>

Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Westminster Captivity? Further Comments on the Pentecostal/Charismatic Movement

[I no longer believe that Dr. Gordon H. Clark's book, The Incarnation, is an endorsement of the Nestorian view. Charlie J. Ray. 1/5/2014]


The comments over at the official blog for Regent University were closed after I posted a comment there. However, Dale Coulter was generous enough to post my comment. You can see the original article and the comments at Westminster Captivity. However, I would like to briefly respond to the comments made after mine. I will admit first of all that I did over-generalize when I mentioned the link between Christian Science and the charismatic movement's theology of healing. Having spent almost ten years in the Pentecostal/charismatic movement and having been a graduate of an Assemblies of God bible college, as well as at one time having been a member of the Society for Pentecostal Studies, I am well aware of the different historical schools of thought on the origin of the classical Pentecostal movement and its offspring, the modern Charismatic movement.


Donald Dayton, for example, traces the theological roots of Pentecostalism to the Wesleyan holiness movement, a thesis popular among Wesleyan Charismatics and classical Pentecostal denominations which came from the Wesleyan holiness movement. That would include the Church of God, Cleveland, Tennessee and the Pentecostal Holiness Church among others.



Others see a link between the Keswick higher life movement and the outbreak of Pentecostal teaching within the Christian Missionary Alliance churches, which were a mix of both Presbyterian and Arminian churches dedicated to missionary outreach. One of the movement's leaders was A. B. Simpson and his focus on divine healing, etc. The crisis which developed over the baptism of the Holy Spirit as a second work of grace and an empowerment for missionary and evangelistic outreach and the ongoing "practice" of spiritual gifts led to the formation of what is known today as the Assemblies of God. Hence, the similarity between much of the theology within the Christian Missionary Alliance and the Assemblies of God. There are indeed pockets of Reformed theology within both the Christian Missionary Alliance and the Assemblies of God even today. However, both denominations are predominated by Arminian theology. A good example of that is Ravi Zacharias of the CMA.




Of course there were instances of healing movements and teaching prior to the influence of E.W. Kenyon via Kenneth Hagin and others. However, even in these movements the theology of healing has more to do with what the believer does to get healing than with trusting God's absolute providence and will. If you do not do your part, God will not do His part. This is inherently a synergistic and cooperative emphasis on healing from an Arminian perspective at best. At worst, it reduces to the syncretism of Christian Science/New Thought with Pentecostal theology. I observed this strain even in officially approved books from Gospel Publishing House, the official organ of the Assemblies of God. One book on the required reading list from GPH was a book on the spiritual gifts by Harold Horton, a British Pentecostal within the British Assemblies of God. I cannot remember the exact title or the page number of the quote but I clearly remember Horton comparing kittens as little cats, puppies as little dogs, and Christians as "little gods" or little "Jesus'". This is not Christian doctrine but is borrowed from Christian Science. Anyone who studies New Thought and Christian Science will be immediately struck with the similarities, not the differences. Most of the language used in charismatic circles today about "believing" for a miracle, etc., actually has more to do with visualization and other concepts from Christian Science than with biblical theology.


While I do recognize that pentecostals have developed a sophisticated and intellectual defense of their experiential theology, it is alarming to me that in doing so many current Pentecostal scholars are scuttling justification by faith alone, sola Scriptura, confessions of faith, creeds, and other necessary doctrines recovered and restored at the Protestant Reformation. What these scholars fail to see is that both the Wesleyan holiness movement and the Keswick higher life movements were still within the realm of Protestant theology. Both of these movements gave rise to the Pentecostal/charismatic movement. Essentially, the Pentecostal/charismatic movement has moved beyond Evangelicalism, despite their desire to claim that heritage as well, and has moved into radical Anabaptist theology and heterodoxy.


There are several areas where this is observed. One that stands out in my mind is the push for a re-unification between oneness Pentecostals and Trinitarian Pentecostals. In 1916 when the "New Issue" controversy threatened to tear the new fellowship, the Assemblies of God, into division, the A/G decided to guard itself against the charge of heresy. Most of the founding members were from traditional mainline Evangelical churches and understood that sabellian modalism or monarchial modalism was a denial of the biblical doctrine of the tri-unity of God as one Godhead or divine nature and three eternally existent and subsistent persons within that one God. Today, however, that is not seen as an obstacle to fellowship and the Society for Pentecostal Studies does not require belief in the Trinity as a necessary doctrine for membership. This is partly due to the influence of Cecil M. Robeck, Jr. an Assemblies of God scholar, and other Pentecostals from the Trinitarian side reaching across the aisle to the Oneness Pentecostals like David K. Bernard, who is now the General Superintendent of the United Pentecostal Church International.



D. William Faupel, a former A/G member who is now an Episcopalian and is a librarian at Asbury Theological Seminary, has clearly outlined the historical situation within the Assemblies of God over this issue in this quote:

The newly organized Assemblies of God immediately encountered a second theological crisis, which was also set forth in a restorationist context. The second person of the Trinity had been the focal point of the five doctrines restored to the church. Jesus was the Savior, Sanctifier, Baptizer, Healer and Coming King. Furthermore, as Pentecostals looked to the Acts of the Apostles in an effort to follow the apostolic patterns of the early church, they noted that converts were baptized in water in "Jesus' name." As a result, it had been a common practice in the movement's initial years to practice water baptism using either the trinitarian formula found in Matthew or the christological formula noted in Acts. A fresh revelation now came to some that Jesus was not the second person of the Trinity but rather the Name of God, who revealed himself as Father in the Old Testament, as Son in the New Testament, and as Holy Spirit in the church age. The message swept the newly formed fellowship as one leader after another embraced the new teaching, including E. N. Bell, the first general superintendent.


The controversy raged for two years, the final showdown coming in the 1916 General Council, where trinitarians won by a decisive two-thirds vote. J. Roswell Flower, general secretary and managing editor of the Pentecostal Evangel, led the fight for the orthodox position. He charged that the new teaching was a form of modal monarchianism, which had been condemned as heresy by the early church fathers. Patient argument and shrewd political maneuvering paid off, although the cost was heavy. Of 585 ministers, 156 withdrew from the fellowship, taking their churches with them. They would move on to found such "Oneness" denominations as the United Pentecostal Church and the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World.


