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False Prophets and Lying Wonders

Monday, January 11, 2010 | Comments (205)

John MacArthur

Have you noticed that no matter how many times charismatic televangelists make outlandish false prophecies, they never lack for followers, and they don't stop claiming the Lord has spoken directly to them?

Benny Hinn, for example, made a series of celebrated prophetic utterances in December of 1989, none of which came true. He confidently told his congregation at the Orlando Christian Center that God had revealed to him Fidel Castro would die sometime in the 1990s; the homosexual community in America would be destroyed by fire before 1995; and a major earthquake would cause havoc on the east coast before the year 2000. He was wrong on all counts, of course.

That did not deter Hinn, who simply kept making bold new false prophecies. At the beginning of the new millennium, he announced to his television audience that a prophetess had informed him Jesus would soon appear physically in some of Hinn's healing meetings. Hinn said he was convinced the prophecy was authentic, and on his April 2, 2000, broadcast, he amplified it with a prophecy of his own: "Now hear this, I am prophesying this! Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is about to appear physically in some churches, and some meetings, and to many of His people, for one reason: to tell you He is about to show up! To wake up! Jesus is coming saints!"

Hinn's failed prophesies are more outlandish but nearly as memorable as the notorious claims Oral Roberts began making about three decades ago. In 1977 Roberts said he saw a vision of a 900-foot-tall Jesus, who instructed him to build the City of Faith, a 60-story hospital in south Tulsa. Roberts said God told him He would use the center to unite medical technology with faith healing, which would revolutionize health care and enable doctors to find a cure for cancer.

The building, completed in the early 1980s, was a colossal white elephant from the very start. When the City of Faith opened for business, all but two stories of the massive structure were completely vacant.

By January of 1987 the project was saddled with unmanageable debt, and Roberts announced that the Lord had said unless Roberts raised eight million dollars to pay the debt by March 1, he would die. Apparently not willing to test the death-threat prophecy, donors dutifully gave Roberts the needed funds in time (with the help of $1.3 million donated at the last hour by a Florida dog-track owner).

But within two years, Roberts was forced to close the medical center anyway and sell the building in order to eliminate still-mounting debt. More than 80 percent of the building had never been occupied. The promised cure for cancer never materialized, either.

A list of similar failed charismatic prophesies could fill several volumes. And yet, amazingly, the "prophets" who make such fantastic claims now appear to have more influence than ever—even among mainstream evangelicals. And the idea that God routinely speaks directly to His people has found more widespread acceptance today than at any time in the history of the church.

The charismatic movement began barely a hundred years ago, and its influence on evangelicalism can hardly be overstated. Its chief legacy has been an unprecedented interest in extrabiblical revelation. Millions influenced by charismatic doctrine are convinced that God speaks to them directly all the time. Indeed, many seem to believe direct revelation is the main means through which God communicates with His people. "The Lord told me ... " has become a favorite cliche of experience-driven evangelicals.

Not all who believe God speaks to them make prophetic pronouncements as outlandish as those broadcast by charismatic televangelists, of course. But they still believe God gives them extrabiblical messages—either through an audible voice, a vision, a voice in their heads, or simply an internal impression. In most cases, their "prophecies" are comparatively trivial. But the difference between them and Benny Hinn's predictions is a difference only of scale, not of substance.

The notion that God is giving extrabiblical messages to Christians today has received support from some surprising sources. Wayne Grudem, popular author and professor of theology and biblical studies at Phoenix Seminary believes God regularly gives Christians prophetic messages by simply bringing spontaneous thoughts to mind. Such impressions should be reported as prophecy, he says.[1]

Similar ideas have found sweeping acceptance even among non-charismatic Christians. Southern Baptists have eagerly devoured Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby and Claude King, which suggests that the main way the Holy Spirit leads believers is by speaking to them directly. According to Blackaby, when God gives an individual a message that pertains to the church, it should be shared with the whole body.[2] As a result, extrabiblical "words from the Lord" are now commonplace even in some Southern Baptist circles.

Why do so many modern Christians seek revelation from God through means other than Scripture? Certainly not because it is a reliable way to discover truth. All sides admit that modern prophecies are often completely erroneous. In fact, the failure rate is astonishingly high. In my book Charismatic Chaos I quoted one leading "prophet" who was thrilled because he believed that two-thirds of his prophecies were accurate. "Well that's better than it's ever been up to now, you know. That's the highest level it's ever been."[3]

In other words, modern prophecy is not a much more reliable way to discern truth than a Magic Eight-Ball or Tarot cards. And, I would add, it is equally superstitious. There is no warrant anywhere in Scripture for Christians to listen for fresh revelation from God beyond what He has already given us in His written Word. In fact, Scripture unsparingly condemns all who speak even one word falsely or presumptuously in the Lord's name (Deut. 18:20-22). But such warnings are simply ignored these days by those who claim to have heard afresh from God.

And not surprisingly, wherever there is a preoccupation with "fresh" prophecy, there is invariably a corresponding neglect of the Scriptures. After all, why be concerned with an ancient Book if the Living God communicates directly with us on a daily basis? These fresh words of "revelation" naturally seem more relevant and more urgent than the familiar words of the Bible. Is it any wonder that they draw people away from Scripture?

That is precisely why modern evangelicalism's infatuation with extrabiblical revelation is so dangerous. It is a return to medieval superstition and a departure from our fundamental conviction that the Bible is our sole, supreme, and sufficient authority for all of life. In other words, it represents a wholesale abandonment of the principle of sola Scriptura.

The absolute sufficiency of Scripture is summed up well in this section from the Westminster Confession of Faith:

The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man's salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men (1.6, emphasis added).

Historic Protestantism is grounded in the conviction that the canon is closed. No "new" revelation is necessary, because Scripture is complete and absolutely sufficient.

Scripture itself is clear that the day of God's speaking directly to His people through various prophetic words and visions is past. The truth God has revealed in Christ including the complete New Testament canon is His final word (Heb. 1:1-2; cf. Jude 3; Rev. 22:18-19).

Scripture—the written Word of God—is perfectly sufficient, containing all the revelation we need. Notice 2 Timothy 3:16-17. Paul tells Timothy:

From childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

That passage makes two very important statements that pertain to the issue we are looking at. First, "All Scripture is inspired by God." Scripture speaks with the authority of God Himself. It is certain; it is reliable; it is true. Jesus Himself prayed in John 17:17: "Your word is truth." Psalm 119:160 says, "The entirety of Your word is truth."

Those statements all set Scripture above every human opinion, every speculation, and every emotional sensation. Scripture alone stands as definitive truth. It speaks with an authority that transcends every other voice.

Second, The passage teaches that Scripture is utterly sufficient, "able to make you wise for salvation ... [and able to make you] complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." What clearer affirmation of the absolute sufficiency of Scripture could anyone ask for? Are extrabiblical messages from God necessary to equip us to glorify Him? Certainly not.

Those who seek fresh messages from God have in effect scorned the absolute certainty and absolute sufficiency of the written Word of God. And they have set in its place their own fallen and fallible imaginations.

If the church does not return to the principle of sola Scriptura, the only revival we will see is a revival of the superstition and darkness that characterized medieval religion.

Does this mean God has stopped speaking? Certainly not, but He speaks today through His Word.

Does the Spirit of God move our hearts and impress us with specific duties or callings? Certainly, but He works through the Word of God to do that. Such experi­ences are in no sense prophetic or authoritative. They are not revelation, but the effect of illumination, when the Holy Spirit applies the Word to our hearts and opens our spiritual eyes to its truth. We must guard carefully against allowing our experience and our own subjective thoughts and imaginations to eclipse the authority and the certainty of the more sure Word.



[1]. The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testa­ment and Today (Wheaton: Crossway, 1988).

[2]. (Nashville, TN: LifeWay, 1990), 168.

[3]. Charismatic Chaos (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992), 67.



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#1  Posted by Alain Rondeau  |  Monday, January 11, 2010at 1:20 PM

Thank you for equiping us with biblical truth and for teaching us wisdom in order to be ready without having to spend time finding scriptures when put on the spot by these WOF followers.

I pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help me remember what you are teaching me so that I will be ready when I am confronted, too bad I was not ready on time in my past confrontation, I knew they were wrong but had nothing to say in order to correct and defend the truth.

I found the best way to be ready is to teach about it but very few are willing to listen, teaching is the best way to remember and I am very slow to react when put on the spot and have missed the opportunity to correct in love on many occasions.

I would love to be able to teach more and more about this subject, I pray and ask God to use me, to make me His voice, I am ready and surrender to Him, Lord, use me for Your Glory, in Jesus name, I pray and surrender, take me, lead me, use me to spread this teaching to all who You are calling back to the truth.

#2  Posted by Richard Brackett  |  Monday, January 11, 2010at 1:55 PM

Gods word is life itself to me. Thank you so much Pastor John for teaching it so well.

#3  Posted by Karen Hirst  |  Monday, January 11, 2010at 2:12 PM

What about the passage that says, "My sheep HEAR my voice." And the passage in Joel where it talks about the latter days "young men will dream dreams, etc." I believe what John is saying, but am coming out of a toxic church that taught constant revelation from dreams. Churches were planted and people brought on staff as a result of prophetic dreams. It's SO confusing.

#4  Posted by Richard Brackett  |  Monday, January 11, 2010at 2:47 PM

Dear Karen

Thank you for being so truthful in your question. Your right it can be confusing just remember you must take Gods word in its entirety in any book of the bible, also Jesus often spoke in parables "My sheep HEAR my voice." If you take it literal then you have to see yourself as a sheep but you are not you are a person correct? That being said the bible says that Gods word is alive and sharper than any two edge sword so in a way when you read Gods word you are hearing Jesus speak. As for the Book of Joel again we must read it in its entirety. I am by no means an expert but it seems to me that Joel is talking about things that have not be see yet even at the begin he tells us “Has anything like this happened in your days Or in your fathers' days? Tell your sons about it, And let your sons tell their sons, And their sons the next generation.” I like what a great scholar said: “ Surely the essence of wisdom is that before we begin to act at all, or attempt to please God, we should discover what it is that God has to say about the matter. “ D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

God bless you Karen and keep asking questions.

#5  Posted by Alex Soriano  |  Monday, January 11, 2010at 2:48 PM

"My sheep HEAR my voice"

I think we still hear the voice of Christ even today. In the time of Jesus they hear God directly, in the time of the apotsles, the Holy Spirit dictated the word and so it was written. Today we can read them and hear from expository preachers. I do believe the Bible is complete as a standard of our faith and practice - and there is no need to add to it. If we only devote time and effort and money to understand the Bible, I think we don't need such dreams and prophecy anymore.

Here in the Philippines, there are many churches that have signs and wonders, sad to say there signs and wonders are inferior comparing to the works of most cults and occults. I knew these very well because my mother died of an illness which was not properly treated becasue of her belief in the faith healing. The only healing I saw in my mother's eyes was the time I came to share Christ to her last time before her last breath - I saw her tears flowing from her eyes after I led her to pray to recieve Christ - then she died. Thank God she heard the Shepherd's voice.

Indeed it's true, Christ predicted that in the last days many will use the name of Christ and do signs and wonders and they will decieve many (Matt 24). Yet Jesus will tell them "I never knew you"

#6  Posted by Alain Rondeau  |  Monday, January 11, 2010at 4:07 PM

Amen Alex, I appreciate your testimony, my wife is Filipina and we live in Canada and I know of the churches you are talking about in your country, they are planting churches right here in my own area, they tried so hard to lure me into supporting them financially, but God has given me the Spirit of discernment and I was able to stay out of them.

We need to pray for the Philippines and the people who are working abroad, God will use you to keep the truth alive around you.

May God's blessing abound in your life.

Al

#7  Posted by Doctor Horton  |  Monday, January 11, 2010at 5:12 PM

Surely you have heard this argument before, but I will go ahead and mention it.

There were many who prophecied in the New Testament churches whose prophecies did not make it into the NT. Wouldn't that be extrabiblical prophecy that is fueled by the Holy Spirit and yet not on the same level of Scripture? I would have it that you all would prophecy.

#8  Posted by Barbara Eversberg  |  Monday, January 11, 2010at 5:46 PM

If there were a "Make A Wish" foundation for requesting articles, teaching, etc., that I would like to have, I would ask Dr. John MacArthur to write more about "Illumination" and how the Holy Spirit leads and guides us in daily decisions etc. Obviously, we Christians are to be led by the Spirit, and not every decision we face can be backed up or refuted by a Scripture verse. There may very well be a desire by the Charimaticmaniacs to avoid studying Scripture and also there is great deal of "self" involved in "receiving Words" from the Lord, and yet one does desire to know how the Holy Spirit leads and guides, to get real Spirit-originated guidance, and also to avoid "guidance" that doesn't come from the Spirit.

#9  Posted by Steve Svendsen  |  Monday, January 11, 2010at 7:31 PM

Thank you for your work on this and your manner of life. May The Lord make you like Caleb for these days to go out as before.

#10  Posted by Stéphane Gauthier  |  Monday, January 11, 2010at 8:31 PM

Thank you for your work, Thank you so much Pastor John for teaching it so well.montreal,canada,quebec. i am french..i quit greater grace world outreach ,for your teaching.

#11  Posted by Douglas Mollett  |  Monday, January 11, 2010at 9:39 PM

I remember when Oral Roberts made that "prophecy", that he would die if he didnt raise the money for that hospital. i was just a boy at the time, but it made an impression on me. Is it any wonder that much of the world don't take christians seriously, when false teachers like Benny Hinn and Oral Roberts make such outlandish claims? i remember the scripture in the old testament that God said about a specific prophecy, if it didnt come 100% percent true, it wasnt spoken by Him. I fear for the souls of these false prophets, who will one day step into eternity. Please Lord, have mercy on me, and always help me to rightly divide the word of truth.

#12  Posted by Steve Orozco  |  Monday, January 11, 2010at 11:15 PM

The Holy Spirit was active in the early church as we see in the Book of Acts how the Apostles were empowered by the Holy Spirit to do signs and wonders (healing, deliverance, speaking in tongues, etc.). How do we explain what is happening in countries like Africa where healings and other miracles are taking place and bringing more people to the Lord. Sure there are lots of charlatans out there, but i attend a Reformed Baptist Church and the missionaries who come back report how demons are being cast out of people, how people are being healed, and other unexplainable events. These are all conservative Baptist/Calvinist missionaries. Are we to say that this is not possible? God can do anything he wants when He wants because He is soveriegn and we do not define how He operates. He is the Potter and we are the clay? Who are we to question God and how He operates. Just like the Holy Spirit empowered the early church, it doesn't mean He won't do it again. The signs and wonders of the early church authenticated the message that was being preached and who is to say that it couldn't happen again today?

#13  Posted by Alain Rondeau  |  Tuesday, January 12, 2010at 12:22 AM

Steve,

I'm glad you asked this question about the signs in Africa, I had heard about them from a Word Of Faith follower and didn't know if it was real but now that you claim Reform Baptist Missionaries speaking about the same thing, I really want to know more, I wish Pastor John could give us his view about this, very good point, I can't wait to hear the follow up on this topic.

#14  Posted by Robert Stone  |  Tuesday, January 12, 2010at 5:36 AM

I agree with Alain that it would be good to get a report from a very reliable source about what is going in Africa, China, Eastern Europe and other areas where these reports of miracles seem to be commonplace. What I have heard many say is that where the church is being persecuted signs and wonders seem to be prevalent but here in America where we are free to worship as we choose, signs and miracles are not needed. It is confusing and I think it would be helpful if the issue of "reported miracles from overseas" could be further discussed.

