Volume. XX, No. 21
Sunday, 20 November 2005

From the Pastors Heart: Spiritual/Charismatic Gifts

The Charismatic movement has been one of the more popular topics in Christianity during the twentieth century. It has gone from strength to strength by crossing over the barriers of denominations and has even effected the reformation movement in the 16th century. For example, it has been said that Pope John Paul II addressed Catholic charismatic groups on more than 25 occasions. Pope Benedict XVI has said that he supports charismatic renewal (June, Charisma; Calvary Contender, vol. xxii, no. 6, June 2005). J. I. Packer, a well-known and respected leader in evangelical circles, a former Regent College professor and a senior editor of Christianity Today, said “the Charismatic Movement ‘must be adjudged a work of God.’ (July 15, 1989 CC) He said it is in the mainstream of historic evangelical orthodoxy on key doctrines. He said, ‘If the charismatics err, they err only by expecting to receive from God, whose face they seek, more than he actually promised.’ Packer said: ‘Sharing charismatic experience…is often declared…to unify Protestants and Roman Catholics at a deeper level than that at which their doctrine divides them. This, if so, gives charismaticism great ecumenical significance’” (Calvary Contender, vol. xxi, no. 12, December 2004; http://home.hiwaay.net/~contendr/2004/12-2004.html). It is no wonder that over the years, ecumenical meetings and conferences have been able to produce so many documents to cover basically all areas of doctrinal issues. One chief characteristic of these documents is that they have employed ambiguous terms and words so that no one can disagree with them, while there is no real agreement in substance. Despite these problems, the agreement on charismatic gifts has promoted unity among various groups. People think that the agreement on charismatic gift issues will bring unity among the various branches of Christendom. Surely, J. I. Packer was correct in this regard. The following statement will clarify the position of many charismatic movement leaders. Michael Harper said,

“I now love those whom I had previously rejected. Only when such personal prejudices are removed are we free to see Christ in our brothers. Then the Holy Spirit is able to reach us what he wants to through them. Oh, what an enrichment it has been to meet with Catholics and be introduced to some of the treasures of Catholic life! The Virgin Mary has come alive and I feel I know her now, in the same way as my evangelical heritage helped me to know St. Paul. . . . The sacraments have come alive, too. Not as lifeless mechanical rites, but as ‘effectual signs,’ to use the language of the Reformers, as signs that work when there is faith. Holy Communion is for me as an oasis in a parched desert.” (Three Sisters: A Provocative Look at Evangelicals, Charismatics and Catholic Charismatics and Their Relationship to One Another, Wheaton: Tyndale, 1979, 49-50).

The power and influence of the charismatic movement brings down the work of the reformers and promotes false unity among not-so-agreeable groups. The Charismatic movement is like spiritual anaesthetic that kills the sensitivity of even evangelicals. So called charismatic gifts are in the centre of church unity. The following quotation is not an unusual description of the Charismatic movement:

“Since its conception in the early 1900s, Pentecostalism has advanced tremendously and seen rapid growth throughout this century, but up until the 1950s it had largely been associated with the margins of American culture. It was not until mid-way through the century that Pentecostal ideas and style began to surface in mainline Protestant churches and would thus, spark a movement in the 50s and 60s that would be known by such names as the New Penetration, Neo-Pentecostalism and the Charismatic Renewal (Revival). Beginning officially in 1960, Dennis Bennett, priest over an Episcopalian congregation in Van Nuys, California announced that he had spoken in tongues. This movement soon spread into a network of independent charismatic churches and organizations which included Baptists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Methodists and Catholics, which all came to enjoy this outburst of speaking in tongues. The Charismatic Renewal was similar to classical Pentecostalism in its emphasis on the exercise of certain gifts (particularly tongues and prophecy) but the other important qualities of this movement made it distinctly different. It differed from Pentecostalism in that it was trans-denominational in nature, it had no set theology of two-stage blessing, it incorporated a diversity of theological opinion and it also provided a wealth of contemporary worship songs expressing personal and corporate devotion.” (http://religiousmovements.lib.virginia.edu/nrms/penta.html)

The influence of the Charismatic movement has been found virtually in every aspect of church life including the styles of worship and music, exorcism, direct imprecatory talk to demons, prophecy, speaking in tongues, nature of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, second blessing theology, subjective experiences, healing and miracle claims, sensational experiences such as slain in the Spirit and Toronto blessings, word of wisdom and knowledge, interpretation of tongue speaking, and many others. There are different views of church offices such as prophets and apostles. There are so many confusions over these issues, and there are no agreements on them even amongst the charismatic people. It is inevitable for us to confront these issues and to clarify them through careful and painstaking study of the Bible. It is not an easy task to go through them one by one.

