Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Reformed, Charismatic, Puritan, Etc ... Does It Matter?

I read Derrick's comment on my post "Is Grace A Cover Up?" in which he said:

"Bevere said, "Don't confuse between justification and sanctification."

Mark Driscoll (reformed) and John Bevere (charismatic?) are both saying the same thing and you are disagreeing with both.

I don't understand all these theological labels ... reformed, charismatic, puritan, anglican, methodist, baptist, pentecostal, lutheran, etc. Does the ordinary Christian appreciate the difference? Does it matter to him? Does it matter to God?

I read an article on christianpost entitled "Anglican Leader Proposes Two Ways of Being Anglican" which reported on Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams' response to the recent gay-affirming actions of The Episcopal Church.

The Episcopal Church approved two resolutions opening the ordination process to all baptized members, including practicing homosexuals, and calling for the development of liturgical resources for the blessing of same-sex unions, and Dr Williams "acknowledged the real possibility of the global body adopting a "two-track" model in which there would be "two styles of being Anglican." " as the "Anglican Communion rejects homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture".

Personally, I find this struggle to maintain "anglicanism" irrelevant because I find that the bible only recognizes 3 groups of people - the Jew, the Gentile and the Church. We, the Church, are the body of Christ and Christ is the head - "For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church." (Eph 5:23)

Instead of expending so much effort to define what it means to be an Anglican or a Methodist or Charismatic or Reformed or Puritan or Reformed Puritan, we should spend time discovering what it means to be in Christ and to have Christ in us.

The apostle John says in 1 John 5:20 - "And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life."

The apostle Paul himself was also concerned that the Church might lose its focus on Christ:
2 Cor 11:2-4
For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. I promised you as a pure bride to one husband—Christ. But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent. You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed.

Eph 1:15-23
Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

What is your identity? Isn't being a CHRISTian enough? Do we need to tag on all these labels?


Kat said...

Hi Stan,
Thanks for another great post :) I like the last sentence best "Isn't being a CHRISTian enough?"
I totally agree with that. Without Christ, the Christian is left with "ian" , the acronym for I Am Nothing.

Chinedu said...

That's a great post. There is only one body of Christ. That's us! I'm not Anglican, I'm not Pentecostal, I'm not even Protestant, I'm a believer in Christ. That's more than enough.
Jesus is my identity.

Angie said...

Wow Kat, that's a good one! :D

The Logical Mouse said...


You wrote "Does the ordinary Christian appreciate the difference?". How should I interpret this in your context. Do you imply that you are an extraordinary Christian ? You have to be. Why? You moved from AOG to NCC. It makes a difference to you. So I gather that you are extraordinary. If you say you are not extraordinary, then I gather that you do not mean what you write.

Also, can you explain to me why the leaders of these denominations created them in the first place? For their own purpose? As you have implied that ordinary Christian cannot appreciate the difference, then they did not create the denominations for them, then it must be for themselves.

Malcolm Loh said...

Hi Stan

Your post reminds me of one of the pastors in my church.

He has on several occasions urged us as Methodists to study the life of John Wesley and emulate him.

With all due respect, John Wesley was a mere mortal. I would rather study the life of Jesus and emulate Him, because He is God.

Derrick said...

Hi Stan

You missed my point. Of course being Christian is enough. It is ironic because that was my point! The pastors I quoted are from two very different traditions yet preaching the same gospel about grace and law.

I'm saying that you are disagreeing with the common teaching that the wide spectrum of Christianity is teaching.

Charles J Lake said...

spiritual pride in labels like neon lit signs obscuring the way the truth and the life that is He.

The Logical Mouse said...

Hi Stan

Why you put JP's book at the bottom of you Blog ? You getting any commission ?

The title is interesting. Just because he changed his name to Prince, he thinks he's going to be the King one day and rule the world ?

Let me know when it happens ok ?

Stanley Wong said...

Hi Derrick,

My point was that it does not matter what traditions the preachers come from as I focus only on the teaching, whether is is right or not according to the bible in the proper context.

Pastor Peter Youngren from Canada, Pastor Åge Åleskjær from Norway, Pastor Joel Osteen from America, Pastor Col Stringer from Australia ... they are pastors from different parts of the world, yet they preach the same gospel being preached by JP ie. the gospel of grace and grace alone ... why don't you take a look/listen at their preaching as well and check whether their preaching is consistent with scripture?

Derrick said...

Hi Stan

I have. Have you looked at critiques of their theology?

Stanley Wong said...

Hi Derrick,

Could you please clarify what you mean by "I have"?

Have you actually listened to the preaching of all the pastors I mentioned and checked against scripture or merely looked at critiques of their theology?

I don't know which critiques you are referring to but I have tackled articles by Rev Kong Hee, John MacArthur, John Piper and also "by" Rev Peter Koh (I have listed those articles in the centre column of my front page for easy reference).

However, my point in my previous comment was not meant to convince you that those pastors' theology is correct but rather to point out to you that even though two pastors from different traditons preached the same thing, it does not automatically mean that they are correct; just as four different pastors from four different countries preaching the same thing does not automatically make them correct.

We need to check all preaching with scripture to satisfy ourselves that it is correct and I am satisfied with the preaching of JP, Peter Youngren, Åge Åleskjær, Joel Osteen and Col Stringer; you are, of course, free to disagree and satisfy yourself with Mark Driscoll and John Bevere.

The Logical Mouse said...

You say you are right

They say they are right

Who is right depends on who you like ? No

Who is right depends on who God likes