02 August 2011

Open Letter to Mark Driscoll

by Frank Turk

Dear Pastor Mark;

About two years ago I sort of swore off blogging about you for a couple of reasons, not the least of which is my interest. I don't really have a lot of interest in your ministry, if I can say that without up-ending the space-time continuum. On the one hand you're close with guys I respect and admire like Darrin Patrick and Matt Chandler, but on the other side you are really nothing like them as far as I can sort out. You are, unfortunately for both of us, a lot more like me and what I would be like if I were a pastor, and I don't need another example of me. I'm fighting off the example of me every day from 4 AM to 10 PM (sometimes later when I'm overcaffinated).

Now, that said, I had an extra-long open letter to James White and I broke it up into 3 weeks, mostly because I was making 3 distinct points to him and to our mutual readership. This open letter is actually longer than all the letters to James combined, and it's filled with audio and video, but it is on one issue about which, as you have made clear in your video, someone like me will probably never agree with you. So I've settled on one letter only of excessive length, mostly to avoid dragging the matter out over weeks and weeks of your admirers and my, um, gadflies throwing rocks at each other.

Let's me start with something I think you and I can find equally humorous and appalling:



I mean: Boogity Boogity Boogity AMEN. As a disclaimer, I admit I'm using the songified version of this event, but I think it's actually more true to the original than the original footage was. On the one hand, there was never a more "God-is-sovereign" prayer ever, displaying and exhorting God's rule over all things, including the secondary causes of man's handiwork. On the other, when one is citing such diverse sources as Ricky Bobby and Darrell Waltrip and leaving out, I dunno, Luke and Paul and the actual work of Christ, I find myself sort of dizzied by the real, concrete act of materialism, postmodernism, rationalism, and ungodly disrespect this turns out to be. When my 9-year-old who loves the local Jack radio station can hear it and say, "Daddy, that's not funny -- that's ugly," on the first pass, it's pretty hard to justify it coming from a middle-aged pastor.

I start there because it's funny enough to break the ice, and to show that your side and my side are not really that far apart on the question of materialism and pomo individualism and rationalism. It's a fine example of how post-modernism has crept into all manner of places which are not traditionally thought of as bastions of liberal orthodoxy. You and I could probably talk for an hour each about why that video doesn't cut it, and not contradict each other once.  I might even throw you a boogity-boogity Amen for effect.

But unfortunately, you recently presented this video at TheResurgence.com:



And while I have to say that you had me pretty much "amen-ing" for the first 27 minutes, I spent the next 27 minutes wondering if you had completely lost your mind. The audio of that portion of your talk is captured here for those who don't have a whole hour:


the podcast-inclined can download that audio clip at this link
The transcript can be found right here in PDF form


I'm a guy who was saved out of rank atheism and into faith in Christ without a preacher or mentor. God answered a desperate prayer from me in one night and literally changed me from wholly-immoral to reasonably-self-controlled, and grateful. After seeing my sin and my savior while reading the book of John, God planted the whole seed-bag of spiritual fruit in me in one night (without an audible voice to follow it or explain it). It took me two years to fully understand what happened to me, and in that a pastor and a local church did much for me.  So it's not possible to paint me as a guy who doesn't believe in miracles. I am one, and I think every who believes is also one.

I also come to your video with some insider baseball.  I know (and I think most people who are familiar with A29 know) that there is resentment in your camp toward John MacArthur's 1992 tome Charismatic Chaos.  It's probably a holdover from the Vineyard's resentment toward that book, which is a hold-over from the old-timer Azuza Street crowd.  The trope is that Dr. MacArthur slandered a lot of good men in that book, and has never apologized for it, so how does he get a pass for being a straight shooter?  In that respect, my perception of your reproach here is along the line of looking to give some back for the original work which, I think, changed a lot of the terms of engagement on this issue and marginalized "charismatic" theology in wholly-orthodox circles for the last 2 decades.

Of course, you personally have a lot at stake in the debate because you're unabashed to say that God audibly called you to be a pastor.  Unlike the armies of men before you who claimed such things after the death of John in Patmos, most of whom thereafter jumped the doctrinal and/or moral shark, you have remained relatively inside the bounds of orthodoxy and orthopraxy.  However, we have to be wise enough to understand that your claim is part of the issues at stake and see that as the lens through which you see the whole picture.  After all: if the cessationist is right, how do we frame up your claims?  Are they completely fraudulent, or is there another use for them?

We here at TeamPyro are well known for not pulling any punches when it comes to daGifts. I even was pleased to discover that my most-favorite [self-authored] PDF on this subject is linked by our friends at Monergism.com. So let me suggest to you that, if there is anyone at the popular level who is more serious and more well-documented on an on-going basis as to what actual Cessationists believe, I'd like to meet him. Maybe he's the one you were talking about when you said this:

Now some of you will have resistance to this and let me tell you why, this will be very controversial, it may be because you are worldly. Cessationism is worldliness. Let me explain it to you, you've got Renee Descartes "Cogito ergo sum", I think therefore I am. In an effort to defend Christianity from some of its critics, he begins with his epistemological presupposition: "Where will I start? I think therefore I am". So the two founding, if you look at this like a Jenga game, the first two pieces that get laid down in something called the modernistic enlightenment project, individualism and rationalism. "I think", that's in "I'm an individual and my mind, my brain, the three pounds of me between my ears", that is the essence of what it means to posses the "Imago dei", to bear the image and likeness of God. Out of that what invariably comes is the modern enlightenment project, based upon individualism and rationalism. Now, out of this comes as well skepticism, after a while you start reading in the Bible, "Jesus walked on water?". You start becoming skeptical of supernatural claims. So it's like William Barclay come[sic] along " well maybe he's walking along the shore of the water and it look like he was walking on the water", we're trying to find ways to explain away what the Bible says plainly. Because it doesn't fit cleanly within a modernistic, rationalistic uh paradigm of thinking. So in that way Christians start thinking more like Hume than C.S. Lewis. Alright?


Hume is really the modern rationalistic thinker who set in motion opposition to the supernatural, to the miraculous. So it starts with rationalism, individualism as part of modernism, this leads to skepticism, right?. If there is a God, then God created the world, and to use the language of Al Pacino in the devil's advocate, he's now an absentee landlord, and that he's left us here and he's governing life as we know it by a set of laws; but he's so sovereign that he's gone, he's not transcendent and imminent, just gone. What happens then is the assumption is made that none of these natural laws can be violated, therefore the supernatural is impossible if not unlikely.


This plays itself out in three ways: Number one, there's atheism. There is no God, there is no supernatural, there is nothing beyond the physical material world that can be objectively tested and retested according to scientific methodology. There is a vestige of modernism that tries to accommodate the spiritual aspect and it becomes deism. Where there is a God but this "god" is not involved in our world, he doesn't break in and violate natural law; the supernatural is not possible. This is Thomas Jefferson who sits down on the white house with a set of scissors and cuts all of the miracles out of the bible and publishes something called The Philosophy of Jesus Christ. This includes Unitarians, this includes very liberal mainline so called Christian denominations who are basically deists. There is a god, he is far away, doesn't have anything to do with us and the miracles can all be explained away, they are primitive, superstition, myths, misunderstandings. So it goes to Atheism, Deism and this will be controversial, Cessationism.


Now you know why I haven't said this publicly, I'm not sure I have a helmet big enough to deal with it, I'm gonna get battered a lot. But I believe that a result of modernistic worldliness in Christian form is hard cessationism. And that is saying: God could do a miracle but He doesn't and He won''t, but He could. So within that God's not really speaking, God's not really working and the supernatural gifts are not in operation; Healing, revelation, speaking in tongues, those kinds of things they are over in the God-used-to box. Even though I was reading this book that said he was the same yesterday, today and forever.


And so their argument even comes down to 1st Corinthians 13 which gets turned into origami, right? When the perfect comes the imperfect disappears, we'll see him face to face, the perfect is Jesus. The perfect is Jesus. But then what happens is, to defend this sort of modernistic rationalistic, cessationistic position, we throw up the craziest cooks in the charismatic camp and say well you don't want that do ya? uh no, no we don't. If it's nothing or that it's a real coin flip, cause neither is the real win.

Now, Pastor Mark: where to start? I'll be excited to read your book when Justin Taylor has approved it for publication as I am dying to see the historical evidence for the continuation of the gifts in the first 3 centuries of the church when it cannot be found in any of the primary sources for that period. You say elsewhere in the talk that you have it, and I'm looking forward to you showing us your evidence.  When guys like Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tatian, Clement, and Tertullian don't mention it at all, and they are framing the first post-biblical case for Christianity, and they can't possibly have modernistic, rationalistic, individualistic Enlightenment biases because it's 14 centuries too early for that, I hope you have something more than self-confidence and a winning smirk to carry the day.

To the rest of this, I'm really just agog.  On Twitter, to your defenders there, I have said it plainly: who exactly are you talking about?  Given the time and the tone you have committed to this topic -- giving it as much time in front of this group as you gave to both Reformed theology and Compementarian roles for men and women combined -- one must think it's a rampant pathology.  In all seriousness, you wave-off the too-numerous-to-count Prosperity crowd and the barking-dog Pentecostals, but you call out standard-issue presbyterians as if they are the ones making the church look like a geek show.  You make a point to name the Presbys as a class at the end of this section, and you make it clear that while you mention "hard" cessationists, you mean anyone who doesn't have a prophet in his church.  So my off-the-cuff reaction to this stuff is, "You must mean someone: name two men who believe this stuff as you have framed it."  Maybe you mean Warfield and Machen?

I myself have been uncharacteristically-cagey in naming names when it comes to my campaign against watchbloggers and bad apologists, but it's funny: when I spell it out, people know exactly who I am talking about.  The right people take offense.  Some of them self-immolate and make my hobby more like reporting than commentary.  But in this case -- that is, your case -- I can't think of anyone who believes what you have recounted here, even among the three of us at TeamPyro.  None of us, for example, believes "God could do a miracle but He doesn't and He won't, but He could."  We all believe in the efficacy of prayer, the gifting of the believer for service, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the work of sanctification, and the acts of God in providence.  For the record, we also believe in the local church and its work as a light on a lampstand which is not because it is full of such swell people.  We believe in John 13-15, and in 1 Cor 12-14 -- and we can point to the exegesis of guys like John Calvin and Augustine of Hippo as pre-modernists who believe what we believe literally over and against what you say you believe.

But, of course, like the gents who come before you in this debate, conceding that to the cessationist view is out of the question.  It is either all or nothing, and to say that there are things which all believers can and will experience because God is the God of the living without saying that prophecy, tongues and specific gifts like apostolic healing and authority is somehow not reckoned as a choice.  What sets you apart, of course, is that you say that if the church doesn't have functional Jesus(es) in it, it's just atheism.

So here's the formal response to your video, in the form of affirmations and denials.

I affirm that Reformation theology requires the personal action of God the Holy Spirit for the life of the Church.











I affirm that miracles happen today. No sense in prayer and believing in a sovereign God if he's not going to ever be sovereign, right?

I affirm that God is utterly capable of, and completely willing, to demonstrate "signs and wonders" at any time, in any place, according to his good pleasure and for his great purpose.



I affirm the real presence of the Holy Spirit in the church of Jesus Christ as Jesus said He would be present in John 13-15.





I affirm that the normative working of the Holy Spirit in the life of the church begins with conviction of sin and regeneration, and continues through sanctification, and through the outworking of personal gifts (e.g. - Gal 5:22-23, 1 Cor 13:4-7) for the edification of the (local) church.

I affirm the uniqueness of the office of apostle in the founding of the church.

I affirm that leadership in the church is a task wholly-empowered by the Holy Spirit to men meeting the scriptural qualifications, and that the objectives of this leadership are wholly-defined by the Holy Spirit explicitly through Scripture and implicitly as the gifts of leaders are applied to a real people in a local church.

I deny that this work necessarily includes speaking in tongues (as in Acts 2 as well as in so-called "private prayer langauges"), healing the sick or raising the dead by explicit command, prophecy in the sense that Isaiah and John the Baptist were prophets, or any other "sign-and-wonder"-like exhibition. That is: I deny that these actions are necessary for the post-apostolic church to function as God intended.

I deny that there is any man alive today who is gifted to perform miracles as Christ and the Apostles where gifted to perform miracles.

I deny that this activity is common, normative, necessary, or in the best interest of God's people to been seen as common, normative and/or necessary. God in fact warns us against seeking signs rather than the thing signified repeatedly in the OT and NT.

I deny that this means that all believers or even all local churches will be equipped with apostles called and equipped as the 12 and Paul were called and equipped. A telling example is the role of apostles in delivering Scripture to the church.

I deny that explicitly-supernatural outworkings, or events the Bible calls "signs and wonders" (e.g. - Acts 2:1-11, Acts 3:3-7, Acts 5:1-11, Acts 9:32-35, etc.) are either normative or necessary for the on-going life of the church.



