12 January 2011

Open Letter to Pat Robertson

by Frank Turk

Dear Pat Robertson,

In 2007, Pat, you predicted that a massive attack ("not nuclear") would destroy a major US City. In 2008, you put on display what you said God told you to say and to predict -- and I have to admit that you came pretty close then, predicting a stock market crash and high oil prices. You weren't the only one predicting that, but one has to give credit where credit is due.

Then in 2009 you also made your predictions as communicated to you by God:



Somehow we averted hyperinflation, a collapse into socialism, and gold at $1900 an ounce that year, but you were not abashed. And of course, because this is an annual event, you provided your notes from your tea time with God for 2011 just last week (I could't find the 2010 footage):



Let me say frankly that these videos speak for themselves. You've been doing this for a long time, and it has made you a lot of money.

Now, what really bothers me about this isn't the money-making because a brother has to eat. If you and your conscience can spend your time doing this sort of thing, and people will pay you for it, it's a free country and people make money all kinds of ways.

But it does bother me that you leverage this aspect of your career to do other things as well. See: unlike Benny Hinn who just claims to be God's special Jedi, and we should get some of his anointing by sending him money, you encourage a horrible image of what faith in Christ looks like because your view of salvation is tied to how things look right now.

For example, in your book the people of Haiti were ravaged by disaster because they have made a "pact with the devil". Now, whether or not the folk religion of Haiti is idolatry (and it is), I think there's a problem with matching one-to-one their idolatry with their suffering.

On the one hand, it seems to say that other forms of idolatry aren't as bad. You know: the idolatry of celebrity which is evident on CBN doesn't seem to catch God's umbrage -- rather, next year will be another good year for CBN and its affiliated parachurch businesses. The idolatry of statism -- albeit conservative statism -- from preachers like yourself who put political victory over Gospel clarity and sincerity somehow slips under God's wrath's radar. And somehow the idolatry of speaking for God when God hath not said also seems to be outside the scope of natural disaster, as the videos above and the track record of those predictions plainly demonstrate.

And on the other hand, what about those actually suffering for the sake of Christ? This is the issue which I think cuts a little deeper -- because today there are Christians dying for their faith, but in your predictions only people in league with the Devil will suffer. I mean: we can expect as much from careless people who think the Devil is a sort of schtick we can use when we use religious language, but you're allegedly a godly man. You're allegedly someone with a deep faith. Is it your view that Christians who suffer are outside the will of God? It can't be that -- you wouldn't shame martyrs with that sort of nonchalant caricature of what it means to live in God's good graces. Would you?

So here are my suggestions for you in 2011, and you can take them for whatever they are worth to you:

1. Repent of your false prophecies.

This is an easy one as it wouldn't take 10 minutes to start and it would only require you to eliminate this 15-minute segment from your network each New Year. Just come out and say it: "For years I have claimed to be speaking for God, and I have not been speaking for God. I have been speaking from my own intentions and biases and thoughts, and I was wrong to assign those to God's will, and God's Word. I have sinned against God, and against my fellow believers, and I ask God's mercy and their forgiveness." You could do it -- and a giant swath of Christians would breathe a sigh of relief that you are not actually crazy or delusional but rather concerned that Jesus finally be glorified.

2. Reconsider the Gospel.

Here's what I'm thinking: rather than use your life's work network to promote every new fad and spiritual quack who will say the name "Jesus" or put a Bible verse on his product, schedule some prime time to the historical fact that Jesus lived a real life, and that his intention was to die for the sake of the sins of those who would believe in him. Jesus didn't die to make us sooth-sayers, or Congressmen, or influential entertainment executives: He died because we are all distracted from God by being sooth-sayers, and Congressmen, and influential executives, and so on. Reconsider that the Gospel did not make Paul rich but rather abjectly poor -- and he evangelized the Roman world without so much as a blog or a decent pair of shoes. Reconsider that the Gospel changes what prosperity looks like. And then repent of what you have made out of the Gospel.

3. Get serious about the actual Word of God.

I am sure you have read it -- the Bible. You have read the Bible. The problem is that you have not read it for what it says. You have spent most of your public life parsing prophecies so that you can make political points and cause your viewers to panic because the end is near. But it's funny that you are not in a panic that the end is near: you're storing up riches in storehouses, and still scaring others with prophecies of economic and political disaster. You know: the one time Jesus stood before someone of political power, he said, "My kingdom is not of this earth;" and when Paul stood before Festus and Agrippa, he didn't lecture them on the legitimacy of Roman policies -- he preached to him the Gospel in order that Agrippa would be changed, and saved. You are not like those founders of this faith, Pat. You would do better to be like them, and I call you to repent about your attitude toward the word of God.

I hope this note finds you in God's good graces so that you will be inclined by His conviction and Spirit to make your life right. It's not too late, and you will bless many by your change.







122 comments:

Bill R. said...

What does Mr. Robertson or any one who listens to him do with Deu 18:20-22?

“‘But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’ “You may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?’ “When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him. ” (Deuteronomy 18:20–22, NAS)

I'm not saying he should be stoned, but I am suggesting he should step down from public ministry as a starting point, and repenting and examining his faith in the light of Scripture would be next as you suggest.

I don't see a Scriptural basis for a future in ministry for someone who has been a false prophet. Do you?

DJP said...

Hasn't "Reformed" "Charismatics'" favorite theologian (on this issue) Wayne Grudem given Robertson cover, with his invention of low-octane sortaprophecy?

You, however, are right. There should be heavy ecclesiastical consequences for any non-prophet who dares to speak as a prophet.

John said...

But there are whole movements built around these false prophets.

Remember the New Apostolic folks (C. Peter Wagner, John Arnott, Che Ahn, Bill Johnson) going to Lakeland, commissioning the thug prophet Todd Bentley? Prophecies spoken about his ministry. What was it, four days until he left his wife and ran off with some babe?

But there they are, running around still giving their prophecies.

Thomas Louw said...

I don’t think Wayne Grudem will support this guy. I think Grudem will nail this guy to the wall of heretics. Yes, I think the charismatics will find cover but, I think Grudem does not offer cover for this.

Kim @ Cheap Chic Home said...

This is well thought out, Frank. I agree that the leveraging is an offensive aspect--I don't think he has much credibility in (true) Christian circles or politics. Go figure he can make a living the way he does. Great point on Paul's preaching. Blessings, Kim

Robert said...

Thomas,

The very argument that Grudem, Piper, Chandler, Mahaney, and other "Reformed Charismatics" use gives cover to anybody who claims to have "a word from God". Either we say God speaks through the Bible alone now or that He doesn't. If you allow for "a word from God" that is extrabiblical, then you open the floodgates because honestly, there is no way to justify only the guys we respect in this regard.

Frank,

Great letter. You are very direct and offer wise counsel to him. Sadly, I expect that he will probably not respond to you, although he might allude to it on air and laugh at your comments and say how sad it is that you are misguided. I was actually wondering if you were going to springboard off of yesterday's post by Dan and write that little salesman that gives motivational speeches every week downtown. I'm sure I will enjoy that letter, if you choose to write on to him.

DJP said...

Thomas - what Robert said.

(Thanks Robert, just saved me some time.)

Terry Rayburn said...

Excellent, Frank.

And I agree with Dan and Robert that cover is provided by the Grudemites.

How could it be otherwise when Grudem's flimsy arguments are all over the Net to support extra-biblical revelation?

BTW, I seem to remember Pat Robertson many years ago showing "prophetess" Jean Dixon's annual National Enquirer predictions, and how they were almost all false.

Or maybe that was on Johnny Carson.

Memory fails.

But of course, that's partly how Robertson gets away with his false prophecies.

naturgesetz said...

@ Robert — I was definitely thinking of yesterday's post as I heard Pat Robertson saying the Lord tells us to get out of debt so that during the economic crisis, "what's yours is yours."

@ Frank — Even I've heard of Pat Robertson! Much kudos to you for taking him on.

His problem may stem from the fact that his father was Harry Byrd's sidekick as a U.S. Senator. A large part of the Byrd-Robertson message was fiscal conservatism. So Pat could well have grown up thinking that government and money were the most important concerns.

