13 May 2010

Is this the central issue in Christian thought, life and ministry? — 3

by Dan Phillips

From my own statement of faith, the first point: on Scripture.

Scripture. The sixty-six books of the Protestant canon, in their original writings, comprise the verbally inspired, inerrant Word of God.
The thirty-nine books known as the Hebrew Old Testament are God-breathed, products of the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, and thus free from error in all that they affirm (cf. Deuteronomy 18:18, 19; Psalms 19:7, 8; 119:89, 142, 151, 160; Matthew 5:17-19; John 10:35; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21).

Similarly, the twenty-seven books known as the Greek New Testament are the eternally abiding words of Jesus Christ (Matthew 24:35), and are thus the words of God (John 7:16; 12:49). The Holy Spirit enabled the writers both to recall what the Lord said (John 14:26), and to continue to receive His revelation (John 16: 12-15). As a result, the writings of the New Testament are the commandment of the Lord (1 Corinthians 14:37), are Scripture (2 Peter 3:15-16), and are God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16).

For this reason, the sinner finds the way of salvation through Scripture (Romans 10:17; 2 Timothy 3:15; Hebrews 2:1-3). The believer is made fruitful (Psalm 1:2, 3) and successful in the will of God (Joshua 1:8), warned and kept from sin (Psalms 19:11; 119:9,11), made holy (John 17:17), given wisdom (Psalm 9:7) and freeing knowledge of the truth (John 8: 31, 32), taught the fear of God (Psalm 119:38), counseled (Psalm 119:24), taught, reproved, corrected, and disciplined in the way righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16) by Scripture. Scripture is, in short, the fully adequate revelation of the person, ways, and will of God.

We're going somewhere with this. For some, their Admiral Ackbar moment may be approaching.


Dan Phillips's signature


jsmitchell said...
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jsmitchell said...

Maybe I'm misreading this, or perhaps I've missed something vital in my Christian education, but are you making a critical distinction here? -- the Old Testament is the product of the Holy Spirit's inspiration vs. the New Testament is the eternally abiding words of Jesus Christ. If there is more than a subtle distinction, can you elaborate? I've always considered the source of OT/NT to be a common, shared one (Triune God), with an emphasis on John 1 and 2Tim3:16. Have I erred?

DJP said...

Hey, JS:

First, thanks for reading me so closely. I appreciate it.

Second, no, no such distinction was intended. My meaning was not to deny the Spirit's breathing of the NT (which Christians don't much downplay), but to affirm the OT's equal inspiration.

Notice that the section on the NT begins "Similarly." So, it's the same thing. I go on to say, "The Holy Spirit enabled the writers both to recall what the Lord said (John 14:26), and to continue to receive His revelation (John 16: 12-15). As a result, the writings of the New Testament are the commandment of the Lord (1 Corinthians 14:37), are Scripture (2 Peter 3:15-16), and are God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16)."


Thanks for asking.

donsands said...

Sola Scriptura. Amen. It all begins here.

Otherwise we don't have Sola fide, sola gratia, sola Christus, and sola Deo gloria.

DJP said...

Well THANKS, Don. I could have saved all those words!


jsmitchell said...

Thanks Dan. I feared I might have been over-reading and consequently picking at nits...and I was right.

DJP said...

I'll take an over-reader over someone who skims and knee-jerks off a ream of irrelevant Scriptures, experiences, or otherwise "arguments" for "continuationism," any old day.

Tom Chantry said...

JSM - Over-reading? Is that possible? On a blog?

DJP said...

Tom, anymore, I'm just happy when they read before they comment. Truly.

David Rudd said...


just a point of precision.

without sola scriptura, we still have Sola fide, sola gratia, sola Christus, and sola Deo gloria.

we just don't know about it.

(Scripture isn't the source of those things, it's the revelation of them!)

DJP said...


Without sola Scriptura we don't have those things.

gapid said...

you are absolutely right in that the 100% sufficient word thoroughly exemplifies redemption (John 3:16) and Godly living (2 Timothy 3:16). if God vowed colloquial exclusivity to those topics, he will say nothing new. no such vow exists; neither silence nor anecdote are evidence.

DJP said...


Ackbar leans forward and raises an eyebrow, meaningfully.

DJP said...

...or, you know, closest thing he's got to an eyebrow.

Stefan Ewing said...


This is a good, solid summary of the doctrine of Scripture, and on its application to our lives.

But on the subject of nitpicking...

When I'm writing product requirements or user instructions, I get obsessive over anticipating ambiguities, errors, exceptions, and misunderstandings, and go back over what I've written with a fine-toothed comb.

So in that vein...

When you write "the twenty-seven books known as the Greek New Testament are the eternally abiding words of Jesus Christ," would it not be more accurate to say that they contain the words of Jesus Christ?

DJP said...


I quote... well, me: "As a result, the writings of the New Testament are the commandment of the Lord (1 Corinthians 14:37)...."

