by Hye Sung Francis Gehring.
What is the Charismatic Movement?
Many people make sweeping statements about the Charismatic Movement without much comprehension of the diversity among Charismatics, as evidenced by the multitude of books cautioning believers of this broad movement. In 2013, neo-reformed Baptist preacher and author John MacArthur held a conference that attracted thousands of participants that was dedicated to villifying the excesses of Pentecostals and Charismatics. This conference, “Strange Fire”, assumed Charismatics to be at least gravely deceived, if not hell-boundand blasphemers.
Thankfully, this sort of rhetoric is not as commonplace as it once was in the Church and is progressively losing its steam, as about 26% of the global Church is considered charismatic, and as different charismatic practices have been normalized and adopted by non-charismatic traditions (such as “listening prayer”, “prayer teams”, raising arms in worship, and even speaking in tongues, or the more sanitized “prayer languages”.) That said, people still have strange assumptions about what charismatic spirituality is, and many often are shocked when I claim that Quakerism is actually a thoroughly charismatic tradition.
The Charismatic Movement was initially a renewal movement across the Church rather than a distinct denominational tradition. In many ways it was influenced and informed by its predecessor, the Pentecostal Movement, but was distinct from Pentecostalism because its malleability and its desire to not start a new religious group but instead renew the participants’ respective churches in the power of the Holy Spirit. Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, Catholics, and virtually every Church tradition was impacted by this movement. Continue reading Quakerism as a Charismatic Tradition
by William De Arteaga.
The gun control debate
Gun control is regularly debated in the United States, not the least when horrible mass shootings occur in schools, cinemas, and other places. What is lacking in the dispute is a consideration of the spiritual dimensions of gun control. The silence from the pulpit on this issue is especially notable. Perhaps it is because the clergy dislike weighing in on issues that are not specifically defined in scripture and because American Christians often have very different and passionate opinions on this issue.
In this blog let me offer some thoughts on one dimension of the debate that has received little clergy attention: the demonization (obsession or possession) of many of the mass shooters.
Right at the start let me say that talking about the demonic realm for the Christian is both necessary (if one is true to the Gospel) but difficult due to its multifaceted complications. As Christians, we are in a state of constant spiritual warfare against the demonic realm. But as in most wars, there is a “fog of battle” in which our intelligence of and knowledge of the enemy is limited. Some Christian writers claim more than we can know about the demonic, as in the exact order of hierarchy and functions of the “thrones, principalities, powers, etc.” Especially difficult is the demarcation between psychological issues, chemical imbalances, etc., and demonic activity in and through a person. Continue reading The Demonic Factor in Mass Shootings: Exorcism as Gun Control
by Sarah Stenmark.
I have discovered that few things are so controversial among Christians and met with such incomprehension (and ignorance) as veganism. “Do you eat only salad?” is a question I often get, or “you don’t eat wheat flour, right?” Not to mention all the extremely hilarious meat jokes (sarcasm intended). But I have discovered that most times people have preconceptions about what it means to be vegan and the reasons behind it.
When I tell people that I’m vegan, most assume that it is due to the animal ethics. And to be honest, it was probably how it started. Twelve years ago, I became a vegetarian because I loved animals, and felt like a hypocrite towards them when I ate meat. But over time I began to think about whether this really was a sufficient reason. As a Christian, I believed that humans have been appointed to manage creation and that we have a higher value than animals. If an animal’s death would be the prerequisite for human life, it would be a morally acceptable thing to do (as it turns out this is not the case today, as I will explain below).
The Bible doesn’t condemn meat eating or consumption, it doesn’t forbid us to kill animals. Jesus ate fish. Paul ate meat. I know. But this is not directly applicable to today’s society; partly because of the meat industry’s impact on climate change, but also because of hunger. Continue reading It Should be Natural for Christians to be Vegan
by Mark Gent
Human trafficking is the modern form of slavery. With illegal smuggling and trading of people, for forced labour or sexual exploitation.
Trafficking is officially defined as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons by means of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception or abuse of power of a position of vulnerability for the purpose of exploitation.
I don’t know what runs through your hearts or minds when you read or hear of women being sold as “Sex Slaves” or being lured into a trap of deceit for the purpose of drugs, being mastered and controlled by pimps who exploit them as personal puppets. Crack, cocaine or heroine are usually the pimps bait. Sometimes it’s for money for those who are homeless where there is no form of shelter provided… so women will sell their bodies that they may be sheltered, eat, and clothe themselves. A lot of women don’t survive this filthy Game! Some are kidnapped, raped and killed. We hear of children being sold also. Continue reading The Horrors of Human Trafficking
by Micah Bales, originally posted on his blog.
When I became a Christian, following Jesus seemed like the most revolutionary thing I could do. The teachings of Jesus are radical. The way the early church lived out the gospel inspires me to go deeper, give more of myself, and nurture a grander vision for what human community could be like.
The more I read the New Testament, I more I find myself pushed towards a lifestyle that challenges our present society to its foundations. In contrast to the radical individualism of consumer capitalism or the enforced conformity of most religious communities, the way of Jesus demands both radical openness and profound submission to the guidance of the Spirit.
This revolutionary new reality plays out in love for enemies. We find it when we choose relationship and trust rather than money and self-interest. It comes alive in the healing power of forgiveness and the daily practice of justice. Continue reading So you Want a Revolution?
by Alexander Venter
I have come across people who prophesy that Trump is a modern-day Nehemiah, a godly leader over God’s covenant people. This is biblically problematic. Trump is a leader with seriously flawed moral character and is not godly in any form or fashion (certainly not a follower of Jesus) according to the fruit of his life and business practices… he is clearly a “post-truth” person and leader (fruit does not lie, as John Piper shows in his blog).
America is not a Christian nation – like all nations today the US is a deep mix of all sorts of faiths, idol-worship, corrupted values, etc… although it has a strong Christian heritage. Only President Jesus will establish a (truly biblical) ‘Christian’ nation when he returns to rule the earth… until then we live in a deeply compromised world of right and wrong, good and evil, living and operating side-by-side in spiritual warfare (including social, economic, political, ecological battle). Continue reading Is Trump Really the Great Man of God Charismatics Prophesy About?
by Ramone Romero
“Look, My children! I am coming!
My love is being abandoned and
My name is being used as a weapon.
“Those who see the truth hear the groaning of My Spirit,
and they are being prepared to speak as My witnesses
to those who call themselves My ‘house’ and My ‘people’.
“I am sending My witnesses to the churches,
for judgment begins at the house of God
before judgment comes to the world.
I am sending My witnesses to speak My discipline
so that those who profess My name
will not be condemned with the world.
“The time is near!
I am coming soon!”
Art: “Apostolic Succession”
Ramone Romero grew up near Washington, D.C. and currently lives in Osaka, Japan. He prophesies in painting, words, and poetry on Facebook and at the Weeping Jeremiahs blog.