Intramural Flap, Charismatics Against Orthdoxy.

All kinds of Christian pundits are weighing in on whether it is OK for one branch of Christianity to throw grenades at another.  Recently, someone who I guess would be called an orthodox Christian held a conference, the purpose of which was to skewer charismatics.

The skewering fellow is named John MacArthur.  MacArthur says Charismatics are not Bible based.

The only Charismatic I know about is the famous Benny Hinn.  Hinn is making a comeback after remarrying his celebrety wife.  He is again filling auditoriums around the world.

I’ve found Hinn’s show mostly boring.  He spends a long time reciting scripture and explaining what he thinks it means.  There are so many ways to interpret scripture he is just one in the long parade and he could just as well skip this part of the show.

What people come to see is his mass healing.  He pushes one sick person backwards into the arms of staff who then fall on another sick person and his/her handlers. A massive row of human dominos show fall across the stage.  It is so spectacular people are moved to tears.

While I would call Hinn a phony, I think there is a problem with other Christian celebreties criticizing him.  “Miracles” are part of orthodox Christianity.  Orthodoxy preaches that Jesus healed the sick and walked on water.  That’s what Hinn does.  The only difference is 2000 years.

If these miracles were believiable 2000 years ago, why not now?

26 Responses

  1. entech

    The main problem, IMHO, is that each individual version is so hard to believe, so much effort is needed to maintain that belief. You need the faith of a Søren Kierkegaard to keep going against so much opposition – I don’t mean “The Atheist”, dreadful though he/she may be, the danger is from the one whose definition of the Trinity is different from mine, or worse the ones who deny the Trinity and still call themselves Christian. I even had one poster here arguing/discussing his fundamentalism and he told me to stop referring to Catholics as Christians. If the first and originals can’t claim the title who can? The dreaded atheist is at least a common enemy, Christians should grateful not hateful.

    Your intramural has the potential to become internecine.

  2. Fighting among Christians believing different versions of Christianity has the same effect as infighting among the Republicans: it makes them seem to be an unsavory group with which to associate. After all, who wants to join up with a group of people who are fighting with each other about who’s right? It’s distracting because it doesn’t really matter. It’s impossible to prove “rightness” when the subject is a matter of opinion and not fact. So go to it, Christians. Bust up your religion into it’s component parts. But then that’s been happening at an albeit slower pace all along.

    1. Henry

      realist:“It’s distracting because it doesn’t really matter.”

      If it wouldn’t matter, you wouldn’t talk about Christianity daily.

      1. Subject, verb and object, Henry. It’s the “rightness” that doesn’t matter; not the Christianity. That matters because so many people are mesmerized by myth including yourself.

      2. entech

        You are right Henry, if it did not matter there would be nothing to talk about. But as there is a huge amount of effort that goes into having “Christian Values” embedded in the system we have to keep talking as a means of self defense.

        Christian values is an oxymoron “The Christian” would skip over and expect “The Atheist” to live by another, a deafening silence.

        Never forget that when religion has had a dominant influence in the state the record has never been, and still is not, good. Iran anyone?

    2. Jinx

      I equate christianity/religion with oppression, no matter what any cult, group, sect, denomination or neighborhood preacher has to say.

      1. Wolfy32

        I agree, when it becomes a list of dos and do nots. Which, my list of o.k. to do, could be counted on one hand, not o.k. is quite longer, and I would almost need a database just to keep track..

        Every denomination or part of Christianity thinks it has the upperhand on what is o.k. and not o.k. to do and judges other denominations because of that. My parents think Catholics are the most evil order on the planet and demonizes them, because they think drinking is o.k. and Catholics have no morals. Once confirmed, Catholics can do whatever they want and it doesn’t matter if they’re saved or not because the ritual confirmation saves them from all future sins. (a slight misconception…)

        Yet, it justifies their own self righteousness.

        I told my parents once that Catholics are Christians.. My mom was aghast and responded with a very stern “NO they aren’t!”

