How Not to Be a Charismatic Headcase

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If you don’t know by now, I’m a charismatic. I let that get out from time to time online, but some might consider it my dirty little secret and immediately write me off.

My journey to the charismata was inspired by a man I could not explain. If ever there was a man around whom a halo flowed, it was this man. He knew things about people that they did not tell him. He laid his hands on people and they were made well. He prayed big prayers that asked for big answers from God and he got them more often than not. He knew the Scriptures in such a way that every time he opened his mouth to speak, wisdom flowed out that set people on fire. He disarmed every person who got close enough to be hugged by him. He could even call to birds and animals and they would come to him. And he was a Lutheran.

Quite apart from him, but because of his influence in the lives of so many people, I started asking God what made this man this way. So God began teaching me. How appropriate that this same man who had led me to the Lord years before just happened to be around the night I was baptized in the Holy Spirit so fully that I felt more alive than at any moment in my life to that point. Like warm oil, the Holy Spirit was poured out on me and He was life more abundant in a way that I pray everyone who comes to Cerulean Sanctum experiences at least once in their life, if not every day. That touch from God changed everything for the better in my life.

That’s my story in a nutshell.

Now that the blogosphere is loaded lately with commentary about all things charismatic, I feel I must comment. Being one of the few active charismatic bloggers almost necessitates that I say something. This post is part of that something.

Being a defender of the truth of the charismatic gifts for today is tough. Not because I’m fighting from a position of weakness, but because the astonishing reality of the gifts is too often buried by over-the-top charismatic excess, or as Chuck Smith dubbed it, “charismania.”

Now THAT'S a snake handler!I hate charismania. It’s one of the things I loathe most of all. If the devil is in the details, then charismania is an in-depth laundry list of heresy and stupidity. Pyromaniac Phil has posted several things on charismania lately (1, 2, 3, 4) and reading the comments from an infertile couple rung through the ringer by clueless charismaniacs had me seething. I wish some people knew how brutally they dishonor the Lord when they engage in charismania.

I’ve been around the American Church in a variety of denominations, parachurch organizations, and individual churches enough to know that every sector of what passes for the “Church” here has enough people who long ago went off the deep end to fill book after book with nonsense passing for Christian expression. No denomination is exempt and neither is any individual church. Craziness is out there everywhere, and with that craziness comes error and omission, whether it be in doctrine or in practice. Yet nothing gets the big guns locked and loaded than a bunch charismatic headcases.

I’ll be the first to admit that far too many self-labeled charismatics cashed in their orthodoxy cards a long time ago and deserve all the criticism they pass off as persecution.

No post on Cerulean Sanctum has generated more hits and links than one of the first I posted two years ago called “Charismatic Churches and the Cult of the New.” I would encourage everyone to read that post because a lot of what follows here stems from that entry. What grieves me is that too many ardent Christians looking to bash all modern expressions of the charismata and charismatics love to cite that post as a reason why charismatics have been deceived by the Enemy. That was never my intent, nor is it my intent for this post to continue to add kindling to their arguments.

Nevertheless, I press on and offer this post as a warning to all charismatics. If you love the Lord, if you desire to see the Holy Spirit honored, if you long to see other Christians stop bashing charismatics, if you want to see the Spirit of God sweep through our churches with revival, then these admonitions are for you.

1. Stop being so undiscerning
The gift of discerning of spirits is a favorite charismatic gift, yet how terrible that so few actually practice it as God intends. Charismaniacs long ago excised 1 John 4:1 from their Bibles, so how can they not pass off every spiritual manifestation, no matter how deviant from the Scriptures it may be, as an act of God? “Look before you leap” may not be in the Bible, but I would love to see more charismatics just sit still for a few moments and lift what they may be hearing before God Himself before they rush to deliver some “word from the Lord.” I almost never speak anything out to anyone until I’m absolutely sure it’s of God. As a result, I speak out far less than I could. If only more charismatics had that kind of restraint.

