A Brief Introduction

I am becoming convinced more and more every day that continuationism is not just a non-essential, secondary doctrinal issue for Christians.

My thinking about this started shortly after the Strange Fire conference as I engaged continuationist critics on social media. They denounced the conference with such fervent descriptions as “hateful,” “divisive,” “painting with a broad brush,” “throwing all the faithful Pentecostal/charismatic people from around the world under a heresy bus.”

The strongest antagonist to the conference, Michael Brown, even wrote a 400 plus page book responding to the various talks and lectures presented at Strange Fire. My friend Lyndon and I wrote a lengthy, chapter-by-chapter review of his book that can be read HERE, if anyone is interested.

Their primary claim was to say the Strange Fire participants wrongly attributed the bizarre, wild-eyed antics and paranormal stories witnessed at a typical charismatic style crusade to faithful continuationists who never display any of that ridiculous conduct or claim any of those otherworldly experiences. The wacky high jinks seen on so-called Christian TV like TBN or Sid Roth’s “It’s Supernatural!” program are not the norm, but are fringy and embarrassing. They hardly represent genuine, enthusiastic, but orthodox Pentecostal-charismatic worship and belief.

Yet, in spite of their assertions of false accusations, what I was observing from the charismatic world provided an overwhelming contrary conclusion. The insistence by those pure and clean continuationists that true continuationism is not marked with the outlandish faux-testimonies of miraculous healings, visits to heaven, and pronouncements of fake prophecies, really had to make me wonder about their credibility. Certainly they couldn’t be THAT blind.

In fact, with what I was seeing, the TBN and Sid Roth style charismatic continuationists are the standard majority. Quite the opposite, the so-called balanced, sober-minded continuationists were the true fringe. Their view of continuationism has practically zero influence upon the vast body of charismatic believers. And that vast body is pretty vast, like say in the hundreds of millions world-wide.

If a person just does a simple search on the best selling charismatic books, he will find that all of them are written by the fringe, kooky continuationists throughout the Charismatic spectrum. Just take a look at the material sold at Bethel Redding’s bookstore. I don’t see anything representing the balanced, non-crack-pot continuationist. Say for instance, Wayne Grudem, or even Michael Brown.

Continuationism, A Non-Essential Issue?

Now. I understand that when I claim continuationism is not a non-essential, secondary issue that I am making a rather bold charge. I even had some respected friends push back against what I am stating; but I am prepared to back up what I mean.

When I write that continuationism is not a non-essential, secondary doctrinal matter, I am obviously saying continuationism has a direct and detrimental influence upon essential Christian doctrine, or those essential, core doctrines being what defines Christian orthodoxy and practice. I was asked by my detractors to provide some examples, and I believe I can.

I want to aim my focus upon what I believe to be the most significant, and that is how continuationism maligns the doctrine of God.  More specifically, how it touches the work of the Holy Spirit. While I certainly affirm a robust belief in the work of the Holy Spirit in acts of providence and individual salvation, continuationist conduct and claims of the supernatural attributed to the Holy Spirit are often blasphemous, or lead to blasphemy. I’d like to demonstrate what I mean in a series of posts highlighting what I believe are three key areas. I’ll begin with this post considering the first one.

Theological Compromise 

I think we would all agree that one of the major works of the the Holy Spirit is to lead God’s people in spiritual truth. In fact, in John 16:13, Jesus calls the Holy Spirit the “Spirit of Truth.” His ministry will be to speak authoritatively for the Father and the Son, and He will glorify our Lord.

Thus, when the Holy Spirit is truly at work among God’s people He leads them into the truth of who God is, who Christ is, what the Gospel message is, and a right understanding of Scripture.  The Holy Spirit would not be leading the church into compromising with gross, doctrinal error. Any person participating with the proclamation of gross, doctrinal error, while claiming it is a move of the Holy Spirit, would be blaspheming the Holy Spirit, would he not?

Cases in point:

Check out this picture:


Here we have, from left to right, John and Carol Arnott of Catch the Fire ministries, Brian Stiller of World Evangelical Alliance, Kenneth “X-men weather controller” Copeland, an antichrist, Thomas Schrrmacher, another guy from the World Evangelical Alliance, Geoff Tunniclife, a peace activist, again with the World Evangelical Alliance, James and Betty Robinson of Life Today ministries, and the now eternally judged, Bishop Tony Palmer.

