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Convince me of Continuationism.

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

  1. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    As I said earlier, they run seminars. The one I recall witnessing was in a theatre and conducted by an alleged minister. I have no reason to think that there are no other venues and other such Pentecostals teaching "how to do it."

    Indeed, I have heard Pentecostal Christians refer to it affirmatively, although they didn't say they did it themselves. I conclude, therefore, that among some segments of Pentecostal Christianity, this (teaching how to do it) is an accepted practice and thought to be consistent with the New Testament.

    That, however, may not be just what you were asking, since I didn't pick up any overt claim that the end product would be "fake." It was quite the contrary.
     
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  2. Radagast

    Radagast comes and goes Supporter

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    Greek does have χ (chi), however.

    Was that confirmed by anybody? And of the 9 Cantonese tones, how many were you using?
     
  3. JAL

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    Empirically speaking, I don't see an abundance of real Spirit-inspired speech today (whether prophecy or tongues). However, unlike Cessationists, I don't base my doctrine primarily on empirical experience.

    Suppose the Spirit inspires me to speak in a tongue today. Thenceforth I try to pray using the same syllables. Chances are I will only produce English-based similitudes. But that's not necessarily a disaster. On the contrary, I strongly suspect that one purpose of tongues is to foster prayer unburdened with eloquence. Attempting to pray eloquently is exhausting, and thus tends to inhibit prayer.

    The problem with those kinds of "linguistic studies", then, is twofold. For them to work:
    (1) Given today's paucity of Spirit-inspired speech, the study would need to be done at the INITIAL experience of speaking in tongues.
    (2) The Holy Spirit must agree to being examined under a microscope!

    Admittedly, I myself suspect that many Pentecostals never had even an (authentic) INITIAL experience. They literally learned to "speak in tongues". I say this because, for example, they encouraged me to start speaking in tongues "by faith". One time I humored them, and they immediately said, "There it is! You've got the gift!" But even this too is not necessarily a total disaster, if such self-induced speech fosters prayer of some kind.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2020
  4. JAL

    JAL Veteran Supporter

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    To follow up, prayer need not be linguistic in an eloquent sense. Possible examples of non-eloquent prayer:

    "Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing." (1 Tim 2:8)

    "As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning." (Ex 17:11)

    "He is always wrestling in prayer for you" (Col 4:12).
     
  5. Silly Uncle Wayne

    Silly Uncle Wayne Well-Known Member

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    This is quite a poor argument for anything. The letters after Acts make no mention of (from memory) baptism or communion and yet nobody supposes that they had ceased, indeed they never ceased. What he could do in Acts was working fine in Phillipi or in the life of Timothy/Titus and therefore did not warrant any kind of discussion, much like the gifts get little or no mention in earlier letters. The presence of reference to anything in the letters is purely based on the need of the letter not on some theological argument. Likewise most commentators date Luke after the Pastorals and he makes no mention of healings declining or any form of cessation.

    But Acts and the gospels only record a fraction of the healings and some of those were prevented (e.g. Jesus couldn't heal in his hometown, and James and Stephen once dead did not rise again, whereas others did).

    in essence you are imposing a timeline on to the gifts and then forcing everything to fit in with that timeline which is incredibly contrived.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2020
  6. JAL

    JAL Veteran Supporter

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    @Silly Uncle Wayne;

    Good post. I second that motion. And as for Paul not being able to heal his closest workers, we must keep in mind that suffering was one of the marks of an apostle, so it's really not much go to on. Moreover, revivals tend to decline if Christians aren't continually fanning them into flame. Therefore it was virtually inevitable that at some point in the first century, or shortly thereafter, a decline of healings, signs, and wonders would ensue. This is especially a problem if, when one leader dies, there is a shortage of equally qualified candidates to fill the vacancy.

    For all these reasons, and more, the Cessationist argument based on history is too facile to rely on.
     
  7. Radagast

    Radagast comes and goes Supporter

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    That might indeed fit with empirical data. But is that a Biblical concept of prayer?