SPQR said...

2011 prediction (paraphrase): "Get out of debt and restrict your purchases. Own your house out right without debt, else the payments skyrocket."

I say this with satire but not without compassion.

Pat Robertson does not know basic economics. He clearly has not heard of a fixed-rate mortgage (payments are "fixed", regardless of the value of the dollar or interest rates). As one preacher once said: "Sin makes you stupid."

As others and Centurion have commented, the most reprehensible by far is speaking nonsense and attributing it to the all-wise God (who created economics and the human beings that populate it), per Dt. 18:20-2.

Yes, may Mr. Robertson repent, but what about people who watch his t.v. station without discernment (and give money in many instances)? Most of all, his rhetoric slanders the glory of our great and wondrous God!

Rgds,
SPQR

Eric said...

Frank,

Quick question for you: Are each of these open letters also being actually sent to the various public figures in hopes that they will read and consider?

michelle said...

Excellent. That's all that needs to be said (by me anyway...) ;)

Larry said...

Excellent post. None of what Robertson says for 2011, about the economy at least, is rocket science. Its like saying to a person who's jumped off a cliff "God told me you were going to hit the ground."

He's a false prophet and should be treated as such by the church.

Frank Turk said...

Eric --

I am not sending a hard copy to anyone. It seems to me that this blog is well-known enough that posting it openly here will get the letter read.

It's actually a good question. I'll consider it.

Eric said...

Frank,

Thanks for the answer. It occurred to me that Webb and Miller might have been much more apt to be exposed to the blog letters than Robertson - that is why I asked. I'm glad you are considering it, as I do believe that you intend these letters for their edification and spiritual growth.

donsands said...

Pat Robertson said one time on his TV show: "There are 100 diabetics being healed right now by the Lord."

This man is an fool.

Thanks for writing such a good letter to Pat. Hope he comes to his senses, but I seriously doubt it.

Frank Turk said...

I'm suspicious, btw, that no one will come running to Mr. Robertson's defense from the tone police. It's funny how many layers these open letters have -- even if they are unintended.

Randy Talley said...

Extremely gracious letter, Frank. Thank you for sending some corrective discipline my way. My attitude needed it.

Robert said...

Frank,

Now you know that the tone police only act on behalf of the newer intellectual theology crowd (emergent, Reformed charismatic, biologos, etc.). They are just better, smarter, and nicer than the rest of us. The old school guys like Robertson just keep on peddling the snake oil and feel sorry for those of us who can't get in on their great experience. Besides, they're too busy counting their money to worry about people who actually follow what the Bible says.

Clint said...

DJP,

On Grudem, I've seen you refer to this before on the blog, but have you done any posts on here or your blog about why Grudem's reasons for his view on the nature of what is called prophecy in the NT is wrong? I have searched both both blogs, but can't find it.

I'm genuinely curious, because I thought for almost 4 years that what the NT calls prophecy had ceased in the first century. So I knew a lot of cessationist rebuttals, but I never saw one that could answer Grudem's view, which is why I changed my mind. (before I was charismatic at first when I became serious about Jesus, but only less than a year).

Robert,

Grudem says people shouldn't call prophecies a "word from God." So I don't see how that gives people cover to say that they have one.

Robert said...

Clint,

It doesn't matter what he calls it...if it is passed off as being inspired, that is what it means.

This article does a much better job of explaining this than I could probably ever do:

http://www.tms.edu/tmsj/tmsj2h.pdf

Grudem is playing word games (whether he realizes it or not) with the term prophecy. And that leads to giving cover for the whole host of "prophetic messages". Who is to say that Benny Hinn, Pat Robertson, or Todd Bentley aren't just giving an interpretation that doesn't exactly match what the Holy Spirit brought to them? At least that is what this type of loose definition of prophecy leads you to in the end.

Mark B. Hanson said...

Clint -

The keyword you are looking for is "Cessationism". Simply pop that and "Grudem" into the Pyro front page Google search box and you will find a boatload of articles. I recommend the two "Vern Poythress and the modern 'sorta-gifts"" articles (that's the approximate title, anyway).

DJP said...

Good point, Mark. That post was inerrant.

Or analogous to inerrant.

(c;

Solameanie said...

Frank, I don't like your conciliatory, biblical tone. I'm writing up a 60 minute detention for you right this minute, to be served immediately after work.

Frank Turk said...

I'm actually sort of enjoying the derailment of the comments here as I think that whether or not Wayne Grudem has opened the door to this sort of nuttiness, it's still nutty.

Is there anyone who wants to defend Robertson as "not nutty" or "not blasphemous"?

Clint said...

Robert,

As I remember, Grudem doesn't say NT prophecy is inspired like Scripture. That pdf looks promising. I will read it when I get the time.

Mark,

That's what I did and I couldn't find what I was looking for (the pdf Robert linked is an example of what I am looking for, an interaction with the arguments in Grudem's book). And I read the Polythress posts. His view is different from Grudem's from what I can gather from those posts.

Geoff said...

Yay, layers!

"...we can expect as much from careless people who think the Devil is a sort of schtick we can use when we use religious language..."

I immediately thought back to your previous letter when I read that line. However, I doubt the emergenterati TP will bother reading this letter as it isn't penned to one of their icons.

I had some lyrics to Cheap Trick's "Tone Police" rolling around my brain this past week, but they ceased.

Jugulum said...

Robert,

"If you allow for "a word from God" that is extrabiblical, then you open the floodgates because honestly, there is no way to justify only the guys we respect in this regard."

I'm pretty sure you meant to say "if you allow for 'a word from God' that is fallible, there's no way to justify only the guys we respect."

Otherwise you're saying that people in biblical times had no way to tell a real prophecy.

Matt Aznoe said...

Absolute agreement on the falseness of Pat Robertson. That has been proven time and again.

But here is an interesting thought: consider for the moment the possibility that the canon is not closed, that there might be additional books or songs that could truly be God inspired.

In order to determine their authenticity, they would have to go through the same scrutiny that was performed upon the original 66 books. Their doctrinal consistency would need to be thoroughly confirmed. The accuracy of their predictions and the validity of the author's life would need to be upheld: he exhibited the fruit of the Spirit, he finished the race having fought the good fight to the end, he demonstrated a live of faith and obedience to God. We would also examine the fruit of the lives of those who read this work: do they still treasure it and show a desire to preserve it even under persecution?

Imagine this kind of rigorous exercise being performed on every "Christian" song and book, and those found wanting are cast aside as heretical. How many books written since the first century would remain in our libraries?

And yet, we see great faith and stock being placed upon extra-Biblical works which are quoted and cited as proof of various doctrines. While we may say that the canon is closed in principle, is that our belief in practice?

Could it be that the high degree of apostacy in the church today is the result of a lack of diligence to scrutinize all works to see if they truly are from God? If there is something false, instead of saying "it is a good book except for...", we would simply discard the book as untrue. How many false doctrines have come into the church because we allowed a book into our library that was merely good (meaning it contained errors) and not of God?

This may in fact be a proof that the canon is closed, but it also serves a warning to be very, very careful of any book that is not God's word -- including those by people we admire.

Sarah : ) said...

Amen! So glad someone isn't afraid to speak the truth.
It is sad that no one ever seems to remember Deuteronomy 18:20-22. How fearful for someone to claim God is speaking to them, when He clearly is not!

"Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart. Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that prophesy in my name, and I sent them not, yet they say, Sword and famine shall not be in this land; By sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed. And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword; and they shall have none to bury them, them, their wives, nor their sons, nor their daughters: for I will pour their wickedness upon them."-Jeremiah 14:14-16

I am currently reading John MacArthur's "Charismatic Chaos", and this was definitely providential! Thank you, again!

Daryl said...

Matt,

First, no books are from God in the way that Scripture is.

Second. If we discard any book with an error in it, there would be no books remaining. None.

I think you are also confusing what you suggest may be an open canon, with the very wise standing on the shoulders of Biblical students and teachers who have gone before.

Redeemed1 said...

Excellant letter.
Everytime I hear the words "Pat Robertson said..." I cringe. And shudder.

DJP said...

LOL; now, there's an appropriate conditioned response.

