Seven Mountains

The church I attend has started interest groups that serve to connect people who are called to, or now involved within one of the “seven mountains of influence”. This idea is based from a teaching that seems to have originated in 1975, from Campus Crusade and Youth With A Mission leaders. I was not very informed about it until recently (and still not well versed), but it is an interesting way to communicate a concept that has a parallel to similar ideas that have been around much longer.
In more negative terms is the idea of “the fifth colun” or in closer terms could be the ideas of “The Third Culture“, although not really like either of those, the seven mountains holds one similar line of thought: changing the status quo through those of a different worldview.

As the “Reclaiming the 7 Mountains” website says it:
“These seven mountains are business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education, the family and religion.”

I think our church has a little different take than the original, but takes the same view of the categories. Anyway, I went to the first meeting centered around the “Media” mountain.

There is a great deal of emphasis on using your gifts to a full potential; and that would be all your gifts, both natural and spiritual. It is something I am very interested in right now, and might mean that this blog will change and get more attention from me (writing, posts, stuff!)

I want to share my faith here, and explore thoughts and opinions as I did in the past, but not in the same way that I had. So much of social media has replaced the functions of the old style blogs. We’ll see if there are new avenues for this blog to follow.

In the meantime, think about reading more about the “Seven Mountains” and where you fit. We all want to develop our gifts, I think, but sometimes we get confused along the way (I know that has often happened in my life), but perhaps a fresh way of looking at vision and our life map could not just invigorate our projects, but give better focus to our energies and time.

Theological Gobbledegook

Absurdities of the religious I could call it, and this post is likely to make some people angry I suppose. No one likes their carefully constructed ideals poked at, but then I don’t like foolishness under the guise of well thought out theology.

I read through some teaching on “the use and application of the manifestation gifts”, and started parsing out the veils and layers of high sounding language. Finally, I ended up just plain disgusted with what gets passed off as relevant teaching. I’m not linking any examples because it has nothing to do with the church or individuals who wrote the offending pablum, it has to do with what we are all engaging in when trying to give the gospel a makeover.

There are many people who decry “experiential faith”, but sometimes that is the kind that is needed. Let’s get out of the ivory tower before we start to talk “theology”. Theology without reality is just myth, friends. We can insert all the high falutin’ godwords we want, but it won’t bring truth into ivory tower once the fairy tales start.

The trouble is that we take our ideas and theories and try to make the theology fit that, instead of taking what is actually in scripture and then applying it to ourselves and our practice. It just gets more and more fantastical as we move along with it in the directions we feel we would like to take it. Pretty soon we are saying some pretty silly things. Not at all pretty.

I’m for plain talk and plain truth. I think that is more than enough, if we would just partake of it and serve it to “whosoever will”.

So how did the bat get in my belfry and the bee in my bonnet? I read some things like: “Spiritual Gifts…-Holy Spirit power to meet human need through the life of a yielded believer”. Ok. How then does one explain individuals like Leroy Jenkins? You don’t have to be “yielded” to manifest spiritual gifts, and that was the big part of the problem for the original Corinthian church. Manifested gifts are given by God for His purposes, yes, but they are entrusted to believers and sometimes the believers don’t earn that trust… but that doesn’t mean that the gift gets rescinded. If Christians understood that they wouldn’t be so dazzled by the display of gifts and would understand more of the importance of “fruit”.

Then, “Worship services are practice sessions for real life”
No they’re not. No, they’re not. Worship services are to give worship to the most High God. Worship services are to render the service of awe and honor to the Lord in a corporate body. It is in real time… not a practice session for anything else. You know how that phrase strikes me? As idolatry. The idolatry of the big US and OUR IMPORTANCE. If we don’t come before the Lord for real, then that is pretty pathetic.

“Avoid sounding spooky” That sounds cute. It is cute until you realize that trying to avoid something just is so contrived. The spookiness is probably one sort of contrived “holy sounding” fake spirituality standing in for an actual relationship to God and the person God is ministering to through you, but trying to not sound spooky (and doing anything but serving as a conduit) is just something artificial…too much about you again.

I’m not going to fisk the entire teaching, these examples are enough for the point made here.

The people who write those ideas, and think that way, mean well. I’m sure of that, and likely don’t feel they deserve to get slapped by this, but we need a real faith more than we need to be artificially nice and careful about everyones feelings. The teachers trying to get their points across are probably pretty terrific people, I have no doubt; but they are trying too hard to please men, and missing the whole point about who the Lord is in this whole matter. The confabulations of that sort of theology is simply foolishness, and it is not the answer for how we should speak to a post Christian culture. or to each other… or at all for that matter. At best it is a waste of everyone’s time and at worst it is confusing and misleading.

We need to get our facts straight. Then preach and teach and live it that way.

The Semantics of Giftedness

A shorter post ( I know some heave a sigh of relief) to quickly clarify the semantics… because as is common we use the same terms to cover disparate sections of a broad topic. First, planes of gifting [I know that sounds very odd]:

  • the physical plane of talents and proclivities
  • the human souls plane of *advanced development
  • the spiritual plane of gifts of the Spirit, sourced and managed by God’s Holy Spirit

The three of these are all giftings that are resident in people ( although the third is exclusive to and remains under the oversight of the Holy Spirit- not every one has them, not everyone gets them). The first one I’d say everyone has to some degree or another, but when we speak of gifted individuals we are usually talking about exceptional in some aspect.

*Advanced Development is an idea explained in the book, The Gifted Adult: A Revolutionary Guide for Liberating Everyday Genius(tm) by Mary-Elaine Jacobsen. She gives three categories of this as “Humanistic Vision”, “Mandated Mission”, and “Revolutionary Action”. I will probably touch on some of those ideas as this topic progresses. I’m going to use her book as the basis for the semantics as they are found on the secular stage.

