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August 12, 2013


A Cessationist’s Affirmations

This from an excellent article by Frank Turk of the Pyromaniacs on charismatic excesses. Well worth taking the time to read through and consider. What I like so much about it is that it draws the right balance - it does not deny God’s ability to act in miraculous ways but correctly challenges the claims of many in the charismatic community that these things (not to mention the loony stuff) are necessary and required.

See what you think,

I affirm that Reformation theology requires the personal action of God the Holy Spirit for the life of the Church.

I deny that this work necessarily includes speaking in tongues (as in Acts 2 as well as in so-called “private prayer languages”), healing the sick or raising the dead by explicit command, prophecy in the sense that Isaiah and John the Baptist were prophets, or any other “sign-and-wonder”-like exhibition. That is: I deny that these actions are necessary for the post-apostolic church to function as God intended.

—-

I affirm that miracles happen today. No sense in prayer and believing in a sovereign God if he’s not going to ever be sovereign, right?

I deny that there is any man alive today who is gifted to perform miracles as Christ and the Apostles where gifted to perform miracles.

—-

I affirm that God is utterly capable of, and completely willing, to demonstrate “signs and wonders” at any time, in any place, according to his good pleasure and for his great purpose.

I deny that this activity is common, normative, necessary, nor is it in the best interest of God’s people to been seen as common, normative and/or necessary. God in fact warns us against seeking signs rather than the thing signified repeatedly in the OT and NT.

—-

I affirm the real presence of the Holy Spirit in the church of Jesus Christ as Jesus said He would be present in John 13-15.

I deny that this means that all believers or even all local churches will be equipped with apostles called and equipped as the 12 and Paul were called and equipped. A telling example is the role of apostles in delivering Scripture to the church.

—-

I affirm that the normative working of the Holy Spirit in the life of the church begins with conviction of sin and regeneration, and continues through sanctification, and through the outworking of personal gifts (e.g. - Gal 5:22-231 Cor 13:4-7) for the edification of the (local) church.

I deny that explicitly-supernatural outworkings, or events the Bible calls “signs and wonders” (e.g. - Acts 2:1-11Acts 3:3-7,Acts 5:1-11Acts 9:32-35, etc.) are either normative or necessary for the on-going life of the church.

—-

I affirm the uniqueness of the office of apostle in the founding of the church.

I deny the necessity of apostles for the on-going life of the church.

—-

I affirm that leadership in the church is a task wholly-empowered by the Holy Spirit to men meeting the scriptural qualifications, and that the objectives of this leadership are wholly-defined by the Holy Spirit explicitly through Scripture and implicitly as the gifts of leaders are applied to a real people in a local church.

I deny that church leadership is like business leadership—that is, a system of techniques that have outcomes measurable by secular metrics of success—and further deny that merely-competent management processes yield the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Like I said, quite a list. As you chew on it do consider Turk’s next paragraph with my own emphasis added:

If in that you can find me somehow relegating the Holy Spirit to something other than what the Bible says He does to us and through us and for us, then you can lay on with the side-eye regarding whether or not I think God the Spirit is necessary for the church.

Spot on.

And now only one thing to add; my own personal response any time someone tells me I have the wrong priorities vis-a-vis that boring old teaching people the Bible stuff against all the wackadoodle (yes I did just use that word) things they claim are essential:

The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

(Luke 10:17–20)

Now that’s the right priority.


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38 comments

Frank Turk seems unnecessarily cynical regarding charismatic phenomena.  But, then, perhaps he spends more time around the “looney stuff” than I do.  One thing I have appreciated about the charismatic Anglicans I have known was that they didn’t run around grabbing people by the lapels asking if they had spoken in tongues yet, they are merely people who believe that the Holy Spirit is still active in the Church today, that none of the gifts mentioned in the New Testament had ceased, and that God can, if he sovereignly chooses, still confer those same gifts today (and sometimes does). 