    That's not an issue. The speech, when uttered, is physical reality, which can be recorded and studied. Whether it is a foreign language or not can be tested.
     
  8. JAL

    JAL Veteran Supporter

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    Are potluck dinners biblical? Are church choirs biblical? Can we definitively rule out such things as unbiblical? Given the biblical emphasis on prayer, let's tread cautiously on prayer-in-tongues. And look at what Paul said:

    "For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful" (14:14).

    That seems to express God's commitment to non-eloquent prayer - at least privately. Publicly, God prefers prophecy - assuming it is readily and abundantly available (which quite possibly doesn't apply to the current generation).
    Perhaps you missed my point. Spirit-inspired speech isn't abundant right now. On the day(s) that a linguist has decided to do his study, what if the Spirit - perhaps being offended by the inspection - abstains? Or limits it to individuals who are not being recorded that day? Or even goes so far as to corrupt the recording?
     
  9. Radagast

    Radagast comes and goes Supporter

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    Yes indeed.

    Matthew 6:7: When you pray, don’t babble like the Gentiles, since they imagine they’ll be heard for their many words.

    Well, no. In the very next verse, Paul tells people not to do that, but to pray with our mind also:

    1 Corinthians 14:15: What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.

    You seem to be saying that there's so much fakery that researchers might miss genuine tongues. But the sheer quantity of fakery might also suggest that it's all fakery.
     
  10. JAL

    JAL Veteran Supporter

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    That's a powerful argument. I'm not denying that. But it's probably less decisive than you think. The verse is sometimes translated:

    "Do not use vain repetitions like the pagans".

    People who have never met the Lord can fall prey to wholly mechanical, non-relational prayer. This can result in conversations like the following:

    "Did you say that incantation I gave you?"
    "Yes, I repeated it 75 times."
    "No, the formula stipulates to say it at least 225 times to get results."

    Modern charismatics don't pray that way. They KNOW the Father and are crying out for more of His embrace, regardless of how inarticulate the syllables might be. Picture your own infant child reaching out to you with his fingers, hands, and babbling. You would not despise it. You'll object, "But these are adults!". Yes. Why must fellowship and/or mutual embrace ALWAYS be eloquent?

    Unlikely extrapolation. Here's a Pentecostal reading:

    "[In the church] I will pray with my mind also" (14:15).

    And here is the reasoning behind it.
    (1) Tongues is by definition mind-less speech. No avoiding that. Obviously, then, God DOES cater to non-eloquent prayer.
    (2) Paul did not say, "Shut up if there is no interpreter", but rather, "The speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God" (verse 14:28). It's okay to pray non-eloquently, even in the church, if done in a somewhat esoteric/private manner.
    (3) Paul contrasted "outside the church" versus "inside the church" at verses 18-19 (where he was expanding on the verse you cited).

    "I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue."

    Outside the church, therefore, Paul practiced non-eloquent prayer on a regular basis.

    And if I'm wrong, the utterly disastrous consequence would be - more non-eloquent prayer?

    In my first couple of years as a Christian, I read a couple of books on the history of revival. Often the dynamics caught the participants by surprise. God suddenly didn't seem to fit in their preconceived little boxes. The modern tongues-movement also seems born in such revivals. Far from faking, the participants seemed genuinely caught by surprise. Of course, maybe every last single one of them was an excellent liar, but somehow I doubt that.
     
  11. JAL

    JAL Veteran Supporter

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    "Overly-presumptuous" might be a better term than "fakery". Look, I for one don't even accept modern church government. I only accept Paul's definition of a church:

    "In the church, God has appointed first of all apostles, then prophets..." (12:28).

    Does that mean all today's church leaders are complete fakes? Should we condemn and shutdown all their institutions? No. I just want a change of attitude. Meaning I want to tell them, "Be honest about the fact that you are less than 100% sure of being a God-appointed pastor. Admit that we have all been a bit overly-presumptuous."

    Such pastors became leaders "by faith" - just as many Pentecostals (but not all of them in my opinion) probably began speaking in tongues "by faith".
     
