04 August 2011

Tersely put: "continuationism" self-refuting

by Dan Phillips

The very fact that "continuationists" acknowledge the need to make their case to Christians by argument is, itself, a devastating and sufficient refutation of the position.

Dan Phillips's signature

200 comments:

Thomas Louw said...

Dan.

You are implying that if they did continue we would see them.
Ok 25 words are more than enough.

Good one.

Jamie said...

"by argument" excellent point.

DJP said...

I know I said 25 yesterday, but I upped it to 26. My bad.

Robert said...

Great point, Dan. I need to remember that next time I run into a continuationist. I won't hold my breath on being healed of my plantar fascitis, though.

stratagem said...

I will now silence y'all by pulling a rabbi out of my hat!

Johnny Dialectic said...

I'm cessationist myself, but I can hear a continuationist say that Jesus did the same thing in John 8, made a case for himself, specifically about testimonial evidence. IOW, the existence of the miraculous did not rule out, for Jesus at least, supplemental argumentation.

DJP said...

I plan a related post at my place, shortly.

Also I plan a related Tweet or two later today; if you don't already "follow," feel free. I'll save a space for you.

Thomas Louw said...

I might sound like I’m going off centre field a bit here but, bear with me.
If we say that “tha-gifts’ has ceased we are saying that God through the Holy Spirit enabling someone to talk in tongues and heal people has ceased. Thus saying special revelation has ceased.
The gift has ceased but, the giver has not ceased to work in this world, He still heals, He still reveals Himself to people. He still speaks.
The difference is the modus operandi. It used to be more “via” someone, towards others. Now, today he does this more directly, straight through the revealed word of God.
Does this not make, Christianity so personal.

Pastor Jody said...

As a "Reformed Pentecostal" pastor, I would be the first to say that true Biblical manifestations of the gifts are rare, VERY RARE, in the western Americanized church, but they are definitely in operation in other parts of the world, especially in areas of great persecution. The simple fact is that we, the western church, have not put our self in an environment for the need of these gifts. Sadly, many feel they are doing just fine without them......

DJP said...

Then they don't really "continue."

Thank you.

stratagem said...

more penetcostal than reformed, then.

Frank Turk said...

Silver and gold have I not, but such as I have I give to thee. Here are 16 reasons why the "Sign and Wonder" gifts are real, present and necessary. Now be well, stay warm, and try not to block the aisle with your cart, son.

.

.

.

.

.

.

[blink]

Tom said...

Thomas writes, "The gift has ceased but, the giver has not ceased to work in this world, He still heals, He still reveals Himself to people. He still speaks.
The difference is the modus operandi. It used to be more “via” someone, towards others. Now, today he does this more directly, straight through the revealed word of God."

No, God still uses His people or else James 5:13-16 is a farse.

DJP said...

"Still uses His people" to give direct, binding, inerrant revelation or to work clear, unambiguous, prophecy-attesting gifts? That passage says that? Or are you off-topic?

Pastor Jody said...

Thomas,
May I suggest, just for the sake of a different perspective, that you view "messages in tongues" more as preaching rather than divine, inerrant revelation from God. Many cessations argue that if tongues and other gifts have continued, then revelation has continued. I think this is making tongues and other gifts something the Bible does not. I've even had people suggest that if tongues are still valid today then we should have blank pages in the back of our Bibles to write down what is said as these messages would be equal to other revelation in scripture. This is simply not true.
On the day of Pentecost, 120+ people spoke in other tongues. If we hold the view that messages in tongues are equal to scriptural revelation, then why wasn’t what the said specifically recorded? Or the messages in the local congregations such as Corinth?
When we preach, hopefully we are preaching the truth of God with the leading and unction of His Holy Spirit, but is what we saying infallible? No! Do we think that we are adding to revelation? No! I know as well as anyone that there are abuses. I know that 99.99999999999999% of the TBN crowd are way of base, but is abuse and rarity enough to pronounce cessation upon the gifts? And finally both continuationist and cessationist both use “experiential argumentation”. Continuationists base theirs in a personal framework and cessationist base theirs in a historical framework, but both are based on ‘experiences’.
Just some thoughts and questions from a brother who just recently has been allowed out of Calvin’s cage....

DJP said...

Jody, whatever there may be to your argument (and I say as nicely as I can that there isn't much), it absolutely and completely misses the point of the 26-word post.

Johnny's comment also completely misses it, and in doing so, unintentionally underscores its force.

Pastor Jody said...

Stratagem,
Yes, at this point. I was raised all may life in a pentecostal church. About four or five years ago I came over to "the dark side". LOL! I am forty years old. I've come a loooooooooong way but have a much longer way to go. But over a cup of coffee you would find that I am probably more reformed than you may think..;-)

Tom said...

"Still uses His people" to give direct, binding, inerrant revelation or to work clear, unambiguous, prophecy-attesting gifts? That passage says that? Or are you off-topic?

Sensei,

I respectfully submit that Thomas mentioned healing also. James 5 specificially address that and does affirm that God involves others (i.e. the elders). Thus, I was not off topic because the topic was sign gifts.

Tom

DJP said...

Tom, thanks for explaining, I think I get it now.

I don't think (and few do think) that James 5 is talking about the gift of healing mentioned by Paul. James talks about an office and a work of God, not about a gift and a miracle. As far as I know, no Christian disbelieves that God heals; Christians do disbelieve that God gifts individuals to command healings as Jesus and the apostles regularly did.

The latter is at issue, not the former.

davidinflorida said...

Dan , do you know of anyone that has been " called " to preach ?

Pastor Jody said...

DJP,
Sorry about the 26 word thing...trying to learn....at this point, just don't think that "tongues, etc" carry the same "weight" in regard to infallability...

DJP said...

Paul.

DJP said...

They fall exactly under the aim of the post, Jody.

Fred Butler said...

that you view "messages in tongues" more as preaching rather than divine, inerrant revelation from God.

I would agree with you, but preaching about what exactly?

The NT record seems to affirm that they preached to a specific people, Israel, and that sign continued throughout the era of the apostles as a sign to the Jews that the NC had come and the Spirit is poured out on all people (read gentiles here, you know, we the goyim). I would add also that I believe tongues continued at the earliest, up until the destruction of Jerusalem when the "time of the gentiles" was inaugurated or at the latest, when the NT canon was completed. There is simply no longer a need for them.

Honestly, what does the "gift of tongues" mean to a group of persecuted Christians in Pakistan? How exactly would that gift help them preach against the Muslims persecuting them?

DJP said...

My love and appreciation for Fred is well-known, so it just goes to show my even-handedness when I say that his response, much as I agree with it, is also off the topic of the post.

I'm not mad, not frustrated, not anything bad. It's only that I have one very simple (and I think irrefutable) point to make by that very brief post, and I want to make sure that, whatever else we do, that point gets across.

Scooter said...

I think Dan means the signs and wonders seen in the Scriptures were seen by many and known by many. Some of them happened in secret but most in the presence of a group of people. They were recorded as history, not as a theological or philosophical argument. You would think that in the age of smartphones someone somewhere could at least capture one of these miracles.

Tom said...

"You would think that in the age of smartphones someone somewhere could at least capture one of these miracles."

Wait... Haven't you watched Benny Hinn lately?

Real Estate Marketer said...

Dan,

I would imagine there would be no shortage of continuationalists that could make the argument BY DEMONSTATION if you'd like visit some Sunday morning.

That kind of argumentation is problematic within the confines of the comment section of a blog though.

Dave

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

I have watched Benny Hinn. It's not good for my spiritual health nor nearby TV's.

DJP said...

Wishful thinking, Dave, and sheer fantasy. If it were true, Christians would not be having the argument.

Eric said...

REM,

Are you saying that are numerous continuationists that could physically heal and/or speak a revelatory message from God and/or speak in toungues (not gibberish) to demonstrate to Dan that he is wrong?

Mr. Fosi said...

That's what you might call a "tight" argument, Dan. (:^D)

I like it.

To others who say that the gifts are active, just not where any of us have been... Does that mean that they are being done, as Paul would put it, in a corner?

DJP said...

...which, to tag-team you Eric, if true, would not need to be said. (See the post.)

Robert said...

So, would that make the continuationist argument an argument from silence? (At least so far as it being demonstrable)

DJP said...

Hm; no, Robert, more like argumentum ad bluffum non-vocatum.

Only I'm calling it.

(c;

Eric said...

Dan,

The more one contemplates your argument here, the stronger it appears.

