Roughly 1/3 of professing Christians around the world associate themselves with the Charismatic Movement (Pentecostals, Assemblies of God, etc.). Sadly, many of these individuals are greatly deceived into believing lies. These people are very emotional and allow their emotions to govern them and interpret Scripture for them, which is a very dangerous place to find oneself. Many of these individuals attempt to defend the ungodly activity that takes place within their churches and attempt to attach the name of Christ to it, attributing this nonsense to the Holy Spirit. What we have is a lack of discernment on the part of these individuals. I have no doubt that a few of them are genuine Christians, but unfortunately the majority of them are not.
Individuals belonging to the Charismatic Movement will argue with you about this. Their argument will resemble something like, "Obviously you've never spent much time in other countries, because casting out of demons happens a lot. But demon possession happens in America, too." Yes, demon possession is a real thing. However, it is impossible for a Christian to be possessed by a demon, let alone multiple demons (as many Charismatic churches erroneously practice and teach). Open your Bible and provide me a single example of a Christian being possessed by a demon.
These churches also falsely teach and encourage people to "bind" these various demons, as if you somehow have control over them. Look what happened to Eve when she tried to stand toe-to-toe with Satan and match wits with him. Satan is wiser and stronger than you are. Michael the archangel, who is also wiser and stronger than you are, answered Satan, "The Lord rebuke you!" (Jude 9). The Bible tells us to "Resist the devil" (James 4:7b)—not to try and go toe-to-toe with him... because you will lose! You need that verse in its entire context: "Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." The second part of that verse only occurs when you are in entire submission to God.
The Bible nowhere commands you to contend with Satan or to "bind" him. If you are going to attempt to refer to Matthew 16:19 for your proof-text concerning "binding," I suggest you compare Scripture with Scripture by reading Matthew 18:15-20 and John 20:22-23. This is what the binding has to do with. This is just one of the examples of the Charismatic Movement's erroneous and egregious interpretations of Scripture.
Individuals belonging to the Charismatic Movement will argue with you about this, too. Their argument will resemble something like, "I have seen them happen inside my own church. I can even provide video tapes of these healings." Is it not amazing how most of these so-called "healings" that happen in Charismatic churches tend to involve unverifiable things like "carpal tunnel" or "back pain"? When was the last time someone had a rod in their spine and you laid hands on them and the doctors verified that the rod they put in has since been replaced by a real spine and the scars from their surgery are gone? When was the last time someone was visibly missing a limb and you laid hands on them and the doctors (and everybody who knew this person) verified they now have all their limbs? When was the last time someone had a severe mental disorder (even to the point of being unable to communicate or even fully acknowledge your presence) and you laid hands on them and they were fully restored to the kind of mental health you and I enjoy?
If you want people to believe your claims, then provide verifiable evidence thereof. Jesus, when He performed His ministry, did not hide inside a building and claim He was doing miraculous healings. He was out in the world performing them so everybody could see. He did not put on a show to scam people and get money for Himself. You claim you have the gift of healing? Then walk into a hospital or psychiatric ward and start healing and casting out the demons that affect these poor, sick, and needy people. You cannot? Dispute settled! You are a charlatan and a fraud.
Study the difference between "signs and wonders" and "charismata" in the Bible. Charismata healings are generally (though not exclusively) and primarily spiritual, emotional, or psychological in nature. Miraculous healing is to be sought by prayer (James 5) and emotional, spiritual, and psychological healing (1 Cor. 12:9) is to be sought from an individual who is gifted in that particular area (e.g., a counselor). “Signs and wonders” healing is limited to God’s special authentication of a messenger with his message and is extremely rare, even in Scripture.
Individuals belonging to the Charismatic Movement will argue with you about this, as well. Their argument will resemble something like, "I've spoken in tongues on many occasions, therefore it is true. Tongues is the initial sign that one is a Christian." Funny, I am not aware of a single verse that informs me that my experiences dictate and determine what is true or not. In fact, Scripture would seem to warn against it.
According to what we find in the book of Acts, the tongues that occurred there were natural human languages. No doubt the apostles thought they were speaking in their own language, but Scripture informs us that they "began to speak with other languages, as the Spirit was giving them ability to speak out" (Acts 2:4). Three times we are informed they were natural human languages, as can be seen from (1) "each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language" (Acts 2:6); (2) "how is it that we each hear them in our own language in which we were born?" (Acts 2:8); and (3) "we hear them in our own languages" (Acts 2:11).
According to what we see in 1 Corinthians, tongues does not edify the church, but only serves to edify the individual (1 Cor. 14:4). The Corinthian church, just like the Charismatic Movement, is seeking the showy gift, so they may pretend they are more spiritual than they really are. They would do well to pay close attention to Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 14:6-10. A language that is unintelligible to the hearer has no benefits! Hence why tongues has no place inside the church. "Tongues are a sign, not to those who believe [the church] but to unbelievers" (1 Cor. 14:22), because "Jews require a sign" (1 Cor. 1:22). Paul made it clear that if we are zealous for spiritual gifts, we should "seek to abound for the edification of the church" (1 Cor. 14:12). Something tongues does not do (1 Cor. 14:4).
Those inside the Charismatic Movement are guilty of ignoring context. In 1 Corinthians 13:1, Paul said, "If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels..." Charismatics read it as "I speak with the tongues of men and angels," and stop there. The key word here is IF. He is making an argument. IF I can speak every known language, and IF I possess all the spiritual gifts, and IF I do many good works, but I do not have love, then it all profits me absolutely nothing! In 1 Corinthians 14:18, Paul says, "I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all." The Charismatics fail to realize and understand that Paul could speak in four languages fluently, and thus this statement explains itself.
