Sufficient for What?

OK, if you have a few spare hours, go back to the parent post and read until you are tongue-tied (if you have another spare hour, first go back and read the grandparent post)!

Now I want to do my own examination of the concept of Sufficiency of Scripture. My reformed brethren will be disappointed to hear that I am not totally convinced that the possibility of the gift of tongues being for today would necessarily have to mean that the canon of scripture is not closed, or that the closed canon of scripture is not “sufficient”. (On the other hand, none of my reformed brethren gave any adverse reaction when I said that I am not actually advocating a cessationist position, so let’s see where this disorganized ramble takes us.)

I agree with Echo that it is important to consider the purpose of revelation; only with respect to that purpose can we answer the question “Is Scripture Sufficient?” With different purposes, we will get different answers. For instance, is scripture sufficient to determine the rationality or irrationality of the square root of two? Or to measure the total amount of matter in the universe? No, it is not. You might object that those are stupid examples, because it is obviously outside the domain for which scripture is intended to be used, while gifts of the spirit are in that domain. OK, well then is scripture sufficient to know how to make wine or bake bread with which to administer the Lord’s Supper? No, scripture is silent. Is scripture sufficient to provide worship music? No, it is not. Hymnody vs. exclusive psalmody aside, the bible contains no tunes.

So then, with Echo’s enthusiastic approval, I will reiterate Daniel B’s answers to Echo’s question about the purposes of tongues, prophecy, and scripture:

Here’s a simple question: what purpose does tongues serve? “He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself” (I Corinthians 14:4)

Here’s another: what purpose does prophesy serve? “He who prophecies edifies the church.” (I Corinthians 14:4)

Just one more: what purpose does the Bible serve? “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (II Timothy 3:16-17)

Echo’s response:

Now that we see that all three serve the same purpose, namely the edification of the church, we can see that tongues and prophesy served to make up what was lacking in the incomplete canon. NOW, with the completed canon, these supplements are no longer necessary. Now we have the Bible, and pastors and teachers to build us up according to it.

At this point, I will begin making people mad. First of all, I disagree with Echo, in his assessment that Daniel answered the question correctly. Of the many purposes of tongues, self-edification is either the least, or not one at all. Higher than that are two more: edification of the church, and as a sign to unbelievers (both of which require understanding through interpretation, by the way). Which raises the spectre of an as-yet unnamed purpose for revelation: the spread of the gospel. Is the closed canon sufficient for the spread of the gospel? Actually, no, the scriptures that we have are not sufficient for the spread of the gospel into nations with unknown languages. And this purpose exactly matches the obvious purpose of tongues in the apostolic church, to be a sign to unbelievers.

Next, although it is arguably true that “tongues and prophesy served to make up what was lacking in the incomplete canon,” Echo’s conclusion that “NOW, with the completed canon, these supplements are no longer necessary” does not logically, necessarily follow. Likewise, I do not see in the bible where any relationship is established between the existence of tongues (and prophecy, etc.), and the openness of the canon. Thus I don’t see any logical necessity for a closed canon to be accompanied with cessation of the prophetic gifts.There are innumerable prophecies mentioned in the bible that we don’t know the text of, and therefore we have no way to judge whether their purpose was something that could have been fulfilled by the availability of the closed canon.

Let’s turn to Heb 1:1-2, which is commonly cited as a proof-text in this arena:

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

First of all, if tongues/prophecy/etc. fall under the category “in many ways,” we can’t interpret this passage as meaning that they ceased, because they didn’t cease at the coming of the Son, but rather were outpoured only after the resurrection of the Son. Second, can any Greek scholars tell us how strongly that “but” affirms the second half of that sentence, at the expense of the first half? (Or how about the first half of this one?) Third, if this passage is to be construed as “in these last days he has spoken to us [only] by his Son,” what are we to make of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, James, (I think that covers the New Testament, except maybe for Hebrews)? Or the tongues-speakers and prophets of the apostolic age?

Now let’s turn the other way. Is the bible, as we have it (and as we are able to translate it) not sufficient to meet our needs? What could God possibly want to say that he hasn’t said well enough in the Bible? Wouldn’t it be advantageous to the gospel if God wowed unbelievers by working signs and wonders through his disciples? How about if God brought back people from the dead to explain in plain terms what happens after death? Jesus said “If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.” But wouldn’t it be great if God could give us signs of his power and existence? Jesus said (many times) that the generation that seeks a sign will receive only the sign of judgment. Of course, Jesus did confirm his divinity with many signs and miracles (the most important of which, of course, is the resurrection), but he did the miracles on his schedule, not as a command performance.

Thus, if “prophecy” or “tongues” is voluntary, it’s not God, it’s you. If you have to “prime the pump” it’s not God, it’s you. If you have a “feeling”, but are wondering whether God is speaking, it’s not God trying to speak to you, it’s you trying to think. Keep trying.

In I Cor 14, Paul condemns tongues without interpretation. I won’t reiterate my previous post, except to say again that God never intends for his people to be without understanding. Mysteries are meant to be understood, secrets are meant to be made known. Lack of understanding is an indication of judgment.

Thus, if you are babbling in tongues without understanding, it’s not God, it’s you.

(Predictive) prophecies which are truly from God come true. Therefore, if you are making prophecies that don’t come true, it’s not God, it’s you. (Actually, it might be from God after all)

If you are a missionary, and you encounter a people whose language you do not speak, and the Holy Spirit enables you to communicate the gospel to them, then it’s God, not you. And if that doesn’t happen, get to work learning the language, so you can start translating the Bible.


140 Responses

  1. If you are a missionary, and you encounter a people whose language you do not speak, and the Holy Spirit enables you to communicate the gospel to them, then it’s God, not you.

    I haven’t been following these posts closely (and the threads not at all) but noted this line.

    My sister-in-law, who spent time recently in South America on a summer mission trip, reported two occasions in which she held conversations in Spanish with people. The funny thing is that she doesn’t know Spanish. She was not bragging in that customary charismatic way; in fact we dragged the stories out of her when she mentioned things that didn’t seem to fit. In both incidents she says it seems as though the people came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ (but wasn’t sure because she didn’t know what she was saying, nor what was being said to her).

    This is hearsay, of course. I question reports like this I hear from others, even one from such a close relative whom I trust. What I find interesting, however, is that my sister-in-law does not “speak in tongues” — these two incidents are the only that have ever happened to her.  Nor does she subscribe to reformed theology — she belongs to a typical big-growth evangelical rock-n-roll-type nondenominational church — so it’s not as if she’s trying to make a point about tongues.  That means there’s at least one Christian out there, RubeRad, who would say that her experience echoes your conclusion.

    Let me reiterate that everything I’ve just written should rightly be considered hearsay.

  2. Wow! Amazing! I can’t believe it is still going on. Well I am not sure if I’ll be able to catch up. The last few days were pretty busy.

    I will try to catch up, but I wanted to put forth the following:

    It sounds like we all have agree that there is some cessation. And I would like to approach this by adding to what we have in common. We all believe that adding to the canon has ceased, right?

    Let’s see if we could add to our common denominators. Would everybody agree that the apostolic office has ceased?

  3. Rube I am glad you put “predictive” in front of “prophecy”. I think the brunt of the misunderstandings are on the difference between predictive prophecy and congregational prophecy in the New Testament. The only predicitve (or authoratative) prophecy in the New Testament came from the apostles. In fact we would better understand the Old Testament term “prophet” to be the equvilent of the New Testement “Apostle” (ones who had authority to write scripture). With that said, Mike, indeed the apostolic office has ceased.

    No one today can rightly claim that they are infallibly speaking God’s own words (unless of course they are reading the scriptures aloud, but I digress).

    So if the NT Apostle is the OT Prophet, then what is the NT prophet?

    The NT term “Prophet” had a broad meaning of “one who speaks on the basis of some external influence.” This often meant spiritual influience, but not necesserily divine influence. (Hence you have prophets of things Epicurian philosophy or prophets of a field of study, like botany or medicine). Probably the best synonym in our language is the word “herald”. But because we read all about the OT prophets we automatically assume the same meaning of the guys in the NT. This is bad hermanuetics.

    The NT prophet then as instructed in the Corinthian church, could be any member of the church. He or she did what (evidently) we are going to have to call “congregational” prophecy. But if they aren’t speaking the infallible words of God, shouldn’t we silence them? Aren’t they unnecssary? Don’t they provide the same function that the canon of scripture provides?

    An Astounding NO! Rather they are beneficial, the things they say can be both good and bad, but we must weigh and judge them according to sripture to find out what is good. This is why we have the 14th chapter of I Corinthians. This is why Paul tells us in I Thessaolnians 5:19-21 not to despise prophecy, but rather to test it.

    It is sad that in many charismatic congregations today that someone will begin a congregational prophecy with “thus saith the Lord…” It is even sadder that some will aspire to attempt to predict the future claiming Gods revelation as their source. But what I think is even sadder is that certain parts of teh church have become so turned off by poor practice that they have run away from the gifts and attempted to rationalize them away by taking some sort of theological white-out to the pages of the Bible. (If anything is motivated by experience it is that action). Just because there are absuses does not mean that something is not from God. Every spiritual gift can be abused, but we don’t throw out things just because of their abuses or our misunderstandings of them (like Martin Luther and the book of James).

    I appeal to to my cessationist brothers to not reject these clearly taught practices of the New Testement Church on the basis of your having seen their abuses, but to instead to “correctly handle the word of Truth.”

    This morning I have spent considerable time reading I Timothy 4 and I am so pained that within the church today there are many who are unable, or unwilling to “point these things out” to the Brothers and instead flee a church whenever there is something they disagree with. The migratory nature of the modern beleiver is one of the saddest fulfillments of the word of God today (II Timothy 4:3). We can stop it if we will make efforts to correct bad practice and promote good teaching.

  4. Sorry to all about the length of my post. I look like echo. Yikes!

  5. Daniel,

    That is good to hear that we have some agreement and that we are both “cessationist” in some sense.

    I think this is important to note. And I agree that 1 Cor 12-14 does not address cessationism at all. However, what is interesting is that apostles are listed with the spiritual gifts of the body. And we (you and I) are being selective on which gifts continue and which do not.

    I think you know how I come to my conclusion, but I would like to know how you come to yours. How do you conclude that this gift of the spirit has ceased?

    Mike S.

  6. I guess I’ll be the skunk at the garden party here again (surprise), and simply state that the “Apostle” isn’t as mystical as you make him out to be. I view the role of the “Apostle” as primarily a “sent out one” who plants churches, thus, by default, becoming a “father” figure to the churches he plants. Period.

  7. Albino,

    So you believe in apostolic succession and would not agree with this:

    Nonetheless, I believe you are also a type of “cessationist” since you hold to a closed canon of Scripture, right?

    And assuming I am correct in your view of the canon. What gives you assurance that the canon is closed?

    Mike S.

  8. I agree with Jim (big surprise eh), in that the apostle (one who has authority to write scripture) has ceased. This does not mean that there can not be apostles today. An apostle, like Jim says, is someone who is sent out. research the etymology of the title “apostle” and you find that it is from this word that the Latin word, missio, comes and we get our term “missionary”. You do believe in missionaries today right? the Greek term of apostle, the one understood by the original readers did not limit their understanding to the 12 apostles. So should we aspire ourselves to be “apostles”, not when a better differentiating term such as ‘missionary’ exists, but this too is an argument of semantics. 12 Apostles? Dead. Current apostles? Missionaries. Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers? All in play today. provided you understand Apostle as missionary and prophet as a non-authoritative herald of God (not like the OT prophets)

  9. Uh, who’s Jim?

    Mike raises a good question. I do believe the canon of scripture is closed, but I guess I can’t really offer a good defense of that right now. I suppose it has to do with the original capital ‘A’ Apostles all being dead now.

    I’d also like to point something out. I read Mike S.’s post on the Apostle and I have to say that the Acts reference to replacing Judas was putting forth the requirements for “THAT PARTICULAR REPLACEMENT.” We know this because, as Mike S. pointed out, Paul is an exception to this rule. Therefore, I have never felt comfortable that the exegesis is correct to use that as a ‘general’ set of rules for one to be considered an “Apostle.”

    That being said, here’s another thing to think about. If the canon has to be written by one of the 12 or Paul, then who wrote Hebrews? I tend to hold on to the classic idea that Paul wrote it, especially since I read the part where the author mentions his chains. But, by some of the criteria for canon set forth in these discussions, it would have to be one of the 13, right?


  10. Rube,

    In paragraph 3 of your post you mention things that the scripture is not sufficient for. Maybe this is word play, but I would have to say that the Bible is sufficient for true science. The methods that we employ for science are based on principles that the Bible lays out for us, such as two or three witnesses. True science doesn’t accept something as reality unless it can be tested over and over again. That’s just one example. I think there are more underlying principles and generalities of truth we can learn from scripture that allow us to use our minds and rationality which helps us in these areas, including making wine and bread.

    Just my two cents. But I think you discredit scriptures sufficiency a little too quickly, though I understand where you are coming from.

    Shanda! (

  11. Daniel,

    This is a mere technicality I understand the word apostle simply means “one who is sent”. And the pizza delivery guy is an apostle (sent from) of pizza hut.

    I assume that you would then conclude that this gift still continues in the Church and their are modern day apostles?

    So, it looks like we have one thing in common. We all believe that adding books to the canon has ceased. Daniel, how do you conclude this?

    Mike S.

  12. Jeff,

    You cannot conclude that only Apostles wrote Scripture…Luke or Mark? Mark and Luke, however were under the teaching or supervision of Paul and Peter.

    I think Paul’s constant defense of his apostolic office, implies that those rules were legitimate. See 1 Cor 15:1-9 and 2 Cor 12:12.

    Mike S.

  13. I’m Jim, but you can call me Albino, for the purposes of blogging entries.

  14. Ok, Mike, it took me a while, but I finally got your “we are all cessationist” point. Very clever. You do realize that “cessationism” is the commonly accepted term for the belief that all of the supernatural gifts of the Spirit ended with the Apostles’ death.

    But, with your new definition, I guess I’m included. Isn’t it nice to have me “inside the tent, peeing out, instead of outside the tent, peeing in?” — for bonus credit: who said that?

  15. Albino,

    I would really like to know how you conclude that the canon of Scripture is closed?

    I think you know where I am coming from, but I have no clue where you are coming from. I can respect Jeff’s honsety, he is not sure. But what about you? Let’s think this through (and get to know each other better?)

    How do you know that the 66 books are the sole authority?

    Mike S.

  16. No guess as to my quote?

  17. I believe that it is generally accepted the author of the book of James is not James of “James and John, sons of Zebedee” but James, the brother of Jesus. Another example of an author of the canon who was not one of the 12-original-Apostles-plus-Matthias-plus-Paul.

    That James, of course, was also an important leader in the early church.

  18. Forester sez: My sister-in-law, who spent time recently in South America on a summer mission trip, reported two occasions in which she held conversations in Spanish with people…

    MikeS sez: Wow! Amazing! I can’t believe it is still going on.

    Joke #1: So are you no longer a cessationist?

    Joke #2: So I guess you would also consider yourself a cessationist when it comes to “blogs about tongues”?

    I think it is interesting to note that we most often hear these kinds of stories in a foreign, distant context. On the one hand, that could be because they are the same kind of sociological phenomenon as urban legends, which always happpened somewhere far away, to somebody else, and can’t be verified. On the other hand, it also makes sense to me that such anecdotes, if true works of the Spirit, would happen far away, or in particular, in places on the earth where the Gospel makes its first big explosion, just like the early church. Consider South Korea, which has exploded with the Gospel over the last 50(?) years. I would watch China, because (Lord willing), the communist government can’t keep the true church hidden for much longer!

    No one today can rightly claim that they are infallibly speaking God’s own words (unless of course they are reading the scriptures aloud, but I digress).

    Actually, you do not digress at all. The strong form of prophecy I would call speaking God’s words, directly from God, which have never been spoken before. This includes predictive prophecy or creation of scripture (or both)! Contrast that to what might be defined as a ‘weaker’ form of prophecy, which would be proclaiming God’s word, the words which have already been spoken, and which are found in scripture. In this sense, definitely the church is edified, and this is what I was talking about when I associated the term ‘prophecy’ with ‘exegesis’.

    Now you correctly say “No one today can rightly claim that they are infallibly speaking God’s own words.” Point 1: shame on the pope. Point 2: God doesn’t have any fallible words. Thus no one today can rightly claim that they are fallibly speaking God’s own words. Either they are proclaiming scripture (which as you note is infallibly speaking God’s own words), or they have an infallible message from God (true prophecy, which is the question in point), or they are speaking on their own. I admit to no middle ground.

    In paragraph 3 of your post you mention things that the scripture is not sufficient for.

    My point (which was probably obscured by my silly examples) is that previous claims that the sole purpose of revelation is edification of the body are false. At least one other purpose of revelation exists (and is amply demonstrated by tongues in the early church): miraculous aids to evangelism.

    And so my questions are really these: Is scripture sufficient for God’s evangelistic purposes for the church, or are prophetic gifts also necessary? (Not being God, I can’t give a definitive answer, but I say that possibly the prophetic gifts are necessary) — and does the existence of prophetic gifts contradict the sufficiency of scripture? (I say, no — not for the purpose of scripture that was previously agreed to be the edification of the church)

  19. Mike, I do know how the canon was formed. Can we just posit that I do, or are you really sincerely asking me to teach you how it was formed?

  20. Ok, Mike, but you better pay me what you are paying your Westminster profs for this!

    Portions of the New Testament are already being called ‘Scripture’ by Peter and Paul (2 Peter 3:14-16; 1 Timothy 5:18)!

    There were various lists of a New Testament canon being made throughout the first centuries of the church’s existence. Specific mention about books being part of ‘Scripture’ or not part of ‘Scripture’ is made by Clement of Rome (AD 95), Polycarp (115), the epistle of Barnabas (132), Justin Martyr (150), Irenaeus (180), the Muratorian Canon (175), Tertullian (190), Origen (225), Eusebius (340), and Athanasius of Alexandria (367).

    For the core of the New Testament including the four Gospels, Acts, the thirteen letters of Paul, 1 John, and 1 Peter there was virtually no serious question raised about their canonical authority. Only a handful of books that are now included in our New Testament Bible were ever under serious question. They include such books as Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, Jude, Revelation, and the second and third epistles of John. All of these were finally considered to be of canonical stature and formalized within the canon.

