The Highway

This Forum's Focus and Purpose

Posted By: Robin

This Forum's Focus and Purpose - Thu Jan 25, 2007 11:15 PM

Welcome to ExCharisma - brand new to the Highway, but actually several years old. Originally a small e-mail loop on YahooGroups, it has grown to the point that it needed to be moved to this treasure house of resources that ex-Charismatics and ex-Pentecostals really need. So Welcome to all who have arrived from the old Yahoo group!

The purpose of this forum is twofold:

First, it is to be a safe haven for those who have fled from the noise and manipulation and uncertainty of the Charismatic movement but aren't sure where to go from there. We help one another answer the question, "What now?"

Second, it is to be a place where leaders and lay people from non-Charismatic backgrounds can learn about what we've been taught, why it didn't work, how we can be (or have been) damaged by it, and most importantly, how to help us "refugees from Charismania" find real purpose and genuineness in "traditional" churches. Many Protestant churches have little idea of what the Charismatic movements have become. No longer just benign enthusiasm and non-traditional worship with tongues-speaking tied on. If you're a non-Charismatic churchgoer and that's what you think, you need to read this forum too!

Check here often - there are many more "refugees" and folks waiting for their chance to jump out of the Charismatic frying pan than most people know. Many are scared to jump, but even more scared that what they're jumping into could be worse than the frying pan.

One word of caution. Emotions tend to run high among folks who are exploring unfamiliar territory. It's scary to realize you've been wrong - and to think there's no way to be sure of what's right. Be kind to each other, and tolerant of different ways of saying things. The early part of this journey out of chaos is hard enough without harsh criticism.

This is a safe, sane place to make that journey.

-Robin
Posted By: Dave U.

Re: This Forum's Focus and Purpose - Fri Jan 26, 2007 12:30 AM

Robin,

Thanks for your hard work in setting up this new, improved home for ExCharisma! Let us pray that God will use this new forum for his glory and for the good of his people.

Dave
Posted By: C_R

Re: This Forum's Focus and Purpose - Sun Apr 15, 2007 5:22 PM

After watching the postings to this forum for several weeks, I'd like to make a few observations and ask a few rhetorical questions about the forum's purpose. PLEASE READ ALL OF THIS POST BEFORE JUDGING ANY OF IT:
  • Although I certainly would not venture to speak for anyone else here, I suspect that most of the people at this discussion board agree that the state of the visible Church is bad. The visible Church has been taken over by the world in so many ways that it's difficult to keep track of them all. It looks like the Charismatic movement is just one more aspect of this revolting state of affairs. Having been there and done that myself, I don't have any doubts about the veracity of the numerous critical comments made against the Charismatic movement. In some respects I was an ex-charismatic long before this forum moved to The-Highway, largely because I was disgusted by what I saw, and the Lord moved me out of that. In other ways, I still am a charismatic.
  • What I love about this discussion board -- even though I have sometimes felt roasted after the few posts that I've made -- is that there is an unwavering commitment to the doctrines of sovereign grace, the five points of Calvinism in all their ramifications and permutations. I reckon that NONE of the ex-charismatics who are coming here with legitimate grievances against the Charismatic movement were aware, while they were involved in that movement, that these doctrines even exist. That begs the question: If they had believed in these doctrines while they were involved in that movement, might that awareness of God's sovereignty have caused them to have a totally different experience?
  • Only a small percentage of the visible Church is reformed, i.e., dedicated to the doctrines of sovereign grace. That means that the vast majority of the visible Church are semi-Pelagian, and many who call themselves "Christian" are total Pelagians, and therefore not Christian at all. I reckon that an even smaller percentage of charismatics are reformed. In fact, I suspect that many people can't even conceive of Calvinism and charisms coexisting. But since the apostle Paul was both in many respects the original Calvinist and also the author of 1Corinthians 12, the doctrines of sovereign grace and charismatics clearly existed seamlessly in his mind. Is that not a standard worth acknowledging?
  • I reckon that many, if not most, of the people who frequent this website's Theological Discussion Forum, including the leaders, are "cessationists", meaning that they follow the Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 1, "Of the holy Scripture", 1, which says, "t pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal himself, and to ... commit the same wholly unto writing; which maketh the holy Scripture to be most necessary; those former ways of God's revealing his will unto his people being now ceased." --- Surely no real Bible-believing Christian denies that the canon of Scripture is closed until Jesus returns. But to step beyond that into believing in cessationism is something else. To base the belief in the closed canon on the assumption that "those former ways of God's revealing his will unto his people [are] now ceased", looks more than a little extreme. That's because basing belief in the closed canon on the assumption that all special revelation has ceased turns certain passages of Scripture, like 1Corinthians 12, into dead letters since 70AD.
  • Special revelation that deserves canonization has certainly ceased, because the canon is closed. But the claim that special revelation that is the basis for the charisms in 1Corinthians 12 has ceased demands proof. If anyone wants to turn any part of Scripture into a dead letter, they'd better have a really, really, really good reason. The Westminster divines didn't provide such a good reason. Scripture itself doesn't provide it. Convoluted rationalizations of academic theologians may at times pass for proof for those of us who lack mental energy to wade through it all. But it shouldn't pass for proof to any of us who value Scripture more than hot air.
  • So how should all these refugees from the semi-Pelagian / Pelagian breeds of charismania find refuge here at this ExCharisma forum without turning into cessationists? By following reliable, i.e., Calvinistic, doctrine that doesn't negate the charisms. The only systematic theology that qualifies, as far as I know, is Wayne Grudem's. At the risk of making myself even more [i]persona non grata at this discussion board than I already am, I need to add that the criticism of Grudem's treatment of special revelation found in this article, Does God Speak to us Today Apart from the Bible? (by Dr. R. Fowler White), isn't very convincing.
  • The association of addiction with charisms that appears in numerous posts in this forum merely shows that such charisms have been turned into idols. Since all humans are totally depraved idol-factories, we are all prone to idolatry. All it shows is that the charisms have been approached without sufficient respect for God, and have turned into idols that pose as gods that we bow down to like a heroin addict to his next fix. The addiction is proof that these refugees have been exercising the charisms with a defective theological foundation, i.e., as semi-Pelagians and Pelagians, and without sufficient reverence for the sovereignty of God. Reverence for the sovereignty of God is the only thing that keeps rotten humans from turning things into idols. But this fact should not discourage people from being charismatic, in the Calvinistic sense of the word, because one of the biggest problems that Christians have these days is that we don't seek God enough. We need to seek God more, not less. But we need to seek Him with the solid foundations that He's given us, not with cracked cisterns.
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: This Forum's Focus and Purpose - Sun Apr 15, 2007 6:22 PM