#15  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Tuesday, January 12, 2010at 6:01 AM

Doctor H wrote,

There were many who prophecied in the New Testament churches whose prophecies did not make it into the NT. Wouldn't that be extrabiblical prophecy that is fueled by the Holy Spirit and yet not on the same level of Scripture? I would have it that you all would prophecy.

Certainly there were those who gave revelation in the NT church whose prophesy didn't make it into the canon. Local church "prophets" more than likely existed to help safe guard the new church in the absence of apostolic authority in the form of scripture. However, once scripture was completed, those gifted individuals were no longer needed, and the gift waned.

A few things to keep in mind, however, as we talk about so-called modern day prophets. According to the qualifications of OT prophets found in such places as Deut. 13 and 18, and presented for us in the life of Samuel as recorded near the end of 1 Samuel 3, the prophet were to direct men and women back to a right understanding of God. They taught and proclaimed orthodox doctrine about God. Additionally, the prophet's words will not contradict what has been previously revealed in scripture by prophets who have gone before. And, if the prophet made some pronouncement of a forth coming event, or in a manner of speaking, spoke the future, it would, without a doubt come to pass.

Perhaps there are modern day prophets in such areas as China and Indonesia or whereever. However, if these modern day prophets exist, then their ministries must match what is outlined for us in scripture as to the office of a prophet. God does not contradict himself. Any person, I don't care who they are or where they live and under what extreme circumstance may exist for him or her. If his or her ministry is not conformed to what we have clearly outlined for us in scripture as to the nature of a prophet, the person is a liar. That is why I would exercise caution when holding up someone, especially those in the health and wealth false gospel, as being prophets of God.

#16  Posted by Brenda Trice  |  Tuesday, January 12, 2010at 7:16 AM

Thank you for constantly directing us to Scripture! I am one who went through Experiencing God several times because it was encouraged at our SBC! It was not until my family began hearing the false doctrine of a Blackaby son and the Truth of Scripture from John MacArthur that we began to see the error of "Experiencing God". We left our church and I lost my job at our church because of the stand we took against that false teaching. But, Praise God, He has led us to a new church whose Pastor stands on the Truth of Scripture and that alone. He is a great expositor and we are being challenged and convicted again from the pulpit. Don't think it cannot happen at YOUR church! We had been active members for over 30 years and am still amazed at the people who remain, listen to these lies and believe they are hearing such "Pearls of Wisdom". The ONLY way to KNOW GOD is to KNOW SCRIPTURE! The ONLY way he REVEALS HIMSELF to us is THROUGH SCRIPTURE! Wake up, people! We do not hear voices unless there is something wrong with us! So, thank you, John MacArthur, and all the others who stand firm on the Scriptures and the Scriptures alone!

#17  Posted by Alain Rondeau  |  Tuesday, January 12, 2010at 7:43 AM

Brenda, I was exposed to "Experiencing God" in our small group at a Baptist church I attended back in 1995, I almost forgot about it. In the last 2 years, I have been working with a faithful follower of the Word of Faith and one day he told me he could hear God's voice and God answer all his questions, that particular day I asked him if he ever asked what God thought about Kenneth Copland, he said I did and God told me there was nothing wrong with this man, I can not explain how I felt when he told me that, it felt really creepy, I could not believe he actually said that, I worked with this guy and we were in the same small office all day and he kept telling me on a regular basis what the holy spirit was telling him and I could not listen but pretend I was just hoping one day out of love he would hear me out, but there were times where I had to refer back to this God's revelation on Copland and one day he told me those who blaspheme against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, according to him, the fact that I did not believe this was from God made me an enemy of God and of the Holy Spirit, there have been so many other events, this is only one of them, I could write a book about it, I only wish I had known about this site 2 years ago, I have learned so much on the Word of Faith but at the time, I was not yet ready for the challenge and now he has been laid off. I think he only heard what he wanted to hear and I believe it was the fruit of his immagination and as you so well put it, "We don't hear voices unless there is something wrong with us!"

#18  Posted by Alex Soriano  |  Tuesday, January 12, 2010at 7:57 AM

Brenda wrote: We left our church and I lost my job at our church because of the stand we took against that false teaching

It's quite a sad story to leave a local church because of some false teaching.I don't know much about churches outside my country but I never find a church with a perfect theology. I don't know if it exist.

When I was a student, I served in a campus ministry through campus crusade. Being a member of interdenominational org, I had the opportunity to visit different churches with different belief system. Yet I enjoyed serving with those churches no matter how bad theology their theology. I remember one I'm in a crowd where many of them were falling down, very noisy speaking in tongues, etc. Yet I shared the gospel through those chaotic churches.

Now I'm teaching sunday school in a church where one of its distinctives is healing. A church which encourages women to preach. Yet I'm a cessationist, a complementarianist, etc.. and I do teach on those doctrines. Who cares about it? The members love me and I love them. I believe God is using me in that small church.

Come on folks! Don't leave your local church. Give reason for your faith instead - speaking the truth in love (Eph. 4:15).

#19  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Tuesday, January 12, 2010at 8:54 AM

On Experiencing God, I would recommend this review of Blackaby's theology that can be found here:

http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2009/04/non-sola-scriptura-blackaby-view-of.html

#20  Posted by Paul Neil  |  Tuesday, January 12, 2010at 9:24 AM

Now I believe the things these minister say is total madness and taking something too far. However I know that God has spoken to me, thats a fact I cannot deny. I am not talking about prophecy but when I was a babe in Christ I struggled with fornication and God told me to read Ephesians 5 and Galatians 5. Both have very similar verses regarding fornicators not inheriting the kingdom of God. I did not know them but in prayer I was most definately led to them.

I do agree that this trying to find out what God is saying all the time is evil, what you need to know God will get it to you. It is like going to a voodoo person, I have heard people say they are trying to get a word when they have not submitted themselves to the word that is slapping them in their faces. Thats a farce as is these "prophets".

Blessings!!

#21  Posted by Paul Neil  |  Tuesday, January 12, 2010at 9:39 AM

Maybe we are saying the same thing, or maybe I can get clarity. Would my experience be put under the umbrella of these folk?

#22  Posted by Karen Hirst  |  Tuesday, January 12, 2010at 9:41 AM

Could there by a difference between an "impression" to do something and outright saying "God told me." For example, I may be impressed to share the gospel with someone, or go to a passage of scripture. I might pray and ask God to show me specifically how I can bless someone and I may get an impression to take action in a certain way. It may be wrong to emphatically say, "God told me...." to do this as opposed to saying," I felt impressed". It's starting to sound like religion here, but I agree with John. I just came out of a church where the staffing of the church and church plants were driven by "prophetic dreams." The pastor stepped down as senior pastor, and, based on a "series of prophetic dreams and visions," he started his own denomination! He believes he is an apostleto the nations and his wife is the prophet who will oversee the churches they have planted. It's insane! And he constantly taught that he was worthy of double honor as an apostle and demanded a huge salary! No longer happy to shepherd his flock, he is thirsty for power. Over half of his church has left due to his thirst for power and false teaching. And to answer a previous post about staying in a church like this -- I was dying. I was beating myself up because I never had dreams or visions the way the pastor would pray that we would. "Oh God -- speak to them in dreams and visions!" At times I began to even doubt my salvation! But praise be to God, he KEPT me. As I sat and listened to this false teaching week after week I became more and more angry and confused and began to realize that the gospel is a gospel of peace -- not confusion and the seeking after signs and wonders. Sitting under false teaching will destroy a person. It's so subtle -- I didn't even recognize it for a while because there was always a little truth smattered in. But now I've found a church where there is a graduate of The Master's Seminary preaching. What a difference. Pure teaching from the word of God. And thankfully, no dreams, visions or thirst for power -- just a humble man preaching the deep truths of scripture to a hungry flock.

#23  Posted by Alain Rondeau  |  Tuesday, January 12, 2010at 9:43 AM

Paul, even though I do not hear God's voice, He does lead me to scriptures, He leads me to His word as you said, this is not the same thing as my friend who said he asked God if there was anything wrong with Kenneth Copland and God answered "ther is nothing wrong with this man".

I totally believe God lead you to these verses, that is what I believe also, God leads us to His Word, He speaks to us through His word, the bible.

#24  Posted by Paul Neil  |  Tuesday, January 12, 2010at 10:49 AM

Thanks for the responses. I understand what you both are saying.

One thing for sure is ai dont adhere to everyone having a word and people running around trying to get one. Its is evil, of that I have no doubt and the truth is if you claim to be a prophet what you propehsy MUST come to past, else it cannot be God.

Jeremiah 14:14

14 And the LORD said to me, “The prophets prophesy lies in My name. I have not sent them, commanded them, nor spoken to them; they prophesy to you a false vision, divination, a worthless thing, and the deceit of their heart.

#25  Posted by Alain Rondeau  |  Tuesday, January 12, 2010at 11:17 AM

Paul, I will share one of my own experience on how God speaks to me, when I was confronted on a daily basis by this co-worker and his Word of Faith beliefs, I prayed because I didn't know what to do, I asked God to use me in order to reach him and as I prayed, I knew the answer was in His Word, I asked for Wisdom and when I opened my bible, I stumbled on Titus 1:10 and I couldn't stop reading, the next day I opened it again and the same verse again, I then started to go to different books and read 1 and 2 Timothy, then got to 2 Peter 2 and then the book of Jude, I was so overwhelmed, I had no idea there was so many warnings against false teachers in the bible but God led me and He opened my eyes and I knew it was Him speaking to me through His Word, the scriptures.

One more occasion I was challenged by the same person on the gifts of the Spirit and speaking in tongue, again I prayed about it and God led me to 1 Cor 14, I read it all again and again, asking for wisdom, He answered all my questions, it was right there in front of my eyes.

I have so many examples I could go on and on, do I hear God's voice, I sure do when I take the time to pray and read His Word, he speaks to me through scriptures.

#26  Posted by Don Sands  |  Tuesday, January 12, 2010at 1:24 PM

Benny the Hinn told my brother to say Jesus 7 times, and he would be healed of his depression. He says it worked, and that Benny is full of the Holy Ghost and power.

I said, "He is full of baloney." That was 12 years ago, and my brother and I hardly talk now. I hate all these phony balony preachers, because they cause so much turmoil in the kingdom. And they preach a perverted gospel, which is what i told my brother, which he disagreed with.

Every time I expose Benny for the false preacher he is, I get the old, "You shouldn't touch God's anointed", routine. Oh well, I need to speak the truth in love, and if I am wrong about anything I say, and someone can show me, then i need to humble out, and accept it.

thanks you Dr. macArthur for the very well spoken words. Lord's peace and love to you.

#27  Posted by Carl Frederick  |  Tuesday, January 12, 2010at 1:36 PM

Dear Pastor MacArthur,

Ever since I have read your book "Hard to Believe" my eyes have been open to alot. Since then it has been my mission to search for truth, so I have been buying up everything with your name on it. I too have grown up in a toxic church that thrives on "new revelation." But I need some more clarity. I used to believe that I heard from God directly, from my call into the minisrty, to the reason I began attending seminary, and as far as one day starting a church. Which I know now that we do not recieve direct revelation from God or the Holy Spirit, how can I stay conifident in my call and goals that i set for ministry.

#28  Posted by Scott Thompson  |  Tuesday, January 12, 2010at 1:55 PM

I challange everyone go to paula white"s website click on where it says first fruits!!!! I could not even finish reading it all it is so discusting garb trying to tell you your not in the will of God unless your giving to her so-called ministry its the same form of cultic lies and manipulation coming from the serpants mouth this health wealth and prosperity teaching must be called what it is A CULT !!!!!!!!! SO GO TO PAULA WHITES WEBSITE AND READ FOR YOURSELF !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

#29  Posted by Carl Frederick  |  Tuesday, January 12, 2010at 2:38 PM

Paula White is one of many "Prophets for Profit" as I like to call them. Using their ability to draw crowds and twist scripture to mislead those who (dont much about the Bible) listen to every word these big names have to say. I am glad that I got out from under that type of teaching and have joined the truth war to not only expose teachers like paula white, but to also help those who are mis infofmed. ITS ALL THE SPIRIT OF ANTI CHRIST. Let's remember to keep those who follow these false teachers in prayer that they may come to the truth. And yes even pray for these fales teachers that they may be convicted to teach the truth and repint from thier sins.

#30  Posted by Carl Frederick  |  Tuesday, January 12, 2010at 2:46 PM

As much as we would like to blame these false teachers for the spread of unsound doctrine, we have to blame the christian consumer. We (speaking in general) are the ones who purches books, watch their brodcast, and listen to their garbage. If more of us who know the truth put some of these false prohpets on the spot, and speak up around the lunch table we could derail a lot of these "Profits." I promise if Shows like Grace to You aired in my city many people would turn away from false teachers!

#31  Posted by Scott Thompson  |  Tuesday, January 12, 2010at 3:22 PM

you got the jehova"s witness' mormans' christian science ' islam' and these health and wealth prosperity word of faith teachers all man centerd theology all under the same title CULT.... they deviate totaly from the truth. You never hear truths like devine soviern election all sufficiantcy of scripture or bible exposition. reformed theology. they don"t believe in reproving anybody they call that judging. i guess the ones that are truly Gods elect will come to the light but the rest will never see the light and come to the truth. although this teaching seems to be getting worse and more widespread I only wonder how much longer God will allow this to go on God bless GTY......

#32  Posted by Carl Frederick  |  Tuesday, January 12, 2010at 4:19 PM

Not even from so called main-stream christianity do you hear any speaking of eturnal securtiy or or true regeneration. and those that are making doctinal statements are so far off that it dosent even register. We as clergy, and lay-persons alike need to go forth bold and proclaim truth no what the risk and ridicule may be.

#33  Posted by Barry Koh  |  Tuesday, January 12, 2010at 6:54 PM

While I agree with John that alot of so called prohecies are false , yet many flock to them to have their 'fortune' told. On the other hand, John is speaking from a cessationist point of view. The late reformed preacher D Martin Llyold- Jones was not a cessationist and neither is John Piper. Can someone tell me what John Piper view on this is. I have heard his sermon calling members to 'exercise' the spirit's gifts given to them. How do such gifts operate in his fellowship.The truth might be somewhere in between. Having said that, I truly appreciate John M teachings as they keep me Word focussed.

#34  Posted by Steve Orozco  |  Tuesday, January 12, 2010at 8:25 PM

Alain and Robert,

If you guys would like to know more you can look me up on facebook under my email address spo562@yahoo.com and add me as a friend and then I can refer you to them. Our Pastor David Norczyk is currently on a mission to Kenya and is attending a Pastor's Conference with Phillip Eyster of Eagle Projects International to rectifying the false gospel of the prosperity gospel which is widespread in Africa right now. :) They also just had a mission trip to Ghana not too long ago. We have several regulars on the mission field who wouldn't mind sharing their experiences with you guys. :)

God Bless You,

Steve P Orozco

#35  Posted by David Chang  |  Tuesday, January 12, 2010at 8:58 PM

Comment deleted by user.
#36  Posted by David Chang  |  Tuesday, January 12, 2010at 9:27 PM

Comment deleted by user.
#37  Posted by Alain Rondeau  |  Tuesday, January 12, 2010at 10:04 PM

Hi David,

I'm not sure why you deleted your comment, I'm glad I got to read it in my email, it had a lot of value, sometimes I forget how the Holy Spirit will inspire me to do something without me opening the bible, after all if we had to only rely on scriptures there would not be any scriptures since it was written by men under the inspiration from the Holy Spirit.