Consider Peter in his Pentecost Sermon: Act 2:22 "Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know"

1) By Peter's mouth we learn that God used the miracles wonders, and signs to attest to the authenticity of Jesus.
2) And more to Dan's point as I understand it, by Peter's mouth we learn that the miracles, wonders, and signs were also widely known and irrefutalbe ("as you yourselves also know").

DJP said...

Thank you, Eric. My point was as carefully-worded as I'm capable. Brevity is a very focusing discipline!

Eric said...

Oops. "Irrefutable"

C. M. Sheffield said...

It's stunning isn't it! That so many have come around to this form of mysticism without so much as one objective, observable, and recorded miracle, sign or wonder is beyond me!

DJP said...

Well-put, C. M. It's the never-ending, tantalizing promise of the "just-around-the-corner." I've thought for decades that, given the abundance of the real New Covenant, the spectacle of leaky-Canoneers chasing desperately here and there in search of the latest manifestation, is about the saddest thing going.

It's already popped up in this meta, did you notice? "Oh, you're only saying that because you're not here, or there, or there."

So obviously the solution is to take our eyes off Christ, move our hearts away from contentment with God's abundant provision, and start an endless, desperate search for where it's really happening.

Because evidently it isn't happening sufficiently in Christ or His Word.

I speak as a fool.

trogdor said...

If I understand correctly, you're saying that Jesus and the apostles never argued that they theoretically had the power to heal and raise the dead and such. They just healed and raised the dead and such.

And the miracles themselves were of such force that no one could ever question whether they happened. They could make accusations about them being demonic in origin, but the fact that they happened was undeniable.

And that if such gifts continued today, there would be no argument about whether someone could heal, because he'd heal.

Real Estate Marketer said...

Eric,

James 5:14? Yes.

1 Cor. 14:14? Yes.

1 Cor. 14:2? Yes.

But the gift aren't given to comment on Dan's rhetorical prowess (which is formidable). They're given to glorify Jesus, our wonderful savior.

But our Sunday gatherings are more characterized by expositional Gospel preaching and Christ-centered worship. At least that's what happens in my fantasy (Right Dan?)

Dave

Daryl said...

CM,

The big argument is about faith or lack thereof, which allows the teacher to say "I've seen it, you need to learn how/where to see it."

Once one is convinced that God speaks to us apart from Scripture, for example, then every thought becomes a possible/probable communication.

We see what we want to see, hear what we want to hear.

But to Dan's post, ala Eric. Until non-believers start asking (in droves) "by what power does he do these things" why should we believe what they tell us?

Jesus didn't have to explain that he did miracles...he just did 'em. The arguments only had to do with the point of the miracle, not whether it had been done.

Trouble is, as I began with. People are so convinced that this sort of thing is for today, that any story, no matter how separated from the person telling it, becomes "evidence".

Don't argue for the gift of healing, send your healer guy to the local ICU, and have everybody walk out never to return.

Frank Turk said...

REM --

When you guys cammand-heal a case of cancer or even a case of athlete's foot, bring it on and I'll personally publicly retaract every post I've made on this subject. Man-at-Bathesda, such-as-I-have-I-give-to-thee, Lazarus-come-out command heal just like in the Bible, which all of us agree is the example and the standsard, and I'll change sides immediately.

Immediately. Yesterday even.

Therefore, as a clever fellow once said, show us the hammers.

Just Jules said...

If there were Christians who could "physically heal and/or speak a revelatory message from God and/or speak in tongues" Dan would never have written this post, Frank would never have written yesterday's open letter and MD would never have made the statement he did.

DJP said...

No one argues, RE guy, that preaching of the word doesn't happen in church, and that wasn't your claim.

What you did claim is, in fact, the fantasy.

Or Christians would not be having this argument.

Frank Turk said...

REM --

Do not change the subject. Your view is that you guys have the miracles that make your arguments reasonable but, frankly, moot.

Show us the hammers.

DJP said...

Exactly right, Jules — and MD wouldn't have had to make the statement. But since the assertion is all they have, it had to be made.

In the well-known absence of the reality.

DJP said...

Exactly right, Trogdor. It was unbelievers who had to scramble to explain away the presence of miracles they could not deny.

What we have instead today is believers scrambling to explain away the absence of miracles they cannot demonstrate.

davidinflorida said...

Just Paul, that's all ? .....

DJP said...

Paul, Moses, Isaiah. You've read the Bible, right? You were wanting me to hit a concordance for every instance of direct revelation calling a man to preach?

Just Jules said...

You almost sound Yiddish there, DJP.

Rhology said...

Great point, DJP.
Where was it 9 years ago when I was de-charismaticising? :-\ Better late than never, though.

DJP said...

Sorry, I've been trying hard as I know for going-on 22+ years now...

Just Jules said...

My de-charismaticization began in '94.

davidinflorida said...

OK, let's leave out the obvious biblical " called " , do you know of any that have a pulse and a body temp of approximately 98.6 ?

LeeC said...

There is no case in Scripture where there was ANY doubt who was communicating through Gods miracles.

Some in their hardness of heart may have put thier heads in the sand and denied it, but they knew. And nothing more needed to be said, the miracles spoke for themselves.
That was the point

DJP said...

I believe in the sufficiency of Scripture. I don't believe God speaks today by extra-Biblical, direct, inerrant, binding revelation.

Do you think I've been somehow coy or unclear about that?

LeeC said...

BTW, one example of this was that Christ did not heal minor things, or unrecognizable things. He healed folks who were blind from birth, bleeding for years, crippled all thier lives, and it was immediate.

All healing is from God, but this was different, something special, it was communicating something.

Similar things could be said about tongues as well

CR said...

I just wanted to say, I think I got your post. I think. You wouldn't have to argue continuationism, if indeed, signs and wonders were still visibly in operation today. It would be like trying to make an argument that there are doctors today who are performing surgeries on cardiac patients.

Eric said...

As we all know, ours is a day and age when we can easily find video of a 2 year old boy in Indonesia who chain smokes or video of any other number of inane subjects - in other words, there is little if anything that escapes being captured on video these days. The internets are awash with every imaginable video representation, yet I have never seen an internet video of an actual physical healing. Fear not, though, REM will surely come through with an example.

And remember, REM, while you state that "the gift [sic] aren't given to comment on Dan's rhetorical prowess", it was also you that said "that there would be no shortage of continuationalists that could make the argument BY DEMONSTATION".

Cadis said...

Good one.

DJP said...

CR - "It would be like trying to make an argument that there are doctors today who are performing surgeries on cardiac patients."

Yeah, good one, exactly. Or like trying to make an argument that there are auto-mechanics who fix cars. Who denies it? Who could, who would? Why would you? No need, easy to demonstrate.

The fact that the case invariably must be made by argument alone is the damning fact.

'Way past time to wake up, step away from the kiddie shows, get to the serious grown-up work.

Robert said...

Eric,

Not only could they, but one would think that they would be bound to do so so that they could attest to the truth of the Gospel to as many people as possible. Is that not what the sign gifts are for?

Jugulum said...

DJP,

I seem to recall multiple occasions where charismatics have asked you to explain this or that experience in light of cessationism. Your response was that you don't have to.

Am I remembering that wrong? Or is there a way for you to consistently take both approaches, which I'm just not seeing?

Eric said...

Robert,

That is certainly how they were used in apostolic times.

Mark B. Hanson said...

Well, I have witnessed several instances of legs being lengthened (cough, cough!)

Seriously, though, I have seen one small healing I consider miraculous. We had a man in our congregation for a year plus who believed he was called to become a pastor, but who suffered from chronic warts on his hands - which he felt would prevent him from such service.

At an evening service one Sunday, he asked the elders of the church to anoint and pray for him. We did, and by the end of the service, the warts were already coming off his hands. By the next Sunday he was wart-free, and within another couple of months began his studies for the ministry.

I was the elder that anointed and led the prayer for him. What lessons did I learn from this?

- I certainly got more fervent and frequent in prayers for others with physical problems - but we never saw another such healing in similar circumstances over the next several years.

- We didn't command his healing, we pleaded for it. We all knew that none of us were "healers".

- I wound up quite convinced that God's purpose in healing was for the man healed, not for the elders. His faith, plus our (probably more feeble) faith, plus God's call and sovereign intervention made it happen.

So this isn't an example of continuation, but one (rare) picture of James 5 in action.

Eric said...

Yes, Dan, please explain my heart-burn experience (which I interpret as a burning from the Holy Spirit) in light of cessationism.

