Are Tongues for Today? Part 1

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Are Tongues for Today? Part 1

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Originally published as a single article: “Tongues—Are They for Today?,” DBSJ 14 (2009).

Why revisit the subject of tongues?

On March 7, 2009, David Wilkerson, a seasoned “prophet” from New York City, issued a warning that shook his readers: “An earth-shattering calamity is about to happen…. It will engulf the whole [New York City] megaplex, including areas of New Jersey and Connecticut. Major cities all across America will experience riots and blazing fires.” Though Wilkerson was able to give few details about this impending conflagration other than “I know it is not far off,” he was able to provide some advice for his readers, including “laying in store a thirty-day supply of non-perishable food, toiletries and other essentials.”1

Most of those who were aware of this “prophecy” reacted to it with more amusement than alarm, but a few bloggers responded to Wilkerson’s doomsaying remarks in an effort to calm the panicked naïve among their readership. It seems that the previously simple task of answering this kind of alarmism, however, has been rendered increasingly complex by an uptick in sympathy for prophecy and tongues in conservative evangelicalism today. Simple denunciation of such foolishness is apparently no longer acceptable in today’s “open but cautious” evangelical milieu.2 Instead it would seem that one is now obliged to give Wilkerson a hearing and remain cautiously open to the possibility that his prophecy might be accurate. John Piper, for instance, cautiously proposes that Wilkerson’s prophecy “does not resonate with my spirit…. God might have said this. But it doesn’t smell authentic to me.”3 Somehow, I am not reassured.

The case for the cessationism of revelatory gifts has been, I believe, objectively convincing for years. Unfortunately, not all arguments that are objectively convincing prove subjectively persuasive, particularly when the only ground of persuasion acceptable to some subjects is experiental in nature. This is a problem that by its very nature no journal article can overcome. Nonetheless, changes within the continuationist community over the past two decades provide an occasion to revisit the issue of cessation, recasting yesterday’s defenses with greater care and with different emphases. For instance, while B. B. Warfield effectively answered the crude and overtly unbiblical expression of miraculous gifts prevalent in his day,4 there is a growing notion that Warfield was speaking not to the refined expression of tongues in today’s conservative evangelical milieu, but to something else. Even recent works such as John MacArthur’s Charismatic Chaos5 speak most clearly to a raw and careless expression of miraculous gifts that differs considerably from the more biblically sensitive continuationism that is finding increasing approval in conservative evangelicalism today.6

A second reason to revisit this topic is the fact that this new breed of tongues-speaking and prophecy comes today from sources more theologically conservative and more academically credible than ever before. Dispensationalism, historically a stronghold of cessationism,7 has seen a spike in sympathy for tongues, especially in progressive dispensational quarters.8 This surge of sympathy for tongues is also seen in Reformed circles, likewise traditionally cessationist,9 both in the academy (e.g., Wayne Grudem and D. A. Carson) and in the pulpit (e.g., John Piper and C. J. Mahaney). This encroachment of continuationism, coupled with an increasing suppression of differences on “non-essential” doctrines in the interest of standing “together for the gospel,” has created a milieu ripe for the allowance, accommodation, and even embrace of tongues in conservative evangelicalism and even fundamentalism today.

Works defending cessationism continue to emerge, but even these seem to feel pressure not only to affirm the evangelical credentials of continuationists, but also to recognize the contribution of continuationism to evangelicalism and even to concede certain aspects of continuationism. Dan Wallace, for instance, introduces the book Who’s Afraid of the Holy Spirit? with the forthright assertion, “I am a cessationist,” even a “hard-line” cessationist.10 But he admits that in the crucible of personal trial, he was forced to “come to grips with the inadequacy of the Bible alone to handle life’s crises. I needed an existential relationship with God.”11 He adds,

Through this experience I found that the Bible was not adequate. I needed God in a personal way—not as an object of my study, but as friend, guide, comforter. I needed an existential experience of the Holy One. Quite frankly, I found that the Bible was not the answer. I found the Scriptures to be helpful—even authoritatively helpful—as a guide. But without my feeling God, the Bible gave me little solace. In the midst of this “summer from hell,” I began to examine what had become of my faith. I found a longing to get closer to God, but found myself unable to do so through my normal means: exegesis, scripture reading, more exegesis. I believe that I had depersonalized God so much that when I really needed him I didn’t know how to relate. I looked for God, but found many community-wide restrictions in my cessationist environment.12

Wallace concludes, “I am increasingly convinced that although God does not communicate in a way that opposes the scriptures, he often communicates in a non-verbal manner to his children…. To deny that God speaks verbally to us today apart from the scriptures is not to deny that he communicates to us apart from the scriptures.”13

In these words lies a third and final reason for pressing a defense of cessationism today, one that penetrates to the heart of my concern, namely, that the practice of tongues (and all revelatory gifts) is not so innocuous and peripheral to the Kerygma as is often portrayed. Allowance for tongues and continuing revelations from God (whether verbal or non-verbal) betrays a dim view of the sufficiency of Scripture alone to speak in all its grammatical/historical/theological simplicity to all of life.14 Once we concede that Scripture may or even must be supplemented by revelatory “communication,” we have in principle surrendered one of the most vital doctrines of evangelical Protestantism: sola scriptura. And this doctrine is one that we dare not abandon.

The following, then, is a brief case for cessationism. More narrowly, it is a brief case for the cessationism of tongues (though the basic principles in this article extend to other miraculous gifts). It begins by defining several key terms and establishing a historical setting, and then offers some objective, exegetical/theological reasons why the doctrine of cessationism should be maintained.

Important definitions

The term cessationism in this article refers to the idea that all the miraculous gifts practiced by the early church have been suspended for the duration of the present age. This is not to say that God is prohibited from intervening in his universe in a miraculous manner today (though some cessationists argue such), but that the miraculous gifts, including tongues, have ceased in this age. Nor is it to say that God will never again bestow miraculous powers to his people—allowance is generally made here for their resumption at some point in the age to come.

The term continuationism in this article refers to any noncessationist position—the view that at least some of the early gifts practiced in the early church are still to be practiced today. This is not to say that all the gifts necessarily continue today, that all believers must exhibit miraculous gifts, or that these gifts are always at the disposal of believers (though some continuationists will argue any or all of these three points).15 At the risk of over-simplification, the cessationist and continuationist positions are to be regarded, for the purposes of this presentation, as mutually exclusive and comprehensive categories.

