"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

The Case for Continuationism: Dr. Sam Storms

With permission I publish the outline of Sam Storm's Saturday morning presentation at "The Conference of the Holy Spirit" in Arlington, Texas. It is only the bare outline -- Dr. Storms fleshed it out verbally at the conference. However, the outline is good in and of itself and helpful to pastors considering the subject.

The Case for Continuationism

12 Bad Reasons for Being a Cessationist

(1) The first bad reason for being a Cessationist is an appeal to 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 on the assumption that the “perfect” is something other or less than the fullness of the eternal state ushered in at the second coming of Jesus Christ.

(2) Another bad or illegitimate reason for being a Cessationist is the belief that signs and wonders as well as certain spiritual gifts served only to confirm or authenticate the original company of apostles and that when the apostles passed away so also did the gifts.

(a) No biblical text ever says that signs and wonders or spiritual gifts of a particular sort authenticated the apostles. Signs and wonders authenticated Jesus and the apostolic message about him. If signs and wonders were designed exclusively to authenticate apostles, why were non-apostolic believers (such as Philip and Stephen) empowered to perform them?

(b) This is a good reason for being a Cessationist only if you can demonstrate that authentication or attestation of the apostolic message was the sole and exclusive purpose of such displays of divine power. However, nowhere in the NT is the purpose/function of the miraculous or the charismata reduced to that of attestation.

(3) A third bad reason for being a Cessationist is the belief that since we now have the completed canon of Scripture we no longer need the operation of so-called miraculous gifts.

(4) A fourth bad reason for being a Cessationist is the belief that to embrace the validity of all spiritual gifts today requires that one embrace classical Pentecostalism and its belief in Spirit-baptism as separate from and subsequent to conversion, as well as their doctrine that speaking in tongues is the initial physical evidence of having experienced this Spirit-baptism.

(5) Another bad reason for being a Cessationist is the idea that if one spiritual gift, such as apostleship, has ceased to be operative in the church that other, and perhaps all, miraculous gifts have ceased to be operative in the church.

(6) A sixth bad reason for being a Cessationist is the fear that to acknowledge the validity today of revelatory gifts such as prophecy and word of knowledge would necessarily undermine the finality and sufficiency of Holy Scripture.

(7) A seventh bad reason for being a Cessationist is the appeal to Ephesians 2:20 on the assumption that revelatory gifts such as prophecy were uniquely linked to the apostles and therefore designed to function only during the so-called foundational period in the early church.

(8) An eighth bad reason for being a Cessationist is the argument that since we typically don’t see today miracles or gifts equal in quality/intensity to those in the ministries of Jesus and the Apostles, God doesn’t intend for any miraculous gifts of a lesser quality/intensity to operate in the church among ordinary Christians (but cf. 1 Cor. 12-14; Rom. 12; 1 Thess. 5:19-22; James 5).

(9) A ninth bad reason for being a Cessationist is the so-called “cluster” argument.

(10) A tenth bad reason for being a Cessationist is the appeal to the alleged absence of miraculous gifts in church history subsequent to the first century.

(11) Eleventh, it is a bad reason to be a Cessationist because of the absence of good experiences with spiritual gifts and the often fanatical excess of certain TV evangelists and some of those involved in the Word of Faith or Prosperity Gospel movements (as well as the anti-intellectualism often found in those movements).

(12) Finally, a twelfth bad reason for being a Cessationist is fear of what embracing Continuationism might entail for your life personally and the well-being of your church corporately.

12 Good Reasons for Being a Continuationist


(1) The first good reason for being a Continuationist is the 12 bad reasons for being a Cessationist.

(2) A second good reason for being a Continuationist is the consistent, indeed pervasive, and altogether positive presence throughout the NT of all spiritual gifts.

(3) A third good reason for being a Continuationist is the extensive NT evidence of the operation of so-called miraculous gifts among Christians who are not apostles. In other words, numerous non-apostolic men and women, young and old, across the breadth of the Roman Empire consistently exercised these gifts of the Spirit (and Stephen and Philip ministered in the power of signs and wonders).

(4) A fourth good reason for being a Continuationist is the explicit and oft-repeated purpose of the charismata: namely, the edification of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:7; 14:3,26).

(5) The fifth good reason for being a Continuationist is the fundamental continuity or spiritually organic relationship between the church in Acts and the church in subsequent centuries.

(6) Very much related to the fifth point, a sixth good reason for being a Continuationist is because of what Peter (Luke) says in Acts 2 concerning the operation of so-called miraculous gifts as characteristic of the New Covenant age of the Church.

(7) The seventh good reason for being a Continuationist is 1 Corinthians 13:8-12.

(8) The eighth good reason for being a Continuationist is Ephesians 4:11-13.

(9) A ninth good reason for being a Continuationist is the description in Revelation 11 of the ministry of the Two Witnesses.

(10) A tenth good reason for being a Continuationist is because the Holy Spirit in Christ is the Holy Spirit in Christians. We are indwelt, anointed, filled, and empowered by the same Spirit as was Jesus. His ministry is (with certain obvious limitations) the model for our ministry (cf. Acts 10:38).

(11) An eleventh reason to be a Continuationist is the absence of any explicit or implicit notion that we should view spiritual gifts any differently than we do other NT practices and ministries that are portrayed as essential for the life and well-being of the Church.

(12) The twelfth and final good reason for being a Continuationist is the testimony throughout most of church history concerning the operation of the miraculous gifts of the Spirit.

[Although it is technically not a reason or argument for being a Continuationist like the previous twelve, I cannot ignore personal experience. The fact is that I’ve seen all spiritual gifts in operation, tested and confirmed them, and experienced them first-hand on countless occasions. As stated, this is less a reason to become a Continuationist and more a confirmation (although not an infallible one) of the validity of that decision. Experience, in isolation from the biblical text, proves little. But experience must be noted, especially if it illustrates or embodies what we see in the biblical text.]

For more information on this and various other theological and biblical studies see www.samstorms.com

96 comments:

Bill Scott said...

Brother Wade,
Greetings from the Mayo Clinic. It certainly sounds as if I missed out on two great events this past weekend (Men's Retreat and hearing Dr. Storms in Arlington.)

I have always been intrigued by the divisiveness of this issue from within and without of the SBC.

I think the Biblical evidence was well stated by Dr. Storms. It is worthy of hearing. It is also worthy of study if unclear where one stands on the issues at hand.
I fear a great many of us don't know why they believe what they believe either for or against the gifts of the spirit, especially in the pond we swim in.

Blessings to all.

Bill Scott

OC Hands said...

Many thanks Wade, for posting this message. I have heard much about Bro. Storms on this blog, but had never seen any of his writings or heard him preach. Very insightful and very inspirational--clear presentation of the "continuationist" position.
Wish I could have been present to hear all the sermons and discussions in person. Perhaps I will be able to attend the next meeting. Again, thanks for sharing this with all of us.

Rick said...

Pastor Burleson,

I discovered your blog about a month or so ago and have been following it ever since. Your posts are enlightening and thought-provoking.

I am a Cessationist. However, I have no problem fellowshipping and cooperating with those who hold to Continualism.

I appreciate your posts concerning the Baptist Conference on the Holy Spirit, hosted by Dr. Mckissic's church. But I'm curious about your position on this subject. Would you mind sharing your view and why you hold to it?

In Christ

Rick Burke

volfan007 said...

i respect the continualists and thier view. i dont agree with yall, but i do love yall in the Lord.

i have a question for yall. is anyone raising the dead out there? i would love to see it. i would fly to wherever you are to see you raise the dead. Jesus raised the dead. the apostles raised the dead. i would love to see a dead person raised back to life.

david

Bro. Robin said...

Bro. Wade

Again, many thanks for the wonderful time I spent with you and Rochelle.

I really did appreciate Dr. Storms humble and gracious attitude towards me in light of my paper refering to him and his arguments. I would still like to dialogue with him.

Anyways, thanks and God Bless

Bro. Robin

Anonymous said...

A study of the Catholic position on public vrs private revelation could be helpful to anyone open and interested in Dr. Strom's teaching.

DP

Bob Cleveland said...

Wade:

What's missing on this post is Dr. Storms' laid-back and matter-of-fact way of preaching this. I walked out scratching my head, wondering if I'd just heard all the wisdom I'd just heard. He'd make a terrific salesman of any commodity he'd been directed to sell.

And we certainly enjoyed hearing from and seeing you and Rachelle

Debbie said...

Rick said "I am a Cessationist. However, I have no problem fellowshipping and cooperating with those who hold to Continualism. "

May your tribe increase.

Anonymous said...

Well Mr. VolfanOO7... As a matter of fact, yes. I doubt you would want to go there though. It's in the bushes of Benin where the spiritual wars are waging. National partners and IMB co workers of ours actually have seen the death certificate of the young girl. The national partners went to pray over her and she came back to life. The father shows her death certificate to all who come.

You see... those who know and have experienced the dark side know it's real and they now know and experience the other side of the spiritual warfire.

