Is he becoming charismatic? Or is it rather a simple case of leaving aside any fear concerning such labels and seeking the Word and the Spirit, or as he puts it — the Sword and the Swordsman. I am sure that it is the latter. One of the tragedies of the church today is that in some circles people seem to be afraid to speak of the Holy Spirit. I am so glad that in this comment Steve said what he did.
There is nothing in this comment — which he addressed directly to me — that I disagree with or could say better. It is so good and the post is a few days old, so I thought I would republish it here. If I was to draft a reply to Steve, it would just say “Amen and Amen and Amen!”
I thought this was a very good and helpful article by John Piper. In the Reformed camp (no pun intended) we have unashamedly embraced The Sword (sound doctrine, theology, etc.), but in some respects, have we not with the same conviction and freedom embraced The Swordsman (the Holy Spirit)? Many of my reformed friends are also asking and wrestling with that same question today– It is good to remember, that the Word of God IS the sword of the Holy Spirit (Eph 6:17); written by the Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21); and understood only through the illuminating power of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 2:11-13). After reading his article I must ask the difficult question, have I in my own walk with the Lord had an imbalance between the Sword and the Spirit that needs to be corrected? I think so. It is the passion of my life to study God’s Word and communicate its truth in song and word. BUT, I also [think] it is not a mechanical thing (as D. M. Lloyd-Jones would say); there must also be, what some have referred to as “the unction” of the Holy Spirit (indwelt and empowered with).
IMHO, what Dr. Piper is talking about is a faith that is not extra-biblical, but deeply rooted in the Scriptures, yet unmistakably alive. As my friend, Dr. Stephen Olford once told me many years ago, “if we have only truth, we dry up; if we have only spirit, we flare up; but if we have spirit and truth, we grow up.” That is my prayer…
The Apostle Paul encourages us with these helpful words:
Rom. 15:13-20 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another. But I have written very boldly to you on some points so as to remind you again, because of the grace that was given me from God, to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest the gospel of God, so that my offering of the Gentiles may become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Therefore in Christ Jesus I have found reason for boasting in things pertaining to God. For I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed, in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit; so that from Jerusalem and round about as far as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. And thus I aspired to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, so that I would not build on another man’s foundation; (NASB – emphasis Steve Camp
Here Paul is making the proclamation of the gospel and the Word of God inseparable from the power and work of the Holy Spirit. I hope that can encourage another here today.
Thank you for bringing this issue to my heart and mind today (and to Justin Taylor where I saw your comment and link). I also appreciated the balanced wisdom you have demonstrated in presenting its truth.
His unworthy servant in His unfailing love,
2 Cor 4:5-7″