The Charismatic Movement
35 Doctrinal Issues


Charismatic Movement - Doctrinal Issues 32-35

 

32. Do we need added revelation today? Do we need dreams, visions, prophecies, special revelation, etc.?


The Charismatic Answer:

Neo-Pentecostals maintain that biblical authority (the word written) must always be subservient to the authority of the living, "dynamic" word of God made known through the present activity of the Spirit himself...The subservience of Scripture—the word written—to the Holy Spirit's authority is also illustrated by the acceptance in Charismatic Renewal of the validity of the gift of prophecy in the life of the contemporary Church. For the Neo-Pentecostal (no less than his Classical counterpart), God speaks today just as authoritatively as he spoke to the biblical authors. This [is an] existential understanding of the Word of God (in which revelation did not cease with the closing of the canon). Catherine Marshall puts it another way: "Jesus' promise of `further truth' gives us clear reason to believe that not all the truth and instruction Christ has to give us is contained in the canon of the Old and New Testaments." In Neo-Pentecostalism, then, spiritual authority rests ultimately in the present activity and teaching of the Holy Spirit at least as much as in the Bible itself...God does not restrict his revelation to the Bible (i.e., a closed canon). [Richard Quebedeaux, The New Charismatics, pages 110-113.]

According to this, charismatics believe that the Biblical canon is not closed, and thus the written Word of God is not the final authority. They believe that God gives added revelation to the church today and that this new revelation is just as authoritative, or even more authoritative, than the Bible itself.

The key issue then is the SUFFICIENCY of the Word of God. Is the Bible really sufficient? Is it really all that we need, or do we need something additional? Is God's communication to man found in the Bible alone, or must we look somewhere else? Is the Bible complete, or does it lack vital information that believers need to know?

1) Christ promised the Apostles that the Spirit of truth would guide them into ALL TRUTH (John 16:13). The Spirit did guide them into all truth and this truth was incorporated into the New Testament Scriptures. What more do we need?

2) Paul tells us that the God-breathed Scriptures are profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works (2 Timothy 3:16-17). What more do we need?

3) Peter says that we have a more sure word of prophecy than even the eyewitness account of an apostle, namely the Spirit-moved, infallible Word of God (2 Peter 1:15-21). What more do we need?

4) Jude tells us that we are to earnestly contend for "the faith" (the body of truth) which was once for all delivered to the saints. This body of truth was once for all delivered to the saints in the first century and is found in written form in our Bible today. What more do we need?

5) John puts the final "PERIOD" at the close of God's completed revelation, warning us not to add to or to subtract from this book (Revelation 22:18-19). When the final word was penned by John in the book of Revelation, this marked the time when the Bible (all 66 canonical books) were in completed form. What more do we need? The canon of Scripture is closed and what God hath closed, let no man open. If God says, "The Bible is enough!" let not man say, "We need more!"

That many should be claiming to have received visions and revelations from the Lord is not surprising in light of 1 John 4:1-3; 1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Timothy 3:13; 4:2-4; Matthew 7:15-24; 24:4-5. In these last days before the coming of the Lord Jesus for His church (1 Thess. 4:13-18), we can expect an increase of subjective, experiential religion: "It must be true because it happened to me!" What we need is revelational religion, based upon objective and absolute truth: "It must be true because God said so in His Word."

Today we need humble men who will tremble at the Word of God (Isaiah 66:1-2). We do not need new revelation today. We need to obey and walk worthy of the revelation that we already have! We do not need more light today. We will stand before Christ and give an account for the way we responded to the light that we had!

Spurgeon:  No New Revelations from God Today!

“I have heard many fanatical persons say the Holy Spirit revealed this and that to them.  Now that is very generally revealed nonsense.  The Holy Ghost does not reveal anything fresh now.  He brings old things to our remembrance.  ‘He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance whatsoever I have told you,’ [John 14:26].  The canon of revelation is closed; there is no more to be added.  God does not give a fresh revelation, but he rivets the old one.  When it has been forgotten, and laid in the dusty chamber of our memory, he fetches it out and cleans the picture, but does not paint a new one.  There are no new doctrines, but the old ones are often revived.  It is not, I say, by any new revelation that the Spirit comforts.  He does so by telling us old things over again; he brings a fresh lamp to manifest the treasures hidden in Scripture; he unlocks the strong chests in which the truth had long lain, and he points to secret chambers filled with untold riches; but he coins no more, for enough is done. 

Believer!  There is enough in the Bible for thee to live upon for ever.  If thou shouldest outnumber the years of Methusaleh, there would be no need for a fresh revelation; if thou shouldest live till Christ should come upon the earth, there would be no necessity for the addition of a single word; if thou shouldest go down as deep as Jonah, or even descend as David said he did, into the belly of hell, still there would be enough in the Bible to comfort thee without a supplementary sentence.”

Charles Haddon Spurgeon
The New Park Street Pulpit
Vol. I (1855), p. 38

There is a sense in which the church is in desperate need of a vision today. We need a fresh vision of God. We need to see the Lord high and lifted up (Isaiah 6:1-9). We need a glimpse of all that GOD IS (Isaiah 43:10-11). The more we see Christ as He really is, the more we will be like Him (1 John 3:2). As we fix our eyes upon Christ as He is seen in the written Word and as we look unto Jesus (Heb. 12:1-2) with a steady gaze, we will reflect the glory of the Lord as our lives are conformed to His image, from glory to glory (2 Cor. 3:18).

EXAMPLES OF CHARISMATIC VISIONS

Example #1--Oral Roberts

At one time Oral Roberts claimed he had a talk with a 900-foot-tall Jesus and the account of that "vision" generated millions in donations from the faithful so that he could open his 60-story diagnostic clinic and 30-story hospital. Later Roberts claimed to have received another message from God. This time God wanted people to give Oral Roberts $4.5 million in "quick money" to finish an $8 million fund drive. If he did not raise this money, God would call him home to heaven. Thanks to Florida race track money (an owner, Jerry Collins, coughed up the last $1.3 million), the ransom money was all raised and Oral was given a new lease on life so that he could dream up new promotional schemes for the future.

According to the St. Petersburg Times, Oral Roberts does not lack when it comes to personal finances. The newspaper stated that Roberts has a $285,000 home in Palm Springs, a $2.4 million dollar home in Beverly Hills, his exclusive house in Tulsa, and a $35,000 country club membership.

Example #2--Dr. Percy Collett

Dr. Collett, a medical doctor, worked almost 50 years with the people in the Amazon River Basin of South America. He claims to have been transported to heaven in 1982 for 5½ earth days. He talked with God the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, Elijah, Elisha, Abraham, Moses, Paul and others. He viewed the mansions of the saints and toured the buildings now under construction. He was taken to "his" mansion 700 miles up from the city's foundation. He toured each level of heaven and viewed its different departments and activities. Jesus talked with him about events soon to occur on earth—the battle of Ezekiel 38, the rapture, and Armageddon. He was sent back to earth with instructions to take a leave of absence from the mission field and declare what he had seen and heard.

For a contribution of $100.00 one can receive a video tape presentation of this trip to heaven. The promotional flier which promotes this video had this to say, "Dr. Collet was `caught up in the third heaven' even as Paul was. The difference being, Paul was not allowed to utter the things he saw and heard, while Dr. Collett, almost 2000 years later, was commanded to do so." Contrast this with 2 Corinthians 12:1-10. Many others are claiming to have had trips to heaven or visions of heaven, including Dr. Paul Yonggi Cho, "pastor of the world's largest church" in Seoul, Korea, who claimed to have spent 3 hours in the third heaven.

33. What is the philosophy of "Charismatic Renewal"?


Charismatic Renewal is, moreover, thoroughly reformist in character. There is very little if any interest in separating from old ecclesiastical structures and building new ones according to the classical Pentecostal pattern. Rather, present institutions are to be "renewed" by the Charismatic activity of the Holy Spirit as it affects the membership of a church or other group through the continued presence within that structure of individuals who have been baptized in the Spirit.  [Richard Quebedeaux, The New Charismatics, page 9.]

Charismatics do not want to separate from the churches that they are a part of. Instead they wish to stay in these churches and to seek to renew these churches by their continued presence within. They seek to bring life and vitality to churches that were once very formal and dead. The principles of Biblical separation from apostasy are sadly ignored.

34. Are believers commanded to "renew" apostate churches or to separate from them?


2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1      COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM

2 Timothy 3:5      FROM SUCH TURN AWAY

Romans 16:17     AVOID THEM

Titus 3:10     REJECT

2 John 10     RECEIVE HIM NOT

For further study, see the Biblical Doctrine of Separation.

 

35. What is it that unites God's people?


Charismatic Answer: A COMMON EXPERIENCE

The modern charismatic movement has been able to suspend doctrinal questions and unite around a set of experiences. Doctrine divides. Experience unites.  [Stephen Board, "Are Catholic Charismatics `Evangelicals'?" Eternity, July 1978, page 13.]

Biblical Answer: It is TRUTH and DOCTRINE that should unite God's people.

"And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers" (Acts 2:42).

"Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" (Eph. 4:13). Our UNITY is based upon our common knowledge and understanding of the Son of God.

It is true that doctrine divides, but it also unites. If I believe in the deity of Jesus Christ and you do not, then we are divided. If I believe in the deity of Jesus Christ and you do also, then we are united based upon this great truth that we both believe and understand. True Biblical unity is based upon a common understanding and practice of God's truth. The more we believe and practice the truths of the Word of God, the more united we will be.

Beware of the popular philosophy that emphasizes "love" at the expense of God's truth and which emphasizes "unity" at the expense of sound doctrine.  [Such is the philosophy of the Promise Keepers Movement as well as many other groups and ecumenical movements. See our paper, The Importance of Doctrine and the Biblical Concept of Love--A Campus Crusade Critique.]


We have examined 35 doctrinal issues as they relate to the modern Charismatic Movement. If you have further questions about any of these matters, feel free to Contact Us:

Go to the following chapter

Back to Main Index for the Charismatic Movement--35 Doctrinal Issues


The Middletown Bible Church
349 East Street
Middletown, CT 06457
(860) 346-0907

  More articles under Doctrinal Studies

Home Page