I deny the necessity of apostles for the on-going life of the church.


I deny that church leadership is like business leadership -- that is, a system of techniques that have outcomes measurable by secular metrics of success -- and further deny that merely-competant management processes yield the fruit of the Holy Spirit




Before I close up, another amusing thing happened last week as I warmed up to write this. A young fellow in an A29 church told me that you welcome real cessationists as pastors into Acts29 without any qualms.  Let's say that he's right for a minute here and that your practice is better than your rhetoric -- something we are all usually guilty of. How do we take this talk seriously at all if your main goal was really to watchblog a strawman at your home-team conference?  I think it's hard enough to take you seriously most of the time because you aren't all that serious.  When you have that sort of lite demeanor (which I share) and then you start adopting the approach of your worst critics (that is: the most meaningless of your critics; the ones who are simply bad, undiscerning critics), you're not going to pick up any of the middle ground.

All that said, if you are actually writing this book, bone up on the subject a little.  Recognize, for example, that there are at least 4 different camps of cessationists and that most of them are really enemies of the same sort of thing I think you are yours are the enemy of: spiritual abuse, immaturity, heterodoxy, and blasphemy toward God and disrespect for church.

If you want to be some kind of cautious continualist: fine.  Super.  Live it since you heard God call your name.  But be at least as cautious to those who disagree with you are you are toward the rank heretics in the Emerg* camp.  You're willing to add some nuance to your approach to them, and most of them have come clean as enemies of faith in Christ.  The men you oppose here, and call diests and atheists, are not enemies of Christ.  You'd be best served to think and speak a little more carefully about this if your real concern is the church of Jesus Christ.

My thanks for your time to read 10 pages single-spaced, and to give an ear to a member of the PajamaHadijn.  I hope this letter finds you well, and in God's good graces.








                175 comments:

                Reformed and Renewed said...

                Wow...tx couldn;t have said it better myself. Frank wan't Mark Dricoll the guy the called "the cussin Pastor" years ago? He has been to Johannesburg to do the rounds, but he went more to the liberals, we did not see him preach in Reformed circles:)
                In Christ
                Simon

                Frank Turk said...

                While I am sort of perpetually unimpressed with his deeds unto repentance re: "the cussing pastor", let's at least admit that whatever containment actions he has implemented to that end have prevented him from the more-obvious sins of that nature. It's right to give a guy credit where credit is due, and I think he's getting out of his adolescence in that respect.

                To whether or not he'll visit churches of one stripe or another, he goes where he's invited. Did you hard reformed guys invite him and he said "no"? The only conference I can get invited to speak at is "TheNines", and I am pleased to do it as long as I am allowed to say what I intend to say for my brief messages. That doesn't mean I'm endorsing all manner of things by participating -- it means I'm going to bring the real Jesus, and let His Gospel do the work.

                Thomas Louw said...

                Frank.
                I agree with you whole heartedly. I believe Mark just got carried away with his sweeping statement, when he called me atheist, that is.
                He is a very excellent communicator and as far as I gather the reformed folks here in SA did not invite him because his feet isn’t nailed to the pulpit and his mother dresses him funny. (No tie you see.)

                I’m not his biggest fan but, sometimes he just explains truth…well so that I can understand it. (Being an atheist and all.)

                Frank Turk said...

                Thomas --

                I'll be praying for you in that respect, but don;t expect a miracle.

                DJP said...

                Characteristically stellar, Frank; even more stellar than usual. I wanted 3X as much.

                DJP said...

                ...and really? He played the "God-talked-audibly-to-me" trump card? Well, there y'go. No wonder when respected brothers try to call out specifics he feels so free to shine them on. Appealing to words on a page can't trump a private pipe-line, eh?

                Thomas Louw said...

                Making jokes about this very serious issue is my first natural reaction but, if I think about it and follow his logic, humanly it makes sense.

                Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to jump ship and run to Chuck Smith and give the guy a hug and join the movement. (By the way, believe it or not Chuck Smith is the guy who God used to convince me of the doctrine of limited atonement, go figure.)

                I use Chuck Smith as an example because my pastor described him the other day as a ‘sane Charismatic.”

                I think Mark’s maybe looking for that illusive “personal religion”-thing and loosing it in the process.
                I have been listening to Francis Chan the last couple of days and his whole “Radical Christianity” is invigorating.
                The whole notion of throwing caution to the wind and living the adventure for Christ.

                It sounds a lot like the Blackaby thing, doesn’t it? Are these guys just looking for their next bunji-jump, spiritual adrenalin high or are they on the right track?

                What is the difference between them and David Livingston and William Carey?

                Are they thrill seekers or truly seeking to do the will of God?

                Are we looking for the new high, searching for the meaning of life through chasing the edge?

                If the continuation of “miracles gifts” keeps us on the edge of our spiritual lives has these gifts and thrills not taken the place of our first love?

                Are we pursuing life in abundance or the giver of this abundant life?

                Mark in calling me an atheist (I don’t really think he thinks it) and me accusing him of not believing in the sufficiency of scripture is not going to fix the problem.
                “His’ miracles and “my” Bible are supposed to show all towards one person Christ the saviour.
                Yes I want to kick sand in his eyes and pick a fight with him because he made a remark I did not and will probably never like but, I must admit it, I understand where he is coming from.

                I know what he is looking for, I’m looking for it too, the power of God revealed to all mankind, the glory of God above all.

                Do I think he is doing damage, yes I do.

                Am I?

                Robert said...

                Excellent work, Frank. I, too, am anxious to see his "proof".

                Just to add to the list of the early church fathers you listed with regards to cessationism...Thomas Edgar wrote the following in "The Cessation of the Sign Gifts":

                "Chrysostom, a fourth-century theologian, testified that they had ceased so long before his time that no one was certain of their characteristics."

                It is convenient for him that he can fall back on God's audible call to him because it seemingly gives him a bit of authority. That's the type of thing that gets very dangerous and can cause all sorts of problems.

                Frank Turk said...

                Robert -

                Do you have a full citation for the Chrysostem quote? It's gold.

                Frank Turk said...

                DJP -

                To be fair to MD, he didn't invoke the audible voice of God in this talk. But how do we ignore his backstory when he brings up this issue?

                Robert said...

                Frank,

                I'm looking, but to no avail so far. I know that Bibliotheca Sacra published the article by Edgar in October 1998 and that they hold the copyright, but I don't see any citations. I did find this, though:

                http://www.piney.com/FathChrysHomXXIX.html

                I am guessing that something along these lines is what Edgar was referring to. I'll let you know if I find anything else.

                DJP said...

                I know the Chrysostom quotation well. It's in his homily on 1 Cor. 12:

                "This whole place is very obscure: but the obscurity is produced by our ignorance of the facts referred to and by their cessation, being such as then used to occur but now no longer take place. And why do they not happen now? Why look now, the cause too of the obscurity has produced us again another question: namely, why did they then happen, and now do so no more?"

                So to Chrysostom, the cause may be in question, but the fact of their cessation is not.

                stratagem said...

                OK, listened to his audio clip. I admit I don't know a lot about MD (I have listened to a few of his sermons, over time) but it seems to me he has a penchant for the extreme statement, and doesn't strike me as a very stable person, frankly.

                For example isn't he the guy who once said that Jesus sounded like a person who needs Paxil? I'm sure the meant something else, but taken on its face that is absolutely blasphemous IMO.

                So the open letter ought to be to his followers, "why do you keep listening to this guy?" In the audio he seems to be saying he wants to split the baby by affirming Da Gifts (as defined by charismatics, not the Biblical Gifts) but disavowing the nutty people who come along with it (of which he may actually be one, see previous paragraph).

                Nice job Frank.

                DJP said...

                ...and thanks again, Frank: you (and Mark Driscoll) wrote my Thursday post for me.

                It's 25 words long.

                donsands said...

                "God could do a miracle but He doesn't and He won't, but He could."

                Mark is one of those preachers who is very confident in his mind, and he says what he has on it.

                Good letter to a brother who needs to consider these sound words.

                I was thinking how John the Baptist, who was the greatest of all prophets, and who came as the spirit of Elijah even, and yet "John did no miracle: but all things that John spoke of this Man were true". John 10:41

                "And many believed on Him there." John 10:42

                Thomas Louw said...

                DJP.
                Only 25 Words.
                Hope its chewy.

                Adam Pohlman said...

                Thanks Frank, you guys have been most helpful in clarifying this issue in my mind over the years. This helps me slog through so much of the confusion.

                I don't understand the charismatic claim that the phrase "God is the same yesterday, today, and forever" somehow helps their argument. Do they actually believe God works the same way in each life, in all times, and in all places?

                They do know that there was a 400 (or so) year "silence" by God before Christ. Is it not possible that He could instate another period of "silence" that is a bit longer than the previous one?

                Robert said...

                Adam,

                I think we can even look at what Driscoll is saying here and say biblically that there were only three documented periods of time where we have seen God working through people to perform miracles: 1)Moses/Aaron before the Exodus, 2)Elijah/Elisha, and 3)Jesus and the Apostles. There are huge gaps between those occurences and I wonder if he ever considered that before coming up with that statement in reference to sign gifts.

                I would actually submit that he either a)didn't study much to prepare this or b)did totally biased research. I can't view the message until later in the day, so I'll leave the choice up to those of you who have viewed it.

                Gregg said...

                I too saw that video and couldn't believe what I was hearing. I too immediately put together a rebuttal and will post it over three week period. He was very clever, but cleverly deception and dangerous.

                Tom said...

                This kind of stuff makes me wonder. I don't listen/read Driscoll on the daily but I glean some good spiritual truths from him on occasion. So on the one hand, he can be spot-on even if a bit over-the-top. He does his homework and he's a student. On the other hand, there's this. I really was scratching my head on the "don't believe in miracles" stuff. I thought like you did, Frank... who is he talkin' 'bout? Who is this "hard cessationist"?

                The reason this kind of stinks to me is it's so... amateurish. His main listeners will nod-and-agree and never realize he's painting an invalid picture, which makes it hard to have the discussion with said listeners. He propagates the stereotype. And it's odder because he does tend to usually do his homework.

                I appreciated your affirmation/denial thing. That was a good approach. Good summary. I hope it helps.

                One thing that I think would have helped further, however, is clarifying what you mean when you say, "...gifted to perform miracles as Christ and the Apostles" and deny that "...churches will be equipped with apostles called and equipped as the 12 and Paul were called and equipped." I know what you mean by this -- that there are people especially equipped to heal and perform miracles on demand -- but I fear that the point will be lost on continuists. Because, like those who speak in "private prayer languages" and call it "tongues," the term will be redefined. The goal posts will be moved from "a person who can at-will heal/prophecy/perform miracles" to "God can perform miracles today" and that will be called "performing miracles."

                And that's the rub: Driscoll is confusing the issue. His rant was on whether God performs miracles today and mis-labeled THAT issue "continuism vs. cessassionism." In reality, continuism vs. cessassionism is whether there are individuals who can at-will perform miracles. And Driscoll doesn't answer that question. And I think your article did a pretty good job of re-framing the real issue.

                Tom

                DJP said...

                For a man who expresses his ardor for two men bashing each other in a cage, Driscoll himself does seem to prefer taking a pair of scissors to safe little paper cut-outs, while growling imprecations at them, doesn't he?

                MJ said...

                Not to be shallow or anything, but it's Darrell Waltrip. Dale is the guy that died. And yes, I'm one of those annoying sticklers for detail. Other than that, great post.

                sujetosalaroca.org said...

                I found Chrysostom's quote when teaching a Pneumatology class at my church. It was very clear of what was happening back then with the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit.

                But besides that, I question myself on why would Driscoll say such nonsense. I can't say that it was out of ignorance because I feel he studies and researches. But can it be out of malice? Why would someone, why would a christian bash brothers in Christ by telling they are wordly, atheists, and deists? That is my main problem.

                I really hope it is ignorance.

                Great post Frank! Appreciate your response.

                Fred Butler said...

                If he plans to seriously write a book on the continuation of the gifts, I do hope he does bone up and interacts with the excellent arguments that Phil, Dan, and Frank have put forth here over the last 5 years.

                Frank Turk said...

                I honestly don't care why he believes what he says he believes -- that's his trip, and if other people want to follow him becuase he's scruffy and loveable, great.

                What I expect -- not as anything other than a human being in God's image -- is that my reasons for disbelieving what this fellow is teaching be dealt with as it is actually available in real life. It is entirely boring and frankly insulting for the non-cessationsist to continue to dismiss things no serious cessationist has said in the last 75 years.

                Robert said...

                But Fred...he thinks they are akin to atheists. I doubt he takes any of what the cessationist believers put forth seriously. At least that is what I take from this.

