Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Lloyd-Jonesian Experientialism!!

It's been a while since I've mentioned blogs I tend to follow but one of my appreciations for Twitter and Facebook is the ability to keep up to date with such blogs. While I do try and read blogs that perhaps I don't agree with such as John MacArthur or C J Mahaney/Sovereign Grace Ministries or Mark Driscoll (as Ern Baxter used to say - they act as iron sharpening iron), I prefer blogs that feed my passions!

"Confluence" is one such - it is a wonderful Newfrontiers blog written by John Lanferman and other contributers, the apostolic leader in the USA. It's mission statement is;

"We want “Confluence” to be a welcome place for those who stand firm on the integrity of scripture and embrace the full activity of the Spirit’s present empowering work, along with a commitment of taking the gospel and planting churches throughout the earth".

One of my deepest appreciations is his honouring of Dr Martyn Ll0yd-Jones's monumental teaching on all things about the Person and work of the Holy Spirit. Reading "Confluence" made me wonder whether we have neglected certain aspects of the Doctor's teaching at the peril of the church. For example - it's been a while since I have written on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit - a doctrine and encounter I still hold extremely precious and indeed pivotal to Christian life. This post on the blog addresses this issue;

It asks the question:

"Is the baptism with the Holy Spirit something that all Christians receive unconsciously at conversion?".

Yes. That question still has to be answered and will continue to have to be answered as long as souls are being saved and are potentially missing out on their inheritance through wrong teaching such as cessationist or Third Wave views!

The "Confluence" blog using the teaching of Dr Lloyd-Jones begins correctly by asking the "WHAT" question of the baptism of the Holy Spirit and this is something the Doctor was cautious to do. Many modern Christians race to answer the "WHEN" question. We must understand what the baptism of the Holy Spirit is before we can appreciate when God gives this gift.

"It is clear that the baptism with the Holy Spirit is always something clear and unmistakable, something which can be recognized by the person to whom it happens and by others who look on at this person. This is obviously a most vital and important principle ... The very essence of this is that it is conscious, that it is experimental, obvious, plain, and clear; not only to the recipient but also to those who are familiar with him ... I think the bible makes it perfectly clear, it makes it quite beyond any doubt, that this is something essentially experimental, which involves a mystical experience, to use such a term.".

The book of Acts calls it; "This which you both see and hear". Ern Baxter used to say that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is ALWAYS something which other people can SEE and HEAR.

But what about regeneration? Well the Doctor writes;

"Regeneration is something unconscious, not experimental; and the great point is that it is a mysterious, miraculous act worked in the depths and the vitals of the soul, and no man can tell you the moment when he was regenerated. Everybody is agreed about that - that regeneration is non-experimental. You later begin to discover the fact that you have been made regenerate and give evidence of it".

So there we have it. The logical conclusion is that IF (and I don't believe it does) the baptism of the Holy Spirit occurs simultaneously with regeneration then every new convert must of necessity have an encounter with God that is seen and heard. And not everyone can testify to that. I personally had a number of steps I remember in Dunstable towards my moment or process of conversion. I couldn't say which was the actual moment. But my baptism in the Holy Spirit? I remember it clearly as if it were yesterday - in a school hall in Birmingham in 1999! And a week later in the shower the gift of tongues poured forth!

So I do recommend this blog to you - the writing is excellent and they have quite a few "Dear Doctor" blogs where they pose questions to Doctor Martyn Ll0yd-Jones. Let's not forget the importance of encountering the manifest Presence of God. I personally I am really troubled when I see so-called charismatic groups of churches being wooed by the "respectability" of evangelicalism and reformed doctrine. Why on earth would we abandon the reality of the Presence of God?! The lost will come to encounter a Person - not a doctrine, not a thought.

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