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On My Journey to Become Charismatic

Theological opinions are hard to change. Once they have set in, they are usually there to stay. The theological glue that makes ideas stick early in your studies is, for better or worse, rock solid. It must be that same stuff they use on your teeth. I have one fake tooth glued to the root of the old tooth. I can’t believe that sucker is still holding. Strong stuff.

Ironically, I am in the business of changing theological opinions. Well, that is not entirely accurate. Sometimes – a lot of times – it is just solidifying opinions, rather than changing them. However, I don’t change my own opinions too much. In terms of my basic theological confession, I am pretty much the same person I was twenty years ago. I can still sign the same confessions (even though some of them cause me to raise an eyebrow or two).  I am still Protestant, Evangelical, Calvinist, dispensationalist. I believe in inerrancy, I hold to a pre-tribulational view of the end times, and I believe in dunking rather than sprinkling. I am a complementarian, a traducianist, and a memorialist with regard to the Lord’s supper. Heck, I even believe in a young earth! The point is that I rarely change my positions. Life is just more comfortable that way.

Don’t get me wrong. I have actually tried to change some of these opinions. I really want to change some of these opinions. What I mean is that many times, I find the view that I don’t hold to be more palatable or, for lack of a better word, more likable than the one I do. For example, I really want to be a charismatic. I desire so deeply to believe in and experience that miraculous divine intervention the way that charismatics do. I salivate as I look at their worship, hope, and engagement with God. However, though I have studied, argued, prayed, talked to the right people, and prayed some more, I am still not a charismatic (and doubt I will ever be).

The funny thing is that I know I am wrong about so much. When I stand before God, I expect to be surprised at how many of the things I taught, preached on, blogged about, wrote books about, and shouted from mountain tops were wrong. Obviously, I don’t know which ones these are or I would change them now. However, for the most part, I don’t think I will be in too much trouble. The best I can do is believe that those things I will be wrong about were sincere. In other words, I believe that the things I might end up being wrong about are difficult issues that “could go either way.”

Therefore, with so much of my theology, while I still hold to particular positions, I try my best to figure out what things I should hold on to loosely and which I should hold on to tightly. For those of you who know me, you have probably guessed that the things I hold on to most tightly are those of the consensus fidelium – those things that Christians of all time and in all places have believed.

There are some things that I have changed my views on. Most recently, I have changed my view on the Crusades. I no longer see them as a black eye to Christianity. Also, I became a Calvinist (after all, who starts out as a Calvinist?!). But, most of the things I change on are not too dramatic. Normally, once I have studied something somewhat extensively, the view I come to is the view I stay with. With the Crusades, this is the first time I have really studied them. It was the same thing with my Calvinism back in 1995. I had not really studied it before then.

Of course I have nuanced my views quite a bit. I no longer believe that all Catholics are going to hell, that those who speak in tongues are demon possessed, that one cannot be a Christian evolutionist, or that a believer has to be right on all theological issues. This is a big change in a lot of ways, but it does not represent any particular theological issue I have changed on.

But I need to be ready and have the courage to change. In 2009, New Testament scholar Tomas Schreiner changed his opinion about the millennium. He went from being an amillennialist to a premellennialist. This change was very instructive to me. Not because he changed to my position, but because he changed at all. Surely, it took a scholar such as Schreiner a lot of courage to change. How did that glue break? I don’t know. But I glad it did just for the sake of what the change represents. I can think of many other changes that are visible. J. P. Moreland and Sam Storms both changed from being ardent cessationists (umm . . . they did not believe in modern day prophets or the gift of tongues) to being charismatics. Scot McKnight changed from being a complementarian to an egalitarian (which is very common these days). More dramatically, Francis Beckwith changed from being a Protestant to a Catholic.

We all need to be ready and have the courage to change. Now I know, I know . . . we all like stability. We like this virtue in ourselves and in others. “Flip-flopping” is not a good thing in any area, especially theology. So I am not talking about changing every two to three years just for the sake of change. If you are like that, I don’t think I could follow you. I would not trust you. I need you to be stable. However, as fearful as it may be, we need to be ready to change our positions when that change is truly warranted. We need to have the ability to break that glue, let go of that rope, and submit our emotional attachment to a position to what is true, not what is comfortable.

I have tried to do so with regard to the charismatic issue. It was easy for me to change on my view of the Crusades. Most Christians actually like it and are intrigued. They don’t have much emotional or intellectual investment on the issue. They are willing to follow me there, so I won’t lose any friends. However, were I to become a charismatic, I think I would lose some friends. Invites to speak at certain places I love would cease to come. Fellowship with others would not be so sweet. I can think of one person that I would not even be able to look in the eye if I changed my position. Therefore, I have relinquished my concern for these things. So what? Who do I follow? The Lord or the acceptance of man? At least this is how I do my best to think. So, when it comes to the charismatic issue, I don’t think my fear of man is dictating the lack of change.

But I don’t want my desire to become charismatic to dictate things either. Just because I want to see the hand of God in a more evident way should not make me theologically mobile. My emotional desire does not have a vote in truth, so I need to be careful.

However, (just thinking out loud here), I often wonder if my desire to become charismatic is influenced by didactics. In other words, maybe I want to change in some significant area just to say I have. Isn’t that a crazy spin? I teach about change, integrity, and following the Lord rather than people, yet I have not changed in any significant area. Maybe I want to change for the purpose of legitimacy. After all, being a “convert” has a certain feeling of authenticity.

Obviously, there are a lot of reasons for my journey to become charismatic not panning out. I believe these reasons warrant my current non-charismatic position. But (if you have made it this far), you probably know that this post is not really about my journey to become charismatic. It is about our ability, need, and desire (or lack thereof) to change theological positions. It is about how complicated changing really is. It is normally not as simple as having the right intel on the subject under scrutiny. There are a lot of nuances that factor in.

Are there any theological positions you have changed?

What were/are the road blocks for your to change your position?

57 Responses to “On My Journey to Become Charismatic”

  1. I also became a Calvinist. I never used to like it. It took two years of study for me to come to a better understanding of the doctrines of Grace. Another aspect of my theology that is in the process of change (scrutiny?) is eschatology. Amillennialism has pretty good positional Scriptures to support its view, but so does premillennialism. Then again, I’ve looked at post- as well. I am still more unsure of where I will end up in this matter than I am sure of where I am now!

    Great post for convo.

  2. My views on this have changed to *some* degree but I am, for all intents and purposes, still a cessationist. I am the odd one out at my church I realize (unless you are going to go there, then your family and my family will be the odd ones out together.)

    But yea, I think I have the same reasoning process on this as you, thus am of the same opinion that I will never become a charismatic either.

    Doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy worship at Bridgeway any less!

  3. It takes courage to change. To throw a spanner into the works, how do you know your desire to be a charismatic isn’t the conviction of the Holy Spirit?

  4. I’ve only been a Christian for just over a year. My early childhood experiences were Charasmatic. But when I got saved I went to a So. baptist church that pretty much bad mouthed anything Charamatics. And I mean bad-mouthed, like you said; saying they are demon possessed, etc.

    I’m still in the middle. As much as I would like to let go of the possiblity of today’s people having gifts, I still haven’t found anything scriptural to support that the gifts have actually ceased. I’ve read that they will eventually cease. I also read that that would happen when the perfect comes. I’m assuming Jesus is the perfect and if we are still waiting on Him, doesn’t that make it still possible? Or, let me guess are the cessationists saying since Jesus is the Word that the Bible counts as the perfect? Still on the fence with this subject.

  5. I’ve changed from not believing any story about modern day miracles to expecting them to happen. The change came from living and interacting outside my birth culture and also having friends with different views to me.

  6. Faith and Reason: Evangelical

    Faith without Reason: Fundamentalist/Charismatic

  7. “My emotional desire does not have a vote in truth…”

    And THAT is why you’re unable to become a charismatic!

    (I kid! I kid!)

  8. Michael. One of the greatest bible scholars around is Pentecostal. Are you saying he has faith without reason? ;)

    It seems to me in reading Scripture that experience played a huge part in changing ones reasoning. Take Paul, Cornellius, Peter just as a few examples.

