29 June 2012

No One Who is Credible

This Friday, to commemorate the stellar contributions to internet apologetics made by our founder and benefactor, Phil Johnson, the unpaid and overworked staff at TeamPyro is posting the first "best of Phil" post to give your weekend that necessary kick.  This excerpt is from the original PyroManiac blog on 12 Jan 2006. 

Comments are closed.

The kneejerk demand for "exegesis" at the very start of the cessationism discussion is fatuous.

"Exegesis" for what? So far I haven't actually taken any positions or made any controversial biblical claims that require "exegetical" support. All I have done to date is point out how hard it is to find any credible person, even from the charismatic camp, who really believes the apostolic signs and offices are still in full operation just like when the apostle Paul raised Eutychus from the dead. I quoted some charismatic authors to establish their position. There's hardly any need for supporting "exegesis" on that.

Furthermore, I have asserted almost nothing about the degree of cessationism I hold to. I have not even actually stated whether I believe miracles (as distinct from miraculous gifts) occur today. I've merely argued that a genuinely non-cessationist, strictly pure continuationist theology is practically unheard of.

(Even in the earlier discussion last month, when I made several posts pointing out what an extraordinarily high percentage of modern "prophecies" turn out to be bogus, I did not actually argue—yet—that the gift of prophecy has utterly and finally ceased. As a matter of fact, several times I explicitly pointed out that I was not making any such argument. ...)

That refusal to assert any specific degree of cessationism is a deliberate omission and not an accidental oversight on my part. I am first simply trying to establish the fact that no one who is credible seriously believes that all the miracles and gifts of the apostolic era are commonplace today. I don't need a proof-text, or any amount of "exegesis" to validate that.

As a matter of fact (unless I missed a comment) no one has yet seriously asserted the contrary. No one has come forward to offer any earnest defense for the claim that nothing whatsoever has changed in the exercise of miraculous gifts since Peter commanded the lame man at the Temple gate to rise and walk. Moreover, everyone (including a few bold commenters yesterday who seemed to doubt whether the canon is really closed) has agreed that no new Scripture has been written for the past 1900 years.

Now, show me something there that requires "exegetical support," and I'll try to tackle the challenge. Otherwise, it would be better to stay with the actual argument that's being made, and interact with that.