19 July 2007

The Gift of Hiatus (Hez 9:11) [Part 3]

by Frank Turk

This is part 3 of my response to Dan Edelen, and you can find part two here. After I get this posted, I will open up the comments. I will be unable to respond tonight to anyone as I have a project due at work tomorrow, but after I participate in that project I'll be back to check in with all of you and find out exactly how wrong I am about so many different things.
| How we miss this! When we deny
| that type of prophetic word spoken
| over our leaders, we create an
| environment of doubt wherein men
| not fit for the pastoral role are allowed
| to become pastors because we have
| said that God no longer reveals His
| will through charismatic prophecy!
|
| What a tragedy for the Church! When
| we toss away the charismata, we toss
| away this type of confirmation used to
| confirm the roles of specific
| individuals within the Church. We
| then go on blindly to install folks God
| may not have confirmed because we
| base their confirmation on things
| outside the Spirit. And for this error,
| we've damaged the Church.
Dude: that's academy-award stuff. Very moving.
| God gave that prophetic word then
| and He will do so today if we believe
| that He will. Our problem is that too
| many people say the charismata have
| ceased. Therefore, God has given us
| over to the vagaries of installing
| people into positions of leadership
| who do not have His confirmation by
| means of prophetic revelation.
|
| The implication is clear.
I don't think it is. See: I think the gift of being a pastor/teacher/overseer is still present in the church – the church would be completely useless without these offices; it would be a meaningless gathering. Moreover, these are plainly gifts of the Spirit (cf. 1 Cor 12). But the question here is whether or not a miraculous event co-terminus with the laying on of hands is the vehicle by which the Spirit provides these gifts, and if a prophecy must precede that event. That is, in what way is Timothy's ordination normative for the church today?

Be careful that you answer consistent with the way charismatics view giftedness prior to ordination. I think if you answer this by thinking about how one is called by the church to ministry, you'll find a very different model – which is like the one described in the Bible -- hidden under your charismatic enthusiasm.
| 5. Are the charismatic gifts necessary
| or not?
|
| Jesus Christ believes the gifts are
| necessary because He gave them to
| His Church to establish it throught the
| world and through time:
|
| But you will receive power when the
| Holy Spirit has come upon you, and
| you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem
| and in all Judea and Samaria, and to
| the end of the earth."
| ---Acts 1:8
|
| Many cessationists believe the gifts
| were only for the initial establishment
| of the Church in the first century
| during the Apostolic Age. But that
| theory contains a profound flaw.
I'm interested in this flaw, but before we go there, let's consider one of yours: the problem of specificity. No one would disagree, btw, that the church is called to be a witness for Christ "to the ends of the earth". The question is whether every generation, and indeed every believer, must experience Pentecost.

In your view, Jesus here promises to give every believer a "Holy Spirit" experience, and then at Pentecost He gives the first one, and Peter says that Joel prophecied this for all who believe.

The problem is that Jesus in Acts 1 says, "the Spirit of power will come to you", meaning the ones asking the question, "whence the Kingdom," and Peter says Joel is pointing at the specific event of the people then filled with the Holy Spirit, and incredibly, those baptized at Pentecost don't also share in the speaking in tongues. Those baptized that day share in fellowship, prayer, and bearing burdens.

Your view ignores what specifically happens, and expresses a broadness the events of the text do not express.

That's your flaw. Let's see what mine is.

| You see, the Church of Jesus Christ
| never stops being established. Even
| today, it's being established on the
| frontiers of lands peopled by folks
| who have never heard the Gospel. To
| those people, today is the same as the
| first century, because the Gospel is
| coming to them afresh. And it comes
| in the same manner and means as it
| did the day of Pentecost.
|
| Not only this, but even in this country,
| the Gospel is still being established
| because we continue to establish it
| from one generation to the next. The
| frontier exists even in a country like
| ours filled with churches because we
| must establish the next generation in
| Christ or else the Church here will
| cease to exist.
I don't see how this is my flaw. It seems to be that you are claiming something Phil, Dan and I have asked to see substantiated. See: we read Scripture, and you say it says, "X", but in fact it says less than "X", and in fact more of "Q". So your view, to me, seems to experience a good bit of exaggeration.

So then when you say, "Well, the church experiences 'X' in places you can never see, and to a lesser degree in places you can see," all I say in reply is, "Dude: if your reporting is of the same type as your exegesis, I'd like an example I can check against your description."

