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Posts Tagged ‘Charismatics’

Do your apppliances lack faith?

As long as we’re talking about it, I’ve picked up on talk radio show locally here in Omaha that is pro-charismatic in content and is a great source of wild stories and charismatic fodder for those who want it. It’s on 1560AM, between 1-2PM, I think, maybe longer.

Yesterday I heard a guest on the show talk about how he would go into his prayer room (whatever that it) until God’s glory appeared.

Right off the bat, I’m wondering what am I doing wrong? This never happens to me. Sometimes when it’s dark in the room and I’m really concentrating, I feel kind of spinny, like kind of dizzy. Is that what he means? Do the neighbors notice the shekinah descending next door? I would think so.

So after the “glory” arrives, God would tell him to go somewhere and speak some secret codeword, and bang! doors would open for “revival” in that immediate area. Once, he said, God told him to go to Wall Street and speak one of these super-power words. Someone called him from Long Island, which was great, but not Wall Street, so he did it a second time. The next day, NO! within hours someone called him and invited him to speak!

My first question to this is whether or not God had His decoder ring aligned improperly. Why did it take two attempts? Did he mispronounce the code word? My second question is this: Dude, are you making this up as you go along?

The king daddy story was from the first time I tuned in. This British charismatic said that God gave him a dream to go to a house owned by a woman, showed him the street address so he could find it, told him that her son had a problem with wetting the bed, and that their washing machine was broken.

So he goes to the house, and armed with this special knowledge about this woman’s son and her washing machine, gains entry to the house. “Do you know how to fix washing machines?” she asks. He replies”No, but I know how to pray!” Oh the drama! He goes into the washroom and LAYS HANDS ON THE WASHING MACHINE! For the next several days the dream recurs and he goes back and the process repeats itself. Finally the hardened woman asks to be apart of what he has. No gospel, no nothing.

This radio host eats it all up. He has a love fest everyday with all of his tall-tale-telling, hyperbolizing buddies. And all this without one lick of the gospel. Nobody wants forgiveness of sins, they are drawn to them for their demonstrations of the power of the Holy Spirit.

I have two words for all of this:

Simon Magus. Look it up.

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First of all, my back STILL hurts. I know many of you have been anxiously awaiting word on my physical condition. I don’t know what I did, but it’s definitely different than anything I’ve done before. I’m getting to be an expert. Here’s a checklist: pinched nerve, pulled muscle, slipped vertebrae, herniated disc. Any yes: I did take the needle once. I’m such a mess.

I’m inconvenienced but mostly functional, despite my charismatic aquaintance’s best effort to invoke the power of Jesus’ name. I’m starting to think that she should have invoked Jesus’ name to tell me to go see a chiropractor or a doctor, or take a muscle relaxer or something. She would have been met with the same result. Trust me.

All this talk about my near-miss unsolicited attempt at faith-healing has had me thinking about the nature of miracles, such as healing. I’m not going to lay out an argument for cessation (the belief that the miraculous gifts such as healing, tongues, and prophecy have stopped), but I do want to point out a few things from Scripture to help you out:

1.) Miracles in the Bible were always thorough, complete, and unmistakable. This was so much so that the Jesus’ political enemies only disputed the SOURCE of His power (Saying He was in league with Satan) , not the fact of His miracles (Matt 12:24). Blind men saw, the lame walked, demons were cast out, and so on. None of this business about back pain or neck aches. None of this business about seeing someone “out there” and then claiming responsibility for someone’s claim of being healed.

2.) Miracles drew attention to crucial points in God’s developing plan for humanity. Moses in the desert, Elijah, and Christ all worked at key times for the unveiling of God’s plan on the earth. A study of the distribution of miracles in the Bible reveals that those miracles came in intense and sporadic bursts, being a call to attention for God’s elect.

3.) The effectiveness of miraculous gifts do not rest upon the faith of the person who is to be healed. Faith healers will claim that failure to heal is the fault of the sick. When Jesus healed ten lepers (Luke 17), only one of the lepers demonstrated faith. In the book of Hebrews, the writer addresses many in chapter 6 who have fully experience the miraculous works of the apostolic age and yet are ready to fall away.

