Here is a link to an invaluable resource from J. Rodman Williams of Regent University. Daniel Segraves, Robin Johnston, and other Oneness teachers also attend or have attended Regent as well. Regent is also the home of Vinson Synan who is one of the most esteemed Pentecostal historians and theologians to date. Williams presents Pentecostal Theology from several aspects. If you ever wonder what a Pentecostal's position on certain things should be, generally speaking, then this is a great place.
I highly recommend we all study his Ten Teachings (a basic Systematic Theology)and Scripture: God's Word. It will benefity any minister greatly. You can download much of his information from this website to save as a Word.doc or a .pdf for future use.
Note, as with any writing, you need to eat the meat and pick out the bones. Save us the "I only read Oneness authors post"! I am not saying you nor I agree with his teachings in whole but, overall he gives a much needed aspect in articulating a clear and broad Pentecostal Theology. Also, the word charismatic refers to the spiritual gifts and not a particular preference on holiness standards. So, even the Ultra-Con can glean a few things.
Charismatic Pentecostal Theology by J. Rodman Williams
Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, (34) Speak to the children of Israel, saying: The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to the LORD. (35) On the first day there shall be a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it. (36) For seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD. On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation, and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD. It is a sacred assembly, and you shall do no customary work on it. (37) These are the feasts of the LORD which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire to the LORD, a burnt offering and a grain offering, a sacrifice and drink offerings, everything on its day-- (38) besides the Sabbaths of the LORD, besides your gifts, besides all your vows, and besides all your freewill offerings which you give to the LORD. (39) Also on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep the feast of the LORD for seven days; on the first day there shall be a sabbath-rest, and on the eighth day a sabbath-rest. (40) And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days. (41) You shall keep it as a feast to the LORD for seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations. You shall celebrate it in the seventh month. (42) You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths, (43) that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God." (44) So Moses declared to the children of Israel the feasts of the LORD. (Leviticus 23:33-44 NKJV)
We often speak of various Jewish feasts and celebrations in our theological pursuits. The Feast of Tabernacle (or "booths") is one such feast. It is one of the most unique feasts in Judaism, in my opinion. This is due to the peculiar instructions God gave the Israelites. The Feast of Tabernacle (FOT hereon) was the fourth in a set of annual festival celebrations of Judaism (2 Chron. 8:13; Ezra 3:4; Zech. 14:16). On the Gregorian calendar this time is fixed around September or October. This feast was so well known in Judaism and the Old Testament scriptures that it was simply referred to as "the feast" (1 Kings 8:2; 2 Chron. 5:3; 7:8; Neh. 8:14; Isa. 30:29; Ezek. 45:23,25).
FOT encompasses a variety of Jewish historical and Torahic (something finding origin in the Torah) meaning. Whatever its nuances might be it is clear that it is to be celebrated perpetually (vs. 41) and with rejoicing (vs. 40). Today, this particular feast includes a celebration of the fall harvest and God’s provision for Israel. It is generally a very celebrated and anticipated feast. As the Leviticus passage demonstrated, above, FOT has origin in the Torah (Lev. 23:29-43). It is a time for remembrance of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt and their subsequent wandering in the wilderness for forty years. During this time Israel lived in tents and worshiped at the Tabernacle which was also a tent, both having specifications from God on the way each was to be built.
FOT was held after harvest and vintage (Deut 16:13); it began on fifteenth of seventh month (Lev 23:34,39); lasted seven days (Lev 23:34,41; Deut 16:13,15); all males obliged to appear at (Ex 23:16,17); to be observed with rejoicing (Deut 16:14,15); perpetually (Lev 23:41); people dwelt in booths during (Lev 23:42; Neh 8:15,16); the law publicly read every seventh year at (Deut 31:10–12; Neh 8:18); to commemorate the sojourn of Israel in the desert (Lev 23:43) and had remarkable celebrations of at the dedication of Solomon’s temple (1 Kin 8:2,65) as well as after the Egyptian captivity (Ex 3:4; Neh 8:17).(1)
Today, when remembering this time Jews build small tabernacles or booths with walls of plaited branches and thatched roofs as God explicitly instructed in Leviticus 23:42. These booths/tents are still constructed in modern times. God instructed them to live in these booths for seven days. This served as a clear reminder of their days of tent living while wandering in the wilderness.
