Gifts of the Spirit.

Discussion in 'Cults & World Religions' started by The Author of my Faith, Feb 3, 2010.

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  1. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    This book gives a readable account of how Edward Irving of the Church of Scotland, a former assistant to Thomas Chalmers who was later of the Free Church of Scotland, became a nineteenth century forerunner of the "Pentecostal" events that got going in the United States in the twentieth century.

    Two young women in the Gareloch, Scotland, became, possibly, the first modern "tongues-speakers".

    The Life of Edward Irving: Fore-runner of the Charismatic Movement: Arnold Dallimore: Books
  2. The Author of my Faith

    The Author of my Faith Puritan Board Freshman


    Thanks. I was part of a church which basically adheres to the same doctrine as AG. So I am kind of in the same boat. I am being slowly convinced as I study this that many of the things I believed before are not actually true. I KNOW that the gift of Apostle has ceased. That is a start :) So now I have to decided if all three qualifications that confirmed an apostle have ceased. I know two of them have definetly ceased (hand picked by Jesus, and witness to his ressurection). I am almost (very very very very close) to believing that the signs and wonders have ceased as well that where given to the Apostles. But I just have one question as to Philip. He was not an apostle yet he went to Samaria

    Acts 8
    4 Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word. 5 Philip went down to the city [1] of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ. 6 And the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said by Philip when they heard him and saw the signs that he did. 7 For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who had them, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was much joy in that city.

    I am reading To Be Continued by Samuel E. Waldron. He mentions in his book about the Apostles doing great miracles in the book of Acts in his arguement that The gift of Apostles has ceased and the signs as well. Since the Office of Apostle is gone, he states, it is only logical that the sign that accompanied them are gone as well, which I agree 100%. But it seems he never dealt with the text about Philip who was not an Apostle?? That is what I am trying to come to get a better understanding of. If anyone has any insight I would love to hear it.

    Also he claims that Ephesians 2:20 strengthens the argument that the church is build on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus being the chief cornerstone. Since a foundation is only laid once and is not repeatable then how can there be apostles today. Which again makes sense.

    But, is that text really saying the foundation of the church is built upon the apostles??? Isn't that Catholocism? Peter is the Pope kind of theology? Can anyone clarify? What is the Reformed position on this?

  3. Claudiu

    Claudiu Puritan Board Junior

    Thanks for this response. I was actually thinking of posting a question on these exact verses and it just so happens that you answered what I was looking for. I brought this point up about the Perfect being the Word. The person I was talking with, a Pentecostal, was a Dispensational Premill, so he took the Perfect to mean Jesus, which then fit right into his whole framework. But the perfect used in the passage is neuter, therefore not allowing for the Pentecostal explanation.
  4. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Here is the statement that my mission team takes on the "Spiritual Gifts":

  5. puritan lad

    puritan lad Puritan Board Freshman

    I would suggest that Wayne Grudem's "defense" of continuing revelatory gifts is actually one of the strongest arguments against such gifts.

  6. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    You have touched on my big frustration with the way the continuist / cessationist debate has fallen out wrt the "gifts of healings." Both sides agree on one premise; they believe that God granted the ability of healing to particular people in the NT age, and what remains at issue in the debate is whether or not he still does so.

    I question whether God has, in fact, done what the both sides believe that he did in the Apostolic era.

    Although healings may have been among the signs of Apostles (2 Cor. 12:12), they were not limited to the Apostles. For God granted "gifts of healings" to Apostolic church members who were not Apostles themselves (1 Cor. 12:9). The double plurals here make me suspect that what God did in the Apostolic age was not so much a "gifting" someone with a "healing gift" for subsequent use, instead Paul's emphasis seems to be on recording that God worked miracles of healing though some people at some times. Paul is not designating "specially gifted" people who may be assumed to possess the gift of healing as if it were theirs to use "on call."

