Wednesday, November 09, 2005

A book I'd like to read

First, I want to point everyone back to Rob's growing post of the blogstorm. It has become the quintessential reference point on the entire cessationists/charismatic discussion. I really, really, really appreciate people like Rob Wilkerson and John Telfer Brown. These are people who could claim something very personal at stake in the charismatic/cessationist discussion. Instead, they have remained focused on charity, grace, and community. Both of them continue to shine as examples for all of us, and not just as bloggers.

I've seen a lot of references to a lot of different books. It's frustrating for me, because I haven't come across the "be all/end all" book that best represents truth, balance, and meaningful contributions that have come from cessationists and charismatics alike. There is a cultural discussion -- sometimes contentious -- that needs to be captured for, if nothing else, posterity. Books both in favor and critical of charismatics have been incomplete. Books in favor of charismatics too often fall into experiential argumentation. Books critical of charismatics tend to build too many strawmen by lumping all charismatics together -- developing convincing, but very manipulative, arguments of guilt by association.

I would like to see a book about the central figures in this ongoing discussion in the Evangelical body for the last 35 years, to capture the discussion, not the argument. Here is the beginning of an outline for some enterprising author hankering for a new project:

Outline for The Reformed-Charismatic Divide

The Leadership
Chuck Smith Sr., senior pastor, Calvary Chapel Fellowship Churches
John Wimber, (deceased) director, Association of Vineyard Churches
Jack Hayford, director, Foursquare Churches
C. Peter Wagner, author/professor, Fuller Theological Seminary
C.J. Mahaney, director, Sovereign Grace Ministries

The Icons/Disputable History
James Spurgeon
Jonathon Edwards
John Wesley
John Nelson Darby
D.L. Moody
Smith Wigglesworth
William Branham

The Fringe
Kenneth Copeland
Benny Hinn
Rodney Howard-Browne
Paul Cain

The Critics
Walter Martin, (deceased) founder, Christian Research Institute
John MacArthur, pastor/author, Grace Community Church
Hank Hanegraff, director, Christian Research Institute

The Modern Theolgians
George Eldon Ladd
Gordon Fee
R.C. Sproul
Wayne Grudem
D.A. Carson
Sam Storms
John Piper

I would like to see a book like this that tackles the discussion on the most reasonable, timely, and relevant angles:

  • The recent history of and reasoning for combining Evangelical theology with Charismatic praxis.

  • The inclination of traditional Reformed churches to argue against miracles based on the historical conflict with radically mystical Roman Catholicism.

  • A historical argument for and against the presence of the gifts of the Spirit between the time of the First Century Church to today.

  • A Biblical presentation of Pentecostal, Charismatic, Third Wave, and Cessationist points of view.

  • A solid criticism of Charismatic excesses that doesn't throw every single Charismatic onto the train tracks.

  • A stated affirmation of the Reformed tradition of theology that emphasizes the Scriptural authority, a Trinitarian viewpoint, and the centrality of the Cross.

    Maybe I'm asking for too much. Maybe I'll have to write it myself.
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