Thursday, June 23, 2011

Doctrine Is Not Important If Continuists Are Right

Acts 15:6-21 tells us of the Jerusalem Council which was convened to sort out the question of the relationship of Jews and Gentiles in the Church. Circumcision was more specifically the issue addressed, but the acceptance of Gentiles into the covenant community was the underlying issue. With regard to the inclusion of Gentiles, an argument is made from the ministries of Peter and Paul and the experience of their Gentile converts. In verse 8, Peter makes the explicit claim that the former distinction between Jew and Gentile must no longer exist because God has given the Holy Spirit to the Gentile converts in the exact same validating way that He gave to them. In other words, God has validated these converts; therefore, whatever differences between them which the Jews thought to be important must actually be insignificant

That is why I am so hard-line regarding the correctness of Cessationism. Peter agued the validity of Cornelius' salvation because his household experienced the same outpouring of the spirit that the Apostles did on Pentecost. Continuists, if they are going to be consistent, will recognize anyone (Oneness, Romanist, Greek Orthodox, Mormon, whatever) as long as they can attest to the same spiritual gifts. They reason that if God isn't concerned enough about their doctrine to withhold Holy Ghost baptism, then surely these doctrinal differences must be insignificant. Before the so-called Charismatic renewal, no self-respecting evangelical would be caught dead “fellowshipping” with Roman Catholics. Now all this has changed. The existence of Charismatic Catholics has removed the barrier created by pesky little doctrines like worshipping, or praying to the saints, Transubstantiation, Purgatory, and image worship. That is why TBN is riddled with screwballs. Tongues-speaking, prophecy and words of knowledge are the equalizers for them. If they can do these things, nothing else matters.

They are wrong, wrong, wrong; but their logic is accurate. If these spiritual manifestations are genuine, then God must not care about their doctrine, because He is validating their ministries with His power. If it really is the Holy Spirit at work among the denizens of TBN, then we have no other option but to accept that God doesn’t mind Benny Hinn’s 9-person deity, or the manifold other blasphemies of the Word of Faith crowd. If God is truly passing out powerful manifestations of His Spirit to image-worshipping papists, then who are we to be more persnickety about doctrine than God? Of course, this leaves us only one of two alternatives: accept Continuism, or insist, correctly, on Cessationism.

As Reformed Cessationists, we affirm that all of the so-called manifestations of spiritual gifts among Charismatics of all stripes are in fact, false. God does not violate His own Word. He has emphatically closed the canon of Scripture with the book of Revelation. We can therefore rule out of hand that anything which emanates from, relies on, or promotes the existence and/or exercise of any one of the revelatory sign gifts is simply fraudulent.


  1. Yep, exactly right. Doctrine would be ever changing and completely relative to the individual if continuationism is correct. Whatever God speaks privately to me would hold equal authority, and in reality, more authority, that the written Word, since we would then be forced to mangle Scripture to align with our own private revelations. Sounds a lot like Pentecostalism.

  2. MacArthur's book "Charismatic Chaos" is good in this regard.

  3. I met an AoG pastor here in Illinois who was supposedly working on a Bible that was going to have a large appendix at the back full of new prophecies by some of today's prominent "prophets." (I confess I have no idea who these "prophets" would be, nor how they got on the roster.)

    Admittedly not all Continuists go this far, but even an unbiased observer can see that it is certainly logically consistent with their system.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. Sorry I do not agree. I appreciate your perspective, though I must say it was an emotionally charged opinion with not much factual or scriptual back up. I continue to seek his wisdom through the word as you do, and it is very interesting to see the way people interpret scripture, in which I love to read random blogs to understand others logic and to see if it challenges mine. After all, we truely do not know the answers, but have the ability to.... When we have an open mind, we have the opportunity to see alot more. LUKE 24:45. All the best!

    1. Thanks Tina, for weighing in. Admittedly my argument is very emotionally charged. I came from the background described in the post, hence the emotion.

      That being said, emotion has nothing to do with fact. I do not see any way to avoid my conclusion that doctrine is insignificant if one believes in the continuing manifestation of the extraordinary sign-gifts. I have seen this first-hand and know of many others who can testify to the accuracy of my contentions about the TBN crowd. Benny Hinn stands there with a straight face claiming that Adam could fly and actually flew in outer space to the moon. Crouch and the rest of them claim, despite 2,000 years of Church history to the contrary that God wants to make all His children millionaires. None of this nonsense can be found in Scripture. If Continuationists gave a rip about what Scripture actually teaches , they would run these TV preachers out of town on a rail. But, no; they are “God’s anointed ones, replete with apostolic power, hence: Doctrine doesn’t matter. Whereas, Paul says in Galatians 1 that God’s curse is on anyone who teaches another Gospel than the one he preached, even if it were an angel from heaven.

      As far as Scriptural arguments for my position, I have posted about a dozen other articles defending the Cessationist position exegetically.


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