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They Ceased. Period.


A great furor was raised last week over an interview of John MacArthur by Phil Johnson. I’ll not take a side or comment on that controversy (except to say that it consisted of knee-jerk reactions of the immature against the mature). Enough has been said about that, and I’ve provided a few links to it in the sidebar.

I suppose the previously-mentioned controversy is the reason that the part of the interview that I expected to cause unrest received no attention. I really thought MacArthur’s comments on the Pentecostal and charismatic movements would cause a ruckus somewhere, but, as far as I know, charismatic tongues have remained miraculously silent.

As I am in full agreement with MacArthur on this, I thought I would reproduce the relevant section here, slightly edited (note ellipses).

Phil Johnson:

Has your stance on the charismatic issue softened?

John MacArthur:

No, and I’ll just give you a little bit of history on that; I’ll make a general statement, then I’ll back up:

The charismatic movement is largely the reason the church is in the mess it’s in today. In virtually every area where church life is unbiblical, you can attribute it to the charismatic movement. In virtually every area—bad theology, superficial worship, ego, prosperity gospel, personality elevation—all of that comes out of the charismatic movement.

I knew at the beginning that this was a disastrous embracing by the evangelical church . . . [It] leaped out of the contained Pentecostal tradition. The Pentecostal church with its claim of miracles and healing and signs and wonders was contained; it never spread to the mainline church; it was always seen as aberrant, its theology aberrant, but when an Episcopalian got the experience, it jumped out of its containment. Then the phenomena started being embraced by Baptists and dead-church Methodists and Presbyterians and Roman Catholics, and it invaded the church, and then what happened was it demanded to have acceptance. It demanded to have acceptance, it demanded to be embraced, it demanded to be included, and you had very strong leaders coming out and demanding that the evangelical church embrace them. And I knew at the time the deadly character of this, because once you’ve given place to bad theology, then theology is no longer an issue. Once you’ve corrupted worship, then worship is going to fall to the lowest tolerable level.

And on and on it went, so I wrote the book The Charismatics back in the ’70s . . . and the evangelical church largely rose up and said, “Yeah, we see that . . . we’re there, this is where we belong.” It wasn’t too many years after that that the climate dramatically changed, and the charismatic movement has gained the ascendancy and become the public face of Christianity. It’s the face of TV Christianity, it’s primarily the face of radio Christianity, in the Christian bookstore the prevailing view is some form of charismatic mysticism . . . it has done a takeover and it has redefined Christianity in people’s mind. It’s an aberrant form of Christianity, of course, so no, my view has not changed. It’s theology is bad, it is unbiblical, it is aberrant, it is destructive to people because it promises them what it can’t deliver, and then God gets blamed when it doesn’t come. It is a very destructive movement. It has always been.

There are people like C. J. [Mahaney], and other people like that, who have shed that theology, and simply hold on to what is known as a non-cessationist view . . . what’s left to them is, they’ve embraced good theology and I think they’re moving in the right direction, but many of them, people like John Piper and Wayne Grudem who are, generally speaking, theologically sound, will hold on to that non-cessationist view and say, “Well, God could do that, there could be miracles, and there could be tongues,” that’s sort of the last vestige of the movement, but the movement in itself, with all its components, is a disaster to the reputation of Christianity and a severe corruption of biblical teaching.

Johnson:

Now, you mentioned cessationism . . . the view that the apostolic gifts and the apostolic office ceased, that they’re no longer in operation. That has fallen out of favor . . . I think maybe it was Martin Lloyd-Jones who started that trend, who said, “I don’t see any exegetical reason, there’s no passage of Scripture that says the apostolic gifts have ceased, so the argument goes, “if you can’t prove cessationism exegetically, then it’s not a valid doctrine, because we want our doctrine to be biblical. How do you respond to that?

MacArthur:

Well, I think 1 Corinthians 13 is where you prove that:

Whether there be tongues, they shall cease.

