Do you go to a charismatic church? They are called non-denominational but they have become a denomination of their own. There are some things you should know about your church. Your pastor won’t tell you these things. He or she doesn’t want you to know. But I will.
At one time in my life, I helped get one of these churches started. I’m not proud of it, but it is true. In the month before we opened, we really thought we were doing something big. We were starting a church that we could worship in the way we wanted. We could do it our way. We all worked together to get things going. It was hard work but it was fun. I’ll admit it. I made friends. I got the feeling that I was part of something. We really cared for each other.
For our first service, we had one-hundred people. For a new church, that is a big number. There are some established churches that don’t get this number of people. Many of them came from our parent church, but as the weeks went by, the numbers kept growing. Pretty soon, our pastor was able to quit his full-time job and devote all of his time to the church. We thought that was great. What that means is that there was enough money coming in every week to support his salary. We didn’t know how much that was. No one ever asked.
About this time, things started changing. The numbers really became important. I remember sitting in a discussion once. The pastor from the parent church had informed our pastor that once 70% of the seats were being filled consistently, it was time to go to two services. This felt like a business decision. One would think that a second service would be the result of many people requesting services at a different time to fit their schedules. No. It was a business decision and nothing more. You see, the more seats that are filled, the more money that comes in every week.
Then things really started getting strange. With two services, more people were needed to run things. New people were being put in charge of things. These people weren’t there in the beginning. They didn’t know what we started and why. They brought in their own ideas and beliefs. It felt foreign. One problem I noticed was that people who were placed in positions didn’t really have much Bible knowledge. Tensions got high. I remember, on more than one occasion, that the pastor said, from the pulpit, that it was his church and if anyone didn’t like it, they could leave. This is more like what one would expect a boss to say to employees. It’s not what one would expect to hear from a loving pastor; my way or the highway.
Let me tell you a story about my former church. There was a family who had fallen on hard times. The husband had owned a small business that he had to close. He took a job for very little money. It was all he could get at the time. One week, the money had run out. He didn’t even have money for gas to get to work. He did the only thing he could. He went to the pastor and told him the situation. He wanted to borrow a small amount of money so he could go to work, something like $50 to tide them over until payday. The pastor said he would have to think about it. After a few days, the man was refused the request. They just didn’t have the money for a small loan which would have been paid back. The following Sunday, the pastor announced that the church had just purchased a new sound board at a cost of $10,000.00. Is this the act of a loving church? No. It is the act of a business. When you place the importance of a new sound system over the needs of a struggling family there is something wrong. That poor family was devastated.
In a charismatic church, there is a huge emphasis placed on giving. They say it’s a matter of faith. It’s not that the church needs or even wants the money. They want you to realize that you need to have faith that you can survive without your money. If you are in one of these churches, I want to pose a few questions to you. Does your pastor drive a new car and does he get a new one on a regular basis? Do your pastor and their spouse wear expensive clothing? How often do they go out to eat? Do you have any idea where your church spends its money? Chances are, a large percentage goes to paying staff and to operations. “Operations” is what a business has to spend on itself. Accountants call it the “cost of doing business”. Does your church have a coffee house, a desert bar, or something like that? This is paid for out of the operations budget.
If you are going to a charismatic church, you are really going to a business every week and paying for services rendered. The service they are providing is how you feel. They are selling feelings, nothing more. The better you feel, the more money you are apt to give. They place tremendous emphasis on how you feel. Know this. You are confusing an emotional experience with a spiritual one. They are no different than the old “fire and brimstone” preachers. They just changed the desired emotional response. It’s the same thing. Going to one of these churches is no different than going to a movie, a concert, or a broadway show. You are exchanging money for a desired emotional outcome. You want to feel good and you are willing to pay for it. That is what is at the root of the charismatic church. That is why they get so many people going week after week. People are searching for something that makes them feel good instead of searching for the Truth that can only be found in the Torah.
Copyright 2016 by: