Gifts of the Spirit.

Status
Not open for further replies.

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: Amazon.co.uk: Arnold Dallimore: Books
 

The Author of my Faith

Puritan Board Freshman
Jared,

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?

Thanks.
 

Claudiu

Puritan Board Junior
1 Corinthians 13:8-12
The context of this passage is that concerning the ignorance of the Christians in the church at Corinth regarding the relationship between gifts and graces. Paul reminds them that they can have extraordinary, phenomenal gifts and yet be destitute of love and thus be lost in their sins (vss. 1-3).
“He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” ( 1 John 4:8)

Paul states at the end of the chapter in verse 13 that “love is the greatest”. Why is love the greatest? Because love never fails. Love will accompany you all the way into the eternal state. Not so with all the flashy phenomenal gifts that they were desiring.

1 Corinthians 13: 8 Love never fails εκπιπτει. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail καταργηθησονται; whether there are tongues, they will cease παυσονται; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away καταργηθησονται.

Verse eight contains a triad __ prophecy, tongues, and knowledge __ which are contrasted with another triad in verse thirteen __ faith, hope, and love. The second triad consists of things that remain, whereas the first triad consists of things that cease, fail, or vanish away.
With what are faith, hope, and love contrasted? They are contrasted with prophecy, tongues, and knowledge. It should be apparent that if we make both of these triads continue throughout this present age until Christ returns then the apostle’s intended contrast is destroyed!
Paul says that love never fails [εκπιπτει ] the word means to fall down from or out of. So the meaning is that Love will never fall from its exalted position.
• But prophecies (the extraordinary gift) shall be καταργεω “reduced to inactivity”.
• Tongues shall παυω “stop, cease, leave off”. Compare the use of the word in Heb. 10:2 and in 1Pet 4:1.
• Knowledge likewise shall be καταργεω “reduced to inactivity”. In this context just what knowledge is Paul talking about? Not spiritual and divine knowledge in general for surely there will be such knowledge hereafter in heaven as well as now on earth, and vastly more … knowledge of God, Christ, and spiritual things shall not vanish away but shall gloriously increase. By the phrase ‘knowledge shall pass away’ is meant a particular miraculous gift (see 1Cor 12:8) that was in operation in the Church of God in those days.
This knowledge was a Revelatory gift, i.e. it involved revealing directly to the possessor of the gift the mind and will of God. This is evidenced by its association with prophecy and tongues.


9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part.

Paul says that we know, literally “we are presently knowing” εκ μερους “out of that which is partial” or “out of a portion of the whole.” Knowledge and prophecy were then coming forth in the period of Partial Revelation as contrasted with Completed Revelation as is seen in the following verses.
10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

“But” says Paul by way of contrast “when comes that which is perfect …” . This phrase το τελειον that which is perfect is pivotal to the interpretation of the passage. The two Greek words are Neuter in gender and should be rendered the perfect thing. Whatever Paul had in mind when he wrote το τελειον it was, in its grammatical identity something neuter. If he had in mind Christ he would no doubt have written the masculine ο τελειος He who is perfect . If what he was referring to was Christ’s return he would have written the feminine η τελεια as in the feminine τη παρουσια “the coming of our Lord” (1Thess 5:23). Whatever Paul did have in mind he alludes to it with the neuter το τελειον that perfect thing.
So what is that perfect thing? The meaning of το τελειον is that which is brought to its end; finished; wanting nothing necessary to completeness; perfect.
Again the question comes: what is that perfect, that completed thing that the apostle was pointing to? It must be something apposite and juxtaposed to that which is partial mentioned in the previous verse. It is Revelatory, and since the category of the partial is Revelation then the category of the complete must be Revelation.
That Perfect Thing is the completed, inscripturated Revelation; the finished Word of God in both the Old and New Testaments.


