Common Charismatic Criticisms of Biblical Testing
(articles by Chris Good)
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- Don't judge, lest you be judged
- you hypocrites!
are a lot of accusations going around in Christian circles about people
"judging" other people and not being "tolerant". Often
the passage above is cited to support those bringing new teachings and
practices into the church. Indeed, in our post-modern age, the greatest sin
is "intolerance" and it seems this is also increasingly the case
in many churches. Anyone who wants to critique something is instantly
dismissed as 'judgemental'.
- Don't touch the Lord's anointed!
is a common cry levelled against people who are trying to
uphold Scripture by testing their leaders' teaching and practice against the
Word. However, if this is a valid defence, why do we never see the Apostle
or other leaders of the New Testament churches resorting to this argument?
Is it possible that this phrase is being misused to justify an authoritarian
- How dare you blaspheme against the Holy Spirit!
A common criticism levelled
against those who seek to test modern claims to prophecy, miracles and
healings by God's Word is that we are in danger of 'blaspheming against the
Holy Spirit'. This is a very serious charge, which (if true) would mean that
such people cannot be saved! Indeed, many are so intimidated by this charge
that they bury any doubts, relying on the claimant's self-proclamation for
proof of the validity of the claims, rather than testing it by the Word.
- How dare you quench/grieve the Holy Spirit!
verses are quoted to prevent people testing claimed prophecies. The
implication is that this verse clearly tells us not to 'despise
prophecies' by testing them - that to do so is to quench the work of
the Holy Spirit. No Christian wants to be guilty of that! Often such an
argument is linked in with the accusation that doing this grieves the
Spirit. Let us look at these passages to see if this is indeed what the
Holy Spirit says.
- The Letter Kills, but the Spirit gives Life!
phrase from 2 Corinthians 3:6 is perhaps one of the most misused in Scripture.
Regularly those who test claimants for special manifestations of the Spirit
by the Word are charged with allowing the 'letter' of Scripture to kill the
'Spirit'. However - what is this passage saying - and is this a correct way
to apply it?
- You Legalists!
"You Pharisees! Who lets you impose your rules?!" This is often an objection
faced by people seeking to follow the rules that Christ by His Spirit has laid
down for his people in His Word. The "legalist!" label is rolled out. But what
really is a legalist - and what is legalism? Are we guilty of it when seeking to
follow Scriptural standards?
are you to divide the Body of Christ?!
people in the Church stand up seeking to test things by God's Word, an
accusation often made against them is that in doing so they are
"dividing the body of Christ" and "bringing disunity".
But how can upholding the Truth bring disunity? Is it not error and
unrighteous practice that divides? To understand these issues - we need to
turn, not to our preconceived notions of unity, but to the Scriptures, and
allow God to show us the true notion of Christian unity and what it is to
'divide the body of Christ'.
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