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Setting the Record Straight on Charismata, Cessationism, and Abuse of the Gifts (Part 1)

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So, the cessationist position must believe that a God who sees all time would divinely inspire Paul to write in great detail about all of these gifts knowing they would become obsolete in 40 years of the writing and knowing the bible itself was a thousand years away? That makes absolutely no sense.

It is not enough to just outline these facts and walk away because I understand why so many are lured into cessationism. They see the ridiculous abuses of the Charismata and realize that cannot be right. They see parlor tricks and psychic games being passed off as the gifts and are righteously offended. They see every other person claiming to be an apostle or prophet and see through the huckster's charade. The problem on the Charismatic's side is a complete lack of discernment. If you honestly believe there is a sneaky squid spirit sitting on your friend's head stalking her, you do not need a pulpit -- you need to up your meds. If you can look at the tapes from Brownsville, Toronto and Lakeland and think this mish-mash of carnal and demonic manifestations had anything to with God, then I am not even sure the meds can help you. Yet these things are routinely accepted every single day within modern Pentecostalism.

So, with all due respect I do not accept an unbiblical position that the gifts of the spirit were only for a 40 year window before the end of the Apostolic Age. Likewise, I do not accept the unbiblical position that says as a Charismatic I am to abandon all sense of reason. Just because God CAN do something, does not mean He IS doing something. I do not accept the abuses of the gifts seen in church today. There is a better way. What if we were to do the work of a Berean all the time? That we never accepted anything at face value just because the person expressing it is perceived to somehow be "on our side." Paul rebuked Peter when he was being a hypocrite yet for many cessationists the thought that John MacArthur might be wrong is never seriously considered. The same goes on the Charismatic side as any manifestation that appears spiritual is automatically assigned to the Holy Ghost without testing the spirits, as the bible implores us to do! The better way I have discovered is in realizing the gifts of the spirit are widely abused within the churchianity model of American Christendom. The way we have been taught is simply wrong and it is time to realize that for three very important reasons:

1. We lose credibility with the lost every single day

2. We lose out on the true power of the Holy Spirit in our lives and the church

3. We operate under a different spirit than the spirit of God

That last one ought to give us pause. There are other spirits in this world beloved. When the primary worship leader of the apostate group Jesus Culture claims a waking visitation from Jesus who whisked her away to the throne room where she met the Father face to face we can only draw one of two conclusions. We know from the bible that she could not meet the Father face to face and live, so she is either lying or she was dealing with demonic spirits. Disguised angels of light. I do not think that Kim Walker-Smith was lying so the demonic answer is all we have left. Let us walk through the gifts as outlined in Corinthians and reason together.

The first gift referenced is the word of wisdom. This gift is clearly a spoken gift involving the dissemination of some form of wisdom. It is not often proclaimed in the church but it is routinely used and abused as such; "I have a word from the Lord for you." How many of us have experienced this phenomenon and wondered why God spoke a word meant for me -- to someone else. The obvious problem with this display of wisdom is that it denies the sufficiency of Scripture. So, God disclosed all in His final revealed will in the bible but forgot this one little nugget He then decides to tell to sister so and so? And how many instances of this occur every Sunday across the country? How much are we alleging God forgot to reveal? The premise is absurd. What a true word of wisdom is however is the ability to interject actual Scripture appropriately into any situation. By appropriately, I mean we do not wield Jeremiah 29:11 as a catch all band aid for believers when it was clearly written to the Babylonian exiles. We do not eviscerate Malachi 3 to prop up unbiblical tithing practices, ignoring all context and reason. We point people wisely to the correct counsel of God. This is not a gift many have in my opinion because we want to interject our own biases upon the text and that is most unwise.

Next up is the ever-confusing word of knowledge. Most agree that this spoken word is one of unknown knowledge being imparted to someone by God to convince someone else that God is trying to speak to them. The problem is the way this is abused in Charismatic circles today. I think of Shawn Bolz, the resident false prophet from Bethel Church in Redding California. Shawn engages in cold readings where he pretends to be given information about people in the audience from God, while looking at his smart phone. I remember him doing it at the Send conference this year. The Send had collected all of the information from the attendees, so the name would not be hard to get. Using social media, obtaining names of friends and family, location of residence etc. would be easy to get. I remember watching the heretical Holy Ghost movies where the psychic trick of stating common letters to see if someone reacts -- God is showing me someone with the letter R -- yes I do know someone with a letter R! This is nonsense beloved and it needs to be called out every time. A true word of knowledge is more intimate than this. It is when God imparts a piece of information that you could not have received from any other source to bring glory to His name! It is used to establish trust and not to be used as some parlor trick.

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