by Frank Turk
I'm majoring in drive-by blogging these days due to circumstances at work and at home (as in, I have to go home when I'm not at work, and "going home" implies that I am mentally there when I am physically there), so this post and the ones which will follow it will be brief, if not an actual drive-by.
Our spiritual friend John Piper has been podcasting an older sermon series over the last two weeks regarding the spiritual gifts, and as I start writing this I admit that I have only listened to them through 6/17/08 -- so if my comments today will be answered in his future podcasts on this subject, I am ready to post corrections or retractions as they are necessary.
Overall, I think I like his spirit in these messages, even if (as you might suspect) I think he has made some mistakes in his reasoning from the text. I appreciate that he approaches this subject with the fact clearly in mind that his father, whom he loved deeply, believed he was flatly wrong about his position.
But, speaking broadly, I think Dr. Piper makes two mistakes in the messages I have heard so far -- and they are really foundational to the gap between the cessationist and the continualist.
 He overlooks or underplays the cessationist admission that God still works miracles today. In all seriousness, there are no cessationists that I know who would say flatly, "No: God works no miracles today." None. And in missing this, Dr. Piper's messages seem to argue against someone who doesn't exist.
Yes: he does frankly say with words that the cessation view is that the gifts are not normative. The problem is that what we mean by that looks a lot like what he means by that in saying, for example, that his father (a cessationist) would admit that only about 5 times in his life could he look back and say that he had prayed a "prayer of faith" in which he knew for certain God would do something specific.
"Not Normative" means "rare, and not an experience around which to build the life of the church". The Lord's table is normative; Scripture is normative; church discipline is normative; prayer itself is normative. The Gifts as Dr. Piper explains them are frankly not normative.
And in that, I credit him for saying in one of his intros to these messages that both cessationists and continualists can be distracted
 He also, I think, misses the difference between (on the one hand) corporate prayer and even the prayer of the elders and (on the other) passages like Acts 3 (Peter heals the beggar), and Acts 9 (Peter raises Tabitha). It is one thing to say that the prayer of a righteous man availeth much, and another to say that every prayer should be made with the kind of command authority demonstrated in these passages -- especially, I would add, when even Dr. Piper admits that many of these supplications will go unanswered.
Yes, I know this opens up a can of worms. I will listen to the rest of these sermons and come back with more thoughts. Your thoughts, insofar as they are on-topic and not linked to questionable site content, are welcome in the meta.