A Call for Honesty by
Gary Ray Branscome

"Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness." (Luke 11:35)

    As a teenager, I found Pentecostalism attractive. Since my faith had undergone years of assault by public school indoctrination in naturalism and materialism, I longed for some religious experience that would quell my doubts and make my faith seem more real. At the same time I was having seizures and desperately wanted a miracle. However, while I eventually did receive a healing, that healing had nothing to do with Pentecostalism. Moreover, God convinced me by His Word, not by impressions, that Pentecostalism was a perversion of Christianity.

    I am not saying that Pentecostals are evil. Some of them are fine people. What I am saying is that their approach to Bible interpretation is slipshod, and many of their doctrines distort and pervert what the Bible says. In saying that, I realize that some Pentecostals teach salvation by grace. However, I do not know of any that pay close attention to the words of Scripture, or seek the intended meaning of what is said. Instead, they are more likely to read their own ideas into the text. Moreover, in their eagerness to follow the so called, "leading of the Spirit" they often ignore, contradict, or explain away things that the Holy Spirit has plainly stated in His Word, and that is a sign that they have a spirit of error (1John 4:6).


    In 1968, God answered my prayers by healing me of seizures. At that time, He also caused several things to happen, that I had asked Him to cause to happen, so that I would know that I had been healed. However, it would be less than honest for me to claim that God told me that I was healed, for He told me no such thing. He simply answered a prayer and I drew my own conclusions. In fact, I believe that those who exaggerate every experience in order to make themselves seem pious or spiritual are using God's name to deceive, yet Pentecostals do it all the time. In fact, I know of one early Pentecostal preacher who told people that an old man with a beard appeared to him and told him to go into the ministry. However, when the truth came out, he admitted that the old man was his grandfather, who appeared to him by walking through a doorway. As far as I'm concerned, anyone who is truly led by the Spirit of God will recognize such deception as being of the devil, and not engage in it (John 8:44).


    Before receiving the spiritual gift of understanding spoken of in Ephesians 1:17, I imagined that the Holy Spirit would give me additional revelation that would clarify what the Bible said. Instead He did just the opposite. He opened my eyes to see that whenever people look outside of His Word for revelation, they open the door to satanic deception. He then removed the blindness of the flesh, so that I could see what was plainly stated in His Word, including explicit warnings not to seek additional revelations (Proverbs 30:6, Revelation 22:18-19, etc.). Therefore, through His Word He convinced me to reject all revelation other than what the Bible explicitly says, and enabled me to see that a true disciple of Christ will never look outside of God's Word for revelation (John 8:31).
The Holy Spirit has given us the Bible, because he wants to guide us through His written Word. Yet, the deceitfulness of the human heart is so great, that men prefer the darkness of their own fleshly feelings and impressions to that Word (Jeremiah 17:9). Nevertheless, when the holy Spirit truly resides in someone's heart, He guides them by bringing to their remembrance Bible passages that apply to each situation they face (John 14:26). And, He enlightens them by opening their eyes to see what His written Word explicitly says, not by giving them private knowledge that no one else has (2 Peter 1:20, Luke 16:31, Isaiah 28:9-10).


    People who want their life to be directed by the, "leading of the Spirit" sometimes feel that God is leading them in one direction one day and in another direction the next day. If they really believed that such leading was of God they would have to conclude that the He is confused and cannot make up His mind. However, in reality, they are the ones who are confused, and they go back and forth because they are not being led by the Holy Spirit, but by the inclination of their own heart. Furthermore, when they allow such fickle inclinations to influence their interpretation of Scripture, they wind up being false prophets (Jeremiah 17:9 and 23:16). In fact, when it comes to false prophesy, in 1965 I heard a radio preacher say that God told him Christ would return in 1985. Frankly, I would hate to be in that preacher's shoes on the day of judgement (Jeremiah 14:14, 2Peter 1:20, Proverbs 30:6, Isaiah 8:20).

    When it comes right down to it, those who call their inclinations "God's leading" are not really being honest, for they have no way of knowing that those inclinations are actually of God. Don't misunderstand me, I have experienced such inclinations and know how tempting it can be to think of them as God's direction. However, those who blindly follow such inclinations, instead of looking to God's Word for guidance, open the door to satanic deception. Furthermore, they lie in God's name by claiming that their own inclinations are some sort of divine guidance, and that is something that those who are truly led by the Spirit of God will never do (Jeremiah 14:14 and 28:15-17).

    To illustrate how deceptive that "leading" can be, I need only to point out that about forty percent of all Pentecostals have replaced the truth of God with an interpretation of Matthew 28:19 and Acts 2:38. [Since the verse in Matthew tells us to baptize in the "name" (singular) of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, while the verse in Acts speaks of being baptized in the name of "Jesus," they claim that Jesus is the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.] We know that their interpretation is not of God, because it contradicts what the Bible plainly says. For example: The Bible tells us that Jesus prayed to the father, that the Father spoke from heaven, saying of Jesus, "This is my beloved Son," and the Jesus called the Holy Spirit "another Comforter" (Matthew 3:17 and 17:5, John 14:6,16). Nevertheless, when confronted with what the Bible actually says, they explain it away, thereby proving that they have a "spirit of error" (1John 4:6).


    If you search the Bible from one end to the other, you will not find one place where it says that the Holy Spirit communicates to people through feelings and impressions. On the contrary, those who received His Word always received an objective communication, and those who are truly led of the Spirit allow Him to speak to them through His written Word. A few years ago, an "Assembly of God" pastor (Raymond Storms) came to a similar conclusion, and, as a result, published a book entitled, "I Chose Not To Be Charismatic." If you want a copy the address that I have is P.O. Box 955, Glen Falls, N.Y.  12801

    Several years ago I worked with the daughter of a Pentecostal pastor. She had grown up in church, and was in church whenever the door was open, yet her life showed very little evidence of the Holy Spirit. She was into palm reading, and seemed surprised when I told her that the Bible condemns palm reading as divination. Moreover, when I asked her if she believed in salvation by grace through faith she told me that she did not know what I was talking about. Yet that is the opposite of what you will find when Holy Spirit is present and active in people's lives.

    At present, a fad known as "holy laughter" is popular among Pentecostals. Entire congregations will start laughing, and continue laughing like they are bereft of their senses, while claiming that such behavior is of God. To justify their actions they claim that Ephesians 5:18, teaches, "holy laughter" when it says, "and be not drunk with wine wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit." Yet, that passage says nothing about laughing. Instead it is telling them to be sober. Nevertheless, they come up with the bizarre notion that it is telling them to be "drunk with the Spirit," while acting as if they are blind to the fact that Ephesians 5:18 is portraying drunkenness as the opposite of the behavior of someone who is filled with the Spirit. They also seem blind to the fact that the Bible tells us to be sober, not drunken (1 Peter 5:8). Therefore, As far as I am concerned, the way they interpret Scripture is proof that the Holy Spirit is not leading them.


    While people should seek God's direction for their lives, it is dangerous to fall into the delusion of thinking that He will guide you by signs, impressions, or anything else outside of His word (John 8:31). Since He has promised to guide those who trust in Him, when you rely on that promise you will not feel the need to seek for signs and impressions (Proverbs 3:6). Instead, you will simply leave it in His hands, believing that He will guide your steps. Furthermore, if He does have a hidden plan for your life, then He will cause everything to go according to that plan. He does not need your help. It is ridiculous to think that you have to discover His "hidden will" so that you can help Him out. He has plainly revealed all you need to know in His Word, so follow it (Luke 3:10-14). If you come to a place in your life where you need to choose between two paths that are not contrary to Scripture, then He is giving you the freedom to make a choice. You do not need additional revelation, just choose. He will direct your choice.