MY FIRST BLOGPOST ENTRY INTO ERIC’S AND CORAMDEO’S CESSATIONISM DEBATE (a preface)

Here is Eric’s post entitled  why I have a problem with cessationism which I will be scrutinizing in a blogpost after I give my prefacing blogpost.

Here is the preceding post between Eric and Coramdeo in chronological order. CD=CoramDeo, E=Eric, *** = the post I commented on in the comments section, ### = my comment that is my most important.

The Cessationism Debate Has Begun E, Have the Spiritual Gifts Ceased? E***###, Response to “Have the Spiritual Gifts Ceased” CD, The Ceasing of Spiritual Gifts: A Debate (Response #2) E***, Spiritual Gifts Conclusion CD, Why I Have a Problem with Cessationism E***

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After I give this “up to this point” summary (from my perspective) blogpost of the debate thus far, I will examine Eric’s “why I have a problem with Cessationism” post.

Why the preface blogpost? Well you’ll have to wade through all the comments on Erics last post to determine the truth of that for yourself. But I am doing it because I feel that Eric is being deceptive and precisely sinister in his attempts to muddy the waters of the debate so he can say,,, “the Bible is unclear and undogmatic on the issue. Why are you?”

Not only has he tried to muddy the waters of the debate. But so have others. I believe they intentionally collaborated and “tag teamed” intentional obfuscations (freedictionary.com 1. To make so confused or opaque as to be difficult to perceive or understand) to then say exactly what Eric has been saying,,,,,,,,, “the Bible is unclear and undogmatic on the issue. Why are you?”

IN OTHER WORDS for Eric to say,,, MY PP (paraphrase),,,,, ”the bible is not clear on any position so we should just drop this and all get along in love,,, and if you don’t agree to that,,, your being divisive, unloving and unchristian like”.

If you will examine his post,,, he set it up that way from the get go by appealing to the “love chapter”.

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HERE IS MY FIRST COMMENT,, SINCE THIS DEBATE STARTED. I will post it and tell why I think it is important to re-read first before I go to examining Eric’s blogpost. (sidebar note: I only commented on Eric’s blog because for a long time I was not able to post on CD’s,,, until he made some changes on his blog)

Damon Whitsell Says: April 25, 2009 at 3:15 pm

Nice debate ya’ll. Eric,,,, Thanks for being so different than most who hold to the continuationist position. I did note your statement that your not firmly entrenched in any belief as of yet.
 
I am considering joining in at some point if time permits. I hate to come along and just mess ya’lls world up. I know it is a big claim to make. But I think I have a Monkey Wrench/Achilles Heal for the continuationist position which I will state later. But I hardly think anyone will solidify their beliefs by debating what “that which is perfect” is. I have flipped flopped a couple of times on the exposition, interpretation and application of that verse. I now hold that it is indeed a cessationsit text. But I would never waste my time trying to prove this because I think it is quite unnecessary.
 
SOME PERSPECTIVE
A really brilliant pastor I know said something that disturbed me. He said he was a continuationist and not a cessationist . He said that it was based on the fact that he thinks gifts are still in operation in the church today. I agree,,,,, because he is talking about gifts like preaching, teaching, encouragement, helps ETC ETC. He does not believe in tounges, modern apostles, prophecy, or revelation (rhema) knowledge. So there was an issue of semantics and defining terms. Then he said that he never debates the issue because it centers around 1 Corinthians 13:8-13 and “that which is perfect”. I had to tell him that despite the fact that he knows so much more about the deep things of theology than me,,, he had obviously never studied and struggled with this issue. I have a bibliography with a 17 page list of books that have been written on the cessation/continuation debate. It is way bigger than what my pastor friend thinks and I think there are about 15-20 things in the bible that make debating 1 Corinthians 13 not essential.
 
Some points I think are essential but not the absolute core of the issue.
 
The irrelevance over the semantics of “perfect:” is exemplified in other issues. I think the important place to start it to ask WHY? WHY did we have tounges, prophets, apostles and miraculous signs in the first place? What purpose did they serve?
But I would like to ask,, is it even necessary to debate this? I think not.

I think it is a historical fact that tounges, prophecy/revelation knowledge, apostles, and gifts of healings and gifts of miracles have ceased. Yeh,,, I know Pentecostal/Charismatics have their list of so called proofs of the gifts in question being practiced in history. But they are like the Mormons taking select passages from a Pre-Nicaean church father to make it appear that Eastern Orthodox practices theosis in the same way that the Mormons do. The Mormons will take a select quote out of a paragraph, when the same paragraph later flat out denies their assertion and Mormons reject outright the rest of the church fathers teaching which contradict Mormonism. 

