Charismatic

First, I would like to state that I consider myself to be a charismatic Christian, which basically means I believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God and believe everything it says including Mark 16: 17-18 “And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” I do not pick and choose certain parts that line up with my beliefs and discard those parts that do not. I have not always been a Christian and I have had to change certain beliefs since becoming one. For example, homosexuality, it was always my belief that if an individual was homosexual, it was fine with me as long as he didn’t bother me. Since I have given my life to Christ, I now know this is a sin against God and it is wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate homosexuals; I hate the sin, along with all other sin. Singling out a homosexual as a sinner while ignoring other sins such as greed, lust, sex outside of marriage, etc., doesn’t make any sense to me. The reason why I’m saying all of this is that in today’s society everyone is lumped into one of two categories; conservative or liberal.

The terms conservative and liberal are not easily defined. Conservatism by the classic definition is a term used to describe political philosophies that favor tradition and gradual change, where tradition refers to religious, cultural, or nationally defined beliefs and customs. Liberalism by the classic definition is a term used to describe political philosophies that favor individual rights and equality of opportunity such as principles of freedom of thought and speech, limitations on the power of governments, the rule of law, the free exchange of ideas, a market or mixed economy, and a transparent system of government. If one uses the classic definitions of these terms our founding fathers would have certainly been considered liberal while someone holding onto those principles would have to be considered a conservative. The leaders of the Reformation would have to be considered liberal Christians while those holding onto principals of the Reformation would be considered conservative Christians.

Today, a conservative Christian is considered to be more “old school” while a liberal Christian doubts the authority of the Bible and is more apt to leave out parts of Scripture that do not fit into today’s society. If my religious beliefs have to be categorized into one of these two groups it would be conservative. Conservative in that I believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God and is still applicable for today and always. Most Christians who consider themselves conservative do not believe all parts of the Bible are still active for today (Mark 16:17-18, 1st Corinthians 14:5&39 for example). Someone who was to speaks in tongues and lays hands on the sick praying for healing would be considered outside the norm and liberal in their beliefs. A Christian who believes miracles died out with the apostles and that tongues are “not for today” (even though this is clearly opposite of what the Bible teaches) considers himself conservative even though he is adopting a view which is not supported by Scripture. Now I know 1st Corinthians 13 states the tongues will cease when the perfect comes, but the perfect has not come yet. The perfect in no way is the completion of Scripture as some have suggested. Paul makes no mention of a New Testament being written. Jesus did not say ‘for about the next 60 years these signs shall accompany those who believe . . . ‘. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Jesus is not a man who lived two thousand years ago. He is alive today.

The problem Charismatics face today is that some of its leaders have drifted away from Scripture. Certain leaders such as Hagin, Copeland, Hinn and others have adopted teachings that are not supported by Scripture. I’m not saying that these are not men of God and that the Lord has not used them to reach millions of people, but if what they are preaching does not line up with the Word of God, it must be dismissed. It is our duty as Christians not to support teachings that do not line up with the Bible. We Charismatics have taken several black eyes as of late. Ted Haggard’s escapades with a male prostitute and crystal meth, the beating Thomas Weeks gave his wife Juanita Bynum, Randy and Paula White’s divorce and now Sen. Charles Grassley has launched an extensive investigation into the spending practices of Kenneth and Gloria Copeland; David and Joyce Meyer; Randy and Paula White; Creflo and Taffi Dollar; Eddie Long; and Benny Hinn. No wonder so many conservative Christians look at Charismatics with doubt in their eye. Some have stated that this is an attack by the devil on the holy Church; others have said this is an attack by God on the unholy Charismatics, but I think this is God cleaning up his Church. Luke 12:2&3, “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.” Hopefully, after God has cleansed the charismatic movement of its current heresies and greed, conservative Christians and charismatic Christians will be one in the same.

What do YOU think?

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Comments

  1. Pastor_Tim says:

    I see in the indictments further encroachment by government on the church. Since when is a secular government morally invested in overseeing personal expenditures of individuals carrying out God’s work? Whether these ministries are faithful to the call of God or not is not for the US government to decide. If Christians stand by or even applaud this action, we must know for a certainty that it is the beginning of the end of our freedom to minister and collect funds for this purpose.

    This is a bad time in US history to have such encroachment, with such a socialist movement at work in upper levels of government. When a government comes to power that believes God is foolishness, it will also decide that the expenditure of funds for the furtherance of the Gospel is also the foolish and fiscally irresponsible spreading of superstition.

    It saddens me that some of these ministries may or may not be acting fiscally responsible with God’s money.

    • You have to understand that everyone of these religous leaders have non-profit organizations and for-profit organizations. If they sell a book it must be done under the for-profit organization. If you send in a donation it goes to the non-profit organization. Since literaly billions of dollars are flowing through these organizations and several complaints have been filed, it is only natural for the government to look in to their practices.

      The government has been intimidating the Church for years. Most churches maintain tax-exempt status, meaning they pay no taxes and it members get to write off their offering. Churches are only allowed to maintain this status if they follow the government’s rules (no politicall preaching or endorsing canidates, etc.) Our churches are already under government control. We are free to do as we want as long as it does not pose a threat to the government. If it does, we loose are tax-exempt status and I don’t know any pastors that would allow that to happen.

      The people supporting thes ministries which the government is looking into should have looked into where there money was going before giving it. As Christians we must hold are leaders accountable as we our selves must be accountable. Our Church must be transparent as we must be as well. If your Church does not allow its members to know the exact details of where their money is going, its time to find a new Church.

      • Paul, you suggest that people look into where the money is going before giving it. How can people do this effectively? I suppose it is hard work to do an audit on one of these ministries, and I am sure that they do not allow just anyone to do an audit on them.

        • Michael,
          I’m not suggesting people audit ministries prior to giving, but I do suggest they ask a few questions. What percentage of donations are used for missions? What percentage for operating cost, etc? That may be impossible with these television ministries, that is one reason why I don’t support them. I support my local Church and a few other outreach programs. I know what percentage of my donation is used for operating cost, salaries and what percentage is reaching other people. If a ministry is unwilling to share with its members at least a brief overview of spending practices, I don’t support them.

  2. Yes, I believe that God is working to get the sin and stupidity out of the charismatic movement. What we need is a revival of the fear of God, combined with a zeal to serve those in this world with the least of this world’s goods. Jesus said preach the gospel to the poor, and it always the poor who respond best to the gospel.

    The message has become polluted when its designed to make rich people feel comfortable in self-indulgence. After all, if the preacher leads a self indulgent wasteful lifestyle, for example, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on worthless trinkets every year to adorn his or her house, then the rich and famous can feel pretty comfortable too.

    We have not rebuked sin in its various forms widely and pointedly enough. Its not enough to pick on a couple of forms of sin, as you point out. Its not like Jesus spent all his time campaigning against homosexuality and abortion, for example. These things are wrong, but we should concentrate our attacks on the sins which are crippling THE CHURCH. Because if the church is full of the love, power and authority of Christ IN PRACTICE, and it flows, a lot of sinners are going to repent and God will bring showers of blessing.

    Anyway thanks for a thoughtful post.

    • pshrader says:

      Michael,

      I know it’s been a long time since you posted this response, but I was just rereading it and I wanted to say that you “get it”. Is it just me or is the prosperity gospel spreading faster than the gospel of Jesus? It seems all I hear about is how people are going to get blessed for either serving or giving money. I have been blessed with salvation. The Lord has seen fit to bless me financialy as well, but He has not blessed others more deserving than me with the same financial stability. We are not here to lay up treasures that rust and fade, but treasures in Heaven.

      • I would say it is spreading faster than the gospel of Jesus because the proponents of the prosperity gospel do spend a significant proportion of their income on reaching millions of people through mass media, and then selling them books and tapes.

        The truth is, that true preachers of the gospel who shun mass media are responsible for the fact that they have refused to use intelligent means to promote the truth. That is my view, anyway.

        • pshrader says:

          Michael,

          This web site is a great example of reaching people through mass media. I applaud your effort. Keep it up. This is a great place for Christians to discuss their beliefs and non-Christians to look into our hearts and minds. Keep up the good work, not because you will be blessed (and you will), but because you are doing the Lord’s work.

          Paul

          • Thanks for your encouragement. Actually we are reaching far more people through television than through this site. But I am not personally going on television at this stage, but rather facilitating the setting up of Christian TV channels.

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