There is more to Christianity than the mindset of various theologians who have decided that anything experiential in terms of intimate encounters with Christ or the Holy Spirit are errant and turn people away from the word. What those theologians lack, they should seek. Instead they condemn those who have obtained what they don’t have and denounce the practices of those who operate on a level they do not.
I have not read Jesus calling by Sarah Young. But I have extensively read Andrew Murray. I can only say Dr. Horton is as wrong about Andrew Murray as one can get. He is wrong to dissuade people from reading him, he is wrong for turning folks away from what Andrew teaches.
I fully embrace the doctrines of grace, but that is not to leave out Andrew Murray. To the detriment of the body of Christ Dr. Horton undermining the ministry of Andrew Murray and the excellent teaching Bro. Murray gives. It might be because Dr. Horton is not happy unless all things are Presbyterian, but the body of Christ is more than Dr. Horton’s little world of walking with Christ. Its bigger because God is bigger than Dr. Hortons version. Please see the full article here by Dr. Michael Horton. http://www.whitehorseinn.org/blog/2013/03/05/review-of-jesus-calling/#comment-63883
Reading through the various posts that equate Murray with every kind of loon or falsehood is guilt by association which is a sin, and which was done to Christ himself “he sitteth with sinners” Mar 2:16 And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?
But, because it resembles the same spirit the pharisees have, I condemn such an attitude in anyone posting such and I think Dr. Horton goes too far. His discerning has turned to division, his warnings of falsehood imitate the bad spirit the disciples had in this context…Mar 9:38 And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us.
Mar 9:39 But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.
Instead, we seem to become offenders, people who for their own reason expect everyone to be followers “of them”.
Today instead of love its discrediting the miracle, lampooning the ministry, even guilt by association whereby their books are supposedly in error. The real error is the spirit in which this review takes us away from Christ and places it upon “following us”. The Spirit in which Andrew Murray spoke was never to follow him or imitate some ancient style of worship. He directed people to Christ and sent them there time after time, tirelessly reminding the believers their real power comes from faith in Him. Its beyond me to understand why anyone would attempt to bash Andrew Murray when he is superior to them in helping Christians walk with Christ. His fear is that such ‘experience’ will undermine the word of God. I say nonsense. The word of God is meant to be practiced therefore experience is exactly what God wants. The bible is not hum-drum and Andrew Murray never expressed anything of the sort in any of his writings. This strawman is now exposed and linking his burn down of this strawman cannot be for any reason Andrew Murray gave him.
There is more to the Body of Christ than those who import a special privlege into their own world. I make no argument for heresies, abuses and misuses of scripture, or exploitation of the believers. But I do take issue with those who seem to think they have a corner on truth and practices. In short if its not their way is the highway. Well, I believe those who write articles to condemn various books or teachers had better have better evidence than its ‘not the reformed method’. If half of our current bible teachers could write sermons like Spurgeon, or guide willing souls like Murray, or take them out of the musty shelves of theology into the living theology of word and experience together they would never quibble about such things. But, quibbling appears in place of real understanding on how to walk with Christ in prayer, intercession, faith and fellowship the reader is bullied into condemning those teachers because God didn’t make them in the same mold as their critics. Before anyone claims hypocrisy on my part for condemning Dr. Horton’s rejection of Andrew Murray I will clarify. I am a fan of Dr. Horton, I have his systematic Theology “The Christian Faith“. I recommend the book and appreciate Dr. Horton. I seek to emulate his study, diligence and quality in ministry. But, I disagree completely with painting bull-eyes upon all things charismatic and shooting them down. I realize he is a cessationist and he red-flags anything thats’ divergent from cessationism. I am not a cessationist, I am a Charismatic/reformed believer and thankfully I am one. I don’t toss out 1Cor 12-14 as filler for the modern Christian and needy for the 1st century Christian.
I want to include this allegorical conversation in the same vein as “The Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis.
Cessationism, is in my opinion simply a hold over from the enlightenment. Rationalism creeps in the Church and decides what is God and what is not…all according to the prevailing logic of the time. Of course the enlightened mind is not going to rest on humanism alone, it needs some bible to back it up. So, find some texts quick…yep that text in Corinthians that tells us tongues will cease and knowledge will vanish away. What is perfect? Well the bible is perfect so this must be God replacing the gifts with a Zondervan.
Borrowing from Screwtape, I imagine a conversation about Gifts going something like this. Mind you, C.S. Lewis didn’t write this segment, I am borrowing his ‘devils apprentice’ idea for a moment so as to give those who have read the Screwtape letters a little background.
Probie: But what about the fact Paul isn’t really talking about the bible in 1 cor 13?
Screwtape: That doesn’t matter, what matters is that its reasonable, rational, fitting to a skeptical mindset. Besides its embarrassing for academics to be lumped in with loonies, quacks, heretics and soothsayers.
Probie: But what if God’s people are none of those things while seeking and receiving God’s gifts?
Screwtape: No matter, discourage seekers them by speaking of the abuses by the clergy, the falsehood of false prophets, and don’t forget Hume to help us really put the screws to anyone saying he’s witnessed miracles. The best antidote for spirituals is to insinuate they are just the opposite, they are quacks, heretics, demonic, impersonators of good.
Probie: But what if they are not?
Screwtape: That does not matter, what matters is the appearance of order, logic, reason and spirituality.
Probie: But the cultist can imitate that too;
Screwtape: Yes, and don’t say that too loud. Its important to vacuum out true spirituality from theology. Its far more important to create a whole theology of the Spirit with the complete absence of the manifestations of the Spirit. We want them to think they can have a bible from the 1st century, fight for it and then openly deny what it teaches by listening to rationalism masquerading as good theology. All of this fits into the plan to make a Church that does not resemble the Church in the New Testament at all. Its important to persuade them that being devoid of Spiritual gifts is really spiritual, being against spiritual gifts of what the Spirit truly wants. We do this with holiness too, its just that after a while it becomes so obvious that compromise has set in, they immediately set out to pray for revival and repent.
Screwtape’s conclusion: The whole idea is to divorce the 21st century Christian from the activities of the 1 century Christian so that imitating Christ becomes something other than following scripture, it becomes an invention of the next ‘non-charismatic leader’ that pulls them farther and farther away from any resemblance of Christian life contained in scripture.
Probie: One last question; What about the excesses abuses and misuses within the Charismatics, doesn’t that prove the gifts are ceased because there is nothing but fakes out there?
Screwtape: Probie you are a failure at logic 101, the abuse of anything doesn’t prove its in-validity, it only proves it can be twisted and that’s the point. Its to twist the gifts for some so that their personal disposition caters to rejecting what is clear in scripture. We want people with academic bents to fight with those who have experiential mindsets, we want division over what is available in scripture so that those who have it are induced to be embarrassed by it and those who don’t believe it are induced to never seek it because they don’t trust themselves to do much of anything without thinking it all the way through. Rationalism for them is making sure they know all that is going to happen before it does…Its a laugh on them… they need to be prophetic in order to even ask for the prophetic. I know it’s contradictory but hey, thats’ what we are about. This is a great help to the legions of darkness, for the twisting and perversion of spirituals helps us and it helps us even more when a segment of the believers resists those who have those gifts and induce them to question them. Killing faith to seek or to use spirituals is what our kingdom is working at.” So says Screwtape.
Lastly, I consider it on the level of diabolical to toss out the believers that we do not agree with. Instead of allowing a wide berth for various ministries, we fracture, become factious and pretend that Christ is endorsing our little petty litmus tests.