A peep into life in Africa, through the eyes of an African Reformed Baptist pastor.

Water, water, water, everywhere. What else do you expect? I am a Baptist, and I live in the land of the mighty Victoria Falls!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Charismatic teaching is breeding spiritual havoc

The Zambian government is concerned about the many cases of pastors defiling girls, impregnating female church members, swindling church funds, causing the death of congregants by advising them against medical treatment, etc. At their level, they are seeking to address this matter because it is conspicuously getting out of hand. We wait to see what wisdom God will give to “the powers that be”! Other countries, such as Botswana, have already started clamping down on such pastors (see here).


However, as a church, there is an elephant in the room that we seem to be failing to see—namely, that this scourge is almost exclusively among our Charismatic friends. Notice, I said “almost exclusively”. So, put those guns back into their holsters! I agree that once in a long while you hear of a pastor in other Christian circles being guilty of these misdemeanours. However, for every one of these pastors there are ninety-nine Charismatic pastors wreaking spiritual havoc. Am I the only one seeing this discrepancy in numbers on the two sides of this fence?

Also, in other church circles there seems to be self-regulatory methods that quickly kick these wolves in sheepskins out of the sheep pen. Disciplinary measures are undertaken and the individuals are speedily expelled. Across the fence, in the wider Charismatic world, these self-regulatory systems seem to be almost absent. Partly, it is because the pastor and his wife are normally the owners of the church’s name and the church’s assets. Hence, they have the audacity to tell those who point out their wrongs that the whistle blowers are the ones who must leave. Or, if they are ever expelled, they simply cross the road and start another Fimo-fimo [i.e. Something-something] International Ministries. And the rot goes on! Isn’t this ridiculous situation staring all of us in the face?

I have been told on many occasions that when I lump the bad guys with the good ones under the umbrella of “the Charismatics” I do a great disfavour to the good guys. I should perhaps use the term “prosperity gospel preachers” or “health-and-wealth preachers” in order to point out who the bad guys are.

Two vital concerns
Two issues concern me here. Firstly, why is it that almost all of these heretics are being nursed in Charismatic circles until they are weaned and ushered upon the world’s stage as full-blown heretics? Does this not suggest that there is something intrinsic in the Charismatic milk, which, once sucked for a number of years, tends to lend itself towards these heretical views? I am simply asking.

For instance, there is the view that God still speaks to us independent of the Bible. Drink this milk for a number of years and you will soon be attributing to God the inner voices coming from your fallen self. Then there is the view of “the man of God” who is a cut above everyone else in the church. Again suck this for a few years and, before you know it, you want to be a bishop, an apostle, and God-knows what other ecclesiastical titles are being forged in this factory of madness. You also close yourself off from peer accountability structures. You are a chief!

What about the emphasis on miracles, signs, and wonders? Again, does it not make sense that once this becomes a regular diet, all that people will want is health and wealth at the fingers of ecclesiastical witch doctors? Even the blood of Jesus is no longer about appeasing the wrath of a sin-hating God but instead it is about sprinkling on cars (for safe travel), hospital beds (for healing), and wallets (for more money). This is such an obvious continuum that I am amazed that we are not seeing this. Charismatic teaching is breeding these spiritual mavericks!

That does not mean that everyone who holds on to Charismatic views will end up tipping over the cliff edge. I have many Charismatic friends who I deeply respect and so far they are keeping a safe distance away from the edge. Many of them, for instance, are concerned about the Nigerian religious junk that is engulfing the continent. However, I am still asking the question: Can’t they see that intrinsic in their doctrinal position are the seeds leading to the disaster we are currently facing on the continent? This question needs to be faced honestly.

Secondly, I am very concerned about the failure of acknowledged leaders of the Charismatic movement on the continent of Africa to address this matter because to me it is a very serious issue. Behind closed doors, with a volume that is just slightly louder than a whisper, they assure me that they are concerned about it and are addressing it. But I never hear their voice in the growing chorus of condemnation at the havoc being caused by these health-and-wealth preachers.

A creepy similarity
There is a creepy similarity between this phenomenon and what is happening in Islam. There seems to be a fear by many people to state that Islam is the cause of the current mayhem in the world. They would rather we just call the people who are doing all this simply as terrorists. However, why is it that Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Boko Haram, Al Shabaab, etc., comprise people of Islamic belief? Could there be something in Islamic teaching that fosters the belief that Allah rewards you if you thrust your religious convictions down the bloody throats of other people?


