Friday, February 10, 2006

Are Charismatics Gnostics?

My position on this has been hardening somewhat over the past month.

Charismatics are gnostics, because they believe that God gives special revelation to people at different points in their spiritual development. This then gives those people additional power (spiritual or temporal depending on the church). These points of progress involve initiations, central to which are church leaders. e.g. the initial public demonstration of receiving the holy spirit, or later receiving prophetic words which may act as the church's permission to undertake oa specific ministry.

Evangelicals believe that the bible is the whole of God's revelation and it is up to Christians to study the word and apply it in their lives. This is aided by the holy spirit who indwells every believer. There will be no further revelation other than the bible.

Thisis my honest assessment of the divide. I am not trying to get at anyone and you don't have to agree with me, its just how i see it.

These two sides are not reconcilable because charismatics, by their own definitions, view evangelicals as partial christians or lower level christians. Therefore, all that can be achieved by discussions like this is strife.

In practice its perfectly possible for charismatics and evangelicals to work together on a one to one basis if they know each other as friends. I have seen charismatics (especially young ones) question what they have been taught when they first come into contact with evangelicals in mission and evangelism. In my experience traditional pentecostal churches can also work well with evangelical churches. Its the shepherding/covenant type churches which practice greater separation (and of course the black led churches).