I got inspired continually in the last 2 weeks one after the other about the power of charismatic power & fire, and also the depth & profundity of Reformed teaching & thinking. If I have to choose one of the two, I would have to choose reformed thinking & teaching. That stimulates my mind & captures my imaginations. However, I don’t have to do that. I can have both.
This article brilliantly lays down the reasons why we need to combine both. Example: the fastest growing churches in the world is pentecostals/charismatics!
But let’s not fool ourselves—the Reformed movement pales in size to the Modern Pentecostal/charismatic Movement (hereafter, MPCM). MPCM is the fastest-growing religious movement in the history of the human race. In 1900, there were statistically a meaningless number of such Christians. Presently, the number sits around 700 million (see Allan Anderson’s “Global Pentecostalism,” a paper presented at the Wheaton Theology Conference on April 3, 2015), or 1 out of every 3 believers. Just to put it into perspective, that’s more than the total number of Buddhists (around 500 million), Jews (around 14 million), and all folk religions (around 400 million) in the world. MPCM isn’t going away. Quite the opposite. –Adam Mabry
This explains why we need the pentecost power.
Why reformed teaching? There is just too much to say. The teachings on gospel centered way of teaching & preaching by Tim Keller has impacted me greatly. The notion that gospel is only the ABC of Christianity is completely wrong. Its the A-Z of Christianity. He has written and spoken many with great intellectual conviction, and I will just glean what it impacted me so much. First and foremost, for a guy like me from the charismatic background, this is completely new to me. I absolutely loved the teaching of absolute dependence ion God and we are so depraved that we can’t even lift our finger to rescue ourselves. This has shifted my mindset so much to God, rather than a mix bag of me & God. I have now come to understand much better the meaning of surrender to God. I mean, there is no surrender if you have to push your will power to surrender. There is none. Why? Because there is nothing in us that we have that we own or possess. There is nothing we achieve that count towards us. Its all God. The grace of God. The absolute mercy of God. Its been said unless you see the darkness of your soul, you can never see the glory of the ALmighty God. There has to be a contrast. Thats why Paul can say I consider as rubbish that I have achieved compared to the knowledge of Christ! Wow! And how? I struggled with that verse for a long time. It’s because he sees the depravity of his soul, his doings, his achievement, that he sees such a contrast that he was absolutely and utterly transformed. It was such a radical transformation that he went from a persecutor of the gospel to be the apostle of the gospel and suffered tremendously and endured for the gospel. Now do we need to be in such drastic contrast? Each of us has different pathways and callings from God. But the principle of contrast needs to be evident & strong.
Secondly, the idea of Christ centeredness on the cross. I have never seen the comparison of all the verses and tie them to the cross in preaching until I meet Tim Keller. Jonathan Edwards always describes the beauty of the Lord and how he was radically impacted by it. You see these guys use the sufferings of Christ on the cross as the beauty of redemption and fulfilment of the absolute beauty of where the grace of God meets the wrath of God! It absolutely makes sense. Wow! I have never seen it that way. Its amazing. How can a righteous wrathful vengeful God exist with the side of him as tender, loving, caring, forgiving? It is all made possible when the cross of Jesus absorbed all the wrath of God, for God to forgive us, and love us and even adopt us as his adopted children! That’s amazing. Miracle! Have I heard this kind of teaching in pentecostal circles? No. Do I like it? I love it! It melts my heart. Makes my christianity so much more organic and not mechanical, vision driven leadership kind of thing.
I will expound more next time….:)
Stay & abide in the vine. Jesus is the vine.
p/s I used to chase after the vision. Now I chase after my Lord Jesus Christ! 🙂 Yay!