C_R,

While I would agree that in the broad sense, Paul was both a Calvinist and a Charismatic, is he to be held up as paradigmatic for the universal church in all ages? The issue is, of course, Cessationism. There were many things which were valid for the O.T. saints which were not so for the saints of the N.T., e.g., the civil and ceremonial laws . . . would you not agree? Likewise, what were valid ways of communication of God to the church in the N.T. have since ceased due to their being fulfilled, i.e., the purpose of such communication was completed. Obviously, you are going to disagree. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

The caveat to those who insist that God continues to communicate in a revelatory manner today is "fallible inspiration". This in itself is a major hurdle and one which no one, IMHO, has ever been able to successfully overcome. Again, you will probably disagree.

In regard to this, you also mentioned that "the only system that qualifies {Calvinism + ecstatic gifts}" is Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology. However, Dr. Richard Gaffin and others have soundly refuted Grudem's claims in books, articles, etc. One such book is Gaffin's own Perspectives on Pentecost. I would recommend it to your reading. R. Fowler Wright wrote an article comparing the two views of Grudem and Gaffin which you can read here: Gaffin and Grudem on Ephesians 2:20.

For a more comprehensive list of articles defending biblical "soft" Cessationism, please consult this section on The Highway: The Charismatic Movement.

Given the purpose of this forum, it is strongly suggested that if you wish to debate/discuss the topic of "Cessationism", you do so in the Theology Forum. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

In His grace,
Posted By: Dave U.

Re: This Forum's Focus and Purpose - Sun Apr 15, 2007 6:27 PM

ExCharisma is indeed a cessationist forum. It has been such since it was founded as a mailing list named X-Charisma. ExCharisma is also a Reformed forum, and as such we steadfastly uphold the Reformation principle of Sola Scriptura.

Although I acknowledge that there are believers who point to the Scriptures' lack of specificity regarding when exactly the charismata are to cease as evidence that they must yet be in operation, there is a great difficulty with that view. Unless one proposes that the office of prophet remains in operation exactly as it was during Biblical times, one must admit that the gift of prophecy that's allegedly in operation today is profoundly different than the gift of prophecy that was exercised formerly. Some time ago I addressed this issue in my (now dormant) blog:

Quote
Let's consider the type of inspiration that was reflected in the ministry of the Biblical prophets and apostles. In both offices, an exceedingly standard of accuracy and truthfulness was expected, and rightly so. The prophet or apostle was expected to speak with 100% accuracy and trustworthiness whenever he spoke in the name of God. That was a good thing both for their contemporaries and for us, because the Bible is largely a compilation of the recorded utterances of these inspired men. When a true prophet or apostle spoke, you can take it to the bank: they were surely speaking for God, so you could be assured that you were hearing from God whenever they spoke. Although they were otherwise fallible sinners like you and I, whenever they spoke in God's name, they were always on the money. If they were not, the consequences for them were severe: under Mosaic Law, false prophets were to be stoned to death.

