(by Lisa Robinson)

A while ago, I addressed in A Theology of More a mentality that has a continual quest for greater external manifestations that demonstrates that God is active in the lives of his people, both individually and corporately.  The quest is usually part and parcel of alignment with  Charismatic/Pentecostal theology and the belief that people today should experience the full continuation of gifts, miracles, signs and wonders, etc. similar to what was experienced when the church was first implemented.  I myself,  spent a number of years as a Charismatic.  That means I was a full blown adherent of the continuation of spiritual gifts, believed in the 2nd work of grace known as the baptism in the Spirit and was fully committed to the language used to express what I believed the Charismatic movement offered in terms of reasonable expectation for Christian life, worship and service.

Since that time, I have reverted my position, not because of experience or personal reasons.  But because I began to consider how the book of Acts was read in context of God’s redemptive program outlined in scripture.  It was also because I began to consider the purpose of the gifts in relation to the exaltation of Christ and the edification of the church.  Most significantly, it was because I began to consider how certain gifts were endemic to the foundation that was being laid with the implementation of the church (Ephesians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 3:10), specifically through the apostolic witness to the revelation of Christ (John 14:26; John 16:13-15; Acts 1:2-8; Hebrews 1:1-3)

Hopefully, I will be writing more about this in a separate post, specifically with respect to the foundation and authority of the apostles.  But for the purposes of this post, I would like my Charismatic friends to understand that there are good and valid reasons that cessationists hold to the position that some gifts were revelatory in nature and foundational to the establishment of the church.  But cessationists believe they are not needed today since the revelation of Christ is complete and transmitted through the apostolic witness which is inscribed with the completed canon.   The signs and wonders as described in Acts are associated with this apostolic witness.  Some believe that the gifts that were revelatory in nature are permanently extinguished while others, including myself,  believe that such gifts are not needed with the completed canon but can be continued in places where Bibles are absent. Cessationists are not putting God in a box, only recognizing the box that is believed God himself created.  Cessationists do not negate the living and active role of the Holy Spirit who indwells every believer and who commands to fill every believer such that His control and influence is experienced.  Nor do most negate the existence of miracles and healing.  I know I certainly don’t and can’t given contemporary evidence, especially in remote parts of the world.

However, the point of this post is not to discuss distinctions in cessationism vs. continuationism, nor to argue about which position is right.  Much ink has been spilled in Michael’s comprehensive series here. My friends over at To Be Continued write extensively on this topic and have addressed some of there concerns with his position.   While I am no longer aligned with the Charismatic/Pentecostal theology I once embraced, I do seek to find common ground and focus on things shared in common.    In fact, I have backed away from challenging the continuatist position by recognizing that if one is edified and experiences Christian growth through the use of some things I do not consider essential for the church today, then who am I to quibble.

However, I would like to address an attitude that comes with the belief that Charismatic expressions must be part of the fabric of the church and that anything less is not sufficient.  It is the idea that  the ones who are aligned with this movement somehow have something more than those who do not.  Those who don’t are missing it out on something. Now, I don’t think it is intentional nor can I make a general accusation of uncharitable or prideful motives or actions in relation to adherence to full blown Charismatic expressions.  I don’t think that my Charismatic and Pentecostal brothers and sisters seek to create a two-tiered system in which they have something more than what non-Charismatics have.

But the by-product of this theology can create such a mentality.  I have not only witnessed the attitude, but once embraced it myself.  I also think that certain language that is used only fosters this divide.  I have noticed both while I was involved and having stepped away, is that beliefs are ensconced in language that I believe creates an air of division and a tiered system of Christianity that can elevate those aligned with Charismatic/Pentecostal belief and practices over non-Charismatics.

One such term that I increasingly find problematic and fosters the two-tiered Christianity is “full-gospel”. The term has come to be used of as an adjective for alignment with Charismatic/Pentecostal beliefs.  The implications of the term is that those who don’t embrace the full continuation of gifts today have only part of the gospel.  Again, I am not saying that is the accusation but it certainly is the inference.  I recall when I was seriously considering seminary and initially was looking into Gordon-Conwell in Boston and Fuller in CA.  I had run into a couple who were at one time mentors to my former pastor from the last Charismatic church I was involved in.  They discouraged Gordon-Conwell and indicated Fuller was the better way to go since it was “full gospel” and Gordon-Conwell was not.  The implications were that Gordon-Conwell was insufficient.  I can only imagine what must be thought of me being at DTS.  Perhaps it might be considered woefully inadequate, and yet it was the only program I found that provided a solid instruction in all 66 books of the Bible, which are required for every student.