To move on…

Christian Semantics

When you go to a Christian bookstore and buy a book that is supposed to help you identify your gifts, or if you take a test that some churches offer, you are matching up the first two planes of your perceivable giftings and then it is categorized under the third set, the nine named gifts of the Spirit, and sometimes linked with the callings listed in 1 Corinthians 12:28. there is a reason this can work, although it isn’t accurate. The reason I think it can work is because the God who made you does have a ‘Plan’ and the desire to fit you into that plan. the big P being the overall plan of the ages, and the little p being the plan that will fit you into a part of that. Let’s forget that there are those who would argue with me on that… that is another topic. But most will agree that it makes sense that the talents you have in your given abilities, the inner motivations that seem part of your nature, and the spiritual gifts that are given for the purpose of your function in the body of Christ are likely linked through God’s wisdom and foresight. that is why I say those tests and books probably help you discern something of the spiritual gifts… but not always as God always reserves some surprises. Yes, good surprises!

I believe that the reason a book such as Jacobsens’ gets written is due to the fact that people with the first two planes of gifting tend to get very damaged when they are without the nurture and support that is necessary for human beings to develop properly. there are so many reasons for this that we will skip trying to put blame on anyone; there is enough blame for this all around. But Jacobsen does find much is centered in the misunderstanding of the surrounding culture for those who stand out as “different”, and many people who are exceptional in some way, even useful ways, are sometimes unaccepted because they are different in their relationship to the rest of the world…those who aren’t thinking or acting as the uniquely gifted person does. And we all know the cliched perception of “different as bad”.

I know that I cried when first facing and realizing the importance of getting this right for myself. I have been that damaged and that labeled as “bad”. I have internalized it, and use it as part of my “personal brand”. It forces me to go to that “humble place” when I really don’t want to go there! It also underwrites much of my underachievment and self-defeating behaviors. So it isn’t the type of humbling you want, the better part of humble is to produce it from within, not receive the humiliation from without. That is yet another potential post…

I cried because it touched on something I have felt deep within: so much is lost… so much time, so much potential, and I am not anywhere near what I had believed I would have been at this time of life. I cried with some relief, that perhaps I have an answer on what tack to take to recover what I can. The admonition of “redeeming the time” has always been an urgent one in my heart.

And finally, I cried because this is what God has been steadily doing: remaking me, and righting the wrong bends that were formed in my being.

Secular Semantics

Some people are still stuck in IQ when it comes to thinking about giftedness, but most respected sources of information and research have moved far beyond the initial ideas of IQ testing. Commonly spoken of are “multiple intelligences”.
Some of these have been called

  • body-smart
  • word-smart
  • spatial-smart
  • music-smart
  • logic-smart
  • relationship-smart
  • nature-smart
  • self-smart

These are further refined by traits such as

  • intensity
  • complexity
  • drive

You can start to see the way that multiple combinations and levels can combine to produce “genius” in people, of many differing sorts. You can also see how certain gifted people can be overlooked, and unknown as “gifted”, even though they have the personality quirks to go along with it and can suffer the out of sync problems that the gifts can cause.

Jacobsen has a list of Ten Criticisms that illustrate the problems such personalities run into…
have you internalized any of them in your life?

  1. Why don’t’ you slow down?
  2. You worry about everything
  3. Can’t you stick with just one thing?
  4. You’re so sensitive and dramatic!
  5. You have to do everything the hard way
  6. You’re so demanding
  7. Can’t you ever be satisfied?
  8. You’re so driven
  9. Where do you get all those wild ideas?
  10. Who do you think you are?

I know that last one is one I heard ALOT!

If we viewed people we reacted to through those questions (which we might find ourselves asking them), we may just get a small handle on what it is that they are trying to express from their valid internal makeup of gifts and motivations. We might understand where they are “coming from”, in other words. And if we view ourselves properly we might neutralize the pain those questions can trigger.

consider this “Part One”. I might switch to a podcast during one of these discussions.

Imposters and Inner critics

I came across topics which name things familiar to me as a woman, and cultural matters pertaining to women as a whole: the impostor syndrome and “voice dialogue” of the inner critic. Because of their prevalence, these ideas have other names by which they are called, but the terms mentioned here are two that have theories and teachers attached.

Two things are desired when I read this type of personality theory…. some understanding of how it works, especially whether it is at work in myself and those I know, and how those things correlate with teaching within the Bible. That tends to give something lasting fascination for me. And I see both impostor syndrome and voice theory at work and feel that if we understood better we could see the dynamics of the dialogue between and concerning women more clearly.
Imposter syndrome is described this way:

Impostor Syndrome is the “doubting and discrediting of one’s abilities and
achievements” and is especially disabling for gifted women. [Lee Anne Bell, “The Gifted Woman as Impostor”, Advanced Development Journal, Jan., 1990] also recognized that part of the discomfort women express with achievement “may not be a result of impostor feelings as much as a desire to equalize relationships and… disassociate from the male model of achievement.”
Another contributing factor, she says, is that “women tend to define competence as perfection and are often guided by standards that are unnecessarily high.”

The experience of numerous gifted women is seen thus:

Many gifted women may have constraining experiences because of gender, such as being seen as threatening to some men – and other women – in positions of authority. Some may feel pain at being different from “the way women are supposed to be” and have a need to hide their abilities to “fit in” with more “normal” society. ~‘Gifted Women: Identity and Expression’ by Douglas Eby

This same author says,”social reactions toward women, especially those who are gifted, are often demeaning and hostile. Labels like “scattered” and “bitchy”, rather than “multifaceted” and “ambitious” may result from insecurities people feel around exceptional people. The gifted woman’s family may experience strong envy and antagonism. leading to active, though perhaps unconscious, discouragement of her realizing or even pursuing her unique potentials.”