Even if you went, I doubt God would do the work for you to see. You already know Him and Who He is. Those living under and worshipping the powers of Satan have no idea who our God is. You would probably explain it away with some 'logical' explanation too. I know, because that is what I wanted to do when I heard about it. But I know for sure, God raise a young african girl from the dead in the bushes of Benin so that He would be glorified among a peoples who knew nothing about Him.

M with YOUR organization

P.S. I will remain anonymous because, I may be accused of Pentecostal tendencies if this 'gets out'.

Alycelee said...

I've been raised from the dead. Once I was dead, I've now been made alive in Christ. It was the work and power of the Holy Spirit.
My heart aches for you David.

Alycelee said...

M (anon) you and the work God has called you to is exactly the reason I'm here and I pray for the SBC. I appreciate you, your comment here and if you will go to my blog and email me, I would like to pray for you and have my church pray too.

Blessed are the feet of them that bring good news.
Agape
Alycelee

volfan007 said...

anonymous m,

i dont doubt that the Lord can raise the dead. i believe with all my heart that He can do it, if He wants to. and, if the Lord raised that girl from the dead in africa...then, halelujah! but, where are the apostles of today who have that ability. i see none.
if the gift of apostles is still around, then where are they? and, if they can raise the dead, then i would like to see it....to be a part of it.

david

volfan007 said...

alcylee,

your heart aches for me? why?

i too have experienced being spiritually dead and now i am alive in Jesus. i too know the power of the Lord in salvation, and the joy of being filled with the Holy Spirit. my heart is full right now as i am typing this.

so, why in the world is your heart aching for me?

but, alcylee, we're not talking about salvation here. that's not what i was asking. i am talking about the gift of apostles being still around today or not. i am a cautious cessationists...i guess you could say. i would agree pretty much with robin foster and bart barber in this matter. but, i would ask you all who are continualists....where are the apostles today who can raise the physically dead? or, has that ceased?

david

Cecdaddy said...

Volfan,

I tend to take your same view, that if the gifts of the Spirit that are claimed are true, why are we not hearing about a dead person being raised again. I have personally questioned why Billy Graham never exhibited the gift of tongues, as I always thought that if anyone could put the gift to good use, he could have in his ministry.

Still, I believe our doubts are handled in reason #8 for not being a cessationist, namely that just because the greater signs are not being done does not disqualify the ability for the Spirit to do the lesser signs. How do we argue with that? (I also see that an IMB missionary has given testimony to a dead girl rising again.)

For my own part, I am generally a Cessationist, but I am cautious to claim that the Holy Spirit is not doing something He is doing, so I believe it when I am told about the Spirit working in amazing ways.

I think the big reason I lean Cessationist, and one that I do not remember seeing listed in the outline, is this: If the miraculous gifts are being manifested through the body by the Holy Spirit, why am I being left out? Do I lack faith? I think I see more of Simon the Sorcerer in me than I like - that I would desire to buy the gifts... Maybe that is why I am left out, and maybe that is why I doubt...

David Cecil

Alycelee said...

It's not my mission to convince anyone that the gifts of the Spirit (not the gift of apostles) are active and available to Christians today.

I was at the conference. I heard Barb Barber and Robin speak. I disagree with them, but my heart doesn't ache for them. I think they are wrong.

My concern is can we receive one another, can we walk together, are those who believe differently going to be discrimated against in the life and leadership of the SBC? It is, in fact, already happening to missionaries or candidates applying. Ask Jason Epps.

You ask for proof, David. So did Thomas.
That's the answer to your question.
Selah
Alyce

ml said...

Anon M,

You wrote: Even if you went, I doubt God would do the work for you to see. You already know Him and Who He is. Those living under and worshipping the powers of Satan have no idea who our God is.

This is an interesting statement and one that is perplexing because a careful reading of the 4th Gospel actually speaks poorly of those who need to see in order to believe. See John 20:29 and note the erroneous absence of the question mark in the NIV. In fact, the raising of the dead is not a matter of faith production for the masses; it is a matter of the glory of God being on display in the appointed time that the Father determines. This is also evident in the question--Do you believe this?--Jesus poses to Lazarus's family who believe in Jesus so much they are angry that he delayed his coming. Later Jesus adds, "Didnt I tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" Now the interesting thing is the potential connection between the dating of the fourth gospel and the condemnation of sign based faith. What is more even before the writing of the fourth gospel, Paul said that faith comes by hearing the message and the message is heard through the word of Christ. Our discussion is not the first time that this issue has been a center piece topic among the fellowship of believers. It happened even when Jesus was alive.

volfan007 said...

alcylee,

so, just what are you trying to say about me, then?

you know, i hate to do this....because some will accuse me of bragging. i'm not. i just dont think that alcylee knows me, as some others in blogdom dont know me, and they have judged me very wrongly. so, reluctantly i share the following.....

i am married to a wonderful woman who loves me, and i have three great children....two in college and one in jr. high. i love them, and they love me. go figure.

alcylee, did you know that i have been on staff at one church, and i have pastored five churches? i am the pastor of the fifth one now. every church...every one of them...did not want me to leave when i left. in fact, the vast majority in those churches really didnt want me to leave when i did.....and there were many tears shed when my family and i left those churches. i still get calls and cards and letters from the people of my former churches.

last nite....at a deacons meeting...two of my deacons told how people out around the town were saying good things about me and my family. talking about the good that we were doing in this town that i live in. the other deacons nodded in agreement. my people here at bethel in greenfield, tn love me and i love them.

btw, my mom and dad love me, too. my dad is a deacon in his church, and my mom teaches s.s. they love me very much. go figure.

btw, alcylee, did you know that i have used that term, "preacherette," in many, many churches while preaching, and people laugh. they all think its funny. later, different ones come up to my and say how funny that was...and how true what i was saying about women pastors not being right according to the bible. yet, you took great offense to it, and have not forgotten about it....bringing it up from time to time in great disdain. you are the only one who has ever gotten mad over me using that word.

well, wade, i'm sorry for hi jacking the post....please forgive me and grant me this liberty. i just want alcylee and some others in your blog world to know who they are judging as such a mean villain who needs thier pity. i'm really not a bad guy....i'm just a big, ole, cuddly teddy bear.

david

ps. please forgive me again for getting so personal and for having to share things that do not pertain to this post. i just felt that it was needed at this time. again, i was not bragging....just sharing!

Ron said...

I have absolutely no experience with sign gifts personally, yet I see no biblical reason for doubting them. I see Paul stating that gifts are given by the Holy Spirit for God's purposes and we cannot dictate His pirposes.

I have also seen extreme mishandling of sign gifts, if it was such that was actually operating. I believe the gifts are valid but I seek only what God has for me, nothing more.

I do, however, think there is great danger in signs and wonders. I had a friend who was a Baptist pastor. He got very caught up in casting out demons. I saw this process first hand and watched as he became more dependent on the signs and less dependent on the truth of God's word. He eventually left his wife and moved in with his female partner in ministry. He believed God was calling him to do this in spite of everything the Bible had to say.

So my approach is one of caution. I am available and willing to go where God leads and do what God asks. If that includes signs and wonders, all well and good. If it does not, that is good too. He is in control, not me.

Debbie said...

david: Maybe a trip to the areas that many of our missionaries are is in order.

Debbie said...

david said: i see none.

I say; Hebrews 11 "1Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Rhology said...

Never ceases to amaze me how much anger this topic can generate.
Let us please consider how hurtful we can be when discussing this.

I'm no strict Cessationist but I like to think I hold a high view of what constitutes the more spectacular of the sp gifts. I've been around the charismatic circuit a time or two and never seen anything approaching NT gifts.
Is it bad to consider them still theoretically possibly in existence but w/hold final judgment, just in case I encounter them?

That said, again, ain't never seen 'em. Don't expect to, either. If that's bad, that's my problem; guess I'll be stuck w/ "just" the Bible. ;-)

creed said...

creed

Anonymous said...

debbie,

i've been to honduras twice on mission trips. my daughter has been to guatemala and to romania on mission trips. there were no apostles down there who could raise the dead either...not that i saw.

david(volfan007)

Anonymous said...

Wade-

Do you think people on both sides of this issue many times fall one way or the other because they idolize certain ministers that uphold either belief? As I've been looking through this issue as biblically as I know how, it seems many start with Scripture as their ultimate authority, but end up using experience as the final say. I enjoyed your comment on experience confirming things (but not being a cornerstone) because we can not separate ourselves from our experiences as hard as we try.

ml and the anonymous missionary seem to have a very good point regarding people who desire to see signs from God to help prove something. Though Jesus was very patient with the crowds, it is clear in all the Gospels that He was merely accommodating our sinfulness in unbelief. He would do physical wonders, but only because He had the greater spiritual purpose in mind.

Soon to be SWBTS graduate

creed said...

Greetings from Tennessee........
I am new to blogging, however this topic is personally to meaningful to pass up. I attended Southwestern in the 70's and the gifts of the Spirit were as much in discussion then as now, however with equal consternation, but less harshness. I had a conversation with saintly Dr. Jack McGorman who had just published his book dealing with the gifts of the Spirit. He told me several Churches had canceled his preaching appointment, he had received long "corrective" letters, but generally the book had been well received. Dr. Jack Gray told me the same essential thing. This came as encouragement to a Seminary student who was at that time serving an AG Church. I did leave the AG organization because of their requirements that I sign a doctrinal statement that included saying I held to the "tongues as initial evidence" doctrine and a pre-trib eschatology, and preached and taught the same. Signing a so-called "fundamentals of the faith," or a BFM just went against the grain of a Baptist raised boy.

