How I read the Bible differently than John MacArthur

John-MacArthurA friend pointed me to Tim Challies’ recent interview with John MacArthur in which MacArthur doubled down on the claims made in his Strange Fire conference condemning the charismatic movement in Christianity. While I don’t have time to consider MacArthur’s scriptural arguments exhaustively, one of the passages he used to support his cessationist view that the Holy Spirit has stopped revealing things to people in the way that happened in Biblical times is Ephesians 2:20. I find his use of this passage providentially ironic and a good opportunity to illustrate how differently we read the Bible.

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How does the Bible model Biblical discernment? (Acts 15)

Two weeks ago, Jonathan Martin kicked off his “Both And” sermon series on Biblical interpretation by looking at the story of Acts 15, when the Jerusalem church officially decided that circumcision would not be required of the Gentiles. Jonathan titled his sermon “Spirit, Word, Community” after the three components of spiritual discernment that are in play in this passage. These are similar to the four aspects of the Wesleyan Quadrilateral: scripture, tradition, reason, and experience. What is interesting and scandalous about Acts 15 is that the charismatic witness of the Holy Spirit (i.e. experience) has a much greater role to play for the church than scripture itself. Continue reading

Communion: when we “become” the Bible

This morning we kicked off our 8:30 am Wednesday morning prayer service for the fall. Basically what we do is listen to God through various means of prayer: liturgical, silent, extemporaneous, etc. We close by lifting up the concerns of the church. My favorite part happens in the middle when we read a scripture, meditate in silence, and then speak as the Spirit leads. It was during this time today that my sister Jacque said something that blew my mind. Continue reading