We just did that, going through 1 Corinthians 13, you can talk about the linguistics of that’I have the whole explanation of that in the commentary . . . I think there’s plenty of exegetical evidence to indicate that. Those are apostolic signs of an apostle, they’re called in 2 Corinthians 12:12. The apostles have ceased, they are the foundation (Ephesians 2:20); the church is built on the apostles and prophets. You don’t put the apostles and the prophets on the second floor or third floor; they’re the foundation of the church. Apostolic gifts ceased. You can go to the end of book of Acts: you see healings disappear completely, people get sick and there’s no one around to make them well.

All of those things were signs to draw attention to the apostles” preaching the true gospel before there was written text of Scripture inspired by the Holy Spirit. Now you don’t need miracles to verify a prophet; you only need to compare him with the scripture, and I’ve often said, if these signs and wonders did still exist, do you think they would be given to people with bad theology? Do you think God would give Benny Hinn the power to do miracles to authenticate really bad theology? . . . I mean, that is ludicrous. . . . If those gifts existed, they would belong to the purest, most faithful, sound teachers of the Word of God to authenticate their teaching, not to hair-brained people who are just spinning out whatever comes into their head and are prompted by Satan, not the Holy Spirit.

Johnson:

The typical non-cessationist will say, “Yeah, that says tongues will cease, it doesn’t say when, and in fact, the context indicates it’s at the consummation of all things, etc. etc., so the argument goes, “If you don’t have a solid proof-text, you can’t prove this to me.” We believe . . . theology must be biblical, or it’s not valid. Does that mean there has to be a proof text for every doctrine?

MacArthur:

No. look, you can make a case for the verb [pauo] in 1 Corinthians 13 and for it ceasing. You can make a case for that in that text. You can make a case in general for the temporary gifts that were part of the apostolic deposit, you can make a case for that exegetically, but even without a proof text, the fact of the matter is, they ceased, and you have this historical argument, which is a very weighty historical argument.

Johnson:

Same as the cessation of the canon itself, there’s no proof text on that.

MacArthur:

There’s no proof text on the cessation of the canon, but the universal consensus of the church is that it ceased, and it was the once for all delivered to the saints faith, and you have the same argument historically with regard—Cleon Rogers, some years ago, did this sort of seminal work on tracking the fact that tongues were gone, they belonged in history to groups like . . . the Sibylline priestess cult, and in bizarre tribal groups there was ecstatic speech, but there was never in the church ecstatic speech until the Azuza Street meeting in Los Angeles, which gave birth to the Pentecostal movement. It came absolutely out of nowhere when it hadn’t been a part of Christian history. You don’t read, for example, if you read the Anabaptists, read the Reformers, read the Puritans, they’re not debating tongues, because they didn’t exist.


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Posted 2011·01·24 by David Kjos
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1 Comments:


#1 || 12·06·10··16:23 || David Kjos

I searched for this post today (June 10, 2012), and discovered it had vanished. It was gone without a trace. This is not the first time this has happened; several other posts have disappeared, as well. The fact that all of the missing posts have been controversial, and most have been critical of Pentecostal/charismatic theology causes me to suspect foul play, but who knows? I hope that isn't the case. As with others, I have been able to recover this post, thanks to Google. Reposting, however, does not restore the comments. I thought the comments to this post were worth recovering, so I've collected them here:

#1 || 11·01·25··07:40 || Alex
Hello, I am curious to know whether it is considered wrong or inappropriate to pray for healing from a cessationist perspective. I'm not asking about promising healing. I know that that is out of bounds. But might a Christian pray for it? I ask this because it appears from Pastor MacArthur's comments that healing has ceased.

#2 || 11·01·25··07:42 || Jeremy Chambers
I like John MacArthur (he's a great bible teacher and preacher), but he keeps grouping all charismatics with "the Word of faith" movement. I agree that the word of faith movement is preaching a false gospel and making promises they can't keep, but not all charismatics embrace that teaching. I'm not sure he realizes how many reformed charismatics are out there (I'm one of them in case your didn't already guess). I don't think they are a dying breed and I don't see how guys like Grudem, Piper, and Mahaney (who are very influential in the movement) are damaging to the church. Packer's book Keep in Step with the Spirit I think demonstrates the value of the charismatic movement and shows its positive influences on the evangelical church. I wish MacArthur would be as gracious as Packer is and be a little more balanced. We need good theology in our heads, but we also need to experience those realities in our hearts. That's where charismatics can be helpful. I don't see how speaking in tongues or praying for the sick is necessarily theologically harmful. Again, I like John MacArthur, but it's not fair to group all charismatics with guys like Benny Hinn! (BTW, the gifts are grace gifts so they aren't given necessarily to the most theological sound people) Things like the gospel coalition and together for the gospel are attempting to bring us together for the sake of the gospel and the glory of Christ, but this kind of talk is not helping those efforts! Come on, John! Relax! We are preaching the same gospel that you are! We don't bite! It's not contagious... or maybe it is! ;-)

