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The Charistmatic movement critiqued with regard to its purported "spirituality":


Contrast Charismatic spirituality: Signs, Wonders, Tongues, Healings, Desire for the miraculous, hypnotic repetitive Music, Massive meetings, Prosperity emphasis, seeking your best life now, Speaking blessings, Kingdom Now, Positive confession....


Contrasted with the Biblical Fruit of the Spirit: Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. (Galatians 5)


What is the difference in these 2 lists? The former signs & wonders list is a false view of what spirituality is. It is a desire for the exaltation of the individual and is attractive to human pride. It mistakes certain manifestations for true spirituality. Many people are seduced thereby. But it is false and is a failing shortcut to spirituality. It can become arrogant, puffed up, and proud and is often the fruit of rebellion. In stark contrast, the 2nd list from Galatians 5 and is the outworking of the character of Christ in the believer's life. It is the fruit of the Spirit - interestingly the word "fruit" is in the singular, this is not fruits-plural, it is a manifestation of the life of Christ in the believer. It is often brought about by struggle, failure, discipline, things that the signs & wonders crowd seeks to "speak" away as being negative.


The Corinthian Christians were characterized by a willingness to entertain false teachers, and by a disregard and even disdain for the apostle Paul. In this we find that there is nothing new under the sun in this regard for it is in Corinth we see most clearly the very same issues manifest. The question is, are we seeking a shortcut kind of spirituality that is false and self aggrandizing, or the more difficult yet true path of spirituality which involves suffering, pain, and rejection - things the Savior experienced in this scene which crucified Him?


Lastly, what is often a first step in this direction today? Strangely enough, we suggest that it is in music. The first mention of music in scripture is in Genesis 4:21 after the fall, where Jubal - descendant of Cain, was the father of those playing the harp and flute. Music is a powerful thing that moves the emotions and soothes the heart. Music is generally a good thing - even delightful - but like all things, can be corrupted. Its emotional based appeal is where the danger lies, when the music leaves behind sound doctrine, and becomes the appeal to the senses, rather than to the sound mind of scripture. It is here where an early departure from spirituality can take place...when emotion replaces the spiritual mind of Christ. Other things then follow if care is not taken. One has coined the term "emotional baby food." If we would move onto maturity in Christ, sound teaching and sound doctrine are important. God did make us emotional creatures, and emotion is a good thing, but it cannot be the controlling thing, lest we fall into these type errors, and be led away from true spirituality.


Note: Signs and wonders are defined for us in scripture as to their purpose in Hebrews 2:3-4 where this great salvation "... at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, ... was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and distributions of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will..." The sign gifts accompanied the initial establishment of the Christian testimony and were apostolic in nature. God established the testimony of Christianity with miraculous things. The testimony has been established and the apostles have passed away from the scene. 


Again, we speak of sign GIFTS, not of the God who can and does choose to act miraculously according to His sovereign purposes, places, time, and will. 


What is the attraction of this movement and its apparent spirituality?

  • Power & pride
  • Outward apparent success
  • A seeming way to validate ones faith
  • The biggest seems best
  • An avenue for an apparent deeper walk

What are its meeting methods?

  • A type of hypnosis and psychology, by using repetitive music with non doctrinal themes (Holy Spirit centric & mystical) plays a heavy role. Doctrinal songs which would tend to engage the mind, are completely avoided.
  • An atmosphere that opens people up to suggestions, many who attend are very open to, and have a high expectation for, "something from God" to happen.

“The charismatic movement is not faith. It is doubt looking for proof.” - John MacArthur