Charasmatic Churches (Pentecostal, Assemblies of God, Foursquare, etc.)

by kristyann 13 Replies latest jw friends

  • kristyann

    This might sound stupid to some of you... and I hope that I do not offend anyone that is a member or regular attender of a charasmatic church... but I am really confused by them. I grew up in a nondenominational Christian church... it is basically your typical nondenominational, Protestant church. There wasn't any speaking in tongues, getting slain in the Spirit, no faith healing, etc. What was taught there was that in order to be a Christian, to be saved, all one needed to do was to believe that Jesus Christ is God, that He died on the cross for our sins and rose again, and to call on Him and be repentant of our sins. The thing is, most members of charasmatic churches that I have talked to also told me that a true Christian must be "baptized in the Holy Spirit" according to their definition of being "baptized in the Holy Spirit"... and if you aren't, you're not really a Christian and not really "saved."

    I know a lot of you don't believe in the Bible or God at all... so that's fine, and I guess this question wouldn't really be directed toward you, but you can feel free to answer it anyway, for sure. But I just assume that it wouldn't really apply to you. But to anyone who does believe in the Bible or consider themselves Christians, what do you think of this belief of some of the charasmatic churches? I am not making it up... many of them told me that you have to be baptized in the Holy Spirit to be Christians, and that a sign that will "certainly be present" that a true Christian has been baptized in the Holy Spirit will be speaking in tongues or interpreting them or faith healing/miracles.

    What do you think of this? Do you think this is true? Are they really the only ones that are true Christians? Are they the only ones going to heaven? If you're not baptized in the Holy Spirit according to their definition of it, are you pretty much doomed? Is there any Biblical evidence to back this up? The church I grew up in believes in baptism... but that is a water baptism in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and it is NOT taught that this baptism is necessary for salvation. I am completely confused and am wondering what anyone thinks or knows about this subject.

    Can you really be pleasing to God without being baptized in the Holy Spirit according to the charasmatic definition of it? If you're not speaking in tongues or performing miracles or something, is God unhappy with you? Does that mean you really don't have faith, if you're not doing those things? Are all of those tongues and miracles real?

  • Narkissos

    Sorry it will be an "unbeliever"'s reply, but at least it will bring your post bttt...

    I think it is, mostly, a socio-cultural issue. Already in 1 Corinthians you see Paul dealing with a popular brand of charismatic Christianity. Which type of persons did it mostly gather?

    Consider your own call, brothers: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God.

    Paul writes from a different social angle. His approach is that of the intellectual. He celebrates the Corinthians' faith into a formal paradox (the folly and weakness of God), both flattering them and reminding them of their social inferiority. Then he tries to "educate" and "correct" them according to his social values, which make theology higher than sensational communitarian experience ("prophecy" is better than "tongues" because it "makes sense," etc.). That serves his agenda of having "his" churches presentable (order, etc.).

    I think we still have more or less the same kind of differences and interactions, and power struggle, between modern charismatics and theologically-minded Christians (what a friend of mine who was reared in a charismatic community called "unplugged Christians"). A traditional service is "boring," "dead" to some and "deep" to others; a charismatic church is "spiritual" and "living" to some and "crazy" to others. Don't look for any "objective" assessment.

  • gumby
    But to anyone who does believe in the Bible or consider themselves Christians, what do you think of this belief of some of the charasmatic churches?

    I thought they were a buncha crazy bastards is what I thought when I was a christian....and I still do.

    I've walked out on 3 church services I can remember when I was in my "trying to find a church" mode. In one, I took a neighbor who I'd been preaching to and said lets go to one I haven't been to before. I didn't know it was charismatic. About 15 minutes into the services as we saw people eyes rollin around, talkin to themselves and not hearing the speaker, he turned to me and said.." these people look like their on fu*kin drugs"....and I said I agree, lets go.

    The other two were the same. The preacher sweatin and screamin and sayin" and-a and he said-a, and the lord-a" know, that "a" they put at the end of a sentence when their slain in the spirit. I told the preacher later when he asked why I hadn't been back was I didn't like theatrics and thought his religion didn't represent christianity. He was a food luvin fat bastard to boot. Always saw the guy at the all you could eat places.


  • Sunnygal41

    Another unbeliever, after being miserable for twenty five years as a JW, and being raised in the Episcopal faith, and watching all the infighting going on in religion in general, I found that listening to what my own heart tells me was the best thing to do.........I personally don't feel that God inspired the Bible. Jesus was a Enlightened Master who was sent to earth to show us that LOVE is the most important thing to practice in our lives.........that means not only love for others, but, love for yourself, because you can't love others and be truly happy 'til you learn to love yourself. For me, it's that simple. I don't feel compelled to go to services or a church to feel connected to Divine Spirit. I do approach "God" in prayer and ask for direction, and I have my own personal altar at home for meditation, etc.

