Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Charismatic and Reformed Churches preach the gospel

As we await ascension Sunday and Pentecost, I'm glad to introduce a witness from the Association of Charismatic/Reformed Churches. Learn more by going to
An excerpt from the above website from "Our History, Purpose and Vision for the Future" by  Pastor Kirk Wetsell, Jacksonville (Arkansas) Christian Fellowship, president of the Association of Charismatic/Reformed Churches

I continued to teach and preach, and to mature in my understanding of Reformation Theology. I still, however, was resistant on some points, particularly Limited Atonement. Then, somewhere in the early 90's, I read a book that absolutely turned my theology upside down! (It has almost been like getting saved all over again!) The book was entitled The Quest for Godliness, by J.I. Packer, which introduced me to the Puritans. Nothing has been the same since! The chapter, "Saved by His Precious Blood", was especially instrumental to my theological growth. It is actually an introduction that Packer wrote for a re-release of what I believe is one of the most important works ever written, The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, by Puritan John Owen.

These works by Packer and Owen were the straws that truly broke the camel's back. It was the last bit of weight that crushed any resistance I had to a full embracing of Reformation Theology. From them I learned that the Arminian way of thinking truly "limits" the Atonement! It limits it and makes it subservient to the supposed free will of man, which is thought to be able to actually trump the Sovereign will of an Omnipotent God! I also learned that while we do have a will, and we do make real decisions in our lives that have real consequences, our will is anything but free! It is in absolute bondage and slavery to sin - that apart from Grace, it has no chance of either understanding or desiring spiritual Truth!

I have further come to understand that this Limited or Effective Atonement is really "the Truth" that brings assurance and security to our hearts as Christians! We have security because the Blood of Christ was totally effective in securing all those that the Father intended it to secure. The Father, before the foundation of the world gave these "Elect" to the Son, and at that time their destiny was set. Therefore, it is Reformation Theology alone that can impart true faith through its teaching that God is Sovereign in every detail of our lives!

Another book that has been influential is No Place for Sovereignty, by R.K. McGregor Wright. In it he chronicles the history of the "Free Will" debate. I began to see that this struggle, bottom line, is simply a manifestation of the idolatry that exists in the human heart. We simply cannot bear the thought that our destiny may be in someone else's hands! Mr. Wright exposes this as the root of the current shift in evangelicalism towards the "Openness of God" theories.

As I was reading it, however, it dawned on me that this idolatry is also at the root of the "Word of Faith" heresy. In this movement there is great emphasis on our "taking of authority" and being able to control our own life and destiny. If this theology is true, my contention is, that, it actually produces fear and doubt, not faith! If I am in control of my own destiny, I'm in serious trouble! The only way this theology can produce something that even resembles faith is if we really believe we are capable of making decisions of eternal value, and that they are dependent on our will. This attitude is not however, real faith. It feeds on, and is, arrogance and pride. Again, I


Pastor Kirk Wetsell, Jacksonville Christian Fellowship

Association of Charismatic/Reformed Churches