Dr. Brown Responds to me…

Well, Dr. Michael Brown has responded to me on his Facebook page “Ask Dr. Brown”.  I won’t comment just yet.  I’ll simply post his response and see what my readers think.  Feel free to interact with his response to me.  I’ll post something a little later.  Here’s the initial reference to my article and the response by Brown (I’ve posted directly from Facebook so I apologize for formatting weirdness):

Pls read Dr Brown:
https://mennoknight.wordpress.com/2013/06/22/a-response-to-dr-michael-brown/

Like · · Share · 22 hours ago

  • AskDrBrown Thanks for posting this, and thanks for your kind words. A few quick responses, though, in candor, since your response to my article couldn’t be more off base in terms of rightly understanding my points and rightly understanding what God is doing in the world today.

    1) Anyone who blasphemes the Spirit commits an unpardonable sin, and so Pastor MacArthur is absolutely claiming that some (many?) charismatic leaders are hell-bound; otherwise, he is grossly misusing the Word.

    2) You mention in your negative list people like Reinhard Bonnke, a personal friend and one of the finest Christian men I know in the world. I urge you to get more of the fire he has in his life, and I’d encourage you to start by reading his autobiography. And his former assistant, who has now taken over his ministry, is Daniel Kolenda, one of my ministry school grads and a spiritual son whom I hold in the highest regard.

    3) From what I can tell, Pastor MacArthur is either unaware of or else flatly rejects many of the glorious things the Spirit is doing around the world. I have ministered in many of these countries and seen the fruit firsthand, and many of our grads minister in these countries and are eyewitnesses to the long-term, genuine fruit that is being born. I’m also aware that Pastor MacArthur demonizes some of the real moving of the Spirit here in the USA.

    4) I was a leader in the Brownsville Revival for 4 years from 1996-2000 and was a personal eyewitness to the extraordinary, Jesus-glorifying things that took place there, with the fruit remaining and growing to this day. Of that wonderful move of the Spirit, Pastor MacArthur wrote, “It is an offense to a rational, truth-revealing God, it is an offense to the true work of His Son, it is an offense to the true work of the Holy Spirit to use the names of God or of Christ or of the Holy Spirit in any mindless, emotional orgy marked by irrational, sensual and fleshly behavior produced by altered states of consciousness, peer pressure, heightened expectation or suggestibility. That is sociopsychological manipulation and mesmerism and it is a prostitution of the glorious revelation of God taught clearly and powerfully to an eager, attentive and controlled mind. What feeds sensual desires pragmatically or ecstatically cannot honor God.”

    5) I have no idea how can you possibly claim that I insinuate that Pastor MacArthur is unregenerate. What??? Please read the article again carefully.

    6) As to my analogy re: Chauncey and Edwards, yes, what I wrote is accurate. Edwards (like many fine charismatic scholars today) focused on the wheat; Chauncey, like Pastor MacArthur, focus on the chaff. As to your reference to Cindy Jacobs (also a friend of mine with a real love for the Lord), I have no idea where that came from. Again, it seems you failed to read what I actually wrote.

    7) I’m not questioning his motivation, but my point was that plenty of us charismatics have and do rebuke abuses in the movement — we’ve done it for decades — but he makes ridiculously exaggerated statements that I quote in the article. Also, I can assure that the charismatic megachurches in his area include hundreds of former anti-charismatics who have left his church and others and found life in the Spirit in these other churches. The door swings both ways.

    I haven’t the slightest idea what you mean by “hatred of Calvinism.” I have respect for Calvinism but with differences, and I don’t preach against perseverance of the saints. Sadly, many of Pastor MacArthur’s followers hold to an extreme form of once-saved-always-saved, and he should hold a major conference on this, since it is destroying far more lives, in my opinion, than a carnal prosperity message (although both are deadly).

    9) I could care less about emotional responses and “decisions.” I only care about real disciples being made, and that’s what I was pointing to around the world, and that’s what is documented by many missionaries and missiologists: The message of the cross preached in the power of the Spirit. You should be worshiping God for what He is doing rather than stones at it based on misinformation.

    I generally don’t take time to respond at length like this — really, I don’t have the time — but seeing that I wrote my article with great respect and restraint and since you read it in such a radically different way, I’d suggest that I hit a nerve in your own life, and you should really step back, pray about it, and do some serious soul searching and — better still — serious restudy of the Word. I wish you God’s grace and truth!
    ****************
    *
    That’s the end of his response.
    *
    *
    I won’t pursue this much beyond a simple response post of my own, which will come probably after this weekend since I’m currently doing sermon prep.  Feel free to think about his response to my response, and what exactly he’s suggesting in the various points of his response.
    *
    Until Next Time,
    *
    Lyndon “Calvinism is actually destroying far more lives than the prosperity gospel?” Unger
    *
    P.S. – I just couldn’t tag this under “theology” or “misc thoughts”.  The tag reflects where I’m headed with my response.  (Also, I’ve included asterisks because I couldn’t format the end of the post for some reason…
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45 thoughts on “Dr. Brown Responds to me…

  1. ////seeing that I wrote my article with great respect and restraint and since you read it in such a radically different way, I’d suggest that I hit a nerve in your own life, and you should really step back, pray about it, and do some serious soul searching and — better still — serious restudy of the Word. I wish you God’s grace and truth!//// <—— The typical "I don't have a problem, YOU have a problem" tactic of subtle disrespect and inability to make a worthy response.

    As for comparing Edwards to charismatic teachers and focusing on wheat: Dr. Brown is delusional. Edwards would be disgusted at the notion of continuationism and any comparison of him to Arminan pentecostalism. Edwards was a Calvinist and a PURITAN. Furthermore, MacArthur ACTUALLY focuses on the WHEAT more than the CHAFF. As is the theme of expository teaching; to feed the sheep, not the goats. MacAruthur exegetes scripture, revealing the truth that is plainly written and interpreted by the grammatical-historical method.

    Unlike Brown and many others, MacArthur steers clear of allegorical mysticism when interpreting scripture. MacArthur only makes the "wheat" aware of such false teachings that come from those who may make up the population of "chaff". I am glad to know that Dr. Brown openly admits to his associations with false teachers. I know longer have to teeter on making a decision in my heart and mind on his credibility; he just lost it all.

    • Thanks for the thoughts, Terrence.

      I definitely noticed the same backhanded condescension in his response. I’d dare suggest that I’ve studied the Bible far more than Brown on this topic.

      I also laughed at how he, like many other charismatic scholars, somehow think that people like Edwards would be aligned with laughably obvious false teachers like Cindy Jacobs if they were alive today. It’s funny how charismatics read accounts of Edwards, how people were quaking under conviction, and assume that means something like “being slain in the Spirit”.

      Anachronistic shoveling of current phenomenon back into history if ever I’ve seen it.

  2. Though I will choose to stay out of the meat of the issue (I’ll leave that to far smarter and more studious people such as yourself), I can say that he responds to your post with not a single piece of scripture, and bases the validity of his argument on experience and his personal knowing of people in question. I can’t see how he really addresses your questions..

      • That being said, having a personal relationship with the mentioned parties does entitle him to a certain bit of authority on their character and intent. But it is still wrong to assume people making decisions = rightness. Paul wrote in Philippians 1:15-18 “some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love”…”the former proclaim Christ out of rivalry, not sincerely”…”What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretence or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice”. Even Benny Hinn probably creates a true believer once and a while, doesn’t mean it’s the Holy Spirit moving in him!