    The first official meeting of churches which listed the twenty-seven books of the New Testament was the Synod of Hippo in 393. It did not confer upon them any authority, but simply recorded their previously established canonicity. The Third Synod of Carthage reaffirmed the Hippo decision in 397. The earliest know confirmation of this list by a Bishop of Rome comes from Pope Innocent in 405.

    The Synod of Carthage used three criteria in recognizing books as part of the New Testament canon:

    Was the book prepared by an apostle or under the direction of an apostle? (Ephesians 2:20; John 16:13). Was the book used and recognized by the churches? (John 10:4). Did the book teach sound doctrine as compared with books that were already accepted as Scripture? (1 Corinthians 14:29).

    It is important to realize that a book did not become inspired by being included in the canon. Rather inclusion in the canon was merely recognition of the authority that the book already possessed from God. It is a little bit like an purple elephant walking into the room and us deciding that “Yes, indeed! That’s a purple elephant and he is in the room.” We did not make him a purple elephant and we did not put him in the room — we merely recognize what is obvious.

    The canon of Scripture was NOT formed by the declaration of a church council any more than Isaac Newton created the law of gravity. Rather, as written revelation came from God through God’s chosen writers, the people of God recognized God’s voice and affirmed that the writing was indeed the word of God.

    Jesus said, “His sheep follow Him because they know his voice” (John 10:4). The people of God knew the word of God when they heard it and read it and, as a result, the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament were recognized and collected into the canon.

  21. “inside the tent, peeing out, instead of outside the tent, peeing in?” — for bonus credit: who said that?

    Ross Perot?

  22. Rube,

    I whole-heartedly applaud your opening post.

    I’m starting a new paragraph, because I want that statement to stand on its own without qualification. Yes, I disagree with some of your post, as you knew I would, but that still doesn’t silence my applause. That fact will surely surprise some of my “opponents” in this debate. That being said, I have to correct your understanding of what I said.

    “First of all, I disagree with Echo, in his assessment that Daniel answered the question correctly. Of the many purposes of tongues, self-edification is either the least, or not one at all. Higher than that are two more: edification of the church, and as a sign to unbelievers (both of which require understanding through interpretation, by the way). Which raises the spectre of an as-yet unnamed purpose for revelation: the spread of the gospel. Is the closed canon sufficient for the spread of the gospel? Actually, no, the scriptures that we have are not sufficient for the spread of the gospel into nations with unknown languages. And this purpose exactly matches the obvious purpose of tongues in the apostolic church, to be a sign to unbelievers.”

    If you look again at how I showed that Daniel’s 3 purposes collapse into ONE purpose, you’ll see that I didn’t agree with his notion that tongues edifies the speaker, as if that were its purpose. And in fact, Daniel, I think, misunderstands the verse he is quoting there.

    First of all, tongues are supposed to be interpreted SO THAT they can edify the church. 1 Cor 14:5 “Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.” If the tongues are interpreted, as they’re supposed to be, then lo and behold, it builds up (edifies) the church.

    Now we see that tongues and prophesy really have the exact same PURPOSE. Perhaps another better word to use here would be GOAL. The question is, why does God give it in the first place? He gives prophesy to edify the church. He gives tongues to be interpreted, and when they have been interpreted (or perhaps understood by that person in whose native language the tongues speaker is speaking), it serves the same function and acheives the same goal as prophesy, namely that it edifies the listener (or shall we say “hearer”, to denote its passivity).

    So now we are down to two goals. One is to edify the church – and this is to be broadly understood. This is not confined necessarily to a worship service, so its not confined strictly speaking to the church. Paul, in 1 Cor 14 was speaking ABOUT the worship service. However, we of course see in the book of Acts that there was prophesy and tongues going on outside of a worship service. So when we are talking about edifying the church, we should understand this to be edifying believers, which especially takes place in the church in an organized fashion.

    Now, I think Daniel quite properly gave us the purpose or goal or usefulness of Scripture when he quoted: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (II Timothy 3:16-17)

    But now I would ask the question: how do you define “edify”? If it’s not teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, I would be very surprised. I have always understood the word “edify” to mean those things.

    Webster online defines “edify” like this:

    1 archaic a : BUILD b : ESTABLISH
    2 : to instruct and improve especially in moral and religious knowledge : UPLIFT; also : ENLIGHTEN, INFORM

    And oh, by the way, the Word of God is supposed to “edify” the “man of God”, which is the same people that prophesy and tongues (which are SUPPOSED TO BE translated so that they can edify the church) are supposed to edify.

    So like I said before, I see these three as having the same purpose.

  23. Good guess, Ruberad, but it was that earthy Texas President himself, LBJ. You got the state right, anyway.

  24. …on the definition of “apostle”.

    I can’t remember now who was talking about the etymology of this word, but it will be helpful for us to define the word according to how it is used. While etymology is helpful, it doesn’t always give us the answer as to what a word “really” means.

    For example, we might refer to a gay man as a “queen”. Surely etymology does not shed any light at all on this definition.

    Of course, etymology does have its uses, and “one who has been sent” is a pretty good working definition of what an apostle is. But it does not grasp the richness of the term. The term actually has a history that streches back behind Christianity in history. It is actually something that the Jews had in practice.

    Remember the story of Abraham sending his servant to find a wife for Isaac? That servant was an “apostle”. I know, the OT was written in Hebrew. I’m just parroting what I learned recently in my Ancient Church History class. We’re not talking about just the origin of the word “apostle”, but the definition of the office. Once we understand the office, then we’ll understand the word. Anyway, the office has a history, and it begins, at least in the Bible, with Abraham sending his servant this way.

    I have been told that we can think about this as one who is sent with a power of attourney. This sent one has the authority not just to speak for who he represents, but to ACT for him. So the servant whom Abraham sent had the power to act on Abraham’s behalf. Abraham gave him instructions, sure, but he spent Abraham’s money, giving his gold to Rebekah’s family, and he brought her back to Isaac, who was just as bound to marry her as if his father had picked her for him. (See Gen 24).

    Jesus in every way gave His authority to His apostles. They did not merely speak for Him.

    Mat 16:19 “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

    Ultimately, in order to be an apostle, you have to have been sent by Christ Himself. That’s why Paul was so emphatic about the fact that Christ is the one who taught Paul what he knew, that he hadn’t learned it from any man, but Christ (Gal 1, esp v. 12). And he also made sure people were aware that Christ Himself had appeared to him.

    You can’t act on someone else’s behalf unless they themselves give you that authority. So while Christ appeared to Paul, in the other case, replacing Judas, God decided through the lots that were cast.

    So this is how apostles are different from prophets. Prophets speak for God, apostles act for Him.

  25. On my way to Appleby’s with the little family. Bottomless chips and a Sante Fe Salad.

  26. Rube,

    As to the spread of the Gospel, we need preaching for that. And missions. But:

    2Ti 4:1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:
    2Ti 4:2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

    The Word is the ONLY content of preaching. You must preach the Word. If you go beyond the Word in your preaching, you are not preaching the Word. If you preach less than the Word, you are not preaching the Word.

  27. Heb 1:1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,
    Heb 1:2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

    What about this? What about preaching the Word? Is God speaking other than in His Son?

    No. Jesus said:

    Joh 5:39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,

    Luk 24:27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

    Rom 3:20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
    Rom 3:21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it–
    Rom 3:22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:
    Rom 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

    Here’s the point: Christ Jesus IS the Word incarnate (John 1) precisely because He is the CONTENT of the Word. The focus of the Bible is Christ. There is nothing in the Bible that doesn’t have to do with CHrist.

    So here’s how revelation works. The Christ event is predicted in type and shadow and in various ways. Then, BOOM, the culmination and focal point of history: Jesus Christ becomes flesh. (The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.) Next, you have the ministry and work of Jesus, including His life, death and resurrection, and the 40 days of appearance until Pentecost, which is the climax of the Christ event, where Christ comes in the Holy Spirit to indwell His people. There’s the event that the entire Bible points to: considering the ministry of Christ and Pentecost as one event. This complex is the point of history, both biblical and otherwise. All history gives testimony in various ways of this event. The OT gives us an inspired account of how history is pointing to Christ.

    The rest of the Bible, namely the NT, either provides us with a record of the events, or the inspired interpretation of the events.

    It’s all about the God-revealing Christ event. This is how God has always operated. Revelation predicts, records and interprets God’s acts in history. These are the three things that Revelation does.

    So when we say that God has spoken in these last days in His Son, it means that this is the POINT of all forms of revelation. The various ways in which God USED to speak to us POINTS to Christ and Him crucified. That’s why the law and the prophets bear witness to Him.

    So what need do we have of the temple now that we have Christ? None. What need do we have of other shadowy things that point to Christ in the OT, now that we have Christ? None. But just having Christ was not enough as far as revelation goes. We needed God to interpret for us what He did, which He very graciously did for us in Paul’s writings, Peter’s, Hebrews, etc.

    Revelation makes very clear from the very first word what the point of revelation is: “The revelation of JESUS CHRIST…”

    So, the sufficiency of the Scriptures itself is derived from the sufficiency of Christ for the purposes of revelation. However, we needed more than an account of the event, we needed inspired interpretation of that event. And we have that.

    So now we preach the Word, and the Gospel spreads.

    It is the faith that was “once for all given to the saints”. Ah, sweet Jesus.

    But note: God has spoken to the world at large already. Missionaries to people in Africa don’t do “apostolic” things simply because those people have never heard the gospel before. If that were the case, then you would be able to perform miracles for the guy down the street who was raised a pagan and who has never heard of the gospel before.

    Do you see how the revelation of the gospel is intimately tied with the Word in Rom 3? The law and prophets testify to Christ, who brings and makes known our salvation by accomplishing it once and for all, and THIS is the final revelation of God.

    That is, until Christ returns to judge the living and the dead, when we shall all see Him.

  28. I meant to add that prophesy in the NT was simply a matter of preaching Christ from the OT. But this preaching was, of course, inspired. So it would have looked very, very similar to what we have in the NT.


  29. Dang! I meant to add a reason for saying that. It’s because they would have been inspired interpretations of the revelatory Christ event.



  30. Ok, Echo. Take your definition and explain to me what Paul meant when he told Timothy, “Don’t neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the elders.”…Nope, not buying it.

  31. Dang! He got me. Read one post, then another. Then, oops, another, and another. Hmmm, if I remember correctly, one quality belonging to the fruit of the Spirit is ‘self control.’ :0

    Just kidding, I just have to elbow you (Echo) and your long windedness.



  32. In response to one of Echo’s points in one of the posts above:

    Now we see that tongues and prophesy really have the exact same PURPOSE.

    Paul, in 1 Cor 14 was speaking ABOUT the worship service.

    So, we see that you definitely have the context correctly, you KNOW that he was speaking in context of a worship service. Now, how about a little intellectual honesty here, okay? Your statement that I quoted above should read: “Now we see that interpreted tongues within a worship service and prophecy really have the exact same PURPOSE.”

    That’s it, just one point to make in this comment. Easy to read, easy to respond to.


  33. Here’s another thing I just don’t get:

    1 Cor 14:5 “Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.”

    How is it that anybody can read this and yet understand it like this?:

    1 Cor 14:5 “Now I want you all to speak in tongues as long as it is interpreted, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues that is interpreted, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.”

    I just DON’T get it. If Paul ALWAYS talked about the only legitimate use of tongues as being interpreted, then why in the same sentence does he only qualify it once AND IN SEEMINGLY CLEAR CONTRAST TO HIS FIRST MENTIONING OF IT?

    Why would he make interpreted tongues equal to prophesy, but right before doing that put a preference of prophecy over interpreted tongues?

    I submit that the only way you can read Paul as being rational is if you understand this verse like this:

    1 Cor 14:5 “Now I want you all to speak in uninterpreted tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in uninterpreted tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.”

    The fact that paul says “unless someone interprets,” DEMANDS that the “tongues” immediately preceding is “uninterpreted.” And since that IS the case, the first tongues has to be “uninterpreted” as well based on sentence structure. First sentence has tongues and prophecy. Second sentence has tongues and prophecy. They are being compared, so each term is the same.

    Okay, a little bit longer of a post, but still only one point and I think still pretty darn simple. I really don’t see how you can get around this argument unless you bring your own bias into this.

    Bino: How was Applebees? :)


  34. Was there any interpretation here?:

    Acts 10 44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.

    or here?:

    Acts 19 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. 7 Now the men were about twelve in all.

    What about this?:

    Jude 1 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,

    I thought it was wrong to edify yourself (1 Cor 14:2)? Why would Jude recommend it to them? And this “praying in the Holy Spirit” thing, sounds a lot like 1 Cor 14: 15

    “What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.

    And before you point out that Paul was showing that without interpretation it doesn’t edify the other (which I agree with), take a look two verses down:

    17 For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified.

    Hmm, the other is not edified. Check, that means it was uninterpreted tongues, right? IT HAS TO BE. So, let’s see what he says about that:



    What? I thought it was just jibberish? How can it be that uninterpreted tongues really is giving thanks? My My My My My. Maybe Paul was right in verse two when he tells us that he who speaks in an (unknown) tongue edifies (builds up) himself. Could it be? Hmmm. Maybe he meant it AND he wasn’t being scarcastic? Nahh. That just makes too much sense. I guess we charismatic guys should just leave it up the seminary students. We can’t really understand or exegete scripture. We’re biased. We must defer to the smart guys who worship God with their minds, since we only have our subjective emotions to go on.

  35. chips and cheese skillet was outstanding. Santa Fe salad was incredible. Diet Pepsi with grenadine was wicked. And rachel spilling over a glass full of water, tea, coffee creamer and crayons…priceless.

  36. Oh, PS. Maybe Paul also meant that he was speaking to God.

    Nahh, giving thanks to God and speaking to God couldn’t be done at the same time. Besides, like I said, it’s just jibberish. It’s not a mystery. It’s not speaking to God. And, it’s not giving thanks.

    Wow, thank God for seminary students.

    What do you think? Too much scarcasm? If it’s good enough for Paul (1 Cor 14:2) then it’s good enough for me!


  37. EXCELLENT exegisis, Jeff. Force those seminarians to set aside their doctrinal blinders and read the Bible in context without bias…what a concept!

  38. Echo said:

    Ultimately, in order to be an apostle, you have to have been sent by Christ Himself.

    Can God still do this?

    Okay, I assume everyone will answer yes to the above. How about this?:

    Does God still do this?

    If the answer is “no,” then “what is the scriptural proof to show that He doesn’t?”


  39. Hey Rube,

    I just thought of one answer to your question: “what is scripture sufficient for?”

    One answer is, to teach us that uninterpreted tongues is still okay for today!

    (I think that comes under the heading of ‘doctrine.’

    He he.


  40. So like I said before, I see these three as having the same purpose.

    Asserting a single purpose of edifying the church seems to ignore the fact that, while prophecy is a sign for believers (edifying the church), tongues is a sign for unbelievers (outside the church). One purpose inward, one purpose outward.

    Was there any interpretation here?: “…For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.”

    Obviously there was understanding, if they knew that they were magnifying God.


    I’m not sure what xlation that is from, but ESV says “For you MAY be giving thanks well enough, BUT the other person is not being built up.” The emphasis being different makes it seem like possibly giving thanks well enough may not be worth it.

  41. Albino,

    I went to Applebees too. Okay, sounds like you gave a run down of the formation of the canon. That’s really not what I was asking (already knew all that stuff).

    What I was asking is what gives you assurance that only the 66 books are the sole authority? Gauging from your response you affirm with the rest of orthodoxy that apostolic authorship or supervision was an essential criteria.

    Is this correct? Then why does this give you hope that the canon is complete?

    Mike S.

  42. To All,

    I have a confession to make…I still believe in the gift of tongues…..

    BUT, this gift is no longer an extraordinary gift. No it is a rather ordinary gift and it is evidenced in the Scriptures being interpreted into the vernacular of every tribe and tongue.

    I think Jeff had a great question on the continuation of an apostle. There is no explicit Scripute that denies the continuance of this office (unless you accet 1 Cor 15:1-9).

    That is the problem, how do you guys conclude the canon is closed then?

    Mike S.

  43. RE #42, MSAudio

    Earlier I was mentioning the canon and authorship of it by apostles. This was because I was getting the sense from these threads that people here were assuming it. MSAudio says:

    I think Jeff had a great question on the continuation of an apostle. There is no explicit Scripute that denies the continuance of this office (unless you accet 1 Cor 15:1-9).

    That is the problem, how do you guys conclude the canon is closed then?

    That’s exactly what I was talking about. On this matter, I’m not going to assert anything. I’ll need to do more study to beef up my apologetic in the area of the closing of the canon.

    But, what is the answer? From anyone? How does anyone prove the closing of the canon? Since we are not Catholic, then we adhere to “Scripture Alone,” so I guess you have to prove the closing of the canon via scripture.

    Just in case, I want to make sure you all know that THIS is a serious question and there is NO scarcasim on this comment. :) This is a sincere truth seeking question. AND, I REALLY do believe that the canon is the canon and it can’t be added to (but I’m not sure why I believe that).


  44. Rube,

    Weak brother, weak. With or without the “MAY,” he’s still saying that thanks are being given. That is the fact you must wrestle with along with all the other exegisis I offered last night.

    Love you man!


  45. No one today can rightly claim that they are infallibly speaking God’s own words (unless of course they are reading the scriptures aloud, but I digress).

    Let me respond to this again, in a different way. Given this statement, Daniel, you are forced into one of the following positions:
    1 The gift of prophecy has ceased. (hard cessationism)
    2 The gift of prophecy which remains is restricted to Holy-Spirit-assisted proclamation from the closed canon of scripture (mild cessationism)
    3 People can infallibly speak their own words. (freakshow)
    4 God can speak fallibly. (heresy)

  46. Jeff,

    Sorry for my unedited statement, I was in a rush to finish because my breakfast meeting was about to start.

    That’s why I am asking Jim and Daniel how they conclude the canon is closed. It really boils down to the nature of special revelation, its authority, how it was authenticated and who the authorized agents were.

    The Scriptures are pregnant with this, especially if you read Exodus, the Gospels and Acts. God’s people didn’t have to guess (or check the Scriptures) whether a prophet or apostle was speaking His words. There are always signs and wonders that accompany the message to validate it. (

    I would submit that this what gives Scriptures its authority. The fact that it was written by authorized agents of revelation. That’s why there was a pretty solid consensus within the early church on the canonical books.

    Mike S.

  47. Daniel 9 comes to mind:
    vs 24 states,

    Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy.

