Matt Olson: "to draw dividing lines that He has not drawn grieves Him, hurts the body of Christ"

What Matters Most: How We Draw the Lines

I can visit a church on Sunday morning, fellowship with believers, love what I am seeing, encourage fellow believers in what they are doing—and still choose not to join that particular local assembly. When we start separating over every belief and opinion we soon find ourselves standing all alone, criticizing the rest of body of Christ. I don’t think that is what God intended

37007 reads

There are 117 Comments

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Here-

SGM "charismaticism" is not much different from what I experienced in Bible-based fundamentalism growing up. (Which is also precisely why so many young fundamentalists can easily make the transition to SG churches--they do not really have to embrace anything distinctly different about how the Spirit works, only the extent to which He plays a role in everyday life.) Let's not forget our own holiness/revivalist roots.

And here-

Why can't associations and organizations admit that they've tolerated this error for far too long in their own camps, that it is possible this has contributed in some way to some (not all) of this doctrinal confusion../

Fundies have been soft cessationists for years, they just haven't ever come out of the closet to admit it. I have not, in 40 years of being in IFBism, seen a hard line drawn on special revelation/knowledge. Doctrinal criticism has been focused on speaking in nonsensical tongues and claiming the gift of miraculous healing.

I don't think much credence is being given to how pervasive soft cessationism is in IFBdom. I didn't even realize it myself until one day a pastor came out and said that he received knowledge from God as our shepherd that we were not kin to because we were his sheep. He expected the congregation to ask his permission about major life decisions and purchases. It was an epiphany to hear it so boldly stated. 

So since that line is not so clear or intuitive, perhaps it needs to be redrawn before we get upset at someone for crossing over it?

 

Joel Tetreau's picture

I"m trying so hard not to come back - Have to come back for two quick issues:

1. Susan - great point! A point I tried to make earlier.

2. Mike - Straight forward question here. Is part of your hesitation with so-called, "non-revelatory prophecy (per se)" is connected to your view of there being no "super-natural" work in this dispensation outside of regeneration?

Straight Ahead!

jt

Dr. Joel Tetreau serves as Senior Pastor, Southeast Valley Bible Church (sevbc.org); Regional Coordinator for IBL West (iblministry.com), Board Member & friend for several different ministries;

Joel Tetreau's picture

I think I can explain with a quick illustration how many of these guys defend the notion of soft-cessationism. Many of us would say, "God called us to our present ministry." So...how do you know that? Many of us would say, "I know it was God's will to marry the gal I'm married to. How do you know that? Paul says in Timothy, "if a man desires the work of the office of bishop he desires a good thing." A fairly common interpretation with that passage from most fundamentalists and evangelicals (including many cessationist's) would be that the word "desire" has with it a heightened reality that this is more than a "wow - that would be cool to pastor!" Connected with this word desire is the idea of "conviction." I am "convicted" I must preach. So where did that come from? Many of us would say - that in order for that to be a legit deal the Scriptures teach that others will see it, we will have a character that is blameless, etc.....but if those are there, and there is this conviction that I must "shepherd" is that not a kind of internal, subjective (and objective) work of the Holy Spirit? Is this a non-revelatory work?

So most of these guys would say that this kind of non-revelatory prophecy while not being similar to the Holy Spirit's moving on John to write Revelation, would be similar to our knowing we've been called into ministry, or I've been called to lead here at Southeast Valley, or that it was right to marry my lovely wife! :) So where I think some of us have gone to far - is that some of us disavow the Holy Spirit's real internal and subjective ministry of comfort and "peace" and direction. I don't believe that works apart from God's word directly or indirectly. I've been saying this for some time. As I study the Scriptures there seems to be 5 different parts of God's directing His children:

1. God's Word gives direction.

2. Prayer gives clarity.

3. Careful counsel gives wisdom.

4. God providentially opens doors of opportunity.

5. The Holy Spirit gives a sense of comfort and peace.

I think I have Scripture for each one of these - and I think these are universally held by God's children all over the world. I just wonder if we aren't talking about the dynamic behind the continued ministry of personal and active and real encouragement that the Holy Spirit gives to each believer.