The decision to exclude the Oneness teaching forever changed the nature of the Assemblies of God. Its leadership adopted a "Statement of Fundamental Truths," established a strong central executive and abandoned the restorationist understanding of church history. [From: The Restoration Vision in Pentecostalism].


Apparently, the modern Charismatic movement has decided that denying the trinity is no longer a heresy. T. D. Jakes is welcomed with open arms and Oneness Pentecostals are even studying in Ph.D. programs at the Regent University School of Divinity. (See Daniel Segraves' profile at his blog, Center for Oneness Research and Education).



Most Evangelicals still view the Oneness Pentecostals as modalists and therefore a cult that is not part of Protestant Christianity. But under the influence of the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement the heresy is now being ignored as if it were not a major issue. This is because Charismatics view their doctrine of the Holy Spirit and the ongoing supernatural gifts as the measure of fellowship and doctrinal orthodoxy over and above the five solas of the Protestant Reformation and the catholic creeds as a proper understanding of what we believe the Holy Scriptures teach. While the Scriptures are the only infallible rule for faith and practice, for Protestants who seek to maintain both Evangelical and catholic orthodoxy, the Reformed confessions and the ecumenical creeds establish what is authoritative doctrine for congregations who wish to be in fellowship on earth and in the invisible communion of saints.


The current trend among Pentecostal/Charismatic scholars is to reject the traditional Wesleyan quadrilateral and the Anglican trilateral and to instead place their ecstatic experience above biblical theology and Holy Scripture. Like the Roman Catholics, Charismatics place their doctrinal tradition above Scripture and use both their experience and their tradition to interpret Scripture rather than seriously drawing out the meaning of the text as it was intended by the original human authors and as the original hearers and readers would have understood it in their own cultural and historical context. In other words, the allegorical approach to hermeneutics trumps the historical-grammatical approach along with a healthy systematic and biblical theology.


What is particularly alarming for Reformed scholars who study the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement is the heterodox and even heretical compromises made in the pragmatic attempt to spread their ecstatic, enthusiastic theology at the expense of biblical truth, confessional commitments to the magisterial Reformation, and Christian orthodoxy as it is expressed in the ecumenical creeds. For this reason one has to question the entire movement.


I strongly disagree with Dale Coulter. There is no Westminster Captivity of Evangelicalism. Rather, there is an attempt by the Reformed denominations to restore the churches and reform the churches to the apostolic doctrines of the New Testament era. The Protestant Reformation was a recovery of Holy Scripture as the final measure, rule of faith, and authority in all ecclesiastical and doctrinal matters. The Pentecostal/Charismatic movement, on the other hand, is determined to reintroduce the radical reformation which questioned all, even going so far as to deny the trinity.


Even more ironic is the fact that most lay persons in Pentecostal denominations see themselves as fundamentalists and even act and operate on that level as they understand things literally from Scripture. In the intellectual and scholarly circles of the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement, however, there is clearly a move toward postmodernism, reader response hermeneutics, neo-orthodoxy, and even liberal theology.


The real problem as I see it is that most Reformed scholars are so busy fighting their own battles against Federal Visionism, the New Perspectives on Paul, Theonomy, the Neo-Nestorianism of Gordon H. Clark and John Robbins, and the creeping in of liberal theology and quasi-Arminianism that they have overlooked a major threat to the Reformation in their own backyard. Even men like Wayne Grudem and John Piper are promoting the ongoing practice of the apostolic signs, wonders and gifts within an essentially Reformed paradigm which for all practical purposes operates as a synergistic theology.



This is particularly true of those who are Anglican and Reformed. Rather than seeing Anglican Charismatics as allies perhaps Evangelical and Reformed Anglicans should reconsider. It might be that Charismatics within the "conservative and orthodox" side of the Anglican Communion might in fact be contributing indirectly to the erosion of biblical theology and propositional truth conveyed through the inerrant and inspired revelation of God in Jesus Christ and Holy Scripture. (Hebrews 1:1-3; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21).


Peace,


Charlie J. Ray, M.Div.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son : and to the Holy Ghost;
Answer. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be : world without end. Amen.

37 comments:

Jim Barr said...

FYI -- BIll Faupel is now librarian at Wesley Theological Seminary in DC.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Thanks for the clarification, Jim. Actually, Dr. Faupel visited Southeastern College while I was a student and encouraged me to go to Asbury. I did go to Asbury later. Faupel was still working there at that time but that was in the early 1990s.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, thanks for your post on the charismatic movement. I was caught up in it briefly while a college student.

I will quibble, however, about the
"neo-Nestorianism" of Clark and Robbins. I never knew Clark personally, but I did know his daughter (a fine Christian woman) and counted John Robbins as a personal friend. I cannot ever recall hearing John speak of Christ as two persons. As far as I could tell, John was always a default Trinitarian Christian who confessed that Jesus was both God and man.

There is a further problem with "Nestorianism". It's definition was framed by its detractors. Worse, Nestorius' defenders tended to speak Syriac rather than Greek. But the few Church of the East types I've known do not seem to have divided Christ into two persons, either.

I think we need to be very, very careful, and spend a lot more time with the sources of the Reformed tradition if we are to truly restore it rather than further erode it. Men like Corny Van Til, Francis Schaeffer, and Gordon Clark were greats, but their accusation that Thomas Aquinas bifurcated the realms of nature and grace may be a case of mistaking Thomas' criticism of Ibn Roshd (Averroes) for Thomas' own view. Further, their echoing Barth that the Reformed tradition opposed the natural law idea is a third-hand misunderstanding what natural law is all about. Yes, Calvin did say that unaided reason can only show us that we are lost--but I'm not sure Thomas Aquinas would have disagreed with that one point.

Well, so much for now.

Regards, Kepha

Charlie J. Ray said...

Kepha, I am not as informed on the issues with Aquinas and natural law as you are. However, regarding Clark, I think he made either a deliberate error or an accidental error regarding Nestorianism. Of course it is acknowledged by A.A. Hodge in the first edition of the Outlines of Theology that Nestorius was falsely charged with the heresy that bears his name. But the heresy itself is still a heresy.

Clark tried to excuse his departure from orthodoxy by using a form of what can only be called "liberal revisionism" to justify his departure from orthodoxy. Virtually every Reformed systematic theologian acknowledges that dividing Christ into to separate persons or two separate natures is indeed Nestorianism.