Bob Edwards said...


The problem with your definition is that it is the definition a lot of liberal scholars use. It opens the door for it containing Jesus words plus man's words. We are then left to decide which words are of God and which are merely human words. The human words we can then discard. Kind of like the Jesus Seminar.

Stefan Ewing said...


D'oh! Thank you!

Father of Eleven:

Yes, to be honest, I was realizing that as I was writing it, but didn't want to start appending clarifying subsections to the end of my comment.

Resolved: the twenty-seven books known as the Greek New Testament ARE the eternally abiding words of Jesus Christ.


donsands said...

"I could have saved all those words!" -Dan

I really appreciate all the Scripture references, and how you can put your mouse on each link, and a box comes up with that verse, so you can read it.

Technology is a blessing.

David Rudd said...


I agree. without Scripture we don't have access to those things, and therefore cannot possess them.

My point was just that those things do not proceed from Scripture, they are revealed by Scripture.

While this is perhaps a minor distinction, there are important ramifications.

(think Ruckman)

DJP said...

If he'd said that those realities don't exist apart from Sola Scriptura, I'd've demurred. But like all knowledge of God's person and will, we depend on Scripture. Alone. Which is enough.

David Rudd said...

i'm glad we agree.

DJP said...

I, OTOH, am troubled that we agree.

David Rudd said...

if you must choose, it's probably the lesser of two evils to agree with me than to change your view on this...


Matt said...

"My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding" -Proverbs 2:1-6

"Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God"

Good post!


Jim Pemberton said...

Yes! Great post! Now this is the power of the Holy Spirit that he who is in us is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4) and the same one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in those of us who believe to give us life (Rom 8:9-11). So we have no excuse against the revelation of God to us in his Son, Jesus Christ, through that which has been written by virtue of the same Holy Spirit.

Pierre Saikaley said...

Admiral Akbar moment...

I want a "It's a Trap" T-shirt!


scrapiron said...

I like that measuring tape...where did you get it?

gapid said...

at the risk of being subjected to more snide remarks, i humbly ask if someone's salvation is in jeopardy should they believe, or claim to believe, to have heard God's voice. are they schizophrenic? delusional? deceitful? doomed to seem like ackbar?

DJP said...

Here's your answer:

Start at the first post in this series.

Read slowly.


Look up every Scripture.

Repeat that for each post.

Then, if you still have that question, wait for the next two, expecting to read them slowly, look up the Scriptures, think.

Think more than write.

Unknown said...

Did someone say my name?

IT'S A ...

gapid said...

so far, you have not indicated that this is a salvation issue. i hope we can agree this to be the case.

i am not trying to "trap" or prove you wrong - rather, i want to use a little more than anecdotes based on omission when dealing with people who claim that the Holy Spirit has guided them to do something.
(1 Thessolonians 5:19-21).

i have read and re-read your posts, looked up the context for all of your verses (i'm curious about your assumptions regarding Joshua 1:8), and carefully considered all of it, because this is a central issue when dealing with these people. i look forward to more explicit evidence in your future posts.

DJP said...

...aaaand you still just do not get it.

David Kyle said...

The bottom line for me is which one is inerrant, infallible, and infinitely trustworthy... still small voices in my head, leanings, hunches, compellings, chicken bones or God's Word.

Well, since all that other stuff comes from inside me(except the chicken bones) and I know me, then I shall be satisfied that God’s Word alone is sufficient.

Really how can you trust what you feel? We lie to ourselves and believe it!

David Kyle said...

so far, you have not indicated that this is a salvation issue.

gapid... this is an everything issue!

DJP said...

I like you, witness.

Want to write the last two posts?


David Kyle said...

ummm... the still small voice say s yes... but like I said before... I'm not listening.

gapid said...

if someone's salvation is indeed in jeopardy for mistaking indigestion to be a sign from the Almighty, then there are a lot of bible-thumping, Jesus-believing Christians who have a rude awakening awaiting in the afterlife. and maybe that's truly the case. sensing an impending "thou shalt not post anymore", i'll hold any more questions until the conclusion of the series. thanks for your time.

Phil said...

Honor Dan's death star post by buying one today!

Bob Edwards said...


This is very much a salvation issue. Yes there will be many people who walk around claiming Jesus that are going to have a big uh oh moment. The problem is that the Jesus they claim is not the one who really exists.

Invariably these folks either claim some form of the extra Biblical written revelation (Mormons, JW's) or personal revelation (Word Faith) or they try to cut out some portion of Scripture (Marcionism). In any case it is not the Jesus who really exists that they are following.

Let's assume for the moment I hear a still small voice telling me that I should take a particular course of action. How can I be sure it is God and not just a product of my imagination or a chemical imbalance in my brain? I need some sure standard to measure it against. So I check it against Scripture. But if that is the case why listen to the voice in the first place? And why attribute it God in any other way than to say that God works through ordinary means, including my imagination, to bring to mind a good idea?