We need to be careful and try not to confuse hearing God's voice with the power of the Holy Spirit within us and what you wrote about was true, I've had similar experiences and could share.

Once we receive Christ as our personal Savior, we receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit and as we learn to renounce our flesh and let the Holy Spirit take control of our life, miracles do happen, I believe that described your personal experience.

Without the Holy Spirit, I would never have known there was something wrong with the Word of Faith movement but thanks to God and His precious gift, I could feel something was not right, I felt darkness and turmoil in their presence but when I am with Spirit filled believers, I can feel an inner peace.

I have no education other then a high school diploma and have been a blue collar all my life and English is my second language that I learned at 30 years of age and usually I would read messages but keep quiet but these days, I feel the need to express my opinion, I might not make much sense but I do my best to express my personal beliefs as best as I can put it into words, I apologize if I sound confusing at times.

#38  Posted by David Chang  |  Tuesday, January 12, 2010at 10:46 PM

Revised my comment a bit for clarity.

I come from very long years of affiliation with the Charismatic and Pentecostal but not the kind that seek extra-biblical revelation or message from God in the way mentioned in this article, but it is very sadly true that such a kind make up most of the Charismatic and Pentecostals today and growing fast in number and influence. I am so glad and very thankful that there are preachers such as John MacArther who speak so clearly against teachings that undermine the critical need of believers to rely solely on the Bible for revelations and messages from God. There might be a slight discrepancy, though, in how we talk about an 'impression' or 'illumination' that I still believe can come from God in situations where no scripture verse is directly applicable. For example, I would feel a great peace about an urgent and dire situation while I am praying or even before I pray, and it feels like "Has my mind gone crazy?" because the peace (with assurance that the problem has been resolved) is beyond my intellect or usual pattern of my emotion or imagination. And, as I far as I am aware, every issue has gotten resolved 100% of the time when I had such an 'out-of-mind' peace impressed on me – not that I ever sought or asked God for such an ‘impression’. Now I don't like to talk about this kind of supernatural experience and in fact think that talking about such does much more harm than benefit to the listeners, but I still cannot deny that it happens. I would not have believed and received Christ as my savior and lord if it wasn't for a sudden overwhelming 'illumination' on the Gospel, and I suppose such is what is meant by ‘illumination’ mentioned in the article, but I think we might be underestimating the scope of God’s supernatural guidance in our daily life matters regardless of our conscious awareness. I have an academic background that required me to distinguish between exactly what my intellect is capable of knowing and does not know (i.e., graduate level mathematics and aerospace engineering) and professional background that left little room for wishful imaginations of the heart (not that I am perfectly so), but very specific guidance do come to my heart, which is neither of my intellect or wishful imagination, and they have been crucially helpful in providing for my family as well as in ministry-related situations – not that I place them above God’s written word in any sense. Just one example, in 1999, I had been jobless for nearly a year affected by the Asian economic crisis at the time, and was in a very desperate situation to say the least, and I was so humbled to worship God reading Psalms, etc., and I found myself saying to the Lord that I would continue to praise and honor Him regardless of whether He answered my prayer for provision or not (quoting verses from Hosea with all my heart), and suddenly a strong 'impression' came to me, to make a phone call a certain individual whom I was aware of no logical reason to call, and as awkward as I felt, I called and, to my absolute surprise, ended up getting his help to get a job that became very helpful financially (it was a better job than I had ever had, the position of country manager in South Korea for a business arrangement between General Electric Capital and Sun Microsystems – only one position was open, and 60 or so people were applying for it). Now I don't regard this kind of specific happening as worthy to be classified as a 'testimony' because it does not promote the message of the Gospel at all, and my careless mentioning of such experience would make me no different from the promoters of wealth-&-health or extra-biblical-message-seeking false gospel of greed. All I am saying here is that it happened, and the idea of making the phone call to the person did not come through an illumination on/through any specific scripture verse. I believe that a believer naturally desires to be guided by the Lord in every aspect of his or her daily life, but the problem comes when that desire becomes an idolatry and he or she crosses the boundary of the written word of God and pure message of the Gospel. I would rather shut up and side with the ‘cessationist’ teaching (even though I disagree with it) than letting the talk of ‘guidance’ divert people’s attention in any way from the clear understanding message of the Gospel and our very desperate need to depend on the Bible alone for daily spiritual food, which is actually all we need to seek every day of our life. I am a big fan of GTY articles, accessing remotely via internet from South Korea, -- it is only that I am not a ‘cessationist,’ so to speak, a terminology that Barry Koh mentioned above in his comment, if I understand the terminology correctly.

#39  Posted by Douglas Mollett  |  Tuesday, January 12, 2010at 10:48 PM

i used to think TBN was at least tolerable for when shows like IN TOUCH with Charles Stanley and Turning Point with David Jeremiah airs on there, but then i realized i can easily visit their websites and watch their shows in its entirety. i agree with what mr. Carl Frederic commented on, i believe the only way to cut the profits of the bad teachers is to boycott the whole thing.

#40  Posted by David Chang  |  Tuesday, January 12, 2010at 11:03 PM

Forgot to add that I really do appreciate John MacArther's articles, especially those that addresses critical issues in the Christian community with the level of clarity and boldness I think is very exemplary, so much so that I cannot complain about the 'cessationist' thing even though I mentioned it in the above two-cent comment of mine. Thank you, Pastor John!

#41  Posted by Carl Frederick  |  Tuesday, January 12, 2010at 11:11 PM

I find that the hardest thing when trying to lure people away from false teachers is trying to get them to recognize the need for sound theology. Many people think that a good understanding of theological doctrine is only for pastors, ministers and sunday school teachers. The one thing I love about Pastor ManArthur's teachings and books, is how much sound indept doctrine they contains, and put at a level that anyone can grasp it. If the average Christian put more stock in the study of basic theology as well as more than general Bible knowledge, they would be able to recognize false teachings easier and faster.

#42  Posted by Douglas Mollett  |  Tuesday, January 12, 2010at 11:26 PM

The more i study God's word, the more i realize just how much i have to learn. The absolute depth of the riches of God's word is such that when you think about, extrabiblical revelation isnt really necessary. The more i learn, the more i realize i really don't know much. i read some of the articles on these websites and i get into books of the bible like romans and i find that nothing compares to the bible for its insight, its morals, its poetry, prohecies. without the bible, i can't even know who Jesus is, much less trusting in Him alone for salvation. Thank you pastor John, for strengthening my conviction that god's word is the authority.

#43  Posted by David Chang  |  Wednesday, January 13, 2010at 4:41 AM

I have encountered Charismatic and Pentecostal believers that make the same beautiful confession about God's written word as Douglas Mollett has just stated above, but they are definitely not the majority. The whole reason I had come to associate with the Charismatic/Pentecostals circle after being introduced to Jesus through fundamentalist (Youth For Christ) missionaries in the first place was because I had to go to college in the US and a group of Charasmatics/Pentecostals I encountered there were the only believers I found on the campus that emphasized holy living, serious Bible study and passionate devotion. Many years have passed since, and I have noticed that the Charismatics and Pentecostals, in general, have tolerated a horrifying array of junky and toxic doctrinal and theological errors, but when I looked at the evangelical side, they didn't look much better, either, as both sides seem to tolerate health and wealth teaching materials, for example, and one can hardly find a fiery preacher of the straightforward Gospel message anymore on either side -- at least that is the case in South Korea despite the nation’s status as a major global mission support base. Both Charasmatics and evangelicals need rescue through a greater spreading of of solid Bible preaching. It is just that clearer biblical preaching apparently come more from the fundamental/evangelical side in the US case. But I think the inclusion of Cessationism can be a great hindrence in the 'rescue' process (I have just looked up Wikipedia to study the terminology Cessationism) particularly for those confused on the Charismatic side unless the theory can be proven biblical in a clearer manner than it seems to have been so far. Learning to understand and accept Reformed Theology has not been so bad so far because the understanding leaves me with a greater gratitude for the salvation work, but I see that trying to understand cessationism can be a much less exciting task. But, other than the cessationism issue, GTY will continue to be one of my favorite resources

#44  Posted by Mary Elizabeth Palshan  |  Wednesday, January 13, 2010at 7:12 AM

I have been reading all these blog comments for quite some time now. And it never ceases to amaze me just how much speaking the truth really sets people free from heresy.

Dr. MacArthur has made a huge impact in the lives of so many people, guided by the Holy Spirit, he has led lead thousand of people out of bondage and into the glorious light of Jesus Christ.

I pray that Dr. MacArthur have a long and even more prosperous life, by leading even more souls to Christ for God's kingdom. He is a workman who never needs to be ashamed.

Mary P.

#45  Posted by Brenda Trice  |  Wednesday, January 13, 2010at 10:22 AM

Alex,

Leaving that church was one of the hardest things we have ever had to do. We were members there for over 32 years. We sat under two of the most wonderful expositors ever for 30+ years there. We tried for months to contend for the faith but after a year of hearing false teaching, listening to the praises of so many who didn't have a clue, and the witch hunts of the leadership trying to get rid of those like us, we were simply becoming contentious. Sunday after Sunday we would go home mad and frustrated that so few were recognizing the lies. Our 19 year old daughter was becoming disillusioned with church so our only option for our family was to leave. My husband and I both felt like we had done everthing possible to no avail.

I agree with not being a church hopper. There are simply no perfect churches because they are all filled with imperfect people. We know we made the right decision for our family because we are actively involved in our new church filling an important need.

#46  Posted by Carl Frederick  |  Wednesday, January 13, 2010at 11:01 AM

I am strongly thinking about attending a good sound church here in Jacksonville. However My family doesn't like the style of praise and worship, and while the content of the mesages are filled with truth they are use to high emotion driven style of preaching. I on the other hand love the church and its enviroment. I plan on attending seminary there this year and would like to it my church home as well. How can I make this move that I know would help us spiritualy but they can't get over the small stuff?

#47  Posted by Douglas Mollett  |  Wednesday, January 13, 2010at 12:11 PM

i too have been studying 1 Cor 14, and also been looking at Acts 2. the cessanionist view for me is kinda hard for me to understand. a straightforward reading of 1 cor 14 seems to suggest that tongues do exist, as the apostle Paul lays out clear guidelines for which to follow. However, i like what Paul had to say about it, as he emphasized prophecy(preaching and teaching) is much better than speaking in tongues. he says that its better to speak 5 words that everyone can understand, then 10,000 words that no one understands. i certainly have more studying to do, can someone help me understand how cessassionism works?

#48  Posted by Ron Larson  |  Wednesday, January 13, 2010at 12:32 PM

I have often debated and studied the things Dr. MacArthur is articulating. In fact, I can confess, I have been often troubled by his theoloical position of Cessationism. After seven years in being a part of a "mainline Charismatic fellowship here in Duluth, Minnesota...I am being confronted by the enumerated errors, and heresies that by denomination has tolerated, although the currnet pastor and his staff are more sound in theology, practice, and how they have handled.."prophetic utterances.' Sadly, after seven years, I have made it known that I no longer with a clear conscience support it with time, energy or my resources financially. The hardest part of this decision is my wife and son who love these people as I do, but think that I wrong, because I am convicted that scripture expressly forbids women from holding elder/pastoral roles and authority within the Body of Christ. This is becoming all too common within Charismatic circles, this constanct acquiesence to waht the culture and the world is demanding of beleivers. I am stunned, and angered when I mentioned to pastoral staff the shenanigans and falsehoods of Todd Bentley. Someone attempted to "correct" me...I was being judgemental of course. After reading more about the "ministries" of Bob Jones, Paul Cain Kansas Cities IHOP, I realized more and more that many who are leading us, and visiting ministers seem to have little discernment regarding these matters. I know when I sit down with my family, that they are going to be heart broken as I confess that I am at fault for leading them astray, and not being rooted and grounded in truth to properly lead and protect them. I am in need of prayer,

#49  Posted by Deborah Davis  |  Wednesday, January 13, 2010at 12:49 PM

The Grace To You website has numerous free resources from John's sermon archive regarding the topic of seeking, finding and knowing God's will. These can be listened to, read, printed, or downloaded from the home page. Use the search keyword box on the top right and type in what you're looking for. Three sermons that come to mind are:

*God's Will Is Not Secret (#1276) *Making the Hard Decisions Easy (#80-24) *Making Decisions on Non-Moral Issues (#80-95) John's series, Charismatic Chaos (#23-219) also addresses numerous issues raised here. There is a small paperback as well, called Found:God's Will (#45-1004) which Grace To You regularly sends free as a gift for people who join their mailing list. It can be purchased for $2. Hope this is helpful! Great discussion.
#50  Posted by Douglas Mollett  |  Wednesday, January 13, 2010at 12:50 PM

Dear Ron,

i can relate to some of things you are feeling, as the argument i get from those who allow women pastors goes something like this,"they are tucked under the authority of a man, therefore they have the freedom to preach from the pulpit.'' Am i missing something here? Paul said over and over again in his letter to Timothy that all leadership positions in the church(im talking about pastoral, overseers, and bishops,etc.) are male in general. Is there some loophole in God's word that allows a woman to be a pastor? I'm not claiming male domination or sexism here, its just straight from the word. I will remember you in my prayers brother.

#51  Posted by Alain Rondeau  |  Wednesday, January 13, 2010at 12:50 PM

Douglas, Google "cessassionism" you will find a lot of info, I read Wikipedia on the subject and it pretty much answer all my questions.

#52  Posted by Alain Rondeau  |  Wednesday, January 13, 2010at 12:57 PM

Ron, I just prayed for you and your family, prayer from Edmonton Alberta, Canada.

I too need prayers, I have a wife who refused to obey God's word, totally rebelious and is now turning to New Age and the power of positive thinking, very similar to Word Of Faith except they don't ever mention Jesus name.

The more people we can find who are willing to pray for us, the better.

#53  Posted by Douglas Mollett  |  Wednesday, January 13, 2010at 1:07 PM

thank you Alain, i will do just that. God bless you.

#54  Posted by A. Amos Love  |  Wednesday, January 13, 2010at 2:24 PM

Can we hear God’s Voice today?

Deuteronomy 4:36

Out of heaven he made thee to hear “his voice,”

that he might instruct thee.

John 10:27

My sheep hear “my voice,” and I know them, and they follow me:

John 18:37

To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world,

that I should bear witness unto the truth.

Every one that is of the truth heareth “my voice.”

Matthew 11:15

He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Genesis 3:8

And they heard “the voice” of the LORD God walking in the garden...

Genesis 22:18

And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; ( Abraham )

because thou hast obeyed “my voice.”

Exodus 15:26

And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken

to “the voice” of the LORD thy God.

Exodus 19:5

Now therefore, if ye will obey “my voice” indeed,

and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure

unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:

Psalm 95:7

For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture,

and the sheep of his hand.

Today if ye will hear “his voice,” Harden not your heart.

John 10:3

To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear “his voice:”

and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.

4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them,

and the sheep follow him: for they know “his voice.”

5 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him:

for they know not the voice of strangers.

Luke 6:46

And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which “I say?”