Or is Jug asking Dan why he has declined to explain a widely known and accepted supernatural outworking of demonstrable physical healing?

mike said...

Jug,
Like i went on vacation, the transmission went out, got towed and repaired and the bill was $xxxx, and that is exactly how much money we had left.
A MIRACLE?

not so much i think.

DJP said...

Mark: exactly, and thank you. And glory to God.

mike said...

Eric,
if you aren't being sarcastic,

my wife got cancer, it spread, and the prognosis was not good. much crying and prayer, 3 surgeries, 12 months of chemo and radiation, and all that goes with it.
she is now "healed" as much by God as by medicine, and to me that is our gift from God and therefore a miracle, of sorts, by loose interpretation.
I thank God for her health more than the doctors, still not at all the same as in the Gospels and Acts etc.
no explanation required, just gratitude for a living, loving, active God.

DJP said...

Oh Mike, golly that's scary. Thank God she's all right. Thanks for sharing. God does heal.

mike said...

he does, we don't.

why is that so hard for us?

Eric said...

Mike,

Praise God for your wife's healing and recovery. All healing is from the Lord. My mother-in-law also was very near death and not expected to live due to cancer, but 20 years later is alive and cancer free. Again, praise God.

However, these are not examples of God healing immediately by miraculous command. In other words, no healer stood over your wife and commanded the cancer to be gone in God's name and it was so immediately. Rather, God uses the physical laws and scientific knowledge that He has established to cause healing, and he often times does this contrary to the wisdom of men (eg..: the doctors told my mother-in-law that she did not have long to live). And He certainly can operate outside of the physical laws that He has established to accomplish healing that we just can't scientifically explain. And sometimes He might be working within the laws He has established without us being able to explain it. All of those cases, though, are different from what the continuationist claims to be operable today.

Always Reforming said...

Aren't we supposed to test the validity of miracles based on the message they are supposed to validate? Meaning, if someone heals someone and then denies the Gospel as presented in the Bible, shouldn't we disregard the sign?

DJP said...

That is certainly true. What is being done is the reverse: if the message (Gospel) is sound, we assume the claims to supernatural events must be credited.

Which does not follow.

Robert said...

Dan,

I just noticed that this terse post has garnered responses at a 10:1 rate compared to the longer response you gave to MD's rant against cessationists at your blog. Just found that funny.

Always Reforming said...

Wait? What? People sometimes have stuff backwards?

Mark B. Hanson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jugulum said...

Eric, Mike, and DJP:

That would merit a "That's an unimpressive situation with a straightforward explanation" response, not a "I don't need to explain that" response. Not in the "I don't need to because I know what Scripture teaches/Don't give me arguments from experience" sense. (I may need to clarify: The latter is what I had in mind.)

If the past situations were all examples of the former, then the answer to my question is, "You're remembering it wrong."


My point is that Dan's post today--which I do think has a valid point, though it doesn't apply to all claimed charismatic phenomena--presupposes a valid place for argument from experience. A place which is sometimes denied by (some) cessationists.


Mike: That's wonderful. Thank God for his mercy and kindness.

Robert said...

AR,

So would that mean that by MD claiming that all cessationists are basically atheists/deists (which are pretty much the same because deists believe in a god that doesn't exist), that his miraculous claim is bogus? Or am I testing the wrong message?

Mark B. Hanson said...

I think the classic argument along Dan's line here is, why does Benny Hinn make the people come to him? Why isn't he in the hospitals every day laying hands on people and healing them, television cameras or no? Why aren't the results on the news every night?

The simple answer is that he can't do what he does without the controlled environment his televised church (or studio or whatever) and psyched-up congregation provides - and probably not even then. Maybe there are also more complex answers involving ego and money, but I will leave it at the simpler possibility.

Remember two or three decades ago Oral Roberts (the Hinn of his time) built a hospital with the promise of not only the best medical help but also the benefit of the best charismatic "healers". Did that hospital have a notably higher success rate? Did people stream to it with insoluble problems that were cured there? The historical answers are no and no. He had to plead for money to keep it going.

So if two of the highest-profile healers of the last couple of decades have made no headway in making continuationism obvious, why still cling to it?

stratagem said...

OK, so no one thinks pulling a rabbi out of one's hat is a miraculous sign of divine approval?

I'm pullin' out the magic TBN handkerchief, now you'll believe!

jmb said...

During a sermon, a pastor said, "Wouldn't it be neat to raise the dead? You can, you know."

Afterward, I asked him if he had ever witnessed this. He said no, but insisted it happens in other parts of the world. I asked him if he ever saw a video of it being done. He said he saw one that had a man describing an instance of it, and a doctor was brought on to confirm his story.

"So," I said, "you have never witnessed anyone being raised from the dead?" "No," he said, "but I believe it."

Eric said...

Jug,

I think the point of differentiation is the question of objectivity/subjectivity. Biblical miracles, signs, and wonders were objective, undeniable, and widely known despite the lack of digital representation and immediacy of information that are available today. It seems to me that Dan is allowing that this type of experience (if present today) would constitute such sufficient evidence that further argument would not be necessary.

donsands said...

Yep. Good point. It should be a slam dunk, but it ain't is it.

I remember in the film 'Leap of Faith' with Steve Martin, he said to Debra Winger: "And remember we have a trump card. You don't have enough faith!"

Have a blessed day in Christ. Truly, truly, no one can see the kingdom of God, unless they are born from above. Impossible. Now there's an incredible miracle; astounding really, when God changes the heart and soul of a human being!

Jugulum said...

A side comment on healing: Some of the "healing ministries" out there do consist of prayer for healing, not commanded healing. Sometimes it's mature, and something that any cessationist could get on board with.

In my personal experience with them (including an event run by Bill Johnson), I've witnessed:
1.) Prayer for healing, but no commanded healing.
2.) Often, a quick inclination to start praising God for a "healing" without doing any checking to build reasonable confidence that God actually did heal someone.
3.) Occasionally, a good level of discernment.
4.) Hopeful, persistent prayer for healing. A level of hope & persistence that many of us could stand to grow toward.
5.) Often, a mixed-up theology of God's will. Confusion. The mistaken notion that if you allow for the possibility that your sickness might come from God's will, then you can't pray for healing. (A mistake which can be easily fixed by looking at the way Jesus prayed in the garden.) Over-realized eschatology.

DJP said...

OK, first of several related throw-down Tweets up. If it isn't re-Tweeted 127X, I'll give up Twitter.

Or, you know, not.

Eric said...

Jug,

The positive aspects that you just described are not continuationist or cessationist, just Christians obediently heeding the call to prayer.

Sir Aaron said...

@Frank Turk:

I like that. I'm from Missouri too.

Just Jules said...

Everyone should be from Missouri on this issue.

Jugulum said...

Eric,

Re: 9:15am comment
I agree, except we need to add some nuance to "further argument would not be necessary." We'd still need to settle the meaning (and source) of miraculous event. (Case in point: Pharaoh had sorcerers who could perform real signs.) It would be still be possible that the Bible would teach that miraculous gifts ceased, but that "lying signs" might still happen.


Re: 9:27am comment
Exactly.

Real Estate Marketer said...

Frank,

What in my mention of James 5:14 provoked this comment?
"When you guys cammand-heal a case of cancer or even a case of athlete's foot, bring it on and I'll personally publicly retaract every post I've made on this subject. Man-at-Bathesda, such-as-I-have-I-give-to-thee, Lazarus-come-out command heal just like in the Bible, which all of us agree is the example and the standsard, and I'll change sides immediately."

At first, I was thrown off by the "you guys." It seemed that I was being lumped in with all charismatics, which would make me pretty uncomfortable. Looking back at my first comment, I now see that my poor communication was probably at fault for that one.

To clarify, my pneumatology is more influenced by Storms, Fee and Grudem than Benny Hinn and his crew. That clarification probably doesn't earn me any points on this blog, but I think it's important to acknowledge that continuationists, are not a monolithic group, at least in my mind.

Is it your understanding that all continuationists believe in "command healing?" I've never heard such a thing. Paul would have some explaining to do to Trophimus, if that were the case.

Eric, I stand by my comment that tongues, prophesy and elders praying for the sick (as defined by the scriptures I cited) are in regular evidence at our church.

Any way, I feel a bit like the pinata at a birthday party. But I asked for it!

Thanks for your thoughts!
Dave

Robert Warren said...

To others who say that the gifts are active, just not where any of us have been... (Mr. Fosi)

Yeah, kind of like the lonely guy in high school who tells everyone he has a girlfriend, but "she goes to another school".

