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INFLUENTIAL TRENDS AND MOVEMENTS IN CONTEMPORARY THEOLOGY: CHARISMATIC THEOLOGY

Tamela R. Johnson Survey of Theology THEO 510 Instructor: Eunice Abogunrin December 14, 2012

CONTENTS INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................................................2 THE FIRST WAVE PENTECOSTAL EXPERIENCE ..............................................................4 THE INCEPTION AND GROWTH OF THE CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST .......................4 THE BLACK CHURCH..............................................................................................................5 THE 21ST CENTURY WORSHIP EXPERIENCE .....................................................................6 THE CHARSIMATIC LEADER ................................................................................................8 BIBLICAL WORSHIP ................................................................................................................9 CONCLUSION ............................................................................................................................11 BIBLIOGRAPHY ........................................................................................................................13

INTRODUCTION The Charismatic movement is one of the most widespread and influential forces within Christianity today. The main doctrinal characteristic consisting of the baptism in the Holy Spirit as a subsequent event, prophecy, speaking in tongues, laying of the hands, the gift of healing, and emphasis on a personal experience with God are key reasons for the movements popularity and growth. This twentieth century phenomenon is something that cannot be deniedfor many lives have been transformed through innumerable revivals around the world where the power of God was witnessedfirsthand. One such phenomenon is the Azusa Street Revival. Led by William J. Seymour in central Los Angeles in 1906, the Azusa Street revival had its roots in the establishment and development of Pentecostalism in North America. The services, consisting of intercultural and interracial congregants, were spontaneous in nature. Singing in tongues and people falling on the ground under the power or slain in the Spirit were common phenomena..1 There was no set program in place or speaker designated to preach. The emphasis was on yielding to the leading of the Holy Spirit. The spirit-filled encountered sparked the establishment of many newly found denominations, including Church of God in Christ (COGIC), a Pentecostal-Charismatic entity comprised of churches with predominantly black leaders and congregants. Since the practices and teachings of the Charismatic movement are quite different from what conventional Christians taught for nineteen centuries, it is wise to closely examine what occurs in contemporary churches. Experiences based solely on feeling and devoid of Biblical

Anderson, Allan, "The Azusa Street Revival and the Emergence of Pentecostal Missions in the Early Twentieth Century." Transformation (02653788) 23, no. 2 (April 2006): 110.

validity have increasingly become the norm.2I have been a member of the COGIC denomination for over 10 years and have been blessed in innumerous ways. However, a recent yearning and quest for a deeper relationship with God has opened my eyes to certain ritualistic behaviors that have been exhibited in the black church. Cunningly orchestrated music, loud charismatic feel-good preaching that stirs up emotions, running anddancing through the aisles, and repetitive chants, some of which are learned behaviors Ive personally participated in, have become customary. Is this what fellowship and worship has succumb to? One can easil y get caught up in the moment; get a high from the emotion but this is not godly worship.3 Worshipping God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24) has been reducedto certain religious and ritualistic behaviors where displays of outward expressions and heightened emotions are perceivedas true worship, spirituality, and oneness with God. In this study, the researcherwill show the correlation between the influence of the charismatic movement and the emotionalism found in many black Pentecostal-Charismatic churches, and how it has contributed to the skewed perception of worship and ones relationship with God. The intent of this study does not attempt to place all black COGIC churches under the same analysis, but serves the purpose of shedding light on the emotionalism and religious antics displayed in many black churches in an effort to admonish believers to examine their personal walk and relationship with God and gain a biblical perspective of true worship.

Anderson, Allan, "The Azusa Street Revival and the Emergence of Pentecostal Missions in the Early Twentieth Century." Transformation (02653788) 23, no. 2 (April 2006): 110.
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Levison, John R, "Filled with the Spirit: A Conversation with Pentecostal and Charismatic Scholars." Journal Of Pentecostal Theology 20, no. 2 (2011): 216.

THE FIRST WAVE PENTECOSTAL EXPERIENCE The historic developments of the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement are separated into three separate waves possessing distinctive theological characteristics. The first wave comprises of the Pentecostal denominations that sprung up in the early twentieth century and contributed to the religious awakening among many black slaves.4 Founders and congregants who were once part of the older and more established Protestant churches either left the denomination to pursue a more enthusiasticand spiritual order or they were simply asked to leave because of differences in doctrinal beliefs.The greatest conflict arose from preaching related to the baptism of the Holy Spirit and how this experience is a separate occurrence that follows after the conversion. THE INCEPTION AND GROWTH OF THE CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST Charles Harrison Mason, a Baptist minister from Mississippi, began teaching the Baptist congregation the Wesleyan doctrine which emphasized entire sanctification and Christian perfection and holiness. However, such preaching caused dissentionamong many members for the Wesleyan perfectionism doctrine conflicted with the Calvinist theology of the Baptist. The controversy grew to where the leaders of the National Baptist Convention intervened and unanimously expelled Mason and others who embraced the holiness teaching. In 1906, Mason and other leaders went to investigate reports of the Azusa Street Revival. Masons visit changed the direction of his holiness beliefs, for he had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and began speaking in tongues. Upon his return to his hometown, Mason started preaching and teaching the

