CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

A Review of The Holy Spirit is Not For Sale. By J. Lee Grady.

Jul 2, 2010

Chosen, 2010. (Available in Australia at Koorong Books)

There has been no shortage of criticism of the charismatic and Pentecostal movement over the years. And much of what is found in this volume has been said many times over. But what makes this book unique is that it comes from an insider, not an outsider.

For those of us who have had reservations about the movement, although willing to be associated with it, there is not too much new material found here. But what is so refreshing is that Grady is a key leader in the movement. As editor of Charisma magazine, he is a long time mover and shaker in the area.

Often to give any constructive criticism of the movement has been seen as being negative, judgmental, hindering the Holy Spirit, and so on. But here is a clear-headed and sober assessment of the many shortcomings, extremes and errors of the movement.

Image of Holy Spirit Is Not for Sale, The: Rekindling the Power of God in an Age of Compromise
Holy Spirit Is Not for Sale, The: Rekindling the Power of God in an Age of Compromise by Array Amazon logo

The unwillingness to be open to assessment, the tendency to greed and worldly fame, the over-emphasis on signs and wonders, a weakness in sound doctrine and theology, and the lack of accountability, especially moral accountability, have all been big drawbacks of the movement.

Grady of course applauds all the good that it has done in putting the person and gifts of the Holy Spirit back on the map, after so long being denied or ignored by the church. But he rightly notes that there has been far too little self-criticism and discernment.

The movement has produced much good fruit: “millions of people converted to Christ, churches planted, spiritual passion ignited. Yet in the short history of the movement, it has also produced its share of wood, hay and stubble.” That is the burden of this book: to expose the many shortcomings, mistakes and sins of the movement, and to get back on to God’s program.

He warns how the work of the Spirit can so easily be faked and how the Christian life can be turned into an excuse for selfishness: “We reduce a holy experience to the spiritual equivalent of a fast-food drive-through. We’ve also turned this experience inward and made it all about us.”

And there is a desperate need for real discernment. So much that passes for the charismatic movement today is based on emotion, showmanship, and manipulation. “We have turned the holy fire of God into a circus sideshow – and naive Christians are buying this without realizing that such shenanigans are actually blasphemous.”

There is also the major problem of a me-centred gospel, especially a money-centred message. How many leaders in this movement have simply used it as an excuse to live a lavish, selfish lifestyle? “Greed has actually morphed into a virtue in some charismatic circles, where pastors take hourlong offerings and guest speakers require limousines and five-figure honorariums to maintain their celebrity lifestyles.”

He also provides plenty of examples of false miracles, lying prophets and fake healers. He examines not just the American scene, but looks at how the movement worldwide has so often been discredited by charlatans and fakes. He even mentions the recent case of a leading Australian minister who faked having cancer to hide his pornography addiction.

Indeed, the issue of purity, especially sexual purity, is one which needs to be addressed with great urgency. How many leaders in this movement have fallen from grace due to sexual sin? And worst of all, Grady documents how many of these leaders seem to think they are above the moral law here.

Some have even made excuses for their sexual immorality and marital infidelity. Some have claimed a special dispensation from God for their sinful activities. And many have taught that to raise any objections or criticisms of such wayward leaders is to resist the Holy Spirit himself.

Grady rightly warns us not to elevate leaders, not to elevate anointing over character, and not to overlook the clear biblical standards expected of God’s leaders. He notes that the movement has been far too independent, far too lax on moral standards, and far too lacking in accountability.

He argues that the movement’s leadership has “become a demonic nest of unspeakable immorality”. Example after painful example are provided here, and Grady correctly admonishes us to get our act together soon, or experience God’s chastising hand, or the removal of his presence altogether.

“God is not married to our ministries, our television studios or our cathedrals. If He allowed foreign armies to burn Jerusalem and destroy its glorious Temple, He will also write ‘Ichabod’ on the doors of churches where there is no repentance for sexual compromise.”

Indeed, we have forgotten that the central person of this movement is the Holy Spirit. Where is the holiness in so much of this movement? Grady compares the present mess with New Testament Christianity and some of the great revivals of the past.

“Two profound characteristics marked the Welsh revival. First, waves of conviction drew people to repentance. Often sinners wandered into the meetings and immediately knelt at the altars. Second, Christians felt an urgency to share Christ with everyone around them because of the reality of hell and God’s judgment. They seemed almost possessed by the love of God for the unconverted.”

That’s quite a contrast with the sin-excusing and wealth-addicted churches of today. Grady looks at the “scandal of greasy grace” in the churches, and how leaders like Todd Bentley were allowed to get away with so much mischief while receiving so little careful biblical scrutiny.

He urges us to get back to biblical accountability and church discipline, and stop putting these leaders on pedestals, and treating them as if they were beyond correction and reproof. If some proper discernment and correction was exercised earlier on with some of these leaders, we wouldn’t have had so many ugly public scandals which have dragged the name of Jesus into the mud.

A fundamental lack of integrity, transparency and accountability is one of the major defects of this movement, and it must be addressed immediately and forcefully argues Grady. The rot of compromise, greed, ego and showmanship must all be stamped out of God’s church.

In their place we need a return to biblical humility, godliness, holiness, openness and unity. Enough of the personality-driven ministry, the celebrity status, the empire building, and the desire to be men-pleasers. Either we concentrate on being God-pleasers, or we should get out of the ministry.

Grady’s warning is timely, powerful, yet given out of deep love and concern for the church in general and this movement in particular. It is time for the charismatic movement to grow up and demonstrate some godly maturity. This book goes a long way toward helping to achieve that end.

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21 Responses to A Review of The Holy Spirit is Not For Sale. By J. Lee Grady.

  • Thanks again Bill, I have been saying this for years but being careful not to offend.
    Once after I was serving on the Sanctuary of a Charismatic Mass, I was told I was now saved and converted !!!!
    I was stunned but replied, I was baptised in 1998 and have been a Catholic since then. They persisted and said This was my real baptism, I left and continued my work in the sacristy.
    Creos Mary Roman

  • Thanks Bill. This book sounds like a balanced look at the Pentecostal scene highlighting concerns where the nature fruit of the Holy Spirit do not match that of some of the church. I became a Christian in 1969 and attended the Belmont Full Gospel Church which was affiliated with the Christian Revival Crusade. This movement was the first Pentecostal movement formed in Australia by Australians back in the 40’s I think. I’ve stayed with this movement (CRC) over these years except for a two year period when I attended the AOG in Werribee. When we look back at church history since the Reformation the Church can be seen emerging from the Dark Ages. Each stage was inspired by revealed revelation from the Word starting with “justification by faith” followed by the need for water baptism and then the need for a walk of holiness. The turn of the last century came the baptism of the Holy Spirit which was Divinely given followed by praise and worship and then the Charismatic movement which I thought would bring believers together at last. God is busy restoring His church to prepare for the Son’s return. We notice that each revelation it was persecuted sadly, not by the world but by the church who had received the former truth. The Pentecostal movement experienced the same being misunderstood by previous movements. Being filled with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues was like getting out of the boat and walking on water. My experience in 1970 was even greater then when I received Jesus as my Saviour. Both were experiences I cannot deny. Both were very spiritual and very real. Despite these personal Divine experiences I’ve seen and experienced both fierce and chronic spiritual warfare over the years and sadly lost many a battle. I’d wondered how ever the Lord would build his glorious Church with such imperfection. But we walk by faith and push on. Warfare is never pretty and the church which is in a state of constant warfare from without and within is no exception. Pentecostals like no other movement has had to move into the spiritual faith realm in order to operate in the spiritual gifts encouraged by the Apostle Paul. Mistakes have been costly in fallen ministries and hurt believers but I have to believe that God will bring the Church through and Grady’s book, because of his background can be added to the weaponry to keep us on track. I’ve observed those ministers that split a church by leaving and taking some of the flock seem to be more susceptible to a fall. I cannot speak more highly of the CRC movement which has been able to weather many a storm over the years and have kept the flock from swinging on the chandlers.
    Keith Lewis

  • I had a colleague when I was teaching Welfare, lovely bloke, and a devout Catholic who went to an AOG Church in Inner Melbourne for a Sunday service. He was flabbergasted by the expressions of sensuality and sexuality shown by the young ladies leading the singing. In this context the words of Bonhoeffer “cheap grace” take on a new meaning.
    Wayne Pelling

  • Bill, thank you for the review.

    Jesus said, “..freely you have received, freely give..”

    Peter said, “..Your money perish with you, because you have thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.”

    Our Lord Jesus had money, but it didn’t “have” Him.