                On a side note, I find it sad that almost every YRR person falls in line with the continuationist camp and have a hard time looking at church history honestly when defending that point of view. And you can see the effect of that when you talk to many of the younger reformed people on the street. There is almost a sense of arrogance about this one issue when I have approached people about this and laid out the argument from church history and even following the biblical timeline. It is eerie how much it comes off like the way many charismatic churches say that if you don't have the gift of tongues, prophecy, or healing, that you may not have been baptized by the Holy Spirit.

                CGrim said...

                Just a stylistic note (and feel free to delete this comment which is not at all on-topic), in the "affirmations and denials" section, you might want to consider putting a 1-pixel border around each cell. (I'm guessing it's set up as a table in the html?) Up to you, though. It's your house. :)

                puritanicoal said...

                Frank, I hope open letters to Wayne Grudem and D.A. Carson are forthcoming as well. That's where it will get interesting.

                Sharon said...

                Excellent, Frank!

                HSAT, I'm posting a comment so I have the option to receive follow up comments to my email inbox. If someone knows how to do this without leaving a comment, I'd like to know.

                WV: zinged

                Frank Turk said...

                Why Grudem? He's been responded-to frequently and doesn't really improve his position.

                If you can find me some Carson where he says something as irresponsible as what MD said in this video, I'll be glad to respond to it.

                Mark said...

                Well said, Frank. Excellent post. As a presby I whole-heartedly concur with your affirmations and denials. I also like some of what Mark Driscoll says and am happy for his stand on many issues, but I think he brushed with strokes too broad on this issue. Thanks for showing us clearly where he has gone WAY outside the lines.
                grace and peace,
                mark
                pastor Reformed PCA
                Beaumont, tx

                Daryl said...

                Frank,

                Full disclosure, I grew up Charismatic and team Pyro and WHI played a massive role in disabusing me of that kind of teaching.

                I recall a response you had to a commenter a few years ago when you said something like this:

                I wish God spoke, it would make life a lot easier. If we don't know something, just ask. No need for all the homework."

                Totally not your words but pretty much my recollection of the gist of it.

                And I think that's the attraction. That and the really close personal relationship thing. Something which, while true, has long be overly emphasized on this continent, and in a dangerous way.

                It has always seemed odd to me, that this one point remains the primary point of doctrine that so many, otherwise solidly orthodox folks, fall off the horse on.

                Thanks for the post, very clarifying and helpful.

                James S said...

                Thought that right away, what you said, Frank. Carson has spoken and written much about the gifts in 1 Corinthians but has never gone extra-biblical on anything. He expounds the letter as well as anyone can and with his usual common sense that makes him the gift to the world that he is. I encourage anyone who appreciates sound biblical exposition to take a listen to the Carson sermon on 1 Corinthians 12 on this web page http://thegospelcoalition.org/resources/scripture-index/a/1+corinthians/P750/
                (also the Dick Lucas sermons here are excellent as well).

                Deb_B said...

                Thank you, Frank. I could've read another 10 pages worth had you chosen to keep writing (alright, then, maybe at least another 5 pages ;).

                Most excellent!

                ANiMaL said...

                As I listened to what he said, it seemed he basically redefined cessationism from "daGifts have ceased" to "daGifts never existed". Implying (or explicitly saying) cessationists really just say that the miraculous can all be explained rationally.

                Describing someone who argues that Jesus didn't really walk on the water miraculously as a "ceassationist" seems rather absurd. That isn't someone who believes things ceased. That is someone who believes they never existed. A "never existionist"??

                Correct me if I am wrong, I thought a cessationist was someone who believes the miraculous endowment of power from God over the physical world and the ability to know and repeat new revelation from God has ceased.

                On the specifics I am no expert, but in this case it sure seemed like calling a spade a club, and it's not.

                David J. Houston said...

                Good post, Frank.

                I wanted to clarify something that one of your commenters said... they seemed to be implying that the gift of healing entails the ability to heal any physical ailment in any and all cases but this is not the case. Paul, who most definitely had the gift, appears to be unable to heal some of his fellow workers at times for instance. (Phil 2:27, 2 Tim 4:20) Grudem points this out in his ST. I don't believe that the gift of tongues or prophecy are still in effect but I see no reason to deny the gift of healing so long as it isn't conceived in the way it was laid out by said commenter. No Benny Hinn stuff. Just the straight-up, Biblical, gift of healing.

                Real Estate Marketer said...

                The church fathers don't mention miracles or the charismatic gifts at all? How about these quotes?

                Justin Martyr (approx. AD 100-165)

                ‘Therefore, just as God did not inflict His anger on account of those seven thousand men, even so He has now neither yet inflicted judgment, nor does inflict it, knowing that daily some [of you] are becoming disciples in the name of Christ, and quitting the path of error; who are also receiving gifts, each as he is worthy, illumined through the name of this Christ. For one receives the spirit of understanding, another of counsel, another of strength, another of healing, another of foreknowledge, another of teaching, and another of the fear of God.’ (Dialogue with Trypho, ch.39)

                ‘For the prophetical gifts remain with us, even to the present time. And hence you ought to understand that [the gifts] formerly among your nation have been transferred to us. And just as there were false prophets contemporaneous with your holy prophets, so are there now many false teachers amongst us, of whom our Lord forewarned us to beware; so that in no respect are we deficient, since we know that He foreknew all that would happen to us after His resurrection from the dead and ascension to heaven.’ (Dialogue with Trypho, ch.39)

                Irenaeus (approx. AD 120-202)

                ‘Wherefore, also, those who are in truth His disciples, receiving grace from Him, do in His name perform [miracles], so as to promote the welfare of other men, according to the gift which each one has received from Him. For some do certainly and truly drive out devils, so that those who have thus been cleansed from evil spirits frequently both believe [in Christ], and join themselves to the Church. Others have foreknowledge of things to come: they see visions, and utter prophetic expressions. Others still, heal the sick by laying their hands upon them, and they are made whole. Yea, moreover, as I have said, the dead even have been raised up, and remained among us for many years. And what shall I more say? It is not possible to name the number of the gifts which the Church, [scattered] throughout the whole world, has received from God, in the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and which she exerts day by day for the benefit of the Gentiles, neither practising deception upon any, nor taking any reward from them [on account of such miraculous interpositions]. For as she has received freely from God, freely also does she minister [to others]. (Against Heresies, Book 2, ch.32, 4)

                ‘Nor does she [the church] perform anything by means of angelic invocations, or by incantations, or by any other wicked curious art; but, directing her prayers to the Lord, who made all things, in a pure, sincere, and straightforward spirit, and calling upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, she has been accustomed to work miracles for the advantage of mankind, and not to lead them into error.’ (Against Heresies, Book 2, ch.32, 5)

                ‘In like manner we do also hear many brethren in the church, who possess prophetic gifts, and who through the Spirit speak all kinds of languages, and bring to light for the general benefit the hidden things of men, and declare the mysteries of God, whom also the apostle terms “spiritual,” they being spiritual because they partake of the Spirit…’ (Against Heresies, Book 5, ch.6, 1)

                Mike Westfall said...

                No comment. Like Sharon, I'm just subscribing to the post...

                ~Mark said...

                Solid letter! I appreciate the careful nature of what you presented Frank. I do have just one cloudy spot if you will. This affirmation...

                I affirm that God is utterly capable of, and completely willing, to demonstrate "signs and wonders" at any time, in any place, according to his good pleasure and for his great purpose.

                ... doesn't seem to be actually opposed by this denial...

                I deny that this activity is common, normative, necessary, or in the best interest of God's people to been seen as common, normative and/or necessary. God in fact warns us against seeking signs rather than the thing signified repeatedly in the OT and NT.

                ...in that I can agree with both statements. The affirmation doesn't seem to be stating the normality of these things or the expectation thereof, just the possibility of them. Unless I am misunderstanding something, which wouldn't be the first time online! :)

                Tom Chantry said...

                Truthfully, I may be even less interested in Driscoll’s ministry than Frank. What I have heard does not impress me; I can’t imagine how reading/listening would benefit me spiritually, so I haven’t. In fact, I can’t bring myself to listen even to the scaled down audio clip Frank provided. All that by way of full disclosure.

                That said, having heard of Driscoll’s reckless disregard for good taste, good manners, and good counsel, to hear today that he is such a radical continuationist as to discount the rest of us as “atheists” (and please, my continuationist brothers, that is radical, is it not?) - to hear this is only to be led to a “Well of course!” moment. Arrogant, un-teachable, reckless men are not all continuationists, nor must every continuationist be arrogant, or un-teachable, or even reckless. But isn’t the lesson here that it really doesn’t hurt, either? I mean, “God called me vocally to do what I’m doing” is a pretty good defense against anyone who might point out that your speech is chronically irresponsible, that you don’t seem to learn very well, or that you’re maybe just a tad less humble than you should be, isn’t it?

                DMG said...

                It seems peculiar that God "audibly" would
                speak to a man who promotes mysticism (spiritual formation, ie: advocates Foster, Willard etc) and has XXX rated materials/links on his church's website. Would God truly annoint a man with this special audible revelation? The A29 Network is one that contextualizes scripture, promotes spiritual formation/disciplines, & extraBiblical revelation. (ie:Chandler hearing God in his car?) When is this heresy? Does John Piper agree to all of this too?

                Daniel Chew posted an excellent blog yesterday that correlates with some of this: http://puritanreformed.blogspot.com/ blog

                Thank you for your response here and a very good commentary today.

                Rhology said...

                and has XXX rated materials/links on his church's website.

                Eh? Pardon me, but I'm going to need a little proof of that.

                DMG said...

                http://blog.marshill.com/2008/11/13/question-14-does-the-bible-forbid-masturbation/

                http://blog.marshill.com/2008/11/30/question-21-can-i-perform-anal-sex-on-my-wife/

                and others

                Ex N1hilo said...

                It still astounds me—I guess I should be used to it by now, but I'm not—how followers of Jesus Christ can dismiss the sufficiency of Scripture with statements such as the following:

                "I just cannot understand how you can say that God is not speaking today. If God is silent, then we are left without teaching, without guidance. The cessationist position makes God an absentee Father. If I believed that God were mute, I would see no reason to be a Christian."

                Why can they not see how amazing a blessing it is to have in our possession the full and complete revelation of God? How can the repository and constitution of the Faith once and for all delivered to the Saints not be enough?

                Moses, Samuel, David, Elijah, even those who witnessed the miracles of Christ, were not in as enviable a position as we are.

                Blessed beyond measure not only in what we have, but also in what we do not have; that is, confusion over the status of dreams, visions, and words of "prophecy" that multiply daily in the Christian world and are promoted as “The New Thing God Is Doing;” we can dismiss all claims of extra-biblical revelation. The Sovereign of the Universe speaks to us in scripture. We have no need of “more bible.”

                BTW, great letter/article, Frank.

                Mike Ratliff said...

                I am in full agreement with Tom. My "beef" with Driscoll has always been his cultivated persona that is obviously designed to attract certain people hence I have no interest whatsoever in what he says, writes, or does EXCEPT when those who should know better lend him credibility. Then those with discernment should obediently shine the light of God's truth into that darkness. Yes, I know that that statement steps all over the toes of post-modernist thinking, but since I not politically correct nor ever will be, I don't care.

                Victoria said...

                Very interesting-Pastor Mark just irritates me-ever since I heard the Song of Solomon sermon from Ireland. It sort of grieved me that I was not present with a bar of soap-I could have put it to good use.

                I really have a problem with him calling cessationists worldly. I mean really-who are the ones that drag the name of Christ through the mud constantly with their public scandals- Todd Bentley-Jim Baker-Jimmy Swaggart- Ted Haggard-just to name a few.

                When I think of having Apostles today-I think of the one group that do that on a big scale-Peter Wagner and his "New Apostolic Reformation"-yep those are the guys that publicly ordained Todd Bentley into the ministry-but even with all those Apostles and prophets present that day-not a one of them could see that Todd was in sin. Oh and yes they are the same group that put him right back into ministry-shortly after his affair-and divorce and remarriage. And don't get me wrong-these folks propagate false teaching of the worst kind-I blame the bad Theology for the bad behavior. What a mess-what a degrading ugly mess that bunch has made with their brand of Charismania. So who is worldly.

                Sometimes I just think that Pastor Mark needs some accountability-I don't think he has any. I believe with all my heart it is going to get him into trouble-way more trouble than he has been in so far.

                I remember when John MacArthur did the article on Grunge Christianity-It bothered me then and it bothers me now that young men will dismiss the counsel of a seasoned godly Pastor like John MacArthur.

                Well the open letter was excellent-I wish he would take heed.

                Robert said...

