Great Expectations

My name is Mark Smith. I'm a guy who loves Jesus, His Word, and His Church. I am filled with Great Expectations for what the future will ultimately bring - Matthew 24:14.

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Location: Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

My favourite verse is Psalm 16:11, my other favourite verse is Acts 20:24, my other favourite verse is Habakkuk 3:17-19, and my other favourite verse is Matthew 24:14.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Gifts of the Spirit

The reason I haven't blogged much of any substance this past week or so is not really because of exams. Exams have been fairly easy, and not any more time consuming then regular papers. The thing that has been consuming my time has been some "extra-curricular" study on the miraculous gifts of the Spirit. Basically I'm in the "Open but Cautious" camp right now. I am not a cessationist and I am not a pentecostal. I'm open to the miraculous gifts like tongues, prophecy (words of knowledge), and healing because I certainly don't see anything in Scripture that says that any gifts have ceased. But I've never experienced any of those gifts, or even witnessed them - and they fact that there is clearly (I think) so much abuse of those sorts of gifts out there makes me very leery.

I love Wayne Grudem and I know that he is associated with the "Third Wave" movement - which led me to want to consider it.*** I also love Sam Storms. Sam Storms gained my love and admiration and respect when I read the following statement under the Christian Hedonism article in his theology section:

Next to Scripture and Jonathan Edwards, John Piper has helped me understand the centrality of Christian Hedonism more than anyone else. If you haven’t read Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist (Multnomah Publishers, 2003 edition), repent, close down this website, and go purchase that volume. I trust it will change your life the way it changed mine.

Then the more I read Sam Storms I came to find how thoroughly biblical he is and my respect for him grew and grew. Then I learned that at some point in his life he moved from a cessationist position to becoming a part of the Third Wave movement, and that made me hate him! Just kidding! Obviously if he is so solid in everything else, then the fact that he believes all the gifts of the Spirit are for today made me want to learn more from him in that regard. Someday I plan to read his book, Convergence: Spiritual Journeys of a Charismatic Calvinist.

Of course, over and above these guys was the fact that I read my Bible and notice verses like 1 Corinthians 12:31 and 1 Corinthians 14:1 and 1 Corinthians 14:39 and others which sure made it seem like cessationism is um......wrong. And then if cessationism is wrong and the gifts are still certainly for today, I thought maybe I should be more than just "Open but Cautious" - maybe I should be doing what we seem to be told, which is "desiring the higher gifts."

So this past while I have been looking into this sort of stuff more and more. At the suggestion of a friend, I read a book this week by Jack Deere called "Surprised by the Power of the Spirit." Before reading the book I first read a negative review of it in The Master's Seminary Journal so that I would approach the book with a less than positive attitude. However, even after reading the review, I read the book and found that I thought very highly of it. In the book, Deere explains how he moved from a cessationist position to a noncessationist position - at the cost of his job as a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary. He then presents a biblical case for the continuation of miraculous gifts that I found very persuassive - much more persuassive then the negative review of the book that I read. Now I'm not saying that I agree with everything Deere wrote. Some things I disagreed with, but overall I thought his biblical case was really good.

So am I going to join the nearest Vineyard Church? No. And neither am I starting to call myself Third Wave. (For one thing it's a dumb title lol......I think Grudem is right in saying that a better term for this position would be "Expectant Evangelicals"). I'm not all Third Waveish now. I'm just more open than ever before and want to do more research on it. To this end I took out the book "Four Views" book called Are Miraculous Gifts for Today? from the library today and intend to read at least the two views that I'm most open to along with the rebuttles and closing statements, and perhaps all four of the views this week before I go home from school.

Maybe by this time next week I will have some more stuff to blog about this very interesting and important topic.

***Don't look "Third Wave" up on google and believe everything you read about it. Believe it or not, the internet has some messed up ideas on it! If you want to learn more of what is meant by Third Wave then I suggest you do some actual research from websites more credible than Wikipedia - and primarily from books. I good place to start on the web would be Are Miraculous Gifts for Today? Part 1 and Part 2 by Dr. Sam Storms.


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