"Charismatic" experience

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darinhouston
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Re: "Charismatic" experience

Post by darinhouston » Mon Feb 01, 2010 11:32 am

steve wrote: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.
If TK would permit my brief detour in this thread, I'm only beginning to look into this group (they don't call themselves a deonomination, of course, and at least profess a diversity among their congregations on non-essentials). This particular congregation does at least seem to embrace a continuation in some sense -- their small prayer meeting included several mentions of particular visions and dreams, and a few mutterings sounded a bit like tongues though none of it was overt and did not seem to be contrived or discussed in a "sensational" manner, and I've never seen so much prayer and laying of hands for pastors, those with prayer needs, and for the guest speaker (a missionary to Africa AIDS orphans with Horizon International).

It's hard to judge from a single visit, but they seemed like an authentic group of folks without airs, and it was an extremely diverse group, ethnically, with a focus on prayer and missions with few resources wasted on buildings and furnishings beyond basics. My main concern for my family is there weren't a lot of young children, and only a few active parents of young children.

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selah
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Re: "Charismatic" experience

Post by selah » Mon Feb 01, 2010 12:52 pm

TK wrote: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.
TK, thank you for sharing this story. It sounds like you, your wife, and your friends might ponder this event for a long time.

Your experience is not uncommon to some experiences within my charismatic circles. I attended charismatic events for six of my eleven years as a Christian. I kept going to scripture (as you did when reading Ps 45, etc) to be sure that what I experienced was truth. Over the years, I saw sites and heard sounds (never smells, although others attested to this) which I discerned to be from the Holy Spirit and then others that I believe were someone's overwhelmed emotions, contrived or created for whatever reason.

Do you think the "10% skeptical" part of you might only be careful discernment? I consider the "skeptical" part to be good--discerning of spirits--protecting the truth, but as time is spent meditating upon the (authentic) event, God's goodness, glory and message grows. It seems to me that your group of friends "fell" under the favor and pleasure of the Holy Spirit. I appreciate something Steve Gregg said one time about experiences like this. I'll try to articulate his thoughts accurately. Does the experience make a difference in the participant's lives, in the fruits of their lives, in their character? Sometimes overnight and at other times over time, I have seen this phenomenon take place. Truly, it even brings tears to my eyes to write this because at times, I have received Jesus' love from some absolutely willing people who have been transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. I hope you, your wife, and your friends will continue to be blessed by the Holy Spirit's presence upon you. :)
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 1:11 pm

Thanks, Selah. I appreciate your post.

I was thinking about Steve's "test" you paraphrased on the night this happened (before I knew about this "test."). What affect will this have? Will it bring me closer to the Lord? etc.

I think what it did was demonstrate that God was showing his favor- so I view it as an affirmation of something we knew, but maybe needed to be reminded of. Whether this will have a long term effect on Dana, who was hit the hardest, I cannot say. I cannot imagine how it would not. But Dana, and all of us, were really seeking out the Lord and trying to be obedient before this experience. That is why I view it as more of a "smile" or a "well done" from the Lord as opposed to a bestowing of a new gift, for example.

TK

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Homer
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Re: "Charismatic" experience

Post by Homer » Mon Feb 01, 2010 5:00 pm

Selah wrote:
I'll try to articulate his thoughts accurately. Does the experience make a difference in the participant's lives, in the fruits of their lives, in their character?
To me, this is the nub of it. Are charismatics, who affirm the continuation of "spiritual gifts", or certain ones (the gift of "helps" doesn't seem too popular), and claim a particular baptism of the Holy Spirit which empowers them, are they better followers of Jesus?

Steve's life is an admirable and inspiring testimony. He is a describes himself as a "primative charismatic". I am not a Baptist, who generally take a very dim view of the charismatic ideas. There are many Baptist pastors on my mother's side of the family back in the Midwest. The one I am acquainted with has lived a life as admirable as Steve's. He has been a true "tentmaker" his entire adult life, choosing to pastor a series of small churches that could not afford to hire anyone while working full time to support his family, and still laboring for Jesus into his 70's.

