In this video ex-new ager and author of The Second Coming of the New Age, Steven Bancarz, talks about the Pentecostal church, charismatic Christianity and the power of the Holy Spirit. One of the things I loved about the video was how grounded it was in Scripture. I also really appreciated how Steven and Second Coming coauthor, Joshua Peck, were able to discuss this topic in an open, honest and respectful way.
This is important to me because I have been struggling a lot with this topic.
When I first left the new age I was drawn to charismatic Christianity. Some of what I read, including all of Derek Prince’s books, was helpful and well-grounded in Scripture. Other books I read (such as those written by Bethel church pastors) didn’t sit right with me.
Additionally, as a relatively new Christian, I was exposed to a great deal of anti-charismatic sentiment. I heard other Christian say that charismatics were charletons or even aligned with demons. That the spiritual gifts (or charisma) had ceased or were withdrawn at the end of the apostolic age (a doctrine called cessationism). That the only legitimate way God can reveal Himself to us is through Scripture.
While I agreed that not all charismatics were credible, I found it troubling to hear people denying what I believed to be valid experiences of the Holy Spirit in my own life and in the lives of others. Even more troubling, I felt that saying God couldn’t speak to us except through Scripture, was an attempt to limit God or even tell him what He could or could not do.
But a Spirit-filled approach to my Christian faith continued to call to me.
I continued to attend the church I had joined as a brand-new Christian. I knew I didn’t agree with that church’s cessationist viewpoint but I liked (and still like) almost everything else about it. But I couldn’t help wondering about our local Pentecostal churches. So I checked it out.
I found that I liked that church and their dynamic Spirit-filled approach to worship so I decided to learn more. I enrolled in the Berean School of the Bible which is associated with the Assembly of God (a charismatic Pentecostal denomination) and signed up for a course on Christ in the Synoptic Gospels.
I felt good about my course and the church I visited but the anti-charismatic sentiment persisted. Sometimes it even made me second guess the direction in which I felt the Holy Spirit was leading me. Then at the peak of that struggle I heard Steven Bancarz’s solid defense of charismatic Christianity and the Pentecostal church.
He made some wonderful and very scriptural points. I hope to revisit some of them in upcoming Bible journal posts and highly recommend the video.