Why Charismatics are not New Testament Christians

I had intended to do a round-up of recent debate in blogosphere, but I need to get something off my chest. The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that only non-Charismatics have really taken the New Covenant Age of the Spirit seriously. Charismatics are still stuck in the Old Testament age. They’re not New Testament believers – they’re Old Testament believers.

Let me explain what I mean.

The Gift of Prophecy

Take the gift of prophecy for example. Many cessationists are happy to acknowledge that the gift of prophecy is a New Covenant gift for all believers. The cessationist Richard Gaffin, writes this:

…according to the New Testament all believers are prophets; the whole church is a congregation of prophets. Analogous to the Reformation insistence on the universal priesthood of believers, we may speak of the ‘prophethood’ of all within the new covenant community…1

The charismatic on the other hand believes that there are only some New Testament believes who are gifted as prophets. The majority of us don’t have that office. And so, just like the Old Testament priests and prophets, there is a spiritual hierarchy, and those who are not prophets must go to those who are to find out what God’s will is for them.

This principle is entirely opposite to Scripture’s own description of the New Covenant age. Listen to what the Bible says about the New Covenant and the age of the Spirit:

I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. (Ezekiel 36:27)

My Spirit, who is on you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouths of your children, or from the mouths of their descendants from this time on and for ever,” says the Lord. (Isaiah 59:21).

“This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbour, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 31:33)

The Bible is clear. One of the key distinctions between the Old Covenant and the New is that when the Spirit is in/on us, God’s words will not depart from us. Indeed, no longer will anyone need to tell us “Know the Lord”, because we will all know him.

The non-charismatic knows this. The non-charismatic knows that there are not some people who have God’s word (prophets) and some people who don’t. The reformation fought for the principles of the priesthood of all believers, and that the Word of God was for all, and now Charismatics are giving all that up.

The charismatics are right to argue that under the New Covenant every believer has a greater understanding of God’s will. The Old Testament alone makes that clear. But our greater understanding of God’s will is precisely because God reveals himself personally to each one, in contrast to revealing himself through the prophets as He did in the Old Covenant. The charismatic notion that the New Testament gift of prophecy reveals God’s will mediated through a gifted individual stands in direct opposition to the democratisation of the Spirit which characterises New Testament Christianity. It is a notion that is thoroughly Old Testament in character. It deserves no place in a New Testament church.

So, the gift of prophecy, as understood by Charismatics, both reverses the reformation, and reverses Pentecost.

It is not just the gift of prophecy that can be viewed in this way. My next post will focus on the gift of tongues. In the meantime, I’d be delighted to have your feedback.


  1. Richard B. Gaffin, Perspectives on Pentecost (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979), pg 59.
  2. Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic Theology (Leicester: Intervarsity, 1994), pg 1070.

Comments

  1. Arleigh Crisman says:

    Personally, I am wondering what you do know of those other religions compared with christianity.
    Muslims believe in alah whom is discribed as deceitful in their own writing. They also practice that it is acceptable to lie.
    The Hindu have several spirits they worship and they know they are not God, but demons. This information came from people in those religions.
    Now Jesus is who He said He is, or He is a liar ,which is it?
    There is truth and there is lie, there is no middle ground.
    Jesus said “I am the way the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me. John14;6.
    There are many other places He makes this distinction and establishes Himself as final judge. Matthew 7;21, “not every one that says to me Lord Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven but he that does the will of my Father in heaven, many will say to me in that day,”Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name, cast out demons in your name and done many wonders in Your name”. And then I will declare to them “I never knew you; depart from me you workers of iniquity.”
    God is not bound to what we think, but to what He thinks.
    Either a man wants fellowship with God or he does not.
    Searching men for the answer, leaving what God has so costly provided out of the loop, is an insult to His investment .
    I believe Jesus for many reasons, chief of which is this; above the scriptures and history, above men’s speculation and vain self, inflated philosophy, though they appeal to the flesh are not eternal, but based on the flesh.
    The salvation Jesus has provided us, give access on a personal level with God, via His Holy Spirit. By seeking after and yielding to Jesus Lordship in my life, the guidance He personally provides, exceeds any (advanced) knowledge men might boast of. The truths He gives, are found in others whom are taught of the same Spirit, not in the same church, nor same anything else, except the same Spirit. So in my opinion, either one is in compliance with God on a personal level, taught of Him and obey Him personally, or they are at odds with God on every level.

