I have to say that I appreciate Grady’s candor. He continues to unintentionally confirm what the Strange Fire conference was all about. As the title of his article states, he highlights 6 really bad doctrines he believes charismatics should retire. Or as Grady puts it, “We must jettison any weird doctrines we might have believed or practiced that are hindering our growth today.” I would encourage folks to click over and read it, but let me bullet point his “6 really bad doctrines” for my purposes here,
Touch Not My Anointed. The idea that the main pastor is not to be criticized because he is … well… the Lord’s anointed.
Dual Covenant. The teaching that suggests that Jews can get to heaven apart from the saving work of Christ. This “doctrine” is heavily promoted by John Hagee.
Inaccessible Leadership. Meaning, the leadership believes they are so above the normal folks in the congregation, they stay at arm’s length from them and never get personally involved with the lives of the people they supposedly shepherd.
Armor-bearers. They are the posse/entourage surrounding one of God’s anointed, if you know what I mean.
The Hundredfold Return. If a pastor is prompted by the Holy Spirit to pray the hundredfold blessing, whatever you give, allegedly God gives back to you 100 times over in return.
Money Cometh. Similar in theory to the hundredfold return, this is when people come to the front and lay their money at the foot of the pulpit when the preacher asks for an offering. Turns the offering time into a scene of exhibition, says Grady. No kidding.
BTW, here’s Benny Hinn, one of the Lord’s Anointed, strolling through LAX with 5 of his “armor-bearers.”
I am curious to know if Grady believes those individuals of whom he speaks are fringe examples. In other words, do they represent the norm, or what would be the majority of charismatic leadership and pastors? If they are merely the fringe, then what is the point of writing this article? Why exhort charismatics to retire doctrines that really don’t impact the greater whole of the movement? It would be the same as asking for the Pentecostals to abandon the snake-handling doctrine.
Wouldn’t the better course of action be to just identify the fringe wackos, call them out, warn people away from them?
But regrettably, what he outlines here is the norm of charismatic experience.
However, the items on Grady’s list aren’t really “doctrines.” The only “doctrine” mentioned here, if we can even call it that, is the “Dual Covenant” idea of Jews getting into heaven apart from the saving work of Jesus. But as I noted, that view is primarily promoted by John Hagee and his associates. It is sort of his warped and twisted hyper-dispensational theology.
The other “doctrines” Grady lists are more like behaviors or practices rather than just “doctrine,” that I would argue are symptoms of a deeper theological malaise.
Honestly, what kind of thinking about God would grow in the heart of a so-called pastor that he becomes so focused upon himself that he is filled with greed, arrogance, pride, and the pursuit of emperor decadence?
The “doctrine” Grady needs to be addressing is buried underneath all that flash and bang. What he is aiming at is merely the outward signs of bad theology. In order for those behaviors to be “retired,” the real doctrine at the heart of those individuals needs to be identified and changed. Until Grady does that, he is shooting high and way to the left of the target.
With that said, I’d like to add to Grady’s list. I think there are some genuine doctrines that do need to be retired among charismatics. If he is serious about jettisoning the weird stuff, here is where he needs to concentrate his efforts.
The so-called gift of tongues being a sign of Holy Spirit baptism. As I document in this blog post from last November, all of the major, mainline charismatic/Pentecostal denominations like the Assemblies of God, the Pentecostal Churches of God, and even Michael Brown’s home church, identify speaking in tongues with a person who receives the baptism of the Holy Spirit, typically when that individual is baptized in water. If the person doesn’t come out of the baptistery speaking in tongues, the person is not baptized in the Spirit.
Not only is that an utterly unbiblical view of the Spirit’s work and the gift of tongues, but the failure of the person to experience “tongues” can become a psychologically crippling disappointment; a disappointment that apparently happens frequently. I have had numerous people tell me they faked the tongues because they didn’t want their friends and family to think they were not baptized by the Spirit. This erroneous doctrine of Spirit baptism needs to be abandoned.
