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Author Topic: Speaking in tongues and encounters with the Holy Spirit  (Read 530 times) Average Rating: 0
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Rhinosaur
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« on: March 12, 2014, 11:07:46 PM »

I'm referring specifically to the type found in Pentecostal/Charismatic churches:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T99fUvuuYOg


As a Catholic, this type of worship is foreign to me, and I'm pretty sure it's not a part of the Orthodox tradition as well.  That being said, I can't entirely write it off as God does work in mysterious and I have no idea what's happening to these people when these things happen.  What's your opinion?
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« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2014, 11:10:12 PM »

It's gibberish, and should be both ignored and not sought after by any Orthodox Christian. Or any Christian worth his salt.
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Rhinosaur
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« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2014, 07:59:15 AM »

It's gibberish, and should be both ignored and not sought after by any Orthodox Christian. Or any Christian worth his salt.

Probably, but what I've heard from people who have experienced it, they've said that it feels truly wonderful.  I'm not sure if it was be written off 100%.
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« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2014, 08:05:49 AM »

Probably, but what I've heard from people who have experienced it, they've said that it feels truly wonderful.  I'm not sure if it was be written off 100%.

LBK is right.  Here are some articles you might want to read:

http://returntoorthodoxy.com/archimandrite-george-genuine-false-experiences-grace-god/

http://returntoorthodoxy.com/elder-paisios-delusions-pentecostalism/

http://returntoorthodoxy.com/charismatic-revival-sign-times-seraphim-rose/

http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/inq_charismatics.aspx

http://returntoorthodoxy.com/charismatic-movement-orthodoxy/

http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2013/06/an-apostate-to-pentecostalism-who.html

http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2013/06/statement-against-pentecostal-sect-in.html



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« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2014, 09:07:38 AM »

It's gibberish, and should be both ignored and not sought after by any Orthodox Christian. Or any Christian worth his salt.

Probably, but what I've heard from people who have experienced it, they've said that it feels truly wonderful.
So does Heroin. Doesn't mean its beneficial.

Quote
I'm not sure if it was be written off 100%.
I will. Its nothing more than hyper-emotional nonsense. The Lord is not the God of frenzy and chaos.

PP
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« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2014, 09:15:40 AM »

As a Catholic, this type of worship is foreign to me....
It's not foreign to many other Catholics. Charismatic Catholics do exist. A Pentecostal mega-church pastor in Sweden, Ulf Ekman, recently converted to the Catholic Church because he met Catholics who engaged in charismatic worship, which involves typical Pentecostal practices like speaking in tongues and faith-healing. Ekman wrote about what attracted him to convert:

Quote
We have seen a great love for Jesus and a sound theology, founded on the Bible and classic dogma. We have experienced the richness of sacramental life. We have seen the logic in having a solid structure for priesthood, that keeps the faith of the church and passes it on from one generation to the next. We have met an ethical and moral strength and consistency that dare to face up to the general opinion, and a kindness towards the poor and the weak. And, last but not least, we have come in contact with representatives for millions of charismatic Catholics and we have seen their living faith, Ulf Ekman explains.
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« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2014, 10:30:26 AM »


Thanks.  Some good stuff here.
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« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2014, 10:33:18 AM »

As a Catholic, this type of worship is foreign to me....
It's not foreign to many other Catholics. Charismatic Catholics do exist. A Pentecostal mega-church pastor in Sweden, Ulf Ekman, recently converted to the Catholic Church because he met Catholics who engaged in charismatic worship, which involves typical Pentecostal practices like speaking in tongues and faith-healing. Ekman wrote about what attracted him to convert:

Quote
We have seen a great love for Jesus and a sound theology, founded on the Bible and classic dogma. We have experienced the richness of sacramental life. We have seen the logic in having a solid structure for priesthood, that keeps the faith of the church and passes it on from one generation to the next. We have met an ethical and moral strength and consistency that dare to face up to the general opinion, and a kindness towards the poor and the weak. And, last but not least, we have come in contact with representatives for millions of charismatic Catholics and we have seen their living faith, Ulf Ekman explains.

