Monday, June 18, 2007

Warnie and his Arminian brothers

Go to Warnie's blog!I just read a post by Adrian Warnock called, Terry Virgo On Healings Driscoll and Theology. I have no real problem with the post. Here is a quote:
"One of the temptations for us Reformed Charismatics is to just not talk about our experiences of the Spirit and the things we see. If we just don't talk about our charismatic experience it is much easier for us to fit in with our reformed brothers. At times I feel I am more interested in fitting in with my reformed brothers than my Arminian Charismatic brothers!"

Adrian nails it on the head concerning wanting to fit in with "our reformed brothers." My reasons for doing so may not be the same as Adrian's.

You see, I am a charismatic, but I am also very committed to the Reformed faith, more specifically New Covenant Theology.

I was a committed Arminian for many years and defended Arminianism against these crazy Calvinists. However, God showed me the light back in 1998.

In my experience with Arminian Charismatics (ACs), theology is not a high priority. In fact, they are more led by their noses than the Scriptures so graciously given to us by God to be sufficient in faith and morals. To most ACs (and I chose "most" here carefully), Christianity is a life led by experiences and anecdotes. Even their "truth" is based on experience and anecdotes.

The last time I heard any exegetical justification from an AC for anything he believes or does, even from the pulpit, was ... um, aah, urgh! I can't think when that was!

ACs have no problem allowing Word-of-Faith preachers, modalists (read here, here, here, here and here), and the like in their fold because these guys are such dynamic preachers and they heal people! There are very few ACs that ever look at other preachers critically, especially if they are dynamic speakers. Being very funny from the pulpit will also give one great standing among ACs.

Are all ACs like this? I guess not! However, from my experience that would be the exception.

It is for the reasons above that I prefer to be "in" with our reformed brothers.

Updated: 19 June 2007
I bolded, italicized, and "redded" the words "my experience" in my post, since there are some brothers (sisters too?) out there that do not seem to have the ability to read clearly.


Phil Whittall said...

Hi William,
I followed a link from Adrian Warnock's site to your own and was interested to read your comment on Arminian Charismatics. I think they 'over generalising' somewhat. I'd describe myself (trying to be humble) as an Arminian, charismatic and theologically aware church leader. I have a high view of scripture and that leads what I feel not the other way around. Happy to point the way to others that are around.

William Dicks said...


I am not over generalising at all. If you read my post carefully, you will see that I refer to what I say as my own experience with ACs. I am not saying that it is so with all ACs.

In fact, the second last line of my post says:
"Are all ACs like this? I guess not! However, from my experience that would be the exception."

Peter Kirk said...

William, Phil is not the only exception to your rule. I am also one, and I know of plenty of others who, if not explicitly Arminians are certainly not Calvinists.

William Dicks said...

Ha! Ha! Arminian Charismatics coming out of the woodwork to prove they are different!

This is funny! By implication, Kirk, you do agree that you are the exception. The rule, therefore, is as I stated?


BTW, as a reminder, I did not say there are no exceptions. There certainly are those that are not like I wrote in my post. I do have a friend or two that are also ACs that have proven the rule by being the exceptions. :-)

Please, remember, I was writing from the point of view of my own experience.


DaveW said...

Hey wow talk about massive generalisations.

I was quite amused to see your blog is called "just thinking", cos how much have you been doing?

As a British Methodist I find your view strange, it bears no relation to Arminians of all types that I know.

Personally I have taught against Word of Faith more than once.

William Dicks said...

My experience, my experience, my experience! How many times must I say that before it sinks in? I do not care much for your experiences regarding these things, or the objective matters behind them. I made it quite clear, that this was MY experience with Arminian Charismatics where I am! What is so difficult in finding that out in what I wrote.

Sorry for the tone, but it seems people do not read what is written, but make up assumptions about what they read as they go along.

By doing a search on Google we will probably find millions of Arminians that are different to what I have described. But, so what? I was writing of my own experience.

Forgive me for coming across so hard, but my goodness people!

DaveW said...

"To most ACs (and I chose "most" here carefully), Christianity is a life led by experiences and anecdotes. Even their "truth" is based on experience and anecdotes."

Well sorry to contradict you. But even though the paragraph beings with "in my experience" the continuation takes that much further and generalise things to "most".

So I beg to differ on whether I and others have made incorrect assumptions based on what you have actually written. Of course I recognise that your intent may have been different. However, simply shouting at those who have read (carefully) what you have written is unlikely to encourage me, for one, to take your views seriously.

William Dicks said...

You obviously take my views seriously because you are still here! Or, are you here to pick a fight?

Let the contradictions continue!

The art of reading always makes sure that it reads ideas within context. A text without a context is a pretext. You consistently misread the the words I wrote, outside of its context. The word "most" still reside within a context. That context is enveloped by the words I started that paragraph with, i.e. "In my experience..."

My intent, and what I have written is the same. If I had written the sentence you so carefully stripped of its context, all by itself, then I would have retracted that statement, because it would not have been what I meant.

In fact, the context remains the same throughout the post. I specified at the end of the post once again that it was according to my experience.

Further, I was not shouting. I was forceful in what I said. All CAPS constitutes shouting, i.e. KICK THE BALL!

DaveW said...

Of course I take your views seriously. Why would I not?

I understand about context. However, I do not see a continuation of context when there is a jump from "In my experience" to "Most AC's" as for this to be the same context it would imply to me that your experience covers most AC's.

