A Testimony About Leaving The Third Wave Movement
Charismatic Teaching: FAITH
This is not just the normal, Biblical faith: it is a very intense type of faith which, when "fully developed", will supposedly result in miracles. In my own experience, over 75% of all sermons I heard in the Pentecostal church were teaching on this "super-faith". In a nutshell, it is a case of trying to work up faith in what you want or expect God to do rather than what the Bible says God will do; it is faith in your own ability to have faith! For those Christians who cannot work up this super-faith, it causes self-condemnation and frustration. This is the foremost reason why disillusioned Charismatic people leave Christianity alone altogether, they feel they cannot possibly attain such high standards in their faith. The majority of errant Charismatic doctrine is tied into or even based on this super-faith. Charismatics are taught that their faith is power.
What The Bible Says:
It is very true and very important to realize that "without faith it is impossible to please God" (Hebrews 11:6) but this biblical faith is, as already pointed out, not the faith of the Charismatics. The power to do miracles and change circumstances belongs totally and solely to God. As Christians we have the right to "come boldly unto the throne of grace" (Heb. 4:16) but not to treat God like a genie who must respond to our every command - that smacks of witchcraft! Charismatic teaching puts a heavy emphasis on Mark 11:24 which says, "What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them". Yet at the same time they ignore, or at the very least stumble over, verses such as John 15:16 which says that a Christian must bear fruit and that fruit remain, in order for the Father to give what is asked of Him; in verses 4 and 5 of that same chapter we are told that the requirement for bearing fruit is to abide in the Vine (Christ) and that without Him we can do nothing!! 1 John 5:14 points out that God hears us when we ask only according to HIS WILL and James taught that selfish, covetous prayers will not be answered (James 4:3) and that faith without works is dead faith (James 2:20).
Charismatic Teaching: VISUALIZATION
This goes hand-in-hand with "faith". The most famous teacher of this false doctrine is Paul Yonggi Cho, the pastor of the world's largest church in Seoul, South Korea. Basically, visualization is an attempt to see in the imagination, the miracle one wants to be performed. for instance, at a local Apostolic church, the congregation was told to close their eyes and visualize their entire church filled to its seating capacity within a certain time. They believed that by being able to see this in their imagination, the miracle would come about. Others, who have difficulty in praying to a God whom they cannot see, are told to visualize Jesus in their imagination. The result of that exercise is that they end up praying to a mere figment of their imagination rather than to the real, living God, and are thus deceived.
What The Bible Says: The Bible clearly states that "faith is the evidence of things NOT SEEN" (Heb. 11:1), and 2 Corinthians 5:7 says, "we walk by faith, not by sight". We are warned in 2 Cor. 10:5 to "(cast) down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ". Visualization is a technique used in many false religions and especially in witchcraft.
Charismatic Teaching: GOD WANTS YOU RICH AND IN PERFECT HEALTH 100% OF THE TIME (PROSPERITY DOCTRINE)
One of the supposedly biblical bases of this is 3 John 2, "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth". Even a quick glance at verse one of this chapter will tell us this is not god speaking to us, but rather John greeting Gaius, the recipient of this particular letter/epistle. Charismatics believe that poverty and ill-health do not glorify God and that all sickness, poverty, bad circumstances etc., come directly from Satan. It is quite common at a Charismatic prayer meeting to hear more rebuking of Satan, than prayers and petitions to God! Anyone who is in financial need or ill health, is considered to have something wrong with their "faith". The Charismatics teach that a person should tithe on the basis that, although we have been "set free from the Law", tithing was established before the Law was given and therefore is an eternal principle of God.... Strangely, these churches do not teach, on that basis, that we must also keep the Sabbath Day, seeing that the Sabbath also was established before the Law was given!
What The Bible Says: For those false teachers who would ridicule people who live in poverty, and tell them they are ignorant of God's will, I would quote Proverbs 17;5, "He who mocketh the poor, reproacheth his Maker". James 1:9,10 exhorts, "Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: but the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away". Jesus never promised anyone earthly riches if they would follow him, but rather told them to sell what they had and distribute it to the poor! (see Luke 18:22 et al.) Hebrews 13:5 tells us, "Let your conversation be without covetousness, and be content with such things as ye have; for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee". Matthew 25:31-46 tells us that it is our deeds of helping others in Christ that will help separate us from the goats at the judgment, not our deeds of attempting to selfishly accumulate goods for ourselves! How true it is that God will meet our needs (Matt. 6:32,33) but he will not indulge us in our every selfish want (see James 4:3). James 2:5 points out that the poor have a special place in God's heart. And 2 warnings: 2 Peter 2:3 - "And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not", and Revelation 3:17, "Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked". As for healing - Charismatics insist the apostolic gift of healing is still available to believers but the biblical command for today is shown in James 5:14,15. A few "faith"-fanatics teach that we should live not from one healing to another but rather live in "divine health", i.e. never get sick at all. Charismatics often stumble over such things as the death of Elisha, who died of sickness, the sickness of Epaphroditus in Philippians 2:25-27, and the fact that Luke was a physician - according to them, he should have been healing people by faith rather than by medical knowledge! It's amazing how many Charismatics are seen in the doctor's office the morning after they have been in the "prayer line" believing for a healing.....
