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Cessationism Call-in Day

The Line of Fire / Dr. Michael Brown
The Truth Network Radio
June 8, 2022 5:30 pm

Cessationism Call-in Day

The Line of Fire / Dr. Michael Brown

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June 8, 2022 5:30 pm

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Today is Cessationist Call-In Day. Call in and give me your best biblically based argument as to why the sign gifts, the charismatic gifts, are not for today. It's time for The Line of Fire with your host, biblical scholar and cultural commentator, Dr. Michael Brown. Your voice for moral sanity and spiritual clarity. Call 866-34-TRUTH to get on the line of fire.

And now, here's your host, Dr. Michael Brown. We are going to have a great time in the Word of God today. As I have said before, as I wrote in Authentic Fire, I am sola scriptura and therefore charismatic.

Based on the explicit testimony of the Bible, in particular the New Testament, I believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit, including tongues, prophecy, healing, are for today based on the Bible. Whether I ever saw it happen once or a million times is not the big issue to me. The big issue is what the Word of God says. Welcome to the broadcast, Michael Brown. So good to be with you. Now here's the number to call, and I'll give you the ground rules. 866-34-TRUTH, 866-348-7884. I'm only taking calls on this topic. If you agree with my position, if you identify as continuationist or Pentecostal or charismatic, no need for you to call in with your pro-gift for today argument. This is for my friends, my brothers and sisters who differ with me here. The question is not are there extremes in the charismatic movement.

There are extremes in every movement. The question is not are there counterfeits. There are counterfeits everywhere. That's not the question. The question is what does scripture say based on the Bible as our final authority and source of truth? Should we expect gifts of healing today? Should we expect tongues, interpretation, prophecy today? Should these be normative, meaning happening in the lives of believers around the world? Not everything in the life of every believer.

It's never like that. The gifts of the Spirit were distributed by the Spirit for the common good, one with this gift, another with another gift. But should we expect these things today based on the Bible? Again, 866-34-TRUTH. Now before I get to your calls, let me just give you a little background as to why I'm doing this today. What prompted me most recently was a colleague sent me a link to a documentary funds are being raised for called Cessationism. And the moment I saw that there was a trailer available I said to myself, much of the argument has to be a negative one. In other words, trying to make things that are happening today look bad or take the worst examples of things happening today and say, look at this, look at how bad it is, and then make the biblical case.

So there are some brothers on there that I've actually interacted with. I'm not playing clips from them so as to embarrass or deride in any way because I respect their sincerity. But suffice it to say that in the little clips, the biblical arguments that were being raised, I thought, no, you can't be raised in this as a biblical argument.

This just has no substance, no teeth, no foundation at all. And the few clips that were being played were so extreme. I mean, one or two of them, I can almost guarantee you, if you interviewed 300 million Charismatics Pentecostals around the world and said, have you ever seen anything like this in any service, 500 million, that virtually all of them would say, what? That's weird.

I've never seen anything like that ever. What are you talking about? So one rabbi once said, it's not right to take the best of your religious tradition and compare it with the worst of someone else's. So if you want to do a real comparison, then let's look at the best fruit, the Charismatic Pentecostal movement compared to the best fruit in the cessationist movement, and let's look at those and the best exegesis, et cetera. But our focus here is on scripture. Now, the other reason this is on my mind is because I did a radio debate with pastor and theologian Doug Wilson at the invitation of Justin Brierley and the Unbelievable podcast in England. Just a wonderful broadcast Justin's been doing for many, many years, bringing together intelligent, respectful dialogue between people of different positions. A debate at Rabbi Shmuley on there, another rabbi about Messianic prophecy of Jesus being the Messiah.

Dr. James White's done it many times. He's debated N.T. Wright there on the meaning of justification by faith. It may be a Catholic versus a Protestant. It may be a believer versus an atheist. But what's very interesting in that discussion was with all respect to Pastor Wilson, we had great dialogue and interaction and it was fully respectful. But what struck me was I was just giving explicit scripture here.

The Bible says this, the Bible says this, the Bible says this, the Bible says this. And they're pretty basic verses that Paul urges us to pursue the spiritual gifts, especially prophecy, and not to forbid tongues. And elsewhere he says, don't despise prophecy, don't put out the Spirit's fire, test everything whole to the good. And it's explicit and we're told to do it. And nowhere else within the word are we told not to do it.

