Have you noticed the rise in psychic “hotlines” and TV shows nowadays? Five years ago, it would have been difficult to find even a psychic commercial on TV. Now, there are several half-hour infomercials, aired almost round the clock.

Have you also noticed New Age music cropping up here and there, not to mention the infiltration of Eastern Mysticism into the West, and increased UFO sightings (not to mention TV programs about them)? How about the rise of “what’s in it for me” attitudes, a morality of convenience, and a market-driven society (i.e., making a living as an end in itself)? While we’re at it, we could add the increasing denial of absolute truth by most Americans–even though a large proportion claim to be evangelical Christians, the prioritizing of relevance over truth, of pragmatics over knowledge, of feelings over beliefs. Al Franken, of Saturday Night Live fame, some years ago epitomized what we are seeing with his self-serving commentary (he humorously suggested that this decade should be labeled the “Al Franken” decade).

A New Kind of Charismatic

Part and parcel of this phenomenon is the rising popularity of charismatic Christianity–especially among those who had never been attracted to the charismatic movement before. Specifically, the Pentecostal/charismatic movement historically has roots in Wesleyan theology and practice. In other words, it has historically been associated with Arminian theology. The reason for this is not immediately obvious, but can be seen through a variety of connections. Arminianism teaches, among other things, that a person once saved can lose his salvation. Hence, Arminians put a strong emphasis on moral duty, as well as spiritual experiences, as the continued confirmation that one is still saved. It is a natural extension from this stance that the test by which a person knows he is saved is various manifestations of the Spirit. Thus the craving for supernatural experiences is both endemic to the charismatic mindset and necessary as continued confirmation of salvation.

But this craving for confirmation is not the motivation of many who have become charismatics in the last few years. Indeed, what is unusual about the current popularity of the charismatic movement, principally the Vineyard form, is that has attracted many Calvinists as well as many well-trained scholars. Every year at the Evangelical Theological Society meetings1 I learn of a few more professors of theology who have joined the ranks of the Vineyard movement. Often, the response of colleagues when they find out about one these theologians is one of astonishment: “No! Not him! I never would have expected him to become a charismatic!”

Cognitive Christianity and the Impoverished Soul

Why are scholars suddenly becoming charismatics? What has happened in the last few years to attract the intelligentsia to this group?

We can give both a short answer and a long one. The short answer is that many Christian scholars have for a long time embraced a Christianity that is almost exclusively “from the neck up.” That is, theirs is a cognitive faith, one where reason reigns supreme. They are usually fine exegetes and theologians, able to defend the faith and articulate their views in a coherent, biblical, profound, and logical way. But (without naming names) many of these savants have lost their love for Christ. They love the Bible and know it inside and out. But their soul has become impoverished. They love God with their mind only; that is the extent of their spiritual obligation as they see it. In fact, for them, personal experience–especially of a charismatic sort–is anathema. It has no place in the Christian life. Study of the Bible so that they can control the text is what the Christian life is all about.

But when crisis comes–such as the death of a loved one, a teenage daughter’s pregnancy, or some major upheaval in their church ministries–their answers appear shallow and contrived, both to others and themselves. They have the inability to hurt with the hurting, though they know all the right verses on suffering! They begin to search for answers themselves, answers of an entirely different sort. Often, in the crucible of the crisis, they attend a charismatic meeting. And there, a “prophet” reveals something about their life. They are both amazed at the prophecy and deeply touched at the perception into their own condition. (Of course, cognitive types almost always marvel when other, more sensitive people, intuitively recognize traits and characteristics, internal workings and struggles in others.) Their souls get drenched with an emotional infusion that had been quenched for too long. It doesn’t take long before they hold hands with those whom they used to oppose, even to the point of now leading charismatic groups. They in fact become the theologians of a new breed of charismatic, giving a rather sophisticated rationale for charismata. In the process, they have gone through a paradigm shift: their final authority is no longer reasoning about the Scriptures; now it is personal experience.

Because of a crisis, personal, spiritual experience has replaced reason as the authority that guides their lives. They have exchanged, in some measure, their heart for their mind.2 That’s the short answer.

The Age of Epistemological Narcissism

The long answer is this. The history of the Church and indeed of western civilization, in terms of authority, can be traced out rather simply.3 Before the Reformation, tradition was the final authority. This included the tradition of the Roman Catholic Church and all its trappings. When that pesky little German monk, Martin Luther, nailed his ninety-five theses to the door of the Wittenberg church, a new authority was boldly announced: revelation. Actually, it was an old authority, but one which Luther and later Calvin, Zwingli, Melanchthon, and a host of others, argued had been subverted to tradition by the Church in Rome. The Reformation’s battle cry was sola scriptura–that is, Scripture alone is our authority. The Roman Church argued that we needed tradition, especially the interpretations offered by church fathers, in order to understand Scripture. This was so, they argued, because the Bible could not be easily grasped. The Reformers argued for the perspicuity of Scripture–that it was sufficiently clear to be a good guide in essential matters, such as the person of Christ, the Trinity, salvation. In order to prove the point they needed to exercise reason. New hermeneutical methods were developed, translations were made, commentaries were written. All of this was consistent with the view that the Bible should be clearly understood. The Reformers knew it to be so in their study; they wanted to make it so for the person in the pew.

As long as reason was the handmaid of revelation, there was no problem. But once reason became master, revelation was increasingly viewed as unnecessary and, in fact, untrue. With the birth of the Enlightenment came the promise of a new king. He would soon reign over virtually all human thought in the western world.

By the end of the nineteenth century, the Enlightenment had so captured the evangelical community that the Bible became more an object of study than a guide to life. Seminaries in this century followed largely the Princeton model (a strongly Calvinist school) of reasoning about the Scriptures. Pastors were trained to expound the text of Scripture–and this came to mean explain the text, but not apply the text. Too many seminaries viewed one’s exegetical and theological skills as the lone spiritual barometer. There was no accountability of one’s life. Whether one believed the Bible and consequently tried to shape his life by its precepts was often not in view.

The problem with this model was that non-evangelical scholars could also do first-rate exegesis. Many of these non-evangelical savants would be considered nonbelievers: besides rejecting the Bible as the Word of God, they did not embrace the bodily resurrection of Christ or, sometimes, even the existence of God. Hence, if quality exegesis was an indicator of spirituality, then an atheist might be considered spiritual! The barometer of mere knowledge obviously has its defects, for without belief there is no life. Cognition is important for true biblical scholarship; but without conversion as a first step, such is certainly not evangelical biblical scholarship. Further, this approach trickled down to the pew: for many churches, even today, mere Bible knowledge, regardless of its application to one’s life, is equated with true spirituality. Reason has come to reign over revelation even for evangelicals.

With the advent of postmodernism, reason has increasingly become passé. It’s not necessarily that reason is rejected as untrue; rather, it is judged to be irrelevant. So what authority is left? What authority remains after tradition, revelation, and reason have all been abandoned? Personal experience. Ours is the age of epistemological narcissism. This is no longer the age of cogito ergo sum (“I think; therefore, I am”—the hallmark of Cartesian logic); it has become the age of sentio ergo sum (“I feel; therefore, I am”). And since there are no external standards by which to judge personal experience (since other authorities are rejected), anything goes–whether it be sensuality or hallucinogenic existence, full-blown mysticism or an uncritical embracing of supernatural phenomena from any and all corners.

So, how does the current charismatic movement fit into this? Why are so many intellectuals embracing the charismata? It seems that the vacuum left in their souls by a rationalistic faith has made them ripe for a different kind of authority. As sons of the Enlightenment, these cognitive scholars have embraced reason as the supreme authority in their lives. But the rationalism of the Enlightenment is, when unbridled, antithetical to revelation. These scholars viewed personal experience as the enemy of the gospel, while embracing reason as its friend. But when some crisis invades their lives, and their purely cognitive faith cannot supply the deepest answers (for it does not address the whole man), they have to find the answers some place. And they look to an entirely different authority. They are ripe for excess in one area, just as they had lived in excess in another. Ironically, they end up mirroring the present age of postmodernism, just as they had mirrored the past one of rationalism.

In reality, both personal experience and reason are part of proper human existence. Like fire, they can be used for good or evil. When they take on the role of supreme authority, consciously or not, they destroy.4 “I know” and “I feel” must bow to “I believe.” (When either one is elevated above revelation it produces arrogance.) The cognitive content of that belief is the revealed Word of God. It requires diligent study to grasp its meaning as fully as mere humans can grasp it. But it will not be believed unless there is a personal experience with the Risen One. Thus, the trilogy of authority can be seen this way: both personal experience and reason are vital means to accessing revelation. We are to embrace Christ, as revealed in the Word, with mind and heart.5 When either reason or experience attempts to escape the supreme sovereignty of the revealed Christ, the individual believer starts down a path of imbalance. Tragically, his service to the Lord Christ is thereby increasingly curtailed.6


1 The Evangelical Theological Society is a group of evangelical leaders, principally professors at seminaries and evangelical colleges. Full membership requires subscription to a minimal core of doctrines and a Th.M. (Master of Theology) degree or its equivalent.

2 This does not mean that these scholars no longer use their brains! But it does mean, for many of them, that reason is subordinated to personal experience in an epistemological hierarchy.

3 I owe the framework of the “long answer” to Dr. Bob Pyne, professor of Systematic Theology at Dallas Seminary. He is not to be blamed for the details, however!

4 Most charismatics today would argue that their personal experiences are fully subordinate to revelation. But most cognitive Christians would also argue that reason for them is subordinate to revelation.

5 Thus far I have left tradition out of the equation. This is, however, something of an overstatement. In reality, most of us employ tradition as a conduit to another authority. Often we are unaware of the tradition’s influence. Those in Bible churches worship in a way quite different from those in more liturgical settings; Koreans worship in a way that is markedly different from African-Americans. And a given group may tacitly assume that somehow its worship style is the right one, or that others are wrong because they are different. The difference between evangelical Protestants and Roman Catholics with reference to tradition is that evangelical Protestants generally feel more at liberty (and more responsible) to question their tradition, and to change it in line with what they perceive is the biblical norm. In other words, they are able, when it is brought to the conscious level, to subordinate tradition to revelation.

6 You will notice that I have not in this blog given any arguments against the charismatic movement. This blog is instead intended to set the stage, giving a rationale for why so many are flocking toward this kind of Christianity.


C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. He can be contacted at [email protected]

    150 replies to "Charismata and the Authority of Personal Experience"

    • C Michael Patton

      What amazes me too is the rise of all the “Ghost hunter” shows (not to mention how much I watch them!)

    • Neil Hess

      Absolutely outstanding article. The idea of the “neck up faith” and simply quoting scripture to those in pain hit me at my core. I felt totally convicted of this. It is important to know scripture, but more important to put its lesson into action in our own lives. LOVE this article. I will be reposing it on my blog, with my thoughts on it as well.

      God bless.

      -Neil

    • mbaker

      Dan,

      Thanks for a thoughtful look at the extremes that seem to be becoming more prominent in the modern day church.

      You have described my journey from an SBC church to hyper-charismaticism, and then back again, and the reason for it. The problem is finding proper balance between good Bible based teaching and the hands on compassion of Christ in the church nowadays. Thankfully, we have found just such a place.

      However, it seems in our area a pastor who can exegete properly in the pulpit, and also provide practical pastoral care to the flock has become the exception rather than the norm, sadly. For the most part there is no middle ground.

      I am curious as to how you see this being able to change through modern day seminary training, (if it can be done that way), or even accomplished through personal counseling for would-be minsters to make sure they are putting first things first. Also, with church leaders becoming more like CEO’s, as administrative demands upon them increase, what do you see as a middle ground practical solution?

    • Aarn Farmer

      Do you completely discount the possibility that it is exactly because Calvinist believe that we should be submitted to what the Bible says that inevitable drives us toward Charismaticism? Have you ever attempted to preach exegetically through 1 Cor 12? It’s incredible difficult to come out on the other side of that not convinced that the church should not only see the gifts of the Spirit working i our lives but to earnestly desire that the gifts work even more in our lives and in the ministry of the church.

      The same careful study of scripture caused me to be a Calvinist, informed my eschatology and led me to be a Charismatic.

    • […] Wallace has an intriguing post on “Charismata and the Authority of Personal Experience.” Apparently, there is an increasing number of scholars who are embracing the charismatic movement. […]

    • Brett

      Still, consider the excesses of a neck-DOWN faith. All body and heart, but no mind; a headless, mindless body.

      You rightly say that it has to be a balance. But I find in my experience, that the average believer is not too rational, but just the opposite. The most common failure by far, among believers, is not too much reason, but the opposite of that.

      If scholars are “guilty” of presenting too much reason, it is no doubt in an effort to counterbalance the massive imbalance we see in ordinary churches.

