17 October 2006

Mystery quotation: "The Gifts" {tm}

by Dan Phillips

It's been awhile, but here we go again.

PLEASE NOTE FIRST: One same rule, one special rule:
  1. Same rule: do not use any search tool of any sort
  2. Special rule: if you know the answer, please don't post it until after the first ten guesses. (Frank's usual Dan-thread-post ["Plastics! That's the ticket! Why, I should make a T-shirt...."] won't count.)
And now, without further eloquence, here it is:
And again, I exhort you, my brethren, that ye deny not the gifts of God, for they are many; and they come from the same God. And there are different ways that these gifts are administered... [then follows a paraphrase of part of 1 Corinthians 12, including the enumeration of gifts of tongues and other revelatory gifts]. ...And I would exhort you, my beloved brethren, that ye remember that he is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and that all these gifts of which I have spoken, which are spiritual, never will be done away, even as long as the world shall stand, only according to the unbelief of the children of men. ...And now I speak unto all the ends of the earth that if the day cometh that the power and gifts of God shall be done away among you, it shall be because of unbelief.
Have fun!

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Robert said...

So I'm first? A wild guess of Finney.

philness said...

Ok, I'll be part of the ten so the one who knows the answer can come forth. Benny Hinn? There thats 2.

Martin Downes said...


Nathan said...

Joseph Smith. It sounds like the BOM.

candyinsierras said...

James Davenport?(a contemporary of Jonathon Edwards)

candyinsierras said...

Martin...my first thought was Montanus but then I realized he wouldn't have used words like ye and thee and such. :)

SFB said...

Brigham Young.

Martin Downes said...


I'm hoping that Dan is using a Victorian translation.

Adrian said...

Huss (after all he prophecied Luther's coming)

Or maybe Edward Irving?

rick said...

I won't say because I know but I hope this quote isn't an attempt to discredit those that believe these gifts are for today.

PS - I continue to love the Pyro blog. This is one of the fun parts.

Barry Wallace said...

My guess is Joseph Smith.

Lee Shelton said...

I would guess Joseph Smith. I think the mention of a "paraphrase" rules out any true preacher of the gospel.

DJP said...

Good guesses.

All Charismatics, to prop up their position, must explain away two facts:

1. Their distinctive "gifts" bear no resemblance to the Biblical phenomena.

2. Biblical Christians have not manifested the Biblical phenomena from the second century to the twentieth. (I'd add "-- and still haven't.")

Doing research for my book on the person and work of the Spirit, I was trying to find the earliest attempt to explain away the second fact. This is what I found. The source surprised me; the fact that the argument was exactly what Christian Charismatics try to use surprised me even more.

The answer: Moroni 10:8, 19, 24.

Now, I know what some will say to this. So I'll post it, and then go and write my response in advance, then post it later. We'll see how I do as a "prophet."

HeWhoIsCalledTom said...

Dan, isn't that a guilt by association argument against charismatics?

LeeC said...

I would not say that it is a GBA. He in no way said that charismatics are equal to Mormons.

It is as he said a suprising revelation that bears pondering no matter what camp you are in.

centuri0n said...

Oh dude: they all beat me to it.

When I read the passage I thought, "the boys on Bikes never quote that one, do they?"

I don't think this is GBA: I think it creates the question, "why, exactly, was there a rebirth in the Charismatic gifts in the 19th century when, for almost 18 centuries prior, nobody was concerned that the third generation of believers weren't walking on water and such stuff?"

It's a good question, and I;d be glad to hear an answer for it.

HeWhoIsCalledTom said...

Certainly a good point to ponder but dosen't it leave you with the distinct tast of:
"Look they talk like them there Mormons does...."
Thats all I'm saying

HeWhoIsCalledTom said...

Also, I wonder if the gifts were in operation but as times became more "modern", these things began to be questioned.

DJP said...


I'm writing this right after revealing the source of my quotation, and before reading any subsequent responses.

My "prediction" is that I'll be accused of GBA.

Note that I never said the reasoning was bad because I first found it in a Mormon source. Mormons believe a lot of things I'd agree with -- although I don't know of any shared beilef that Mormons believed first, if by that I mean "before the Bible."

My two propositions are ones I've argued or referred to frequently here at Pyro and at my own blog. So they stand or fall on their own, regardless of this.

Can anyone find this argument made by a Biblical Christian before the Book of Mormon had it? So, no matter where you stand on the leaky-Canon issue, isn't it at least interesting to you that this is apparently the first source to try out this argument -- if it is?

My additional thought is that, if this quotation, all by itself, makes someone feel defensive and guilty... maybe it's because there's something (s)he should think about more seriously?

LeeC said...

I believe the Zwickau Prophets in Saxony led by Nicholas Storch around the 1520s, and the leaders of the Munster rebellion but that is hardly a gleaming relation either.