Another term that I have found gets tossed around a bit is “spirit-filled church”.  Similar to “full gospel” it references a church that embraces the Charismatic expression of gifts.  So in other words, the spirit-filled church is one where there might be a demonstration of tongues and interpretation or prophecies given or other Charismatic expressions.  The implication of this terminology, is that corporate gatherings are spirit-filled if they embrace these expressions.  Otherwise, the inference is that congregations where this does not occur is not spirit-filled and again casts a divide between those that have more and those that are insufficient.

Unfortunately, I think the terminology does a disservice to the Biblical evidence of what constitutes a spirit-filled congregation.  All believers are indwelt by the Spirit, given spiritual gifts and if walking according to the Spirit, should yield the fruit of the Spirit.  The point of corporate gatherings is for members to worship, to learn, to grow and to serve.  If believers are gathered together, serving this function and building each other up in love, then I would suggest that is what constitutes a spirit-filled church.  Michael Svigel, DTS professor and author, did an excellent piece on this topic here. The bottom line is just because a congregation embraces the continued use of all gifts, does not necessarily make a spirit-filled church nor does not embracing the continued use of all gifts make a congregation any less spirit-filled.

A common rebuttal that I have heard in reference to the more of Charismatic beliefs is that if the church is meant to have full use of gifts today, and if some of the gifts are not practiced, then doesn’t that mean a congregation is experiencing less than what they should?  By inference that means the ones who do embrace all gifts, experience more.  Again, I hope to address some specifics of cessationism in a separate post.  But I do not believe that is the case, especially since what is sufficient has been provided, as noted in the previous Theology of More post – the sufficiency of Christ, the sufficiency of the Spirit and the sufficiency of the Word.  It is up to the leadership to foster growth and discipleship and every believer in the Christian community based on what has already been provided.

Moreover, I don’t think that the full exercise of gifts necessarily provides something more.  Based on personal experience as one who has spent much time within the Charismatic movement, I have witnessed countless so-called tongues and interpretations and numerous prophecies.  In general, these were not bad experiences.  In fact they were good and most were delivered in a very orderly fashion. But to be honest, what was delivered could have been easily addressed through a powerful sermon or individual exhortation.  In fact, I have been more edified through good expository preaching of scripture than through my previous experience.  Moreover, I believe these expressions can create confusion since the validity of truthfulness must be discerned as to what is legitimately from the Lord.  Whereas, there is no question regarding the preaching of scripture, interpreted appropriate to God’s revelation.  Now I am not saying there is no edification to be found if one gives a tongue and interpretation or a prophecy in a corporate gathering.  But what I am saying is that based on what has been provided to the church, the ones who don’t embrace Charismatic expression of gifts are no less instructed, no less edified and no less spiritual than those who do.

I recognize that the tensions of cessationism vs. continuationism will probably be around until Christ returns.  There are those who believe that all gifts are for today.  There are those who believe they aren’t.  And there are a number in between.  But my plea with this post is for all who trust in Christ as savior to recognize that everyone has been given what is necessary for growth and service (2 Peter 1:3; 2 Timothy 3:17).  Continuationists do not have something more nor are cessationists missing out on what they need.


C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. He can be contacted at [email protected]

    38 replies to "Full Gospel Christianity?: A Theology of More II"

    • Karsten

      This is my first time on your blog. Someone on Twitter sent a link to the article, and the title grabbed my attention. I thoroughly enjoyed it! We put so much focus on the less essential doctrines (that is, those that aren’t essential to salvation) that we miss the most essential doctrine: the Gospel of Jesus the Christ.

      I heard one Christian artist speak on his brotherly love for a fellow artist, but his disagreement with this other person’s theological beliefs. The second artist told the first that they ‘both loved the Gospel, so let’s spread it’, to which the first replied, ‘yes, I do love the Gospel, so let’s define what it is’.

      I agree with him. It’s sad when the Gospel gets diluted in the differences in our theological beliefs.

    • jim

      I have debated the issue over charismatic gifts in other postings and am glad you have detoured into the premise of what is a spirit-filled church.

