Wednesday, March 08, 2006

A Gem Found in a Haystack of Comments.

It is quite thrilling sometimes to read through the comments section of various blogs and find comments that sometimes far outshine the blog itself. I don't mean that in a derogatory way - it happens in most of my blogs if I'm the one writing! I wanted to highlight this particular extract by my friend Don. It is a fantastic and so true insight on the debate about the gifts of the Spirit. Read it!

"Cessationism forces God to work only in ways acceptable to minds trained by anti-Christian Enlightenment thinking: rationalism and skepticism. Cessationism is *really* based note on Scripture, but on a *perceived* lack of trustworthy evidence for the gifts continuing ... I submit that God's heart has not changed from ancient times. Moses wished all his people would prophesy. Paul wished all the Corinithians would prophesy. God today still wishes all Christians would prophesy. Why? To release His loving wisdom and edify the beloved Body of Christ, which so desperately needs both. It's all about releasing more of the power-filled *love* of God into this world. The death of Jesus on Calvary was the single best expression of God's love -- but He is so loving and so giving, He has many, many more expressions of His love that He wants to release, to glorify Jesus before living people today. The charismatic gifts are excellent, God-designed vehicles to release that love, particularly in combination with the properly preached and taught Word of God".

I think that quote carries much wisdom and insight and it thrills me.

Article Reference List of this website available here.

12 comments:

Scotty said...

Yes that is an excellent point - well found!! Wasn't it Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones who said that the greatest sin of the evangelical world is to put God in a box and tell Him what He can and can not do?!! God forgive us!

I echo this call to really get back to the Word of God and allow Him to release His gifts. Thanks so much for finding this!!

thebluefish said...

Renewal/Charismaticism has the potential to do the same...

NicoleW said...

Hi, a nice blog you have here... You will surely get an bookmark :) Fleshlight

Anonymous said...

I have a question. I've been reading and following your blog and it's touches on SGM from your experience which is very interesting. It's great too that your friend Don is now contributing with his history too.

But I've been reading the Cross Centred Life by Mahaney, which is an okay book. But I don't understand what part spiritual gifts have to play in such a life? I know that sounds naive. But if the Cross is SGM's exclusive passion then why bother with seeking spiritual gifts in their meetings? It doesn't seem to be consistent with that emphasis. I mean, what can one prophesy to the Cross? Or about the Cross? It's happened! It was a historical event that has happened?

I hope that question makes sense, but its just been on my mind for some time now and I would appreciate some thoughts. Just HOW relevent is their so-called "charismatic dimensio" to a Cross-obsessed life?

Don said...

Your question doesn't sound naive at all, but is at the heart of extensive comments I made on Challies.com that Dan has linked to. Here's that link again:
http://www.challies.com/archives/001693.php

In those comments, I say that while cessationists have to explain away *all* the miraculous work that God is doing today, SGM has to explain why (instead of peering only into the mysteries of The Cross) it is not actively pursuing the *even greater* revelation of the *entire* Gospel given by the Person and Spirit of Jesus to the First Century Church, and preserved for us in the Gospels, Acts and Epistles. Why is SGM hewing to the same 500-year-old revelation of Reformation as the cessationist John MacArthur -- and not the full counsel of Scripture, despite its 1970s' revelation of the "charismatic dimension?"

See also my comments at Dan's previous post, here:
http://ern-baxter.blogspot.com/2006/03/article-reference-list-of-this-website_06.html

There I muse on how PDI/SGM made an apparently quite conscious decision to end their 90s renewal outpouring, initiated sovereignly by the Spirit of Jesus (through direct contact with Terry Virgo's NFI, I should add!), and turn back to "sound doctrine" instead of identifying with the so-called "anti-doctrine" stands of the pro-renewal folks.

I'm sure Dan and other can add many more useful thoughts.

thebluefish said...

You can't separate a focus on the cross from a focus on the Spirit. Gifts grow us in the faith (the cross-centred faith)...

Anonymous said...

Yes maybe that's true ideologically but its certainly true in outworking and experience. It's the same as saying you can't seperate the Word from the Spirit. In doctrine the two are inseperable and yet historically men like R T Kendall, Sam Storms and Ern Baxter would argue that they have been divorced in experience.

jul said...

To live fully surrendered to the Spirit is humbling. There is no place for relying on eloquent words, worldly wisdom, social standing, outward appearance, or impressive personality. We must offer ourselves to God fully, realizing that we will appear at times to be weak, foolish, and stupid. There is no place for pride. We should follow Him wholeheartedly no matter where he leads us. Christ went to the Cross, a place of utter shame and degradation. We should understand that if we truly follow him, it will not be possible to preserve our so-called dignity. I don't want to misjudge anyone, but it seems to me that this kind of pride is at the heart of the cessationist view, and any other holding back on our parts from completely surrendering to God and his ways.

Don said...

Great comment, Jul. I always wonder about the spiritual lives of the radio teachers I hear, who give their messages in such a proud, know-it-all fashion. I don't judge them, but I just wonder if they've really allowed God to put them through the furnace -- the dark nights of the soul and spirit described so well by St John of the Cross -- that burns all our dreams into ashes and destroys the grasping ambition of our hearts.

My current pastor is a man who has experienced the breaking that only God can design and guide one through. I find I trust God-broken people a lot more than those who haven't been through His wringer. God-broken people have nothing to prove to anyone, know that apart from Him they are nothing at all, are content to stay silent unless they have something that blesses others, and trust God rather than themselves or anyone else.

God promises this blessing of brokenness to those who really want to know and be used by Him. Two examples that reward much meditation:

1) Malachi 3:
"See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty.

But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness,....

2) Matthew 21:
"And he who falls on this stone [Jesus] will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust."

ollie said...

Yes it reminds me of that old gospel song that we used to sing;

"All to Jesus I surrender, now to Him I freely give all I am ...

I surrender all - I surrender all - All to Thee my Blessed Saviour, I surrender all".

Are we REALLY prepared to surrender to the Sovereign Spirit that He may have His way among us? I don't think so!! By the way I agree with the anonymous person who replied to the bluefish gentleman. Yes the two shouldn't be seperated essentially, but I shy away from saying "You CAN'T". We just see it happen too often!

thebluefish said...

Granted people can separate and divide everything - people deny the resurrection, they deny the truth and authority of scripture, but I'm not interested in all the heresies....

We don't need to separate them. I'd rather say - as Jul does - how cross-centred and Spirit-filled work together, than just worry about how SGM might (or might not not get it right)...

I work with charismatic
and cessationist students and churches and the cessationists aren't anti-spirit (just sometimes anti-prophecy) and the charismatics tend not to be anti-word or anti-cross... the church always needs reforming but the picture isn't all bleak (granted there are lots of not good churches - i grew up in a liberal-anglo-catholic "church" which lacked scripture, the cross and the spirit....)

Baxter's Boy said...

No indeed the picture isn't all bleak - but I think we have to be honest and admit its far from what it should be. At Terry Virgo's "Does the Future Have a Church" tour he brought a load of statistics out that don't really bode well:

"More than 1,000 churches could be sudt down in the next decade" - the Times.

"A country whose traditional faith is slowly retreating into history". - the Times.

So surely we need to be neither pessimistic or militant triumphalistic - but biblically realistic. We DO need a revival! We desperately need God to break out in the UK! Yes there's much to be grateful for. But oh how much work there is to be done.