19 August 2010

The but-what-about-my-holy-gizzard dodge (NEXT! #24)

by Dan Phillips

Challenge: If you won't call it prophecy, word of wisdom, word of knowledge, or God speaking, then what will you call my feelings, hunches, experiences, notions and impulses?

Response: That.

(Proverbs 21:22)

Dan Phillips's signature


DJP said...

1. Thanks to Jacob for suggesting, in the other meta, that this be a Next!

2. Shortest. Next! Ever?

David Kyle said...

If you do that then you won't take me seriously!

Jugulum said...

Right. If God uses them to edify, then thank Him--thank Him for every good thing He brings about in our lives. But don't regard them as words from God's mouth, and don't give them labels that Scripture doesn't teach us to give.

David Kyle said...

Seriously though :) I have noticed when my older children want their younger siblings to take them seriously they will often say "Dad said... (fill in the blank)."

The younger ones' attitude immediately changes and deference is given.

I think people who like to throw around the claim of a "word of knowledge" are just looking for... I dunno... respect.... and mostly authority.

Robert said...

But what about quenching the Spirit?!?!?!

Surely you expect that to be the rallying cry against that, right?

That, and we're putting God in a box by holding His work to be true to His inerrant Word. I'm not sure how that works...I'd like to think that God is really putting us in a box by giving us Scripture. Now, when we wonder outside that box, thinks get a bit kooky...

Jessica Kramasz said...

Perfect! I love it.

Strong Tower said...


Merrilee Stevenson said...

1. @ witness: we use the "Mom said/Dad said," at our house. No child has their own authority, but it is given temporarily by the parents to be used by the child to get his/her siblings to conform to obedience. But WOE to the one who says "Mom/Dad said" when it was in fact not so!

2. I really need to read those posts, but I'm afraid I'll need to send my children somewhere so I can take the time to do it. 157 comments requires a LONG naptime!

David Kyle said...


We had someone once use that "Dad said" when Dad didn't really say... once.

DJP said...

Dude, don't be misspelling Merrilee's name. Trust me on this.

That's actually a perfect illustration. What if your kids found that they could say what they wanted if they just prefaced it with "Dad said"?

Hello, modern Charismatic movement.

But I'm sure Charismatic families who practice it at church wouldn't tolerate that behavior from their kids at home.

donsands said...


The most dangerous Christian when it comes to prophecy is the one who will take his notions and impulses and blend them with Scripture, such as Harold Camping.

DJP said...

Charismatics who practice the gift of pop-offecy are worse and more cowardly than Camping — and I have no use for Camping.

Anyone care to guess why I say that?

David Kyle said...

Sorry Merrilee, here is the "r" I left out.

I believe it is an attempt, on the one who has this "word of knowledge", to encroach upon God's authority and gain some of His glory for themselves.

At least that is how I took it when one of my sons tried it.

David Kyle said...

Because Camping is twisting the Word of God and we can see that for ourselves. Whereas the charismatic folk are pulling "it" from out of their own heads.

Harder to verify that.

Stefan Ewing said...

How about when two kids get into an argument: "My dad said...." "Well, my dad said...."

And..."holy gizzard"?

Verification word: "expodge." "Wow, what a trainwreck of a meta. We've got to expodge this comment thread."

lawrence said...

God said this is a horrible Next!...sorry.

Robert said...

It also seems that Camping stands out a bit more and wants to...whereas many charismatics are trying to work within the mainstream evangelical movement. It honestly scares me that there is this large group of young charistmatic calvinists because they become very dogmatic about their defense of the current use of sign gifts...even when the application doesn't past the test of Scripture. And it seems like a lot of people are becoming more aggressive about pushing the use of sign gifts.

This has become an issue with some people involved at my church. Some young men who recently left our church now at a charismatic church...they invited some youth from our church to evangelize with them. So they went and evangelized a while...then afterwards took them through a "Bible study" that covered the sign gifts. It didn't help that the young men seem to have quite a bit of influence over smoe of the youth because they are quite charismatic (no pun intended).

I don't get how anybody thinks that doing something like that is biblical. I found myself working between anger and feeling sick at my stomach when I heard abou it. Fortunately, I think things have been taken care of through the leadership at our church and the families of the youth.

One thing I found interesting is that these young men were pushing a lot of John Piper's teaching. And I have found that a lot of the young charismatic calvinists do the same. I'm not quite sure what to make of that because Piper is very solid on doctrine.

DJP said...

Stefan: I like it.

DJP said...

Robert: Piper is wobbly (in my opinion) about revelatory/sign gifts.

Robert said...


Yeah...I think fear of man caused me to delete the word most in there. Which is amazing since this is a blog.

DJP said...

I understand. I'm a Piper admirer and he's helped me a lot... but Piperolaters are scary.

Jugulum said...

Inexplicably, the hypnotoad pops into my head. Hypnopiper?

(Not to imply that Piper is responsible for the undue, uncritical adulation some people give him.)

DJP said...

