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Welcome to the online home of Tim Challies, blogger, author, and book reviewer.
April 25, 2005
Over the weekend I did a lot of reading. Actually, it was probably an unhealthy amount of reading, if such a thing is possible. Strangely, Aileen’s absence (you may recall that she was at a women’s conference in Niagara Falls) gave me more time than usual to read. On Saturday I helped my son get setup in his new bedroom and he and my daughter proceeded to spend most of the rest of the day up there, acting out various scenarios, most of which involved them calling each other “mommy” and “daddy.” It’s a good thing they were content there, as the weather was just awful so we couldn’t have played outdoors. When we did go out, though it was only a dash from the car to the post office, we got practically drenched by the downpour.
But back to the topic at-hand. I thought I would provide a few choice quotes from some of the reading I did this weekend. First, a few from Hank Nanegraaff’s book Counterfeit Revival. This first quote is from Stephen Hill, preaching at the Brownsville Assembly of God:
“Now some of you are watching this young man up here. I want to tell you exactly what he is doing, and then I want you to turn your eyes from him. He’s interceding for your soul. Some of you are on the verge – it’s like we’ve got you with a thread and you’re hanging over hell. It’s intercession in the deepest form right here. It’s moanings and groanings, words that can’t be uttered. God’s put it on him. You can’t tell me God doesn’t love you when he will stricken [sic] another young man who loves God with all his heart, cause him to fall to the ground and experience the moanings and groanings and the birth pains. He’s giving birth to you, friend. He’s giving spiritual birth to you. He’s dying for you right now. He’s dying that you might have life.”
This is utter blasphemy, of course. It’s practically blasphemy to use Jonathan Edward’s illustration of a thread hanging over hell in such a matter. But of course it is far more blasphemous to suggest that a mere man is interceding for our sins, and much less that we even need further intercession. To take the moans and groans of the Spirit and to attribute them to a man lost in some state of hypnotic ecstasy is shocking in its flippancy.
This next quote is from Paul Cain, a supposed prophet within these Counterfeit Revival circles.
“No prophet or apostle who ever lived equaled the power of these individuals in this great army of the Lord in these last days. No one ever had it; not even Elijah or Peter or Paul or anyone else enjoyed the power that is going to rest upon this great army.”
Hanegraaff rightly follows this quote with a passage from Jeremiah in which the Lord speaks out against false prophets and warns against the judgment that will soon befall them.
And finally, a quote that I post only for its comedic value. Too often I have heard people speak of God giving them a song or a poem or something else, only to find that what the Lord apparently gave them was of absolutely terrible quality. Read the Psalsm and you will be struck by their beauty and depth. Look at the sunset over a lake and you’ll stand in awe of God’s creative ability. And then consider this song which Kathryn Riss says the Lord gave to her. The title is “New Winos Drinking Song Number One.” This can be sung to either of these tunes: “Tis the Gift to be Simple” or “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder”.
If you feel too serious and kind of blue,
I’ve got a suggestion, just the thing for you!
It’s a little unconventional, but so much fun,
That you won’t even mind when people think you’re dumb!
Just come to the party God is throwing right now,
We can all lighten up and show the pagans how
Christians have more fun and keep everyone guessing,
Since the Holy Ghost sent us the Toronto blessing!
I used to think life was serious stuff;
I didn’t dare cry, so I acted kind of tough
‘Til the Spirit of God put laughter in my soul,
Now the Holy Ghost’s got me, and I’m out of control!
Now I’m just a party animal grazing at God’s trough,
I’m a Jesus junkie, and I can’t get enough!
I’m an alcoholic for that great New Wine,
‘Cause the Holy Ghost is pouring, and I’m drinking all the time!
Now I laugh like an idiot and bark like a dog,
If I don’t sober up, I’ll likely hop like a frog!
And I’ll crow like a rooster ‘til the break of day,
‘Cause the Holy Ghost is moving, and I can’t stay away!
Now I roar like a lioness who’s on the prowl,
I laugh and I shake, maybe hoot like an owl!
