Ten Reasons Why I
Cannot Participate in the
Modern Charismatic Movement
By George Zeller
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Please Note: The doctrinal issues dealt with in this article are more fully considered in the document entitled, The Modern Charismatic Movement - 35 Doctrinal Issues.
1) THE CHARISMATIC MOVEMENT TEACHES THAT NOT EVERY BELIEVER HAS RECEIVED THE HOLY SPIRIT. They will often ask this question: “HAVE YOU RECEIVED THE SPIRIT?”
The Apostle Paul, in writing to the believers in Rome, declared that every Christian is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, for “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, HE IS NONE OF HIS” (Rom. 8:9). Those who do not have the Spirit are those who do not have Christ! The person who has the Son of God has the Holy Spirit also! Thus, the crucial question is not whether I have received the Holy Spirit, but whether I have received Christ (John 1:12; 1 John 5:11-12)!
The gift of the Holy Spirit was given to each believer at the moment of salvation (Rom. 5:5). As a result, God’s Spirit lives within every Christian: “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, WHO IS IN YOU” (1 Cor. 6:19).
How do I KNOW that the Holy Spirit dwells within me? The Charismatic answer: “I know that the Holy Spirit dwells within me because I have had an experience! I have had the ‘baptism’ and I have spoken in tongues!” The Believer’s answer: “I know that the Holy Spirit dwells within me because GOD SAID SO! The Bible says, ‘The Holy Spirit dwelleth in us’ (2 Tim. 1: 14). God said it; I believe it; that settles it!”
2) THE CHARISMATIC MOVEMENT TEACHES THAT TONGUES IS THE EVIDENCE OF HAVING RECEIVED THE SPIRIT. In other words, when they ask, “Have you received the Spirit?” what they really mean is, “HAVE YOU SPOKEN IN TONGUES?”
God’s Word tells me that I was sealed with the Holy Spirit the moment I trusted Christ (Eph. 1:13-14). As cattle are “sealed” or branded with a mark of ownership, so God has given me the Holy Spirit as the mark and token that I belong to Christ (Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 6:19-20). If I really have the Holy Spirit, and if I really belong to the Son of God, what will the outward evidence of that be? “The foundation of God standeth sure, having this SEAL, the Lord knoweth them that are His. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ DEPART FROM INIQUITY” (2 Tim. 2:19).
Many people name the name of Christ, and claim to be Christians. Many profess Christ, but few actually possess Christ. The real test is whether or not a person DEPARTS FROM INIQUITY (UNRIGHTEOUSNESS). If I have really received the HOLY Spirit, then that ought to be evidenced by a HOLY life: “For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto HOLINESS . . . who hath also given unto us His HOLY Spirit (1 Thess. 4:7-8). The determining question is not whether I have spoken in tongues, but whether I have walked consistently in His holiness!
3) THE CHARISMATIC MOVEMENT TEACHES THAT TONGUES IS THE EVIDENCE OF BEING FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT.
The important command to be filled with the Spirit is found in Ephesians 5:18. If I am really filled with the Spirit, how will that be evidenced? Paul gives the answer in the verses which follow.
If I am filled with, the Spirit, I will have a song in my heart (Eph. 5:19). The Holy Spirit is the Master Musician who is able to produce a wonderful melody within! (Notice that verse 19 does not say, “Speaking to yourselves in unknown tongues...”)
If I am filled with the Spirit, then I will be filled with thanksgiving also (Eph. 5:20)! Unthankful means unfilled!
Finally, if I am truly Spirit-filled, I will submit to God’s order in the home (Eph. 5:21 and the verses following). The real test of whether a person is filled with the Spirit is not on Sunday morning in church when everyone is at their best behavior. Rather it is how one conducts himself in the home during the week in the midst of the problems and pressures of life. The critical question is not, “Has he spoken in tongues?”, but rather, “Is he loving (Eph. 5:25)?” “Is she submissive (Eph. 5:22)?” “Are the children obedient (Eph. 6:1-2)?” God the Holy Spirit is able to produce something far greater than tongues (Gal. 5:22-23)!
4) THE CHARISMATIC MOVEMENT TEACHES THAT SPIRIT BAPTISM IS AN EXPERIENCE SUBSEQUENT (FOLLOWING IN TIME) TO SALVATION AND NOT ENJOYED BY ALL BELIEVERS. They will often ask this question: HAVE YOU HAD THE BAPTISM?
God’s Word teaches that Spirit Baptism is that wonderful work of God whereby I was placed into the body of Christ the moment I was saved: “For by one Spirit were we ALL baptized into one body . . . and have ALL been made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13; cf. Gal. 3:25-26). Those in the Charismatic movement often identify the “baptism of the Spirit” as that “Pentecostal experience” of speaking in tongues. Furthermore, they teach that ALL believers should seek this tongues experience. Thus the Charismatic movement says “ALL” when God says “NOT ALL” (1 Cor. 12:29-30), and “NOT ALL” when God says “ALL” (1 Cor. 12:13).
5) SOME WITHIN THE CHARISMATIC MOVEMENT, BELIEVE THAT IT IS NECESSARY TO TARRY FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT.
For Charismatics, the term “tarry” often means to seek after the “baptism of the Spirit” (speaking in tongues) by long sessions of prayer, by the laying on of hands, etc. For the Apostles, the word “tarry” meant to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4). To evangelize the world without the Holy Spirit would be as futile as trying to drive a car without gas!
