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EDITIONS:

1. CLASSIC-CHRISTIANITY DEFINED
2. CORPORATE PRAYER
3. AUTHORITY OF THE WORD
4. INTERPRETING THE WORD
5. UNDERSTANDING THE WORD
6. END TIME FERVOR
7. LOVING NOT OUR SOULS TO DEATH
8. KEEPING ALIVE THE ORIGINAL SPIRIT
9. RECOGNIZING REVIVAL
10. HINDRANCES AND CATALYSTS TO REVIVAL
11. TESTING THE SPIRITS
12. INTERCESSION
13. INTERCESSORY PRAYER WARFARE
14. THE CROSS-LIFE
15. WORSHIP
16. WORSHIP II
17. THE INCARNATION
18. DIVINE PROTECTION
19. DIVINE GUIDANCE
20. WILL OF GOD
21. THE FEAR OF GOD
22. WHAT IS TRUTH?
23. JESUS THE ULTIMATE TRUTH
24. LIVING A LIFE OF TRUTH
25 SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT
26. THE OLD TESTAMENT AND NEW
27. THE WHOLE COUNSEL OF GOD


CLASSIC-CHRISTIANITY
THE E-ZINE

First published by Christian Publications, Inc.,
3825 Hartzdale Drive,
Camp Hill, Pennsylvania 17011

Republished by www.kneillfoster.com 2005.
K. Neill Foster, Publisher
Paul L. King, Editor
A.W. Tozer, 1897-1963,
Editorial Voice

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE:
NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by the International Bible Society. Scripture labeled KJV is from the King James Version.

Welcome to Classic Christianity

First published by Christian Publications, Inc., 3825 Hartzdale Drive,Camp Hill, Pennsylvania 17011 Republished by www.kneillfoster.com in 2005. K. Neill Foster, Publisher. Paul L. King, Editor. A.W. Tozer, 1897-1963, Editorial Voice.


WELCOME TO:

#11 CLASSIC-CHRISTIANITY/THE E-ZINE


CLASSIC-CHRISTIANITY/THE INDEX

"TESTING THE SPIRITS"


1) THE PUBLISHER ON "DE-HERETICIZING THE MONTANISTS"

2) THE EDITOR ON "THE NEED FOR TESTING THE SPIRITS"

3) A.W. TOZER ON "SEVEN WAYS TO  DISCERN THE SOURCE OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCES"

4) JOHN WESLEY ON "ATTRIBUTING MANIFESTATIONS TO GOD"

5) JONATHAN EDWARDS ON "JUDGING EFFECTS ON THE BODIES"

6) E.M. BOUNDS ON "COUNTERFEIT REVIVALS"

7) RECOMMENDED READING

8) A.B. SIMPSON ON "DISCERNMENT OF COUNTERFEIT SPIRITS"

9) OSWALD CHAMBERS ON "DISCERNING IMPRESSIONS"

10) T.J. MCCROSSAN ON "TRUE AND FALSE TONGUES"

11) RECOMMENDED READING

12) JOHN A. MACMILLAN ON "SINCERE DECEPTION"

13) PAUL RADER ON "REGULATING GIFTS, NOT ELIMINATING THEM"

14) MARTYN LLOYD-JONES ON "REVIVAL PHENOMENA"

15) LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

16) INVITATION TO SUBSCRIBE

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1) THE PUBLISHER ON "DE-HERETICIZING THE MONTANISTS"

Testing the spirits is not new--indeed, it is an ancient Christian practice first observed and used against the Montanists in the second century of church history. The Montanists, of course, were the first utterance movement after the Corinthian excesses, influential in the second century. Montanus was the main prophet and Prisca and Maximilla were two prophetesses who followed him. Utterances, visions, ascetic living and apocalyptic behavior dogged them. The testing applied to them seemed to be a direct application of First John 4:1-3 where the spirit manifesting was directly challenged (probably to confess that Jesus Christ had come in the flesh). Critics even in the second century were not sure whether or not the Holy Spirit was truly at work in the Montanists.