I have studied this aspect of the historicity of the gifts and it is a very deep subject. It can take a very long time to disprove the allegation of historical occurrences. BUT I think this is where ya’lls debate should be focusing. Did the gifts stop,, in history? I think so. I think it is an open and shut case.  

I submit to ya’ll two articles and a video for ya’ll to review. I hope ya’ll will look at these and see if the information contained within warrants a a redirection of ya’lls debate.

An article more thorough than the video from the same ministry,,”History of the Pentecostal Movement – Proves the cessation of the Spiritual gifts by examining the history of the Pentecostal movement. Their history reveals that their leaders not only began teaching the gifts as a new doctrine in the church, but that they acknowledged that the gifts had ceased and had not been part of the church since Acts chapter 2.” http://www.guidedbytruth.com/pentecostalhistory.php 

Pentecostal History Proves Cessation of Spiritual Gifts VIDEO
 
The ministries counter response to their articles critics. Answering Questions Regarding Pentecostal History – Responding to objections about our History of the Pentecostal Movement video and article which emphasizes not only the accuracy of our current work, but the contradictions such objections raise. http://www.guidedbytruth.com/questionpenthistory.php
 
I ask ya’ll to look at these. Remember the Pentecostal movement was started as the Pentecostal “RESTORATION” movement. BUT now continuist want to say that there have been accounts of the gifts in post apostolic church history. But when you get to looking at it. The Pentecostal movement is also termed neo/Montanianism. That is because the gifts where considered by church fathers to have ceased,, the Montanians where the first so called group that claimed to practice these gifts as a movement. Origen got into the movement but it still was short lived because it was broadly condemned as heresy. You should look into Montanianism. Wikipedia has a good article on them but BB Warfeild has a whole chapter in his classic cessationist text,, Counterfeit Miracles. Get a hold of it if you can.

So I ask ya’ll to look at the video and article I posted and see if ya’ll should be trying to seek the truth about alleged historical accounts of the gifts being practiced. Do the list the continuist give actually prove that the gifts have been practiced in church history? I have looked and I say NO.

The reason I think ya’ll should take this approach is that I have been in a couple of debates about the issue and they never got anywhere. Instead it detoured into semantics, different hermeneutic approaches and clashes of theological systems such as Covenant Theology and Dispensationalism.

Pentecostals and charismatic fall under covenant theology. And most tend to be amillennial. Which from my dispensational eschatological position raises a big concern. If we Pre-mills are correct and there is indeed a man of sin/son of perdition/ Anti-Christ actually coming,,,, then Pentecostals/Charismatics will be easy targets and will be duped by the “Strong Delusion” that God is going to send into the world according to the dispensational position.

I ask ya’ll to look into the historicity of the gifts.

Another thing that I think is important. Why do highly intellectual charismatic men like Gordon Fee, Wayne Grudem and J. Lee Grady essentially concede the cesscationist position by admitting that ,,,(MY PARAPHRASE),,,”yeh the gifts are still in effect,,, but not in the same exact way as in the NT?

Thanks, I look forward to watching ya’lls debate and perhaps getting involved. Damon Whitsell 

Now why do I include my first comment here?

Because as I stated in it,,,,,,

“The reason I think ya’ll should take this approach is that I have been in a couple of debates about the issue and they never got anywhere. Instead it detoured into semantics, different hermeneutic approaches and clashes of theological systems such as Covenant Theology and Dispensationalism.”

I did not also mention that Charismatics/Pentecostals resort to all sorts of dirty tactics and maneuverings,,, thereby muddying the waters and obfuscating the issue,,, just like any cult member do defending their cultic pet false doctrines.

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TO BRING SOME PERSPECTIVE on why I suggested what I did in the comment,, I submit parts of my emails from CormDeo about my comment,,,,,,,,,,,

In one email CD said “I read your sources, great stuff.” Then CD stated his “Tactics” and asked me for my opinion of his “Tactics”

I another CD stated,, THIS VERY IMPORTANT POINT,, “Oh also I did watch the video and read the articles, I found them helpful, however, I do not know how easy it is to prove that no gifts have been used throughout history, but I do think it is important to prove that the people teaching it thought it had and started up again.” 

Pentecostal history and the people who started the Pentecostal Movement knew good and well that the gifts had ceased in history. That is why they claimed their “restoration” movement was,,, “The Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements goes on to say: The Apostolic Faith Movement, according to Parham, had a twofold purpose: *******the restoration of “the faith once delivered to the saints”*******, and the promotion of Christian unity.”

