Tongues– Jesus noted that a number of “signs” would “follow them that believe”, among which was a phenomenon he called speaking “with new tongues”. When the Apostles received their Spirit baptism, they indeed began to manifest three signs, namely: sound, fire, and the speaking of languages known to others but not to the speaker. Many claim that there is also a language known only to God which, though it may sound like unintelligible noise to anyone else, is described by the phrase “tongues of angels”. It is this language that NTCC insists must accompany the Baptism “in, with, and of, the Holy Ghost”. But must it always be?
A half-dozen or so occasions are described in the book of Acts during which this Baptism takes place in the lives of individuals, and in approximately half of these descriptions, we are told of several manifestations of the Spirit’s power. These include prophecy, praise, and speaking in tongues. In the other half, nothing at all is described. NTCC prescribes to the common opinion among Pentecostal churches that something must have happened at those times that is simply not mentioned, and that tongues, being the common denominator among the more fully descriptive passages, must be THE essential manifestation or the Initial Evidence of the Holy Ghost Baptism.
As can be easily seen, this doctrine, though not entirely without foundation, is derived rather than explicit. Neither Paul nor any of the Twelve, when addressing the brethren in their epistles, bothers to explain directly and in detail that upon which so many Pentecostals insist. Paul even asks rhetorically, “Do all speak with tongues?” implying that there is a variation. Nevertheless, many still suggest that this does not apply to the initial evidence, and that the evidence in question can be only one thing–speaking in tongues. Various men in history, including DL Moody and Charles Finney, believed in the Spirit Baptism subsequent to and separate from salvation, yet claim not to have spoken in tongues. NTCC, however, is highly dogmatic on this point, and will accept no one’s argument to the contrary. They are certain that a Christian who does not speak in tongues is missing a necessary element in their life, and they openly mock “charismatics” who think otherwise.
The Thief– RW Davis is not above inventing entirely original doctrines that throw his hearers into a conundrum. In such cases, he places before the congregation a decision, to wit: “Do I believe what my own head tells me is right and scriptural, or do I believe Pastor?” More than one noteworthy person within the upper ranks of the group has made statements to the effect that, “If I looked outside and the sky was blue, but Pastor Davis said it was pouring down rain, I would believe my pastor before I would believe my own eyes.” This is why he knows he can get away with almost any statement no matter how unfounded it might be.
Those who desire to build religious empires cannot tolerate followers who are not constantly active and motivated by fear of damnation to strive for more and more results, to bring more people to church, to give more money, etc. Knowing the importance of influencing the young to serve the organization faithfully, RW Davis is openly skeptical that people of advanced age can be saved. He does not rule it out entirely, but doubts the reality enjoyed by anyone who does not “give God the first fruits” of their youth. Furthermore, he stands steadfastly against the notion that one can be forgiven of sins near the point of death. To this end, he has invented a doctrine almost entirely unique to himself–that the “thief on the cross” was not justified by Christ.
The Davis doctrine has the malefactor delivering his “remember me when you come into your kingdom” speech, a speech that seems, to any normal reader, to be an act of repentance. Then when Jesus answers him with the promise of Paradise, Davis claims that Jesus was informing the dying man of his eternal torment. His only grounds for making this claim is to point out that the word Paradise is a generic compartment of the underworld, not a blissful place of rest. Referencing the Greek, he derives the idea that Paradise is simply a separated location, and nothing more. However, a careful study of this word’s history reveals its coinage to be that of the Greeks in an effort to give a special moniker to the pleasure garden of the Persian kings, and thus–Paradise. As with all cult doctrines, the cult leader claims special revelation as to the meaning of a passage, when its real meaning and intent are obvious to the average reader, just as God meant for it to be. Davis says that the so-called “penitent thief” proceeded to “split hell wide open” when he expired on the cross, and then he bellows his reason for declaring this, “Because I DON’T BELIEVE in death-bed repentance!” Few theologians of any importance have ever ventured onto doctrinal ice more thin than this.
Eschatology– In this article, we are emphasizing the degree of dogmatic insistence that NTCC places upon peculiar doctrines with little support. We have already explored their opinionated “holiness” standards (see Holiness, Hair, Pants, etc.), and would like to propose a close look at another peculiarity, the doctrine of the End Times.
