Tag Archives: Evangelicalism

Five Action Verbs of the Holy Spirit (Updated)

 

 

The Holy Spirit’s Ministry in the Book of Acts

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

Acts 1:8 (ESV)

Biblically, the experience of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit can be described by the phrase, “one baptism, many fillings.” All believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit at conversion, but presently they may not be experiencing all his presence, benefits, power, and gifts. Therefore, renewal is needed as we seek to obey Paul’s injunction, “Be continuously filled with the Holy Spirit” (Eph. 5:18).

1. “Baptized”-The baptism of the Holy Spirit is an overwhelming experience of the Spirit’s presence, power, and purity: a total submergence within the person of the Holy Spirit. This individual experience is instantaneous and may be reoccurring. The Baptism refers to the initial work of the Spirit in uniting believers to Christ as well as on-going encounters with the Spirit bringing refreshment and strengthening in the Christian life (Mark 1:8; Acts 11:16).

2. “Filled”-The phrase, “to be filled,” points to an inner penetration or pervasion of the Spirit into my whole being as a believer. Also, “release” and “infilling” are terms which express the Spirit’s work of totally, inwardly occupying a believer’s heart and life (Acts 1:4; 9:17).

[It should be noted, that “baptized” and “filled” are the same event and denote the totality of the Spirit’s working both within and without in the believer’s life.]

3. “Outpouring”-The outpouring of the Holy Spirit suggests an overwhelming experience of the Spirit’s person and presence as well as to the idea of abundance (i.e., without limitation) (Joel 2:28-29; John 3:34; Acts 2:17-18, 33; 10:45).

4. “Falling of the Spirit”- Falling connotes suddenness, forcefulness, and power (Acts 2:21; 8:16; 10:44).

5. “Coming Upon” or “Clothed With”- To be clothed with the Holy Spirit expresses an active, continuing endowment of the Spirit: possession by and investiture with the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8; 19:6).

J. R. Williams, “Baptism in the Holy Spirit” in The New International Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements, Revised and Expanded, ed. Stanley M. Burgess (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002), 355.

When we are baptized with the Holy Ghost self is effaced in a glory of sacrifice for Jesus and we become His witnesses. Self-conscious devotion is gone, self-conscious service is killed, and one thing only remains, Jesus Christ first, second, and third.

Oswald Chambers, Bringing Sons into Glory : Studies in the Life of Our Lord (London: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1996), 41.

Evangelical First and Foremost

Why I Am an Evangelical First

For I delivered to you as of first importance (emphasis mine) what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.

1 Cor 15:3-5 (ESV)

In the Charismatic Episcopal Church (C.E.C.), we adhere to the biblical, historic theology of convergence. Convergence theology affirms the person and work of the Spirit (Charismatic), the beauty of Christ and his finished work on the Cross (Evangelical), and the historic church’s sacramental worldview with its Eucharist-centered life and Trinitarian worship (Sacramental).

I affirm convergence theology as the model and practice of the Book of Acts and the early church. However, the Charismatic and Sacramental streams are subservient to the message of the Good News. Why place the Evangelical stream at the head? We cannot enjoy the sacraments and the presence of the Holy Spirit unless we have experienced Christ first in all his saving work. We must be saved before we can know the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit and experience the fullness of Christ at the Table of the Lord (1 Peter 1:3-5).

Therefore, I am grateful for Evangelicalism for without this movement, I would not have known the justifying grace of God. The Evangelical message is the message that saves, delivers, and heals. Evangelicalism preaches the Biblical gospel:

The gospel is the good news that God in Christ has come into the world and by his life, death, burial, and resurrection has conquered my greatest enemies: the world, the flesh, sin, death and the devil. This gospel calls forth a response of faith and repentance. Our response allows the Holy Spirit to transforming our entire beings making us a new creations in Christ.

In summary: the gospel is salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

So what is Evangelicalism or the Evangelical stream? Listed are two definitions: the first, focuses on Evangelical belief, and the second, identifies Evangelicalism’s historic roots.

An evangelical is someone who embraces the solas of the Reformation (salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone, according to Scripture alone), resonates with the emphasis on the new birth and the reviving work of the Spirit found in the Great Awakening, believes in the complete trustworthiness of the Bible contra the liberals and modernists, accepts the responsibility of world evangelization and social engagement as modeled by countless missionaries and reformers, rejects the obscurantism that marked parts of fundamentalism, and, in distinction to the pragmatists and postmoderns, affirms the importance of doctrinal propositions and the knowability of truth.

Kevin DeYoung via Evangel blog

At its heart [evangelicalism] is a theological core shaped by the Trinitarian and Christological consensus of the early church, the formal and material principles of the Reformation, the missionary movement that grew out of the Great Awakening and the new movements of the Spirit that indicate “surprising works of God” are still happening today.

Timothy George, ”Foreword,” in The Advent of Evangelicalism

I am an Evangelical first and foremost because Christ and his finished work on the cross is the first and foremost message of the New Testament (1 Cor. 15:3-4). Christ comes first in the Christian life because Christ is “before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence” (Col. 1:17-18 NKJV).

HT: Evangel blog at First Things

Evangelical Essentials

The Evangelical Essentials Post-by-Post

Since the first of July, I have been writing on the essential doctrines that are the pillars of Evangelical conviction and faith. To assist the reader in following my discussion, I have provided links to all the articles below for your convenience.

Part One: The Evangelical Impulse

Part Two: The Cross of Christ: Past and Present

Part Three: How Can Our Hearts Be Changed?

Part Four: What Does It Mean to Be “In Christ”?

Part Five: The Imputed and Imparted Righteousness of Christ

Part Six: The Divine Law Court

Part Seven: Pierced for My Transgressions

Part Eight: Standing Before God Himself

Part Nine: Grace Works and Faith Works, Too

Part Ten: The Two Priesthoods: Believers and Ministerial

Part Eleven: Sola Scriptura

Part Twelve: The Church Is Mission

Part Thirteen: We Should Never Assume

Conclusion: Christ, Cross, and Grace

Christ, Cross, and Grace

Evangelical Essentials: Conclusion

For I decided to concentrate only on Jesus Christ and his death on the cross.

1 Cor. 2:2 (NLT)

Why is the Evangelical impulse important? Because in a world gone mad, the same Christ, who bore our sins, paid our debt, redeemed us from slavery and became our substitute in the heavenly court of law can still change hearts, renovate identities, and give new life to men and women who are enslaved by sin. The essentials truths of pervasive sin, unmerited grace, regeneration, penal substitution, justification by faith, priesthood of all believers, and sola Scriptura are the still the truths that transform. These Evangelical truths are grounded in the Scriptures, found in the writings of the Fathers, and articulated fully by the Reformers.

Therefore, we must renew in our preaching and pastoral ministry the need for the least, lost, and the lonely to come to the Cross. We must remember that the foot of the Cross is not only for the lost, but also is the place of repentance for believers who desire victory and freedom over sin. It is at the Cross where all grace is dispensed. It is through the preaching of “faith alone by grace alone in Christ alone” where life change can be found. As the Apostle Paul said, “For preaching the Good News is not something I can boast about. I am compelled by God to do it. How terrible for me if I didn’t do it!” (1 Cor. 9:16). “For I decided to concentrate only on Jesus Christ and his death on the cross” (1 Cor. 2:2). The Christian life can be summed up in these three words: Christ, Cross, and grace. We must remember who Christ is for us today! Those who are drawn, motivated and compelled by the Evangelical impulse proclaim this Christ, the Cross and His grace.

This post concludes our discussion of the essentials of the Evangelical faith. Look for a summary page in the next couple of days that will provide the links for all the posts related to  this series.

We Should Never Assume

Evangelical Essentials (Part Thirteen)

We persuade men [people].

2 Cor. 5:11 (NIV)

The Apostle Paul did not sit back and assume that people had grasped the gospel. He was actively engaged in overcoming their objections by persuading men and women to yield their lives to the Lord of creation. Paul actively participated with the Holy Spirit in attempting to win hearts to the loving Savior.

The Bible says that, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise” (Proverbs 11:30 KJV). As Christ is living his life in us, we will be fruit bearers. People will want to come to us and pluck that fruit of the Spirit in order to be refreshed. That attraction is an opportunity from the Holy Spirit to bring them to Christ. We are called to “watch to see where God is working and join him.”

[Henry Blackaby, Experiencing God, Preteen Edition (Nashville, TN: Lifeway, 1994), 11.]

We must tell others what motivates us. What If I run out of  a room as fast as I can, how do you know for what reason I run? Have I looked out the window and seen my automobile being stolen? Is the phone ringing and I need to answer it? Is the building on fire and I need to save myself? How do you know unless I tell you? In same way, how do families, friends, and neighbors know the reason for my service unless I tell them that I am motivated by God’s love for me and my love for him? I must tell them.

Brothers and sisters, it is not enough to say that the liturgy contains the gospel message; Christ calls us to be proactive in sharing the message of the Cross.

Primitive [Early Church] evangelism was by no means mere proclamation and exhortation: it included able intellectual argument, skillful study of scripture, careful closely reasoned teaching and patient argument”

[Michael Green, Evangelism in the Early Church (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1970), 160.]

We should be mindful of the advice of Wesley, Whitefield, Edwards, and other notables of the Great Awakening, “Pastors should be faithfully working toward entirely converted churches.” We should never assume that everyone in our parish knows our precious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We must not take for granted that just because someone was baptized in a church or raised in a religious environment that they have an intimate, on-going, dynamic relationship with Jesus. We cannot assume the salvation of our congregations.