Lederle, Henry I, "The Spirit of Unity: a Discomforting Comforters. Some Reflections on the Holy Spirit, Ecumenism and the Pentecostal-Charismatic Movements." Ecumenical Review 42, no. 3/4 (1990): 282.

Pentecostal message to his newly formed Church of God in Christ (COGIC) congregations, which was well received. One primaryfactor that set theCOGIC denomination apart from otherblack denominations wasthe incorporation of African worshipwith the orthodoxy of fundamental Christian worship and fellowship. While congregants attempted toabsorb the more dominant Christian culture of worship, over time black churches began exchanging the Euro-Anglo religious practices with those of African-orient.5 Mason sought and achieved his mission of re-Africanizing black churches with features such as reintroducing drums, spontaneous sound celebrations, call-andresponse preaching, dancing, and emotionally liberating worship.6 The change in religious practices was not well received by some early white Pentecostal leader, for these practices were viewed as possessing remnants of voodoo culture. However, others simply viewed Mason as a prodigy of the slave religion, having the ability to draw people with practical insight and messages tailored to the culture and struggles of the black race. THE BLACK CHURCH Because of their struggles and hardship, African slaved were known to rely deeply on religion and their churches. Churchprovided a sense of restoration, peace and helped maintain faith and hope in God and His promises. Attending church is where many slaves found refuge in the midst of their many struggles. In African-American history, the church has long been at the center of the black communities. It has established itself as the greater source of African

Maxwell, Joe, Building the Church (of God in Christ). Christianity Today 40, no. 11 (April 1996): 25. Maxwell, Joe, Building the Church (of God in Christ). Christianity Today 40, no. 11 (April 1996): 25.

American religious enrichment and secular development.7 Black churches were not only considered a place where one can receive the teaching of Christianity, but address specific social issues affecting their members. Prior to the establishment of the black church, white southerners sought to control how black people worshipped. They had no voice regarding the affairs of the church and were ordered to sit in the back, participating more as outsiders, rather than members. After the civil war, blacks began separating themselves, forming their own churches which spread throughout the South. With the division of congregations came the development of a distinct religious observance combining elements of African rituals, slave emotionalism, southern suffering, and individual eloquence.8The services consisted of devotional prayer, singing by the choir or congregation, and preaching. THETWENTY-FIRST CENTURY WORSHIP EXPERIENCE After the inception and establishment of the black church, certain rituals and behaviors remained that developed into a normal way of worship. With thephenomenon of the Azusa Street revival and establishment of the COGIC denomination, came certain behaviors that developed and evolved over the course of time. A member at a black Pentecostal church in Los Angeles gives his account of some of the behaviors he witnessed firsthand in typical church service: Elated celebrations, strident and loud singing, music that has the ability to reach the inner emotions, dancing, raised hands, prostration, women with huge hats and dresses, flailing arms, and feet that shuffled; men, who sometimes stood with hands raised, sometimes danced or ran around the sanctuary. There were hollers, screams, chants, tears. There is an excessive amount of emotions, an intensity, which to outsiders may appear to be erratic and exotic. The aisle where people danced and the altar where people prayed as well as tarried were sites of superfluous emotionalism the speaking in tongues, the

Blumhofer, Edith L, "Revisiting Azusa Street: A Centennial Retrospect." International Bulletin Of Missionary Research 30, no. 2 (2006): 59.
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Nelson, Timothy J, Sacrifice of Praise: Emotion and Collective Participation in an African -American Worship Service.: Sociology of Religion 57, no. 4 (1996): 381.

laying on of hands, the tears, the fissures with normative postures for acceptable behavior and respectability; an indicator of ones spirituality and closeness to God.9

Church preaching is dependent upon call and response which may include both physical and vocal responses and reactions to prayer, preaching, the music, and other factors that engages the congregants attention and produces a stimulus reaction. There are preachers whose main focus is to make the audience feel good and produce a response. In 2 Timothy 4:3, Paul writes, For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. The leaders responsibility is to teach sound doctrine, not what the members desire to hear. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16). Preaching feel good messages leave the congregant unequipped and illprepared to truly perform in the manner that produces fruit and yield results in a world in desperate need of salvation. Good feelings and high emotions does not produce a mature Christian, but empty frenzyvoid of substance. Only the Word of God used in its proper context has the power and ability to produce maturity and growth. Is this form of worship truly honoring and glorifying God, or is it simply a display of unbridled emotionalism? "Emotionalism within this context refers to irrational emotionalism, which may be defined as the loud, clamoring and repetitive expressions of feeling that have no basis in orderly behavior and that are without scriptural foundation, purpose and direction.10

Nelson, Timothy J, Sacrifice of Praise: Emotion and Collective Participation in an African-American Worship Service.: Sociology of Religion 57, no. 4 (1996): 387. 10 Nelson, Timothy J, Sacrifice of Praise: Emotion and Collective Participation in an African -American Worship Service.: Sociology of Religion 57, no. 4 (1996): 386.

Such behavior has the tendency to draw attention to self instead of God. For some, especially those who are not acclimated with church, such displays may actually draw people away instead of them being drawn closer to God. THE CHARISMATIC LEADER The word charismatic which is used to describe the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement stems from the Greek wordcharis. The English transliteration for charis is the Greek word for grace, and mata is the Greek word for gifts.11 The two words combined produce the word Charismata, which refers to the grace gifts. Grace gift places emphasis on the belief that signs of the presence of the Holy Spirit are demonstrated through the manifestation of gifts that are bestowed upon the believer. The spiritual gifts are believed to give authority and influence to certain individuals who possess these gifts. It is understood that the same manifestation of the Holy Spirit that was made available to the church in the book of Acts can be experienced and accomplished today. Pentecostals have during their history, looked to a number of outstanding leaders who have greatly impacted their thinking and their practice. Because these leaders have been charismatic, in both the ability to express with great capacity, as well as in the sense that they were people who majored on the use of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, their word was sometimes viewed on a par with that of Scripture itself.12 The main problem with this ideology is that many Pentecostals have been led to place more faith in the words of leader of the church more than in

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Coleman, Simon. "The Charismatic Gift." Journal Of The Royal Anthropological Institute 10, no. 2 (2004): 421. Garrard, David J. "Leadership versus the Congregation in the Pentecostal/Charismatic Movement." JEPTA: Journal Of The European Pentecostal Theological Association 29, no. 2 (2009): 96.

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establishing their own personal understanding of the Word of God and in the leading and unction of the Holy Spirit. In some COGIC churches, leaders functioning under the charismatic gifts have produced a spiritual dictatorship, where instead of looking to God; the congregation find themselves looking to the leader for guidance, insight and direction regarding their lives and relationship with God. As a result, it creates a barrier between the members and God, where instead of developing an individual relationship with God, their relationship is filter through the leader of the church. Any who have been regarded as charismatic preachers, healers, prophets, men and women of faith and those who have started large congregations, have been, and still are, held in high esteem. They are viewed as one possessing an anointing which surpasses all others.13 BIBLICAL WORSHIP Many churchgoers today are under the impression that the main reason for attending worship service is to receive something out of the service, rather thangiving adoration, worship, and praise to God. One primary reason why people complain about not feeling satisfied with a particular worship service is because the object and emphasis is not on what one can give to God, but on self. When people attend a worship service with the expectation of experiencing an emotional high but do not receive it, blame is often placed on the praise and worship team, preacher, or choir. In Acts 2:42-47, we are given a biblical perspective of what the services and traditions were like during the time of the establishment of the church: They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.Every day

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Garrard, David J, "Leadership versus the Congregation in the Pentecostal/Charismatic Movement." JEPTA: Journal Of The European Pentecostal Theological Association 29, no. 2 (2009): 98.

they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

The early church established an environment which emphasized selflessness, giving, evangelizing the lost, learning sound doctrine, and most of all, giving praises and worship to God. God was able to move in the midst of these believers because the motives of their heart were pure and single-minded.The purpose of our worship is to exalt, honor, glorify, praise and please the Lord. It is a reflection of our loyalty and adoration to Him; the One who loved us so much that He sacrifices His only begotten Son to die in our place so that we could receive salvation and reconciliation. Revelations 4:11 states, You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created. We were created to worship God. While speaking with the woman at the well, Jesus says, "But the hour is coming, and now is, when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit and they that worship Him mustworship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).Worshipping God "in spirit and in truth" means with reverence, admiration, reverence, attentiveness, and right purpose of honoring God, while understanding what we are doing and Who it is we are worshipping.14 Worship is not restricted to any law, procedure, traditional, ritual or location. God is seeking for true worshippers and it starts with the condition and motive of the heart. CONCLUSION

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Van Oort, Johannes, "The Holy Spirit and the early Church: The experience of the Spirit." Hervormde Teologiese Studies 68, no. 1 (2012): 5.

