Um, Phil...Could you help me with something? Please?I haven't spent a whole lot of time with Pentecostals or charismatics since the days of the Jesus People back in SoCal. In fact, when I had to spend a full week on that campus in Virginia Beach (you know the one) I had the willies almost all week. I'm trying to do better. I really am. John Armstrong is a big help to me and both of us are repudiating our old evil ways. But could you answer one question for me?I think Pat Robertson is one or you guys, isn't he? What is he doing? How can he say the things he says? Do I really have to extend my tolerance that far? Has he just lost his mind or don't I understand him?I'm counting on you, brother, to rein me in here. The force of the dark side, the Truly Reformed, is drawing me back....help me!Dave Moorhead
I'm no scholar on the matter, but I might be interested in joining you, since this is a subject that's been on my mind a bit lately (see http://raininggrace.blogspot.com - my "thinky" blog).I don't know if you're communicating with the synchro-bloggers by email or here, but just in case: mariekeluvsjesusAThotmailDOTcom
Dave,I can identify with you in a reverse manner. Telling you about that might help give perspective which balances out the emotions.I feel about John MacArthur like you do about Pat Robertson - note I'm not a Robertson disciple at all (but I am an unshakeable fan of Harald Bredesen who just passed away, and he was Pat's mentor.)I have a series of teachings from John MacArthur on 1 Corinthians, and another on the Gifts of the Spirit (from years back now.) These teachings are filled with aggressive ad hominem attacks. Being a Pentecostal and knowing some of the people he references, I know that his illustrations are exaggerated. In fact, he has exaggerated about individuals who don't need to be exaggerated about. Worse by far is Hank Hannegraaf who does not do his own work, but leaves it to the people working in his ministry. He has ruined the ministry of Walter Martin, and made his bucks at the expense of trashing the church - all under the guise of sound doctrine.Now here's my take on both sides. Robertson is an example of what MacArthur and Hannegraaf are doing from their Reformed postion. They are taking the strengths of their own faith, and turning them to weaknesses. MacArthur and Hannegraaf have taken the idea of sound doctrine and exaggerated it to make it a dividing line of dissension. Robertson has taken the supernatural concept of hearing, and experiencing God, and exaggerated it at times to make it appear as tomfoolery to people. Or so methinks.The weaknesses of every expression of faith show themselves through the silliness of people. I wonder how mine stick out? Knowing they do stick out, I guess I need to give these guys grace.Does that make sense?
Whew! The balance has returned! Thanks for that!I have tried to stop saying negative things about my brothers in Christ. We don't all agree on everything and that's ok with me. I know how many times I've been wrong and how many times I've had to go back and make things right. I don't like having to do that so I'm avoiding saying much these days.Neither MacArthur nor Hannegraaf represent my views or my position but I can see how people might think they do. Would you say the same about Robertson then?I'm far more "charismatic" than most of my friends and colleagues; simply by virtue of the fact that I am not a cessationist! I also believe God speaks to people directly in all kinds of ways. But I have always shied away from taking a "prophetic" stance on things to come. The OT warnings about false prophets echo in my ears. When Robertson makes his predictions in a "thus saith the Lord" voice I tremble. Then when he has to start making explanations for things that didn't happen I assume the safety position under my desk that you and I learned in SoCal in the 60s!By the way, when my non-Charismatic brothers make their outlandish statements I tremble just as much! I consider such statements to be an attack on the Bride of Christ and he doesn't take such things lightly!
Marieke,Good to have on board.\!
Robertson definitely does not represent my views. The swath of Pentecostal theoogy can be a broad one, and I am not typical I am sure. I guess I'm post-pentecostal, post-charismatic, post-evangelical, post-mildly Armenian (of course Armenius appears to be mild Armenian.) Who knows maybe I'm still pre-Christian. ;-)
"I have tried to stop saying negative things about my brothers in Christ."Dumb question, but why do you think they are christians? I ask because I get just a wee bit miffed when people who supposedly represent God can act like horse's butts and avoid critique because we somehow 'sin' when we call a spade a spade. When the pharisees who claimed to know God and his ways acted like horse's butts, Jesus called them exactly what they were and called to light exactly what they were doing.When Robertson spouts off, I feel no remorse calling a spade a spade. I can only judge the fruit of his words and actions, and it looks pretty rotten from my vantage point. That's not negativity, that's trying to speak sense. Certainly lines can be and are crossed all the time, and I do truly believe it is better to be kind than right. Perhaps I just don't get where the line is. Sometimes I just gotta say 'that ain't right'.
