Hello from NJ

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Mark Hettler

Puritan Board Freshman
I meant to post here when I first signed up last weekend, but I'm finally getting around to it now. I am a graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia (M.Div. 1977), working as a Senior Software Analyst at a software development firm in Cherry Hill, NJ. I tell co-workers and former classmates that Westminster is what prepared me for a career in computer software, because it taught me to think analytically. No one does if-then-else logic like the Apostle Paul, and no one brings out the if-then-else logic of the Apostle Paul like Richard Gaffin.

My software career is actually a second career. In the early 1980's I was a pastor of a charismatic church. One might ask how one goes from the M.Div. program at Westminster to the charismatic movement. The answer is, I was in the charismatic movement first, and went to Westminster because I was looking for a Bible-believing seminary; I really didn't take the Reformed distinctives all that seriously at the time. It was in the 1990's, after years of seeing the effects of bad theology and experience orientation in the charismatic movement (and broader evangelicalism), that I began to truly see the value of what I had been exposed to at Westminster, and began to revisit much of it, and began devouring the works of Piper, Grudem, Edwards, Owen, Iain Murray, and countless others in the years since.

More recently I served for several years as an elder in a Baptist church, and am currently a member of Hope PCA in Lawrenceville, NJ, although still a credobaptist. I am also still a non-cessationist, albeit a very cautious one. John Piper once said something along the lines of, "There is no scriptural basis for saying the gifts of the Spirit ceased, but I've never seen any good come out of their contemporary practice" (very loose paraphrase). I wouldn't go so far as to say I've never seen any good, but I've seen enough bad to make me very skeptical of anything purporting to be God speaking.

My wife and I will celebrate our 30th anniversary this coming summer. This month is the 10th anniversary of our adoption of our now 12-year-old daughter, originally from Romania. We also have 4 sons, ranging from 27 to 20, all still at home. Home is in Florence Township, NJ, which is about 20 minutes south of Trenton.
 

lynnie

Puritan Board Graduate
I should say that he is the other ( better!) half of my marriage. I kept talking about various interesting threads here so much for a month he finally had to join!
 

Grafted In

Puritan Board Freshman
Welcome! I enjoyed reading your brief biography. I have many close family members that have not known Christianity but through the lens of the Charismatic Movement. I would like to know how to better engage them theologically.:welcome:
 

Mark Hettler

Puritan Board Freshman
Welcome! I enjoyed reading your brief biography. I have many close family members that have not known Christianity but through the lens of the Charismatic Movement. I would like to know how to better engage them theologically.:welcome:

I think many charismatics have a perception, which I once held, that outside the charismatic movement God is just a theological concept, whereas among charismatics He is real and can be known. And I think one way to dispel that is by introducing people to the writings of John Piper, Jonathan Edwards and others who emphasize intimacy with the living God without seeing any contradiction between that and an emphasis on sound doctrine.

In that connection, Piper's Desiring God was pivotal in my own life when I first read it back in 1994. He also has a sermon series, "Are Miraculous Gifts for Today," which essentially answers yes but puts the charismatic phenomena in their proper context.
 

Richard King

Puritan Board Senior
Welcome
and I think you are right about the charismatic perceptions.
I came from there after being raised Southern Baptist.

It is a long shot but I was wondering if you have kin in West Texas.
There is a strong Hettler family representation out here.
The ones I know are good folks.

By the way, my church stole our pastor Jim Angehr out of Philly.
We like to think we rescued him.
 

Mark Hettler

Puritan Board Freshman
It is a long shot but I was wondering if you have kin in West Texas.
There is a strong Hettler family representation out here.
The ones I know are good folks.

I am aware of the Hettlers in Texas, and exchanged some emails with a Michele Hettler some years back, but I don't think we're related.
 

LawrenceU

Puritan Board Doctor
Welcome! I enjoyed reading your brief biography. I have many close family members that have not known Christianity but through the lens of the Charismatic Movement. I would like to know how to better engage them theologically.:welcome:

I think many charismatics have a perception, which I once held, that outside the charismatic movement God is just a theological concept, whereas among charismatics He is real and can be known. And I think one way to dispel that is by introducing people to the writings of John Piper, Jonathan Edwards and others who emphasize intimacy with the living God without seeing any contradiction between that and an emphasis on sound doctrine.

In that connection, Piper's Desiring God was pivotal in my own life when I first read it back in 1994. He also has a sermon series, "Are Miraculous Gifts for Today," which essentially answers yes but puts the charismatic phenomena in their proper context.

Ditto on Piper and his work. As many of you know I served in an AG church for almost five years as a Reformed Baptist who is a continuationist. There are more and more charismatics that are moving toward a more solid theology due to Piper's influence.
 

Rangerus

Puritan Board Junior
Welcome aboard. Congratulations on your 30 years of marriage and raising a remarkable family.
 
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