The Bewildered Believer: Barnett & Jensen

© Anzea Publishers 1973
This article is an excerpt that was first published in The quest for power | neo-pentecostals and the New Testament by Paul Barnett and Peter Jensen (Sydney: Anzea Publishers, 1973, p. 1-2). It is reproduced here with permission.

This book is written for people who are bewildered and confused by the issue of neo-pentecostalism.

As a committed Christian you desire to be an effective disciple. You also desire the blessings of God’s spirit in your life.

Yet neo-pentecostals say one thing about this and orthodox Protestants say something else. They speak with conflicting voices.

Both groups appear to use the Bible and submit to its authority. Yet the old churches seem pretty dead whereas the neo-pentecostal meetings are bright and friendly. Things seem to be happening there, whereas nothing much seems to be happening in the old churches.

The baptism in the Holy spirit and speaking in tongues are made to sound attractive. Yet leading Christians from the historic denominations are known to be critical of what neo-pentecostals teach and do. It is all very bewildering to the ordinary believer who wants to be the best Christian he can.

This book sets out the neo-pentecostal position and then investigates some of the parts of scripture which bear on the issue. We feel that one of the major issues at stake is the way people use the Bible. For this reason we have discussed methods of using the Bible as one of our early chapters.

We, the authors, do not hold the neo-pentecostal point of view though we are grateful for its insight and emphasis in certain important areas.

We make a plea at this point. Some of the material in this book may be a little hard to understand. We are sorry about this, but it usually reflects difficult Bible passages which are hard to translate into simple language. Our plea is that the reader doesn’t give up on reading when he comes to a hard section. Sometimes it is a good idea to skip over a hard section for the moment and come back to it later.

There is another problem. Since we have written from convictions which repudiate the teachings of an exciting new group, we must often seem carping and over-critical.

Yet it must be remembered that the neo-pentecostal himself is a missionary with a view of Biblical truth which he is advocating as a pattern for all believers. He is quite deliberately posing a challenge to his fellow Christians. If his theology is wrong, his pattern becomes a burden on men’s consciences, and falsifies the gospel of God.

In that situation it is no great display of love to remain silent.

Christian discussion on the Spirit & Evangelical, Pentecostal, Reformed & Charismatic Belief, the Bible and Jesus; including the origin and history of Pentecostalism, baptism in the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues, gifts and miracles, divine healing and word of faith, prosperity and wealth, praise and worship, guidance and hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit | by Joe Towns

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