Bizarre manifestations are the work of the Spirit. Ever since the 1800s, more and more Christians have looked to odd ball manifestations as some sort of proof that God’s Spirit is working among people. Charles Finney really capitalized upon that notion of manifestations and from that point onward, Pentecostals and charismatics have incorporated the practice into their worship services. Weird phenomena has become so connected to a “move of the Spirit” that to question the legitimacy of such events, like being slain in the Spirit, rolling around on the floor, uncontrollable shaking, or convulsing as if the person is having a seizure, is to question the Lord Himself.
Where the Spirit of God does manifest Himself is in the lives of Christians as He sanctifies them, draws them to sober mindedness, and conforms them to the holiness of Christ. The “doctrines” that Grady says charismatics need to retire are practiced by people who claim the bizarre manifestations they routinely encounter are a genuine move of God. Why then, if God is using a pastor to slay people in the Spirit, would He then turn around and lead that same pastor to fleece the congregation of their money and fill him with arrogance? Seriously?
Generational curses. The idea of generational curses comes from Exodus 20:5 and 34:7 where God says He will punish the children for the fathers’ sins unto the fourth generation. The words are specifically directed toward the theocratic nation of Israel as a warning that the consequences of breaking God’s law will have a deep impact on future generations. Christ, who kept God’s law perfectly, has cancelled the curse of the law upon those who place their faith in Him.
Charismatics, however, have developed an entire systematic theology around the concept of generational curses, so that if you are someone who struggles with sexual sin, it isn’t really your fault as it is the fact that somewhere in a previous generation, maybe a grandfather who was involved with sexual sin in his own life, passed that curse down to his grandson. The teaching of generational curses only misdirects a person’s responsibility for their own sin and places the blame on a subjective situation: an unknown and unidentifiable ancestor.
Territorial Spirits. This is the concept taken from a misappropriation of Daniel chapter 10 and Ephesians 6, that claims demons and angels are assigned specific territories to influence. Taught by New Apostolic Reformation leader, C. Peter Wagner, and popularized in Frank Peretti’s fantasy novels, This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness, in which demons are said to rule over states, cities, towns, neighborhoods, and eventually individual homes. Christians can gain the advantage over those territorial spirits by mapping out their strategies, identifying their spheres of influence, and then binding them in the name of Jesus. This article provides a brief overview of this false doctrine.
Cindy Jacobs did a series of lectures that are designed to teach people how to identify the leviathan spirit in their lives. She shared how this leviathan spirit can have a particularly heavy influence upon the spiritual lives of native tribal people today, especially if their tribal ancestors worshiped snakes or crocodiles.
Deliverance Ministries. Here is even a worst view of personal sin and sanctification than generational curses. Two of the more notable deliverance ministries is Cleansing Streams headquartered at Church on the Way in Van Nuys, CA, and Neil Anderson’s Freedom in Christ. These ministries are designed to free Christians from the influence and power of demonic activity in their lives.
Of course, that assumes many erroneous theological talking points. Such things as Christians can apparently be possessed by demons and the majority of personal sin issues among believers are not necessarily their own sinful habits they must learn to master through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, but are caused by the direct influence of devils. Once a person identifies the devils, casts them out of his life, power to overcome addiction and other sins can be accomplished.
It is troubling to think that people are made to believe that Christians can be demon possessed. If they would only identify the demons in their lives they can bind and cast them out. Truth be told, people can’t even get their own kids to obey them, and some how they now have the authority to bind and cast out spiritual entities? Deliverance ministries not only create a wrong perspective on the power and influence of Satan, but it cultivates an unbiblical view of man’s sin and the Christian’s sanctification.
Ironically, Scientologists have their own version of deliverance “ministries.” E-meter machines, administered by a certified and trained reader, can identify the thetans that inhabit a person’s body. Once a person identifies and removes those thetans, he goes clear and can then control his emotions.
Again, I admire the fact that Grady is willing to address those significant problems among charismatics. He is one of the extremely few voices even talking about the same alarming concerns John MacArthur and other non-charismatics have been preaching against for years. However, he needs to go deeper. If he truly desires to see charismatics jettison wacky stuff, he has to point to the terrifically bad theology that begets all that so-called bad doctrine he is addressing. Perhaps he will do just that and a true spiritual revival and return to God’s sufficient Word alone will move among charismatics.