Understanding the New Calvinism: Charismatic Gifts

Read the series so far.

If there is one distinguishing mark that separates the New Calvinist from traditional Calvinists it would be the openness of the newer variety toward the charismatic gifts. While many, if not most, would not see themselves as charismatics in the conventional sense, they believe that all the gifts of the Holy Spirit are operational today, including the sign gifts such as miracles, tongues, interpretation of tongues, healings, and prophecy.

While most draw the line at apostleship, seeing it as an office reserved for a handful of appointed New Testament leaders who founded the church (Eph 2:20), strangely they see the gift of prophecy as still viable. Following the leadership of Wayne Grudem, in his landmark book, The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament Today, as well as his Systematic Theology, many have been convinced that New Testament era prophecy is not held to the same standards as Old Testament prophecies and prophets. Whereas Old Testament prophecy was to be without error, with the consequence of the execution of the prophet if one prophesied falsely (Deut 18:20-22), church age prophecies can often be a mixture of truth and error. Read more about Understanding the New Calvinism: Charismatic Gifts

Acceptable Worship - 1 Peter 2:4-10

This outline continues a series preached in 2002. For my own edification (and hopefully yours), I’ve restudied the passage and made some improvements to the outline.

Introduction

Worship has  been a controversial topic in recent years. In some ways, the degree of controversy is a good thing: much of it arises from people genuinely striving to do what they believe to be God’s desire—that is, to properly honor God’s name and, at the same time, properly involve and engage God’s people in that activity.

Clearly, much of the controversy has also arisen from philosophies of ministry or outreach that, among other errors, improperly relate the interests and desires of the lost or immature to the worship life of the local church.

Peter’s teaching in this portion of 1 Peter is an excellent corrective. It helps us frame the question of acceptable worship correctly, understand the bigger picture, and ask the right questions to evaluate our present-day options. Read more about Acceptable Worship - 1 Peter 2:4-10

Encouraging & Equipping Our Young People (Part 2)

From VOICE, May/Jun 2015. Used with permission. Read Part 1.

Foundation For Youth Ministry

There is a great need for a Bible-based ministry directed at young people yet there are certain convictions that cannot be compromised in biblical youth ministry. The following ten con­victions lay a firm foundation for local church youth ministry.

1. The absolute authority of Scripture

The Bible is the Word of God and is inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16, ­17) and is infallible, without error and sufficient in every way for every spiri­tual need for the believer no matter his age. The Bible is the final authority in everything and has everything we need pertaining to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3-4). In our secularized culture, the counsel that students receive is often not biblical. It is important that the local church youth ministry give truly biblical counsel to students who are seeking help with their problems. Read more about Encouraging & Equipping Our Young People (Part 2)

Encouraging & Equipping Our Young People (Part 1)

From VOICE, May/Jun 2015. Used with permission.

Raising teens to become faithful Christian adults has never been easy. Like all of us, our children enter this world as sinners with hearts that must be transformed by the Holy Spirit. This is biblical truth: there is no perfect family or perfect parent or perfect church; all of us are sinners and are imperfect people in desperate need of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. yet…as imperfect parents, imperfect pastors, imperfect teachers and imperfect mentors we are commanded to be God’s instruments in the process of delivering the Gospel to our young people and instructing them in the way of righteousness.

But this is a bad combination: imperfect children, raised by imperfect parents, in imperfect churches, surrounded by a world filled with evil influences. Our teens are bombarded by an ungodly culture that is increasingly narcissistic, pornographic and captivated by superficial interests and instant gratification. Today, many young adults prefer to linger on the couch in their parent’s basement playing video games or fantasizing about other people’s lives through Facebook rather than completing the journey to adulthood. They’re less resilient in the face of difficulty, more dependent on their parents, and more distracted by digital and visual media than former generations.1 Read more about Encouraging & Equipping Our Young People (Part 1)

Trying to Get the Rapture Right (Part 10)

This installment may be thought of as a digression, but I think it belongs to the overall argument.

Imagine a world where the removal of the saints from planet Earth happened but no one had the foggiest idea of when that might be. If the NT alluded to such a thing there would still be some hope that we just may be the ones to get called up. The doctrine of the rapture would still be a “sure thing”, it just wouldn’t be very concrete in our minds. Well, as a matter of fact, as a starting place for considering the rapture this isn’t that bad; there are far worse ones. A “worse” one would be the dogmatic insistence that the catching away of the Church as pretribulational is a dead-certainty. Another would be the blithe notion that the rapture occurs when Jesus returns to earth and any theories to the contrary are speculative fancies. Read more about Trying to Get the Rapture Right (Part 10)

A Forty-year Providence

When I first saw it, it was all jumbled up with grocery ads and direct mail fliers that urged me to consider the metaphysical significance of my current gutter system. But this piece of mail, this greeting-sized envelope postmarked from Long Island, NY, was less noisy, unassuming somehow. I recognized the handwriting as belonging to my husband’s grandmother—a carefully-formed script that she’d learned through hours of instruction in elementary school, back before the ubiquitous keyboards and touch screens that now dominate our lives.

The card, I assumed, would be a late birthday card with the requisite birthday check. I’d heard from my mother-in-law how sorry her own mother was about the delay and how they had had so many things happening and to look for it soon. But when I opened it, it wasn’t what I expected. The envelope did include a check, but instead of a birthday card, it was a “Get Well Soon” card. Inside the same script had written:

Hope this card is inappropriate and that your recovery is complete!! Oh, and by the way—Happy Birthday!!

Still, it was fitting. I had been sick a couple weeks earlier and so perhaps a belated “Get Well Soon” was as relevant as a belated “Happy Birthday.” Read more about A Forty-year Providence

Why Routines are Not Always Ruts

A while back I lost hearing in one ear. I made an appointment with my doctor and suggested the problem might be sinus pressure. He corrected me: my problem was earwax. After the physician removed the blockage, my hearing instantly returned.

But a strange thing happened: I was now hearing all sorts of things. When I walked, I could hear the fabric of my pants rubbing. I heard birds and trucks and high frequency noises that I didn’t remember hearing before. After a few days, my experience returned to normal and I heard just as I had before.

What happened? The answer is that my mind selectively targeted what to focus upon and what to blot out. It did this by habit.

Let me share two major advantages of habits, routines, and unwritten rules. Read more about Why Routines are Not Always Ruts

The Doctrinal Value of the First Chapters of Genesis

(About this series)

CHAPTER VI - THE DOCTRINAL VALUE OF THE FIRST CHAPTERS OF GENESIS

BY THE REV. DYSON HAGUE, M. A., VICAR OF THE CHURCH OF THE EPIPHANY; PROFESSOR OF LITURGICS, WYCLIFFE COLLEGE, TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA

The Book of Genesis is in many respects the most important book in the Bible. It is of the first importance because it answers, not exhaustively, but sufficiently, the fundamental questions of the human mind. It contains the first authoritative information given to the race concerning these questions of everlasting interest: the Being of God; the origin of the universe; the creation of man; the origin of the soul; the fact of revelation; the introduction of sin; the promise of salvation; the primitive division of the human race; the purpose of the elected people; the preliminary part in the program of Christianity. In one word, in this inspired volume of beginnings, we have the satisfactory explanation of all the sin and misery and contradiction now in this world, and the reason of the scheme of redemption. Read more about The Doctrinal Value of the First Chapters of Genesis