Cessationism and Continuationism and Strange Fire, Oh MY! (part 3)

In part 1 of this series, I gave a broad outline of the two camps of continuationism and cessationism.  Then, in part 2 of this series, I gave a general historical survey of John MacArthur’s engagement of the charismatic movement and attempted to suggest that he’s not attacking any one vein of the movement or any one person.

Today, I’m going to take a stab at posting some resources for hearing the positions of both sides, from the strong proponents of both sides (If you’re going to learn about something, learn about something from those who most powerfully and articulately represent it, right?).  There’s going to be a lot of information and links, but seeing that the conference is in October, this may give some readers a little time to explore the issues and gain a better understanding of some of the positions that are being discussed/debated.  Here’s a  brief resource list for further study/exploration:

1.  Continuationist resources for further understanding:

– Sam Storms – Sam Storms would be one of the more prolific Continuationist authors.  His website has at least 30 articles on various issues related to continuationism (look at the articles in the categories if “1 Corinthians 12-14”, “controversial issues” and “divine healing”).  He’s also written the books The Beginners Guide To Spiritual Gifts.

– John Piper – Though he doesn’t make this a big part of his ministry, Piper is a continuationist who has written and preached quite a bit on Spiritual Gifts.

Also, Piper has some videos where he speaks about Prophecy:


Or the Gift of Healing:


Or Speaking in Tongues:


– Wayne Grudem – Wayne Grudem is best known for his defense of the idea that the office of Prophet is not the same as the New Testament gift of prophecy.  His two main books on that issue are The Gift of Prophecy in 1 Corinthians (which is a reprint of his doctoral thesis), and The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today (which offers some updated content and is slightly less technical).

– D. A. Carson – He has written one of the best Continuationist Exegetical Analyses of 1 Corinthians 12-14 called Showing the Spirit, but the sermons on which the book was based are HERE.

– Mark Driscoll – Mark has said a lot on the issue, but I’ve found that he leaves very little confusion in his sermons on 1 Corinthians.  He has a 6 part series on spiritual gifts that is, well, surprising to say the least: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6.  If you’re like me and prone to interact with the preacher when you hear someone say something bizarre or crazy in a sermon, you should probably listen to this in private.

– Matt Chandler – Here’s an interview between Matt Chandler and Adrian Warnock (reformed charismatic from the UK) that lays his views on spiritual gifts out in the open:


The Village Church (pastored by Matt Chandler) also has official positional papers on what “charismatic” means and what they believe about spiritual gifts.

– John Neufeld – In 2010, John Neufeld from Willingdon Church in Burnaby preached a sermon series through 1 Corinthians 12-14 that gave a fair presentation of continuationism.  Here it is: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8Part 9Part 10.

– CJ Mahaney – CJ is one of the main trail blazers with regards to the Reformed Charismatic position, but the SGM website doesn’t have positional papers or anything else laid out in a systematic or easy to find way at all.  Just search for “tongues” or “spiritual gifts” or “prophecy” and sort through the 500 hits you get.  It seems like the website is reflective of what’s going on at SGM right now…chaos.

– Adrian Warnock – He gives a good overview of his understanding of the reformed charismatic position here (with lots of follow-up links).  He writes about that topic on his blog a bunch and offers a fair amount of content on the subject if you search his blog.

There are a LOT of other continuationists I could link to, but that should give my readers a grasp of some of what’s being said by some of the major voices on the respectable side of the movement.  I’m not going to waste my time with the other 98% of the charismatic movement and refer readers to the endless horde of nutcases like Creflo Dollar, John Haggee, Joyce Meyer, Paul Crouch, Benny Hinn, Paula White, Juanita Bynum, Benny Hinn, Jack Deere, Paul Cain, The Kansas City Prophets, C. Peter Wagner and the Fuller Seminary peanut gallery, the Brian Houston/Hillsongs false teacher factory, Phil & Chris Pringle & the C3 Reich, Reinhard Bonkke(rs) & his idiotic claims that he has personally lead over 5% of the continent of Africa to the Lord, David Yonggi Cho and the Yoida Full Gospel Church, the whole Bill Johnson/Bethel Church/Jesus Culture hircum circus, Todd Bentley, Rick Joyner, Mike Bickle, Kenneth & Gloria Copeland, etc.