Back during the summer of 2014, that writhing nest of spiritual asps, met together to discuss joint efforts in unifying Catholics and “evangelicals”®™ for the purpose of working together. James Robinson gushingly stated after the meet up, “This meeting was a miracle…. This is something God has done. God wants his arms around the world. And he wants Christians to put his arms around the world by working together.” [Charisma News Online 7/7/2014].

I happen to believe God had absolutely nothing to do with it at all, because I happen to believe the Holy Spirit does not affirm heresy and a false Gospel. To say the Holy Spirit does is blasphemy.

Both sides teach a false gospel. And while Catholics and those pseudo-evangelical grifters have a canyon’s wide divergent views of what is “the gospel,” each of their “gospels” are built upon the foundation of false doctrine that does not save anyone.

The only thing that brought them together is their continuationist views of the Spirit. The pope, and those useful idiots meeting with him, represent one of the largest world-wide collection of continuationists. While the pope believes Mary is a co-redemptrix with Jesus, and Copeland thinks Jesus wants Christians living in emperor decadence, both sides affirm the on-going supernatural work of the Spirit either in forms of continued revelation, visions and dreams, and even miraculous healings. Is anyone beginning to see how continuationism is not just a non-essential doctrine?

“Oh, Freddy,” someone may object, “Aren’t you choosing a rather extreme example? Kenneth Copeland is hardly a representative of true continuationism. Everyone agrees with you that he and his lunatic wife are goofy.”

Okay, let’s consider a second picture,


Here we see Lou Engle, founder of The Call ministries on his knees, kissing the feet of Matteo Calisi at the Azusa Now event that was held at the LA Colosseum. Calisi has been for years an active leader in Italy attempting to unify Catholics with Italian Pentecostals, as well as Pentecostals worldwide. The common factor for him? Why it’s the continuationist views of the Holy Spirit shared mutually between Pentecostals/charismatics and Roman Catholics.

In a 2014 interview with ZENIT, the online equivalent of Charisma News, but for Catholics (minus the howling mad crazy), Calisi explains in the interview the significance of the pope visiting with a group of Pentecostal evangelicals in Italy,

“The Bishop of Rome is perfectly aware of the urgency to search for unity between the Catholic Church and the Pentecostal Evangelical Churches. More than half a billion Christians adhere to the Pentecostal Movement, which is the second Christian confession soon after the Catholic Church for its large numbers. The Pentecostal Movement is the fastest growing movement in the whole history of the Christian Church, there is no other precedent. A movement born from the Holy Spirit without human founders, so little known by specialists and ecumenists especially here in Italy, which had an astonishing growth in the past century from 0 to 600 million participants.” [ZENIT 8/7/2014] (emphasis mine).

Engle invited Roman Catholics to the Azusa Now event because he wanted to bring ALL the followers of Christ together for the “purpose of unity, miracles, healing, and the proclamation of the gospel.” [CT 4/11/2016]. In other words, continuationism. Calisi was quoted as saying that the doctrinal divide between Catholics and evangelicals®™ is sinful and that Jesus doesn’t care about our doctrinal difference. I may be going out on a limb here, but I happen to believe with sound conviction that Jesus does care about individuals who venerate Mary and the saints to the point they pray to them.

Put another way, Jesus hates idolatry.

Again, someone is gonna say, “Fred, Fred, Fred. We are continuationists and we agree with you that Lou Engle is a wack-a-doodle. How can you possibly say continuationism has anything to do with this?”

Look. The folks at that conference are specifically meeting together under the guise of a mutual, continuationist fraternity. They are laying aside key, theological talking points — talking points that mark the difference between biblical truth and soul damning error! They are laying aside doctrine for the very purpose of promoting their fake Holy Spirit fraternity.

Moreover, go back to Engle’s website and check out that “about The Call” page. Look at that massive header photo of thousands of young people packed into a stadium at one of their prayer rally things. Thousands of other people all across the nation where Engle does his shtick will hear him say that doctrinal division from Catholics is sinful, and we need to love one another as brothers and sister in Christ in spite of any theological or doctrinal difference.

Those young people go away thinking there is nothing wrong with Catholicism because they have a shared experience with the Catholic in the Holy Spirit. I can even imagine them thinking, “Oh, Catholics have visions and dreams and visits from Mary and the saints just like charismatic leaders say they have with dead charismatics (as I wrote about HERE) and frequent visits to heaven (as I wrote about HERE).