2. Stop letting immature people minister to others “charismatically”
Nothing bothers me more than this. I don’t know a single church, charismatic or not, that perfectly practices the discipline noted in the Scriptures when it comes to correcting the wayward. Yet for some reason charismatic churches are worst of all when it comes to dealing with people who are blowing it. Too many charismaniacs are pronouncing bogus words of knowledge, wisdom, and prophecy over people. Too many people who are ministering to others have a vaunted opinion of their “giftings” and should instead be told to sit down and stifle it until they have a solid grounding in Scriptural knowledge and proper church practice.

A couple years ago, I felt compelled to start telling the leadership in charismatic churches that people were giving false words to people. The list of false things people have said to me (and people I know well) over the years dwarfs the number of correct words people have relayed. Like 100:1.

Anyone looking to discredit modern charismata need look no further than this kind of abuse to find a reason to lay a blanket condemnation over it all. That kills me, but we charismatics have only our astonishing lack of discipline of the immature to blame for this.

Personally, I think all charismatic “word gifts” should be run past the pastors and elders. (God help that church if the leadership is just as undisciplined.) A credible accuracy of words and actions need to be established in anyone. You simply don’t give a howitzer to a baby to play with, and neither should church leaders allow people whose spiritual lives have not been tried by fire to abuse spiritual gifts.

3. Stop overemphasizing the gifts and the people who have them
One the greatest reasons for abuse of the charismata is that too many charismatics have made possessing those charismatic gifts the ne plus ultra of faith. As a result, people are led to conjure up those gifts just to fit in. Those folks, desperate to seem mature in the Lord, are practicing phony gifts—end of story. Frankly, that should bring immediate correction from church leadership, but more often than not it is simply written off without any disciplinary action.

Most charismatics don’t want to hear this, but I believe the true gifts are far more rare in the Western Church than we see in actual expression. That means a lot of people are trying to maintain a false image of being a fount of charismatic experience when they may not be. The damage that is done as a result of that fakery is astonishing. When we put so much emphasis on the charismata and “moving” in them, we create this problem. It’s time we regained some sense and put our emphasis on knowing the Scriptures, prayer, and holiness, rather than putting all our eggs into the gift basket.

4. Stop living in a charismatic ghetto
All people who call themselves charismatics would do well to read authors and teachers outside charismatic ranks. Not only would this go a long way in cutting down on some of the bizarre practices of charismania, it would aid charismatics in all aspects of ministry.

All Christians have their blind spots theologically and charismatics are no different. Too many Christians stay within their theological comfort zones and never grow deeper in Christ as a result. Certain charismatic churches are especially prone to this, particularly those that trace their lineage back to Azusa Street.

Along with a tendency to stay in the charismatic ghettos, the rabid anti-intellectualism I see in some charismatic circles is especially disturbing, as if if the Holy Spirit is quenched by a sharpened mind. Nonsense! Again, discernment is needed constantly in the Christian life, but if we can’t engage ideas that are outside our realms of experience, then we are not living up to the potential that God holds out for us.

5. Stop practicing magic
Nothing dishonors God more than attributing His power to objects, words, or certain rituals. The essence of witchcraft is to imbue things with power that radiates from within them. It is the very mark of idolatry.

Prayer hankies, rugs, and flags; “holy water”; certain repetitions of phrases and actions—they have no power. When charismatics start treating the manmade as if it has the power to bring about change for the Kingdom, then we have replaced the Holy Spirit with those objects and actions.

The charismaniac fringe is rife with such magic. This one issue bothers me tremendously when I see it espoused or practiced. Some charismatic churches base prayers prayed for others on odd little vocal tics, phrases, and chants as if God is being conjured up somehow. I’ve seen and heard of all sorts of excesses using items and actions, like placing numerous Bibles on people when praying for them, playing musical instruments around people while ministering them, and on and on. Folks, that’s magic being practiced. Other churches may not play around with magic in their services, but many of their members do privately. We need to cut out this cancer now.