Sola Scriptura

Evangelical Essentials (Part Eleven)

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

2 Tim 3:16-17 (ESV)

The Reformation doctrine of sola Scriptura affirms the priority of scripture over traditions, councils, and church authorities. No practice or doctrine is binding on the life of a believer unless that belief or practice can be found in scripture. Sola Scriptura does not negate Tradition, but simply places Tradition under Scripture as a source of authority in the church.

The doctrine of sola Scriptura is one of the most misunderstood doctrines of the Reformation. From both within Evangelicalism and without: this doctrine is distorted and gravely mischaracterized. Sola Scriptura does not mean that Evangelicals reject tradition and read only the Bible (i.e., the error of Biblicism). Evangelical doctrine is not solo Scriptura, where all church councils, traditions, church authorities, and Bible commentaries are rejected as guides and interpreters of scripture’s meaning.

Reformation Church historian, Timothy George, writes,

Sola Scriptura does not mean nuda scriptura nor scriptura solitaria! It means instead that the Word of God, as it is communicated to us in the Scriptures, remains the final judge (norma normans) of all the teaching in the church.

[Timothy George, “An Evangelical Reflection on Scripture and Tradition,” Pro Ecclesia: A Journal of Catholic and Evangelical Theology (Volume IX, Number 2, Spring 2000), 206.]

In similar essay, Timothy George, elaborates on the development Martin Luther’s understanding of sola Scriptura:

Under duress, Luther articulated what would come to be the formal principle of the Reformation: all church teaching must be normed by the Bible. The following year, in The Babylonian Captivity of the Church, Luther stated: “What is asserted without the Scriptures or proven revelation may be held as an opinion, but need not be believed.” Late medieval theologians placed Christian tradition alongside the Bible as a source of church doctrine. Luther emphasized instead the primacy of Scripture.

However, Luther did not reject tradition outright. He respected the writings of the early church fathers, especially those of Augustine, and he considered the universal statements of faith, such as the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds, binding on the church in his day. But all creeds, sayings of the Fathers, and decisions of church councils must be judged by—never sit in judgment upon—the “sure rule of God’s Word.”

[Timothy George, Martin Luther, Early Years, Christian History magazine, electronic ed. (Carol Stream IL: Christianity Today, 1992).]

Sola Scriptura rejects the “two-source theory” that affirms Scripture and Tradition as being of equal weight and authority in the life of church. Alternately, the doctrine of sola Scriptura rejects the individualistic Anabaptist principle of “no creed but the Bible.” Reformed theologian, Keith Mathison adds,

Instead of advocating chaos, the Evangelical church must regain an understanding of the Reformation doctrine of sola scriptura, which is essentially nothing more than the early Church’s doctrine of scripture and tradition framed within a different historical context. The Church must affirm that Scripture is the sole source of revelation. The Church must affirm that Scripture is the sole, final, and infallible norm of faith and practice. And the Church must affirm that Scripture is to be interpreted in and by the communion of saints within the theological context of the rule of faith. Only by rejecting all forms of autonomy, institutional or individual, can any branch of the Church be in obedience to Jesus Christ the Lord.

[Keith A. Mathison, The Shape of Sola Scriptura (Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2001), 347.]

I might add that the Canon Law of the Charismatic Episcopal Church affirms that Holy Scripture is “the final authority on all matters of faith and practice,” and “ . . . is to be understood in light of apostolic tradition and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit” (Canon Eight, I. B. 1-2). This definition is in its essence the doctrine of sola Scriptura as taught by the Magisterial Reformers.

The Two Priesthoods: Believer and Ministerial

Evangelical Essentials (Part Ten)

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

1 Peter 2:9-10 (NKJV)

From living lives of hostility and enmity towards God, Christians have been transformed by the Holy Spirit into ministers who bring the healing and grace of Christ to the least, lost, and the lonely of our world.

The ministerial priesthood is called to serve, nourish, sustain, and guide the priesthood of all believers. The believer’s priesthood is a call to be Christ in the secular workplaces of the world. Men are not ordained into the ministerial priesthood in order to remove the priesthood away from the people of God, but to encourage, empower, and equip the priestly people of God for their work in the world.

This doctrine of the priesthood of “all” believers is not the doctrine of the priesthood of “the” believer. In other words, every believer has a ministry, but that ministry is to be conducted in community while being accountable to church leadership and submitted to the direction and tradition of the historic church. This personal ministry of me and my Bible with God telling me, and me alone, the only correct interpretation of the meaning of Scripture is not the priesthood of all believers. Two priesthoods, ministerial and believers, serve the one Christ for the purpose of reaching the world for Christ.

The New Testament concept of the pastor is not of a person who jealously guards all ministry in his own hands, and successfully squashes all lay initiatives, but of one who helps and encourages all God’s people to discover, develop and exercise their gifts. His teaching and training are directed to this end, to enable the people of God to be a servant people, ministering actively but humbly according to their gifts in a world of alienation and pain. Thus, instead of monopolizing all ministry himself, he actually multiplies ministries.

John Stott, The Message of Ephesians (The Bible Speaks Today series: Leicester: IVP, 1979), 167.