Clark was fairly orthodox until his final book. In his earlier writings most agree that he was orthodox. However, in the final book, THE INCARNATION, he openly attacks the orthodox doctrine and creates a series of strawman arguments to refute it, including rejecting the definitions in the second half of the Chalcedonian creed.

Clark goes to the other extreme. If Van Til goes in what can only be called a neo-orthodox direction, Clark goes too far in the rationalist direction. Calvin himself acknowledged limits to man's ability to reason certain doctrines to their final conclusion. We too should stop where Scripture stops. Clark, imo, went way beyond what could be logically justified by Scriptural exegesis of the incarnation.

The only proof I need for this is to read what modern "clarkians" are saying about this doctrine of Clark over at God's Hammer.

In Christ,

Charlie

Roger Mann said...

Rather than seeing Anglican Charismatics as allies perhaps Evangelical and Reformed Anglicans should reconsider. It might be that Charismatics within the "conservative and orthodox" side of the Anglican Communion might in fact be contributing indirectly to the erosion of biblical theology and propositional truth conveyed through the inerrant and inspired revelation of God in Jesus Christ and Holy Scripture. (Hebrews 1:1-3; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21).

Or, as Vincent Cheung points out, perhaps those who advocate for the cessation of spiritual gifts are in reality "preaching rebellion against the Lord" (Cessationism and Rebellion, p. 2). If you read the entirety of this short article, I think you'll see that Cheung presents a compelling case for such a conclusion. I have to agree with him that the "burden of proof" lies with the cessationists, not with those who teach the continuation of the charismatic gifts. He writes,

"And in connection with the spiritual gifts, I will say again that, although there are many verses in Scripture commanding us to operate in spiritual gifts, there is no biblical or any other kind of evidence that even comes close to suggesting that these have ceased." (Cessationism and Speaking in Tongues, p. 5)

Both articles are relatively brief and well worth the read. Also, while I could be wrong, I don't think even Cheung's harshest critics would suggest that he promotes a "synergistic theology" or is indirectly contributing "to the erosion of biblical theology and propositional truth conveyed through the inerrant and inspired revelation of God in Jesus Christ and Holy Scripture." He is thoroughly monergistic in his theology, and relies upon the propositional truth revealed in Scripture alone.

By the way, another good article by Cheung that is well worth reading is Biblical Healing. Let me know what you think.

In Christ,
Roger

Charlie J. Ray said...

Roger, I spent 10 years in the charismatic and pentecostal movement. I know their theology and their "practice" first hand. I never saw anything except anecdotal evidence for anything they "claimed."

Sorry, but the burden of proof lies with those making the claims for their miracles. Show me one.

Really, Calvin had it right on this one. You show me your miracles and I'll show you the Bible.

The only miracles we're obligated to believe are those recorded in Scripture. Following miracles opens the door to heresy, which is not an option.

Really, Roger, I thought you were smarter than that.

I don't deny that God can do miracles. But what we see today is not God. It's charlatanry.

Roger Mann said...

Sorry, but the burden of proof lies with those making the claims for their miracles. Show me one.

Sorry, Charlie, but I'm not an Empiricist, and don't intend on becoming one any time soon. I've never personally seen God work a miracle. But that hardly proves that He no longer works miracles. I've also never personally seen the risen Christ. But I wholeheartedly believe that He has bodily risen from the grave and is seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven. Last time I checked, Scripture says: "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed" (John 20:29).

Cheung's argument, with which I agree, is Biblical not Empirical. Did you actually read what he had to say before you posted your reply? For example, he writes:

"If a person preaches cessationism but cannot prove it – if he cannot provide an infallible argument for it (since the command to desire spiritual manifestations is clear and infallible), then this means that he consciously preaches rebellion against some of the Bible's straightforward commands." (Cessationism and Rebellion, p. 3)

I'm not sure how you can reasonably argue against that. Scripture clearly commands us to "Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy" (1 Corinthians 14:1). Therefore, it is outright rebellion against God's clear command to teach that we should not "follow the way of love" or "desire spiritual gifts" unless it can be proven from Scripture that this command no longer applies and should not be followed. I have yet to see an explicit text of Scripture or an irrefutable argument deduced from Scripture that annuls this command. Thus, Cheung is correct: The "burden of proof" lies with the cessationists, not with those who teach the continuation of the charismatic gifts.

You show me your miracles and I'll show you the Bible.

Show me the Bible and I'll show you a God who works miracles in and through his people during this New Covenant age. Unless I see an explicit text of Scripture or an irrefutable argument deduced from Scripture that demonstrates that God no longer works miracles, I will believe that He still works miracles in accordance with His sovereign will. Paul explicitly states that "He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you" (Galatians 3:5) does so by faith alone. When did that change? Where does Scripture ever teach that God still supplies the Holy Spirit to His people by faith alone, but no longer works miracles through His people by faith alone?

continued...

Roger Mann said...

The only miracles we're obligated to believe are those recorded in Scripture.

Really? Where does Scripture teach that? Is that the "standard" Scripture sets before us? Absolutely not. In fact, Scripture itself explicitly states that the miracle of tongues speaking was given "for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers" (1 Corinthians 14:22), who do not yet believe what has been recorded in Scripture (see Acts 2:14-36). Thus you have set up a false "standard" for evaluating alleged miracles. Calvin agrees:

"Taking it in a general way, the meaning will be 'Tongues, in so far as they are given for a sign — that is, for a miracle — are appointed not properly for believers, but for unbelievers.' The advantages derived from tongues were various. They provided against necessity — that diversity of tongues might not prevent the Apostles from disseminating the gospel over the whole world: there was, consequently, no nation with which they could not hold fellowship. They served also to move or terrify unbelievers by the sight of a miracle — for the design of this miracle, equally with others, was to prepare those who were as yet at a distance from Christ for rendering obedience to him. Believers, who had already devoted themselves to his doctrine, did not stand so much in need of such preparation." (Calvin's Commentary, 1 Corinthians 14:22)

Moreover, there's nothing in the text (or anywhere else in Scripture) to suggest that this miraculous sign has ceased to perform this function throughout the New Covenant age.

Following miracles opens the door to heresy, which is not an option.

Well, Sean Gerety and the Neo-Clarkians on his blog don't believe in present day miraculous gifts of the Spirit, and yet they seem to have went through the door to heresy quite easily! Honestly, I can't see any necessary connection between believing in the present day miraculous gifts of the Spirit and heresy. The "door to heresy" is opened by disbelieving and distorting the clear teaching of Scripture -- period. Nothing more and nothing less.

