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A glimpse at my past: Christianity, Charismatic Churches, Missionary Work and God's Calling; Part 2
The KPC Years
I found myself exhilarated at my friend's church. It had a rhythm that matched my own. There were artistic and musical displays that I found myself caught up in. The worship was hypnotic and passionate. And the minister was a deep-minded individual. I loved all of it. So, I decided to stay after my second visit.
Before too long, a woman in the congregation was inviting me to the church's singles group. The minister to that group was officially charismatic. I was mesmerized and turned on spiritually. This was my introduction to the Holy Ghost...what the church, KPC, called the Holy Spirit.
The shift in nomenclature was significant. From my perspective---and KPC's---the Holy Ghost was adequate to describe a fairly "dead" church like the mainlines of Lutheranism, Presbyterianism, Methodist-ism, etc. The Holy Spirit was the very fiery breath of God. It was far from dead.
I quickly learned that each Christian had gifts of that Spirit. There were many. [Acts 8 and 1 Corinthians 12-14 show:
1) Word of Wisdom 2) Word of Knowledge 3) Faith 4) Gifts of Healing 5) Working of Miracles 6) Prophecy 7) Discerning of Spirits 8) Divers (or different) kinds of Tongues 9) Interpretation of (different) Tongues
Read more at the Website titled:What Christians want to know]
It would be these gifts that got me addicted (otherwise called "On Fire for God") to the charismatic Way. It would be a minister's view regarding such gifts that caused me to be estranged from the Church several years later.
Over the next seven years, I would learn how to interact with the Spirit. The first lesson would be worship. Occasionally, the congregation of KPC would warm up with some traditional hymns. Eventually, it would transition to repetitive songs that were projected from overheads. The music would lull each person who was singing into a "waking trance" state so that the Spirit could channel into the bodies of the people and spread throughout the sanctuary. At the climax of such worship, prayer leaders would ascend to the front of the altar so that people could come forward and pray or ask for healing. Words of wisdom, words of knowledge, prophecies, discernment of spirits, tongues and the interpretation of tongues would manifest spontaneously.
I laughed heartily the time my best friend from Gulf Breeze visited and went to church with me. She stemmed from a Presbyterian church and thought she would experience the same kind of Presbyterian with me. She got quite a shock when she encountered KPC's worship service. Her eyes were as big as saucers.
The second lesson was prayer. KPC taught the laying on of hands. The Spirit would flow through the hands into the body of the person being prayed over. More often than not, multiple people would be praying. But even more so, the energy of the Spirit would be revved up and drawn down from the heavens in an invisible spiral fashion. The result could be as impactful as a tornado. But that was not the end of it. Our hands could send the Spirit's energy as well. Our palms directed the flow.
The third lesson was the dogma. Evangelicals are typically fundamentalists. That is not always the case but it is quite often. So I learned that I was to hear God's voice through His Word---the Bible. I would engage in daily Bible study. This required not only reading but actual study of the Scripture. I learned how to understand the Bible by using a Concordance, the footers and headers, historical notes, etc. I could diagram the Scriptures word for word. And, I learned what each book of the Bible was used for. The Old Testament was distinctly different from the New but the Old foreshadowed the Coming of Christ throughout it. The laws of the Church were fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Love became the prevailing theme in the New Testament as opposed to the "Eye for an Eye" mentality in the Old.
The fourth lesson was the lifestyle. Define one's self in terms of Christianity first and foremost. In adherence to the Word, one must "die to him/herself" and be "born again in the Spirit". Thus the term Born Again Christian transpired. One's sexuality had one of two outlets: celibacy or marriage. One must tithe 10% of his/her income to the Church. A woman was to submit to a man's authority and a man was to take his direction from God which healed the forlorn relationship that Adam and Eve sowed in the book of Genesis. Women were to pray daily for their spiritual husbands. Man and woman must be equally yoked. Right relationships of all kinds must be cultivated and maintained between peoples. Proselytizing was the "manifest destiny" of all Christians. Constant analysis of other peoples' belief systems must be taken in order to share the Salvation of God. Doing Works through God's grace. Singleness was the perfect forum for doing Christ's work. Missions must be supported to spread God's Word throughout the world. Satan is the very real enemy of the Church and God. He conducts spiritual warfare. He lies and deceives. He tempts each person to sin. One must be vigilant to resist Satan by leading a Spirit-filled life. Faith through grace. Anyone not saved goes to hell after death. Kindness does not keep people from hell...only Divine salvation. Revelation is the book that tells of the Second Coming of Christ. Christians live for Heaven, Judgement Day and the Rapture.
The fifth lesson was the hierarchy of the church.
The sixth lesson was the inherent order of a church service.
The seventh lesson was the church ethics and environment.
Being a charismatic meant discipline and devotion. Life was black and white. Very little gray area existed. I fit in perfectly. I became an extreme version of me. If it wasn't in the Word, it probably wasn't worth doing.