I'd have to dig into some books that are stored away to get anything resembling quotes to that effect.

Nathan said...

Of course the only contest I win has no prize.

I feel disaffirmed.

DJP said...

Oh, Nathan, come on. "No prize"? There's the satisfaction of... of knowing, of... of being able to say that... that....

Okay. You're right.

No prize.


joey said...

In light of the fact that Reformation Day is right around the corner, I find it interesting that one of the main arguments being used against charismatics is not that its unbiblical, but the fact that they have to explain away the extended absence of its practice. I can think of some other doctrines that were lost for quite awhile...but surely the doctrines of grace aren't unbiblical because they were all but dead for an extended period of time in the church?

DJP said...

Joey, you must be something on the dance floor.

So I take it, you are not one of the mass of Charismatics who argue that Hebrews 13:8 means that Jesus is obliged always to do everything the same way... and then turn around and explains why He didn't do things the same way for 1800+ years... and why He isn't doing them exactly the same way now?

And your browser -- did it omit the first of my two points? Try Maxthon.


Chris HH said...

> Can anyone find this argument made by a Biblical Christian before the Book of Mormon had it?

And again after a little he says: "For if after Quadratus and Ammia in Philadelphia, as they assert, the women with Montanus received the prophetic gift, let them show who among them received it from Montanus and the women. For the apostle thought it necessary that the prophetic gift should continue in all the Church until the final coming. But they cannot show it, though this is the fourteenth year since the death of Maximilla."

~ Miltiades, quoted in Eusebius, Book V, Chapter XVII, Section 4.

Early enough for you?

joey said...

I am something else on the dance floor, at least that's what I'm told ;)

I certainly cannot explain why history happened the way it did, except to say that it certainly went exactly like God planned. That plan obviously included the secularization of the church. This called many problems. I see no reason why its surprising that sin corrupted both sound doctrine, and charismatic practice...the issue is not a matter of history, but of what scripture teaches. Neither of your points address the bible, they address the sin of man...as for the first point, i saw it...(after i cast the demons out of the browser that were trying to hide it from me;)i just chose to ignore it. Not because it was a good point, but because i see no way to argue it other than to encourage you to stop watching benny hinn on tv so much and come to my church;)

DJP said...

Chris -- so, you see the Montanists as Biblical Christians? Hm.

Thanks for quoting my question correctly. You got the "early" part -- not so great on the "Biblical" part.

DJP said...

So, Joey, you see the following (and all their followers) as locked in unbelief and sin: John Calvin, John Owen, Jonathan Edwards, Martin Luther, John Knox, Charles Spurgeon, Augustine, Chrysostom... all of them?

And so you're saying that, at your church, people speak human languages they've never learned? And that's been verified? And others speak direct, inerrant revelation from God, including invariably-infallible predictions of the future? And others command healings?

If that is the case, I and many others surely would like to see your church! It would be the only one of its kind since the first century!

joey said...


wow, apparently I don't communicate too clearly. i was not trying to make a point about calvin and company being "locked in unbelief and sin." I'm sure they battled with indwelling sin the same as everyone, but as for what they preached, they are heroes of the faith for a reason. They stood for the truth against all comers and despite persecution. That is my point. They were the ones fighting because of the fact that the church was void of sound doctrine. They didn't take the approach you take against the charismatics (which would been to say, "well, justification by grace alone through faith alone hasn't been taught for years now...in fact, such doctrine goes against what is being taught and practiced by the church...why would that be if it was what Paul taught? Apparently its not what Paul taught.")If that was the approach they had taken, the reformation would have never happened. Instead of looking at history and using that to decide what to believe, they looked at scripture.

As for the rest...1 Corinthians 12-14 are chock full of refrences to eagerly desire the spiritual gifts, "especially that you may prophesy." Paul was saying these things to non-apostles, non-scripture writers. Corinth, as you are most certainly aware I know, was filled with problems and sin. I can't imagine that Paul was encouraging them to give "direct, innerant revelation from God, including invariably-infallible predictions of the future?"

"3On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. 4The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. 5Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up."(1 Cor 14 3-5)

Several verses like this one indicate that the purpose of the gifts is for the buliding up of the church. Paul mentions such things like not speaking over one another, going in order, not more than two or three. That hardly sounds like he's addressing old testement type prophecy. I don't want to keep going on and on cause I'm sure you've heard all this before...I just want to clarify that my church does not think that we are infallible or inerrent. We seek to use the gifts that God has given for the building-up and encouragemnt of the church as we see instructed in 1 Corinthians

DJP said...

The Bible very clearly and explicitly defines prophecy, Joey. Usually, we're really happy when we get something as crystal-clear and unambiguous as the passages in Exodus 4 and 7, and Deuteronomy 13 and 18. Here, folks only aren't happy because taking these passages believingly would mean the death of a cherished, made-up, valueless diversion.

