A couple of poor souls have unintentionally given us golden examples of why it is valid to fault the best for giving cover to the worst.
A number of dainty souls didn't like, and fretted anxiously about, this Twitter hashtag. Our focus isn't the hashtag itself, or all the broken tea-cups it's caused. It's these two Tweets:
That ignoramous, Wayne Grudem. Who gave him a doctorate anyway?cRT @BibChr: Hebrew? Greek? Pah! Why study?! #CharismaticismInFiveWords
— bradford davis (@_BWD_) August 8, 2013
Carson, Grudem, Keener, Piper, Storms. #CharismaticisminFiveWords
— Jeff Doles (@JeffDoles) August 9, 2013
With those in mind, scan the rest of my Tweets under the hashtag. You know, if you want to.
Leave aside whether you think this is wise, loving, winsome, effective, ambassadorial, ecumenical, or eco-friendly or likely to produce global warming. I only have one question: given the limitations of 140 characters, and given that I have dozens of long-form essays on record and internationally-accessible, are my criticisms accurate and vitally important criticisms of the distinctives of Charismaticism/"continuationism"?
|"Dan who? Sure, you bet: him too!"|
- Those who love and know God's word and know Charismaticism, and therefore basically agree with the observations.
- Those who don't know one, the other, or both.
- Those in serious denial about Charismaticism/"continuationism."
So, with that established, what do my Tweets target in Charismaticism and "continuationism"?
- Prizing experience over truth.
- Unbiblical redefinition of prophecy to validate and legitimatize their experience.
- Unbiblical redefinition of tongues to validate and legitimatize their experience.
- Mistaking feelings for reality.
- Mistaking self-image for reality.
- Complete absence of Acts 4:16-level "gifts"-activity since the first century, endlessly rationalized.
- Playing host to (and providing cover fire for) the very worst false teachers.
- Avoiding Biblical assessment at all costs, and shaming any who attempt Biblical assessment.
- Effectively sidelining the Word of God.
- Promising the moon, delivering nothing but excuses, dodges, and blame-shifting — at best.
- Effectively relocating the center of authority from God's Word to internal feelings and experiences.
And so don't you see, this whole "Now now now, you mustn't lump them all together" argument just doesn't work. The worst practices are rationalized by adducing some (otherwise) really good names. I point out that Charismaticism/"continuationism" is not marked by much concern with Hebrew, Greek, exegesis... and "Wayne Grudem! Your argument is invalid!"
Well no, it isn't. One man who's done a lot of terrific work except for his terrible work on "prophecy," etc. does not change the movement's characteristic hue.
I think we all agree we don't want to worship men, and that would include the three I've named. But I for one have no problem admiring them, looking up to them with respect, recommending them and their work... and, at the same time, being able to say when I think they're dead-wrong.
Does having one really-good guy make a movement good? Or three? Or twenty-three? Is that how we evaluate things Biblically now? Stack up the names on each side?
(Aside: boy oh boy, should Charismatics/"continuationists" ever not want to play that game!)
In that case, we all had better start spattering water on our unsuspecting little babies, and calling the Pope the antichrist, and forgetting about most of the unfulfilled prophecies of the OT ever coming true in any sense authors or readers would ever recognize.
And in that case, perhaps instead of names like "Acts 29" and such, we should creating ministries called "John 7:48 Ministries," or "1 Corinthians 1:12 Ministries."
Grudem has done some great work, as I said. John Piper helped me out of depression. D. A. Carson is a lighthouse in the academic world. I recommend many of their books.
But to discuss that meaningfully — unless you want to take a few hours while I counter by naming off every notable non-Charismatic, non-"continuationist" Christian over the last 1900+ years — I guess we'll just have to get to Scripture and facts and logic.
You know, like we've done here since the very start, and like I've done in both blogs and other public venues, for about the last three decades.