People all over the place are tossing out what they consider “knockout” arguments against Cessationism.
I’ve read a few of them, and I’m…erm…unconvinced.
Here’s an example:
I missed this when I was doing research before on Matt Chandler for my Outreach top 50 Churches.
Here’s Matt Chandler giving an example of prophecy:
So what do you think?
First, Did Ezekiel ever get 3 ideas and then run across the country-side trying to find out what God was *trying* to say?
Did Isaiah? Samuel? Anyone prophet in the scripture, ever?
Now before you jump the gun and bring up some of the occurrences where something like that happened, ask yourself if those events are ever referred to as “prophecy”?
- An example of something sorta similar was Joseph’s dreams in Genesis 37. He had a couple of strange pictures in his mind that didn’t make sense until many years later, but Joseph is never referred to as a prophet and his dreams are never referred to as “prophecy”.
- Another example of something sorta similar is the dreams of Pharaoh (Gen. 41) and Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 2 & 4). The prophecy wasn’t the dreams but the interpretation of the dreams (and any OT text used to understand the NT gift of prophecy undermines the whole continuationist idea that there’s a lack of continuity between the OT office of prophet and the NT gift of prophecy).
- I could go on and on, but this is a future post in and of itself (and will come…in a few weeks as my schedule clears up a tad).
This whole issue assumes a broad definition of “prophecy” that isn’t in the Bible, and I’ll try to address this at some point. I’m currently compiling a list of some of the foundational issues that need to be addressed, and this is one of the big ones.
Secondly, are the only options for explaining these occurrences that they’re either acts of true prophecy or demonic misleading?
How about this option:
It is a work of God’s providential orchestration of lives and minds, but it’s not prophecy.
I know, that’s possibly a little hard to swallow.
It is God, but it’s not prophecy.
Here’s one more thought for you all:
Almost all of these “knockout” punch arguments that are making their rounds fail on the basis that they broadly assume the definition of the gifts in question on the basis of weak exegetical support without accurately deriving them from scripture. (Big claims that I should back up with a few hundred pages of research, but this is a blog and I have many other things that demand my time. If anyone wants to start a $100,000 kickstarter project for me to quit my job and start writing books on this stuff, I’ll gladly comply and start pumping out books…)
Most of the “spiritual gifts” books and tests that I have read all simply assume the definitions of the gifts that they’re discussing and don’t exegetically establish them.
That’s where Matt Chandler is wrong in giving his illustration of “prophecy” in his life: his error lies in his interpretation of his experience.
I don’t argue with his experience; I basically take it at face value and praise the Lord with him, but I don’t have to take his interpretation of his experience as authoritative. The Bible interprets my experience and tells me what happened, not the other way around.
Just some late night thoughts.
Until Next Time,
Lyndon “Those stairs would definitely get me into shape!” Unger