The Charismatic Movement
35 Doctrinal Issues

Charismatic Movement - Doctrinal Issues 1-6


1. Have you received the Holy Spirit?

This is a question Charismatic people often will ask. What they really mean by the question is this: "Have you had the baptism of the Spirit, the Charismatic experience of speaking in tongues, etc.?"

Let's go back to the basic question, "Have you received the Spirit?" What is the Bible answer? In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 we learn that the Corinthians, even the carnal Corinthians (1 Cor. 3:1-3), had the Holy Spirit in them: "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which [who] is IN YOU, which ye have of [from] God, and ye are not your own?" How could the Holy Spirit have been in them if they had not received Him? Obviously they had received the Holy Spirit the moment they were saved.

John 7:38-39 is a key passage. Notice carefully what it says about receiving the Spirit. Those who BELIEVE are those who RECEIVE. If you have believed on Christ then you have received the Spirit. There is no such thing as a believer who has not received the Spirit. Thus, the key question is not, "Have you received the Spirit?" but it is "Have you received the Lord Jesus Christ?" (see John 1:12).

2. How do you know that the Holy Spirit dwells within you?

The Charismatic answer:

"How do I know that the Holy Spirit dwells within me?" Charismatic Renewal offers an answer to this question—the baptism of the Holy Spirit, a powerful experience that convinces the recipient that God is real  [Richard Quebedeaux, The New Charismatics, original edition, page 2.]

In other words, "I know that it is true because I have experienced it. I have felt it. It has happened to me!  I have spoken in tongues!"

The Biblical answer is found in Romans 8:9--"But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of HIS." If a person does not have the Holy Spirit, then he is not His. He does not belong to Christ. He is not a Christian. If I am a saved person, then I have the Holy Spirit. How do I know? I know so because God says so. All who believe on Christ have received the Spirit (John 7:39). Paul said, "The Holy Spirit dwelleth in us" (2 Timothy 1:14) and this is true of every blood-bought child of God. According to God's definition (1 Cor. 6:19; Rom. 8:9; John 7:39; etc.), a Christian is one who is indwelt by the Holy Spirit and thus has received the Spirit. There is no such thing as a person who is justified by faith but who has not received the Spirit.

The fact of the Spirit's reception and indwelling presence is not based on some subjective and questionable experience. It is based upon the plain statements of the Word of God.

3. Did your salvation package include the gift of the Holy Spirit?

Do you have a full and complete salvation or are there certain things that are missing? The Word of God teaches that our salvation package is full and complete. When you received Christ by faith (John 1:12), you also received all that comes with Christ, including the following:

Complete forgiveness of sins (Eph. 1:7)
Membership in the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13)
Entrance into the family of God (John 1:12)
Peace with God (Romans 5:1)
The gift of eternal life (1 John 5:11-12)

[See our paper 215 Things That Are True of Me Now That I Am Saved]

Is the blessed Person and Presence of the Holy Spirit included in our initial salvation package or is the reception of the Spirit something not to be realized until some later time? This is answered in Romans 5:5--"And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is [past tense, "was"] given unto us" (Romans 5:5). The Holy Spirit was given to us at the point of salvation.

Our Charismatic friends often speak of a "full gospel." By using this term they imply that others do not have a full gospel: "The simple preaching of Christ and the cross is not enough. Simple salvation in Christ is not enough. There is more that you need. You need to have the Pentecostal experience of speaking in tongues, etc." Compare 1 Corinthians 2:2.

To counter this, we would suggest that Charismatics do not have a FULL and complete salvation package. It is deficient. It is lacking. It is missing some very important items. They say you can be saved but not have the Holy Spirit. They say you can be saved but not have the baptism of the Spirit. They say that you can be saved and not have certain gifts that you need.

The salvation that is found in Jesus Christ is full and complete, lacking nothing. When a person receives Christ he receives everything else that comes with Christ: "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Rom. 8:32). The key to the Christian life is not trying to get additional gifts and additional blessings. The key to the Christian life is to grow in Christ and to discover all that we already have in Him. The key to the Christian life is to learn how rich in Christ we really are! We are spiritual billionaires and often we don't even know it!

A challenge to our Charismatic friends: "Could you tell me one thing that I need as a believer that is not found in Jesus Christ? Can you think of one thing that I really need that I do not already have in Christ?"

4. Should believers look for a second blessing?

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with ALL SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS in heavenly places IN CHRIST" (Eph. 1:3). Every spiritual blessing is ours, and it is found in Christ. To get a glimpse of some of these blessings, see our paper, 215 Things That Are True of Me Now That I Am Saved.  One believer said, "If you are only on your second blessing, I pity you!"

