reload The Race by Maurice McCracken

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Am I a charismatic yet?

posted by Little Mo | Permalink |
One of the things I love about working in UCCF is being challenged and taught to rethink and grow by sound Gospel people who think differently than me.
It has been the influence of good friends in the fellowship, giving me books, discussing things at conferences, reading their blogs and watching them live that have given me a more emotionally rounded view of faith - that it is not just grasping propositions (although it is not less than this) but wholly, emotionally entrusting myself to a person and his enormous claims. Not just accepting that grace is real but enjoying grace. Not just "teaching the Bible" but "enountering the living God in his word."

So, am I a charismatic yet? Well, it seems to me that the main practical difference between charismatics and nons is that the caros tend to think that their "inner leadings" are from the Lord, whereas nons tend to believe that their inner leadings are probably indigestion, lack of sleep or hormones. The former is a high view of the doctrine of our hearts having been regenerated, the latter a high view of the doctrine of total depravity. I guess the difference is a little bit eschatological - generally speaking, caros tend to believe we have more of the Kingdom right now than nons do.

Now, in my cynical moments I just think "that's what makes charismatics run after every fad that's going and then when they get tired of it, say the Lord is leading them to something else."

Maybe that's true sometimes. But one thing I love about the caros - they believe, really practically, that God is actually real, and is really involved in their lives, and might, you know, actually do something when they talk to him and ask him to act.

I love that. I guess my doctrine of depravity is too strong to totally be a caro by this definition as yet, but I really want that sense of a real, active God who, by his Spirit changes things. In that sense, I am as charismatic as the day is long.


Blogger étrangère said...

I love this. Having made a similar transition, I think of it as the interplay of faith and wisdom. Interplay, or maybe growth in both: it's not balance I want, because faith is in Christ, who is our Wisdom. So our wisdom (what we sometimes think of as being 'sensible') is to act in accordance with the reality of Christ and his gospel, and our faith is to act in accordance with the reality of Christ and his gospel. I guess what's needed in this is growth in discernment, so we don't feel a tension between the two. Probably why many older wiser Christians than I, sound very much alike when they speak of 'charismatic' things in practice - once you get past the language barrier.

4:47 AM  
Blogger Levi said...

I just love the use of the word 'caro'!

6:37 AM  
Blogger peterdray said...

I wonder if the tension is between whether something is possible or whether we end up relying on it.

In other words, whilst I believe that these internal leadings are possible and real, I don't believe that I need to rely on them. It seems to me that some charismatics tie together the existence of internal leadings with their trumping of everything else.

Like Rosemary says, I think its with wisdom and discernment that the place of these leadings (which definitely do happen) are placed within their correct context.

3:18 AM  
Blogger Little Mo said...

Yes they do Pete. And I have issues with that too - but if our hearts are regenerate, why shouldn't we depend on them?

I can't go that far, but lots of more charismatic people than me do so.

7:28 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Hello there Mo! I've just made a fantasy football kit in honour of you. Loving the "purple elvis" (rob bell's next book?) wedding suit. For some reason I'm imagining you having a big ol' karaoke afterparty...

I totally agree: the main differences are eschatology. It's much bigger than gifts & promptings - it's divergent views on Romans 6-7, 1 John 1-2, etc. See MLJ v Stott.

A charismatic theology of gifts + conservative eschatology = gifts unwrapped. Church culture would be identical, even if theology differs (case in point: NWA monoculture).

What I love most about charismatic culture is that the spiritual barometers are up. You're really aware when you're something's not quite right, when your worship lacks integrity, or whatever...ok (to caricature caroculture) they don't know how to fix it, but they know something's wrong. Don't get me wrong: some "conservative" churches have the same sense of life. Love from chris

8:21 AM  
Blogger Marcus said...

Hmmm, I think the issue is not quite as simplistic as whether your doctrine of regenerated hearts outweighs your doctrine of total depravity! Any calvinist charismatic knows they are totally depraved. Without either one defying the other.

But to the subject of internal leadings I want to say:

(a) not a good definition of anything, let alone the marks of a charismatic

(b) why should they fall into some different category to any other word of wisdom or knowledge when it comes to the discerning tests you would apply to them?

(c) If people are regularly pouring over the scriptures, well versed in doctrine, prayerful, evangelistic and full of love, grace and truth, and they sense an internal prompting, aren't we sensible to allow the possibility that God is at work? Why would we automatically jump to suspicion rather than cautious optimism?

(d) Regeneration IS bigger than total depravity because God is more powerful than my sin and grace is stronger than death!

Hope you are well Mo. Love to Anna. Very warmest regards, Marcus

10:05 AM  
Blogger Levi said...

Given this was posted a while ago, I'm aware that it's possible you'll never see this Mo, but anywho...

I've been thinking about the whole charimastic jazz stuff recently and I find that my understanding of the depravity of my heart actually pushes me further into charismatic theology. Let me explain with an example:

I'm walking down the road thinking random things, which quickly descends into a proud monolouge rant about something so inconsequential that I can't even remember what it was, when I feel compelled to stop my internal rambling and instead pray. Now I'm so convinced that I am still steeped in sin so much that I am also certain this must have been a prompting of the Holy Spirit. I'm simply not that sanctified to pull myself up on pride, I enjoy it too much, and prayer is hard.

I could give other examples but I hope that explains where I'm coming from?

So, I wonder if you could unpack the link you've made between a high view of the doctrine of total deparvity and an assumption that "inner leadings" are not from the Holy Spirit? (That's assuming you still hold that position).

5:34 AM  

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