Revelations 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock:

if any man hear “my voice,” and open the door,

I will come into him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

John 10:16

And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:

them also I must bring, and they shall hear “my voice;”

and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

One Voice - One Fold - One Shepherd

#55  Posted by Carl Frederick  |  Wednesday, January 13, 2010at 2:57 PM

We have left out the part about those who not only claim to here from God directly, but also uses these "revelations" to communicate false prophecies to people. There are peopple running around parking lots saying things like, "God showed me who you are going to marry..." or "god told me to tell you leave your job and within ten days he will provid you with another one!" My former pastor went as far as saying "WHAT GOD TELLS ME OVER RIDES WHAT HE TELLS YOU!" And the people of that church bought it as gospel!

#56  Posted by Alex Soriano  |  Wednesday, January 13, 2010at 4:07 PM

Dear Brenda,

Sorry for making quick comment on your post. Now I understand and I affirm you made the right decision. Thank God you found the right church (not a perfect one) and I'm not so sure but as I can see you got a lot of options in your place. In my country often times no option at all. There are few non-charismatic church here and workers are few. Admittedly, I too sometimes is temted to leave due to discouragement with poor preaching but I stand firm and try to learn preaching myself so I can preach the way it should be.

#57  Posted by Derek Mueller  |  Wednesday, January 13, 2010at 8:29 PM

I guess I just don't get how Hebrews 1:1,2; Jude 3; and Revelation 22:18,19 CLEARLY teach that God speaking to people through prophecy and visions is of the past. Paul seems to teach in I Corinthians 14 to seek the gift of prophecy. I Thessalonians 5:20 says not to despise prophecies. I just don't see in Scripture where it teaches that these things have ceased. I am open to hear what people would have to say.

#58  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, January 13, 2010at 8:56 PM

My guess is there are several sermon transcripts on this site that probably provide the best arguments for cessationism anywhere. Check this series out: https://www.gty.org/Resources/Sermon+Series/100

#59  Posted by Alex Soriano  |  Thursday, January 14, 2010at 4:22 AM

I just don't see in Scripture where it teaches that these things have ceased. I am open to hear what people would have to say.

If God will speak today the way He spoke to the Apostles. Somebody must write His words and add that to the the Bible. Look, Joseph Smith had written the revelation he recieved from his god. Why can't the charismatics write their prophecies? Maybe it's about time they can have 2nd Revelation.

#60  Posted by Derek Mueller  |  Thursday, January 14, 2010at 6:32 AM

Why would they have to be written down? Not all of Jesus' words were written down. Not all of Paul's were. I don't think there is necessarily reason to believe that all of the apostle's revelations from the Lord were written down. So I don't understand why our would have to be. And I don't think most people would say that prophecies and vidions today are equal to Scripture. Am I way off in this?

#61  Posted by Renny Acheampong  |  Thursday, January 14, 2010at 6:39 AM

So are you saying that prophecies have ceased? JESUS CHRIST THE SAME YESTERDAY TODAY AND FOREVER!! I do agree that there are false prophets in out midst. But that doesn't mean that God hasn't got some true ones that He is using for HIS grlory! Then how do we explain the 5 fold ministry gifts??????

#62  Posted by David Chang  |  Thursday, January 14, 2010at 9:29 AM

To Alex: There are differences among the following types of prophecis (1) Prophecies or revelations that are worthy to be considered as scriptures(2) The gift of prophecy that we are told to seek to develope (1 Cor)In the first case, both cessationists (such as John MacArther) and continualists (such as John Piper) would agree that the New Testment is complete and there is no more to be added. But in the second case, Apostle Paul talked about our prophesying in part, which means people are stirred by the Holy Spirit to prophesy but they may not catch the complete picturte or the intention of the message and/or even be clumsy in the way they speak it out because of their imperfections. There are also the gifts of wisdom and knowledge, which I think we are referring to as gift of prophecy in this discussion.

To All concerned about the cessation issue:John Piper (I think he is as respected as John MacArther is among the Reformed evangelical circle) has got very sharp and balanced teaching on why he believes the gifts of the Spirit are for today and are to be encouraged. I am noticing that the evangelicals who are convinced about the gifts of the Spirit can provide a far more intelligent and kinder explaination about continualism than any Charismatics or Pentecostals can about their beliefs. The Charasmatics and Pentecostals in general tend to believe things without examing everything against the scripture, and their brains (sorry about this expression) have gotten too lazy. They say "God told me," and "God showed me," and that is the end of argument. It is like a disease, mass dillusion, and I would say it must be some kind of judgement from God for something the Charismatic and Pentecostal circle has done terribly offensive in the sight of God. In the Old Testament, I often notice that people sin and God gives them the kind of leaders they deserve -- corrupt kings, priests and/or false prophets. As for myself, I think I should still call myself a Charismatic or Pentecostal because I have not found a church affiliation yet, but am searching around. I have plucked my teenage daughters out of a pentecostal church they had grown up with and sent them to an evangelical church (they cried and hated me for that at first, but they like the new church now), and I an my wife stay home on Sundays. I am searching now. As for John MacArther, I was referred to GTY by another Reformed evangelical preacher's website, and the more I get to know him, the more I like him. From Charismatic, Pentecostal point of view, John M would be considered a prophet (not in the sense of speaking revelations, but speaking the truth and wake-up calls to the sleeping church). I tend to believe that God in His wisdom has raised up a Cessationist preacher (JM) to speak His admonition to the lukewarm and sleeping children of God, who indeed have the correct understanding about the gifts of the spirit but have not kept themselves true to their calling in Christ. I would imagine that a cessationist would really have to dig into and depend on the scripture because they have so much less distraction. Nevertheless, I really think cessationism is an error, but it is almost an insignificantly minor error in the light of the horrific error of being so casual about (and without a really sincere passion for) the word of God. If I were God, I would honor the first, not the latter.

#63  Posted by David Chang  |  Thursday, January 14, 2010at 10:00 AM

Forgot mention two more kinds of prophecy or prophetic function: In addition to the two mentioned above, I notice the following types or usage of the prophecy or prophets in the Bible. I don't have the specific book, chapter and verse at hand, but those of you who have read through Bible will recognize and it is also easy to find the exact passages:(3) In the Old Testament, the prophets got revelations, visions or just straight utterances (sometimes they see and they talk, other times they talk what was put into them, and there are other variations), and they also spoke the word of God to admonish His people with regard to their sin. They didn't just speak. They were passionate. The latter part of the prophet's function is the reason why I believe JM is a type of prophet to the church of Christ, at least in the English speaking church, particularly the US. John MacArther is the real prophet today (not those flaky Charismatics that are drunk with some kind of another spirit or mixed at best). I prefer John Piper (I also started reading his stuff only as recently as I started reading JM's) to JM in terms of his being a continualist, but when I read about how he handled the Mark Driscoll case last year, I would regard John Piper more as a pastor, a shepherd, than a prophet. On the other hand, John MacArther gave a very sharp public rebuke to the Seattle young pastor Driscoll, and I am really impressed and I really praise God for MacArther these things that he tends to do, which I consider is a prophetic function in the body of Christ. It is almost as if God put a fire and passion in JM so that he cannot just sit still when he sees a vulgar injustice tolerated in the body of Christ particularly when nobody else speaks out clearly.(4) Somewhere in the book of Revelations also mentions about the spirit of prophecy that is related to the testimony of Jesus or something like that. My apologies for being so dull in handling the word (that is why I am stiking around here at GTY website). So, in this sense, our confession of faith in putting our trust, all of our trust, on the Lamb of God alone can actually be considered as the best kind of prophecy of all prophecies.

I hope my two-cent comment be help to some people. I need to sharpen my knowledge of the word of God and am in the process of repenting for having paid attention to and invested in other things all these years of my Christina life.

#64  Posted by David Chang  |  Thursday, January 14, 2010at 10:15 AM

Excuse my writing so much. I will try to write less going foward. Also excuse me for any clumsy English language usage - -it is not my first language.

I needed to rewrite a statement above: "Nevertheless, I really think cessationism is an error, but it is almost an insignificantly minor error in the light of the horrific error on the part of Charismatics/Pentecostals of being so casual about (and without a really sincere passion for) the word of God. If I were God, I would honor the first (i.e., a cessationist with a real passion for the word of God), not the latter (a doctrinally perfect believer who nevertheless is lukewarm in heart). "

#65  Posted by David Chang  |  Thursday, January 14, 2010at 11:00 AM

I have to say one more thing to all who have just come out of abusive Charismatic churches disillusioned. I know exactly how it feels. It feels like a big part of one's life lost and wasted, and one feels like a feel who is forced to humble himself to restart from the very basics of the Christianity again. I just want to encourage and say to all of you that this is actually a very precious opportunity to encouter Christ in a new way. I am sure you know what I mean, but I just wanted to remind you. God will show Himself true to Romans 8:28 as we receive His discipline. One thing that helped me and is helping is this (it may not apply to you, but it might to some of you): I thought there had to be a reason why I had gotten into (or stayed with) the mess in the first place. By the "mess" I am referring to affliation with the flaky kind of 'Christian' organizations. And, I realized that the main reason was because I had loved things other than God. I was being set up for chastisement by God. So, as much as I was nauseated about the horrible sin tolerated in the Charismatic movement, I need to sit down and examine my own heart as I seriously increased my focus and time reading the scriptures. By God's grace, I found many many things to repent for and actually will still grow in repentence. I can have hope now because being able to repent means I will be forgiven and cleansed. At the end of the day, I think I must thank God for His having used all the messy things to bring me to this place of brokenness and repentence from having allowed various forms of sin in my life that I had not realized before. A 'reformed' preacher (whose website introduced me to GTY) said salvation is past, present and future. I thank God for His having kept me in process of sanctification in my life toward a perfect conformity with Christ. What more can I ask for. And I am also assured that God will take care of my family, too, and put us in the exact part of the body of Christ that is reserved for each of us.

#66  Posted by Douglas Mollett  |  Thursday, January 14, 2010at 12:51 PM

Dear David,

i have a lot of respect for you, that being said, id like to share a little bit of my own testemony with you and the rest who would like to read it. i was in a major spiritual drought this past summer, as the word of God had lost its appeal to me for lack of a better word, simply because i let things of the world take 1st place instead of God. i have been attending a charasmatic church for the past 3 months and in a sermon the pastor took a stab at eternal security, and used titus 2:11-14 as his means to show you can be gung ho for Jesus your whole life, but if you turn your back on Him at the end of your life, you will die and spend eternity in Hell. of course i believe that eternal security is true, and it drove me to God's word to examine whether eternal security is biblical. the result of it all is my faith in Jesus has been strengthened, and my focus on God's words returning to its rightful place in my life. it has also caused me to examine the whole tongues issue and the flashy show im witnessing every week, and quite frankly, the above scriptures i just referred to doesnt in any way disprove once saved always saved. my praise in all this is that the LORD is renewing my faith in Him and in His word, and i i just thought you would appreciate that. God bless you.

#67  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, January 14, 2010at 2:11 PM

David said: I would imagine that a cessationist would really have to dig into and depend on the scripture because they have so much less distraction

If Scripture is indeed the innerrant infallible word of God, I can't imagine how anyone would want it any other way.

A man should only seek revelation beyond Scripture once he has exhausted what God has already revealed in Scripture. That has never happened, and will never happen.

#68  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, January 14, 2010at 2:27 PM

So are you saying that prophecies have ceased?

Cessationism does not say that biblical prophecy has ceased, but that the making new prophecy (declaring the future through Divine revelation) has ceased.

Then how do we explain the 5 fold ministry gifts??????

I'm assuming you have a biblical text in mind here. I guarantee that you will find John's answer to your question if you find the transcript on that passage on this website.

#69  Posted by Markus Seppälä  |  Thursday, January 14, 2010at 3:41 PM

It is very hard to find christian people who can tell about Jesus Christ and spread the true Gospel like it is written in Bible. This same situation we have had for a long time so we really need to get back in the Bible.

We need those teachers who will speak the word of God in our time and those shepherds who will feed the flocks in time.

There is always those who will listen even if they are minority so we should care about the quality not the amount. This is something that most of pastors have forgotten.

It is good to remember that "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart". So it means all of our thoughts and intents and because of this reason we should examine our selves and check daily if we are on the right path according the Bible. Amen.

God bless you all in the name and blood of Jesus Christ

#70  Posted by Alex Soriano  |  Thursday, January 14, 2010at 4:13 PM

Dear David,I felt quite embarrass when I read of you reply. I can see you’re a man of the Word and you really seek the scripture – do not cease on that. I too have been reading non-cessationists authors and I still listen and read them. You can visit Dr. Sam Storms’ website and you’ll find the best argument about cessationism. You can also download John Piper’s preaching about the life of Martin Loyd Jones - how this great preacher was about to cease o f being a cessationist. I would also refer to you the online book in bible.org entitled “Who is Afraid of the Holy Spirit” edited by Dr. Dan Wallace and M. James Sawyer. It is about what they now call as pneumatic Christianity. These are non-cessationist stuff you can struggle about.

I’m attending and serving in a non-cessationist church. My denomination have a prophet named A.W. Tozer and I don’t disagree with that. In the Philippines barely you can find a cessationist; every Christian I meet here believe in miracles and signs and wonders. All of my friends are not cessationists. My missionary friends always talk about thier experience of miracles. My wife is not a cessationist who is now praying for miracle that somehow our son would be healed from his life time disabilities and whenever she close her prayer I would say “amen.”

Why I am a cessationist?

#71  Posted by Barry Koh  |  Thursday, January 14, 2010at 6:31 PM

Hi David,

You did write alot but I enjoyed reading them. Continue to share your thoughts. I like your observation on how both the two Johns handled Mark Driscoll. I agree with you that John M operates more from an office of a prophet; he speaks forthrightly the truth from scriptures, admonishing the people of God of their sin and errors; he gives encouragement and hope and warns of judgement; he draws our attention and warns of the false teachers and wolves in sheep's clothings in our midst ; he provides wisdom and guidance through scriptures; etc. This is the sort of prophets the charismatics should have, not the the current ones that read your fortune and make future predictions that don't happen and then gives excuse for that. Sadly many charismatics lack sound biblical teachings and their faith is very dependent and built on questionable signs and wonders and wrong doctrines (WOF kind) , and on prophecies so common and readily available, like in the market place.

Any charismatic or pentecoastal that get excited by John Piper's non-cessationst or continualist position will be disapointed to know that he is of reformed theology not WOF theology and that is a world of difference. WOF theology is in error from the start where WOF says Jesus died 2 kinds of death, a physical and spiritual death and went to hell to complete his sufferings and work . The truth is in Christ's own words while He hung on the cross - it is FINISHED and His promise to one of the thieves that today he will be in PARADISE with Him , and not hell. WOF is in error when abundant life is twisted to mean health and wealth and we can excercise our faith through positive thoughts and verbal confessions to bring all these into reality because we are litte 'gods' as Kenneth Copeland and other NAR ( New Apostolic Reformed) prophets said. It is false when the sovereign will of God is disregarded and we just name it and claim it, and God is like a servant to do our bidding.

I was once a WOF adherent but that was in the past. I read John M daily and listen to his "prophetic" word . I believe the more of God's word, the more we have of Him. The saying that "Too much word dries you up, and too much spirit blows you up" is not biblically correct . The Word and Spirit are one. Jesus said My word is spirit and life. Without the word , you cannot have the Spirit. They cannot be separated. It's just not possible to have more of the spirit without more of the word. While I am a 'continualist', I believe in the simple trust and faith in God and not in myself, my own faith or some WOF formula and principles. In praying for the sick or asking for God's intervention and favour, we simply pray in faith and leave it to our loving God who answers our prayers. I think that is the kind of views held by reformed ' continualist', like J Piper, way different from WOF Charismatics and Pentecostals, way different from the name it and claim it teachings. Those are a different gospel.

