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Op-Ed

The excesses of Charismatism

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By EMN Updated: May 05, 2014 11:49 pm
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Diezevizo Iralu

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his anointing, that anointing! (This one is specifically for Charismatic readers)
Stop running after different anointing brothers, running from one conference to the other, looking for this anointing, that anointing. “ If I could only meet Bill Johnson, Joseph Prince, Kris Valloton, Benny Hinn, etc, and get his anointing”. It stems out from the Elijah to Elisha mantle transfer, which is again Old Covenant. There is one anointing, the anointing of the Holy Spirit. ‘But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him’1Cor 16:17. You are one spirit with Him. Messiah means ‘Anointed One’ . The anointed one (Jesus) lives in you! How much more anointed do you want to be? Nothing wrong with attending conferences, but stop wasting money running after different anointings. You are anointed! ‘But the anointing that you have received from Him abides in you’ 1 John 2:27. It does not lift or wane, it abides, whether we ‘feel’ it or not. We live by faith, remember? “Come Holy Spirit, Come anointing”! Nope, none of that in the New Covenant. That’s old covenant mindset. Nothing in the new covenant even remotely points to different anointing for this and that. Let’s stop using the Holy Spirit in bits and pieces, and allow the fullness of the Spirit to work out of us, yes, we are complete in Him(Colossians 2:8-10).For example, in the natural, I didn’t grow an extra leg or hand when I became 16. God gave me everything I needed when I was born, two hands, two legs, two eyes, etc. As I grew up, I just learned how to use them. In the same way, spiritually also, when we got born- again, God gave us everything that we needed, including anointing. Why? Because He is good, and doesn’t hold back anything on us. We just have to believe that we have everything, the fullness of the Spirit.Whew, this has turned out to be a very long article, thank you everyone for bearing with me. Now, impartation is also along the same lines regarding anointing. The same spirit that lives in that preacher or pastor, lives in you. If he has the fullness of the Spirit, you also have the same. The moment you were filled with the Holy Spirit, you were filled with God, and God Himself indwells you. Now, Galatians 4:1 says that ‘the heir, as long as he is a child, is no better than a slave, though he is the owner of all the estate…’ Yes, we may not feel like an heir immediately, but we must realize that the fullness of the spirit lives in us. 1Timothy 4:14 says, ‘Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given to you by prophetic utterance when the elders laid their hands upon you’. This is another basis for the ‘impartation craze’. Let’s revisit our grammar class in high school. It says, do not neglect the ‘gift’ – singular. It is not gifts or mantles. I believe this is why John wrote a warning by divine revelation in Revelation 22:18, ‘I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book; if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book’. Just adding one syllable or letter and it becomes a whole new doctrine again. And yes, the Devil can deceive us even through the word. I believe God already knew this, and hence the warning. It is sad to realize that billions of dollars or rupees (which can be used to alleviate the poor and suffering),are wasted every year by believers jumping from this conference to that conference, running after this impartation, that impartation without realizing that God gave us the fullness of the spirit.
And moreover, it is very important to note that 1 Tim 4:14 is referring to the GIFT of the Holy Spirit, not this gift, that gift. Yes, there are different gifts in operation, (Corinthians12:4), but the same spirit. These gifts are in operation from the fullness of the Spirit inside us! Stop separating what the Father has joined together- you and Christ. The Bible never tells us to get this impartation of such and such gift externally from another believer or highly revered spiritual leader, because the same spirit that is in him, is in us. The fullness of the spirit is in us folks, – ‘And you have been given fullness in Him, who is the head of all rule and authority’(Col2:10). We are co-heirs with Him, what He has, we have – as He is, so are we in this world. (1John4:17). Jesus never ran after anointings, impartations, gifts, or cried out to His Father for this and that. He was a Son, and so are You, in Him. He showed us perfectly how to operate as a Son in the kingdom and told us to continue His ministry.
I am not condemning the believers who run after impartations, many do it out of ignorance, and it is also true that, for some people, they start seeing the operation of the particular gift after getting prayed for, because of their faith – according to your faith be unto you – Matt 9:29.But the point is, what should our faith be based on? It should be based on the Word, not traditions or doctrines, and the Word says, ‘ And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’John8:32. The Word also says, ‘My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge’ Hosea 4:6. So, my prayer is that we will start realizing that our Father is good, and has not withheld anything from us, He has given us His fullness.
The Party mindset :
This is another mindset that is propagated or preached by many preachers in the charismatic circle that is not entirely biblical in its fullest sense. It goes like this, “ It’s a big party in Heaven, and our Daddy is the host”, or , “There’s only dancing and jumping and worshipping in Heaven, no order, just fun”.