Really, Roger, I thought you were smarter than that.

I'm even smarter that you think! :-)

I don't deny that God can do miracles. But what we see today is not God. It's charlatanry.

Yep, most of what we see today is charlatanry. I won't argue with that. But most certainly doesn't imply all. How do you know that all reports of miracles today are false? Are you omniscient?

Charlie J. Ray said...

Roger said: Or, as Vincent Cheung points out, perhaps those who advocate for the cessation of spiritual gifts are in reality "preaching rebellion against the Lord" (Cessationism and Rebellion, p. 2). If you read the entirety of this short article, I think you'll see that Cheung presents a compelling case for such a conclusion. I have to agree with him that the "burden of proof" lies with the cessationists, not with those who teach the continuation of the charismatic gifts. He writes,

"And in connection with the spiritual gifts, I will say again that, although there are many verses in Scripture commanding us to operate in spiritual gifts, there is no biblical or any other kind of evidence that even comes close to suggesting that these have ceased." (Cessationism and Speaking in Tongues, p. 5)


Oh, here we go. Roger, the master of bait and switch. First off, Cheung isn't the pope the last time I checked. Scripture is the final authority, not Cheung. Second of all, the last time I checked God does not need anyone to do a miracle. That's Arminianism or worse to insist that we must "cooperate" or "practice" spiritual gifts. And pray tell, how am I supposed to work up the miracle in the first place. This is a patent denial of the sovereignty of God over ALL, including the distribution of miracles, signs, or wonders.

Personally, I believe charismatics are in rebellion against God because they are essentially taking a doctrine borrowed from Christian Science and making themselves into little gods who can do what God does.

Subtle shift, bait and switch, smoke and mirrors--take your pick.


****

Roger said:

By the way, another good article by Cheung that is well worth reading is Biblical Healing. Let me know what you think.

Roger, I've read John Ruthven's articles promoting the gifts, Wayne Grudem, etc., etc., etc. I graduated from an A/G bible college and have studied a great many of the arguments and frankly I find none of them compelling.

The bottom line is that when I pray for healing God either says, "YES," or He says, "NO." All the doublespeak, spin and smoke and mirrors and BS in the world is not going to change God's decretal will which He has determined from before the foundation of the world. I've had many prayers answered in the affirmative and many in the negative. Just Saturday I lost my cellphone and prayed for it to be returned. God answered in the affirmative yesterday and someone found it and returned it. There is nothing "miraculous" about that. It is simply a providential answer to prayer.

The same applies to healing. There are no apostles today who have the office of apostleship or the same commission Jesus gave. Even Wayne Grudem admits that. The real bottom line here is healing is irrelevant. The ONLY issue here is doctrine from Scripture and the Gospel is the central message, not what God can do for you in healing, etc. That, my friend, is idolatry.

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

Charlie said: The only miracles we're obligated to believe are those recorded in Scripture.

Roger said:

Really? Where does Scripture teach that? Is that the "standard" Scripture sets before us? Absolutely not. In fact, Scripture itself explicitly states that the miracle of tongues speaking was given "for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers" (1 Corinthians 14:22), who do not yet believe what has been recorded in Scripture (see Acts 2:14-36). Thus you have set up a false "standard" for evaluating alleged miracles.

Wow, so how many unbelievers are there in the New Testament congregation which Paul is addressing? Nice way to twist the obvious around the other way, Roger. I guess EVERYONE in your congregation is an unbeliever since you're "practicing" a supernatural miracle you worked up yourself AND that sign is supposed to be for "unbelievers", not believers.

But for your information, Calvin is referring to the texts in the OT where Israel was conquered by other nations because of Israel's unbelief. So they would hear and learn to speak other languages because of their disobedience. The tongues are the sign of God's punishment of Israel's rebellion.

Nice try but what Paul is saying is that tongues are not something good. Read 1 Corinthians again... carefully!

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

And, btw, are you claiming that somehow extrabiblical miracles are signs and "infallible"? Am I bound to accept the miracles of Mormons, the New Age Movement, or the Muslims?

Roger, your logic is impeccable. Really it is. So what you're really saying is the Bible is not the final word in these matters and I should be "open" to other religions?

Rebutting these sorts of silly arguments is just too easy. It's easier than rebutting the neo-Nestorians. Maybe if Sean Gerety could come up with a miracle or two to confirm his heresy you could accept that Jesus Christ is really two persons???

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

Roger, you really should take the time to read the Institutes from cover to cover. The argument for ongoing miracles is essentially a papist one on the one hand or an Anabaptist one on the other. You insinuation that if I disagree with you "I" am in "rebellion" is just incredulous. Those sorts of illogical arguments might work on inmates in a penal institution or the average Joe on the street, but they certainly don't carry any weight with me. Shifting the burden of proof does nothing for your case except prove to me that you don't understand Scripture OR the principles of the Reformation, including sola Scriptura. While we're quoting Calvin perhaps this passage escaped you:

Nevertheless, they cease not to assail our doctrine, and to accuse and defame it in what terms they may, in order to render it either hated or suspected. They call it new, and of recent birth; they carp at it as doubtful and uncertain; they bid us tell by what miracles it has been confirmed; they ask if it be fair to receive it against the consent of so many holy Fathers and the most ancient custom; they urge us to confess either that it is schismatical in giving battle to the Church, or that the Church must have been without life during the many centuries in which nothing of the kind was heard. Lastly, they say there is little need of argument, for its quality may be known by its fruits, namely, the large number of sects, the many seditious disturbances, and the great licentiousness which it has produced. No doubt, it is a very easy matter for them, in presence of an ignorant and credulous multitude, to insult over an undefended cause; but were an opportunity of mutual discussion afforded, that acrimony which they now pour out upon us in frothy torrents, with as much license as impunity, would assuredly boil dry. Institutes, Prefatory Address to the King of France.

Calvin, J. (1997). Institutes of the Christian religion. Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.



Or this one:

Miracles and faith are used to denote the same thing—viz. the power of working miracles. Seeing, then, that this miraculous power or faith is the particular gift of God, which a wicked man may possess and abuse, as the gift of tongues, prophecy, or other gifts, it is not strange that he separates it from charity. Their whole error lies in this, that while the term faith has a variety of meanings, overlooking this variety, they argue as if its meaning were invariably one and the same. Institutes III.ii.9

In other words, God sometimes gives the wicked the power to do miracles in order to lead astray the wicked and as a means of hardening their hearts even more. So the miracles in and of themselves are irrelevant. What is at issue here is the Gospel and Calvin clearly says that miracles are unnecessary as does the Bible. "If they believe not Moses and the prophets neither will they believe even if someone were to rise from the dead." (Luke 16:31).

