We have now arrived at the countdown of the top ten most popular posts of all time with readers of this blog. No. 10 appeared on July 19, 2007, and of all the posts I have written, this one is probably my own personal favorite. It is a rallying call to a kind of Christianity that is not ashamed to embrace the best from many different backgrounds.
The last four words of the above title are not new to me, but they are certainly resonating with me at the moment — “I Want It All!” Why should I have to choose, for example, between being enthusiastic about theology and being charismatic?
I know what some of you are thinking as you’ve been reading my posts on the Together On a Mission conference. You’re wondering why it is that someone who is so enthusiastic about what was obviously a very charismatic conference can also be deeply committed to defending and understanding biblical doctrine. I know it’s hard for some of you to believe, but it really is the same me who wrote all those posts on the atonement who also was so deeply touched by this latest conference. For those of you who have never met one, I am indeed that rare breed — a Reformed Charismatic.
Too often, however, the temptation for me is to downplay one side of that equation or the other in order to appear “balanced.” When I am with the charismatics, my reformed doctrine often appears alien to them, although in the UK, Newfrontiers offers a major exception to that with over 200 churches that are broadly reformed and charismatic. When I’m with the reformed, I’m tempted to soften my charismatic viewpoint and not speak too much of the things I have seen and experienced. Why is it that on this issue, as on so many others, the Church seems to be split in half? Why can’t we be both radically reformed and radically charismatic? Why do we see a conflict and therefore try to play down both in order to be “balanced?” I don’t want to be balanced, I want it all!
On the one hand there are those who care about theology enough to study God’s Word in detail, weigh scripture against scripture, study great theological minds, and preach intellectually stimulating messages that would stretch even a PhD in Theology — which, incidentally, I am certainly not! Why is it that for the majority of us, if we want such a feast for our minds, we must sacrifice certain other things? Why are some leaders in the Church committed to theology almost exclusively? Is even great theology so captivating that it is the only need of the Church? I don’t believe it can be, or God would have given us a Bible that was a systematic theology and not the one we have, which is essentially a collection of lots of stories with a few doctrinal portions.
Read more . . . I Don’t Want Balance! I Want It All!