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

Make No Apology for Desiring the Acts of Acts

John MacArthur's Strange Fire Conference last week set off a batch of Christian fireworks, exploding over Twitter and the Internet. The name calling on both side was unfortunate. Cessationists believe the gifts of the Spirit--including miracles, healings, prophecies and other extraordinary acts of the Spirit--ceased in the 1st century AD, and they claim that continuationists (those who believe the Spirit's gifts continue) are empowered by a strange fire (i.e. the devil) and 'offend the Holy Spirit and offer counterfeit worship' to God. That's pretty strong name calling. Continuationists, on the other hand, liken cessationists to people who have no fire (i.e.  'the Holy Spirit') at all, and compare them to biblical Pharisees and Sadducees. One could hope there might be a "Light My Fire Conference"  where both sides could sit down and dialogue about how they love people and do ministry inspired and anointed by the Holy Spirit since both sides believe in the Holy Spirit's anointing. How the Spirit manifests His presence and power is the point of disagreement.

Trevin Wax of the Gospel Coalition had an interesting suggestion in light of the controversy:
"If you agree with MacArthur, the best way to engage critics is not to defend him as if he were the pope, but to back up your claims by appealing to Scripture. If you disagree with MacArthur, the best way to engage the conference is not by railing against the man, but by showing specifically the ways you think he caricatured your position and by providing a calm, sober affirmation of continualist claims, backed up by Scripture."
I believe it possible to refute MacArthur's bias against the Spirit's gifting's from Scripture, point by point.  I've read MacArthur's book Charismatic Chaos at least twice. I've been told that his book Strange Fire is a repackaging of Charismatic Chaos, written over two decades ago. I don't think MacArthur has changed, nor do I think people like me will ever change MacArthur, Phil Johnson, or any other scholarly cessationists. It's not that I believe biblical arguments could not sway them, but few are in a close personal relationship with these men to even try. I cannot name one cessationist with whom I have personally dialogued on these matters who has remained a cessationist.

The Scripture teaches that the gifts of the Spirit, healings, miracles, and other extraordinary acts of the Spirit in and through His people are the normative Christian experience. I have said before "I am a theological continuationist and an experiential cessationist." That's a confession, not a calling. It means I trust in the movement of the Holy Spirit to build His Kingdom and contrary to many self-proclaimed charismatics, "I do not pretend what the Spirit does not intend."

Some might say my confession is an indictment of my ministry. I understand it to be an observation of my ministry. The Spirit moves where He wills. I pray for the expansion of God's Kingdom. I ask for God to reign in power in my life and the lives of those to whom I minister. I periodically see God break through and reveal glimpses of His unshakeable Kingdom in my very comfortable ministry, but I'm also cognizant  that real revival presupposes little life, or at the very least, a cognizant cry of God's people for Divine Power. What mitigates against any desire to see the normative expression of the Spirit's power in our midst (healings, miracles, extraordinary gifts, etc...) is the fact that Western Christianity is rich, fat, and happy.
"'You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not  realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked" (Revelation 3:17).
 Until we seek His Kingdom first, the Spirit cannot quench our thirst. The Spirit is never limited in power; we are limited in desire. We evangelicals in America are wealthy (look at our fabulous buildings and homes), we are egotistical (everything is about 'so-and-so's' ministry), and we are comfortable, in need of nothing -- including the Holy Spirit. Until we realize how wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked we are, we will never seek "the Kingdom that cannot be shaken" (Hebrews 12:28).

It's About the Kingdom

Throughout the Old Testament age, the prophets looked forward to the coming Kingdom of God. From the first Divine promise to fallen man in Genesis 3:15 , a promise that One would come and crush Satan's head, to all the promises of God given through the major and minor prophets to God's people, the revelatory word of God led hearers to anticipate the coming Kingdom of God. This coming Kingdom was not to be like the Jewish kingdom of old. According to Daniel 7, it would be a Kingdom for all nations and ethnic groups. The place the King would be born was prophesied (Bethlehem), the manner in which the King would come was foretold (a virgin), and most remarkably of all, the time when the King would come to the earth to inaugurate the everlasting kingdom was specifically declared (Daniel 9). The wise men (magi) from the east came to Jerusalem looking for the Anointed One and asked "Where is He that is born King ...?"  because they knew and revered the writings of Daniel. Daniel had lived among the ancient Chaldean magi of the east for over seven decades, he had died in their midst, and was buried among them. The magi knew the King was coming.

