Luke 11:4, 18:13-14, 1 John 1:9)
  • Worship (Luke 19:37, John 4:23-24, Heb 12:28, Heb 13:15)
  • Thanks (Luke 10:21, Matt 15:36, Matt 26:27, Eph 1:16, 5:20, Phil 4:6, Col 4:2, 1 Thess 1:2)
  • Asking/Intercession (Matt 7:7-8, 7:11, 18:19, 21:22, Luke 10:2, 18:1-8, John 16:24, Col 1:9, 1 Tim 2:1, James 1:5, 4:3, 1 John 3:22, 5:14-15)
Other Aspects are:
  • Praying to the Father (Matt 6:6, 8, 9, 7:11, Luke 11:13, Col 1:3, Eph 3:14)
  • Praying in the name of Jesus (John 14:12-14, 15:16, 16:23-24, 26)
  • Praying in the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:26-27, Eph 6:18, Gal 4:6, Jude 20)
  • Praying in faith - believing in the power of God to accomplish his purposes. (Matt 21:21-22, Mark 11:22-24, James 1:5-8, 5:15)
Prayer (New Teaching)
  • Faith is a force or substance by which we can create reality through our words. (Heb 11:1)
  • Believe it in your heart, say it with your mouth. You can have what you say.
  • We do not need to ask God for things - we have the power and authority to decree and declare that things will come into existence.
  • We need to take authority over situations.
  • Speaking Bible verses is powerful because we are speaking God's word and he is obliged to honour his word.

JR - You will struggle to find a single prayer in the New Testament where people declare, decree or take authority! God is in charge and not us! Paul and others simply asked God to do things.
Commands are used in healing and deliverance but not in prayer.
It is not necessarily a sign of great faith to declare, decree and take authority. You can also have great faith humbly asking God to work. (Num 12:3,6-8, James 4:6,10)

Healing (Standard Teaching)
Jesus healed in various ways:
  • Command to the individual to do something. (John 5:8-9, Matt 9:6-7, 12:13)
  • Command to the condition. (Mark 7:33-35, Luke 4:39)
  • Command to a demon behind the condition. (Matt 9:32-33, 17:18)
  • Word of assurance. (Luke 13:10-13, John 4:50-51)
  • Laying on hands, touch etc. (Matt 9:25, 14:36, Mark 7:33, Luke 4:40, 7:14, 22:51, John 9:6-7)
Attitude of the individual:
  • Desire to be healed. (John 5:6, Mark 10:51-52)
  • Faith in Jesus. (Matt 8:2-3, 13, 9:27-31, 15:28, Mark 9:22-24, John 4:50-51)
Jesus' followers continued to heal in a similar way - in the name of Jesus:
  • Peter (Acts 3:1-10, 16, 4:10, 5:12-16, 9:32-35, 36-42)
  • Philip (Acts 8:4-7)
  • Ananias (Acts 9:12, 17-18)
  • Paul (Acts 14:8-10, 16:16-18, 19:11-12, 20:7-12, 28:3-5, 28:7-10, Rom 15:19, 1 Cor 2:4, 4:20, 2 Cor 12:12)
And now:
  • Healing was an integral part of the ministry of Jesus, his apostles and others. We can be confident that healing is a normal and expected part of the Christian life today.
  • Gifts of Healing (1 Cor 12:9, 28, 30)
  • Call for the elders of the church (James 5:13-15)

The power for healing has a clear connection with Jesus' physical suffering on the cross. (Matt 8:14-17, Isaiah 53:4-6, 1 Peter 2:24)

Healing (New Teaching)
  • God promises healing and health for his people (Ex 15:26, Is 53:5, 1 Peter 2:24)
  • Health is guaranteed in Christ's atonement.
  • Therefore we are healed.
  • By faith we should claim these promises and declare our healing.
  • Faith looks beyond the visible symptoms and believes that we are healed despite what we see or experience. We need to confess our healing.
  • Speaking of our sickness gives opportunity for the devil to afflict us. (Job 3:25)

JR - Jesus healed many people but nowhere demanded this type of faith. Their faith was in the power and person of Jesus to heal them. They were healed completely, the symptoms were gone and there was no need for them to believe something that cannot be seen or experienced. The apostles healed in a similiar way in the name of Jesus.
Any true healing should eventually be obvious, visible or medically verifiable.