The term glossolalia, it shall be further argued below, refers specifically to the supernatural practice of speaking in a genuine language that one has not acquired by natural means. Since some have expanded the definition of this term to include a variety of coded speech patterns and even incoherent gibberish devoid of any inherent linguistic meaning,16 a few have opted for the more precise term xenoglossia. I understand these terms to be synonymous.

A brief history of views

One of the lesser arguments for cessationism is the virtual absence of tongues-speaking from the apostolic period until the middle of the nineteenth century.17 While this absence is not absolute, most of the examples of glossolalia from this period are isolated, sectarian, generally quite mystical, and frequently heretical18—and modern-day continuationists themselves often hesitate to appeal to these as determinative.

The modern-day phenomenon of tongues-speaking has come in a series of three “waves.” The first, Pentecostalism, is the most theologically driven of the three. Sparked by two concurrent, late nineteenth-century surges of interest, viz., eschatology (a time when, biblically, tongues will reemerge) and a less-than-completely-defined dispensational emphasis on the Spirit’s new work of Spirit baptism in the present era (which was often accompanied in the NT book of Acts by tongues-speaking), Pentecostalism broke free from the Dispensational-Keswick alliance near the turn of the last century and matured into full independence in the ensuing decades.19 Emphasis on tongues-speaking in this first wave was on its role as a confirmation of Spirit baptism either (1) at salvation or, more often, (2) at a crisis event subsequent to salvation that launched the believer’s second “stage” of Christian commitment.

The second “wave” of tongues-speaking, Charismatism, is the least theologically driven of the three waves. Not properly an expression of any one theological system, Charismatism is more a spontaneous and spectacular way of doing worship. As such, Charismatism spread across both Protestant and Roman Catholic denominational lines. Charismatism began roughly around 1960 and has continued ever since.

The “third wave,” a term coined in 1980 by Peter Wagner, represents something of a reining in of Charismatism, but should not be regarded as a return to Pentecostalism. While the third wave is far from monolithic, it is generally marked by (1) an abandonment of the baptism of the Spirit as a crisis event subsequent to conversion and (2) moderation with respect to the necessity and importance of glossolalia—like the rest of the gifts, the gift of tongues is selectively given and, in keeping with 1 Corinthians 14, is not even among the “greatest” of the gifts. The spectrum of theological commitment among third wave advocates is broad, but a significant percentage of these are deeply concerned that the practice of tongues be biblically governed.

Editor’s note: Parts 2, 3 and 4 will present a case for cessationism.

Notes

1 David Wilkerson, “An Urgent Message,” David Wilkerson Today [weblog], entry posted 7 March 2009, http://davidwilkersontoday.blogspot.com/2009/03/urgent-message.html (accessed 9 March 2009).

2 I borrow the designation “open but cautious” from Robert L. Saucy, “An Open but Cautious View,” in Are Miraculous Gifts for Today? Four Views, ed. Wayne A. Grudem (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996).

3 John Piper, “Testing David Wilkerson’s Prophecy,” Desiring God [weblog], entry posted 9 March 2009, http://www.desiringgod.org/Blog/1670_testing_david_ wilkersons_prophecy (accessed 9 March 2009). Admittedly, this is only the first of two responses by Piper, but the fact that this is a response at all (let alone the first) is telling.

4 B. B. Warfield, Counterfeit Miracles (New York: Scribner’s, 1918).

5 Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992.

6 MacArthur himself seems to bear silent witness to this fact by his recent and frequent associations and platform-sharing with known continuationists.

7 In addition to MacArthur, see, e.g., Thomas R. Edgar, Satisfied by the Promise of the Spirit (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1996); Robert L. Thomas, Understanding Spiritual Gifts, rev. ed. (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1999).

8 The aforementioned Saucy essay in Miraculous Gifts: Are They for Today? is representative here. See below for my explanatory hypothesis for this decline of cessationism among progressive dispensationalists.

9 In addition to Warfield, see, e.g., Robert L. Reymond, What About Continuing Revelations and Miracles in the Presbyterian Church Today? (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian & Reformed, 1977); Richard B. Gaffin, Perspectives on Pentecost (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian & Reformed, 1979); O. Palmer Robertson, The Final Word: A Biblical Response to the Case for Tongues and Prophecy Today (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1993); Anthony A. Hoekema, What About Tongue-Speaking? (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1966).

10 “The Uneasy Conscience of a Non-Charismatic Evangelical,” in Who’s Afraid of the Holy Spirit?, ed. Daniel B. Wallace and M. James Sawyer (Dallas: Biblical Studies Press, 2005), p. 2.

11 Ibid., p. 1.

12 Ibid., p. 7.

13 Ibid., p. 8.

14 Sam Waldron suggests that highly subjective views of Spirit guidance among conservative evangelicals (reflected in phrases like “God told me,” “God directed me,” etc., and most starkly in the violent rejection, in many quarters, of Garry Friesen’s objective, wisdom-based approach to guidance expressed in his Decision-Making and the Will of God) has left them particularly vulnerable to revelatory tongues-speaking as promoted by charismatics: “One of the reasons charismatics have been so successful in promulgating their views among Evangelicals is because Evangelicals themselves have come to a place where they have very loose and subjective understandings of important passages of the Word of God…. There has been a real tendency to devotionalize and spiritualize the Bible in a way that was made to order and set a lot of people up, when a charismatic came with his views, to not see all that much difference between charismatic subjectivism and the prevailing evangelical subjectivism.” In short, Waldron suggests that acceptance of tongues, on a grass-roots level, can generally be traced to a hermeneutically-induced rejection of the doctrine of sola scriptura (“Tongues! Signs! Wonders! An Interview with Dr. Sam Waldron,” entry posted December 8, 2005, http://www.challies.com/archives/interviews/tongues-signs-w.php, accessed 12 March 2009.

15 As such I include under this rubric the “Open but Cautious,” “Charismatic/Pentecostal,” and “Third Wave” views represented in the Counterpoints volume, Are Miraculous Gifts for Today?