Stefan said...

There's another problem with Robertson that no one's mentioned so far. For better or worse (worse, really), he, Osteeen, Hinn, and even Phelps are part of the public face of "Christianity" to non-believers and skeptics around the world; they're also the caricature of "Evangelicalism" to liberal and nominal Christians.

Men like this have done much to obscure the Gospel message and render the true Church invisible.

By the way, where are the commentors who were so passionate one or two weeks ago in maintaining that open letters are violations of Christian civility, and that differences with public teacher are better resolved in private over coffee?

And Frank, who's letter #52 going to be? The Pope?

Frank Turk said...

Dear Phil Johnson ...

Stefan said...

Ah, the open resignation letter....

witness said...

So what passages speak directly to the issue of no more new revelation? You know... for my own edification.

p.s. I am a cessationist.

Mike Westfall said...

Oh, dear.
Another modern digital stoning by Frank.

Cathy said...

Frank- I was lost in New Age practices 2 decades ago - I read tarot cards and went to psychics in order to seek guidance from God. Pat Robertson is basically engaging in the same type of thing - he's just taking the Lord's name in vain to do it. It's either sola scriptura or it's not. Thank you for taking him on. Homerun again. Keep 'em coming!
By the way- I saw Jay Bakker interviewed on the "Today Show" this morning- apparently he has a new book coming out. I thought of this series immediately. Perhaps open letter # 4 ????

Halcyon said...

If they ever make a documentary on Benny Hinn, they need to call it God's Special Jedi.

You could even ask for royalties, Mr. Turk.

Phil said...

Halcyon-
Benny the Special Jedi is not at all the same thing as Benny the Dark Lord of the Sith.
Unless you are a charismatic. Then it's okay.

Mike Westfall said...

Well, it's analogous, anyway.

Frank Turk said...

All of you:

I find your lack of faith disturbing.

Frank Turk said...

One of the things that got cut from this open letter was the pop music reference, but I was caught in a conundrum.

On the one hand, I just don't know the lyrics of the Gaither catalog as well as I need to to implement any of it as tonal allusion.

On the other hand, there's no sense quoting Dylan or Kanye or even Third Day in the hope that Robertson will have heard the song and will know what I mean.

I know: it was disappointing, but you have to write to your target reader.

Brian said...

I'm not a cessationist.

Here are my thoughts on this conversation:

1. I don't think "charismatics" are responsible for Pat Robertson anymore than Baptists are responsible for Fred Phelps.
2. I don't like Pat Robertson (This is not in disagreement with pretty much anyone here.)
3. Why do people import some weird definition into the term prophecy? It isn't fortune telling or palm reading. Doesn't the bible define prophecy as the testimony of Jesus? If all the old testament prophets pointed to Jesus, shouldn't "current" prophecy? Which brings me to...
4. All of the gifts of the spirit, just like everything else in the Bible was instituted in order to point people to Jesus. Why are we surprised that after 2000 years of church history, that it has been perverted by both man and the devil?
5. Charismatics are wacko, for the most part. Praying/Singing/whatever in tongues serves no purpose in the church. We have Google Translator (lol). I don't consider myself charistmatic, I just believe the cessationist response is a knee-jerk reaction to crazy charismatics hijacking biblical verbage and trying to pass their kookiness off as biblical.

Cathy M. said...

...when Paul stood before Festus and Agrippa, he didn't lecture them on the legitimacy of Roman policies...

This is my bank-it quote for today. Thanks for this firm but kind pea to Mr. Robertson, and all to whom it may also apply. Can't wait for the next "Open Letter."

Seth said...

Well said.

Matt said...

Brian -

Number 1 - Charismatics open up the possibility that Robertson is indeed receiving information from God pertaining to the future. That's how they're responsible.

Number 3 - OT prophesy pointed forward (under the direct, authoritative, illumination of the Spirit) to a Christ who was still yet to come. Pointing backwards in time is a different sort of thing and cannot be labeled prophesy.

Number 4 - how does one discern if a given prophesy is from God, or the devil, or just an empty stomach?

Number 5 - Cessationism is hardly a reaction, when it was the default position until 1900.

Matt Aznoe said...

Matt,

I keep hearing this assertion of cessation being the default position until 1900, but I am far from convinced that this is true. Samuel Chadwick spoke of his transformation due to the fire of the Holy Spirit in the 1890's. Jonathan Edwards' wife also spoke of spiritual gifts being imparted to her during his revivals. The puritans recorded manifestations. 1900 may have been the start of pentecostalism but that is not the same thing.

Further, I really don't see the logic of placing the responsibility of one person's sin on someone else. Should I hold Calvin personally responsible for everyone who abuses the doctrine of eternal security as an excuse to live licentiously because of a prayer they said when they were young?

Solameanie said...

Cathy, what's Jay Bakker's book going to be about? Church body art?

Matt said...

Responsibility illustrated--

Robertson: "God just told me that [insert something that is not a quote from the bible]"

Cessationist: "No he did not."

Charismatic: "hmmm that's possible."

Discuss.

Mike Westfall said...

> Charismatic: "hmmm that's possible."

> Discuss.


Hebrews 1:1,2

Matt Aznoe said...

Mike

The passage quoted makes no mention that God cannot continue to speak through prophets through the Holy Spirit. Just because He has spoken to us directly through Jesus Christ does not preclude additional prophecy. After all, is not the book of Revelations a book of prophecy?

As long as we are discussing passages, what about 1 Thess 5:20-21 and Paul's extensive exhortations to the Corinthians to "desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy." This is culminated by the command "earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues." (1 Corinthians 14:39)

Matt Aznoe said...

Matt,

That is a misrepresentation. The real response is this: prophecy is indeed possible, but Pat Robertson has been demonstrated repeatedly to be a fraud. He is a false prophet who should be rebuked and held to account, and no one should consider him a brother in Christ until he has repented of his sin.

halo said...

Cessationists:

Interestingly, rather than censoring all prophecy whatsoever, the way the Bible deals with false prophets is to deal out heavy judgement to them (e.g. Jer 23, 28).

Although given the failure of charismatic's to do this I can definitely sympathise with those who want to censure all prophecy whatsoever.

But all credit to Mr Turk for calling it to account. Keep up the good work.

naturgesetz said...

Do cessassionists admit of a possibility of God speaking to individuals as in, "Give a ride to that woman struggling to carry her grocery bags"?

Does the Holy Spirit speak to our consciences?

I realize this is a bit off topic, so delete if you want, but I really would like the position clarified.

The Squirrel said...

As far back as I can recall (I'm 45) Pat Robertson has always been a punch-line looking for a joke.

Was there ever a time when he actually preached the Gospel and faithfully proclaimed the Word of God? Not that I can recall.

I think the visible church would have more pull with the world on moral issues like homosexuality and abortion if we ramped up our efforts to root out the false teachers around us.

Wishful thinking, I know. Those who see the problem and care about it are speaking out (witness this blog and others) the problem is that we are entirely too few to really act as a rudder for the visible church. Now the true church, on the other hand...

Squirrel

halo said...

Without wanting to cause a division between brothers, can I suggest Mr Turk that you consider writing a letter to Sam Storms asking about the issue of why Reformed Charismatics do not seem to do enough public commentary/critique/rebuke on the false prophets of our day.

I am especially thinking of the 'commissioning' of Todd Bentley meeting at Lakeland where God publicly exposed the lack of discernment in many of the major players in the charismatic movement.

I am not making a judgement on Sam Storms (he is a great teacher) as I don't know his thoughts on the matter and maybe he has a better approach? The reason I pick him is that he seems the one most closely linked to the crazy side of charismaticdom.

The Squirrel said...

naturgesetz:

The Holy Spirit speaks to our consciences through the Word. A consciences soaked in the Word will be more knowledgeable of, and sensitive to, God's desires, having read them and meditated upon them.

Does the Spirit prompt us to speak to certain people? He very well may, but how can you tell if or when He does? I think He brings things to mind and prompts His people to take certain actions. God also sovereignly arranges ALL things, after all. But this sort of subjective prompting, if it occurs at all, is nothing like what happened to Moses at the burning bush.