      • More good thoughts Josh.

        I’d suggest that with regards to personally knowing someone, you can speak to their character and intent FAR more than someone who doesn’t know them (certainly). Character and intent aren’t in question though; what’s in question is the clear and public teaching of unbiblical doctrine by the people I mentioned, as well as their explicit alignment with the prosperity gospel.

        I would be the first to admit that someone like Cindy Jacobs is probably a very nice, cordial and even delightful woman who means well. Being nice and being biblically accurate are two entirely different things.

  3. This really does prove that he has no real understanding of what scripture teaches. He is blind and leading the blind. Like the Pharisees of old , you will never change his attitudes he has a veil over his face and will not be able to see truth unless our Lord God gives him the ability to receive truth. Another false teacher being led astray by false teachers who think they are right. Our Lord God will have the last say. ” Game over, You lose “

    • Well, I honestly don’t know enough of Brown to pull out the “false teacher” label on him; those are pretty harsh words. To be as gracious as possible, I imagine that is is also likely that Dr. Brown sees some close friends being attacked and he is simply defending them.

      I imagine he’s not ACTUALLY close friends with Bonhke or Jacobs, but only know “of them” through various crossings of their paths. I’ll chalk up his defense of them to simply being ignorant of what they actually teach.

      Still, his adamant insistence that the prosperity gospel is less dangerous than Calvinism is rather alarming and suggests that he either:

      a. Has no idea what Calvinism is about but learned Arminianism from people he loves and respects and defends Arminianism with the same tenacity that he’d defend his friends (because an attack on one is akin to an attack on another…at least in some sort of subconscious way).

      b. He has so much invested in prosperity people (and his own school of “ministry”) that any attacks upon the Charismatic movement are simply, by default, wrong (without any real need of listening to whatever is being said).

      I know a whole lot of charismatics that have the subconscious equation of “charismatic experience = the totality of Christianity” and they see abandoning one as abandoning another.

      I was there for around 5 years, hence it took me so long to leave the movement.

    • Thanks for the thoughts!

      One would hope that Brown is acquainted with Calvinism thoroughly after debating White…except that he pulls out “once saved always saved…(and you are free to sin as much as you want)” $.05 misunderstanding of the perseverance of the saints.

      I don’t really get how someone can be straightened out multiple times on an issue and still recite the same confusions, unless that person isn’t ever listening in the first place…or actually thinks that he knows more about a subject than a recognized expert on that subject (i.e. how Dave Hunt simply dismissed all Calvinists who disagreed with his mistaken views of Calvinism as “misinformed about Calvinism”.)

  4. Just a quick note (and my apologies in advance for not being able to interact further).

    Please forgive me if my response to you sounded condescending. I actually responded when requested to on my FB page and it was because of the respectful nature of your post that I took time to respond — but in the midst of lots of other writings. So, again, if I offended you by the tone or sounded condescending, please forgive me, as I did not intend to talk down to you.

    Also, I totally respect the doctrine of perseverance of the saints, and although I differ with it, I never speak against it; I speak out against once saved always saved, which Pastor MacArthur also rejects (while holding to the P of Tulip). (Remember that I was a 5-point Calvinist from 1977-1982, preaching it with zeal.) My point was that I’ve heard from many “followers” of Pastor MacArthur who hold to OSAS, and because it is so dangerous, I was asking why he hasn’t held conferences to focus on this abuse alone — hence the “double standard.”

    That being said, since I have written whole books about superficiality and error among my Charismatic brothers and sisters, and so the real question comes down to whether the NT gifts of the Spirit are to be normative for today, and that’s obviously where we differ greatly.

    Again, I wish I could interact more (I’ve not even read all the comments here), but it was brought to my attention today that my response seemed condescending, so I wanted to clear that up with an apology for anything that was not rightly expressed in my response.

    May God’s grace and goodness be yours! (Feel free to write to me directly and privately through my AskDrBrown FB page or through my website.)

  5. I found it interesting in your comment to Dr. Brown that you used the terms “I’d suggest” or “I’m guessing” to help defend MacArthur. I would guess that those terms would hurt your credibility of the whole argument.

  6. I was refering to how you mentioned you do not speak for MacAurther but that you would suggest several things. It seemed that you were suggesting what his intent was, who MacAurther was referring to in different statements, and who he was not talking to. You also stated that you were guessing on his intentions. Your response, in my opinion, seemed to be more your opinion than fact. That being said, this is your blog so you can write whatever you want. I will say that many blog entries are hard for me to read without responding to defend the pentacostal church. One thing that I disagree on is that we are emotionally driven and not driven by the Scripture. Just because we do show emotion in our worship does not take away from our focus on God’s Word. A pentacostal church is definitely different than other denominations as we are open to the Holy spirit and where that leads us. If you do not agree with that, that is fine. But to say we are all emotionally driven without a strong foundation is just wrong. Just my opnion.

    • Thanks for your thoughts Sherry T.

      You’re right that I was taking an educated guess at what was going on with MacArthur’s citations and such…but only because I have a far more intimate knowledge than Dr. Brown with regards to what’s going on with the conference. I still have friends down there and still am loosely “in the loop”, at least far more likely “in the loop” than Dr. Brown. I don’t apologize for writing my opinion, and I think I was fairly clear that it was my opinion.

      I’m not a spokesman for MacArthur by any stretch; I was just defending my ex-pastor and friend against some libel offered on a highly public forum that needed to be challenged.

      And, well, I understand that you take offense to the accusation that Pentecostals are emotionally driven and not driven by scripture.

      I would suggest that you are misunderstanding me on this one, since I wouldn’t suggest that Pentecostals are emotionally driven (or that it’s even wrong to be emotionally driven), or that showing emotion in worship is wrong, and I’m open to the leading of the Spirit too.

      I know, that sounds like I’m lying or playing with words. Let me explain.

      I don’t have a problem with being driven by emotion, per say, since every person on earth is emotionally driven. I eat lunch because I want to and I choose a hamburger because I seek the pleasure of eating it. I could survive just fine eating bread and water, but I seek the emotional enjoyment of the hamburger because I can and want to.

      I don’t have a problem with emotional worship either. Worship that isn’t engaging the emotions is most likely pretend worship.

      I definitely love the Holy Spirit.

      The problem lies in two things:

      a. Inconsistent hermeneutics – By this I mean that in many charismatic circles (which is FAR bigger than Pentecostalism, and some Pentecostals I know aren’t charismatic) the way the Bible is interpreted in one area is completely contrary to the way the Bible is interpreted in another, and yet both occur without apology. I know many charismatic churches that use a different method of interpretation to arrive at their belief in the resurrection of Christ (studying the scripture in its historical and grammatical context) than they do to arrive at their belief regarding the sign gifts (tongues, apostolic healing & prophecy – how many people do you know think that tongues is an angelic language on the basis of 1 Corinthians 13:1?). I know many charismatic churches that use a different method of interpretation to arrive at their belief in the deity of Christ (again, studying the scripture in its historical and grammatical context) than they do to arrive at their beliefs regarding spiritual warfare (often trial and error, interpreting dreams, and even interviewing demons. I’ve heard someone claim to have done that last one repeatedly in the last 8 months.).

      b. The elevation of experience over scripture – When I was pastoring in charismatic circles, I regularly saw people simply ignoring scripture to follow something that they were told in a dream, or by the “voice of God” that they “heard”. The Bible is explicitly clear on the priority of God’s word being the filter through which we interpret our experiences, not vice versa.