11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
Paul here, by way of illustration, administers a rebuke to the Corinthians. They have been behaving childishly in regard to the Extraordinary Gifts in general and Speaking in Tongues in particular. He illustrates this by saying that when he was a child he spoke, understood, and thought as a child, i.e. childlishly!
When however, “he became γεγονα [perfect tense] a man ” ανηρ that is, he completely entered manhood, he remained a man and did not return to childhood. He put away childish things. So too he is telling the Corinthians that the Church would one day reach Revelatory maturity and never return to childhood again.
It is a sign of spiritual childishness to want to go back to the time of the Church’s childishness. The time of the church’s childishness was the time of the extraordinary phenomenal gifts!
12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

Paul gives explanation here saying “For” or “Because” “we see now, at this present time, by means of a mirror [εσοπτρον _ a piece of highly polished metal ] dimly { αινιγματι literally, in an enigma, indistinctly}…
Paul’s point is that in their day the Corinthians, along with all other believers, had an uncompleted Bible; a partially polished metal shield in which they could dimly behold themselves. James had already taken up the imagery of a mirror in reference to the Word of God saying in chapter One and verse Twenty-three of his epistle “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror εσοπτρον.
Paul again takes up this same imagery, although he employs a synonym of εσοπτρον in his second epistle to this same Corinthian church saying:
14 But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ.
15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart.
16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror [κατοπτριζω participle from κατοπτρον ] the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

So here in (13:12) Paul is showing them that in this era of partially completed revelation they see things dimly; they know things out of a part of an as yet uncompleted whole. But he points this out in order to bring out the contrast. This partiality and dimness have continued up to their present time, but….
Contrast relative to Time
“but then …” τοτε When? When that perfect thing i.e. the completed Scriptures have come. The Corinthians were seeing in their Hebrew bibles dimly, but then τοτε face to face προσωπον προς προσωπον
Contrast relative to Quality
“face to face” How? Clearly as contrasted with dimly.
This phrase “face to face” has been popularly interpreted to mean the beholding God by the saints in glory. But the phrase as used in Scripture never refers to that glorious event. Rather the biblical usage consistently refers to the clear propositional revelation of the Word of God as contrasted with the less clear revelation of visions and dreams.
Numbers 12:6 Then He said, "Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream. 7 Not so with My servant Moses; He is faithful in all My house. 8 I speak with him face to face, Even plainly, and not in dark sayings; And he sees the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid To speak against My servant Moses?"
See also __ Exodus 33:9-11, 18-23; Deuteronomy 5:1-4
Thus Paul tells the Corinthians that then, when that perfect, completed thing has come their knowing shall no longer be dim but shall possess the precision that comes from the clear propositional revelation of God’s Word inscripturated and preserved to the Church to the end of the age.

13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Even though the phenomenal gifts of prophecy (direct revelation from God), tongues (languages known without being learned), and knowledge (intelligence never acquired by study) would not continue to abide in the Church throughout this age, and at the end of the age faith becomes sight (2Cor 5:6-7) and hope becomes fulfillment (Rom 8:22-25), nevertheless Love continues throughout eternity.
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.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Here is the statement that my mission team takes on the "Spiritual Gifts":

By God's grace, and based upon the redemptive work of Christ, the Holy Spirit is given to each believer to empower him or her to bear witness to Jesus Christ, to understand and teach the truths of Scripture, and to live a holy life.

Biblical Principles:
1. God has sovereignly chosen believers to be witnesses of His gospel, ministers of His Word, and channels of His compassion for the world.
2. The Holy Spirit apportions spiritual gifts to each believer “individually as He wills” for mutual edification and corporate ministry.
3. No spiritual gift or any supernatural “sign” or “wonder” is normative to the Christian experience, required evidence of the baptism of the Spirit or proof of being filled with the Holy Spirit.
4. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a one-time work of the Spirit by which He unites the believer with the Body of Christ. The Scriptures teach that the baptism of the Spirit takes place at the same time as regeneration. It is not a subsequent act of the Spirit, although during the formative years of the Church as recorded in Acts, there were public manifestations on specific, significant occasions in exception to this.

The filling of the Holy Spirit is mentioned in the Bible sometimes as a particular anointing for special or exceptional service, and other times as a normal anointing for daily holy living. Both cases indicate Christ’s dominion in the believer’s life, and result in fruitfulness and increasing freedom from the dominion of sin.

(Jn 7:37-39; 14–16; Ac 1:8; Ro 5:1-5; 8:1-14; 1Co 3:16; 6:11, 19-20; Eph 1:15-23; 3:14-21)


Guiding Principles Related to Miraculous or Sign Gifts*

In determining the place of miraculous sign gifts in W___ T___ ministries, we hold to the following biblical principles:

1. The Sovereignty of God - It is God’s prerogative to perform signs, miracles, or wonders for His own purposes and glory. Further, the Bible does not instruct believers to call for miraculous manifestations (such as so called “power encounters”) as part of the proclamation of the gospel, nor has God given believers the authority to perform signs, miracles or wonders on their own initiative.

