05 August 2011

Should Type-R Charismatics Get a Free Pass?

Does the fact that we are "together for the gospel" necessitate our being "together" [or even silent] on the matter of charismatic claims as well?
by Phil Johnson

Something "Nice"?
Part 2 of 2: Why I think Charismatic Doctrine Is to Blame for the Overabundance of Craziness in That Movement

(First posted 2 November 2007)

    prodigious wacko fringe has always been one of the charismatic movement's most prominent features. In little more than a century, the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements have spun off so many bad doctrines and bizarre characters that I have a thick dictionary in my office just to help me keep track of them all.

Furthermore, I'm convinced it's not just some kind of fantastic cosmic coincidence that has loaded the movement with an unusually high number of charlatans and heretics. I've suggested on more than one occasion that a major reason the charismatic movement has produced more than its fair share of aberrant behavior is because the distinctive doctrines of charismatic belief foster gullibility while constantly seeding the movement with all kinds of whimsy. Specifically, the charismatic belief that it's normative for Spirit-filled Christians to receive extrabiblical divine revelation through various mystical means has opened the door for all kinds of mischief.

I would not for a moment deny that there are some relatively sane and sensible charismatics who love Scripture and generally teach sound doctrine while avoiding most of their movement's worst errors. I think they represent a fairly small minority of the worldwide charismatic community, but they do exist. A few of them are good friends—even longtime friends—of mine. I have friends (for example) in the Calvary Chapel movement, which is mildly charismatic in doctrine but whose worship is generally more Bible-centered than even the typical non-Charismatic seeker-sensitive church. As a matter of fact, my chief concern about the Calvary Chapel movement would not even be their advocacy of charismatic views, but their increasingly aggressive campaign against Calvinism.

That's not all. I have warm affection and heartfelt respect for most of the best-known Reformed charismatic leaders, including C. J. Mahaney, Wayne Grudem, and Sam Storms. [Let's call them "Type-R Charismatics."] I've greatly benefited from major aspects of their ministries, and I regularly recommend resources from them that I have found helpful. I've corresponded with the world-famous Brit-blogger Adrian Warnock for at least 15 years now and had breakfast with him on two occasions, and I like him very much. I'm sure we agree on far more things than we disagree about. And I'm also certain the matters we agree on—starting with the meaning of the cross—are a lot more important than the issues we disagree on, which are all secondary matters.

But that is not to suggest that the things we disagree on are non-issues.

Candor, and not a lack of charity, requires me to state this conviction plainly: The belief that extrabiblical revelation is normative does indeed "regularly and systematically breed willful gullibility, not discernment." Even the more sane and sober [Type-R] charismatics are not totally exempt from the tendency.

Remember that Paul Cain and the Kansas City Prophets found an amazing amount of support from "Reformed Charismatics" on both sides of the Atlantic, even after it was clear to more objective minds that the "prophets'" were regularly and systematically issuing false prophecies.

And that fact ought to have been clear very early. In 1989, the senior Kansas City prophet, Bob Jones, acknowledged that he could claim an accuracy rate of no higher than two-thirds. By 1991, Jones was utterly discredited because of his own sexual misconduct with women who came to him seeking prophetic counseling.

Shortly after that (in early 1992), John MacArthur, Lance Quinn, and I met with Paul Cain and Jack Deere in John MacArthur's office at Jack Deere's request. Deere wanted to try to convince John MacArthur that the charismatic movement—especially the Vineyard branch—was on a trajectory to make doctrinal soundness and biblical integrity the hallmarks of Third-Wave charismatic practice. He brought Cain along, ostensibly so that we could see for ourselves that Cain was a legitimate prophet with a profound gifting.

But Cain was virtually incoherent that day. Lance Quinn remarked to me immediately afterward that it seemed as if Cain had been drinking heavily. (In retrospect it seems a fair assumption that this may indeed have been the case.) Even Deere apologized for Cain's strange behavior that day, but Deere seemed to want us to assume it was because the Spirit was upon Cain in some unusual way. They both admitted to us that Cain's "prophecies" were wrong at least as often as they were right. When we cited that as sufficient reason not to accept any of their prophecies at face value, they cited Wayne Grudem's views on New Testament prophecy as justification for ignoring the errors of prophecies already proven false while giving credence to still more questionable pronouncements.

That meeting was extremely eye-opening for me. Deere was unable to answer basic questions about certain practices Lance and I had personally observed him participating in at the Anaheim Vineyard just a few weeks before that meeting. Specifically, we asked him about two "prophets" whose public words of knowledge in the morning service were flatly contradictory. (The dueling prophets were apparently using their "gifts" to air out a dispute over some decision the church's leaders had recently made.) Deere acknowledged that the prophecies that morning were contradictory. And he could not explain why John Wimber let both prophecies stand without a word of explanation or clarification. (He seemed to shrug off our concern by speculating that perhaps even Wimber wasn't sure which prophecy, if either, was the true one.) Again, he appealed to Grudem, perhaps the most theologically sound of all charismatics, as justification for accepting the two prophets' gifting as legitimate anyway.

I left that meeting amazed that anyone would give credence to such "prophets." But several of the best "Reformed Charismatic" leaders—all citing Grudem for authority—continued to give credence to Cain, the Kansas City Prophets, and others like them for a long, long time. Some of the Reformed Charismatics who lent Paul Cain undue credibility did not really renounce him as a prophet until about twelve years later, when his personal sins finally came to light.

(And it may be stretching things to say everyone concerned actually "renounced" Cain's supposed prophetic gifting even then. He has lately made something of a comeback. [Jack Deere's book still touts Cain as a super-prophet, and the book was recently released in Romania, where it has left a massive amount of confusion in its wake. Wayne Grudem's endorsement of the book remains unaltered. I recently wrote him to ask if Cain's moral failure would spur him to modify or remove his endorsement of Deere's paean to Cain, and Grudem wrote to asssure me that his endorsement of the book still stands.])

As long as Reformed charismatics justify the practice of encouraging people to proclaim "prophecies" that are unverified and unverifiable—and which frequently prove to be wrong—I'll stand by the concern I expressed: even the very best of charismatics sometimes foster unwarranted and unreasonable gullibility.

And gullibility about whether God has really spoken or not is seriously dangerous.

When a false belief is truly dangerous and comes replete with the kind of long and dismal track record extrabiblical revelation brings with it, it's not "uncharitable" for those who see the danger and are truly concerned about it to sound a shrill warning rather than humming a gentle lullaby.