So that's what a prophet or apostle of Bible times was like, but what of today's prophets and prophesying? My continuist friends tell me that those who exercise the post-apostolic gift of prophecy are prone to error. They are sometimes right, but other times wrong. Moreover, authentic predictive prophecy is exceedingly rare, and that's if one grants that it takes place at all. Although no one has yet gone out and said so, I surmise that what they're saying is that today's prophet doesn't predict future events, but instead instructs, encourages, corrects, or comforts the Body of Christ with God-inspired words.

So far so good. I'm relieved to learn that my Reformed charismatic friends are so skeptical about the perpetuity of predictive prophecy. However, I'm not completely at ease, because they're still telling me that are still other types of inspired prophecy continuing on in the church. From what I understand, they have a few main reasons for holding to the perpetuity of a kind of low-octane prophecy:

o The Scriptures don't specify that the charismatic gifts will cease prior to the end of the Church Age, so they must still be in operation in some form.

o The New Testament, in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14, mentions the gift of prophecy and provides some rules for its exercise and testing.

o Certain types of prophecy are taking place in some churches, and those prophecies seem to often fit the description found in 1 Corinthians 14.

On the surface, this seems like a fairly convincing argument. After all, the first two points are based on Scripture, and the third point is simply to explain that the same thing that Paul described in 1 Corinthians seems to be taking place today. However, things are in fact not nearly that simple, for in fact this argument opens up an absolutely huge can of worms.

As I see it, the crux of the problem with today's alleged low-octane gift of prophecy is this: although it is conceded that it doesn't hold a apostolic level of inspiration or authority, it nonetheless claims to have a degree (albeit a lesser degree) of God-given inspiration and authority. Thus, if we are to accept the perpetuity of this low-grade gift of prophecy, we must accept a two-tired system of divine inspiration and authority: (1) the Biblical level and (2) the post-apostolic level. The first tier is admitted to be fully inerrant and trustworthy, whereas the other is conceded to be fallible but yet is admitted to be "from God" when a prophecy is proven to in fact be of divine origin. We know quite a bit about the first tier of inspiration, for it is that type of inspiration that's behind the Bible itself, but the question that occurs regarding the second tier is this: what do we know about it? What has God revealed about the vitally important matter of how a lower degree of inspiration is to work? How is the gift to be exercised, and how are utterances to be tested? Let us make no mistake: if God has indeed ordained that there would be a lower-grade type of inspiration, we are in great need of instruction and wisdom regarding how to handle it. Whereas the old-style prophets and apostles were to be treated in an all-or-nothing manner--if they weren't right 100% of the time, they were known to be wolves in sheep's clothing--new-style prophets are allegedly supposed to be handled differently. But how? Where are the instructions?

In my charismatic days, I thought I knew the answer to that question: 1 Corinthians 14. Indeed, there's no other passage that goes on in such length or detail regarding how the spiritual gifts were to be exercised in the church, but yet I fear that Paul's instructions somehow fail to give us any idea of how to deal with a fallible gift of prophecy. Now, he does tell the church to reject the false and hold fast to what is good, excellent advice indeed: surely if a prophecy is evidently false, it ought to be rejected immediately. But what of the frequent modern-day cases in which it's unclear whether a prophecy is from God or simply from the imagination of a well-meaning believer? Often, nothing is blatantly wrong with the prophecy, but yet it seems to fall short of full-blown inspiration. For instance, "My children, I love you, and I have a wonderful plan for your life." I can't point out anything that's blatantly unscriptural about God saying that He loves His people or that He has a wonderful plan for them, but neither can I or should I conclude with any certainty that such a message was inspired by God. Would God have us accept every such "Hallmark greeting" type of prophecy as inspired or potentially inspired because it's not blatantly unbiblical? Neither Paul nor any other writer of Scripture tells us, but it seems to me that to accept such a "prophecy" as being of divine inspiration would tend to cheapen the value of divine inspiration and authority.