        …. really? And now you expect me to think that your beliefs have integrity when you can’t even define who is a christian and who isn’t?

  3. Wanna B Sure

    As I have said before on numerous occasions, almost all conflicts within the “church at large” relate to ecclesiology, (essentially the rites, rituals, practices, and administration, not the core doctrines of Christianity. In this situation, I can’t use the term “fundamental/fundamentalist” as both sides of this argument are considered Fundamentalists, and the term is blurred in it’s application here. Jon in his title for this blog uses the term “orthodoxy”. I assume he refers to Macarthur in contrast to the Charismatics. In a couple matters, Macarthur could contain some orthodoxy, but in the main, his bio on Wikipedia reveals a preponderance of not so orthodox tendencies. He attended Bob Jones University, a strongly Fundamentalist institution, and it’s influence is evident in his ecclesiology. Along with his eschatological views, his “orthodoxy” is strongly in question. As far as the Charismatics, “orthodoxy” is even more suspect. All that being said, Jon’s title for this blog is inaccurate and misinformed. I realize everyone considers themselves to be “orthodox”, but in the larger picture, they are only orthodox within their own sect, and not the church at large worldwide. Entech introduced “the Trinity”, (actually the “tri-unity of the Godhead”), but that is not contained in the discussion between Macarthur and the Charismatics, and only muddies the discussion. (a favorite tactic). One could argue that it is, due to the mention of the Holy Spirit, yet in context the HS remains part of the Triunity. Only a stronger emphasis and it’s application, (or mis-application, depending on one’s point of view), of the HS is present among the Charismatics. I think I could say more, and have skipped over much, but for now, this should suffice.

    1. Wanna 12:53 First, I appreciate your taking time to define briefly the words you use from the field of theology.

      That said, the theme of this post, and many others you write, is these wars within the faith are not really wars because there is agreement on some core issues within Christianity. I don’t really see why it is important there is such agreement, if in fact that is true, when war is war. If people want to heave granades at other parts of the faith because of ecclesilogical issues, that doesn’t make the granades harmless.

      We have a close friend here who in her fourties went to St. Paul Theological Seminary and became a minister. I remember her saying that what really got people mad within and between churches were things like shaking hands with the next person in the pew, or, putting the sermon before or after the collection plate. And, it is logical that these ritual issues loom large in people’s heads because that is the only way most relate to the faith. They are not really interested in the theological issues.

      This argument between the Benny Hinns and the Bob Jones’ does not seem to be ecclesiology, at least as far as I can tell. Neither is the splits within the various Protestant denominations about gay pastors and gay marriage. They cite the Bible, not rituals and administration. Entech’s reference to the Trinity wars is not about rituals and administration either. My understanding is it’s about heavy lifting theology.

      1. Wanna B Sure

        Jon; First off, “War” is your word, not mine. As I said before, the Trinity is not part of the discussion, but is an opportunity to go off topic. As far as rites, and rituals, the Bible is used to support many positions, yet they remain rites and rituals, (ecclesiology), and doctrine remains doctrine. When rites and rituals are elevated to dogma, (that which must be believed/practiced) problems rise. Such is the case of Hinn and Jones. Also not to ignore the money raising benefits of some of these practices.

        Your 2nd paragraph is rather convoluted, and difficult to understand, so I dismiss it in it’s entirety.

        Re. your friend from St Paul, If “They are really interested in the theological issues.”, those “rites”, (“customs” actually) would not loom so large in their heads. In practice, order is preferred in a service, and those customs promote order, not confusion. Virtually all these issues are adiaphora, (things neither commanded or forbidden). It makes no difference when the collection plate is passed, or if it is left at the door for those going in or out. If you or your friend’s understanding is:… ” these things are the only way most relate to the faith,” you completely miss the content and point of that which is believed, and concentrate on what is done to your personal satisfaction. If that is the case, you could just as well go shopping at Wall Mart.