If you’re a charismatic, I hope this post has made you think. If you’re not, I hope you understand that there are certainly problems in your church and denomination that may very well be just as deviant as some of the things that afflict charismatic churches and believers. If that’s you and this is just all grist for your particular mill, then you’ve missed the entire point.

I believe with all my heart that the Church of the 21st century should be no different than the Church of the 1st century in its expression to the dying world around it. Nor should it be any different between the brethren. That’s why all this is so important. The abuse of the charismata today is no more a proof against them than a lack of love expressed to hurting people negates the Gospel.

And we all know how easily each of us falters in displaying the love of Christ to our neighbors and our brothers in Christ, don’t we?

31 thoughts on “How Not to Be a Charismatic Headcase

  1. Ronni

    Again you hit the nail on the head. I remember when I first got Baptized in the Holy Spirit and the thirst to know as much as possible took me to a small very Charismatic church. Abusive. Of course at the time I didn’t know it and the things that I saw were incredible. For the longest time I thought that God would never be able to use me because I just couldn’t accept things they spoke at truth as truth. I guess I’ve had a gift of discernment for a long time, and I’m so thankful of that. I tend to sit back and wait when stuff happens. It’s such a fine line to tread. I’m really thankful that God has put a few people into my life who can walk out in the gifts, but have taught me how to sit back. Most of the time you get a word for someone, its not to share with them, but to pray. Other times God tells you to tell them and every time I have its been amazing. Satan told me so many times that its a fraud, its overly Charismatic (see, I grew up very fundamental baptist) and I never wanted to cross that line. I started writing things down when they happened and every single time, God was right. Three times I’ve told people I never met before things about their lives and was smack on, and confirmed things to them. Another handful of times I made comment like “I get the feeling you are leaving us” to a friend who wasn’t looking to leave at all but a week later got the job opportunity of a lifetime presented to him. It’s been an amazing ride and balancing the miraculous with the biblical truth has been so helpful in keeping my focus on Christ and not the things He is doing on me. I pray that God always keeps me close and grounded, because the day I buy a snake, well I’ve lost focuss.

  2. Sam Graf

    Hi Dan,

    I appreciate especially your comments about magic. That problem isn’t limited to charismatics, so far as I can tell. For example, “spiritual warfare” among non-charismatics, in my experience, has its own set of spells.

    I’m not discerning enough to know just exactly where magic begins in all these cases, so I generally think it appropriate to keep to myself about it all. But I appreciate your comments and I think it’s a valid caution for us all.

  3. Huh?

    Dan, I am really puzzled. I guess I must have been living a really sheltered life, because what I observe is almost a polar opposite of what you’re describing. What sort of snake handlers are you hanging out with? (That’s a cute picture, by the way.)

    So what am I saying? If anything is the case, at least in all the places where I have been (which is a lot of places), it’s that people are so skitish and reluctant about the “gifts” that practically nobody exercises them, either to minister to God (tongues) or to one another (prophecy, wisdom, healing, et al). Here I am in a AoG church and it’s pretty subdued, I mean subdued. Someday, I’m going to bring my tambourine to church just to liven things up a bit. In fact, thinking back on some other places I’ve been, a better categorization, the general case, would be “CINO” � Charismatic In Name Only. Yes, the pastors will teach on those pertinent chapters on this subject, very theoretically, but by the time they’ve enumerated and emphasized, over and over again, all the “dangers” and “misuses”, the vast majority of people are basically scared spitless of the subject.

  4. ccinnova

    Thanks for an excellent post, Dan. I’m a charismatic myself, but I left a church about eight years ago after they began embracing some extreme practices that were questionable at best. In addition, the pastor implied from the pulpit that a prominent Christian who opposed these extreme practices was in danger of hellfire.

    Some years earlier, I was exposed to the “name it – claim it” school of thinking. It took a while for me to shake those teachings.

    The Holy Spirit gives these gifts to build up Jesus’ kingdom and not for our glory. Too many charismatics have forgotten that.

  5. Andrew

    Another insightful and well expressed post, Dan.

