Category: Theology


Summary

Again, at the beginning of the fourth podcast, Michael Patton emphasized that this issue is an important one. There are people in both camps, Cessationists and Charismatics, that will say the the other side is either “far from the Lord or unsaved.” One of the reasons of the podcast is to show that that is not the case.

They decide what the central issue is in this podcast. Patton asks Storms to do just that. Sam Storms says that the center is whether the gifts specifically in 1 Corinthians 12:7-10 are still active today, not so much a worship style or if one group is more aware or dependent on the Spirit. He’s seen both cessationist and charaismatic churches worship the same way. The problem with the awareness or dependence on the Holy Spirit because charismatics are put into the position of questioning cessationists.

1 Corinthians 12:7-10:
[7] To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. [8] For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, [9] to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, [10] to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

Other listed gifts in the podcasts were Ephesians 4, 1 Peter 4, and Romans 12. 1 Corinthians 12 contains the list that some believe they ceased to an exhaustion in purpose.

After clarifying this, Michael asks Sam to explain why cessationists would argue that certain gifts have ceased. Sam gives 5 reasons:

  • Primary purpose was to bear witness to the Gospel message.
  • Reveletory gifts undermine the sufficiency and finality of Scripture.
  • Church History: no evidence past the first couple hundred years of church of the use of the gifts.
  • Disdain of the fanatics that brought dishonor on Jesus and the Gospel.
  • Lack of personal charismatic experience in his own life.

Other issue they want to clarify is the implications or what’s at stake.

From that they discuss what they are seeing in the comments are that people are struggling with abuses even though they are charismatic. Sam points to the fact that the problem isn’t unique to the 21st century. It was also an issue with the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 5). Despising prophetic utterances quenches the Spirit and the response is to handle it rightly. “Paul’s response to abuse is not disuse but proper use.” (Storms) Sam points to the fact that the problem is not the gifts but people.

Sam’s response to the “so what?” question is that the gifts are for edification. All things are tools to edify the church, even the gifts. Even individuals are edified. Even Jude commands self-edification, maturity. Then, driven to this next point, Sam clarifies that we can’t compare the maturity of other Christians but the personal growth of an individual believer.  Character is always a measure of maturity above gifting. There are gifted people that have really bad character.

Tim then brings up another idea, that a person that only get’s say the gift of hospitality isn’t an less mature than someone else with tongues or healing.

In closing Michael emphasizes the need to disassociate Charismatics from the abusers, because as long as those are there, the issue cannot be dealt with.

My Response

There is a lot of good stuff in this podcast. A lot more than usual since the podcast went over by quite a bit. I’m glad they clarified the discussion to continuationism vs cessationism, especially narrowing down to the passage of 1 Corinthians 12:7-10. I’m also glad Michael had Sam discuss why he once believed in cessationism and what the reasons were. He even clarified that he doesn’t believe in the first two, the third has been actually shown otherwise and that the fourth was wrong. I’m glad Sam brought up that the issue at hand isn’t just a 21st century issue but an issue during the whole history of the church. Then I’m glad that Sam clarifies that the gifts are not just for proclaiming the Gospel message but for the edification of the church. He quoted quite a few passages from 1 Corinthians 12. Lastly I’m glad that Tim asked the question he did and that Sam answered it by saying that the person who gets tongues isn’t any better off or mature than the believer who gets just hospitality. These questions and clarifications are all good ones in my opinion. As I started digging into them, they probably would be a lot of the questions I would have brought up, especially the reason for the gifts, as proclaiming the Gospel. Sam showed otherwise. Knowing that isn’t not an issue of maturity also is comforting. I plan on looking at those passages mentioned and thinking about them and then posting my thoughts on them later on in the week. Hopefully it’ll help me be more decisive and decided about my conviction of the issue. Lastly I’m glad that Michael closed the podcast with the need for disassociation of abusers from other Charismatics.

Thanks guys for the podcast. Looking forward to this weeks podcast

NOTE: There weren’t any related Parchment and Pen blog posts to this podcast as they were all over the place, yet narrowing and clarifying their discussions.

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Another video of the gospel. This one is by Eric Ludy. It is very good. It’s 11 mins long though, but worth the watch.

Eric Ludy‘s personal ministry is Ellerslie Mission Society.

I’m doing a series of posts in response to the podcast/blog series of Parchment and Pen called Why I Am/Am Not a Charismatic. The reason I’m doing this series is because I’ve never solidified my theology in this area and it’s a good time to do it. My first post. My second post.

