A Voice in the
October 4, 1998
After last Sunday's lesson from Matthew on the "Unpardonable Sin" and suggestions of its application to the charismatic movement, a letter came from a person quite distressed over their own situation. Concerned that there might be "no hope for charismatics".
This person was saved at a young age, but has experienced about 20 years of sliding along. At the invitation of friends, they have been attending a charismatic church. While the music and other trappings were appealing, this person leaves the services wondering why she "doesn't enjoy" going to church. She has "experienced" some sort of "tongues." But the whole committment to the charismatic "thing" is "on the shelf" in her heart as the person is "seeking to know God." (I think this summarizes the basics, without sharing such a deep-felt letter publicly.)
What about this? First of all, please notice, remembering that the connection of "Unpardonable sin" to "charismatic" was made interrogatively. You will not find any verse that says, "a charismatic cannot be saved." We were noting what God's Word says about these things, and wondering "could this be?" In other words, IS IT POSSIBLE? "...that these practitioners have put themselves in a place of not being able to be saved?"
Let's look at two Scriptural examples. As the Word was proclaimed in Ephesus, Paul (an apostle) was performing "authenticating miracles." (Acts19:11,Heb2:3-4) Some pretenders decided to dabble around in some charismatic counterfeitism to perform exorcisms, and were beset upon by the demons. (vs16) And the experience caused "fear [to fall] on all of them, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified." (vs17) As a result, as people saw the difference between the real and the fake, "many who believed came and confessed and showed their deeds." (vs18) And the ones who had been engaged in practicing witchcraft and occult brought all their books of incantations and whatnot and burned them publicly. (vs19) As a result, "the Word of God grew mightily and prevailed."(vs20) These people experienced true conversion.
There was another occasion in Samaria.(Acts8) Simon had been engaged in black magic, as people labelled his deeds "this one is the great power of God." (vs10) You see, this is what the modern practitioners say about their so-called "healings, tongues & exorcisms." They say it is being "spirit-filled" ...the claim, that the "spirit" in this instance is the "Holy Spirit." "God's power!" Just the same kind of thing Simon was doing. But you notice it says that he was actually "conjuring." (vs11 -MKJV/LIT) ("bewitched w/sorceries" -KJV) Just as the modern methods and manifestations are known for their "shamanistic" origins.
Along comes Philip preaching, and people get saved. And you notice it says "then Simon himself believed also, and being baptized, he continued with Philip."(vs13) And so he watches all the "signs" Philip is performing with REAL "power" from God. And then, along come Peter and John (apostles) to impart the Holy Spirit to Samaria.(vs15-16) (a unique "apostolic" function for "that time" which we won't go into here)
Simon sees this as a "gift" that he would like to have. He sees that the "apostles" are doing this "laying on of hands" and he wants the power, too. And so, he seeks to "purchase" it. (Like in his past in black magic) And what does Peter respond? "Your [money] perish with you because you have thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God." (vs20-21) You notice Peter points to Simon's "HEART." Same thing we spoke of last week. As he says "I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity." (vs23) While it said that he had "believed", Peter is seeing what we noticed last week, that he's still got the "other foot" in the realm of darkness. He's "bound" there and just can't seem to get loose.
Those in Ephesus, clearly, came to repentant Faith in Christ. On the other hand, Simon we don't quite know about. It would seem that his situation ("heart") was highly doubtful.
So, what about "you" who may be a "charismatic", and are wondering about your standing before God? What about this person whose letter we summarized? Are you TRULY a REAL "charismatic?" Is a "charismatic" a person who attends a charismatic church? Well, this person who wrote is no more charismatic than, a person who attends a "church" is a "Christian." It's not the "building" or the group of people one associates with. It's the "HEART." Remember God's yearning after Israel, "Oh that there were such a [HEART] in them..." (Deu5:29)
Since this person mentioned "20 years" of floundering, let me add a little about my own "20 years" of sliding. Around the same time I became persuaded to be a bit more "tolerant" of other viewpoints, and be more "loving" and "less judgmental" of my "fellow-brothers and sisters" (early 70's) oddly enough, was around the same time I switched from KJV to NASB. (I did so in ignorance and the innocence of my heart because the "scholars" I respected said NASB was "most accurate.") In hindsite, I now see those years, culminating in the day my unequal yoke left, as a steady descent, spiritually. My heart was continually "desirous" of serving the Lord. But my life had been compromised; first through the NASB, and then a few years later, the unequal yoke.
When the unequal yoke was taken away, and I had confessed my sins before the Lord (1Jn1:9), a new era began. The following year exposed me to a few things. First, was the matter of the Truth regarding translations of Scripture. And then, the true foundations about the modern apostasy. The Lord allowed me to be associated for a time with a church whose pastor was deeply involved with the local Pastor's Prayer Summit movement. And at his invitation, I attended their weekly Thursday morning "prayer meetings." I've already mentioned their "prayer" times in the past. But I have not mentioned their "hot seat."
After a few weeks of attendance, I spoke up in the meeting, requesting prayer on behalf of my absent unequal yoke. (there was no divorce yet at that point) This pastor asked if I'd like to sit on the "hot seat" and be prayed for. In my then-current state of earnestly seeking the Lord (regarding everything in my life) I agreed. This "prayer" involved "laying on of hands" as everybody in the room (including charismatic practitioners) gathered around. Some MIGHTY, VEHEMENT and EARNEST "praying" went on. Requesting and "commanding" the Lord to answer prayer, to do this and that, and to impart extra measures of "the spirit" upon me...
