You don't have to head overseas to find a war. In the church, the rhetorical cross-fire between evangelical and "spirit-filled" Christians over the past hundred years has been withering. "No scriptural foundations," is the charge evangelicals have leveled at the charismatics. "No spiritual power," the latter have countered. The boundaries are clear. The positions are taken -- and guarded. Either you're a Word person or a Power person. Today, though, such black-and-white, either-or thinking is giving way to the ...
You don't have to head overseas to find a war. In the church, the rhetorical cross-fire between evangelical and "spirit-filled" Christians over the past hundred years has been withering. "No scriptural foundations," is the charge evangelicals have leveled at the charismatics. "No spiritual power," the latter have countered. The boundaries are clear. The positions are taken -- and guarded. Either you're a Word person or a Power person. Today, though, such black-and-white, either-or thinking is giving way to the liberty and promise of a Word and Power church. Pastor Doug Banister shows why we cannot afford to settle for less. It's time to bury our differences -- which are largely artificial -- and discover the incredible potential that arises when evangelicals combine their strengths with Pentecostals and charismatics. Taking a long, careful, and honest look at the Scriptures, at church history, and at the state of the church and the world today, Pastor Banister reveals why Pentecostalism and evangelicalism need each other. Each tradition possesses strengths that are essential to a balanced, life-changing faith. The Word and Power Church shows how these "two mighty rivers" add to, rather than subtract from, each other. At the cusp of a new millennium, they are in fact merging into one river. Word and Power churches may experiences turbulence where the waters meet, but they teem with life, hope, faith, and power to reach a desperate world with the Gospel. Filled with personal anecdotes, this fascinating, thought-provoking, and candid book supplies the why-tos and how-tos of a Word-and-Power approach. What you won't find is preferential treatment of one view over another. What you will find are thoughtful biblical insights that will challenge you and inspire you. And you'll discover practical guidance for charting your own course -- whether as an individual or as a church -- toward a faith that embraces the truth of the Word and the power of the Spirit. As a solidly evangelical seminary graduate and pastor, Banister admits to having disdained charismatics. That is, until meticulous study of God’s Word convinced him that miraculous gifts of tongues, healing, and prophecy are indeed valid for today. As he details his “journey beyond categories,” Banister explores the reasons for the age-old rift between the two camps and the ways in which healing is taking place in new “Word and Power” churches all over America. When evangelicals and charismatics bring together the best from each tradition, he has discovered that the result is a strong, unified body. Word and Power churches affirm the authority of Scripture and encourage the prophetic embrace of those who pray in a spiritual language, pursue obedience to Christ, edify the believer and evangelize the seeker, heal the sick and comfort the suffering. The Word and Power Church will speak to Christians everywhere who want to walk in both the integrity of Scripture and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Dr. Doug Banister is pastor and mentor to businessmen in Knoxville, TN. He has a Doctorate of Ministry from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary and is working on a Ph.D. in Medieval History at the University of Tennessee. In addition, he is the author of Sacred Quest and The Word and Power Church. He and his wife, Sandi, have four children.