I have heard of such groups, though I wasn't raised in that tradition.

I've always that writhing on the ground screaming nonsense wasn't a way to God.  Also, there's very little emphasis on dealing with your sins and self-improvement, only on making someone feel better about themselves.
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« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2014, 10:50:10 AM »

Some charismatics only speak in tongues in private while some treat it as necessary "proof" that your saved.

Some charismatics seem to seek and celebrate hysterics while others value peace and view such outbursts as dangerous and to be avoided. 

Plenty of charismatics would discount something like the Toronto Blessing.

I've had a number of experiences in different "charismatic" settings which has led me to the position that God is merciful and can/has blessed people within the movement but that in general it is difficult to discern what is happening and seems to create too many "loose cannon" situations. 

My own brief experience within charismatic settings blessed me but also put me in situation where I know I harmed others or was at least a poor witness. 

At this point I have no interest in revisiting or exploring charismatic practices.
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« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2014, 11:05:11 AM »

Ehhh, part of me thinks that Ulf Ekman joining the RC is just adding more poison to an already poisoned well.

PP
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« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2014, 11:27:03 AM »

It's not foreign to many other Catholics.

Thank God, it's foreign to Orthodoxy.

Some charismatics only speak in tongues in private while some treat it as necessary "proof" that your saved.

Some charismatics seem to seek and celebrate hysterics while others value peace and view such outbursts as dangerous and to be avoided. 

Plenty of charismatics would discount something like the Toronto Blessing.

I've had a number of experiences in different "charismatic" settings which has led me to the position that God is merciful and can/has blessed people within the movement but that in general it is difficult to discern what is happening and seems to create too many "loose cannon" situations. 

My own brief experience within charismatic settings blessed me but also put me in situation where I know I harmed others or was at least a poor witness. 

At this point I have no interest in revisiting or exploring charismatic practices.

This sounds like the experience of my friends and family members who were former lifelong Pentecostals and are now Orthodox.  They have no interest in seeing the falsehoods of their former profession penetrate and corrupt Orthodoxy.  If our Orthodox jurisdiction ever accepted Charismatism (thank God, it never could), they'd be out the door faster than Speed Racer, and I'd be right behind them.

Ehhh, part of me thinks that Ulf Ekman joining the RC is just adding more poison to an already poisoned well.

PP

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« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2014, 01:10:00 PM »

Some charismatics only speak in tongues in private while some treat it as necessary "proof" that your saved.

Some charismatics seem to seek and celebrate hysterics while others value peace and view such outbursts as dangerous and to be avoided. 

Plenty of charismatics would discount something like the Toronto Blessing.

I've had a number of experiences in different "charismatic" settings which has led me to the position that God is merciful and can/has blessed people within the movement but that in general it is difficult to discern what is happening and seems to create too many "loose cannon" situations. 

My own brief experience within charismatic settings blessed me but also put me in situation where I know I harmed others or was at least a poor witness. 

At this point I have no interest in revisiting or exploring charismatic practices.
Agreed.  I grew up in it.  I have no desire to go back, even when my parents invite me to events at their pentecostal church. 
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« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2014, 03:14:52 PM »

I was reading the third article and I came across this part:

