Charismatic Cleanup on Aisle 6!

supermarket.jpg For numerologically-interpretive charismatics, “6” is the number of man. I just thought you’d want to know that. So evidently it’s time for a cleanup of the charismatic movement where it has been fueled by the ideas of men rather than the will of God and acts of the Holy Spirit. You know what I’m talking about.

Dan Edelen is starting a series ([1] [[2]) on “Cleansing the Charismatic Crackup,” and I thought I’d interact a little. Part of his posts includes a list of problems and solutions, and this is the part I will take a look at — you’ll still need to read his posts to get the full thrust of his argument. Here’s what he’s got so far:

Problem: In our rush to regain a proper pneumatology, today’s charismatics abandoned a proper Christology.
Solution: We need to get the focus back on Jesus.

Cutting the Crap: A Call for Charismatic Reform

cut-the-crap.jpg Well, what do I say now? Evidently I’ve not yet said “all I have to say about that,” even though I did say that I had. I should have known. Of course, there’s more to the story, as it slowly seeps out, releasing its acrid odour into the air as to waft along on the breeze to assault the senses of a sleepy town like on those days that the prevailing winds are from the general direction of the hog processing plant.

The wind from the blogosphere in the last few days is all about Todd Bentley and the Lakeland …uh, whatever. And amid the fray are a few that are casting a glance at a much broader scope. Are Christians gullible? Lee Grady says so, and
Ed Stetzer backs up the question. I think this may be one of those, “I’m sorry, but if you have to ask…” questions. I almost inadvertently said something about this gullibility last week when I commented on what is one of Ed’s examples in his post.

Call it Apostolic Fallout

bentley-in-crowd.jpg Well, I’ve already written a little about this whole Lakeland Revival mess. But it just wouldn’t go away. Todd Bentley announced he’d be leaving Lakeland later this August, then the date got moved up a couple of times by my count, and still it just won’t go away. Now today there’s more news. I don’t think this is going to go away any time soon. *sigh.* The news isn’t good this time either, as Bentley has filed for separation from his wife Shonnah due to “significant friction in their relationship.

The board of directors at Bentley’s Fresh Fire Ministries released a statement Tuesday afternoon that praised the “outpouring” in Lakeland led by Bentley, but also acknowledged “an atmosphere of fatigue and stress” that more than 100 daily meetings had created, which “exacerbated existing issues in [Bentley’s marriage].”

I Get By With A Little Help…

prescriptionmeds.jpg It’s been a while since I did a personal update, but it’s time. One of the reasons for this is that I’m on record as advocating speaking up in the midst of one’s struggle rather than waiting until you’ve conquered it. This is a requirement of true transparency, but for reasons that will become apparent, I had decided to wait a while before posting this update. I confess it is more transparent than what I am really comfortable with, but my wife (who proofread a draft of this post in particular for me) says this comes across not as bad as it was, but perhaps it’s just the level of comfort I’ve got at the moment. I do feel that I have gained some good friends online in this forum and some explanation is perhaps due. Well, if not due, then it is appropriate as a means of showing how valuable many of you are in my own journey. This update will explain why over the past few months I have not written much of any real significant insight here. I’ve kept blogging daily, but my Technorati rank has gone into something of a freefall. It isn’t so much writers’ block or that I’ve just lost my edge as that I just haven’t had the energy. If you have sent me an email or left a comment that has gone unanswered, or wondered why I haven’t commented on your blog, it isn’t that I’m mad at you or ignoring you. You see, it’s like this….

SynchroBlog: But is it Revival?

lakeland-comiccover.jpg Yesterday it seems we had something of an impromptu synchroblog going as we offered responses to the  antics  ministries of John Crowder and Todd Bentley, with the labels of revival that have been tossed around. My thoughts as well as those of Robbymac, Kingdom Grace, and Bill Kinnon were born of an email conversation we had struck up following the thoughts of others, including Andrew Jones (see my earlier post for additional links). I love the graphic that Rob made up, and even Bill’s pic is a good one — he even looks thoughtful. The image on Grace’s post says a lot, and had me thinking about some years back when we were praying for a pastor for the church plant we were undertaking. A friend of mine on the team was famed for saying he’d even follow a donkey, as long as it was God’s donkey. Good line, but as I looked at the circus image, I was struck by the fact that following God’s donkey is alright, but you have to exercise discernment to make sure you don’t end up following the wrong ass. Just a general observation of course, not a characterization of anyone in particular.

