Agonizomai: Sermon of the Week<br>Bell Rings for Joy

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sermon of the Week
Bell Rings for Joy

I like this man's way of preaching. He sounds like an old fashioned fundamentalist at first, though never of the Hylesian bent. But it doesn't take long to warm to him. He's not exactly homespun and not exactly seminarian to the ear - but whatever he is, he's Biblical. If I had to categorize him, I'd probably have to put him in the High Calvinist camp. It just goes to show you the infinite variety of God's work in raising people from every flavor of upbringing, geography, culture and experience and then using them to proclaim the glories of His righteousness in Christ. This indeed is the true unity in the body!
I also noticed his irrepressible glee when brother Bell was contemplating the wonders of God's Word and ways. From time to time he couldn't keep from chuckling. He reminded me a bit of Don Fortner, who has the same mannerism. But neither of them is anything like the so-called "holy laughter" manifested in some recent "revivalist" experiences. This is joy in the Holy Spirit. The other was sometimes more akin to the demonic.

Finally, look for the way he finds Christ in scripture. Though not the subject of this particular sermon, he mentions that the gospel is clearly to be seen in the creation account in the first few verses of Genesis, by those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. This sort of view does not exactly spring from the strictly exegetical parsing of words (though that is an essential part of study), but from a more expansive look, taken by stepping back and taking in the whole picture of what the Holy Spirit is telling us throughout all of scripture. It is close to what I mean when I call myself "mystic by nature".

I suppose neither brother Bell nor I might make very appealing Calvinists to some, but if conforming to their idea of the faith missed the whole reality of this man's manifest (and my occasional) joy in the Holy Spirit - then I guess I'm outside the mainstream.


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