I am of course in agreement with you in most of what you said. However the following I can not agree with you on.
You said: "P.S. I don't think charismatics are Christians, so your example is poor and nearly useless."
So you are saying that people such as the late Martyn Lloyd-Jones and John Piper are not Christians? I am not a Charismatic, but the first Calvinists I ever met were. They are very fine Christian people.
When John Piper visited in England in 1997 he spoke at Clarendon Fellowship and the Banner of Truth Conference. Clarendon is part of the Pioneer House Church movement verging on restorationist theology. During the conference Piper displayed intense emotional reactions in corporate worship: tears, hand raising, etc. At the same time the review of the conference by Banner of Truth and another journal (CRN) both criticized Piper's 'Christian Hedonism' primarily on the grounds that the theology is charismatic. Such a claim Piper denies in a sermon entitled, "Brothers Consider Christian Hedonism." Piper outlines the reasoning behind his belief that our duty as a Christian is to maximize our joy in God:
Christian hedonism aims to replace a Kantian morality with a biblical one. Immanuel Kant, the German philosopher who died in 1804, was the most powerful exponent of the notion that the moral value of an act decreases as we aim to derive any benefit from it. Acts are good if the doer is "disinterested." We should do the good because it is good. Any motivation to seek joy or reward corrupts the act.
Against this Kantian morality (which has passed as Christian for too long!), we must herald the unabashedly hedonistic biblical morality. Jonathan Edwards, who died when Kant was 34, expressed it like this in one of his early resolutions: "Resolved, to endeavor to obtain for myself as much happiness in the other world as I possibly can, with all the power, might, vigor and vehemence, yea, violence, I am capable of, or can bring myself to exert, in any way that can be thought of."
IMHO, Piper uses some of the teachings of Jonathan Edwards as a springboard to give credence to his own in the area of "Christian hedonism" in an unwarranted manner. Methinks that Piper's teaching is a bit extreme and cannot be justified from either Edwards' writings nor Scripture. This does not mean, however, that Piper is to be judged to be a non-Christian, but only that these particular views he holds are in error.
I think a better question would be to ask what makes a Charismatic not a Christian. It is by distinguishing their errors with regard to salvation that we could make a case rather than focusing on their lack of cessationism.
If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself. Augustine of Hippo
Being a reformed theologian does not necessitate one be a true Christian. How many people? You seem to use this line quite often and now I am curious as to your evidence. Having a large following also does not necessitate truth.
Charismatics, at least ALL I know do not support Sola Scriptura instead supporting continued revelation. An incredible majority are Pelagian/Arminian as well. The entire movement is based upon some very grievous interpretations of scripture due to the notion that the all you need is yourself and a Bible for truth. How about that second working of the Spirit or the belief that tongues MUST follow baptism of the Spirit? Nearly the entirety of charismatic theologians are dispensational. I could go on, but suffice it to say that I personally believe that a vast majority of charismatics are simply deluded.
I can not prove to you that RC Sproul or anyone (including you)is a Christian, let alone Martyn Lloyd-Jones is a Christian. However, I have a good idea that they are Christians, because of what they have written or said.
The Highway has many articles written by Martyn Lloyd-Jones, perhaps you should read some of these. I don't want to speak for Pilgrim, but unless I am mistaken he would afirm with me that he (Martyn Lloyd-Jones) is a fellow Christian. He obviously doesn't agree with his Charismatic leanings, but he wouldn't question whether or not he is a true Christian.
I have nearly 60 books by Martyn Lloyd-Jones and feel very comfortable with most of what I have read from him. Much of his material on the Holy Spirit (Joy Unspeakable) is incorrect for sure, but to call him "deluded," seems rather disrespectful and not understanding what he, by the Spirit of God, accomplished for the Church. In his day he was one of the most profound ministers of the Gospel in existence. He was so deluded his commentary on Romans was only 14 volumes (a couple more are being produced now to finish the set), and he only wrote 8 volumes on Ephesians.
While I do not agree with a great majority of Charismatic theology, I would be far from calling everyone of them unregenerate, deluded, etc. IMHO it would be better said that they may be unlearned in some areas and in need of of some proper instruction. Of course there are some like Wayne Gruden and Martyn Lloyd-Jones we could all gain from in return.
