Confessions of a Lapsed Charismatic, pt. 1


{summary: Though rooted in a Reformed tradition that usually spurns this, I am very much a theological charismatic. I believe in the full, contemporary exercise of the Holy Spirit through his Church, including all of the manifestations this has had throughout Church History. And yet, though I “believe” these things, over the past few years, they’ve played a smaller and smaller part in my life. In this piece, I reflect on that.}

UPDATES: Part 2 is up, where I go through a brief history of tongues in a corporate church context. I’ve also posted Part 3, where I focus in on the why and how of individual praying in tongues.

Several days ago, the New York Times had a wonderful Op-Ed piece called “Why We Talk in Tongues“, by a researcher who is exploring this phenomenon. (It was also appropriate, as it is still sort-of, but not really, still Pentecost.) The piece seems to have been pretty popular. Playing around with Google Trends a bit, it seems that this article made the topic of talking in tongues more popular than it has been since “Speaking in Tongues” by Justin Bieber popped up on YouTube a few years ago. This article made the topic more popular than even Megan Fox’s revelation that she speaks in tongues (and is still a practicing Pentecostal).

It got some play all over my Facebook feed, and a couple of friends asked for some of my thoughts. That they asked for my opinion was both flattering and dismaying; it reminded me of how little I talk about this part of my spirituality among my church community.

I remember years ago, when I first found my church in Richmond, Virginia, right at the end of my first semester in college. I walked into this special evening service and I immediately knew this was where God wanted me. I joined the church and was exposed to a beautiful display of charismatic theology.

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For Theology Nerds: a satirical dictionary (don’t miss this!) [casual fri]

Andrew Wilson, over at The Theology Forum has done us a great service my creating this “Brief A–Z of Theological Jargon”, and it is great. Everyone gets some elbows in the ribs. Check it out. You don’t want to miss it. Here are some of my favorites:

1. The belief that men and women are complementary.
2. The antiquated and repressive notion that wives should submit to their husbands, and women should not teach or have authority over men.
3. The attempt to disguise (2) by referring to (1).

1. The belief that men and women are equal.
2. The modern and liberating notion that women can do everything a man can, sister, including wearing trousers, leading the home, leading churches and teaching and having authority over men.
3. The assumption that (1) necessitates (2).

Roman Catholicism
The belief that the church is universal, apart from Anglicans, Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, and pretty much everyone except Roman Catholics.