      Many of my friends are charismatic, and almost every one of my charismatic friends is highly inconsistent, for which I praise the Lord. I’d only love for them to be more consistent in a good way that brings more glory to God.

  7. Just a thought regarding your ‘inconsistent hermeneutics’ points: It would make sense to use a different method to interpret the resurrection, ‘historical and grammatical’ (could you elaborate a little) and the gifts mentioned; one is narrative the other, a rebuke.

    The comment you make about ‘angelic language’ is more likely to be understood from 1Cor 14:2, ‘For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit.’

    Regarding elevating experience over scripture, there are two things:
    I believe that God has equipped his church with spiritual gifts, all listed in his Word, and that we should ‘eagerly desire’ them (1Cor 12:31). I go to a charismatic church; is everything I see there a manifestation of the Holy Spirit? Probably not, sometimes I think people manifest it themselves, sometimes. But, I have never heard of anyone ignoring scripture, or doing anything contrary to scripture. In my experience, all charismatics I know regard scripture as the highest authority. Which leads me to my next point.

    You say that you that you use to pastor in charismatic circles, but it sounds like you’ve had a bad experience. I hope you see this, but you are placing your experience over scripture’s teaching and this seems a little inconsistent.

    Are there abuses of the gifts? Of course! Just as it was in Corinth, but Paul doesn’t tell them to stop using the gifts, but rather, he exhorts them to love. If you want to say Pentecostal/Charismatics are abusing these gifts and therefore they can’t be from God, consider this, I’m sure there are many Christians (cessationists included) out there who use the Bible to extort money and keep people in bondage. Should we therefore throughout the Bible? If we are to be consistent, you would have to go that way, and many have.

    Anyway, it’s been interesting to follow this discussion.

    Much love to the saints.
    Grant.

    • Grant, multiple points so I’ll number them to mark them off in order to keep things orderly:

      1. Historical Grammatical hermeneutics is basically approaching language in a straight-forward (i.e. non-allegorical) way. It works from the presupposition that words mean what they mean in their setting; their setting in a situation and in usage.

      If I got a cake that says “welcome home”, it would mean very different things if the setting was the celebration of a soldier returning to his family as opposed to a repeat offender being given the cake by the warden upon his 4th incarceration.

      Historical Grammatical hermeneutics is how one approaches language and it factors in things like genre, so I would strongly disagree that one would utilize different hermeneutics on literature of different genres.

      I would disagree so far as to say that if I were a betting man, I’d bet that you don’t believe that for a second either. I’m guessing that our disagreement stems from your confusion as to the nature of historical grammatical hermeneutics.

      2. I’ve never, not once, heard 1 Corinthians 14:2 used as a text to support the idea of “angelic languages”. I’ve heard it used to support the idea of a “Holy Spirit language”, but never the idea of “angelic languages”. If you were attempting to do so, you would need to establish some sort of case. I’m all ears.

      3. Grant, I hear you when you say that “I have never heard of anyone ignoring scripture, or doing anything contrary to scripture”.

      Do people in your church speak in non-earthly languages when they’re speaking in “tongues”? If so, they’re ignoring the scripture.

      Have you ever experienced miracles that were an end in themselves? If so, you’ve experienced your leadership ignoring scripture.

      Has anyone in your church prophesied “in the flesh”? If so, they’re ignoring scripture.

      Just because someone doesn’t do something consciously or maliciously doesn’t mean they’re innocent.

      I know a lot of charismatics who think very highly of the Bible; the problem is that they’re taught by men who’ve been trained to mishandle the scripture and deceive people about the contents and commands of scripture. Not knowingly most likely, but still happening.

      4. And the “sounds like you’ve had a bad experience” line.

      Psycho-analysis on a blog.

      You might want to sit down for this Grant:

      I know I’ve had bad experiences in charismatic circles. I’ve had worse experiences in cessationist circles.

      I’m still a cessationist, and it’s not because I got hurt.

      It’s because I am convicted at my core that the scripture communicates truth that we can understand and must conform our experiences to. My experience moves and shapes me, but it doesn’t dictate the meaning of the nouns and verbs of the scripture.

      If you think that, I’d suggest that you have a very sub-biblical view of the Bible yourself.

      5. You’re analogy is flawed. It’s funny how EVERY charismatic I talk to makes some sort of equally flawed illustration:

      a. The gifts are being abused.

      b. Stopping the gifts = stopping the spirit.

      therefore:

      c. We cannot stop the gifts.

      You know what your wrong presupposition is? The assumption that you’re seeing any gifts of the spirit in the first place.

      I would suggest that you’re not.

      If the tongues you’re seeing aren’t tongues, and the prophesy isn’t prophesy, and the apostolic healing isn’t apostolic healing, then I have no problem in ignoring the abuses and stopping all the false gifts altogether.

      Let’s conform to the scripture from the start and use biblical definitions for the gifts; then this whole debate is over REALLY fast.

      Tongues = earthly languages. No question whatsoever.

      Prophecy = delivering the oracles of God with absolute authority and reliability (and the punishment for false prophecy is death).

      With those two definitions, definitions that are demonstrably and unquestionably in the scripture, this whole debate is over.

  8. Wow this “response” from Dr.Brown is full of more or less camouflaged put downs. Look at this one:

    “but seeing that I wrote my article with great respect and restraint and since you read it in such a radically different way, I’d suggest that I hit a nerve in your own life, and you should really step back, pray about it, and do some serious soul searching and — better still — serious restudy of the Word. ”

    🙂 So anyone who read the article as it is a rather heinous and misrepresenting on MacArthur and Reformed in general has to have some “personal issue in his life” that needs to be fixed according to all seeing and all knowing “prophet” Dr.Brown. Wow! This man is really stepping over the board and it is clearly visible in his accusations that are so irrational and harsh despite him trying to dress them up in nice polite words… Nope – that is just CAMOUFLAGE!

    Second. It is clear to see that the ultimate test of fruitfulness and truthfulness for Michael Brown is whether or not a particular sensationalist is a friend of his… If he is then he is orthodox and good to go… Really? Who does this man purposes himself to be?

    Well I tell you more than after this confession of his I and many more know for sure that he is not what he imagines himself to be: “As to your reference to Cindy Jacobs (also a friend of mine with a real love for the Lord).”

    Wow, that is all I can say now but surely this rabbit hole is deeper than anyone would have know before he wrote this despicable pamphlet against John MacArthur. In the end all Brown is doing is only increasing the audience of the upcoming Strange Fire conference. I know I cannot wait… Cindy Jacobs… Ouch!

  9. Pingback: Some Thoughts on Dr. Brown’s response to me… | Watch Your Life and Doctrine Closely...

  10. Menno, I hope someday that you would be able to personally meet with Dr. Brown. He is what some might refer to as real, the “what you see is what you get” kind of person. It is unfortunate that your blog here takes such a hostrile tone not his theology (abd towards him personally?).

    In any case, (1) your claim that you’ve studied the Bible more than Dr. Brown, I think, would be quite debateable. In any case, even if you had, hours spent in studying the Bible is no guarantee that one has come to a right understanding of it. It would be a pity to have studied erroneous theology that was thought to be correct for many,l many years.

