Category Archives: change

The White Dove Inn

By Marv

Three theobros, friends, colleagues, agreeing on much, differing on some things, sitting around the studio in relaxed but intelligent banter–joined together with joy, but for a serious purpose. And the podcast is ours to enjoy, to learn, to be edified by. It’s great stuff. I keep thinking though–all it needs is Rod Rosenbladt periodically saying “That’s HUGE!!!”

(If you don’t have a clue what I am talking about check out this other worthy audio theofest.)

C. Michael Patton, dean or some such title of Credo House ministries is the indefatiguable superblogger of Parchment and Pen. I admit I came for Daniel Wallace, but I stayed for CMP. Within the last couple of years he has bared his soul more than a bit, particularly with regard to his contemplation of the subject of “spiritual gifts.” In a series of eight posts he explained “Why I am not  Charismatic.” Readers of To Be Continued will be familiar with it, as with our point by point response.

Back he comes, and not alone. For a new round the venerable Sam Storms partners with CMP to provide a balancing continuationist perspective. The whole shebang starts off with this podcast, featuring Michael, Sam, and a third voice Tim Kimberley. Three DTS-grad Okies. Now that’s balance, I must say (being an Oklahoma-born DTS grad myself).

Listen to the podcast, part of their Theology Unplugged series as a bit of an intro to the discussion. The meat will be the blog posts, however, and we already have the first two: an opening salvo by Patton “Why I am/not Charismatic: My Story,” not to be confused with Storms’ “Why I am/not Charismatic: My Story.”

First course: appetizers. We digest so you don’t have to.

First C. Michael Patton’s Story:

1. Raised in non- even anti-Charismatic soil (DTS-grad pastor) Michael experienced plenty to leave a foul taste in his mouth: a church split over “the gifts,” repulsive silliness and downright abuse, embarrassing excess at a pal’s church. Charismatics behaving badly: barking, flopping, issuing inane and insipid “words,” sealed the deal.

2. MacArthurism (“Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Charismatic party?”) loaded him with Bible-based proofs to match his mood.

3. So how did a guy like him end up at a place like UBSS, which he describes as a”Third Wave” Bible college? Open prophesying, unabashing tonguing, their name was Legion, for they were many. But with Grudem as the Systematic Theology? Harvard, Westminster, Cambridge, ETS pres, Calvinist–and Charismatic. Does not compute.

4. Since then voice after voice with theological and Biblical heft have articulated and explained a cogent, coherent Continuationist understanding: Fee, Mahaney, Piper, Moreland… (Time provented him from mentioning Scott & Marv apparently…)

5. Where is he now? Standing on the edge of the chasm–the Cessationist side, underwhelmed by the arguments that keep him there, but not able (willing) to make the leap to the greener grass on the other side.

6. It is a consummation devoutly to be wished, however. With loved ones who really, really needed healing–this one is personal.

And now for Sam Storms’ story:

1. Dallas Seminary and Believer’s Chapel: meat-lovers’ milieu both, and where folk not only think, but know the Charismatic wing is full of wingnuts. Now that’s a solid foundation for a future of Cessationism.

2. It was in Oklahoma where the wind came sweeping down the plain. While pastoring in Ardmore, he read D.A. Carson, and his Cessationist pseudo-foundation crumbled under his feet.

3. He came to the realization that the Bible taught Continuationism, but he remained embarrassed by the unsophisticated, overly emotional, underly intellectual crew he’d have to associate himself with if he went with the Bible instead of his background.

4. Yet he took the plunge. Preaching through Acts, and presenting a doctrinal study on the Spirit, he led his church not only in reading about the “stuff” but doing it. Somehow he managed the paradigm shift in his congregation without the whole thing blowing up in his face.

5. Catching up with Jack Deere, whom he had known at DTS, and who had made a similar journey, Sam was renewed in the gift of tongues he had known but came to disdain two decades earlier. He eventually found himself ministering at Kansas City Fellowship for seven years–more than a small step for a man from Believer’s Chapel.

6. After a brief stint teaching at Wheaton, he returned to KC and started Enjoying God Ministries. Today he is a pastor in OKC, where, like someone else, he spends his time proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.

We are in for a remarkable discussion, with these two. Topics foreshadowed in the podcast include:

  • Terminology: Charismatic vs. Continuationist.
  • History: Through the centuries and three “waves” in the twentieth century.
  • Distinction from Faith Movement and Prosperity Theology.
  • What about the lingo: “sign gifts,” “normative”?
  • How serious should we take things: accepting? practicing? pursuing?
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Maintaing the Status Quo

by Scott

In my recent renewed revelation of the power of God, one thing that has continually been highlighted to me is the reality that, so many times, we are content with simply maintaining the status quo.