Strictly speaking, Turk is not a cessationist either.  In fact, it is confusing for him to call his affirmations “cessationist.”  He affirms “that miracles happen today,” and “that God is utterly capable of, and completely willing, to demonstrate ‘signs and wonders’ at any time, in any place, according to his good pleasure and for his great purpose.”  It is just that Turk seems very skeptical about whether most of what we are seeing today is genuine, and that is a different matter.

John MacArthur, on the other hand, is a hardcore, dispensational cessationist.  He and others who hold that position believe that signs and wonders, and certain spiritual gifts were only given during an apostolic age and ceased at the end of that age and do not happen today—no, not ever, zip, nada. 

MacArthur lives in Southern California, just down the road from the Trinity Broadcasting Network folks, and has probably seen more than his fair share of charismatic charlatans.  But the abuses of some so-called charismatics, on the one hand, does not guarantee the validity of the cessationist position on the other. 

It seems to me that our criteria should be (1) biblical interpretation and (2) the genuineness of the phenomena.  Do we understand the New Testament to say that these gifts ceased at the end of an apostolic age (as MacArthur believes), or is there a possibility that God could give these gifts at any point in the life of the Church?  And are the phenomena that we are seeing genuine or are they the product of fakery or emotional manipulation?

[1] Posted by ToAllTheWorld on 8-13-2013 at 12:51 AM · [top]

The charismatic movement within the traditional church has been a blessing to many. The Pope recently talked about the movement within the church in South America. The article sets up as a comparison an extreme pentecostal view which is rejected by most charismatics. This does not validate cessationalism which gives God a little lee way.

[2] Posted by Pb on 8-13-2013 at 08:35 AM · [top]

I confess that I don’t know who Frank Turk is, but after reading this I do suggest he may want to visit how the Spirit is moving on what I will call non-Western parts of the world before being so secure in these conclusions.

[3] Posted by ADaniel on 8-13-2013 at 09:15 AM · [top]

ADaniel—how do you know that Frank Turk has not visited non-Western churches? 

And which conclusions listed above would he then denounce, were he to visit non-Western churches where “the Spirit is moving” [I assume by that phrase you mean “where sign-and-wonder” type gifts are being exhibited].

[4] Posted by Sarah on 8-13-2013 at 09:32 AM · [top]

I have a friend who is a missionary bishop in the high desert of Peru. He travels many miles in a pick up truck over bad roads to visit small congregations. He and his team proclaim the gospel and pray for the sick who are brought to them. They have seen healings where there is no medical care. Is this the ministry of Jesus or a counterfeit/ forbidden practice of signs and wonders? The answer divides Christianity and this blog.

[5] Posted by Pb on 8-13-2013 at 10:14 AM · [top]

Sarah, I don’t know that he hasn’t, he may have.  I only know from hearing from missionaries to Africa, the Middle East and other places that these miracles, healings, and manifestations of the Spirit play a larger role in conversion than they do in the West.  I simply found his statements seemingly to fit a Western perspective on Christianity more so than a non-Western.  Although, it might be further worth noting that Christianity does not seem to to be flourishing and growing in the West as well as in the non-West either.  Could this be due to a lack of reliance and calling upon the Spirit for a little more charismatic action?

He seems to be saying that these charismatic things are real, but not needed.  I’m not so sure I can agree with that.

[6] Posted by ADaniel on 8-13-2013 at 10:26 AM · [top]

RE: “Is this the ministry of Jesus or a counterfeit/ forbidden practice of signs and wonders? The answer divides Christianity and this blog.”

I’m not certain how the answer—if, for example, it is asserted as “the ministry of Jesus”—divides this blog at all.

In what way would what Frank Turk says above or what Matt has said in the past in any way assert that such healings would not be a ministry of Jesus?

[7] Posted by Sarah on 8-13-2013 at 10:45 AM · [top]

Hi ADaniel—he seems to be very precise in his language.

He does not say that miracles are “not needed.” He says that he denies “that these actions are necessary for the post-apostolic church to function as God intended.”

That’s a very different and very precise way of putting it.

RE: “Although, it might be further worth noting that Christianity does not seem to to be flourishing and growing in the West as well as in the non-West either.  Could this be due to a lack of reliance and calling upon the Spirit for a little more charismatic action?”

