Banner

"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

Contributors

  • Rev. John Samson
  • Rev. David Thommen (URC)
  • John Hendryx
  • Marco Gonzalez

    We are a community of confessing believers who love the gospel of Jesus Christ, affirm the Biblical and Christ-exalting truths of the Reformation such as the five solas, the doctrines of grace, monergistic regeneration, and the redemptive historical approach to interpreting the Scriptures.

    top250.jpg

    Community Websites

    Monergism Books on Facebook

    Blogroll

    Latest Posts

    Categories

    Archives

    Ministry Links

  • « Divine Healing Has Not Passed Away | Main | Luther's Stand »

    Do Not Quench the Spirit - Test Everything

    Dr. Sam Storms once stated, "Many Christians are either woefully deficient in their knowledge of Scripture or noticeably devoid of any experience of God's power. The Lord never intended this for His people. We have all seen firsthand the joyless intellectual arrogance the absence of spiritual power can produce, as well as the fanatical emotional excess that comes from the lack of theological integrity."

    Yesterday, here on the blog I made the point that there seems to be extremes both on the cessationist side and on the continualist side. Personally speaking, I am a continualist, but I would be very quick to state that I am much more comfortable with the stance that fellow continualists such as Dr. John Piper or Dr. Wayne Grudem take than say the "crazies" out there who seem to be the main voices on so called "Christian" television in America. I shudder inside to think that my non-Christian neighbor friends tune in to these television shows and conclude that this is the Christianity I represent. Many times I would have to say that I abhor what I see portrayed there probably as much as they would.

    Having said that, I wonder just how cessationist my cessationist friends are. Some dismiss all inward impressions as being either an over-active imagination or worse, having its source in the demonic. They would never be open to the fact that God might speak to someone through a dream or guide through an inward leading of some sort.

    I realise that there are vast dangers involved here because (generally) the people who speak about God leading them are not normally known for their discernment, or know enough Scripture to be able to have a biblical filter in place. These dangers however are not new. They were the same dangers prevalent at the time of the writing of the New Testament. In 1 Thessalonians 5 Paul wrote, "Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil." (v. 19-22) All things should be tested by that which is theopneustos - the God breathed Scripture. All Scripture is God breathed. All claims to be a word from God certainly are not. That is why all things should be tested.

    Recently, I was interested to read an interview with Dr. R. C. Sproul. In recounting his call to the ministry (in a 1990 Tabletalk magazine article) he wrote:

    "One night when I was in eighth grade (before I became a Christian), it was particularly dark outside. When I crawled into bed, I was overwhelmed with a terrible feeling of dread. I was overcome with gloom. I had a profound sense that someone was in the room with me that shouldn’t be. I was terrified. Then the sky lit up from the molten lava. The sudden light coupled with the dark only heightened my fear.

    I didn’t hear any voices, but an idea went sharply through my head. I found out later that the words were from Scripture which I had never read. “Fear not, for I am with you.” As soon as those went through my head, I was enveloped with a sense of total calm. The next thought that went through my head was “Go throughout the world and preach the Gospel to every living creature.” The next thought was “Take Vesta [R.C.’s future wife] with you. “ I decided at that moment to be a minister even though I wasn’t a believer. I didn’t become a Christian until my first year in college.

    I don’t tell that story very often because I don’t want people to get the wrong idea that you have to hear bells and whistles before you go into the ministry. In any event, I told people the next day that I was going to go into the ministry. Five years later I became a Christian and eight years later I married Vesta."

    As far as I can ascertain, Dr. Sproul is a cessationist. I just wonder (thinking out loud) if cessationists have a category for what happened to the younger R. C. Sproul, or would the whole experience be dismissed out of hand as something God would never do in our day?

    I believe God can and does lead and guide today, though any "leading" must be tested by the sure testimony and standard of God's holy word. I for one do not question either Dr. Sproul's calling to the ministry or the fact that God did indeed direct him at that time, even when as yet, he did not know Him.

    May I make a suggestion that should you wish to make a comment on the blog here, you would try to keep things friendly and refrain from personal attacks or gross generalisations like "all cessationists are dry, powerless Christians" or "all continuationists are nuts." To be sure, some indeed are... but that's not the point. They were more than likely "nuts" long before they became continuationists. :-)

    As I say, I am just thinking out loud here. Any thoughts?