    I believe Christ via His life, death, and resurrection fulfilled all those things, including the sealing up of prophecy and vision. The Old Covenant age was the age of promise. This New Covenant age is the age of fulfillment.

  48. The problem with that, however, is the same problem with Heb 1: Every Word of the New Testament was put to paper after the Resurrection, so revelation was not wrapped up and tied with a bow at the Resurrection.

  49. Jeff,

    You’re more or less right in posts 32 and 33. However, note that 1 Cor 14:5 doesn’t say interpreted or uninterpreted. But I think we’re interpreting it the same way.

    Uninterpreted tongues is less than prophesy. But when it’s interpreted: it IS prophesy.

    My whole point was that tongues ARE prophesy. They just require interpretation. But the point of tongues is so that people can hear prophesy in their own native language. Making it exceedingly easier for them to understand. I mean, part of the astonishing thing about Pentecost is that people are actually prophesying, but it’s not in the “holy language” that people would have expected prophesy to take place in, namely Hebrew. That’s part of why people are accusing them of being drunk. Decorum and ettiquette at the time mandated that you spoke solemnly of God in Hebrew. It was the holy language, even though it wasn’t the everyday language. Certainly sermons and prophesy were in hebrew.

  50. Jeff,

    Re: 34

    Yeah, there’s interpretation here:

    Act 10:46 For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared,

    They HEARD THEM extolling (praising) God. They didn’t hear babbling, they heard them extolling God.

    Acts 19 is silent on whether or not the tongues were interpreted, or what the context was. Was Paul talking to the 12 men alone? Were they in the city center so that they were speaking to the crowds that were inevitably gathering? Did they GO OUT and speak TO PEOPLE when they spoke in tongues, or did they speak to nobody?

    If you say that they weren’t interpreted, or that they spoke to nobody but God, then you are making an assumption that there is no warrant for in the text. If I say that they necessarily were interpreted, I too am making an unwarranted assumption. Unless of course I make the argument from the rest of Scripture.

    Regarding Jude’s “praying in the Spirit”, there is also an assumption being made here. You define speaking in tongues as praying in the Spirit, meaning that you are using the Spirit to pray, or that the Spirit is using you to pray or whatever. I’m not exactly sure how you define it.

    But there is nothing here in the text that suggests that this is praying in tongues. Everything we do is motivated and empowered by the Spirit. If you praise God in English and give thanks to Him for your dinner, you do so in the Spirit.


    You have to have some evidence for how Jude is defining “in the Spirit”. You have no evidence that this necessarily means tongues.

    Even going to 1 Cor 14 doesn’t help you here. Paul’s distinction may or may not be being used by Jude. You don’t know.

  51. Rube,

    Christ was the fulness of revelation, however He never wrote a word about Himself. This task was delegated to His Apostles to complete (think of a Power of Attorney like Echo spoke and I indicated on my blog). Thus, once the last Apostle wrote the last word of Scripture the foundation was completed (Eph 2:19-21)

    This is part of the accomplished work of redemption. The incarnation, death, burial, resurrection, pentecost and completing of prophetic writings (recording permanently Christ the Word of God).

    The applied work of redemption would include things now in force preaching, teaching, etc.

    I guess JO and DB are busy or they cannot think of a good reason why the canon is closed without completely undermining their theological persausions.

    Mike S.

  52. Echo,

    You said:

    But the point of tongues is so that people can hear prophesy in their own native language.

    I think that when reading 1 Cor 14, one has to admit that your sentence would be more accurate if it was stated like:

    But one reason for tongues is so that people can hear prophesy in their own native language.

  53. Echo,

    You’re right that nobody can be sure either way with linking Jude to 1 Cor 14. I was pointing out the ‘similarity.’ I.E. he talks of building up (edify) and Paul talks of edify (building up). Jude talks of “praying in the Spirit” and so does Paul. In Jude, we’re not sure, but in 1 Cor 14, we are sure that it refers to praying in tongues since he contrasts it with “praying with the understanding.” Therefore, at least from Paul’s perspective, “praying in tongues” is synonymous with “praying in the spirit.” The logical leap, which I admit is not a “necessary” inference is that they are speaking with the same terms. I believe that was so and in the day it was just a common way to speak about praying in tongues. I know that doesn’t convince you; so be it. But maybe you can grant to me that I’m not being illogical and at least deriving my understanding from scripture itself and not emotion or experience.


  54. Every Word of the New Testament was put to paper after the Resurrection, so revelation was not wrapped up and tied with a bow at the Resurrection

    Right, but those words were written (in a few cases indirectly) by men appointed by Christ to be apostles (enter Ephesians 2:20), so Christ’s work (both in his humiliation and exaltation) still fulfilled the Daniel 9 passage.

  55. I’m going to have to do a running commentary of 1 Cor 14 after all.

    1Co 14:12 So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.
    1Co 14:13 Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray for the power to interpret.

    Do you see what this verse here says (13)??? It says you SHOULD pray for the power to interpret. You who speak in uninterpreted tongues are doing something wrong. You should pray that God would rectify the situation.

    1Co 14:14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful.
    1Co 14:15 What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.

    Now I know this is hard to understand, but Paul is actually saying here that it is BAD to pray with the “spirit” (my spirit, not the Holy SPirit) only. This is a BAD THING. This is why I pointed out about 10 years ago in the previous thread that Paul is addressing the error of ecstatic utterances. What is the difference between Holy Spirit inspired praying in tongues and praying with “MY” spirit without my mind, without understanding? You tell me. There’s obviously some difference, because a careful reading of 1 Cor 14 DEMANDS that you see that there are more than one thing being talked about here. This praying with “MY SPIRIT” rather than the HOLY SPIRIT and without the mind and understanding is DIFFERENT from the tongues being advocated. The tongues being advocated are the tongues that come FROM the Holy Spirit, and are intended to be interpreted, and once they are interpreted, they edify the church because they talk about Christ and the great things He did. (As Jesus said, the Holy Spirit would glorify HIM.) But Paul does NOT advocate praying with “my spirit” without my mind and my understanding. this is easily understood against the backdrop of a little bit of history. At the time, mystery religions, such as that of Mithras and Dionysus, were very popular. They sought to have ecstatic out of body experiences which were very emotional, in which the god would possess your body and control your tongue. does that sound at all remotely similar to what goes on in a Pentecostal church??????? I know for a FACT that it does, because I spent 20 years growing up in one, and visiting many others, and gathering many times a year with the youth of the entire state. I know what goes on. I know what they’re seeking, and THAT is best described by an ecstatic, emotional experience in which the god controls your tongue and you don’t. In HOLY SPIRIT given tongues, however, do you think you or the Holy Spirit literally control your tongue? if it is the Holy Spirit, then why in Acts 2:3 do we see a language coming to rest on them? What is a tongue of fire? “Tongue” is simply “language”. A language that appeared like fire came and rested on them. Boom, the Spirit enabled them to understand and speak a language. Then they spoke it for themselves. Otherwise, Paul couldn’t tell them to be silent without an interpreter. They must be in control of their use of the gift. (1 Cor 14:28)

    1Co 14:16 Otherwise, if you give thanks with your spirit, how can anyone in the position of an outsider say “Amen” to your thanksgiving when he does not know what you are saying?

    Does anyone see something here about Church in general? Maybe we should be focusing on others rather than ourselves?

    1Co 14:17 For you may be giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not being built up.

    You “may be”. Now, if you look at the Greek, there is a particle here: “men”. That CAN mean a number of things. One of the things it can mean is “indeed”, but if you’ve taken Greek, you know that it makes no sense to translate it that way in this sentence, namely because of the second half of the verse, that talks about a contrast, that the other isn’t being built up. “maybe” “might”, “possibly”, these are better translations. And as I have said before, Strong’s is not the best dictionary or grammar authority. It’s like a junior high text book. He often misses the richness of a word, and the King James often misses subtle nuances in grammar. But I give him a lot of credit. Just not a lot of authority.

    1Co 14:18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.
    1Co 14:19 Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.

    Now here’s a question: can you speak in tongues while also using your mind?

    1Co 14:20 Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.

    This is self explanatory. he’s referring to their self-centered childish attitudes. That’s why he keeps emphasizing the rule about focusing on the good of others in church.

    that’s all I have time for right now. Maybe more in a couple of hours.

  56. Round 2: Echo vs. Paul

  57. Ring around the rosie, a pocket full of posies, ashes, ashes, we all fall down! :)

    Echo, we’re just NOT going to agree on this. You’re twisting the scriptures to make it say what you want it to. But then you’re going to accuse me of the same thing. We’re probably not ever going to convince each other.

    You say:

    Do you see what this verse here says (13)??? It says you SHOULD pray for the power to interpret. You who speak in uninterpreted tongues are doing something wrong. You should pray that God would rectify the situation.

    Yes, IN A PUBLIC OR CHURCH SETTING, you should. I agree, but IN A CHURCH SETTING. There is NO prohibition of private tongues here. Period. You are construing that prohibition from your experience, your bias, and your negative history. NOT from the scripture itself. (BTW, I agree that the AOG is over the top and I consider myself a VERY conservative tongue talker. I ONLY pray in a tongue privately or maybe with my wife).

    You quote:

    1Co 14:14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful.
    1Co 14:15 What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.

    and then you start talking about the tongues being advocated and it different from your own spirit and such. Yes, there are different kinds of tongues spoken about here. Yes, IN A CHURCH SETTING, the kind “being advocated” is interpreted. But NO, it DOESN’T teach that it is BAD!

    Look very carefully at verses 14 & 15. Verse 14 Paul IS saying that “praying in a tongue” IS HIS spirit praying. He is saying his mind is unfruitful. There is NO moral bias in this verse here. He didn’t say “my mind is unfruitful AND Boy! this is bad! So, you CAN’T say it is bad, and I can’t say it is good (from this verse).

    Now verse 15, Paul SAYS HE WILL pray with HIS spirit. He says HE WILL. If you say that praying with your spirit is BAD, then you are saying Paul is concluding that he WILL DO something BAD!!!

    Here’s another one of your questions:

    Now here’s a question: can you speak in tongues while also using your mind?

    You ask this after quoting another one of Pauls statements about HIS OWN BEHAVIOR. First, my answer, NO. I think it is clear from verse 15 that they are contrasted with each other.

    1Co 14:18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.
    1Co 14:19 Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.

    Now, you just ignore what Paul is stating here. A careful reading of verse 18 & 19 DEMANDS that you accept paul as speaking in “unknown,” “uninterpreted” tongues “more than all of you” because of the contrast he states in 19. NEVERTHELESS, he would RATHER speak five words WITH HIS MIND. If verse 18 was talking about ‘interpreted tongues’ then he couldn’t be talking about preferring to speak fiver ‘understood’ words, aka words spoken with his mind.

    And also see that he says “IN CHURCH!!!!”

    Pay attention, be honest, stop forcing your emotional bias on others. The scripture just DOESN’T SUPPORT YOUR UNINTELLIGIBLE EMOTIONAL BIAS.

    You’ve got one thing right though, partially. IN CHURCH (which you forget to acknowledge) it is CHILDISH to insist on speaking or praying with an unknown uninterpreted tongue.

    For me, this really all just becomes acedemic. You’ll never see me or hear me speaking in an unknown tongue as best as I can tell. God has never moved me to speak out in another tongue publicly. He’s never given me an interpretation of other’s outspoken tongues. Most of the time, here in America and American churches, I’ve felt that the outspoken so-called interpreted tongues was not genuine.

    But, the complete dismissal and denial that they as well as the other supernatural revelational gifts is just flat out bad interpretation from emotion bias and I think that takes away from the possibility of God’s ministering to His people.


  58. Albino,

    Am I going to get to hear why you think the canon is complete? This does not mean give a summary on the formation of the church.

    Also, what do you think about my affirmation that tongues are still a “gift” in the church today? This is now an ordinary (as a opposed to extraordinary) gift that is demonstrated in the ability to translate the Scriptures into foreign languages.

    Mike S.

  59. Mike, I am pastoring a church, preaching twice a week, in the middle of a brand new discipleship program of our own creation, in a building program, organizing an open-air bbq for the community (with music and preaching) trying to be a dad and husband, and attempting to stay on top of my fantasy football team. Give me a break.

    I gave you why we believe the canon is complete. You have not responded as to all the congregational, prophetic words that went on during Paul’s ministry, and why they were not canonical if you really believe that the canon cannot co-exist with prophecy and tongues. And what about that word that Timothy received by the elders? Was that canonical?

    As to your affirmation of tongues, get out your wd-40 and your winch and start streeeeeetching the Bible to fit your theology. Wow! I never heard of studying foreign languages for years like Wycliffe translators do, then calling it a gift. I suppose now that doctors have the gift of healing and Bill Parcells has the gift of miracles. Weak, seminary lad, weak.

  60. WOW! I’m gone for a day and I don’t know how i can even catch up. Well after a brief perusal I think I need to respond to Rubes reference of mine (#45). Rube this isn’t that difficult of a concept, we even see biblical examples of it. COnsider teh “prophet Agabus” in Acts 21:10-11. He makes a prophecy that clearly Paul and the rest feel strongly MIGHT be the Word of God, but it might also be a fallible view (ultimatley we find that it was an obsucered prophecy that did not take place exactly how he said it would.) If such prophecy could take place then, why not now? Was Agabus not divinely inspired when he spoke? or was he perhpas inspired, yet subjected to his own limitations, whether it be bias, assumption, denial or any other type of emotion. Wouldn’t that them seem to fit Paul’s statement that “the spirits of prophets are jubject to the control of prophets” (I COrinthians 14:32).

    Side note- Saw Borat last night, I cannot in good conscience recomend it because of the profanities, vulgaritities and disgusting nudity. However there is a scene in which he goes to a pentecostal church and acts as though he is speaking in tongues. The scene made me cringe because it reminded me why people like echo are so offended by hyper charismatics. I was disgusted not only by his making a mockery of a church service, but by the fact that they could have a church service with almost no control. I teach and believe that one of the safest standards we must go by is that you cannot properly practice the gifts of the Spirit outside of the fruit of the Spirit. In otherwords if your tongues talking isn’t in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control, then you are abusing God’s gift.

  61. Albino,

    Well lets see…you (or you and Daniel) redefined the term apostle and prophet to fit your theology. Do I not have the same liberty? At least my redefinition fits with the original purpose of tongues, which was to proclaim the gospel to all nations and reverse the curse of Babel.

    As for your question, I thought I already answered them. However, the canon does not include all special revelation ever given. I believe the end of John’s Gospel makes that clear. Also, the potential of missing books and letters. The canon includes all the extant writings of special revelation that God saw fit to providentially preserve. (I have written about this here: Nonetheless, the Scriptures are sufficient and include all the special revelation and access to the mind of God we will ever need to know.

    So am I to assume that you trust the canon is complete, because the church affirmed the right books?

    I think the reason we are all talking past each other is because we coming from different starting places. We need to understand the following questions: What gives the Scriptures their authority? Who were the authorized agents and why? What is the nature of special revelation (inspired, inerrant, infallible and progressive)?

    With all do respect to everyone else, the thorough examination of 1 Cor 14 has nothing to do with the sufficiency of Scripture. It explains a situation that was happening in Corinth during the apostolic age. And it should be understood within that context. The above mentioned questions have everything to do with the sufficiency of Scripture.

    So, let’s return to what we all agree with, the canon is complete. And the 66 books are enough because…?

    Mike S.

  62. Okay Mike.

    I just remembered, there was an episode of the gift of tongues in my early Christian life at a church service that when interpreted basically said that the 66 books of the Bible we have today are the canon and only canon of scripture.



  63. Jeff,

    Is that what gives you assurance the canon is complete? Or is this a little tongue in cheek?

    I’d say that was a pretty safe interpretation…who can disagree with it.

    Mike S.

  64. MIke, did I redefine the terms, “apostle” and “Prophet” to fit my theology? I don’t think I did, but if I did and it was wrong (which I am assuming is what your saying) then how can that possibly justify your (inherently) wrong defninitions?

    Is it really a threat to the canon to believe the gifts mentioned in the canon are applicable until the return of Christ? It is sound biblical doctrine to say, (even if you don’t want to experience it or ar afraid of the potential abuses of it) that we do not lack any spiritual gift as we eagerly await the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    agree or disagree?

  65. I’m out till monday.

  66. Daniel,

    It depends on how you answer the questions I mentioned before (kind of Clintonesque – eh).

    What gives Scriptures it’s authority?
    Who were authorized agents of revelation and why?
    What is the nature of special revelation?

    The way I answer these questions would disagree with your statement. That’s why I am trying to understand how you guys answer these questions.

    When I encountered Mormonism 5-6 years ago I had to wrestle with these questions. And I found the responses I gave did not make sense when trying to maintain modern day prophecy and tongues. I was forced to allow my experiences to be subjected to God’s word. Suffices to say my experience acquiesed to the Word of God.

    Follow up to a previous question…I would say the term “full Gospel” is a threat to the Gospel. See you Monday – hope your worship is blessed.

    Mike S.

  67. why in Acts 2:3 do we see a language coming to rest on them? What is a tongue of fire? “Tongue” is simply “language”

    I think a greek expert needs to be called in here. “tongues of fire” — that is an English figure of speech, and I don’t think that flames look enough like actual human or animal tongues that most or all other languages would have that same transliterated figure of speech. Is the greek in Acts 2:3 actually using the same word for tongues as it would for the slab of meat in your mouth, and is that the same as gift of tongues, and the same as languages? I think the tongues of fire = languages on their heads is a stretch. I think pretty clearly Acts 2 is depicting a miraculous, visible manifestation of flames on peoples’ heads — just a demonstration of God’s power, no relation to the language miracle of tongues that happens at the same time.

    He is saying his mind is unfruitful. There is NO moral bias in this verse here.

    The moral judement is the word unfruitful. Unfruitful = bad. You shall know a tree by its fruit. Jesus cursed the fig tree because it was unfruitful. Faith without fruit is dead.

  68. The “mind” was unfruitful, not everything.


  69. Jeff,

    Weak brother, weak. With or without the “mind,” he’s still saying that the self-tonguer is unfruitful. That is the fact you must wrestle with along with all the other exegisis I offered last night.

    Love you man!


  70. Hmmm, so it is unfruitful to:

    1. Speak to God?
    2. To give thanks?
    3. Speak mysteries in the Spirit?
    4. Edify oneself?

    I think not. It is only unfruitful to “the church” which is why in THAT setting one MUST interpret. This text doesn’t have anything in it that prohibits it otherwise.

