The Journey...


The Journey



The Trinity


[This article was written at least ten years ago when in most respects I still considered myself to be a "Pentecostal" believer. It covers my journey through the church world up until maybe 1999 at the very latest. A few things in it don't accurately represent my current thinking, and it badly needs updating to cover developments in my thinking and in my faith since it was written. When I will get around to that, I don't know, but the articles at my blog, "Arrive Without Traveling," will have to suffice in the meantime.
---Steve B., April 15, 2010]

I was born the son of a Lutheran pastor in the midwest. I count this a happy circumstance because from my parents and from the heritage of Luther I acquired a deep respect and love for the Word of God. Because of my parent's teaching, and that of the Lutheran Church in which they raised me, I was always concerned about spiritual things and, at least from the age of seven or eight, always understood the importance of repenting of my sins, believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, and obeying His word. I do not remember at what age I first consciously believed but I have renewed my commitment to Him many times throughout my life. Making the commitment and living it have always been two different things, however.

Due primarily to my father's influence, right after High School I went away to a small liberal arts college run by the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod in Nebraska (Concordia Teachers College in Seward).

But I was an unsettled and confused young loner, and really had no idea what I wanted to do or why I was there. I ended up dropping out after two-and-a-half years. That was 1976. I have good memories of walking the frequently snow-covered streets of Seward, but I don't think my formal education there influenced me very deeply. I do remember the seriousness with which one or two of the professers took their calling, however, and taught with a real passion and hope that a love of the Word would take hold of us. Most of the students thought these professors were the oddest ones at Concordia, however; they referred to the classes of one of them, who taught Lutheran Theology and whose last name was Streufert, as "Streufology."

For two years I didn't do too much until I decided I wanted to move to Seattle and go the University of Washington and study history.

This I did, after working first for a year in Seattle in order to qualify for resident tuition, which was a third of non-resident rates. At this job I met a guy my own age who was a member of a large, independent Pentecostal church in the Seattle area called Community Chapel. And at this time I was very open to diverse spiritual ideas, having become bored with what I thought was the deadness of the Lutheran Church. I was even reading a lot of Catholic literature. I read Thomas Merton, and bought a breviary and tried praying the hours (that lasted about three days! -- I had nowhere enough self-discipline to keep it up). But when I went to church with this guy and found out that it was a Pentecostal church he went to, that gave me serious pause. In the Lutheran church, we weren't taught anything in particular about tongues, but more by example than anything else we were conditioned to treat them with suspicion.

But because the pastor of that church, which was a small sattellite in the north Seattle area of the main church of Community Chapel, taught from the Word more straightforwardly than I had heard anyone preach before, I kept going back and eventually decided to make it my church home. And not too much later, I was baptized in the Holy Spirit (as I had then come to believe) with the sign of speaking in tongues. Alone praying in my room one evening I found I could easily and naturally pray in tongues. That was late 1978.

In the meantime I went ahead and enrolled in the UW and began taking classes to complete a history degree, this time much more focused and interested in studying. However, during my first year there I gradually came to feel that the Lord was leading me to go to Bible college at the main church of Community Chapel. I was very conscious that though I had been a Christian as long as I could remember, I really did not know the Word very well, and that it was vitally necessary to make it the foundation of my spiritual life. So at the end of the academic year, June 1980, I once again dropped out of college and moved to the south part of the Seattle area and enrolled in Community Chapel and Bible Training Center.

Then began one of the happiest but eventually and paradoxically one of the most confusing periods of my life. I was very happy studying the Word every day among people similarly motivated to make it the center of their lives. I met and married the girl who is my wife and with whom I am still very happy. I graduated from Bible college after four-and-a-half years, in 1985. But the doctrines and practices at the Chapel became odder and odder, slowly at first, then rapidly. Singing in the Spirit, demonic deliverance (detailed histories of what demons thought and did, histrionic, theatrical prayer sessions to cast demons out of people), dancing in the Spirit, finally (in the spring of 1985), connections.