Okay—this is probably where we actually disagree.  The church in the West is failing dramatically—and I don’t think it has a hill of beans to do with not having “a little more charismatic action”—in fact I think where the church in the West has a lot of “charismatic action” has a lot to do with one reason why the church in the West is failing so much! 

Seeking “a little more charismatic action” is the very last thing we need to be pursuing in the West.  We need to be pursuing Biblical knowledge, disciplined thoughtful systematic discipleship, love for and commitment to Jesus, and a whole bunch of character traits involving mature adult behavior long loooooooonnngggggg before we pursue “a little more charismatic action.”

[8] Posted by Sarah on 8-13-2013 at 10:52 AM · [top]

With all due respect, I have yet to find any Bible verses which definitively state that the gifts of the Holy Spirit, including signs and wonders, would cease with the end of the apostolic age or the canonization of Scripture.

Have there been abuses in the charismatic movement? Definitely, and I’ve seen and experienced some of them. I’ve also seen and experienced many manifestations which demonstrate to me that the gifts of the Holy Spirit, including signs and wonders, are still active today.

Is cessationist theology free of its own share of excesses? No. The authoritarian, control-oriented style of church governance demonstrated in the heyday of the Shepherding Movement can be seen today in too many churches associated with the “Young, Restless and Reformed” movement, which typically embraces cessationist doctrine.

[9] Posted by the virginian on 8-13-2013 at 11:01 AM · [top]

One more thought: being thoroughly grounded in the Scriptures and submitting one’s life to the cleansing and refining fire of the Holy Spirit, manifesting the fruit of repentance, is important before engaging in any sort of ministry involving gifts of the Holy Spirit, including signs and wonders.

[10] Posted by the virginian on 8-13-2013 at 11:07 AM · [top]

Thirty years or more ago, an Episcopal priest were asked if his parish was “charismatic”, to which he answered “The Church of Jesus Christ is always charismatic.  The years have convinced me more and more that he was right. Sometimes you can sit with folks you would never identify as “charismatic” and hear tales of God active in their lives. Miraculous protection, interventions, guidance, healings.

And that makes sense if God is truly with us. If he is the deistic watchmaker, then we are prisoners of nature and her laws. If God is the Father who called the Hebrews and in the fullness of time sent his Son to save us, then we are prisoners of his love. Law is predictable and fixed. Love, not so much. From love, I would expect miracles, healings, and so on. I don’t expect I would always recognize them as such, but I have a rather broad view of these things: a healing is a healing whether accomplished by prayer or medical science. A “miracle of timing” is a miracle as much as an event that defies natural explanation.

Roman Catholics are having a bit of fun with a priest who showed up at a serious accident, administered the sacraments, then disappeared. Well, he eventually came forward and identified himself, but there was fun to be had in the speculations.  grin  And his being there at the right time and getting through the police are, to me, just as miraculous as if he were St. Padre Pio showing up on special assignment. What matters is that the critically injured man recovered after being expected to die? Miraculous? Who knows.  But this old hymn applies: All good gifts around us, are sent from heaven above. So thank the Lord, thank the Lord for all His love.

[11] Posted by Words Matter on 8-13-2013 at 11:54 AM · [top]

RE: “With all due respect, I have yet to find any Bible verses which definitively state that the gifts of the Holy Spirit, including signs and wonders, would cease with the end of the apostolic age or the canonization of Scripture.”

I agree—but I don’t see anywhere in Frank Turk’s essay that he asserts that.

[12] Posted by Sarah on 8-13-2013 at 12:27 PM · [top]

I agree with ToAllTheWorld, Turk is not, strictly speaking, a cessationist.

One of the earliest debates on this subject since the beginning of modern Pentecost was the the McPherson-Bogard debate between Aimee Semple-McPherson (who founded the Foursquare church, of which Church on the Way is a part) and the Baptist Ben Bogard.  Bogard was a true cessationist, as the main point he was affirming was the following:

Miracles and Divine healing, as taught and manifested in the Word of God, ceased with the closing of the Apostolic Age.

