This question has been popping up more regularly as of late – as I regularly search the web for the words “Reformed Charismatic”, a couple of years ago I would find only 5 or 6 mentions, where-in now I find pages and pages. It’s a regular subject of bloggers, and even several books. So far, I’ve even found a number of denominations/associations of churches/church planting organizations that try – to one degree or another – to combine the best of both the Reformed/Calvinist/Evangelical (old-school definition of the term: not it’s modern use) traditions and the Charismatic/Third Wave (C. Peter Wagner’s term for ‘charismatics’ that reject a 2nd Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and the necessity of tongues-speaking, among other things) movement: Sovereign Grace Ministries; New Frontiers International; Grace Churches International; Grace Network, Association of Charismatic Reformed Churches; Word & Spirit Churches International; and individual churches within both the Vineyard Church movement and the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.
The best way to explain what it is to be ‘Reformed Charismatic’ is this: a Christian with the desire to fully and Biblically live out the phrase ‘worship in Spirit and Truth’, and to chase what both of those mean to their Biblical ends in all areas. That means teaching the Biblical truths that may be unsettling or unpopular to modern ears, especially in some charismatic circles, & practicing gifts in a way that lines up with Biblical guidelines – being ‘charismatic’ Christians in a way that is fully God-centered.
For example, Reformed Charismatics, on the whole, reject the ‘prospterity/health & wealth’ gospel (er – I mean ‘false gospel’), reject the word-faith movement, reject the therapeutic-faith gospel, and most any fad or so-called ‘revival’ that results in silliness and tend to diminish the authority and holiness of God, which are the very things that lead most solid evangelicals to be skeptical of the Charismatic movement in the first place. Most Reformed Charismatic churches – but not all – are wary of the excesses of so-called ‘revivals’ like what took place in Toronto and Brownsville, and see true revival not as an event that results in wild shows of spiritual gifts – or laughter and such – but as a move of God, where-in the lost come to Christ, and the Church shows much deeper signs of God’s Holy Spirit: His FRUIT.
Reformed Charismatics, though convinced believers in the modern practice of all of the gifts of the Spirit, attempt to keep the primary focus on the cross of Christ, and the gospel (see Stackhouse’s “the Gospel Driven Church” or Mahaney’s “Living the Cross-Centered Life”) instead of on the gifts of the Spirit, and when practicing the gifts often try to do so in a manner that does not draw attention to the gifts themselves, but to God – the gift-giver.
As many charismatic churches find their ‘heart’ in the revivalistic messages of Finney and the early holiness movement, Reformed Charismatics find their ‘historical theology’ more grounded in the lives and writings of the Puritians, like Jonathan Edwards & John Owen, and the later writings of C.H. Spurgeon. This means that the normal methodist/holiness/charismatic emphasis of the ‘victorious Christian life’ is well-balanced with the Biblical truth of ‘indwelling sin’ and the fact that there is a radical ‘now’ and a ‘not yet’ aspect to our salvation. Yes, we are ‘Saints’ and no longer ‘Sinners’ by nature, however, we are ‘Saints’ who still sin and struggle against the remnant of that sin-nature.
Most, but not all, of the Reformed Charismatic organizations have started as purely Charismatic/Pentacostal movements that saw a need to reform their practices to line up more thoroughly with God’s revelation, which led some of those ‘reforming’ movements to come into line on some of their major doctrines with historic ‘Reformed/Calvinistic/Augustinian’ Christianity – but of course, I also believe that this was a result of true renewal, and the Spirit revealing God to them. Some of the organizations (only the Assoc. of Charismatic Reformed Churches and Grace Network, as far as I know), however, do come from Charismatic renewal coming upon already ‘Reformed’ churches.
Some of the main ‘players’ in the ‘Reformed Charismatic’ movement are: C.J. Mahaney, Joshua Harris, Terry Virgo, Adrian Warnock, Michael Fletcher, Steve Holt, Wayne Grudem, Sam Storms, J. Rodman Williams, Matt Chandler, Ian Stackhouse, Brent Detweiler, Michael Youssef, the late Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Zeb Bradford Long, Bob Kauflin, Mark Driscoll, R.T. Kendall, Greg Haslam, Mark Altrogge, Rich Nathan, Kendrick Vinar, William P. Farley, and even John Piper and D.A. Carson. The basic thrust is this: strong Biblical teaching with a focus on the Gospel and God’s sovereignty, accompanied by passionate God-centered worship and the functioning of the spiritual gifts strictly according to the Biblical guidelines.
In the end, we Reformed Charismatics are just trying to live as ‘Biblical’, Spirit-led Christians as best as we know how.
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That’s all for now.