  9. Craig, are you referring to Gordon Fee?

  10. Then you are referring to a “Pentecostal” who sees “second baptism/blessing” as doctrinal error (something which the AoG crticizes him for), (b) considers modern tongues being congruent with the phenomena attested in Scripture as a “mute point,” and (c) considers dispensational eschatology (somehow popular in Charismatic circles despite cessationism) as teaching that grieves God.

  11. I tried to edit: “a moot point and probably irrelevant.”

  12. Craig. Could it be the Holy Spirit? You bet. But I don’t know. Could bes don’t do too much accept keep me open.

    I am wondering. What in this post made you think I was suggesting that charismatics are all mindless? I certainly never meant to imply that!!

  13. A mind is open so it can close on something. I’m still undecided on many issues with respect to eschatology, but that is probably just the nature of future things about which we have such limited revelation. I can’t see any reason I should be open to changing my position on any major doctrinal issues, i.e. the doctrines of grace or cessationism (which I hold to).

  14. I feel that it is not necessary to take a position on every controversial issue. Being an agnostic (in the general sense) is OK in many situations.

  15. Nick, does it not give you pause that there are so many people who are good scholars and godly people who disagree with you, not to mention the historic division of historic Christianity on the doctrines of grace. And by “pause” I don’t mean indecisiveness.

  16. Michael Patton. I was addressing the other Michael regarding his pithy quote.

    To the other Michael. There are many Pentecostals / Charismatics who agree with Gordon Fee’s stance. And remember that dispensationalism came into vogue through Scofield and Darby – not through pentecostalism.

  17. If a pentecostal doesn’t think modern tongues are biblical, and doesn’t believe in second blessing, then how is he Pentecostal?

    Its Charismatics who should remember dispensationalism’s roots, not I!

  18. Michael Metts. Gordon Fee certainly believes that tongues are for today and are more than simply known languages.

    Gordon Fee also believes in a second blessing, but its more nuanced then how its simply put by many other Pentecostals.

    What Gordon and many other Pentecostals and Charismatics believe ( and I am one of them) that tongues is but one of many spiritual gifts and that the Holy Spirit should be continually sought out for continual infilling and empowering.

  19. I think the Schreiner audio is not working properly (again).

  20. Change in theology is not the unpardonable sin; becoming a charismatic when one is not in that camp is often thought of as something akin to blaspheming the Spirit. I went from pietistic Lutheranism to full-blown Pentecostal with Arminian soteriology, and managed not to lose any friends over the issue. After some 40 years as a Pentecostal, and still serving as a pastor in the AoG, I confess to many friends, a few of them Calvinists, some complementarians, and an occasional wanderer on the millennial issue. For all the friends and places to speak one might lose by going over into the full-gospel camp, if the journey is truly of God, then there will be many more friends and places to speak. Change in theology is one thing; change in one’s paradigms of ministry is another, and I suppose it comes down to the idea of counting the cost before making the change.

  21. Scott O,

    Thanks for your balanced perspective. I hope more folks will understand where you are coming from, on both sides. You are right: it does not have to follow one extreme or the other, as long as we are more interested in the truth of Christ than following popular theology, or denominational beliefs which preclude believing only one thing, and that is their only thing.

    After being a Christian for 50 years, i see this happening all too much on both sides.

  22. I am trying to wrap my brain around “evangelical Calvinism” if I can figure out what Habets and Grow are trying to say I may have to adjust my 30 + years view of my Calvinism. Change is hard.

  23. Scott, what I find is that whenever I have taught or preached on something with passion, I am much more prone to always give more credence to arguments that support my position. It is very hard once we have an investment in something to change. Do you find the same difficulties?

  24. “It is about how complicated changing really is.”

    charisma =a divinely conferred gift

    you could 1) read up on/practice it from the world: http://www.wikihow.com/Be-Charismatic :) or 2) since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church and pray that zeal for His house would consume you 1 Cor 14:12 Ps 69:9a http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTUOR76sUF4&feature=related

  25. Do you think your lack of “experiencing” anything that looks like what you think a charismatic experience is supposed to be — is what holds you back from becoming a person who believe the Lord still gives Spiritual gifts to His children?