In other words, nowhere is that rescinded. And the verse that was never mentioned, 1 Corinthians 13, when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away, that's not referring to the closing of the canon of scripture. That's a bizarre interpretation that's relatively unknown through church history. It's referring to the return of Jesus. I mean, context makes that so clear.

In any case, there's never anywhere where Paul exhorts us, do this, do this, do this, and then says stop doing it. That was just one little plank in my argument. Here's my own view.

And after this, we're going to go to the phones. All right, here's my own view. Very simply, if we were debating Calvinism, and you lock two people in a room, excuse me, two people in separate rooms, they have no background in the Bible, but they read it over and over and over and over and over.

They read the Bible 100 times over and over and over and over. I believe that some of them would lean towards Calvinism, thinking that God predestines in a certain way, and others would lean toward Arminianism. In other words, I could see why different ones would have their different views. Of course, overwhelmingly, I would say the Arminian view is correct. But I'd say, okay, here's why you came up with those different views. If it's about the end times, describe the end times, what's going to happen? I think you're going to get a lot of different scenarios if people just read the Bible on their own. Frankly, my own view, I don't mean this to insult or demean anyone.

That's why I'm asking you to call them with your best arguments. I don't believe that if you locked 100 people in separate rooms and they read the Bible day and night, cover to cover, they were fluent in Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, and they only read the Bible, not church history, not current experience, I don't believe they'd come out cessationists. I don't. That's my own view, all right? And I tried to become a cessationist. When I was hostile to tongues and the things of the Spirit, late 70s, really early 80s, probably when it was the strongest, I tried to. But based on the Bible, I couldn't.

Those are my views. You get to call in, again, scriptural argument, not experiential. Scriptural argument. So if you prayed in fast food for someone's healing and they weren't healed, that doesn't prove what the Bible says. Conversely, if you prayed in fast food for someone's healing, that doesn't prove what the Bible says.

We want to make this Bible-based, your best Bible-based argument, why cessationism is the correct position. All right, let's go to Michael in Bourbonet, Illinois. Welcome to the line of fire. Hi! Shalom, Michael. Hey, Dr. Brown. Hey, yeah, I am not a cessationist, but it's just going to sound cessationist.

What is your basis for people falling out backwards in the Bible? Because let me just say this. Oh, hang on. That's unrelated to the subject, sir. With all respect.

Yeah, me too. Unrelated to the subject? Unrelated.

My question is make, here, I want to be as specific as I can. Let's try this again. I'm inviting you to call in and make the best biblical argument you can that the gifts of the Spirit, the New Testament describes, tongues, healing, prophecy, words of wisdom, knowledge, etc., that they are not to be normative today. Not why does this happen in Charismatic or Pentecostal churches or why does this one fall or shake. Those aren't the issues, right?

Those aren't the issues. So thanks, sir, but this is just going to help us clarify things. Let's try this again.

We go to Ray in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Welcome to the line of fire. Hi there. Hey. Hey, how are you doing? Very well, thank you.

Good, good. Okay, my question is, in light of the curse of death and because of sin, what do you say to people who look for healing and don't get healed? What kind of explanation can you offer them? Why they're not getting healed? Okay, I'm going to answer your question, but may I ask this?

How does that tie in with what I'm asking you to present? In other words, can you present an argument to me based on scripture as to why we should not be seeing healing or miracles today? Okay, well, perhaps I just heard of your topic right here in the car, so I don't have any scriptural backing, but what I'm asking is, I believe that there's healing, but how do you apologize to people or witness to them that healing happens when you pray for healing to them and it doesn't happen?

Right, okay, so I'll answer the question that's been put out. It's an important question and obviously it's important to many that have not been healed. Okay, number one, even in the New Testament, not everybody was healed. Paul left Trophimus sick in Miletus. Many would say Paul had the gift of healing on the island of Malta. Acts 28, everyone was healed, right? But he left Trophimus sick in Miletus. That's 2 Timothy 4.

1 Timothy 5, he tells Timothy to drink a little wine for his frequent stomach ailments. So, whatever reason, Paul didn't just lay hands on Timothy and heal him. And, many believe that when he came to Galatia, he was physically sick and described that. Some even believe that he had a thorn in his flesh that was a physical sickness. That's not my own view, but some believe that. So, even in the New Testament, even in the ministry of Paul, not everyone was healed, alright?

That's the first thing. The second thing is we have explicit promises that in Jesus we have died to sin and now are free from it. And yet we still struggle with sin.

In other words, there are things promised in the New Testament but we don't always see the full realization in this world. So, if I pray for someone and they're not healed, I first encourage them that what matters most is their own relationship with the Lord. And this doesn't mean that God doesn't love them. And even in the midst of their sickness, they can grow in grace. However, because we have these promises for healing, we're going to keep knocking and asking. And there are many things in the Bible that don't happen without us really aggressively pursuing them. Hence, the exhortation from Jesus in Luke 18 to pray with persistence.

Sometimes we just have to keep contending and pressing in and believing until the answer comes. And in any event, we do understand it's only temporary and that everyone will die and ultimately our goal is resurrection bodies. Okay, in any case, I am awaiting arguments from the Bible, not from experience, from the Bible, supporting the cessationists view. Phones are open, phone lines are open. Look forward to hearing from you.

We'll be right back. I want to make clear that I am not making a judgment on cessationism based on who calls or doesn't call or what arguments are or aren't raised. In other words, you may be a biblical scholar. You may be a professor at a cessationist seminary.

You may be a well-educated pastor. And you say, I've got plenty of arguments, but I'm not just going to call in a show and there's a proper setting. So I'm not saying if we don't get a single call with a single good argument, then that shows how bankrupt the position is. My point is phone lines are open to make your argument.

866-348-7884. Before I go back to the phones, let me just give you a little example of why I say that the New Testament plainly gives us the understanding that these things are for today, for that day and for today until Jesus comes. And I've done full debates on this and you get my full statement on an authentic fire of the chapter Sola Scriptura and therefore Charismatic. Or if you just want to dig in healing, it's a very technical academic book, Israel's Divine Healer.

You can dig into that. But here, First Thessalonians, chapter five, beginning in verse 12. We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. We urge you, brothers, admonish the idol, encourage the faint-hearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God and Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the spirit, do not despise prophecies, but test everything, hold fast what is good, abstain from every form of evil. In other words, this is, prophecy is just part of life. This is not some special category, oh, you pull that part out. This is just counsel, everyday life in the Lord, all these different directives. This is part of it.

That's the way it reads in the New Testament. Nothing exceptional, just part of normal spiritual life and service. Alright, let us go to Eddie in Madison, Connecticut. Welcome to the line of fire. Hey, Dr. Brown, good to talk to you again.

Thank you. Dr. Brown, this causes a lot of fights in our Bible study, this is a beautiful topic. And my argument is always, listen, I know what you're saying, if it says, give me the scriptural answer for this.

I just say, if Jesus was here physically today, you'd think we'd be having this argument. You would see it, you would see the evidence of it. The problem is, we're saying something and not seeing it. And if we're seeing it at the rate we're supposed to, something's wrong here, I said. We're not seeing it, why are we looking under rock?

Why am I going to Africa to see a guy got healed? I don't see nothing. We have CNN, you have secular news, and you don't see it. Where's the church?

Where did it go? So you say to yourself, wait a minute. Yeah, go ahead, go ahead. So you see what the scripture says, but you don't see it. And you say this, okay, something might be wrong here, and I had this happen to me, and it doesn't make sense, but I'll tell you. I went to McDonald's drive-through for a coffee. I see the menu, what it says, I'm looking at it. When I went around, there's nobody there, the place is closed. But I said to my wife, oh, but look what it says they have, but where is it?

The place was closed. Even though it said they had it, they didn't have it for me. My question is, it's a crazy thing I made up, but I know it says it, but where is it? You don't see it, not the Bible. Right, so that's the key thing, it says it.

That's where we're starting. The scriptures explicitly say it, right? And I'll give you a couple examples in a moment. They do tell us to expect certain things. No, we understand that when Jesus was on the earth, there were exceptional miracles demonstrating that he was the Messiah. And we don't read, for example, any of the apostles turning water into wine, and only Peter walked on the water. We don't read that we're all going to walk on the water, etc. But there is the clear indication that miracles that he did, works that he did, we should be doing, and that healing should be something we see at least with some regularity, not every sickness is going to be healed. Like if you get a cold and the cold leaves in a week, that's just the body healing itself.

And a lot of issues we have are because of the junk we put in our body. But if you're reading it in the Bible, and it says, expect ABC, and we don't see ABC, then we have three choices. One is, the Bible's not true. Another is, well, there must be something else going on, that would be the cessationist view.

It says it, but it's not happening, so there are reasons for that. And the third would be, well, then let's keep pressing into God until we see it. So that's where I am. Number three, if it says it, then I'm going to take hold of it until I see it. Look, I see what the Bible says about the way we're to live in the Lord and what the church is to look like. Jesus prays for our unity, and we're so distant from that, yet I'm going to keep pursuing that. So here's an example, the words of Jesus. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me, check that phrase, right, in Greek, or just check out the English, whoever believes in me, just go through the Gospel of John and see every time it occurs, because it's always, always, always, always, always universal.