There are pastoral issues raised by these New Teachings:
  • Those who are not healed or who have long term illnesses may feel guilty. They may think they are not healed because of sin, lack of faith or even that God does not love them. They may be ashamed to speak of their continuing illness.
  • People may lie about their condition to confess their healing or to please those who have attempted to heal them.
  • When people are sick or dying, there may be an emphasis on healing but not enough care, help and sympathy for the person in their situation. 
Prosperity (Standard Teaching)
  • God provides what we need. (Psalms 23:1, Prov 30:7-9, Matt 6:11, 31-33, Phil 4:19)
  • Being wealthy is dangerous and not recommended. (Eccl 5:10-12, Mark 10:17-25, Luke 12:15-21, 16:13, 1 Tim 6:6-10, 17-19, 2 Tim 3:2-5, James 5:1-3)
  • Giving is encouraged - to give to the poor and to support churches and Christian work. (Matt 19:21, 1 Tim 5:17-18, 2 Cor 11:9)
  • We are encouraged to give secretly, regularly, generously, cheerfully, sacrificially and compassionately. (Psalm 37:21, Matt 6:1-4, Luke 21:1-4, 1 Cor 16:2, 2 Cor 9:7, 1 John 3:17)
  • We do not give to get a financial return but there are blessings associated with giving - particularly thanks and praise given to God. (Matt 5:16, 2 Cor 9:6-15)
  • In the Old Testament, the Israelites gave a tithe (10%) to God as part of their covenant with him. (Gen 14:20, 28:20-22, Lev 27:30-34, 2 Chron 31:4-6, Mal 3:7-10)
  • Gentile Christians are not included in this legal expectation to tithe - although they may choose to do so. Many Christians tithe to their local church. The New Testament emphasis is on generosity. (Acts 15:19-20 - requirements for Gentiles)
Prosperity (New Teaching)
  • God promises prosperity for his people. Poverty is a curse. (John 10:10, Gal 3:14, 3 John 2)
  • We can claim our prosperity like our healing. (Jer 29:11, John 14:14, James 4:2)
  • Prosperity is included in the atonement of Christ. (2 Cor 8:9)
  • If we give a seed in faith to God's work, he will reward us with a return which could be 100 times the seed! (Mark 10:29-30, Luke 6:38, Gal 6:7)
  • We should give a tithe (10%) of our income to God's work otherwise we are robbing God of his rightful part and missing God's blessing. (Mal 3:7-10)

JR - Unfortunately, like the other areas of the New Teachings, verses from the Bible are taken in isolation and then interpreted to fit the doctrines being taught.

The main danger of this prosperity teaching is that it concentrates on material and financial gain whearas the New Testament does not have this emphasis. The focus for early believers was on proclaiming the gospel of salvation so that people were saved from their sins and gain eternal life. Wealth was of little significance as they sacrificed all to follow Jesus - sometimes giving their lives. We are not called to a comfortable lifestyle! (Luke 9:23-25) 

Music and Song (Standard Teaching)
Musical Instruments are mentioned very early in the Bible (Gen 4:21) and the Old Testament has plenty of music, songs and poetry. King David introduced music, song and choirs to go alongside the worship of God - he wrote about half the psalms. Music is used sometimes to calm a person afflicted with an evil spirit (1 Sam 16:14, 16, 23), to encourage the prophetic gift (Ex 15:20-21, 1 Sam 10:5-6, 2 Kings 3:14-15, 1 Chron 25:1), on special occasions (1 Sam 18:7, 1 Chron 15:16-29, 2 Chron 29:25-31, Ezra 3:10-11, Neh 12:27-30) and to lead the Israelites in battle (Josh 6:12-14, 2 Chron 20:20-23)