    God is very interested in our character, and part of our spiritual growth and maturing is obtaining victory over the “love of money”, so that money simply becomes a tool. Money is the currency of the world, and faith (in / of God) is the “currency” of the Kingdom of God.

    To be like Jesus should be the heart’s desire of every Christian – in character, conduct, ministry, motives, etc. Jesus was a “radical” in his day, as He outworked His Father’s will – why? – because God is love, and His heart is that He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

    This is the hour for Christians to grow up into the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

    David Alston

  • Great review Bill. I grew up in a family that was, and still deeply involved in the pentecostal church. Even when I was quite young, I felt there was something very wrong with the way that the ‘gifts’ of the Holy Spirit were paraded about, and what the gospel could do for you, your wealth and your health. I didn’t really know any different though, so I went along with it, even though I felt like there was something wrong. Furthermore, I was so sceptical at every single claim that came up, and I began to think that it was actually some kind of demon or unknown sin that was causing me to think like this.

    It wasn’t until only a couple of years ago, that I really began studying the bible and what I was reading just did not seem to correlate at all and I began to push away from church all together. Thankfully, during my time at university, I met someone studying the same course who had only just become a christian, and it became something we could really share our thoughts on. We started getting very involved in a pentecostal church again, but we were still bothered by quite a few things. For myself, there came a point where I invited some non-christian friends to come along in the hopes that they could come to know Christ. It was at this time that the pastor there declared an ‘out-pouring’ of the Holy Spirit, and everyone began wailing, moaning, falling over, shaking, screaming, and so on. My friends were horrified and scared by this. Neither of them have wanted to return to a church since. It was at this very moment I became 100% assured that this definitely was not from God. I have since left that church.

    I’m now attending a Uniting Church at the moment which, while there are some people that are convinced that charismatic gifts play a vital role in the church, there are also those who do not. I myself have come to the position that they are completely unnecessary in light of the gospel and the completed word. I’ve found that whilst some people claim that spiritual gifts and so forth are intrinsically linked to the gospel, that they did nothing more but to detract from the most awesome message and a real understanding on our own sinfulness. Although convinced, if the possibility was that I am incorrect in my position, I find that the gospel alone is abundantly and eternally sufficient enough for me, which in the end, is all we need anyway.

    I must also mention that John Macarthur’s ‘Charismatic Chaos’ was instrumental in giving me some clarity on the doubts I was harbouring. I had never heard/read someone speak with such authority and clarity in regards to the supremacy of the scripture and the message of the gospel alone. I’m not sure of other’s thoughts on him, but I very appreciative of his exegetical style in his sermons and I would love to see much more of this happening in Australian church’s, as I think this is at the root of why so many pentecostal denominations are lead astray.

    Ash Curkpatrick

  • Bill,
    I am glad J Lee Grady wrote the book. It takes someone from the movement itself to sound the warning, before any charismatic leader will hear. But again Lee Grady has made numerous criticism in the past but to no avail, and the error continues. I still doubt they will ever bother to repent from their sins and errors and correct their ways. In fact Lee Grady himself will continue to publish in Charisma, the writings and teachings of these very charismatics prophets, many of whom are among those he criticised. More false prophets will appear as we near endtimes .
    Barry Koh

  • Dear Creos,

    It seems that you and your friends have different ideas about salvation and conversion. Let us see what the bible has to say.
    The jailer in Phlippi asked Paul and Silas, “What must I do to be saved” That answer came swifly and simply: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved”(Acts 16: 30-31) The bible tells us that the jailer believed and was ‘converted’ immediately. His conversion was based on his faith in Jesus as the Son of God and the Messiah. His faith also included his belief that Jesus died for his sins and rose again (Rom 10: 9-10 & 1 Cor 15: 1-4)
    To convert means lilterally to turn from sin to Jesus. The bible calls the turning from sin ‘repentance’ and turning to Jesus, ‘faith’. Therefore repentance and faith are both essential for true spiritual conversion to occur or sometimes referred to as being ‘born again’. A truly converted person leaves behind his former sinful ways and his former false religion.

    Christianity is not a religion but a personal relationship with God the Father through His Son Jesus. The Roman Cathollic church cannot save you or me , neither can a Baptist church, a Presbyterian church, a charismatic or Pentecostal church or any other church or religion or philosophy, but only Jesus can save us if we response in faith to The Holy Spirit’s prompting like the Philippian jailer did.
    Baptism is not conversion. It is an act of obedience that comes after our conversion or salvation.So lastly it becomes important to ask ourselves; Have we responded in faith like the jailer. Are we saved and washed in the blood of the Lamb?