    If this understanding of what God did in the Apostolic age is correct, what happened then was not necessarily or noticeably different than those cases of immediate healings in answer to prayer that have occured and still occur in the church from post apostolic times to the present.
  7. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritanboard Commissioner

  8. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    In Scripture we see gifts and functions so tied together that it is impossible to separate them. 1 Corinthians 12:28-30, "And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?"
  9. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

  10. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

  11. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    I don't believe that either of those conclusions follow. If the gifting is tied to the function, as 1 Corinthians 12 demonstrates, then it is a simple matter of showing what gifts belong to what function. Having done that, the debate between continuationist and cessationist continues along the same lines of demarcation -- whether extraordinary gifts and functions are to be expected today. The fact that both agree on the continuation of ordinary functions is irrelevant, as both would maintain the gift of teaching accompanies the ordinary teacher, the gift of government accompanies the ordinary elder, and the gift of helps accompanies the ordinary deacon. The problem with separating the gift from the function is that it raises a diversity of new problems in terms of the ordinary functions of the church. It would be impossible, were such a separation accepted, to know who was called to fulfil specific functions, seeing as the gifts themselves would no longer be an indication of functionality.
  12. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    Two questions: You wrote that 1 Cor. 12 demonstrates that “the gifting is tied to function” Where in this chapter does Paul provide such a demonstration? His points seem to be:
    1) Don’t be ignorant about spiritual gifts: their source and sign v.1,2
    2) Many different gifts but one source: 3-10
    3) All gifts are given at the Spirit’s discretion to whom he pleases. 11
    4) The one body of Christ has many different members and needs each one of them. 12-20.
    5) Since each part needs the others, here’s how to relate to the others so there is no division in the body 21-26.
    6) A list of God’s appointed gifts (vv.27 to 29) where both extraordinary officers such as apostles and continuing officers such as teachers are distinguished from those through whom miracles and healings happen. If all miracles and healings were solely linked in Paul’s mind with the Apostolate, shouldn’t we expect him to make the link explicit here of all places. But he doesn’t do it. Rather he divides them. And if he expected all of these giftings to disappear why does he include those which we know from other contexts, one he expected to last (teacher)? This seems inconsistent.

    I quite agree that the result of separating gifts from function is that we will then encounter a whole host of questions that linking gifts to function has enabled us to avoid taking seriously. Unfortunately, I have yet to see an attempted demonstration of such a link that is free from logical errors. If I put one of those attempts in the hand of a thoughtful “charismatic” and he or she spots the flaw in the logic, I will have only hardened him or her in the error. Given how many people are or have been involved in charismatic churches and the number of tragedies that have already occurred, I think that cessationist churches need to seriously reconsider whether the danger of trying to maintain the link is more dangerous than decoupling gifts from functions, and especially so once it is realized that these hitherto avoided questions can be effectively answered without joining either the conservative continuationists or the extreme charismaniacs. I’ve been happily at home in a non-continationist church for over 15 years now and I don’t have any trouble demonstrating (for example) why, according to Scripture, we can be certain that the Apostles are no more.
  13. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Under your section 2, "Many different gifts but one source: 3-10," we have an explicit tie in verses 4-6. The only way to separate gifts from administrations and operations is to separate the Spirit, Lord, and God who gives them. Following on from that, the gifts themselves are said to be given to "one" and "another" in verses 8-10.

    Under your section 4, "The one body of Christ has many different members and needs each one of them. 12-20," the illustration adopted by the apostle intermingles parts (foot, eye)and activities (hearing, smelling). As the members of the body equate to parts and the gifts of the body equate to activities, it is obvious that he ties them so together that they cannot be separated.

    Under your section 6, "A list of God's appointed gifts (vv.27 to 29)," verse 30 must be included within it because it forms a single line of questioning, "Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?" The line of questioning contains function and gift together. Furthermore, gifts of healing, speaking with tongues, and interpretation are specifically tied to persons.

    The passage repeatedly ties functions and gifts together in such a way that an interpreter would have to mangle the flow of the apostle's chain of reasoning in order to separate them.
  14. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    Verses 4 to 6 do not mention particular gifts being identified with particular functions, merely mentioning that the source of gifts, services and activities is the Lord. To say that all these ideas have their source in the Lord does not necessitate a conclusion that one serivice or activity is indissoluably paired with a gift.

    I agree that Paul has tied parts and activities together, but, the question we must answer is this: what was his intent in so doing? it is a rule of exegesis that we not stretch Scriptural metaphors further than we can determine the author or speaker's intent. The Reformed quite rightly reject both Roman transubstantiation and Lutheran consubstantiation on the ground that the Romans and the Lutherans stretch the metaphor of body and blood further than Christ intended. Paul's entire point with the metaphor here seems to be to get the Corinthians to realize that no one gift was superior to others or to the body as a whole and that they as individuals in the body were not inferior to other gifts. He is not classifying them beyond showing that they are all in the body. If we are going to pair particular functions and gifts we will need a different text than this one.

    As you probably know, many commentators and most paragraphed bibles separate vs 30 from 29. There is good reason for them to do so. While Paul has begun his application at v 27, the turn from straight application statements to rhetorical questions in v. 30 ought not to be overlooked. What is he doing there and why? With his questions, he is reinforcing that not everyone has all the gifts thus bringing home once again the point tht they need one another. Note also that v. 28 repeats v. 9's odd expression "gifts of healings." What God gave were either repeated healings or varieties of a gift that taken either way, must have necessarily resulted in healings plural. This is not a healing gift that its posessor can call upon like magic, but, as v. 9 has made clear, this gift is a string of healings accomplished by the Spirit at his discretion.

    It is true that all the gifts are specifically tied to persons here. And there is good reason for that. It is after all persons who are gifts to the church. But the question I raised was not whether any of the gifts were tied to persons, but whether there was anything in the text of 1 Cor. 12 that necessarily links those gifts to a present Apostolate. And your answers have not yet made that link.
  15. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    This is a whole new term which has formed no part of the discussion to date. My original point was only concerned to show that gifts are given in connection with functions; it has nothing to do with the apostolate. If you don't accept the exegetical evidence which ties gifts to functions, so be it; as usual, you stand in a class of your own.
  16. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritanboard Commissioner

  17. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    Not really. I have used the term Apostolate twice before in this thread. I was referring to Apostles who were active in the Church militant at the time that 1 Cor. 12: was written. Once (post 42) was in reply to your post 41.

    The principle argument on the cessationist side is that the extraordinary gifts cease with the departure of the Apostles.
    In an earlier post, you attempted to show that gifts are tied to function and you used the example of continuing gifts tied to continuing functions. And nobody would dispute that, since the presence of giftedness in that area is one of the qualifications the church is Scripturally required to look for in candidates for at least one of continuing functions and in the case of the other functions the needed link between giftedness in the area and function is clear by reasoning from experience.

    But what is at issue in the cessationist continuist debate is not whether gifts are tied to function, but whether the "extraordinary" gifts are tied to the specific Apostolic function in the same way that the continuing gifts are tied to continuing functions. Or were they (and continuationists will say: are they) independent functions in the church? Such evidence as 1 Cor 12: provides seems to point away from the the idea that extraordinary gifts are tied to Apostolic function: both vv. 4-11 and 27-29 imply that it is normal church members who were operating in the extraordinary gifts, and the rhetorical questions of vv. 29 imply that even the Apostles may not have found all the gifts working through them.

    Note well that I am not arguing for a continuationist postion; my problems with continuationist abuse of the "gifts" are at least as severe as a conventional denial that they continue.

    So let me rephrase my question so that it is clear: Where in 1 Cor. 12 can one find exegetical evidence that links the "extraordinary" gifts to the specific Apostolic function?

    I have accepted that there is reason to believe that some gifts will go along with some functions. I am asking for Scriptural proofs that ties the extraordinary gifts to the then-present now absent Apostles. Such proofs don't appear to be in 1 Cor 12.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2010
  18. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Please go back and read my original statement to which you responded. My statement had nothing to do with the apostolate. If you want to emphasise that your rejection of my exegetically based position is really being governed by your concern to protect your own theological bias, that is your issue; it has nothing to do with anything I have said.

