Again, at the beginning of the fourth podcast, Michael Patton emphasized that this issue is an important one. There are people in both camps, Cessationists and Charismatics, that will say the the other side is either “far from the Lord or unsaved.” One of the reasons of the podcast is to show that that is not the case.

They decide what the central issue is in this podcast. Patton asks Storms to do just that. Sam Storms says that the center is whether the gifts specifically in 1 Corinthians 12:7-10 are still active today, not so much a worship style or if one group is more aware or dependent on the Spirit. He’s seen both cessationist and charaismatic churches worship the same way. The problem with the awareness or dependence on the Holy Spirit because charismatics are put into the position of questioning cessationists.

1 Corinthians 12:7-10:
[7] To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. [8] For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, [9] to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, [10] to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

Other listed gifts in the podcasts were Ephesians 4, 1 Peter 4, and Romans 12. 1 Corinthians 12 contains the list that some believe they ceased to an exhaustion in purpose.

After clarifying this, Michael asks Sam to explain why cessationists would argue that certain gifts have ceased. Sam gives 5 reasons:

  • Primary purpose was to bear witness to the Gospel message.
  • Reveletory gifts undermine the sufficiency and finality of Scripture.
  • Church History: no evidence past the first couple hundred years of church of the use of the gifts.
  • Disdain of the fanatics that brought dishonor on Jesus and the Gospel.
  • Lack of personal charismatic experience in his own life.

Other issue they want to clarify is the implications or what’s at stake.

From that they discuss what they are seeing in the comments are that people are struggling with abuses even though they are charismatic. Sam points to the fact that the problem isn’t unique to the 21st century. It was also an issue with the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 5). Despising prophetic utterances quenches the Spirit and the response is to handle it rightly. “Paul’s response to abuse is not disuse but proper use.” (Storms) Sam points to the fact that the problem is not the gifts but people.

Sam’s response to the “so what?” question is that the gifts are for edification. All things are tools to edify the church, even the gifts. Even individuals are edified. Even Jude commands self-edification, maturity. Then, driven to this next point, Sam clarifies that we can’t compare the maturity of other Christians but the personal growth of an individual believer.  Character is always a measure of maturity above gifting. There are gifted people that have really bad character.

Tim then brings up another idea, that a person that only get’s say the gift of hospitality isn’t an less mature than someone else with tongues or healing.

In closing Michael emphasizes the need to disassociate Charismatics from the abusers, because as long as those are there, the issue cannot be dealt with.

My Response

There is a lot of good stuff in this podcast. A lot more than usual since the podcast went over by quite a bit. I’m glad they clarified the discussion to continuationism vs cessationism, especially narrowing down to the passage of 1 Corinthians 12:7-10. I’m also glad Michael had Sam discuss why he once believed in cessationism and what the reasons were. He even clarified that he doesn’t believe in the first two, the third has been actually shown otherwise and that the fourth was wrong. I’m glad Sam brought up that the issue at hand isn’t just a 21st century issue but an issue during the whole history of the church. Then I’m glad that Sam clarifies that the gifts are not just for proclaiming the Gospel message but for the edification of the church. He quoted quite a few passages from 1 Corinthians 12. Lastly I’m glad that Tim asked the question he did and that Sam answered it by saying that the person who gets tongues isn’t any better off or mature than the believer who gets just hospitality. These questions and clarifications are all good ones in my opinion. As I started digging into them, they probably would be a lot of the questions I would have brought up, especially the reason for the gifts, as proclaiming the Gospel. Sam showed otherwise. Knowing that isn’t not an issue of maturity also is comforting. I plan on looking at those passages mentioned and thinking about them and then posting my thoughts on them later on in the week. Hopefully it’ll help me be more decisive and decided about my conviction of the issue. Lastly I’m glad that Michael closed the podcast with the need for disassociation of abusers from other Charismatics.

Thanks guys for the podcast. Looking forward to this weeks podcast

NOTE: There weren’t any related Parchment and Pen blog posts to this podcast as they were all over the place, yet narrowing and clarifying their discussions.