Knoxville minister Doug Banister is passionate about bridging the divide between charismatic and evangelical churches, and has written several books to that effect. “The Word & Power Church” is an incredible read for anyone on either side of the divide and anyone desiring reform by getting back to what God intended – for individuals and congregations.
Modern charismatic and evangelical traditions have experienced conflict for near a century, but in the ’90s and into the new millennia many church leaders began asking if it had to be so. Millennials tend to take this peacemaking movement the next step, with their appreciation for diversity (Diversity: The Fourth Layer of our Foundation) and their desire to have the best of both worlds instead of picking “either/or”.
Doug Banister explores the history of the conflict and then looks for the major heroes of both movements. What he finds is a fascinating case in history – both sides have the same heroes, they just focus on the parts that they love. We share a common heritage that includes an appreciation of the Pietists and Puritans. The charismatic, spirit-focused Pietists were more evangelical than many give credit to, and the evangelical, word-based Puritans were more charismatic than many are raised to assume.
Common heroes include great church leaders and reformers such as Jonathan Edwards, John Wesley, Charles Finney, Dwight L. Moody but also more obscure traditions like the Keswick Movement. While it is often assumed these believers were either charismatic or evangelical, a deep study of their writings and sermons, songs and diaries shows that they were both deeply committed to the Word and deeply in love with the Spirit. They were more balanced than we give them credit for, and possibly more balanced than we ourselves – we have a lot to learn.
Jesus always said the coming church would be one that worshipped in two manners, not one. Not in a place, like the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem or the Samaritan Temple on Mount Gerizim or a church on Broadway Avenue. But in dual manner – both in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:19-24). Doug Banister gives consideration to how many modern believers and movements are striving to pull these two traditions together, so the church can be whole and benefit from all God has to offer – from spiritual gifts and the Spirit’s guidance (he’s our counselor, after all!) to the Word’s encouragements, inspiration and wisdom.
Throughout the book he shares personal stories of his own journey and the people he met along the way, uncovering what convicted them that both paths must be brought together for anyone who wants to experience all the riches God intended for the Church. Then he takes a look at modern church practice to consider what a church with both might look like.
This is a great book:
- For anyone who has looked at their faith and asked, “Is this all? I had hoped there was something more.”
- For any evangelical who wishes the faith had more power, that God was more personal, that a “relationship with Jesus Christ” was actually like a relationship. The Spirit provides this.
- For any charismatic who feels like flying by the seat of their pants is wearing them out, anyone who feels like they need an anchor. The Word provides this.
- For anyone healing from church hurt, whether it was from an overzealous Spirit believer who stepped out on their own authority and made false promises or an overzealous Word thumper who applied an abundance of legalism lacking in all grace.
- For every church leader, whether an established church or a house church. If your congregation isn’t regularly seeking in the Word or involving the Spirit, you’re leading a half-life and liable to do more damage than good.
“The Word & Power Church” is by Dr. Doug Banister and is available from Zondervan for $12.99 (Here: Zondervan)