Wednesday, November 09, 2005


Just When I Thought It Quieted Down, It Got Hot

Rob Wilkerson over at "Miscellanies On The Gospel" had a very provocative piece yesterday on the reformed/charasmatic debate. Rob decries the apparent simple, and "arrogant" disregard that the cessasionists have, to his mind, for the charasmatics.
It has happened on both sides of this debate, and almost entirely from the reformed cessationists. There is this crazy concept constantly being propounded that since charismatics do crazy things like proclaiming prophecies that do not come true, (1) they are crazy bozos, (2) they are acting in an evil fashion, purposefully I might add; (3) the rest of their ministries and labors for the kingdom are discredited; (4) they are tacitly written off.

Brothers and sisters, this is flat out wrong, unbiblical, and is perhaps one of the poorest reflections of the gospel of Jesus Christ. One of the effects the gospel of Christ has on us is that it causes us, even compels us to maintain a high regard for others, despite their mistakes, sins, and crazy actions. The fact that a human Christian errs does not discredit everything else he does, says, or writes. If there's one glaring error in behavior among my cessationists friends it sort of hovers above this very thing on this very issue. A charismatic is a Christian too, one saved by the cross, one loved by Christ, one prayed for by Christ, one chosen by Christ, one baptized into Christ, and one put into ministry of any kind by Christ. Their error(s) no more discredit them than our daily sinfulness discredits the rest of our lives. We are looking at this whole thing from the back end. Consider two ways this is occurring.
There is never a reason dismiss another human on personal grounds, and arrogance is a problem. I understand Rob's concern here. One should always treat the other with dignity and respect. But there is one thing Rob said with which I have to take exception.
Second, the sins, errors, and mistakes of charismatics and charismaniacs [sic] are as much covered by the blood as are the sins, errors, and mistakes of reformed cessationists. A false prophecy is erroneous. Yet that doesn't make it inherently sinful (but even if it were sinful it is still forgivable, not falling under the 'unforgivable' sin).
Deut 5:11 - 'You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.
Note that this commandment cannot be forgiven - "the Lord will not leave him unpunished." From The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
VAIN - The adjective of "vanity," and representing the same Heb and Greek words as does the latter, with a few additions (chiefly kenos, "empty," and its compounds in the New Testament). And "vain" can always be replaced by its synonym "empty," often with advantage in modern English (, etc.). The exception is the phrase "in vain," and even there the interchange can be made if some (understood) noun such as "ways" be added. So "to take God's name in vain" means simply to take it for an "empty" ("not good") purpose.
Is not prophecy, in the apostolic sense, capsulized by the phrase "Thus sayeth the Lord?" Is not a false or inaccurate prophecy thus taking God's name for an empty purpose? What about healing? Would not offerring false hopepf healing in God's name also be using God's name for an empty purpose? Would not urging someone to avoid medical care unto death, on hope of a "holy" healing qualify as taking God's name in vain? It would seem that God will not leave a false or inaccurate prophecy, or a false healing, unpunished. Sounds reasonably like an unforgivable sin to me.

My point is this, arrogance is a sin. So to is treating another with less than adequate respect. But the sins of false prophet or healer, of those that would appropriate apostolic authority to themselves's, must be judged severely and decried loudly, they are an enormous danger to the church and they insult the name of God.
1 Cor 5:12 - For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within {the church}
We are in fact obligated to exercise judgment when it comes to those in the church. The Benny Hinns and Oral Roberts of the world have earned their condemnation. We are right to decry them for their misuse of God's name.

What I say here in no way subtracts from whatever good their ministries may have accomplished, but those same ministries have committed evil, and such must be named and such must be confronted. To do so arrogantly would be wrong, but to not do so at all would be far, far worse.


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