Well, good afternoon. My name is Nathan Busenitz and the title of our seminar this afternoon is A Word from the Lord? Evaluating the Modern Gift of Prophecy. That subtitle really defines our goal in this session. We want to look at prophecy in the contemporary Charismatic Movement and compare it to the Word of God.
Now as a side note, at the beginning, I want to note that much of the material that we’re covering this afternoon parallels what you’ll find in the Strange Fire book which you’ll be receiving tomorrow. And I’m mentioning that at the outset so that if you’re interested in doing further study on this important topic, you can do so by reading what Dr. MacArthur has published in that important resource.
Now before we begin this afternoon, it’s important for us to define several terms. And I realize that these terms have been defined and used throughout the keynote sessions so far. But I feel like it’s important from the beginning to define some key terms. One of those terms is Charismatic. The term “Charismatic” is very broad. It encompasses millions of people and thousands of denominations. In fact, according to the International Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements, there are more than twenty thousand distinct Charismatic and Pentecostal groups or denominations in the world. These groups are generally subdivided into three different categories or waves. The first wave began in 1901 in Topeka, Kansas, it really got started in 1905 or so here in Los Angeles and that would be classic Pentecostalism under the leadership of men like William Seymour and Charles Fox Parham.
The second wave is known as the Charismatic Renewal, began in the 1960’s and it represents really the influence of Pentecostal theology in the mainline denominations. Actually started in Van Nuys, California, just a few miles from here.
And then the Third Wave began in the 1980’s, really started under the leadership of two Fuller Seminary professors, C. Peter Wagner and John Wimber. Wimber, of course, associated with the Vineyard Fellowship and this is Pentecostal theology influencing evangelicalism and it’s called the Third Wave.
Read more: https://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/TM13-8/a-word-from-the-lord-evaluating-the-modern-gift-of-prophecy
Well it is always a special privilege to be back here at Grace Church, it is our home church, it’s the church from which we feel we were sent out and our hearts are here, John. Thank you for your faithfulness, and we all stand on your shoulders and appreciate so much your defense of the truth. It was here that I learned that if you’re going to love the Lord, you have to hate all of those who would replace Him. And if you’re going to love His truth, you have to hate error.
Well it is my joy, this morning, to look at a biblical case for cessationism. When one person heard I was speaking this morning on cessationism, she actually said, “You mean from the union?” Now things have gotten bad and I do live in Texas, but there has…there’s been no talk of that yet.
This morning we are not going to deal with a political issue but with a biblical one, the question of cessationism. Clearly that label that we are stuck with was not created by someone who had any sense of style, it is from theologians because it is…it’s a negative label. It pictures what we don’t believe. It’s like starting a football team in the Philippians and calling it the Manila Folders, it just has a negative… But the real problem the label cessationism is not that it is negative, but that it has easily caricatured as believing that the Spirit has essentially ceased His work. As a result of that, we are unfairly accused of putting the Spirit in a box, even of embracing an unbiblical, outdated, enlightenment world view. But those are caricatures, those are distortions. In fact, we believe that the Holy Spirit has not only continued His work, but He is displaying in and through us the power of the resurrected Christ. Nothing…nothing eternal happens in an individual believer or in a local church apart from the work of the Holy Spirit.
You and I can produce temporal effects, but we have no capacity or power to effect eternal reward, eternal events, eternal building and edification into the life of the church or an individual. It’s a total misrepresentation of what we believe to say that we believe, as one man has, in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Scripture, as though the Scripture has replaced the position of the Spirit and the Trinity. It’s wrong to refer to us as others have as Bible deists.
So what is it that cessationists believe the Spirit has ceased. Let’s be very clear. We only believe He has ceased one function and that is He no longer gives believers today the miraculous spiritual gifts, gifts like speaking in tongues, prophecy and healing.
Read more: https://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/TM13-7/a-case-for-cessationism