Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The "Charismatic-Reformed" Position and the Third Way of Unity

Adrian Warnock has continued the discussion and has summarized my position quite well both at his blog and at theologica. I am planning another post on "How to regulate prophecy in the church?" but that post needs to be written well so I am not going to write this now. We really need to write a "book" that describes the new position. I honestly do not think Grudem's position of NT prophecy being different is correct but again that is another post.

I would like to make a few comments on Adrian's ideas. Adrian says.
In a sense Reformed charismatics are occupying the centre ground. Like "new Labour" they advocate a third way. It is really possible they say to pursue a solid biblical knowledge and sound doctrine whilst experiencing the presence of power of God in a real way today. The Word and the Spirit are not in conflict but rather work together to cause us to know God.

This discovering a new way and a new position of unity is what I think the new media is all about. As bloggers, we do not need to fit in a system of thinking, a paradigm, that we are utterly beholden to. This freedom allows us to state the obvious. With respect to both "cessationism" and "pentacostalism", the emperor has no clothes. Both of these positions an paradigms are so flawed and poorly describe the biblical position or my personal experience. Pentacostalism is horribly Arminian in practice and lacks a good foundation for God-centered peace. Also, the pentacostal practice of tongues and often prosperity is so infiltrated the church that it needs a serious critic. Let's just state the obvious and form a new middle ground of doing church in a more sober way.

At the same time the cessationist position and the lack of power and experience in the reformed churches and much of evangelicalism in the USA lacks the liberating reality of the kingdom. The full assurance of the experience of Charismatic worship and the comfort of the spiritual life which leads to true holiness and a truly transformation of our affections is lacking in the evangelical churches. A new way is needed. To this Adrian calls for "Reformed-Charismatic" position. BUT...

I contend for clarity sake that it might be best to use other terms. Instead of "charismatic", how about "kingdom". The theology that is needed is a higher view of realized eschatology. Here is the root of the matter. We live in a daily experience of the kingdom. The power of God is available for our righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. We are to live in community as a response to the "world". We are to be a new people. It is not only "gifts" that are the issue but all of life that is filled with a new experience. A heavenly quality of life is available and therefore I find the term "kingdom" to best exhort the church to fulness of all our experience.

Instead of reformed (which is a much loved word for me) a better term might be God-centered. Our world is centered or controled by God!!!! As a pastor, God-centeredness and a high view of sovereignty is so vital and central to an experience of peace. One cannot truly be meek and at peace without believing that God is absolutely in control. I cannot claim a new label as "God-centered Kingdom" believer just doesn't role off the tongue BUT I bet someone else as this discussion continues might just have a way to susinctly express wat I believe so many of us actually live.
For now, I pray that this discussion and others like it will continue:
Eph 4:13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God
and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

God Bless,

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