You could be here from Instagram or another source - but needless to say, you are here. I am glad you are. Do you believe in God's divine providence? I definitely do! So here is the deal, in as little words as I can, I am going to explain who I am and what this whole ordeal is about.
My name is Jesse. I live in Utah. I've been a Christian since I was a little boy. I started this blog out of a genuine conviction from the Holy Spirit. I needed to write, and I needed to hold myself accountable to grow and develop.
The reason this blog is "The Rambling Preacher" is because I was not sure if I really liked just using my name. I sort of like the anonymity to the coined term. Admittedly, there are times it can be annoying, but overall I have actually grown to like the name. Even now, when I speak, teach or preach, I tend to ramble - and it provides me a great excuse to say, "Well, I am the Rambling Preacher."
Jokes aside, I know God has called me to Pastor/Teach. As a young man I led Bible studies, men's retreats, and even youth rallies. This is by God's grace alone, keep in mind. I was able to organize events, develop enough connections to gain support, and fulfill my burdens for the Gospel. As I grew (and still continue to grow), I have slightly fought off becoming a Pastor. But as of January 2021, I am now officially a Pastor for a small church (Living Faith). God is good.
At 15, I came across Calvinism and predestination. I ignorantly scoffed at such an idea. I thought to myself, surely we are misunderstanding Paul when we read Romans 9 and Ephesians 1. Jesus tells us the Father will "woo" us (see John 6), but as I began to study deeper and deeper, by my 20's it was the ever-frustrating cycle. God is sovereign, but I have free will. God is sovereign, but did I choose salvation? God is sovereign, but why do we act like He isn't? How much is God actually sovereign over (the answer is all)?
I finally gave into total depravity(incapability), and thus, the dominoes began to tumble. I wanted to be a 2 pointer (regards to TULIP), but that made no sense, so I had to be 3 pointer, no - wait, that doesn't make sense either... Okay fine, I'm a 4-pointer. Even now, I want to be a 4.5-pointer, struggling with limited atonement - but, admittedly, it all makes much more sense all together. I like to blame these times of cognitive dissonance on God's supreme way. I think to myself, "well, somehow it is all compatible."
As for my charismatic side, please don't run away. I was raised charismatic and still have a deep conviction that gifts are for today (I will write on this soon). There are plenty of "reformed" or Calvinistic continuationists. So, I had to study and find quality teachers. Sam Storms, Wayne Grudem (whom MacArthur endorses), John Piper, Matt Chandler, Mike Winger, James Smith, Remnant Radio, and Andrew Wilson all seem to be the closest thing to what I consider myself - "a charismatic with a seatbelt." The seatbelt being the Bible.
As a "charismatic," I have fasted for weeks on end. As a charismatic, I have prayed through the night. As a charismatic, I have danced with jubilee before the Lord. As a charismatic, I abstained from pre-martial relations with my wife (by God's grace). As a charismatic, I've witnessed miracles, accurate prophesies, and even seen God use me to this same capacity. As a charismatic, I've witnessed the real thing - not the fake things you see with Hinn or Copeland.
For my reformers, what if I used this language, I know that I know that I am part of God's elect. I love the saints (charismatics and reformed!), and have faith in Christ for salvation. I cling to the 5 Solas, while also understanding I have been sealed to the promised Holy Spirit. I could argue more, but is that sufficient?
Here is the deal. I love RC Sproul. I love Johnny Mac. I love Paul Washer, Voddie Baucham, Steve Lawson and all the reformed greats. I love Augustine's work, Spurgeon's work, Packer's work, Edward's work. But, I also see where Wesley was coming from! I see how the Holiness movement began. Truly, most false teachings are stemmed from a slight truth - usually taken too far. On the other side of the coin, I love Dr. Michael Brown; I love Jeremiah Johnson. I enjoy Remnant Radio, Mike Winger, Sam Storms, John Piper, Matt Chandler and even some of the 'more' charismatic characters you see today.