    Posted by John Samson on October 26, 2010 03:12 PM

    Comments

    Mr. Sampson,

    I thought your article was fair and stated clearly. I have always attended continualist churches and graduated from Calvary Chapel Bible College where the "God telling me" language is a staple. I have never heard God's voice though I prayed and prayed for such an accurance. This does not prove that it cannot happen by I find that the cessaationist position is the biblical position. Never do I see the Apostle's talking like most evangelicals today asking eachother if anyone has an "impression." When we do have inclinations I feel that this is the method God has ordained. These inclinations are based on God given wisdom. God can do whatever He likes but I do not see the continualist posistion taught in scripture. I gladly call all continualists my brothers and would never divide on such an issue.
    Thanks for the article,
    Joe

    Thanks for the article.

    It comes at a poignant time for me as, having attended cessationist churches all my life, I’m now questioning in what way the Spirit works with us today.

    I agree that any “leading” must be tested alongside Scripture, but when we look at passages such as John 3:8 – “The wind blows wherever it will, and you hear the sound it makes, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." It seems clear to me that Jesus is indicating that Christians who are born “of the Spirit” hear the Spirit, even if they can’t see the Spirit directly.

    I think a big part of Jesus’ message is an instruction for us to listen out for the Spirit (not just the voice inside, but also the effects of the Spirit working in our lives).

    I may scare some people away here, but I'll be honest. I am a continualist who has been directed by a dream (once) and impressions (several times). The important thing here, though, is that I never sought out any of these experiences, they simply happened to me. And in each case I took them to Scripture and prayed about them anywhere from 2-6 weeks before making the decision based on them. I would have to say, though, that God DOES still speak.
    Also, I have prayed in tongues. Throw rocks at me, I don't care, but here's the thing. I NEVER heard anyone pray in tongues. I was raised in a church that believed the Spirit could still move but had probably not seen movement of the Spirit in anything but salvation for hundreds of years. I was simply praying one day over something that was...difficult...and meditating on the verse that the Spirit will intercede for us with groans, so I asked God to speak through me. Suddenly I started praying in what I now know to be tongues.
    I believe the Spirit still moves in these ways because I have seen it in my own life. I think that it is WRONG, though, when people seek these things (although that may contradict Scripture where it says to seek the greater gifts). I think that we should seek God above all else, and that we should seek His kingdom, and that we should seek to walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh, and if while on that journey God decides to move in supernatural ways, I don't think that we should be at all surprised.

    Just my humble opinion, which very well may be flawed.

    Nathan G

    PS I must note that I ended up in a Sovereign Grace Church (one of CJ Mahaney's) where prophecy is practiced regularly (no, not the "The world will end on such a such a date" type of prophecy. These were simply words from God for either a specific person or a group of people. And when Paul says that the purpose of prophecy is to lay the heart of a person bare so that they say "there must be a God" he is absolutely right. You should see someone after their deep dark secrets that they never told anyone have been laid before them (in love!) they have no choice but to see that God is moving and cares about them.

    God has revealed/taught me things before I had the knowledge of them in the bible. When I read the bible, I recognized them to be true! He has also given me many things to see which cannot be of myself for they too are in the bible and support these things. Dreams seem to have meaning in that they affect me and show me something of that affect upon me. Maybe a sinful rebellion in the dream comes to my mind so to cause me to see who i once was and how i adbore that person. My sins have been layed bare before my minds eyes! They have caused me the greatest heart thrusting knowledge that i am no good in any way - for i am a great sinner!
    Also. I have known something to come before it has! Than after it has come, I re cognized it! Like, I knew before i was a christian (became outside of me to the inside) that soemhting ((major) must and would happen for God would not let me stay in my current position on this world. And it did almsot everytime! Evenb today, Gods grace is given me to see mmany things in a form other than internal feelings! But they give me great comfort!

    I believe with my whole heart of experience that these things do happen! But they are not made to happen by us! We write many wonderful things of god with clear vision and with joy and in great faith, and than after we read them again and see how they affect others, we than see the effects on them before seen them, before or when we wrote them. And we see what is joyful to us is not joyful to those who cannot see or are not christians as it is humbling for those who do not see"!