That didn’t stop one of my commenters from coming back with the following:

ABA Baptists certainly DO believe in the healing power of God, but not the glorification of His servants…Baptists…have no logical reason to compromise with latter-day sensationalists who demand signs from God instead of standing on faith.

But what’s the issue here—theology or methodology?

I don’t think that either the Scriptures or the history of the church support the idea that miracles ceased with the Apostles.

[13] Posted by vulcanhammer on 8-13-2013 at 12:45 PM · [top]

I’m not sure anyone truly believes that God’s invovlement in the universe ceased with the Apostles, or that the Holy Spirit is no longer in the Church.

I think what people disagree with is just what that means, especially with regards to the claims by a relatively novel movement (not even two centuries old) to doctrines such as “second work of grace after conversion”, “baptism in the Holy Spirit” being used in the manner meant by the Pentacostals rather than the more traditional Catholic or Reformed understandings (not the same of course) of the role of the Holy Spirit in baptism, and claimed miracles such as glossolalia and on demand faith healing.

[14] Posted by AndrewA on 8-13-2013 at 01:31 PM · [top]

Sarah, yes you are correct that he uses different words than I did and his word “necessary” conveys a different meaning than my “needed.”  I would tend to disagree with him in either phrasing.  I think God’s intent and desire is to change people’s lives and introduce them to a world beyond this one, and that in the here and now, not just the future.  Events and experiences beyond the science and explanations of this physical world are part of that.

I whole heartedly agree with you on this statement: “We need to be pursuing Biblical knowledge, disciplined thoughtful systematic discipleship, love for and commitment to Jesus, and a whole bunch of character traits involving mature adult behavior” but from this point on you display a rather negative view and conclusion that appears to cover all charismatic behavior.  Further this view seems to have been arrived at based on only a portion of what we might call the charismatic community.  Those who are charismatic and open to the gifts of the Holy Spirit go way beyond that small portion you see as damaging.  And, although I agree with you about that portion of the community, that’s no reason to dismiss or hold a negative view of the whole idea or phenomenon.

[15] Posted by ADaniel on 8-13-2013 at 01:32 PM · [top]

David du Plessis once said that the question is not whether you have the Holy Spirit but it is whether the Holy Spirit has you.  Many folks who are open to the gifts of the Spirit are those who have prayerfully asked that the Holy Spirit be active in their lives and have seen that prayer answered. Is this really surprising?  “How much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”

[16] Posted by Pb on 8-13-2013 at 02:24 PM · [top]

I affirm that the normative working of the Holy Spirit in the life of the church begins with conviction of sin and regeneration, and continues through sanctification, and through the outworking of personal gifts (e.g. - Gal 5:22-23, 1 Cor 13:4-7) for the edification of the (local) church.

I deny that explicitly-supernatural outworkings, or events the Bible calls “signs and wonders” (e.g. - Acts 2:1-11, Acts 3:3-7,Acts 5:1-11, Acts 9:32-35, etc.) are either normative or necessary for the on-going life of the church.

This seems to be a contradiction. He says that the “outworking of personal gifts” continues, but then he denies that “signs and wonders” are normative for the church. Yet, two of the spiritual gifts given for the edification of the church are the gifts of faith and the gift of working miracles????????

And then I revisited the Scriptures he posted for “personal gifts” (Gal 5 and 1 Cor. 13) and noticed that those passages deal with spiritual fruit. When Paul talks about gifts being given for edification of the church, he discusses gifts such as the utterance of wisdom, the utterance of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, the working of miracles, prophecy, the ability to distinguish between spirits, various kinds of tongues, and the interpretation of tongues (see 1 Corinthians 12:-9). It is these gifts that Paul said “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Cor. 12:7). And it is specifically in reference to the gift of prophecy that Paul said “he that prophesieth edifieth the church” (1 Cor. 14:4).