  2. I really don’t know what to say Arleigh.

    I know something about Christianity and almost nothing at all about other religions, but I wouldn’t make the horrible, and I suspect wholly inaccurate judgements, you have made about Islam and Hinduism.

    As a footnote, isn’t it sometimes right to tell a lie? If it is, how do we know when to do so?

  3. Dr. Bob Childree says:

    Arleigh-
    Insights from the Holy Spirit. God has no trouble whatsoever communicating His truth to man. Man, on the other hand, has tremendous hutzpa in rejecting God’s clear truth. Romans 1,2,and 3 is so clear that it takes a seminary degree to misinterpret it. It shows clearly that Gentiles fall short of God’s requirements. It shows clearly that the Heathen fall short of God’s requirements. It shows clearly that Jews fall short of God’s requirements. The rest of Romans gives the only remedy for the situation. The one and only remedy. No other religeon but Christianity can meet God’s requirements, and it can do so only by grace through faith. In absolutely no way can anyone meet God’s requirements except through grace and faith.

    Here are the lyrics to a song from the seventies.

    Old Buhdda lyrics from album The Best of the Imperials

    Well, old Buddha was a man
    And I’m sure that he did well,
    But I pray for his disciples
    Lest they end up in hell,
    And I’m sure that old Mohammed
    Was sure he knew the way,
    But it won’t be Hari Krishna
    We stand before on judgment day.

    Chorus:
    Oh, it won’t be old Buddha
    That’s sitting on the throne,
    And it won’t be old Mohammed
    That’s calling me home,
    And it won’t be Hari Krishna
    That plays that trumpet tune,
    And we’re going to see the Son,
    Not Reverend Moon!

    Well, I don’t hate anybody,
    So please don’t take me wrong,
    But there really is a message
    In this simple song,
    See, there’s only one way–Jesus,
    If eternal life is your goal,
    And meditation of the mind, it won’t save your soul.

    chorus

    Well, you can call yourself a Baptist
    And not be born again,
    A Presbyterian or a Methodist
    And still die in your sin,
    You can even be Charismatic,
    Shout and dance and jump a pew,
    But if you hate your brother,
    You won’t be of the chosen few!

    New Chorus:
    ‘Cause it won’t be a Baptist
    That’s sitting on the throne,
    A Presbyterian or a Methodist
    That’s calling me home,
    And it won’t be a Charismatic
    That plays that trumpet tune,
    So let’s all just live for Jesus,
    ‘Cause He’s coming back real soon!

    Bob

  4. Well Bob,

    All that is clear.

    It is unmitigated and very smelly rubbish, objectionable and puerile; but perfectly clear. It might be better if it wasn’t!

    If such empty-headed, infantile doggerel, comes even close to your theological position or indicates the level of your literary appreciation, you should be thoroughly ashamed of the former and embarrassed by the latter.

    I know you are neither ashamed nor embarrassed and that is why I say ‘should’. I think your neck is hardened.

    Selfish and self-centred hardly comes close.

    Cruel, nasty, pitiless and brutal are nearer the mark.

    Why do you think your mean and rather nonsensical interpretation of the Gospel is the only valid one? It certainly doesn’t help the children of Darfur or the thousands who died from starvation and disease during the time it took you to type it. To celebrate their imagined fate with such heartless tripe, is not just cold-hearted and hard-headed, it is in essence wickedness.

    It is a fair and hard question to ask what Gospel could possibly help in the situations I have mentioned, but sitting comfortably in Middle America, playing sheep and goats whilst spouting this nauseating cant as Gospel truth, is as stupid as it is callous.

    It is certainly unloving, uncaring, un-Christian and sickeningly malicious.