16 I have deliberately avoided using the adjective ecstatic in this definition, because the term ecstatic speaks to a person’s emotional state, not the content of his utterance. A person can be ecstatic and coherent or he can be ecstatic and incoherent. Ecstasy may influence what is uttered, but not in any determinative way. See Robert H. Gundry, “ ‘Ecstatic Utterance’ (N.E.B.),” Journal of Theological Studies 17 (October 1966): 299–307.

17 I describe this as a “lesser” argument because it is, after all, an argument from silence—both logically and literally. Nonetheless, it seems to be a notable silence. If speaking in tongues, like the other gifts, is a gift bestowed sovereignly by the Spirit (Rom 12:6; 1 Cor 12:11, 18; Heb 2:4), it would seem logical that these would continue. While it is possible for believers to seek specific gifts (1 Cor 12:31; 14:1, 39) and for believers to fail in the exercise of their gifts due to a lack of faith (Mark 9:28–29), God’s bestowal of gifts is not restricted by human faith, and one would expect them to continue unabated in the age for which they are appointed.

18 See, e.g., Hoekema, What About Tongue-Speaking? ch. 1; Edgar, Satisfied by the Spirit, ch. 8.

19 The Azusa Street Revival, which began in 1906 and ran for about ten years, is often cited as the event around which Pentecostalism coalesced as an independent system of thought. For a detailing of the historical factors leading to the formation of Pentecostalism, see Donald W. Dayton, “The Theological Roots of Pentecostalism” (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Chicago, 1983), ch. 4.


Mark Snoeberger has served as Director of Library Services at Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary since 1997, and as a part-time instructor here since 1999. Prior to coming on staff at DBTS, he served for three years as an assistant pastor. He received his M.Div. and Th.M. degrees from DBTS in 1999 and 2001, respectively. Dr. Snoeberger earned the Ph.D. in systematic theology in 2008 from Baptist Bible Seminary in Clarks Summit, PA. He provides pulpit supply for area churches on an active basis and teaches in the Inter-City Bible Institute. He and his wife, Heather, have two sons, Jonathan and David.

Alex Guggenheim's picture
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What an exceptional

What an exceptional introduction. I am thrilled with the approach and the clearly identified issues of today as compared to the then relevant responses by MacArthur and Warfield. As they faced the prevalent arguments of their day (yes John is still arguing but I am referring to the publication mentioned) and defeated them I have rather strong confidence that this series of articles will lead these modern proponents who disclaim the sufficiency of Scripture or offer theological recipes for tongues based in apologies for the past but they are more enlightened, refined and thereby modified so that we may respect them, straight to their Waterloo. I anticipate maximum edification for the soul.

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Thanks, and a bit of skepticism.

I especially appreciate the tightness of Mark's definition that it is the gifts that we see as having ceased, not necessarily individual miraculous events. This distinction is critical.

Mark Snoeberger wrote:

Works defending cessationism continue to emerge, but even these seem to feel pressure not only to affirm the evangelical credentials of continuationists, but also to recognize the contribution of continuationism to evangelicalism and even to concede certain aspects of continuationism. Dan Wallace, for instance, introduces the book [amazon 0737500689 ] with the forthright assertion, "I am a cessationist," even a "hard-line" cessationist.10 But he admits that in the crucible of personal trial, he was forced to "come to grips with the inadequacy of the Bible alone to handle life's crises. I needed an existential relationship with God."11 He adds,

Through this experience I found that the Bible was not adequate. I needed God in a personal way--not as an object of my study, but as friend, guide, comforter. I needed an existential experience of the Holy One. Quite frankly, I found that the Bible was not the answer. I found the Scriptures to be helpful--even authoritatively helpful--as a guide. But without my feeling God, the Bible gave me little solace. In the midst of this "summer from hell," I began to examine what had become of my faith. I found a longing to get closer to God, but found myself unable to do so through my normal means: exegesis, scripture reading, more exegesis. I believe that I had depersonalized God so much that when I really needed him I didn't know how to relate. I looked for God, but found many community-wide restrictions in my cessationist environment.12

Wallace concludes, "I am increasingly convinced that although God does not communicate in a way that opposes the scriptures, he often communicates in a non-verbal manner to his children.... To deny that God speaks verbally to us today apart from the scriptures is not to deny that he communicates to us apart from the scriptures."13

In these words lies a third and final reason for pressing a defense of cessationism today, one that penetrates to the heart of my concern, namely, that the practice of tongues (and all revelatory gifts) is not so innocuous and peripheral to the Kerygma as is often portrayed. Allowance for tongues and continuing revelations from God (whether verbal or non-verbal) betrays a dim view of the sufficiency of Scripture alone to speak in all its grammatical/historical/theological simplicity to all of life.14 Once we concede that Scripture may or even must be supplemented by revelatory "communication," we have in principle surrendered one of the most vital doctrines of evangelical Protestantism: sola scriptura. And this doctrine is one that we dare not abandon.

I do have one possible disagreement brewing here. This has been discussed here before, and I believe it was in response to an article by Mark, also, but here goes:
Wallace says he is a cessationist. But Mark implies that Wallace's cessationism is defective because of his being open to a personal feeling of closeness to God as being critical to his spiritual well-being, just as he admits Scripture was critical.

I am a cessationist, and VERY vocal in my criticism of Charismaticism and extra-biblical revelation. In the process of my expositing passages, if there is an opportunity to critique Charismaticism and/or extra-Biblical revelation, I will take that opportunity. Furthermore, I was a great fan of Friesen's work when Fundamentalist leaders were still preaching against it.

Having said this, I am not so sure that Dan Wallace is guilty of violating Cessationism. Can we say that wanting to feel God close is a search for extra-Biblical revelation? Can we really say that a belief that God has stirred within him certain feelings is a claim to revelation? In particular, while a Cessationist might make public statements about such feelings ("I sense the Spirit moving here in the service"), he would not therefore teach "Therefore, everything we say here is authoritative and equal to Scripture."

You're going to have to win me over on this one, Mark.

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God's leading

It would be interesting sometime to really dig into the question of in what sense God can be said to "lead" us if there no "revelation" beyond Scripture. I'm sure it would be helpful to pick Dr. Snoeberger's brain on that topic. It did come up briefly at a conference I attended where he presented much of what's in this article series. I seem to recall that he wanted to make a distinction between the aid we receive from the Spirit in applying Scripture to the choices we face vs. "revelation."
Where I got stuck was on how we can be led by the Spirit without some kind of communication occurring beyond what is written. Even if I am merely nudged cognitively by the Spirit toward a particular understanding, how does that happen without some kind of information being--well, revealed to me?
I'm sympathetic to Wallace's openness on that particular subpoint.

