Saturday, December 01, 2007

More Charismatic contributions to the body of revelation

I've made this point a bazillion times here and at Pyro: the charismatic movement has had 101 years to show us new and improved revelation... and it hasn't shown much.

M'man Phil Johnson just sidebar-linked to a video making the point yet again. Note carefully — this is prophetic revelation that led to this kind of fantasy eisegesis, the intent (or at least the effect) being to put the blame for the nuttiness on God's shoulders:


Jay said...

A friend of mine, who is formerly gay, posted this ridiculous video on his blog as well. Aside from the absurdity of I-35 being a reference to Isaiah 35, we were both distressed by the notion that one can go from being a lost gay hedonist to a good straight Christian instantaniously.

Of course God can work miracles, and I rejoice that the man in the video is, for the time being, living a better lifestyle. However, I think any Christians who have struggled with homosexuality (call us gay, ex-gay, or whatever), know that it is a long and hard process to go from a sinful lifestyle and way of thinking to a holy one.

Like any other sinners just coming to Christ, we need support and understanding that these changes don't occur overnight. The worst part about the charismatic movement is that is proposes that these changes do happen overnight, and that those who continue to struggle are lacking in faith.

At least that's how I've seen it in my experience. Just my $0.02.

DJP said...

I think that's a very good point. Some of this shows itself in the Charismatic penchant for imagining a "demon of lust," "demon of smoking," "demon of speaking inordinately loudly too early in the morning," and so on. Cast out that demon, and the problem should be gone — hey, presto!

Now I'm not saying (nor, I think, are you) that such transformations never occur. But while the NT does envision a miraculous transformation from a child of the world to a child of God, the process of growth is much slower, longer, harder. The imagery used — putting off/putting on, dying daily, growing fruit — is much more process-oriented than crisis-oriented.

Jay said...

Now I'm not saying (nor, I think, are you) that such transformations never occur.

Certainly not. I'm certain they do. It's just dangerous for those struggling in any area of sin for these types of transformations to be held up as the norm. But you know that. That's why you posted this. Hope all is well. :)

Libbie said...

Totally agree with that well made point. I have a charismatic friend who has always struggled with his temper and went to a 'counselling' session at which it was discovered that he had the 'spirit' of his notoriously hot-tempered dead grandfather living in him. It was 'cast out', and he was adamant for a short time that his temper problem was solved.

The video makes your point well, Dan. All that is good there has come about through the preaching of the gospel - simple obedience to a scriptural mandate.

Everything else is just to add goose-bumps for the credulous. Cindy Jacobs is a veritable genius at this sort of thing.

Carlo said...

And I think we have to remember is that one can experience religous conviction without true conversion. I remember Pastor Reddit preaching a couple of weeks ago saying that it is not impossible for people to have a religious twitch. You give them a contact with God and spiritual reality we shouldn't think they are not going to have any reaction.

In this case, what these guys experienced, in my opinion is not a contact with God or any kind of Christian spiritual reality but pure nonsense. But how much more conviction people have with this kind of nonsense and fake spiritual reality.

The sad reality in all this (and I know this all happens in the providence of God) but some of these folks in video who had no true spiritual conversion will go back to their unrighteous lifestyle and think that Christianity is fake and hate God even more.

threegirldad said...

There's that phrase again: "on fire." As in on fire, then not, then on fire again, then not, then on fire again...and since being on fire is the ultimate indicator of the presence of the Holy Spirit in one's life, there's a certain desperation behind it all (especially during the "not on fire" periods).

As bad as this video is, it pales in comparison to the five "prophecies" (which Dan alluded to). Thankfully, it's December 2nd, which means that the "35 Days of Prayer" have come to an end. But it's probably just a matter of time before another "purity siege" comes to my fair city [sigh].

Phil has it exactly right: anyone who knows I-35 "up close and personal" needs know further reason than this "news report" to dismiss CBN out-of-hand...

Rileysowner said...