    As a charismatic pastor, I have battled against all these abuses for years. Sadly, the battle is as much fought and lost at the denominational committee room as it is around an individual’s kitchen table. This kind of stuff keeps the crowds (and their money) coming and feeling like they’re a part of the action.

    May God continue to bless your vital ministry!

  6. Ted Gossard

    Good thoughts Dan.

    You could have added to all the above “the health and wealth gospel”.

    There is a friend of mine, himself a Pentecostal who I see regularly in the hospital. He has dementia and keeps sending money to a false prophet who writes in his letters amazing “revelations” he receives from God about my friend, and how that wealth- as well as health, but especially wealth, will soon be his- if he only follows what God has given this “prophet” to follow. And the last point is always money. Certainly a problem of discernment here.

    Gordon Fee, who has helped many evangelicals like myself be open to and enter into “charismatic” experience wrote that the two greatest sins of the charismatic movement are not testing prophesying and the health and wealth gospel.

  7. Dan:

    Thanks for your insightful comments. I believe in the Gifta of the Spirit. I really do. However, many people have mistaken worshipping the gift with worshipping the giver of the gift.

    I saw the abuses of charismania from people who believed the more disorder and chaotic it was meant God really moved to people who believed that God really moved when the ‘Spirit fell’ and no word was preached. I saw the abuses of the health, wealth, and prosperity gospel as people were still sick, poor, and poverished and having it blamed on secret sin, lacking faith, disagreeing with a televangelist, not putting enough money in the plate, not reading the Bible enough, etc. while if the church leaders esperienced this it was ‘the enemy’s attack’.

    I saw the elderly and wise get praised and adulated at their funerals while next week in the pastor’s sermon being equated to Moses and the church was the Joshua generation that needed to move forward.

    I saw people who had legitimate concerns get the ‘touch not mine anointed’ speech, deemed bitter, told that their family members would experience tragedy, miss the rapture, children would be crack addicts, etc. and in the unfortunate circumstances that it did happen, praise God for his judgement and perceive this as the church being right and the concerned who left was wrong and lost that needed to be re-saved.

    The the last church I went to got involved with the Colorado Springs Crazies named Wagner, Sheets, Jacobs, Haggard, Pierce and tried to fight the war of the city from the sanctuary and battling territorial spirits instead of helping people and dealing with issues head on.

    I was about to leave the Gifts of the Spirit behind until four years ago I discovered a reformed Presbyterian church that practiced Spiritual gifts and attempted to do so with reason and balance. I kept striving for the things of the Spirit while discovering a new quest for the word via the solidity of the reformed teachings.

    A hard balance to achieve.

  8. Ronni

    Glad to be a blessing Helen. If you need to talk, contact me… I just need to say that something else I learned… just because people over you in leadership say that you are wrong or bad because you don’t believe like them… well don’t pay any mind to that. What matters is what is going on between you and God, and they are accountable to Him for their actions and you are accountable to Him for YOUR actions. I’ve had to walk away from ministers who were bad for me. Hard to do when I valued their opinion and wanted to be an accepted part of thier ministry (but that was ME wanting, not God wanting and placing me there).

  9. Ronni

    You know I read over all this again and the underlying thing is DISCERNMENT. How do we get it? Well, instead of jumping on every bandwagon and “movement” why don’t we just spend time on our knees? What ever happened to reading your bible (and not the newest best seller) and praying? The closer we are to God the easier we can hear His voice, and the more discernment we get. Sometimes I think people nowadays need delivered from utter stupidity “if I just send money I’ll be cured” syndrome. Too many want the easy and gullible way. God never said this would be easy. We need to stop looking for the easy way out and buckle down and act like what we claim to be. So many people fall for false prophets and false movements because they are too lazy to find out what the bible truly says for themselves. If people would read and pray, and pray more, and oh.. did I mention pray…. alot of these false prophets couldn’t stand.

