In some streams of Evangelicalism, Christian faith and practice are defined by popular prevailing notions or personal charisma and less by Scripture. J. Lee Grady (of Charisma magazine) seems to be fighting a losing moral battle when it comes to some his brothers within the Charismatic camp. In a scathing memo he appears to be decrying the materialistic trendy lifestyle that most Charismatic televangelists and pastors are adopting. Honestly, it is good to see some one from within the charismatic camp get loving enough to rock the boat this much:
Such “preachers” are a cancer in the Body of Christ–“….I’ve pulled a lot of my hair out watching our embarrassing charismatic sideshows over the last few years. I think it is time we draw a line in the sand and say: “NO MORE.”
NO MORE BODYGUARDS. We have evangelists who send a small squadron of muscular thugs to “scout” the lobby of a hotel before they arrive. This is extremely odd when you realize that most of the people in said lobby have never even heard of the guy! Sorry, but I really don’t trust a man of God who claims he needs a bodyguard in church. Get down on the people’s level if you want to minister to them.
NO MORE $10,000 PER NIGHT HOTEL ROOMS. We have traveling preachers who book 10,000-square-ft. hotel rooms with private pools so they can rest on their way home from international trips. Excuse me? We could build an orphanage with the money this man wasted. (P.S. I know a good Hampton Inn where you can get a nice bed for $89 a night—and it includes a hot breakfast.) …Read More!
J. Lee Grady is a clear thinking Charismatic and also the contributing editor of Charisma. Having grown increasingly aware that the so-called “Spirit-filled” churches of today struggle with many of the same things the Catholic church faced in the 1500s, he says he is going to (just like Luther and the Wittenberg door) he is going to nail down his theses on the Charismatic church door. We (says Lee) don’t have “indulgences”—we have telethons. We don’t have popes—we have super-apostles. We don’t support an untouchable priesthood—we throw our money at celebrity evangelists who own fleets of private jets. Further more he laments that its past time for a Charismatic Reformation (this article was first published 26th October 2011 in honor of Reformation Day):
1. Let’s reform our theology. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. He is God and He is holy. He is not an “it.” He is not a blob, a force, or an innate power. We must stop manipulating Him, commanding Him and throwing Him around.
2. Let’s return to the Bible. The Word of God is the foundation for the Christian experience. Any dramatic experience, no matter how spiritual it seems, must be tested by the Word and the Holy Spirit’s discernment. Visions, dreams, prophecies and encounters with angels must be in line with Scripture. If we don’t test them we could end up spreading deception.
3. It’s time for personal responsibility. We charismatics must stop blaming everything on demons. People are usually the problem.
4. Stop playing games. Spiritual warfare is a reality, but we are not going to win the world to Jesus just by shouting at demonic principalities. We must pray, preach and persevere to see ultimate victory.
5. Stop the foolishness. People who hit, slap or push others during prayer should be asked to sit down until they learn gentleness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. …Read More!
I do not always agree with J. Lee Grady but this time (as a brother in the Lord) I like his honesty. This time he looks into the recent death of Pastor Zachery Tims and gives the charismatic community a heads up that I think we can all learn from…
Zachery Tims [is said to have] met Jesus and was saved from a life of crime and drugs. He and his wife, Riva, moved from Baltimore to Orlando, Fla., in 1996 to launch a church that aimed to restore families and pull teens out of trouble. New Destiny Christian Center grew fast, mostly because of Tims’ passionate preaching. He was soon a regular on Christian television.
But things unraveled in 2009 when Tims was caught carrying on a yearlong affair with a stripper he met in France. He admitted to an “indiscretion” and got a few weeks of counseling, but he didn’t take serious time off for rehabilitation. Riva divorced him for his infidelity. The billboards that once featured photos of the happy couple were changed. By 2011 the roadside ads featured a shot of Tims by himself, with this slogan: “A Family Church Meeting Family Needs.”
This story did not end well. On Aug. 12, Tims was found dead–at age 42–in a New York City hotel room. His four children lost their dad, and his church lost their beloved leader. But while Tims’ family and friends are grieving their loss (and I’m not minimizing that because the pain is real), I’m also grieving over the fact that the wider body of Christ has yet another embarrassing religious scandal to explain. We can’t gloss over this.
There are so many aspects of this story that should cause us to lament. How did a preacher get involved with a stripper? Why didn’t Tims put himself on the bench for at least a year after his sin was exposed? Why did Christian television keep him on the air after his affair became public? …Read More!