    I have never witnessed anyone speak in tongues nor have I experienced it myself, but I believe people do this. The same is true with many of the other gifts. I have had someone tell me I have the gift of prophecy – although I’ve never “felt” I was operating in that gift. Although in hindsight I have seen how a specific insight I’ve had in scripture and been able to share with a brother/sister in Christ has been used to build up the body of Christ.

    So, I didn’t come to my belief in the continuation of the gifts because of my experience. I came to the belief because of what I see in the scriptures. My belief is not on my personal experience of feelings.

  26. Excellent post, Michael! I agree that we don’t want leaders to be flip-flopping all the time, but I deeply respect people like Tom Schreiner who openly change their mind even though being in a very public teaching role. That takes real courage and integrity.

    During my theological education I changed some conclusions I had previously held, but they weren’t really mine in the sense that I had reached them through careful, thorough study. I just inherited them. I gave up a rigid adherence to the Majority Text. After exhaustive study I went from a pre-trib position to a post-trib one. I also went from being moderately Pentecostal to being a “post-Pentecostal” continuationist. I came to this view through my study of Scripture, not because of my experiences. (Actually it was in spite of many of my experiences!) But these were all through studying at a depth that I hadn’t previously, so they weren’t really changing a carefully-reasoned conclusion.

    While serving in pastoral ministry I did change my view on the security of the believer. That’s not an easy thing to do! I’ve also been open to the possibility of changing my view of other controversial issues, if legitimately convinced. I’ve tried to study carefully the best presentations of egalitarianism, open theology, paedobaptism, old earth creationism, Calvinism, etc., but remain unconvinced.

    I recently ran across a fascinating statement by Doug Moo. After expressing dissatisfaction with his conclusions regarding 2 Peter 2:20-21, he writes: “I am in process on this issue, still convinced that eternal security is a biblical doctrine, but less convinced of it than I used to be.” I so appreciate that kind of humility and openness from an accomplished, well-known scholar. Unless we view ourselves as infallible(!), I think we all need to be willing to consider the possibility that another view may be more sound than our own.

  27. I really appreciate this post. Seven years ago I began a journey away from the 3rd wave Charismatic position I had embraced to a soft cessationist An aside of change that I have experienced first hand with myself and observed in others, is that when change happens there is a tendency to be dogmatic and even militant against the position one left. The same humility that led to a change in position should also continue with respect to the one we left. And we should have a willingness for repeated re-examination. I also have discovered that we tend to be impatient and feel like we need to nail everything down at one time, especially realizing our “error” of what we left or at least that’s how it tends to be treated. Sometimes it takes awhile to flesh out our convictions. I’m learning to let go of that and admit where I still wrestle, as I’ve been recently doing with dispensationalism and pre-millennialism.

  28. That’s a good reminder, Lisa. It is all too easy to fall into impatience or even arrogance toward those who still hold the view we “grew beyond.”

  29. I changed from being an egalitarian to complementarian. It has created a rift between me and many Pentecostal/charismatic groups (in which I have grown up and am still a part).

    I also changed on eschatology from a firmly pretribulational view to an undecided/leaning postmil. It really varies on how optimistic I am, whether I watched the news in a given day, and whether the Ravens win or not (right now I am VERY inclined to postmillennial optimism).

    In all seriousness, if one is committed to a high view of Scripture above all else, one has to be willing to change if Scriptural cases can be made. The work of Wayne Grudem was very significant in helping me understand the biblical necessity of complementarianism, though I’m open to counter-arguments. I am not, however, open to say denying inerrancy or inspiration or something like that. Once those questions are raised, we’re not really talking about options for Christians, but about essentials for Christians.

    • Good stuff. But unless you are a presuppositionalist, we all must question inspiration and inerrancy. In fact don’t you think it should be on the table before anything else?. I am an inerrant isn’t, yet I don’t believe that it is essential for Christianity.

  30. The charismatic experience is entirely subjective…

    for we see others and they for the life of us look somewhat foolish…some more than others but all to some significant degree…and this is in fact the difference between subjective and objective knowing…

    once you have a significant subjective charismatic experience you will never again doubt the objective meaning

    of the ‘joy indescribable’. Amen and Selah.

