Charismatics believe some notoriously silly things. Believing that the signs given in the New Testament to verify Apostleship (2 Corinthians 12:12) still exist, they’re always looking for “signs, wonders, and mighty deeds.” Unfortunately, this leaves them settling for fake miracles, stupid visions, and parlor tricks.
For nineteen-hundred years, the Christian church has largely believed that the Apostolic sign gifts (which include prophecy, tongues, and miracles wrought by the hands of men) no longer exist because the Apostles are no longer with us. These gifts were meant to signify Apostles and were distributed only to the Apostles and upon those whom the Apostles laid their hands. Charismatics disagree with the bulk of church history, however, and in doing so fall repeatedly for charlatans, crooks, carnival barkers, frauds, phoneys, mentalists, and parlor tricksters.
Here’s a list of 4 dumb things that charismatics believe that aren’t real.
4. Jezebel Spirits, Leviathan Spirits, and other Boogeyman Spirits
Charisma News has articles about the infamous Jezebel Spirit about every day. Here’s an article they did, claiming that the “Jezebel Spirit” that went after Moses, Elijah, and Jesus was also working in Hillary Clinton and against Brett Kavanaugh. While we’re fire-breathing conservatives who despise Hillary Clinton and like Brett Kavanaugh, the so-called Jezebel Spirit is not a thing. It literally does not exist; it’s the figment of a charismatic imagination. Neither are there Leviathan Spirits, water spirits, sneaky squid spirits, or other fanciful things.
Most of this misunderstanding is linked to Acts 16:16 which, in the King James version says that a girl used as a spiritual medium had a “python spirit.” This amounts to a contextual and interpretative misunderstanding. Luke was not writing about a “constricting” or “squeezing” demonic force that wraps itself around you, as charismatics imagine. The explanation is much blander. “Python,” or pythōna, was a reference to a specific region known as Pytho that held the Oracle of Delphi. A dragon guarded the Oracle of Delphi mythologically, and so “Python” was used as a 1st Century colloquialism to refer to those who claimed the power of divination. There wasn’t an actual spirit snake.
Springboarding off the Python Spirit, charismatics come up with every kind of “boogeyman” spirit possible, all of which, for some reason, are attacking both them and Donald Trump on a daily basis. Scripturally, however, there are demons. There are not, however, specific kinds of demons with various mythical mascots or superheroes. There’s no Jezebel Spirit, no Sasquatch Spirit, no Jabberwocky Spirit. That’s charismatic nonsense.
3. Speaking in “Tongues”
One of the last curses of sin was the confusion of language at Babel (Genesis 11). Symbolically, the gift of xenoglossia in Acts 2 was the significant and symbolic lifting of that curse. As Jews were gathered from all over the Roman Empire for the Feast of Shavouth, the Harvest Festival, they represented at least 16 different people-groups, as many dialects, and half as many languages. As the 120 followers of Jesus began to preach the Gospel when the Holy Spirit was given, they began to speak in languages that those expat Jews could hear in their native understanding. There seems to have been both the speaking of foreign tongues and the interpretation of foreign tongues occurring on the Day of Pentecost.
One thing is for sure, however; the languages spoken on the Day of Pentecost were actual languages. In Acts 10, the Holy Spirit did the same miraculous work as the Gospel went to the Gentiles in the household of Cornelius. Later in Acts 11, Peter recalls that they demonstrated that gift “just as we did at the first.” In other words, just as the language spoken in Acts 2 were known human languages, what Cornelius spoke was a known human language.
There is no indication anywhere in Scripture that “tongues” is ecstatic utterance or an unknown language. The misunderstanding comes from the usage of the word “tongues” in the King James Bible, which was simply the 17th Century term for “languages.” Charismatics sometimes appeal to 1 Corinthians 13:1 in which Paul says, “If I speak in the tongues of angels or the tongues of men, but have not love…” Of course, Paul was not intending to teach on languages at all, but love. Every time angels speak in Scripture (literally every time), they’re speaking human languages (even when they’re in Heaven). Paul’s point wasn’t giving a colloquial expression to describe lofty speech and words of grandeur.
The early church strongly condemned “ecstatic utterance,” or the speaking of nonsense words and gobbledegook. This has always been associated with pagan prayer practices, and is used in the occult, Hinduism, and Tribal religions across the world.
2. Receiving a “Word from the Lord” Outside the Bible
Do you know what you call someone who hears directly from God? You call them a prophet. And no, you are not a prophet.
Hebrews 1:1-2 very clearly tells us that God no longer speaks to us through prophets, but through the words of Christ. In fact, we’re promised that incomplete and fragmented prophecies and tongues will cease in 1 Corinthians 13:8 when the complete (telios) comes. The complete word of God Paul referred to was the Holy Scripture and completed canon.
However, charismatics today teach and believe that they should be hearing God speak to them in prayer. Mark it down: Nowhere in Scripture are we told that God speaks to us in prayer…nowhere. Rather, prayer is the means by which we communicate with God, and the Bible is the means by which God communicates to us.
For the vast sum of Christian history, claiming to receive direct, divine revelation from God would have you immediately kicked out of the church. It still should. This is how every cult of the 19th Century was created (Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventism, et al), by people claiming to receive new visions from God.
Don’t believe it. Instead, believe your Bible.
1. Laughing in the Spirit, Being Slain in the Spirit, Being Drunk in the Spirit
Nadab and Abihu were consumed in fire for worshipping God in a way he did not explicitly prescribe (Leviticus 10), for lighting strange fire upon the altar. There is perhaps no better way to describe a charismatic worship service than “strange fire.”
God gets to decide how we worship him. We are told to call solemn assemblies (Joel 1:14). Laughing in the presence of God brings judgment as a sign of lacking faith, as it did for Sarah (Genesis 18:12). The Bible says that fools laugh when they should be serious (Proverbs 29:9). No one in Scripture, no one, is portrayed as laughing in God’s presence as a means of worship. Rather, when God is present, they fall terrified in fear.
Likewise, no one in Scripture is “slain in the Spirit.” Biblically, that’s not a thing. It’s not real. Those who fell before God in fear fell frontwards on their face, and not backward. This is a phenomenon completely made up by 20th Century charismatics.
Being “drunk in the spirit” was contrived at the so-called “Toronto Blessing” revival and perpetuated by “Holy Ghost Bartender,” Rodney Howard Browne. And yet, we’re warned against drunkenness in the Scripture and we’re told that a fruit of the Spirit is self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
Most of the charismatic signposts believed to be manifestations of the Holy Spirit are either demonic in nature or self-deluded hypnosis and mass hysteria. These charismatic novelties are nowhere to be found in Scripture, and most of them are forbidden in Scripture.
Please encourage your friends and loved ones to come out of the superstitions of charismaticism, and into spirit-filled orthodox Christianity. We believe in the power of the Holy Spirit to convict the world of sin, regenerate our hearts, lead us to the truth, and produce in us spiritual fruits like discernment, which keep us from being charismatic.