Pyromaniac on the Cessation of Gifts

Here is the link to Part Two of the discussion going on over at Pyromaniacs of Vern Poythress’ version of the extraordinary gifts. It’s worth the reading.

My version of the “supernatural gifts” comes in large part from the pace set by JI Packer in Keep In Step with the Spirit. His view is clear. What is today called tongues by charismatics and words of knowledge, etc., are not what we find in the New Testament. Whatever is happening may be of the Holy Spirit. But today’s tongues is not the tongues we find in the New Testament.

He adds several caveats. One is that the New Testament does not actually teach that the supernatural gifts will cease. You may draw that conclusion as an extrapolation of trajectory or whatever. But there is no explicit New Testament teaching that the supernatural gifts were to be limited to the apostolic age.

Another caveat is that we are not forced to say that a person who is speaking in tongues is faking it or being unduly influenced by the Devil. Ecstatic utterances, etc., can be a version of experiencing God’s presence, though the explanation of the experience falls short of New Testament teaching. Therefore, I am free to receive a Christian’s ecstatic experiences as a version of experiencing God without at the same time accepting their explanation of their experience. I can accept their experience but reject their teaching and refuse to be bound by it.

By the way, I sat under the teaching of Vern Poythress at seminary. It was confusing then, and his exegesis of Scripture remains confusing. While he is in the evangelical mainstream, I do not recommend him as a reliable teacher of bible or theology. The lack of clarity is decidely unhelpful. I think the trumpet needs to have a clearer sound than we hear from Vern.

One thought on “Pyromaniac on the Cessation of Gifts

  1. I think a lot of so-called prophets would keep their mouth shut if Christians believed
    Deuteronomy 18
    20 But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death. 21 You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD ?” 22 If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.”

    “oh no, I’m so sorry! ONE of your prophesies was wrong. Turns out you’re not a real prophet of God, and we’re going to stone you”

    I do wonder if adding “I feel like God’s telling me…” to your prophetic utterances exempts you from this law.

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