However, here is my point, don't throw the baby out with the bath water. I don't practice a prayer language, but the Holy Spirit can do more that have us speaking in tongues, if we don't quench the Spirit. A fresh wind of the Holy Spirit might just wake up old First Baptist.

Alan Cross said...

Here is a simple question for everyone:

Do we base our beliefs on the Word of God or on our experience or our lack thereof?

I was taught that the Word was supreme and that all experience and belief should conform to the Word. Then, you make a well reasoned and thought out argument regarding a belief that some are not used to, and they trot out a lack of experience to bolster their view. So, which is it, Word or Experience? It seems that we are more concerned with feeling comfortable and making sure the WE don't lack anything, than we are with submitting ourselves to God's Word and asking the Holy Spirit to do a work in us.

So, again, Word or Experience?

Emily H. M. said...

Volfan007/David,

My best wishes to you, your family, and your church. I do not doubt your sincerity or your status as my beloved brother in Christ. I don't think you're a villain or a bad guy.

You should know, though, that there were at least two people offended by "preacherette." I have no beef with you personally, but in my opinion, that terminology is disrespectful.

As you said, let's keep the real "bad guys" the "bad guys." In the end, female preachers are not among them.

Blessings,

Emily

creed said...

The Word! The Word! The Word!

Any spiritual experience must, of course, be veriable from the Scripture to be biblically valid. However, our interpretation often differ. The complete panoply of spiritual gifts are verifiable in the Scripture. However, are all still operational in the Body or have some ceased, i.e., tongues or the so-called prayer language. Be careful when deciding that. In 1st Cor. Paul talks about the women needing to be silent in the Church which seems to be very acceptable in our SBC circles these days, yet in the same context Paul says "do not forbid speaking in tongues." Spiritual gifts are not purely "experiences," and, though I do not have that gift, I must be careful not to discount what the Holy Spirit does in anothers spiritual experience with God.

Sam Creed

Bob Cleveland said...

Alan:

With the caveat that our experience must align with scripture, your question is a bit like asking which wing on an airplane is more important; the right or the left. They are both important. The difference is that the Word trumps experience where they differ. Experience never trumps the Word. And I'm thankful that God gives us that cross-check so we can recognize certain things in our lives as "roadsigns" telling us the Holy Spirit is having His way in our life.

I personally think that the Holy Spirit wants to be as real and experiental in our lives as anything else. I know that's true in my life.

Emily H. M. said...

Alan,

If I may...

I think that your question--"Word or experience?"--presents a false dichotomy. If the Spirit of Christ is in and among us, then experience can serve as one (note: I said, one) tool in the search for truth. One might add to experience the Great Tradition of Christian theology and the right use of human reason. In the end, though, all things must line up under the Living and Written Word of God.

But even that doesn't solve this issue. The Written Word is primary (of course!), but we all are bound to interpret the Word. As I see it, the discussion in the SBC is really not a conflict of experience vs. Word. It is a conflict of interpretation of the Word vs. interpretation of the Word. And, experience is thrown in as added support on both sides. I think the way you phrased the question over-simplifies the matter unnecessarily.

Blessings,

Emily

creed said...

Emily,

Take heart! Might it encourage you to know that Southwestern Seminary graduated the first woman Chaplain of the United States Air Force, who retired after 20 and continued her ministry in the civilian world. I had the pleasure to know her and listen to her preach in Preaching Lab, and at our Church, and to receive our degrees at the same time at Travis Ave Baptist Church. I have no doubt she was called of God.

Alan Cross said...

Emily, Bob, and Creed,

I don't differ with you in the least. I also agree that both the Word and experience are important. However, when people have spiritual experiences that are amazing and make perfect sense to them, you regularly hear others say, "We shouldn't base our relationship with God upon experience, but upon the Word." But, now, when a lack of experience seems to verify an interpretation of the Word for some, then it seems to be alright. I am not promoting a false dichotomy, but am rather revealing that it already exists from one side of the debate to the other. My point is that you cannot appeal to one method of practice when it suits you and then change it when it doesn't.

So, I agree with you with the statement that our experience should flow from Scripture. We should not read our experience back into Scripture. But, what Scripture experientially promotes we should believe and experience.

Bob Cleveland said...

Alan: I think it was Jim Cymbala who observed that we all do what you mentioned, in another form. We look at the Bible from our theological standpoint, and then camp onto those verses which support our position and say "Aha ... see?". But when we come to verses which disagree with us, we explain them away.

That happens all the time with controversial issues like infant baptism, apostolic succession, security of believers, etc. It's easy for me to see that happening since I've been (denominationally) on both sides of several issues. In other words, I have BTDT.

Wade Burleson said...

Rick,

You ask, "Would you mind sharing your view and why you hold to it?

When I read the Scripture I cannot, no matter how hard I try, come to a believe that the Spirits gifts have 'ceased' in the body.

However, I would call myself a textual, cautious continuationist.

I utterly reject any doctrine that places the indwelling and baptism of the Spirit after one's conversion. I also can't swallow 90% of what I see on charismatic television (or more).

But I trust implicitly and affirm without hesitation, the gifts as experienced and described by men like Sam Storms, Dwight McKissic, Alan Cross, Jason Epps, and other continuationists.

I try not to base my theology on anyone's experience, including my own, but I honestly believe cessationists, though they are saved, love the Lord, and are as filled with the Spirit as continuationists, are imposing a theological and philosophical framework onto the text, rather than taking the text at face value.

Though there are abuses of the gifts, I do not deny the gifts to correct the abusers.

Wade Burleson said...

Vofann, I hope you read carefully's M's comment to your question.

Wade Burleson said...

Soon to be SWBTS graduate,

I do agree with you that some come to their beliefs on this subject because of people they admire, and not their own study.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Wade for pointing Mr.Volfan007 back to my comment. I was assured his first question was "is anyone raising the dead out there?" I thought I had said that God did it...

Anyhow... also among this people group was a young man who had been crippled since birth. Yes, he sat around and begged for money since he was able. The nationals went by him one day and felt led to pray for him. He walks now. With a cane, but he walks. When I see this being done by God, I can't deny His power is the same today as always. Humble servants, who just want to see their people come to know the living God and Him be glorified are the ones praying simple prayers. Are they apostles? Does it matter? I think not. God is doing a marvelous work in a very dark place where the roots of Voodism thrive everyday.

It hurts my heart to think that we want to argue over whether it's an apostle or not. It's God and God only.

Honestly, as an M who comes 'back' to America from time to time to speak in churches about what God is doing, I leave out the miraculous. Generally, the average SBC church doesn't want to hear about that. It's too unimaginable for them to grasp. We stick with the things that the average Joe SB can swallow.

So, I hesitated even sharing this. I didn't want it to cause controversy. But, sometimes you just have to swallow the truth.

M with YOUR organization

volfan007 said...

wade,

what do you want me to read more carefully? i have gone back and read anonymous m's response to me again. what is it that you want me to see?

i believe that God can heal the sick...raise the dead...move mountains or anything else that He so chooses to do. i have prayed for many people who were sick, and they have been healed by the Lord. i'm no apostle. i cant lay my hands on them and tell lame people to get up and walk. i cant lay my hands on people and tell the mute to speak and the deaf to hear. i truly wish that i could.
i would go to memphis tomorrow and clear out the hospitals. believe me i would. if i was an apostle, i would stop every funeral in our county. i would love to do that. but alas, i cannot. and, i have never met anyone else that could either.

do you see my dilemma? do you see any apostles around who can do these things? if so, who are they?

again, i write this in love and with deep respect for everyone.

david

Wade Burleson said...

Mr. Volfann,

Nowhere in Scripture do I see 'raising the dead' as a spiritual gift or a manifestation of a spiritual gift -- period.

Argue the text Volfann, not the experiences of people who lived 2,000 years ago or those who live today. We are not talking about raising the dead, we are talking about the gifts of the Spirit.

If you say the 'gifts of healings' (notice it is plural, not singular) would apply to 'raising the dead,' I answer, "It does not."

I believe God raises the dead -- no man -- and God may choose to raise the dead today, but I see that your repeated question, at multiple sites, serves no purpose to the subject at hand.

Anonymous said...

Alycelee,
Thank you for your prayers that you offer up everyday on ALL our behalf. And, thank you for wanting to pray for my family in a more personal way. I now work in an area where our security is of upmost concern. Only close friends know where we are and what we are doing. I really am not at liberty to give you personal details. Just know that we live in a very spiritually dark place. I trust you will know how to pray from that.

M with YOUR organization

Thank you Wade for allowing me to communicate with Alycelee in this manner.

Anonymous said...

Rex Ray said…
Volfan,
Did you have an ‘EXPERIENCE’ when you were saved? I was saved when I was very young, and I can guarantee my theology was very lacking.

So, was I saved by my experience of asking Jesus to save me, or was I still lost because I didn’t know the Bible?

