August 30, 2014

What I Appreciate about the Charismatic Movements

I don’t want to leave our discussion of charismatic theology and practice without offering some words of appreciation for what I have gained and ways I think the church has benefited from its influence.

Again, keep in mind that my experience is primarily with the “second wave” of charismatic renewal that blossomed in the 1960′s and 70′s, primarily in Roman Catholic, mainline, and evangelical churches.

1. Charismatic Christians have been a sign of eschatological faith in the church.

I have criticized revivalistic evangelicalism in general and charismatic faith in particular as being too other-worldly. However, there is a sense in which the church is always in need of individuals and groups that challenge the church not to settle down in the spirit of this age but to radically embrace and testify to the newness of the age to come. The charismatic renewal that swelled in the 60′s and 70′s shook up the churches — and to be honest, many of them needed shaking up. The Spirit’s ministry and manifestations always function as they did on the Day of Pentecost — they force us all to say, “What is happening here?” and give opportunity for gifted proclaimers to stand up and say, “These are signs of the Messianic Age we’ve been waiting for!” This has been a regular occurence throughout church history, and many of the saints, reformers, revivalists, and missionaries we honor today challenged the church of their day with outside the box thinking and practice that implicitly or explicitly criticized the status quo and called people to wake up, for a new day was coming. Such renewed visions of Jesus and new creation have always been accompanied by a lot of silliness, overblown enthusiasm, and wild fire. What the wind and fire do is not always tame and pretty. But it bespeaks a power of exciting new possibilities.

2. Charismatic Christians have been a force for worship renewal.

Before the new music and freedom in worship that the charismatics brought got captured and domesticated by the CCM industry and Christian media empires, it was a fresh testimony to the newness Jesus brings. I’m sure many of the older and more traditional folks were suspicious and anxious but, at least in my experience, we weren’t at the “worship wars” point yet, because there weren’t the wholesale changes in church architecture, worship leadership (it was still the pastor’s responsibility), and service orders that took place later. Instead, the influence of those who were more open to the Spirit brought a sense of anticipation, joy, personal testimony, and heartfelt sincerity to worship that was a breath of fresh air. In the Catholic churches and in mainline congregations, liturgical renewal was the order of the day. Jesus movement artists like John Michael Talbot, who became a Franciscan monk, began contributing new worship songs and entire services for the benefit of the church. I took one of the first “worship” classes my evangelical seminary ever offered in the early 1980′s. The very fact that fundamentalists and evangelicals were talking in new ways about worship was a breakthrough. It was a sign that this activity, which is at the heart of what the church does, was being recognized as more central. I give a lot of credit to the charismatic renewal for contributing a good share of energy to this renewed emphasis.

3. Charismatic Christians have given testimony to the joy of the Lord.

Long ago, Jonathan Edwards’ Religious Affections recognized the place of renewed emotions as evidence of revival in the Christian’s life. The 60′s are infamous for promoting the spirit of “letting it all hang out.” The buttoned-down “uptight” Eisenhower era was over, music and new media, the arts culture, and marketing were encouraging self-expression at levels never seen before. In that context, churches could sometimes seem as cold and dead as mausoleums. The charismatics thought that was wrong. If anyone should be able to express joy and celebration with freedom and abandon, it should be God’s children. A new creation was dawning! It was time to sing, to play loud music, and dance! It was time to “let the redeemed of the Lord say so!” It was time to take Psalm 150 seriously. Of course, this can lead to many of the problems we introverts and depressives complain about here at Internet Monk. But I still say they have a point. A good one.


4. Charismatic Christians have modeled radical inclusiveness and social concern
.

In the comments to last week’s posts, several mentioned that those who stress openness to the Spirit are often on the forefront of ministry to the poor and disenfranchised. Their congregations tend to be more inclusive racially and ethnically, and socio-economically as well. They attract and minister to many of the people who feel uncomfortable in the cushy environs of the suburban megachurch or traditional congregation. They are working in the inner city neighborhoods. They are loving the street people, the druggies, and the radically dysfunctional. In the suburbs and small towns of the Midwest where I live, it’s churches like the Vineyard and Assemblies of God that are welcoming the poor and serving them and giving them an extended family of faith. Long ago, it was people in the historic Holiness and Pentecostal movements that first allowed women to minister in significant public ways and took the lead in lobbying for the rights of women in society.

