When I was a charismatic, I remember being told, "Don't take a preacher's word for anything without checking it out in Scripture." Good advice, but somehow I never felt motivated to follow it, and neither did any of the charismatics I knew. After all, the preacher who said this usually _did_ seem to have Scripture on his side, although his support was usually little more than a prooftext. "See, Paul did special miracles with hankerchiefs in Acts, so the way we use prayer cloths is Biblical." Needless to say, such reasoning isn't based on sound exegesis, but it seemed Biblical enough to me at the time. Besides that, the very fact that a preacher would encourage folks to check the Scriptures seemed to be sufficient proof that he was on the level. "Why would a preacher who was trying to mislead us tell us to check his preaching against the Bible?" Thus, based on the flimsiest of reasoning, I ignored the good advice to search the Scriptures.

In effect, I was in the same situation as the Roman Catholic who professes to believe in the inspiration of both Scripture and Tradition, but in practice ignores Scripture in favor of Tradition. For charismatics like myself, Experience fills the same place as the RC's Tradition, with Scripture having little more purpose than to affirm the validity of Experience.

Dave U.