      “Come, let us reason together”; the “heart” is often “deceived” or false.

    • I would agree that we need to balance reason and emotion and the final authority must be Scripture. But I think it is simplistic to write off every issue involving charisma as reason versus feeling. As one of those Charismatic Calvinists I believe one of the key issues is that we tend to dismiss the supernatural due to living in a materialistic age. This is not just a question of feeling versus reason but of what God actually does or will do.

    • Curt Parton

      Interesting post, with some intriguing insights. I think it would be helpful to distinguish between the Charismatic Movement and pastors/scholars who believe in the perpetuity of spiritual gifts such as tongues, prophecy, etc. There is an incredibly large number of churches and pastors who are non-cessationist but who do not fit at all into what we usually think of as the “charismatic movement.” Many leaders, from a wide range of denominations and traditions, have become (rightly or wrongly) convinced through exegetical study that we cannot rule out the continuing nature of these gifts. They are thus cautiously open to their usage—within biblical parameters—but are not seeking sensational manifestations of God’s power or presence.

      I would characterize myself as a post-Pentecostal. I still believe in the perpetuity of these gifts, but in spite of my experiences not because of them! Don Carson is a good example of a scholar who teaches the perpetuity of gifts such as tongues and prophecy—but I wouldn’t characterize him as part of the Charismatic Movement!

    • […] did that happen? This post at Parchment and Pen notes a changing attitude toward study of the Bible over the course of church […]

    • Matt J.

      Wow, was the introduction to this post lifted from some John MacArthur book from the early 90’s? Psychic hotlines, creepy New Age music (boo!), and Arminians losing their salvation all the time…uh huh.

      So all these smart buddies of yours who suddenly went charismatic were clearly “…ripe for excess in one area, just as they had lived in excess in another. Ironically, they end up mirroring the present age of postmodernism, just as they had mirrored the past one of rationalism.”

      Perhaps, but what if, instead of completely throwing their rationalism in the garbage in exchange for a ticket on the miracle-chaser bus, they have only tempered their scholarly Christianity with (dare I say) a legitimate take on it from another angle they had, up until then, successfully insulated themselves from?

      You say their cognitive faith does not address the whole man. Indeed. Neither does much of charismatic Christianity, which is why intellectual-types (like you, I, and probably everyone else who reads this blog) find it pretty obnoxious at times. Nevetheless, I think this explanation assumes the very worst about these converts. Poor saps abandoning all this good stuff in exchange for making personal experience king! I personally know enough folks that don’t fit this description to make me think there are more dimensions to consider.

      I think the question is excellent – why have some really smart Calvinists been giving up their cessationism lately? I think it’s pretty clear were you are going with this discussion (despite your last footnote). That’s fine. I’d love to hear some other avenues explored though, by someone (Michael?). 🙂

    • Cornell

      Dr. Wallace,

      You wrote: Arminianism teaches, among other things, that a person once saved can lose his salvation.

      I would consider myself Wesleyan and Arminian, but certainly would not hold to the view that a believer could “lose” his/her salvation. I know several other Arminians but not one of them would believe you can lose your salvation.

      Is that still held by most Arminians today, or is this a statement about the early Reformation Arminians?

      CQ

    • John C. Poirier

      Dan,

      I must say that your understanding of the charismatic movement is a horrible caricature.

      This supposed exposé of the charismatic movement would only work on someone who has never tried to view charismatic theology from within. The over-the-top rhetorical association of charismatics with UFOlogy and psychic “hotlines” is ludicrous, and so is the attempt to account for the rise of the charismatic movement as parallel to those ideas. The insinuation that charismatic theology’s gains come from the present turn to postmodernism, and a willingness to embrace “sensuality or hallucinogenic existence, full-blown mysticism or an uncritical embracing of supernatural phenomena from any and all corners” is just as ridiculous.

      I have never met anyone who thought that manifestations of the spirit served as confirmations of salvation. You also seem to think that present-day Arminians think of salvation as something overly fragile, which isn’t at all accurate.

      BTW, I was fascinated with your reconstruction of a typical encounter with prophecy: “Often, in the crucible of the crisis, they attend a charismatic meeting. And there, a ‘prophet’ reveals something about their life. They are both amazed at the prophecy and deeply touched at the perception into their own condition.” What I find so fascinating about this reconstruction is that it exactly parallels what Paul says (in 1 Corinthians 14) happens when one prophesies in church in the presence of those not used to such things. Did you catch the similarity?

      You ask, “What has happened in the last few years to attract the intelligentsia to this group?” I would like to offer a different answer from yours: there has been a real turn, among Evangelicals, toward an honest reading of Scripture, and that has exposed some of the pat cessationist readings of certain passages (esp. 1 Corinthians 13) as riddled with errors. The rightness or wrongness of charismatic theology should come down to questions of…

    • John C. Poirier

      The last two words of the previous post, which were cut off, are supposed to be “proper exegesis”.

      This webpage says that 3000 characters will be allowed, but it appears to trim one’s responses to 2000 characters.

    • C Michael Patton

      John,

      I think you have misunderstood Dan’s introduction and thesis here. There is a sensationalistic bent to our current culture. Charismatics are often associated with this sensationalism, and they certianly have their guilty members, as all would admit. These “intellectual Charismatics” (as I have called them in another post: http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2007/10/the-intellectual-rise-of-the-charismatics/), cannot be identified with this more sensationalistic wing. There is simply more respect today for continuationalists and a newfound acceptance among Evangelical scholars. These scholars are not going for the Benny Hinn-UFO type of sensationalism, but searching for a true movement of the Spirit that, as Dan has said, may be lacking in some ivory tower adademics.

      I think that your response here was a bit defensive, but interesting. I do think that many Evangelicals are moving away from their former presuppositions which did not allow the to entertain a charismatic worldview. I certainly have. However, I would certianly not say that a charismatic interpretation of the Scriptures is a slam dunk!

      As well, you must know how loaded the term “charismatic” truly is. Who knows what we really mean?

      I have written a series on this subject not too long ago on this blog: http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2009/04/why-i-am-not-charismatic-part-8-i-am-a-de-facto-cessationist/.

    • Michael T.

      John,
      I agree with CMP that your response was over the top. I don’t think Prof. Wallace was trying to make a one for one correlation between charismatics and UFO’s or postmodernism. He was simply providing context for the culture in which charismaticism has arisen and to that extent I think he is right. The rise of charismatics has largely taken place in a culture which places great value on personal experience, often to the exclusion of more intellectual pursuits. This article to me was about the need for balance. Placing too much emphasis on experience alone is a very dangerous thing, as is being an ivory tower academic. It’s just in our culture the former tends to be more of a danger then the latter which is why many more traditional Christians are skeptical about the charismatic movement and leery of where it “may” lead us.

      Like CMP I consider myself a de facto cessationist, but I have friends who are charismatics and have gone to charismatic churches on numerous occasions. I have nothing against it directly. I am just skeptical and sometimes a bit concerned about the emphasis on experience.

    • Dave Z

      Michael, the first thing I thought of while reading was you and the “ghost hunter” type shows. Then I saw your comment and laughed out loud!

      Funny thing is that in my world, I see far less emphasis on the “sign” gifts than I used to. I actually checked to see if this was a re-post of something old that got lost in one of the crashes. I used to see the psychic hotline shows on the tube, but haven’t in quite a while. (Maybe Dan is watching too much late night TV? Turn it off after the Simpsons and go to bed!) I’d wonder if it could be a regional thing, but I’m in SoCal.

      In my area it seems like the Pentecostal/charismatic churches are shrinking.

      Interesting post. I’m curious about how the UFO sightings factor in.

    • EricW

      John C. Poirier:

      Dr. Daniel Wallace is no stranger to Charismatic Christianity. He writes about his personal experiences in one of his finest (IMO) essays (a talk, actually):

      http://bible.org/article/uneasy-conscience-non-charismatic-evangelical

    • steve martin

      We shouldn’t discount our experience. But we shouldn’t trust in it, either.

      The devil is more than capable of showing up anywhere, anytime as an “angel of light”.

      The Word and the Sacraments (visable Word) are all we can really trust in, absolutely.

    • C Michael Patton

      This actually was already posted on Bible.org some time ago.

    • bethyada

      Cornell You wrote: Arminianism teaches, among other things, that a person once saved can lose his salvation.

      I would consider myself Wesleyan and Arminian, but certainly would not hold to the view that a believer could “lose” his/her salvation. I know several other Arminians but not one of them would believe you can lose your salvation.

      Is that still held by most Arminians today, or is this a statement about the early Reformation Arminians?

      I am Arminian, and I think people can lose their salvation (for want of a better term), as do many other Arminians. Here is a statement of Arminian belief, note that Security allows for either view.

      *****
      John C. Poirier, I hold to Charismatic theology but did not find Dan’s post insulting.

      I guess I saw the intro as stating there has been a general increase in interest of things spiritual, not that Charismatics are New Age. This is probably the case in the West, I am not certain it is a bad thing? Perhaps, but are the evils such as narcissism, pleasure-lust, or atheism worse than non-Christan spiritualisms? CS Lewis thought it easier to convert the Pagan than the Rationalist.

    • John C. Poirier

      I went to the Bible.org link provided. It seems that Dr. Wallace might be judging charismatics through his experience with some of the nuttier ones out there.

      Unfortunately, there was very little there in the way of actual theology or exegesis of Scripture. For example, Wallace provides no support for his claim that the charisms were “sign gifts”. This seems to be something that cessationists take for granted, but where is the scriptural evidence?

      Is there somewhere else I can go where Wallace provides scriptural backing for his views? (In the Bible.org piece, he seems to base his views on experience!)

    • Ken Pulliam

      Dan,

      Interesting perspective. Could it not be that a number of evangelicals are looking for something “more real” in their Christian life. Many evangelicals simply interact with a book not the person whom the book is supposed to reveal. They realize that they need a God who acts now not just one who acted in the pages of an ancient book. I think they intuitively long for a “deeper” experience and so the Vineyard movement offers an alternative to their dry, academic, spiritual life.

      Here is an interesting contrast for you. A former colleague and I were both on the staff of a very conservative evangelical church. Both of us sensed that there had to be more to the Christian experience or it was not real. One of us went into the Vineyard movement and one of us left the faith altogether becoming an agnostic.

      Ken

    • Brett

      Regarding the charistmatic vs. the agnotic: which one made the right choice? In a way, there is an odd similarity between the two; charismatics are also dissatisfied with the idea that we really know God through conventional churches and theology.

      In any case, I think that Dan probably does almost lump together Charismatics and Emergant Church and ghost-whisperer folks. Though there is a common thread in them; in their desire to go beyond staid theology, to find some kind of authentic new personal/emotional tie to God.

      And I also think Dan’s major point here is good: that there are excesses on both sides. You can be too staid and academic; you can also be too emotional and personal and subjective.

      Ultimately Dan seems to be for “balance.” He is not really attacking charismatics, (though he self-depricatingly caricatures their excesses?) and even ghost whisperers. He is even allowing that they do have some good ideas; that can help balance out the excessive dryness of academics.

      While hinting too however, that some discipline and conventional theology, a little Reason, might tone down potential excesses and abuses here.

    • EricW

      Ken Pulliam:

      So, how is your former colleague’s experience of the Vineyard working out?

    • Ken Pulliam

      Eric,

      He believes that he has found the genuine article. I have asked him to read the post by Dan and comment, I think it would be an interesting dialogue. He, of course, thinks that I have thrown the baby out with the bathwater .

      BTW, both of us have seminary degrees and spent considerable time in conservative evangelicalism (very similar to the theological position of Dallas Seminary).

      Ken

    • EricW

      Has your friend read The Quest for the Radical Middle, a very good book on the history of the Vineyard Movement? (FWIW, I had many years of involvement with Vineyard churches and teachings, including the Kansas City Prophets, Toronto Blessing, Mike Bickle’s church, read Wimber’s, Jack Deere’s and others’ books, saw/heard Wimber speak, etc.) I’m curious how the Vineyard is these days now that Wimber is gone. I’m not sure there’s as much to distinguish it from all the many other non-denom churches these days. There was a small Vineyard not far from us that we attended briefly a few years ago, but it’s apparently no longer there.

    • ScottL

      Interesting article. It is quite interesting to consider how many theologically minded scholars are moving into Pentecostal, charismatic and neo-charismatic (Third-Wave) church circles.

      A colleague (who graduated from DTS) and I (graduated from Covenant Seminary) have started a blog-resource site entitled To Be Continued (you can find it at http://www.continuationism.com). It was created as a resource providing a solid biblical and theological case of continuationism.

      I hope it is of interest to people. (Eric, we’d love your continued interaction).