What seems much more likely is that, as God uses His Word to conform His people more and more into the likeness of His Son, His people more and more desire the same things that His Son desires, and, by acting on those desires, do His will.

Squirrel

Matt said...

Well Matt, teach me to represent you correctly.

Is it your position that modern day prophets can make mistakes when delivering the word of the Lord?

If they can error in their reporting, then how do you know any given prophesy is truly a word from the Lord?

If they can't, then who would you say has spoken true prophesy today? On what grounds did you decide it to be truth? Point him out so we can add his sayings in the margins of our Bibles. Mine has a half page of blank space between 2nd and 3rd John.

David Sheldon said...

Great post Frank. I think the following quote by Sinclair Ferguson captures the problem of both Robertson and much of the charismatic community.

"The canon for Christian living has increasingly been sought in a 'Spirit-inspired' living voice within the church rather than in the Spirit's voice heard in Scripture. What was once little more than a mystical tendency has become a flood. But what has this to do with the medieval church? Just this - the entire medieval church operated on the same principle, even if they expressed it in a different form: the Spirit speaks outside of Scripture; the believer cannot know the detailed guidance of God if he tries to depend on his or her Bible alone. Not only so, but once the 'living voice' of the Spirit has been introduced it follows by a kind of psychological inevitability that it is this living voice which becomes the canon for Christian living. This view--inscripturated Word plus living voice equals divine revelation--lay at the heart of the medieval church's groping in the dark for the power of the gospel. Now, at the end of the second millennium we are on the verge--and perhaps more than the verge of being overwhelmed by a parallel phenomenon. The result then was a famine of hearing and understanding the Word of God, all under the guise of what the Spirit was still saying to the church. What of today?" by Sinclair Ferguson (from "Medieval Mistakes")
Here: http://www.founders.org/journal/fj47/article3.html
Or:
Link with other articles on the subject here:
http://www.4truthministry.com/fixed.html

The Apologetic Front said...

Pat and the Watchtower have much in common.

Matt Aznoe said...

Matt,

That is a very typical response that I get at this point because you have no scripture leg to stand on.

I cannot point you to a modern prophet because I am not even sure if one exists in America today. Quite frankly, I am not sure we even have much of the Holy Spirit in America anymore because our hearts have grown so hard. Until we turn from our wicked ways and our pride and arrogance, the Holy Spirit is quenched and grieved and will not work in our midst.

The absence of a true prophet of God is not a proof of cessation, but may very well be a sign of the judgement of God.

Robert said...

Matt,

Have you ever done a word study on the terms prophecy, prophesy, and prophet in the OT and NT? I just want to know in light of your reference to certain parts of Scripture with regards to these terms.

Frank Turk said...

Matt Aznoe --

I am tempted to say something terse and unflattering about your last comment, but I don't have the empirical data to support the statement.

I'll say instead that making brash statements about the absence of prophets among God's people as judgment when we live after Christ's death and resurrection completely neglects and negates the sense and meaning of Heb 1. I'm willing to be patient with a lot of theoretical suppositions about whether or not there is prophecy today for the church, but I am not willing to allow someone to comment here unrebuked who takes up in the exact same place where Pat Robertson leaves off.

We don't have prophets because we are sinners? Really? It seems to me that God sent prophets to Israel specifically because they had lost their way. If there is continuity between Israel and the church in the gift of prophecy, then why would Gd suddenly invert that scheme of things and leave a lost church without His spokesmen to set it right and call it to repentance?

Seriously: that's just absurdity bold enough to step out as an accusation. You can try again, but at least bring something remotely credible.

Frank Turk said...

Halo:

You should review the record at TeamPyro on the question of Todd Bentley and his ilk. I think we have handled it.

Strong Tower said...

"prophecy is indeed possible" No one disputes that. What is, is whether it continuing, today? An PR kind is tolerated because...? Because it is a legitimated practice, and an unaccountable one, at that.

Beside, what naturgesetz said... its off topic... slightly.

Is PR a liar or not, is the question? Easy question, already answered. What remains: is he willing to be called to account? If not, what does that say about the sincerity of his faith let alone the validity of his prophecies? And that, boyos, is the sum. Whether PR or WG, or Matt, or naturgesetz- put it out there but stand to. You want to play the part accept the whole cloth.

Matt, tell us of the prophecies you know to be true. Then, they can, as you said, be brought before the council of the whole for canonization, seeing that they would be found writings in need of scrutiny as is all other Scripture. Let them be tested. Same for naturgesetz. If it was God, then it is the Word. If just your conscience having been trained by the Word, that is a whole other bowl of mush. Still, let it be tested... Surely, if God has spoken, the testimony of Christ is more valuable than silence. And since all Scripture testifies of Him, I am sure you can exegete the revelation of Him from those prophecies in such a way as to convince the rest of the body of Christ for edification, or at least cause the unbeliever to confess, no?

But, prophecy must be by the prophets (1 Corinthians 14:32-33). And just who are they, today?

Squirrel, they've been told before, their just not listening. None of us deny the operations of the Spirit. We do however find that those who wish to keep the pretense of miraculous gifts continuing would at least meet the same criteria and rules found in Scripture. They don't. And that is the subject of the post when it comes to PR. There are ways... Problem being, is that what the light is brought to bear upon the so-called schools of prophecy, no one wants to come into it.

There is a spirit world of difference between "I think the Lord said," and "God said." PR has no shame in making a liar. That is reprehensible.

And Matt confirms the above even before I can post. And thanks Cent for clarifying. The God can't work cause men are sinners thing is a clear denial of the Gospel.

If PR is a prophet, then... he is the judge of prophets and prophecy. Therein is a big wrench in the whole schema. If Matt doesn't know who is a real da man... then who does? Must be PR, but wait, if he's not, then who? Show us a true prophet, not just someone overcome by the HS or emotions muttering something unclear, but one showing all the signs of a prophet, infallibility and the powers he was granted to execute judgement upon gangrene spreaders who speak of things falsely, upsetting whole households. Where is the prophet who can turn the false ones over to Satan for the destruction of their flesh, hm?

thomastwitchell said...

Wow, this new blugger protocol... sheeesh!

The Squirrel said...

Strong Tower said...

"Squirrel, they've been told before, their just not listening. "

Oh, I know. But, darn it, a guy has to keep trying, y'know?

:o)

Squirrel

Thomas Louw said...

Ok, sounds like I haven't read the Grudem stuff, that's used to club him with. Anyone got a link to his view of prophecy.
(I only own and is still reading his Introduction to Theology)

Cathy said...

Solameanie- Jay Bakker's book is titled "Fall to Grace."
He described it like this: after the trauma of what happened to his parents and thinking Christianity was about a list of things that are wrong- and then becoming enslaved to drugs and alcohol, he finally discovered that Christianity is all about grace- "God wants you to come just exactly like you are." He's one of the "outlaw preachers."

The Squirrel said...

Thomas, I don't have it close, so I can't check, but, if I recall correctly, it is in his Systematic Theology. I seem to remember his view on prophecy being expounded on in an appendix, possibly?

Basically, he seems to hold to an imperfect-but-inspired prophecy-lite that owes no accountability to Deuteronomy 18.

Squirrel

Wretch' said...

Picking pro abortion Rudy Guliani was embaressing for president 2008

Clint said...

Thomas, I would say Grudem's book, The Gift of Prophecy, gives his most comprehensive argument for his view of prophecy.

http://books.google.com/books?id=TPpJntIUoZEC&printsec=frontcover&dq=the+gift+of+prophecy&hl=en&ei=dpYuTcDXLcH-8AbSsZj6CA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CC8Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

Also, here (http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2010/08/sweeping-up-after-poythress-articles.html), DJP says,

"You'll note I've never argued that hunches, strong impressions, and vivid dreams are without any significance. I just argue that they have no divine authority, and often signify nothing of any import.
...
As I said, if some sharp cookie like my wife or many of my friends says they have an uneasy feeling about something, I take it seriously. I consider it very possible that a dozen alarm-bells are going off at a subliminal level in their sharp, perceptive, Biblically-informed minds. I see the moving of their thoughts as being under the providential control of God (cf. Proverbs 21:1), and I'll factor it in to any decision-making."