Jugulum said...

Another comment on healing:

The Bible doesn't tell us that the apostles could command healing whenever they wanted to.

It's also possible that they commanded healing only when the Spirit moved them to do so--and at other times, they requested it in prayer like other believers.

If the former, then Paul didn't heal Trophimus because he no longer had the gift. If the latter, then God simply didn't answer the prayers for Trophimus' healing.

Sir Aaron said...

Jug:

Fine. Show me a case of the former today. Or yesterday. Or 100 years ago.

Bill Honsberger said...

Much like Nils Eldredge, good darwinian that he is, said about his frequent examinations of cambridge explosion sites - evolution must have happened "somewhere else". Much like when Bonnke claimed hundreds of resurrections in africa several years ago - some who went to examine the claims, true believers in Bonnke all, found that the resurrections must have happened somewhere else - next village down the road perhaps.
The "real" exhibition of the continued gifts, always seem to happen "somewhere else". I would love to see them as real and contemporary -but every exhibition I see is a sham on its best day. I hear so many stories about how these things happen in the third world churches, but I have been to many of these churches and I don't see them there either.
I don't condemn those who believe in them, and I attend a church that is open to that, but I think there is something much more human going on than spiritual or Godly.

Robert said...

Jug,

What about when Peter healed the lame man outside the temple in Acts 3? I would say that was an example of Peter healing when he wanted to. And when Paul brought Eutychus back to life? What about in Acts 16 when Paul commanded the spirit to come out of slave girl with the spirit of divination? That seems like a pattern to me.

Rita Tomassetti said...

soooo true!
"Wanna prove me wrong continualist? let's go to the hospital I have some people that need some healing!"

stratagem said...

REM - when you say there is regularly prophecy at your church, please give an example so we know what you mean by prophecy.
Thanks

Mike Riccardi said...

It's kinda like Catholics arguing against Sola Scripura... from the Bible.

Mike Riccardi said...

Of course, that's, "Scriptura." D'oh!

donsands said...

"Any way, I feel a bit like the pinata at a birthday party. But I asked for it!"-Dave

No need to feel that way brother. I appreciate you sharing.
I just happen to disagree. I have been to CJ Mahaney's church, and is was a wonderful time of worshiping our Lord and God. A little weird, but hey, I am way weird to many.

As long as we stay right between Genesis and Revelation, and dig and study within these boundaries, then we can stand together in Christ, and agree to disagree.

Robert said...

Mike,

You mean like Dave Armstrong? Who talks about Biblical evidence for Catholicism? Just reading those words makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time.

DJP said...

Robert, if that guy you named turns up and starts whining and beating his washtub again, I am banning you for a time, times, and half a time (as defined by me).

Robert said...

Sorry...if he does, feel free to do so on both sites.

Pastor Jason Woelm said...

Dan,

If you would have said that to me 14 years ago, I would have ranted and raved on the outside, but on the inside would have been devastated, because I would have known you were right. Bravo!

The only problem you're going to keep running into, Dan (as you already have) is continuationists of all stripes will continue to testify--and sincerely believe--that they have witnessed authentic prophecy, authentic tongues and interpretation, and someone with an authentic gift of healing. Why? Because the power of suggestion, crowd manipulation, and downright ecstatic behavior can move to people to believe almost anything. I know--it happened to me. I can remember thinking that a cessationist would never understand the experiences I encountered because they were never there, but since I was an "eyewitness", I really "got it." What the Lord helped me to see, in hindsight, is that what I thought I saw and experienced was really a product of delusion. The only thing I can compare it to is when someone finally comes clean off of drugs and they recall their "trips"--only this time, they are in the right frame of mind and they can see their experience from a healthy point of view. That's what it was like for me, only my healthy frame of mind was held captive by a literal, grammatical-historical interpretation of the Scriptures.

Any "reformed continuationist" who thinks that they aren't susceptible to the ecstatic "experiences" and the power of suggestion are fooling themselves. It's only a matter of time (see the Charismatic explosion of the 1960s). God help them--this post is a start.

Eric said...

REM,

So that I understand correctly, are you saying that in your church people speak and it is understood in multiple languages as at Pentecost? Alternatively, are you saying that people speak in an unintelligable (to most) language and someone interprets what is unintelligable to the rest for their edification?

Eric said...

Pastor Woelm,

That was helpful testimony. Hopefully any continuationist reading it does not get hung up on the drug parallel.

DJP said...

And, Eric, they'd be writing new Scripture, raising the dead, stopping storms at a word, parting large bodies of water, etc. ad inf.

It's all in the wording of the post vis-a-vis the falsely self-titled "continuationists."

Truth is, every Christian is a cessationist. Realizing that undeniable truth is the first step in the cascade.

DJP said...

Second Tweet on the subject thrown-down. Still waiting for 124 retweets on the first... or whatever I said.

stratagem said...

I've never raised the dead, but I once razed a building by the laying on of hands (and a wrecking ball).

DJP said...

So Strat: afterwards, did you have to convince a crowd of people looking at a still-standing building that you had actually torn it down, but they (A) had missed it, (B) really shoulda been there, or (C) don't see it because they're worldly, kinda like atheists?

If not, no parallel.

Eric said...

Dan,

Agreed.

I am hoping that REM will provide a little bit of affirmation of what exactly he categorizes as speaking in tongues (to pick one of his stated categories of gifts expressed in his church) so that I can understand if he really believes he's seen tongues as described and prescribed in the Bible or if he is redefining terms (as you have pointed out many times is the case).

Jugulum said...

Robert,

"What about when Peter healed the lame man outside the temple in Acts 3? I would say that was an example of Peter healing when he wanted to."

That case was exactly what I was thinking of when I said "It's also possible that they commanded healing only when the Spirit moved them to do so". Acts describes the apostles commanding healings--it doesn't indicate whether they did so at their own discretion, versus at the Spirit's prompting.

If you want to talk about this more, maybe we should take it to email--it's fairly off-topic.


"What about in Acts 16 when Paul commanded the spirit to come out of slave girl with the spirit of divination?"

Luke does indicate that Paul was acting out of his own annoyance--but that case is about the authority to cast out demons, not healing.

Sir Aaron said...

@Jug:

That's an interesting point but ultimately moot. In either case, you don't see it today.

Jugulum said...

Eric,

I'd like to socratically-question you on the gift of tongues in 1 Cor 14. If you're interested, send me an email.


Word verification: mucel (n), "one whose profile does not contain any contact information"

Eric said...

Jug,

I'm not real sure if the word verification joke was aimed at me, but suffice it to say if you want to put your email address on the internet, that's your choice - other people may chose not to for valid reasons.

I'll pass on the email exchange. Thanks for the offer, though.

stratagem said...

Dan: No, it was obvious to all that the building was razed via a miracle. "Out, foul demon of structural integrity!"

Fortunately, this miracle was performed live on TBN, so I immediately took pieces of the building and sold them as holy relics, as any medieval bishop or modern-day Charimatic would!

Jugulum said...

Eric,

The joke was prompted by your profile, yes, but I wasn't implying that there are no reasonable motivations for being a mucel. :)

DJP said...

And ANOTHER Tweeted throw-down.

Mel said...

Much like my journey from ignorance into Calvinism and Reformed Theology, so too was my journey from cessationism to "continuationism". Why God chose to reveal these things to me I do not know, but I would ask each of you to examine your own heart and motivations for your wanting cessationism to be true.
Do we not argue to the atheist that seeing is not believing? Isn't faith the hope of things not seen?
Just because you have not witnessed or experienced these things personally does not mean they have ceased!

I have been on several mission trips on foreign soil where the gifts are present and made manifest to the visitors. American Christianity has quenched much of the Holy Spirit's work through unbelief in these things.

Examine yourselves and pray for an open heart and mind to what God is capable of.

witness said...

Mel how come you don't appeal to Scripture instead of our corrupted hearts?

Chris H said...

Mel,
I wasn't aware that the Holy Spirit needed my permission to do something amazing. I also wasn't aware that His ministry was directly related to whether I lived in an atmosphere open to these gifts.

It seems you're trying to hoe ground already trodden to concrete.

witness said...

I kind of find Scripture satisfying and sufficient... you know... like Paul...

But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:14-17(NKJV)

the phantom of the bookstore said...

This may be slightly off topic, but I am curious about the implications of Matthew 24:24 to this discussion:

"For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect."