    Sad, our microwave society wants 20 second religion. *shakes head*

  10. Dan: “The rabid anti-intellectualism I see in some charismatic circles is especially disturbing.”

    Again, Dan, I am trying to figure out what universe you are describing. Is it what you see on television? As if that were representative? So if you’re talking about what’s on “xtian television” than maybe I can see where you’re coming from. But nothing on television bares any resemblance to what I’ve experienced in charismatic churches.

    As for “anti-intellectualism” goes, if the xtian blogosphere is any indication, we have so much intellectualism it’s coming out of our noses and out our ears. And I think frankly some of it is downright elitist.

    Some people mention experiencing abuse. Yes, occasionally in the past, I’ve been on the receiving end of some of that, in some church somewhere. But it never had anything to do with the charismatic “gifts”.

    Again, Dan, this whole discussion makes me feel unsure as to what planet you are talking about. I guess I must have lived a very sheltered life.

  11. Your 5 points are excellent.
    *Yes, Charismatic pastors talk a BIG talk about discernment but when it comes to allowing actual mature discerners to operate in their gift…well you know…LOL…no go, Joe.
    *And yes again, let’s put the kibosh on amateurs ministering. I mean…they are playing around with lives.
    *Let’s focus on Christ and ALL of the Apostles teaching and the gifts will fall into place.
    *Actually, Charismatics and Pentecostals might be surprised at the really good things John MacArthur and Hank Hanegraff talk about. If they start harping on Healing in the Atonement or the gifts are not true, then turn the radio off.
    *And yes again, Charismatic witchcraft really has to go.

    Well, I guess I will go on over to my blog and join the Charismatic blogging fun.

  12. James Burns

    Dan,

    I have to say this pretty much raps up everything I have felt and gone through since I got saved in 87. I gave my life to Christ in a Pentocostal Holiness church, the very heart of Charismatics in North Carolina, and though my beliefs lead me to conclude that I am charismatic, The many things you have stated has lead to that being a bad thing.

    I believe God heals, I believe, as you stated in an earlier post, that prayer can and does change things and I agree that discernment is something we must all work to have more of.

    I believe the gifts of the spirit should always work toward the building of God’s kingdom, to often however they are used falsely and are used for nothing more than giving a holier than thou impression.

    I appreciate your comments, they go to the very heart of the problem, and as a fellow Charismatic, I will join you in prayer that these things can change.

  13. Interesting Dan (as usual), and brings back a special event in my life. When I was first baptised in the Spirit, in the quietness of my bedroom while praying one night, I talked to my Baptist Pastor about it a few days later and he said, “Wah?” That was the end of that —- and that’s the other end of the pendulum swing.

    Hey, what about making an acronym of the 5 points of Charismania? TULIP is taken, of course. SKUNK would be a good one, or STINK, if you could work it. If you need another two you could try for WIERDOS or simply, BEWARE if you can only get to six. Would atleast aid the memory.

    One good thing about the heresies and resulting heretical behaviour is that they show by the opposite what is good and pure and worthy of Jesus. How intersting that it is in the context of alleged spiritual outpourings of 1 to 5 above that the Spirit pours out its warning about the counterfeits.

    The alleged outpourings themselves actually become the badge of dishonour for the participants, akin to a skunk and its stink. The white stripe of the skunk = the abject nonesense so easily discerned in the advertising material the crazies produce.

    Hmmm… Must take good care of my spiritual eye sight and my spiritual schnoz.

    Peter

  14. Ted Gossard

    Dan, this kind of refers to a recent post of yours- on healing, but it is also very much in reference to this post. you mention the need for charismatics to be in Scripture so as to have discernment and so as just to be walking in the true light (my quick words to the gist of what you’re saying).

    My question: Isn’t a book like Job and all the wisdom that is in it, all but lost to many charismatics?

    They are looking for God to heal by faith, and would seemingly (to me) often identify more with Job’s three friends (particularly Eliphaz, accord to my memory) than with Job himself. Thoughts?

  15. Dan: Chuck Smith dubbed it, “charismania.”

    Dan, from reading some of the comments here, I feel like I’ve entered some sort of weird parallel universe. When I look around me now, and think back on everywhere I’ve been, where is all this “charismania” happening that people keep talking about? How is it that I managed to never run into it, especially when it is supposedly so prevalent?

