Philip wrote:Pete, all that is great, your scriptural analysis. And I'm not saying that tongues are DEFINITELY not for now/modern times.
That's a curious statement, as just a few posts previous to this one you posted a link to a webpage that claims and claims to proves that speaking in tongues ended when the New Testament was completed. Did you post it without taking its claim seriously?
At any rate, my good-faith summary (hopefully, accurate and reasonably complete as summaries go) of your arguments to date would be:
Pentecostals and charismatics are a “tiny” minority of Christians, and God would not distribute spiritual gifts so unevenly;
The gift of tongues, unlike any other spiritual gift, happens only in certain denominations and groups, and God would not distribute spiritual gifts selectively;
Speakers in tongues don't know what they are saying, which does not make sense and therefore cannot be of God;
There is no way to verify with certainty that an interpreted message in tongues or a prophecy is true, therefore such cannot be of God.
Pentecostals and charismatics are weird!
If I missed or misunderstood something, I apologize. Basically, your arguments have been based on your own reasoning and your own, necessarily limited, historical-demographic experience. As I'll explain presently, I find that ironic. Summarizing my responses (my previous habit of responding post by post has the defect of spreading responses across multiple responses so the responses are not easily seen as a coherent whole):
The premise of this argument is false. Pentecostals and charismatics are not a tiny minority
of Christians. False premise, invalid conclusion. You also apply this reasoning selectively. It can also be used against:: those who baptize only believers; those who believe baptism is not
necessary for salvation; those who believe the bread and wine in communion are symbols only; those who do not accept Apostolic-succession episcopal church governance; and many more doctrines and practices than my tiny sleep-fogged brain cares to try to recall at 4:40 in the morning. To be in the minority, even a minority of one, does not mean necessarily that one is wrong.
The premise of this argument is both anachronistic and false. In reverse order, the charismatic movement started within non-Pentecostal denominations, and some 4 or 5 decades later, not a few charismatics choose to fellowship in churches of non-Pentecostal denominations/associations (including myself, and many others at the Baptist church where I fellowship). To the degree your observation is correct, what you perceive
as uneven distribution
is instead self-sorting
. When what has come to be called the Pentecostal movement started a century ago, Pentecostals were driven out of the denominations to which they had belonged.
At that point in time, the separation and segregation was largely contrary to their choosing. Pentecostal denominations were then formed for the sake of to provide for the practical needs of fellowship, ministry and outreach. The other side of this historical-demographic self-selection coin is that non-Pentecostal denominations and associations reject, sometimes vehemently, the more obviously miraculous gifts of the Spirit. Thus, to this day, members of those groups who do accept those gifts of the Spirit as valid (and dare to say so) are unwelcome, sometimes merely through verbal pressure and informal withdrawal of fellowship, and sometimes through being removed from positions of ministry or being kicked out of fellowship. So the seeming uneven distribution you observe is in fact a consequence of rejection and self-sorting: God isn't distributing gifts unevenly; rather, some of His people reject some of what He offers. God did not make humans robots, not in regard to salvation, not in regard to the gifts of the Spirit. Again, false premise, invalid argument.
That is the way God designed the gift to operate, something Scripture makes clear. Your argument is with God's design.
That is the way God designed those gifts to operate, something Scripture makes clear. Your argument is with God's design.
Going a step or two further with 3.)
, what you see as an objection to speaking in tongues, interpretation, and prophecy being valid gifts of the Spirit (either generally or specifically in our modern context) is basically how Paul describes those gifts in proper use, in 1 Corinthians 14 and 1 Thessalonians 5. Why
God designed those gifts to operate that way, Paul did not explain. As I speculated, perhaps this is why we speak of the Christian faith
. My guess/speculation, going a bit farther, is that God designed these gifts to operate this way to induce believers to rely on God, dig deeply into His word, and fellowship deeply with each other (i.e. the bases for discerning whether a prophetic or interpreted utterance may or may not be “good”).
To be sure, I stated this a bit more directly and bluntly than it was usually expressed – there have been some noteworthy exceptions – but I think my characterization quite fair and accurate. Weird
(plus or minus the “!
”) is, in this context, IMO, a synonym for unfamiliar
. I suspect several in this discussion (and those who may have read much of this thread
) similarly found the Scriptures my posts dealt with (and the meanings therein) a bit odd or weird. I think that, were the Apostle Paul to observe what we think of as “worship services” - Catholic Mass, Lutheran, Episcopal, Presbyterian, etc. liturgy, or Evangelical-Pentecostal-charismatic – he probably would have appreciated elements of each, but I think he would have found their overall format and operation fundamentally unfamiliar. Weird is in the eye and mind of the beholder.
Why do I find your reliance, ptc, on what I called “your own reasoning and your own ... historical-demographic experience” ironic? This area of discussion/debate/argument is fairly familiar to me. One of the common criticisms leveled at Pentecostals and charismatics – sometimes condescendingly or even derogatorily – is that Pentecostals and charismatics are ignorant of or ignore Scripture, relying instead on personal experience and emotions. I perceive a bit of that sort of unpleasant tone in some of nuthajason's posts:
no one online or in person has been able to sit with a bible and give me a good hermeneutical exposition to justify this practice
(no tiny out of context proof texts either please)
I am however very suspicious of anyone who calls themselves a prophet. For me the bible is all sufficient, for every good work.
(The Devil's) attack will be a false doctrine, lax biblical hermeneutics and pride of spiritual achievement or envy of others apparent ability and infilling - among many other attacks.
I believe we learn the will of the Spirit in the Word of God.
It may be that I'm a bit hypersensitive to this, and my perception is mistaken. Anyway, being weak in the Scriptures was something I never
wanted to be/do, from my earliest days as a believer (well before encountering Pentecostal/charismatic teaching); this personal inclination was strengthened early in my walk as a believer by months of discussion with one of Jehovah's witnesses. So without being nutty-imbalanced in my reading and study, I've paid careful attention to and thought much on what the Scriptures teach concerning the Gifts of the Spirit. In this discussion, the reasoning/arguments presented have been the reverse of the stereotypes: the Pentecostal/charismatic position presented on the basis of Scripture; the argument against largely based on experience and reasoning apart from the Scriptures
. I've wondered at times whether I'd soon hear narration by Rod Serling.
At any rate. as I've posted a couple of times before, nuthajason (who hasn't been around EfGfS for some 5 weeks … life happens) did state the proper standard for this kind of discussion:
nuthajason wrote:... sit with a bible and give me a good hermeneutical exposition ...
Our (believers') experiences and understanding are important (YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD ... WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND
Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30 ,Luke 10:27). But Scripture is foundational, not our imperfect and incomplete understanding and experience of the things of God. In discussions such as this, what Scripture says must be the foundation, and when Scripture speaks clearly, what it says must be understood as conclusive. If human understanding and experience are given equal or higher place than Scripture this (and other) discussion quickly devolves into a contest of whether the chandelier-swinging rug-rolling Pentecostal or the staid dry Fundamentalist can shout louder and more derisively.