Frequently Asked Questions
Our emphasis is on the sacrifice that Jesus made on behalf of all mankind. The Bible tells us that Jesus told his disciples it was better that He go away (leave them in a natural physical sense) that the Comforter (the Holy Spirit) would come (John 16:7). The sign of the Holy Spirit (whose role is to reveal Jesus to us) coming into someone’s life is that they will speak in tongues (Acts 2:4, Acts 10:44-48, Acts 19:5-6).
It is not that we emphasise this, it is more that others have de-emphasised it; on the one hand saying that this experience is:
a) an optional extra – nice to have but not really necessary; or on the other hand:
b) a delusion (either satanic or psychological).
We merely point out that the Bible describes this experience and it was obviously normal in the church described in the Bible. There is no scriptural support for the idea that this manifestation passed away with the church of Bible days.
In some churches they say that all you have to do is believe in Jesus, so why do you say I must be baptised and receive the Holy Spirit?
Firstly, we do say that you must believe on Jesus. But some have watered this down to, in effect, ‘acknowledging the existence of Jesus’. The word “believe” in the Bible is much stronger than in everyday English. There are two Greek words used in the context of believing: “pisteuo” meaning ‘to have faith in’, ‘to entrust’, ‘to commit’; and “peitho” meaning ‘to be persuaded of, to place confidence in, to trust in, and to rely on’. Entrusting and committing ourselves to, and relying on, Jesus, logically leads us to do what He says. In other words, if we do not follow the way He showed us what kind of “believing” do we really have?
It is Jesus who said we should be baptised (Mark 16:16). It was Jesus who told all of His disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the “promise of the Father”, the infilling of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1). Those who followed Jesus’ words and waited in Jerusalem received the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4). To the large crowd that gathered on hearing people receive the Holy Spirit, Peter the Apostle preached that Jesus had come, been crucified and was now risen again. He said that Jesus had “shed forth” what they could now “see and hear” (people receiving the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues).
When they asked “what must we do?”, Peter replied “Repent, and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” “And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.” (Acts 2:38-40)
The miracle of the followers of Jesus receiving the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues gathered the crowd. The preaching by Peter of Jesus’ death and resurrection led them to ask “What must we do?”. So Peter told them. We also continue to preach this life-transforming message.
To those who preach less, we ask: Why?
Yes, in a passage about how God’s love will endure for ever, Paul the Apostle contrasts this with other matters. He says that God’s love will never cease “but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away” (1 Corinthians 13:8).
While God’s love will endure for ever, there are particular manifestations of the Holy Spirit that serve a purpose for a particular time. We live in that time spoken of by Jesus as the time when it is better that He go away that the Holy Spirit come (John 16:7). Prophecies have not yet “failed” (ceased), there are many yet to be fulfilled. Complete knowledge is not yet with us: Paul the apostle said we still see through a glass darkly (an indistinct reflection of reality), but then (when Jesus returns), face to face. Neither has tongues yet ceased.
Between the time of Jesus coming the first time and the return of Jesus again to this earth to bring about a new situation, we are in the period that Paul went on to speak about in 1 Corinthians: For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away (1 Corinthians 13:9-10).
Then tongues will cease. Until then, it is a clear evidence of having received the Holy Spirit, and an important means of being built up in our faith (Jude 20) as we wait for the return of Jesus Christ.
There is no mention of “christening” in the Bible. Some people use the word “christening” and the word “baptism” interchangeably, as if they mean the same thing.
However, there are important differences between christening and baptism:
Christening is not found in the Bible. Baptism is.
Christening was instituted by men as a substitute for baptism. Baptism was instituted by God.
Christening is usually reserved for babies (who are too young to have made a decision). Baptism is a decision made by the person being baptised.
Christening does not follow repentance on behalf of the person being baptised (too young to know what repentance is). Baptism follows repentance.
Christening is by the sprinkling of water. Baptism is by full immersion in water. The actual meaning of the Greek word baptizo is to dip (or immerse), and is derived from a word which means to make “whelmed”, that is, fully wet. In Romans 6, Paul the apostle likens baptism to being buried. Jesus was baptised by full immersion in water. John baptised at Aenon because there was “much water there”.
