When the armies of Napoleon began to overrun the historic European boundaries, William Pitt stood up in the British parliament and cried, "Roll up the map of Europe. It will not be wanted for ten years."
The charismatic movement is on an unprecedented rampage through the churches of the United States. It is crossing all denominational boundary lines, even blurring the distinction between Catholic and Protestant. Roll up the historical denominational distinctions. There is going to be a regrouping along new religious boundary lines.
The charismatic movement (which embraces Pentecostalism, neo-Pentecostalism, the Jesus movement and most American revivalism) is not a passing fad. The editors and publishers of this magazine believe that it is a definite fulfillment of Bible prophecy (Rev. 13:13-14); and, without rashness or rancor, we must candidly state our convictions that it is destined to sweep the whole world into the delusive frenzy of an anti-gospel religious excitement.
We also want to make clear our position that many good Christian people are involved in different phases of the charismatic movement. They do not see that it is leading back to the religious philosophy of the medieval church and the Dark Ages, or that it is absolutely inimical to every eternal principle of the Protestant Reformation. We hope that many of these sincere people will read this magazine. To them we make the appeal, "Come, let us reason together." No one can confront the realities of the everlasting gospel and remain a part of the modern charismatic movement.
Churches and religious leaders are deeply divided over the Pentecostal issue. In the last two months, this editor has received volumes of mail from Protestant ministers. Some Lutheran ministers are ashamed of their Protestant heritage, and they feel that the charismatic movement is the true Reformation in contrast to the one of the sixteenth century. Other Lutheran ministers are enthusiastically behind our efforts to restore the primacy, supremacy and all-sufficiency of the Reformation doctrine of righteousness by faith. Some Methodist clergymen are wholly for ecumenism, for the charismatic movement and for burying the great religious issues of the past, while other Methodist ministers praise God for a voice to uphold the objective gospel. And there are Baptists for and Baptists against the charismatic movement. We agree with one minister who wrote to us, exclaiming, "American Protestantism is drowning in a sea of religious subjectivism!"
Many descendants of the Reformation now feel guilty about the use of the word Protestant. It has become a dirty word. Was Paul Tillich right when, about twenty years ago, he observed that the Protestant era had come to an end? During the summer of 1972, while in the U.S., we made out a simple five-point questionnaire which dealt with the most basic issues between the medieval church and the Reformation. Sample pollings showed that ninety-five per cent of the "Jesus People" were decidedly medieval and anti-Reformation in their thinking. And among churchgoing Protestants the ratings were nearly as high.
We could not state the situation better than the words of a Lutheran pastor who wrote to us, saying, "I believe that the last times are marked by the opportunity to hear the Word as never before, paralleled by the deception of Satan which causes men, in the clear light of noonday, to be more blind, stupid and unbelieving than ever before."
In this special issue of Present Truth Magazine, we have documented the material presented in seminar by this editor. We trust that the written presentation will bring forth the same earnest and enthusiastic response that was given the oral presentations.