    If Scriptural evidence is sought for the tying of extraordinary gifts to the apostolate, one simply needs to follow the very plain argument of Hebrews 1:1 - 2:4. (1.) The Son is God's final message to this world. (2.) The reason why the Son is God's final message is owing to His superior and supreme person and work. (3.) Since the Son is God's final message, the Hebrews are bound to receive that message as bearing greater severity than that which was spoken by angels. (4.) The Son's message is that which He Himself spoke and was afterwards confirmed by those that heard Him, with whom God Himself bore witness with signs, wonders, miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost. The whole argument places the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit accompanying the message of those who heard Christ within the history of salvation. Such gifts were a part of the historical process of confirming the final message of Christ. The New Testament nowhere gives us to believe that the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit were conferred as a part of the order of salvation, in order to confirm the message of Christ to those who should be saved. Hence no individual or church has any basis in Scripture for saying the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit are to continue as a part of the church's ongoing witness in the world.
  19. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    Since the context of what came before your original statement was my OP expressing frustration with the charismatic / cessationist debate which turns on whether the question of the gifts are linked to the Apostles, one might ask why you offered your post if you were not attempting to address that issue?

  20. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    I stated the issue I was addressing -- the separation of gifts from functions. You can either accept what I was addressing or make up your own straw man to play your silly games with.

    This text is either regulative of one's theology or it is not. If it is regulative, it will convince the reader that the gifts were tied to the history of salvation. If it is not regulative, then the reader must be left to his own devices.

    Again, it is a matter of salvation history. Whoever happened to exercise the gifts in that period of the history is irrelevant. This period of history is called "apostolic" whether one wants to accept it or not. 1 Corinthians 12:28 states, "first apostles." Ephesians 2:20 speaks of the "foundation" of apostles or prophets. Such terms, taken seriously, recognise that the New Testament church is "apostolic" and that the apostolic function of the church was a part of its first history. Here again, the reader either accepts the biblical evidence as regulative of his theology or explains it away as unimportant. If the former, then he is bound to acknowledge the extraordinary gifts were given as a part of the apostolic function of bearing witness to Christ and His resurrection. If the latter, the poor deluded soul will simply have to suffer at the hands of his own ignorance.

    No, that assumption fails to operate according to the regulative import of the scriptural testimony concerning the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit.

    Yes, I must agree -- they are very smart; so smart in fact that they have discovered ways of making the holy Scripture mean nothing; but alas! they exercise their autonomous reason to their hurt.

    The evidence has been presented; it is up to the reader to decide whether he accepts or rejects it.
  21. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    If I am addressing a straw man, what is the real point you were attempting to make? What other relevance does linking gifts to functions have in the ontext of that discussion? Please consider the possiblity seriously that I am not at all trying to play games here, but would really like to know.

    Here you address the wrong question. The question is not whether Heb. 2: 3,4 is regulative of one's theology or that the gifts are tied to the history of salvation. I affirm both of these propositions as strongly as you do. The questions are: exactly which theological propostions does this text regulate, how can we demonstrate that it does regulate these propositions?, and exactly how are the gifts tied to the history of salvation? I have offered evidence from within the text itself which apparently shows that these verses cannot be fairly used to derive a GNC conclusion that the extraordinary gifts have ceased with the departure of the Apostles from the church. (That evidence being that the text neither limits those who attested the gospel to the Apostles, nor specifically limits the human means through which God bore witness by extraordinary gifts to the Apostles - and we have it confirmed by other texts that God did not so limit His bearing witness by extraordinary means to the Apostles). And biblical wisdom ought to teach us that we must refute arguments not ignore them. If there is some way to show that the facts alluded to as underlying the text are incorrect, that the conclusions drawn from what the text says are incorrect, or that even given those facts, there is something else in the text that requires the cessationist conclusion, then it is inclumbent on us to present that data in counterargument rather than reiterating what now appears to be an insupported claim. People who attempt to ignore counterarguments will only lose credibility.

