My Confession Part 2
In part 1 (Here) I explained why I reluctantly left the Charismatic/Pentecostal movement.
As a brand- new Christian in a non-denominational Village Missions fellowship I was overjoyed at what Jesus had done for me. I loved going to church, rubbing elbows with others in God’s family, singing the songs of Zion, reading my Bible and talking to my Father in heaven. All things really had become new.
All was fine until someone told me that trusting and glorying in Jesus wasn’t enough. We needed to get “more” of God. We weren’t really complete without this new thing that God was doing now. And what brand-new Christian wants to be left behind? So I decided to do something. I needed to get “more” of God, to become Charismatic, even though Colossians 2:10 told me I was complete (perfected, lacking nothing) in Him! I can’t blame others for the bizarre path that ensued, only myself for not having trusted that Jesus’ blood and work was enough.
Many of you have been down this same road, following “anointed” teachers who claimed to have something deeper and more spiritual than “simple” salvation, and Christ has brought you through it all to refocus on the profound glory of the Cross. Rest assured the Great Shepherd will bring all His sheep to safety!
When I saw myself and so many others succumbing to embarrassingly unbridled emotionaIism I began to pull back. When a dancing-in-the-Spirit sister fell and cut her head on a theater seat I just couldn’t bring myself to believe it was God-though I closed my eyes (and mind) real fast and tried. When I saw people slain in the spirit who promptly got up and raised their hands over their heads in a victory dance, it was difficult to believe that they hadn’t done it themselves, that they hadn’t finally achieved something they’d been working at for a while.
We also had “catchers” appointed to catch those who were “slain”, some of whom later admitted they faked it just to belong. I wondered why so many that spoke the same identical phrases in “tongues” every week were interpreted differently each time. I wondered why those that God wanted to “slay in the spirit” needed to be caught but never said anything. Never underestimate the power of peer pressure, of wanting to belong. Other than the will to power, it is arguably the strongest and most indiscernible drive in your life.
A few years back I went to a meeting in a nearby town where an evangelist was speaking. He told of the meetings they had been having and the miraculous signs that occurred. He described how at one meeting gold dust was appearing on the clothes of those that were attending. Five minutes later he added the comment, “and who was I to question God if he and wants to use plastic gold dust?” Evidently someone had tested the “gold dust“ and found it to be plastic glitter. Yet This brother would not give it up! He wanted so badly for this proof of God’s power and presence to be true. Sometimes I fear we don’t believe at all, but like that evil and adulterous generation are “seeking a sign”. In the end my “full gospel” journey was about me and a selfish grasp for power that discounted those “less spiritual”.
How patient our Heavenly Father is with us! When I reluctantly left the hyper-emotionalism of the Charismatics and began to go back to the Bible for assurance, amazingly I discovered that God was not less, but more real.
And when I discovered Reformed theology about five years ago and what Protestantism was really all about, my assurance blossomed. I learned that what Christ has done for me was something that occurred outside of myself, something planned, eternal and secure, its full glory only to be realized in eternity!
I’ve now been to Israel twice. It is thrilling to realize that the Bible is theology only because it’s history, recording real, verifiable events in time and space that God undertook to fulfill His Word. Salvation does not depend upon emotions or feelings of the moment, whether up or down, but upon verifiable facts. How secure is that?!
It’s a beautiful and godly thing to raise your voice in song and lift our hands in heartfelt worship to our Savior, and Paul says “forbid not to speak in tongues” (with stipulations), but I want you to know that you don’t have to speak in tongues to believe in Jesus or be filled with His Spirit (1Corinthians 12:30), and that when Jesus comes into your life, you won’t lose control of your faculties (Galatians 5:22, 23).
The fellowship I’m in now is small and between current political trends and our numbers dwindling, some have started to panic. Someone told them that trusting and glorying in Jesus wasn’t enough, that we won’t be complete without this new thing that God is doing now. We must become Charismatic to get “more” of God. This makes me both sad and angry, for if some can’t or don’t participate in the “new thing” they’ll be on the outside looking in. Now there will be an elite class of believers in our fellowship, and those who don’t follow will be second-class Christians. The emphasis in our fellowship will no longer be the centrality and glory of the cross, but the manifestations that they seek. But they will go without me. I’ve found something unshakable, unfathomably glorious, that does not depend on any of my successes or failures. I’m perfect in Him (Hebrews 10:14), forever.
And now I know how I made others feel all those years ago. Instant Karma! Worse than that, I’ll have to go back in time and put up with a younger, fanatical me!
And thanks to my Father’s wisdom, and the grace and love of the Holy Spirit I will forgive that young man - and my Charismatic friends in advance-for they are me -