Saturday, 21 February 2009


Recently I bought a copy of Rob McAlpine's book Post-Charismatic at a Christian bookshop.

This book has arisen from the disappointment, disillusionment, and discord experienced by people who have left charismatic fellowships. Rob McAlpine highlights the repellent and controversial aspects of the charismatic movement, which include televangelism, the Prosperity teachings, and the Shepherding and Latter Rain movements. I enjoyed reading his historical analysis and insights.

He attempts to define post-charismatic: "the process of separating what is truly of the Holy Spirit and what is needless - and often harmful - baggage is the whole idea behind developing a post-charismatic understanding of how a supernatural God works supernaturally amongst and through the mystical gathering called the body".

The author clearly struggles with the term "post-charismatic". In his final section he writes that while it is certainly accurate as a description, "it lacks the ability to point to a way forward, which was the whole reason for writing in the first place".

Rob McAlpine is hoping that a post-charismatic understanding of how the Holy Spirit works will serve as a critique of 'charismania' excesses and questionable teachings, and will lead to a more mature and balanced understanding, expectation and functioning in the Spirit of Christ.

For some the way forward is "charismissional" which wishes to take the best of the missional approach to life/ministry and ground it in the vibrancy of the Spirit. For Rob McAlpine, 'missional' simply means that " we stop viewing ecclesiology and missiology as separate, and explore ways of being a missionary presence in our postmodern society".

I believe that Rob offers us his "post-charismatic but not post-Spirit" position but others are still emerging and will be manifest in various forms. His position is, therefore, one of many post-charismatic positions. Christians are talking about post-charismatic journeys and experiences. I expect to see more books and blogs on this subject. Some may arrive at some sort of revised charismatic or modified charismatic position. For others, the pain, the negative experiences and abuses will keep them away from any form of charismatic Christianity.

I pray for a truly biblical trinitarian charismatic Christianity that shows the amazing charisma of God. It has been refined and proved to be genuine; it has no weird or repellent elements as the dross has been burned away. It combines the gifts and fruits of the Spirit of God; it participates in the divine nature and escapes the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

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