    And once again you address the wrong question. The question at issue is not whether or not the Apostles came first before all other gifts either sequentially or whether the Apostles and Prophets were, the necessary foundation of the church: those premises are indeed plainly affirmed. But what is at issue is whether one can show or deny that Scripture indissoluably links extraordinary gifts to the Apostolate in such a way that "the gifts go when the Apostles go". And that question is not spoken to directly by either of the texts you mention, and you neglected to show a proof that either of these texts will necessarily answer the question by GNC deductions therefrom.

    BTW please be careful either to address the issue actually under discussion, or if you think broadening the issue is valid to show your reasons for doing so. People who simply ignore points raised will find that they are challenged with adducing straw man arguments.

    Flat wrong: for you have overlooked the bolded clause in my statement that specifically allows for the possibility that Scripture has evidence that teaches that the gifts cease with the Apostles? Which is why I keep asking for such evidence. For it is only when we can show Scriptural evidence that demonstrates an indivisible link between the extraordinary gifts and the Apostles actually exists that we can say the "regulative import of the Scriptural testimony concerning the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit" is that the gifts have been discontinued. If we cannot show that Scripture links the gifts exclusively to the Apostles, then we must conclude that the regulative import of the Scripture on the question is something other than a discontinuance of the gifts on the Apostles departure..

    This statement is a(n apparently wilfull) denial of two realities that most of us who have come out of the charismatic movement are simply all too aware of: (i.e. first, that many arguments cessationists arguments offer as evidence for their contention turn out to be plainly insuffcient to estalish the cessationist view when those arguments are tested by what the adduced Scriptures actually say or imply, and second, that use of such arguments has demonstratably resulted in hardening many folk in continuist errors. Do you really want to drive folk further into charismatic error if you can avoid it?

    If you don't, and I certainly hope you don't, surely you can appreciate well meant demonstrations of the problems with some standard cessationist arguments. For now that you know the problems, you have the opportunity to find either biblical arguments that don't have these problems or the opportunity to develop answers to these objections to the standard presentations before you make a hash of your next attempt to help some deluded charismatic.

    Your statement is also a slander of those who, submitting to the Scriptural requirement to test all things by Scripture, find problems in the arguments on grounds that the texts adduced apparently don't speak to the issue. Both the denials and the slander are unworthy of you. And I, for one, would appreciate it, simply as a matter of ninth commandment courtesy, that speculation about my internal motivations cease. For the fact is that I do not deny the possibilty that sound Scriptural arguments for cessationism may exist. All I affirm is that I haven't seen such arguments yet.

    And I have presented the problems in your adduced evidence which apparently renders it insufficient to establish the conclusion that that the extraordinary gifts are so linked to the Apostles that "when the Apostles go, the gifts go. And to date, you have at no point come to grips with the problems I have raised. If your cited texts do in fact speak to the issue, despite the reasons I have put forward showing that apperently they do not do so, then surely a direct and Scripturally sourced demonstration of where my chains of reasoning break down will be of benefit not only to me and other readers here but most importantly to those who must minister to victims of charismatic tragedies.


    ---------- Post added at 09:50 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:26 AM ----------

    I am not sure I would go so far as to say that all the Apostles had the ability to do special miracles as a norm. We may conclude that what one Apostle did, the others were likely to do so it is likely that the Apostles were used in healings, but we must remember that their ability to heal does not seem to be something they could turn off and on at will. Paul left one of his colleagues sick when he left one city.

    Since Paul twice reminds the Corinthian church that some of their members had been used in that way, we cannot restrict the "healing gifts" in the NT to the Apostles alone.

    Now here you arrive near where I am. I am suggesting that whatever the NT era "gifts of healing" were, they were not the ability to perform miraculous signs on demand, but of being from time to time used when God does something extraordinary. I am suggesting that both sides romanticise this gift and the reality was that whatever it was, was something far closer to the occasisional inexplicable remission or condition improvement that does happen from time to time.

    If you insert the words "most often" before normal means I will happily agree. The problem is that there are credibly reported cases from time to time going back many years where normal means certainly were not used.

    And I agree with you here too.