#72  Posted by Orlando Delgado  |  Thursday, January 14, 2010at 7:21 PM

This comment is to share with item #25 Alain.

I have had the same experience with people having the same belief as the WF/Faith Healers. There was this one person that insisted on asking me (at church) “what is the Holy Spirit telling you.” To my amazement I did not what to tell him as to was he actually talking to Him? This took place of my fourth anniversary since the Lord accepted me into his Church and I was on my third tour reading the entire bible. On day this same person came to me with the same question to what I said “The Holy Spirit talks to me through the Bible and the big revelation I am having is that what I am reading on the Bible is not what is being preached by evangelical churches today, or so called Christian movements.”

Sometimes I feel alone, and insane just by listening to the kind of biblical errors (horrors) people come up with.

Alain, thanks for sharing.

As for you GTY, thanks. You ROCK!

#73  Posted by David Chang  |  Thursday, January 14, 2010at 10:55 PM

I was waiting for Barry Koh to show up because it was his short comment on another recent similar topic that led me to look up the word "cessationism" and also dig out sermons on the gift of Prophecy by Piper. It has been less than one week since I first visited GTY, and both JM's article/sermon and the comments have been very informative. I will look up the resources on GTY that Gabriel Powell and Deborah Davis have kindly referred to - thanks to both of you. Also thanks to Alain, Douglas, Alex and Barry for your feedbacks to my comments. What had brought me to the GTY site in the first place is my desperate search for an answer to a question that I need an answer for in order to convince my loved ones to pull away completely (I perceive that a thorough completeness is crucial) from all influence from the prosperity teaching. You see, there are many Charismatics who have already been staying away from the outright prosperity gospel or the WoF, but its subtle influence in the mindset (from long years of direct or indirect association with those who tolerate such to varying degrees) is the bigger problem than the extreme examples of the Copeland type or the Osteen. type or the IHOP/NAR type From my observation, there is one single verse in the NT that is the foundation of all prosperity 'gospel' and all other bad misinterpretation of scriptures by the prosperity gospel can be easily refuted once this question gets answered. It is 3 John verse 2, which in NASB reads, “Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.” I needed the clearest possible answer to my question on this verse from someone who really knows the Bible well, and I came to GTY in order to post the question (you can see it on https://www.gty.org/Feedback dated Jan 11) and also sent the question to Piper via his website on the same day. But I think both John's are too busy and get too many other good questions to be able to answer mine. So, if any of you can help me on this I would appreciate it very much. So here is the question: How exactly should we interpret 3 John 2, which my loved ones take as the evidence of God's will for believer's financial prosperity, health and success in whatever vocation they are in. Forget the WoF extremes and other extreme forms of prosperity gospel. I am talking about a more innocent sounding, balanced-looking, much more Bible-based, very nice, caring and civilized Christian, who are nevertheless thinking that it is a definite will of God for a believer to be wealthy, healthy and successful because of 3 John 2. They hate the extreme evil and wickedness of Wof and other extremes, so our refuting the extremes don't help them. I have also tried the following: (1) Firstly, I reminded them of all other Bible passages that show that the Gospel message is totally incompatible with any slight hint of wealth and health promise. (2) Secondly, I point to the real life fact that non-believers are more successful and wealthier than and as healthy as the believers, statistically speaking. (3) Thirdly, I also present my understanding of the classical Reformed fundamentalists' teaching that God cares for and takes care of all real needs of the saints but He (not we the saints) know exactly what and how much of it we need and be careful not to conclude that what we think we need be what God thinks we need. Then, in response to these 3 points, My loved ones will agree with all of them wholeheartedly, but we still have not answered the question about the 3 John 2 in a full logical sense. I have searched the internet to find only commentaries by Bible scholars who treat the verse as a customary greeting note, which I don't think is the case for any of the greeting verses in the canonized epistles. Disappointed, I have even looked up the greek word for 'wish' or 'pray' used in this verse to find that it is different from the other Greek word interpreted as 'pray' in most other places in the NT, but this effort did not take me to an answer, either. My loved ones will still tell me that we are to accept the scripture verse as what it says straightforwardly. I would appreciate any help on this question. If comment posting gets closed for this topic, please email me at dchangsy@gmail.com, and if I happen to get a good answer later (even from JM, who knows) I will share it with you, too. Just one last thought comes to my mind as I write this long comment: Gaius, to whom the Apostle John was writing the letter to, has been engaged in two activities (we can read about them in the text). Firstly, he was stretching himself to help other saints (most likely using his financial and physical resources) whom he didn't even know personally. Secondly, he was sticking out his neck, so speak, most likely jeopardizing even his own bread-earning business, by opposing a powerfully influential figure in the church who was saying bad things about Apostle John. So I am inclined to think that 3 John 2 was a Spirit-inspired wish (or blessing) directed personally to Gaius in the specific circumstance and not to the general church members' application in their lives as a principle from Christ to live by. It is also interesting to note that in an article about Oral Roberts (it might have been here on GTY), 3 Jojhn 2 was the exact verse that supposedly inspired OR to embark on his historic development of the prosperity Gospel. It is also interestingly the theme scripture verse at a the world's largest (close to a million membership) church founded and led by Paul David Yonggi Cho in South Korea, whose teaching contains the same eccentric errors of WoF as well as those of the Osteen-type, but Cho is well respected around the world (all the very top evangelical names in the US are friends with him - B Graham, R Warren, etc.) because Cho also has a very evangelical side to his ministry and also stays away from all eccentric WoF players and any others that are shunned by the evangelicals. So we must prepare to help the non-extremes with subtler deceptions next. In the US, you have at least JM speaking up very actively. In South Korea, we have very powerful mega evangelical churches and organizations, and none speaks against the prosperity 'gospel.' They used to do that thirty or so years ago, but they all stopped for the sake of "unity" in the body of Christ, and the problem now is that evangelicals are importing all the errors. Thus the importance of someone of JM's stature getting really upset and speaking against the errors. You guys are blessed in the US -- I think God still blesses your nation.

#74  Posted by Douglas Mollett  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 1:00 AM

Dear David,

i'm not going to attempt to sound like im some kind of authority, because im not, but id just like to make a comment on 3rd John verse 2. i happen to use the Macarthur study bible, and he points out ,"i pray:John's prayer for Gaius is significant. Gaius' spiritual state was so excellent that John prayed that his physical health would match his spiritual vigor. To ask about one's health was standard custom in ancient letters, but John adapted this convention in a unique manner to highlight Gaius spiritual state." (from the macarthur study bible, new king james edition, page 1981). Now my question would be was this just be a standard blessing for a particular individual(kind of like saying be well or God bless you) or was this a universal blessing meant for everyone? in my opinion, i thinK its the 1st option, though again, im not any kind of authority. i hope this helps you, even if its just minute. God bless you.

#75  Posted by Renny Acheampong  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 2:09 AM

Can someone please answer my question? or at least comment on it?? :)

"So are you saying that prophecies have ceased? JESUS CHRIST THE SAME YESTERDAY TODAY AND FOREVER!! Hebrews 13:8. I do agree that there are false prophets in our midst. But that doesn't mean that God hasn't got some true ones that He is using for HIS glory! Then how do we explain the 5 fold ministry gifts??????

#76  Posted by A. Amos Love  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 7:14 AM

Renny

@ #75

What does "5 fold" mean?

Can't find that in my antiquated KJV.

When you hear words that are not in the Bible?

don’t you wonder why we use them?

and where they came from?

Isn’t it challenge enough understanding?

the truth of the words that are written?

How much harder word's that we make up?

Doesn’t the Bible warn us about;

The commandments of men?

The doctrines of men?

The philosophies of men?

The traditions of men

that make the Word of God

of non effect?

Making the word of God of none effect

through your tradition...

Mark 7:13

#77  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 7:36 AM

Renny, I briefly responded to your comment. See Comment #68.

#78  Posted by Chuck Tuthill  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 7:58 AM

renny,

what do you think hebrews 13:8 is saying?

is it a statement about how Jesus Christ works in all things?

is it a statement about the person of Jesus Christ?

the answer is for you to find. read the verse within the context of the verses that preceed and follow. read those within the context of the entire book. read the book in context with the other epistles and read those in context of the gospels and all of scripture.

Jesus Christ is the same "yesterday", we have that recorded for us. know Him who is revealed in His word and you know who He is "today" and "tomorrow" also.

let this pursuit consume you. know Him.

#79  Posted by Barry Koh  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 7:58 AM

Renny,

Seriously speaking, one true voice of a prophet today is John M. He speaks forthrightly the word of God and admonishes the brethen of their sins and of judgement, calls us to repentance and draws our attention to Jesus Christ and not to himself. He does not mince his words when he points out wrong teachings and false prophets. He encourages us in the faith, build us up in the Word and provides wisdom and guidance through scriptures. Etc What better prophet can we ask for.

#80  Posted by Chuck Tuthill  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 8:01 AM

gabriel,

"A man should only seek revelation beyond Scripture once he has exhausted what God has already revealed in Scripture. That has never happened, and will never happen."

awesome comment dude.

#81  Posted by Charlie Feld  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 9:23 AM

Comment deleted by administrator.
#82  Posted by Charlie Feld  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 9:29 AM

Comment deleted by administrator.
#83  Posted by Steve Orozco  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 9:30 AM

Amos @ 76,

There are many terms we use today like the Trinity and the Rapture (unless you read the Latin Vulgate) which are not found in the Bible. Does that mean they do not exist or are not biblical? We must form these doctrines in order to understand the context in which the Scriptures are being used. What do you think?

Steve

#84  Posted by Charlie Feld  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 9:44 AM

Comment deleted by administrator.
#85  Posted by A. Amos Love  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 9:47 AM

Steve

Do you know what “5 fold” means?

What “5 fold Ministry” means?

What “5 fold Ministry gifts” means?

Can’t find any of those in the Bible.

Can you explain please.

Peraonally, I no longer use “Trinity.”

What I see the scriptures is,

The Father, the Word, and the Hoy Ghost,

and these three are “one.”

That’s good enough for me.

Many try to explain “Trinity,”

many explain “Trinity” differently. Oy Vey. ;o)

I’ll stick with the Bible thanks.

I’ve found most “Traditions of men” to be dangerous.

Making “void” and “nullifing” “The Word of God.

#86  Posted by Steve Orozco  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 12:26 PM

Amos,

I can certainly understand you're disgust with man's traditions, but where do we draw the line and say, "This is sound doctrine"? I certainly don't know what the 5-fold gifts are, but I would not disregard the great contributions made to Christianity by those who followed the original church fathers after Jesus & the Apostles. We don't have to agree, but we can take what they thought and test it to see if it holds up to the test of Scripture or not. Do you think St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, Luther, Jonathan Edwards, Calvin, Billy Graham and such men as heretics? The Bible is our truth, but don't you believe these men have certainly helped clear up some questions on interpretation or the meaning of Scripture? What do you think?

God Bless You Amos,

Steve

#87  Posted by Renny Acheampong  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 12:55 PM

So are you saying that the gift of prophecy that Ephesians talks about has ceased? God cannot speak directly to HIS servants any longer? I believe God still speaks! But Whatever is spoken, must come back to THE WORD!! If any prophecy is outside THE BIBLE, it is not from God! But I believe that THE HOLY SPIRIT still moves supernaturally.

#88  Posted by Renny Acheampong  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 1:02 PM

Thank you. Pastor John M is a teacher! A great bible teacher I believe. He speaks and teaches and preaches the truth!! But I believe that the ministry of a prophet is THE MINISTRY OF A PROPHET!! Read through The Bible.. how did prophets and prophecies occur??? I believe that THE HOLY SPIRIT STILL MOVES SUPERNATURALLY!! God still speaks directly to HIS servants. But everything God speaks to HIS SERVANTS, MUST always come back to the WORD of God. God will never say anything beyond what has already been given to us in HIS WORD!! BUT PEOPLE, PLEASE LET US NOT LIMIT THE HOLY SPIRIT!! I believe in TRUTH! I am a lover of TRUTH!! AND I WANT TO TELL YOU ALL; THE HOLY SPIRIT STILL WOKS SUPERNATURALLY!!!!

#89  Posted by Renny Acheampong  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 1:07 PM

Amos, this is what I mean. Read through and please do comment:

Ephesians:

7But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8This is why it[a] says: "When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men."[b] 9(What does "he ascended" mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions[c]? 10He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be PROPHETS, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

#90  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 1:08 PM

Steve, I'm surprised you put Thomas Aquinas and Billy Graham on your list.

Aquinas was a Roman Catholic through and through meaning he did not believe in Sola Fide nor any protestant understanding of the gospel.

Billy Graham, as far as I know, has never been known as someone who taught the Bible in any significant way. He was a one-song bird preaching the gospel (which isn't bad, I'm just saying he wasn't a teacher). Furthermore, in his older years he seems to have become a universalist (search YouTube for his discussion with Robert Schuller).

Amos, your quotation of 1 John 5:7 is in error. That verse is well known to have been a later insertion by a scribe. Your Bible should contain a footnote to that affect. If you don't use the term Trinity to describe what you understand to be that doctrine, what word(s) do you use when discussing it? The term Trinity is merely a single word which represents the doctrine that the Scripture contains.

If you are going to throw out the term Trinity, then I suggest you throw out "Bible" as well since that is not a scriptural term. I can't find "theology" or "inerrant" in the Bible either, but Scripture teaches theology and is inerrant.

#91  Posted by Steve Orozco  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 1:15 PM

Renny,

I truly believe the Holy Spirit is active in today's church. Not all Reformed or Baptist preachers share John MacArthur's view on cessation. MacArthur thinks that since we have the canon of Scripture complete that some gifts are no longer active. If you define that which is "perfect" as the Bible, then you can see where MacArthur is, but if you interpret the "perfect" as the return of Jesus Christ, then you know the gifts have not ceased. I attend a Reformed Baptist Church in Downey, CA which doesn't speak in tongues, but certainly does believe the gifts are active. Prophecy does not always mean telling the future as some misinterpret. In my opinion, when the Pastor is giving a sermon at church prophesy is taking place as the Word of God is being preached. :) It makes me wonder what John MacArthur tells his missionaries when they return from the mission field in third world countries. Our missionaries have returned with accounts from Ghana where demons are being cast out of people. God bless them for their work in the mission field worldwide. :)

God Bless You,

Steve

#92  Posted by Renny Acheampong  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 1:16 PM

Yes, so if Jesu could use the apostle and prophets in the Bible supernaturally then, why can't He or why shouldn't He use us now?? Get my point!! I KNOW FALSE PROPHETS ARE OUT THERE! I do not deny that fact! But please listen. I am a living proof THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT STILL WORKS SUPERNATURALLY!!! I am no false Christian. I am disgusted by all the false teachings going on in The Body of Christ now.. but please listen, God still has some good ones that HE is using for HIS GLORY!!

1 Kings 19:9-18 (New International Version)

9 There he went into a cave and spent the night.

The LORD Appears to Elijah

And the word of the LORD came to him: "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

10 He replied, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too."

11 The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

14 He replied, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too."

15 The LORD said to him, "Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. 18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—ALL WHOSE KNESS HAVE NOT BOWED DOWN TO BAAL AND ALL WHOSE MOUTHS HAVE NOT KISSED HIM!!!

