I promised this in a previous post. Prayerfully, I am plunging in to expand on my experience with the charismatic movement…
The first time I ever blogged something, even before my almost-but-not-really mommy blogger phase , I began writing with a mission.
I was fresh out of the charismatic movement I had spent so many years in, full of intense emotions, and determined to counsel others on the dangers therein.
Unfortunately, I don’t think I was terribly grounded yet in my newly found wisdom- nor the ways of the blogging world.
I really didn’t get readers. 😏
So, needless to say, that attempt didn’t last very long!
It would be quite some time, in fact, before I even broached the subject again. And when I did, it was much more tentative than my earlier attempts.
I was beginning to recognize how much of my earlier belief system needed unpacking and how much needed to be rebuilt.
And that takes time. Painstaking time. Coming out both barrels blasting as if I had the authority?
Not an option if I truly wanted an about-face from the past.
For so many things clung to me from my very first church experiences onward, things that permeated the very atmosphere.
Things that honestly left me angry when the truth fully dawned on me.
Things I was not ready to talk about with any measure for quite a while.
But, now that the initial anger I left my old church with has long since faded, I feel I can delve into this. I may still tread on some toes, but I know in my heart there’s no malice in my words- just deep-seated sorrow.
I hope I can convey that somehow here, even with the hard things that must be said.
So, what are these things I speak of?
Well, there are several, so I will begin by highlighting what stood out to me from the various erroneous teachings and just plain oddities I encountered over the years:
1. If you aren’t “falling out in the Spirit” (allowing someone to pray over you till you fall flat on the floor, presumably in a state of euphoria) and babbling together in strange tongues, you are missing out on the “better” part of the Spirit.
This part of the Spirit, according to their teaching, is a special, separate anointing that all Christians should and can have, if only we want it enough.
2. There was also the “name it and claim it” philosophy running rampant- that which says the more you give monetarily, the more you get monetarily, that Christians ought all be financially rich, or something is wrong in their walk, that what you declare in His name can automatically be.
3. There is an almost superstition to keeping every word spoken on the positive. To make sure we are “speaking only good over ourselves”. As if admittance of a struggle automatically causes even more struggle to dump over our heads.
4. Those who were not inclined to gyrate in the Spirit during music were subtly shamed for our “lack of fervor”.
Singing the same phrase countless times, almost chant-like, was supposed to somehow generate more of the Spirit in our midst.
5. We were to hunger for physical signs- angel feathers, gold dust, supernatural healing. Heaven was supposed to meet earth and become an everyday occurence, effectively eliminating reverence.
6. Sermons were there, but wandered over the same few passages that could be bent to human will in the guise of “seeking the Spirit”.
Seldom was salvation discussed or altar calls offered, at least not to lead anyone to Christ.
Altar calls usually involved looking for a prophetic word or the aforementioned “falling out”.
Some would have what they called “carpet time” for hours while their children anxiously waited in the nursery-unless it was a day someone had a notion to troop out the young ones for their “training in the Lord”, that is.
6. Guest speakers were brought in by the droves, some with mystical music to accompany them, some who claimed prophetic giftings, others whose moral failings and extrabiblical leanings were continually excused by grace and the words “fresh revelation”.
This last is what finally broke within me, caused me to stop punishing myself for not being “enough”, and stirred my heart to leave.
I had begun to read the Bible with new eyes that saw what it said versus what it could be bent to say.
I saw that nothing in scripture advocated much of what we did Sunday to Sunday.
So…I saw the writing on the wall.
I knew I couldn’t remain in a place where I could not respect what my leadership embraced, nor what they turned a blind eye to.
So much of it could be summed up to that. Spiritual blindness.
For, that by itself can easily account for buying into a pack of lies that simultaneously claims freedom from the rituals of traditional church and piles on a whole new set of them.
And, as stated, there was a time I was furious for the years this belief system robbed me of.
But, now… it’s more like heavy heartache.
Because I don’t know how many of those people I spent so many years with are really, actually saved.
I want to think some believe in the truth of trusting Christ alone for salvation, but there were so many crowded ideas and conjuring up of “a movement of God”, I cannot honestly say I could see the fruit.
It’s not that they never did good. Their food and clothing ministry thrived. The downtrodden felt like they were embraced.
But the confusing spiritual mix they served up in addition clouded the rest.
And, walking around with that knowledge, yet unable to persuade anyone in that old life of what I feel God revealed to me, is hard.
Unspeakably hard. Especially when some are beloved family.
I pray but I also keep my distance now, honestly. There’s no listening ears there at this point, and definitely no going back for me.
I now exercise extreme caution, testing teachings Berean-style to scripture, and sitting under a pastor that is very much Bible-based, to the point of directing us to test what he says to scripture.
I’m finding the simple clarity of salvation in Christ alone is a life-giving antidote to years of burdensome clutter.
And, slowly, I am finding my feet in sharing this. I am surer now than ever of where I stand:
On Christ alone.
To any who are unsure of the charismatic movement, I pray you test what is said against the Word of God and the Word of God alone. Thanks for reading and God bless!