As we read the Leviticus passage, we can readily see that this event was a staged celebration by the Almighty Himself. Although, symbolisms and metaphors exist in this feast God makes it very plain his reasoning for this feast. It is encapsulated in vss. 42-44:
“You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths, that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt:” (NKJV)
FOT “was instituted to remind the Israelites that their fathers dwelt in tents or booths in the wilderness (Leviticus 23:43), and to be an annual thanksgiving after all the crops of the land were gathered for the year (Leviticus 23:39). (2) It seems, then, that God’s express purpose is to cause Israel to remember His mercy and provision upon them by celebrating with the booths. A secondary purpose is to cause rejoicing and thanksgiving because of mercy and provision as well. A positve remembrance then can lead to thanksgiving and rejoicing.
The term "tabernacle" (rendered “booth” by KJV) or אהל in Old Testament Hebrew refers to a "tent of nomad" or a "dwelling" or a "sacred tent of Jehovah" (3) or a general covering. The idea was not, necessarily, to indicate Yahweh as the protector, preserver, and covering in heat and storm (Psalms. 27:5; 31:20; Isa. 4:6) only but to also serve as a celebration for the entire community, including family, slaves, widows, orphans, Levites, and sojourners (Deut. 16:13-15). It appears possible, then, for foreign slaves and those destitute and without familial connection, were to rejoice in the Feast!
As mentioned earlier, the Tabernacle in the Wilderness as well as the booths of the feast were to be built with explicit instruction from God. It was not a contrivance of man then, but something gifted to Israel, via Moses, by God.
Our savior, Jesus Christ, attended FOT. In fact, "after the Feast of Tabernacles in the temple, Jesus angers the Pharisees by claiming to be the light of the world" (4) as custom, FOT occurred in Jerusalem. After Christ arrived in Jerusalem and entered the Temple John’s Gospel proclaims,
"On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (John 7:38-39 NKJV)
The phrase “on the last day” means that this event occurred on the last day of FOT.
As mentioned just prior, Jesus also upset the Pharisees by proclaiming to be the “light of the world”. Those travelling to the Temple would bring lights and torches. To add to the significance, the golden lamps stands would also be lighted thereby illuminating the Temple. Prophetically, this looked forward to the coming of the Messiah—Jesus Christ. Shortly, after FOT, Jesus spoke and said,
“…I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12 NKJV)
By the pen of Luke, Paul carries this further at Antioch,
“For so the Lord has commanded us: I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, That you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth." (Acts 13:47 NKJV)
Paul tells us here that, not only is he sent to carry this light, but that this light is to be carried to the ends of the earth!
For certain, there are several nuances in this particular feast. However, there are at least two things, in FOT, that we have discussed prior that give some further meaning to practical Christian living.
First, as mentioned prior, a possible secondary purpose for FOT was to cause rejoicing and thanksgiving because of mercy and provision. Remember the recent death of a loved one does not always bring thanksgiving or rejoicing, but in some sense if the person is saved we should rejoice. So, positive remembrance should lead to thanksgiving and rejoicing. We should be careful in our daily lives and especially in public worship to always give proper remembrance (Rev. 2:4-5) and thanks (Eph. 5:20) to the great things that God has done.
Second, it appears all members then, even possible foreign slaves and those destitute and without familial connection, was to rejoice in the Feast. There is possible Christological symbolism here. In the NT Paul later tells us that it is by grace through faith that we have been saved. God's grace has been extended to all mankind (John 3:16); It is not the will of God for any man to perish (2 Peter 3:9); Race, gender, nor economic status are perquisite to salvation (Gal. 3:28). Likewise FOT extended rejoicing privileges to everyone regardless of status. Christ our covering and protection can be celebrated by ALL (John 3:16)!