Perhaps we would rather make God responsible for our bad ideas than take responsibility ourselves? However, Scripture does not allow us that luxury.

Strong Tower said...

The aqua, it burns, it burns...

Strong Tower said...

Allah Ackbars Batman!

"I should take a particular course of action."

Turn the fleet around.


Trust the force.

One of the things that God has not done is left anything to chance. He chose by the foolishness of preaching to save. But now comes the catch, the whole process of salvation from intitial to final sanctification is called being saved.

undiaki- word verification

sounds very Greek but its problably Lao.

FX Turk said...

Admiral Ackbar, I have on good account, was an underground Presbyterian post-millennialist and neo-reconstructionist.

So of course it's a trap ...

FX Turk said...

And I wasn't the one to derail this thread: DJP was. What's up with embedding a .wav file like that and expecting the weaker brotehrs not to chase it like a kitten after a ball of yard?

Solameanie said...

I've never seen a "ball of yard?" What does it look like? Wouldn't the sod get caught in the cat's teeth?

bp said...

Dan, why is it that you can't just answer gapid's question? Saying, "...aaaand you still just do not get it" sounds a bit condescending to me. Besides, I'd kinda like to know, too, whether I'm schizophrenic, delusional, or possibly on my way to hell.

mike said...

BP said "Dan, why is it that you can't just answer gapid's question? "

not only CAN Dan answer, he has been for as long as I have been reading his pots.
what (apparently) he WON"T do is to repeat specific portion 1000 times in response to "huh-uh".

i could be wrong, I'm not, but I could be.

mike said...
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mike said...


I'd kinda like to know, too, whether I'm schizophrenic, delusional, or possibly on my way to hell.

on a somewhat serious note,(as much as i can)

this had better be the driving reason we still draw breath. but the thing is THIS is a question that Dan can't answer for any of us.

we have to get exponetially more vigilant (as a whole, i don't know you personally) that whole Philipians work out your own salvation in fear and trembling stuff.

DJP said...

You're not wrong, Mike.

bp said...

Well Mike, some of us are new to this blog and haven't been reading Dan's posts very long. I've read his last 3 posts on this subject and maybe I'm a moron, but I cannot see where he has stated, explicitly, that anyone who says that they have heard/felt/sensed God speaking to them is either a liar or delusional and should be conerned about his salvation, because God doesn't speak to people today. period. Why the ambiguity? Why the hesitation to answer questions straight out?

DJP said...

...because it can't be the reasons I have stated over and over and over and over and over and over?

Strong Tower said...

I vote moron.

mike- it is easier to hope for a mystical word from God rather than studying to show that we are approved.

The arguement that since we don't have exhaustive understanding and therefore we need further revelation through direct, supernatural, revelation, denies the reality that Scripture has been given so that the disciple can be fully equipped. What part of fully is missing? Scripture has been given exhaustively, that is, everything we need to know. It's the difference between needing to know more than that or being content with what we have been given that divides the camps.

Strong Tower said...

Sorry, DJP, I am hard of reading, could you repeat that?

DJP said...


"And over."

Jim Pemberton said...

Look, guys. To be sure there are trolls. I don't know that bp is one of them. I suspect it's a case of differences of intellectual sanctification. bp - and possibly gapid - can't process the otherwise clear information because they aren't using the same categorical system you are. By definition one can't reason well when one tries to think with visceral juice. I'm sure the Holy Spirit knows this and will grow them appropriately.

Therefore, if bp is a troll, "moron" is appropriate. However, if bp is not a troll, then it's probably not helpful to call her a "moron". If she thinks viscerally, then it will only impede her ability to grow in good reason. Likewise, repeating the answer doesn't help as we've seen.

For most who need help in this area, the best thing is to work relationally with them. Blog meta is not particularly conducive for this method so we can't expect to do it here. But we must pray that she gets to know some reasonable person who can work with her over the long haul.

DJP said...

Oh, if someone called bp a moron, I (a) don't agree, (b) read too hastily, and (c) apologize if I gave the impression that I did agree.

(By iPhone)

bp said...

Thanks for your vote, Strong Tower, appreciate that.

And thanks for your prayers, Jim. Hopefully, God will bring someone as bright as all you guys into my life, who can work along side me for the long haul. Maybe I'll even ask my Pastor, once he gets back from his 8 month leave of absence.

Stefan Ewing said...

Okay, BP:

Whatever happened, happened.

I'm probably a little less hardline than Dan, but all cessationists acknowledge that God is active in the world today: through His providence, through the working out of His sovereignty, and through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Where cessationists differ from continuationists is in the nature of the Holy Spirit's work.

Anyhow, perhaps the Holy Spirit was laying something on your heart; perhaps it was something deep from within your own subconscious. We (meaning apart from you) can't know, because we weren't there at the time.

But in the end, it doesn't matter. Does your faith and trust in God rest in those experiences, or does it lie in the person and work of Jesus Christ and what He did on the Cross?