There are many different types of songs and poems in the Old Testament. Here are just some of the types with examples - there is, of course, lots of overlap:
  • Worship - proclaiming the qualities of God - holiness, name, glory, might, loving kindness, justice, righteousness, faithfulness, word, creator, eternal etc. (1 Chron 16:23-34, 2 Chron 5:13 , Ps 24:1-2, 57:7-11, 84:1-4, 95:3-6, 100:1-5, 145:1-3, 148:1-13, Is 6:3)
  • Praise, Thanks and Rejoicing - celebrating the acts of God - salvation, success, defeating enemies, provision, miracles, healing, protection, care etc. (Ex 15:1-18, Judges 5:1, Ps 19:1-14, 21:1-13, 23:1-6, 27:1-14, 30:1-12, 91:1-16, 103:1-22, 121:1-8, Is 12:1-6, 51:11, 52:9-10, 55:12, Jer 20:13, Zeph 3:14-17)
  • Lament and Petition - songs of sadness, asking God for help - defeat and destruction by enemies, threat, fear, sickness, loss, bereavement, feeling far from God etc. (2 Sam 1:17-27, Ps 6:1-10, 25:16-21, 41:1-13, 42:1-11, 55:1-23, 77:1-15, 88:1-18, 137:1-6, 143:1-12, Lam 1:1-3)
  • Repentance - confessing sin and asking for forgiveness (Ps 32:1-11, 38:1-22, 51:1-19)
  • Prophetic and Messianic - the future and the Messiah (Ps 2:1-12, 22:1-20, 45:1-7, 110:1-7)
Music and song have a lower profile in the New Testament.
  • There is only one recorded occasion when Jesus and his disciples sang together. (Matt 26:30, Mark 14:26)
  • Paul and Silas were praying and singing to God in prison despite their discomfort. (Act 16:25)
  • Paul encourages us to address one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs making melody to the Lord with our hearts and being thankful to God. (Eph 5:19, Col 3:16)
  • Songs may be brought as a contribution in a Christian meeting and we can sing praise with our spirit in tongues. (1 Cor 14:14-18, 26)
  • There are several songs around God's throne in the book of Revelation. They are praise to God and Jesus (the Lamb) about God's nature, his wonderful deeds and his salvation. (Rev 5:9-10, 15:3-4)
  • The early Jewish Christians probably often sang psalms from the Old Testament. Gentile Christians would not have been familiar with these psalms in the same way.
Music and Song (New Teaching)
  • Music and worship are ways to come into God's presence.
  • Music and worship facilitate the manifest presence of God which will touch believers and unbelievers.
  • Music and worship are powerful weapons for spiritual warfare which can clear the atmosphere of evil powers.

JR - Music and song are wonderful ways for Christians to worship and praise God and to share aspects of faith together. They are a significant part of meetings in most churches and often lead to an increased awareness of God being with us personally and corporately.

In the Old Testament, God revealed his manifest presence and glory at Sinai, the tabernacle, the temple and other situations. (Gen 32:30, Ex 3:2-4, 13:21-22, 33:13-14, 34:5-7, 40:34-35, 1 Kings 19:11-13, 2 Chron 5:13-14) God also revealed himself as the Angel of the Lord and in visions and dreams (Is 6:1-3, Ezek 1:26-28) The temple was superseded by the body of Jesus and then by our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit. Buildings and special places are no longer required. (John 2:19-22, Acts 7:48-50, 17:24, 1 Cor 6:19)

As believers we have a promise of the constant presence of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. (Matt 18:20, 28:20, John 14:16-17) When we meet together, we do not need to enter the presence of God, he is already present by the Holy Spirit as we meet together, teach, have fellowship, break bread, pray, praise God, preach the gospel and share spiritual gifts. (Acts 2:42-47) The way to God is by Jesus and his sacrifice - he is the only way to the Father. (John 14:6, Heb 10:19-22)

The manifest presence of God appears several times in the New Testament. (Matt 3:16-17, 17:2-6, John 12:27-30, Acts 2:1-4, 9:3-5) There are also many angelic appearances. These are sovereign acts of God. There is no evidence that early Christians were trying to generate the manifest presence of God - they seemed very satisfied with the presence and power of God provided by the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Music is a powerful mood setter. The background music in movies is designed to set our mood. Stores use music to control our shopping habits. Classical, religious or space music can induce peace and relaxation. In the extreme, repeated words and certain types of music and rhythm can be hypnotic and trigger altered states of consciousness. These psychological effects should not be confused with the presence of God.