                Tom,

                Would you say that MD meets the requirement of being beyond reproach? I will go on the record as saying that I don't and I feel that people need to take a clear look at the qualifications that the Bible lays out for being an elder (a pastor is an elder). I would think that the way he goes about making his points is strong enough to make many blush and others turn away and not listen to him any more. I haven't listened to his sermons, but ahve read enough excerpts to know that I don't really want to glean from his sermons. There is too much in what he says that can so easily cause all sorts of problems.

                What I don't understand is this desire to conform more and more to the world. Isn't this something that Scripture is totally clear about? And using the excuse of Paul being all things to all men is a bit tired. Anybody claiming the title of pastor or teacher should be mature enough to balance that out with the rest of Scripture. We should be willing to humbly approach all men and present them with the Gospel, but we shouldn't feel the need to bend it to where it suits their culture in ways that are ungodly.

                DJP said...

                About 3/4 through. Typical mix of the wise, the true, the irresponsible, and the asinine. Sad and frustrating.

                Rhology said...

                That's XXX-rated, DMG?

                Robert said...

                Rhology,

                I only saw the second article, but it has a link to a site called Christian Nymphos. I'm not sure if I'd call that XXX, but I think that term doesn't do much good at all. In fact, I'd say it's really bad.

                Rhology said...

                Did you check the "Nymphos" link?

                My guess, though I don't care to look, is that it's a site by married women about physically pleasing their husbands. Is that XXX?

                Look, you want to say "edgy", I'm with you. Just don't know about XXX.

                Frank Turk said...

                ~Mark:

                The word choice here is critical.

                nor·ma·tive   
                1. of or pertaining to a norm, especially an assumed norm regarded as the standard of correctness in behavior, speech, writing, etc.
                2. tending or attempting to establish such a norm, especially by the prescription of rules: normative grammar.
                3. reflecting the assumption of such a norm or favoring its establishment: a normative attitude.

                That is: God can still choose to be the giver of all good gifts -- from a rainy day to the resurrection of the Lazarus -- and the "signs and wonders" not be the established rule of operation for the life of the church. I can affirm that God can and still logically deny that those miracles are a necessary part of the on-going life of the church, especailly when it comes to faith and practice.

                "Signs and wonders" are the exceptions that prove the rule.

                Make sense?

                ONE OVER 99 MINISTRY - OneOver99.org said...

                Well how-d-ya like that?! God IS sovereign. How else could you explain Driscoll going from potty mouth to piety mouth?

                Nice post Turk.

                From the narrow path,
                Len Qualls

                oneover99.org
                twitter.com/oneover99
                G+ OneOver99

                Frank Turk said...

                David Houston:

                Aha! A clever man!

                The point even of Paul's problem that he cannot heal himself is that plainly, God gave him the ability to command healing in others with the knowledge that they would, necessarily, be healed.

                I mean: God audibly told Paul, "My grace shall be sufficient for you." That implies some kind of active dialog with the Holy Spirit in which Paul effective could ask, "this one, Lord?" and the Spirit would reply, "Yes, indeed -- and these others as well."

                There's no way Driscoll means this is what's happening today, and he knows it. That's the shame of it.

                Eric said...

                I've seen some real strawmen and have been guilty of constructing a few myself, but MD's efforts as documented in this post just about take the cake.

                Just how silly is the "God is the same yesterday, today, and forever" line when used to "prove" continuationism? Consider: Since God once caused a man to be swallowed whole by a large fish, remain alive inside the fish, and later be regurgitated onto shore (or should I be looking to explain away that miracle?), surely He must then be expected to interact with and instruct man in the same way again or He cannot be considered to be the same yesterday, today, and forever. We should all be waiting for the next Jonah, for surely God will prove Himself immutable by repeating Himself.

                the phantom of the bookstore said...

                Driscoll said:
                "Cessationism is worldliness."

                Besides begging the question and poisoning the well, he is horribly and dangerously wrong.

                Mysticism is worldliness.

                Mysticism is the worst type of worldliness because it is dressed in the garb of a “deeper walk” and a “higher life”. It presumes upon and lords it over any who dare question its claims- and all the while belittles anyone who would question it as “unspiritual,” “quenching,” and “fleshly.” Or, apparently, “atheistic.”

                Mysticism empowers ungodly leaders because they make claims to the highest authority.

                Mysticism cripples the weak by distracting them from the wisdom of God’s Word and turns them to inward voices and promptings.

                Mysticism is worldliness because it claims to be a work of the Spirit, but effectively denies the work of the Spirit through His Word.

                Mysticism is worldliness.

                DJP said...

                If you think about it (which is the problem), Hebrews 13:8 is actually a disastrous verse for Leaky Canoneers to use.

                Frank Turk said...

                Rhology -

                I am not sure I'd call the links DMG posted "XXX", but I would call them unfortunate. There's a tenet of modesty which the Bible teaches us explicitly: we give the undignified parts of us dignity by covering them; we protect them from shaming us by giving them a dignified covering.

                I think that uncovering the sex act publicly takes away its dignity in the same way taking off your pants in public takes away your pants-parts' dignity. Pretending to be doing a public service by talking about sex as if it was like cooking or car repair overlooks that it absolutely is not like cooking or car repair, and is governed by God and not our culture's obsession with it.

                My two cents. Not a rebuke but a view from my perch.

                Eric said...

                DJP - I emphatically agree!

                DMG said...

                Thank you for stating that, Frank.

                Truly it is disgusting.
                ( and his sex tool link on top of it all)

                Rhology said...

                Frank,

                I am not sure I'd call the links DMG posted "XXX", but I would call them unfortunate.

                100% agree with you.
                Not XXX, but that doesn't mean they're a great or even good idea.

                Frank Turk said...

                R.E.M -

                To your second citation (found here) it is certainly not found in Trypho XXXIX. It is in Trypho LXXXII. However, I recommend you read the whole chapter before you interpret "even to this day" to mean "we are producing new statements from God on many subjects." Instead, the sense of it in this passage means that in the same way the Jews had the authority and power to refute false prophets, the Christian has the power and the right to refute those seeking ill gain from speaking for God using the Scripture. Read the whole chapter and tell me this isn't what he actually means.

                To your first citation, I stipulate it. I wonder if you can show me how what Justin says underscores apostolic signs rather than, for example, the basic and essential gifts of the spirit which any cessationist who believes in the trinity would uphold.

                I'll come back to the others later as I have a full plate at work today.

                Robert said...

                Dan,

                When you take that verse and then read ahead into verse 9 about not being carried away by varied and strange teachings, it is quite the 1, 2 punch. Especially when you look at church history and see that coninuationism is truly strange in light of it.

                Darryl B said...

                Well said and a nice defense of the cessationist position. I liked the affirmations and denials.

                Rachael Starke said...

                FWIW, I emailed our pastor re: A29 and da gifts (our church is a longtime member).He replied that A29's official position is one of being "openhanded". IOW, they don't have an official position and welcome churches of both convictions.

                That being said, the utter intellectual and rhetorical laziness with which he framed this "argument" made me wonder whether his college/seminary profs are somewhere rending their academic robes.

                MHF said...

                I am astounded at all the talk about whether something is X-rated, or "bad taste", etc.

                Mark Driscoll is an abomination as far as I am concerned!
                Where is our church heading today?
                We NEED to have a discussion on how much someone should preach about sex from the pulpit?

                Why is there EVEN a discussion about the "merits" of Mark Driscoll?

                In the days of the Reformers there would not be a need for a discussion. He would be "ran out on a rail". End of subject!

                Scott Barber said...

                He quite simply did not call y'all atheists or deists, rather he said that cessationists share a philosophical tradition with them, and that they are approaching Christian life from this presupposition. I believe you guys are being more rhetorical than truthful in your response.

                DJP said...

                Ridiculous. Did you even listen? "There are atheists... then there are deists... then there are continuationists."

                Robert said...

                Scott,

                He was basically saying atheists, deists, and cesationists are on equal footing as far as how they conceive of God with respect to the world...meaning none of them believe He is actively involved in the world. Which is utterly absurd...just like what you just said in an attempt to defend what he said.

                Eric said...

                Scott,

                You say "I believe you guys are being more rhetorical than truthful". I wonder, given Frank's initial analysis, who is majoring in rhetoric and minoring in truth, Frank or Driscoll?

                If you said that your wife shared the defining characteristics of a pig, would she be right to feel as though you had for all intents and purposes called her a pig?

                David J. Houston said...

                ‘David Houston:

                Aha! A clever man!

                The point even of Paul's problem that he cannot heal himself is that plainly, God gave him the ability to command healing in others with the knowledge that they would, necessarily, be healed.

                I mean: God audibly told Paul, "My grace shall be sufficient for you." That implies some kind of active dialog with the Holy Spirit in which Paul effective could ask, "this one, Lord?" and the Spirit would reply, "Yes, indeed -- and these others as well."

                There's no way Driscoll means this is what's happening today, and he knows it. That's the shame of it.’


                Oh, Frank! You’re too much! I’m blushing!

                You’re explanation is interesting. In fact, I think, for the person with the gift of healing, some means of knowing that God is with them is plausible BUT (ain’t there always a but?) it isn’t the only explanation that’s consistent with the Scriptures. Couldn’t it be that Paul has the gift of healing and, being a virtuous kind of guy, simply feels the urge to use this gift and, since this gift comes from God, He will most often render this power efficacious but not at other times? This explanation also seems consistent with the Scriptures. There could be other explanations with equal claim to Biblical consistency.

                I just don’t see why I, or Driscoll for that matter, should hold to your account. But I’ll listen if you think you can provide a reason or two in it’s favour.

                Frank Turk said...

                Hi Scott --

                I'm sorry that's what you believe, but I expected this objection since it came up on twitter last week.

                Driscoll's argument is simple: there is one thread in cessationism, and it is hard materialism. Now, insanely, he starts with atheism, then move to deism, then moves to cessationism.

                IF (and that's a big IF) they are related, it is in exactly the opposite direction. The genetic relationship has to be the motion from less skepticism to more skepticism, not the opposite. And historically, that's the motion -- from doubt in the miraculous, to doubt in God's active relationship to the world, to doubt in God at all.

                But that said, think about this a second: cessationism didn't kick off in the 1800's. It kicks off as early as Chrysostem, adn early as Augustine. In the view MD is proposing, cessationism is a late effect of materialism -- yet there are guys who can't hardly be called materialists who are clearly cessationists.

                And that said, it is absolutely most certain that MD has called out cessationism as a materialistic philosophy complete akin to and aligned with atheism and deism. You cannot read even the last paragraph of what I posted from the transcript and not see this plainly: they are of the same stripe, and are the same kind of worldliness.

                Those are, frankly, fighting words. It's ugly -- and whatever A29 says on paper, if it's true then they have to make MD retract and apologize.

                Again.

                Frank Turk said...

                David --

                Because I honor clever men, I'll go another round with you and see what we're both made of.

                The reason that my view ought to be considered a little more seriously is because the only places where the Bible says the gift of healing was ineffectual was where the messengers (even Jesus himself) found themselves among people with no faith. That is: among the reprobate. There are no places (excluding Paul's plea to be healed, with the subsequent divine response) where they call for healing and they get the divine silence with no action and no clarification.

                The only way to escape that is to ignore it.

                Real Estate Marketer said...

                Frank,

                To your statement:
                "To your first citation, I stipulate it. I wonder if you can show me how what Justin says underscores apostolic signs rather than, for example, the basic and essential gifts of the spirit which any cessationist who believes in the trinity would uphold."

                Would you agree that the gifts he's describing track with 1 Cor. 12:7-11? That list of manifestations of the Spirit include gifts that the cessationist says have passed away.

                Am I correct, or missing something?

                Dave

                David J. Houston said...

                And I appreciate it Frank! But if you're going to convince me that the only time that the Scriptures report a case where the gift of healing is thwarted is with the reprobate then you'll have to get around these verses: Phil 2:27, 2 Tim 4:20. If you can explain to me how those verses don't refute your claim then you win the battle and the right to call yourself... 'Da Man'!

                As I understand your reasoning, this would require you to prove that Epaphroditus and Trophimus were reprobate... so have fun, man!

                Robert said...

                David,

                Thank you so much for the Scripture references that I was trying to find. Now, let me ask you to do a little study on the timeline of Paul's epistles and figure out in which ones he mentions and uses the sign gifts. I think the results will speak for themselves. In fact, do the same thing with all of the New Testament and the results will be quite telling. I can save you the time and tell you that the sign gifts just fade out of mention as time goes on. That would be because the church was already established and God had made use of the sign gifts to authenticate the church.

                Robert said...

                David,

                I would also add in to that last comment that you need to place those two instances you mentioned into the timeline and see where it is that they fit. then it will all come together...

                donsands said...

                "Mark Driscoll is an abomination as far as I am concerned!" MHF

                I might back off a bit there my friend. Mark is a brother in Christ. He too is washed in the same precious blood that we who trust in Jesus are.

