Thursday, January 05, 2006

Touching on the gifts

The Christian blogosphere is once again buzzing with the issue of whether the gifts of the Spirit have ceased or whether they have continued. Naturally some will take sides depending who they want to be popular with while others will do so because that is what they believe the Scriptures teach. There are some powerful Christian bloggers out there and they have the ability to create a larger readership for other bloggers. As a result, some "smaller" bloggers will probably side with the powerful ones in order to get more readership and a pat on the back.

That is not my aim to get a pat on the back by other bloggers as long as I feel I am accountable to God's Word. I may be wrong in my assessment as to what the Scriptures are saying, but right now this is what I believe.

I am not a cessationist! On the other hand, I also do not want to be known as a charismatic. However, I am definitely reformed. I would prefer to be known as a reformed-continuationist. The word "charismatic" is somewhat of a curse word in my mind. Charismania is flooded with the likes of T.D. Jakes, Tommy Tenney, the Word-of-Faith movement (WOF) and others such as T.B. Joshua claiming to be prophets of God, but seem to be more like snakes from the darkness.

Much of what is happening in the charismatic movement (CM) cannot and must not be condoned. Sure, there are many thousands that treat the gifts of the Spirit, especially what may be called revelatory gifts (for lack of a better term), like a crystal ball. This happened because few in CM teach accountability to the Word of God and themselves have no doctrinal discernment. Much of CM see themselves as islands and that they do not need to be taught by others. They have the "spirit" of course! As a result they have no doctrinal knowledge or any background in doctrinal history. They also have no idea why they believe what they believe and as a result accept modalists like Jakes and Tenney into their fold as genuine Christians. These charismaniacs see no need to learn from others who have gone before us. So, learning about church history for them is learning about the last 100 years, forgetting the 1900 years before that! As a result their theological outlook is very narrow and they suffer from what Jonathan Moorhead calls Theological Myopia.

So, where does that leave me, a Reformed-Continuationist?

This is something that I have been struggling with for a long time. I have a problem with groups like Catholic-Charismatics since I believe that the same Spirit that gives tongues is also the Spirit of truth. If the spirit that gives them these tongues does not lead them to the truth of the gospel, then it is not the Spirit of truth that gives them these tongues.

I do not believe that tongues, prophecy, etc are at the beck and call of the Christian. "To one is given through the Spirit" (1 Cor 12:8) this gift or that gift. Some in CM seem to think that they can do with this or that gift what they want at their own leisure. However, I do not agree with this. The gifts are at work according to God's sovereign will. God will speak when He wants to and no person can control that. However, no new revelation can ever be given again. The complete revelation of God is set in the Scriptures.

If we as Christians, whether we are continuationists, charismatics or cessationists, do not make the Scriptures our final authority in our life and doctrine then we are heading for another 1000 years of "dark ages." In the "dark ages" people had implicit faith. Whatever the church believed, that is what they believed. They had no scriptural knowledge as to what they believed. Much of that attitude pervades the church today. Cessationist churches are not free from this attitude either. However, I do believe that it is more pervasive in CM than elsewhere. Many of them no longer have Scriptural knowledge of their faith, but rather get it directly from the 'spirit" or from someone like Kenneth Copeland.

The church is in a very low state and it is my assessment that a new reformation is needed to drive the church back to sola scriptura.

Just thinking...

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