Paul makes it clear that our spiritual battle is against spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places - he goes on to say how we can defend ourselves and fight with truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, the word of God and prayer. Music, praise and worship are not mentioned here as armour or weapons. The devil is more disturbed by holy, righteous, powerful and effective Christian lives. (Eph 6:10-18) 

New Age (Standard Teaching)
"New Age" is poorly defined but is a useful label for a wide set of beliefs and practices. Here are some aspects of New Age thinking and the reasons why Christians generally do not support it:
NA - New Age
ST - Standard Teaching
  • NA - Origins in other religions - Hinduism, Buddhism, paganism, animism, pantheism, celtic, primitive religions etc.
    ST - Christians believe in one true eternal personal God called YHWH in the Old Testament and revealed as Father, Son and Holy Spirit in the New Testament. He created everything in the universe, spiritual and material, but is distinct from them. Gods of other religions have different names and characteristics and cannot be equated with the only true God. It is sinful to worship any other God or to engage in other religions. (Ex 20:2-3, 1 Cor 8:4-6, Gal 4:8-9)
  • NA - Occult methods - Astrology, fortune telling, divination, sorcery, mysticism, magic, spells, charms, contacting the dead, seances, mediums, spirit guides, auras, clairvoyance, channeling, crystal healing, psychic phenomena, transcendental meditation etc.
    ST - The Bible condemns many of these types of practice (Ex 22:18, Lev 19:26, 31, 20:27, Deut 18:10-12, 14, 1 Chron 10:13, 2 Chron 33:6, Ezek 13:18-22, Act 13:8-12, 16:16-18, 19:19, Gal 5:19-21, Rev 21:8)
  • NA - Connections - Humans beings are one with each other, the earth, living beings, the universe, the spiritual world. God is in everything. Care for the earth, plants and animals is important.
    ST - God is the eternal creator of the universe and is not in it or part of it. (Gen 1:1-2, John 1:1-3, Heb 11:3) Human beings are a special creation in the image of God. (Gen 1:26-27) We have biological similarities with other living beings but we also have a unique spiritual dimension enabling a relationship with God. It is part of the call of mankind to care for the earth. (Gen 1:28, 2:15)
  • NA - Sources - Energy, enlightenment and information may be found within ourselves, from other people, the earth, living beings and the spiritual world by tuning in and connecting. There is suspicion of science and reason, and a preference for alternative and natural medicine etc.
    ST - Creation, nature and the universe declare the glory of God and his power as creator - but our knowledge of God and his purposes are based on his revelation as recorded in the Bible and particularly through Jesus Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit. (Ps 19:1, Luke 10:22, John 10:30-31, 14:9, 1 Cor 2:12-13, Rom 1:20-23, Eph 3:4-5, Col 1:15, Heb 1:1-2, 3)
  • NA - Relativism - There are no absolutes - each person needs to find their own version of God, religion, truth and morals.
    ST - The Christian faith is based on absolutes. God is clearly defined. Right, wrong are distinguished. (Mark 7:20-22, Gal 5:19-24) The one way of salvation is laid out - Jesus is the way, the truth, the life, the door, the saviour, the mediator. (John 10:9, 14:6, Acts 4:12, 1 Tim 2:5)
  • NA - Reincarnation - our existence is cyclic and after death our soul returns to occupy another part of the living natural world.
    ST - The Bible teaches a linear existence beginning at conception and continuing through life, death, resurrection and judgement. (Ps 139:13-14, Heb 9:27)
  • NA - Altered states of consciousness - the use of drugs, hypnosis, posture, yoga, mantras, repeated phrases, music or meditation to detach you from your current reality and take you into a different mystical state or trance. The aim is to lose your awareness of the world around you and reach a spiritual dimension and oneness with spirits and God.
    ST - Of course the Bible is full of people having dramatic visions and dreams. (Gen 15:1, 12-13, 40:5-8, Num 12:6, 1 Kings 3:5, Is 6:1-3, Ezek 1:1-2, 3:12, 8:3, Dan 7:1, Matt 1:20, 2:12-13, Acts 2:17, 7:55-56, 9:10, 10:3, 10-11, 16:9, 22:17-18, 2 Cor 12:2-4, Rev 1:10-11, 4:2-3, 17:3) These are by God's sovereign will for particular purposes - God's call, prophecy, information, advice, warning, comfort, assurance etc. There are, however, no instructions to use the various New Age methods above to enter altered states or to manipulate environments so that others enter such states. Prayer is communicating with God but does not require an altered state. (Matt 6:6-13)
New Age (New Teaching)
Some New Teachers are promoting New Age ideas - here are some:
  • New Age teaching is a counterfeit but from it we can learn the truth. The New Age have stolen practices and power which rightly belongs to Christians.
  • The historical Christian mystics had an experience of God which we have lost. We need to learn from them and reclaim their legacy.
  • You can be born again and saved through a powerful mystical encounter with God.
  • We can draw near to God and even encounter heaven by mystical meditation, repeated phrases, music etc.
  • In contemplative prayer, we aim to detach ourselves from our bodies and minds to enter the spiritual realm.
  • The main problem with mankind is not sin it is more that we are not enlightened, we are dead and need to become alive.