My assumptions:
1) This is a reference to the future
2) These are REAL signs and wonders performed by people
3) They are accomplished by FALSE prophets
4) They deceive people into thinking that the false miracles are a show of God's power

Conclusion:
Even if a miracle performed by an individual can be proven to be real- it does not follow that God was the author of it.

It could also be implied that a claim to continual gifts could be a sign of false teaching- but that would be taking a cheap shot at continuationists. Kind of like calling them atheists, or something.

Mel said...

@Witness
You already know the gifts of the Spirit are in Scripture, made manifest, and are too numerous to list.
I also find sufficiency in the Scriptures like Paul did, and like Paul, thank God for the "completely biblical" gift that He has chosen to bless me with.
I'm not sure of your point of quoting Timothy as I never implied that Scripture is insufficient.

@Chris
The Bible states that if you humbly draw close to God, He will draw close to you. If you truly and humbly seek the gifts of the Spirit, He will be faithful to bless you with them. After all, Scripture clearly states, "But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way."

Do you disagree?

resident said...

The very fact that "cessationists" acknowledge the need to make their case to Christians by argument is, itself, a devastating and sufficient refutation of the position.

Arguments that cut both ways tend to cut the knees off the one making it.

Or applying it to something else:

The very fact that "creationists" acknowledge the need to make their case to Christians by argument is, itself, a devastating and sufficient refutation of the position.

Scooter said...

Mel,

I've been to African countries in several regions. I have yet to see any miraculous signs. Have you seen anyone rise from the dead or a known paralytic suddenly rise up and walk as if he could his whole life?

I'm not being snarky, but I would like some examples as Africa is a place where daGifts are often reported.

DJP said...

Absolutely not, resident. I mean, not even in the same conceptual universe. I guess using karate reasoning well must make it look easy; but your response only betrays (A) ouch-reaction and (B) you have not at all thought through the issue.

DJP said...

Mel, you clearly haven't read the meta, for which no one can blame you. Worse, though, you haven't thought through the 26-word post. If you had done, you'd realize that it anticipated and refuted your comment.

Mike Westfall said...

Well, I dunno. If y'all are questioning whether certain charismatic leaders got daGifts, seem like you're "touching God's annointed."

Better watch out for the Holy Ghost Machine Gun. Or maybe even the Holy Ghost Enema...

Better repent now.

See, the fact that there needs to be an argument is just evidence of the hardheartedness of modern deniers/haterz of daGifts.

resident said...

Absolutely not, DJP. I mean, not even in the same conceptual universe. I guess using karate reasoning well must make it look easy; but your response only betrays (A) ouch-reaction and (B) you have not at all thought through the issue.

(if I must help.. this response has exactly the same problem first, and foremost because you have not demonstrated such)

donsands said...

"Examine yourselves and pray for an open heart and mind to what God is capable of."-Mel

Amen. I would think we surely are doing this my friend.
And so, where do we go from here?

DJP said...

Read the post? Think about it? Deal with the elephant in the room instead of grave-digging discredited dodges with Mel and the other Mels?

There's where I'm pointing, Don.

donsands said...

Okay Dan. I have a way of kickin' it around too much at times.

Mel said...

@DJP - "Mel, you clearly haven't read the meta, for which no one can blame you. Worse, though, you haven't thought through the 26-word post. If you had done, you'd realize that it anticipated and refuted your comment."

Once again I am stymied by your impenetrable and well-worn argument of "go back and read it again."
Really? Do you think so little of those that take an opposing view? Must we all be semi-literate mouth-breathers who, by the grace of God just stumbled upon your pithy and insightful blog postings? Honestly, it is the same kind of disdain that BHO shows for his opponents.

This kind of approach leads to this blog becoming nothing more than an echo chamber for your particular views. You could learn a lot from the more thoughtful and well-reasoned styles of James White, Greg Koukl, and your friend Phil Johnson.

Mr. Fosi said...

Watching resident try to respond to this post is like watching a 3 year old trying to juggle a sword.

Talk about not helping the cause.

Mel said...

@Scooter
So does that mean that you must see to believe? Blessed are those that don't see yet still believe. Or more harshly, it is an evil and adulterous generation that asks for a sign.
I'm not calling you evil or adulterous, just using that Scripture as an analogy to your request for proof.

Let me ask you this. Why is it that the Bible describes the manifestation of the gifts quite regularly, but yet I am the one who is asked to prove my position?
That really doesn't make much sense. I liken it to BioLogos affirming that God exists and that the Bible is His Word, yet turning a blind eye to Genesis 1-11.

Mr. Fosi said...

Mel's killin' me as well. Nothing like quoting Jesus Christ out of context to support your point.

Um, yeah... Jesus was talking about His resurrection there and not the manifestation of what have been referred to as daGifts.

Mel says: "But see, it was a supernatural miracle that Jesus was talking about."

I say: "So what? Apples vs. Oranges doesn't actually deal with the meat of the post."

These been hazy, crazy days indeed.

Verification: ephyalut.

DJP said...

There's no doubt I could learn much from Phil, Mel. I try, but I am a slow study.

But I could be Phil, and it wouldn't change the fact that you aren't anywhere near dealing with this 26-word post; nor has any would-be Leaky Canon apologist.

You don't like it, I get that. It makes you feel bad. It upsets you. I get all that.

But if your position is correct, or even close, I could not even have written it to Christians with an ounce of credibility.

That's what you have to deal with. Dodges won't work. Facts are stubborn things, and you haven't even touched them.

THEOparadox said...

Dan,

This is more or less an argument from silence (i.e., "we're not personally seeing or experiencing any miraculous spiritual gifts and nobody has shown us convincing proofs that they are happening today, so they must not be valid").

That's a nice argument, but I think you'd agree an argument from Scripture is superior.

Scripture teaches about spiritual gifts.

Scripture never gives any indication they will cease prior to the coming of the Lord.

I'll take that as an indication I should remain open to the possibilities.

It seems to me that an argument - no matter how exceptional it may be - that attempts to invalidate something valid according to Scripture is truly self-refuting.

To preempt the response I think you will give to this: continuationism does not entail an open-ended canon or a reduction of Biblical authority in any sense. None. At all.

PS - I still respect and appreciate EVERYTHING ELSE you teach. I just really really believe you're wrong on this. And that's on Biblical grounds, not just my opinion or experience.

DJP said...

So:

(A) If someone said, "Yessir, this band has been playing continually just exactly the same for 2000 years"...

...and there was nothing but silence...

...would an "argument from silence" be valid?

(B) If someone said, "Yessir, this band has been playing continually just exactly the same for 2000 years"...

...and the room was filled with just exactly such music as had played 2000 years ago...

...would anyone even attempt an "argument from silence"?

And:

(C) If someone said, "Yessir, this band has been playing continually just exactly the same for 2000 years"...

...and there was nothing but silence...

...the claimant have any credibility if he continued to make an argument, over and over again, to a silent room, about how the band had been continuously playing for 2000 years?


There's only one honest answer.

It isn't rocket science. It's just candor. Christians should do candor.

But that would be the instant and final death of "continuationism."

Mel said...

DJP,
I refer you to my earlier post. If the Bible gives ample evidence of the manifestation of gifts(and we both know that it does), why then must I be the one to defend the idea that they have stopped when the Bible does not say that they have?
Cessationists entire argument revolves around their "proof" that such gifts do not manifest themselves today. All the while scoffing and denying the hundreds upon hundreds of examples relayed to them by Bible-believing Christians in the mission fields. You have created a straw man, ala Charismatic Chaos, that asserts all non-cessationists are leaky-canonites yet, I have never once described my gift(s) or my witnessing of others' gifts to be anything other than completely and utterly biblical.
In every instance, Christ was both proclaimed and glorified.

The very fact that cessationists turn the argument around and ask the non-cessationists to prove their position is, itself, a devastating and sufficient refutation of your position.

I fear that I am, as Chris pointed out earlier, trying to hoe upon concrete, but I take comfort in the fact that we both may remain committed to Christ, His Word, and His glory.

DJP said...

Yep. You want to say everything "continues" just like in NT times, the burden of proof is all yours.

Welcome to the real world. It's the world the Christ-centered, Biblical Gospel lives in. Very different than fantasy-themed charismatic echo-chambers.

stratagem said...

