Today’s world seems to thrive on controversy. Flack, feuds and fighting have made their way into the church world as well. Charismatics and evangelicals can claim no immunity, with disruptive disputes over such issues as speaking in tongues and other more controversial manifestations of the Spirit. Are they real? Are they biblical? Should we practice them?
Dr. Paul King says he has the key to the type of discernment we need to resolve this type of conflict and others: looking first at our own hearts. “Is this something that’s coming from ourselves, or is it really coming from God?” he ask Dr. Steve Greene and listeners on a recent episode of the Greenelines podcast on the Charisma Podcast Network. King, a former pastor and longtime professor at Oral Roberts University, has a new book on this topic, Is It of God?? (Bridge-Logos).
“And along with that, it’s important that we not make this as though we have a hotline to heaven—’It’s just me and God, ‘I got this from God,'” King says. Connecting with the body of Christ and the Word of God offers another key to spiritual discernment.
It’s only in the community as we also received discernment from one another,” he says. “And we check it out with someone else: ‘I got this revelation; I got this insight. Does this sound like the Word of God?'”
“I like to say that there is more that is genuinely of God than most non-charismatics are willing to acknowledge,” he says. “And there is more that is not genuinely of God than most charismatics are willing to acknowledge. So it’s finding the balance in between, and it’s having an open mind toward the Spirit.
“The Scripture tells us to be a Berean, to examine the Scriptures closely,” he adds. “And that doesn’t mean to have a closed mind. But it means to be examining closely with an open mind, letting the Holy Spirit guide us. And so there are two ditches we can go off into, and one is to be ‘charismaniacs’ and going too crazy with charismatic things. And the other ditch is to be ‘charis-phobics,’ and to be afraid.
“If we are afraid of the charismatic, then that fear comes from the devil himself; God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind,” King says.
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