As I noted in my article earlier this week, in every situation of life, there is a way things are supposed to happen. At work it might be that we arrive at 9.00, have coffee break at 10.30, lunch at 12.30, and so on. That is the status quo. And we have plenty of examples within the church, the people of God.

And while this is not inherently bad, I have recently become very aware that God is not calling His Spirit-empowered people to simply maintain the status quo. You know how this plays out in the life of the church. Well, for starters, we end up ‘playing’ church. We end up coming to our gatherings with a prescribed layout of the way things should and ought to be done. Kind of like children playing house. They aren’t really adults with their own house and children and stove to cook meals on. They just act as if it’s true.

And how much of what we do is centred around ‘playing’ church, rather than being and walking out all that God has called us to. I’ve been so caught up with this for two years now. Of course, I wanted pastoral wisdom in helping a multi-cultural, multi-national, multi-church background community at Cornerstone move forward in the things of God. But God finally made me aware that it is time to move forward with purpose and power. No maintaining the status quo any longer.

Listen, we have to hear and obey the voice of God. That is what this present stirring is all about for me. But hearing and obeying God will not be about maintaining the status quo. It will not be about simply keeping things as they are. If anything, the body is headed towards maturity. We are preparing a people to marry Jesus. Just getting by doesn’t prepare anyone.

And so I don’t want to get caught up in the meaninglessness of simply holding things together, maintaining how its ‘supposed’ to be. It’s not healthy, and it definitely doesn’t give much room for the reality of the power of God and the message to Belgium and beyond that God Is Alive! How tragic if, at the end of our lives, our greatest story is that we maintained the status quo! How tragic! But, at this point, many of us are simply satisfied with such. I know I was. I only hope that a shake up comes when we realise that our end story will simply be that we maintained the status quo.

And, even more, we can so easily get caught up in making a contract with Jesus on a regular basis of how we want this thing to go: Jesus, I’ll follow you, but let’s just set out some things that I would like. I’ll follow you, just make sure that I have not only what I need, but a few extra’s on the side. Or a nice amount of extra’s if at all possible. Make sure that I don’t have to give too much of my resources, not too much of my time, not too much of my finances. Jesus, I’ll follow you, but let’s just make sure that I don’t get put in too many uncomfortable situations. Yeah, I think I can follow you if we can agree on those things.

Now, of course, to maintain the status quo, we would never verbally admit such. But we do live our lives with that modus operandi. It simply has taken over life in the western world.

Listen, you have to understand. I don’t usually talk like this. I don’t usually bring strong rebuke. But I am completely aware of how ungodly and how selfish and what an idol maintaining the status quo has become in my life and our lives in the west. It has simply become the way of life and we don’t even recognise it for what it is.

And so this sucks the life and power of God right out of us. No wonder the Chinese, who are currently seeing the masses turn to Christ and seeing the power of God on display in a real sense, are praying that persecution does not stop. They don’t want to maintain the status quo. They want to maintain a pure faith.

I am now very aware that if I want to see the power of God active in my life and in the life of God’s people universal, then we have to lay down our god-idol of maintaining the status quo. The goal is not that we now become crazy’s, though I do recognise that God has called His people at times to crazy things – think Isaiah walking around for naked for three years (Isaiah 20:1-3), think of Ezekiel baking his bread over fecies (Ezekiel 4:15), think of Jesus and His spitting ministry when healing others (Mark 7:33; 8:23; John 9:6-7).

But we don’t do things for the sake of doing things. We don’t become crazy for the sake of being crazy. We hear God…….and then we obey. And God is making clearer and clearer that a Spirit-empowered people are not called to maintain the status quo. We are called to so much more, starting with being witnesses, as well as moving towards unity and maturity.

Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you. (Ephesians 5:14)

Oh, that we might be saved from such an ungodly bondage as simply maintaining the status quo.

Change Has Come

by Scott

It’s been quite a while since I last posted an article anywhere in the blogosphere, especially at my home base at The Prodigal Thought or here at To Be Continued. That’s a bit of an oddity for me, since I love to write. It has been a passion of mine going strong now for just over 2 years. So for me to not post anything in 9 days, well, that’s not usual.

But I suppose the usual and the norm for me will change.

Why? Because change has drastically happened to me.

Actually, I’m not sure what the norm will be with regards to blogging. Nor do I know what the norm will be for me when it comes to reading. Reading is my second passion. I’m always reading: theology, devotional, fiction, or maybe even other things here and there.

But, with not blogging for a week and a half, and only reading the better part of a handful of pages outside of Scripture, well, again, those who know me would wonder what is going on. It’s not the norm.

So why the lack? Again, I can only describe it as radical change has come to my life.

But what is that change?

Well, I had posted a few times on my personal blog that we, at Cornerstone, were hosting two training conferences this summer: 1) VMI, which had to do with music and worship training and 2) Fast Forward, which had to do with more ministry-leadership training. Both times were simply excellent. You can listen to or download all 12 speaker-teaching sessions from our podcast site.

