He began the series a while ago, but he really got my attention when a few weeks ago, he mentioned Dan Wallace. I scratched my head as he spoke (inwardly; I would not continually scratch my head in church lest someone conclude that I have dandruff) because I knew that name was familiar. It all came back to me about a week or two later when I was skimming some blogs.
My pastor related how Dan Wallace, a Dallas Theological Seminary professor and self-declared cesssationist found that in a time of crisis, the bible was not enough for him. Being a bible scholar, he had spent years focusing on the text and what it said. However, he found that his faith had become more academic than personal, and that was not enough to get him through the dark waters in which he found himself. The pastor has been using this story to introduce his discussion on the Holy Spirit for the past three weeks. From the beginning, he has promised to share some of Wallace's theses regarding the Holy Spirit.
The reason he keeps me coming back for more is that he is taking his sweet time in handing out Wallace's theses. I think the only way for me to actually see them all before the pastor shares them from the pulpit is to buy the book from which they come. I don't plan on doing that, because Frank Turk just convinced me to buy David Wells' new book.
On Sunday night, he gave us the first three of eleven (I think eleven; it might be thirteen). I thought I'd share the first three of these theses. These are not word for word quotations. These are my quickly written praphrases, so I hope I'm getting them right:
- All of the sign gifts died in the first century, but the Holy Spirit did not. The Holy Spirit can speak to us apart from the Word of God, but never contradict it.
- Although charismatics may have put too much emphasis on "experience" and "relationships," some evangelicals have put too much emphasis on knowledge, making faith an academic thing.
- The emphasis on knowledge over relationships can result in bibliolatry. Some cessationists have a tendency to revere the bible almost as if it is part of the Trinity.
I hope I've reproduced those correctly. Like I said, I don't have the book, Who's Afraid of the Holy Spirit, and I don't believe the pastor does either. I do think he has a copy of the opening essay, which is written by Wallace. The remainder of the book is written by other authors.
I don't know where the pastor is headed with this. Certainly, he must have his own position on the Holy Spirit. He is himself an avowed cessationist, and I've heard him preach enough to have a rough idea of what he believes with regard to the Holy Spirit. On Sunday night, he was quite adamant about his opinion of people who think they are "healers" or are "prophets" with a "new" message for the masses. He even gave a warning about Joel Osteen, at which point, my daughter found my gaze and smiled at me, because she knows how much I wish Mr. Osteen would try his hand at toothpaste commercials instead of theology. My apologies to any Mr. Osteen supporters out there; it's nothing personal.
I'll be interested to see the pastor's response to all of these theses. I hope we can get to the rest of them next week.