I know that it seems I’ve gone over the top on all things charismatic this month. Personally, I am in the midst of processing my beliefs and feelings about all of us this which is why you get to read about. My apologies to those who don’t relate.
Most of you know a little bit about my story. During the three years that we were disfellowshipped, I went through the process of grieving, healing, and detoxing from a spiritually abusive church. This detox focused on systems and structures, but didn’t really address my charismatic beliefs. Being completely separated from association with anything charismatic, that aspect of my former spiritual life became kind of a non-issue.
As other people left our former church, many of our relationships were restored. After three years of detox and gradual personal change, suddenly I was surrounded by charismatics again. Rather than examining a belief system in a detached manner, I was attending events and having conversations about this stuff.
In the past 6 months I have attended healing services, revival meetings, and prayer meetings, trying to sincerely observe, participate, and deal with how I now feel about it all now. It is not the objective observance of an outsider because it involves people that I respect and love. Once you put names and faces on some of this stuff, it is no longer a black and white issue of doctrine.
I have been careful not to disrepect other people’s beliefs while trying to figure out how I feel about all this stuff. I do not want to disrespect the things that others value. The fact is though that I see some things differently.
In the past month, I have processed and come to some conclusions about my view of charismatic christianity. I have distilled the practices and values and developed a post-charismatic framework that makes sense for me. I understand enough of the background and influences to know where the boundary lines are for me.
In the process of my study, I discovered that the doctrine our CLB has embraced isn’t something new and cutting edge. It is the extreme of LatterRain teaching – prophetic presbytry for determining spiritual position, proper apostolic alignment necessary to access God’s grace for the individual, an elite remnant who will be purified to the degree needed to fulfill God’s purposes, the belief that they are needed for the salvation of the rest of us. Good luck with that.
I am now comfortable and confident in my beliefs about the ministry of the Holy Spirit, spiritual gifts, church leadership, the role of apostles and other fivefold ministry in the church today, prophetic hype and revival mentalities, and the purpose of empowerment in the life of a believer.
I would rather find a place of unity in diversity than try to change others. Yes, there is a discomfort at times when differences become obvious. I feel at those times it is most important that I emphasize relationship and diminish the differences so that my rejection of some charismatic practices doesn’t come across as a cause for division. That is what I can do. The other person then has the opportunity to decide if they will allow for those differences.
The reality of deconstruction in the midst of relationships is frequent moments of choosing how to react and respond. And lots of questions…
Am I being authentic?
Am I allowed to be different?
What will it mean relationally if I don’t embrace the latest hype?
Am I equally willing to respect others where they are?
When do differences become too much to walk together?