Thursday 16 June 2011

Why Charismatic Christianity is crap

First published in my Facebook note.

Well, that got your attention.
Charismatic christianity per se is not crap. It is a growth stage. I didn't have room in the title to put what I really think.
Charismatic Christianity as it is presented by its leaders all over the world is crap. Why? Because they NEVER present it for what it is....a through stage. It is "young men " Christianity according to the list in 1 John 2 where St John, one of the first twelve apostles of the Lamb, and, most notably the one who"loved " Jesus, the only one who was present at the death of Christ.....
Have I laid sufficient weight to his standing and authority to speak?
Now John never spoke the words " The charismatic movement is the young men stage", but from scripture alone, even before we get down to history, it is possible to be really clear about this.
So, just as no one would say teenage is rubbish and should be done away with, tempted as we might be, we cannot do away with this manifestation of a Christian through stage either.
What is wrong is that  leaders imply the charismatic movement IS "IT". They even imply we should be like them, and when we are we will be mature and lead charismatic conferences just like them.
In 2008 in Lakeland,Florida, some of the world's longstanding charismatic eldership swooped like vultures to give credence to what  was going on in the revival as it was being televised over months by God Channel. In principle, I cannot quarrel with the idea. I quarrel with the perceived charismatic notion that they are mature leaders.
They were all mature charismatic leaders. All of them have done the rounds. All have raised up large charismatic megachurches. They know how to buy or stage large auditoriums where thousands come to sing, where worship groups lead them, and where these ministries have developed great encouraging teaching skills whereby they can keep you enthralled for over an hour. Actually, they know far more than this because they will all have personal mighty supernatural giftings. People don't just get into these positions because they are good speakers, but because their particular gifts and callings have been recognized and appreciated over decades.
Harvard Student Leaders
 But , you know, back to the natural picture, say universities. Universities develop their own pecking order. They stage events. Leaders emerge. Perhaps even leaders that can hold hundreds or thousands enthralled with their speech and ideas. But no one anywhere is describing a student leader however charismatic, as someone who could simply walk into
the Oval Office and take over the nation of the USA.  It is understood that these 20-22 year olds maybe Kings in their own Harvard or wherever pond, but they are not mature enough to lead a nation.
St Paul used the ironic term in the Bible of "super apostles". He obviously suffered from people politics in his day in the then still fresh expressions of church. He chided Christians in his letters with phrases like "I could not address you as mature." "Would that you were kings" "How is it that some say they are of Apollos, some of Peter etc.Do you not know that ALL are yours?"
 This is one of the give aways that you cannot fake. I mean, try as hard as you might to organise your charismatic movement against it, but it will still bleed through the framework.
What is that?
Immature people, naturally or spiritually do not have the breadth of older people. They run down narrow tramlines. They find security in niches. They follow a very small handful of teachers in more or less the same stream.
Be it,proclaiming the charismatic church as a mature version of church.......
or Benny Hinn and Morris Cerullo even implying to an audience that we should aspire to be like them (although some of the power of their anointing is, most admit, pretty impressive) is terribly misleading. What , you mean able to speak to thousands of people about faith, signs and wonders, and other "young men" subjects of the Bible?  That's maturity is it?
No. According to the Bible,going into personal deaths on behalf of raising up others  to know Christ in them the hope of glory. Going into a church building and sniffing the air to  determine whether we can savour the death and resurrection of other words the amount Christ is reproduced in those people. "Do I find among you Christ crucified," Paul asks.
It's a different order of ministry again. It's a ministry carrying with it a far greater order of authority. For it presses people into reality. The end result of such ministry is that people really are Kings in their own area or locality, as Paul describes.
We're not shadowboxing as is often the case in the charismatic movement. We're getting people to "mesh" with their surroundings, like cogs on a driveshaft. Only this particular driveshaft is Romans 8, where the end result is that creation itself is set free around us.
As you can read in the Melchizedek post on Rees Howells, before Rees set his face, the world's freedoms were terribly threatened by several dictators. After he had finished , the power of a lot of them had been broken. His declarations of faith had real world effects. But it was a calling for which he had been trained over decades. It was not a sudden whim.
So once again I say, there is no getting around "the charismatic" through stage. What is crap, is calling it mature church.
Mature church has  Father level (1 John 2) leaders, not mature charismatics. I'll say that again. Father level people lead the mature version of church in the Earth. Charismatic leaders lead the charismatic movement.

1 comment:

Chris Welch - 07000INTUNE said...

kind note from James Hughes of Liss,
Dear Chris,

4th July 2011 Just studied your Why Charismatic Christianity is crap essay. My fear with any such writing is always that the writer is so worked up, disappointed (usually bitterly so), and so concerned to put a situation right that she/he throws out the baby with the bathwater — leaving 98% of the readers feeling like giving up altogether, because there appears to be so much dispute among the Christian leadership, and no love or respect at all, but only what appears to be intense and total hatred. I therefore approached even your article with great caution.

What a delightful surprise to discover exactly the opposite of this: a perspective where the writer is mature, fatherly and Godly enough to make his point, without leaving those younger — or less advanced in relationship with Messiah and the Kingdom of God — bewildered, and feeling like 6-year-olds in an Oxbridge advanced mathematics exam. No wonder there are so many prodigals these days!

Reading previous articles of yours left me, I confess, unsure about when you were employing irony, and slightly, whether there was any hope at all for less scholarly and/or less mature and aware believers such as me. What was being offered as hope for moving deeper into relationship with the Lord seemed, in places, very bundled up with Church and theological politics (though there was generally something there I hoped I would understand better one day).

If this present article is typical of the real or more considered you, however — the place your discipleship and pilgrimage has brought you to — then if I was wearing a hat, I'd take it off to you. There's not a lot that teaches me anything deeper these days. But that article most certainly has. And I am very thankful to you. Please flag up anything like that for me, would you?

P.S. Though he appeared tired, Peter Stott was great: lovely and fatherly, and patient as he taught some of the essential basics of healing. What an impossible job Church leadership is, though! A gathering of people that, inevitably and unavoidably, include people new to such teaching and phenomena, who of course presently appear to lack the discipline and commitment or courage necessary to move onwards and upwards to the calling and destiny you write about. But then there are people like you, Molly and N & P! What a conundrum!!! How could even Jesus deliver a 40 minute sermon that helped and advanced the widely different needs of such a mixed bunch of people??? Whatever, I was again encouraged, blessed and my leaky tank re-filled. I can't help loving that man, so to see him tired — yet still rising above it to minister — was deeply inspiring, lovely and heartwarming.

Forever love to you, Christine and Ben,
James Hughes.