How richly blessed are believers? Christ became poor so that we could become rich in Him (2 Cor. 8:9). Paul told the Corinthians, who had problems with carnality, that they were ENRICHED by Christ, so that they came behind in no gift (1 Cor. 1:5,7). The believer is "complete in Him" (Col. 2:9). [See our paper, Ye Are Complete in Him.] If we are complete in Christ, then how can we be lacking a second blessing? The Bible teaches in Romans 8:32 that along with Christ God has freely given us ALL THINGS. We are not missing a second blessing experience, but as believers we often fail to claim the riches that we already have because of the riches of God's grace. We fail to possess our possessions!

5. What is the evidence or proof of having received the Spirit?

What evidence or proof can you provide that indicates that you have received the Holy Spirit? Our Charismatic friends often point to speaking in tongues (the baptism of the Spirit) as the evidence that one has received the Spirit. But what saith the Scriptures?

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law" (Gal. 5:22-23).

If you truly have received the Spirit, then should we not expect to see the fruit of the Spirit in your life? If you claim to be an apple tree, SHOW ME SOME APPLES! If you claim to have the Holy Spirit of God, show me the fruit of the Spirit!

"For this is the will of God, even your sanctification [holiness, same word as in verse 7], that ye should abstain from fornication... For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his Holy Spirit" (1 Thess. 4:3,7,8). The evidence of having received the Holy Spirit is when a person lives a holy life. If I have truly received the Holy Spirit, should I not live a holy life? Compare 2 Timothy 2:19--"Let those who name the Name of Christ depart from iniquity."

"And grieve not the HOLY SPIRIT of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption" (Eph. 4:30). If you have received the Holy Spirit and you are a child of God, how do you feel when you are disobedient to the Lord and not doing those things that are pleasing in His sight? Are you not bothered and convicted and troubled and miserable? Compare righteous Lot in 2 Peter 2:7-8. The indwelling Holy Spirit makes His grieved presence felt.

The person who is living sinfully who knows he is living sinfully, who enjoys living in such a manner, who intends to continue that sinful way of living—that person does not have the Holy Spirit living within Him. The very fact that he is comfortable about his sin is proof of the Spirit's absence!  [R.Gene Reynolds, Assurance of Salvation, page 73.]

6. What is the evidence or proof of being filled with the Spirit?

What evidence or proof can you provide that indicates you are filled with the Spirit?

Charismatic Answer: "I have spoken in tongues. I have had this experience."

The Biblical Answer: See Galatians 5:22-23 again. The fullness of the Spirit is evidenced by the FRUIT of the Spirit. If there is no fruit there is no filling.

In Ephesians 5:18 we have the command to be filled with the Spirit. The context of this passage clearly shows what the Spirit-filled life is all about and how it is evidenced. Notice what the verses do not say: "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in strange ecstatic utterances." No, nowhere in this context are we told that the gift of tongues is the evidence of being filled with the Spirit. Here is what we are told:

Verse 19--A Song in the Heart!

The Spirit-filled believer is a joyful believer. The Holy Spirit is the Master Musician that creates beautiful melody in the heart of the trusting believer. See 1 Thessalonians 5:16.

Verse 20--A Thankful Heart!

The Spirit-filled believer is a thankful believer. If you are unthankful then you are unfilled. See 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

Verse 21-A Submissive Heart!

Where should we look to find submission?  According to Ephesians 5:22-6:9 we should find submission in the basic relationships of life--husband/wife, parents/children, employer/employee, etc. To find a submissive, Spirit-filled believer, where should I look? Not on Sunday morning when everyone is on their best behavior. Not during a Charismatic prayer/praise session in a home when everyone seems to be on a "spiritual high." The best place to look is right where the believer lives during the week. How does the believing employee react when the boss if having a bad day? When the husband comes home from work after a long and hard day and interacts with his wife and children, do we see him under the influence and control of the blessed Holy Spirit then? That is the real test, right where the rubber meets the road.

The Greatest Test

Help me to walk so close to Thee that those who know me best can see
I live as godly as I pray and Christ is real from day to day.
I see some once a day, or year; To them I blameless might appear;
'Tis easy to be kind and sweet to people whom we seldom meet.
But in my home are those who see too many times the worst of me.
My hymns of praise were best unsung if He does not control my tongue.
When I am vexed and sorely tried and my impatience cannot hide,
May no one stumble over me because Thy love they failed to see.
But give me, Lord, through calm and strife a gracious and unselfish life;
Help me with those who know me best, for Jesus sake, to stand the test.

--Barbara C. Ryberg

Argument from church history: Think of the godly men of the past who obviously knew the power and filling of the Holy Spirit and yet they never spoke in tongues: John Chrysostom, John Huss, Martin Luther, John Calvin, George Whitefield, John Bunyan, Jonathan Edwards, George Muller, Robert McCheyne, D.L.Moody, C.H.Mackintosh, just to name a few.

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