  • JeffT

    My wife and I are members of a non-denominational church. Our belief statement is much like what Kristyann describes. I think it is official doctrine that gifts in the Holy Spirit exist, but they are more likely to manifest themselves as a "gift" for helping people, or speaking in public or some such.

    I'm done judging some one else's brand of Christianity, charismatics are welcome to believe and do what they want, but it isn't my cup of tea.

  • Mum

    Kristy, I spent the first seven years or so of my life going to the Holiness Church with my grandparents. My grandfather was the pastor. We lived in a very isolated, rural county in east Tennessee. Even then, when I knew nothing else, the behavior of the participants in the "service" was frightening to me. I used to try to shut out the noise. My grandparents were quiet, gentle, hardworking farmers; but, when they were in church, they seemed to lose control -- very frightening.

    However, to put things into perspective, these people were uneducated, out of touch with mainstream society, and very much at the mercy of nature and the elements. They were, in the final analysis, more open-minded than I would have thought. They did think theirs was the only way, but they were ignorant of the realities of others' lives and ways of expressing faith.

    No, I do not relate to this type of religious experience. However, it was authentic, sincere and passionate. I left it for the austere sterility of JW's. How sad!

    Best regards,


  • whyizit

    I met a couple over Valentine's Day that were from a Oneness church. It's an off-shoot of the Pentacostal religion. They basically informed me that since I have never spoke in tongues, I was not REALLY saved. Hmmm. Gee. Who died and made them GOD? Judge and jury over MY salvation? But you know what? I'm saved and I know it.

    I don't speak in tongues. It's not one of my "gifts". This kind of fell into the same mind set as: "We have it right and NO ONE else does!", that many of the legalistic churches tend to follow.

    I AM a Christian. I know it down to the tips of my toes! I feel it within the depths of my soul! And I am absolutely SURE of my salvation through Jesus Christ. No doubt. I've never rolled in the ailes of a chuch, spoke in tongues, etc... none of my actions or inactions have "saved" me. However, I have had a life changing experience and I have had peace and joy for the first time in my life. I am a changed person and I am changed for the better. (I was something else, let me tell you!) I don't try to advertise it and I don't run up to people and announce it. But EVERYONE notices it. Living it, has been the best witness. I'm no longer all about ME. And that was ALL I was about before. I was so empty.

    I don't believe that religion is going to save anyone. Christ is another story. Part of being saved, DOES involve the Holy Spirit. Romans 8 covers a lot about the Holy Spirit. We recieve the Holy Spirit when we become Christians. Being a Christian without having the Holy Spirit is like being an ocean without water. It's just not possible.

    If someone is trying to convince you that you have to speak in tongues in order to prove you have the Holy Spirit, and you buy into that, eventually, you may start doing it. It doesn't make it genuine. That is not proof that you are accepted by God. You will KNOW it. No one else can tell you that you are or aren't. You just know it in your heart.

    I found out a lot about the Holy Spirit by looking in the Concordance and reading all of the Scriptures that talk about Him.

    If you feel like you have some doubts, pray about it. Talk to Jesus and the Father like you would talk to your best friend or closest relative. Share your concerns with God and you will get answers. And read the Bible. Galatians and Romans speak a lot about the gospel and about the Holy Spirit. Read Gal.5 especially. This will help you to determine if you are walking in the Spirit. Do you have the fruit of the flesh or the Spirit? This will tell you the difference. It also points out that Laws and rituals do not provide salvation.

    Salvation through Jesus: You can't DO enough good to earn it, you can't Do enough bad to lose it. You just have to ACCEPT it.

  • Sad emo
    Sad emo

    Baptism in the Spirit doesn't = praying in tongues etc!

    I too have been accused of 'not being saved' both because of not praying in tongues etc and also because I've not been baptised by full immersion! Double whammy!!!!

    The way I see it is that God will not force a 'supernatural' gift (eg tongues) upon you if He knows you aren't comfortable with it. I also think that sometimes the 'natural' gifts (eg teaching, encouragement) are ignored and/or not attributed to God - and yet they are mentioned in Paul's numerous gift lists.

  • M.J.

    The Assembly of God church officially teaches:

    WE BELIEVE...the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a Special Experience Following Salvation that empowers believers for witnessing and effective service, just as it did in New Testament times. [1 of 4 cardinal doctrines of the A/G]

  • M.J.

    On their website the Foursquare Church describes "Baptism of the Holy Spirit" as "the most important gift a Christian will receive after salvation".

    I suspect the persons you talked to were ill-informed.

    I grew up around A/G 'ers and their emphasis for salvation was "accepting Jesus in your heart" and as your Lord and Savior.

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