Mr. Standfast

"Nothing taken for granted; everything received with gratitude; everything passed on with grace." G. K. Chesterton

May 18, 2004

A Brief Aside

Just a quick note this morning to point my readers toward a conversation that's been going between two of the finest bloggers out there, Adrian Warnock and Jollyblogger. This refreshingly polite debate is over the issue of spiritual manifestations or charismatic gifts on the one hand, and what has been perhaps misleadingly called cessationism on the other. In Jollyblogger's latest post on the subject he gratiously invites my comment, but I think that Adrian is holding up my team's side quite nicely, thank you.

All I wanted to do here, however, was to emphasize that charismatic gifts do not undermine Scripture or "add to the Biblical canon," as is often insisted. For me this is quite obvious. Here, by way of answering Jollyblogger's invitation to comment, is a quote from Ernest Gentile, who has written a good deal about the prophetic ministry in the church. This is from p. 239 of his fine book, Your Sons and Your Daughters Shall Prophesy.
The text of both testaments was inspired prophetically by God's Spirit. In addition, a unique, common prophetic ministry was taught and experienced in the New Testament that, because of possible fallibility, required testing and approval. . . . Although it can be 100% accurate, it is not considered canonical. . . . [It] is subject to and evaluated by the supreme standard: the canonized Scripture given by divine revelation to the prophets and apostles. The Bible text is exalted over local prophecy, which can never substitute for or add to apostolic doctrine and Scripture.

Personally, I do not want my theology to depend on experience rather than Scripture. The thought that a spiritual experience can alone validate itself is repugnant to me. Certainly personal experience is important, but prophecy is safeguarded by the sanctified biblical thinking of the rest of the local church--and above all by the Word of God.


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