    I love you too!

    Can’t wait until next Saturday when we will be discussing something FAR more important.


  71. MS,

    Tongue in cheek of course. ;)

    I was just getting back on subject as you suggested. LOL


  72. Jeff,

    In post 53, you said, “But maybe you can grant to me that I’m not being illogical and at least deriving my understanding from scripture itself and not emotion or experience.”

    I certainly can grant that in this case. Absolutely. This was in regard to “praying in the Spirit” being the same as “speaking in tongues”.

    One of the reasons why I disagree that these two are the same thing, is because I disagree that tongues should strictly speaking be considered prayer.

    Before you say that I’ve missed 1 Cor 14:2, I’ll save you the trouble. I do see it, I can read it, and I can even see that Paul says that the speaking in tongues is speaking to God. I think what he is saying there is that the untranslated tongues is speaking to God. BUT, that’s not a good thing. Paul would have this be translated, so that it can edify the church.

    Now, of course, as I think you said, though it might have been someone else, (and if I’m not conveying a very calm tone by how I’m writing, I’m trying to) that refers to tongues in the church. I get that.

    However, that does not necessarily imply that it is a good thing to speak in tongues when no one is around. It MAY, but it also may not. Paul’s whole concern here is the worship service. He does not speak about private tongues. It isn’t mentioned.

    Now I know that verses 18 and 19, when taken together, might seem to imply that Paul speaks privately in tongues. It’s not necessarily so. It MAY mean that, but again, it doesn’t have to. He might have meant simply that tongues are a good thing, and he does it a lot, but prophesy is simply superior – unless, again, tongues are interpreted, because then they are revealed to be the prophetic utterances that they are.

    The reason why speaking to God and uttering mysteries is a negative thing is because the mysteries have “now been revealed”

    Col 1:25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known,
    Col 1:26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints.
    Col 1:27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

    Christ is the mystery which has now been revealed. The way that we will obtain the righteousness from God by faith is now revealed in Christ, his person and work. This is the mystery of God. Now, what OTHER mysteries might be revealed in tongues?

    When tongues are translated and heard, it is always the glory of God that they hear. It is the gospel that they hear. The mighty works of God, says Acts 2. All of those things point to Christ. That’s why it has value. Why, pray tell, would we need to preach about Christ to God in a tongue that no one understands? Is this a confession to God of our faith in tongues? What good does that do us if we don’t understand what we are saying?

    Maybe when we speak in tongues on our own we are declaring that tomorrow, there will be an earthquake. Wouldn’t it be better for us to hear that? If you are speaking in tongues and you don’t understand what you are saying, how does it do you any good? “Faith comes by hearing the Word of Christ.” (Rom 10:17).

    If your tongues-speaking edifies you, don’t you mean it gives you more faith? How, if you can’t “hear” it? Sure, you can hear it, but you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, have you really heard, so as to grow in your faith? I don’t see how.

    I don’t mean to be condescending. I really want to discuss this in a civil manner.

  73. Jeff,

    Re: 57

    1Co 14:14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful.
    1Co 14:15 What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.

    About this you said: “Look very carefully at verses 14 & 15. Verse 14 Paul IS saying that “praying in a tongue” IS HIS spirit praying. He is saying his mind is unfruitful. There is NO moral bias in this verse here. He didn’t say “my mind is unfruitful AND Boy! this is bad! So, you CAN’T say it is bad, and I can’t say it is good (from this verse).”

    Something I meant to mention in my previous post is that there is, I believe, a distinction that Paul is drawing between praying in tongues and speaking in tongues. I think you would agree that there is such a distinction. But then why does Paul use the word “speak” rather than “pray” in verse 18? (They are, by the way, two different Greek words, and “speak” and “pray” are good translations, as the ESV uses.)

    Here’s what I’m trying to say. Praying in tongues is bad because it’s not what tongues is supposed to be. Notice that tongues, when translated, become just like preaching (prophesy). I think that if you look at all the instances in which the translation of tongues is mentioned, you’ll have to agree with this.

    Speaking to people is what tongues is supposed to be. Paul “spoke” in tongues, but declared that IF he were to “pray” in tongues, his mind would be unfruitful, so then when he prays, he will pray with his spirit AND his mind.

    As the Bible says, love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, strength, etc. If your translation says spirit too, that’s fine. Whatever. But the point I’m making here is a positive assertion, not a negative one. I’m not saying that you should love God with your mind and NOT your spirit. I’m just saying that the COMMAND is to love God with all of your MIND, along with other things. If your love for God does not include your mind, your love for God is deficient.

    So it only makes sense that manifestations of love for God, such as prayer, would be with the mind also. That’s why Paul says that it’s bad for your mind to be unfruitful. Ok, you’re right, he doesn’t explicitly say that it’s bad. It’s definitely implied. He is stating that your mind is unfruitful. Then there’s a period. This phrase needs no further explanation, because this is CLEARLY bad. No one needs to be specifically told that having an unfruitful mind is bad. God commands us to love him with our minds. This means that our mind needs to produce fruit, which is love. Loving God is producing fruit, because fruit is simply good works, and loving God and our neighbor is the summary of the law that defines good works. All the commands of Scripture can be summarized as: love God and your neighbor. In fact, loving God entails loving your neighbor who is made in the image of God, so really, the entire law can be summed up as loving God. Period. But we are to employ the entirety of our being at this task. We are to manifest our love for God in everything we do. We are never, ever to turn off our minds, because we are commanded, among other things, to love God with our mind. This applies to everything we do.

  74. To the all tongues-speakers, specifically Jeff, Daniel, and Albino,

    One thing that I realized just now is that IF I’m right, the implication is that you who are speaking in tongues are in sin. You are sinning if I’m right. I understand that you can probably clearly see that this is the case. There is probably no mistaking that implication. If I’m correct, then you’re definitely sinning. You know that. So I realize that when you read what I’m saying, it’s probably difficult to see much beyond the fact that someone is judging you. I think it’s probably likely that when you read what I’ve written, it doesn’t feel like a mere academic debate, it feels like someone declaring you unclean or something.

    I hope you see that by writing these words, that I can appreciate your position. Any time you say that something is right, you necessarily say that a lot of things are wrong. And when we’re talking about Scripture, that means almost any time you assert a view of one thing or another, people who disagre see you simply judging them to be sinful.


    You know that I am not your judge. I know that I am not your judge. MY words do not convict you of sin, even if I am right. Please read that sentence again. Even if I am right, my words do not convict you of sin. If I AM right, GOD’s words convict you of sin. God is your judge, not me. If GOD convicts you of sin by HIS Word, it is not because I have repeated them.

    But there is nothing to fear. We believe that Christ purchased our redemption on the cross. We do not have to be afraid or ashamed to admit that we have sinned. I sin all the time. I’m really quite arrogant, and I am sometimes very cruel. I talk down to people. I don’t love God like I should. I’m lazy. I misunderstand Scriptures deliberately to justify my sin all the time. But God became man and lived and died and rose again so that I could be united to him. God loved me, and therefore he sent his Son to die for me. I don’t have to pretend to be perfect. I don’t have to make myself perfect. Christ already makes me perfect before God, and one day I will become absolutely perfect when we are all glorified.

    Meanwhile, I will continue to sin. You will continue to sin. Isn’t it better when you can find out what those sins are and stop doing them?

    If I am wrong, I am not your judge. If I am right, I am not your judge. If I am wrong, you can rightly blow me off. If I am right, I am your brother, and God is using me to help you. If I am wrong, God is not using me, but using YOU to help ME.

    I spent many, many, many years being appalled at my own weaknesses and trying to eradicate them on my own, not realizing that in Christ, I am already perfectly righteous in the sight and judgment of God. We obtain Christ’s righteousness by faith alone.

    We don’t have to be ashamed of our weaknesses. Without our weaknesses, we wouldn’t need Christ. If we are ashamed at our weaknesses, then we are ashamed of our need for Christ.

    Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
    Rom 1:17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

    Let’s not be ashamed of the gospel. Let’s be quick to admit our weaknesses. Maybe you are right, maybe I am. But let’s not act like the other PERSON is our enemy. We are brothers, seeking to be justified by faith. Why bite and devour one another because we perceive the other person to be claiming authority to judge us?

    I do not claim authority to judge you. I claim only the authority that all believers have to discuss the meaning of the Word of God. If I am right, then I am speaking God’s words. If I am wrong, then I’m just repeating my own opinions. But as we are both seeking to be justified by faith in Christ, let’s do so in love.

    I really regret the tone this conversation has taken on, particularly in the parent thread of this thread.

    After the reaction I got to my initial post, which I perceived to be downright rude and disrespectful, I acted wrongly. I reacted against people rather than ideas.

    Forgive me, I’m sorry. Let’s discuss this as brothers. Please don’t discount what I’m saying just because if I’m right that might make you wrong. None of us are perfect. The perfect hasn’t come yet. But this is how they will be able to distinguish us from the world, when we love one another.

  75. Somebody asked for Greek for “tongues” in Acts 2:3.

    I’m no Greek scholar, but if you want to look at the Greek, there it is. If you don’t read Greek, don’t bother.

    The word used for “tongue” in Acts 2:3 is the same word used in Rev 5:9, 13:7, and 14:6. And the phrase is, people of every tribe, tongue and nation. It can be translated tongue or language. In Greek, they mean the same thing.

    Conversely, when James says that no one can tame the tongue, he uses this same word. It can mean the body part, or it can mean language. Stong’s says that it means tongue, but that that IMPLIES language. Unfortunately, my classical Greek dictionaries don’t have this word in them. And the Greek textbook dictionary only says tongue, language. No more help than that.

    Interestingly, the Greek word translated “language” in the ESV in 1 Cor 14:11 is a bit more rich in meaning.

    (ESV) but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me.

    The phrase “meaning of the language” actually literally says “the power of the voice”. “Power” can mean strength in a basic sense, but it usually refers to a miraculous power. In fact, in the Bible, it is almost always translated as “power” of God, or even simply “miracle”. And “voice” means a disclosure, by implication an address, in other words, a speech act, so I don’t think language is a very good translation here. It really doesn’t fit the context. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a language, it just means that Paul is focusing not on the fact that it’s a language, but that it’s coming out of someone’s mouth. But the interesting thing is the word for “know”. The word literally means to “see”, and means “know” by implication. This is not “gnosis” kind of knowing, as in the word “gnostic”, but a different word for “know”. This means to know by having it demonstrated. In other words, you see it, and therefore discover it, and therefore know it. To see it IS to know it, because seeing is believing, so to speak. In classical Greek, this word really only means “see”.

    So this is very interesting Greek here in 1 Cor 14:11. It’s basically referring to tongues speaking as revealing the power behind the miraculous event. Paul is saying that if you cannot understand what is being said, how are you supposed to see the Power behind the miracle? In other words, the miracle of tongues is supposed to do the same thing that other miracles do, that is to give testimony to the power of God. It’s just like when Paul raised that guy from the dead who had fallen out the window. The people of that town were said to be comforted after Paul had raised him from the dead. Ostensibly, they were very upset that the guy had died, and the miracle comforted them. But of course, not JUST that, but they were also increased in their faith. They were being persecuted at that time, and that miracle assured them in some ways that what Paul was saying really was true. Also, they were concerned for Paul, because the Jews kept trying to kill him, and he was heading to Jerusalem. They were worried that perhaps Paul or God didn’t know what he was doing. Everywhere he went, people were telling him “The Spirit says that you will be imprisoned and suffer in Jerusalem”, and so they all tried to persuade him not to go. This miracle assured them.

    So the point of the miracle, as is the point of ANY miracle, is to reveal the power of God. Paul is saying in 1 Cor 14:11 that the miracle is not properly revealed unless the tongues are interpreted. I’m sorry, but that is very clearly what the Greek is saying here. You can disagree if you want, but if you want to refute that, you better find someone who has taken some Greek. You might not have been completely convinced by my argument, but if you haven’t studied Greek, you can’t just say that I didn’t convince you. In some ways, you’d have to do a lot of Greek study, or at least some, in order to understand it for yourself. I can’t really explain it to you so that you can understand it like I understand it. That doesn’t make me better than you, it just means I’ve studied Greek. Big deal. You could study Greek if you wanted to. It’s really not all that hard. But if you haven’t studied Greek, simply asserting that my argument hasn’t convinced you is not going to cut it.

    I’m not really trying to convince you that this is what the Greek says here, I’m telling you. If you don’t buy it, that’s fine, call your buddy that knows Greek real well and talk about it. But if you are self-taught or if you don’t know the Greek language, I’m afraid you’ll just have to take my word for it.

    ἐὰν οὖν μὴ εἰδῶ τὴν δύναμιν τῆς φωνῆς

    That’s so fascinating. It’s a future more vivid construction too by the way. In a basic sense, a future more vivid says that if X (ever) happens, Y (always) happens. (Ever) and (always) are unstated in the Greek, but implied by the construction. In this case, the Literal version will help explain it.

    (LITV) If, then, I do not know the power of the sound, I will be a foreigner to the one speaking, and he speaking to me, a foreigner.

    And actually, instead of “know”, it should say “perceive” or “see”. But you see what this is saying here? If I (ever) do not know the power, then I will (always) be a foreigner…

    In other words, whenever I cannot understand what is being said, then I will always fail to perceive a miracle taking place.

    Miracles are probably pretty pointless if they are not perceived as miracles. The point of miracles is to bear witness to the power of God.

    So now I feel much more confident that the passage is clearly demanding the interpretation that I’ve been giving it.

    Paul doesn’t say that he prays in tongues, he says he speaks in tongues. The difference is whether you’re talking to God, or declaring God TO someone. If tongues are a miracle that is supposed to bear witness to God’s awesome power, then it follows:

    1Co 14:21 In the Law it is written, “By people of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people, and even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord.”
    1Co 14:22 Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers.

    The sign of tongues is a miracle. It’s not for believers. So then, why should we pray in tongues in private? It’s not for believers, but unbelievers.

    Now, I realize that this presents a problem with me having said that tongues and prophesy serve the same purpose.

    The content of tongues, the words being spoken, when translated, become the same as prophesy. So the content is the same. They reveal God, God’s glory, our redemption in Christ, etc. The miraculous nature of tongues, however, becomes a sign to unbelievers, not in its content, but in the fact of the matter:

    Act 2:7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?

    So tongues and prophesy and miracles all serve to reveal God. But they have different audiences. But notice that they still have the same goal. Tongues are a sign for unbelievers, as seen here, while prophesy is a sign for believers. But a sign of what? The power, glory, justice and mercy of God. They are a sign that the gospel message that is accompanying the miracle or whatever is true. The apostles healed people, and the miracles they performed gave them credibility.

    As Jesus said:

    Joh 10:37 If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me;
    Joh 10:38 but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”

    But tongues, prophesy, miracles, works, and the Bible all serve the same end: belief in Christ.

    The audience of tongues is unbelievers. The audience of prophesy is believers. But they serve the same purpose, just in different audiences.

    At any rate, it becomes very tricky to say now that private tongues-speaking even makes sense, let alone that it is anywhere commanded.

  76. Echo,

    #72 nailed it and I’ll “echo” it…what other mysteries do we need to speak? Is Christ not enough?

    Christ has been revealed in the Scriptures. God spoke through prophets long ago, but has now spoken through His Son. This is enough for me and any other wretch that God has called to believe in His Son.

    Brothers, its all about Jesus who is the Word of God and we know about Him through the Scriptures. The Scriptures are complete. What else do we need?

    Mike S.

  77. Brothers,

    #75 Echo touches on the purpose of miracles. This is part of the answer to the first two questions I posed in #66.

    Miracles, signs and wonders can only come from God. If you read the Scriptures, especially Exodus, the Gospels and Acts, it is clear that the purpose of these signs were to authenticate authorized agents of revelation.

    Let’s not get confused, we are not talking about answers to prayer or Mary in a tortilla or a statue crying blood, we are talking about “in the name of Jesus Christ, walk” or “Lazarus, come out” or the Red Sea parting. This is where the agents of revelation (writers of Scripture) derive their authority, which can only come from God.

    So, if these types of miracles, signs and wonders are still occuring. We have no comfort that the Scriptures are complete. Rome understands this they even have committees that examine miracles. But I would submit that if you need a committee to examing a miracle, its not a real miracle.

    I would still like to hear your guys answer to those questions.

    Mike S.

  78. Jeff,

    I would respectfully disagree with your statement that this topic is less important than Theonomy.

    The sufficiency of Scripture and defining our source of authoritative revelation is of ultimate importance!

    I assume you are supporting your position from Scripture? Then I ask who is your Daddy?

    If we are taking direction from extra-biblical sources to support our ideas, we have returned to the medieval Church. And that is a place that I do not want to be? Do you?

    Mike S.

  79. Jeff,

    I gotta agree with Mike S.

    I’m much more tolerant of theonomy than speaking in tongues. I can have ecclesiastical fellowship with theonomists.


  80. Guys,

    I see that there are a lot of posts here and at least the last few directed at me. Sorry, can’t read, can’t respond (other than this). I’m less than a week away before I stand before an assembly of brothers, most of which disagree with me on the topic I’ll be respresenting. So as not to embarrass myself, or do injustice to the position I will be representing, I need to pretty much spend the rest of my free time this week preparing, and therefore staying away from this ever so tempting discussion, which is MUCH less important than Thonomy. ;) (I saw that last statement from MS)

    Since we all agree that Scripture actually IS sufficient, I now need to show how it is sufficient for even any civil magistrate. If you disagree with that, PLEASE tell Rube you’re going to attend next Saturday, show up, and then we can meet in person. I promise not to speak in tongues in your presence! LOL


  81. What an awesome weekend. I just glimpsed over at the hyper-calvanist blog and that seems to have gotten very ugly, especially between Echo and Albino. Echo if you read this I hope you can understand not to take things too personally, especially from Albino. I can see how he comes across condescendingly, but beleive me when i tell you when he says he loves you he really means it. As do I. I don’t know you, but I am sincere in my desire to fellowship with you and continue to pick your brain about spiritual matters. i find this enjoyable and educating. Again if you are in escondido perhaps you are familiar with His Place coffee shop. It is one of my favorite places to hang out, I’ll buy you a mocha if you would like. Ditto to Mike and Rube.

    Echo I never felt judgement from you as though you made me or any tonguesd talker out to be sinners. Don’t worry about that. Fact is, if we are right then you are a sinning to deny tongues. I don’t really care to debate anyones sin, my purpose to increase ecumenical cooperation in the spreading of the gospel. I am dissatisfied with the current state of denominational divisiness that is within our country. Thus I want cessationist to see the balanced and biblical approach to exercising of spiritual gifts.

