Monday, July 25, 2005

Back in Blog

So after a relatively long stint over at My Space, I decided to return to Blogger. My space was just a bit to exclusive for me and, though it is great for posting music (which I will continue to use it for), it is not all that great for blogging. So hello all. Feel free to comment on anything and everything.

So, recently I've been doing a lot of reading about church history and during this time I found myself reading about the pre-reformation Catholic church and the Evangelical/ Holiness/ Charismatic traditions in America from a couple different books. The strange thing i noticed was that as the Charismatic movement has developed in the past 100 years it has become more and more like the corrupt Catholic church of the 15th and early 16th centuries. Here are a few major similarities:

1) The declarations of church leaders and the traditions of the church hold equal authority to scripture. In the Catholic church of the middle ages, distortions had developed in their theology that placed the word of Man (namely the pope) as authority equal to the Bible. A person could justify a belief or action by citing a papal decree or pointing to church traditions. This was intensified by a claim that Europe was the Kingdom of God. As the rightful rulers of God's earthly kingdom the church took for itself a place of authority equal to that of God's word. Looking to the Charismatic movement today we see the same things occuring. Charismatics today depend more and more on the "prophetic" teachings of its leaders than on the Scriptures themselves. One has no further to look than the eschatology of the Evangelical and Charismatic church that proclaims that Christ will return 2 more times, once before the tribulation and again afterwards despite a major deficit of Scriptural evidence. It is in such beliefs and in the authority of church leaders that most charismatics find their identity. These ideas are intensified by the belief that we are in a nation "blessed by God" much like Christendom in the Middle Ages. If you want proof, go to a typical charismatic church, tell them you didn't vote for Bush, you don't believe in the rapture, you don't believe that we are in the end times, but you are charismatic.

2) Poor theology and the decline in Biblical authority allows non-Christian beliefs to seep into the church. In the early church, Christians were very well educated and many of them refered to works by Plato, Aristotle, and other greek or pagan writers or the time. But such theologians as Augustine, Ambrose, and even Paul himself kept such writings in check by being firmly rooted in the Bible. During the middle ages, with the decline of scriptural authority, we began to see Greek and Roman influence breach the walls of Christianity and corrupt the beliefs of the church. In the modern church, such a leak has occured in the Charismatic movement. Within Charismatic circles you can see influence from everywhere from Plato and Gnosticism to Cartesian philosophy, neo-paganism, and 19th century humanism. Yet, because the authority and traditions of their church have been given the same authority as the Bible, to question such practices would be to question all of faith.

3) Man's merit is responsible for his/her salvation. Medieval Catholicism was ripe with humanism that place man's salvation in his own hands. It was only through his confession and work that he may enter God's kingdom. Through his merit he could be like Christ and earn his place in heaven. Likewise, charismatic leaders teach that we must earn God's grace so we can such things as the gift of tongues, complete sanctification, and the "third heaven experience." Some leaders have said that there is nothing Christ has done that we cannot do. So the charismatics in some ways take a step further than the Catholics of old by claiming that we can in a sense "be" Christ and enter Heaven anytime we want through our own actions.

4) Taking money in the name of the Church. Catholics offered plenary indulgences that forgave a lifetime of sins for the right price in order to pay off the popes debt. Within the Charismatic churches we have the Health and Wealth preaches that offer riches and health if only you pay the right prices. If you sow into their ministry God will bless you with everything you need.

So these are just a few really quick observations I've made (well...I'm sure others have already made them but I'm not trying to publish this or anything). I just thought it was ironic since the last group that Charismatics would want to associate themselves with are Medieval Catholics. One real quick disclaimer, I don't mean to imply that all Charismatics belief all these things. But it has been my experience that most people proclaiming themselves to be charismatic hold at least most of these beliefs to some degree. So that's my disclaimer. Now no one can get mad thanks to a short after thought of a sentence
Dan, 12:27 PM


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