NTCC believes a doctrine that is commonly advanced today among fundamentalists, known as Pre-Tribulational, Pre-Millennial Dispensationalism. Simply put, this doctrine states that Jesus will return suddenly to catch away those who are “living right”, along with the dead in Christ, just prior to a Seven-year Tribulation period which is followed by an openly triumphant, warrior-like coming of the Lord to defeat Satan and reign on earth for one thousand years. This was invented by a man named Darby during the eighteen hundreds, and has since gained a following slowly and by degrees, until becoming a mainstay among evangelicals today.
First, there is no biblical support for a Pre-Tribulation rapture; neither are there grounds for deriving a future Tribulation at all, neither for the seven-year time span, neither for a future dominion of “anti-Christ”. The entire doctrine is magnificently (but preposterously) derived from a highly complex manipulation of the text. The entire system is so utterly complex and unworkable that it defies understanding, yet the luminaries of NTCC claim that those who do not accept this view of the End Times have abused scripture and given heed to fables. They claim that the entire composite puzzle is easy to figure out if you simply read the Bible and believe what it says. Yet it is a doctrinal enigma so vexing that not one single minister among the NTCC ranks is capable of figuring it out by themselves. Their understanding of this doctrine is entirely second- and third-hand. Laughably, they love to state that its points are “clear”, its claims “indisputable”, and its conclusions “obvious”. It must make the teachers, who were spoon-fed this doctrine and are now spoon-feeding it to others, feel quite superior knowing that, as they sit and refer to these nuances as “crystal clear”, their hapless students are thinking, “Wow, I wouldn’t have thought of that in a million years!”
Proponents of this doctrine claim to take the Bible literally, yet they constantly violate the principle of literalism in order to “make things fit”. Prophecies that are already fulfilled are said to refer to future events by a mythical “law of double reference” which has been invented to justify this doctrine. When the number of days is twice what it should be, they are no longer days, but half-days, or “morning and evening sacrifices.” In spite of the derivative nature of these beliefs, those who cherish differing interpretations of the events in question are verbally trounced from the classrooms and pulpits of NTCC as “nut-cases” and “fruit cakes”.
Again, NTCC teachers refer to all these features as “obvious”, and to those who cannot bring themselves to agree as “stupid idiots”. And this is the central point we would like to make concerning the doctrines of NTCC; that in spite of their ungainliness and lack of foundation, many of their distinctive features and teachings are promoted as “obvious” and “self-explanatory”. Those who do not see what is so obviously true or self-explanatory about these things are condemned to one of three places–The Lake of Fire, the Insane Asylum , or the Special Education Class.
Original Languages– The leaders of NTCC feel free to behave as if they are smarter than the rest of the room when it suits their individual purposes, but anyone who disputes their positions by means of scripture, exegesis, or logic, is instantly convicted on charges of empty scholasticism. When supported by reason, they act as if they are or superior intellect. When opposed by reason, they become anti-intellectual. Name-calling and mockery are the weapons of choice, not because they are intellectually incapable of rallying an argument to their cause, but because they are offended at the unmitigated nerve of those who question their apostolic authority to declare the meaning of scripture. If one argues against their doctrines simply, that person is considered not sufficiently trained in the Bible. If one reasons against them intellectually, that person is an egghead.
Because the leaders of NTCC are not trained in the understanding or interpretation of the original languages of the text, and since no one associated with the group’s founding has any real knowledge of textual criticism or translation, NTCC is derisive of those who study Greek and Hebrew. They will utilize the Greek original culled from a desktop Bible dictionary if it serves to prove a point, but for the most part they claim that the Bible is available in plain English; therefore, why bother with all that academic nonsense. Academic achievement, according to NTCC, is nothing more than pride at work. They despise that which they themselves are unable to grasp, and level an indictment against it by saying, “Knowledge puffeth up”. Like all know-it-alls, they know very little, and are contemptuous of what they do not know.
This article is part of a series entitled “ What Can I Expect From New Testament Christian Seminary? ”