Video: Is it Possible to Be a "Reformed Charismatic"?

An Australian Anglican minister, Phillip Jensen, says no. Here’s a related earlier post on the same topic.

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  1. Is that Rolf Harris doing the interview?

    If I’m being cheeky, I’d note that Phillip says:
    “If I have a dream that tells me to do something and I believe dreams come from the Holy Spirit, then I’ve got to do it.” Is he trying to say that dreams are the exception to God’s superintendence? That’s not very ‘reformed’, is it?

    But seriously, I don’t disagree with the bulk of what he says, but he hasn’t really proved his point. There is only a small group of people who call themselves Reformed Charismatics, and they would pretty much Amen everything Phillip says. He didn’t actually interact with the best examples.

    For example, why can’t a Reformed Charismatic say that the primary great work of the Holy Spirit today is giving people new life through the Holy Spirit, and to that end his gifts are given to believers, from administration to tongues? Why can’t they take a Wayne Grudemy position on prophecy and how that relates to authority?

    OK, so if they paid real, close attention to the Bible, I don’t think they would arrive at that conclusion (though I’m sympathetic to Vern Poythress’ position). But the great emphasis of Charismatic theology is that all the gifts are still in action today, which was never a great issue that the Reformers reacted against. The Reformers may not have agreed with them, but their cessationism wasn’t the linchpin of their entire system. So I think the main assertion of failed to be proven.

    As a self-identifying Reformed Anglican I very much like elnwood’s comment. He/she may mean it seriously, or may not, but if Jensen’s right about Reformed Charismatics then elnwood’s right that there’s no such thing as a Reformed Anglican.

    • William Perkins, among others, would be shocked to find out that he wasn’t Reformed. The entire Reformed tradition has regarded him as Reformed for a very long time!

      See the other links I posted on the relationship between the “charismatic” movement and Reformed theology and piety. Better, see Recovering the Reformed Confession where I deal with this question at length.

        • Sure, and I agree. Latimer, Ridley and Cranmer I’d like to add, if they’re allowed in the club.

          However, if you judge Anglicanism by the predominant attitude within (as Jensen has with the Charismatics), then women priests would be acceptable, singing the Psalms would be weird and semi, if not full-blown Pelagianism would reign. In fact, at a guess, most would be functional non-trinitarians, none of which are particulary Reformed attitudes. Using Jensen’s arguments, slightly adjusted would make Reformed Anglican a contradiction – even though the 39 articles are unashamedly Reformed and Anglican.

          I’m’ not trying to make the case that Reformed Charismatic makes sense, I’m just saying Jensen was really asserting and didn’t on this occasion provide the proof.

          • Paul,

            I’m not fan of episcopal church government, but the only thing that makes one an “Anglican” is a view of church government. Holding to an episcopal polity doesn’t make one non-Reformed. Hearing direct revelations from the Spirit apart from Scripture is a non-Reformed view that denies the Reformed confession of the sufficiency of Scripture.

          • Thanks. I suspect that the typical Anglican would disagree with what you say there (about the only distinctive of Anglicanism being church government), but you’ve made your point well.

          • Paul,

            If that’s the case, it may be that the “typical Anglican” hasn’t inherited his grandmother’s “Book of Common Prayer (PECUSA).” Judging by the one I did, would that those today who claim “Reformed” (even “Episcopal”) were this Reformed.

  2. What I’ve read and heard of Jensen previously I’ve enjoyed, and this video was no exception. However, I didn’t like his too concise contrast between Roman and Reformed when he said the difference in their views about “what connects us to Jesus” is “the church” in the Roman view and “the Spirit” in the Reformed view.

    This is not exactly the contrast, and this way of putting it makes it sound like the Reformed don’t believe in the necessity of the church, or God’s (Spirit’s) use of “the (ordinary) means (of grace)”. The difference between Roman and Reformed views of “what connects us to Jesus” is not ‘church’ vs. ‘Spirit,’ but rather a difference in what each of those do, how they do it, and how they relate.

    Jensen’s purpose in this video was not to clarify these things, I understand. But especially as an Anglican, he should spend some time speaking to it. I’ll search his site for it and see what comes up.

  3. Jensen’s discussion touches on an important problem which you have been working hard to overcome: Contemporary westerners think we can define terms any way that we want to. At Gordon-Conwell, which I attended, it was not uncommon to speak with Baptists who called themselves “Calvinists” even though they (1) denied imputation in justification (2) denied the covenant of works (3) denied that there were any sacraments (only ordinances); and (4) denied limited atonement.

    Your work on Recovering the Reformed Confession is very important to the life of the church. It is also not simply addressing a problem that is “out there” but one that we need to contend for within NAPARC.

    As for “Reformed Charismatics” a good starting point is the end of the Chapter 1, paragraph 1 of the WCF: “…those former ways of God’s revealing his will unto his people being now ceased.”

    • Yes, among the Reformed Churches (yes, I know that Rutherford claimed to have received a revelation but I take it that he’s the exception that tests the rule) those who claimed to receive ongoing, extra- biblical revelation were known as “Anabaptists” or “fanatics.”

  4. My favourite part was:
    Q: Can you be a ‘Reformed Charismatic’?
    A: I suppose it’s possible. Just like it’s possible to be a Muslim Mormon.

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