My charismatic friend, Dr. Warnock, insists that I have been uncharitable because I have stated my opinion about the dangers of charismatic doctrine without explicitly exempting him and others whom he likes from my warning against gullibility. It makes him "uncomfortable" to read such things on our blog as often as we post them (even though the vast majority of our [2007] posts on the charismatic issue [were in fact] made at his behest).

I have to say in reply that his appeal to how our posts make him feel, while he declines to give any rational or reasonable explanation for why he thinks our candor must be motivated by a lack of charity, is an echo of the very tendency that I think is so dangerous in the charismatic mindset.

I do realize some people are uncomfortable with such a firm stance against the charismatic position. I'm equally uncomfortable with the charismatic position itself. Let's both remember that our respective comfort levels are not a reliable gauge of our brothers' charity (or lack thereof), and let's try to focus on the actual issue under discussion.

Phil's signature


Anonymous said...

"Specifically, the charismatic belief that it's normative for Spirit-filled Christians to receive extrabiblical divine revelation through various mystical means has opened the door for all kinds of mischief."

This single component seals the fate of the continuationist position.

Mel said...

Compelling, lucid, and thoughtful. I learn a lot from your posts Phil and I look forward to reading them in the future.
I repent of any uncharitable attitude in my earlier posts and ask forgiveness to those that were offended.
I will continue to compare all things to God's will as laid out in Scripture and pray that I not fall into error. I can ask no more or less from any of your readers.
Solo Deo Gloria

Robert said...

Why would Grudem still endorse? This brings me back to Dan's point that the reformed charismatics have to take ownership of the whack jobs that they try not to claim because they provide cover for them. It just so happens that in this case, it is more direct and visible cover.

FX Turk said...

Listen, y'all:

It cannot be underscored to boldly or lighted with too bright a color here. What is at stake is -not- whether or not we have a faith in something supernatural -- someone literally above nature. Anyone who has a God who is not willing and able to do the miraculous -- beginning, btw, with the resurrection of Christ and cascading into the second birth of every believer -- is, at best, a pale and liberalized view of what the Bible teahces. It is -not- a question of whether God is able or willing or even active.

It is wholly an issue of whether or not authority comes from God through the Scripture to the elders and pastors of your church and is therefore the basis for their credibility and their exercise of spiritual responsibility. What Phil exposed here in 2007 and again today is the gross, pervasive, and simply un-dealt-with rampage of spiritual malpractice by leaders who claim that the Spirit is the one who has made them say such a thing.

I vented some more on a related current events topic, but good judgment has held my tongue for now. It's enough to say that making this about other things is simply missing the point entirely. You want to pray over the sick and lay on hands? Me too. I draw the line when we abandon the explicit word of God for something someone else says came to them in a dream.

FX Turk said...

And don't make me roll my eyes at Grudem. Dan has rolled Frame's goofy pneumatology, and if we have to do the same with Grudem then people will think we're on a crusade or something. Stop using Grudem to justify frauds and it won;t have to come up.

BB said...

20 'But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.' 21 "You may say in your heart, 'How will we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?' 22 "When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.
Deut 18:20-22 (NASB95)

This seems like a pretty straight forward test for a prophet. I don't know why people redefine (neo-orthodoxy) what the standard is and allow for such whimsical foolishness and give such gullible approval of such obvious charlatans. Even if they do show "signs and wonders", which is alone is no proof of prophesy. If they part the Atlantic, but draw people away from the Lord in the obvious aberrant life-styles to worship of gods (gods of worldliness and sensuality)then they are a false prophets no matter how many "miracles" they perform.

1 "If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, 'Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,' 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you to find out if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
Deut 13:1-3 (NASB95)

24 "For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect . 25 "Behold, I have told you in advance. 26 "So if they say to you, 'Behold, He is in the wilderness,' do not go out, or, 'Behold, He is in the inner rooms,' do not believe them.
Matt 24:24-26 (NASB95)

Has anyone noticed that it is not at all infrequent for their to be an older female prophet that "gets words from the Lord" at local congregations of the Charismatic kind?

Thanks for the post Mr. Johnson, pretty straight forward.

Robert said...

So, Frank, where does that leave us with regards to MD as a pastor? Am I being uncharitable when I say that I think he is disqualified for what he has done here (on top of other issues)? I ask this more for my own benefit because my opinion doesn't amount to a hill of beans as far as MD (or anybody influential or close enough to him) is concerned.

Nash Equilibrium said...

1) Phil's description of the "situation" with Paul Cain in John MacArthur's office? LOL - so much for being filled with the spirits... "These men ARE drunk, as you suppose..."

2) Uncharitibility toward those with destructive ideas = charitibility toward those who might otherwise be destroyed by those ideas, if no one sounded a warning. And vice-versa.

puritanicoal said...

A reformed continuationist has no more duty to "take ownership" of "whack jobs" than a Fundamentalist cessationist has to "take ownership" of Westboro Baptist. That's a silly argument, Robert.

Stefan Ewing said...


Wow. Of all the articles on that I've read on this blog concerning charismaticism over the last few years, this is one of the best and most sobering.

The first time you posted it, the name "Jack Deere" didn't mean anything to me. But I read his book about a year ago (yes, I did); now to come back and reread your account of meeting him has been very instructive and eye-opening—as have the related issues that you brought up, as well as the historical background.

In fact, this week's string of posts by the three of you (together with the comment threads) have been in their totality an excellent exposition on the errors of continuationism, as well as illuminating the nuances of cessationism.

I never spent time in the charismatic movement, and came to saving faith in Jesus Christ in what is for all intents and purposes a cessationistic church (where I remain a member to this day); but for almost five years, I've been trying to square the genuine evidence we see all around us of the ongoing work of God (manifestations of His grace and providence, especially in answered prayer), against the dichotomy of cessationism and continuationism.

This week's posts have done a lot (for me, anyhow) to illustrate what constitutes a healthy understanding of the person and work of the living and active Holy Spirit, versus the unhealthy views that pervade even the Calvinistic corners of the Church.

Robert said...


Just so you think I wasn't just making a rash statement, give this a read:


I think Dan lays everything out well there.

Aaron said...


I love Grudem's books, but have and remained surprised by his charismatic leanings. His explanation for the gift of healing is the equivalent of defining chicken soup as anything with water and a piece of chicken.

But if I were to guess, I'd say Grudem probably doesn't change his position on the endorsement because a book may adequately convey a position or belief regardless of the personal drawbacks of its author.

puritanicoal said...