Oi-Oi-Oi-Oi-Oi. And Harrrumph.

jcrowdertour.jpg The buzz of the day is around the old hyper-charismatic mess. Steve Knight opines on John Crowder who’s big on “Tokin’ the Ghost.” Yes, sadly, you read that right. I don’t know if it’s Todd Bentley-ish or what. Uh-huh. Here’s a few words to the wise should you get to watching the YouTube videos at the ends of those links. (1) When someone claims to have been through a “dark night of the soul” that ends with “spiritual power”, there’s a 99% likelihood they’ve never read St. John of the Cross. (2) When anyone starts using the phrase “whole new dimension” or “whole new level”, run away. (3) When you’re being told to ignore all that you know and believe only in the transrational “greater reality”, it’s time to exercise some sharp discernment… and use your brain. Seriously, claims of “bi-location” where one person appears in two places at the same time? What’s up with that? Did a simpler explanation never occur to anyone, or is it supposed to be a sign of faith to run to the most outlandish explanation? So I guess they’ve got this “revival” thing going on in Lakeland, FL. My email is abuzz this morning, and I’m thinking of Robbymac’s Post-Charismatic? book (link to Amazon.ca).

Trips to the Mailbox

mcalpine_pccover.gif I was busy working on a whole different post (a CD review) when my wife showed up in my study with her hands behind her back, saying, “I have two pieces of good news, which do you want first? Pick a hand!” I chose my left, her right. A cheque (yes, that’s the correct spelling here in Canada!) for $106, a rebate on our annual auto insurance premium. Nice! See, we have this big road trip coming up, so we’ve got to set aside as much spare cash as we can to cover it, along with the anticipated activities along the way. Yesterday I paid a $1,260 car repair bill, and last week it was four new tires, over $400 installed despite the really good sale price we got. Oh, and then there’s the $200 fine we got for not licensing our dog this year or last. An animal control officer came right to the door and served us a summons… and if you’re talking to my wife, do not get her started on this one! We also have to get the dog his shots and pay for last year’s license plus this year. Bad timing for all these extra expenses, to be sure. Oh, and the house insurance bill is coming up. We met up with the in-laws after picking up the car at the garage yesterday, and over ice cream they presented each of my daughters with an American $100 bill for their trip… their faces lit up pretty brightly! There were two additional $100 bills for my wife and me as well, so that’s a really nice send-off.

Post-Charismatic… Without Question.

mcalpine_pccover.gif I’ve written a fair bit on or relating to post-charismatic themes, dating back to early 2005 and based even then on conversation that reach back before that. I think it was the fall of 2004 that Rob McAlpine and I were comparing notes on each of our experiences, observations, and reflections… the ones that led us independently into what Rob began to call post-charismatic, or post-hype. Rob was at that time beginning a writing project on the subject, exploring the history of the charismatic movement and identifying some of the places where it had gone off the rails. I was very happy to receive each section of his work in my inbox as he completed them, and we began long dialogues via email as we each pushed back a little and shared additional observations or connections that helped further an understanding of some point or other. The conversation around each section could last for weeks as each of us would receive a set of replies, ponder, compose, and within a few hours or several days, send along a response. Despite having already reached the major conclusions myself, I learned a lot through reading Rob’s research and through the discussion that followed. Little by little, his project grew and took shape. By the time I read the third chapter, it seemed pretty apparent to me that somewhere along the line, it would be time to start thinking about a publisher. The series was originally published online and there was some good conversation around it, but as most people may know, it had to be removed pending publication.