My friends, if there is in fact a post-apostolic gift of prophecy, the Scriptural guidance for exercising or testing such a gift just isn't there. Whereas Paul's advice in 1 Corinthians 14 would have been plenty for a church that knew only the 100% accurate type of prophecy--they would have known to kick out a prophet the first time he missed the mark--he leaves too many questions unanswered to be able to tell us how to properly handle a lesser degree of authority and inspiration. Moreover, Scripture is (to my knowledge) devoid of any example of the low-octane type of prophecy. (Yes, I know that some folks argue that Agabus in Acts wasn't 100% accurate, but I've read at least one convincing argument to the contrary, so I won't grant you Agabus without a fight. :-) )

Additionally, the notion of post-apostolic prophecy presents another serious problem: its lesser degree of authority tends to undermine the authority of Scripture itself. Whenever we read the Bible with the Holy Spirit's illumination or hear it rightly preached, we are literally hearing the mind of God. Scripture is 100% the Word of God, and so were the unrecorded utterances of the true prophets and apostles. However, the word of today's prophet is conceded by continuists to be less than 100% inspired, so when a prophet rises in church and says, "Thus says the Lord", you don't know for certain whether he's really speaking for God or not. What a contrast to Scripture, which speaks for God 100% of the time! But what of preaching? Isn't preaching prone to error, too? Yes, but a good preacher can claim to speak for God only when he rightly divides the Word of Truth; otherwise, he is evidently speaking only his own opinions. At no time does he claim to be passing on a freshly inspired "word" from God.

To conclude, I'm glad to hear some of my charismatic friends admit that the apostolic gift of prophecy has ceased, but yet I submit that they have opened up a huge can of worms by asserting the continued existence of a post-apostolic gift of prophecy. If they are indeed committed to teaching a two-tier scheme of inspiration and God-given authority, I call on them to provide the church with sound exegetical books and sermons that demonstrate from Scripture the perpetuity of such a gift in addition to the proper practice of that gift and proper testing of its manifestations. Otherwise, I suggest that the perpetuity of such a gift is open to serious doubt if its only warrant is a handful of Bible verses referring to prophecy, Scriptural silence regarding the date of cessation, and a bunch of personal experience. There are admittedly Scriptural difficulties attendant with the cessationist view, but I would argue that the ramifications of a two-tier scheme of inspiration/authority present immensely greater difficulties.


In a nutshell, if one claims that the charismatic gifts continue, one must grapple with the self-evident fact that today's alleged gift of prophecy is dramatically different than the gift of prophecy that was demonstrated in the ministries of the Apostles and Prophets. Whereas the cessationist holds that the totality of special revelation is found in Scripture, with no other form of revelation being admitted to being a "word from God", the non-cessationist must contend with two tiers of revelation: the fully inspired (Scripture) and the semi-inspired (the charismata). How does one deal with semi-inspired revelation without allowing it to become, in practice if not in theory, the primary source of revelation, a problem that is seemingly omni-present in the broader charismatic movement? Moreover, how does one separate the bread of divinely-inspired revelation from the leaven of the semi-inspired prophet's flesh? As I wrote in my blog, the church that admits continuing semi-authoritative, semi-inspired revelation alongside fully authoritative and inspired revelation has opened up a huge, huge can of worms.

Were the purpose of ExCharisma to be a debating forum to discuss the cessation vs. continuation of the charismata, it might be a worthwhile exercise to carry on such a discussion, but since it is by charter a cessationist forum for ex-Charismatics, I'd suggest that such a discussion would be off-topic on ExCharisma, and would be more appropriate for another forum that's designated for theological debate.

Dave
Posted By: Tom

Re: This Forum's Focus and Purpose - Wed Apr 18, 2007 2:17 AM

I have to admit that I am neither non-cessationist nor cessationist. However, my sentiments lie far closer to cessationism. I know all too well how harmful the practices and teaching of Charismatic movement are. However I believe until God reveals to me (as He did all other doctrines I hold) I can not take a dogmatic stand on the issue. Perhaps what I can take a dogmatic stand on, is that the non-cessationalism in charismania is not Biblical.

My reason for posting this therefore is to ask the question: Does that exclude me an ex-Charismatic from being able to participate on this particular forum?

I do not wish at this time to discuss reasons why I am not fully convinced either way. I would rather just read and learn.

Many of the experiences that are recorded on this forum, I have gone through myself and to be quite frank, they have served to help me understand more fully the reasons why I recoil against charismania.

Tom
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: This Forum's Focus and Purpose - Wed Apr 18, 2007 2:27 AM

Quote
Tom said:
I have to admit that I am neither non-cessationist nor cessationist.

Tom,

Now, just how does this figure logically? If someone were to say, and there are some who do, that they are neither Calvinist nor Arminian, or, that they are neither a Christian nor a non-Christian; neither a believer nor an unbeliever, what is the only logical conclusion one could reach? [Linked Image] [Linked Image]

In His grace,
Posted By: Robin

Re: This Forum's Focus and Purpose - Wed Apr 18, 2007 9:53 AM

Quote
Tom said:
I have to admit that I am neither non-cessationist nor cessationist. ... However I believe until God reveals to me (as He did all other doctrines I hold) I can not take a dogmatic stand on the issue.


