Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Charismatic Movement: Cause for Celebration or Concern?

I found this book last year at a local Goodwill store for .50--being the bibliophile and former charismatic that I am, I bought it and have been slowly picking away at it.

Here's a link to Al Mohler's book review, The Charismatic Movement: Cause for Celebration or Concern? Much of what Mohler says highlights our need to give greater thought and consideration to the practices and claims of the charismatic movement--no matter how subtle it may appear:

"...he rightly points to the emphasis on feelings and experience as the Achilles heel of the Charismatic approach to doctrine and discipleship. 'It is vital for Christians to approach the Bible as the final source of authority. There is a tendency today to elevate one's personal experience above truth as revealed in the Bible. Our culture tends to place trust in man's feelings as the prominent feature in making decisions about truth. Our feeling-oriented society wants to go by how it feels about a matter in determining what the truth of a matter is.' "

"On the matter of "power evangelism," Vines notes that the focus of these ministries is too often on the "signs and wonders" rather than on the gospel of Christ. The real power is the salvation of a sinner - not the manifestation of signs or supposed miracles."

"Vines dares to tread where few have gone before when he considers the controversial belief in territorial spirits and spirit warfare. He affirms the reality of demons and the importance of prayer in the Christian life. But he demonstrates that the Charismatics have gone far beyond the Bible's teachings in their understanding of territorial spirits and their claims of demonic warfare. Whereas some Charismatics claim to know the names of demons and to detect demonic presence and activity within geographical areas, Vines warns that it 'is possible to get so focused on the dark side that one diminishes the person and power of the Lord Jesus Christ.' "

"The greatest strength of the book [SpiritWorks] is its consistent affirmation of the evangelical doctrine of Scripture. Vines underlines the necessity of rejecting any claims to a post-biblical revelation on par with the canon of Scripture, and he insists upon the priority of biblical authority over personal experience. The Bible is the authoritative corrective to Charismatic excesses and errors."

"The Charismatic movement cannot be ignored. Its influence in contemporary church life is remarkable and growing, and, because of its need for promoting emotional energy, it is constantly producing new manifestations."

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