Let’s think about this a moment. Sometimes we do get uncomfortable with words like “exceptional”, and immediately think of someone who feels superior , an elitist… and the Lord knows we don’t want to be elitist. We then start to back away from things that make us think of ourselves or others as “gifted”, “exceptional”, or other terms that may be used to describe someone who is very able or potentially able in areas of talent, intelligence, or other aspects of a life. and we start seeing huge amounts of false humility and societal demands for that false humility arise. Which is another problem, as false humility is a disguise for real pride. But take people who are not unduly prideful, who genuinely have a giftedness, and for them to be forced to downplay or diminish it is to be false.

In things I’ve read there is always a caveat warning there are many types of giftedness and therefore the idea that being gifted is not something identifying the few, but many. It just depends on what sort of gifts we are focusing upon. Certain gifts to certain degrees being the rarity, not the fact that many display the quality of giftedness in their specific domain.

That this is highly necessary to point out is illustrated in the well-known Bible passage of the disbursement of spiritual gifts in the persons of the Church. There are numerous types, with varying levels of measurement, further varied by a number of different callings. In my thinking this does not jive with the idea of pastor as theologian, for instance. Some of the best pastors are not given to being theologians, which is more the pursuit of the teacher; it is harmonious with the calling of pastor, but not the determining factor called for in scripture. This idea is parallel to much of what is submitted concerning adult giftedness. What’s wanted is encouragement and cultivation of potential, and then integration into a welcomed and meaningful place in the whole of society.

Which brings me to the second part of the quote by Eby above. Even those in close relationship react with discouraging repression and envious undermining. We need to see this for what it is, selfish desire to play oneupmanship in making oneself seem more by diminishing another. One of the liberating things about the gospel of Jesus Christ is the complete rejection of that idea and the institution of a new one that we are all actually of one body and every success of a part of us is a success for all of us.

But there is more than one side of the ‘impostor syndrome’ …

Finding the Inner critic

The child who does well in school, gets good grades, wins awards, and “performs” beyond the norms for his or her age, is considered talented. The child who does not, no matter what his innate intellectual capacities or developmental level, is less and less likely to be identified, less and less likely to be served.

~ from article Is It a Cheetah? – By Stephanie S. Tolan

This goes on in the adult world, too, doesn’t it? Still. We compete with each other as to who is the smartest, most entertaining, competent. We disdain the “Losers” with a big L.

We live in a society where we are rated, graded, and evaluated on numerical scales

When the standards of society are unfairly stacked against one of the types of giftedness that isn’t readily quantified -whether knowingly or not- there is a dismissal of the worth of a person. As Mary Rocamora, a counselor of gifted and talented individuals, says, “The systematic destruction of any child’s self-esteem is devastating, but for the gifted it is particularly so. The gifted I’ve worked with tend to have had an extremely intense reaction to being shamed or humiliated in early childhood. For some clients, any attempt to achieve anything can trigger fear and deadness, a sense that any effort to be Somebody is simply a futile effort to avoid accepting that you are really Nothing.”

Self esteem in this sense is a picture of our God-given dignity as persons, and it is this that is attacked: our worth as human beings.

This becomes, for some of us, an internalized “Inner critic” perpetuating the message that we can’t because we aren’t good enough. The comments were made concerning the gifted, but truly, the dynamic at work is one that affects us all in our endeavors in life. Some of us become very damaged by unreasonable perfectionism or bullying humiliations by others. some of us just accept and weather the wear and tear from such communications by others… but do we stop to think how we perpetuate and magnify those thoughts within our own minds?
Never bothering to rewrite a script that originates in something untrue and evil ?

You know what? I don’t want to be that way, and I don’t mind defying the status quo… who is with me on this?

One of the reasons I paused to consider some of these theories is because there is much change that God brings to the personal viewpoint and the self’s consideration of whether we can succeed, and how worthy or loved we are. The way Paul put it is that we need to renew our minds… to bring them under the beam of the light of what God says on the matter and accept that. Displacing the inner conversation we often hold with ourselves is often necessary, as well as rebutting that of the outside review. There is a subtle balance of receiving the needed criticism necessary for healthy change and rejecting the naysaying of faithless negativity. Aligning with what God has to say about us and our greater purpose as humans serves to create the balance we need.

Recently I came face to face with this. It had to do with the idea that God was pleased, delighted with me and my abilities and what I am in His sight. I just cannot believe that most of the time. I often feel like an impostor in the family of God… as if I am always under review and found wanting, yet this does not come from any other voice so much as my inner one. But as we sang a simple chorus in church, one that calls God “Daddy” ( I almost cannot say that… I almost choke with doubt as it sticks unspoken in my throat – maybe straight laced leftovers from my Presbyterian upbringing) and declares that He “sings over me”, He loves me… this idea started to sink in. The revelation that God could love me,me, in that way truly, actually. And I saw how damaging that inner critic had been all these years, and I faced up to the impostor accusations, that not only was I not good enough, but I would never be, because there was something intrinsically wanting in me.

This idea of being loved and accepted by God is one that is balanced in a fragile manner with the reality of depravity. It is the difference between true and false humility, between man’s religion and true godliness; to see that yes, I am broken and cannot fix myself- but that God can both restore and make new, infusing me with Himself. Just like achieving women must face the reality of their true selves, and stop gauging themselves by the outside recognition, we believers must know how God feels about us, and what our intrinsic worth is in His eyes. It is not the fickle standards of either the culture around us, or the internalized views of those who can’t possibly know us or our future.

As long as our goal is simply to “fit in” we are doomed to be outsiders, because in the body of Christ, and in the long range plan of God, there are people ( whom God uses) and times when very little feels like it “fits”. Instead the scriptures urge us to trust God’s wisdom in all our circumstances including our gifts and personalities. That is what we must renew our minds to conform to… that understanding.

