Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I was brought to faith and trust in Christ as my Lord and Savior while in high school. Almost immediately, I was confronted with the charismatic errors when I tried getting involved in Bible Studies that I heard about from my high school peers. Curious but cautious, I asked my pastor about all this emotionally charged falderal. My inquiry to my pastor developed into a year and a half of his personally discipling me in the faith and teaching me biblical discernment or teaching me how to rightly divide the word of God (2 Timothy 2:15).

Through the first ten years of my Christian life, I encountered over and over those who claimed to be Christians and yet they were involved in the Charismatic error. I soon developed, almost out of necessity, a system of apologetics and presentation to Charismatics. And, that is what I want to present to you, the reader, in this essay.

People get involved with the charismatic error due to zeal, not according to knowledge.

Almost universally, with only a very few exceptions, charismatic initiates are told erroneously that their salvation experience must be in "two-steps." There is a "praying to receive Christ" and then a subsequent experience to seek called "the baptism of the Holy Spirit" that will always be evidenced by speaking in tongues. The teaching is that there is a second blessing. Christ blessed you with salvation, "the fire insurance from hell," then there is the "second work of grace' in which you get the power to live the Christian life and you will know that you have this blessing when you speak in tongues.

I covered this error extensively in my three-part essay in my "God Blog." Open the archive drop-down menu in this blog and look for the July 2, 9, 11 entries for the three-part series entitled, "Two-Step Plan for Salvation."

Almost without exception, charismatic theology will have a mega-faulty Soteriology doctrine. Soteriology means salvation. They hold to a doctrine of salvation that is "semi-Pelagian," amounting to what was determined by the Western Church in the Second Council of Orange in 529 to be heretical.

"Semipelagianism is a Christian theological understanding about salvation; that is, the means by which humanity and God are restored to a right relationship. Semipelagian thought stands in contrast to the earlier Pelagian teaching about salvation (in which man is seen as effecting his own salvation), which had been dismissed as heresy. Semipelagianism in its original form was developed as a compromise between Pelagianism and the teaching of Church Fathers such as Augustine of Hippo, who taught that man cannot come to God without the grace of God. In Semipelagian thought, therefore, a distinction is made between the beginning of faith and the increase of faith. Semipelagian thought teaches that the latter half - growing in faith - is the work of God, while the beginning of faith is an act of free will. It too was labeled heresy by the Western Church in the Second Council of Orange in 529. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semipelagianism"

The reason why this is important is because it is an error that makes man responsible for his salvation. In other words, the charismatic teaches that they come to faith as so: "I made a decision based on an act of my free will." This thought throws Ephesians 2:1-10 out with the trash. Salvation becomes "of yourself and a result of works."

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV, italics mine)

So, the zeal to be saved from their sins in charismatic doctrine is not according the knowledge of Scriptures. It is not Biblical salvation. The charismatic appeal to be saved, redeemed, forgiven from sin is one based on human works: free will.

"And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. ... And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. ... For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect" (Matt. 24:4, 5, 11, 24 KJV).

People are drawn to charismatic circles because they don't have to do the hard work of thinking straight about Holy Scripture.

Though I have not been in a charismatic Bible study in years (since I was a teenager), the typical approach to understanding the Word of God is a group sharing process. This is when a passage of scripture is thrown out into the group (sometimes the chosen text was suggested the week before for "study") and a kind of "round robin" occurs where everyone "shares what they feel the text is saying."

Sometimes there is a "Bible study leader" who is more a facilitator who ends up managing what some have called a "pooling of ignorance" within the group. These are not harsh words; this is an explanation of how it is. And this is an explanation of how it still is if what I read on the Internet is any indication of the truth.

Hermeneutics simply means:

"This particular form of theological hermeneutics, especially within the mainstream Protestant tradition, considers Christian Biblical hermeneutics in the tradition of explication of the text, or exegesis, to deal with various principles that can be applied to the study of Scripture. If it is axiomatic that the canon of Scripture must be an organic whole, rather than an accumulation of disparate individual texts written and edited in the course of history, then any interpretation that contradicts any other part of scripture is not considered to be sound." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_hermeneutics)

An example of how this applies in the case of the modern charismatic tongue speaking phenomenon is that the movement fails to understand I Corinthians chapters 12-14 in light of Isaiah 28:11. An elementary understanding and application of hermeneutics would show that the gift of tongues was a sign unto an unbelieving Jewish nation as a sign of judgment for their rejection of their Messiah. This would obliterate their "Two-Step Plan of Salvation" and "Baptism of the Spirit evidenced by speaking in tongues."

People are drawn to the charismatic error due a desire to be holy.

Let me make a clarification. People are drawn to the charismatic error due to a desire to be holy but not a holiness that is in accordance with knowledge, Bible Knowledge!

The state of holiness the charismatic doctrine promises is not the holiness of the Bible. The "true child of God" desires to be holy. He or she desires to live in a manner worthy of Christ, the Lord and Savior. This is, by the way, an indication of whether or not someone is truly born again. Does he or she desire to be like Christ?

The charismatic desire to be holy is almost always a desire for power. This is what the initiate is told. "Now that you are a Christian, you need power." And this "power" is to be sought and found in the "Second Work of Grace," the "baptism," evidenced by speaking in tongues.

The Biblical doctrine in holiness can be found in three tenses.

The idea behind the Biblical doctrine "to sanctify" means to be set apart unto holiness.

First Tense: For the true believer, when God brings you to faith and truth in Christ as Lord and Savior, you are positionally before God "set apart unto holiness" in and through Christ Jesus, forever (Hebrews 10:10). We are in Christ where He is, seated at the right hand of God in the heavenly places, and are "saints" and "holy" in our position in Christ from the very moment in time we first believed (Phil. 1:1 & Heb. 3:1).

Second Tense: For the true believer, when God brings you to faith and trust in Christ as Lord and Savior, conditionally or experientially you are being "sanctified," or "being set apart unto holiness" by the ministry of the Holy Spirit in your life. This is done through the medium of the Holy Scriptures.

"Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth." (John 17:17 Amplified Bible)

Third Tense: Complete sanctification will occur when Christ comes in His glorious return (1 John 3:2).


Continued in Part Two