So here we are again: it'd be nice to have an example to compare to your description.
| Your basic premise ("The Charismatic
| Gifts, as manifest today, point people
| to Jesus Christ.") has a subtle
| underlying flaw we must examine if
| this is to make sense.
I love a good teaching metaphor, btw. It tells us as much about the teacher as it does about the thing he is describing.
| A rich landowner approaches a poor
| man and asks the poor man to build
| him a house. The rich man provides
| all the tools, the best made. Because
| the rich man is an expert builder, he
| promises to teach the poor man
| everything he knows. And this he
| does. The poor man is given the
| riches of the wealthy man to complete
| the work. So the poor man, with all
| that has been given him by the rich
| man, builds a magnificent house.
|
| When the house is complete, the
| wealthy man comes to inspect the
| beautiful the house the poor man has
| built for him. The poor man thanks
| the rich man for the job and for the
| bountiful pay the rich man gave him.
| The rich man offers to make the poor
| man the chief carpenter of all the
| houses he wishes to build. When the
| rich man asks the now no-longer-
| poor man what he thinks of the house
| and his new position in life because of
| the rich man's generosity, the man
| says, "Look at this hammer! It's
| amazing. I've never seen a hammer
| like this. And this drill! Wow."
|
| You see, the once-poor man was
| looking at the wrong thing. His
| fixation was on the tool, not on the
| work.
|
| Jesus Christ gave the charismata at
| Pentecost to accomplish His
| commission to the Church. He
| Himself does not fixate on the tools
| because the tools are subservient to
| the work. Yes, Christ did not speak
| volumes on the gifts in the Gospels.
| He does not go into great detail on
| what they will be, but He instead
| shows us at Pentecost. Peter
| understood this, as did the rest of the
| apostles. We're to understand also.
Yeah, hold on a second. That is exactly the point of the thesis statement which you gladly accepted. It's a little self-ignorant of you not to see yourself in the poor man here.

Let's imagine that, in the next lot over, TeamPyro construction is building a house, too, for the same rich man, who has apparently made us the same offer, but we tell him, "Rich dude: we like to use bricks as hammers to save money on hammers. Our work turns out just as good as hammer people, but we like the bricks." The Rich guy, being a master builder, and steadfast in love, smiled at our, um, frugality, but signed us up for the job.

Plainly, you get done faster than us; you use fewer nails; you don't mark up the wood; and your roof has straighter lines because bricks on roofing nails is murder. So you come across your lot to ours and you say to me, "cent, dude: I'll give you hammers for free. It hurts to watch you build a house using bricks for hammers."

My first answer, if I am not as dumb as a pile of bricks, has to be, "Well, show me the hammers."

That's the premise of the question, Dan: show me the hammers. Show me how the gifts are necessary for building the house right. Show me how tongues and prophecy – as you have described them in this particular answer of yours – are the tools of the church today. Show me the hammers.

It is you saying, "Look at this hammer! It's amazing. I've never seen a hammer like this. And this drill! Wow." We're not denying you guys build houses: we're denying that the thing you're calling a hammer is more effective than what you might call our bricks, and in fact we are saying plainly that they are less effective and scripturally unfounded in building the kind of house the NT says we should be building. Because it turns out that our houses do go up quicker, stand longer, and have straighter roofing lines.

| It's not about the tool, it's about the
| mission, the work. This doesn't not
| mean that we throw the tools away
| because it's not about them. We use
| them in their proper place to work the
| work Christ asks of us.
... and those would be ... ?
| And just as the Lord does not change,
| neither has the work He set out before
| us. We are still establishing the
| Church. The charismata are part of the
| tools by which we do so. This is why
| they pass away only on the Last Day--
| because then the work is done.
|
| But as of today, the work is not done.
| So they persist.
Again, nice speech. Show me the hammers.
| If we choose to believe the charismata
| have ceased, then we only make the
| work harder. Worse, we tell the Lord
| that we will not use the very tools He
| paid for with His blood.
|
| As to the question you ask me at the
| end of your post, my answer comes
| out of what I just wrote. We cannot
| make the tools our focus. The focus is
| on the Lord and His mission.
| Pretenders will come who use bogus
| tools to do unauthorized work, but
| this does not negate the reality of the
| geniune tools given the genuine
| workers for the Kingdom.
Yet sadly, Dan, you certainly do make the tools the focus. Dude: "the lifeblood of the church"? Above Scripture? Above church disciple? Above the gathering together? Above prayer?

