A Notebook shared over Lunch

Bryan and I met because, frankly, he and I disagree about the meaning of Christianity.  We would both claim to be Christians.  We probably agree on a lot more than we disagree on if you did a survey, but there is a specific point of disagreement which, I think, will never be resolved: the question of the normal experience of the daily Christian life is hinged on the miraculous intervention of the Holy Spirit.

In my view, it is utterly essential to say that the Holy Spirit is alive and works in the believer to call him to repentance, to give him new life (a changed life, a "second birth" as Christ says in John 3), to establish faith in the believer in an indestructible way, to illuminate the Scriptures, to work toward our holiness (which is called "sanctification"), and to give him fellowship with fellow believers.

Bryan would not disagree with any of that, it seems to me -- but he wouldn't stop there.  As I understand him, at Pentecost the Holy Spirit empowered the believers in Christ to supernatural acts which have never stopped since that day, and that the normal Christian life will be populated with visions, works of healing, prophecies, and other miracles -- if one is properly trained or disciplined.  For Bryan, these things are not incidental or uncommon but the normal Christian life -- or it ought to be, if we have the right faith and practice.

The disagreement, then, is over whether or not the Holy Spirit's necessary work is limited to our spiritual and moral perfection to be made into God's people by grace through the sacrifice of Christ, or if that work is supplemented and improved through supernatural work which is inexplicable except as a work of God.

The first time we met was over lunch, and that conversation gave me the idea to ask Bryan to share a blog with me so that the conversation we started in person could be expanded and continued.  So this blog is a notebook of that conversation, which is where the title comes from.

We are doing this for the sake of anyone interested in this conversation, and we hope that it will, at the very least, help people on both sides of this gap understand both sides and come to a faithful, biblical conclusion in their own spiritual lives.