Notice also that behind closed doors, Islamic leaders are willing to tell us that they are equally opposed to these militant terrorist groups. They assure us that Islam is a very peaceful religion. But even before they finish giving us these assurances, these Islamic terrorist groups are reported to be blowing up civilians on every side and we do not hear any loud condemnation from their lips. CNN, BBC, or Aljazeera is not quoting any of them issuing clear condemnations against these perpetrators of mayhem. Instead, they are conspicuously quiet.

These assurances from both Charismatic and Islamic leaders—while the world is going up in flames—remind me of what my late dad used to say when you wake up with a wound on any of your toes or fingers. He would say, “It was the work of a rat.” When you would ask how come you did not feel pain while the rat was nibbling your flesh away, he would say, “The rats blow on the wound each time they nibble. Thus you do not feel the pain. And that way, they can eat away your entire toe or finger.” Although that may not have been true, it was enough to keep me checking my limbs in the morning when I slept in a rat-infested place.

I fear that although the story of blowing rodents may be untrue, Charismatic and Islamic leaders are fulfilling this story in the world of humans. Their assurances are numbing our nerve-endings while rebels within their ranks wreak havoc. It is time they admitted that their teaching is fundamentally flawed at a very crucial point and is a nursery bed that is breeding these dangerous religious fanatics!


26 comments:

  1. Conrad, your argument here is so shallow by your own standards that it hardly needs any response. What you lack by force of argument you more than make up for by emotively drawing a parallel between Charismatics and Islamists! You pretend to be 'simply asking' whether charismatic theology necessarily lends itself to heresy when you are in fact implying an answer, but you in fact contradict your rhetorical statement by stating affirmatively that there are 'charismatic friends' who have not 'tipped over the cliff edge'.

    Needless to say, Islamic religion is not contained in the sacred scriptures and though the Apostle Paul may have had Taliban tendencies in his pre-Damascus road days he certainly was a charismatic thereafter!

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  2. Pastor, I cannot thank God enough for your gift of communication, boldness and intellect. We need to hear from our leaders clear instructions about what to make of this confusion we are witnessing.

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  3. Dear Friend and Brother - Oh for some "tell it like it is" writing like yours on this side of the ocean! Thanks for being honest and forthright. My wife read this and said to me, "Why aren't you doing it?" That's what a good wife is for, right? With love, David Lipsy

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  4. Would that more Christian leaders in Africa would stand up and be the watchmen of God's flock. Naming 'denominations', or individuals is considered un-Christian; Judge Not they cry completely missing the point of Jesus' command.
    Thank you Mr Mbewe for standing on the Rock of Truth.
    I read a statistic a short while ago (uncorroborated) that there are over 10,000 separate Christian church denominations (most of which seem to be of the ilk of the Fimo-fimo you mention). It would be interesting if someone researched the position in Africa.

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  5. It is part of the great deception in this times, I guess. The suggestion that you should perhaps use the term “prosperity gospel preachers” or “health-and-wealth preachers” in order to point out who the bad guys are, I agree with this distinction. It separates in any way the prosperity and health guys from the others and it make it easier to take a stand for our brothers in the Pentecostal and Charismatic churches.

    Because in this times there are still signs and wonders, their is still healing, their is still speaking in tongues in Biblical way. I am self healed by the Lord form a lot of trauma's from before my conversion. So don't throw the baby away with the bathwater.

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  6. Thank you. Encouraging and insightful. I would argue that much of what is going on in these Charasmatic Covens is simply a dressed up sorcery seeking to change reality through thought processes (faith in faith) or through physical symbology. Simon the sorcerer (Acts 8) is still plying his trade.

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  7. Dear Conrad - I have come to know you while we lodged in the same place in Israel recently. I have come to know you as a man of great integrity and of a gentle, quiet, and peaceful spirit. In this light I thank God for the boldness of your message. There is nothing shallow about it. For anyone reading Conrad's message: Take it to heart because it comes from a man who has seen and heard it from close up.

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  8. Your ill conceived & poorly written piece smacks of desperation and sour grapes. People go where they receive answers and solutions to problems and challenges. There is something your ministry is lacking if you are not growing. Go back to you your Bible and find out what you are doing wrong, not doing well, or not doing at all. You see greed everywhere there is success, and as a result that success will elude you. Fact. My advice to you is to shut up sharpish and focus on the work at hand, and on what you have been called to do, if you have been so called.