JR - In the Bible, God does not ask us to learn anything from any other religions which are counterfeit. The Israelites were instructed to destroy every idol and artifact connected with the religions around them. (Deut 12:2-3, 13:1-4, Acts 19:19) The Bible and the indwelling Holy Spirit have all we need to know and serve God effectively, we do not need to learn anything from the New Age movement.

The Christian church has a history of cycles of drift away from the truth of the gospel and then moves by reformers to recover original simple biblical New Testament Christianity. Often the drift away involved incorporation of ideas and practices from other religions - including mysticism and gnosticism.

Although a powerful encounter may alert us to God, it cannot in itself save us or make us born again. Salvation and rebirth is through our response to the gospel of the grace of God - repentance, faith in Jesus, calling on the name of the Lord, confessing that Jesus is Lord. (Mark 16:16, John 3:16, 10:9, Acts 2:21, 37-38, 9:3-6, 16:31, 20:20-21, 26:20, Rom 10:9) Being born again is a change of direction - a decision, a new faith, a new Lord, a new way of living, a new creation, and a supernatural act of God. (2 Cor 5:17) People may or may not have a dramatic experience.

When the disciples were baptised in the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, it was clearly a supernatural encounter with God but this did not result in the automatic salvation of the people around. It alerted the people and then Peter preached a brilliant, inspired, carefully structured message which brought people to a point of repentance and faith - 3000 people responded. (Acts 2:1-41, Rom 10:13-15). There is no substitute for the preaching of the gospel. (Matt 28:19-20)

When the disciples asked Jesus how to pray, he encouraged us to get apart from other people to a place on our own and pray intelligibly with our minds. He warned against repetitive mindless prayers and gave us examples of things we should be praying for. (Matt 6:6-13)

Paul mentions praying in the spirit which appears to be speaking in tongues. Speaking in tongues does not require an altered state of consciousness and is under the control of the speaker. (Rom 8:26, 1 Cor 14:2, 4, 14-15, 27-28, Eph 6:18, Jude 1:20)

The Bible describes the condition of mankind as lost, in sin, in darkness, dead, under Satan's power, slaves of sin etc. (Luke 1:79, 19:10, John 1:29, 8:12, 24, 12:46, Mark 1:4, Acts 10:43, 26:18, Rom 3:9, 23, 5:12, 6:17, 23, Gal 1:4, Eph 2:1-2, 5:8, Col 1:13, 1 Peter 2:9, 1 John 1:8-9). The Christian gospel is about a saviour who came to save us from the penalty and the power of sin - sin is the root problem of mankind. Beware of a comfortable, sentimental gospel which only concentrates on God's love and provision for us and that we are special and precious in his sight! The truth is that we are also sinners under God's judgement and need to repent.

The missional aim in the New Testament was not to get people into altered states of consciousness but to ensure that they were:
  • Saved and born again by God's grace, repentance and faith in Jesus (Mark 1:14-15, 6:12-13, 16:16, Luke 5:32, 15:10, 24:47, John 1:12, 3:3, 5, 16-17, 36, 6:40, 7:38, 12:46, 20:31, Acts 3:19-20, 11:18, 16:30-31, Rom 10:9-10, 1 Cor 1:21, Gal 2:16, Eph 1:13, 2:5, 1 Tim 2:4, 2 Peter 3:9)
  • Baptised in Water by immersion as believers (Matt 28:19-20, Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, 41, 9:17-18, 10:47-48, 16:33, 18:8, 22:16, Rom 6:3, Gal 3:27)
  • Baptised in the Holy Spirit (Matt 3:11, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, John 1:33, Acts 1:5, 2:4, 8:16-17, 9:17, 10:45-46, 11:16, 13:52, 19:6)
  • Followers and disciples of Jesus (Matt 4:19, 9:9, 10:43, 16:24, 19:21, 28:19-20, Luke 6:40, 14:27, 33, John 1:43, 10:27, 12:26) 
Last Edited: 2018-12-15   

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