I've been there too, halting between two opinions and needing for God to make things clear to me one way or the other. I read lots of articles and books and asked a lot of people, but couldn't be satisfied with what I heard until God settled it in my heart through His own word - settled it so solidly and clearly that I could put it into my own words to explain it to others.

You wrote also that what we've seen in the Charismatic movement cannot be real gifts of the Spirit. I agree because the Biblical standards and descriptions of the gifts of the Spirit are so very different from modern "gifts." Yet on the other hand we hear about rare but believable accounts of linguistic miracles on remote mission fields from our own missionaries.

It's no fun being "in between" and not knowing for sure one way or the other. It was these accounts of mission field "miracles" that gave me pause to adopt cessationism fully, until I looked into the Biblical gift of tongues - it's nature and purpose according to Scripture. I can tell you that even if the accounts of linguistic miracles on remote mission fields are true, they are not examples of the Biblical gift of tongues. The difference between the Biblical gifts and the stuff described in mission field stories is so substantial that there's no way the latter can be accurately categorized as "gifts of the Spirit." For me the big issue was tongues, because for Charismatics, all the gifts beginning with tongues (and for AOG Pentecostals, tongues is the initial evidence of Holy Spirit baptism).

When I discovered from the Scriptures that the charismata were covenant signs to one particular generation signifying the inclusion of the Gentiles in the covenant, it made all the difference in the world. Read my description in the Charismatic library here on the Highway.

Quote
My reason for posting this therefore is to ask the question: Does that exclude me an ex-Charismatic from being able to participate on this particular forum?


Certainly not! Those sincerely and genuinely in search of the truth are welcome to participate. It is only those with an agenda opposed to that of the Highway that are not welcome here.

-Robin
Posted By: Tom

Re: This Forum's Focus and Purpose - Thu Apr 19, 2007 12:31 AM

Quote
Pilgrim said:
Quote
Tom said:
I have to admit that I am neither non-cessationist nor cessationist.

Tom,

Now, just how does this figure logically? If someone were to say, and there are some who do, that they are neither Calvinist nor Arminian, or, that they are neither a Christian nor a non-Christian; neither a believer nor an unbeliever, what is the only logical conclusion one could reach? [Linked Image] [Linked Image]

In His grace,


I see your point Pilgrim.
In the case of Calvinism and Arminianism, it is impossible to be neutral even if they don't realize it. Though some say that they hold to some of the 5 points of Calvinism, in reality if one point is not true, then logically the other 4 fall. However, that does not mean that the person is at that point of realization.
In my case with cessationism and non-cessationism, though I would like the matter completely settled in my own mind, I am not there yet.
If that means I am either a cessationist or a non-cessationist, I would have to say my actions would make me a cessationist. But I am not sure if that would be completely accurate since the matter isn't settled in my mind.

I have a question for you. You have mentioned the term 'soft cessationist' in this thread. What do you mean by that? Can you give an example between a soft cessationist and cessationist?

Tom
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: This Forum's Focus and Purpose - Thu Apr 19, 2007 2:17 AM

Quote
Tom said:
In the case of Calvinism and Arminianism, it is impossible to be neutral even if they don't realize it. Though some say that they hold to some of the 5 points of Calvinism, in reality if one point is not true, then logically the other 4 fall. However, that does not mean that the person is at that point of realization.
In my case with cessationism and non-cessationism, though I would like the matter completely settled in my own mind, I am not there yet.
If that means I am either a cessationist or a non-cessationist, I would have to say my actions would make me a cessationist. But I am not sure if that would be completely accurate since the matter isn't settled in my mind.

Tom,

The matter is actually "black or white". If one holds that the ecstatic (revelatory) gifts even may be relevant for the period after the death of the last Apostle, then that person holds to non-Cessationism. If a person is non-committed to being against something then they are of necessity for it and vice versa. (cf. Matt 12:30) It is logically impossible to be neither for a truth and at the same time not against a truth. If the matter was in regard to choosing between two opinions where both were true or acceptable, e.g., should one wear a blue shirt or a brown shirt, then indecision would not logically mean one was in favor of one or the other. Kabish? Admittedly, it is possible yet undeniably illogical to hold to two conflicting ideas where both are claimed to be true, e.g., one who believes that Credobaptism is acceptable AND Paedobaptism is acceptable, i.e., in regard to the former, ONLY immersion of an adult qualifies as biblical baptism. And in regard to the latter, baptism of infants qualifies as biblical baptism. This is very much the same claim some make in regard to Arminianism and Calvinism. The fact is one cannot hold both as equally true since the two are antithetical. The issue of being convinced of one or the other is irrelevant. Indecision can only be deemed as an acceptance of one over the other or a denial of the verity of both, particularly when it relates to biblical doctrine (true vs. false).