Your Corinthian example actually shatters your point. You suggested (like "Moroni") that sin and disbelief account for the absence of the revelatory and sign gifts for nearly two millennia. Then when I adduce men whose ministries featured none of these things, you say, "Oh no, one thing at a time; anyway, look at Corinth."

Yes, by all means, look at Corinth. As wretched as they were, the Spirit still sovereignly gave His gifts (1 Corinthians 12:11), as He did at Pentecost. There, He gave the gift of unlearned human languages to folks who did not believe in them, because it was His sovereign will.

For your clever analogy to justification to work, you'd have to argue that God did not justify anyone for all those centuries. Is that your position? It isn't mine. Christ continued saving people, the Lord continued accounting believers righteous by faith alone and through grace alone, through every age of the Church.

But He did not give revelatory nor attesting gifts.

That's a problem for you to explain. It's none at all to me. The Bible says the revelatory gifts would cease, and they did.

rick said...

Dan - I'm surprised you would reckon historic record over Biblical record but since you insist. I'll take a shot at it. You put Augustine in your list as guys that would be ok when replying to Joey so I'll give that one a shot.

What was he getting at in "The Confessions of St. Augustine", book 9, chapter 7, v. 16? It sounds wacky but the guy is referring to a vision he had.

He takes a low view of tongues but later, in "The City of God", book 22, chapter 28, he lists quite a few miracles happening in his day stating, "it is sometimes objected that the miracles, which christians claimed to have occurred, no longer happen." He then gives a healthy list of miracles and states that there are simply too many to document.

He writes, "it is a simple fact that there is no lack of miracles even in our day. And the God who works the miracles we read in the Scriptures uses any means and manner He chooses."

And then closes chapter 8 describing a miracle in his church.

So, while I do not think your claim that those two facts are facts at all and I do not think Charismatics need to defend them since I think your logic is flawed, I still could not resist and offer up this Augustine example.

Let me know if I am misrepresenting him since I have not had formal training in this area.

joey said...


first let me say that i very much enjoy discussions with those much more learned than myself, so thank you for not dismissing me out of hand just because you are crushing me... and obviously you will feel free to tell me when your done

that said, i still think i'm right ;)

Obviously, since gifts are quite a different thing than salvation, any analogy between the two will break down at some point. So yes, there is several key points at which my anology must end. Issues of salvation are much more essential than the issue of gifts. I wasn't implying that God wasn't saving people throughout the history of the church. So yes, the analogy I chose was not sufficient. The point I was trying to make was that the fact that the gifts were dormant for an extended period of time does not necessarily imply that "should" have been dormant. (they should in the sense that it was God's sovereign will that they would be...i'll get to what i mean.)

Maybe a better analagy would be the Isrealites. They were given the promised land, yet for long periods of time were not allowed to inhabit it...because of sin interestingly enough...God gave them a gift, but also took it away, and then gave it back again. During the times that they were not in the promised land they should not have questioned the validity of the promise. They were simply in a time where God was witholding it for some reason or another. I don't claim to know why the gifts were not in operation for centuries...but neither the length of their absence, nor the quality of men not practicing them over rules scripture.

"And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
18even on my male servants[c] and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
19And I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
20the sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
21And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

What does this prophecy refer to exactly? If it was just a reference to Pentecost, why the end times langauge? You have a prophecy talking about prophecy in the end times. If prophecy is done, what does this verse mean?

I want to go on, but I'm sure I've given you enough to shred me with already, so I'll wisely quit while I'm behind;)

I will address 1 Cor 13:10 if you think I need to in order to answer the "bible saying the gifts will cease" argument, but its been argued at length before and I don't think the argument hinges on one word.

rick said...

oh poo (can I say that without being Emergent?) ... You were typing while I was.

You wrote, "The Bible says the revelatory gifts would cease, and they did."

Huh? My version doesn't say that, which one should I be using?

I think you are falling into the same trap you are warning against to those that accept prophecy, signs and wonders, etc.. That is you are putting your understanding and subjective conclusion over and above what is clearly written.

DJP said...

Rick, if your Bible doesn't contain 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 -- which, on any understanding, details the cessation of revelatory gifts -- you should return it.

I'm merely observing that what Paul said would happen, has happened.

DJP said...

Joey, you show me continuous "wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood" from Pentecost to this day, and I will consider that perhaps the passage demands your interpretation.

Your Canaan analogy, while clever, also won't work. In fact, it's really absurd. Think about it. (A) Find me a passage that says "The Gifts" would be temporarily withdrawn because of sin, then redistributed in the face of much darker and deeper sin. (B) Explain Corinth. (C) Explain to me how the church of the twentieth century -- and particularly the bulk of Charismatics -- is more faithful, godly, pure, and robustly faithful than the church of Owen's, Edwards', or Spurgeon's day.