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    1. Worldly gain and growth have never biblically been the measure of success or spirituality (ask any of the prophets or apostles). On the other hand, the fruit of the Spirit (or the lack thereof) says a lot about the state of a person. Even when only evidenced in a blog comment.

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    2. I wonder, do you think there was something lacking in the ministry of Isaiah, Jeremiah or Jesus because of the lack of growth?

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  9. Pastor, Tim Challies posted a link to your post here. This was my comment on his and I leave it with you as well. Blessings - Jeff Ling

    Tim,

    As a long time reader and twice "friend of the the blog," I appreciate your solid approach to things theological and ecclesiastical. Let me say at the outset that I've have been part of charismatic renewal for over 40 years now and the benefits of that in my own life are deep and rich.

    I am saddened by the article posted by Conrad Mbewe on two accounts.

    1) There is no doubt that there is a strong element within charismatic/Pentecostal streams that allow for the kind of independent hucksters that are doing great damage to people (I blogged about a South African "prophet" you are probably familiar with. http://www.jeffling.com/decept.... It's tragic and often criminal. It gets the most press because it's extreme and bizarre. Yet, you and I both know that seminaries around the world put large numbers of men in the pulpits of churches who are often unregenerate or teaching false doctrine. It doesn't get the same play although I would contend that it does just as great a damage to the church. Make no mistake, I absolutely abhor the type of false, manipulative and demonic activity that goes on under the name "charismatic" and I speak out against it.

    2) I'm also saddened by the broad strokes that are applied in posts like Mbewe's and especially the kind of guilt by association that goes on when comparisons are made to Islamic extremists. I simply know vast numbers of people who are part of churches across the spectrum who own without apology the distinctive of being charismatic and who hold strongly to the ideas of accountability, the absolute authority of scripture and guarding against experience driven theology. They are passionate in worship, devoted to the Word, value the gifts for the edification of God's people, pursue holiness and, above all, the glory of God.

    When people like MacArthur, Mbewe and even yourself, focus on the extremists and allow those sad cases to be the standard of charismatic renewal, it does a poor service to those of us who seek to be biblically faithful and open to the Spirit.

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    1. Sir, you are ignoring the context of the message from men like Mbewe and MacArthur. They both admit that there are faithful charismatics. They are calling out the ungodly health and wealth preachers, which throughout the world is a large number. And they are deceiving many people, causing them to think they are saved, when they have not even proclaimed the true gospel. Your own experiences appear to be limited. Mbewe is living within an environment where this false gospel is dominant. The issue here is not the gifts, but the gospel. They have changed it into a non-gospel.

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    2. Hi Jeff,

      As a former charismatic, I am sympathetic with the concerns of unfairness you raise, but part of evaluating truth requires broad evaluations and comparisons. As long as the exceptions and subgroups are considered as part of the evaluation, there is no unfairness.

      The hard truth is that the level of unsound teaching that comes out of the charismatic movement is much higher than most other evangelical branches. Why is that? That is all that is being asked, and one's offense to the form of analysis should not dismiss the main thrust. Your personal experience seems to be the focus of your claim to unfairness, but those exceptions (which includes brothers like yourself) were mentioned.

      So back to the point of the article, as I see it: why is it that so much unhealthy and bad fruit come out of this movement (exceptions not ignored)? I think the primary cause of the unhealthy fruit that comes from the charismatic movement results from the soil that the charismatic tree is planted in. The soil consist of an emphasis on alleged going revelation--the practice of receiving revelation from the revelatory gifts (tongues, word of knowledge, and prophecy) and personal revelation. I know it is hard to hear, but hear me out. Anytime an authority competes, at any level, with Scripture, you are bound to have instability. Other forms of revelation do indeed compete with the revelation of Scripture. Concepts always impact practice. When it comes to revelation, one cannot serve two masters. Most charismatics do say that Scripture rules over the revelation that proceeds from the revelatory gifts and personal revelation, but both are masters which demand attention; even if one master only detracts from the other, the competition is unhealthy at best. That is the issue that I think each charismatic needs to wrestle with. Is it enough that God speaks through Scripture or do we seek more?

      The non-charismatic church has listened to the charismatics, for the most part, for some time; it is now time I think for the charismatics to listen to us. We have something important to say, and if we are not received, the opportunity to gain wisdom will be lost.

      For the record, charismatics are not the only ones with problems, but at the moment we are not talking about the others.