4.) Miracles are first and foremost done to glorify God and teach us about Him. Our benefit from miracles is secondary at best. Look at Matthew’s outlay of miracles in the first several chapters. Jesus shows his power over sickness, blindness, nature, and even demons. the message is the Jesus is Lord over all. Every miracle, like his manna0from-heaven discourse from John 6, is an object lesson about HIM.

There could be a lot more said about the nature of Biblical miracles. These are thought I have reflected on since my encounter last week. In timely fashion, I also listened to a message by John MacArthur about the ministry of the Holy Spirit. He essentially says that while the charismatic movement claims to exalt the Holy Spirit, it actually quenches the Spirit. By placing emphasis on the outward power of the spirit, it neglects the inward ministry of the spirit in illuminating the Scriptures for believers (1 Cor 2:12-13), transforming us into the likeness of Christ (Rom 8), and interceding for us (Rom8:26).

What is especially ironic to me is the way that charismatics de-value the Scriptures, which the Holy Spirit illuminates for us, by denying the sufficiency of Scripture with their continuing prophecies. The Scriptures claim to be enough for believers to live on (2 Tim. 3:15-16) and yet charismatics seek more. The de-emphasis on Scripture results in chaotic church life, looking more like a roller coaster than a freight train.

That said, I will glorify God by struggling to rely on His Spirit for my sanctification, acknowledging my weakness and depending on Him. The ministry of His Spirit in me is obvious because of the work of sanctification He has done in me.

And my back STILL hurts!

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You just did what?

More adventures in the world of sales.

You’ve already heard me say a few times that some of the weirdest people you’ll ever meet work at churches. Now let me include the weird.

Today I was making a call on a downtown church that is moving, and I have been persistently working at offering free fixtures for the new building. Free fixtures give my company the opportunity to sell our products. I’m sure you see the connection.

The previous night I hurt my back picking up my nearly 3-year-old daughter. I stooped to get her and I felt the twinge. It’s happened before, and it usually goes away overnight. Not this time. I’m going to have to talk to Madison about eating more carrots and lettuce apparently.

Anyway (there is a point to this), I’m sitting in the lobby of this church which is, I’m pretty sure, charismatic. May it’s Pentecostal, maybe it’s Assembly of God. Don’t know, don’t care. As I sit there observing their very badly painted walls (sort of an attempt to produce a faux distressed look), I am literally joking to myself, “Don’t mention you back. they’ll probably try to heal you or something. Ha ha ha ha.”

Now joking to oneself is something that one learns to do when one is a salesperson and one spends lots of time in lobbys waiting for someone. Peple walk in and out, maybe that’s they guy you’re waiting for maybe not. Often I rehearse what I’m going to say. Sometimes I tell jokes to myself. It feels pretty normal.

ANYWAY, after a woman in another room gets off of the phone, the receptionist goes back to tell he that I’m waiting to see her. At least I presume this to be the case because they are whispering, and whispering is what you want to do when you don’t want the person waiting for you to HEAR YOU say you don’t want to talk to them. But after some hushed discussion, she did come out.

Now I mean to say that some of the NICEST people I have met have been at charismatic churches. Not sure why, doesn’t matter. She was a very friendly person. As soon as I stood to greet her (we’d met once before), she asked me if something was wrong. She could see that I had a hitch in my giddyup. To which question I simply responded, “Yeah, I think I pinched a nerve or pulled a muscle in my back last night picking up my daughter.”

At that she reached out, tapped me on the chest and said, “Now be healed in the name of Jesus!”

Ummm…you just did what?

I pretty much stammered. For all of the conversations I had rehearsed, anticipating any number of detours, objections and curveballs I might encounter in sales OR in evangelism, I had no script for this one.

What do you say when someone does something seriously misguided who means very well? If you’re me, you stutter and fumble to say something polite, and you do it badly.

How about one step further? What do you do when you declare that someone be healed in the name of Jesus and it doesn’t work?

Apparently you smile and blink.

Awkward, to say the least. I have been the victim of an inadvertent and uninvited faith non-healing, and by the way my back STILL hurts.

In all seriousness, there are a lot of issues that Christians must examine in relation to the claims of charismatics. Fortunately, the Bible says a lot as well. But to hear more about it, you’ll all have to check in later, because I am tired of typing.

I love you all.

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