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he missed out number 5 - an over-abundance of hideous 80s big-hair lurve ballads masquerading as worship songs, performed by big-hair 80s rock star wannabes, a condition known as 'mullet-as-worship-accessory-syndrome'. Song-lyrics that make it sound like the writer wants to get jiggy with Jesus make me feel remarkably uneasy...


Dave Walker

Jonny - I can assure you that the the term 'Post Charismatic' was around in the late 90s. If you hold your screen up to the light you will see that this cartoon ( http://www.cartoonchurch.com/blog/2006/02/22/post-charismatics/ ) has a watermark of 1997 or so.


prof larry shelton, has been using the expression for quite a few years as well...

i dont' have the book infront of me,

Wesleyan Theological Perspectives Series (Warner Press, 1981). Chapter entitled The Holy Spirit in the Theology of the Reformers

but i believe he was using it in the 80's...


ok ok... i stand down humbled ;-)
still a great term

Joseph Ostrander

I was 'caught up' in the prophetic movement, 1995-1999. It was actively pursued by the small charismatic church I attended back then. Experienced much of the 'hype' surrounding the expression of such hyper-spiritual elements.

I have termed the excesses+abuses I saw first hand: "prophrhetoric".

Peter Zefo

My theological traditional fits in what we call a "Wesleyan-Pentecostal" perspective. I am in the last semester of my M.Div program and preparing to write my thesis on how (or if) Pentecostalism (from a Wesleyan viewpoint) can both inform and be informed by postmodernity and the issues that the emerging church is raising.

Within my tradition, I have always felt like a bit of a black sheep. I am not crazy about, well...crazy services and swinging from the chandeliers. I have seen the abuse (or perhaps ignorant use) of prophetic gifts and I hate our hierarchies (but, hierarchies are not particular to Charismatic-Pentecostal movements).

Of your four reasons for describing yourself as "post charismatic" I would offer the following:

1. I have already commented on use of the prophetic, but would like to address holiness briefly. I hate legalism and everything it stands for, but God hates sin. I think we need to be constantly aware of the standard that God has called us to without forcing those standards on others (legalism) or letting everything go (carnality). The two must be held in tension.

2. I agree 100%. I am thankful that these teachings are not a part of my tradition. It filters in here and there among some laity, but is certainly not a part of any official doctrine, creeds or practical commitments.

3. This is exactly where I wish to see reform in our churches. RA Torrey said, "The Holy Spirit is to make you useful, not happy." Pentecostals need to recognize this truth.

4. Here is where I disagree, but only slightly. I do think that there is too much emphasis on the crisis (our tradition recognizes 3 major crises) experience and "altar call." I have personally witnessed and experienced (a good postmodern word!) amazing works of God through a crisis encounter with the Spirit. However, you are right that this often "...either neglects or deliberately belittles other means of spiritual growth." I would caution you not to neglect or belittle(dichotmize)the crisis experience, but rather hold the crisis in dialectic tension with a transforming process.

I look forward to reading your work. I hope that I can be of some use in dialogue as someone coming from an "Emerging Wesleyan-Pentecostal Postmodern" perspective. How's that for loaded terms?

chad Brooks

the term post gets confused way to much. if it didn't translate so well i would never use it. i enjoy your blog and thoughts. in the states (u.s) we could learn alot from the idea of post-charismatics. where i live people take the term and think of ignorant snake dancers and people who don't function in society because of things there church teaches. getting based the last decade or so could be great, and teach the ideas of spirit led lives to alot larger groups of people. thanks.

John  Musick

Haven't we learned any lessons from identifying who we are now by comparing what we were or what once was? You can smear butter and bacon on it all you want but using the term 'post' still comes across as arrogant and disparaging to the Charismatics. You UK blokes are a clever lot and are capable of better.

The other issue I have with the term is that in my opinion, most movers, shakers and adherents in the emergent/missional movement (at least in the US), come from non-Charismatic backgrounds. Many have been reared by cessationist churches and seminaries. Many have never been exposed to correctly pastored Biblical operations of the Holy Spirit in congregational settings and base their biases upon the excesses of the Pentecostals and Charismatics. Many have never personally experienced demonstrative manifestation of the Holys Spirit in their own lives. Thus I feel that despite cutting many of the apron strings of their Evangelical roots they still carry with them the dogma against the thaumaturgic aspects of the Holy Spirit.

I am encouraged by the emphasis on the mystical that exists within the streams of the emerging church, but it seems that it suffers from selective amnesia by leap frogging over the past 60 years of Pentecostal and Charismatic experience to get to the spooky desert father stuff.

I do resonate and mostly agree with your 4 points even though despite your best efforts the fragrance of cynicism still hangs in the air like fresh fried fish.