The problem is that you have made the tools the focus – and thus I simply want to see them, not just hear about them. Almost every example I can think of regarding someone who says they experience or practice these gifts is demonstrably fraudulent. KC Prophets, Benny Hinn, Pat Robertson, Oral Roberts, GUTS Church, Jim and Tammy, TBN, ...

Isn’t it bizarre that the churches and ministries that really grow in a crazy way because of the exercise of the gifts are generally frauds?
| Frank, you are a very intelligent man,
| but you have no case here. You've not
| met the burden of proof and you
| simply can't, especially with
| speculation as to why God did what
| He did the way that He did. The
| Scriptures are clear and rich with the
| work. They show us the tools and
| how to use them.
Since your point about speculation really points the light back on your own claims, I'd be careful how many times you mention it.

Please engage in some kind of meaningful reading of the passages you are enlisting here – in context, as they are presented – in order that you can address these issues more clearly.





UPDATED: As a, um, gift to you, this series of posts is now available as a .pdf file. It's about 300K, so if you're a dialup person, don't say I didn't warn you. Download it by clicking here.


38 comments:

centuri0n said...

WORD, btw, says that this was 16 pages single-spaced -- all three parts together.

Sorry 'bout that.

DJP said...

Longest. Post. Ever.

Kim said...

read.every.word.

Dan said:

God gave that prophetic word then
and He will do so today if we believe that He will.

Hmmmm. May I ask Dan a question?

Dan: So, are you saying that God gave the prophetic word then because there were people believing He would and that it was their believing that caused Him to do it then?

Was God's ability to speak limited to the "believing" of His prophets?

Kim from Hiraeth

David said...

blah blah blah

Dude, you could of just started and ended with:

"Can you name one time in your own church where the gift of "tongues" was manifest in a form of speech which was understood by each man in his own native language?"

The rest just makes my head hurt.

Now for a true story.

We were checking out churches when we moved. Went to a pentacostal (man, we were getting really desperate). They were doing the usual thing - then a lady has a stroke in the middle of service. Did anyone jump up and heal her? Nope - called 911.

The ironic part - the gifts of the spirit were so richly poored out in that church - yet no stepped up and even tried to heal her.

ibcarlos said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ibcarlos said...

david, I grew up in a church like that.

Frank (or Phil or Dan ...even Pec, for that matter):

I'd be as grateful as a lil' lark if you(s) would consider "speaking" on this very subject at my alma matter.

My imagination can barely contain...

ibcarlos

lawrence said...

david,

With all due respect, as I know your older and smarter then me, do you understand the "tongues of angels?" as Paul refers to in 1 Corinthians 13:1? Does anyone?

And more importantly, Paul specifically states that "one who speaks in a tongue speaks NOT TO MAN but to God." That's the point. Let's try to leave understanding the tongue to God.

And as for the second paragraph, do cessationists not believe that God can heal the woman? (I won't even address that fact that your implying the charismatics believe that "someone" and not God would be healing the woman.) But does that mean that cessationists would pray for the woman and not call 911? Like all the people who write about how they would "fake" the gifts (which apparently means that everyone else "fakes" gifs. I mean, if I'm a poser everyone else HAS to be a poser) this doesn't really make any sense. Are you saying that this means "charismatics don't really believe what they say they believe" or are you saying that charismatics, "while everyone knows have more faith then cessationists, are actually more practical then I thought"?

Daryl said...

lawrence...

Couple points on your angelic tongues and speaking to God with tongues.

At Pentecost the tongues speakers were not preaching, they were glorifying God and yet...everyone heard it in their own language. And so they should, the OT prophecy's (and Paul) indicate that tongues are a sign to the unbelievers (that they have been overrun by a foreign people) which is exactly what was happening at Pentecost. A new an powerful kingdom was overunning the world and the Pentecostal tongues were a sign of that (exactly as was foretold).

Tongues were never used for preaching, they just happened.

As far as the "tongues of angels" thing, look at the way Paul uses it. It is strikingly similar to what I might say to my kids. If I said to my son, "Even if you could jump to the moon I'd still never let you get away from my kisses." Would he think he could jump to the moon? Hardly. But he would get the point, which was about my kisses, just as Paul's point was about love, not angelic tongues.