Wow. Cover one of those puppies with tar, and you've really got something going on.

Robert said...


I agree, but I know that I had to "unlinke" DG on my fb account because of a post they put up this week where Piper says he thinks that sign gifts should be done in small groups instead of church. Although I guess he says he has no problem with churches that allow it. It just seems like he is really pushing it (use of sign gifts) a bit, but that's just me. And to me, that just feeds the fever. Like I said, I'm not sure what to make of it, but I know what I see and hear.

Aaron said...

@Merrilee: You had really had me laughing. "Woe" unto you who uses his parents authority without permission. My firstborn will even tell me what "my mommy says." We've discovered that she takes everything very literally.

@DJP: My response would have been shorter. I wouldn't say anything. I'd just leave a couple tablets of antacid on the counter.

Mike said...

But seriously though Dan, I have some miraculous spring water the I'm looking to sell if you're interested. It's great for the gout...or is that grout? I always get those two mixed up.

donsands said...

Well if we compare Benny the Hinn with Camping, what do we see.

Benny has said that "Castro will die in the 1990's."

Camping said the Lord would come back in 1994.

Both are false prophets. Camping goes on to say he was in God's will writing his book, and if you disagree, then you are not a Christian.
The man does have more boldness, or even courage I guess.

I don't know what Hinn does with, and says about, all his phoney "pop-offecy", (I love that).

So I see that Harold is less cowardly. But is he less dangerous to people's souls?

I don't know.

Robert said...


Do you mena that it will chase off the demon of the gout? I mean, casting out demons was also one of those gifts, right?

Sir Brass said...

DJP, Agreed on the piperolaters. Same goes for anyone who likes to toss out what their favorite theologian said or always use as a defense what their pastor preached on sunday INSTEAD OF (note that) going to scripture and using proper exegesis (as much as they are capable of... not all of us can properly read or understand the original language ;) ) defend our point.

I take the stand that one who wants to claim to be calvinist and charismatic has to either be very leaky on his charismatism or drop being a calvinist all together. What charismatism leads to is a functional denial and repudiation of sola scriptura.

Paul says it best when he tells Timothy that ALL SCRIPTURE is theopneustos (God-breathed). Not all spiritual feelings or liver-shivers. It is the enscripturated Word that is given inspired, authoritative status, not that liver shiver that could've been caused from the pizza last night.

It's also this bent towards "relevancy" (not real relevancy) and charismatism that causes me to stand apart from my fellows who are the same age but mixed in with the YRR stuff. YRR is like a two-year-old throwing a temper tantrum. He likes living with mommy and daddy (here we can say this is reformed tradition upon whose shoulders YRRs must stand), but wants to only eat candy and watch television. Sorry pal, can't have it both ways.

Jugulum said...


Good point. And all you'll need after that is the feathers. ;)


Yes, Piper advocates modern prophecy, under the same understanding as Wayne Grudem--which is that NT prophecy wasn't an authoritative & infallible proclamation that "God says ____". Grudem uses the phrase "a fallible report of something God spontaneously brings to mind", which must be tested & judged against Scripture. That's why they advocate the qualifier "I think God is saying...".

In the vein of Dan's NEXT: If you changed "I think God is saying ___" to "I've got a feeling that ____" or "I can't put my finger on why, but I think maybe ___", then everyone would much closer to being on the same page.

Tom said...

So what do you say when a pastor gets up to the pulpit on Sunday morning and tells his congregation that the Lord told him he should preach on his topic?

Robert said...


Well, that leaves me thinking that Piper is right along with Poythress in his definition of prophecy. However, in the video clip I watched, Piper said that in small groups somebody should spontaneously ask if anybody has a word from God. Those were his words and I'm sorry, but a word from God means "God said ____".

I just can't shrink away from the feeling that redefining prohpecy isn't a form of liberalism.

Anonymous said...

Could just be gas.

lawrence said...

Sir Brass,

I take the stand that people who reject the notion that someone can charismatic and Calvinist either don't understand "charismatism" or...well they probably do understand Calvinism. So yeah, they probably just don't understand "charismatism."


Jugulum said...

Everyday Mommy,

Right. Or it could be a sinful desire pulling you the wrong way. Or a morally acceptable desire. Or it could be that your subconscious is putting some pieces together, according to Scripture-saturated, Spirit-assisted wisdom--giving you a conclusion that you can't put your finger on.

Charismatic issues aside: You don't ignore gut feelings or spontaneous thoughts, or dismiss them as delusions--you just shouldn't give it authority. You examine it, consider it, and weigh it against Scripture. You pray for wisdom, as you use the tools God has given us.

And if it's something like, "I don't know why, but I have the sudden feeling that I need to pray for Bob", you could just pray for him. And if it turns out later that he was struggling with suicidal thoughts at that moment, then give God the glory.


I totally agree. If you call it "a word from God", you're claiming "God says".