Daniel had prophesied in the 6th century BC that four world kingdoms would come before the King
of Kings came to earth (see Daniel 2). While in captivity in Babylon (modern Iraq), Daniel precisely foretold that the Babylonian kingdom of gold (609 BC to 539 BC) would fall to the Persian kingdom of silver (539 BC to 331 BC), and that the Persian kingdom would then fall to the Grecian kingdom of bronze (331 BC to 168 BC), and that the Grecian kingdom would fall to the Roman kingdom of iron (168 BC to AD 476). During this last kingdom of iron, Daniel prophesied, "the stone not cut with human hands" (Jesus Christ; see Heb. 13:10) would come and set up His everlasting kingdom. Daniel put it like this:
"In the days of those kings (Rome) the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed...it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever" (Daniel 2:44).
So it was, during the days of the Roman Empire, the King of Kings came from heaven, took the form of man at Bethlehem, and inaugurated His eternal kingdom. Throughout the history of  this fallen world, men had sought to establish their own kingdoms, but "the stone not cut with human hands" (Daniel 2:34) came to establish His everlasting Kingdom by crushing all earthly kingdoms through the spiritual transformation of wicked men. Mankind had rebelled against their Creator shortly after creation, but rebels can never ultimately revoke the reign of the everlasting Ruler. God's purpose for fallen man was to establish a Kingdom that would crush all earthly kingdoms that held power over fallen men (Daniel 2:44). Jesus the Anointed One, King of Kings, came to earth to fulfill the will of the Father.

In those days when Jesus came and walked the earth, John the Baptist came saying "Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 3:2). When John introduced the Savior to the world he proclaimed, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent and believe the gospel." (Mark 1:15).  The Kingdom of God and the gospel are like peanut butter and jelly between two pieces of bread. You can't separate them. Where the gospel is believed, the Kingdom of God is expanded.

The definition of a Kingdom is "a King with a domain." Though the Scripture says the consummation of the Kingdom will be Christ reigning on this earth with the curse reversed, Jesus Christ inaugurated the Kingdom at His first coming and the domain of His reign is the hearts of sinners who trust in Him. "My kingdom is NOT of this world" (John 18:36), Jesus said, but His Kingdom people are in this world. This is super important, so let's say it again: Jesus came to earth to establish a Kingdom; to reign in the hearts and lives of sinners and transform them.
"Now when Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20-21).
When one reads the New Testament, it becomes crystal clear that there are signs of Kingdom building. Without commentary, I will simply list five verses of the dozens upon dozens that could be listed about the signs of God's Kingdom work:
*If I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you (Matthew 12:28).  
 *Jesus sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick (Luke 9:1-2).
*Jesus went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him, and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities--Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons. (Luke 8:1-2).
*Go tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised and the poor have the gospel preached to them. Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me (Matthew 11:4-6).
*Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to my Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son (John 14:12-13).  
Proclaiming the good news in Christ is the responsibility of every believer, but without a doubt, when the Spirit of God begins to move in power there are certain signs that accompany the preaching of the gospel of the Kingdom. A simple reading of the New Testament indicates that healings, miracles, gifts, words of prophecy and knowledge, and a host of other manifestations of the Spirit's presence are normative. The proclamation of Christ as Lord and Savior of the world is the message of the believer, but the manifestation of the Spirit's anointing in building the Kingdom is the work of our sovereign God.

I've seen these manifestations of the Spirit on the mission fields of Africa. I have some bone chilling, amazing stories of our church members winning Muslims to Christ in the toughest, deadliest portions of our world, areas dominated by Islamic kingdoms. These kingdoms don't stand a chance against His kingdom. We've seen children miraculously healed, words of prophecy that have directed our missionaries to specific points to meet men in need of Christ, demon possessed men and women delivered, miracles too numerous to name. The Spirit is moving in our midst.