Fruit of the Spirit is evidence that we are being changed into the image of Christ. It is evidence that we are growing in grace and holiness. But the Fruit of the Spirit will not “build up the church.” The gifts of the Spirit empower us to build up the church for the common good. In that sense, “signs and wonders” are indeed normative. We need the “manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” That isn’t optional.

[17] Posted by ltwin on 8-13-2013 at 02:36 PM · [top]

Still on vacation recovery…but I so agree with Sarah on this thread and I think Frank Turk has the right of it.

[18] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 8-13-2013 at 03:07 PM · [top]

I heard J I Packer and Sinclair Ferguson say almost the exact same things at a Presbyterian Bible conference in Pensacola in the late 80s.

They are not cessationists, and neither is Frank Turk.

(I pretty much hold to Turk’s positions, not that anyone cares.)

[19] Posted by James Manley on 8-13-2013 at 03:44 PM · [top]

The “I affirm” and “I deny” format really turns me off because it is so dogmatic and leaves no room for respectful discussion with Charismatics or other Christians who may take exception to some of his denials.
After reading this I found myself wanting to defend Charismatic friends who I have never agreed with but still respect.

[20] Posted by Betty See on 8-13-2013 at 08:29 PM · [top]

Hmmm . . .

I dunno—I think the clarity of his beliefs as he’s articulated them actually allows some discussion.  It helps Charismatics and other Christians to be clear about where the differences are so that they can then attack those differences and argue against them and point out where he’s wrong!

And you know . . . there are some charismatics who could actually agree with most of what he said.

I could take his essay and my charismatic friends and I could discuss it and come up with far more precise and *narrower* areas of disagreement—rather than the broader ones like “hey sounds like you don’t believe in the Holy Spirit” stuff.

[21] Posted by Sarah on 8-13-2013 at 09:18 PM · [top]

1.  The mainline protestant denominations are withering.  The Pope says “who am I to judge”.  50 years of easy divorce have decimated marriage and children.  40 years of unrestrained bathhouse sodomy post-Stonewall has generated an army of demons and caused the dormant beast of homosexuality to re-surface and obliterate rationality.  In the face of that, I, for one, am not worried about Christians who speak in tongues.  I’d rather have them too hot than lukewarm.

2.  The sending of the Holy Spirit, which followed Jesus’s death, resurrection, and ascension, distributes among the Body of Christ the gifts of the Spirit, demonstrates to skeptics the supernatural reality of God, and gives Christians the power to free people from demons and from curses.  I hope Mr. Turk is not asking Christians to give up any of that.

3.  Mr. Turk also says in his article that “charismatic” “views are deeply wrapped up in Prosperity preaching and Word of Faith”.  Perhaps in his experience, but not in mine.

Mark Adams Brown
San Angelo, Texas
August 13, 2013

[22] Posted by MarkABrown on 8-13-2013 at 11:21 PM · [top]

RE: Mark A. Brown

3. If you know the charismatics from north Texas, yes, there is s lot of prosperity gospel.  70s charismatic teaching from the Gulf Coast and central Texas focused on discipleship and beating your cross.

1. Check the context of what the pope said. He reiterated Catholic teaching that the orientation is not a sin. If a same-sex attracted person repents of their sins (homosexual acts) and seeks the Lord, who, indeed, is to judge? Of which of us might not that be said?

[23] Posted by Words Matter on 8-13-2013 at 11:37 PM · [top]

Bearing, but beating, though I’ve done a bit of cross beating in my time.

[24] Posted by Words Matter on 8-13-2013 at 11:38 PM · [top]

Where this long standing dialogue goes astray is that there are no real issues regarding salvation. Any attempt to connect charismata to salvation is misguided or any insuation that there are two classes of Christians may be taughtin some places. I have never heard this taught but have read much about it from opponents of the renewal. The difference is what is Christian ministry and who does it. This is almost never discussed.  Turk and I may agree on ministry but I doubt it. We agree on salvation.

[25] Posted by Pb on 8-14-2013 at 08:58 AM · [top]

Sarah, post 21,
Perhaps this could be a way of opening a discussion with Charismatics but it would start the discussion off from an adversarial point of view. The “I affirm” and “I deny” format seems to infer some claim to authority that I am not willing to recognize and I doubt that Charismatics would feel that they are on a level playing field in such a discussion.
Christians are subjected to so much ridicule in this world that we would be better off if we focused on that which we have in common, the timeless advice of Scripture.

I Corinthians 12: 4-7
4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit;
5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord;
6 and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one.
7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

[26] Posted by Betty See on 8-14-2013 at 12:11 PM · [top]

RE: “Christians are subjected to so much ridicule in this world that we would be better off if we focused on that which we have in common . . . “

I’m just not certain I can agree with that.  Part of the reason why we call ourselves “Anglicans” and not “Baptists” or “Methodists” or “Calvinists” or “Arminians” [though of course, many of us are one or the other of the two latter] or “Anabaptists” is precisely because we are Anglicans—which is *different* from “Methodists”—or “Anabaptists” or “free-churchers.”  “Anglicans” are defined by various beliefs and various non-beliefs that make us *different from* other categories of Christians.

That doesn’t mean we are “better than” them.  It means that we are *different* and it acknowledges the truth of something—which is that our identity as Anglicans does *not* hold “in common” certain beliefs and values from other groups of Christians.  We are different . . . just as Methodists and Presbyterians are different.

The fact is that the vast vast majority of charismatics have a foundational worldview grounded in experience and feelings as a form of discovery of truth.  I’m not saying that is wicked or immoral or even “non-Christian.”  But basing a search for truth on experience is definitely different from the Anglican way of identifying, articulating, arguing for, and promoting the Christian Gospel.  And, in my opinion, basing a search for truth on experience and feelings is, by and large, deeply damaging to Christian discipleship and growth—whether it’s from the liberal revisionist perspective or the conservative charismatic perspective—and it has done massive damage to Christianity at least in the Western world, though such a worldview is quite attractive to many secular populists in the US at least.

Please note—I’m not saying that every single person who has witnessed a miraculous healing would even call themselves “charismatic.”  But to deny that charismatics the world over offer up as a part of their distinctives and identity an experience-based, feeling-based vision of truth-discovery is just . . . well, it’s evidence to me that not many Anglicans have really listened and hung out with all that many charismatics.

I’d also like to add this.

I myself have experienced some extraordinary events in my spiritual life—events that would make the average charismatic feel warm and happy inside and that would make the average evangelical feel a little . . . just a touch . . . nervous.

But I’m not a charismatic.  I don’t speak in tongues, nor do I wish to, nor do I even think that the private prayer language that some charismatics use is even the gift of tongues as identified in Scripture.

My bet is that Matt would say the same thing—that he also has experienced some extraordinary events in his spiritual life that would be quite inspiring and amazing.  [I don’t know about Sydney Australians, so I can’t comment about David Ould.]

The Holy Spirit has demonstrated His activity in my life in spades.

But despite that—I am not a charismatic at all, in the current sense of the word. And in part that is because, like it or not, charismatics have defined themselves as experiential and emotive, rather than reasoned or disciplined.  That doesn’t mean that every single person who would describe him or herself as “charismatic” is also not reasoned or disciplined.  But the group as a whole has been very clearly and well-defined.  And denying that this is so and acting as if there is “no problem” just means that nobody will ever talk about what people actually think and believe!  I think that’s unhealthy and drives the *actual divide* among various groups of Christians underground, where it does far more damage than actually talking about it out loud and attempting to more narrowly and singularly define the actual, real-life, bona-fide differences.

[27] Posted by Sarah on 8-14-2013 at 12:55 PM · [top]

WordsMatter -

Thanks for your comment in post #23.  You ask:  “If a same-sex attracted person repents of their sins (homosexual acts) and seeks the Lord, who, indeed, is to judge?” 

I dearly wish Pope Francis had used your language.  “Sin” and “repent” are bright lines.

The Pope’s reported language: “If they accept the Lord and have goodwill…” is dangerously vague in an area where every nuance is seized upon to justify unrepentant, sinful behavior.