As I left that meeting, on my way to work, I was praying to the Lord to "show me His Truth" regarding what had just taken place, this whole matter of "prayer" and all the things this group was about. This had been as close to a charismatic experience as I would ever expect to experience... if I was going to. (At that time I hadn't yet concluded the ABSOLUTES of the Scriptural teachings we present here now. I was "open" to the idea that charismatic contained some "beneficial aspects" for us non-charismatics...things that would be "good for" us to consider. I didn't even consider that it was "demonic.")
Well, folks. I'm a True Believer in Jesus Christ. I received Him as my Savior when I was 5 years old. And even though I had been in a 20-year slide, I was still, nonetheless, a "Christian." As today's (out-of-sequence) study on the "Empty Heart" says...God's Holy Spirit was in my heart. So, even though, in ignorance and seeking, I allowed myself to be on their "hot seat" ...their "spirits" did not enter me, because I was "Occupied." I went to the hot seat, with my heart in total communion with My Lord, seeking Him earnestly. (Ps119:45,Jer24:7) I did not get "tingly" in a "spiritual orgasm" nor babble, nor become "slain." A few more weeks of attending these meetings eventually showed me that they were not of God. But the Holy Spirit was with me. And apparently my imperviousness to their "spirits" was not unnoticed by them, as a few weeks later, when I happened to be sitting at McDonalds, a couple of the "fully charismatic" ones of them happened to walk in, and the younger one spoke to the other about me sitting there, with a tone of "wonderment" in his voice, "Hey Look! There's that fellow...!"
As we stated in the study/s...God knows the heart. He knows "your" heart. He knows whether or not you are "True."
What about somebody like this person who wrote? The very fact that there is deep concern indicates a compliant heart. If you wonder if you have crossed "that line" and whether or not it's too late; the very fact that you "wonder" about it means that God is still speaking to your heart. There is still hope/time. God has not written you off yet. God is "longsuffering, not willing that any should perish."(2Pt3:9)
What if you are feeling "uncomfortable" with your present situation attending these places, but your spouse wants you to go, and you are "obligated" to go with him? Does this put you in danger of Satan's "Gotcha!"? What about, if you attend somewhere not knowing what to expect, and suddently this stuff erupts around you? Here, we can draw from Scriptures, again. Naaman, a Gentile, has just been healed of leprosy, and is now talking with Elisha. He has obviously come to Faith in Jehovah. (2Kgs5:17) But "back home" in Syria he is in subjection to his (heathen) king. He expresses his "position" in being required to accompany his master when he worships at the "house of Rimmon." (vs18) Asks for "Jehovah's pardon" in this matter. And Elisha responds, "Go in peace." (vs19) "Grace." If your heart is right before God, Jesus promised, "behold, I give to you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the authority of the enemy [including charismatic demons]. And nothing shall by any means hurt you."(Lk10:19)
However, if you are scoffing at the clear teaching of Scripture against it, and are rebelliously INSISTING on your demonic "spirit-filled" experiences... well, my heart SHUDDERS to consider your destiny!
In a couple more subsequent communications, the topic of "catholic" came up, which raises one other point that needs to be made here.
First of all...
In these current studies we are addressing "charismatic" generically as one big package. For you newer subscribers, specific manifestations were considered a year and a half ago. If you are interested in Scriptural teaching about things like praying in the spirit, healings, tongues, prayer language, revival, etc. please visit VW's website, Articles, Commentaries & Q/A's around May-June, 1997. In addition, there is a very good piece by one of VW's subscribers on "Tongues" in the Library. These topics also have their own search words in the "Topics Search" menu. If you scroll down to "charismatic" that link will branch out to the rest.
The "manifestations" such as tongues and healings are not the primary concern. They are merely symptoms. "Charismatic" is; because "charisma" the "power" of the "spiritual" is what is at stake. It is the "glue" which binds the current ecumenism. When Evangelicals were rejoicing back in the 70's that Catholics were "becoming christian" it was Catholic "charismatics." If we understand that in the dark recesses of catholicism is occult, witchcraft and demonology (see Dave Hunt's book, "A Woman Rides the Beast"); and we understand that charismatic is a shamanistic approach to conjuring spirits; think about it a moment. Why shouldn't they combine with each other. In reality, they are of the "same" spirit/s. And whether Assemblies of God do their tongues, or Baptists merely do the emotional "worship music", satan doesn't care. The same spirit is at work in both. It is what drove the "Jesus People" and "Christian Hippy" movements. And through these over time, the eastern Tibetan/Indian Hindu-type meditative empowerment techniques became readily accepted by the up-until-then conservative Evangelical Fundamental churches.
The same Isaiah who spoke of the "mediums and wizards who peep and mutter"(8:19) saw this "word" concerning Israel (who is an "example" for our day -1Cor10:6)...
"You have forsaken Your people the house of Jacob, because they have become full from the east [eastern ways], and are fortune tellers like the Philistines. And they clap their hands [in worship] with the children of strangers." (Is2:6)
In the modern church... "charismatic" ...is it's name.
"all dwelling on the earth will worship it, those whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man has an ear, let him hear." (Rev13:8-9)