May 22, 2014

Authentic Fire Review: Chapter 3

by Lyndon Unger

Authentic Fire is Dr. Michael Brown’s book-length response to John MacArthur’s Strange Fire conference. Because of the importance of this debate, TheCripplegate is using every Thursday to respond chapter-by-chapter to Authentic Fire. You can find an overview of this debate, as well as links to the reviews for each chapter by clicking here.

Chapter 3 Summary

Michael Brown

Dr. Brown opens up the chapter juxtaposing the carefulness with which John MacArthur prepares his sermons against the carelessness with which he speaks about the Charismatic Movement, and wonders how one can make sense of the dichotomy and suggests that John MacArthur has a blind spot in his theology.  Dr. Brown makes four statements designed to point out the blind spot:

Statement #1.In recent history, no other movement has done more to damage the cause of the gospel, to distort the truth, and to smother the articulation of sound doctrine. . . . The Charismatic Movement as such has made no contribution to biblical clarity, no contribution to interpretation, no contribution to sound doctrine” (Kindle Locations 888-890).

burning-church

Dr. Brown suggests that charismatic scholars don’t make contributions to theology as charismatics, but rather as Christians (just like cessationists) and suggests that one can no more separate a charismatic from their charismatic beliefs than one can separate someone from their shadow.

Dr. Brown then offers forth examples of charismatic contributions to Christian doctrine/practice in Oswald Chambers, A.W. Tozer, Gordon Fee, Craig Keener, Ben Witherington, N.T. Wright, Peter H. Davids, Max Turner, Graham Twelftree, Jeffery Niehaus, J.P. Moreland, Wayne Grudem, R.T. Kendall, J. Rodman Williams, Sam Storms, and himself.

POWERRANGERS

Statement #2.People who have any connection to Judaism and Christianity have a connection to philanthropy. It is a striking anomaly, however, that there is essentially zero social benefit to the world from the Charismatic Movement. Where’s the charismatic hospital? Social services? Poverty relief? This is a scam” (Kindle Locations 1088-1090).

Dr. Brown expresses that this statement was spoken by Pastor MacArthur and then even defended by Phil Johnson.  In responding to Phil Johnson and John MacArthur, Dr. Brown offers forth the examples of Teen Challenge and missionaries Dr. Mark and Dr. Huldah Buntain (who feed the poor in India and started a 173 bed hospital).

Hospital4(This is Calcutta Mercy Hospital)

Dr. Brown also gives the examples of Latin America Child Care, Love-N-Care Ministries, and some of the graduates of Dr. Brown’s own school of ministry who are part of various humanitarian and relief work.

Brown closes off the point saying that the charismatic hospitals, social services and poverty relief organizations are “Over here, sir, and over there, sir, and as far as the eye can see around the world, sir.” (Kindle Locations 1175).

Statement #3.the movement itself has brought nothing that enriches true worship” (Kindle Locations 1177-1178).

Dr. Brown open this segment with the word:

“I know that many of you reading these words are shaking your heads with incredulity, since plenty of cessationists recognize what passionate worshipers charismatics are – and I don’t just mean boisterous. I mean passionate in the best sense of the word: fervent, focused , devoted, given over to, and absorbed. That’s why it’s not uncommon for charismatic worship services to go an hour or more before the Word is preached (with the preaching often lasting for an hour as well), and that’s why we sometimes have whole days (or nights) of worship where we come together just to adore the Lord in song and prayer and praise” (Kindle Locations 1179-1183).

tom-hanks-gasp

Dr. Brown then makes a personal point and writes:

“On countless occasions, I have been in services where Jesus was so exalted in our midst that we could only fall to our knees or on our faces, glorifying the King of Kings. I have often seen God’s Spirit poured out so mightily in worship that suddenly, people began to repent of their sins, convicted by the holy presence of a holy God. And how wonderful it is to see young people with tears of joy celebrating the power of the blood of Jesus and the resurrection of our Lord” (Kindle Locations 1183-1186).

Dr. Brown then offers forth the vast quantities of music written by a rather long list of charismatic musicians.

Matt Redman

Statement #4.  “I’ll start believing the truth prevails in the Charismatic Movement when its leaders start looking more like Jesus Christ” (Kindle Locations 1215-1216).

Dr. Brown begins with the words “On a certain level, this statement, which was actually tweeted out on the Strange Fire account, is the most insulting, as well as the most easily refuted, of Pastor MacArthur’s unfortunate comments, since there are so many godly charismatic and Pentecostal believers” (Kindle Locations 1217-1219).

Dr. Brown then gives the examples of Corrie Ten Boom and a nameless Muslim missionary who served selflessly and was killed by Al-Qaeda terrorists and was so loved in his community that many Muslims protested in the streets at his murder.

Dr. Brown closes off the chapter with the following entreaty:

“I too join in that prayer, asking the Lord to help Pastor MacArthur recognize this massive blind spot in his life to the point that in this next season of his life and ministry, he will be deeply appreciative and greatly enriched by the theological, charitable, worshipful, and individual contributions of the charismatic part of the Body of Christ” (Kindle Locations 1258-1260).

Authentic Blind Spot(There’s not so much an elephant in the room as a rhino in the blind spot…)

******

Chapter 3 Comments

Top-Gun-Slider

Statement #1.  If I were Dr. Brown, I would have simply stuck with the original objection and suggested that charismatic scholars don’t necessarily offer forth their contributions as Charismatics, but neither do almost any other biblical scholars (not just cessationists). Any good doctrines that have come out of a movement have come from a high view of scripture and biblical exegesis, and no one movement has the corner market on that.

But has Christianity benefited from the work of Oswald Chambers, A.W. Tozer, Gordon Fee, Craig Keener, Ben Witherington, N.T. Wright, Peter H. Davids, Max Turner, Graham Twelftree, Jeffery Niehaus, J.P. Moreland, Wayne Grudem, R.T. Kendall, J. Rodman Williams, Sam Storms, and Dr. Michael Brown himself?

Unquestionably!

Those who are familiar with those authors and their theological contributions would have most likely benefited and been blessed.

The problem is this:

The Charismatic Movement, globally speaking, is marked by an overwhelming lack of biblical clarity, interpretation, and sound doctrine.