The fact the Charismatic Movement has people who travel around to various churches in order to teach others how to "speak in tongues" demonstrates powerfully that this is not from God. Something that is a gift from God happens on its own without teaching and without enticement or coaxing. Those of you who claim you have this gift and have spoken in tongues, what purpose did it serve? Whose language were you speaking in and to whom were you witnessing the Gospel? The apostles, while speaking in other languages, thought they were speaking in their own language. The understood exactly what they were saying. What were you saying? Unless it is something that occurred in private and was the utterance of your soul to God (1 Cor. 14:2), then all you did was babble and it was not the biblical gift of tongues nor did it come from God. If you claim to have spoken in tongues, what was the purpose thereof. God does not give gifts without a specific purpose in mind for their use.
One Cuban woman who came to the USA in 1959 and was saved in 1972 said, "The next morning as I knelt to pray, I asked the Lord to give me the gift of tongues if He wanted. To my surprise, I started to speak in so many different languages it took by breath away." Okay, and which languages did you start speaking in? What was the purpose in you receiving this gift? To whom were you speaking that they understood these "many different languages"? Unless you have a reason for asking, such as being able to communicate the Gospel to a tribe whose language is unknown, there is no sense in praying for the gift of tongues. It will serve you absolutely no purpose.
Individuals belonging to the Charismatic Movement will argue with you that there are many godly individuals doing many wonderful things in the power of the Holy Spirit. Yeah..., and I suppose you think "snorting Bible lines" (where you hold the Bible up and snort your nose across it as if you were doing cocaine), "toking the cross" (putting a cross in your mouth and pretending your toking on a joint), playing "spin the Bible" (where you open the Bible after spinning it, point to a random verse and then try to "claim" it—entirely out of context—for yourself), acting like you are "high on the Spirit" (staring off into nowhere and forcing drool out your mouth and down your chin), and one hundred other foolish nonsense like this, is somehow attributed to the Holy Spirit? These kinds of things are demonic and illustrate the fact that these individuals do not know the Holy Spirit in the least.
Open your Bible and provide a single verse reference to this nonsense known as being "slain in the Spirit." Show me one instance of someone in the Bible shivering, shaking, quaking, and writhing on the ground in receipt of the Holy Spirit. No? I can demonstrate hundreds of cases where demon possession demonstrates these exact characteristics, including Voodoo.
Furthermore, gold dust appearing on people, or gems appearing in people's hands, or gold fillings appearing in people's mouths are not evidence of the Holy Spirit being there. Try reading your Bible seeing the things the Spirit is responsible for and the kinds of things He will see to when He is present. None of it has anything to do with this kind of superstitious nonsense. Show me where any of this kind of thing happened in Scripture. Show me where any prophet or apostle of God had to beg for money from you and lie to you, telling you that if you give $100 or $1000 that God will return it to you ten-fold or one hundred-fold. When people were in need of healing, or in need of money, the prophets did not scam them for money, they provided what that individual needed. When you write these Charismatic frauds and share your struggles and poverty with them, if they were genuine men sent from God, they would not write you back repeatedly begging for you to give them money (when you clearly have none); they would provide a miracle and give you the money you need.
How many people have been duped into giving these charlatans every penny they have and yet they have never received answer to any of their prayers. They are in a worse financial state than when they began, and yet they still believe these frauds are men of God. If you reached out and touched your TV screen, you clearly had enough faith, otherwise you would not have done it. Remember, faith as small as a mustard seed. The fact you were not healed (or whatever else was promised) is evidence enough this Charismatic preacher is a liar!
John MacArthur does an excellent job exposing the false and demonic components of the Charismatic Movement; however, in trying to answer the fraudulent things these people attribute to the Holy Spirit, he errs by putting God in a box and denying that God could do such things if He so desired. In answering the Charismatic errors on one end of the pendulum, MacArthur swings to the other side of the pendulum in error. The balance is in the middle.
The fact is, there are genuine cases of these sorts of things happening (according to what we see in Scripture), but they are rare! The fact that counterfeit stuff exists is evidence that the genuine must exist, otherwise why attempt to counterfeit it? If America did away with paper bills, why would anyone counterfeit them any more seeing as how everyone would recognize them as being fake? Regardless of whether it was crooks (cults) or banks (Christians) doing the counterfeiting.
The biggest problem with the Charismatic Movement is their failure to examine the context of the random, isolated verses they quote in attempt to back their false teachings. I have no doubt there are some genuine Christians stuck inside this movement, but the majority of them do not know Christ, nor does He know them. The other problem is that the members are open to hypnotic suggestion, which has been testified to and documented on a number of cases, including by those who once used to stand in those pulpits and proclaim those lies.
Years ago I decided to have a bit of fun, so I wrote Peter Popoff (better known as Peter Ripoff), one of the Charismatic Movement's greatest frauds. Every letter I received back over the course of the next year included a new form of superstition that I was supposed to enact upon while also sending him money. The verses he quoted were entirely ripped out of their immediate context and applied in order to claim that I would become rich if I sowed my "seed gifts." After receiving several of his letters, I sent him a letter back correcting him on his eisegetical misuse of Scripture and demonstrated what Scripture actually taught on the matter. I quoted to him several cases from Scripture where people came to the prophets/apostles and their prayers were answered without paying "seed gifts" that are supposedly meant to get God to move on your behalf. Funny, last time I checked Scripture never taught any such things. I never received a single letter from him ever again.