Not all Cessationists are of MacArthur’s spirit

Important post from Sam Storms: Most are aware of the Strange Fire conference currently underway at John MacArthur’s church in California. It is specifically designed to argue that charismatics, broadly conceived, are guilty of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Yes, you read that correctly. Today, my friend Michael Patton wrote an excellent article that can be read at the blog for Parchment and Pen ( Michael Brown also made an appeal to MacArthur on the Charisma News website. Although I’m tempted to throw in my ten cent’s worth, I defer to J. I. Packer. J. I. Packer is not your typical cessationist. That he is a cessationist is beyond question. But the wise, gentle, biblical, and loving way in which he responds to those in the charismatic movement is a model of Christian maturity and depth of character. In one place Packer responds to those who are offended by charismatic phenomena by pointing out that “we are very apt to respond

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Sam Storms’ suggestions for Charismatic progress

Charismatic Renewal: 10 Suggestions for the Way Forward In the previous post I looked at 10 strengths and weaknesses of charismatic renewal. If the charismatic renewal is not only to thrive in the days ahead but also expand its influence in the broader evangelical world, several things must occur. Included among these, in no particular order, are: (1) Charismatics must return to a robust view of the gospel and how it functions to shape all of life and belief. (2) There is a great need in charismatic circles for a more explicitly Christological center to theology and ministry. In other words, without diminishing their emphasis on the Holy Spirit, charismatics must elevate their focus on Jesus Christ: his life, death, resurrection, and exaltation. In a sense, Pneumatology must be subservient to Christology. (3) Charismatics are notoriously weak when it comes to ecclesiology. This is seen in: a) the tendency to embrace structures of local church leadership that are alien to the NT pattern; b)

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Charismatic Renewal: 10 Strengths and Weaknesses

By Sam Storms: It seems everyone has an opinion on what is known as the charismatic movement. I’m no exception. But in this article I want to focus on what I perceive to be both its strengths and weaknesses. In a subsequent post I’ll comment on what I think is most needed in the charismatic world for it to move forward to the glory of God. (1) The charismatic tradition has done well in emphasizing the role of authentic experience in Christian living. Charismatics are to be applauded for bringing a more holistic approach to our relationship with God. In doing so, the dualism between body and spirit, as well as between the affective and cognitive dimensions, has been overcome. On the other hand, this has led at times to a de-emphasis on the mind (even a “demonizing” of it) and a failure to appreciate the necessity of a rigorous intellectual engagement with the faith. (2) The charismatic renewal has

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The Spirit of God

I love this piece from Mark Lauterbach: What does it mean to live by faith in the person and work of the Holy Spirit? I am a continuationist. That means I believe from Scripture that the age in which we live is marked by the continuing active presence of God, by the Spirit. While I think his work may be more pronounced at one time or other, I do not believe what the Spirit of God is doing in the world has changed. There is no cessation of any particular aspect of his work. Acts 2 is the record of the inauguration of this day, and it reminds me that the pouring out of the Spirit at Pentecost is not an event that ended at sunset of that day. No, it is like a wedding – it brought about a whole new state of being. It is like an inauguration, it resulted in a new regime. Acts 2 says that

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Bob Kauflin on Spirit-Filled Worship

I like this piece from Bob Kauflin: Addressing One Another in Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs This past Sunday I had the privilege of speaking at Solid Rock Church, the Sovereign Grace church in Riverdale, Maryland, not far from where I live. I spoke on Eph. 5:15-21 Warning: mysql_connect() [function.mysql-connect]: Too many connections in /var/www/goodnews/session_mysql.php on line 62 and called the message, “Spirit-filled Singing.” I shared six characteristics of singing that are a result of being filled with the Spirit. My first point was “Spirit-filled singing is to each other,” and based on Eph. 5:19Ephesians 5:19 [19]addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, (ESV) where Paul says we’re “addressing one another.” You’d think in a passage about singing praise to God that Paul would begin with God. He doesn’t. The first focus of our singing Paul mentions is not God, but one another. Col. 3:16Colossians 3:16 [16]Let

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Sam Storms’ Theology (and mine!)

