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Convince me of Continuationism.

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

  1. Radagast

    Radagast comes and goes Supporter

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    Seems very unlikely.
     
  2. Carl Emerson

    Carl Emerson Well-Known Member

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    Tertullian in his Apology to the Roman Empire also had several very interesting things to say about demonic deliverance: "Let any one be brought before your tribunals, who it is agreed is possessed by a demon. That spirit, when commanded to speak by any Christian you like to select, will as truly confess that he is a demon, as elsewhere he will falsely claim to be a god.
     
  3. Carl Emerson

    Carl Emerson Well-Known Member

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    (Tertullian : T.H. BINDLEY, The Apology of Tertullian (1890))

    That may not lay bare the question of whether a believer could have a demon, it does however lay bare the fact that the believers, following the days of the Apostolic Age were in fact, laying on hands, healing and delivering those in need of demonic entities. So what changed?
     
  4. Radagast

    Radagast comes and goes Supporter

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    My translation reads:

    "Let a person be brought before your tribunals, who is plainly under demoniacal possession. The wicked spirit, bidden to speak by a follower of Christ, will as readily make the truthful confession that he is a demon, as elsewhere he has falsely asserted that he is a god."

    That certainly suggests that demonic possession was happening in Tertullian's day.

    It doesn't say that all Christians can cast demons out (the passage does not even mention casting them out), but it certainly suggests that Christians cannot be possessed.

    However, the possession/exorcism issue is a different one from the "sign gifts" issue. Catholics, for example, have had exorcists continuously since the beginning.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2020
  5. JAL

    JAL Veteran Supporter

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    Actually neither the title nor the OP says anything specific to that effect. And even if it had, I would have responded the same way, i.e. let's begin the debate with the recognition that no burden of proof is incumbent upon Continuationism.
     
  6. Guojing

    Guojing Well-Known Member

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    Gideon mentioned the years of silence in Judges 6

    13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”
     
  7. Carl Emerson

    Carl Emerson Well-Known Member

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    Samuel 3:1

    Word from the Lord was rare in those days and visions were infrequent...
     
  8. Silly Uncle Wayne

    Silly Uncle Wayne Well-Known Member

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    How long was those 'years of silence' in Judges? I'm sure any timeline would say they are just years, not decades, centuries or millennia. And given that you still have multiple chapters of Judges to go, not to mention Samuel and Nathan, I think the point that there were gaps isn't a a case for cessationism, just human nature, particularly given the nature of Judges where the people fail to follow Yahweh and there were consequences of that.
     
  9. Silly Uncle Wayne

    Silly Uncle Wayne Well-Known Member

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    At multiple points Jesus ministry includes healing, but in his home town he could not. I'm pretty certain that doesn't support cessationism.

    The problem is not that Paul failed to heal Erastus, but that not everyone was healed (including Paul's own 'thorn in the flesh'). This fact is not a reason to assume cessationism, but rather to have a much more nuanced understanding of healing.

    Oddly enough there are Christians today who are daft enough to think their faith will keep them from catching Covid, but I doubt that there are many Christians who are not praying for an end to the disease.
     
  10. Silly Uncle Wayne

    Silly Uncle Wayne Well-Known Member

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    On the contrary all it is doing is saying it is better to have more useful gifts. Paul says, "I speak in tongues more than any of you...". Hardly dissuading the Corinthians from using tongues.

    Charismatics are placing themselves in the company of sinners as should we all. Nevertheless the point of the letter to Corinth is to correct mistakes. The fact that that follow up letter has no indication of the same problems is good reason to suppose that the Corinthians were working out their issues.

    Moreover, Paul makes clear where they need to cease practices and where they need to modify practices. Tongues and all the gifts of the Holy Spirit fall into the latter category as seen in chapter 14.

    Exactly the same as he thought of the Corinthians and if he were writing today, he'd be writing the same thing - to churches to control their misuse, not prevent their use.

    It is odd that you go from misuse of tongues in the modern church immediately to cessation. Paul, didn't do that so why should you?
     
  11. JAL

    JAL Veteran Supporter

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    Exactly. You can't get even a faint sense of logical rigidity when reading Bible Highlighter's posts - indeed at times it seems like he's using random verses as springboards for jumping to cessationist conclusions. I plan to highlight some of his fallacies myself.
     