I am 70 myself, and over my long life have observed numerous scandals among national and local leaders of Pentecostal/charismatic churches. Everything from the pastor with a mistress to the local elder who was in court for assaulting his neighbor in a dispute over a dog. I am hard pressed to recall any among non-charismatics. I have friends among the local baptists and Assembly of God churches. There is no discernable difference that I can see in the lives of the charismatics over those of Baptists, Mennonites, etc.

Perhaps it is as Steve says. There are charismatics and then there are real charismatics. A man I have known for years attended a very large major pentecostal denomination in a city nearby. When I saw him recently I inquired whether he still attended that church. He replied that although he still belived in the spiritual gifts, he had left the church because, as Steve mentioned, the people were seeking after the spectacular while their lives were no different than the world's. They were not transformed.

I certainly have no expertise, only my personal observations, but I can see no discernable improvement in the lives of charismatics over non-charismatics. Perhaps I can be shown to be wrong in this.

For those interested in an objective experience I recommend LoveINC (Love in the Name of Christ) if there is one in your area. Then you can experience cleaning up a helpless person's bathroom, driving someone to medical appointments, building a handicap access ramp, or even helping someone apply for disability benefits. But then, as I say, the gift of "helps" isn't much sought after nowadays, if it ever was.

Homer

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christopher
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Re: "Charismatic" experience

Post by christopher » Mon Feb 01, 2010 5:45 pm

Hi TK,

Thanks for having the courage to share this experience with us. I realize it may feel a bit risky to do so.

you wrote:
I confess that I am still about 10% skeptical
I think I got the other 90% so maybe together got the skeptical thing fully covered :lol: .

But in all seriousness, while I don’t at all doubt your experience happened exactly as you described, I admit that I do have some questions about the source of that experience. It’s really strange, but this subject has been coming up more and more for me in the last few weeks, and from a variety of circles I’m in and I have to confess it has me a little worried (OK, scared). I mean, to be honest, if I saw this going on I’d be singing “Gimme three steps toward the door….and you’ll never see me no more”. And I will admit that it could be closed-mindedness on my part. After all, what I continually hear from people who have experienced these manifestations is that it is “overwhelming joy and pleasure” from the Lord. And it would seem like a great thing except, as Frodo says to Boromir, “but for the warning in my heart”.

See, what you described reminds me a lot of what happens in the now famous “Toronto blessing”. I confess that when I see video coverage of that phenomenon from the outside, there’s nothing about it that attracts me to it or looks like Jesus to me. Quite the opposite, I’m repulsed by what I’m seeing. And it’s hard thing to admit because I know that most of these people are true believers that are truly seeking a closer experience with God. I’ve heard enough testimonies (like yours) from credible people I know to believe that these experiences are truly happening.

So that leaves me with some questions:

1.Is it possible for a born again believer, full of the Holy Spirit, to be “hijacked” (so to speak) by other spiritual forces simply by virtue of proximity (i.e. in the building it’s happening in)?

2. Can the enemy counterfeit “overwhelming joy and pleasure” thereby deceiving people into thinking it’s from God?

3. If this is from God, how do these manifestations (like going limp, laughing uncontrollably, appearing drunk, etc) glorify Him, and edify the body, and attract unbelievers into the kingdom?

4. If God is doing this, why am I so frightened of it and pig-headed about it?

These are questions I don’t have solid answers for. I’d like to hear what you and others here think.

I really don’t want to down play your experience in any way, I’m sure it was very vivid and real and important to you. I just have a hard time reconciling some of the things you described with what I believe God would do (from what little I know). I freely admit that this could be a deficit in my own spiritual maturity and openness, and if so, I’d just like to say I’m very happy for the gift you were given that night.