In the third podcast from my opinion, they were all over the place. They took about 8 mins in the introduction to introduce their newest guy in the series, JJ, a Charismatic, and do announcements. JJ now makes the two “sides” even. Now their is Michael and Tim as Cessationists, and Sam and JJ as Charismatics.

From about 8 mins, Michael lays out that the two things that are on the table that he’d like to cover: 1) He wants to furthur clarify what that mean by Charismatic, and 2) clarify that there are life implications.

The second one is answered right off the bat. There are life implications. It affects ones view of God and how one person lives daily life more than say eschatology does.

The first one is where the discussion goes everywhere. They discuss how both men are taking it from two sides. Michael is looking at it from a continuum perspective, while Sam is looking at it from a what does God say, this requires obedience perspective. Another topic discussed is that it’s possible it’s a matter of terminology. JJ brought up that it’s possible that cessationists can employ the gifts and they would call it feeling an urge from the Lord. He gave a couple of examples of that idea. They also discussed worship. Sometimes cessationists have a more charismatic worship service but sometimes it’s done as a church growth strategy rather than as a spiritual conviction. They even discuss the theology of demonology from both sides and how they would respond to demons.

At the end of the podcast, Michael tries to bring it back around to what he wanted to answer by asking the question, is the issue they are trying to discuss whether speaking in tongues, prophecy, and healings still continue or not? Like is that what defines a Charismatic or the power of the Holy Spirit in someones life? Is it the three things or more than that? They never get to it because Sam comes back and asks the power of the Holy Spirit to what end? Battle temptation? Quicken mind to preach? Evangelism? Or for the full range of the gifts? There are cessationists that clearly rely on the power of the Holy Spirit.

Personally, I do believe that someone’s view of God and life will be impacted by what they believe in terms of the charismatic viewpoint or cessationist viewpoint. With Charismatic, God is way more, deeply, intimately involved in the world in the sense that He is giving personal words to people, healing people, crossing borders through the supernatural speaking of other languages. As well as the fact that God could do that at any moment in a believers life toward and for another person.

For me, in defining the meaning that Michael tried to clarify at the end but didn’t get, I personally am not sure on what I would say a Charismatic is either. They would seem to have a bigger role for the Holy Spirit, and that would include both the fact that the role Jesus prescribed for the Holy Spirit as Helper, Teacher, Guide, and to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 14:26; 16:8). Are the gifts the means by which the Holy Spirit would cause this to happen?  Helper, Teach, Guide and even Comforter (Acts 9:41) would be for believers, so edification of the church would be the role of the Spirit. But convicting the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment would be an aspect of evangelism, which would lead to glorifying Christ (John 16:14), because those are the bad news that point to Jesus as Savior. Cessationists would cling to this power of the Holy Spirit to reveal the Word, to convict both believers and unbelievers of sin, judgment and righteousness. Thinking all that through, it would be more of a matter of the Holy Spirit still giving and applying those gifts among believers today, because the power of the Holy Spirit is even essential for cessationists.

Series Posts on the Parchment and Pen Blog
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE CHARISMATIC?
Michael Patton’s Post – Sam Storms’ Response
Sam Storms’ PostMichael Patton’s Repsonse

This Podcast

Like I said in my last post, I found a new podcast to listen to called Theology Unplugged. The current series of discussions is on Continuationism, the belief on whether the gifts of the Spirit like tongues, miraculous healings, and prophecies are still in use today. In my last post I discussed their first podcast discussing definitions. In this post, I’m going to look at their background stories.

Really this series is supposed to be a discussion between Sam Storms (the Charismatic) and Michael Patton (the Cessationist). Each man gave background to why he holds to his belief.

Michael Patton, right from the outset admitted to wanting to be Charismatic. For him, he wants to experience God in a more supernatural way and experience God more imminently and stop experiencing God in a mundane way of say daily obedience, but not a real closeness with God. But also on the flip side he is hesitant to associate with that and encourage that because he doesn’t want to build up expectations for people, pulling up their faith, then not have God move in the way that the person was expecting. As they put it, it drains someone or takes a lot of air our of someones recently filled balloon that is holding up their faith.

Sam’s story is that he used to be a Cessationist. He went to school at Dallas, which is totally Cessationist. He even argued against the Charistmatic point of view. One of the things that really caused him to rethink his view was reading D.A. Carson’s book Showing the Spirit. The book tore down the arguments he had been using for Cessationism. Over time, other things happened like re-engagement with Jack Deere. Then he went to a prophecy meeting, and the man who prophesied about him, knew details that only God would know from Sam’s prayers, and they came true. But this wasn’t the only experience he had. Overtime God pulled him toward being a Charismatic, but his wife took a little longer, but eventually she came to believe as she started experiencing the Spirit moving in the Charismatic way. At first she thought he went off the deep end because he had taught her in the cessationist view. He accumulated a better relationship with God, freedom, joy, a new dimention of intimacy with His relationship with God. He wrote a full bio in a book called

For me, I totally resonate with Michael Patton because I don’t want to build up an expectation in people and have God not move in the way I said He would move. Yet, I also desire to experience God in that way he describes, and Sam describes. I want to have a more intimate experience with God than I already have. Though I can’t deny Sam’s experience. I can’t say he didn’t experience it. I wasn’t there. Experiences are more subjective. So I do desire the experience but I also am concerned with the desire to protect people and not putting up expectations for people that I don’t know if they will happen. But I want that intimacy, worship, the joy and freedom to enjoy God.

During the podcast Sam also mentions a few more books as he was going through his story.

Series Posts on the Parchment and Pen Blog
Michael Patton’s StorySam Storm’s Response
Sam Storm’s StoryMichael Patton’s Response
Podcast

Thanks to Tim Challies and my new iPod touch, I was looking for new RSS feeds and I found some. One of them was Parchment and Pen. Well, they started a new series just as I was tuning in called Why I Am/Am Not a Charismatic. I’ve been interested in that for a while. Well, they also have a podcast that I didn’t know about before called Theology Unplugged and they are covering the series as a conversation in that too. What I like about it that is conversational like Connected Kingdom with Tim Challies and David Murray.

So far in the Podcast they have covered definitions (part 1) and background stories of Sam Storms and Michael Patton (part 2). Tim Kimberley is somewhat of a moderator. He is trying to push more for organization and having topics to be covered.

First they covered a small introduction including that all three men attended Dallas Theological Seminary, which is very cessationist, yet Storms has come to believe in the gifts as a Continuationist. They listed some guys that are Charismatic. The guys I was familiar with were Wayne Grudem, John Piper and Mark Driscoll, though I didn’t know he held Charismatic beliefs.

Then Sam Storms covered the history of the modern Charismatic movement in Evangelicalism in a response to a question of how charismatism has been changing over the Christian landscape.

Definitions
They clarified what Charismatic or Continuationist and Cessationist mean.
Charismatic or Continuationists believe that the gifts of the Spirit like prophecy or tongues or miraculous healings still exist today though they clarified it that the purpose is to edify the church or spread the gospel. They did go against those people that hold onto it that are prosperity preachers.
They also clarified the difference between Continuationists and practicing Continuationists. There are some Continuationists that don’t pursue them. I forgot the name they used for them.

Cessationists believe that the gifts of the Spirit mentioned above have been stopped and ended at the church age and part of the reason for the belief is the abuse of the “gifts” by people that don’t seem to proclaim Christ and use it for their own gain.

My personal experience with Charismatics is that early in my Christian walk I attended church with a friend that had a prophecy and tongues as a regular part of their service. After that I had little thought until I spent some time on Sam Storms personal site. I’m still open on my theology in this area. I haven’t made a decision one way or another because for me it’s a peripheral theological point. I’ve been sticking to the Gospel primarily and theology directly associated with it like the Doctrines of Grace, theology proper, Christology, etc. I understand that I should take a view because it’s commanded in the scripture to pursue the gifts (1 Corinthians 14:1). So I’ve decided after going through this series, I’ll make up my mind for my own personal theology. And if they don’t cover everything I need, I’ll pursue it and find answers on my own.

In the next blog post I’ll discuss more thoroughly the background stories of Patton and Storms as Kimberley is moderating.

Series Posts on the Parchment and Pen Blog
What to Expect

Is Being Missional Enough?

Over at the Acts 29 blog is an interesting blog post. The answer to the question in the blog title is a no. The main idea of the blog post is that a purely Missional church will burn out. These are the best few lines from blog which explains the need:

Missional church is not enough. What we need is captivation with God’s glory, and with a God who is relentless in showing his glory to his people throughout history. This glory is complete. The challenge is to stand in awe, not merely of the missional task, but also of the God of mission. From this place of awe the mission of the church will advance and God’s glory will be completed.