  5. Arleigh Crisman says:

    Mr .Wigrd,
    Arleigh here,
    I hope you review your words and remember them well.
    you have entered a conversation pretending to be educated and you are clearly not. by your own admission, it is clear that your intentions are purely disruptive,and not honest,otherwise you would have not stepped on your own tongue.You do not pay attention clearly to the things that are said to you.
    A man who is a compulsive liar thinks that every one else is ,so by that standard it is self approved . God does not approve of lies at any level . I am sure that both Bob and I are taking our words very seriously and accountable before God , Jesus said we are accountable ,even for idle conversation . The issues here are far more grave.
    Our faith is not a hobby, our lives are fully invested,even moment by moment.
    And by the way Christianity is responsible for most of the rescue to the world around .There is no other culture that has put forth the effort to help the world like christians do every single day. For all your education, you appear have had your head in the sand concening the truth of a matter.
    We are toght to investagate a matter for the truth,the spirit of God will not let us go, what men teach,is not taken for granted at any level . A man primed to hate will never see this,but a man devoted to knowing and loving God will.
    If you ever sincirely come to the pont of being honest with God ,it is important to remember that He repsonds on His terms not yours.IF you repent (that is completely reverse your attitude and lifestyle, particularly unbelief)ask for forgiveness, and recieve the forgiveness Jesus Had provided for you,Having given His life on the cross for the sin of the world. If He sees that you are honest ( He knows you from the inside out, even your ulterrior motives). He may grant the rebirth the Holy Spirit alone, imparts.
    John3;3,4,5,6,
    You can find the things Jesus taught in the gospels of the new testament . I prefir the King James version simply because it has not been tampered with as much. But if you really get into it, Greek would be the thing to learn,the original texts are written in .But there is no sweeter time spent than on your knees before the Lord in the morning and through the day.And if you open up to the tutelage of the Holy Spirit ,you know God’s will, real time.
    OR you can ignore all this and go stumbling through life on your own,hoping that I am wrong,but having never investagated honestly to disprove.
    arleigh

  6. I’m sorry you have such a low opinion of me Arleigh.

    I may be wrong. I may on occasion be unfair. I frequently express myself badly. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that because I disagree with you, I am either a fool, a liar, (an ugly word and a dreadful charge) or frivolous.

    My concern is that people who write the sort of twaddle I have read recently ARE serious. I wish they weren’t.

    Someone I knew recently asked her mum if she was going to die. Catherine was 17 years old. She was very ill and very brave, and had been both for some 12 years.

    The truthful answer was ‘yes’ (Catherine died within the week), Mum told her she wasn’t going to die, that in fact, she was going to get well. Was Anne, the mum, right to lie? (In your terms was Anne a ‘liar’?)

    What would your answer have been Arleigh?

    Catherine also rejected your brand of Christianity. Do you think she is now in Hell?

    According to his silly verse we know what Dr Bob thinks and by quoting the whole daft poem, he seems to exhibit a perverse sort of pleasure.

    And YOU accuse ME of a lack of seriousness!

    Arleigh, come on!

  7. Arleigh Crisman says:

    First My athourity is the words of Jesus ,and he said, “Satan is a liar and the fatrher of it.”
    whom one subscribes to,in actions and deeds, is their lord, and will shair the same conciquences ,it is all very simple.
    If a peson calls them self Christian but5 Jesus Lordship is not present in their life they arfe both self decieved and attempting to decieve others ;a lie. God is not bound ot lies .In Revelations it says along with other issues, “all liars” are included in those going to hell, especially religious ones. The scriptures refir to as false teachers and false prophets . These are those whom choose to teach with out the giudance and directive of the Holy Spirit and or attempt to act in place of the Holy Spirit,ordering people’s lives. Even James wrote ,” be not many masterfs knowing that we are under the greater condemnation.”
    As for the condition of any person,If one is disobedient To God ,having refused His provision(Jesus Christ)their eternity remains unchanged. John 3; 16,17,18, Matthew 7;21,22,
    Do you know the story of Noah’s ark ? God choose 8 people to live ,out of a whole planet full of people. the evidence of the ark is still with us today on mount Arrat in Russia. Even other old cultures have stories that tell the event.
    God is not desprate,my friend
    Jesus gave this parable,
    the kingdom of heaven is like a man that had cast his net into the sea,and when he drug it ashore he seperated out of it what he wanted . You see , He also has the power of choice.
    He is not bouind to what you or I might emagine ,ther is no voteing ,no majority rule, no political correctness,or human government. God is sole ruler in heaven and the universe and all that exists,seen and unseen.
    What He allows, or prevents is at the perview of His judgment . He has saved me often, and so much so ,that should I die tonite His fellowship with me will contimnue to be non stop.
    And what of your god ,your self or another? Does he share with you, heal you,and those you vouge for, provide for you, give you a peace no matter how the conditions around you appear bleak? When you pass into eternity what

