16 October 2012

Leaky canoneers and their good-hearted enablers: making excuses for God

by Dan Phillips

Let me stipulate emphatically that there are not merely good but excellent brothers and sisters who have an affectionate blind spot when it comes to Charismaticism. Let me further stipulate that I have no doubt whatsoever that, among those otherwise good-hearted, bright-brained, right-spirited spiritual sibs their intent is to glorify God. All of Scripture to the contrary notwithsthanding, they really believe that to "deny" the para-Biblical semi-continuance of pale imitations of some revelatory/attesting gifts is to hamper God, to downplay the spiritual, to handcuff the Holy One.

And nobody wants to do that.

But as always happens, when we don't yield to all of Scripture, our attempts to help God always end up injuring rather than enhancing His fame.

Let's examine a short list of excuses "continuationists" make for God's failure to keep up what He used to do on the level at which He used to do it.
  1. He really is doing it, you Christians are just not looking in the right places.
  2. He really is doing it, He's just not doing it here in the First World.
  3. He really is doing it; see, I know this lady who was prayed-for and got better.
  4. He would really love to do it, but unbelief is stopping Him.
You see the first in the "_____ Revival" folks. We gave you a Biblical perspective on one of them over four years ago, and some RPBs recently discovered it as if it were a new and startling thing. These are the poor souls who pour out to fill stadiums and such, desperately looking and hoping that God will show up and do there what He has "failed" to do in their local congregation.


The second is also a constant. It has in common with all "continuationism" that it thrives on non-falsifiability. If you indulge in this line of dodge, you can always raise the rung. You know? Like this:
Biblical Christian: As Scripture indicates would happen, there is no evidence of apostolic revelatory and attesting gifts continuing past the first century.
Continuationist: But they're happening right now in Florida
Biblical Christian: I watched the videos, and I went to Florida, and nothing of the sort was happening.
Continuationist: Um... that's because you didn't go to Kaoma, in Zambia! Oh boy oh boy, it's going great guns over in Kaoma! No cameras, no objective observers, no first-hand evidence... but boy oh boy, holy fire from heaven!
Biblical Christian: Uh huh.
The third indicates someone who just hasn't heard a word that Biblical Christians who really-really believe in the sufficiency of Scripture have said. This is a sure-fire is a dead giveaway: every time some would-be continuationist says, "Ah, but I in contrast to you believe that God still heals," laying it down as some kind of trump-card, you know you're dealing with sheer, deliberate ignorance. There is no excuse for it, never has been. No Biblical Christian has ever denied that God heals. It's a red herring.

The last is sheer desperation, and again shares the constant of moving the target away from falsifiability. It's a classic. I mean, who can deny it? None of us is perfect in faith.

However, like all the others, it's a vacant dodge. Any honest person — ANY. HONEST. PERSON. — will be compelled to abandon it with one simple question:
How many of the original tongue-speakers believed in speaking in tongues before they spoke in tongues?
The answer, of course, is ZERO. Not one person at Pentecost expected to speak in tongues, asked to speak in tongues, believed that he would speak in tongues. There was zero faith in tongues.

It was a sovereign move of God.

And so was the distribution of real gifts (1 Cor. 12:4-7, 11).

And so it is today.

Which is why we simply do not see apostolic, Biblical instances of revelatory and attesting gifts. The Triune God is not distributing them. If He wanted to, He would, and they'd be in all His churches. And that isn't what we see.

What we see instead is an elaborate fog-bank of dodges and excuses.


So: if it weren't for disbelief in God's own testimony, fueled by discontentment in Christ, and propped up by the support-system of good-hearted, well-meaning enablers willing to supply an endless chain of excuses and dodges and irrelevancies, "continuationism" would most often be mentioned in the same breath as "geocentrism."

And in the same verb-tense.

Dan Phillips's signature


57 comments:

Pastor Phil said...

Nice straw man construction, Dan. And the breathtaking condescension of the opening paragraph is a lovely touch. I will not dare suggest that your assumption of a blind spot could be leveled back at you.
(or maybe I just did, oops!)

Tongue (slightly) in cheek, and in true brotherly affection,
Phil

DaveTea said...

