Some initial responses to my charismatic spectrum post from yesterday

Some initial responses to my charismatic spectrum post from yesterday December 2, 2011

Following on from yesterdays post on a charismatic spectrum, I do intend to try and improve the questionnaire, and if necessary tweak some of the categories I used. Some of the comments I received anonymously are really helpful, and so I thought I would share them here, partly to prompt further discussion, I have removed anything that might identify people from these comments:

“Just a thought, but I think that many of our divisions in the broad Christian Church are often a result more of “gift colonization”. Theological disagreements often (though not always) are more differing perspectives that come with gift mixes. Gift colonization occurs when one or two dominant gifts can be concentrated in one church, denomination, or ministry. For example, get a lot of prophets together, and call it the International House of Prayer. For teachers we have the Presbyterian Church in America, Calvary Chapel, or the Master’s Seminary. Evangelists have the plethora of Baptist denominations. These are just examples. It’s easier to get along with those like myself than to do the hard work of loving others with different gifts. It is not coincidence that Paul’s discussion of spiritual gifts is directly tied to his discussion of unity in 1 Corinthians 12-14 and Ephesians 4. That’s one reason why I, gifted more as a teacher, am involved in a charismatic movement in the United States, which tends to be dominated by prophets, pastors, and those who have mercy gifts.”

My reply: I do think there is some truth in what you say. I think though that many people do not partner with others that they are committed to similar goals with, although different in personality and gift mix, so well done for doing so.

“Does calling the first list “Charismatic” beliefs swing things somewhat here? I ticked 6 of these, and yet generally label myself as “conservative” – i.e. I see those that I ticked as strongly Reformed and conservative beliefs – not only held by charismatics! I guess this means I’m questioning whether it’s as straightforward as a linear spectrum between ‘cessationist’ and ‘charismatic’…”

My reply: It is FAR from simple for sure, do feel free to drop me an email to try and help improve the questionnaire! I’d love to know which beliefs you feel are not specifically charismatic enough…

“There is not enough distinction made in the beliefs section about areas like healing and practice during sung worship. I don’t think that worship style and views of the Spirit are inextricably linked as this survey implies.

I believe that God is Sovereign and can heal and pour out His Spirit whenever he chooses. But I do not believe that a person possess the gift of healing. I do not believe what we see today in the majority of Charismatics circles is tongues, it is simply gibberish. I believe that the Baptism of the Spirit is upon conversation. But I do believe that we must be continually filled. I believe we can sense the presence of God but do not believe the God speaks audibly or that prophesy as in “Thus says the Lord” is in operation today. I do not agree with Wayne Grudem’s position that prophesy does not have to be accurate or perfect. I have 66 books that I am trying to live in accordance with by the power of the Spirit. I have my hands full, why do I need ANOTHER word from God when I have net yet attained to completely living out what is written down?”

My reply: Did you score as a charismatic on beliefs and/or behaviour? If so, how can I tweak things so you don’t, if I am reading you correctly you would not see yourself as one, correct?

“Is there a category for those who have taken a strong stand that the manifestational gifts (healing, tongues, prophecy etc.) are for today, to the point of being persecuted in seminary or invited to leave cessationist denominations, yet have not actually experienced many of these things themselves? Strongly aspirational, perhaps?”

My reply: Yes, perhaps that is the best description, although if your actions are matching your beliefs then it is no longer a merely theoretical viewpoint any more, is it? Perhaps you are a fully-fledged charismatic just in need of some fellowship with others who agree with you. Not every charismatic will experience all of these things.

“I consider myself a “careful” cessationist. While I won’t conclude that the gifts are closed, I tend to wonder where they’ve been for 1500 years. I don’t believe that what Charismatics currently refer to as speaking in tongues is what the Biblical gift is.”

My reply: I hope you found the process helpful.

I welcome more feedback and suggestions on how to improve this.

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