2007-07-31

Good Charismatics

As many of you know I'm a big critic of Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity. Yet in the midst of my criticism I know in my heart that many of these people are fellow believers, and will spend eternity in heaven with me. I think my criticisms are valid, but I love them all the same.

So it is wonderful when I discover Charismatic and Pentecostal Christians who are discerning and who are disgusted at some of the things going on in their churches. The Signposts blog is one place I have discovered, and now I have discovered another one, Fireinmybones, the blog of J. Lee Grady from Charisma Magazine. How about this for a quote:
One friend of mine in Texas recently inquired to see if a prominent preacher could speak at her conference. The minister’s assistant faxed back a list of requirements that had to be met in order to book a speaking engagement. The demands included:

* a five-figure honorarium
* a $10,000 gasoline deposit for the private plane
* a manicurist and hairstylist for the speaker
* a suite in a five-star hotel
* a luxury car from the airport to the hotel (2004 model or newer)
* room-temperature Perrier

This really makes me wonder how the apostle Paul, Timothy or Priscilla managed ministering to so many people in Ephesus, Corinth and Thessalonica. How did they survive without a manicurist if they broke a nail while laying hands on the sick?

I was relieved to know that this celebrity preacher’s requirements in 2007 did not include a set of armed bodyguards—because I just might want to jump uninvited into her Rolls-Royce and say a few words.

It gets worse, if you can believe it. At a charismatic conference in an East Coast city recently, a pastor stood on a stage in front of a large crowd and smugly announced that the guest speaker was “more than an apostle.” Then the host asked everyone to bow down to the person, claiming that this posture was necessary to release God’s power.

“This is the only way you can receive this kind of anointing!” the host declared, bowing in front of the speaker. Immediately, about 80 percent of the audience fell prostrate on the floor. The few who were uncomfortable with the weird spiritual control in the room either walked out or stood in silent protest.

...

What has become of the American church? What is this sickness spreading in the body of Christ? I don’t know whom to blame more for it: The narcissistic minister who craves the attention, or the spiritually naive crowds who place these arrogant people on their shaky pedestals. All I know is that God is grieved by all of this shameful carnality.

How far we have fallen from authentic New Testament faith. Paul, who carried the anointing of an apostle but often described himself as a bond slave, told the Thessalonians, “Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives” (1 Thess. 2:8).

New Testament Christianity is humble, selfless and authentic. And those who carry the truth don’t preach for selfish gain or to meet an emotional need for attention. May God help us root out the false apostles and false teachers who are making the American church sick with their man-centered, money-focused heresies.
Praise God that he is working His Spirit in the hearts of many Charismatic leaders like Grady. This is a man whose critiques should be listened to - even if he critiques me.

Thanks to SBCOutpost for this link.

1 comment:

Ron Lankshear said...

Neil - Please do find time to visit Christine and Ron's home church - Cornerstone AOG - corner of Ryde and George St in Epping. Sunday 10am or Friday at 730pm. You might hear comments about the kind of speaker you mentioned - although we do try to be positive - but sometimes that kind of over the top "I want" does upset us. Recently we had the general superintendent of AOG in the Philippines visiting. Pastor Ray is a great friend but many other OZ Pentecostal churches might not want him.

And we are talking about a major founder of new churches

And a member of an Evangelical Council of Churches
http://www.pceconline.org/about/board.htm

Anyhow why would anyway want Room Temp Perrier.... Ron