#93  Posted by Renny Acheampong  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 1:24 PM

Hello steve,

Thank you for your comment. I am a Baptist too. A strong Baptist if I may say.. :) Our Church is located in Copenhagen, Denmark. But we believe in the gifts of The Holy Spirit. We believe in tounges speaking. We believe in The Bible as the authoritative Word of God. We believe that The Bible is Perfect. Without flaws. NOTHING CAN BE ADDED OR TAKEN FROM THE BIBLE TO MAKE IT COMPLETE BECAUSE IT IS ALREADY COMPLETE!!! PERFECT!!!.. but brothers.. Togues speaking.. and other gifts of THE HOLY SPIRIT IS REAL!!! I KNOW that fake preachers and teachers have tried to corrupt the truth. But listen.. THE HOLY SPIRIT IS REAL!! BELIEVE ME!!!! CHECK THE BILBLE!!! IT IS THERE!!!

#94  Posted by Steve Orozco  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 1:27 PM

Gabriel,

The reason I put them on the same list is because whether you agree with them or not they have all made a contribution to Christianity. Even though I attend a Reformed Baptist church I wouldn't define myself as either. I'm a Christian. Denominational labels just divide the body of Christ. I have seen the video you are referring to, but it still doesn't nullify his bringing many people to Christ. While don't agree with universalism, I still think Billy Graham and Robert Schuler have been used by God to spread His message. :0

God Bless You,

Steve

#95  Posted by Renny Acheampong  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 1:29 PM

Oh.. by the I am a Ghanaian.. forgot to tell you.. haha

#96  Posted by A. Amos Love  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 1:45 PM

Steve - you write...

“Do you think St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, Luther, Jonathan Edwards, Calvin, Billy Graham and such men as heretics?”

Not sure what you mean by mentioning these men?

What do you mean by heretics? Sounds like a strong word.

You write...

“The Bible is our truth, but don't you believe these men have certainly helped clear up some questions on interpretation or the meaning of Scripture?”

Like all men, they cleared up some waters and made others quite muddy. Yes?

Look at all the denominations that agree with these men. And all the denominations that disagree.

Look at all the seperation and division in the body of Christ because of what these men have taught. Yes?Now, multiple thousands of denominations. All choosing sides.

Estimates range from anywhere from 2,000 denominations to 38,000 denominations.

see - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_denominations

The greatest concern for me, is that people have been known to look up to these men and hold

“what they say the scripture says,”

as if it was scripture and follow them. ;-(

People today quote Calvin and Luther as much if not more than Jesus. Hmmm?

Jesus told “His disciples” to go and make disciples. Yes? I take that to mean “Disciples of Christ.” Yes?Learners and students of Christ. Yes?

Mt 28:20

Teaching them to “observe” all things whatsoever “I” have commanded you. Why is it okay to teach what Augistine, Calvin, Luther, taught when Jesus said, teach them what “I” have commanded you?

Why do some teach more about what Calvin said, then what Jesus said?

Why isn’t Jesus enough?

"Traditions of men." AAARRRRGGGGHHHH. ;-)

#97  Posted by A. Amos Love  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 2:01 PM

Renny

@ #89 you asked me to comment on Ephesians.

I asked...

Do you know what “5 fold” means?

What “5 fold Ministry” means?

What “5 fold Ministry gifts” means?

Can’t find any of those in the Bible.

Can you explain please.

#98  Posted by A. Amos Love  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 2:06 PM

Renny

I also know the gifts of the Holy spirit are active today. Jesus told "His disciples"...

Mt 10:8*

Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

Lu 9:2

And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.

Lu 10:9

And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.

Jesus is doing the same today. Thank you Jesus.

#99  Posted by Renny Acheampong  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 2:11 PM

Amos,

AMEN!! Thank you. :) Limiting the work of The Holy Spirit is a dangerous thing for any Christian to do.

#100  Posted by Renny Acheampong  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 2:17 PM

Amos,

'5 fold ministry' gifts are what The Bible talks about in Ephesians 4: 11-15:

11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

God HIMSELF gave some to be apostles, prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up. There are apostles, teachers, prophets, evangelists and pastors. Making up 5. So that's what I meant by the '5 fold ministry gifts':)

#101  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 2:20 PM

Amos,

One of the rules of hermeneutics is that we need to differentiate between the descriptive and the prescriptive. The verses you quoted are in the flow of narrative describing what Jesus commanded his disciples (the 12 in some cases and the 70 in another).

If indeed these commands are to all believers, then they cannot refer to the gifts of the Spirit which are limited to certain believers only.

Do you raise the dead? Do you know of anyone who does?

No one is saying that God is limited in His ability to perform supernatural acts today. Cessationism merely says that the supernatural gifts of the Spirit--particularly those of healing, tongues, signs and wonders--are not active today in the same way that they were during the life of Christ and the apostles. Miracles continue to occur, and God is fully capable of using His power to intervene in human affairs (and He does), but those are the exceptions, not the rule.

If healing, casting out demons, and raising the dead are still actively available today, why isn't anyone going through each hospital clearing them out? Why aren't there Christians heading down to Haiti to raise the dead?

#102  Posted by Renny Acheampong  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 2:35 PM

I disagree with you brother Gabriel!!!! God still works supernaturally!!! He can still choose to raise the dead!! He still heals the sick.. and because HE is sovereign, HE can either choose to use the doctor to heal or HE can also heal instantly!!! PLEASE CHECK YOUR BIBLE!!! :) :)

#103  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 2:38 PM

Renny, did you read my second to last paragraph? I said exactly what you just said.

#104  Posted by A. Amos Love  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 2:43 PM

Gabriel - Nice name. Gabriel = warrior of God, man of God.

You write...

“If you are going to throw out the term Trinity, then I suggest you throw out "Bible" as well since that is not a scriptural term. I can't find "theology" or "inerrant" in the Bible either, but Scripture teaches theology and is inerrant.”

One reason I don’t use “Trinity” is because “Trinity” is a “Doctrine.” Although people will say they are “Trinatarians” there are different beliefs within that ‘Doctrine” and it is still not clear what they really believe.

Now “Bible” refers to a book, that contains many books, that contains the written “Word of God.”

“Bible” is not a “Doctrine” that labels and divides people. It’s a book of books.

Sorry to say I don’t use “theology” or “inerrant” much either.

Sounds like lawyer speak to me. And you know what Jesus thought about lawyers.

All that gnat and camel stuff. Were those words thought up in a seminary or something. :o)

Most of the common folks that I hang out with don’t know what theology and inerrant means.

So, I’ll stick with talking to folks about 2Tim 3:16. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

You can think up big words if you like.

I’ll do my best to stick with the scriptures when explaining

the Father is God, Jesus is God, the Holy Spirit is God.

“Traditions of men.” AAARRRRGGGGHHH. ;o)

And other sheep I have,

which are not of this fold:

them also I must bring,

and they shall hear my voice;

and there shall be one fold,

and one shepherd.

John 10:16

One Fold - One Shepherd - One Voice.

If Not Now, When?

In His Service. By His Grace.

#105  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 2:59 PM

Amos, how would you define "traditions of men"?

#106  Posted by A. Amos Love  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 3:07 PM

Gabriel

“rules of hermeneutics” Huh? There ya go again with them big words.

I don’t hang out with herman, don’t care much for rules. I hang out with Jesus and the ”The Religious Crowd” marvels. I guess I’m just ignorant and unlearned. Acts 4:13. But I pray for the sick and I see Jesus heal them. Now that’s really cool. I just saw it in the Bible and believed. Mark 16:17-18. Thank you Jesus your word is true.

“Tradition of men” might say you can’t do that today. But I did it before I was told I couldn’t do it.

Pray for the sick and see them healed. Jesus loves me. I was healed and seen many others healed.

You only have theory. I now have the Bible and real life experience.

You write...

“If healing, casting out demons, and raising the dead are still actively available today, why isn't anyone going through each hospital clearing them out? Why aren't there Christians heading down to Haiti to raise the dead?”

Because Jesus is my example and Jesus didn’t go around willy nilly healing everyone in site. He only did what the Father showed Him to do. Yes?

John 8:28

...I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.

John 5:30

I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just;

because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

John 5:19

...The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do:

for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

If someone is "a son of God" they're about the Fathers business. Not their own business. Yes?

Obedience is better than sacrifice. A son is to be obedient.

Only pray for those the Father asks you to. Yes?

Gabriel, you might be stuck in your traditions. Loosen up bro. ;o)

Jesus loves me and forgives all my sins.

#107  Posted by Renny Acheampong  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 3:12 PM

Gabriel.. the warrior.. :)

Yeah.. I might have repeated what you already stated.. but then see it as a double statement.. if I may say that.. :) :).. so You agree!!!??????

May I know where you are from?

#108  Posted by Renny Acheampong  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 3:14 PM

Amos,

May I also know where you are from? Which Church.. ??

#109  Posted by Charles Shanks  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 3:14 PM

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#110  Posted by Charles Shanks  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 3:25 PM

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#111  Posted by A. Amos Love  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 3:29 PM

Renny

Which Church.. ??

I belong to Jesus.

Jesus is the Head of the body, (The ekklesia, the called out one's) the Church.

Best I can figure, "The Church of God" in the Bible was never,

A building, an organization, an institution, a denomination, or a corporation.

In the USA, people go to the Tax folks, the IRS, and ask them permission

to be called “A Church.” They fill out a form called a, 501 (c) 3.

If the government, the IRS, says you quailify, you become a...

501 (c) 3, non profit, tax deductible, religious corportion, church. Huh?

Should we call a corporation, “The Church?” AAAARRRGGGHHH!!!

“Traditions of men” really mess with “the word of God.”

The Church of God is all about people God’s people.

That’s one “Tradition” Gabriel, how we understand “Church” today. Yes?

#112  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 3:33 PM

Amos, now I'm really curious. Based on your quotation of Mark 16:17-18, would you be willing to drink poison? Why do true believers die from poison just like unbelievers?

Hermeneutics is the science of interpretation. You cannot, and dare not, interpret the Bible any way you want. There are standard rules by which we understand language, words, grammar, etc. The most well known rule of interpration is context. Just because Jesus said, "What do you, do quickly," doesn't mean we should by hasty in everything we do. Jesus was talking to someone specific about a specific activity they were going to do. That command of Jesus does not apply to you or me. How do we know? By established rules of interpration.

If you want to be a student of God's Word, and I know you do; if you want to be a "worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth," then you need to know how to handle the Scripture. There are rules.

You would agree that when Paul says, "I am with you in spirit" (Col 2:5), we should not think that Paul's spirit is with you and me as we sit at our computers? Why not? Well, there are rules that govern how we interpret what Paul means.

#113  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 3:39 PM

No, Amos, the local gathering of God's people is not a tradition of man (unless you've torn Acts and the Epistles out of your Bible). No one asked you which 501(c)3 organization you belonged to. You were asked, essentially, what local fellowship of believers you attend.

You are bordering on violating 2 Timothy 2:14.

Renny, I attend Grace Church where John MacArthur is the pastor.

#114  Posted by Barry Koh  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 5:32 PM

Hi Renny,

Many of us here are those who were previously in the WOF and had first hand charismatic experiences and once so into 'signs and wonders'. But that was then. Nevertheless, I am still am a 'continualist' as David Chang puts it. Even many reformed churches believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit and believe God still heals and do miracles. But they recognise the sovereign will of God in this. There lies the difference between these churches and the WOF, the name it and claim it gospel - a different gospel.

You are so worked up on the prophet issue. How about being concern about the office of apostles in the five fold ministry . Who holds the office of the apostle, who qualifies. If you insist on prophets being like those of old, you should equally insist that there should be true apostles today like those of old. There are some who are already claiming to be apostles.

A true prophet is one who speaks forthrightly the truth of God which is why I feel John M qualifies as a prophet judging from his sermons ( though he won't consider himself as one). You cannot accept this because you see prophets as those prophesying future events. If God sees it fit to raise the kind of prophet you expect , He will. But in the meantime what you see is what you get, that is the NAR and WOF kind of prophets - fortune telling and reckless predictions. If we are still in the old days, such 'prophets' would have been stoned because of predictions that proved to be false. In the meantime, be wary and discerning of the many wolves in sheep's clothing. It is these kind of false prophets that deceive the brethen easily because they subtly hide their false teachings by disguising them with some evangelical truths.

#115  Posted by Charles Shanks  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 6:55 PM

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#116  Posted by Carla Baker  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 7:24 PM

Gabriel, I know where you are coming from and Lord bless you as you invite discourse with these folks on this blog. I'm praying for pure discernment and wisdom from Adonai in this witnessing experience as He guides you. It was under Dr. John's tapes many years ago that the Lord was laying a firm foundation for salvation to me and I eventually opened the door and let Him into my heart because He found me looking finally, for Him. There is so much to learn under Dr. MacArthur because he has devoted his life to building that precious abiding relationship with the Lord. The books, readings, video and audio are rich with understanding and I simply need to always pray for a humble heart, in preparation to what each lesson contains. As I study, I remember that the whole portion of His Holy Word is to be ingested, not just one verse, but the entire instruction of the Lord's Word is for the building up of our souls unto salvation as well as for our reproof. This is clear, that adding to scripture or diminishing His Word in any way is addressed in Revelation 22:19 (KJV) "And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and [from] the things which are written in this book." May the Lord continue to bless you Brother, as you carry on...

#117  Posted by Steve Orozco  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 8:34 PM

Amos,

I definitely wouldn't say what these men say is Scripture, but I do appreciate their take on certain doctrines of the Bible like I appreciate yours. Like I stated earlier, I identify myself as a Christian. This is what I like about these forums. Lots of vibrant interaction. We might not always agree, but it causes us to exercise our minds and work out our theology. :) God Bless You my brother in Christ. :)

Steve

#118  Posted by Steve Orozco  |  Friday, January 15, 2010at 8:45 PM

Renny,

I love your zeal for God. I know the gifts are active today as I have seen some of the gifts in action. Tongues might be a misunderstood gift, but after struggling with it for a while the Lord was merciful to reveal it to me even though I didn't deserve it. All the praise and glory go to the Lord. :)

God Bless You,

Steve

#119  Posted by Rick White  |  Saturday, January 16, 2010at 6:08 AM

Renny,

Gabriel is correct.There is a big difference between divine healing in answer to prayer and the "gift of healing".If you read all of the references to the "gift of healing" you will find that those that had the gift were able to heal anybody and everybody with whom they came into contact.Obviously that gift is no longer in effect.If it is, we should be loading those with that gift onto airplanes and shipping them to Haiti immediately.The gift of healing was also complete.People weren't partially healed,they were healed completely.I don't believe anyone is saying that God no longer works supernaturally,just that these specific gifts are no longer in effect.If these gifts have always been a part of the church of God,why are the writings of the church so silent about it?The only mention of them for several hundred of years was by a few heretical sects.There are some excellent past articles on this subject in The Masters Seminary Journal linked to this website.

#120  Posted by A. Amos Love  |  Saturday, January 16, 2010at 9:03 AM

Gabriel

You write...

“Amos, now I'm really curious. Based on your quotation of Mark 16:17-18, would you be willing to drink poison? Why do true believers die from poison just like unbelievers?”