No. 3 is hardly an excuse though. God may well have healed someone you or I know but to report as such doesn't equate to a defence of healing today continuing at the same level as found in the NT.

You do believe that God can and does heal today, don't you?

DJP said...

Mm, I really should have said something about whether Christians believe in healing.

LanternBright said...

Actually, Pastor Phil, one or more of the arguments Dan brings up here gets leveled against him almost every single time he posts *ANYTHING* about charismaticism. Ergo, Dan is about as far away from building straw men as it's possible to be.

And on another note, if pointing out that someone has a blind spot is the same thing as condescension, then Jesus, Paul, Peter, and every one of the prophets is guilty of the same 'sin.' So even assuming you're correct (which I don't, for the record), all you've managed to say is that Dan finds himself in rather impeccable company.

Now, with all that out of the way, would you care to actually interact with the post?

Tom Chantry said...

I'm reminded of Mark Antony's repeated assertion that Brutus is an honorable man.

Charismatist: "The Lord is a powerful God. No, really, he's powerful!"

Reagan Rose said...

This is the kind of post I come here for. Bravo!

I had honestly never considered this:
"How many of the original tongue-speakers believed in speaking in tongues before they spoke in tongues?" Brilliant!

But then of course the conversation would digress down the well-worn path of, "but these tongues are different than biblical tongues!" Which makes them, by definition, unbiblical. So... right.

As for healing. In my experience my continuationist friends can't seem to wrap their heads around the fact that, as you mentioned, God healing someone in answer to prayer doesn't automatically validate the healing ministry of Benny Hinn or their favorite miraculous-leg-extending-husband-wife-duo. No matter how many ways I explain it they always come back to that as a proof.

Cathy said...

I just this weekend ran into this type (at a Bible study seminar), who after finding out I had an auto-immune disease, proceeded to "pray" over me commanding my immune system to work properly and commanding Satan and any other demons be bound. Then when she was done, she told me that my condition was not God's will for me. When I challenged her by speaking about God's sovereignty and His promises to sanctify me through this condition, she came back with #3. Since she had already told me this disease is not God's will, then that left me at #4. The sad irony is that she actually thinks she was ministering to me and offering comfort.
Not so much.

Jules said...

Simply put, Charismatics want what they want when they want it and what they want are goosebumps.

Robert Warren said...

Thanks, Dan. Much better (and probably more charitable) that I could have said it.

Cathy: Thanks for your account. I just can't used to someone addressing Satan in a prayer; whew!

LanternBright said...

No kidding. The absolute worst I've ever heard, though, was, "Now, Lord, I *COMMAND* your blessing to fall on this brother/sister, IN JESUS' NAME!"

Seriously. And what's even more shameful is that it was a persistent practice that pervaded the entire congregation in that church.

Phil Morgan said...

@LanternBright

Dan has taken views espoused by some neo-pentecostals (whom he places under the label of “charismaticism” which is a perjorative term coined here and maybe on other blogs, but it’s not a historical or helpful name), and then he switches the conversation to talk about “continuationists”. That is a classic straw man tactic. Everything you object to in a portion of one camp has now been foisted on a much broader category of people. So you have redefined continuationism to include adherence to a lot of other imported baggage.

Note also the language used in his little script. “Biblical Christian v Continuationist”. Wow! Let me rewrite the little script as I have so often heard it run – and just for fun, I’ll change the names of the speakers using the same method as Dan:

Biblical Christian: I see nothing in Scripture to reasonably suggest that God has signaled miracles and charismata would end with the death of the first apostles.

Cessationist: But you can’t show me any such things happening today.

Biblical Christian: Yes I can. [BC inserts examples 1, 2, 3.]

Cessationist: Ah, but I wasn’t there. I don’t know those people. So if I refuse to accept your examples, they clearly don’t exist.

Biblical Christian: Uh huh.


FOR THIS REASON: Experience is NOT the authority either for OR AGAINST continuation. We’re going to have to come back to the ground of Scripture. (Yes, here’s the continuationist appealing for Sola Scriptura, despite my dear brother’s attempt to move away and appeal to experience to settle the matter.)

LanternBright said...