2. The Primacy of Scripture - The gospel itself is the power of God for the salvation of all who will believe. “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (Ro 10:17). All experiential phenomena are subject to the primary authority of the Bible.

3. The Unity of the Body - As we teach regarding miraculous signs, we must remember the biblical injunction to be “diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” lest we unnecessarily offend other believers and bring discord within the Body of Christ (Eph 4:3).

Exhortation to Preserve Unity within the Mission

Because God wills the evangelization of the world; because the Holy Spirit is sovereign and distributes a variety of gifts at His own discretion for fulfilling God's purpose; and because God longs for oneness among His people; all who are affiliated with W___ T__ are urged to:

1. Seek daily the filling of the Holy Spirit in order to grow in Christlikeness;
2. Engage in sound biblical teaching regarding spiritual gifts, and encourage all believers to minister according to their gifts;
3. Be diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit by guarding against the exaltation, belittling or misuse of any spiritual gift;
4. Emphasize that missions is God’s work which He accomplishes for His glory and by His power, and that a key element of our calling is to join with God in what He is doing through united and believing prayer;
5. Maintain that the Bible is uniquely the Word of God, superior in authority to any other teaching, and the ultimate standard by which to judge all matters of Christian faith and practice; and
6. Recognize the present day validity of the apostolic* role for pioneer church planting efforts, yet not equate this gifting with the authority and functions unique to the office of the twelve.
 

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.

"I am asking those in the cessationist camp to give serious thought to the possibility that prophecy in ordinary New Testament churches was not equal to Scripture in authority, but was simply a very human - and sometimes partially mistaken - report of something the Holy Spirit brought to someone’s mind". (Wayne Grudem, The Gift of Prophecy in 1 Corinthians 14 p. 74.)
 

timmopussycat

Puritan Board Junior
God granted the ability of healing to specific people for a time and circumstance that was relative to establishing his truth, furthering his gospel, and building his church. Show me someone today who has this power and also preaches the Word faithfully and then we'll talk.
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.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
God granted the ability of healing to specific people for a time and circumstance that was relative to establishing his truth, furthering his gospel, and building his church. Show me someone today who has this power and also preaches the Word faithfully and then we'll talk.
This is a big topic, and people can assign different meanings to different terms, which can add to the difficulty. A few thoughts to interact with your statements, which might be helpful in thinking this through and being clear.

You have touched on my big frustration with the way the continuist / cessationist debate has fallen out wrt the "gifts of healings."
Often "continuist" is used to say new revelation of God is occurring outside of Scripture, that is equal to or above it through unknown tongues and interpretation. Charistmatic/pentecostal communions often are centered on that for corporate worship.

When the term is broadened to "gifts of healings" it almost sounds like miracles, or "Can God heal?"

Of course, God can and does heal. It's not a question of whether He can and does heal or whether He can and does do miracles.

If the discussion gets set on believing miracles can happen with God verses not believing, yes, it can be an unprofitable discussion, and one off the point, too.


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.

Might qualify this- Does God ordinarily do specific miracles today through specific people as a testimony of their office, position, or gift. Allowing, that God can operate extraordinarily, at His pleasure, to do any miracle, in any way, using any person, at any time He chooses....

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.
I think you are agreeing, the Apostles were given special powers to do miracles, not "may have been." They were.

Acts 19:11

11And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:
Matthew 10

1And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.
Mark 6:7

7And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits;
You are also correct that there were occasions when non apostles did what we can only call miracles, where God did miracles even through animals (e.g. talking donkeys, etc.)


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.

The Apostles had a unique, foundational role in the church. It cannot be repeated. The special revelation of God came primarily through the prophets (old testament) and apostles (new testament). We do not want to downplay that unique and highly authoritative role. We don't have modern day apostles writing Scripture (although there are a few extreme claims of that in charismatic/pentecostal communions).

Ephesians 2:20

20And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
Can God still heal?

Yes, absolutely.

Does God concentrate a power of miraculous healing through a person so that it can testify to that person's spiritual authority (whether office or holding a miraculous gift).

I don't think so, ordinarily.

And there are many sound biblical principles and reasons to think that. :)
.
 