But if it’s possible to “test the spirits” here, I wonder how we would go about doing that. :?:
Last edited by christopher on Mon Feb 01, 2010 5:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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christopher
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Re: "Charismatic" experience

Post by christopher » Mon Feb 01, 2010 5:55 pm

Homer wrote:
For those interested in an objective experience I recommend LoveINC (Love in the Name of Christ) if there is one in your area. Then you can experience cleaning up a helpless person's bathroom, driving someone to medical appointments, building a handicap access ramp, or even helping someone apply for disability benefits.
Thanks for the tip Homer. I'm in the process of formulating a list for our fellowship of exactly these types of ministries that people can choose from to go serve someone outside our own community. I'm especially looking for organizations that allow kids to be involved if you know of any of those.

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TK
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Re: "Charismatic" experience

Post by TK » Mon Feb 01, 2010 8:09 pm

Thanks for your honesty, Christopher. I have the exact same concerns and questions you have.

When I said that Dana appeared drunk, I dont want to carry that too far. I mean he wasnt slurring his words and stuff- lets just say he was "giddy" and his legs were buckling when we tried to stand him up. Now, I will tell you that while I have never been "slain by the spirit" nor have I ever come close, I have felt the presence of the HS so strongly that I am unable to speak, and I have felt great heaviness- like heavy drapes resting across my shoulders. But the most common "symptom" i experience when feeling this strong presence is tears. Not weeping, necessarily, but waterworks nonetheless.

To be perfectly honest, I had more questions and concerns about them being "slain in the spirit" than I did about the aroma we were smelling.

As far as biblical precedent goes, I guess I am not too sure. We know that Saul seemed to be overcome by the spirit when he ran into the prophets. And we have this passage from Acts 8: "Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money and said, "Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit." (my emphasis). what did he see? I really have no idea. he may have HEARD speaking in tongues or prophesying, but what did he see?

believe me, Christopher- I understand where you are coming from. But at the same time I dont want to be totally closed minded to the supernatural. God is supernatural, after all. I think that perhaps there was a lot of "woo-woo" type stuff going on in the early church that isn't specifically mentioned in scripture. Of course I am just guessing about this. But I dont want to put it past God to occasionally give us a glimpse of something supernatural- not because we need it or even because we want it, but just because He wants to.

TK

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christopher
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Re: "Charismatic" experience

Post by christopher » Mon Feb 01, 2010 10:10 pm

Thanks TK for your humility and honesty as well.
But at the same time I dont want to be totally closed minded to the supernatural. God is supernatural, after all. I think that perhaps there was a lot of "woo-woo" type stuff going on in the early church that isn't specifically mentioned in scripture. Of course I am just guessing about this. But I dont want to put it past God to occasionally give us a glimpse of something supernatural- not because we need it or even because we want it, but just because He wants to.
I can certainly share that sentiment with you. I just wish we had a prescription for "testing the spirits". I suspect that the enemy is very good at the deception game and may be able to deceive "even the elect if that were possible". One of my fears is being tricked by a tricksy foe. I guess that determines the level of risk I'm willing to take (which is generally not much).

Thanks again for sharing this with us. It's very helpful.

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selah
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Re: "Charismatic" experience

Post by selah » Mon Feb 01, 2010 10:15 pm

Homer wrote:I certainly have no expertise, only my personal observations, but I can see no discernable improvement in the lives of charismatics over non-charismatics. Perhaps I can be shown to be wrong in this.


Hi Homer,

I agree in general but what about hidden specifics? I don't have anything to go by either except personal experience so let me focus on a discernable difference which I once found in a remnant of sisters who I believe frequented their "prayer closets." To make my point first, these sisters were different not only to me, but to many others whom I was witness to.

When I was a "baby Christian," three years into the last eleven, I was attending a Baptist church and reading about 20 chapters a day, and singing :!: the Psalms to the Lord :D and praying fervently for my teenage son! I mean I was literally face down on the floor showing scripture to my Father and then, literally crying out to the Lord for my son (etc.) (in those days, I actually did what the Bible says to do...hmmm, what does that say about me :oops: now?) Anyway, I honestly think I was a charismatic without even knowing what one was. So it was that at that time, I was literally moved by the Holy Spirit to a new town and into a Charismatic Church (although I did not know it was one). Honestly, I only went there because I felt the Holy Spirit move me there.

I met three sisters, well more like five+ but anyway, Sherry, Charlotte and Betty blew my mind. On the third Sunday, Betty asked for prayer for her husband's hurt back. Sherry and Charlotte lay hands on Betty's back and began to pray. Fervently! Soon a Bible was opened and Sherry was holding her open Bible in one hand with her other one on Betty's back while praying the scripture for Betty's husband. Charlette had one hand on Betty's back and one hand in the air as if to signify a serious petition to the Lord. Within 15 or 20 minutes of watching this, I began to actually get scared because I thought, "Man! These people are praying as if they think God is REALLY here! like He is really listening! as if He is REAL!" I felt intimidated "in the presense of the Lord" so I moved over and stood (hid) :oops: behind the sisters as they prayed on for about 15 more minutes. When I left that day, I pondered....wow! Who prays like that? I thought.

Soon I asked Charlette where the sisters go mid-week. Little did I know what I was in for. For the next two years, I was driven all over northern Oregon to many "flavors" of "charismatic circles," but I don't want to get ahead of myself.

On my first night of that mid-week fellowship they offered to pray for me. After about five or ten minutes of hearing my heart and soul, they had me sit in a chair so they could gather around and lay hands on me. I was in for a shock! They prayed for me looong and hard, as if they loved me! (go figure)

I felt afraid of this kind of love. No one had ever loved me enough to pray this long for me and with this much scriptural focus---for me? (---not before -- and not now that I am no longer among Charismatics. So I definitely see a discernable difference.) I was amazed at this kind of love. They prayed scripture; they gave prophetic words; they blessed me and others (over the years I followed them) in so many ways--in thought, word and deed. And they did so bless me for three years!

We parted ways because I moved away geographically. We don't keep in touch too often, but I see them from time to time--about once a year I guess--and when we do, although we disagree on some scriptural interpretations, we always show grace to one another. I would not hesitate to break bread, fellowship and pray with them again.

These sisters and those like them did more for my Spiritual growth than they may know. So I have used their first names to honor them while maintaining their confidentiality. They would recognize themselves if they were to read this, and so does our Lord.
Homer wrote:For those interested in an objective experience I recommend LoveINC (Love in the Name of Christ) if there is one in your area. Then you can experience cleaning up a helpless person's bathroom, driving someone to medical appointments, building a handicap access ramp, or even helping someone apply for disability benefits. But then, as I say, the gift of "helps" isn't much sought after nowadays, if it ever was.
I endorse Love, INC too. And here again, there are the remnant few from within and without charismatic circles who are actively using the gift of "helps." I guess Homer, are you noticing the difference between the attraction to the sensational popular gifts verses the resistance to the overwhelmingly necessary gifts? Personally, I would like to see a Love, INC in every town of America...and beyond. Shall we pray for that? ;)

Selah*
Last edited by selah on Tue Feb 02, 2010 1:08 am, edited 3 times in total.
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

steve7150
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Re: "Charismatic" experience

Post by steve7150 » Mon Feb 01, 2010 10:19 pm

But I dont want to put it past God to occasionally give us a glimpse of something supernatural- not because we need it or even because we want it, but just because He wants to.





Thanks for relating this great story TK, i think sometimes the Holy Spirit does manifest in a way we can sense and to be quite frank it is thrilling.
When i first prayed a type of sinners prayer on 4/30/02 with a guy on the radio as i was driving i felt a heat come into my body that i know was not something i conjured up myself. In fact it was so strong i got scared and it stayed for about 5 minutes then just left.
This kind of experience may not make us stronger believers and it will not make us better people but it is something you never forget and it is thrilling, and it's OK to be thrilled over the presense of God.

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