Above is a debate between Dr. Sam Waldron, Dean and Resident Professor of Systematic Theology at Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary, and Matt Slick, President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry. They debate the question, “Does the Bible teach that the charismatic gifts are for today?”No matter which side of the issue you may be on, I highly recommend watching this debate, which is very instructive and helpful in seeking to understand the important issues involved. I think it may be the best debate I have seen on the issue, especially since it is between two men who share a commitment to Reformed theology. I also think that Sam Waldron won the debate. He did a much better job defending his “cascade argument” than Matt slick did in defending his position.
8 thoughts on “Does the Bible Teach That the Charismatic Gifts Are For Today?”
This subject is very timely having just begun a series on spiritual gifts at my church. I am working primarily from 1 Cor. 12-14 and being diligent to keep it in context. I want my congregation to own the truths found in this passage and examine the Scriptures themselves to see if what I'm teaching is true. This debate has helped to renew my enthusiasm for this type of study. It has been helpful to be reminded of the different views on the topic.
I am getting tired of watching debates on this issue and the cessationist view not asking the right questions. How many people has Mr. Slick healed? Christ and the Apostles healed at will and not necessarily just believers (Luke 17:11-19, 22:51). How many times has Mr. Slick created food or turned water to wine? (John 6:9-14, John 2:6-9)How many times Mr. Slick created money as Jesus did in Matthew 17:27? How many liars in the church has Mr. Slick quieted as Peter did in Acts 5:1-11?
If we believe the Bible is practical and that faith without works is dead (James 2:17)and if continuationism/charismaticism is true, then they need to put there money where their mouth is! This goes for Slick, Grudem, Piper or Storms or any other continuationist/charismatic.
My intention in posting the video was to offer what I thought was an instructive exchange that was worth watching, not to get into a debate on the subject myself. So, without seeking to defend one side or the other here, I will simply say that you appear to have misunderstood Matt's position in a way that Sam did not. He understood, for example, that Matt never claimed to have any gift of healing or miracles himself, at least not that I heard (although I suppose I could have missed it. With that said, I will just add that, in my opinion, Sam did a much better job defending his position that Matt did.
I do not hold you accountable for the debate performance of Sam Waldron and I appreciate you letting me know about the debate. I do agree with you that Waldron won but still I feel we need to hold continuationists accountable to what they believe. It seems like continuationists believe hypothetically in miraculous gifts continuing but do not continue it themselves. How do they know it continues if they do not continue it themselves or even know anybody who does? If they know somebody who does then that is who Sam Waldron needs to be debating and by the way I have some church members and friends that have multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease and cancer that would love to meet them.
In keeping with the spirit of James, what profit is a continuationist that does not continue the gifts? Just airing my two cents worth and maybe somebody reading will read it and debate a continuationist and find out the answer to this puzzle.
I appreciate your input very much, brother. Thanks for chiming in!
As I see it, cessationists are cessationists because they have decided to stick to men's wisdom, in this case the Reformer's wisdom, rather than to the Bible, which is quite ironic when you think about it. The problem is that cessationists don't know what the gift of prophecy is or how it works, despite the many examples of New Testament prophecy that we can find in the book of Acts. Did the prophecies uttered by the New Testament prophets ended up becoming Scripture? No. Why? Because the gift of prophecy, as imparted to Christians, is always related to particular events in the life of a particular believer/congregation, and to general revelation as contained in the Bible. Hence, there is no need to fear the addition of a new book to the New Testament just because a prophet happens to exist on the Earth today. New Testament prophecy is a gift that God uses to comfort us, to reprimand us, and to warn us (i.e., of a danger like the drought in Acts). It has nothing to do with writing Scripture. Actually, most of the prophets that I know simply quote Scripture to me, verbatim.
Thanks for visiting the blog.
You're certainly welcome to dissent from the cessationist position. But I'll offer a few observations that may help you better characterize those with whom you disagree.
First, you characterize cessationists as those who base their position on “men's wisdom,” more particularly, “the Reformer's [sic] wisdom.” Actually, that's not the fairest and most accurate depiction. In fact, while the Reformers' view on special revelation tended to favor a cessationist position in general, their position cannot be described as strong or consistent cessationism. For example, in his commentary on Ephesians 4:11, Calvin argues that the offices of apostle, prophet, and evangelist have ceased, and only the offices of pastor and teacher are perpetual. In his Institutes, however, Calvin suggests that the Lord “now and again revives them as the need of the times demand.” Moreover, some of the Puritans believed God might communicate mediately through dreams or even angelic visitations. So the Reformed tradition hasn't been entirely consistent, though in large part those in the Reformed tradition have been skeptical of claims of ongoing revelation. Furthermore, I would point out that many ardent defenders of cessationism come from the Dispensationalist tradition. In any case, I suspect that many cessationists would seek to defend their position primarily on the basis of Scripture itself, rather than ecclesiastical tradition.
Secondly, cessationists, like Dr Waldron (and myself), don't argue that all genuine prophecy ends ultimately ends up in Scripture. There were many things Jesus said and did, which were not recorded in Scripture (John 21). Nevertheless, all that Jesus said and did constitutes authoritative, infallible divine revelation–even the things that were never recorded in the Bible. Similarly, when Paul taught in the capacity of an apostle–whether orally or in writing–he expected believers to submit to his teaching as divinely authoritative. See 2 Thessalonians 2:15. In that sense, we can say oral prophecy is “canonical” even if some of it was not later inscripturated.
Finally, we would say that the instances of NT prophecy recorded in Acts were in fact divinely authoritative and infallible, just like the other revelation in Scripture. The fact that some of these prophecies “related to particular events in the life of a particular believer/congregation” doesn't make them any less authoritative or inspired than the many OT prophecies that were also related to particular events in the life of the nation Israel or individuals in that nation.
In any case, I hope these observations are helpful. Grace and peace to you.
2020 here! Being a “common believer” (no theological degrees) I am always impressed with theological debates of “wise men”. Thank you for that. I am 60+, raised Baptist on the West coast, worshipped non-denominational with Greg Laurie in the 80’s, E Free during college, Baptist church raising a young family. I DON’T like boxes but go ahead and give me a label! I tend to never want to “box” God in either. I have studied and I have taught and I always give God the wide latitude to function outside of my understanding, the Theogians teaching and even reason. After all, HE created ALL. SO the Holy Spirit certainly works today but I tend towards Cessation on that HE does not have a formula and a menu of “works” that He does through people of a particular persuation. We are in “The Last Days” and I hope and pray that we can get past the labels, draw on the power of the Holy Spirit in the absence of self and new ageism and impact the World.
In any event, this debate helps. Blessings.