Yesterday’s “Charismatic” and Today’s “Truther” movements
Firstly, I am careful to define terms, such as contained in the title of this article, since people attach different meanings to terms that may be seen as controversial and humanity is often mix and match in many of their beliefs and could support some but not all the notions implied in the term “truther movement”. Secondly, I have been around the block in my seventy years, including fifty five as a born again Christian, and have, to quote the Preacher cited in my next para, seen it all and I write from my own experience, wanting on one hand to be forthright and truthful when presenting my views, and on the other to do so in a way that is winsome and balanced.
One of my more intense Bible studies of late has been in the Book of Ecclesiastes, with the above quote being a typical example of how the Preacher (aka King Solomon) viewed life under the sun. It happens to be pertinent to what I have to say, for even though I don’t see myself as being quite in Solomon’s league, I have seen enough of history repeating itself, even just in my own experience in my backyard, and the vanity of vanities of life, to write as I do.
According to Wikipedia: “The charismatic movement is the international trend of historically mainstream Christian congregations adopting beliefs and practices of Charismatic Christianity similar to Pentecostalism. Fundamental to the movement is the experience of baptism with the Holy Spirit and the use of spiritual gifts (charismata)” and a Truther is “a believer in conspiracy theories”. As far as this writer goes, the charismatic movement was something he saw emerge in the late 1960’s and 1970’s when he was a young, earnest Christian. As far as “Truther” and their “conspiracy theories” our definition are concerned with, this may include some or all of the propositions: 9/11 was an operation of the Deep State, November 3rd 2020 US Presidential (and other) elections were stolen and Covid-19 and vaccines are bio-weapons of the evil cabal to depopulate and enslave humanity – given greater credence given support to some of these notions by political modern-day prophets. John Lennon’s perspective is sort of relevant … According to Wikipedia: “Gnosticism (from Ancient Greek: γνωστικός, romanized: gnōstikós, Koine Greek: [ɣnostiˈkos], ‘having knowledge’) is a collection of religious ideas and systems originated in the late 1st century AD among Jewish and early Christian sects. These various groups emphasised personal spiritual knowledge (gnosis) above the orthodox teachings, traditions, and authority of the church”. Yet Gnostic notions (for the record, I regard as heresy) have been with human kind for time immemorial and no less today as the Truther movement (whatever that is) and the “Great Awakening” (see here) gather momentum.
I have seen all sorts of things that get Christians riled and divided. I often think of the words of the popular hymn concerning the Church: “by divisions rent asunder, by heresies distressed”. As for today, besides the subject in hand, there is the matter of how to deal with a plethora of social justice issues and the anti-woke backlash. As for the days shortly prior to when I became a Christian, it was the question of what is the essence of the Gospel and that which divided Evangelicals, Catholics and Liberals. And as for when I began to take an interest, it was the Charismatic movement and whether or not this was of God. All these cases involved, not just Christians in name, but Christians for real. The Christians I was mainly involved with at that time were strongly gospel outreach and sound doctrine oriented, and were, in the main, anti-Charismatic, some seeing the movement as being the work of the Devil. They took umbrage being told they were not baptised in the Holy Spirit (something they saw as accompanying conversion) and would well have looked upon speaking in tongues and other sign gifts as a form of modern Gnosticism. Many who embraced the teachings of the Charismatic movement saw their experience as radically transformative and drawing them closer to God. (I can say a lot more and my own experience and perspective – but this for another time). Move on fifty years, some of the same movers and shakers in that movement, and their successors, have also been at the forefront of the anti-truther movement, the modern day (political) prophets and the ideas I share in my blogs. Somehow, I see a certain irony in all this and an example of their being nothing new under the sun – new ideas emerging and the backlash – with only the issues and the identities of pro and anti parties changing, with the common factor of those championing their way of seeing things feeling threatened.
It seems only fitting to finish with the Preacher’s conclusion and add to it further memes that govern my own approach to the above. While I am all for seeking the truth, especially amidst so many lies, including in “the official narrative” (see here), I see grave dangers in a resurgence of a modern form of Gnosticism, and some aspects of “trutherism”, in the different ways now becoming manifest. While I am sympathetic to some of the aspirations of New Age folk waking up to what is truly going on in the world, and their thoughts that the Evil Cabal is about to be dismantled and God (whoever he / it is) and, in that, including the Spirit (whatever the Spirit happens to be) wins in the end, I must counsel caution. (I have no doubt there is an evil cabal that runs the world, detailed here, and as for the Gospel, my thoughts are detailed here). Much of what New Age “conspiracy theorists” and those labelled as “truthers” have to say may well be true and, what the “anti” backlash among Christians, who should know better, say, may not be true, but whatever is going to be that is of lasting worth, has to take place be in YHWH’s (the God of the Bible) timing and in His way. If there is a message that we can take away from these deliberations, it is to seek and fight for truth, trust in the Lord (not man) and be obedient to what He tells us to do.