If it rests in your experiences, then forsake that, and remember that "if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9). Period. End of story.

And if your faith does lie in the person and work of Jesus Christ, in His crucifixion for our sins and His bodily resurrection, then don't fret over it.

That's all I want to say about this, because I really don't have the energy to go through this whole circular discussion again.

Rest in Jesus.

Stefan Ewing said...

And as a follow-up:

I had some strange experiences before I was saved, that are too personal to relate here.

Three years ago, I responded to the preached Word of God, gave my life to Christ, and repented for my sins.

But when I go through periods of doubt, I am sometimes tempted to put my trust in my subjective expriences, rather than in the objective truth of the Gospel.

About a year ago, my wife and I were facing some challenges, and I prayed a "Why are You doing this to us!?" type of prayer to God.

For the next week, I was stricken with a mortal dread, and fear of God's wrath. I totally lost my assurance of salvation.

All the theology in the world didn't help me, nor did resting on those experiences I'd had.

What saved me in the end and brought joy back into my life was the simple truth of the verse I just quoted to you: my trust in the simple, objective truth that Jesus Christ is Lord, and that God raised Him bodily from the grave.

(And that He bore God's wrath for my sins upon the Cross!)

Aaron said...

Father of Eleven:

I've been reiterating the same point in every thread. I've come to the conclusion that we can explain it upside down and backwards and people still don't get it. For them it's the miracle of hindsight. They see all the "feelings" or positive events and see them as the Lord's leading. They just fail to realize that the negative things in life are ordained by God too (or maybe they just failed to hear God's leading, huh?).

Strong Tower said...

You're welcome bp. Tasty sarcasm. Yum...

I want to note that bp gave us two options.

1) moron

2) blind

He can get over being blind and I figured if he is reading this then that really leaves only one option.

And Jim, bp has hung in there and is to be commended. He didn't troll, he seemed at least to try and interact and yes it is acknowledge that he is reacting in different categories. At least for me, I have tried to stick to the sufficiency question best that I could...

but since thatarnt workin' let me give a peez of my testimony. I first accepted the Lord while a drugged out paranoid schizophenic who could not remember his name and was afraid to go outside. In what may have been drug induced, I don't know, in the body or out of it, in my head or out of it, I don't know, I had a vision and heard the Lord speak...

...that kind of phenomenon was not new... even before I did sufficient drugs to frapee gray matter I had visions, encountered polterqeists phenom, was related to Gypsies who actually did fortell the future, and la ti da da dum.

Now it took a while from my drug induced paranoia to sufficiently subside, about seven years, before I began to understand that I had no clue what Scripture meant. So I stuggled until, boom, all of the sudden the Scripture openned up. Well to make a long story unbearably long, I became involved in Pentecostalism and found it quit a familiar spirit, if you know what I mean. I had visions, heard voices, saw aggeloses, even ET... we not really. I graduated to Charismaticism and had more visions, even cast a few, did that when I was in the occult, but we called it spells, or conjuring, I practiced the "gifts," did that in the occult too, and so forth... phew... I gradiated further and heard the same kind of God tol me garbage in the SBC that I had heard in my previous lives while all the time they were claiming cessationism. But just because they didn't speak in tongues didn't mean they could speak rationally either.

Now, when I survey the beliefs of all those Christians that I knew back in High School, Kodachrome, well actually after the Army, I realized that they were missing the most miraculous of miracles ever granted to mankind, the mind of Christ given to us in Scripture.

Now, I still encounter stange extra terrestial ball type phenom, but after about two decades in confusion over the weird stuff, I settled for what I could confidently know and be at peace with, and I try not to go beyond the border in to the unknown lands.

Strong Tower said...

That was really a nice wrap-up Stefan, sniff...

seriously, you said it well.

Stefan Ewing said...

Strong Tower:

And likewise to you and your testimony.

You and I are going to have to get together for a coffee one day.

Unknown said...

This blog is TOO!! demanding

Bob Edwards said...

Sir Aaron,

With eleven kids (I only have seven teenagers left in the house) I guess I am accustomed to explaining things over, and over, and over, and oh did I mention, over.

Some of those in the discussion remind me of my kids who want to walk in during the middle of an Oklahoma football game (my first religion) and ask me what the score is. I finally had to make a rule that you had to watch for at least five minutes before you can ask. Some eventually figured out that the score was on the screen most of the time.

Some people have not figured out the little tags at the bottom of the post that lead you to the other posts on this topic. I suspect there is over a hundred for all the tags combined. If they had I figure they would have read some of them and realize that Dan has been beating on this drum for YEARS. They might have also found Dan's answers to most of the questions they asked.

Or maybe they are just too important to read them. Dan should realize that explain it all over again just for them, because they are that important.

Stefan Ewing said...


You're suddenly conspicuously silent.

I hope for your sake that you're reading these comments and chewing over them.

Just please don't suddenly show up in 2 days and say that STILL no one has answered your questions.

