Folly: Lunacy in Jesus' Name
I know a number of saved people who are charismatic and that is why I've held off on writing this article. I needed to know some more facts. On 4-27-97, the Washington Post had a huge picture of a mass of people with upraised hands plastered on the front of the Style section with the title, "What in God's Name...?" The subtitle read,
June 1995. Pensacola, Florida. A one-day church service turns into the longest, loudest religious revival in nearly a century. It's still going strong. There's weeping and wailing and bodies are thudding to the floor. Is this love, LUNACY, or the beginning of the end of the world?
The article started by describing that fateful Father's Day in 1995 when the "Revival" started--a gushing wind, the pastor couldn't walk, the pastor fell to the floor, etc. The paper then added a disturbing comment--"like a story straight out of the Bible". They are attributing weirdness to the word of God. Maybe at some point, I'll add at least part of the article to this page. Anyway, after reading the article, I stored the newspaper article away sorrowful. Lunacy associated with Jesus Christ. Another blow. Whew.
Then a few weeks ago, I received a book about charismatic leaders. I also received several e-mails from charismatics. Then today I got two e-mails about the charismatic movement--from different people. I felt compelled to write this article tonight because it seems that the Lord has let me see folly so many times that I've got to bust out of silence. This is one of the worst times I've had writing an article because I know people who are saved and charismatic.
I even went to church with a charismatic friend once (I believe she's been to Pensacola. She was the first person to tell me about it). She and I had talked about the things of Christ at work but I didn't know what kind of church she attended. When we got to her church we got a show. Beautiful music filled with Bible verses floated through the auditorium, but then the song leader kept telling people to worship, worship, hand praise, hand praise. His commands seemed rather contrived as if to play on and heighten people's emotions.
As we sat in the service, a woman in the audience yelled out and I almost jumped out of my skin--I thought a maniac had broken into the service (I know, I'm ridiculous). She started screaming, "Your cup is not full, your cup is not full, I want to fill it..." like she was speaking the oracles of God. What happened to women keeping silent in the churches? Now that I've had some time to speak to some folks, and read up on it, I understand that this is called prophesying. I call it extra-biblical revelation. As a Bible-believer, I know that everything that pertaineth to life and godliness is found between the covers of my authorized King James Bible. The cherry on top of the day was the guest preacher was a woman! At the end of the service, a man told people to come up front while some soothing music played behind his voice. People were just standing around moaning while he talked. This lasted quite a long time.
Another thing I noticed at the church was a man saying that everybody that gets saved must speak in "their own spiritual language" (this refers to speaking in tongues). A lot of charismatics have written me telling me that I ain't telling the full gospel if I don't include Acts 2:38. Even though this verse doesn't say anything about speaking in tongues, I know that this is what they are driving at. In my e-mail archives somewhere I have several responses to this issue but I don't have the time to dig them out, rather I will say that speaking in tongues is not a sign that you've been baptized or filled with the Holy Ghost. Many charismatics are bound up and tightly chained by their desire to see signs and wonders. In the Bible, these signs were not for the elect but for the unbeliever, yet in charismatic churches every Sunday, people want to see a show. Back to tongues...
Some people will say, "Tongues is over with. Nobody can do that anymore." I won't go that far because the scriptures won't let me. I will say however, that charismatics oftentimes disregard the biblical standards for exercising this spiritual gift. Paul said if it is done in church, (1) someone must interpret the tongue and (2) a maximum of 2 to 3 people can speak in tongues at one service. In many charismatic services, everybody and their grandma is speaking in tongues, slaying in the spirit (not biblical), and laying hands on people they don't know. A lot of the "speaking in tongues" that is done is not really tongues at all. It is unintelligible babble. Let me continue to digress with another little story...
When I was young adult (about 21) I went to a church with a friend and the lady preacher had me on tv trying to make me speak in tongues. I felt embarrassed and almost wished I could (I think a lot of people get pressured into it). She practically put the microphone down my throat while she said something like, "Hubba da dubba--do it. Hubba da dubba dubba." I felt that it was too ridiculous to do. I wanted to laugh but at the same time I was nervous with the lights glaring in my face in the front of a church full of people. After a few moments of me standing there looking crazy she pushed me over to a man who started talking to me. I guess I was slowing up the program.
Should Christians be barking like dogs and oinking like pigs? Should a woman be laughing so hard she's rolling around on the floor with her skirt above her head? Should a man be so "drunk" in church that he's laying on the lap of a woman who is not his wife? Is the term "Holy Ghost glue" in the Bible? How about "Holy Ghost bartender"? Should we listen to a preacher who makes a prophecy and it comes out wrong? Read Deuteronomy 18:22 for the answer. Should kids have to be sent home from school because they can't stop "jerking"? God is not the author of confusion and these things are certainly confusion.
I can't stop people from sending their nasty comments to me about this issue, but there is no need to write defending this devilish stuff. I've seen so much that I'm filled up to the gills. I've held off and held off, but the actions are not lining up with the good book.
People have written burned out with the speaking in tongues and antics that they were expected to perform week after week. Forget about a man-made "Holy Ghost party" as it is termed by some charismatic leaders. The night is far spent and the works of darkness are working at full force. We ain't got no time to be drunk--twitchin and a shakin' drivin' off the road and such nonsense. The Bible says that we've got to be SOBER!
I'm afraid that at many of the "Holy Ghost parties" in Pensacola and worldwide devils are having a field day while the work of God is left undone. A non-believer can go to Pensacola and come out not knowing any more about eternal salvation than when they went. One gentleman who's gone several times described he and his family's last trip. It seemed they had a good time, but his entire description focused on the jerking business. Near the end he added "and Steve Hill gave a short message". Nothing about the message. I don't recall the name "Jesus" being mentioned one time.
Our faith is a mind faith. At its core is Jesus Christ, not our emotions. Yes, I get emotional meditating on the goodness of God and hearing His word, but for many charismatics that emotion comes from jumping up and down on Sunday to some heart throbbing music. Is this what disciples are supposed to do? What doth the Bible say? What was Jesus doing while here? Preaching and teaching the kingdom of God, and doing good works. What was Paul doing? Preaching and teaching and encouraging from prison. What was Timothy, Silas, Barnabas doing? Going on missionary trips preaching the gospel to a lost world. What about many charismatic preachers? Falling down in the pulpit, laughing their heads off, slaying in the spirit (knocking people out with a touch), prophesying about church buildings, and speaking in tongues while nobody knows what they are saying.
If you are interested in documented cases of charismatic leaders lying and thieving, one book to check out is "Counterfeit Revival" by Hank Hanegraff. Also go to David Cloud's page for sundry articles on this movement.
A sad quote and I'll leave this subject alone. This passage is taken from "Counterfeit Revival" by Hank Hanegraff on page 87:
"One night I was preaching on hell," boasts Counterfeit Revival leader Rodney Howard-Browne, when suddenly laughter "just hit the whole place. The more I told people what hell was like, the more they laughed."
I'm sorry but hell is no laughing matter. If anything it should drive men to repentance and those of us who are saved should be thinking "Thank you Jesus I'm not going there." We certainly shouldn't be laughing because it is a real place and people we know are going there. The Spirit of Christ would not make us laugh.