    (2) I don’t think Dr. Brown was comparing Edwards with pentacostalism or making as if there was continuity between them. I think he was just stating that Edwards, having witnessed first-hand the evidences of God’s presence in power among people, was more cautious in his criticisms of revivals and the resultant unusual manifestations. If I am correct, Edwards did not cancel out these manifestations as not from God wholesale; he only caustioned that these manifestations in and of themselves neither proved or disproved that they were of God.

    (3) As far as Dr. Brown’s assessment that the OSAS, which MacArthur subscribes to, is “destroying far more lives…than a carnal prosperity message”, note, that is his opinion. he is not stating it as a fact. And, in the second place, he does admit that the “carnal prosperity message” is also “deadly”.

    (4) From my reading of Dr. Brown’s article and his repsosne to you, Dr. Brown is not complaining against warranted criticisms towards certain excesses of the Charismatics and Pentecostals, but he is arguing against MacrArthor’s wholesale condemnation and rejection of them and their practices.

    (5) Dr. Brown is being accused of basing his theology upon his experience, yet you explain your rejection of those who espouse the view that the gifts of the Spirit are not active today on experience when you say, “When I was pastoring in charismatic circles…” Your experience is just that, your experience. To suggest that all are wrong on the fact of your experience is not just unfair but the kind of judgmental attitude that Christ condemns.

    Because there are a few (if not many) non-pentecostal/charismatics pastors who have committed adultery, would it be right to condemn all pastors of this doctrinal persuasion as adluterers?

    That the spiritual gifts are available for today as they were in apostolic times and in the generations since then up until today, is a plain fact, proved, yes by experience. One may not be able to base his docrtine solely on experience, but to flat out dismiss experience is foolhardy.

    Does God perform miracles today? Is regeneration a miraculous work that God does today? That God can perform the miraculous deed of regeneration but not heal the sick does not seem to be consistent with God’s nature and mode of activity, especially if regeneration is defined as a miracle.

    if God is does not heal today, who does? If those who preach Christ and the grace of God, while signs and wonders are performed, if these are done in the power of Satan or if it is merely delusional, mass hypnotism, etc., then it would seem that satan and the insane are preaching the Gospel.

    From my perspective, I do not feel as though Dr. Brown’s tone was resentful towards MacArthur’s person but towards his theology re: the miraculous (and his view on OSAS, which, I agree, is a doctrinal view that, in my opinion, results in the stumbling of many).

    I would request that you reconsider your tone towards Dr. Brown. It might be helpful for you to read Dr. Brown’s excellent books on revival. Although I may be wrong, your tone towards him reflects someone not familiar at all with his thought.

    May we all possess the mind of Christ that results in unity of Spirit irresepctive of how long we have studied the Bible: may we not be wise in our own eyes….

    • Thanks for your thoughts NBanuchi.

      I’d refer you to my rules of engagement (rule #7) for my thoughts on people who come on a blog and make commentary about “tone”. Tone attacks are rhetorical tactics of people who think they’re a lot more perceptive than they really are. Quick interaction:

      1. No I didn’t claim that. I claimed that I’ve studied the scripture on this particular issue more than him. I have a high level of confidence in my biblical study because my biblical conclusions are neither based on my experience or my theology. They’re based on the nouns and verbs of scripture.

      2. I did get his analogy. I was pointing out that the analogy was one of a believer vs. unbeliever, and MacArthur was the unbeliever. The manifestations under Edwards were nothing at all similar to the manifestations present in the modern charismatic movement.

      3. Brown didn’t claim that. He recognizes that MacArthur denies OSAS.

      4. Agreed.

      5. You’re misrepresenting me in an alarming way. Here’s the whole sentence: “When I was pastoring in charismatic circles, I regularly saw people simply ignoring scripture to follow something that they were told in a dream, or by the “voice of God” that they “heard”.”

      You aren’t paying much attention at all to what I was saying there. All that says was that I regularly saw people ignoring the scripture when I was in those circles. I didn’t leave those circles because of that, and I have never judged those people wrong on the basis of that,

      All my conclusions and judgments are the fruit of my study of scripture. All my conclusions and judgments are the fruit of my elevation of scripture above experience.

      6. You said “Because there are a few (if not many) non-pentecostal/charismatics pastors who have committed adultery, would it be right to condemn all pastors of this doctrinal persuasion as adulterers?”

      Of course not.

      How about this question:

      Because an overwhelming majority of pentecostal/charismatics pastors claim that the tongues of scripture is an angelic language/ecstatic speech that exists for the purpose of being a mark of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, is it right to condemn all pastors for their doctrinal error with regards to tongues?

      7. You said “That the spiritual gifts are available for today as they were in apostolic times and in the generations since then up until today, is a plain fact, proved, yes by experience. One may not be able to base his docrtine solely on experience, but to flat out dismiss experience is foolhardy.”

      No. You’re absolutely rebelling against God if that’s what you believe. Biblical doctrine is ONLY proved as biblical because it’s demonstrably taught in the scripture, not because it’s “bible-ish” and experience irons out the details.

      To flat out dismiss experience, as authoritative on establishing doctrine, is called “wisdom”. Scripture interprets and irons out our experience, never vice versa.

      8. God still performs miracles. God still heals. No cessationist that I’m aware of doubts that.

      The miracles and healings in much of the charismatic movement aren’t what they claim to be; they’re not the same “gift” of healing that Christ and his apostles had…and a majority of them are simply fraudulent.

      I would request that you stop making lame appeals to tone, as if you know either Brown or myself enough to evaluate our tone, and try reading what people say a little closer. You misread both myself and Brown and half your “rebukes” clearly reveal that.

  11. Menno, respectfully, it seems you have perceived the tone of my remarks in a negative fashion and responded, so it seems toi me, rather aggressively (and with some measure of hostility).

    For the record, I do know Dr. Brown personally.

    Your denials, agreements and clarifications are noted.

    • Bud, it seems that you are caught up in attributing “tone” to people, as if you know what’s going on in our lives and minds. I was neither mad nor hostile. I have a newborn screaming 10 feet away and wrote me response with a brevity of words due to other important matters needing my attention…not anger.

      You apparently don’t pay much attention to my words. I didn’t challenge whether or not you knew Michael Brown. I most definitely challenge whether or not you know him well enough to accurately attribute “tone” to him…and me.

      If you want to talk Bible and make some sort of exegetical case, feel free. I’m always open to discussing the Scriptures.

  12. Menno, respectfully, here are some examples of your response to me:

    You said, “Tone attacks are rhetorical tactics of people who think they’re a lot more perceptive than they really are.” Here you take resort to veiled insult on the mere basis of your perception of the “tone” my comments take. My “tone” was not an attack. However, that is how you perceived it; you seemed to have felt (= “tone”) that my comment was an attack. Therefore, you respond by a polite slight that implies negatively on my ability to perceive. On the other hand, the same can be said re: your ability to perceive since you misunderstood the “tone” of my comments.

    Again, you declare, “You’re absolutely rebelling against God if that’s what you believe.” From my comment it seems obvious what I believe. And to make such a judgment on the mere basis of one doctrinal viewpoint is the kind of judgment Christ cautions against.