I've examined my heart about why I "don't want to" believe that most manifestations of what charismatics call the gifts, are true. I was in the charismatic vein for decades, and here are my motives fir leaving it, to the best of my ability to express them:
1) I grew tired of an environment where the nuttiest thing that cropped up, was the thing that got the most attention and adulation.
2) I grew tired where any proposal (especially by the most unstable people present) became unquestionable as long as someone was willing to say that the Lord spoke to them.
3) I grew tired of hearing "messages" in tongues that were virtually the same week after week, being interpreted as something different each time, and the interpretation always being something vague that couldn't be nailed down.
4) I grew tired of being handed predictions from shady organizations of prophets, that never came true, but that never stopped them from continuing to hand them out.
5) I grew tired of passages of the bible being interpreted sometimes in light of extra biblical revelations, unsupported by any scholarly foundation.
6) I grew tired of youngsters being installed as elders, because supposedly God told someone they should be.
7) more than anything, I got tired of feeling ashamed that the Christian faith was being associated not with great power, but with great foolishness.

I could go on and on. But you get the idea. These
churches were filled with very nice, sincere people who are definitely saved and sanctified, but seriously misled as to
what they were basing their beliefs on, in many cases.
That, and the fruit one still sees coming out of this movement, caused me tI conclude that while miracles still occur, the charismatic movement is 99.9999% composed of bogus signs, wonders, and manifestations.

DJP said...

It's all that and worse as to its distinctives, stratagem.

But to return to the post, Driscoll proved it himself unwittingly by standing there and talking.

If his position were true, he would have simply pointed.

Not argued.

Daryl said...

I will never understand the oft-repeated "argument" that we cessationists are that, because we so badly want it not to be true.
After all, Scripture is plain right? There were these continuing revelation and on-command types of gifts once. So there must be now.

But consider what you're saying. Do you really believe that having the God of the universe speak directly to you, would be a bad thing. (I mean, if you skip the "fell on his face as though dead" parts..) or people commanding my family members to rise and live...and they do?

Yup. I'd hate that. Like I'd hate free chocolate ice cream.

Add to that, the (I think majority, but I admit I could be wrong) converts from Charismania, who didn't want to be converts?

I hated this cessationist teaching. But the more I read and listened and went back to my Bible to see if what was being said was true...and here I am. Completely convinced that Scripture is plain about those particular gifts.

They had their place and time. That time is not now.

And yet, funnily enough, I've never noticed how involved God is in every itty-bitty thing, like I do now. I and I still pray that people are healed, or find jobs or whatever. Because I know God can still do the miraculous.

Funny huh?

DJP said...

Excellent catch, Daryl. Telling, that a "continuationist" would bring up the issue of what we want or don't want to be true. Hasn't that been the case since the Garden, that rebellious man is not content with what God actually gives? Continuationism comes right in there, playing on discontentment.

The man or woman who is content with Christ, the Gospel, God's word, is protected against all sorts of false teaching.

Daryl said...

Dan,

In the past you've used the example of the guy sitting at a loaded banquet table, complaining that the waiter isn't bringing out anything "new".

I've always like that description, even used it a few times. It's often in my mind when I find myself in a whiny-at-God mood.

Mike Riccardi said...

If his position were true, he would have simply pointed.

Man. Doesn't get any simpler than that. This is why we love you, Dan.

DJP said...

Daryl - oh, this one. Thanks for reminding me, I hadn't thought of it!

DJP said...

Thanks, Mike; but if I were really smart, I would have said "If his position were true, he would have simply pointed, and the silence would have been ours, overcome by the evident and undeniable truth of his position."

Joey Joe Joe Jr. Shabadoo said...

Concerning Cessationism.
The Bible is not silent on the Cessation of revelatory gifts and sign gifts. The Bible holds a Cessational rather than Continuational position, albeit the question is why and when these gifts will cease.

1 Corinthians is an epistle from the Apostle Paul to the Corinthian Church, which was characterized by immaturity and aberrant Christian behavior. The main theme of Paul’s letter is that of correcting the behavior of the Corinthians and in doing so Paul will give several doctrinal points of why to behave correctly.

(part 1)

Joey Joe Joe Jr. Shabadoo said...

Here are some of the corrections Paul had to make concerning the worldly Corinthians who were struggling with separation from their previous pagan culture; for example; (sectarianism and worldly thinking) 1:10-25; (the need for godly living motivated by God’s holiness) 3:13-17; (the need for God’s plan for marriage and family) 7:1-40; (the need for maturity concerning meat offered to idols) 8:1-11:1; (the need for right partaking in the Lord’s Supper) 11:17-34; (the need for correct purpose and use of spiritual gifts) 12:1- 14:40; (the essentiality of the Resurrection) 15:13-14.

In the middle of this corrective letter is the larger section of 12:1- 14:40, Paul correcting them on the true purpose and use of spiritual gifts.

(part 2)

Joey Joe Joe Jr. Shabadoo said...

In the middle of this larger section (12:1-14:40) is chapter 13. 1 Corinthians 13 is predominantly about the preeminence of love. The Corinthians had a covetous desire for the showy gifts (12:31 “earnestly desire” NASB is same Greek root as in 13:5 “it does not seek its own” NASB or “does not envy” NKJV, therefore in Paul’s continued sarcasm, 12:29-31, this root meaning “strive” illustrates their selfish striving after and desire for what they perceived to be the greater showy gifts). In contrast to this covetous desire for the greater revelatory and sign gifts (for which they had been counterfeiting for the purpose of selfish exhibitionalism) Paul tells them that love is the better and preeminent way. Without love the selfish, worldly, envious, and exhibitionalist Corinthians are noisy gongs or clanging cymbals producing nothing even though they counterfeit sign gifts (13:1), are nothing personally even though they counterfeit revelation and have all “faith” (13:2), and are profited nothing even though they “give” everything (13:3).

(part 3)

Joey Joe Joe Jr. Shabadoo said...

Paul’s remarks in 12:29-31 and 13:1-3 are hyperbole and sarcastic not to mention all of Chapter 14 (the need for Paul to clarify spiritual gifts and regulate their use). The Corinthians should have felt great shame from reading this section of Paul’s letter concerning gifts at this point.
So 13:1-3 is the preeminence of love over all possible manifestations of sign & revelatory gifts, faith, and giving. 13:4-7 what love looks like in action. 13:8a “Love never fails;” the permanence of love in contrast to the future time and nature of the Cessation of revelatory and sign gifts 13:8b-11. KEY POINT; 13:12 is not the time of the Cessation, but the contrast of seeing our Lord Jesus Christ “face to face” rather than just hearing about Him or being pointed toward His direction through sign and revelatory gifts. 13:13 then picks up on the greater theme of Chapter 13.

(part 4)

Joey Joe Joe Jr. Shabadoo said...

As for the time of the Cessation of sign and revelatory gifts (13:8b-9), Paul alludes to this in 13:10-11. There is a point of maturity which will do away with the need for anymore sign and revelatory gifts. “Perfect” in 13:10 could also have the idea of maturity or completeness like when a “child” becomes a “man” (13:11).
Regardless if this perfection or maturity refers to a time at which we matured as a church out of the need for revelation (which is what I believe it is) or the eternal state, the Biblical definition and pattern of ACTUAL special revelation, the sign gift of tongues (which is not a prayer language, Matthew 6:7-13), prophets, and Apostles are obviously not happening today. What is happening today is a revisit to the Corinthian counterfeit and exhibition of false gifts and revelation.

(part 5)

Joey Joe Joe Jr. Shabadoo said...

What is going on today is such an obvious failure to meet the Biblical standard of spiritual gifts and the chaos, harm, and false hope that it produces should warrant the Deacons, Elders/Pastors, and general congregation of any Church to be very leery of anyone claiming to have sign gifts, prophecy, or a special office.

I would have this figured out because by the time it creeps into your Church it will be very hard to rid yourself of it.

Thank you TeamPyro for addressing these issues, in Christ
BB

(part 6)

Scooter said...

I've noticed that comment threads on daGifts seem to generate a lot of folks (including myself) who share how they were deceived/hurt. I would think that a movement producing that much pain would at least pause for some self-reflection.

Rob said...

I think I see the gist, Dan, but how would you directly respond to a man who comes to you and says that he feels "called" to the ministry and is off to seminary based solely on that calling? Do you challenge him on that?

The only reason I ask is because I've known of a few folks personally who have responded to "the call", and I have even heard from some that if you haven't been "called" you shouldn't even consider seminary, and I've never been quite sure how to respond to that.

Susan said...

I tried to read Dan's very brief post but just couldn't quite get it. Scanned through the long comments in the meta--couldn't read them all and still didn't completely get it.

Until, that is, Trogdor's comment at 7:21 AM. Then the fog lifted.