    Barry Koh

  • I’m very tempted to read this book, but I fear it would be preaching to the converted!
    Stephen Frost, Melbourne

  • Thanks Stephen

    Although I suppose you could say that about the Bible as well!

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Bill, thank you for your review. I feel I need to read this book but not to convince me of anything but to confirm some things. I’m a pentecostal baby. I was born into a family of Pentecostals. My grandparents were AOG people and my mum and dad took me and my siblings to an Apostolic church in NZ. Since living in Perth I have spent a majority of my time in an AOG church which I have found very balanced in its experiences of things pertaining to the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Anyone operating in said gifts is asked to submit their “words” to the Pastor and at that point the Pastor, operating as a shepherd, will direct if that word is for you or for the congregation. Other gifts such as speaking in tongues, dancing, words of knowledge, words of encouragement, etc., etc., are also encouraged during our services. Signs and wonders, i believe manifest in an atmosphere of faith and sometimes we need to go through a deeper work in our hearts to see these things come to pass BUT that doesn’t mean that the expression of such is not desired by the Spirit of God. If these things were not meant to be for the body then I don’t believe we would be reading about them in the Epistles and what should we be saying of great men like John G Lake and Smith Wigglesworth or even Billy Graham.

    I too have watched in horror as leader after leader have been permitted to come back from their hypocrisy and waywardness and reunited into their ministry with a smack on the wrist – if that!. I watch the younger generation watching this and just weep. How milky and wishy washy have we become and I don’t think this is peculiar to the pentecostal movement. Just what are we heading for? Little wonder we are powerless to be a changing force in the world. We are just too much like them.

    The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in love. He will bring His bride into complete readiness for His return.

    May God forgive us.
    Deborah Lorkin

  • I have been part of the charismatic renewal since the 1970’s and I have found it to be a means of grace to me calling me to my daily prayer time, giving me a greater hunger to receive Jesus, The Word, through Sacred Scripture as well as in the Eucharist. It has also given me a longing for unity in the Body of Christ, His church. No one can deny that throughout that poor Body there are running sores that need healing, or that utter twaddle is sometimes peddled as Christianity. That happens across denominations whenever sin is denied, when the teaching of Jesus is made comfortable and when the All Holy and Almighty God is treated as a personal Mr. Fixit. Surely the Charismatic renewal cannot be more prone to corruption than the whole Body? Or am I just ignorant of what’s going on in the world?
    Anna Cook

  • It is very easy to be critical and judgemental towards any denomination or movement….I became a Christian over 20 years ago through the Uniting Church, and for the last 12 years have been attending a Christian Outreach Centre.

    During that time, I have visited many different churches – in different parts of the world, due to my job involving considerable travel. I have yet to come across the perfect church. I believe that none of us have it right – not by a long shot…however, I don’t believe that gives me the right to condemn any movement.

    The greatest issue we face as Christians (of any denomination) is the division within the church. We don’t need the devil to destroy the image of the Church in the world – we do it to ourselves through bitter criticism and arguments over trivia. Does anyone really feel God is glorified in any way through interdenominational strife and division?

    It’s time to read John 17 again….Jesus prays for us to have unity… how on earth do we expect that anyone in the world will consider the church to be relevant when faced with the continual infighting…..ridiculous…

    Andrew Munden

  • Thanks Andrew

    But with all due respect, can I suggest you are amiss on most of what you have said. As I mention in the review, and have stated elsewhere, the church as a whole needs to hear this critique, not just one part of it. So you are quite wrong to suggest I am singling out just one group. And Grady of course is a leader in the charismatic movement, so surely he has a right to share his concerns about his own group of believers.

    And it seems you simply have not read your Bible lately. Everywhere you turn in Scripture there are words of rebuke and correction for a wayward people of God. Whether we read the prophets, or Jesus, or the apostles, we find hundreds of words of admonition, correction and criticism when it is needed. Try reading Jeremiah again, or 1 Corinthians for starters. And such loving words of admonition and rebuke have nothing to do with ‘condemnation’ as you wrongly suggest.

    Incredibly, you accuse me and Grady of “arguments over trivia”. Please explain to all of us how concern about major sex scandals, financial scandals and others major sins in the church are simply trivia. Every time this happens the name and reputation of Jesus Christ is dragged into the dirt. Is that trivial Andrew? Does that not bother you in the least?

