Boy, this is not an easy task. I have more changes to make to the categorical terms I chose for the four groups. But before I do that I thought I'd tag something onto what I said about Counterfeit Charismatics. This came to me this morning through my devotional. It is a quote from Thomas Merton.

Sometimes contemplatives think that the whole end and essence of their life is to be found in recollection and interior peace and the sense of the presence of God. They become attached to these things. But recollection is just as much a creature as an automobile. The sense of interior peace is no less created than a bottle of wine. The experimental 'awareness' of the presence of God is just as truly a created thing as a glass of beer. The only difference is that recollection and interior peace and the sense of the presence of God are spiritual pleasures and the others are material. Attachment to spiritual things is therefore just as much an attachment as inordinate love of anything else. The imperfection may be more hidden and more subtle: but from a certain point of view that only makes it all the more harmful because it is not so easy to recognize.

Got that? Read it again. It took me a few read-throughs before really catching what he means. And although we don't usually compare contemplatives to charismatics, what Merton is saying is very much related to charismatic experiences. What I get from this is that we experiential, sensory beings are prone to attach ourselves to the feelings we have rather than to the source of those feelings. We make idols of our feelings: happiness, contentment, peace, even anger. We worship those experiences, that stimulation, which are very much created by us. So in turn we worship ourselves in good ol' self-indulgent fashion. Merton rightly says this is more harmful than simply loving beer, or food, or any other material thing. The reason it is more harmful is because when we do worship our feelings, we actually think we are worshiping God. We don't recognize our idol-worship.

Do you see how this pertains to Counterfeit Charismatics? They call God something that is absolutely not God, themselves, their own creation. What they are truly worshiping is their experience of God, the emotions they manipulate and create in the presence of God. This only drives them further away from God and from His Word, from the truth of who He is. That is why their understanding of God is so skewed.

I speak in "theys" and "thems" but isn't this something that we all struggle with? Don't we all make idols of ourselves? Let's call it what it is: pride. In fact, the opposite of this is humility. And humility is not only rightly acknowledging ourselves as unworthy beings, but it is also finally attaching ourselves to the only One who is worthy or worship, God the giver of every good thing, including feelings and the sense of His presence.

Deep stuff. Still sorting through it. Your thoughts would help.

Now, I would like to further modify my labels for clarity's sake. I already changed the two Non-charismatic groups from Uninformed/Informed to Unregenerate Charismatics and Regenerate Non-charismatics. It's time to change the two Charismatic groups from Counterfeit/Genuine to Unregenerate Charismatics and Regenerate Charismatics. This will make for a real nice quadrant table setup if you ever want to diagram my theory. I think it holds better logically, as well. So that's what I'm going with. And to be sure, Unregenerate Charismatics are still counterfeit in their expressions of worship. (How could a spiritually dead person truly and intentionally express worship to God?). But, as we will see, even Regenerate Charismatics may offer counterfeit, or false, worship to God. Just look at what we talked about above. All humans, regenerates and unregenerates alike, struggle with idolatry.

Peace, ya'll.

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