Posts Tagged ‘Charismatic’

Response thread for a TeamPyro post

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

I posted some comments over at the TeamPyro blog, related to prophecy & charismatics.  We were off-topic for the post, so we cut it short.  I’m posting this here so that anyone coming from there has a chance to continue the discussion.

The post was Evangelicalism down the drain?.

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. :D

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…)

Carson on Sensationalism

Friday, November 21st, 2008

Edit: See That Sensationalism Quote for a brief introduction to the following.

“Yet another issue is a deeply ingrained love of sensationalism and triumphalism, and little knowledge of taking up one’s cross daily. I do not mean to suggest that any gift of tongues, say, or any “prophecy” as defined here, or any miraculous healing, should be ruled out because it might be thought “sensational.” To denigrate the “sensational” in so sweeping a way, a fairly common ploy among noncharismatics, would surely be to indict Jesus and Paul. Rather, the problem lies in love for sensationalism, in the unbiblical and unhealthy focus upon it. [...] It magnifies the importance of what is, biblically speaking, relatively incidental, while ignoring the weightier matters: righteousness, holiness, justice, love, truth, mercy. It is constantly in danger of sacrificing integrity as the rush towards the sensational pelts on: stories of healings are blown out of proportion, so that the genuine instances are lost in exaggeration and distortion; evangelism loses out to manipulated outbursts of emotion [...]; the straightforward and impassioned message of the cross, proclaimed by a Whitefield, is displaced by endless promises to solve personal problems; and only the Christians whose problems have evaporated and who enjoys perfect health has entered into the fullness of the riches Jesus promises. In the more extreme cases, the triumphalism is carried so far as to promise wealth as well: give your “seed money” to God (i.e., our organization), and watch God multiply it; you are the child of a king–do you not think your heavenly Father wants you to live in royal splendor? Believers who have meditated long on Matthew 10 or John 15:18-16:4, let alone believers in China, will not be impressed by this argument. [emphasis added]“

– D. A. Carson, Showing the Spirit: A Theological Exposition of 1 Corinthians 12-14, p. 173-174

Spiritual Gifts — Getting Past the Term

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

The other night, in the discipleship & spiritual growth class I’m taking at my church, we were discussing spiritual gifts.  The question came up of how to distinguish between spiritual gifts and natural traits/talents.

Many non-believers are good at things that are also called spiritual gifts–like administration, or teaching.  But spiritual gifts are manifestations of the Spirit, empowered by the Spirit, in believers.  So does that mean that if you were good at it before you began to trust in Christ, then it’s not a spiritual gift?  But then there’s also Eph. 2:10, which says that we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ for good works that he prepared in advance for us to do.  So he made us in ways that are suited to the tasks he has for us–natural traits are the work of God, too!  How do you figure out which is which?  Do you need to?

Maybe it’s helpful, maybe not…  The question that I prefer to think about is, “How can I act so that God works through me?  How can I serve the Body of Christ?  How can I care for the people in my community?”  When I read 1 Cor. 12, that seems to be what spiritual gifts are about.

Check out verses 4-7:

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.  To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

Key point: Gifts are activities.  They’re ways to serve.  These activities of service are manifestations of the Spirit, and they are intended to help the Body.

So, the major question to be asking is:  Does God work through me in this, for the good of others?

It’s not even a question of, “Am I good at this?”  Two teachers might be effectively identical in the way they teach–but the Holy Spirit might regularly move powerfully when the one preaches.  Or you might have people who are totally uninspiring & dry in how they share the gospel–but when they do, the Spirit brings people in.

And when you find a way that you can serve people–something where God works through you–don’t you want to press into that?  Isn’t that something to pursue, whether or not you know precisely what to call it?

Charismatic Concern, Tradition, and Other Miscellany

Saturday, January 5th, 2008

Wendy commented on my entry, Keep in Step with the Spirit. I’d like to give it and my reply their own post.

Well, Tim. This is a first for me; hope I don’t mess up! I liked some of the stuff I read. I was concerned about your blog because as missionaries in Brazil we run into this a lot.(Charismatic) You mentioned tradition in a tone that might be negative and I immediately remembered II Thes. 2:15 and cross-referenced to IIThes. 3:6. Tradition isn’t necessarily wrong. A great way to stay on course is through tradition.(check out II Tim. 1:5 and my husband just reminded me about the Rechabites-Jer. 35, esp. vs. 18,19. Just be careful (I say that to my kids and it really means “I love you and want the best for you.”)

Hi Wendy,

I can certainly imagine how charismatic issues would be a pressing concern for you! (more…)

Keep in Step with the Spirit

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007

I recently started reading Keep in Step with the Spirit by J. I. Packer, author of Knowing God. The first edition came out in 1984, and it was recently updated for a second edition. It’s a study of the new covenant ministry of the Holy Spirit, dealing with questions that affect the life of every Christian as we seek to “walk in the Spirit”–to live the Christ-centered, God-honoring life for which we were created and saved.

Taking a few excerpts from the Amazon description, it is “not merely a theological study, but a rousing call to encourage believers to implement the Spirit’s directives in their lives.” It is a “radical call to personal and corporate revival”, in which Packer “restates the Christ-centeredness of the Spirit’s ministry, reaffirms the biblical call to holiness, and even-handily assesses the charismatic movement.”

The last part is of particular interest to me. I purchased this book as part of my own extended study into charismatic issues. My personal background is lacking in charismatic-type manifestations. (This is not to say that God has not worked powerfully in my life, or that I’ve had no experiences. But I don’t remember anything that I thought of at the time in charismatic terms.) When it comes to stories of manifestations, my natural inner tendency is to be somewhat skeptical. And since I joined an independent charismatic church last January, I am forced to consider these matters carefully. (To clarify, Hope Chapel does not engage in the sort of chaotic practices that Paul critiqued in 1 Cor. 14. In the main meeting, our charismaticism is mainly manifested in a joyful, energetic worship style. Those who attend are from a variety of backgrounds, with a variety of views about spiritual gifts & prophecy. And the teaching is strongly biblical, and centered on Christ.) (On another side note, I value the fact that Hope is more charismatic than I’m used to, regardless of what conclusions I end up coming to. I think it’s beneficial to be at a church that’s a little more something than you’re used to, within limits–it’s a way of challenging you to learn, to consider, to practice discernment, and to get outside the traditions you hold to just because it’s your background.)

So, I’ve been wrestling with questions related to the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts, such as: How we are to expect the Spirit to work in our lives and in the church, what it means to hear the voice of God, how we are to discern the will of God, and how we are to exercise discernment while maintaining an open and humble spirit and an expectation of the power of God. (more…)

My Christian Radio Shows

Friday, August 31st, 2007

There are a few Christian radio shows that I listen to regularly, all available for downloading online. I’ve found them each to be in some measure informative, interesting, edifying, encouraging, educational, and/or profitable. (Of course, that doesn’t mean I always agree with everything they say. I have disagreed with all of them. It means I appreciate them enough to listen to them.) In the order in which I discovered them: (1) Stand to Reason, with Greg Koukl, (2) The Dividing Line, with James R. White, (3) The Narrow Path, with Steve Gregg, and (4) Iron Sharpens Iron, with Chris Arnzen.

Keep reading for a nutshell description of each show and links to their online archives.

(Feel free to leave a comment with your own recommendations for good Christian radio available online.)

(more…)