    Does it only occur in Ohio?

    As for Smith’s book, it always struck me as somewhat odd that he even wrote it; he certainly wasn’t addressing any widespread problem he was having in his own homegrown denomination. CCs don’t have a problem with “charismania” for the simple reason that the 99.9% of the congregants there never use the gifts�the pastors there have preached so relentlessly on possible “misuse” that it finally, in effect, ended up scaring their congregations so much that nobody ever bothers with the experience.

    You can’t abuse what you’re never use.

    Anyhow, I’ll be sure to be on the lookout. I guess I need to check more thoroughly and scrupulously for the problem of “charismania”. I’ll be sure to check under every rock and behind every bush and under every pew. If I find something, you’ll be the first to know. (I won’t bother with “xtian television” because I already know, without saying, that that’s a lost cause.)

  16. Anonymous

    However, many people have mistaken worshipping the gift with worshipping the giver of the gift.

    Amen, hallelujah, someone gets it. This is the fundamental problem I see with charismatic churches and Pentecostal churches today. And with the other side, too, for that matter.

    I believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I truly do. I can hardly do otherwise, after having delivered accurate prophecies. But I cannot speak prophecies when God does not give them to me. I do not have the gift of tongues – but I do have the gift of faith. I don’t have the gift of miracles (or at least, I haven’t seen any outright ones lately), but I am given the gift of exhortation.

    BUT:

    The gifts of the Spirit are not the Spirit itself.
    The spirit that often visits Pentecostal & charismatic churches is not the Holy Spirit.
    The commands of 1 Corinthians 14 surrounding the gift of tongues are given because of abuses of the gift, not to encourage the continued abuses of the gift.
    The gift of tongues is not the only gift of the Spirit.

    I am NEITHER charismatic NOR cessationist.

    I would call myself, instead, a follower of Christ. A Christian. As God gives me leave to use various gifts, I use them. Most often these days, discernment and wisdom. Sometimes others.

    The cessationists argue vehemently against tongues – the say they ceased with the Apostles. The charismatics argue equally vehemently for tongues – but what the charismatics typically produce as “the gift of tongues” does not even vaguely resemble what happened in Acts 2; it more resembles what happened in the halls of the Temple at Delphi (yes, the temples of the greeks were filled with the ‘gift of tongues’).

    And while we can point to 1 Corinithians 13:8-12 and say that prophecy will be done away when the perfect comes, we also know that tongues “will cease of themselves” (it’s in middle voice in the Greek). So the cessationists may have a point there. And, while the gift of tongues HAS been miraculously given in specific instances, it does not seem to be generally given the way it was in the various chapters in Acts that describe it in operation.

    But by conflating tongues and prophecy and the other gifts, BOTH sides fall in the error of worshipping their doctrines rather than the One who shows us truth. And that’s idolatry.

    What is done by many Christians “in the name of Christ” IS often magic, and nothing more nor less. Before I became a Christian, I was a practicing sorceror. One of the standard claims by sorcerors and witches about sorcery and witchcraft is that the Christian churches practice it constantly. They pray for what they want, often in unison, and they get it. They invoke the name of Christ as though it is a magical talisman, thinking that when they say they’re asking “in Christ’s name” that they really truly are. Very often, they try to force things to happen by their wills alone, and worse, they practice open hatred of various groups of people. That’s not Christian. That’s cultism of the worst variety.

    I would submit that those who are truly following Christ are the ones who ask things in Christ’s name. The others are just practicing a form of witchcraft, and they don’t even realize it.

    As far as professionals versus amateurs – remember: the Pharisees were professionals. The apostles were amateurs.

  17. Anonymous

    may i direct you to j.preston eby just type in his name and you will come to his sights.check out L.ray smith while your at it. extremely well posting. your headed on the right path it’s called sonship!

