Polemics Terms: Charismatic Window
The Charismatic Window is a metaphor for the way nefarious or sub-biblical teaching enters into a church or an individual’s mind because they are a “cautious continuationist,” being open to the possibility of the continuance of the Apostolic Sign Gifts or new revelation. One who doesn’t want to automatically discount such claims are said to have “left open the Charismatic Window.” This expression means that they are vulnerable to any such aberrant doctrine that will inevitably come through that window, because they are open to possibilities.
While many evangelicals won’t countenance the more obvious excesses of the Charismatic movement and the type of spiritual chicanery that typifies the movement’s more dramatic heretics, because they are open to continued revelation or Apostolic gifting, they are susceptible to many less-dramatic, more-subtle diversions from Biblical faith.
The expression is often used to explain how once-discerning people fell for a sub-christian teaching. Because they “left open the Charismatic Window” – given how quickly false doctrines and false teachers arise in the Downgrade – no one person can discern new threats quickly enough to keep heresy at arms length unless their Charismatic Window is closed.
This phrase draws parallels to Jude 1:4, “For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” The concept of a false teacher “creeping in unnoticed” is pivotal in understanding the meaning of the term, “Charismatic Window.”
John Piper, an otherwise sound Biblical exegete, has repeatedly spoken with (as in, together at conferences) Beth Moore and even endorsed men (as well as women) listening to her preach. Moore repeatedly shares the supposed prophecies given her through divine revelation and encourages Contemplative Prayer. Piper has inadvertently linked himself with a notorious false teacher, no doubt unable to mark her as such because he wonders in his mind if maybe her prophecies really are true. In this case, a notorious false teacher crept through John Piper’s open Charismatic Window.
Matt Chandler, an otherwise sound Biblical exegete, has a long list of troubling discernment problems, perhaps most notoriously promoting the material of Theoerosism heretic and Montanist, Ann Voskamp. This travesty would not be occurring if Chandler hadn’t left open the Charismatic Window, but being open to continued revelation, wasn’t able to discern that Voskamp isn’t “making love” to God.
A well-meaning Sunday School teacher is ordinarily not prone to fall for false doctrine, but when it comes to charismatic gifting, she doesn’t want to “put God in a box.” Whereas she found Biblical problems with the details contained in certain Heaven Tourism stories, she couldn’t find error in The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven, and so she promoted it to her class. When the news broke that the young man recanted his story in heartfelt repentance, she had already led astray her students because she had left open the Charismatic Window, and should have discounted all such tails of divine revelation to begin with.
CLOSING THE WINDOW
“Closing the Charismatic Window” means embracing the historic position of Cessationism. Instead of having to discern each and every claim of divine revelation on its merits and therefore leaving yourself open to the possibility of missing one or being fooled by a particularly deceitful argument, cessationists have a “prove it” type attitude, resting assured on the promises that God’s written Word in its 66 different books is sufficient for our spiritual instruction. Those who have shut the Charismatic Window typically do not fall for spiritual error or have false teachers creep in unawares, the same way that it is common for Charismatics or Continuationists.