Today there is a widespread temptation to rewrite church history, second-guess the early church and de-hereticize the Montanists. That may not be wise. Those were the closest to the times of Jesus and the apostle Paul found them to be heretics indeed. Once they were tossed out of the church, the procedure to get back in was on successive days to be converted, catechised, exorcised and finally baptized. (1) The testing of the spirits may have been key to the decision the early church made. Reason enough, I say, to consider it important today.

(1) John de Soyres, MONTANISM AND THE PRIMITIVE CHURCH (Cambridge  :  Deighton, Bell and Sons, 1878), 52.


2) THE EDITOR ON "THE NEED FOR TESTING THE SPIRITS"

There is a tendency for Christians either to deny the validity of supernatural gifts of the Spirit today or to believe indiscriminately that all apparent supernatural manifestations are from God.  There seems to be little middle ground.

We affirm with great Christian leaders that supernatural gifts and manifestations of the Spirit can and do occur today. Praying Hyde, Oswald Chambers and A.B. Simpson all experienced holy laughter.  People fell under the power of the Spirit in the ministries of Jonathan Edwards, John Wesley, George Whitefield and Charles Finney. Healings abounded in the ministries of Charles Spurgeon, George Mueller, Charles Cullis and A.J. Gordon. Genuine supernatural gifts of the Spirit were manifested in the times of Irenaeus, Augustine, Teresa of Avila, George Fox, the Moravians and John Wesley.

Yet not all such manifestations are from God. First Thessalonians 5:19-21 admonishes us not to quench the Spirit or despise prophesyings, but also warns to prove all things. First John 4:1 warns, "Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God." Where the genuine exists, so also the counterfeit. There is a great need today to test the spirits, both to affirm the genuine and to expose the counterfeit. I believe many more manifestations are genuinely from God than most evangelicals are willing to acknowledge, and that many more manifestations are false than most charismatics are willing to admit. We need to be open to the genuine moving of the Holy Spirit, yet not susceptible to deception--to recognize what is from God, what is of the flesh and what is demonic. Hear the counsel of these discerning evangelical leaders.


3) A.W. TOZER (1897-1963) ON "SEVEN WAYS TO DISCERN THE SOURCE OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCES"

In some "gifted" circles today, there is an almost total lack of spiritual discernment and a credulity beyond belief. I certainly am not making a blanket condemnation of individuals or churches. But there are some who say, "We have the gifts of the Spirit. Come and join us!" Before I join a movement, a school of thought, a theological persuasion or a church denomination, I must make the proper tests. (1)

By this seven-fold test we may prove everything religious [new doctrine, new religious habit, new view of truth, new spiritual experience] and know beyond a doubt whether it is of God or not.  How does it affect:

1. Our relation to God, our concept of God and our attitude toward Him?

2.  . . . If it has made me love God more, has magnified Him in my eyes, has purified my concept of His being and caused Him to appear more wonderful than before, then I may conclude I have not wandered astray . . . into error.

2. Our attitude toward the Lord Jesus Christ? . . . He must stand at the center of all true doctrine, all acceptable practice and all genuine Christian experience.

3. Our attitude toward the Holy Scriptures? . . . Did this new experience . . . spring out of the Word of God itself or was it the result of some stimulus that lay outside the Bible?

4. The self-life? . . . If this experience has served to humble me, . . . it is of God.

5. Our relation to and our attitude toward our fellow Christians? . . .  Whatever tends to separate us in person or in heart from fellow Christians is not of God, but is of the flesh or the devil.

6. How does it affect our relation and our attitude toward the world? . . . Any spirit that permits compromise with the world is a false spirit.

7. Our attitude toward sin? . . . Anything that weakens hatred of sin my be identified immediately as false to the Scriptures, to the Saviour, and to our own soul. (2)

(1) A.W. Tozer, TRAGEDY IN THE CHURCH: THE MISSING GIFTS (Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 1990), 20.