                Surely you can disagree with him, and even challenge him, but to say what you say.

                David J. Houston said...

                Hey Robert,

                Are you arguing that prophecy, tongues, and the gift of healing ceased during Paul's ministry? That's incredible to me! How exactly do we get the rest of the Scriptures, since there were a number that were written later than Paul's epistles, when the gift of prophecy has ceased?

                CGrim said...

                Robert said, "On a side note, I find it sad that almost every YRR person falls in line with the continuationist camp..."

                Take heart, Robert! There's also a lot of us who don't fall into that camp! If I had to guess, I'd say most of those YRR types in PCA or Southern Baptist congregations would probably be cessationist, or at least dubious.

                Robert said...

                David,

                I would argue that prophecy would be the only one in use and that it would have been limited to the apostles and those directly associated with them in ministry (i.e. the other writers of NT Scripture). If you go and look, you can clearly see how in the later books, the sign gifts are not mentioned. Surely, there must be some reason for this. Surely, there must be a reason for Paul not healing Epaphroditus and Trophimus. Just as there must be a reason that Chrysostom said what he did.

                The normal response I get is that people want me to show exactly where the Bible says it ended. I hope that you can do better than that. Otherwise, I'll be waiting for Driscoll's supposed proof.

                Robert said...

                Thanks for the encouragement, CGrim. I am still stung by the words of Matt Chandler at T4G 2010 when he said he is reformed and charismatic, and wouldn't be reformed if he couldn't be charismatic. That is the sense I get from many when they talk about the issue.

                wv: biblest

                Jugulum said...

                Frank,

                To your post: Bravo. Driscoll's failure to distinguish between "gifts of miracles don't happen" and "miracles don't happen" is both disappointing and negligent. This isn't an understandable misunderstanding for someone in his position. (I have some friends who have understandably made that mistake--their only exposure was to people who did reject the notion of modern miraculous healing. Mark Driscoll isn't in that position.)


                A question for you, about your reply to R.E.M.'s first citation. You said,
                "I wonder if you can show me how what Justin says underscores apostolic signs rather than, for example, the basic and essential gifts of the spirit which any cessationist who believes in the trinity would uphold."

                What of Justin Martyr's references to people being given gifts of a spirit of "healing" or "foreknowledge"? I can't think what he would mean by those that would be compatible with cessationism.

                stratagem said...

                Glad to know that Benny Hinn has a leg up on us cessationists in being A-OK with Driscoll. Or that Julian of Norwich (another continualist) also would have had an in with MD.

                Give the fruits of both modern (Hinn) and ancient (Julian) continualists, Driscoll's got some 'splainin' to do, it seems to me...

                Frank Turk said...

                David -- Phil 4:27b says "but God had mercy on him." You're saying he wasn't healed? or you're saying Paul didn't try to heal him? or you're saying that Paul didn't have any indication from God whether Epaphroditus ought to be healed? Which is it -- maybe it's something else. The question of whether Epaphroditus was reporbate or not doesn't come up here.

                To the question of Trophimus, again his reprobation doesn;t enter into it: the question of whether Paul knew he could heal him, however, is at worst captured in the idea that Paul left Trophimus sick in Miletus: it doesn;t say Paul bothered to try to heal him, does it?

                Slipping between the places where the text is silent on an issue doesn't make your point at all. It doesn;t make mine, either, but it doesn't unmake mine by a long shot.

                DJP said...

                Perhaps his thought is, "The best defense is a good offense... and if you don't have that, a really aggressive bad one."

                Jugulum said...

                To DJP and a couple others who have said similar things:

                Dan said,
                "...and really? He played the "God-talked-audibly-to-me" trump card? Well, there y'go. No wonder when respected brothers try to call out specifics he feels so free to shine them on. Appealing to words on a page can't trump a private pipe-line, eh?"

                He hasn't said "God told me that those things are OK", has he? If has has, I missed it, and you're right.

                If not, then I don't see your point. Being convinced that God called him to ministry (whether by an audible voice or a squishier feeling) doesn't conflict with recognizing some character flaws or systemic sins in his preaching style--he could still repent, and continue as a pastor.

                It wouldn't even preclude him leaving ministry while he got things under control.

                It would preclude agreeing with people who say he shouldn't have gotten started in pastoral ministry in the first place, or that he should permanently leave--but y'all seem to be saying more than that.

                Frank Turk said...

                Strat --

                I think Justin is citing Scripture and making a historical claim. He's saying that there are many gifts which the Spirit has brought to the church, and he lives in a time when he doesn't have to worry that someone is going to mistake him for a a fan of CBN and benny Hinn.

                That said, even if he does mean "the ability to verbally banish illness" and "the ability to see the future accurately" and not, for example, the gift of caring for the ill and the gift of making good plans for the future or the gift of good intuition, I'm comfortable admitting that people were doing this in an age when the last disciples of the apostles are still walking, still part of the church.

                Scooter said...

                I'm with CGrim! I'm in the YRR movement (though I'm trying to be only a R). I had a perfect storm of leaky canoners around me, a failure of God's "still small voice" to come true in my life, and I severe fear of man. If it wasn't for the Pyros taking on the leaky canon, I really do fear what kind of minor shipwreck my life would be.

                Jugulum said...

                Frank,

                I assume your 2:14pm comment was in response to me, not to stratagem.

                "even if he does mean "the ability to verbally banish illness" and "the ability to see the future accurately" and not, for example, the gift of caring for the ill and the gift of making good plans for the future or the gift of good intuition,"

                In the explicit context of spiritual gifts, I'd be surprised if the language really allows for those kinds of downgraded versions.

                "I'm comfortable admitting that people were doing this in an age when the last disciples of the apostles are still walking, still part of the church."

                Fair enough. So you see room for a gift of foreknowledge after the closing of the canon? (If that's what you mean, I do too, but I'm surprised to hear that you do. I would've expected you to consider it to be "leaky canon".)

                Frank Turk said...

                Strat --

                you're right about the wrong person, so sorry 'bout that. :-)

                In this discussion, there is a massive advantage for my side: I don't actually have to prove anything. I can admit that God is God and he does all kinds of stuff that isn't linear or logical and still say, in the end, that because the Bible gives skimpy instructions on the use of "daGifts" and significant warnings regarding the use of and chasing after "daGifts" we are better off staying focused on the things the NT spends a ton of time teaching us about -- the Gospel and its implications for real life.

                It's the characters who say this stuff is not only present but necessary and the only hedge against materialism that have an impossible task, and I think they could spend their time more effectively.

                David J. Houston said...

                Frank - Well argued. I guess this means... ‘You Da Man!’ It also means that we agree that neither of our explanations is explicitly ruled out by Scripture and, therefore, both are acceptable views for Bible believing Christians.

                Robert - You said:

                ‘I would argue that prophecy would be the only one in use and that it would have been limited to the apostles and those directly associated with them in ministry (i.e. the other writers of NT Scripture).’

                What about Agabus? It seems to me that there were prophets whose prophecies were just as authoritative as those found in the Scriptures and yet God in his wisdom chose not to preserve them for us.

                'If you go and look, you can clearly see how in the later books, the sign gifts are not mentioned. Surely, there must be some reason for this. Surely, there must be a reason for Paul not healing Epaphroditus and Trophimus. Just as there must be a reason that Chrysostom said what he did.’

                This is a textbook argument from silence. If my wife tells me she loves me and an hour passes should I start to wonder what the reason is? She might have stopped loving me since the last time after all! A better explanation might be that she said it and doesn’t feel the need to tell me every few seconds or perhaps (being a romantic) she would love to tell me she loves me every second of every day but she has to get on with the rest of her life - I know that’s hardly an excuse but I digress! It would be silly to think that just because she hasn’t told me anything for an hour her feelings have changed unless there is some other reason to support this conclusion. I might find out that she has spent the last hour in a certain coffee shop with a certain handsome Spaniard named ‘Antonio’ who also happens to be an ex-boyfriend for instance. (Impossible of course, my wife is ever-faithful, but again I digress!) Similarly, if you want to make your point, this timeline argument is not going to cut it unless you provide some additional reason. Why couldn’t Paul simply be addressing other issues than the sign gifts? Surely there must be some reason why he did not heal his brothers but why should we assume your account rather than the one I provided to Frank? You haven’t given me any other reason yet. Which obviously does not mean that you can not, only that you have not.

                Frank Turk said...

                David -

                I would point out that I have nothing against the cautious charismatic who is really just open to God being real and active in the world. It's people who demand a sign, or demand that those who disagree are somehow materialists and akin to atheists that I think are jumping the shark.

                Also those who are jumping the shark in the spirit. Those guys are crazy.

                trogdor said...

                But doesn't the long ending of Mark promise that we'll be able to jump sharks and not be cancelled?

                David J. Houston said...

                Awesome, we're agreed then. Cautious charismatics, as you describe them, are cool and people who mess with sharks are crazy. :P

                Thanks again for the post and for helping me to see that my proof texts don't proof too good!

                David J. Houston said...

                'But doesn't the long ending of Mark promise that we'll be able to jump sharks and not be cancelled?'

                Dude, if you can jump sharks then you're gonna get on 'Shark Week' and that series is never gonna get cancelled!

                the phantom of the bookstore said...

                I've never jumped a shark.

                But I once tore a phone book in half.

                But, if I was in the body or out of the body, I'm not sure...

                donsands said...

                "I would point out that I have nothing against the cautious charismatic who is really just open to God being real and active in the world."-Cent

                Amen to that. I had a Charismatic brother pray for my business partner yesterday. He first put oil on John, and then prayed a prayer of healing for his eye, which has been operated on for the retina being detached. After he prayed, Tim, asked John: "Now, don't feel obligated to say anything, just to say it. Can you see any better?" John said, "No, not really." Tim said, "That's fine. Praise the Lord." It's never wrong to pray and ask our Lord to bless and help us.

                There was no awkwardness here at all. And there was plenty of faith in the power of our Lord. Yet, John will need to wait and see how things develop with his eye. To God be all the glory.

                ~Mark said...

                ~Mark:

                The word choice here is critical.

                nor·ma·tive   
                1. of or pertaining to a norm, especially an assumed norm regarded as the standard of correctness in behavior, speech, writing, etc.
                2. tending or attempting to establish such a norm, especially by the prescription of rules: normative grammar.
                3. reflecting the assumption of such a norm or favoring its establishment: a normative attitude.

                That is: God can still choose to be the giver of all good gifts -- from a rainy day to the resurrection of the Lazarus -- and the "signs and wonders" not be the established rule of operation for the life of the church. I can affirm that God can and still logically deny that those miracles are a necessary part of the on-going life of the church, especailly when it comes to faith and practice.

                "Signs and wonders" are the exceptions that prove the rule.

                Make sense?



                Oh absolutely! I'm not disagreeing with what you're saying, I agree. I'm just saying that the one particular affirmation/denial pair didn't actually seem to be in opposition to each other.

                It seemed that both were acknowledging that the gifts are in no way common or normative, which is true. We don't have a date of their ending, making them possible (as you said) but we don't have reason to believe that they are anywhere near normative.

                stratagem said...

                Frank - you corrected yourself, and thanks for the reply. I referred to Julian of Norwich, a notable charismatic pipeliner from the Middle Ages. The messages she supposedly received are still deceiving many, and I know some of those who are so deceived. Therefore she is fully deserving of the charismatic label, based on fruits, even if Azusa Street didn't come along for a half millennium or so.

                Scott Barber said...

                Thanks for you response Frank, I appreciated what you said, though I'm goona have to think on it indeed. One thing I am wondering (and it might be an interesting point of discussion) is whether modern cessationists theology is a direct successor to earlier theologies of cessation, or is it a rediscovery in the modern context? Also it would be interesting to look into how cessationism in a pre-modern context (with the more sacramental ontology of the fathers) differs/is similar to a cessationist theology in a modern materialist context.

                Cheers

                Sir Brass said...

                What these Charismatics seem to miss is the HUGE point that we (cessationists) DO believe that God speaks to His people today.

                He has given us His Word. We have the completed scriptures which are theopneustos and applied to believers' hearts by the Holy Spirit.

                God does speak to His people today and He does speak clearly. We have His Word, which we are told is not just breathed out by God but profitable for teaching, reproof, training in righteousness so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.. If "da gifts" are still in full operation, then doesn't that suggest that we need these gifts, not just the Word, to fulfill v. 17 of 2 Timothy?

                The scriptures are sufficient. Why seek after these lesser gifts after their time has passed?

                growrag said...

                What if the Azusa Street paradigm isn't the only way to frame this discussion; i.e. the classic cessationists vs. continualists?

                Might there be a way to hold that God still works, supernaturally; and at the same time not affirm the normativity of this kind of work in charismatic ways?

                Jugulum said...