And Dan's response to Trogdor 10 minutes later added to the clarity.

Thank you both!

Thomas Louw said...

I agree with (did not get his name) that argument from scripture is stronger than the argument of silence.

One thing that is very strange to me is that the gifts and the tongues gets so much “air-time” at the cost of Christ.

Paul was all about Christ, the Gospel he did not spent any time on the miracles. He doesn’t mention them when he writes his later letters. The miracles is a non issue, it even seems that they seized in his time.

Has the gifts taken the place of Christ in many Christian hearts, did God maybe end it for that exact reason?

one busy mom said...

Great post Dan,

No one ever bothers to argue the obvious....and if today's signs & wonders were obvious - there would be no need for argueing that they exist.

But reading thru the comments, I couldn't stop thinking of 2 Thes 2:9-12. Ya know, the churches' fascination with signs & miracles & such is really setting up those just flitting around the edges of Christianity to fall straight into Satan's future lair. Kinda sad!

Matt F said...

I was praying for someone and a series of pictures came to mind and a meaning. I relayed this to the person and he told me that the series of pictures I had described matched a dream he had had the previous night that had caused him turmoil as he did not know what it meant. He left encouraged in the Lord because he took it that God has spoken to him in his dream and that I had - without knowledge from another source - told him his dream and explained it to him.

What should I make of this? I really mean that question. The many posts on this blog I have read have made me unsure. Is this evidence of prophecy? To interact with your post Dan if I put this experience forward it does not tell me how to make sense of it. Should I not look to Scripture to do this and see what Scripture says and then make the same arguement?

For there seem to be at least two possible kinds of arguments your post might refer to:

Argument #1: Da gifts continue
Argument #2: This is how we should understand and make sense of a set of experiences or practices that occur among us.

I think when continuationalists make their case by argument (of #2 as evidence towards #1) because they recognise that their experience of a practice or phenomena does not control - of it - the meaning of that experience.

Robert said...

Mel,

I'm not sure if somebody else addressed this (I stopped to write this after your second comment), but the sign gifts were not the higher gifts in Paul's esteem.

Robert said...

Daryl,

I totally agree with what you said about how we would react if we heard God. I mean, look at John in Revelation. And yes, Hebrews says we can approach the throne of grace boldly, but don't you think that John knew that?

Any person who says they hear the voice of God and doesn't follow that up by saying they shook, trembled, or somethign along those lines, I think that person must have either a low view of God, a high view of themselves or maybe even both. And I mean moreso than everybody does at some level (because we still sin, and thus we all have this problem to some degree).

WV: wrest

DJP said...

Rob: at some point I probably would point out that the "call" language, while very traditional, is not directly Biblical, and is potentially very misleading and unhelpful. I would point him to Eph. 4, 1 Tim. 3 and Titus 1, and speak in terms of gifts, motivation, and qualifications.

This being off-topic, I think we should consider the loop on pastoral "calling" closed for this meta.

Mel said...

I have nothing but respect for the people of this blog (readers/authors alike) and pray that Jesus Christ comes soon to put all this to rest.

To those who have grown up in Charismatic/Penecostal backgrounds, I feel bad for you. I really do. Others' sins have jaded you and have caused you pain and grief. But just like an abusive drunken father/mother doesn't model God's plan, so too is most of the Penecostal movement today. TBN should be ashamed.

I grew up in a cessationist, Arminian, Baptist background and thought that only American Baptists were going to heaven. God's grace has matured me enough to recognize that He is not a respecter of denominations and that His church is not contained in any one building. Just like His irresistible grace drew me towards Him, I also was drawn into Reformed Theology at His pace.
Concurrently, God revealed His power and Spirit to me in ways that I previously thought were "faked". I ran from them and He graciously showed me again until I "believed".
I am not talking about raising the dead. I am not talking about healing the blind. Not every Spiritual gift is healing.
Shabadoo did a nice job explaining 1 Corinthians and I agree with it. The Corinthians were immature and focused on the wrong things. Seeking the gifts for them became an idol. That is what has happened in America and elsewhere. Our sin and disbelief have lead to the cessation of the gifts for much of Christendom. God has corrected us through 1 Corinthians and if we choose to ignore it, then we have forfeited intended blessings.

Where most of you err is in believing that it can never be that way again. We have Biblical proof/evidence of what a church can do when it lives wholly in the will of God. I have seen it and experienced it myself while serving in Europe. Sadly, no amount of evidence will ever convince some of you because you are trapped by your traditions of men.

I choose to walk with the Lord in the light of His Word. I can only ask that you do the same.
Solo Deo gloria.

Mr. Fosi said...

@Matt F: An interesting question. What was this dream and what was the explanation?

Also, in Scripture, is prophesy a vehicle for encouragement?

Matt F said...

As I remember the pictures/dream was of a sheaf of wheat that was bowed over under the weight of the rain that had fallen. The sun had not stopped shining but the clouds meant the wheat was not in the sunlight. In time the sun broke through the clouds and dried the rain and the wheat was restored to its former stature that it might be harvested. The impression that I had was that the Lord had not disregarded this man in his circumstances but that the Lord who is faithful would 'break through' to restore him.

In response to your second question
I think 1 Corinthians 14:3 would indicate that one element of prophesy is encouragement: "On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation."

trogdor said...

I keep seeing this line brought out about how we don't see these miracles in America because nobody believes they're possible. I've heard for so long about how we don't see miraculous, instantaneous healings because we think God doesn't do that anymore, and if we only thought it possible, it would happen among us.

How am I really supposed to take that seriously?

Just browse any of the numerous threads on Da Gifts, and see the crowds clamoring for the miraculous, willing to claim the slightest bit of indigestion is God's voice. Consider how fast the AoG is growing, filled with people desperate for a miraculous show. Watch how tens of thousands will flock to the next random location where "The Holy Spirit is moving in awexome ways!!1!" Notice that TBN and similar 'ministries' still exist.

You can assert all you want that people just don't believe this stuff can happen anymore. The evidence says otherwise. This country is filled with people who long for the miraculous, who are willing to go to great lengths and take desperate measures for some glimpse of it.

And yet, it never happens. Never. No matter how many true believers are gathered, no matter how sincere they are, no matter how many attempts they make over the last century-plus, no matter how many pastors and miracle-workers promise they can deliver, no matter how many grandmothers get kicked in the face, it doesn't happen. Never. Not even once.

Who knows, maybe we just need another century of convincing and a few million more to come around, and then we get to see the first miracle in a couple millennia.

DJP said...

Golden, Trogdor, absolutely right.

Worse, the case is absolute nonsense, and an absolutely sure sign the commenter hasn't thought through this 26-word post.

For instance: every single last recipient of the real-live gift of tongues on Pentecost did not believe in and was not seeking the gift.

Ah, but that's Bible. Not, to say the least, central in "continuationist" thinking about this one area.

BB said...
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BB said...

24 "For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect .
Matt 24:24 (NASB95)

29 As the crowds were increasing, He began to say, "This generation is a wicked generation; it seeks for a sign , and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah.
Luke 11:29 (NASB95)

I know we are all sinful and err at some point, but we really do need to learn to discern.

I used to fellowship with a Church that turned Charismatic. I ended up having to leave the Church because it was becoming very unBiblical. Female prophet, and young people's meeting where the played very loud and sensual music where the young people would fall on the ground and just act in a very sensual weird manner, they were not willing to address the issue Biblically.

Finally I left, but wanted to stay in contact so I continued to fellowship at a Bible study at one of the Elder's home (though I attended another Church). The Bible study was good and my cessationism didn't come up too much, but then they got a new Elder at the Church who started to come over to the study.

He started talking about tongues and 2nd blessing/Baptism of the Holy Spirit and was very emotional and sensual. At the end of the last study that I went to there he wanted to lay hands and pressure the young people (particularly the young women!) to receive the second blessing.

Just outrageous. I still talk with some of them occasionally, but that whole place just went down hill and they seemed to always want a sign and the Bible wasn't sufficient.

Anywho, it is just so obviously a revisit to the sensual, worldly, Corinthian state of things...

BB (formerly Shabadoo)

THEOparadox said...

"every single last recipient of the real-live gift of tongues on Pentecost did not believe in and was not seeking the gift."

True, God can give a gift when and where He chooses. But how many of us Americans are having 10-day prayer meetings and constant Biblical fellowship? The believers in Acts 2 were not positioned, theologically or otherwise, to reject the outpouring of the Spirit and the effects thereof. Thus they were open enough to receive a gift they weren't seeking. Are we?

