Things you don't have to give up.
I got to thinking is anything of value left when we come out of
Word-of-Faith and Charismania? Was there any benefit
from our previous experiences? I put together a little
list of things I could think of that while they are overemphasized in
Charismania are in fact based on Biblical truths. I seek
to place them into balance here.
- Healing - is according to the will of God, we can pray for
and expect a healing from God, but we remain submitted to His will
always. God determines that some will live a long time
and others will not, and we accept this as his faithful servants.
"Faith" is never cause to not go to the doctor,
for that is presumption and not faith at all. Doctors
will admit they can't cure anyone, healing can come from God
regardless of whether a doctor is involved, it is false thinking
to think it must be one or the other. Many healings are
reported by so-called cessationists. See:
Miraculous Healing - Henry Frost.
- Prayer - similar to healing above. Let me point out that once submitted
to God and His word properly you are on praying ground more than
you ever were as a word-of-faith cult member, as obedience to His
word is the primary prerequisite to answered prayer. Those verses where
God promises to hear your prayers are even more valid now.
The main difference is what prayer is, it becomes petition
to an all-powerful God, and seeking His will, rather than trying
to coerce Him to grant our selfish wishes.
- Deliverance - deliverance from demons is part of being born-again.
You now have the power to resist the devil (after you submit
to God) and he (they) must flee from you. Notice it doesn't say
they come out from inside you. It doesn't have to say that
because they aren't inside you any more. The primary threat
demons pose is deception and temptation, that is all they are allowed
to do to a Christian, and even those things are limited by God.
Our wills lacked the ability to resist previous to being born-again.
The Devil could deceive us at will and held us captive to his deceits.
Possession cannot happen to a Christian. Is Christ so weak
He cannot protect us? Almost no literature in the reformed
writings are even devoted to this subject, the idea that Christians
can be inhabited by demons isn't even considered to be worth an
argument to refute the idea.
- Fervor and passion for Christ - what we are passionate for is different
however, we are passionate for His word and His work instead
of seeking subjective experiences. We desire to understand His
word and to see it proclaimed rather than to brag about
the latest vision or miracle in our life.
- Evangelism - the crown jewel of the Christian life is now greatly enhanced,
now we are free to proclaim the Gospel as written, not as corrupted by man. We
also retain the idea that the power of God is necessary for evangelism
to have any effect, and that mighty moves of God are possible. But we
accept the Biblical definition that God's power is primarily manifested
these days as a changed heart, the greatest miracle of all.
I believe in fact that we are to pray earnestly for such things,
while retaining an attitude of complete submission to His will.
- Love for the Brethren - this is our secondary passion, fellowship and
love for the brethren. It does not have to be a religious excercise,
simple love and fellowship will do nicely.
My belief is this one will be the most time consuming activity of the average
Christian. Our primary witness to the world is clearly described as
love for the Brethren. Scripture says that we discern true believers
by their fruits, but the world discerns them by our love for each other.
So we are to develop relationships with our fellow Christians.
For example, try throwing a few summertime BBQ's in his name,
invite your bible study group and a few unsaved neighbors, hang out and
have fellowship. This is fun, easy, and scriptural.
- God still blesses us - While Charismania is justly accused of focussing
entirely on God's blessing's to the exclusion of everything else, like
sound doctrine, repentance of sins, our servanthood, self-denial,
and sharing in Christ's sufferings, it still remains that God declares
His love for us and promises blessings. I think those who come out
of Charismania tend to overreact and focus on doctrine exclusively
and forget that God still loves us.
I have heard it said that mentioning any element of
self-benefit when preaching the Gospel is in fact a false Gospel.
Well avoiding Hell is certainly a key benefit and
the Bible mentions other benefits for the believer too:
joh 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do,
that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
joh 14:14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
joh 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
joh 16:24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask,
and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
jo1 3:22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep
his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
It is always tied to obedience, God makes it clear He won't
fulfill our lusts for the things of the world (James 4:2),
but He definitely promises to shower us with blessings and gifts,
it is only wrong when that becomes our focus.
Let me say that again, if your primary focus is on obtaining
blessings, then your heart is wrong. Loyalty to Him, His word,
and His commands (hooliness) must always be our focus,
but this in no way detracts from His promise of blessings
and answered prayers.
- God still leads us, but never apart from scripture.
Mr. White eloquently points out that seeking the subjective
is a subtle attack on the sufficiency of Scripture.
Are we unhappy with God's Word? Do we demand He give us more
so we can be satisfied? What does sola scriptura mean otherwise?
Therefore we abandon the voices in our head for the foolishness they are,
God's revealed word is sufficient for us:
Does God Speak Today Apart From the Bible? - R. Fowler White.
However, even the most ardent cessationist will admit that the Holy Spirit
can get a hold of someone and turn them into a mighty preacher or whatever
God has in mind to do, all this without following any voices in our heads.
God can lead us as He sees fit, but not in the mystic New Age ways
we are taught in Charismania.
In fact there is nothing we need to do to bring this about,
God is quite capable of directing us as He pleases without any mumbo jumbo
on our part. All that junk about seeking His purpose or His will
for our lives is baloney, especially because it always insinuates
that you won't be happy unless you find His mythical will for your life,
and that unless you go looking for it you will miss it entirely.
I say utter baloney, God is still as omnipotent and sovereign today
as He ever was. We pray to Him for His will to be done, as Jesus taught
us, and we have done our part entirely.
In fact God has already fully declared His will in His word. Our part
is to remain submitted to His will. We must understand that for that
vast majority of Christians, a quiet peaceful life in Him is what He
has in mind. So we accept that and get on with it in gratitude and praise.
Here is a more in depth discussion of a similar subject:
The Blessings, Main Problem and Dangers of the