                Growrag,

                Yes. Except, part of Frank's point is that classic cessationists do (or can) affirm that God still works supernaturally.

                Neil said...

                This was a good letter.

                cliff walling said...

                owww my brain hurts......

                Frank Turk said...

                WHere are the trolls? Have they all died?

                Oh wait -- they come on Thursday.

                Tom Chantry said...

                Hey, Jug. I suppose I'm maybe one who said similar things, so I'd like to respond to this:

                If not, then I don't see your point. Being convinced that God called him to ministry (whether by an audible voice or a squishier feeling) doesn't conflict with recognizing some character flaws or systemic sins in his preaching style--he could still repent, and continue as a pastor.

                Where I think this maybe misses the point is that those aren't the only two ways someone can be convinced that God called him to gospel ministry. Traditionally, the Reformed churches held that God called a man to office through the working of the Spirit in the midst of the church - in other words, any officer of the church was answerable to the discipline of the church not only for his membership but even for his office. No one should say he is called to office unless the church consents to have him in that office. This requires a certain humility of officers - a teachable quality growing out of their recognition that their calling, office, and living is dependent on the will of God made known through the congregation.

                When a man says "God audibly called me to ministry" that dependence on the church dissipates. He is at liberty to say as he wishes regardless of the warnings that come from the church. He answers to no man.

                Now, that's all very well if God really did audibly call you in a Pauline, Damascus Road experience. But if such callings have ceased, and if fraudulent claims of direct divine communication back a man's ministry, then to whom is he answerable? Not to the church, who cannot override the will of "God," and not to the true God, who isn't the one who talked to him in the first place.

                Dangerous situation indeed.

                Mike Farrants said...

                Well said Frank. I'm glad Driscoll is not my pastor, but i don't read or listen to MD until I run across an excellent blog post like this. I am concerned with his association with James Macdonald since I am a member of a Harvest Bible Chapel which means my pastor is assocaited with him indirectly right? Driscoll is just another superstar American pastor running amuck! ....but what do i know I am just a worldly cessationist

                Frank Turk said...

                I think James MacDonald's association with that young feller Steven Furtick is a lot more troubling.

                growrag said...

                @Jugulum,

                I realize that a classic cessationist can hold to the possibility that God "can" work supernaturally still (but chooses not to), but my point is a little different. My point is: why do we have to frame this discussion through the either/or of classic cessasionism vs. continualism? These are rather modern categories; my thinking is jumping back to the past to see if there might be better ways to frame this issue. And thus avoid this us/them kind of battle.

                Tyrone said...

                Hello Frank,

                Thanks for this... I realise you have many pressing issues to deal with but I would appreciate you comments on today's post as it was your letter that got me thinking. If time will not permit I understand.
                http://tyronearthur.blogspot.com/
                Thanking you
                Blessings in Christ
                Tyrone

                CR said...

                Well, I would say first, that Driscoll doesn't have a good working def'n of worldliness. He doesn't really define it but he says cessationism is worldliness. Then he tries to draw some connection of worldliness to atheism or rationalism. What he doesn't understand is that atheists, rationalists, cannot be worldly. In fact, the only people that can be worldly are Christians. Non-Christians can't be worldly because they are already on the outside. They're lost. But he may be saying that the cessasionist is governed by the mind and outlook of the atheist and rationalist.

                But I don't see from the pdf excerpt that's pasted (I don't have the time to listen to the hour sermon) that he defines worldliness.

                Worldliness is when we allow things which are perfectly okay and right in and of themselves to have to big a part and place in our life and experience, as Christians. It is because these things are not sinful in and of themselves, that they can constitute such a danger.

                But, having a rationalist view of the world (i.e., opposing the supernatural or miraculous) is not a right or "okay" view of the world. But he seems to equate cessasionists of having this view. Cessasionists don't oppose the supernatural or miraculous, I just think we oppose the gifted miracle worker. I have personally never seen a miracle (by that I mean, the classical def'n of a defiance of the natural laws of physics and nature, for example, someone rising from the dead after physically and clinically dying, or I've never seen some one grow limbs that have been amputated). But that doesn't mean the Lord cannot and does not perform miracles. I have never seen demons with my naked eye. But that doesn't mean they don't exist. The supernatural exist and I'm sure miracles do occur. But cessasionists don't believe in miracle workers and certainly that doesn't make them "worldly."

                Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

                Like Roseanne Roseannadanna always used to say, "If it's not one thing, it's another."

                I think she had Mark Driscoll in mind.

                The Damer said...

                I thought that worldliness was franchising your church to make your name great.

                Just kidding or maybe not really.

                I've got lots of A29 friends who describe themselves as "charismatic with a seat belt" and not a single one of them can tell me what that means.

                Frank Turk said...

                CR -

                Your systematic theology has driven you mad. Reconsider 1Cor 1:26 and Titus 2:12 and then get back to us.

                Frank Turk said...

                Tyrone:

                Not on topic.

                Frank Turk said...

                Damer:

                It's because it's a slogan and not a theology. Reformed people are prone to them, just like Baptists, because pithy retorts defer questions.

                Robert said...

                Frank,

                I agree with your comment about the MacDonald/Furtick association. It also boggles my mind that Matt Chandler and David Platt were at the Elephant in the Room conference/seminar with Furtick and a few other "pastors" that don't follow the Bible in their style of pastoring. I can understand offering counsel, but I think it should be done from a distance myself.

                Robert said...

                David,

                Let me make a few other textbook arguments from silence for you. Man doesn't walk on water any more. In fact, I've only seen evidence for that happening once. Nobody goes up in the clouds anymore until the Rapture. Again, only seen that once. Man doesn't get taken up to Heaven in a flaming chariot any more. Once again, only heard of one instance of that. Man doesn't call for water from a rock and have it flow from it any more. I could list many more, but I think you see the point. Are you saying that these "classical arguments from silence" are invalid just because they are from silence?

                Eric said...

                "I realize that a classic cessationist can hold to the possibility that God "can" work supernaturally still (but chooses not to)..."

                Isn't the regeneration of the sinner's heart a supernatural work that God works every day? I hold that it was miraculous for God to turn my heart of stone into a heart of flesh, and as a cessationist I rejoice that God always will work supernaturally to save those whom He has chosen.

                Frank Turk said...

                Oh Eric -- you're just saying that. I'm just saying that. We're all just saying that.

                It just never gets put in the pile of evidence.

                CR said...

                Frank - Your passages haven't refuted anything I said.

                Frank Turk said...

                CR --

                Could any passage refute you? I'm just curious. If a passage said explicitly that worldiness is anything like the world, becuase the world is first worldly, and what the Christian wants to see that such a one as that he once was but is now something different, would that "refute" you?

                I mean: obviously your mind is made up. I'm wondering is any evidence could unmake your mind.

                Jeremiah said...

                I really appreciate your affirmations and denials. I think these, because they are well nuanced and thoughtful would be a good place to begin a conversation between a cessationist and continuationist. In fact, it would appear to me that there are elements therein that are both cessationistic and continuationistic, while in the end being the statement of a clear cessationist.

                I would mention two things ::

                1) It would appear that your affirmation (quoted below) would specifically affirm the possibility that Mark did hear an audible voice. Though, in line with the accompanying denial, this is neither common nor normative.

                I affirm that God is utterly capable of, and completely willing, to demonstrate "signs and wonders" at any time, in any place, according to his good pleasure and for his great purpose.

                2) I would agree that because Mark was talking to the "home team" that his language was rather harsh to a cessationist listening in. But I do not think that it is accurate to say that he called cessationists atheists as you claim in your second to last paragraph.

                The men you oppose here, and call diests and atheists, are not enemies of Christ.

                I see this this confusion often in polemical exchanges.

                What Driscoll said was that hard cessationists have been influenced by philosophical thinking originating in the atheistic and deistic enlightenment. That does not mean that he called anyone an atheist or a deist.

                i.e. I am a believer in God's sovereign rule and absolute claim upon the life of the disciple. And I struggle daily through this reality. But if you walked in to my house I think you could make a case that though I am genuinely a disciple of Jesus I have been influenced by a culture of consumerism and a pagan philosophy of materialism. That does not mean you called me a pagan materialist. You have simply made the helpful and honest observation that some of my beliefs and behaviors have possibly been influenced in this way.

                I see that many of your commenters join the bandwagon of assuming that Driscoll called them atheists. I hereby relieve you of the label and yet ask you and I both to consider how our thoughts of God and His ongoing work in the church have been influenced by the pagan philosophies of our recent cultural past.

                Thank you, Frank, for your thoughtful open letters!

                Jamie said...

                Frank,
                I see from your comment that "The only conference I can get invited to speak at is "TheNines"." I would be honored to have you as the guest speaker (and Headliner) at my conference in Oct.
                It's called the "Sittin around the Hearth" conference and I expect the attendance will only be limited to the amount of folks that can fit into my living room.
                I will give you first right of refusal but know than both Dan and Phil are on the short list.

                Eric said...

                Jamie,

                You must be among the newly created social class that I am told I must hate and envy - the "super rich" - if you think you could afford Frank's fee.

                Stefan said...
                This comment has been removed by the author.
                Always Reforming said...

                Mayve it's just me, but I kind of find it hard to take anyone seriously after they say God talked to them audibly. It destroys their credibility for me.

                DJP said...

                But AR, it's supposed to be a trump card!

                Stefan said...

                Frank:

                I also have to say that I really appreciate the way you set out your affirmations and denials. When the cessationistic position gets defined exclusively in terms of what is not believed (as it often is), one is sometimes left wondering what exactly is believed.

                By the way, ol' Mark really does seem to have jumped the shark on this one, doesn't he? (Sorry for the worldly metaphor.) Or maybe this could all be an inside joke: you know, the whole "Cartesian" thing?

                Anyhow, in particular, one should be careful not to toss epithets around that could just as rightly (or wrongly) be applied to those in one's own camp. Something tells me the guys and gals hawking snake oil on TV are not LBCF 1689 cessationists.

                Moreover, who knew that believing in a triune God who created the world in six days, is sovereign over all that exists, is living and active in the world today, hears and answers prayers, and is actively redeeming a people unto Himself through the persons and work of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit...that all this can be tantamount to atheism!?

                Something also tells me that an atheist would vehemently disagree with this.

                God help us all!

                Frank Turk said...

                Jeremiah --

                Thanks for the open-handed response. I did address the second issue in my comment listed at "12:47 PM, August 03, 2011" for two important reasons:

                1. It exposes a flaw in the flow of the genetic relationship. What created deism was liberal theism, and I thin it's utterly reasonable to say that 19th century atheism could not have been dreamed of without the deism of the previous century.

                2. Because this is a flaw in MD's reasoning, it underscores the care with which he is making his argument. And when we see that his argument is not careful, we can (at best) wonder out loud as to whether we should attribute carefulness to the way he assigns his categories overall. You know: when we was on the bandwagon (to clear his own name) against Emerg*, he could find a lot of nuance to distinguish Dan Kimball from Doug Pagitt. He could find ways to show that things that are superficially similar are really not on the same trajectory. In this talk he specifically rejects that approach by tossing the Presbyterians in by name as the guys who are "worldly".

                I can't find a lot of charity toward his broad brush because he's not trying very hard.

                The call for charity is fair enough -- when it is warranted. It is unwarranted here as it is not even remotely offered. That is the core of my complaint: making something into an issue where one might not even be a belieever if he doesn't believe it when that's simply not the case.

                Frank Turk said...

                Jamie -

                Check with my agent for availability.

                Frank Turk said...

                Eric --

                It only gets expensive when they start offering "meals included".

                Mike Westfall said...

                And just think... I can remember a time when anybody who "audibly heard" the voice of God was considered to be off his medication (or needed to be prescribed some)...

                jigawatt said...

                Frank, do you mind if I post our twitter and fb discussion here? I think it would be beneficial for your readers, but maybe you don't.

                Eric said...

                Frank,

                In that case, sign me up!

                You are invited to speak at my house if you bring a hotdish to pass.

                Mike Westfall said...

                .. and don't forget the Jello (of the proper color for the liturgical season).

                Frank Turk said...

                Only if you're no longer an atheist, Jigawatt. Our twitter exchange was entirely public and I haven't deleted a word of it.

                Make sure you put my FB response to your e-mail/FB campaign on the matter here as well if that's what you intend to do.

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

                Frank,

                What do you make of the solid Biblical teachers who associate with MD? I'm thinking of Carson, Piper, Sproul, Horton etc...

                jigawatt said...

                You are right, Frank, the twitter discussion is out there for anyone to see, and I encourage whoever may take interest to look there first. I'll post my fb message to you, then your response to me.

                jigawatt said...

                [My message part 1]
                "A Troubling Concern about our Twitter Discussion"

                Frank, I'm sending this message to you via facebook as well as the two email addresses you list on your facebook info page to make sure you receive it. Please forgive the duplication of messages in your inbox(es).