Daryl said...

Cent,

How can I get my hands on a more permanent copy of this? You've done a great and thorough job here.

centuri0n said...

daryl --

I have a copy of it in one file someplace. e-mail me and I'll get it back to you as a .doc or .pdf.

peachfuzz said...

I have always been taught that praying in tongues ( prayer language) is a gift available for all believers. All you have to do is ask Him for it. A few words will either come to your mind or heart all you have to do is speak them in faith. (If it helps find someone who believes preferbly someone who is godly,sober minded and lives right. Fast and pray and have him lay his hands on you.) I recieved the baptism by myself alone in my room after studying about it and asked the Lord to fill me and He did.
This IS NOT the same as the gift of tongues in a public forum where there MUST be interpretation.
The infilling of the Holy Spirit is like a gateway for other spiritual gifts that are mentioned to operate.
Proably the most dramatic demonstrations of power that I have seen in my three decades have been in the are of demonic deliverance. Once by a liberian evangelist and twice by AG evangelists involving persons with drug and alcohol addictions and one in witchcraft. All three persons presented like they were having a seizure but with no loss of B&B. ( sorry if too graphic but I am an ED nurse) All screamed out had like a tonic clonic reaction and seemed stunned after it was over.
Gifts work as the Spirit wills, faith and a higher degree of personel holiness than many christians are willing to work towards or for. I liken it to a police officer who requires background checks and MUCH training before he is allowed to carry a firearm.

peachfuzz said...

PS personal prayer language can be either tongues of men or angels.

Tongues is beautiful but it takes more faith to interpret them. All the power gifts require alot of faith.

These gifts don't manifest generally in non-charasmatic churches because people are not taught how to prepare and believe for them and then exercise them in safe and supervised settings.Or they are scoffed at and the pastor would get too many phonecalls.

peachfuzz said...

Paul says we are to seek to prophecy. That can be at a personal presbytery setting or for the whole church. Again though it is as the spirit wills but you can still ask.

DJP said...

Lawrence — "tongues of men and angels" doesn't mean what you think.

peachfuzz—you were given some misinformation about tongues. Here's a different perspective, which Scripture.

philness said...

Cent- you said, "Show me the hammers"

See, I DIG that about you man!

dkyle said...

Wow! Well said! Frank (can I call you Frank?) where can I get your email address to ask for a copy of the document you wrote?

centuri0n said...

My e-mail is in my blogger profile.

dkyle said...

Sorry, I checked and I can't find your email address on your profile. Here is mine:

david at wolfcreekridge.com

Sorry to take up comment space for this!

Connie said...

Fantastic, much needed, will reference this over, and over, and over...

Hope you can see now how valuable your hiatus has been!! LOL! :-)

David said...

Lawerence

What djp said, and

So - your a cessecianoist(sp, i know)-

Acts 2 contains the full monty Holy Spirit. Full bore, both barrels, the H.S. is engaged.

Yet it NEVER happens that way today.

So you agree, the HS has ceased to act in a way that once happened.

wordsmith said...

The way I see it is this: The doctrine of continuing charismata is not “expressly set down in Scripture,” nor can it “by good and necessary consequence” be deduced from Scripture.

Anyone claiming otherwise has a huge burden of proof to overcome, DE's musings notwithstanding.

GeneMBridges said...

In Acts 2, the Pentecostal interpretation misses a number of things by focusing on "tongues" and not what was actually going on.

This event in the Upper Room spilled out into the Temple courtyard, where Peter preached his first sermon. The people were hearing God glorified in their own languages.

We need to ask ourselves this question: Within the trajectory of Acts, why is this important? What is happening here?

A. First the table of nations in this chapter corresponds to the table of nations scattered @ Babel in Genesis. So, the people gathered there are all from these nations. They are also Jews in Jerusalem for Pentecost.

B. So, what we have here is a reversal of the curse of Babel. The many languages are made one. Instead of cursing God, they are blessing God. Instead of elevating man in building the tower, they are a tower built by God for His own glory.

C. This in turn tacks on to the opening of Acts, where Jesus promises the Spirit and tells them that they will take the gospel to Jerusalem, Samaria, and to the ends of the Earth.

D. The people here are Jewish. They represent the Jews of the Diaspora. The Diaspora was also a curse, remember. It went back to the days of the Divided Kingdom and Babylon. God now begins drawing the scattered Jews together.