Donald E. Miller has written a book called, Global Pentecostalism: The New Face of Christian Social Engagement in which he argues that one of the reasons Pentecostalism is growing so rapidly around the world these days is because they are leading the way in holistic mission in their communities. He calls them “Progressive Pentecostals” and observes that they are living out a theology that differs from the Social Gospel and Liberation Theology. Instead, he says that they are “attempting to build from the ground up an alternative social reality” through treating people as those who bear God’s image, and serving them in love.

* * *

As with any large, diverse movement, there is much to be criticized and a lot to be concerned about with regard to charismatic theology and practice. There is a lot we can learn and appreciate too.

Comments

  1. I also think that one of the positive results of the Charismatic movement has been a new emphasis on the supernatural intervention of God in our present life. It has been exaggerated and in danger of being made into a type of magic, but I think the idea that the supernatural is something that can only happen back then and can no longer happen today is a mistake.

    • This is what I was trying to point to in my first point, Mike, but I think it is important to state it differently than “God still does today what he did back then.” I think the emphasis of the NT is on the fact that the future is breaking into the present, the new creation is invading the current creation.

      Therefore, I prefer to speak of the Spirit’s work as an “eschatological sign.” If we’re not careful, we can fall into the trap of trying to recreate the early church, which has been the mistake of many a movement. Rather than looking back, I think the church should be looking forward and asking how God wants to make his new creation known in our own day.

      • I agree. I’ve lived in Wales for years and one of the tendencies here is to look back to the days of the Welsh Revival (over a 100 years ago now) and pray fervently that it will happen again. Built in the heady aftermath of the Revival, empty chapels now litter the valleys of South Wales whilst Christians long for the Spirit to fill them again. This looking back to a time before we were even born has meant Christians won’t see what God is doing NOW. But why should the Spirit always move in the same way with the same results? Why would we even want the Spirit to conform to a particular formula?

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        If we’re not careful, we can fall into the trap of trying to recreate the early church, which has been the mistake of many a movement.

        i.e. a Christian equivalent of the Wahabi & Salafi movements in Islam. They also attempt to recreate “As it was in the Days of the Prophet”, though most don’t carry it through as far as the Taliban.

        Rather than looking back, I think the church should be looking forward and asking how God wants to make his new creation known in our own day.

        First we have to clear away the major “eschatological obstacle” set up by Darby and recently reinforced by Hal Lindsay, Left Behind, et al. Because if Ye Ende Is Nighye and God’s going to beam us up (any minute now… any minute now… any minute now…), why bother looking forward? Because whether by thermonuclear war, global warming, or Rapture, there is NO Future.

  2. Thanks very much for this. I’m currently engaged in a research project on the charismatic renewal in Southern Africa, and why it rose to prominence in the 1960s and 1970s, and appeared to delcliene after 1980. There’s more information on the project here: Charismatic Renewal | Khanya.and I’d like to hear from anyone who was involved in the charismatic renewal in southern Africa.

    In spite of the very different places and circumstances in which it appeared, the rise and decline seem to have followed similar patterns.

  3. What I appreciate about the Hari Krishnas:

    (1) Indian food restaurants
    (2) Their obvious love for God (even if they think he’s a blue guy with multiple arms)
    (3) The touch of exotica that you get when a bunch of shaven-headed robed people chant and play the tambourine while pulling their idol down the street on a cart
    (4) Inspired George Harrison and that Jimmy Hendrix poster
    (5) Acintyabedhabedha philosophy underappreciated by other darshanas

    Really, we could do this with any religion. Who’s next–Muslems? The Mormons? Scientologists?

    • Lord forbid an objective observation. Why would anyone want that?

    • Gerald, I could even post on things I appreciate about commenters like you!

    • David Cornwell says:

      “we could do this with any religion. Who’s next–Muslems? The Mormons? Scientologists?”

      The difference being that these other “religions” do not claim to be within the pale of Christianity. (Other than Mormons who make a rather twisted claim). Charismatics have made a huge impact on the Church, thus the significance needs to be discussed.

      • The cool thing about the Mormons is that you can have a wife for every day of the week! :-D

        • and having to remember 7 separate birthdays and anniversaries? :(

          • Not to mention having to remember all the birthdays for all the kids such marriages would produce. And then grandkids later on.

      • Okay, then–the Mormons. What makes charismatics, but not Mormons, worth discussing as “one of us”? Is it a matter of their relative influence on other denominations? If the Mormons grow until they have hundreds of millions of followers, will you guys pen sympathetic meditations about whether it is possible that God is plurally married and lives on the planet Kolob?