    • Ken Pulliam

      Scott,

      I think you are right to expect miraculous gifts today. If they occurred in the NT, why shouldn’t they occur today? All of the arguments for cessation that I learned in grad school seem to be either exegetically unsound or just plain ad hoc .

      However, I don’t see or hear about any miracles today from the Vineyard churches, the Charismatics or the old line Pentecostals that seem to be anywhere close to the types of miracles recorded in the book of Acts. If I were to see those kinds of miracles, I would be impressed.

      How do you explain the fact that the “miracles” today are so far less impressive than the book of Acts “miracles”? (BTW, I don’t believe in either).

      Ken

    • ScottL

      Ken –

      I think the same miracles, gifts of the Spirit, etc, of Acts are happening today and have always been happening. I’ve seen them, my friends have continually been involved with them, I read about them. Some stuff is over-embellishment, but there are real things happening all the time. So, I believe what I read in Acts is still alive and well because the same Spirit is alive and well. Might sound a cop-out, but I really do think we can boil it down to that in the end.

      But, I will say that, by no means do I want to make the P & P comment boxes a place to take over the conversation. Maybe you can interact with our articles on To Be Continued.

    • Ken Pulliam

      Scott,

      Thanks. I will take a look. So you have seen people raised from the dead (Acts 9:39-42)? You have seen adults who have never walked, suddenly able to walk (Acts 3:1-8)?

      Ken

    • I think we need to be careful of stereotyping people we disagree with. I am a Calvinism because I am convinced the the Scripture taken in a straightforward way teaches God chooses who will be saved. (I am aware of the intellectual problems with other teachings of Scripture teachings but still conclude it is what the Bible teaches. I am a Charismatic, though I will admit a rather moderate one because I do not believe the arguments that certain spiritual gifts have passed away holds up Scripturally. I am unaware of either decision being a result of a desire to follow reason or feelings rather than Scripture. Can we not disagree without attributing to each other questionable motives?

    • ScottL

      Ken –

      Actually, I’ve not seen those two things personally. But I hope you are just resting your case on me. 🙂 I believe these things are still happening today. Here are 2 books that might interest you:

      The Heavenly Man

      Megashift

      But the churches I work with have seen very related things, true miracles. My friend prayed for a man with warts all over his hands. While praying, he laid his hands on the man with warts. When he finished praying and removed his hands, the other man’s hands were wartless. Another friend of mine was asleep at night. A man busted into his room with an ax in hand. My friend immediately awoke out of sleep and with a rise of faith said, ‘In the name of Jesus, stop!’ The man stop and dropped to his knees and could not move. My friend’s life was spared. These are such testimonies of our miraculous God still at work.

    • EricW

      FWIW, I can testify of two women in our church whose brother suffered several heart attacks about a year ago before getting to the hospital. He was dying and unresponsive. They prayed for him in the name of Jesus and and he responded. At various times when he was slipping away, prayer brought him back. He was released from the hospital shortly thereafter with no testable signs of damage to his heart. He was/is a hopeless alcoholic and/or substance abuser and smoker – which could explain his heart attacks at his young age – in fact, despite the fact that he recognizes that Jesus literally saved his life and perhaps brought him back from death, he is back as he was before. (Calvinism? 🙂 )The nurses at the hospital were totally spooked at what the women’s prayers did for their brother and avoided the woman. But one time as they were leaving the hospital, a man chased them down and into the elevator and asked them who they were. They told the story, etc., and he told them that he was a hospital chaplain, and had seen what had happened to and with their brother, and he told them that their brother’s miracle had restored his faith. They also prayed for another man in the hospital as the Lord led them to – an elderly Latino man, IIRC, who couldn’t even speak English, nor his family – and he apparently had a remarkable recovery as well. A young man who is a friend of the church spoke today about his family’s plans to move to India shortly, and he was extensively involved with ministry to homeless people and drug addicts, and experienced demonic manifestations and deliverances and supernatural healings. One of our pastors knows this man’s ministry quite well and has affirmed and confirmed these things. The man has been in contact with people in India who are apparently experiencing the kinds of things one does read about in the Book of Acts. I guess he’ll find out how true these are for himself pretty shortly.

    • Brett

      1) The Human skin is particularly responsive to our mental state: when we are embarassed, it flushes; scared, it blanches; even acne is thought to be caused in part by anxiety. In particular, hives are well known to be caused by psychological tension.

      2)So it is known in medicine, that it is quite common that a mental state causes a physical symptom; this is called a “psychsomatic illness” in the literature.

      3) And since the disease was caused by a psychological tension in the first place, it also often disappears with a mere psychological change, as well.

      4) These are not miracles, but are examples of psychology. Though to be sure, there are real effects here.

      5) Young people often recover unexpectedly well, especially from say heart attacks caused by a temporary drug overdose; the attack having come not from a longstanding and more destructive degeneration, but from an often relatively more temporary and less destructive drug situation.

      6) If a bear or a person rushes at you, and you yell at them to stop, something they will; not as a miracle, but because they hear the sound and are startled, and are hesitant.

      7) To this very day, even those who claim to believe in medical miracles, don’t rely on them entirely, but when they are sick, go to medical doctors; whose cure rate is a thousand times better.

      In any case, remember that your emotional state often causes many diseases; from skin situations to even heart stress and attacks. COntrol your emotionality; learn how to control your heart, with a little reason.

    • Matt J.

      “Control your emotionality; learn how to control your heart, with a little reason.”

      Whew. I’m glad that’s not the gospel.

      Interestingly though, in a lecture I attended by C. Peter Wagner (third wave charismatic proponent), he said that he thinks probably half of charismatic healings are psychosomatic, but that doesn’t make them illegitimate. The pain is gone.

    • EricW

      Brett:

      I’ll take the testimony of two people I know and trust (and the shocked and incredulous reactions of the hospital staff, who know the difference between skin responses and unexplainable recovery) over your speculations and musings about what happened to and with their brother. 🙂

    • Ken Pulliam

      Eric,

      Your anecdotal evidence is interesting but nowhere near the kind of miracles reported in the book of Acts. Until we see some documented case of an adult who has never walked in his entire life suddenly being able to run and leap or a person who is dead raised to life, I will remain skeptical.

      ken

    • Ken Pulliam

      Scott,

      I have not read those books you mention but in looking at them on Amazon I am not impressed. There are lots of anecdotal stories, mostly but not all in third world countries, of “miracles” happening both today and in history. Why should I believe them? These miracle stories are not found only in the lifes of Christians but Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, new age adherents, etc. etc.

      BTW, I have you seen this book: We Saw Heaven?
      Four stories of Christians who were caught up to heaven and then brought back down to earth. Do you believe these stories?

    • cherylu

      Ken,

      I haven’t commented on this thread but have been reading it. I have a question for you as I am not sure I understood what you said earlier. Did you say that you do not believe that the miracles recorded in the Book of Acts were real?

    • EricW

      Ken:

      Skepticism is good. I’ve personally seen/heard more bogus than authentic in my 30+ years in and among Charismatic churches. At times I’m like CMP, i.e., a de facto cessationist. Though I find the case for cessationism to be less valid or Biblical than the case for continuationism, my life experiences have been more cessationist than continuationist. Maybe there’s a place for modified continuationism – i.e., not Acts-level activities or miracles/healings or signs, at least in terms of frequency or regularity, but not cessationism, either, nor denying that Acts-level activities can and sometimes indeed do happen.

    • cherylu

      From ScottL:

      “A man busted into his room with an ax in hand. My friend immediately awoke out of sleep and with a rise of faith said, ‘In the name of Jesus, stop!’ The man stop and dropped to his knees and could not move. My friend’s life was spared. These are such testimonies of our miraculous God still at work.”

      Then from Brett:

      “6) If a bear or a person rushes at you, and you yell at them to stop, something they will; not as a miracle, but because they hear the sound and are startled, and are hesitant.”

      To me that sounds a whole lot more like a miracle then it does being startled and hesitant!

    • Ken Pulliam

      Cheryl,

      No I don’t. I used to believe them but after 20 years I deconverted from Christianity. I am now an agnostic atheist.

      Eric,

      Okay, that’s fair enough.

    • cherylu

      Ken,

      Thanks for your honest reply.

      I don’t want to derail this thread, but I am truly sorry to hear that. Personally, I can’t wrap my mind or my heart around any other explanation for the beauty I see around me in the natural world every day then that God planned it and created it that way. That is only one of the reasons that I believe in Him.

    • Rick Wadholm Jr

      To be quite honest, I really appreciate Dan’s contributions to the wider Church, but disagree with him on this issue. I am a Calvinist Pentecostal minister finishing a grad degree. I am actually quite thankful that there are more scholars becoming Charismatics and Pentecostals as the wider movement has sorely lacked much critical thinking over the years. Perhaps there will be a toning down of the uncritical charismania if there were in fact more Biblically grounded Pentecostal and Charismatic scholars.

      I do not personally see these issues as “experience” replacing Scripture, but as an actual experience of Scripture. It is the difference between ‘secular’ biblical scholars who speak of what the Bible says, but don’t believe we need to be concerned with any experience of what it teaches. Thank you anyways Dan for your thoughts.

    • Dan Wallace

      Friends, I’m in Israel right now with limited access to the Internet. I also had surgery on my left hand recently, and am not allowed to type with it for another month. For these reasons, my comments will be brief, and, most likely, not followed up.

      Some of the critiques of my essay are as follows (with my response immediately after):
      1. There are other reasons than a recovery of feelings as to why some folks become charismatic.
      Quite true. And although I painted with a broad brush, what I wrote is by no means the whole story. At the same time, most of the scholars I have seen become charismatic have done so because, in large measure, their brand of Christianity was lacking an experiential element. But I know several wonderful scholars who, as far as I know, have not had some sort of existential crisis that brought them into charismatic theology.
      2. “Was the introduction to this post lifted from some John MacArthur book from the early 90’s?”
      Close. It was lifted from an essay I wrote in the 90s, posted at bible.org. In fact, the whole essay was simply reproduced here. Michael Patton asked if he could post it, and I agreed. Take some of the comments that seem to be dated in that light.
      3. “I must say that your understanding of the charismatic movement is a horrible caricature.”
      Let me note three things: (a) I was a charismatic and have had an ongoing relationship with charismatics for decades. What I wrote grew out of my long-term acquaintance with charismatic Christianity, including personal experience. (b) What I wrote hardly was meant to describe every charismatic. It is only a caricature if it’s not true at all, which I would strongly dispute. (c) Elsewhere I have written about the positive contribution of charismatic Christians, even to the extent that I would now consider myself a ‘soft-cessationist.’ My essay, “The Uneasy Conscience of a Non-Charismatic Christian,” first published in Christianity Today, then at bible.org, and finally, in the book, Who’s Afraid of the Holy Spirit? (Biblical Studies Press) clearly shows appreciation for charismatics and their emphasis on the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives today.
      4. Miracles still happen today; to deny this is to deny that the Spirit of God is working. Nowhere in the post do I deny that miracles still happen. This is a caricature of cessationism. I believe—as other cessationists believe—that God still physically heals, that God still performs miracles, that God still is in control of the universe. Where I would disagree with charismatics is that there is such a thing today as the gift of healing, the gift of miracles, or the gift of prophecy. It is gifted people, not the miraculous, that is the problem that cessationists have with the charismatic movement.
      5. I offered no exegesis for the cessation of certain gifts.
      Quite true; this essay was not intended to do that. I do offer some in an essay entitled, “Two Views on the Sign Gifts: Continuity vs. Discontinuity.” See also my essay, “Hebrews 2.3-4 and the Sign Gifts.” Both are posted at bible.org. Also, see my comments on Ephesians 2.20 and Wayne Grudem’s view of gifts in my monograph, Granville Sharp’s Canon and Its Kin, 214-28.

    • ScottL

      Ken –

      I cannot convince you of miracles today, miracles that are real, just as real as the Bible. Again, I’ve seen them, my friends have been used in them, friends I trust and who are not interested in embellishing so they can be on tv or get in a book. The two books I listed are not bogus, but real.

      Again, I cannot convince you, and that is ok. I’ll keep pressing forward in seeing God’s kingdom rule come on earth as it is in heaven. And when his kingdom comes, it brings salvation, forgiveness, reconciliation, right-living, joy, peace, and healings. I’m glad we get to taste now what will be the full reality upon His return.

    • John C. Poirier

      Dan,

      Thank you for responding to my charges.

      I read your essay “Two Views on the Sign Gifts: Continuity vs. Discontinuity”. My main question, once again, has to do with your use of the term “sign gifts”. What is your justification for using that term?

      I asked that question about a year ago on this blog, and received no response.

