Charismatic Renewal Movement (CRM) in the 1960s

November 28, 2017 at 10:35 AM Leave a comment

The reliance on special signs from God is the mark of an immature person; an individual that cannot simply believe the truth as presented, but must have a special, miraculous sign as the symbol of authority from God. – Dr. Bruce Walthe, Finding the Will of God, p. 32

The above comment illustrates one of the problems that exists in Christendom. We validate our mystical pursuit of God, claiming that since God is supernatural, we should expect God to “prove” Himself with signs and wonders. This is in spite of the fact that Jesus Himself condemned a generation that sought signs (Matthew 16:4). Of course, those involved in movements that stress signs and wonders deny that they are seeking signs to believe in God as Jesus’ contemporaries did. They would argue that they are simply seeking God, not signs. Because He is supernatural, His Presence (manifestation), should be seen in signs and wonders as normative.

We’ve highlighted the New Order of Latter Rain and the Voice of Healing Movement previously. These were representative of decades of the 1940’s and 1950’s and both movements included many signs and wonders. But did or do all the signs and wonders in the world bring people into a closer walk with God? Are people walking more in obedience to His commands, to live for Him daily?

Signs/wonders are certainly more exciting, aren’t they? They appear to be supernatural therefore they must be of God, it is argued. When all is said and done and the smoke clears, what is left? What has really changed in people? Many of the people who are leaders in these movements seem very carnal. Often, scandals swirl around them but they always seem to point to the number of people swayed by their antics as proof of their validity.

Heretic apostle Todd Bentley states on his Fresh Fire website, “We have seen over a million people in 65 nations make a decision for Christ in our crusades, having heard the Gospel preached, and seeing and experiencing the Word heal, save, set free, and deliver in signs, wonders, and miracles.” 

The problem with this is that when Bentley’s revival services are viewed, a clear presentation of the Gospel is absent. What is prevalent are signs and wonders that are simply accepted as being from God. The rationale is that the signs and wonders are a manifestation of God moving among the crowd. It is then assumed that as people in the crowd are “slain in the spirit,” speak in tongues, scream in agony, shake like an exercise machine, or something else, God has “overshadowed” them. This then is taken to mean that they have “made a decision for Christ.”

Is this the report of Scripture? In Acts 2, the very day the Church was born, Peter preached a very clear message about the sacrifice of Jesus and what it means for everyone who will come to Him in faith believing that what He accomplished on Calvary’s cross brings salvation to the penitent person. In Romans 10:10-11, Paul clearly and succinctly presents the Gospel message. In fact, throughout the New Testament, we see this message repeated over and over.

We do not hear this message presented at these gatherings overseen by heretics like Todd Bentley, Bill Johnson, Rick Joyner, Heidi Baker, and many others. It is at its core, a gathering of people who seek signs as evidence of the manifestation and work of God. God is expected to perform for them, to prove that He is and that He is there. I cannot help but wonder how many of these individuals upon their death will learn that they never knew Jesus at all (Matthew 7:21-23). It is hoped that some at least actually know Jesus, but have seriously gotten off path. The alternative causes one to shudder.

The Christian life is fairly mundane, in that the Christian, in order to get to know God must first commit him/herself to wanting to know Him in a living, vibrant relationship. This occurs at salvation and thereafter as an ongoing commitment, much like a marriage vow. It is to be taken seriously and lived out daily.

Two married people are not supposed to avoid adultery one day, but give into it the next. The marriage vow is to be taken seriously with each partner recognizing the reality of that covenant on a daily basis. It should prompt them to not ever tempt themselves by allowing situations to occur where their marriage vow can be compromised. The two people should grow in love and commitment to one another with each passing day. Often marriage can seem mundane. Without a concrete commitment to one another, it is easy for two people to grow apart.

It is the same in our relationship with God. Christians are to take very seriously our commitment to Him. We are to live in a way that we fulfill the “law of Christ” that Paul often refers to throughout his writings and it is summed up in Christ’s words to love God with all of our heart, mind, and soul and to love others as we love ourselves (Mark 12:30-31). What aids us there? Is it signs and wonders or is it the indwelling Holy Spirit who empowers us, convicts of sin, and helps us move onto maturity in Christ?

Is living the Christian life something that we grow into as we mature in Christ or is it something that happens instantaneously through the presence of signs and wonders? Good marriages do not happen instantly nor do they happen overnight. Great effort goes into making them solid and growing. So it is with our relationship with God in Christ. It takes time, dedication, commitment, and effort (not to save us, but to grow in Christ after we have gained salvation).

It should be noted by the way that though these movements might have their origins in a specific decade of the 1900’s, they tend to hang around for quite some time. The Charismatic Movement (or Renewal as many term it), began in earnest in the 1960’s, but I did not become involved in it until the 1970’s and it was still going strong then, though changing somewhat.

The Charismatic Movement is still around today while the emphasis is on specific signs and wonders and the name has changed. These movements are all interconnected with new incarnations. This gives the impression that God is truly doing something “new,” when in point of fact, there is really nothing new at all. It’s simply pointed out as new by leaders of that movement because of a different emphasis.

Dennis J. Bennett

Anyone who stepped foot inside the Charismatic Movement and stayed a while understands its origins in America. The one individual through whom the movement grew. It’s common knowledge, but for the sake of those who are unaware, let’s go over the basics.