        • So how pure is your theological pedigree & did a Charismatic step on your puppy or what?

          Pray tell, what here puts these Charisamatics/Pentecostals outside the pale of Biblical Christianity?

          http://ag.org/top/Beliefs/Statement_of_Fundamental_Truths/sft_full.cfm

          • Probably not very pure at all, I grant you.

            I don’t say that the P/C are not Christians, only that they’ve gone off on some insane tangent. In that respect they could be compared to the Moonies, who are also technically Christian (except that they say Rev. Moone is the messiah, and there’s a bunch of stuff about ritualized sex).

  4. dumb ox says:

    I attended a Terry Talbot concert at a Vineyard long ago, where he said John Michael was essentially charismatic. It doesn’t seem apparent from his music, at least when compared to more common examples from the movement. “Be Exalted” contained remixes of several charismatic standards.

    You make a good point that charismatic worship music in its day was quite original. I’m not sure whether the movement is to blame for “Jesus my girlfriend” worship songs, or if what the movement started was perverted by the vast evangelical complex. I have to admit that third-generation worship songs which are meant to create an emotional response are dead to me. I can’t even sing along with them. I think that old, tired wheel has been worn down to the rim. I don’t think pumping more enthusiastic, rockin’ air into it will do much good. I think pentecostalism/charismatism needs to be understood in terms of it origins in the second great awakening. Revivals like Charles Finney’s left behind what was called “scorched earth”, where the enthusiasm faded and couldn’t be rekindled. I think this is at least partly true of the charismatic movement.

    • There was a recent survey done within the Episcopal church regarding replacement of our 1982 hymnal. One of the huge surprises was that the overwhelming number of people didn’t want it changed at all. In fact, the demographic they assumed would want “new” praise music added (the young folk) supported keeping the hymnal intact. The Episcopal church has even published several supplements with updated praise-style music and the survey revealed they’re hardly used. It certainly wasn’t an expected outcome…but there it is. It will be presented at the General Convention next week in Indianapolis where discussions will likely ensue about what to do with the replace-the-hymnal committee :)

      • The new songs that people try to put into hymnals have already been sung for 10 years, and chances are 5 to 10 years from now, with the exception of the modern classics, they will no longer be sung.

        Here is the CCLI to 25 list from 15 years ago.

        Lord I Lift Your Name On High, Give Thanks, I Love You Lord, Majesty, He Has Made Me Glad, As The Deer, We Bring The Sacrifice Of Praise, All Hail King Jesus, He Is Exalted, Awesome God, I Exalt Thee, Glorify Thy Name, Jesus Name Above All Names, More Precious Than Silver, Open Our Eyes Lord, I Will Call Upon The Lord, Emmanuel, How Majestic Is Your Name, Change My Heart Oh God, Lord The Light Of Your Love, Holy Ground, Praise The Name Of Jesus, This Is The Day, Great Is The Lord, Because He Lives

        Almost all were songs I enjoyed singing and leading. How many are still on the list today? One. Lord I Lift Your Name On High. We have sung a couple of the others over the past year at church, but not frequently enough that they would warrant inclusion into a hymnbook.

        Worship songs have improved over the last 15 years, and there are some excellent songs in the CCLI top 25 today, but I doubt that we will be singing many of them 10 years from now.

        • Michael, interesting listing…I’ve sung and led all of those as well…however, (and this might be interesting) more-so when I was a Roman Catholic song leader than now as an Episcopalian.

          So, allow me to pose this question…why are these so fleeting yet “How Firm a Foundation” lasts and lasts?

          • Our hymnbooks represent the best of worship music over the past 400 years of the church. That means that on average 1 song per year has warranted inclusion. There have been many many songs over the past 400 years, that were not considered good enough from inclusion. Case in point. Check your hymnbook to see how many songs are in there by A.B. Simpson, the founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. Unless you attend an Alliance church or have the Alliance hymnal, chances are you will not have any of his songs. Why? Most, while theologically deep, were simply unsingable.

          • “Most, while theologically deep, were simply un-singable.”

            That’s not a valid excuse. In the past, theologians worked in tandem with musicians to overcome that obstacle. Few and far between were the theologians capable of setting their own prose to music competent enough to make it endure. Simpson writes darned good stuff, I’d love to see the church start singing his hymnody, but I’ve honestly never seen any.