Contents Acknowledgments PART ONE: A House Divided Cannot Stand Chapter One: My Journey Beyond Categories Chapter Two: Truce: It’s Time to Stop Fighting Yesterday’s War Chapter Three: The Quest for Something More Chapter Four: Our Common Heritage Chapter Five: The Legacy of Evangelicals Chapter Six: The Legacy of the Charismatics PART TWO: Inside the Word and Power Church Chapter Seven: In the Presence of a Talking God Chapter Eight: Not All Speak in Tongues, Do They? Chapter Nine: We Need the Caboose Chapter Ten: Worship Evangelism Chapter Eleven: Power and Pain Chapter Twelve: Daily Fillings and Deeper Works Epilogue Appendix One: Are Miraculous Gifts for Today? Appendix Two: Is Paul Referring to a Personal Prayer Language in 1 Corinthians 14? Appendix Three: For Leaders Only Notes
Chapter One My Journey Beyond Categories It was a vulnerable time in my life. I was in a distant city, tired and dry from several long years of ministry. My rented red compact idled at a lazy stoplight. I glanced at scribbled directions lying next to my briefcase on the front seat. I had only two blocks to go. Should I really be doing this? I wondered nervously, thinking for a moment of friends back home who wouldn't approve of where I was about to go. Yet the hunger within me drove me to press on. The light turned green. I made two left turns into the parking lot and stopped in front of my destination. I had never been in a place like this before. I had heard of them, of course, but usually from distant acquaintances---not the sort of folks I usually hang out with. I felt embarrassed, as an evangelical pastor, to be here. What if someone saw me? Even worse, what if, well ... what if I was influenced by what lurked within? I walked to the glass doors at the front of the building with the studied casualness of a man who wants to look as if he's done this a hundred times before but really hasn't. My heart pounded as I turned the handle and stepped into the glare of fluorescent lighting shimmering off the jackets of thousands of books. Here I was. In a charismatic bookstore. I wandered from row to row, timidly at first, then with more boldness, my eyes drinking in this strange, new, forbidden world. There were books on healing and books on exorcism, books on prophecy and books on speaking in tongues, books on miracles and books on revival, all packaged with bright, foil-embossed covers that hinted dangerously of power and excitement. I slipped a dozen paperbacks from the shelves, drummed my fingers nervously as the clerk put them on my Visa card, and escaped into the night. My foray into the land of the charismatics had come off undetected. At least for now. What was a nice evangelical boy doing in a place like this? That's an interesting story. And I'd like to tell it to you. A PROUD LEGACY I am proud of my evangelical roots. I was saved in a Brethren church, learned how to share the four spiritual laws from a Campus Crusade for Christ staff member, volunteered at a Billy Graham crusade, graduated from two evangelical seminaries, was a pastor in an evangelical denomination, and diligently read Christianity Today. I have nothing but profound gratefulness and respect for my mentors in the evangelical world. They have given me a rich legacy. More than anything, they taught me to love the Word of God and to preach it with passion. The day after I graduated from seminary in 1987, my wife, Sandi, and I packed up our Nissan pickup truck, vowed never again to buy a car without air conditioning, and headed east. God had called us to Knoxville, Tennessee, to plant Fellowship Church. I was twenty-five (almost twenty-six, I reminded everyone). Money was tight, so I worked part-time jobs tutoring University of Tennessee football players and writing for a magazine that published sermon illustrations. With the time that remained, we planted the church. THE QUEST FOR PASSION Those were good days. The focus of our ministry was the Word of God---its authority and its sufficiency. I didn't know much about pastoring, but I did know that God blesses the preaching of his Word. We became a 'teaching' church. I spent most of my hours preparing sermons. God did bless. Lives were changed by God's Word. Our tiny core group outgrew a basement, then overflowed a Christian school library, and then filled the cafeteria of a local junior high school with some six hundred worshipers. Yet something was missing. Our church had become too much like a classroom. We came dangerously close to defining spiritual growth as learning more about the Bible. Our Bible knowledge was increasing, but we had a hard time pressing beyond all the facts about God into the actual presence of God. We were getting to know him propositionally, but were not encountering him personally. This was especially true in my own life. My faith had disintegrated into a worldview that worked, a set of principles to live by. I loved the principles. But I had failed to cultivate an intimate relationship with the Person behind the principles. I knew God intellectually, but not experientially. I loved him with my whole mind, but didn't really understand what it meant to love him with my whole heart. All my life I had talked about the importance of 'a personal relationship with Jesus.' But my relationship wasn't very personal. I was not living in sin. Our ministry was enjoying a measure of blessing and power. But I lacked a passion for Jesus. During that time I picked up a paperback copy of Jonathan Edwards's classic, The Religious Affections. Edwards has managed to write one of the world's dullest books on spiritual passion! It is also one of the most brilliant ones. America's greatest theologian argues with ruthless logic and biblical precision that a true faith is a passionate faith. His words haunted me. His entire book is filled with statements like 'who will deny that true religion consists in great measure in vigorous and lively ... exercises of the heart' and 'let it be considered that they who have but little affection have certainly but little religion.' I had to admit that I was a man who had 'but little affection' for Jesus, although I had great affection for his Word. I had become a 'Bible Deist'---someone who believes that God has revealed his will for us in the Bible, but that he is not personally involved in how we live those principles out.