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 Does anyone know of a solid biblical response to MacArthur's sermons on tongues and spiritual gifts?

My dear brothers and sisters,

I am trying to study the topic of tongues and spiritual gifts in order to prayerfully come to a conclusion about this topic. I am praying about whether I should continue to fellowship and serve at my current church and this is a major factor in that decision.

I recently listened to 13 sermons by John MacArthur on the topic of tongues, spiritual gifts, and baptism of the Holy Spirit. His study through 1Co. 12-14 was extremely systematic and comprehensive. I feel I understand much better the view of cessationism.

Now I would like to listen to an equally systematic study on these topics from a sound teacher who holds a non-cessationist view. Can anyone recommend sermons on this topic? I am looking for something that is in audio format that I can listen to throughout the day. (My time for reading is often limited.)

Thank you so much for your help. I truly appreciate it!

Nathan


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Nathan

 2010/5/13 1:24Profile
Know-Him
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Joined: 2009/1/7
Posts: 76


 Re: Does anyone know of a solid biblical response to MacArthur's sermons on tong

Something that I found helpful was to remember that Corinthians is a letter and that you read a letter from beginning to end, not just lift out a part of the middle. In 1 Corinthians 1:7-9 Paul states that the Corinthian church will be lacking in no gift until the second coming. Having that piece of information at the start of the letter allows you to filter the middle part of the letter through that grid rather than some other more forced line of thought that is not implicitely stated in the text.

 2010/5/13 2:57Profile
RobertW
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Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re: Does anyone know of a solid biblical response to MacArthur's sermons on tong

Having listened to John M. preach for years I was shocked to hear his message yesterday concerning Paul's thorn in the flesh being demon possessed teachers in Corinth. As if God sends demon possessed men to churches to express His sovereignty. The madness has runamuck and someone needs to say something.

Consider these passages:

So, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But all things should be done decently and in order. (1 Corinthians 14:39 ESV)

Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. (I Thessalonians 5:19-22 ESV)

Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. (1 Corinthians 14:1 ESV)


When God quit speaking to Israel we called it the 400 years of silence and assume it is the hand of God in judgment for Israel's ongoing rebellion. When God quits speaking in the churches we say it's because the canon is completed. When the Jews got ready to expel God from their religion the took the sacred book and legislated, "It is not in Heaven." That is to say that God no longer speaks prophetically, but has given the Rabbi's the authority to interpret everything. A very convenient way to take control.

Now we know for a fact that the New Testament churches expected Christ to be be speaking to His churches. In fact, In Revelation 2-3 we are told no less than seven times to, "Hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches." But thanks to the Dispensationalists, these passages have no historical meaning, but are really eras within the church. But understand that this is an example of Christ moving and speaking to HIS churches. He has not abandoned them to men no matter whose the men are that say that He has. Shall we believe Christ or men?

The church at Corinth expected that God would be moving among them in their meetings. Paul states in Acts 20:23:

Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.

Notice what he says here; "In EVERY city..." the Holy Spirit is speaking. This is God bringing vital revelation to His people about their present state. God is making Himself known. Today men are looking for a strategy. Men are sifting through the cold charred embers of men who once heard from God and quoting their words. Dead men are speaking when we need to hear from the Living God. It looks sickeningly like what the Rabbi's do in quoting their sages all the time. I'm not against good quotes, but is there a Word from the Lord?

Yet some say God does not speak today. He only moves in the realm of providence. If that were true how can we say that the New Covenant is a better covenant? Under the Old Covenant God spoke and in the Book of Acts God spoke, but now He has left us to ourselves- to be guided by hermeneutical principals? I'm all for good exegesis. But this is NOT the same as God speaking.

Faith cannot come until God speaks. Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. This is God quickening revelation to our hearts. If we respond rightly it is faith- if not it is sin. There are no broadband one-size fits all answer to peoples problems or church problems. God sends His word to present situations as an act of grace. He wants the people and the churches to be built up. Just as in Revelation 2-3 each church had a tailor fit message. Who wold give the medicine for a dying patient to a healthy one? This is why it is important to be sensitive to God and be being directed of God in a real conscious sense. A person can't even rightly be a Christian unless they are "always doing what they see their Father doing." Can a person do that in their own strength? Can we get there by hermeneutics alone?

Building up of the Saints is only possible by grace through faith and faith is dependent on revelation (faith cometh by hearing...). To misunderstand this one fact is to totally misunderstand the New Covenant. God desires to take up residence IN men. He wants to be the King on the throne of their heart in a real sense. This requires a real sense in which men are walking with God in obedience; not just to the covenant- but to the VOICE of God.

Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: (Exodus 19:5)

Two things here:

1. OBEY My voice
2. KEEP My covenant

When Joshua goes to Jerico he is 'obeying the voice' of the LORD. This is not a covenant commandment, it was a real time specific direction from God. So long as the people OBEYED the voice and kept the covenant the enemy could not stand before them. But we are told today that God no speak. God speak superfluous. Oh really? Did Paul obey God speak? Did Peter obey God speak? We have the covenant just like Joshua did when he went into the promised land. But what does that have to do with God speaking? Could he pull the scroll out in order to know if he should go up to fight here or there? No. He 'sought the Lord.' Not a bible verse, per se (though I am utterly for Bible study, exegesis, etc.). God has spoken to us through His Son and continues to speak to us through His Son by the Spirit. It is HIS church and we need to be hearing from the Head and not just doing what is right in our own eyes.


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Robert Wurtz II

 2010/5/13 5:43Profile
RobertW
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Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

Notice who the Corinthians letter is addressed to:

Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: (I Corinthians 1:2)

This letter is not just addressed to Corinth, but there is a sense in which as Paul is being carried along by the Spirit that God is speaking to all that have genuinely been born of the Spirit. By this I mean the Holy Spirit has taken up residence in the person in a real sense. This is not a process of proof texts and logical deductions. It is a genuine verifiable experience.

God knew that only a relative hand-full of people would read this letter in the beginning. Millions of times more people have now read the passages of the Corinthians letters. There is no way that God is going to give instruction on New Testament things at that level and then make the mute for future generations.

A common argument is that the Canon is closed and once it closed there was no longer a need for God-speak. This argument is flawed on multiple levels. The passage used to propagate this argument is:

But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. (I Corinthians 13:10)

The context affirms that the issue is not prophesy vs. the canon (which is an imposition on the text besides), but is prophesy in relation to love.

Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. (I Corinthians 13:8)

The word here for knowledge is gnosis (γνῶσις). The word for 'cease' is found four times in the OT in the book of Ezra (LXX). 'Done away' and 'vanish away' are translations of the same Greek word καταργηθήσονται. So the question becomes, what is the 'in part' things that are done away with?

For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. (I Corinthians 13:9)

Two things here:

1. knowledge
2. prophesy

To be consistent when the 'perfect' is come knowledge will be done away first and then prophesy. This word γινώσκομεν is first used in the LXX in Genesis 2:17 and is translated knowledge as in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. So we have an elementary question; "has knowledge been done away with?" If not then neither has prophesy because they are both in the context as being the 'in part' that is to be done away with.

ὅταν δὲ ἔλθῃ τὸ τέλειον, τότε τὸ ἐκ μέρους καταργηθήσεται.

But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

The scriptures serve as the basis on which we understand God. It will not always be this way.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

We will know 'face to face' and what we experience now will be superseded. We will not need knowledge and prophesy in the sense we do today; apparently we will be moving in that face-to-face relationship that cannot be compared to our present experience. We have a foretaste of it now- even the earnest of our inheritance. But the one thing that will never pass away is Charity (love).


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Robert Wurtz II

 2010/5/13 6:32Profile
Heydave
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Joined: 2008/4/12
Posts: 1306
Hampshire, UK

 Re:

Hi Robert,

Thanks for this very good explanation and clear thinking on how we should understand the gifts and how we need to hear God speak to us and His church in general. What God speaks to us by His Spirit will always agree with the written canon of scripture, otherwise it is not God.

I respect and have receieved a lot of otherwise good teaching from cessationist people such as John MacArthur and just chose to ignor their cessationist views and accept they just see it differently. I suppose a lot of us who hold to a biblical position of the gifts and reject the extreme charismatic and pentecostal abuse of the gifts often find more in common with the cessationists! However I think the cessationist position is just as serious an error as the crazy charasmatics who put the name of God to all sorts of un-biblical behaviour and teaching.

We have been reading (at home) Exodus and it struck me the other day how precise God was about the exact building of the tabaernacle (every detail defined). I think the tabernacle represents in type the building of the church. God is just as concerned that we build his church exactly as he dictates as he was with the tabernacle. The pattern for the church is found in the New Testament scriptures and includes the letters to the Corinthians. If folk think that we should now build to a different pattern to that which was clearly laid down and seen in the apostolic church, then there might be some serious explaining to do when they meet the head of the church as to why they set their own pattern and not followed that which was given! This pattern clearly involves the operation of the gifts to build up the body (church) and the hearing what the Spirit says to His church.


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Dave

 2010/5/13 7:07Profile
Lysa
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Joined: 2008/10/25
Posts: 3396
This world is not my home anymore.

 Re: Does anyone know of a solid biblical response to MacArthur's sermons on tong


RobertW's explanation was excellent!

I don't know if this is what you are looking for so I'm just adding some sermon series that have blessed me (edited) I am a continuationist! (unedited)

If you are interested in any of the following, here are links to Zac Poonen's sermon's on the The Holy Spirit. Personally, I believe that Zac's sermons are very Biblical but that could be because I see it from the other side, having already received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.


