Pentecostals/Confersion - Methodist that is Charismatic
I am a Charismatic Methodist - a Methodist that speaks in tongues and believes in the gifts of the Spirit. The difference is, Charismatic Methodists believe that speaking in tongues "is not" a "requirement/essential to salvation" or the only "evidence" of receiving the Holy Spirit.
I got the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues while under the ministry of a UPC pastor. A UPC church rented our Methodist Church. We invited them to worship, and to do a sermon. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit - I liked it, and our Methodist saints liked it. After that, the UPC pastor had this "go into all truth" to mean that EVERYONE has to speak in tongues to become a Christian, all should be baptized in Jesus' name [only] and have the standards of holiness, to become a Christian, to be saved, to be holy, to go to heaven. He told me to pray and fast about it. Well, I prayed and fasted and fasted and fasted. And, I still believe for conversion like Romans 10:13 - For whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. And at the moment you believe and call on the name of the Lord, is when the conversion occurs, you are saved, without the requirement of tongues, without the requirement of water baptism, and without standards. I still love the Methodist view of conversion, instantaneous conversion of faith in a moment with the assurance of being a child of God, without struggling for it, without works, without legalism, without standards, without baptism, and without tongues. It is a wholesome, balanced, and sanity enabling doctrine.
The Bible is clear on conversion when you believe and confess/call on the name of the Lord (give up to God). Even in the book of Acts, if that is YOUR baby, let us use scripture to interpret scripture. Still, for every time you have speaking in tongues, someone was converted by faith only/confess/believe only 10-times.
And another thing, I am not gay. Just because someone is a United Methodist does not mean they are gay. We believe that we are saved by grace through faith without legalism (standards). In our Methodist churches, girls often come to church, when they do conversion by calling on the name of the Lord, they wear a miniskirt and they do it bare-legged. And, I think our Methodist girls look very pretty when they come to church wearing miniskirts. I am a man, and I am definantly not gay after admitting that. I am not even afraid of keeping this question public for all to see.....
How do you Pentecostals deal with this?
I had an indepth answer ready to send and it somehow got deleted so I am starting over. Sorry for this delay.
I have personally struggled with this question and have had extensive exposure to both views. I approached it both spiritually and academically.
As is often the case, there are good, Biblical points to be made from each perspective. It's important to approach the things of God with the right attitude. Rather than see how little we can do to be saved, we should look at the blueprint of attitude and obedience given to us by the early church. Truth should always trump tradition.
I'm sensitive to the difficulties in reconciling the two opinions on the Biblical standard of salvation since I have had to live it with some consequence. There are always errors made when any position is taken to an extreme. Our goal is to be true to the entire Word of God and the example given us by the Apostles. As one who had to make difficult theological changes to a very comfortable doctrinal position, I can assure you that choosing wisely will always pay off in the long run.
The opinions from each side could seem to be mutually exclusive but I think the Biblical answer is a combination. One builds upon the other. Rather than answer verse by verse, I'm going to ask you to take a broad look at Scripture and consider the sum total as opposed to isolating one verse and consider it alone to the exclusion of the others.
God's dealings with His people were always filed with mercy, compassion and grace but were often demanding, strict and precise. The sum total of the OT teaching through God's commands and required customs find their fulfillment in the NT and Christ, specifically.
We know there are many OT "types and shadows" that only fit perfectly when understood properly. They were symbolic of what was to come. This is abundantly true in the OT Tabernacle. While you will see that I am making a case for the NT pattern that all early Christian converts were expected to follow, I am not making an extreme position nor am I stating what happens to the soul who chooses otherwise. Early converts never posed an argument to what they were instructed for an easier bare bones, lower bar standard to meet for salvation. Sadly, Apostolics have done a poor job in their presentation of the facts and displayed a poor spirit in their attitude toward others who were emphasizing the role of faith and grace.
I believe that faith is something we can all agree is essential to salvation. Personally, I believe spiritual new birth is paralleled by physical birth. When faith is given by God (we DO NOT manufacture it), it unites with the receptive heart and spiritual life in conceived. Conception is not birth but to deny the presence of life is unmistakably wrong. The new life conceived may incubate for a time or be born rather quickly depending on the heart and the Spirit's workings. Without faith, nothing else can or will happen spiritually.
THE TABERNACLE PLAN FORESHADOWS NT SALVATION...
Beyond that, in God's desire to regenerate us through our identification with Christ's death, burial and resurrection, we walk in obedience to the repeated NT pattern that exemplifies this so completely.
FAITH from God brings us to the door - Christ. LIFE is introduced. There was one door to the Tabernacle enclosure, just one. Then REPENTANCE (DEATH to self) is typified by the Brazen Altar where the BLOOD of the sacrifice was spilled. Next was the LAVER of WATER where God demanded that the priest wash lest he die. ("He that believeth and IS baptized shall be saved." Mark 16). This was symbolic of our burial of the old life. Having washed and been cleansed, we are prepared to enter the Presence of God, the Holy of Holies. This is symbloic of Christ's RESURRECTION where the SPIRIT abides. John chapter 5 speaks of the Blood, the water and the Spirit agreeing in ONE salvation. Jesus certainly told Nicodemus in JN 3:3 & 5. that he needs a spiritual birth requiring water and Spirit.
Hungry and receptive believing hearts were eager to apply all this in the NT Christian initiation repeated over and over...Faith in Christ, Repentance through death to self trusting in Christ's blood, Baptism in the Name of the Savior that remitted or buried our old life by water as we trust in the saving power of His Name and the infilling of Christ's resurrection life through the agency of His Spirit. Blood, water and Spirit. Death, Burial and Resurrection. Repentance, Baptism and the Holy Ghost. These fulfill OT types and identify the believer with the Savior Who died for them. Acts chapters 2, 8, 10, 19 and 22.
Obedience does not nullify faith or demean it in any way. It is the vehicle through which grace and faith bring regeneration.
"Only those who believe obey. Only those who obey really believe."
Faith without works is dead. They are in partnership. Sadly, the Apostolics have by their poor presentation often appeared to undermine the fundamental role of faith that conceives life in order to emphasize what is truly a terribly overlooked and neglected part of God's redemptive plan...baptism of water in Jesus' Name and of the Holy Spirit.
I hope this helps! Feel free to write back...God bless!
Yours for Acts 2:38,