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Convince me of Continuationism.

Discussion in 'Controversial Christian Theology' started by Bible Highlighter, Jul 12, 2020.

  1. Word and Spirit

    Word and Spirit Member

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    I grew up a Cessationist, but when I was reading the scriptures and found that the verse I held to as proof, actually proved me wrong, I started to BELIEVE. But it took another 6 years for me to receive abundantly. What a difference faith makes.

    Many will not receive because they do not believe.
     
  2. JAL

    JAL Veteran Supporter

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    Huh? So when Paul says, "When I became a man, I put away baby things", that kind of statement:
    (1) Would NOT mean, "I put away diapers, carseats, and breastfeeding. I'm still doing those things as an adult."
    (2) Because in fact, those things are NOT markers of immaturity, childhood, childish states.

    Huh? You're resorting to gibberish for lack of any cogent rebuttal to my assessment.

    And as I recall, THAT view is typically understood by some of the maturity-party cessationists to extrapolate to Continuationism. Either way, you're fighting a losing battle. (We can discuss this point in more detail).

    (Sigh) No, YOU are the one proving my extrapolation is correct - by continuing to dodge and evade the SPECIFIC questions and objections about Thomas in those posts. Here they are again: post 483 and post 505, and post 533, and post 565.

    Does everyone see this? Here again, I'm literally BEGGING swordsman1 to provide me an alternative extrapolation of Robert Thomas in light of the specific points of question and objection. He DOESN'T HAVE ONE. He just keeps assuming precisely what is in dispute. That's not a reply. That's not an argument. That's not a debate.

    THAT's my extrapolation. And you've had every opportunity to prove me wrong. Until then, I stand by those words. Here's the nature of this conversation:

    (Some theologian speaking): "The Trinity has 2 + 2 members"
    Jal replying: "That's heresy! He IS CLEARLY INDICATING 4 members!"
    Swordsman1 cutting in: "You outright liar! He NEVER said '4'. You slandered him! Go apologize to the man!"
     
  3. JAL

    JAL Veteran Supporter

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    (Sigh). No, the two parties differ because:
    (1) The Continuationists claim that the gifts can be fanned into flame via prayer, repentance, faith, righteous living and so on. If we are on track, the gifts can flourish.
    (2) Cessationism - mainstream cessationism - is the claim that the gifts ceased irrevocably.

    "The Holy Spirit gifts whomever he chooses, whenever he chooses"

    But your cessationist reading of that verse (12:11) is vastly different than ours. Suppose I reflect upon a man who SEEMS righteous to me. I might say to myself, "God should anoint that man with prophethood!" Do I get to make that choice? No. The Holy Spirit decides this, because He alone can see the man's heart.

    Whereas, you've extrapolated that verse to a Cessationist extent, insinuating that our behavior (our eagerness/zeal) has ZERO INFLUENCE on the Spirit's distribution of the gifts. On the contrary, Paul said:

    "In the church God has appointed first apostles, second prophets...Now eagerly desire the greater gifts" (12:28-31).
    "Follow the way of love, and eagerly desire spiritual things [not 'gifts'], especially the gift of prophecy" (14:1)

    Why should I accept an extrapolation that flatly contradicts what Paul said?
     
  4. JAL

    JAL Veteran Supporter

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    Let's discuss YOUR view. Along with all the Bible translations, you read 'telion' as 'perfection' instead of 'maturity'.
    Or should we discuss your view? You seem to be hedging your "view" with disclaimers and obscurities - one wonders if you're willing to take any kind of stance at all. Anyway, earlier you seemed to summarize your view. You tried to slam this one in my face, so to speak:
    In ch 2, Paul characterized the Corinthians as immature "babes" and used that same Greek word for "babes" in 1Cor 13. He also used the same Greek word for maturity (telion) in both chapters. Or does telion indeed mean perfection? In everyday life, transition from infancy to manhood is universally understood to mean maturation rather than perfection. Admittedly one might want to second-guess that reading due to theological presuppositions (theological biases), but nonetheless a consensus on normal usage carries considerable weight in hermeneutics.

    Even Christ, in His infancy:

    "Spoke like a child, thought like a child, reasoned like a child" (12:11)

    Did He gradually become 'perfect'? Or rather 'mature'? His knowledge developed gradually over time without reaching infinitude on earth. He matured. Post-resurrectionally, however, he reassumed His perfection. Instantly! Notice the contrast.
    (1) Maturation is a slow, painstaking, gradual development. It is a quantitative growth of the existing state.
    (2) Perfection is a qualitative shift - it is an instantaneous abandonment of the existing state.