I would say that Grudem pretty much equates NT prophecy with what DJP says above. He does this because of the usage of words translated as prophet and prophesy in the 1st century (among other reasons, but this was one big one I hadn't heard before).

Also, he equates Apostolic teaching and prophecy with OT writings and prophecy i.e. inspired and inerrant.

Thomas Louw said...

Thanx guys. This is why I love to drink my coffe in your distinguished company.

Strong Tower said...

Right Squirrel. Starting about page 1049. Grudem is confusedly self-serving and self-contradictory, creating new definitions (what he calls "fresh examinations). He often engages in assertion without texts to support them. While it is fodder to chew on, one needs be cautioned, especially when Grudem tries to blend the subjective and objective while trying to maintain the supremacy of the Scripture.

One word of caution also... the historical narrative of the days of the Acts needs to be considered. The extra-ordinary, even as Grudem admits, is not to be made the rule, nor to be sought after. In the case of Acts, the background for the Epistles, we are looking at what is not normative. In fact, the church is in infancy, ergo, the need for such nurse-maid manifestations for its establishing. Paul himself explains, as does Peter, that the time was quickly approaching that his kind and time would soon pass. It was expedient that the miraculous was demonstrated because of that very fact. Acts, with Apostles and Prophets running to and fro confirming the message by signs and wonders, is the exception. The sign given, viz a viz, Joel's prophecy, need not continue to have its fulfillment. Indeed, it would be strange if the Christ was born and born and born, so likewise, the outpouring of the gifts need not be carried any further than what was necessary for the establishing of the church as mature, having done all to stand, to stand. Not understanding the milieu of the epistles, and ripping their historic happenings out of context as particular to the time, and universalizing them as normative, is well, a fools detour. That road is darkened by confusion, or as Grudem states, by impressions of the mind that may or may not be God's voice. Still, he insists that pursuing the uncertain is necessary for a well-rounded out-look. Makes one wonder why he then bothers to call the word inerrant if indeed it cannot be clearly understood unless it is subjectively experienced.

"I would say that Grudem pretty much equates NT prophecy with what DJP says above."

Except- placing it within the ministry of teaching in the congregation gives it credence as equal to the Word. And Grudem is wrong to say that prophesy is not equated with teaching, 1 Peter 1:19-20. And Jesus himself taught what was prophesied by those before him. Beside, it can never be said that Jesus' own words were not revelation. So Grudem is wrong. Indeed, the teaching that he is the Son of God, he said to Peter, is a revelation from the Father. Simply because a word group is used in one context, and another in another, does not eliminate the positive word equivalency. Where Grudem doesn't equate prophecy with teaching, the Word explicitly, as in Peter, and implicitly, as in any recounting of OT prophecy in the NT, does. As I said, Grudem is self-defeating when he says that prophecy "could include any edifying content..." and then quotes 1 Cor 14:3, and largely neglects the rest. But the fact is that Paul equates prophesy with teaching as being what edifies in verses 4-33.

The thrust is that Grudem appears to be quite blinded by his own traditions. Even though he spends extraordinary effort in defending lexicon meaning, and dances around the clear text, as can be demonstrated, word equivalency proves him wrong.

Beyond that Grudem attaches too much to persons of authority, rather than the authority of the Word in his slant on 1 Cor 14, neglecting what has previously been said about not going beyond what is written, period. Paul reiterates that the prophets must agree with what Paul has said. If the prophecy does not accord with his Word, it is not to be recognized, thus eliminating so called personalized words about or to individuals.

Everyday Mommy said...

Well done, Frank. Much needed.

threegirldad said...

Don't forget to sign the petition.

Jugulum said...

Mike,

"Hebrews 1:1,2"

And thus, the book of Revelation should be excluded from the canon?

(Note: The argument from 1 Cor 13 doesn't have this issue.)

Robert said...

Jugulum,

I am not necessarily supporting the use of Hebrews 1:1-2 as a stand-alone argument...but I wanted to point out that Revelations is actually a book of what Jesus revealed to John.

Mike Westfall said...

Well, I dunno how to answer that one, Jugulum. So maybe relying on Heb. 1 isn't that robust for the cessationist position.

Robert mentions that Revelation is what Jesus himself told John to write, but I don't see that as a satisfactory answer to your objection. After all, any continuationist could just claim that what he was "prophesying" was what Jesus told him to say...

Robert said...

There is also a certain warning at the end of Revelations. One that the Mormons surely ignore and we criticize them for, but somehow we should feel free to allow for it in Christianity? At least they are consistent in saying that a written record of Jesus speaking to somebody belongs in Scripture.

Jugulum said...

Re: Revelation, I was thinking the same thing.

Also, the other books of the NT aren't quite like Revelation--they're not "Jesus gave me this vision/Jesus told me to write these words". But they are generally passing on Jesus' teaching, and they derive their authority from their relationship to him & his commissioning of them.

So you could develop a more robust version of the argument: Because of their connection to Jesus, they're included in "God has spoken to us by his Son".

But then there are the prophets mentioned in the NT (like Agabus, or the prophecies in Corinth)--we don't have any reason to think they had spoken to Jesus or were commissioned by him. And we don't even know who wrote Hebrews itself.

I don't see a good case for thinking that the author of Hebrews was saying something about those through whom God would give revelation. (1) It's not the issue in context, (2) you have to stretch it a bit to include the apostles (though maybe it's valid), and (3) there are the non-apostolic cases of prophecy/revelation that don't fit.

witness said...

So what would be a good list of passages that say there is no new revelation?

Frank Turk said...

witness --

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

I think that wraps it up.

See: I think that question you asked -- which I think you ask in good faith -- misses the point that God's objective in revelation is self-revelation and not insights about us. If God's goal in revelation was to tell us about ourselves, he'd have to be that chattiest Kathy in all of the history of everything -- on and on about your car which needs an oil change, and the doctor's vicit you skipped, and whether or not this sermon applies to you personally or to that publican over there, and whether you are wasting your life in your job or you are really planting the foundations of the iingdom, and so on. To everybody, all the time. I mean: why just tell a few people what he's thinking if his goal is to tell us something about ourselves which we haven't experienced yet?

But when we see that God's point in revelation is to disclose who and what He is, which is above and beyond the declaration of creation for its creator, we can stop pretending that we are the most important tyuhing on his mind.

What he meant to talk about He has already accomplished, and now it's up to us to spread that news to all men.

stratagem said...

1. Loved this open letter, Frank. The leprechaun known as Pat Robertson is a well-chosen target.
2. I chortle at the fact that the tone police only seem to show up when you are picking on someone who is liberally-inclined. Not at all surprising.
3. One phrase from your readers out of all the comments above, caught my attention: "the crazy side of charismaticdom." There's a sane side?

witness said...

Frank I really appreciate you taking time to help a brother out... that was perfectly clear... crystal in fact. I thank God for the ministry the three of you do here.

Jugulum said...

Frank,

"we can stop pretending that we are the most important tyuhing on his mind."

Do you really think that if someone supposes "God might have a particular leading or instruction or marching order or word of comfort/encouragement for me", that they must be seeing themselves as the most important thing on his mind?

Or that the Christ-centeredness of revelation implies that God wouldn't (for instance) send to a modern church a prophecy that there's going to be a disaster somewhere, giving them the opportunity to send relief?

The Squirrel said...

The petition to restore Ergun Caner as president of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary barely topped 65 signatures in 6+ months, but the petition requesting Pat Robertson to please just shut up! is already over 500 signitures in two days...

There is sanity in the world.

Squirrel

bp said...

The Hebrews one passage simply (paraphrasing) says that long ago God often spoke to His people through the prophets. And, (the conjunction “but” is not even in the text) in these last days, He has spoken by His Son. I suppose an argument can be made that this means He never speaks through prophecy today, but where does it say that? And if that were true, then why would Paul be talking about the gifts of prophecy, revelation and knowledge 50 years later?

Not that this excuses the Pat Robertson’s of the world.

James S said...

I dont know, it sure seems like a complete waste of time to write an open letter to Robertson.

