Saturday, November 02, 2013

worship with mind and spirit

Adrian Warnock continues his series addressing the error taught by John MacArthur and company ...

Today in our series addressing the Strange Fire book, we turn to the idea of worship. Lets jump straight into refuting the arguments used by MacArthur on this subject:

Argument: Charismatic worship is mindless, vacuous, and involves emptying your mind.

Counter argument: This is not so much a biblical argument against charismaticism per see but an argument against craziness in worship, to which I say amen! Against those who claim we should empty our minds, or stop being so rational to allow the Spirit to move, MacArthur is quite correct to cite “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matt. 22:37).

I have always been taught that an empty mind is an open invitation to the evil one to inhabit it with his spirits. This argument is partly made from the following verse:

“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation.” (Matthew 12:43-45)

It is absolutely correct to criticise those who advocate emptying our mind, we are to FILL our minds. Charismatics that I have come accross teach us to fill our minds with thoughts of Jesus and with the truth of his word.

But one thing I noticed that wasn’t much addressed in MacArthur’s book was the following verse:

John 4:24 “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Worshipping God in Spirit is central to the charismatic approach to worship, and it is something that is not much addressed as far as I can see in cessationist circles.

Argument: Charismatic worship is about surrendering control and feeling “possessed” making this a demonic experience.

Counter Argument: MacArthur gives an example of someone who described feeling their body was taken over. I would simply say that in my experience this is not something that is encouraged in most charismatic and pentecostal circles. The verse that is often cited is “the spirits of prophets are subject to the prophets.” (1 Cor 14:32). Those who claim “the Spirit made me” are usually immature, over-excitable people. They are routinely encouraged to be more self-controlled. There is a clear biblical perspective on this that the Spirit does not take us over. We must never simply surrender, that is not how it works with God.

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