In this episode we take a look at some of the theological errors and abuses of power that often take place within the Charismatic Movement and Health and Wealth or Prosperity Gospel.
Dan Jarms 0:00
Today on faith matters, Josh Gilchrist and I are going to talk about the charismatic movement and how that's been relating to our series in 1 Corinthians 12, 13, and 14.
Dan Jarms 0:16
I'm Dan Jarms. And you're listening to faith matters a podcast to help update you on matters of faith Bible Church, as well as equip you in matters of the Christian faith.
Seth Weber 0:36
Hey, this is Seth Weber, Communications Director here at Faith Bible Church. And before we jump into today's podcast topic, I wanted to remind you that we've got to walk through the Bible events OT and NT live coming up, Saturday, February 24. These events are going to be an excellent way for adults and children, families to grasp the overall storyline of God's Word and where each book fits in. So we're going to go through every book of the Bible, all the different stories and prophets and all that and learn how they all fit into the big storyline of the Bible. So even if you've been saying the Bible for a long time, there's still probably some things that you'll be able to glean from this event. There's also a group discount for families of five or larger, so head to fbchurch.org/events to sign up for each event.
Dan Jarms 1:30
Today, I have back in the studio with me, Josh Gilchrist. Hey, Josh.
Josh Gilchrist 1:33
Hey, Dan. Thanks for having me back.
Dan Jarms 1:35
Yeah, we're gonna have a follow up on our, our talks in our sermons and in our last conversation about sign gifts, miraculous gifts, the charismatic movement, continuation ism. And this really isn't a basics section anymore, we're going to try to get into a little more detail in depth. And the reason why we're doing that is that evangelicalism that we are looking at today, is has got a broad spectrum of practices, with gifts, spiritual gifts. And some think that miracles still happen by the hands of gifted people, or that there are apostles. So it's really important for us to talk about that you as a listener to this will either be from a charismatic or Pentecostal movement like me, or you will have friends that are even if you aren't, and we're trying to figure out how to navigate what to do with these things. So we're gonna dive in. As we've been looking at First Corinthians 12, we're about to look at 13th and 14th. As a church, some things emerge in our modern era, one of the things that has to do with signs, wonders, miracles, is a movement that we call the word of faith movement, which is tied to a bigger concept of the health and wealth and prosperity gospel. So do you want to talk to me really quick about what do we mean by the health and wealth and prosperity gospel? What do we mean by word of faith? Yeah,
Josh Gilchrist 3:11
it's just this idea that God wants to bless you. And if you have enough faith, you will experience those physical blessings, money, health, different things like that success. And it's really contrary to what Scripture says and promises is nowhere promised in Scripture, we are told that we have every spiritual blessing in Christ for sure. But it's just this idea that God wants you to be blessed in every department that you shouldn't have to be sick and suffer, that you should have what you need and having having faith and reaping what you sow, translated, basically, give, give a little bit of money, put your faith into something and God will richly reward you back. Yeah, that's,
Dan Jarms 3:59
that's the general idea. And they have the health and wealth and prosperity movement believes that God has put into this timeframe, a heaven on earth to experience now. So the end of sickness, the end of suffering, the reversal of all bad, and the Word of Faith specific part of it is that God has endowed us with at a power and ability that we can speak realities into existence. So that's technically Word of Faith. Listening to Joel Osteen and the Osteen cube, which I happen to have one somebody gave me one, he has a series of declarations I declare that this is going to happen to you and he believes that the recording of that has this power to make a declaration over your life. So the word is spoken. I have the faith and so now I know I do that and he is the less charismatic version of that. But it all ties together because cuz we're supposed to be healthy, wealthy, blessed people in this world. Let's just tackle that. Josh, what's it what are the Scriptures say we should expect in this life, like we shouldn't expect not to get blessed. We're not saying there's never any blessings. You know, you'll never have any money. You'll you'll never, you'll never own a car. We're not saying that. What? What is the Bible really saying about what we should expect in this world?
Josh Gilchrist 5:27
Yeah, I think of Paul, going, going and telling the churches through many tribulations will enter the kingdom of God that suffering and trials are, it's not if they happen, or should they happen, it's they will, and God will use those things to refine us and strengthen us. He brings those things so that we become dependent on him. It doesn't mean that there's never seasons of prosperity and success. It's not a guarantee. It's not a gimme sort of a thing. But God wants us to be dependent on Him in all situations. Think of Philippians four, when Paul talks about being able to do all things through Christ who strengthens him, he's talking contextually just about I can have little and I can have a lot through through the power of Christ. And so, but yeah, we are promised trials and suffering momentary light affliction that produces an eternal weight of glory. And so to say that you just need to speak all these blessings into existence and believe and have great faith is very, contrary to what Scripture is teaching us about those things.