Christening is a substitute. Baptism is the real thing.
The ‘sinners prayer’ is not found in the Bible.
Repentance is called for in the Scriptures. The concept of acknowledging your need for a saviour is also a scriptural truth.
What we object to is the substitution of this practice for the plain commandment in scripture to not only repent, but also to be baptised and then be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Well-meaning and sincere people are told after praying this prayer: “now you are saved”. The Bible teaches us that it is the work of the Holy Spirit to reveal Jesus to us. In the Bible, the receiving of the Holy Spirit was a clear and unmistakable occurrence.
Many are disapointed when the ‘sinner’s prayer’ does not give them the expected power to overcome their difficulties. A mental acknowledgment of our need for a saviour is an important first step, but the answer of a good conscience towards God is to take the next step and be baptised. Jesus will then “shed forth” the Holy Spirit in a tangible manner.
No. The Bible clearly tells us that “of that day and the hour knows no man…” (Matthew 24:36). A number of organisations have tried date-setting and ALL have failed. The Bible is clear:
“Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come” (Matthew 24:42).
“Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 25:13).
“For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night” (i.e. unexpectedly) (1 Thessalonians 5:2).
Nevertheless, Jesus tells us to be expecting and watching for this great future event. Paul the apostle went on to say “But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief”(1 Thessalonians 5:4).
We are entitled to see from the Bible that we should be aware of the “season” (general time period) in which this event will take place (Matthew 24:32-33).
Our understanding of the prophecies given by Jesus in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21 lead us to conclude that we are indeed living in this general time period. As it turns out, many students of Bible prophecy in many church organisations agree.
The advice of Jesus is to watch.
Some definition is needed before we answer this. We need to make a difference between “Pentecostal” as used as a term to describe modern Pentecostal churches and “Pentecostal” in the Bible sense of pertaining to the day the Holy Spirit was poured out (Acts 2) and the manifestations clearly described in the Bible. We align ourselves in relation to the Bible sense (and the Bible manifestations of the Spirit) and find ourselves disappointed by the actions of some modern “Pentecostals”.
The myriad “special manifestations” put forward by some churches have no foundation in the Bible. Being “slain in the Spirit” (falling over), “laughing in the Spirit” (the so-called Toronto Blessing), being “drunk in the Spirit”, the “velcro blessing” (being pinned to the walls or floor), and others, are an insult to our intelligence and dishonouring to God. Further, even more extreme so-called manifestations of people “hooting”, “oinking” and acting drunk, supposedly “in the Spirit” are a long way from Bible instruction on running a meeting.
Paul the Apostle set out how a meeting should be run in 1 Corinthians: – there are to be manifestations of the Spirit (eg 2 or 3 to speak in an unknown tongue, interpretation of that language, prophecy, healing etc), but he warned that we must do all things “decently and in order”.
While we have never accepted the Bible Code, for many years we thought that there was something in Bible Numerics.
Although it has never formed part of our statement of beliefs, our thoughts at that time were that numerics was one of the proofs for the divine authorship of the Bible. We did note, however, that no doctrinal point should rest solely on Bible Numerics. As it turned out, that was a wise approach.
Following further study, and while still noting that many numbers as used in the plain text of the Bible obviously have significance (e.g. the repeated use of 7 in the Bible, the 40 years in wilderness etc.), the thought that there are intricate numerical patterns hidden within the Hebrew and Greek text of the Bible can actually be proven to be true for any text, in any language, including this morning’s newspaper. Such proof (for any text) is mathematically proven, demonstrable and irrefutable.
The detailed paper explaining the mathematics and reasoning is here: Bible Numerics – Disproved (pdf, 55KB) (right-click to ‘save as’ or ‘open in new tab’).
Revival Centres International has never used Bible Numerics to “prove” a particular doctrinal point of view. As numerical patterns can be found for any number that is looked for, in any text, those that have used numerics as “proof” of their particular point of view about the meaning of any scripture are in error.