Robert, I am aware of that post. I disagree with its conclusion. The idea of "owning" someone else's theology is not biblical. It is a wise conclusion, however; which is why it's easy to buy into. (see e.g. 2 Peter 3:16 - false teachers twisted Paul's teaching, but Paul didn't "own" them). So, I didn't think you were being rash.

(Before the unloading begins, I agree with 98.6795% of what Dan posts. We just have a difference here).

Anonymous said...

I don't think I could agree more with this post! Kudos!

The Predestined Blog said...

These guys love to say that this or that person (Piper or Grudem) believes in prophecy, however they do not read Dr. Piper or Grudem's work carefully as the type of prophecy they are talking about does not extend to the audible voice of God, visions, and dreams people receive.

I also ask them about Sola Scriptura and undoubtedly they reply "we make sure our prophecies align to the Scripture" and I am quick to point out that is NOT what Sola Scriptura is cautioning us about. In reality, they do not know what the sufficiency of scripture is nor its importance in history.

No one should be surprised by this as their doctrine is very, very weak.

Mark B. Hanson said...

"prophetic counseling". Heh.

Bill Honsberger said...

It is more than disappointing that Grudem still endorses Cain. And if one does some background checking, they can see that the latest moral failures (which finally got to the point of embarrassing Joyner - which I had not been hitherto convinced was even possible) was only a public relapse of what got him in trouble 50 years ago when he was one of the big names in the Latter Day Rain movement. Cain is what he has always been - but since he was connected to Branham and the LRM then he had to be carried forward by Wimber, Joyner, and Wagner to bring legitimacy (??!??) to the current super prophets and apostles.
As with Hinn, Tilton, Roberts, Robertson, Liardon, Allen, Grant, Bakker, Crouch, Copeland, Palmer, and so many others, there is virtually no grotesque moral failure nor doctrinal aberration that can separate them from the money, err ministry. Their fan club rolls right along.
The second in command for the Vineyard once told me that one of the big problems during their heyday was that you always needed a bigger dog and pony show then what you brought last year. Pretty much says it all doesn't it?
Much like the first karate dojo signifies the end of the financial health of any given strip mall - so the obscenity of PTL, TBN, Daystar and the rest shows the end of the spiritual health of the American Christian church. And worse - it is the main export to countries all over the world.
Lord please forgive us

~Mark said...

Phil, I don't mind being uncomfortable, that often means I'm actually learning something/being vigorously challenged!

I think you've been quite fair in your wording and anyone who can read this post and still feel personally attacked just might not be looking at the topic objectively.

It would take some great reaching to say that the message you've written here is in any way out of line with revealed Scripture.

jbboren said...

This leaves me with one very important question: Who's systematic theology should I use now?

FX Turk said...

Robert --

You don't have the authority to defrock him, but obviously you don't thave the responsibility to follow him.

I'd say make sure you don't have to move to Seattle, but after that, as you will.

Anonymous said...

Hi all, I was involved with the "Revival" scene and employed by the Elijah List for 7 years ... and I can attest that what Phil is saying is all true. If you want to read my story, feel free to click here:


Many blessings,

Kevin Kleint

Elaine Bittencourt said...

@ BB. I cannot talk for other churches, but last year I visited a church part of the SGM here in Canada. After the service I asked the pastor various questions, and when I asked about the "gifts" he told me that the NT never says to stone a false prophet, only to test the spirits. By the end of our conversation he was clearly done with me and told me to visit some other church on the following Sunday. =)

drmack said...

Very insightful, as usual Phil. As a regular listener to Matt Slick/Faith & Reason (a type R), I'm always befuddled by his inconsistency in this area. I literally just listened to him deny the existence of apostles and prophets in the church while dealing with a Mormon on one episode, on another he acknowledges the validity of a callers charismatic gift of prophecy. He seems to make a strong case exegetically from scriptures such as 1Cor 1:7 "so that you are not lacking in any gift awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus." I'd like to see a more positive, exegetical defense for cessationism rather than just pointing out charismatic flaws. Charismatic doctrine does seem to cause serious psychological issues. Up here in Homer, AK it is epidemic. Keep up the good work. (could we possibly take 1Cor 1:7 as speaking of John's "Revelation" of our Lord Jesus Christ?)

Anonymous said...


How incredibly revealing.


~Mark said...

This leaves me with one very important question: Who's systematic theology should I use now?

~Van Til? ;-)

Alex A. Guggenheim said...

Addressing this issue is important, particularly for the integrity of Reformed students who are heavy readers here. No doubt many will appreciate this article. I am not so sure that the prescription for how cessationists might view or interact with even the Grudems should stop at standing by concern:

"I'll stand by the concern I expressed: even the very best of charismatics sometimes foster unwarranted and unreasonable gullibility."

Nevertheless, as those things get weighed and evaluated, the substance of the article is one I hope to see expressed by notable Teachers and personalities within orthodox Protestantism/Evangelicalism.

Andrew Simate Sitali said...

Thats a very helpful artcle Pastor Phil Johnson,am encouraged to read you met with paul cain and jack deere,with Lance quinn and Pastor Macarthur,is there a recording of that,would be nice to listern to that.

Andrew Simate Sitali.

puritanicoal said...

Mark, if you're gonna ditch Grudem, you might as well ditch your books and commentaries by D.A. Carson, Gordon Fee, and Craig Keener.

Also, you might get a little uncomfortable reading accounts of the Great Awakening under Jonathan Edwards and the reactions among that attendees - strange stuff involving trances, people lying paralyzed, utterances, moans, etc. Like, weird-to-the-max kind of stuff. Likewise, Spurgeon in his autobiography recorded to have picked people out of the congregation and told them things about their personal lives without prior knowledge of such things.

Someone's going to score at Half Price Books this weekend!!

Stefan Ewing said...

...And were Edwards or Spurgeon "slaying people in the Spirit," or commanding healings, or saying they had a word from the Lord?

In Edwards' hearers' cases, when someone is in the grip of sudden conviction at first understanding and receiving the word of God, who's to say that it isn't possible that one may have an unrestrained reaction?

As for Spurgeon, he never played up these occurrences or styled himself a prophet, but just recounted them matter-of-factly. There's no indication that he considered himself anointed with a special gift.

I dunno, I used to think these were good counterexamples to the cessationist position, but that's only because it is sometimes so adamantly stated in negative terms, that one is led to think cessationism excludes even accounts like these relating to Edwards or Spurgeon.

Personally, it doesn't seem to me that either of those accounts necessarily flatly contradicts a cessationist reading of Scripture.

BB said...