Do you believe someone who has an experience of God’s gift of ‘tongues’ does NOT have an experience of receiving that gift because it doesn’t fit your interpretation of Scripture?

It’s been said, NO ONE WHO HAS HAD AN EXPERIENCE IS AT THE MERCY OF ONE WHO HAS ONLY A THEORY.

BTW, a lot of nice people in this world are wrong. I've been there.

Alan Cross said...

VolFan (David),

What you are describing did not happen in the Bible either. I see no place where the Apostles went around emptying out every hospital and cancelling all the funerals. I do see times when all the sick were healed, but I don't think that it was ever as extensive as you claim.

By the way, have you read the statements of Ireneaus or St. Augustine on these issues? They lived in the 2nd and 5th centuries and saw many miracles. They wrote about it and I shared it in my presentation at the conference. But, it seems that their testimonies are dismissed as well.

Anonymous M,

Thank you so much for sharing! Please share these stories with us. We need to hear what God is doing all around the world. A big source of the problem that we face is that we do not properly hear the stories, or when we do, no one gives them any credibility. You give credibility and it makes a HUGE difference. May God richly bless you!

R. L. Vaughn said...

Wade, thanks for posting this so those of us out here in internet land can see and understand some of the discussion that took place at the conference.

Can you or someone else explain Sam Storms' number 9 under bad reasons -- the so-called "cluster" argument?

Thanks.

Debbie said...

volf: It seems you are confusing what M was talking about and the TBN version. What I believe is that God can do what he wants, when he wants. It's not a matter of gifts as Wade as explained, it's a matter of God using certain means to show who he is. I believe this is what happens in the mission fields many times more than you know witnessed by missionaries who like M will not tell because of reactions like yours. We cannot Americanize God. He wont' be an American version of who we think he is.

Anonymous said...

Alan,
Thank you for your encouragement. I thought a little more on why we don't share the "miraculous". One thing is the time that we have to share what God is doing during the time 'alotted' is limited. We want to communicate what is the overall picture of what we have seen and experienced. Anyhow, continualist know it's going on. Cessationist get caught up in that particular thing and usually don't catch what else you have said. So, I would say that another reason we don't share those things is, it's more of a distracter rather than an enhancer to the story we are trying to tell. That story is about God and his encounter with people and their changed lives. It's about how those that give help change those lives by sending those who God has called out to make that move.

As far as giving things credibility... I fear that is changing as the attacks on IMB leadership and those on the front lines continue from leadership within the SBC entities. Enough said for now...

Pray for YOUR organization that we will have the strength and courage to continue our race. May God bless you all as you try to open the eyes of those who can't see or will not look.

M with YOUR organization

bryan riley said...

David, where is the notion that raising the dead is something only apostles can do? I think it is the Holy Spirit (God) who raises the dead. He just gifts one who has faith to accomplish His purpose. Praise God, not the apostle or other "sent one" who happens to be so gifted at the right time and right place to accomplish His purpose.

I have heard many testimonies of dead being raised. You can doubt. I believe.

bryan riley said...

David, check out "Faith Like Potatoes," a fantastic movie made in South Africa about a Scottish man who becomes a preacher...

Alycelee said...

M-
I appreciate the need for security.
I know enough to pray and will.
I really do appreciate your comments here and like Alan, I'm encouraged to hear what God is doing on the mission field.
I have pictures in my dining room of people in foreign countries being baptized, at the risk of being killed. I look at those pictures every day and realize how easy our life is here. But it inspires me to pray for these people and for people like you who are risking to serve.
I ALWAYS listen and read carefully comments from missionaries. When I pray, I feel connected to you and all that God is doing there.
So-today, I pray the blessings of God on you, your family and your ministry and purpose. Thank you for your faithful service to God.
Agape
Alycelee

S.A.M. said...

God shows His power when He chooses, in order to show His power. On my blog, I posted about a hindu doctor in South Asia, who drank alcohol. He refused to believe in Jesus after having a local pastor share with him. Later, a patient he was operating on died. Knowing his medical career might be over, he prayed to Jesus to make the man live again. As he prayed, the man came back to life. Since then, the doctor has been a follower of Christ, and his wife and children have accepted Christ as well. Last week I met this man. He is a complete 100% follower of Jesus. Why? Answered prayer and God showing His power to bring one to know Him. He has committed to sharing Jesus with all people who come for treatment in his clinic. He also hosts a house church and invites everyone he knows. God showed his power, and now MANY are coming to know Jesus and being added to our numbers. Praise the Lord!
SAM

Paul Burleson said...

nnWade,

I think it would be fair to say that even among the continualists there might be differing opinions about the gifts. I for one do not doubt the "can" of God doing miracles or the "is" God doing miracles. I'm convinced of both and rejoice to have seen some pretty miraculous things on occasion.

I do hope that we never lose the ability to see God in the "ordinary" however as we will miss much that God is about.

I love that 1 Corinthians passage where Paul declared "all things are yours." I know he was refering to himself, Peter and Apollos being gifts to the Corinthian Church, but he went on to declare some pretty amazing things are ours like the world, life, death, things present...etc.

I know some people who see God ONLY in the miraculous. He is there of course. Then I know some people who see the natural world trusting only what their five senses can comprehend and often missing God. He's there and can/does often work the miraculous however.

The first group misses half of life by not seeing God in the ordinary and the second group misses half of life by refusing to see God in the miraculous.

I love this quote..."The trained spirit sees God in and as the source of ALL of life, the miraculous and the natural, and celebrates it ALL as a gift and as God's realm of reality."

This is why the reality of God is present, to me, in awesome wonder in a trip with the family to the beach as well as when that family gathers on the Lord's day to celebrate His resurrection. We live in a mixture of the natural and supernatural and celebrate God in it all.

Our debate about the cessation/continuation of the gifts of the Spirit and the working of miracles must never lose sight of this IMHO.

Paul Burleson said...

I don't have a clue why I stuttered writing your name. Sorry. :)

Sam Storms said...

I noticed that someone asked what I meant by the so-called "cluster" argument. The following is taken from my contribution to the book "Are Miraculous Gifts for Today? Four Views."

The argument is that signs, wonders and miracles were not customary phenomena even in biblical times. Rather, they were clustered or concentrated at critical moments of revelatory activity in redemptive history. John MacArthur is today an outspoken advocate of this argument:

“Most biblical miracles happened in three relatively brief periods of Bible history: in the days of Moses and Joshua, during the ministries of Elijah and Elisha, and in the time of Christ and the apostles. None of those periods lasted much more than a hundred years. Each of them saw a proliferation of miracles unheard of in other eras. . . . Aside from those three intervals, the only supernatural events recorded in Scripture were isolated incidents."

Several things may be said in response to this argument.

First, at most this might suggest that in three periods of redemptive history miraculous phenomena were more prevalent than in other times. It does not prove that miraculous phenomena in other times were non-existent. Nor does it prove that an increase in the frequency of miraculous phenomena could not appear in subsequent phases of redemptive history.

Second, for this to be a substantive argument one must explain not only why miraculous phenomena were prevalent in these three periods but also why they were, allegedly, infrequent or, to use MacArthur’s term, “isolated,” in all other periods. If miraculous phenomena were infrequent in other periods, a point I concede here only for the sake of argument, one would need to ascertain why. Could it be that the relative infrequency of the miraculous was due to the rebellion, unbelief, and apostasy rampant in Israel throughout much of her history (cf. Pss. 74:9-11; 77:7-14)? Let us not forget that even Jesus “could do no miracle there [in Nazareth] except that He laid His hands upon a few sick people and healed them” (Mark 6:5), all because of their unbelief (at which, we are told, Jesus “wondered”, v. 6). The point is that the comparative isolation of the miraculous in certain periods of OT history could be due more to the recalcitrance of God’s people than to any supposed theological principle that dictates as normative a paucity of supernatural manifestations.

Third, there were no cessationists in the Old Testament. No one is ever found to argue that since miraculous phenomena were “clustered” at selected points in redemptive history we should not expect God to display his power in some other day. In other words, at no point in OT history did miracles cease. That they may have subsided is possible. But this proves only that in some periods God is pleased to work miraculously with greater frequency than he is in others.

The fact that miracles do appear throughout the course of redemptive history, whether sporadically or otherwise, proves that miracles never ceased. How, then, can the prevalence of miracles in three periods of history be an argument for cessationism? In other words, how does the existence of miracles in every age of redemptive history serve to argue against the existence of miracles in our age? The occurrence of miraculous phenomena throughout biblical history, however infrequent and isolated, cannot prove the non-occurrence of miraculous phenomena in post-biblical times. The continuation of miraculous phenomena then is not an argument for the cessation of miraculous phenomena now. The fact that in certain periods of redemptive history few miracles are recorded proves only two things: first, that miracles did occur and, second, that few of them were recorded. It does not prove that only a few actually occurred.