      Our current pastor often extends the service looking for that supernatural experience to show itself. He is a true evangelical at heart but I find him to be challenging the church body to show these particular gifts. It is much like you mentioned in that we don’t seem to measure up as we have not evidenced these gifts. We are not penecostal( United Baptist) but his approach is a more non-denominaitonal more. I actually leave the church feeling a little sad for him as there does not seem to be any indication that the spirit is going to work in this way, yet he persists that it is a lack of faith, or we are not on fire for the Lord. You are correct in your assumption that a more theology is working into the main stream of church worship, I am seeing it on a weekly basis.

      Very discerning thoughts you have presented.

    • missional girl

      As a continuist, I thank you for writing the article although I would disagree with your overall position. I am turned off the the pride that manifest in both camps over the issue. Thank you for sharing your perspective with grace and humility. I hope others are taking note. Peace.

    • Joe

      Interesting

    • ScottL

      Lisa –

      Thanks for the plug at To Be Continued.

      In fact, I have backed away from challenging the continuatist position by recognizing that if one is edified and experiences Christian growth through the use of some things I do not consider essential for the church today, then who am I to quibble.

      I can testify that this is true. Thank you for your gracious interaction with us.

      Some specific comments in regards to a few things you said, then I share a general comment at the end:

      some gifts were revelatory in nature and foundational to the establishment of the church

      Couldn’t agree with you more. If only I could understand why we don’t need God to continue to communicate, reveal and establish his church today (in line with what He began 2000 years ago).

      Some believe that the gifts that were revelatory in nature are permanently extinguished while others, including myself, believe that such gifts are not needed with the completed canon but can be continued in places where Bibles are absent.

      I have to admit, this seems somewhat odd. They are not normal….but God can do these where Bibles are absent. Did you know most all Christians didn’t have a copy of the Bible until a few hundred years ago?

      Moreover, I believe these expressions can create confusion since the validity of truthfulness must be discerned as to what is legitimately from the Lord.

      But that is the instruction of the NT itself. So why is this a bad thing?

      Now I am not saying there is no edification to be found if one gives a tongue and interpretation or a prophecy in a corporate gathering. But what I am saying is that based on what has been provided to the church, the ones who don’t embrace Charismatic expression of gifts are no less instructed, no less edified and no less spiritual than those who do.

      I understand what you are saying here. But consider this question – What do you do with those who have these gifts and…

    • ScottL

      Sorry – to continue from my last comment.

      Now I am not saying there is no edification to be found if one gives a tongue and interpretation or a prophecy in a corporate gathering. But what I am saying is that based on what has been provided to the church, the ones who don’t embrace Charismatic expression of gifts are no less instructed, no less edified and no less spiritual than those who do.

      I understand what you are saying here. But consider this question – What do you do with those who have these gifts and they are never give space to use them amongst the gathering of the body? Is there a ‘lack’ there?

      General comment: As I tried to say on Theologica, most Christians who were engaging with someone who said they don’t need to participate in water baptism or communion or study of Scripture or communing with our Father through prayer or regularly gathering with the body of Christ, etc, would probably hold that the person is side-stepping some importance grace-gifts God gives to His people to walk out the Christians life. And we would do so not desiring to create a two-tier, have/have not system.

      So with those who believe all gifts of the Spirit are for today, if we exhort and challenge others to eagerly desire these gifts, even as Paul himself did, can we not do so without be accused of creating a two-tier system? I know that in the past we have not always done a good job here, but we have learned and have changed our approach. So just as the above person who might challenge someone who side-steps water baptism or study of the word would not be accused of creating a two-tier system, why do we have to be accused of such for challenging people who don’t eagerly desire these gifts?

    • Christian

      I personally believe in the gifts of God, such as speaking in tongues, etc.

    • ScottL

      I just wanted to make people aware that I have posted a newly formatted document that includes Michael’s series on why he is not a charismatic and our interaction with that series.

    • Is this necessarily an either/or question. If we take Paul to mean what he said when he said not all believers have every gift (1 Corinthians 12:28-30), could not different believers have different gifts without one group or the other being considered superior? I was a cessationist, before I decided I could not support my position from Scripture (trust me I know all the verses, I simply do not believe they stand up to scrutiny.) But I think the idea one group or the other must be superior clouds the issue.