    As such, you comments seem to me to, at least, border on aggressiveness and hostility (although it is understood to be on the basis of your [mis]perception that I attacked you).

    In addition, I actually sent a copy of my comment on your blog (not your reply) to Dr. Brown for him to evaluate whether or not I have correctly represented his view. His reply was that I accurately understood him.

    As far as furthering this discussion in the form of an exegetical debate, first, that was never my intention; and second, your claims of confidence to know the Bible (although the increase of knowledge is no guarantee that one has come to correct conclusions re: doctrinal subjects), encourage me to take Clint Eastwood’s advice: “A man has got to know his limitations.” 🙂

    • I don’t know why this is so hard, yet this is a constant problem with the web and text interactions.

      – A “tone attack” is a response attacking the assumed ‘tone’ of a message. I did not think your tone was one of attack. I don’t assign any ‘tone’ to you at all. I simply take your words at face value, as well as I’m able.

      – If anyone subjects the scripture to their experience, then that’s rebelling against God by disregarding what God says the priority of his word should be in their life.

      – Dr. Brown says you rightly understand him. Okay. I’m referring to your original post, point #3. You said this:

      “As far as Dr. Brown’s assessment that the OSAS, which MacArthur subscribes to…”

      In Brown’s second response to me, he wrote:

      “I speak out against once saved always saved, which Pastor MacArthur also rejects…”

      Call me crazy, but you said something that Brown flatly denied. That might possibly give me a reason to think you’ve misunderstood him…

      – Okay. No exegesis. Let’s not crack open the scripture on any of these biblical issues…if that’s what you want…fellow believer in God’s inspired revelation (right?).

      If the Bible is REALLY God’s word (and I don’t believe for a second that 99% of charismatics REALLY believe that it is), then it should be a hammer of truth that should smash my skepticism to pieces and put me in my place. In fact, it claims to be just that (Jeremiah 23:29).

      You toss out the line “the increase of knowledge is no guarantee that one has come to correct conclusions re: doctrinal subjects” and then leave that dangling? Okay. I fully agree. There’s a whole lot of smart heretics out there.

      I might be wrong; I might even be a heretic, but I need you to show me from the Bible.

      I’m wanting to be corrected. I’m asking you to straighten me out if I’m wrong on my understanding of the scripture.

      Please straighten me out.

      If God’s word is clear and true, that shouldn’t be very hard.

      We can talk about the nature of healing done by Christ and the apostles.

      We can talk about whether or not physical healing is part-and-parcel within the atonement.

      We can talk about tongues.

      We can talk about the biblical understanding of prophets and whether there’s a discontinuity between OT and NT “prophets” (or whether one’s an office and one’s a spiritual gift…if those are different).

      We can both celebrate that God does miracles in the world, no question.

      We can talk about the purpose of all miracles in the Bible and whether or not the modern charismatic movement has any biblical reason to have miracles in the first place.

      These conversations always end with me begging to be corrected, and the charismatic guy manufacturing some excuse to hit the streets…usually because after a few rounds, the “sword of the Spirit” takes a piece out of someone’s hide and they run away from it.

      Here’s a little of that happening on here in the past (in the comment thread) – https://mennoknight.wordpress.com/2010/08/10/168/

  13. I just realized that re: #3, it seems you misunderstood what I meant. I did not mean to say that Dr. Brown said MacArthur subscribes to OSAS; I was only stating that Dr, Brown rejects the OSAS doctrine, a doctrine which I myself mistakenly attributed as believed by MacArthur. I was not saying that Dr. Brown believed Macarthur believed it. As such, I appreciate your correcting my attributing MacArthur to espousing the OSAS doctrine.

    As far as what Dr. Brown said concerning OSAS, I have correctly represented his thinking.

    In any case, for the very reason that there is the “constant problem with the web and text interactions” of ascertaining one’s attitude, it is important (at least to me) to be extra careful how one gets their criticisms across.

    Further, the notion that you simply take my words at face value seems self-mistaken. You would not have mad any implications of my having a rebellious attiftude against God if you had. If you had taken me at face value, I think you would have simply noted that I was mistaken and briefly, at least, explained why without any judgment or criticism of moral character.

    Respectfully, to be honest, it is hard for me to take seriously your claim to be open to change since you profess to “have a high level of confidence” in biblical study on the basis of your understanding of “the nouns and verbs of scripture”.

    In any case, the intent of my comment was merely to ask that you reconsider the way in which you criticise Dr. Brown’s views; it was not to engage in a debate. I am stll taking Clint Eastwood’s advice. 🙂

    • NBanuchi,

      I do think we’re talking past each other here. I wasn’t ascribing a rebellious attitude to you. I did make a conditional “if…then…” statement (“You’re absolutely rebelling against God if that’s what you believe.” The key term there was the “if”. Only you can speak to your beliefs and thereby place yourself in any category.).

      As for my claims to change, all I can say is that I once believed the opposite of probably 80% of my beliefs now. I used to be egalitarian, liberal, deistic, evolutionary, etc. Over the last 20+ years, I’ve been constantly corrected by the scriptures. The thing that always straightens me out is the scriptures; as I seek to sit under and not over them, I am constantly trying to change to conform to them. Show me from the scriptures, and I’ll change. The question is:

      Can you make an exegetical case from the scriptures that will survive scrutiny?

  14. It’s a shame so few charismatics are willing to make their case on the “nouns and verbs” of scripture. Maybe they perceive that approach as the letter that killeth, as opposed to the Spirit that gives life.

    • Well, that’s something that they say often.

      I’ve found that they often do not submit their experiences to the authoritative evaluation of scripture. If I had a dime for the amount of times that I’ve talked someone through the scripture and then they say “well, at MY church such-and-such happened and there’s NO WAY that wasn’t the Holy Spirit!”

      At that point, the argument needs to change to whether or not they believe the Bible is *actually* the word of God.

      Every time you come up against a clear teaching of scripture that you’re currently not doing, you have 2 choices:

      1. Change.

      2. Sin.

      People often choose the second option and cover it up with a boatload of rhetoric and excuses. (i.e. well, Godly men disagree!)

  15. Menno, I just wanted to share something i posted on Dr. Brown’s blog; since I refer to something you said – without naming who said it – I think it only right to give you a heads up. Below is wnat I wrote:

    *****

    Dr Brown and those who have commented on this subject here,

    One thing I have noticed when engaging on the issue of the miraculous, those who are against it always accuse us of basing our understanding of the Bible on experience. One brother said, “I have a high level of confidence in my biblical study because my biblical conclusions are neither based on my experience or my theology. They’re based on the nouns and verbs of scripture.” Let alone omitting experience in one’s investigation of the Scriptures, I wonder how many Biblical scholars would agree with that method of exegesis.

    I agree that experience ought not be the basis of formulating “biblical conclusions”, but is it sensible to reject it outright as a means of understanding Scripture and its apllication to out lives? I don ‘t think so.

    Moses would have a hard time proving that his “biblical conclusion” that God commanded Egypt to let his people go precisely because he had no Bible. Pharoah said, “Who is God that I should let the Hebrew people go?” How would Moses respond?

    “Well, Pharoah, it says here in the Bible that God commands, ‘Pharoah, let the people go’. Notice the nouns are ‘pharoah’, ‘people’ and the verb ‘go’ is in the present immediate tense suggesting something that must be done now without hesitation; and the phrase, ‘let my people go’, has reference not to ‘God’ but to ‘pharoah’; therefore, it is God commanding pharoah – and you are him – to let his people go.”