    It is with thatintent that I reply to Mike…

    MIke you make a very good point about that Apostolic authority resting on the miraculous. Indeed if the closing of the canon was dependent on the ceasing of the miraculous then we would have a problem with the continuaton of tongues and congregational prophecy. Let me say that I am very grateful that I was not involved in having to decide which books where canonical and which were not. To have a concrete answer to your question as to how I know that Canon is closed i cannot answer by saying “because miracles have ceased.” Because that would open up a HUGE bag of worms. And yet my best answer isn’t that great either. I suppose it is something like… I trust that God faithfully orchestrated the decision making process of those responsible for selceting that authoratative books of the canon. (See Albinos cut and paste job on post 20).

    There are 4 reasons why I cannot consider supposed cessation of miracles to be the criteria that closed the canon.

    1. If the Authorized agents are marked by their ability to do signs, wonders and miracles then I am bound to believe when I see a miracle, sign or wonder, thus making me suceptible to being led astray by false miracles. (You do agree that false miracles can occur today do you not)?

    2. If I say that miracles, signs and wonders ceased then I would then have to deny the spiritual gifts taught in the New Testament (specifically Romans and the Corinthian episltes). And this is the main point we are arguing. I believe it is very clear that the Spirit in the New Testament churches should be in play today (I Corinthians 1:7, II Corinthians 11:4; Romans 8:15). If we say that the Spirit is diffirent now then it was then are we not in danger of losing EVERYTHING (i.e. communion)?

    3. If that canon is closed when the apostles died and only the apostles were able to do miracles then what is Jesus talking about in John 14:12 when he says that those who believe in him will do greater things (miracles)? Does “anyone who has faith” mean “Any APOSTLE who has faith”?

    4. (This one is just for echo;-) What about these personal experiences? Am i to beleive they are all works of Satan or self? Am i not supposed to allow for some type of “leading by the Holy Spirit” (Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:18)? What of all beleivers who have at some point prayed for direction? Does that direction exclusviley and entirely come through the Bible? I think we all agree that the Spirit does SOMETHING, to lead us and to convict us and to teach us and to gift us. If at any point that something occurs outside of the Bible (dream, counsel, seminary class) then are we advocating an open canon?

    My friends I think the best way, the biblical way, is to practice all these things the way they are prescribed and described in the Bible.

  82. Daniel,

    I thoroughly enjoyed your last post 81.

    Here are your complements: your post was lucid, mature, well thought out, plausible, sensible, and even logical.



  83. Daniel,

    Now I will proceed to answer your post as best I can.

    It’s not so much that miracles have ceased. That would be quite an odd thing to say. I mean, it’s not like the apostles could do miracles whenever they felt like it. I think of Harry Potter, in the second movie, when he goes to the Weasley’s house, and the dishes are in the sink washing themselves, and the knitting it also being done on its own, slowly forming a scarf.

    It is not like the apostles were like little gods on earth, able to do whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted. They always did what they did for a good reason, and let’s also be sure to recognize that it wasn’t them doing it, but the Holy Spirit.

    No, you didn’t imply any of this in what you said. What I’m saying, though, is that if we were to say that miracles have ceased, it would seem to imply that during the apostolic age, it was a veritable free-for-all of the miraculous, kind of like going to Harry Potter’s world, except instead of everyone carrying wands around, they wielded the Holy Spirit.

    This is not so. It was not so in the Old Testament. Do you know that most Old Testament believers never saw a miracle? Think about it. God did some pretty amazing things in the Old Testament, but if you read it carefully, you’ll see that it wasn’t exactly happening all the time. I mean, consider even Elijah. Yeah, he called down fire from heaven a couple of times, and some other things, but he lived a long life. I don’t have any reason to suspect that he was doing miracles every day that weren’t written about. That’s what makes miracles worthy of being written down, that they don’t happen every day.

    So rather than saying that miracles have ceased, I’d prefer to say that God is not currently doing miracles.

    Then let’s ask this question. WHY does God do miracles? Here is an interesting question.

    You might recall me saying before that revelation always seems to have three parts: God predicts it, God does it, and then God tells us how to interpret what he has done.

    That’s a very important point. Very important. I know that the Bible doesn’t anywhere explicitly say this, but this is the character of revelation that you see when you read the Bible. This is how it seems to happen.

    At each of these three points of revelation comes some sort of sign of authenticity. Consider the Exodus. God predicted that event in lots of different ways. He predicted it to Abraham, again to Moses, etc. And when Moses actually did it, it came with great miracles. The prediction didn’t exactly come with great miracles, for example, to Abraham, but what happened to Abraham was pretty significant nonetheless. And we do have the miraculous birth of Isaac to a 90 year old woman and a 100 year old man. So that’s a miracle that underscored the validity of God’s promise, his Word to Abraham. Sure, it’s not as glamorous as the parting of the Red Sea, but it’s still a miracle.

    Then when God called his people out of Egypt, as you know, it came attached with many miracles. But for the 400 year interim between Abraham and Moses, we have no reason to suppose that any miracles were taking place. In fact, for the Israelites, life probably seemed pretty ordinary, and the promise that God would call them out of Egypt probably seemed pretty remote. By contrast, America has only existed for a little more than 200 years, just over half the length of this period of time. But then Moses comes, and God’s act of revelation is surely out of this world miraculous, what with the 10 plagues and the parting of the Red Sea and all.

    Then the conquering of Canaan is predicted, and that’s attested to by Moses, who certainly has some credibility because of the wonders he performed. At every point in revelation, God seems to confirm the validity of what is being said by some visible sign (it’s like Word and Sacrament). This is how God accomodates himself to our weaknesses and our slowness to accept his Word simply because it’s his Word. We want it proven to us, so when he gives his Word, he does prove it to us through signs and wonders that accompany his Word.

    Anyway, conquering Canaan was predicted, and when it happened, it was miraculous. The prophets who interpreted these events were either the same ones who predicted it, or were ones that came later, but they were confirmed by God by performing miracles.

    Once they entered the land, however, things became pretty normal again, except for the occasional judge that acted in extraordinary ways. But again, this is revelation.

    So fast forward to Christ. His arrival was attested to by the OT prophets, and they performed many signs and wonders to confirm that they were authorized to speak as prophets. Successfully predicting something before it happens is itself miraculous, after all. So the prediction was attested to and confirmed by miracles.

    Then Jesus came, and this too was attested by miracles. He himself did miracles, even raising from the dead. What greater miracle could there be?

    However, there remained the great task of interpreting these events. We need to know how to interpret them. This is the function of the apostles. They are like the OT prophets of old, who gave us an inspired account of the history of Israel and predicted the coming of Christ. Their authority to speak in this particular way is attested to by miracles.

    The advent of Christ was the last great event of revelation thus far. There remains his return, and I imagine that there will be signs that accompany this as well, and in fact that’s exactly what the Bible says in the book of Revelation (the sign of the 6th seal, for instance, that the sun will stop shining and the moon will turn to blood – literal or figurative, still a sign, a wonder, accompanying what is taking place.) Anyway, when Christ came, all that remained was the inspired, God given interpretation of these events. The apostles gave us that. But to “prove” that they had authority to tell us how to interpret the event of Christ’s life, death, resurrection and ascension, God’s chosen messengers were given miracles, for the purpose of attesting to their authority to say what they were saying.

    Once the Christ event becomes interpreted as much as God desired it to be interpreted, the need for inspired interpreters was satisfied. Thus, no more inspired interpreters. Therefore, no more apostles who had the authority to speak and act for God.

    But let’s be careful to note that it was not Paul or Peter that was inspired, but ONLY the words recorded in Scripture. For example, if you ran into the blind Paul on the road to Damascus and asked him directions, he might have told you the wrong way to go. Paul may have written some other letter that isn’t included in the canon, and that isn’t considered inspired. There’s no problem with that. Paul surely had opinions about different foods, some being better than others. But this is not a God given rule for faith and practice. There is even a place where Paul says, “I say, not the Lord…” Paul recognized that not everything he said was inspired, but only what he said AS AN APOSTLE. And as an apostle, the subject of his speech was very restricted.

    And what did he talk about as an apostle? “We preach Christ and him crucified…” This is the very acts of God’s revelation that Paul sought to interpret. But he doesn’t just interpret Jesus and everything he did, Paul also interprets God’s revelation to us through the nation of Israel in light of the Gospel. In other words, Paul tells us that now that Christ has come, we arrive at this greater understanding of what God was doing when he called Abraham so long ago. In this way, Christ’s advent becomes the central focus and climax of God’s revelation. Christ’s advent even shows how the entire history of the nation of Israel foreshadowed his arrival. The whole purpose of the existence of Israel was to help us understand what Christ is all about.

    But God only has so much to say about the Christ event. He had a certain amount that he wished to reveal to us, and that was it.

    So now let me ask you: what do you suppose was the content of tongues and prophesy? Christ. More specifically, how to interpret the Christ event.

    Remember, the NT believers only had the OT to work with, along with the knowledge of the events of Christ’s advent. They had the prediction, they had the event, but they did NOT yet have the inspired interpretation of the event.

    This is the purpose prophesy served. When prophets spoke, they told us how to interpret the Christ event, and they told us how the OT predicted that event. But they weren’t just speaking their minds, they were revealing what God wanted the hearers to know. Now we have the inspired interpretation of those events in the Bible. It is God’s opinion that we do not need any further information about how to interpret either the OT or the advent of Christ. God has said all he wants to say about these matters in the NT. God’s revelation reached its climax and fulfillment in Christ.

    This is why John says that Christ is the Word. He doesn’t preach the Word, speak the Word or teach the Word: rather, he IS the Word. That’s why Hebrews 1 contrasts God’s previous ways of speaking with speaking in his Son. In the past, God predicted the Son, today, he has at last spoken IN the Son. We have the fulness of revelation in Christ, the Word made flesh. But there remained the need for God to explain this to us, which he did through the pen of the apostles.

    To show that they had this authority to write the Bible, to close the canon, to establish the Church in the name of Christ, God incarnate, they were allowed, even commanded to do certain miracles to testify to their authority from God. If someone wields the power of God, obviously they have been given authority to do so. If Paul raises someone from the dead, I will certainly hear what he has to say about Jesus. He’s obviously doing something correct.

    So miracles prove the authority of those who are performing them, which is surely not limited to just the apostles. There is also prophesy, but what was the prophesy about? Paul and I are not the same. (Good thing for Paul!) Someone prophesied to him that he would be put in chains in Jerusalem, which happened. You’ll notice however, that this is part of God’s testimony to us. You’ll notice that what happened to Paul is part of God’s revelation to us, part of how he explains what Christ’s advent meant. Paul’s arrest was no small thing, and its place in the Bible is no small thing; it’s quite deliberate. Paul’s getting into trouble with the Jews because of his preaching to Gentiles really forced people to understand that, for example, circumcision was no longer required, or the dietary laws. Paul’s arrest and willingness to die for this attested to the truth of the matter. This all bears witness to the gospel. Paul suffered for the gospel at the hands of the Jews. And that’s an important point to help us understand some things about the gospel.

    So where does tongues fit in? Well, again, if you are from, say, Egypt, and you’re in Jerusalem, and you hear a native of Galilee speaking in Egyptian coptic, and he’s talking about how Christ fulfills the OT, etc, and you realize a miracle is taking place, and that the reason for the miracle is that God is speaking to YOU in your own language, well, you might be more inclined to believe it, I’d wager.

    And isn’t that the point of miracles? Sure, we shouldn’t have needed miracles to believe that Jesus had the authority that he did, but search the 4 gospels, and you’ll find that the Jews were continually asking him for a sign. Why? They wanted to see his credentials. They wanted proof that he had the authority to do what he was doing. He calls them wicked for seeking a sign, however, because when they ask for a sign, it is precisely because they don’t believe what he’s saying. Furthermore, all the signs point to him, because all signs are supposed to do is prove the authority of messengers to bring the message about him. Meanwhile, the Messiah himself is standing right before their eyes, and they want to see a sign. See, they thought he was simply a prophet, bearing witness to someone else. The fact is, however, he WAS the sign. He was the sign of all signs! He was God in the flesh! What more of a sign could you ask for? He rebukes them for their wickedness because they want to believe in the signs, not in the Messiah, whom all the signs point to.

    So this is why I have been saying over and over again that signs, miracles, prophesy and tongues all have the same purpose and function: namely revelation. All of it serves the purpose of bearing witness to Christ being God in the flesh, God with us, God among us; our Creator walking around in a body.

    So here’s the thing: Christ’s advent is the climax of all of God’s revelation. He is the final Word. That’s what Heb 1 teaches us. There is no revelatory event beyond him. There were apostles that gave us the inspired interpretation of his person and work, and then that was it. The canon being completed, the witness to Christ being completed, there is no further need for inspired prediction or interpretation. The substance has come, namely Christ, in whom are hidden ALL the treasures of wisdom and knowlege.

    And today, pastors do not speak a new word, but only repeat the words that have already been said. They don’t need miracles to give them authority because their authority is not in themselves but in the Bible. They repeat the words of the Bible, and there is where they draw their authority. If they stick close to what is in the Bible, they speak with the authority of the Bible, because they bring the same message: Christ and him crucified. This message has already been attested to by the miracles of the NT. There is no further need for miracles, because the revelation is complete. Miracles only prove the authority of the one bringing the new Word from the Lord. If you’re going to say, “Thus says the Lord”, you’re going to need to prove it. As a pastor, you can do that simply by quoting the Bible. You are saying nothing new. But if you are going to say that a man fulfilled the OT in a letter to a church in Corinth, you better have some credentials.

    The message of the Gospel at that time was coming out of the OT without the benefit of support from the NT. With no support, no authority to draw on, this was attested to even in the churches with miracles of all kinds, so that the people could believe. Once the canon is complete, however, you don’t need your own authority to preach the gospel, you just use the authority of the apostles. “Paul says…” or “Peter says…” gives you just as much right to say it as does your ability to make the lame walk again. Peter and Paul were the first ones to say it, so they needed to be able to make the lame walk. You do not.

    So that’s why we no longer have need of these miracles. We have the canon. It’s very important to note that if miracles serve a different function other than to underscore the authority with which this new word speaks, then they should still be going on.

    My entire argument stands or falls on the purpose of miracles in general, based on my three-fold understanding of revelation: prediction, event, interpretation.

    However, there can be false miracles, even today. False miracles always accompany a word, however. So if someone does a miracle, and tells you that you should pray to Mary, you know it’s a false miracle because you shouldn’t pray to Mary. How do you know that? The Bible tells you so.

    The Bible also tells you that many people will come claiming to be Christ, but it says don’t believe them. Even if they do many wonders, deceiving many, don’t believe them. You see, we know that the fulness of God’s revelation has already come, namely Christ, and we know that only the apostles (and those under their direct supervision) are the authorized agents of inspired interpretation.

    Here’s a question: is it possible for someone to perform false miracles and actually preach exactly what the Bible says?


    The Bible teaches us that the canon is closed. I’ll admit that these choices and judgments were more difficult to make around 100 AD, but certainly TODAY we can see quite clearly that the canon is closed. No more need to bring new revelation means no more need for miracles to underscore the authority of the one speaking. They need only to appeal to the Bible for authority. If they have to appeal to a miracle, it’s BECAUSE they aren’t appealing to the Bible.

    Not that you’re saying this Daniel, but just to make a point…

    If you teach people, for example, that they can know that God is near because they “feel” him, or because they “cry”, how is it wrong? It’s wrong because you’re not pointing people to the Bible’s promises that God will be near to us. How do I know that God is near me? Because he says, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” That Word is good enough for me. If I want a miracle to prove it, then I simply say that this was written by an apostle (though I don’t know which one, because this comes out of Hebrews), agrees with the other writings of the apostles, points me to faith in Christ, is part of the canon, etc. I have plenty of reason to believe what the Bible says. I don’t need to go back in time and see the miracles of the apostles myself.

    To spend our time longing for the miraculous is to miss the fact that we possess what the miracles all point to: Jesus Christ. The mysteries of God which were hidden for ages past have now been revealed IN US. What mystery? Christ in you, the hope of glory. And you can read all about this in your friendly neighborhood Bible. See the book of Colossians.

    To long for miracles is to reject the substance that the miracles point to. It is like grumbling in the wilderness, like wanting to return to Egypt because life there was more glamorous. I mean, don’t you read the book of Exodus and think the Israelites are properly called stiff necked and ungrateful? God had just parted the Red Sea after a veritable circus of miracles that culminated in the ruin of Egypt. I mean, wow, what more could you want? Well, they wanted meat, they wanted the wealth of Egypt. They didn’t care that they were God’s people, or that he dwelt among them, or that he was on top of Mt. Sinai talking to Moses face to face. What ungrateful people!

    Brothers, sisters, do not repeat their error. “Today, if you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” I urge you to embrace Christ, the substance, who far surpasses any and all miracles that there have ever been. Do not think he has left you without assurance. He has given us the signs of baptism and the Lord’s supper. We are not without visible signs.

    But remember, we are not to long to see him, because we are permitted only to hear him. This is what he said to Moses. No one can see him and live. Let us not long to see him, but rather let us be content to hear him only in his Word, because this is his provision for us. Let us not grumble against the manna because we miss the meat of Egypt. Christ is the bread of life. Man does not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God. And Jesus Christ was the Word in the beginning, and the Word was with God, and the Word IS GOD. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. For you see, the law came through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

    I am not ashamed of the Gospel. It is the very power of God for those who believe. IN the gospel, a righteousness from God is revealed, the righteousness that comes through faith in Jesus Christ, and continues in faith in Jesus Christ, and ends in faith in Jesus Christ. He is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God.

    He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

  84. Echo, make sure you bookmark these permalinks on my blog, because someday when you’re a pastor, and you’re in a time crunch, you’ve got about a dozen sermon texts ready to cut, paste, and print!

    It seems to me that up yonder you’ve got a lot of speculation and human reasoning about the nature and purpose of revelation — based not as much on scripture itself as much as patterns inferred from scripture. For instance, the following statements seem to be rather arbitrary assertions:

    However, there remained the great task of interpreting these events. We need to know how to interpret them. This is the function of the apostles.

    So now let me ask you: what do you suppose was the content of tongues and prophesy? Christ. More specifically, how to interpret the Christ event.