And yes, Poythress was talking about the same thing. He used Grudem and his book by name. But do go back and read Poythress's article more carefully--as I said to Dan, Poythress didn't argue that Grudem is right. He argued that even if these "feelings, hunches, experiences, notions and impulses" are not prophecy, if God is using them to edify the Body for the common good, then they meet the definition of "spiritual gift". (I'm not convinced he made his case, but that's what he argued.)

Rachael Starke said...

Ah, it's time for your magic happy pills, Mr. Smith. Come along, come along...

David Kyle said...


You said... "And if it turns out later that he was struggling with suicidal thoughts at that moment, then give God the glory."

There's the rub, 'cause they want some of that action.

Jugulum said...


I'm as certain that you're right about the hearts of many as I am that you're wrong about others.

Be discerning, and remember that discernment involves distinguishing good from bad.

David Kyle said...

Jugulum... rebuked and better for it. Thanks.

Merrilee Stevenson said...

DJP: Thank you for your swift correction about my name-spelling!

witness & Sir Aaron, I think it goes beyond just getting the glory to assuming the place of authority. If I send one child to tell the others to come to the table to eat, and the others do not heed my message, they will be held accountable for their disobedience. (It is of utmost importance that the messenger-child say the words, "Mom said" in his/her message, for all involved.)

If, however, a wretched-little offspring of mine were to go and make up some story like, "Mom said you need to give me all your baseball cards," and I had said nothing of the sort, then that kiddo is in BIG trouble with me. (And the poor one who believes his message is a fool for believing I would say such a thing.)

I think that a child who would do that wants his own followers to obey his commands. And he wants the baseball cards too. Power and greed are very strong motivators.

(My word verification makes me think of what happens when the unruly ones get out of line: butpr)
(laughing and blushing at the same time.)

Rob said...

I like this dodge, and I need to use this sometime with a friend of mine who would pose the same question.

Also, as an aside, its a much more refreshing bunch of comments for this post. So much of the meta from the last couple of Pyro blog posts was starting to smell like a reptile house.

Jugulum said...


I'd greet you with a kiss if I could. (The manly, Christian kind.)

Strong Tower said...


Or it could just be delusion.

I am not sure you were addressing my "response to the NEXT! I was not just being dismissive, however, delusion can have several sorces, internal and external, and of course the most powerful of these sources is God himself. Which is why, speaking from my own occult and charismatic experiences, I believe it is extremely dangerous to dabble in what cannot clearly be discerned.

We have the word of God and when it says that we are not to trust the brethren, that we are not to trust our neighbors, we are not even to trust even our spouses, I am hoping that we all consider we are not excepted from the heart which is deceptive above all things.

Bottom line, why go outside the parameters of Scripture and seek what cannot be truly known? To trust in anything but is to take a leap into the darkness, simply.

If you feel, think, or are motivated by gas to go, go. God will by common providence do in you what he pleases. We can know that from Scripture. Any thing more comes from evil for it is taking the Lord's name in vain to swear that it is from Him when you do not know that it truly is. Any time some one assigns to God the "I think God is saying," we haven't just made ourselves fools, but God. For what we are saying is that God doesn't have the means to difinitive, clearly, unequivocably, speak.

Jugulum said...


Or delusion, right. That's why I said we shouldn't give it authority.

I threw in the word "delusion" because you had used it, yes. If you only meant that gut feelings & intuition can be delusion (so they should be regarded critically), then we're on the same page. If you were equating the two, then I disagree for the reasons I already said.

Phil Johnson said...

Many charismatic "prophecies" are just flat-out demonic lies, and I think it's important to face that fact honestly:


Chris H said...

Oh Phil... I could have gone the rest of my life without ever having to see/hear/encounter Todd Bentley again. :P

Anonymous said...

"Many charismatic "prophecies" are just flat-out demonic lies, and I think it's important to face that fact honestly:"

Thank you for saying this clearly and unflinchingly, Phil.

Anonymous said...

In the video clip which Phil posted, Robert DeLuca "prophecies"...

"I saw Todd [Bentley] become like a nail spike and I saw the hammer of heaven with the hand of God nail Todd right into the ground of Florida and I saw a scroll on this spike and the word said the kingdom of heaven has now come."

According to DeLuca, Todd Bentley is Jesus Christ.

Anonymous said...

Thank you....some one finally said it. I am slap tired of people talking this way. They simply blame God for their stupid choices.

Robert said...

Wow...that makes my skin crawl. Is Bentley trying to be the newer version of Joseph Smith, who said he had done more and better works than any man who ever lived (including Jesus Christ)?

bp said...

Getting tired of the smugness here.

donsands said...

"I think it's important to face that fact honestly"

I agree. I like to put these false preachers on Facebook, and share a bit about how they are deceivers. I do get some people upset.
They tell me, can you guess?--"You should not touch God's anointed."

Amazing, isn't it.

God does have his people who are called moreso to expose these goofs. Good Christian soldiers like Todd Friel seem to have a calling to help the body of Christ see the false-disciples in the Church.
Most Christians I don't think will want to do this, but will simply avoid these phonies and live for Christ, and worship and serve their Lord.