    IS THIS A CESSATIONIST? THE HOLY SPIRIT HAS TAUGHT ME MANY THINGS but not like the pentecostal church's who are slain in the spirit and all that stuff. I had not been slain nor spoke in tongues but I know I have heard God inside work inside me (if that makes sense?). And he has brought me to heart wrenching repentance with my only hope being to say in sobbing and seeing no good in me a part from christs death given me by faith, "You can resurrect me after my death of the body and all its sin though I do not deserve it"!

    Is all that going too far?? Sometimes I think I am losing it! But than he comes again in another way and speaks into me something known in my heart and later found in the bible (or my mind)!!

    Wow, people reading this will send me to a mental ward or call upon Jesus to cast out these demons! But they are not! (normally)!

    Am I a "crazy"?

    I should have asked, 'Am I a continualist.

    I believe very deeply that God does speak in us! I also believe he uses us as vessels to speak into the lives of others by his word come alive in us!
    I believe God! I believe "He Is". That he leads our steps along the path he chooses for us to go! Jesus believed every word of God. He did only what the Father did. Soon, my prayer is that could also be with me! At least in the kingdom his will, will be done, with great gratitude and worship! Even in me today! Sin is my greatest obstacle and foe to his will being done in my life as it was in Jesus! Yet, his will be done in me to make more as Him! Though I kicked, scream, struggle, cryout, and fall many times, His will be done! For He is just and merciful above all or any man but Christ!
    These are words of love to Him!! He is my Lord and He reigns!
    I am not worthy of anything good he does with me! He has shown it to me to be the truth of me! But his mercy and grace are ever so great in this a monument of Grace alone!
    I am poor and in need constantly and would have those which are great in knowledge and spiritual things to hand this beggar with sores the dog licks to feed me their crumbs if they but would!
    But I am rich in Christ whom my Father feeds every single day!

    My heart cries out that I am not one who can live without the power of God and only have solely an intellectual basis of theology without Gods power! I know far better having been there and tasted its lack of spiritual moisture to grant to one a living faith!

    Why do I write this or why have I even come to read this article? Seems to me, it is determined that it should have! That might be my error as a continualist! But I have found that I believe! And that is huge that I could believe!

    Thank you for your patience with this nut! A real nut as many of my own must think that I am! God help this nut and show me more! Either way, do as you will to do but be merciful to a weak spec of dust with a human heart which has weeped far too much already!! Emotion? Yea, sometimes it is a strait road in a wilderness! It affects ones soul,mind, strength and the human heart of flesh! Being strong is not my greatest blessing in this world! But... Christ does with me as he knows best and never gives more than can handle and with it comes more to receive from our Father!

    Sorry again, but how can i not be transparent before God here if all here are of God?
    Bruce of aged body and strength! Yes, I am a continualist person! Unashamed even!

    Wake us up our heavenly Father! Time is short!

    What can I do with the power of the Holy Spirit?

    I think everyone agrees on certain biblical factual roles of the Holy Spirit, for instance, that the Holy Spirit illuminates the scriptures, comforts, convicts, to name a few. But does anyone ever think of how these things get done? I mean how does the Holy Spirit illuminate or comfort without literally invading or commandeering my very thoughts and sensations? For instance, how would he help me to get the clear understanding of a verse or passage, or convict me of my own sin, if not by actually bringing to or implanting something in my mind? (And a thought is a clear and cohesive string of words, isn't it?)

    In 1 Cor 2:4, Paul says, "My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power..." Now many use this passage to say Paul bandied about miracles, healings, raising from the dead. But certainly we cannot narrow this 'power' to mean only miraculous physical signs to the exclusion of any other meaning, property or quality. Certainly 'power' can mean a host of things. It can mean Paul's persuasive gift of conveying God's love and mercy; power can mean the double-edged convicting truth about sin that pierced his listener's hearts, it can mean Paul's supernatural ability to love and serve, even while in chains, had power; or that his set-apart-ness in the world moved other believers to do likewise. Certainly all those things have power! I mean if we were honest, aren't the healings and raising from the dead of Eutychus) the least of it all?!