Whatever happened in the past, happened; but if you're looking to ground your assurance in our affirmation of a personal experience, you're placing your assurance in the wrong thing.

Put all your faith and assurance in the finished work of Jesus Christ upon the Cross.

bp said...

Stefan, what's so suspicious about someone not posting after they've been accused of being an idiot, a troll, and a prima donna? But I do appreciate your thoughtful posts and your concern. Don't worry, I'm not trusting in these experiences I've had for anything. All they are to me is a confirmation of what I already know about our amazing God.

Strong Tower said...

bp! You're in good company: Then he said unto them,O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken

The two words used are anoētos and
bradus- foolish stupid

But more importantly, Jesus pointed them to the prophets not their experience. Indeed, they were looking to their experiences and got it all wrong.

Stefan Ewing said...

That's Luke 24:13-27.

gapid said...

bp - for centuries, reformists applied djp's reasoning to playing instruments in worship. they claimed that without explicit evidence, using instruments to worship is abominable or even damnable. they slowly realized the lack of evidence was not itself evidence, modified their notion of the scripture’s regulative principle, and today welcome contemporary worship. hold fast to God’s word and know that you are saved. -ackbar

mxu said...

Not sure if you'll catch this (as it's later), nor am I sure that it's entirely on topic (since you aren't addressing this issue explicitly), but I wanted to ask how you interpret the two passages where Nehemiah says, "God put it on my heart." They threw me for a loop today in my Bible reading, as I thought I fully agreed with you about the foolishness of saying, "God told me," or "God was leading me." Would you say Nehemiah heard an audible voice?

Nehemiah 2:12
12 And I told no one what my God had put into my heart to do for Jerusalem.

Nehemiah 7:5
Then my God put it into my heart to assemble the nobles

When I searched the website, you quoted the two passages as saying, "God directs our thoughts and plans from behind the scenes," which I totally agree with, but would you be ok with attributing that "directs our hearts behind the scenes" to God explicitly when writing?

Thanks much!

DJP said...

First, props to you for doing the high-tech search!

Second, I take it these are retrospective comments. Well, they are clearly retrospective: they're written after the events!

But what do we see Nehemiah actually doing as he maps his course? Praying, studying Scripture exceedingly closely, visiting, assessing, making plans. Doing just what we do... or should do.

Then, having done it, he sees that all this process was overseen and managed by the sovereign God.

No, no voices nor revelations except for the revelation he had in the scroll of the Law, which he clearly studied very devotedly.

mxu said...
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mxu said...

Wow, quick response! Let me see if I understand you correctly -

Prior to doing something, we ought to do it as best we know how, seeking guidance from the Word and praying that God may grant us wisdom and strengthen our hands.

After accomplishing it, we can (but not necessarily ought), upon reflection say, "Actually, God was leading me then."

If that's correct, a follow up question: How do I know that it was God who put it on my heart? And if I can know after the fact, what would prevent someone from knowing before the fact?

Or is success the only criteria for knowing that it was God who put it on my heart? That does seem to solve the problem, but seems incredibly pragmatic.

Thanks again for your posts and response, I've much appreciated the interaction.

Seth said...

No evidence except three posts with multiple Scripture references which backup the position. Other than that? No nothing.

Maybe Dan should post that God told him it was this way.

DJP said...

Stop reading my mind.

donsands said...

"Since there are no more apostles, there is no ongoing revelation. This is the argument the Reformers made against both Rome and the radical Protestants. The Scriptures are sufficient. Christ is the head who saves and rules his body. Therefore, the church is always put into question in its faith and life by the Word that created and preserves it, and it must always be ready to be reformed by it. Paul said that he had "laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it" (1 Cor. 3:10). That is the order: apostolic foundation followed by the ordinary ministry of the church on that basis. "For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (v. 11, emphasis added). There is the foundation-laying period and then the building phase." -Michael Horton, From 'Modern Reformation' an article in the May/June issue.

bp said...

Seth, my beef isn't that Dan hasn't shared clearly enough his belief in the sufficiency of the Scriptures (which I agree with, btw) but, rather, the hesitation by him (and many others here who seem to agree with him) to simply answer my (or other's questions) with a simple "yes" or "no". Such as:

are you saying that God never ever speaks to people via the Holy Spirit?

Are you saying you think this cannot be so and that I imagined it? [my experience]

i humbly ask if someone's salvation is in jeopardy should they believe, or claim to believe, to have heard God's voice.

I know you've said that you cannot answer all posts, Dan, and that you don't want to repeat things over and over, but this hasn't stopped you from repeating Start at the first post in this series…Read slowly…Think…Look up every Scripture... over and over again. A simple yes or no would be more helpful to us and less time consuming for you. And it's not like you have more than a couple people here who disagree with you anyway, so it's not like you'd be spending all your days repeating yes' and no's to people.

You say Spurgeon was a cessationist, and yet, though he may have hesitated to state emphatically that his impressions were from God, he didn't state that they were not either (in-fact, he believed they were, from what I read in the link). THIS is where I think you are not being clear. If you agree with Spurgeon, then say that Scripture is sufficient, but you cannot say that God does not give these impressions. If you disagree with him, and you believe God does not, under any circumstances, speak or impress things on His people today, then just say that. Yes or No.

boyd said...

Couldn't it be said that there are two types of continuationist?
1. The first could be classified as a "baby Christian", someone still nursing on milk.(These people need study and instruction)
2. The second are enemies of Christ, heretics, self-centered, sign-seekers, using this lie for power and money. (Suffering from apostle and prophet envy and overtaken with self-importance and the need to be elevated)

Jim Pemberton said...

So would you classify C.J. Mahaney as a "baby Christian" or a "heretic"?

Strong Tower said...

Just badly confused.

DJP said...

Boyd, I'd say "yes," unless you slip the word "only" before "two."

Then you lose me.

Mike Riccardi said...

but you cannot say that God does not give these impressions.

But you can't say that He does.

And the reason why you can't say that He does is that there's no where you could go in Scripture to test the validity of what you're saying, and there's no Apostle around to validate or invalidate it.

I think that's the point. No one wants to impugn your sincerity, but the canon is closed and the Apostolic age has ceased. So you shouldn't say, "God told me..." unless you have a passage in Scripture coming next, or unless you have testimony from an Apostle. In this age, those are the same thing.


1. Sure He does: through Scripture.
2. IMO, probably, but, as above, there's no way to test it.
3. Only in extreme cases while accompanied with heretical beliefs (e.g., "God told me Jesus has returned already.").

one busy mom said...

I think I'm having a serious "duh" moment here.

But basically, if we affirm that scripture is TOTALLY sufficient for knowing the will of God - then praying for any knd of sign to know what God's will is in a certain situation is actually wrong, isn't it?

DJP said...

OBM, people like you give me hope.

Thanks for reading and thinking-through.


one busy mom said...

Thanks Dan,

I'm still feeling awfully stupid that it took me about 25 years to finally just get it!

Thankfully God is very patient.

bp said...

Thanks Mike, that's all I wanted to know. Can't say He does and can't say He doesn't (seems to me I heart that same theme from gapid awhile ago). And since Dan has all the time in the world to answer everybody who agrees with him, but nobody who doesn't, I'll just assume he feels the same way you do.

Henry said...

Very interesting discussion. I would like to ask this:

How do any of the texts quoted in this post exclude God still guiding His people today by supernatural means if He so desires? There does not seem to be anything to argue against because the texts do not make exclusive claims as to how God may choose to guide.

As far as I can tell so far the only argument that has come close to making an exclusive claim on how God works today was the last post on 2Tim3:16 because it used the phrase 'fully equipped' for 'every good-work' which DJP took to mean that therefore there is no need for the Holy Spirit to supernaturally equip us today for any good work because Scripture has already equipped us, and hence also that there is no need for supernatural guidance.

The problem with taking the text in this way is that it excludes any supernatural aid from the Holy Spirit for a good work.

It means that we don't need the supernatural working of the Holy Spirit to empower/enable us to perform good works because we are already 'fully-equipped' for 'every good work' by Scripture.

On this reasoning there would be no need to pray for grace to be kind to people because Scripture has already 'fully-equipped' us to perform acts of kindness - we don't need 'additional' help from the Holy Spirit - Scripture has given us all we need.

I don't think any cessationist here really believes this conclusion and I would like to ask how you escape it? I do not see how you can use 2Tim3:16 to rule out one kind of supernatural working of the Holy Spirit (prophecy) without ruling all of them out.

A much more reasonable understanding of 2Tim3:16 is that Scripture 'fully equips' us for 'every good work' in the sense of providing sufficient and authoritative moral/doctrinal guidelines which are to inform all of our good works and give boundaries to them. But this does not preclude the supernatural workings of the Holy Spirit where He so chooses.

I am not trying to be difficult here - I would really like to understand how cessationists fit these things together in their heads.

Also, I would be interested to hear from a cessationist here how passages such as 1Cor14:1, 1Cor12:4-11, John14:21, Gal5:16-18 etc... fit into this understanding. And what book is the most cogent defense of cessationism available today?


p.s. I do not think that accepting my argument leads to charismania, one can quite easily adopt a much more sensible view along the lines of Charles Spurgeon that still allows for the supernatural when God ordains it.

gapid said...

one busy mom - the scripture contains God's will. read it, ponder it, dwell on it, live it. if you are unsure of what his will is, pray for wisdom - whatever you ask will be given to you. (James 1:5-6)

gapid said...

halo - i think they are making the assumption that the only time God interacts is ultimately to reveal something about redemption. if one were to assume that, then it's pretty easy to conclude that God is through speaking since the redemption is complete. if they can prove the assumption, they'll be much more convincing.