#3 || 11·01·25··08:11 || David Kjos
Alex,
   Absolutely. It is right to pray for anything and everything (that is not contrary to God's revealed will). Cessationists believe that, other than God, there are no healers. Your pastor, or any Christian, might pray for your healing, and I hope they would. But they are not healers. No healing power flows through them. If you were healed, it would be in answer to prayer and according to God's will.

#4 || 11·01·25··08:37 || Chris E
When dealing with the context of 1 Corinthians 13 he appears to dodge exegesis and appeal in the end to history.

#5 || 11·01·25··08:49 || Gabriel Powell
Chris,

John did a series on 1 Cor 13 back in August. In that series you'll find his exegesis. The messages are here, here, here, here, and here.

#6 || 11·01·25··08:51 || Gabriel Powell
Jeremy,

If you listen to the entire interview you'll realize he very well realizes the reformed charismatic circle. In fact, they address that group specifically.

"I don't see how speaking in tongues or praying for the sick is necessarily theologically harmful."

Unless, of course, it's wrong. :)

#7 || 11·01·25··08:52 || Gabriel Powell
Quick clarification: it's not wrong to pray for the sick... that's not a charismatic issue.

#8 || 11·01·25··09:01 || David Kjos
Chris E,
   Read it again.

#9 || 11·01·25··09:19 || David Kjos
Jeremy,
   While I respect Piper (and there is plenty of evidence of that on this site), I do consider all varieties if charismaticism to be dangerous because they all (implicitly, at least) deny sola Scriptura with their acceptance of continuing prophesy. When Piper allows that David Wilkerson's nutty "prophesies' might actually be legitimate messages from God, he groups himself, however loosely, with the worst of the movement. (I wish MacArthur had addressed the prophesy issue in his remarks, as it is really fundamental to the whole discussion.)
   I also respect Packer (although much less since reading Murray's Evangelicalism Divided), but I am frankly happy that MacArthur is not like him in his willingness to gloss over the fundamentals for the sake of unity. I don't consider that being gracious at all, and I don't consider MacArthur to be at all ungracious. I think he exemplifies the principle of speaking the truth in love, and have no time for those who would soften the former in pretence of favoring the latter.
   To answer "what's the harm," I can only agree with Gabriel above (the commenter above, not the angel above): nothing, "Unless, of course, it's wrong." Think of the implications: if we (cessationists) are right, then the tongues being spoken are counterfeit. The speakers are either deceived or deceivers. So you can't just brush it off as an insignificant disagreement. You've got to engage it, settle it, and live consistently with and accept the consequences of your conclusions.

#10 || 11·01·25··09:22 || David Kjos
Important note before further comments:

Cessationists do not believe the Holy Spirit is no longer working or is less active than ever before. We do not believe that God no longer performs miracles, or that Christians should not pray for healing. This is straw man argumentation. If you want to comment on this post (and not be deleted), refrain from implying or premising your comments on this fallacy.

#11 || 11·01·25··09:35 || Olive
I pray in tongues and have received the interpretations of a few of them. Because I asked.

Once as I was fasting for a married couple and praying in tongues for them, I then prayed a prayer right after that. And I knew that prayer was the interpretation of my previous tongues praying.

I'm not sure what is meant by counterfeit. Can someone explain how what I pray is counterfeit?

