"Why I am not a Charismatic" (in 100 words or less)

Nate Busenitz’s succinct thoughts on why he is not a continuationist

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J Ng's picture

Biblical data aside, where I would largely agree with Nate Busenitz's views, the origin and course of Charismatism argue most eloquently against its authenticity.

[img=300x300 ]http://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g31/bdellium/53640_479715881969_532921... ]

Take the picture above, what you see is the "Chinese handwriting" of their founder, Agnes Ozman, which is claimed by the http://www.apostolicarchives.com/Golder_Research_Center.html "Apostolic Archives" to be the miraculous result of a latter-day Pentecost (graphic now mysteriously removed):

Quote:
When she tried to write in English to tell us of her experience she wrote the Chinese, copies of which we still have in newspapers printed at that time.

Of course, anyone with a fibre of Chinese or linguistics in their education can tell it's a bunch of chicken scratchings, quite different from any human writing let alone "the Chinese"! But who in Topeka, KS, of January 1, 1901, would've been able to tell? One thing's for sure--it's pretty analogous to the spoken form of so-called "tongues"!

And to imagine, the entire edifice of what later became Pentecostalism, Charismatism, the Third Wave, the Fourth Dimension, the Toronto "Blessing," and other such phenomena rests on little more than a pious hoax from the pen of Sister Agnes.

Charlie's picture

I am a confessionally Reformed Protestant whose doctrine of Word and Spirit excludes charismatism.

My Blog: http://dearreaderblog.com

Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

JobK's picture

The weakest part of the cessationist argument is when Bible verses are contrived to support the doctrine. My contention is that such verses (proving or supporting cessationism) do not exist, and that the absence of said verses is the best argument for continuationism.

So, relying instead on attempting to narrowly (i.e. based on Bible example) define what the sign gifts - and also the offices of apostle and prophet - were and holding Christians for all time to that definition, to that single standard, is far better. It is a "practical cessationism" that A) doesn't rely on creative inventions with the Bible and Cool forces the charismatic/Pentecostals to prove the legitimacy of the gifts that they claim for themselves.

So, if ANY of your prophecies fail, you are not a prophet. (Incidentally, this standard was given in the Old Testament.) And of NONE of the MILLIONS of people who claim to have the gift of tongues are actually able to speak in a foreign language as was done in Acts, then it is impossible to continue to claim it to be the gift of tongues, especially since the ecstatic utterance behavior is present in other religions (i.e. Hinduism).

The cases concerning the gift of healing and the office of apostle are harder (especially regarding the latter, as the Bible provides no definition for the office, and Paul counted Barnabas, Junia, Epaphroditus etc. among this number, and it is difficult to claim that all of the people referred to as apostles by Paul were among the above 500 who saw the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ, the usual definition of the office according to cessationist definition) but let's face it: the Pentecostal/charismatic movement is based on (what they assert to be) tongues. Were it not for "tongues", there wouldn't be people claiming to be apostles or prophets anyway.

Solo Christo, Soli Deo Gloria, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Sola Scriptura
http://healtheland.wordpress.com

Greg Long's picture

Job, the apostle thing is really not that hard. There may have been small "a" apostles commissioned by various churches, but there were a limited number of big "A" Apostles of Jesus Christ that were personally commissioned by Jesus Christ. Paul was the last, as one born out of due time. The apostles and prophets were part of the foundation of the church (Eph. 2:20), which has already been laid. And if one or two gifts were clearly only necessary when the Church began, it is reasonable to look to see if any other gifts were foundational and/or revelatory and are no longer necessary when the church moved from its infancy, once the apostolic era was completed, and once the canon of Scripture was closed.

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

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

JobK's picture

Greg Long wrote:
Job, the apostle thing is really not that hard. There may have been small "a" apostles commissioned by various churches, but there were a limited number of big "A" Apostles of Jesus Christ that were personally commissioned by Jesus Christ. Paul was the last, as one born out of due time. The apostles and prophets were part of the foundation of the church (Eph. 2:20), which has already been laid. And if one or two gifts were clearly only necessary when the Church began, it is reasonable to look to see if any other gifts were foundational and/or revelatory and are no longer necessary when the church moved from its infancy, once the apostolic era was completed, and once the canon of Scripture was closed.

I am a former Pentecostal. Emphasis on former. The problem is that the difference between the "small a" apostles and the "big A" apostles is not laid out in the Bible. At the very least, a person could say that there is no evidence that the other apostles were not called by Jesus Christ. I should say that one seeking evidence that they were called by Jesus Christ (or given this office by the Holy Spirit) would only have to refer to the fact that Holy Spirit inspired scripture written by another apostle referred to them as such, and further that the church nonetheless accepted the epistles that asserted the existence of apostles beyond "the twelve plus Paul" when creating the canon. Also, there is the case of Matthias, who if we recall was chosen by lot to replace Judas Iscariot. So, what is it that makes him a "big A" rather than a "small a"?

