Do charismatics discern truth?

Courtesy of Teddy, linked from ‘The Objective Truth’ blog –

John Mac Arthur’s take on how charismatics find truth

– not very flattering…

11 thoughts on “Do charismatics discern truth?

  1. It begs the questions: how is the Bible discerned as truth? And whose interpretation of the Bible is true?

  2. The annoying music playing on this video ruined the presentation. I watched about half. Do they really think they need to queue my emotions or create the necessary atmosphere for me to get the point? In anycase I do agree that some people become hopelessly deluded concerning their own faith through craving experiences. They’re also more likely to become fodder for professional experience pedlars. I know that not all Charismatics are like that.

  3. Yes, there was a certain irony in the soft, atmospheric traditional music being played while they gave their talk on not using emotion to discern.

    The music was like an appeal to listen to tradition over modern thought.

    Haven’t Pentecostal’s been criticised for using music during their preaching?

  4. Good to see how you’ve got the new site going RP.

    They certainly have a point, but they go too far. They make it look like the Bible is completely black and white, and you can just look in there for objective truth. They dont seem to think that people need to make interpretations or that they are making interpretations when they read. If it was that simple, there wouldnt be so many denominations. There would be very little disagreement because you could just point to the Bible to solve any misunderstanding.

    These people are just as extreme as the ones they are complaining about, just in the other direction.

  5. Thanks Wazza – its very much a work in progress right now. Feel free to email me anything you see that looks worth posting, or let me know if you’d like to author stuff.

    BTW – while I think the item raises some good points, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head about their version of objective truth.

  6. “These people are just as extreme as the ones they are complaining about, just in the other direction.”

    You are right on the money as usual wazza2 (unfortunate term in this case 🙂 ). As you say there is truth in what they say but also error. Where to start? There are so many I might post them over time.

    1. They imply that because you move in the Holy Spirit you don’t base what you believe on scripture. Clearly the fact is that some people do and some people don’t.

    The implication is that christians who move in the spirit are more prone to error than those who don’t and particularly pointed to using doctrine to get money. But who where did using doctrine to get money come from? A short list:

    1.1 The false prophets in 2Cor (by implication) were after money. Paul moved in the spirit and they did not (again by implication). Who was more correct the charismatic paul or the others?

    1.2 Simon the sorcerer who did not move in the spirit wanted to make money. Peter who did move in the spirit told him off. The charismatic had the right doctrine again.

    1.3 Tithing introduced by the roman catholic church (not charismatic)

    1.4 Indulgences (forgiveness for money) introduced by the catholics agains.

    1.5 Tithing “by law” (for FaceLift) supported vigorously by Anglicans.

    It is good to point out dodgy bible reading practices but linking them to particular experiences of the holy spirit is just weird. Every group has dodgy bible reading practices of some kind.

    I can only conclude they have this point of view because of their experience with certain people and this experience has coloured their belief system WRT movements of the Holy Spirit in some belivers …

    which as wazza2 said is just what they accuse charismatics of.

  7. Wazza2 said “They certainly have a point, but they go too far.”

    And what does John say about going too far in 2 John 9

    Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching has both the father and the son

    I only came across this scripture this week but it makes feel better about banging on about not adding to scripture on signposts. It is not highly regarded by the One who counts.

    I suggest these people have some truth but following them in any way would be highly risky.

  8. The implication is that once a person is baptised with the Holy Spirit and speaks in tongues s/he thinks s/he can ignore scripture, which is erroneous. Being filled with the Spirit should actually draw people more deeply into the Word, and create a desire to know God better.

    I’d have to agree that Billy Graham must have been filled with the Spirit, and there are many people, like him, who are effective in ministry who don’t speak in tongues, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they couldn’t or shouldn’t have spoken in tongues with the relevant understanding. All it proves is that some people don’t speak in tongues, yet they can be effective.

    Interestingly, this is a case in point where ‘evidence’ outside of scripture, that is, saying a certain well-known Christian minister doesn’t speak in tongues so that proves tongues isn’t useful, is being used to ‘prove’ an invalid point.

  9. Dodgy logic number 2 from MacArthur and friend. Someone wrote to him:

    experiences with God provide a basis for our faith

    to which he replies

    this is exactly backward from how it should be. Our faith should provide a basis four our experiences

    2.1 “Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen” heb 11:1-3, “faith … is the gift of God” eph 2:8 (a specfic instance of the general case). How do you know you have faith? You experience it. You know that you know – that is what faith is. You can’t separate faith from experience.

    2.2 Perhaps MacArther equates theology with faith? He may be saying that your theology should inform your experience. If so he has a point. Experience cannot inform theology. Two different people can might have identical experiences but they have different world-views so the theology formed by their experiences will differ.

    Your world-view informs your experience and theology informs your world-view. De Bono and others point out that it is very difficult to change one’s world-view once set, experiences generally do not alter a world-view much.

    Really he is saying we should base our world-view on scripture. We all try to get our world-view from scripture. But why? Because we have been born again (an experience) and now we have faith that God wrote the scripture (another experience). Should we not base our beliefs on these experiences? Ridiculous.

    In reality we tend to get it from people we trust. From our denomination or from our pastor or from books or tapes of trusted people or people we hear who are charismatic or convincing. Unfortunately this is usually the wrong way, 1 John 2:27 says

    As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.

    So don’t trust MacArthur. Hear him by all means. Check the logic. But the Holy Spirit will tell you about what is important by his anointing which is true and is not a lie.

  10. Very good letter he wrote. I wonder if John MacArthur made the typo in his letter, or the editor writing up to screen, did the typo for ‘welth’ in the scrolling letter.

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