I might wait for a person at the airport for several hours. Once he comes, however, I do not need to wait any longer! The waiting period is over, and I can simply enjoy his presence! Praise God, the Comforter has come!
6) WITHIN THE CHARISMATIC MOVEMENT THERE IS OFTEN AN OVEREMPHASIS UPON THE PERSON OF THE HOLY SPIRIT TO THE NEGLECT OF CHRIST.
In some Charismatic groups and gatherings, the Holy Spirit is spoken of more than Christ! The Lord Jesus said, “But when the Comforter is come . . . He shall testify of Me . . . for He WILL NOT SPEAK OF HIMSELF . . . He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you” (John 15:26; 16:13-14).
The Spirit bears witness to Christ! The Spirit ever points people to Christ! The glorious ministry of the Spirit is to glorify and lift up Christ! If the Holy Spirit is really working in my life, then CHRIST will become more and more precious to me each day! His blessed office work is to produce Christ-like saints (Gal. 4:19; 5:22-23; 2 Cor. 3:18)!
7) THE CHARISMATIC MOVEMENT INCLUDES THOSE WHO TEACH THAT IT IS GOD’S WILL FOR EVERY SICK PERSON TO BE HEALED.
Some “faith healers” today insist that if a person is sick, then he is out of the will of God—either he does not have enough faith or he has not come to the right person (i.e. a “healer”). Here are the facts: 1) In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 we learn that God denied Paul’s request to have his “thorn” (painful bodily ailment) removed. 2) Faithful Epaphroditus, as we are told in Philippians 2:25-30, had almost died from a sickness, and the implication is that Paul was unable to help him, though God could. 3) In his final letter to Timothy, Paul explained that he had left Trophimus at Miletus SICK (2 Tim. 4:20). 4) Paul apparently knew of no faith healer who could help Timothy with his stomach ailments and frequent infirmities (1 Tim. 5:23). 5) Christ and the apostles healed ALL who came to them, not just those who “had enough faith” (Matt. 12:15; Acts 28:7-9). 6) The healing miracles of Christ and the apostles can be described as INSTANTANEOUS (Matt. 8:3; 20:34; Acts 3:6-7), PERFECT AND COMPLETE (Matt. 14:36) and UNDENIABLE (Acts 4:14, 16; compare Matthew 12:22-24). Sadly, the same cannot be said of the “miraculous cures” of modern “healers.”
8) THE CHARISMATIC MOVEMENT TEACHES THAT THE BIBLE IS NOT SUFFICIENT! WE NEED SOMETHING ELSE (VISIONS, PROPHECIES, ADDED REVELATIONS, ETC.)!
Nothing is more important than my attitude towards God’s written Word (the 66 canonical books). Consider the following: 1) Christ told His disciples that they needed added revelation (John 16:12-“I have yet many things to say unto you”), but He promised that the Spirit of truth would come and guide them into ALL TRUTH (John 16:13)! What more do we need? 2) Though God once spoke at various times and in “divers manners” (through visions, dreams, etc.), He has in these last days spoken by His Son (Heb. 1:1-2)! What more do we need? 3) All Scripture is God-breathed and profitable . . . that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works (2 Tim. 3:16-17)! What more do we need? 4) Though Peter actually heard God’s voice from heaven, he assures us that “we have a more sure word of prophecy . . . the Scripture” (2 Pet. 1:18-20)! What more do we need? 5) Jude writes concerning “the faith” (the body of Christian truth) which has once for all been delivered to the saints (Jude 3)! What more do we need? 6) As the Lord completed His written revelation, He issued one final warning: LET NO MAN ADD OR TAKE AWAY FROM MY WORD (see Rev. 22:18-19). Two verses later the final period was placed and the Bible was completed! What more do we need?
9) THE CHARISMATIC MOVEMENT BELIEVES THAT ECUMENISM IS PLEASING TO GOD.
Charismatic renewal has penetrated all the mainline Protestant denominations and is rapidly sweeping into the Roman Catholic Church. Charismatic converts are told to stay within these churches and to seek to “renew” them by their presence within.
God’s commands are just the opposite. Please read and consider the following commands in light of their context: 1) “COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM” (2 Cor. 6:18); 2) “FROM SUCH TURN AWAY” (2 Tim. 3:5); 3) “AVOID” (Rom. 16:17); 4) REJECT” (Tit. 3:10); 5) “RECEIVE HIM NOT” (2 John 10).
10) THE CHARISMATIC MOVEMENT MAKES EXPERIENCE THE REAL BASIS OF CHRISTIAN UNITY RATHER THAN DOCTRINE.
Charismatic people are united around a COMMON EXPERIENCE. What a person believes and what church a person attends is irrelevant. What really matters is that all have had the “Pentecostal experience.”
What was it that united the early church? Were converts given the freedom to believe whatever they wanted and to worship however they pleased? No, “they continued steadfastly IN THE APOSTLES DOCTRINE” (Acts 2:42). Their unity was based on “one faith” (Eph. 4:5), not “many faiths.” It was a unity that was based on a common “knowledge of the Son of God” (Eph. 4:13), which implies a correct doctrinal understanding of who Christ is and what He has done. This “oneness” was impossible apart from the protective atmosphere of “doctrine” (Eph. 4:14) and “truth” (Eph. 4:15). Only God’s Word and God’s Truth can effectively unite God’s people. May it so be!
The Middletown Bible Church
articles under Doctrinal Studies