There is much more thought that this inspires in me… but I have to try to give those digressions voice another day and time… I will pursue this in several ways, both here and at Intellectuelle. Because, truly, Sarah’s posts lately have been an inspiration that has provoked my thinking about this in the broader spectrum than my “self-help” introspections.

Back Online

Well,well,well…truegrit is back online- so now I have to remember what it was I wanted to write about;) There were a number of things actually, and in the meantime I have been attending the beginning of some meetings at a community church here in my area. It is creating a Rubicon of sorts for me.

Or maybe just one trigger in something that God is trying to get through to me. We need to be sure we are standing where we think we are standing. Stop paying lip service to what we are in the habit of saying we believe without anything in our real life to back that up. A favorite American Christian behavior in my opinion. One that I am being challenged to give up.

Do I believe God heals today or not? Does that mean that I have to travel on a foreign missions trip to see the signs, miracles, and wonders? this is a favorite American activity. Far be it from us to believe it will happen in our own churches…but yeah, I believe that the lame can walk in India.

There is a serious disconnect there. Anyone else see it? Can’t go forward in my own church for prayer because…what will people think? what if I walk away from the prayer line without healing? Maybe that special someone didn’t have that power. yeah, that’s it…. I need a more powerful specially anointed “name-brand” before God will heal me….

How about this? How about the simple unvarnished Word of God that the simple unvarnished believer will lay hands on the sick and they shall recover? And how about unvarnished local churches having the five-fold gifts and ministries in operation and we start to see the Word of God bear fruit in our communities? How about some of that?

I think we need to come to grips with the hypocirsy that we are so comfortable with, and stop being spectators in the pews. Yes, that is right, you know who you are…. waiting with baited breath while the preacher gives the salvation invitation. Is anyone going to come forward? Oh I would love to to see …oh may I think it? maybe two people come forward for salvation.

What rot. Does God save or not? Does the word being preached bear fruit or not? And why sit in your comfortable seats looking for the show. Are you a part of what you say you believe or not?


Wonder what “gracelets” are?

I followed the link to Ricks place and while there this interesting post of his caught my attention… and so I’m wondering … anyone know what gracelets are? It’s something I believed, but didn’t have such a catchy name for. Quite a good discussion on gifts.

I go to the Vineyard Fellowship now, but I am still not highly familiar with John Wimber’s [founder] writings. It was encouraging to read Rick’s blog tonight.

Speaker of Truth: a better man than I on “Tongues”

Adrian Warnock has the interest and patience to follow through the debate on tongues. This is quite important as it is evident that you can’t trust to receive something that you have misgivings about. If you want to study the topic, these discussions from numerous Christians delving into the scriptures are helpful. Even though I come down clearly on one side of it, I am very grateful for efforts from the opposition to try to figure things out. Because that is where we are at in the final event: desiring to know more of God’s truth and more of Him. Without questions we might not have looked into the matter as carefully and fully. I find that it is always a great benefit to look into the Word of God with eagerness and enthusiasm. That is always time well spent. Arguing? well that is debatable. ahem;)
Peter Kirk was pointed out in a link and had this to say, as well as interesting answers on the topic: Speaker of Truth: Answering a Pyromaniac on Tongues

I am sure that Adrian and I, as well as very many other charismatics, would agree on teaching that Christians need a proper balance between the Spirit and the Word, avoiding both the over-emphasis on the Spirit of your caricature charismatics and the over-emphasis on the Word of many cessationists.

Of great interest was Adrian’s post on the views of Martyn Lloyd-Jones pertaining to tongues,Were Tongues in Acts and 1 Corinthians BOTH Unintelligible? as Dr Lloyd-Jones puts emphasis upon the gift of interpretation. This was a completely new way to view this, for me, and something that would be be very useful for Charismatics to look at more carefully. As the gift of interpretation is something we tend to gloss over ( forgive the pun- I can’t help it).

Will Cessationism cease? That is the question…

I am taking the liberty to fisk a high profile posting on the cessationist argument… as it was lobbed to the post of Adrian Warnock. I just wanted to …. even though fisking may be frowned upon.
This is the post, mostly -skipping over the preamble, answered in a rebuttal manner as is common in forums. I use asterisks to point out important points to answer, the color for Adrian, the color for Pyro and my template color for my answer or comment.

Tongues” across the water: response to Adrian, part one
by Dan Phillips

… our friend Adrian Warnock “got all het up” over my post on the tongues of angels. My roughly 630 words provoked something like 2700 words of response from Adrian. I tremble at the thought of what these larger posts will bring down on my poor old head.

In doing me the honor of raking me over the coals in Christian love, Adrian, God love him (and I mean that), wanders pretty much all over creation. He brings in Spurgeon, Lloyd-Jones, MacArthur, Piper, African missionaries, the Toronto “Blessing,” a dozen texts or so,….

I propose three posts in response. In the second, I mean to give semi-rapid-fire responses to at least most of Adrian’s text-based questions. In the third, I hope to present some concluding areas of agreement and disagreement.

In this the first response, I’ll target what to me is not only the heart of Adrian’s post, but of much of the Charismatic bypath. It is found among his final words in the post. It’s long, but I want to quote it in toto:

Why do so many cessationists actually argue for the exact opposite of what Jesus Himself says in Luke 11 (see the whole context). Jesus ends the parable by saying, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” The cessationist has to deal with the fact that millions of people today have asked God for an experience of the Holy Spirit, and that in direct contrast to what Jesus Himself said, by definition, if cessationism is true, they have not received the Spirit, but rather something else. Where they have asked for the bread of tongues, they have been given the stone of foolish gibberish. Where they have asked for the fish of prophecy, they have been given the serpent of hallucinatory delusions worthy of a madman. This cannot be right, in my humble opinion, as it makes Jesus Himself into a trickster. At the very least, God should have given us clearer directions in the Bible to manage our expectations and help us ALL to realise that cessationism is the biblical teaching. This issue has clear implications for the doctrine of the clarity of Scripture. If Jesus Himself appears to tantalise these people with an offer to give the Spirit to those who ask and really means something very different to the gift of the Spirit we see in Acts, then surely He would have told us!

I see two critical problems in Adrian’s reasoning here.

*******First, brother Adrian reads a great deal into the text. Our Lord simply asks, if rendered over-literally, “If therefore you, though actually being wicked, know to give good gifts to your children, how much rather will the Father who is from Heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” (Luke 11:13, emphases added). ****

Is he reading into it, or is he adding together from other scriptures to get a balanced view of the whole? The verses here are assurances that what God is spiritually giving to a sincere believing supplicant can be presumed good. It is directly related to receiving the Holy Spirit.. and inclusion of all the attending gifts and actions, that God chooses, could be implied .

Adrian immediately leaps hither:
“The cessationist has to deal with the fact that millions of people today have asked God for an experience of the Holy Spirit, and that in direct contrast to what Jesus Himself said, by definition, if cessationism is true, they have not received the Spirit, but rather something else.”

Then Adrian immediately goes to prophecy and tongues.
But what has Jesus said in this verse about tongues, or about prophecy? What did He say about any specific and particular manifestation or “experience”? Is there any chance that even one of Jesus hearers would have made the associations Adrian makes? Surely not.****

The manifestations are spoken of in a different place, and further underlined by the history that starts in the book of Acts. Our associations would be based upon the history that follows, in this case, with scriptural canon imprimatur.

Indeed, here as in other texts (as I’ll show, DV), Adrian’s proof proves too much.If Adrian is going to read this passage as an iron-clad guarantee… well, the mind fairly reels with the consequences.

**** This would have to mean that God, on Adrian’s stated understanding, will always and ever give whatever specific spiritual manifestation everyone and anyone asks, on any occasion. Nor can we condition it on God’s will, nor on our faith — again, on Adrian’s reading — for our Lord mentions neither. ****

I do not see that implied in Adrian’s statements, it seems to be your own extrapolation. It appears to be a cheap shot at association with some of the worst of excesses in modern Christendom for the sake of a knee jerk response on the part of the reader.

****Anything that happens after such a prayer can be charged to God. To fail to do so calls the perspicuity of Scripture (not our handling of it) into serious question.
If it’s an ironclad and unconditional guarantee as presented above, then one request by any believer should ever and always result in any spiritual gift he names. God has to do as I ask, for His glory’s sake.****

This is so much of a twist that I hardly know where to start. Just because I am assured of the faithfulness of God, and confident enough to bring my petitions does not translate into a jerk chain around the neck of the Heavenly Father- as if such a thing could be imagined in the context of Who God Is. But I perceive a little jerk chain of your own in citing things this way, and I have to ask myself…why is that? Conflated thinking. Assurance of something being good and coming from God is not the same as God being bound to the creatures command .

Is God really at my command, to that degree? This seems to me to be one of several junctures at which the first word in the phrase “reformed charismatic” is the weaker of the two.

You may have a point, but in the whole context of your argument I am not willing to give it to you right now. You will have to work for it and explain just what you mean. That the two are inimical?

Now, we know that this has never happened thus in church history. Anywhere. Ever. Has anyone ever even taught this? Surely Adrian will deny that this is what he believes. Yet this is where his line of thinking necessarily leads from his way of handling the text, if followed out relentlessly.

Support this please, if this is not based on the previous ( wrong) premise which misunderstands both the scripture and what Adrian was saying. For I believe it to unsupportable as stated.

*****Further, this way of dealing with the text plucks it right out of its place in the history of redemption. Did anything change in God’s dealings with men, after the resurrection and ascension of Christ, and Pentecost? Ezekiel thought something would change someday (Ezekiel 36:25-27). John the Baptist surely thought something would change (Mark 1:8). John certainly thought something would change (John 7:39). John certainly presented Jesus as thinking something would change (John 14:17). Peter thought something did change (Acts 11:15). Does Adrian? When was that change?
What was that change? Does the change at all inform how we handle texts placed before and after it? Does context have any meaning whatever?

Your line of thinking is not clear here. Can God change? No. “I change not”[ Psalm 55:19] Can He do something new? Yes, “I proclaim to you new things from this time, Even hidden things which you have not known.” [Isaiah 48:6] And besides this, it is not clear that you know, from your own interpretation, when specific changes take place. Now or in the time to come? Before or after Christ’s second coming? When, in your understanding and according to the scriptures do the cited changes take place? This is the gist of the contention, the timing of when certain spiritual things are fulfilled and put away and which remain now, and close at a future time and event.

This is a common mistake in charismatic thought. The Bible is read as if the great moments of redemptive history — the descent of the Spirit, the closing of the Canon — have no real implications. It is as if the Bible should be read as a mural, a large photo, instead of as an unfolding story with movements, climaxes, and openings and closings of acts (Hebrews 1:1-2).********

I don’t see how this can stand. Just because they understand things a different way, does not implicate that they do not see sequentially, as well. The difference seems to be in the when and how that view of sequence is applied. If there is a case for cessationism then the sequence of the closure and the timing of it has to be proven from scripture… the whole point of Charismatics, and all those convinced of the continuation of God’s gifts to the Church is that the closure has not yet taken place.

What if we took Adrian at his word, though?
******* His way of dealing with the text means that Jesus has made an unconditional guarantee to give any manifestation of the Spirit to anyone who asks. Jesus is responsible for everything that happens after I ask. If it isn’t legit, then He (according to Adrian) is a trickster.

Well, then, let’s say I think the Bible could use another book or two. For instance, it could use one that settles this whole Charismatic issue forever.*****

It isn’t a matter of unconditional, and not a matter of anyone getting everything they ask… it has never been taken out of the context that Christians receive what God decides in His sovereignty to give them. But they are encouraged to ask and that with boldness and faith.

The second statement here is a straw man. A real one. You can say anything you want, and no doubt Christians would like the Bible to say more specifically what they want it to say. But the important things are in there for those who have the ears and the eyes to discern it. The Bible, as it stands, says plenty about the gifts, and particularly about speaking in tongues. The continualist says that is still applicable. Does God say some things, still, that aren’t written in the canon, but are no less His Words? The Bible makes a strong case for that. Is this what you are disputing? That man can no longer hear a personal Word form God? For himself, or his family or his nation… or the Church? It doesn’t have to be written on stone plates to be a true word from the Lord. The judgment of that is clearly given in the scriptures, and Israel struggled with the false and the true, so that isn’t something new under the sun either.

****So what if I ask the Lord to give me the gift of prophetic, inscripturating revelation? What if I ask Him to write those books through me? What if I ask Him to send the Spirit to make me the author of the sixty-seventh book of the Bible?*****

Is this what the authors of canon did? did they approach God or did God approach them with the writing of scripture? So it is a false question. Church Fathers passed judgment centuries after the time of the early Church on what was and was not canon scripture. The closure was not found within the books themselves. Can people limit themselves to the Book? yes. Can they limit themselves to KJV Only? yes. But that doesn’t erase validity of the Lord speaking in other ways. Guidelines for judging the prophetic are within the scriptures. No one has to take anything as scripture, if only they judge things by scripture that has gone before…. as the books of the canon were indeed judged inter-contextually.

****Isn’t Adrian bound by his own thinking either to accept my book, or conclude that the Lord is a trickster?****


****And what if the book I write after praying for revelation says that Charismaticism is a delusion? What a bind that would put Adrian in!****

I don’t think so. You could, and people have. It still gets judged by what has gone before and the test of the basic accepted canon. Adrian has not placed himself outside those boundaries, neither should another.

Or what if I asked for a tongue and an interpretation, said “Wobbedy bop,” and interpreted it to mean “Tongues have ceased”? Wouldn’t that, on Adrian’s reasoning, be chargeable to Jesus’ account?

Only on your previous erroneous premises.

“Oh, no, that’s just stupid,” someone will reply. “You’d be tempting the Lord. He isn’t responsible for every lamebrained thing you do, just because you prayed before you did it!”

Which brings me to my second point.

The Lord is not responsible for every lamebrained thing we do, just because we prayed first.
wholehearted agreement. You see, Adrian’s handling of this text really leaves us with only one choice. I was going to write “two choices,” but on reflection, Adrian leaves us only one. Everything that happens after we pray has to be of God, or Jesus is a “trickster.”

Only in your own line of thinking… not predicated upon what is actually in the scriptures. The only thing the scriptures point out and which every Christian anchors within is the goodness and faithfulness of God. The God who is the same today, yesterday and forever. The manifestations are spoken of in a different place, and further underlined by the history that starts in the book of Acts. Our associations would be based upon the history that follows, in this case, with scriptural canon imprimatur.

This premise, a faulty one in my estimation, binds good folk like Adrian. It chains them to defend the indefensible, as surely as the Roman Catholic must defend every ruling and appalling error of his sect. Since manifestly nothing that the Charismatic movement has uniquely produced in the last 100 years has ever measured up to the Biblical phenomenon note: subjective judgment, we have to re-interpret the Bible to fit what is happening today. Because if it’s all a fraud and a distraction, then Jesus is a “trickster.” And since Jesus cannot be a trickster, we have to come up with some explanation that makes wanna-be manifestations legit. We have to define the Biblical phenomena down, to prop the modern phenomena up.

How about fitting it all to be within the parameters of the early Church, would that be acceptable?

*****This is a big reason why Charismaticism is where it is today, the “twenty million people can’t be wrong” argument.****

I can’t emphasize enough how much this is NOT the Charismatic argument. It isn’t about numbers, it is about the validity of that person’s testimony as a bona fide Christian, and the numbers represent many of those bona fide Christians. The question is why would you dismiss their testimony? Upon what scriptural basis?

Can’t they? Can ten out of twelve spies be wrong? Can the majority of the nation of Israel be wrong? Is truth settled by majority vote alone? Is that how we do exegesis — people prayed A, and Z happened, therefore the Bible must mean theta?

*****I’ve done lots of stupid things, after praying. Can I bill them all to God? Wouldn’t that be cool?****

Are you done with the argumentum ad ridiculum yet?

Well, no, if we force ourselves to think it through, it really wouldn’t be cool. Sure, there would be the short-term gain of me being able to shrug off responsibility for all the stupid, foolish, and sinful things I’ve done after praying.

Do the Charismatic churches teach this? Support your statement, because I don’t find that either in the writing or the practice. I find lots of teaching about accountability and personal responsibility, without limiting the manner in which God acts, based upon our scriptural understanding of that.

But the long-term loss would be inestimable. In short, I’d lose the Biblical portrayal of God. God would be the author of my stupid and sinful behavior. He’d become a fickle imp, and prayer would become a good-luck charm at best, or a get-out-of-responsibility-free card at worst.

Again, this conclusion is based upon your own earlier premises in the best circular manner

Of course, there is an alternative.
*****We can cleave to the Word above all and through all, and judge our experiences by it — not the reverse.***

We are back to our base of agreement. I’m with you on this.

Is it not a judge of the thoughts and emotions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12)? Is it not forever settled in the heavens, far above the shifting vagaries of our experience, and the passing trends and fads of our culture (Psalm 119:89)? Is it not the means of my fellowship with the Father and His Son (John 14:21-23; 1 John 1:1-3)? Is it not my cleaving to the Word that proves the reality, or unreality, of my claim to be a disciple (John 8:31-32)?

