A Brief Talk on Charismatic Theology (cont’)

A Brief Talk on Charismatic Theology (cont’)

Written by elder Wang Yadong translated by Terry Chua

          After the resurrection of Jesus, the disciples received the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, and they performed many signs and wonders (Acts 2:43; 5:12; 8:6; 14:3). We know that many people came to believe on the day of Pentecost and this event is particularly emphasized by the third charismatic movement. Is the church really built on miraculous signs and wonders?

          Paul did not immediately go to Jerusalem to meet the other brothers after his unusual experience in Damascus. Instead, he retreated into the wilderness and rethought the whole question of his faith. This led him to become the greatest preacher in the 1st Century. The priority during Paul’s four missionary journeys was not to perform miracles but to proclaim the good news of God’s saving grace (Acts 20:24). In the introduction of his epistles, he did not once mention that he came to perform miracles. Instead, he kept emphasizing that he was appointed to preach the gospel of God (Rom 1:1, Gal 1:4, Titus 1:3). After the first century, the church experienced an extended period of persecution. The church was able to stand steadfastly through persecution because of the gospel message that the miraculous signs and wonders pointed to, rather than the miracles themselves. The exegesis, theology, apologetics and exhortations that the church fathers devoted themselves to in the first three centuries were the factors that enabled the church to resist political, religious, philosophical, and economic persecution. Church history has no evidence that believers of miracles can do the same.

          Charismatic church worship is often very lively and usually adapts pop song melodies and music forms. Believers would usually wave their arms or even dance while praising and worshiping. Sermon messages are relatively distilled and easy to follow. In contrast to the serious and rigorous worship form of traditional churches, believers will have a stronger sense of participation in a charismatic worship setting.

          In summary, if there are any denominations and movements that arise, what they emphasize is often what the church has neglected for an extended time. No matter the lack of emphasis, we ought to humble ourselves and reflect on our shortcomings before pointing out their biases. The purpose is to avoid mistakes when learning from the strengths of others, that the church may better herself.


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