Mrs. Bittencourt,

Hahaha, have my spirits tested or be stoned hmmmm... Test my spirits please! ;)

Your church experience was similar to mine when I confronted my old associate Pastor about the aberrant activity.

He just crossed his arms and said well we're charismatic.

"Oh, you are charismatic, I'm sorry I asked discerning questions."

I don't believe we are to stone a false prophet, but Paul is most likely quoting when commanding the Corinthians to purge themselves of immorality and immoral persons. In both Deut 13 and 1 Cor 5 their is a problem with those immoral person that want to drag believers away to worship other gods. And gods can be the immorality it's self (which characterizes most of these present day "prophets"). Also in the greater context Paul is dealing with the ramped counterfeiting of "prophesy" 1 Cor 12:29. False religion has no ability to restrain the flesh.

"So you shall purge the evil from among you."
Deut 13:5c (NASB95)

1 Cor 5:13b (NASB95)

Also Paul had this problem that he needed Titus to set in order on Crete.

10 For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11 who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain. 12 One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, "Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons."
Titus 1:10-12 (NASB95)

10 Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, 11 knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.
Titus 3:10-11 (NASB95)

Bottom line is that the Scripture is sufficient and complete. No more revelation. No more prophets or apostle (unless you saw the resurrected Christ before He ascended or you are Paul, Acts 1:21-22 ;). No more redefining orthodoxy and making up new definitions for what a prophet/prophesy is and to what standard to hold him to.

Thanks for sharing that Mrs. Bittencourt, I totally agree,


donsands said...

Wayne Grudem is one fine teacher of the Scriptures. Sorry to hear he won't change his heart about Cain. Perhaps God will change his heart.

He is one of those teachers that I certainly glean from. Even his teaching on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Quite different than other charismatics for sure.

Have a blessed and Spirit-filled Lord's day in the love and presence of Christ our Lord and Savior, and worshiping our Father in Spirit and truth.

BB said...

Dr. Mack,

I agree with the disapproving of false mormon apostles and prophets on one had and affirming charismatic prophesy on the other. Obviously being sympathetic toward the charismatic movement.

"He seems to make a strong case exegetically from scriptures such as 1Cor 1:7 "so that you are not lacking in any gift awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus."~Dr. Mack

If he were to read that verse in context he would see that this does not refer to special revelation/prophetic words from the Lord, but rather the future coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Context, context, context.

6 even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you, 7 so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Cor 1:6-8 (NASB95)

"I'd like to see a more positive, exegetical defense for cessationism rather than just pointing out charismatic flaws."~Dr. Mack

I don't want to take up a lot of room on this thread, but I did give a short defense for Cessationism on the following under the name Joey Joe Joe Jr. Shabadoo (ridiculous name from my deployments in the military, long story). It is a six part argument, which I think is pretty indicative of what we are seeing today.


"Charismatic doctrine does seem to cause serious psychological issues. Up here in Homer, AK it is epidemic."~Dr. Mack

It is getting/has been that way out here in California for a while...

"(could we possibly take 1Cor 1:7 as speaking of John's "Revelation" of our Lord Jesus Christ?)"~Dr Mack

If by that you mean His future coming, then I would agree.

I very much agree with your views that it is an epidemic. And the ridiculousness of changing the Biblical standard of a prophet to accommodate the Charismatic Chaos (thank you for that study Pastor MacArthur).


BB said...

I personally haven't read to much of Dr. Grudem, but I did see his defense of the Biblical use of "man" in the Greek that the TNIV was trying to make gender neutral base on a misinterpretation of the Bauer Lexicon. He did a very good job. It was so apparent that the Greek word was a male person.

I've heard great things about his work, in fact the only thing I have heard that is questionable is his apparent redefinition of prophet. Particularly in the reference to Ephesians 2:20 and 4:11.

I just don't understand why the apparent redefinition.


Anonymous said...

Are contemplatives similar in their claims of "God speaking" when they sit to "listen to God" or whatnot? I read parts of a book by Steve Smith on "Living the Lazarus Life" and he wanted people to imagine or hear what Jesus would say to them if they lived in biblical times. Isn't this somewhat a subtle kind of "adding more" to what the bible says?

If this is a rabbit trail off topic thing, just delete, seriously. Just in reading this article I kept thinking about the strange things I hear/read in some contemplative circles.

Anonymous said...

And on topic, I think it's very important that if you are a pastor around other pastors in your particular flavor of Christianity, you should hold one another accountable, no? No free passes, everyone should be held to the standard as teachers that is set forth in the bible. Truth first.

Cindy Stokes said...

To ask for one Systematic theology to follow without question is very "Un-Berean." I don't agree with John MacArthur's point of view on the Rapture, for instance, but still found his sermon series on Charismatic Chaos to be invaluable. If we believe "Sola Scriptura", then anyone's written teachings should be aids towards our absolute dependence on scripture. My favorite teachers boost my confidence in God's word, not my confidence in that teacher.

I think it's sad that our idea of a rebuke, these days, is a lack of endorsement. Why aren't we as outraged with those who fail to openly rebuke as with those who endorse?

I agree that "conservative" charismatics are quite dangerous. IHOP followers found their way into my former church (SBC) in Round Rock Texas and now many good friends have followed "God's leading in their hearts" to join a self-help LGAT and now they are part of a cult. (Their "testimonies" are all about promoting "Discovery Training", never about Jesus.)

They should NOT get a free pass.

Anonymous said...

@Phil Johnson,

Just a point of clarification---and is almost tangential to the thesis of your post---it's on Calvary Chapel. We attend a Calvary Chapel, and in general, I think it safe to say that they are anti-Calvinist (esp. in So. Cal.); but not all are. In fact our pastor (we're up in the Pac NW) understands that the Reformed heritage is expansive, and would not be in ultimate alignment with the Calvinist "witch-hunt" that many of the "leadership" are, esp. in So. Cal. as I've said. Anyway, I'm evangelical Calvinist, and attend, and involved at a Calvary Chapel with no problems.

As far as CC and the gifts, and being charismatic; I would say that if someone were to visit a CC, they wouldn't notice any difference from their local Baptist church in that regard. Unfortunately they do teach the "baptism of the Holy Spirit," which is where I will continue to disagree with them (but there is even latitude here, at least with some Pastors in CC, mine included).

Anyway, just wanted to highlight this. Thanks for the post.


Anonymous said...

Frank Turk said:

It is wholly an issue of whether or not authority comes from God through the Scripture to the elders and pastors of your church and is therefore the basis for their credibility and their exercise of spiritual responsibility.

