The Charismatic Art of Quenching the Spirit

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Proponents of the charismatic movement necessarily defend various parts of the charismatic and Pentecostal experience. These are acts and practices that are generally unique to them and manifest in a variety of ways.They will defend holy laughter, being “drunk in the Spirit”, uncontrolled moving and shaking of their bodies and extremities, ferocious weeping, being slain in the Spirit, and their version of speaking in tongues. These are generally considered to be the acceptable manifestations of the Spirit, and most are common in the typical Charismatic/Pentecostal church today. A common explanation for them is that these sorts of things happen when the Holy Spirit overtakes one’s body- that they are so full of Him that it burbles up in godly and wonderful ways.

Cessasionists tend to eye these acts with suspicion. They view most of it as weird and creepy and either the result of the practitioners own fleshly passions, or some demoniac at work in the hearts of these people.  They like to point out that these practices are not found in the scriptures and that there is no real precedent for what is being done. In kind, continuationists will point out that it’s unfair to make an argument from silence and nowhere do the scriptures prohibit these things, that even though to some people it may look like disorderly chaos, in fact these things accompany revival where the Spirit is moving and where God’s word is being proclaimed. One man’s “random woman rolling back and forth on the carpet while alternately weeping and shrieking” is another person’s “dear saint overcome with the glory of God’s presence while the Holy Spirit is ministering to her with groanings that cannot be uttered”.

These practices – holy laughing, slain in spirit, shouting and arm flailing – these are more benign and common practices and will be vigorously defended by the Charismatic and Pentecostal movement. It seems that most charismatics have a stomach for this sort of thing, but as soon as the phenomena of “barking like dogs in the Holy Spirit” is introduced, the rebukes from continuationists come out and agreement appears like magic. Charismatics will join in and label this practice as excess and worldly and virtually unheard of. They’ve certainly never seen it and wouldn’t put up with it if they saw it happening. This action crosses a line you see, and the people manifesting the Holy Spirit in this way have gone too far. Suddenly the Holy Spirit at work has become Beelzebub, and it ought to be stopped, rebuked and repudiated.

Dr Michael Brown certainly thinks it’s weird and excessive. He has made public statements about it on several occasions

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In his final appeal to John MacArthur and the Strange Fire conference he twice calls the act of barking like a dog in the Spirit “bizarre” and recently in an interview with Jordan Cooper, at the 27 minute mark, we see this exchange which reinforces his abject distaste for this practice and calls it idiotic and bizarre [Note, edited for brevity and relevance. Plus the sound quality was bad and faded in and out several times. See the original for the whole snippet.].

Jordan Cooper: ”There are some pretty weird things….you see people being led around on dog leashes and howling like wolves and things like that. How do you approach those kinds of things that you see in a charismatic revival. Do you reject those things, or do you not really say anything because you don’t know if its the Spirit or not. How do you approach that?”

Dr. Micheal Brown: “Well it’s outrageous idiocy…outrageous idiocy. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. I’ve never….I’ve never personally been in a meeting like that….its completely unrepresentative of 99.99999% of Charismatics and Pentecostals worldwide. I heard about it once in 1995 and wrote a poem mocking it [unintelligible]…. It wouldn’t be tolerated for a split second in Brownsville [revival]. Now I’ve seen thousands of people prayed for and overcome by the Spirit. People fall on their face when prayed for, people fall on their back….I’ve no problem with people being so overcome with joy that they jump and [unintelligible] run around in foolish celebration if it’s appropriate in a service like that, or people so overcome with joy that they burst out laughing…however, that being said, the idea of people barking like dogs or being lead around on a leash…these are outrageous….these are bizarre.”

Here is the question I have though: why is Dr Brown and other Charismatics in his camp quenching the Holy Spirit? More precisely, on what basis can they say that getting on all fours and running up and down the aisles while barking like a dog in the Spirit is worldly, sinful, and excess? Or how about just barking like a dog as a whole? Through what scriptural and biblical filter could they pass this through and determine that it’s outrageous and idiotic? My contention is not that charismatic leaders aren’t addressing the abuses. I am wondering on what objective basis can they call it an “abuse” in the first place?