E. This, in turn, looks forward to the creation of one people, the Church, from both Jew and Gentile, for the gospel will go to those peoples too.

F. It's also Pentecost, the celebration of the giving of the Law. The Spirit comes and writes the New Covenant on "Tablets of Flesh," beginning the fulfillment of the words of the prophet Jeremiah.

G. The event spills over into the Temple Courts. This sacred space in the OT was where the people gathered to pray. The Temple was also the place where the Spirit of God was said to dwell. Now, God answers the prayers of the pious Jews of ages past. Now, the Spirit of God visibly leaves the Temple of Stone for Temples of Flesh and to dwell in a non-spatial Temple, the Church. Gifts and callings once given to prophets alone and a few others are given broadly and generously to every member of the Church in some fashion.

H. And from here, the gospel goes to Samaria and to all over the known world. Today it has circled the globe.

So, the work of the Spirit here is not defined by "tongues" but by what this event actually means. Is the Spirit not doing this today?

The Pentecostal, by arguing for "tongues" as a "sign gift," by using Acts 2 misses all of this. The focus is not on the "sign gift" as a gift for all Christians in every generation but the meaning of the sign and the work of the Spirit of God through the spread of the gospel, including the reversal of curses, the taming and civilizing of the land (ala Eden), the casting out of demons who have lost their power because the serpent (Satan) has finally been defeated, a time of mercy (vs. destruction) for both Jews and Gentiles who were both complicit, remember, in Jesus, Son of God's, crucifixion - "the" most capital crime of all time, and the spread of the gospel not only to that generation but to their children and children's children for many generations to come.

Eclectic Pietist said...

Frank (or someone who feels they could accurately respond for Frank), how broad or how narrow is your cessationsim? Are you denying a more narrow cessationsim such as denying for today certain miraculous gifts only, such as prophecy, healing, tongues or (as in the circle I grew up in) a denial of the miraculous in general. Thus: is it conceivable that prayers of Christians that a person be healed from a terminal illness be answered? That is, would you say the gift of healing has ceased, but that God may still do miraculous things using the prayers of his people, as He wills? Would you deny in today's world any supernatural phenomena at all, such as, demonic affliction? Would all such cases be explained through mental illness or other physical means? I've met career missionaries (non-charismatic guys by the way and members of the Evangelical Covenant Church) who have had to deal with exorcism of demons. These were both men whom I deeply respected. I believe them. Is this also out of bounds? How narrow or how broad is your cessationism?

centuri0n said...

EP:

For some reason, when this discussion comes up, there is always significant confusion between the question, "Does God still produce miracles?" and the question, "Does God gift the church specifically with Tongues, Prophecy, and miraculous gifts like that as He did, for example, at Pentecost?"

These are two different questions, and I am usually very vexed that people do not recognize this. What I am saying -- what I would go so far to say that TeamPyro would say together -- is that God is God and can do whatever He wants to do. God, for example, is free to answer prayers. God is free to divert weather, bring weather, heal, change financial fortunes, raise up kings and bring them down, etc. God is God.

But the question in this series of posts is, "Does God establish the church to be a body which is always expressing miraculous signs like speaking in foreign languages, shattering pulpits, and in particular gifting men with His own words not found in Scripture or enabling them to heal with a word or with the laying on of hands as a sign of their authority?"

My opinion is that the Bible speaks to a church which does attest to a miracle: the miracle of salvation, through the miracles of the incarnation and resurrection, by the miracle of regeneration. This is plenty miraculous. These things in and of themselves are frankly incredible. That someone chattering in an indecipherable language is seen as a better or more useful miracle is frankly baffling. That someone can speak a "prophecy" with an at-best 50/50 chance of coming true can be seen as more practical or spirit-demonstrating than the preaching of the Gospel, is frankly astounding.

God is God. What He has already done is way greater than these paltry tricks and self-deceptions. And His word points us to the greater miracles of love and truth.

Thanks for asking.

ibcarlos said...

Now Frank, surely there are more noteworthy miracles than Regeneration, Adoption, Justification, Imputation, Sanctification, Reconciliation, Propitiation and Redemption.

Come now, admit it: glossolalia is pretty cool. At least when Jim Carey does it, it is.

But then, he's probably just faking it.

ibcarlos

centuri0n said...

For those seeking a "more excellent way" to read this post or share it with a friend, this is the 280K .pdf file, which is formatted for easiest reading.

