A New Manifesto for Charismatic Christianity

Here are some of my own personal redlines, non-negotiables and positive principles and guidelines for charismatic Christianity and worship:

(1) It must be accepted that God gives us a vast, broad, diversified and varied array of different, special and unique gifts including administration, preaching, teaching, explanation, etc… as well as certain very noticeable, clear and visible charismatic gifts such as healing, speaking in tongues and interpretation of those tongues. All of these God-given gifts are of equal value, worth and importance and none should be emphasized or elevated above any others.

(2) Humans do not require a second, additional “Baptism in the Holy Spirit” in order to be a Christian, to be saved or to have the Holy Spirit living inside them. It is not in or of itself inherently a unique or exclusive sign or indicator of salvation of your own Christianity.

(3) Receipt of certain, individual charismatic gifts such as speaking in tongues or interpreting tongues is not universally granted to all Christians or to all at once.

(4) Sometimes God rightly, justly, righteously and lovingly withholds, either temporarily or permanently, some of his gracious and unearned gifts for some Christian individuals for His own reasons. There is no universal or uniform template, outline or model for this, it is very much a personal thing about one’s own spiritual relationship with God and about God’s nature and gracious acts of self-giving.

(5) Sometimes the full or partial healing of a particular impediment/disability/illness/disease is still delayed or withheld permanently or temporarily by God, even if the individual hoping to receive partial or full healing has faith and has “enough faith”. If God does not will healing or full hearing of a certain condition for a particular individual at a specific time, no increase of human faith/belief/trust in God will ever, could ever or should ever override or overturn that. We are broken, imperfect, fallen created creatures, not the awesome Creator God and source of all being.

(6) Christians should only ever pray for someone else to be healed if they desire such an outcome and have themselves, of their own volition, asked you to pray for them to be healed.

(7) Certain charismatic gifts and abilities should never be deified, idolised or elevated above any other divine gifts which God has graciously and freely given to us humans. All gifts, talents, abilities, skills and good qualities come from God and so are therefore all good and positive.

(8) Tongues should always be interpreted and/or translated (if possible) by an accurate interpreter when they are spoken aloud in public within a church service.

(9) Whole periods of time or sections of a service should not be devoted solely to the receipt or practice of certain audio/visual charismatic spiritual gifts such as healing or speaking in tongues.

By Ben Somervell

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