Don't you think that the basis of the elders and pastors credibility is more proximate than this? I mean, doesn't it seem that for the Protestant, the basis of their credibility only comes insofar as they accurately articulate who and what the Gospel is? What you say here doesn't sound like a Protestant theory of authority, but more like a Roman one. I only say this because it sounds as if the "authority" has been bestowed (deposited) upon the elders/pastors by the Scriptures (or that they have the keys, so to speak); when in fact I would gather that a historic Protestant understanding would only see this authority vested in Christ alone; and thus the pastor's authority is only a relative one, relative insofar as he, once again, accurately articulates the Gospel. This is where the critical space comes in for the "laity" (per the Priesthood of all believers) to test what the pastor/elder is articulating.

Stephen Dawe said...

I was always under the impression that we should review what is said by people (like Grudem or Piper, or anybody else) and test it by scripture. I'm not partricularly surprised that they can be, and sometimes are wrong. That also doesn't make their other teaching false, it just means I read with a warier eye.

Michael Lawmaster said...

@Phil - I like what James Buchanan wrote: "For it has long been my firm conviction, that the only effective refutation of error is the establishment of truth. Truth is one, error is multiform; and truth, once firmly established, overthrows all the errors that either have been, or may yet be, opposed to it. He who exposes and expels an error, does well; but it will only return in another form, unless the truth has been so lodged in the heart as to shut it out for ever."

Keep writing!

In Christ Jesus Our Precious Lord and Savior!


Michael Lawmaster said...

@Puritanicoal - "Also, you might get a little uncomfortable reading accounts of the Great Awakening under Jonathan Edwards and the reactions among that attendees - strange stuff involving trances, people lying paralyzed, utterances, moans, etc. Like, weird-to-the-max kind of stuff."

These types of reactions should not make one uncomfortable; however, as Jonathan Edwards did state in "Negative Signs; or, What are no signs by which we are to judge of a work-and especially, What are no evidences that a work is not from the Spirit of God":

"A work is not to be judged of by any effects on the bodies of men; such as tears, trembling, groans, loud outcries, agonies of body, or the failing of bodily strength. The influence persons are under is not to be judged of one way or other by such effects on the body; and the reason is because the Scripture nowhere gives us any such rule."

Edwards later goes on to remark in "What are distinguishing Scripture evidences of a work of the Spirit of God" (I will just list a few):

1. When the operation is such as to raise their esteem of that Jesus who was born of the Virgin, and was crucified without the gates of Jerusalem; and seems more to confirm and establish their minds in the truth of what the gospel declares to us of his being the Son of God, and the Saviour of men; it is a sure sign that it is from the Spirit of God.

2. When the spirit that is at work operates against the interests of Satan's kingdom, which lies in encouraging and establishing sin, and cherishing men's worldly lusts; this is a sure sign that it is a true, and not a false spirit.

3. The spirit that operates in such a manner as to cause in men a greater regard to the Holy Scriptures, and establishes them more in their truth and divinity is certainly the Spirit of God."


Michael Lawmaster said...


Edwards goes on to explain in "Marks of the Spirit of God" the two kinds of influences of the Spirit: ordinary and gracious and those that are extraordinary and miraculous. Definitely worth reading numeral III in Section III Practical Inferences.

"...I do not expect a restoration of these miraculous gifts in the approaching glorious times of the church, nor do I desire it. It appears to me that it would add nothing to the glory of those times, but rather diminish from it. For my part, I had rather enjoy the sweet influences of the Spirit, showing Christ's spiritual beauty, infinite grace, and dying love, drawing forth the holy exercises of faith, divine love, sweet complacence, and humble joy in God, one quarter of an hour, than to have prophetical visions and revelations the whole year. It appears to me much more probable that God should give immediate revelations to his saints in the dark times of prophecy, than now in the approach of the most glorious and perfect state of his church on earth.

I would therefore entreat the people of God to be very cautious how they give heed to such things. I have seen them fail in very many instances, and know by experience that impressions being made with great power, and upon the minds of true, yea eminent, saints-even in the midst of extraordinary exercises of grace, and sweet communion with God, and attended with texts of Scripture strongly impressed upon the mind-are no sure signs of their being revelations from heaven. I have known such impressions fail, in some instances, attended with all these circumstances. They who leave the sure word of prophecy-which God has given us as a light shining in a dark place-to follow such impressions and impulses, leave the guidance of the polar star to follow a Jack with a lantern. No wonder there that sometimes they are led into woeful extravagances."

Edwards is a man whom many know solely as the author of "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" and yet they are unfamiliar with his work on "Charity". At the same time, even though Edwards wrote about the revival of religion in Northhampton, he also wrote "The Religious Affections". It is good to read them all.

In Christ Jesus Our Precious Lord and Savior!

Michael Lawmaster

drmack said...

thanks, i'll check it out.

PaulT said...

I strongly recommend listening to Martyb Lloyd-Jones's expositions of Luke 3 in order to get a better biblical understanding of these issues.

Joshua Elsom said...

I'm not surprised that the way-out-there charismatics appeal to Grudem's work or to John Piper's teaching. They are fine theologians.

However, just because they might latch on to their work and appeal to their respected status does not necessarily prove their work wrong. The charismatics also appeal to experiences which took place in the meeting houses of Edwards and Spurgeon. That would certainly not prove that Edwards or Spurgeon share any genetic association with the modern movement. Right? Of course not.

Let's just be sure that we are making our complaint against the proper issue.

So to that end I think that Dr. Phil's point about the Cains and Deeres and Hinns in the movement and their appeal to Grudem's theology is a little misleading.

The other complaints, I think, are completely valid.

Stefan Ewing said...

Cindy and Stephen:

You're absolutely right: we should not so much try to find the perfect teacher who lines up exactly with our personal theology (and we should not bend our own beliefs, just to match our favourite teacher's), as seek to square everything against Holy Scripture.

It's somewhat reassuring to realize that even the "Big Names" all seem to be at slight variance on this or that point; in that it reminds us that they, like us, are real people with real foibles, and not the perfect, two-dimensional, larger-than-life heroes we sometimes make them out to be; and it's a reminder that we all worship at the feet of the One Perfect Teacher, Jesus Christ.

Stefan Ewing said...


Thanks you for those excerpts from Edwards.

