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Charismaticism - Spiritual Barbarianism

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"Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh (shall be) a barbarian unto me." (1 Cor. 14:11)

"Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond (nor) free: but Christ (is) all, and in all." (Col. 3:11)

"I am debtor both to the Greeks and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise." (Romans 1:14)

Several general statements are being made in these verses. In the Corinthian text, no-one can understand the 'barbarian' when he speaks, because his language is foreign to the listener/speaker. In the Colossian text, there is no difference between ethnic groups or between conditions of earthly freedom, when it comes to salvation. In the Romans text, Paul says that he owes something (i.e. the call to preach the Gospel) to all men, whether they are learnéd or ignorant.

Two things are said in scripture about 'barbarians’; The first is that they cannot be understood and the second is that they are 'unwise' (Romans 1:14). When we combine these two statements, we can see that the term 'barbarian' applies to modern day charismaticism.


In the Greek, this word is barbaros, and it has a variety of meanings. For example, the barbarian is one whose speech is rough, rude or harsh. There is no 'finesse' in what he says. This is how I perceive the speech of, say, Rodney Howard Browne and other 'big' Toronto Blessing/charismatic leaders. To me, at times when they speak, they have the same grating effect on my ears and mind as do those who curse and swear in public. There is no refinement... and the New Testament tells us a Christian should speak graciously and with care. That is, not in 'gutter' language.

A barbarian is, also, one who speaks a foreign or 'strange' language, which others cannot understand. Charismatics speak a gobbledygook which they call 'tongues', but which cannot be understood, because they are 'strange' languages invented in the mind… they are not ‘angelic’ or ‘heavenly’, just nonsense. They have redefined clear Biblical meanings, so that only the initiated can understand them... but the meanings are not true or Biblical.

The Greeks used to refer to anyone who did not understand or speak Greek, or who did not understand Greek culture, etc., as being 'barbarians'. After the Persian war, the word also came to mean rudeness and brutality. There is a constant rudeness and brutality about charismaticism, for it rides rough-shod over all that is doctrinally true and good; its various activities and beliefs offend the soul. It is like a person whose entire lifestyle is wrong, always opposed to what is right, in every aspect.


In Romans 1:14, we are shown that barbarianism equals lack of wisdom, i.e. barbarians are 'unwise'. What does this word mean, particularly as the 'Greeks' are said to be 'wise'? The word for 'unwise' is anoetos. It means not understood, unintelligible, foolish, not understanding.

The word anoetos is derived from the negative of noieo; to perceive with the mind, to understand/have understanding, to think upon, take heed, ponder, consider. It is rooted in (the negative of) nous, which refers to the faculties of the mind: perceiving and understanding, feeling, judging, determining something. It also refers to the ability to reason about spiritual truths, the higher powers of the soul, the ability to perceive divine things, of recognising good and of hating evil.

Charismatics deny the good sense of the mind (re Rodney Howard Browne's 'commands' to ignore testing and examination by scripture), and replace proper examination with their own perverted theology. There is much evidence of 'lower' thinking processes, which are limited to charismatic theology and not to the actual declared Truth of scripture. Thus, they are unable to perceive divine things and do not recognise what is good; nor do they hate evil: an obvious failure that can be seen in what happens in TB meetings, where glaring evil is accepted without question and is not hated.

As the early Jews used to say (re the Greek equivalent, ginosko, on which nous is probably based), the proof of having true knowledge is to be found in the way one leads one's life. Lack of knowledge is seen, then, in the absence of scriptural application to everyday living. This is certainly true of charismatics, whose lives appear to be one, long, manufactured 'high' (the 'glazed eyes' syndrome), instead of a sober and truthful examination of what is. Their lives only have meaning within charismatic circles. I guarantee that a true charismatic would mentally and spiritually collapse if he was suddenly taken away from this false, hyper-active environment. He would be unable to cope with reality!

Today, I claim that true charismatics (defined as those who imbibe charismaticism in totality) are modern barbarians: untaught, rude, and lacking in the ability to know what is good and what is bad. To be 'wise' is to know what is true and good and what is of God. Charismatics are taught to rely on feelings and experiences, even if these contradict scripture. They are, then, unwise and ignorant people. They can be kind, generous, do wonderful works, sing praises and claim to love God - but if they are untaught in Truth, then what they do and what they claim are false. As Christ bluntly says: if you love me, you will do what I say! Charismatics do not; they do what other men say. Thus, they are genuine spiritual barbarians, unable to discern what is true and what is a lie, unable to distinguish evil and good.

The Solution

The answer is very simple: to come out of the new 'harlot' of charismaticism and to start again, learning anew what God really says! Charismatics, though, are not the only barbarians! Before the Second World War 'evangelical' Christianity was hardly known to be evangelical! Nothing appears to have changed very much, except that the word 'evangelical' is applied to Believer and unbeliever alike.

However, charismaticism deserves greater attention in this context, because it arose out of the seed or spirit of Pentecostalism, which was error waiting to come to fruition. It now pervades all kinds of religious affiliation, including Protestantism, Roman Catholicism, many New Age groupings, as well as the more established cults and occultism. Indeed, very little appears to differ between each of these groupings, which does not say much for charismaticism!

Despite protestations from some, there are 'saved' people within Roman Catholicism. However, like reformers before them, they are bound by Truth to come out of the cult. If they do not, then their salvation can be held in question. At the very least, their Christian character is seriously marred, if not destroyed, by staying within heresy and error. The same can be said of charismatics. Theymust walk away from their charismatic roots and teachings, away from their leaders and their local (charismatic) churches. THEY HAVE NO OPTION! The alternative is the destruction of their spiritual lives. That is, IF THEY EVER HAD THEM.

As has been argued elsewhere, it is open to serious doubt that those 'saved' under truly charismatic (Arminian) preaching are saved in any real, Biblical sense at all. Barbarianism permeates the fabric and soul of charismaticism itself. It is gross error; heresy. Therefore, it does not preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and election (which is anathema), but teaches salvation by works. Come out from the heresy, if you are charismatic. Repent and be taught the true things of God!

© May 1995

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Bible Theology Ministries - PO Box 415, Swansea, SA5 8YH
United Kingdom