Because Of Truth

Whether or not I suffered abuse when Charismatic churches tried to heal me remains a secondary issue in my estimation. Truthfully, I’d never really thought of any episodes as abusive except for the Pentecostal preacher during my high school days whBible Masko determined that my Cerebral Palsy resulted from demon possession because “only Satan could make something this ugly.” (I can laugh at his stupidity now.)

But I didn’t turn away from Charismatic theology because of all the efforts to heal me. I turned away because neither its teachings nor its practices line up with Scripture.

I don’t have time today to demonstrate how Charismatic theology violates God’s Word. Actually, it would take a large number of posts to fully make my case. I do want to discuss some of its  departures from sound doctrine in future posts, particularly in light of  how it has influenced the evangelical church at large. But today, let me focus on the broader idea that Christians must shape theology on the basis of Scripture, not spiritual experience. I didn’t reject Charismatic teaching because I had a few negative experiences. I rejected it out of a commitment to truth.

God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. ~~John 4:24 (ESV)

If we evaluate the Bible through the grid of personal experience, we can make it say pretty much anything we want it to say. In so doing, we unwittingly replace the Lord’s authority with our own. I don’t believe my friends in Charismatic churches consciously make this exchange, but they certainly do make it. With patience and humility, we need to encourage them to think in accord with sound doctrine, not because their teaching hurts people, but because we love truth.

3 thoughts on “Because Of Truth

  1. Susan

    I never “belonged to” a charismatic church, I did attend a church that became charismatic and it was so blatantly unscriptural in its teachings and practices that the Lord caused me to not go there anymore, it grieved me to have to leave there. Having said that, I do know that the Lord intervened in my life in ways that were powerful and beyond my small ability to try to change myself. Often He did use a person to “give me a word” but not in the way I see it done in the church “shows” on exhibit on television or in megachurches that promise things that are prevented by, in their estimation, lack of faith. Jesus did heal me, for His reasons, not for mine. Although I am a “5 point Calvinist” I think that some (many?…not saying you DebbieLynne) go to the other extreme and think God never heals people anymore. He does, I’m proof of that, but He doesn’t do it for a circus act like a magic show. It wasn’t a spectacular event that caused crowds that were seeking signs to be amazed by a dazzling show stopper. It was a miraculous intervention that put me in my right place with Him, something I wasn’t looking for at the time, but like He did with Paul, He stopped me on the wrong road I was on in a way that could not be missed and did follow the scriptures in bringing me to seek Him there. Like the book of Ecclesiastes says “There is a time for every purpose under heaven” and if it is from Jesus, it is by His will, and in His time, not mine, and not to show off my faith, but to help us understand that He is faithful to accomplish His will in the manner and time of His choosing.

    Sorry for the long comment DebbieLynne, love your posts, your love for God’s word is very evident and is a blessing. 🙂

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    1. debbielynne7 Post author

      Of course God can heal, but healing is not normative. He could take me and John out of our wheelchairs; He hasn’t. Yet He brought John through simultaneous colon cancer and heart attack three years ago, neither of which John should have survived, given the severity of his polio.

      But Charismatic churches elevate experience over Scripture. I elevated experience over Scripture. I interpreted Scripture through the grid of my “spiritual” experiences. That is a dangerous hermaneutic! The Bible must always be our plumbline!

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      1. Susan

        Amen, DebbieLynne, some things won’t happen until our new resurrection bodies with Him, He’s saving the best for last 🙂

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