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Parallels Article - "Hate Mail?"
I have recently received some e-mails from charismatics complaining about my articles on the subject. In particular, the two-part article Parallels Between the Charismatic and New Age Movements has been under fire. One e-mail said my charismatic articles read like "hate mail." Another said I should stop "attacking" other Christians and go after people who need saved, like homosexuals and abortionists.
Below are my replies to two such recent e-mails, combined together and with some alterations for inclusion here.
Hate mail? Me? My site? If you think my site presents "hate" then either you must be very sensitive or you haven't seen nothing yet. I can assure there are Web sites that are a LOT more forceful in presenting their views than my site.
As for "attacking" other Christians, consider the following verse:
[2Tim 4:2] Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching (NKJV).
"rebuking" false teaching is part of the calling of a teacher.
Moreover, I don't believe it is "attacking" people for me to point out why I disagree with them. I'm not sure exactly which articles you are referring to, since you don't mention any by name and there are almost 500 pages on my site, but I assume you mean the ones dealing with the charismatic movement, in particular, the one titled "Parallels Between the Charismatic and New Age Movements."
A little background on that article might help. It was written about two years after I left the charismatic movement, at a time when I was still trying to recover from the emotional/ spiritual damage the charismatic church I attended had caused me. I don't doubt that many people have been helped by a charismatic church. But many people, like myself, have also been damaged by involvement with the charismatic movement.
In any case, I was attending Denver Seminary at the time, taking a class on "Christianity and the New Age." Throughout the class, we repeatedly talked about things which reminded me of my experiences in the charismatic movement, hence the idea for the article.
Before writing it I cleared the topic with the professor, Dr. Gordon Lewis, head of the Philosophy of Religion department at the seminary. Dr. Lewis is a renowned expert and author in the field of theology, apologetics, and cults.
He is also one of the most "mellow" people you would ever meet. So if there were any sense of "hate" in the article I am sure he would have said something. Instead, he gave me an "A+" on the paper.
I struggled some about posting the article as I knew it would probably upset some people. And admittedly, it is probably the most "forceful" article on my site. But I decided to post it as I know there are many people out there going through the same struggles I went through.
Also, I had thought of "toning it down" some before posting it. Articles I have written on the charismatic movement more recently are much less forceful than that article. However, I decided to leave it as it was since it did honestly reflect how I felt at the time. So it would be more "real" to people going through the same struggles now. And besides, as I said, I did get an A+ on it so I didn't want to mess with it.
Moreover, while I was in the charismatic church I heard many stories of people who left "traditional" denominational churches to join the charismatic church. What I didn't hear was that the "backdoor" was as large as the front door. In other words, many people were also leaving the charismatic movement for a variety of reasons.
It helped me greatly to read the stories of two such people in books I "just happened" to come across shortly after leaving the charismatic church. I review one of these books one my site (Test the Spirits, which, BTW, was also written as an assignment at Denver Seminary).
It took me quite some time to sort through the emotional and spiritual damage the charismatic church had caused me, and to rethink out for myself what believed and why. The long and short of it is, after a period of several years, I came to reject most everything I was taught in the charismatic church.
Since then I have met many people who have had similar experiences: they have been involved in the charismatic movement but have begun to question it, or have recently left it and are trying to sort things out. The church I currently attend, in fact, has quite a few ex-charismatics attending it, some of them from the same church I left. And BTW, the church I attended, at that time, averaged 400-500 attendees every Sunday. Now I hear it is down to about 100 regular attendees. So obviously, I wasn't the only one who came to see problems with it.
The bottom line of all of the above is, I decided to post that article, even though it might upset some people who still very much agree with the charismatic church, since I figured it would help those who are struggling with remaining in, or recovering from being in a charismatic church. And, in fact, I have received more favorable than unfavorable responses to my charismatic articles.
As for trying to save "abortionists and the homosexuals" and others who need saved rather than going after my "brothers and sisters in Christ," this is a common response I get from people who disagree with articles on my site. For instance, I recently had a Mormon say about the same thing to me: "Us Mormons are really good people; why not go after the people who really need help?"
In response, I will say I have articles on my site addressing a wide variety of subjects. It may be possible you made the increasingly common mistake of thinking one of my "subject pages" was my entire site (in this case, the one dealing with the Charismatic Movement). But, in fact, that is only one of about 50 different subject pages on my site.
Moreover, one of these subject pages is "Ethics." On it I have listed two articles explaining why I believe homosexual behavior is sin. Now I would guess that a homosexual reading those articles would also consider them "hate mail." But, as with my articles on the charismatic movement, I don't believe my possibly offending someone should keep me from writing what I believe is true.
As for abortion, I have chosen not to write on the subject as I try to avoid "political" subjects on my site. I believe to get involved in political debates would sidetrack me from my main calling of "preaching the word." And discussions on abortion almost always inevitably lead to political debates. Moreover, there are plenty of ministries specifically dealing with the abortion issue already.s
In saying this, I am not comparing charismatics to Mormons or homosexuals per se. I just mention Mormons because I just received a letter from one which reminded me of what you said, so it was on my mind. As for homosexuals, you're the one who brought them up. And my point is, there seems to be this notion today that to say you disagree with someone's beliefs or behavior that is promoting "hate." I simply don't see it that way.
In closing, I have written on a wide variety of subjects on my site. If you read other articles most likely you would find many you agree with, and others you would disagree with. But my goal in writing is not to please as many people as possible but to present what I believe is the truth of God's Word. And yes, I do have articles on my site designed to reach out to the unsaved (see Forgiveness and Salvation, for instance).
Finally, if you don't like reading things you disagree with, then there are many other sites on the Internet you can check out besides mine. But I doubt you will ever find one which you agree with 100%. But, as I said, you will find ones are much more forceful than mine in presenting their views.
For additional comments on my "Parallels" article, see Parallel Article: Comments.
Books and eBooks by Gary F. Zeolla, the Director of Darkness to Light
The above e-mail exchange was posted on this Web site May 2, 1999.
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