My point is this: I fear by defining who you/we/I am now by stating that you are post-Charismatic (even semantically) that you are justifying the biases and ignorance that many hold to regarding the invaluable supernatural aspects of the Holy Spirit. I also think that it further entrenches the intelligencia in their scholastic bunkers from the very real and often unfathomable power that God offers us. I agree that the Modern Charismatics may have ruined for many this expressive characteristic of God, but rather than throwing the baby out with the bath water, in all of our deconstruction, let us be challenged to find the real working of the Spirit and not automatically dismiss that the Charismatics might possibly have gotten some things right.

Now don't I sound like a good Vineyard pastor?


Interesting debate.

You might be interested in the series of posts I did on Emerging Church and the Holy Spirit:


It's something we have to get right.... As John says, we need to find the real working of the Spirit. I'd add that for me, we need to widen the boundaries of what we term 'gifts of the Spirit' to include things that aren't just 'power' gifts, but involve art and service too. That was never encouraged in the Charismatic churches I went to. The whole 'gift' thing is vital to our thinking here, I reckon.

Andii Bowsher

The term resonates for me; I still believe in [and practice, actually] spiritual gifts and an experiential thing in faith, but I can't identify with the kinds of authoritarian and excess and tendencies to 'name it and claim it' that seems to mark too much of what goes under the label "charismatic". I really liked the vibe of the early charismatic thing where it was associated with a renaissance in folk arts [okay, a bit twee now] and there were people like Post Green doing a fairly radical discipleship thing [David Watson too].

However, like with "post evangelical" the 'post' prefix tends to connote something left behind. I want a term that still somehow keeps faith with the fact that I 'practice' faith with 'supernatural gifts' [however we understand that] but don't necessarily hold with the fleshly-emo hype [so 'amen' to post-hype] or the naive theologies [heck, I'm a glossolalist and a trained linguist: I have a more sophisticated ur-understanding of what might be going on in many cases...]. So I recognise the term but hold back from claiming it. ... contemplative charismatic ... ? ....

Joseph Ostrander

I was into the prophetic big time. Sincerely & naively? Probably. Gave words, received words, tested words. Specific individuals caused me injury; a pastor & wife from my previous church where the prophetic was embraced big time. It was a spiritual form of manipulation that promised artificial expectations. Then there was the ranking that occurred with those who had it (prophetic prowess) vs. those who gravitated (fawned) toward it. There were those who wanted to be somebody with the 'anointment' trying to pass themselves off as God's spokesperson. It appealed to many already damaged by low self-esteem or those with little or no maturity. It became an artificial badge of acceptability replete with puffed-up attitudes. It does cater to the fleshy part of our nature. Not evil, just misguided. We did want to experience God in a fresh new way & be good stewards of spiritual giftings we knew little about. But it got out-of-hand. Fast. And the damage I witnessed convinced me that it may have been a right idea, but the wrong approach.

I still cringe at the thought of being surrounded by a group of people who are suddenly going to minister prophetically to me with a 'word'. Ugh...no thanks. How would it look done rightly? I don't know. I'm sure God does it through people who recognize the divine essence working in them, but I've seen too much clutter & not enough glory to be comfortable with it. Just part of my own journey still to be recovered in spirit & truth. Was there some divine essence during my willingness to exercise such giftings? I think there was. It's just hard for me to pin down the delineation between my spirit & the Holy Spirit. It became too hard to sift through. Same with substantial words I received. After sifting through them what was left? A big pile of chaff with very little grain.

I just had to step away from it & even challenge some of what I saw as stinky, smelly fruit. Things of God don't bear such fruit. And what real benefit did I witness in the lives of those who participated in it? Nothing of value that you could claim was a direct result of prophetic ministry. Come on now, that's the real test. Is there practical application? Or is it somehow so ethereal that the poor recipient is to remain befuddled but awed by the "word of the Lord?" And what's up with the silly disclaimer that you have to do this or that to have the word come to pass? Isn't that just a bunch of hooey? I saw it as manipulation, self-aggrandizement & false spirituality when such showy demonstrations are unnecessary.

From what I know of the emergent emphasis, prophetic credence is not that big of a deal. It is not discounted in the individual (dreams & visions), but it is not hyped as the new means of corporate revelation today. I do believe emergent expression leans more toward the need to be prophet/apostle and not teacher/pastor in the local church setting. But those titles are not to be construed as Power Ranger ones like Joyner & the Kansas City prophet types promote (notice lower case p & a).

Nothing spooky-spiritual in the emergent camp. Any such functions have one purpose: to build up ministry teams as the preferred leadership style instead of wielding otherworldly authority ala Charlton Heston uttering esoteric revelations. It's very down-to-earth here. No head-trips or title seeking or self-promotion going on. Efforts to be cutting-edge may overlook syncretic elements unwittingly incorporated. Such emphasis claims there is something extra-spiritual about such specialized expressions. How odd. Not that choosing such an expression is not within the freedoms we have in Christ, but it's the exaggerated claims that get me thinking something's not right. I think back to the taunts of the real prophet Elijah to the 450 prophets of Baal.