But we do truly need to speak up. Silence can be golden, and it can be yellow.

Chris H said...


You said, "Getting tired of the smugness here."

Did you have a useful comment to add, or just felt like slapping your keyboard a little?

David Kyle said...

Chris her pastor is John Piper.


Is it smugness to rely only on the Word of God and not visions/dreams/whatever?

I mean the moment you open the door for one little "God told me" then it is quick slide down to where Todd Bently is. If you allow for anything outside of Scripture you cannot rebuke the likes of Bently

Chris H said...

Are you implying that bp's response is due to John Piper being her pastor (allegedly)? If so, I say pheh to you (to quote Frank Turk).

John Piper would have a good reply to someone with whom he disagrees, I suspect.

Jugulum said...


If allowing for any "God told me" leaves us with an unavoidable slide down to Todd Bentley, how do you think people avoided that slide before prophecy ceased?

Sir Brass said...


And it's also important to note that while "charismatic" calvinists will soundly denounce and condemn those demonic lies they cannot do so consistently with their charismatic beliefs, not without twisting them to be something that the bible did NOT intend "da gifts" to be interpreted as.

So, yeah, in order to be faithful to the Word, "charismatic" calvinists have to give up being actually charismatic, but they won't let go of it and so instead just profess a real watered down version of it that just serves to confuse and just shows their inconsistency on it to those who can get through that confusion.

And as several wise men have said at various times and various places:

Inconsistency is the sign of what?

A failed argument.

David Kyle said...

Chris I am just saying that could be a reason as Pastor Piper leans that way.

David Kyle said...


Because they could back it up with oh... say... gving sight to the blind or maybe healing the lame.

It's easy to utter some prophecy or word of knowledge, but back it up with something harder like...

"I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!" ~Acts 3:7

word verification: cheat

bp said...

Chris, that was my useful comment. Some of the comments just sound very smug. And I learned long ago that anything "useful" I have to say on this topic is fair game for ridicule. When sharing my experience in a long ago thread on the topic, I could not get one person to tell me flat out that what I shared didn't happen. The only thing that it lead to was: We can't say it did, and we can't say it didn't. If it's true that God never ever speaks to people (impresses something on their heart) outside of His Word, then someone should have had the guts to say, "Hey, bp, I don't know what was happening with you there, but I can say assuredly, based on Scripture, that it did not happen as you say."

I'm not condoning people who walk around saying, "God told me this and God told me that," or people like Benny Hinn, by any means, but at the same time, just because you have never sensed (very strongly)God speaking to you, doesn't mean it never happens.

DJP said...

...and as I always am (or feel) obliged to do, bp, when you bring out your sad story about your all-important personal experience:

1. You most certainly did get a response

2. It wasn't what you wanted

3. You were urged to re-read the posts and think much more seriously

4. In my unable-to-read-hearts observation, you never did, and still do not get it

So it doesn't surprise me that this post, and this meta, don't up your happy feelings.

bp said...

...and, that was your typical canned response every time I asked if someone (anyone) could tell me that it didn't happen. Finally Mike Riccardi, I believe, stepped up and said, "We can't say it did and we can't say it didn't."

DJP said...

That's Mike speaking for Mike, which he does well.

"Canned" = you didn't like it, but it didn't change, and won't. (See above.)

Okay, hope you feel better now; let's move on.

Denis said...

I've read a few of these posts now, and have one question (more trying to ensure I am understanding correctly, I guess).

Is it fair to summarize the teaching this post refers to in this way: The Holy Spirit does not communicate to Christians today in a personal and discernable way.

Jugulum said...



The apostles did that, yes. And God gave Moses some attesting signs to perform, after he complained that people wouldn't believe him. (Not the best example, given that it was a response to Moses' series of excuses--not something God initiated. You have to speculate that He would have given Moses those signs regardless.)

But if you're saying that's the universal rule, for every real prophet in history, then I want to know--do you have biblical warrant to say so, or is it just what makes sense to you?

Issues I can see with that answer:
--I don't know of a positive Scriptural teaching that real prophets come with miracles.
--Off the top of my head: There's no hint that Jonah performed miracles to Ninevah, or that Agabus or Philip's four daughters ever performed miracles. (Though, I haven't done a tally of biblical prophets. It would be silly to demand that it mention the miracles every time--assuming that we have solid reason to think they happened every time.)

Mike Riccardi said...

For the record:

I said: "So, while it's impossible for me or anyone else to say, "You imagined that experience you're talking about," I would say that whatever it was it wasn't new revelation, and it wasn't God speaking directly to you outside of His Word. He's declared that He'll do neither."

BP seemed to understand that, when she repeated what I said: "On the one hand, you can state as fact that it wasn't God speaking to me and on the other that it's impossible for you to tell me I imagined it."