During these two training times, there were purposeful gatherings of worship, times of waiting on God to hear from Him, deep prayer and intercession, as well as hearing God speak revelations via prophecies of who He is and His purposes into the Brussels area and beyond.

For some, this sounds off-the-wall crazy. But, oh well. I can only say that God truly made Himself known – not just in the teachings, though those were excellent, but also in the times where space was created to hear from God and respond to Him.

But, the ironic thing was that, for me, the most radical, life-changing moment came for me the following day with both conferences already concluded. My wife and I were having a nice Thai dinner together with some friends when God decided to reveal Himself to me in a most significant way.

During our conversations, and at one particular moment, God decided to give me a renewed revelation of His power. It was nothing insignificant with a little nod as I stated, ‘Yeah, that’s good.’ The conversation set something in motion where I could only sit there a stirred man in awe of the power of God.

He specifically brought to me a renewed revelation of His power – the power of the Holy Spirit, the power of His kingdom, and the power of the gospel to change lives. I was already aware of these things in my life, and Scripture definitely testifies to God’s power in these specific areas! But this past Wednesday evening, as I joined together with those close friends over a meal of Thai curry and Pad Thai noodles, God made His power so real and clear to me.

Therefore, I cannot expect my life to ever be the same. I am not one to hype up things nor ‘jump on a bandwagon’, as we say in English. So, for me, this is not just emotionalism. This is knowing the clear reality that God has revealed Himself, and revealed something significantly at that.

I cannot say I know what it will all look like. I simply know that God has spoken and I must obey. For as Scripture says, ‘Today, if you here His voice do not harden your hearts…’ (Hebrews 3:7-8). Again, I have heard and I can only obey what He is saying.

And I am very aware that God will begin to work such a reality into the Cornerstone church community, the Brussels area, even into Belgium and beyond. That is how real this revelation is, this is how real God has made Himself known to me.

Within the first words of the book of Acts, we read about two very important characteristics about the people of God:

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

We are to be a people empowered by the Spirit, and as we are, we will be His witnesses. It’s not that we might be or could be, but that we WILL BE. This is the empowered church!

Therefore, I can no longer simply be satisfied with maintaining the status quo. That is not what God has called us to. What I mean is that, in every situation of life, there is a way things are supposed to happen. At work it might be that we arrive at 9.00, have coffee break at 10.30, lunch at 12.30, and so on. That is the status quo. And while this is not bad, I am very aware that God is not calling His Spirit-empowered people to simply maintain the status quo. Life in God is about so much more. No, God is not calling us to confusion. But God is calling us to obey what He is saying and doing.

In the end, from a human perspective, it is much easier to try and control the situation as best we can. It really is so much easier to not learn to be a people who rely completely on the Holy Spirit, looking to see His power at work in our midst. To consider such can make us uncomfortable. But I can no longer try and control what He is doing, for I do not want to be guilty of grieving the Spirit of God (Ephesians 4:30).

And so, if you haven’t sensed it yet, I am completely gripped with the reality of the power of God. Again, the power of the Holy Spirit, the power of God’s kingdom rule and the power of the gospel to change lives. And I cannot make apologies for what my life will look like from here on out. I don’t know the specifics of what it will all look like. I expect to be surprised after receiving this fresh understanding of His power. I expect to see lives changed. I expect to see healings and miracles. I expect to see people drawn to Christ. I expect to see major impact. And I expect something to start stirring and shaking beyond me and my church community. This will move into Brussels, into all of Belgium, and even beyond.

Matter of fact, since last Wednesday evening, the phrase that God keeps impressing upon my heart is – God Is Alive. I believe this is a specific message that Brussels, and Belgium, and even western Europe, needs to hear afresh. A land which has had a rich heritage of the things of Christ, such a reality has now fallen to the wayside. And people here need to know just this – God Is Alive! A God who is powerful is one who is truly alive, and a God who is alive is one who is truly powerful. There is no one like Jesus Christ!

Consequently, as I’ve siad, I know my life will not be the same. I must proclaim the powerful message of Christ and His kingdom (Matthew 4:23; 1 Corinthians 4:20), the powerful work of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 2:4), and the power of the gospel to change lives (Romans 1:16; 1 Thessalonians 1:5). I must proclaim to the people in Belgium that God Is Alive. He is alive and He will again show His power.

So, as to blogging (and reading), at this point, I don’t know how often. I haven’t really wanted to do so much at all, which is another pointer as to how real and deep this truly is. I’m willing to lay aside such for a time, or for all time. I am not sure at this point. It’s just not as important as proclaiming that which God has made known. I cannot see myself doing anything else.

If you would like to hear more of what I shared with Cornerstone this past Sunday, as sometimes verbal media is more helpful than typed media, you can click on the icon below. Or you can download from our podcast site or iTunes.