Sunday, October 12, 2008

Post-Charismatic? - review

For the last couple of weeks this book has had me hooked. Post-Charismatic? covers a colourful spectrum of well-researched material mostly drawn from the last 100 years or so of Charismatic experience. There are laugh out loud stories of early Pentecostals who, having just begun to speak in tongues, jumped on boats to far flung destinations only to find out that the cultures to whom they felt called had absolutely no idea what they were saying. There are serious exposés of a number of key 'Charismaniacs' examining their dubious theological tenets, wild prophetic machinations and disturbing manipulations of the faithful. And amidst all this there's a consistent focus on learning from mistakes and looking hopefully towards the future. This isn't an angry book, quite the opposite - it's hugely gracious. It's tone is probably best summed up in this little section from the prologue,
"...many post-charismatics... find it too difficult, or too emotionally exhausting, to sort through all the practices and teachings and discern the good from the bad. They simply withdraw and consider that chapter of their lives closed."
By the end of the book it's apparent that the people in this category are probably Rob's primary audience. This is why he structures the book in two clear halves; the first a headlong plunge into the present mess of the Charismatic Church and the second a valiant effort to describe a way by which the bored, the confused and the hurting can enjoy again a relationship with the Triune - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In the closing pages he admits that 'post-charismatic' is far too limited and loaded a term to do justice to this new possibility and so he borrows a phrase from a blogging friend: charismissional. I quite like it.

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1 comment:

Matt Wilson said...

Have you checked out Robbie's blog
this book was a mini site on his blog for years before it got published. Its almost a shame that such a great free resource had to be taken down for the book to get out but hopefully this will enable his dilligent research and conclusions to reach a wider audience.

It reading post-charismatic and bumping into Rob on the blogosphere made the emerging feel like somewhere i could hang out for a while