Let it be said that I find much of what they base the whole I-35 thing on as wackiness. I share a concern mentioned earlier about the homosexual who "experienced God" and "got plugged into" their church. I heard nothing of the gospel proclaimed to that poor man, and I really wonder if it is the experience that he equated to an acid trip, that he wants, or if he is trusting Christ. In fact as much as they say they are sharing the love of Jesus, I did not hear that much of them actually doing it. My prayer is that he is really converted, but I don't see anywhere where saying "Fire" to someone is what converts them in Scripture. Again, my hope is that he is really converted.

On the positive side, I do commend them for two things which most Christians are lacking in. First, they pray. From the report it looks like they pray a lot. Second, the fact that they are out there where the unbelievers are. I'm pretty sure that if I went to most congregation and asked for volunteers to go and pray outside of a gay bar or a strip club, I would have few if any takers.

I wish that we had that sort of passion for the lost, grounded in and presenting the word of God to unbelievers so they can know Christ and their sin and put their faith in him and not merely in some experience.

DJP said...

You make several good points, RO; and let me riff on it to a slightly different effect:

What I keep saying about Charismaticism is that it is (to say the least) fair to ask what its distinctive doctrines have contributed to the church.

So take a story where there are feelings and lurches and hunches and "words" and visions and blah blah blah that result in someone telling a person or persons the Gospel. And let's say, on a very charitable read, that someone gets truly saved.

Is this "Score one for Charismaticism"? Not at all. It's one for the Gospel, for God. Any Christian could have shared the Gospel, and God could have used that to convert the sinner.

What is distinctive in Charismaticism is all the words and hunches and so forths that produce such repellant and unadorning silliness, to say nothing of heresies. Those things go in the Charismatic column; and they aren't pluses.

Connie said...

It's very important to note that the young gay man who they featured says himself that he was DRUNK at the time--which quite frankly lends itself very well to jumping on the 'feelings' and sensationalism band-wagon so common to charismatics.

I too pray that his conversion was real, but as with all conversions only fruit will bear that out. I am however, very concerned at the 'burn-out' experienced by so many charismatics once the feelings cease to thrill and entertain. By and large, most who leave the charismatic movement do not tend to move on to other churches--charismatic or otherwise.

Chris Anderson said...

I'm dying to know if there is a state Rt. 8 that intersects I-35. I mean, *that* would be a *really* holy place on the highway, no?

James Kime said...

When that guy was talking about saying "fire" and those feelings came upon the gay man, I can't help but conclude it had more to do with divination or some form of witchcraft.

I have no doubt that a spirit is present among those types of people. I have zero reason, based on their own testimony, to believe that it is the Holy Spirit.

dec said...

Instant Grass:
"Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away."

Tough Turf:
"And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding"

"I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth."

megadelphos said...

Chris Anderson,

Very funny. And to add to it. If a lion escaped from a nearby zoo, you would only need to go to I-35 and state Rt. 9 in order to be safe.

Thanks for the post, DJP.

stldispensationalist said...


Being a former Charismatic myself, I completely concur with and can verify what you have observed in the Movement. It has contributed absolutely no doctrinal soundness to the true church. I can attest to exactly the opposite: it has muddied the waters all the more, and it has had a large part to play in today's pseudo-evangelicalism.

I'll never forget what I heard a lady say in a charismatic church when I was younger. When someone challenged her belief that a tongues "prayer language" kept Satan from understanding and intercepting her prayers, she smiled and said plainly, "Well, I'll look it up in my Bible, but, even if it doesn't say so, I still know it's true, because I experienced it." That was one of the most heartbreaking moments of my life.

Keep it up, Dan.

ThirstyDavid said...

"Have you ever felt the presence of God? Would you like too? Fire! Fire!"

Yeah, that's how I share the Gospel, too. When you make someone feel like they're "tripping on acid," you just know they've been "radically saved."

It's really not necessary to even mention sin or the cross. Just say, "Fire!"

I was almost late for my own wedding because I wasn't paying attention when my best man took a wrong turn onto I-35 and we got halfway to Duluth before we realized where we were. I wonder what that means.