Charismatic Practice: "SLAYING IN THE SPIRIT"
This is when a person who is being prayed for in a prayer line, falls backwards supposedly under the power and control of the Holy Spirit. I know of two instances in which this "slaying in the Spirit" was attempted not by any power but by physical pressure from a preacher: the first instance being of a teenage girl who disgustedly related to her church elders that a certain preacher had gently and subtly knocked her off balance so that she had no choice but to fall backwards. The other instance concerned my own mother (who remains in the Pentecostal movement) who was repeatedly told by the preacher in whispering tones, "Give yourself over to the Holy Spirit", but my mother didn't understand at the time that said preacher (a woman preacher at that!) was hinting at her to allow herself to fall backwards! However, another instance is of a friend who left the Pentecostal movement with me in 1988, she told me that when this "slaying" took place with her, it was as if she was pushed by an unseen force which could not be resisted, and afterwards it left a vague feeling of depression. I have personally seen many irreverent and ridiculous acts supposedly done to "transfer" the slaying power from the preacher to the believer; in a large Pentecostal rally held here in Burnie in 1987, the guest preacher raced his hand very quickly over the immediate space in front on one believer's face right down to her feet and back up again, as though unzipping a very large zipper. In a similar rally a few months later, he rolled up an imaginary baseball and threw this "baseball" at the believer in the exact same style of an American baseball pitcher. In both instances, the believers went out flat on their backs....
What The Bible Says: The only instance of people falling backwards in the presence of the power of Christ, to my knowledge, is John 18:6, and the people in that instance had evil intentions toward Jesus. In all other instances where a person came under the power of God (such as Daniel, Ezekiel, John, etc.), he fell onto his face, an attitude and position of worship. People I have known personally, who have experienced this "slaying" say that they lose consciousness for a short while and cannot control themselves (contrary to 1 Cor. 14:32 which implies that we have control of our spirits, and Galatians 5:23 - one of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control, or "temperance" as it is rendered in the KJV Version.
Charismatic Teaching: BLASPHEMY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
This is based on Mark 3:22-30. The
teaching dictates that anyone who says Charismatic "miracles" are done
by the power of the Holy Spirit are actually done by the power of Satan,
is guilty of blaspheming the Holy Spirit and shall go to hell. This is
a tremendous hold of fear on the majority of Charismatics who dare not
even consider the fact that the miraculous gifts given as signs in the
Apostolic age, have served their purpose and therefore have ceased or been
replaced. This hold of fear could quite well be compared with the Roman
Catholic fear of purgatory and excommunication by the "church". In conclusion,
I can only say that although there are many true and dedicated believers
in the Charismatic movement who are not yet awake to the deception, the
movement must as a whole be considered to be under the control of "another
Jesus, another spirit and another gospel" (2 Cor. 11:4). The true believer
who is caught in the Charismatic web but who genuinely loves God and loves
the Truth often feels there is something not quite right with what they
are experiencing and being taught but cannot quite say just exactly what
it is. Therefore, when witnessing the Truth about these matters to a Charismatic,
it is usually best to work on the false teachings I have mentioned, pointing
out the Scriptures in an attitude of "speaking the truth in love" and when
they can see the error of the false teachings they are usually more open
to teaching on "tongues". To immediately attack tongues first-off is to
attempt to knock-out the very base on which the Charismatic stands, his
whole spiritual walk revolves around his supposed "baptism in the Holy
Spirit" and ability to "speak in tongues". The reason many people join
the Charismatic movement is because they want power, the very same reason
people join the occult. It is true that Charismatics have a lot of joy,
but it is a false joy, and I have yet to meet one who had true peace, or
who understood the importance of obedience to the Word of God. As the Bible
says in Romans 10:14, "... how shall they hear without a preacher?" so
it is important that we tell this truth to Charismatics, with an attitude
of speaking the truth in love, that they may, God willing, be led out of
darkness and into the full light of Christ.