September 15, 2019

Signs Redux: I’m Weary of Weird Christians

weirdgig.jpgLooks like a three-year old iMonk classic is stirring ’em up out there in the blogosphere, so I think it deserves to see the light of day here in the big show.

So here is one of my favorite essays: “Signs: (I’m Weary of Weird Christians.)”

Continue Reading “Signs.”

Comments

  1. Sounds to me like someone’s mad because he’s having trouble figuring out God’s perfect will for his life.

  2. Thanks for the article, which oddly paralleled thoughts I’ve had recently. Maybe God directly led you to write it?! 🙂

    At the evangelical Missionary church I grew up in, there is a growing faction of believers who have been slowly moving the church down the “signs, wonders, and the direct leading of God” path, so I’ve become very sensitive to claims of God’s supposed guidance.

    Some additional food for thougth: isn’t it funny that every pastoral search committee who selects a new pastor and every Christian couple who gets married in a church, claim that God led the two parties (either the church and the pastor, or the male and female) together? Or even how practically every evangelical sermon preached is prefaced with “the message God laid on my heart this week is ____________”?

    Is that why evangelicals have a higher divorce rate than non-evangelicals? Or why it’s not uncommon for a new pastor to just “not be working out so well”? Maybe God’s guidance isn’t so great after all.

    You can safely assume that you’ve created God’s voice to fit your own desires when it turns out that God wants to do everything the same way you do.

  3. Benjamin Nitu says

    I agree with you … most of them are sincere Christians wanting more … more than what they see in “normal” Christians.
    the problem, however, is very serious.
    I think you got it right: the root of the problem is replacing Bible as the final authority in their lifes.
    Insted of using reason and Bible, they trust their feelings. Everything is judged by what feelings it produces.
    As for knowing God’s will … God never said I have a blueprint for your life: Go to that college , marry that person, take left on Peterson, paint your house pink …. and so on.
    but He did give us His word and Holy Spirit, they are always on the same page … if not maybe different spirits are there …
    God bless our borthers and sisters with wisdom to trust and know his word, and God help us to be models for them in love and faith.

  4. “Sounds to me like someone’s mad because he’s having trouble figuring out God’s perfect will for his life.”

    I look forward to reading your dissertation on God’s perfect will, Josh. >:(

    I guess “do justly, love mercy, walk humbly with your God” wasn’t clear enough for you?

    (ahem)

    We now return you to your regularly scheduled MMMuse:

    Well written essay, Monk. I think you’ve done some good contemplative work, and I also think you’ve fulfilled the idea of “the finger that points to the moon”, to quote Bruce Lee.

    In a few moments, I plan to MMMuse on the absence of the bound Bible in my hands these days. Hiding God’s Word in my heart has been an interesting process, and one which makes the absence of the reality of a book, per se, kind of unnerving and uncomfy…but still I know the Word, so a binding might not be necessary…sigh.

    Anyway, before i MMMeander off on a tangent, thanks for writing this essay, and I hope I make it past the moderator checkpoint. If I don’t, oh, well. Won’t be the first time. 😉

  5. You have done an excellent job of pointing out why I am no longer a charismatic.

  6. Extremely well said. I became a Christian more than 20 years ago thru an intensely “supernatural, miraculous” set of events and then spent several years seeking after that sort of thing. Thankfully, God allowed me to mature into a Christian who understands that His actions are His business. He has sustained my longing to keep following Him each day since then – and for those who are looking for a miracle, that “quiet fire” in my soul is one that has been happening constantly, for over 20 years…

  7. I have to part agree, and part not.

    I hear from God all the time. I would say all of us do, but some recognize that it’s Him while others don’t. And, at the same time, some hear their internal urges and confuse them with God because the urges are more fun.

    The key to all this stuff is DISCERNMENT. It’s a Scriptural idea. It goes along with all the exhortations to test every spirit and make sure it’s of God. This stuff has to conform to Scripture and the experience of other Christians before we can accept it as valid. But somehow or another, some nut hears something from “God” and presumes that NO one can tell him it isn’t.

    This isn’t the humility consistent with Scripture. Moses, who heard from God all the time, is described as the most humble of men. In fact, where that description comes up (in Numbers 12) Moses has been accused of hogging the limelight by his siblings, who also hear from God. Moses doesn’t insist on his prerogatives as a prophet — because, technically, a prophet HAS none; he’s a mouthpiece. He lets God sort it out. (Thus God smites Miriam with leprosy for a week.)

