Gamaliel’s Questionable Advice 8

Acts 5:35-39 (New International Version)

35Then he addressed them: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. 37After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”

This passage of Scripture has become somewhat of a mantra for the “Turnstile Pastors”. We’ve seen Furtick employ it against carnal deacons , and here, Noble uses it against his critics. Who can blame them? It is an awfully strong passage.  It appears that the Word of God is telling us to avoid hindering anything that may be scene as a movement of God.  However, even the shallowest look into the context of this passage shows something quite different.

The first question that comes to mind is, who was Gamaliel? Certainly, for these powerful leaders of the modern Church to quote him so frequently he must have been an early church father…or something. Nope. Gamaliel was a rabbi with great respect among the Sanhedrin. He was a Pharisee, which strikes me a little funny, considering that in the same post that Perry invokes Gamaliel’s advice against his critics, he compares his critics to the Pharisees. Anyone seeing the irony in that?

So, here are just a few problems with using Gamaliel’s advice in the way that Furtick and Noble want to use it:

  1. The advice was not given in regards to people who wanted to debate doctrinal issues with the Apostles. The Sanhedrin completely disagreed with the Apostles, and Gamaliel did too. The debate was as to whether or not the Apostles should be killed. Gamaliel was never implying that they should start agreeing with the Apostles, only that they shouldn’t kill them.  For Furtick and Noble to compare their situation to that of the persecuted early church is both silly and insulting. There are people in the world who are suffering for their faith. However, American pastors living in huge homes paid for by their congregation might want to tone down the martyr act just a bit.
  2. It goes against the words of Jesus and Paul when they warn against false prophets and teachers. Was Paul wrong when he wrote his letter correcting the Corinthians? According to Gamaliel he should have left them alone and let God deal with them. This is the problem with taking one small passage out of context, and not weighing it against the whole of Scripture.
  3. It is just BAD advice. If Gamaliel’s words are true, then the Muslims, Mormons, Buddhists…etc…all are of God. Gamaliel equates longevity to God’s favor. This is clearly untrue.

So, my first article on Pajama Pages. Tune in next time when we discuss “Excellence as an Idol”.

Man, I’m feeling rather BAM…nah, I won’t go there.

8 thoughts on “Gamaliel’s Questionable Advice

  1. Anthony Jul 16, 2009 4:24 pm

    What exactly is a “turnstile pastor?” Are you one of those unforgiving, stingy, “must wear a shirt and tie” pastors that think since you have a seminary degree you are better than other pastors and preachers? hmmm…sounds like it! How do you have so much free time that you can constantly badger, condemn (insert whatever word you would like here) a fellow Man of God? I referred you to Leviticus in my last entry in “Question me, Oppose God” Why is there so much jealousy and anxiety in your heart? Are you upset that people are getting saved?

    • James Downing Jul 16, 2009 4:34 pm

      Yes, I am stingy and think all pastors must wear a shirt and tie. I think that since I don’t have a seminary degree, I must be inferior to Steven Furtick who does. I am jealous, anxious and upset that people are getting saved.

      Guess you nailed me on all those.

      Still, you may want to read the article and see if you even disagree with anything i wrote.

  2. Anthony Jul 16, 2009 5:45 pm

    I sense your sarcasm, atleast I hope it is. Unfortunately for you and your first article, all your fellow senseless companions have ruined this so called blog for me. I know what I am getting in each blog…self-righteous, carnal Christians who probably attended NewSpring at some point and ran into the wrong person on the wrong day (because they arent perfect people apparently unlike the people at your churches). Let me ask you a question…are you honestly upset that lives are being changed for Heaven at NewSpring? Just wondering. I invite anyone on this sorry excuse for a blog to explain your rediculous rants against His Church.

  3. James Downing Jul 17, 2009 8:08 am

    Here’s the problem Anthony: you make discussion impossible. Rather than addressing points that are brought up, you just come on and throw out a bunch of wild claims. Where have you ever heard anything on here about suits and ties, the neccesity of a seminary degree, or hostility towards being saved? You see, I can’t argue those points, because I never made them. You did.

    So, I’ve just shown how your heroes twist scripture to fit their agenda. Is that OK with you?

  4. keitho Jul 17, 2009 11:16 am

    James Downing,

    I don’t think Anthony wants to discuss. I think you are the victim of a “drive by” shooting mouth.

    Why waste yours, JDuncans, Seth’s, mine and other’s time on this?

  5. MW Jul 17, 2009 11:18 am


    Thanks for the post. I somewhat agree with you. Here is what I would say:

    If you are doing something in your church that is straight from the scriptures than don’t let anyone criticize your labor in Christ. Don’t even give them the chance to bring you down.

    However, If what you are doing is coming from something you feel God is telling you to do, be open to criticism. Take advice and MUCH counsel and then base your decision off of that. Once you have listened to counsel and have made your mind up, go for it. The critics will come and you have to be secure enough in God’s love for you not to worry about what man thinks. There will always be those who do not like what you do. There were men that hated what Luther and Calvin did and they were grounded in scripture. Even more, people hated Christ. Just make sure that you have received good counsel and that you aren’t doing anything based on selfish ambition. Make sure your goals are set on the good of others and on the glory of God.

  6. James Downing Jul 17, 2009 11:40 am

    Keith, I try to give people the benifit of the doubt. I suspect that you are right, but I hoped he’d at least put a little thought into what he was saying. Didn’t mean to waste your time. 🙂

    MW – You are right on it, and that’s the problem with these guys. So much of what they do is based on personal vision, and then they don’t make themselves available (despite the posturing) for wise council. They are headed down a dangerous path that I don’t think they even understand yet.

  7. keitho Jul 17, 2009 12:47 pm


    “The critics will come and you have to be secure enough in God’s love for you not to worry about what man thinks.”

    Bingo. The key word is “secure”. That means being responsible for what you say and do.

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