    • Char

      I’m stuffing your effigy right now Lisa.

    • Dr Mike

      FWIW, I have a long-ish response to ScottL and others in my post How Cessationists Drove People to Continuationism at my blog and at Theologica.

      As I say, FWIW.

    • Lisa Robinson

      Scott, it was really not my intention to with the post to engage in a debate about specifics. But there are a few things you said that I would like to challenge, since I think you are making some misstatements about the cessationist position.

      You said

      “but God can do these where Bibles are absent. Did you know most all Christians didn’t have a copy of the Bible until a few hundred years ago?”

      The church has always had access to the apostolic teaching, which again is foundational to the establishment and growth of the church. NT scripture was recognized as early as, well when the apostles were still alive (2 Peter 3:16) and recognized through the writings of the early church fathers. The church has a recognized canon as early as the late 2nd century. The completed canon is a recognition of the apostolic teaching that is produced in an inspired text.

      Then you said

      “But that is the instruction of the NT itself. So why is this a bad thing?

      If all the gifts were needed through the establishment of the church, and if the apostles and NT prophets serve as the foundation of the church, does it not make sense that while they were alive and writing letters (scripture) then there would be a recognition of all gifts? This also speaks to Mike’s comment regarding the same. That is why scripture does not necessarily speak to the cessation of gifts but it does speak to the apostolic ministry that was foundational to the church.

      Then you said

      “What do you do with those who have these gifts and they are never give space to use them amongst the gathering of the body? Is there a ‘lack’ there?”

      If one believes to have a gift that some congregations do not consider as valid, then one should not be apart of that congregation. But rather they should go where that gift can be utilized. That is honestly where I stand on the issue. But again, I would argue that for instruction in doctrine and righteousness, why are certain gifts needed if what we have is sufficient with scripture? (2 Timothy 3:17). I do recognize that gifts such as prophecy, word of knowledge and word of wisdom can be very active today, depending on how one defines these and there is a diversity of opinion. I also understand that we are divided on this point but I do want to reiterate that cessationists understand what has been provided is sufficient.

      Finally, you said

      “If only I could understand why we don’t need God to continue to communicate, reveal and establish his church today.”

      This is a misrepresentation, flat out but I think will require addressing with a separate post. You are confusing the revelation of Christ as the final authority with the on-going ministry of the Holy Spirit. Now I do recognize that there is divergent opinion, even among cessationists, as to what God communicates today and how he communicates it. But cessationism does not mean he has nothing to communicate. We should also not confuse that communication with spiritual gifts.

    • Lisa Robinson

      Dr. Mike, I appreciated that post and recommend the reading to all, especially cessationists. I especially liked this comment

      “But the Charismatic movement is a challenge to the rest of us who have succumbed to the sirens of intellectual assent and now sleepwalk through our Christian lives. Ours is no less a living faith than theirs, but we are often hard pressed to demonstrate so much as a pulse or quiver.

      Like our charismatics friends, we need to sense God’s presence: we need to understand that “in Him we live and move and exist,” and that he is intimately concerned and involved in what we believe to be the mundane, “nonspiritual” aspects of our lives. Perhaps we would be better served to see pulpits as avenues to God’s presence rather than just words that describe a God who is cognitively indwelling but emotionally absent”

      To that I give a hearty Amen!

    • Dr Mike

      Thanks, Lisa!

    • EricW

      But again, I would argue that for instruction in doctrine and righteousness, why are certain gifts needed if what we have is sufficient with scripture? (2 Timothy 3:17).

      By “Scripture” you are, of course, referring to the so-called “Septuagint,” are you not? (Including the so-called “Apocrypha,” which the author of 2 Timothy quotes as Scripture, according to N-A 27.)

    • Steve Robinson

      Theology will always pit one camp against the other. It is a no win situation because it is not about enlightenment but to prove whether someone is right or wrong or who holds the greater truth.

      The 2 biggest problems I have seen in the church are a lack of prayer and respect for our differences. If we prayed more and debated less we would be about our Father’s business of winning the lost. My house shall be a House of Prayer for all nations.

      Secondly the church is divided on racial lines as well as denominational ones. Remember the most segregated hour in America is 10:00 on Sunday mornings.

      I spent years debating with fellow theologians and now I spend my time in prayer and preaching the Gospel to those who are lost.

