Wednesday, September 26, 2007
I meet with a few protestant pastors involved in inner city work every couple of weeks for a time to pray and hang out. Most of the guys are pretty much fundamentalist and more or less charismatic. It's cool, though. I understand the fundamentalist mindset. It basically merges rationalism with Biblical inerrancy. The Bible is true, both in principle and in historical facts and therefore must make sense in our finite little brains. I personally think it is slightly ridiculous and I am not even going to get into why I think that this mode of thought actually takes less faith than a less rationalistic Biblical understanding.
I also get the whole charismatic thing. I believe God heals people. I've seen it, been involved in it and have no doubts about the real and powerful presence of the Holy Spirit. I have seen the different gifts in action and fully believe that they are and should be a normal part of the Christian life.
I have noticed a slightly disturbing trend though. Many times when you mix fundamentalism and charismaticism, you get a weird blend of neo-gnosticism. It is almost a hyper glorification of the Spiritual and a degradation of the physical or temporal. If the Spirit is good then the flesh is bad.... which is true, but they assign the concept of "flesh" to be anything physical. This is an ignorant theological mistake that reflect a distinctive lack of study. Flesh is often the sin nature, especially in Paul's writings. There are way too many scriptures about this to get into it now, but maybe someday....
With out getting into this in depth, I just want to state how much I appreciate the Catholic stand on creation. Creation is good. Life is good. Pleasure is good. All of these things were created by God for our benefit and to draw us close to him. There is a call to responsibility and maturity in these things, but they are not bad. So liberating...... and people talk about Catholic guilt. They should hang out with some fundamentalists!