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?"
 

timmopussycat

Puritan Board Junior
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.
Might qualify this- Does God ordinarily do specific miracles today through specific people as a testimony of their office, position, or gift. Allowing, that God can operate extraordinarily, at His pleasure, to do any miracle, in any way, using any person, at any time He chooses....
You have touched on my big frustration with the way the continuist / cessationist debate has fallen out wrt the "gifts of healings."
Often "continuist" is used to say new revelation of God is occurring outside of Scripture, that is equal to or above it through unknown tongues and interpretation. Charistmatic/pentecostal communions often are centered on that for corporate worship.

. . .

If the discussion gets set on believing miracles can happen with God verses not believing, yes, it can be an unprofitable discussion, and one off the point, too.


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.

Might qualify this- Does God ordinarily do specific miracles today through specific people as a testimony of their office, position, or gift. Allowing, that God can operate extraordinarily, at His pleasure, to do any miracle, in any way, using any person, at any time He chooses....
Using contemporary "healings" to prove the contemporary existance of the Apostolate is not the problem I am here attempting to address. Although the latter claim is a serious problem requiring answers when it arises, not all advocates for the contemporary "gift" of healing make the link. My concern here is with a different situation, when the healing is done or the gift is advocated by someone who does not either claim to be a contemporary apostle themselves or advocate for the contemporary continuation of the Apostolic office. Which is why I made the point that not all the Scripturally recorded "gifts of healings" were worked through the Apostles. Although healings may have been among the "signs of Apostles" even though they are not specifically mentioned in 2 Cor. 12:12, 1 Cor. 12:9 makes it certain that they were not limited to the Apostles.

Now I deny the contemporary existance of Apostles (and a bitter personal experience of that claim in my early days showed me just how deely serious an error it is - the direct consequences of that situation included at least one suicide attempt and many lasting estrangements), that issue of healings proving contemporary Apostolicity was not the problem I was here attempting to address. For not all claims for the contemporary validity of healing gifts will claim that all or even any workers of such healings are Apostles.

My concern was more basic. I was simply pointing out that when the continuist / cessationist dialogue turns from the subject of speaking gifts to consieration of healing gifts in general, the debate seems to have been complicated by a basic misunderstanding (by both sides) of exactly what kind of gifts were given. If my suspicion about the double plural in "gifts of healing" is correct, we will need to revise our understanding not of what God is doing today, but about exactly God did in the first century church through not Apostolic "healers". It may be that what God did then was exactly parallel to what happens today when something occaisionally happens that doctors cannot medically explain, and the patient was the object of Christian prayer.

---------- Post added at 09:08 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:02 AM ----------

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?"
While it is certainly not simple to separate gifts and functions, given the data the NT provides, I wonder whether "impossible" is the right word to use. It seems to me that it proves too much: for if it were truly impossible to separate gifts and functions it seems that we would be forced into one of two conclusions, that all gifts and functions continue today or that none do. Neither of these conclusions is palatable to the Reformed tradition or to either of us in particular, (many if not all cessationists assume that teachers, helps and governments continue).
 

timmopussycat

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

6. Recognize the present day validity of the apostolic* role for pioneer church planting efforts, yet not equate this gifting with the authority and functions unique to the office of the twelve.


Dear Pergy

Somehow missed this post on first reading the thread.
This statement of your group has made me very concerned for you. While the statement as it stands does not confuse the unique foundational role of the canonical apostles with that of today's church planters, "apostolic role" is close enough to "apostle" that equivocation over the meaning of the term may develop now or in future. If such equivocation does develop – as it did in my situation, in a group that had also attempted to posit a similar distinction between canonical and contemporary apostles – the results can be very damaging. In my case the result of the equivocation was a formal denial that our "apostle" was a canonical apostle, but in practice he was treated as a canonical apostle. I hope and pray that this does not happen to you.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
While it is certainly not simple to separate gifts and functions, given the data the NT provides, I wonder whether "impossible" is the right word to use. It seems to me that it proves too much: for if it were truly impossible to separate gifts and functions it seems that we would be forced into one of two conclusions, that all gifts and functions continue today or that none do. Neither of these conclusions is palatable to the Reformed tradition or to either of us in particular, (many if not all cessationists assume that teachers, helps and governments continue).
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.
 

timmopussycat

Puritan Board Junior
While it is certainly not simple to separate gifts and functions, given the data the NT provides, I wonder whether "impossible" is the right word to use. It seems to me that it proves too much: for if it were truly impossible to separate gifts and functions it seems that we would be forced into one of two conclusions, that all gifts and functions continue today or that none do. Neither of these conclusions is palatable to the Reformed tradition or to either of us in particular, (many if not all cessationists assume that teachers, helps and governments continue).
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.
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.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
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.
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.
 

