Monday, October 21, 2013

Not so strange fire

There is a fresh debate about the Holy Spirit raging on-line. To be honest it's rather got the 'been there done that' about it. It is the old 'Do we think God does what he did in Acts and are the gifts for today?' discussion and this remains very divisive in evangelicalism both in the UK and across the water. Well known conservative Bible teacher John MacArthur has organised a conference that has got many people hot under the collar. To be frank, it's not frightfully helpful and he seems the think that himself and about three other people in the world are Christians. None of these other three nor he obviously speak in tongues :)

So what's the debate about? Adrian Warnock (worth reading all four of the posts) can fill you in.

So how should we respond?

Terry Virgo, speaking here, has some very helpful things to say about the bringing together of both Word and Spirit.  He, like myself, has found MLJ to be the voice of reason on many theological matters including this one. For any who have read the Murray biographies, especially the second one, this was all thrashed though in the times of Charismatic renewal in the '60's and '70's.

Why comment on this and not ignore it all?

Well, firstly and factually I think MacArthur is wrong on some things and he is accusing many godly and grace exuding Jesus-loving folk of not being Christians (on reading his transcript this seems to also include me apparently). Tim Challies has some interesting reflections having actually attended this conference and thereby is in some position to report a few facts.

Secondly, I think this a 'work it for good' opportunity to point people to material that can help them think through these important theological issues. My dear pal Simon has spent much of his life thinking, preaching and writing about the Holy Spirit and if I could put a couple of books in people's hands in the midst of this debate they would be God inside out and More.

If any of my readers know Tim Challies do ask him to review 'More' and 'God inside out'. It might be timely.

I would also point you to a couple of talks on the work of the Spirit one by Ellie Mumford (Vineyard UK) and the other by Mark Driscoll (A29).

It's always good at times like these to do three things.

1. Pick up your Bible
2. Pray
3. Find wise people from the past and present who can help, inform and teach you.

If this prompts you to buy 'More', to grab a pen and to do some study on the person and work of the Holy Spirit then that would be great.

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