Charismatic “Calvinist”: a contradiction?

This was the whole point of Steve Lawson’s message at the Strange Fire Conference.  Lawson (and MacArthur) is a baptist.

The following quotes are from Martyn Lloyd-Jones: A Family Portrait by Christopher Catherwood:

Here were two very different views of what the Doctor taught on the Holy Spirit – one that he had become pentecostal and the other that he was an anti-charismatic who had been hijacked. Obviously both views cannot be right! (122-3)

Unfortunately, as Jim Packer has so ably pointed out in his book Keep in Step with the Spirit, some people are more influenced by tradition in what they believe than by what Scripture is actually saying, however inconvenient this might be.  Calvin was a cessationist too, and to many that meant if one was to be truly Reformed, one had to be a cessationist too. (Ironically, some of the people who held this view most strongly were Baptists.  Now while some of us there is no problem about being both Reformed and Baptist, Calvin was a firm paedobaptist!  So while they were strongly denying that one could ever believe in continuing spiritual gifts and be Reformed, they were undermining their own case by their insistence that one could indeed be Reformed while denying the doctrine of infant baptism in which Calvin believed so strongly.) (124-5)

Perhaps of course it was easy for the Doctor to believe things that few others combined.  He did after all believe that preaching was logic on fire, and that meant in this context the logic of the Calvinist and the fire of the charismatic – though as he himself showed, Calvinists could have fire and those who believed in the continuation of charismatic gifts could possess logic!  So his dual belief was quite consistent with the man, as well as flowing from scripture.  This last point was most crucial to him.  As we have seen, he was a Bible Calvinist, not a system one.  This made all the difference. (128-9)

People on the reformed side seemed to think that if Calvin did not believe in baptism with the Spirit as a separate experience, nor should they.  This was of course to elevate Calvin to a position higher than Scripture! As we have seen, ultimate if Calvin said one thing and the Bible said another, Calvin was wrong.  To the Doctor, this was not a problem, but to many who had discovered the glorious truths that Calvin also discovered in Scripture, with all their liberating power, then it was a shock to find that he could be wrong.  Instinctively, and in human terms understandably, they rebelled against the notion.  It is much easier to believe in a simple package than to sift through everything and seemingly believe three contradictory things before breakfast! (133)

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