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.
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.
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.

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.
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.



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?"
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.

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.
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.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
but whether there was anything in the text of 1 Cor. 12 that necessarily links those gifts to a present Apostolate.
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.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
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.
Might qualify this- Does God ordinarily do specific miracles today through specific people as a testimony of their office, position, or gift. Allowing, that God can operate extraordinarily, at His pleasure, to do any miracle, in any way, using any person, at any time He chooses....
You have touched on my big frustration with the way the continuist / cessationist debate has fallen out wrt the "gifts of healings."
Often "continuist" is used to say new revelation of God is occurring outside of Scripture, that is equal to or above it through unknown tongues and interpretation. Charistmatic/pentecostal communions often are centered on that for corporate worship.

. . .

If the discussion gets set on believing miracles can happen with God verses not believing, yes, it can be an unprofitable discussion, and one off the point, too.


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.

Might qualify this- Does God ordinarily do specific miracles today through specific people as a testimony of their office, position, or gift. Allowing, that God can operate extraordinarily, at His pleasure, to do any miracle, in any way, using any person, at any time He chooses....
Using contemporary "healings" to prove the contemporary existance of the Apostolate is not the problem I am here attempting to address. Although the latter claim is a serious problem requiring answers when it arises, not all advocates for the contemporary "gift" of healing make the link. My concern here is with a different situation, when the healing is done or the gift is advocated by someone who does not either claim to be a contemporary apostle themselves or advocate for the contemporary continuation of the Apostolic office. Which is why I made the point that not all the Scripturally recorded "gifts of healings" were worked through the Apostles. Although healings may have been among the "signs of Apostles" even though they are not specifically mentioned in 2 Cor. 12:12, 1 Cor. 12:9 makes it certain that they were not limited to the Apostles.

Now I deny the contemporary existance of Apostles (and a bitter personal experience of that claim in my early days showed me just how deely serious an error it is - the direct consequences of that situation included at least one suicide attempt and many lasting estrangements), that issue of healings proving contemporary Apostolicity was not the problem I was here attempting to address. For not all claims for the contemporary validity of healing gifts will claim that all or even any workers of such healings are Apostles.

My concern was more basic. I was simply pointing out that when the continuist / cessationist dialogue turns from the subject of speaking gifts to consieration of healing gifts in general, the debate seems to have been complicated by a basic misunderstanding (by both sides) of exactly what kind of gifts were given. If my suspicion about the double plural in "gifts of healing" is correct, we will need to revise our understanding not of what God is doing today, but about exactly God did in the first century church through not Apostolic "healers". It may be that what God did then was exactly parallel to what happens today when something occaisionally happens that doctors cannot medically explain, and the patient was the object of Christian prayer.

....


I think I'm understanding your reasoning and conclusions but want to be clear.

It is clear from Scripture that the office of Apostle was given ability to perform special miracles, including gifts of healings. So, when you state, (emphasis added)

Although healings may have been among the "signs of Apostles"
I would only be clear that those miracles were given to that office, and would cite Acts 19:11 et. al. Those verses state in a normative way the giving of the ability to do special miracles to them, and would not hesitate to say Scripture indicates that.

And you are quite correct in the end to say the office of Apostle has ceased (because its unique function was complete).

Some (not all) charismatic/communions get that grievously wrong also.

Those that do link those special miracles to a modern day foundational, revelatory office- and all the error that entails. And all the disorder that brings.

It may be that what God did then was exactly parallel to what happens today when something occaisionally happens that doctors cannot medically explain, and the patient was the object of Christian prayer.
I don't think this is a parallel situation because of the unique nature of the Apostles in being used of God to lay the foundation of our faith.

Now understand, this does not mean God cannot or does not do miracles, including healing miracles. He does. Elders are given command to pray for the sick (cf James 5:14). But it is not the nature of an office of the Church today to have been given a special 'dispensation' an ongoing ability to perform signs and wonders, and miraculous healings, on demand, as an accoutrement of office.

