Mega-church pastor and Charismatic leader Dutch Sheets has written a sharply reproving letter in which he repents on behalf of the charismatic community.
While I think his letter is correct in many cases, please don't include all charismatic groups, associations or ministries with all Pentecostal denominations. A Pentecostal is a person from a traditional denomination known by that distinction, such as the Assemblies of God, Church of God, Church of God in Christ, Church of the Foursquare Gospel, etc. Those churches, among others, are known as Pentecostal churches. "Pentecostal" does not refer to a denomination. This is similar to saying someone is a Baptist. There are lots of stripes of Baptist denominations.
A "charismatic" may refer to those fellowships or denominations, or someone within those fellowships, but there are also many independent organizations, associations and ministries that are called "charismatic." The term also includes many independent congregations. Thus, "charismatic" is an umbrella term that can include classical Pentecostals but also many others.
VERY loosely defined, "charismatic" means a group or a person who affirms and emphasizes the "charisms" or the "gifts" of the Holy Spirit and believes that these gifts did not die out in the first century but are still available to us today. Within that very broad definition are a lot of different views, both doctrinal and practical.
Have Pentecostals embraced some of the abuses and errors that Sheets (pastor of an independent charismatic congregation) refers to? Some have, and some have not. As I mentioned in the previous post, our Assenblies of God leadership issued a statement on revival that was well thought out, wise and balanced. Does that mean everyone heeded it. Sadly, no.
As for Dutch Sheets, some have included him in statements about those in "leadership" over Todd Bentley, but it should be noted that Sheets was asked to be part of the sponsorship of the so called "Lakeland Outpouring" but declined. I disagree with Dutch Sheets (not that it matters much) on several issues, but I applaud his boldness in issuing a strong rebuke, a correction, and an apology.
A few quotes:
“We assume a person’s credibility based on gifts, charisma, the size of their ministry or church, whether they can prophesy or work a miracle....When a spiritual leader we’re connected with violates trust, is exposed for immorality, or falls below other accepted standards of behavior, it does not exonerate us simply to say we don't condone such behavior. Those we lead trust us to let them know whom to trust. We have failed them miserably in this regard...For this lack of discernment, and for employing and passing on inappropriate standards of judgment, I repent to the Lord and ask forgiveness of the body of Christ...For not accepting and acknowledging our responsibility, for caring more about our own reputation than Christ’s, I repent to God and ask forgiveness of the body of Christ.”
Sheets also blasted the charismatic church’s “incredibly inadequate” accountability, as well as its leadership that has “built on hype, sensation, innovation, programs, personality and charisma.”
He spoke of “shallowness...novice leaders, gifted but immature and untested...a deficient understanding of God’s word...self-centered Christians who don’t understand sacrifice and commitment...superstar leaders,” and “prayerless and anemic Christians.”
He closed the open letter by saying he thanks God for all those who were touched by the Holy Spirit through the Lakeland Outpouring.
The full text of "A Statement and Appeal Regarding Lakeland "can be found here.