Dan Jarms 6:35
Yeah, yeah, like little lines, like, oh, Steen's every setback is followed up by a comeback, you know. So it's, it's like little pithy things like that, that gained a huge following. And it is naturally attractive, who doesn't want to think that I'm going to have more, who wouldn't want that. So that's, it's an ear tickling message. That's how Second Timothy four would describe it, people gathering around for themselves, people who will tickle their ears, make them feel good. And, you know, whether it's, you know, Kirk Franklin, and bless me, bless me, you know, whatever the gospel song that he's got is, so that I can share what I have with everyone around me and everyone who has need, oh, I'm going to be rich, so I can bless people. But I'm going to be rich, to bless me too. So there's, there's health and wealth and prosperity. And, and there are versions of that. And Joel Osteen is the sort of non charismatic version of it. In other words, you wouldn't tune in and watch him pretend to heal people, he would just say, healing is common, and you're going to be an agent of that, or you're going to receive it. So it's all the health and wealth prosperity trappings, without all the supernatural signs with it. But we're concerned about that. We're also concerned about the abuse of the charismatic gifts. So now, how does this tie to charismatic and Pentecostal theology, more specifically charismatic theology?
Josh Gilchrist 8:09
Yeah, I think you see a lot of people proclaim proclaiming to have the ability to to heal and work miracles. But Benny Hinn would be a great example of that. Just having the ability to if you have enough faith, and you, you sow into that faith, he has the power to actually heal people and take away that sickness and restore that health. You see a lot of abuse is like that. So
Dan Jarms 8:38
yeah, yeah. And then the almost strange or bizarre slaying people in the spirit,
Josh Gilchrist 8:46
taking his jacket and swinging it. Yeah. People down. Yeah. People just fallen over. And,
Dan Jarms 8:52
you know, so we see that, but the issue that's really concerning, is they they think they're apostles. They think they're prophets. They think they're healers. And
Josh Gilchrist 9:01
yeah, God has given a special anointing upon them to do do that mighty work. One
Dan Jarms 9:06
of the other big problems with this, four of our pastors in the meeting couple of weeks ago, have had people tell them, so and so. You're not having babies, you have infertility, because you don't have enough faith. Your daughter's not healed because you don't have enough faith. To me that's abusive, and manipulative. I've heard Osteen do stuff like that, too. What's the concern about the abuse of power and abuse of Word of Faith?
Josh Gilchrist 9:34
Yeah, I think when you look at biblical examples of healing it it wasn't based on the strength of the person in their faith, like sure there were people who came, hoping that Jesus could heal them but it was based on the fact that God or or the apostles, through the power of God healed them. It had nothing to do with I'm healing You know, I know that, you know, some of these people in the word of faith and health, wealth and prosperity would say, Well, Jesus said your faith is has made you well, that would probably be the example that they go to. But it's one of those things that it's, it's something that's freely given. I think of x three, when Peter helps the lay man be able to walk again. That guy was the one looking looking for the, for the money, like can I have some money, he's there begging for alms and Peter's like, I don't have any of that. But in the name of Jesus stand up and what the guy wasn't even looking for that he was looking for money or something else. And so to say that the faith that you have is just going to automatically generate that the thing that's sad about that, is these guys are claiming to have this ability in this gift. And then when it doesn't work, I can just blame the other person. Well, it's your fault. Like, what what, uh, right, yeah, that just seems like a con and a scam. Yeah, yeah.
Dan Jarms 10:55
So, you know, I see you and an ankle boot because you blew out your ankle. If you had enough faith, you would take that off, because we're going to pray for you and you're going to walk. So the person is like, No, I'm not going to do that. My doctor told me to keep my boot on Well, let's see, there you go. It's your fault that you're not healed. Because you don't have enough faith. That's manipulative and abusive. And it ties into that, that issue what's what happens with the modern day prophets, apostles when it comes to their authority and power abuses? Just
Josh Gilchrist 11:27
like the the power that yeah, that I'm the person that God has anointed and called to be the person that you you look to. But we have the the New Apostolic reformation, speaking of apostles, which was a gift that Paul mentions in different lists that he gave the apostles. And there's different takes on that people have used yet the idea of, you know, this is an apostolic sort of a thing. But the the New Apostolic reformation in the last 30 or 40 years, a guy named Peter Wagner basically claimed that to prophetesses told him that he had a special anointing to restore the office of apostle ship to the church, and that God had appointed him to be the head of that. And he, basically that the idea is that you are the anointed person, you're the leader. God is giving you new revelation, basically, and the people in the church had better listen to that and submit to the apostle and, and even the idea that the church is not going to experience the full blessings and power of God until people do what the Apostle tells them to do.