Fourth, the assertion that miraculous phenomena outside these three special periods were isolated is not altogether accurate. One can make this argument only by defining the miraculous so narrowly as to eliminate a vast number of recorded supernatural phenomena that otherwise might qualify. MacArthur insists that to qualify as a miracle the extraordinary event must occur “through human agency” and must serve to “authenticate” the messenger through whom God is revealing some truth. In this way one is able to exclude as miraculous any supernatural phenomenon that occurs apart from human agency and any supernatural phenomenon unrelated to the revelatory activity of God. Thus, if no revelation is occurring in that period of redemptive history under consideration, no supernatural phenomena recorded in that era can possibly meet the criteria for what constitutes a miracle. On such a narrow definition of a miracle it thus becomes easy to say they were isolated or infrequent.

But if “human agency” or a “gifted” individual is required before an event can be called miraculous, what becomes of the virgin birth and resurrection of Jesus? What about the resurrection of the saints mentioned in Matthew 27:52-53 or Peter’s deliverance from jail in Acts 12? Was the instantaneous death of Herod in Acts 12:23 not a miracle because the agency was angelic? Was the earthquake that opened the prison in which Paul and Silas were housed not a miracle because God did it himself, directly? Was Paul’s deliverance from the venom of a viper (Acts 28) not a miracle simply because no human agency was utilized in his preservation? To define as a miracle only those supernatural phenomena involving human agency is arbitrary. It is a case of special pleading, conceived principally because it provides a way of reducing the frequency of the miraculous in the biblical record.

Is it the case that miracles always accompany divine revelation as a means of attestation? That miracles confirm and authenticate the divine message is certainly true. But to reduce the purpose of miracles to this one function is to ignore other reasons for which God ordained them. The association of the miraculous with divine revelation becomes an argument for cessationism only if the Bible restricts the function of a miracle to attestation. And such the Bible does not do.

My reading of the OT reveals a consistent pattern of supernatural manifestations in the affairs of humanity. In addition to the multitude of miracles during the lifetime of Moses, Joshua, Elijah, and Elisha, we see numerous instances of angelic activity, supernatural visitations and revelatory activity, healings, dreams, visions and the like. Once the arbitrary restrictions on the definition of a miracle are removed, a different picture of OT religious life emerges.

Two other factors indicate that miraculous phenomena were not as isolated and infrequent as some allege.

First, there is the assertion of Jeremiah 32:20 in which the prophet speaks of God who “sets signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, and even to this day both in Israel and among mankind; and Thou hast made a name for Thyself, as at this day.” This text alerts us to the danger of arguing from silence. The fact that from the time of the Exodus to the Captivity fewer instances of signs and wonders are recorded does not mean they did not occur. Jeremiah insists they did. One might compare this with the danger of asserting that Jesus did not perform a particular miracle or do so with any degree of frequency simply because the gospels fail to record it. John tells us explicitly that Jesus performed “many other signs . . . in the presence of the disciples” which he did not include in his gospel account” (John 20:30) as well as “many other things which Jesus did” that were impossible to record in detail (John 21:25).

Second, most cessationists insist that NT and OT prophecy are the same. They also readily acknowledge that NT prophecy was a “miracle” gift. If OT prophecy was of the same nature, then we have an example of a miraculous phenomenon recurring throughout the course of Israel’s history. In every age of Israel’s existence in which there was prophetic activity there was miraculous activity. What then becomes of the assertion that miracles, even on the narrow definition, were infrequent and isolated?

It would appear, then, that the argument for cesssationism which appeals to the notion of miraculous phenomena as clustered, and therefore isolated, in redemptive history, is neither biblically defensible nor logically persuasive.

Bob Cleveland said...

Wade: A side glance about the "gifts".

Everybody confesses that the Holy Spirit lives in us. How many gifts does HE have? Was HE involved in raising the dead, healing the sick, etc? I maintain He has them all (gifts of the Spirit, or Spiritual gifts, HELLO!) and can manifest any of them He wants to, any time He wants. And since God already told me I don't know how to pray, but the the Holy Spirit (HELLO again) would interpret the prayers for me, pray tell me what I am NOT suppose to ask God for, or think that He CANNOT do through me?

Wade Burleson said...

Sam,

Thanks for the information. One of our staff members has a Th.M from Dallas Seminary and I couldn't help but smile as he went through the arguments against continuationism. He used the 'cluster' argument, the 'gifts were for the foundation of the church' argument, etc . . .

Sounds like you and he were educated alike - because you refute in all 12 points the very things he mentioned in our discussion on this subject. By the way, he is a wonderful staff member and I really enjoy coteaching with him on Wednesday nights. I wish all SBC people with differeing views could cooperate like us.

creed said...

Bob, I'm agreeable. Jesus said on one occasion to His Disciples, and I am saying that extends to the Body today, that they would do greater things than He. The only way any follower of Christ could do greater than He would be by the power of the Holy Spirit who indwells and fills. It seems the spiritual gifts follow the pattern of ministry that Jesus exampled. The greater things now need our attention and interpretation.

Alan Cross said...

Bob,

You nailed it. That is what Dr. Storms preached on Saturday night and it was amazing.

I would encourage EVERYONE to get Dr. Storms message at Cornerstone on the Saturday night of the conference. It will change your life and view of all of this.

Sam, if you read this, I hope that you will make that message available through your ministry as well. It was amazing.

volfan007 said...

well, i figured that many in this blog room would not agree with me. but, that's alright. i dont agree with yall either. but, i have nothing but love in my heart.

now, let me say that many of you dont seem to be reading what i'm writing. i believe that God can heal the sick in answer to our prayers. i beleive that God can raise the dead in answer to our prayers. i believe that God can move mountains if He wants to. i'm not doubting God's ability to do any of these things in our day and time. i've seen God bring healing to people when we've prayed for them.

but, the apostles did have the ability to do many signs and wonders amongst the people. acts 2:43...5:12...2 cor. 12:12....and there are more.

paul raised someone from the dead on his command. acts 20.

peter and the other apostles healed many people on command. all you have to do is read the book of acts to see this. it's all thru it.

i still dont see any apostles around today who have that ability. i'm not talking about praying for someone and God heals them, or even raises them from the dead. i'm talking about someone with the apostolic gift who can heal the sick and raise the dead on command. where are they? if the continualist position is right, then there ought to be some apostles around who can do these wonderous sign miracles...correct?

in love,

david

R. L. Vaughn said...

Sam, thanks for going into detail concerning the "cluster argument". I am familiar with the idea, but guess I hadn't heard it focused under that particular terminology.

Anonymous said...

Volfan (David):
I'm curious about how you define the term "apostle?"

Dr. Storms:
I have admired you from a distance for several years now. Your writing is very helpful.

About the "cluster argument," Jack Deere obliterates MacArthur's use of it in his book "Surprised by the Power of the Spirit." I consider that book to be "ground zero" in researching the continuationist/cessationist debate (after the Scriptures, of course).

I've always wondered why some cessations are quick to dismiss the sign gifts because of misuse and abuse, but seldom publicly admit that the non-sign gifts can also be abused and use wrongly. It's an obvious double-standard.

Trevor Davis

bryan riley said...

DAvid, I understood you. I'm saying that being an apostle didn't mean they could do all those things automatically. From time to time we see recordations of those events happening through apostles, yes. Today, we see them happening throughout the world. Are the ones who are doing it apostles? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Perhaps they are just gifted to heal in that moment. I agree with Trevor's question also... how do you define apostle? I'm assuming you say the first 12, plus Paul and maybe plus Matthias. But... I'm not sure...

Debbie said...

I would like to answer ml's post of yesterday concerning John 20:29.

Joh 20:29 Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."


ml: Jesus is speaking concerning himself. Context is important.

Debbie said...

In fact ml, read the verses directly below this.

Anonymous said...

trevor,

the greek word for apostle means "one sent forth" according to vines. i believe that the twelve...the eleven plus the one they picked to replace judas(matthias) plus paul(one born out of time)...were the apostles that i'm talking about. the one's whom the Lord used to get the church going, to teach it how to believe and practice, and to write the nt. these are the ones who could do the wonders and signs...healing and raising the dead. it would authenticate thier authority to teach and lead the church, and to write the nt. these are the ones that eph. 2:20 is about.

i know that the word can also possibly be used for missionaries...depending on the context. barnabas was called an apostle...he was not one of the twelve. but, he was a missionary. he was a sent one.

i look upon the gift of apostles mentioned in corinthians as possibly being missionaries, or it could be referring to the twelve. if its referring to the twelve, then there are no more apostles. this gift ended when the twelve died. but, if this means a missionary who has the ability to go to foreign countries and different cultures and start churches, then they certainly do still exist. they are not the twelve though, nor do they have the ability of the twelve to do signs and wonders.

john mcarthur believes that the twelve plus paul were called the "apostles of Jesus Christ," which set them apart from barnabas and the others called "apostles of the church." he believes that both of these apostles ended when they all died. they were not replaced. i lean this way myself, but i am open to apostles being missionaries. david rogers made a good case for that a while back.


david(volfan007)

Baptist Theologue said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Baptist Theologue said...