    There is no further need for miracles, because the revelation is complete. Miracles only prove the authority of the one bringing the new Word from the Lord.

    To that last one in particular, I would say that I find it entirely conceivable that God may ordain to work through miracles (of tongues, predictive prophecy, healing, etc.) to prove the authority of the old, closed scriptural canon, especially as carried by missionaries into new cultures. And if truly your “entire argument stands or falls on the purpose of miracles in general, based on my three-fold understanding of revelation: prediction, event, interpretation,” I would suggest that your argument is on shaky foundations. At the risk of your fingertips and time budget, I would have to say I’d need more scriptural evidence for the overarching validity of that framework.

  85. Echo congrats, I actually read your entire statement (it must have been the compliments in 82). I appreciate your devotion and desire to understand the Word of God and to communicate it to people I truly do. I agree with 99% of what you have to say in almost all of your posts (that I read completely). However I still don’t see the bridge to the conclusions. Same goes for Mike. It seems to be that you are allowing tradition to dictate where and when you place things.
    For instance I corinthians 14:26, “When you come together everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these things must be done for the strengthening of the church.” you don’t say “what place do hymns have in redemtive history?” or “what place does a word of instruction have in redemptive history?” But you do say that when it comes to tongues and congregational prophecy (and now miracles). I completely agree with you regarding the rare occurances of miracles. I comepltely agree with you regarding the safeguards to the deceptions of false miracles. Which is exactly why I am such a strong advocate for properly teaching about tongues. And properly teaching it does not mean erasing it or pushing it into a box that says, “the things God used to do.” If so then we must also put the Lord’s Supper into that Box because the context of I Corinthians 12 is the exact same as I Corinthians 11.

    Do you see now where we are coming from? BTW I don’t completely agree that the only purpose for tongues is revelation. (I am sure we don’t need to get back into the edification, prayer and thanks verses).

    I think civility at least has been restored.

    I break that civility now as I laugh in the face of my brother Albino regarding the horrific collapse of his Cowboys. HAHAHAHAHAHA.

  86. Ruberad,

    I realize that I did not definitively prove from the Scriptures that revelation comes in parts: prediction, event, interpretation.

    I also realize that I didn’t definitively prove from the Scriptures that miracles serve to prove the validity of these parts of revelation.

    I know – I simply asserted them. Yup. And that’s all I intended to do.

    On the one hand, I have just recently been taught these things myself, so in some ways I’m regurgitating lectures I’ve heard recently. When I heard it explained that way, it simply made sense to me, and I considered the source (my professor). So I didn’t question it on the one hand, nor did I remember clearly the examples that were given in class.

    All that post was, was yet another way to put the same point. If you don’t believe me, that’s ok. Just remember I said it. Perhaps you will be reading the Scriptures one day, and it will occurr to you that it is correct.

    I would suggest, however, that one needs to not site a few proof texts for this kind of argument, but one needs to read through the whole Bible a couple times through to see if it is right. Perhaps something that might be helpful is if someone were to find a counter-example.

    Maybe we should search our Bibles for miracles, and try to find one that didn’t reveal anything.

    Or maybe we should search our Bibles for all the parts where God was revealing something, and see if it is either predicting something, or if it is an event, or if it is an interpretation of an event, either before or after the fact. We should search our Bibles for a counter example.

    Because if we could find an example of a miracle that doesn’t reveal anything, then I’d be wrong.

    Also, if we can find some revelation that neither predicts an event, interprets an event, or is an event, then I’d be wrong again.

    To prove myself to be correct, however, I’d have to comment on every single verse of the Bible, because I’m making a claim about every single verse of the Bible.

    A counter example would be far easier.

    But maybe I can save you the trouble: you won’t find one.


  87. Rube,

    You are really asking for it…there is tons of evidence in the Scriptures for the use of miracles.

    Do you really want a post that long?


    Christ alone. Be satisfied.

    Mike S.

  88. Daniel,

    Thanks for reading the whole post. I know it was long.

    The answer to your very good question is this: tongues and prophesy are miraculous. Tongues and prophesy and healings all go into the big category of “miracles”. Meanwhile, hymns are not miraculous. When they came together, someone would stand up and say, I want to sing this song, or, I want to instruct the people about this or that. Paul is simply making a point about order and decency. Can you imagine the chaos that must have been going on in that church? Ugh. Guys having sex with their…never mind. It was a bad scene, and people were proud of their liberty, which of course they had taken way too far.

    But I digress. I have been talking about miracles all along when I’ve been talking about tongues and prophesy. I know you consider praying in tongues simply a matter of worship and not really miraculous, but I consider speaking in tongues miraculous. So my above post was making a statement about revelation being accompanied by signs in general, and how signs always attest to the validity of the Word.

    Guys, it goes all the way back to the creation narrative. “Let there be light”, and there was light. Word – sign.

    God promised Abraham, then gave him the vision of the smoking pot passing between the animal pieces. God made a promise to Noah and gave him the rainbow. God gave laws on Sinai and appeared in a fire. God spoke to Moses and there was the burning bush. Word – sign.

  89. …psst, that’s why the means of grace are Word and Sacrament.

  90. Echo, just so you know, it’s ok to question and challenge your professors. This is exactly what Albino and I are screaming at the top of our lungs. Do you really think that the arguments that have been given definitively prove the cessation of spiritual gifts?

  91. I’m not advocating not questioning my professors. When they explain something cool to me, and convince me of it, I remember usually only what they convince me of, and little about how they convinced me. That was my point. I didn’t say that they didn’t convince me, I simply said that I was convinced.

    If I came across as being an automaton, please forgive me for insulting myself.

  92. I don’t know that I would say tongues is not part of the miraculous but neither would I say it is absolutley a miracle. I think there is a reason Paul doesn’t just clump tongues and healing and prophecy under miracels but lists each one seperatley. The catergory they are all listed under is not “miracles” but rather “manifestation of the Spirit” or “Spiritual gifts”. Again I don’t know how you can ignore I Corinthians 1:7 “you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus to be revealed.” they didn’t but we do? c’mon lets stop a second here and just ponder… is it possible that the Spirit can manifest himself the same way now as it did then?

    I think that answer is clearly yes and the bigger question is, “then what of the past 1800 years where it didn’t?”

    Thats the problem that so many of your professors are dealing with. That’s the problem that you are dealing with. I don’t think that is that big of a problem, I think the answer is clear but it’s not one that we want to chew on.

  93. Daniel,

    First, I have to say that the Holy Spirit is a “him”, not an “it”. Sorry, couldn’t keep it inside anymore.

    The professors aren’t trying to explain 1800 years of absence of tongues. Come on. They’re trying to interpret the Bible. Not everyone begins with experience and then interprets the Bible in that light.

    Anyway, tongues are miraculous. If you don’t think it’s miraculous for someone to speak in a language they’ve never learned, then I’m not sure that you and I have the same definition of the word.

    Being a spiritual gift does not preclude something from being miraculous.

    1Co 12:28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues.
    1Co 12:29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles?
    1Co 12:30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?
    1Co 12:31 But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.

    There are a number of miraculous gifts of the Spirit mentioned here, not the least of which is the ability to work miracles.

    By the way, where did I say that we lack anything? I think if you read what I’ve said carefully, you’ll notice that I said that we possess the SUBSTANCE of what the miracles, whatever, point to. We do not lack anything. We have something better than miracles.

  94. “By the way, where did I say that we lack anything? I think if you read what I’ve said carefully, you’ll notice that I said that we possess the SUBSTANCE of what the miracles, whatever, point to. We do not lack anything. We have something better than miracles.”

    That’s quite a spin.

    We don’t lack the spiritual gifts, we just don’t have them?

  95. Daniel,

    Good question. It certainly does appear contradictory, doesn’t it?

    Let’s talk about rainbows. Hehehehe…that’s a funny transition.

    Anyway, the rainbow is a reminder that God will never again destroy the world with a flood, right? Well, let me ask you this: which is better, the rainbow, or the fact that the world hasn’t been destroyed with a flood a second time? Personally, if given a choice, I’d choose to have the lives of billions of people spared rather than a rainbow. I mean rainbows are pretty and all, but…

    So rainbows are a sign of the promise. But when you have the fulfillment of the promise, you no longer need the sign of the pledge of the promise.

    Think of an I.O.U. An IOU says that I owe you money, for example. When I give you the money, do you need the IOU anymore? No, you have the money. Now the IOU is paid and is worthless. The only thing that made it valuable in the first place was that it represented the fact that I WOULD give you money. Now that I’ve given you money, you have something better. You don’t need or even want the IOU. You have the substance of the promise. You no longer need the promise, you have possession of that which is promised.

    Now go to the OT. They had the temple. But when Jesus came, the temple was done away with. There was no longer any need for the temple. That’s why it’s not a tragedy that it was destroyed by the Romans. We actually believe that it’s a good thing that it was destroyed. It has become obsolete. But there were still some people who thought the temple was important. The ONLY people who thought that the temple was important were the ones who rejected Christ. Everyone who accepted Christ recognized the goodness of the temple being destroyed. Those who rejected him were sad by the destruction of the temple. But did they lack something? Did the NT believers lack something because Jerusalem no longer had a temple? No. It was done away with because it was unnecessary since Jesus came and made his once and for all sacrifice of himself for our sins. No more sacrifices, no more temple. We have that which the temple pointed to: Christ.

    In the same way, miracles served to lend credibility to those who brought the new Word. They were still bringing the Word. The NT is the complete revelation. The believers who had tongues and prophesy and other miracles LACKED something that we HAVE. Namely the completed canon.

    What is the value of the completed canon? Well, it FULLY explains Christ. We have Christ FULLY explained.

    The church in Corinth did not have Christ FULLY explained in permanent form. They LACKED something that we HAVE. To make up for this difference, they were given miracles. What for? How does it help make up the difference?

    Again, those who were explaining how Christ fulfilled the OT were given miracles so that people could believe that what these people were saying was true. They said Christ fulfilled the OT, and to “prove” it, God granted that they could perform miracles. It showed their authority. It showed the authority of the apostles as well as that of the church. It showed that this new Word came from GOD.

    In our day, the authority of the apostles is already established. We have the testimony of the miracles. We don’t need new miracles, because there’s no new Word. If a pastor wants to speak with apostolic authority, he doesn’t need to perform miracles, he needs to preach the Word that we already have. If he preaches the Word, he does so with God’s authority, because it’s God’s Word that is being spoken. It is as if God himself were speaking.

    We don’t need to see a miracle to have this verified, we need only to open our bibles. There has never been a standing ability to perform miracles. That’s the point. People don’t need miracles to believe the Word that they have heard. They need to see miracles when there is a NEW Word from God. Not when the Old Word that has already been repeated is heard.

    OT believers had the OT for a very long time. They believed it based on prior testimony. But then along came Jesus and his followers, and there was suddenly a new Word. But if they went to the OT, nowhere would they find the name “Jesus of Nazareth”. So how were they supposed to know that this new message about Jesus was true?

    Whoa, that guy just prayed in the name of Jesus, and that crippled guy got up and started praising God! I guess this Jesus really has got something to do with God after all! I’m going to go ask these guys about him.

    The miracles serve the purpose of laying the foundation. This is how miracles functioned in the OT. Why shouldn’t it work that way today? What about the 400 years in Egypt with no miracles? What did they lack? Was it miracles they lacked, or was it the substance of the promise, namely the Promised Land?

    Just look at the OT. Look at the prophets or the judges. You see them performing lots of miracles. You don’t see ordinary everyday Jews performing miracles. I wonder why? Could it be that the people who brought NEW revelation, a new Word from the Lord were given miracles to prove that their message really was from the Lord? Wasn’t God vindicating his messengers?

    And what happened with the parable Jesus told about the guy who went to hell and was talking with Abraham? He said, just let Lazarus go back and tell my brothers not to go to this place. And what was the reply? If they did not believe Moses and the Prophets, they will still not believe, even if the dead are raised.

    Luk 16:31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.'”

    I’m not making this stuff up. Jesus himself is saying that those who will believe will believe the Word, and that if they don’t believe the Word, there is no miracle that will convince them.

    That miracle of the dead being raised is about as miraculous as it comes. After all, no one is more powerful than death. No matter how much money you have, or how much power, we all die. What greater miracle could there be? But even that isn’t enough to make someone believe if they don’t believe the Word.

    The title of this thread is: Sufficient for what?

    I’ll tell you what the Bible is sufficient for: our salvation.

    Is salvation enough for you? It was enough for David, who said that if the Lord was his sheperd, he would lack nothing. It was sufficient for Paul when he said that he considered everything he had to be worthless compared to knowing Christ. And when he said that he resolved to know nothing among the Corinthians but Christ and him crucified, wasn’t that enough? Paul thought so.

    I’m not making it up. It’s in the Bible. And I haven’t yet appealed to 2000 years of Church history to make my point.

  96. Daniel,

    The author of Hebrews lumps spiritual gifts with miracles Heb 2:1-4:

    Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 3how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, 4while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

    Who brought up professors anyway? I never learned this from a professor. I just began seminary this summer.

    Mike S.

  97. Brothers,

    Echo has explained what I was trying to say in my previous posts on this thread and on my blog. Only he has done it better and more thoroughly.

    We are not the only people who get this, though. Rome gets this and claims the ability to perform miracles to support their NEW doctrine. The Mormons get it and claimed Joseph Smith performed miracles to support his NEW revelation. Even Binny Hinn gets this.

    Obviously, these are examples of entities who have a vested interest in undermining the authority and completeness of Scripture to support their teaching.

    This is why I asked if you guys believe the canon is closed, how do you conclude that with your understanding of continued prophecy and miracles.

    Mike S.

  98. Echo, again I have no problem with what you are saying. it makes perfect sense to me. But you brought up the rainbow to give support to your argument saying, it is a promise and what is better than the promise is the fullfillment of the promise.

    And yet we still have rainbows. Can’t we have just read the story of the rainbow and that been enough for us to beleive the promise?

    Do we even still have rainbows or are those things that we see in the sky something that we started calling rainbows to fit our rainbow theology?

    You see what i’m getting at?

    I believe Jesus promised an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that would manifest himself in spiritual gifts.

    I beleive scripture affirms this. (John14-16; Acts 1:4; 2:33; Eph 1:13)

    You will indeed agree that the Holy Spirit was promised, but you happen to believe it was only active in that way at that time as a temporary thing until that canon would come into being and we would have all that we need in that canon. I get it.

    What I don’t get is this.

    Are we still in the last days? (Acts 2:17)

    Are we still awaiting the Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed? (I Corinthians 1:7)

    Has the perfection already come? (I Corinthians 13:10)

    Lets consider that first question most of all. Does the promise of Joel 2:28-32 still apply today?

    For the sake of verse 32 I sure hope so. In fact you will agree that “everyone who calls on the name of the lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13.

    Don’t you see that the promise, the gifts we have been given were not revoked but rather tempered because of a lack of faith.

    The gifts were exercised in proportion to the individuals faith right? (Romans 12:6)

    Faith comes from hearing the word right? (Romans 10:17)

    I am in no way trying to undermine the importance or value of the scriptures by recieving the gifts those scriptures promise.

    It seems to me that you have no other choice but to say the Holy Spirit is the Bible and it’s influence is limited to those who open it’s pages and read it.

    I still recieved no answers for my 4 questions on post 81. those are very important if you wish to establish criteria. Specifically number 3 because the context of that is also where Jesus introduces them to the promise of the Holy Spirit that would come upon them shortly. I think of those few chapters in John as very very significant. It seems that the counselor that was promised to us is an active presence that consists of more than just words on a page, but something that comes with power and is himself empowering.

    These are difficult questions I know, esspecially since you feel like they pose a threat to salvation by faith. They surely do not, but as long as you feel like they do then you won’t want to accept it. I challenge you to try to see why they don’t pose a threat to salvation by faith but rather are a blessing, a grace, a gift that accompanies faith.

  99. Gasp! it’s like Echo’s spirit is on me, I am so long winded now.

    Mike I draw your attention to my first question on post 81. It seems like you are the one in danger of challenging the canon because you insist that miracles give authority. So what if a mormon comes to your house and performs a miracle? Yikes, you are going to have to believe him.

  100. Daniel,

    In regards to #3 of post 81, who is Christ speaking to in this context? The Apostles during the upper room discourse. This whole section chap 13, 14, 15 & 16 needs to be read within that context. It doesn’t necessarily apply to all Christians.

    Mike S.

  101. Daniel,

    God does not allow just anyone to perform miracles. The Devil and heretics cannot perform authentic miracles, they are false signs and lying wonders.

    I can write to much on it now, but see this:

    Thus, I would not believe them.

    Mike S.

  102. “In regards to #3 of post 81, who is Christ speaking to in this context? The Apostles during the upper room discourse. This whole section chap 13, 14, 15 & 16 needs to be read within that context. It doesn’t necessarily apply to all Christians.”

    Thats what I thought you would say. (Sigh)

  103. This is what we I am talking about when I say you are using some kind of white-out to help you understand the scriptures. I hear echo telling me I need to read the whole Bible to understand it and then Mike telling me that these verses in the Bible don’t apply to me.

    “Surely i am with you always to the very end of the age” (Matt 28:20) oops. This was said to the apsotles doesn’t apply to me.

    “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However do not rejoice that teh spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:19-20) Doesn’t apply to me. (just the 72)

    “In my Fathers house there are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. i am going there to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2). Jesus should have said there are 12 rooms.

    “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive your sins.” (Mark 11:25) I am glad to get rid of this one because I don’t want to forgive.

    You see you can’t just dismiss verses spoken to the apostles and say “this is only for the 12”, especially when Jesus says, “anyone”!

    John 7:37-39 “On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.”

    Jesus has been glorified, the Spirit has been given. Believe and recieve!

  104. Question #2 from post 81…
    “If we say that the Spirit is diffirent now then it was then are we not in danger of losing EVERYTHING (i.e. communion)?”

    Did you know that the instructions for how we practice the Lord’s Supper came from Jesus to his disciples in the upper room? Mike, what you said is that those instructions don’t apply to all Christians. So NOW we must take out the Lord’s Supper since we realise it came in teh same context as Jesus’ instructions regarding the Holy Spirit.

    Please brothers, open your eyes. It is so clear. “The promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 3:39)

  105. Daniel,

    I was careful to say that it does not necessarily apply to all Christian’s, because I believe that some of the content during the upper room discourse does apply.

    I would say the following texts do not apply to all Christians:

    Ch 14:
    26But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

    Ch 15:
    26″But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. 27And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.