Thanks for asking.

Jeff Wright said...

"My opinion is that the Bible speaks to a church which does attest to a miracle: the miracle of salvation, through the miracles of the incarnation and resurrection, by the miracle of regeneration. This is plenty miraculous. These things in and of themselves are frankly incredible."

A great reminder like the statement above is ruined for me by yet another pugnacious, arrogant, and graceless comment like this:

"Yeah, whatever. Who knew people with the gift of tongues had so little to say?"

Lemme guess, I just need to lighten up.

I'm not suprised that Dan hasn't been responding to these posts. He's a pretty classy guy.

centuri0n said...

Jeff:

I think what you need is to take a dose of your own medicine, whatever it is you think you're prescribing.

However, I'm a willing patient: what sort of jokes are acceptable, given your view of the Christian life? Any? I'd be willing to make my sense of humor come in line with what Scripture teaches us -- if you will make the same commitment.

Jeff Wright said...

"I think what you need is to take a dose of your own medicine"

A couple of us were guessing what sort of predictable response I'd get and one guy nailed it. He'll be glad to know how easy that was to call. I guess its not too hard to anticipate the standard script after reading the same old act time and again.

"what sort of jokes are acceptable"

Oooooh, that was joke. Well, its all good then.

"I'd be willing to make my sense of humor come in line with what Scripture teaches us -- if you will make the same commitment."

You want to take it to Scripture? Alright, does Scripture say anything about "pugnacious, arrogant, and graceless" jabs at other brothers like Dan Edelen? Oh, that's right. You played it off as a joke so nevermind. I'll try to explain to Dan that he should be laughing right now.

Obviously you can do no wrong, man. I submit so you've vanquished another unbiblical rube. And Dan won't reply here so put a little notch in your heresy hunter belt. You won, man! That's what its all about.

Your comments tend to make Pyromaniacs a noxious place which is a shame because Dan P. usually has some good posts. I'll just go straight to his blog from now on because its not really worth my time to come here anymore. Keep your shtick going though cause the fanboys here obviously love it.

centuri0n said...

Jeff -- Enjoy your Sunday morning in church.

I have a few kind words for you which I will post this afternoon -- for the fan boys, if not for your benefit, anyway. You will take it in whatever way you see fit, as usual.

Jeff Wright said...

If its something kind, post it for Dan Edelen, not me. And if it truly is kind then I'm sure I'll take it in the straightforward manner it will be given in. But if its some sort of rebuke or putdown guised as loving biblical smackdown, don't bother. I suspect it will be the latter though since the fanboys won't benefit from it. I would think that words of kindness would benefit everyone. I'll be glad to have you prove me wrong on this. Maybe you truly do have some actual kind words for us. And hopefully they address your own insulting comments toward others rather than trying to shift the attention to someone else.

threegirldad said...

"Your comments tend to make Pyromaniacs a noxious place..."

Mr. Pot, meet Mr. Kettle.

"Keep your shtick going though cause the fanboys here obviously love it."

The phrases "same old act" and ""pugnacious, arrogant, and graceless" immediately come to mind...

centuri0n said...

[QUOTE]
"I think what you need is to take a dose of your own medicine"



A couple of us were guessing what sort of predictable response I'd get and one guy nailed it. He'll be glad to know how easy that was to call. I guess its not too hard to anticipate the standard script after reading the same old act time and again.
[/QUOTE]

Which means what? See: what it is intended to mean is that if you're going to throw a rock over here, you shouldn't complain about rock-throwing. It's simply having as much self-awareness as the average person does.

Anyway, any reasonable person can read your comments as sarcastic humor. And somehow, you have already classed sarcastic humor as "pugnacious, arrogant, and graceless" ...

... for everyone else, I guess, and not you.

This is still an opportunity for you to offer a correction to me which I can do something about. The comment Phil posted by me was traded between two friends, and while I don't keep e-mails in a vault someplace as if I say things I am ashamed of frequently, it's important to consider context in a statement like that. It was cracking-wise between two friends in an e-mail. Phil shared it because, frankly, it's funny. I realize there are no classes in humor-writing at DTS, but I'll bet there's one on reading in context.

To be clear: the medicine here for you is "read things the way you expect people to read what you have written." 


