Monday, May 24, 2010

Right Pneumatology

John 16:14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

14 ἐκεῖνος ἐμὲ δοξάσει, ὅτι ἐκ τοῦ ἐμοῦ λήμψεται καὶ ἀναγγελεῖ ὑμῖν.

I met a hospice chaplain a few weeks ago who taught me something really powerful about this verse.  Here Jesus is speaking of the Holy Spirit.  On a side exegetical note, you may notice that ἐκεῖνος is masculine rather than neuter.  The Holy Spirit is a He, not an it as some would say.  He is as much a part of the Godhead as Jesus and the Father.

So what of this verse?  This man was raised Catholic, and he came to know Christ after his parents were saved at a charismatic prayer meeting.  This man is a charismatic in the vein of C.J. Mahaney.  The point he made to me is that, unlike the "charismaniacs" who jump around and look for ecstatic experiences all the time, he understands the Holy Spirit's role as being there to glorify Jesus.  As I came across this verse today it really clicked for me.

I am not a cessationist, but I am very cautious about the charismatic gifts.  I have never personally experienced them, but have heard stories that seem legitimate.  I am very zealous about the fact that we have a closed canon with the Word of God.  We do not need to go beyond that for any instruction.  I do not think that it is reasonable to go through the New Testament and come to a cessationist position just based on what you read.  It takes a systematic theologian to get us there.  Yet we do need to be cautious.  By "charismaniac" I refer to the types of services where deacons are on hand to stretch people out before the service so they don't pull a hammy while jumping around.  I think that there is a reasonable middle ground here.  Just don't try to add to Scripture.

The point is that it all gets back to Jesus.  Are your charismatic experiences glorifying to Jesus?  In this man's case, they certainly were as the Spirit saved his family so that they may give glory to Jesus.  The Spirit regenerates the hearts of sinners so that they might believe in Jesus and be saved.  Salvation is a supernatural work to be sure.  Let's give the Spirit His due.  I'm afraid that in my circles He is often given short shrift.

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