Friday, February 22, 2008

How Conservative / Charismatic Arguments Happen

Here's a quick stereotype, which seems to be true far too often. I'll give a detailed example later.

  1. a Charismatic who hasn't got a strong theological background but has a real love for Jesus has a valid and helpful Christian experience
  2. that experience gets described theologically in a way that is clear to the people concerned, but is actually inaccurate in a strict sense
  3. Conservatives come across this description and realise that it isn't theologically accurate
  4. Conservatives conclude that the experience is wrong and/or dangerous
  5. Conservatives miss out on the helpful and valid experience
  6. Charismatics observe conservatives missing out on the helpful and valid experience and conclude that they are resisting the work of the Holy Spirit.

The big mistakes here are stages 2, 4 and 6. To prevent this stereotype from happening, charismatics need to learn to express their experiences clearly, and in a way that is theologically accurate and conservatives need to learn to see the strengths and validity of people's experience, even when it isn't explained clearly.

Case study here, on "coming into the presence of God in worship".

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