It's never just specifically for the apostles. No, this is whoever believes in me. The works that I do, excuse me, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do, and greater works than these will do because I'm going to the Father. Now, we know that around the world miracles are taking place. They're well-attested, they're lengthy books with lists, detailed, documented miracles, they're peer-reviewed medical articles with documented miracles, so they are taking place, Eddie, and you don't just have to go to Africa for it. When I've solicited testimonies on Facebook and said, did you experience something in your life that doctors could only explain as a miracle? And I was amazed at the responses that we got, but are we seeing it as much as we should?

No. Therefore, I keep pressing into God and saying, you promised, but something is missing. I do that in many, many other areas of spiritual life. So Eddie, that's what you and the folks in your Bible studies should do, and I love the fact that you've been there all these years and having these great discussions. So say, okay, let's determine first what the Bible says. Let's come to agreement on that, and then from there, from there, we say, okay, why aren't we seeing this more?

And you explore from there, but first determine, okay, we should be seeing this. I'll give one other example, all right, and this is from Jacob, James 5, familiar passage, but again, I just want you to hear this so you realize this is just part of everyday life, part of the experience of the body. Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is that just for then, or is that ongoing? Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.

Was that just for then, or ongoing? Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church. Let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the one who was sick, or make whole, make well the one who was sick, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed sin, so be forgiven there, for confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power in its working, and it goes on from there.

This is just something that should happen regularly. Now, one pastor, I had a mini debate with on the radio once, said, we do this regularly in our church, because the Bible says it, but we never see anyone healed. So that would get me saying, okay, then something's missing somewhere. Let's delve into that.

Let's find out why. But there's not the slightest indication, there's not a hint anywhere in the Bible that that was just for them. If that was just for them, then so is, is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.

No, those are just part of normal life in the body. All right, so again, what I'm asking for is a scripturally based argument demonstrating that the sign gifts, healing miracles, tongues, prophecy, that they are not for today, based on the Bible, not based on contemporary experience, based on the Bible. Let's try again. All right. 866-34-TRUTH.

We go to Eugene in Fort Huachuca in Arkansas. Welcome to the line. Thank you, you pronounced it correctly this time, so. Wow, all right. Got it, yeah.

Yes, yes, sir. So if I may be frank, I think a reason why you're having such a hard time finding people who can present a biblical argument is because there simply isn't one. There just simply isn't one, sir. But I know my question is heavily related to the subject.

This is something I've struggled with before, and you have shared this yourself, that there seems to be sometimes secondary motivations for believing in the doctrine of sensationism. For me, it's like an academic intimidation because when I read the Bible, I see no indication that they see it. But a lot of the Bible scholars that I follow, that I study under, that I love, that I respect, and that I don't want to ignore because they believe differently, it's kind of hard to stand with total assurance, if you know what I mean. Like, there seems to be, well, you know, Thomas Arthur doesn't know. Eugene, Eugene, you gotta overcome that.

You gotta overcome that. And again, with all respect, sir, I won't take any more calls that don't fulfill the guidelines, okay? Because I want to give time to people to bring their Bible arguments against cessationism. My position is there are none, with all respect to my friends who differ.

This is my position, right? Like I said, I think we have a much better debate about Calvinism, Arminianism, although I'm not a Calvinist. We could have a much better debate about end times issues, although I have my own views about the end times. When it comes to cessationism based on scripture, let me just say this. If, on a very, very regular basis, we were all seeing the circles that we're in, the gifts and power of the Spirit manifest, no one would be having this argument.

No one would even be raising it. So what happened is, people normally raised in a certain faith tradition, study within that tradition, within their tradition, these things are not happening, so it's not even an argument to them. Or they see negative extremes, or they got burned by negative extremes. But it's rare, if ever, to be candid, rare if ever, that I run into someone who is Pentecostal Charismatic, who is having good experiences with the Lord, seeing God move, and who based on scripture alone, changed their view.

But I see the opposite all the time. People based on scripture alone, becoming continuationists, even if they haven't experienced the things of the Spirit yet. All right, so with all respect to callers, I'm being very specific. We got some phone lines open. Give me your best argument against continuationism from the Bible. Thanks.