    This is the real question we have: What does this "power of the Holy Spirit" look like in me? Paul ends that second chapter of his letter by issuing one of the clearest descriptions there are as to the scope and depth of our indwelling by the Holy Spirit:

    1Cor. 2:16 “For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ."

    My point is this: If sharing in Christ's own mind isn't God speaking to us, I don't know what is. And if while sharing in Christ's own mind, we whittle away the day embellishing minor healings to the unsaved, then we have missed the mark.

    (If we want to find out about this mind we share, and how it 'compares to,' or can be distinguished from our own minds, what better place than his own words which he 'breathed out' for us ?)

    The arguments for cessationism seem based on slim Biblical grounds. On the other hand, the experiential arguments for "continualism" (if that is the correct phrase, I wouldn't know) I find equally specious.

    Let me put it this way. I have never seen a believable example of a "continualist" event. My eyes and ears tell me that what is represented as a moving of the Holy Spirit is just men. I'll give you an example.

    There is no one today who has the gift of healing. No one. How do I come by this spectacular bit of information? Well, just think about it. What would you do if you had the gift of healing? Well, for one thing I wouldn't be posting here. I would be down at the biggest hospital in Indianapolis emptying the wards in the name of Jesus Christ.

    But you never see that. Case closed.

    On the other hand (that's three now!) I read this month in Piper's book, the Gospel of God,umm,Chapter 5 or 6, I think, that the Holy Spirit spontaneously creates saving faith in the hearts of Indians, Mohammedans, and I think, country people, if memory serves (I think I am getting a little sarcastic here, so forgive me), because they are too benighted to understand the Gospel, unlike Harvard dons. All this was in an exposition of Jonathon Edwards' beliefs. Piper denies he is asserting new information from the Holy Spirit, and then proceeds to exposit such an assertion.

    Interesting.

    I don't think Piper is a cessationist, and I join him in that belief. Except I also do not see God doing a single believable continualist action. So what does that make me? A skepto-continualist?

    Grant, You write "There is no one today who has the gift of healing. No one. How do I come by this spectacular bit of information? Well, just think about it. What would you do if you had the gift of healing? Well, for one thing I wouldn't be posting here. I would be down at the biggest hospital in Indianapolis emptying the wards in the name of Jesus Christ. But you never see that. Case closed."

    Why would you assume that the gift of healing works in the way you describe? If that were true in the time of the early church, not even Paul would have time to write a letter. But could it be that the gift of healing works today under the Sovereignty of God, under His plan and authority and timing, just as it would have done in the time of the early church? That is more the question we should be asking - not denying God's gifts today based on a straw man argument that was never true in even earlier times.

    Rev. Samson:

    This is amazing—thank you for a testimony from someone such as the Dr. Sproul.

    It should be possible to maintain that the sign gifts are no longer oeprative, and yet allow for God to work in miraculous ways in this day and age (independent of the gifting of particular individuals), but it seems that within the cessationist camp, there is a wide range of how to view such stories—from openness to outright skepticism.

    I am personally finding it increasingly hard to maintain the tension between cessationism (my default position) and charismaticism, when there are hardline voices on both sides denying the possibility of any kind of middle ground.

    To see such a widely respected teacher as Dr. Sproul—the fruits of whose calling and ministry should be clear to all—offer such a testimony within the context of a broader cessationist framework, gives hope for those of us who are caught in the middle, trying to square our understanding of Scripture with the evidence of how God actually works in the world.

    [Can I say that the timing of this post was providential? ;) ]

    Hi John S.,

    I feel the strength of your argument, and understand your question. But why is it that the gift of healing these days is always like the guy who had a genie in a bottle, and after rubbing the bottle the genie pops out, and says, "So now you would like your third wish granted?" "Third wish?", he replied. "I haven't had my first and second yet!" To which the genie retorted, "Sure you have! But you can't remember because after your first wish, you asked me with your second wish to return everything to the state of things before your first wish!"

    And of course, the owner of the bottle didn't believe the genie.

    And so those who profess to have the gift of healing, never a single time heal anyone . . . not even once . . . like Peter and John in the Temple . . . or like Christ walking through crowds healing thousands who came to Him. Just a touch of His robe. . . .

