"Charismatic" experience

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TK
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"Charismatic" experience

Post by TK » Sun Jan 31, 2010 8:12 pm

Does anyone who posts here lean at all in a "charismatic" direction? I have very good friends and some family who lean strongly in that direction, but personally I have never attended a "charismatic" church but I have visited such churches and am quite drawn to them. Let's just say I am very sympathetic to the charismatic "way".

Anyways. the reason I am asking is that I attended a very powerful worship service the other night at a charismatic church where something very wonderful, yet mysterious happened, and I would like to share it-- but I don't just want to be talking to total skeptics. At the same time, I am certainly open to discussion about what happened.

TK

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darinhouston
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Re: "Charismatic" experience

Post by darinhouston » Sun Jan 31, 2010 9:57 pm

I'd say I'm sitting on the fence. I do believe in the gifts, but something makes me uneasy with some of the charismatic experiences, and it almost seems demonic sometimes. Coincidentally, I attended a Church of God (AI) congregation nearby today that wasn't really like a "pentacostal" church in the least but was more charismatic than I'm accustomed to (frankly, one reason I decided to visit - seeking a little more spirituality and a little less spit and polish).

Anyway, do share.

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Homer
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Re: "Charismatic" experience

Post by Homer » Sun Jan 31, 2010 10:56 pm

TK,

Ditto Darin

God bless, Homer

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Michelle
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Re: "Charismatic" experience

Post by Michelle » Sun Jan 31, 2010 11:29 pm

I would really like to hear about your experience, TK. I'm not skeptical.

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darinhouston
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Re: "Charismatic" experience

Post by darinhouston » Sun Jan 31, 2010 11:40 pm

Homer wrote:TK,

Ditto Darin

God bless, Homer
You visited a CoG congregation today too? (just kidding).. ;)

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steve
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Re: "Charismatic" experience

Post by steve » Mon Feb 01, 2010 12:00 am

I would have to call myself a charismatic—in the sense of the word that it bore 40 years ago—based upon its etymology. It means, as far as I have understood it, to be a believer in the continuation of the spiritual gifts beyond the Apostolic Age and into the present. It was a minority position among evangelicals 40 years ago, though I am not sure that it is today. Whether it remains a minority position today or not, I believe it to be the biblical one.

Unfortunately, the "Charismatic Movement" has fallen into bad company—and undiscerning leadership. What was once an openness to genuine phenomena of the Holy Spirit has become a gullible fascination with all things weird and ostensibly supernatural. Therefore, I would consider myself a "primitive charismatic," just as I consider myself to be a "primitive Christian."

It has been my observation that some Christians have a passion for truth (and often gravitate to non-charismatic churches), and others have a passion for experience (thus gravitating to charismatic groups). This means that charismatic groups often attract undiscerning individuals who uncritically endorse any bizarre experience that floats by on the tide of charismatic faddism.

It is possible for those of us who have a passion for truth to become merely cerebral, and to settle for much less experience than is normative in biblical Christianity. On the other hand, many who seek experience over all are careless whether a given experience has any connection to the truth. People tend to gravitate to poles, unfortunately. The lovers of truth may, with reference to experiences, tend to throw out the baby with the bath water; whereas the experience-seekers may make the error of mistaking mere bath water for an actual baby.

It seems that keeping the baby and discarding the bath water would not be so difficult, if a person would think about doing it.

P.S. The Church of God (Anderson, IN) is technically non-charismatic in theology (unlike the Church of God, Cleveland, Tennessee). Some of their congregations may be embracing a "charismatic style" of worship, without affirming the continuation of miraculous gifts. Their theology on other issues (Arminianism and Amillennialism) would be very compatible with my own.

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SteveF
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Re: "Charismatic" experience

Post by SteveF » Mon Feb 01, 2010 12:40 am

Although I'm not presently attending a Charismatic church, I would consider myself Charismatic in the same sense as Steve G. I also concur with Steve's thoughts on the extremes. Many Charismatic churches put a heavy emphasis on experience and often see it as an indication of spiritual maturity. As a result you find many people seeking experiences in an un-healthy way and many times people just make stuff up. Despite all of these excesses, God still genuinely does deliver and speak to people (Including me, before I even walked into a Church).

I've found that when non-Charismatics see the excesses and biblical illiteracy in many Charismatic churches it causes them to want to move away from all emotional experiences and emphasize bible knowledge as the most important thing. On the other hand, Charismatics often see the dead theology and lack of the Spirit in non-Charismatic churches. This causes them to view the pursuit of higher bible knowledge as something that's spiritually dead. I see both views as a reaction to the other.

I've found that seeking after knowledge or experience in and of themselves are both wrong. Our pursuit should be Jesus. The things we learn and experience are simply intended to help us in our dedication and service to Him and His body, the church. Although there can be misguided excesses on both sides, neither experience or knowledge should be shunned IMO.

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SteveF
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Re: "Charismatic" experience

Post by SteveF » Mon Feb 01, 2010 1:00 am

Many Charismatic churches put a heavy emphasis on experience and often see it as an indication of spiritual maturity
I should also add that many non-Chrarismatics mistakenly see possessing certain bible knowledge as a sign of spiritual maturity as well.