#12 || 11·01·25··10:04 || David Kjos
Olive,
   From the Merriam-Webster online thesaurus:

Synonyms bogus, fake, false, forged, inauthentic, phony (also phoney), queer, sham, snide, spurious, unauthentic

Related Words artificial, factitious, imitation, man-made, mimic, mock, simulated, substitute, synthetic; dummy, nonfunctioning, ornamental; cultured, fabricated, manufactured; deceptive, delusive, misleading

Near Antonyms natural; actual, true, valid

Antonyms authentic, bona fide, genuine, real, unfaked
I'm not saying you're faking it, but I'm also not saying you aren't. Sorry if that sounds brutal, but that's the kind of frank reality that must be faced in this discussion. As I wrote previously, if tongues ceased, then all tongues speakers are either deceived or deceivers.

A few questions:
  • How do you know the interpretations you received were true?
  • How do you know the prayer you prayed (presumably in English) was a true interpretation of the preceding gibberish?
  • These anecdotes aren't seriously offered as evidence, are they?

    #13 || 11·01·25··10:29 || Olive
    Evidence? I just told you it happened and how it happened. You don't have to believe me, but why would I lie? What evidence would convince you then?

    And I did it scripturally so why would God send me some bogus interpretation?

    #14 || 11·01·25··10:39 || David Kjos
    Olive,
       I didn't say you lied. I asked how you knew those interpretations were authentic. It's a valid question that you must answer before your anecdotes can carry any weight. Or is it impossible that you could be deceived? Are you infallible?

    #15 || 11·01·25··11:03 || threegirldad
    What does "I did it scripturally" mean, exactly?

    #16 || 11·01·25··11:07 || Jeremy Echols
    David...Let me just say that your statement of "Cessationists believe that, other than God, there are no healers" gives implication to a straw-man argument. Yet, you say that you will delete all comments that are straw-man arguments about God not healing people today. Ironic much, yes?

    The straw-man argument that you imply is that unlike cessationists, charismatics believe people are healers themselves. This is absurd. Word of faith people may, in fact, believe this (saying "may" is my restraint...I know most, if not all, do believe this). Yet not all charismatics believe this. This idea has been biblically shown to be a ridiculous thought by both D.A. Carson and Sam Storms in their books. So, be careful of accusing others of straw-man arguments when you, yourself, imply them as well.

    #17 || 11·01·25··11:26 || Jeremy
    For Olive:

    What you are saying is one of the things I think MacArthur would say is wrong with the Charismatic movement theologically: The emphasis on experience over Scripture, and I'd like to share some testimony from my own life.

    A few years back I prayed and fasted fervently over a decision I had to make about a relationship I was entering. I thought I was genuinely receiving wisdom and direction from God, and followed that. I ended up making horrible, immature mistakes in that relationship that I would have avoided if I had used my head and listened more to the advice of the wise people around me.

    That being said I know first-hand the folly and pain that results of putting trust in experience more than the Scriptures, and I want you to know that and not have to go through learning something the hard way.

    Something about JI Packer: I love "Keep in Step With the Spirit", as the first third of the book does nothing but call attention to this third person of the trinity before entering into any debate. Later on Packer even shares some scars from his past in dealing with certain branches of doctrine that were not good. However, I think that David is exactly right in saying that it glosses over some serious, fundamentals problems for the sake of unity in his message, although overall it is very, very good and I don't hesitate to happily recommend it. I think that saying that the charismatic movement was necessary to bring attention back to the Holy Spirit wrongly connects belief in the Holy Spirit with your cessationist/charismatic leaning. The Holy Spirit is the agent of the New Birth in every Christian, and every theologically sound Christian knows this and acknowledges Him as our continual holy paraclete, and are thankful for Him!

    I think combining Packer with MacArthur is a great balanced way to get a Biblical perspective on the charismatic movement.

    #18 || 11·01·25··11:48 || David Kjos
    Jeremy,
       It is no straw man to say that charismatics believe there are individuals with the gift if healing, i.e. "healers."

    #19 || 11·01·25··12:00 || David Kjos
    Here's a challenge for any charismatic/non-cessationist who is serious about this:

    Oh yeah? Prove it!

    #20 || 11·01·25··12:28 || Jeffrey G
    Very little Biblical exegesis. This position stands mostly on experience (or non-experience), criticism of straw men (the "movements") and deferring completely to an extrabiblical interpretive "grid" (dispensationalism).

