Continuationists believe God still speaks today, not only through the word of God in Scripture, but even through specific words or what we might term ‘revelations’. These revelations can come in various manners – prophecy, words of knowledge, words of wisdom, visions, dreams, etc. – but God is still communicating and speaking today. He actually never desired anything less.
However, what can get easily leveled against continuationists, from the more cessationist camp, is the idea that such revelation would no longer be needed knowing we now have the completed revelation of God in Jesus Christ, which is, of course, summarized in the full canon of Scripture that now includes the New Testament. This revelation is the final word and no other such revelation is needed.
And I understand the concern, especially noting such doctrines coming out of the Reformation such as the sufficiency of Scripture. However, I think there is a very balanced approach that allows for Scripture to maintain its very needed place as the God-breathed and authoritative written revelation of God while maintaining that God still speaks, reveals and communicates today.
Here is what I believe we need to recognize. Continue reading
Many people who have spent time studying pneumatology (theology of the Holy Spirit) and the gifts of the Spirit will probably be aware of Wayne Grudem’s works on the said topic. Especially our reformed brothers and sisters. Grudem believes the charismata gifts of 1 Corinthians 12 still exist today. He is one of many ‘theologically-minded’ and scholarly Christians advocating these particular gifts of the Spirit. Others are Sam Storms, John Piper, Gordon Fee, Mark Driscoll, Jack Deere, etc.
Though one can get a taster of his theological stance on the gifts of the Spirit in his Systematic Theology (pgs1016-1088), another of his writings, The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today, gives a much more in-depth treatment to the gift of prophecy, as you would expect from such a title.
Though the book can be viewed as an evangelical stalwart for study on the gift of prophecy, I believe his work fails on a few accounts, which includes the nature of apostles and prophets. In short, I think Grudem offers a faulty exegesis on Eph 2:20 and 3:5. You can see his discussions in chapter 2 of the book (pgs45-47), as well as in his Appendix 6 (pgs329-436). [As a side note, this is in the revised edition from 2000. I don’t believe earlier copies have Appendix 6.] Continue reading
I remember the early days of our relationship. In the 9 months between meeting and marrying, my wife and I were only in the same city a mere 40 days or so. We were divided most of the time by an ocean, but thankfully had great support in both the US and UK. Therefore, in those many days apart (even when we were both in the UK), we spent much time emailing and texting by phone. I’m talking about emailing and texting a whole lot! It was all-consuming as we looked to stay in touch day after day after day.
As our relationship heightened, we began calling each other, though we also maintained the little love notes via text as well. Our mobile phones were the major place of communication. I remember one month my UK mobile phone bill was around 85 GBP, which was some 50 GBP more than the normal monthly bill. I was shocked, but it was truly worth it in my eyes.
We also moved into the realm of love-letter writing. So, yes, I am a bit of a romantic. After moving back to the US, being even further apart from my beloved, this became an integral part of staying in contact, expressing our heart’s desire for one another. And, of course, both of us saved each and every one of those emotion-stirring, affectionate letters. They were not just words. They were an expression of the love we had for one another. And being so far apart, you can imagine their role in articulating our deep affections. Continue reading
Quite a while back, I had taken up the task of posting articles on the 9 giftings found in 1 Cor 12:8-10. I have looked at prophecy, tongues, message of wisdom and message of knowledge. But I wanted to follow up with some thoughts on a gift that connects quite well with the prophetic-revelatory gifts. It’s that of discerning of spirits, or as some translations call it distinguishing between spirits.
As I mentioned with other gifts listed in 1 Cor 12:8-10, this one also comes to us with the plural. It should literally be translated as distinguishings between spirits. This probably points to the fact that the gift has a variety of functions. Continue reading
Continuationists believe God is still speaking today, not only through His overall leading and direction via Scripture and other such means, but even through actual direct and revelatory words. These revelations can come in various manners – prophecy, words of knowledge, words of wisdom, visions, dreams, etc. – but God is still communicating and speaking directly today. He never desired anything less.
But what gets easily leveled against continuationists, from a more cessationist camp, is the idea that such revelation would no longer be needed knowing we now have the completed revelation of God in Jesus Christ, which is, of course, summarised in the full canon of Scripture that now includes the New Testament. This revelation in Christ is the final word and no other such revelation is needed. And we now have the testimony of a full biblical canon to confirm this.
Well, to be honest, I believe partial agreement should exist here for those on both the continuationist and cessationist side. Continue reading