He was so deluded his commentary on Romans was only 14 volumes (a couple more are being produced now to finish the set), and he only wrote 8 volumes on Ephesians.
Again, number of commentaries means salvation? I might be wrong.......the church of Rome has written a few hundred more but I somehow fail to see the connection. Now, let's deal with the real issue, how far can one be outside orthodoxy and remain Christian? Nobody seems willing to answer this in the thread on Essentials, yet we all seem rather willing to defend our pet theologians rather quickly. Who else should we now include? How about Rod Parsley? Benny Hinn? Pope John Paul? I am unwilling to accept an open canon as a Christian belief. I never spoke directly about any specific person but as the group as a whole. Maybe one of you two could explain to us all the good the charismatic movement has brought about? How about if we just limit it to how charismatic theology upholds historical truths set forth by the Church? That should be a short list. Coming out of this very movement, I stand firm that an incredible majority of charismatics are deluded.
Again, number of commentaries means salvation? I might be wrong.......the church of Rome has written a few hundred more but I somehow fail to see the connection.
No, writing a number of commentaries about any book of the Bible does not prove one’s salvation, any more then the number of your posts here prove you are. The connection is that the books of Romans and Ephesians speak a lot about salvation and the “Dr.” exegetes them ever so carefully. If he believes what he wrote there then he is a Christian. Have you ever read them?
Now, let's deal with the real issue, how far can one be outside orthodoxy and remain Christian? Nobody seems willing to answer this in the thread on Essentials, yet we all seem rather willing to defend our pet theologians rather quickly. Who else should we now include? How about Rod Parsley? Benny Hinn? Pope John Paul?
The real issue in this thread is Are Charismatics Christians? and not the Essentials. So, let us get back to the real issue in this thread: To Tom’s question, “So you are saying that people such as the late Martyn Lloyd-Jones and John Piper are not Christians?” and his statement, “I believe, Martyn Lloyd-Jones could be called a Charismatic however. Yet many Calvinists call him one of the greatest Reformed theologians of the last century,” you answered, “Being a reformed theologian does not necessitate one be a true Christian.” While I would agree with you that being Reformed does not necessitate anyone being a Christian, you were answering whether or not “Martyn Lloyd-Jones and John Piper are Christians” (as attested directly above in your answer to me). Now, if your intent is to say they are not saved what evidence do you have? As far as Essentials read, "Essential Truths of the Christian Faith," by R. C. Sproul.
Maybe one of you two could explain to us all the good the charismatic movement has brought about? How about if we just limit it to how charismatic theology upholds historical truths set forth by the Church? That should be a short list. Coming out of this very movement, I stand firm that an incredible majority of charismatics are deluded.
You just answered your own question, “Coming out of this very movement…”. William God does not make mistakes in His providence. If you were a Charismatic then it was within the plan of God for some reason. There was something there you needed—not just to be able to state they are delusional. Are any individuals actually saved in the Charismatic movement by their witnessing, etc. You would be hard pressed to say “no.” As matter a fact my sister-in-law and her husband were lead to Christ a while back in their movement. Her husband began asking questions about 2 months ago, and now he has seen “more” light and joined a PCA Church a few weeks back. Though one is drawn to Christ despite what is taught in many cases, still there is "some truth" in these denominations (Philippians 1:18). Though there is a lot of undoctrinal beliefs in several movements making blanket statements about them as you have here is unwarranted IMHO.
If he believes what he wrote there then he is a Christian. Have you ever read them?
No. Once again, since you seemed to miss this, I never questioned anybody specifically. If you wish to continue to beat this dead horse, do so. The argument holds zero merit. However, I suppose you can now list what the essentials are?
Now who is being delusional comparing the likes of Benny Hinn to Martyn Lloyd-Jones?
I made no such comparison. I simply asked where we draw the line for charismatic theologians. Please stop misrepresenting my words.
Now, if your intent is to say they are not saved what evidence do you have?
What do we use for anybody? Again, please respond in the Essentials thread and we can continue from there.