David Rudd said...


Do you see the closure of the canon as synonymous with the sufficiency of Scripture? or do you see them as different truths with separate implications?

Bob Edwards said...


First of all your questions are fair overall. However, many of these have been discussed by Dan in the past and you seem to be demanding that he do so again solely for your benefit. That would appear to be unreasonable to me. In addition, you seem to be demanding that he make a full case for the cessationist position in the comment section of a blog, another unreasonable request. Finally, your comments are deviating from the context of the original post. Dan made a focused point on one particular piece of a multiple post argument that is not finished and you want all all of your questions answered right now in the comments of this one post. Dare I say another unreasonable request.

Let me suggest that you click on the tags that Dan has put on the post and read ALL of them. Most, if not all, of your questions have been addressed here before. If that does not work, and you truly are interested in learning about the opposite side, then stick around till Dan has finished his series. You can interact with him on each particular point if you wish. Or go read some of the literature for the cessationist position. I am sure someone here will point you to some of the better works.

mxu said...

Hi Dan, I think you've lost track of my question (understandably so!), so I'd like to rephrase my question.

Given that Nehemiah knew in hindsight that it was God who had placed the desire to rebuild Jerusalem's walls on his heart, by what criteria did he judge this?

Now, as a believer today, can we use those same criteria in hindsight? As in, can I claim, after accomplishing something, that it was God who put it on my heart to do it?

I think unless we take the criteria, "it has to have come to pass" as our standard (which does seem allowable, albeit a bit pragmatic), there aren't conditions that couldn't just as easily have been applied before something is done.

Is there something I'm missing?

I'm not saying I'm going to turn and ask for signs (far be it). But somehow Nehemiah knew something, even in hindsight. Was that just extra-scriptural revelation just for him and now is never to be repeated? Or can we know things also (if even in hindsight) that "yup, this was from the Lord"?

Thanks again.

Seth said...

I don't want to answer for Dan, but it would seem that since you are quoting Nehemiah that anything you know which happened to him isn't by definition “extra-scriptural revelation”. Nehemiah was a prophet, someone who spoke God’s very words, and there are no more them (Ephesians 2:20). So our experiences might be different.

Henry said...

Father of Eleven,

kind of you to style my asking some genuine questions as 'demanding' answers 'solely for your benefit'!!!

I realize part (but not all) of my comment was related to the last post, but that was because the comments were shut down when I asked the question.

The fact remains that DJP's exposition of 2Tim3:16 is critical in his argument. So it seems to me that we can't just assume it is correct and skip along to the next point without answering the obvious objection I made.

Henry said...

I could phrase my question from a slightly different angle, maybe someone here can help me:

If, when Paul wrote 2Tim3:16 to Timothy he meant that there was no longer any place/need for supernatural revelation in Timothy's life, then why did Paul write to the Corinthians:

'earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy' 1Cor14:1

Both Timothy and the Corinthians had the OT scriptures, why did Paul tell Timothy that there was no need for supernatural revelation (according to DJP's interpretation) and yet told the Corinthians the opposite?

mxu said...


Thanks for the response. That seems plausible, but difficult. Nehemiah makes no claim to direct revelation (at least, as far as I know), and his life.

But this book does seem to be the only place in the Bible I've ever run across this phrase.

Oh, another question, and feel free to ignore it if it isn't on topic - would it be appropriate to cast lots today after making the best decision possible, akin to how the Apostles did it? Reduce it using scriptural qualifications as much as we can and then (if we're still stuck) pray and flip a coin to see who gets chosen? Apart from feeling out of place, would it be an appropriate form of decision making?

Henry said...


why would you need to cast lots? 2Tim3:16 says that Scripture has already 'fully-equipped' you for 'every good work'?

You demonstrate your lack of belief in the sufficiency of Scripture. You are a damnable heretic.


donsands said...

".. pray and flip a coin to see who gets chosen?"

You mean as in picking-up sides for a basketball game? Or do you mean picking a pastor? a wife?

I can't tell where you are coming from MX.

Seth said...

I find it interesting your use of Nehemiah as an example. I think if anything the book is a perfect example of someone following the Scripture- see 1:8. He prays to God recalls His words to Moses and then when given the opportunity to enact them he does. He claims at places “God had put into my heart to do for Jerusalem” (2:11) “So my God put it into my heart to assemble” (7:5) but whether you would count this as a claim to being guided as a profit, I don’t know? Unlike other profits he doesn’t say “God told me” to do this or “thus says the Lord”.

Its obvious God was active in Nehemiah’s endeavor, but no one is denying the sovereignty of the Lord, since Act 17:28 "'In him we live and move and have our being'”. No one is denying the work of the Holy Spirit since it is the Holy Spirit which leads us to salvation (1 Cor 12:3 for just one verse).