      With much brotherly love,
      Gary Marble
      1689commentary.org

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    3. Jeff writes to Tim Challies, “When people like MacArthur, Mbewe and even yourself, focus on the extremists and allow those sad cases to be the standard of charismatic renewal, it does a poor service to those of us who seek to be biblically faithful and open to the Spirit.”

      Excellent analysis, Jeff. I’d be surprised if your post remains on his blog for very long. (Eventually, opposing viewpoints there get deleted.)

      I’m saddened as well, as were tens of millions of genuine believers in the wake of the misguided and divisive Strange Fire conference and book. Here we have a dear brother, Pastor Conrad Mbewe, continuing in the same vein, regurgitating anti-charismatic propaganda with its characteristic repetitive assertions, gross exaggerations, broad brushing, scare tactics and false conclusions based on prejudicial bias.

      And now Pastor Mbewe adds to the fiery rhetoric – a new twist – comparisons to Islamic leaders! Shameful.

      Training for Godliness, John MacArthur claims that the vast majority of Pentecostal and charismatic Christians are not truly born again. He’s said it more than once, so he’s unrepentant of the worst type of stereotyping, the kind that often leads to persecution, violence and death. Health & wealth preachers are a minority worldwide and most charismatics and Pentecostals avoid them. As to a “false gospel” being dominant across the continent of Africa or elsewhere, that’s a very subjective opinion based on cessationist teaching, and there’s no hard data to substantiate this claim. Mr. MacArthur was certainly unable to make his case at the conference or in his book.

      Gary Marble writes, “The hard truth is that the level of unsound teaching that comes out of the charismatic movement is much higher than most other evangelical branches.”

      Gary, you are definitely entitled to your own opinion, but this is not a “hard truth” by any measure. A continuationist could say the same thing of false cessationist teachings throughout church history.

      As to the work of the Holy Spirit, you set up a straw man: competing authority. The Holy Spirit never contradicts the Word of God and never competes against Himself. His spiritual gifts will always confirm the Word, exalt Jesus and bring glory to God.

      We have listened to you. One of the best responses to these ongoing, ungodly accusations is the book Authentic Fire by Dr. Michael Brown. I encourage you and everyone reading here to read it prayerfully.

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    4. Dear Kate Snyder
      Well, I did limit the scope of my “hard truth” comment to “evangelicalism,” and I was thinking of modern times, not the whole entire history of the church. But upon reflection I should probably have limited this statement further since “evangelical” is such a broad tent. Further, I guess we have to define “unsound teaching.” You and I may not have the same definition. Further, generally speaking—and I am thinking of not only North America, but South America, Africa and India—the instability and new teachings that come from the world wide charismatic movement are more numerous than those who are confessional (holding to a predefined statement of what they believe the Bible teaches on important subjects). I do not think that is just my opinion.
      In terms of your claim that I am using a “straw-man argument,” is that not a form of argumentation where one misrepresents the other side, and then argues against the misrepresentation as if it were one’s opponent’s actual beliefs? I did not misrepresent the other side at all, for I come from the movement, and I know of what I speak. I wonder if you meant I set up a false dichotomy. While I completely agree with you that the Holy Spirit never contradicts Himself, yet why is it that most continuationists subject the revelation from the gifts or inner light to the Scripture? Is it not because of the superiority of the Biblical revelation? My point is that if there are two sources of revelation, as charismatics say, Scripture and modern; practically these are competing authorities. I realize that IF the Holy Spirit is giving modern revelation that the Spirit will not contradict Himself in Scripture, but the point we are actually arguing is whether or not the Holy Spirit does give modern revelation or not. To that question, I ask, “Why would the Holy Spirit, after giving a complete and sufficient revelation and closing that revelation in the canon, then continue to give modern revelation and ask us to submit it to the standard of Scripture?” IF it is indeed from the Spirit, then there is no need to compare it—we can assume it is equal and infallible. Yet, practically the charismatic movement has learned from its mistakes that they better check that modern Spirit revelation against the real Biblical Spirit revelation, or else a mess can ensue. Does that not show the inferior quality of this modern “Spirit” revelation? A closed canon implies a closing of pure infallible revelation—the only kind the Holy Spirit gives, right? And yet, the charismatics argue for modern ongoing and fallible revelation. That is exactly what they say in writing; you can read them for yourself. We are left then with a superior revelation and an inferior revelation. Why would God do that? Is not the inscripturated Word of God sufficient? What say you?

