I would like to thank Lingamish for bringing to my attention a very interesting site called Post-Charismatic. This site consists of a series of articles, or a short e-book, which Rob McAlpine, a Canadian and former pastor, has written about the charismatic movement, and about those he calls “post-charismatics” because they have been through the charismatic movement and left it, without necessarily rejecting its principles. (His “post-charismatics” should not be confused with “ex-charismatics” like the cessationist Dan Phillips.)
McAlpine’s history of the charismatic movement is very interesting, but deliberately focuses on three main areas of distorted, or at least controversial, teaching which have affected the movement: Latter Rain, Prosperity and Shepherding. He seems himself to be one of many people who has been involved in the charismatic movement but has become confused and disillusioned by these kinds of teaching. Indeed some of these people seem to be so hurt that they have entirely given up on churches or on the gifts of the Spirit. McAlpine’s focus in his series is on helping such people to recover from such shipwrecks the essential features of their Spirit-filled Christian life.
I can agree with most of what McAlpine’s positive attitude towards the central charismatic teachings and negative assessments of the controversial teachings he describes. But he does seem to me rather negative about the charismatic movement as a movement. It seems to me, from my British perspective, that there is still a lot of hope for the movement. While it has been damaged by some distorted teachings, they have by no means destroyed it. There is still a vibrant core of charismatic believers and churches who have avoided the excesses of these teachings, while discerningly accepting what is good in them.
So, I see no reason to call myself a post-charismatic, to dissociate myself from the charismatic movement, or to accept that, as Lingamish suggests, the word “charismatic” is a slur. I am proud to be a charismatic Christian, as well as an evangelical at least in the British sense which is somewhat weaker than the American one. Yes, I and my church need continuing vigilance against all kinds of errors, and against the dangers of shallowness and hype. But, as we follow the example of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit, we can look forward in confidence to continuing to do great things for God.