Phil,

Actually, your objections to Dan's post still don't amount to a straw man. You can complain all you like about how you don't think it's appropriate for Dan to equate terms like "charismaticism" and "continuationism," but that actually ISN'T creating a straw man argument.

If I can riff for just a moment, there's a real tendency in the Pyro metas especially to cry "straw man!" at the drop of a hat. (You know, because this is, after all, the internet.) But a true straw man only occurs when someone tears down a set of arguments that he arbitrarily constructs without actually meeting said arguments anywhere in the wild. So I say again: Dan has encountered one or more of these arguments nearly EVERY SINGLE TIME he's posted on this issue, and that alone means he's absolutely NOT guilty of employing straw man tactics. PERIOD.

Having said all that, the real irony here is that you actually ARE using a straw man. At no point has Dan ever (to my knowledge) contended that "miracles and charismata end with the death of the first apostles." In the first place, Dan has never conjoined those two phenomena the way you have. (We'll call that one Straw Man Argument A.)

Dan's never once claimed that miracles no longer occur, let alone that they've never occurred since the original apostles died out. If you can demonstrate otherwise, I'd be happy to appeal to Stan Lee on your behalf for an official No-Prize. (That one's for you, Frank.)

As for Straw Man Argument B, what Dan has actually claimed is simply this: that there is no evidence that the charismata as described in Scripture are present today IN THE PRECISE WAY they're described in Scripture. That's why we've got folks like Grudem telling us, "Oh, prophecy still exists--but not 'prophecy' like it's actually defined in the bible. Instead, it's a different, lesser kind of prophecy. But it's still prophecy. Really."

So again--there are definitely a few straw man arguments being bandied about here, but Dan's actually not the one leveling them.

Kerry James Allen said...

Jules for the R.L. Stine award!

jbboren said...

If anyone anywhere ever gets well, then God still heals. He is sovereign even over modern medicine.

On the other hand, for those who claims he heals in the same miraculous way Jesus and his apostles healed, please give me one (just one!) *verifiable* instance of an amputee being dramatically and miraculously healed. (Yes, surgical reattachment is God healing an amputee...I'm talking about the kind the apostles did...a magical restoration of the original limb.) Just one.

Phil Morgan said...

LanternBright,

It most definitely is a straw man argument when you redefine what a continuationist is by conflating the term with a bagful of ideas from another position, and then easily knocking down the position and claiming victory over continuationism.

And what are we to call the fallacious argument that runs like this?: "We get called out on this a lot. Therefore it must not be true." 8|

One final point. You don't have to agree with Grudem on the nature of continuing prophecy to hold that nevertheless the canon of Scripture is closed and all other prophecy is to be judged by that rule (as per 1 Cor 14:29). In other words, the prophecy that is subject to judgment did not come AFTER Scripture, but was already in existence in the church. And Paul makes reference to it.

LanternBright said...

Phil,

So your chief objection--i.e., the reason you're dismissing Dan's post as a straw man argument--essentially boils down to this: that you feel his definition of "continuationism" is too broad and that it doesn't fairly represent your own views on the matter.

Fair enough.

In the first place, however, what Dan actually said in his post was this:

"Let's examine a short list of excuses "continuationists" make for God's failure to keep up what He used to do on the level at which He used to do it." (emphasis added)

See? "A short list." Not "the ultimate conversation-stopper that once-and-for-all puts the final nail in the coffin of every single argument anyone calling himself a continuationist has ever made or could conceivably make in the future."

Simply put (yet once more): Dan is responding to SOME of the most frequent arguments that have REPEATEDLY been leveled against him by people identifying themselves variously "continuationists" or "charismatics."

With that in mind, then, to say, as you have, that Dan is "conflating the term with a bagful of ideas from another position, and then easily knocking down the position and claiming victory over continuationism" (emphasis added)...to do THAT really IS (wait for it) a straw man. Full stop. End of story.

But let's leave all this behind. For the sake of argument, let's agree that Dan really HAS failed to do justice to the continuationist perspective (at least as you represent it).

This puts the onus on you to really engage with the content of Dan's post in a way you really haven't done yet--namely, to address the objection as Dan puts it:

"God's failure to keep up what He used to do on the level at which He used to do it."

So let's hear an answer to that question that doesn't ultimately boil down to one of the four objections Dan's already listed, and that you have characterized as straw man arguments. And, to make matters more interesting, let's have an answer that does justice to a really fully-orbed doctrine of the sufficiency and perfection of Scripture.

Looking forward to hearing your response.

Todd said...

LanternBright said...
No kidding. The absolute worst I've ever heard, though, was, "Now, Lord, I *COMMAND* your blessing to fall on this brother/sister, IN JESUS' NAME!"

I had to respond to this one as I have seen it used by an Assembly deacon. He "COMMANDED" the Holy Spirit to heal our daughter as she lay dying in the hospital. Needless to say the Holy Spirit didn't obey his command, as if we have any authority to command anything from God. Guess my faith wasn't strong enough.... Really sad, they thought they were helping... NOT!

Benjamin said...

"Which is why we simply do not see apostolic, Biblical instances of revelatory and attesting gifts. The Triune God is not distributing them. If He wanted to, He would, and they'd be in all His churches. And that isn't what we see."

Emphasis mine. I'm strongly sympathetic to your position, Dan, especially given what passes for "da Gifts" in the USA, though I admit to being still somewhat on the fence. But what's your justification for making the claim that the gifts would necessarily be in all His churches, were He to choose to distribute them?

DJP said...

Oh, Todd; I am so sorry. Oh man. I don't know what to say, except that; that's rough.

DJP said...

That's my read of 1 Cor. 12—14, Benjamin.

At the least, with tens of thousands of legitimate gifted believers cramming a continent, that passage wouldn't lead us to expect to have to cross the continent to find one or another of the gifts legitimately functioning (apart from the 12 apostles).

Todd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Phil Morgan said...

Well, LanternBright, I think there's a faulty presupposition behind the shortlist of 4 things Dan presents. For me to choose objection 1, 2, 3 or 4 ... or for me to make up objection 5 ... still has the discussion where it shouldn't be, namely arguing for continuationism from the ground of experience. Why do you want me to do that? Why do you want to try and argue for cessationism from the ground of experience? Those discussions are dead ends, as I already demonstrated ... "here's an example in the world today" ... "no it's not" ... round and round the mulberry bush.

Either the SCRIPTURES teach cessationism or they don't. Continuationists say (1) they don't, and (2) logically, the burden of proof is on the cessationist to show how they do. I've read all the appeals to the standard 3 or 4 passages (1 Cor 13, 2 Cor 12, Eph 2, Heb 2) and find none of them compelling, none of them satisfying to an internally consistent hermeneutic.

If you say that these cessationist interpretations ARE compelling, we may still be at an impasse. But (and here's why I posted in the first place) at least we should stop cariciaturing each other. I would never suggest (or think) that being a cessationist means you must be devoid of spiritual life and power or the presence of the Holy Spirit. So why would you want to stereotype continuationists, tarring all with a fringe brush?

I'm a continuationist. I believe from my reading of Scripture that we should expect (for instance) that charismata will continue to be seen in the Church to the present day in exactly the same form as Paul describes in the New Testament church. I do not believe that this means God is still adding to Scripture, and my rule for judging everything is the closed canon - the "faith once for all delivered to the apostles". But manifestations of the Holy Spirit OTHER than the revelation given to the apostles to be part of Scripture were present in the early church, and not just by the 12.

Todd said...

Thanks Dan, I don’t want to derail the metta but had to respond to that comment with my own experience. I was extremely upset with the individual because I knew better than what he was saying/attempting. I do believe that God can do miraculous things today as He has done in the past, I just don’t believe that we have the same authority as the Apostles. From what I have experienced of the charismata, we somehow hold an authority over God and can command from Him that which He has not necessarily promised or ordained. For people caught in great despair in their lives these things can be very dangerous and devastating. People need the comfort of the one True God as revealed in Scripture, NOT some veiled attempt at conjuring up some spirit and making baseless commands.

I guess I am saying all this to thank you for the work that you are doing here in raising these issues and fighting the good fight for the Truth.

Jules said...

Todd...You have not only my deepest sympathy and condolences, but my understanding as well.

I was told by a deacon that my brother died because of unconfessed sin and lack of faith on our part.

