Monday, August 07, 2006

"1st Discourse - Part 2" between Earl Paulk and Ern Baxter.

Ern Baxter: I believe that the failure (and thank God it's been picked up now) among Pentecostals and charismatics is that they have been so involved in the euphoria of the experience (and my God that's great), but they haven't taken the time to provide a biblical rational apologetic for what they've been doing. And we owe that to people to say, "What I'm doing is this".

That's why I love to put the Word with the Spirit because they love each other. They get along great together - they created the world together and they are the basis of the new creation. "Except a man be born of the Word and the Spirit. Of his own will begat he of the Word of truth" said James. "Except a man be born of the Spirit". It's the cooperative of the Word and the Spirit.

Now I have a theory and I don't know how tenable it is, Bishop but I wonder about birth. When we look at birth biologically we sometimes see kids who are born malformed, handicapped and I look at Christians and I wonder is it possible to have some kind of faulty seed that a lot of people are born spiritually deformed? It seems to me that they get a faulty start. God bless the man who comes into a full orbed birth! My 3rd child suffered from pre-natal malnutrition and the dear little thing when she was born looked like a little waif and she became my love because I looked through the windon and I said, "That's my kid". When the 4th child was coming the doctor pre-natally fed that child and when she was born she became a chunky little girl. Man her muscsles rippled and she had a full head of hair and there was something about the prenatal feeding. Now that is a theory you see, but I wonder is it possible from an imbalanced gospel message to have some kind of deformity? I wonder if a lot of Christians have some natal problems?

Earl Paulk: But that is a point that I want to press. Imbalance may cause prenatal problems - the lack of proper growth in the Christian community. You use the analogy of Jesus batting. I am going to throw you a curve ball! As an apostle in the body of Christ today that all of us deeply respect (and I'm not trying to pull out of you an opinion because we haven't gone over the depth of discussion of this) do you get the feeling sometimes that we are plagued by the things of the Holy Ghost and that we are doing some things that excite the emotions of people psychosomatically bringing momentarily relief btu somehow we are missing the reach of the whole matter? Is that right?

Ern Baxter: No I think you are right. I really have no time for psychosomaticism at all. I feel that its demeaning to the Holy Spirit. I think it is a kind of exhibitionism and showsmanship here and I need to say to you up front that there is much about the Pentecostal/Charismatic dimension that distresses me because it is designed to appeal to people emotionally and people are not reached emotionally. There are three things you have to do in your preaching - this is a bit of homiletics.

1. You have to inform the mind.
2. You have to stir the emotions.
3. You command the will.

Now you can't just get up and get people all excited. I get excited - don't think that I am against any kind of euphoric excitement that is legitimate. But I don't get excited out of an empty head. My hallelujahs are based on information. When you preach - you are preaching to the mind. Some people say, "Don't preach to the mind brother - preach to the heart". Well that is a fatal dichotomy that's been hoisted upon us. The Bible knows nothing about a head/heart dichotomy. When the Jesus described the heart of fallen man, he said, "Out of a heart proceedeth evil thoughts". Of course you think with your heart! Your heart is your whole internal judgemental apparatus.

And the first word to you from God is an intellectual word; "Repent!". Change your mind! I come to you with the Word of God as opposed to your Word. The word of the philosophers - the word of fallenness. I come to you with the word of life - the Word of God - the word of ultimate reality. And I say you've been wrong. You've throught wrong thoughts about yourself and about God. You've thought wrong thoughts about Jesus. You've thought wrong thoughts about destiny and about the world. Get your head screwed on right!

Now we want to make repentance emotional. As I preach repentance, women and men have to start to change their minds and start to realise they are going to have to make some changes and their emotions get involved. The emotions are the gasoline that makes your head act. I've heard some theologians and I would swear that they have taken lessons in sobriety. They have taken lessons in how to be dry. They are so dry that they have to prime themselves to spit. (*laughter*). And they are so afraid of emotions. I am not afraid of emotions! When I am afraid of emotions, it's when emotions are functioning apart from the intellect. Now you still haven't done the job. You have changed his mind, you've stirred his emotions and now you have to call him to commitment. You must command his will.

Whatever we think about Charles Finney, Finney would preach powerful sermons. Read his autobiography - he would preach powerful sermons and people would shiver and shake and emote and fall and all kinds of things would happen. Now today we would say it's time for the altar call. Get em while they're involved! Finney knew better. He would say, "No I want you to go home. Come back in two hours". Why? Because he knew that if he got to them in that emotional moment, he was taking advantage of them. So Mum and Dad would get home and they'd say, "It's going to make a difference isn't it? If we accept this - it's going to make a difference". Then they would come back and by that time the emotions were sufficiently subsided to make the mind in control of the redeemed facts and make a decision that resulted in entire towns being converted. Entire towns!

There is no reason why entire towns being converted is a paradigm. And if that is true, then there is no reason why the entire world cannot be converted. If you don't have that in your vision then you are not speaking or thinking like God".


Gavin White said...

Great post Dan, I especially like the bit on having a biblical and rational apologetic for what we believe..i was drawn to 1 Peter 3:15 after reading that. 'But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect' Dan, when did this conversation and discourse take place?

Baxter's Boy said...

I'm not sure to be honest I'm afraid. Earl Paulk in introducing Baxter in some of the sessions makes reference to "his closing years" etc so I would guess that it is the later 80's to early 90's.

Anonymous said...

That's an amazing piece of history in that photograph. I do believe that is Cardinal Suenens isn't it?

Dr S A J Burgess