    Never once has this been seen. Isn't that a little striking to you? Just once in my lifetime couldn't it be public, indefectible, by divine fiat without conditions or demands; "Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have I give thee!" Now that is the gift of healing, and I have never seen it.

    The modern healers I have seen have been like our genie. Real miracles pass the straight face test. Real tongues pass the straight face test. Real prophecy tells you something you couldn't know any other way.

    But we never see it. Every time I have set out to check the claims of healers they have not been credible.

    Now, John, I'm not saying it can't happen. I'm not a cessationist. Scripture doesn't teach that. I'm saying I have never seen it. And everyone I ever met that said they had miraculous gifts turned out to be . . . um . . . mistaken.

    Best,
    Grant

    Grant,

    I can testify to seeing the Lord do some amazing things in the region of Kerala, India. I remember taking a small team there and praying for two young girls aged 7 and 9, one deaf and mute since birth, the other deaf since birth, and they were totally healed by God's power, which resulted in their mother, a Hindu (before all this happened), making a profession of faith in Christ. It was something I will never forget and still brings tears to my eyes when I think of it. The image of a young child hearing sound and speaking for the first time is forever etched on my mind.

    In a village in Mongolia, I saw the pastor's mother healed of a lame leg which she had suffered with for more than 60 years. Apparently, she had injured her leg when she had fallen off a horse as a teenager, and now at age 76 brought her home village a tremendous visible testimony to the power of God and the authenticity of the gospel!

    I mention these two incidents (though I could speak of others) because I am still in contact with people who were present at the time and who can verify these things.

    Though I am sure every Christian can testify to seeing answers to prayer even in the realm of physical healing, why do we not see the same level of miracles today as in the time of the early church? Here is a short video (less than 4 minutes) by Dr. John Piper which I think is quite helpful in this regard: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bgs38_x1XJg&feature=player_embedded

    Hi John,
    Interesting link.

    Some observations:
    1) When people cite healings they cite healings in places where it will be difficult to check.

    2) When people cite healings the circumstances of those healings do not resemble the healings of Christ or Peter and John?

    3) Piper offers opinions to rationalize the lack of resemblance in today's "gifts of healing" to that in Scripture, but those opinions cannot be regarded as normative. It's just Piper's opinions.

    4)Why do we hear the same kind of explanations to give cover to healings that are offered for the obvious charlatans? In Revelation 11 we read of believers working real miracles (I am thinking about John 14:12 as I write of these miracle workers in contradistinction to Piper suggesting we don't have to feel bad if we can't do miracles on the scale of Christ. Christ thought differently on that subject from Piper.) Fire proceeds out of their mouths and devours their enemies; they can order up droughts; turn water to blood; plagues; what more could one want? So the idea that God doesn't empower believers to act as Christ did doesn't actually hold water.

    As I said, I am not a cessationist. I would like to have that power; but I haven't received it. Tonight I will pray for a double portion of whatever it is that God wills to give me for the new week, and I hope He does the same for you!

    God bless you and goodnight,
    Grant

    Grant,

    The healings I testified about here can be verified for those who are sceptical, as there are other pastors who witnessed these things. There is no need to go to the length of going to those remote places (India and Mongolia) to document those things (though if someone wishes to do so, they can certainly do that) - but I understand that even with the testimony of pastors who witnessed them and who can verify them, some will not believe... even some Christians.

    Hi John,

    I find that you do have to investigate in the locale of the claimed miracle. Testimonials offered by fellow sympathetic preachers don't matter. They may be just as deceived as the person telling the story.

    For instance, I researched the background of a faith healer named Mahesh Chavda, a low type who preys on parents of sick children. He claimed in his book to have emptied out an insane asylum or somesuch. Had I relied on testimonies of fellow traveler preachers, I would have only come up with glowing reports about Mahesh Chavda's healings. Had I believed those recommendations, Chavda would have been allowed to come and fleece a couple of $10k of seed faith money to procure the healing of their critically ill daughter. Instead . . .