The conclusion then is that there is nothing particularly wrong about the theology of Catholicism. Everyone loves Jesus, experiences the Holy Spirit, what’s the big deal? The big deal is that the Holy Spirit does not affirm heresy and to say He does is blasphemy! Hence, I see continuationism as touching right in the middle of core doctrinal truths about who God is and the ministry of the third person of the Trinity.

I’ll pick up with some more here soon.


  1. John Carpenter 3 years ago

    Cessationism is theologically impossible. First, it claims that some spiritual gifts have ceased because they were only for confirming scripture but no scripture claims any such things. The problem for cessationism is that one can’t proffer a basis for the sufficiency of scripture, a doctrine scripture doesn’t contain. Even responsible cessationists will concede, the Bible doesn’t teach cessationism. Scripture has no explicit cessationist statement. Further, the Bible doesn’t call spiritual gifts “revelatory gifts” (or “sign gifts”). It calls them “charismata” (literally, results of grace; or alternately it calls them “spiritual things”). “Revelatory gifts” is a term made up by cessationists to get us to the conclusion that they have ceased. Calling them “ceased gifts” and then concluding from that name that they have ceased, would be no more circular in reasoning. The term “revelatory gifts” is imposed onto scripture and gives the illusion that cessationism is a product of careful Bible study.

    And so cessationism is a self-contradictory doctrine that claims the Bible is sufficient so we don’t need spiritual gifts (that the Bible tells us we need) but we do need the doctrine of cessationism (that the Bible doesn’t teach.)

    Secondly, cessationism is theologically impossible because it assumes a distinction between certain gifts (that continue) and those that don’t because the later are, supposedly, supernatural, as though that makes any difference to God. Some gifts are “supernatural” to us because they are beyond our abilities. But to God, nothing is supernatural as there is nothing beyond His abilities, over His natural capacities. To God, it is no more difficult to raise the dead than it is to give someone a gift for teaching. Thus the cessationist position requires us to project onto God the natural vs. supernatural dichotomy onto God which is only true of us.

  2. roger 4 years ago

    Can you show from Scripture where you are right? Remember Scripture alone? And Paul said all Spiritual Gifts are here until the Revealing or our Lord Jesus Christ. So again you must respond with Scripture and not just your saying.

    • Author
      Fredman 4 years ago

      The point of these posts (there are four altogether, so it will be helpful for you to read them all as a set) is to demonstrate that continuationism, as a theological framework, is not a secondary matter, but poisons Christianity with bad doctrine, superstitious nonsense, and the spreading of fantastical lies by pastors and preachers who tell tall tales. I am happy to discuss as to why I believe you would be wrong to believe signs and wonders spiritual gifts are still active today. To answer your immediate claim, Paul did not say ALL spiritual gifts are here until the revealing of the Lord Jesus. That is a misreading of 1 Corinthians 13:8-10. I have written a little bit about it here,

      • roger 4 years ago

        Paul said it in 1st Corinthians chapter 1, verse 7. Now what do you think he meant?

        • Author
          Fredman 4 years ago

          1 Cor. 1:7 is Paul telling the Corinthians that they are not lacking any gift. Gift is defined as free grace gift, or something given by God and can be used broadly to speak of salvation, sanctification, spiritual gifts, etc. It is a leap to claim the word Gift, used by Paul in 1:7, is one and the same and are equally the same as signs and wonders apostolic level miracles that is discussed in 1 Cor. 12 and that they are still active and ongoing today among all Christians, when there is no proof whatsoever that they are. Gifts in 12:1 is literally spiritual things. Gifts are then described and defined by Paul and broken into various categories. 13:8-10 describes those gifts having a purpose and that purpose being complete when those gifts have served that purpose.

          • roger 4 years ago

            the word there is the word for Spiritual gifts. i don,t know Greek but have heard others say that the word is charistmatia. meaning Spritual Gifts. and Paul said in CONTEXT in chapter 13 that they are done away with when? face to face. that is when??? use all the verses there and not cut off to try and twist scripture.

  3. Evangelist 4 years ago

    I understand your concern regarding false doctrines; it is dangerous. I also understand Lou Engle kissing that man’s feet: NOT right at all. With all due respect, calling people idiots, is not very nice or productive. I can appreciate your zeal- it just needs a little love sprinkled on it.

    • Author
      Fredman 4 years ago

      Evangelist writes,
      – With all due respect, calling people idiots, is not very nice or productive.-

      I wrote “useful idiots.” There is a context with that phrase. Do a search on the term and you will see why I chose that particular word.