  31. ….we need to change our positions when truly warranted. Spot on. And remember there is nothing wrong in changing one’s mind. At the very least it shows you have one.

  32. For about a year I went back and forth with believing in limited atonement to unlimited atonement. In the scriptures we see both and it can poses as a hot and divisive issue. In the scriptures Christ lays His life down for His sheep (John 10), but He also is the propitiation of the whole world (1 John 2). Even though I see passages favoring limited atonement I also see them favoring unlimited atonement as well. With that said, I am currently a moderate Calvinist (4 pointer) who believes in unlimited atonement. Just because Christ died for the whole world doesn’t mean all will be saved. I lean more to the explanation that the atonement of Christ is sufficient to save all although it is only effectual for the elect.

  33. This is one of those days when I actually got to read your blog soon after I received it. I am almost caught up. What a feeling. Ok, to the topic. My thoughts on change is that they change as the Lord leads and puts me through my paces. I always follow the model of the Church catholic, that as things come up or are challenged God exposes more of Himself to us. We take that knowledge and use it to further ourselves and who ever is brought into our path. I am charismatic. Why? because I have seen its value and experienced its power in my life and in the life of others close to me. I don’t always teach or preach that way because it may not be what I am lead to do.
    I think that the Lord for whatever reason is letting you “suffer” Michael. The lesson is there and I have faith it will come when the Lord requires it.
    I wonder though have you read Dan Wallace book “Who’s afraid of the Holy Spirit?”. Like most charismatics, it is heavy on experience but a good read.
    It is interesting to see all the different characterizations about what a charismatic acts like or believes. I can safely say I haven’t laughed like this for a while as my nose has been stuck in to many books. I miss this place…
    God be with you all….
    Jay..

  34. I’ve went from modalist to trinitarian, legalism to sola fide, pre-tribulation rapture to post, pentecostal to charismatic to third wave. i’m currently trying to study more about old earth creationsim, but i still hold to young earth when talking with others just because its what i’ve always known.i’m a moderate calvinist, i think i was an arminian but after hearing more about arminianism i’m not sure that is what i was. i’ve changed alot, and alot of people ( including my wife) think i change for the sake of change. i guess growing up believing the way i did and then finding that it wasn’t true, made me wonder what else might of have been wrong with my beliefs. i’m not sure thats such a healthy approach to theology, but when i have arrived at a position i hold to it faithfully. there are some theological positions i’ve considered and even admired like post-millenialism, and sometimes i think i would feel more comfortable in a non-pentecostal/charismatic church setting. i find trichotonmy appealing but i think dichotonomy is more biblical. i know i can never be completely right about everything, and sometimes i feel isolated because so many others hold to views very diffrent than mine, i try not to let that bother my fellowship but it gets diifcult when most pentecostal/charismaic churches in my area are health/wealth teachers. i can’t help but cringe at that teaching.

  35. Tory.

    I’m Arminian and proud of it. I find there is a lot of non helpful and even down right wrong / even deliberate miss representation of what it means to be a Arminian. Roger Olsen writes a lot of good stuff about what Arminian theology really is.

    While I don’t fellowship with a pentecostal church, I do attend a pentecostal bible college here in sydney Australia. I”m proud to say they do not teach wealth / health and speak against it.

    I find it rather sad that Pentecostals / Charismatics / 3rd wavers are all lumped into health / wealth heresy. The movement is just as diverse as is the Baptist and Presbyterian church – of which the later is supposed to represent the reformed faith.. I’d hate to use that denomination as a representation of what reformers believe.

  36. This is the first time I have ever written a comment. I am charismatic and have been since 1978. Although, at this time I am not in a charismatic church. Right now, I believe, for the most part, the charismatic churches are in shambles compared to what is was years ago. Paul said in I Cor. 14:39,40 that “Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. Let all things be done decently and in order.” I have read much “for and against” the charismatic gifts, and have come to the conclusion that what the Lord blessed me with is very much real and will never reject it. I have read I Cor. 13 over and over esp. vss 8-12 where is says “but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.” Go on and read the rest of the passage – we know that knowledge has not vanished away – so if knowledge has not vanished away; then neither has prophecies or tongues. As far as v11, how could the gifts of the Holy Spirit be called “childish things”. And in vs 10 to me means that Jesus Christ is the “perfect” to come. The sad part is the church that I was involved in got off in “left field” in doctrine and practice. I am trusting the Lord to lead me to a church that believes in the gifts and that it is done decently and in order. I came across an excellent book called “The Biblical Testing of Teachings and Manifestations” by Aeron Morgan and can recommend to anyone seeking to understand the pentecostal/charismatic teachings. There is much more I could say, but thank you for allowing me this time to share.

  37. One of the biggest misconceptions of the Baptism of the Spirit is that the Tongues of Angels will be the main evidence thereof…

    The main evidence is the willingness to engage in the Great Command which is the Shema:

    Hear oh Israel, YHWH elohim your God, YHWH elohim is One.
    Love YHWH elohim with all of your heart soul and whole self.

    This was the prophesy foretold in Deut 30:

    6 And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.

    Thus the Seal of Covenant was among the first believers in great force…

    And even now we have a trickled down form of this available to us…

    And in the very end times this will be once again very evident:

    “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.

    But again, Shema is key to our theology since this Law was the Great Command given in Deut 6 and the First Commandment “to have no other gods before me” is very closely related.

    Shema is as fulfilled as it can be charismatically.
    Pretty radical, huh?

  38. Secret things/Mystery of Christ

    Deut 29:29 The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

    Secret things = Mystery of Christ = Baptism of Spirit = Circumcision of heart = the Eating and Drinking of Christ

    Not exactly gnostic. But mysterious enough to turn away many an individual.

  39. Truth Unites... and Divides February 17, 2013 at 11:54 am

    Josiah: “I changed from being an egalitarian to complementarian.”

    Glad to hear it.

  40. Too much emotionalism.

    It gets in the way, takes over. And then one constantly has to ramp up the emotions to outdo the last experience.

    Not necessary, and oftentimes quite damaging to faith.

    The trouble with relying on experience and emotions is that they cannot be trusted.

    It could be from God. But as St. Paul tells us, “the devil can come all dressed up as an angel of light”

  41. Too much emotionalism because it is trickled down and not the whole indwelling…

    that among believers in the first generation and that will be in the last…

    these men and women willing to serve their Lord unto death, all but John among the disciples included…

    not by their own willpower and self-power. But by the very Holy Spirit indwelling.

    The pentecostal experience today is but a mere glimpse I suspect of the full experience they had back then. Lost by the second generation and beyond. Revived in chaotic form and much diluted today.

  42. Pavel Mosko (Addai) February 17, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    I get where you’re coming from Mike (on the Charismatic front). What you describe sounds like me 75%-80 of the time. I would say that being charismatic is often an ideal to shoot for than what many “Spirit Filled” believers experience in their day to day life.

    (Theologically speaking the notion of the continued work of the Holy Spirit is I think much stronger than other side. But the personal experience isn’t always there. And even worse some people try to make something happen which can get very creepy…..)

    PS – having trouble logging into Theologica. Doesn’t respond to password and web site hasn’t sent my reset password email….

  43. They were told in the upper room to wait for God to act.

    This is what I do. No cheerleaders, shouting, psyching oneself up or pep talks, rallies, jumpin jiminies…

    I am foolish enough looking as it is, and when the Spirit is among us we will look foolish enough (drunk) when it happens…

    Azusa Street was fairly chaotic and too much for Parham the mentor of Seymour the Great. “Blackie camp meeting.”

    Pep rallies can get old just like in real life. But the real thing too looked awfully foolish to the flesh of us.

    On the other hand waiting on the Lord is quite appropriate.

  44. I am a “Presupper”, and yet on some issues theological I have changed over the years, but only after what I see to be “spirit and truth” changing me! But simply God in Christ, the”economy” of God, and here is the Unity of the “Economic” and “Immanent” Trinity! Btw, we must note that the Ascension and the Ascended life of Christ sadly seems far from today’s Church! And here too, I speak somewhat of the truth of the “Sessions” of Christ on the Throne! HE is always prophet, priest & king: THE Mediator! (Col. 3: 1-4)

  45. It is interesting to study what was happening at the time of Christ regarding the disciples of John the Baptist and the disciples of Christ, what was practiced regarding the baptism of John, and the later baptism in/of the Holy Spirit. If John showed the way to Christ and even announced the Christ in Jesus, why didn’t all his followers become followers of Christ immediately?