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  10. Looking at many of the rest of the comments in this section just makes me tired all over. Mr. Mbewe, your comments are scrupulously Biblical, and I admire how far you are straining to bend over backwards in order to be as kind and charitable as possible while you engage in the very necessary duty of pointing out the obvious when it comes to the Charismatic movement. The Lord Jesus, the Apostle Paul, and other Scripture writers warned us about the "savage wolves" who would arise, "not sparing the flock." What are we to do with the shepherds who not only refuse to give warning about this, but actually establish their churches as incubators in which to nurture the very growth of those wolves?!?!?

    To those who decry your use of the so-called "broad brush"--I do not doubt for a second that there are genuine brothers and sisters at many levels of the Charismatic movement. But, for a long time now, there have been genuine Christians who (for some unfathomable reason) stubbornly decided to remain in long-dead, apostate, liberal denominations. Because this is the case, should evangelicals refrain from criticizing the heresies of those synagogues of Satan--such as outright denials of the virgin birth, deity, and resurrection of Christ? Should we not call the true brethren out of what is clearly a Satanic system, lovingly but firmly warning them that their continued presence in such an organization gives a de facto endorsement of its errors and heresies? Especially when the apostle John warned us that anyone who so much as gives such a person a friendly greeting (not to mention joining in the same spiritual enterprise) "participates in his evil deeds" (2 John 11)!

    If there is one attitude that mystics of all ages have shared in common, it is the blatant assertion that they are going to believe just exactly what they want to believe, with absolutely no regard for anything else. Listen to the fathers of the modern mystics as they express that mentality exactly, well over 2,000 years ago: "As for the message that you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we are not going to listen to you! But rather we will certainly carry out every word that has proceeded from our mouths" (Jeremiah 44:16-17).

    That is the attitude that keeps the Charismatic flame burning brightly, meriting only scorn and derision for anyone who would dare confront people's beloved, cherished personal spiritual "experience" with the authoritative, objective Word of God. I know this not just as an observer, but as a former Charismatic who saw and experienced it and participated in it firsthand. If your spiritual pride desperately wants to experience a miracle, then you will by all means perceive a multitude of such in your own life, and you will be all too eager to believe the most outlandish claims of anyone else in your group, as long as they rubber-stamp their audacities with the claim of Holy Spirit authenticity--and you will arrogantly deride anyone who urges you to evaluate such things by an authority greater than your own exalted and oh-so-spiritually-advanced self.

    I owe a great debt of gratitude to God and to His faithful servants like yourself and, in particular, John MacArthur--whose book "Charismatic Chaos" brought the truth of Scripture to bear on this foolishness at a time when I desperately needed to hear and submit to that truth. Like a bright light suddenly blazing in a dark cellar, the roaches of my personal convictions scattered into hiding places. Neither did they attempt to come out into that light, knowing that their deeds were evil.

    Keep up the good and faithful work, for--as you pointed out--the fruit from this seedbed of unrestrained mysticism is wreaking havoc wherever it is allowed to grow, to the detriment of people's earthly and eternal well-being, like the thorns in the parable which "choke the Word, and it becomes unfruitful" (Matthew 13:22).

    George Mattern

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  11. Thank you for speaking out against all these heresy in our "Evangelical" circles today

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  12. When there is a faithful, gospel-preaching Charismatic Pentecostal, it is in spite of their theology.

    When there is a faithful, gospel-preaching Reformed Baptist, it is because of their theology.

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  13. Thank you, Veritas and Doulos--you both make a very compelling observation..

    The term "Evangelical" describes the absolute commitment to the exclusive authority of the inerrant Word of God. Charismaticism (broadly defined) is so dangerous because it presents the alluring prospect that a person can have personal access to a source of truth or power independent from Scripture. The problem is, the spiritual realm is filled with deception, and in our current state we are not equipped to access that realm on our own without suffering great harm. That is why God strictly forbade His people to "turn to mediums or spiritists" (Lev. 19:31), "one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or...one who calls up the dead" (Dt. 18:10-11). Such people are dabbling in a realm that is filled with demons, and demons are masters at the art of deception, their leader being "a liar and the father of lies" (Jn. 8:44). "Satan disguises himself as an angel of light" (2 Cor. 11:14), and he will, when possible, even masquerade as the very Holy Spirit of God. That's why Paul had to warn the Corinthians that "no one, speaking by the Spirit of God, says 'Jesus is accursed'" (1 Cor. 12:3). The Lord Jesus had previously said of the Holy Spirit, "He will glorify Me (Jn. 16:14), and yet here is Paul, still needing to warn the Corinthians that no one speaking under the influence of the Holy Spirit curses Jesus!!! Even in a genuine church, under the guise of a gift of the Holy Spirit there were people speaking "futility and the deception of their own minds" (Jer. 14:14), and because they assumed they could receive valid extra-biblical divine revelation, they were accepting things that were unbiblical and blatantly contradictory to established truth and legitimate revelation. And what Jesus said to the false spiritual leaders of His day holds true for all, right down to this very moment: "You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition" (Mk. 7:9).

