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R.C. Sproul on the True Ministry of the Holy Spirit

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 | Comments (11)

Having a lot to say is not the same thing as being an expert. The charismatic movement would have all Christians believe that they—the charismatics—are the experts on the Holy Spirit. But is volume the true measure of expertise?

Scripture is clear about what to look for when it comes to identifying the Spirit’s work. Christ’s words in John 16 give us a good place to start.

But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. (John 16:13–14)

In the following video clip, R.C. Sproul gives a helpful perspective on how to identify and understand the Person and work of the Holy Spirit.

Many charismatics falsely assume that opposition to their movement is the same as opposition to the Holy Spirit. But Grace to You’s criticism of charismatic theology has always been in defense of the Spirit, as He’s presented in Scripture. At the upcoming Strange Fire conference, we want to highlight the true work of the Holy Spirit.

For more information regarding Strange Fire, please visit our conference website.

GTY Staff


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#1  Posted by Rafaqat Lal  |  Tuesday, September 17, 2013at 1:48 AM

I can just dream to be at this conference, but I can also hope that you will keep providing me and thousands of others the stuff and information and knowledge that is being preached in this conference via your website and on all the linked website also as free. God Bless you all. Grace to You.

#3  Posted by Charles Williamson  |  Wednesday, September 18, 2013at 9:46 AM

How can anyone have an opinion of themselves as being an expert of the Spirit’s work? Are we willing to weep and lament, being sorrowful, even travailing sorrow? Can we speak identifying words with such anguish of soul? Do we have hope in our hearts because of the man that was born? Do we trust Him for the unanswered questions? Or are we set on being an expert?

Being in context, I hope this posts.

#4  Posted by Sam Chavez  |  Wednesday, September 18, 2013at 6:27 PM

I am hearing talk about preterism,what is preterism?

two names that were mentioned

1 being Hank Hanagraff,and 2 being R.C.Sproul

I know that R.C. is a reformist,and Hank im not sure about

can you help me out on this subject?

#5  Posted by Ben Enders  |  Wednesday, September 18, 2013at 7:12 PM

Are you implying that RC thinks he is an expert and he is not? He is an expert where the scriptures are concerned. If you are going to level a charge at someone who has dedicated most of their life to the service of God you should speak plainly and openly instead of using that nonsense. Scripture has revealed much about the Holy Spirit and men like RC have diligently sought the truth. We are not set on becoming experts, we are set on becoming Christ-like.

#6  Posted by Robin Lane  |  Thursday, September 19, 2013at 3:20 AM

R.C. Sproul does NOT reject Continuationism in this video clip. His final words are:

“And so, in the classic view, there’s a great emphasis on the fruit of the Spirit, more so than the gifts of the Spirit.”

He does NOT say that the classic theological position was Cessationism.

Many of us would like to see a moderation in the conference position – a move towards emphasis upon the fruit of the Spirit WITHOUT denial of the continuing gifts of the Spirit. Genuine gifts of the Spirit empower Christians to do the work of the Kingdom – it is spiritual work.

The central issue for the conference seems to be that you are treating everyone who accepts the continuation of the gifts of the Spirit as members of a single ‘charismatic movement’. In reality there are many different groups and many variations in beliefs.

So when you criticize unscriptural conduct, please be discerning enough NOT to criticize conduct that is in line with Scripture.

#7  Posted by Charles Williamson  |  Thursday, September 19, 2013at 9:37 AM

Ben, I grew up without a father and although RC may not consider himself my father, nevertheless, it’s been his oversight through teaching that has disciplined me through the years. For this reason I am eternally grateful to him.

I think you misunderstood what I wrote. The blogs scriptural reference is John 16 and specifically John 16: 13-14. Although his disciples had been him three years, they were still ignorant of the Spirits work, for they said, “What is this that he saying unto us.” For before the effusion of the Spirit on them, they were attended with a great deal of ignorance; contradiction is all they comprehended. So Jesus plowed a furrow through the middle of their hearts saying, “Suffering! is the way to glory.”

In regard to becoming an expert on the Spirits work, would you choose suffering to become Christ-like? For without the Spirits work, all you have to work with is the ambiguity of natural man.