    Not really.

    Moses had no Scriptures to base his theology upon. So, how did Moses replied to Pharoah’s question? “The God of the Hebrews has manifested Himself to us” (Tanakh, Ex 5:3). Moses based his “theology” of God on experience (Ex3:2-12).

    How about the apostle Paul? He had the Scriptures, the Word of God to formulate doctrine and practice. Did he come to his “biblical conclusions” about God, especially in relation to the Messiah based on Scripture? Did the apostle Paul’s instense and extensive learning of “the nouns and verbs of Scripture” lead him to the “biblical conclusion” that Jesus is the Messiah? What did this great man of God say when he was being persecuted for his beliefs?

    “I have studied Isaiah 53 for many years. I have read day and night the prophets and in all my reading – studying the words, the nouns, the verbs, the adjectives and adverbs – I have come to the conclusion that Jesus is Messiah. No, I do not base this theological view on experience but only in what the nouns and verbs of the Hebrew Scriptures mean.”

    I don’t think so.

    Paul, although having the Hebrew Scriptures to fall back on, said, in short, “Christ came to me! He manifested Himself to me! I experienced His power for he made me blind and then healed me!” (See Act 22:1-16). It can be suggested that Paul’s defense was likened to the words of John, the beloved disciple, “That…which we have heard…seen…handled.”

    As with Moses, Paul’s defense was…experience. For sure, Paul may have resorted to the Scriptures in confirmation that he had truly experienced manifestation of the Hebrew God, nevertheless, when his beliefs were questioned, he replied by sharing what he experienced: “I received [the Gospel]…by the revelation of Jesus Christ,” Paul contends in defense of his apostleship and authority; “when it pleased God…to reveal His Son in me” (Gal 1:12,15-16). Actually, it was precisely because he experienced God that he went back to the study of the Scriptures, wrote his epistles, and was confident of the divine appointment of his apostleship.

    It was not his “great learning” that led him to believe in Christ, although, admittedly, it made it easier for him to test and confirm his experience as having been a genuine revelation of Yhwh, but the manifestation – the miraculous experience – of Christ to him.

    I have come to Christ, not due to an intense study of the Bible (though many others have comne to Christ in that way), but because He spoke to me in an audible voice, saying, “You’re going to be arrested”. I instictively knew it was God and asked, “What did you say?” He repeated, “You’re going to be arrested.” That experience led me to a park a week later where I saw people singing and, again, instictively knew they were singing to God. When someone came up to me and asked if I wanted to be saved, a window of understanding – of instinctive knowledge – opened up to me and I knew that it was in this man Jesus Christ in whom I must lay up all my hope and trust.

    Am I advocating experience above the Scriptures? No. Scripture confirms an interprets what has been experienced, if it is a genuine manifestation of God. Neverthless, I am saying that to totally reject experience in one’s exegesis of Scripture is not only denying an important aspect of the human experience of divinity, it may also be denying the Spirit’s activity and work among men as promised in the Scriptures.

    Yes, let us run to the the Scriptures to find an test and explain what we have perceived in an experience of Christ “in you, the hope of glory.” Let us rejoice and embrace the miraculous presence of God when it is manifested in our lives or the lives of others.

    And let us study the Bible; let us seek to understand, to make sense of what we read in the Bible and what we experience in life. To do so is not to place experience above Scripture, although that may be a real danger (as it is also a real danger to place rationalization and common sense – which is evidently a form of experience – above the Spirit teaching us the things of God through Scripture), but to bring the whole person into communion and service to God through Christ.
    “Whether he is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I do know of sure, whoever he is, whereas before I was blind, now I see.”

    *****End of comment.

    Please note, I do not place this here as an invitation to debate. It is only me sharing my thoughts on the subject, which your comment had incited. Thanks for taking the time to read it…

    • Thanks for the thoughts. What did he say?

      Wanna know what the fatal flaw is in your case?

      1. Moses, Paul, and the rest were PROPHETS (and had actual, face-to-face conversations with Yahweh). They didn’t need to read the scripture because they wrote it. They were actually getting the very, verbal, oracles of God from his very lips. When God wasn’t talking to them, God was talking through them. He spired out his words through their mouths via the Holy Spirit, and when they wrote some of those words down, they were inspired scripture.

      I’m NOT a prophet. You’re NOT a prophet. God doesn’t speak through me or you in the same way he spoke through Moses or Paul. Your examples simply are unsound and don’t apply.

      Peter directly addresses this problem of the tension between personal experience and scripture, addressing people who are NOT prophets, in 2 Peter 1. Do you know what he says about it?

    • One other thing…I wasn’t dismissing experience outright, but rather experience as a source of doctrine or an exegetical trump card. Allow me to illustrate:

      You said the following: “I have come to Christ, not due to an intense study of the Bible (though many others have come to Christ in that way), but because He spoke to me in an audible voice”

      Now, how in the world do you know what lead you to the Lord?

      Where did you get that knowledge?

      Did God tell you or, if we’re being honest, are you simply guessing?

      Have you built any doctrinal beliefs on your ideas about how you think you got saved?

      I mean, I believe that those experience you claim to happen did indeed happen, but why should I believe that you have some sort of authoritative interpretation as to their meaning? If you all of a sudden take your experience and change what you believe about the efficacy of the scripture (because you claim you didn’t study it) and maybe start encouraging people to seek audible voices (because you claim that happened to you), then you’re clearly elevating your experience above scripture.

      If you discourage the proclamation of the gospel in any circumstance because of how *you* got saved, you’re elevating your experience over scripture.

      Beyond that, the Bible says that your interpretation of your experience is simply incorrect. John 6:44, among a ton of other passages, says that you came to Jesus due to the working of the Holy Spirit, not hearing a voice. Nobody comes to Christ because of hearing an audible voice, though I’m not ruling that out as an experience that may happen to people.

      Now I’m not picking some cheap semantic fight, but only pointing out that you’re not any sort of authority with regards to your own experience, and we all have a crazy tendency to elevate our experience above scripture.

      We have no idea why God did this or that, or what something meant, etc. but we sure LOVE to think we do (and we love the applause we get from people who think we’re really *spiritual*). All you can know for certain is what God tells you. Whatever you tell yourself needs to be evaluated against that.

    • I’d love to meet Dr. Brown some day. This issue would definitely not come up though. I have little desire to be a thorn in his flesh. What I’ve said on here is more for the benefit of the readers and lurkers.

  16. Hiya Menno, I just came across your remarks here and wanted to clarify something, which I had not the chance to do at the time, re: your secoond to last reply, dated 7/14/2013 (shucks, was it that long ago…time flies!).

    1. You said you were not “dismissing experience outright,” yet you imply it;s dismissal, at least of the experience I shared by saying, “Did God tell you or, if we’re being honest, are you simply guessing?”

    My honesty should be assumed, as I assume yours’. It seems to me that you have already prejudged the experience. All I can ask is, if it was not the voice of God that led me to Christ, then whose? Is the devil an evangelist witnessing for Jesus, leading me to the Cross in order to get me saved?

    2. Then you ask, “Have you built any doctrinal beliefs on your ideas about how you think you got saved?”

    First of all I do not “think” how I got saved. I know I got saved! And I was not led to salvation by what I think but from Him whose Voice I heard..