Dan Jarms 12:38
Yeah, which would be massively ripe for abuse. Yeah, for sure. And antral Yeah, yeah, power, power abuse happens in any sector in any pleasure. Yeah. Where, where the leader is charismatic, intelligent, an excellent communicator, and has a vision that produces success. So the vision has produced success, everybody can see that success. And it is very common for that person then to get a pass by his people by his inner circle and his outer circle on moral issues. So he no longer needs to be morally qualified to the Office of Elder overseer. He can abuse his power, which was the case with TV Joshua, where there were multiple abuses of sexual misconduct and, and other things, but he's the man of God. So you can argue with the man of God, yeah. Some, some churches, many of the Calvary Chapel churches have, I don't know if they still have it, but they have had the Moses model of leadership. So you have the Lord's anointed, He's the senior pastor, and you really don't argue with him? Because he's the Lord's anointed. And I wouldn't say that everybody, there's abuse their power. I don't mean that at all. But that could be ripe for it. Yeah. Because now whatever I think the spirit is telling me is authoritative. And of course if the Spirit was telling them that it would be authoritative, but the problem is it often doesn't line up with the orthodoxy tests. The truth test testing the spirits
Josh Gilchrist 14:14
Yeah, for sure. And it just it's just so contrary to the idea of Christ being the head it's kind of like he kind of is he's appointed me to be the head though right now that's that's really what it what it seems like I'm the one that speaks for it and Ephesians again, we talked about this a little bit I think last time he talked about it your message but just the the foundation that the apostles laid that the prophets you don't you don't change foundations foundations are, are laid and yeah, you can do a remodel or whatever, but just the idea that I am this new head of the church, it just it's contrary to the whole idea of the body and US fitting together and doing our part and growing up into the head Christ when you have someone who claims was like, I'm the ultimate authority that person is then the head ultimately.
Dan Jarms 15:04
Yeah, yeah. Having had a charismatic Pentecostal background, I always differentiate between the sincere people that I knew that really loved the Lord and love the scriptures who thought that the gifts were still around. And the the people who abused that in and made it bizarre. So there's a difference between being a continuation or charismatic and, and falling into Kara's mania. Let's wrap this, this segment up, Josh, talking about the fruit of these kinds of things. So what are some of your thoughts on on how to help people look at the fruit? is a key question when we see these what feel like really bizarre, out workings of it. I
Josh Gilchrist 15:48
think what we ultimately have to get back to is what what are these people glorifying? They're doing the things that they do, are they glorifying an experience or feeling mysticism? Emotion? Are they glorifying Christ and truly wanting to help people and of course, they're going to claim like we can heal you or we can help you connect with the spirit at a deeper level like there. There's that appearance of of wanting to help, but what is it that being glorified? Is it pointing back to the to the truth of, of Jesus and the Father. And that's the Holy Spirit's role, they get caught up in the Holy Spirit being something completely different than what Scripture teaches that the Holy Spirit is he was to take of what was Jesus's and what was the father's and reveal it to people. And so when the focus is just on the the healing and the sensation and the victory, or deliverance, or whatever, it's like, Where's where's the glory of God in that? Is this people centered? Or is it Christ centered? Is it who's getting the glory, what's what's the focus,
Dan Jarms 16:52
the experience becomes dangerous, wet, and it's part of the bad fruit when experience dominates. We all need to essentially make decisions and pursue a spirituality that has genuine experience. But the experience for experience sake, is is part of the bad fruit that I see in the charismatic movement. Yeah, person's looking for their high, week after week, the worship team has to generate it, that people want to get it. And if we tease out all of these various factors, some of that experience is going to be really debilitating person goes to a healing service. They get shuffled off in the Yeah, we can't heal these people. They could be really disillusioned. Yeah. On the other side, somebody gets a so called Healing. Two days later, the bad knee as back what's happened, they could feel manipulated. Or they could feel like they're spiritual losers, I lost my faith, so I'm sick again. So to me, those are the bad fruit of this kind of situation. an unbeliever views it. And any unbeliever would probably want a miracle. But when they don't see the miracle, do they think even worse about God, they already had a hard time with the problem of evil before they let themselves believe that there's a possibility and then the sickness or the issue is still around. So the unbeliever doesn't even look at the gospel, which it's all supposed to point to the gospel. They say, Wow, what kind of god is this? Yeah, and my unbelieving parents just thought a lot of this was bizarre. And the concept of Holy Rollers was people run up and down the aisles, roll on the aisles, and and have these really ecstatic experiences and fits. And my parents just thought that that was the most bizarre thing. So that's, that's a fruit what was supposed to happen? If you read first Corinthians 14, somebody spoken a language, then a person who had a native language that was just spoken, also heard it interpreted in the local language, and went, How was that possible? And that the very message that's being said, was supposed to blow them away? And they're like, Oh, God is real, because I just heard this. It's supposed to bring conviction, repentance, faith, and trust in Christ. Yeah. It's not supposed to repel. And, you know, we just observed a bizarre experience. It's not supposed to do that is supposed to convict. So I think those are the things and as we wrap that whole thought up to me, Josh, what we're talking about is do we trust God's word, or do we trust experience? Yeah. And we need to trust God's Word in the Gospel first. I have always thought these very practical terms. If if the Benny Hinn situation or Oral Roberts in my day, Benny Hinn was just coming, becoming popular When I was first a Christian, but Oral Roberts and Richard Roberts live were sort of the televangelists that I watched as a young charismatic. And to me, the first question that I'm, I'm asking is, if this is really real, why aren't you showing up in hospitals?