- The MacArthur Study Bible (electronic ed.) (Re 21:27). MacArthur, J. J. (1997, c1997). Nashville: Word Pub.
- Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon. Brown, F., Driver, S. R., & Briggs, C. A. (2000). Strong's, TWOT, and GK references Copyright 2000 by Logos Research Systems, Inc. (electronic ed.) (13). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems.
- Manners & Customs of the Bible. "Rewritten and updated by Harold J. Chadwick" Freeman, J. M., & Chadwick, H. J. (1998). --Cover.; Includes index. (Rev. ed.].) (123). North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge-Logos Publishers
- A Harmony of the Gospels. Robertson, A.T., , Harper & Row; New York` 1950.
Here is a great book by Dr. Leland Ryken and it is downloadable, for free! Here is an excerpt from the ESV website:
With so many Bible translations available, how do you make a choice between them? How do you even know what the criteria should be for making a choice?Download the book here!
As an expert in English literature and literary theory, Leland Ryken approaches the translation debate from a practical literary viewpoint. He believes that many modern translations take liberties with the biblical text that would not be allowed with any other type of literary work. Also, what readers are presented with as biblical text is actually far from the original text. In literature, a simplified version of Milton’s work is not Milton, and neither is an edition written in contemporary English. Anyone who is interested in Milton would find any version that changes his words unacceptable for serious study. Ryken argues that the same dedication to reproducing literature texts as closely as possible needs to be present in biblical translation. To do so it is necessary to take into account the difficulty of working with original languages. Only an essentially literal, “word for word” translation of the Bible, Ryken concludes, can achieve sufficiently high standards in terms of literary criteria and fidelity to the original text.
Ryken does not contest that many modern translations have been used for good, and he believes that there is a place for a range of Bible translations. His purpose is not to say that the only Bible available should be one that is essentially literal. Instead, he defines the translation theory and principles that would result in the best Bible for English-speaking people and for the English-speaking church as a whole. He believes that an essentially literal translation is the natural result of following these principles.
Along with a short history of translation, Ryken evaluates presuppositions that impact translation theory. He also examines a number of fallacies—about the Bible, about translations in general, and about Bible readers—fallacies that influence what translation decisions are made. Believing that those who undertake the serious work of translating God’s Word have an obligation both to God and to others, he assesses the theological and hermeneutical issues involved and the implications of these issues for modern Bible translation. Ryken’s literary expertise gives him the perspective needed to provide Christians with a standard for comparing contemporary Bible translations.
I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. 1 Timothy 2:8 KJV
The Bible speaks about the lifting up of holy hands. This discussion was a favorite of mine early in ministry and I did much study concerning it to compile a preacings series called "Worship: Our Measured Response." However, I wanted to share a few of my notes with you.
Today, most Christian groups would consider "lifting holy hands" an awkward practice. Some of our seeker sensitive types might think it is definitely "out of order". Ironically, the accepted way of prayer among Jews, even most pagans, and the earliest Christians was using the uplifting of arms and hands. In Old Testament times, prayers were made with the face pointed toward heaven and palms turned upward with the hands outstretched. This conveyed humble requests and a longing for God's blessing or divine intervention. (1) Interestingly enough, these "hands" could not just be casual or unclean, they had to be "clean" before God.
In context of what Timothy may have been experiencing in Ephesus, the outward forms (e.g. lifted holy hands) of prayer needed to be confirmed by the absence of anger or argument. Paul, here, is very concerned with the spiritual life of the Ephesians. It was, much like our's, in the sense that much of the churches "overall effectiveness" was being undermined by ineffective prayers and divisive teaching. If individuals should be from anger and quarreling while praying, how much more should those who are offering the prayer on behalf of others?
Obviously, submission is a crucial element here. It is a submission to God and the Plan of God. Notice these translations of Hebrews 12:14:
Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: (KJV)
Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness, for without it no one will see the Lord." (NET)
Let it be your ambition to live at peace with all men and to achieve holiness 'without which no man shall see the Lord'." (J.B. Phillips)
"Constantly be eagerly seeking after peace with all, and holiness, without which (holiness) no one shall see the Lord." (Kenneth Wuest)
I can only wish this verse was the "end all" of our current dilemma's but there are always differing views as well as clever "spins" on what some texts of Scripture should say. It is not my intent to point out, in the O'Reilly fashion, who is "spinning" or not but it is simply to point us to three very important things:
1. Peace. As vessels of truth we should strive for peaceable relations with all people, at all times. Easier said than done, but we must always strive to do better. Peace is exactly what is needed when persecution is prevalent or when some are defecting from the faith and when our nerves are not made of steel. That is why the writer of Proverbs speaks,
"A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." (Proverbs 15:1 NKJV)
I think this is something all of us should consider.The KJV rendered : "follow peace". Kenneth Wuest has this insight I thought worth sharing:
"The word “follow” is the translation of dioko, “to run swiftly in order to catch some person or thing, to run after, to press on.” It is used of one who in a race runs swiftly to reach the goal (Phil. 3:12 “follow after”). Used in a metaphorical sense it means ”to pursue, to seek after eagerly, earnestly endeavor to acquire.” The word is seen, therefore, to have a sense of urgency about it, of intensity of purpose." (2)
I believe that we have failed to "have a sense of urgency" in peace making. I think too many of us have been so consumed with "piece making" i.e. dividing the Body of Christ into "pieces".
2. Holiness. John MacArthur stated, "Unbelievers will not be drawn to accept Christ if believers’ lives do not demonstrate the qualities God desires, including peace and holiness." (3) Holiness, no matter how you may define it, will always end up as meaning human expressions of Godly qualities. This includes the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) as well.
We should remember the prior statments about "follow" whose same intensity also applies to the pursuit or following of holiness as well. Holiness should be as eagerly sought after as is peace with all men. In our conflict with the world, we must seek peace, but we must not do so at the expense of sacrificing or dispensing with holiness. Holiness here is hagiasmos which is the basic term.
3. Read Hebrews 12:14-5 together. Remember there were no verse numbers originally.
"Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: [15 ]looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;" (NKJV)
The NKJV renders this "looking carefully". The Greek word here does not refer only to oversight by a superior but one of taking constant care and looking out for danger. This is what must be done to avoid the "fall short" of God's grace and to not allow bitter roots to crop up and destroy both those falling short and those who are to be watching, and looking carefully. In such times as ours we must be careful that we do not damage those in the Body just as much as we seek to evangelize a lost world. We must pursue peace and holiness.
1. IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)
2. Wuest, K. S. (1997, c1984). Wuest's word studies from the Greek New Testament: For the English reader (Heb 12:14). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. 3. MacArthur, J. J. (1997, c1997). The MacArthur Study Bible (electronic ed.) (Heb 12:14). Nashville: Word Pub."
3. MacArthur, John. The MacArthur Study Bible. Thomas Nelson publishers, pg. 1920
Here are some poems I have written lately. Hopefully someone can find some use or benefit from one of them.
The Pursuit of Truth:
In this pursuit we must be true,
But from the wise is given a clue,
The easiest person to deceive, can really be you.
True to His Word, we must be,
When led by His Spirit, we can truly see,
For from us it leads, any deceit found in you and me.
Yet, when God made you, new history round our world did ride.
He joined us, and clearly now we know.
In divine surplus, God placed motherhood—on heavens window.
You are a mother like no other, for from you has come those who can see the Kingdom of God.
These are children like no other, for with them your caring, compassionate spirit will trod.
As the beauty of heaven rests on earth, I stand amazed at your worth.
When God blesses man, He does so when he made heaven and then added a window!
It is often said that John is the Gospel to the world (Matthew to the Jew, Mark to the Roman, Luke to the Greek). But in 1924 Israel Abrahams said, "To us Jews, the Fourth Gospel is the most Jewish of the four!" How is that so? If it so, why do so many people tell new converts to begin reading this Gospel?
