Should Type-R Charismatics Get a Free Pass?
Monday, October 14, 2013
(The following blog post was first published by Phil Johnson in November of 2007. Phil is one of the featured speakers at Strange Fire, and we wanted to share this article with you in advance of his teaching later this week. Remember, you don’t need to miss a minute of Strange Fire—we’re live streaming the entire conference at tmstrangefire.org. We hope you’ll tune in. –GTY Staff)
by Phil Johnson
A prodigious wacko fringe has always been one of the charismatic movement’s most prominent features. In little more than a century, the Pentecostal and charismatic movements have spun off so many bad doctrines and bizarre characters that I have a thick dictionary in my office just to help me keep track of them all.
Furthermore, I’m convinced it’s not just some kind of fantastic cosmic coincidence that has loaded the movement with an unusually high number of charlatans and heretics. I’ve suggested on more than one occasion that a major reason the charismatic movement has produced more than its fair share of aberrant behavior is because the distinctive doctrines of charismatic belief foster gullibility while constantly seeding the movement with all kinds of whimsy. Specifically, the charismatic belief that it’s normative for Spirit-filled Christians to receive extrabiblical divine revelation through various mystical means has opened the door for all kinds of mischief.
I would not for a moment deny that there are some relatively sane and sensible charismatics who love Scripture and generally teach sound doctrine while avoiding most of their movement’s worst errors. I think they represent a fairly small minority of the worldwide charismatic community, but they do exist. A few of them are good friends—even longtime friends—of mine. I have friends (for example) in the Calvary Chapel movement, which is mildly charismatic in doctrine but whose worship is generally more Bible centered than even the typical non-Charismatic seeker-sensitive church. As a matter of fact, my chief concern about the Calvary Chapel movement would not even be its advocacy of charismatic views, but its increasingly aggressive campaign against Calvinism.
That’s not all. I have warm affection and heartfelt respect for most of the best-known Reformed charismatic leaders, including C.J. Mahaney, Wayne Grudem, and Sam Storms. [Let’s call them “Type-R charismatics.”] I’ve greatly benefited from major aspects of their ministries, and I regularly recommend resources from them that I have found helpful. I’ve corresponded with the world-famous Brit-blogger Adrian Warnock for at least fifteen years now and had breakfast with him on two occasions, and I like him very much. I’m sure we agree on far more things than we disagree about. And I’m also certain the matters we agree on—starting with the meaning of the cross—are a lot more important than the issues we disagree on, which are all secondary matters.
But that is not to suggest that the things we disagree on are nonissues.
Candor, and not a lack of charity, requires me to state this conviction plainly: The belief that extrabiblical revelation is normative does indeed “regularly and systematically breed willful gullibility, not discernment.” Even the more sane and sober [Type-R] charismatics are not totally exempt from the tendency.
Remember that Paul Cain and the Kansas City Prophets found an amazing amount of support from Reformed charismatics on both sides of the Atlantic, even after it was clear to more objective minds that the “prophets” were regularly and systematically issuing false prophecies.
And that fact ought to have been clear very early. In 1989, the senior Kansas City Prophet, Bob Jones, acknowledged that he could claim an accuracy rate of no higher than two-thirds. By 1991, Jones was utterly discredited because of his own sexual misconduct with women who came to him seeking prophetic counseling.
Shortly after that (in early 1992), John MacArthur, Lance Quinn, and I met with Paul Cain and Jack Deere in John MacArthur’s office at Jack Deere’s request. Deere wanted to try to convince John MacArthur that the charismatic movement—especially the Vineyard branch—was on a trajectory to make doctrinal soundness and biblical integrity the hallmarks of Third Wave charismatic practice. He brought Cain along, ostensibly so that we could see for ourselves that Cain was a legitimate prophet with a profound gifting.