My question to you is; How do you know ‘True Believers” die from drinking poisen?

If a “True Believer” drinks poisen by accident and doesn’t die; How does anyone know they had poisen?

Most times, you only know someone drank poisen if they die and they do an autopsy on the body, and discover the poisen. Yes?

If they did die, maybe they weren’t a “True Believer? Yes?

And the question you ask; “would I be willing to drink poison?” sounds familiar. Yes?

Seems someone asked Jesus a similar question after quoting a scripture. Yes?

Do you remember who spoke those words? Read luke 4:9-13.

And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: 10* For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: 11 And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 12* And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. 13* And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.

Gabriel, where did you learn to ask questions like Satan asked? That’s two similar questions. Are you just playing “Devils Advocate?” Or what?

You could try asking Jesus different questions about laying “your hands” on the sick and see them recover. Yes? And casting out of evil Spirits. Yes?

Jesus and "His Disciples" preached the kingdom of God, prayed for the sick and cast out demons. Yes?

Be blessed in your search for truth... Jesus.

#121  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Saturday, January 16, 2010at 10:00 AM

Amos, it seems your position is both indefensible and unprovable. If a person dies from drinking poison they must not have been a true disciple. Yet no one is going to go out of their way to prove the opposite.

Jesus and "His Disciples" preached the kingdom of God, prayed for the sick and cast out demons.

Scripture begs to differ, the gift of healing in the apostles was not demonstrated by praying for the sick. It was demonstrated through actual healing on the spot through the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 3:6, 5:15, 9:34, 28:8). The may have prayed in the process, but they, through the power of the Spirit, healed the people. I think you misunderstand what the gifts are. If you are to exercise the gift of healing, don't just pray for someone, command that they be healed!

See this article from The Master's Seminary Journal on the gift of healing: http://www.tms.edu/tmsj/tmsj14j.pdf

#122  Posted by A. Amos Love  |  Saturday, January 16, 2010at 10:46 AM

Gabriel @ #121

Why tempt God and drink poison to see what happens. Jesus said not to tempt God. Yes?

And I referred to Mark 16:17 which says, these signs shall follow those "who believe."

I was NOT referring to the gift of healing.

I believed, started to pray for people, and saw people healed. Thank you Jesus.

You can do the same Gabriel. The signs and wonders are for those who believe.

Not just for special folks, but for those who believe. Ask jesus about it. See what he has to say.

You write @ #113...

“No, Amos, the local gathering of God's people is not a tradition of man (unless you've torn Acts and the Epistles out of your Bible). No one asked you which 501(c)3 organization you belonged to. You were asked, essentially, what local fellowship of believers you attend.”

Sorry, maybe I didn’t explain myself properly. Never said or meant the gathering of God’s people was a “Tradition of men.” Believers gathering together is wonderful and a real blessing.

Mt 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Now the word “Church” today and what most people think it means is a ”Tradition of men.”

Say the word “Church” and what do most people today think it means.

Oh, I have to "Go" to Church... Did anyone "Go" to church in the Bible?

Building with a steeple on it? Is that in the Bible?

Pastors in pulpits, preaching to people in pews? Is that in the Bible?

That’s what the world thinks, the unbeliever, isn’t it?

Isn’t that what the so called “local church” has accomplished with four buildings on four corners in a lot of “local towns?”

Haven't we deceived the people we’re supposed to be reaching out to?

How many will know that “The Church of God?” The ekklesia of God? The called out one’s of God?

Are the habitation of God? Where He dwells?

The redeemed of the Lord? By His blood.

The body of Christ? Purchased with His blood.

The Israel of God?

And Jesus is the head of the body, the church?

Does God dwell in buildings made with the hands of men? Or does He dwell in us?

Did Jesus shed His blood for; a building, a denomination, an institution, an organization, a corporation?

Will people know that “The Church of God?”

Are kings and priests unto God?

The bride of Christ?

The servants of Christ?

The sons of God? Led by the spirit? Or led by man?

Disciples of Christ? Learners and students of Christ?

Ambassadors for Christ?

How many will know, in the Bible, no one ever "went to church?"

How many will know, in the Bible, you become “the Church?” And hear His voice? And follow Jesus?

Out of heaven he made thee to "hear his voice,"

that "he" might instruct thee.

Deuteronomy 4:36

#123  Posted by David Chang  |  Saturday, January 16, 2010at 11:06 AM

Regarding the gift of healing -- There is no reference in the NT that tells us that the believer with the gift would be able to heal “anybody and everybody.” There are also countless number of published writings and sermons on the gift of healing, including many that are biblical, and including those written by scholarly preachers who are highly respected by the same group of Christians that highly respect John MacArther. There is difference between the supernatural ability granted to every believer to pray for the sick to get them healed (Mark 16:17-18) and the gift of healing mentioned as one of the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:9). Mark 16:17-18 tells me that every believer can expect to encounter specific instances of supernatural healing of the sick by the laying of hands. On the other hand, 1 Corinthians has a slightly different context, that is, it emphasizes application among the local church, -- most likely, a noticeable level of frequent exercise of getting sick people healed supernaturally would be considered as evidence of holding the gift of healing and recognized as useful in the local church body. But even without this particular 'gift of healing' recognition in a local church body, every believer can be prompted by the Holy Spirit to pray for the sick and get them recovered – this seems so clear in many NT passages. Dear Cessationist brothers and sisters: How would you explain the case of my having laid my hands on a young Muslim lady (she had just rejected the gospel of Jesus Christ I had just shared with her but was found to be suffering severe headache) to pray out loud for her in the name of Jesus, and she suddenly jumped up to proclaim of her instant healing shouting loudly in the presence of a crowd of other surrounding Muslims that gave us a very angry look? How would you explain the countless number of other cases of my having prayed for the sick where the doctors (very qualified MD’s) had indicated little hope but they recovered pretty much overnight? … countless firsthand supernatural healing experiences that glorified God and pointed people to Jesus, at home with my wife and kids, with extended family, at secular work places, during overseas trips, etc. When the prompting comes, I know that I should step out boldly to pray for the sick, but without the prompting, I am very careful, afraid to be presumtious and remain quietly prayerful. But when I am given the confidence in my spirit, I have always seen the result of healing (100% of the time without a single failure case – zero exception), often so dramatic that shut the mouths of the unbelieving. It does not mean that I am any more spiritual than those believers who have not experienced (or in a cessationist case, who does not een want to experience) such. Experience does not count. The only thing that counts is the level of conformity with Christ, of our character. Praying for the sick and seeing them instantly healed has nothing to do with spirituality or sanctification. My assurance of salvation is tested against the scripture verses that describe the characteristics of a true Christian as presented in many places in the NT, including being meek/humble, being poor in spirit, having hunger and thirst for the righteousness, etc. Having made the perspective and priority clear, I am frankly disappointed by the lack of completeness in the logic of cessationism that I have read so far. I am going to continue do a detailed study of cessationism to figure out exactly what the blockage is. If the cessationism is correct, then it means that people like me are either a severe case of mental illness or under a heavy demonic influence or horribly deceiving (exaggeration is not among the possible cases). A cessationist argument needs to present a more thorough explanation about their interpretation of the relevant scriptures in a manner that I feel should be kinder, more caring and more responsibly engaged and also needs to explain about the real life application of Mark 16:17-18 among respected and/or genuine believers rather than just pointing to the extreme fraud or demonic cases of WoF and the like.

#124  Posted by Renny Acheampong  |  Saturday, January 16, 2010at 11:11 AM

To Amos,

uhmm... I do know that the church is not the building. I was only curious of your background. Where you are from and stuff... :)

#125  Posted by A. Amos Love  |  Saturday, January 16, 2010at 12:17 PM

Hi Renny

I’m now in the USA, East Coast. Haven't been part of a 501 (c) 3, non profit, tax deductible, religious corporation, for about 18 years now, early 90’s.

Had many challenges with the so-called "5 fold ministry." Much Spiritual abuse, heavy weights put on peoples shoulders, submission to authority, tithes and offerings, etc.

Whole bunch of stuff not in the scriptures. Turned out to be a real benefit. Caused me to go to Jesus and learn from Him.

I no longer believe that - apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastor and teachers are the “gave gifts unto men.” spoken about in Eph 4:8.

First - there are only four positions mentioned in the Greek. Pastor and teacher, refers to the same person. So there are only four in the Greek. No one can tell me what “Five Fold” means because there is no ‘Five Fold” in the Bible. It might sound good but it is a phrase made up by men, a ”Tradition of men” that makes the “Word of God” of none effect?

Second - There are many “Gifts of God” in the scripture. Why would I want a “mere fallible human” as a gift? When God has already given Jesus/God as a gift? Jesus is “The Gift of God.” The Holy spirit is “The gift of God.” Salvation is “The gift of God.” Eternal life is “The Gift of God.” Yes?

John 4:10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest “the gift of God,” and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

Ac 8:20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that “the gift of God” may be purchased with money.

Ro 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but “the gift of God” is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Eph 2:8* For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is “the gift of God.”

And the list goes on... Yes, God gave gifts unto men but NOT other humans as that gift.

I can only find “ One Fold” in the Bible.

And other sheep I have,

which are not of this fold:

them also I must bring,

and they shall “hear my voice;“

and there shall be “one fold,”

and “one shepherd.”

John 10:16

One Fold - One Shepherd - One Voice.

If Not Now, When?

In His Service. By His Grace.

#126  Posted by David Chang  |  Saturday, January 16, 2010at 12:19 PM

Regarding the 5-fold ministry: I think there are leaders of Christian mission groups worthy of being considered as carrying out some function of apostleship. But the NT apostles are definitely unique, and the self-professed apostles of today are really disgusting. Likewise there are church leaders today carrying out the functions of prophets, pastors, evangelists and teachers to equip the saints. The NT doesn’t say that these functions ceased to exist. Also, one person can do several of these 5 functions. These are not distinct titles given to leaders, but description of functions that exist for the purpose of equipping the saints. Notice that 1 Cor 12:28 presents a slightly different list, but we need to pay attention to the function, not the title. The practical application in our life would be to recognize that we need all of these 5 functions working together. For example, we need John M as well as John Piper and JI Packer and so on. The purpose of Apostle Paul’s mention of the 5-fold ministry in Eph 4:11 is not so that we try to revive the 5-fold ministry like some carried-away people do, but it is so that we recognize the benefit of taking Vitamins A, B, C, D and E, and not leave any of them of our diet. If you look around, God has already put 5 fold ministry functioning around us. But you will certainly not find the 5-fold ministry among the people who are focused on reviving and claiming to represent the 5-fold ministry as if they are titles.

#127  Posted by A. Amos Love  |  Saturday, January 16, 2010at 12:33 PM

David

I have been enjoying most of your comments.

As I stated earlier I try not to use words Not in the Bible.

I agree that those in Eph 4 are functions of the body of Christ as you stated.

You write...

“Likewise there are church leaders today carrying out the functions”

I’d like to know how “you” reconcile the use of the word "leader" when “Jesus” told “His disciples” not to be called “leader?”

The word “leader” seems like a “high place.” Yes?

Jesus always took and recommended the “low place.” Yes?

Jesus humbled Himself, made himself of no reputation and took on the form of a servant. Php 2:7

Jesus in Mat 23:10 told His disciples “NOT” to call themselves master/“leaders” for you have one master/"leader” the Christ.

King James Version -

Neither be ye called masters:

for one is your Master, even Christ.

The Interlinear Bible -

Nor be called leaders,

for one is your leader the Christ.

Phillips Modern English -

you must not let people call you leaders,

you have only one leader, Christ.

Today's English Version -

nor should you be called leader.

your one and only leader is the Messiah.

The Amplified-

you must not be called masters ( leaders )

for you have one master ( leader ) the Christ.

Jesus told His disciples not to be called "leaders" and none did.

Ro 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ,

Php 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ,

Col 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ,

Tit 1:1 Paul, a servant of God,

Jas 1:1 James, a servant of God

2Pe 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant

"His disciples" all called themselves "servants,"

none called themselves "leaders." None? None.

None called themselves "servant-leader." None.

If Jesus instructed “His disciples” NOT to call themselves leaders

and someone calls themself a "leader"

or thinks they are a "leader;"

Are they a "disciple of Christ?"

Just wondering. Be blessed.

#128  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Saturday, January 16, 2010at 12:55 PM

For the sake of clarity for those of interest, Eph 4:11 does list five ministries, not four. The last phrase ("pastors and teachers") is sometimes mistaken as a Sharps construction (for those who are familiar with Greek), but it is not. It does not meet the three qualifications of a Sharps rule which are that the two nouns must be 1) singular, 2) non-proper, and 3) personal nouns. Pastors and teachers fails as a Sharp construction because they are both plural and non-personal nouns.

So there are indeed five ministries listed in Eph 4:11.

Amos, have you forgotten Hebrews 13:17 which says, "Obey your leaders and submit to them." Again you are missing context in your interpretation of both Scripture and the comments on this blog.

In an attempt to be faithful to the trees you are missing the forest.

Do you meet with other believers on a regular basis for fellowship, instruction, and prayer?

#129  Posted by A. Amos Love  |  Saturday, January 16, 2010at 12:59 PM

Gabriel

Maybe this will help. In Mr 16:20 ESV And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following.

So the signs confirmed the word preached.

Philip, speaking and performing miracles In Acts 8:4-6

Therefore they that were scattered abroad

went every where preaching the word.

Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria,

and preached Christ unto them.

And the people with one accord gave heed

unto those things which Philip spake,

*hearing and seeing*

*the miracles which he did.*

Paul, speaking and performing miracles.

Rom 15:18

For I will not dare to speak of any of those things

which Christ hath not wrought by me,

to make the Gentiles obedient, by *word* and *deed,*

*Through mighty signs and wonders,*

*by the power of the Spirit of God;*

so that from Jerusalem,

and round about unto Illyricum,

I have *fully preached* the gospel of Christ.

Paul, Not interested in man’s wisdom???

But in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.

1Cor 2:4 KJV

And my speech and my preaching was not

with enticing words of man’s wisdom,

but *in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:*

That your faith should not stand

in the wisdom of men,

but in *the power of God.*

Heb 2:4

God also bearing them witness,

*both with signs and wonders,*

and with *divers miracles,*

and *gifts of the Holy Ghost,*

according to his own will?

Mt 10:8

Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead,

cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

Lu 9:2

And he sent them to preach

the kingdom of God,

and to heal the sick.

Lu 10:9

And heal the sick that are therein,

and say unto them,

The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.

Seems preaching, healing, signs and wonders,

miracles, go hand in hand. Yes?

Gabriel, ask the Lord about these things.

#130  Posted by A. Amos Love  |  Saturday, January 16, 2010at 1:01 PM

Gabriel

Here's the questioned I asked...

If Jesus instructed “His disciples” NOT to call themselves leaders

and someone calls themself a "leader"

or thinks they are a "leader;"

Are they a "disciple of Christ?"

Just wondering. Be blessed.

#131  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Saturday, January 16, 2010at 1:06 PM

Amos, the way we "do" church in our culture is not a "tradition of man" as defined by Scripture because through our weekly meeting for fellowship, instruction, and prayer, we are fulfilling the NT commands. There are no biblical commands regarding meeting in homes or buildings, having or not having pulpits, having or not having pews or chairs. Scripture leaves these open and free and they have changed over the centuries.

