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Monday, November 1, 2010

LACBC is a Cessationist Church Pt 2 Prophecy

HISTORICAL  CONNECTION: Quotes from the Church Fathers

Below is a small but representative sample of quotes about the church’s conviction about miracles, prophecy, and tongues in the Fall 2004, Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal on 1 Corinthians 13:8-13.

Augustine (354–430):
In the earliest times, “the Holy Ghost fell upon them that believed: and they spake with tongues,” which they had not learned, “as the Spirit gave them utterance.” These were signs adapted to the time. For there behooved to be that betokening of the Holy Spirit in all tongues, to shew that the Gospel of God was to run through all tongues over the whole earth. That thing was done for a betokening, and it passed away.

John Calvin (1509–1564):
“...the gift of healing, like the rest of the miracles, which the Lord willed to be brought forth for a time, has vanished away in order to make the preaching of the Gospel marvellous for ever.”

Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758):
Of the extraordinary gifts, they were given in order to the founding and establishing of the church in the world. But since the canon of Scriptures has been completed, and the Christian church fully founded and established, these extraordinary gifts have ceased.

Charles Spurgeon (1834–1892):
The works of the Holy Spirit which are at this time vouchsafed to the Church of God are every way as valuable as those earlier miraculous gifts which have departed from us. The work of the Holy Spirit, by which men are quickened from their death in sin, is not inferior to the power which made men speak with tongues.

[Speaking of the office of the apostles,] an office which necessarily dies out, and properly so, because the miraculous power also is withdrawn.

Benjamin B. Warfield (1887–1921):
These gifts were not the possession of the primitive Christian as such; nor for that matter of the Apostolic Church or the Apostolic age for themselves; they were distinctively the authentication of the Apostles. They were part of the credentials of the Apostles as the authoritative agents of God in founding the church. Their function thus confined them to distinctively the Apostolic Church and they necessarily passed away with it.

BIBLICAL BASIS: The Truth about Prophecy
  • Are modern day prophets often wrong? Yes, and in contradistinction to that, prophetic speech in the Bible is always 100% accurate (Deut 13:1-3; Jer 28:15-17; 2 Pet 2:1).
  • Does the Bible indicate that prophecy might cease, and if, yes, then how? Paul writes that when that which is perfect (teleios in the Greek) would come, prophecy would cease (1 Cor 13:10). The Greek word teleios can mean either mature or perfect, depending on the context. Paul didn’t know exactly when prophecy would end because he didn’t know exactly when Christ would return (soon or not so soon). So to indicate when prophecy might end, he used two illustrations. One pointed to maturity—the growing from a child to manhood—and the other the arrival of perfection—seeing face to face rather than in a mirror, which was a polished metal in his day and not very clear (1 Cor 13:11-12). Either would cause prophecy to cease. It just so happened that maturity came before perfection. We are still awaiting Jesus to bring in the perfect state of the Kingdom. Theologians debate whether the mature thing that ended prophecy was the completion of the canon or the church in general. I believe the completion of the NT canon is the stronger position. Because Christ tarried, then just as the OT canon of revelation was concluded, Paul anticipated that the prophetic process of writing the NT would one day be complete, mature or teleios.
  • Is God giving prophetic revelation today? No. Today God leads His people through the illuminating work of the Spirit based upon the revelation of His Word. No one today can add any so-called prophetic truth to the Bible (Rev 22:18-19).


Pentecostalism/Charismatic theology in its milder forms leaves the door open for revelation, which inadvertently suggests that the Scriptures are not sufficient (2 Tim 3:16-17). The language the “Lord told me to tell you” is theologically invalid and dangerous. If God indeed spoke to anyone, telling them to tell someone something, then the hearer is placed under the weight of having to obey because they’ve just heard the infallible will of God. No one should feel compelled to obey the voice of “God told me to tell you.” Why? Precisely because the claim of hearing prophetic revelation from God isn’t valid. God leads, guides, illumines us, but He doesn’t communicate in the revelatory sense of speaking to us outside of His Word. The P/C movement has totally confused these important theological distinctions and in doing so has left many people open to the deception of believing what someone tells them is God’s Word for their lives when it may not be.

But also many P/Cs love the Lord and the truths we hold as essential. Our difference should not keep us from fellowshipping together on almost any level except in church membership.

So what do we do? (1) We believe that revelatory gifts ceased (1 Cor 13:8) and yet we fellowship with those who believe all the other essentials of our faith. (2) We limit fellowshipping in teaching venues with those who resist important doctrines. And (3) we reject fellowshipping with those who reject the essentials of our faith: the Trinity, advocating a false gospel, i.e., the Word Faith’s prosperity gospel, etc. 

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