Quote
Many Protestants who have discerned the fraud of the “charismatic revival” now accept as “the real thing” the spectacular “revival” in Indonesia where, we are told, there are really occurring “the self same things that one finds reported in the Acts of the Apostles.” In the space of three years 200,000 pagans have been converted to Protestantism under constantly miraculous conditions: No one does anything except in absolute obedience to “voices” and “angels” who are constantly appearing, usually quoting Scripture by number and verse; water is turned into wine every time the Protestant communion service comes around; detached hands appear from nowhere to distribute miraculous food to the hungry; a whole band of demons is seen to abandon a pagan village because a “more powerful” one (“Jesus”) has come to take their place; “Christians” have a “countdown” for an unrepentant sinner, and when they come to “zero” he dies; children are taught new Protestant hymns by voices that come from nowhere (and repeat the song twenty times so the children will remember); “God’s tape-recorder” records the song of a children’s choir and plays it back in the air for the astonished children; fire comes down from the sky to consume Catholic religious images (“the Lord” in Indonesia is very anti-Catholic); 30,000 have been healed; “Christ” appears in the sky and “falls” on people in order to heal them; people are miraculously transported from place to place and walk on water; lights accompany evangelists and guide them at night, and clouds follow them and give them shelter during the day: the dead are raised.

Has any of this been confirmed by reputable sources?
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« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2014, 05:00:57 PM »

I was reading the third article and I came across this part:

Quote
Many Protestants who have discerned the fraud of the “charismatic revival” now accept as “the real thing” the spectacular “revival” in Indonesia where, we are told, there are really occurring “the self same things that one finds reported in the Acts of the Apostles.” In the space of three years 200,000 pagans have been converted to Protestantism under constantly miraculous conditions: No one does anything except in absolute obedience to “voices” and “angels” who are constantly appearing, usually quoting Scripture by number and verse; water is turned into wine every time the Protestant communion service comes around; detached hands appear from nowhere to distribute miraculous food to the hungry; a whole band of demons is seen to abandon a pagan village because a “more powerful” one (“Jesus”) has come to take their place; “Christians” have a “countdown” for an unrepentant sinner, and when they come to “zero” he dies; children are taught new Protestant hymns by voices that come from nowhere (and repeat the song twenty times so the children will remember); “God’s tape-recorder” records the song of a children’s choir and plays it back in the air for the astonished children; fire comes down from the sky to consume Catholic religious images (“the Lord” in Indonesia is very anti-Catholic); 30,000 have been healed; “Christ” appears in the sky and “falls” on people in order to heal them; people are miraculously transported from place to place and walk on water; lights accompany evangelists and guide them at night, and clouds follow them and give them shelter during the day: the dead are raised.

Has any of this been confirmed by reputable sources?
Whom are you quoting? Can you post a link to the source of this text?
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« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2014, 05:07:14 PM »

I was reading the third article and I came across this part:

Quote
Many Protestants who have discerned the fraud of the “charismatic revival” now accept as “the real thing” the spectacular “revival” in Indonesia where, we are told, there are really occurring “the self same things that one finds reported in the Acts of the Apostles.” In the space of three years 200,000 pagans have been converted to Protestantism under constantly miraculous conditions: No one does anything except in absolute obedience to “voices” and “angels” who are constantly appearing, usually quoting Scripture by number and verse; water is turned into wine every time the Protestant communion service comes around; detached hands appear from nowhere to distribute miraculous food to the hungry; a whole band of demons is seen to abandon a pagan village because a “more powerful” one (“Jesus”) has come to take their place; “Christians” have a “countdown” for an unrepentant sinner, and when they come to “zero” he dies; children are taught new Protestant hymns by voices that come from nowhere (and repeat the song twenty times so the children will remember); “God’s tape-recorder” records the song of a children’s choir and plays it back in the air for the astonished children; fire comes down from the sky to consume Catholic religious images (“the Lord” in Indonesia is very anti-Catholic); 30,000 have been healed; “Christ” appears in the sky and “falls” on people in order to heal them; people are miraculously transported from place to place and walk on water; lights accompany evangelists and guide them at night, and clouds follow them and give them shelter during the day: the dead are raised.