  12. Radagast

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    Infant children reach out with the best speech they've got.

    If people followed what Paul said, we would never hear anyone "pray in tongues."
     
  13. JAL

    JAL Veteran Supporter

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    Suppose you grab your wife's hand and initiate some dancing steps. There's no music playing but you decide to hum a tune. Nothing eloquent in the sounds emitted from your mouth. Does that fact invalidate the fellowship?

    Or, for example, consider sexual intercourse. Does any lack of articulate speech invalidate it completely?


    I see where you mentioned one possible reading of Paul. I fail to see where you addressed the objections that I raised against that interpretation.
     
  14. Silly Uncle Wayne

    Silly Uncle Wayne Well-Known Member

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    After Moses there wasn't a time of Silence: there was Joshua, then the Judges and then Samuel. Judges includes a prophetess and numerous miracle workers. Samuel was a prophet.

    After Elijah there wasn't a time of Silence: there was Elisha (immediately after Elijah no less); then there ALL the prophets who wrote the books in the Old Testament from Isaiah to Malachi.

    After Jesus there wasn't a time of Silence: there was Paul and the Apostles; there was Agabus and the daughters of Phillip; there were the gifts in Corinth and the ministries in Ephesus. Read your own commentary on Mark 16:20 if you don't believe me.

    Today the Word still needs confirming with signs and wonders. Any debate with atheists will tell you that. Miracles still happen - see Craig Keener's Miracles.

    The New Testament is not just a work of history, it is the Word of God and it's reality extends to the present day.
     
  15. Radagast

    Radagast comes and goes Supporter

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    Nobody is saying that they don't.

    The Continuationist/Cessationist debate is about "sign gifts," not about miracles.

    I can only assume that this comment means that you have no defence for Continuationism.
     
  16. Silly Uncle Wayne

    Silly Uncle Wayne Well-Known Member

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    It's a response to a specific claim that was made by Bible Highlighter. So I'm glad you agree with my assessment that BH's reasons for cessationism are not valid.
     
  17. JAL

    JAL Veteran Supporter

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    Is it really all that black and white? This guy has a PhD from Dallas Theological seminary:

    "On any given day of the week, Christians can be found debating with one another over the "sign gifts"--that is, the spiritual gifts of tongues, prophecy, miracles, and healings."
    Two Views on the "Sign Gifts": Continuity Vs. Discontinuity | Bible.org

    Dr. Peter Masters starts off like this:

    "The first proof for cessationism (the ending of revelatory and sign-gifts) is that healings and wonders could only be done by apostles, and were their special authenticating signs (2 Corinthians 12.12)."

    Only by apostles? Then he quite laughably contradicts himself with this:

    "Only the apostles are recorded as having healed, together with two apostolic assistants or delegates, Stephen and Philip, and possibly Barnabas [as well]"

    What is overlooked here is that God is often reluctant to grant miracle-working power to the immature. (That's largely the point of 1Corinthians as I've been demonstrating). NATURALLY, then, the apostles were the most likely candidates to do miracles. That isn't proof of cessationism. It's proof that the church hasn't spawned many leaders with the maturity level of Elijah, Moses, and Paul.

    Why is the burden of proof on us? Based not on Scripture but on a facile analysis of history, right? Scripture itself is heavily saturated with charismatic themes. In the first chapter of Mark alone - and that's just one chapter - one easily finds a dozen verses referencing the supernatural (prophecy, healings, casting out devils, and so on). Therefore I see no burden of proof on us.
     
  18. Carl Emerson

    Carl Emerson Well-Known Member

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    Didn't Tertullian say to the Romans that they should judge if any person was a true believer by if they were able to cast out a demon?
     
  19. yellowMan

    yellowMan New Member

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    At one point in his ministry Paul was able to heal:

    Act 28:8 And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him.

    Act 28:9 So when this was done, others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed:

    At another point, Paul was no longer able to heal:
    2Ti 4:20 Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.
     
  20. Radagast

    Radagast comes and goes Supporter

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    That was the premise of the thread title: Convince me of Continuationism.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2020
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