    Physical healing and complete physical wellness will happen when we receive glorified bodies at the resurrection, but not now.

    And if that future promise is not something to glorify God for now, I don't know what is.:)[/QUOTE]
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2010
  22. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritanboard Commissioner

    There has been a lot of back and forth but let's revisit that.

    The apostles were given the ability to do special miracles. Not only the Apostle Paul, but the twelve generally. It is described normatively that they were given at certain times, a general ability to do these miracles.

    Here's another account where Jesus gathered the Twelve, appointed them to do miracles and sent them out with specific abilities and instructions:

    Mark 6 is again explicit, the Apostles were specifically given ability and a charge to perform miracles for a certain time:

    Luke repeats it again:

    The Apostles, as part of their function, were given special abilities and charges to do certain miracles as they spread out on Christ's appointment to do them.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2010
  23. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    I have not disputed that the Apostles (when disciples) were given the power to heal for their short term mission trip within Israel which is the context of the gospel references you provide. That's a given. Nor am I disuputing Acts 19:11 that God wrought healing miracles through Paul when he was at Ephesus. But if we assume that the nature of the healing gift was something an Apostle could always turn on and off at will, we have a difficult time explaining why Paul left Trophimus sick at Miletus (2 Tim. 4:20). And it should also be remembered that Christ on one occasion had to step in and perform a healing when his disciples (who had already healed many) had failed.

    But as I tried to say when I started this line in the discussion, the NT does not restrict the healings gifts to the Apostles, and the term Paul repeatedly uses when describing how some non-Apostles in Corinth were used in that way led me to wonder whether Paul's terminology may indicate something about what the nature of the ability given to non-Apostles actually was.
  24. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritanboard Commissioner

    It's not only "their short term mission trip"- re-visit the many Scriptures listed above and that is clear.

    Not sure the commissioning of the newly minted Apostles, every one chosen by Christ would be called merely a "short term mission trip." It was a demonstration of their office and authority given to them specifically by Christ, to whom they were eyewitnesses.

    The Apostles could not turn it on and off, only God could do that. God gave them the office (and the authority to do miracles in His name) and could give, increase, decrease or withhold them as He pleased.

    Healing miracles come from God. It wasn't a matter of God having to step in- it's that all miracles, in every situation are totally dependent on His will (even among Apostles who were given a special dispensation to do miracles at the time they were establishing our faith).

    Where did you get the idea the Apostles could turn "on" let alone "off" their ability to do healing miracles?

    Where has anyone on the thread said that, on special occasions, God did not do miracles through non-apostles?

    The point in our exchanges here has not been that, because we both acknowledge He did.

    The point is that the apostles, as part of their unique role in the church (establishing our faith), the Apostles were given special dispensation to do miracles, including healing miracles. Those miracles testified to their authority as Apostles, roles they were directly given by our Lord.:)

  25. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    The "relevance" was to establish a fundamental point that is accepted on both sides of the discussion, and to cut off a very independently minded person who shows he does not really know the terms of yet another discussion from poisoning yet another well.

    That is the question; and no, you don't affirm what I affirm. Any suggestion that a revelation which pertains to the history of salvation could continue as a phenomenon in the church displays basic ignorance as to what is meant by the historia salutis in biblical theology. There is a fundamental connection between act revelation and word revelation in salvation history. The "apostolic church" is presented in the New Testament as the once for all guaranteed interpreter of the mighty act of salvation wrought by Christ. That is the basic point of Hebrews 1:1 - 2:4. Your inability to grasp such a basic point indicates that you would be well advised to go and learn the subject before you presume to sit in judgment on others and repeatedly declare that they are addressing the wrong question.
  26. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    If you check the context of the gospel passages you cited the majority of them apply to that two by two trip to Israel.
    But this is a red herring. As I keep reiterating, the NT is explicit: healing gifts simply were not restricted to the Apostles. Paul tells the Corinthians that others in that church were used in that way. Now I am not disputing that the personal healing gifts of the Apostles died with them. Both the modern c/c debate and my OP turn on the exact nature of what the gift was that was experienced by those non-Apostles.