  12. Silly Uncle Wayne

    Silly Uncle Wayne Well-Known Member

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    Not quite random, but definitely guilty of starting from the premise of cessationism and then making the scriptures fit that viewpoint... to the point of ignoring anything to the contrary.
     
  13. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    Strictly speaking, you are right about that. I don't want to diminish it, but at the same time, when the question of cessationism vs continuationism is raised, it is common for continuationists to say "Look at our churches. The Holy Spirit is obviously moving there!"

    It is rare that any quarter is given by continuationists, even if you are wise enough yourself to say, as you did, that Paul warned against misuse.

    It is not unreasonable, therefore, to think that continuationism (which is not a tightly defined term) includes a defense of just about any sort of expression, so long as it is said by someone to be one of the gifts in action.
     
  14. JAL

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    Heresy. Prophethood is the definitive ministry of THE Prophet (Christ). Insinuating that we ourselves have the mature/complete revelation today compared to His childish knowledge and understanding is pure heresy. Period.

    There is no hint of cessation in the passage - only maturation - as I've demonstrated here at 534 and also 597.

    Furthermore if the NT cannon provides mature revelation, it automatically invalidates the OT as childish revelation.


    Next in point #2 you proceed with a lot of rambling, indiscriminately intermixing disparate biblical contexts and concepts. As there is no clear/cohesive argument discernible there, I am ignoring it.

    To begin with, 1Cor 14:21 is a rather obscure passage - and thus an extremely questionable foundation for a major doctrine. In any case, Paul's conclusion here is the superiority of prophecy over tongues during public proclamations, which is hardly a foundation for cessationism.

    Poor reasoning, for example the tired old argument that the gifts are no longer 'strictly necessary'. Tell me, what is strictly necessary? Absolutely nothing. An omnipotent God is perfectly capable of building a church without Bibles, pastors, electronic media, and human evangelists. Why then does He use miracles, for example, if not 'strictly necessary'? Personal preference (see here) - and since His preferences do not change, cessationism cannot be true.

    Correct. The Inward Witness can do it without miracles, but Yahweh prefers to glorify Himself via miracles. Thus any lack of miracles in the church indicates our failure to walk in the fullness of His favor.

    The message hasn't changed - it still needs authentication today. So if your claim is that miracles were NEEDED to authenticate the message back then, it would only prove too much, it would prove that we still need them today.

    Luke wrote 25% of the NT and ends with a major history book, at the close of which, Paul is still healing an entire island of people. That flies in the face of a decline. Paul couldn't even heal the thorn in his own flesh. That's probably because Paul and his coworkers, being on the front lines, were targeted for a higher degree of suffering than most of us. The devil has limited jurisdiction from God and will likely capitalize on it, therefore, to attack the front-line laborers.

    Your point #6 again insinuates that prophethood is childish. Moving on.

    You're alluding to Mark 16.
    (1) Jesus did not heal 100% of the time.
    (2) Arguably the passage DOES stipulate 100% recovery all of the time. After all, Jesus taught that if you believe (in perfedct undoubting faith), you always get what you asked for. In my understanding such faith comes only by divine fiat. Meaning God might choose to withhold it for reasons such as:
    (A) Insufficient prayer and fasting
    (B) Divine judgment upon a community, city, or nation​
    (3) R.C. Sproul claimed that there is insufficient manuscript support for this passage. He discouraged building any major doctrines on it.

    For one thing, the context is referring to the Book of Revelation. Have we added to it? Absolutely. We added to it the other 65 books of the Bible, as to form a complete canon. Continuationists at large are certainly not voting for adding new paragraphs to the Book of Revelation, under the false pretense that John wrote them.

    Unclear. Ignored.

    No he most certainly did not. He was chronologically last in the list of apostles mentioned in that particular context.

    Paul most certainly does prize tongues in that chapter, albeit not corporately.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2020
  15. Silly Uncle Wayne

    Silly Uncle Wayne Well-Known Member

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    My only experience of continuationism is in response to cessationism. The first time I spoke in tongues was also the same time I became a Christian. Within two weeks I had begun a Bible study on the subject to make sure it wasn't some weird cult I had joined.

    Like I say, a plain reading of the New Testament does not indicate that the gifts should cease and that was the conclusion I made from my study. Over the years that followed I got more involved in the Charismatic Movement and I saw plenty of misuse and experienced some of it first-hand also. I daresay over the years I've also misused the gifts... however I do like some advice I got given early on: We have to exercise the gift to get it right (this is true of all the gifts). We may pray for healing and it not happen, but if we don't pray it won't happen. We may speak a false word of knowledge, but if we don't speak at all no knowledge will happen and so on.