    Ch 16:
    13When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

    Especially, 15:27 can Christians today that they were with Jesus from the beginning? This is clearly only directly applicable to the Apostles.

    What so you?

    Mike S.

  106. You guys need a formal representation for the stuff you’re arguing about. Something mathematical. You can define infinite sets, don’t worry, and there are irrational numbers. You might find that finding your fixed point of God is an NP-hard problem. There will be a lot of local minima in a complex space of continuous, discrete and imaginary variables. Rube can probably do this for you. It might either quench all these cycles, or precisely define them so you know you have to put up with them (i.e. there is no solution).

  107. Daniel,

    The last comment in #104 is a blatant misuse of the text. What promise is Peter referring to here?

    The context of this Promise can only refer to the Abrahmic Promise, which is fulfilled in Christ.

    Mike S.

  108. Sorry, that should read What say you?

  109. Mike, you have no more ground to stand on, you are grasping out trying to hold onto something but it just isn’t there.

    You are now judging everything subjectivley. If it fits into your theology then it’s a good verse, if not, it can be reasoned out very easily.

    As for my “blatant misuse” of Acts 2:39 that is a ridiculous accusation on your part. Do you mean to tell me that we don’t recieved the promise Holy Spirit? We don’t recieve forgivness of sins? These also were only for the Apostles?

    Pay more careful attention to the scriptures.

    You can’t deny that something is the Holy Spirit just because it makes you uncomfortable; Just because it illicits emotions; Just because it doesn’t fit into your theology. Judge it according to the scriptures!

    How can you reject the Holy Spirit and still practice the Lord’s Supper?

    As for 15:27 it is a command for the disciples to testify about what tehy have witnessed, I don’t see how this lends any support to your argument. Are we not also to have some sort of personal testimony?

  110. BTW I heard a u-2 song today and realized it would make a great hymnn for your position….

    “i’ll give you everything that you want, except the thing that you want.”

  111. Daniel,
    This is a good discussion.
    First, let me say a word about rainbows. The promise has not yet been fulfilled. The promise is that God will never again destroy the world with a flood. While the promise is BEING realized as every day passes and there is no world-destroying flood, at what point in history will this promise BE realized? Not until the end of history. The promise has not yet been fulfilled. If it has been fulfilled, the we suppose that NEVER has arrived in some way. Until we arrive at the New Heavens, New Earth of Rev 21, we are still hoping in this promise, and thus there remains the sign.
    By contrast, when Jesus arrived and sacrificed himself to God for our sins, it ceased to be appropriate to sacrifice animals in the temple. Why? Because the thing that the animal sacrifice had pointed to had been fully realized.
    In the same way, tongues and other miracles legitimized the new Word from God.
    What proof do you offer me that this new Word came from God? The miracles. In the case of prophesy and tongues, these ARE the new Word from God, delivered in miraculous fashion. They are self legitimizing because of their miraculous nature. (Of course, I speak of translated tongues, because the content is the same as prophesy, which is revealed when translated. Here’s a question: if tongues aren’t translated, how do we know it comes from God and it’s not just the person making sounds? We cannot. So then, how do we perceive a miracle taking place? If you’ll note my above discussion of 1 Cor 14:11, this is PRECISELY Paul’s point. Untranslated tongues do not prove themselves to be miraculous, because for all we can know, it’s just the person making strange sounds. There’s no difference to OUR ears between that and baby talk. Baby talk is certainly not miraculous. But if the words are translated, either by a native speaker or someone with a gift of interpretation, then we can see that it’s a miracle because we note that the person had not learned that language, and that the content is in line with the Scriptures and with Christ.)
    Ok, here are your four questions:

    1. If the Authorized agents are marked by their ability to do signs, wonders and miracles then I am bound to believe when I see a miracle, sign or wonder, thus making me suceptible to being led astray by false miracles. (You do agree that false miracles can occur today do you not)?

    Echo says: Before Christ, this would be true. We know, however, that since Jesus is the exact copy of God’s Being, because he is God incarnate (Col 1), that God has been FULLY revealed to the extent possible to finite creatures. Jesus Christ (his person and work) is the FINAL, COMPLETE Word of God. He FULLY reveals God. And again we have the Christ event and the inspired interpretation of the Christ event. No more revelation is coming until the world ends. No more revelation, no need for miracles to affirm the revelation. All miracles (once the canon was closed) are necessarily false. Does that mean God does not act? No. Does that mean that sometimes people are not mysteriously cured from cancer? No. But God employs means. He acts, but he acts through the creation, through creatures. Does God speak with an audible voice? Sure, through preachers. Does God heal people of thier diseases? All the time, go to your local hospital. Are people sometimes mysteriously cured of illness after people pray? Yep. Is this miraculous? Maybe. Unexplained to be sure, but not necessarily miraculous. Either way, God still did it. However, is there such a thing as the gift of miraculous healings today? No. If there were, wouldn’t those people be offering it in hospitals? We don’t always understand the human body. Medicine has not been able to figure it all out. The point is this: tongues is supposed to serve as EVIDENCE. Evidence of what? God’s presence, the Holy Spirit moving the heart of the tongue-speaker, etc. Tongues DO provide evidence. They provide evidence that the Jews have been rejected in favor of the Gentiles, and they provide evidence that the Word being preached is genuine. Today, we do not need these signs to have a genuine Word. We have the Bible, which we all believe to be authoritative, and we have the testimony of tongues to go with the Bible. So when the preacher preaches, we don’t need tongues as proof that it comes from God. We need to be Berean and see if it lines up with the Bible. But we do still have visible signs that the preached Word can be trusted. We call them sacraments: Lord’s Supper and Baptism. Tongues speaking not only undermines the Bible, but also the sacraments.

    2. If I say that miracles, signs and wonders ceased then I would then have to deny the spiritual gifts taught in the New Testament (specifically Romans and the Corinthian episltes). And this is the main point we are arguing. I believe it is very clear that the Spirit in the New Testament churches should be in play today (I Corinthians 1:7, II Corinthians 11:4; Romans 8:15). If we say that the Spirit is diffirent now then it was then are we not in danger of losing EVERYTHING (i.e. communion)?

    Echo says: you are only in danger of losing everything if you don’t understand how the Spirit acted then and how he acts now. That’s like saying that if we no longer have to obey the ceremonial law thanks to Jesus, we don’t have to obey the moral law either. In other words, if the dietary laws for Israel have ceased to apply to us, then don’t the 10 Commandments? If we can eat pork, can we also murder? No one would ask this question because it’s contrary to common sense. But if you think about it, it really just employs the same logic that you’re employing here. We do not deny the validity of the gifts, we deny that they are still being given in the same way. We deny that the miraculous gifts – which were given to support the authority of the message – are still being given. The foundation is laid. The support is in place. We do not need to lay the foundation all over again. It has been laid. It is accomplished. We stand on the foundation of miracles, but we do not seek miracles. Jesus said that it was wicked to seek miracles. He said that wicked people are always seeking the sign. What did he mean? He performed lots of signs. He is not saying that signs are wrong or that they don’t come from God. They aren’t wrong; they do come from God. But he is saying that it’s wrong to seek the sign rather than the thing signified.
    Echo also says: Please do me a favor and affirm that you agree that there is such a thing as a sign and a thing that the sign points to. Please confirm that such a distinction can be made. It is very important to me that you affirm this distinction. And, pretty much, you have to, because it’s just true by definition. I eagerly await your affirmation of this distinction between a sign and the thing signified. Please affirm that these are two different things. While you’re at it, please affirm that for EVERY sign there is a thing signified, a thing pointed to. Please affirm this.

    3. If that canon is closed when the apostles died and only the apostles were able to do miracles then what is Jesus talking about in John 14:12 when he says that those who believe in him will do greater things (miracles)? Does “anyone who has faith” mean “Any APOSTLE who has faith”?

    Echo says: This is a very good question. The Greek word that is translated “works” in the ESV, and “things” in the NIV literally means “works”. It doesn’t mean miracles. If it was miracles, the word would be dunamis, but the word used is ergon. This is just the simple word for action, deed, works. However, I would ask you to take a closer look at this verse. Did the apostles do greater work than Jesus? What could be greater than accomplishing our salvation? Was Jesus lying or incorrect? surely not. So what does this mean? I would guess that it refers to the work of spreading the good news of the gospel. But you tell me. Did the apostles perform GREATER miracles even than Jesus? Jesus walked on water, Peter could not. Jesus fed the 5000 and then the 4000, and no apostle ever repeated that. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, and you did see that repeated, but no one did anything greater than this. But perhaps the greatest miracle of all that Jesus did was rising from the dead on Easter morning. To my knowledge, when the apostles died, they remained dead. So not only is it the wrong Greek word for it to refer to miracles, even that interpretation doesn’t seem to fit. I think that the apostles did more and greater work to spread the gospel. Jesus preached almost totally exclusively to the Jews. But the apostles spread the gospel all over the world, culminating in Paul’s testimony before Ceasar. So they did more to spread the gospel. That’s the only way I can even think of to explain what Jesus is saying here. I welcome further comment, however.

    4. (This one is just for echo;-) What about these personal experiences? Am i to beleive they are all works of Satan or self? Am i not supposed to allow for some type of “leading by the Holy Spirit” (Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:18)? What of all beleivers who have at some point prayed for direction? Does that direction exclusviley and entirely come through the Bible? I think we all agree that the Spirit does SOMETHING, to lead us and to convict us and to teach us and to gift us. If at any point that something occurs outside of the Bible (dream, counsel, seminary class) then are we advocating an open canon?

    Echo says: no, we not advocating an open canon. I do not believe in seeking a “special Word” from the Lord. For example, many young people in the evangelical world get very distressed over which college to go to. Some spend multiple days in prayer and fasting and crying out to God that he would show them which college they should go to. I don’t believe in this sort of thing. I think it’s actually quite foolish, and I’ll be happy to tell you why. Note carefully that I did not call a person foolish, but an action. And actually I used the word “foolish” very deliberately, because it’s an action that is expressly the opposite of “wisdom”. God encourages us to seek, find and employ godly wisdom. His wisdom that is found in the Bible. Some people particularly like the wisdom literature, like Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, and whatever else, but really, the entire Bible provides wisdom for us. And Jesus Christ is himself our wisdom from God.

    1Co 1:30 He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption.

    See, Jesus IS our wisdom from God. What does this mean? It means that we can learn everything God wishes to tell us (especially about wisdom) by looking to Jesus.
    Do you want to know what college to go to? Employ the wisdom God has given you, make the best decision you can, and don’t worry about it. If you are trying to choose between USC and UCSD, be encouraged; neither one of those choices is SINFUL. God has revealed sin and righteousness. He has not concealed that from us. If you go to USC, you have not sinned. If you go to UCSD, you have not sinned. It’s not like God has some secret plan THAT YOU MUST DISCOVER and be obedient to. God does have a secret plan for each one of us. But we call it secret precisely because it hasn’t been revealed, and it won’t be revealed, except in God’s bringing it about. If you want to go to USC, go there. And when you arrive, you’ll find that since you’re there, it must have been God’s plan all along. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have gotten there.
    But the Bible commands us to cultivate and exercise wisdom. Wisdom tells us how to make proper decisions. The Bible is indifferent to which college you choose. Neither one is sin, go where you want. Make some practical choices about it. Which one will give you the better education for the money? Will you be close or far from your parents, and is that what you want? Should you instead go to a Christian college? Maybe, but you don’t have to. If you’re going to study the Bible, you’re probably going to want to be concerned to go to a Bible college that reflects good, solid biblical principles. But if you’re going to get a degree in accounting, by all means, try to go to the best school for accounting that you can afford. Do you want to be a lawyer and can you afford to go to Harvard? do it. God bless you. You haven’t sinned.
    What about personal experiences? Do they come from the devil or the self? Well, perhaps one or the other, perhaps both. But I’ll tell you what. When I spoke in tongues, I know for a FACT that I merely imitated the sounds I heard around me. I simply copied them. I never had any idea what I was saying. I am not using this to prove tongues false. I have already sought to do that from Scripture. However, in my own experience, I can say that I just repeated the sounds I heard around me. How fascinating it is that I came to eventually believe that this was the Holy Spirit granting me utterance. I did it, but I thought it was the work of God. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not the work of God or the devil. Like God, the devil too employs creaturely means. The devil may use a woman, for example, to entice you to lust. When you really think about it, it’s really YOU that is sinful and lusting after the woman. Sure, the devil is using her to get to you, and he’s using your sinful heart so that you are tempted and lust after the woman, but at the end of the day, you have no one to blame but yourself. You can’t blame your sin on the devil.
    So let’s say, for the sake of argument, that tongues is wrong and not for today. Then that would make tongues sinful. It would mean that everyone who speaks in tongues is just making it up, imitating the sounds around them perhaps.
    How could this happen? Well, if you’re in a church that encourages you to be holy, that encourages you to be sold out for Jesus, that encourages you to witness to others boldly: you might be seeking the power to do these things. You might be seeking the power to be holy. And your church offers you the answer: the baptism in the Holy Spirit. So you think you really want this, because you want to be holy; you want to have the power to be holy, you want to be sold out for Jesus, you don’t want to be too shy to talk about your faith with others, you might even be looking for some tangible sign that you are saved, because you’re afraid that you’re a phoney, and that God has not actually saved you. You’re afraid that you are backslidden, and that you have blasphemed the Holy Spirit so that you are condemned to hell no matter what you do. You lie awake at night thinking of all the sins you forgot to confess that day. You go to church on communion Sunday and seriously consider not taking the communion because you don’t think you’re holy enough.
    There are lots of reasons to want this experience of being baptized in the Holy Spirit. But God has provided for all of these needs. Let me be clear though: being saved is being baptized in the Holy Spirit. I am not denying that believers are filled with the Spirit, I am denying that this is an emotional experience above and beyond salvation, that is accompanied by signs and wonders, such as tongues.
    Do you require power over sin? Be of good cheer. God has provided for you. The regular preaching of the Word gives you power over sin. Faith comes by hearing the Word of Christ. Hearing about what Jesus has done for you makes you grateful to him, and causes you to want to sin less. This is definitely the work of the Spirit, but we call it sanctification, and the Spirit uses the preaching of the Word to bring it about.
    Do you require boldness in witnessing? What did Paul do when he required boldness? He asked people to pray that God would give him boldness.

    Col 4:3 At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison–
    Col 4:4 that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.

    But note well that it is God who gives opportunities to share the gospel. We should seek to share with people, but we should not ever cram our faith down peoples’ throats.
    Are you afraid that you’re a phoney, and that God has not actually saved you? Are you afraid that you are backslidden, and that you have blasphemed the Holy Spirit so that you are condemned to hell no matter what you do? Do you lie awake at night thinking of all the sins you forgot to confess that day? Do you go to church on communion Sunday and seriously consider not taking the communion because you don’t think you’re holy enough? Do you just keep on sinning the same sins over and over again?
    God has made a provision for you. You need no assurance of your salvation than this: once saved, always saved. There is NO SUCH THING as being able to lose your salvation. If you really believe that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, and that God raised him from the dead, and that he is your ONLY hope for peace with God, you ARE saved. You can’t believe this if you aren’t. If you doubt these things, join the club! Many of us doubt. No one has perfect faith. But if I ask you if Jesus Christ is your hope for salvation, don’t you know it’s true? You are saved. God will sustain you. Continue to trust him. He will not let you down. Meanwhile, get to church. God has provided that the Word of God will be preached to you every Sunday. Go and hear it. You can’t make it to Wednesday night Bible study, Friday night praise night, Monday night discipleship, Saturday morning prayer? Don’t worry about it. God ONLY COMMANDS that you go and hear the preaching on Sunday morning. Get to church. Weekday activities are fine, but not commanded by Scripture. You don’t have to go to church every day. You DO, however, have to go on Sunday. And that means not taking a day off to go to a Chargers game or because you’ve got too much work to do. Get to church.
    If you believe in Christ as your only hope, you have not blasphemed the Holy Spirit. Don’t even allow yourself to be threatened by this. Keep trusting in God. He will sustain you. He has PROMISED to sustain you.
    Are you afraid that your sin will keep you from God? Then what did Jesus die for? He doesn’t die afresh every day. He died once. That’s it. When you were forgiven of your sins, you were forgiven of the ones you had not yet committed. By all means, continue to confess your sins for the sake of conscience and your relationship with God – after all, it shows him that you aren’t afraid to admit your sins, and thus your need for his provision for them – but do not suppose that God cannot save you despite your sins. This is the very meaning of the cross.

    Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
    Rom 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

    Good news, Christian! You ARE not condemned. What condemnation is being referred to? JUDGMENT DAY. You stand exonerated today because you will be exonerated then. That’s what it means to be free from the law. The law cannot CONDEMN you. It still commands you, and you should seek to be obedient, but there is NO CONDEMNATION for those in Christ Jesus. And those who are in Christ Jesus are those who have faith in him as their only hope. If you believe that Jesus life and death can accomplish salvation, it is because the Holy Spirit is at work within you, allowing you to perceive this truth. God is not an indian giver. Your salvation is permanent. If it wasn’t permanent, it wouldn’t really be salvation.
    Look, the whole point of Jesus’ death was to make up for our weaknesses. If we weren’t sinful, we wouldn’t need Christ in the first place. God saves you. You don’t save yourself. God doesn’t give you the power to save yourself. God saves you. You continue to sin, but Jesus’ sacrifice is of infinite value. Your sin will never be greater than the value of the life of the Son of God. How could it be?
    Once saved, always saved.
    You cannot lose your salvation, because you didn’t earn it yourself. God is the one who gave it to you. You are saved by grace through faith right?

    Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
    Eph 2:9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

    What is not of your own doing? FAITH. And faith is the only thing you need for salvation. Hmmm.

    Rom 12:3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.

