Thinking Out Loud

October 17, 2013

Attributes of God

Filed under: God — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:20 am

A W TozerAll In Cover“God is above, but He’s not pushed up. He’s beneath, but He’s not pressed down. He’s outside, but He’s not excluded. He’s inside, but He’s not confined. God is above all things presiding, beneath all things sustaining, outside of all things embracing, and inside of all things filling.”


~A. W. Tozer in The Attributes of God, as quoted by Mark Batterson in All In.

January 26, 2013

Defining Charismatic

Yesterday afternoon, I ran a post at Christianity 201 where the author gave seven reasons why he believes that the gifts of the Holy Spirit have not ceased to operate.

But Michael Patton, ever analytical, had blogged just the day before at Parchment and Pen about six characteristics he believes identifies Charismatic Christians. (He used a lower case ‘c’ but I have chosen to capitalize this where it refers to an admittedly diverse denomination, in the same way some are now arguing that Evangelical needs to be capitalized.)

1. Unusual attention given to the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer

2. The tendency to seek and expect miraculous healings

3. The tendency to seek and expect God’s direct communication (dreams, visions, experiences, personal encounters, etc.)

4. Unusual attention given to the presence of demonic activity in the world

5. Very  expressive worship

6. Belief in the continuation of all the gifts of the Holy Spirit

He spells out each of these, and then describes the entire spectrum of belief as to the gifts of the Spirit, ending up with this chart.  (I do appreciate his calling both extremes as unorthodox; you can tell me that the tongues and interpretation aren’t for today, but don’t try to tell me they never happened!)

Belief Spectrum - Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Read the entire article here.

I think his analysis is good, though his terminology is a bit intense.  Perhaps the charismatics I know are more conservative, or possibly he is envisioning charismatic believers in Africa or South America. I would rephrase his six points this way:

1. A distinct emphasis on the limitless power and work of the Holy Spirit in the world today

2. Expectant, faith-consumed prayer even in the face of great odds and obstacles

3. A belief that God speaks into the hearts and minds of his people through dreams, visions, circumstances and a ‘still small voice’

4. An acknowledgement that the Christian is always embroiled in spiritual warfare

5. Passionate worship

6. Belief in the continuation of all the gifts of the Holy Spirit

The problem with any doctrinal emphasis is that it always takes place at the expense of something else. So if you speak of an “unusual emphasis” on the Holy Spirit, or on demonic activity, are you doing so at the cost of not emphasizing the work of redemption on the cross, or the call to love our neighbors, or the priority of world missions? (Points 1 and 4)  The Charismatics — albeit with a few exceptions — that I know haven’t thrown the baby out with the bath water.

And if you believe that God is still in the business of impressing things on his people (Point 3) that doesn’t mean it is at the expense of not prioritizing the role of scripture. Most of the Charismatics I know have a good working knowledge of scripture.

I did leave one (Point 6) intact.  Good comments on the blog, too; one more time here’s the link.

August 16, 2012

When Fathers Cry

Filed under: bible, family, God, parenting — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:23 am

Alabama Pastor Scott McCown has been featured at C201 before, but this is his first time here.  You’re encouraged to read this at the original source and then browse the rest of Scott’s blog, The Morning Drive. (And yes pastors, you should file this away for Father’s Day…)

I have had a number of fathers cry while talking to me. Watching these men (strong men I look up to) cry started me thinking about the reasons why fathers cry.

Six main reasons fathers cry:

  1. Birth of child.
  2. School – that day you drop them off at Pre-school or kindergarten.
  3. When their children are hurting physically or emotionally.
  4. When their disobey and rebel.
  5. When their children leave the nest (I have seen as many fathers crying at weddings as I have mothers).
  6. When they come home (cf. Luk 15:7).

God is our Father who cries:

  1. When a child is born into His family. (Joh 3:5 – new birth; 3Jo 4; 2Th 2:19-20).
  2. When we enter the school of life (Mat 10:5ff).
  3. When we are hurt (Psa 18:1-6; Luk 7:11-14).
  4. When we disobey (Luk 15:11ff; Gal 1:6-7).
  5. When we rejoice (Rom 12:15; Isa 62:5; Joh 15:11; Psa 35:27).
  6. When we come home (Luk 15:7, 10, 20-24).

Are God’s tears for you, tears of joy or tears of heartbreak?

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