    I called the insane asylum and interviewed some fellow workers contemporaneous with Mahesh Chavda's stint . . .as a janitor . . . at the asylum. What I found was that nothing at all had happened at the insane asylum during Chavda's employment. Certainly no healings.

    So I informed Chavda's headquarters that I intended to meet him at the airport and accompany him while he tried to get a check out of the poor family. Chavda cancelled his flight.

    And the girl lived.

    These things must be investigated with the utmost of vigor. Scientific rigor must be applied to any such claim. Anything less invites in the fakers.

    Best,
    Grant

    Grant,

    I understand you.

    The pastors who witnessed the events I described were both from the west and from the local community where the events took place. I do not fear any thorough investigation. If these things are real (and I believe they are) they can hold up under scrutiny no matter how intense.

    The events bore witness to Christ and His mercy and power, and do not point to any mere man. I simply testify to what I witnessed.

    Hi John,

    The level of deception to which individuals will stoop in the grasp for personal notoriety or advancement easily reaches to the depth of faking miracles.

    The fact that you "saw" it actually means little. Such a miracle needed investigated by someone ruthlessly bold for the truth. If such a one were to find the miracle true . . . it would be a great testimony. . . and . . . we could ask the miracle worker to do it again, while our investigator watches. . .

    I know if I had the gift of healing, that's exactly what I would do.

    Finally . . . the healer came to our little town, and purported to heal a young man's torn knee cartilage. Local preachers here witnessed and will witness to the veracity of the miracle. But my doctor brother saw the same boy in his office the next week, xrayed the knee, and verified that the cartilage was still torn. What did that do to that boy's faith in the God, in preachers, and in the sanity of adults in general?

    So miracles must be done in public while all watch, and they must be repeatable, or no one has the gift of healing today.

    Grant,

    Again, you assume the gift of healing operates by the will of man rather than the will of God - that man can turn it on and have it operate anytime he likes. Why do you make this assumption? On what scriptural basis?

    I understand that there are fraudulent claims on these things but would just point out that I never claimed to have any gift of healing, and am not claiming attention for myself - I have simply made the claim to have witnessed the gracious and powerful hand of God healing. As Martin Luther said, "the Holy Spirit is not a sceptic" but do with it what you will. Many people know what we saw and the effect it had in the community where the people healed were known.

    Hi John,

    I don't assume that the gift of healing operates solely by the will of man. I also don't assume that the gift of healing operates with absolutely no control of man. The Scriptural examples of healing are sufficient to show human action and decision in healing (e.g., Peter and John). Especially given that all hands admit that God does the actual miraculous work.

    So . . . we realize that this is not a discussion about whether or not "men" do the healing.

    We consider I Corinthians 14:32, and that the "spirits of prophets are subject to prophets" (NAS), a remarkably close portrayal of the GNT. The NIV is more interpretative, and justifably so: "The spirits of the prophets are subject to the control of the prophets."

    Since neither of us think the prophets are possesed by "spirits", we both conclude that this is a reference to the control that the prophet has over his gift. It is reasonable to conclude that the gift of healing works similarly, since both Jesus and Peter seemed well aware that they were about to heal someone.

    Now if we describe the control of the healer in the most extreme terms (a common form of debate but not particularly helpful to accuracy), we remove any control of the gift from the healer, which conclusion is inconsistent with the Scriptural data.

    So the Scripture forces us to choose a middling position.

    Best,
    Grant

    Grant,

    You seem to assume once again that if someone is genuine or have an authentic gift in operation - we can simply put a sick person in front of them and watch them heal - or they are a fake and phoney.

    Paul was used mightily by God in healing but still had to tell Timothy to take a little wine for his stomach sake (1 Tim 5:23) and, according to his own testimony, left Trophimus sick at Miletus (2 Tim 4:20). Why did he not just do as you suggest and get these two men healed supernaturally?
    According to your view, it would seem that Paul would either be a charlatan or else not have a genuine gift in operation... and you would expect him to reproduce every healing before someone's watching eyes or else he was a fake. I completely disagree and see no warrant for that biblically.

    Hi John,
    Again, if we attempt to push the argument into its most extreme possibility, then I must necessarily be assuming that "we can simply put a sick person in front of them and watch them heal - or they are a fake or phoney".

