After watching the postings to this forum for several weeks, I'd like to make a few observations and ask a few rhetorical questions about the forum's purpose. PLEASE READ ALL OF THIS POST BEFORE JUDGING ANY OF IT:
  • Although I certainly would not venture to speak for anyone else here, I suspect that most of the people at this discussion board agree that the state of the visible Church is bad. The visible Church has been taken over by the world in so many ways that it's difficult to keep track of them all. It looks like the Charismatic movement is just one more aspect of this revolting state of affairs. Having been there and done that myself, I don't have any doubts about the veracity of the numerous critical comments made against the Charismatic movement. In some respects I was an ex-charismatic long before this forum moved to The-Highway, largely because I was disgusted by what I saw, and the Lord moved me out of that. In other ways, I still am a charismatic.
  • What I love about this discussion board -- even though I have sometimes felt roasted after the few posts that I've made -- is that there is an unwavering commitment to the doctrines of sovereign grace, the five points of Calvinism in all their ramifications and permutations. I reckon that NONE of the ex-charismatics who are coming here with legitimate grievances against the Charismatic movement were aware, while they were involved in that movement, that these doctrines even exist. That begs the question: If they had believed in these doctrines while they were involved in that movement, might that awareness of God's sovereignty have caused them to have a totally different experience?
  • Only a small percentage of the visible Church is reformed, i.e., dedicated to the doctrines of sovereign grace. That means that the vast majority of the visible Church are semi-Pelagian, and many who call themselves "Christian" are total Pelagians, and therefore not Christian at all. I reckon that an even smaller percentage of charismatics are reformed. In fact, I suspect that many people can't even conceive of Calvinism and charisms coexisting. But since the apostle Paul was both in many respects the original Calvinist and also the author of 1Corinthians 12, the doctrines of sovereign grace and charismatics clearly existed seamlessly in his mind. Is that not a standard worth acknowledging?
  • I reckon that many, if not most, of the people who frequent this website's Theological Discussion Forum, including the leaders, are "cessationists", meaning that they follow the Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 1, "Of the holy Scripture", 1, which says, "t pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal himself, and to ... commit the same wholly unto writing; which maketh the holy Scripture to be most necessary; those former ways of God's revealing his will unto his people being now ceased." --- Surely no real Bible-believing Christian denies that the canon of Scripture is closed until Jesus returns. But to step beyond that into believing in cessationism is something else. To base the belief in the closed canon on the assumption that "those former ways of God's revealing his will unto his people [are] now ceased", looks more than a little extreme. That's because basing belief in the closed canon on the assumption that all special revelation has ceased turns certain passages of Scripture, like 1Corinthians 12, into dead letters since 70AD.
  • Special revelation that deserves canonization has certainly ceased, because the canon is closed. But the claim that special revelation that is the basis for the charisms in 1Corinthians 12 has ceased demands proof. If anyone wants to turn any part of Scripture into a dead letter, they'd better have a really, really, really good reason. The Westminster divines didn't provide such a good reason. Scripture itself doesn't provide it. Convoluted rationalizations of academic theologians may at times pass for proof for those of us who lack mental energy to wade through it all. But it shouldn't pass for proof to any of us who value Scripture more than hot air.
  • So how should all these refugees from the semi-Pelagian / Pelagian breeds of charismania find refuge here at this ExCharisma forum without turning into cessationists? By following reliable, i.e., Calvinistic, doctrine that doesn't negate the charisms. The only systematic theology that qualifies, as far as I know, is Wayne Grudem's. At the risk of making myself even more [i]persona non grata at this discussion board than I already am, I need to add that the criticism of Grudem's treatment of special revelation found in this article, Does God Speak to us Today Apart from the Bible? (by Dr. R. Fowler White), isn't very convincing.
  • The association of addiction with charisms that appears in numerous posts in this forum merely shows that such charisms have been turned into idols. Since all humans are totally depraved idol-factories, we are all prone to idolatry. All it shows is that the charisms have been approached without sufficient respect for God, and have turned into idols that pose as gods that we bow down to like a heroin addict to his next fix. The addiction is proof that these refugees have been exercising the charisms with a defective theological foundation, i.e., as semi-Pelagians and Pelagians, and without sufficient reverence for the sovereignty of God. Reverence for the sovereignty of God is the only thing that keeps rotten humans from turning things into idols. But this fact should not discourage people from being charismatic, in the Calvinistic sense of the word, because one of the biggest problems that Christians have these days is that we don't seek God enough. We need to seek God more, not less. But we need to seek Him with the solid foundations that He's given us, not with cracked cisterns.

A Theological Inventory of American Jurisprudence
"Unjust law is not law." - Augustine (De Lib Arb, i, 5)