Montanism and Charismatic Movements – Any Resemblance?

In some cases, yes.

Dr. Roger E. Olson, my former professor of Christian Theology at George W. Truett Theological Seminary (Baylor University in Waco, TX), explains how in his book,  “The Story of Christian Theology: Twenty Centuries of Tradition and Reform.”

“Montanus was a pagan priest in the region of Asia Minor known as Phrygia who converted to Christianity in the middle of the second-century….Montanus rejected the growing belief in special authority for bishops (as heirs of the apostles) and for apostolic writings. He considered the churches and their leaders spiritually dead and called for a ‘new prophecy’ with all the signs and wonders of the halcyon days of the early church of Pentecost. The problem for the bishops and leaders of the churches was not so much Montanus’s critique of spiritual deadness or calls for revival as his self-identification as God’s spokesman without equal. He referred to himself as ‘the Mouthpiece of the Holy Spirit’ and accused the standard church leaders of chasing the Holy Spirit into a book by trying to limit divine inspiration to apostolic writings. He strenuously opposed any such limitation or restriction and seemed to emphasize the continuous power and reality of inspired utterances such as his own…Other recent charismatic movements have emphasized an alleged difference between logos and rhema – two Greek words for ‘word’ – such that modern-day messages from God through prophecies (rhema) may supersede and even correct apostolic writings that were true and relevant for the first century (logos). Wherever and whenever prophesy is elevated in theory or practice alongside or higher than Scripture, Montanism rears its head. Like Gnosticism, Montanism challenged the early church and challenges the church in modern times to think and respond theologically in order that Christianity may not become anything and everything and thus nothing in particular.” (emphasis mine, pp. 31-33)

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Posted on August 9, 2012, in Theology. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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