                For reference I've attached our twitter conversation that began on Tuesday, July 26 and ended on Thursday, July 28. Near the end of this conversation, you said to me "I take it back: you are an atheist." and "no one who believes in the living God would reason like that." As you can tell from our discussion from that point on, I consider these statements to be very serious matters, and I would like to make sure I understand exactly what you're trying to say.

                I have been a follower of Christ for about 22 of my 31 years on this earth. I was led to Christ by my mother at a young age, and I have been an active member in good standing of 5 evangelical churches (SBC, PCA, and non-denom) including the church you are now a member of (or at least were recently a member of), the Bible Church of Little Rock. I was a member of BCLR for about 3 or 4 years, and still keep up a bit with a few friends from there. I am now attending The Journey in St. Louis and I hope to become a member there very soon. In the past, I have enjoyed conversing with you at TeamPryo: http://teampyro .blogspot.com/2011/06/ thriving-at-college.html http://teampyro .blogspot.com/2010/03/ redneck-atheism-is-christianity-really.html (and especially) http://teampyro .blogspot.com/ 2010/09/weekend-extra-something-else.html

                As to my own relationship with our holy and righteous God, I have professed and still profess faith in Christ and in Christ alone for my salvation from sin, and trust only in God's grace to sustain me in that salvation. I believe that my good works contribute nothing to my justification, and rather help to show my need for a savior because they themselves are imperfect and stained with sin. I believe that without the redemption that Christ bought with his shed blood, I would be completely dead in my trespasses and sins and totally without hope. I claim the truths of Eph 2:8-9, Titus 3:3-8, and many other salvation passages upon my own life, by God's grace alone and for His glory alone.

                Now back to our twitter discussion. You said that Mark Driscoll "called anyone who doesn;t believe in the miraculous things he says are happening right now an atheist." I don't agree with this statement, and I don't agree with your original tweet that Driscoll "tells Cessationists that they's just like atheists and deists". I think Driscoll made some careless connections between cessationism, atheism, and deism by saying they all flow from modernism. And I think Driscoll's statement that cessationism is worldliness was also careless and unfounded, but that it didn't amount to calling any particular cessationist an atheist or a deist. I may be right and I may be wrong about exactly what Driscoll meant when he said these things. But near the end of our discussion, you seemed to say that since I don't agree with your assessment of Driscoll's meaning, then it's alright to do what (you think) Driscoll did. You called me an atheist.

                My first question is: do you *really* think I'm an atheist? Do you actually think I'm not your fellow believer and that I'm not clothed in Christ's righteousness? The only reason I can see for why you think I'm an atheist is you consider my "we should be consistent in how charitably we read others" to be a stupid argument. Honestly, I don't see how "he makes a stupid argument" => "he is an atheist".

                jigawatt said...

                [My message part 2]

                My second question is: am I right in the above summary? Because Frank, if I am right in this summary, your words amount to slander against me, your brother in Christ. Even if you're 100% right about Driscoll and I'm 100% wrong, is this the way we should talk to our fellow believers who disagree with us about what we think someone meant? Even if all my arguments are as stupid and goofy as all get-out, does that justify wanton slander? This stands in stark contrast to many passages from the Scriptures where the inspired writers instructed believers about their speech. A few examples would be: Eph 4:29-32 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Col 3:8-9 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices Prov 4:24 Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you.1 Pet 2:1 So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.

                Right now Frank, I'm not concerned with how you think Driscoll's words were not in accordance with these verses. Rather, I'd like to know if you think your response to me was in accordance with these verses. If you do, please explain how, as I don't understand at all how it was. And brother, if I have sinned against you, please let me know how so I can beg your forgiveness. I certainly do not want my behavior or speech to be anything but edifying and grace-giving.

                Your Brother in Christ,

                James Harold Thomas (@jigawatt97)

                jigawatt said...

                [Frank's reply to me]

                You cannot follow the logic of my statement or my argument. My thought is that if I line it out (again), you will still not follow it. However, for your sake, I will.

                You have now decided that this isn't about Mark Driscoll --only about you. That's the key problem you face here: you think that I was out to somehow "get you". In fact, my intention was to show you that you are giving Driscoll the benefit of the doubt which, let's face it, you are unwilling to give me.

                MD said in his talk that atheists, deists, and cessationists are all of the same stripe --it's the same kind of unbelief. That kind of broad dismissal of those who are brothers in Christ is either acceptable or it is not.

                Now look: when I do it to you, you not only take offense, but you can't let it go. It has to be resolved. So the question is not "Did Frank do wrong by you?" It is "How can I treat Driscoll's statements differently than Turk's?"

                If my offense is evident, his is evident. If his is not evident, then being offended by mine is only either your prize or your bias taking.

                So: you pick. If you pick, "offended by Frank, not by MD," then I would say your offense is trumped up --an invention of your own unfair approach to this whole subject. If you choose, "offended by MD and therefore also Frank," I credit you for coming around on the issue, and I can offer my apology for any offense you have received as it was only for effect.

                But here's what you can't do: you can't say, "MD doesn't enter into it." He invented the categories and the offense, and he was the whole purpose of our original engagement. If you can't see that, again I say you are inventing offenses, and I leave you t your own devices.

                And that really is all I have to say on this subject. Peace.

                Frank Turk said...

                Nate --

                I'll bet he's the life of the party, and of course he has a big church. There's plenty of room under those two umbrellas for a lot of people to find a place to set a spell, as they say in Little Rock.

                I can't say more than that. I have no exposure to real relationships between these folks.

                Frank Turk said...

                A typo in that last bit:

                "either your prize or your bias taking"

                s/b

                "either your pride or your bias taking"

                Thx.

                Frank Turk said...

                BTW, Jigawatt, you are saying you are in fact still an atheist and you're going to post this discussion to again underscore that Driscoll is not part of it (even though it was his statements which even caused you to tweet me to start) and I am the only one at fault -- for calling you an atheist!

                w00t!

                If you want to renounce your atheism now and take up the offense where it started -- that is, with Driscoll, who created the category -- super. If you want me to apologize, take it to your flying spaghetti monster.

                Robert said...

                Jigawatt,

                I hope that you can clearly see What Frank is trying to demonstrate. It is strikingly clear that you miss the fact that MD is clearly making the case that cessationists are in the same boat with deists and atheists. I don't like MD much as a pastor (personally don't feel that he fits the qualifications for one), but I am sure that he is intelligent enough to have worked out the implications of what he was saying. If not, he shouldn't have put it out for public consumption. And, in either case, he should come out, in public, and offer a full apology, as well as a retraction. I don't think he will, but that is just me.

                DJP said...

                "I don't think he will, but that is just me"

                If he doesn't, it's just him.

                Robert said...

                Yeah, I was going to say he's too proud to do so, but then I got caught holding up the mirror to myself and thinking of my own. Even if he is proud, he's forgiven if he's a brother in Christ. Doesn't excuse what he did either way, though.

                Eric said...

                Jigawatt,

                My exhortation to you is to step back for a minute - you seem to be missing the forest for the trees.

                If you purpose in posting that exchange was for purely exhibitionist purposes, then I say you are to be dismissed.

                If, however, you desired for additional light to be shown on the subject, please heed advice and re-read Frank's response to you. It is well-reasoned. Your continued objection only further reinforces Franks illustration of your selective offense. Hear this: Frank does not really think you are an atheist anymore than he goes to the moon regularly for green cheese. Recognizing that, consider why he might have made that statement and try to learn from his illustration.

                growrag said...

                @Eric said:

                Isn't the regeneration of the sinner's heart a supernatural work that God works every day? I hold that it was miraculous for God to turn my heart of stone into a heart of flesh, and as a cessationist I rejoice that God always will work supernaturally to save those whom He has chosen.

                Yes, no doubt. But the context here is the so called "charismatic" sign gifts and so forth.

                Eric said...

                growrag,

                I certainly realize the context, but I also realize that regeneration is every bit as supernatural a work as healing a withered hand. Continuationists often like to paint themselves as having a higher or less restrictive view of God since they don't "limit" God to working within the natural world. It is a good reminder to consider that the most important and everlastingly significant supernatural work occurs in the hearts of sinners.

                Jugulum said...

                Growrag,

                Re: Yesterday's 11:25 PM comment
                "I realize that a classic cessationist can hold to the possibility that God "can" work supernaturally still (but chooses not to), but my point is a little different."

                I think you're misunderstanding something. Classic cessationism doesn't even teach that God "chooses not to" work supernaturally today.

                It teaches that people aren't given gifts of healing & signs anymore. God still answers prayer for healing, sometimes in obviously supernatural/miraculous ways.


                But I agree with your desire to reduce an us/them mentality, I'd want to adjust your wording. We should seek to understand where we have common ground. I'm in a mostly charismatic church, and I'm working on some ways to articulate how that can happen--and prayers that charismatics and non-charismatics can both pray, which capture the core concerns of both groups as much as possible.

                Healing is a good example. In my church, 90% of the charismatics' discussion of healing is about persistently praying for healing, with genuine hope. Not about commanding healing.

                There's a lot we can do together to pursue the work of God's Spirit in Christ, without being on the same page about da Gifts. Even, to some extent, in areas like prophecy (or what charismatics often mean by prophecy).

                Mark Rush said...
                This comment has been removed by the author.
                DJP said...

                If you ever read the post, you'll find your own comment funny.

                Driscoll calls most Biblically-faithful Christians who ever lived akin to Deists and worldly for affirming the sufficiency of Scripture...

                ...Frank says that's a bad idea...

                ..and you call out — not Driscoll, but — Frank, for saying something.

                the phantom of the bookstore said...

                Took the tone police a while to show up....

                growrag said...

                @Jugulum said:

                I think you're misunderstanding something. Classic cessationism doesn't even teach that God "chooses not to" work supernaturally today.

                I know what classic cessationists teach, since I grew up as one, and even was trained as one.

                I know cessationists believe that God can work in "certain qualified" ways, as He wills; and that in fact these ways should not be considered normative contra the charismatic belief that they are normative and in fact signs of baptism of the Holy Spirit and His in-filling presence.

                But what I am suggesting is that maybe we shouldn't work within this whole framework. That the categories being used have straight-jacketed scripture in a certain way that is not helpful. Azusa street has been given too much cred on either side.

                Frank Turk said...

                Mark Rush Saith:

                | Let me start off by saying a couple of
                | things. First, I rarely reply to any blog
                | post. This is mainly because I don't
                | have a lot of time to do so.

                Well, welcome – I totally get that. I only post once a week here for exactly the same reason. Nice to meet you.

                | Second, I
                | am not an avid reader of Pyro. The
                | second is because of posts like this
                | one pertaining to Mark Driscoll.

                Well, let me say this plainly: I doubt that. I doubt that the reason is that we write a lot of posts “like this one”. The reason I say that is because what you mean by “posts like this one” and what this post actually does are so radically different that I doubt sincerely you read the whole post.

                Does my post say that Mark Driscoll and I agree on anything? If so, what? And if it does, does it use good humor to point that out, or does it sort of begrudge the man his similarity to my point of view?

                And how does a “post like this” usuall go, I wonder? Let’s find out …

                | I took
                | the time to write because often your
                | articles are attempts at "calling out"
                | others. I certainly believe you have
                | the ability to say what you wish, I just
                | wonder how all this promotes the
                | cause of Christ in our world.

                Aha. If I can list three ways in which this promotes the cause of Christ in the world, will you amend your remarks? Well, as you consider it, here are 3 ways this post promotes the cause of Christ:

                1. It defends actual Christians against slander, therefore promotes right-minded unity rather than narrow and exclusive categories of unity. I think we shouldn’t call people with a wrong-sized pneumatology people without faith. Who’s with me?
                2. It makes the Gospel the actual point of the discussion. You know: the actual good news of what Jesus has done, and how it is superior to both folk religion and materialism. That is the actual cause of Christ – not merely cheer-leading for our favorite TV stars of the faith.
                3. It causes people to consider their own faith more seriously. Well, those who read the whole thing, anyway. Those who read the headline and then rant about “posts like this” find another use for their time.

                | We live in
                | a world of skeptics who are looking at
                | the church as a vehicle which
                | continues to divide and to be honest,
                | often you prove them to be true.

                HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

                Oh man – THAT’S AWESOME! I split the church with this post!

                What if I, instead, asked MD not to split the church? What if that’s what this post says? What then?

                And what if I’m probably best known for sticking my finger in the eye of church-dividers and people who find the local church beneath them? What then?

                I wonder if there’s a retraction for that due?

                | We
                | certainly do not need to drop
                | doctrinal beliefs nor dumb down
                | sacred truths that should be held dear,
                | nor that we remove convictions
                | related to those truths for the sake of
                | getting along. I am also not "standing
                | up" for Mark Driscoll (I have never
                | even met the man). I am just
                | wondering, a better phrase may be
                | that I am biblically trying to process
                | the continual attacks on fellow
                | brothers in Christ and how they fit
                | into the body of Christ and His mission.