But Cain was virtually incoherent that day. Lance Quinn remarked to me immediately afterward that it seemed as if Cain had been drinking heavily. (In retrospect it seems a fair assumption that this may indeed have been the case.) Even Deere apologized for Cain’s strange behavior that day, but Deere seemed to want us to assume it was because the Spirit was upon Cain in some unusual way. They both admitted to us that Cain’s “prophecies” were wrong at least as often as they were right. When we cited that as sufficient reason not to accept any of their prophecies, they cited Wayne Grudem’s views on New Testament prophecy as justification for ignoring the errors of prophecies already proven false, while giving credence to still more questionable pronouncements.
That meeting was extremely eye-opening for me. Deere was unable to answer basic questions about certain practices that Lance and I had personally observed him participating in at the Anaheim Vineyard just a few weeks before. Specifically, we asked him about two “prophets” whose public words of knowledge in the morning service were flatly contradictory. (The dueling prophets were apparently using their “gifts” to air out a dispute over some decision the church’s leaders had recently made.) Deere acknowledged that the prophecies that morning were contradictory. And he could not explain why John Wimber let both prophecies stand without a word of explanation or clarification. (He seemed to shrug off our concern by speculating that perhaps even Wimber wasn’t sure which prophecy, if either, was the true one.) Again, he appealed to Grudem, perhaps the most theologically sound of all charismatics, as justification for accepting the two prophets’ gifting as legitimate anyway.
I left that meeting amazed that anyone would give credence to such “prophets.” But several of the best Reformed charismatic leaders—all citing Grudem for authority—continued to give credence to Cain, the Kansas City Prophets, and others like them for a long, long time. Some of the Reformed Charismatics who lent Paul Cain undue credibility did not really renounce him as a prophet until about twelve years later, when his personal sins finally came to light.
(And it may be stretching things to say that everyone concerned actually “renounced” Cain’s supposed prophetic gifting even then. He has lately made something of a comeback. [Jack Deere’s book still touts Cain as a superprophet, and the book was recently released in Romania, where it has left a massive amount of confusion in its wake. Wayne Grudem’s endorsement of the book remains unaltered. I recently wrote him to ask if Cain’s moral failure would spur him to modify or remove his endorsement of Deere’s paean to Cain, and Grudem wrote to asssure me that his endorsement of the book still stands.])
As long as Reformed charismatics justify the practice of encouraging people to proclaim “prophecies” that are unverified and unverifiable—and which frequently prove to be wrong—I’ll stand by the concern I expressed: Even the very best of charismatics sometimes foster unwarranted and unreasonable gullibility.
And gullibility about whether God has really spoken or not is seriously dangerous.
When a false belief is truly dangerous and comes replete with the kind of long and dismal track record that extrabiblical revelation brings with it, it’s not “uncharitable” for those who see the danger and are truly concerned about it to sound a shrill warning rather than humming a gentle lullaby.
My charismatic friend Dr. Warnock insists that I have been uncharitable because I have stated my opinion about the dangers of charismatic doctrine without explicitly exempting him and others whom he likes from my warning against gullibility. It makes him “uncomfortable” to read such things on our blog as often as we post them (even though the vast majority of our  posts on the charismatic issue were in fact made at his behest).
I have to say in reply that his appeal to how our posts make him feel, while he declines to give any rational or reasonable explanation for why he thinks our candor must be motivated by a lack of charity, is an echo of the very tendency that I think is so dangerous in the charismatic mindset.
I do realize some people are uncomfortable with such a firm stance against the charismatic position. I’m equally uncomfortable with the charismatic position itself. Let’s both remember that our respective comfort levels are not reliable gauges of our brothers’ charity (or lack thereof), and let’s try to focus on the actual issue under discussion.
#1 Posted by
Samuel Kennedy | Monday, October 14, 2013at
Thank you Phil & particularly to Pastor John & the Grace to You team for the excellent work you are doing in equipping the saints about many of the false teachings or in some instances the misleading teachings postulated by the charismatics!In South Africa this movement is huge, outside of the roman catholics & anglicans! Now every new church springing up is what I call 'ultra charismatics' as they espouse strange beliefs, like ppl falling all over the place under some 'anointing'; money is the main driver Not Christ although the name Christ is used as an endorsement of this foolishness; the Bible is secondary to their power evangelism-power in themselves, power to determine the future; power to name & claim; power to cast out devils & heal the sick.Sadly their halls(I am at pains to call it church as it blasphemes what Christ meant as a church) are full of lovers of music; lovers of pleasure;lovers of worldly things like fancy cars; big houses; clothing; politics. Jesus Christ & the Holy Scriptures are Not the object of their worship & reverence-This is Strange Stuff.Having come out of this movement as a preaching elder of a large church I still have many friends who are still there but are confused as it is all they know & understand.We love them as souls of the Master, even at the expense of being painfully sidelined by many of the pastors, for sticking to & reverting to Biblical hermeneutics, Sola Scriptura-Jesus Christ as Lord & we as His slaves!very painful my Brother when this happens to you, but...I am Not ashamed of this Gospel, irrespective of the circumstances. I know my Master, I know His Word,what they are doing is temporal-please continue to skill our ppl, we need & rely on the resources of John & Grace to You in our walk as we preach the Gospel.Thank you & God bless,Amen
#2 Posted by
Steven Smith | Monday, October 14, 2013at
I am not familiar with what a "Type R charismatic" is, could someone give me a resource that I can educate myself on this issue? Thank you
#3 Posted by
George Canady | Monday, October 14, 2013at
Thank you GTY. I cannot tell you how I have been waiting for this strong stance on the Charismatic movement. I have watched for 30 years as my family has been sucked in to this movement. I think my People realy desire to have an experience with God, but perhaps not from true biblical knowledge. It is heart breaking to watch them as they are destroyed year after year while the people they support prosper.
#4 Posted by
Robin Lane | Monday, October 14, 2013at
Many of us share Phil’s concern that people are so gullible. But surely everyone is gullible to some extent, and that is one reason that the ability to distinguish between spirits is one of the gifts given to the church (1 Corinthians 12:4-11).
Phil’s examples highlight the need for spiritual discernment, which we can only get from God (John 15:5). In turn, that highlights the importance of reading and learning the Scriptures. It is through the Scriptures that we learn about the gifts that God gives and how they are to be used – not for personal acclaim, but to the glory of God in building up the church (1 Corinthians 14:12).
However, the Scriptures do not lead all of us to reject the idea of extra-biblical revelation. Indeed, some of us are greatly puzzled by the Cessationist stance because it contradicts the Scriptures on this point. Paul’s statement in 1 Thessalonians 5:20-22 is just one example. The fact that people are gullible and can be led astray by false prophets should not lead us to conclude that there are no genuine prophecies anymore.
We should not expect any extra-biblical revelation to be on the same level as Scripture, because the Scriptures are unique and complete. But many of us have heard prophecies that seem to have been in accord with the Scriptures, and have been a great encouragement to us. So we earnestly desire spiritual gifts, in obedience to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 14:1), the word of God. Using those gifts produces results that are clearly beyond human capabilities – so God gets the glory.
Our God is a God who speaks to his people (John 10:27). Hallelujah!
#5 Posted by
Rebecca Sutherland | Monday, October 14, 2013at
Hello Bro. Phil,
I have a long standing question that I cannot seem to get an adequate answer to, maybe you can help. Why do you think that people who profess Christ and have His Holy Spirit (supposedly) seem to have varying views on the topic at hand or any topic for that matter? How can Christians be so divided in their interpretation of scripture when the Holy Spirit is our teacher?
Thank you for your assistance in this matter.
#6 Posted by
Rod Evans | Monday, October 14, 2013at
Would someone be so kind as to explain to me the difference between a Christian who has been saved by God's grace alone, through God's granting faith alone, in Christ Jesus alone, and therefore, calling themselves "charismatic," and a Christian who has been saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, and saying that they're NOT "charismatic"? In other words, if let's say that you(anyone)were to say that you're charismatic and I say that I'm not, what's the difference? Thank you for any clarification. God bless the Strange Fire Conference!