Quote
Tom then asks:
I have a question for you. You have mentioned the term 'soft cessationist' in this thread. What do you mean by that? Can you give an example between a soft cessationist and cessationist?

In its most simple form, "hard" cessationism denies any presence of the Holy Spirit and "soft" cessationism only denies the continuation of the ecstatic manifestations (gifts) of the Spirit while holding firmly to supernaturalism.

In His grace,
Posted By: Dave U.

Re: This Forum's Focus and Purpose - Thu Apr 19, 2007 7:06 PM

Quote
Pilgrim said:

In its most simple form, "hard" cessationism denies any presence of the Holy Spirit and "soft" cessationism only denies the continuation of the ecstatic manifestations (gifts) of the Spirit while holding firmly to supernaturalism.


It's occurred to me that there might be two varities of non-cessationism, too:

1. Hard non-cessationism: all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit have continued in the same form ever since Pentecost.

2. Soft non-cessationism: all of the gifts of the Spirit have continued since Pentecost, but certain gifts (e.g., prophecy, healing, etc.) manifest themselves in different form than they did in the ministries of Christ and the apostles.

Of today's charismatics, I'm sure that the vast majority are soft non-cessationists. They believe in modern-day prophecy, healing, etc., but they admit that their gifts are not identical to those manifested in the ministries of Christ and his apostles. Some charismatics have claimed that God will at some point in history restore something akin to the full-powered gifts to the church, but so far such claims have not seen fruition. Only a tiny fraction of charismatics would claim that the full-blown gifts--authoritative prophecy, etc.--have continued to this day. So, although charismatics claim that the gifts of the Holy Spirit haven't ceased, they generally admit that they have changed since the passing of the apostles.

Dave
Posted By: Tom

Re: This Forum's Focus and Purpose - Mon Apr 23, 2007 9:25 PM

Quote
Of today's charismatics, I'm sure that the vast majority are soft non-cessationists. They believe in modern-day prophecy, healing, etc., but they admit that their gifts are not identical to those manifested in the ministries of Christ and his apostles. Some charismatics have claimed that God will at some point in history restore something akin to the full-powered gifts to the church, but so far such claims have not seen fruition. Only a tiny fraction of charismatics would claim that the full-blown gifts--authoritative prophecy, etc.--have continued to this day. So, although charismatics claim that the gifts of the Holy Spirit haven't ceased, they generally admit that they have changed since the passing of the apostles.


The problem I have with this group that says these gifts have changed, is that I don't see any indication from Scripture that this is the case.

Tom
Posted By: Adopted

Re: This Forum's Focus and Purpose - Mon Apr 23, 2007 9:50 PM

Quote

Tom said:
The problem I have with this group that says these gifts have changed, is that I don't see any indication from Scripture that this is the case.


The problem is that you will not find any indication from Scripture that this is the case. You will however find this:

Quote

I testify to anyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God shall add to him the plagues which are written in this book. and if anyone takes away the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. [Revelation 22:18,19 NASB]


Denny

Romans 3:22-24
Posted By: Dave U.

Re: This Forum's Focus and Purpose - Mon Apr 23, 2007 10:49 PM

Quote
Tom said:

The problem I have with this group that says these gifts have changed, is that I don't see any indication from Scripture that this is the case.

Tom


That's 'cause there is no indication in Scripture that the gifts of the Spirit were to undergo such a drastic change!

Whereas charismatics love to say, "the gifts are still in operation", they aren't quite so outspoken about the gifts having changed. I think they fail to realize that if they admit that today's alleged gift of prophecy is less authoritative than the gift exercised in the early church, they've put themselves in the position of defending a drastic shift from God revealing himself in an authoritative, reliable manner in the early church vs. doing so in a semi-authoritative, unreliable manner today. Such a shift is a Huge Deal, one that surely ought to have a lot of scriptural support if it really took place. The mere fact that nobody seems to be able to reliably discern the voice of God that's lurking within the muddle that is modern-day prophecy ought to be a big clue that God just isn't speaking in the way charismatics claim he is.

Cessationism may, as charismatics claim, lack a proof text that says "the gifts will cease with the apostles", but at least we have a clear text that says that they will cease. As for the charismatic's alleged gift of New Testament prophecy, no text indicates that such a gift was to be granted much less how the gift was to be operated and tested once it arrived.