Wanting to demonstrate that I didn't think there was a contradiction, I <a href="http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2010/05/is-this-central-issue-in-christian_06.html?showComment=1273365373551#c6032905380846011100>clarified</a>: "Regarding the supposed contradiction, I just mean that I wasn't in your head. I couldn't definitively say that you imagined anything. That'd be presumptuous of me, don't you think? But I can point to Scripture, which I know is objectively true, and present the principles it teaches. The fact is: when God speaks, that's infallible revelation. The fact also is: such revelation ceased before the end of the 1st century."

Mike Riccardi said...

Sorry, I blew it, multiple times. That last little bit should have been: "I clarified..."

DJP said...

Okay, that's good: now ENOUGH about that meta! It's up! Everyone can read it, and the posts.

donsands said...

"The Holy Spirit does not communicate to Christians today in a personal and discernable way." -Denis

Nobody said that here that i know of.

DJP said...

TomSo what do you say when a pastor gets up to the pulpit on Sunday morning and tells his congregation that the Lord told him he should preach on his topic?

Did you read the posts? If not, do. They start here. Read them, you'll have both the what and the why.

DJP said...

Denis — that summary actually sounds (I'm being candid, not snarky) as if you haven't given much of a read to any of the posts of these topics.

Phil Johnson said...

bp: "I learned long ago that anything "useful" I have to say on this topic is fair game for ridicule"

A Word to Everyone:

bp's been around long enough and participated regularly enough in our combox to earn the right to call us "smug." So cut her some slack, and don't ridicule her unless you too have first earned the right via your own patient, friendly, persistent participation in these discussions over the long haul.

Here's my answer to bp and others who think they have received a special private revelation from God and now insist that cessationists owe them an explanation for their "word of knowledge" (or whatever).

Incidentally, we have a long-standing (unanswered) challenge here at the blog for our charismatic friends to point out one modern "prophet" who actually meets the minimal biblical standard by which we are to measure a true, God-called prophet. Until someone produces a viable candidate--a prophet who is consistently reliable--I don't see any need to explain every person's one-off Twilight-Zone experiences. I've seen equal (and superior) signs and wonders among the Hindus in India, and I don't think it is the duty of any Christian apologist to explain them, either.

Phil Johnson said...

BTW, the Robert DeLuca "prophecy" I linked to was just the tip of the iceberg. I could literally link to hundreds of examples of Satanic "prophecies," made possible by charismatics whose doctrine of "fresh revelation" props the door open for such nonsense to come flooding in.

I was just listening to a podcast by Chris Rosebrough today where Rolland Baker claimed Jesus took a friend of his to Hawaii and hung out with him for two weeks so that the fellow "could learn what Jesus' personality was like."

Perhaps one of our charismatic friends could explain how--on charismatic principles--one might respond to such claims (which are extra-biblical; not overtly anti-biblical), without having to give them credibility they clearly do not deserve.

lee n. field said...

68 messages, behind again after a long day's work putting out IT fires. [sigh]

I am so tired of this "God told me" stuff. It's like they're playing a spiritual trump card you don't dare argue against.

"Piper is wobbly (in my opinion) about revelatory/sign gifts" --DJP

He's the one that recently had a "prophetic word" or somesuch for the YRR types. If I recall it correctly, the content was good, but it was spoiled completely for me by the "word from God" hubris.

"Piper said that in small groups somebody should spontaneously ask if anybody has a word from God. " --Robert

"Yes", and promptly start reading from, oh, Romans, Hebrews or Jeremiah.

"Is it fair to summarize the teaching this post refers to in this way: The Holy Spirit does not communicate to Christians today in a personal and discernable way." --Denis

You mean, apart from the preaching of the Word and administration of baptism and the Lord's supper?

bp said...

I was prepared to move on, Dan, but I hope you'll let me respond to Mike & Phil.

Mike, in your response in the other meta, you said:

So let's just take your story at face value and say for argument's sake that it was the Holy Spirit working on your heart that brought those words to mind.

If they were pointing you to His written word and not contradicting anything that has already been plainly revealed in Scripture, then God wasn't going outside of His Word

Isn't "The Holy Spirit working on your heart that brought those words to mind" the same as "God speaking to me" or "God impressing something on my heart?"

Phil, thank-you, and I'll read the link shortly. As far as naming a modern-day prophet, how could we know when there are so many fakes and phonies in the limelight? Is it unbiblical to say that God could be "bringing words to his people's minds" quietly, for the edification of His people? Does that mean (if I say this has happened to me), that I'm claiming to be a prophet and I should preface it with: Truly, truly I say to you? Maybe I don't know 100% that it was God speaking to bringing these impressions to me for my encouragement, but I don't see how it contradicts Scripture if it is so. But then maybe I'll read your link Phil and have a change of mind.

Denis said...

Hi Dan,

I have read and mulled over most of the posts (possible all of them), but obviously have misunderstood :). But I figured was very possible, which is why I asked if I was understanding correctly or not.

The issue then is saying that God communicated to you, not the actual act of God communicating to you? But I don't think that's quite right either. I guess is what I am struggling with in these posts is trying to understand the overarching principle, as opposed to the specific examples cited.