My friend Sam Storms has published a summary of his theological views. I would have to say, “Snap! Mine too”, with one or two minor/nuanced qualifications (which one would expect). Thanks Sam! On numerous occasions I’ve had people ask me about my theological convictions, most likely because I appear to be an odd mix of views that cannot be found in any one confession of faith or reduced to a single label, system, or denomination. Others have asked the same question when they see the variety of churches in which I’ve either served as senior pastor, associate pastor, board member, or simply member. This would include Southern Baptist, Presbyterian, independent Bible church (with a Plymouth Brethren orientation), Vineyard, Anglican, and charismatic. By now, I suspect many of you might be inclined to say, “Sam, you’re not so much eclectic in your theology as you are confused!” So, I’ve decided to yield to the pressure of these repeated inquiries and briefly

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Storms on Edwards’ Religious Affections

The Resurgence has a great interview (approx. 30 mins.) with Sam Storms on his book, ‘Signs of the Spirit’ – an accessible understanding of ‘The Religious Affections’ by Jonathan Edwards. Storms speaks knowledgeably and passionately about Edwards’ unique discernment concerning the workings of the Spirit. Or true Biblical spirituality. You can listen here.

Lloyd-Jones: A man of the Word & Spirit!

My thanks, once again, to Adrian Warnock for this: “. . . the trouble has generally been . . . that people have emphasised either experience or doctrine at the expense of the other . . . This is something that has been happening in the church from almost the very beginning . . . When the whole emphasis is placed upon one or the other, you either have a tendency to fanaticism and excess or a tendency toward a barren intellectualism and a mechanical and a dead kind of orthodoxy . . . As you read the stories of Luther and Calvin and other reformation fathers you will find that they began to fight this war on two fronts. They were fighting a dead, mechanical intellectualism on one hand, and they had to fight these other people who were running to excess and riot on the other. Then in the seventeenth century you find the same kind of thing

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Terry Virgo on the Cross

Terry Virgo blogs a preview of the next Newfrontiers magazine. This is an excellent piece from Terry! The sign of a fish provided an early symbol of Christian commitment and identification with the Jewish Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, but the more enduring image is undoubtedly the cross. Whether unending lines of identical white crosses at a military cemetery or two simple pieces of wood nailed together in a remote place; whether massive and resplendent on the dome of a great cathedral, or minute, jangling on a necklace, the cross remains the unmistakeable sign identified with the Christian faith. In our contemporary world, of course, we are far removed from its original horror and shame. We see it paraded at the heart of a national flag or carried high at a procession full of pomp and splendour. When Paul boasted in the cross, his boast would have been incomprehensible to any of his contemporaries, apart from those who had fully embraced

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“It Is to Your Advantage That I Go Away”

I love this quote from Sinclair Ferguson. My thanks to Timmy Brister for posting it. It’s always concerned me that the Holy Spirit is often thought of as some second best companion compared to having Jesus with us in person. He is “another comforter” of the same kind as the Son of God. The Spirit of Jesus! Here’s Timmy’s intro and a great quote: Have you thought about that phrase uttered from the mouth of the greatest miracle worker ever lived? Imagine that you lived three years with the man who raised dead people, touched lepers, healed the lame, blind, deaf, and mute, and cast out demons, and he told you that it is to your advantage that he leaves the scene!  To the disciples, this must have been a shocking statement!  I thought I’d provide an excerpt from Sinclair Ferguson as he addresses this passage. Ferguson writes: “Christ has become ‘life-giving Spirit.’  Having the Spirit is the equivalent, indeed

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Trueman on CJ, Basketball, and Spurgeon!

CJ Mahaney is a pal, but I’ve always had two problems with his ministry: First, he thinks basketball players are the greatest athletes.  As I told him this morning, I won’t reply to that, for, as the Bible says, never answer a fool according to his folly. Second, he think Spurgeon’s sermons are great.  I debated this point with hime arly in the year.  Yes, CHS must have been a great preacher, but I find his written sermons hopeless — the right doctrine invariably injected into the wrong text.  But CJ’s response was that the move from Christ to pastoral application in CHS is well worth studying and second to none in Christian tradition.  Dare I say it, I have revised my opinion.  I still think CHS’s expositions are fanciful at best; but there is a raw pastoral power to what he does that serves at least as an example of something to emulate. I was reminded of this last night,

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Lloyd-Jones on Gifts

In Romans – Exposition of Chapter 12, Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones writes: I find it almost laughable that people should say that they do not see any evidence of the gifts today. It means, of course, that they are only thinking of speaking in tongues or of prophecy or of miracles … We are entitled, therefore, to argue that if some of these gifts have been in evidence throughout the history of the church and are still here, then why not all of them? Then speaking of prophecy specifically: But perhaps the best way of reaching a definition is to ask; what is the difference between prophecy on the one hand and preaching and teaching on the other? Because there is a difference. And I would say that the difference is one word. Immediacy. And this means that a word is given to people and comes to them. Now preaching and teaching are not like that. A preacher and teacher is

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Blessed Assurance!