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A biggestdanger within the black Pentecostal-Charismatic COGIC denomination is the priority that experience and emotionalism has over Scriptural and biblical doctrine. Paul Enns evaluation of the Charismatic movement provides an excerpt from Chuck Smith, Pastor and Founder of Calvary Chapel denominations: One of the greatest weaknesses of the charismatic movement is its lack of sound Bible teaching. There seems to be an undue preoccupation with experience, which is often placed above the Word. As a consequence, charismatic have become a fertile field for strange and unscriptural doctrines proliferating through their ranks. The Scriptures must not only have priority over experience, but the Scriptures alone must be the basis for truth.15 Emotionalism and showmanship in church is not only void of biblical support, but has contributed to a false belief that what one does externally is an indicator of ones spirituality and relationship with God. However, the outward expression and appearance of man does not provide insight into the true spirituality of an individual. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart (1 Sam. 16:7). It is the Lord who searches all hearts and understands every intent of the thoughts (Jer. 17:10). God knows the motive behind everything we do. While our external behavior may possess the appearance of spirituality and oneness with God, only God knows the true intent of that person, He will judge accordingly. As believers, it is important that we closely examine our personal walk and relationship with God while pondering the following questions: Is my relationship with God superficial, where its based on outward appearance and expression? Does my worship place emphasis on traditional and religious behaviors in an effort to be perceived as spiritually? What is my motive for attending worship services? Is it to exalt and magnify God or is it to seek something for self?

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Enns, Paul, The Moody Handbook of Theology. Rev. ed. Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 2008. Kindle Edition.

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Do I uphold any doctrinal beliefs that were established by man that are not biblically supported? This is the first step to breaking cycle of emotionalism and superficial worship antics that lack real substance. God desires our whole hearts in all humbleness and contrition. He desires a vessel that is completely yielded and loves Him with all your heart, all your soul and all your strength (Deu. 6:5). Following after the words of the Psalmist David, our prayer should be Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me (Psalms 51:10).

BIBLIOGRAPHY
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Anderson, Allan. "The Azusa Street Revival and the Emergence of Pentecostal Missions in the Early Twentieth Century." Transformation (02653788) 23, no. 2 (2006): 107-118. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed November 17, 2012). Blumhofer, Edith L. "Revisiting Azusa Street: A Centennial Retrospect." International Bulletin Of Missionary Research 30, no. 2 (2006): 59-64. MasterFILE Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed November 16, 2012). Coleman, Simon. "The Charismatic Gift." Journal Of The Royal Anthropological Institute 10, no. 2 (2004): 421-442. JSTOR Arts & Sciences I, EBSCOhost (accessed November 16, 2012). Enns, Paul, The Moody Handbook of Theology. Rev. ed. Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 2008. Kindle Edition. Garrard, David J. "Leadership versus the Congregation in the Pentecostal/Charismatic Movement." JEPTA: Journal Of The European Pentecostal Theological Association 29, no. 2 (2009): 90-103. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed November 14, 2012). Lederle, Henry I. "The Spirit of Unity: a Discomforting Comforters. Some Reflections on the Holy Spirit, Ecumenism and the Pentecostal-Charismatic Movements." Ecumenical Review 42, no. 3/4 (1990): 279-287. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed November 16, 2012). Levison, John R. "Filled with the Spirit: A Conversation with Pentecostal and Charismatic Scholars." Journal Of Pentecostal Theology 20, no. 2 (2011): 213-231. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed November 16, 2012). Maxwell, Joe. Building the Church (of God in Christ). Christianity Today 40, no. 11 (April 1996): 22-28. Nelson, Timothy J. Sacrifice of Praise: Emotion and Collective Participation in an AfricanAmerican Worship Service.: Sociology of Religion 57, no. 4 (1996): 379-396. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed November 14, 2012). Stephenson, Christopher A. "Pentecostal Theology: Retrospect and Prospect." Religion Compass 5, no. 9 (2011): 490-500. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed November 14, 2012). Van Oort, Johannes. "The Holy Spirit and the early Church: The experience of the Spirit." Hervormde Teologiese Studies 68, no. 1 (2012): 1-7. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed November 16, 2012).

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