Could not a charismatic practitioner who is prone to howling during the melee say something like, “When the Holy Spirit comes upon me, I lose control of my extremities and I fall to the floor. I start off laughing and groaning, but then slowly, as the Spirit grows more heavy on my heart, the groans become more throaty and husky in nature, and soon I find myself howling and barking.” ? It’s all just a matter of degrees, from one manifestation to another, and how do we know when one degree is too many?  I’ve heard sounds emit from people slain in the Spirit that sounded like the guttural cry of a raccoon in heat, but that didn’t stop people from saying “Praise you Jesus” as they covered them with a prayer sheet. We’ve already established that the person who accepts all the other manifestations cannot point to the Bible and point out there is no precedent for barking, as that would betray the apologetic for the former. They can’t fairly look at it and say it’s excessive and worldly, as there is no objective standard to compare it to, and because of its purely subjective nature, there cannot ever be one.

According to their playbook, as long as it doesn’t violate the scriptures and as long as people all around are making similar sounds and groans, and the Spirit is seemingly manipulating their bodies in various other similar contortions and configurations…then what right does Michael Brown have to quench and blaspheme the work of the Holy Spirit by denying the work It is doing and the right to manifest itself in the barking of a dog? What basis does he have? What right does he have to insult and castigate the dog barkers and bring reproach to their manifestations? There is none. A continuationist calling “dog barking in the Spirit” foolish, erroneous, and excessive is quenching the Spirit by all the standards and measures they’ve instituted for their other charismatic practices, and such close-minded rejection of the mysteries of God needs to be rebuked and corrected.

 

The abuse of words and language from the pro-gay camp

This was too good and true not to post. Written by James White. From HERE

Mr. Church: That is the Sound of the Barbarians at the Gates

Yesterday I was directed to a Tweet picture that spoke volumes.

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Pictures can say more than a thousand words, to be sure. And this picture speaks volumes. But I would like to respond to Mr. Church’s interpretation, which I would call the “interpretation of inevitability.”

First, the issue of the abuse of language, the constant ploy of those seeking to degrade the moral and ethical foundation of a culture. The term “homophobe” is one of the most absurd, vacuous, mind-numbing terms ever introduced into the English language. It has no meaningful function, since its actual meaning, and its usage, are rarely concurrent. I do not know any homophobes, personally, since that term would refer to someone who has an irrational fear of their own kind. But that is not how Mr. Church is using it. It is a convenient, if untruthful, term used to slander those who believe homosexuality, as an act and as a lifestyle, is immoral and destructive to human flourishing. Hence it is a convenient way of demonizing an entire position without even offering a meaningful moral or ethical argument. The regularity of its use is witness to the bankruptcy of the position espoused by Mr. Church.

Next, when I look at this picture, many issues crowd my mind. Some I will not enter into here (military readiness, the on-going degradation of the strength of the US and the results that will have in destabilizing the political structures around the world). The main issue though is this: if this is supposed to be a “marriage,” who is the husband, and who is the wife? I am not talking about dominant/submissive roles. I am talking about husbands and wives. See, words have meanings. Marriage has meaning. To marry, as a verb, has meaning, and hence, that meaning is filled out by the direct object of the verb. I, a man, married a woman. Hence, I am a husband, with all the meaning that term carries, to a specific woman, who is my wife, with all the meaning that term likewise carries. All the public education and eradication of human nature in the world cannot remove from those who are created in the image of God a basic, instinctive understanding that “husband” is a gendered term, “wife” is a gendered term, “father” is a gendered term, and “mother” is the most gendered term known to humanity. Hence, “marriage” has a meaning that this picture can never represent, since there is no husband, and there is no wife, in it. Without a husband, you have no marriage. Without a wife, you have no marriage. You can have relationships of all kinds, but what you do not have is a marriage. All the glazed eyes of judges or the wild eyes of zealots can not change this basic reality. This is why we instinctively show pity and compassion to the child who has lost a father or a mother: we recognize the need for both. This is why we likewise look down upon the abusive parent of either gender, and we do so properly. Shame is a proper and good thing when it is used to curb the evil of men and women. But all of these considerations are irrelevant to the picture above, for there is no father, there is no mother, no husband, no wife, no marriage. Just two men kissing, one in uniform. Their strong feelings for each other can never surmount the insurmountable: they cannot be married anymore than they can bear children, fly, leap over tall buildings, or live under water. They were made one way, and their rejection of their God-ordained roles does not redefine marriage.

