Troubled by Movements and Fads

9/14/2000

Hello, my friend, how are you? I have a question for you that I have pondered over and struggled with time and time again. I respect your wisdom and appreciate your insight…

…I was wondering what your understanding is and what your position is on some of the recent neo-charismatic movements, renewals, revivals etc. I consider myself a charismatic in the sense that I believe that the gifts of the Spirit are for today. I have been to many charismatic revival services, meetings, and conferences and have been in some way touched but the majority of what I have seen and the direction that I have seen many of my friends taking has been to say the least—troubling. I’m beginning to believe more and more (and have often been shot down for it) that the fruits of the Spirit are preeminent to the gifts of the Spirit and one of those fruits is Self-Control. And doesn’t the scripture say that,”the spirit of prophecy is subject to the prophet.” If my understanding is correct, then I have a problem with the current trend in manifestations of the Spirit that seem to over-ride an individual’s ability to voluntarily control himself. When I’ve questioned some people they say, “I can’t control myself, the Holy Spirit is doing it to me.” At the same time I look at these services and I’m like, “Who am I to judge…these people genuinely love God and sincerely want more of Him.”

I can’t tell you how often I have repented of having a critical spirit or analytical mindset that as many of my friends say, quenches the Spirit. At the same time I can’t shake the feeling that something is very wrong and I go back and forth, back and forth. I want this to be a settled issue in my heart. The concerns I have with manifestations deal with: spasmodic jerking, slain in the spirit, holy-laughter, travailing, wailing prayer, instant gold fillings in teeth. Have you or your church experienced any of these or have you seen them yourself? I have less of a problem with some than with others, but there you have it. So throw it all at me and don’t hold back. I’m sorry this is so long and I hope that I haven’t put you to sleep and that you aren’t drooling on your keyboard :). Much thanks and God Bless…Oh, I’m in the process of watching your video and am finding it fascinating.

Take care,

Hi :) Didn’t sleep a wink whilst reading your note! :) Not at all. I understand the questions, and they are good ones. It would, of course, be unreasonable to not believe in Gifts, as they are simply the outworkings of the different parts of Jesus of Nazareth, deposited amongst the “many members who are one Body.” With no Gifts, we are in serious hurt!

I do find your insights into the Fruits/Gifts, and your concerns about some of the recent movements…to be VERY valid. We know, of course, people in every movement on earth probably, and have first-hand knowledge of most everything you can think of, I suppose. And, frankly, much is well meaning, but either shallow and childish (like a tot scribbling on the paper with crayons, picturing nothing except their young hearts), or out and out substituting for the true Character and Person of Jesus. “Demanding a sign” or external manifestation beyond the “sign of Jonah” is the age-old lust of “a wicked and adulterous generation.” Of course, Jesus can do what He pleases. But, “by their fruit”, as well as by Biblical and Apostolic pattern, leaves most of the stuff you have described seriously wanting for Authenticity. BUT, if the children grow up, they throw aside the childish ways, and outgrow the tots’ clothing.

The Solution is not so much to point out the errors, as it is to help each man and woman to deal with the areas of their lives which grieve Jesus, and “grieve the Spirit” that they speak of. If they deal with sin in their homes, workplaces, in leading their children to lives that fully belong to Jesus and hate evil, and take responsibility for others (“admonish one another daily SO THAT NONE are hardened and deceived by sin”), it is AMAZING at how the childish substitutes and “adrenaline rush” addictions fall by the wayside as unimpressive or counterfeit, or simply innocently of the flesh and not the Spirit. Make any sense of that?

Love,

P.S. Write any time…

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