      The problem, of course, is that by referring to certain charisms as “sign gifts”, you are allowing your terminology to perform the work of an argument. If you can get people to think of those gifts in terms of their working some sort of “sign” function, then it’s easy to convince them that those gifts were meant to do something that would be obsolesced by the creation of the NT canon. But where is the exegetical basis for thinking of these gifts as “sign gifts”?

    • EricW

      John C. Poirier:

      On any given day of the week, Christians can be found debating with one another over the “sign gifts”–that is, the spiritual gifts of tongues, prophecy, miracles, and healings. – Two Views on the “Sign Gifts”: Continuity Vs. Discontinuity By: Daniel B. Wallace

      Perhaps 1 Cor 14:22 is the basis for regarding the gifts of tongues (and interpretation) and prophecy as “sign gifts.” Note that Paul doesn’t here call the gifts of miracles and healings “signs,” though he does elsewhere (e.g., 2 Cor 12:12) refer to “the signs of an apostle,” which no doubt included these gifts/workings.

      On the other hand, Paul’s instructions/exhortation in 1 Cor 14:1ff. re: prophecy would seem to argue against this gift/activity being a temporary “sign” or something limited to apostles.

    • Brett

      I’m not sure what Poirier is talking about. But here’s a possibly related question.

      The OT presents miracles, as real physical wonders. The NT does this too at times. But other times speaks of them as metaphors, symbolos, for spiritual things. Moses gives real material, literal, phsyical food, bread in the desert. Jesus does too at times – but other times says he and his spirit, are metaphorical, spiritual “bread indeed.”

      When we don’t see many miracles today, some attempt to explain this, by way of this kind of metaphoricalization. In a sense, miracles are often read by many holy men, not as promises of real physical wonders, but as becoming only symbols; “signs” in that sense. Symbols of spiritual, not physical, wonders. But the question is, is this metaphoricalization/spiritualization (as this is current called) of miracles, good and honest?

      Many millions of people were definitely promised real physical things; real actual material physical literal food, bread, when starving; not just the spiritual “bread” of good thoughts, spirits, from Jesus. Can we suddenly change the rules, and call the promises of miracles only “signs,” in the sense of being merely metaphors, and not real promises of real material things? Wouldn’t that mean that the many generations that were promised real material miracles by holy men, were deceived? Lied to?

    • Cornell

      John,

      The terminology for ‘sign gifts’ comes from this verse:

      2 Cor 12:12 Indeed, the signs of an apostle were performed among you with great perseverance by signs and wonders and powerful deeds.

      There were apostolic sign gifts that were given to the apostles as evidence of their unique succession to Christ. These were basically the messianic gifts that Christ performed in his life. The gift of Apostle was to lay the foundation for the Church. Their gifts ceased when they died. Hence, Hebrews 2.3,4 states that these signs and various miracles were NOT performed by any second generation Christian.

      Dan makes an excellent statement when he notes that the issue is not miracles or healing, but whether or not people have the GIFT OF signs and wonders. Heb 2.3,4 clearly states that the sign gifts were non-operative among second generation Christians. That is, there were no longer any people with those gifts. But God was still active in this world performing miracles when he sovereignly decided.

      As the foundation was laid, the gifts of Apostle and Prophet (Eph 2.20) had served their temporal purpose.

      And this is the same pattern we observe in the OT. Moses, for example, performed miracles, but the miracles did not transfer to the next generation.

      Again, it is so important to remind Charismatics: cessationists believe God heals and intervenes into the affairs of mankind; we simply acknowledge that God no longer gives out these gifts today.

      Keep praying to God for him to heal someone; you don’t need to ask a person to do that. All Christians have the ability to pray to God and ask for a needed miracle.

      In fact, the next time we will see these signs will be when the man of sin arrives on the seen, 2 Thes 2.9. That is how he will be identified.

      Remember, these are not the only verses; the cessationists uses dozens of verses to come to these conclusions.

      All the ‘miraculous’ gifts you see in the NT are all under the sign gifts.

      Hope this helps.

      CQ

    • cherylu

      “Heb 2.3,4 clearly states that the sign gifts were non-operative among second generation Christians. That is, there were no longer any people with those gifts.”

      Early church fathers in the second and third century speak of these gifts still being at work in their time although not with the same frequency in the third century. Assuming these reports are true, that contradicts this understanding of this passage in Hebrews.

    • Brett

      “Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? … But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way…. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect…. When I was a child I spoke like like a child…. For now we see in a mirror dimly…. (1 Corin. 12.29, 9, 11 RSV).

    • Curt Parton

      I’m a little confused. If by “sign gifts” you mean the signs of an apostle, then how does this speak to the cessation or continuity of such gifts as tongues and prophecy? Surely, you’re not claiming that only apostles of Jesus Christ had these spiritual gifts. Doesn’t Paul give extensive instruction to non-apostolic believers regarding the usage of these gifts? This doesn’t, in and of itself, mean that these gifts didn’t cease of course. But I don’t understand how the signs of an apostle are relevant to this issue. The question of whether we have apostles of Jesus Christ today is an important one, but this is quite distinct from the issue of the current status of the gifts of tongues and prophecy.

    • EricW

      Heb 2.3,4 clearly states that the sign gifts were non-operative among second generation Christians. That is, there were no longer any people with those gifts.

      Your Bible must read differently from mine:

      3 how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, 4 God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will. (NASB)

      This passage does NOT “clearly state that the gifts were non-operative among second-generation Christians.” Nor does the Greek text exhibit anything different. Even in his essay on this passage, Dr. Wallace does not state that this is what Hebrews 2:3-4 “clearly states.” As he writes:

      “The argument that this text refers to the cessation of certain gifts is based on an inference in the text, viz., that since the first generation of Christians were explicitly eyewitnesses to certain sign gifts, the second generation of Christians was not…. All in all, Hebrews 2:3-4 seems to involve some solid inferences that the sign gifts had for the most part ceased. Further, it offers equally inferential evidence of the purpose of the sign gifts: to confirm that God was doing something new. The whole argument of Hebrews rests on this assumption: there is a new and final revelation in Jesus Christ (cf. 1:1-2). He is the one to whom the whole OT points; he is the one who is superior to the Aaronic priesthood, to prophets, and to angels. He is indeed God in the flesh. Is it not remarkable that in this exquisitely argued epistle, the argument turns on Scripture over against experience? The strongest appeal the author makes to the audience’s experience is to what they were witnesses to in the past. If the sign gifts continued, shouldn’t we expect this author (like Paul in Gal 3:5) to have employed such an argument?”

      “infer” does not = “clearly states”

    • Curt Parton

      “Heb 2.3,4 clearly states that the sign gifts were non-operative among second generation Christians. That is, there were no longer any people with those gifts.”

      “Early church fathers in the second and third century speak of these gifts still being at work in their time although not with the same frequency in the third century. Assuming these reports are true, that contradicts this understanding of this passage in Hebrews.”

      Where exactly does Hebrews 2:3-4 “clearly state” this anyway. This passage is compatible with such a view, but I fail to see how it can be used as a basis for establishing it. Maybe it’s just not clear enough for me 🙂 This would also seem to argue too much. Would you claim that miracles and spiritual gifts also ceased with the first generation? This passage isn’t speaking of people with these gifts, but the gifts themselves. [I’m not in support of a ‘signs and wonders’ theology, btw, but this does not seem to be a sound use of this passage.]

    • cherylu

      Just to clarify in case I have left people believing otherwise, I don’t see these verses in Hebrews 2 clearly stating that these gifts have ceased.

    • Curt Parton

      Sorry, Cherylu. I meant to tag onto what you wrote, not seem as if I was questioning you too.

    • Brett

      1 Corin. 12.29, questions whether all have the gifts; and tells us that in any case, even the gift of our prophesies is “imperfect.” While we should seek “higher” gifts than miracles.

      Of particular relevance here: regarding seeking “higher” gifts (than miracles?) a number of religious functions are considered higher than miracle workers: “first, apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers.” Only “then powerful works” (12.28).

      There are higher gifts than miracle working, it seems.

      Further, more than such gifts are required, to be considered fully good: “If if speak in the tongues of men and of angels but do not have love, I have become a … piece of brass or a clashing cymbal” (13.1-2).

    • Ken Pulliam

      I heard yesterday from my former colleague whom I mentioned in an earlier post who is now in the Vineyard camp. I had asked him to come over and read this blog. He said that I was partially responsible for him going into the Vineyard camp because I had recommend years ago that he read George Ladd’s Theology of the New Testament which I was using as a texbook in a grad class I was teaching. I had totally forgotten that I had recommended the book to him. For those that don’t know, Ladd taught the Kingdom now but not yet motif that is very prevalent in the Vineyard church today. Ladd was a professor at Fuller Seminary and his teachings had great impact on the founders of Vineyard. I don’t believe he himself ever joined that movment though.

    • John C. Poirier

      Brett,

      When Paul says “seek the higher gifts”, he immediately follows that by “especially that ye may prophesy”.

    • Brett

      At times it seems clear that Paul is questioning whether all – or even anyone – can work miracles. Further, in any case, Paul is urging us to seek “higher” gifts than deeds of power, and prophesy.

      Regarding “prophesy” specifically? At times we are urged not to “despise” prophesy; but to “test” it to see if it is true. While indeed Paul seems to hint that this specific ability will pass away: “Love never fails. But whether there are gifts of prophesying, they will be done away with; whether there are tongues, they will cease… For we have partial knowledge and we prophesy partially; but when that which is complete arrives, that which is partial will be done away with” (1 Corin;. 13.8-10).

      Not “all” have these powers; if any have them at all. Furthermore, whatever wonders and abilities we have – if any – remain imperfect says Paul; until the End of Time, and the Second Coming (13.10 ff).

    • John C. Poirier

      Thanks, all, for answering my question about the source of the “sign gifts” terminology. I’m well aware of 1 Cor 14:22 and 2 Cor 12:12. I was just wondering if there was something else, as neither of these passages supports the idea that tongues and prophecy are “sign gifts”.

      Paul refers to the “signs of an apostle” in 2 Cor 12:12, but what does that have to do with tongues and prophecy? The apostles clearly weren’t the only ones to speak in tongues. The whole gathering on Pentecost, Cornelius’ household, the new converts in Acts 8, and the disciples of John the Baptist in Acts 19 all spoke in tongues. Glossolalia is widespread in the Corinthian church. In fact, almost every NT mention of glossolalia is to someone *other* than an apostle doing it. The same goes for prophecy. Paul specifically tells the Corinthians to desire to prophesy.

      The question then is how anyone could subsume two charisms that are clearly widespread beyond the circle of the apostles under the category “signs of an apostle”. 2 Cor 12:12 provides no purchase for the idea that tongues and prophecy are “sign gifts”.

      [cont’d on next comment]

    • John C. Poirier

      [cont’d]

      The problem with 1 Cor 14:22 is that it appears to be a quotation of a Corinthian formula. That’s why it conflicts with the following verses. When Paul says “tongues is a sign for unbelievers”, he is most likely quoting something that the Corinthians said. He then corrects their wrong belief by pointing out that if everyone in the church is speaking in tongues, and an unbeliever enters, the unbeliever will think that everyone is crazy. (Actually, the quotation of Isa 28:11 in 1 Cor 14:21 is probably part of the Corinthian formula, and, indeed, provided the Corinthians with their prooftextual support for their belief. This is suggested by the fact that Paul quotes 1 Cor 14:21 here according to a non-septuagintal version [kaige* or proto-Theodotian] and by the fact that Paul refers to this verse from Isaiah as coming from “the Law”, which is not at all consistent with Paul’s quotation formulas. I argued this all in a paper that I read at a meeting at Marquette several years ago.) In other words, it is not Paul but the Corinthians who refer to tongues as a “sign”, and, when they do, Paul corrects them.

      If my reconstruction of 1 Cor 14:22 is wrong, there is still little hope of deriving a theology of “sign gifts” from this verse.

      The quotation from Hebrews is interesting, but it clearly has only to do with apostolic signs. As I have shown, tongues and prophecy can in no way be considered apostolic signs.

    • Brett

      Well, some minor objections? To some extent, the word “apostolic” is not necessarily confined just to the original 12 apostles who were alive when Jesus was; some say that anyone who followed Jesus dutifully and well, is an apostle. Indeed Paul himself never met Jesus in his first lifetime. But Paul is often called an apostle.

      Then too, the meaning of the sentence that tongues are a “sign” only for unbelievers, might really mean this: probably 1) “speaking in tongues” only meant, speaking in foreign languages; “tongues.” Then 2) these tongues are significant – intelligible signs – only for foreigners/unbelievers. For those who speak these foreign languages. A topic Paul addresses elsewhere. While tongues are babble for others. So that there should be restaints on using them in Church.

