This is a very popular subject among the Evangelical Christian population, but I’m going to put a twist on it that many find distasteful. The Charismatic circles, and the Pentacostal circles will enjoy the twist I put on it, but at the same time, I shall be mixing it up with some Evangelical and Baptist viewpoints.
Quite frankly, both sides of this are partly accurate, but without the other side, it finds itself lacking a huge portion of what is needed to actually be right, and to be Biblical.
We have all heard the argument (and most of us have used it..), that it isn’t a religion, but a relationship with Christ. That’s halfway right. But even our own Bible calls us to do things like caring for the poor, the orphans, and the widows. You know what the Bible says that is? Pure, and Undefiled, Religion.
James 1:27 KJV
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
Whoa there. Hold up everybody. Sounds problematic. Are you sure that’s in the Bible? Why yes. Yes I am. There’s a reason I cringe when I get told it is a relationship instead of a religion, that reason being it’s not entirely true. A stance I have held, is that it is a religion, that only works because of our personal, intimate relationship, with Christ. That is a stance I continue to hold. Satan has allowed us to hold to that, and chase after half of what we are to be doing, because it suits and serves him. In fact, Lucifer himself engineered that particular half truth. There is good will, and there is God’s will. I don’t care if you like it or not, but the fact of the matter is that both sides of this coin, when they split, took a huge chunk of the puzzle out with them, but left a crucial piece with the other side. The Evangelical population stopped proclaiming power from on high to be the requirement for ministry, in general. The Charismatic population stopped using sound doctrine, and scriptures for a solid footing of how to live in Christ.
Because of this you get a bunch of odd conglomerations, which argue all sorts of stupid things. The biggest bit of stupid I have heard of late, is that the Bible doesn’t cover everything we need it to, and that we can’t stuff an infinite God within its pages, because it is a finite book.
Give me a break. Seriously. That’s the kind of logic that discounts the Bible at every turn because they don’t take the time to actually read it and ask the Holy Spirit for Wisdom.
The other bit of stupid I have seen recently is that there is no rapture. Funny how in the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, and Aramaic translations, it doesn’t just hint at it, it states it plainly.
Evangelicals, I don’t blame all of you for this. And I am perfectly aware that there are those among the Evangelical Christian populous that seek after God in the way He has told us to. Now then, for the rest of you in this…
Christianity is a branch, grafted onto Judaism, and into the family of God. In Judaism they were blessed and cursed by their actions. In obedience they could experience God, and His pleasure. His blessings. In disobedience and unrepentence, they would experience God and His wrath for punishment. But in both cases, they experienced God.
In Psalms 34:8 it says this: O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
To taste is to experience.. Many of the evangelicals get all uptight over people who chase experiences. And sometimes, they are right to be upset and uptight over it. Sometimes these people are chasing experience of God’s blessings instead of God Himself. That upsets me also. But instead of condemning chasing experiences, and withdrawing to your Bible and only your Bible as your fulfilling need for Christ, why don’t you give it a try? You can learn an awful lot from the people who experience God for themselves, in tangible ways. Chase a true experience with Christ. With the Holy Ghost. Experience God for yourself.
2 Chronicles 5:13-14
It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord; So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God.
A notable and true experience of God. So our Bible exhorts us to seek to experience God Himself. You among the Evangelicals ought to have already known this. But so many have become so withdrawn that they can barely bring themselves to raise their hands in praise and worship. In some circles, they have even ditched the instruments themselves due to the fact that in some places the musicians seem to put on a concert instead of leading in praise and worship. But why should we abandon what the Bible says to do, just because someone else screwed up? God never finds that to be acceptable.. He has always wished people to worship Him in specific ways. Not just ways that we *feel* comfortable with.
Now then.. Same disclaimer as above.
Charismatics/Pentacostals: I know not all of you do these things. But it is highly prevalent, so if this isn’t for you, then cool.
I have heard of churches that just allow anything to be done. Doesn’t matter if it’s in order or lined up with the scriptures, because God is doing a new thing. But when you actually study that out, you find that the new thing He is doing? That was listed in Joel and quoted by Peter in the book of Acts.
That new thing was pouring out His Spirit upon all flesh. Instead of having a few people who were His chosen representatives in His church, He promised His power to all who will do two things: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and to be baptized. You all know the passage I am talking about.
But Christ Himself quoted scriptures at all times. In fact, He was dead set on doctrine being important. And even later on, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, it was commanded to test every spirit against the scriptures, that way none would be led astray from them.
So, to sum this up, Evangelicals? To have a relationship, you have to experience God. I mean, many of y’all are married. If you read your spouse’s words, constantly, and sorta talked at them, did stuff with them but always in a distracted manner? What about sex? that’s an experience.. Well.. you likely wouldn’t stay married. So why do you think that such a thing is ok, as the Bride of Christ?
Charismatics? To have a relationship with Christ, you have to learn the words within the Bible. Line upon line, precept upon precept. Many of y’all are married. If you spent all your time experiencing the pleasures and joy of your spouse, but ignored what was said, talking to them and trying to dictate what happened when? You also, likely, wouldn’t stay married. So why would y’all think that’s ok, as the Bride of Christ?
We need to bring the two back together. The charismatics with the evangelicals. In spite of our differences, we cannot walk those extremes without allowing Satan in our midst, to do as he wishes. When modern Christianity cut out the puzzle pieces during that particular split, Satan came in and filled those pieces in, in such a way that his pieces almost fit. And many have been content to force them into place. Others left the church, because it wasn’t real enough, or right enough. Because they saw the sickening blackness that had infiltrated but couldn’t do anything about it and couldn’t live with it. Nor could they identify it. Many still can’t. So they leave.
Not all churches have an open problem with it. Many don’t even recognize it. They’re just trying to do the work Jesus has placed before them, and make the best of it. Props to them. But Jesus wants to do so much more in us all.
So lets look past the differences of opinions, and errant human logic and reasoning. It is written, there is a way that seems right to a man, and that path leads to destruction. But it is also written, trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all thy ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.