    D A Carson, as far as I know not charismatic, has nevertheless done a much better job than MacArthur regarding the text of I Cor 12-14 (ref. his "Showing the Spirit"). MacArthur's take on 1 Cor 14 (that this is a coded rebuke from Paul against any and all use of charismatic gifts by the Corinthians exactly parallel to MacArhur's own present-day position) is pretty outlandish from a hermeneutical point of view.

    All bad theology comes from the charismatic movement? Yeah, right. No errors to speak of between the Montanists in AD 150 and the Charismatics in the 20th C.

    "Charismatics believe there are individuals with the gift of healing, i.e. 'healers'."

    Not me. I believe that Biblically the "manifestation of the Spirit" listed in 1 Cor 12 has to do with gifts given in a particular situation, never a "gift" given and then resident within a particular person. (This was true during the apostolic era when Paul wrote it as well.) "Gifts of healings" (when God sovereignly chooses to dispense them) are given to people that are sick (like in James 5), not to so-called "healers".

    The point is not what Benny Hinn or some other contemporary believes or practices, but what Scripture, our sole rule of faith and practice, has to say on the matter.

    #21 || 11·01·25··12:40 || WhiteStone
    Thanks. I read this with great interest and appreciation. (including the comments)

    #22 || 11·01·25··12:47 || David Kjos
    Jeffrey,
       No one who allows for continuing revelation can claim Scripture as "our sole rule of faith and practice."
       Regarding the gift of healing, you do believe that "there are individuals with the gift if healing, i.e. 'healers.'" You just believe that the gift is momentary rather than permanent. My point was that cessationists don't reject miracles, only miracle workers.

    #23 || 11·01·25··12:49 || Olive
    From David: "These anecdotes aren't seriously offered as evidence, are they?"

    Yes.

    And I did mean it when I asked, what evidence would convince you? What evidence would be valid if I could bring it before the court?

    The only evidence I have is that I prayed in a tongue, asked for an interpretation, and because I am a believer, the Holy Spirit in me answered with a prayer that I could understand in English. I don't know what language the tongue was. It could have been a language from the same set that was in Acts. It could have been a language from today's set of languages. It could have been a mix of many languages combined. It could have even been the tongues of angels. I don't know. I just know that the answer to my request for the interpretation was a prayer I prayed and could understand as an English speaking person. And I know it was from God because I am one of His sheep and I know the voice of my Shepherd. That's my only evidence.

    #24 || 11·01·25··12:50 || Jeffrey G
    I am glad to see John still voicing support for C J Mahaney. From CJ's Sovereign Grace doctrinal statement online:

    The Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. Through the proclamation of the gospel he persuades men to repent of their sins and confess Jesus as Lord....

    In addition to effecting regeneration and sanctification, the Holy Spirit also empowers believers for Christian witness and service. While all genuine believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit at conversion, the New Testament indicates the importance of an ongoing, empowering work of the Spirit subsequent to conversion as well. Being indwelt by the Spirit and being filled with the Spirit are theologically distinct experiences. The Holy Spirit desires to fill each believer continually with increased power for Christian life and witness, and imparts his supernatural gifts for the edification of the Body and for various works of ministry in the world. All the gifts of the Holy Spirit at work in the church of the first century are available today, are vital for the mission of the church, and are to be earnestly desired and practiced.

    I totally agree. If we're going to (rightly) assert the ongoing validity of the apostles' "great commission" in Matt 28:18-20, then we must acknowledge our dependence upon God's chosen means of empowering His Church to continue carrying out that commission (Luke 24:44-49; Acts 1:8)

    #25 || 11·01·25··12:58 || David Kjos
    Olive,
       So, your evidence is that you believe it and feel really strongly about it.

    Okey-dokey. I'm convinced.