      BUt these are rather academic matters. What concerns mostof us here, is the larger matter at issue here, in cessationism: finding that there are at least some Pauline statements, that wawrn about problems in claiming to work miracles. Paul 1) questions whether miracles are performed commonly; Paul questions whether “all” or even any, can work them. While 2) any wonders that might be worked, are “imperfect.”

      The larger point is this: those who claim to be working miracles today, should probably consider the many cautions Paul issued about miracles.

    • Cornell

      John,

      Here is an assignment for you. It will be extremely difficult if you ask me.

      1. List ALL spiritual gifts given to believers in the NT, not just the miraculous ones, all of them.

      2. Assign every single gift to one of two columns: 1) those that are apostolic, as in the signs of an apostle, and 2) all other gifts. This is easier said than done. Make sure you justify (to yourself) which gift should be included and excluded from the gift of the apostles.

      The result is you will have the list of gifts that ended/ceased with the last apostle.

      This can only be done individually, if you ask me. You don’t report the results, although some have actually tried this, such as Robert L. Thomas. But he’s interpreting the scriptures based on his complex network of presupposition, which we all have.

      I must warn you again. This will be a very difficult, time-consuming process, but well worth it. Your list is already done before you start; that is, it will be the by-product of your unique set of presuppositions.

      Best of luck,

      CQ

    • John C. Poirier

      CQ,

      I’ve done this divvying up of the charisms before. In fact, I did it in a paper I recently wrote.

      These charisms, I believe, are the “signs of an apostle”: working of miracles, healing, and perhaps faith. (I say “perhaps” faith, because it isn’t clear to me what “faith” means in the list of charisms in 1 Corinthians 12.)

      All the rest of the charisms are available to anyone.

      This seems to be confirmed by the wording of 1 Cor 1:7. Paul there says that the Corinthians were not lacking “in any” charism, but in 1:5, he had referred to the charisms of the Corinthians as consisting only of those which enriched them “in speech and knowledge of every kind”. It therefore appears that Paul thought of the “speech” and “knowledge” charisms as being available to anyone, while the “power” gifts were available only to the apostles. (“Speech” gifts = tongues, interpretation of tongues, prophecy; “knowledge” gifts = word of wisdom, word of knowledge, discerning of spirits; “power” gifts = miracles, healings, and faith.) This is consistent with what Paul says about the signs of an apostle.

      I’m aware that many would expand the list of nine charisms to include less spectacular operations, but, in trying to keep to the logic of Paul’s wording in 1 Corinthians, this is the scheme that I think obtains, at least for the sake of the points Paul wants to make in 1 Corinthians. Given that we have little indication of what some of these charisms really are, I allow for some leeway, but I’m confident that I’m not far off.

    • Cornell

      John,

      You wrote:

      These charisms, I believe, are the “signs of an apostle”: working of miracles, healing, and perhaps faith.

      So, are you saying that healing and working of miracles are NOT for today?

      CQ

    • John C. Poirier

      I’m not saying that. There’s a difference between a miracle happening and someone having the charism of the working of miracles.

      The difference has to do with whether the miracle happened through the agency of a person with a specific charism, or rather was the result of God’s response to prayer.

    • cherylu

      John C,

      What do you do with the fact that the early church fathers talked about gifts of healings, etc still being in operation long after the death of the apostles?

    • Brett

      If you want to question whether some people get miracles through charism, Paul might help here; when he suggests that not “all” can work wonders. Perhaps those who try to work them out of charisms, would be included.

      Personally though, I DO go a step further; and suggest that today, probably no one at all is getting miracles; certainly not on the scale that many churches have promised.

      Probably all the alleged miracles I have heard of, in our time, can easily be explained as 1) psychosomatic illnesses, cured by a change of psychology (as above); or 2) natural processes, poorly understood by an undereducated public. Or as 3) simple false accounts by an unreliable or “false witness.” Including many early Church fathers: “all have sinned,” even our early priests.

    • cherylu

      Brett,

      “If you want to question whether some people get miracles through charism, Paul might help here; when he suggests that not “all” can work wonders. Perhaps those who try to work them out of charisms, would be included.”

      Saying “not all” is a far cry from saying “no one can work miracles” is it not?

    • cherylu

      Brett,

      I see you edited your last comment. So, am I to understand that you think the reports of the early church fathers were false?

      Isn’t that assuming a lot?

    • John C. Poirier

      God answers prayer. That in itself might make it hard to distinguish between healing with personal agentivity, and healing more generally. Consider, for example, the promise in James 5 that the prayer of faith will heal. In my view, that’s a promise, but it is not the charism of healing. I’m not sure the church fathers could see the difference, and, even if they did, I’m not sure we could see that they did.

      My purpose has been to describe Paul’s “system”, to the degree that it was a system. My main purpose, of course, is simply to underline the very clear fact that tongues and prophecy can in no way be subsumed under the “signs of an apostle”.

      My point is that the terminology of “sign gifts” needs to be dropped. The battle over the continuation of the charisms will not be fought on level ground until we all agree on using fair terminology.

    • Brett

      There is no unjustifiable personal assumption in asserting that the early church fathers made mistakes; we are merely following the Bible itself. It was the Bible that said “all have sinned.” That would include “all” the early Church fathers. And present-day priests and ministers too: “all” means “all.”

      C. is right in saying that the Biblical warning by Paul, that not “all” can work miracles, does not definitively say that no one can. On the other hand, Paul’s statement is not logically inconsistent with that position either. Think of a Venn Diagram here. If not “all” can work miracles, then 1) at least some cannot. Perhaps many who claim to. While 2) perhaps even none at all can. That last possiblity is not directly stated; but it is not logically ruled out, either.

      While in any case, Paul is definitely implying that many cannot work miracles; perhaps all. While later on, we are told there are higher gifts, that we should seek. Paul admitting too, that even perhaps his own, “our” prophesies, are “imperfect.”

      So there are signs of imperfection, unreliablity, all around, when the apostles like Paul begin talking about miracles.

    • cherylu

      I’m reading a quote from Iraneus (c.180). He says that God has given gifts to people in order to promote the welfare of others. He speaks of demons being cast out, foreknowledge of things to come, visions and prophetic utterances, people laying hands on the sick and their being made whole, and the dead being raised up and remaining among them for years.

      Sounds pretty convincing to me. It seems to me that unless you start with the presupposition that these gifts just weren’t available any more, a quote like this saying that they did would be a pretty hard thing to dicsount.

    • Brett

      These accounts would be hard to discount … unless you know a little History; and know that in this era, all kinds of people were saying fantastic things, and claiming wonders and miracles. In the name of Zeus, Ishtar, God, whoever.

      People 2000 years ago, did not have accurate information or science to correctly assess what was happening. For example: if there were psychosomatic healings around Iraeneus, would he have known enough about science, to have known they were merely psychological cures, and not miracles? Of course not.

    • cherylu

      Brett,

      I know from past conversations with you that you pretty much discount all miraculous things as having a natural explanation, so I know there is no use to try to convince you of anything otherwise.

      I do think that folks reading here that may not have read these quotes do deserve to be made aware of them however.

    • Brett

      Of course. I think they should hear both sides.

    • Cornell

      In the 4th century, Chrysostom states that the miraculous gifts recorded in 1 Cor we no longer seen in his day. So, if we follow church fathers, we have to base our theology on unstable ground.

      Here is a few quotes on tongues; Chrysostom’s statement included,

      1. Clement of Rome – wrote a letter to the Corinthians in 95 A.D. discussing all of their spiritual problems. Tongues were never mentioned even though Corinth is the one place in the New Testament where tongues were apparently commonly used.

      2. Justin Martyr – compiled a listing of spiritual gifts active in his time (A.D. 100-165) and did not include the gift of tongues.

      3. Origen – never mentioned tongues and even argued that the “signs” of the Apostolic Age were temporary and that no contemporary Christian exercised any of these early “sign” gifts. (A.D. 185-253). He professes to have been an eye-witness to many instances of exorcism, healing, and prophecy, although he refuses to record the details lest he should rouse the laughter of the unbeliever (Cent. Cels., I, ii; III, xxiv; VII, iv, lxvii).

      4. Chrysostom – writing on 1 Corinthians and the gift of tongues said, “This whole place is very obscure; but the obscurity is produced by our ignorance of the facts referred to and by their cessation, being such as then used to occur but now no longer take place. And why do they not happen now? Why look now, the cause too of the obscurity hath produced us again another question: namely, why did they then happen, and now do so no more?.” (A.D. 347-407).

      5. Augustine – comments on Acts 2:4: “In the earliest times, “the Holy Ghost fell upon them that believed; and they spake with tongues,” which they had not learned, “as the Spirit gave them utterance.” These were signs adapted to the time. For there behooved to be that betokening of the Holy Spirit in all tongues, to shew that the Gospel of God was to run through all tongues over the whole earth. That thing was done for a betokening,…

    • cherylu

      I am aware that there came a time in church history where they said that these gifts were no longer happening.

      The quotes I gave were before that time. And the reason that I originally gave them was that someone way back up this thread made the statement that second generation Christians didn’t have any of these gifts operating.

      By the way, Origen’s quotes are a bit confusing. I wonder what “sign” gifts he was speaking of? He does talk about seeing healing, exorcism and prophecy. And he is one of the ones I was first speaking of when I brought up the church fathers. He said that these gifts were still in operation although not nearly as much as at the beginning.

      Why the operation of these gifts seems to fade out over time I do not know. I know that my understanding of Scripture doesn’t say that they will be gone permanently before the return of the Lord.

    • John C. Poirier

      For every father who denies the continuation of tongues, there’s another who affirms it. The best explanation for this is that tongues was geographically widespread, but that in many places it wasn’t accepted in the mainstream. This, in fact, is the image Tertullian provides of the church in Carthage. There was a main worship service, during which nothing spectacular apparently happened, and then afterwards there was another (informal) gathering, during which those who were more inclined toward charismatic worship got together. Given such an arrangement, it would not be surprising that your more bookwormish bishops (like Augustine, Chrysostom, etc.) would not know much about charismatic workings. In fact, the legitimation of the church by Rome (the context for Augustine and Chrysostom, but not yet for Tertullian) would likely cause charismatic workings to be even harder to find.

      All of this, however, is ancillary to the question of what the NT says about the matter. There simply is no scriptural basis for cessationism.

    • […] not sure whether Daniel Wallace’s recent post on Parchment and Pen, Charismata and the Authority of Personal Experience, was intended to coincide with the annual celebration of the world’s most famous irrational […]

    • EricW

      80. cherylu on 16 Mar 2010 at 11:23: … Why the operation of these gifts seems to fade out over time I do not know. I know that my understanding of Scripture doesn’t say that they will be gone permanently before the return of the Lord.

      FWIW, a friend of mine wrote a thesis/dissertation defending the Eastern Orthodox Church against the charge often made by Charismatics and Pentecostals that the waning and dying off of the Spiritual Gifts was in direct proportion to, and a result of, the institutionalization and hierarchalization of the Church, with the Episcopacy and structured liturgy replacing the prophets and other charismatic ministries/operations, etc. I.e., the “It’s Constantine’s Fault” charge.

      In the midst of writing it, though, he said he saw his thesis fall apart in his hands, as the evidence and research he was doing showed that this was indeed what had happened. He also experienced a powerful personal encounter with the Holy Spirit at that time, IIRC, as well as a physical healing of sorts. Shortly thereafter he, and then the rest of his family, left the Orthodox Church. And a few months later so did we, though not necessarily for the same reasons.

      Just sayin’. 🙂

    • Brett

      In science, it is well known that determining what causes what, is difficult. Particularly, it is never sure if a correlation between two events, means that one caused the other. It is not even sure, which is the cause, and which is the effect. An example of this confusion, can be seen in your example above.

      If increasing institutionalization of a church, correlates with a decline in the number of miracles, which causes which? You assume that say, 1) institutionalization means lack of faith, and fewer miracles. But there is another possibility: 2) when a church at last becomes better organized, it at last sees there are fewer miracles.

      Or for that matter 3) because miracles are not reliable, the Church begins to substitute for them, a more modest but organized body of teachings.

      “Come, let us reason together.”

    • Marv

      Dr. Wallace, your thoughtful post seemed to invite a reponse from a differing perspective. I have posted one on our new continuationist blog “To Be Continued…” as well as on Theologica.

      Blessings.

    • EricW

      83. Brett on 16 Mar 2010 at 1:05 pm: …You assume that….

      Brett:

      I didn’t and don’t assume anything. I think my friend decided to investigate – with the expectation of falsifying – the Charismatic/Pentecostal charge. If he did assume anything, he perhaps assumed that the organization/institutionalization of the Church was unrelated to a diminishing of the charismata.