He is so far off the chart as far as biblical christianity goes, its almost like he is caricature of how the world wrongly sees and thinks christians are, and thats a sad thing.

There may have been a time long long ago that he was biblical in his profession of christian-ness, but surely for the past 35 years or so Pat has been pretty 'out-there'.

At what point does one conclude that the guy is nothing more than an temple outer court pretender and in no way representative of the biblical faith?
I know I haven't considered him a real biblical christian since I was a young teenager who hadn't read or understood too much of the bible yet.

I guess stranger things have happened than a Pat Robertson possibly reading a plea for him to repent and turn to to Truth and actually doing it, but I wouldn't hold out any more hope for him doing it than I would for a Marilyn Manson or an Ozzy Osbourne type celebrity.

neat word verification - 'foreduck'

Detoxed Pentecostal said...

Open Letter to Frank Turk

Dear Frank,

I love The Turk (I reserve my constitutional rights to re-brand you in more affectionate terms!)

You have been an unwitting contributor to my rehab (hint-hint-my-alias-wink-wink), and you have elevated creative sarcasm to such sophisticated artistry that I can only aspire to assent to (I used to think you worked hard at it, but am now convinced beyond reasonable doubt that you were born with it).

I know your works in renewable energy and toil of diligent study, and your patient endurance of the hermeneutically challenged, and how you cannot bear with those drive-by snipers who comment without reading your post and follow up comments in their entirety, but you have tested those who call themselves comic book fans and are not, and found them to be false.

I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers digi-testified that they are looking forward to your follow up posts. I have no greater joy than to hear your desire and commitment to write 52 open letters in 2011, one for each week of the year.

But I have a few things against you: your choice of correspondence recipients to date leaves a lot to be desired. So far you have chosen wimps who will not defend themselves (did I just break one of the blog rules? I’ll have to check that again).

Please pick on someone your own size, as there is no edification in watching Mike Tyson beat up Woody Allen to a pulp. I’m sure the diligent founders of Pyro would have drafted an anti-bullying policy somewhere in their constitution. Please select worthy opponents who are at least remotely capable of displaying random acts of intelligence. Did I hear you whisper that you want to be non-adversarial? Far be it from you enlightened one, that you succumb to such evil temptation! Please don’t be blinded by the shine of the tone cops badges. My grave concern is that if you continue on this slippery slope of such lame selections of orrespondence recipients and such sterile civility, Pyro may turn into Hydro with the dreaded culmination in a yawn effect. This would be counterintuitive to the Pyro’s strong brand and hard earned legacy and antithetical to the gadfly’s cellular structure.

May I humbly suggest that you engage individuals who are willing to fight for their beliefs. I would suspect that Don King must have penned something during his illustrious career on mapping fighter parity. The only exception to this rule should be the honorable Mr Warren and Colgate’s dream recruit Mr Osteen. You know they are predisposed to silence against their critics, but they qualify as an exception by virtue of their notoriety. My digital vision of you is akin to the original Rocky Balboa, with the Pyro logo as the golden mega buckle resting on your waist.

May I also strongly caution you against enlisting Mr Toufik Benedictus (lamentably anglicized as Benny Hinn). Any attempt to engage this folically calcified and Cirque du Soleil certified tube evangelist, would constitute unconscionable digital waste and pixilation abuse. Furthermore, you need to exhibit some empathy toward his chronic hermeneutical sycopathy for which a cure has not yet been found.

I hope this note finds you in God's good graces so that you will be inclined by His conviction and Spirit to make your selection of correspondence recipients right. It's not too late, and you will bless many by your change!

Yours humbly,

DP

stratagem said...

Entertaining. However, in my view the criteria of who is a worthy target of an open letter has less to do with their propensity to fight back, and more to do with how many people are being fooled by the snake oil they're peddling. And a lot of people have bought PR's snake oil.

DJP said...

Pat Robertson gibbers, and media across the globe snap it up and report it, and disbelievers everywhere mock.

Yet DP says Robertson can't fight back and is too small for Turk to tussle with.

Quite a compliment to Turk! And Pyro!

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

Anyone who has the media power to deceive millions, upon millions of people, like Pat Robertson has, is no small force to be reckoned with. His theology is deadly, and that is putting it mildly.

How valuable is one lost soul to the Lord? Clue: Matt 18:12.

Stefan said...

A+ for creativity!

Frank Turk said...

Dear DP,

After I have peeled away all the flattery, and the ornamentation, I hear your complaint as this: posting open letters to people who won't respond is not edifying for you.

That's fine. I actually get this complaint and respect it -- becuase the truth is that the readers of this blog are significantly more intelligent than the detractors of same give them credit for. Our readers would in fact love to see me and Derek Webb talk for an hour about his interview and the related issues -- and not because they perceive that it would be a shouting match. I think they perceive that I can and would be generous toward Derek in the same way I have always been generous at DebateBlog and give the other side all the opportunity in the world to repsond and actually get their best foot forward.

The joy in that, of course, is seeing that the best possible foot for some of these people and their ideas is the one that doesn't get out of bed in the morning as it is at least wise enough and shame-faced enough to stay under the covers where critters with something to hide have the sense to be.

Anyway, One of the things that is completely missed by most people about the "Open Letter" format is that is does spawn discussion. It causes ideas in the public square to interact, full-contact-like. When I can write a bit about some abstract idea, everyone can say "well, that's your opinion," because that's how we are as a culture today: ideas are weightless and can't hurt anyone even if it is actually the idea which is killing someone. But when you instead say, "Dear X, You said, 'Q' and I think it's a load of rubbish," people are more willing to engage. They get invested becuase we're not just talking about opinions anymore: we're talking about their idols (a word I am not using carelessly).

So as we continue with the series of letters this year, sit back and join the turnoil -- constructively of course. Whether Pat Robertson ever responds is his problem -- there are other fish in his pan to fry. I am after those fish specifically, and if the giant Hallibut ever gets reeled in, that's just bonus.

With kind regards,

the Neighborhood Bully

Frank Turk said...

Juggy --

You worry me sometimes.

[QUOTE]
Do you really think that if someone supposes "God might have a particular leading or instruction or marching order or word of comfort/encouragement for me", that they must be seeing themselves as the most important thing on his mind?
[/QUOTE]


Yes I do. Your link there makes it explicit, I think.

[QUOTE]
Or that the Christ-centeredness of revelation implies that God wouldn't (for instance) send to a modern church a prophecy that there's going to be a disaster somewhere, giving them the opportunity to send relief?
[/QUOTE]


I find it interesting that the only examples of these you can find are in the Apostolic age. Do you find that interesting, or is that fact not relevant?

Frank Turk said...

bp --

The passage is saying that the point of prior revelation what God's personal revelation, and now that act is made perfect in the Son, who is not just a Message but the exact representation of what God was revealing.

This is why Special Revelation is closed: it is complete.

Frank Turk said...

James S:

I think that writing to Robertson is an act of dissent which is a witness to observers. It is worth that effort.

Matt Aznoe said...

Frank,

You said,

"I find it interesting that the only examples of these you can find are in the Apostolic age. Do you find that interesting, or is that fact not relevant?"

The entire Bible was written either in or before the "Apostolic Age", so is any of it still relevant for today? If so, then how do we determine which parts are relevant and which parts we can safely ignore?

Are you accusing Philip of being self-absorbed?

Frank Turk said...

Matt --

I'm accusing people who think they are being used by God the way Philip (an Apostle) was used by God of being self-absorbed.

Next.

James S said...

Frank Turk said...

James S:

I think that writing to Robertson is an act of dissent which is a witness to observers. It is worth that effort.
12:47 PM, January 14, 2011
---------

Point well made Sir.
And with that you earn the 5 stars.

* I'm new around here and if "next" means "no more comments" I'll understand if you remove this.

Jugulum said...

Frank,

"[quote]Your link there makes it explicit, I think.[/quote]"

I'm mulling over your response, and won't be able to write more till Sunday afternoon. (I have a full night tonight and a church retreat this weekend.)

In the meantime, help me out. What in the link made it explicit that if God gives someone "a particular leading or instruction or marching order or word of comfort/encouragement", it's because that person is the most important thing on God's mind?