Roberstson is Southern Baptist technically.in reality he is nuts.good ole bible answer man isn't reformed btw.
Hey Cindy,I agree with spouting - when it is on the things Jesus would spout about. To me this usually means things that get in the way of people being able to come to God. i.e. Jesus response to Pharisaical legalismOne thing I try to take into account is that whenever I hear someone has said something, and I hear just a soundbite, it is highly likely that I did not receive the full context, and more than likely that the words were twisted just enoough to make bad press for the person. Whether it is MacArthur or Robertson. And quite frankly Pentecostals are going to get it worse - 1) they own the big TV shows, and 2) they are more flamboyant and easier to make fum of.
Pat was ordained Southern Baptist but is not affiliated with a group now. He speaks primarily for Pentecostals, Charismatics, and generically Evangelicals these days.The Bible Answer man was raised Reformed, and over many years has leaned that way numerous times, but does not seem to these days.
Cindy,You ask very perceptive questions. Hear my confession.For too many years I openly criticized people whom I knew to be brothers and sisters in Christ because they disagreed with me on some points of doctrine and practice. I was one of the horse's butts who knew he was in the right and everyone who disagreed was wrong. It was my responsibility to point out where they were wrong and prove they were wrong in such a way that they would change their minds and be right.I have been convicted by the Holy Spirit about my attitude. I believe I have taken part in splintering the Church rather than unifying and edifying it. I continually repent and seek to make restitution and reconciliation.I'm rather certain all the men who have been mentioned in these comments are genuine brothers in Christ. When I raised the question with Phil about Pat Robertson I was genuinely seeking information from someone I knew could help me understand. I did it in a kind of lighthearted way in the hope of avoiding hurting anybody's feelings.I'm afraid that if the only friends I had were people who agree with me on everything, John Armstrong and I might be the only ones standing together! (Even then, he's an Atlanta Braves fan and I'm a Dodgers fan!)
Dave,Thanks so much for your confession, and story here. To say that you and John Armstrong would be the only one's who would agree with each other is to say that you would be graceful to all people, so I'm happy with that.
Phil, Great point about sound bites. I've been trying really hard to avoid judgement when I don't have all the facts, which is, um, mostly never. :o) Pat Robertson is an enigma to me....I was raised with him sharing my living room each morning whilst my mother 'amened' everything he said. (BTW, nowdays she's a liberal UCC attender, and pretty much a universalist theologically. Quite a swing.) I suppose I've encountered too many outside my paradigm of christianity who either keep themselves out so as to not align themselves with the Pats of the evangelical world, or left because of them. I think many of these men (and women) put undue burdens on people, and make christians (and therefore Jesus) look like goofballs if not outright hypocritical money-changers.I would like to find a balance in understanding how to be gracious while still validating the idiocy of some of the behaviors the public observes in the media. Dave,Hey, man, from one post-horse's butt to another, I salute you! ('course I'm not sure I've fully arrived at the 'post-'...let's just say I'm 'emerging' *snicker*) I commend your efforts to avoid offending folks, and I was just picking abit under the surface. The reason I asked about why you thought they were christians is because that whole 'who's in and who's out' thing has been clanging around the innards of my grey matter for a few months now. I look at some of these men's actions and words, and see how they affect those within their circle and those without...and I wonder truly, who is following the narrow way? I'm sure they pray and read their bible, and I know they think they are RIGHT, but do they love their neighbor...that kind of thing. When someone carries the name of Christ, invokes that Name in the public square while prophesying all manner of things that breed hatred and fear among their followers towards those that share our planet but not our worldview....I don't know. I realize you are trying to be sensitive and guarded about when you critique, and you sound much further along the bumpy path than I. Your story gives me hope that other horse's butts will chill out and discover the greatest commandment again as you have. In fact, just today I had the pristine opportunity to offend and confront someone still living in my previous paradigm, and because I instead zipped my quivering lips (ah, the pain, the torture!), learned that she too is moving along in her understanding of how to love her neighbor. Thanks for your honesty.
Cindy, you said:"I would like to find a balance in understanding how to be gracious while still validating the idiocy of some of the behaviors the public observes in the media."Yep, that's the balance we are looking for.
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