[QUOTE]

"what sort of jokes are acceptable"



Oooooh, that was joke. Well, its all good then.
[/QUOTE]

This round of charismatic quibbling started when Phil, as we do here, posted a criticism of charismatic enthusiam, and Dan replied with a not-very-useful criticism in reply. Over there, the dialog got cut short when Dan received a "tsunami" in his life, complained I was being somewhat mean for not giving him some space, and over there I apologized for not reading his whole blog but rather staying focus on this one issue. I dropped it until a future time when Dan was ready, emotionally or spiritually or whatever, to continue without any baggage.

Then, Dan came here and started posting criticism again. Think about that -- Dan came here looking for a little interaction, and not hardly in the spirit of Zwigli meeting with Calvin. So I posted my response to his last round of charismatic defense, because he opened the door. And I got a field of crickets -- nothing substantive, and nothing from Dan, for sure.

That is: Dan, after he came here spoiling for a little joust in spite of his previous plea that he was not emotionally or spiritually ready for that kind of thing.

So to field a joke in that context -- especially a joke that was not baudy, not personal, and not a violation of Christian ethics in any way -- seems, at worst, funny. You may call it "ungracious", but perhaps we should ask what it is when someone uses his personal life as a shield to avoid answering criticism, but then ditches that excuse when he thinks he's got something critical and meaningful to say about someone else.

Is that gracious, or is that something else? How would you rate it, Jeff, if Dan started opening up a can of exegesis on me, and my first response was, "Dude, I just had a personal tragedy," and then 24 hours later I came to Dan's blog and started berating him about a -different- subject? Heroic and irenic, or something else?

Rather than berate Dan for being in the "something else" category, I cracked a joke to Phil.

I am sure that you have never done anything so outlandish in your life.

[QUOTE]

"I'd be willing to make my sense of humor come in line with what Scripture teaches us -- if you will make the same commitment." 



You want to take it to Scripture? Alright, does Scripture say anything about "pugnacious, arrogant, and graceless" jabs at other brothers like Dan Edelen? Oh, that's right. You played it off as a joke so nevermind. I'll try to explain to Dan that he should be laughing right now.

Obviously you can do no wrong, man. I submit so you've vanquished another unbiblical rube. And Dan won't reply here so put a little notch in your heresy hunter belt. You won, man! That's what its all about.
[QUOTE]

Well, I'd suggest, first, that Scripture doesn't call the kind of thing I did here "pugnacious, arrogant, and graceless". You disagree -- but you haven't done much to help me see your point.

This is actually a great example, Jeff, of again you missing the point by about 170 degrees. You have made it clear that my joke is somehow "pugnacious, arrogant, and graceless".

Rather than tell you why you're wrong, I sat down in your school of Christian ethics and asked you to open the Bible for me. Explain what kind of jokes are acceptable in Christian life -- and then explain whether the joke I told fit inside that paradigm. I could be wrong. In fact, I have a track record of posting public apologies when I am wrong. Not so much from you and Dan.

In that, for a guy who apparently abhors sarcasm so much, you tend to use it like a steam-roller rather than like a bow and arrow. That is, you just run it over everything and hope you get the target rather than first figuring out your target and hitting just that. That, I think, is "pugnacious, arrogant, and graceless". It also demonstrates an ineffective understanding of how to measure criticism.

[QUOTE]

Your comments tend to make Pyromaniacs a noxious place which is a shame because Dan P. usually has some good posts. I'll just go straight to his blog from now on because its not really worth my time to come here anymore. Keep your shtick going though cause the fanboys here obviously love it.
[/QUOTE]

Which, of course, as far as criticism go, is wholly-irenic and humble. Thanks for being such a great witness to what you think is right, Jeff. I'm sure that nobody thinks you've been in the least bit self-refuting this morning.

Take a deep breath, re-read my comment to you from 7:58 PM, July 21, 2007, and ask yourself: is it really so wrong to ask for an explanation? Maybe I'm flabbergasted rather than pugnacious and sort-of aghast rather than arrogant.

Help me out, Jeff: if you can heap on sarcasm like this and not be guilty of the things you have accused me of, then maybe there's something I'm missing. I admit it: I have no idea what else to say as it all gets read in the paradigm of me being "pugnacious, arrogant, and graceless" and "noxious".

Habitans in Sicco said...

Bam!

... and bingo.

Aric said...

I hesitate to post a comment at this late date, but I feel that I need to articulate my thoughts and if by chance there are any readers still stopping by with words of correction/encouragement for me, so much the better.