Dave
Posted By: li0scc0

Re: This Forum's Focus and Purpose - Mon Jul 23, 2007 10:36 PM

Just discovered this portion of the forum, Robin, and am excited to see some of the posts in here. Proud of you for your courage and honesty!!!
Posted By: EricM

Re: The Gifts and cessation - Wed Dec 12, 2007 6:35 AM

I've been fascinated over the past 30 years or so with the arguments for cessation. They almost always seem to deal with a portion of the subject as opposed to the whole of the subject.
When Paul wrote about his prayer language it is obvious from context that he recognized 2 distinct types of utterance gifts. One to be practiced in private between the believer and God and one that had a public purpose, possibly the translation of foreign language or speaking in a foreign language, both having been not from learning, for the edification of the congregation. As to prophesy I have not seen anyone entertain the possibility that there could be prophesy for the Universal Church (Christendom) which comes from disciples ie Scripture whereas the charismatic gift of prophesy might be for the edification and guidance of the local congregation. Such as whether it was truly the Lord's will to purchase that new property, etc. Obviously all such prophesy would need to be tested against the principles of Scripture (anyone prohesying that you should lie or steal would be a FALSE prophet). I'm leery about any exegetical machinations that result in scripture being interpreted to mean something that it does not clearly state somewhere itself. I spent almost two decades in formal theological study and have seen some theologians, a few of them famous, wrench scripture around so as to satisfy the proclivities of whatever the institution was with which they might be involved.
If someone is truly healed by a person recognized by elders in a Christian bible believing church I'm not gonna be the guy to tell them they're not really healed and I wouldn't, nor should any of you, attribute that work of the Holy Spirit to "OTHER" than God, things could get really "warm" for you, if you know what I mean.
By the way I got no dog in this hunt. I haven't been blessed with any of those gifts and I'm every bit as reformed, maybe even a bit moreso, than all those famous theologians
Posted By: Robin

Re: The Gifts and cessation - Wed Dec 12, 2007 12:26 PM

Quote
I'm leery about any exegetical machinations that result in scripture being interpreted to mean something that it does not clearly state somewhere itself.


That being the case, you must reject all doctrines that are arrived at by "good and necessary consequence" rather than explicitly stated. Like the tri-unity of God, for example.

"Good and necessary consequence" (borrowing the term from Westminster) is simply a description of deduction:

All normal dogs have four legs. - Explict axiom;
Spot is a normal dog. - Explicitly stated;

Therefore it is necessarily true that Spot has four legs, even though it may not be explictly stated in exactly those words. It nevertheless must be true because of what we know from comparing other facts with each other.

But we're referring to the charismata when we talk about cessation, not to the continuing works of healing sick bodies and minds, or the Lord leading His sheep.

-Robin
Posted By: Doc for Kenya

Re: This Forum's Focus and Purpose - Tue May 17, 2016 6:29 PM

Hi Robin, et al:

I am an Ex-Charismatic and now a Reformed Baptist but have always been a part of OPC and ARP. Hard to believe I was in Charismatic movement for over 20 years and some of that as a pastor. It was very hard to deny what I thought I had experienced as a Charismatic. God used the site Reformation.org and some of the Puritan, Calvinist writings to eventually make me examine the Word more closely. A Calvinist view puts a structure and harmony to scripture that helps answer the nagging questions that an Arminian framework cannot.

Doc
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: This Forum's Focus and Purpose - Tue May 17, 2016 10:33 PM



The unfortunate truth is found in the old adage:

A man with an argument is no match for a man with an experience!

Jesus said, John 8:31-32 (ASV) "Jesus therefore said to those Jews that had believed him, If ye abide in my word, [then] are ye truly my disciples; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
Posted By: Tom

Re: This Forum's Focus and Purpose - Fri Jun 17, 2016 6:54 PM

Pilgrim
It has been a while sinse I looked at this forum.
Your quote shows a truth that Charismatics should take into account.
However as an ex-Charismatic, I know all too well until and only until God changes a person, they will not be ready to leave the Charismatic Movement, let alone Arminianism.
No Charismatic that I know of would admit that they believe experience trumps the Word of God. Instead most believe that experience shows how we should interpret Scripture.
The ironic of the whole matter is that a truth that a former Pentecostal pastor said during a sermon was largely responsible for me eventually leaving the movement.
He said in rather dramatic fashion: " Don't believe something because I said it, believe it because the Word of God said it!!"
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: This Forum's Focus and Purpose - Sat Jun 18, 2016 8:37 PM

Originally Posted By: Tom
Your quote shows a truth that Charismatics should take into account.
However as an ex-Charismatic, I know all too well until and only until God changes a person, they will not be ready to leave the Charismatic Movement, let alone Arminianism.
No Charismatic that I know of would admit that they believe experience trumps the Word of God. Instead most believe that experience shows how we should interpret Scripture.
The ironic of the whole matter is that a truth that a former Pentecostal pastor said during a sermon was largely responsible for me eventually leaving the movement.
He said in rather dramatic fashion: " Don't believe something because I said it, believe it because the Word of God said it!!"