However, this is just being pedantic. You meant one thing and clearly several of us understood it differently to your intention. That does not automatically mean we are stupid or that we did not read what you wrote.

You may consider your writing to be forceful, to me from my culture it appeared aggressive which I labelled shouting.

So now let us return to content. You have a particular experience of what you are labelling Arminian Charismatics. That experience is totally contradictory to my own.

Glennsp said...

William, I'm afraid that generally all you will get from DaveW and PeterK is what you have experienced so far.
They will look for any word (usually out of context) with which they can pick a fight...oh, unless you completely agree with everything they have to say.
Of course, also, any one but them is automatically wrong and even when they are obviously wrong (like now) it has to be your fault and will continue to be such, because after all it couldn't possible be them.
You were quite clear in what you wrote.
I would advise not wasting your spiritual energies with these two. I have on occasion and regretted it.

William Dicks said...

Thanks Glenn!

A last word on this topic, in terms of what Dave said.

Paragraphs are very simply literary devices, and when written, or read correctly should hold contexts within themselves as part of larger contexts.

When I started that paragraph with the words "In my experience," it would be quite meaningless to take words from that paragraph trying to interpret them outside of the context which I so clearly established by the words "In my experience!" That would simply make words mean absolutely nothing! When I say the word "bank," what do you think of? You see, the word "bank" on its own does not really have meaning unless it is found in a context. And, don't tell me that the dictionary says this or that about the word. That merely lists the varied definitions of bank. I am not talking definitions here! All words have definitions which we could get from dictionaries. All words only have meaning within their contexts: words within sentences, sentences within paragraphs, paragraphs within chapters and so on.

So, let us get back to the word "most." By looking up the word "most" in a dictionary, all you will get is a list of definitions. However, put that word in a context, such as the one delineated by the words "In my experience" and suddenly "most" gets meaning.

How many times have we not heard a preacher say the words: "All means all!" Can you see how senseless that statement is?

Consider the following verses.
"(5) Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, (6) and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins." (Mat 3:5-6 ESV)

Does the word "all" here mean every single person from Jerusalem and the whole of Judea? Of course not!

The same with "most" in my post. When I wrote the word it was given meaning by the context. "In my experience... most..."

That's it! 'Nuf said!

DaveW said...

Why thank-you Glenn, a very neat character assassination if I ever saw one.

William, I would like to attempt to return to your original post and discuss that, now that I understand your intentions. I apologise that you and Glenn see my misunderstanding (and my attempts to explain why I understood your post in the way I did) as disruptive.

I would like to understand your experience better as it seems so different from my own. My goal is not to pick a fight, nor tell you that you are wrong but to learn more of your experience and share some of mine. Maybe then we can come to a better understanding of each other.

I am a Minister in British Methodist Church. We are generally considered an arminian denomination and include many charismatic ministers.

Among the ministers I know (pretty much all arminian and maybe 30% charismatic) I cannot say I know any who give theology a low priority. We do have many ministers (myself included) who are not high level academics, but all the ministers that I know take theology seriously.

Yes, within our denomination we have a range from Liberal through to Conservative and the approach to scripture varies. My own experience is that charismatics within British Methodism are less likely to be liberal than other ministers.

I guess a majority of Methodists do not understand the Bible in a very literal way. But that is a far cry from saying they are led by their noses or that their "truth" is based on experience and anecdotes. Seriously I just have not seen this.

Your experience that AC's (and I wonder whether it is the arminian or the charismatic or just the combination that behave in the way you describe) do not have any exegetical justification for what they believe or do amazes me. I am coming to the end of 8 years of part-time training which is leading to ordination in a few weeks. In that time I have not once experienced anyone having no exegetical justification for their beliefs or actions. Exegesis is a fundamental part of the training and evaluation of our ministers and lay preachers.

Your comment on word of faith preachers is interesting. In my experience many ministers are struggling with the teaching of high profile people on the God channel and how to respond to the poor theology that people are exposed to through that channel is a frequent topic of conversation. I have never attended a local preachers meeting that would accept someone who taught Word-of-faith theology, as a preacher (all our local preachers undergo standardised formal training and a number of assessed sermons, typically takes a minimum of two years).

As for modalism, one of the joys of my training has been a strong emphasis on the trinity. I just have not seen anyone in British Methodism accepting modalism.

Now clearly Glenn (and maybe you too) think that I can do nothing but be critical (maybe Glenn should actually read my blog to see a more balanced view of what I write - which does include a mixture of criticism and positive responses), nobody is going to claim that I am never critical of others :-)

I hope that we can explore a little why our experiences of what you call AC's are so different. What Churches are these AC's in that are so different from British Methodism?

Do you have any experience of British Methodists? If so does your experience of them have some relationship to mine?

Do you accept my experience, that there are many AC's who do not match the description you give? Therefore do you think that you might find it possible to be "in" with AC's such as those found in British Methodism?

In short I submit that based on my experience the AC's you describe are atypical and these criticisms are not a general or common description Arminian Charimatics (or Arminians or Charismatics).

I would have a long list of problems in working with AC's such as those you describe, fortunately I cannot see how such an AC would ever be accepted as either a local preacher or a minister in the British Methodist Church.

DaveW said...


Just to clarify that in no way do I see British Methodism as perfect. We have many problems and challenges, but it does not seem to me that your experience of AC's is one of them.

Anonymous said...

DaveW lives in the UK, William lives in South Africa. Methinks things are very different in the two places. I live in South Africa and my experiences of ACs are fairly similar to William's. Perhaps this accounts for the difference in experience?


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