To those more Biblically astute you may have noticed I have used two passages of scripture in the title: 1 John 4:1 “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God…”, and 1 Thessalonians 5:21 “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good…”
I have come to a time in my life where passages like these have become incredibly crucial in my Christian faith. Recently my wife and I have taken a huge step and joined many others in what seems to be a global reaction to much of what is occurring in the Charismatic movement. In the process, I have had, and continue to have many thoughts and concerns for things I once accepted as the norm for living an efficient Christian life, so much so that I feel compelled to share some thoughts on this publicly.
What is concerning me more and more is that many of the beliefs and practices which occur in popular churches around the world not only lack scriptural support but even fly in the face of biblical commands. Often this comes back to what I have observed to be emotionally based doctrine.
Recently a friend of mine was describing a feeling of levitation he once had and was convinced it was of God. Defending the legitimacy of his experience he said: “I cannot back it up with scripture but I know what I felt”. Once I witnessed a Pastor who appeared to be speaking in tongues in front of his congregation and after no interpretation was offered he then encouraged everyone to speak in tongues at once. This of course violates Paul’s commandments regarding tongues in 1 Corinthians 14. After questioning the Pastor about this his reasoning was that he felt led to do it.
These are just two examples of many I have witnessed which has lead me to believe that in a heavily Charismatic influenced culture many Christians are relying more and more on personal/subjective experiences rather than testing the spirits, examining everything and holding fast to that which is good. Ultimately this can be done with no other tool than the words God has already spoken. For all scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work – 2 Timothy 3:16-17. To base one’s Christian practise and beliefs up on any other source is to bring into question the sufficiency of scripture itself for living an adequate Christian life.
This means I’m in no way calling anything outside of scripture to be inadequate in leading one to understanding and truth. I’m merely calling to account the practise of wholeheartedly trusting subjective experience over and above God’s revealed words for living an adequate Christian life. Furthermore, I believe this is something that has become so engrained into modern church culture that it’s become a commonly practised norm committed in ignorance.
In future, whether here or elsewhere, I plan to give more of a chronological description of my exodus out of the Charismatic church explaining more in depth why I made the move and my arrival to different beliefs.
Lastly, please understand that my posting is in no way to tear people down. Rather, it is to test the spirits, examine everything and to hold fast to that which is good; to have a life that is aligned with God’s Word and to cast off anything which opposes it.