      “He who has ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying….”

    • Brett

      Eric, you are normally a person of great integrity. But here your language is hesitant; you “think” your friend decided to investigate; a “sort” of health miracle happened to you.

      Did your friend conduct a scientifically valid investigation or not?

      That’s one problem with reports of miracles.

    • EricW

      Marv:

      I read your blogpost re: this post. Do you have an email address where I could contact you? (I couldn’t find such on your blog site(s).)

      Brett:

      I’m still a person of great integrity. My language isn’t hesitant, but reserved. I.e., I don’t want to claim or say more than I can affirm or state, but I can affirm what I stated in my posts. The health miracle happened to the friend, not to me – following his encounter with the Holy Spirit, he realized a couple weeks later that his blood sugar was normal and he didn’t need to take his insulin shots. Miracle? Psychological? Skin response? Whatever you want to call it, Dr. Brett. It’s been over a year now, too, I think. (Darn! There’s that “I think” again! Why can’t I have any integrity?)

      As per my last post, I don’t think you are correctly reading what I write.

    • Brett

      You’re right; you did qualify things appropriately.

      But that means that we can’t be all that sure here.

      With regard to blood sugar levels and diabetes, note that such things can be controlled to a degree, without medication; just by eating less sugar and so forth. Perhaps your friend semiconsciously modified his sugar intake? Weight levels are also a factor here.

      So was it the Holy Spirit, or a conscious or semi-conscious modification of diet? By the way, the Bible considers diet to be extremely important (as in say Dan 1).

    • Marv

      Eric, that would be great. If you would like to leave a comment on our blog site, that will leave your e-mail address, and I’ll contact you from there.

    • cherylu

      Brett,

      I can’t help but wonder why it is so very hard for someone that claims to be a Christian (correct?) to admit that there may actually be miracles happening around him even today?

      Yes, we need to not swallow everything “hook, line, and sinker,” as the old saying goes. But it seems to me like you have a vested interest somehow in trying to disprove or discourage belief in anything miraculous.

      If our God isn’t a God of the miraculous, what kind of a God is He anyway??

    • EricW

      Will do, Marv. Thanks!

      Brett:

      As a friend said to me long ago when I was first seriously exploring Christianity: Are you looking for a reason to believe, or a reason not to believe?

      I have no idea if his “healing,” if one wishes to call it that, was miraculous, psychological, spontaneous remission, or what. I don’t think he’d even claim that the Holy Spirit did it. He’s just thankful. In fact, the protracted illness he suffered prior to these events, and which caused him to cry out to God for answers to his distress, may have been a factor as well. I don’t know.

      On the other hand, he told me that he saw blind eyes literally opened when he was traveling with (ba-da-bing!) Benny Hinn many, many years ago in Africa. He’s seen and experienced much of the fake, but also some of the real. He and his family are some of the meekest, most unassuming persons I know.

    • Brett

      Well, it matters. The Bible warned that there are many “false prophets” and false miracle-workers out there, who are following a false idea of God. Therefore, it matters somewhat, whether their miracles are real and good, or not. We should not be blindly following them, trusting them.

    • cherylu

      Brett,

      I agree with your last statement totally.

      However, does that mean that we then try to prove that there are no miracles happening at all anymore? That is what it seems you have been trying to do not only on this thread but in all conversations on a similar theme on this blog for as long as I have known you to comment here.

      Isn’t that a bit like throwing out the proverbial baby with the proverbial bath water?

    • Brett

      Well, I happen to believe that most of the miracle-promisers out there – nearly all of them in fact – are false prophets, false miracle workers. So there’s an awful lot of miracle-disproving that has to be done.

    • EricW

      95. Brett on 16 Mar 2010 at 2:59 pm #
      .
      Well, I happen to believe that most of the miracle-promisers out there – nearly all of them in fact – are false prophets, false miracle workers. So there’s an awful lot of miracle-disproving that has to be done.

      Man, you must run yourself ragged with all that miracle-disproving!

    • cherylu

      Brett,

      If that is truly what you believe, it seems to me it would be very helpful to state your case in a way so that people understand that is what you are trying to say.

      You have come across in every conversation that I have seen you involved with on this subject as simply rejecting the miraculous altogether for the present day. Why have we spent hours discussing with you whether miracles even exist or not if that is not really the point you are trying to make?

      To clarify things further for me here, can you tell me what you mean by “false miracle workers”?

    • Brett

      Remember that the Pharisees asked Jesus to speak plainly; but usually he would not. Though eventually his disciples thought that “sure”ly he was at last speaking plainly to them, normally the language of Jesus himself, and of the Bible itself, was often veiled.

      Basically though, the usual phrases and words in the Bible for “miracles,” are more properly, words and phrases like “deeds of power,” and “prodigies,” and so forth; not “MIRACLEs.”

      And there is an academic/theological argument that as a matter of fact, the many things that appear to be supernatural miracles, in the Bible, are really, if you look closer, wonderful but natural or technological things; that have been misunderstood. This reading holds up, surprisingly, without changing a single word of the Bible itself.

      So that the whole idea that the Bible promised “miracles” is probably a misreading of the Bible, in this theology.

      As some have noted here, these natural wonders are amazing enough however; even if we know that some healings are from psychological fixes of psychosomatic situations, for example, still that natural healing is quite a wonder, in many respects.

      So that, even if we have God that works even through natural “wonders,” even that is amazing enough.

      And conveying that is important. Since in this theory, to this very day the whole world is following a false notion of how God works, his “wonders” and “deeds of power.” Indeed, the popular idea of unnatural miracles may be a massively popular misunderstanding or delusion; following a false idea of Christ.

      If this is true, it is therefore important to correct the false notion of miracles. And help others to find the right, accurate idea of God. Though there are very good reasons for not speaking too “plainly” even here, its worth suggesting that something like this theory, might be one justification, for continuing to speak about God as if he was important. While simultaneously rejecting…

    • cherylu

      Brett,

      Okay, so you don’t believe in miracles. Gotcha.

      But I am sure I don’t know how you think people that were lame from birth being healed instantly, blind eyes made to see with a touch, the dead raised–even after 3 days in the tomb–leprousy healed, a fig tree withering over night after being cursed, etc. are all natural phenomena or physcologically induced. That would take a whole lot more faith for me then to believe that God did a miracle.

      “If this is true, it is therefore important to correct the false notion of miracles. And help others to find the right, accurate idea of God. Though there are very good reasons for not speaking too “plainly” even here, its worth suggesting that something like this theory, might be one justification, for continuing to speak about God as if he was important. While simultaneously rejecting…”

      Are you going to finish what got cut off here? I would really like to know what you mean by, ” continuing to speak about God as if he was important.”

      Does that mean that you don’t think He is? I certainly hope that I am misunderstanding you here!!

    • Brett

      “…. rejecting miracles.”

      Regarding blindness: one of the extremely common forms of blindness, is psychologically induced; it is common to go blind, after being exposed to a great shock. And since its cause is psychological, it can also be cured even instanteously, by good counseling, etc..

      A possible example of this in the NT, would be Paul being struck blind on the road to Damascus. No doubt it was a great shock for Paul, to suddenly hear, alive, the voice of the allegedly dead founder of the religion he was then, as Saul, persecuting. But his sight returned, as he reconciled himself psychologically, to this event. Indeed, Paul’s example seems like a textbook case of psychologically- or stress-induced blindness – and recovery.

      Other cases of blindness in the NT are similar; still others are different. When Jesus cured one blind man by the pool, note that he makes a “paste” of clay, and rubs it in the eye of a blind person to cure him. JEsus is sometimes known as a “physician”; and it may be that this was a somewhat medicinal, exfoliating paste, that would remove scales, longstanding scabs (of for example, a Gonorrhea infection of the eye?).

      If this understanding of wonders is true, then rather that following preachers who are promising supernatural miracles, you would do better to follow … a different school of theologians.

    • cherylu

      Brett/Dr G or Dr Brett as EricW called you, (There is really no reason to pretend here, is there??)

      While that just might possibly explain those two cases of blindness, you haven’t even attempted to explain any of the other miracles I brought up.

      And please tell me what you meant by “continuing to speak about God as if he was important”?

      Anyone that is a Christian knows how important God is. Only one that isn’t could say what you said there and mean what it certainly sounded like you meant. So, if it was a mistatement, please correct it and let us know what you meant to say. Otherwise, there is only one conclusion we can come to here.

    • Brett

      Jesus said that he was not yet speakingly plainly; there were – and still are – good reasons not to speak too plainly, on many subjects. Remember that Jesus himself was executed, when he was taken to be plainly opposing the Pharisees’ theology of the day.

      As for explaining all the miracles? Already here I’ve explained four or five; that should give you an idea that this kind of explanation, is possible. Beyond that: can you have faith that God will reveal some of these things to you, yourself, after some thinking on your own part? Or consult others’ explanations of these things.

      I in fact said there was indeed, reason to continue to think of God as important. And BIblical lessons as well.

      The BIble remains vitally true and useful; though what it means, is not quite what many think. These are controversial subjects to be sure; so that some discression is advisable.

    • Brett

      Discretion.

    • cherylu

      “I in fact said there was indeed, reason to continue to think of God as important. And BIblical lessons as well.”

      If I misunderstood you here, I apologize. The idea of having to express that some theory other than that God does miracles as a reason to, “Continue to think of God as important,” is a mind boggler to me. As a Christian, I have never questioned in any way that God was “important”.

    • cherylu

      Sorry, Brett, rejection of all miracles just doesn’t work for me.

    • EricW

      Well, Brett, after you’ve hunted down and eliminated all the false prophets and false miracle workers, I guess the next thing you’ll do is hunt down and eliminate all of us who believe in the continuation of the gifts of prophecy and acts of power, or at least force us to confess that they’re all just natural and/or psychological.

      Then you’ll be truly happy, and the world will be ready for the return of RationalMan, the Son of Science and Second Member of the Holy Intellect.

    • Brett

      My reading is consistent with the entire BIble:

      “Come, let us reason together.”

      Ultimately the BIble is consistent with science, and even materialism. In the beginning, God made this material earth, and said it was “good.’ While one day, God himself is supposed to re-appear, on this material earth.

      While God often worked through natural means in the past. When Jesus wanted water, at least at times, he asked a woman to get it from a well for her, by rather conventional means.

      There are few if any indications that the “wonders” God and Jesus performed are necessarily supernatural, and not natural; God can work through natural things, after all. The word “supernatural” is only used once in most Bibles; and there, Paul notes its inadequacy.

      This is a different reading; but one that is totally consistent with every word of the BIble, I suggest.

    • cornell machiavelli

      Responses like these shut the discussion down for those looking for more scholarly discussion.

      If I misunderstood you here, I apologize. The idea of having to express that some theory other than that God does miracles as a reason to, “Continue to think of God as important,” is a mind boggler to me. As a Christian, I have never questioned in any way that God was “important”.

      Sorry, Brett, rejection of all miracles just doesn’t work for me.

      We have now completely abandoned Dan’s article and are chasing rabbits that have no material relationship to the discussion.

      Please reread Dan’s clarification. He has done his best to steer the discussion back to his article, but too many are just use to debating their views using the same arguments over and over again, very infrequently dealing with Dan’s conclusion.

      Some thought they found a crack in the door of Dan’s article and have tried to smuggle in an entire system of theology, all without offering their own explanation.

      Can any charismatic take the verse of Heb 2.3,4 and explain the meaning word by word or at least phrase by phrase. All the while addressing Dan’s interpretation.

      I’ve never heard a charismatic explain Heb 2.3,4 while demonstrating the Dan’s views are not plausible, in fact, that Dan’s view are not at all what the writer of Hebrews intended to say.

      You are like atheists: trying to discredit the theist argument but offering no coherent position on the specific passage in question. You just cant seem to get past explaining the whole counsel of God and how each passage coheres with the whole.

      For now, all I am asking is for some charismatic to FULLY explain how Heb 2.3,4 gives any support to the charismatic theology. There is a ton of implications in this passage; please give me something to think about, and place it on a scholarly level.

      As iron sharpens iron, let’s learn together

      CQ

    • cherylu

      Cornell,

      I don’t believe Heb 2:3-4 was brought up as an explanation for charismatic theology. As I recall it, it was brought up to prove that it was totally false. Am I remembering incorrectly here?

    • EricW

      Cornell:

      Re: your post 108:

      I responded to your post 50. in my post 54.

      However, if you still think that Hebrews 2:3-4 “clearly states” what you assert it “clearly states,” then I don’t see any purpose in a Charismatic taking (wasting?) the time or words explaining those verses to you.

