In my article, The Self Promotion Deception, I needed to be careful to steer clear from heavy words like cultic, manipulative but while doing so also bringing to light some of the negative tendencies of their practices. Due to the styles of worship, and teaching it is very easy to slip into an emotionalism and manipulation patterns without some type of guideline to keep the Charismatic Church stay on track. How can we keep Jesus Central? First we should look at a few important questions to assist us in our quest?
Why should we care about the Charismatics?
The first and foremost reason is because they are apart of the Body of Christ and God calls us to care for our own. Not only that but we are all bound together, whether we like it our not. In 1 Corinthians 12:14-20 Paul reminds us, “For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.” God calls us to work together with those in the Body of Christ and to even help a brother or sister who has “gone off the beaten path” to return. Although I think it would be unwise to say that all Charismatics are slipping away from Christ, I do think it is easy to do so.
What positive attributes do Charismatics Bring?
Charismatic Christians are some of the most passionate believers in the Church. They love worship and prayer and are dedicated to see God move in their lives and the lives of others, this is a beautiful desire. They are also very accepting of all Christian denominations and truly desire unity within the Body of Christ. They encourage a strong faith in the power of Jesus Christ and the present spiritual realities. Also many Charismatics are sensitive to what is God doing in their personal lives and in the Body. They do not shun his call on their lives to speak His prophetic voice into the world. They are very passionate about injustices, and advocate for the oppressed.
Some Policy’s to Avoid Error
1. Have a good accountability system.
Christian accountability shows humility and a willingness to hear others advice. Through accountability the Charismatic church can make sure that they are keeping Christ at the center of their motivations.
2. Have a leadership team of more than one pastor
“Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” Proverbs 15:22
When many are involved in church ministry it is harder to become deceived by the desires of the flesh; like power, fame or even money. John Piper gives a helpful guideline in his Church Covenant handbook about the importance of Church accountability: ” We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember one another in prayer; to aid one another in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy in speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation and mindful of the rules of our Savior to secure it without delay.”
Having guidelines like these help leaders and members of the Church Body stay with correct doctrine and stray away from patterns of deception.”
3. Be aware of the differences between emotionalism and true genuine worship
Emotion is important because it brings an awareness of sin and also can draw our affections toward God. Yet it should not become a means in itself. As one pastor put it, “Truth without emotion produces dead orthodoxy and a church full of artificial admirers, on the other hand emotion without truth produces empty frenzy and cultivates shallow people who refuse the discipline of rigorous thought.”
4. Keep accountability among the worship team
The worship team at a Church has a huge responsibility before the Lord. In a sermon by John Piper he reminds us that worship is truly about communion with God and not about an outward act. He says that the John 4:24 scripture gives us a call to worship God through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and in a response to our true views of God. This is a heavy calling and is unwise to hold alone. God is displeased when worship is done the way man pleases. We see this in many New and Old Testament examples. Many of the Old Testament prophets spoke against the worship of the people because it was done only out of tradition, and not out of a heart of gratitude toward the Lord. The Pharisees in the New Testament built their own traditional system of worship in Matthew 15.
Brown, Timothy From “Life as Liturgy” Perspectives, Reformed Church Press, Dec. 1999, p. 3.
Stewart, William. The Difference Between Emotions and Emotionalism in Worship
“Worship God! – Desiring God.” Home – Desiring God. <http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/worship-god–2>.