On April 3, 1960 the Charismatic Movement went public when Father Dennis Bennett, an Episcopal priest announced to his Van Nuys, CA, congregation that he had personally spoken in tongues and that he believed that this was the pattern for the church. Later in 1966 the Charismatic Movement penetrated the Roman Catholic Church where it was readily received by a laity and clergy opened, via Vatican II, to new ideas on church renewal.

Bennett is considered the man through which the modern-day Charismatic Movement (Renewal), occurred in America. He said he spoke in tongues and of course, tongues for the Charismatic means speaking in an unknown “heavenly” language, a language that only God understands. Even though the person praying the unknown language doesn’t understand what they’re saying, yet they believe they are “blessed” because of it. You may even recall one of his most well-known books, Nine O’Clock In The Morning.

Paul has a great deal to say about tongues and even if we agree that Paul was speaking about tongues as an unknown heavenly language (we don’t), he certainly downplayed that particular gift with the Corinthian believers. Yet, this is essentially the sign/wonder that began the modern-day Charismatic Movement in America. I’d say something was wrong with that from the start, yet I did not originally believe that to be the case.

When I was involved in the Charismatic Movement, while it wasn’t pushed as much as it is within Pentecostalism, tongues was always seen as a heavenly blessing and those who had it obviously were more spiritual than those who did not have it (implied). This was also the problem with Corinthian believers who thought that the “tongues” gift made people super-Christians. They even cast aspersions and doubt where Paul was concerned, which is why he stated that he was glad he spoke in tongues more than any of them (1 Corinthians 14:18, but read all of chapters 12 – 14 please).

For Paul, tongues (speaking in unknown but real languages, not known to the speaker), was not high on the list of gifts from God. For the Corinthians, it most certainly was and that was and is the attitude of the Charismatic Movement. Tongues is allegedly evidence of the “second blessing,” the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Those who don’t have that then have not been baptized by the Holy Spirit.

I recall the many authors and people who became leaders within that movement. Jamie Buckingham, Harold Hill, Joyce Landorf, Bob Mumford, and many others were all looked up to as though they had the very words of God. Sadly, as often happens in these movements, people are religiously followed and their books are read as though the very words of God, to the extent that the Bible, God’s actual Word to us, takes a back seat. I voraciously read many of these books. I have a few in my library currently as reference only.

The Charismatic Movement is also known as the “second wave” of the Holy Spirit, with the first wave going back to the Azusa Street Revival of 1906, which gave birth to the Pentecostalism. The Charismatic Movement is big in segments of the Roman Catholic Church as well, to this day, and it is because of that, people from various non-Roman Catholic denominations are drawn together with Roman Catholics to worship.

Serious theological differences are set aside as all seek to “know” God, normally through signs and wonders. The tragedy is that because of many of the paganistic origins of Roman Catholicism, it is very much like the Corinthians continuing to celebrate idolatrous meals inside cultic temples, thinking there was nothing wrong with it (1 Corinthians 10). They believed that since they were now Christians and not under the Law, they didn’t have to worry about where they ate or the particular meat they ate (even if it had been sacrificed to idols). Paul explained that to avoid the appearance of evil, they should stop participating in these idolatrous celebrations. It should also be done for “conscience” sake; not theirs, but for those who have not yet come to faith and continue to worship idols.

Unfortunately, it is essentially the same thing when worshiping with Roman Catholics. Theirs is a works-based, ritualistic religion that preaches salvation by works, plus faith, plus the traditions of the Church. To worship with Roman Catholics in their churches means to agree with their teaching. It’s different if we attend a Roman Catholic funeral as a show of respect for the someone we know who died and for the living they leave behind. However, worshiping with someone in their setting, whose beliefs are diametrically opposed to Scripture is to be avoided because it sends the wrong message to them.

The Charismatic Movement itself began to wane in the late 1970’s. The leaders within the movement – “Oral Roberts, Larry Lea, Earl Paulk, Dick Iverson, Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Bob Tilton, etc., [proclaimed] that the ‘charismatic movement’ is over and God’s ‘new move’ is underway.” According to them, God is always doing something new, but that’s not the message of Scripture.

In all these movements, the emphasis is always on how people feel about something to determine truth. All of this is simply a principle of Cultural Marxism (emotional virtue, or political correctness). Society has learned to determine truth by feel or emotion rather than by the truth of God’s Word. People like to be their own judge of truth. They don’t want to have to rely on God’s determination of truth. Certainly we see that among the heathen of the world, but for too long we’ve been seeing it among those who claim to follow Jesus. It will only worsen as the end of this age approaches. But you can spare yourself the problems associated with these unscriptural movements instead of being sucked into them by accident or on purpose.

The Charismatic Movement gave way to the third wave of God moving among people and like its predecessors, it has a number of incarnations over the years since the Charismatic Movement of the 1960’s. We’ll talk about these movements next time.

Entry filed under: Atheism and religion, christianity, Cultural Marxism, Demonic, devil worship, emergent church, Emotional virtue, eternity, Maitreya, new age movement, Political Correctness, Politically Correct, Politics, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, Satanism. Tags: , , , , , .

Voice of Healing Movement of the 1950’s… Losing Control in the Name of God?

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