What Do Cessationists Believe About Prophecy?

"Cessationists believe that the so-called 'revelatory' gifts of the Spirit mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12–14 (most pointedly, prophecy and tongues/interpretation, 1 Corinthians 12:10) ceased sometime between the deaths of the apostles and the confirmation of the New Testament canon." - What Do Cessationists Believe About Prophecy?

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Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Not "so-called 'revelatory.'" They are revelatory.

dcbii's picture

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Aaron Blumer wrote:

Not "so-called 'revelatory.'" They are revelatory.

Not sure that the gift of tongues, even in the biblical usage, has to be "revelatory" in the way prophecy is.  Sometimes, it can simply be allowing other people to hear the preached word of God.  That makes the gift of tongues qualitatively different from the other miraculous gifts.  I can certainly envision that gift helping a pioneer missionary even today in a way that does no damage whatsoever to a closed canon.  Of course, that doesn't mean that 1. It does happen, or 2. that it's in any way the same as the typical charismatic version of that gift.

Dave Barnhart

Aaron Blumer's picture

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I see all the sign gifts as revelatory. At a minimum, they revealed (authenticated) claims of arrival of Spirit indwelling to new people groups or authenticated claims of apostleship or prophets. Tongues and prophecy normally also delivered revelatory words. (Can't quite "prove" it, but I think this answers best to the evidence we have.) 

TylerR's picture

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I've always found this interesting. "Tongues" is an English word that was used in the earlier English translations to render the Greek word that means "languages." Over time, with the advent of the charismatic movement in the late 19th century, the word "tongues" has taken on a life of it's own and is assumed to mean something it doesn't necessarily mean at all. I'm convinced the word rendered "tongue" in the older translations can legitimately be rendered "language" in perhaps every instance in the NT.

Modern translations are reluctant to challenge the idea that "tongues" is a supernatural revelatory language, and keep the translation in many cases. Why not render it "languages?" In part, I believe it's because of the inclusive nature of the translation committees, and the influence of charismatic theology in some circles.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

I always understood "tongues" as "languages" too. Thus my contention that that particular gift is not necessarily revelatory.  Further, at least in my mind, if that gift was by its nature revealing something (i.e. important new information from God), and the speaker had to be silent because no translator was present, it seems the group of people meeting would be missing out on important truths that God wanted to communicate.  If tongues are just languages, then it's indeed a helpful gift to those who need that language, but hardly revelatory in its nature.  Of course, if the person speaking had both gifts of prophecy and tongues, then what was spoken in the tongue could certainly be revelation.

Dave Barnhart