How Charismatic are YOU? A Spectrum of belief and practice

Today, in the tradition of my previous Arminocalvinist Spectrum, Evolution vs Creationism Spectrum and Spectrum of belief on hell and salvation  I present a "Charismatic-cessationist spectrum."  For some more background on this issue, and a fairly typical charismatic perspective see my series of posts on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.  As usual this may be a bit of a living document for a couple of days as I welcome suggestions for improvement from others.Intriguingly this spectrum is much har … [Read more...]

The vital roles of Union AND Fellowship with Jesus

This quote from Terry Virgo is just too good not to share.  Many people fail to appreciate the two very distinct yet crucial sources of comfort to the Christian.  They miss the power that is available to us. They miss the transformation God intends us to experience: Unbelievers are under the impression that Christians are forced into morality, obey rules and go to church. If they really understood that we’d found the secret of being content they’d wonder where we got it. And they’d queue up outsi … [Read more...]

Faith and Feelings Part Ten – Conversion is typically an emotional experience

Spurgeon argued yesterday that often feelings come before faith, (having previously denied it!).  In today's quote after carefully reminding us that not every conversion is a "typical" one he goes on to tell us how he feels the typical conversion occurs: Some men have the light of God; but they cannot tell when the light first came to them. Let none of you imagine that you are not converted because you do not know the hour when it occurred; otherwise, you would be as foolish as I should be if I … [Read more...]

Faith and Feelings Part Nine – Spurgeon suggests experience comes before knowledge after all

Today's quote from Spurgeon demonstrates that the man believed two points that many today would disagree with.  Firstly, he argues that intellectual assent to the gospel is insufficient for salvation, indeed that it may make you more worthy of damnation. Secondly, he seems to suggest that experience may well need to come first before faith. How many people do in fact say, "if I could just feel God, I would believe?" Finally he seems to believe that it is possible to have full assurance of faith … [Read more...]

Faith and Feelings Part Eight – High affections are to be desired

Jonathan Edward's great work Religious Affections was introduced to us in yesterday's quote.  In my mind there is probably no better book written to help us to grasp this vital subject (other than the Bible itself of course!)  We should by now be beginning to understand one of the most fascinating paradoxes, our feelings are meant to be a massive part of our Christian experience, and yet they are not always to be relied upon. This quote is vintage Edwards: Some are ready to condemn all high a … [Read more...]

Faith and Feelings Part Five – Learning from outside our comfort zones

Longtime readers of my blog may remember the days before I banned comments. If you do, you will remember that I gathered a group of people who seemed to disagree with almost everything I said. I stopped comments because I didn't have time to deal with everything they were saying, and because I found moderating very difficult. These days, that group largely finds expression through a blog written by someone who shares my surname, but despite rumors to the contrary is not related to me! If you … [Read more...]

Faith and Feelings Part Four – Spurgeon on Sealing and Faith

In today's quote Spurgeon introduces the vital concept of "sealing" or assurance of our faith and relates it ultimately to the line from our hymn: Note also that this sealing does not necessarily come at once with faith. It grows out of faith, and comes “after that ye believed.” We are not in every case sealed at the moment when we first trust in Jesus. I am persuaded that many who believe in Jesus enter into peace directly, and perceive at once the blessed assurance which is involved in their po … [Read more...]

Faith and Feelings Part Three – Spurgeon on how feelings do not produce faith

Our third quote in this little series, makes the very important point that however precious our experiences of God might be, a warm glowing feeling inside us never actually produces faith.  Some of my readers might be surprised to know that I wholeheartedly agree. Faith on the other hand, DOES produce feelings, as in the other two quotes, Spurgeon quotes our hymn: There are some who fancy that faith cometh by feeling. If they could feel emotions either of horror or of exquisite delight, they … [Read more...]

Faith and Feelings Part Two – MLJ on why we can't rely on feelings

Regular readers of this blog will know that I sit firmly in the tradition of Piper, Lloyd-Jones, Spurgeon, Edwards, and dare I say it Paul (!), who stresses the vital nature of the experiential side of Christianity. Now, as we begun yesterday, we are looking at the relationship between feelings and faith, initially by sharing some quotes from the very advocates of a pursuit of a real intimate relationship with God. Today Lloyd-Jones explains why we can't trust the sweetest frame that God may … [Read more...]

Faith and Feelings Part One – MLJ on the vital place but unreliability of feelings

As promised yesterday, we today begin a series exploring the implications of one line from an old hymn "I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholy lean on Jesus name." It is my assertion that the writer of the hymn must have known something of the sweet "frames of mind" that Jesus gives us. He would not have written as he did if he did not.These sweet experiences of God are to be sought, and according to the following quote from the good Doctor, they are actually essential. Yet the … [Read more...]


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