And here is Spurgeon, who although he was a firsthand witness to some occurrences of an other-worldly nature, nevertheless said this, in a quote related a year ago by David Sheldon:

"But what is the truth? There is the point. Is the truth that which I imagine to be revealed to me by some private communication? Am I to fancy that I enjoy some special revelation, and am I to order my life by voices, dreams, and impressions? Brethren, fall not into this common delusion. God's word to us is in Holy Scripture. All the truth that sanctifies men is in God's Word. If your imaginary revelation is not according to this Word, it has no weight with us; and if it is according to this Word, it is no new thing."

(Sermon 1890, "Our Lord's Prayer for His People's Sanctification," March 7th, 1886.)

Thomas Louw said...

I waited until the whole discussion was finished.

Does anyone have any links or articles on Keith Moore?

I have some close friends just loving the guy and I can't find much on the guy.

Sir Brass said...

I think the grounding principle of cessationism is our absolute confidence in the sufficiency of scripture and faith in the Holy Spirit to use the means of grace to apply it to our hearts. A balanced and biblical view of Sola Scriptura renders the continuationist view irrelevant and unnecessary... like training wheels on lance armstrong's bike.

My pastor had some very firm things to say regarding the continuation of "da gifts" when he was preaching through 1 Cor 13 a while ago (he's now preaching through Romans): http://tinyurl.com/3mdopvv

FX Turk said...


Everything sounds like Catholicism because Catholicism sounds like everything.

Let's take apart what I said:

"an issue" - This being an issue has nothing to do with Catholicism.

"of whether or not authority comes" - the matter of where authority comes from might be Catholicism, but it might be Protestantism or Islam as well. Discussing authority does not make an issue specifically Catholic.

"from God" - As above. However, to discuss that authority comes from God is not specifically Catholic as there is no question we think authority in the church comes from God. Charismatics think that authority comes from God; cessationists think authority comes from God.

"through the Scripture" - this is the break point. This is actually the place where the protestant cessationist sounds like a protestant. Where does authority from God come from? A great Tradition? The manifestations of the Spirit? Or Scripture? The first is Catholic, the second is continualism, the third is cessationist. And note something specifically, to your objection: the Catholic would say that authority from God comes from the tradition, to Scripture: tradition creates Scripture in the Catholic view.

"to the elders and pastors of your church" - So authority comes from someplace and arrives someplace. In this case, it is with men in the local church who have met the criteria of Scripture for being the spiritual caretakers of the church. And it behooves us to note that none of the places where the elders are lined out by qualification say anything about necessary supernatural manifestations, but say plainly and clearly that they ought to be able to teach what the Scripture teaches in order to rebuke, reprove, and edify the church. It is not Catholic to say that the elders of the church receive their authority to do what they do from Scripture because that's specifically what Scripture say they do. Insofar as a man is qualified as the Bible says he is qualified and is fulfilling the duties Scripture lists and is upholding what Scripture says to uphold, he has authority.

"and is therefore the basis"- As above. God -> Scripture -> Elders/teachers.

"for their credibility" - as above.

"and their exercise of spiritual responsibility." - as above.

There's nothing Catholic about that.

Michael Lawmaster said...

@Thomas Louw - Regarding Keith Moore - He worked for Kenneth Hagin for well over a decade. He is definitely in the WoF movement so anything you find regarding Hagin, EW Kenyon, Copeland, Oral Roberts, Creflo Dollar, Jesse Duplantis, Joel Osteen, etc. would fit Moore's teaching. Characteristic of the movement is reductionism with a whole lot of eisegesis. One can say "Love God, Love People" which is correct; however, we can get the Jehovah's Witness and Mormons onboard that train. When one starts to peel the layers off of their reductionist statements and get into the doctrine the theological errors become apparent.

Someone once gave me his teaching on discipleship (MP3) and it contained a litany of error not the least of which was the two different kinds of christians. I think Dr. MacArthur's books "The Gospel According to Jesus" and "The Gospel According to the Apostles" counteracts such teaching and would be good to give to your friends.

You might also direct them to "gty.org" where they can listen to sermons from Dr. MacArthur in 30 minute segments or less absolutely free. Also, I enjoy "The GraceLife Pulpit" with Phil Johnson and Don Green on Sermonaudio.com.

Anonymous said...

It was stated: 'Specifically, the charismatic belief that it's normative for Spirit-filled Christians to receive extrabiblical divine revelation through various mystical means has opened the door for all kinds of mischief.'

But could not the same be stated surrounding the priesthood of all believers and the argument that each Christian should be able to read, study and interpret the Scripture themselves? How much mess have we gotten into because of fighting for this necessary and wonderful doctrine?

I'm not sure the quoted statement proves much. Abuse and misuse should never be used as proof that something is wrong and should be abandoned. Rather, we are called to graciously and humbly live such in a healthy and biblical way.

Plenty of people abuse marriage. That doesn't make marriage wrong, nor will I abandon my wife. Plenty of people abuse church leadership. That doesn't make it wrong, nor worth stepping out of my role.

Each and every branch of the church will have its faults. I am saddened by the wrong things within the continuationist arm of Christ's church. But I cannot abandon that which I solemnly believe Scripture affirms and have seen good fruit from in my life.

Michael Lawmaster said...

@prodigalthought.net - Just curious, are you a proponent of the magisterium of Rome? [Yes I know you have a degree from Covenant Theological Seminary (Congrats on the accomplishment)]. You stated:

"But could not the same be stated surrounding the priesthood of all believers and the argument that each Christian should be able to read, study and interpret the Scripture themselves? How much mess have we gotten into because of fighting for this necessary and wonderful doctrine?"

Scripture states that the Holy Spirit will lead us and guide us into all the truth and God's word is truth even the sum of its parts. I do not think the Holy Spirit would deceive those whom the Father has given into the hands of Jesus Christ and whom the Holy Spirit has regenerated.

That being said, regarding the "priesthood of all believers" I think Dr. James R. White has a good quote regarding this:

"The Great Scandal - The issue of certainty strikes at the heart of the Protestant system. For some reason, people think that unless you have absolute, total, and infallible certainty about all things, you have no certainty about anything. If you don't claim to know all truth-exhaustively, in every detail-you don't know any truth at all...It is possible to know something truly without knowing something exhaustively.

In the realm of faith, I have true but limited knowledge of God. In fact, no one outside of the Trinity iteself has exhaustive and complete knowledge of God. I do not believe that we as finite creatures will ever possess such knowledge. But since I do not have exhaustive knowledge of God, does this mean I have no knowledge of Him at all? Of course not. To take it a step further, I do not have exhaustive knowledge of everything the Bible says about God. While for years I have studied the Bible extensively, learned its languages, studied its backgrounds, I still do not know everything the Bible teaches about God. And I would daresay that no man, no matter how intelligent or diligent, can mine or ever has mined all the golden nuggets of truth about God from the Scriptures. Does this mean I have no knowledge of God at all? No, I have a true knowledge of God based on the Scriptures, but my knowledge is limited.

