What do we mean by “charismatic”?

As charismatics we believe that all the gifts of the Spirit are available to the church today. This includes prophecy, speaking in tongues, healing etc.

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed… there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.  All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. (1 Corinthians 12:1-11)

Whilst recognising all the gifts of the Spirit we acknowledge that these function under the authority of the Bible. The subjective revelation, tongue or prophecy can never overturn the Bible, however they can help to illuminate it and to apply it to believers’ lives. For example the Bible teaches the requirement to take the good news of Jesus Christ into all the world (for example the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20) but no specific word of scripture will tell a prospective missionary whether they are to serve in Chad or Chile, for this the prompting of the Spirit by a vision or prophecy can be useful.

The centrepiece of our services is still the preaching of the Bible but we do look to give opportunities for people to exercise the charismatic gifts and to respond to the sermon. Worship is a very important part of our services – this is a time when we can cast aside distractions and meet with God, preparing our hearts for whatever he wants to teach us.

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