I will never apologize for being a charismatic Christian. I had a dramatic experience with the Holy Spirit many years ago, and nobody can talk me out of it. I love the Holy Spirit’s abiding presence in my life and His supernatural gifts. I love to prophesy, speak in tongues, pray for the sick and see people changed by the Spirit’s power.
At the same time, I’m aware that since the charismatic movement began in the 1960s, people have misused the gifts of the Spirit and twisted God’s Word to promote strange doctrines or practices. Seeing these errors never caused me to question the authenticity of what the Holy Spirit had done in my life. But I knew I had to stay true to God’s Word and reject any false teachings I encountered.
My simple rule is based on 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22: “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil” (NASB). In other words: Eat the meat and spit out the bones.
As I have traveled throughout the body of Christ in recent years, I’ve experienced the good, the bad and the ugly. I love God’s people, and I know there is a healthy remnant of Spirit-filled churches that are striving to stay grounded in biblical truth. But I also know we have reached a crossroads. We must clean up our act. We must jettison any weird doctrines we might have believed or practiced that are hindering our growth today.
Here are a few of the worst errors that have circulated in our movement in the past season. You may have others that need to be added to this list. I believe we are grieving the Holy Spirit if we continue to practice these things:
1. "Touch not My anointed." Chances are you’ve heard this weird doctrine based on 1 Chronicles 16:22. In an attempt to discourage any form of disagreement in the church, insecure leaders tell their members that if they ever question church authority, they are “touching the Lord’s anointed” and in danger of God’s judgment. Let’s call this what it is: spiritual manipulation. It creates worse problems by ruling out healthy discussion and mutual respect. Church members end up being abused or controlled—or even blacklisted because they dare to ask a question.
2. Dual covenant. We charismatics love and respect Israel. Some of us even incorporate Jewish practices in our worship—such as wearing prayer shawls, blowing shofars or celebrating Hebraic feasts. These things can enrich our Christian experience—but some leaders go too far when they begin to teach that Jews don’t need to believe in Jesus Christ to experience salvation. They imply that Jews have special access into heaven simply because of their ethnic heritage. This is a flagrant contradiction of everything the New Testament teaches...