A quick thought,

Straight Ahead!

jt

Dr. Joel Tetreau serves as Senior Pastor, Southeast Valley Bible Church (sevbc.org); Regional Coordinator for IBL West (iblministry.com), Board Member & friend for several different ministries;

Alex Guggenheim's picture

ADThompson wrote:

Brother Alex,

I believe you are perfectly capable of legitimately pointing out inconsistencies without questioning a brother's integrity. Please do not seek refuge in nuance and assume responsibility for your words.

I will speak no further.

Good, but I will speak further. You are failing to distinguish between "questioning a brother's integrity" as if Olson's overall integrity is being questioned which it is not and a lack of integrity, thus far, demonstrated in the context of the policy of NIU with regard to charismatics LMHT (Light, Moderate, Heavy, Theorist) and Olson's practice.

When policy vs practice does not match on such a historical and distinctive doctrinal matter, there is a valid question of integrity. Now, that question can be cleared up by Matt Olson himself. But your posturing and insisting that questions of integrity may not arise because someone in the past has demonstrated integrity is the very sycophantism which led to Jack Hyles and Aberrant-Fundamentalism or any other Christian Aberration of which SGM, by the way, has a record!

It answers nothing and only abuses those making inquiry into serious issues.

Don Johnson's picture

Joel Tetreau wrote:

I think I can explain with a quick illustration how many of these guys defend the notion of soft-cessationism. Many of us would say, "God called us to our present ministry." So...how do you know that? Many of us would say, "I know it was God's will to marry the gal I'm married to. How do you know that?

Joel

I, for one, don't hold to the "God's will for my wife" point of view, generally speaking. Can happen, rarely does, in my opinion.

However this type of leading and influence by the Holy Spirit has never been denied by so-called 'cessationists'. It isn't the issue.

The supernatural "at-will" miracle type gifts: apostle/prophet/tongues/interpretation of tongues/healing etc., it is these things that have ceased.

To call people who believe in the ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit "soft-cessationists" is a rhetorical side step trying to prove the charismatic point. There is no such thing as a soft cessationist. You either believe the supernatural GIFTS have ceased or you do not. Such a belief has no connection whatsoever on the continuing ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Don't fall into the rhetorical trap.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Greg Long's picture

I need to clarify my earlier post. My description of SGM's position was correct, except that I incorrectly labeled their position as "soft-cessationism." Daniel Wallace defines soft-cessationism as:

I would consider myself a soft cessationist. That is, I do not believe that the sign-gifts of the first century are still operative except under unusual circumstances. These gifts were given to the early church primarily as a means to authenticate the message of the gospel. But there have been occasions throughout history in which some of these gifts are seen. When a cessationist like Charles Spurgeon could note that the Spirit of God gave him insights that could not have been gained by normal means, it seems obvious to me that I can’t maintain a hard cessationist stance. (http://www.kingsdivinity.org/theological-articles/interview-with-daniel-...)

Perhaps a better descriptor for SGM would have been "soft-charismaticism" (aka "small-c charismaticism").

Some of you have made an interesting comparison between SGM and fundamentalist language of "calling," "God told me to," etc. I understand what you are saying, but there is still a difference. SGM believes all the charismatic gifts of the Spirit are still in operation today, including apostleship, prophecy, and speaking in tongues (although subject to Scriptural authority, unlike Pentecostalism or Charismaticism), while most fundamentalists would not believe that to be the case.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Susan R wrote:

Here-

SGM "charismaticism" is not much different from what I experienced in Bible-based fundamentalism growing up. (Which is also precisely why so many young fundamentalists can easily make the transition to SG churches--they do not really have to embrace anything distinctly different about how the Spirit works, only the extent to which He plays a role in everyday life.) Let's not forget our own holiness/revivalist roots.

And here-

Why can't associations and organizations admit that they've tolerated this error for far too long in their own camps, that it is possible this has contributed in some way to some (not all) of this doctrinal confusion../

Fundies have been soft cessationists for years, they just haven't ever come out of the closet to admit it. I have not, in 40 years of being in IFBism, seen a hard line drawn on special revelation/knowledge. Doctrinal criticism has been focused on speaking in nonsensical tongues and claiming the gift of miraculous healing.

I don't think much credence is being given to how pervasive soft cessationism is in IFBdom. I didn't even realize it myself until one day a pastor came out and said that he received knowledge from God as our shepherd that we were not kin to because we were his sheep. He expected the congregation to ask his permission about major life decisions and purchases. It was an epiphany to hear it so boldly stated. 