Charlie J. Ray said...

Roger said, Show me the Bible and I'll show you a God who works miracles in and through his people during this New Covenant age. Unless I see an explicit text of Scripture or an irrefutable argument deduced from Scripture that demonstrates that God no longer works miracles, I will believe that He still works miracles in accordance with His sovereign will. Paul explicitly states that "He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you" (Galatians 3:5) does so by faith alone. When did that change? Where does Scripture ever teach that God still supplies the Holy Spirit to His people by faith alone, but no longer works miracles through His people by faith alone?

Roger, nice bait and switch. So which Christians today do not believe that God can do miracles today? Certainly not me. "God" can do miracles. The issue here is your theology. Where are these alleged "apostolic" miracles? And where are the apostles? They're all dead. Even Wayne Grudem has to admit that there is no apostolic office today.

So if there is no apostolic office, there is a categorical difference between "miracles" done under apostolic authority and general miracles today. What you're doing is confusing two different categories and conflating them into one.

The other issue is where does the Bible say that what Paul said in that passage NECESSARILY continues to all times, places, cultures, etc. as something UNIVERSALLY NORMATIVE? Sorry, but that is reading into the text what is NOT there. Furthermore, your dispensationalism is showing. There is no term in Scripture like "new covenant age."

I have no problem believing that "God" can do miracles. But I sincerely doubt that I have to accept your view or the charismanic heterodoxy which you seem to endorse. Frankly, you have more in common with a charismatic Roman Catholic or an Anglo-Catholic than with biblical faith or the Reformed faith.

In your theology John Piper is great as long as he believes in non-cessationism--even if he goes off the deep end into New Perspectives on Paul, "final" justification, and other heretical departures from the "Reformed" faith.

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

BTW, show me your miracles and we will test them by Scripture. If you have one?

Simply because you "claim" a miracle in no way obligates "me" to accept your doctrine. (1 John 4:1-4; 2 Timothy 2:15; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21).

Roger, please don't assume I have not been through all these arguments before. I have and I have found them more manipulative than anything substantial or actually biblical.

Simply accusing me of being in "rebellion" against your fallible view is irrelevant. Of course I'm in rebellion against you. You're wrong. If you want any credibility you're going to have to do better than to use personal atttacks against me by saying I'm "in rebellion against God." Great manipulative technique but poor apologetics.

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

Charlie said: Following miracles opens the door to heresy, which is not an option.

Roger said: Well, Sean Gerety and the Neo-Clarkians on his blog don't believe in present day miraculous gifts of the Spirit, and yet they seem to have went through the door to heresy quite easily! Honestly, I can't see any necessary connection between believing in the present day miraculous gifts of the Spirit and heresy. The "door to heresy" is opened by disbelieving and distorting the clear teaching of Scripture -- period. Nothing more and nothing less.

Roger, this argument is laughable at best. First of all, comparing Sean Gerety to the charismatic movement is like comparing a worm to an oil spill.

Gerety's error is taking reason beyond the limitations of human nature. We are not omniscient and there may be solutions not apparent to humans because of the noetic effects of the fall, the corruption of human nature and the mind by original sin. I've been in the charismatic movement and I've observed all the silliness first hand. Not only that but I have intellectually investigated the various pentecostal/charismatic theologies and apologetics from an academic perspective. Frankly, your argument amounts to an argument from experience read back into Scripture.

And even if you yourself have not observed a miracle, then what is your point?

The only miracles that I am bound to believe are recorded infallibly in Holy Scripture. Everything else is open for debate. Your anecdotal evidence is fallible and questionable. The miracles in the Bible are obligatory for every Christian to accept because they are God's very words which report what happened then. What happens today is not recorded in inerrant and infallible Scripture. So that means what you're really saying is that Scripture is still open to more additions?

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

Roger said, I'm not sure how you can reasonably argue against that. Scripture clearly commands us to "Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy" (1 Corinthians 14:1). Therefore, it is outright rebellion against God's clear command to teach that we should not "follow the way of love" or "desire spiritual gifts" unless it can be proven from Scripture that this command no longer applies and should not be followed. I have yet to see an explicit text of Scripture or an irrefutable argument deduced from Scripture that annuls this command. Thus, Cheung is correct: The "burden of proof" lies with the cessationists, not with those who teach the continuation of the charismatic gifts.

Hogwash! :D Frankly, Roger, you'd have to exegete the chapter properly to even get at what Paul is saying there. First of all, prophecy is not necessarily "miraculous" in the sense you mean. Prophecy today is simply stating what we "believe" God is saying. Wayne Grudem says in his book, The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today, that we should not say, "Thus saith the Lord..." as if we were somehow speaking the "very words of God" or "oracles of God" as the OT prophets and the NT apostles did. Rather Grudem says we should preface prophecy with, "I believe the Lord is saying..." So, pray tell, is that not what EVERY minister does when he preaches a sermon? He's saying what he believes God said in the Scriptures? All this silliness of trying to find God's providential will by simply asserting, "This is what I believe God is saying or doing..." is simply giving your opinion. It really has no bearing whatsoever on God's decrees coming into actual existence since no one knows God's secret will (Deuteronomy 29:29). But this obvious conclusion would escape those who are intensely determined to follow their on the fly subjectivism invented extemporaneously and on the spot.

A more accurate method is to "study to show yourselves approved unto God, rightly dividing the Word of truth..." (2 Timothy 2:15). In other words, if you want to "hear" God, read the Bible and do not go beyond what is written therein!

I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another. (1 Corinthians 4:6 ESV)

This is why we have pastors and teachers today. It is so that we can study God's Word and reach a consensus. Obviously, the charismatic movement does place a premium on God's word but on their enthusiasm and ecstatic experience. Been there, done that. It's rather like selling out your mind for an ecstatic experience with LSD or mushrooms. Timothy Leary, New Age, whatever you want to call it.

No, the ONLY infallible source of doctrine is Scripture and Scripture NOWHERE says that the gifts would be universally normative in all times, history, cultures, etc. That is an argument from silence since the epistolary materials are dealing with one place and time and cultural setting. Sitz en Leiben....