It paints a perverted picture that God is only a bartender in Heaven.
Yes, I believe that God is fun, that He’s in a good mood that He’s smiling down on us because of the sacrifice made at the cross. His wrath has been satisfied on the body of our redeemer, Jesus Christ. Yes, the cross is the ultimate reason to rejoice for a believer, because God has forgiven and washed away all our unrighteousness and sins through the cross. He has made us righteous through the sacrifice of His Son. There is joy, and there definitely should be joy in every believer’s heart, who have come to know this revelation. And of course, there is definitely rejoicing and inexplicable joy in heaven even right now, angels are rejoicing over the adoption of Sons and Daughters (You and I ) into His Family.
I know I am sounding like a doomsday killjoy, but here’s another concern. Yes, there is much rejoicing in Heaven, and I also rejoice along with other believers. But here’s the catch, if we overemphasize only the party aspect, we have a tendency to forget that we are also soldiers in the kingdom – ‘Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus’(2Timothy 2:3). The next verse also says that our aim is to satisfy the One who enlisted us. Have we over-emotionalized Christianity?
Now, Haggai 2:23 and Isaiah9:7 refers to God as the Lord of hosts(Armies).Isaiah 9:6 also prophesies about the coming Christ saying, ‘ For unto us a child is born ….and the Government will be upon His shoulder’. The beginning of the next verse also says, ‘Of the increase of His government and of peace, there will be no end’. It does not say ‘the parties of heaven will be on His shoulders’. There is order and discipline in a government.Revelation19:14 also says, ‘And the armies of Heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, followed Him on white horses’. Moreover, 1 Corinthians14:33 also says that God is not a God of confusion but of order. We can see now that the word says that there is a government in Heaven, that there is order. We have also seen that we are soldiers in His army. Revelations19 does not say that Jesus will bring with Him the party mobs of heaven. What is the difference between an army and mob? – Discipline. A government has order. Yes, God is our Father, and He is in a good mood, He loves us and He is interested in us having a good time in His presence. But we must also realize that our Father is God, and He deserves respect. He’s not the ‘Good old Daddy upstairs’. He is God. And I believe that as much as He derives pleasure in seeing us having a good time, we must also realize that we are soldiers in His Army. Personally, in Kohima, I have never seen the Indian army jumping around throwing their guns here and there and laughing hysterically when on duty. Yes, we should have a good time worshipping and rejoicing, but there is also a job to be done. And there should be order because we are not in a party all the time, we are under a Government, as soldiers under a God who has order. After all, He cannot work with soldiers who are always drunk in the Holy Spirit and want to party or worship all the time. He is the Commander in Chief, He has given us the ministry of reconciliation and He needs soldiers of Christ with discipline who will say, “Yes sir”! or “No, Sir”!
Grace as a license to sin
Another thorn in the side for many charismatic pastors and leaders. Here’s my attempt to straighten it. And yes, I also got caught up in this mindset. After getting born again, there was a period where there was a sense of compete holiness, the holiness imparted by the Holy Spirit, cleansing me from all my past sins and giving me beauty for ashes. And I tell you, my beloved readers, my life before coming to Christ was a roller coaster of sin. This write-up was never influenced by my goodness or my lineage; it is entirely God and his undeserved grace. I didn’t deserve it by a far shot, yet He loved the prodigal son unconditionally. Anyway, yes, there was this period where my thoughts were redeemed, my actions were redeemed, my worldly characters were redeemed and I often fell into prideful thoughts (my own mistake) thinking that God loves me more than anyone else. But then, slowly, as I kept listening to messages like. “ It’s ok what you did last week, yesterday, or last night, God still loves you” – the message of grace, I slowly started taking His grace for granted , His love for granted, and started thinking, “Oh, grace is there, it’s ok to do this, do that” – exactly the mindset that a lot of Charismatic believers fall into. Before I go further, let me reiterate that I am not against this teaching. Reminding new believers of their righteousness in Christ over and over is very important for their spiritual growth and maturity, especially when they are struggling with old habits. And yes, God loves us in spite of whatever failures we commit even after we are born again. Grace covers the past, present and future.
What I am trying to say here is that, for the old believers, when we keep listening to this same message, even though it is true, in many hearts, including mine, a wrong mindset crops up – using grace as a license to sin. Hence, a period of time came when I started going back to Egypt, when God wanted me to enter the Promised Land. Then, it hit me like a ton of bricks, “Wait, God never saved me to be a sanctified sinner!” as though there is such a word! I am not at all implying that all the old believers are in sin, but as I share this, I know many of you, like me, can relate to this issue.