Since God’s holy river started bubbling up in me,
It spills outside, and it’s setting me free!
So, I’ll crunch and I’ll dip and I’ll dance round and round,
‘Cause the pew was fine, but it’s more fun on the ground!
So I’ll jump like a pogo stick, then fall on the floor,
‘Cause the Holy Ghost is moving, and I just want MORE!
Call it a hunch, but I’ll go out on a limb here and suggest that God did not give her this song.
That’s enough of Counterfeit Revival. Another book I spent some time in this weekend is, Whatever Happened to the Reformation, edited by Gary Johnson and R. Fowler White. Contributors include Michael Horton, R.C. Sproul, David Wells, John MacArthur and others.
In Gary Johnson’s opening chapter I found the following quote:
“Evangelicals are at a crossroads. Will they return to their Reformational roots or will they abandon them? Alister McGrath has written that while the Reformation should not be allowed to dominate the horizons of evangelicalism, yet the Reformation must remain a focus and defining point of reference for all who call themselves evangelical. B.B. Warfield, however, is more direct. “It is just as well that the world should realize with increased clearness that Evangelicalism stands or falls with Calvinism, and that every proof of Evangelicalism is a proof of Calvinism.” This was Warfield’s way of saying that apart from the Reformation there is no evangelicalism.”
I am sure many will not agree with this, especially with Warfield’s quote. Clearly it was written at a time when Evangelical and Calvinist were seen, by many, as being synonymous. This is, of course, no longer the case, as these words are more often used as opposites. In many people’s eyes either a person is Evangelical or he is a Calvinist. There are some within Calvinist circles who are trying to recover the word “Evangelical” while more have given up on it altogether and suggest allowing it to fall out of use. Last month Matthew Hall indicated his desire to jump off now. And who can blame him?
The next chapter of the same verse, written by Douglas M. Jones is called Dismantling the Postmodern Prison.” Judging by the following words, I presume Jones is no fan of postmodernism.
“Postmodern thought is a wonderful failure of imagination. Few, if any, intellectual currents have made so much out of so little. It has only a small core of simplistic, absolute claims that it reapplies over and over, with little variation or creativity. Yet at the same time it surrounds these stern absolutes with a glow of linguistic foreplay, enticing the bored with polygamous hyphens, encircled sentences, and promiscuous nominalizations – forever totalization, indetermination, inclusion, marginalization. In the end, we see that it is first and foremost concerned not with literary meaning of epistemology, but brute justice. As such it shows itself to be the Iago of modernity, piously denouncing the crimes it demands for itself alone. In a snapshot, self-conscious postmodernism (or poststructuralism or neo-pragmatism) is the view which infers that all social hierarchies are evil from the claim that all knowledge is subjective and relative.”
I suppose this stood out to me because I was taken with the barely-suppressed disgust and sarcasm bubbling just below the surface of his words. “Enticing the bored,” “polygamous hyphens” and “linguistic foreplay” – those terms are both creative and brilliant. I was reminded of Dr. Mike’s recent post about postmodernism. He writes,
“PoMo is insidious: it spreads like a virus throughout the body of Christ, invading reasonably healthy cells here and there. It changes the internal structure of the infected cell and begins to replicate itself. Often the cell has no idea of what has happened, only that some change has occurred and things seem to be different now. … It is also an evolving, somewhat-nebulous philosophy. Of the many heads on this ear-tickling Hydra, one in particular has triggered the present post: PoMo is characterized by an erosion of authority.”
You can read more about “The PoMo Undercurrent in the Blogdom of God” here.
And that is a snapshot of my weekend. Of course I also read Stealing Sheep, a book which has fostered some interesting discussion in the forums.
Just when I thought I was catching up with my reading, I got a new shipment of books this morning. This included Blue Like Jazz, a book that I have been told I will dislike, but I will approach open-minded. It also included another book by D.A. Carson and some interesting titles by G.I. Williamson. I think I will have to give up on reading some of the twenty seven books on my “to read” shelf.