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Dealing With Charismatics #51215
Fri Jan 16, 2015 10:21 PM
Fri Jan 16, 2015 10:21 PM
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Tom Offline OP
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Dealing with Charismaticís
As a former Charismatic I know just how enticing the movement is. I remember how I could pray in tongues for hours. I even at times found myself getting a feeling of euphoria when I was speaking in tongues. I was convinced that this was definitely of God and wondered why anybody who once experienced the Baptism of the Holy Spirit could believe that this manifestation of the Holy Spirit wasnít genuine.
Through the process of God revealing the truth that it wasnít of Him, it was not an easy thing to stop practicing. In fact because many in my family are/were Charismaticís, this was especially true. I paid a price to leave the movement that was a kin to back sliding to many of them. A few years after that I experienced something that in some ways was even harder, when I started to embrace the doctrines of grace.
Thinking about all this, it is fairly obvious that much like salvation, it takes a supernatural miracle of God to move someone from Charismania into the truth.
With that in mind, when dealing with Charismaticís (which is something that I am currently doing), I try to keep what I went through in mind. In fact, recently the matter makes me want to go to my knees, rather than discussion with Charismatics on the issue. This if you know me is actually a hard thing to do at times.
I hope what I said above is of help to anyone reading this. I would be interested in reading others experiences about dealing with Charismaticís. Or anything related to this subject.

Tom

Last edited by Tom; Fri Jan 16, 2015 10:26 PM.
Re: Dealing With Charismatics [Re: Tom] #51217
Sat Jan 17, 2015 8:31 AM
Sat Jan 17, 2015 8:31 AM
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Robin Offline
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Oh yes, Tom!

Been there, done that, got the teeshirt.

And here's a little of what I learned along the way, both as a former Charismatic and from the early days of ExCharisma, which began as a little e-mail loop on YahooGroups for people who were like me at the time: Charismatic but questioning, deeply in need of a solid, unchanging, back-to-basics Christian experience that stayed strong in spite of all the shifting trends, "revelations" that didn't pan out, and failed doctrines that just didn't work.

Like alcoholics, drug addicts, sex addicts, or any other kind of addict, a Charismatic has to become desperate enough to ask for help before he or she can even discuss or debate the truth of the doctrines that keep failing them. Many Charismatics are taught that if a teaching fails to "work," it's because their own faith is too weak, or their own sin is too great, or their own heart is impure. In other words, it's your fault if things don't pan out the way you were taught they would - like money being returned sevenfold, tongues interpreted to provide the answers and guidance you need from God, demons fleeing and oppression lifted when you pray "in the Spirit," all that stuff.

Yeah I got the "high" from speaking in tongues and felt better for a little while, but the oppression remained, the money ran out, the sin habits I was so ashamed of still held on and got worse, my heart remained divided and fearful, my mind remained confused, and my life was just like that of a drug addict: Always seeking deeper, richer, more intimate "encounters with God in the Spirit" and finding that such encounters did not change me.

Only when I became desperate enough to ask for help was I able to listen to anyone but my teachers, nor be open to anything but "my bible and the Spirit to guide me." And the same was generally true for almost all of the hundreds of people who participated in the ExCharisma group over the next few years before I moved it here to the Highway. Dealing with Charismatics is very much like dealing with addicts. And the "failure rate" seems very high, since many just can't let go of that wonderful high we got from "singing and dancing in the Spirit." But a Charismatic who has heard the truth and MUST believe it because it is BIBLICAL cannot enjoy the "drug" anymore since he knows it isn't real. The despair and loneliness is palpable! And it drives such a one either back to the bible - or out of the visible church altogether.

That's why it takes a great investment of time, patience, prayer, study, and compassion to deal with Charismatics.

Re: Dealing With Charismatics [Re: Tom] #51218
Sun Jan 18, 2015 7:20 AM
Sun Jan 18, 2015 7:20 AM
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Robin Offline
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A helpful link is found HERE, along with a host of others in that category, right here on the Highway.

-Robin

Re: Dealing With Charismatics [Re: Tom] #51219
Sun Jan 18, 2015 8:54 AM
Sun Jan 18, 2015 8:54 AM
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Thanks be to God that you both came to the true faith. I've personally known many, especially children who grew up in charismatic churches, who became aware of the false teachings and ended up rejecting Christianity altogether.

Were there some specific things that caused you to question charismatic teachings? Are there some seeds of doubt that could be planted? This movement is a major problem here in Africa but the followers are so spiritually proud, it is extremely difficult to discuss anything with them.

Edit: Thanks, Robin! You anticipated my question.

Last edited by Myshkin; Sun Jan 18, 2015 8:55 AM.
Re: Dealing With Charismatics [Re: Myshkin] #51221
Sun Jan 18, 2015 2:00 PM
Sun Jan 18, 2015 2:00 PM
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Originally Posted By: Myshkin
Thanks be to God that you both came to the true faith. I've personally known many, especially children who grew up in charismatic churches, who became aware of the false teachings and ended up rejecting Christianity altogether.


Sadly, Charismatic Christianity is all too often the only Christianity that some people are exposed to, so when it proves false (money doesn't return ten-fold, loved ones don't get healed, etc), many fall away thinking, "Christianity failed me."

Quote:
Were there some specific things that caused you to question charismatic teachings?


One that didn't occur to me until I began to question other ones was, "If I can get holy and super-spiritual enough on my own to qualify for Spirit baptism, why do I need it?"

This is the heart of the matter: GRACE. The grace of God is often completely obscured by the superstitions and the "how to get this, how to get that, how to exercise this or that gift, how to discern spirits (is it a demon or just my flesh?)," and the constant seeking after that which we already possess in Christ, but in the form of ever deeper experiences, ever deeper revelations, ever more joyful worship ... a bigger, better "high" (to put it in brutally blunt terms). For the Charismatic, everything depends on my faith, my persistence, my purity, my training, and my ability to "sense, discern, and follow the Spirit." Whereas in the true faith, everything depends on God alone from beginning to end.

Terms are redefined in Charismatic teaching. Faith, for example, becomes "an ability attained through human effort and practice, to deny what they eyes see, what the ears hear, what others say, or what circumstances tell us about our situation and change reality through mind-over-matter" instead of God-given grace to admit our own powerlessness and accept His provision in Christ, letting go of all our other anchors and things we have to fall back on if God should fail. Faith is from God, not from within. Charismatics need to know that.

Again, the false teachings have to repeatedly fail a charismatic a zillion and twelve times before they will even begin to question the teachings rather than their own ability to "believe," or to purify their hearts and motives, or to give enough money or cry enough tears. GRACE is what helps a Charismatic pick up the pieces after so many failures have made him or her feel hopeless.

A Charismatic needs certainty of unchanging truth, dependence on God alone not only for salvation but for everything else pertaining to life and godliness, and finally, to know the sufficiency of Scripture to equip the man of God for every good work (2 Tim 3:17).

If you take some time to read the discussions here in this forum, and peruse the articles in the Charismatic section of the-highway's vast library, I think you will find no lack of treasures that can lead a despairing Charismatic to simple, childlike but industrial-strength, gospel-based faith in the truth.

And of course, a few of us who have been there can help too. The hardest part for me about rescuing my friends still trapped in Charismatic confusion and superstition, has been waiting for them to reach the point of desperation in which they are willing to question the teachings rather than themselves.

-Robin

Re: Dealing With Charismatics [Re: Robin] #51224
Mon Jan 19, 2015 11:17 PM
Mon Jan 19, 2015 11:17 PM
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Tom Offline OP
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Robin
Thanks for sharing all that.
Something I do remember from way back then (and perhaps it stuck to me) was before the Charismatic Church I was attending started to drift into Word Faith teaching, is it did teach the basic centrality of the Gospel in the Christian"s life. Yet, the Charismatic message that was taught often clouded the truth and actually contradicted it.
At the moment I will not give any examples, but I think much of what you wrote actually shows the differences between the truth and Charismania.

Re: Dealing With Charismatics [Re: Tom] #51226
Tue Jan 20, 2015 6:29 AM
Tue Jan 20, 2015 6:29 AM
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Pilgrim Offline

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Originally Posted By: Tom
Robin
Thanks for sharing all that.
Something I do remember from way back then (and perhaps it stuck to me) was before the Charismatic Church I was attending started to drift into Word Faith teaching, is it did teach the basic centrality of the Gospel in the Christian"s life.

I have no idea what is meant by "the basic centrality of the Gospel...". Can you explain what that is?

Are you suggesting that this 'church' actually taught/preached the biblical Gospel, aka: the Reformed Faith, or at least embraced the infamous "Five Points", or at the very least taught the biblical doctrine of Sola Fide; justification through faith alone, in Christ alone, by grace alone? That would of necessity require that they held to the total depravity of man and the necessity of regeneration preceding faith and that heart repentance accompany that faith.

