Charismatic Christian in a Church of Christ
My Church Experience
Some of my very first memories are of my mother saying bedtime prayers. She'd pray both in English and in tongues and I never knew anything different. Growing up I learned more and more about Christ, His sacrifice, and what the Bible says about being a moral, holy person. We'd listen to charismatic preachers like Joyce Meyer and Jesse Duplantis. In high school my family started going to a Spirit-filled church and I became one of the leaders in the youth group. Those years shaped who I am as a person and a Christian. I found my own prayer language, became more confident in my faith, and have done my best to mirror what the Bible says about being a good man, husband, and father. None of that has changed, except for one thing.
My wife and her family are lifelong committed members of their local church of Christ.
The Other Side of the Coin
When my wife and I first met, we had an instant connection. I was smitten within a few days of our blind date. We had hours-long conversations and so naturally the topic of religion was brought up. She is a third generation church of Christ-er. Her spiritual foundation is strong and balanced, based on strict Biblical principles. The church of Christ follow God's Word to the letter when it comes to worship, communion, and discipline. The preacher is the voice of the congregation but the elders run the show. Her church runs like a well-oiled machine and it is a sight to see. They are the epitome of religious conservatism.
After disclosing to her about my religious background, she was very matter-of-fact about what she believed in and that it wasn't going to change. Which is fair and in these days quite commendable.
After a few weeks of dating she invited me to go to church with her family. When the song leader said "open your song books to page..." I was taken back. Now, I knew this beforehand, but the church of Christ does not use instruments during their worship. There's no clapping, either. The church speaks on this very regularly, saying that the worship portion on the service just turns into a concert. They don't tithe either, which is a fun fact for you.
Another important factor in the church of Christ is baptism. The act of being baptized was seen as a choice and not a requirement for being saved in the charismatic church. For the church of Christ, it's imperative for you to accept the Lord's gift of salvation and then be baptized in water for the remission of your sins in order to be saved.
Here's what I tell my family when I've been asked about going to a church of Christ. I tell them "there's nothing that they do in services that makes me uncomfortable or that I flat out disagree with."
This kind of church is very different from what I experienced as a younger person. A spirit-filled church service is a spiritual and emotional experience that is in complete contrast with the church of Christ. But all of those aspects of charismatic church that are missing from the church of Christ are not a necessity for salvation.
The preaching of the incredible gift that is Christ's sacrifice and resurrection can be found in both churches. What both churches do in a service may be different, but they both have a heavenly destination in mind. To my fellow "charis-maniacs" I say that you will not find a more pure and honest congregation. To the church of Christ-ers, I would like to say that you should try it out, but it is an acquired taste, and it will most likely make you guys feel out of place and very uncomfortable.These denominations may be polar opposites, but in the case for my wife and I, opposites most definitely attract.