Which brings us to the scandal. My knowledge is limited And what is more, it is fallible. The very fact that what I know is limited means I may be in error about a conclusion I have embraced simply because I don't have all the facts and have come to that conclusion prematurely. The instant we admit our fallibility the cry goes up, "Aha! See? You need an infallible authority!" Well, before we all line up to join one of the many groups claiming such authority, let's stop and consider a few things for a moment. Did God create us as limited creatures? Yes, He did. Did God entrust His Word to such creatures? Yes, He did. Do you really think God is shocked that human beings end up disagreeing over what His Scriptures teach? No, not for a moment.


Michael Lawmaster said...


The "great scandal" to which I have referred is the idea, popularized during the Reformation and strongly rejected at the time by Rome, that each and every person-man or woman, rich or poor, learned or unlearned-is responsible as a priest before God for what he or she believes. "The individual priesthood of the believer" is one of the many phrases that have been used to describe this revolutionary idea. Luther and the other Reformers encouraged the plowman, the merchant, and the peasant woman to open the Word of God and read - for themselves. And what a scandal it was! Reading the Bible without the interpretation of the Church, without the oversight of the priest? How could this be? But the idea went to the heart of the problem: God holds us individually responsible for what we believe and why we believe it. "The Pope told me so" won't cut it in the end. Nor, may I add, will "My pastor told me so." Every limited, finite, fallible person is called to "search the Scriptures" and "examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good" (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

Roman Catholics say this doctrine results in chaos, and they point to the doctrinal chaos among Protestant denominations today as strong evidence [my note: there are divisions too within RC even among their theologians which Dr. White addresses later on]. To a point, there is truth in this claim. Obviously, if we don't have a centralized Church enforcing one particular viewpoint, a broader range of opinions will arise. But the charge of chaos is something else. That allegation is built upon a misrepresentation of the Protestant concept of the priesthood of all believers-a misrepresentation embraced by Roman Catholics and Protestants alike.


Michael Lawmaster said...


"The individual priesthood of the believer does not mean there is no Church. It does not mean there are no pastors and teachers. It does not mean we are not to learn from one another, learn from the great Christians of the past, or "start from scratch" with every new generation. The doctrine does not do away with the biblically based authority of elders to teach and train and rebuke, nor does it give license to anybody and everybody to go out and start some new movement based on their own "take" on things. While this may happen, it is an abuse of the doctrine, not an application of it.

As we shall note later when discussing the idea of the "development of doctrine," the Scriptures provide the boundaries within which we are to live out the priesthood of the believer. The Bible itself speaks of submission to elders, of holding firm to the Apostles' doctrines, and of testing everything by the ultimate authority of the Scriptures themselves."


Anonymous said...

Michael -

I can only suppose you didn't not understand my comment. I am not saying we should disregard the priesthood of all believers (nor the prophethood of all believers, since Christ was prophet, priest and king, and so are all those in Christ).

My point was - Things do get abused, but misuse and abuse does not negate something, rather should drive us to healthy and biblical use.

Michael Lawmaster said...

@prodigalthought.net - I understand your comment regarding abuse. You say marriage is right. So, am I to understand that you affirm gay marriage then? If not, why not? How do you know that marriage is right? How would you know gay marriage is right or wrong? Was it by sitting down contemplating your navel, chanting, hearing it from a pastor or the Pope, some inner voice(s), or where?

Anonymous said...

Michael -

I do hope we can have respectful and gracious conversation here.

My point, again, is that abuse does not prove something is wrong. So what I quoted from the article does not prove continuationism wrong. At least as I understand how this works out.

And, of course, I believe continuationism is viable because it is biblically viable - then and now, Pentecost to Parousia. That's why my colleague and I spend so much time looking at a biblical, theological and historical approach to continuationism at http://continuationism.com.

But, I hope we wouldn't devalue the role of what we actually walk through and experience. It is not THE answer, but a necessary part of our beliefs and walk. I think the Bible attests to this as well.

Terry Rayburn said...

Two Charismatics go into a bar.

One says to the the other, "God told me to shoot a cessationist today. What do you think?"

"Hey, if God told you to, why are you asking me?"

"Well, my Pastor had a Word of Knowledge for me this morning. He said God wanted me to be a man of peace."

"Hey, that's why that six-shooter you got there is called a Peacemaker."

"No, seriously. Is it extra-biblical revelation for God to tell me something that's not in Scripture?"

"Why, are you against extra-biblical revelation?"

"Well, no. That's what prophecy is all about, isn't it?"

"Yeah. Then why do you care if it's extra-biblical revelation?"

"Those Pyro guys keep talking against extra-biblical revelation. Like it's bad or something."

"That's just 'cause God don't talk to them like He does to you and me."

"But how do I know if it's God talking?"

"You don't really. You just need faith."

"Well, then do you think I should shoot a Cessationist today?"

"Let me ask God...psst, psst, psst, Lord, psst, psst....okay, I got my answer. God told me 'No', you shouldn't. He said that I should do it."

"Now I don't know what to do. God wouldn't contradict Himself would He?"

"Hey wait, here comes Marshall MacArthur. Let's ask him."

"Marshall, God told me to shoot a Cessationist today. What do you think?"

"Well, it says in the Word of God, 'You shall not murder'. So I'd say don't do it. Not to mention, I'd have to throw you in jail and hang you in the morning."

"Pretty convincing exegesis, Marshall."

"Always aim to help if I can. You see, this so-called Movement you're in is nothing but a Trojan Horse, designed by unsavory spirits to sneak the concept of extra-biblical revelation into the Church. It brings doubt on the Scriptures as being sufficient for our lives. Next thing you know, millions of folks are messed up in their thinking. It's bad. Real bad."

"You've convinced me, Marshall MacArthur. But can I ask you a question?"

"Sure thing, son."

"Why do you honor these guys that have been deceiving me on this subject, by sharing the platform with them, and asking them to speak for you, as though they was just as, how ya' say, sola scriptura as you? Don't that give them credibility they don't deserve? And drag the Trojan Horse right into the corral?"

"Hmmm. I'll have to think on that one."

Michael Lawmaster said...