Then, we return to the states to our comfortable churches, wealthy homes, and Western cynicism of the Spirit world. Again, that's just an observation. I think I reserve any indictments toward those who discount the movement of the Spirit because they don't see Him at work in their ministries.  I long for the day when the preaching of the gospel is accompanied by Spirit-led manifestations of the expansion of God's Kingdom. Don't get me wrong. We see periodic breakthroughs of God's power at Emmanuel Enid, but I believe the Scripture teaches these manifestations of the Spirit's power should be normative. However, unlike my charismatic friends, I refuse to minister in pretense and shall swear off any attempt to put the Spirit in a box. I shall faithfully exalt Christ in the teaching of the Word, and pray for the movement of the Spirit in power, and keep praying until the cloud I see on the horizon becomes a rain shower. I cannot join my cessationist friends in condemning a belief in the continuation of the gifts and miracles of the Spirit because the Scripture teaches the expansion of God's Kingdom will manifest miracles, gifts, healings and other works of the Spirit as He moves in power upon and within His people.

Anyone who reads the Bible without presuppositions comes away with an expectation that the Holy Spirit moves in power as His people build God's Kingdom. Dr. Alan Streett, author of Heaven on Earth and Senior Research Professor of Biblical Exegesis at Criswell College, calls this The Mars Principle. Suppose an alien from Mars with no theological presuppositions (that means nobody told him what to think in advance) came to earth and picked up the Bible and read the book of Acts. Suppose he became so fascinated with the description of the lives who followed Jesus Christ that he determined to meet some Christians. Do you think the alien would expect the Christians he met to be living life the way followers of Christ he read about in the Bible lived their lives? Of course he would. The Bible would not have narrated their lives for us if the Spirit's work in and through the early followers of Christ were not to be considered normative. I would define The Mars Principle this way: "Normal Christian living is best described in the narratives of New Testament Scriptures."

I believe the day is coming when real, Spirit-led revival and awakening falls on the United States similar to what happened in the book of Acts. I believe men and women will be placed in a position where they need God to provide "daily" bread, a miraculous Kingdom promise to God's Kingdom people, fulfilled time after time in the lives of those Christians in Acts. Maybe the reason we don't see the acts of the Spirit as normative anymore is because we have no need to trust in the Spirit. Maybe we fear the acts of Acts because we love the kingdoms of this world. Most of us can explain everything we do in terms of our ministry, our goals, our plans, and our human efforts, and our government, rather than the Holy Spirit.

When I read the book of Acts I see people who are living in a hostile world, with very little possessions and with no safety net. These early Christians, disliked by the Roman kingdom, were endued with Spirit's power. Christ reigned in their hearts and they trusted nothing other than Him. I make no apology for desiring the acts of Acts because I believe that is normative Christian living. It is faith in an unshakeable Kingdom while living in a kingdom that is shakeable, shaking, or soon to be shaken.

Chinese Christian writer  and martyr Watchman Nee, author of the classic work The Normal Christian Life, once wrote "Christianity today is so subnormal that if any Christian began to act like a normal New Testament Christian, he would be considered abnormal."

I long for the day of normal.

32 comments:

Bob Cleveland said...

Some day I'd like to share my experiences with you, in areas of tongues, healings, and knowledge I could not have known other than via revelation.

I cannot help but speak of what I have seen and heard, albeit I am careful of whose presence those pearls are cast in ....

Wade Burleson said...

Bob,

One day I would love to hear them. If your fire is "strange" give me more strangeness.

Wade

P.S. To those who read my blog, I've known Bob as a friend for almost a decade.

Wade Burleson said...

By the way, for those wondering, I have never (nor will I ever) pray for the gift of tongues. I have no problem with those who have the gift, understand the Spirit has given it to them - and if the Spirit wishes to bestow the gift on me, so be it.

But Paul said, "I'd rather speak 5 words in a known tongue than 10,000 in an unknown tongue."

That's my feelings precisely. I've had some friends suggest I ask for it and I shall not because of my understanding of the Word. But I also affirm those who have the gift and would never call Who has gifted them a "strange fire."

Blessings,

Wade

Wade Burleson said...

And by no means is it EVER a manifestation of the indwelling Spirit -

The fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, goodness, kindness, etc... ) are the manifestations of God's dwelling in me.

Anonymous said...

That's one of the clearest, best descriptions of the reason to be a continuationist I have ever seen.

If I understand you correctly, gifts, miracles and healings are only the surface issue.

The real problem, even disagreement, is whether or not the Kingdom of God is now and whether or not Christ is reigning on His throne now.