    Paul was incredibly harsh in his judgments of those who sinned doctrinally or morally. He could tell the Galatian false teachers that he wished they were accursed. He could tell the church covering up a sex scandal that they should long ago have judged the man, and that they should “hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed”.

    James could say, “if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.”

    Jesus was the same, warning about wrath to come and millstones being hung around the necks of those who cause others to stumble. He rebuked Peter, saying “get behind me Satan”. He had the strongest of words for religious leaders not representing God properly. Are those passages in your Bible Andrew?

    Also, I have written elsewhere about unity. Yes it is important, but never at the expense of truth, or of Christian character. See here for example:
    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2009/03/16/on-truth-and-unity-part-one/
    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2009/03/16/on-truth-and-unity-part-two/

    Finally, one could point out the odd double standards here: you criticise me and Grady over how Christians criticise others! What are you doing in your comment Andrew that is any different than what Grady is doing? In fact, I could ask you: have you even read his book? If not, how can you criticise it so much? And why is it wrong for Grady or I to criticise the church out of love, but OK for you to criticise others believers out of love? Is there a bit of hypocrisy going on here?

    It seems to me that those who are not willing to challenge, admonish and exhort one another are not loving too much, but loving far too little. They are certainly not being biblical.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Bill,

    I take your points – and understand where you are coming from. I certainly did not mean to trivialise the sins that a small minority of charismatic leaders and some elements of the church have fallen into. In fact, I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment of the “state of the nation” regarding the church in the western world.
    I was referring to the fact that we need to work together as a united body of believers to remove all hypocrisy and division within the church as a whole, not just picking out the sins of one “branch”…
    Andrew Munden

  • Andrew,
    The Bible frequently exhorts us to be discerning and to measure every teaching against the plumbline of God’s word. There are numerous warnings for us to beware of wolves in sheeps’ clothing and of false prophets. Are those warnings just trivial matters, to be taken lightly for the sake of unity? Were the apostles simply alarmist and prone to exaggeration in their warnings?
    J Lee Grady comments were made out of love and concern, and a Godly responsibility of those in position of leadership. As an insider, he has moved with many charismatic ‘prophets’ and are familiar with the going ons, and has seen it as an urgent matter to sound out a warning on the teachings and practices that have deviated from Biblical truths.
    On this blog, Bill has also commented on other errors like the teachings of the emergents or progressive Christianity of Brain McLaren etc. Contemplative spirituality, in its various forms, is another cultic practice making its way into the church and should be of major concern. There are many major doctrinally wrong teachings that we cannot simply ignore and think that they will simply go away. The apostles did not think so, and hence the many warnings. To ignore is to condone the spread of anti scriptural beliefs and practices in the church. Can we for the sake of church unity, remain quiet and allow more brethren to be deceived? The early reformers never thought so. Biblical truths and false teachings can never and should never coexist, unless we allow it.
    Barry Koh

  • Hi Bill,
    good article–I head Lee’s book review on Charisma’s website.
    As a pastor in a Pentecostal church and someone who grew up in the same, I suppose the difficulty in receiving criticisms often has not been to do with”style” or “form” issues but rather theology–often from those of cessationist backgrounds. Much of the style criticisms I have heard have also been coming from churches in decline or mainstream churches where liberal theology/liberalism is common place. Of course Pentecostal churches are not theologically liberal. I also wonder why the scandals are exposed as often as they are–I think this is a good thing and I have often attributed that as a work of the Spirit both to save the church and the individual concerned. I think the other element is that Pentecostal churches are growing at an
    incredible rate, which places a real strain on our capacity for good discipleship practice.

    I took Grady’s warning as partly reevaluation and partly prophetic. We all certainly need to listen to one another more readily. Perhaps we Penties can be overly enthusiastic and need to listen to what the Spirit is actually saying. I do believe that generally we esteem and value Gods Word highly–which is why we don’t read around the parts of the text that seem difficult(ie the gifts of the Spirit).