Growing up in a church built on the charismatic/experiential foundation, I was obviously taught that one must be a continuationist. However, as I read and study more, I clearly see many abuses and errors that were (and are) put forth as truth.

Perhaps some of my angst is with the implications of the words used to define the two sides of this debate. When I hear the term continuation, it implies that things have continued as they were with no change. When I hear the term cessation, it implies that things have completely stopped and will never start again (almost akin to extinction).

As centuri0n stated ". . .God is God and can do whatever He wants to do." God's sovereignty doesn't appear to be, and shouldn't be an issue in this conversation (note: not meaning to use "conversation" in the emerging church sense). Yet it is rarely mentioned in this argument. Granted, I haven't read everything on both sides, but what I have read doesn't usually focus on sovereignty issues.

(So get to the point babbling blog rookie yells the crowd) What I struggle with is the Sovereignty of God and the implications within the words used to categorize this issue. The Spirit gives the gifts as he chooses. If the Spirit chooses, is it not possible for Him to choose to not give miraculous gifts for a time, due to His own choosing? (such as gifts of healing, tongues, miracles, etc. – Yet it still is odd that the gifts of serving, administration, teaching, etc. haven't "ceased", but I shall ramble no more) If that were so, would it not seem like the gifts had ceased?

I would venture a guess that, other than the most extreme individuals in either camp, most continuationists would agree that the level/frequency of the miraculous gifts is different than what was recorded in scripture (I believe that was blogged about, but I am too lazy to link to it), and most cessationists would agree that God can do what he wants. That to me is both sides talking about two sides of the same coin. If God can do as he pleases, then perhaps the gifts haven't ceased, (i.e. are not extinct) but are not currently being poured out. If God can do as he pleases, then He may not be pouring the gifts in the same identical manner (if at all), so the gifts may available, but may be different (i.e. are not identical). Ultimately, it comes down to how God pours out His gifts.

Yes, there are many abuses in the name of spiritual gifts. Yes, we must examine all teachings to make sure they put forth the truth as set forth in God's word. (There are many abuses in the name of sovereignty as well that must be examined, e.g. hyper-calvanism). We shouldn't let abuses dictate truth. Has it appeared that the miraculous gifts have been absent for some time? I would say yes, although I cannot speak for all cultures everywhere. Does that mean we should say that they never will be seen again? I cannot make that jump. We have not reached the perfect, we do not yet see face-to-face, we have not become fully grown men (i.e. reached our fully sanctified state), and we won't until our blessed Savior returns.

To me the bigger issue is whether we are seeking the gift or the giver. The gifts, whether ceased or not, were given to build the body and glorify Christ. Period. They weren’t given for self-serving reasons or pride. They weren't given to establish a who's who of Christianity. Whether the gifts are alive, dead, extinct, or on hiatus (not like centuri0n's hiatus) is, and should always be, a secondary issue. Am I seeking my Savior, treasuring Him above all else, loving others in His name, His way, with His strength, is of primary importance. In short, the Gospel must remain central. We must not desire the gifts at the expense of desiring the Giver.

So, I babble on to say this. There are intelligent men who hold dearly to the inerrancy and sufficiency of Scripture on both sides of this issue; I don't know who is right (MacArthur, Pyromanicas, et al. or Piper, Grudem, et al.). Perhaps some day I will be an fraction as learned as those men. For now, I am continuing to study and will rest in God's sovereignty. If the gifts are for today, then I ask for His gifts so I can edify His church and bring glory to His name. If the gifts have ceased (i.e. extinct), then I rest in Him and ask for His strength to edify His church and bring glory to His name.

David Cho said...

I dropped it until a future time when Dan was ready, emotionally or spiritually or whatever, to continue without any baggage.

Then, Dan came here and started posting criticism again.


Frank,

There is a crucial event here you are skipping in the time line between you "dropped it" and Dan "started posting criticism again."

Here:

Yeah, OK. My personal blog is on hiatus, but I spent this week trying to talk some sense to Dan Edelen,

Just pointing it out.

centuri0n said...

David:

I am sure that completely changes the meta-narrative. Thank you for your faithful witness.

Link said...

After quoting the verse about the Spirit being poured out, Peter tells his audience that the gift of the Spirit is for them and their children and as many as are afar off, as many as the Lord our God shall call. He did not say it was just for one day.