Its a reminder by Jonathan Edwards of 1 Corinthians 10:31. Now go over to their blog and read the post. It’s not that long.
http://www.acts29network.org/acts-29-blog/why-the-missional-church-isnt-enough/

G.O.S.P.E.L. Video

I haven’t been posting Gospel Primers because I’ve been slacking. I haven’t set aside the time to gather them and have them all set up and ready to go. Part of it is my own struggles with sin.

I found this great video on the gospel though during the last few days. They take Gospel and make an acronym out of it: God. Our. Sins. Paying. Everyone. Life. (G.O.S.P.E.L.) There is a link on the vimeo page of the video to buy and download it. I just might. Enjoy and pass it on.

The Reformed Faith

Blogging might be easier now since I have an iPod touch for the time being, though typing will be a bit slower being that I can only use my thumbs. Anyway, along with blogging, I should be able to read some books because I can have them on iBooks and kindle. One of the “books” I found was the The Reformed Faith by Loraine Boettner. I found it through Monergism.com, pointed by Tim Challies (http://www.challies.com/).

The Reformed Faith was a good quick read. I was able to read it within the day. It summarizes the views of the reformed faith and it starts with the sovereignty of God. For me, that is a great relief to find something that starts with God. God centered verses man centered. Even the five points can be used to be man centered. It starts with man as the Five Points of Calvinism with total depravity.
This booklet doesn’t actually follow the five points.
The contents are as follows with summaries for each section:

1. The Sovereignty of God
This is the first section is my favorite. It looks at God’s total and complete sovereignty even over the sinful actions of man.

2. Man’s Totally Helpless Condition
This section essentially examines total depravity and looks at the condition of man and looks at it from the view of headship and Adam as our head and the test he went through on to see of his faith in God like all the Angels did.

3. Christ’s Atonement
This section looks at the limited of Christ’s atonement from both theological views. The Arminianist view limits the power of the cross by making it available to all people leaving the last decision to be saved by the sinner. The Calvinist view limits who the atonement applies to. The arminian view leaves things up to man while the calvin view leaves things up to God giving God glory.

4. The Foreknowledge of Go
In this section he shows that with foreknowledge that Arminians actually shoot themselves in the foot because if they believe if it’s foreknowledge then it’s already all been determined anyway like fate.

5. The Universalistic Passages
This is a great section. What it does it look at the passages of the bible Arminians use to prove their side or try to refute Calvinism. He looks at them in context and concludes that they are referring to the elected believers from every tribe, tongue, and nation, not each individual person. I thoroughly enjoyed this section and think every believer should keep this notes on hand.

6. The Two Systems Contrasted
In this section the author compares the five points of Calvinism to the five points of Arminianism. He quotes David N. Steele and Curtis Thomas on this saying that they have the best summary of the two sides. The two summaries they give for each side are below.

According to Arminianism:
Salvation is accomplished through the combined efforts of God (who takes the initiative) and man (who must respond) – man’s response being the determining factor. God has provided salvation for everyone, but His provision becomes effective only for those who, of their own free will, “choose” to cooperate with Him and accept His offer of grace. At the crucial point, man’s will plays a decisive role; thus man, not God, determines who will be recipients of the gift of salvation.

According to Calvinism:
Salvation is accomplished by the almighty power of the Triune God. The Father chose a people, the Son died for them, the Holy Spirit makes Christ’s death effective by bringing the elect to faith and repentance, thereby causing them to willingly obey the gospel. The entire process (election, redemption, regeneration) is the work of God and is by grace alone. Thus God, not man, determines who will be the recipients of the gift of salvation.

I highly recommend any Christian read this article, whether Calvinist, Arminian, or someone that claims to hold neither view. It could shed light and gave me personally some thoughts I’ve never thought of before. It can be downloaded here as either an ePub or mobi file: http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/free-ebooks.html. It can also be bought on monergism as a physical booklet.

Adoption

I read something about adoption and having been researching Christian Hedonism, and this came to my mind:

Adoption is Christian Hedonism. Adoption is the expression of it. Just as justification is required as a means to adoption, adoption is the means of, and to, Christian Hedonism. Knowing, loving, and enjoying God is Christian Hedonism and adoption, or in the Family of God, is where it takes place.

