Albert Mohler: "I Am a Cessationist"

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Albert Mohler: "I Am a Cessationist"

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In light of Strange Fire conference, where do you stand on miraculous spiritual gifts?

Audio answer to a question on Strange Fire and cessationism. Starts around 12:00 mark

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Interesting

It will be interesting to see how this will be received by those who love Mohler, as well as people like Driscoll and open-but-cautious reformed leaders, while disliking Phil Johnson and John MacArthur's Strange Fire conference.

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Me too!

I'm a cessationist but I find it interesting that for nearly half a century I've heard noted fundamentalist preachers claiming that "God told them", "God called them", or God spoke to them" without any of their peers questioning their revelations.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

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Totally agree Ron. Either the

Totally agree Ron. Either the sufficiency of scripture says what we have historically said it means, or we need a new definition of the sufficiency of scripture.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

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Ron Bean wrote:

Ron Bean wrote:

I'm a cessationist but I find it interesting that for nearly half a century I've heard noted fundamentalist preachers claiming that "God told them", "God called them", or God spoke to them" without any of their peers questioning their revelations.

That's because many fundamentalist preachers use such statements to assert their authority and veracity as a "man of God." When the "man of God" says that God told him something, who are you to question it!? To question another pastor doing this would not allow you to make the very same claims.

I know that is the cynical side of me talking, but I've heard these claims used in this manner more than once...

 

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Sloppy experientialists

Many today who would say "God told me" don't really mean that. More likely they may mean that they believe they have God's peace in the situation, etc. It is just the sloppy, imprecise way we have gotten used to saying we believe we have the mind of God in a certain situation.

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"God's peace?"

Steve Newman wrote:

Many today who would say "God told me" don't really mean that. More likely they may mean that they believe they have God's peace in the situation, etc. It is just the sloppy, imprecise way we have gotten used to saying we believe we have the mind of God in a certain situation.


So how is having "God's peace" any different, really, from "God told me?" How do they know the particular peace in that situation is from God vs. from self-confidence?

Dave Barnhart

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sigh

I do need to moan here that I think that many "cessationists" trample the indwelling work of the Spirit in a believer's life during the NT era. Can we please be a little more careful? There are ways that God communicates to us certain things in our lives that are not clearly spelled out in Scripture. I'm not defending sloppiness, but the Shepherd does have a voice and He left us a Comforter. So am I defending charismatics or self-asserting preachers? No. But I would ask that we exercise caution in respecting the personal ministry of the Spirit in the life of individual believers. Does He mass-communicate through one person these days? No. But that doesn't mean he never communicates.

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dcbii wrote:

dcbii wrote:

 

Steve Newman wrote:

Many today who would say "God told me" don't really mean that. More likely they may mean that they believe they have God's peace in the situation, etc. It is just the sloppy, imprecise way we have gotten used to saying we believe we have the mind of God in a certain situation.

 

So how is having "God's peace" any different, really, from "God told me?" How do they know the particular peace in that situation is from God vs. from self-confidence?

 

What kind of confidence do you want? If you want the "matehmatical certainty" of the KJVO group, you may not get it. But the fact is that there is a true sense of confidence that comes from God's peace. Not only that, I would also encourage you to study the scriptures out on that point. I won't get into all of it now, but there is a reality there. 

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The limits of "peace"

Steve Newman wrote:

What kind of confidence do you want? If you want the "matehmatical certainty" of the KJVO group, you may not get it. But the fact is that there is a true sense of confidence that comes from God's peace. Not only that, I would also encourage you to study the scriptures out on that point. I won't get into all of it now, but there is a reality there. 

Steve,

Actually I believe in peace from God, at least as far as it goes when the scriptures speak to me through reading, hearing or preaching.  I'm less inclined to trust specific peace about a decision I want to make meaning it's from God, though I do stop and think carefully if I don't have any peace.  I don't know necessarily if "no peace" means that that's a warning from God, or it's just a warning from my conscience, but either way, I definitely have to take notice.

