Posts Tagged ‘sola scriptura’

“Discerning” the Spirit of the Charismatic Movement

Friday, May 21st, 2010 by Dale M. Coulter

David Neff’s recent article on the 50th anniversary of the charismatic movement offers a two-fold assessment. Neff claims that the movement did not fade so much as become integrated with the rest of Christianity and that its lasting legacy may be in reminding the churches of the need to balance order and ardor. For a short, popular piece, I think Neff largely gets it right. While a lot happens in the pentecostal-charismatic world that is difficult to defend (and what form of Christianity is without its “embarrassments”), it has prompted the many streams of Christian tradition to “drink from their own wells” afresh, to borrow a phrase from Bernard of Clairvaux.

At the same time, some Christians remain a little hostile to it. Since ”discernment of spirits” (diakriseis pneumaton) is a gift in 1 Cor. 12:10, maybe we should attempt to exercise such discerning judgment (diakrisis) to see how we might evaluate the movement. Part of the challenge is that when persons talk about “discernment,” they assume it is a private affair rather than a communal one. As Heb. 5:14 makes clear, “discerning judgment (diakrisis) between good and evil” results from a training process in which the believer matures in the context of the church and her life. Neff’s article invites readers to discern the mind of the Spirit on the charismatic movement by thinking with the church through the ages. When one “thinks with the church,” the pentecostal-charismatic movement comes across as another form of genuine renewal that returns Christians to the sources (ad fontes). Read the rest of this entry »

Do we really need to hang on to justification?

Friday, April 30th, 2010 by Dale M. Coulter

Not too long ago, in his commentary on Galatians,  J. Louis Martin, proposed to change the way the Greek term behind justification is translated to rectification. I think this is an interesting proposal and one we should seriously consider. Here’s why:

Photo courtesy of Juergen Kurlvink

One of the perennial problems with understanding justification is that the English word family does not correspond well to the Greek word family. As anyone who reads the Greek NT soon discovers, all Greek terms connected to justification stem from the same root (dikaiosunē). To convey the meaning in English we rely on two families of terms: justification and righteousness. Justification derives from Latin and is closely connected to justice (justificatio, justificare, justus) while righteousness, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, stems from the Saxon term rihtwis. Rihtwis is a compound term from right and wise that means upright or in a right manner (think about the use of wise in otherwise). The move to two English sets of terms obscures the close connection between righteousness and being set right.

So, maybe it’s time to fix this little mishap and choose an English term that allows one to stay in the same linguistic family. Read the rest of this entry »