I have recently encountered, again, a strange infatuation among Reformed folk for the strange goings-on in Pentecostal circles. I could say a lot about this, but I will limit my remarks to a few salient points.
First of all, some exegetical remarks are not out of line. It is as clear as day that whenever the Spirit of God did anything out of the ordinary in Scripture, the result was doctrine, content. Peter stands up on the day of Pentecost and preaches theology. No one on Pentecost raved about how wonderful they felt! There is nary a mention in Scripture to feeling in conjunction with any revelatory activity by the Holy Spirit. Period!
Fast forward to the present, and all you find when the Spirit supposed moves (whatever that un-defined term is supposed to mean), is nothing but fluff and goose bumps. People go on and on about how wonderful and sublime they felt, but not a word is mentioned about content. And that right there is enough to prove false all the professed manifestations of the Spirit among Pentecostals.
Secondly, there is simply no way to get around the issue of the sufficiency of Scripture. Either God has revealed all He intends to reveal to us in the Bible or not. There is no third choice. Admit even the slightest sliver of a possibility for any kind of revelation however inane, and you have in practice, if not on paper, jettisoned Scripture as any kind of authority at all. It is all or nothing.
In his book The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit, written in 1882, George Smeaton nails it perfectly when he writes:
“These extraordinary gifts of the Spirit were no long needed when the canon of Scripture was closed. Up to that pint they were an absolute necessity. They are now no longer so. Nor is the Church warranted to expect their restoration, or to desire prophetic visions, immediate revelations, or miraculous gifts, either in public or in private, beyond or besides, the all-perfect canon of Scripture. The Church of Rome, which still claims these extraordinary gifts, is to that extent injurious to the Spirit as the author of Scripture. And enthusiastic sects that cherish the belief of their restoration, or an expectation to that effect, have not learned or duly pondered how great a work of the Spirit has been completed and provided for the Church of all times in the gift of the Holy Scriptures.”
Sometimes people grow accustomed to things and forget the reasons why they do them. Reformed folk need to be reminded of why we have always held to the cessation of revelatory sign gifts. Warfield wrote that this was one of the protests of the Reformation that earned us the name “Protestant.”