A Friendly Word to My ‘Cautiously Charismatic’ Colleagues

by | May 7, 2022 | Supernatural

In recent years, I have heard Christian leaders describe themselves as “open but cautious” when it comes to the gifts and power of the Spirit for today, including tongues and prophecy and healing. Others have described themselves as “charismatics with seatbelts.” But is that really a biblical position to hold? Is it a healthy spiritual perspective?

To speak directly to my cautiously charismatic colleagues, are you “open but cautious” when it comes to following Jesus? Or believing God’s Word? Or giving yourself to the Great Commission? Or loving God? Why, then, when it comes to the gifts and power of the Spirit for today are you open but cautious?

When it comes to your overall devotion to the Lord, do you wear those same seatbelts? Or do you wear them when you get alone with God in prayer? Or when you engage in corporate worship? Or when you share the gospel with the lost? Why put those seatbelts on only when it comes to the things of the Spirit?

I know, of course, what you mean when you use some of these terms. You’re saying, “I believe that the Spirit is still moving today with various gifts and manifestations of power. But there’s a lot of flaky stuff out there, and I don’t want any part of that.”

Or, “Yes, the Word is clear on this, but there are also many warnings about spiritual abuses in the Bible, which is why I am ‘open but cautious.'”

In response, I would say that there are plenty of flaky things in noncharismatic circles too, not to mention all kinds of bizarre and even cult-like interpretations of the Bible in noncharismatic circles. By that same logic, shouldn’t we be open but cautious with the Bible itself?

And yes, the Word does warn against spiritual abuses. But it also warns against moral failures and doctrinal errors and wrong leadership practices, just to name a few.

Should we then wear those safety belts at all times and in all situations? Shouldn’t we just say, “I’m a Christian with seatbelts”?

You can quickly see where this kind of thinking leads.

Not only so, but Paul is quite emphatic as to what our attitude should be, and he expresses himself most strongly when writing to a church that was filled with spiritual abuses (along with divisions, serious moral failings and major doctrinal error).

I’m speaking, of course, of the church of Corinth, to whom Paul says in his initial greeting, “I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge—God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed” (1 Cor. 1:4-7, NIV, author’s emphasis).

So, despite the very real abuses he will address later in his letter, he commends them for not lacking any spiritual gift. This was important for him to point out as something highly commendable.

Then, he writes, “Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed” (1 Cor. 12:1), meaning that this was not a subject to be avoided. Quite the contrary. And he explicitly attributed these spiritual gifts to the Father, Son and Spirit (12:4-6).

As for correcting the spiritual abuses at Corinth, he begins that section of his letter with these words: “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy” (14:1). That hardly sounds like “open but cautious” to me, let alone Paul saying, “Be sure to get those seatbelts on!”

And having corrected the wrong order at Corinth, he then painted a picture of what a properly ordered meeting would look like (as they met together in small groups in homes): “What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up” (14:26). Is that what we cultivate in our gatherings?

Then, this final, closing word: “Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way” (14:39-40).

Elsewhere, writing to another congregation, he had these instructions when it came to prophecy: “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil” (1 Thess. 5:19-22).

Notice that he first exhorted these believers not to put out of the Spirit’s fire and not to despise prophecies before he gave them practical guidelines for testing prophetic words. First, he was saying, embrace and desire this important work of the Spirit. Then, as you do with every other teaching and purported revelation, test it carefully.

In sum, he was saying, “Embrace and desire and pursue these powerful and effective workings of the Spirit. And be sure to follow these guidelines when you do.”

That’s why, after His Resurrection, Jesus told His disciples that they must wait for the Spirit’s enduement before they began to preach the gospel (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:8). He did not add, “But when the Spirit comes, get those seatbelts on!”

And that’s why, when the Spirit was poured out at Pentecost in Acts 2, leaving the crowd divided as to whether this was something good or bad, Peter simply explained that this was what Joel prophesied (see Acts 2:1-17). Then he said at the end of his sermon, “If you will repent and turn to God, putting your faith in Jesus, God will give this same Spirit to you!” (See Acts 2:26).

So, just as you are not “open but cautious” when it comes to your relationship with the Father and the Son and you don’t wear seatbelts in your devotion to the Lord, live the same way when it comes to the Spirit and His gifts. Dive in wholeheartedly and without reservation, embrace the true and reject the counterfeit, and be sure to enjoy the ride. {eoa}

Dr. Michael Brown (askdrbrown.org) is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. His latest book is The Silencing of the Lambs: The Ominous Rise of Cancel Culture and How We Can Overcome It. Connect with him on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.

Read articles like this one and other Spirit-led content in our new platform, CHARISMA PLUS.


Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


Spirit-Filled Pastor: Can I Ask God for Confirmation?

Spirit-Filled Pastor: Can I Ask God for Confirmation?

There are many incidents of God giving people a sign throughout the Bible. Although I believe God still does this, I also believe that we must be careful. Asking for a sign can be misleading if other factors are not taken into consideration. In Genesis, we find an...

Man Who Spent 23 Minutes in Hell: Are You Ready To Meet Jesus?

Man Who Spent 23 Minutes in Hell: Are You Ready To Meet Jesus?

The last words Jesus spoke to me in my 23 Minutes In Hell vision were, “Tell them I am coming very, very soon.” Then He repeated Himself and said again, “Tell them I am coming very, very soon.” The Bible is clear that Jesus is coming back to rapture His believers,...

The Best Way to Love Others and Yourself

The Best Way to Love Others and Yourself

I believe that other than the gospel regarding salvation through faith in Christ, learning to walk in love is the most important lesson in God’s Word. Jesus says that love is the most important commandment (Mark 12:28–31). The apostle Paul writes that love is the...

Prophecy: The Breach in Our Nation Will Be Repaired

Prophecy: The Breach in Our Nation Will Be Repaired

Praise be to Almighty God, righteous judge, holy of holies, the King of kings and the Lord of lords. The earth is His footstool, and to His kingdom there is no end! Breached Births The Spirit of the Lord says this day: “There has been a breach—breached births, My...

10 Reasons the Apostolic Movement Is Essential to Gospel Expansion

10 Reasons the Apostolic Movement Is Essential to Gospel Expansion

The global apostolic movement is the most significant expression of Christianity today. This is the view expressed by historian Philip Jenkins. He talks about the rapid expansion of the church in the global south, much of which is reminiscent of the first-century...

Experience a Better Kind of Love in Your Relationships

Experience a Better Kind of Love in Your Relationships

Do you have any relationship struggles? Perhaps you want to learn how to love, for real. Too often today, people search for a fairytale love and are disappointed when the fairytale fizzles, which it will. Michael Gibson, author of Real Life Love, challenges folks to...

The Power of Godly Words Over Another Life—and Yours

The Power of Godly Words Over Another Life—and Yours

Have the words that others have spoken over you ever significantly impacted you? Words can birth destinies on the inside of us and bring hope to our hearts for the future. They have the power to ignite our dreams and give life to our souls. At the same time, negative...


How You Can Foil the Plot Against Your Life

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” Jesus warned us that we have an enemy, and he is a thief. He steals our joy, purpose,...
Activating Introverts in Evangelism

Activating Introverts in Evangelism

 Many believers mistakenly think that evangelism is only for charismatic, extroverted personality types. If they aren’t called to be evangelists, they shrink back from sharing the gospel with the lost entirely. The scriptural reality is that fivefold ministers, and...

Pin It on Pinterest