I think I’ve found my niche. It is adoption. How often does the average Christian hear about adoption or really understand what it means to be in the family of God? What glorious truth this is that people need to know. John Piper is the Christian Hedonist. Adoption is the arena in which it takes place. Adoption is the heart of Christianity, it is Christianity. Knowing God, loving God, and Enjoying Him is the center of Christianity and adoption is the arena it is played out in.

Edit: Another thought came to me. Another way to look at this is like a circulatory system. Adoption is the veins and arteries in which the blood of Christian Hedonism flows, and the Holy Spirit is the Heart. Knowing God is the Blood of the Christian Life. It is the life that keeps a Christian a Christian. The things is this example could be taken even further to a body. The Essence of God or God the Father is the Brain of the Body. The Son is the Head because He is the image of God. I say the Spirit is the Heart because the Spirit is the one that is “sent out into the world.” The parts of the Body is the Church. The Whole body, head, heart, parts of the body, is the Family of God, Father, Son, Spirit and Church. This analogy of the Body can be drawn so many different ways, and can be explained in such great detail, that is can take a lot of work and a lot of characters, or paper for that matter.

I decided I would include the list of Recommended Books that was at the end of the Resolved Conference Booklet from 2007. The next six books were recommended in the booklet. The paragraphs included under the titles were also included in the booklet from the conference.

GOD IS THE GOSPEL By John Piper
“With his inspiring writing style, John Piper calls you to meditate on the gospel and be satisfied with an intimate knowledge of God and His Son, Jesus Christ. As you read this biblical and cross-centered book, Piper will draw your focus to justification, forgiveness, the glory of Christ in evangelism and sanctification, gladness in the gift of God Himself. ‘The glory of Christ is ignored by the synthetic, man-centered message so often shared in evangelism. But the true gospel of God proclaims the death and resurrection of Christ.’ As you read this book, expect to be confronted with the glory of Christ and encouraged to diligently proclaim His message!” (From Page B of the Resolved Conference Booklet 2007)
Review

THE GOSPEL FOR REAL LIFE By Jerry Bridges
“The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not just for initial salvation! God calls us to take up our cross daily and strive for holiness. Achieving this though is not always easy, but instead requires self-examination in all areas of life. Now available with a study guide, this recent and powerful book refuses to avoid the unpopular topic of sin. Instead Bridges will help you understand and implement the power of the gospel so as to enjoy real freedom and continued victory over sin and legalism as you follow Christ!” (From Page B of the Resolved Conference Booklet 2007)
Review

THE GLORY OF CHRIST By John Owen
“To see the glory of Christ is on the greatest privileges that a Christian can enjoy. In his immense essence, the infinite God is invisible to our finite human eyes, and will remain so for eternity. Only ‘in the face of Jesus Christ’ can we see God and be filled with peace and rest. Reading this good will present you with a sense of his uncreated glory, blazing for in Christ, to the intent that you will be satisfied and filled with joy.” (From Page B of the Resolved Conference Booklet 2007)
Review
A second Review




THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THE APOSTLES By John MacArthur
“Ever since the days of the apostles, Christian have struggles to define the proper relationship between faith and works. Salvation, according to Paul, is ‘not by works, so that no one can boast.’ But James argues that ‘faith without works is dead.’ In his characteristic, compelling style, MacArthur reconciles these two seemingly divergent threads of biblical truth.” (From Page B of the Resolved Conference Booklet 2007)
Review

LIVING THE CROSS CENTERED LIFE By C.J. Mahaney
“Too many Christians get caught up in the life’s optional extras and then wonder why they are drifting in a sea of difficulty. The simplle reason is that they have lost sight of the core reason for their new life—the cross of Jesus Christ, our mediator. C.J. Mahaney reminds his readers of the importance of the cross and describes how its gospel message provides strength for the present and assurance for the future. Be encouraged to regain your moorings and set sail under the power of a cross-centered life!” (From Page B of the Resolved Conference Booklet 2007)
Review
A second Review

THE CROSS AND CHRISTIAN MINISTRY By D.A. Carson
“Jesus’ work on the cross not only won our redemption but also stands as the test and pattern of all Christian ministry today. This heartwarming exposition will challenge and encourage church leaders and their congregations. What can a first-century view of the cross teach us about Christian leadership? Plenty, says this respected New Testament scholar. In his thorough exposition of 1 Corinthians, Carson explores factionalism, servant-leadership, shaping “world” Christians, and other issues to help you gain a better understanding of what the death of Christ means in ministering to God’s people.” (From Page B of the Resolved Conference Booklet 2007)
Review