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

I think that's enough for now...

And really, my time is limited, so simply posting lots of articles for me to read is not going to do much for your side. I don't have time to do your reading lists. If you can't summarize the arguments and own them for yourself, then I guess we will have to leave it at that.

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

Roger said, Sorry, but the burden of proof lies with those making the claims for their miracles. Show me one.

Sorry, Charlie, but I'm not an Empiricist, and don't intend on becoming one any time soon. I've never personally seen God work a miracle. But that hardly proves that He no longer works miracles. I've also never personally seen the risen Christ. But I wholeheartedly believe that He has bodily risen from the grave and is seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven. Last time I checked, Scripture says: "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed" (John 20:29).


Roger, another clever bait and switch. However, "I" am not rejecting the miracles recorded infallibly and inerrantly in God's inspired Word, the Holy Scriptures. So you're arguing a moot point there. But switching from that to your alleged and fallible anecdotes is open season as far as I'm concerned. As I said before, the Mormons and the New Age Movement claim "miracles" as well. So what does that have to do with anything? The logical conclusion of your position is that I should be open to any miracle claims out there, including Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox "miracles". It is these sorts of "miracles" that lead to hell.

So what makes the miracles of the charismatic movement different, especially when the movement is full of Christian Science via the Word of Faith movement, New Perspectives of Paul via John Piper, pelagianism via the pentecostal holiness groups and the theologically liberal charismatics, et. al.

Claiming miracles is irrelevant. What is really essential is doctrine, not your existential experience or some mystical ecstasy you "think" is from God. Maybe you're having a flashback?

Charlie

Roger Mann said...

Oh, here we go. Roger, the master of bait and switch. First off, Cheung isn't the pope the last time I checked. Scripture is the final authority, not Cheung. Second of all, the last time I checked God does not need anyone to do a miracle. That's Arminianism or worse to insist that we must "cooperate" or "practice" spiritual gifts. And pray tell, how am I supposed to work up the miracle in the first place. This is a patent denial of the sovereignty of God over ALL, including the distribution of miracles, signs, or wonders.

Bait and switch? What are you talking about? I haven't baited or switched anything. You accused those who believe in the continuation of spiritual gifts of "contributing indirectly to the erosion of biblical theology and propositional truth..." I responded by saying, "Or, as Vincent Cheung points out, perhaps those who advocate for the cessation of spiritual gifts are in reality 'preaching rebellion against the Lord.'" That's not a "bait and switch" tactic by any reasonable standard (which I'm beginning to suspect won't be applied by you during this debate). It's simply an alternative conclusion, which I then supported by quoting Cheung's Scriptural argument. If you disagree with his conclusion, fine and dandy. Explain why. But don't insult my intelligence or impugn my motives by claiming that I used a cheap "bait and switch" tactic. That's truly a pathetic response.

Moreover, who claimed or implied that Cheung was the "pope" or "final authority" on anything? Certainly not I. So what are you babbling on about? Are you this unfair with everyone who disagrees with you? How does citing someone whose Scriptural argument I agree with make me guilty of treating him as the pope? It doesn't, plain and simple. Using that sort of ridiculous tactic reveals more about your lack of having a persuasive argument than it does about me.

Also, I never claimed that God "needs" anyone to do a miracle. Again, what kind of silly response to my argument is that? Nevertheless, while God is under no necessity to use miracles to confirm His propositional truth revealed in Scripture, He has freely chosen to do so many times in the past in accordance with His sovereign will:

"If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him." (John 10:37-38)

"Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves." (John 14:11)

"God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will." (Hebrews 2:3-4)

Are these "signs" and "wonders" confined solely to Jesus and the Apostles? Not according to God's Word they aren't. For Scripture teaches that "one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills" (1 Corinthians 12:11). And Paul reveals that the Holy Spirit sovereignly "works miracles" (Galatians 3:5) among church members in general, not through Jesus and the apostles exclusively. Thus, the burden of proof is on you to demonstrate that God has ceased working miracles through His chosen people, as I see nothing in Scripture to indicate that He has. Or am I expected to simply bow to your unsubstantiated claim that God no longer works miracles merely because you say so? Are you now the pope? Sorry, but unless you can prove otherwise (through an explicit text of Scripture or an irrefutable argument deduced from Scripture), I'll stick with what God's Word clearly teaches here.

continued...

Roger Mann said...

The bottom line is that when I pray for healing God either says, "YES," or He says, "NO." All the doublespeak, spin and smoke and mirrors and BS in the world is not going to change God's decretal will which He has determined from before the foundation of the world.

I never claimed otherwise. Do you make it a habit of erecting "straw men" to knock down your opponents arguments? From reading the rest of your comments, I suspect that the answer to that question is yes.

The ONLY issue here is doctrine from Scripture and the Gospel is the central message, not what God can do for you in healing, etc.

I never claimed otherwise. Another "straw man."

But for your information, Calvin is referring to the texts in the OT where Israel was conquered by other nations because of Israel's unbelief. So they would hear and learn to speak other languages because of their disobedience. The tongues are the sign of God's punishment of Israel's rebellion.

For your information, Calvin is referring to the Spirit given gift of tongues "as they are given for a sign — that is, for a miracle." I think you need to put your reading glasses on. My interpretation of 1 Corinthians 14:22 agrees with what Calvin says here:

"Taking it in a general way, the meaning will be 'Tongues, in so far as they are given for a sign — that is, for a miracle — are appointed not properly for believers, but for unbelievers.' The advantages derived from tongues were various. They provided against necessity — that diversity of tongues might not prevent the Apostles from disseminating the gospel over the whole world: there was, consequently, no nation with which they could not hold fellowship. They served also to move or terrify unbelievers by the sight of a miracle — for the design of this miracle, equally with others, was to prepare those who were as yet at a distance from Christ for rendering obedience to him. Believers, who had already devoted themselves to his doctrine, did not stand so much in need of such preparation." (Calvin's Commentary, 1 Corinthians 14:22)

Are you having trouble comprehending that? Or do I need to break it down in into smaller, more easily understood bites?

continued...

Roger Mann said...

And, btw, are you claiming that somehow extrabiblical miracles are signs and "infallible"? Am I bound to accept the miracles of Mormons, the New Age Movement, or the Muslims? Roger, your logic is impeccable. Really it is. So what you're really saying is the Bible is not the final word in these matters and I should be "open" to other religions? Rebutting these sorts of silly arguments is just too easy.

Yes, rebutting "straw man" arguments is usually pretty easy. That's why they are fabricated and used -- to help people with no valid argument to sound smart and feel smug about themselves. It works well, doesn't it?

The argument for ongoing miracles is essentially a papist one on the one hand or an Anabaptist one on the other.

Well, that settles it then, doesn't it? That's a brilliant argument, Charlie! How on earth do you do it? Please let me in on your secret, so I can become a master debater as well!

You insinuation that if I disagree with you "I" am in "rebellion" is just incredulous. Those sorts of illogical arguments might work on inmates in a penal institution or the average Joe on the street, but they certainly don't carry any weight with me.

First, I never insinuated that if you disagree with me you are in rebellion. I said:

"Scripture clearly commands us to 'Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy' (1 Corinthians 14:1). Therefore, it is outright rebellion against God's clear command to teach that we should not 'follow the way of love' or 'desire spiritual gifts' unless it can be proven from Scripture that this command no longer applies and should not be followed. I have yet to see an explicit text of Scripture or an irrefutable argument deduced from Scripture that annuls this command. Thus, Cheung is correct: The 'burden of proof' lies with the cessationists, not with those who teach the continuation of the charismatic gifts."

However, as I'm learning as this debate goes on, you conveniently twist what I have said when it suits your purpose. Now, why don't you stop using such an underhanded tactic, and try to actually respond to the points that I raised in the above quote.

Second, I've heard more substantial arguments made by "inmates in a penal institution or the average Joe on the street," than what you have presented so far in this debate. That doesn't speak very well of your Bible College and Seminary training. So, rather than congratulating yourself for your educational accomplishments and presumed intellectual prowess, why don't you start by presenting a coherent Biblical argument demonstrating that God no longer performs miracles through His chosen people according to His sovereign will. Until then, I won't waste any more of my time answering your ad hominem attacks and straw man diversions.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Roger said:

Also, I never claimed that God "needs" anyone to do a miracle. Again, what kind of silly response to my argument is that? Nevertheless, while God is under no necessity to use miracles to confirm His propositional truth revealed in Scripture, He has freely chosen to do so many times in the past in accordance with His sovereign will:

Roger, citing Scripture proves the miracles of Jesus and the infallible recordings of miracles in Scripture. But this distinction between modern "stories" or "anecdotes" and the inspired Scriptures seems to escape you.

Again, that does not prove that your "claims" are legitimate.

Sorry, but no cigar.

You're in rebellion against God because you're pretending to do what only God can do: Miracles.

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

Roger said: Thus, the burden of proof is on you to demonstrate that God has ceased working miracles through His chosen people, as I see nothing in Scripture to indicate that He has. You admit you haven't seen a miracle so what is your basis for believing in ongoing miracles if they are supposed to be so "plentiful" pray tell? I can observe false prophets daily on TBN and CBN. What more evidence do I need?

You only make yourself look worse when you claim miracles continue today and all without any corroboration.

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

Roger said: Charlie: The ONLY issue here is doctrine from Scripture and the Gospel is the central message, not what God can do for you in healing, etc.

I never claimed otherwise. Another "straw man."

I but now you're lying. Isn't that a violation of the 9th commandment? You DID say that. Otherwise, what's the big deal about ongoing "signs"? The signs were confirmed in Scripture by Jesus and the Apostles. So what more do we need???

Unless you're saying that the Scriptures are INSUFFICIENT? Which means you should join up with the Roman Catholics.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Roger said: But for your information, Calvin is referring to the texts in the OT where Israel was conquered by other nations because of Israel's unbelief. So they would hear and learn to speak other languages because of their disobedience. The tongues are the sign of God's punishment of Israel's rebellion.

For your information, Calvin is referring to the Spirit given gift of tongues "as they are given for a sign — that is, for a miracle."


Roger, Calvin is speaking to the issue raised in 1 Corinthians 14 and PAUL is referring BACK to the sign of tongues in Isaiah as a SIGN to unbelievers about to be taken into captivity. So Calvin is NOT endorsing your heretical views as the prefatory address in the Institutes indicate. You're taking Calvin's brief remark about the setting in 1 Corinthians and making it apply generally. That's an inductive fallacy as well as taking Calvin out of context.

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

Roger said: First, I never insinuated that if you disagree with me you are in rebellion.

Well, YES you DID. First of all, you're not an apostle OR a prophet as defined in Scripture. So therefore your assertion that if I disagree with your exegesis I'm in rebellion against God is a NON SEQUITUR.

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

Roger said: However, as I'm learning as this debate goes on, you conveniently twist what I have said when it suits your purpose.

Well no, bait and switch, jump all over the map and quoting Scripture out of context would be your method of debate. Heretics always try to falsely shift the burden of proof and make empty assertions of this or that as if that will somehow lend credibility to their "miraculous" assertions.

First of all, the miracles in the Bible were witnessed by all and recognized by all. Miracles today are unfalsifiable and unverifiable so they are doubly questionable. I'm under no obligation to believe you empty assertions and I will not believe them unless YOU prove there are ongoing miracles "among God's people today" as you put it. Everything I've observed from the get go was smoke and mirrors, lies and manipulation.

Your vain attempt to manipulate me into agreeing with your fake exegesis is unimpressive.

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

Roger said: "Scripture clearly commands us to 'Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy' (1 Corinthians 14:1). Therefore, it is outright rebellion against God's clear command to teach that we should not 'follow the way of love' or 'desire spiritual gifts' unless it can be proven from Scripture that this command no longer applies and should not be followed. I have yet to see an explicit text of Scripture or an irrefutable argument deduced from Scripture that annuls this command. Thus, Cheung is correct: The 'burden of proof' lies with the cessationists, not with those who teach the continuation of the charismatic gifts."

Ok, you lead:) I'll follow. Show me how to do a miracle and then I WILL DO ONE:)


HAHHAAHAH

Charlie J. Ray said...

I would suggest you go and read Wayne Grudem. He's one of your "reformed" charismatics. His book on The Gift of Prophecy in the NT and Today is a real eye opener:)

You forget that I was trained in a pentecostal college, Roger. I was also a member of the Society for Pentecostal Studies for 2 years in seminary. I've read more of the academic pentecostal arguments than you have. So merely quoting a few proof texts out of context is not going to persuade me. You'll have to do better than that guilt manipulation tactic. It works in church but not in the world of biblical exegesis.