The Roman Catholic understanding of "The Church" is indeed a tradition of man because they have explicitly placed themselves and their activity over Scripture. But churches like Grace Community Church that are faithful to teach Scripture are being faithful to obey Christ's commands.

Any biblical church that meets in a building will readily acknowledge that the building, the pulpit, the chairs, etc. could all be destroyed and "the church" would remain intact. No one here claims that Christ died for buildings or organizations. You are continually making false accusations and assumptions of those of us commenting here.

You have yet to define what you mean by "traditions of men", but I will define it biblically as that which men set over and above Scripture such that they contradict God's expressed will.

#132  Posted by David Chang  |  Saturday, January 16, 2010at 1:09 PM

Personal observation (not related to scriptures) of cessationists. I recall having encountered a n elderly cessationist teacher in the Bible Belt when I studied in the US. I didn't know the term cessationism then but that was what he was teaching with a passion, and he had a good following. A few of his eager students heard my story and got really shaken out of what they had been taught, and they apparently talked to that teacher about it, and he asked them to bring me to him. I was only little over a year into salvation, a tender and passionate young Christian. When that cessationist teacher met me, he started rebuking me right away, treating me like some kind of a second-class believer at best for having caused confusion amongst his followers. I was shocked because all I had done was what was happening in my life and walk with the Lord. Then I understood his issue, and he challenged me to explain why I believed that anything other than the written scripture mattered. It was funny because I was so young in the Lord but was somehow able to immediately point out to him 1 Cor 2:4. Then he looked it up from my Bible, read it, and then got really agry at me, said something I didn't quite understand (my English was not good enough then to understand everything), and threw my Bible on the floor and walked out of the room. His students got busy trying to comfort me as I picked up my Bible and dusted it. Since that experience, my honest impression or prejudice about the cessationist people was that they were arrogant without sincere willingness to discuss the difference in view, and above all, cold hearted. I saw this same arrogance and cold-heartedness among the WoF, among the famous false prophetic movment, and even among the smiling positive-thinkers, who all neglected preaching the Gospel. Nobody taught me but I was always bewildered about their talking about things that had nothing to do with the Gospel that I knew. And what was a common factor among them (I had numerous opportunities to eat and attend same meetings with them) was that I would get shocked by the lack of their compassion and their being at a 'higher' spiritual level, Now I want to ask a question to all of you who are either cessationists themselves or personally know a cessationist: Have you seen a demonstration of Christ's love in a cessationist's fellowship with his or her fellow brothers and/or sisters in Christ in a warm and touching manner? I don't know any cessationist in person, so I would like to know your thought. I would like to know in order to take care of the prejudice that developed in me in the early days.

#133  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Saturday, January 16, 2010at 1:14 PM

Amos, in the context, what did Jesus mean by "leader"? Jesus didn't use that term because he spoke a different language. "Leader" is probably a good translation, but there are many definitions of the term leader.

If by "leader" you mean someone who must be obeyed at all costs, then no, disciples of Christ should not be called leaders.

But if we understand Hebrews 13:17 and understand that "leader" means one who has been delegated authority by Christ and so long as they reflect the image of Christ should be followed, then yes, disciples of Christ can be called leaders.

Your entire argument is resting on the English term "leader" which is used to translate various Greek terms which have different nuances. Can you please cite the verse you are referring to? At first I thought it was Matthew 23:8-10, but the ESV doesn't have the term "leader" and there is nothing in the Greek that would refer to that title.

#134  Posted by David Chang  |  Saturday, January 16, 2010at 1:24 PM

Thanks, Gabriel, about this Sharp method of Greek word study. I am going to look into it.

#135  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Saturday, January 16, 2010at 1:30 PM

David, let me briefly define what is known as the "Granville Sharp Rule". It is this:

When one article is governing two nouns, and those nouns are singular, non-proper, and personal, then they refer to the same thing.

So the construction is "art + noun + conjunction + noun". An English example is "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God and Father are referring to the same person. "the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" is another one.

If the grammatical construction is there, but the nouns do not meet all three qualifications, then it is known as a "Sharp-like" construction and the two nouns are understood to have a close relationship, but they are not equal.

#136  Posted by A. Amos Love  |  Saturday, January 16, 2010at 1:40 PM

Gabriel

You write...

“You have yet to define what you mean by "traditions of men", but I will define it biblically as that which men set over and above Scripture such that they contradict God's expressed will.”

Okay, Yes, a definition of “Tradition of men.” Now, where in the Bible does anyone “do” Church?

Or “Go To” Church.

You write...”There are no biblical commands regarding meeting in homes or buildings, having or not having pulpits, having or not having pews or chairs. Scripture leaves these open and free and they have changed over the centuries.”

What about. 1Cor 14:26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

Isn’t this saying “All” are to participate in the meeting, NOT a select few.

I now see “being The Church of God” as the whole body participating, NOT sitting around watching what others are doing, being a spectator.

Didn’t Jesus teach “His disciples” in the streets?

Then sent them out fairly quickly. Yes? Not sitting around for years. Yes?

#137  Posted by A. Amos Love  |  Saturday, January 16, 2010at 1:50 PM

Gabriel About “leaders or instructors." for Mat 23:10

The ESV is cotrovesal in other places also. I “was” referring to Mat 23:10. Some modern versions use teacher here or instructor as the ESV. But that sounds out of place because in Mat 23:8, the ESV has Rabbi which means teacher. So is Jesus saying to “His disciples” not to be called "rabbi/teacher" in verse 8, Then, not to be called "instructor" is verse 10. I’ll stick with leader for verse 10.

Here’s the ESV Mat 23:8-10. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ.

11 The greatest among you shall be your servant.

So we have “one” teacher the Christ and “one” instructor the Christ.

Think I’ll stick with being a “servant of Christ.” If it was good enough for “the disciples of Christ” to call themselves “servants of Christ” it’s good enough for me.

I’ll let jesus be the leader.

Rom 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

It doesn’t say, “led by a man.”

Why have a man be your leader when Jesus wants to be your leader?

#138  Posted by A. Amos Love  |  Saturday, January 16, 2010at 2:02 PM

Gabriel

You write about “delegated authority by Christ.”

“But if we understand Hebrews 13:17 and understand that "leader" means one who has been delegated authority by Christ and so long as they reflect the image of Christ should be followed, then yes, disciples of Christ can be called leaders.”

Hmmm? Can’t find “delegated authority by Christ” in the Bible.

Seems like another “tradition of men” to me.

My experience shows me; No matter how loving, eventually... No matter how humble, eventually... No matter how much a servant, eventually... Anyone with the position of leader will abuse God’s sheep.

Leaders = exercise authority = lord it over = abuse = always.

#139  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Saturday, January 16, 2010at 2:03 PM

Amos, you cannot pick your own translation of a word because it fits your fancy. That is not how a faithful handler of Scripture treats the Scripture.

I am done argueing these issues because 1) they are way off topic, and 2) there is so much Scripture you are ignoring, and 3) this is not a place to try to help you understand the principles of Bible interpration, and 4) you continue to quarrel over words in violation of 2 Tim. 2:14, and 5) if you were at all familiar with the teaching of John MacArthur you wouldn't be on this website because all of John's biblical teaching of the church contradicts everything you say.

If you have any interest in what a faithful shepherd and teacher has to say on these issues, I suggest you find the sermon transcripts on this website where John faithfully deals with the passages of Scripture you continually and erroneously cite.

May you grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

#140  Posted by A. Amos Love  |  Saturday, January 16, 2010at 2:31 PM

Gabriel

You said...

"Amos, you cannot pick your own translation of a word because it fits your fancy."

Much agreement here.

As I researched Mat 23:10 some modern versions say teacher and some say leader. I just choose to pick "leader." Which one do "you" choose? You do have two options here.

You say...

"John's biblical teaching of the church contradicts everything you say."

"Contradicting everything" is a lot, sounds like "everything" is an exaggeration. Yes?

And, hold on to your seat, could John be wrong? ;o)

Ever know John to be wrong before?

You can look on your own website.

https://www.gty.org/Resources/Articles/593

"Is it true that John MacArthur has reversed his position on the eternal Sonship of Christ?"

If John now feels he was wrong on this important doctrine of the faith, maybe he will reverse others.

John is just a man.

And now what happens to those folks who heard and read what John said before he reversed his thinking. They still believe an error. Yes? So could John be in error on other things as well? Maybe. Hmmm?

Leaders = exercise authority = lord it over = abuse = always.

#141  Posted by David Chang  |  Saturday, January 16, 2010at 7:45 PM

Comment deleted by user.
#142  Posted by David Chang  |  Saturday, January 16, 2010at 7:47 PM

Thanks, Douglas Mollett, for your looking up and sharing JM commentary on 3 John 2 and also sharing your thought. Very nice. Yes, the highlight of the context seems to be in showing us what kind of a believer Gaius was (shown by what Apostle John wrote that he was doing) and it is not stating the kind of properity principle to which the wealth and health proponents have hooked themseves to. There is just one tiny thing I tend to somehat disagree to. I hope I am not being too romantic, but I tend to look for a deeper, a more powerfully impacting meaning from every verse in a context. That is, I believe that there is no customary or standard kind of greeting in the any verse of this epistle. I tend to believe that the Holy Spirit inspired and chose every single word that is powerfully beneficial to all believers who read it in contect (even though the prosperity gospel folks also looked for a deep meaning but ignored the context and went the wrong direction with this verse). Last night, I shared whatever was so far my understanding of the verse (although I still feel it is somwhat incomplete) with my wife and the younger daughter, who had previously disagreed with me, and they both fully agreed with me now on this, praise God. Yes, I think the highlighting of what kind of a beliver's life Gaius was living is the key to the understanding of what God wants to speak to us through this vese. I am going to sharpen my understanding of this verse further. Thanks again.

Thanks, Gabriel, for being kind enought to provide further explanation on the 'Sharp method' -- sounds a bit complicated intellectually but I am going to come back to read it again and figure it out by looking for examples of its application over the internet, starting from Wikipedia and Thoepedia. Thanks again.

#143  Posted by David Chang  |  Saturday, January 16, 2010at 8:01 PM

... my statement above "I am going to further sharpen my understanding of this verse" smells of fleshly pride. There is nothing truly meaningful I can understand from any scripture verse (no matter what deep intellectual research and analysis I do on it, and no matter how many good Bible teachers and how thorough intellectual understanding I get on it) unless the Holy Spirit opens the eyes of my heart and supernaturally reveal the meaning God wants to convey through it. I should have stated "I am going to seek to further sharpen my understanding of this verse." By the way, I don't have to add "God willing" in a statement like this because we know God wants us to dig into His word.

#144  Posted by David Chang  |  Saturday, January 16, 2010at 8:38 PM

man, I keep getting thoughts to write even though I tell myself to stop now and "enough! "

Regarding leadership, I didn't read all the recent comments on it, but just few lines. It is sadly true that the position of leadership is abused in a tragically hurtful ways. I myself abused the position of being the head of household and hurt my wife and daughters for so many years in such stinking wicked ways that, if I were God, I should strike me dead and send me straight to Hell. Each of us can also tell stories after stories of other people's abuse of leadership position that we struggle to forgive even for decades. Nevertheless, if we look around carefully, God still blesses us through the true servanthood of leadership through imperfect men. This GTY thing is an example of such. I haven't paid any money to JM but he made practically most of his resources available for free here and even arranged a beneficial discussion forum such as this. As far as the territoty of GTY website is concerned, though, I should respect the GTY rule. That is, if the GTY administrator working for JM tells me that I am writing too many too long comments, then I would have no problem with respecting that person's authority here and refrainingfrom continuing to write long comments so frequently. This would be a simple example of benefiting from the servanthood of leadership and respecting the authority of the leadership. God uses imperfect men, and it is to our benefit to discern to recognize and respect whatever healthy leadership there is around us. We don't have to constantly remind ourselves of the abusive cases (though there are plenty of it) to cause ourselves to hate the concept of human leadership altogether. Studying and eating from the word of God helps us discern between an exercise of authority that we don't need to respect and an exercise of authority we need to respect. There is no need to discern between a good leader or a bad leader -- because all men are evil, for those of you who have not figured it out yet, apart from the grace of God and His regenerative and continuous sanctification work in the believer's lives. Nevertheless, because I can be as evil as any Hitler out there myself, and we are all pretty much helpless people, God, by His grace and wisdom, chooses to bless and help us often through human authority. Sometimes it is in the form of institutional kind, and other times it is subtle and you just have to recognize it. The key is to discern, for each case, (not men) but God's working behind people who exercise a certan power that affects us.

#145  Posted by David Chang  |  Saturday, January 16, 2010at 8:47 PM

I want to add that we don't need to respect men (in a worshipful ways or blindly servile ways) but we need to respect God working behind the people that are in the position to influence us because people blow it often. We give honor to where honor is due but need to becareful not to elevate mere a human as if he or she is a good leader on his or her own merit.

#146  Posted by David Chang  |  Saturday, January 16, 2010at 8:50 PM

English correction of the last statement -- We give honor to where honor is due, but we need to be careful not to elevate a mere human as if he or she were a good leader on his or her own merit.

#147  Posted by Rick White  |  Saturday, January 16, 2010at 11:55 PM

David,

First let me say as a cessationist that I find the way you were treated by the cessationist was very immature and did not reflect the Spirit of Christ.Anytime we are defending our faith we should use gentleness and reverence 1Peter 3:15.Though I have some friends that are not cessationists most of them are,and I think they would all be appalled at the way you were treated.

In one of your earlier posts you stated you coudn't find anywhere in the NT where it says that those that had the gift of healing could heal anybody and everybody.I believe the text you referenced actually does that.Mark 16:18 says "they will lay hands on the sick,and they WILL recover."It doesn't say they might recover or some of them will recover.Also Acts 5:16 says"Also the people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together,bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits,and they were ALL being healed."The reason they were all being healed is because the apostles had the gift of healing.v.12.So again I believe there is a big difference between praying for someone and God healing them and the "gift of healing".

#148  Posted by Barry Koh  |  Sunday, January 17, 2010at 1:55 AM

Renny,

You said in #99,

" AMEN!! Thank you. :) Limiting the work of The Holy Spirit is a dangerous thing for any Christian to do"

I agree with you but we need to be discerning and test every spirit if it be from God.

"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world" 1John 4:1

We should not quench the Holy Spirit but it is equally dangerous and a sin to attribute something to the Holy Spirit when it is not . That's why even David Wilkerson warns about wierd things happening in charismatic circles. And even Lee Gradys in Charisma magarzine points out the strange fires being burnt in NAR meetings. In our enthusiasm for God to do mighty things so that the world will believe Him, we neglect to be like the Bereans. Deceptions comes sugar coated with some evangelical truths and often snare those who are easily amazed and excited by them.

#149  Posted by Barry Koh  |  Sunday, January 17, 2010at 8:04 AM

Hi Rick ,

Interesting point you brought up. But don't you think that the outcome in the operation of the healing gift, is subjected to the giver of the gift and not to the one who has been given the gift. It is God who heals through the one who has the gift acting as vessel, and His sovereign will still reigns. The person with the healing gifting will act out in faith, but if you accept that God sovereign will reigns, then healing or no healing is ultimately by His will. We can only act out in faith in Him as good steward of the gifts. Why all prayed for in the NT were healed but not all prayed for today are healed, we can assume that it was necessary then for the establishment of the first NT church. It just like cessationist assume gifts are done away with today because the church has been established and gifts are not necessary anymore. Please note that I am discussing healing, not in the context of WOF th