God has placed a strong burden on me to bring unity to the two camps of Christians. Since Azusa, it seems that charismatics avoid reformers and reformers avoid charismatics. Charismatics tend to think 'those Christians don't even know the Holy Spirit' and reformers tend to think 'those Christians don't even read their Bibles.' Both are not true! They're generalizations based on some truth - but charismatics do read their Bible, they just haven't been taught sound doctrine or theology. Reformers do love the Spirit, but usually know Him best as the quiet conviction who points you back to reading your Bible.
You may not agree. You may think, 'No no! I read my Bible thoroughly and I am charismatic.' Great! I applaud you. Let's grow in love. You may be on the other end, 'No no! I cherish the Holy Spirit and I am reformed.' Wonderful! Let's grow in love.
But here is my heart. I truly see charismatics as Christians who are so deeply in love with God, yet they really don't know Him too well (Voddie discussed this). Charismatics are easily ensnared by people like Copeland, Hinn and Osteen - why? Because nobody is teaching them! They have a child-like faith and reckless abandon. I actually think RC Sproul got it right.
"There is a vast difference, however, between childlike faith and childish faith, though the two are often confused. Childlike faith calls the believer to remain forever in a state of awe and trust of their heavenly Father, while a childish faith balks at learning the things of God in depth. It refuses the meat of the gospel while clinging to a diet of milk. The call of the New Testament is to maturity." -RC Sproul
Nabeel Qureshi also said it well (paraphrasing from his vlog on Bethel), "I love that charismatic churches just expect God to do something. At reformed churches they expect a man to teach them, but at charismatic churches, they just want God's presence."
Charismatics need teachers. They need theologians. They need the reformed movement. But on the same token, I genuinely believe the reformed need charismatics. My heart breaks that both sides just seem to be missing something. Should we not assume anyone we cross might be God's elect and treat them as such? In love, truth, patience and kindness?
I will admit, it is getting really easy to just toss charismatics out as crazy Gnostics and cleanse your hands of them. But is that what Christ would do? Heck, is that would Paul would do? The early church was made of Gentile "God-fearers" and Hellenistic Jews. Sometimes, to me, it feels like Judaism is Reformed theology and the Holy Spirit was the early Christian church. Please, do not misunderstand me - both groups are Christian, at least, some within both groups are - I genuinely believe both camps have many who are not true saints of Christ. But, I argue, why not fight to bring unity to the camps?
For over 100 years in America we have just quietly nodded as we passed the latter in the open square. RC Sproul, after spending time speaking in tongues and with Pentecostals, considered the movement Zeal without Knowledge. Would not the early church grab any "God-fearer" they could and offer instruction on Christianity? Should we not as well, have the same heart? Grab anyone zealous for Christ and for God and teach them about holy living? Teach them sound doctrine? Teach them about the church fathers? Teach them about Luther? Teach them about the nuances they are missing within Scripture? Just teach them?
Heresy hunting is not a genuine ministry. Do not wash your hands because someone plays Bethel at their church. Come in and offer advice as to why they should not play Bethel at their church. My heart breaks that many Christians are overly critical and overly judgmental. Sadly, I see a "holier than thou" mentality in a all Christian circles. Charismatics feel holier than thou because they can praise God for 3 hours, pray for 5 and then fast for a week. Reformed feel holier than thou because they would never give in to false teachings and/or heretics.
I'm rambling. I know. But this is the deal. Charismatics are Christian. Reformed are Christian. A lot of the in-between are Christian. RC Sproul was willing to admit even some elect may be trapped in the Roman Catholic church. How much easier is it for us to assume that Christ has His elect within Reformed camps and Charismatic camps? Absolutely! We are self-destructing a "full body." This is killing the church.
Personally, I am totally fine of washing my hands of certain movements. In fact, I just did with Bethel and Bill Johnson before I wrote this. If I come across someone who loves Bethel, in love, I will show them where some things are off. But to me, it is as if all charismatics have washed their hands from the reformed camp and vice versa!
I'm trying to bridge the gap. Essentially on Instagram, my main following (I believe) is Reformed. But, in my personal life, my main supporting cast and Christian relationships are charismatic. I want to find a way for both camps to further understand the other.
Ok. Ok. I am done. I love you all, truly - and want us to sharpen each other in the Word and understanding. Let us grow together and bridge this gap.
Think on it,