Thanks so much for joining us on the Line of Fire, 866-348-7884. My 1991 book, Whatever Happened to the Power of God, which asks the question, is the Charismatic Church slain in the Spirit or down for the count? In that book, I have a chapter asking the question, has the gift of healing hit a brick wall? In fact, Pastor John MacArthur quoted me favorably in his Strange Fire book, saying, here's a Charismatic believer saying something is missing.

Yes, something is missing. In many cases, we should see more. There are some gifts of the Spirit that seem to be in operation more, gifts of healing. I've seen an operation, seen God work through colleagues of mine in extraordinary ways, read many documented testimonies, met people, miraculously healed. But I still believe we should be seeing things more.

That's not the question. The question is, what does scripture say? And if our lives or experience are not lining up with scripture, rather than bringing scripture down, we seek to be raised up, lifted up to the scriptural norm. So, still going for it, still with all respect to all the calls so far, no one yet has done what I've been asking for.

Again, it doesn't mean you're not out there, but for whatever reason, maybe you can't call, you're missing the show now, you're going to get it later, or you just don't want to call where I'm controlling the mic, whatever. I'm not making a judgment. I'm simply saying the phone lines are open, and I would love to hear from someone who could say, okay, here, based on the Bible, what's written in the Bible, based on this, I do not believe these things are for today.

866-348-7884. Before I go back to the phones, here's some interesting things from church history. Now, again, my argument is not based on history. My argument is based on what does the Bible say? But many have the impression that when the apostles died, then the miraculous gifts ceased. Of course, that's patently, excuse me, untrue.

Let me just give you a few quick examples here. Justin Martyr, in his famous dialogue with Trypho, this is written around A.D. 160, for the prophetic gifts remain with us even to the present time. Justin Martyr, one of the most respected of the early church leaders. And then Irenaeus of Lyon against Heresies, 180, again, respected early church leader.

Look at what he said. Irenaeus, for some do certainly and truly drive out devils, so that those who have thus been cleansed from evil spirits frequently both believe and join themselves to the church. By the way, this is happening around the world to this day. Others have foreknowledge of things to come. They see visions and other prophetic expressions. Others still heal the sick by laying their hands upon them, and they are made whole. Yea, moreover, as I've said, the dead even have been raised up and remained among us for many years.

We do also hear many brethren in the church who possess prophetic gifts and through the Spirit speak all kinds of languages. It's 180, right? So this is almost 100 years after the death of the last apostle and 150 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus. You say, oh, was the canon closed yet?

Well, hang on. There's the argument that these were signed gifts that were given to the apostles. Here the apostles are long gone and the gifts are continuing just through other brothers and sisters.

That's the whole thing. They were never just for the apostles. There was certain apostolic authority that was given and certain unique aspects of power that may have worked through the apostles. Polls that say exactly what they are in 2 Corinthians 12 where he speaks of the signs of an apostle being brought through him and all perseverance. But certainly we see in the New Testament that prophecy is part of the outpouring of the Spirit on all flesh, sons and daughters, old and young, seeing visions, having dreams. This is just part of the life of the body. Alright?

I'm going to give you some other scripture in a moment. You say, well, Dr. Brown, take more calls. Well, the only other caller that was waiting is gone and from what I could tell from the description did not have an argument to bring. So I've got literally every phone line open and nobody calling.

It is interesting, isn't it? On a Friday on a Q&A show every phone line is filled. When we get an open line I normally say, hey, we've got an open line or two to let you know. But I'm looking at a blank screen.

Yep, every phone line marked idle. So please, somebody, come on, there's got to be somebody out there. You say, here's a strong biblically based argument for cessationism. I read it in this book, I read it in that book. Here's a cessationist scholar I read, a cessationist commentary I read.

Somewhere out there. And for you geniuses, but I'm intimidated, Pastor MacArthur feels this way. Hey, I respect Pastor MacArthur. But just like he can differ with me, he doesn't have a PhD in Semitic languages. How can he differ with me? Well, how can I differ with him? He's written commentaries on the whole Bible.

You can't do that. Who knows more than Craig Keener, you know, in terms of New Testament scholarship and Bible background or Ben Witherington. They're both continuationists.

So you can't make that the argument. Who knows more? That's no, no, no. We're all just students. We're all just learning. We're all just babes in terms of who God is.

We're all just servants. That's it. Okay.

Look at what Basil the Great says. 350. 350.