            I have, however, had moderately good success at making new setting for more difficult hymns. Link me to some of his stuff, I’d like to try and work with it!

          • Oh Miguel if you could make singable settings to good prose, I want to get some of your stuff…we just sang something yesterday that even a seasoned musician like me has trouble with, but the prose was fabulous.

          • Hey Miguel,

            Instead I will link you to an essay on the topic by Gene Rivard, which discusses the music in some depth and contains many of the lyrics.

            https://online.ambrose.edu/alliancestudies/ahtreadings/ahtr_s3.html

      • The young folks didn’t want any throwaway pop music in a new hymnal? This is good news and a good sign, imo. Consider, though, that probably part of the reason is that those desiring greater musical progressiveness have no use for hymnals: Those who honestly desire to sing top 50 CCM are going to do so with projection screens, and would not be caught dead with printed songbooks in their sanctuary. Hymnal committees make a huge mistake, imo, when they attempt to cater to that crowd, because then the folks that actually appreciate and use hymnals get their quality content gutted. Case in point: The SBC’s latest hymnal, printed in 2008?, contains songs by Lincoln Brewster as recent as 2005, that already nobody sings anymore. I believe a song should prove its longevity by a good 15 years at least before it goes to print in a collection expected to last a good 30 more, otherwise the collection is like a new computer: already obsolete before you bring it home and take it out of the box.

        • David Cornwell says:

          All very valid points, and I like the way you say it.

        • Agreed.

        • That reminds me of something that made me laugh some years back. Remember Larry Norman’s song, Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music where he refers to the hymns and says…

          I don’t like none o’ them funeral marches, I ain’t dead yet.

          I remember laughing out loud when I opened the New Church Hymnal in the mid-90′s and saw a couple of his songs in there. I guess if we wait 20-30 years, even the songs of writers that mock the hymns, become hymns.

      • cermak_rd says:

        I spent some time in the Episcopal Church on my way out of Christianity (not due to the Episcopalians). I hated the music. It all sounded like dirges written in the 17th century. The only upside was that we didn’t spent a lot of time singing!

        • cermak_rd…I agree with you sometimes and I hear them every Sunday…however, I do say that it really depends on who is playing them. We had an organist at one church I attended that actually made up-beat praise music sound dirge-like by playing it at Largo-speed and holding the end of every phrase out forever. I hear the exact same hymns done by a delightful pianist or accomplished organist and they have a completely new life.

          • I second this: The mindset/skill level of the organist makes all the difference in the world. Aside the fact that some hymns OUGHT to sound like dirges (the laments), a good organist can make any hymn sound exciting. Tempo is a major factor.

            But the idea of organ accompaniment is precisely that: The organ exists in a worship service merely to accompany, or be a framework for, congregational singing. A praise band usually tries to excite people or energize them by a snazzy new arrangement, but an organ is meant to hide behind your voice. An organ is more appropriately suited for allowing the actually content and message of the song be the impetus for singing. With a band, one can quite easily get confused as to whether they are performing or leading. The organ, however, literally “breathes” with the congregation, giving ample subconscious cues to participants. When we say that the organ is “boring,” it is more a reflection on how our culture has conditioned us to rely on entertainment value to carry us along in services, rather than on the value/merit of the instrument itself.

        • This kind of musical style (hymns sung by a picked choir and accompanied by organ) is shared by most of the mainlines, some Catholic, evangelical, and Quaker churches, and even a few Orthodox congregations and Jewish synagogues! It was the rock music of its day. But yes, overexposure has made it seem quaint and dreary.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      I’m not sure whether the movement is to blame for “Jesus my girlfriend” worship songs, or if what the movement started was perverted by the vast evangelical complex.

      Or it may have just been a general Entropy, where the Fresh and New becomes Old Hat over time, and generation after generation of imitations follow on the foundation of that older Fresh & New. You see the same in fantasy fiction with “Elves, Dwarves, etc”, copies of copies of copies of copies of Tolkien. And the copy fades with each replication.