    The most underused gifts IMO in the church is that of discernment and I have been blessed/cursed with that gift also.

    So in summary, I'd much rather be defending a right use of gifts versus a wrong one, but that is not what cessationists want - they want to show that the gifts have ceased and therefore it is not possible to respond in any other way.

    Witness Radagast's earlier accusation against my testimony, essentially his view is that tongues have ceased therefore any example of tongues is by default false.

    So a continuations can describe a modern day example of something that occurred in the first century and look at the scriptures and see the same things described there and understand the things experienced are Biblical.

    The choice not to use the gifts is up to the individual to whom the gifts have been given, not to someone else who thinks (unbiblically) that no gifts have been given.
     
  16. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    ...and my only connection with cessationism is knowing that there was a ceasing, meaning that all the arguments that insist that they could not cease are moot.
    I understand, although I should think that everyone would appreciate that what it does not say isn't a scriptural directive, proof, or revelation.

    This sounds like something a professional counselor might say, but the Bible doesn't tell us anything like this.

    And that is one of the reasons (as I have been saying) for my coolness towards Continuationism, if not to Charismatic Christians themselves. The defenders of Continuationism come armed with all sorts of ways around the basic facts, almost admitting in so doing that the reasonable objections of other people simply must be countered, no matter what mental gymnastics are necessary to do that.

    Well, can you blame them for that? We have Continuationists and we have Cessationists, and if the tongues or the gifts did cease as history indicates was the case, why would the Cessationists need to go into more elaborate defenses?

    If they ceased, the argument ends there. You cannot continue something that isn't there to be continued.

    Well, if that happens, it is not a proof of Continuationism, That much is certain. Would you agree with that?
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2020
  17. Carl Emerson

    Carl Emerson Well-Known Member

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    Isn't it telling that when given testimony of a healing from Cancer a couple of months ago that included written report from the Hospital in Auckland - No one has asked to see that report of cancer disappearing, The practitioners said in writing they had never seen that in 2000 operations.
     
  18. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    Is healing something that cannot occur unless someone claims a special gift of healing?

    I have been a Christian all my life, and prayers for healing have been standard practice in every church of my acquaintance. And, yes, some of those who were prayed for did recover when the medical outlook was not encouraging.
     
  19. Carl Emerson

    Carl Emerson Well-Known Member

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    Jesus is the healer period.

    I prefer to claim that He works with me, rather than I have some gift.

    I asked Him at one time why not all I prayed for were healed - the immediate answer was He didn't want me to get proud...
     
  20. Silly Uncle Wayne

    Silly Uncle Wayne Well-Known Member

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    How do you know there was a ceasing?

    .

    It does not say that communion should cease, nor baptism, nor many things. Are we to infer then that they too should cease?

    This is a very poor argument, because although it doesn't say they should cease, it does clearly indicate that Paul thought they would continue until 'perfection' which in the context relates to love and clearly Paul didn't think that would be any time immediate, because he then goes on to tell the Corinthians how to use those gifts.

    What basic facts? The mental gymnastics are being done by those intent on reading cessationism into the text, not reading the text and trying to understand what it is saying.

    Because it is different to argue that they ceased never to return (which is what most cessationists are arguing) and they ceased through indifference (which is not even clear anyway).

    If God wanted the gifts to cease then there is no issue, the continuationists are in the wrong. But not only does the scriptures not say this, nor indicate it, but the gifts did and do continue.

    If people object to the wrong use of the gifts, they'd be better taking a leaf out of Paul's book and correcting it, rather than trying to make out that the gifts have ceased because that was what God wanted.

    That is more like semantics. If the modern day use of the gifts is genuine, then clearly the gifts haven't ceased.

    I ceased engaging in debate over a year ago. But somehow I am back here now, despite having stopped previously. So does 'cease' mean final, never to be seen again, which is what most cessationists imply or that it had stopped for a time.

    Yes I would. I can't even prove that Jesus rose from the dead, even though I suspect that both of us believe that to be true.

    Proof is very silly with a lot of theology. The best you can do is weigh up the evidence one way or another and then go where you are guided by that evidence, but if the way you have applied that evidence is questionable, you should not be surprised if it is brought into question.
     
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