So the sound I hear when I see this picture has nothing to do with abusing the English language through absurd non-terms like “homophobe.” It has nothing to do with advancement in the 21st century. It has everything to do with the sound the citizens of Rome heard in the early 5th century as those they called “barbarians” swept into the Eternal City. Rome had been crumbling from the inside for centuries—much more slowly, I note, than Western Society today, where such processes take place in the span of a few generations rather than centuries (mainly due to our advanced communications technology). Civilizations that fundamentally reject God’s creative purpose collapse, in time. How else could it be? One will either have a culture of life, or a culture of death, and homosexuality, no matter what else is said about it, does not foster life. It is fundamentally self-centered and narcissistic at its core. The profaning of marriage seen in the above graphic has one inevitable result: it cannot produce life. That which does not produce life tends toward death. That is the bent of this society, just as it became the bent of the later centuries of the Roman Empire. And thus we prove yet once again that those who forget the lessons of the past are doomed to repeat them.

 

The one apologetic argument against Christ that cannot be defended by certain believers

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I was in talks with an atheist today who leads up one of the most vehement Anti-Christian organizations. We had some contact in the past previously, and whereas usually I could ward off his attacks about how Jesus’ story borrowed from Mithra or how Jesus’ father was actually roman centurion and other such nonsense, this time he unloaded upon me a novel, devastating apologetic critique against Christ and his nature. To be honest it caught me off guard, so much so that my throat seized in my chest and all I could think of was “That’s it. They got us.” They presented some facts to me about Jesus that are essentially irrefutable. The minute he proposed them to me I became keenly aware that this would forever change the face of Christian apologetics, and maybe Christianity as a whole.

I’m sorry everybody.  I wish there was a way to refute these claims about Jesus, but there just isn’t. This is the most successful assault on the integrity of Christ and his character, and even the history of the Word of God that we have ever faced, and we have been breached. What they tell me about the life of Jesus… it’s too compelling and irrefutable. It’s unassailable, indisputable and incontestable. In light of these new revelations my worldview has collapsed. My paradigms have all shifted. My mind has been blown with the staggering, relentless truths of these claims.

This is what the atheist told me about Jesus. Its not verbatim, but it is a very close approximation.

Jesus was born in Bethlehem, and then move to Greece when he was three.  He didn’t know anything about Hebrew culture at all until Joseph immigrated with his wives to Nazareth in A.D. 14. This is because He spent fourteen years living in majority Greek nations until he arrived in Israel when he was in his early teens. And know what? He hated the people there, and he thought they hated him. At the synagogue, which on his first day he attended wearing his full embroidered Greek tunic, he had difficulty fitting in. Furthermore, Jesus only spoke broken Aramaic which he had learned from watching traders and merchants in the streets of Delphi, which didn’t help matters. Thankfully though, after several years, and through the efforts of a friend named Judas Iscariot, Jesus adapted to the culture and eventually was converted to Judaism, and his desire to commit a Hellenized jihad came to an end.

You can imagine how this devastated me. Nothing in my behavior over the last few years would have equipped me refute this sort of attack on the character of Jesus, especially in light of my defense of Ergun caner. Their formulation of it is genius- diabolically so. Because I was so shook up, I even deigned to contact my frenemy James White to ask him about this, in one last ditch effort to grab unto a glimmer of hope. James told me was more than willing to help. He pulled out the scriptures and showed me in the Gospels where the writers gives explicit and clear textual evidence that this is not the case. He read me scriptures and pointed out how these claims are impossible, and how we have clear evidence that leads us to be confident in the true and unedited story of Jesus found in the Bible. He told me that the atheist’s story was just made up, and that we could easily prove he was lying if we just looked at the facts with an open mind.

But that doesn’t matter. Regardless of all the “evidence” against this that James and other people like him are more than willing to provide me, I can’t believe it. I must trust this atheist and take him at his word. I believe that the new account of Jesus’ life and his history growing up in Greece, and the ramifications it has on the gospels and the story of Jesus cannot be rebutted  merely by appealing to “vast quantities of easily verifiable data and documentation” that would state otherwise. No way. Thankfully, many Christians and other “top-men” have agreed and jumped ship in solidarity with me, supposing as I do that this is too irrefutable, too clever, and too believable to not be true.This is the new normal for us, and the quicker we accept it, the better.

Sincerely, your friend

Peter Lumpkins

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Please note that Peter Lumpkins didn’t actually write this. This is a work of satire