Could I ask how you'd summarize this teaching in a sentence or two?

p.s. no worries about being candid, or even snarky for that matter :), I'm obviously having a hard time following this particular series and appreciate the help in understanding.

Aaron said...


I could open up a whole other can of worms with that video. How can you pay any attention to his prophecy when he's covered head to toe with tattoos? I think his cornea had a tattoo. BTW, why don't you extend the challenge to healings and I mean the "stand up and walk" type genuine healings. Because that is one of my biggest beefs.

@Merrilee: I got ya the first time and agree, wholeheartedly. But it's still funny how you worded it.

@DJP My daughter says the same thing. "But Daddy, you always say that!"

Anonymous said...

ZING! great stuff.

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

"How can you pay any attention to his prophecy when he's covered head to toe with tattoos?" -Aaron

Those were before his conversion, supposedly, I think.

Reforming Guy said...

Not adding to the argument at all, but just on a side note:

I'm currently studying mormonism for the purpose of apologetics and over and over again they split because for a while Joseph Smith taught his followers to listen to the still small voice but then of course that voice started telling them things he couldn't control or *gasp* that went against what his still small voice said, so then he tried to put the kabosh on that. Didn't work out too well for him.

Anyway, DJP, I struggled with your arguments in your Poythress articles, but in the end, I still come back to the fact that I wouldn't want there to ever be a question about the validity of someones "prophesy".

Like my pastor says, "People who say 'God told me to...' start ok and it usually ends up with 'God told me to sleep with that guy's wife.' which just aint ok. Best to not go there."

Rachel said...

My dad is involved with this break off of The Way International. It's very cult like and they do "tongues and interpretations" and "prophecy" during their fellowship sessions. It's deceptive because it appears to follow Paul's directions in 1 Corinthians, but it's gibberish. The person who speaks in the tongue also interprets what they just said, or will just bust out with some prophecy. Everyone takes their turn and it's not chaotic like with the charismatics.

What's funny is my husband and I went to visit him a few months ago and my dad was telling my DH how I started speaking in tongues when I was six. I wasn't around when this conversation was going on. DH looked him dead in the eye and said, "Well, she knows better now." And that was the end of that discussion.

To be perfectly honest the charismatics creep me out. I witnessed a lot of bizarre things in the "New Age" movement while I was still lost. I witnessed "channeling" and things like letting some other being take over. Then I witnessed the charismatics, and they do exactly the same thing. They just think it's God. It sends chills down my spine just watching it sometimes. Makes me sick because it scares me so much how they willingly let something take over and have no clue what it is.

bp said...

Good article, Phil. I read it several times. Am I right to assume that in the bolded part of your statement below that you equate the possibility of “the Holy Spirit infusing thoughts into my brain” equal to “God speaking to me/giving me an impression”?

“I can't possibly understand why that thought popped into my head or even discern correctly whether it originated in my own imagination or was immediately infused into my brain by the Holy Spirit.

If so, then I agree. God may, perhaps, speak to / give us impressions, but we can not/should not say that we know for sure (with 100% certainty) that He did. If this is your stance, it seems very different than the mixed-up message that I’ve gotten from others. Namely, that if you even suggest that God spoke to you, you are claiming to be a modern-day prophet and the words He spoke to you need to be canonized. But since there are no modern-day prophets, you’re mistaken, but I won’t say for sure that God doesn’t speak to / give people impressions.

Matt Aznoe said...


You said:

"Incidentally, we have a long-standing (unanswered) challenge here at the blog for our charismatic friends to point out one modern "prophet" who actually meets the minimal biblical standard by which we are to measure a true, God-called prophet."

Now which is it: experience or the Word of God? You are asking for a sign, but my objections to cessation have their foundation in scripture. The fact is that there is no verse in scripture that says that the gifts have ceased. In fact, in the list of gifts in 1 Corinthians, the "sign" gifts are mixed right in along with gifts such as teaching, helping, and administration. How then can we say that some gifts have ceased and others have not?

I do not say this because I have experienced them personally (though I do believe God has spoken to be a couple times in the past). I say this because my study of the Word of God compels me. There is little to no evidence for cessation in the Bible and a great deal of evidence to indicate that the gifts were never intended to cease until Christ returns.

As to why there are so few true demonstrations of the gifts in America today, I think we need to look to 1 Samuel 3:1. I believe we have been in a time much like when Samuel was young. Our nation and our church have been entrenched in sin, so there has not been an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our midst. Perhaps if we have a true revival once again we may see the Holy Spirit work in a way similar to the NT times.

And incidentally, anyone who thinks that Piper is the spearhead of "charismatic Calvinists" does not know what they are talking about. I have seen a couple different movements, each started independently of one another, that have come to similar conclusions as a result of an honest study of scripture. My own personal search came to this conclusion long before I discovered Piper had similar beliefs.

What you are seeing is a serious challenge to the traditions handed down by men and a return to the clearly stated truths of scripture by the power of the Holy Spirit. In essence, true Christianity: an intimate relationship with a living and holy God.

