Simply stated, Charismatic's are followers of Christ who recognize and welcome the full function and activity of the Holy Spirit in their lives and gatherings. Elevate Church absolutely believes in the Holy Spirit. In the Biblical sense, we are fully charismatic and embrace all of the New Testament teachings on the supernatural phenomenon of the Spirit.
At the same time, we distance ourself from cultural Charismatics and Pentecostals who have motives, teachings experiences and a culture in their gatherings that is unsupported in scripture. As one person observed, we are Charismatic, with seat-belts and airbags.
This study will take you through various topics affecting Charismatic culture while attempting to filter them through the Word of God. In all things, the Word is preeminent and maintaining a Biblical balance is critical for all believers. What we believe on these matters is critical because it affects our behavior as we gather, and the world who can only catch glimpses of Jesus while watching us. Imbalances and error always skews the Jesus that people see as they see Him in us.
Thoughts About Balance
1 Cor. 11:17 In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. 18In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. 19No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. 20When you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, 21for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk. 22Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you for this? Certainly not!
Anyone can become imbalanced in anything! Imbalance always distorts the message of Jesus Christ, even though we might have the best of intentions. Imbalances cause us to form the the scripture to fit our setting instead of forming our setting to fit the scripture.
Steps That Lead To Imbalance:
- an experience
- zeal - an experience attached to emotion is even more powerful
- a failed Biblical filter - experiences must be filtered through the Word and absence of one makes it impossible to know if what you have experienced is accurate - 2 Tim. 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
- continued behavior - repetition has a way of creating us, an us that we no longer question or really observe
- culture is created - once a group of people do a thing repeatedly that they value with attached emotion, it becomes part of the culture of that group, valued by the group. Sometimes that culture is not even recognized by the group
A Few Truths About Imbalance: It's not uncommon for a believer to find his/herself in a place of imbalance. Before anyone gets the idea that this study's intention is to throw the guilty under the bus, let's consider a few things:
- excess is most often unknowingly engaged in by sincere people with sincere intentions
- God often does great things in spite of excess
- Excess is a distortion of truth, but truth generally is there
This study will take you through various topics affecting Charismatic culture that tend to be areas of imbalance. The desired outcome is to point out imbalance while clinging to that which is preciously scriptural.