    Thanks again!
    Mihael McCoy, Perth

  • Sounds like a great read. I am one of those, as Phillip Yancey puts it, “Soul Survivers” of this movement. I became a Christian in this movement, but as I grew in knowledge and faith I realized the movement was not biblically lining up with all its “whoha”. I was dissillusioned with the church and lost trust in it because of all the issues that are mentioned by Grady, with the glorifying of self, and boasting in thy own works, and calling arrogance boldness etc. I will order this book today. It is relieving to know that my thoughts about this movement have not been wrong and that I left this denomination because of them.
    Julie Kooper

  • Great Book. Lee’s my personal friend. I had the honour to minister alongside Him in Eastern Europe. His humility, openness, integrity, boldness and love for both God and men have profoundly impacted me and my ministry. I have been part of the charismatic movement myself for the past 19 years having to battle with spirits of deception, false teachings and prophesying more than I ever wished to. I can relate to what Lee’s saying. Bull’s eye! I got crystal clear revelations and received total deliverance while reading the book. It literally changed my life and set me free. Thank you Lord, also for this masterpiece and my friend Lee.

    Tamas Kormos

  • The Charismatic movement has had wrong emphasis for a very long time, if not from the beginning. Emphasis on man instead of God, gifts instead of the Giver. On EXPERIENCES instead of knowing God and His Word and obedience to Him. Hyper interpretation of certain truths, like who are WE in Christ? Conclusion = we are little gods with power in our words, etc. The worldly style of worship gives gatherings an emotional and even sensual character taking away the fear of God and changing the character of God totally. I prefer being Evangelical. We sing hymns with great fervor. Like : Rock of Ages, Jesus paid it all, Whiter than snow, Here from the world we turn, Redeemed, Come ye sinners lost and lonely, Blessed assurance, Lord crucified, giveme a heart like Thine, Send the light, My Jesus, I love Thee, etc.

    Lize Bartsch

  • Dear Lize,
    I wonder if you read Lee’s book. What you are saying has not been characterized by the charismatic movement as a whole, but – in full accordance with Lee – I believe, its extreme deviations against which Lee has so passionately and with such solicitude taken a stand. I was saved 20 years ago from an atheist-communist background by the Lord’s grace and born again into a loving baptist church family. My wife was born into a traditional physical baptist family and we both have been socialized in the charismatic movement for what I am most thankful to the Lord. Its not the style of worship that makes the difference, but one thing I can tell. Had I not encountered contemporary style worship on my journey to Christianity, I doubt, if I have ever entered a church building let alone been saved. As Nicky Gumbel, founder of the Alpha Course said: the content (message) of the Gospel has been the same for two thousand years, only the packaging has changed. And it has to be constantly renewed to reach the generations of different era.
    Tamas Kormos

  • Good testimony Tamas!
    Like you, I don’t see an over-emphasis on the Gifts, but rather a re-discovery of them and acknowledgement of the Giver of them (the Holy Spirit) as being integral to what the Charismatic movement is about. One of the early concerns of early church father Tertullian, was that the church was “chasing the Holy Spirit into a book”. It has often been described in this way that some Christians even hold to a different version of Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Bible.

    In terms of words of power mentioned in a post above, we carry the imago Dei (God’s image bearers) and like Him, our words do have power – for life and for death. How else does the Gospel get carried abroad? Granted there have been excesses, as there are in evangelicalism. But even the mainstream churches of the early days of evangelicalism viewed them with suspicion and or prone to excesses. Any examination of the critics of evangelicalism will find the same criticisms levelled against them as there are of the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement. The fact is, there are excesses in people, not the Holy Spirit and not necessarily representative of the movement as a whole.

    What bothers me more than all of this however, is that many “charismatic” churches are abandoning the movements central purpose (renewal and restoration) and are actually reverting to a more evangelical approach. That is not a criticism of evangelicalism, but rather that it isn’t characteristic of Pentecostal/Charismatic renewal. That for me remains the more pressing concern as we are concurrently witnessing a departure from orthodoxy in all segments of the church. It is as the apostle Paul would say, “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” The Gifts of the Spirit are part and parcel of the Holy Spirit – it is Who He is and What He does. He gives of Himself and you cannot have the gifts without the Spirit seeing as they belong to Him and can only be manifest in the assembly (and Christian life) where the Spirit of the Living Christ is present and active.

    And yes, the Gospel must continually be shared and will find even more imaginative, nay creative, ways to be expressed through the Spirit’s gifting to the church. We must never attribute the Spirit’s gifts or move to a work of the adversary or mere worldliness simply because it fails to fit our religious paradigm. He will continue to break mindsets, molds and boxes that we place Him in.
    Merry Christmas!
    Mihael McCoy

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