I think, at least this is my take, the issue is are we reading the Word and studying the Scripture, as we have been commanded to do or are just going out trusting that the feeling in our gut or the little voice in our head is going to tell us the way to go at the right time? If it’s the first then we are obeying God and on solid ground, if it’s the later then we could easily get ourselves in trouble.

I think your question about throwing lots is valid because it would be the natural outcome of a contintuist point of view. If the early NT church era is no different in the working of the gifts and the Holy Spirit than now why not cast lots? Heck let’s get the Urim and the Thummim going if that’s the case.

mxu said...

@donsands - I was thinking of more selecting a deacon (example in Acts), but I suppose a pastor or a wife would be possible, though I can't imagine someone narrowing candidates down to two women that he couldn't choose between. I would have other questions (of maturity) about this person.

Another example- You're trying to decide if you ought to give your money to ministry A or ministry B. You've narrowed it down to those two ministries via careful examinations of biblical principles of giving and goals, but the two seem more or less good choices, but are in two different fields. Is it appropriate at this time to flip a coin in order to decide while saying, "the lot is cast, but every decision is from the Lord"?

Seth - Re:Nehemiah I totally agree. Nehemiah is exactly the person who models following scripture and very much the type of person I'd want to be myself. I'm just trying to wrestle with what those two verses you cited means. I myself would never have used that phrase prior to just reading it a few days ago, but here it is in Scripture!

The question is, "How does Nehemiah know that it was the Lord who put it on his heart?"

I think, "Nehemiah received direct verbal revelation from God" is acceptable, but doesn't seem like it fits his character.

Now, if we say, "no, Nehemiah didn't receive direct verbal revelation," then I think that opens up a can of worms. Can we, like Nehemiah, claim that "God had put it on my heart" for things that I accomplish?

If that is permissible, it seems to open up a possibility of extra-scriptural revelation, namely that "so and so was because God put it on my heart." But maybe it's possible, and it actually applies to everything that we do because it is in God we live and move and have our being (thanks for the verse). But is that Nehemiah's intent to remind us of that?

So many questions! Ok, back to my term paper. Compared to this, 1 Cor. 7:12-16 should be cakewalk! Hah!

donsands said...

"I was thinking of more selecting a deacon (example in Acts)," mx

You mean this passage:

"And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them."

There's no casting lots here. In fact this is an excellent passage to show us that we need not cast lots.

If you want to cast lots for decision making, then I think there's a tendency to become superstitious.

To know God is sovereign over every minute of our lives, and know the truth of Proverbs 3:5-6, we can live a restful life of faith, and have the peace of God guarding our hearts in all we do, and in all the choices we have to make.

And of course taking time to pray, and praying without ceasing really, and reading, studying, and meditating upon the Word of the Lord.

Have a blessed Lord's Day.

Seth said...

I think he is referring to Act 1:26 "Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles."

Seth said...

After some more thought, I actually don’t view this question of casting lots off topic at all. As I wrote before I do think it would be the natural logical outcome of a contintuest position to cast lots to make decisions and how they would get around saying we shouldn’t would be interesting. There are probably charismatic churches who do cast lots.

But it goes right to the heart of the issue. Since this was written in Acts, just at the start of the NT church. The Apostles needed someone else to take the place of Judas. They looked to Scripture in Acts 1:20 and decided it was written that they should choose someone else. They thought about what the qualifications of an Apostle should be, (1:21-22) “choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22beginning from John's baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection." This is all they had to go on and since the events had just happened they had a large field to choose from so they cast lots and it falls to Matthias (1:26).

Since there are no more Apostles, no one would meet the qualifications in 1:21-22, we could try to apply it other leadership positions. So we could read this and when there is new leadership needed in the church we could say “well if you choose an Apostle this way maybe a pastor or elder should be chosen like this as well, get out the lots”. BUT we now have the rest of Scripture which wasn’t written at this point, so we can narrow the choices to find these people. We now have verses like 1 Timothy 3: 1-13 to guide us, so we don’t have to cast lots.

Jim Pemberton said...

I've known Amish communities that cast lots to see which elder would serve as a pastor.

The Church of the Brethren that I grew up in (and was baptized in) cast lots for certain decisions.

I wouldn't call either of these groups charismatic.

donsands said...

"I think he is referring to Act 1:26 "Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.""

This isn't selecting a deacon. Peter was adding an Apostle, since Judas killed himself.

wordsmith said...

I doubt charismatic churches are likely to cast lots to decide anything - too hard to control the outcome. It's much easier to manipulate when you sanctify your will by prefacing your decision with a "God told me / laid it on my heart," etc. Then, any gainsaying can be smacked down with a "touch not the Lord's anointed" rebuke.

Sadly, it happens all too often.

mikeb said...

I'm know I'm late to the party, but "better out than in I always say!"

gapid asks if this is a salvation issue?

Romans 10:16 "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ."

It appears that Paul that it was a salvation issue.

bp said...

Before the party gets shut down for good, I want to apologize to you, Dan, for the snippy part of my last post. Sorry about that.