But the point of the blog is the foolishness of the charismatic movement.

#8  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Thursday, September 19, 2013at 11:20 AM

Sam writes,

I am hearing talk about preterism,what is preterism?

two names that were mentioned

1 being Hank Hanagraff,and 2 being R.C.Sproul

I know that R.C. is a reformist,and Hank im not sure about

can you help me out on this subject?

It's a tad off topic, but to give just a brief answer to your question, preterism is the idea that the majority of the prophecies pertaining to Christ's second coming happened in 70 AD at the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem by the hands of the Roman armies.

Preterists particularly emphasis the fulfillment of the Olivet Discourse from Matthew 24 and Mark 13 as having fulfillment at 70AD. Additionally, much of the book of Revelation was fulfilled at 70AD, also.

Preterists come in two flavors, if we could say that. What is full preterists who insist there are no prophecies pertaining to Christ's coming waiting to be fulfilled. All that the church awaits is the eternal state. Full preterism is considered heretical. Partial preterists, or those in RC's camp, do believe there remain some prophecies to be fulfilled as they pertain to Christ's second coming.

Dr. Richard Mayhue has a TMS journal article you may find helpful along these lines. See here, http://www.tms.edu/tmsj/tmsj14a.pdf

#9  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Thursday, September 19, 2013at 11:28 AM

Robin, #6, writes,

The central issue for the conference seems to be that you are treating everyone who accepts the continuation of the gifts of the Spirit as members of a single ‘charismatic movement’. In reality there are many different groups and many variations in beliefs.

So when you criticize unscriptural conduct, please be discerning enough NOT to criticize conduct that is in line with Scripture.

The problem with your objection, Robin, is that the majority of "charismatics" engage in horrific doctrinal error and unscriptural conduct. Believe me, we have had many people say we are hunting the easy targets on the "fringe" of charismaticism like the TBN/prosperity crowd and TV evangelists types. We need to engage the sound charismatics who practice the spiritual gifts correctly.

The reality, however, is that those so-called "sound charismatics" are extremely rare and are in point of fact the "fringe" of what is considered charismatic continuationism. Though it is true charismatics come in different varieties, those varieties are still practicing and promoting error that they refuse to correct.

#14  Posted by Brian Gaines  |  Thursday, September 19, 2013at 7:22 PM

Fred,

What is practicing the spiritual gifts correctly?

#15  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Friday, September 20, 2013at 10:00 AM

Brian asks,

What is practicing the spiritual gifts correctly?

By that I mean that they practice the gifts according to what is outlined in Scripture. A big example is the insistence by the so-called "sound" charismatics to reject the typical practice of tongues among charismatics which is a massive babbling free-for-all. According to the Bible, a person with the gift of tongues was to speak in tongues within the church ONLY if there was an interpreter present. See 1 Cor. 14:26ff. And they were to do it in turn, one after another. This biblical description is no where practiced within the majority of charismatic and Pentecostal churches.

Typically, the "sound" charismatics will argue that tongues of that sort are really meant to be private prayer languages, but that concept is also no where taught in the Bible.

#20  Posted by Rod Curran  |  Monday, September 23, 2013at 6:36 PM

I too cannot make it to the conference, as others have commented here. God has His reasons for me, I know. I will look forward to hearing the great reports here on gty.org, et al. As Reverend MacArthur has said, but I only paraphrase, this is about caring for the body of Christ ultimately, seeing rational people get together with these wonderful scholars and pastors, and let God's only revealed Truth, the Almighty Holy Scripture, both Old Testament and New Testament, be discussed calmly and peacefully, and let it, through the power of The Holy Spirit, do the real speaking and correcting. Scripture is our highest ground saints. May all eye logs be removed before anyone enters the room, and may true Christian men and women help each other in love, in the removal process of any and all specks from any and all eyes. Humility abound. Hearts opened by the Holy Spirit alone. Let's see John 14:12 occur at this conference: "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father." NASB. I believe that will occur, if all allow Holy Scripture alone to reign supreme. It must be The common ground where ALL can "safely" meet. All credit and glory to King Yahweh alone, the great author of our wonderful instruction manual for life, and eternal life. Grace to you all!