@prodigalthought.net - 1. I do not see any disrespect or lack of grace in asking questions. 2. I will take a look at your site. However, I think it is evident where you stand. Have a good rest of the day in Belgium.

In Christ Jesus Our Precious Lord and Savior!

Michael Lawmaster

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

@ Terry Raburn


John MacArthur does not draw the fringe element of the likes of Benny Hinn and his ilk to his conferences. JM pretty much always focuses on the radical element among those who are Charismatic.

I think you are exaggerating a bit.

Terry Rayburn said...

Mary Elizabeth,

Which part was an exaggeration, the six-shooter? :)

I didn't say he invites the wackiest. I'm referring to the theologically sedate Reformed variety (or as the wackies call them, wimps).

My point is that if Phil's point is true -- that the very doctrine itself encourages the wackiness -- (and I agree with Phil) then is it wise to give huge nationwide platform credibility to even sedate Reformed Charismatics?

I'm very serious about the Trojan Horse aspect of this extra-biblical revelation thing, but with 400,000,000 (and growing) Charismatics around the world, one can tend to get as immune to it as to American Socialism, to use a political analogy, until one is tempted to say, "Oh, well, whaddya gonna do?"

And the Horse is in -- heavy-duty.

Anonymous said...

@Frank Turk,

Thank you for the reply. I will just respond to the crux, as you note, in regards to tradition vs. scripture as authoritative. You said:

And note something specifically, to your objection: the Catholic would say that authority from God comes from the tradition, to Scripture: tradition creates Scripture in the Catholic view.

I would contend that Tradition or the Regula Fidei (Rule of Faith) has always been dialectically related one to the other; and that Scripture itself, in a sense, is the Tradition of the Apostles deposited for us (the Church-the receivers) for its edification. In other words, there is no escape from the 'Tradition' for anyone; and this has never been the intention of the historic Reformed 'tradition' to boot (we are Sola Scriptura not Nuda Scriptura or Solo Scriptura).

Even so, the classic Protestant or Roman position here both operate from the same position. They either collapse Revelation (and thus Christian authority) into Papal or Paper authority; when in fact "I" believe a better way forward is to see Christ himself as God's Self-interpreting Word, and Scripture placed into the realm of his Divine-Triune speech-act. This way we avoid collapsing authority/revelation into a Roman or Protestant magesterium, and identify Scriptures ontology in its rightful place; as God's "speech" to us, through Christ by the Spirit. In this way Scripture is not seen as "our" epistemological ground for knowing God, but instead as "His" special place of speech through which He speaks to us by the Spirit.

This changes things up in a way that relativizes any kind of "human authority", and gives the "keys" to the material point of the Apostle's witness, which is the Son of David God's self-interpreting Word.

This, too, my point, is somewhat tangential to the broader point of the post; but it fits into the specific locus that you identified as a highly significant point in this conversation. Ultimately, I don't think cessationism and an argument from from the "pastors/elders" as God's sole speakers (exegete's of Scripture) obtains in a way that you are suggesting, Frank. First one has to accept your major premise about, Revelation; and then even then your conclusion does not necessarily follow. At least not if one is radically Protestant.

Caveat: I am not arguing in favor of what is called Continuationism, per se; just that I don't think your argument, as noted, follows in the way that you were suggesting.

Tyrone said...

Thanks for this Phil,

And as I was such a person saved under a pentecostal movement it was C.H.Spurgeon that helped me get my head around this on-going battle around sound doctrine. I do now hold the Calvinistic view. It is what the scripture clearly teaches.

"I would not for a moment deny that there are some relatively sane and sensible charismatics who love Scripture and generally teach sound doctrine while avoiding most of their movement's worst errors." Amen!

"even the very best of charismatics sometimes foster unwarranted and unreasonable gullibility."

"And gullibility about whether God has really spoken or not is seriously dangerous." Amen!

But where I believe many of us get it wrong and caught up in either of the two camps (Calvinist or Arminian), where we then potentially at times loose sight on sound doctrine.

To quote Spurgeon; "Let it be said of you, as I have heard a venerable hearer of Mr. Simeon say of him, "Sir, he was very Calvinistic when the text was so, and people thought him an Arminian when the text was that way, for he always stuck to its plain sense."

Grace and peace


THEOparadox said...


Thanks for the many good, balanced comments in this post. You're keeping the baby, and throwing out what you perceive to be the bathwater. That's a fine balancing act that shows your maturity in these matters.

I truly believe there is a great deal of overlap in theology and practice between very conservative continuationists and very liberated (not liberal!) cessationists. What you cessationists might call a "good, timely word of encouragement" we conservative continuationists would call "a word of wisdom." Either way, we are not running around looking for signs, and neither are you. We don't approve of TBN-style foolishness, and neither do you. We don't believe in extra-biblical revelation (equal with Scripture), and neither do you. We believe God heals and performs miracles in response to faith-filled prayer, so do you. We may call it a gift, you may call it something else. That is all fine with me.

Although I'm a real-life continuationist, I strongly agree with your side in this way: the further "Type R" continuationists go toward endorsing that lunatic fringe of charismatic/prophetic insanity, the less believable their position will be. I would stand shoulder to shoulder with you in calling all of my favorite Reformed charismatic teachers to disavow all of the unbiblical nonsense that parades around under the charismatic banner. I'm deeply troubled when they fail to use discernment in this area. It's ironic that you, a cessationist, have to exercise it for them. But maybe that is your gift? :)

Derek Ashton

D. C. said...

I'm really just a simple guy but a quote it one of the comments struck me as quite interesting. The quote was this:

"we make sure our prophecies align to the Scripture" .

If that is an accurate quote that begs the question, And what do you do with the prophets and prophcies that do not align with scripture?

Celeste said...

Thank you for this post. I followed this link by chance from defcon this morning, and am so grateful I did.
I'm out in South Texas, and out here it's really difficult to find a church that is not charismatic. I was raised in a charismatic church, and all of our Christian family members are charismatic. I have spent the last 3 years at a cessationist church, learning proper doctrine and the importance of context (doctrine was a naughty word in my last church).
PLEASE continue to speak out against this issue of extrabiblical revelation in the church. So many people are sucked in already, and the danger it represents cannot be underestimated. I just had my grandmother's (female) co-pastor tell me this past weekend that they consider their extrabiblical revelation to be equal to Scripture in relevance, importance, and truth. EQUAL! And even more frighteningly, no one batted an eye when she said this.
May the Lord help us.

Celeste said...

And I would be really interested to hear a response to the question above from D.C. at 9:40 a.m.
Thank you.