      Dr. Wallace discusses what those verses may infer. And they may indeed infer a post-Apostolic cessationism. But the fact that this is stated to be an inference says to me that the passage does not clearly refute a charismatic theology.

      If you want a Charismatic to provide support for a charismatic theology, it would probably be based on other verses/passages than Hebrews 2:3-4. But as for Hebrews 2:3-4 itself, the verses neither clearly support charismatic theology nor clearly disprove charismatic theology.

    • Brett

      Well, my own immediately previous remarks were not Charismatic, but rather an argument against any very robust continuationism. Which I take to also be Dan’s position?

      As for say Heb. 2.4, note that there 1) God indeed ASKS whether he ONCE gave “signs as well as portent and various powerful works and … distributions of holy spirit according to his will?” First note though, that this sentence is properly a question, not a statement. Second note, 2) it speaks of wonders in the past, but not necessarily of any time after that. While 3)specifically it speaks of “portents” (NIV), and powerful works; but not specifically and by name (in the better translations), “miracles.”

      So that, if or when Dan appears to caution Charismatics or ghost-whisperers or whoever, about predicting present day miracles, he is consistent with the Bible itself, more closely read. Even with Heb. 2.4. Which presented wonders, not miracles; and in past tence.

    • cherylu

      Cornell,

      You said,

      “Some thought they found a crack in the door of Dan’s article and have tried to smuggle in an entire system of theology, all without offering their own explanation.”

      Have I not been trying to refute the theology that you (and later others) brought in the door in saying that those Hebrews verses clearly disprove all charismatic theology? BTW, in my last comment I wasn’t remembering that it was you that had made that statement. Wasn’t that getting away from the topic of Dan’s article!

      And I apology for not being scholarly enough. (Sarcasm intended). Not all of us have master’s or Phd’s in theology.

    • Brett

      As regards Dan’s major thesis – that we need both Reason, and some sense of emotional personal experience? – Dan said we need a “balance” between the two. While an emotional attachment to speaking in tongues, or enthustiastic but irrational accounts of amazing miracles, discounts science, and even the “Reason” that God calls for. Too much emotional attachment to miracles, spectacular deeds, might not be balanced, or ration. A desire to assert miracles, might be weighed far too heavily on the emotional – even Greedy – side.

      So that some greater sense of “reason” – Dan may hint above – will be needed. In order for Charismatics to achieve a “prudent” balance. Where they have not just emotions, heart, an attachment to the spectacular, and material wonders, but also have the more rational “mind of Christ.”

    • cornell machiavelli

      Once again, all I can ask is for one charismatic to explain Heb 2. 3,4 and how it fits into your own understand of the Scriptures. Seeing or experiencing various miracles or wonders is not relevant to the interpretation of the Bible. Can any charismatic show even the possibility of the continuation of first generation gifts, described by the author as no longer occurring among second century. Simply do NOTHING but show your exegesis of this passage without reference any other position. Within the charismatic theological presuppositions, all I’m asking is for one person to exegesis this passage.

      Dan has given his exegetical analysis. If you are not able to exegete this passage, then point me to a URL where a charismatic scholar had exegeted this very passage and how it fits into the overall charismatic worldview. I have looked in vein, even asking many charismatic serious students of Scripture, but nobody has pointed me to a treatment of this one passage in the charismatic camp.

      It will not do to say Dan leaves a slight door open to say his interpretation is less than “air tight.” Most of what he exegetes in the passage is correct. If you feel he lefts a door slightly open to support charismatic theology, then by all means point that out and explain 1) how Dan is wrong, and how 2) the charismatic view resolves this issues in this verse.

      Final question, can some of you charismatics give me your education training? Does any possess seminary degrees, and from what college?

      I am not picking at you, I’m just trying to understand why this conversation seems to get so quickly sidetracked to what I think are insignificant issues, such as to miracles happen to day (Dan has already clarified that confusion).

      Speak the truth in love to me “in love,” and I will honestly try the same.

      CQ

    • EricW

      Cornell:

      Why don’t you write Gordon Fee or Craig Keener with your charismatic questions about Hebrews 2, et al.?

      They have academic creds that should satisfy you.

      I personally don’t have the time or interest to discuss it with you, and while I don’t have a seminary degree, I have enough experience with NT Greek (2 years seminary training + many years reading and studying after that) to be able to exegete and explain the passage.

      On the other hand, Dr. Wallace has exegeted and explained the passage. But you want to turn his “infers” into “proves.” I can’t and won’t argue or discuss with a made-up mind or one that insists on forcing a reading on a text or essay that isn’t there, which is what your posts/comments seem to be doing or wanting to do.

      My apologies if I’m misreading you.

    • cherylu

      Cornell,

      As I do not have the educational background you are looking for here, I don’t suppose this will bear much weight. So this is a “for whatever it is worth” comment.

      But the way I look at this passage is that it is saying these “signs and miracles and wonders and gifts of the Spirit” were used by God through these first generation Christians as a sign or testimony. However, I don’t see that as implying that those things all stopped with that generation. Read with the rest of Scripture, particularly where Paul is telling people to earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, I simply can not find that idea in those verses at all. And as I said earlier, early church history seems to show that idea to be false.

      On the other hand, neither do I see these verses in Hebrews as saying in any way that these gifts continue today. I believe they simply make a statement about the way things were at that particular time period. As EricW said above, I would have to use other verses to uphold my understanding that these gifts are still for today.

    • John C. Poirier

      Cornell,

      I’m not sure what in Heb 2:3-4 is supposed to be so problematic for charismatics.

      Heb 2:3-4 (NRSV) says, “[H]ow can we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? It was declared at first through the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard him, whie God added his testimony by signs and wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit, distributed according to his will.”

      First, it is worth noting that “signs and wonders and various miracles” seem to be distinct from “gifts of the Holy Spirit”. That in itself suggests that the charisms–or at least those that were “distributed” (*viz.* were extra-apostolic)–should not be termed “sign gifts”, a point I tried to make above.

      I don’t see any hint of obsolescence of the gifts. Such may have been presupposed by the author, but it’s not implied. Note that this passage has at least two different mini-dispensations in mind: Jesus’ own preaching of the gospel, and the apostles’ subsequent mission. Given this scheme of chronological unfolding, it may be that the final element (“gifts of the Holy Spirit, distributed according to his will”) is meant to be characteristic of a further mini-dispensation, one contemporary with the reader.

      Assuming that the author has the sort of charismatic outpouring that accompanied the apostles’ preaching (in Acts) in mind, that would only show that there was a sort of charismatic outpouring accompanying their preaching. It would not imply that the gifts had ceased. In fact, the reference to “signs and wonders and various miracles” does not, in itself, imply obsolescence. The reader’s assumption of obsolescence is based on his/her presupposing Paul’s reference to the “signs of an apostle”.

      Keep in mind that the gifts of the Spirit, and an apostolic outpouring of the gifts of the Spirit, are two different things. This text from Hebrews seems to have the evidentiary value of the *outpouring* aspect of the distribution of the gifts in mind.

    • Brett

      I agree this text is neither here nor there, on the question of the continuance of material miracles.

      At the same time, P. does mention above, that Heb. 2 does hint at – if to be sure, it does not flatly state – a kind of dispensationalism. Which contrasts the 1) past dispensation of wonders, signs, and portents, with 2) Christ, and a new Holy Spirit spirituality.

      In many theologies, it is thought that the 1) Old Testament concentrated very strongly, in its era, its dispensation, in the books of the Jewish people, on material powers and wonders; 2)whereas the New Testament – and Jesus, and Christianity – though they at times seemed to depict material, physical wonders, at the same time, began to hint that all these seemingly material, physical wonders might be taken as metaphors, for spiritual things.

      For example, Jesus began to speak of his ideas and spirit, as “bread” and “living water.” While the NT in fact began to speak a lot about “figures” of speech, “allegories,” “parables,” and other literary devices. Which among other things, can convert stories of physical, material events, into mere symbols of something else. Of say, spritual “bread” or sustenance and so forth.

      In this case, the NT is not necessarily promising real material, physical miracles any more; those stories from both the OT and NT, might be taken (only?) as metaphors; say, for Jesus giving us various gifts of the Holy Spirit. Things in our minds or spirit; not physical material things.

      In Jesus’ childhood in Egypt, there was an older, soon to be famous Jewish rabbi, in Alexandria Egypt – Philo of Alexandria, Egypt. Who was famously beginning to present, precisely, allegorical/spiritual readings, of the old material promises, “miracles.”

      Today, more intellectual preachers will not explicitly say the old promises of material miracles were false; or cannot be read at all as literal promises of physical miracles. But they favor a “spiritual” moral from…

    • Brett

      Today, most preachers do not preclude the possiblity that the Bible promises real, material miracles. But they favor the spiritual, metaphorical reader. The important thing they often say, is not that Jesus makes real bread appear, but that he saves our spirit with the spiritual “bread” of his wonderful ideas, ethic, etc..

      Amazingly enough, if you look at your Bibles closely, you will find that they seem, overall, to have been systematically, consistently, written in such a way as to allow both of these two major readings: as offering either 1) literal promises of material, physical wonders; or 2) allegorical readings, that promise us merely mental or spiritual things.

      A fairly good case in point would be Heb. 2 for example. Which – as many have rightly said here – can be read either as promising 1) material wonders, or at least as not firmly disallowing them. While at the same time 2) the text could also begin to present Jesus, and the Holy Spirit; and we find out later, when it begins to emphasize these, especially a holy “spirit,” this can be read to now be offering the possibility that a new, more spiritual reading. To be offering only spiritual things, not physical things.

      Many here have correctly noticed the euivocal nature of Heb. 2. At it turns out, that is an extremely important observation.

      Some people might feel cheated, if one minute the Bible is read to us as promising us real material things, but then is suddenly twisted, into mere metaphor or symbol, for merely mental or spiritual gifts.

      Was the spiritualization/metaphoricalization of the old material wonders and promises, honest and good? Is it right? That is another question. Most preachers today are rather “spiritual,” and argue that promises of “mere” physical things, “possessions,” are unimportant and inferior; to the new promise of mental or spiritual wonders.

      Though to be sure, many might thus feel cheated or tricked. By the Bible itself.

    • John C. Poirier

      Cornell,

      I apologize for trying to present an exegesis of Heb 2:3-4 while I didn’t have access to the Greek. Now that I have looked at the Greek, my answer has changed significantly.

      When you look at the Greek, you see something disturbing about the traditional translations of this passage: there is *no Greek term for “gifts”*!!! The passage really speaks of “signs and wonders and various miracles and a holy spirit”.

      Perhaps the history of translating this passage has been dominated by cessationists, who supplied the word “gift” because they assumed the passage was referring to the cessation of the gifts. At any rate, the Greek hardly supports the cessationist view.

    • EricW

      John C. Poirier:

      The Greek of Hebrews 2:4 reads:

      … kai poikilais dunamesin kai pneumatos hagiou merismois kata tên autou thelêsin;

      Which can be translated:

      “… and [with] various miracles/powers and distributions of [the] Holy Spirit according to His will?”

      It does not say “and a holy spirit.”

      I would tend to agree that “distributions of the Holy Spirit” refers to pneumatic charisms – i.e., Holy-Spirit-given spiritual gifts.

    • John C. Poirier

      EricW,

      Is there any philological support for μερισμοις meaning “gifts”?

      Seems to me that the best philological clue for the meaning of μερισμοις in Heb 2:4 would be the use of μερισμου in Heb 12:4. There it means “dividing”, and not “distribution” in the sense of “something distributed”.

      This suggests that Heb 2:4 is talking about the pouring out of the Spirit, and not about “gifts of” the Spirit.

    • EricW

      It’s in the plural, so “divisions” or “distributions” seems to be a valid translation (I don’t have access to my lexicons right now). Pershbacher gives “distributions, apportionments”; Zerwick gives “merismos (merizô divide into parts; share out); distribution – distributing (the gifts of) the Holy Spirit.” What is it that the Holy Spirit distributes or gives out according to His will? 1 Cor 12 says this about the giving out/distributing/dividing/apportioning of charismata. So I would see Hebrews 2:4 as possibly related to that same meaning. LSJ says:

      A. dividing, division; esp. apportionment, allocation of funds; distribution of money; of victims.
      2. partition.
      3. share of taxation, assessment.
      4. role, part assigned, in a religious ceremony.
      5. kind of gymnastic.
      II. Rhet., division of subjects, arrangement, in writing.
      b. the art of dividing a whole into its parts.
      2. in Logic, assignment of the elements of a contradiction.
      b. definition.
      3. in Gramm., classification of parts of speech; distribution of the functions of inflexions.
      b. analysis of a sentence into its component parts, parsing.
      4. in Metric, division into feet, scansion; also division of a line into words.
      5. Math., quotient.
      Henry George Liddell. Robert Scott. A Greek-English Lexicon. revised and augmented throughout by. Sir Henry Stuart Jones. with the assistance of. Roderick McKenzie. Oxford. Clarendon Press. 1940.