As you can see, I do have a dog in this fight.

Kerry James Allen said...

I think we should take our cessationism to another level, that is not wasting time arguing with people who insist there are apostolic gifts in action today. I go back to a passage I posted in an earlier discussion of this subject, that being Matthew 10:8: Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, RAISE THE DEAD. Continuationists need to face that verse honestly. You either have all three or you have none. Herein I cease. Case closed.

DJP said...

Absolutely right. That's why there's been no actual response.

They have a position that demands realtime activity. Point to their absolute inability to deliver on their own promise, and all they have is dodges and evasion.

As I've said again and again: if continuationists were correct, they would not be forced to argue their position. All they'd have to do is point.

Linda said...

Pastor Phil Morgan you took the words right out of my mouth

What straw-men we doth pleasure in burning!!

Phil Morgan said~"But (and here's why I posted in the first place) at least we should stop cariciaturing each other. I would never suggest (or think) that being a cessationist means you must be devoid of spiritual life and power or the presence of the Holy Spirit. So why would you want to stereotype continuationists, tarring all with a fringe brush?"

Miracles aren't a grab-bag of goodies for us to enjoy; rather, God uses miracles in particular points of time for very specific purposes. God doesn't need to prove Himself to us (we're on trial, not Him), nor does He “need” to bless us. When He does bless us, it is entirely out of mercy. God can and does heal but it's rare and nothing like we see with all these clowns on TV performing.


I'm trying to figure this out myself.

Jbboren said-"please give me one (just one!) *verifiable* instance of an amputee being dramatically and miraculously healed."

Jbboren, in the ancient times people most people who lost limbs DIED. They didn't have the medicines we have today. Even if there were amputees in Bible times from say wars etc there may not have been as many.

Many amputees nowadays lose a limb because of diabetes, dysvascular diseases, or cancer; doctors in Bible times would not likely have known to amputate for such reasons. Also, machinery—more powerful and more widely used than in Bible days—is the leading cause of accidental amputations. Finally, while some amputees surely survived their wounds in Bible times, modern medicine and emergency services no doubt increase the percentage of people who are able to survive the loss of a limb.

Besides, how is healing a totally useless limb any less miraculous than restoring an amputated limb? God uses medicines and heals us which doesn't seem like a miracle at all but all good comes from God from above..

How is it that our hearts are still beating in our chests? the LORD no doubt sustains us. He could stop it in an instant. people most of the time want some conspicuous miracle but in all actuality God performs miracles every single day of our lives.. Simply put we got up this morning and are healthy...
But one's argument is against the BIG miracles that we don't see. So is that evidence that God simply doesn't perform miracles anymore. Absolutely not.

For the BIGGEST miracle is when a person is born again!

DJP said...

Amen to the last sentence, Linda.

As to the rest, in sum:

1. So you're saying nobody says any of those four things? (Note Phil backed off from that pretty quickly)

2. And as to pointing to one apostolic revelatory/attesting miracle (as required by continuationism) in the last 1900 years, you're leaving the counter at zero?

Eric said...

Linda,

I think you're missing jbboren's point. I believe he was not trying to point out a lack of amputee healing in Biblical times, but a lack of actual immediate healing of physical deformity or malady today (and he chose to use the example of an amputee).

Phil Morgan said...

I'm not backing off, Dan. I'd go with a variant of #1 (namely, it is happening, you don't want to see it), and #3 times a long list of examples. The point is that it is a completely fruitless exercise. "round and round the mulberry bush".

DJP said...

Well, that's not true. You've been wildly inconsistent, and actually haven't made much sense at all, Phil. But at this moment, you're saying "No one uses those four dodges?"

Phil Morgan said...

Show me my inconsistency, Dan.

DJP said...

Deal with the post, Phil. Deal seriously with the attempts to straighten you out already, Phil.

Phil Morgan said...

Now who's backing off and dodging?

It's your blog, Dan. I enjoy much of what you write. And clearly you have the choir to preach to. But go back and read my posts, and I will welcome you pointing out the inconsistency.

Phil

Linda said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
David said...

Phil,

To illustrate Dan's point, asking for scriptural proof that the biblical gifts have not ceased is like asking for scriptural proof that Christ's second coming would be delayed for more than two millennia. He ain't here, and they ain't here.

