Dluxe's World

Tuesday, March 27

You got me feelin' emotions...

I promised an early week reflection on what's up in the Christian blogosphere... So, here it is. On Friday, I linked to John Piper's excellent article regarding hearing God speak through Scripture. As I mentioned when I posted the link, the article had already spurred some interesting and positive discussion throughout the bloggin' world.

The discussion has continued and has blossomed into that great, age old debate regarding - as TeamPyro so eloquently put it - 'da gifts' (R)(c).

Just a couple thoughts:
  • I'm on record as being a 'continuationist'. Reformed though I am, the same reading of Scripture that lead me to embrace the Doctrines of Grace leads me to see no convincing case for the cessation of the so-called miraculous gifts. I've hashed this over before, so no need to revisit it now.*
  • What's most interesting about this discussion (starting on Adrian's blog and moving to TeamPyro) is that I don't know how we got here from there. Piper's point in the post has precious little to do with the charismatic experience. Indeed, I am confident that all Biblical cessationists would add a hearty "Amen!" to Piper's sense of God speaking through Scripture. If God isn't powerfully speaking to us through His Word, we aren't just losing the 'charismata', we're losing Biblical Christianity. Without Spirit-illumined truth from the Bible we're adrift without a sail or anchor.
  • Since we have landed in talking about the gifts again, I want to clarify my position thusly: I have no interest in making emotional experience or emotionalism the foundation or ongoing support for our faith. Our emotions are fickle and guided/controlled by a wayward heart that still bends towards sin all too often. However, if all I have is a cold, distant, intellectual faith that never results in real joy, kindness, and love then I have an issue. On Pyro, someone said this in the comments:
    Honestly, I've never even considered "how" I should "feel" in my walk with Christ. Ever since God reached into my dead heart and gave me life I've continued to deepen in the "true knowledge of Him who called [me]", resulting in power over sin, richer gratitude, stronger faith, passionate praise, and sincere love for others.
    As it relates to EXPERIENCING the living Christ through the Spirit, Paul, in Ephesians 3:14 – 5:21, focuses almost entirely upon mind renewal and true character change rather than any emotional or sensory perceptions.
    My point is only this... While we mustn't go seeking after (and thus idolizing) experience, we know that real faith does work itself out in experiential ways. As this person said, we find "passionate praise and sincere love for others" welling up in us where there was deadness before. Those things have at their core an emotional expression. So, let's not make emotions the enemy here! However, let's rightly call emotionalism idolotry of experience over truth.
Thoughts, folks?

*Just a note: I continue to challenge myself on this issue by interacting with the best cessationist cases I can find. Most recently, I've been reading through Nathan Busenitz's paper delivered at a previous Shepherd's Conference. So, I'm not trying to be an ostrich with my head in the sand...

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5 Comments:

  • I think the most amazing aspect of this post is that it contains pics of Piper and Mariah! Who knew "da gifts" could do that!!

    I'm a convinced cessasionist, but I have been surprised by the emergence of reformed believers who believe in 'da (miraculous) gifts'. Like you, I'm reading both sides of the argument. I have the utmost respect for Piper and Grudem.

    I do think that Philips of TeamPyro was accurate in castigating the anonymous author of the Christianity Today article to which Piper responded. And I do not think that any cessationsit would disagree with Piper's piece. The "beloved physician" vs. TeamPyro debate over 'da gifts' was instigated at the behest of Dr. Adrian. At least, that is how it seemed to me.

    By Blogger Travis, at 2:55 PM, March 30, 2007  

  • Travis,

    Thanks for the comment...

    it contains pics of Piper and Mariah! Who knew "da gifts" could do that!!

    Heh... One other reader (as if there are more than 5) commented that I'm the 'Dennis Miller of the Christian Blogosphere'. I'll take it.

    Like you, I'm reading both sides of the argument.

    May God give us both wisdom and discernment then...

    do think that Philips of TeamPyro was accurate in castigating the anonymous author of the Christianity Today article to which Piper responded. And I do not think that any cessationsit would disagree with Piper's piece.

    I agree... My concern is that there's a massive difference between Benny Hinn and CJ Mahaney. I'm glad when people strongly challenge my scriptural understanding... I want to be corrected if I'm in error. I just don't want other people's poor theology applied to me simply because we share a label ('charismatic').

    And I agree that Dr. Warnock spurred the discussion over at Pyro. And I also agree with Dan Phillip's statement that it's strange that the charismatics are silent unless it's a discussion about 'da gifts'. I have my guesses as to why that is the case... But if I'm wrong and some are making idols out of the gifts, we have a huge problem.

    I think it was Mark Driscoll who said he'd "die on the hill for the Trinity, but not suffer a paper-cut for tongues". That Driscoll, always good for a quote. :-)

    Thanks!

    By Blogger HeavyDluxe, at 4:24 PM, March 30, 2007  

  • Heavy, thanks so much for this post. I think it's spot on. I, too,am a reformed continuationist.

    It was in actually embracing reformed theology and the doctrines of grace, where I came to believe that the gifts had not ceased!

    By Blogger Gayla, at 3:45 PM, April 01, 2007  

  • Gayla, Thanks for the visiting and the encouragement. I appreciate both...

    By Blogger HeavyDluxe, at 4:21 PM, April 01, 2007  

  • Uh, is there such a thing as an "occasionalist"?

    By Blogger s g, at 11:05 PM, April 23, 2007  

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