    Whether the "tradition" arises from the fallen human mind itself via "prophets of the deception of their own heart" (Jer. 23:26), or from the supernatural realm by way of the supposed special internal link claimed by the mystics, who "speak a vision of their own imagination, not from the mouth of the Lord" (Jer. 23:16), such perversions never peacefully coexist with established revelation, but always seek to subvert and dominate it.

    So, we lovingly but firmly call every beloved brother and sister in Christ to take heed to yourself, because the living God solemnly warns that, in the end, everyone "will know whose word will stand, Mine or theirs" (Jer. 44:28)!

    And God sometimes allows false miracles and "wonders" to be perpetrated, but they never have the same character and quality of the real thing. There was a point at which "the magicians tried...with their secret arts, but they could not" (Ex. 8:18), and soon "the magicians could not stand before Moses" (Ex. 9:11). That's because Moses, like the Lord Jesus, had "done among them the works which no one else did" (Jn. 15:24). Do any of the supposed "miracles" of the modern Charismatic movement meet this criteria? Whenever God has truly worked miracles through His servants, there has been no doubt about it, and even His enemies have been forced to admit, "The fact that a noteworthy miracle has taken place through them is apparent to all...and we cannot deny it" (Acts 4:16).

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  14. Much thanks to you. Empowering and quick. I would contend that much of what is going ahead in these Charasmatic Covens is essentially a spruced up magic looking to change actuality through perspectives or through physical symbology. Simon the alchemist is even now utilizing his exchange.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Meditation on Inner Celestial Light and Sound

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  15. Thank You for Your article. The same is here, in Europe. I knew one woman, who was in charismatic church in my city, and her husband was the leader. All was well to the one moment - when in this family was born disabled daughter. From this time this family was descriped as sinful, pastor started to talk, that they had to make some "hidden sin". The result of this situation is fact, that this family isn't in any church - but they still believe and trust in God.

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  16. I saw many of the videos from the conference you spoke at last year called 'Strange Fire.' One thing I noticed was the lack of any solid Biblical evidence that the portions of scripture that teach that spiritual gifts are still for believers. II Timothy 3 seemed to be the prooftext, but its interpretation was twisted in a way that neither Paul nor Timothy would have read the passage.


    And to arrive at that interpretation, one had to read the passage wrongly. The passage tells us about all scripture being profitable for doctrine, reproof, etc. It does not say that scripture is all there is that is profitable for doctrine. The cessationist spin on it is based on poor reading and bad logic. Why would Paul tell Timothy to stir up a gift in him through the laying on of his hands in chapter 1, if the gift were going to cease in the next ten minutes by the time he read through chapter 3? If chapter 3 caused spiritual gifts to cease, then chapter 4, the book of Revelation and other books of scripture written after II Timothy 3 would not be inspired, since inspiration would have ceased.


    Dispensational cessationists read the book of Revelation to indicate that two witnesses will prophesy and do miracles. Even the preterists would have to put those two witnesses after the close of the book of Revelation. This destroys cessationism. Some cessationists argue that prophecy and miracles starts back up at the rapture, but with no scripture at all to back up the idea of gifts ceasing and restarting. It's just a man-made theory.


    And theories about gifts being given to confirm the Bible aren't supported by scripture. They confirm the word. The Bible doesn't say they confirmed a set number of books 66, or 27. Miracles continued to be done as the apostles preached the word. The word continues to be preached today. The idea that miracles exist exclusively to confirm the word contradicts I Corinthians 12, which shows the working of miracles among gifts given to the body, whose parts minister to one another. The idea that miracles were limited to apostles also contradicts this passage which lists miracles as a separate ministry from apostleship, and it contradicts the fact that two of the Seven did miracles in scripture.