Right?

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous,

Right

Victorious said...

Like Bob Cleveland, I have experienced several revelatory gifts I could not have known any other way but for the Holy Spirit. I share just one if I may...

I was attending an AOG and lived just next door to the church. Several retired members held a weekly prayer meeting in the front area of the church with chairs arranged in a circle. I attended just one time and felt a bit out of place since they were all seniors and I was in my late 30's. At some point, I kept "hearing" the words, "the decision is Greece Athena." Greece Athena was a local public high school and I dismissed the words until I couldn't ignore them any longer and spoke them just as I heard those 5 words. I felt stupid knowing that none of those seniors had teens in school but did what I thought I was being nudged to do. Of course, there was dead silence and strange looks and some kind soul began to read a scripture evidently to save me from further embarrassment.

Unbeknownst to me, a woman had joined the prayer group, but because she was late, did not join us in the circle but instead sat in a pew behind me. When the group ended, she approached me with tears in her eyes and said that her daughter had been praying for years about which school to send her daughter to. She thanked me for the answer.

I knew from that moment how God cares about every single facet of our lives. I also learned how wonderful the needs and prayers of the body can be met when we allow the Holy Spirit to lead.

It's just one example of a Word of Knowledge that met the needs of a sister much in the same way the Holy Spirit reminded Peter to take his shoes and his cloak before leaving the prison. Granted, it was not the same as Peter's sensational escape, but I might never know how important that decision affected the life of that woman's daughter.

I wasn't praying for any gift. It was just a snippet of information that dropped into my spirit that made no sense at the time.

God is so..so awesome! He truly cares about every aspect of our lives. For me to deny the supernatural, revelatory gifts of the Holy Spirit is comparable to denying Christ as Peter did.

I hope it's ok that I've shared that. I presented it only as evidence (for me) of the continuation of the gifts.

Wade Burleson said...

Victorious,

This area of "words of knowledge" or a word of prophecy are the very things that cessationists are saying "can't happen." I appreciate you sharing your story and affirm the work of the Spirit in your life. Thanks for sharing!

Wade

Bob Cleveland said...

I'll share one. I was in Bauska, Latvia, staying with a family I'd stayed with 2 years prior on a mission trip. I went to the church's choir rehearsal, and was walking back to the apartment with about 8 young adults who lived in the same area.

Something struck me about one of the girls and I asked her, through my host, if there was something she'd been afraid to ask God for, because it seemed trivial. When Diana interpreted it to her, she instantly doubled over and yelled "OOOOH!!!". When she'd finally gotten her breath back, she said yes, indeed, there was.

We surmised it was something satan did not want her to pray about.

Me, I was pretty well speechless, after, myself.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

There's been times when I've gotten a parking space when I didn't think I was going to get a parking space. My wife then invariably says that God must have meant for us to be at that event. Or at that place.

An act of Acts or ordinary providence? Doesn't matter. Thank you Holy Spirit!

ScottShaver said...

Great article Wade.

55 and never met one who remained one myself. God is capable of communicating with individual belivers in ways that confound the logic of cessation.

I was impressed With MacArthur's "Charismatic Chaos" although never convinced of a biblical basis for cessation.

Thanks for the heads up on the repackaging. Wouldn't appreciate it nearly as much reading again I fear.

Wade Burleson said...

Truth Unites,

Agreed.

However, providence is theological determinism.

The Holy Spirit is relational dynamism.

Daniel said...

I stumbled across Tolstoy (free book online), which led to Willard (Divine Conspiracy), and then saw your recommendation of Dr. Streett's book a few months ago. I desire to live in the relational aspect of the Kingdom of God as Jesus outline in the Gospels, and then is revealed in experiential ways by the 1st century church.

It is amazing to me that we want to argue over a few chapters in Acts, Corinthians, and Romans when Jesus is very clear and detailed in His description of the work of the Holy Spirit in John 14-16. "Greater works, whatever you ask, (He) will be in you," and on and on.

I am still stumbling about in this journey, but would unequivocally state that I desire not to return to the programming and prodding of what passes as the church. Seeking the Kingdom of God reveals the Kingdom of God. The local church may be a part of the Kingdom of God but it is not the Kingdom in itself.