    What you may not realize is that when the extraordinary gifts of healings are discussed in the c / c debate, the practical assumption often underlying both sides positions (and almost always behind the continuationist side) is that the nature of the gift is the "possession" of the "gifted one" who has the ability to use it as I describe.

    I didn't, it is a hidden assumption in much of the debate.

    Where has anyone on the thread said that, on special occasions, God did not do miracles through non-apostles?

    The point in our exchanges here has not been that, because we both acknowledge He did.

    Put this in logical form:
    The church is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets.
    Part of the foundation includes healing gifts worked through non-Apostles in the church.
    The healing gifts of the NT are no more present in the church.

    But to make the syllogism valid one must come up with a Scripture proof that shows that non-Apostolic healing gifts are included in the foundation. I have yet to see a Scripture from which that premise must necessarily be infrerred.
  27. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritanboard Commissioner

    A few comments below.

    Last edited: Feb 21, 2010
  28. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritanboard Commissioner

    So maybe a "syllogism" might be:

    The foundation of our faith is built upon God's revelation, written down for his church, through the prophets and apostles.
    God granted the working of special miracles to the apostles in connection with that authority as an office "under age."
    God was then, is now, and forever shall be free to work miracles, including healing miracles.
    God may make use of ordinary means He has established, and is free to work without, above, and against them, at His pleasure.

    God has ordained that we worship Him as He has revealed Himself in His Word.
    Special revelation is completed and sufficient through His Word, the foundation for our faith having been laid by it.
    Special revelation does not ordinarily come outside His Word, nor through officers of His Church now.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2010
  29. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    Raising a well meant questioning with Scriptural support that indicates that one of the common premises of a discussion may be in error does not, in itself, necessarily prove ignorance of a discussion. After all isn’t that what Luther did with the 95 theses? And like Luther I may be right or I may be wrong, but the real question is not the mental state of either of us for presuming to disagree with a long standing consensus, but whether there is Scriptural support for both our cases. And in both cases, he who advocates that a fundamental point may incorrect must be proven wrong, not assumed to be wrong.

    Actually all I am doing is testing the implications of a point first noted by Gordon Fee in his commentary on 1 Corinthians 20 years ago. It was Fee who noted that when Paul describes the non-speaking extraordinary gifts in 1Cor. 12, all of them are spoken of in the double plural. And if it can be shown that there is anything to my idea of the significance of this double plural, do you not realize that the consequence is that cessationists such as yourself will get a new and valuable arguments to curb charismatic excesses?

    Or perhaps you have forgotten or are ignorant of the point made by Martyn Lloyd-Jones somewhere when he says that if you can show that a man is inconsistent with his own premises, you have shown that the man does not really know what he is talking about. If (on the continuationist assumption) the gifts continue, cessationists may then say that the church’s management of those gifts must be along the same lines the Apostle Paul lays out in 1 Cor. 12-14. Not Since many, if not most continuationists formally hold to the inerrancy of Scripture, not many will disagree with this line of thought when it is thus stated in general terms. That agreement reached, one can then point out that the charismatics who in practice ignore Paul’s instructions on gift management by using the gifts in prohibited ways, make heroes and almost idols of those whom they think have the gifts, and sinfully puffing themselves up over against those who they think don’t have the gifts, are in clear violation of Scripture when they do so.

    And of course I do not affirm exactly what you affirm. My reply made it clear that I wasn’t affirming exactly what you are: while I am well aware of the technical definition of historia salutis in Reformed theology, I was trying to decouple your assertion that mere mention of the historia salutis is a sufficient counter to a demonstration that Heb 2 simply doesn’t speak to the question at issue. As noted the real question was not whether some theologians have concluded that all gifts must necessarily expire with the Apostles and constructed a theological construct to that effect, but whether the soundness of their case for arriving at that conclusion is such that their case cannot be impeached. And, as I wrote, the text of Heb 2 contains a number of data points that apparently render it impossible to use that text to LIMIT the gifts to a set time in the history of the church. Since the text does not specifically identify the Apostles as the preachers mentioned, nor as the instruments through which God produced the signs and wonders, it is not a good, let alone a necessary consequence to conclude that the text intended to teach, (or that one may properly infer from it), that the gifts are limited to the Apostolic era. And since 1 Cor. 12 specifically identifies non-Apostles as operating in the gifts, one must find another text to make the point. And that is what I keep asking for.