Easier stated: a true christian who's "charismatic" versus and true christian who's NOT charismatic; what's the MAIN difference?
#7 Posted by
Errol Hale | Monday, October 14, 2013at
Thank you, Phil.
Few are able to articulate hard truth with such a measure of both clarity and charity.
While I would not want to say God can't (when it comes to so-called prophecy) it should be abundantly clear that as a mater of practice, in these days He doesn't.
As John Owen observed, test the so called prophecy. If it is not in line with scripture [or is wrong] it is not of God and must be rejected. If it is line with scripture, it wasn't needed.
Let us embrace scripture (alone) with both arms and celebrate God's grace for making it absolutely sufficient.
#8 Posted by
Michael Reynolds | Monday, October 14, 2013at
This is the first time i've heard the term "Type R Chirmatics". That would be me. I was born again at Calvery Chapel' attended the Vineyard,' Gene Scott ministries, raised a Lutheran., Word Of Faith, and so on. I believe in the gifts of the Spirit but not some of the sillyness i've seen and sometimes embarrassed me. However what happened to me was NOT emotion. God really appeared to me and told me how to pray in another language. I've been listening to John Piper, R C Sproll and john Mac..And studying Reformed Theology. I feel for the fist time that my salvation is secure from studying Reformed Theology but i will still be a R Chrismatic.
#9 Posted by
Lazar Lazarovski | Monday, October 14, 2013at
Thank you Phil. I'm glad that you confronted even the charismatics who, for the most part are doctrinally sound.
It all really goes back to the issue of sola Scriptura, doesn't it? If we have God's revelation written out through His Word, then why would we need any extra-biblical revelation? For what reason? For what purpose?
I'm always weary when I hear someone prophecied something correctly or performed a miracle because it may just be from satan who often disguises himself as an angel of light. The Bible is all that any believer needs; all that any believer should desire.
Jesus warned us didn't He, in Revelation 22:18-19;
"I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book."
Charismatics, whether reformed or not, are playing a dangerous game which is being propulgated in the hands of the enemy.
Sola Scriptura! brothers and sisters, why in the world would you seek to have anything more or less?
your servant and brother in Christ always,
#10 Posted by
Lazar Lazarovski | Monday, October 14, 2013at
"God really appeared to me and told me how to pray in another language"
1. What language?
2. How do you feel and think about what Jesus says in Revelation 22:18-19 in regards to your extra-biblical experience?
your servant in Christ,
#11 Posted by
Jeff Hetrick | Monday, October 14, 2013at
I think the writer should have been more responsible to point the reader to specific resources when he made claims about others so the reader could do the research. Specifically I am concerned about his loose (or no) defining of a "Type R Charismatic". I am not a Charismatic but do consider myself a "reformed evangelical". Here is what I find Wayne Grudem saying about this topic... but unlike this writer I will actually give the reference so folks can look for themselves.
"God’s words of personal address are uncommon, even in Scripture. Furthermore, even if we did hear some words of personal address from God to ourselves today, we would not have certainty that our understanding of it, our memory of it, and our subsequent report of it was wholly accurate. Nor would we be readily able to convey to others p 51 the certainty that the communication was from God, even if it was. God’s words as spoken through human lips ceased to be given when the New Testament canon was completed." Grudem, W. A. (2004). Systematic theology: an introduction to biblical doctrine. Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House.
#12 Posted by
Michael Reynolds | Monday, October 14, 2013at
to your first question "what language" He sang it to me. I heard it from inside my heart. I dont know what language it was but i knew to repeat it, sing it.
To your second question "how do you feel and think about what Jesus says in Revelation 22:18-19 in regards to your extra-biblical experience" is i havent changed any word in the book of Revelation. My skin hasn't melted off and i still believe in the finished wok of the cross. HE promised to never leave me and to guide me into all truth. My name is still in the book of Life. Does this disappoint you?