And yes, for anything I would consider "revelation" from God, i.e. "God told me to do that," I would want "KJVO certainty," and since I'm pretty sure I'm not going to get that, I'm not going to trust some "impression" in any sort of charismatic fashion.

But this is the quandary isn't it?  Will God really give us concrete leading apart from the revelation he has already given us in the scriptures?  Of course I believe that God leads and directs our lives according to his will.  But does he expect us to need more information from him in addition to what has already been revealed in order to follow him fully?  If the answer is yes, doesn't that really mean we are expecting further revelation, even if we wouldn't say that?

Dave Barnhart

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An aside on "Peace"

Jonah had "peace" enough to sleep through a storm on his way to Tarshish.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

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Anne Sokol wrote:

Anne Sokol wrote:

I do need to moan here that I think that many "cessationists" trample the indwelling work of the Spirit in a believer's life during the NT era. Can we please be a little more careful? There are ways that God communicates to us certain things in our lives that are not clearly spelled out in Scripture. I'm not defending sloppiness, but the Shepherd does have a voice and He left us a Comforter. So am I defending charismatics or self-asserting preachers? No. But I would ask that we exercise caution in respecting the personal ministry of the Spirit in the life of individual believers. Does He mass-communicate through one person these days? No. But that doesn't mean he never communicates.

Emphasis Added - This is the key issue, extra-biblical support for extra-biblical communication. We just don't get to make up things that "feel" right and call them God-given truths.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

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Blaming God for Our Own Foolishness

God gets a lot of blame for stupid decisions we make. When someone is at a crossroads, they often make a decision and tell others "God told them" or "God has given me peace" about the decision. Of course, you can't reason with the person because once they're convinced "God told them" who are you to question God? Consequently, "God told me" or "God's given me peace" is the ultimate trump card people throw down when questioned about the decision they made.

I'd encourage people who make decisions based on "peace from God" to search the Scriptures about what exactly the Bible phrase "peace of God" means. No where in the Bible are we commanded to make decisions based on subjective feelings of peace, holy hunches, liver quivers, laying out fleeces, etc.

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That's Right

God made the Universe in precise detail. His Son is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. The Holy Spirit resides in us a believers. The Holy Spirit is our Comforter and Advocate. He sent His word for us to read. But...He doesn't speak today. Nope...He is done other than the words in the Bible.

Who should you marry? He doesn't care other than that person be a believer. You are on your own. 

What career should you pick? You are on your own...just don't steal, lie, etc...and make sure you attend a good church. Oh, and give offerings. Better yet, ask for "advice". That will help.

Should you buy a house or rent? You pick. Doesn't matter to God.

This list can go on and on...Hey, if that is your faith and relationship with God your Father, Jesus your Savior, and the Holy Spirit, your Comforter, you can have it.

 

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Back to Al Mohler

Not sure why this thread got so sidetracked. I take Mohler's public statements here as tremendously good news. Charismatic leaders like Michael Brown have worked hard in the days since the Strange Fire Conference to attempt to paint MacArthur as a has-been with just a few loyal followers...a guy trying to re-capture his lost influence by fighting a lost cause. But now that Mohler has stepped up with his endorsement, it would be great to see a new revival of sola scriptura, where the evangelical church returns to this wonderful reformation idea, and stop playing around with new prophecies, words of knowledge, and other activity falsely attributed to the Holy Spirit.

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I don't think this is female

but i have had exact opposite experiences from say, what Mark Smith is saying.

Probably the strongest time in my life when I experienced extra-biblical leading in my life I was a student then staff at BJ, and I attended Mt. Calvary. So we're not into flakiness here or hearing this kind of stuff taught.

I wanted to be a missionary since I was about 15 yrs old. During college/grad school/working, I pursued multiple opportunities to join wonderful mission boards. Every. single. time., there would come a moment of truth in my heart, between me and the Holy Spirit, a convicting knowing that if I continued to pursue this particular plan, I would be in sin towards God. So each time, I stopped pursuing it.

