Posts Tagged ‘Lakeland’

That Sensationalism Quote

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

A quick comment on the sensationalism quote that I posted last week:

This spring, when the Lakeland Revival was starting, I thought about writing a post on the general issue of sensationalism, along with “mountaintop experiences” like Christian camps or conferences or events. I didn’t so much want to evaluate Lakeland, as to talk about the proper place of “unusual/sensational” things in the life of the church. I wrote a couple drafts, but never finished one.

Carson did a fantastic job. He didn’t talk about everything there is to say–for instance, he didn’t directly compare the unusual/uncommon work of the Spirit with the regular work of the Spirit in the local church–but I absolutely love what he did say.

It reminds me of a Sam Storms quote that I heard about second-hand, recently. Something like: Biblical balance means pursuing everything the Bible teaches with exactly as much emphasis and enthusiasm as the Bible teaches us to have.

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