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Part Two [Part one]
RelativismIT IS with a certain amusement that I continue our analysis of Colin Dye. The book Revival Phenomena is an attempt to set the rules for how strange manifestations in the church should be assessed. Treated are such things as falling, trembling and shaking, `drunkenness', laughter, glowing, visions and trances, anger and strong words etc. I say a certain amusement because the velvet glove has certainly been donned here.
Gone are the damning accusations that we are blaspheming the Holy Spirit and the strong curses usually uttered against those who diligently search the scriptures in order to test all things. No here we have a book with, commendably, a large portion devoted to the need for love. This is especially the case on page 82 having quoted 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, Colin then states:
No Colin is actually introducing what can only be described as post-modernism into the manifestations' debate. Straight after this appeal for love, he states:
This assessment is based upon our understanding of scripture and thus merits answering from those who oppose us. When we arrive at a conclusion, for example that clucking like a chicken is probably not of the Holy Spirit, we then choose not to engage in that activity. Now here is the problem. In choosing not to engage in such a thing, we are as a consequence stating that those who do engage in it are wrong. Thus in judging the manifestation, we are accused of judging the poor soul seduced into it.
But the point is that only one side can be right. Either the manifestation is of the Holy Spirit or not. There is no room for a post-modern relativistic "what's okay for one is not for another". This is a matter of absolutes right or wrong.
Elsewhere, Colin appeals to Ephesians 4:1-3 (pages 8 and 91), and states that we should do everything in order to maintain the unity of the Spirit. This is true and we do endeavour to do this. But Colin's explanation of this is rather sinister (page 91):
Undermining the scripturesBut there is a more serious problem, a hint of which occurs on page 20 regarding spiritual gifts:
Actually, I think the church has the opposite problem. We are not really experiencing the gifts which are revealed in the bible, certainly not to the extent we should be. So to compensate for what is either God's withholding or our inability, both of which should lead to contrite soul-searching and repentance on our part, Colin and his ilk simply invent new "gifts" and destroy the doctrine of the sufficiency of scripture in order to legitimise them.
At this point, my amusement has soured. What can be the end of all this? There is only one answer judgement.
I wonder if Colin Dye will tell God not to be judgemental?
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Appeared in Issue 12 September 2000
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