Has any of this been confirmed by reputable sources?
Whom are you quoting? Can you post a link to the source of this text?

http://returntoorthodoxy.com/charismatic-revival-sign-times-seraphim-rose/

It's towards the bottom.
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« Reply #15 on: March 13, 2014, 05:11:49 PM »

I was reading the third article and I came across this part:

Quote
Many Protestants who have discerned the fraud of the “charismatic revival” now accept as “the real thing” the spectacular “revival” in Indonesia where, we are told, there are really occurring “the self same things that one finds reported in the Acts of the Apostles.” In the space of three years 200,000 pagans have been converted to Protestantism under constantly miraculous conditions: No one does anything except in absolute obedience to “voices” and “angels” who are constantly appearing, usually quoting Scripture by number and verse; water is turned into wine every time the Protestant communion service comes around; detached hands appear from nowhere to distribute miraculous food to the hungry; a whole band of demons is seen to abandon a pagan village because a “more powerful” one (“Jesus”) has come to take their place; “Christians” have a “countdown” for an unrepentant sinner, and when they come to “zero” he dies; children are taught new Protestant hymns by voices that come from nowhere (and repeat the song twenty times so the children will remember); “God’s tape-recorder” records the song of a children’s choir and plays it back in the air for the astonished children; fire comes down from the sky to consume Catholic religious images (“the Lord” in Indonesia is very anti-Catholic); 30,000 have been healed; “Christ” appears in the sky and “falls” on people in order to heal them; people are miraculously transported from place to place and walk on water; lights accompany evangelists and guide them at night, and clouds follow them and give them shelter during the day: the dead are raised.

Has any of this been confirmed by reputable sources?
Whom are you quoting? Can you post a link to the source of this text?

http://returntoorthodoxy.com/charismatic-revival-sign-times-seraphim-rose/

It's towards the bottom.
Fr. Seraphim wrote this back about 40-50 years ago.
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« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2014, 05:13:45 PM »

I was reading the third article and I came across this part:

Quote
Many Protestants who have discerned the fraud of the “charismatic revival” now accept as “the real thing” the spectacular “revival” in Indonesia where, we are told, there are really occurring “the self same things that one finds reported in the Acts of the Apostles.” In the space of three years 200,000 pagans have been converted to Protestantism under constantly miraculous conditions: No one does anything except in absolute obedience to “voices” and “angels” who are constantly appearing, usually quoting Scripture by number and verse; water is turned into wine every time the Protestant communion service comes around; detached hands appear from nowhere to distribute miraculous food to the hungry; a whole band of demons is seen to abandon a pagan village because a “more powerful” one (“Jesus”) has come to take their place; “Christians” have a “countdown” for an unrepentant sinner, and when they come to “zero” he dies; children are taught new Protestant hymns by voices that come from nowhere (and repeat the song twenty times so the children will remember); “God’s tape-recorder” records the song of a children’s choir and plays it back in the air for the astonished children; fire comes down from the sky to consume Catholic religious images (“the Lord” in Indonesia is very anti-Catholic); 30,000 have been healed; “Christ” appears in the sky and “falls” on people in order to heal them; people are miraculously transported from place to place and walk on water; lights accompany evangelists and guide them at night, and clouds follow them and give them shelter during the day: the dead are raised.

Has any of this been confirmed by reputable sources?
Whom are you quoting? Can you post a link to the source of this text?

http://returntoorthodoxy.com/charismatic-revival-sign-times-seraphim-rose/

It's towards the bottom.
Fr. Seraphim wrote this back about 40-50 years ago.

I didn't know that.  Still, were there any reputable accounts of these happenings?  They seem pretty extraordinary (and scary) to say the least.
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« Reply #17 on: March 13, 2014, 06:23:17 PM »

I didn't know that.  Still, were there any reputable accounts of these happenings?  They seem pretty extraordinary (and scary) to say the least.

Yes, everything in the article can be sourced in newspaper accounts, et cetera, from the time.  I knew an EO priest, an older man, who knew every account and article Fr. Seraphim was referencing specifically, but I won't pretend that I do.  To try to source them now, so many years later, would take more digging than I'd care to do.  Obviously, the Indonesia stuff takes a different form than what North American or European Charismatics are used to, but the Global Charismatic Movement takes on many forms.
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« Reply #18 on: March 19, 2014, 09:38:14 PM »

Some charismatics only speak in tongues in private while some treat it as necessary "proof" that your saved.