Sorry, no cigar.

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

Roger said: Yes, rebutting "straw man" arguments is usually pretty easy. That's why they are fabricated and used -- to help people with no valid argument to sound smart and feel smug about themselves. It works well, doesn't it?

Well the charismatics think it works well, which is why they keep using them. The cessationist argument is that GOD does miracles and men do not. That's true even in apostolic times. Obviously, ALL the apostles are dead. Even Grudem says there are no new testament apostles or old testament prophets today. Only they had the authority to speak and write the very oracles of God and to do the miraculous by God's special authority. That authority was temporary EVEN in apostolic times since the 72 apostles were not given any permanent commission to do miracles but a "temporary" commission. (Luke 10:1-20)

Simply telling me what was said and done in Scripture in the first century does not "prove" your exegesis asserting that such miracles are "normative" for today. It is one thing to report episodes where miracles occurred and quite another to assert that "God's people" have the power and authority to do miracles today or that such an assertion is "normative."

I got a few magic crystals and some swamp land if you're interested. Oh, I forgot the holy water and the hankerchiefs. Send me your $1,000 vow today and plant your seed faith now.

Charlie

P.T. Barnum: "There's a sucker born every minute."

speigel said...

Charlie,

What do you consider the best biblical argument against continuationism?

What do you think of Jon Ruthven or Rger Strongstad in regards to their work on continuing spiritual gifts?

Charlie J. Ray said...

Speigal, I read Stronstad's book, The Charismatic Theology of St. Luke, some years ago. I no longer have my copy so I can only go from memory.

However, the basic premise of practically ALL charismatic theology IS Arminian. In other words, rather than seeing God as sovereign over the distribution of gifts and signs/wonders/miracles they see that man has to cooperate or "do" something to get God to do what they want Him to do. This has more to do with magic than with theology.

Jon Ruthven's writings, which I have not read recently, basically assume the same attitude that Vincent Cheung seems to take. I didn't know Roger Mann or Cheung were charismatics when I was debating Sean Gerety over at God's Hammer. Basically the whole tactic is to shift the burden of proof.

Now imo the best biblical argument against their "normative" operation of the gifts until Christ returns is the sovereignty of God. Do we really need to "expect" God to do ANYTHING at all? Of course not. The Bible over and over again says we should "pray" and not expect that God will always do things the way "we" want them done and that would include miracles.

There is no Scripture that says the gift will endure until Christ returns. Not one. The Bible simply reports what was happening then. I will admit that there is likewise no Scripture that says the gifts will cease. However, the general thrust of the entire New Testament is more in line with the idea that the apostolic "dispensation"-- if you want to call it that--was episodic or temporary. No one expects the day of pentecost to be exactly duplicated today, although many claim to have "a" pentecost. The distinction between that one historic event and any subsequent "historical" events should be obvious. To say that the gifts are ongoing is analogous to the Roman Catholics and the Anglo-Catholics who contend that Christ is re-sacrificed over and over again in every communion service.

God is not at the beck and call of the charismatics. He does what He wishes to do and when He wishes to do it. He has determined all from before creation. We answer to Him and not He to us.

If God wants to do a miracle for a sign, I'm sure everyone will indeed recognize it as such and there will be nothing hidden. "Secret" signs serve no purpose other than something more gnostic than anything else.

I was in the charismatic movement for 10 years. Their approach is to convince you of the "possibility" of miracles. Once you accept that premise them whatever else they claim becomes valid. The problem is they never produce.

Most Christians have had God answer prayers for healing but that does not mean "miracle" to them but rather "answered prayer."

Charlie

speigel said...

I;m not sure what you mean when you say that if God so chooses to perform a miracle that everyone will recognize it. Did everyone recorded in the Bible believe that every miracle was a miracle?

And from what I've read and understood the debate and cessationists will sometimes agree, the onus is on the cessationist to prove his position under the rule of the burden of proof.

Can you lay out your apostolic dispensation argument with Scripture?

Charlie J. Ray said...

spiegal, I can easily do it. Deuteronomy 6:4

It all follows from that. The problem with the "non-cessationist" argument is that it is basically idolatrous. Romans 1:18-32. The charismatic movement's theology is not based on Scripture but experience and ecstatic theology read back into the text.

Jesus could perform miracles by His own authority as God. Charismatics would have us believe that Jesus was emptied of his deity and is therefore merely a Spirit-filled man.

The cessationist argument is that you are not God. Jesus WAS 100% God and 100% man in one person. The non-cessationist argument is based solely on the false premise that mere creatures can be like God. It's the same lie that goes all the way back to the Garden. In fact, much of the charismatic theology is a direct syncretism of Christian Science with Christianity. It is therefore cultic in its emphasis on the creature's abilities to do miraculous works on the same level as God (i.e. Jesus Christ).

We can only receive the incommunicable attributes of God but Jesus possessed all the attributes of God (Colossians 2:9; 1 Timothy 3:16).

My basic argument for cessationism is the sovereignty of God. The basic argument of the non-cessationist is to confuse the creature with the Creator, which is idolatry.

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

Speigal, and I'm not sure what signifance hidden miracles have as "signs". The signs point to Jesus. Any miracle out of that context is simply irrelevant. Thus, any miracle that no one sees or recognizes as genuine cannot point to anything.

Besides, miracles cannot convince the dead to believe in anything at all.

Don't tell me you're one of those charismatics who think everyone who disagrees with your magical powers is in rebellion against God?

As for the argument about the apostolic era, one of your own makes that argument quite well: Wayne Grudem. To be an apostle you must be an eyewitness to the life, ministry and resurrection of Christ. NT apostles speak the very words of God as did the OT prophets. There is no one in that category today. Even Grudem argues that NT prophecy today is "fallible." Hence, the categorical distinctions are claimed today even by "reformed" charismatics. I go one step further and say that the difference between NT miracles and today is one of a qualitative difference. No one today does "supernatural" miracles. That has been debunked over and over again. What they do is manipulation and exaggeration.

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

The Charismatic Theology of Kenosis and the Spirit-filled Man, Jesus

Charlie J. Ray said...

My views on Clark's book, The Incarnation have changed. I no longer believe that Clark's view was or is Nestorian. It is in fact a further development of the doctrine of two wills in Christ. 1/5/2014

Support Reasonable Christian Ministries with your generous donation.