I have shared before that the Bible is a balance, and I believe that here also, there needs to be a balance. Yes, He loves us in spite of whatever we have done, in spite of the mistakes we commit here and there even after coming to Christ. But again, we need to know that we cannot take advantage of this fact. Yes, He is love (1John4:8), He is our Father (Rom 8:15), but He is also God, not just someone we can play with. I’m not trying to bring out fear, the wrong fear towards Him but we need to know that we have died to sin (Romans6:2). Ok, let’s take an example, – We all know that our earthly fathers loves us, we know that even when we mess up, they will still love us and have loved us. But does that mean that we can start testing their love for us? I know my father loves me, but there are still certain things that I would not say or do in front of him out of respect for him, how much more the Heavenly Father who lives in us through the Holy Spirit?
Church, we need to quit acting like the Corinthians church. Yes, healings, manifestations of the Holy Spirit, signs and wonders will still take place even if we are in sin because miracles operate by faith. Seeing these signs doesn’t automatically imply that God favors us more or that we are better than other churches. Yes, God is good and He loves us unconditionally, but we cannot keep ranting “Grace, grace, grace covers all” and keep ignoring the issues which are hindering the growth of the Body of Christ. Yes, grace covers all sins, but then again, we have died to sin. Until we realize we are dead, we will be tossed around here and there with the desires of the world. We also cannot generalize saying, “Other churches are in sin too”. The word says in 1 Peter 1:16 – ‘Be holy, as I am holy’. God is perfect, and He expects us to walk in His perfection, not through our works or our goodness, but through His power, through His grace, through His Holy Spirit.
Paul says in Hebrews 6:1 – ‘Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the basic foundations of our faith…’ It’s high time for believers to move on to maturity, to becoming sons and daughters in the kingdom. We need to start taking meat instead of milk all the time. Paul says again in Corinthians 3:1,2 and 3 – ‘Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly – mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not ready yet for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly.’
Are we ready church? Are we ready to become mature soldiers of Christ?
Summary
I know I have raised many eyebrows with this write-up and trampled on many dearly held traditions or mindsets. But whatever denomination we belong to, whatever group we belong to, the Bible has to be our ultimate guide. We did not make the rules, He made it. We cannot make God come into line with our beliefs; we get into line with His word. He’s the Boss, not us. He is the Creator, we are the created. However, having said that, I want to emphasize strongly that I have written out of concern and compassion, not out of the intention to target a particular denomination. After, all I also indulged in all these practices before I came to know the truth, so the first finger also points to myself too.
I also want to put up a challenge to the church to become real. After all, we do not become emotionless, characterless, nature less robots or zombie new creations after we get born again. Yes, as new creations(2 Cor5:17), of course, some habits or characters have to die like anger, rage or lust, but many of the virtues which make up our being are used by God for His glory. He sanctifies and redeems our characters and uses the same to extend His kingdom. There are people out there who are vastly different – some are funny and easy to get along with, while some are gruff and serious, some are a little slow, while some are very quick to grasp things, etc. Yet God uses them all, after all, He is the creator of our temperaments too. It is human fallen nature to quickly judge someone who is not smart like us, or dislike someone who shows us exactly a mirror image of ourselves when they mess up. Church, let’s start becoming real and becoming love to our brothers and sisters, because we are all part of the same body of Christ. Pastors and leaders, be real to your flock, don’t hide your weaknesses or shortcomings. Members and believers of the faith, lets become real to ourselves and to our leaders without having to pretend or hide under a mask, and together let us also address the issues affecting our leaders in love without fear because no one is perfect in the flesh, however anointed he may be. Personally in my life, I have experienced great freedom after coming out from the need to pretend and started to become real, after becoming the person God created me to be, not what people or the church demanded me to become. More freedom also came when I started admitting my mistakes and started restitution for the same.
And lastly and most importantly, it is imperative to understand that I not trying to incite rebellion towards pastors or leaders of churches or towards the Five Fold ministry. I am mandated to speak the truth of the Word as a Christian, but in doing so, I am not trying to incite offense or hatred between different denominations, for God loves all, and it is my duty and privilege to love all. My attempt to correct has been in love, and not out of personal grudges against anyone – ‘For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities…’(Ephesians 6:12). Peace to all.
NB: Pastor Moa, I enjoyed your sermon today! Right on! We need more leaders like you! It’s a confirmation
to this write-up too.
( Part 2/2 concluded)

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By EMN Updated: May 05, 2014 11:49:51 pm