Going from your response to Matt, is it that Philip was an apostle?

Or that the gospel coming to the Ethiopian eunuch was momentous in the spread of the gospel beyond Israel?

Check all that apply, or add one if necessary.

bp said...

Frank,
I understand that at one time, God spoke to (all) His chosen people through prophets. And then Christ came and God spoke to (all) His chosen people through Christ, and the Holy-Spirit-guided writings of the NT. The Scriptures are all that we need for life and godliness. Another prophetic voice to all His people would be unnecessary because it is complete.

However, is there not a difference between God giving a message to (all) His people through these two ways, and God giving individual encouragement or warnings to His individual people or groups of people?

Stefan said...

For the record, my "A+ for creativity!" comment was in response to Detoxed Pentecostal.

Other commentors (Stratagem, DJP, and Mary) made some very valid counterpoints, so I was just throwing him a bone for his epistolary style of writing.

bp said...

One more comment on this. From past discussions on this topic, cessationalists seem to be making the point that if God did indeed still speak, it should be canonized, since it is a prophetic word from God. And since the canon is closed, He obviously doesn't speak anymore. Yet, John says in Jn 20:30: "Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book."

It's clear that Jesus (God in flesh), spoke words and did signs that were not recorded in the canon. And from this I think we can conclude that God also communicated things to OT saints which were also not recorded in the canon. So doesn't this disprove the notion that every word from God should be recorded for all and that sometimes God may communicate in a non-public way to His children?

Robert said...

BP,

I disagree that we can conclude that God spoke to people in the OT and it was not included in the Bible based upon John 20:30. If you read how God spoke to people in the OT, you can notice a stark contrast between that and the NT. He appears in a cloud, people tremble at His voice, the prophets say "thus says the LORD"...just to name a few.

Also, I think you have to take verse 31 with verse 30. "These have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name." What other proofs/signs do we need? I take John to be saying that these signs from the Bible are enough to demonstrate that Jesus is the Christ and that we might believe in Him and have life in His name. The fact that I don't read many church fathers and theologians throughout history claiming to have "a word from God" or some sort of prophecy would give little old me great pause if I wanted to attribute my own words (even under guidance of the Holy Spirit through Scripture) to God. There is no way that I'm going to claim that is prophecy.

bp said...

Robert, the fact that OT saints trembled at His voice or that the writers of the Torah said, "Thus sayeth the LORD" is not proof that He never spoke to people outside of what was canonized in Scripture.

I've heard it said here many times (sarcastically) that if God truly did speak to me (or others) then it should be canonized, for anytime God speaks it is prophetic and should be recorded in Scripture. Yet, the fact that Jesus clearly did many other signs and (I'm sure we'd all agree) spoke to people outside of what is recorded in Scripture, shows that not all the words of God spoken to His people are canonized. This is the point I'm trying to make. And if it's true for the NT, whose to say it didn't happen in the old?

Matt Aznoe said...

One last note on Philip. It is entirely possible the the Philip of Acts 8 was not the apostle but rather the deacon mentioned in Acts 6:5. This is further supported when you look at Acts 8:14:

"Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. These two went down and prayed for them so that they would receive the Holy Spirit."

Why would they have had to send apostles, if Philip, an apostle, was already there? Given the proximity of the new Philip (the deacon) to the passage in Acts 8, especially following the testimony of the first deacon, Stephen, it would seem that this Philip was not actually an apostle, but the Lord spoke to him and through him and granted him the ability to work signs and wonders.

Robert said...

BP,

You're having to do some serious stretching there to bring Jesus' works to the same level as what happened in the OT. Are you then sayign that maybe in the 400 years between Malachi and the birth of Jesus that God probably spoke to people? I don't see how you can make the argument you are making without doing so.

Also, I notice that you did not deal with John 20:31 and the context that it lends to John 20:30 with regards to your argument. Signs were to establish the church to non-believers. They didn't have the Bible. We do...and because we do, we already have testimony of the signs and wonders that Jesus did to give evidence to the fact that He is the Son of God...and we also have testimony of the signs and gifts done by the apostles to establish the church. Again, they didn't have the Bible. We do. I think we tend to lose perspective of that fact these days (I include myself in this).

Frank Turk said...

bp --

I have an answer to your last question locked and loaded, but in the immortal words of jesus on the day he resurrected from the dead, "what things?"

That is: When you say there is a "a difference between God giving a message to (all) His people through these two ways, and God giving individual encouragement or warnings to His individual people or groups of people," how do you frame up that difference? Are you saying that Gpod has a purpose for some of his people which is not wrapped up in his purpose for all his people? Help me undersatnd "what things" are different.

Matt Aznoe said...

Frank,

An excellent answer to your question has already been provided: Philip. God didn't tell the entire Church to go to a particular road at noon. He only told that to Philip, and by obeying the command of God, Philip was able to lead an Ethiopian to Christ. Only Paul was told that he need to go to Macedonia. The Bible is literally filled with prophesies or messages where God specifically called someone to a particular task or sent a message of judgement.

Reading through Acts again this morning, I was struck by Acts 15:32: "And Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with many words." Here is another example of prophesy that was spoken to a specific church by two men who were not apostles and that was not recorded in scripture.

In regards to the question about word study above, while it is hard to do a real word study comparing the OT to the NT, there is only one word used for prophet in the NT and it is used interchangeably for both OT and NT prophets. So they should be considered the same.

While there may no longer be additional scripture, that does not preclude that God could have additional messages of specific instruction, encouragement, or chastisement for individuals and churches today.

Robert said...

Matt,

Please then try to explain the difference between a NT and OT prophet. I say this because there has been no prophet in our day and age that has been shown to be infallible. I don't remember any true prophet in the Bible being fallible. Unless you are saying that the pastor who says "Thus says the LORD" and then reads from the Bible is a pastor, I can't see how what you are arguing for works. Of course, I am guessing that you make no allowance for such a person being called a prophet.

Matt Aznoe said...

Robert,

I don't really know how it works. I really don't. But there is so much in the Bible that I don't understand, but does that mean that I shouldn't believe it? I don't understand the trinity, but is it not taught as a basic precept of the faith?

As I read the New Testament, I see no difference between an OT and a NT prophet in the mind of the authors. Both spoke on the authority of God. I also do not see any indication that this communication has ceased entirely in the church, even if the canon is closed.

Perhaps the problem comes in thinking that the person themselves in infallible. A person may have a wrong opinion or suspicion, but when it comes to proclaiming a message they claim to have received from the Lord, it had better be accurate or they will be seen as a liar and a fraud.

Pat crosses that line, obviously. He does not distinguish between a revelation from God and speculation based on trends and experts. I too believe we are heading toward a severe judgement in our country due to past excesses, but I cannot say that God spoke that to me. To do so would be to put words in God's mouth and to claim the gift of prophecy when I have reason to believe that I possess it.

I am merely trying to be honest with the account of the scriptures, and I cannot see support for a cessation view even though I have no direct evidence of its existence in modern times. But I have faith that God has not changed, and that by the power of His very presence within our bodies, the Holy Spirit, He can still work wonders through us today.

Matt Aznoe said...

That should read "when there is no reason to believe that I possess it." I am not claiming to be prophet! :-)

bp said...

Robert, how does the fact that there is a contrast between how God spoke to people in the old and new testaments prove that God didn’t speak to people back then? And as far as Jn 20:31, yes, the words were written so that we may believe Jesus is the Christ, and have life in His name. But again, how does this prove that God never speaks or performs signs/wonders outside of recorded Scripture? If there is a persecuted brother or sister who is being beaten and tortured in some prison somewhere who maybe doesn’t know the Bible very well yet, and needs encouragement, does this mean God will do/say nothing because all that we need to believe and have life in His name is already in the Canon? Maybe we don’t necessarily need any other signs or words from God to believe and have life, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Have you ever read Corrie Ten Boom’s The Hiding Place? Or other books about persecuted believers? But then again, maybe she and others with similar stories just had heartburn, like me.