    Whenever I tell someone I’ve heard from God, I don’t presume that anything I think God told me is valid for THEM. (God has never yet told me to tell anyone anything. In fact, He’s often told me to NOT tell people things.) As for predictions of the future, God hasn’t told me about anything but MY future, and so far He’s batting 1.000, so I’m pretty sure it’s Him… but at the same time I recognize that “testing the spirits” is important. As I tell people all the time, the devil’s favorite thing to do is to play God, and it’s had a lot of time to get good at it.

    Same thing with the miracles and the healings and so forth. I don’t see a lot of humility in self-proclaimed faith healers. “Anyone can heal”? Only God can heal, and the human is just a voluntary spectator if anything. God shares His glory with no one; and He’s certainly not going to share it with someone who will take that healing experience and run amok with power. I get tired of charismatics who seek power for its own sake. It’s about seeking God, not demanding our rights to wield His power as if that’s our birthright as His kids.

    I’d also have to disagree with what’s “normative.” I think, for example, that Abraham heard from God enough to recognize Him immediately when he said, “Take your son Isaac, whom you love, and sacrifice him.” — because THAT would be a statement that I (especially since I have a bible) would automatically reject as not being from God. Sure, not every conversation Abraham and God had was recorded in Scripture; they didn’t need to be. I’m sure, back in Sumer, God filled Abram in on how monotheism worked, and we’d LOVE to listen in on those conversations. But they aren’t as relevant as when God told Abram to pack his stuff and go to Canaan for no good reason, and Abram knew it was God enough to obey.

    Scripture isn’t about day-to-day “normal” works of God; it’s about the significant breakthroughs that God makes into humanity. Consequently, it’s not valid to use Scripture to figure out those “norms,” whatever they may be. That’s between us and God. And so long as we’re being honest with Scripture, and humble with God, I’m pretty sure we’ll turn out okay.

  8. The way I read this post, it seems like you are addressing what I would say is pretentious or even fake spirituality. As you pointed out over and over, such spirituality is weird and/or probably incorrect.

    What I would add is that even authentic spirituality can be incredibly limiting. For example, a missionary friend of mine told me about a couple that pray “professionally.” Basically, they pray 8-10 hours a day, they don’t have jobs and God takes care of all their needs. These people also don’t give off any of the signs that you mention often characterize “weird Christians.” Granted, praying that much may seem a little odd.

    I shocked my friend by telling him that I thought the only place those people could serve was inside the church, not as evangelists or preachers, etc. My point was that such spirituality was so narrow that they couldn’t exegete or present scriptures, they couldn’t communicate with other believers (let alone the unsaved), etc.

    IMO, even authentic spirituality can be taken to extremes when we forget the Great Commission.

  9. I’m all for being weird if by that we can mean “aliens and strangers.” If we could be weird or odd by loving enemies (and friends), storing up treasure elsewhere, relying on the Lord throughout the day, being unashamed of His name, suffering for doing good, and bearing the fruit of the Spirit, it would be a wonderful weirdness.

  10. Congratulations Michael – splendid article (I hear cheers and applause in the background – and yes I have an amen)

    These days we now have to define what is normal. A while ago we didn’t need to.
    The more I think of it the more I tend to think that the search for signs and manifestations within the pentecostal church (mainly) with their emphasis on hearing God speak to them, the laughing, crying, barking, spitting, vomitting, whizzing etc alleged movement/blessing(?) of the Holy Spirit is more a search for experiential wonder of the rabbit out of the hat – much like what New Agers seem to chase after.

    I read your article on a little blog (compared to your excellent site) a couple of days ago at http://www.philbaker.net/comment/2387 down here in Australia – and it did spark some contention with still a lot of mixed ideas and concepts that people still get sucked into believing. We all need to be more discerning and read more people like Edwards work of The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God. When did you publish this article originally and do you see any change in the landscape since? I look forward to growing in Christ with excellent material you have made available to us on your site – thanks. Veritas.

  11. Brian Pendell says

    Mike,

    First of all, thank you for the caveats listed under “a disclaimer”. It makes your piece much more balanced. It is an excellent piece, as usual.

    That said, I disagree in that no, I am not going to stop being weird.

    The reason is that I spent twenty-eight years of my life as “normal”. You seem to be in a charismatic area where people are whacked out on charismatic silliness. I have the opposite experience of growing up Baptist among people for whom church, miracles and prophecy were simply taught about as something long ago and far away, something that had no day-to-day reality. The only guidance we had was the Bible. Prayer was a pointless exercise, because God would do what he wanted anyway.

    Really, it was a form of functional Deism. Except that where classic Deists believed God wound up the world like a watch and let it run, Christian deists believe that God sent Jesus and the apostles, then checked out of human history to let it unfold. Such people didn’t put a lot of effort into their faith, since they expected all their benefits in the sweet by-and-by, they also didn’t put a lot of work into their faith in the hear and now — saving both the work, and the benefits, for the hereafter.

    Having grown up among such people, I now work among such people, in a very dry materialistic world where humans are at the mercy of an antagonistic nature, and we have no resources or ability beyond our human ones.

    Charismatic weirdness hit me in this environment the way the red pill hit Neo.

    And then people wonder why their kids are tempted by witchcraft or Wicca or other mystic traditions. The reason is that Christianity is an irrational and mystical tradition just as much as it is a rational and reasonable one. It is big enough for both a Soloman AND a John. Some — Daniel and Paul — were both. The reason children are tempted to witchcraft — IMO — is because mysticism is a natural appetite in humans just as hunger and thirst are. Eliminating any constructive outlet (prayer and weirdness) means that they seek out destructive outlets (magic, sorcery, and divination). The appetite must be filled, one way or the other.

    Of course there is charismatic weirdness in the world. I don’t like it either. But I’ll take college students talking about God talking to them, because I remember what it was like to be a college student who didn’t take God seriously at all. People who at least make the effort can eventually learn discernment, and that can only happen if you have the faith to believe it happens in the first place.

    I’ve been a normal Christian, and I’ve been a weird Christian. I find the weird life allows me to be much more successful, put much more effort into sanctification and the Christian life, and is overall much more satisfying than living as a functional atheist — the difference between being alone and human and having a friend I can count on. The difference between being blind and being able to see.

    So yes, I’ll take a weird Christian over a normal one. A weird Christian is screwed up, but a weird Christian has faith. It’s a lot easier to teach wisdom to faith then to teach faith to wisdom.

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.

  12. >You can safely assume that you’ve created God’s
    >voice to fit your own desires when it turns out
    >that God wants to do everything the same way
    >you do.

    i.e. “A fanatic is someone who does what God would do — if God only KNEW what was REALLY going on.”

    And does “discernment” mean “the ability to see the true nature of an event or situation” or “finding DEMONS under every bed/in every book/etc”?

  13. Brian said, “I’ve been a normal Christian, and I’ve been a weird Christian. I find the weird life allows me to be much more successful, put much more effort into sanctification and the Christian life, and is overall much more satisfying than living as a functional atheist — the difference between being alone and human and having a friend I can count on. The difference between being blind and being able to see.”

    My only dispute with this is that it sets the bar of Christian experience and “success” based on the charismata (however you define them). This just doesn’t seem to jive with the model of faith and spirituality given in Hebrews 11, or Job – faith is trusting in *what we don’t yet have*.

    And if you want to dispute with me on this, that’s fine. I’ll just refer you back to C.S. Lewis in *The Screwtape Letters*. I don’t have the exact quote, but the essence is that God is looking to inculcate faith in His people such that they can and will go on believing *even with a total lack of any signs of His presence*. This facet of faith is one that I think the “wierdos” have totally lost sight of.

  14. Discernment also includes knowing Scripture so you’ll recognize whether something is of God or not.

    Fr’instance: “The spirits of prophets are subject to the prophets, for God is not a God of disorder, but of peace.” (Paul, 1 Corinthians 14.32-33) Charismatics would do well to memorize that entire chapter. I have seen some of the looniest behavior from people who figure being a “prophet” gives them license to do any fool thing they wish. Paul wrote huge chunks of 1 Corinthians for just such people. It’s spiritual discernment par excellence, and mandatory reading for anyone who claims to have spiritual gifts.

    My biggest beef with charismatics is how few of them actually study Scripture because they think that since God moves among them, they don’t need it so much. HUGE mistake. Makes ’em perfect targets for any scam artist — human or not — who wants to take advantage. Why do you think so many of them watch TBN?

  15. Brian Pendell says

    “My only dispute with this is that it sets the bar of Christian experience and “success” based on the charismata (however you define them). This just doesn’t seem to jive with the model of faith and spirituality given in Hebrews 11, or Job – faith is trusting in *what we don’t yet have*.”

    Not quite sure I follow. The existence of charismata does not rule out the walk of faith. In fact, charismata require faith, because if you’re not willing to believe (e.g) that babbling is actually a supernatural language, you can’t progress far in them.

    If you want to use supernatural gifts, you have to believe in them. If you don’t believe in them, they are inoperative. Even if you see them, if you aren’t willing to believe in them you can always write off tongues as babble, miracles as coincidence, and prophecy as a lucky guess. Charismata in no way, shape, or form makes the walk of faith easier.

    Charismata does not produce faith. Faith produces charismata.

    For that matter, let’s look at Paul. I consider Paul to be a good model for a Christian in those times. God did work great miracles through him — raising the dead, healing the sick, et cetera. He saw and did extraordinary things.

    But this did not stop him from living an otherwise perfectly ordinary life. He worked hard as a tentmaker with his own hands, living poor. He was apparently going blind (Galatians 6:11). He was afflicted with a thorn (probably sickness) which would NOT go away, no matter how much he prayed (2 Cor 12:7). He had temper tantrums, bitter disputes with people (Acts 15). He was stoned, shipwrecked, cold, hungry, beaten with whips and with rods. His life was no picnic. Far from being a “victorious Christian”, he spoke of himself as condemned to die in the arena, a spectacle to the whole universe (1 Cor 4:9).

    Thus, we see that the Christian life is a paradox; at once the most ordinary and mundane of normal lives, and at the same time one of the most exciting and supernatural, with power that witches would envy, if they believed in it. We have … what was the phrase? … “treasure in jars of clay” (1 Cor 4:7).

    Christianity has both the cross and the crown. Too many charismatics, it seems to me, magnify the crown and the power of the spirit-filled life amply evidenced in the NT while ignoring the fact that these amazing people nonetheless lived mundane, ordinary lives working with their own hands. They ignore the Cross on which all foolishness must be crucified. They have not reached Paul’s level of maturity, who wouldn’t by choice say a thing about the marvels God did through him but would instead boast in his weaknesses, to God’s glory and not to his own (2 Cor. 12:9). They boast, and in boasting they make fools of themselves, and do much other weirdness that Paul warned us against (1 Cor. 14:23).

    That said, I feel that noncharismatics go too far to the other extreme, emphasizing the sacrifice so much that the idea that God DOES do wonders and miracles — that there is an upside to being a Christian as well as a downside — through his people seems to have got lost. I feel that noncharismatics are like birds who have had their wings clipped, refusing to believe God can work through them and thus crippling themselves and inhibiting his work. If Paul rebuked charismatics, at least they were living close enough to the NT model for that rebuke to make sense!

    So we both have stuff to learn. Charismatics need to scale back the boasting and the weirdness. On the other side of the coin, nons- maybe need to have a little more faith and a little more openness. Who knows? Maybe there’s something we can learn from each other. Iron sharpening iron and all that.

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.

  16. Brian… I am NOT accusing you of this, but in my experience the charismatics see themselves as better Christians. Some even “humbly” see it that way, looking on me with pity and understanding of their weaker brother.

    Yet these same “stronger brothers” often exhibit a lack of biblical knowledge and really bizarre interpretations of Scripture.

    I went to some charismatic churches years ago, and they completely repelled me. I tried to see it their way, I had people praying over me to receive the Spirit, I watched them run up and down the aisles banging tamborines and jumping around. To me charismatic = emotion, and almost anti-rationality. The sermons were cliches on cliches and I went away hungry. I’ll stick with my “normal” life, thank you.

  17. absolute truth says

    Hi Mike – your essay hit our blog a little while ago and i emailed you about it… thanks for reposting it – we have had a slanging match let me tell you… http://www.philbaker.net/comment/2387

    it is a pentcostal blog and one of our head pastors (equiv in stature to say K Copeland or Howard Brown)and i go toe to toe for a while and this was my comment that got it going…

    just because it happens in a church doesn’t mean it’s a supernatural act of God even if it’s good..

    there are many cathartic natural experiences which can do many good things for us. having a near death experience with someone you have had issues with can often get rid of the negative ‘spirit’ between you.

    my brother was in a plane when one of the engines caught fire and had to make an emergency landing. when everyone had been evacuated total strangers were hugging and laughing! great! what was it? a total overdose of adrenaline that had to be expressed in some way.

    in 2000 i went to a forum where the host showed how to manipulate the crowd into an adrenaline overdose just by the power of his speech, getting them to imagine they are alone in the world. or the best time you had as a child, and so on for about 30min then… what do you know…….

    adrenaline rush with 200 seated adults… people laughing and rolling on the floor. people crying etc.etc..

    was it the holy spirit? No of course not. it was a totally atheistic conference (and openly so) and the leader had predicted to these people what would happen. so what effect can intense prayer good music hype expectation and a large group of people produce?

    just because something happens and we have an experience we want desperately to interpret it as a miracle.

    Its not much better than a statue of the madonna weeping and having everone come to see…

    And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” Mark 8:12

  18. “I hear from God all the time. I would say all of us do, but some recognize that it’s Him while others don’t. And, at the same time, some hear their internal urges and confuse them with God because the urges are more fun.”

    The problem is that Scripture never once presents knowing God’s will or hearing God’s voice through “impressions” or “urges” as normative. Yes, you can bring up Abraham, Moses, Samuel – but then you have to look at *how* God spoke to them. And it was always in some kind of objective manner.

    You can also try to cover and say that it can’t be in God’s will if it contradicts scripture. The problem is that a lot of the things people claim God is telling them are non-moral. Stuff who to marry, where to go to school, crunchy peanut butter or creamy. There are in the realm of personal freedom and the Bible does not directly address them.

  19. Michael, thank you for this article. I have been going through a tape series (“The Charismatic Movement: Something More or Something Less?”) and a book (“Charismatic Chaos”) by John MacArthur, which I highly recommend to anyone, and this essay gives a concise and articulate summary of many of MacArthur’s own arguments. This is such a needed message in the Church today. Especially with the predominantly Charismatic presence in our nation’s Christian media. Good work, brother.

  20. Kyle: I appreciate the kudos, but I’ll have to depart on the endorsement of Macarthur’s book. I feel that particular book and series are highly unfair to the average charismatic, poor written and equate a critique of charismatics with the dispensational view of cessationism, which I do not endorse at all. I feel its Dr. Mac’s poorest work. Sorry ;-/

  21. Brian Pendell says

    “Yet these same “stronger brothers” often exhibit a lack of biblical knowledge and really bizarre interpretations of Scripture.”

    Yep. There’s a reason I myself am in a non-charismatic church (or am searching for one anyway) despite being a charismatic. I believe in the concepts, don’t like the execution.

    The fundamental flaw you’re seeing is arrogance. It is the entire reason I Cor. 13 was written, to people who were puffed up on things they had no right to be puffed up about.

    “I went to some charismatic churches years ago, and they completely repelled me. I tried to see it their way, I had people praying over me to receive the Spirit, I watched them run up and down the aisles banging tamborines and jumping around. To me charismatic = emotion, and almost anti-rationality. The sermons were cliches on cliches and I went away hungry.”

    Not arguing. Although I have been to charismatic college ministries that were MUCH better run, I’ve also been in churches where the only sermon I heard for three years was a variation on the “receive your blessing” theme. After three years, I got tired of it and went looking elsewhere to find something more substantive. Also to find someplace where people wouldn’t use prophecy as a loose cover for telling people how to live their lives e.g., telling dedicated singles “it is not good for man to be alone”.

    ” I’ll stick with my “normal” life, thank you.”

    God go with you! You are neither less than me nor more than me because you’re normal.. we’re just different parts of the body, with different
    tasks and different ways of doing things. I could have sworn 1 Cor 12:30 explicitly says charism ain’t for everyone. The same God that sent Elijah also sent John the Baptist.

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.

  22. Sorry for the late reply.

    Unlike many stodgy (r)eformed types, I don’t have an exegetical problem with charismata occuring today. Where I *do* have a problem, as others here have noted since my last comment, is in how it’s done (at least in the American context – I’ve heard enough about things in the Third World to allow that there are good charismata being done there). And in that American context, nearly all facets of Christianity – evangelical, charismatic, and (r)eformed – suffer from unreal expectations. Either you will be supernaturally happy (evangelicals), supernaturally “gifted” (charismatics), or supernaturally smart ((r)eformed). The sense of a “normal” life lived under the Cross – where you aren’t always happy, can’t call miracles down at a whim, and may not have your doctrinal ducks in a row, yet persevere by faith – just isn’t there.

  23. brian: Scripture doesn’t offer any “normative” way to hear God. While “impression” or “urge” isn’t how I hear Him, I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss someone who thinks they got an “impression” or “urge” from God. It may very well BE God. Discernment is in order. Comparison with biblical “norms” — not that there are any such things; “divers manners” or “various ways” is the way the writer of Hebrews put it — might be in order, but if God decides to call someone on the telephone I can’t just rule it out because it doesn’t sound “normal” to me.

    Further, do you believe that dreams and visions are objective manners in which one can hear God? And what of the Scriptures where God lets one person see something and others can’t? Numbers 22: a donkey sees an angel that Baalam can’t. 2 Kings 6: Elisha is surrounded by chariots and horses of fire that his servant can’t see. Acts 9: Paul saw a bright light; his companions saw nothing. And I won’t even get into the people who couldn’t understand Jesus’s parables.

    Lastly, there are things God tells me that aren’t moral in nature; the “personal freedom” sort of stuff you’re talking about. I agree that we have free will, but I don’t look at it that way. Don’t you bounce your ideas off wiser people to see what they think? Same thing. Most times I expect that if there’s an issue, God’ll say something. If I feel nervous about something, I ask. If He says no, I say no. (If He says nothing, that’s not no.) Yes, I have free will, a brain, and a conscience; but if you have the opportunity to ask God for confirmation, why wouldn’t you?

  24. Amen to your article. It is amazing how many times I have heard “God told me…” statements from a few fellow believers that I have known for over a decade, and have come to see how messed up there lives are as a result. “God told me I have the gift of healing” was one. “God told me March was my month for a break through” was another. On and on and on. I know people who consult the “intercessors” as if they were going to get their palms read or fortunes told. It is not liberating, it is bondage.

  25. The key issue here is can God fail? If you think that God tries to speak to people and they don’t hear Him (for whatever reason), then you are holding to the idea that God can fail to accomplish something He attempts to do. If you’re comfortable with that, fine. I’m not. The Bible does present, overwhelmingly, a normative view of hearing from God. Not to method, but to results. God wanted to give someone a message. They got the message. It didn’t matter what their spiritual condition was, didn’t matter what their level of discernment was. When God speaks to someone, they hear. That is the overwhelmingly clear message of scripture. Urges and impressions may be a way that God uses to get someone to do something, but it isn’t “speaking”.

  26. Please keep complaining, or lamenting, or (dare I say) prophesizing. ItÂ’s good raw gritty stuff. Keep it up.

  27. Let me apologize in advance for some of what is on this thread. Someone somewhere is obsessing on me. I feel so special.

  28. I don’t have a problem with charismatics personally. I’ve worked with them, both spiritually and temporally, and they are generally great people. Having people say that they have the spiritual gift of healing, or of prophecy, or of discernment is great. If they have them, they could be used well in the Church. However, here are a few of the shortcomings that I have seen.

    A misunderstanding of scripture. I have had people tell me that they
    -do not sin at all
    -know the will of God better than I do
    -have a greater amount of the Holy Spirit than I do
    -can do more, spiritually, than I can
    -should let them handle the spiritual battles, since I won’t be able to handle it
    -are more mature in their faith than I am
    a few of these lead to the problem of…

    Arrogance. If someone tells me that I am not loving enough, or not patient enough, I can take it and change. If I tell a charismatic brother or sister that their actions may or may not be Biblical or criticize their choice of worship music or something like that, I get told that I am not being open to the Holy Spirit, or that I am limiting God, or that if I could see what God is doing through this guy’s ministry, I would agree with what my charismatic acquaintance is doing. That’s awfully presumptuous on their part to assume a disagreement between us means ignorance on my part, not an opinion arrived at through study, prayer, fellowship, scholarship, rebuke, and humility.

    I have had people give me strange looks when I read my Bible during worship and look aprovingly at the people jumping around with upraised hands. I’m tired of being patronized for not fitting into the stereotype of people who, to outside observers are weird/fake.

    I believe that God has given me a spiritual gift, of prophecy. That being said, I have prophesied three times within the past year. All three of these times were absolutely necessary, they were done in a subtle manner, and they resulted in the glorification of God. It’s difficult for me to respect self-proclaimed prophets who prophecy several times a day about topics of consensus (i.e., God loves you), are generalized (God will help you through a tough time soon), or are way over-the-top, attention-grabbing and ultimately false.

    There are many more, but I can go on. The worst part of this is, to me, that these people, my brothers and sisters, are going to Heaven, but they are burying themselves in a series of expectations that they have to complete in order to be called Christians. I also know many people that are good Charismatics, God-honoring, humble, and more knowledgeable than I. And those are the ones who give me hope for the movement.