Then there came a day when I read a particular need of a missionary, and I knew, with certain conviction from the Holy Spirit, that I had to do this job.

Looking back through those years of painful obedience, I see now God's plan unfolding. It was how i met my husband, for one thing.

do i think God leads everyone this way? of course not. but it's how He led me. Do i have to prove how did I know it was the Holy Spirit? No, i don't have to prove it to you. it has nothing to do with your life or your relationship with God, but it has a lot to do with mine.

I also have had times when God has put a very particular sentence into my head. Like "Anne, You need to be saved." when I was 12, and I knelt down and asked Him to be my savior. Or  the time a few yrs back when i was going through enormous struggles in early motherhood and my sanctification and God said, "I will not share the glory of your sanctification with you." at a moment when I needed to understand that.
 

do i have to prove to you that this was God? No. it has nothing to do with your life or your spiritual growth. It has a lot to do with mine.

I will cite an example I mentioned before from Nancy Sheppard, a very conservative, fundamental missionary. She is speaking to group of ladies:

I gave another example of submission— the ultimate example. I told of Jesus’ submission to the will of the Father as evidenced by His dying a horribly painful death on a cross. As I spoke tears streamed down my face. My throat filled and I couldn’t speak. I had to pause until I could regain my composure. “Why is this happening to me?” I questioned internally. You have fallen in love with Jesus, the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit whispered to me. Yes, I had....

Sheppard, Nancy D. (2013-07-06). Confessions of a Transformed Heart (Kindle Locations 1190-1195).

Does she need to prove this was God's voice to her? No. it was for her, not for anyone else. Do we all need to now doubt the sufficiency of scripture? That would be silly.

So, that is what I'm talking about. I'm sure there are many more examples in the lives of trustworthy Christians. But how needs to tout these things or prove them? They are personal. And that is OK. It's not unstable, not special. It just is.

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Darrell, Nothing was highjacked

For the record, nothing was sidetracked. Decision making and having a relationship with God is right down the fairway in this discussion. Mohler talks about such things in his podcast that is referenced.

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Mark_Smith wrote:

Mark_Smith wrote:

This list can go on and on...Hey, if that is your faith and relationship with God your Father, Jesus your Savior, and the Holy Spirit, your Comforter, you can have it.

Of course, you neglect the fact that God has already given us everything we need to know about Him and His expectations for our lives (2 Tim 3:16-17). What He doesn't tell us in His word (whether through precept or principle) he leaves up to us to decide. If you're contemplating marriage and there are three biblically qualified potential spouses, God gives you the freedom to choose one of the three. No "still small voice" needed to discern God's will or to avoid sinning by marrying the wrong person.

So, hey, if your faith and relationship with God is one of constant agonizing over your subjective feelings, "still small voices," and "waiting for peace" -- even though God's Word never tells us to make our decisions based on these things -- then you can have it. I believe God works providentially in the lives of people and in situations, but he never tells us we should rely on our feelings, emotions, "still small voices," fleeces, etc. in decision making.  Rather, he tells us to search the Scripture, receive wise counsel from others, don't violate our conscience, and use the mind he's given us.

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Howard

You wrote to make a decision, but not to rely on feelings and emotions...are you a Vulcan?

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Mark_Smith wrote:

Mark_Smith wrote:

You wrote to make a decision, but not to rely on feelings and emotions...are you a Vulcan?

 

If searching the Scripture, receiving wise counsel from others, not violating my conscience, and using the mind God's given me makes me a Vulcan, then Live Long and Prosper, Brother.

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and then there...

was the preacher who began his sermons by praying for God to speak thru him, so that everything he said was that which God wanted him to say and not his own thoughts. When I was a much younger and more impressionable man I thought said preacher was the greatest.

Now I know better, and listening to his son preach do his stand-up comedy routine, I'm not surprised

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