Friday, June 13, 2008


When I meet people they will sometimes ask me what denomination I am a part of. It is often difficult to explain to people outside of our family of churches exactly who I am and what I am a part of. I may tell those who have some understanding that I am a "reformed charismatic," which also has implications I am not too happy with. I like the statement that Mark Driscoll uses describing himself as "reformed in boxer shorts and charismatic with a seat-belt".

I have a value of the historic Christian faith which can be described as reformed but also am not a cessationist, meaning I believe that the rich life in the Holy Spirit described in scripture continues to be available today. However, I find some of the more extreme reformed views not to my liking. The excessive, and often embarrassing, expressions of those who call themselves “charismatic” are not something I wish to identify with either.

I have great appreciation for the values of our Newfrontiers family of churches. We have a radical commitment to the integrity of scripture, as well as a lively experience in the Holy Spirit. Also, our value of the church as God's vehicle for kingdom expansion provides us with a great deal of safety. We can embrace the full expression of life in the Holy Spirit within the context of church. We have accountability of elders and the church community, as well as a solid foundation in biblical expression of the Spirit-filled life.

Many charismatics live independently, and a kind of hyper-individualistic, ministry-oriented world without the accountability of the local church or its elders. Often charismatics seem to lack solid biblical foundations. This leads to much extra-biblical craziness. It is impossible to address issues that are off the mark extra-biblical revelations in people who avoid the accountability of the church. Many times these people pull rank with the statement "God showed me, God spoke to me” which becomes a way of avoiding accountability.

So what do I hold as an accurate description of my position? I guess I will stick with the statement that I am a "reformed charismatic." While the Mark Driscoll’s statement is helpful, I don't want my seat-belt so tight that I become hesitant in living a life that is rich in Spirit-filled expression, embracing the absolute integrity of the Bible as the foundation upon which my Spirit-filled life is demonstrated.

Sometimes our family members do or say things that are not in concert with who we are personally. However, we are still a part of our family and would not deny our connectedness with them. Unfortunately, many of our more extreme family members operate in front of television cameras, because they own much of what is called Christian TV. I don't like the fact that often I am identified with their weird and non-biblical views. Yet I am a charismatic and theologically I would be described as reformed. I guess I will just get on with it and hope that I am judged for who I really am, rather than guilt by association.


  1. Its good to know that there is an increasing amount of people professing to be Reformed Charismatic. Can you suggest other blogs, resources, websites, books, people etc etc. I would like to use all available resources and would appreciate if you could share. THANKS!!

  2. James, if you go to you will find one of the best blogs for charismatic/reformed info, you can spend days here. Also read books by Terry Virgo, especially his books on grace.

    John Lanferman

  3. Hey John,

    Thanks for what you've written here. It communicates the balance of who we are so well. Thanks for your excellent leadership and friendship.

    Jonathan Eftychiou

  4. We are on the same team, brother... blessed to have found your blog!

    Visit me sometime at:

  5. You may also be interested to know that there are some in the Vineyard Movement who are also myself. I have a blog that I write on sometimes.

    Also, I am a member of the Association of Charismatic Reformed Churches.

    I just thought I'd throw that out there.