It’s a big privilege to open this dialogue on religious presents, with Tom Schreiner and different people from whom I’ve discovered a lot in so many areas. “The first to present his case seems right, until the other comes and examines him” (Prov 18:17 ESV).
As a result of this change is predicated on two books, quite than one, and since Tom’s ebook and mine come to completely different conclusions on the continuation of the charismata, it might be straightforward for a dialogue like this to develop into repetitive. To attempt to keep away from that, on this article I plan to do three issues. First, I’ll attempt to outline the scope of the controversy as merely as doable, so we don’t find yourself speaking previous one another. Second, I’ll lay out the charismatic case in a optimistic approach, with what appear to me the three key arguments for it. Third, I’ll summarise the strongest argument for cessationism, after which problem it, earlier than concluding. I’ll depart a dialogue of the opposite cessationist arguments till we interact with Tom’s ebook in a while.
1. The Scope of the Debate
To crystallize the controversy in a single sentence, I recommend this: Are disciples in the present day meant to earnestly need religious presents, particularly prophecy? I’m fairly certain that Tom Schreiner and Ligon Duncan would say no, and that Sam Storms and I’d say sure. Prophecy, that’s, is probably the most useful focus for a concentrated dialogue. We aren’t primarily debating the continuation of the ἀπόστολοι, since we might all agree that eyewitnesses of the resurrection have ceased (the sense of ἀπόστολος in Acts 1:21–26 and 1 Cor. 9:1; 15:1–9), and that itinerant missionaries or messengers haven’t (the sense of ἀπόστολος in 2 Cor. 8:23 and possibly Rom. 16:7). It’s also noteworthy that in these passages the place Paul urges believers to pursue the presents, he doesn’t embody apostleship as one in every of them. And though we might disagree in regards to the continuation of the presents of languages, interpretation, healings, miracles, and discerning spirits—though perhaps not a lot, as we’ll see!—I believe we might all agree that the important thing query considerations the continuation of prophecy. Ought to disciples “earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy”? Clarifying that may preserve us from getting misplaced within the weeds.