David

DJP said...

Phil, you. You have not said one thing that wasn't either anticipated in the post or answered by commenters. Your refusal to deal doesn't constitute an obligation to commenters or to me for a life of endless homework assignments to deal with your refusal to deal.

DJP said...

Linda, if others want to come and discuss here, fine. This isn't a link dump.

If you don't want to engage, don't comment.

LanternBright said...

Phil,

You're really going to argue that we can't verify Scriptural phenomena (in this case, the ongoing existence of the charismata and the continued frequency and quality of miracles demonstrated in the apostolic age) by simply looking at objective reality? Really?

One wonders why Paul didn't take that tack in 1 Cor. 15: "Of course Christ was crucified, and of course he was risen from the dead. Just read Scripture!"

But see, instead, he told the Corinthians to NOT ONLY read Scripture, but he ALSO pointed to living witnesses of the Resurrection, inviting the Corinthians to seek them out as well.

That's also the entire point of the early apostolic witness to the empty tomb--it pointed to what could be objectively seen and known apart from Scripture, and then demonstrated how that could be properly understood BY reading Scripture.

Here's what you seem to be missing about your claim that the charismata and other miraculous phenomena continue completely undifferentiated in the present age: those things were examples of how God was breaking into actual human history to accomplish His purposes. So it follows invariably that if those things are still going on, then God is still breaking into human history IN THE SAME WAY to accomplish His purposes.

So if that's true, why are you unwilling to appeal to objective observable fact when the apostles themselves had no problem doing so?

DJP said...

Good luck, LB, and Godspeed. It's become one of the leaky canoneer's favorite dodge to accuse Biblical Christians of their besetting sin of exalting experience.

Of course, the death knell to that is that continuationism is by definition a position that guarantees an experience: the experience of all the gifts continuing through all the church age just as in the apostolic age.

If you go to a MacDonald's and they don't have any burgers to offer, that is by definition an issue.

As here.

LanternBright said...

If you go to a MacDonald's and they don't have any burgers to offer, that is by definition an issue.

I think that's the most brutally simple, obvious, plain point I've ever seen in this discussion. Well-played, Dan.

Phil Morgan said...

Dan,

Respectfully, as I said to you previously "it's your blog". Neither you nor anyone else has to do or answer anything. But when you throw out "You've been wildly inconsistent, and actually haven't made much sense at all", I think you can be called on that and you should demonstrate how. That's not me setting you homework, that's you being responsible for your words.

For the record, you have repeatedly stated that I am not engaging with the post, but my very first comment was pointing out that:
(1) your post employs a straw man argument, and
(2) it was (by the way) condescending, and
(3) throwing out comments about a "blind spot" in the way you did can always, surely, just be turned around on you.

LampLighter engaged with me and my subsequent posts were to demonstrate how those criticisms of your post were accurate (particularly about how it IS a straw man argument).

In the process of that exchange with LampLighter I raised a 4th point about your post, that I think there's a faulty presupposition behind the shortlist of 4 things you present.

So, how have I not engaged with the post? Unless what you mean is that I'm not engaging with it by saying things you'd like me to say? (Hence my perhaps too snarky comment about you having the choir to preach to. Which you didn't come back at me on, but which I apologize for.)

I think you've made this a public forum by opening up comments. So if you write a post that baits continuationists, surely it's fair game for me to challenge the basis of the post?

Anyhoo, this is NOT me setting you homework, Dan; you don't owe me a reply. I'm still open to be shown an inconsistency. And I'm not cranky or offended.

Blessings.

DJP said...

Right; and you can say that the moon is red, but saying it changes nothing.

You have made no point that was not anticipated or has not been answered. That you repeat them reveals things about you, but doesn't change the record.

Phil Morgan said...

LanternBright, I don't have any argument with what you just wrote. It makes me wonder if you're reading what I'm saying. I'm telling you (as per my little rewrite of Dan's script) that when examples ARE offered the response is 100% predictable ... "Oh, I wasn't there, that's heresay, it's not verifiable, it's been called into question, I don't believe it, those tongues aren't real, I heard a prophecy once and it wasn't genuine ... YADA YADA YADA."

Pointless.

So the very argument "you don't have any burgers to offer" (nice one Dan) is non-sensical when the man in McDonalds has blindfolded himself because he has a presupposition that McDonald's is a fraud and don't really sell hamburgers.

Would you like me to give you just ONE testimony from my own life of healing combined with charismata? I'll take the time to write it, but I'm saying the outcome is predictable. (Yes, well, we can't verify that.)

Nash Equilibrium said...

The really thorny thing for the continuationists to deal with is why in the New Testament, the attempts at healing on command never failed. And now, they often do. Not enough faith? If that's the problem, then that's pretty damning of the failing faith healer. One may read the Bible and conclude that nothing has changed with regard to healing or other miracles, but the facts demonstrate otherwise.

DJP said...

"Thorny" = "unanswerable." It is absolutely fatal to their position. All they can do is say "Is not." But of course, it is. If it is your position that NT gifts continue, then they must continue. That will NECESSARILY mean nineteen hundred years of unbelievers scrambling to explain what they cannot explain.

Instead we see the opposite.

Leaving us with... see the post.

Without exception - and Phil is classic - they respond just as homosexuals do to the slippery slope argument. They hate it, mock it, scoff at it, reject it... because they cannot answer it. It is fatal and unanswerable.

As I've linked more than once, were their position correct, the issue would not be being continued by debate, but by pointing.

Phil Morgan said...

"homosexuals"? Where'd that come from Dan? "Oh, these terrifying and dangerous continuationists ..."

I am not hating, mocking, scoffing or rejecting. Again, allegations like that can just be turned around and said in the reverse direction.

I just offered to LanternBright, I'm willing to point ... are you willing to see?

LanternBright said...

Phil,

The difference is that when miraculous gifts of the kind you're asserting occur in the New Testament, they're undeniable. Even hostile eyewitnesses can't argue that the miracle in question actually happened.

You're arguing for things that aren't falsifiable, and then attempting to say that those are on equal footing with the miracles recorded in Scripture. But, see, the fact that what you're talking about isn't falsifiable NECESSARILY means it isn't on equal footing with Scripture.

And, just as Dan predicted, you fall PERFECTLY into his foreseen objection #4. You keep telling everyone on this board that the reason they're not seeing the miracles is because we've blinded ourselves to them.

So thanks for proving Dan's point.

Phil Morgan said...

LanternBright,
The miraculous works of God that I have seen, and others with me, IS undeniable to many. Can I remind you that there WERE people around Jesus who wanted to explain / dismiss the miraculous as counterfeit or worse. Do you not believe that those things DID occur?
And as for objection #4. What if it's true? Your assumption is that it's laughable ... I say you're going a fair way to proving it.

Linda said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jules said...

@Phil Morgan:

So, if I'm understanding you correctly, your argument is:

I've personally seen/experienced a miraculous healing, therefore the apostolic revelatory and attesting gifts have continued past the first century.

Is that correct?

DJP said...

Linda, read my earlier response, and heed it.

DJP said...

Phil, you are not paying attention. You have to bring 1900 years of stories which so far have evaded everyone's attention but yours.

You've wasted enough of these good folks' time. Change your tune, go back to the start and begin correcting (start with your first comment), or find something else to do.

Not a suggestion.

Linda said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
DJP said...

Linda, you badly misunderstand the purpose of this blog.

Nash Equilibrium said...

Phil you keep coming back to the idea that DJP and others deny that God heals today, something no one is saying from what I read. He's talking, I think, about the gift of healing, which for those who had it, was unfailing.

DJP said...

All right, this thread has become a spinning distraction. Time to sum up:

1. Read the post. It's been objected-to, mind-read, demonized, and in no way refuted.

2. There are two kinds of people in the world: those who admit that the four dodges I cite are universal and common, and the unserious or ignorant.

3. Continuationism is nineteen hundred years too late to be bringing evidence now. If it were true, we would not be having this discussion. This is simply not deniable.

4. Axioms 2,3, 4 and 23 are as relevant as ever.

5. Continuationism is a bankrupt and harmful position that survives only on a combination of sheer Biblical ignorance and the goodhearted enabling of those who should know better.