Excited Utterances: A Historical Perspective On Prophesy, Tongues and Other Manifestations of Spiritual Ecstasy

Matthew Allen
www.bible.org

 

“…Christianity involves a relationship, not a religion. By that, we mean that we do not hold to the staid formalism or empty rituals that typify much of religious expression in our day. After all, even orthodox belief, devoid of a personal relationship with the risen Savior, is dead faith. On the other hand, revivalism is equally invalid. Spiritual ecstasy and mysticism may be exciting and psychologically fulfilling, but they are spiritual poison when devoid of Biblical content and truth. Accordingly, [Jonathan] Edwards had it right when he insisted that true religious emotion must inexorably be linked to a sense of fear and trembling before a just and holy God and a fervent desire to repent of sins.

In other words, true religious affections derive from a mature love, an agape relationship, or at least, the friendship and devotion of phileo (cf. Jn. 21:15-17). They will derive from a heart of repentance, crying out to God, ‘Oh, wretched man that I am.’ The spiritual ecstacies and excesses of the charismatic movement have a different type of ‘love,’ a selfish storge, as their focus. Their principal concern is not a mutual bond of relationship with Jesus Christ, after repentance of sin, but a mindset of: ‘How will the Spirit bless me today?'”

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