From personal experience I would say that it is our fatness and riches that cause us to reject the work of the Spirit due to our self-satisfaction. It is precisely for this reason that we are so willing to pass condemnation on anything that we don't understand or makes us uncomfortable.

It changes your life when you realize that prayer is not simply a request list but rather a dialogue with the Father. I agree with you, I'll take more of this "strange" fire.

Wade Burleson said...

Daniel,

Could not have written anything better than your comment! Well done!

Christiane said...

I believe I experienced a healing intervention.

I had conceived a real animosity toward a woman in our lake community. The circumstances? She had chosen to publicly make fun of the parents of a severely handicapped child who also lived in our community.
I confronted this lady angrily on the lake beach privately (I at least had the grace to ask the others with her to allow us to speak privately.)
No matter. I was filled with anger, and the encounter strengthened my anger.

I was left harboring that anger for some time, until I saw the lady driving by at our town shopping center and then it happened:

a awareness of great sadness and compassion for her came to me.
It was not something that came FROM me. It was a gift that healed me of my bitterness and left me with peace, and with the grace to pray for this lady. I do believe that was a 'healing' of my spirit.

I will never forget the moment of being filled with real caring for the lady. It was a very powerful and over-whelming experience. To say it was healing is an understatement.

I have thought about this experience many times since that day. I have come to see it as a holy blessing which I needed but did not deserve.
To be truly healed of anger and contempt must be a blessing that flows out to us from the foot of the Cross. There is no natural explanation for me, other than that.

Anonymous said...

My question for you Wade is how do I determine whether or not I should trust this extra biblical revelation? If indeed the gifts of prophecy and tongues are for today how I am I to treat those who claim a "revelation" from God. If it doesn't directly contradict scripture should I keep a notebook and treat it as the authoritative word of God? I am not a cessationist however I do not believe that what passes for tongues and "prophecy" in many charismatic churches is truly from the Holy Spirit, as evidenced by the lack of sound doctrine in many of these churches.

Shari England said...

Pastor Wade, thank you for writing your recent posts. It has seemed to me that there is more emphasis on the GIFTS themselves, than on the GIVER of gifts. Most of us can attest to witnessing or even experiencing one or more of the gifts, for THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS WITHIN US. I believe God imparts to each of us all that works in conjunction with where we are in our personal journey, with the foreknowledge of where we will soon be. (is that confusing) There was a time I thought the gifts were no longer available, but the more I grew to know the Lord and His Word, and experienced Him in my own life, my understanding changed. Then I ran into those who told me I had to "ask" and "seek" for these gifts, and felt a fool in doing so. Finally, decided just to REST in Him and do what I felt He was leading me to do, not man.

Wade Burleson said...

Shari,

"Finally, decided just to REST in Him and do what I felt He was leading me to do, not man."

Precisely.

Best place in the world to be!

We believe in a sovereign, gracious God, and do not despise the gifts, but we don't act like God is a puppet that is manipulated by us. We rest in HIM.

Thanks.

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous,

"My question for you Wade is how do I determine whether or not I should trust this extra biblical revelation?"

“Recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you” (1 Thess. 5:12). Is the person respected "in the Lord." Knowing something about the person’s reputation and character is essential in judging whether or not "a word of prophecy" is trustworthy. And, of course, the spoken word of prophecy would never conflict with the inspired principles of Scripture.

“Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge” (1 Cor. 14:29). The Greek word for “judge” (diakrino) means “separate thoroughly” and suggests that one is to determine if the prophetic word is a correct statement. The root word krino is a legal term which means "to make a decision on the basis of the information presented," similar the way a jury makes a decision after hearing from many witnesses. You never accept a prophetic word that you are given until "others" in your life help you "judge" the message as to whether or not it is from the Lord.

I hope that helps.

Tim Tuggle said...

Wade,
Have you heard from anyone who finds it interesting that John MacArthur would host a conference on strange fire, when his own beloved dispensationalism is possibly strange fire from the 1830s?
Thanks,
Tim

Wade Burleson said...

Tim,

I understand MacArthur's position, and I understand the continuationists position.

What I don't understand is the inability for Christians on both sides to accept and encourage one another.

Victorious said...

What I don't understand is the inability for Christians on both sides to accept and encourage one another.

For my part, the inability to accept cessationists viewpoint is to deny the very gifts I have experienced. Because they disagree that tongues exist today (and I have it), and the sign gifts have ended (and I've used several), I'm left with their perception of me as something of a heretic who is perpetuating false doctrine. MacArthur has as much as implied that those like me may not even be saved!

While I understand the reason behind their disbelief in the gifts, I cannot in good conscience deny that they exist while at the same time admitting I do see abuses.

Hope that makes sense.... :)

Wade Burleson said...

Victorious,

Perfect sense.

Rex Ray said...

Off Topic

Yesterday I met James Tague, the first person that refused to take my father’s story of the little girl asking when her daddy was coming home.

Said he had more important things on his mind. Determined he would like the story, I talked all the way to his car. We talked a long time…we’d been at Perrin Air Force Base at the same time.

I bought a $20 book from him. It has 426 pages with 78 pictures. He took my story after he saw a picture of my slide at the bottom. Said, “I know where you live…my son wants to go down that thing.”

https://www.google.com/search?source=ig&rlz=&q=lbj+and+the+kennedy+killing+james+tague&oq=LBJ+and+the+Kennedy&gs_l=igoogle.1.1.0l2j0i22i30l7j0i22i10i30.67115.79347.0.85622.19.15.0.4.4.0.343.2323.4j8j2j1.15.0...0.0...1ac.1.12.igoogle.ncjKMViwYFM

This link says the book “LBJ and the Kennedy Killing” by James T. Tague will be released in October.

James said he saw Kennedy shot and a “fourth” bullet scattered concrete. That concrete hit James in the face and police cleaned the blood off.

I’ve only read seven chapters of one hundred and one, but I believe already his book proves the Warren Commission Report is a big cover-up lie.

G. Casey said...

Watchman Nee also wrote that book before he went to prison for 24 years. The whole gist of MacArthur's position is the overt prosperity centric position that Pentecostals take. I do think MacArthur does miss the point of tongues though. Not every tribe on the planet has the Bible in their own language.

G. Casey said...

Is it possible that doctors have knowledge in balance with gifts of healing? I would think so. Someone pointed out that Jewish elders used the rubbing of oils on people that were sick. Also I read certain oils were effective in neutralizing bacterias and viruses.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Some people were told that they were going to get something that would relieve their pain. After they the treatment, lo and behold, they got better.

They wondered what it was.

They later learned they got a placebo.

D'oh!

Bob Cleveland said...

I don't know where this thought is going, but I'll give it a shot:

Tongues is different from the other "sign gifts", in my mind. It's for personal expression, not involving other people (as would healing).

As to the other miraculous "gifts", God tells us we don't even know how to pray as we ought, so why would He give us the "ability" to make decisions on who should be healed, etc?

However: We do have the indwelling Holy Spirit, Who has all the gifts, and can manifest them in response to our prayers, as He chooses.

I think that's all contained in Romans 8:26. And I am so glad, too, as it's wonderful to be freed from the responsibility for the results of our prayers. We're free to ask as we are led, knowing the Holy Spirit will act where He wills, and interpret our prayers in accordance with God's will. Which He knows, but we don't.

Victorious said...

Bob,

Agree wholeheartedly! I think those who speak against tongues overlook it's use in prayer. It's the perfect prayer in my opinion as it's free of our biases, limited understanding of the actual need, etc.

For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. 1Cor. 14:14
Rom 8:26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words

How very humbling to pray and trust the perfect words are being sent to the throne, but not knowing what they are. Just leaving it in the hands of the Holy Spirit to accomplish.


Bob Cleveland said...

Romans 8:26 in my mind applies more to cognitive prayer.

G. Casey said...

But I could pray in the English language and still lack good Hebrew biblical understanding in my mind. I amazed when I hear the Spanish Christian music station in Dallas how much I am picking up and understand when normally I don't pick it up easily.

Lori Baldwin Morton said...

A good friend relayed an experience which her Hebrew professor at Bible college recounted to his students. When this prof was a college student himself, he and his classmates accompanied their Hebrew professor on a "field trip" to a church where speaking in tongues was practiced. The professor stood up and recited the 23rd Psalm in Hebrew. There was a church member nearby who was interpreting the messages. His "interpretation" had absolutely no relation to the words of the 23rd Psalm which the professor had recited. Lesson learned.