A WORD TO CHARISMATICS
The Bible is the ultimate test for all teachings and revelations. As I have traveled and taught, I have seen an atrocity committed countless times mainly by Charismatic Christians. That atrocity being the thought that experience trumps the Bible.
Although it would never be stated in such a way, there is more value and respect put upon a “spiritual experience” than upon “theological training.” Theology (the study of God) is spoken of in derogatory terms such as “Head-Knowledge” whereas “spiritual experience” is more highly valued as “Heart-Knowledge.” I believe that all Christians should value experiential knowledge, as no one can even be a Christian without having had the supernatural experience of being “Born-Again.” Yet all experiences are subject to being tested and evaluated by the Word of God. That is the challenge that I desire to remind my fellow Charismatics of. We must not believe every prophet, spirit or prophecy; they must be tested and evaluated.
“Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good.” -1 Thessalonians 5:20-21
“Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” – 2 Peter 1:20-21
“But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!” -Galatians 1:8
“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” -1 John 4:1
In the field of endtime teachings, our movement has displayed an incredible lack of discernment and deep gullibility. For example, one Charismatic TV preacher claims that he knows his endtime teachings are right because he prays in tongues while studying. I have heard countless stories of brother so-and-so or sister-whoever that had a vision of the rapture, the antichrist or a coming great tribulation. While it is possible that they did have a vision, this does not automatically mean it was from the Lord. It is time for a revival of evaluating prophecy by the infallible truth of the Word.
Raptureless was written with the deepest respect for the Word of God and a passion for the Holy Spirit. I expect that it will be revised many times in my lifetime as I continue to learn. Yet I believe that the fundamental presuppositions laid out in the Statement of Faith are sound and hold up against the test of Scripture. Let us have the balance of knowing the Scripture and the power of God, that we might not go into error (Mt. 22:29).
Jonathan Welton (This is a new section of my free online book at www.raptureless.com)