Thursday, August 7, 2008

What Makes us Charismatic?

UK blogger David Matthias (how do I find these things!) writes about a message he heard that changed his life. The topic was the work of the Holy Spirit. Read it at The Road to "Elder" ado: Sermons that changed my life NUMBER 3. (Love the name of his blog, by the way). He lists some very good questions about the direction of the Charismatic movement and the role of spiritual gifts in church meetings.
- Are we "charismatic" because we have a "contemporary style" or because the "charismata" are present? Is it guitars and PA systems or spiritual gifts that really express the presence of God.

- Are "prophecies" and "words of knowledge" becoming just too fluffy and huggy to bring about any real consequence? God does love and care for us - wonderful - but what about stuff that is more directional, more challenging, even rebuking. Why is that becoming rare?

- Is the full weight of the bible behind the words given? Could we aim for more public reading of scripture as God puts in on our hearts?

- Where are tongues and interpretations? Paul gives instructions for when there are many at one time, not irregular and from the same people every time.

- Do we "perform" worship or do we sing out psalms, hymns and spiritual songs? That is a question for the congregation as much as the worship band. Is it too prescribed, too closed?

- Is the way we "do" worship times too restrictive? When is the last time someone other than a worship leader has started a new song? How can we all be more deeply involved in shaping the time of worship?

- Has our worship become so focussed on "music" that there is less room for other forms of expression?
These are some very good questions, worth considerable thought.
I guess the underlying question is this: Has the thirty five minutes of 1970s "soft rock" songs that so defines many charismatic churches actually become a blockage to the work of the spirit in our meetings? Has the very thing the "new wineskin" of the charismatic movement sought to redefine itself from actually re-occurred but just in a more contemporary way? Are we charismatic because we sing Matt Redman or because we exercise spiritual gifts?
As Matt Redman himself said, "Lord, Take me back to the heart of worship, where it's all about you! I'm sorry Lord for the thing I've made it."