Some charismatics seem to seek and celebrate hysterics while others value peace and view such outbursts as dangerous and to be avoided. 

Plenty of charismatics would discount something like the Toronto Blessing.

I've had a number of experiences in different "charismatic" settings which has led me to the position that God is merciful and can/has blessed people within the movement but that in general it is difficult to discern what is happening and seems to create too many "loose cannon" situations. 

My own brief experience within charismatic settings blessed me but also put me in situation where I know I harmed others or was at least a poor witness. 

At this point I have no interest in revisiting or exploring charismatic practices.

Thank you for a very balanced approach.  Too many times Orthodox with no experience in Protestantism paint all Protestants with the same brush. Too many times even those who do have such a Protestant past only vilify it. This is refreshing.

As was said, not all Pentecostals are the same. The church I left is of the much more quiet variety. Tongues weren't mandatory. Things were not to be done ostentatiously, and there was to always be order. I know these people and I know they love God. To be sure they cling to the 5 solas even if most of them don't know that they're doing so. They lack our connection with our past and with the Saints and with angels. For the most part they don't know Church history beyond their own denomination and Martin Luther. But they believe in free will, and were so like the Orthodox in many beliefs that it really wasn't hard for me to convert doctrinally.

I won't say that any of the other comments are wrong only that they don't apply to everyone and you can't evaluate something if you only look at it from one side.
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« Reply #19 on: March 20, 2014, 07:21:41 PM »

As was said, not all Pentecostals are the same. The church I left is of the much more quiet variety. Tongues weren't mandatory. Things were not to be done ostentatiously, and there was to always be order. I know these people and I know they love God. To be sure they cling to the 5 solas even if most of them don't know that they're doing so. They lack our connection with our past and with the Saints and with angels. For the most part they don't know Church history beyond their own denomination and Martin Luther. But they believe in free will, and were so like the Orthodox in many beliefs that it really wasn't hard for me to convert doctrinally.

I won't say that any of the other comments are wrong only that they don't apply to everyone and you can't evaluate something if you only look at it from one side.

That's very true.  I still know - and love deeply - some very good people who are still involved in churches of the type you've describe above.  Saying that the phenomena attributed to the Holy Spirit in these churches (pseudo-tongues, slain in the spirit, etc.) is false is not judging the people.

Also, for a loving, balanced and very Orthodox assessment of Pentecostalism, I'd recommend In Peace Let us Pray to the Lord by Father Alexis Karakallinos (at the time known as John F. Trader).  He wrote it for loved ones still involved in the movement.  The section on Pentecostalism and Charismatism in Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick's Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy is also very valuable.
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« Reply #20 on: March 22, 2014, 08:32:31 AM »

As someone with a lifetime of experience revolving around charismatic and Pentecostal Christianity, I have a wall of text to present:

I was raised in the Assemblies of God church; as a child, I was surrounded by the whole "speaking in tongues" thing. My mom used to do it a lot while praying over me and  my brother as children. As a very young child, I remember being confused by it; I didn’t understand the jibber-jabber. Why pray if no one could understand you?

Of course, my mother was very firm in her conviction and very sure of her explanation, so I accepted it. At that age, you tend to accept what your parents know as being truth. I remember going through the whole “baptism of the Holy Spirit” thing around age 10. It was right after I was baptized into the AOG church. They had a whole class that revolved around understanding and then receiving the gifts of the Holy Spirit, primarily the gift of speaking in tongues. My parents, my younger brother and I all attended this class; at the end of it, the teacher had an altar call for anyone that wanted to be “slain in the Spirit” to receive the gifts.

My brother and I both went forward bravely; at age 9 and 10 respectively, we really didn’t have a concept of what was going on, but I thought it must be gravely important. I remember the preacher laying his hands on my forehead and another dude standing behind me ready to catch me when I fell to the ground. Eventually I did, but it wasn’t really out of anything that might have been called the Holy Spirit. More or less, I remember lying on the ground with my eyes closed, wondering if I was supposed to be feeling something. I was a bit confused, but eventually I stood up and went back to my seat and my parents seemed really proud of me.

