Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Charismatic Defects - Part 1

Separate from the positive features and attributes of the Charismatic Movement are the more noticeable poor characteristics inherent within the movement. Some people have described the movement as an experience in need of a theology. It is a young movement traditionally considered to have started in the early 1900’s by those considered not to be intellectuals especially in comparison with mainstream Protestant and Catholic intellectual giants of the calibre of Luther, Calvin, Augustine and Aquinas. Even after 100 years there is a cavity and dearth of high intellectuals within the movement who can give a worthwhile apologia of their beliefs. Is it because the more educated individuals have studied the Scriptures and found that the more orthodox and traditional understandings are actually correct in opposition to an experience-based belief inherent and over-emphasized within the charismatic movement?

The following are some attributes of the movement by Dr J Packer and for the widely read individuals they may notice a few of these characteristics resemble those found amongst cults.
  • 1. Elitism - The (unsupported) feeling of those within the movement of being superior to others outside of their movement. Elitist tendencies are reinforced by the restorationist theology, which sees charismatic experience as the New Testament norm for all time and is inevitably judgemental towards non-charismatic Christianity. The claim that those not exhibiting the so-called second baptism of the Holy Spirit gifts or speaking in tongues are not real Christians.
  • 2. Sectarianism – The absorbing intensity of charismatic fellowship, countrywide and worldwide, can produce a damaging insularity whereby charismatics limit themselves (an sometimes limited by their leaders) to reading only charismatic books, charismatic magazines, hearing only charismatic speakers, fellowshipping only with other charismatics and supporting only charismatic ventures or endeavours.
  • 3. Emotionalism – Only a fine line divides healthy emotion from unhealthy emotionalism, and any appealing to or playing on emotion crosses that line. Its warmth and liveliness attract highly emotional and disturbed people to its ranks where many find within its ritual emotionalism and insistence of conformity levels of relief from their strains and stresses. Generally, the movement seems to teeter on the edge of emotional self-indulgence in a decidedly dangerous way. As a result there are many victims of this over emotional indulgence.
  • 4. Anti-intellectualism – The movement preoccupies itself with experience, which observably inhibits the long, hard theological and ethical reflection for which the New Testament letters so plainly call. Without the intellectual rigour and training the result often is naiveté in handling the biblical revelation. Looking for a prophecy when difficult issues arise, rather than embracing the hard grind of prayerful study and analysis. Not maintaining a sense of balance but emphasising certain aspects of faith over others is detrimental to the overall well-being of a Christian. Often the result of this lack of discernment of fact and truth causes the gullible adherents to be led astray by their inept, manipulating charismatic leader.
  • 5. Illuminism – Sincere but deluded claims to direct divine revelation have been made in the church since the days of the Colossian heretics and the Gnosticizers of the secret knowledge revealed again which manifests more attitudes of elitism. When the charismatic movement stresses the Spirits’ personal leading, and the revival of revelation via prophecy of its certain individuals they become very vulnerable. The person with unhealthy ambitions to be a religious leader, dominating a group by giving them the sense that he is closer to God than they are, can easily climb on the charismatic band-wagon and find there good-hearted, emotionally dependent folk waiting to be impressed by him; so too, the opinionated eccentric can easily invoke the Spirit’s directions when he refused to let his paster stop him disrupting the congregation with his odd ideas.

2 Comments:

At 10:39 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm from one of the 'reformed' church backgrounds and I can recount similar problems within that stable of the church:

1. Elitism - The (unsupported) feeling of those within the movement of being superior to others outside of their movement. We are a 'separated church from the unclean thing ie all non reformed churches'

2.Sectarianism – The absorbing intensity of reformed fellowship, countrywide and worldwide, can produce a damaging insularity whereby reformed christians limit themselves (an sometimes limited by their leaders) to reading only reformed books, reformed magazines, hearing only reformed speakers, fellowshipping only with other reformed and supporting only reformed ventures or endeavours.

3. Unhealthy lack of emotion

4. Rigidly Intellectual to exclusion of all others. Total lack of grace to those who aren't intellectually capable of keeping up with the best thinkers in the movement. Often the result of this lack of discernment of fact and truth causes the gullible adherents to be led astray by their super intellectual, manipulating legalistic reformed leader.

5. Squashing of any work of the Holy Spirit in any other form than can be rationalised from scripture.

 
At 11:11 pm, Blogger Lord Veritas said...

You do raise very valid points and worthy of a closer look. It does get back to biblically balanced theology with the always needed grace in abundance. It's the over emphasis on certain aspects that cause deficits in other areas.

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home