Do you have any advice for new ministers in the Bible Belt surrounded by charismatic influence?
The one thing I would say in a local church situation is to make sure your focus is on the person, ministry, and work of Christ. If folks really are the Lord’s sheep, Jesus assures us that they’ll hear His voice.
As we do that, those prejudices, and often that focus on the Holy Spirit that actually diverts people away from what Christ has done and who Christ is, in the Lord’s people does begin to dissolve. They realize that actually they’ve been doing almost the reverse of what Jesus says the Holy Spirit would come to do.
Jesus says, “When He comes He will glorify me” (John 16:13-14). But what they’ve been doing is taking their eyes off of Christ and focusing on gifts and on their experience and not on Christ and all that He has done for us.
One of the ways we can probe that is by saying to people, “Now, let’s talk about Christ. How much do you know about Christ? Tell me the outline of Mark’s gospel.” And often, if there is a kind of arrogance that, “We’ve got these spiritual gifts,” that really exposes that your interest in spiritual gifts may actually hide a real ignorance of the basics of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
There are various ways in which one could go about ministering in that context. But I would say to help people to be refocused on Christ and then other things will come out in the wash.
This transcript is from a live Ask Ligonier event with Sinclair Ferguson and has been lightly edited for readability. To ask Ligonier a biblical or theological question, just visit Ask.Ligonier.org or message us on Facebook or Twitter.