image Can one be a charismatic Calvinist?  I personally don’t think the two are mutually exclusive from one another depending on how you define Calvinist and Charismatic.  I have stated before that I’m not convinced that prophecy and tongues have ceased.   Sola Sisters disagrees with me based on a post written last week on John Piper’s position:

What is a Calvinist?  A Calvinist has generally been maintained to be a Christian who holds to Calvinist thought, as espoused by John Calvin, one of the key figures in the Reformation.  Calvin wrote "Institutes of the Christian Religion," in which he put forth the teaching that the knowledge of God could not be inherently known by humanity (inner knowledge) nor could it be understood by observing the world (external knowledge).  Instead, the knowledge of God could only be obtained through the study of Scripture (special revelation).  Wrote Calvin: "For anyone to arrive at God the Creator he needs Scripture as his Guide and Teacher."

What is a Charismatic?   While a Charismatic would say they believe the Bible is God’s authoritative Word, in practice these Christians live as though they do not believe that the canon was ever closed, and therefore believe that extra-biblical revelation through ongoing prophecy/tongues is one way that we continue to "hear" from God in subjective and mystical ways.

I agree with her definition of what it means to be a Calvinist, but I don’t think her definition of Charismatics is necessarily fair, but then it would likely depend on the Charismatic person in question.  I would agree that there is much wrong in how tongues are practiced (not orderly, done without interpretation, seen as a sign of the baptism of the Holy Spirit).  That doesn’t mean, however, that all Charismatics view tongues/prophecy in the way she describes.

First to generally view the exercise of a spiritual gift as extra-biblical revelation I think is a mistake.  Prophecy means to foretell (what we’d see in the Old Testament) and forthtell the word of God.  Prophecy (and tongues with interpretation) when properly exercised are in submission to the written word of God.  If it contradicts, it isn’t of the Holy Spirit.  Shouldn’t Calvinists pray for guidance as we read Scripture?  Should we not ask for wisdom?  Where does that come from?  Is that asking to hear from God “in subjective and mystical ways?”

I don’t believe so, Jesus Himself said that the Holy Spirit would lead us to all truth:

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you,” (John 16:13-14, ESV).

That is certainly done through Scripture, but He also has many roles in the lives of believers as I mentioned before:

The Holy Spirit works in the lives of Christians by teaching and illuminating truth, (John 14:26; 16:12-15; 1 Corinthians 2:12, 14-15), guides, (Romans 8:14), and intercession, (Romans 8:26-27).  The Holy Spirit comforts the believer, (John 14:16), assures the believer, (Romans 8:16), sanctifies, (2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2) and brings forth spiritual fruit in the life of a believer, (Galatians 5:22-23).  Believers are also empowered (Acts 1:8) and enabled for ministry through the giving of spiritual gifts, (1 Corinthians 12:11) for the edification of the Church.

While we embrace Sola Scriptura let’s remember that this means Scripture is the authority and everything else is subject to it.  Otherwise we could have the same criticism of many of our historical creeds as they too are extrabiblical.  Neither our creeds nor tongues should ever be considered as trumping Scripture.

Secondly, I also have to ask what does the exercise of spiritual gifts have to do with the doctrines of grace?  I can’t see a connection that would lead one to conclude a Charismatic Calvinist is an “oxymoron” as the author at Sola Sisters writes.   While I certainly think those who approach tongues and prophecy desiring “special” revelation should be admonished see Scripture as being the final and supreme authority.  I don’t see when these gifts are exercised among others simply as means of edifying the Church and glorifying Christ as a problem for the Calvinist when examined under the lens of Scripture.

What do you think?

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