Actually, I glean you likely agree with this but are frustrated with sensing a complete rejection of healing miracles being done through the church at all.

My best biblical understanding of that is God works extraordinarily, and uses normal means to heal, often using our prayers to do so.

It is not, however, as charismatic/pentecostal practice teaches or implicitly assumes that physical healing is a 'right,' a part of the atonement to be actualized right now before the Lord returns to restore all things. The teaching that it is, and that offices are given in the church to promote that are very damaging in the Church, and lead to much disappointment, confusion and disorder.

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.:)
 

timmopussycat

Puritan Board Junior
but whether there was anything in the text of 1 Cor. 12 that necessarily links those gifts to a present Apostolate.
This is a whole new term which has formed no part of the discussion to date.
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?

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.
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:

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
but whether there was anything in the text of 1 Cor. 12 that necessarily links those gifts to a present Apostolate.
This is a whole new term which has formed no part of the discussion to date.
Not really.
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.
 

timmopussycat

Puritan Board Junior
but whether there was anything in the text of 1 Cor. 12 that necessarily links those gifts to a present Apostolate.
This is a whole new term which has formed no part of the discussion to date.
Not really.
Please go back and read my original statement to which you responded. My statement had nothing to do with the apostolate.
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?

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.

The problem with citing Heb. 2:3,4 is that the text of these verses does not link the extraordinary spiritual gifts with Apostles in such a way that one must necessarily conclude by GNC that when the Apostles all joined the church triumphant the gifts would leave the church. The text says that "while" "those who heard the Lord" declare the gospel, "God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit" distributed according to his will.

Attempts to make the link between the signs and wonders etc. exclusive to the Apostles founder on the fact that more than the Apostles heard Christ preach the gospel and later attested to it. And if "the gifts of the Holy Spirit" refers to the signs and wonders etc. and if Paul wrote Hebrews, the words "distributed according to his will" may be echoing 1 Cor 12:11, which as I showed simply cannot be read as limiting the gifts to Apostles alone. And what is at issue in the debate is not whether the gifts were known within the history of salvation, (if by that term you mean the NT era), but whether or not they continue beyond it.

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.
We know that the One who promised to build his church has also promised that He will provide all things needful to his people who are his earthly agents in the achievement of that goal. When He provides "extraordinary" gifts to assist in that project at the start of the church's life, and announces repeatedly that such gifts are in the disposition of His Spirit to distribute as He wills, we must take as our operating assumption, unless there is clear Scriptural testimony to the contrary, that the gifts will continue at the discretion of the Holy Spirit, unconstrained by any other factor. The Spirit may give them or not as and when He pleases. This does not mean we can expect Him to give all the gifts all the time. For it is certain that he did not give all the 1st century churches all the gifts, otherwise Paul's "you come behind in no gift" to the Corinthians makes no sense.

Now it is that clear Scriptural testimony that particular gifts were restricted to the first century that is too often needed in the broader debate. If it is not provided, or worse if insufficient attempts are adduced, smart charismatics tend to spot them. And their reaction to such attempts is perhaps best summed up by this comment from Gordon Fee in his commentary on I Corinthians.

". . . there has also been a spate of literature whose singular urgency has been to justify the limiting of these gifts to the first century church. . . It can . . . be fairly said that such rejection is not exegetically based but arises . . . frm a prior hermeneutical and theological commitment." (p. 6000.

Which is why I make such a point of asking for evidence. My bias and commitment is not to either view of the charismatic / cessationist debate as I presently know it. If Scriptural evidence is there that the gifts were intended by God to be restricted to the Apostolic age, I want that evidence. But I also want flawed arguments discarded; they only harden the hearts of those who see through them.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
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?
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.

The problem with citing Heb. 2:3,4 is that the text of these verses does not link the extraordinary spiritual gifts with Apostles in such a way that one must necessarily conclude by GNC that when the Apostles all joined the church triumphant the gifts would leave the church. The text says that "while" "those who heard the Lord" declare the gospel, "God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit" distributed according to his will.
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.

Attempts to make the link between the signs and wonders etc. exclusive to the Apostles founder on the fact that more than the Apostles heard Christ preach the gospel and later attested to it. And if "the gifts of the Holy Spirit" refers to the signs and wonders etc. and if Paul wrote Hebrews, the words "distributed according to his will" may be echoing 1 Cor 12:11, which as I showed simply cannot be read as limiting the gifts to Apostles alone. And what is at issue in the debate is not whether the gifts were known within the history of salvation, (if by that term you mean the NT era), but whether or not they continue beyond it.
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.