    • The triteness of the leading edge of CCM cannot necessarily be pinned on the charismatic movement. Charismatic influenced churches, do tend to be the biggest promoters of this brand, but they are not necessarily the source of its content. Being raised in Calvary Chapel, I still have a bit of a nostalgic soft spot for some of the earlier stuff that was more like scripture set to music than anything else. But something changed after the third wave: The CCM industray was purchased by secular corporations who have no interest in genuine spirituality. Now the bottom line is the rally cry of CCM tycoons, despite the good intentions of their artists. What they can sell is promoted, not what is good for churches. This music is then exhibited by churches operating on a similar philosophy. Whenever I walk into a church and see the music selection driven by the CCM charts (not to be confused with the CCLI charts, which everybody uses!), it is usually a pretty strong indicator that there isn’t much depth to be expected, either in teaching, discipleship, or servant leadership.

    • cermak_rd says:

      When I think of John Michael Talbot I think of his take on “Would You Crucify Him”, “The Pleiades and Orion”, “Nature and Grace” and “The Greatest is Love” all of which sound folky, not hard beat at all!

  5. Charismatic movement shows us that God is constantly helping us, and guiding us throughout difficulties. I think that today`s church need to regain their charisma, and their love of God.

  6. I’m not against you, Chaplain Mike, really I’m not, but sometimes you say things that cause me a bit of concern.

    Example: “Gifted proclaimers [who] stand up and say, “These are signs of the Messianic Age we’ve been waiting for!” — Nobody says that except post-millenialists and adherents of Reform Judaism (or maybe it’s Conservative Judaism). They especially didn’t think “Messianic Age” on the day of Pentecost. Messiah, yes. Holy Spirit, yes. Messianic Age, no.

    Example: “This can lead to many of the problems we introverts and depressives complain about here at Internet Monk” — We introverts and depressives? Really?

    • Don’t get your criticisms at all. Peter’s message on Pentecost was that the Messianic Age was dawning (the “last days” spoken of by Joel).

      As for “introverts and depressives” I was referring to the writers.

    • cermak_rd says:

      I thought it was the Messianic Jews (not all of whom are Christians, some follow other “messiahs”) who were claiming a messianic age. I’ve certainly never heard it from anyone at my Reform Temple (it would require too much enthusiasm).

      • cermak_rd, now that I have had time to think about it, my comment was based on a comment I once heard that Orthodox Jews look for a personal messiah, Conservative Jews look for a messianic age, and Reform Jews don’t look for either.

        • There is a saying that “The messiah will come when he is no longer necessary,” i.e. after humanity cleans up its own mess. Jewish tradition points to verses indicating that the messiah will bring world peace, and says that since world peace doesn’t exist, this means the messiah hasn’t come yet.

  7. Phil M. says:

    One I would add is that Charismatic Christians tend to take the idea of priesthood of all believers more seriously than other traditions. Sometimes this can lead to abuse, but it also can lead to empowerment of the congregation.

    • Episcopal catechism states that the “ministers of the church” are: “The lay people, the bishops, etc….” To me, having the lay people listed first is a call to action – and I agree with your comment that this seems to be a very positive thing. No more spectator sport Christianity…get out of the pew and get involved.

  8. I appreciated your attention given to this whole series Mike.

  9. What I appreciated most about this series is that it really opened my eyes to the fact that a) I relate to the charismatic movement in that I’ve never believed that God just suddenly stopped talking to us 2000-ish years ago and b) I was involved at a very young age a charismatic movement within the Roman Catholic church – it was called something like “tongues of flame” or something like that, but its aim was to enliven the thought that God was active in our church and our lives, not just some historical thing. I now have context and frame of reference for many things in my youth where I had none before.

    One thing I still don’t understand…and I’m hoping that someone on this blog can speak to this…something that’s always puzzled me about my young years. My parents are both gone to the Lord, so I can’t really ask them (and expect an answer :) ). My dad’s family were Roman Catholics for as long back as anyone remembered. Polish origins. My mom was “German Reformed” but converted to Catholicism for my dad before they married. This made her somewhat of a Catholic zealot, fervently believing everything the RC church taught – no cafeteria-style Catholicism for her…nope – hook, line, sinker. (Which a priest told me was pretty normal for converts).

    However, back in the late 60′s/early 70′s, we watched Billy Graham faithfully. Mom’s eyes would always tear up during the altar call and we, as young children, were forced to sit and watch the entire spectacle on TV. In my recollection, Rev. Graham’s sermons were stirring, but hardly Roman Catholic in nature.

    Would anyone who remembers the Billy Graham Crusades please give me some thoughts on this?

    • I’ve watched many Billy Graham Crusades on tv.

      They are stirring. He knows the gospel. He preached it. That ought be enough to stir people.

