Friday, November 02, 2007

Charismaticism, Proverbs, and the Reformation

No, I'm actually not going to try to tie them all together! Just a series of brief notes:

To tie into Phil's characteristically-excellent post today, it seems to me that there are three positions one can hold with some Biblical consistency, as to revelatory/confirmatory gifts:
  1. All the gifts — all of them — are available today just as they were in the days of Jesus. There are apostles writing inerrant Scripture, prophets giving inerrant revelation, healers commanding undeniable healings. The only problem is that nobody has seriously tried to make such a case with any Biblical coherency and credibility for about 2000 years. That in itself which is a refutation of the position, because in those days God thrust those gifts on people who were not looking for them, and not in themselves deserving of them. Hence, there can be no dodge in faulting the church's faith nor spirituality.
  2. All of the revelatory/attesting gifts succeeded in their purpose and have culminated in and been superceded by the complete Canon of Scripture. This is a case I think can be made cumulatively from Scripture, and it is my own position. Fits church history like a glove.
  3. All the gifts are available today just as they were in the days of Jesus (see #1) — it's just that nobody has surely received any revelatory/attesting gift for about 2000 years.
I could never hold #1, as a Bible-believing Christian. I have come to hold #2. But if I were forced for some reason to abandon #2, I would fall back on #3: maybe they're available theoretically on a shelf somewhere in Heaven, but God simply has never given them to anyone in 2000 years.

Which seems to me, to say the least, Biblically indefensible.

To make explicit what you probably surmise, I have no respect for the many attempts to Clinton-down the Biblical descriptions of the gifts, so as to afford false respectability to the modern imitations.

I have a post ready on my weekend in Arizona, bringing six sessions on the book of Proverbs to the good folks of Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Rio Rico, Arizona. I plan to post it at Pyro early next week, with links to those talks and everything.

I also plan to put up a post (with pictures!) on how our family's Reformation Day party went.

Now... you know all of that!


Connie said...

Yet another clear and sound response to "da gifts"--greatly appreciated.

Rhology said...

I'm #3 more or less; the biblical cessationist argument doesn't really make sense to me too much, but I CAN say after 6 yrs of being charismatic (and 7 yrs and counting of NOT being charismatic), that I've never seen the biblical gifts in question biblically exercised.

Libbie said...

I'm actually quite frustrated with the Pyro thread because the charismatics haven't actually addressed the problem at all.
They're answering things the post didn't say. I'd really like to see some engagement, but I just don't think they have understood the point of the post.

*mildly crotchety look*

Stefan said...

I'm just enjoying the relaxation that comes from having nothing worthwhile to contribute to that thread.

Carlo said...

My pastor and I were having this discussion while driving down to Fresno for the California Conference of Reformed Theology. The one criticism that Pentecostals and Charistmatics (some of whom are our brethren have) is that the evangelical church is too dead. I'm thinking, wow, the evangelical church being dead? I would agree in saying that the Rome is dead, but evangelicals?

And pastor explained it pretty well, many evangelicals don't talk about the supernatural or Satan or what have you. I believe that Charasmatics go off the other extreme end.

Now, I'm of the position and I know others do not hold this that I believe the Bible to teach cessasionism that is the Lord ceased gifting miracle workers after the Apostolic Age. He does continue to supernaturally heal however to this day, but He doesn't do it through special workers or healers.

And many of the flock (I'm not talking about the leaders, because I think the leaders are pretty deluded), but I think the flock, are looking for the supernatural element of the Christian life they are not seeing.