I have not yet explain what I mean by talisman Christianity, but it is commonplace among Christians and vigorously practiced in charismatic churches. City Harvest Church from the videos I have watched is extremely charismatic. You will not expect such worship or using scripture from say the Bible Presbyterians.
Jack Neo's testimony which I posted in my previous blog entry (video after the City Harvest Church Story) is an example of talisman Christianity.
Many Christians invoke portions of the Bible like a talisman to fight Satan (Jack's story) or just to resist temptation or give in to urges which they feel are not praiseworthy. In fact this is probably so common that only nominal Christians do not practice it.
In Jack's testimony, his favorite talisman and he had memorized them are the Lord's Prayer and Psalm 23. Many years ago, when I was a beginner Christian (I avoid calling myself one these days. I prefer follower of the Way like in the early days) I was taught to do the same when my faith came under pressure.
Today nearly all my Christian friends when asked me to support them in prayer practices such talisman Christianity. My point? Jack Neo's testimony would be considered by large numbers of Christians except the nominal ones to be credible, even exemplary.
For me, I have left behind talisman Christianity but I accept that very few Christians will do as I have. So what is there to worry about? Plenty.
Never assume that the criticisms CHC received online is the voice of the Christian majority; may be the non-charismatics, but they are a minority of all Christians. It is the charismatic branch of Christianity that is growing by leaps and bounds. If they are not CHC members (most aren't right?) they may just be staying on the sidelines watching. Similarly, the vitriolic online attacks on the PAP up to GE2011 would make it appear that the PAP might lose the elections. They got a drubbing but 60% is a landslide anywhere in the world.
If the government is not careful and fail to understand the undercurrents, this whole trial of CHC famous five could go badly awry. The CHC pastors could end up making this an issue to be one of Government versus Christianity (not just their church) because rightly or wrongly if the Christians perceive these pastors as obeying God's will on Project Crossover but in this instance was just unfortunate to lead up to running afoul of man's laws, we have a very big problem. It is walk in the park easy to persuade followers if they already order their lives around talisman Christianity.
Talisman Christianity is often irrational and therefore potentially dangerous. Emphasis potentially. I hope and pray they out grow it but many just simply refuse especially if they are rewarded with prosperity, career and relationship success. Christianity for these people has been turned into an opiate Karl Marx's fashion. The deep personal love relationship Mother Teresa or Sundar Singh etc., had with Jesus Christ never had the chance to materialize. Just because it doesn't use religious artifacts do not be misled that the sacred scriptures cannot be used as such. Most Christians have a shallow understanding of the Bible. Charismatics put more emphasis on the Spirit (emotions if you are not a believer) than common sense with an open mind and heart to the Lord's grace. Just trawl the web and see how many instances of "God works in mysterious ways" over this present affair. It's scary.
I agree that God's ways are mysterious but their idea of mystery and mine I think are not the same.
Why am I blogging so much about CHC? I started this blog for myself and later for my family. I am surprised more than a few people read this blog. Well God works in mysterious ways. Mysterious as in the Joseph Story of Genesis and most of the all the Jesus Story. I don't buy the CHC story. This is nothing new. Two thousand years ago, Paul and his comrades in the faith had to fight their CHCs and worse.
It is impossible to reason with them. If we could fire wall CHC and keep our society peaceful then all we need to do is wait for them to show their true colours. It will also give us room to test if we are wrong about them. If we can do this, it would be the most astute political strategy. God help us.
Update: July 3
I just deleted my thoughts on the interview of some CHC members by TOC. Indeed necessity is the mother of invention. Blogger had always provided the option to save to draft but I never noticed its potential usefulness for me to cut and paste to a draft document and keep it away from being published.
It was bad judgement for CHC to publish that interview. I wonder if the Courts will have an opinion on this matter that could end up hurting them. The MSM with more experience had avoided indulging themselves here.