The problem is that if the gifts had ceased and had to be “restored” then the faith was not once delivered. They have no verse that says the “faith once delivered” would be twice delivered. 

AND CD’s ASTUTE OBSERVATION OF MY COMMENT,,,, CD SAID,,,,,, What I really like about your post is you make the point I was trying to make, that is that there is much more to this debate than just some verses it truly stems from your Christian world view which can pollute your interpratations. Great stuff thanks for posting it.”

PLEASE READ THAT ONE AGAIN.

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MY SUMMARY CONCLUSION

Not only do the fathers of the “Pentecostal ‘restoration’ movement” testify that it is a historical fact that the gifts have ceased in history. BUT so does history itself.

If you want to know for yourself if the gifts ceased,,, look at the charismatic’s list of so called “historical accounts of the gifts happening”.

You will see three things.

1. They take groups or individuals that are outside the pale of orthodoxy and try to say they are orthodox. This is exemplified in Origin And Tertullian who where both inspired by montanianism and followers of Montanius. Both come from the heretical platonic school of theology in Alexandria. IN OTHER WORDS they did not believe the bible was literal and they got their teachings from their “Spritism” Gurus,,, (ie, prophecy or as they say today “words of knowledge”, or revelation knowledge) ,,,,,,,,, not the bible.

2. They will take orthodox church fathers and quote them out of context. Martin Luther is a great example of this. They try to say he was a continuationist when he clearly states that the gifts had ceased. He goes as far as to say that the small “spiritist” or “spirit filled” group of people in his day where followers of a familiar Spirit. AND HE RIGHTFULLY SMAKED THAT SPIRIT ON THE SNOUT!!!

3. They will tell stories about this miracle happening or that miracle happening. BUT it is all hearsay. In history both sides have examined history. That is why there are many books showing that “Miracles by the hand of a healer or miracle worker”,,, are ALL faked. The best one to read is BB Warfeilds “Counterfeit Miracles”. BUT people like James Randi have investigated and written whole books on the trickery and illusion of men trying to claim “the gift of healing”. Many groups have challenged today’s so called “gifted healers” and they have all been proven to be frauds and tricksters. Off the top of my head,,,, I can think of four. Binny Hinn, Morris Cerullo, Peter Popoff, and Todd Bentley.

HERE IS WHAT IS SAD,,,, Charismatic Christians are merely doing what the Corinthians Christian where doing,,,, APING PAGAN PRACTICES.

That is why I posted this video for ya’ll to see.

Signs And Wonders Movement Exposed: THE VIDEO SERIES THAT EVERY CHRISTIAN MUST SEE!!!!!!! 

 
DID YOU WATCH IT ERIC???????
 
I will have my examination of Eric’s “why I have a problem with Cessationism” post available in two or three days. I am sure most of you know good and well what Eric and Crew have been doing,,,,, but I will dissect Eric’s post (plural) for those whoever might not see exactly what he has to “obscure” in his post.
 
Thanks for your time, Damon Whitsell
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2 comments on “MY FIRST BLOGPOST ENTRY INTO ERIC’S AND CORAMDEO’S CESSATIONISM DEBATE (a preface)

  1. I only hope that those who read this article would actually read my article and the subsequent comments (at least some of them) between Damon and I. They will speak for themselves.

  2. After studying this subject more I realized how far back the debate actually goes in Church history. I do believe that our whole contemporary understanding of the “gifts” actually stem from the Church’s response to the heretic Montanius. I think it could be argued that the church before Montanius saw the gifts (for the most part) as more natural than spiritual, but their response to Montanius has caused us all to see them as more “spiritual” than natural. It is an interesting side point made by Robert Zerhusen in his lecture “The Nature of Tongues in the New Testament” delivered in 1991.

    Ok that point made, I would just like to remind everyone to try to keep arguments from becoming personal attacks, or discussions about people’s motives. As we can never truly know someone’s motives unless they explicitly tell us, lets refrain from predicting them. As all members of the Christian family, let us be cordial with each other and soft. We should only become strong when heresy is afoot. As being a cessationist or continuationist have neither been in themselves considered heresy, let us refrain from too strong of language when referring to our differing brothers. Debates are ok, but let us not divide over lesser issues than the gospel itself. Let us love and seek unity for the Glory of God.

    I do appreciate the interest in Eric and I’s debate and welcome input from everyone, no matter who they agree with. Let us all not forget whom we serve or owe our lives to. – coramdeo

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