Josh Gilchrist 20:17
Yeah. Why can't you clear out a whole like ward? And yeah,
Dan Jarms 20:21
let's let's, let's walk into a hospital that didn't know you were coming and that it wasn't staged for video effect that literally walked into Sacred Heart. And you cleared out the hospital? Yeah. But they're all they're all done in services. Where there's a tight organization, a tight control, read the BBC article on TV, Joshua, and you can see how it all works. To manufacture a response from the masses. And there's always a condition of planting a seed of faith. Meaning, give money. Yeah. That is always connected to giving money and getting blessing. Yeah, it's never not. Peter doesn't ask for anything when he heals the lame, man. Yeah. You know, if you give me a seed of faith, you know, what's in that little hat of yours? Right there, you know, then then God's gonna bless you. Yeah, he just actually, he just does it. And. And that's true. across across the board. So to me, the fruit is, oh, it's only possible under our specific control with our specific guidelines. And then if you take the guy who walks the streets, I think it's, it's Todd White. Anyway, the guy goes and stretches people's legs is like, God wants to bless you sit down here. And then he stretched his legs. And you know, somebody's got this one leg shorter than the other, and they stand there. And they watch and like, wow, it's just a sleight of hand trick. And I've often thought when I watched those videos, you know, here is the, here's the Great Plague of our era, the worst thing for health in the world is that somebody has a leg that's an inch longer than the other, really, this, this is what you're going to prove. So it just seems absurd and silly. So I think those are those are things that we've often asked us, what's the fruit of it? Yeah. If it's really real, nobody's going to be able to stop it. That person is going to be able to bring that power for a time in a place so that everybody learns about Christ crucified, risen, and reigning? Absolutely, yes. It's always about the glory of the gospel. It's always a testimony and testify, testifying to the gospel. Yeah. And then everybody else is still going to get sick and die. Yeah, because that happened. That's the only thing that happened. In the episode, their true apostolic era. There were some healings and then everybody got sick and still died. It wasn't a permanent, a permanent, healthy, wealthy, prosperous situation at any time before. So why would we expect it now?
Josh Gilchrist 23:05
Yeah, I think just the the taking advantage of people in poor countries, especially like, lots of African countries, and India as a place where the people like to go and just, yeah, the way that those healing television shows are produced, they only put the camera on specific people. They don't show the people that don't get healed. There's just it's very much controlled.
Dan Jarms 23:29
I think one of the helpful resources on this is American gospel on Netflix. The first one that was done in the series was about the health and wealth and prosperity movement. costi Hinn, nephew to Benny Hinn was very involved in the Benny Hinn crusades, and comes to vixens scriptural convictions about what true healing is. He's interviewed in American gospel, the whole concept of the health and wealth and prosperity gospel is thoroughly examined. Benny Higgins ministries exposed the theological problems or exposed the true gospels presented. I would really encourage you to check that one out. Thanks, Josh. For that segment, we will, we'll jump in because and we know there's some other questions. If you have any more questions, and you want us to answer them on this podcast, we'd be happy to field another set. So we'll we'll wrap up. Thanks, Josh.
Dr. Dan Jarms is teaching pastor and team leader at Faith Bible Church in Spokane Washington, as well as associate dean at TMS Spokane. He has been married for over 30 years to Linda, and has three adult children. He earned his B.A. in English at the Master’s College, B.Ed. at Eastern Washington University, M.Div and D.Min in Expository Preaching at The Master’s Seminary. His other interests include NCAA basketball, gardening, brick oven cooking.View Resources by Dan Jarms