Friday, October 10, 2014

The Mess Of Being Charismatic

My years as a Charismatic, and even more years as a former Charismatic who remained in a Charismatic church, proved to be the most tangled mess of all. I've almost completed my  journey in understanding the Biblical view of Catholicism, and I've made good progress on seeing why psychology undermines the doctrine of Scripture's sufficiency, although more study on  both matters couldn't hurt. But, despite turning decisively away from Charismatic theology and practice 23 years ago, I still detect its subtle influence in my life once in a while.

Charismatic experience has many moving parts, some of which have slithered in to evangelical churches that consider themselves non-Charismatic. A church may not practice speaking in tongues, for instance, but it may encourage contemplative prayer. Or it may spiritualize new age psychology for "inner healing." Joni and Ken Tada, even though affiliated with John MacArthur's church, write about some experiences in their book, Joni And Ken: An Untold Love Story, that rival many experiences in Pentecostal churches. Charismatic influences permeate evangelical culture.

Precisely because Charismatic ideas have  such a stranglehold, even on me, I find it difficult to write about its effect on my life. Clearly, I can't condense over 30 years of being in the movement into one blog post.

And that admission brings me to my point. The Charismatic Movement, much like the other topics I routinely address in this blog, can't be handled neatly. That said, it very much requires attention because some of its tenents have seeped in to the broader evangelical community. And, having come out of that particular doctrinal error, I believe I need to confront its various facets.

As I broach this topic, please understand that I do not consider all Charismatics to be unsaved. During my 18 years as a practicing Charismatic, I believed the basic Gospel, as do many of my friends who still embrace the theology. I feel concern for those friends, however, wanting to see them liberated from teachings and behaviors that run counter to God's Word and distract them from the Gospel.
For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. ~~1 Corinthians 2:2 (ESV)

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