Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Disobeying Commands?

Something occured to me yesterday. Traditionally in the charismatic/cessationist debate, we charismatics are always accused of being "frothy" and "experience-obsessed" while cessationists pride themselves on honouring and being committed to "the Word". And in the debate is often based around; "I experienced this" and the response; "It doesn't matter - your experience is irrelevant - they've ceased".

However there ARE a number of Scriptures that cessationists have never answered. If these Scriptures are to be read as they appear then many so-called "men and women of the Book" are being disobedient to the very Word of God that they claim to honour and revere. Here's two that spring to my mind;

1. 1 Thessalonians 5:20; "Do not despise prophetic utterances".

So does not Stanley Jebb's statement; "Calling silly remarks prophecy" come dangerously close to despising what actually may be prophetic utterances? That does not mean of course that "silly remarks" never happen - of course they do. But I would not like to put myself in the position of being guilty of despising this gift of the Holy Spirit and thus quenching Him.

2. 1 Timothy 1:18; "This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight".

Again to cite Stanley Jebb (only because he is the cessationist I probably most know and most read) - he writes; "So, since the final word has been spoken, such signs are neither necessary nor possible". Necessary? Possible? So how does this take into account this clear instruction from Paul the apostle (and writer of most of the New Testament) that there is a degree to which the gift of prophecy is ESSENTIAL for fighting a good Christian fight? Is this not a clear reason as to why the Word of God tells us not to despise prophecy?

And finally - a verse that a former friend of mine and former blogger - Jesse Phillips - used to base a lot of his writing on;

3. 1 Corinthians 14:1: "Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy".

Of course love is our primary calling (lest cessationists accuse me of ignoring the context of 1 Corinthians 13) but what of this command - clear command - of Scripture to "desire earnestly" spirituals but ESPECIALLY that we may prophecy? When did you or I last hear from the pulpit a sermon exhorting us to eagerly desire the bestowing of spiritual gifts but especially prophecy?

Just a few Christmas thoughts of mine. For me personally I want to ensure that 2010 is a year of heeding these commands of Scripture - that I honour prophecy and use them as a God-given grace gift to fight a good fight and thereby eagerly desiring especially prophecy.


jul said...

I feel sorry for those who choose not to benefit from prophecy, it is definately one of the most encouraging gifts to be on the receiving end of. I feel sorry for myself when I haven't had any prophetic ministry for a while! Thank God that he speaks to us here and now every day in so many ways! I wouldn't want to be in a relationship with someone who wasn't speaking to me...

Jesse P. said...

Hey Dan, I know I haven't commented in a while, but I noticed I'm a 'former' friend. I have been reading your posts even though I've been a bit quiet and I appreciate your continued fight for our charismatic heritage on this blog. Keep up the good work.

Your current friend,

jul said...

merry Christmas Jesse! Good to see you around again!

Anonymous said...

Greetings to you Dan from the northeast of Scotland. I am not a regular visitor but on my occasional visits I always come across something that is thought provoking and worth meditating on. Keep it up.