We know that the One who promised to build his church has also promised that He will provide all things needful to his people who are his earthly agents in the achievement of that goal. When He provides "extraordinary" gifts to assist in that project at the start of the church's life, and announces repeatedly that such gifts are in the disposition of His Spirit to distribute as He wills, we must take as our operating assumption, unless there is clear Scriptural testimony to the contrary, that the gifts will continue at the discretion of the Holy Spirit, unconstrained by any other factor.
No, that assumption fails to operate according to the regulative import of the scriptural testimony concerning the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit.

Now it is that clear Scriptural testimony that particular gifts were restricted to the first century that is too often needed in the broader debate. If it is not provided, or worse if insufficient attempts are adduced, smart charismatics tend to spot them.
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.

Which is why I make such a point of asking for evidence.
The evidence has been presented; it is up to the reader to decide whether he accepts or rejects it.
 

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?
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.
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.

The problem with citing Heb. 2:3,4 is that the text of these verses does not link the extraordinary spiritual gifts with Apostles in such a way that one must necessarily conclude by GNC that when the Apostles all joined the church triumphant the gifts would leave the church. The text says that "while" "those who heard the Lord" declare the gospel, "God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit" distributed according to his will.
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.
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.

Attempts to make the link between the signs and wonders etc. exclusive to the Apostles founder on the fact that more than the Apostles heard Christ preach the gospel and later attested to it. And if "the gifts of the Holy Spirit" refers to the signs and wonders etc. and if Paul wrote Hebrews, the words "distributed according to his will" may be echoing 1 Cor 12:11, which as I showed simply cannot be read as limiting the gifts to Apostles alone. And what is at issue in the debate is not whether the gifts were known within the history of salvation, (if by that term you mean the NT era), but whether or not they continue beyond it.
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.
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.

We know that the One who promised to build his church has also promised that He will provide all things needful to his people who are his earthly agents in the achievement of that goal. When He provides "extraordinary" gifts to assist in that project at the start of the church's life, and announces repeatedly that such gifts are in the disposition of His Spirit to distribute as He wills, we must take as our operating assumption, unless there is clear Scriptural testimony to the contrary, that the gifts will continue at the discretion of the Holy Spirit, unconstrained by any other factor.
No, that assumption fails to operate according to the regulative import of the scriptural testimony concerning the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit.
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..

Now it is that clear Scriptural testimony that particular gifts were restricted to the first century that is too often needed in the broader debate. If it is not provided, or worse if insufficient attempts are adduced, smart charismatics tend to spot them.
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.
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.

Which is why I make such a point of asking for evidence.
The evidence has been presented; it is up to the reader to decide whether he accepts or rejects it.
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 think I'm understanding your reasoning and conclusions but want to be clear.

It is clear from Scripture that the office of Apostle was given ability to perform special miracles, including gifts of healings. So, when you state, (emphasis added)

Although healings may have been among the "signs of Apostles"
I would only be clear that those miracles were given to that office, and would cite Acts 19:11 et. al. Those verses state in a normative way the giving of the ability to do special miracles to them, and would not hesitate to say Scripture indicates that.
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.

It may be that what God did then was exactly parallel to what happens today when something occaisionally happens that doctors cannot medically explain, and the patient was the object of Christian prayer.
I don't think this is a parallel situation because of the unique nature of the Apostles in being used of God to lay the foundation of our faith.
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 understand, this does not mean God cannot or does not do miracles, including healing miracles. He does. Elders are given command to pray for the sick (cf James 5:14). But it is not the nature of an office of the Church today to have been given a special 'dispensation' an ongoing ability to perform signs and wonders, and miraculous healings, on demand, as an accoutrement of office.

Actually, I glean you likely agree with this but are frustrated with sensing a complete rejection of healing miracles being done through the church at all.
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.

My best biblical understanding of that is God works extraordinarily, and uses normal means to heal, often using our prayers to do so.
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.

It is not, however, as charismatic/pentecostal practice teaches or implicitly assumes that physical healing is a 'right,' a part of the atonement to be actualized right now before the Lord returns to restore all things. The teaching that it is, and that offices are given in the church to promote that are very damaging in the Church, and lead to much disappointment, confusion and disorder.
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:

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
timmopussycat
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.
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.