“Spiritual connections” started during the "dancing in the spirit" move. The dancing had started out individually, but soon couples found themselves dancing together, “worshipping God.” It was probably inevitable that sooner or later, the eyes of the two people would meet and they would each feel that a powerful spiritual bond had formed between them. Soon it began to be formally taught that this was a new way in which Jesus was visiting his church and perfecting love in it. It also began to be taught that we needed to get rid of “legalistic” ideas about marriage so that our spouses would be free to take part in this “move,” because of course, connections were seldom between husband and wife. It was taught that too many hurts had been built up over the years of a marriage for this to be possible. Instead, we must have these hurts healed in a connection, and then return to the marriage to make it even stronger with the love we had received in the connection.

Not surprisingly, it became common to see men and women sitting in church services with someone who was not their spouse. Special nights were set aside for “worshipping” (dancing) with one's connection. One Sunday morning there was even an adult Sunday school lesson on “Is it OK to French Kiss Your Connection?” The answer was a somewhat ambiguous “No” but enough leeway was left so that this, and more, was widely practiced in private. All sexual expression was supposedly off-limits in a connection, but of course it happened anyway and the church eventually crashed in a big way when it was revealed the pastor was sleeping with at least three different connections.

I never took much part in the connection "move" and in fact, starting with the "demonic deliverance" move I had been gradually coming to feel that something was going wrong. When the connection move got into full swing, both my wife and I began going to church less and less, without really talking about it much with each other. Other things made it easier. My wife was pregnant, I had graduated from Bible college and was looking for a full-time job and not having much success, and I was wrestling with the decision whether or not I should return to school yet one more time.

To make a long story short, I did once again go back to school, this time in computer engineering, first at a nearby community college, then back to the University. I graduated in 1993 with a degree in computer engineering and also in history, finishing up what I had started more than ten years before. Since 1991, when I was still at the UW, I have been working at a large software company (not Microsoft, by the way), where I have been very satisfied and grateful to God, here in the Seattle area.

During the period I was going back to school and completing my computer and history degrees, the Chapel completely fell apart and we left it to begin a nine- or ten-year trek through (mostly) charismatic and Pentecostal churches, looking for a new church home. During that trek I gradually became convinced that the entire charismatic and Pentecostal movement represents a major wrong turn in the history of Christianity. The rest of this document details why I think and feel this way.

I had long been concerned, even while at the Chapel, with what seemed to me to be prominent examples of bizarre or unbalanced behavior within the Pentecostal and charismatic churches; at the Chapel for example, with the extremes of the "demonic deliverance" movement and with nearly all the behavior seen during the "spiritual connections" movement. A current, non-Chapel, example would be the behavior associated with the "laughing revival" which is centered on the Vineyard church in Toronto.

Many of these things were (and are) justified with the argument: "These movements may well contain some extremes, but this is what God is doing and we donít want to throw out the baby with the bath water. We donít want to miss it just because some people react in inappropriate ways. As long as we stay in the move of God, He will purify and watch over it." The picture that was presented was one of successive "moves of God" visiting the church. It was important always to be "in the move of God."

In thinking about this, I slowly realized I had some reservations about the concept of "the move of God." For one thing, it was not a scriptural term (one never found the apostles exhorting people to be "in the move of God") and I was pretty sure it was not even a scriptural concept. What seemed to be important to the apostles were things like growing in the Word, growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, and using a variety of spiritual gifts to build up the other members of the body of Christ, without any one of the gifts taking prominence. In reading the scriptures I did not see a picture, after the pouring out of the Spirit at Pentecost, of successive waves of unique spiritual experiences which were to be experienced by everyone in the church at more or less the same time. At the Chapel, on the other hand, it was more or less necessary to be part of deliverance, then of singing in the spirit, then of dancing (I remember Barbara, the pastor's wife, stating from the pulpit that "dancing is not optional"), then finally of spiritual connections. Participation in these moves was deemed to be a necessary part of oneís spiritual growth in spite of the fact that all of these are either missing or mentioned only rarely in the New Testament. Likewise, the proponents of todayís "laughing revival" have taught that those who resist such behavior are not going to come into the fullness of what God has for them.

That these things were not mentioned in the New Testament was sometimes acknowledged by Don (the pastor) and the other teachers at the Chapel, but it was taken for granted that God would be doing new things in the church, beyond the experience of the first century church. Certain scriptures, such as Isaiah 43:19 ("Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert") were cited as proof of this. I have to admit that at the time I largely accepted this.

