Strange Fire Response
Most Facebook users who's been on for a while have had an old post be revisit them as a "Facebook Memory."
Today a post from October 2013 came across my News Feed, and though it was early in the process of developing this course outline, it shares some of the ideas that found their way into the outline. The text of that post follows below.
Consider the thoughts of that post.
One can argue from reaction to fanatics, argue from history, argue from tradition, argue from philosophy, argue from collective non-experience, but at the end of the day, my friends, it's a question of Sola Scriptura. What do the Scriptures teach? What do they not teach? But don't take my word for it, study it out: there is not one New Testament verse that segregates Holy Spirit's giftings into ceasing and continuing, anytime before Christ's return, not even in 1Cor 13.8-12; rather, instructions for their loving use are given to non-apostles, to the brethren. Nor is there anywhere in the New Testament that any gift is inextricably linked to canonical revelation or exclusively to the apostleship, not even in 2 Cor 12.12, rather, we have biblical precedent of non-apostles being granted giftings by the sovereign Spirit of God. Take, for example, 1 Cor 14.39-40. Both are equally God-breathed and profitable, and both carry equal weight today as part of the New Testament. If we do not believe this, and react against the applicability of 1Cor 14.39, then what are we really saying about the New Testament? Brethren, we can unite to correct pelagianism, or word-faith carnality, or unbiblical tongues, or extra-canonical revelation, or ongoing apostleship, but to assert that the Bible teaches the cessation of any gifting is simply not in the Bible. The Holy Spirit is sovereign and free to gift as he wills, and never has ceased to be. The issue is with us.
God's Word teaches us that the Holy Spirit can be grieved away, quenched away, and we can be out of step with Him. The Holy Spirit is, by his very nature and function, the most intimate member of the Trinity to the believer and to the churches, as he points us to Christ, who points us to the Father. And when he withdraws or withholds any measure of his blessing, the issue is with us. Jesus sovereignly chose not to do many mighty works among a people who lacked faith in God's Word. Are we to believe that the Holy Spirit is any different? Ecclesiology has as much to do with pneumatology as it does with bibliology, for apart from the Spirit of Christ, what can we do of any eternal good? In Spirit and Truth. It is possible to be a church of Christ, as the 7 churches in Revelation, with a name, but at risk of loss, and by implication, not experiencing the fullest fruitfulness from the Holy Spirit. So regardless of fanatics, or history, or tradition, or philosophy, or our own non-experience, brethren, let's resolve together, that if the Word of God teaches something, then whether it costs us our lives, or just associations and esteem, the Word of God is supreme, and all other persuasions must be built upon that foundation.