    Actually it appears that the fundamental message of Heb 2: 1-4 is not what you think it is. The first chapter exalts Christ without mention of the Church, nor is the church found in the first 2 verses of the second chapter. And verses 3 and 4 of chapter 2 do not testify that God bore witness to an infallible Apostolic church as the “guaranteed interpreter of the mighty act of Christ.” Instead, the text only says that God bore witness to certain preachings of salvation by the miracles that accompanied those preachings. According to what the text directly says, the only thing God guaranteed by the miracles was the content of the specific attestations to that salvation that had resulted in the salvation both of the Hebrews and of the writer of the letter.

    Now it may be that one may attempt to apply sound reason to the statements of this text by using one or more explicit statements of what the text actually says in a syllogism that ultimately proves your point. But, as anyone who knows the first principles of logic will realize, you have only provided two of the three necessary premises of the syllogism. In addition such a logical beginner will recognize that the one relevant premise that can be drawn from Heb 2:4 (some attestations to salvation were guaranteed by God) is particular and your stated conclusion (the "apostolic church" is as the once for all guaranteed interpreter of the mighty act of salvation”) is a universal you are at present apparently violating one of the general rules of logic, to wit that if “either premise is particular the conclusion is particular.” So inevitably therefore you will need to explain to such a person both the complete list of steps in reasoning you are following to arrive at your conclusion and the Scriptural supports that underlie each step in that list.

    If you find that you cannot provide a solid chain or reasoning, perhaps you should consider that your apparent inability to grasp the basic teaching of these verses and what may be legitimately drawn from them may be an indicator that you would be well advised to take seriously the possibility that your theological commitments are getting in the way of your ability to properly exegete the texts before you.

    Meanwhile, anyone, whether cessationist or not, who follows the Apostolic injunction to “test all things, hold fast to that which is good” and the WCF’s injunction to determine “all controversies of religion,” not on the opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men and private spirits”… can be no other than the Holy Spirit speaking in Scripture” must ask continue to ask you to provide a Scripturally accurate demonstration of your points.

    ---------- Post added at 10:28 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:12 AM ----------

    Please see the first 3 pps of my post 59, especially the last. The reason I am trying to develop the implications of Paul's gift management instructions to the Corinthian church ch 12-14 is that those instructions are such that even Charismatics who reject the notion that the gifts ended with theApostles must, on their own premises either accept the validity of these instructions, which if put into practice, would curb many of their excesses, or reject Apostolic authority if they continued in the practices that Paul prohibits. The former group could be recognized as Christian who are perhaps mistaken in pneumatology (if it can be shown that Scripture does teach that the all the gifts expire with Apostles), while those who reject apostolic authority in gift management may be properly rejected themselves as cultists.

    While my replies to armourbearer adduce some problems with some of the standard cessationist arguments on the question, problems that those who wish to deploy those arguments should address before continuing to use them, my main purpose with my OP in this thread was an attempt to stimulate a discussion of how we ought to use Paul's gift managemnent instructions to best minimize charismatic excesses.
  30. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Tim Cunningham,

    You continue to treat your interlocutor as if you are his superior, when it is evident you don't know the terms of the discussion. There are reasons why educators provide assigned reading for courses; it is due to the fact that later discussion of a topic cannot afford to ignore the shared perspective and actual points of difference which exist on a subject. You would do well to at least look up the way the Hebrews text is treated by both sides of the debate before telling your interlocutor that its message is not what he thinks it is. Further, no person with moral integrity would accept an approach whereby a point that is contrary to Scripture is adopted for the mere purpose of obtaining a new and invaluable argument. Your suggestion that I should be interested in such is revealing of your own approach to theological debate.
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