What God Has Said and What God is Saying


As Pentecostals we like to emphasize what God is doing now. We're hugely concerned to point out that God is actively involved in the world He has created. We affirm that He intervenes miraculously and that He is a God who is not silent but who speaks and continues to speak.

Our belief that God still speaks today is linked very much to our belief in the gift of prophecy and the office of the prophet for today. Through prophecy God speaks directly and clearly; through (tested and accepted) prophecy we can know that God is speaking. No Pentecostal could deny that God speaks today.

Yet sometimes we can go a bit overboard. Sometimes we can be so intent on focusing on the fact that God still speaks today that what He is presently saying becomes the be all and end all. We can place so much emphasis on the present tense of God's speech that we get distracted from what He has said in the past. Yet, in reality, we can only know with confidence what He is saying today if we know what He has said in the past.

But what has He said? Thankfully we don't have to wonder about that. We know exactly what God has said because He has given us His inspired Word. That's the thing, in order to know what God is saying we need to know His Word. Prophecy needs to be tested (1 Thess. 5:20-21). Scripture is our authority and so it's the standard by which we judge everything else.

Ultimately God has spoken to us in Christ at the Cross. This is the most important word which God has spoken, for it is the word of the Gospel which is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). It is what God has said in Christ at the Cross which must be the foundation of our faith. It is what God has said to us in Christ at the Cross which must be the foundation of the Christian life.

The danger is that sometimes we can focus so much on what God is saying that we end up neglecting what God has said. An impression or feeling of what God is saying can sometimes end up usurping the authority of Scripture (although if it is really God who is speaking He will never contradict His inspired Scriptures). An over-emphasis on what God is saying now (or on seeking to know exactly what God is saying now) can end up distracting us from what He has said at the Cross.

We can be thankful that our God still speaks. We should be thankful for the gifts of prophets and prophecy that He has placed in His Church and we should pray for even more. But we should also remember that what He has said has the priority over what He is saying. Scripture has priority over prophecy. The word of the Cross has priority over the whole of the Christian life. Without what God has said, what He is saying now will not make sense to us. Without a grasp of what He has said at the Cross, what He is saying now can only serve to condemn, but when what He has said at the Cross has the priority, what He is saying now brings blessing and benefit.

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The Tenets of the Apostolic Church

The Unity of the Godhead, and Trinity of the Persons therein.

The utter depravity of human nature, the necessity for repentance and regeneration and the eternal doom of the finally impenitent.

The virgin birth, sinless life, atoning death, triumphant resurrection, ascension, and abiding intercession of our Lord Jesus Christ; His second coming, and millennial reign upon earth.

Justification and Sanctification of the believer through the finished work of Christ.

The Baptism of the Holy Ghost for believers, with signs following.

The nine gifts of the Holy Ghost for the edification, exhortation and comfort of the Church, which is the body of Christ.

The Sacraments of Baptism by immersion and of the Lord's Supper.

The Divine inspiration and authority of the Holy Scriptures.

Church government by apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, elders and deacons.

The possibility of falling from grace.

The obligatory nature of tithes and offerings.