      Peace.

    • david carlson

      nice post lisa.

      As someone who spent their college years in ChiAlpha (the Assembly of God college group), I think you are exactly correct.

    • Greg Gibson

      Lisa: “while others, including myself, believe that such gifts are not needed with the completed canon but can be continued in places where Bibles are absent.”

      Does that view have a name? (Like, canon geographical cessationism?)

      Also, there’s a related view that the gifts continue only in unevangelized mission fields that are hearing the gospel for the first time. But they’ve ceased where the gospel/kingdom has already come. Does this view have a name? (Like, kingdom geographical cessationism?)

      Finally, does anyone know where I can find an explanation of all the different views on cess./cont.? Thanks.

    • david carlson

      and Mike’s post is good too.

      More Pietism!

    • Johnfom

      Greg

      If you like books I started out with ‘Are miraculous gifts for today?: Four Views’ edited by Grudem, part of the counterpoints series. I found it a good primer and and I’ve always loved the excellent format.

    • I’m very thankful someone has addressed the rather prideful use of the terms “full gospel” and/or “spirit-filled”. Great post!

    • C Michael Patton

      Eric,

      The LXX was an expedient translation whose OT canon can hardly be said to be stable, at least with regard to the Apocrypha. The versions we have date to the 4th century and included various deuterocanonical works. Many would argue that the LXX considered by Paul to be Scripture never included any of these works and was stable based upon the stability of the Palestinian canon.

      Not sure where you were going with your comment, but I just thought that I would throw that in there! 🙂

      Nice peice Lisa. Enjoyed it very much. With each post I am reminded about how grateful I am to have you as a part of this ministry!

    • Lisa Robinson

      Thanks Michael 🙂

    • EricW

      CMP:

      ISTM Lisa was applying 2 Tim 3:17 to the NT canon, when in its context it appears the author of 2 Timothy was most likely referring to the OT Scriptures. Is applying this verse to the NT a valid extrapolation and application of the text when arguing for cessationism?

      And, at least per the margin of N-A 26/27, the citations of Scripture as Scripture by the author of 2 Timothy not only most likely come from the Greek, rather than the Hebrew, renderings, but also include a quotation and reference to Sirach as Scripture.

      So while my comments may be off-topic, I think they impact the cessationist position on the sufficiency of Scripture as we have it in our completed canon. ISTM the LXX and its books and its use by the authors of the NT and early Christians makes questions of “Scripture” and the OT “canon” not as neatly defined or definable from a historical perspective as some assume or assert.

      Maybe you’ve dealt with this in past posts. If not, would it be of interest to discuss what the existence and nature and use by the NT of the LXX mean re: the inspiration of translations, the default use by Christians of the Hebrew MT for their OT, the place of the so-called “Apocrypha,” etc.?

      So I guess that’s kind of where I was going with my comments.

    • Lisa,

      I do not see a basis for saying that all the sign gifts were solely involved with the writing of Scripture. The only specifically mentioned in that regard are apostle and prophet. I do not know of anyone today who passes the Biblical tests for giving fully inspired Scripture. But I would maintain that the other gifts are used for guidance in particular situations and are still valid. See my post: http://mikeerich.blogspot.com/2010/11/scripture-and-charisma.html

    • John from Down Under

      Before the lights go out on this post, I would like to commend Lisa for how thoughtfully and graciously she articulated this subject.

      For 20 years all I knew was Pentecostal church life. I defected about 3 yrs ago to seek asylum in another denomination and ended up in a Baptist church where it became obvious that that they were charismatic wannabes.

      I can’t help but constantly reflect on what I experienced as a native Pentecostal. Regarding the ‘gospel of more’, I don’t know of any other denomination that relentlessly pounds its followers with endless appeals for ‘more’, ‘better’ and ‘new’. More… giving, faith, ‘on fire for God’, better… relationships, ‘new touch from the HS’, God wants to do something new, take you to another level etc.