Aaron said...


"Supposedly, I think." LOL. He could still put on a long sleeve shirt. Seriously, I work in law enforcement. And when I see tats on ones fingers in the manner he has them, my first impression isn't happy thoughts.

@BP I can't imagine how you could read any of the recent threads and still be confused by the anti-charismatic view as articulated by any of the regulars here. The universal message has been that God speaks through Scripture. Period. End of canon. The rest of it is you mistaking God's providence in all things as a personal telegram from God.

Sir Brass said...

Sir Aaron, BINGO, that's exactly our position.

It actually shows a more accurate and respectful regard for the spiritual sign gifts in effect during inscripuration (sp?) than the modern charismatics give it just so they can claim non-cessationism. We regard the sign gifts as indications that special revelation from God was being delivered.

Now that the canon is complete, there is no NEED for those gifts as what was being revealed to Christians during inscripuration is the same things we are told in the written Word.

God provided for His people while He used means to put His special revelation into His chosen means of distribution: written Word. So the NT church was not left without the vital revelation given in the NT while those letters and gospels were being written down, but once they were written down, the gifts were withdrawn as they were no longer needed.

It is a tremendous witness to the providence and care of the Lord that He cared for His people during such a time.

Phil Johnson said...

Matt: "Now which is it: experience or the Word of God? You are asking for a sign, but my objections to cessation have their foundation in scripture."

We've covered this ground repeatedly.

Your objections to cessation are actually an argument from silence, and your whole argument falls apart unless you're prepared either 1) to argue completely from Scripture that the canon of Scripture is closed, or 2) defend the notion that the canon never did close.

Because if you believe the canon is closed, you already hold to a kind of cessationism; and if you hold that view but aren't prepared to establish your cessationism from the text without reference to the historical fact that the writing of Scripture DID cease at the end of the apostolic era, then your demand for proof texts establishing the cessation of the miraculous gifts is shown to be a false standard, and one you yourself don't hold when it comes to the closure of the canon.

bp said...

I think that I actually do understand it, Sir Aaron. But, the problem is, that when people state (on the one hand) that God speaks through Scripture only, period, and then (on the other hand) say it's possible that the Holy Spirit "brings words to our mind" (as Mike did) or "infuses thoughts into our brain" (as Phil did), it comes across as contradictory, and leaves people, like Denis, responding with: The issue then is saying [I would add: For sure] that God communicated to you, not the actual act of God communicating to you? He says this because that's what it sounds like you guys are saying.

After all, what IS the Spirit bringing words to our minds or infusing thoughts into our brains if it is not God speaking to/giving us impressions? If the thought originates with God and then we think it, that is communication from God.

Robert said...


I certainly have a beef with your assertion that it is because we are so entrenched in sin that we have this issue. Go study church history and look at the early church age. Chrysostom (from the fourth century AD) said that the sign gifts "had ceased so long before his time that no one was certain of their characteristics." (The Cessation of the Sign Gifts by Thomas R. Edgar) You can't just throw out assertions like that without doing some research and have any credibility.


I am not trying to be disrespectful of Piper or of you. My wife actually came to her belief in Calvinism based on a sermon by Piper. I would assert that the Holy Spirit opens our eyes/hearts/minds to the truth of Scripture and that this is what some might consider God speaking to them. The thing is, it comes from the Word of God first and foremost...we don't just receive it separate from His Word. The reason the prophets in the Bible received messages directly from God is that there was no complete canon to reference. So God spoke directly to them. I certainly do not discount any experience that you may have had, I just think that it should not be identitifed as a word from God. That doesn't mean that the Holy Spirit could not have revealed a truth from Scripture to you from your reading of the Word. I am sorry if I had offended you in any previous posts and I am certainly not feeling smug. God convicts me (through Scripture) of enough sin in my life to keep me grounded. I actually appreciate your comments that I have read on here and can see the grace of God in you through what you have said.

Barbara said...

After growing up always confused about "well is what I sense from God or from me or from where? How can I tell?" I came across a simple, four-word sentence that is backed up by Scripture and settled it all down and eliminated all confusion for me:

God does not mumble. Historically, when the Holy One of Israel speaks, He generally has the intention of being heard and not leaving His people guessing and fumbling around in the dark going, "well did He really say...?". He's holy and good that way.

Matt Aznoe said...


Is it not interesting to note the quote was made during the time in which Roman Catholicism had come to power? I wonder what the witness would have been in the church in Ireland or India or wherever else the Gospel had been spread by that time.

If you seriously evaluate the church in America, you will see that she is extremely weak. I can make the assertion because the statistics back me up on this that of those who claim to be Christians (that is say that Jesus died to for them and they have a relationship with Him that is important) less than 8% of them are in fact Christians. In the average church of 300 people, there are only 24 actual Christians. And that is a conservative estimate.

In light of all that combined with the choking effect of American materialism and wealth, is it any wonder that the Holy Spirit cannot move in our midst?

