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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

On Charismania.

Unlike many of my brethren, I am not convinced that the completion of the Canon spelled Doom for the charismata. That view requires an assumption, one not supported in Scripture, that the Spiritual Gifts were primarily for the Inspiration of the Scriptures.
I don't make an issue of it, as it is a divisive idea, but I don't shrink from discussing it if anyone inquires.

What's the point? I have seen a lot of stupidity done in the name of "the Holy Spirit".
Such silliness places it in the realm of Charismania, as distinguished from the charismatic.
I was musing this afternoon on the phenomenon I call "The Thursday Night Cough-and-Spew". This house party masquerades as a prayer meeting or Bible study, when in reality it as a coffee-klatsch for the chronically demonized. Your besetting sin or habit like addiction to pR0n, or habitual nail-biting, is dealt with, Hey Presto!, and you have the offending problem cast out of you. Victory in Jesus! -- 'til next week.

Now, I have no problem with the idea of deliverance from demons. Jesus dealt with 'em, treated them as sentient personalities, and took authority over them. He bequeathed that authority to the church. Aside from one misapplied verse from Zechariah, there is no Scriptural indication that trouble with evil spirits would cease after the first advent of Christ. Where my problem lies is the quick-and-easy shortcut to discipleship called "deliverance ministry". There is nothing in the New Testament that remotely resembles what passes for "deliverance" today. I have a habit...I go to the meeting...the group prays for me (in my experience with these groups, they are USUALLY led by self-styled woman "pastors")...I begin a set of learned responses, to wit, coughing, gagging, and being brought to crisis. The deliverance complete, I go home to...

The problem beginning again two days later.

I am speaking in generalities, but you get the point. I believe in prayer as being effective. I also believe that I am to be discipled, taught how to live the Christian life by those older and more experienced. Deliverance-so-called is no shortcut or substitute for maturity and growth. Much of what is practiced is psychodrama in the name of Jesus, a quick fix for the seeker, another notch on the belt of the "minister".

I do not mean to lump true deliverance in with the sloppy doctrine of today. Jesus' ministry was fully a third involved with casting out demons from the demonized. One of the charismata granted the church is "discerning of spirits", but to turn such effective methodologies into a carnival sideshow, Pentecostal primal-scream therapy, or some other pop-psych substitute for discipline, for trying , does violence to the Gospel, which itself is the power of God unto salvation.


Billiam said...

I've noticed that at another church I used to go to. It seemed like you were not doing something right if you weren't 'speaking in tongues', and all the 'prophecies' started out the same, like from a template. I know healing occurs sometimes. The most unbearable of my back pain was healed by the laying of hands, oil and prayer. Good post.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see someone talking sense about this stuff outside my husband and his semi-cousin...Just please keep in mind that not all "Pentecostals" are alike. The United Pentecostal Church, for instance, is very different from the Pentecostal Church of God--but most people only see the UPC...

Btw, I came here via Vox Day. This is a very interesting blog, and very often spot-on. I'll keep nosin' around.

The Aardvark said...

Mrs. P.
Thanks. I believe that if we allow the Word to speak, then we come far closer to unity than what many believe possible. I am what many would refer to as "Spirit-filled", and am aware of the VAST differences amongst those who claim such anointing. My personal belief is that modalist "Pentecostals" are victims of Heresy Most Foul, at the hands of unlearned men who parse the Scriptures...oddly. Frank Bartleman, a newspaperman involved in the Azusa Street revivals, was key in getting a new ball rolling for an old error. Every argument for "Jesus-only" holds less water than even cessationist bafflegab.

I worry that the "distinctives" between various "ministries" are what are most important, rather than the clear universal teaching of the Gospel (not universalism, m'dear, rather the majority of truth which most groups share).

The Church in the 21st Century needs a "Ron Paul". Drag folks back to the Faith Once Delivered.