(2) A.W. Tozer, MAN: THE DWELLING PLACE OF GOD (Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 1966), 121-132.


4) JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791) ON "ATTRIBUTING MANIFESTATIONS TO GOD"

Do not hastily ascribe things to God. Do not easily suppose dreams, voices, impressions, visions or revelations to be from God. They may be from Him. They may be from Nature. They may be from the devil. Therefore believe not every spirit, but "try the spirits whether they be from God."

John Wesley, quoted in Martin Wells Knapp, IMPRESSIONS (Cincinnati: Revivalist Publishing House, 1892), 34.


5) JONATHAN EDWARDS (1703-1758) ON "JUDGING EFFECTS ON THE BODIES"

A work is not to be judged of by any effects on the bodies of men; such as tears, trembling, groans, loud outcries, agonies of body or the failing of bodily strength. The influence persons are under is not to be judged of one way or other by such effects on the body; and the reason is because Scripture nowhere gives us any such rule. We cannot conclude that persons are under the influence of the true Spirit because we see such effects on their bodies, because this is not given as a mark of the true Spirit; nor on the other hand, have we any reason to conclude, from any such outward appearances, that persons are not under the influence of the Spirit of God, because there is no rule of Scripture given us to judge spirits by, that does neither expressly or indirectly exclude such effects on the body, nor does reason exclude them.

Jonathan Edwards, "The Distinguishing Marks of the Work of the Spirit of God," JONATHAN EDWARDS ON REVIVAL (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1984), 91

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6) E.M. BOUNDS (1835-1913) ON "COUNTERFEIT REVIVALS"

There are counterfeit revivals well executed, well calculated to deceive the most wary. These are deceptive and superficial, with many pleasant, entertaining, and delusive features. These are entirely lacking in the offensive features which distinguish the genuine ones. The pain of penitence, the shame of guilt, the sorrow and humiliation of sin, the fear of hell--these marks of the genuine are lacking in the counterfeit. The test of a genuine revival is in its staying qualities. The counterfeit is but a winter spurt. . . . The genuine revival goes to the bottom of things.

Lyle Wesley Dorsett, E.M. BOUNDS: MAN OF PRAYER (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1991), 177.


7) RECOMMENDED READING

HOW TO TRY THE SPIRITS

a booklet by A.W. Tozer

Tozer explains seven ways to discern the source of religious experiences

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and

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THIRD VIEW OF TONGUES

by K. Neill Foster

A surprising and forceful case for the “middle ground.

Order from Christian Publications by calling 1-800-233-4443 (in North America) or fax 1-717-761-7273 or web: www.christianpublications.com.


8) A.B. SIMPSON (1843-1919) ON "DISCERNMENT OF COUNTERFEIT SPIRITS"

The great ambition of the devil is to counterfeit the Holy Spirit. He has always had many counterfeits and many antichrists, but as the age draws to a close, "spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 6:12) will grow thicker and "the devil's schemes" (6:11) will become more subtle and deceiving. . . . Often he comes in the disguise of good and as an angel of light, and God has warned us to be watchful and to "not be deceived" (Galatians 6:7, KJV).

The apostle John gives us the supreme test [I John 4:1-3], and that is the witness these spirits bear to the Lord Jesus Christ. When any spiritual influence makes an end of itself and does not directly lead us forward to the Lord Jesus Christ and to glorify and vivify Him, we have good reason to be doubtful of it. Any spiritual experience that rests chiefly in the experience and in its delightfulness or significance, is very apt to prove another spirit. The Holy Spirit always witnesses to Christ. (1)

The simple test of all these things [miracle workers, divine healers, inward visions and revelations, etc.] is the Word of God [1 John 4:1-3], and the practical test of righteousness and holiness. Let us be prepared for false spirits and let us not fear to try them, for if God is giving us any message or revelation, He will always give us ample time to be quite sure that it is God. (2)

(1) A.B. Simpson, THE HOLY SPIRIT (Harrisburg, PA: Christian Publications, n.d.), 2:546

(2) A.B. Simpson, CHRIST IN THE BIBLE (Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 1994), 6:375.