    However, I did not know the doctrinal distinctives of how I got saved until I read the Bible, which explained to me what was happening. I didn’t even know I had eternal life until a week or two after I got saved.

    Btw, 3 or 4 months before I came to Christ I was reading the Bible and even then, God was speaking to me in an audible voice. For example, I came across the passages where Jesus warned that whoever does not hate parents is not worthy of Him. I just sat there and asked, “Jesus, how can I love my family more than you? They bore me, took care of me, suffered me. What have you done for me?”

    Then the low Voice spoke and asked, “Nelson, how much have you shown your parents love.”

    I had to honestly answer, “Well, no, Jesus; I have not shown them any love, not really.”

    To which Jesus, again, responded, “Well, you see, if you love me first than the love that I have for them will flow out from you to them; and you will truly love them and show them love.”

    The thing I always find funny about this experience is that I acted as if he were right there in the room with me and I just assumed it was Jesus; something within me instictively knew it was Jesus. And I didn’t think it strange at all to be talking, even if ever so softly, out loud to someone I could not see but only heard.

    Of course, you may challenge me having received this “doctrine” of love towards God and my parents from the divine Voice (especially before I was saved!); however, I would counter-challenge, if not from God, then who spoke to me? My imagination? The devil? If imagination, how could an unregenerate person come to know the pure truths of Scripture and so highly value it? If the devil, what? Is the devil now teaching Scriptural truths to the unregenerate, truths that lead them to love God more than anyone or anything else?

    Someone once said, you cannot argue with experience. And if you are to object that my experiences are demonic at worst, or it’s origin unknown but certainly not from God, at best, all I can say is, whatever or whoever is the origin of this experience, it led me to Christ, to the Bible, to the God of Israel for salvation. and to the ministry of the Spirit for consolation and service.

    One can know the Bible so well as to exegete from the texts how I am in error, but still, my experience remains and i may not know the Bibleas well as the next person but, then again, knowing the Bible is not my aim. My aimn in reading is to know Him who gave us the revelation of His Son and to hear His Voice that empowers for obedience.

    Menno, I may not be right in everything fo which i have come to believe about God and the Bible. But, I know Him and in that knowledge I am not at all mistaken…”Oh, that I might know Him…”

    • nbanuchi, I’ll respond quickly to you.

      1. You say “All I can ask is, if it was not the voice of God that led me to Christ, then whose?”

      That tells me that you’re making a deduction that it was God’s voice, hence my question. You don’t KNOW that it was God; you’re simply guessing that it was God.

      In answer to your question, I’d suggest that I don’t have any certainty about your tale (or your interpretation of your experience), but I can easily think of something that can be confused with “the voice of God”, and that’s the conscience. I’ll refer you here to a deeper study of the conscience, if that interests you: https://mennoknight.wordpress.com/2014/04/19/a-biblical-exploration-of-the-term-conscience/

      2. I’m not questioning whether or not you got saved; if you claim so then I’ll try to take your claims at face value (though I will certainly pay attention to what you say). The answer to your questions may be the same as in point 1. If you don’t know what happened, you’re simply guessing. The Bible should inform your guesswork, and it seems that you’ve left “conscience” out of your list of options.

      It could have been the devil as well, or your own imagination. I don’t know, and I don’t pretend to have access into the inner sanctum of your mind, or the spiritual realm, to be able to definitively say.

      I don’t know you, but I can evaluate statements like this:

      “One can know the Bible so well as to exegete from the texts how I am in error, but still, my experience remains and i may not know the Bibleas well as the next person but, then again, knowing the Bible is not my aim. My aimn in reading is to know Him who gave us the revelation of His Son and to hear His Voice that empowers for obedience.

      Menno, I may not be right in everything for which i have come to believe about God and the Bible. But, I know Him and in that knowledge I am not at all mistaken…”

      That scares me a lot.

      If you admit that the Bible can be rightly interpreted to show how you’re in error, then you seem fairly cavalier about it….since if you get the scriptures wrong, you don’t really know “Him who gave us the revelation of His Son” as you should. That means, though you may know him a little, you can know him better and somehow don’t seem to recognize the importance of the scriptures unto that end.

      Knowing the Bible, in the sense of understanding its truths and seeing them fleshed out in your life (and not simply memorizing a bunch of facts), is synonymous with knowing Christ. There’s a reason why Christ is spoken of in synonymous terms as the scripture (i.e. “the word”) in passages like John 1.

      To separate knowing the scriptures intimately from knowing Christ intimately is to confess that you don’t actually want to know Christ.

      That scares me a lot.

  17. Pingback: Strange Fire, Indeed | Rowdie Jones

  18. Mennoknight, don’t be scared…(thanks for the concern but that was a funny to me).

    1. I know it was God’s Voice. The conscience does not speak audibly in sentences that can be heard by the ears. I’m sure God may have spoken through my conscience in virtue of the confession admitting a lack of love for my parents. But, any way you look at it, that Voice led me finally to Christ.

    2. I’m not guessing. And, if it was the devil, as a possibility which you suggest, again, as I previously asked (which you seemed to have ignored), when did the devil start witnessing, convicting, and leading sinners to Christ as Savior and Lord? If it was my imagination, again, as you suggest, it must have been sanctified imagination because through it I came to salvation in Christ Jesus the Lord.

    3. (a) I said, one can “know the Bible so well as to exegete from the texts how I am in error”; I did not say or “admit that the Bible can be rightly interpreted to show how you’re in error.” Because one knows the Bible well does not mean he has properly interpreted and undertood it. (b) There is a reason why Christ told the people of Israel that – paraphrased – “you search the Scriptures to find life and do not realize that the Scriptures point to Me.” I recognize the importance of the Bible and hold it as dear to me but not so dear as to have it replace the Person of whom it speaks. The Bible reveals to me the truths of Christ but it can never inform me of it’s value by experience; it can cause me to agree with it’s truth, but of itself it can never convict, cause, nor empower me to walk holy in His Presence in obedience to not just what is written but to the Word of His Voice: “Today, if you hear His Voice, harden not your heart.”

    One can only know the Scriptures rightly – not “intimately” – if one goes to Him of whom the Scriptures speak; it is Christ who is to be known intimately. I can say with the Pasalmist that I have hidden his word in my heart that I may not sin against him; but that is onloy because it is not just the “word” but the “Word” that is hidden in my heart.

    From my perspective, if anyone is “separat[ing] knowing the scriptures intimately from knowing Christ intimately,” let’s just say, you need not be scared I am doing that.

    Let me end by saying that hearing anb audible voice is neither the preeminent, constant, nor only way God speaks to believers; there are many other avenues He uses to teach and reach those who trust Him. As Jon Mark Ruthven wrote in his book, “What’s Wrong With Protestant Theology”, and I think you’d agree, “Faith is not assent to a creed or to a set of beliefs” – nor, I would add, a theological system one formulates in reponse to reading and studying the Bible – “but the process of hearing God in our hearts and obeying (the essence of the New Covenent).”

    Regarding Hebrew 11:1 on faith as the “substance/essence” of “things not seen, Ruthven writes that the author of Hebrews seems to be saying that “faith is a kind of present prophetic experience of the reality…of God’s promise that is not yet confirmed by visible, physical confirmation, that is ‘knowing in the Spirit – prophetically experiencing – a future event. Faith is therefore the revealed experience/taste of exactly the event that is not yet seen – the presence of the future.”