    • John C. Poirier

      Perhaps it comes down to whether “Holy Spirit” is objective or subjective. I take it to be objective–the Spirit is what is “distributed”. The word is plural because there were several outpourings of the Spirit. I don’t see where LSJ really leaves room for the idea that “merismos” can be translated as “gifts”. If that is thought to obtain because the “gifts” are distributed, that only leads us to the problem at hand, for where in the LSJ offerings do you find the *thing distributed* labeled as “merismos”? Zerwick’s rendering (which you give) takes *merismos* in a possible way, but then it has to supply the term “gifts” in order to arrive at the predetermined meaning. I think that the considerations of philology, and a preference for not adding unstated elements, combine to suggest that the verse refers to *outpourings* of the Spirit. That also makes sense in the context of the book of Acts, since all the outpourings of the Spirit happened in the presence of the apostles in the presence of the apostles.

    • EricW

      John:

      You could be right. I’ll do more reading when I can, esp. to see if others consider this possibility. I’m not sure it’s simply a question of objective genitive (the Holy Spirit is what is distributed) vs. subjective genitive (the HS does the distributing). It could be a genitive of source (the distribution – e.g., of gifts – comes from the Holy Spirit), or a genitive of content (the Holy Spirit is what is distributed – similar to your meaning of objective genitive), or even other possibilities. Dan Wallace lists something like 33 kinds of genitives in his grammar, IIRC, though some would of course be easily ruled out in this passage. One might need to see what kind of genitive merismos is often associated with to see which understanding might be favored; I can search Philo and Josephus and the Apostolic Fathers, as well as the NT and LXX, in Logos.

      But from what you could suggest, Heb 2:4 could be referring to 1) a giving of spiritual gifts or 2) baptism(s)/filling(s) in/with/by the Holy Spirit, with the usual manifestations – i.e., prophecy or tongues.

    • Brett

      Antony Flew, the famous now-Christian philosopher, and many others, note that in this era, there was no distinction between natural vs. supernatural gifts. At the time, science and knowledge were too primitive to distinguish a sense of nature, as distinguished from supernature, at all. So there is necessarily no stipulation in the larger semantic field of “wonders,” “powers,” in this era, as being supernatural, as opposed to natural. That distinction just did not exist, c. 100 AD.

      At the same time, gifts of a “pneumatic” nature DID refer rather directly to “wind,” or breath (as in our modern word, “pneumatic”); today these words are thought to mean “spiritual” or non-substantial; to be translated as gifts of the mind or spirit.

      Which would confirm that spiritual gifts were being conveyed; not powers over more obviously substantial matter.

      Butthere are then problems with these new spiritual powers in turn. First 1) if our religion now delivers only spiritual gifts, then it has given up half of its history; when it promised material things.

      If we are indeed in the NT, limited to only spiritual gifts, like prophesying? THEN note, there are problems even with these spiritual gifts, like prophesy, in turn:

      Next, not everyone has them; and perhaps even no one: 2) “Not all are prophets, are they?” (1 Corin. 12.29).

      And then 3) these gifts or powers are imperfect: “whether there are gifts of prophesying, they will be done away with…. For we have partial knowledge and we prophesy partially” (1 Corin. 13.8-9).

    • EricW

      4 instances of merismos in the resources I mentioned – Hebrews 2:4 and 4:12, and LXX Joshua 11:23 and 2 Esdras 6:18. Nothing in Philo, Josephus or Apostolic Fathers.

      Instances of merismos with an associated genitive are:

      * Hebrews 2:4 (as discussed above)
      * Hebrews 4:12 (singular) – dividing of-soul and (kai) of-spirit, and (te) of-joints and (kai) of-marrows.
      This is a difficult verse to translate the meaning of merismos + genitive here – see various translations. Is it separating soul from spirit and joints from marrow (even though joints and marrow aren’t joined); is it idiomatic and just means piercing all the way; or what?
      * 2 Esdras 6:18 (NET) They appointed the priests by their divisions (diairesesin – lit. in divisions of-them) and the Levites by their divisions (merismois – lit. in divisions of-them) over the worship of God at Jerusalem, in accord with the book of Moses.

      BDAG definition:
      μερισμός, οῦ, ὁ (μερίζω; Pla. +; ins, pap, LXX, TestJob 46:1; Philo; Jos., C. Ap. 2, 203; Ar. 6, 1; Tat. 5, 1).
      ① division, separation
      ⓐ ἄχρι μερισμοῦ ψυχῆς καὶ πνεύματος to the separation of soul and spirit, i.e. so as to separate soul and spirit Hb 4:12.
      ⓑ in Ign. w. ref. to dissidents, who have separated themselves: (the) division partly as action, partly as result IPhld 2:1; 3:1; 8:1; pl. ISm 7:2. ὥ προειδότα τὸν μ. τινων as one who knew of the division caused by certain people IPhld 7:2.
      ② distribution, apportionment (Aeneas Tact. ln. 27; Polyb. 31, 10, 1; SIG 1017, 16 [III B.C.]; TestJob 46:1; Josh 11:23; Philo, Poster. Cai. 90) ἁγίου πνεύματος μερισμοί distributions of the Holy Spirit, i.e. of the various gifts proceeding from the Holy Spirit Hb 2:4. AcPl Ha 8, 18 κατὰ … μ. λαμβάνοντες//Ox 1602, 22 κατὰ μ. λαβόντες//BMM recto 22–24.—DELG s.v. μείρομαι II. M-M.
      Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W…

    • John C. Poirier

      Thanks, EricW, for this information.

      Whatever the bottom line ends up being, I would say that, at the very least, English translations do a disservice by adding “gifts” without italicizing. I think the language suggests that the verse doesn’t directly refer to gifts, although of course certain gifts accompanied the outpouring of the Spirit.

      I hope to look into this further when I get time.

    • Brett

      Eric is occasionally very helpful here. Though personally, for publication, I only reference translation texts written by recognized PhD’s in the field. Best of luck in any case to you both in discovering the right apportionment.

      It would be useful to consider the terms used in the case of the “gifts” of the Holy Spirit, and see if it is the same term is ALSO used for material “gifts.” In that case, the language would cancel out as a constant. And would not support a firm distinction here, on a lexicographical basis alone. You would have to consider theological/philosophical context; semantic field; Pragmatics context; and so forth.

      And then address Dan’s point that sometimes Charismatic apportionments of material wonders or “spirit,” may take on “false spirits,” and not the right ones? May be emotional enthusiasms or delusions, that do not bear good fruits?

    • EricW

      Eric is occasionally very helpful here.

      Thank you, sir. I try to be helpful when I can be.

    • mbaker

      Eric W, RE: 130

      Perhaps that should be amended to address our infamous blog troll, Dr. G. Apparently he’s still alive and well, and forever morphing. 🙂

    • EricW

      Yes, that Bret(t) is a real maverick.

    • John C. Poirier

      I should note that “gift of the spirit” is not a scriptural term. Paul never refers to the charisms as charisms “of the Spirit”. The term with which we are familiar is strictly an English commonplace. Unfortunately, it may have been too common a commonplace for translators of Heb 2:4 to resist using.

      I suggest that the basic thought of Heb 2:4 can be illuminated by Rom 15:19:

      Rom 15:19 by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and as far around as Illyricum I have fully proclaimed the good news of Christ.

      Heb 2:4 while God added his testimony by signs and wonders and various miracles, and by distributions of the Holy Spirit according to his will.

      It isn’t clear to me what the reference to the Spirit in these two verses has most immediately in mind, but it doesn’t seem to be the more widespread charisms like tongues and prophecy.

    • EricW

      I think the term “gifts of/from the Spirit” is from the fact that they are referred to as charisma, -atos (plural charismata), which is related to charis (grace, favor; thanks, gratitude; gracious deed, benefit, gift). The -ma ending usually refers to a thing, so charis+ma = something done as or in relation to a favor or as a gift; the Scriptures portray them as being given by the Spirit or worked by the Spirit according to His will, and not according to our deserving or as something owed to us or earned or achieved by us. In 1 Cor 12:4 Paul refers to them as charisma (something done or given as a gift, favor, grace, benefit), in 12:5 as diakonia (ministry, service), and in 12:6 as energêma (activity). Maybe they should be called “spiritual activities” instead of spiritual gifts. However, they are referred to as charismata more often than energêmata, I think, so the “gifts” terminology seems to be more favored (pun intended), even by Paul. Also, Paul specifically ties the charismata to charis/grace in Romans 12:6. But I have no problem referring to them as something other than “gifts,” perhaps “workings.”

    • Brett

      If “charism” is etymologically related to our “charity,” what does that say? Is it obvious? Or is there a sort of hidden, second meaning?

    • Brett

      Or better said, what if our “charity” (against many current etymologies), was from the same root as “charism”?

      Sometimes modern derivations have diverged in meaning; but more often they can open up a new insight into the old words.

      In this case?

    • Brian

      I find it infinitely amusing that Cornell is demanding exegesis from charismatics, while practicing eisogesis himself (reading his cessationist presuppostions into the text).

    • […] – the scandal of apostate pastors10 things that drive me crazy about working for a churchCharismata and the authority of personal experienceCan we put adolescence to rest?Is the OT law still valid today?Practically theologicalWhat pastors […]

    • mike Walker

      As always, Dan Wallace’s article is both biblical and insightful. However, I would disagree with balancing reason and emotion under Revelation, insinuating that we give equal measure to each. I think it is more of a hierarchy. Revelation is our authority, reason guided by humility (and hopefully the Holy Spirit) enables us to understand and agree with that revelation, then emotion should always flow out of that understanding of the Truth and experience should be interpreted through that understanding.
      If we have replaced “I think therefore I am” with “I feel therefore I am”, then we have also replaced “It is True therefore it must work” with “It works therefore it must be True.” Experience and emotion have become the source of truth rather than the expression of truth. I am not an emotional person, but there have been many times while studying the Bible, I have been moved to tears or become giddy because I have seen and understood in some small measure the person of Jesus Christ. Our emotions are like an old fashioned, cheap, dime store watch, it will keep accurate time so long as it is set every five minutes to the master chronometer. The master chronometer for our emotions is God’s word, understood through our reason.
      I also believe it is far easier for the demonic to influence our emotions, than it is for the demonic to influence our reason (not impossible, but harder). In fact, my experience has been that most people abandon Christianity, not because of an intellectual problem, but an emotional problem. God didn’t do what they believed He was supposed to do or they were presented, in church or bible college or seminary, with a convenient truth, rather than the whole truth and when they discovered evidence that did not harmonize with that convenient truth, they rebelled against their faith because they “felt” betrayed and duped. One thing I love about Dan Wallace, he always gave his students all of the truth, not just part.

    • Rejuvify Eye Cream

      Marvelous, what a blog it is! This website presents helpful information to
      us, keep it up.

    • 10]-3

      As we kick off the next century of the National Park
      Service’s essential work, we could not be far more pleased to have
      two of America’s most iconic outdoor brands join together to not only
      assist us celebrate, but also aid us preserve this country’s magnificent landscapes, rich history, and cultural treasures for generations to come,” stated Susan Newton, vice president of grants and
      programs for the National Park Foundation.

    • Buda

      Thank you for any other fantastic article. Where else
      may anyone get that type of info in such an ideal method
      of writing? I’ve a presentation next week, and I’m at the search for such info.

    • Psychic job and user-friendly job take place on very much the same level,
      but there is a fundamental distinction in these
      styles.

    • the rich jerk bonus

      I used to be suggested this blog by my cousin. I’m now not certain whether or not this submit is written through
      him as nobody else understand such exact approximately my trouble.
      You are amazing! Thank you!

    • Fabulous, what a webpage it is! Thhis webpage provides useful informatyion to us, keep it up.

    • pusatprediksi

      Wow! At last I got a weblog from where I be able to in fact take
      useful facts concerning my study and knowledge.

    • 네이버

      Thank you for some other informative blog.

      The place else could I get that kind of info written in such an ideal approach?
      I have a challenge that I am just now running on, and I’ve been at the glance out
      for such info.

    • paleo recipes

      Wonderful goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff
      previous to and you are just extremely magnificent.
      I actually like what you have acquired here, certainly
      like what you’re saying and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still
      take care of to keep it sensible. I can not wait to read far more from you.
      This is actually a great website.

    • Happy Wheels IZ

      Hi there to all, since I am actually eager of reading this webpage’s post to be updated regularly.
      It carries fastidious stuff.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.