A Brief Talk on Charismatic Theology

A Brief Talk on Charismatic Theology

Written by elder Wang Yadong translated by Terry Chua edited by Rev Zheng

          Throughout history, the question of the Holy Spirit’s identity has been a significant concern for churches.  In contrast, the three charismatic movements are more focused on the what and the means of the Holy Spirit’s work. An excessive emphasis on “who” might lead to excessive theological discussion and potentially losing a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit. Conversely, focusing only on the “hows” and “whats” of the Holy Spirit can lead to pursuing supernatural experiences with little consideration for the truth. It is understandable many traditional churches resist the charismatic movement out of caution.

          Certainly, there is no doubt that the Holy Spirit operates according to His divine will.  However, it is equally important to note that the Holy Spirit comes to carry out the work of the Son, just as the Son obeys the will of the Father. Together, the three persons of the Divine complete the creation and salvation work of the One True God. These works include giving life to people, enabling people to receive and understand revelations, building, training and guiding the church. It is generally agreed that the Holy Spirit will elect some to receive special gifts and perform miracles. There are many examples in the Bible. In the OT, there were the seventy elders (Nu 11:25), Samson (Jud 14:6), King Saul (1 Sam 10:10) etc. The NT also recorded Christians on the day of Pentecost (Act 2:3) and Paul (Act 20:10) etc. However, the Bible does not command the church to pursue the Holy Spirit in order to perform miracles. In the last days, the “man of lawlessness” will come and do the work of Satan (2 Th 2:9). The Bible only encourages believers to know and persevere in the truth and not rely on miracles that “the lawless one” can also perform.

          Traditional churches understand “chárisma” (Charismatic in Greek) as the release of the power of the Holy Spirit through the preaching of the Word, a power capable of convicting people of sin. It is rarely the case where every believer in the entire church has this “chárisma”. Of course, believers receive various gifts from the Holy Spirit to build up the church, such as serving, teaching, giving, counselling, prayer, receiving new friends…etc (Ro 12:6-16). However, the charismatics stress that every believer has the gift to perform miracles that need to be trained and expressed, such as speaking in tongues, prophesying, healing, casting out demons etc.

          The expansion of the charismatic churches has been astonishing. But the final analysis is: what causes people to repent and be saved? Is it the miraculous signs and wonders that continue to appear, or is it the greatest and ultimate miracle that cannot be repeated — the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the gospel message that explains this miracle?


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *