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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Does anyone know of a solid biblical response to MacArthur's sermons on tongues and spiritual gifts?

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Good word brother Robert, you are exactly correct. What was amazing to me when I went to Calvary Baptist Bible School was this very Scripture. Now I was a Spirit filled, tongue speaking Christian before going to that College. I was led of the Lord to go there. I met many wonderful people there, who loved the Lord and who loved the Word. Everywhere you went in that College they had banners up that read "Context is king.' That was the schools mantra. How amazing then that they applied this rule to every part of the Word of God until they came to "But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away." (I Corinthians 13:10)

Clearly the context of this Scripture spoke of the Lord returning. Yet, of course, this did not fit with a pre-concieved notion, therefore the Scripture has to be made to say what it does not. When we place a grid over the Scriptures, then interpret it in the light of the grid, we will find oursleves in serious error. I thank the Lord that I came to Christ knowing nothing of Scripture, a "virgin,' so to speak. May mens pre-conceived notions and grids fall to the Frank

PS Here is Mattew Henry;s take on it....

"III. He takes occasion hence to show how much better it will be with the church hereafter than it can be here. A state of perfection is in view (1Co_13:10): When that which is perfect shall come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When the end is once attained, the means will of course be abolished. There will be no need of tongues, and prophecy, and inspired knowledge, in a future life, because then the church will be in a state of perfection, complete both in knowledge and holiness. God will be known then clearly, and in a manner by intuition, and as perfectly as the capacity of glorified minds will allow; not by such transient glimpses, and little portions, as here. The difference between these two states is here pointed at in two particulars: 1. The present state is a state of childhood, the future that of manhood: When I was a child, I spoke as a child (that is, as some think, spoke with tongues), I understood as a child; ephronoun - sapiebam (that is, “I prophesied, I was taught the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, in such an extraordinary way as manifested I was not out of my childish state”), I thought, or reasoned, elogizomēn, as a child; but, when I became a man, I put away childish things. Such is the difference between earth and heaven."

One speaks of things on eart, our present state, and the other "when the perfect has come," refers to heaven.

 2010/5/13 11:33

Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4565

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

Hi Revivalist...

There is a great book entitled THEY SPEAK WITH OTHER TONGUES. It was written by John Sherrill, who was a coauthor of other classic Christian books (like The Cross and the Switchblade with David Wilkerson, The Hiding Place with Corrie ten Boom and God's Smuggler with Brother Andrew).

John Sherrill was a skeptical reporter in regards to "tongues" and began to perform research regarding the topic for several years. Throughout his research, he retained a highly skeptical perspective. He discusses his findings in detail within the pages of his book. He discusses what the Scriptures say about "tongues" -- including those who would argue that the gift "ceased" or ended with the first apostles. He mentions the history of "tongues," the Pentecostal movement and other revivals and gifts/spiritual manifestations.

Ultimately, Sherrill came to a conclusion that is the antithesis of cessationism. He presents a good series of points, not the least that "knowledge" is still here on the Earth (and will actually "increase" in the last days [Daniel 12:4]). Cessationists are quick to argue that "tongues" and "prophecy" will have cease, but "knowledge" (found in the same passage of I Corinthians 13:8) is hardly mentioned during such an argument. Knowledge has not passed away.

I agree that the passage appears to be speaking of "perfection" -- and that perfection (whether Jesus via His return, or our physical translation with His coming) has not arrived yet...because we are still on this side of a "glass darkly." When will perfection come? When we can see "face to face" (I Corinthians 13:12). At that point, there will be no need for any gifts...because we will all be able to see His face.

Regardless, this book is well written from the perspective of a skeptic and it is a very good read. It was recommended by the likes of David Wilkerson, Catherine Marshall, Chuck Smith, George Otis, Loren Cunningham and others. I obtained a copy of this book a while after I came to Christ. As a very cautious (and a "test everything") person, this book really helped me understand the subject. If you are interested, I noticed that you can purchase the book at Amazon for $5.50 (new).

I will be praying for your study and examination of this subject!


 2010/5/13 12:22Profile


I have a good Biblical response to MacArthur's stance on this issue...



 2010/5/13 12:57

Joined: 2009/12/11
Posts: 212

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

I've also been reminded of this passage in the gospels when discussing cessationism. I think it applies as cessationism seems to concern all the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Mark 2:5-11
5And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven."
6But some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts,
7"Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?"
8Immediately Jesus, aware in His spirit that they were reasoning that way within themselves, said to them, "Why are you reasoning about these things in your hearts?
9"Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven'; or to say, 'Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk'?
10"But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"--He said to the paralytic,
11"I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home."

No cessationist would deny that salvations occur, but here we see that it is the greater miracle.

Also, I was reading Acts the other day and the first verse jumped out at me and I think it bears repeating here.

Acts 1:1-2
1The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach,
2until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen.

Now, I'm no Greek scholar, but it would seem that the bible is saying that Jesus hasn't ceased to do things or teach. If it was meant that Jesus would cease to work after being taken up to heaven then why doesn't it read "All that Jesus did and taught, until..."? Please correct me if I'm reading this wrong, but it seems to me that it was written in such a way that we would understand that what we read was only the beginning of what Jesus would do and teach. Edit - To me it reads that Luke wrote only the things Jesus did before His assension, and implies that more was done. Maybe it doesn't apply to the argument.


Matt Smith

 2010/5/13 13:07Profile

Joined: 2010/2/19
Posts: 89

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

Hello Nathan. This link will take you to a teaching on 1 Cor. 14 by Jon Courson, a Bible teacher from the Calvary Chapel denomination. What I appreciate about Calvary Chapel is their balanced view on the gifts of the Spirit.

 2010/5/13 13:20Profile

Joined: 2005/7/4
Posts: 21
Fresno, CA

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

Thank you so much everyone for your replies! I will be reading through each of the posts carefully and checking out the resources recommended. . . .

I would just like to say that I always experience such an amazing sense of love and community here at SermonIndex. The fact that each of you would take the time to respond and offer some input or a resource is such a blessing!

I'm also really glad that my thread has not prompted any kind of argument over a topic that I know has been furiously debated.


 2010/5/13 14:02Profile


Hey Krispy, that was not a Biblical response, that was your personal opinion, but perhaps in your mind that is one and the same :) Frank

PS Had some great mushrooms yesterday :)

 2010/5/13 14:28


Actually this is one topic that I do not agree w/ MacArthur on. I was being humorous. I thought by now that everyone knew where I stood on tongues. My mistake.


 2010/5/13 16:18

Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri


We have an interesting opening to the subject in I Corinthians 12:1,2 where Paul reminds the reader of their past experience:

Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.

I want to focus first on the fact that the terms used here indicate that the Gentiles understood what it meant to be 'carried along' or 'led' by a spirit. They were being led to 'dumb' idols. That is to say,

They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: (Psalm 115:5, Psalm 135:16ff)

This was a common reminder by God towards they that would chose an idol over the Living God. Unlike God, who has never been or ever shall be mute, these idols never have been or ever will be enabled to speak (save in the matter of the image of the beast of Revelation 13:15).

The contrast is informative. They that truly have the Spirit have the capability to be led of the Holy Spirit to the Living God that is not mute. That is, He SPEAKS. The word of God assumes two things and does not seek to explain them:

1. that God exists (Genesis 1:1)
2. that His creatures can recognize their creator when He speaks

Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, (Hebrews 3:7)

While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. (Hebrews 3:15)

Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. (Hebrews 4:7)

For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, (Psalm 95:7)

The 'if' here is important. If ye shall hear (ean akousēte). Condition of third class with ean and first aorist active subjunctive of akouō. (Robertson) It is not just whether one hears in the sense of recognition or being cognizant of God-speak, but hearkening (obeying) what God has said as opposed to hardening the heart. The implication is that if God's will is not carried out is is due to a hardening of the heart rather than a failure on the part of God to bring revelation. The Living God is not a dumb idol and His voice is not superfluous.

So as we turn to I Corinthians 12 to begin looking at the question of spirituals we are immediately reminded of the muteness of idols and going forward are given revelation into what God-speak is and what it is not. We learn the purposes. Direction for the Body of Christ is the clear example of New Testament and Old Testament revelation.

Israel was entrusted the oracles of God and yet they still resisted the Holy Spirit and would not obey God's voice. God yes speak- they no listen. Solution? Pretend God no-speak. Direction? Formulate a hermeneutic that makes God-no speak make sense. Result? Usurp the authority of the Head, Jesus Christ. Blame abuse of God-speak to justify non-use of God-speak. Consequence? No hear- no follow. Do whats right in own eyes.

Consider God's dealings in Genesis

And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. (Genesis 6:3)

The Holy Spirit can be seen 'striving with man' from the beginning. Striving implies resistance. This is affirmed by Steven when He characterized the general behavior of the unbelieving Jews when he stated:

Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. (Acts 7:51)

This is very important. The Acts is profitable for doctrine (πᾶς γραφή II Timothy 3:16). These people were entrusted the Oracles of God and yet they perpetually and actively resist the Holy Spirit.

Isaiah comments on this behavior:

In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old. But they rebelled, and VEXED his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, [and] he fought against them. Then he remembered the days of old, Moses, [and] his people, [saying], Where [is] he that BROUGHT THEM UP out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock? where [is] he that put his holy Spirit within him? That LED [them] by the right hand of Moses with his glorious arm, dividing the water before them, to make himself an everlasting name? That LED them through the deep, as an horse in the wilderness, [that] they should not stumble? As a beast goeth down into the valley, the Spirit of the LORD caused him to rest: so didst thou LEAD thy people, to make thyself a glorious name. (Isaiah 63:9ff emphasis added)

So we see here that God desires to LEAD His people by the Holy Spirit. When they are said to resist this operation- it VEXES His Holy Spirit. The word here for vexed has a history. In Numbers 20:15 it is first used to describe how the Egyptians treated the children of Israel when they were slaves. So in effect God was saying to Israel- you are abusing ME like the Egyptians abused you- when you resist my leading and dealings.

Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Romans 8)

Robert Wurtz II

 2010/5/13 19:01Profile

Joined: 2005/1/9
Posts: 1176
Germany NRW

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

I read his book 'Charismatic Chaos' half way through and I had to put it down.
I could not read on for all the poison it spews out against Charismatics and the stark contradiction of evident truth. Admittedly, the Charismatic movement had many counterfeits and scandals, but the operation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is a non-negotiable truth. They operate best under the guidance of godly eldership.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit is in fact not a luxury or a denominational divider but essential for doing God's will and even for the survival of the church.
John MacArthur should know better, or may be he can't? I wonder if anyone who knows the baptism and filling of the Spirit can possibly come to such a conclusion? See, the baptism of the Spirit is often evidenced with the exercise of the gifts.

What do you get when you take the gifts of the Spirit away from the church?

A church with priests called pastors, privileged to preach down from the pulpit to the pews, pressing their programmes, pharisees proselyting poor people, preventing the presence of God

How can you have the Spirit and reject His gifts? If you reject His gifts, will you not also reject His comfort and counsel, his power and ability to magnify the Lord as he ought to be magnified? Will you not be reduced to the carnal damnable knowledge of the fruit of good and evil to interpret scripture? Will you not be tempted to say: Hath God really said? Will you not join the Pharisees position saying: ... this mob that knows nothing of the law—there is a curse on them."

In a Spirit lead church, Christ can truly be the head and each member will be enabled to serve as the Spirits distributes gifts and ministries. No priests are needed to teach the ignorant peasants, but prophets, teachers will preach with true unction.

I am took weak to live my Christian life without the power and gifts of the Spirit.

Sorry, John Mac Arthur, but the gifts of the Holy Spirit are too precious to be forbidden for the present age. Do not try to take away the supernatural nature from God's church.

 2010/5/13 19:38Profile

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