Frank, hopefully I’ve defined the difference in the above. I agree that God’s purpose is for one and all, namely, to glorify Himself and allow us to enjoy Him forever. But does this mean that to comfort one of His people in an individual manner or a group of people within an individual church with a word or miracle is not possible because it doesn’t include one and all? By putting these limitations on God (which I don’t see in Scripture) you make our relationship with Him seem very cold and wooden, as if God is not intimately involved in our lives. Yet, I can see why people would want to swing the pendulum in the completely opposite direction with the likes of Pat Robertson and others voicing their "revelations from God."

Detoxed Pentecostal said...

Just read the new 'Premise' in the revised & abbreviated blog rules.

LOVE YOUR WORK FRANK!(the paragraph has The Turk's DNA all over it)

Easily established authorial intent there!

mikehoskins said...

My name is Mike and I'm an ex-Pentecostal. ("Hi, Mike.")

I have been a cessasionist for about 15-ish years. This was borne out of a struggle to reconcile Pentecostalism with the Word of God, with what I saw and heard, and with Pentecostalism's own history (since 1901 - see ISBN-13: 978-0310441007).

In Pentecostalism, there were "sign gifts" (like speaking in tongues and prophecy) and not-so sign-ish gifts (preaching, service, and the like). In Pentecostalism, all the gifts were "for today."

Obviously, God has not taken away preaching and service, but the sign gifts ended, in my view.

As for modern "signs" that seem on the up-and-up (at first glance,) how do they really stack up?

Read Matthew 16:1-4, Mark 12:22-23, plus 1 Corinthians 1:22 and 1 Corinthians 13:8-13 (or all of 1 Corinthians 12 through 14).

Next, Deuteronomy 13:1-5 and 18:9-22 come to mind (a lot of principles and specific tests), so too, do Jeremiah 23:18,22; Matthew 7:15-23; 1 John 4:2-3; and 1 Thessalonians 5:21.

I haven't seen too many examples of "signs" or "sign gifts" or "practitioners of signs" that pass the muster.

Today, if I see a purported prophecy, tongue, or "attesting miracle/sign," my Spider Sense tingles, er Sense of Discernment kicks in.

We are called to discern (1 Corinthians 12:10; Acts 17:10-12; 2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 5:13-14; and 1 Thessalonians 5:21, once again).

While nobody would admit to it, in practice (or "air time",) discernment is usually a "lesser gift" than speaking in tongues or prophecy, to most Pentecostals or Charismatics I have met.

(I know that sounds harsh and highly anecdotal, but I met many thousands of other Pentecostals, over the years).

As for Pat Robertson and his ilk? Oh my!

The last straw for staying in my Pentecostal denomination was the "provisional" ordination of Benny Hinn. Hello, discernment? "Test all things?" James 3:1?

Indeed, discernment is rare among all types of people who name the name of Christ.

Needless to say, I no longer go looking for modern-day signs, prophecy, visions, or dreams.

On the other hand, I know God still does miracles, today. In my view, the greatest attesting miracle (or "sign") is salvation (Acts 2:21).

Another one? I used to be a Pentecostal Arminian, but now I'm Reformed. OK, I better stop now.... :-)

mikehoskins said...

My name is Mike and I'm an ex-Pentecostal. ("Hi, Mike.")

I have been a cessasionist for about 15-ish years. This was borne out of a struggle to reconcile Pentecostalism with the Word of God, with what I saw and heard, and with Pentecostalism's own history (since 1901 - see ISBN-13: 978-0310441007).

In Pentecostalism, there were "sign gifts" (like speaking in tongues and prophecy) and not-so sign-ish gifts (preaching, service, and the like). In Pentecostalism, all the gifts were "for today."

Obviously, God has not taken away preaching and service, but the sign gifts ended, in my view.

As for modern "signs" that seem on the up-and-up (at first glance,) how do they really stack up?

Read Matthew 16:1-4, Mark 12:22-23, plus 1 Corinthians 1:22 and 1 Corinthians 13:8-13 (or all of 1 Corinthians 12 through 14).

Next, Deuteronomy 13:1-5 and 18:9-22 come to mind (a lot of principles and specific tests), so too, do Jeremiah 23:18,22; Matthew 7:15-23; 1 John 4:2-3; and 1 Thessalonians 5:21.

I haven't seen too many examples of "signs" or "sign gifts" that pass the muster.

As for Pat Robertson and his ilk? Oh my!

Today, if I see a purported prophecy, tongue, or "attesting miracle/sign," my Spider Sense tingles, er Sense of Discernment kicks in.

We are called to discern (1 Corinthians 12:10; Acts 17:10-12; 2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 5:13-14; and 1 Thessalonians 5:21, once again).


While nobody would admit to it, in practice (or "air time",) discernment is usually a "lesser gift" than speaking in tongues or prophecy, to most Pentecostals or Charismatics I have met.

(I know that sounds harsh and highly anecdotal, but I met quite a few "P's" and "C's", as I was a Pentecostal, myself, for 24 years; I moved all over the US and have visited or attended about 40 Pentecostal churches, plus dozens of conferences and camps; and I graduated from a Pentecostal college (I actually attended 3 of them); so I met many thousands of other Pentecostals like me).

The last straw for staying in my Pentecostal denomination was the "provisional" ordination of Benny Hinn. Hello, discernment? "Test all things?" James 3:1?

Indeed, discernment is rare among all types of people who name the name of Christ.

Needless to say, I no longer go looking for modern-day signs, prophecy, visions, or dreams.

On the other hand, I know God still does miracles, today. In my view, the greatest attesting miracle (or "sign") is salvation (Acts 2:21).

Another one? I used to be a Pentecostal Arminian, but now I'm Reformed. OK, I better stop now.... :-)

mikehoskins said...

My name is Mike and I'm an ex-Pentecostal. ("Hi, Mike.")

I have been a cessasionist for about 15-ish years. This was borne out of a struggle to reconcile Pentecostalism with the Word of God, with what I saw and heard, and with Pentecostalism's own history (since 1901 - see ISBN-13: 978-0310441007).

In Pentecostalism, there were "sign gifts" (like speaking in tongues and prophecy) and not-so sign-ish gifts (preaching, service, and the like). In Pentecostalism, all the gifts were "for today."

Obviously, God has not taken away preaching and service, but the sign gifts ended, in my view.

As for modern "signs" that seem on the up-and-up (at first glance,) how do they really stack up?

Read Matthew 16:1-4, Mark 12:22-23, plus 1 Corinthians 1:22 and 1 Corinthians 13:8-13 (or all of 1 Corinthians 12 through 14).

Next, Deuteronomy 13:1-5 and 18:9-22 come to mind (a lot of principles and specific tests), so too, do Jeremiah 23:18,22; Matthew 7:15-23; 1 John 4:2-3; and 1 Thessalonians 5:21.

mikehoskins said...

I haven't seen too many examples of "signs" or "sign gifts" that pass the muster.

As for Pat Robertson and his ilk? Oh my!

Today, if I see a purported prophecy, tongue, or "attesting miracle/sign," my Spider Sense tingles, er Sense of Discernment kicks in.

We are called to discern (1 Corinthians 12:10; Acts 17:10-12; 2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 5:13-14; and 1 Thessalonians 5:21, once again).


While nobody would admit to it, in practice (or "air time",) discernment is usually a "lesser gift" than speaking in tongues or prophecy, to most Pentecostals or Charismatics I have met.

(I know that sounds harsh and highly anecdotal, but I met quite a few "P's" and "C's", as I was a Pentecostal, myself, for 24 years; I moved all over the US and have visited or attended about 40 Pentecostal churches, plus dozens of conferences and camps; and I graduated from a Pentecostal college (I actually attended 3 of them); so I met many thousands of other Pentecostals like me).

The last straw for staying in my Pentecostal denomination was the "provisional" ordination of Benny Hinn. Hello, discernment? "Test all things?" James 3:1?

Indeed, discernment is rare among all types of people who name the name of Christ.

Needless to say, I no longer go looking for modern-day signs, prophecy, visions, or dreams.

On the other hand, I know God still does miracles, today. In my view, the greatest attesting miracle (or "sign") is salvation (Acts 2:21).

Another one? I used to be a Pentecostal Arminian, but now I'm Reformed. OK, I better stop now.... :-)