    #26 || 11·01·25··13:04 || Jeffrey G
    Re: "miracle workers". Scripture instructs us, when sick, to call for the unnamed elders of our own local church, whose "prayer of faith" is expected (not guaranteed, but implicitly expected in the very command) to result in healing (again, as God sovereignly chooses, but the general expectation is there). (James 5:14ff) No need for any particular "miracle worker" (other than the Holy Spirit)

    What we're not told in Scripture to do (in fact rebuked for) is to refuse to believe unless we're presented with sufficient evidence first. Even Jesus could not do much ministry in the presence of principled unbelief. (Matt 13:58)

    #27 || 11·01·25··13:17 || Olive
    I can't believe that you can't see what is right there in the Bible. It's there and yet you expect me to give a defense of it when you can just read it. Instead of expecting fellow believers (and I have no evidence you are one) to give a defense of the charismata still at work today, the only defense we should have to give is for the Gospel. Instead we are fighting over this? They haven't ceased. They are still here. It isn't from the devil, nor me just being wishful and fanciful. I am not deceived or deceitful or being counterfeit in practicing and believing in the charismata. It could be that you are deceived in not believing they are still at work today.

    #28 || 11·01·25··13:34 || David Kjos
    Well then, Olive, I suggest you take all that passion and meet my challenge here.

    #29 || 11·01·25··13:34 || David Kjos
    Jeffrey,
       I don't refuse to believe anything that God has said. To imply that I do is nothing but ad hominem. I do refuse to believe everything people say.

    #30 || 11·01·25··13:35 || Jeffrey G
    No one is or is not a true believer based on their cessationist or non-cessationist view. This would be a false gospel.

    God graces people with supernatural abilities to minister, including people who might deny supernatural gifting. This is because God backs up the preaching of the Biblical gospel. (Even if we want to call it simply "illumination" rather than "word of knowledge", it's from the Holy Spirit, not just the product of man's study and hard work. The power of the Holy Spirit is obvious in John MacArthur's own ministry for example.)

    The issue with Scripture being our sole rule of faith and practice is not to deny any possibility of revelation, but to deny any further inspiration. If God was to grant supernatural insight to some counselor about the needs of his counselee, or to a preacher as he studies or preaches the Word, this could well be a "revelation". After all, the Lord said that the Holy Spirit would "speak" through believers called to testify before opponents (Matt 13:11), like Stephen (Acts 6:10).

    God never used "charismatic manifestation" to communicate the content of the NT Scripture. Such gifts were and are always situational and deal with the application of Biblical truth for particular times, people, and events.

    We know the Canon is closed (no more inspired Scripture) because Jude speaks about the faith once delivered to the saints (v.3). Charismatic "revelation" may help apply that truth, but never did add to it, even then, and certainly not now.

    #31 || 11·01·25··14:57 || J. Gary Ellison
    Tongues and prophecies and spiritual gifts will cease when that which is perfect is come, when we see Him face to face. 1 Corinthians 13 is not an argument for cessationism; it implies that spiritual gifts will continue until we see Christ face to fact.

    Several years ago in an evangelistic crusade in Abidjan, C?�te d'Ivoire West Africa, services and the preaching of the Word had been interrupted several evenings by demonic manifestations. The missionaries, two of whom I know personally, were concerned and began praying that the Lord would not permit such outbursts so that the Word could be freely preached. While the missionaries were praying, a missionary from France by the name of Aim?� Ciz?�ron began praying in perfect English with a South Texan accent. American missionary Willard Teague, from Texas, was surprised because he had no idea that Ciz?�ron spoke English. After they had all prayed, Teague told Ciz?�ron in French that he had no idea that Ciz?�ron spoke English. Ciz?�ron responded, "Pas du tout!" (Not at all!) Ciz?�ron did not speak English at all, but he had just prayed in perfect English that God would not allow the preaching of the Word to be interrupted by demonic outbursts. That night, there were no interruptions and many Ivoirians were saved as a result of the preaching of the Word.

    #32 || 11·01·25··15:02 || Olive
    The angle that is consistently used is that charismatics base their theology on experience. It is one experience and I base it on the Bible. I embraced the teachings of the New Testament and also prayed in tongues. I didn't see any conflict there. I didn't start some trend and try to build a theology or doctrine after something happened to me. It's already there. I just believed it and practiced it. It didn't cease. I am not needing a pat on the head to comfort me as if I were delusional.

