Yesterday I wrote about my immediate family's spiritual history; being Reformed on all sides, both paternal and maternal.
Unfortunately, at the turn of the 20th century, German theological liberalism swept through the evangelical churches. I think it surprises most people when they learn that the liberal mainline churches of today were the conservative evangelical churches of the 19th century: the Lutherans, the Episcopalians, the Presbyterians, and so forth.
My grandparents and my parents too were casualties of this satanic attack on their church's theology. So when I grew up in the Presbyterian church, mine was much like most in upper middle class areas--thoroughly liberal. In other words, I never heard the gospel. When I grew up there was no TBN, or the term "evangelical" in the news. There was no reason to ask about it either since these concepts were never talked about in the world of Southern California with the exception of small fundamentalist churches in working class areas. So, I never heard the gospel until I was in college. If I had heard it at about 8 or 9, there is no doubt in my mind I would have accepted Christ at that time. This is why it's so imperative to me that the church follows Romans 10 in telling people the whole gospel and not just a watered down version of it. People cannot come to Jesus if they don't know they should, or understand why they should.
In my almost 42 years of being a Christian, I look back at four major people who influenced where my theology is now.
Here is an interesting question for you:
If you put the teachings of Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ; together with the teachings of Jack Hayford, the foundeing pastor of the Church on the Way (The First Foursquare Church of Van Nuys, CA); together with the teachings of Kenneth Copeland and Kenneth Hagin, Word of Faith people extraordinaire; along with the teachings of Reformationalist Michael Horton; what do you think you would get?
Some of you I imagine would answer, a lunatic.
These four are as far apart theologically as one can get I suppose, but one of my strengths/skills is eclecticism. In other words, I like to take the best information in systems of knowledge in whatever the subject may be and put those points together in a neat package. And, I have actually been able to do this with the these four people's theology.
And now when you are finished either shaking your head or laughing hysterically, I will give you a thumbnail history.
1. After I received Christ, Campus Crusade found me. They had a big influence on my life because thank goodness Bill Bright was a Presbyterian and didn't teach all that holiness nonsense that almost every other evangelical church was dishing out at that time. Crusade gave me an excellent foundation, a little of it Calvinistic (as far as the meaning of sin, not losing your salavtion, true meaning of justification and sanctification, etc).
2. Some years later a friend dragged me to Church on the Way where Jack Hayford was the pastor. It was here that I learned a balanced and very Biblically mature Pentecostalism.
3. Then in 1980 God dragged me to a Kenneth Copeland meeting. I argued with God that this was a very silly thing to do but He insisted. Thankfully I was able to throw the dirty bath water of the Word of Faith teaching out, but keep the "baby." And the "baby," the good part of that teaching, really did revolutionize my life. I have written about that in a previous series of posts, Word of Faith Teaching.
4. In the middle 1990's I happened to listen to a radio program, The White Horse Inn, a product of the Confessing Evangelicals as the Reformationists here in the USA now like to call themselves. One of the hosts is Michael Horton who has had a tremendous influence on me. Where I just had so much trouble with some of what R. C. Sproul was trying to say, Horton managed to get through to me, especially in his book, "Putting the Amazing Back Into Grace." I had never really heard the Reformed gospel before...not in it's entirety that is. And it made alot of sense.
I really do not see why Reformed theology cannot go along with the Pentcostal/Charismatic beliefs since they are both covenantal. But Horton and his colleagues would blanch if they saw a blogroll named Reformed and Charismatic ministries....LOL.
And the Third Wave Charismatics would too for that matter.
And...just for the record......I am not a lunatic.....:)
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