It's your position, you have to make sense of it. I don't. When the revelatory gifts were extant, the Spirit imposed them sovereignly on whom He chose (1 Corinthians 12:11, etc.). After the first century, He no longer did. No problem for me whatever. Big problem for you. Insoluble, I'd suggest -- if you insist on identifying the pale, silly, trifling charades of our day with the undeniably supernatural works of power of the apostles' day.

DJP said...

Rick -- no sarcasm intended, but what is that you're smoking?

joey said...

djp, "amd in the last days it shall be" Paul says, and then goes on to talk about prophecy and signs etc...you cannot seperate the end times from prophecy and signs, which means signs and prophecy haven't ceased forever, but like 1 Cor 13:8-10 says, they will cease...so find out what comes after the end times and you will find out when the gifts will cease forever (and something about perfect...like maybe Jesus)

As for "Explain to me how the church of the twentieth century -- and particularly the bulk of Charismatics -- is more faithful, godly, pure, and robustly faithful than the church of Owen's, Edwards', or Spurgeon's day." well now that would be quite the process wouldn't it. And it would prove nothing, even if true and possible to explain. And I am not speaking for the bulk of charismatics. If your argument is that Calvin and company are better christians than Hinn and company, you will find no argument from me, but instead wholehearted agreement. If you think that argument means anything other than charismatics need to also be reformed calvinists, than I think you place too much weight on extrabiblical arguments.

I'm not sure what to say about corinth, since you are of the opinion that chapters 12 and fourteen were instruction only for them. Perhaps I don't understand what you mean by "Explain Corinth"

As for newest imperfect analogy, unless I am mistaken, the Isrealites had no such specific scripture detailing there history for them before it happened as you would want me to have about the gifts. They sinned, so forty years in the desert etc. So the dissapearence and reapearance of the gifts (I've been granting you this point for the sake of discussion, convenient of me no? ;) wouldn't had to have been explicitely foretold.

Now, as an east coaster, it is time to retire, I will wake eager to see your latest disection.

Steve said...

DJP said: Oh, Nathan, come on. "No prize"? There's the satisfaction of... of knowing, of... of being able to say that... that....

Okay. You're right.

No prize.

* * *

Well, hey, isn't Frank the prizemeister around there? I'm sure he can figure out sumthin...

Chris HH said...

DJP, I'm disappointed. I thought you knew your church history better. Miltiades was not a Montanist, in fact if you read the quote carefully or look up the context, you will see that he is refuting Montanism.

Chris HH said...

DJP, In your response to Joey you say:

>After the first century, He no longer did. No problem for me whatever.

This would indeed be no problem if it were historically accurate, but as you well know it is not! As you said in one of your earlier comment the gifts were still widely reported in operation up to the end of the second century.

If the continuists have a problem of a missing 1800 years, the cessasionist have a problem explaining why the gifts continued for at least a century after their alleged cessasion date (the completion of the canon circa 70AD)

rick said...


rick said...

I think this comment got lost so I'll repost - if I violated the comment criteria, let me know so I can do better.

Dan - another fun part of Pyro is keeping up. You guys have an uncanny ability to reason, research, and (w)rite. It's difficult for the common man to keep pace.

First - I smoke cigars but not as frequently as Spurgeon but I only partake once per month or two.

Two - I guess I misunderstood you regarding 1 Co 13.8-10. You are correct in that it clearly outlines the ceasing of these things. To my understanding, it outlines how these will cease in the future. I thought you we saying it outlines that they already have ceased. I guess you didn't say that. I got fooled by your sentence structure, it started with, "the Bible says". You just (1) misrepresented history saying that they have ended and (2) you let your understanding of history drive your understanding of Scripture.

Again, you impress me with your faithfulness to the Word but on this topic I'm disappointed.

You infer that for gifts to be genuine that they must mirror Biblical accounts exactly. I don't know the percentage, but not all Charismatic believe that. Many of us see the words and works of Jesus and the Apostles as unique. I would not try to prove as, as you ask, that the miracles today are exactly the same as then because I think that would be a very wrong Biblical position. And I would expect that if I claimed we were mirroring this today that you would rightly take issue with that. Net, to continue the conversation you have set a trap, i.e., you ask me to try to prove something that neither of us would accept as true.

Net - I don't expect to change your mind. I was just hoping that you might acknowledge that the Scriptures that you claim are so clear can honestly be understood differently and that our understanding of history is also not as clear as we think nor should it drive our understanding of the Scripture.

As a bonus, I was kind of hoping that you might also see that those two points really didn't have to be proved - that there is a better way to have this conversation.

That's all. It would shock me if either side would bring new information to the table. I think a lot of very spiritual men have documented well these views. So in the end, it is your approach that pokes at me and give place for me to feel defensive, not the soundness of your argument.