Yes, yes, and yes… but does this call speaking in tongues or the baptism of the Holy Spirit or the spiritual gifts ( charismata) into question? They are all in scripture. They are spoken of as for believers. Where is the dilemma for you?

So here’s what I am seeing. In direct contrast to all Scripture precedent and command,
excuse me, what is this? millions of people have indeed (as Adrian said) asked for revelatory gifts.

And not one of them has received anything like what is described in the Bible.

And you judge this, how? Criteria, because I smell a generalization fallacy which attempts to lump all charasmata in one basket of disrepute. And further.. I would ask what puts you in the position to see all these millions and be sufficient to assess this with reasonable accuracy .

****Is God to blame for that? Is God to blame, and the fact of the perspecuity of Scripture suspect, because of their persistence in something very different from what He Himself sets out in His Word?****

I lost how anyone is blaming God. I thought the Charismatics were thanking God; and I still don’t see the case made for how speaking in tongues or ministering prophetically is different from what is set out in the Word

I knew a pastor once, a man with very strong training in the Biblical languages and sciences. But he had a doctrine of the guidance of the Holy Spirit that led him to believe that he should pray for that guidance, and then whatever followed had to be of the Spirit. His sermons were bizarre, meandering, idiosyncratic affairs. A friend of his (!) likened the way he handled texts to a drunk staggering through a church. His people stopped bringing Bibles. They didn’t really need them.

Once, a fellow-believer and I approached him, and shared our concern. We spoke out of genuine love, respect, and care.

“Gentlemen,” he said, “before I preach, I ask the Holy Spirit to guide me. If I believed that He was not doing so, I would leave the ministry!”

This trump-card spiritual browbeating worked wonderfully for him at the time. Both of us were young Christians, and we were properly rebuked and appalled. We didn’t want him to leave the ministry! We retreated, horrified and abashed.

What you have described is something endemic throughout Western Christianity of all flavors . We all hate it. Many of us have our stories… it is abuse of authority, and not relegated to the Charismatics alone. I’m very sorry you suffered this damage.

Of course, the problem wasn’t the Holy Spirit. this is an excellent lesson to learn, and we all have to come to terms with it, worth extracting from this post to meditate upon. The problem was this man, and his faulty doctrine of the guidance of the Spirit. But like the reasoning ****Adrian sets out, he had prayed, and so he had to conclude that whatever followed was of the Spirit — or his whole structure would collapse.****

Only in your logical argument, not in the personal and subjective experience of a man with his God. This is always the problem with Christianity, it is “Come and see” and not reasoned argument into the faith of Christ. It is God revealing Himself personally to the man..

The Charismatic movement is, in large measure, the result of applying that same procedure on a massive scale.
Well, that is one general dismissal if I ever saw one. You have managed to collapse down the entire Charismatic movement, which is quite a feat. How about the Pentecostals, now? They’ve been around a bit longer.

Let me put it more personally and individually still. I can, you know; for I write as one who once thought he was speaking in tongues.

Shall I reinterpret the Bible, to legitimatize my experience?

Or shall I stick with the Bible, and let it judge my experience?

I opted for the second choice. That is why I am an ex-charismatic.
Ah, now we are down to it. It is personal with you… now why didn’t you say that at the beginning?
Continue reading Will Cessationism cease? That is the question…

More postcards…

This time for cessationists.

“that tongues are for today – they were a sign for unbelieving jews in the Bible. Are you an unbelieving jew? “

Before I start, isn’t your question backwards? The tongues as a sign are _for_ the unbeliever…. but who speaks them? The believer. Before we come to Christ we are in a worse case than the unbelieving Jew… we are unbelieving goys. But the Word shows both Jews at Pentecost, and later the gentile, Cornelius, speaks in tongues (after they believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.)

To proceed:

First the basic premise:

As found in Isaiah 55:11 , That God’s word does not return to Him void or empty, but accomplishes the purpose that He spoke it forth to perform. It bears the fruit He intended.

Your question to me actually holds two questions which I will deal with separately,

1) Are tongues only for a sign, or do they serve other purposes?

2) Have the words concernng tongues accomplished their purposes, or is there yet unfinished business for the ‘speaking in tongues’ gift?

When Paul mentions tongues being a sign for Jews, I believe he is referring back to Isaiah 28:11, The “stammering” and “other” tongues that will be spoken to “this people”, the Jews.

But Paul also teaches that this gift is for edifying the believer, 1 Cor. 14:4, in 14:2, he says that it is for speaking to God.

So one may not relegate it only to performing the service as a sign to the Jew.

It is also for those who need their spirits to be built up and is a vehicle for speaking to God. In this use, the result mentioned in Isaiah 28:11: rest and refreshing.

It is also used in conjunction with the interpretation gift for building the general congregation, “edifying the church”.

This broadens the application beyond the use as a sign for only the Jewish people.

2) Has it accomplished its purpose?

To first repeat my previous point, Have all Jews had access to this sign? Are there still unbelieving Jews in the world? I meet many who not only do not believe in Jesus as Messiah, but in YHVH G_d, at all. I’d say they need whatever sign God in His sovereign power and wisdom wishes to give them. The purpose of tongues, in this case, is not yet fully accomplished.

Do believers still need to be built up in their spirits? I submit that now, more than ever, yes, they do. As darkness increases, and times grow more perilous (couldn’t resist this one), believers need to edify themselves with whatever means God gives….. fellowship and bible study being two of the most used, but that would not preclude other means.

It is also stated that we speak to God in our spirit this way. Are we done with this?

Jesus is recorded as saying that believers will speak with new tongues [Mark 16:17]. New. That means that in some cases only God will understand the tongue the believer uses from his spirit.

The purpose for this is not given, unless one references Isaiah again. But tongues is never mentioned as presently retracted. It is not apparently evident that the purposes are thoroughly performed.