Peter Wagner is a professor of Church Growth at Fuller Theological Seminary. He is not a friend of fundamentalists but one of the leaders of ecumenical movement. His view well reflects the view of most new evangelicals and charismatics. It will be helpful to know what spiritual gifts have been promoted among those groups. He lists twenty spiritual gifts with brief explanations as following (Your Spiritual Gifts, Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1994, 51-77): From Romans 12 (1) Prophecy (preaching, inspired utterance), (2) Service (ministry), (3) Teaching, (4) Exhortation (stimulating faith, encouraging), (5) Giving (contributing, generosity, sharing), (6) Leadership (authority, ruling, administration), (7) Mercy (sympathy, comfort to the sorrowing, showing kindness); From 1 Corinthians 12 (8) Wisdom (wise advice, wise speech), (9) Knowledge (studying, speaking with knowledge), (10) Faith, (11) Healing, (12) Miracles (doing great deeds), (13) Discerning of spirits (discrimination in spiritual matters), (14) Tongues (speaking in languages never learned, ecstatic utterance), (15) Interpretation, (16) Apostle, (17) Helps, (18) Administration (governments, getting others to work together); From Ephesians 4 (19) Evangelist, (20) Pastor (caring for God’s people). Later he adds some more to the list: (21) Celibacy (continence), (22) Voluntary poverty, (23) Martyrdom, (24) Hospitality, (25) Missionary, (26) Intercession, (27) Deliverance (exorcism).

Lovingly, Your pastor

More Lively Hope



Shorter Catechism Question No 21: Who is the Redeemer of Gods elect? The only Redeemer of Gods elect is the Lord Jesus Christ, who, being the eternal Son of God, became man, and so was, and continueth to be, God and man in two distinct natures, and one person, for ever.

Please pray for health & Gods healing: Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren, Rev Peter Clements, Rev Edward Paauwe, Rev Timothy Tow, Dr S H Tow, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Winston Selavanayagam, James Tan (Chemo), Thomas Tan (Chemo), John Tann, Kevin Tye (Chemo); Sisters Kimmy Chong, Sooi Chin Gong, Myung Ki, Gillian Ongs grandfather, Aranka Rejtoe, Susan Veradi, Giok Yeos sister-in-law, Bee Giok Khut & her mother; Auntie Oei, Auntie Sheila George and others afflicted with illness. "Be of good courage and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD (Psalm 31:24).

Please pray for a) Cambodia Missions: Rev & Mrs Luke Kim & Ministry (Veal Renh); Bro Vana Rith serving in Pailin: b) Laos Missions - Bro Surish Dharmalingam - for health & Gods provision; c) Journey mercies - Bros Eu Jzin Tan (Spore), Lincoln Law, Sisters Joyce Gong & Purdee Yeo (UK & Europe); Gillian Ong & Serenes parents, Mr & Mrs Mong Guan Wong (Spore); d) Sketch N Tell ministry of Bro Hai Seng Lim; e) PR Visa applications: the George family; f) Exams - high school, Year 12 and University students; g) Strength & encouragement - Sis Lydia Tan & family; h) Christmas Concert & Australian B-P Youth Camp speaker (Rev Quek Suan Yew) & organisers.

Praise and Thank God for a) YAF/Teens & Neighbourhood Bible Study meetings; Ladies Fellowship & Neighbourhood Choir Practices; b) Journey mercies - Rev & Mrs Peter Chua (Adl), Bros Paul Chung (Adl), You Wen Yeap (Spore), Lincoln Law & Sisters Joyce Gong & Purdee Yeo (UK & Europe), Marion Chan (KL), Janet Sankey & her sons, Vaibhav & Parshad (Gujerat), Sis Su Sims parents, Dn & Mrs Toh (Batu Pahat), & others who have travelled.
Congratulations and Gods blessings - Ebenezer B-P Church (Melb) on her 6th Anniversary.
Warm Greetings to all Hopefuls from Elder & Mrs Peng Kiat Khoo (Brazil).

Sis Sooi Chin Gong thanks everyone for their prayers for her during her recent illness.

Looking Ahead: Christmas Concert at Concordia College Chapel on 3 Dec, 7:30 pm. Invites available on the literature table in the foyer. Please invite your family & friends.

Looking Ahead: Australian B-P Youth Camp. Topic: Growing in Love. Guest Speaker: Rev Quek Suan Yew. Dates: 6 - 10 December. Camp forms on literature table.



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