                He lives in Seattle, and I live in Little Rock. His network can’t even plant a church here, so we’re not going to have coffee anytime soon. But let’s face it, Mark Rush: the accusations didn’t start with my post, but with the video Pastor Mark posted.

                If defending one’s crowd from unfair attacks is “splitting the church”, I’ll be sure to note it further when I write more “posts like this”.

                Thanks for your time.

                Frank Turk said...

                Eric:

                I have no comment on the sources of my green cheese.

                Victoria said...

                lol- You just rock Frank!

                Boerseuntjie said...

                Ermmm... PASTOR Mark? Hmmm...
                Nice title can I buy one like it? Or shall I just wait for a little voice from upstairs?

                So someone whom loves evil speech, sexual immorality (In speech at least), causing divisions, has a contentious spirit; promotes things like "Devil's Advocate" to be some useful Entertainment for the sainst, lives like Kurt Cobain is is "our" homeboy and wants VEHEMENTLY to deny SOLA Scriptura is qualified of the Spirit of the God whom the Spirit calls The Consuming Fire?

                Oh yeah! That same Spirit also is the Very One Whom gave us the Scriptures which if we read them; it is plain is sufficient.

                Just one thing: Did the "audabile" voice also tell you that you ought to disregard the fruit of the Spirit (At least in Reformed circles)?

                My issue is that we often expect EXTREMISTS to be rejected, denounced and put away in other religious groups; but here in the Contemporary "Reformed Camp" we are too pleased to put up with Canaanite Elders whom live and project a love of the cultures where from Christ is meant to be REDEEMING and DELIVERING His people...

                So what are we doing about such men? I might not agree with Pastor MacArthur on some serious issues; but in seperation from these blind leaders of the blind; I am most glad for his stance. Now if only we can find a way to be "Called OUT" or "SEPERATE" from the world whilst remaining amongst them disticnctly as SALT (Yep the rough stuff which is bright and obvious and which BURNS open sorse clean and disinfects the wounds caused by INFECTION)...

                Where did I read that this is what followers of the most Holy are meant to be like? ANd when did they last use this salt stuff to clean infected and putrifying wounds and infectious diseases?

                ALAS! SOLA SCRIPTURA...

                If I where a new believer isolated on an Island with only my Bible.... Welcome to Great Britain.

                My apologies for being frank (No pun intended). I have had enough of my brethren following after the arms of flesh and denying the Power of on High.

                Yours by the free undeserved gift of mercy Alone,
                W

                Boerseuntjie said...
                This comment has been removed by the author.
                Dwain and Amanda said...

                Well it seems that now would be a good time for a new edition of "Charismatic Chaos" to be released, possibly with a new chapter covering the writings of the early church fathers...that would be fun.

                Tyrone said...

                Hello Frank, let me then be more specicic on the topic at hand and here is the warning; we all sometimes forget to heed the full counsel of God as we all get caught up with ourselves and I am not for one minute suggesting that I am excused from this equation. We must, as you do, stand for truth with all our mights, but sometimes we lose sight of how this should be done; so I will let scripture speak for itself; "Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will." (2Timothy 2:23-26)

                Peace and blessings

                Tyrone

                Boerseuntjie said...

                @ Tyrone,

                Sorry I don't get it. So the injuctions to put out PUBLICLY heretics and thos playing with herecy is what? Just an optional?

                Me thinks the Elders(Pastors~Overseers) actually have a duty to "out" those playing with hercies...
                Is this not what the Prophets where doing daily?

                Establishing the Holy Hebrew Scriptures and calling out PUBLICLY those whom went to the Holy Altar at The Temple in Jerusalem and then set up the Ashtoreths etc. and sacrificed to the host of heaven there?

                Am I not correct in recalling in Hebrews that they where MURDERED for doing this very thing, just like the Prophet John the Baptizer? Oh and Stephen and well every single martyr of the Lord Jesus Christ?

                Or was that a "gift" only whilst the Scriptures where BEING established; do the Scriptures not still require still the same respect ~ even as the Name of YAHWEH?

                I know which side I would rather error on: That of caution ~ in the Holy Scriptures Alone. If I err there I am in safe Hands.
                If I where to err outside of the Holy Scriptures; I have no assurance of Devine safekeeping; because I may even be sinning against Heaven.

                So to take one verse out of the Full Context of the Whole Complete Revelation Scripture is exactely the sort of errors that Mr. DRISCOLL is guilty of.

                Be sure that No Scripture CONTRADICTS Scripture, but they complement each other throughout in all it's various parts.

                Your fellow Doulos, according with the free gift of the FULLNESS of the Spirit of Christ our Lord,
                W

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

                I actually thought of three replies to your post.

                "Wow the tone police showed up a little late" – but I disregarded this as it seemed to flippant.

                Then I thought:

                "Look although all Scripture is God breathed, all Scripture’s are not equal to one another. I mean some Scriptures are actually subordinate to others. And in all cases CONTEXT IS KING!" - which I liked very much and sounds very scholarly.

                But then I went back to flippant.

                "Come out from behind the viewfinder and expand your biblical world view a little."

                Boerseuntjie said...

                @ Jamie,

                Just for clarification: Where in Scripture are we taught that Scripture is not equal throughout or that one Verse has REPLACED any other Scripture; just so that I should go get my Sciccors or Black Maker pen to decide where God has changed His view or lied or missed the mark on something?

                I see the FULFILLMENT of Prophecies in the Person and Work of Messiah YESHUA; but never once can I recall at any rate; did He say disregard what the Spirit spoke by the Law or the Prophets - indeed He rectified the abhorrant mistranslations and human traditions which contravened the Law and the Prophets...which where prevalent in the heretical relisgios system which was prevalent in Israel. Hence they did not like Him much at the Council of the Sanhederin.

                He also set the bar far Higher than PHARISEES conserning the Law and Prophets. Do you know how outwardly pure Pharisees where and are? They are so scrupulous about Legalism that they even invented the Talmudic laws; get this: Because they THOUGHT that they could indeed be Perfect in the Devine Law; therefore they required of themselves something a bot more extra on top - seen as in their OWN SELF-righteousness they could allegedly be "perfect" in the Devine Law.

                So when Messiah corrected their views of the Law he made clear that the Law was Perfect and Good (See the Book of Romans - unless that is superseded by something else).

                I mean who gets to say "THUS sayeth" [NOT] "YAHWEH"? And why should I believe him/her/it about the Word given by the Spirit Himself by the mouths of attested Prophets and Apostles?

                So what you might say. Well your argument seems to be born from personal preference and cultural lack of understanding of the Hebrew culture. That is a serious error in Hermaneutics, which may lead to serious abuses of the Holy Scriptures.

                Flippant? Hmmm?

                As for sounding scholarly, I am not an educated man and have no care to sound scholarly or foolish. I care very little to regard the person of a man; because I know that man is born to futility and the scholar and the fool has this in common: they both perish alike.

                I hope that you will see that I am not arguing a point; I am setting down a standard which is held in Scripture and whcih seeks to live out in the fear and reverance of the LORD God of Heaven and Earth.

                Wishing you God speed as you seek to defend Messiah the Word of God,
                W

                chiefofleast.com said...

                According to my completely subjective interpretation, this open letter passes the sniff test administered by the tone police (Congratulations!). I think this opens up dialogue in a healthy way, especially considering the strong words of Driscoll that could make many a blogger "go off" and soil their own hands.

                I have been encouraged and edified by the comment exchanges Turk has had with David Houston and Real Estate Marketer?! I think those two bring up valid points, one historical one theological, that show the sometimes gray area that shouldn't evoke name calling like "atheist" on side, or "charismaniac" on the other.

                I lean towards Driscoll's view on DaGifts, but this is one of your better open letters (and succeeding comments exchange) I have read thus far!

                Jamie said...

                @Boerseuntjie
                I apologize that I did not address my reply and that you rightly presumed it was a response to yours. However, and the reason I deleted the first one is that it was missing too, it was directed at Tyrone. But I am not sure that anything in your reply to him was presented in a bad "tone." So again my apologies.

                Now, except for the opening sentence (and only half of that), your reply is a straw man built of things I did not say nor imply. Yet to say that some Scriptures are subordinate to others is logical and in keeping within the norm of the interpretation of texts and verbal communication. For example when Scriptures teach that both God has a will and that man has a will, whose is subordinate? Man’s to God or God’s to man? Of course it’s man’s to God’s. And of those passages which teach this, which is subordinate? Again and of course those that teach that man has a will is in subjection to the greater i.e. those which teach us of God’s will.

                Certainly there are even further distinctions to be made on both, but it hope you see my point. This is why I stated that CONTEXT IS KING and why Tyrone’s rebuke of Frank was…the tone police showing up; since the context of his post did not apply to what was being written by Frank.

                Further, the Scriptures are filled with varying writing forms and styles to include historical, poetic, narrative and parable. And these may, and often do, employ many types of communication from irony and sarcasm to biting straight forward rebuke, and to not recognize this will make for a bad hermeneutic which will lead to serious error. One certainly would not (or shouldn’t) interpret Proverbs with the same approach as one would the Sermon on the Mount.

                So again, my apologies for not addressing my post.

                Boerseuntjie said...

                @ brother Jamie,

                Thank you. My apologies if I misunderstood your intent or seem to have desired to misunderstand what you said (English is my second language by nativity).

                I see what you are saying; but still I do not think that any text of Scripture is of any necessity in a relationship of: EITHER OR.

                I have found that many of us committed discerners of the Word have made huge mistakes by using the: EITHER OR rule.

                In your example for instance it is quite plausabile that the Spirit can move and incline the heart of a man so that he/she is most willing; yet that this willingness is also subject to Sovereignty in our LORD and in him/herself at the same instance.

                This does not necessarily mean to say that man has no free will or capacity to exercsie his/her responsibilty; nor that the LORD has to be concerned that He acts in accordance with the sinful will of mankind (Just reflecting on Romans 7 in my daily reading).

                I personally can see that BOTH these things can be true in this instance:
                God is Sovereign and has laid His decree down before the foundation of the world;
                and
                the man/woman most freely (As the free gift of grace enables), yet not under any subversion, willingly subjects themself to do His will, as has always been the requirement of God.

                I think it somehow connects with the prayer of Augustine of Hippo, which opened up the Pelagian and Semi-Pelagian herecy that is still prevalent today.

                "Da quod iubes, et iube quod vis. Imperas novis continentiam."

                "GIVE what you COMMAND, and command what you will. You impose CONTINGENCY on US."

                We are commanded and given responsibility to obey (With only our love of sin standing in our way - which enslaves us most willingly).
                Then if He sees fit, He looks upon the heart and He in eternity past sets His love on the ingodly to Redeem, Adopt and Deliver those whom He has loved ~ for no reasons we know of; except He wills to show forth His lovingkindness and mercy and those whom are His people will to love Him and seek Him with all their heart (A condition for salvation no less, that is to have a seeking heart in truth and love and fear).

                So in my unlearned state I find that both the will of man is free (In so much that it is only bound to sin); and yet God remains perfectly Sovereign (Again a bit Romans 1-8 like, with emphasis on 7).

                I think it a bit like the doctrine of the Incarnation: Do we fully comprehend how Messiah JESUS was fully Man and has the Fullness of the Godhead dweling in Him Bodily?
                OK we can understand theologically; but I mean can we fully grasp that reality with our minds? If I where to lay subjection of Scripture down as a rule for all interpretation I would struggle immensely and give place for serious doubts about essential Doctrines which relate to Salvation.
                SO I find these things can be equally true when they seem contradictory; yet they are complementary, not contrary at all.

                Yet, I do understand by way of your explanation that at times the principles in terms of the Greater lording the Lesser is a real and true and tangable principle; but it is a very dangerous tool which too often is abused.

                I now do see where you are coming from and appreciate you taking the time to explain more fully what you meant.

                I relent and am most grateful for your kindness.

                My apologies for my misguided answer that supposed that you where on another more common wavelength regarding subjection of Scripture.

                Yours in the service of our King,
                W

                Tyrone said...

                Hello Jamie & Boerseuntjie
                Firstly let me say that my intention never carried with it any guile or contention and the simple reason behind my point was this; “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (2Timothy 3:16)

                Nothing more or anything less was intended, if therefore thought has been given to what was penned by Paul to Timothy and one is clear in the matter, then we have peace with God. It is up to the individual to examine his own heart.

                Blessing in Christ

                Tyrone

                Frank Turk said...

                We'll call 175 comments a good run for this letter, and offer to take up any issues not sufficiently covered here via e-mail at:

                frank @ iturk dot com