Assuming the argument* of the three Poythress articles (starting here), let's look at two questions.
what are they?
But if you can't call these hunches, strong impressions, vivid dreams and all "spiritual gifts," then what do you call them?
The chattery negative reaction many would fling back in response is very telling. You'll note I've never argued that hunches, strong impressions, and vivid dreams are without any significance. I just argue that they have no divine authority, and often signify nothing of any import.
And there's the rub, for all sorts of Christianoids. To them, all this Bibley stuff is too cerebral and "out-there." They crave the vivid immediacy of feelings and experiences. More than that, they insist on attaching some sort of spiritual significance or divine authority to their vibrations and emanations. More than that, they like being able to imagine that they have an individual hotline to God, through which He whispers sweet nothings into their ears, and theirs alone.
And it's a nice plus not to have to make an actual rational, Biblical case for their opinions. "The Lord told me" or "I felt the Lord move my heart to" or "I was praying, and I just really felt led" trumps anything short of a specific Biblical prohibition... and sometimes, even that.
But if we (novel thought!) begin insisting that everything we do in God's name be done only with express Biblical warrant, all that must change. Everyone will be absolutely free to say, "I just feel," or "I have a hunch" — but our feelings and hunches will have to stand or fall by their own merits. We'll have to make a reasoned case, or confess our inability to do so. If we have earned a reputation as Biblically-savvy, mature souls with sound judgment, they'll have some weight. If we're silly, shallow, emotional tumbleweeds, well, not so much.
But unless it's attached to some Bible verses, I'll not assign any Divine authority to it.
One: we need to bring our language under Biblical discipline. Don't call what isn't prophecy "prophecy." Don't say "the Lord told me" if you're not about to quote a Bible verse. Don't try to legitimatize silliness by forcing a Biblical label on it. Let a prophecy be the unique, enormous, stop-the-presses thing it was, and let a hunch be a hunch.
However, if you are a really-really "continuationist," then stop pussy-footing about. Get on with it, man! Have Crossway issue an ESV with lots and lots of blank pages in the end, so you can "continue" to ink in new Scripture. Just be sure to tell everyone that that's where you're coming from.
Two: we need to grow up. Repent of the paralyzing, navel-gazing, self-absorbed fascination with the murky world of sorta semi-gifts that impart sorta semi-revelation. Get into real revelation; get into Scripture.
You can take this to the bank: I have yet to meet the fake-gift-obsessed charismatic who is what he is because he learned and internalized all of Scripture, and just really needed something else to do.
We've got 66 books of pure, real, binding revelation. We don't know them like we should. We don't preach them like we should. We don't live them like we should.
So grow up, focus, and get with God's program.
Three: anyone claiming to speak for God apart from Scripture should be disciplined. The Bible is pretty fierce on the subject of speaking in God's name without authority, without authorization (Deuteronomy 18:20). Here's my reasoning: if in Israel false prophecy warranted the death penalty, should it not warrant excommunication in the Christian church?
We're going to have to cook, or get out of the kitchen. If we believe the Canon is closed and Scripture is sufficient, then we believe God is not speaking new words apart from Scripture. Anyone claiming to mediate such revelation is in serious error. If we won't get serious about that, we're not serious about Scripture's sufficiency.
Happy? Great. Mad? Oh well. Sorry.
But you won't walk off saying "Hunh, wonder what Phillips really thinks."
*That means, once again, the meta will assume that position, rather than debate it.
UPDATE: Trogdor made a trenchant observation pairing two Justin Taylor posts, and probably making my point more briefly and effectively than I did. In fact, it may give me an idea for a Next!