In the Spirit & Dancing Calvinists (Monday Links & Quotes)

. . .the book should be evaluated for what it is: A popular-level work–notice the absence of footnotes!–that takes the inspiration of Scripture for granted and that seeks to reflect on what inspiration means in light of the actual phenomena in Scripture. A sympathetic reading would suggest that pursuing the questions further is precisely what Enns intended for his readers to do.


Michael Bird: Young, Restless, and Emergent – Not!

. . . the sum of my Calvinism is this: people suck and God saves them, the rest is commentary. For a bit more detail, in my reading of the New Testament and from observing life in general, God breathes life into the spiritually dead and God justifies the ungodly not the just. . . However, one thing I do regret as an ex-YRR type is that my love for Reformed theology often surpassed my love for others. . . I was more known for my love of theology than for my love of people. What I have learnt is that, while they are not incompatible, the Jesus Creed trumps the Confession!

. . . reasons why I no longer consider myself among the YRR: (1) The YRR crowd (esp. the neophytes) seem to forget that there was a church before Luther and there was a healthy amount of diversity in the Reformed tradition over soteriology and ecclesiology. In other words, the YRR have forgotten the catholic vision of the church and become ignorant of the diversity of the Reformed tradition itself. (2) Many of the idols and icons of the YRR have turned into a magisterium of Reformed mega-pastors and speak as if they are the gate keepers orthodoxy. What is more, they all gravitate strongly towards Systematic Theology and anything that leads people to question the hegemony of the “system” (like biblical theology – don’t get me started on that one) is attacked. (3) In terms of theological essentials, I am not convinced that one particular expression of biblical authority (inerrancy) and one view of gender (complementarianism) are the twin pillars of orthodoxy. Biblical authority matters immensely and having a biblical view of male and female relationships in creation, redemption, marriage, ministry, and the church is crucial too; but I’m not sure that CBMW and the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy is exactly what Jesus and the Apostles had in mind (and the same holds for the opposite poles of CBE and Errancy).

Gentle Wisdom’s Peter Kirk visits the Dudley Outpouring.

. . . Of course it was bound to take a long time to anoint over a thousand people. How they handled it was to line people up across the front of the hall facing the stage, with space behind them. Trevor walked across the line touching each forehead briefly with the cloth; I reckon he was taking less than two seconds per person. At the touch most people fell over, and were caught by “catchers” and lay on the floor- but only briefly. For, as Trevor had warned would happen, after only about five seconds each person was encouraged by the catcher to stand up immediately and move away, so that a new line could be ready as soon as Trevor finished the old one. It was a bit like serving communion at my church, but faster.

Eventually, just before midnight, I got my place in a line. Despite this conveyor belt approach, necessary simply because of the numbers, this was a profound experience. The cloth touched my forehead with a slight pressure but nothing like enough to push me over. But as it did I felt the power of the Holy Spirit come on me and nudge me over. This is not the first time this has happened to me, and sometimes I have fallen over, although at other times for various reasons I have chosen to stay on my feet. Last night I let myself fall over, and was caught gently and laid on the floor. . .

Spirits in a Material World: A Multi-Blog Conversation James F. McGrath

There is a conversation going on around the blogosphere. It includes Larry Moran’s posts on “Sophisticated Religion“, “Sophisticated Believers“, and most recently “Clear as Mud”. Drew Tatusko has contributed a post on “God and Supernaturalism“as well as “Dear Atheist“. My own posts include “Does Being Exist?” and “Not Getting Through“. Carlo posted on “How To Speak To Scientists” and Qalmlea posted “Dragon Winds Around the Pillar“.

Would if be going too far to say that those who have had mystical experiences are in very much the position of sighted people trying to explain color to the blind, or music lovers trying to explain why a piece moves them so much to someone who is tone deaf? In this conversation, however, it is not clear that the other side of the conversation is “disabled”. They simply have no interest in understanding the experience or appreciating the music. And there is no way I can introduce someone to the music or why it moves me just by talking in abstract terms about something that is deeply experiential.

Bauckham critiques Moltmann’s exegesis – (Scripture and Theology)

that ‘what little exegesis’ Moltmann offers on the things of time and eternity ‘tends to be remarkably ignorant and incompetent’ engaging in ‘exegetical fantasy’, a ‘substitute for disciplined exegesis’ (pp. 179f.). Moltmann’s reply reveals what is perhaps the Achilles’ heel of his whole theology. Bauckham, he says, is a New Testament scholar and he is not; Bauckham is thus ‘bound to a literal exegesis and committed to the colleagues in his particular field’ whereas he himself must develop his own theological relationship to the texts; he (Moltmann) is a ‘hearer of the texts’ who ‘becomes a friend of the texts, who discusses with them what they are talking about’ but, unlike the biblical Richard Bauckhams of this world, the theologian, or theology, ‘is not subject to the dictation of the texts, or the dictatorship of the exegetes’ (p. 230).

Teaching a Calvinist to Dance (James K.A Smith)

It can be a little intimidating in a Reformed context to admit that one is Pentecostal. . . I think Pentecostal spirituality and charismatic worship take the sovereignty of God so seriously that you might actually be surprised by God every once in a while. You are open and expectant that the Spirit of God is sometimes going to surprise you, because God is free to act in ways that might differ from your set of expectations. . .

The heart and soul of that Pentecostal spirituality is not the manifestations, but rather the courage and openness to see God in those unexpected manifestations, and to say, “This is what the Spirit promised.” . . .

. . . most Reformed folk have learned habits of worship that effectively constrain the sovereignty of God by adopting highly defined and narrow expectations of the Spirit’s operations. I long for a kind of “Pentecostalized” Reformed spirituality that expects the sovereign Lord to show up in ways that might surprise us.

. . .I’ve always found it a bit strange that Reformed worship so often treats human beings as if we’re brains-on-a-stick. All week long we talk about how good creation is, how good embodiment is. But then we have habits of worship that merely deposit great ideas in our heads, making us rather cerebral disciples. . .

Pentecostals, on the other hand, embody their spirituality. I would argue that Pentecostal worship is the extension of the Reformed intuition about the goodness of creation and the goodness of embodiment.

2 thoughts on “In the Spirit & Dancing Calvinists (Monday Links & Quotes)

  1. David Ker says:

    You have excellent taste.

  2. Ben says:

    Flattery will get you everywhere.

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