      Trouble is, at the end (when it was time for you, someone, to make a decision), the whole thing went South. Then the gospel was turned into just another law that we must do. But people eat it up because of that Old Adam/Eve in all of us. We just want ‘to do something’, to have a dog in that fight.

      Billy was a Baptist, though. I wouldn’t expect anything else from Baptists.

      God bless them all.

      • I should have said, “Billy IS a Baptist”

        God bless Billy Graham. Even though his theology is a bit off…I love the guy.

      • So, back to my question, what was an ultra-Catholic family like the one I grew up in doing watching Billy Graham so fervently? I guess I’m just not making the connection.

        • I think maybe because he was recognized as being a man of God.

        • cermak_rd says:

          Well, Billy was known for being tolerant toward Catholics (especially toward the end of his Crusades, so his people would actually direct Catholics who came forward to go to their local RC church (don’t think he did the same toward the Eastern rites, but I could be wrong) for further spiritual direction.

          It’s true that many converts become absolute zealots, but one of the interesting thing if you look at the demos is that nowdays Catholic converts, tend to revert back to whatever they were before over time. Same with Catholics who convert to Protestantism, there are many reverts. Which might have played into BG’s bloom where you’re planted attitude toward Catholics.

          • Phil M. says:

            This is all correct, from what I understand. Graham actually worked pretty closely with Catholics throughout his career. He was actually given an honorary degree by Belmont Abbey. I believe that many Catholics helped in the organization efforts for his crusades in cities.

    • Randy Thompson says:

      Billy Graham called people to make a decision about Christ, and I think “decision” is the key word to understand his preaching. Jesus calls people to follow him. To respond to that call requires–demands–a decision: Will I follow, or not?

      As a rule of thumb, Catholics, like mainline protestants, tend to assume people are Christians. Evangelicals emphasize that Christ’s call demands a decision.

      I think this call to decide is one of the things that’s best about classic evangelicalism. Yes, it can be manipulative (thanks, Charles Finney), but it needn’t be.

      • Thank you everyone for your thoughts, and especially within the light of my Catholic upbringing. Very little of RC life in the 60′s/70′s was “chosen-by-the-believer”, but rather “chosen-for-you” by the authority of the church. I felt like the direction of my faith journey had been abdicated to the authority of the church. I wished that I had been older and more “aware” when we were listening to him. Based on the comments here, I might have benefited from his message.

  10. Looks like Payday Loans agrees with Gerald about this article, Chaplain Mike :-)

  11. Joseph (the original) says:

    since i transitioned right from Catholicism (no charismatic renewal experience) to a Pentecostal one, i am not convinced there was much to appreciate about it…

    and this is my own personal perspective, not a historical critique of the movement & its qualities whether good or bad…

    what i want to key in on is the actual spiritual benefit i experienced as well as those close to me. of my 3 closest friends, i was the one that pursued the spiritual giftings the most. and as i observed my life & theirs, i could not tell you the path i took was any advantage. it was not a short cut to maturity. there was no esoteric knowledge gleaned. no supernatural encounters happened. no supernatural power given/rreleased. the challenges of life were still there. no financial favors bestowed. no mountains moved & planted in the sea. no dead raised (although a group of us prayed over a corpse in a hospital morgue). no spiritual character formed from praying in tongues or group intercession. no fantastical results of countless grand sounding prophetic words spoken over me…

    {sigh}

    music? i did appreciate the Vineyard Music efforts. as other worship musicians made their appearance i was on the outs with worship music. boxed up all the CD’s & relegated them to the garage. had my fill. most of the songs at my Presbyterian church are geared toward youth as i attend the contemporary service. but some i don’t sing along with as they are the sappy saccharine sweet lyrics that make me wince. i do raise my hands occasionally when i am off to the side of the theater we meet in & there is no one else around. i am not comfortable doing ‘showy’ things just because i can/have. i also don’t feel comfortable praying out loud publically for the same reason: i don’t like the attention element that was so much of my previous charismatic journey…

    seems after leaving all that stuff behind i don’t miss it. don’t need it. and definitely don’t encourage it either. but as i said at the beginning of my comment, this is my personal experience. other results may vary… ;)

    • Langley Vineyard was responsible for what I call the best worship album of all time, “Changed by Your Glory”.

      http://store.ionworship.org/index.php?fuseaction=item_cat.ecom_superitem_detail&item_cat_id=1233&rv=p1blvgivj9q7epfnra6oeakfj5

      Written by Brian Doerksen, Andy Park, and Daphne Rademaker it contained more songs that made it into the worship life of the church than any other. Recognize any of these?