    Then in Acts we’ve got: 8:14-18, 9:17-18, 10:44-48, 11:15-16, 18:24-28, and finally 19:1-7. In modern times, we can read John Sherill’s “They Speak with Other Tongues”. In the Roman Catholic Church there is a sacrament of Confirmation which comes from a tradition of receiving the Holy Spirit, taking place after the sacraments of Baptism, Confession and Communion.

    When I first spoke in tongues (and experienced “rivers of living water from the belly” John 7:38) it was a message on turning over the tongue to God, giving Him lordship, repenting of lying and gossip and slander. God can tame what no man can.

    I think we need to consider what this baptism of the Holy Spirit is, more than what being charismatic is. It’s not a doctrine that you need to speak in tongues, or that you aren’t a Christian the first time you get saved, and it’s not a new Myer-Briggs personality type or change from the different motivational gifts in Romans 12. We don’t all act alike. We don’t speak in tongues on demand by man’s will, yet on the other hand, God doesn’t make us automotons since the spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophet.

  46. Luke 11:5-13 is peculiar, in that it seems to encourage repeated asking, yet also tells us to take on faith that God will give us what we ask for. It is clear that we should not be afraid to ask for the Holy Spirit, thinking that God might give us something that is bad for us instead, or bad for His name in the eyes of the Church or the world. It seems to say that it does no harm to ask again, even if we think we’ve received once, while on the other hand, we don’t have to keep asking just because we don’t think we’ve had a certain experience yet, but should believe by faith instead of waiting until we “feel” filled or baptized. God does give what He promises, not withholding good, and not giving what is evil.

    With charismatics, I see very few who believe in a Wesleyan sort of state of no longer committing sin, yet there seems to be a lot less focus on the power of sin in our life and much more celebration on the power of God over sin in our life! Instead of admonishing for our lack of joy, love, and peace, there is celebration that God has filled us with joy, love and peace … less focus on our failures as Christians, and more focus on our victory in Christ. The pride is when people think man has overcome; the truth is in knowing that Christ has overcome and that this has real application for us!

  47. Hilariously enough, coming from a prosperity gospel church, I still want to be a convinced cessationist. But I can’t. I have tried. I still have not seen anything convincing. Even decent arguments that use implied truths to make a case, in my mind, end up directly contradicting Scriptural witness. It is so hysterical to me that we can be on opposite sides of the fence (at least as far as this goes) wanting to be on the other side.

    As far as changes;
    I went from a semi-pelagian (even though I didn’t know what that was) to a confessional high calvinist (though I know some will reject or question that term… think Owen). I went from a premillennialist to an amillennialist. I went from a de-facto dispensationalist to holding tightly to covenant theology. I went from an evidentialist to a presuppositionalist. I managed to stay a credo-baptist and a continuationist, though I put myself through fire to find out if I should still hold to those views. This all happened within the last ten years, however; I did not start studying Scripture ardently until I was about 17, and I am only about to turn 22.

  48. “Are there any theological positions you have changed?”

    Yes, I used to be a Cessationist, for example.

  49. I am Charismatic. Ive been Charismatic much longer than I was Calvinist. I found that Calvinism has no axe to grind with the other biblical parts of the Christian life, namely, spiritual giftings and manifestations. What I jettisoned from the outset was false doctrines concerning them, false testimonies that lead to erroneous conclusion about scripture. I rejected false manifestations that were geared to put the Christian’s eyes upon the flesh. I rejected anti-intellectualism that Charismatics wore like a tattoo on their spiritual arm.
    I rejected false TV evangelists that permitted and encouraged carnal mindedness as it was mixed with various manifestations.
    I rejected cessationism that had more in common with the enlightenment mentality than with biblical mindedness.
    What I received was the kindness of God toward a seriously flawed servant. God anointed me, not because of perfect theology or flawless faith, but because I simply asked Him to use me to serve others. God is good.

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