#13 Posted by
Michael Reynolds | Monday, October 14, 2013at
Are there any Type R Charismatic churches in Pasadena California. I'm feeling alone. Reformed churches tell me I'm a "waco""gullible" following Satan. My church calls me a "neo-Calvinist" "no heart".
I just want to be free to worship God and here the bible taught.
#14 Posted by
Lazar Lazarovski | Monday, October 14, 2013at
We are edified through the Word of God which the Holy Spirit inspired; our faith is built up through our understanding of and obedience to Scripture.
To ask you an honest and sobering question then; if you didn't understand the language being spoken, how can you be sure it was from God? Also, if you don't understand the language, how can you be edified? It is to say for example, I hear something in Chinese, it gives me an emotional high and I walk away with only good feelings but no understanding of what was even said; that is not edification at all because it only appeals to the human emotion, which is no test to verify truth.
In regards to the second question I asked you about the book of Revelation verse:
Any revelation that is extra-biblical is added revelation to the Word of God; this violates Jesus' warning in the 28th chapter.
The reason I asked for your thoughts on that is to shed some light on the revelation you received. We need to test all things to Scripture, hold fast to what is good and sure (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
And your question: "Does this disappoint you?" No, I rejoice if indeed your name is in the Lambs book of Life! Praise be to God alone for that.
Sola Scriptura my friend. Those questions weren't meant to attack you, but to help you probe down into the deep things of God, encourage you to rest in His Word alone for revelation, that you may be a more faithful slave of our Lord Jesus Christ!
"If you abide in my Word, then you are truly My disciples." John 8:31
your servant in Christ,
#15 Posted by
Barbara McColley | Monday, October 14, 2013at
Praise the Lord for the Grace Community Bible Church I found near me, through the web site on John MacArthur site these church's are being planted throughout the USA. I was in a CEC church, also known as charismatic, all and more that is said here is true, I saw this unfold for 5 years even leaving that church and going to another Presbyterian I found this movement had infected this church and several other Anglican church's out of an African branch. I lost a son and all that I'd saved for 30 years. Now at in my retirement years trying to put my life back together. I had no idea what a pit of quick sand I'd gotten into until it was too late, did manage to get other son and his family out and into a better church. I've moved out of that area to a place to be safe and I do mean safer. I was so blessed 3-4 years ago finding this web site and of course this leading to so many other awesome sources of Pastors and reliable Bible driven material.
The Love of Jesus Christ my Savior, Peace and Grace to each of you.
#17 Posted by
Deborah Davis | Monday, October 14, 2013at
Comment deleted by user.
#18 Posted by
P B | Monday, October 14, 2013at
Phil, this is a great article and full of truth. I have posted before about my time in the charismatic movement and what a challenge it is to get one's head straight on what is and isn't biblically solid truth. If what is going on in charismania is not the Holy Spirit as alledged, then it IS an encounter with an angel of light. Which means one is being taken advantage of by a deceiving spirit pretending to be God's Spirit. This is not something to be taken lightly or let alone as if it were merely a matter of differing theological opinions. This is a matter of life and death. My experiences the C.M. made me vulnerable to an "angel of light" experience and as a result I badly damaged my life, my walk with God and made life altering decisions based on what I thought was God. As is often the case where decieving spirits are involved, my life "crashed" because it wasn't on a solid foundation and I suffered damage that impaired my abilty to reason correctly. Such a fall, if not arrested and correct, can result in someone's spiritual and literal death. This is an issue that is about spiritual realities, not differences of opinion. Just as an aside, I noticed during my time in the CM that its promise of intimacy and nurture with and from God attracted many needy, broken people who were drawn by the promise of supernatural parenting and caretaking, which is a distortion of the gospel. Like the whole body becoming an eye or a hand I imagine. I think the more traditional churches helped this along by acting as if God's word didn't have the kind of depth to address such serious issues and treating people's wounds like they didn't matter to God at all; there was often the attitude that real christians don't have " problems like that" and also no instruction outside of pyschology about what to do about the afteraffects of life damage after coming to Christ - perhaps in a mistaken effort not to give too much credence to the flesh and self focus. Flesh is still flesh even when its wounded and demanding attention so yes, we need to respond with God's word and His heart to damaged people but unless I'm mistaken, when we make wounds and needs the basis of how we responded, we are in effect basing our actions on the flesh and not the Spirit.
