O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?(Galatians 3:1-3)
In my years as a Christian and as a Pastor in particular, I have found that it is one thing to get caught up in aberrant and heretical forms of Christianity, and another thing to come out of them spiritually intact.
I have met many people who had at one time participated in the Word Faith excess, or in hyper forms of “Deliverance”(remember “Pigs in the Parlor”?), or perhaps had deeply drank of the so called “Toronto Blessing”or Pensacola hype artistry. They have come out of it, but not necessarily intact. I know folks who now feel foolish for giving their money to prosperity preachers, or making fools of themselves in one of those “River” meetings.
These people are no longer in the error, but neither do they have a wholesome and expectant faith in Jesus Christ anymore. Some of them have become engulfed in the discernment movement, to the point where that is all there is to their faith. Others are bitter or cynical about what they went through and cannot resume a satisfying Christian discipleship.
I know many who are now hypercritical, and emphasize only what they don’t believe.Some reacted to the shallow teaching, by going into extreme Calvinism, even denying that Jesus died for everyone.
False prophets, prophecies and teachings are very destructive.These heretics and the false Shepherds who welcomed them into their churches really do damage to God’s flock! This is no light thing, and God will call us all into account over these issues.Especially Pastors, who should have guarded the flock, but too often instead they sold it out for gain of some kind.
I believe that one of the major issues that those of us who are refugees from crazy and defective forms of Christianity must face, is repentance.
It is not enough to realize you have been deceived by a Hagin, or a Hinn or an Arnott, and subsequently we despise their movement now. We who were deeply involved in those things must undergo a “Re-think”, which is part of what repentance really means. We must ask ourselves, “What was it in me that attracted me to these unbiblical extremes?”. Why did I follow teachers who taught that we are all “little gods”? Why did we want to be “the power people”, elite Christians, better and deeper than “normal Christians”?
Only by facing up to the larceny in our own hearts, that part of us which resonated with those false apostles, prophets and teachers, can we then be healed and move on in our sincere love for Jesus and belief in His Word.
Jeremiah lamented that in his days, “The prophets prophesied falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means…”, but worst of all, “…my people love to have it so! And what will you do in the end?”
Here we are at the end which Jeremiah spoke of.
The end is where those who have ravaged the church have left us. In a time where a clear minded sober and united church is needed to stand for truth and righteousness, Lou Engle and other charismatics are trying to jump start the Azusa street revival of 1906, and in the process they are prostrating themselves before Agents of the corrupt Roman Catholic church!
I couldn’t have visualized anything more pathetic when pondering the church in the last days!
One astute reader gently pointed out to me that though I didn’t want to debate whether the Charismatic movement was of God or not, (I didn’t) she thinks I have opened it up anyway. Perhaps.
In view of all of the corruption and evil fruits that have been done on the name of the Charismatic and Pentecostal movement; false and sensual revivals, blatantly false prophets fleecing the sheep, sensual music, experienced based religion, irreverence, shallow preaching and a false “love only gospel”…etc, you all could fill in the empty slots as far as all that is lamentable which seemingly has “come out” of the movement.
I think this part of the discussion is germane to those who must “re-think” their involvement, for only reality can truly help us…the “Truth can set us free”.
I have a very simple answer to the question , “Was the charismatic movement ever of God or not?”. My first response is – what about the parable of the sower? Four seeds were sown, on all kinds of hearts. The seed was good and true, but alas the hearts were either too hard, or distracted, or deceived and finally prone to wander.
Jesus warned us that it would be like this!
It is a temptation to just deny everything we once knew as false, so we don’t have to do the work of true and deep repentance, and the further work of taking the time to seek God and His Word for discernment to separate the “precious from the vile”.
I have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit was sovereignly awakening millions of people to the reality of God and of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.He visited a secularized, commercialized, jaded western world, and really touched many people who had drifted far from the God of their ancestors, and ignited the flames of love, prayer, spiritual hunger, evangelism, and longing for unity.
There is no axe to grind or denominational loyalty to defend, and certainly I can admit wrong in my life, but I refuse to discount the reality I have known.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, and I know that we need His reality in our day as never before. I believe we should all seek a full measure of the Spirit and we should long for our churches to be spiritual. Cessationism is as unbiblical as charismania!
I have no doubt that Satan has raised up the Copelands, Hagins, Oral Roberts and Benny Hinns, to discredit the idea that the Holy Spirit is vital and alive in all churches where people seek to be filled with the Spirit.