Our previous use of Bible Numerics up until 1999 was undertaken in good faith, and not promoted heavily. Nevertheless, since then our understanding has grown. All of the foregoing of course in no way lessens our respect for the Bible as the infallible Word of God. We know the Bible is true because we met the Divine Author when we were filled with the Holy Spirit.
God, who created the universe and all of its laws, is obviously a consummate mathematician. The astounding mathematical complexity and elegance that underpins the natural creation gives us yet another reason to return praise to God.
The revival centres are completely opposed to racism. Others have tried to link the identification of the heraldry of Britain with that of Old Testament Israel to form a racist agenda. These people are, in our view, completely misled and have little real understanding of God’s plans or purposes.
We believe all human beings have been created in the image of God and have equal value in God’s sight.
We believe salvation is equally open to all human beings and note, by way of example, that the growing areas of our church are in India, Africa and Papua New Guinea, forming well over half of our church membership. Our assemblies have representatives from all major ethnic groupings. Our church members share fellowship with other members from all ethnic groups and also intermarry between those groups.
Anti-Semitism is just another form of racism and is equally rejected by the Revival Centres as abhorrent.
In the Bible (Galatians 3:26, 28-29) we read: “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” … “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
The real difference between human beings is between those who have not been “born again” and those who have. The former are yet “dead in their sins”, the latter are the “new creation” and children of the living God. This difference is not to be the cause of some kind of feeling of superiority – but an occasion for Christ-like compassion for the lost. We hold forth the answer of Jesus Christ – you must be born again.
In our everyday lives we associate with people who come from the broad spectrum of society, including, of course, people from all the other Christian denominations, and other religions. We are happy to talk to all of them about the things of God.
However, our church organisation does not affiliate itself with other church organisations. On the one hand some churches deny the manifestations of the Holy Spirit in our time; while on the other hand there are those who pursue extreme manifestations not found in the Bible. We do not affiliate with the first group as they, in effect, deny the power of God. The Bible tells us of those who are described as “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” and tells us “from such turn away” (2 Timothy 3:5).
Regarding the second group, the extreme and unscriptural practices undertaken unfortunately by some charismatic and pentecostal churches are also spoken against in the Bible. Paul the Apostle warns that meetings should be run “decently and in order” and gives instructions on how this would be attained. Many ignore these statements, and allow behaviour that is dishonouring to God.
Many churches (including some pentecostal churches) do not teach the significance of the Holy Spirit experience. While this observation does not apply to all members of these churches, it is hard to get official statements that support the Bible stand on the necessity to receive the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. Generally, the idea of receiving the Holy Spirit with the accompanying sign of speaking in tongues is unfortunately only seen as an “optional extra”.
Paul, speaking on these matters says: “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 14:37). In another letter, Paul gives this instruction: “And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother” (2 Thessalonians 3:14-15).
We remain, therefore, unaffiliated.
No. For the same reasons the Revival Centres are not affiliated with other churches (see the answer to other questions on this page), we are not a member of the World Council of Churches.
No. We are aware of other churches that preach the same steps to salvation that we preach. We are also aware of many Spirit-filled people in many church organisations. We note from the Bible that Paul said there would be differences of administration, but the same Lord (1 Corinthians 12:5).
However, we do believe that what we read in the Bible is the only way. We do believe we form a part of the one Church spoken of in the Bible.
The Church is the body of all Spirit-filled believers. Some walk disorderly; some are not hearing advice on how to walk in the Spirit; some are not encouraged to pray in the Spirit (because others in their congregation cannot); some are prepared to put up with non-scriptural additions; some are not prepared to run their meetings according to the Bible; and some pastors are not prepared to uphold a scriptural standard in all matters within their assemblies, for fear of losing numbers.
So while we recognise that we have brothers and sisters in many church organisations, we do not presume to bring about some kind of man-made organisational unity, based on trying to find some areas of agreement while “agreeing to disagree” on fundamentals. Nor do we propose to back away from the scriptural instructions on running the Church.