#19 Posted by
Barbara Thayer | Monday, October 14, 2013at
Thank you for this article. I was raised Presbyterian but did not come to Christ until college. Both my husband and I attended a number of churches but eventually landed in a charismatic independent church that was going to right all the wrongs of traditional, boring church worship. We got involved with all the emotions of this church family. My husband served as an elder in this church and when he dared to point out some issues that were not biblical, we were called before all the elders and demeaned as not being good Christians. The pastor heard directly from God and as an elder my husband was supposed to protect him from naysayers.
One Sunday, the pastor threw the Bible across the floor and said that we should not worship the book. He even went and stamped on it. At that point, we left the church. We were devastated at all the false doctrine and teaching that was coming forth.
By God's grace, with time, prayer and counseling, we were able to trust enough to return to an Associate Reformed Presbyterian church. I felt at home again. My heart was healed as I heard the hymns I grew up with once again and felt genuine love from the people there.
This charismatic church is now disbanded or has fallen on hard times. We cannot build a church on emotion. We need solid teaching of the Word. This is what brings men and women to salvation. For ourselves, we want to lead a quiet life of worship without any extraordinary manifestations. The only reason we strayed into the charismatic movement was the false notion that we lacked something more in order to be complete. However, we now know that we have all we need for life and godliness through Christ.
To this day, I know a good number of people that were deeply wounded by that church who will never darken the door of another church. This is so sad. We could have been one of those couples but we found our faith renewed and strengthened in a Reformed church.
#20 Posted by
Ben Enders | Monday, October 14, 2013at
Can I tell you why I think you’re puzzled by the cessationist stance? Because you have not really tried to understand one thing MacArthur and company has said in the last few months. It can be hard to let go of what we have believed for so long.
1 Thess 5:20 is not proof that extra biblical revelation is taking place today. Paul is telling them not to despise the exposition of scripture. You first need to understand what the words in the bible mean in their correct context, so prophesy here is not new revelation from God; it is preaching and applying scripture. Even if you disagree with this, then do you really think that this is a blanket statement and Paul’s intent is to have everyone in the church believe every so-called “prophesy” is revelation from God from anyone who calls themself a Christian? That would be the definition of gullible.
#21 Posted by
Michael Reynolds | Monday, October 14, 2013at
You quoted me Revelation 22:18-19 For I testify unto every man who hears the words of the Prophecy of this book. If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues thatare written in this book and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy God shall take away his part out of the Book Of Life and out of the holy city and from the thing which are written in this book
Your saying flat out through that scripture that I'm adding to the word and will suffer for it. So dont deny what you are saying to me!
As far as my prayer life go's it's just God' me and my bible alone early in the morning. Ipray and read scriptures and pray what come to me. It's not "emotions, chinese or getting high" These are joyful and tender moments for me and i seek to be more and more like Him
He is everything to me and i trust Him to guide me into truth. To keep me safe and to guide me safely Home.
I am more than happy though, if need be to shout"thank you for choosing me and i'm not afraid to let Him know i love Him if front of others.
Wako for Jesus ha ha ha
#22 Posted by
Ozzie Barletta | Monday, October 14, 2013at
I would like to thank GTY for your strong and firm stance against this awful movement that has brought shame to the true gospel of our Lord. At our church here in Las Vegas, we preach against it as well. We understand the resistance that you might be experiencing for we here are having our share as well.
My question for you is this, just have a little doubt about this particular subject: If these tongues that they claim are from the Holy Spirit and I do believe they are not: Could one assume that they are demonic in origin? Can they then be called believers or brothers in Christ?
May God bless you and keep up the good work of preaching the sound doctrine.
Pastor Ozzie Barletta
#23 Posted by
David Smith | Tuesday, October 15, 2013at
This is a good article.
