Friday, July 20, 2007

The Ineffectiveness of Broken Record Persuasion

It never ceases to amaze me how continuationists seem to think that if they repeat their worn-out arguments often enough, or loud enough, they will somehow succeed in convincing others of the validity of their position. Maybe that will have an effect on some, but I dare say for the rest of us, particularly those who are ex-charismatics/Pentecostals, the Chinese water torture argumentation of “wear ’em down by endless repetition” just doesn’t fly.

Listen: We have been there, done that, got the t-shirt. We have been to the “miracle healing revivals,” seen the “Holy Ghost crusades,” and watched TBN. We have sent back our anointed prayer cloths, believing that we would receive. We have “prayed in tongues,” believing that we thereby had a devil-proof hotline to God that enabled us to touch the throne of God. We have assiduously avoided anything that would even remotely resemble a negative confession. We have spoken our dreams and refused to accept any fact that would be contrary to the fulfillment of our visions. We have done it all.

And it all failed.

It doesn’t work.

Why? Because it’s not Scriptural.

It’s bankrupt theology.

It’s the imaginations of man, and not the doctrine of Christ as revealed in Scripture.

Don’t start quoting Brother So-and-So, who had a revelation about this stuff. Don’t inform us how we just don’t understand because we’re quenching the Spirit, or are full of head knowledge rather than heart knowledge. Don’t tell us we’re “blaspheming the Holy Spirit” by insisting that what passes for modern-day “miracles” is fraudulent (at worst) or explainable by the workings of Divine providence (at best). For every anecdote that continuationists come up with about a friend’s cousin’s girlfriend whose aunt’s coworker received a miracle at some healing crusade, we can come up with ten real-life instances of people who weren’t healed or didn’t see their dream come true.

Stick to Scripture, if you really want to try and convince us. The thing is, Scripture doesn’t substantiate the claims of continuationists, hence the need to rely on anecdotes and other experiences to support their thesis.

As the Westminster Confession of Faith so succinctly states:

“The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word; and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and the government of the Church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.”

The doctrine of continuing charismata is not “expressly set down in Scripture,” nor can it “by good and necessary consequence” be deduced from Scripture. Try as they might, continuationists are simply unable to meet these most basic of Scriptural standards.

1 comment:

Henry (Rick) Frueh said...

Remove the monetary aggrandizement from the theology and the decline will commence immediately. Let us watch as a brand new African convert, without any Christian reference, is simply given the gospel facts and then provided with a Bible and told to study it for one year continually. He is not allowed any books or other forms of communication.

At the end of one year he is asked some questions about what he has dicovered concerning Christ and the Christian faith. What would his ecclesiastical view look like?