An excellent article by Robert Murray MCheyne
Grieve Not the Holy Spirit
http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/articles/index.php?view=article&aid=457


Zac Poonen

Series - The Holy Spirit
http://www.cfcindia.com/web/mainpages/topical_bible_study.php#HolySpirit

Series - The Power of the Holy Spirit
http://www.cfcindia.com/web/mainpages/topical_bible_study.php#powerOfHolySpirit

Series - New Covenant Privileges
http://www.cfcindia.com/web/mainpages/topical_bible_study.php#HolySpirit

Series - New Covenant Truths
http://www.cfcindia.com/web/mainpages/topical_bible_study.php#New_Covenant_Truths

Series - The Spirit Replaces Law
http://www.cfcindia.com/web/mainpages/topical_bible_study.php#The_Spirit_Replaces_The_Law

Series - The Overcoming Life
http://www.cfcindia.com/web/mainpages/topical_bible_study.php#The_Overcoming_Life


God bless you,


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Lisa

 2010/5/13 7:20Profile
ginnyrose
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Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7471
Mississippi

 Re:

Heydave wrote:
"...it struck me the other day how precise God was about the exact building of the tabernacle (every detail defined). I think the tabernacle represents in type the building of the church. God is just as concerned that we build his church exactly as he dictates as he was with the tabernacle. The pattern for the church is found in the New Testament scriptures and includes the letters to the Corinthians. If folk think that we should now build to a different pattern to that which was clearly laid down and seen in the apostolic church, then there might be some serious explaining to do when they meet the head of the church as to why they set their own pattern and not followed that which was given!"

I came to this exact conclusion after reading the book of Numbers years ago. At first glance it comes across as a boring book. Not so - once you make yourself read it. As I read it I was surprised at the details God gave - he was very exacting. Not much room for any individualization. THEN, then I pondered how this contrasted with the NT era in which individualization is highly regard..."I" is the primary source of authority in matters of faith, doctrine.

ginnyrose


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Sandra Miller

 2010/5/13 8:13Profile
whyme
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Joined: 2007/4/3
Posts: 293


 Re:

Heydave wrote:
"...it struck me the other day how precise God was about the exact building of the tabernacle (every detail defined). I think the tabernacle represents in type the building of the church. God is just as concerned that we build his church exactly as he dictates as he was with the tabernacle. The pattern for the church is found in the New Testament scriptures and includes the letters to the Corinthians. If folk think that we should now build to a different pattern to that which was clearly laid down and seen in the apostolic church, then there might be some serious explaining to do when they meet the head of the church as to why they set their own pattern and not followed that which was given!"



Given the exactness and breadth of the instructions for the temple and worship in the OT, aren't you more astonished with the lack of pattern and instruction in the NT as to the place and form of worship in the NT church?

Perhaps that might be due to the notion that the NT temple is Christ and His body where the Spirit dwelleth and liveth in. Christ likeness and conformity to Him is the pattern and instruction for the NT church I believe. We are to worship in Spirit and in truth, perhaps not so much in exactness of form. Just a thought.

 2010/5/13 8:32Profile
Heydave
Member



Joined: 2008/4/12
Posts: 1306
Hampshire, UK

 Re:

Whyme wrote:

Quote:
Perhaps that might be due to the notion that the NT temple is Christ and His body where the Spirit dwelleth and liveth in. Christ likeness and conformity to Him is the pattern and instruction for the NT church I believe. We are to worship in Spirit and in truth, perhaps not so much in exactness of form. Just a thought.



That's really what I was meaning. Not following a form, but those things clearly laid out for NT church. Things like; no priest or head leader; greatest being the servant; each member ministering through the enabling gifts of the Spirit, etc. My point being that if Christ sent the Spirit to His church to empower and equip for service, who are we to say that was only for the 1st century church, but we will do it differently? Just to be controversal - really a 'Pastor' as THE minister of a church is not at all biblical!


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Dave

 2010/5/13 9:18Profile









 Re:

We don`t just have two choices here - between cessationism and non.

The `perfect` is not scripture or Jesus. It is perfection, that is, the perfection of ourselves - entire sanctification. Paul is telling us that when this occurs, love remains, tongues cease, but knowledge and prophesy enlarge.

When perfection comes, that which was up until then partial, or as the scripture puts it, in part, ie knowledge and prophecy, become constant and complete. But tongues do not become whole, they cease. But not because of perfection. They cease because they were for a season, for a sign and when the need ceased they did. I expect that it was a point of dispute then too. The Greek word for the cessation means that they cease on their own accord, not through an outside agent. The word for the cessation of the partiality of knowledge and prophecy is a different word.

 2010/5/13 11:30





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