    And the maturity-party cessationists (including Robert Thomas) agree with the above distinctions. Thomas states of the Greek word telion, "This is quantitative, not qualitative, so to teleion must have the same quantitative connotation" (Robert Thomas, "1Cor 13:11 Revisited: An Exegetical Update," Masters Seminary Journal, Vol 4:2 (1993), p. 190).

    A qualitative transition (perfection) seems eschatological. If the gifts remain until we become perfect in heaven, Continuationism is correct. As you insisted:
    You have opted for "perfection" instead of "mature". I'm confused. Doesn't that make you a Continuationist? Yes, I'm aware this might be a misextrapolation of you, as I'm still unfamiliar with your views. At this point I am asking it as a QUESTION. Please explain to me how your "perfection" isn't Continuationist.

    Robert Thomas (and others like him) advances a pretty solid reason for "maturation" - he argues that the passage uses the quantitative expression "in part". Thus it pictures spiritual development as a slow transition from prophesying "in part" to prophesying "in full". Paul wrote:

    "For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when [maturity] comes, what is in part disappears"

    In his view (and others like him), the Greek phrase "in part" (ek merou) is decisively quantitative.

    Maturity, then, is a quantitative abundance of prophecy, knowledge, and tongues. Robert Thomas drew that same conclusion, as I cited earlier.

    Essentially, the foregoing is my rebuttal of anyone who ascribes "perfection" or "cessation" to this passage.
     
  5. JAL

    JAL Veteran Supporter

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    @swordsman1;

    You haven't yet clarified your understanding of "the perfect" in ch 13. For the moment, I'll assume you have in mind "the perfect canon". So I will discuss this view. Paul wrote:

    "When I became a man, I put away baby things" (13:11).

    Allegedly "the perfect canon" eventually arrived as to "put away" the childish/immature forms of Direct Revelation (prophecy, knowledge, and tongues). This view is subject to several objections.

    (1) Here too, it smells of heresy. Christ The Prophet walked in a modality of revelation inferior to NT exegesis? Like a babe, He labored under incomplete revelation (incomplete understanding) while the rest of us, as readers of the NT canon, enjoy complete revelation? Thus we have better understanding than both Paul and Christ?

    (2) Obviously this is a qualitative shift, not a quantitative one, because Direct Revelation is a radically different epistemology than NT exegesis. And yet "in part" (ek merou) appears to be quantitative.

    (3) If the NT canon arrived to "put away" baby things (the previous forms of revelation), then we should discard the OT canon.


    (4) The printing press didn't arrive until 1500 AD. Until then, essentially the gifts were replaced with - nothing. Nice job, Lord!

    (5) My position is constructed entirely of five components clearly indicated in the immediate context (babes, adulthood, prophecy, knowledge, and tongues). There is no clear mention of a NT canon in ANY of Paul's writings. A while back you took me to task for applying, "You can all prophesy in turn" (14:31) to all believers, even though 14:1 is indeed for all believers. You complained I was decimating the immediate context of 14:31. Therefore I can't imagine that you'd subscribe to "the perfect canon" given its complete lack of explicit contextual support.

    (6) It's an unclear stance. Babes babble gibberish. Mature speech isn't a juxtaposition of the old babbling with new content - is in fact an ERADICATION of the old content, never to be revisited. (As I said, this extrapolates to discarding the OT canon). The early church - the Corinthians themselves - were already receiving NT epistles. Hadn't they already received "the perfect", then? No, as "the perfect" canon is understood, in this view, to arrive at 300 AD. Until then, they still only had incomplete revelation. Now, recall what "the perfect" is supposed to accomplish: again it's not supposed to be a juxtaposition of the old with the new but rather an eradication of the old (a putting away). Thus whatever arrived in 300 AD automatically invalidates/eradicates the epistles created before then! I consider this position unclear because it appears to be self-annihilating.

    To summarize: Am I to entertain seriously a position rife with opaque propositions and insoluble problems when I can easily embrace a view saddled with - neither?
     
  6. Guojing

    Guojing Well-Known Member

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    Good points, my guess is that you lean towards Mid Acts dispensationalism?
     
  7. JAL

    JAL Veteran Supporter

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    @swordsman1;

    Going back to the foundation-topic. One purpose of a foundation is to foster maximal teamwork - maximum synergy. We need an organized army. We need to share and combine resources in the most effective ways possible. Instead of weak individualistic efforts - scattered efforts - we need to make an organized, combined, targeted impact upon the world.

