A word from God versus the Bible

Monday Musings for December 12, 2016

Good morning, Musers,

Let me start with a confession: I've never spoken in tongues. 

There... I've said it and I'm glad! But why haven't I? Is it because I'm not spiritual enough? Or is it because I have not received the second blessing of the Holy Spirit... or perhaps not even the first! (... since one who is not saved is not indwelt.) Or is it that these activities are precluded in the mature Church — one which has a completed Scripture? Could it be that I am stubbornly deflecting the Spirit's advances and plain-old missing out on these things? Is it possible that secondary issues such as gift manifestations might be legitimately expressed… or not expressed… as the believer works with the Spirit?

I'm kind of rooting for the last one, because… well... I'm me... not a very demonstrative guy… but I know Christians of credible testimony who do worship with charismatic expression. So what's up with this? Can both ways be “right?”

As a person who self-identifies as a true Christian (that is, I am a disciple, not a nominal Christian) ... but who is also neither Charismatic nor Reformed, I view myself in the middle of orthodox Christianity. What this means, though, is that from a Charismatic perspective, I am not open enough to the Spirit. After all, what's wrong with some tongues and the occasional word from God? But from a Reformed perspective, my worship is weak. They say of our services that they are entertainment. We have some music and a Bible lecture... but (and worship-teams notwithstanding) we do not have the same level of worship as do their covenant communities.

But here's what I've noticed: Christians show up everywhere... even among the unchurched and among the uncategorized. This is not to say that we are in any way a majority; indeed, the Bible is clear that following God is a minority enterprise. But we come in many flavors.

I've met people who have credible Christian testimonies — and overtly, who love Christ — but who participate only minimally in prayer, Bible study, fellowship and service. Some others speak in tongues and have visions, while people of the Reformed perspective are correct to remind us that they defined Protestantism for centuries — and my “type” of Christianity is relatively new. These types of Christianity are different, so which type is right?

As I've aged, I've given God’s people more latitude. After all, who am I to limit God’s communications options… ever… but especially under the guise of having a completed Bible? Scripture models charismatic behavior, and it does not forbid its legitimate exercise — even into the future. So let me ask you, when you say that the Scripture is sufficient, do you mean that God has no other communications options in our age? If so, under what warrant?

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