Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Need for A Biblically Balanced Approach to the Work of the Spirit

John Shroeder at Blogotional has posted a plea for balanced thinking and deliberate discussion about Doctrine and The Holy Spirit, stating that rather than just point out what is wrong with Charismatic thinking/practice in the area of using spiritual gifts and the doctrine of the Spirit, we need to put our best thinking/thinkers into this issue.

I agree. I believe that God wants to release the Holy Spirit to work within us and through us in greater ways. But it seems to me that God will release His power, not primarily so that we may testify to having "ecstatic" experiences in the Spirit (which after all, are of benefit mostly to the personal walk with God), but so that His name and purposes might be glorified more as we do mighty things for Him, in the power of the Spirit.

Paul Whiting offers an interesting testimony of his experiences with the Pentecostal church in a post "What do I think about the Charismatic movement?" that responds to one of his reader's questions.

Matt at The Gad(d)about also offers an interesting personal experience of God's leading, which I found helpful, although I was thinking that the subject of his post is not so much the "prophetic" that is being debated in the larger blogosphere, but more how God guides an individual.

I have been drawn to the Charismatic church/thinkers because I think there is no solid reason to suppose that God has withdrawn the use of charismatic gifts in the life of the church, but excesses and errors in the Charismatic community have probably led some to reject all charismatic phenomena, and have given pause and reason for concern. But this is all the more reason to develop better doctrinal understanding of God's ways and methods in the Spirit, but not to reject the entire the charismatic movement.

P.S. Since posting this earlier today it's come to my attention that there's been quite a bit of recent debate and disucssion on this subject in the Christian blogosphere. In two great posts, Rob Wilkerson of Miscellanies on the Gospel has done a great service by compiling links to much of this running conversation, see A Running, and Terribly Disorganized List of Online Resources for the Charismatic Pillow Fight and A Theological Pillow Fight Refereeing the Debate Between Cessationists and Charismatics.

There are many good resources here to read through and chew upon; I hope to do so myself and then enter the fray, swinging my own pillow!

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