    And yet when I claimed we still need a foundation today, you alleged that I was taking the building metaphor too far. However, the metaphor must stand for something, right? You said the foundation refers to the apostles and prophets. Who are irrevocably gone? That makes no sense. How can a bunch of dead leaders foster maximal synergy among us today? Seems your only valid response would be to argue that the legacies laid down by the apostles are our foundation today (most notably the NT canon). Thus the moving-target noted earlier:
    (1) Cessationists start off by insisting that Eph 2:20 features the apostles and prophets as the foundation.
    (2) When pressed, they equate the foundation with the apostolic legacies (e.g. the NT canon).

    Thus their de facto position is actually #2. Does it stand up exegetically? As already noted, it flatly contradicts the other passages where Paul:
    (1) Regards the foundation as regional. In Rom 15, the apostles lay down a separate foundation to build each local church upon.
    (2) Regards the foundation as Christ. 1Cor 3 implies that expert builders (apostles and prophets) must lay down each of these local foundations. Obviously. Who wants to live on top of a foundation laid down by a novice?

    As noted, Hoehner eschews Rom 15 and 1Cor 3 - he insinuates that Paul used the term "foundation" differently in those epistles. Yet, given that all these passages refer to erecting God's building/temple on a foundation, I fail to see where he's met his burden of proof. It's like claiming Paul uses the term "sin" equivocally, without meeting the burden of proof.

    Even if we grant Hoehner's assumption, another problem arises. Is the NT canon indeed the foundation? That simply cannot be true because, even in Eph 2:20, the Ephesian church was already built upon the apostolic foundation - even before receiving that epistle!!!! At this point I suppose Hoehner would probably reply that the Ephesians already got the same teaching orally. (They already received 'complete revelation' before 300 AD?).

    Here again, is a rather serious contextual issue. There is no clear reference to the NT canon ANYWHERE in Paul's writing. Am I to entertain seriously a conclusion devoid of explicit exegetical support, in the face of two clear passages on "foundation" ?

    To clarify my own position, the foundation is Christ Himself (1Cor 3). Personally I picture it as a massive regional outpouring granted to an apostle or prophet for the sake of kick-starting a local church in a given locale. Typically, much of the outpouring is released when he lays hands to confer gifts of prophecy, teaching, healing, tongues, and so on. And that's why we need apostles and prophets today - for maximal effectiveness, synergy, and kick-starting.
     
  8. swordsman1

    swordsman1 Well-Known Member

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    (Sigh) I've already explained to you why your "extrapolation" of Robert Thomas' view is bogus. Just because the early church matured and stopped needing prophecy to instruct them does not mean prophecy was childish. Any more than a child grows up and stops needing a schoolteacher means schoolteachers are childish.

    I have expressed my own understanding of 1 Cor 13:8-13 many times on this forum. It is essentially the canon view, which has considerable support from scholars as detailed here, including a few links to their expositions.


    Look, I could spend hours exposing your exegetical and logical fallacies but I have better things to do with my life (at least for the time being). Plus it also gets a bit tiring dealing with your rude and dishonest replies.

    The simple fact that your unorthodox theories have ZERO scholarly support tells us which end of the heresy scale your views reside.

    :)
     
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  9. JAL

    JAL Veteran Supporter

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    In that case prophecy wasn't put away, because it was thoroughly adult. Your reading of Thomas, then, is this:

    "When I became an adult, I put away adult things, such as prophecy".

    (Sigh). Again, you're not meeting the force of my objections. You are not postulating a reading of Thomas that is viable. At what point are you going to do that?
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2020
  10. JAL

    JAL Veteran Supporter

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    Thanks for the list of scholars who support the canon view. Now please address the six objections that I raised against it. Otherwise that's like me saying, "You should be a Roman Catholic because, see here, I've got a whole list of scholars that support this view."

    Wow. That's an effective rebuttal. I'm terribly impressed.
    Gotcha. Because the Reformists introduced views contrary to mainstream opinion, they should have been dismissed as heretics. Didn't realize that you were opposed to the Reformation and reform in general. But that's your prerogative.
     
  11. JAL

    JAL Veteran Supporter

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    And stop telling lies. For example I cited where your cessationist friend Robert Thomas drew the same conclusion on 1Cor 13 as I did. And I linked you to posts where I cited other cessationists scholars who concur with some of my main points.
     
