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December 13, 2007

Charismatic Takeover???

For a long time now, there has been a controversy in the SBC over private prayer languages. It all started when the IMB trustees decided to not commission any missionaries who prayed in a "private prayer language," which they felt contradicted traditional Southern Baptist positions. More than a few SBC bloggers felt that the trustees had gone well beyond their role at the IMB, and it led to a LOT of blogging on the subject.

At the time, I was one of the people upset with the trustees. I really had more of a problem with the idea of "alien baptism" than with the prayer language issue -- I wasn't baptized in a Southern Baptist church (it was FAR more conservative than any SBC church I've ever been in, actually), and I really thought that the trustees were trying to pass judgment on the validity of someone's conversion. I didn't view private prayer language as a really serious issue in the SBC, and I really still don't.

I do, however, have a philosophical and theological problem with the modern charismatic movement. Their tendency to place priority on personal experience over Biblical truth concerns me greatly -- there is so much potential for drastic theological error in a system where there is no accountability. How can anyone pass judgment on the validity of someone else's experience if those experiences aren't subject to Scriptural standards? I'm not a hardcore advocate of the Regulatory Principle, but I think that Scripture has to be the norm in our worship and practice. If I'm doing something in worship that is not Scriptural, I expect that my fellow believers will rebuke me and let me know the problem. They can't do that if my experience is the ultimate point of reference for my own spiritual life.

There's a video circulating the blogosphere right now that really bothers me -- and I haven't even watched the whole thing yet. Dwight McKissic, Dwayne Miller, and Scott Camp were on TBN last night discussing this very topic.

What it seems to come down to is that the charismatic folks feel sorry for the SBC because we're not experiencing God fully. Because we don't accept new revelation from God that is outside of (and often contradictory of) Scripture. And the general tone of the folks involved (except for Dwight McKissic) was pretty derogatory toward those who are cessationists.

I tend to be more of a pragmatic cessationist. I've never had it happen to me, I'm not looking for it to happen to me, I recognize I have other spiritual gifts and God has not chosen to give me the gift of tongues. I evaluate occurrences of tongues based on the individual who is speaking -- based on the norms of Scripture.

What I've seen in Pensacola (the Brownsville "Revival", not the Christian College) is outside of the bounds of Scripture, and has served to heap scorn onto Christians because of the outlandish behavior that's being seen there. And that is what they want to bring into the SBC? If this is what the new reformation in the Convention is about, then we need a different kind of Reformation. The kind that's based on Scripture's clear teaching, and not the individual experiences of individuals.

Hat tip on this one goes to SBCToday.

Posted by Warren Kelly at December 13, 2007 05:52 PM | TrackBack
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