Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Posts are in reverse chronological order.

More “Sufficiency” Stream-of-Consciousness

I have been thinking more about the questions on the sufficiency that arose last week. Inevitably this turned into a discussion on Charismatic Christianity. (I wanted to say it resulted in a feeding-frenzy of posts, counter-posts, and emails to make it sound like I had AndrewSullivan-like readership, but I decided that would combine lying with covetousness, probably not a good way to start the day).

Mark Velazquez over on Spudlets wrote: “Christians who don't actively embrace the Holy Spirit are missing out on the power of God.”

That perfectly captures the nature of the debate for me:

  • Non-charismatics question whether anything supernatural is actually happening. Furthermore, if something supernatural is happening, they doubt it is of God.
  • Charismatics assert that the rest of us are, in effect, second class believers – missing out on a supreme spiritual gift. Furthermore, it is often said that non-charismatics (Is there a word for that?) have no right to take a critical look at something they never experienced.

Both sides point to scripture for support. The strongest proponents on each side go as far as to call into doubt the salvation of those with the opposing view, in spite of the fact that in all other substantive theological points the two sides will agree as much with the other camp as they do amongst themselves. It is a very, very heartbreaking debate, in my opinion.

I try to hide from this debate, and that is probably wrong. For my gut tells me this is an important debate, not a minor technical theological difference. One of these two groups is in serious error.

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