From time to time we all go through short periods, or even prolonged seasons of doubt about our standing with God. There can be many reasons for this. Assurance is not automatic. In fact, very little in the Christian life is automatic because the very nature of it is relational. We are saved (justified and forgiven) in order that we can relate to and find our deepest satisfaction and joy in God. That’s why He gives us His Spirit to enable a genuinely experiencial walk with Him. There are three main ways that assurance works, or better, how it is gained. Firstly it is derived through believing the truth of Gods word. If the word says “all those that call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom. 10:13), and you have called on His name for salvation through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, you can trust that God is true to his word. You are saved! That’s

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Building a Comprehensive View of God’s Glory

This is a very helpful piece from Camden Bucey. He addresses my favourite subject, ‘God is the Gospel’, and makes some insightful comments on the preacher/pastor’s task of building a comprehensive view of God’s glory in his congregation.   “In his book God is the Gospel John Piper makes the point that Christians can tend to miss the main point of the gospel by focusing on its peripheral aspects instead of its supreme end – the glory of Christ. Imagine a jeweler who is an expert in diamonds. It is certainly possible for a jeweler to become so enamored with the peripheral aspects of a diamond and yet miss the diamond’s overall glory. The jeweler can appreciate the diamond’s cut, its magnificent clarity, and its color all the while forgetting to see that those aspects contribute to the overall glory of the object. If the jeweler appreciates each characteristic in isolation without being able to appreciate the fact that the diamond in

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Beholding the Glory of Christ – Our ultimate need!

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Rev. 1:8). “… [lively] faith concerns the person of Christ, his grace, his whole mediatory work, with all its results, and his glory in them all. Therefore the one thing most needed in our recovery and revival is a steady view of the glory of Christ, in his person, grace and office through faith, or a constant, lively exercise of faith in him as he is revealed in Scripture. This is the only way to be revived and to receive such grace as will keep us fresh and flourishing even in old age. … A constant view of the glory of Christ will revive our souls and cause our spiritual lives to flourish and thrive. Our souls will be revived by the transforming power with which beholding Christ is always accompanied. This is what transforms us daily

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More of this Glorious Gospel!

Here’s two more (shorter!) quotes on the atonement, posted by Adrian Warnock Terry Virgo on the results of the cross:  “Remember God has accepted us. The gospel of grace is a message of breathtaking freedom. It must be embraced with faith and thanksgiving. You are thoroughly accepted just as you are. Jesus Christ is your righteousness and he is never going to change. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. When you wake tomorrow, he will still be your righteousness, before you have done anything to enjoy God’s favour. You have to earn nothing. Your spirit needs to bask in the brilliant sunlight of this reality. You need to know it inwardly and celebrate it on a daily basis.” CJ Mahaney on the cross: “As a pastor few things affect me more than interacting with those who are unaware of God’s personal love for them. Normally there isn’t a week that goes by where I’m not talking with someone

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Apostles Today

By Terry Virgo As a Charismatic and a Bible-loving Christian, I believe that when Jesus ascended he gave gifts to his church. Exalted to the right hand of God, he received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and poured out not only the Pentecostal blessing described in Acts 2:33 but also gave apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers (Ephesians 4:11) to help equip his church and bring it to maturity. These variously named gifts obviously differ in their function and relevance. It doesn’t say ‘he ascended and gave priests’ or ‘he ascended and gave clergymen’. He gave diverse and distinct gifts. The evangelist differs from the prophet. The apostle differs from the pastor. Otherwise these titles are redundant – a waste of space. If the inspired Scriptures distinguish between varieties of ministries and clearly imply that we need this diversity of gifting to bring about God’s ultimate intention, why do so many Bible-believing Christians and churches ignore the obvious

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