Interesting response, Tom.

1. I offer a propositional statement/adage: "A man with an argument is no match for a man with an experience.", and you respond with your experience. giggle

2. Then you go on to prove my point quite effectively with:

Originally Posted By: Tom
No Charismatic that I know of would admit that they believe experience trumps the Word of God. Instead most believe that experience shows how we should interpret Scripture.

That statement accredits experience with 'trumping' Scripture for the experience has authority over how one reads and understands Scripture. If I were to offer a similar argument, e.g., Science trumps Scripture and therefore it controls how you interpret Scripture which thus proves theistic evolution... what would you say then? scratchchin

3. The adage is certainly taught in Scripture and thus trumps your experience. rofl

Quote:
John 6:26-36 (ASV) Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw signs, but because ye ate of the loaves, and were filled. Work not for the food which perisheth, but for the food which abideth unto eternal life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him the Father, even God, hath sealed. They said therefore unto him, What must we do, that we may work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. They said therefore unto him, What then doest thou for a sign, that we may see, and believe thee? what workest thou? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, He gave them bread out of heaven to eat. Jesus therefore said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, It was not Moses that gave you the bread out of heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread out of heaven. For the bread of God is that which cometh down out of heaven, and giveth life unto the world. They said therefore unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. Jesus said unto them. I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall not hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, that ye have seen me, and yet believe not.

The teachings of Jesus took second place to what the onlookers experienced. And even after they were rebuked for doing so, they responded to what he said with 'What then doest thou for a sign,..." rolleyes2

4. Yes, until God changes one's heart experience will always trump an argument, thus those who are yet dead in sin will rely upon something, anything other than the TRUTH, which was and is my point. evilgrin
Posted By: Tom

Re: This Forum's Focus and Purpose - Fri Jun 24, 2016 2:22 PM

Pilgrim

I was agreeing with you,not supporting the experience of Charismatics.
I read what I wrote again I tried to understand why I got the response I did and to be quite frank I am not sure.
Yes, I was speaking about my experience as a former charismatic and about other charismatics, but I was trying to say that the Word of God always trumps experience.
Obviously I didn't get that points out clearly enough.

Tom
Posted By: chestnutmare

Re: This Forum's Focus and Purpose - Fri Jun 24, 2016 2:56 PM

Exactly. We have a tendency to use our experience to verify the truth of something and that was the point he was making. smile God's Word is absolutely true period and doesn't require our personal experience to verify it. The Truth stands firm in all of time and space and is not dependent on the experiences of anybody. Rather, we are to be changed by the Word of God. I love John 17:17 where Jesus is praying for His people and says "Sanctify them in the truth: thy word is truth."

Colossians 3:16 "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts unto God. 17 And whatsoever ye do, in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him"
Posted By: Tom

Re: This Forum's Focus and Purpose - Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:09 PM

I guess where I am confused is where in my post was I verifying truth by experience?
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: This Forum's Focus and Purpose - Tue Jun 28, 2016 1:08 PM

Originally Posted By: Tom
I guess where I am confused is where in my post was I verifying truth by experience?

Your original statement is HERE.

And my explanation of how you essentially countered the statement: "A man with an argument is no match for a man with an experience." is HERE, where you referred to your experience of being in the Charismatic/Pentecostal movement and your experience of discussing things with others within the movement who intepret Scripture on the basis of their experience... Thus, experience trumps propositional truth and Scripture's own hermeneutic; method of interpretation.
Posted By: Tom

Re: This Forum's Focus and Purpose - Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:06 PM

Pilgrim
If that is how you understood me, then I am afraid that I not a good communicator.
I was basically only trying to say that Penicostals generally use experience to interpret Scripture, yet they may not even be realize they are doing so.
When I started to become aware of this, over time I could no longer be a Charismatic.
Tongues was something that in my subjective experience made me feel closer to God. However, dispite this my experience and what I was reading in Scripture was at odds.
Eventually even though I really missed it, I stopped speaking in tongues.

This is one reason why the Charismatic Movement is so dangerous. In fact, there are some of my family members, who concider me backslidden because of this matter.
My sister rebuked me soundly once when I tried to tell her what Benny Hinn believed about the Trinity and also stated that the only reason why I would say something like that about "God's anointed" is because I am no longer Charismatic.
Tom
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