How Should a Reformed Pastor Be Charismatic?

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In an article for The Christian Post, Anugrah Kumar, shared the following summary of a message at this week's Desiring God conference for pastors in Minnesota:

The message by U.K. Pastor Tope Koleoso was entitled "Sovereign Grace, Spiritual Gifts and the Pastor: How Should a Reformed Pastor be Charismatic?" and encouraged church leaders not to sidestep the supernatural in the Christian faith and ministry, but to rightly understand and exercise the gifts of the Holy Spirit while shunning fanaticism.

Koleoso, who leads Jubilee Church London in the U.K. read out Acts 13:1-12, and asked why would anyone who is Bible-believing, Christ-centered and theology-loving be hesitant, cautious or resistant to the Holy Spirit? It is perhaps, fear, he suggested. Sometimes it's rational, and sometimes it's because some people are abusive and hurtful in the name of the Holy Spirit. Fanaticism is at times mistaken as spirituality.

In Mark Chapter 1, after the Spirit came upon Jesus, He went about teaching, preaching, healing and delivering people from evil spirits. However, the church in the West wants to do only two things: teach and preach. They shy away from healing diseases and delivering people from demonic influences.

"You came into the kingdom supernaturally; you're going to be sustained in the kingdom supernaturally," Pastor Koleoso reminded the pastors. There are consequences if pastors do not teach about the power of the Holy Spirit and how to access it, he warned. "If we don't pursue the things of the Spirit the way that the first century Christians did, we'll end up preaching an anemic ... diluted ... deficient ... even a destructive gospel."

In the West, we've become pragmatic and natural-thinking, said the Nigerian-born Koleoso. "We're called to something deeper." It takes integrity and humility to say, "Lord, help us."

In Acts Chapter 1, the disciples were told to wait for the Spirit who would give power to make them witnesses. "Early church knew nothing of just going out without waiting." Jesus has asked His followers to make disciples, but we are not doing it, Koleoso added. But in the early church, Christians did not know discipleship that was apart from the filling of the Holy Spirit.

Koleoso also suggested some pastors may not have the resources to deal with demonic situations in their churches. "You cannot theologize Satan away; you cannot lecture him away ... You need the power of the Holy Spirit to address those situations ... This is a supernatural calling; the whole thing is supernatural."

Whether you are charismatic or reformed, you have to be filled with the Holy Spirit daily, the pastor emphasized.

What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit? "It means to be restored to the initial intention so that you once again have the relation and resources." It's imperative, not a choice, he said. And we have to continue to be filled. "No one can say, 'I've got it; I've got it all.'"

Koleoso encouraged the pastors to buy Terry Virgo's The Spirit-Filled Church, to learn about the presence of God, and to buy Sam Storms' The Beginner's Guide to Spiritual Gifts.

Pastor Koleoso concluded by saying, as Paul said, let everything be done in a decent and orderly manner. This means there has to be leadership in the church. The freedom in Spirit must not surrender to fanaticism, our openness to the Spirit must never violate the Word of God, and our expression of joy must never degenerate into mere excitability.

Read the full Christian Post article here.

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