9) OSWALD CHAMBERS (1874-1917) ON "DISCERNING IMPRESSIONS"

Beware of using the phrase "Yield, give up your will." Be perfectly certain to whom you are yielding. No one has any right to yield himself to any impression or to any influence or impulse; when you yield, you are susceptible to all kinds of supernatural powers and influences. There is only one Being to whom you must yield, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ; but be sure it is the Lord Jesus Christ to whom you yield. In religious meetings it is the impressionable people who are the dangerous

people. When you get that type of nature to deal with, pray as you never prayed, watch as you never watched and travail in communion as you never travailed in communion, because the soul that is inclined to be a medium between any supernatural forces and himself will nearly always be caught up by the supernatural forces belonging to Satan instead of by God. . . . Beware of impressions and impulses unless they wed themselves to the standards given by Jesus Christ.

Oswald Chambers, BIBLICAL PSYCHOLOGY (Grand Rapids, MI:

Discovery House Publishers, 1962, 1995), 144-145.


10) T.J. MCCROSSAN ON "TRUE AND FALSE TONGUES"

Satan often enters Christian assemblies and causes genuine saints to speak with tongues, whenever they are seeking tongues rather than the Holy Ghost Himself. . . .

Friend, we had better obey Paul's word and "Forbid not to speak with tongues." Let us take "the middle of the road attitude" on this subject. Let us realize that this gift has come back to the church, and if God should give some saint a message in tongues in your congregation--and He might--let him deliver it without interruption, but pray God to give the interpretation to someone. . . . Sometime someone may speak with tongues in your meeting, and you will feel at once that it is not of God. It will be harsh and repelling; your spiritual nature will revolt. Then just quietly place your hand upon that person and rebuke the evil spirit, and you will have very little trouble. 

T.J. McCrossan, SPEAKING IN OTHER TONGUES: SIGN OR GIFT-- WHICH? (Harrisburg, PA: Christian Publications, 1927), 32, 42-43.

Editor's note: McCrossan was a professor of Greek at the University of Manitoba.


11) RECOMMENDED READING

AUTHORITY OF THE BELIEVER

by John A. MacMillan

This Christ-exalting classic challenges all believers to “learn the secret of victory through authority” and to participate with heaven in the detection and overthrow of the forces of darkness.

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and

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DELIVERANCE MINISTRY

by George Birch

Dr. Arthur Glasser, Dean Emeritus, School of World Mission, Pasadena, California. €œIt is with utmost confidence that I commend this book. George and Grace Birch were experienced in waging the warfare of faith.€

Order from Christian Publications by calling 1-800-233-4443 (in North America) or fax 1-717-761-7273 or web: www.christianpublications.com.


12) JOHN A. MACMILLAN (1873-1956) ON "SINCERE DECEPTION"

There are multitudes of hungry souls who are seeking in ignorance a deeper experience with God, and are opening themselves unknowingly to deception and bondage. . . . Under the influence of the enemy, they believe themselves to have unusual light, not knowing that the light that is in them is darkness profound. (1)

The most deadly enemy of the devout believer is spiritual passivity. . . . Told that all he has to do is to "let go and let God," he becomes quite passive, and takes all that comes to him as the working of the divine will. As a result, he may either lose his faith, or, as many in these days have done, become the victim of false impressions and satanic delusions. (2)

The New Testament warns against the acceptance of what is supernatural without conclusive proof of its authenticity. . . . When some unusual manifestation is seen, it is not to be received without question on the supposition that it must be of the Spirit of God.  The Holy Spirit Himself commands that it be definitely tested [1 John 4:1]; to fail to do so is disobedience, and is the source of much disorder in many groups of even sincere servants of the Lord. (3)

(1) "Thickening Dangers," THE ALLIANCE WEEKLY, October 26, 1940, 675.