It's a bit tangential to the question of cessationism though.

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Aaron Blumer wrote: It would

Aaron Blumer wrote:
It would be interesting sometime to really dig into the question of in what sense God can be said to "lead" us if there no "revelation" beyond Scripture. I'm sure it would be helpful to pick Dr. Snoeberger's brain on that topic. It did come up briefly at a conference I attended where he presented much of what's in this article series. I seem to recall that he wanted to make a distinction between the aid we receive from the Spirit in applying Scripture to the choices we face vs. "revelation."
Where I got stuck was on how we can be led by the Spirit without some kind of communication occurring beyond what is written. Even if I am merely nudged cognitively by the Spirit toward a particular understanding, how does that happen without some kind of information being--well, revealed to me?

Agreed. This is precisely where my thoughts turned after reading this intro. After all, if prophecy (as described by Grudem) is not infallible and must be subjected to Scripture, what is the real difference between that and, say, the "call" to preach? Looking forward to the answer.

Faith is obeying when you can't even imagine how things might turn out right.

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Prophecy

I'm not sure I agree w/Grudem on "prophecy." Wallace at least makes a distinction between extra-biblical communication and extra-biblical words. If I understand him right, he is saying we get something more than Scripture from God but we get something less than words.
It's an interesting problem with quite a history. Needs a series of articles all by itself.

Aaron, do you have the title of Grudem's work on prophecy? I really would like to check it out sometime. Personally, I lean toward the idea that genuine prophecy is what happens when the Spirit inspires a speaker or writer and the result is always infallible word from God. So I believe we are not getting this anymore. (And the reason for testing prophets and so forth is not because prophecy can be in error but because what poses as prophecy may not truly be prophecy)

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This article by Dan Phillips

This article by Dan Phillips is relevant to this discussion. Dan examines Francis Chan's recent announcement that God is leading him to leave his church and step out on faith and uses it to argue against any kind of extra-biblical revelation or subjective, authoritative leading/calling by God.

http://bibchr.blogspot.com/2010/04/taking-step-of-faith-few-thoughts.html

In the comments he also argues against the "calling" language when used of pastors: "God called me to be a pastor."

------------------------------
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Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

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School of Religion
Liberty University Online

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A few preliminary answers

Thanks for the opportunity to interact. I'll start by saying that there is something ineffable about the work of the Spirit. His influence is integral to the new nature and, frankly, I can't explain some of the intersection of the mind of the Spirit with the mind of the believer. What I do feel fairly confident in saying is that what he is doing is not independently revelatory. I.e., he is not giving me new and necessary, propositional data to supplement what I have in the sufficient Scriptures.

What I see the Spirit doing in illumination is not (in my feeble mind, at least) revelatory. In answer to Adam's question, I personally wouldn't say that God nudges me toward a particular interpretation of a given text. The meaning of the words is bound up in the text and I get at that meaning by the science of hermeneutics. Translation, interpretation, and linguistics are in the realm of common grace and no nudges are needed, just the pure, unadulterated hard work of exegesis. In fact, to say otherwise seems to (1) reduce Scripture to a hinweis that points to a meaning that hovers above the text and (2) suggest that Bible is either an inadequate medium or an insufficient resource for divine revelation--REAL revelation lies in the encounter that the reader has with God when he reads the text (shades of Barth?).

In illumination I see something totally different. Following Fuller (as in the Fuller/Erickson debate), I would suggest that illumination is dispositional, and deals with the realm of significance rather than meaning. Illumination replaces a person's hostility to the Word with sympathy, so that he is favorably inclined to yield to God's Word. God regenerates the will, or in Paul's words, gives the beleiver the mind of Christ. Once so endowed, the believer may ask God for wisdom to skillfully apply the Word. At that point the believer is able to establish not the meaning, but the significance of that text to his peculiar God-given situation.

Incidentally, that's about as far as I'm willing to go in defining the "call." The Spirit imparts to the believer certain gifts and inclinations. The believer then recognizes these gifts and inclinations in the mirror of the Word and by the Spirit begins to cultivate them. Then the church confirms them. That's it. Now, admittedly, SOMETHING ineffable happens when the Spirit imparts and cultivates these gifts and inclinations in the believer. But I'm inclined to think of his work as in the realm of spiritual formation and development, not revelatory event. Specifically, I reject the idea that God gives independently revelatory messages (whether verbal, encoded, or intuited) to communicate his specific will. To me this is something of an affront to biblical sufficiency and potentially a threat to biblical authority.

My take. Hack away. Smile

As to Grudem's infallible prophecies, stay tuned to forthcoming installments. In the meantime, I'll point you to F. David Farnell, "Fallible New Testament Prophecy/Prophets? A Critique of Wayne Grudem's Hypothesis," Master's Seminary Journal 2.2 (Fall 1991): 157-79.

MAS

MAS

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Aaron Blumer wrote: I'm not

Aaron Blumer wrote:
I'm not sure I agree w/Grudem on "prophecy." Wallace at least makes a distinction between extra-biblical communication and extra-biblical words. If I understand him right, he is saying we get something more than Scripture from God but we get something less than words.
It's an interesting problem with quite a history. Needs a series of articles all by itself.

Aaron, do you have the title of Grudem's work on prophecy? I really would like to check it out sometime. Personally, I lean toward the idea that genuine prophecy is what happens when the Spirit inspires a speaker or writer and the result is always infallible word from God. So I believe we are not getting this anymore. (And the reason for testing prophets and so forth is not because prophecy can be in error but because what poses as prophecy may not truly be prophecy)

Grudem's work is called The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today. Also, see the pertinent sections in his Systematic Theology. While maintaining the gift of prophecy, he also strongly affirms both the authority and sufficiency of Scripture. Note: I have not read Grudem's book on prophecy, though I assume it does not conflict with his ST, nor Are Miraculous Gifts for Today?, which he edited.

I'll be looking for Farnell's article.

Faith is obeying when you can't even imagine how things might turn out right.

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Mark Snoeberger

Mark Snoeberger wrote:
Specifically, I reject the idea that God gives independently revelatory messages (whether verbal, encoded, or intuited) to communicate his specific will. To me this is something of an affront to biblical sufficiency and potentially a threat to biblical authority.

My take. Hack away. Smile

As to Grudem's infallible prophecies, stay tuned to forthcoming installments. In the meantime, I'll point you to F. David Farnell, "Fallible New Testament Prophecy/Prophets? A Critique of Wayne Grudem's Hypothesis," Master's Seminary Journal 2.2 (Fall 1991): 157-79.

MAS

If I understand you correctly, you are saying that God only communicates his specific will (if at all) in conjunction with Scripture, i.e. when he does it, either it is not a "revelation" per se or it is not revealed independent of Scripture. But does that mean that it necessarily must arise from a reading and study of Scripture? Or do you rule out Spirit-directed applications in sermons and Spirit-led special words of encouragement to people in distress that, while not arising from Scripture, nevertheless are in harmony with them?

Faith is obeying when you can't even imagine how things might turn out right.

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revelation and decision-making

I'm saying that God's special revelation to us today is limited to his Word. That is my only normative source for governing my behavior and decisions. It's not the only input I consider in making decisions, but everything else has, at the very best, derivative authority. Never independent authority.

MAS

MAS

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Yes... but...

Mark S wrote:
In answer to Adam's question, I personally wouldn't say that God nudges me toward a particular interpretation of a given text. The meaning of the words is bound up in the text and I get at that meaning by the science of hermeneutics. Translation, interpretation, and linguistics are in the realm of common grace and no nudges are needed, just the pure, unadulterated hard work of exegesis. In fact, to say otherwise seems to (1) reduce Scripture to a hinweis that points to a meaning that hovers above the text and (2) suggest that Bible is either an inadequate medium or an insufficient resource for divine revelation--REAL revelation lies in the encounter that the reader has with God when he reads the text (shades of Barth?).

Actually agree completely with you there. I probably didn't express my nudge idea very clearly. What I was referring to there is receiving guidance from God in decisions of life, so what we usually call application. I'm beginning to see how it's possible to squeak some kind of Spirit activity in there that is "not independently revelatory.... not giving me new and necessary, propositional data" but with difficulty.

The whole "call" concept is a good example. Though I think many have not really analyzed it, I suspect quite a few believers in Baptist/baptistic circles would say that when a congregation votes to invite a man to be their pastor, God has communicated His will in some way through that event. Before the vote we did not have that information; after it we did. It seems difficult to deny that this is new propositional data. We could just say it's "something ineffable," I guess, but it sure looks like new information to me.

In reality, I'm a very rational guy and my eyes roll involuntarily when people talk about "having a peace" about something or "God told me to buy that car" etc. I'm just not personally satisfied yet that proscribing the nonrational entirely is the right solution. I know that "proscribing the nonrational" is not what you're saying either, exactly but that might be where it kind of leads and I'm not sure that's a better problem than the sufficiency problem.

(By the way, thanks for interacting with us here)

Greg: thanks for the Dan P. link. The case does illustrate the kind of "faith equals being nonrational" sort of thinking that goes on.

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I'm looking forward to Mark's

I'm looking forward to Mark's articles to provide a case for cessationism. I've previously argued for the possibility of tongues (as languages) in pioneer missionary situations. I think the evidence for that is overwhelming although most missionaries will have to learn languages with normal study over time and often not very well. It is not that experience has the final word. It is that the supposed cessation of miraculous gifts does not negate the possibility of miraculous manifestations. If it can be shown that the gift of tongues has ceased, that would not lead to the conclusion that tongues never occur (just as the cessation of the gift of healing does not rule out miraculous healing).

Many of the arguments for cessationism have been made through the lens of dispensationalism. It seems that many, including some dispensationalists, are allowing Scripture to speak and recognizing that God might operate out of harmony with our theologies but in harmony with Scripture. This will not lead to sympathy with the aberrations of the Charismatic movement. For those who have the more sure Word there is no need for the miraculous gifts as gifts. For those who find themselves in situations analogous to the first-century, where there is no Word, there is no reason to deny that God may operate in ways not experienced by us yet not contrary to scriptural truth until the recipients have the Scriptures.

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Dr. Snoeberger, thank you so

Dr. Snoeberger, thank you so much for this excellent article. I am looking forward to the other installments.

Re: footnote #6: "MacArthur himself seems to bear silent witness to this fact by his recent and frequent associations and platform-sharing with known continuationists." Although you are correct regarding the platform-sharing, I will point out that MacArthur's right-hand man, Phil Johnson, and his cohorts on the Pyromaniacs blog, argue vehemently and frequently against continuationism and continuationists (even mentioning Piper by name several times) and argue for the very things you present in this article.

For example:

http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2008/08/prophecy-and-signs-and-wonders.html
http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2008/08/signs-and-wonders.html
http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2008/09/wily-continualist.html
http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2008/06/spirit-and-power.html
http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2007/10/still-not-clear-on-concept.html

Phil Johnson wrote:
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. 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 charismatics are not totally exempt from the tendency. (http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2007/11/something-nice.html)

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P.S. Piper's statements that

P.S. Piper's statements that Wilkerson's prophecy "does not resonate with my spirit" and "doesn’t smell authentic to me" are incredible. So why should we believe John Piper's spirit and sense of smell over David Wilkerson's?

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Steve Davis wrote: For those

Steve Davis wrote:
For those who find themselves in situations analogous to the first-century, where there is no Word, there is no reason to deny that God may operate in ways not experienced by us yet not contrary to scriptural truth until the recipients have the Scriptures.
But the ways in which God has made clear he will not operate because of his integrity which will insure his keeping with his own protocol of this age for both humanity in general and his revelation to them and believers specifically and his revelation for them are ways which God has indicated he will not be working. It isn't a matter of us denying anything it is a matter of us receiving what he has said he will not be doing.

This is akin to saying, "well there is no reason God wouldn't_____________________ (fill in the blank with anything)". Well, yes, there is a reason particularly if God has, in presenting his program for his people, established he won't be functioning in a certain way during a specific period or ever. Now you can disagree with the interpretation of Scripture that leads to this view but simply saying, "there is no reason to deny God may operate in ways not experienced by us yet not contrary to scriptural truth" fails to accept that in some cases God has presented in Scripture that he won't be doing certain things. So while it might be true that God can do some things with which we may not be familiar, such a view is not the basis for arguing whether God has or has not indicated he won't.

For example, I know God won't be sending his Son again to die for us because he already did and said it is finished. But I could say, "Well God can do anything, right"? Wrong, because he won't do anything if he has indicated he will not. So the argument isn't if he will or won't but has he indicated whether he will or won't and therein lies what I suspect will be the heavy blows by Snoeberger that will put to sleep this doctrinal menace.

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The leading of the God/Holy Spirit

In observing the most popular passage in Scripture regarding the "leading" of God (here through God the Holy Spirit) I believe the questions about whether it necessitates some revelatory initiation by God and response by us is answered:

Quote:
Galatians 5:16-25
16This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

17For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

18But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

19Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

20Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

21Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

24And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

25If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Notice what you see contrasted here, both the works of the Spirit and of the flesh. When one is "led" of the Spirit it does not portray a context of whispers in your head or spirit (whatever that means) rather it is a dispositional context, one of person, just as when you are led of the flesh it is also a dispositional context.

When you are led of the flesh you will go about and engage in the desires of the flesh. It is not like there is a whisper in your ear, "hey, go steal that" rather your desires will be contrary because your disposition is contrary hence YOU will think of fleshly things to do in response, so those thoughts (such as "hmmm I want to steal that") are YOURS initiated and motivated by your fleshly disposition.

And when we are led or controlled by God's Spirit we have a disposition and desire for the Godly. We want to be kind, we want to be longsuffering, meek and so on, and because of this, we are. We don't have this voice in our head saying, "hey, go be longsuffering to Susie over there", rather we respond this way because we are this way, this is the controlling nature in our being at that time. Now it might be that when you are under the control of or are yielded to the Spirit (like when you are led by the flesh) you have thoughts that come into your head that are specific such as a thought to go help your neighbor with something, to bring peace to a difficult situation, etc., but those, again, are YOUR thoughts initiated and motivated by your spiritual disposition.

But even when one is controlled by God's Spirit it does not mean all of their thoughts are going to be mature, wise, timely and so on. Again they must acquiesce themselves to the revelation of Scripture. Your godly desires when being led of the Spirit, while good and pure, still are not sufficient. These simply are desires normative for one controlled by God's Spirit. And even the subsequent thoughts we have about specific things we can do to minister to other, these are not sufficient nor made valid as right at that moment or for our lives simply because we have both the desire and the thoughts have entered our minds, no matter how defined the thoughts might be. What is our dictate is the Word of God to which we must subject all things including these wishes, thoughts and considerations we have stemming from our spiritual context or disposition (again no matter how specific and if they are often the more detailed the more we like to view it as supernatural revelation).

As mentioned earlier regarding the Dan Phillips article, I haven't read it but have read similar material about the questionable use of the term "called" with respect to ministry or other similar contexts and personally, early in my own walk, I came to this conclusion (its misunderstanding and misuse) with the aid of several excellent exegetical bible teachers.

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Brilliant!

Mark Snoeberger wrote:
My take. Hack away. Smile

Thanks so much. It is deftly and precisely worded, and has persuaded me.

The ironic side of me wants to say that using the word "ineffable" after explaining everything so thoroughly is a ploy to make your critics believe you kept the "mystery" in the work of the Spirit. ;)

But I do believe you were dead on in your explanation.

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A sort of bondage

Alex Guggenheim wrote:
When you are led of the flesh you will go about and engage in the desires of the flesh. It is not like there is a whisper in your ear, "hey, go steal that" rather your desires will be contrary because your disposition is contrary hence YOU will think of fleshly things to do in response, so those thoughts (such as "hmmm I want to steal that") are YOURS initiated and motivated by your fleshly disposition.

And when we are led or controlled by God's Spirit we have a disposition and desire for the Godly. We want to be kind, we want to be longsuffering, meek and so on, and because of this, we are. We don't have this voice in our head saying, "hey, go be longsuffering to Susie over there", rather we respond this way because we are this way, this is the controlling nature in our being at that time.


This is IMO an important point in the discussion of how God reveals His will. It seems that so many young people are looking for a sign from Heaven about the particulars of what God wants them to do- but they aren't exercising their spiritual discernment, and there is no fruitfulness in their characters. If they are guided by their flesh, but they announce that "God told me to go to Argentina", "I feel led of the Spirit to marry Betsy" (and Betsy wishes he'd fall off the nearest cliff) who can argue with that? If you don't believe their 'calling' then you are arguing 'against God'. IOW, this use of these particular phrases is most often employed to manipulate/control others. I've been disappointed a lot lately at the use of "God told me" for the purpose of shutting other people up, especially when the people who say this are unrepentantly involved in immorality and do NOT exhibit such fruits as temperance and meekness.

It is really carnal to just use good sense? Take a decision like car buying- is it 'denying God' if we make that decision based on our need for a vehicle, our budget, and the research we've done on the vehicle with the best gas mileage, handling, and safety? If we pray an ask God to show us if He wants us to buy the car, and the salesman contacts us to say that we don't qualify because our credit was bad, is that God answering our prayer? Because then you can go around saying "God showed us that that was the wrong car for us" instead of saying "We have a bad credit score and don't qualify for financing". The first sounds so much more spiritual. Of course I don't think that we shouldn't pray about every day decisions, whether large or small, but I think we've made it much harder than it needs to be- and for what purpose? Another example comes to mind- if a young man is praying for a good job, but he doesn't develop the necessary knowledge and skills for any in-demand vocation, he can say he's "Waiting on God" to show him the job He wants him to have. I could go on and on, because the more I think about this, the more I am aware that I have seen this all my life, and have possibly been more affected by it than I realize.

So if God uses what we already know to guide us...then if we don't know much, He doesn't have much to 'work with'. But if we are daily searching the Scriptures, reading good books on various topics, and just endeavoring to be well-rounded in our knowledge base, then we've got lots of stuff rattling around in our heads that God can use to get us on track. Not to mention that if we are continuously purging ourselves from fleshly lusts and habits, we've prepared our vessel for an honorable use.

