Edited By: Leslyn Kim
Speaking from the heart: My personal experiences with traditional and Charismatic teachings about the Holy Spirit and gifts of the Spirit. A reflection on the power, and flaws of each
I’ve been wanting to write about this topic for quite some time. I have so much to share from a personal and scriptural perspective that I feel like I could quite literally write 10 or more blogs about this issue alone. And maybe I will! Regardless, I will try my best, prayerfully and with humility, to explain as clearly as possible my personal perspective on many issues surrounding the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit.
It’s difficult to know where to begin on this issue, but I think that the best way to frame the first part of this series is using two terms that are a common point of contention between traditional Christian evangelicals and Charismatic evangelicals – “Rhema and Logos”.
Rhema – A Greek word that literally translates to mean utterance, but is more commonly referred to as the spoken or revealed Word of God.
Logos – A Greek word that translates to mean the written Word of God. Or, plainly put – The text of the bible.
Both words are readily found in Greek translations of scripture, and typically are used to describe the delivery of the Word of God in accordance with their respective definitions above. For example, the following scripture uses the word rhema in the Greek to denote the importance of “hearing” the word of God:
“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word [rhema] that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). In a similar fashion, the word logos is used to refer to the written Word of God: “For the word [logos] of God is quick, and powerful” (Hebrews 4:12)
It would be easy to dedicate one blog alone about these two terms. They each effect not only the interpretation of scripture, but the very doctrines that form the bedrock of traditional Christianity and Charismatic Christianity. However, the contention regarding how each of them view scripture is that in one (traditional Christianity), the logos is often seen as an end-all-be-all, and wholly sufficient for all things in the Christian life/walk. The other (Charismatic Christianity), not always but often, views the logos as necessary for a healthy Christian walk, but insufficient alone for a powerful Christian walk. They hold to the belief that the logos alone is often dead and lifeless if not supplemented with the rhema word, which is living and active. Again, the rhema being the living and active “Word of God”, that is revealed to men today by the power of the Holy Spirit.
As a result of the disagreement above, Traditional evangelicals often describe Charismatic evangelicals as having a “low view of scripture”. On the contrary, Charismatic evangelicals often describe “non-spirit filled” traditional Evangelicals as having a diminished view of the necessity of a spirit-led life. I disagree with the charges made so often by either side. The issue is too nuanced and complex to oversimplify by stating that either has a low view of the Bible or of the Holy Spirit. More detail on that later……
By now, you’re probably wondering where I’m going with all of this. I felt like it was very necessary, before moving forward, to adequately frame the discussion so that it’s clear where I’m coming from.
Using personal stories that highlight both extremes (the “Jungle” and the “Desert”) I hope to draw some sound biblical conclusions where any reader can find their own still waters amidst the confusion. But, before we jump in with both feet I wanted to share my own personal experience of being filled with the Spirit (“second-filling”). Stay tuned for Part 2 of the series…………
Warning: I’m heading into foreign territory that I’ve never ventured into on this blog before. Personal testimonies will be shared, and real events will be described. LOL