By Pastor Jermin
Full disclosure. I am a former charismatic. Yes, former. As in I ‘used to be’
I do not believe in ‘speaking in tongues’ any longer, (yes I used to do it) at least as practiced by the Pentecostals and charismatics that I know and Love. I no longer believe in what they will define as ‘The baptism of the Holy Ghost’ (aka the second blessing, doctrine of subsequence, which differs significantly from the Biblical definition)
Am I still saved? Yes, Sanctified? Yes. Holy Ghost Filled? Yes.
Am I a cessationist, then? No, rather, not quite… (I will explain that in a later piece.)
It is not for lack of experiences, mind you. Rather it is because I believe that my experiences/feelings are not evidence of the truth…
Let me reword that for further clarity:
I do NOT believe that my Spiritual experiences, emotions, and/or feelings are evidence of The Truth (and neither should you…)
I have been to ‘bucket churches’, where you purge/vomit out your demons. I have been to churches where the people were there not to hear The Word, but to get ‘A word’, or ‘A touch’ from the man or woman of God.
I have seen people completely subjected to the will of these leaders as a result of believing that they hold some particular power, and I have seen many become idolaters. In fact, I was one myself…
I hear people say that because I no longer believe in ‘the gifts’ (which by the way are not listed in the Bible) that I am out of balance. In fact, just recently I have heard that John 5:39-40 (39 You pore over the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, yet they testify about Me. 40 And you are not willing to come to Me so that you may have life.) applies to people like me, in that we search the scriptures and in the process ‘miss Jesus’.
I am not sure that I fully understand this comment, though, especially in light of the following : Hebrews 1 says that God speaks through His Son. Where is the Son? Sitting at the right hand of the Father? What then do we have to speak the Words of the Son to us?
So, wondering aloud:
Am I to place my experiences before the written word?
Am I to try and harmonize my experiences with the scripture?
Which takes precedence?
What happens when what I believe is the ‘power of God’ does not agree with the scriptures?
What do YOU do in that case?
What is the arbiter?
How do I obey the advice offered by the Apostle John to ‘test the Spirits’, if not by The Word?
What standard of measure should I use?
What is the final authority, my experiences/feelings, or the Scriptures?
So, to those who would use John 5:39-40 to make a point about the study of the scriptures: Are you implying that we who do not (or no longer) hold to charismatic beliefs re: the ‘power of God’ (things like the doctrine of subsequence and glossolalia) are somehow phariseeic?
All righty then