The Charismatic Heresy
by Timothy D. Fellows
"These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." (Acts 17:11).
Biblical Christianity maintains the conviction that the Bible is the basis of doctrine and practice. For this reason, it has always adhered to the sufficiency and to the finality of Scripture. "Deus est; Deus locutus est" -- "God is; God has spoken."
Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit was come He would teach the disciples "all truth." The body of truth must therefore have been complete before the death of the last of the disciples. (John 16:12-15) It is serious error to teach that God is still adding to the volume of His truth. People who espouse this notion of "continuing revelation" do so because they have rejected the doctrine that the Bible is sufficient and final in its authority.
The doctrine of continuing revelation so popularly held today forms the basic creed of the Charismatics. This is the reason why they have such an anemic view of Scripture. It is precisely on account of their shallow view of the Bible that I believe the greatest heresy in the Church today is the Charismatic heresy. As dangerous as the popular Arminian position is, most Arminians at least make some attempt to recognize the authority of Scripture. While the Roman Catholic Church teaches that tradition is the basis of authority, Charismatics make experience their authority.
I believe the greatest heresy in the Church today is the Charismatic heresy, and I say so for the following reasons:
First, Charismatics wrongfully teach that believers have the authority to bind Satan. The Apostle John wrote, "And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years. . . ." (Revelation 20:1,2) And Paul wrote, "And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly." (Romans 16:20)
Now, if a believer had authority to bind Satan any moment, then it would be wicked for him or for her not to bind him for all time. And, certainly if a believer had authority to bind Satan, none of the people of God would have to be troubled with him!
The Charismatic doctrine that teaches believers can bind Satan is based upon a misunderstanding of Matthew 16:18,19 and Matthew 18:18. "And I say unto you that thou art Peter (Greek: petros -- masculine gender and meaning "a little stone") "and upon this rock" (Greek: petra -- feminine gender meaning "a rock" and therefore referring to the confession of Peter, and not to Peter himself) "I will build My Church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. And whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven."
And, "Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven."
Note first, the passage refers to church discipline, and not to the binding of Satan.
Note second, that the authority to "bind" is not given to Peter alone but to the Apostles, and therefore after them to local churches. If it were given exclusively to Peter, then Matthew 18:18 makes no sense.
Note as well how easy it is to exercise pretended authority over things that cannot be proved. For instance, it is easy to pronounce diseases "healed" that cannot be seen. Reader, when did you last hear of a broken arm being healed in a Charismatic service, or witness the raising of the dead?
The second reason I regard the Charismatic heresy to be the most dangerous heresy in the Church today is because of its complete disregard for obedience.
For instance, it does not matter to most Charismatics that the Bible commands that a bishop, or pastor, "must be blameless, the husband of one wife," or that he must rule well his house, and have his children in subjection. (I Timothy 3:2,4-5) Most Charismatics will accept a woman pastor in spite of the fact the Bible forbids women "to teach or to usurp authority over the man" (I Timothy 2:12), and the reason they will do it is because they regard experience, and not the Bible as their final authority.
One cannot preach without exercising authority. Even the angels of God are attentive. How then can a woman preach and still be in subjection to her husband.
It is on account of weak husbands that we have women preachers, and its on account of disobedience to Scripture that such families are characterized by rebellious children. Of all the women preachers that I have known, and I have known many, I cannot name one whose children are walking in the fear of the Lord. God brings this judgment upon such families to show His disapproval.
The Subjugation of God
The third reason I view the Charismatic heresy as the greatest threat to Biblical Christianity is because Charismatics view God-the King of saints (Revelation 15:3) to be their servant whose duty it is to rubber stamp what they have decided ought to be done. They use the name "Jesus" like a magical incantation and not with the reverence required of the Lord of creation.
I weep over the state of the Church as I see Charismatic congregations springing up everywhere. It seems scarcely a month ends in the Central Savannah River Area that a new congregation does not begin.
A fourth reason I grieve at the spread of this heresy is that its message is raw, uncut emotionalism, unmixed with doctrinal truth found in God's Word. Like the Greeks of old who lived to hear some new thing, these people live for the sensational, yet they cannot account for everyday realities such as afflictions, sickness and death. Nevertheless, "the foundation of the Lord standeth sure," and "It is appointed unto men once to die and after this the judgment." (Hebrews 9:27)
When people ignore the plain teaching of Scripture for an emotional "fix", God punishes them with those who make merchandise of them; can I feel much pity for them because-
What more can He say, Than to you He hath said?
Is it possible for people who are truly following the "Holy" Spirit -- the One Whom Jesus said would take us by the hand and lead us in all truth (John 16:13) -- to be fooled by then who bow before the gods of gold and silver?
The Abasement of Christ
Last, I believe, humanly speaking, that the Charismatic heresy is the greatest threat to biblical Christianity because Charismatics emphasize the Holy Spirit and not the beloved Son of God Who sits in the bosom of the Father. Scripture tells us Christ is to have the preeminence (see: Colossians 1:18; Philippians 2:6-11), and Jesus declared the Comforter would testify of Christ, and not of Himself. (John 15:21)
What might also be said of the idea among Charismatics that the person who can smile the broadest is the most spiritual although Scripture says "Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted." And again, "blessed are ye that weep now for ye shall laugh." (Matthew 5:4; Luke 6:21)
Most Charismatics do not discipline their children, but act as if they thought permissiveness was a virtue.
Seduction by Music
Through the use of music, Charismatics have wormed their theology into most churches in our day. The result is that it has left most congregations spiritually emasculated. With such popular music as "Let's Just Praise The Lord," "Majesty," "Allelujah" and a hundred more, churches have been seduced from reverent worship by following the Charismatic Pied Pipers into an atmosphere of emotionalism and entertainment .
What is so distressing is that Christian radio and television have fallen under the same spell. Reader, shun their music because it is the product of a degenerate theology. It is much to be lamented that people who have imbibed the music of the world are the most vulnerable to the music of Charismatic Christianity. They who walk by "sight" are the most apt to fall under the spell of their theatrics.
"But," some will object, "what can be wrong with such songs as 'I Love You, Lord,' or 'El Shaddai,' or 'People Need The Lord'?"
Listen carefully. When God made man male and female, He made them differently. It is by His wise design that He made men to judge things logically while He designed women to judge things emotionally. This does not make women second-class people: only different. When men judge things emotionally, nature has been perverted, and we call those men "effeminate." Oh that God would give you to understand that it is the very nature of Charismatic music that causes people to judge things emotionally. In this way it has injected its theology upon its unsuspecting listeners.
Mark it down: there is something vitally wrong when people can croon love songs to the Lamb of God that was slain from the foundation of the world. While unsaved and unsanctified people may sing Handel's "Messiah," and the hymns of the faith, yet this kind of music is reverent. The music of the Charismatics is written and composed for people -- not for the Lord, and it is designed that people might enjoy it and have "a good time." Simply put, it is carnal music and appeals to the appetites of carnal people.
It is significant that the Corinthian Church is the only church in the New Testament that is said to have spoken in tongues, yet the Corinthian Church was divided by 4 factions; they sued each other in court; they ate meat sacrificed to idols; they tolerated incest among its membership; and, they profaned the Lord's Supper. IT IS ONLY TO BE EXPECTED THAT WHEN CORINTHIAN THEOLOGY IS THE CREED OF THE DAY THAT CORINTHIAN MORALITY WOULD BE THE OF ORDER OF THE DAY.
It is the everlasting testimony of Jesus that it is a sinful and adulterous generation that seeks after a sign. (Matthew 12:38-39)