Hyper-Charismatica versus True Christianity
December 31, 2010 50 Comments
Personal Testimony by mbaker
For many years after beginning my Christian life as a Southern Baptist, I converted to the charismatic church because several things about it appealed to me. Unfortunately, while I met many committed wonderful Christians in the process, it was almost my downfall spiritually. Except for the urgings of the Holy Spirit and some very good discernment websites, I would still be there now, thinking I possessed or could possess some ‘special’ revelation that others weren’t privy to, rather then being deceived by emotional appeals which had no biblical basis.
They say hindsight is 20-20. In hindsight, of course, I see that because of some things that occurred in my life, like divorce, I no longer felt accepted by the mainstream church. Without a mate, I no longer felt I was personally a part of that body which seemed more about couples and ‘real’ families. For many years, I only felt connected to anyone through the mutual emotional highs I experienced in the charismatic church. For a while, they fulfilled this unmet emotional need in me for connection.
Unfortunately, I let my need for emotional validation through this connection with others interfere with the true foundational tenets of Christianity and it almost destroyed my faith. I do not want to make the same mistake and make this all about my testimony, although I suspect many reading here would readily identify with my personal journey.
What I do want to focus on is the experiential brand of Christianity, as promoted by the hyper-charismatics, as opposed to something that a lot of folks think is out of date and immaterial – the foundational tenets of the faith that Christ promoted. Those are things which will never change with time or popular religious fads.
The first clue was the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy that the leaders of hyper-charismatica seem to almost universally to express when questioned. It has to do with not questioning anything that comes out of the mouths of the leadership, in this case being the five-fold ministry, or whatever leadership is in place. We were told ‘not to touch God’s anointed’ in any instance because to do so was committing a sin against God Himself. I fell for that at first because I was raised to respect whatever came out of the pulpit as God’s truth. However, blindly accepting that rule was my first mistake down the long road of deception I was to follow for years.
My second mistake was bowing to appeals for ‘unity’. Unity of the brethren as the Bible speaks of it has nothing to do with blindly agreeing to anything our particular church leadership deems as correct, but the unity that comes from the belief in the essentials of the faith determined by God the Father, and the Christ His Son. All else is non-essential in that we can chose where we stand. Some examples would be whether the spiritual gifts continue or have ceased since the advent of Christ, or the Calvinism versus Arminianism debate, and so on. It is important to know the difference between mere denominational preferences and biblical essentials.
The third thing was the emphasis upon ‘new’ revelation, vis a vis ‘prophecy’. While I believe that we can receive true prophetic words, I know now that they do not constitute new ‘additions’ or changes to the Bible, as they are often presented in hyper-charismatic venues, such as the Elijah List. They are not bought and sold either, as all God’s gifts are apportioned freely according to his grace, not determined by popular religious fads.
In short, to get back to the real truth I had to return to the basic truths of the Bible and to the honest emotional conviction and guidance of the Holy Spirit, who only tells us what Jesus tells Him. I can only urge anyone who is reading this who has any doubts about what they are being taught to check it out from several Bible based on theological sources which have God’s unchanging truth uppermost in mind.
It isn’t easy to admit we are wrong as Christians. However, when we do, it is almost like a death in the family, because it is hard to tell others we were wrong, when we are supposed to be so right.
As a former charismatic, I knew many of the people I was personally connected with were very sincere Christians, yet we were all being deceived. It is hard on an otherwise intelligent person to admit that at first. Then you become angry. Then you wonder what was so wrong with you that you got yourself into it, or what need it was fulfilling in you. Then finally you want to make sure others never get sucked into it. It’s a real process that people need to be helped through.
And, I’m thankful to have these blogs with individuals who go to the trouble to patiently explain step by step the false teachings and errors by using good Bible hermeneutics and solid theological resources and who do so without being dismissive or having a holier than thou attitude as these were invaluable resources in my journey back to God’s truth.