Mark Snoeberger wrote:
I'm saying that God's special revelation to us today is limited to his Word. That is my only normative source for governing my behavior and decisions. It's not the only input I consider in making decisions, but everything else has, at the very best, derivative authority. Never independent authority.

I agree and appreciate this article very much. To me it is a release from a sort of bondage- that God's will is often cryptic, and we don't have the Secret Decoder Ring to decipher it. That we have to wait for the stars to align, for 'signs and wonders' to appear to confirm to us the answer to a question about how to conduct our daily lives. Or we have to wait until someone else, like our pastor/mentor, reveals to us what we are supposed to do. Perhaps this is where some of the more cultish elements of some parts of Fundamentalism were able to get a hold on folks.

This post is me talking to myself more than anything else, but I needed to hear some things that I already knew... if that makes sense... thanks Bro. Snoeberger- looking forward to parts 2-4.

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Susan, I would highly

Susan, I would highly recommend you read Gary Friessen's Decision Making and the Will of God. Or for a shorter, lighter version, Kevin DeYoung's Just Do Something: How to Make a Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, etc.

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Susan R's picture
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I know what I know

Thanks for the recommendations, Bro. Long. I know what I know, but sometimes ya' need to KNOW what you know, you know?

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Derivative autority

Aaron Blumer wrote:
The whole "call" concept is a good example. Though I think many have not really analyzed it, I suspect quite a few believers in Baptist/baptistic circles would say that when a congregation votes to invite a man to be their pastor, God has communicated His will in some way through that event. Before the vote we did not have that information; after it we did. It seems difficult to deny that this is new propositional data. We could just say it's "something ineffable," I guess, but it sure looks like new information to me.

Aaron (sorry I called you Adam on the last post),

Yes, there is a sense in which what the church says is God's will for that church, but it is mediated, not immediate. Let me use this example to show what I mean by derivative authority. In that God has given the church the authority to make its own decisions, choose its own officers, etc., when they speak as a body, the congregation does speak from a standpoint of authority (and if as a member I represent the lone abstaining vote, I must submit to the will of the majority). The same basic idea is true of governmental authority or parental authority or the authority of my employer. All these structures derive their authority from God, and so I must submit to each as unto God (Eph 5:22; 6:7; etc). God established the authority and then that authority uses his derivative power to make propositional statements:

* "_______________ will be our new pastor."
* "Everyone must submit to national health care."
* "You must go to bed at 10:30."
* "Go sweep the factory floor."

And I must obey as the will of God. But this is much different than saying that these authority structures are conduits of divine revelation. A prophet speaks for God with primary authority as an immediate spokesman for God. President Obama does not. One could legitimately say that he speaks as God in a sense, but he does not give me new revelation on par with Scripture, because he speaks with derivative or mediated authority.

MAS

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Back door

Thanks, that's helpful.
Would it be fair to say that in your view, decisions made via derivative authority...
a. Do not involve receiving additional communication from God, but rather the use of discernment/wisdom with what we already have
b. Constitute a kind of communication from God after the fact, because the legitimate use of derivative authority must be "His will"?
The boss says mop the floor + God has told us "servants obey your masters" = "It's God's will that I mop the floor"
I did not "know" this was God's will before the boss said "mop," so in that sense I have new information but it's only "from God" in a very indirect sense (providential sense?)

We're a ways from the cessation topic now, I guess, but we're still on what God communicates and how which is related to the question of gifts, especially prophecy... and it seems I'm not the only one interested in exploring this part of it further.

Greg... I recall that Friessen was considered quite the bad boy at BJU during my time there because of that particular book. At the time I recall thinking, "With so much passionate rejection going on here, I really want to read this thing." But never did. Are there any major points of disagreement you have with Friessen or Deyoung (I love Deyoung's title, by the way!) on that subject?

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However...

Quote:
The boss says mop the floor + God has told us "servants obey your masters" = "It's God's will that I mop the floor"
I did not "know" this was God's will before the boss said "mop," so in that sense I have new information but it's only "from God" in a very indirect sense (providential sense?)

When the boss says "Charge the customer for x but give them y" we act on the written revelation from God that we obey Him rather than man- correct?

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It's clear - that settles it

Alex Guggenheim wrote:
But the ways in which God has made clear he will not operate because of his integrity which will insure his keeping with his own protocol of this age for both humanity in general and his revelation to them and believers specifically and his revelation for them are ways which God has indicated he will not be working. It isn't a matter of us denying anything it is a matter of us receiving what he has said he will not be doing.

When you present it this way - God's integrity and God's protocol - there's not much room for discussion. To put it in that light sets up a position with which disagreement is tantamount to questioning God's integrity and protocol. That tactic doesn’t work anymore. No one’s questioning God. We can and should question those to whom this issue seems so clear and who claim to be so right.

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Wallace's Disconnect

Quote:
Through this experience I found that the Bible was not adequate. I needed God in a personal way—not as an object of my study, but as friend, guide, comforter. I needed an existential experience of the Holy One. Quite frankly, I found that the Bible was not the answer. I found the Scriptures to be helpful—even authoritatively helpful—as a guide. But without my feeling God, the Bible gave me little solace. In the midst of this “summer from hell,” I began to examine what had become of my faith. I found a longing to get closer to God, but found myself unable to do so through my normal means: exegesis, scripture reading, more exegesis. I believe that I had depersonalized God so much that when I really needed him I didn’t know how to relate. I looked for God, but found many community-wide restrictions in my cessationist environment.12 Wallace concludes, “I am increasingly convinced that although God does not communicate in a way that opposes the scriptures, he often communicates in a non-verbal manner to his children…. To deny that God speaks verbally to us today apart from the scriptures is not to deny that he communicates to us apart from the scriptures.

In his book Who's Afraid of the Holy Spirit? Daniel B. Wallace appears to have made a significant theological disconnect between studying the Bible and a Christian's relationship with God. There is no existential leap to be made between theological truth and a personal, emotional relationship with God. We cannot know God apart from His word. Through understanding truth about God with the mind and responding to it with the heart (emotions) we grow in our full experience of God. But our emotions have to be based on truth, not conjured up feelings. That "the Bible was not enough" was not Wallace's problem, but his exclusively academic approach to the Bible was. We should guard against a "textbook" approach to the Bible and respond to it in our hearts and apply it in our lives.