The opening remarks (1:1) of John’s Gospel are reminiscent of the Creation story in Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” In fact, it is very likely that John purposely arranged his Prologue to cause the reader to reflect back upon the Creation account. Immediately, then, we see John’s purpose is to interact with Old Testament theology or Jewish philosophy generally.
John’s “Gospel manifests perhaps the sharpest polemic in the NT against the “Jews”—a polemic matched in force only by passages such as Matthew 23” Repeatedly, the Gospel of John refers to “the Jews” (sixty-four times) as if they were the antagonists of the church (Some suggest that neither Paul nor Luke writes with this same tone). Some sources indicate that there are scholars who accuse the Gospel of John as being anti-Semitic. As one reads the epistles of John (1, 2, and 3 John) one cannot help but notice the resistance and disagreement being experienced by John. 1 John 2:18 describes antichrists who have come into the world; later John identifies them as “liars” (2:2) who are denying genuine Christology. These signs should leave little doubt that much of Johannine theology is concerned with polemics and is situated in a time of theological debate.
Despite these facts we have the comments of Israel Abraham, as seen above. A better question is probably how we should interpret his comments and/or in what context were they spoken. The latter is not possible since the source is not available to me, but the former can certainly be attempted.
Israel Abraham was not a Zionist and therefore tended to have inclinations like those of Reformed Judaism. “His departure from the orthodox philosophy of Judaism was undoubtedly responsible for otherwise inexplicable errors in his exposition of some Jewish ritual practices.” Therefore, from my limited perspective, it may be correct to consider the possibility that Abraham’s statements are not orthopraxis and were not intended as they are often received. Abraham’s comments probably address the generality that John’s Gospel possibly interacts with Jewish philosophy and the Old Testament more than any other Gospel and not any positive inclination toward the particular Christology that John describes.
The Gospel of John is certainly a tool for evangelism, but it serves didactical purposes equally, if not primarily. John’s disposition compels Him to declare, to all, that the person of Yahweh has come in human nature! He has revealed to us His glory in a way that Moses could not see, which Abraham could only dream, and which Jacob could only long.
The profound truths in the Johannine texts are au fait to introduce potential converts to Christianities most important character and work, but they are didactical, as well, for mature believers to understand proper Christology. John’s Gospel then is like a coin; it has two distinct sides, yet both sides share currency and significance. It seems unnecessary to even attempt to situate John’s Gospel entirely in one purpose. It is common in letter writing to cover various topics and have multiple intentions, even if embryonic, in what is being written. This is certainly plausible for the Johannine writings.
Dr. Elmer Towns notes John’s use of two key words, “believe” (98) and “life” (36). He goes on to say that “John wrote with a twofold purose—as noted in John 20:31—to communicate Christ through His miracles and teachings so people might, first, believe that Jesus was indeed who He said He was, the Son of God; and second, have eternal life because of their belief”
In 20:31, “there lies an ambiguity in the phrase “that you may believe,” and it is compounded by uncertainty as to whether the original text read ἵνα πιστεύσητε or ἵνα πιστεύητε; the former could suggest the making of an act of faith, the latter a continuing in faith, the former a missionary purpose, the latter an instructional or parenetic purpose, the former that the Gospel was directed to outsiders, the latter that it was directed to those within the Church. Whether in reality such distinctions can be justly maintained on the basis of the difference between an aorist and a present subjunctive is dubious; nevertheless, the majority of recent scholars incline to the latter view.”
 Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. Editors:, Joel B. Green, Scot McKnight, and I. Howard Marshall. Copyright © 1992 by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship of the U.S.A, InterVarsity Press
 Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Developments. Editors: Martin, Ralph P., and Peter H. Davids. Copyright © 1997 by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA®. InterVarsity Press
 “but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:31 NKJV)
 The Gospel of John: Believe and Live by Dr. Elmer Towns. Copyright © 2002 by Tyndale Theological Seminary
Beasley-Murray, G. R. (2002). Vol. 36: Word Biblical Commentary : John. Word Biblical Commentary (lxxxviii). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.