So since that line is not so clear or intuitive, perhaps it needs to be redrawn before we get upset at someone for crossing over it?

I see, two wrongs makes a right, theory.

But more specifically, your willingness to allow generalizations regarding Fundamentalists theological and practical expressions of matters of apostolic sign gifts, prophecy and be led of the Spirit are your undoing.

You state, "since that line is not so clear or intuitive, perhaps it needs to be redrawn before we get upset".

Ummm....Susan, there are many, many and many more historical Fundamentalist resources that have specifically and with exhausting detail drawn the line and made quite clear the separation between these matters you imagine are confusing to all Fundamentalists.

It might be to you and it might be this is the Fundamentalism to which you have been expose but you are missing a very big piece of historic and immediate Fundamentalism.

What you are talking about is the Aberrant end of Fundamentalism, Jack Hyles and "Meet the Holy Spirit". On this topic it seems you have not done some due diligence or you would be very aware of the volumes of material that do not permit "God told me so" claims by Fundamentalists in the name of being led by the Spirit and so on.

Alex Guggenheim's picture

James K wrote:

R A Torrey's doctrine of the Holy Spirit argued for a 2nd work of the Holy Spirit post conversion.  His views have been used by Charismatics to justify their theology.  While I doubt he would align himself with Charismatics today, nor SGM (he wasn't a calvinist), he had fundy street cred and academic cred.  Alex, you have been overstating your case that fundies have always been anticharismatic.

James, nice try but Torrey held to right doctrine, wrong wording. That is, his view of the crisis baptism of the Spirit, when articulated, was that of one empowered to serve. Yes, his doctrinal accuracy was imprecise eithert because of his Words or concepts not handled rigorously enough but in either case his aim was not charismaticism in any form, (Light, Moderate, Heavy or Theorist). Whar Torrey had in mind with his unrefinded use of baptism and filling is reflected in this quote:

"At the Montrose Bible Conference,, Dr. W. P. White, founder of The Biblical Seminary in New York, was on the platform as co-speaker with Dr. Torrey. When the latter said, 'What we all need tonight is a new baptism of the Holy Spirit!' Dr. White said, in a stage whisper, 'You mean "filling," do you not, Dr. Torrey?' The preacher turned on him and replied, 'What difference does it make how I say it? These men know what I mean.'

"After the meeting they went to Torrey Lodge, and soon Dr. Torrey called Dr. White into his room and thanked him for what he had whispered to him at the meeting, acknowledging that it was best to speak of the things of the Spirit in the correct terms.

"He told Dr. White that he regretted that certain Pentecostal leaders quoted him as they did, since he did not believe their teaching on the Person and work of the Holy Spirit. He admitted that he used the terms 'baptism' and 'filling' with the Spirit synonymously, but he did not think it best to call attention publicly to his mistake, and did not see the necessity for correcting the word 'baptism' in his books--even though he himself used the scriptural term thereafter."

So to appeal to Torery is a fail in your argument seeing that it was understood he in no way was referring to or had in view any categorical charismatic baptism. He rejected Pentecostalism. He was simply delinquent in developing the proper and robust distinction presented in the Scriptures and errantly used baptism when he meant filling. And that filling was to do the work of God and never with any of the apostolic sign gifts charismatics insist exist today, whether light, moderate, heavy or theorist.

Steve Davis's picture

Over 3 years ago I wrote an article for SI on “Dream and Visions: Confessions of a Soft Cessationist.” I was pilloried in some sectors of Fundamentalism for my position. After re-reading what I wrote, and which I still believe, I am reminded how disagreement in this area goes deep and in other areas which Matt mentioned as not being tests of fellowship. After re-reading Matt’s article I’m hopeful that he can fellowship with someone like me –soft cessationist, non-dispensationalist, elder polity, blended music, etc. I have remained an immersionist  but do not make it a test of fellowship. It was my positions on these and other issues which helped move me from fundamentalist orbits and from many of its institutions where I had spoken or taught in the past.
 

I do not envy Matt. I have known him for over thirty years since the days we played basketball together at BJ (yes he was a much better player). Over that period of time I have seen many rise and fall and am thankful for men like him who have remained faithful to Jesus. I understand that there are those who disagree with him, the direction of NIU, and the interpretive lack of consistency between NIU documents and practice. Disagree? Fine. Debate? Fine. Scour documents to find something to hammer? Fine. Yet to attack his integrity betrays a lack of integrity. Or it betrays ignorance of the Charismatic Movement (or Movements as someone pointed out) and a lack of charity toward a brother. I do recognize that not all of Matt’s critics have been obnoxious in their disagreement (Mike Harding comes to mind and I regard him as one of the more balanced Fundamentalists and am thankful for his decades of faithful service to our Lord).
 

In spite of the unwarranted and ungracious attacks on his integrity I pray for Matt and hope that regardless of the cost that he will not capitulate to the ultras. Fundamentalism as many of us knew it and lived it for years is dying for lack of fresh air. Few outside the movement(s) are attracted to it and those who remain have either modified or codified what it was. It seems to me that the treatment of this simple affair of visiting and commending a church he visited is symptomatic of the failure of many Fundamentalists to think outside their box all the while claiming some higher purpose.
 

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Quote:
It seems to me that the treatment of this simple affair of visiting and commending a church he visited is symptomatic of the failure of many Fundamentalists to think outside their box all the while claiming some higher purpose.
Right, let's pretend the part about someone who is being paid by NIU as a remote staffer at an SGM church, hence forming a coalition/partnership with a charismatic ministry isn't part of the concern. Let's leave that out so we can create a straw man.

Posturing only leads to abusing others and denying them a voice. It is an ugly weapon used to silence critics. When practice violates policy, not by subordinates who may more easily be understood to be still developing their spiritual and theological perspicacity but by leaders, this, if ever, is the time not only to ask questions but demand demonstration of integrity. All the posturing in the world will not change the fact that there is a distinct departure and violation of policy in this recent practice. It must be reconciled or questions of integrity will remain and grow larger if unattended. This matter and this matter alone is where the issue of integrity is being questioned, rightfully, until reconciled and not Olson's overall history.

This is not a matter of someone being tardy, this is a departure from a historical practice and policy. This is not a misstatement, this is not one based on not being informed. Blaming those who want answers and who  rightfully point out the integral problem of practice and policy not matching on such a distinctive issue that has defined the institution, in part, historically, is the simply a tactic to avoid having to answer the questions. It is abhorrent elitism at its worst.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Alex Guggenheim wrote:

Susan R wrote:

Here-

SGM "charismaticism" is not much different from what I experienced in Bible-based fundamentalism growing up. (Which is also precisely why so many young fundamentalists can easily make the transition to SG churches--they do not really have to embrace anything distinctly different about how the Spirit works, only the extent to which He plays a role in everyday life.) Let's not forget our own holiness/revivalist roots.

And here-

Why can't associations and organizations admit that they've tolerated this error for far too long in their own camps, that it is possible this has contributed in some way to some (not all) of this doctrinal confusion../

Fundies have been soft cessationists for years, they just haven't ever come out of the closet to admit it. I have not, in 40 years of being in IFBism, seen a hard line drawn on special revelation/knowledge. Doctrinal criticism has been focused on speaking in nonsensical tongues and claiming the gift of miraculous healing.

I don't think much credence is being given to how pervasive soft cessationism is in IFBdom. I didn't even realize it myself until one day a pastor came out and said that he received knowledge from God as our shepherd that we were not kin to because we were his sheep. He expected the congregation to ask his permission about major life decisions and purchases. It was an epiphany to hear it so boldly stated. 

So since that line is not so clear or intuitive, perhaps it needs to be redrawn before we get upset at someone for crossing over it?

I see, two wrongs makes a right, theory.

But more specifically, your willingness to allow generalizations regarding Fundamentalists theological and practical expressions of matters of apostolic sign gifts, prophecy and be led of the Spirit are your undoing.

You state, "since that line is not so clear or intuitive, perhaps it needs to be redrawn before we get upset".

Ummm....Susan, there are many, many and many more historical Fundamentalist resources that have specifically and with exhausting detail drawn the line and made quite clear the separation between these matters you imagine are confusing to all Fundamentalists.

It might be to you and it might be this is the Fundamentalism to which you have been expose but you are missing a very big piece of historic and immediate Fundamentalism.

What you are talking about is the Aberrant end of Fundamentalism, Jack Hyles and "Meet the Holy Spirit". On this topic it seems you have not done some due diligence or you would be very aware of the volumes of material that do not permit "God told me so" claims by Fundamentalists in the name of being led by the Spirit and so on.

I see, the "Do as I say but not as I do" theory. Nice work if you can get it.

Distinctions may have been drawn in print, but they have not been drawn in practice by separating from the "God told me" crowd. 

Mike Harding's picture

Joel,

The matter of continuation/cessation of miraculous gifts and tongues is of critical importance to the church today.  The first wave of Pentecostalism began in 1906 with its emphasis on second blessing as a short cut to holiness and tongues were considered a sign of the end times.  The second wave of Charismaticism began ca. 1960 emphasizing ecumenicism and spontaneous/spectacular worship.  The third wave coined by Peter Wagner in 1980 moderated the second wave but still maintained a broad theological spectrum.  I see SGM as an extended portion of the third wave.

God's self-limitation in cessationism should not be understood as a statement of what God can or cannot do.  The purpose of the miraculous gifts involved a display of supernatural divine power for the intent of public attestation and the establishment of the Christian Church.  They were undeniable, edifying, identifying, and exclusive. On the other hand, a providential gift by definition is not miraculous.  Thus prophetic gifts are miraculous by definition.  When the completed thing comes the partial thing is no longer necessary.  The signs of an apostle do not exist today (2 Cor 12:12) nor are they possible.  They were unique to the apostolic ministry and era.  The office was foundational and Paul was the final appointee (1 Cor 15:8).  The primary function of tongues and other revelatory gifts were Kingdom markers via miraculous attestation (Heb 2:4; 6:5; 1 Cor 14:6, 22), including signs of the coming Kingdom, Christ's offer of the Kingdom (Matt 12:28), and that a new body of Jews and Gentiles was being formed to temporarily displace Israel (Acts 11:15ff).  Those attesting signs were necessary in part because of the temporary incompleteness of the written Word for those who lived in the era of the uncompleted Scriptures.

The continuation of tongues and other revelatory gifts in the church age today cheapen and jeopardize the doctrine of biblical sufficiency and possibly re-open the canon.  Those gifts are necessary today only if the Bible is insufficient.  The signs served the thing signified.  Unverifiable revelation today is a threat to canonicity.  These spurious revelations diffuse biblical authority and create contradiction as has been seen in Romanism, Mormonism, Islam, and Christian Science.  When Grudem and others maintain that current revelations are fallible and therefore subservient to Scripture they decrease rather than increase the confidence in Scripture.  The multiplication of divinely authoritative material that is potentially fallible and contradictory does not help us in any fashion.  Rather, it destroys confidence in the Bible and is no more valuable than good advice.  Continuationism is a theological aberration with potentially first-order implications against biblical authority.  Marginalizing this aberration is done to one's own peril.  Those who penned the original polices at Northland fully understood these things and would not ecclesiastically join hands with those who openly espoused and practiced continuationism.  The providential leading of the Lord is not nor ever has been considered revelatory.

Pastor Mike Harding

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Sorry Susan, but many Fundamentalists have done as they teach and have not and do not practice the "God told me so". Sorry your limited life has not introduced you to them.

But let's consider your complaint, that some cross the line, ignorantly or arrogantly but errantly. Okay so some people have trespassed and your suggestion is that we argue against others doing it, too? You do have kids, right? Because Johnny does it doesn't make it okay for Timmy.

 

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

I never, ever said or implied that two wrongs make a right. IMO, if we are going to properly address the issue- not just symptoms but the underlying causes- I think some investigation into where the trouble began inside of IFBism is in order. I offered a theory about how this kind of doctrinal confusion may have flourished under the radar in IFBism. This whole conversation is 'for what it's worth' anyway.

Don Johnson's picture

Susan, I think you are making two mistakes. First, extrapolating from your experience to let that stand for the whole of Fundamentalism. Second, confusing the leading of the Spirit, which no one denies, with the gifts of the Spirit, see my post to Joel above.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

I think we need to be concerned about more than just our own backyard. Others share my experiences and perspective, just as there are those who share your experiences, and thus your perspective. I don't intend to dismiss your pov just because it isn't a carbon copy of mine.

Using the term "IFBism" or "Fundies" is an acceptable generality, not to be inferred as indicating every Fundy everywhere in the universe- iow, "IFB without distinction, not IFB without exception". 

I'm not the one confused about the Holy Spirit using revealed Scripture to lead and guide us. Those who need to get a grip on when and where and how the Holy Spirit acts in our day-n-age are those who make claims of prophesy and special knowledge not revealed in Scripture. People don't just dive headfirst into a giant vat of error. They take baby steps, often after they have been worn down by accepting little errors. I have pointed out what I think one of them is.

In closing, Bro. Johnson- I think some of the questions you are asking are valid questions. It is very important that we can trust our leaders to abide by stated, published policies, whether they are university professors or pastors. 

DavidO's picture

I guess I see Don's questions as valid but academic--I have no affiliation with Northland.  Kids from our church go to BJ, MBBC, Cedarville, as well as state universities and community colleges.  They could go to Northland, but none have lately. 

In short Matt Olson isn't my leader any more than Stephen Jones or whoever runs Ohio State. 

James K's picture

Alex, if you consider what I actually said, you will not see where I said anything negative about his doctrine.  Saying that some have used his works to justify bad behavior/theology isn't a criticism necessarily.

It is certainly that it is within the realm of possibility that Olson does not see charismaticism in the SGM as the same thing that the statement of faith was arguing against.  So while as charitable as you are toward Torrey, you are very much not toward Olson.  You are simply debating the terms used. 

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

Mike Harding's picture

Steve,

 

First, thanks for the kind words.  Our friendship is still in tact.  I re-read your article.  My take on your example is that this man's sub-conscious mind operated during his sleep and brought to him various thoughts about the gospel.  In other words, assuming that he is not lying or delusional, he had a real dream.  I do not assert or believe that it was a revelatory dream.  Of course, I realize "that the man with the experience is not at the mercy of the man with the doctrine," to quote Hobart Freeman who left Grace Seminary after converting to charismaticism.

 

Regarding Matt's personal integrity, no one has accused him of lying.  Nor do we consider visiting a church and appreciating the good things he saw as an unqualified endorsement.   That would be unfair.  My opinion is that Matt overlooks certain issues because he does not think they are very important.  He does not see the seriousness of those issues.  Does this concern me?  Yes.  I have students at that school.  I have Northland grads in my church.  I have sent many young people to that camp.  I have had numerous groups from the school minister in our church.  I wonder, "What are they being taught and what is being neglected?"

 

Steve, you have been very clear as to your change of direction.  I don't think it is a radical change, but it is according to your own statements a change.  You and I handled that change as Christian gentlemen.  To be candid, I am somewhat saddened by it and you are probably disappointed that I have remained in "IFBdom" as you call it; however, I know you love God, the Gospel, the Bible, the church.  The same could be said of Matt.  I know you are sacrificing in many ways to plant a new church that is consistent with your values, beliefs, and philosophy.  The difference between you and Matt is that Matt is overseeing an IFB Bible college that agreed with us on music, dispensationalism, Baptist distinctives, ecclesiastical and personal separation and a host of other issues.  We sent them students, money, public support.  It appears to me (and I say "appears" because I am an optimist and sincerely pray for the best) that the positions of the school as led by Matt are changing even as some of your positions have changed.  Based on what you have written, I am fairly confident that you also have noticed these changes and that you are in whole-hearted agreement with them.  I understand what you are saying and why.

 

If I were a Bible college president, I would be very concerned about what my Bible professors believed in regard to the cessationist/continuationist debate.  If my Bible professor was an active member of a SGM church, I would have to let him go.  The issue of continuationism is far too serious to confuse my students with that level of ambiguity or confusion, particularly in light of my school's documents, policies, history, and constituency.  Even conservative evangelicals like John MacArthur would be doctrinally militant on this issue.  I have known Matt as long as you have and have many fond memories of our friendship and mutual involvement in ministry.  Friendship is important.  Truth is more important.  On this issue of continuationism truth is on the line as I stated in my previous post.  Truth trumps ecclesiastical fellowship on something like this.

Pastor Mike Harding

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Don Johnson wrote:

Susan, I think you are making two mistakes. First, extrapolating from your experience to let that stand for the whole of Fundamentalism. Second, confusing the leading of the Spirit, which no one denies, with the gifts of the Spirit, see my post to Joel above.

Emphasis added.

Don, you have said this twice now. Many of us actually do disagree with any intimation that the Holy Spirit somehow moves us. He convicts of sin; He illuminates scripture. I, and many others, find no scriptural evidence that He directs our decision making on an individual, extra-biblical basis.

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

Alex Guggenheim's picture

James K wrote:

Alex, if you consider what I actually said, you will not see where I said anything negative about his doctrine.  Saying that some have used his works to justify bad behavior/theology isn't a criticism necessarily.

It is certainly that it is within the realm of possibility that Olson does not see charismaticism in the SGM as the same thing that the statement of faith was arguing against.  So while as charitable as you are toward Torrey, you are very much not toward Olson.  You are simply debating the terms used. 

James,

You were not charitable toward me with Torrey, you were matter-of-factly wrong (but you are a charitable person in my experience). Torrey categorically rejected Pentecostalism and its properties. It illustrated nothing in the way of parallels.

Torrey knew precisely what Pentecostalism believed and practiced and did not want any association with them in ministry.

Now, if you actually believe the argument that Matt Olson is so deficient in his theological, professional and educational development that he does not understand that SGM is a category or form of charismaticism then that is your right but I would submit that such an argument is one that disparages Olson's fitness and places him in the light of one unprepared to lead at that level seeing he cannot determine clear distinctions. I believe otherwise and that he knows precisely what SGM is and if he does not, that is even worse.

My charity toward Olson is plenty and one should expect exceptional theology and practice from him. To me a sophomore knows the distinctions here. And because of my charity toward Olson which influences my opinion and expectations of him I am confident that he is that aware, that developed and that careful to inform himself on such matters before taking the coalescing action he has. So, like others, one asks the questions based on observed lack of integral consistency of policy and practice and hopes for answers.

Don Johnson's picture

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:
Many of us actually do disagree with any intimation that the Holy Spirit somehow moves us. He convicts of sin; He illuminates scripture. I, and many others, find no scriptural evidence that He directs our decision making on an individual, extra-biblical basis.

Here:

Psalm 143:10 Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God; Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

DavidO's picture

I hope none of Dr. O2's remote employees go to Don's church or there'll be another article somewhere shortly!

 

Biggrin Bleah X?

 

Joel Tetreau's picture

So Mike,

That was a complete answer on your defending cessationism from other views. I actually really enjoyed your thinking and smiled at how please Dr. McCune must be to see his thinking spilled out so effectively by your pen! I really did enjoy your post and in the main agree with most of your thinking. The only place I really get off your bus is where you emphasize a total disconnect with others who see some kind of "continuism." (?)

(Side note - I hope that's a real word! - would hate to loose my dear brothers and sisters - whose conscience or constitution is rather weak when it comes to reading botched spelling/grammar/vocab/syntax/etc... - my apologies to my dear SI colleagues who are sensitive - I promise to be more aware to your needs there - if it brings a little peace to your souls - my wife is also a "library type" (which is the name I give to those who are sensitive to spelling - I hope that's not considered "name calling" - if it is I'll come up with a different "tag" - at any rate - back to my wife who is a "library type" - you'll be happy to know she's actually been tempted on several occasions of just cutting my fingers off in my sleep - just so I won't botch the spelling as often as I do - You are all loved - I will continue to work to improve in this area! - my apologies to the mod's if any of this is out of place - trying hard to be a good guy! - ah but I digress

So Here's a follow up question to Mike - if you have time. We have had what we would call today "evangelicals" who have believed in what I'm calling here "continuism" for close to 2000 years. Would you say Mike that in the main - for the length of those 2000 years the more "separatistic" evangelicals - or Puritans - or Protestants - or even Proto-Protestants - do we have a clear record of these "pre-fundamentalists" (if you will let me call them that) actively separating from these believers who believed in some kind of continuation of a miraculous gift - or would you say this act of separating from those who do not believe/practice a strict cessationism - is that something that is primarily young and new with the fundamentalist movement primarily practiced in North America.....say just in the last 50 years?

Not a trick question - straight forward question.

Straight Ahead!

jt

Dr. Joel Tetreau serves as Senior Pastor, Southeast Valley Bible Church (sevbc.org); Regional Coordinator for IBL West (iblministry.com), Board Member & friend for several different ministries;

DavidO's picture

1632. At Watertown [MA not WI, don't try to tar MBBC with this] there was (in the view of divers witnesses) a great combat between a mouse and a snake; and after a long fight, the mouse prevailed and killed the snake. The pastor of Boston, Mr. Wilson, a very sincere, holy man, hearing of it, gave this interpretation: That the snake was the devil; the mouse was a poor contemptible people, which God had brought hither, which should overcome Satan here, and dispossess him of his Kingdom.

