Aren't Sovereign Grace Ministries Worth Bothering About?!?!
*Update Friday 9th March 2007* - Mahaney now rates his speaking engagement at MacArthur's church along with speaking in place of John Piper as two of the highlights in his ministry. The question is asked "In summary does CJ's appearance on the stage at a MacArthur conference as a preacher mark the beginning of a new phase for the whole church or the beginning of the end of the charismatic era for some?". It's a good question. It depends whether you think that SGM reflect true charismatic life in the USA. Remember that prior to Toronto they kept themselves to themselves and showed quite clearly that they were not interested in having churches join their ranks. Post-Blessing when they "chose Geneva over Toronto" they were far more reformed than charismatic anyway. The question has to be asked - when was the last time anyone heard Mahaney preach on anything avidly charismatic while appreciating being welcomed into the MacArthur reformed fold?
I read this quote and I couldn't resist a brief comment. If you remember I was particularly interested in the visit of C J Mahaney to John MacArthur's church (the vehement anti-charismatic of "Charismatic Chaos" fame and yes ... the Tortilla Lady who represents all who believe in signs and wonders naturally).
We were assured by Ligon Duncan III that by no means was John MacArthur going "soft" on his anti-charismatic views, therefore I asked the question ... is C J Mahaney and by default SGM going soft on their charismatic views? There is of course no answer, because SGM are too busy thinking about the Cross, and everybody else loves them.
However blogger Phil Johnson (who by the way is John MacArthur's right hand man) wrote this:
"While I'm at it, let me say that if all charismatics were of the Mahaney/Piper/Grudem variety, I probably wouldn't pick a fight over our differences on the charismata. That's not to say I approve of any kind of charismatic mysticism, but if no one ever went any further than, say, the typical guy from Sovereign Grace Ministries, I don't think I would spend much energy arguing against them".
Is that a good thing? I suppose it is if you don't think that the charismatic issues are worth fighting about. But what charismatic issues are those? If you are a Reformed Charismatic as I am, then the Word of God tells me that there is a rich glorious inheritance that is called the Sealing of the Spirit that is the birthright of all Christians, and also church life should be a rich glorious tapestry of 'every member minstry' where unbelievers fall down and exclaim "God is truly among you!". Why do they exclaim that? Not because of the preaching (according to my ESV Bible) but because of the prophetic.
Is it a good thing that Philip Johnson wouldn't bother arguing against Sovereign Grace Ministries? Time will tell I guess ... but this only adds to my suspicions as to where SGM are going. I wonder how long that 'charismatic dimension' will survive.