      The best way I can describe Pentecostals is that they are blessaholics! They never stop to smell the roses and delight in what Christ has ALREADY done for them. It is outright TYRANNY! Their definition of ‘blessing’ is not even remotely reminiscent of Scripture. Because of such systematic indoctrination to seek out bigger and better, when it is not forthcoming there is a temptation to compensate by manufacturing the ‘blessing’. In corporate gatherings there is ‘waiting on the Lord’ with 7/11 songs on constant replay. Individually there’s a tendency to exegete circumstances that seemingly reveal God’s involvement in one’s life. In fact I will dare say that the average Pentecostal suffers from a form of approval addiction towards God, constantly striving to get his attention and when God finally responds it’s usually with an experience. The Pentecostal God is not easily pleased! In the end, this movement produces dependency on experiences that are extraneous to Christ and the Scriptures. I see this almost daily of my FB wall.

      On a subterranean level, I would humbly submit that the ‘gospel of more’ is a form of rebellion against the finished work of Christ where ‘it is finished’ has become ‘to be continued’

    • EricW

      @John from Down Under 26.

      I recently read a Logos Bible Software book critiquing the Keswick Movement: http://www.logos.com/product/6490/let-go-and-let-god-a-survey-and-analysis-of-keswick-theology

      Pentecostalism was apparently an outgrowth of this, but from what you say, it seems like it’s gone beyond the already questionable 2nd-blessing concept, which (supposedly) establishes one at a new stage in one’s Christian life, to an even more questionable expectation of, or requirement for, continuous blessings and/or miracles and/or “Godincidences” to show that one has God’s favor.

      While I believe the continuationist position, if properly defined, may have better Scriptural support than the cessationist position, I think people are better off learning Jesus and aligning their lives with Him, and letting the Spirit give any gifts where and when He wills, and if and when they’re necessary or needed, rather than seeking them as a means or validation of one’s spiritual attainment.

    • Jim Zeirke

      Lisa, thanks for the blog post. It hit the bullseye on why I left the charismatic church that I was attending. “Cessationist” was thrown around as a perjorative and an accusation used to silence someone that you disagreed with. When I started quesitoning the validity of the “prophecy” that was being spoken, I got accused of being “cessationist”. The elder board chairman told us in no uncertain terms that no cessationist would ever preach in our church. Yet, any travelling preacher who claimed to be a prophet had unquestioned use of the pulpit. So Charles Stanley (or even Michael Patton!) would not be welcome to teach us from the Bible, but the Benny Hinn show would be welcomed with open arms?

    • John From Down Under

      @EricW

      I agree! Whether you hold to continuationism or not, empirically we are going through de facto cessationism, and I am referring to charismatic churches where ‘all the action is’.

      When it comes to exercising sign gifts, contemporary charismania has almost become a circus act. The ‘prophetic’ for example, ranges from the innocuous no brainers (things you already know OR should know from your Bible anyway), to the outright ridiculous. The one that takes the cake for me was “my children I haven’t had so much fun since the crossing of the red sea” (a ‘prophecy’ in an AOG church in Melbourne Australia)

      The way I feel about my Pentecostal heritage is like having a certain person in your family that you’re reluctant to introduce to visitors, in case he says something stupid to embarrass you. You love them, but you don’t talk about them.

    • Ounbbl

      @7

      “I personally believe in the gifts of God, such as speaking in tongues, etc.”

      That’s exactly what’s wrong with tongue-speakers.

      No, we don’t believe in the gifts. We believe in the person of our Lord. I don’t want and don’t need anything of trashy gifts in me, with me, around me, and in the church.

      Some says (and be proud of) ‘I speak tongues’. So?

      And so what?

      It’s worse than someone in the high position declares ‘I am a Christian’ on the public media. ‘I am Christian’? So?

    • cherylu

      Ounbbl,

      I’m not sure of what you are speaking when you say, I don’t want and don’t need anything of trashy gifts in me, with me, around me, and in the church. referring to what you called “tongue-speakers”. I hope I am misunderstanding what you are saying here.

      According to I Cor 12:10 and various other Scriptures, this is one of the gifts that God gave the church. Now obviously, there are differences of thought and interpretation regarding these verses. But how can you refer to something that is called a gift of God as a trashy gift?

    • Steve Grove

      It has been my experience that we tend to polarize issues, and sometimes miss the middle ground. I know the PAOC (Pentecostal Association of Canada) churches used to have it in their “constitution” that the gift of tongues was the defining sign a person was filled with the Holy Spirit. This gift was about angelic languages. My issue was their insistence is that it was a common experience for every Christian to experience. I grew up in a Baptist Church that preached there were no more sign gifts (using 1 Corinthians 13 as part of their understanding), a stance that also did not fit with my experience and understanding of what was happening around the world.

