Help with friend caught up in charismatic 'church'

Discussion in 'Cults & World Religions' started by govols, Jul 23, 2004.

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  1. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Well, this raises a disagreement all its own, so I won't start debating it in this thread. I would just note that that belief itself has been rejected by historic Reformed church and her standards, which affirm that all of biblical prophecy and tongues were revelational. And again, since it's beyond the scope of this thread, I'm not going to attempt here to show that to be biblically the case, but what I do not think can be denied is that even if non-revelational tongues and prophecy could be shown to be biblical, the historic Reformed confessions of all traditions have never been sympathetic to that classification, and thus if some charismatics were correct on that non-revelational concept of prophecy, it would mean that historic Reformed theology has been wrong on that point, not that that view is compatible with Reformed theology. Two threads I recall in which this was discussed are here and here.

    1) Yes, through providence and sanctification, especially when we openly pray for such to happen

    2) Absolutely - which is where the traditional Reformed difference between illumination and revelation comes into play. It has been explained by others here far better than I could, but for one thing the former is always completely attached to, and focused on, specific Scripture passages being understood, whereas the latter usually operates independently from (though not against, of course) specific Scripture text being referenced.

    3) I would never deny this, and I don't see a denial of it in Scripture or in any of the historic Reformed conventions, either, as He is free to work beyond His normal means of providence whenever He chooses - and none of the confessions even imply that we have any reason from Scripture to doubt that He still does.
  2. BlackCalvinist

    BlackCalvinist Puritan Board Senior

    It's good to see an irenic conversation on this for a change, instead of folks simply bashing folks because they don't match up to traditionally reformed viewpoints.

    Thanks Chris and Lawrence.

    Chris - have you read anything by Grudem ?
  3. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I have his Systematic Theology, and have read the parts on spiritual gifts many times, as well as some articles. For over a year after embracing Calvinism, I considered his views and arguments to be an excellent biblical defense of tongues and prophecy today, especially in the "Reformed" community.

    Having been raised in an Assemblies of God church that was actually relatively conservative on their weekly practice of tongues and prophecy, and rejected a lot of the weird excesses of our day, I had no intention of giving up my views on the gifts' relevance today. In fact, for quite awhile I was set on joining a Sovereign Grace church as soon as I went to college, and I had become really familiar and enthused with their ministry and resources - Robin Boisvert, one of the pastors at Covenant Life, helped me out with a lot of my doubts and objections regarding Calvinism at that point via a few telephone conversations, and sent me a copy of Packer's introduction to Death of Death, which proved to be immensely helpful.

    Obviously, I eventually came to reject the charismatic views of Sovereign Grace and Grudem. While the study that led me to do so involved several books and articles and much comparing of biblical texts, one of the key works that convinced me against it was O. Palmer Robertson's The Final Word. In particular, the significant portion of the book directly responding to Grudem's own arguments forced me to rethink much of what I had held over the past year or so.

    To be honest, when I was first convinced of cessationism at that time, I was predominantly saddened and sorrowful - not even because I missed the charismatic doctrine itself, but because I realized I was never going to be able to be a part of Sovereign Grace Ministries in good conscience, and I had become so familiar with them over the past year that I had previously planned on spending a lifetime there. I had no such "familiarity," enthusiasm for, or personal connections with Dutch Reformed or Presbyterian churches, even though I knew that was where I had to turn at that point.

    Sorry if I went too far into my personal pilgrimage on this matter. Kerry, have you ever read Robertson's book? It's short, but strong and exegesis-focused as well, and I particularly think Robertson did a great job analyzing and critiquing Grudem's views on the issue.
  4. BlackCalvinist

    BlackCalvinist Puritan Board Senior

    It's on my list to get. I'm still going through Grudem's argument and learning it (I have his book on Prophecy). I visit CovLife every once in a while (though I won't be doing so very much anymore, since as of this Sunday, I'll be at Gaithersburg Community Church - ) and still think that they have the BEST Christian bookstore bar NONE in the area (all those puritan works!).

    I'm still not convinced of Grudem's use of 1 Cor. 14 as a justification for tongues as 'ecstatic speech'. I think that Paul was simply using hyperbole. But some of his (Grudem's) arguments do seem to carry some good weight to them and I can see why he believes what he believes. I can't wait to see what Robertson's responses are.

    No problem on the personal experience w/SGM. My question to you - have you found the Dutch Reformed and other Presbyterian folk to be personally as open, dynamic and 'loving' as the SGM folks ? Do you feel the same 'hearts-knit-together' type of feeling (the family 'warmth') that the folks in SGM seem to just exude from the time you step through the door and watch them interact with each other... and you ?

    This was a HUGE selling point for me with SGM. But regardless, I'm still a cessationist, for the most part... and like you, I couldn't in good conscience, be at an SGM church. As soon as someone were to break out in tongues I'd be like..... [​IMG]
  5. BlackCalvinist

    BlackCalvinist Puritan Board Senior

    Oh yeah.... I'm busy reading Reymond's systematic in between all of this. :lol:
  6. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Well, right now the only two communities I've been a part of that have a number of Reformed Presbyterians are my current church and this board. We all know the answer to your question regarding the second of those! And I must say I have felt very welcomed and loved by the people of my home church. From the pastors and ruling elders to people in classes to other people I've either come to know somewhat well or else just run into a time or so, I could never thank God enough for blessing me with that congregation.

    I hope you find the same at whatever congregation you join in the days to come.

    P. S. Have you read C. J.'s The Cross Centered Life? While I do not believe them to be a healthy group of churches overall largely because of their non-Reformed and (I believe) very unhealthy views on some of the spiritual gifts, I thought he definitely had some helpful and important reminders in that book.
  7. LawrenceU

    LawrenceU Puritan Board Doctor

    That is an excellent little book.

    Sorry to have bailed on the thread, but I've been insanely busy.

    Chris, my sister may show up this Sunday. I'll let you know for sure later.
  8. BlackCalvinist

    BlackCalvinist Puritan Board Senior

    Nope, haven't picked up Cross-Centered Life yet, but I probably will one day soon.

    I have too many other books I'm still working my way through.
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