Archive for December, 2008

Why He’s Not Charismatic

Monday, December 29th, 2008

Michael Patton over at Parchment and Pen has been doing a series called, “Why I Am Not Charismatic”. He seems to be roughly in the “open but cautious” area. His thoughts–along with the comment sections–have been well worth the reading time, for anyone trying to think through & understand the subject. (It’s still in-progress, BTW.)

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3 – Prophecy and Healings
Part 4 – Excursus

If you’ve really got a lot of time, I would also recommend the series that Frank Turk (of the Pyromaniacs) wrote this fall. It began with a discussion of John Piper’s response to the Lakeland Revival, and went on from there. Compared to the P&P series, you’ll find that the tone of the discussion there will be a harder line against charismatics. If you’re charismatic, then you’ll probably end up being annoyed or offended at some of the comments. But there’s definitely some thoughtful material there. (Note: He never finished the last post.)

As a taste, here’s some of what he said in his second post:

I want to start with something I said in the meta a while ago which, I think, people need to keep in mind as we approach the question of how the Holy Spirit works in the church.

My opinion is that a “cautious” continualist and a “cautious” cessationist have way more in common that they have in contention. They agree that prayer is efficacious; they agree that God is the giver of all good things; they agree that the Christian has a privilege to ask God for his needs; they agree that we should rejoice when God supplies those needs.

The problem is when someone claims more than that, or less than that. I would say that those who fall outside of those affirmations put themselves in spiritual danger — a topic about which I am sure I have more I should write down.

Prophecy and Signs and Wonders
Not more, nor less
Signs and Wonders
The Wily Continualist
It never ends

Note: In both of these series, you’ll find the occasional comment from a debonair, clever, insightful individual whom I admire greatly for his humility and grace. 😀


Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

From the illustrious Sacred Sandwich:

I Think My Wife’s A Calvinist

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

Stolen from the Internet Monk:

An Exhausting Set of Questions on Tongues

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

As I’ve looked at the gift of tongues, I’ve found out that there’s a lot to work through. More than you might expect. The questions can get really complex. I want to find the straight-forward answers… But I want answers that seem to satisfy everything the Bible says about the gift.

I decided to write down all the questions & issues I can identify–every decision you have to make about the subject. What do you have to work through, when you’re studying it? Some of these have to do with the nature of the gift, and others are practical questions. Some are directly exegetical–about understanding a particular passage–and others are more general.

Note: Some of these questions have simple answers. Some seem like they have simple answers, but don’t. And maybe some seem complex to me, but they really aren’t. 🙂

Also Note: I’ve been sitting on this entry for a week or two, tweaking it & improving it.  I’m still not entirely happy with it… There are parts that might not be clear enough. But I can’t keep fiddling forever.

Invitation: If you can think of any additional questions, please, leave a comment. I’d like to make this as exhaustive as possible!

I. Summary: The Biggest Questions

  1. Is the gift of tongues still given today?
  2. Can all believers speak in tongues?
  3. Should all believers speak in tongues?
  4. Are tongues always directed to God, i.e. prayer or praise? Or does it include messages to other people?
  5. The gift of tongues seems to involve some kind of unlearned language. But is it a heavenly language–a “private prayer language”, i.e. glossalalia–or is it speaking in an unlearned human language? Or does it include both?
  6. Can you understand your own gift, when you speak it? Always? Ever?
  7. How are interpreted tongues to be practiced in church? 1 Cor. 14:28 says, “if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church“. How do you know if there’s someone to interpret?
  8. How does an uninterpreted tongue edify the speaker (1 Cor. 14:4)?
  9. Are there any differences between tongues in Acts and tongues in 1 Corinthians?
  10. What does it mean that tongues are a sign for the unbeliever, while prophecy is a sign for the believer? (1 Cor. 14:21-25) How does this fit into the flow of Paul’s argument? (Major question!)

Below I’ll list more questions–both additional questions, and more detailed questions about the above. (more…)

On Statements of Faith

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

At my local church, we’re looking at revising our statement of faith. We want to clarify some of what’s there, and maybe address some additional issues & practices. So I’ve been having a few conversations with people about the general subject of statements of faith, and have some thoughts, as well as a question:

Do you know of any additional ways to handle these concerns? Do you know any churches that handle these concerns particularly well?

What Does It Mean? What Does It Do?

A statement of faith is something around which the church unites. It says, “This is what we believe”–but how does that work out?

In churches with member rolls, becoming a member typically includes agreeing to the statement of faith. But my church doesn’t have member rolls. So what are we saying? Are we still saying, “We expect that if you make Hope your church, then you agree with this doctrine”? Are we saying, “We expect that you will not try to lead people away from these beliefs, even if you disagree”?

Should someone be put out from the church if they reject the statement of faith? If they disagree on the nature of the gospel? If they disagree on the authority of Scripture? If they disagree on the role of spiritual gifts? If they disagree on the destiny of the unevangelized? If they disagree with the church’s stance on the Rapture? Which of these should be included, and what should be the nature of our commitment to it?


Two New Blogs

Monday, December 1st, 2008

I’d like to highlight two blogs that I recently added to my blogroll:

The Lindsley Life — A new blog from a friend and co-worker. So far, her entries have focused on adventures in organic food (including exploration of Stevia as an alternative sweetener to sugar), her baby Eli, and one on free will & moral responsibility.  She says that she was talking about that with some guy named Tim.  He sounds wonderful. 🙂

Think Theology — The blog of Luke G., a young Reformed charismatic pastor from Wisconsin, and a recent commenter on my entries. Good stuff. And I like his blogroll. Not just because I’m on it.