Why such showy attempts at being more spiritually minded? How silly. But there are sincere saints who think such specialized expressions are authentic patterns directed by the Holy Spirit.

All that to say this: what the Apostles & Prophets experienced as clear inspiration was definitely not in the same league as what I experienced. And now I am very skeptical of those who claim such clarity it qualifies them as a New Testament prophet. You see, there is no way for me to counter such a claim. If someone says, "The Lord told me to tell you this; 'wear a red tie today'", I could not counter it. I could say, "Strange, He didn't tell me that," but it misses the point of hearing from a prophet. And if God told me to wear a blue tie that day, who was listening better? It gets muddled when the prophetic gifts were never meant to be exercised that way.

I am for the low-key, off-the-radar manifestations going on today all over the world. I would like this to be the norm, not the exception. I have also seen the hype & abuse & silliness done in the name of God trying to pass itself off as the miraculous: the super-spiritual, the strange/weird manifestations of power that supposedly proved God was moving in a new way.

I am all for the wondrous, sometimes inexplicable, workings of the miraculous that show us God still moves among us. I just cannot accept all the claims of such manifestations apart from the precedent set by Jesus or the prophets of old. It seems these were how the Holy Spirit was expressed through supernatural events. If God wanted to speak to people of compassion & mercy & concern, healings would be the way to do it. And if some claim God is doing a "new" thing by doing something off-the-wall, I will simply withhold acceptance of such & question whether anyone should pay any heed.

Skeptical? Yes I am. Discount the miraculous? Not at all.



"I do resonate and mostly agree with your 4 points even though despite your best efforts the fragrance of cynicism still hangs in the air like fresh fried fish."

Ouch! I guess you haven't read my writing on post-charismatic yet, because what you're encouraging us here to do is exactly my motive for writing, and the conclusions that I strongly advocate.

Yes, you do sound like a good Vineyard pastor, from an evangelical background. I've been a Vineyard pastor as well, and also come from an evangelical background. I hope we can dialogue amiably together on this one. I'd be interested in hearing more of your thoughts, after you've read what I actually wrote.


P.S. I'm not UK (if that makes any difference). I'm Canadian.

john  Musick


No I haven't read what you've written yet, but I will.

In regards to the "ouch," I was going to use 'fart' instead of 'fried fish' but I wanted to show some class. Forgive me for over – reacting, I'm hyperallergenic to cynicism and I find it noncondusive to producing understanding and the least exemplary of Jesus. Is it the goal to 'debunk' the Charismatics or to truly reconcile Biblical supernaturality in a relevant way? I guess I'll have to read and find out:-)

Since I was commenting on Johnny's post on Johnny's blog: having met him and corresponded with him in the past, I’d hoped he would take my critique in the spirit for the betterment of the conversation (here I am talking as if he doesn't read his own blog!). Forgive me if I used Johnny's post as a springboard for my personal soapbox, hitting many things that his post did not infer.

But I am curious as to what I said that would make you call me an evangelical, if you want an amiable dialogue, that's not a good start! (I am being cheeky, here.)

Regarding those like Joseph who were injured by Charismatics: My heart sincerely aches for the pain that they are in. My wife and I both carry baggage from experiences in our past church cultures. But is any Christian group free of blame from this? My church has people from nearly every denominational expression, and they all have their battle scars.

At the risk of sounding like an uncaring fundamentalist, I don't think that "post-hype", "post-charismatics" or "Empowered Emergents" should have to pay for all of the sins of the Charismatics and neither should the Holy Spirit. Nor does our past experiences (or lack thereof) grant us the right to pick and choose how God operates (on this point, I know I am preaching to the choir).

At this, I will take my leave from my British friends' thread and continue my dialogue in my Canuck brother's house.


Jonathan CHM

Charismatic people say that they believe in Jesus Christ. However, they depend mostly on their emotions; their sights of miracles; and whatever they could visualize from their sights. Whenever they feel and see the existence of some forms of power and they say that there is God. When they could not see any miracles or wonders or their emotions are down, they say that God is not with them. They claim that they receive the Holy Spirit due to they say that they feel something passing through their bodies. All in all they claim that they are saved and yet all these are done through feelings. Their salvations are in doubt and they might not be saved since salvation is through faith and not feeling. What good does it bring about if the number of Charismatic churches has been expanding! Many are non-Christians and a few are true Christians. Now the underlying problem is we, the true Church, must be strengthened in Biblical knowledge and not to be affected by false teachings.

Sad to say they are blinded by evil forces. No doubt they might be rejected by the Lord as mentioned in Matthew 7:22-23 for their foolishness of hearts.

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