(2) "Spiritual Energy," THE ALLIANCE WEEKLY, June 22, 1940, 386.

(3) THE FULL GOSPEL ADULT SUNDAY SCHOOL QUARTERLY, December 6, 1942, 30.


13) PAUL RADER (1879-1936) ON "REGULATING GIFTS, NOT ELIMINATING THEM"

Paul tells us how to regulate the gifts, not to eliminate them. . . . It is time to let people know that they need not be afraid of anything that comes as a gift, if it comes from God. . . . The saints should test the spirits. Here is God's written method of testing--First John 4:1-3. . . . Men and women filled with the Holy Ghost will testify and talk of Christ coming in the flesh, filled with other spirits a damper will fall on the enthusiasm or emotions when His coming in the flesh is spoken of. There is certain safety for this is God's own acid test given to us by Him. This is the proper test to use to find if the spirit speaking in any person or through any person is the Holy Spirit or some other speaking spirit.

Paul Rader, HARNESSING GOD (New York: George H. Doran Co., 1926), 99-101.

Editor's note: Rader was pastor of Moody Memorial Church.


14) MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981) ON "REVIVAL PHENOMENA"

We must not be interested in or frightened of [supernatural] phenomena. . . .

Let us remember whenever the Spirit of God is working in mighty power, the devil always seeks his opportunity. If he can discredit the work he will. And he has always tried to do so. He has tried to bring in his counterfeits, he has tried to drive people to excesses, and he has often succeeded with particular individuals. That is why there is so much in the Bible about testing the spirits, and proving the spirits. . . .

So I would conclude that phenomena are not essential to revival, they are not vital to revival, they are not religious in and of themselves. I believe that in their origin they are essentially of the Spirit of God, but we must always allow for the fact that because of the very frailty of human nature, and of our physical frames, you will have a tendency to a mixture, partly along the physical, partly along the psychic, and partly as a result of the devil's activity. But there is nothing more foolish or more ridiculous than to dismiss the whole because of a very, very small part. If you begin to do that you will have to dismiss the whole of the New Testament. . . .

These phenomena may appear in a revival, which, as the apostle Peter says, is the result of an outpouring of the Spirit of God. But we must not seek phenomena and strange experiences. . . . Be ready to identify and restrain the false, the spurious. . . . Be careful lest we quench the Spirit, and let us keep our eyes fixed upon the glory of God. . . .

Martyn Lloyd-Jones, REVIVAL (Wheaton, IL:  Crossway Books, 1987), 219, 146-147.


15) LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Thanks for subscribing me. This issue [Vol. II, Issue 5, on "Hindrances and Catalysts to Revival"] is a great compilation. 

--Dr. Mark Roberts

I appreciate so much this article about revival. And, yes, I do believe that God is sending revival to us! I am an urban missionary to Hispanics in New York City, and I cannot tell you all that I see God doing among our churches and others in a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit. It is amazing how one can work and struggle for the building of God's church, but when it is God's time, the services suddenly take on new life, people commit their time and money to the Lord, and missions becomes alive. . . . NYC continues to have prayer concerts, vigils, fastings, and summits. Yes, brethren, it is time to be alive to the work of the Holy Spirit! No man works like Him! . . . Thanks again for the great article! Keep them coming.

--Barbara Benjamin Archilla


16) INVITATION TO SUBSCRIBE

Invite your friends to join the Classic Clan for free!

Welcome to a spiritual adventure!

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VOL. II, ISSUE 6, December 1, 2000. Published every other month 2/1; 4/1; 6/1; 8/1; 10/1; 12/1. Archives on www.kneillfoster.com.

Republished by www.kneillfoster.com 2005.