    If the New Covenant is the coming of the Spirit to an individual, if he has not knowingly had an experience the Spirit, the question cane be asked, has the Spirit truly come to him?

    Well, I intended to be brief.., my apologies for having taken up your time.

    • Okay. I’m going to try to narrow things down.

      1. If you heard an audible voice and claim it was God, then there’s only 2 possibilities available:

      a. It was God and you are a prophet of God.

      b. It was not God and it was something else.

      There’s no third option if you’re talking about audible voices external to yourself. There’s no option of “it was God and I’m not a prophet”. When we’re talking about propositional revelation, that means you’re a prophet. What you’re describing is strikingly close to 1 Sam. 3:1-14. Samuel didn’t know the Lord before he heard the audible voice of the Lord, but once he did he was both a believer and a prophet. If there’s biblical precedent for someone to hear the audible voice of God and be a believer and NOT be a prophet, then you need to produce it.

      2. Yes, you are guessing. The very point that we’re talking about alternate options proves that.

      Maybe it wasn’t the devil or your imagination. Maybe it was your conscience being directed by the Spirit.

      I also don’t know if you “got saved”, but I’m only taking your claim at face value. I can’t judge you but I can evaluate your claim against the standard of the Scripture. I freely admit that I have highly insufficient evidence for doing so (mostly because I don’t know you from a sack of potatoes).

      3a. I don’t think you are crystal clear as to what the word “exegete” means. When a person exegetes the Scripture, that’s synonymous with saying that rightly interpret it. Exegete means to “draw out” the meaning from the scripture. If you don’t draw out the meaning, but rather find a different meaning that isn’t there to begin with, then you’re not performing proper exegesis.

      3b. “And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” – John 5:37-40

      The whole point there is that the Pharisees didn’t believe the Bible that they studied; they got their exegesis wrong as evidenced by their wrongful application of the Scriptures.

      The whole rest of point 3b is nonsense. You just toss out a bunch of loose paraphrased references and spiritual sounding jargon. I mean really: “the New Covenant is the coming of the Spirit to an individual”?

      The outpouring of the Spirit to individuals is a component with the New Covenant, but it’s not the New Covenant. It’s never explained in such terms in the Scripture.

      I’m precisely scared that you’re separating knowing the Scriptures intimately from knowing Christ intimately. The book is not the Son, but the word incarnate is synonymous with the word inscripturated. You cannot know one without knowing the other. To know what the Son has revealed about himself is to know more about the Son and know the Son more.

      The problem and major impasse here is that you and I have polar opposite hermeneutical systems. We don’t approach the Bible from the same starting point, hence we don’t come to the same conclusions.

      • 1. To hear God speak audibly does not necessarily mean one is a prophet.
        2. I don’t know if you’re saved, either (if that’s the game you want to play).
        3a. I’m pretty confident I know what it means to exegete Scripture.
        3b. Could be you exegete Scripture incorrectly or based on erroneous presuppositions.

        I can agree with you here: “We don’t approach the Bible from the same starting point…”

        Perhaps you start from the Bible as mere words written on a page; I start from the place where the Bible is the Living Voice of the Living God.

        • Well, it’s been a while. I thought you had given up and left me to my own confusion, but apparently not.

          So, let’s respond a tad:

          1. To hear God speak audibly does, in absolutely NO uncertain terms, mean that you are a prophet. Nobody else in Scripture received propositional revelation from God except for prophets.

          Nobody.

          You can deny that, but really what you need to do is provide positive evidence for your positive claim.

          I would submit that every single person who got clear, propositional and articulate revelation from God (we’re often not told if it’s audible or not), was a prophet. God speaking directly to someone and giving them a message for themselves or others is essentially the very definition of a prophet.

          If there’s some sort of category of person who receives divine revelation without being a functional prophet, you need to establish that.

          2. Sure. You don’t know if I’m saved either…and you don’t just “take my word for it”. Making a claim about oneself , no matter no intensely one feels about it, is irrelevant when it comes to spiritual realities. Heart-felt claims are not evidence for anything. Claiming that (x) is true because (y) occurred is only a valid argument if you can establish some sort of causal relationship between (x) and (y), or establish that (x) is the necessary condition for (y).

          3a. See my previous point. Claims prove nothing.

          3b. Sure. I could be wrong. I need evidence for that, not just some sort of wishful thinking…or a veiled insult.

          “Perhaps you start from the Bible as mere words written on a page; I start from the place where the Bible is the Living Voice of the Living God.”

          Yup. Perhaps I’m a spiritually dead and self-deluded false teacher who twists the Scripture and smooches Satan’s carbuncles every day.

          Show me. Show me what proper exegesis looks like.

          Show me you know how to draw forth the meaning of the words of Scripture, as understood in their normative usage in speech of the day, as also understood in their various circles of context.

  19. 1. I don’t think it necessarily means one is a “prophet” (at least, not in the sense you take it to mean) if the divine Voice is heard audibly regarding, what I cannily describe as, direction for one’s own personal life.

    2. Then, perhaps, you self-claims are irrelevant, also. In any case, I’m not asking you take “my word for it.” And I’m not making any attempt to prove my experiences are real to you. That I cannot do, especially to those closed to the actions of a God who is Living an Active in world and personal affairs. Not sure I said this before, but if you believe that the source of my experience is demonic or imaginary, then one can only conclude that you either believe it is possible that the devil shares the Gospel that Jesus is Lord in the anointing of the Spirit or my “imagination” is consistent with Biblical reality as it imagines Christ the Son of God and Savior of the world.

    Or, you just don’t believe God is a Living God who has a genuine, although supra natural, relationship with His people and find the Life of the Father, in our present day of much lively demonic activity., limited to words on a page.

    3a. Who said mere self- claims prove anything to other? I have to attempt to prove to anyone God’s work in my life. I do have the obligation, because of His mercy, to wisely share the acts and works of God in all areas, first of all Biblical and, only under divine direction, personal.

    3b. You sound more like an atheist with the “I need evidence for that.” And your sarcasm is unproductive, especially since what you are suggesting was not at all implied in my comments.

    Show you? There’s no need. You express a closed mind and infallible exegetical skill. Besides, there was no intention to “prove” anything, especially, without a shadow of doubt. Nothing that one seeks to supply evidence to win another’s consent is that foolproof.

    I will end this conversation here only to say, as from my part, this Christian life is a walk of faith in God as revealed in character and person handed down to us Scripture; however, the experience of faith is not necessarily limited to Scripture (1 Jn 5:4).

    John 3:12.

    • Seeing that you’re apparently leaving, I’ll not respond to your comments, but I will respond to your tactics.

      The old “you don’t agree with me therefore you have a closed mind and are unteachable” excuse.

      The mark of every person who has is stuck between the reality that they’re unable to articulate their “beliefs” (which aren’t really theirs, but are stolen from others, hence their inability to explain them in any detail) and the fear that any attempts to clarify those professed beliefs will reveal their lack of understanding of said beliefs.

      It also helps to distract from that approach by using a few Scriptures to subtly backhand your opponent as unspiritual (and directly inferring that they’re akin to an atheist), while simultaneously complaining about your opponents’ lack of a gracious tone.

      A for effort but C+ for execution.

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