But I also observed that in practice the acceptance of this concept (successive new "moves of God") seemed to lead to the expectation that some new corporate experience ( a new "move of God") should always be on the horizon. And it seemed to me that this expectation of a new move of God was often one of the major factors in the creation of the next move. People felt that God wasnít doing anything if some unique, external, and (usually) emotional things were not being seen.

Additionally, it was hard to resist the conclusion that peer pressure to be part of a "move of God" (not to mention explicit statements from the leaders that a particular experience is "not optional") could easily lead immature Christians to manufacture in themselves, consciously or unconsciously, the experience they were seeking. Thus a "move of God" might easily consist primarily of immature people who are fooling themselves about the origins of an experience, an experience they see as a work of the Holy Spirit.

I think this was about as far as my dissatisfaction with the Pentecostal or charismatic approach had gone at the time of Chapelís demise. I still thought the collapse of the Chapel was a special case caused by Don falling into sexual sin and into the false teaching which was the result of it (for of course his sexual sins predated the "spiritual connections" teaching by a long, long time). At that time I had no doubts about the validity of the charismatic (or Pentecostal) movements as a whole.

A few months after the collapse of the Chapel, which took place in March of 1988, I came into contact with the book Agape and Eros by Anders Nygren. Its first few chapters had a great impact upon my view of spirituality. Nygrenís thesis is that the fundamental motif of Christianity is agape and the fundamental motif of the Greek religions with which it came into contact was eros, which Nygren makes clear is not rank eroticism, but a more lofty philosophical conception which permeated ancient Greek thought and religion. Agape is a love which descends from God to man which man can only humbly accept before directing it back to God and to others. Eros is a love which lifts itself up to God -- a self-exalting impulse which is heightened, cultivated, and developed through ritual (the ceremonialism of the ancient mysteries), through experience (altered states of consciousness induced by various means, sometimes including, but not limited to, drugs), through contemplation (elevation through stages of knowledge or spiritual awareness by mental exercises), or through some combination of these elements. Its intersection with Christianity is, however, usually much more subtle than the formal introduction of any one of these elements into Christian worship or practice. It is a tendency of human thought and feeling that is not always clearly dangerous, but in the long run is very corrupting because it tends to focus on what the self experiences instead of on the reality of Godís salvation in Jesus Christ. Therefore it is usually imported into the church by way of incautious or untaught Christians who have been unknowingly seduced by an attractive, seemingly spiritual impulse or vision.

Nygrenís contention is that through the centuries eros has succeeded in supplanting agape as the dominant understanding of Christian love. The Reformation partially reversed the victory of eros, but it is always in danger of seeping back into the church through one back door or another. Though I could not entirely grasp the full import of what Nygren was saying, and though I have not very satisfactorily summed it up here, I saw immediately that he had hit upon something important. I dimly saw that it had something to do with what had happened at the Chapel, and would see more and more that the charismatic movement in general had perhaps fallen into something that Nygren could have warned them against as having its roots in eros instead of in true agape. Manís attempt to exalt himself into the presence of God ends in disaster.

Then began a long period of trekking through various charismatic churches in search of a new church home. Some were better, some were worse, but especially in the last two, Christian Faith Center and Silver Lake Chapel (now All Nations Bible Center), both of which are large and well- known churches in the mainstream of the charismatic movement, I could not ignore a (for lack of a better term) "wackiness" that I think has made up my mind for good about the nature of the charismatic movement.

In the first place, at both CFC and SLC, there was a marked affinity for rock music. Through a two or three year period of reexamining this issue I have again concluded that what Christians are doing when they accept rock music as a valid form of worship is merely getting high on the music. They have accepted a fleshly form of energy as spiritual power; they do not feel they are really worshipping or are "in the presence of God" unless they experience certain feelings which they expect to be induced by the music. At the same time, if one looks at the lyrics -- at the sentiments actually being expressed -- one is often shocked at the superficiality and even the false doctrine found there. I have written much about this elsewhere, and do not intend to belabor it here, but as I looked about me I realized with dismay that rock had largely won the day in the charismatic church. (My take on Christian rock music, in fact, is that those who make it and those who feed on it are totally under the sway of eros instead of agape.)

I passed another dismaying milestone when I visited a church meeting called the "Fresh Fire Conference" held in the summer of 1995 at a Holiday Inn in Everett. It was sponsored annually by a black church in Seattle and had been recommended to my wife by "John", a Bible teacher at SLC, as being the source of some of the best teaching he had ever heard. When she and I visited this meeting I was appalled by both the "worship" and by the teaching. (Although from a certain academic viewpoint it was all very interesting. I realized for the first time the full truth of the statement that rock musicís roots are in the "gospel" music of the black church.) For the first time since I had stopped attending rock concerts years before, I was subject to music that was so loud it gave me a headache. And people were out of control at that conference. Black women were dancing themselves into such a frenzy that they had to be helped to the side of the auditorium until they settled down. (Two older ladies stood by near the front especially for this purpose. When they saw one of the other women beginning to lose control, they would position themselves on opposite sides of the lady, join hands around her, and slowly pull her over to the side aisle.)

Further, one of the teachers a white man about 30 years old with long hair whose name, I think, was Veron Ash, was alarming in the way he pranced about the stage and chanted "When you party with Jesus, the party never stops" into the microphone over and over during one of the more driving rock numbers. (He opened his teaching by apologizing for his long hair, excusing it by saying he had just been on a trip to Israel and he had to grow his hair long or he "wouldnít be accepted by the rabbis over there." I was very skeptical about this because in the first place, orthodox rabbis are not known to be very accepting of evangelical, Pentecostal Christians no matter what kind of hair they have, and secondly because I don't think most rabbis have long hair themselves, except for their sidelocks.) This man also claimed to be from a very wealthy family who had disinherited him when he became a Christian, although he had actually been raised by a black nurse in Jamaica. The whole thing smelled very fishy.

Much later, some people at SLC told me that they had heard that this Veron Ash had "gone off the deep end" in his ministry. I couldnít get any more details out of them about this, but I was not surprised. I thought he was already off the deep end in the summer of 1995, and I was again puzzled why many at SLC (primarily those in "John's" Bible study class) couldnít see this from the beginning. I am still not sure what elements in their thinking caused them to be blind to this, but I tend to think it was because this group was offering teaching on the "Feast of Tabernacles," which is the current "move of God" in charismatic circles. It is supposed to be the next big thing that God does, and so this belief overrode all else. The chief concern was again to be a part of "what God is doing", and scruples based on scripture or on common sense are set aside as being legalistic.

Around the same time, I think maybe even a little before this, we had attended "Johnís" Sunday morning class at SLC. It was a two or three month course on methods of Bible study. In it I was a little put off by a certain self-indulgence in his style of teaching, and I was concerned about the fact that he took numerology seriously as one method of Bible study. (Also, the fact that he could recommend the Fresh Fire Conference as a source of good teaching made me a little suspicious of the soundness of his spiritual perception. This may have been in retrospect, however.)

At the time, however, "John's" classes were not a very big factor in my concerns about the charismatic movement, but he did exemplify in a minor way some of the things I was concerned about. I made a mental note to avoid any future classes he might teach, but I found him personally to be friendly and did not dislike him.

However, the home group meeting to which I was going soon became dominated by people who had attended "John's" Sunday morning Bible classes. This began to concern me as I detected a distinct lack of spiritual discernment there. There seemed to me to be an uncautious openness to just about any wind of doctrine that blew through the charismatic/Pentecostal world.

For example, in December of 1995 two close friends of mine from the SLC home fellowship also began to attend the home Bible studies of a man named Steve Jones, with whose teachings they were very impressed, and whom they had heard about through a third friend who attended the SLC home fellowship. They urged me to come along also. I did, and almost from the beginning I was seriously alarmed by what this man was teaching.

Again, here was a doctrine about the fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles, but here it was accompanied by an elaborate and bizarre system of time cycles based on his highly eccentric interpretations of the Bible, current events, and events in his own life. Mixed in with a lot of teaching about the symbolism of the Old Testament feasts were numerology, British Israelism, and even snatches of astrology. Further, he believed that the Kingdom of God had been taken by God from the church in the spring of 1985 and given to a group he calls “the overcomers.” During 1996 he was teaching that the Feast of Tabernacles would be fulfilled in October of that year and that this would involve the “overcomers” receiving their glorified, heavenly bodies while still on earth. To my horror, my friends believed this and began making plans to attend a retreat Steve Jones was going to hold in Leavensworth, Washington, to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles when this would be accomplished.

Very disquieted, I labored much of March and April of that year documenting from his newsletters (The Foundation for Intercession and, primarily, The Lord's Doing) all the ways I felt this man was wrong and why I was going to have nothing to do with his Bible studies. My friends did eventually stop going to his meetings, but I fear it wasn't a result of my paper, which I titled Some Concerns and which I have included in my “Wrong Turns” section on this site. (In fact the only reason my friends did not go to the retreat in Leavensworth was because Steve Jones canceled the gathering when he concluded having it in a place which had the word "leaven" in the name was not a good sign.)

In the meantime, the church services at SLC were becoming more objectionable to me. The percentage of rock music in the Sunday morning services was increasing, and so was the acceptance of the "Toronto blessing" or "laughing revival," another portent which appeared on the horizon in 1995. Vince Schott, the pastor at SLC, went to Toronto and came back to later host a week of meetings in early 1996 with Basil Howard-Browne, the brother of the originator of the laughing revival, Rodney Howard-Browne. These were not as extreme as those things apparently taking place in Toronto, but the fact that Vince should be accepting this teaching instead of exposing it in the light of the Word was very disturbing to me.

Vince himself sometimes made statements in his sermons that SLC "was a Pentecostal, pew-jumping, shouting and hollering church, and youíd better get used to it, my friend." One night at a Sunday evening church service while the congregation was "worshipping" to rock music, some of the young people dived off of the main platform into the crowd dancing in front of it. (This is a practice popular at secular rock concerts.) Vince defended this with delight and disparaged those who were offended by the event. Because of incidents like these, the atmosphere at SLC seemed to me to be increasingly out of harmony with the fruits of the Holy Spirit and with the tenor of New Testament teaching on what the life of a church should be.

In May of 1996, because the situation at SLC had deteriorated so badly, I decided to stop going to church at SLC and started going to a non- charismatic church I chose out of the yellow pages and after speaking to the pastor briefly on the phone. At that time, I still believed that the initial sign of being filled with the Holy Spirit was speaking in tongues, and that the people in charismatic churches were filled with the Holy Spirit in a way that people in non-charismatic churches were not, but I was so weary of the superficiality, crudity, and bizarreness that I had found everywhere in the charismatic world that I just wanted to get away from it all into a place where I could hear the Holy Spirit speaking clearly through the Scriptures, through which I have always heard and known Him. I had already stopped going to the SLC home group meeting that I was attending because I could see it taking on more and more of the flavor of "John's" teachings.

My basic objection to "Johnís" group is his over-riding emphasis on the "prophetic." The expectation was being created that prophecy should be normative for all believers at all times and should be in fact the distinguishing characteristic of a Christian life. It seemed to me that this was isolating only one of the spiritual gifts, which the Bible plainly says (in Romans 12 and even in I Corinthians 12, in the very heart of the Bibleís teaching on NT prophecy) not everyone has, and elevating it above everything else. And I know for a fact (I saw a worksheet from one of his classes) that he encourages members of his group to write down and interpret their dreams as "words from God." These things seem to me to leave the way wide open for people to create their own spiritual leadings out of, at best, their own imagination or, at worst, the influence of deceiving spirits who willingly step into this situation. I have observed in conversation with members of his group that it also leads to a downgrading of scripture -- that is, merely studying the scriptures inevitably ends up being seen as a distinctly second-class method of receiving revelation from God and as possibly being dead and legalistic.

Also, in his group a great deal of emphasis is (implicitly) placed on outward expressions such as speaking in tongues and dancing, with which I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable in the light of the New Testament witness.

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matt 7:21-23 KJV)

During this time I realized, at first with some alarm, that I was coming to think that speaking in tongues may not be the only sign of being filled with the Holy Spirit. This view was a result of continued study of I Cor 12-14. I just could not fit the traditional Pentecostal/charismatic practices and beliefs about tongues into the framework of these chapters. The fact which first claimed my attention was that Paul says without any ambiguity at all that tongues should not be used in the assembled church unless interpreted. This obviously goes straight against the grain of standard charismatic practice and teaching.

The most remarkable thing about this section of scripture (a section which Paul explicitly says is written so that we should not be ignorant about spiritual things) is that Paul starts off by saying that one cannot acknowledge Jesus as Lord except by the Holy Spirit (the Greek is "in the Holy Spirit"). Therefore every true Christian is "in the Holy Spirit." You do not need tongues to be in the Holy Spirit. You do not need prophecy to be in the Holy Spirit. These are only two spiritual gifts (among many possible different kinds) that some have received from God, but they are not distinguishing marks of "moving in the spirit," to use a charismatic phrase. And the public use of any spiritual gift is invalid if it is not being used to build up the body of Christ. Tongues in particular, Paul emphasizes, are worse than useless in the assembled body if they are not interpreted. And yet today it is common in charismatic churches to have extended periods of speaking in tongues, all at the same time and without interpretation, and to view these times as specially "worshipping in the spirit." But Paul says very strongly, "If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?" In other words, Paul calls such times madness, not worship.

If Paul knew of any other use of tongues in the assembled church, these chapters would have been the place to say so. Instead it seems clear that Paul is discussing for the benefit of the Corinthians all the uses of tongues he knows about within the assembled church. In fact, seeing as how the Corinthians are out of balance in their use of tongues and the other spiritual gifts, Paul seems to be giving them a complete survey of what place tongues and the other gifts should have in the life of the believer. "Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant." The word gifts is not in the Greek, as one sees in the KJV (which places all words not found in the Greek, but which were added by the translators for clarity, in italics). He is discussing spiritual things in general, not merely the spiritual gifts. If the "baptism in the Holy Spirit with the sign of speaking in tongues" was necessary to enter the realm of spiritual things, it would be imperative to say so now. But instead Paul states that all who acknowledge Jesus as Lord are in the Spirit. The statement that it is necessary to pray in tongues to be in the Spirit is striking by its absence. Could it possibly be that this was the Corinthian false doctrine that Paul was addressing in these chapters? It has come to seem increasingly likely to me.

It is obvious that Paul does allow some place for the private exercise of tongues. But as I read and re-read these chapters I cannot conclude that Paul is actively promoting tongues. What he says seems offhand and by way of permission rather than by way of positive teaching on what one should do.

The issue for me is not spiritual gifts in themselves -- on the basis of the scriptural witness I still accept them. (But I admit that I donít think the charismatic church is exercising these gifts properly today.) The issue is the seeking of "spiritual" experiences above almost everything else, the making of these (instead of faith, hope, and love) into the heart of Christian life and teaching. I fear that people are beginning to think that unless they have "spiritual experiences" they do not think they are fully Christian, and that by "spiritual experience" they expect some remarkable external thing (usually prophecy and speaking in tongues) to be always occurring or some prophetic voice (either internal or from a charismatic prophet) to be constantly guiding them, and they expect these to be normative for all Christians.

Lately dancing, since it figures so importantly in what people suppose is the "restored worship of the Davidic Tabernacle", has become prominent in charismatic circles. I am of course aware that in the Old Testament Michal, Davidís wife, was rebuked by God for not accepting the dancing of David, but this still does not allay the concerns I have about the way dancing is done in charismatic churches today. Davidís dancing was a spontaneous part of a national celebration and was not made a part of Temple (or Tabernacle) worship. But in the charismatic church of today dancing seems to be promoted as a higher or better form of worship and this exalts external expressions of worship instead of the true internal worship of the spirit. It also emphasizes performance and display, because the best dancers are inevitably thought of as the best worshippers.

There is also the issue, in relation to "Tabernacles" theology, of reviving Old Testament forms of worship in the New Testament church. But again I have reservations. Doesnít the New Testament (for example, the book of Hebrews) teach that all the symbolism and ritualism of the Tabernacle and its priesthood has been fulfilled by Jesus and should not now be celebrated literally? In any case, the apostles, who after all are the ones who spoke of the "restoration of the tabernacle of David," made no effort to implement dancing with banners, et cetera, in the church. I have come to think it safest to stick to the things clearly taught in the New Testament and to shy away from esoteric interpretations. If I am abiding in the Word, abiding in prayer, and seeking to increase in faith, hope, and love, then I am confident I will be a part of whatever God chooses to do in the last days, whether they be in the near or distant future.

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