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Part Two [Part one]
By DR SIAM BHAYRO
Colin Dye is the Senior Minister of Kensington Temple, London, and a leading figure in the "renewal" movement. This analysis follows on from Neil Richardson's article in Vanguard #6, June 1999.
A few comments regarding Colin Dye's 1996 book Revival Phenomena (Sovereign World). These comments concern two trends observed in Colin's book: a: the introduction of relativism into the manifestations debate; b: an undermining of the scriptures. [As the second is probably more serious, you may wish to skip to it first if you are short of time.]

Relativism

IT 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:
"Without this sort of love, we are nothing. It makes no difference whether we are a supporter or a critic, whether we have experienced every possible phenomenon, or none. If we have not love, we are nothing."
Lovely — glad we sorted that out. So what is the result of this "love"? A frank and open discussion of the issues that are tearing the church apart without resorting to railing accusations? If only.
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:
"Those of us who want to experience only the genuine article…"
[which already manipulates the reader as we all want this]
"… will need to make sure that we are non-judgemental of others. We must take care that we do not reject the spiritual experiences of others too hastily."
The problem here is that we are not judging others. When we assess the strange manifestations which we wit-ness, we are not judging those who are in the throes of clucking like a chicken or whatever the latest fad is. We are testing the spirits — is what we are seeing demonic, of the flesh or holy?
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):
"We must stop criticising those brothers and sisters with whom we disagree about non-essential matters."
These are not non-essential matters. We don't want to blaspheme the Holy Spirit any more than they want to act under demonic influence. So surely the better way to maintain the unity of the Spirit and show true love is to discuss these things frankly — wouldn't you agree? Such a discussion would be more preferable to Colin's relativistic don't judge — what's fine for me may not be fine for you, approach.

Undermining the scriptures

But there is a more serious problem, a hint of which occurs on page 20 regarding spiritual gifts:
"The New Testament may not list every possible gift; and Jesus may send other ones which are not mentioned in Romans 12:3-8; Ephesians 4:7-16 and 1 Corinthians 12:1-11."
Thus the sufficiency of scripture is demolished. Lest you think that I am being too harsh here, consider what is said on page 40:
"It seems logical to me, therefore, not to limit the range of his (God's) possible activities just to those which are specifically recorded or exemplified in the scriptures".
So there it is. The gifts of the Holy Spirit and activities of God recorded in scripture are not sufficient for Colin, and he would rather we wouldn't limit him. Instead, we should expect more than what the bible tells us to expect and not be satisfied with the gifts as mentioned in the scriptures.
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
"...contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" -- Jude v3

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-Last revised-Tuesday, 15 June 2004