  12. swordsman1

    swordsman1 Well-Known Member

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    No, I've already explained this to you. It's not a case of prophecy itself being childish or adult. Prophecy is a tool for God giving people information. It was used in the infant church to instruct people in the absence of scripture.

    It's not rocket science.


    But it wasn't just a list of scholars. I also linked to expositions fully explaining the canon view. If you had bothered to read them your objections would be answered.

    Er...It wasn't intended to be a rebuttal. I said I'll get around to refuting your other arguments some other time because frankly I've wasted enough of my time on them for now. I've already demonstrated to people following this thread how fallacious they are.

    Haha. You think you are a Reformer?! The Reformers' views were quickly established as being true and gained massive scholarly support within months. How many years have you been trying to convince the amateurs on this forum of your theories? And how many converts have you won? If you can't even gain the support of the susceptible folks here, what chance do you have of influencing the minds of professionals. When a few scholars start endorsing your views then we can begin to take them seriously. Until then we can safely consign your theories to the theological scrap heap.
     
  13. JAL

    JAL Veteran Supporter

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    No, sir. Prophecy isn't a tool for gaining (direct) revelation. It IS (direct) revelation - otherwise cesstionists would lack cause to debate this chapter! The chapter replaces immature revelation with mature revelation - Thomas is not denying that fact. So what is the immature revelation that gets replaced?
    (1) In Thomas' system, prophethood itself is the immature revelation that gets replaced. He's dispensing with the whole concept!
    (2) In MY system, immature prophecies are replaced with mature prophecies (because babe's milk-revelation transitions to solid-food revelation, same point Paul made in 1Cor 2 and 3). Prophethood remains.

    Nice try, though.
     
  14. JAL

    JAL Veteran Supporter

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    Um..er..every Christian should see himself as a potential reformer. Are you asking me to accept the teachings of Calvin and Luther uncritically? In that case, which one of them, in your opinion, is the pope?
     
  15. JAL

    JAL Veteran Supporter

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    It appears to be a ridiculous position. Prophecy offers the potential for infallible revelation. Exegesis lacks that potential. So if God wants to MATURE us in revelation, wouldn't it be His intent to INCREASE the amount of prophecy? You're correct - that chapter is not rocket science. Here's a paraphrase of Paul's argument:

    "In my immaturity, I prophesy "in part". In maturity, therefore, I will prophesy in full."

    Thank you. No one couldn't possibly have said it any better:

     
  16. JAL

    JAL Veteran Supporter

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    As I intimated earlier, your cessationist friend Robert Thomas (not to mention Farnell and several others) soundly refuted that position. I guess you're saying that Thomas and Farnell don't do their homework well enough? They don't represent the opposing sides in a fair and fairly exhaustive manner? Having read hundreds of pages from Thomas, Farnell, and others, I'm satisfied I understand that position. That's why I raised six objections against it.

    This is supposedly YOUR position. Should be easy for you to defend it here instead of asking me to go read hundreds of more pages.
     
  17. Silly Uncle Wayne

    Silly Uncle Wayne Well-Known Member

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    This book intrigued me, but alas it is no longer available. Reviews of it however imply that Samarin was 'sympathetic' which doesn't go along with your quotes.

    I went back to one of my former lecturers who has recently published a book on tongues to ask him if he came across Samarin's research. He had, though he did not cover it in his book which was theological in nature not psychological. However he did point out that Samarin's views were that there were two types of tongues, one depicted in Acts and one in 1 Corinthians.

    So Samarin is clearly not of the opinion that tongues has ceased.

    If the book ever gets transferred to kindle, I'll get myself a copy.
     
  18. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    Please excuse me for "dropping in" without reviewing all of the previous 600 (!) posts, but isn't that almost a favorite claim made by Continuationists? It's not as though this idea of different tongues is ground-breaking.

    In every discussion I've been part of, the Continuationists make claims about speaking in a foreign language although previously having no knowledge of the language.

    When that claim falters, they switch to the "Well, there are ecstatic tongues, prayer languages, which are not known to anyone else but the person who is communicating with God."

    And when that fails, the claim becomes "There are Angelic languages," and a mistaken interpretation of that Bible verse is duly referred to.
     
  19. Carl Emerson

    Carl Emerson Well-Known Member

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    I see you are an anglican - how do you feel about the Archbishop of Canterbury speaking in tongues?
     
  20. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    I don't feel anything in particular about it. Should I?

    He's the head of the Church of England and I am not a resident of England.
     
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