And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled. And when Saul enquired of the LORD, the LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets. Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor.(I Samuel 28:5-7)
I have no problem believing that God sovereignly granted revival in the 1960’s -70’s, renewing faith in the reality of Jesus, introducing church people to Jesus for the first time, and baptizing multitudes from all walks of life, and over the spectrum of denominations in the Holy Ghost. The movement became known as the Charismatic renewal.
Why not? Didn’t He promise us that …
… it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:(Acts 2:17-18)
I myself came to Christ at the end of the 1970’s, in a charismatic church. But the critical question of any movement is not one of the beginning, but of the end…how does it end?
Of course in one sense the Charismatic movement never ends, for it didn’t begin in the 1960’s nor at Azusa street, but in Jerusalem. It shall never end, being established by Jesus, clothed in the Holy Spirit and known as the church.
But the charismatic movement as a historical reality, that sovereign move of God of 40 years ago,which turned so many to Jesus and the Spirit in a godless day, has been co-opted by it’s “leaders” and seems to be going the way of King Saul.
Saul seriously disobeyed God at several key points in his life, doing what he “felt” was right, rather than adhering to the Word of God. He wouldn’t go by the Word, but by “feelings”. God called that rebellion and even “witchcraft”,
And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.(I Samuel 15:22-23)
One of the problems with the Charismatic movement, was that it was beset with a variety of false teachers. Oral Roberts, with his seed faith, prosperity teaching. New Thought influenced teachers such as Kenneth Hagin and Copeland, who taught that we are all “little gods”, and could create our own reality by our words.
Who can forget the “deliverance movement” which was basically superstitious hysteria, but brought millions into bondage? How about the attempt by some to bring about order, imposing the cultic and oppressive “shepherding movement”?
False teaching imposes a terrible toll, it breaks down the defenses and corrupts the soul. Doctrine, good or bad, is not insignificant, it is of critical importance.
The Prophetic movement heralded by the false Kansas City Prophets and John Wimber, promoted experience over doctrine, and induced millions into “spiritual drunkenness” and gnostic mysticism.
These are just a sampling of the influences which flooded into the wake of millions of people coming to a living faith in Jesus and an awareness of the Holy Spirit. Like an accumulation of toxins in a body they have had an eroding effect on the church.
Time fails me to go into the other excesses such as the unbiblical ecumenism, the Toronto and Pensacola movements, neo apostles and prophets, and spiritual warfare.
The common theme of all of these excesses is that the charismatics have always been strongly urged not to judge! Discernment has been ridiculed and criticized! These things have taken a toll.
The charismatic movement is in danger of ending like Saul…
At the end of Saul’s life, he went into the occult. God wasn’t speaking to him anymore. Samuel was by now dead, although Saul consistently ignored him whilst alive. Saul had chased David away. killed the priests and found himself in real trouble.
And when Saul enquired of the LORD, the LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets.
He who had once purged the land of witches and wizards, now sought out a witch, that he might commune with the now dead Samuel!
Benny Hinn is just one Charismatic leader who has testified of his own necromancy,(communication with the dead). He tells os his frequent visits to Kathryn Kuhlman’s tomb, to get an impartation of “her anointing”!
“One of the strangest experiences I had a few years ago [was] visiting Aimee’s tomb in California. This Thursday I’m on TBN. Friday I am gonna go and visit Kathryn Kuhlman’s tomb. It’s close by Aimee’s in Forest Lawn Cemetery. I’ve been there once already and every so often I like to go and pay my respects ‘cause this great woman of God has touched my life. And that grave, uh, where she’s buried is closed, they built walls around it. You can’t get in without a key and I’m one of the very few people who can get in. But I’ll never forget when I saw Aimee’s tomb. It’s incredibly dramatic. She was such a lady that her tomb has seven-foot angels bowing on each side of her tomb with a gold chain around it. As—as incredible as it is that someone would die with angels bowing on each side of her grave, I felt a terrific anointing when I was there. I actually, I—I, hear this, I trembled when I visited Aimee’s tomb. I was shaking all over. God’s power came all over me. … I believe the anointing has lingered over Aimee’s body. I know this may be shocking to you. … And I’m going to take David [Palmquist] and Kent [Mattox] and Sheryl [Palmquist] this week. They’re gonna come with me. You—you—you gonna feel the anointing at Aimee’s tomb. It’s incredible. And Kathryn’s. It’s amazing. I’ve heard of people healed when they visited that tomb. They were totally healed by God’s power. You say, ‘What a crazy thing.’ Brother, there’s things we’ll never understand. Are you all hearing me?”11Benny Hinn sermon, Double Portion Anointing, Part #3, Orlando Christian Center, Orlando, Fla., April 7, 1991. From the series, Holy Ghost Invasion. TV#309, tape on file.
Familiarity with the Word of God would deliver Hinn’s followers, for God says He hates the sin of necromancy. Isaiah tells us that those who seek anything from the dead have no light in them,
When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? Consult God’s instruction and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn(Isaiah 8:9-12)
The flavor of the day in Charismatic circles is Bethel church in Redding California, headed by a Word Faith, Prophetic movement, pastor , Bill Johnson. At His Bethel School of ministry, he teaches students to “honor the Generals of revival”, that is leaders such as Smith Wigglesworth, Aimee Semple Mcpherson, Evan Roberts, and others.
“Honoring” them to Johnson means compiling a vast collection of their books and artifacts,and opening a “generals library” for charismatics to visit. But like Hinn, Johnson also believes in visiting their tombs, and literally “soaking” the “anointing” by being in the presence of their graves.
Those who discern are seeing countless other evidences that like Saul, the Charismatic movement has gone into the occult, for false prophecy, dream interpretation, necromancy,spiritual drunkenness are all characteristics, not of christian spirituality but “the delusion”, a revival of deceiving spirits that Paul warned about, as a consequence of rejection of the Word of God.
For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.( 2 Thess 2:8-12)