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  17. There is a major difference between the analogy you draw between Muslims and Charismatics. The Bible does teach that God speaks apart from the Bible, and that the Spirit gives to individuals in the body gifts like the word of knowledge, prophecy, healings, the working of miracles, tongues and interpretation of tongues. The Koran teaches Muslims about warfare in the form of 'jihad.' If certain Muslims try to make it appear that warfare is not a part of Islam, they are not accurately portraying their religion. And those who argue that the Spirit does not empower believers to do miracles, heal, prophesy, etc. are not accurately portraying the Christian faith.

    The real issue is what the Bible teaches. If you have false teachings in your church that the Spirit does not give the gifts that the Bible teaches the Spirit gives, you may shield yourself to some degree from false prophecy. You may do so at the expense of enjoying the benefits of some of the working of the Spirit in the congregation, in addition to whatever other consequences come from operating contrary to the teaching of scripture.

    There were false prophets and teachers in the first century. There were true prophets and teachers in the first century. If someone were to rise up and teach that prophecy was not a genuine gift, that God did not speak, and point to the false teachers as a reason to believe his doctrine, maybe he could have made things easy for the churches who followed his teaching. They wouldn't have had to bother with discerning spirits as much, perhaps, or judging prophecies, or proving all things. But they would have missed out on some of the benefits of being comforted, exhorted, the unbelievers falling down on their faces and saying that God is truly among them, and of being warned and prepared.

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    1. @ Link, I would encourage to study: 1) Signs, 2) Wonders, and 3) Miracles & Gifts throughout the entire Bible. These things accompanied Prophets in the OT, and surely also followed the Apostles' ministry (New Testament "Prophets"). Finding a proof text regarding the formal ending of these things is unwarranted. If so, we would be adding to the Word of God. This was assumed in the early church (appropriately so) and this is why we would say that the Canon of Scripture is closed. God bless.

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  18. I would simply ask a few questions of the author:

    1) Why does he assume that it is something intrinsic to Charistmatic teaching rather than native African culture that "sows the seeds" of this depravity?

    2) If these atrocities are intrinsic to Charismatic theology, why is this phenomenon more prevalent in Africa?

    3) Why is the sinful, depraved nature of man not seen as the ultimate root, rather than a biblically justifiable belief in the continuation of spiritual gifts?

    After all, it is only certain gifts that are believed to have ceased, not teaching, pastoring, administration, giving and helps.

    And it is not as if these abuses don't exist within evangelical churches at large.

    But why is it that in these evangelical churches, when these abuses occur it is due only to sin and ones fallen nature, even if they have used their position and their gifts (I.e teaching) to take advantage of people. But when it is someone within a charismatic church, it is only due to their charismatic theology.

    The comparison to Islam is also fatally flawed.

    The teachings within Islam that support the actions of jihadists are actually plainly stated in both the Quran and the Hadith literature, not to mention the Sunnah of Muhammad. They are told to commit these atrocities and they can back it up with the text.

    The abuse of women, swindling of money and telling people not to seek medical care are not teachings that can be found within the text of scripture. The continuation of spiritual gifts IS.

    The irony is that Mr Mwebe mentions extra-biblical revelation. Yet, the idea that God speaking to a believer today makes that word equivalent to scripture is an extra-biblical teaching with no biblical support. Who is really appealing to non-biblical theology by believing God directly communicates with His people when scripture says that it is the very same Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead that opens our eyes to scripture every day.

    God alone defines scripture. Not man.

    The inspiration of scripture was an act of God, not merely an act of prophecy.

    God determines what prophetic word becomes scripture because it is according to His purpose, not some automatic process.

    The text doesn't say "All that is spirit-breathed is scripture" it says "all scripture is spirit-breathed"

    No. It is sin that breeds spiritual havoc, and men have used various theological guises to hide and justify their depravity. It was not new in ancient times, it is nothing new today. To assume that it is the theology that breeds the depravity is naive and short sighted.

    Does this mean there are no aberrant teachings within the movement? By no means, but is a slippery slope fallacy to assume that Charismatic theology leads inevitably to the health & wealth "gospel", word of faith theology, as well as sexual and financial abuse.

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  19. Positive effects of continuationism (Why do this things are happening more in charismatic churches? BTW: The well accepted exegete Dr. Craig Keener with charismatic baptist background is married to an African wife)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPt8x4453lo#t=1247

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