That is precisely the issue that I was speaking of. The cessationist doctrine is one that relies almost entirely on theology and indirect evidence as opposed to exegesis. For example, cessationists really do need to cease using 1 Corinthians 13:8-10, because the "made perfect" refers to to the church's glorification at the return of Jesus Christ and not the completion of the canon, plus it removes that passage far from its intended context. Ephesians 2:20 is somewhat better, but in addition to not explicitly limiting certain gifts and offices to the apostolic era, Ephesians 2:20 appears in the context of a discourse on salvation, the role of Jesus Christ and the identity of the church. Of course, if you include 1 Corinthians 13:11 along with 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 and Ephesians 2:20, then the Pentecostal/charismatic movement (and similar restorationist movements i.e. the original Anabaptists) could be rebuked for trying to go backwards instead of forwards. That is my own argument, but a somewhat different one from making the case that these offices and gifts have ceased altogether, because A) the Holy Spirit is sovereign over such gifts and offices and Cool Holy Spirit-inspired scripture didn't see fit to explicitly preclude the existence of such gifts and offices in the future.

I am not merely raising these objections because I was raised continuationist. I rejected the other Pentecostal/Holiness/prosperity/Word of Faith doctrines when confronted with explicit evidence of the error of those doctrines in the Bible. It is just that my background in "continuationism" makes me sensitive of perceived shortcomings with cessationism. That's why I still say that getting Pentecostals and charismatics to demonstrate that they are capable of producing anything other than the ecstatic utterances that are indistinguishable from the same produced by mystics and shamans of any number of false religions, and the same "50/50" prophecies and changing doctrines that we see from Mormons and Roman Catholics is the best route.

Solo Christo, Soli Deo Gloria, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Sola Scriptura
http://healtheland.wordpress.com

Greg Long's picture

Paul makes it clear that an apostle of Jesus Christ had to be an eyewitness of Jesus Christ. The very word "apostle" means sent by or commissioned by. So those apostles who were eyewitnesses of Christ were also commissioned by Jesus Christ. The twelve were commissioned by Christ and so was Paul on the Damascus Road.

I think a persuasive case can be made from 1 Corinthians 13 for cessationism. But the view doesn't rise or fall on that passage, as you indicate.

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

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Andrew K.'s picture

[quote]Take the picture above, what you see is the "Chinese handwriting" of their founder, Agnes Ozman...[/quote

Great. I was needing some encouragement in my Chinese studies right about now. Smile My tutor was complaining about my handwriting today.

But you know, with enough imagination, I can almost make out 土 (earth), 山 (mountain), 角 (horn), and possibly 牛 (cow). Undoubtedly, then, she is saying "He has lifted me up from the earth to his h0ly mountain and has exalted my horn like that of a wild ox." Wink

神是爱

Alex Guggenheim's picture

J Ng wrote:
Biblical data aside, where I would largely agree with Nate Busenitz's views, the origin and course of Charismatism argue most eloquently against its authenticity.

[img=300x300 ]http://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g31/bdellium/53640_479715881969_532921... ]

Take the picture above, what you see is the "Chinese handwriting" of their founder, Agnes Ozman, which is claimed by the http://www.apostolicarchives.com/Golder_Research_Center.html "Apostolic Archives" to be the miraculous result of a latter-day Pentecost (graphic now mysteriously removed):

Quote:
When she tried to write in English to tell us of her experience she wrote the Chinese, copies of which we still have in newspapers printed at that time.

Of course, anyone with a fibre of Chinese or linguistics in their education can tell it's a bunch of chicken scratchings, quite different from any human writing let alone "the Chinese"! But who in Topeka, KS, of January 1, 1901, would've been able to tell? One thing's for sure--it's pretty analogous to the spoken form of so-called "tongues"!

And to imagine, the entire edifice of what later became Pentecostalism, Charismatism, the Third Wave, the Fourth Dimension, the Toronto "Blessing," and other such phenomena rests on little more than a pious hoax from the pen of Sister Agnes.


Now wait a minute, this Chinese chicken scratch is identical the to the chicken scratch "tongues" I constantly hear being spoken by those claiming to have the gift of tongues. This is wholly consistent (may Angels rescue my cheek from a permanent impression by my tongue). Smile

Richard Pajak's picture

Alex Guggenheim wrote:
J Ng wrote:
Biblical data aside, where I would largely agree with Nate Busenitz's views, the origin and course of Charismatism argue most eloquently against its authenticity.

