Category Archives: Spirituality

Quakerism as a Charismatic Tradition

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

The Demonic Factor in Mass Shootings: Exorcism as Gun Control

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

Why Activists Need God to Make Their Case

by Micael Grenholm

I’ve been a peace and justice activist now for eight years; campaigning, advocating and debating for things like disarmament, pacifism, economic equality, poverty reduction, sustainability, environmental protection, gender equality, open borders and religious freedom. My motives are Christian: I believe this is what Jesus wants me to do and that it makes the earth represent God’s goodness and love better. Still, I’ve stood side by side with atheists, agnostics, Muslims, New Agers, Buddhists and others in a common fight for a better world for all.

I’ve found that activism for peace and justice can serve the role of a common denominator and a platform for cooperation between different worldviews and beliefs. That’s why it plays such a prevalent role in different ecumenical and interreligious councils – we might not agree on who God is, but we all agree that no child should starve to death. It’s why many people who aren’t Christians will still agree with Christians on one thing concerning Jesus: that he was a good moral teacher.

Hence, morality can be viewed as one of the least exclusive claim of any religion. In fact, it can be viewed as one of the least religious! I’ve had several friends who, when they doubt their Christian faith, becomes activists for a while and emphasises Jesus’ ethical teaching, before leaving the faith altogether and becoming atheists or agnostics. Continue reading Why Activists Need God to Make Their Case

Is Trump Really the Great Man of God Charismatics Prophesy About?

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?

“My Witnesses”

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.

The Social Dimension of the Power of God

Ebony Adedayo about what the Pentecostalism she grew up in was lacking.

“What will people think

When they hear that I’m a Jesus freak

What will people do when they find that it’s true

I don’t really care if they label me a Jesus freak

There ain’t no disguising the truth.” – Jesus Freak, DC Talk

If there is anything Christian song that characterized my experience as a young person, it would have to be DC Talk’s Jesus Freak. Released in 1995, it defined what it meant to live a life completely sold out to God. Living a life on fire, as we so affectionately called it, was a big deal for youth like me who grew up in a Pentecostal context such as the Assemblies of God. In the era of the Brownsville Revival and the Toronto Blessing, being consumed with anything else simply wasn’t an option if you were truly a Christian. Continue reading The Social Dimension of the Power of God

A Mennonite Who Speaks in Tongues

By Deborah-Ruth Ferber.

While I am not from a Charismatic background, over the past 3-4 years I have become increasingly more charismatic in my beliefs and Christian practices. When I was a student at Tyndale was affectionately called a “Pennonite” (a mixture of Pentecostal and Mennonite). There are still a variety of charismatic gifts that I simply do not know enough about at this time to offer any real insight via blog. Therefore, at this present time topics of prophesy and being slain in the Spirit are a bit out of my reach, though I recently read a very interesting book by Dr. James Beverly (a professor at Tyndale) “Holy Laughter and the Toronto Blessing” that deals with a few of the more “wild” types of charismatic movements.

One topic that I would like to address, though, is that of speaking in tongues – a gift that I seldom see practiced in Mennonite churches but which I feel could have value for us.  This blog will be written from the perspective of someone who does not have much charismatic theological training and with the (perhaps incorrect) assumption that readers of this blog may not be very familiar with this gift and perhaps may never even have experienced it in their faith lives. Continue reading A Mennonite Who Speaks in Tongues

A Call to Stand and Prophesy

by Ramone Romero

“My people who can hear My heart,
I am calling you to prophesy:
I am calling you to speak My words,
to cry aloud My truth,
to rebuke and call to repentance
those who call Me ‘Lord, Lord’
but have forsaken My commands of love.

I am calling you to testify;
I am calling you to witness to who I am,
for many who call Me ‘Lord’
do not know My ways or My heart.
I am calling you to proclaim
My teachings and My mercy,
and that judgment is coming: Continue reading A Call to Stand and Prophesy

Electing a King or Embracing Jesus as King

Bob Ekblad gives a Biblical perspective on today’s longing for authoritarian leadership.

Today in America, Western Europe and beyond people are expressing their desire for stronger, more authoritarian leadership in a climate of increasing fear and insecurity. Many are calling for leaders who will put up walls, enforce laws with greater vigor and take stands for citizens against the rising tides of refugees, immigrants and terrorists. Jobs, borders, and benefits for us—not them. Continue reading Electing a King or Embracing Jesus as King

Suffering and Revival in the Congo – the Story of Helen Roseveare

Recently, missionary Helen Roseveare went home to the Lord. She was an example of a committed Christian who went through a lot of pain while also experiencing many miracles. This paradoxical relationship between suffering and glory may be hard to understand, but for Helen it was simply reality. Continue reading Suffering and Revival in the Congo – the Story of Helen Roseveare