Am I a Charismatic? Well, to rightly answer that question, one first needs to clarify what is meant by the question. If the question is meant as ‘Do you believe in spiritual gifts and the importance of the Holy Spirit?’ Then the answer would most certainly be an astounding yes! On the other hand, if the question means something along these lines, ‘Do you believe the modern Charismatic movement is a faithful representation of biblical truth?’ Then the answer would have to be a clear no. When I use the term Charismatic, I am here using it as a broad term to describe all Christian movements that are known for their belief that the miraculous and revelatory sign gifts (gift of prophecy, gift of tongues, gift of healing) seen in the New Testament are still operational today. Even though I recognize that there are differences between Charismatics and Pentecostals, specifically the difference in recognizing speaking in tongues as the evidence of being baptized by the Spirit, for my purpose here, I will refer to all those who believe that all the New Testament spiritual gifts continue as fully operational today, as Charismatics. The broad Charismatic movement is too diverse for having a clearly defined systematic theology to focus on, however, the belief in the continuation of prophecy, tongues and divine healing are something shared by most Charismatics.
The main reason why I am not a Charismatic is that the modern Charismatic gifts are not the same as those described in the New Testament, even though they are referred to by the same names. Charismatics often say that they simply believe that all the spiritual gifts of the New Testament are continuing until today. However, when we look closely at how the Bible defines these miraculous gifts, and then compare that to what is practiced by Charismatics, we see that they simply are not the same. Much could be written about the differences and details of these gifts, but since the scope and length of this article is to be a simple overview, the main differences and arguments will be summarized.