Last month thirty-eight Protestant and Catholic leaders in the charismatic movement met behind closed doors in Oklahoma City in an attempt to settle their differences. The disagreements led to a rupture in the movement last year, troubling many Christians around the world. At issue were concepts of shepherding, discipling, and submission as applied by teachers associated with Christian Growth Ministries (CGM) of Fort Lauderdale, Florida (see October 10, 1975, issue, page 52). Critics of CGM included Pentecostal envoy David du Plessis, Ralph Wilkerson of Melodyland church in Anaheim, California, Pat Robertson of Christian Broadcasting Network, Episcopal clergyman Dennis Bennett, Demos Shakarian of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International, Charles Farah of Oral Roberts University, and the late Kathryn Kuhlman.
Efforts at reconciliation were attempted at a meeting of fourteen leaders in Ann Arbor, Michigan, last December. After studying the issues they concluded that there were indeed differences of opinion but that these were within the bounds of “allowable variety” in the Body of Christ. The group blamed much of the controversy on “misunderstanding and poor communication.” Logos and New Wine magazines then published responses of CGM ministers to their critics. They denied intentions of organizing a new charismatic denomination, they denied charges that tithes were being pyramided to them from far-flung groups identifying with them, and they drew a line at how much authority a “shepherd” could exercise over a disciple. Neither the Ann Arbor meeting nor the disavowals, however, stopped the criticism and controversy.
At the outset of the five-day meeting in Oklahoma City, held in the Catholic-owned Center for Christian ...1
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