This leads to surmising that it is still available to those who will receive it. A stronger case than those who believe it is gone merely on the fact that they don’t see it and have received men’s testimony that it is no longer for today. And the verse that it will someday cease…. which is tied not only to the fact that knowledge will vanish, but that we will no longer see “as through a glass darkly”.

If we still see “darkly” then we still will need to speak “mysteries” to God.

It is not over yet.

We further have some historical things to look at. At the point when the “God is dead” philosophy was widespread in all the civilizations with historical Christianity, and the iron curtain of atheistic Communism held sway over most of the rest…. how did God break open a fresh new move? Largely through an outpouring of the Holy Spirit and breakouts everywhere of “speaking in tongues” .

I lived in this time, I got saved at the tail end of this ‘Jesus Freak’ movement. The churches didn’t know what to do with all these “charismatics” -but at the time most were sure glad for revitalization of their churches and for renewed spreading of the gospel.

I have addressed only your stated question, there are good studies for looking closer at the connection of tongues, as initial evidence, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This has been available through many of the pentecostal and charasmatic movements.

It remains to the individual to study and decide. As in every point of faith, from born-again faith through water baptism through each tenet of the faith.

Why would we want this baptism of the Holy Ghost?

I would like to add my own question here with something from the book of 1 John.

It is stated that there are three that witness in the earth: the spirit, the water, and the blood. I believe this references the three baptisms. Entering the new birth through Jesus baptism of the cross (the blood), entering resurrection power through the baptism of water, and entering the life of the Spirit ( through the baptism of the Holy Spirit). The fact of being born-again answers the enmity of the flesh, the baptism of water answers the enmity of the devil, the baptism of the Holy Spirit answers the enmity of this world system, the cosmos.

To use the means of man was never the intention of God; to walk in the Spirit, this was always the intention, ” worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father seeketh such to worship Him”.

We may always come before God on the basis of Christs blood, so this is not a matter of salvation. But when we read in Acts 19, what do we see? water baptism and a baptism in the Holy Ghost with the evidence of tongues. That is what we are presented with.

Purpose of Prosperity

I was reading some interesting articles over @ Ben Witherington and came upon this “What’s Wrong with Prospering? The Gospel according to Joel Osteen”. Joel Osteen is one of those buzzword celebrities right now, isn’t he?

Anyway, half-way down I came upon …

“How very different indeed this message is from John Wesley’s Famous Sermon “On the Use of Money” in which he stresses that if you make all you can honestly and save all you can, but do not give all you can to relieve poverty, feed the hungry, make well the sick you may be a living person but you are a dead Christian.”

Now, I have seen “both sides now” in my experience and where I am presently is in neither camp. That heavy obligatory giving message is on both sides with different emphasis. And while the Methodism might seem the more holy of the two…. I think they both miss the mark. And that is how I live, understanding the message of both, but giving my life to another focus.

I don’t know much about Joel Osteen, but I do know alot about the Prosperity message. I synthesized through it. Don’t like that thought? Ok. Here is me: from an early age I have learned to like giving and I have the tendency to be quite literalist. Because I acted out on teachings of Jesus to give to everyone who asks, etc. I have learned alot of ‘giving lessons’ along the way. When first confronted with prosperity teaching I was pretty strapped financially, and it went against all my previous teaching …more along Wesley’s lines. But I tried out some of the Prosperity teaching and I worked through what the abuses were and what the Word of God says on it. I came out on the other side with a definite ‘giving ‘ gift in my life. I love to have enough to give… if I don’t have enough, I scrounge together to give “out of my need” . I have seen wonderful things from God because of this. And if you don’t like the present teachings, I don’t blame you, but read the life George Mueller, read Basilea Schlink1 .

Sit neither in the seat of the scornful nor the arrogant… move on into the joy of giving and the blessing of compassion.

I found out God does want to bless us. And I found out lots of other things, but where I am now on ‘money’ and ‘giving’ and ‘prosperity’ is that what God wants most from us is to conform and grow into the image of Christ. That means that compassion is to be a characteristic that is both large and overarching in our experience. I believe that God blesses some of us with ability to make money and to give wisely, but this giving is to arise from the type of compassion that is evident in Christ’s character, neither self-serving nor ascetic. Compassion, … think about it.

There is so much that could be said in rounding out this attitude and focus I now have, but I just wanted to post a short thought on it. Consider this yourself when you hear strong opinions on either side …start being more risky in the amounts you give, not only financially, but personally. I cannot believe that God desires for those who follow His direction to give to end up spent and ruined- this would be so contrary to His revealed character. The Bible also has teachings of how God replenishes and restores, the law has within it promises of return and how God’s Ways tend toward life and prosperity. Yes, there are times you are taken advantage of when giving, but you will learn how to give with wisdom and efficacy and you will also harvest something surprising: the great joy that rewards the giver.

Perhaps that is something that God most wants us to understand about Him: how much it rejoices His heart to give. It isn’t the entirety of His revelation, but it is a part that somehow gets very misunderstood.

I would strongly suggest that the purpose of prosperity is that we may exercise compassion, and that involves “reaching out the hand to the needy”. But we aren’t dead or “bad” when we don’t hand over everything at all times… this wasn’t required either in the Old Covenant or in the New. We have freedom to give abundantly because we have been given an abundant life in Christ.

There are many types of prosperity and all may be utilized for service to God and to mankind. The thing is, God doesn’t approve of muzzling the ox so that he just works and never has the ability to eat some of the provender. It is not a good balance to try to make people feel guilty for times of enjoying life or thankfully living with plenty. The balance is gratefulness with responsibility. We are our brother’s keeper, but that has boundaries. Learning to give, showing compassion … these things teach us to keep our balance. And such balance and moderation in all things is good.

1Quicklinks( I include links to books on them-risking accusation of commercialism!):
My All for HimGeorge Muller: Man of Faith (Heroes of the Faith)