This post is not going to make me any friends. But, then again, I start a lot of blogs with that statement these days and somehow you all are still here, so maybe it will. I’ve been researching the Charismatic movement recently for my own personal edification, and some of what I have discovered has disturbed me. I want to emphasize that what I will say in this post does not apply to every person associated with the Charismatic movement. Rather, these comments relate to the aspects of the movement which pervert Scripture to the point of being demonstrably demonic. These folks seem to be clustered largely in the “health and wealth gospel” variants of Charismatic theology so what I say should be considered as applicable to that brand of Charismatic thinking only.
What I’ve discovered in the health and wealth Charismatic movement, is a movement that rejects the true Gospel and attempts to substitute eastern mysticism and occultism in its place. I know that’s a bold claim, but it is not one I make lightly. The individuals, who I will not name because there is no point making said charlatans more well known than they are, behind this movement call themselves Christian. However, as they preach a false gospel, which is drawing people away from the truth, I feel no compunction at soundly rebuking them for their heresy.
Let me set the stage for you. Imagine a massive mega-“church” where people in the church jump up in the church service and start screaming incoherent sounds. Or fall from their chairs and convulse on the floor uncontrollably. Or break out in uncontrolled maniacal laughter or hysterical sobbing. In the midst of all this ” moving of the Spirit”, the “pastor” at the front is shouting about how if you have enough faith, God will heal you, make you wealthy, and grant you His spirit. In the town around, the townsfolk report constantly being bothered by “faith healers” who approach them in public and ask to heal them, to the point of harassment. In private homes, initiates to the religion are told that they can be shown “their angels” if they have enough faith. This is how things work in the “health and wealth” charismatic movement with minor variations depending on the particular “church” or group. (Feel free to look this up on YouTube, videos are readily available.)
Let’s break this down. What does the incoherent screaming, uncontrollable convulsing, maniacal laughter, and hysterical sobbing sound like to people? To me, it sounds an awful lot like demonic influence and possession. Think about it. In the Bible, how does the Bible describe demonic possession? Almost every time a person is delivered from demonic possession, the demons are said to cry out with a loud voice. That would certainly account for the incoherent screaming. Mark 9 gives us an example of what demonic possession looks like.
“Mr 9:17 And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not. He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me. And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead. But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.” Mark 9:17-27.
Let’s break that down. This young man which was possessed gnashes his teeth and falls on the ground foaming. Sound familiar? When Jesus cast out the spirit, notice it cried, or screamed, and “rent him sore” meaning he convulsed so badly that it appeared he was being ripped apart. People watching thought it was so bad he was going to die. Now obviously he didn’t die, but his case is very indicative of how possession works.
Now apply that to the “health and wealth” Charismatic movement. Looks very familiar doesn’t it? And before any one says “But these people are Christians” recall what 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” It should not surprise us when the devil counterfeits the church or makes his ministers appear Christian. Nor should it surprise us when demonic workers are able to counterfeit works which would normally be associated with Christianity. Recall that Pharaoh’s magicians were able to duplicate several of the plagues that God inflicted on Egypt. The power to do this certainly did not come from God.
I think I’ve made my case pretty clear. The actions of the “health and wealth” Charismatic movement do not align with anything Biblical. In fact, it is the exact opposite. These behaviors are much more closely aligned with eastern mysticism and New Age mysticism, and, ultimately, demonic activity. It pains me to say that, but it pains me, even more, to say that these people are being accepted as Christians despite all evidence to the contrary. Many Christians are using music produced by Bethel, which is one of the more prominent of these “health and wealth” groups. Perhaps it is time for Christians to have more discernment in choosing who we call “brother” and whose music we use in our church services. In this instance, some churches just might be playing demonic influenced music for their worship. Chew on that one for a moment. Christianity was called to be different, called to be separate. It’s time to follow through on that command.