Acts 19:11
11And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:

Matthew 10
1And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.

Mark 6:7
7And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits;
Here's another account where Jesus gathered the Twelve, appointed them to do miracles and sent them out with specific abilities and instructions:

Matthew 10

5These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:

6But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

7And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

8Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

9Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses,

10Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.

11And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence.

12And when ye come into an house, salute it.

13And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you.

14And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.

15Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

16Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

17But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;

18And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.
Mark 6 is again explicit, the Apostles were specifically given ability and a charge to perform miracles for a certain time:

7And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits;

8And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse:
Luke repeats it again:

Luke 9

1Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.

2And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.

3And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece.
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:

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.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
timmopussycat

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.
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.

But if we assume that the nature of the healing gift was something an Apostle could always turn on and off at will,
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.

Westminster Confession of Faith

Chapter V
Of Providence

I. God the great Creator of all things does uphold,[1] direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things,[2] from the greatest even to the least,[3] by His most wise and holy providence,[4] according to His infallible foreknowledge,[5] and the free and immutable counsel of His own will,[6] to the praise of the glory of His wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy.[7]

II. Although, in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first Cause, all things come to pass immutably, and infallibly;[8] yet, by the same providence, He orders them to fall out, according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently.[9]

III. God, in His ordinary providence, makes use of means,[10] yet is free to work without,[11] above,[12] and against them,[13] at His pleasure.


timmopussycat
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.
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?

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,
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.:)

Ephesians 2:20

20And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
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.
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.

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.
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.
 

timmopussycat

Puritan Board Junior
timmopussycat

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.
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.
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.

But if we assume that the nature of the healing gift was something an Apostle could always turn on and off at will,
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.
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.


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

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,
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.:)

Ephesians 2:20

20And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
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.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
A few comments below.

timmopussycat

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.
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.
If you check the context of the gospel passages you cited the majority of them apply to that two by two trip to Israel.

"The majority"- what about the others cited that are not about this?

It does not seem you are making your case.



But this is a red herring. As I keep reiterating, the NT is explicit: healing gifts simply were not restricted to the Apostles.

Again, I don't see where anyone has suggested that God did not, on occasion, do miracles, including healing miracles through non-apostles, not anyone on the thread so far.

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.

I'm not sure we would describe them as "personal' healing gifts- they were not really that but granted by God to them for temporary, foundational, unique, and very authoritative work.

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.

We know because Scripture tells us that, on occasion, God did miracles through non-apostles.

But that's not the same as the special dispensation God gave the Apostles for their unique work, for the unique time whereupon they completed our faith, built upon revelation of God through the prophets... and the apostles (see Ephesians, above)


But if we assume that the nature of the healing gift was something an Apostle could always turn on and off at will,
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.
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've tried to distinguish what the Apostles had was not really their "possession," they could not "turn it on and off," and that the ability to work special miracles, including healing miracles was a testimony of their authority, given by Christ, as apostles.

If you are saying "continuationists" believe that an office continues with revelatory miracles and authority, then that is a major problem biblically. It is a reason there is so much disorder, seeking of signs and wonders, seeking of revelation outside of God's Word, and in the process devaluing it. It is why there has been such confusion in charismatic/pentecostal communions- and it has caused great harm.


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

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,
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.:)

Ephesians 2:20

20And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

Put this in logical form:
The church is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets. ... through whom God authoritatively revealed His Word.
Part of the foundation includes healing gifts worked through non-Apostles in the church.
No.
Non-apostles were not foundational to the church- not in that sense at least.

The healing gifts of the NT are no more present in the church.
Some may not completely agree, but I would say that healing miracles are no longer given as an accoutrement of church office, as they had been to the Apostles. But miraculous healing can and does happen by way of ordinary means, everything from doctors to elders praying for sick, and can and still does happen extraordinarily. That is, not tied to a church office, and not as an ordinary pattern.

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.
:)
 
Last edited:

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:

timmopussycat

Puritan Board Junior
QUOTE=armourbearer;759228]
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 context of that discussion? Please consider the possibility seriously that I am not at all trying to play games here, but would really like to know.
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.
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.

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.
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.
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.

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.
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 ----------

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.
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.
 

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.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top