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Steve Davis wrote: Alex

Steve Davis wrote:
Alex Guggenheim wrote:
But the ways in which God has made clear he will not operate because of his integrity which will insure his keeping with his own protocol of this age for both humanity in general and his revelation to them and believers specifically and his revelation for them are ways which God has indicated he will not be working. It isn't a matter of us denying anything it is a matter of us receiving what he has said he will not be doing.

When you present it this way - God's integrity and God's protocol - there's not much room for discussion. To put it in that light sets up a position with which disagreement is tantamount to questioning God's integrity and protocol. That tactic doesn’t work anymore. No one’s questioning God. We can and should question those to whom this issue seems so clear and who claim to be so right.

It is disappointing to see you respond here with this, Steve, because words such as "protocol" and "integrity" are not tactics for anything other than employing them in their proper context.

But let's examine how it was presented and how much room for discussion there is. I suggested that God has "his own protocol for this age". What is the problem here? Do you disagree? If you do disagree then anything goes, right? But it doesn't because no less than I would, and do, assert that there is a protocol of God for this age, so would you. If someone came along and decided that the church no longer was the divine institution commissioned by God for the propagation of the gospel and doctrinal inculcation for believers, rather it was to be some other body, you would immediately say, "No, that is not so, you are wrong, God has established that the church...". Or if someone came along and said about the divine institution of marriage that it is invalid and now we are simply to love one another and take up residence with those with whom we have affection and have children and that is good enough and when we wish to depart that person it is fine, you would say, "No,, that is not so, you are wrong, God has established that marriage is...". This would be a reflection of the recognition of God's protocol in each instance. And during this age of the church there is a protocol of God for many things and you, whether you use the word or not, practice such a concept when you teach bible doctrine to other believers and outline the Christian way of life. For example we no longer offer sacrifices, these are done away with because....the protocol of God for this age teaches us this. Should someone respond to you, "Well Steve if you say it that way there leaves little room for discussion".

So your offense at the use of the word protocol, as if discussing tongues in the context of a protocol established by God somehow prohibits discussion, is belied by your own recognition of God's protocol in other matters. Are you telling me then that all other doctrinal discussions are suppressed merely because we must be aware of the reality that God has a protocol for all such matters? And even when such gifts were exercised, there was still a protocol for that period. It certainly didn't seem to stifle discussion on the matter. But what it protocol does in all matters is set boundaries and with respect to God's protocol, we observe it and document it in Scripture and teach it to believers.

To introduce the reality that we consistently see God with a protocol for matters isn't prohibitive toward anything other than those who wish such boundaries removed. But to complain that when discussing a doctrinal topic such a discussion also includes that it has within its discovery the eventual uncovering a protocol of of God is in fact, part of the process of doctrinal discovery and articulation.

___________________________

As to the integrity of God, again what is the complaint? I certainly did not suggest that to disagree with a conclusion is to disagree with God's integrity. You imposed that onto what I said. The essential reference to God's integrity has to do with the insurance and assurance that we can be confident that what is declared in Scripture is not only true but that into and onto which we may place and rest our faith based, no on our experiences but on God's integrity. I

Part of the argument for tongues is directly related to this. It is being suggested, as you did, that if someone should:

Quote:
find themselves in situations analogous to the first-century, where there is no Word, there is no reason to deny that God may operate in ways not experienced by us yet not contrary to scriptural truth

then we cannot deny God may operate as you have suggested. However Steve, God's integrity is at the crux of the matter because if he has presented in Scripture that he will not operate in certain ways, it is not the triumph of our experience that gives us certainty and elevates our announcement, rather it is founded and maintained on God's integrity.

But remember it works both ways. Suppose God has declared he will or could work in the way you believe. Then his integrity and not your experience is your assurance and certainty and your declaration of such a cause is moved from personal experience to divine certainty. God's integrity isn't a tactic for me, it is the assurance for all of us that what his word declare will be upheld and that our faith my rest in the objective, not the subjective.

Again, no one (and I certainly did not) is suggesting to disagree with a cessationist is to disagree with the integrity of God or to speak of God's protocol is a tactic. It is a reality of all Christian doctrines. We find the boundaries of our doctrines and the proper scope and function of them within our lives, that is called a protocol and it is given by God. And these doctrines are guaranteed by God's integrity. So your complaint certainly cannot be with these two realities which you and every teacher of doctrine employs all the time.

So if the protocol of God is discovered, regarding tongues, to allow its function today then his integrity will uphold such a thing and you can be certain of it. But if it is discovered that the protocol of God expresses that tongues are not for today, the reason we appeal to the integrity of God when it is discussed by those who want to insert, "But he might" is that God's integrity regarding his revelation trumps such suggestions, no in fact it nullifies them.

If you are unprepared to accept that we can observe and determine that God has limited how he will act during a certain age and based on his integrity that he will keep his word then it is likely you will always entertain the scenario(s) you suggest as exceptions. However, I certainly will not apologize or shrink back from rightly identifying and discussing doctrines based on the constant reality all through theology that God has a protocol and such a plan expressed in his Word is upheld by his integrity. These are not tactics again they are realities of theological considerations that I see presented quite regularly in such works.

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Greg Long wrote: P.S. Piper's

Greg Long wrote:
P.S. Piper's statements that Wilkerson's prophecy "does not resonate with my spirit" and "doesn’t smell authentic to me" are incredible. So why should we believe John Piper's spirit and sense of smell over David Wilkerson's?

In the same way why should we believe a cessationist's sense of smell when there are no sound scriptural grounds for denying the existence and use of the gifts of the Spirit?

Richard Pajak

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welcome to the discussion

welcome to the discussion richard. i was wondering when this forum's most vocal continuationist would chime in.

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ChrisC wrote: welcome to the

ChrisC wrote:
welcome to the discussion richard. i was wondering when this forum's most vocal continuationist would chime in.

Thank you. What I wonder is how many secret continuationists there are here who fear to express their views for fear of being verbally castrated.
Unfortunately I do not have the erudition to make my (or as I would argue, Scripture's) position more convincing to skeptical minds but at least it does remind folk that there is another position out there and that cessationism isn't the only allowable position in endeavouring to adhere to the fundamentals.

Richard Pajak

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