I don’t know what you think about the so called prosperity gospel. It seems to exist in so many shapes all from people who say that if you only do certain things God will prosper you and give you health, wealth and security to those who hold the same theological position but seem to say that God will give you all of these things just because he loves you.
On the other end of the scale we find those who rather would endorse self-chosen poverty or perhaps shared ownership as the Christian ideal.
Personally I do believe we need a theology that gives room for the rich and the poor together as one, where principles such as generosity and contentment reign as well as allowing ourselves to hold a theology that gives room for suffering.
I’ll share a video of John Piper sharing his view on this subject. It is very well worth listening to. What do you think about this?
Today I will continue my reflections on Reformed theology in Scandinavia and the theological stream that I will reflect on today is what I call Reformed charismatics. It’s a quite broad group, but what holds it together is the combined emphasis on solid biblical teaching together with a charismatic church life. Some people that would fit into this theological stream would be CJ Mahaney, Terry Virgo, Rob Rufus and RT Kendall to name a few together with songwriters such as Stuart Townend and Matt Redman. These would all come from different church movements and have different ways to apply their theological understanding practically in church life but underneith there would be a similar reformed theological framework.
There is a common understanding of grace and a celebration in our justification by grace, rather similar to how “the grace teaching” would emphasize this and hand in hand with the charismatic church life there would be a rejoicing in grace. However, at the same time there would be an even stronger emphasis on the whole word of God than I have seen in the grace teaching. If grace teaching would emphasize “grace and faith”, reformed charismatics would rather emphasize “the word of God and the Spirit of God” and as a part of understanding the word is to rightly we need to understand law and grace but also biblical teaching on the sovereignty of God, the church, New Testament teaching on works and reward, biblical leadership etc. Thus there would be a stronger emphasis on preaching the word of God and not uncommonly preaching through books of the bible. Reformed charismatics generally are theologically very close to some non-charismatic reformed preachers and teachers such as John Piper, Wayne Grudem, Tim Keller and Martyn Lloyd-Jones and would not only quote them, but actually read their books.
Personally this would be the theological stream that I would feel most identified with myself. That also makes it difficult to reflect on this theological stream because I personally agree with most things. What attracts me in this theological stream would be the solid approach to the word of God. It’s not the doctrinal system that is important but the heart to understand truth and preach in a way that unpacks the truth in God’s word. At the same time the Christian faith is not only about having the right doctrine, but also about a life in the Spirit where the relationship to God becomes a relationship of passion and feelings at the same time as there is depth and understanding.
The critics would probably say that emphasizing charismatic life, gifts of the spirit, passionate worship, hearing God’s voice in more ways than through the Bible will take focus off from the word of God and place it on human experience in an unhealthy way. Altough true in many cases and something we always need to be aware of, I simply can’t get around the fact that experiencing God through our emotions, supernatural prophecy, physical healings, signs and wonders, tongues and other charismatic expressions are in the Bible and seem to be a part of church life taken for granted in the New Testament. For this reason I have a very difficult time to see how taking these things away from our church life would make us more biblical.
Please get involved in the discussion. Agree or disagree. Fill the gaps and point out the weaknesses that I can’t see. Take care.
My next blogpost on reflections on Reformed theology in Scandinavia will be a few more days, but meanwhile I’d like to share this interview with Michael Eaton. He is a reformed theologian originally from Westminster Chapel in London, but is now since many years back leading a church in Kenya that has seen many churches being planted.
In the interview Michael Eaton is sharing his perspective on many issues such as justification, grace, works, sanctification, the warnings in scripture and the sermon on the mount. I believe that his thoughts feed very well into the discussions that has taken place on my earlier reformed theology posts.
The interview is 25 minutes long but is well worth the time.