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  20. Where in the world have you been going to church? Maybe it’s because I didn’t grow up in a charismatic church ( but sure saw lots of other kinds of abuse in the churches I did grow up in), but I haven’t seen so much craziness in the charismatic circles I’ve been in since. Sure I’ve seen bad stuff, but is it any more reprehensible than quenching the Spirit? Or having a spirit of unbelief? Or legalism? Personally I’d rather be part of the church in Corinth than Galatia, but I refuse to make that kind of choice. I won’t settle for anything less than a valid experience of Biblical truth as far as I can understand it to be laid out in Scripture. Surely there are as many “fakes” in non-charismatic churches as in charismatic churches–perhaps we just prefer the quiet fakes who don’t cause much trouble until they pilfer money or leave their spouse for someone else over the ones who speak jibberish and try to push people over. I guess the first lot is more respectable somehow.

  21. Ken

    The gift of discerning of spirits is a favorite charismatic gift, yet how terrible that so few actually practice it as God intends.

    As I understand it, “Discernment” means to be able to “read” a complex situation cold, the ability to look below the surface and Discern (TM) what’s really happening.

    It does NOT mean you see Demons under every bed, like a Cartoon Bircher sees Communist Plots (or Stalin’s NKVD saw Traitors and Spies).

    It does NOT mean anyone who disagrees with you in any way is Demon Possessed.

    It does NOT mean when a light bulb burns out, you get out your Bible and start loudly rebuking the Demon of Light Bulb Burnouts. (If you do, don’t do it “In Jesus’ Name (TM)”; I think He’d be embarrassed to have His name dragged into your little performance.)

    (B/G: A pastor friend of mine recently had to deal with a Spiritual Warrior with such a Direct Discernment Line to God. What this is doing to his son even tops the one who committed his kid to Teen Challenge for playing D&D.)

  22. pastor r.long

    you really hit the nail on the head! it is nice to know that i’m not alone as a charismatic. i have so many friends who are word of faith types who think something is wrong with me because i refuse to embrace “name it claim it” health and wealth doctrine!
    i have found that i have more in common with reformed charismatic ( i’m not reformed but i have great respect for reformed teaching) please keep up the good work and thanks!

  23. Bob

    I was thrust into the conflagration of the prosperity heresies of the mid ’80s from day one upon my baptism in the Holy Ghost. Thanks be to God and Dave Hunt I was not completely sucked under as I was SO open to all things spiritual at that time. I have always been a trusting sort and I actually BELIEVED everyone WANTED to hear the whole truth. NOT! Since 4-26-86 I have warred, contended pleaded, fasted, wept, prayed, and exhorted my charismatic brethren. I have been taken secretly and shot like a deer by ‘men of God’ (spiritually of course) and only barely escaped with my faith while being dragged out onto the highway of Holiness by an old black Pentecostal elder. Go to the Revival Army Supersite and hit the Florida revival tab and listen to the Carter Conlon compilation called “Run For Your Life”. If you don’t weep like a baby for Christ’s beloved Church you probably haven’t been around very long yet.
    My wife and I were brought together sovereignly by the Lord to, “stand where we could stand” ,and in just over ten years we have been brutally abused spiritually by a counterfeit revival ministry in Kansas City for not subscribing to the Word of Faith heresy, hit by a tornado, hit by Hurricane Katrina and now my wife has stage 4 breast cancer and how I only WISH the Lakeland thing were real, but I am convinced it is not because of Bentley’s previous involvement in the laughter/drunkeness movememt. We have three little girls.
    I love the Lord and trust him for the outcome and I covet the prayers of anyone reading this (especially for my wife’s faith as well as her physical healing), but this thing is not a game. You CANNOT serve God and Mammom. Charismatics choose your own MASTER! Once you have chosen, “run for your life” from those who live in palatial homes on the backs of God’s poor people.

  24. While abuse is a sin, I find as much or more sin in the beliefs of those who easily write off the charismata. Paul warns against such people as those who have a form of godliness but deny its power. Jesus marveled at such people, their unbelief, and their power to stymie the workings of God due to that unbelief. Without a doubt, our churches are filled with such people.

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