For centuries the Bible has been held as the inerrant, inspired, infallible and sufficient objective truth of God. In the early 1800’s a new view entered the realm of Christianity: new and personal revelation from God. In reality, just as the Scriptures tell us there is nothing new under the sun, the Modern Pentecostal is nothing new. During the time of the Reformation you had the Radical Reformers, Enthusiasts as they were called, who sought the voice of God outside of the Written Word of God. Even these groups were not new but followed the continued prophecy outside of the Bible which the Montanists had argued for. Much of what Modern Pentecostals teach is not new either, but they have been declared at best heterodox and at worst heresy.
As I’ve worked on my thesis for the Int’l Academy of Apologetics, Evangelism and Human Rights, I came to see much more of what Irving and others of his generation taught and promoted. Sadly, much of what they teach still is not to be found in the Written Word. Modern Evangelicalism has taken Pentecostalism and charismatic teachings into their arms, welcoming them, when they should be eschewing their teachings. I encourage those in conservative, creedal and confessional churches to reject their way of worship, gospel proclamation and reading of the scriptures while they embrace them in love desiring to show them the Biblical way.
Around the 18030’s, the forerunners of the modern Pentecostals with their visions and dreams stating that God still spoke outside of His written Word began to promote a “new work” and “new revelation”. They taught one could hear personally from God, apart from the Written Word. They encouraged Christians to seek the gifts of prophecy, visions & dreams, and to spread this neo-Montanism far and wide. They moved from the objective truth of God’s Written Word into the realm of subjective experience as their creed.
Over the following decades this subjective revelation became the norm and according to the early Pentecostals, was to be expected. After all, they proposed, Jesus cannot return unless the charismatic gifts are restored. People throughout Europe and North America began to seek out God’s Voice to them personally separate from the Written Scriptures. They were only doing what they were taught and because this movement had rejected Creeds and Christian history, it was easy to hear a subjective voice that may or may not agree with Holy Writ. Thus began the downward spiral to two types of God’s Word, the written one and the one spoken to you personally or to your group and church.