As for healings, I have personally received divine healing (total and lasting cessation [no pun intended] of serious physical symptoms [not just a headache or a cold] following prayer). I know others who have received healing after following the instructions of James 5. I will never be able to convince some cessationists that these things happened. I didn't see a doctor to get before and after diagnostics. But God was kind to me, and I would never tell Him He isn't allowed to do it because such wonders are supposed to be relegated to the past. So for me cessationism that denies the ongoing miraculous would be both self-defeating and contradictory to portions of my own testimony.

What can I do? I share your disdain for charismania, but Bible + undeniable experience mandate that I remain a cautious continuationist.

DJP said...

1. Right: the praying believers caused Pentecost to happen just like the shepherds in the fields caused Christ's birth to happen.

2. I write this without sarcasm or snark: when you say "I know others who have received healing after following the instructions of James 5. I will never be able to convince some cessationists that these things happened," you reveal that you completely do not understand cessationism.

Mr. Fosi said...

Matt F: The very next verse in 1 Corinthians says that prophesy builds up the church. So, did your prophesy come to pass and was the church built up?

Robert said...

Just tagging on to what Dan wrote...

Do continuationists think that cessationists just ignore James 5? I pray for sick people and believe that elders should be called to go to those who are in critical condition to pray for them as prescribed there.

Also James 5 doesn't say that the elders heal the person who is sick. It says prayers offered in faith will save the person who is sick, the Lord will raise him up, and the Lord will forgive his sins. That doesn't sound to me like it altogether ensures physical recovery in every case. I certainly don't recall any of the healings from the Bible going like that.

Matt F said...
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Matt F said...

@ Mr. Fosi
He shared this experience with other Christians and some were encouraged. However, I must be honest and say that some were not - they didn't believe that God did this sort of thing. They did not want to call him (or me) a liar or to ascribe it to the devil but they were not convinced nor encouraged by his testimony.

THEOparadox said...

"1. Right: the praying believers caused Pentecost to happen just like the shepherds in the fields caused Christ's birth to happen."

My argument has nothing to do with causes. Rather I am saying that we might not be positioned to receive a gift as they were. To illustrate: if the runway is cluttered with vehicles, the plane can't safely land. Clearing the vehicles doesn't cause any plane to land, but it does increase the likelihood that one will land. Leaving the runway cluttered guarantees that you won't see a successful landing.

"you reveal that you completely do not understand cessationism"

This might just possibly have been a hasty and overstated judgment. Note that I was careful to say "some cessationists". I gather that there is a wide spectrum, from the totally anti-supernatural, explain-away-the-miracles-in-the-Bible, type of cessationist to the very open-minded, Biblically faithful type. I take it you realize there is also a wide spectrum of continuationist views, from the very conservative to the charisma-wacko and beyond.

Note that unbelief and unbiblical excess live at both ends of the continuum. There are unbiblical extremes in both circles, and Biblically viable positions in both.

Reading the comments, some here seem to be saying God just doesn't heal people anymore, and taking that as a support for cessationism. I know Dr. MacArthur is not of that view, but some cessationists are. And I'm saying God certainly does still heal people - a conviction Biblical continuationists and Biblical cessationists can share. Wouldn't you agree?

DJP said...

You are overlooking or ignoring the point of Pentecost and my response: nothing we do can stop God doing what He wants to do. Particularly, to fabricate and iron-lung the "continuation" position, you have to argue that the most Godly, holy, Biblically-faithful men and women for over 1800 years each and every one of them prevented God from doing what He wanted.

Second, I re-state: even your asking means you know nothing of the Bible-is-sufficient position. As far as I know, not one man, woman or child who holds that position denies that God heals at His will, nor denies James 5's currency in the church.

Phil Johnson knows more broadly than I, and if he knew of any exceptions, he'd be in a good position to say so.

Eric said...

"Reading the comments, some here seem to be saying God just doesn't heal people anymore"

Examples?

Phil said...

Dan,
I write this to you because I know you are trustworthy and will be honest to consider the evidence.
My Nigerian uncle doctor--politician recently died leaving no heir. We needed to move money out of the continent when all the sudden a faith healer appeared and he rose from the dead. Please give me your bank account number and this this to seven friends if you love Jesus.
The evidence for miracles is, as I have proved, overwhelming.

DJP said...

Phil, I dunno... OK, sounds good to me!

THEOparadox said...

Example ...

Trogdor said: "Who knows, maybe we just need another century of convincing and a few million more to come around, and then we get to see the first miracle in a couple millennia."

This is why I mentioned my testimony of healing. Apparently I experienced the first miracle in a couple of millenia?

My whole point, which Dan seems to have missed (owing, I suppose, to my poor communication skills), is that the ongoing occurrence of real miracles is neither a proof nor a refutation of Biblically-grounded cessationism (Bible-is-sufficient, if you will). Nor is it a proof, per se, of continuationism. If we really believe the Bible is sufficient, ongoing miracles are not the issue. They are the one thing both sides can agree on, but of course interpret differently.

Rather than agreeing with Trogdor, I would humbly submit that Dan should have cautioned him to be open to God's sovereign miraculous working, and reassured him that belief in the miraculous is fully compatible with Bible-is-sufficient cessationism. But he didn't. Dan agreed, apparently, with the implied belief that there has not been a single miracle for nearly two thousand years.

This is where continuationists get the idea that some cessationists don't believe God heals people. Healing is a mirace, right?

THEOparadox said...

Phil, ROFLOL!!!!!!!!!!!!

Good one.

Eric said...

Theo...,

Are you purposely trying to misrepresent Trogdor? The obvious context of Trogdor's statement was the idea of miracles on command. Surely you're a good enough reader to have deciphered that from his post, so I wonder why you chose to disregard it. Could it be that you really could not find an actual representative example?

THEOparadox said...

Eric,

To answer you questions directly and honestly, NO, I am not trying to misrepresent Trogdor.

I did not see any hint of "on command" in Trogdor's references to the miraculous, and I couldn't choose to disregard something I never imagined was there (and still can't find). I just re-read the post and I don't see it.

I see an unqualified denial of all miracles beyond the first century. If Dan and/or Trogdor want to clarify, I'm open to their clarifications.

From reading Dan's previous comments, I know he believes in the continuing reality of divine healing. So, we are closer on the continuum than it might seem.

Hughuenot said...

Another thought: Can Continuationism [Con'ism] ever submit new revelation to Scriptural scrutiny?

By definition, doesn't Con'ism = ongoing divine [read, 'equal-TO-Scripture'] revelation?

Just as the NT revelations superseded & interpreted the OT for the saints, doesn't Con'ism necessarily posit new revelation which necessarily supersedes and interprets the NT?

Hence, how can Continuationists claim to submit their revelations to Writ?

prodigalthought.net said...
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NCH said...

That blog post does not demonstrate an understanding of Dan's point. It does more to prove it than anything else, along with some straw men to go with it.

Dave Armstrong said...

Robert, if that guy you named turns up and starts whining and beating his washtub again, . . .

You think I'd waste my time trying futilely again to engage in rational argument (what you call "whining") with nattering nabobs of nonsense like you and Turk? Sorry! I have about 6,537 better things to do. :-)

the phantom of the bookstore said...

He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named


:)

DJP said...

More like He-Who-Can't-Stop-Blustering.

Irony: in a post on cessationist, I utter a sort of prophecy, and have it exactly fulfilled such as does not happen in "continuationist" circles.

Robert, you're banned.

DJP said...

OK Robert, ban lifted.

DJP said...

OK, so, in sum: we've had agreement and disagreement (though never a refutation); we've had link-trolls (still forbidden) and a cultist.

The opposition has argued, thereby proving the post. We have indeed had argument, though always necessarily involving evasion of the actual post and shifting of the topic.

What we haven't had, and could not possibly have had, is pointing. We have not had the QED that "continuationism," if true, would easily have provided.

That is, if it were true that the revelatory and attesting-sign activity of the dominical/apostolic age continued, Christians would not even be having this discussion, any more than we are debating whether or not Christians die as do other men, this side of the Lord's return. That latter point could not be opposed; nor could the former, if it were true.

Every argument for "continuationism" has proven my point.

The evidence is univocal and clear. Also clear, and sadly so, is the human tendency to cling to the familiar at all costs and in defiance sometimes of all explanation.

That is baffling, but only slightly more than the apparent insistence of some in discussing a 26-word post they did not take the time to understand before verbally launching.

DJP said...

And with that, at #200, I close shop on this one.