I remember Conservative churches that threw people out if they claimed to have had some kind of charismatic experience such as “tongues” or prophesy. I understand that more now after 15 years of ministry. And now I’ve had my own unexplainable circumstances – unexplainable in my previous closed theological stance. God is not learning -- He’s infinite, all-knowing, all-powerful; but we’re still learning about God. 
Anyway, it’s a tough blend to love as Paul told the Corinthians to in the first century, to give preference to one another, to teach the word without reading in our own desires, feeling, and opinions. It's tough to submit our gifts for the good of the Body (not for our own sense of importance) and to suspend the criticism that so easily comes to our lips about others. Way too many “die” from “friendly-fire.” And Satan has to do nothing. 
What if, heaven help us, a person has a dream that seems to indicate something urgent for the Church or an individual that leads one into deep intercession? This can be handled without tampering with Scripture, as some would say. New Testament prophetic activity seems to be a need for the Church, and Paul seemed to clearly indicate that we should eagerly seek that gift. We were also incorrect by using I Cor. 12:10 to say it was all passing away. An honest study of that passage leads us to conclude that those things will cease only when we are in the face of the Perfect One -- the risen, ruling Rabbi. However, tampering with Scripture can also be a quick pathway to violating the commandment of Exodus 20:7,"You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain …”
There is no question that the Canon of Scripture is closed. But a God who always speaks, shows, and saves, still must speak, show and save! My evangelical positions are now a mess according to some, and I’m not giving myself to the Spirit “enough” according to others. They warned me that the “middle ground” will take shots from both sides. And we have. And we will. 
I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. (Rev 22:18-19 NIV)  
Something tells me that John the Revelator was not talking about people who had dreams and other prophetic experiences when he wrote those verses by the breath of the Spirit. I think he was talking about real false teachers who would come preaching “another gospel” and those who would claim that Christ had already come for His Bride or was not going to come after all. I still believe this. Later I noticed an obscure passage (for us conservatives anyway) in 1 Thessalonians 5, where Paul the Apostle said something about not treating prophecies with contempt, and not to put out the Spirit's fire. We liked the part about being joyful always, praying continually and giving thanks in all circumstances all right, but we never preached on the rest. Something is wrong with all of our theological positions. No doctrinal statement is complete. That won’t happen till the Perfect has come, remember? (To Be Continued …)
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Confessions of a Bad Evangelical Pt 2