Posts Tagged ‘continuationism’
For those intrigued by the Strange Fire conference, not least for those who have suggested that a debate might have been an appropriate way forward, it might be worth resurrecting the following exchange between Ian Hamilton and Wayne Grudem, in which – I would suggest – Ian Hamilton’s gently relentless drive toward faithfulness in handling the Scriptures rather undoes Wayne Grudem’s insistence that his position is credible.
“Although charismatics and Pentecostals have both claimed him as an advocate of their views, a careful reading of ML-J establishes that they have misunderstood him.” So states Dr. Eryl Davies in his Themelios article entitled, Dr D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: An Introduction.
An alleged defence of modern speaking in tongues:
Suppose the message is:
Praise the Lord, for his mercy endures forever.
Remove the vowels to achieve:
PRS TH LRD FR HS MRC NDRS FRVR.
This may seem a bit strange; but when we remember that modern Hebrew is written without most vowels, we can imagine that with practice this could be read quite smoothly. Now remove the spaces and, beginning with the first letter, rewrite the sequence using every third letter, repeatedly going through the sequence until all the letters are used up. The result is:
Now add an ‘a’ sound after each consonant, and break up the unit into arbitrary bits:
PATARA RAMA NA SAVARAHA DAHARA DAFARASALA FASA CARARA.
I think that is indistinguishable from transcriptions of certain modern tongues. Certainly it is very similar to some I have heard. but the important point is that it conveys information provided you know the code. Anyone who knows the steps I have taken could reverse them in order to retrieve the original message…
It appears, then, that tongues may bear cognitive information even though they are not known human languages–just as a computer program is a ‘language’ that conveys a great deal of information, even though it is not a ‘language’ that anyone actually speaks. You have to know the code to be able to understand it. Such a pattern of verbalization could not be legitimately dismissed as gibberish. It is as capable of conveying propositional and cognitive content as any known human language. ‘Tongue’ and ‘language’ still seem eminently reasonable words to describe the phenomenon…
Unhelpful? Strange? Risible? Can you guess who wrote it?
By all means have a guess in the comments. If I am feeling charitable, and if no one gets it after a while, I will post the answer, with a further link to some astute comments.
UPDATE Yup, it is – as all commenters have guessed one way or another – Don Carson working with a Poythressian perspective. Jesse Johnson has some comments here.
Phil Johnson, with his usual plainness of speech, responds to a recent surge in contacts wanting to argue about the present work of the Spirit of Christ. He sits where the rubber meets the road and watches to see just how much wheel makes contact with the tarmac with regard to some of the claims made, especially with regard to the alleged readiness and capacity of churches in ‘the East’ to enjoy miracles beyond the ken of ‘the West.’ Good, robust stuff.
Update: There’s more. Someone took issue with Phil’s call for discernment and he has answered them.
Bob Gonzales is beginning a series at RBS Tabletalk in which he offers a humble argument for the cessationist postion. These series are usually pithy and punchy, and this one will doubtless be worthy of consideration. It is a significant topic today, just as it has been at many times in the history of Christ’s church.
However, I sometimes get a trifle narked by the fact that historic Reformed Christianity gets lumbered with negative labels. We are so quick to define others in terms of what they are not or do not have, compared with what we are and do have. I am sure that I fall into the same groove myself (in fact, I intend to do so below), and it is not inherently wrong. I just get a touch frustrated when someone else implies, for example, that I am not a new covenant theologian by giving themselves the title of New Covenant Theologians. The same with this topic: the implication can be that others believe in the immediate agency and present operations of the Spirit of Christ, but that I/we believe in no such thing, for they are continuationists while we are cessationists – they have, we lack.
Balderdash and poppycock! Among other things, such a division – and the excesses of some ‘continuationists’ – drives the ‘cessationist’ to his own dry excesses, denying in practice if not in principle the person and work of God the Ghost.
A plea to Bob Gonzales: Bob, will you please make plain that we are charismatic completists! We believe that the Spirit has come; that he is in us and among us; that he works in and through us; and, that he continues to equip and enable us for the service of our great God and King. We lack nothing needful to bring glory to God, but have been and remain indwelt by his gracious Spirit, be-graced and gifted by him. We have been sealed by him, and though we may grieve and offend him at times, yet he is patient with us, and remains the down-payment of our inheritance. We look to him as the Spirit of Jesus to teach us, enlighten us, and empower us, to fill us repeatedly and increasingly for lives of obedient and joyful service, longing to know more of what we already possess.