      1. Awesome God Brian Doerksen
      2. Good To Me Brian Doerksen
      3. I Lift My Eyes Up (Psalm 121) Brian Doerksen
      4. Faithful One Brian Doerksen
      5. Psalm 63 Daphne Rademaker
      6. Father I Want You To Hold Me Brian Doerksen
      7. Refiner’s Fire Brian Doerksen
      8. We Come To Humble Ourselves Brian Doerksen
      9. Changed By Your Glory Andy Park
      10. I Saw Heaven Andy Park
      11. You Are Mighty Andy Park
      12. As I Abide In You Andy Park
      13. Isaiah 6 (Holy, Holy, Holy is) Andy Park
      14. Unto The King Andy Park
      15. All Heaven Declares Daphne Rademaker

      • Joseph (the original) says:

        beginning in the late 90′s i think i purchased almost all of the Vineyard Music series (Father’s Heart, Winds of Worship) they came out with up until Hungry, the last one i purchased in early 2001…

        i had purchased other artists on the Vineyard Music website. David Ruis’ CD Sweet Mercies the one i enjoyed the most. and other recommendations not associated directly with the Vineyard were some i also purchased…

        both cassette tapes & CD’s…

        i really enjoyed the Christmas compilations. some of the worship leaders that had a few songs on the Vineyard series offerings i knew: Danny Daniels & Michael Flowers.

        there is a pang of nostalgia when i hear these songs being played on the radio (channel surfing) or included in a worship set at churches i visit. amazing how they bring back memories of a simpler time in my faith journey…

      • The large portion of songs on that list are practically just scripture set to song. That is the best of charismatic music, imo. I’m surprised that kind of music hasn’t caught on more with more reformed folks who like to emphasize scripture in their singing (thought the lastest Psalter from CRC is includes a good selection of it).

        What I find ironic is this: Those “scripture songs” also just so happen to tend to contain the best melodic writing of contemporary music. They are inherently singable, enjoyable, and minimally syncopated. When lyrical content begins to drift from scripture, it seems shorter cliche phrases are more often recycled and strung together with high syncopation in order to sound more original/compelling. Could it be that quality of lyrical content influences the quality of musical setting? Or perhaps there is something inherently lyrical about the poetic passages of scripture. It’s almost as if they were meant to be sung…

    • Sounds as though you were a victim of the “Prosperity Gospel”. My daughter described it to me during one of her classes where she was learning about dodgy theology. I have discovered through her and this wonderful blog (thank you CM!!!!) that I’ve lived a fairly Christian-sheltered life and have not encountered much of these other kinds of theologies. I had never heard of Christians who preached that if you did everything right and walked in God’s path, that you would become rich and prosperous. Thank you CM for this incredible series – giving me a window into a world that I only experienced when it hits national news (like when Pat Robertson proclaimed the Haitian earthquake God’s revenge on those voodoo worshipers) or when I encountered the occasional P/C in the world outside of my church.

      • Joseph (the original) says:

        not so much the prosperity gospel, although i do remember in one of our prophetic services the pastor ‘felt’ God was present in power to bestow financial blessings to those with the faith to receive…

        so, he had anyone that felt God was telling them He wanted them to be millionaires, stand up & receive the anointing…

        but only those that truly, really, honestly, supernaturally ‘knew’ God intended them to be millionaires. you know…for the kingdom of course…

        nope. you cannot make this stuff up…

        {sheesh}

        what a bunch of religious hooey…

        Lord have mercy… :(

  12. Thanks for this series and especially this post. Although I no longer identify myself as a Pentecostal/ Charismatic, being in those circles greatly enriched my life and walk with Jesus. These posts reminded me of all the good (and some of the bad) of those years.

  13. Chaplin Mike, here is a video of our Pastor Ron Moore preaching this past Sunday on Grace. He volunteers that when pushed, he will accept the label “Charismatic” because divined charism, grace, is what it comes down to. He doesn’t follow blogs (as far as I know!) but he speaks to many of the issues you brought up, so if you’ve got an hour …. (he doesn’t do that 20-minute, 3 point stuff)….

    Also posted over at my place, welcome your comments, goes without saying.