2.  Cessationist resources for further understanding:

Michael Horton – Mike Horton is not a committed cessationist, but he has a short blog article on cessationism here that makes the common “most continuationists are actually cessationists” point and he comments here on how Charismatics tend to assume that only miraculous manifestations are outward manifestations of the Holy Spirit (Koleoso did this with bells on in the sermon from DG 2013 I posted in the previous post).

The Master’s Seminary Faculty – The 2003 lectureship series was on cessationism and the audio is here; I will admit that reading the journal articles on the lower half of the page here is probably easier.  I’ve already said enough.

Dr. David Farnell – He’s from the faculty of the Masters Seminary, and he has written a good article rebutting Wayne Grudem’s distinctions between the office and gift of “prophet”.

Fred Butler – Fred works at Grace to You and has a series of sermons on cessationism here (scroll down part way; the talks go from 2005/02/01 to 2005/06/21).

Dr. Dan Wallace He has a great article on Hebrews 2:3-4 and the sign gifts here.

Lyndon UngerI have written on the meaning of the term “apostle” and I would definitely recommend myself on the issue of sorting out what an apostle is, which then leads one to understand why there cannot possibly be apostles today.

The CrippleGate – This blog involves Master’s Seminary Pastors as well as Seminary Faculty and is one of the 2 best resources on the issue.  They have a post that catalogs all their articles on the various issues.

The Pyromaniacs – When the universe was forged in the crucible of the big bang, the mighty Pyromaniacs blog had already been online for 7 years.  They don’t have one singular post cataloging their content, but they’ve definitely written a fair bunch on the issue.

Of Course, there’s always the Grace to You website.  Word on the street is that GTY.org has some sermons and articles on the issue.  I already linked to some of the pertinent stuff in the last post though, so I won’t re-link it here.

There are other guys out there who have written/preached on cessationism (Sam Waldron, Thomas Edgar, S Lewis Johnson, Richard B. Gaffin, Jay Adams, Kenneth L. Gentry, Robert G. Gromacki, Anthony A. Hoekema, O. Palmer Robertson, B.B Warfield, Charles Hodge, John Calvin, Fred Zaspel, J. Gresham Machen, R. Fowler White, etc.) and there are tons of other resources online (check out the list at Covenant Protestant Reformed Church in Northern Ireland), but that should be more than enough to get some direction with regards to the various issues…probably way too much information.

Until Next Time,

Lyndon “doctrine comes from exegesis, not experience” Unger


12 thoughts on “Cessationism and Continuationism and Strange Fire, Oh MY! (part 3)

  1. Most of my favorite teachers up there…on both sides of the “line”. Thanks for the links. I think although there is merit to both camps we need to remember not to build walls were their may be a thin line. I listen and read regularly to many of these preachers and they’re all brothers, who teach the word, and preach the gospel. While it’s great to debate some of the finer points of theological differences we also need to not wage war with our brothers over them. From the outside looking in everyone of these guys have more in common than not…Christian, evangelical, reformed, complementarian, hold fast to biblical authority, on mission to teach truth and make disciples….and not a single one of them is infallible, inerrant, or should be put on a pedestal. Obviously since I’m active in an Acts 29 church (president Matt Chandler) I have my own leanings…but I can also attest to the genuine work being done through this camp. Actually if you’re ever in S’toon on a Sunday stop in! I think you might be surprised.

    Carla “I swoon over good preaching” pentamom

  2. oh and the Corinthians series from Mark Driscoll is one of the ones I’ve never listened to…being that it’s so old. Keep in mind, good pastors mature, change in preaching style, and are sanctified over the course of 7 years….as they should.

    • Carla,

      I’d point out that the people I linked to I categorized as “the major voices on the respectable side of the movement”. I’d like to suggest that we have a lot in common and I celebrate that, but I’m well aware that people like Chandler, Driscoll, Piper and Grudem think I actually have a wrong view of the work of the Holy Spirit…and I think they’re actually wrong. I’d even go so far as to say that their hermeneutics are completely and blatantly inconsistent; a guy like D.A. Carson is a world class exegete in the sermon on the mount, but he essentially tosses his hermeneutics out the window when he gets to Acts 2 and 1 Corinthians 14. I’d say the same for all the continuationists; if they applied the same hermeneutics and exegetical rigor to Acts 2 or 1 Corinthians 12-14 that they applied to places like Romans 5-9, or Ephesians 1-2, or wherever else they get their “reformed” understandings from, they would abandon their charismatic theology. I actually praise the Lord for their inconsistency; I’d rather have them be good on the gospel and wacky on spiritual gifts than wacky on both the gospel and spiritual gifts…though I’d much rather have them be good on both the gospel and spiritual gifts.

      Talking about it in the open, allowing them to present their own cases, and dealing with it from the scriptures is the honest and respectful way to engage in disagreement that will actually produce some sort of helpful engagement. I’m under no delusion that I’ll convince them, but I’d want to allow those who are honestly struggling with the issue to understand the best biblical arguments from both sides before taking a side.

      I also don’t wage war against people, but I am commanded to take all ideas captive to Christ, right? Saying “Matt Chandler says (x) about spiritual gifts; here’s why I’m convinced from the scripture that he’s wrong” is not saying “Matt Chandler is not a Christian” or “Matt Chandler is an idiot”. Every believer has been wrong on theology and doctrine in the past, and every believer has moved from a position of error to truth on many issues. I’d want Matt Chandler to simply keep moving.

      Also, I doubt I’d be surprised if I came to S’toon,. I’m guessing that the church is a decent, if not great, church that is doing great gospel work and is filled with geniune believers who love one another.

      There are great and godly men who have deep and wide flaws; in fact I’ve never met a great and godly man who didn’t have some pretty serious flaws. Good thing I worship Christ and not Christians.

      I’m actually going to post something on the whole “growing in doctrine” idea with regards to Driscoll and others.

  3. Thanks for the dialogue. Too many folks are too afraid to offend and so avoid discussing differences in theology at all. I do find learning about this topic from both perspectives. I don’t know enough about theology to really address Driscoll’s stance but I was more coming from hearing people say things to discredit him (or slander) because they saw a couple YouTube clips from a decade ago and didnt like his tone, or style. Clearly I see that’s not where you were coming from though. I appreciate my perspective being stretched which challenges me to keep digging deep.

    • I’m not calling the brothers and sisters nutcases.

      Here’s the quote you’re referring to:

      “I’m not going to waste my time with the other 98% of the charismatic movement and refer readers to the endless horde of nutcases like Creflo Dollar, John Haggee, Joyce Meyer, Paul Crouch, Benny Hinn, Paula White, Juanita Bynum, Benny Hinn, Jack Deere, Paul Cain, The Kansas City Prophets, C. Peter Wagner and the Fuller Seminary peanut gallery, the Brian Houston/Hillsongs false teacher factory, Phil & Chris Pringle & the C3 Reich, Reinhard Bonkke(rs) & his idiotic claims that he has personally lead over 5% of the continent of Africa to the Lord, David Yonggi Cho and the Yoida Full Gospel Church, the whole Bill Johnson/Bethel Church/Jesus Culture hircum circus, Todd Bentley, Rick Joyner, Mike Bickle, Kenneth & Gloria Copeland, etc.”

      I separate the people I posted links to, namely the “levelheaded” charismatics (mostly the reformed charismatics) from the TBN/Charisma Magazine crowd.

      I would strongly suggest that everyone in that list is a clear and easy to demonstrate false teacher…mostly because almost everyone on that list are prosperity gospel folks.

      People who preach a false gospel are, by definition, not brothers and sisters. They’re the wolves that Jesus warned us about.

  4. Driscoll is a nut job who philanders with TD Jakes and has porn visions. He is not “respectable”! Piper coddled him when Mac tried to reprove him and when Driscoll emerged from Piper’s mentoring he was worse then before and Carson was totally feckless in his response to Driscoll’s endorsement of Jakes at Elephant Room 2. None of these men have responded respectfully to most or all of the abuses of this nutty movement.

  5. We have to remember that there is a false church out there with false teachers presenting a false gospel with a false Christ,this can be a whole new debate about ecumenism.A christian cannot be a fence sitter who just continually heed the berean call of acts 17:11,one should establish your position quickly and then contend for it.If not one becomes a cork on a violent ocean always considering but never coming to the truth.Do not be too accommodating ,that in itself is dangerous.

  6. Pingback: The Gifts of the Holy Spirit – Reasoned Cases for Christ

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