As far as judging, aren’t Christians in a community expected to judge one another?  I think Pope Francis was speaking of whether to judge members of his Vatican community.   


Mark Adams Brown
San Angelo, Texas
August 14, 2013

[28] Posted by MarkABrown on 8-14-2013 at 01:05 PM · [top]

Mr. Brown -

We are quoting from different parts of the same paragraph. Actually I paraphrased from this:

But if a person, lay or priest or Sister, has committed a sin and then has converted, the Lord forgives, and when the Lord forgives, the Lord forgets and this is important for our life

The larger context is that of Msgr. Ricca, who Pope Francis has appointed to oversee the Vatican Bank reform. Ricca is accused of having an active homosexual life in South American 10+ years ago, NOT involving minors. The context is also about the “gay lobby” purported to be active in the Vatican. “Lobby” is a translation of a word more accurately translated as “clique” or “faction”. He has this to say about lobbys:

The problem isn’t having this [gay}tendency, no. We must be brothers, because this is one, but there are others, others. The problem is the lobbying of this tendency: lobby of the avaricious, lobby of politicians, lobby of Masons, so many lobbies. This, for me, is the more serious problem. And I thank you.

What he seems to be saying is that Msgr. Ricca is not part of this clique infesting the Vatican, which is the real problem. It’s rather like we might want to affirm same-sex attracted Christians in their faithfulness, and even live at peace with those who chose to live otherwise. It is the gay rights advocates - or “lobby” - which we must not accept.

I do agree that the press has taken Pope Francis out of context, but the press is, as always, on a crusade. Here is a translation of the pope’s comments. The relevant passage is at the end.

http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/francis-press-conference-on-return-flight-from-brazil-part-2

[29] Posted by Words Matter on 8-14-2013 at 01:34 PM · [top]

It should be noted that the Catholic blogoshere has been ablaze over the pope’s comments. Mark Brown, you are in good company. 

grin

[30] Posted by Words Matter on 8-14-2013 at 01:37 PM · [top]

George Carey, whose evotive and experiential beliefs disqualify him as an Anglican, tells the story of an inscription on a church graveyard tombstone. “He served as vicar in this place for 28 years without enthusiasm.” You cannot get more Anglican than that.

[31] Posted by Pb on 8-14-2013 at 03:08 PM · [top]

RE: “whose evotive [sic] and experiential beliefs disqualify him as an Anglican” . . .

Really? Carey has “a foundational worldview grounded in experience and feelings as a form of discovery of truth” and bases “a search for truth on experience”?

Apparently, not only do those who identify themselves as the modern-day version of “charismatics” attempt to seek truth based on their experiences and emotions . . . but some of them also have difficulties in precision-of-words-and-ideas.  ; > )

[32] Posted by Sarah on 8-14-2013 at 03:28 PM · [top]

Hey, I never said I could type and I have never experienced emoting. Therefore I know nothing about it since this is my sole source of knowledge.  Carey’s story is that he is one of those. :>)

[33] Posted by Pb on 8-14-2013 at 04:13 PM · [top]

RE: “I never said I could type” . . .

Or accurately quote either, apparently.

[34] Posted by Sarah on 8-14-2013 at 04:45 PM · [top]

Sarah, I admit I have not “hung out” with “all that many charismatics” and accept that they identify with “an experience-based, feeling-based vision of truth-discovery” but as long as they are faithful to Scripture I see no problem if they experience Christianity in their own way.   
I do not feel comfortable experiencing religion in that way but I have managed to remain friends with charismatics even when I have refused their invitations to church meetings or Bible studies, after all, I can withstand a little proselytizing without falling apart and I do not believe that my religious identity will be damaged should any of them persuade me to come around to their point of view.

[35] Posted by Betty See on 8-14-2013 at 10:57 PM · [top]

I haven’t posted anything here in a long while and haven’t visited the site much recently because of other commitments. As a “re-asserter,” I do appreciate the commentary here for the most part. Due to time constraints, I can’t respond to specific posts at this point, but I hate to see this thread drop from sight. Perhaps after this week is over, I can engage more completely, if anyone cares to dialogue.

