I recently had a bit of a debate with someone over the gifts of the Holy Spirit, specifically tongues and prophecy. When I asserted that they were given by God for a particular time and purpose and were no longer necessary, I was greeted by the old standard, “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.”
He didn’t seem to realize that if this passage really applied to tongues, then it had to apply to everything else as well. How come liars are being struck dead routinely in our churches? How come I can’t measure the shadow on my stairs and ascertain how much longer I will live? Why isn’t anyone successfully commanding the sun to stand still?
I can’t tell you how irritating I find this kind of close-mindedness. If we were to drive this kind of reasoning out to its logical conclusion we would have to ask why no one is still eating manna today since God never changes.
When discussing paedobaptism with someone, they replied that we are supposed to follow Jesus example and He wasn’t baptized as a baby. Disregarding the ignorance of covenant evinced by such a statement, I pointed out that if that is what is meant by following Jesus’ example, then we should all wait till we’re 30 years old to be baptized. No one quibbled about age when I asked to be baptized as a 10 year old!
I find it disturbing that Christians – people who are commanded to love God with all their minds – find it so easy so resort to such inane forms of argumentation. I could look the other way if this were coming from the mouths of fresh-faced converts. But it drives me to distraction to hear long time believers, who should know better, resort to reasoning that would destroy much of their own position if applied fairly. Some of the Arminian arguments against predestination, if carried out to their logical conclusions, would argue equally against Divine providence, the doctrine of Hell and many other doctrines that no one denies. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.