Dr. Storms,

In Wade’s May 1st post summarizing your outline, point 1 was interesting: “The first bad reason for being a Cessationist is an appeal to 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 on the assumption that the ‘perfect’ is something other or less than the fullness of the eternal state ushered in at the second coming of Jesus Christ.” I noticed that your points made in your essay, “A Third Wave View” in “Are Miraculous Gifts For Today? 4 Views,” were very similar to those mentioned by Wade. In the essay you stated, “I remain convinced that 1 Corinthians 13:8-13 dates the cessation of the charismata at the perfection of the eternal state, consequent upon Christ’s return” (page 206). You mentioned MacArthur in your last comment in this column, and I am curious to know your reaction to the argument made by MacArthur and others that 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 puts tongues in a different category from that of knowledge and prophecy, and thus tongues cease before the second coming. The basic argument follows:

Four things distinguish tongues from prophecy and knowledge in the passage: the use of the middle voice for “cease” with tongues rather than the passive voice for “done away” with prophecy and knowledge in verse 8, the use of the verb “cease” (pauo, παύω) with tongues instead of the verb “done away” (katargeo, καταργέω) used with prophecy and knowledge, the fact that verse 9 omits tongues but says that prophecy and knowledge are partial, and the fact that verse 10 uses the same verb (“done away”) as verse 8 for prophecy and knowledge. That's four strikes that indicate that the gift of tongues is in a different category. Paul was saying that biblical tongues would cease by themselves (middle voice), but prophecy and knowledge would be stopped (passive voice) when the perfect comes. “The perfect” is indeed the second coming of Christ. Thus, Paul was saying that the gifts of prophecy and knowledge will be stopped when Christ returns, but tongues would stop by themselves at some point prior to His return.

Best wishes,
Mike Morris (aka BT)

Alan Cross said...

Mike (BT),

Even if that is so, the question remains, when will that happen?

And, what about 1 Cor. 1:7?

Baptist Theologue said...

Alan, the Bible does not give us the date for cessation of biblical tongues, but it’s clear that it is before the second coming of Christ. In order to discuss the cessation of biblical tongues, we first have to agree on a definition of biblical tongues, and I don’t think that you and I agree on that definition. In regard to 1 Corinthians 1:7, notice the passage:

“7 so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (NASB)

The question you seem to imply by citing this passage is in regard to whether all the gifts would continue for the Corinthian believers until the second coming. They were not lacking in any gift (1:7), and the believers would be confirmed to the end (1:8). It seems to me that the focus was on the believers, not their gifts. The Greek scholar A. T. Robertson commented on 1:8: “End of the age till Jesus comes, final preservation of the saints.” If Paul had said in verse 8 that their gifts would be confirmed to the end, I would agree with you.

If Paul believed that tongues would last until the second coming, then I think he would have included them in the statement he made about prophecy and knowledge in 1 Corinthians 13:9. Instead, he indicated that tongues were in a different category.

If their gifts were intimately connected to the believers, and if the believers were the ones who would be confirmed to the second coming, then the following must be true:

1. The Corinthian believers died physically, but their spirits were preserved.

2. Their physical bodies were dead in the grave. Their bodies have not yet been resurrected. Thus, their vocal cords no longer function. In their spiritual existence in heaven at the present time, they cannot speak in tongues as they could when they were physically alive on earth.

3. If their gift of tongues is not now operable, then it follows that their gift of tongues is not confirmed with them to the end (1:8).

othoniel a valdes sr said...

One good reason to ignore Dr. Sam
Storms reasonings :
1900 plus years of church history
and bible interpretation

Wade Burleson said...

1900 good reasons to ignore Mr. Valdez Sr. comment include a lack of knowledge of who he is, where he preaches, and his involvement in the SBC.

Sam Storms said...

Dear Mike,

For the sake of time, allow me to cite the comments of D. A. Carson on this point as found in his book "Showing the Spirit" (Baker).

As you know, the argument is that since the verb "cease" or "stop" is in the middle voice it means that "tongues will cease of themselves." In other words, the argument is that "there is something intrinsic to their character that demands they cease -- apparently independently of the cessation of prophecy and knowledge. This view [writes Carson] assumes without warrant that the switch to this verb is more than a sylistic variation. Worse, it interprets the middle voice irresponsibly. In Hellenistic Greek, the middle voice affects the meaning of the verb in a variety of ways; and not only in the future of some verbs, where middles are more common, but also in other tenses the middle form may be used while the active force is preserved. At such points the verb is deponent. One knows what force the middle voice has only by careful inspection of all occurrences of the verb being studied. In the New Testament, this verb prefers the middle; but that does not mean the subject 'stops' under its own power. For instance, when Jesus rebukes the wind and raging waters, the storm 'stops' (same verb, middle voice in Luke 8:24) -- and certainly not under its own power" (66-67).

Carson then responds to an argument similar to yours that comes from Thomas Edgar. Here is what he says.

"Edgar is not the only writer who believes there is great significance in the fact that tongues are not mentioned in verses 9-10; but he is probably the most lucid and dogmatic. Nevertheless, against his proposal weigh the following factors. First, must Paul mention all three - prophecy, knowledge, and tongues - repeatedly throughout these verses? One might as easily argue that in verse 12, where Paul writes, 'Now I know in part; then I shall know fully,' that prophecy has so dropped from view that it too must be excluded from the discussion. Must Paul be a stylistic pedant? Second, what applies to the content of prophecy, including the partial-versus-complete contrast, surely applies to the content of tongues once it is assumed that tongues are interpreted (see especially 14:5).

In short, I do not think that very much can be made of the use of 'pausontai' in verse 8, any more than one can make much of other stylistic features that regularly escape detailed comment (e.g., prophecy and knowledge change their order when Paul moves from v. 8 to v. 9)" (67).

I hope this helps. I encourage everyone to read Carson's full treatment of 1 Cor. 13 in this book. Blessings,

Sam

R. L. Vaughn said...

Comment: "1900 good reasons to ignore Mr. Valdez Sr. comment include a lack of knowledge of who he is, where he preaches, and his involvement in the SBC."

Follow-up: Othoniel Valdes is the Church Planting Director of the Tampa Bay Baptist Association. (I have no knowledge whether he is the one actually posting the comment.)
Florida Baptist Witness article

Question: Wade, I have posted randomly on your blog ever since someone gave a link to it on the Baptist Board. I am not in the SBC and have never made any pretense that I am (though perhaps I've never thought to discuss it; don't remember if it came up). Anyway in view of full disclosure and of being sure I am not violating any etiquette or trespassing I am mentioning this and asking whether you want the input of those not in the SBC? Thanks.

Sam,
Carson's book is great. I also highly recommend it to anyone who wants to think about this issue (even though I don't agree with several of his conclusions).

Baptist Theologue said...

Sam, thanks for your response. Daniel Wallace’s Greek grammar book is used in two-thirds of the schools that teach Greek. He had a pretty good discussion on 1 Corinthians 13:8, and he concluded that the use of middle voice there is more than stylistic:

“If the voice of the verb here is significant, then Paul is saying either that tongues will cut themselves off (direct middle) or, more likely, cease of their own accord, i.e., ‘die out’ without an intervening agent (indirect middle). It may be significant that with reference to prophecy and knowledge, Paul used a different verb (κατάργέω) and put it in the passive voice. In vv 9-10, the argument continues: ‘for we know in part and we prophecy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial shall be done away [καταργηθήσονται].’ Here again, Paul uses the same passive verb he had used with prophecy and knowledge and he speaks of the verbal counterpart to the nominal ‘prophecy’ and ‘knowledge.’ Yet he does not speak about tongues being done away ‘when the perfect comes.’ The implication may be that tongues were to have ‘died out’ of their own before the perfect comes. The middle voice in this text, then, must be wrestled with if one is to come to any conclusions about when tongues would cease. The dominant opinion among NT scholars today, however, is that παύσονται is not an indirect middle. The argument is that παύω in the future is deponent, and that the change in verbs is merely stylistic. If so, then this text makes no comment about tongues ceasing on their own, apart from the intervention of ‘the perfect.’ There are three arguments against the deponent view, however. First, if παύσονται is deponent, then the second principal part (future form) should not occur in the active voice in Hellenistic Greek. But it does, and it does so frequently. Luke 8:24 is brought into the discussion: Jesus rebuked the wind and sea and they ceased (επαύσαντο, aorist middle) from their turbulence. The argument is that inanimate objects cannot cease of their own accord; therefore, the middle of παύω is equivalent to a passive. But this is a misunderstanding of the literary features of the passage: If the wind and sea cannot cease voluntarily, why does Jesus rebuke them? And why do the disciples speak of the wind and the sea as having obeyed Jesus? The elements are personified in Luke 8 and their ceasing from turbulence is therefore presented as volitional obedience to Jesus. If anything, Luke 8:24 supports the indirect middle view. Third, the idea of a deponent verb is that it is middle in form, but active in meaning. But παύσονται is surrounded by passives in 1 Cor. 13:8, not actives. The real force of παύω in the middle is intransitive, while in the active it is transitive. In the active it has the force of stopping some other object; in the middle, it ceases from its own activity. In sum, the deponent view is based on some faulty assumptions as to the labeling of παύσονται as deponent, the parallel in Luke 8:24, and even the meaning of deponency. Paul seems to be making a point that is more than stylistic in his shift in verbs. But this is not to say that the middle voice in 1 Cor. 13:8 proves that tongues already ceased! This verse does not specifically address when tongues would cease, although it is giving a terminus ad quem: when the perfect comes.”