    OTOH, I might only be assuming that at least sometimes we could set someone in front of a faith healer in a situation where it could be check and thereby result in great testimony and veritas . . .

    But we . . . never . . . get that.
    Hmm. "John 11:41-42 And Jesus raised His eyes, and said, "Father, I thank Thee that Thou heardest Me. 42 "And I knew that Thou hearest Me always; but because of the people standing around I said it, that they may believe that Thou didst send Me."

    The raising of Lazarus was the ultimate in fact checked healing. "Lord, by now he stinketh!" :) "Lord, if you had come my brother would not have died."

    But we never get that from the continualist crowd. And that is why they never . . . never . . . . go to the hospital and empty out the place.

    Why not, just once . . . ?

    Grant,

    Who are you to make up the rules regarding all this? Who made you the Lord over such enquiries? Do you think Jesus or Peter or Paul would submit to your skeptical mandates to try to prove their healings or miracles as authentic? You mention Lazarus but from your earlier comments it would seem you would not believe in that miracle unless He could reproduce the exact same miracle in front of you - If you came up to Jesus after He raised Lazarus from death and said "do it again with this other dead man I found" - how do you think He would respond? I think the answer is obvious - He would submit to His Father and act only on what He saw His Father doing or saying, rather than trying to convince you as a skeptic that the miracle was authentic. According to your mandates (written earlier) for believing in miracles you would have to throw out Jesus' raising of Lazarus unless He did it again right in front of you.

    The rules you say I am making up are simply the rules for all kinds of evidence in real life.

    Our faith does not operate in some fairy realm with lowered expectations in matters of proof or veracity. Over and over the Scripture commands us to "prove all things", yet some are reluctant to expose claimed healings to fair common-sense expectations of proof.

    Turning the discussion back on me as if I am raising the standards of evidence for truth doesn't help the pursuit of truth.

    Jesus' raising of Lazarus did not need repetition. It was publicly done with proofs of veracity. We note that Jesus easily could have reached Lazarus before he died. The repetition of "3 days" in the narrative, and the repetition of the sisters rebuking Christ for not coming in time, and the patter back and forth between Christ and the disciples about Lazarus ("if he sleeps he will do well")helps us to see that Jesus shared my/our concerns with proof. The miracle was done in such a way it couldn't be argued with.

    Modern continualist miracles are always done in such a way that one certainly could argue with them. Why?

    Why can't they one time do the miracle in an unequivocal way that doesn't require sympathy with their cause to believe in their claim?

    Which brings me to a final point before I quit beating this horse.

    Healing in Scripture is not an alternative to Obamacare, like an alternative health system. The purpose of the healings in Scripture is its sign value. As Christ raised Lazarus, so healings are to have sign value.

    If healings are always equivocal in their evidentiary value, what possible value is their witness? No rational man will consider them.

    So . . . I have learned from this thread that I am a skepto- continualist. My eyes and ears tell me that I have never seen a continualist miracle; the Scripture tells me I will see one if God so wills.

    There will be miracles again.

    God's Best to you,
    Grant

    Grant,

    Yes, as the saying goes, "when the horse is dead, its time to dismount."

    Reminds me of this pony I tried to break. He would lay down in the middle of the street. I would step off. So he would start back up and I would step back on. He didn't seem to tire of it. Then one day he ran directly into a fabric fence at full speed with me on board. The horse is laying upside down with the saddle pommel stuck in the ground. I'm laying a few yards away feeling to see if all body parts are present. And the owner pulls up in his car, rolls down the window, and says, "Every thing alright? Great!" and drives off.
    Best,
    Grant

    Check what hardliner cessationist John MacArthur said at Moody's Pastor's conference in chicago on May 2009 "I want to let my own heart respond to the prompting" before starting his sermon titled "The job description of a faithful pastor" inconsistant fellow. Can he defend his 'promting' from the scripture without violating Sola Scriptura? if he can do that I can defend more than him from the scripture speaking in tongues, healing and all the charismata is still available to the true church which Christ had promised to built. Anyone who denies these denies the doctrine of Sola Scriptura and denies Christ blood brought Church which he is going to built till his comes.

    Post a comment

    Please enter the letter "f" in the field below: