Wednesday, August 02, 2006

When the "perfect" comes...

Reformed continuists and charismatics are more and more popular today. If seems that the Reformed community is growing increasingly more comfortable with those who advocate and even practice the continuation of the revelatory gifts of the Spirit mentioned in 1 Cor. 12-13. With the ministries of CJ Mahaney and the writings of Wayne Grudem, the broader Reformed community is becoming less strident concerning these issues. Though the Reformed community has by and large been a community of cessationist, you don't hear many cessationist speaking loudly about the issue. Why is that? Perhaps they have decided that this issue belongs to such a secondary nature, that to discuss it with any seriousness would cause unneeded debate, even dissention. While this is probably a good thing, one has to wonder if we have lost our heart for substantial debate and the consideration of the implications of one doctrine on another. Apparently, however, Joshua Parker has not lost his heart for such discussions. I am glad to read this morning that Parker in, A Critical Analysis of 1Cor. 13:8-12, is taking up this controversial, yet contemporary and appropriate discussion. We may agree that some issues in the Scriptures are less clear than others, however, we must also agree that all issues are worth discussing and debating even if they leave us agreeing to disagree.
Admittedly, there are issues about which I prefer not to debate because I have learned that people rarely change their minds. However, I don't discourage others from debating them because all truth is worthy of our seeking to understand it fully. Simply because I lack sufficient understanding about some secondary issue, does not necessitate that all must have such insufficient knowledge. Thanks JP. Some of us will disagree with your interpretation. Others of us will echo your words and give a hardy "Amen." One thing is for sure, we should all appreciate that all of God's truth is worthy of our discussion, no matter how difficult or controversial.


LouLove said...

I read JP's article. I was wondering if you know of anyone who is covering any fresh ground on the subject? It seems that old soil is just being turned over again.

ajcarter said...

Hey Louis,
I came across this book recently but have not read it. You may want to check it out, "To Be Continued" by Samuel Waldron. I do know that none of the arguments on either side are entirely new. But check it out at

LouLove said...

Thanks Carter, I checked out one of the reviews and with your recommendation and his, I will check it out. Man I love it when you get good information on the blog!

Scotty J. Williams said...

Thanks Anthony,
That was a good blog. Thanks for you comments, and thank you for the side note.


Eric M Washington said...

Anthony, I have Waldron's book and he offers nothing new regarding argument because he argues from the Scriptures. I, like Waldron, have always been a strict cessationist. There is not a pentecostal/charismatic bone in my body. I am one of those old-line Reformed teachers who believes that the continuationist doctrine is quiet abberant.

There is too much at stake to be silent on this issue. For example, the belief in the continuation of revelation does damage to Christ's office as Prophet. He is the Prophet that would be greater than Moses. Now, there are folk who prophesy every Sunday (I see them on TV), and it has nothing to do with NT prophecy we see in the Scriptures.

I'll stop. This is one of my hobby horses. I'm afraid to ask you what's your position. I can be reached privately at, if you prefer.


ajcarter said...

My friend, you need not fear to ask me my position, for I fear not in giving it :-). While I have not resolved all of the questions surrounding this debate, I would consider myself a cessationist, though not a "strict" one. Simply stated, I am convinced that the operations of the sensational gifts (if I might call them that) are not necessary nor are they normative for the church today. However, I am not ready to say that they are never again in operation since the time of the apostles or the completion of the canon. Can God operate in this way today? Yes. Has He operated in this way today? Not in any way where I can testify to its authenticity. Yet, others whom I highly respect say that He has. Maybe someday I will see or hear it with my own eyes. Until then, I will maintain my "not-so-strict" cessationist position based mainly upon the sufficiency of Scripture (2Tim. 3:16-17) and the supremacy of the revelation of Christ (Heb. 1:1-4).

Eric M. Washington said...

Anthony, I'm breathing easier now. I like you alot, man. I didn't want you to be "open, but cautious." Waldron's argument along with O. Palmer Robertson's argument in Final Word progress nicely. Regarding prophecy, both argue that prophecy reached its pinnacle in OT through Moses. This raises a tough problem for continuationists. Since Moses taught Israel that there would be a Prophet to come greater he, who was that Prophet? John Wimber, the Kansas City Prophets? No, Christ Jesus. The Lord God himself said: "hear him!" Heb 1:1 supports this.

This is my argument. Just like prophecy continued after Moses, prophecy continued after Christ. In both cases, prophecy ceased. OT revelation came to its fulfillment in Christ, and NT prophecy flowed from Christ and served the first century Church during the writing of the canon. Like the apostle Peter testified about his apostolic ministry, we have a more sure word of prophecy. Why was his word more sure? It was so because it found its basis in Christ alone!

It was never God's intention to continue to issue special revelation. Robertson makes the point that continued revelation was possible only when a human mediator was necessary to bridge the gap between him and his elect. Christ, the God-Man, is the only mediator between God and man.

The forgotten question in this debate is: who is greater than Christ?