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selah
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Re: "Charismatic" experience

Post by selah » Mon Feb 01, 2010 2:54 am

This is kind of funny because just earlier tonight I was talking with some neighbors about their little girl's dancing with flags and I mentioned my love for worship like that. We agreed that "there must be a little charismata in all of us." ;) We're all so conservative that I think that was an interesting confession to make.

TK, I would really like to read about the wonderful, mysterious experience that you had. I hope you share it!
[SteveF=quote] I've found that seeking after knowledge or experience in and of themselves are both wrong. Our pursuit should be Jesus.
Wow, I really agree...

Selah*:)
Jesus said, "I in them and you in Me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that you have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me." John 17:23

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TK
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Re: "Charismatic" experience

Post by TK » Mon Feb 01, 2010 8:55 am

Great responses- what both Steves said about extremes is right on and is pretty much the way I thinks as well. Okay--- here is the story. Call me crazy.

My wife and I and two other couples from our church decided to attend a night of worship at a charismatic church in a neighboring community that they call “The Wave.” I had heard about if before and I knew people who had gone but this was the first time for all of us. When I said earlier that I am sympathetic to the charismatic cause, I guess the same would be true for my wife and the other couples that went (or else we wouldn’t have gone).

Pretty much as soon as I walked in the auditorium, I knew that something was going to be different- I could just really sense the presence of the HS which I describe as a “heaviness.” I couldn’t keep the tears out of my eyes. There was definitely a freedom of worship there- flags waving, people prostrate at the altar, etc. We hadn’t heard a lot of songs that were sung, but on this occasion they were really speaking to me. For example, I had posted on Facebook a day or two earlier the verse: “And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up.” (I Kings 17:7). I posted this because of what I perceived to be a dry spiritual period in my own life, and in the church that I attend regularly. But the first few songs all had to do with “rain”- in a spiritual sense. Anyways, this awesome worship continued on for about 2 ½ hours- then things started getting interesting.

The worship leader got to the point where he was trying to wrap things up- he was making some announcements about upcoming events, etc and then he kind of stepped back with a look of surprise and asked if anyone near the front of the stage was wearing cinnamon perfume or had a cinnamon scent. No one admitted to anything, and he kept smelling and said that it seemed to be localized in one area on the stage. He invited several others up who also got a whiff and then numerous people went up, including my wife and the other two couples, also went up. I stayed dutifully and skeptically in the pew. My wife said at first she couldn’t smell anything except musty carpet, then the worship leader motioned for her to come up on stage where he was, and then she definitely smelled it and she motioned to me (still in my pew) that it was definitely there. When she came back beside me, I could smell it on her sweater- definitely a sweet cinnamon smell- but not exactly like cinnamon. This went on for quite a while with people up front and then the scent gradually dissipated. The worship leader assured us that this had never happened to him before that he wasn’t a “fruitcake.” I believed him.

After a lot more spontaneous praise and worship, we all got our coats on and were ready to leave and were moving toward the exit of the auditorium, when all of a sudden we really got another strong scent of something like cinnamon but also like clove, really hard to describe. It was a wonderful scent. I smelled it this time, and all of a sudden Tammy and Dana (the couple that invited the rest of us to come) went down. And I mean they stayed down. Dana, I must say, is less expressive than me in worship, if that is possible. He is a very reserved person, very quiet. He was simply filled with the joy of the Lord. My friend Mark and I were standing over him and this essence or aroma was really very strong. Dana was lying on his back praising the Lord- laughing but at the same time praising and kind of waving his arms like he was trying to gather this scent into his nostrils. He kept saying "more Lord.. more Lord." We tried to get him up a couple of times but he couldn’t stand up. Tammy was a limp noodle for a while but eventually she did get up, but Dana was still down. We kept getting waves of this scent and as people were walking by they were also commenting about it.

As we were sitting there waiting for Dana to recover enough where we could get him out to the car ( I would have to tell you that if you didn’t know better you would have thought he was drunk out of his mind) I remembered a messianic verse in Psalms about the king’s robe’s being perfumed and I found it on my palm pilot- Ps. 45:7-8: “You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions. All Your garments are scented with myrrh and aloes and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, by which they have made You glad.” I looked up cassia later and learned that it is obtained from cinnamon bark- or something like that. Interesting! I also looked up the ingredients of the anointing oil described in Exodus and it had similar ingredients. Interesting again!

Eventually we got Dana up and Mark and I had to assist him to his car by putting our arms under his shoulders like coaches assist injured players off the field. He didn’t drive home- Tammy did.

One thing that I should mention about the aroma we were smelling was that 1) it didn’t stay in one place- it definitely moved around the church and 2) it changed slightly in quality- from a sweet cinnamon to a more flowery or herbal smell.

We all left there knowing that the Lord had allowed us to experience something very special. It is one of those things that if I hadn’t been there myself, I would have been rather skeptical. I confess that I am still about 10% skeptical, but I hate that I am because I know in my heart of hearts that what happened was real and that I should just accept the gift the Lord gave us without any reservation.

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