Okay, so I'm wasting my time trying to guess and thus waiting for your explanation is the only way I'm really going to know. giggle


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Re: Dealing With Charismatics [Re: Tom] #51227
Tue Jan 20, 2015 7:18 AM
Tue Jan 20, 2015 7:18 AM
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Before the movement went so completely off the reservation, it centered around a very basic synergistic "Christian" doctrine. With roots in Arminianism, though, faith alone by grace alone in Christ alone for the glory of God alone was not part of the typical Pentecostal / Charismatic canon.

For a time I belonged to a Charismatic Presbyterian church (EPC) in which some lip service was paid to God's sovereignty, but we were never taught the doctrines of grace there! The point is, though, that the movement in later years - and today - crosses almost all denominational and traditional lines. There are Charismatic Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic as well as Charismatics of almost every Protestant stripe.

The true message of God's sovereign grace, however, is largely incompatible with the usual forms that the movement takes.

-R

Re: Dealing With Charismatics [Re: Robin] #51229
Tue Jan 20, 2015 9:49 AM
Tue Jan 20, 2015 9:49 AM
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Pilgrim Offline

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Originally Posted By: Robin

The true message of God's sovereign grace, however, is largely incompatible with the usual forms that the movement.

yep And there are some rare exceptions which I have come across personally... at least on the surface they appeared to be exceptions. There were a couple of pastors I once knew who professed to adhere to historic "Calvinism", which they interpreted to be those most maligned "Five Points of Calvinism". But, their 'worship' was very contemporary/charismatic; large movie screen with the bouncing cross, electric worship band, alleged speaking in tongues, etc. When asked whether they perceived any antithesis between their professed doctrinal position and the 'worship' they promoted, it is interesting that they became very defensive of the latter but not the former. In short, they apparently thought the church's practice was more important to retain than their professed doctrine(s).

I'll let others draw their own conclusions about this particular case.


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Re: Dealing With Charismatics [Re: Pilgrim] #51235
Thu Jan 22, 2015 9:16 PM
Thu Jan 22, 2015 9:16 PM
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Tom Offline OP
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Pilgrim
I will let the following link answer for me. http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/qna/arminians.html
RC Sproul and Michael Horton answer this much the same way.

Last edited by Tom; Thu Jan 22, 2015 9:25 PM.
Re: Dealing With Charismatics [Re: Tom] #51236
Thu Jan 22, 2015 9:35 PM
Thu Jan 22, 2015 9:35 PM
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Originally Posted By: Tom
Pilgrim
I will let the following link answer for me. http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/qna/arminians.html

Okay, so you would be part of the "Tolerant Calvinist" group, which the author of the article, Pastor Eric Tuininga, is definitely one. On this we would be light years apart, because I stand firmly with those who stood together at the great Synod of Dordt (1618-19) in their unanimous decision that Arminianism is damnable heresy and all the Reformers and Puritans who likewise held to the same conclusion. What that means is that anyone who embraces those doctrines which are diametrically opposed to the biblical "Doctrines of sovereign free grace" are under the just wrath of God and unless they are given the gift of repentance and true faith, they will surely perish.

Secondly, I would challenge his use of the term "Arminianism" to refer to the overwhelming majority of professing Christians, which are decidedly NOT "Arminians", but in truth, they are "semi-Pelagians". True historic Arminianism has gone the way of the Dodo Bird or the Duck-Billed Platypus.

Lastly, what I can affirm and believe sincerely, that there are EXCEPTIONS, albeit extremely few in this present world who verbally assent to the damnable heresies of Arminianism/semi-Pelagianism, but who cast off those intellectual errors when the true gospel comes to them and their heart is mysteriously changed so that they then long in adoring love for the one true God and Jesus Christ whom He sent into the world to redeem His people from their sins.


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Re: Dealing With Charismatics [Re: Pilgrim] #51255
Sat Feb 07, 2015 10:10 PM
Sat Feb 07, 2015 10:10 PM
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Pilgrim

I hesitate to even mention this, because it really doesn't take away from your argument. But I thought I would mention it anyway for your information.

Quote:
True historic Arminianism has gone the way of the Dodo Bird or the Duck-Billed Platypus.


The Duck-Billed Platypus is not extinct.

Tom

Re: Dealing With Charismatics [Re: Tom] #51256
Sun Feb 08, 2015 11:05 AM
Sun Feb 08, 2015 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted By: Tom
Pilgrim

I hesitate to even mention this, because it really doesn't take away from your argument. But I thought I would mention it anyway for your information.

Quote:
True historic Arminianism has gone the way of the Dodo Bird or the Duck-Billed Platypus.


The Duck-Billed Platypus is not extinct.

Tom

You are absolutely correct, Tom, in that the Duck-billed Platypus is not extinct... and neither is historic Arminianism. It, like the platypus is a rare animal. grin


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