      I have settled in the Church of the Nazarene (that separated from the pentecostal movement shortly after the early 1900’s because of the “overt” charismatic nature things were moving towards. So now I am in a church that accepts tongues as a gift (referring to interpreting foreign languages), accepts tongues as a prayer language (in some places – this is a heavenly language), but is still a holiness church, in that it believes there is a 2nd “crisis” point that a Christian encounters in their pursuit of Christ-likeness (which is the work of the Spirit in a person’s life). We are saved through faith, and there is a work of God at salvation that deals with sins committed, and we accept Jesus as Savior (Forgiver). There is a second crisis moment, usually subsequent to salvation (and John Wesley said usually quite late in life) where the person surrenders all of their life in response to the Holy Spirit’s work, leading to “entire sanctification”, or “perfect love”. This is where the root of sin is dealt with in the person’s life. It is at this point a person can walk completely in step with the Spirit in a moment by moment relationship, and not sin (the specific act of sin) – not because of what or who the person is, but because of what God has done in the believer’s life. It is about obedience, and…

    • Steve Grove

      … holiness in a moment by moment basis, not a “now I can no longer sin”.

      I came to this conclusion as a teenager reading Romans 7 and 8. It was enlightening to see the last half of Romans 7 written in the present tense, with the cry “Who will deliver me” being answered in Romans 8 with “There is now no condemnation for those in Jesus” followed by living in/by the Spirit. I believe God has provided everything necessary to live a holy life.

      Predestination? I understand this refers to what Children of God are called to be like. We are “predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ”. If we are following Jesus, that is our destiny.

    • EricW

      Steve Grove:

      It’s not available in print form, but the book I link to in my post 27. above re: the Keswick Movement addresses the history and development of the “crisis point”/”2nd blessing” teaching you espouse in your posts 32. and 33. Reading it was both interesting and enlightening. I hope it’s someday available in print form, because Keswick has directly or indirectly affected and impacted many Christian movements, and I suspect many Christians don’t even realize how it’s touched their own lives via its teachings; I know I hadn’t, even though I’ve been in non-denom/Charismatic churches for more than 30 years. Dallas Theological Seminary was in fact founded on Keswick Movement principles, though I believe it has since repudiated them.

    • Richard Mathewson

      Greetings Lisa,

      Regarding your Comment:
      Also Richard (and others who think Spirit-filled means lots of movement), please take a look at this….I am simply stating she could have been spirit-filled. Whether she was spirit-filled or sitting motionless in worship is irrelevant to God. He cares not for our stupid human worries but instread for our heartfelt intent.

      I read your blog. I was also disappointed that you spend so much intelligence on trivial pursuit of argumentative material and subjects. You have a gift of writing ma’am, use it to reach people for the truth not for opinion and pointless arguments. God blessed you with intellect ma’am. I hope you begin blessing Him with it.

      I am grieved that so many believers see it necessary to argue and debate every one else’s methods of approaching God when we should be serving the true purpose (Isaiah 61:1-2). You are gifted ma’am….Use that gift for Him. http://www.theologyoftruth.com

    • Lisa Robinson

      Hi Richard,

      Thanks for following up and your kind comments regarding my writing. I can only deflect on the giver of gifts and give Him credit for whatever writing ability I have.

      I find it interesting that you would say that what I write here is a pointless argument. It’s actually not an argument but an exhortation to consider how we view 1) the Biblical prescription concerning spiritual things and 2) how we view other brothers and sisters with respect to that. Having spent several years in Charismatic circles, I can attest to the dangers in attitude of superiority that Charismatics can have over non-Charismatics. Accordingly, I seek to raise awareness of the both the attitude and the biblical concerns in order to foster unity in the body to the degree possible. I would hardly consider that pointless.

      Comments on the other post were very similar to what I was addressing here. Hence, I thought I would refer to this post. My intention IS to honor God.

    • […] not to discuss what is or is not appropriate in a worship setting.  As in A Theology of More and A Theology of More II: Full Gospel Christianity, I want to address a philosophy that treats a particular methodology as having some more over […]

    • Neil Wright

      This blog is like reading a copy of the Watch Tower… (No doubt this will be dismissed as flippancy or ignorance)…

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