Greg Long's picture

Joel, what evidence do you have that the position of evangelicals for 2000 years was continuationism? My view is that up until 1906 the church believed the miraculous gifts had ceased or at least operated in a far different way than in the NT. (Notice I did not say miracles had ceased, but rather the miraculous gifts.)

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Greg Long's picture

Mike Harding wrote:

...Even conservative evangelicals like John MacArthur would be doctrinally militant on this issue...

That is absolutely true. Just read Charismatic Chaos. Or go to http://teampyro.blogspot.com (the blog which used to be led by MacArthur's right-hand man, Phil Johnson) and search for articles with the tag "da gifts" and you will see just how militant they are on this issue. In fact Dan Phillips recently posted on James MacDonald's strange taxonomy on "words from God" here: http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2012/08/how-can-christians-hear-word-from-g...

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Joel Tetreau's picture

Greg,

Forgive me for not being clear. You are right - the majority did not believe those gifts were open prior to 1906 - however, some did believe a view that would be a kin to soft-cessationism. I have several books that catalog those groups. One book was entitled, "Power-Lines." Can't remember the names of the other works - will do some digging. My question to Mike is not were there some of them prior to 1906 but was separation from these types a consistent practice - prior to 1906 (or even beyond)?

A side note - have appreciated Mac's work you cite. Actually my position on this is the same as John's - we are cessationist but could have some connection with some who hold a different view. John does not hang with "Big C" charismatics and neither would I.

Straight Ahead!

jt

Dr. Joel Tetreau serves as Senior Pastor, Southeast Valley Bible Church (sevbc.org); Regional Coordinator for IBL West (iblministry.com), Board Member & friend for several different ministries;

Dan Burrell's picture

The last time I was in a private meeting with John MacArthur chatting about, of all things, "Purpose Driven", he excused himself to go have lunch with................

...............Chuck Smith.

 

Yes....THAT Chuck Smith.

 

Smile

Dan Burrell Cornelius, NC Visit my Blog "Whirled Views" @ www.danburrell.com

Joel Tetreau's picture

Greg,

What is surprising is the number of leaders and groups before and after 1906 that on the one hand don't believe in tongues, actually do believe in an on-going non-revelatory gift/function of "prophet." While there most certainly can be problems with the "I heard from God" approach to ministry - those that say that are not all equally 'damaging" - (in my view/experience). About three years ago I was reading a historical account on some of the early fundamentalists i the 1920 and 30's. Some of them were on record believing in a kind of "prophecy" for today. This is on top of my head and so I might have this wrong - One of the early champions of fundamentalism actually for a while supported this gal who claimed to be something of a prophetess. Again I can't remember which guy that was (my guess is someone reading this knows the story). So....I do agree with Mike on most of what he wrote. I agree with him that a damaging result is the eroding of confidence in the authority and sufficiency of Scripture. What I don't believe is that these different views warrant the "tag" disobedient believer and the cold shoulder of separation. Especially in cases where leaders and groups are open to the teaching of Scripture. I actually was invited in Jamaica to teach a group of Pentecostal-leaning, non-denominational believers the difference between Spirit Baptism, Spirit Filling and Spirit Indwelling. After the presentation the pastor stood up and said "our brother from America has given us some important Bible teaching that we cannot ignore." Afterwards he told me no one with my belief had ever spoken for him on this topic and he was very grateful that we had ministered with his people. You see if I believe like some of the guys here, I couldn't have gone and taught those dear believers doctrine that they desperately needed. After a careful study in the Scriptures, especially the NT, I believe that many of us shove other believers out of our "sphere" more quickly than we should - but I've already said that. As a side-note, I'd love to hear how you can believe in on-going miracles but not miraculous gifts. That will be fun to hear you on that.

Straight Ahead!

jt

Dr. Joel Tetreau serves as Senior Pastor, Southeast Valley Bible Church (sevbc.org); Regional Coordinator for IBL West (iblministry.com), Board Member & friend for several different ministries;

Pages