But in response, we circle our wagons and cling to our dogma instead of falling on our faces before God and clinging to His mighty arms. We shun His living Spirit in exchange for our new mute idol: the Bible. A written book is far easier to manipulate that a living, holy, and omnipotent God. Just ask the Muslims.

We need to shake off our man made traditions and stand boldly in the power of the Holy Spirit, grounded in the scriptures, allowing God to speak and act through us to preach the Gospel with power (Romans 15:18-19). All praise, honor, and majesty be to God!

Matt Aznoe said...


You said:

"Your objections to cessation are actually an argument from silence, and your whole argument falls apart unless you're prepared either 1) to argue completely from Scripture that the canon of Scripture is closed, or 2) defend the notion that the canon never did close."

That is a very good point: is the scripture actually closed? I guess it depends on how you define scripture, but what we have in the Bible is the Gospel, once for all delivered to the saints. It is the written account by eye witnesses of Jesus Christ or those closely associated with them. Therefore, it is the standard against which all other spirits are to be tested. We go too far to say that the canon is closed and thereby reject any further word from God.

Consider if your wife wrote extensive love letters before you were married telling you about herself and her love for you. Upon getting married, she then tries to talk to you, but you ignore her and instead just read the letters she has written. How long do you think that marriage will last? God is a living God. He is not a mute idol. He desires to have an intimate relationship with us as He has expressly set forth by the example of earthly marriage. God does not change nor will His message change, but to think that we need not rest in faith in His guidance and teaching even today is to place our faith not on God but on our ability to interpret the Bible. We have therefore lost many to the intellectual study of scripture as they lose their first love of God.

There are many things that the Bible is silent about. Should we not allow musical instruments that are not in the Bible because the list of instruments is closed? The Bible is the foundation, not the completed work. We as the church are building on that foundation.

Matt Aznoe said...


Consider 1 Corinthians 12:28. How can you pick and choose the gifts that follow? Teaching and helping and mixed in with tongues, healing, and miracles. "All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills." (1 Cor 12:11) Is the Holy Spirit divided? Is the Holy Spirit now silent. Consider 1 John 2:27. This was written near the end of the "apostolic age" around 90-95 BC, but John still writes that we are still taught by the Holy Spirit. The apostles taught the gifts to the early church as a foundational principle for Christian life without even a hint that they would be taken away completely.

The problem is that one side of the church ignores the Holy Spirit while the other side does not test the spirits. The heresies of the Catholics and Eastern Orthodox churches should have been eliminated immediately when they were seen to be contrary to the Bible. Are there many false prophets today? Certainly, and we need to call them out, but just because we do not know of a true prophet today does not mean that they cannot and will not exist. Is that not itself an argument of silence? There may very well be many true prophets of God today, but I would guess that most of them do not speak English and so we will never hear about them.

You claim to stand on scripture, but then you turn around and create your own scripture -- essentially dictating what God is able to do when He Himself has made no such proclamation. I stand on the word of God with its promises and commands -- including "Do not despise prophesies, but test everything; hold fast what is good." (1 Thess. 5:20-21) I do not want to be found guilty of ignoring God when He speaks.

Robert said...


You are taking a lazy approach to looking at church history. It is easy to write things off in such a fashion as you do, but let me recommend an article for your reading:


Do you understand the purpose of the sign gifts? They are a sign for unbelievers. Do you understand the history of their use? When the whole charismatic movement started here in America? And if you look at that and try to tell me that it only occurs in areas where the church is strong and faithful, you'll have a HARD time convincing me that what we see here these days really follows Scripture.

Matt Aznoe said...


I am not condoning the modern charismatic movement by any stretch. Most if not all of it is demonic. Watching the videos on the "Toronto blessing" was deeply disturbing as it was clearly not of God.

That is not what I am talking about. I am talking about the true working of the Holy Spirit, most notably and strongly seen by the fruit of the Spirit. It need not be the "sign" gifts, per se, but supernatural love in the face of severe persecution, supernatural endurance through the midst of trails.

The problem I am addressing here is the blatant disregard of anything that is too mystical to fit our religious dogma even when it is, in fact, scriptural. There are those who refuse to hear about any vision, dream, or prophesy because "the gifts have ceased." This is lazy, and worse, it is disobedient and disrespectful to God. There is no indication that the gifts have ceased, but throughout the Old and New Testament, we see that God moves when He wills and sometimes there are times of silence -- but that does not mean that the power of the Holy Spirit has ceased. Perhaps I am overstating the case concerning our sin quenching the Spirit, but God does sometimes turn us over to our desires when we refuse to listen to Him.

When the true prophets do come, will you listen to them?

DJP said...

Short version of what I started to write:

I guess my actual post topic is played out.

I'm closing the meta before it becomes a totally unrelated thing that I don't want to have to shepherd.

If Phil wants to reopen and shoulder revisiting BP's and Matt's issues in addition to the 689,403 things he's carrying on his shoulders, and finishing that up, I'm sure it'd be instructive to us all.