  4. Stephen Desilva 4 years ago

    I was ordained in the Assembly of God i was a tongue speaking prophesying evangelist for years. Until in 2007 when the Holy Spirit led me to the Holy writ and the sound doctrine of the reformers and Westminster divines my spiritual eyes were opened to the true biblical work of the the Holy Spirit. The tongues i spoke and have heard in my experience is not biblical it is definitely not a language and is not as in the book of acts chapter 2 and 10 and elsewhere in the Bible.Most honest Pentecostals will agree it is not the same as in the bible and it these gifts did cease but will quickly rebut this with an unbiblical view that God is doing new things meaning apart from what is written in the bible. This is the chicanery many denominations are falling for it is all heading back to the whore of Babylon to the antichrist Papa in Rome. We need to support Dr John MacArthur and the likes in this crusda to expose error in the Body of Christ failing to do so will result in dire consequences of which we will have to give account for to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

    Mat 7:21  Not everyone who says to Me, Lord! Lord! shall enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven. 
    Mat 7:22  Many will say to Me in that day, Lord! Lord! Did we not prophesy in Your name, and through Your name throw out demons, and through Your name do many wonderful works? 
    Mat 7:23  And then I will say to them I never knew you! Depart from Me, those working lawlessness! 
    Mat 7:24  Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on a rock. 
    Mat 7:25  And the rain came down, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house. And it did not fall, for it was founded on a rock. 
    Mat 7:26  And everyone who hears these sayings of Mine and does not do them shall be compared to a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 
    Mat 7:27  And the rain came down, and the floods came, and the wind blew and beat on that house. And it fell, and great was its fall. 

  5. […] Reasons why the next missionary you support should be a cessationist part 1 Reasons why the next missionary you support should be a cessationist part 2 Continuationism is not a secondary issue […]

  6. Candice 5 years ago

    As a former continuationist, I understand how it can be a primary issue. One misunderstanding of cessationism is the thought that we do not believe the Holy Spirit is alive and active. That is not the case. That would be unbiblical. We do not agree that the gifts that were seen in the first-century church are active in today’s context. A careful review of scripture shows that these gifts dwindled as the church grew and scripture was readily available. As a cessationist, I also know that in areas where scripture is not available you will find these gifts at work. Again, once scripture and the church are established these gifts disappear. These gifts are given as a testimony to the power and truth of the gospel. They do not add to nor take away from the gospel. I believe the Pentecostal/continuationist movement finds its greatest error in believing the gifts are proof of salvation. This is works based salvation. It leaves new believers in a constant state of fear that they are somehow less Christian. It is abhorrent and abusive. Even Paul made very clear that regardless of what gift is given, it is given for the sole purpose of building up the body. Let’s take the reprimand given the Corinthians and get back to loving one another and building one another up.

  7. Author
    Fredman 5 years ago

    Brad. No need to double post your comment. I’ll listen to the messages when I have a moment. One question I have is why YOU assume I haven’t studied this issue? I come from a charismatic friendly church, as well as a number of other folks I know. What needs to happen is for charismatic folks to demonstrate, just like Jesus and the apostles, the reality of healings and tongues and other supernatural gifts. What is generally presented as “proof” of such things, is easily debunkable.

  8. Brad Bates 5 years ago

    To get the perspective of people who are actually charismatic and spend a great deal of time studying this topic and provide a biblical foundation for why the things of the Spirit are necessary, I would highly encourage people to listen to the following podcasts from my pastor:

    Part 1:

    Part 2:

    Part 3:

  9. Author
    Fredman 5 years ago

    – Why didn’t you demonstrate from Scripture that continuationism is an essential issue, especially if it is an essential issue?-

    You don’t think that a belief and practice that excuses gross compromise of the Gospel that leads to blasphemy isn’t good enough to demonstrate that continuationism is a pernicious doctrine? Honestly. I am not attempting to lay out a biblical case, but demonstrating that many of those who claim continuationism is biblical and a necessary part of the Christian’s life, are behaving contrary to sound doctrine. That is due in part to what continuationism is as a belief.

  10. Author
    Fredman 5 years ago

    No. Because knowing your media ministry like I do, continuationism doesn’t define and saturate your theology and practice as a Christian. In fact, I have followed and recommend CARM for a number of years and the first time I knew you dabbled in the idea of on-going spiritual gifts is when you discussed it with JD December 2016.

  11. matt Slick 5 years ago

    As a Calvinist, am I a heretic because I affirm the continuation of the charismatic gifts?

Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

©2022 Bible Thumping Wingnut Network


Log in with your credentials


Forgot your details?


Create Account