Archive for September 2011

Onward Christian Feminists

September 28, 2011

By Steve Matthews

To promote a woman to bear rule, superiority, dominion, or empire above any realm, nation, or city, is repugnant to nature, contumelious to God, a thing most contrary to his revealed will and approved ordinance, and finally it is the subversion of good order, and of all equity and justice.  –  John Knox

Evangelicals are nothing if not predictable flip-floppers.

It wasn’t so very long ago that Christians rightly denounced feminism as evil.  But let a few decades roll by and – wonder of wonders – yesterday’s ideological foe becomes today’s friend.  In keeping with their  longstanding tradition of conforming to the world, more and more evangelicals have warmed up to the idea of a woman president – at least so long as she has a credible evangelical pedigree, no Hillary Clintons please – while giving little or no thought to what the Bible has to say on the matter. (more…)

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Driscollism

September 28, 2011

By Dr. Gus Gianello

Sean is a very kind guy, and if anything too forgiving.  This is particularly evident in his original posting “Charismatic Visions.” But I digress.

Let me tell you about myself, both now and then.  Now, I am a committed Scripturalist, having studied Gordon Clark and John Robbins extensively for decades.  John, I considered a long-distance friend, though we were not close friends.  He helped me a lot.  It is rare for me to disagree with Clark or Robbins, but I do on a few issues.  But on the issue of the centrality of Scripture I do not.

Then, I was converted (I think), when I was 17 and was part of the Dispensational, Charismatic, Arminian Jesus movement.  I rapidly became a “Charismatic of the Charismatics,” with apologies to the Apostle Paul.  I was an ardent, vociferous and belligerent follower of Hobart Freeman, the founder of the Radical Faith Movement, and believed I was a manifested son of God, who would set the groaning creation free.  No kidding.  I prophesied, cast out demons, laid hands on the sick, prayed for miracles, had words of knowledge, had revelatory dreams and visions.  I ran the whole gamut.  I prayed for $37,000.00 and got it.  I prayed for the rain to stop and got it.  Did I mention that I was called to be an apostolic assistant and a teacher by revelation?  All of this shows that I have the bona fides to comment on a topic that is not only deeply interesting to me, but very personal.

When I left the Charismatic movement in my pilgrimage I sought the advice of many people.  Could I be Charismatic and Reformed at the same time?  One of the worst pieces of advice I ever got was from James Montgomery Boice who assured me that you could be Charismatic and Reformed.  That piece of advice sent me down a path that delayed my deliverance from spiritual bondage.  You see, you cannot be Charismatic and Reformed. I am convinced that the Charismatic movement is a heresy.  You can no more be Charismatic and Reformed than you can be a Bible-believing Muslim.

Are there Charismatics who are Christians?  Without a doubt, but the point is they are inconsistent.  A consistent Charismatic must believe that the canon of Scripture is open, that there is nothing unique about Pentecost, that the church has never gone beyond its primitive state, and that Jesus Christ did not complete the atonement.  So, thank God, for inconsistent Charismatics, who are our brothers and sisters in the Lord.  But, all of this to say, that you have a duty to encourage them to leave the Charismatic movement. (more…)

Federal Visionist Found Innocent in the PCA

September 26, 2011

Federal Visionist Greg Lawrence has been cleared of all charges as the result of a trial in the Siouxlands Presbytery.    While the commission’s report still has not been released, you can read about the case here.   Suffice it to say the art of obfuscation has triumphed once again in the PCA.  Big surprise.  Is it me, or is the PCA looking a lot like Doug Wilson’s FV phony Presbyterian denomination, the CREC?

*Pictured – Greg Lawrence, James Jordan and a very unfortunate child.

Charismatic Visions – A Follow Up

September 14, 2011

In the second Driscoll lecture Horton links in his piece dealing with the four points of the “Resurgence” movement, Driscoll equates cessationism with “worldliness” and “deism.”  The Westminster Confession of Faith is a cessationist confession, were the divines who penned it “worldly” and “deists” too?  Give me a break.

Driscoll also ridicules the exegetical position of Edwards and Clark concerning 1 Cor. 13:8-13 and outlined in part 1 calling it interpretive “origami.” But, rather than offering a counter argument (assuming he is even familiar or even understands the actual arguments his opponents have made),  he simply asserts that the perfect is Christ.  It doesn’t seem to concern Driscoll that it would be grammatically queer, if not just queer in general, for Paul or anyone else to refer to Christ in the neuter gender “το τελειον” (the perfect or completed thing) rather than the masculine “o τελειο” (he who is perfect). Is Christ referred to as the perfect or completed thing anywhere else in Scripture? The argument is that Paul is anticipating that all the extraordinary gifts of prophecy, tongues, and new revelatory knowledge will cease with the coming of the complete thing; i.e., the close of the canon. The extraordinary gifts are give to the church in her infancy, which is why Paul tells us there will come a time when we are to put away these “childish” things.  Or, as Clark argues; “Miracles and tongues were  for the purpose of guaranteeing the divine origin of apostolic doctrine.” Consequently, if Driscoll thinks cessationists are “worldly deists,” would it be fair to say continuationists are silly little children trying to return to the womb?

And returning to the question of method, Driscoll says:

Even those who believe they have something from the Lord it’s tested and approved by the elders of the church . . . if the elders disagree the answer is ‘no’ and if it’s not in line with Christ centered God exalting biblical theology then it’s to be rejected.