There's no argument about closing of Canada. This is 350. The Spirit enlightens all, inspires prophets, gives wisdom to lawmakers, consecrates priests, empowers kings, perfects the just, exalts the prudent, is active in gifts of healing, gives life to the dead, frees those in bondage, turns foreigners into adopted sons. This is what the Holy Spirit does in an ongoing way.

All right. So, Augustine. Is there any more respected church leader after Paul than Augustine? I don't agree with everything Augustine wrote, but certainly highly, highly respected church leader, right? So now you're fourth into the fifth century. Augustine in his early writings, as Morton Kalsy says, stated quite specifically that Christians are not to look for continuance of the healing gift. But he decidedly changed his views while completing his magnum opus, the city of God. Thus he wrote, this is Augustine that I'm quoting.

Are you ready? Once I realized how many miracles were occurring in our own day, and which were so like the miracles of old, and also how wrong it would be to allow the memory of these marvels of divine power to perish from among our people. It is only two years ago that the keeping of records was begun here in Hippo. And already at this writing, we have nearly 70 attested miracles. So based on his experience, he changed his theology. What I'm saying is, based on the Bible, we should look for a different experience.

So, years and years ago, when I was first on radio, so it's going back maybe 13 years, I did a show filling in for my friends through Epperson one day. And I asked folks to call in and give biblical arguments for healing against healing, et cetera. I said, but I don't want to hear your experience, I just want to hear biblical arguments. Well, one after another called in and said, you know, I didn't believe in healing, but I went on a missions trip and when I saw the miracles, now I believe in it. One after another, I was like, okay, I wasn't looking for that, I was just looking for Bible-based, Bible-based. But so many said I didn't believe it, then I saw it, and then I looked at the world, it's like, well, there it is, there it is, it is what we should be expecting. Okay, Romans 12, I'll give you another example.

And waiting for some callers to populate our screen here, and then as soon as I get them, I'm going right back to the phones, okay? Romans chapter 12. And is it wrong for me to ask to make a case based on the Bible rather than experience?

Is that a wrong thing to do? Romans chapter 12, as I pull things up in Greek and in English in my accordance Bible software. So, Paul is saying, beginning verse 3, for by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having, so this is just the life of the body, different believers, right?

How things play out, okay? Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them. If prophecy in proportion to our faith, if service in our serving, the one who teaches in his teaching, the one who exhorts in his exhortation, the one who contributes in generosity, the one who leads with zeal, the one who does acts of mercy with cheerfulness.

So, prophecy is just like giving, like leading, like serving, exhorting, it's just another grace, another gift, and it's just part of life in the spirit, part of life in the body, nothing exceptional. All right, let us go to John in New York. John, John, I'm looking at the screen, it's a New Yorker, some expect you to just go for it, and it says you have an argument, but we lost you. John, what happened, buddy?

Try to reconnect, man, I'm waiting for the argument, I'm eagerly waiting. You say, yeah, but if you have prophecy, it's not adding to the Bible. Okay, that's a fair question. It still doesn't explain why Paul clearly says this is just part of the life of the body, to expect it, this is just part of normal, right? Part of the regular life in the Lord, okay?

That's a fair question, and I addressed it, I addressed it in my debate with Doug Wilson when it came up. Remember, you have tons of prophecies in the Old Testament that are not part of the Bible. You had schools of the prophets, you had, you know, Haggad, there were only two little chapters recorded of his prophecies, but elsewhere it talks about him exhorting and speaking to the people, so not everything that God speaks is part of the Bible. The vast majority of what he's spoken through history is not part of the Bible.

You know, all the prophecies that took place in the early church and for centuries, they're not recorded because they're not part of the Bible, but they were prophecies. So there is a big difference between, for God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him would not perish but have eternal life, or without holiness no one will see the Lord, right? Or this is the will of God, even your sanctification. There's a massive difference between that, the Bible, God's Word, to all people, right? That versus, as you're praying about a job situation and moving to another state, somebody who doesn't know you says, hey, I don't know what this means, but the Lord showed me that you're going to be moving to this particular state and taking this new job opportunity. Does that mean anything to you? It's like, are you kidding me? I was praying about these two states.

There's a, one's the Bible, the other's not, and there's no competition between them. In any case, we're going to try to go back to your calls on the other side of the break. Stay right here. It's the Line of Fire with your host, Dr. Michael Brown. Get on the Line of Fire by calling 866-34-TRUTH. Here again is Dr. Michael Brown. All right, we got a few callers. I want to go straight to the phones.

Mike in Gainesville, Florida. Thanks so much for calling the Line of Fire. Go ahead. Hello, Dr. Brown.