There was another time as well, at a youth camp when I was a teenager in high school. I remember it being an incredibly emotional and moving worship service at the time. I had been going through a lot of personal turmoil, and this camp was the first time I’d ever really experienced any sort of powerful emotional release. I had dealt with suicidal ideation, an eating disorder, bullying, and all manner of other things throughout my adolescence, and most of the time the emotions I had were bottled. This camp was the first time I’d honestly released anything, and I finally felt joyful. This time, I didn’t have any ministers praying over me. I just remember standing to the side of the altar and praying fervently, and then I sort of collapsed. Maybe it was a genuine experience of God, maybe it was an emotional reaction, maybe it was the fact that I was very out of shape and standing in a hot and sweaty room in a cabin on top of a mountain and I was unaccustomed to the altitude.

After getting up that time, I felt sort of embarrassed. People had noticed, but most had left me to my own devices. I was invited by the youth pastor to share a testimony of what was happening to me, and I did. The people around me were very convinced that I had been “slain in the Spirit”. At the time, I felt that it had genuinely been an experience with God. Actually, at both times if you had asked me what had happened, I would have plainly stated, “It was God”.

Now, looking back, I can see that both of those experiences were somewhat… dubious. I don’t regret them, and I certainly don’t have any negative feelings about the people that led me into the experience either. When it occurred, I was practicing Christianity the best way that I knew how. It might have been wrong, but my heart was genuine and I was doing the best I could with what I had available.

I was speaking with a deacon the other day about this very thing. His opinion was that in doing these things, “You’re letting your worship be ruled by the passions.” I would tend to agree with this statement. Once again, at the time I was certainly practicing the best Christianity that I knew. That’s what I think about most of these folks, including the preachers and ministers that teach it. They’re (mostly) incredibly genuine about what they believe, and they truly believe that their experiences are genuine.

That being said, I don’t really think that the experiences of being “slain in the Spirit” and “speaking in tongues” as these people understand them are truly Godly. I don’t consider them satanic either; I think it’s very simply explained by people getting caught up in the emotion of it all and being swept off their feet by their own passions. From my own experience as a layman and as a protestant minister, charismatic Christianity becomes a game of chasing the emotional high. You’re not truly experiencing God if you’re not getting high, and it can become very addictive.

The unfortunate side of this is that much like doing hard drugs instead of eating real food, one quickly will become spiritually malnourished by this practice. All too often have I seen people that practice this sort of Christianity reach their peak and then blaze out, never to return to the church again. There are a myriad of reasons why this happens, but it all boils down to the same thing: Their worship is ruled by their passions, and it isn’t truly providing spiritual nourishment. That isn’t to say that this happens to everyone; my grandmother, one of the most devout Christians I’ve ever known, was incredibly driven by her charismatic beliefs. To the very day she died, she was always praying in tongues and having powerful experiences in her prayer. Were they genuinely the Holy Spirit, or was it just emotion? I don’t know; it’s not for me to say. I am very certain that she was genuine; I don’t think for a second that she would fake anything like that.

Essentially, what I think is this: Most of the people that you see practicing charismatic Christianity are genuine. They really do believe that what they’re doing is really real. They’re trying to practice Christianity the best that they can. Unfortunately, their version of Christianity frequently becomes a practice of chasing useless emotional highs instead of actual spiritual nourishment, and it results in far too many people going down in a blaze of glory, never to return to Christianity. I don’t really believe that the whole charismatic practice of being “slain in the Spirit” and “speaking in tongues” (a la Binny Hinn et al) is genuinely the Holy Spirit; I’m pretty convinced that it’s people being swept up in their emotions and allowing the passions to rule their worship. They aren’t doing it on purpose; they just don’t know what they’re missing.
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