  8. OK Arleigh.
    You win.

  9. Arleigh Crisman says:

    To win,
    would mean that you would begin to honestly seek after Jesus Christ in your life. Do that and you will win

  10. 1) The following are the proves that angels could perform miracles healing and there are falling angels in the Scripture to be against God too:

    John 5:3-4, “In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.”

    2) The following are the proves that Angels could perform marvellous wonders:

    Luke 1:7, “And they had no child, because that Elizabeth was barren and they both were now well stricken in years.” Luke 1:13, “but the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for their prayer is heard; and they wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John”. Luke 1:18, “And Zacharias said unto the angel, ‘Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my life well stricken in years.” Luke 1:19, “And THE ANGEL ANSWERING UNTO HIM, I AM GRABRIEL…” Luke 1:20, “AND BEHOLD, THOU SHALL BE DUMB, AND NOT ABLE TO SPEAK, UNTIL THE DAY THAT THESE THINGS SHALL BE PERFORMED, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.” Luke 1:22, “And when he came out, HE COULD NOT SPEAK UNTO THEM”.

    Matthews 28:1-2, “Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Many Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And, behold, THERE WAS A GREAT EARTHQUAKE, FOR AN ANGEL OF THE LORD DESCENDED FROM HEAVEN, AND ROLLED BACK THE STONE OF THE DOOR, and sat it.”

    Acts 12:23, “Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died.”

    3) Angels could appear in somebody’s dream:

    Matthews 2:19, “…an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph…”; Matthew 1:20, “…an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream…”

    As angels could perform wonders, are there any strongest proves to show that those wonders in contemporary Charismatic Churches are from God? If someone in contemporary Charismatic Church could prove it, we have to accept it. However, if nobody could prove whether the existence of wonder in contemporary Charismatic Churches is from God or the Holy Spirit or Angels, there is a danger that one would comment that certain wonders are from God or from the Holy Spirit or from Jesus Christ and, in case if they are not and it would turn up that we have forced God or Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit to bear the name of doer and indirectly we have abused the name of Jesus Christ or God or the Holy Spirit and this causes us to speak against Jesus Christ or God or the Holy Spirit indirectly.

    Could contemporary Charismatic Church claim that the miracles and wonder they perform in the name of Jesus Christ, is accompanied by correct teaching (in accordance with God’s Word) and righteous living?

    A good Christian performs a wonder through the name of Jesus Christ in the Church. Many audiences would claim that this be the work of God/Jesus Christ/the Holy Spirit. As fallen angels could perform wonders, i.e. Buddhists could perform wonders as it is listed in the Internet too. What if the wonders in contemporary Charismatic churches are not from God/Jesus Christ/the Holy Spirit, the surrounding audience that claims to be the work of the Holy Spirit/God/Jesus Christ, would have indirectly abused the name of each of them even though they might not be the one to do it and it indirectly causes the defamation of the name of God/Jesus Christ/the Holy Spirit and they might have grieved as a result of the whole church speaking against them since they might not do it. The abusing of the name of Jesus Christ/the Holy Spirit/God would cause the audience to commit continual sins as when and they address these be the work of God.

    Can a Christian or a Catholics claim that he has followed the correct teaching and righteous living when day by day and month by month and year by year seeing people keep on claiming the wonders in contemporary Charismatic Churches to be the work of God/Jesus Christ/the Holy Spirit without telling them the danger that they would have sinned against God/Jesus Christ/the Holy Spirit what if the so-called, wonders, might not be their work then?

    For holy bark, you could see people running around the churches crazily to bark here and there.

    For Holy laughter, you could see people laugh without stopping.

    For manifestation of the Spirit, you see people roll from one place to another without knowing what he/she has done after performing.