    I realize I am in the minority here on this site. And I assume you are believers (I have no evidence that you are though). Have you ever had people ask you to prove you are a Christian? How did you do that and what evidence did you give them. And Jeffrey, I am not asking this as a litmus test for tongues. I am asking in the same manner as I have been asked to give evidence. Where is the evidence that you are believers? Prove it.

    #33 || 11·01·25··16:28 || David Kjos
    Olive,
       Asking for proof of the authenticity of a subjective experience is not at all the same as asking for proof of one's salvation. But since you ask, I'm always glad to testify to what God has done. I don't take offense at that at all. In fact, when we joined the church, the elders put us through some serious examination. They didn't just take us at our word that we were Christians, as no biblical church would. They tested our doctrine, and that only after observing the testimony of our lives for a good, long time. We said we were Christians, but we had to prove it.
       Now, you can't know me like they know me, so I suppose I can't prove it to you like I did to them--but then, I didn't present myself and my own experience as proof of anything. You did. You want us to believe in the continuance of tongues based on your experience, so it is entirely appropriate that your experience be scrutinized. And frankly, your description of it sounds nothing like the gift as described in Scripture. Even if I believed in the continuance of tongues, I would not, based on your description, believe your experience was authentic.
       A pastor friend once told me that once someone has had a charismatic experience, it is nearly impossible to get them to examine it objectively. I fear you are proving him right.

    #34 || 11·01·25··16:31 || Jeffrey G
    Olive,

    I was actually taking a pro-charismatic position in my posts. However, I do this based on what I believe the Bible teaches. I would deny and walk away from my experience and change my beliefs if I found them to contradict Scripture.

    I did point out that whether one agrees with charismatic gifts or denies them is not what determines whether one is a Christian or not. We have clear presentations of the gospel in the Word (what Christ has done for us condemned sinners through His death and resurrection), and of our call to repent and trust in Christ as a response to that gospel. If I thus believe (trust) in Him, I'm a Christian. My basis for this is not my changed life, or my experience, but what Christ accomplished outside of me.

    As far as evidence, or what we sometimes call assurance (if we look for evidence in ourselves), I know of two things in Scripture: (1) the inner witness of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:16), and (2) the outward "fruit" of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-25) which also demonstrates itself through "good works". Charismatic manifestations did sometimes serve as signs for "unbelievers" (1 Cor 14:22) -- including the apostles themselves in Acts 10, who did not otherwise believe that Gentiles could become part of the Church. But since we are not unbelievers we should not be looking for that kind of evidence (Matt 12:38-39), which can be misleading anyway (Matt 7:22-23)

    #35 || 11·01·25··16:52 || Stephen
    I'm surprised no one has talked about what the actual term "tongues" means. And it seems pretty clear that across the board the biblical term always means an existing human language that makes sense for the edification of someone who can hear and know that language. If that can be made clear, as I think it can be (and for the fullest defense of that I'd recommend Thomas Edgar's Satisfied by the Promise of the Spirit) then anytime we see, or experience, an event that is clearly gibberish, then according to scripture it must be denied as tongues.

    MacArthur is quite right in pointing out it's use throughout Scripture as a means of building up the church by highlighting the Gospel (right theology)too, i liked that.

    #36 || 11·01·25··16:53 || Stephen
    To J. Gary Ellison, I think a point that has been attempted to be made by others (but not well or fully developed) by other commenters is that that experience which Aim?� Ciz?�ron apparently had does not in itself qualify him as having the gift of tongues. It very well may be that God used him at that time in a miracle in which he clearly spoke English. That is, the New Testaments teaching seems to be that those who had the gift could use the gift at their own desired time and according to their want or need. Hence Paul disciplines those with that gift in 1 Corinthians chapters 12 & 13 for using it in a prideful, self-centered way, they were "clanging cymbals." 1 Corinthians 1:1

    All this to say that just because a miracle happens, i.e. praying for healing, or an experience as a missionary, those happenings still do not give evidence that people have the gifts - they were just blessed to see God do an incredible miracle, which all Christians, cessationist or not, value and love.

    #37 || 11·01·25··18:08 || David Kjos
    Stephen: Bulls-eye. Thanks.

    #38 || 11·01·25··20:47 || David Kjos
    I think this thread has played out its usefulness. Anyone still interested is welcome here.


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