by: John MacArthur
We are going to embark upon a study of the Charismatic movement, the contemporary Charismatic movement that surrounds us in the Evangelical Church. Back in 1977, to be exact, I preached a series on the movement, or maybe a little even before that year. But a book came from it which I spent 1977 writing. That book was entitled, “The Charismatics.” And now we are about a dozen or more years beyond that publication, and I felt that it is time for an update. And from this series will come another book entitled, “Charismatic Chaos.” I believe that book will be released sometime after the first of next year.
So many Christians are confused by the theology and the experiences of Charismatic people. And they have become so visible because of Christian television, radio, books, magazines, and because their ministries are so aggressive that we all are inundated by them through direct mail. Television and the media has spread this movement, it has created for them a tremendous platform. In fact, it is probably not far from the truth to say that most people would assume that Evangelical Christianity is what the Charismatic movement represents, because it is such an exposed movement.
But we must deal with it in line with 1 Thessalonians 5:21, and that is to examine it carefully, to determine what is true and what is not. Now as we embark upon this examination, I want you to know at the very outset, that I love my brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, and I have no intent to convey anything other than love for them. I think in the movement there are many who are not genuinely saved, and I am equally concerned about their salvation. My purpose is not to debate them, pitting our theology against theirs, but to call them to the test of Scripture, to drop what Amos called the “plumb line,” to see if they are straight with the Word of God.
I have to say at the very outset that a rather powerful intimidation factor works against those who wish to deal with this movement Biblically. To critique Charismatic doctrine or practice is commonly viewed as inherently unloving, inherently unkind, inherently divisive, and even blasphemous. I have personally been accused of blaspheming the Holy Spirit by calling this movement to the test of Scripture. Anybody who wants to answer the movement; to confront the movement; to measure it by Scripture; can be intimidated. Because it is very hard, then, to find a platform to speak about the movement. It runs almost rampant like wildfire.
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