    God has assigned to you a measure of faith. It is not your own doing, God gave it to you.
    So if you aren’t responsible in ANY WAY for your salvation, how could you lose it? You are not the one who gained it for you. Not only can you not lose it, you can’t acquire it either. God has given it to you, and he won’t take it away from you.
    Most churches that advocate tongues use, whether they mean to or not, whether we just tend that way or not, teach you to depend on an emotional experience as CONFIRMATION. Confirmation of what, you ask? Confirmation that God has forgiven you – THIS TIME.
    There is no permanent assurance that God has forgiven you. You only get to be forgiven THIS TIME, and that’s only because you FELT God. But what about next time when you don’t “feel” God? Are you still forgiven? Did you get anything out of the sermon if it didn’t make you cry or feel bad? Is there such a thing as walking out of church feeling GOOD? HAPPY? CONFIDENT IN YOUR SALVATION???
    Do you know that the reason to go to church is to hear the good news that you can’t earn your salvation, but Christ has earned it for you? You have not chosen God, God has chosen YOU. You are saved now, you will always be saved. Your salvation is not your doing. This isn’t something to be feared, it’s something to take comfort in. Your salvation isn’t in your weak and sinful hands. It’s not up to you to ruin it. You can’t mess it up!
    think about falling in love. You either love that girl or you don’t. Her faults? She doesn’t have any. But if you don’t love her, all you see are faults. It’s the same with God. If he loves us and has saved us, he doesn’t see our faults. He sees only the righteousness of Christ Jesus, which covers us like a garment. When God looks at us, he doesn’t see our sin, he sees his Son. When God said of Jesus, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” he also said it of you who are IN Christ Jesus by faith. But even this faith is a gift from God.
    You either love that girl, or you don’t. You can’t close your eyes and WILL yourself to love her. You can’t try really hard to love her. You either do or you don’t. But if you do love her, nothing will detract you. If you don’t love her, nothing will convince you. This is just like what it means to have faith. Do you think you can force yourself to have faith? You can’t. You either have it or you don’t. Without faith, no amount of convincing or reasonable argumentation will convince ANYONE. But with faith, nothing will convince you that God’s Word is not true. You are like a tree that is planted by the water, you shall not be moved.
    God has given you this faith. You shall not be moved.
    This is why you go to church. You don’t go to hear about how you had better do more for God this week, and you better do better too! That’s not what church is! Church is: YOU’VE FAILED, and you will ALWAYS FAIL! But that’s ok! IT IS FOR YOU THAT CHRIST DIED! Now come and sit down with Christ for supper. You’ve had a long week, beloved.
    You see, you only NEED these experiences when you aren’t hearing the gospel. You only NEED these experiences when your needs aren’t being met. If the gospel were being preached to you, you wouldn’t need to seek assurance elsewhere. You would feast on the flesh of Christ and the blood of Christ every week, and you would sleep soundly at night, quietly trusting that God will do what he has promised.
    You would know that God can be trusted when he says, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” You will know that he can be trusted when he says, “I will raise you up at the last day.” Or when he says, “Behold, we shall all be changed at the last trumpet.” And most importantly, you would believe when he says, “THERE IS NO CONDEMNATION FOR THOSE WHO ARE IN CHRIST JESUS.”
    People of God, do not hope in miracles. Rather, hope in Christ. This is why Paul said that he preached Christ and him crucified. What more could you ask for? What more do you need? Nothing.

    Rom 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
    32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
    33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.
    34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died–more than that, who was raised–who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
    35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
    36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
    37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
    38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,
    39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  112. Sorry, i totally messed up the blockquote thing. Whoops. don’t you put it at the beginning and the end?

  113. D,

    I gotta agree with your post 109. Sorry Mike.

    The promise is the gift of the Holy Spirit. But that’s the promise of salvation. So Mike is also right that this refers to a fulfillment of the Abrahamic promise. It does NOT refer to the Abrahamic promise, but to the New Covenant promise of the Holy Spirit for all who believe. ALL who believe = all who are saved.

    Mike said:
    I would say the following texts do not apply to all Christians:

    Ch 14:
    26But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

    Ch 15:
    26″But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. 27And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.

    Ch 16:
    13When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

    Echo says: they all apply to us. They are all written to us, but it may mean something different TO US than it does for the original hearers. Remember, Jesus SPOKE these words to the apostles, and then John WROTE them down. John WROTE them for you. The Holy Spirit inspired him to.

    Chapt 16: All that the Father has, has been given to the Son. He has given it to all his people. That’s us. Now, it’s often said that this passage means that the apostles knew everything, which is why they had the authority to write Scripture. I’m not sure if that’s exactly right. They were inspired, the did have an inspired understanding of the Scriptures. All true. But did they know INDIVIDUALLY all truth? I don’t know. But I do know that THROUGH the apostles, the Spirit has guided, and continues to guide the CHURCH into all truth. We continue to grow in our understanding of the apostles’ writings. I don’t know if that means it applies to us or not. It’s still part of our Bible, we should still preach it. But no, of course it wasn’t spoken to us.

    chapt 15: the church bears witness to Christ. But it’s true that only the apostles bore witness to him in an INSPIRED way. That’s why they wrote about him. That’s why they told us how to interpret the events.

    chapt 14: again, there’s still a message for us here. True, he is not saying to us that we will remember what Jesus said. But it is the Spirit who teaches us what Jesus’ person and work is all about. He teaches us still. He uses the Word to do it, but it isn’t JUST the Word, it’s the Spirit working in us through the Word.

    My point is just that the Holy Spirit doesn’t work in us as completely as he did the apostles, but he still works in us in the same ways. Just not as completely, and only through the Word.

  114. Daniel,

    Are you saying that John 14:27 applies to all Christians? Do you think the Spirit will allow you to recall everything that Jesus said to you? My friend you are not yet 50 years old, were you alive with our Lord?

    I would submit that you are the one that is being subjective with the text. Especially your take on John 15:27, again who was with our Lord from the beginning? Not you my friend.

    And John 16:13 are you claiming that the Holy Spirit guides you into all truth. Are you infallible Daniel? If this applies to you, I suggest we add all your comments in this thread to the next addition to the New Testament.

    Brother, I am not denying the Holy Spirit and He does not make me uncomfortable. I am just being honest in what I am allowed to claim today. I am not allowed to claim that I can speak God’s infallible, inerrant and perfect word immediately. I can point to His written word, which is fully sufficient and proclaim it. I fear that you are denying the sufficiency of God’s full revelation in Christ, based upon your experience.

    Do not presume upon the Holy Spirit and demand more than is promised to you. He has already provided all the revelation we need in the Word of God. All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

    Mike S.

  115. Okay, I concede on Acts 2:39…

  116. Echo,

    I agree there is some equivocation in the terms in the upper rooms discourse. However, in a strict literal interpretation many things are specifically refering to the apostles.

    And getting back to Daniel’s Q.3, I do not think it is an appropriate proof text for the continuation of miracles. That was my point to Daniel.

    Mike S.

  117. Are you guys taking into account the frailty of translation from the original language this was all written in? It will have been chock full of idiomatic usage local to the scribe which modulates meaning anyway. A great deal will have been lost or unintentionally substituted.

    e.g. “If God is for us…” God belongs to us/God is in favour of us. Clearly the first interpretation is wrong. We know this from constraint propagation around the bible. If you could come up with a formal logical process to constrain all the freedom of interpretation, you’d be able to argue things in a more concrete fashion.

    Now that would make an interesting project for a religious student. Biblical language constraint logic programming.

  118. Daniel,

    In 116 I meant to say sorry for previous accusation.

    Mike S

  119. Mike,

    I see your point about literal interpretation, but since I’m against demanding a literal interpretation, I’m willing to side with Daniel on this, even I don’t agree with how he’s probably interpreting it either.

    Point: it’s not written to simply reissue the words to the apostles. It’s written for us. The Bible was NOT written for the apostles, they’re the ones who wrote it! WE are the audience of John’s gospel, but we’re not the immediate audience. But Jesus is speaking to the apostles in the text – but they still were not the original audience of john’s gospel. NT believers were. Why did John record that if there was no message in it to all believers? It says something about the apostles, yes…


  120. Limejelly,



  121. Limejelly,

    εἰ ὁ Θεὸς ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν, τίς καθ᾿ ἡμῶν
    ei o theos huper hemon, tis kath’ hemon?

    If the God (huper) us, who against us?

    I’m kind of surprised that you want to translate “hyper” as “God belongs to us/God is in favour of us”. In favor of us is a decent idiomatic translation, but belongs to us is terrible. The word literally means above us, because it is used with the genitive form of “us”. Above doesn’t signify belonging, more like we belong to him if anything. But it means that he is over us in the sense that a shepherd is over a flock of sheep. Or perhaps like a mother bird covers her chicks with her wings. (Those are both biblical images I’m appealing to.)

  122. Echo, I apreciate very much your responses but I have to ask if you, being totally honest with yourslef, are satisfied with your position.

    I enjoyed very much your diatribe on the assurance of salvation. I agree wholeheartedly, in fact I preached to my youth group this past saturday night on the same topic. One of my points was that “God is not an indian giver” (evidently this term is not PC and the youth today are not even familiar with it).

    The problems with your answers to my questions are very small, but hold huge sway on your position. I do not have time to comment on those right now but i will. Until then I strongly encourage you to pray about your position with a willing heart. Willing for God to direct you/ give you wisdom ; even it’s something you feel secure in.

  123. I read comment 74, Echo. Thanks for your words of brotherhood. I think it is important to realize that we are all brothers saved by grace here and all are believers in Jesus.

    One big difference is that I don’t think any of you who don’t speak in tongues and don’t think that the gift of tongues is in operation today are sinning. I do believe that God has more for you, and that all the gifts showered on the early church can be appropriated by the present-day church for her edification. How we use them and rules of order is another discussion, but that those gifts are available, I believe is a more straightforward hermeneutic of Paul’s letters.

    Another question: Would Paul be comfortable in a church that does not encourage the gifts he promoted, and would Paul be comfortable with churches that expressly forbid speaking in tongues, completely violating his teaching?

  124. I fixed some HTML things. Albino, you forgot the leading < in front of your ‘a’ tag. Echo, you were close, but your closing tags need a slash; <blockquote> in front, </blockquote> in back.

  125. Limejelly, you’re funny. First of all, at least one of us does know Greek, to be able to peek behind the translations (as Echo demonstrated).
    Second of all, modern Bible translators very carefully take that kind of effect into account, and as a matter of fact, different versions have different targets in the spectrum from original/literal to modern/idiomatic (technical terms, dynamic equivalence vs. something-else equivalence). For instance, you can find the verse in question here, and then switch over to all different English versions (or foreign-language versions, if you know foreign languages), to see how similar/different they are. The fact that most translations are almost identical here indicate this was simple to translate, and what the normal English reader gets out of those translations is indeed the clear meaning of the original text. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a verse that would demonstrate the marked differences of difficult passages — any help? (Note that The Message and the Amplified Bible are not, technically speaking, ‘translations’, but ‘paraphrases’, so they don’t even have the objective of accurately reflecting the original language)
    Third, natural languages just don’t work that way. I have read of similar attempts to turn software loose on legal codes, to parse them out and ensure that they had no logical contradictions, or inherent unconstitutionalities, and the project was a dismal failure — I think it’s basically as hard as the more general problem of getting a computer to truly understand natural language.
    So the short answer to your question, yes, we have “tak[en] into account the frailty of translation from the original language this was all written in.”
    See also my question about “tongues”, and Echo’s answer. Very interesting.

  126. Humorous aside on languages: A friend of mine used a software translating tool to translate a Bible study on the attributes of God from English to Spanish. It was comical. On one of his points: “God is an orderly God,” the translating tool spit out: “God is a hospital assistant.”

  127. Daniel,

    Re: 123

    Yep. I’m satisfied alright. In fact, after church on Sunday mornings, I come home and put my feet up, smoke a cigar, drink some wine, and enjoy the satisfaction to the fullest. Just like Thanksgiving dinner every week.

  128. Albino,

    Re: 124

    You said that we who don’t speak in tongues are not sinning. But then you asked: “would Paul be comfortable with churches that expressly forbid speaking in tongues, completely violating his teaching?”

    If we are violating Paul’s teaching, we must be violating the Word of God, because the only teaching of Paul that we still have today is found in the Word of God. So if we are violating Paul’s teaching, we must be sinning.

    And just so we’re clear on the distinction between forbiding tongues and not practicing tongues: I am in full and absolute agreement with my church in its practice of not just forbidding tongues but…

    Let me tell you a story. I heard a candidate get examined on the floor of the presbytery who had apparently had some lingering questions over tongues. They finally just got right to the heart of the matter, and asked him, “Does Satan want you to speak in tongues?” He didn’t know how to answer. After much foot dragging, the examiner finally gave up and told him, “Yes, he does.” Meaning Satan does want you to speak in tongues.

    Why? Because it undermines your faith in the Word of God.

    I know, it’s astonishing to you that I could even be reading the same Bible you are. I know. But if you really look at what I have written here, you’ll at the very least understand my position, and consequently understand why I say that the BIBLE teaches that tongues are not for today, and therefore what goes on today is NOT tongues, and is therefore NOT from God, and is therefore sinful.

    I know, you disagree, but I think you would find my position sinful. If you don’t think I am in sin for my position, which according to you violates the teaching of Scripture, then I think we need to talk about your definition of sin. Maybe you just wanted to scale back your tone, but since we believe in “so great a salvation” wrought by Christ, why should we be afraid to admit that some things we do might be sinful?

    I also believe in infant baptism. Well, guess what? that implies that I think that the Bible teaches that people who refuse to baptize their children are in sin. Yup.

    I also believe that every man who preaches a sermon that fails to preach the gospel is also in sin, because without showing how the text relates to the gospel, and therefore preaching the gospel, the text has not been interpreted properly, thus the man in question is not preaching the Word of God. This too is sin.

    I’m not judging people, I’m standing up for the Bible. Either we believe it or we don’t. We don’t believe it can be interpreted however we like, we don’t believe it can be preached however we like, we don’t believe in the nonsense of liberal Christianity that calls your interpretation your truth.

    It’s not your truth. It’s God’s truth or it ISN’T truth. that’s great if you make God’s truth your own, but it’s not truth because you own it, but because God said it in his Word.

    Not that you’re implying that the Bible does have multiple meanings to multiple people, I’m just encouraging you to say, “Hey look, a spade!” We don’t have to be ashamed to say that something is sin. By saying so, we have not condemned a person. If you tell me I have sinned, you may be right or you may be wrong. If you’re right, I am not condemned, because Christ died for me. If you’re wrong, well, I haven’t got anything to worry about, have I? But if you’re right, I should repent. But even if I don’t repent, can Christ still save me? Yeah, I think so. Most likely anyway. If I’m a Christian, I’m guaranteed to continue sinning. If I’m not a Christian, I’m guaranteed to continue sinning. If I’m a Christian, I’m forgiven. If I’m not, I’m not.

    Consider too that since you’re a pastor, I also believe that when you teach people to speak in tongues, you’re encouraging them to sin. That’s a necessary implication of my view. I’m not afraid to admit it.

    But as I’ve said, I’m not your judge. Good thing for you! Only God looks on the heart. He may absolve you, he may not. that’s for him to decide, not me. Whew! Good thing too, because I really don’t want that on my conscience.

    But I’m not afraid or ashamed to say that when I find a teaching to be out of accord with the Word of God, it’s sin.

    We’re all sinners. That’s why Christ died. Anyway…

  129. Rube,

    Thanks for the HTML fix


  130. Rube,

    We need a new thread about something new. Give the people what they want!

  131. OK, so I’m hearing a yes amongst these answers! I don’t read greek, so I was asking the question as textaully posed – it didn’t need translating ;-) I also see a parallel between these sorts of discussion and that which surrounds legality. The problem is that it’s the texts we argue about were written by human beings, and wether you thing they’re divinely inspired or not, their meaning is finite, and we expect it to be flawed because it uses the approximation of language. Therefore surely God would take advantage of continuing opportunities for man to refine his understanding of Him. To refuse such opportunites? To reject the very possibility that your Lord may be offering you something and you’re refusing it seems counter-intuitive. It’s as bad as my rejection of *one of* Reuben’s stated reasons for following the bible (if there’s a chance someone that big is there, and might hurt you, your best bet is to bow down).

    I don’t understand Echo’s “yuck”. PLEASE keep it brief.

  132. Echo,

    regarding your proclaimed satisfaction: yikes! But hey, i can’t say anything more than what you said to albino in 129.

    I have a reply to all of your counter points to my 4 questions but I am wondering if you would perhaps do me a favor for the purpose of advancing this discussion to a deeper level. Would you be willing to play devil’s advocate; to argue from my position against your counter points? I could at least know for sure that you saw where I was coming from if you could recognize the flaws of your arguments (that I am going to exploit) before I do so. If you don’t want to, thats fine I totally understand. Your post is number 111 and I don’t wish to discuss anything but your replies to my questions.

    are you up to the challenge?

  133. Echo wants a new thread, Daniel B challenged for something deeper and more focused…
    Coming right up — a new post!
    Also, for a change of pace, here’s the next installment in the TAG series

  134. […] Now that the grandbaby post also got too long, I jump on this opportunity to spawn a fresh thread. From here, I reproduce Daniel B’s four questions: There are 4 reasons why I cannot consider supposed cessation of miracles to be the criteria that closed the canon. […]

  135. […] Comment on Sufficient for What? by Miracles vs. Closed Canon « BlogorrheaComment on Obedience is better than… by RubeRadComment on Bunk Beds by RubeRadComment on Miracles vs. Closed Canon by Echo_ohcEComment on Sufficient for What? by RubeRadComment on Sufficient for What? by Daniel BComment on Sufficient for What? by limejellyComment on Sufficient for What? by Echo_ohcEComment on Bahnsen’s TAG III by Echo_ohcEComment on Sufficient for What? by Echo_ohcE […]

  136. Lime,

    Re: 132

    Jud 3 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.

    So you see, Limey, our faith was given once. It was completed. It was delivered. We do not await more information about it. There’s no more story to tell. We have the whole story. The story is complete. Our part is to keep going back to the story again and again to continually learn it better and know it better. But there are no more chapters to write. Our faith was once for all delivered to the saints.


  137. Limejelly has a point though; the fixed text that we have does require interpretation within a historical, cultural, and linguistic context, and the further our history removes us from that context, the more we need to strive to overcome that gap to retain true understanding. Basically, that’s what NPP does (goes overboard with).

  138. Echo, are you still on your hobby horse? Tongues/Prophecy = Special Revelation = Canon of Scripture. Canon of Scripture = Closed. Therefore, Tongues/Prophecy over with.

    Did you EVER respond to my question about the park bench or Daniel’s experience at the grocery store? Did you ever say why that would HAVE to go into the Canon and therefore it couldn’t be a real gift of the Spirit today?

    If so, point me to the comment. I’m too far behind and too busy to read this monster thread of comments.


  139. Indeed he did, and that happens to be exactly the comment I reproduced to kick off the new thread. So hop on over there, and check out especially Daniel’s question #4, and Echo’s answer.

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