        1. Wanna 2:15 My post as been edited to read, “People are not really interested in theological issues.”

          We can disagree on this, but I maintain some disagreements that are theological are big, homosexuality, and other that are simply about ritual are also big. I’ve mentioned before my own distaste for reciting the Apostles Creed. Now, I would agree whether it is or is not included in the rituals is not that important, but it’s one of the only times I interact with the ceremony so that’s where it matters most.

          There is this major flap among Catholics about doing the mass in Latin or English. Surely there is no way it could matter theologically. But, it really matters to some millions of Catholics.

          1. Wanna B Sure

            Jon: There is no ritual in the Apostles creed, but the Creed is part of the ritual/liturgy of many churches, not in others. Some churches are “non-creedal”, which is actually false, because all churches, creedal or not have a statement of beliefs , (credo–“This we believe”.) How the particular churches practice their “credo” is their tradition/custom. The reason you have a distaste for the Creed, is that all three articles contains the foundational statement of the Tri-unity of the Godhead, as does the Athanasian, and the Nicene Creed.
            That you react to the Creed with distaste is because you don’t believe it. This I understand. My question is: Why do you “interact” at all. You aren’t forced to, and it shouldn’t matter to you one bit. If you are in a setting where it is said, remain silent, or don’t go where it is said. I’m sure your family will understand. Problem solved.

          2. Wanna B Sure

            Jon @ 2:42: “People are NOT really interested in theological issues”. All the more reason to go shopping at Wall Mart instead.

          3. Wanna B Sure

            Jon: I would say there are some who are disinterested, but most are aware of their theology. If you go to a church where theology is not so important, most of their members will feel the same. Such churches generally are the ones that are loosing members at a faster rate. On the other hand, in church groups that emphasize theology/doctrine, most of their members will agree also.

  4. Michael Ross

    When I first became a Christian I considered myself charismatic but have since changed my thinking on the matter. Even among the charismatic churches and fellowships I was familiar with Benny Hinn would be considered extreme. I , like you, consider him a phony and only a showman but ultimately only God knows his heart.

    “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.” (John 17:21-22)

    Jesus was praying for unity among His followers. Unity is not the same as uniformity. The cults require uniformity. There are a few foundational doctrines that determine our relationship with God. Beyond that there is room for disagreement. Don’t get me wrong, there is only one correct interpenetration and nobody has a monopoly on the truth (except myself, of course). I think sometimes is more that some churches, denominations, fellowships, put more emphasis in certain areas than others. Its a matter of striving for balance not correctness, though some strive for cultural acceptance (political correctness) rather than biblical correctness.

    1. Wanna B Sure

      It is what it is. for those “people not really interested in theological issues”, Wall Mart is as good a community as any. Maybe they will find a book by Osteen on how to be a prosperous person.

  5. Wolfy32

    I really don’t understand our need for churches in the first place. I know globally it has been traditional to build temples. Heck even Greek Gods got temples, Zeus and all the deities etc.

    However, if Christianity is supposed to be the transcending spiritual religion it is in commune with the real true God. Then why not focus on spirituality instead of rituals and doctrine.. Teach people how to focus their prayers, how to focus their spiritual energy, and how to keep their emotions and spirits in tune vs. what rules to follow, and how to convert more people…

    1. entech

      According to your thoughts Wolfy, the only real Christians come from the Society of Friends, and your Pilgrim Fathers hanged them.
      Work that out if you can.

      1. Wolfy32

        Heh. Well…. Rituals are about people, huge church buildings, stages, etc are about people and demonstrating wealth and success also about people…

        If christianity is about God, then why isn’t anything in christianity about God? Much of churches are about people’s comforts and about people. If we had churches sponsoring scholorships and supporting the medical field, the mental health of people, and focusing on the athiest goals of abetter society and a better more stable population with less crime, and more integrity… Well, maybe we would be a better representation to God.

        Sadly, Catholics have successfully done some of that. Opened hospitals, and Professional schools with real degrees (useful outside of religion). But, even that is still focussed on financial gain vs. the betterment of the community.

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