TalkBack – We are Charismatic

This was a talk by Graham Nicholls speaking at Christ Church on Sunday evening, 27th May 2012, followed by a question and answer session. The normal links to listen are just below. As there was a lot of information and references, we have included the bullet points from the PowerPoint slides in the text below plus a simple description of our current practice as a church.


Greek word Charismata = gifts

“any capacity of the believer including aptitudes present before conversion brought under the controlling power of God’s grace and functioning in his service”

The Contentious Charismata

  • Speaking in tongues
  • Prophecy
  • Miracles including healings and other signs and wonders

Some key texts
James 5:13
Acts 2 (2 Cor 12:12)
Acts 8
Acts 10
(Are these normal experiences we would expect in the church?)

Hebrews 2:4
(This seems to suggest that the confirmation of the testimony about Jesus by signs and wonders is now in the past?)

Ephesians 4:7-13
(Apostles and prophets are foundational – are they continual?)

Matthew 8:16-17
(Does this imply Jesus takes away NOW all our sicknesses as part of redemption)

Focus on 1 Corinthians 12-14

Not written to give a model of church but to correct  chaos & pride

Chapter 12 – Gifts

  • The Holy Spirit leads people to confess that Jesus is Lord
  • The Spirit works in all sorts of different ways in different Christians equipping them for the common good (analogous to the body)

Chapter 13 – Love

  • Greatest virtue
  • Gives all other spiritual gifts value
  • Outlives prophecy and tongues, but when do they cease?
    • At Christ’s return
    • At the end of the apostolic age

Chapter 14 – order

  • Understandable speech builds up the church
  • In their context prophecy more useful than tongues
  • Tongues may be interpreted to become plain speech but without interpretation, it does nothing to build up the church
  • In their meetings there could be only interpreted tongues in an orderly way, weighed carefully by the church
  • There is a distinction between what is personally helpful in private and what is helpful in the church


Four views (forgive the over-simplification)

1.       Pentecostal

  • All the gifts of the Spirit mentioned in the NT are for today
  • Baptism in the Holy Spirit happens after conversion and should be sought by all
  • Tongues are a sign that you have been baptised in the Holy Spirit
  • Expectation of healing as the right of salvation proportionate to faith

2. Charismatic (third wave)

  • Baptism in the Holy Spirit comes at conversion (some differ)
  • Acceptance and encouragement of tongues speaking but not for everyone or is essential
  • Proclamation of the gospel should be accompanied by apostolic ministries including
  • signs wonders and miracles
  • expectation of healing, possibly idea of gifted “healers”
  • Prophecy: predictions and directions into many situations personally and corporately

3. Cessationist

  • the miraculous ceased around the time the Bible was completed
  • the miraculous were part of salvation history which is past
  • the miraculous were clustered around the time of the apostles and were signs that their message was authentic

4. Open But Cautious

  • Generally the view as Christ Church leaders
  • Sympathetic to the cessation argument but not fully convinced
  • Cautious about current practices and abuses and wary causing division
  • Believe that the miraculous gifts not normal or essential
  • Modern tongues speaking may not be same as NT as it does not appear to have the structure of a language but may be practiced privately for personal benefit
  • Open to reality God does bring “prophetic” words. Not sure this the same as NT prophets, certainly not authoritative
  • Do not see gifted healers in NT or that healing should continue as a sign but recognise our lack of faith and setting expectation God can heal
  • See charismatic movement as God’s way of shaking up the 21st century church
  • Seeking fellowship and mutual learning with our charismatic brothers


What does being open but cautious mean in practice for us as a church?

  • Wanting to encourage multiple contributions in some of our meetings so we can all benefit from each other’s wisdom, insight and testimonies
  • Although not persuaded that the miraculous gifts necessarily ceased at the completion of the NT, we are equally not convinced that they are an essential part of public meetings or that modern practices are equivalent to the NT or that they are now necessary to authenticate the word of God
  • We therefore would not encourage or organise the exercise of gifts of tongues or directive and predictive prophecy and healing as an essential part of our corporate meetings
  • We do not see a distinct healing gift but want to encourage much prayer for people to be healed and a real expectation that by God’s grace this will often be the outcome.

Series: One Off

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