My name is Michael as well. I appreciate your scholarship and your dedication to God's Word. My argument is this, growing up in the Pentecostal and charismatic background, I still am out of abuse in the church. I grew up in a similar church, so I'm grateful that the Lord has used that for my development. My argument is this, if the gift of tongues was actually for today, why does the gift of tongues do not match what is spoken in Acts 2? Because according to Acts 2, when the apostles spoke, it was a unknown tongue to the apostles, but a known tongue to the hearers, which they were witnessing in the Gospel. And when somebody speaks tongues today, it's considered an angelic tongue, but that actual angelic tongue, in 1 Corinthians 14, Paul is using a hyperbole. He says, if I spoke in the tongues of man and of angels, if I did this, if I did that, it is all hyperbole language. If the gift that was recorded in Acts 2 is not on par with today's gift in the church, then why...if that's the case, then that tells me that certain gift has ceased. And not only that, if Paul's argument in 1 Corinthians 14 is meant to edify the church, if the gift of the Spirit is meant to edify the church, then why is that particular gift? It's only meant to edify the believer.

It is a contradiction to what Paul lays out. So here's...yeah, great. I love the question.

Thank you, sir. There are examples, I've heard many of them, even from cessationists, well, a cessationist friend who witnessed it, of people speaking foreign languages by the inspiration of the Spirit today. But let's put that aside, okay?

I have heard examples, so that's never happened to me. But let's put that aside and just focus on the unintelligible language. So here's what Paul says about it in 1 Corinthians 14. For he who speaks in the tongue speaks not to men but to God, for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. So if no one understands you, then you're not speaking a foreign language, right?

That's the first thing. You're speaking to God, so this is what we call a prayer language. In other words, you had the first thing in Acts 2, but nowhere does the New Testament ever say that's what happened in Acts 8 or 10 or 11.

It doesn't say that they heard foreign languages and other people heard the foreign languages, rather that they spoke in tongues in Acts 19 and in Acts 10. And then Paul deals with it and explains what it is. You're not speaking to men but to God, right? For no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. And then this, the one who speaks in the tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. And I want you to all speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. And then he says don't forbid tongues.

So I'm going to answer, then you can come back, okay? So number one, no one understands you. You need a gift of the Spirit to understand, called interpretation. Number two, we're talking to God, not to man, so not going to be an earthly foreign language. Number three, how does it edify me if I just speak in a foreign language that I don't understand for 10 minutes? Unless I'm speaking in the Spirit to God in a language that God understands.

So clearly what's spoken of here is exactly what we've been experiencing for many, many years. What I've experienced for over 50 years is praying in the Spirit, communing with God, and by building myself up in private, now I'm able to come and be a blessing to the church. Well, there's not words edifying me to build one's self up. I think that would actually go against what God actually intended for us to build the church instead of building ourselves.

No, but hang on. No, we're exhorted to build ourselves up. Go to Jude 20. Build yourselves up in the most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit.

We're exhorted. And what did Paul say about himself? I thank God I speak in tongues more than all of you.

So he wasn't doing that in public, he was doing it in private. So why did he speak in tongues so much if it was a bad practice? And why is it a gift to the Spirit if it's a bad practice? And how do you build yourself up if you're speaking a foreign language that you don't understand unless you're praying by the Spirit to God?

So now let me ask you this. If you're saying that, I believe, if I'm not mistaken, in Acts 10 when Cornelius spoke in tongues, then why did Peter say that he spoke in his tongue like us on the day of Pentecost? In other words, it just means a supernatural language.

I understand how you're reading it, sir, right? But he just says the same way they received the Spirit, we received the Spirit. It doesn't say they spoke in tongues just the same way we spoke in tongues, but they received the Spirit just like we did and began to speak. Remember, to the speakers, they didn't know what they were saying. They were just speaking a new language. And I've had that happen with friends of mine. They've delivered what they thought was a message in tongues and someone gets saved saying you just preached to me in my dialect.

But see, Mike, the key thing is, again, to reiterate, it's a good thing. It is not understood by anyone. No one understands. You need a gift of the Spirit, not a translator, but the gift of the Spirit of interpretation to understand it. Paul spoke in tongues more than any of them. We're called to build ourselves up. I pray in tongues for hours and hours often before I minister because out of that I can now minister to people and bless people.

I'll get up from praying in tongues and start to write a book so I can minister out of that to others. So read through 1 Corinthians 14 a few times, sir, and give it some serious thought. But thank you. Thank you for the argument. I appreciate it.

And it's a fair argument. That's my answer. All right, let us go to Trava. Welcome to the line of fire.

Hey, Dr. Brown. So I am a continuationist but presenting a cessationist argument that because the gift of apostleship has ended, you know, per Ephesians 2.20, I know there's debate on that, but because that gift has ended and the sign gifts are associated with the apostles, especially, you know, when you see that in Acts when the apostles come, they sort of bring the sign gifts with them and, you know, people like start speaking in tongues at Peter's preaching and stuff like that. But since the gift of apostleship has ended, you don't need the sign gifts anymore, especially because you have the completed canon, you don't need any more words of God. So the main spiritual text would be Ephesians 2.20, and then this is, I don't know if I'm representing it fairly, but this is Thomas Shriner's argument that I'm making. And then when you have 1 Corinthians 13 when it says it's going to continue, you know, until the Lord returns, he says that that merely, it doesn't explicitly mean it will, but rather, it could possibly. But since the apostles are all gone, now it's no longer there.

Yeah, thank you, thank you. And Thomas Shriner is a great New Testament scholar, all respect to him and his work. But even he does not use the argument that it's the closing of the canon of the scripture, it's utterly insupportable, 1 Corinthians 13. So here's where the argument breaks down. In Acts 2, the Spirit is poured out on 120, and then Peter gets up and preaches, quotes from Joel, and says this is the outpouring on all flesh, your sons and your daughters will prophesy. This is everybody. This is anything but just the apostles.

That's number one. By the time we get to Acts 6, you've got Stephen, full of the Spirit, working miracles. Acts 8, Philip, so these are deacons, right?

These are servants there, waiting on tables. You have Acts 8, the sick are healed, demons leave through the preaching of Philip, alright? You've got later his daughters are prophetesses, so the Spirit is just working through other people, that's the norm.

1 Corinthians 12 is quite explicit, this is given for the body, for the common good. It's completely separate from apostles. It's separate from prophets. Plus, based on Ephesians 4, you can make a destroying argument that apostles and prophets continue until today, because it says these are put in the body until we reach a certain point.

We are nowhere near that point, therefore you would say they're still there. But even if you said apostles and prophets was just 1st century and end it, the fact of the matter is that the gifts of the Spirit are for the common good. I read Romans 12, prophecy is just there with other gifts, right?

James Jacob 5, the prayer faith for the sick, that should be something happening normally. 1 Corinthians 12, this is just the life of the body, right? There are varieties of gifts but the same Spirit, there are varieties of service but the same Lord, there are varieties of activities, but it's the same God who empowers them all and everyone, to each is given manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For the one who is given through the Spirit of wisdom and others of knowledge. Then when you get to the end of 1 Corinthians 12, look at this, the end of 1 Corinthians 12, now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it and God is appointed in the church, 1st apostles, 2nd prophets, okay, those were just for the 1st century.

Of course I differ with that but fine, say that. Third, teachers, so that's for today. Then miracles, whoa, how'd that get mixed in? Then gifts of healing, how did that get mixed in? Then helping, administrating and various kinds of tongues.

Okay, so hang on, you got teachers mixed in with now miracles, gifts of healing, then helping, administrating and then various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? No.

Are all prophets? No. I'm aiding in the no to his question.

Are all teachers? No. Do all work miracles? No. Do all possess gifts of healing? No. Do all speak with tongues? No. Do all interpret?

No. But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And then, this is for the body, just for the Corinthians in general. And then when you get to the end of 1st Corinthians 14, Paul is giving a picture of an orderly worship service, remember you're meeting in a home, when you come together each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation, let all things be done for building up. He goes through the guidelines here and then he gives his exhortation as he closes out. So my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy, my brothers, my brothers and sisters and do not forbid speaking in tongues, but all things should be done decently and in order. Okay, apologies to Steve, Jeff, you're probably just able to call in now or maybe we're waiting, but I had 45 minutes before the argument was, a scriptural argument was presented, so thanks to Mike for doing that, to present that argument. Everything else was based on and calls that we never got to, why we don't see certain things happening or what are their abuses. So obviously it's not a debate here, but if you're a cessation of scholar, professor, theologian, would like to have an organized formal debate with me on the subject, as I've offered to do for many years, let's do it for the glory of God and the edifying of the body. Hey, 15 minutes from now, we're right back here on YouTube as Dr. Brown with our weekly YouTube chat.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-07 20:47:23 / 2023-04-07 21:07:05 / 20

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