So, if someone claims that God has spoken a new word to them it is only true if the elders say it’s true?  But, and as I addressed in my previous piece,  a problem arises when the so-called “prophetic word” doesn’t explicitly contradict “Christ centered God exalting biblical theology” simply because the “prophetic claim” can neither be found in Scripture or deduced from it.  A good example of this is Driscoll’s own pornographic visions that he employs in his presumed “biblical” method of counseling.  Why don’t the elders of his church say “no” to this or are they all “yes” men?

In any case, Driscoll’s method is purely subjective and rests exclusively on the presumed authority of the “elders” who have the power to affirm prophecies and new words of knowledge that are, by definition, in addition to and apart from Scripture.  Even more disconcerting, they have the power to command the assent of Christians to these new extra-biblical revelations.  What’s a Berean to do?  I thought all Christians are commanded to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”   John did, after all, address this command to the “beloved” and not just elders in the church.  It would seem Driscoll’s view of church has more in common with Romanism than anything remotely biblical or even Protestant.

A Meditation for 9/11

September 12, 2011

If there is calamity in a city, will not the LORD have done it?

– Amos 3:6

God caused 9/11.

God was not caught by surprise, as though the events of that day were something unexpected by him.

God’s intentions were not frustrated, as though he wanted  to do one thing but the terrorists forced him to come up with plan B.

God did not permit the destruction in Pennsylvania, Washington D.C and New York, as though he were some cosmic bystander who could have stopped the loss of life but for some reason chose not to.

No.

The sovereign Lord of the universe, the judge of all the earth, caused 9/11.

From all eternity he decreed that awful calamity, for God, “works all things
according to the counsel of his will.” (Eph.1:11)

And he deliberately, for his own glory foreordained the destruction of the twin towers.

Nevertheless, he is not responsible for the evil deeds of that sunny September morning.

For to be responsible means to be “liable to give an answer.”

And to whom does God answer?

No one.

For the Scripture says, “No one can restrain his hand or say to him, ‘What
have you done?'” (Dan.4:35)

This is a hard saying.  Who can hear it?

God’s people.  That’s who.

They praise him for his sovereign mercy and glorify him for his righteous judgment.

This day, may the sovereign Lord of all creation comfort his people who mourn and by his grace call many to repentance.

________________________

Steve Matthews is the author of Imagining a Vain Thing: The Decline and Fall of Knox Seminary.

Charismatic Visions

September 9, 2011

Mark Driscoll “sees things.”  Admittedly, not like the character in the movie The Sixth Sense who sees dead people, but he does claim to see the sexually immoral acts of those he counsels along with those who attend his church, even while he’s preaching from the pulpit.  But before getting into the salacious details, I admit I’m not all that familiar with Driscoll, although I have seen a couple of short videos from him discussing the gospel that I thought were quite good. So good in fact that I passed them along to family and friends. In addition, I did attend an Acts 29 Network church here in Virginia Beach for about a year (the network of churches that Driscoll co-founded), but I guess I was unaware just how deep his fascination with the “signs and wonders” of the charismatic movement and religious mysticism in general actually went.  That is until I came across a link to a piece by Michael Horton that rhetorically asks; Reformed and Charismatic? I admit, Reformed Charismatic does sound like an oxymoron, and it is, but some of the issues raised by Horton caused me to weigh in a little on this issue on the White Horse Inn website and again here.

Horton prefaces his remarks by saying; “I’ve never been willing to die on the hill of cessationism: that is, the belief that the miraculous gifts such as prophecy, healing, and tongues have ceased.  I’m still not.”  I think this is a rather strange position to take as men like Benjamin Warfield (see “The Cessation of the Charismata”) and Martin Luther before him were certainly “willing to die on the hill of cessationism” when confronted with the wild assertions and claims of the Enthusiasts and Anabaptists, something it seems the modern day Reformed men are unwilling to do.  Notwithstanding, and despite making some excellent arguments in defense of cessationism, Horton surrenders considerable exegetical ground when he concedes to Reformed Charismatic Wayne Grudem that the meaning of 1 Corinthians 13:8-13 is “inconclusive.”  Horton argues; “Paul is most likely referring to the consummationm when there will be no need for faith and hope and all that will endure into eternity is love (v 13).”

But will faith really come to an end with Christ’s return?   To answer this question we turn to Gordon Clark’s commentary on First Corinthians:

It may be said that faith does not remain in heaven, for faith is lost in sight (II Cor. 5:7); but this, too, is the same colloquial manner of speaking.  Do we continue to believe the truth of justification and limited atonement in heaven?  However, what must be conclusive for most Christians is that love indubitably remains in heaven. (216)

However, even if we grant Horton’s argument and there will be “no need for faith” at the consummation, there can be little doubt that the coming of “the perfect” mentioned earlier in verse 10 is a reference made in anticipation of the close of the canon.  I realize this isn’t a majority position in some Reformed circles, although it was Jonathan Edward’s position, but I think the arguments in its defense soundly trump the exegetical agnosticism of Horton and Grudem.  Besides, if 1 Cor. 13:8-13 is a reference to the Parousia then it would strongly imply that ongoing prophecy, miraculous tongues, and new revelatory knowledge are all to be expected regardless of whether or not the canon is closed, assuming it is even closed at all.  On the other hand, and to focus on just one of these gifts that Paul tells us will be done away with when the perfect or complete thing comes,  will “knowledge” really be done away with when Christ returns? I don’t see why? I would hope we all would come to know more in glory than we do now. The question is; in what sense is  “knowledge”  to be understood in this context?  Returning to Clark:

(more…)


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