Is Sovereign Grace Ministries “Charismatic”?

November 29, 2007 in Sovereign Grace Ministries

I know, I know…

I SAID I had nothing more to say, and that I wouldn’t be updating this site very regularly, aside from moderating comments.  But your feedback has really gotten me to thinking over the past few days (this can be dangerous!)…

This morning, a reader left a comment which brought up the idea of whether or not SGM is “Charismatic.”  As I thought back on my own SG experience, I realized that this might be a good topic for discussion.  Here is my take on the subject:

You’ve brought up an interesting point, which is, just how Chrismatic IS Sovereign Grace?

They have definitely rejected many of the unbiblical teachings that sadly characterize many (if not most) Charismatic churches these days…things like the “prosperity gospel” and “name it and claim it” theology are two that come to mind. Everything was always done “decently and in order” in the services.

(Which, by the way, were NEVER referred to as “services.” I didn’t even notice this for a long time, until I was trying to find more information and ended up on YouTube, watching Mahaney clips. There was one in which he kept referring to some “mee-Ting.” That’s when it hit me – all of our church services were ALWAYS referred to as “mee-Tings,” in that exact same accent and cadence…sort of like the way Dracula would draw out the word. -) They were NEVER called “services.”

This is NO BIG DEAL, of course, but again, it suddenly struck me as yet another way that SGM was different than the rest of Evangelical Christianity. I wonder if they consciously rejected “churchy” lingo? There’s nothing wrong with that…but, once again, for us – and we’ve grown up in church – it was just another tiny piece of the mosaic that made SGM feel odd to an outsider.)

I had high respect for the way that our church handled Scripture and how they conducted their “mee-Tings.” The Charismatic element was kept under tight control. If a practice couldn’t be supported biblically, it didn’t happen. (I’m thinking of something like “falling out under the power,” which is typical of Charismatics…in all our time there, this never even came CLOSE to happening.)

SGM’s very biblical approach to the more bizarre “gifts of the Spirit” (along with the Scripturally sound teachings) was what kept us coming back.

Thinking about it now, though, I’d have to say that aside from “prophecy,” which was encouraged, the rest of the “gifts of the Spirit” weren’t really actively sought or encouraged.

(I feel the need to put those quotes around “prophecy” because the SGM type of prophecy was almost always people feeling moved to read a particular passage of Scripture…and MAYBE, occasionally, give an interpretation of it…but it involved NONE of the “predictive” elements that people typically associate with prophecy…it involved NOTHING even slightly “risky.”)

Our Care group leader would occasionally pray very softly under his breath in tongues during a time of ministry (where we’d all gather around someone, lay hands on them, and pray for them), but there were NEVER any overt teachings on this. There was never a time where people were told to seek out these gifts. If the church membership hadn’t been made up of so many burned-out former Pentecostals, who’d already known and experienced such things before they got to Sovereign Grace, I don’t think stuff like speaking in tongues would ever happen. At least, not at the SG church that we attended.

It’s like the attitude is that the gifts are tolerated, even welcomed…but not actively taught or sought, if that makes sense.

That’s my take.  What’s yours?

© 2007, Kris. All rights reserved.