Yesterday, I posted a blog about why I am no longer reformed. Today, I want to talk about something else I am not. I am no longer charismatic. I need to take a moment here and define these terms so that you know what I am saying.
At one point in my life, I used to consider myself a Pentecostal. I had an experience in 1999 where I professed to have received the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. Pentecostals, historically and theologically coming out of the Methodist/Holiness movement, believe that all believers can have this second blessing and that if you have this blessing, you will speak in tongues. For Pentecostals, this is a staple in their theology. Theologically, speaking in tongues, for the Pentecostal, is not an option; it is a command for all believers to pursue. Like I said, I used to define myself as a Pentecostal, but I do not think that I ever fully believed this. I had to categorize my experience and at the time, that is where I chose to categorize it. Later on, I moved into what is now traditionally known as charismatic theology. I believed that certain believers were given the gift of tongues, but others were not. Historically speaking, charismatic believers rose out of mainline denominations in the 50’s and 60’s during what is known as the Charismatic Renewal. For the majority of the last decade, this was my stance on this issue.
There is another category, mostly for historic purposes, called the Third Wave. If you wanted to pigeon-hole me, I would be the closest to this category, but what I have found is that as my beliefs have evolved, my emphasis has become less on having one particular manifestation of a gift on a person and more on generally allowing the Holy Spirit to move the way that He wills. Because of this, I now believe that tongues will manifest themselves at the Spirit’s enablement and I do not really get into people seeking after them. I believe that believers need to know that all gifts are relevant today, but per Corinthians, I would much rather see people excel in gifts that build up the church. As such, I de-emphasize tongues to make it even with the other gifts and as such, I do not believe that I could be called a charismatic. Perhaps I am wrong about that, but while at one point in my life, I would have major issues belonging to a church that did not “practice the gifts,” I no longer have those qualms. My concern is that people have a general openness to whatever the Holy Spirit wants to do in their lives.
The beauty of about growing theologically is that it is like an onion; you just keep peeling off layers and layers until you get underneath all of it. My opinions on being charismatic may change again, but right now, this is where I’m at and I’m very grateful to be here.