Emotionalism Over Logic?

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It is written:

Acts 17:17-Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there.

Recently in a Bible study with a friend regarding the subject of baptism, an interesting comment was made.

My friend (as we were discussing Jesus’ statement in Mark 16:16) declared that I was using logic to prove my point, and that I needed to rely instead on the emotional confirmation of the Holy Spirit.

Logical teaching is, of course, how the Gospel is to be spread. Jesus had declared long ago:

John 6:44-45-No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45  It is written in the prophets, ‘AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT BY GOD.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.

Jesus here teaches us that it is through “hearing” and “learning” from the Father that people are drawn to Jesus. The Lord here references a few passages in the Old Testament:

Isaiah 2:1-4-The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 2  Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the LORD’s house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it. 3  Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4  He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore.


Isaiah 54:13-All your children shall be taught by the LORD, And great shall be the peace of your children.


Jeremiah 31:31-34-Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 32  not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. 33  But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34  No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

In all of these passages, we see that it is through logical teaching of the Word of God that people are drawn to the Lord by the Father.

In contrast to this, the religions of the world often rely on subjectivism and emotionalism instead of logical use of evidence. For example, our Mormon friends will often encourage us to pray for a burning in the bosom about the Book of Mormon.

Moroni 10:4-And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Another example of how many endorse emotionalism over logic is found in the many charismatic churches in our world. Consider these words from a former member of the Pentecostal church:

“The point Paul makes repeatedly is that the gifts should always be used in a way that enlightens and instructs the mind. “I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue” (v. 19). That principle has been largely ignored—and often diametrically opposed—in the doctrine and practice of the modern charismatic movement. The real point of 1 Corinthians 14 is often buried under endless arguments about the exegetical nuances of that passage. I want to take a more big-picture perspective of the text and point out a few of that chapter’s most important ideas. 1. “Tongues” were real languages. Paul is clearly no proponent of any kind of “speech that is not intelligible” (v. 9). Sounds and syllables without meaning are of no use whatsoever. “There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning” (v. 10). Throughout the chapter, he is talking about real languages with real meaning. The ecstatic gibberish of the modern charismatic movement does not even fit the apostle’s definition of a language. Furthermore, he says in verse 11, “If . . . I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be to the one who speaks a barbarian, and the one who speaks will be a barbarian to me” (NASB). All true language has a meaning, and if the meaning cannot be understood, it sounds like the noises of a troglodyte. If the tongue is merely gibberish and has no translatable message, it is actually worse than a savage tongue. So Paul insists that whenever tongues are spoken, they should be translated. Verse 13: “One who speaks in a tongue should pray for the power to interpret.” And verses 27-28: “If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret. But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God.” In other words, if someone is authentically speaking in tongues, the utterance contains a message, and the message must be translated for those who hear. Even if the tongues-speaker is praying alone and no one else is around to hear, he is to pray that he may interpret. Paul was not authorizing the use of tongues as a private prayer language, as some charismatics claim. But let’s lay that issue aside for the moment and simply point out that whenever tongues is spoken, whether in public or in private, whether in prophecy or in prayer, an interpretation is always to be sought. 2. Speaking in tongues is not supposed to be a mystical exercise that bypasses the mind. Paul’s overriding message throughout this whole chapter is that everything done in the public worship service is supposed to be edifying to the hearers. That is his key point. He is calling for intelligibility. He is appealing for clarity. When we say something in public worship, the people in the congregation need to understand the message. Go through this passage and notice how many times the apostle uses terms like understanding, edification, and the mind. A lot of Christians in the post-charismatic era have the utterly false notion that true spirituality is something that bypasses the intellect and operates mysteriously in the soul. That opinion has more in common with Hinduism than with true Christianity. Genuine Christianity is not anti-intellectual. We do not believe that the mind is a detriment to spirituality. In fact, we believe true spirituality involves being transformed by the renewing of our minds. We are sanctified by the truth, and truth is something we apprehend primarily with our minds. The notion that the intellect is to be switched off while we seek some form of mentally disengaged spiritual ecstasy is an utterly false notion. If that is your idea of spirituality, then you might as well join the swaying mobs at the Kali temple in Calcutta who have done just that: they have switched off their minds in pursuit of spiritual euphoria. Here Paul is telling us that the primary purpose of spiritual gifts is for edification. And by “edification,” he means the building up of the mind through a better understanding of the truth. If you do a study on the Greek word oikodomeo (which is translated edify in verses 3, 4, 5, 12, 17, and 26), you will find that almost everywhere this word appears in the New Testament, it speaks of building up the understanding. A person is “edified” in the biblical sense when the mind is enriched with truth and understanding. {1,2,4,5,12,13,14} That is why Paul insists that utterances in other tongues must be translated. What good is a message that bypasses the minds of the hearers? We don’t grow spiritually through subliminal means. We are sanctified when the truth is applied to our minds and our minds are transformed. Matthew Henry writes, “Even an apostle could not edify, unless he spoke so as to be understood by his hearers. To speak words that have no meaning to those who hear them, is but speaking into the air. . . . There can be no assent to prayers that are not understood. A truly Christian minister will seek much more to do spiritual good to men’s souls, than to get the greatest applause to himself.” When we have a message for the assembly of God’s people, the sound must be distinct. The message, not the language, is the key to the gift of tongues. The Holy Spirit does not gift people with languages just to make interesting noises. There’s a message to be conveyed, just like on Pentecost, when the wonderful works of God were proclaimed in the hearer’s native tongues. And notice this carefully: Regardless of your position on the charismatic movement, you must ultimately confess that Scripture demands that tongues-speakers remain silent, unless the message they have to convey is going to be understood be the people who are present to hear. Verse 28: “If there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent.” I know of few charismatic churches where people are taught to be submissive to that command. There’s a charismatic church not far from where I live that is one of the largest in America. Every Sunday morning in their worship service, they have a time at the end of the pastoral prayer when everyone in the church is invited to “worship the Lord” aloud. Most do so by speaking in tongues simultaneously. It produces exactly the kind of chaotic environment Paul warns against in verse 23: “If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds?”” (Von Hanshaw, Why I Left The Pentecostal Movement: Exposing Corruption Within The Pentecostal Movement, 900-967 (Kindle Edition))

Let us always be willing to search the Scriptures, using the mind that the good Lord has given us!

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.

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