    All these are not mentioned in the book of Acts.

    A number of people in the church mention that they receive revelation from God through words of knowledge, prophecy, tongues speaking, words of wisdom. Many prophets arose previously claimed that year 2000 and 1987 were the end of the world. However, the year before year 2000 and 1987, none of these people that claim to receive so-called, special gifts of the Holy Spirit, say that these years 2000 and 1987 are not the end of the world. If it is the work of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit should have informed all these people to correct their mistakes.

    LUKE 9:49-50 ABOUT THOSE THAT DO NOT FOLLOW JESUS BUT COULD PERFORM WONDERS IN JESUS’ NAME

    Luke 9:49, 50 (TCNT), “Hereupon John said: “Sir, we saw a man driving out demons by using your name, and we tried to prevent him, because he does not follow you with us.” “None of you must prevent him,” Jesus said to John; “he who is not against you is for you.”

    Were these people that were mentioned in Luke 9:49-50 to be the disciples of Jesus since it is mentioned that they did not follow Jesus?

    The following are the verses to prove that God’s people would surely follow Jesus:

    John 10:27, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”

    John 10:3, “To him the porter openeth, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calleth his own sheep by nam, and leadeth them out”.

    From the above verses, it is obvious that the sheep will surely follow the shepherd, Jesus.

    As the phrase, he is not against you is for you, is mentioned in Luke 9:49 instead of the phrase, he is not against you is for me Jesus, it does not show that all these people that could use Jesus to perform miracles were for Jesus but for us, disciples, especially Jesus had mentioned clearly in John 10:27 and 10:3 that Christians would surely follow Jesus. The possible interpetation for Luk 9:49 for him to mention that they were for us that it might be that they could assist us in bringing outsiders to the attention of Jesus Christ for our evangelism. However, they are not for Jesus since they do not follow Jesus since they would definitely follow Jesus if they are for Jesus.
    Indeed the people as mentioned in Luke 9:49-50 that could perform wonders in Jesus’s name were not God’s people or else Jesus should have included these people ont top of the twelve disciples. Or in other words, if these people that could perform wonders in Jesus’ name were God’s people, there would be more that twelve disciples instead of remaining to be twelve all the time during Jesus’ mission and it proves the fact that Jesus’ name could be abused to perform miracles. Or in other words, despite these people as mentioned in Luke 9:49-50 were not following Jesus and were not the disciples of Jesus, they could use Jesus’ name to perform wonders.

    CASTING OUT DEMONS MIGHT NOT NECESSARILY CAUSE ONE TO HAVE DISTURBED BY DEMONS AS MENTIONED IN ACTS 19:13-16:

    Matthew 17:15-16, “Lord have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.” Matthew 17:18-19, “And Jesus rebuked the devil and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, ‘Why could not we cast him out?’ ” Matthew 17:21, “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” From these verses, it is obvious that the failure in casting out demons might not necessarily cause one to be disturbed by demons as that is mentioned in Luke 9:49-50.

    PROOF THAT ANGELS COULD PERFORM MIRACULOUS HEALING AND THERE ARE FALLEN ANGELS TOO:

    John 5:3-4, “In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.””

    From John 5:3-4, it shows that angels could heal various kinds of illnesses whether they are blinded, halt and withered. As angels could perform miraculous healings and there are so-called, fallen angels, it is irrational to jump into conclusion that certain illnesses be healed to be the work of God/Jesus Christ/the Holy Spirit since some wonders might be the work of angels and/or fallen angels.

    One might have quoted Luke 9:49-50 well that nobody should stop those people that perform miracles in Jesus’ name. However, he should meditate Matthew 7:22-23 carefully again that the so-called people to use Jesus’ name to perform wonders might be rejected by the Lord. For instance, if these people that are mentioned in Matthew 7:22-23 to use Jesus’ name to perform wonders are the work of God/Jesus Christ/the Holy Spirit, there should not be any strong ground for Jesus to reject them. However, Jesus will reject them despite they do perform wonders in Jesus’ name and there is a query the so-called wonders that they perform are from God. The following are the extracts:
    Matthew 7:22-23, “Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name, cast out demons in your name, and done many wonders in your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practise lawlessness!’

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