Though there is a lot of undoctrinal beliefs in several movements making blanket statements about them as you have here is unwarranted IMHO.
This line of discussion I find unnecessary. It could have taken a totally different direction if one of you would have rightly challenged Tom's assertion that Martyn Lloyd-Jones was or could have been considered to be a "Charismatic". IMHO, he was clearly NOT "A Charismatic", although he did hold to quasi-partial non-cessationist views. I have never read anything that he wrote where he would even entertain the idea of accepting extra-biblical revelation. If he did, I am not aware of it. From all that I have read of the man's writings, he was unwavering in his belief of a closed canon and that the inspired written Word of God was the sole and final authority in ALL matters of faith and practice.
If one is willing to accept that Lloyd-Jones cannot and should not be included in the definition of what makes a "Charismatic", then the issue whether he was a regenerate man due to his inclusion is a moot point.
Now as to my own position as to whether or not Charismatics can be/are saved, it is consistent with what I hold to be true about all sects (not cults). Blanket condemnations are ALWAYS wrong, because there is undoubtedly at least one individual within such groups who is a true believer and who is either ignorant of what the group teaches or who is inconsistent with what he SAYS and what he truly BELIEVES. The fact is we ALL are guilty of some degree of inconsistency between what we profess and what we truly believe, which belief resides in the heart and is often evident in visible actions. And as I have too often said, the fact that one may be saved within such a group does not give any validity to their heresy or aberrant teaching. Most are saved IN SPITE OF what is taught and not BECAUSE of it. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" /> Salvation is of the LORD. And history, both biblical and secular witnesses to the mystery of grace in saving sinners and delivering them from the most incredible situations, not the least being their own selves. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/joy.gif" alt="" />
It could have taken a totally different direction if one of you would have rightly challenged Tom's assertion that Martyn Lloyd-Jones was or could have been considered to be a "Charismatic". IMHO, he was clearly NOT "A Charismatic", although he did hold to quasi-partial non-cessationist views.
Yes, I see your point, however, there are many that consider him Charismatic as well (Piper and Grudem accept MLJ as a "C."). Several Reformed individuals I know will not read him because of this very fact. Thus, I chose not to challenge Tom's statement (Martyn Lloyd-Jones could be called a Charismatic, though I may challenge this later depending on context...) as it may very well be correct depending on one’s definition of Charismatic.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones was a cessationist, however, he did teach the Baptism of the Holy Spirit as a distinct experience to conversion. But, he came out very strongly against the Warfield kind of cessationism. He deals with the cessationist arguments and decides that they are based on conjectures and arguments from silence in order to justify a particular prejudice. He states emphatically, "To hold such a view," he says, "is simply to quench the Spirit" (see Piper's sermon below). In addition, MLJ spoke of “Seeking the Baptism of the Holy Spirit,” but this is not the same as speaking in tongues.... He looked at this as happening after regeneration. As matter a fact in his book Joy Unspeakable he states, “The Spirit does give experiences. I have tried to show that there is no experience possible to the Christian in this world higher than this experience of the baptism with the Spirit.” While I do believe MLJ was much more balanced than many I see today, none-the-less, he held to a second work of the Holy Spirit. This second work is consistent with what some would consider a Charismatic doctrine (but again it depends on one's definition of "C"). In addition, MLJ said such things as:
I think it is quite without scriptural warrant to say that all these gifts ended with the apostles or the Apostolic Era. I believe there have been undoubted miracles since then. (Iain H. Murray, David Martyn Lloyd-Jones: The Fight of Faith 1939-1981, p. 786. See also Joy Unspeakable, p. 246.)
It is perfectly clear that in New Testament times, the gospel was authenticated in this way by signs, wonders and miracles of various characters and descriptions ... Was it only meant to be true of the early church? ... The Scriptures never anywhere say that these things were only temporary—never! There is no such statement anywhere! (The Sovereign Spirit, p. 39).
MLJ also spoke out against what many Charismatics do as well; including tongues as seen today. An interesting, sermon on MLJ is A Passion for Christ-Exalting Power, by John Piper.