Proof that I am not a charismatic

I hope my recent posts didn’t give people the wrong idea.  The guy at Credo House has done a decent job in summarizing a lot of the issues.  Based on his criteria, I am nowhere close to being a charismatic.  He lists six criteria of what it means to be a charismatic by today’s standards.  I will interact with them.

1. Unusual attention given to the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer

I don’t know what people mean by the word “Unusual.”  That I place a bigger emphasis on the Holy Spirit than, say, Bible Broadcasting Network, is true.

2. The tendency to seek and expect miraculous healings

I simply don’t have this tendency (and I have reason to want to).  I believe miracles are quite possible today.  I strongly dispute that it died with the apostles, but I also know that in God’s providence he has not seen to act this way in some cases of my life.  So there.

3. The tendency to seek and expect God’s direct communication (dreams, visions, experiences, personal encounters, etc.)

Nope.  Not me.  I believe that the Scottish Reformers overwhelmingly did so (even Banner of Truth conceded this point), but that is not how I seek God.  Martyn Lloyd-Jones has testified to this a few times and draws upon some Puritan experiences, of which I will discuss in another post.

4. Unusual attention given to the presence of demonic activity in the world

I do believe demons are active, more so than the typical bourgeoisie Presbyterian today.   That said, I don’t “pray the blood” over bush and tree to get the demon out.

5. Very  expressive worship

Again, these terms are very subjective.  In any case, I am moving more and more to psalm-singing, so I doubt I fit this profile.

6. Belief in the continuation of all the gifts of the Holy Spirit

I don’t necessarily hold this.  My position is that MacArthur’s position is painfully weak and can be easily debunked on biblical, historical, and logical lines. I say this with regard to the word of knowledge, prophecy, and miracles.   I don’t know what to think about tongues.


10 comments on “Proof that I am not a charismatic

  1. Evan says:

    A charismatic is just someone who might have been called a mystic in previous ages. Such a person believes that there are ongoing mystical experiences, usually attributed to the Holy Spirit, which are not tied to the means of grace (which includes Scripture.). There are as many justifications for this belief as there are charismatics. What they agree on is that they oppose anyone who tells them they should have so such expectations, be they John MacArthur or an orthodox Lutheran. Worse, they tend to read their own beliefs about mysticism back into scripture to justify whatever practice they support.

    Does God communicate directly with his people? Yes, through scripture, through the work of the church and through the sacraments.

    Oh, you shouldn’t hate the bourgeoisie. You are one of them.

    • Angela Wittman says:

      I agree with what Evan has said here… It probably took me a good 10 years to get rid of faulty Charismatic thinking (and I’m sure I still have some more to repent of). I really wish mature Christians would have set me straight in the beginning instead of allowing me to go on in error for years. I made bad life changing decisions at what I thought was the “leading” of the Holy Spirit. This is no trivial matter and I did not like the article at Credo House because he, IMO, trivializes folks running around listening to their imaginations and calling it the Holy Spirit.

    • I don’t like that definition of charismatic, but since I’m not a charismatic, I won’t deal with it. The problem with the term “mystical” is that it means whatever the interlocutor wants it to mean. When I read Wayne grudem, I see biblical exegesis, not medieval mysticism.

      Further, I think we have two different groups of charismatics in mind, and that highlights why I am critiquing MacArthur’s position. He adamantly, and contrary to evidence by respected scholars, continues to lump everyone in the Benny Hinn category. A lot of young thinkers see this and will come to the conclusion, “He isn’t dealing with the arguments. Is this the best that the cessatinists can offer?” I am simply critiquing him SO THAT CESSATIONISTS CAN HAVE A STRONGER POSITION

      • Angela Wittman says:

        I suppose John MacArthur and I have a bit in common; I’ve been told I have a tendency to lump folks together. I understand what you are doing and appreciate it. 🙂

      • Evan says:

        If you believe that Paul Cain had prophetic gifts, you’re not a cessationist.

      • That is correct. I am not a cessationist. I prefer continuationist, but *not* charimsatic, since the latter connotes unbiblical styles of worship.

  2. Evan says:

    By mystic, I explained the type I was talking about “ongoing mystical experiences, usually attributed to the Holy Spirit, which are not tied to the means of grace.” It isn’t necessarily medieval.

  3. Angela Wittman says:

    Concerning the gift of prophecy – my understanding is that it is being able to expound God’s Word and I would say make it understandable and relevant to everyday living. Someone who predicts the future is not a prophet, even if they are mostly accurate. They are a psychic. This means they have the ability to read people and events and make some pretty good predictions. Here’s an example of a “prophecy” in today’s Christian circles: A friend and I were witnessing (protesting) at the local abortuary several years ago. A young woman wanted to abort her baby, but the father wanted her to carry it to term. I called out to the young woman to listen to her boyfriend whom she was showing affection to. She then turned to me with murder in her eyes and told me to f*** off. I turned to my friend and said I was going to end up getting killed in front of an abortuary. The friend (Charismatic background) says “Angela just prophecied her death.” Not true. I accurately read the situation and knew that if I confront the wrong person, they will probably harm me or take my life in a fit of rage.

    • Thank you for sharing that (that’s also the same way that Rev. David Silversides explained a lot of moments in Richard Cameron’s life). I realize that a lot of Puritans (Perkins, for example) glossed prophecy that way. I don’t think that is the full NT meaning (though, certainly, that is a part of it). I haven’t given a full exegesis of 1 Cor. 14 yet. I plan to do that in the future.

      • Angela Wittman says:

        Praise the Lord! You’re welcome. 🙂 One can’t go wrong with Rev. Silversides! Looking forward to your exegesis of 1 Cor. 14. FYI – I have friends in the pro-life movement who I believe do have the gift of prophecy – they are rightfully dividing the Word of the Lord and preaching it at the abortion mills; they are preaching repentance from sin and salvation in Christ alone to the lost and hopeless.

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