I received the fullness of the Spirit…in the same manner that Dennis Bennett describes it in the book, Holy Spirit and You. This extraordinary blessing occurred in May 1975 when in the company of around 8,000 people in a huge stadium in Grand Rapids Michigan, Rita Bennett gently placed her hand on my forehead and prayed that the Spirit be further manifest in my life.

In the nearly forty years since, I have participated in numerous Christian Healing Ministry seminars (Dr. Francis and Judith MacNutt) and probably six with Leanne Payne’s ministry…a total of nearly 30 all told.  I have seen “signs and wonders” aplenty and expect to see even more in the months to come. I am convinced we are on the verge of Renewal and Revival. I have a sense we will soon see more in the Episcopal Diocese of Albany (I was there in June.)

Many of us are NOT overly emotive or anything of the like AND I dare say most of us are students of the Bible and as such extol repentance, salvation, selflessness, sanctification, etc. - as one or two of you have acknowledged. Living with expectation of the manifest presence of God increases the likelihood of a goodly harvest once those seeds have been planted in that fertile soil…watered and tended.

Isn’t it the reality of PRACTICING THE PRESENCE of our Mighty God?

A priest (whom I won’t identify w/o his permission) who used to post here (and, if memory serves me, is held in high esteem among you) commends this book:

Untamed Christian - Unleashed Church
The Extravagance of the Holy Spirit in Life and Ministry by Terry Wardle

His wife - also a priest - said that this book is the best one she’s read on the Holy Spirit. They have a good sample that you can read at Amazon. 

I attended a seminar at Ashland Seminary several years ago where Dr. Wardle was a presenter…powerful! As food for thought, I just want to share a bit of what he said a few months ago on his blog:

PRESENCE ...  http://terrywardle.com/blog/2012/10/25/presence

“Preaching a series of sermons on the Holy Spirit… [I] asked what it would take for the un-taming of the church. That’s right. Un-taming. In far too many ways in far too many places, the church is tame. It frightens no one and at times even works to that end. People approach, enter, experience, and leave the gathering of Christ’s people in a cavalier fashion. As if it is no big deal. And beyond that, they seldom if ever anticipate that things there will be in the category of the “amazing.”

Jesus touching people with the power of the Kingdom kind of amazing.

The society in which we live is not tame. Nor is the unseen force of darkness that seeks to steal, kill and destroy. Beneath the surface of even the most civilized community lies tremendous brokenness and pain. People of every race, age, gender, economic level, and religious disposition are impacted by forces, either subtle or overt, bent on misery and death.

Tame churches will never impact an un-tame world. The church can try to look nice, talk nice, even be nice all it wants. But to bring change and transformation, there must be far more than good lighting, flashy presentations, and interesting film clips. There must be a power that is good, yet far from tame. A power that attracts the people of God yet frightens them at the same time. A power that is mysterious, magical, wonderful, and amazing. A power that is holy in the truest sense of that word. That inspires awe, and transforms anyone and everyone that comes under its presence.

Presence. That’s the word isn’t it? Presence.”

[36] Posted by merlenacushing on 8-14-2013 at 11:49 PM · [top]

Betty See -

Your comment touched me, mostly because I’ve been reading comments by atheists and gay rights advocates whose response to disagreement is to rant and rave that the Constitution protects them from other people “imposing” religion on them. By imposing, they mean, of course, articulating a reasoned disagreement. I told one to quit whining and grow up.

I don’t mean to sound presumptuous, but you seem like a real adult. Apparently,  you are able to recognize as Christian brothers and sisters souls with whom you disagree on some points. I salute you.

[37] Posted by Words Matter on 8-15-2013 at 09:27 PM · [top]

Words Matter, Thanks for your kind words, at 81 years of age I have to admit that I do qualify as an adult and memories of growing up in a small town where members of different denominations accepted each other as Christians and recognized Biblical principles (even if they did not always adhere to them) does influence what I have to say.

[38] Posted by Betty See on 8-16-2013 at 11:27 AM · [top]

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