A brokerage firm became famous in the 1970′s and 80′s with the phrase, “When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen.” So when John Piper shares some thoughts regarding the recent Charismatic chaos shared at John MacArthur’s conference Strange Fire, people definitely listen.
Please take time to read Piper’s full thoughts regarding some of the questions his readers submitted to him. John’s ability to really approach each side with care and patience is something I am definitely (non-sinfully) envious of.
I was extremely grateful of MacArthur’s conference. As a believer in Charismatic, MacArthur is a welcome voice to point out many of the weaknesses that exist within the Charismatic world and deserve a closer look.
It is sobering when the same “eye for detail” is not seen on the other extreme from Charismatic leaders. If ever there was an opportunity for leaders to pause, reflect and write about developing stronger theological approaches for the Charismatic community, now is time.
Admittedly, I have stepped away from the overall Charismatic stream. The logic that I fully appreciate within Paul’s writings regarding spiritual gifts, movements, etc., is missing from today’s movement. Instead, people attempt to put lipstick on a pig and convince you it isn’t a pig. Today’s spiritual gifts are less for the non-believer and more about bolstering self-made power. People walk around like X-men, utilizing “super-natural” gifts that either improve their rank in the church or set them on a path for a personalized power ministry in the stream.
It can look rather American very quickly when you just look at it.
The problem is, there are few ways to truly benchmark prophetic words, stories of healing, etc. A person could be telling you how they saved an eight-year old from a Ugandan witch doctor and….you do not even know it’s true because it is simply a story! In a time when capturing moments is done with ease….everywhere, many of these stories of healing, demonic possessions, supernatural power moments are not on tape…they are simply stories.
That is a big problem. Hence why critics, like MacArthur, have great ease skipping down the yellow brick road to point out every, single flaw within the movement.
Finally, I think the largest, blaring issue within the Charismatic movement is the lack of connecting the use of gifts from a person’s individualized power-trip to instead the most important thing: seeing people brought into the Kingdom of Heaven. I can only imagine the question raised when we died, “I gave you these gifts, so what did you do with them?” Would you respond that you laid on the ground moaning like a birthing cow for an hour? That you were able to give people a 42% accurate reading of their life via prophecy? That you went to 268 conferences made to bring revival to your area but because of all of the prayer groups you were apart of you didn’t have time to share Jesus with anyone?
I believe that instruments can be used at the right time to crescendo the need for better theology, approaches and overall logic. If every church needs to flash a disclaimer, “Do not despise prophecies, but test everything, hold fast to what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:20–21); after every, single prophetic word, it will do nothing but help rescue us from false prophetic words but also refine the people giving them.
There are so many discussions regarding this topic right now and I honestly only wanted to touch on a few of them. If you have any thoughts or wish to dialogue further, please comment below.
My writings have been quite sparse lately. I am attempting to figure a lot of things out right now and most of those are not able to be shared through this avenue. Thanks for reading when I do post.