Daniel Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996), 422-423.

Wade Burleson said...

r.l. vaughn,

You are always welcome and I appreciate the information on Mr. Valdez Sr.

Thanks to you there are now only 1899 reasons to ignore Mr. Valdez' comment.

:)

Wade

P.S. I hope everyone can see my tongue in cheek approach to Mr. Valdez. On the more serious side, he must obviously be unaware of Augustine's dying recantation of cessationism, the writings of many of the early church fathers on the subject, and the accpetance of continuationsim by multiple theologians in the middle ages. Mr. Valdez is welcome to comment.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Obviously, I missed it! :-( But I can be quite obtuse at times. Thanks.

Alan Cross said...

Mike (BT),

You said:

The question you seem to imply by citing this passage is in regard to whether all the gifts would continue for the Corinthian believers until the second coming. They were not lacking in any gift (1:7), and the believers would be confirmed to the end (1:8). It seems to me that the focus was on the believers, not their gifts. The Greek scholar A. T. Robertson commented on 1:8: “End of the age till Jesus comes, final preservation of the saints.” If Paul had said in verse 8 that their gifts would be confirmed to the end, I would agree with you.

Do you really think that is what God intended to say? That seems fairly convoluted. I see it as saying that the BELIEVERS are not lacking ANY GIFT as they wait for Jesus to be revealled. The believers can still be the subject waiting for the end. I really do believe that Paul attached the gifts to them while they waited for the coming of Christ.

I really don't think that you can possibly see things this way unless you start from a cessationist hermeneutic to begin with. In my opinion, you are reading a great deal into the text to make it say what you like. But, you accuse me of doing the same, so don't take offense. :)

On another note, are cessationists planning to prove infallibly their position? Will it be codified into our confession of faith? All that I ask is that the continuationist position be given fair play, not that every believe it. It seems that the cessationist asks for much more: total conformity to their views. That is what is most troubling.

Baptist Theologue said...

Alan, in regard to 1 Corinthians 1:7-8, you stated,

“I really do believe that Paul attached the gifts to them while they waited for the coming of Christ.”

Paul was speaking to the Corinthian Christians while they were alive. After physical death their vocal cords weren’t working, and thus they could no longer speak in tongues. The Corinthians Christians are preserved spiritually at the present time, but their gift of tongues is not. I don’t think that an interpreter must start from a cessationist viewpoint to understand this point.

You asked,

“On another note, are cessationists planning to prove infallibly their position? Will it be codified into our confession of faith?”

I of course cannot speak for all cessationists and semi-cessationists in the SBC. (By the way, I don’t think we all have the same definitions for “cessationist” and “semi-cessationist.”) Here’s the problem that I see. In the 1970s a few SBC churches became charismatic in their orientation. Their influence did not extend very far, and associations handled the individual situations. The associations could not force the churches to change because the churches were and are autonomous. The associations are also autonomous, however, and therefore they could distance themselves officially from what they considered to be unbiblical theology. The same thing has occurred with other issues such as female pastors, homosexuality, etc. The situation now, however, is quite different than it was in the 1970s. Because of the important issues with NAMB and the IMB, and because of the widespread discussion of the issues via the Internet and traditional media sources, the problem is no longer local; rather, it is denominational in scope. If our denomination makes no official statement about “modern tongues” at this time, then by its silence it indicates that it accepts the “modern tongues,” and thus it will be viewed as a de facto charismatic denomination. I do not believe that most Southern Baptists accept “modern tongues.” The preamble to the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message says that confessions of faith “constitute a consensus of opinion of some Baptist body, large or small,” and it also says that “Baptists should hold themselves free to revise their statements of faith as may seem to them wise and expedient at any time.” I have cooperated with non-Baptist Christians during my time as a minister in America and as an IMB missionary overseas, but when the time came to plant churches, I believed that churches with distinctively Baptist beliefs were the best choice. I feel that our confession of faith should carefully define what the SBC’s beliefs are to the world. Again, the 2000 BF&M states, “Baptist churches, associations, and general bodies have adopted confessions of faith as a witness to the world, and as instruments of doctrinal accountability.” I think the time has come to declare to the world what the consensus position of the SBC is regarding “modern tongues.” Thus, I am in favor of such an addition to the BF&M.

Alan Cross said...

BT,

You said,

"Paul was speaking to the Corinthian Christians while they were alive. After physical death their vocal cords weren’t working, and thus they could no longer speak in tongues. The Corinthians Christians are preserved spiritually at the present time, but their gift of tongues is not. I don’t think that an interpreter must start from a cessationist viewpoint to understand this point."

No offense, Mike, but that is just about the furthest stretch I have seen yet in this debate. As we read the New Testament, we know that Paul wrote as though the return of Christ was immanent. We have no idea when Jesus will return. It could be today, it could be next week, it could be 1000 years from now. What you are claiming for Paul's intent in this passage is amazing and can only be arrived at if you start with a cessationist hermenuetic, in my humble opinion.

As far as you desire to codify this in the BF&M, I think you should go for it if you feel that strongly about it.

Baptist Theologue said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Baptist Theologue said...

Alan, let’s look at the passage again:

“7 so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (NASB)

Notice the verb tenses:

“You are not lacking in any gift.” (present tense)
“awaiting eagerly the revelation” (present tense)
“who will also confirm you to the end” (future tense)

Thus, Paul was discussing their current state in verse 7 as they currently had gifts and currently waited eagerly for the Lord’s revelation. Paul used the future tense in verse 8 to say that Jesus would confirm them, not their gifts, to the end. Paul did not know when the return of Christ would occur. He was simply saying that the Corinthian Christians, living at that time, would be preserved in the future. Paul made no statement about their gifts being preserved. I am making no claim for Paul’s intent beyond what is in the text. His statement about their gifts was made in the present tense, and it referred to their condition at the time he wrote the letter. At that time they were not lacking in any gift.

country baptist preacher said...

A GIFT IS NEVER AN ON/OFF SWITCH CONTROLLED BY HUMANS.... IT IS CONTROLLED BY GOD.

On the subject of raising the dead......I submit that some are in the mode of believing that if they have not personally witnessed it, or if it hasn't been seen on the evening news, then it can not exist.

Imagine what would happen if you prayed for a person who just died and GOD DECIDED to honor your faith and GOD GIVES the person life on earth for a while longer.

It would be a madhouse, the press would investigate you, slander you, hound you, stalk you, and call you phony. The denominations would call you a phony and might even kick you out.

WHEN ALL YOU DID WAS PRAY!

I submit that it does happen here in the states and is held very discreet and private for those reasons.

I personally know of a case in a small southern town where a woman that I know had a heart attack during church. She was in her 70's, a widow, pastors wife and has sons that are pastors. Truly a godly woman.

She was rushed to the small hospital about a mile away and the pastor began praying very loud. "Oh god, don't take her yet, her work is not done yet.

The majority of the members (about 200) were there in the hospital and praying.

Her death cetificate said she was dead 37 minutes when GOD DECIDED, he would leave her here a while longer. All members agreed to not publish this. When word leaked out, all the locals rediculed us but understood that if it leaked to the city press we would all suffer. One reporter came and didn't find out much.


Months later I asked her about it. Said there were no bright lights or anything like it. She felt incredible peace and THE LORD told her she had been faithful and her work was not finished.
That work was a new church, a private school grades 1-12 and a new senior housing. All were built with her leadership and quite a bit of her money.

I also know first hand of a 3 year old who was killed in an accident and his father began praying at the scene. After being pronounced dead at the site and transproted to the hospital, THE LORD answered the prayers. That young man lives locally and is married and has children now. He still has the scar that split his head in the accident.

A gift is never a switch controlled by humans, but GOD.

May we all let God be God
CBP

Michael H said...

I suggest a read called 'the Heavenly Man'.
it's the bio of a certain Chinese apostle who fasted for 70 days in prison , refusing all food or drink. interesting read.
Michael

Alan Cross said...

BT,

If we did Biblical interpretation on other issues this way, the Bible would be an incredible confusing mess. You are separating what Paul does not separate. You are looking at the verse through a cessationist lense and are drawing your own conclusions. What you are stating is NOT in the text, but it is something that you have added to it to suit your ends. I want to give you respect by saying that I don't think you are intentionally doing this, but it appears obvious to me.

You arbitrarily separate what Paul purposefully joined together. He joined the Corinthian believer and their gifts together in verse 7. Just because he didn't mention the gifts again in verse 8 when he said "you," in no way means that he was saying that they, not their gifts would be confirmed. I know that the context of Romans 11:29 is Israel and it's place in God's plan of election, but it does say "The gifts and calling of God are without repentance." That idea should at least inform this discussion on whether or not God separates the gifts he gives from the recipients in the way you have described.

Since Paul joined the believer and his gifts together in verse 7, it makes perfect sense that when he says "you" after that, the gifts would be included. It would be like if I gave you a heavy winter coat and said, "Here is your coat that you can wear. Now, put it on. We are going downtown later and you will be coming with me." Just because I mentioned "you" without mentioning the coat does not in any way mean that I do not expect you to wear the coat downtown. The coat is assumed because it is a part of you, it is on your person. I gave it to you because I knew you would need it.

