Friday, April 20, 2007

Post-Charismatic - Post-Hype

In the tradition of Charismatic Defects One and Two.

The more discerned and aware Christians or Jesus-followers (depending on how emerging/missional your persuasion) will recall a good essay written by Robbymac of which below is a sample. Keep a look out for it in book form by Kingsway Publications in a bookstore soon in 07 - should be a good read.
"In some ways they are very akin to the postmodern people I meet who are open to God but indifferent or hostile to church. These self-described post-charismatics are open to the working of the Holy Spirit, but due to excesses and abuses that they have seen or experienced, they are skeptical and even wary of ministries that are charismatic. Further, there are some who have come to a place where they overtly reject – or passively neglect – the more obvious supernatural workings of the Spirit.

It would probably be more accurate to call these people “post-HYPE”. They are tired of hearing great stories about the good old days, jaded from hearing too many prophecies about the great move of God that seems to always be just around the corner, fed up with exaggerated or even fabricated stories of healings and miracles, and disillusioned with a view of spiritual formation that is lived through a weekly crisis moment at the front of the church.

Broadly speaking, there are four major areas that come up repeatedly as reasons for post-charismatics pulling away from their Pentecostal, Charismatic, or Third Wave roots. The four areas are:

1. Abuses and elitism in prophetic ministry, coupled with a “carrot and stick” approach to holiness that many find legalistic, manipulative, and repressive.

2. The excesses of Word Faith teachings (health and wealth, prosperity doctrine) which clash with the emerging generations’ concern for a biblical approach to justice and ministry with the poor.

3. Authoritarianism and hierarchical leadership structures that exist more to control people than to equip the saints for works of service.

4. An approach to spiritual formation (discipleship) that depends on crisis events – whether at “the altar” in a church service, or in a large conference setting – but either neglects or deliberately belittles other means of spiritual maturation (ie. spiritual disciplines)

A saying that I have come to use a great deal in recent years is: “We only deconstruct in order to reconstruct”. As much as postmodernism is a critique of modernism, and the emerging church is a critique, but hopefully much more, of the modern church, I am hoping that a post-charismatic understanding of how the Holy Spirit works in individuals and communities of faith will serve as a critique of charismania excesses and questionable teachings, and lead ultimately to a more mature and balanced understanding, expectation, and functioning in the Spirit of Christ."
(H.T. Next-Wave)

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