(We continue the blog series by coming to part D. If you have just read part D, you need to read part A in order to understand part D. It would also be good to read B and C. This post is in no way, to mock or to blame all Charismatic’s for what i am showing. All Charismatics dont hold on to the teachings that i will mention. But it does raise a concern that sadly many in the Charismatic movement follow the people that i will name. There are dear brothers in the Lord who are deceived. So it is my conviction and care for them, that they must be warned. I write as one who also used to follow the individuals that i will mention. I pray that you who are reading this, will not think that i am trying to bring negative words here just to hurt you, but simply know that i desire to only to show the truth of God’s Holy Word. Here is part D)
So who are the advocates of this theology of experience?
I am addressing this concern to my charismatic and Pentecostal friends and brothers in the Lord. It is my concern that many believe that sinners need to experience sign and wonders in order to truly believe in the Gospel.
One example is the famous Benny Hinn who said the following on May 16, 2007 on TBN “if the Gospel doesn’t have, if the Gospel lacks, if the preaching of the Gospel lacks sign and wonders it’s an empty shell”.
Preachers of the Word of Faith movement (Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin) who would label themselves as Charismatics or Pentecostal suppose that if Christianity does not have sign and wonders the Gospel message lacks power and it’s an empty shell and people will not come and be interested in salvation. But does this not contradict what the Scriptures say? “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth;” (Romans 1:16). And if what they are saying is true, then how come the people who saw Christ doing miracles sign and wonders reject Him? If you read the whole of John chapter 6 you will know what I mean. Sign and wonders are not the Gospel, Christ and His work for sinners is. The Gospel message itself is the power that God uses to bring sinners to Himself.
So why do they teach this?
I think it is best if we ask the question instead: how do they try identify truth? (This is the reason why I have spent time writing part A). Because this will tells us the way they come to the conclusions that they come to.
Do they use the rational method of historical Christianity which is the objective way of truth (the truth is outside of us)? Not so. Both those who follow the likes of Bill Johnson and Benny Hinn believe in the personal subjective methodology, which emphasizes on someone’s experience with God alone (we already touched on this in part A). So how do they encourage their followers to build their theology? How do they build their knowledge of God, His will and character?
Bill Johnson said: “We must press past intellectual awareness, to hunger for heartfelt encounters that change and transform”.
In other words, they don’t determine truth by first rationally looking to understand the Word of God in order to test all things, but instead truth for them is determined by feelings and intuition. Truth for them is what happens to you (divine encounter, healing, vision, prophecy, trips to heaven etc.). If this is so, then they make experience the major criteria in their lives and not the Bible. This in effect makes Christians believe that they must not use their mind in life, to study and understand the meaning of God’s Word.
People who associate with Bill Johnson and Benny Hinn accuse Christians for being intellectually proud for studying the Bible. They teach that God deliberately wants us to not use our minds in order to humble us. By doing this we are able to embrace divine encounters and embrace the supernatural. They call young Christians to trust their emotions and their experience and the experience of others also in order to have a sufficient proof that God is speaking to them. Thus theology is built upon experience after experience. The Bible is only a book to make their experience ‘fit’ in a text taken out of context.
They quote John 5:39 which says in “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.”
Now its interesting friends that the Scripture text they use to try and prove their position is actually a verse which the Lord encourages us to study diligently the Bible. At this point let’s be good Bereans and look at this verse carefully.
(To be continued)