When I read cessationist arguments I continually encounter interpretations like this and they are shocking. Can you really think that you can convince anyone using this type of logic? And, even if you can, do you really think that it is strong enough to enforce in the entire convention?

Sam Storms said...

Mike,

I'm quite aware of Dan Wallace's argument. Dan is a close friend of mine and was a couple of years behind me at Dallas Seminary. As you can see from his statement, he acknowledges that his view is in the minority. The fact is that we have here a case in which incredibly gifted Greek scholars disagree. Dan is extremely smart and knows Greek far better than most (certainly better than I do). However, equal to the task are such NT scholars as D. A. Carson, Gordon Fee, Anthony Thiselton, David Garland, Craig Blomberg, Craig Keener, Richard Hays, all whose commentaries on 1 Corinthians take a different view from that found in Wallace. I should also continue to point out the other contextual arguments against his view, as noted in my previous e-mail. Needless to say, this all makes for interesting discussion, but in the final analysis does little if anything to help us know when tongues will cease, other than that they will most assuredly not be operative in the eternal state, i.e., when the perfect comes! Blessings.

Alan Cross said...

Mike,

Sam was much nicer than I was in his response. I got a bit testy there. Sorry. I do respect you and have enjoyed our debates. That particular interpretation was quite frustrating for me in that I can't believe that it is taken seriously. I'll work on that.

Grace and Peace

Baptist Theologue said...

Sam, thanks again for your response. Alan, no offense taken. I love both of you in Christ.

Anonymous said...

country bapt. preacher,

i dont think that you will find many cessationists who dont believe that God can heal people, or that He can raise the dead. most everyone of the cessationists that i know believe that God can heal the sick and raise the dead in our day and time. that's not the issue as far as i am concerned.

david(volfan007)

Sam Storms said...

Mike,

I just heard back from Don Carson who, unfortunately, is on his way to Australia and doesn't have time to comment on this issue. But he promised me he would do so upon his return. He noted that the issue of "deponency" is extremely difficult and that he remains "thoroughly unpersuaded" by Dan Wallace's arguments. Blessings,

Sam

country baptist preacher said...

Mornin' Sir
You had said "i have a question for yall. is anyone raising the dead out there? i would love to see it. i would fly to wherever you are to see you raise the dead. Jesus raised the dead. the apostles raised the dead. i would love to see a dead person raised back to.

I have watched it done. I could say that the Pastor "raised the dead" or that the other pastor "raised the dead". (his son)

My point ON ALL OF THE GIFTS is that no man can speak in a tongue unless GOD DOES IT. No man can raise the dead UNLESS GOD DOES IT.

No man can heal anyone UNLESS GOD DOES IT.

The argument of "does is work for then or now" seems moot to me.

I have said a dozen times on this board that (quote) GOD CAN DO WHAT HE WANTS, WHEN HE WANTS, TO WHOEVER HE WANTS.

No person has a gift unto himself. The GIFT is GOD AT WORK THROUGH THAT PERSON.

The other post said "i dont think that you will find many cessationists who dont believe that God can heal people, or that He can raise the dead. most everyone of the cessationists that i know believe that God can heal the sick and raise the dead in our day and time. that's not the issue as far as i am concerned

THE ISSUE IS GOD AND GOD ALONE. EVEN IF WE SAY "THE GIFT OF HEALING, IT IS GOD CHOOSING TO ACT THROUGH A MAN, HENCE, TO BE A CESSATION SEEMS TO SAY THAT GOD CANNOT NOW ACT THROUGH A MAN AND HEAL.

Michael, I love "The Heavenly Man" and gave a copy to every member of the church I pastor.

We all will kneel before Him, I wonder what He thinks of all these opinions

grace
cbp

Anonymous said...

country,

the point is that some of the gifts have ceased. i am a open, cautious cessationist...i guess. but, i do believe that for the most part prophecies and tongues have ceased to be, and they ceased when the nt was finished. also, there are no more apostles of Jesus Christ out there....the twelve plus paul are dead. they had the ability...given to them by God...to do signs and wonders. they had the ability...given to them by God...to heal the sick and raise the dead on command...amongst other things. what i dont see in this day and age are any apostles like the twelve who can do that.

i do believe in praying for the sick and asking God to heal them. i've seen people get healed, i believe, in answer to prayer. if you say that someone was raised from the dead in answer to prayer, and they truly were.....i dont know, i wasnt there to witness it.....but, if they truly were raised from the dead in answer to prayer...then, halelujah! glory to God! but, forgive me for being a weeeee bit skeptical, would you? i dont know you. i dont know who claimed this. hence, the weeee bit of skepticism. i've seen many people claim things that were later pointed out as hoaxes.

but, country, i beleive with all my heart that God can do whatever He wants to do. He is a big God.

david(volfan007)

othoniel a valdes sr said...

Dr.Wade : since you have an enquiring mind and I don't have anything to hide here is some inf. I am originally from Cuba my father a retired Southern Baptist pastor was a political prisoner in Cuba for 12 years I was trained in NOBTS have served in N.O. La as a missions pastor ,In Birmingham Al as a NAMB missionary with the local Association,with the Florida Baptist Convention as a Regional missionary and presently as the Church planting director for the Tampa Bay Baptist Association and when I write I speak for myself only is this enough inf for you

country baptist preacher said...

volfan, if i had your email we could discuss this and not take up space on Wade's blog.

I guess I am not good at making a point.

It is OK with me if you believe anything you want.

I do not believe in the cessationist point of view or the continuationist point of view.

I don't think that the 12 or Paul had anything except the ability to pray and that God decided to answer some of those prayers. I do not believe that one day God stopped hearing and answering prayers of any type. I believe that mankind corrupted the link of prayer with the corruption of leadership, interpretation, appllication and control of scripture.

Hence, we have the centuries old argument of who's application and interpretation is the right one on any issue. Most of the time a person's opinions are biased by their point of view, the leaders they follow and the professors and pastors they study under.

I once put my hands on a lady who was almost blind and annointed her and prayed. (in the morning service)
God chose to honor my prayers. Did that make me an apostle? faith healer? continuist?

No, just like the 12, I prayed and God decide to respond.

It is OK that you are skeptical. I have nothing left to prove to anyone. when I saw the lady who was dead 37 minutes, I quit arguing and debating about then/now believe.

The first time in scripture that Christ seems to indicate that the reason for lack of success was their" fault was Mark chapter 9 Christ says "this kind only comes ot by prayer. Christ seems to say (from the NIV Commentary) the nine disciples were powerless to act in behalf of this boy. In private they asked Jesus about their failure, especially since they had been given authority over evil spirits (6:7) and had successfully cast out many demons before this incident (6:13). Jesus' answer suggests that they had taken for granted the power given them or had come to believe that it was inherent in themselves. So they no longer depended prayerfully on God for it, and their failure showed their lack of prayer."

We have ceased and desisted with God for so long that He can't answer. "He could not do many miracles because of their lack of faith" Couple that with the verse that says if you ask and IT IS THE WILL OF GOD He will do it.

So, if HE WILLS, AND IF I BELIEVE HE CAN AND STILL DOES: then and only then will we see results.

When the 12 prayed, they believed, and that prayer was then in line with God's will. So it happened because He willed it.

The reason we don't see much of it today is that we have decided it can't happen.

You don't have to agree with me or convince me. You don't have to believe me as you don't know me.

By the way, when God decided to heal the womans blindnesswhen I prayed...some called me a pentacostal and others called me a faith healer. Some asked if I had "the gift", The press came, I laughed.

All I did was pray. God acted. Just like with the 12.

I do not believe the so called
" spiritual gift of healing" is that at all, I believe it is God deciding to act.

so, i think the ceesatioist point of view and the continuist point of view are both moot points.

we cannot seperate the gift from the giver, not even with out denominatioal theories, our applications or interpretations.


ONce again, I am ok that we differ, I know if you are a Tennesee guy that you are OK, I once spent 6 years in Nashville in the music business.
----------------------------
GAL 1:10 Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.
In His Service
CBP

Anonymous said...

country,

changing the subject...you spent time in the country music business? did you ever meet my cousin....darryl worley?

david....volfan007....worley

othoniel a valdes sr said...

dr.Wade
I will continue to speak up out of ignorance and say that no matter who said it,in what age they said it,with the credentails they had to say it & their freedom to say it
Here I stand and say I choose to disagree with all that said it including the early church fathers,St.Agustine and those in the Middle ages,and the ages that have followed

Baptist Theologue said...

Sam, thanks for getting in touch with Dr. Carson. It will be interesting to hear what else he says about the issue.

country baptist preacher said...

volfan, i was in nashville from late 81 to 1987. didn't know him, figure he was a might young then.
now, back to the subject...........

lets do email

carl said...

@ volfan007

Google Iris Ministries Mozambique. The have planted almost 9,000 churches in the last decade and have seen at least 20 people raised from the dead.

Google David Hogan in Mexico. Scores raised from the dead in his ministry. If you do not buy a plane ticket to either of these locations, please stop posting on forums that you want to see these things.