So, are you a Charismatic now? Part 2
Thought I might get a little more discussion on my post from yesterday. One of the bigger hit days in a while but only a couple of comments. That isn’t really unusual.
As I said yesterday, many of the words we use to describe what we are, are either words that have lost their true meaning or they are words that are loaded up with meaning that is either incorrect or misleading, and so if I give myself a label for where I am on the theological spectrum, right away people make assumptions and jump to conclusions.
There is no question I have drifted out of the stream I was raised in and served in for most of my life. That stream has a lot of labels attached to it like, cecessionist, dispensationalist, Calvinist, fundamental, Baptist… These are all good words and when used appropriately they mean some things that are important and valuable in a Kingdom way. I have good friends and family who would claim many, if not all of those labels, and because I no longer claim those labels, they are pretty sure I have lost my way.
In the stream I used to swim in the word Charismatic was not held in high esteem and for that and other reasons I don’t like the label because for many it communicates some things that are not true and communicates some other things that are misleading. I do believe that all of the gifts mentioned in the Bible (including the gift of tongues and subsequent baptisms in the Holy Spirit) are very much for today and I believe that our Father speaks to us in ways in addition to the written Word and that there is much greater freedom in the Spirit than I ever knew and that “without faith it is impossible to please Him…” and that the enemy hates us and therefore serious spiritual warfare is absolutely essential to walk out our spiritual journeys, among other things, but for many those beliefs are lumped, along with some other stuff into a stream called Pentecostal or Charismatic and there are things about those labels that leave me as cold as the dispensational label.
While I find myself much more attracted to the Charismatic stream today than I am the dispensational stream, (make that a lot more) there are some things about this stream that concern me, things that I began to notice as I watched the mess that evolved out of Florida and seem to find root in a lot of these places where a claim is made that the “anointing” has come.
Here are a few concerns:
- Everything the Spirit does, must point to the Father and to the Son. There is no hierarchy in the Trinity, They are not in competition with each other for attention. While I love “getting blessed” the Spirit is not here to bless us, or to provide power encounters, He comes to bring us into relationship with the Father and with the Son. Power and blessing are by-products of entering into relationship with the Father and to make us able to live and act like Jesus.
- Seeking to be blessed and having power encounters tend to send us on an unquenchable search for greater blessings and more power. Again, I love to be in the center of things when the Spirit comes with power and I will never step out of the way of blessing but that is not all that “walking in the Spirit” is about. I not only believe in the gifts of the Spirit I believe in the fruit of the Spirit. What I love about my friends Dennis and Diane, who routinely see the power and the blessing of the Spirit, they are day by day walking in the fruit of the Spirit, especially humility, in relationship with people who know them well. That’s the kind of place you will always find the anointing.
- One of the most important subjects I learned in seminary was called hermeneutics and I am teaching what I learned about basic, appropriate Bible interpretation to my students here in Convergence. Why? Because, while I think my old stream is too tight with interpretation, in general the Charismatic stream is too loose. The Old Testament and New Testament are not in conflict, one interprets the other. There is a place for spiritualizing the text and much truth is mined from seeing the Old in light of the New but there is a whole lot of junk that is run out there through over typing and over shadowing that violates every standard principle of Biblical interpretation. Making the written Word say whatever you want it to is not a good thing. The Holy Spirit really did intend to make a point with what He caused the writers to put on paper.
- I already touched on this one but I want to write it again, in a little different way. The Spiritual journey was never intended to be about what we can get. It has always been a faith that flows outward. It is about what we can give not what we get. The greatest weapon of our warfare is not power but weakness, weakness that flows out of giving to others, especially giving to the poor. The best way I have seen to break the enemies hold over people is to give ourselves to them, in love, no matter how un-lovely, until the enemy has to let go. Here at Trinity I have watched the enemy’s tactic of meth addiction broken simply through the power of love and acceptance far more than I have seen it broken through a power encounter. If it comes through a power encounter I will take it, but that is not the usual-love, acceptance and forgiveness is what breaks through most of the time.
- While there may be times when travelling to Florida, or Toronto, or wherever to get in on some special move of God is a good thing, it seems to me it should be a rare thing. Mostly those things are celebrity deals where most of what is worshipped is a person or a happening. I just don’t get the celebrity attraction, or the idea that the anointing is floating around out there until some person can call it down for a season. As i said in the previous post. The real work of the Spirit in healing, blessing, breaking, releasing, setting free, and other wonderful blessings, happens day to day in the place you have been sovereignly placed. The anointing is on our house and we need to learn to live under it with our neighbors, the poor, the broken, the addicted and those who hate us, right here, right now. Trying to find out where the anointing has fallen just doesn’t seem like God to me. Humble walking it out with those who know us best does.
I love where I am today, even though I don’t love everything about it. What I am contending for is reality, truth and expectation played out in my living room, our gatherings and in all my relationships. There is no need to manufacture anything, twist anything or long for anything. We just need to walk it out, everyday in relationship. The anointing will fall.
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