I want to comment on Phil's mention of British blogger Adrian Warnock. Adrian belongs to a grouping called New Frontiers, which wholeheartedly embraced the "Toronto Blessing" during the 1990s. And, in 2008, just a year after this article was originally published, they were very positive about the "Lakeland Revival".
So the claim that Warnock and New Frontiers are somehow less gullible than the rest of the charismatic world is not confimed by the evidence.
The truth is that the divide between moderate and crazy charismatics is very narrow indeed. Charismatics need signs and wonders to prove their theology, and the only people that are allegedly doing these are the crazies. All the moderates tend to look to the crazies as role models. In fact, if you take away the crazies, there's basically nothing left.
#25 Posted by
David Smith | Tuesday, October 15, 2013at
Pastor Ozzie (#22) :
To answer your questions:
No, tongues are not demonic in origin. They're just a product of the mind - a combination of learned behavior and the emotional atmosphere in charismatic meetings.
Yes, most charismatics and pentecostals are born-again Christians and hence they are fellow believers and our brothers / sisters in the Lord. They've just been deceived by a false teaching.
Hope this helps - do ask if anything is unclear.
#26 Posted by
Robin Lane | Tuesday, October 15, 2013at
Good to hear from you again; grace and peace to you.
You think that I have not really tried to understand what John and the others have said recently. On the contrary, I have thought about the Cessationist stance for many years – it is what I was taught at first.
I slowly came to challenge it as I studied the Bible for myself. As I read the Gospels I started to think more about why people were telling me that God no longer heals. As I studied the Book of Acts and the Epistles I thought more about why people were telling me that God no longer blesses his people with dreams, visions, words of knowledge, or prophecies.
Then slowly and graciously God showed me that he does still do these things. So whilst I agree with John MacArthur that we don’t get our theology from experience, I think that we should look for our experiences of God to match what the Scriptures tell us about him.
Tell me please, how is it that you interpret Paul’s command in 1 Thess 5:20 ‘Do not despise prophecies’, as referring to exposition of Scripture, when his previous command in 1 Thess 5:19 is ‘Do not quench the Spirit’?
Surely, if he wanted to refer to the exposition of Scripture, he would have written: ‘Do not despise the Scriptures’, or ‘Do not despise the preaching and teaching of the Word.’
#27 Posted by
Barbara Henderson | Tuesday, October 15, 2013at
Many Christians have had experiences that are unexplainable but seemingly real. Personally, I have had several that were very real to me and I believe they were from God. However, there is no way to interpret them in light of Bible teaching, and they are actually relevant only to me in the specific circumstances in which they occurred. They were things like very specific comfort to me in grief over the loss of my sister, comfort that a particular prayer was going to be answered (and boy was it answered!), and a couple of other times. They just happened, and I definitely was not seeking something out of the ordinary, I despise 'emotionalism' as a pseudo-worship. I was not seeking 'evidence' of anything or some specific revelation. I was surprised. I was comforted. If something like that every happens again I will be surprised again. The idea of demanding God do something unusual to put you into an emotional high is like demanding God be a drug dealer.
I hate to say this - and if you think it is offensive - don't publish it - but this is my personal observation. Silly gullible women seem to rule the charismatic movement. They are actually terrifying people in person. When I was a teenager my granddad took me to an Apostolic Tent Revival. three hours into the 'service' the women were still singing repetitive choruses, strumming discord on guitars and demanding that God/god? show his presence at the meeting. We left around ten pm. Grandad said, 'I just thought I should show you this in person. Did you get it?' I said, 'Yes Grandad - I got it.'
#34 Posted by
Rick Ayers | Friday, October 18, 2013at
To Steven Smith: A type "R" charismatic is a charismatic that holds the "Reformed"/Calvinist view of salvation as does John MacArthur. They usually exist mainly in the theologically higher educated Third Wave branch of the movement. Personally, I see myself as type "C" Reformed as I'm increasingly reviewing and abandoning former theologies.