What Does It Mean To Be Word & Spirit?

Understanding the “Word & Spirit” Paradigm at King’s Fellowship Church

What does it mean to be Word & Spirit? Here at King’s Fellowship Church, we are wholly committed to the convergence of both Word and Spirit, not simply as a theological statement, but as a way of life and ministry. But what does it mean to be Word & Spirit? I think the best way to define the Word & Spirit Paradigm is by defining and describing what it is not, in two very popular Western errors. These two errors are significant pitfalls that can hinder this pursuit, pushing believers to extremes that undermine the core principles of their faith.

Cessationism: Limiting God’s Work and Contradicting Apostolic Teaching

One such pitfall lies within the tradition of cessationism, which inadvertently limits the scope of God’s work by dismissing the contemporary relevance of spiritual gifts. This position is probably most famously articulated by Puritan Church Leader John Owen: “If private revelations agree with Scripture, they are unnecessary, and if they disagree, they are false.” If we take a close look at John Owen’s instruction, we will see how it contradicts the Apostle Paul’s exhortation to actively desire and pursue spiritual gifts, particularly prophecy. The cessationist stance, while rooted in a deep reverence for the authority of the Bible, actually falls short of its commands.

Scripture and Spiritual Gifts: A Complementary Relationship

The cessationists teach that the pursuit of spiritual gifts is unnecessary in the presence of the written Word. However, Paul and the apostles never say that spiritual gifts are in opposition to Scripture; in fact, I would argue that they complement scripture. For example, the prophetic instances in Acts, such as Agabus’ drought prediction or the many prophetic words that Paul received about how he would suffer, both illustrate that these gifts are far from contradicting the infallible teaching of Scripture. Rather, they cooperate alongside scripture by encouraging the Apostles during various trials. Also, consider 2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” This scripture is often used to explain how these scriptures are authoritative and sufficient; however, this scripture was written during a time when prophecy was taking place. Therefore, prophecy, or any form of modern revelation, can coexist with the authoritative sufficient scripture.

The Hyper-Charismatic Error of Gnosticism: Neglecting Scriptural Authority

The second pitfall is the hyper-charismatic error of Gnosticism, where the Bible is perceived as an antiquated relic that hinders a direct connection to the Spirit. This perspective devalues the inherent spiritual power of Scripture, leading to an unbiblical disregard for its teachings. Such an approach directly contradicts the Apostle Paul’s counsel to “not go beyond what is written,” as found in 1 Corinthians 4:6. Additionally, any movement that neglects the instructive, authoritative, and norming nature of God’s written Word distorts the very foundation upon which Christianity rests. A community that neglects God’s word in order to pursue the supernatural is doomed to repeat the heretical errors of the Gnostics, the Montanists, and the contemporary 2020 prophets.

Embracing the Balanced Approach of “Word & Spirit”

The balanced approach emerges as the “Word & Spirit” way, a middle ground between the cessationist and hyper-charismatic stances. This perspective acknowledges Scripture’s authority and infallibility while also embracing the pursuit of spiritual gifts as a manifestation of the Holy Spirit’s work. This harmony enables believers to live out their faith in a way that is both rooted in biblical truth and open to the miraculous workings of the Holy Spirit. In a world where extremes often hold sway, the unpopular and radical middle way of “Word & Spirit” beckons us toward a more balanced and biblically grounded path. Honoring God requires a dynamic synergy between the wisdom and instruction of the Word and the supernatural empowerment of the Spirit. We must not discard the invaluable guidance of Scripture under the guise of seeking a “deeper” experience, nor should we overlook the vibrant, life-giving power of the Spirit in favor of rigid adherence to doctrine. Embracing both facets of our faith allows us to navigate the complexities of modern life with a steadfast commitment to truth, humility, and the transformative work of God.