[img=300x300 ]http://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g31/bdellium/53640_479715881969_532921... ]

Take the picture above, what you see is the "Chinese handwriting" of their founder, Agnes Ozman, which is claimed by the http://www.apostolicarchives.com/Golder_Research_Center.html "Apostolic Archives" to be the miraculous result of a latter-day Pentecost (graphic now mysteriously removed):

Quote:
When she tried to write in English to tell us of her experience she wrote the Chinese, copies of which we still have in newspapers printed at that time.

Of course, anyone with a fibre of Chinese or linguistics in their education can tell it's a bunch of chicken scratchings, quite different from any human writing let alone "the Chinese"! But who in Topeka, KS, of January 1, 1901, would've been able to tell? One thing's for sure--it's pretty analogous to the spoken form of so-called "tongues"!

And to imagine, the entire edifice of what later became Pentecostalism, Charismatism, the Third Wave, the Fourth Dimension, the Toronto "Blessing," and other such phenomena rests on little more than a pious hoax from the pen of Sister Agnes.


Now wait a minute, this Chinese chicken scratch is identical the to the chicken scratch "tongues" I constantly hear being spoken by those claiming to have the gift of tongues. This is wholly consistent (may Angels rescue my cheek from a permanent impression by my tongue). Smile

I find your mocking tone most unchristianlike Alex. If I were to make derogatory statements of such a nature against cessationism I would be roundly condemned.

Richard Pajak

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Well that's how the chicken scratch writings and the tongues are in my opinion, one in the same. What should offend you is the chicken scratch above that was claimed to be what it was not and part of the support for expanding and accepting the latter-day Pentecost movement.

When you can produce someone who has received the spiritual gift to either write or speak, instantly, in a language erstwhile unlearned, then the questions and amusement regarding babbling without ontological or exegetical support, no doubt will be to your displeasure. But I will try to be sensitive to your feelings and apologize that you got your feelings hurt.

J Ng's picture

Richard Pajak wrote:
Alex Guggenheim wrote:

And to imagine, the entire edifice of what later became Pentecostalism, Charismatism, the Third Wave, the Fourth Dimension, the Toronto "Blessing," and other such phenomena rests on little more than a pious hoax from the pen of Sister Agnes.

Now wait a minute, this Chinese chicken scratch is identical the to the chicken scratch "tongues" I constantly hear being spoken by those claiming to have the gift of tongues. This is wholly consistent (may Angels rescue my cheek from a permanent impression by my tongue). Smile

I find your mocking tone most unchristianlike Alex. If I were to make derogatory statements of such a nature against cessationism I would be roundly condemned.[/quote]

Actually, that's the entire point of the original post. If the whole charismatic/pentecostalist thing is a hoot, the "Chinese" chicken scratchings matching the accompanying "Chinese" chicken gibberish and later not-so-human laughter and barking, then Whose reputation, ultimately, is called in line?

Remember, the whole premise of these phenomena and an entire industry based out of Tulsa, OK, is predicated on none other than God the Holy Spirit!

It doesn't take, it would seem, a cessationist (or even a Christian!) to see the hoax for what it is.

J Ng's picture

Andrew K. ][quote wrote:
Take the picture above, what you see is the "Chinese handwriting" of their founder, Agnes Ozman...[/quote

Great. I was needing some encouragement in my Chinese studies right about now. Smile My tutor was complaining about my handwriting today.

But you know, with enough imagination, I can almost make out 土 (earth), 山 (mountain), 角 (horn), and possibly 牛 (cow). Undoubtedly, then, she is saying "He has lifted me up from the earth to his h0ly mountain and has exalted my horn like that of a wild ox." Wink

Wow, and all I could detect was the number 1 [img=50x50 ]http://www.fi.edu/fellows/fellow1/apr99/number/graphics/1.gif[/img ], which is kinda appropriate for a self-therapeutic, self-aggrandizing movement.

;P

Jeffrey Dean's picture

Alex, I find your mocking, superior tone toward other believers to be an unfortunate characteristic of Fundamentalists. In broad brush terms, I find the Charismatic side of the Church to be more aligned with the fruit of the Spirit which we expect to find in Spirit filled Christ followers. Doctrinal squabbles aside, they look, sound, act, and post more like Christ. Why is that?

Alex Guggenheim's picture

I'm not a Fundie so...oops, I guess you should not presume and I doubt presumption is a fruit of the Spirit. BTW, the sarcasm of our Lord Jesus and the Apostle Paul must have given you a low opinion of their Spirit filled condition when they engage in it.