A few random thoughts...
Random thought 1
The choice between Cessationism and Continuationism isn't as simple as most seem to assume. Continuationism can be broken down into:
- The miraculous gifts continue and you find them in charismatic/pentecostal churches.
- The miraculous gifts continue and you find them in all sorts of churches. In particular prophecy and healing happen loads in 'conservative' churches, but they just don't recognise them as that.
- The miraculous gifts continue, but they are very rare and they're not what charismatic/pentecostal churches think they are.
Random thought 2
It is not necessarily a choice between:
- NT Prophecy does not have the same authority as Scripture so is no threat to the canon; and
- NT Prophecy does have the same authority as Scripture so if it continues is a threat to the canon.
A third option is:
- NT Prophecy does have the same authority as Scripture but it is no threat to the canon because authority is a necessary but not sufficient requirement for canonisation. Scripture also needs to be written for all the church at all timex. NT Prophecy could be (usually) for specific people at specific times, much like OT prophecy, so rarely canonisable (to invent a word).
Random thought 3
Is private tongue speaking good for you?
Your answer may depend on how you answer the following:
- Are Spiritual gifts ever commended for the benefit to the gifted, or are they only for the church who benefits from that person's gifts?
- Is it possible to edify/build yourself up, and if so should you? I.e. is Paul being sarcastic in 1 Cor 14:4?
- Is it possible to be edified/built up when the understanding is unfruitful (1 Cor 14:14)?
Random thought 4
Dan Hames' post has been the best food for my soul this week:
My church is unflinchingly Christ-centred. We hear the scriptures preached each week. People from every background are being converted and turning to Jesus. Our members are being discipled and transformed by the gospel of grace. We are led to engage our hearts and affections in worship and in hearing the word. There is genuine confidence in prayer – especially in petition. The Holy Spirit is loved and worshipped as a Person of the Godhead. Our clergy exercise careful discernment and are not afraid to call out false teaching, even if it feels ‘close to home’. I am surrounded by Christlike, humble, kind men and women. At times, pastoral situations and personal needs are identified by the inner prompting and guidance of the Holy Spirit. People who have been sick have been made well through the prayers of others. There is a tangible love for the Lord and a desire to know him more deeply.
The charismatic world is not without its oddities and excesses, but where there is genuine love for Jesus, there is cause to rejoice rather than criticise.
‘I must say that I had rather be among them who, in the actings of their love and affection unto Christ, do fall into some irregularities and excesses in the manner of expressing it, than among those who, professing themselves to be Christians, do almost disavow their having any thoughts of or affection unto the person of Christ.’
John Owen (Works, VII: 346)