But what about all those great charismatic scholars?  Well, none of them being peddled in anywhere in Africa by any of the biggest charismatic churches (I document this statement in detail in my original version of this post here.)

I will definitely grant that there are several outstanding and overtly charismatic scholars.

Seeing that the Charismatic fruits and nuts are the ones who are selling all the books (and a lot more books than their scholarly counterparts at that), the contributions of those fringe academics have done precious little to positively influence anyone outside of the few thousand charismatic bible/theology geeks out there.

(Besides this, check out Myth #3 here.)

Statement #2.  This one appears to be an overstatement.  Charismatics definitely do social work, humanitarian aide, and the like; I’ve personally been involved in such work with charismatic churches.  There’s even some charismatic churches in California doing good social/humanitarian work like the Nineveh Outreach at the House Modesto, or the various outreaches at the Dream Center.

So while I understand Brown’s criticism here, I also understand what John MacArthur was trying to say, namely, that the Charismatic movement isn’t marked by large-scale philanthropy like:

Baptist Heart

baptist-memorial-hospital

Baptist Hospital

Baptist Hospital 2

In other words, there’s no $400 million cancer research center associated with the Assemblies of God.  They’ve never even come close to something like that.

So, I would suggest that I’m not totally convinced about the point, but I see what John MacArthur was trying to get at (and should have originally been more clear on, IMO).

Statement #3.  I basically gave statement #2 to Dr. Brown, but on statement #3 he’s got himself into a little pickle.  The quote he gives is from Tim Challies live blogging of the opening address from the conference (not an actual quote of MacArthur himself).  The actual transcript of the address is here, and when you read it in context you realize that John MacArthur is not talking about church music.

He’s talking about worship in the broad theological sense, not the narrow sense of “church music”.  When John MacArthur talks about worship, he’s talking broadly about ascribing glory to God by means of preaching, doctrine, prayer, etc. Dr. Brown’s whole response seems to indicate that he doesn’t realize that statement #1 and statement #3 are talking about the same thing.

Oops

Has the Charismatic movement, as a global movement, produced technically excellent music?

Without question, yes.

The music, generally speaking, isn’t exactly that deep though it does talk about Jesus’ death and resurrection in a general sense,and some of the stuff coming out of the movement is simply obnoxious…but even then there are many songs that have come out of the charismatic movement that are great songs.  Not all charismatics are bad and not all charismatic music is bad (and on a sheer technical level, it’s frequently exhibiting an exemplary attention to excellence).  Then again, not even John MacArthur is suggesting this (as the above quote shows clearly).

Has the Charismatic movement, as a global movement, produced unending waves of horrible preaching, doctrine and biblical exegesis?

Without question, yes.

The examples here could be absolutely legion, and a thousand shining exceptions around the world don’t change the general theological atmosphere of a movement of half a billion.  Without question, the general theological atmosphere of the Charismatic Movement is one of homiletical disorientation, doctrinal insouciance, and exegetical puerility.

Harsh words?

You bet.

Can I back that up?

You bet.  I’ve written an entire post on it. (That article illustrates the point that even the biggest “respectable” charismatics are frighteningly bad examples).

Statement #4.  Let’s recap.

Think of Dr. Brown’s examples of Corrie ten Boom and the martyred missionary in an Islamic country.

I’d dare suggest that this is a rather glaring flying bear.

Tranquilized Bear

Was Corrie ten Boom or the anonymous missionary a pastor or visible leader of some sort?

Surely their examples are worthy of emulation, but they’re not what’s being discussed.

The question remains: do the majority of Charismatic leaders look like Christ?

Hmmm…let’s make a list off the top of my head of Charismatic leaders who were associated with scandal/moral failing/horrid heresy.

Aimee Semple-MacPherson, Marie Woodsworth Etter, Charles Parham, William Seymour, Smith Wigglesworth, E.W. Kenyon, Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copland, Ted Haggard, Denny Duron, Paul Crouche (and family), Eddie Long, Fred Price, Benny Hinn, Paula White, Joyce Meyer, Bill Johnson, Peter Wagner, Mike Bickle (this one is fairly recent, but I can think of another), Bob Jones, Paul Cain, Jim & Tammy Baker, Jimmy Swaggart, Deitrich Haddon, Frank Houston (founder of Hillsong Church), Mike Murdock, Steve Munsey, Kong Hee, David Oyedepo, Creflo Dollar, Lonnie Frisbee, Kathryn Kuhlman, John Hagee Chris Oyakhilome and Todd Bentley.

That’s just off the top of my head.

Five prominent leaders who were closet homosexuals for years on that list.

Nine prominent leaders guilty of other sexual misconduct.

All the rest had money scandals or were known for horrid heresy.

Not very Christlike.

Maybe I could also talk about all the “small-time” Charismatic leaders, like a whole bunch that are in Canada.  I could produce a far larger list by simply including people like Cal & Jan Switzer; people who you’ve never heard of but are/were big Charismatics up here.  They were involved in a massive scandal up here with the Victory Christian Center in Edmonton Alberta.  This was a mega church that had a sanctuary that sat 2,000 (in Canada, any church with over 2,000 people is humongous) and held multiple services until “pastors” Cal & Jan, prosperity preachers trained by no less a shining light than the astonishingly fraudulent Kenneth Hagin (here’s their alma matter) ran the church into the ground with some bad financial deals that they blamed on Satan.

Not very Christlike.

Or maybe I could talk about a guy from my very own town whose “ministry” is the evangelical equivalent of Chernobyl

todd-bentley

…but that’s just low hanging fruit.

Not very Christlike.

Or maybe I could also include Springs Church, the largest mega-church here in Canada with 5 congregations in 4 separate cities.  Springs Church preaches a false gospel and is run by Leon Fontaine, a blatant prosperity preacher and the man who runs The Miracle Channel, Canada’s equivalent to TBN.  Oh, and the previous leader of The Miracle Channel wasn’t any better (Check out this and this)…in fact the previous leader was a guy marked by more than one severe moral failure (am I seeing a pattern?)  Springs Church also has a school of ministry whose “Biblical Studies” department has a visiting faculty list that is a veritable “who’s who” of prosperity preachers and Charismatic hacks.

Not very Christlike.

Let’s be honest here.

The prosperity gospel/word faith is the public, mainstream face of the Charismatic movement. 

– The level headed guys aren’t on TV, writing the books that sell, speaking at the conferences or pastoring the huge and influential churches.

Every single prosperity/word faith preacher is unregenerate, not because I have personal knowledge of their profession of faith, but because they profess a counterfeit gospel.

They profess and proclaim a false gospel. Even Michael Brown says the prosperity gospel is a false gospel!

Where do you find the prosperity/word faith preachers?

They’re mostly the big personalities in the Pentecostal, Assemblies of God, Apostolic, Foursquare, Vineyard, Victory, etc. denominations!

Are they getting corrected on their falsehood or is the Charismatic movement being warned about them?

Well, once or twice (and Scott Rodriquez is a blessing to his sheep!  If I ever meet him, I’m buying him a steak!)

But more often than not, we see this:

Brown & Hinn

So Michael Brown can maybe forgive us cessationists for being somewhat confused.

The massively successful prosperity preachers, like the scandal-ridden one above who preaches a message that Dr. Brown himself condemns as false and has a far bigger following/influence and audience than folks like Dr. Brown, are not the Christlike leaders of the movement that people should be emulating?

So who are the Christlike leaders exactly?

Maybe someone with clout in the movement could provide an objective measure for telling us all who the false teachers ARE?

I’d dare say that the mixed messages we’re getting from the “level headed charismatics” are rather extreme.

Lyndon Unger

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Lyndon is a pastor/teacher who’s currently between ministry work and in the Canadian Mennonite Brethren Witness Protection program. If you think you saw him somewhere...you didn’t.
  • Link Hudson

    One thing I thought of when I heard John MacArthur saying something about a lack of Charismatic hospitals is that the Charismatic movement, proper, started in the 1960’s. How many Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, or Roman Catholic hospitals in the US started after 1960’s? I would venture to guess that the ones associated with denominations were primarily older hospitals and that, due to the cost of medicine, various economic factors and institutional trends, new hospitals tend to be started by corporations rather than churches. I haven’t studied the sector, but that seems a likely scenario. Pentecostals were typically poor working class folks in the early part of the 20th century, not the affluent types who build hospitals.

    A/G hospitals? The A/G gives lots and lots of money to missions. It seems like Pentecostal giving tends to be more gospel focused than social focused. I think the A/G has programs to sponsor children, too. Some of these programs are intertwined with evangelism and church work. How many hospitals in the US with “Baptist” or “Presbyerian” are really distinguishable from secular hospitals? Both have Gideons in the dresser drawer.

    Apparently, there are some Charismatic hospitals overseas. But I know there are orphanages. I can think of two orphanages that I’ve visited in Indonesia that were started by individual Charismatics or Charismatic churches. There are lots of social outreaches and programs to feed the poor run by either Pentecostals or Charismatics.

    • Lyndon Unger

      Yeah. I recognize that there are social outreach programs started by charismatics, Link. I pretty much granted the point to Dr. Brown, at least one a certain level…though it’s worth pointing out things like Baptist Health of South Florida started in 1990 and is “South Florida’s largest faith-based, not-for-profit healthcare organization”. They’re the guys who built the $400 million cancer research center.

      There’s absolutely no charismatic equivalent of that. They don’t have a $400 million anything outside of television network that spreads the prosperity gospel.

      I’ve never received medical care at a “Baptist” hospital, but from what I understand they’re cutting edge facilities with fantastic staff. They’re not “Christian” hospitals (in the sense that everyone who comes in gets gospel tracts), but they were started by Christian folks who took the “caring for the needy” component of their faith quite seriously.

      • Link Hudson

        Michael Brown was able to give an example of a Charismatic hospital that he knew about. Have you heard of Mercy Ships? They have a hospital ship that goes to ports in Africa and serves poor children. I suspect the couple that started it are Charismatic since the wife used to work with YWAM. I’m not sure about the husband.

        You were able to think of one hospital that had ‘Baptist’ in the title in the US that had started in the past several decades, and that was started by some Christians apparently working apart from the denomination, who happened to put a denomination name in the brand for their hospital. I am happy that there are Christians out there starting hospitals. Even if the hospitals aren’t that overtly Christian, I wouldn’t want to go an atheist or New Age hospital. Having Baptist, Methodist, etc. in the title of some of the hospitals sounds good as a brand name. But ‘Assembly of God’ would sound strange because it’s so unfamiliar. “Bible Church Hospital” would sound strange, too. I can’t think of one Bible Church Hospital I’ve ever seen or heard of. Does that mean those churches do nothing for society?

        Pentecostal churches tend to be very pro-missions and give quite a lot to missions. I can think of a hospital in Indonesia and several schools that were started by Charismatics working jointly with some Reformed businessmen. For a long time, the founding chairman of the board was a Charismatic until he passed away. I also know a Charismatic in Indonesia whose an engineer and a preacher who has helped start schools and was interested in starting hospitals. I haven’t seen him in a couple of years. I could ask him if he has any hospitals up and running.

        Really, it’s a moot point. If starting hospitals proved a group right or beneficial, you might just want to convert to Roman Catholic. RCC folks have hospitals in the heart of the Bible Belt. Jesus never commanded us to start hospitals. He did teach taking care of the sick, but he didn’t say to charge them $10,000 for an overnight stay.

        Overall, starting hospitals doesn’t seem to be an emphasis with historical Pentecostals or with most Charismatic groups in the US. Missions is emphasized more. Most Pentecostals I know aren’t against going to doctors, though there were some in the early days of the movement, along with other believers who emphasized healing from a movement that started during the 1800’s, who weren’t too friendly to medical science. Medical science had just started to rise a notch above medieval barbers and cocaine and opium were found in a number of the drugs. Pentecostals and Charismatics tend to emphasize believing God for healing more. I wouldn’t be surprised, though, if there aren’t a number of Pentecostal or Charismatic hospitals or clinics overseas that had received some funding from Pentecostal or Charismatic churches in the US.

        Be that as it may, pointing to a lack of Charismatic hospitals doesn’t really prove anything about whether Charismatics have positively influenced society. I don’t know of any Bible Church hospitals or hospitals with ‘Cessationist’ in the title either.

        • Lyndon Unger

          I’ve heard of Mercy Ships (YWAM).

          The Cunninghams (who started YWAM) are most certainly charismatic.

          I didn’t think of one hospital that had “Baptist” in the title that started in the last few decades. It was literally the first baptist health care provided I looked up. Took about 30 seconds of research.

          I think you’ve got distracted from the point at hand. When they get a hundred million dollars, the big charismatics leaders NEVER build hospitals. The movement, as a whole, isn’t really marked by the same large-scale philanthropy that other movements (i.e. Baptists) are marked by. At Strange Fire, I believe that John MacArthur used Oral Roberts’ medical school as an example. Lots of money raised, but it never ended up going to medical training.

          Every single charismatic leader that has a private jet is an example of the point. I don’t know of a single cessationist who has ever bought a private jet. But, I worked with one who was ashamed of buying a used BMW (worth less than a new Camry) because he couldn’t justify the ostentatious use of money. In other news, there’s a WHOLE lot of prosperity preachers who ostentatiously waste rather large sums of money.

          • Link Hudson

            I haven’t spent much time in the Charismatic movement. You use the term to include Pentecostals, and that’s not what I mean. Pentecostals tend to give a lot of money to missions, at least some of the one’s I’ve been involved with. I don’t think not giving to start hospitals in our society is some sort of a crime. There are hospitals already, and plenty of other churches do that. With Pentecostal/Charismatic emphasis on divine healing, hospitals aren’t necessarily on the top of the list. I do know of orphanages and similar homes for children started by Charismatics, and like I said, I do know of hospitals as well. Mercy Ships is both hospital and missions. And I also know of Charismatic doctors who go abroad on short terms medical mission trips.

            Taking church funds and directly putting them into a non-profit hospital which charges customers according to the contemporary business model is, IMO, a very questionable use of church funds– not unless it’s earmarked for that. I don’t know how often that happens in the denominations that have large hospitals. I suspect Charismatics who start hospitals aren’t likely to put ‘Charismatic’ or Pentecostal on a hospital brand name. It doesn’t sound like a hospital name.

            I don’t care for the emphasis on prosperity, and certainly not the type of mentality where someone would be ashamed of a used BMW (unless it was in embarrassingly bad shape.) I’m more the type who thinks it’s generally unwise for a preacher to get too fancy of a car.

            ‘Charismatic’ is a theological viewpoint and there is a lot of variety, just like among churches that identify as ‘Calvinist.’ A Calvinist church these days could meet in a dark room with lots of screens and hear a preacher in blue jeans. There could be infant baptism or immersion.

            Not all Charismatics are into the whole prosperity emphasis. I can’t stand to listen to some of the guys who come on TV. I realize they are the face of the movement to the world.

            And while some of the preachers in Pentecostal denominations have been somewhat influenced in their thinking by the prosperity folks, others are resistant to it. There are both Pentecostal and Charismatic preachers who don’t like some of the greed emphasis of the types of preachers you probably have in mind. I’m not defending the stereotypes you have in mind.

          • Lyndon Unger

            “Pentecostals tend to give a lot of money to missions, at least some of
            the one’s I’ve been involved with. I don’t think not giving to start
            hospitals in our society is some sort of a crime.”

            Nobody is arguing that.

            ” I suspect Charismatics who start hospitals aren’t likely to put
            ‘Charismatic’ or Pentecostal on a hospital brand name. It doesn’t sound
            like a hospital name.”

            Nobody is arguing that.

            “‘Charismatic’ is a theological viewpoint and there is a lot of variety,
            just like among churches that identify as ‘Calvinist.’ A Calvinist
            church these days could meet in a dark room with lots of screens and
            hear a preacher in blue jeans.”

            There’s variety on some things but unity on specific things…like all “Calvinist” churches would hold to the doctrines of grace. That’s what makes them “Calvinists”.

            All “charismatics” are continuationists on tongues, healing and prophecy. That’s what makes them “charismatic”.

            Nobody is talking about clothes or architecture.

            “And while some of the preachers in Pentecostal denominations have been
            somewhat influenced in their thinking by the prosperity folks, others
            are resistant to it.”

            Nobody is arguing that.

            What is being argued is that the ones who are resistant are generally the non-influential pastors in the smaller churches who don’t have the international exposure…i.e. the fringes of the movement.

  • Link Hudson

    I’m also wondering about your list of ‘Charismatic’ (used loosely) leaders who you say had scandal or horrid heresy. Why would you put Smith Wigglesworth or William Seymour in your list– unless you are just calling Pentecostal believers ‘heresy.’ That’s kind of like circular reasoning.

    Also, what is your basis for saying ‘prosperity gospel’ preachers can’t be saved? Then you say they are in the A/G? When I think prosperity gospel preachers, I might think of Rhema or independent WOF churches. Some A/G preachers may be influenced. But how many A/G preachers believe the “Jesus died spiritually’ doctrine. What beliefs do they hold to that you think causes them not to be saved?

    I heard Phil Johnson’s interview with Michael Brown. Phil Johnson referred to a survey which contained a question about whether the respondent believed that God granted prosperity to those who had faith. I am assuming it was the source John MacArthur used to argue that 90% of Charismatics were prosperity Gospel. Of course, if one took the answer to the survey as ‘proof’ of his claim, that would only be true of…I think it was 2 African countries. A large number of non-Pentecostal/Charismatics agreed with the statement in some countries.

    Maybe I’m a bit sensitized to these things because of my PhD training, but this was a ‘bad question’– maybe not for the researchers, but certainly for the purposes Phil Johnson (and possible John MacArthur) was using it. Was the question back-translated into the target language and then back into English? The word ‘prosperity’ has a subtle nuance in meaning in American English, especially in Christian circles where it is used to describe certain WOF teachings. That’s not going to translate into an African context, where ‘prosperity’ in English may mean having a place to live, shoes, and food on the table every night. The end of Matthew 6 can be seen as a ‘prosperity’ passage from this perspective. And the word isn’t going to translate well out of the English language, especially not if we expect the participants in the survey to take the question as a reference to the type of prosperity teaching heard on TBN in the US.

    And the way the question was worded, lot’s of people will agree with it who don’t really follow the ‘prosperity Gospel’ either. In the KJV, John wishes his readers will prosper and be in health. So ‘prosperity’ is a good thing to those heavily steeped in the KJV.

    • Lyndon Unger

      Wigglelsworth? The guy who punched people in the stomach to heal them (like Todd Bentley)? Is that a horrid heresy?

      Seymour? The guy who taught that tongues was THE evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and Christian perfectionism (being the second work of grace)?

      I don’t “do” circular reasoning.

      Prosperity preachers cannot be saved because they profess a false gospel.

      Why is this confusing? How do you believe something you don’t know?

      I never even mentioned the JDS idea.

      As for the whole survey, that’s addressed at length in an upcoming article so I won’t repeat the article here. In a nutshell, the prosperity preaching of TBN is the public face of Christianity in Africa.

      You’re making the same “people may have thought the question refers to daily bread” complaint that Brown made…but the previous point makes that suggestion incredibly suspicious. If everyone in Africa is reading Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, David Oyedepo, Chris Oyakhilome, etc. and a question comes up about prosperity, why would people understand the question in contradiction to their only exposure to the issue?

      • Link Hudson

        Was Wigglesworth punching people to heal them a heresy? No. That doesn’t fit the definition of the Greek word from which we get ‘heresy’, or the historical meaning. As far as I know, it’s not one of the historical heresies.

        Would putting spit in a blind man’s eyes to heal him be considered heresy? How about coming up to a beggar who could not walk, siezing the man’s hand or arm, and pulling him up and telling him to walk in Jesus’ name? Is that heresy? Both of those may be a breech of our social norms, but we see miracle workers in the Bible doing these things.

        And if you spit in a blind man’s eye and he isn’t healed, that’s a pretty nasty thing to do. You might even get charged with assult, but it isn’t heresy. Jesus made mud out of His spittle and healed a blind man.

        If you came up to a man whose legs didn’t work, took him by the arm and pulled him up in the air, and he didn’t walk, then that might be considered assault as well. But it isn’t heresy. Peter did that to the man at the Gate Beautful, but the man wasn’t angry. He was rejoicing because God healed him.

        I heard a witness (recorded) of Wigglesworth minister to a man who was on a stretcher at a meeting who was so sick from stomach cancer that he couldn’t walk and a doctor was there with him by the bedside monitoring his heart to make sure he was still alive. Smith Wigglesworth commanded healing in Jesus’ name and hit the guy in the stomach. The doctor said, “You killed him”. Smith Wigglesworth said he was healed, and went on to minister to others. The man got out of bed, not realizing at first that his backside was showing through the hospital gown.

        Bentley on the other hand, kicked some guy who had a late stage of cancer in his stomach, and the man said some sort of ‘count’ was a little bit lower soon after. If people get healed from someone pulling them up on their feet, making mud and putting it on them, or even the Smith Wigglesworth approach, and it glorifies God, then there is no reason to criticize it. But it is generally foolish for to imitate Smith Wiggleworth’s methodology of their own initative.

        ***Prosperity preachers cannot be saved because they profess a false gospel.***

        Hold on a minute. Do you defend John MacArthur saying that anyone who answered a survey agreeing with the statement that God blesses with prosperity those who pray to him in faith? Do you think anyone who would answer ‘yes’ to that survey question cannot be saved and professes a false Gospel? I hope you don’t think that, but if you think that way, you shouldn’t be calling other people heretics and you should be checking out your own eye before you look at others.

        I’d asked you before, what specifically about prosperity preacher’s beliefs renders them unsaved? Usually their critics call their teachings on prosperity the ‘prosperity gospel.’ I don’t think they call it that themselves.

        ***
        You’re making the same “people may have thought the question refers to daily bread” complaint that Brown made…but the previous point makes that suggestion incredibly suspicious. If everyone in Africa is reading Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, David Oyedepo, Chris Oyakhilome, etc. and a question comes up about prosperity, why would people understand the question in contradiction to their only exposure to the issue?****

        I’ve never been to Africa. How much time have you spent there? Have you spent time in each of those countries that received high responses for the question that had a lot of yes responses to the question about prosperity? I get the impression that Africa is a lot more diverse and heterogeneous than the United States. English is a second langauge for many people, and their version of English is a little different from mine, at least for some of the Africans I’ve known. A big name preacher in one country may be unknown in another.

        I spent quite a bit of time in Indonesia, and there are some churches that preacher prosperity, but I suspect most of the people who go to these churches have never heard of Kenneth Copeland. I think I heard his name twice in nine years over there.

        But still your argument is flawed. You have to know what ‘prosperity’ means either in the particular dialect of an African country. One comment I read about South Africa is that some people use the word to mean having food on the table.

        Even if someone uses the word to mean more than food and clothing, so what. Matthew 6 talks about food and clothing, but what about the rest of the Bible? I have to admit, if a preacher hears the word ‘prosperity’, I can have a knee-jerk reaction to that. I find preachers who stand on stage and talk about ‘blessings’ and brag about fancy cars on TV to be rather nauseating. But I don’t want my understanding of the Bible to be skewed in reaction to those types of extremes.

        Take a look at these verses from Psalm 112
        112
        1 Praise ye the Lord. Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, that delighteth greatly in his commandments.
        2 His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed.
        3 Wealth and riches shall be in his house: and his righteousness endureth for ever.

        Paul quotes from the latter portion of this chapter about giving to the poor in II Corinthians 9. And yes, Paul talked about sowing and reaping in the context of giving. He that sows sparingly will reap sparingly. He that sows bountifully will reap bountifully.

        If someone reads Psalm 112 and reads that survey question about God giving prosperity to the one who prays and believes, then he may reason that if a man has true faith, he will walk right with God, he will fear God, and delight in his commands, and therefore riches shall be in his house. Then he can answer ‘yes’ to the question based on Psalm 112.

        The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. When we are blessed with abundance, it is only right to be thankful to God. We shouldn’t assume it all comes from the devil or only from our flesh. In Deuteronomy 18:8, the children of Israel were told,

        “You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.” (ESV)

        We need to be thankful to God and acknowledge Him as the source even of our material blessings. The material is not evil. We as Christians need to be good, generous stewards and to be free from greed. Is it wrong to call God giving people the power to get wealth, ‘prosperity.’ The KJV uses the word ‘prosper’ in John’s epistle. You might bristle at the word ‘prosperity’ because of something you have heard DuPlantis or Dollar say, but doesn’t mean no one else can use the word without being a heretic, and it doesn’t mean that any African who uses the word is going to think of the same theological issues you think of.

        • Lyndon Unger

          Link, why can you never pick an issue? Why do your comments have like a dozen points every time?

          I can not and will not have interactions that turn into chapters of books because you cannot isolate a topic. I’ll address your first point of every post from here on in. If you want to address something, address it…or at least put it first.

          Uh, Wigglesworth was peddling heresy. Don’t blame me if your Bible doesn’t cash the checks your mouth writes.

          A “heresy” is an opinion deviating from the true teaching of biblical doctrine, or (in the scripture) the word can be a synecdoche (I think) for a group of people holding to a deviant opinion. In Acts 24:14 Paul defended himself from the charge because he was “believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets”. Feel free to semantically map the term using all other occurrences in the NT (Acts 5:17, 15:5, 24:5, 26:5, 28:22; 1 Cor 11:19; Gal. 5:20; 2 Pet. 2:1). Doing that map will reveal that you’re objectively wrong about the meaning of hairesis.

          So, yes. Wigglesworth was peddling heresy. The spit and pulling of the arm isn’t heresy. The claiming that “Jesus gave me the gift of healing” when Jesus clearly didn’t, and then redefining both the gift and the biblical understanding of “healing”, is heresy.

          Of course, there’s also the issues of the doctrine that he actually taught, not just the punching stuff.

          Did the man that Wigglesworth punched in the stomach get healed of hist stomach cancer instantaneously, completely, and physically? You never included that all important detail. I’ll place my bets.

          Then you said “Bentley on the other hand, kicked some guy who had a late stage of cancer in his stomach, and the man said some sort of ‘count’ was a little bit lower soon after.”

          So the fellow was NOT healed. Thanks for making my point.

          • Link Hudson

            My point was, according to the testimony I heard, the man with the cancer that Smith Wigglesworth hit whose doctor was monitoring his heartbeat in the service, was healed. He was not able to walk and about to die beforehand, but healed and walking around after. (This is a testimony I heard years ago from tape by Lestern Summerall on TV of an event decades ago.) No one has to redefine healing.
            The testimonies I’ve heard about Smith Wigglesworth included things like a babies clubbed feet being instantly healed and things like that. With your philosophy, I don’t expect that you’d instantly accept accounts from the early part of the last century, but your argument that the concept of the gift of healings has to be redefined in the case of Wigglesworth doesn’t hold water.
            Actually, we don’t have an example of something identified as this gift in scripture. We do see cases of Jesus and the apostles healing.
            The story I heard about Bentley kicking a guy was that he just said he had a lower count. I didn’t say Bentley was healing people as he was hitting them and saying “Bam!”

          • Lyndon Unger

            “My point was, according to the testimony I heard, the man with the cancer that Smith Wigglesworth hit whose doctor was monitoring his heartbeat in the service, was healed. He was not able to walk and about to die beforehand, but healed and walking around after.”

            SO…his cancer wasn’t healed unless he was able to walk and ALSO didn’t have cancer anymore.

            Again, you make my point for me.

            “your argument that the concept of the gift of healings has to be redefined in the case of Wigglesworth doesn’t hold water.”

            Show me.

            “Actually, we don’t have an example of something identified as this gift in scripture. We do see cases of Jesus and the apostles healing.”

            SO…Jesus and the apostles were doing something called “healing” that was different (in a mysterious way that we don’t know) than the thing done in the early church called “healing”?

            AND…Jesus was an example for his apostles that they copied, including his healing and prophetic work (Matt. 10:25; Luke 9:1-6; John 13:15, 14:12), and those apostles them referred to themselves as examples for the early church (i.e. 2 Thess. 2:9, 3:7-9; Phil. 3:17; Heb. 13:7, etc.) in all areas except the area of spiritual gifts?

            You do see how irrational that is, right?

          • Link Hudson

            I don’t know if we can post links here. You can look up Lester Summerall and Smith Wigglesworth on YouTube for at least a couple of videos of his account of the healing. It was apparently Summerall’s first encounter with Wigglesworth… seeing him minister at the meeting. According to the accounts, when Wigglesworth hit the man in the stomach, the doctor said he was dead and that the family would sue. Wigglesworth said he was healed. He went on ministering. Ten minutes later or so, the man came running behind Smith Wigglesworth (apparently unaware that his hospital gown was open) with hands raised, praising God. The doctor said he was healed. This was an eye witness account from one man. I don’t have the medical records from the first part of the 20th century. But I have seen video of another man who witnessed some of the miracles Wigglesworth did. I haven’t read Keener’s book on Miracles, but I understand it presents a lot of details on past and contemporary accounts of healing. If someone is going to assume that this sort of thing doesn’t happen (healing through spiritual gifts), he should at least look at some of the evidence.

            ****SO…Jesus and the apostles were doing something called “healing” that was different (in a mysterious way that we don’t know) than the thing done in the early church called “healing”?***

            No, I am not saying the apostles did not minister in gifts of healing. But the Paul does mention the ‘signs of an apostle’ which he did with signs, wonders, and mighty deeds. If the first reference to ‘signs’ refers to miraculous type things (rather than something else like enduring persecution) then why should we assume that every believer who does miracles or heals will do them to the same ‘level’ as the apostles.

            I Corinthians 12 shows us that believers in the body have different gifts given by the Spirit, including gifts of healings and the working of miracles. The end of the chapter lists apostles, prophets, teachers, miracles, healings, etc. The implication is that there were people healing and working miracles who were not apostles. If apostles had the ‘signs of an apostle’– then why would someone who wasn’t an apostle have to do the same ‘caliber’ of miracles as an apostle for us to accept them as genuine? Why would we reject someone who doesn’t measure up the our opinion of the standard the apostles displayed for healing, if apostles have ‘the signs of an apostle’?

    • Ummm… given the fact that Pentecostals have defined what “prosperity” means for us, and those in Africa, I’m thinking your argument falls flat. Those who are involved in the Pentecostal churches would have heard the word “prosperity” used enough in the context of the “name it and claim it,” i.e., get “wealthy,” not “have your needs met” context that they would probably know what was being asked there. A PhD has nothing to do with being “sympathetic” to their view, in my opinion, if their view is flat out wrong.

      • Link Hudson

        Much of the ‘prosperity’ teaching is Word of Faith, not ‘Pentecostal.’ You can find Pentecostals who believe elements of it. Hey, you can find Baptists who’ll agree with WOFers on a number of issues. Not everything they say is wrong. That’s one reason they are so popular. There are also Pentecostal preachers who are anti-WOF doctrine as well, especially when it comes to some of their doctrines on prosperity.

        In another post on this page, I’ve pointed out that the Bible does teach about God providing for his people, even using words like ‘riches’ and ‘wealth.’ We certainly aren’t supposed to set our hearts on such things, but when we are provided for materially, we shouldn’t be thankful and acknowledge our blessings as coming from God, and be willing to share with others.

        I mentioned my graduate studies in connection with survey methodology. The question in the survey Phil Johnson referred to that was supposed to be evidence of parts of Africa being 90% (a number John MacArthur threw around in an inaccurate manner if you look at the survey), was a ‘bad question’ for the purposes for which he was using it. I’m not faulting the survey necessarily. They just reported results from a questions. The conclusions being draw from the survey question are unjustified.

        And typically, in this type of survey, in non-English-speaking areas the method used would be back-translating (Brislin, 1980). Translate the question into the target language and then back into English and see if the meaning is the same. You probably won’t get the same theological implications of ‘prosperity’ in another country that you will in the US. Even in the US, unchurched people or people unfamiliar with controversy surrounding the prosperity doctrine aren’t going to read as much into the word as some of the posters on this forum. Would the word translate with exactly the same theological implications into French, Spanish, and Portuguese? My guess is that is very unlikely, and less likely when dealing with languages like Swahili.

  • This was a great summary for ch.3. Maybe it’s just me, but the idea of being admitted into a charismatic hospital gives me the creeps. “The Full-Gospel tongue-talkin medical center”… no thanks.

    This entire series reminds me of a classic Steve Taylor song from the 80’s, ‘Guilty By Association’ with these lyrics:

    It’s a Telethon Tuesday

    For ‘The Gospel Club’

    ‘Send your money in now or they’re gonna pull the plug!’

    Just remember this fact

    When they plead and beg

    When the chicken squawks loudest, gonna lay a big egg

    • Lyndon Unger

      Steve Taylor for the win!

      I’m now singing “I want to be a clone” in my head.

  • Pingback: Authentic Fire Review: Chapter 3 | Truth2Freedom's Blog()

  • Harry

    “Every single prosperity/word faith preacher is unregenerate” Lyndon this is where your judgement falters. I noted your list and laughed. Because I know one person in particular. Hence your comments are false regarding that persons standing with Christ. I have read all your articles and I see a strident attitude emerging…you say it is not Christlike online but I doubt you would do it in person if you have a problem with your brother. I also see a haphazard approach where you appear to label a person a false teacher because one….two…three…what is it, how many area of doctrine make them a false teacher? Baptismal regeneration perhaps? How about infant baptism are they false teachers? People who teach tithing instead of generous giving are false teachers? If a leader sins, falls into homosexual, repents… do you still mention their names as a false teacher? Because if you do you better put King David on your list as a murderer and adulterer..

    • Lyndon Unger

      So let me get this straight: You know someone and somehow know for certain the state of their heart and can thereby declare, ex cathedra, that they’re a believer? Jer. 17:9 suggests that you’re claiming knowledge of someone’s heart that is impossible for anyone other than God.

      Ignoring your veiled deity claims, everyone who believes and proclaims a false gospel doesn’t believe the true gospel. That means that they’re unregenerate.

      I don’t understand why this is so continually confusing.

      Gal. 1:6-7 suggests rather plainly that there’s only one gospel and alternative gospels aren’t “the gospel” at all.

      Is the prosperity gospel “the gospel”?

      The only relevant question is whether or not the prosperity gospel is synonymous with “the gospel”. If it’s not, then every prosperity preacher is unregenerate…just like every Muslim that holds, as a foundational tenet of faith, that Jesus neither died on the cross or was raised from the dead. Those points of disbelief mean that they cannot possibly be Christians, regardless of whatever else they claim to believe.

      Any “Christian” who thinks that the atonement is a guaranteed golden ticket to health and/or wealth confuses Jesus Christ with Willy Wonka.

      In person, I regularly give the gospel to people who don’t believe it. That includes prosperity preachers. That doesn’t mean I yell at them or call them “heathen” while shaking my jowls and waving my pipe in an disapproving fashion.

      I don’t toss the false teacher label at people who profess the gospel and hold to some form of error like “tithing”. That’s absurd. The false teacher label is reserved for those who exemplify the biblical characteristics of being a false teacher..and a good indicator of that is when they teach a counterfeit gospel (are you getting the theme that I’m trying to bring out?). You should read my post on false teachers from last week. It’s not that confusing, if you actually read what I have already written on the matter.

      Why in the world would I label someone a “false teacher” after they repent?

      That doesn’t even make a lick of sense.

      • Link Hudson

        Lyndon Unger, do you believe that anyone who would answer ‘yes’ to a survey question that asks if God grants prosperity to those who pray in faith, is unsaved and is bound for Hell?

        What about cessationists and their false doctrine? Wigglesworth may have punched people in the stomach. (If you don’t accept witnesses’ testimony that he punched people and they were healed, then you shouldn’t accept their testimony that he punched people as historically reliable either– since you don’t accept the witnesses as reliable.)

        But the Bible never says, “Don’t hit people when you minister to them?” It does teach that one part of the body does not supposed to say to another, “I have no need of thee.” In the context, one part of the body has one gift and another has another gift. These are the gifts cessationists dub ‘the sign gifts.’ The passage says that to one is given the gift of the word of knowledge by the same Spirit, that another is given prophecy, another gifts of healing, to another the working of miracles, tongues, interpretation of tongues. The passage says that the gifts are given as the Spirit wills.

        Cessationists deny this and teach contrary to this. They teach that to one is NOT given the word of knowledge, or gifts of healing, or the working of miracles, or tongues, or interpretation. It directly contradicts scripture.

        The Bible doesn’t say not to hit people when you heal them, or not to yank crippled people up of the ground and tell them to talk in Jesus name (like Peter did.) But it DOES command believers.

        “Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings.”

        How can a cessationist hear prophecies, or at certain types of them, without despising the prophecy and still remain a cessationist?

        The Bible commands to earnestly desire spiritual gifts. It commands believers to covet to prophesy. We are commanded to let the prophets speak. If a REVELATION comes to one sitting by, the speaking prophet is to hold his peace because ‘ye may all prophesy one by one….” There is no command to have a pulpit or assign one pastor to preach one sermon. Rather, we are told, to let ‘every one of you’ have a psalm, doctrine, tongue, revelation, interpretation ‘unto edifying.’ After giving commands for church meetings, Paul says they are commandments of the Lord.
        Cessationism leads to direct disobedience to these commands whenever certain gifts are encountered. It’s a ‘theology’ of disobedience. Why doesn’t it make Lyndon Unger’s list of heresies?

        • Link,

          From thread to thread, you continue to make the same question-begging assertions in your repeated failed attempts to discredit the doctrine of cessationism. I’m hoping that answering them here will give you reason not to repeat them again and again in future posts.

          Cessationists deny this and teach contrary to this. They teach that to one is NOT given the word of knowledge, or gifts of healing, or the working of miracles, or tongues, or interpretation. It directly contradicts scripture [sic].

          For as much as you know about this discussion, this assertion has no explanation besides willful ignorance. Certainly you know that cessationists do not deny the operation of all the gifts (miraculous and non-miraculous) in the context in which that statement in 1 Corinthians 12 was written. The very matter in question is whether or not there are valid Scriptural reasons to conclude that the miraculous sign gifts were only for a time. You may disagree with this conclusion, but that’s the discussion that we have to have. You don’t get to pretend that the argument for cessationism is other than it is simply because you disagree with it.

          This post from MacArthur addresses this issue more completely, especially your later comments about cessationism being “a theology of disobedience.” Here’s a relevant portion:


          Finally, . . . there is another way to respond to the implied accusation that cessationists are “disobedient” to those texts. Consider how a Christian living under the New Covenant is to obey the commands for animal sacrifice prescribed in the book of Leviticus. Does the refusal to slaughter a lamb on the Day of Atonement mean that a Christian is disobedient to the clear command of the Old Testament? Of course not. Based on what the totality of Scripture teaches about atonement for sin, we “obey” such commands by looking to the perfect sacrifice of Christ, which fulfilled and eclipsed those sacrifices, and by resting in His once-for-all finished work. Similarly, because of what the totality of Scripture teaches about the purpose, function, and temporary nature of the miraculous gifts, the cessationist obeys the commands to “earnestly desire to prophesy” by looking to the perfectly sufficient revelation of the written Word, which fulfilled and eclipsed all previous revelation, and by resting in His once-for-all finished Word.

          “Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings.” How can a cessationist hear prophecies, or at certain types of them, without despising the prophecy and still remain a cessationist?

          There are two ways to answer this question.

          The first is to observe, simply, that a cessationist (nor anyone else, for that matter) doesn’t hear prophecies, biblically defined. A cessationist hears gut-feelings and impressions brazenly pronounced to be prophecies, but “prophecies” he hears none.

          The second way to answer the question is to point you back to that same post:


          To frame the issue in those terms begs the question. In the first place, cessationist theology allows for the operation of the miraculous gifts at the time Paul was writing Scripture (i.e., before the cessation of divine revelation). But, secondly, the very claim in question is whether the miraculous gifts have continued past that foundational apostolic era. To simply appeal to those texts, which were addressed to believers during a time in which the gifts were operational, and to assume Christians are to apply and obey them in precisely the same way today, [is to assume] what [one is] trying to prove. But if the rest of scriptural teaching instructs us that we are not to expect the continuation of the miraculous gifts after a particular point, then obviously the way we apply and obey these texts will be different for us than it was for the Corinthians. It’s precisely at that point that we need to have the discussion. Shallow appeals to superficial-level interpretations won’t settle this issue for serious-minded students of Scripture.

          So, let’s put this “theology of disobedience” assertion to rest, OK? You understand that Christians are not “disobedient to Scripture” because we don’t carry out the laws for animal sacrifice in Leviticus. You understand that, given the totality of Scripture’s revelation, we see that we are not to apply earlier revelation in precisely the same way as the original recipients of that revelation. You understand that principle in terms of changes from the Old to New Covenant. Well, that same principle is at work when applied to the foundational, apostolic period of the church age and the post-foundational, post-apostolic period of the church age, a construct clearly in view in Ephesians 2:20.

          If you’re going to engage further on this topic (and I’m sure you will), let’s leave the rhetorical talking points at home and engage on the levels and issues that will actually move the discussion forward.

          • Link Hudson

            Mike Riccardi,

            Thank you for responding to my post. I do wonder if this is the best venue for such a detailed discussion. The a venue like the Cessationist v. Continuationist forum on Facebook or some other site might be a bit better, but I’ll reply as you predicted.

            I don’t think the comparison to animals sacrifices on the day of atonement is a good one. Even in 100 BC, if Gentiles didn’t offer a sacrifice on the day of atonement, Jews wouldn’t have faulted them for disobedients. Hebrews did not all offer the sacrifice. After the temple was built, priests offered sacrifices in the temple. Collectively, there may have been guilt on the people if the sacrifice was not made, but an individual wasn’t doing wrong by not sacrificing his own animal by himself in that case.

            A better analogy would be if someone were to teach that not committing adultery and not stealing were only for the first century, but ceased at the completion of the scriptures. That sort of teaching would indicate that God’s standards for right and wrong changed at the completion of the canon. The cessationist theory (or a version of it) leads to the conclusion that the way God interacts with the His people suddenly fundamentally changed when the canon was complete. In the Old Testament and in the New, God revealed specific things to certain individuals and used individuals to do miracles. Acts 2 shows us that in the last days, the Spirit poured out more broadly on His people as the Spirit is poured out on all flesh. I Corinthians 12 shows us that gifts were given to members of body of Christ.

            How would you respond to someone who said that adultery and stealing were not forbidden after the close of the canon? If they said that stealing is okay now, would you say that their teaching contradicts scripture? If someone said that salvation by faith ceased at the end of the first century and salvation is now by works, wouldn’t you say that their teaching contradicts scripture. You probably would, and you would be right– even if the other person argued that he believed that the prohibitions on theft and adultery or the teaching of salvation by faith applied to the immediate audience, but not to us today, and called your ignorant for saying his beliefs contradicted scripture, you would still be right in your assertion.

            You wrote, ****Similarly, because of what the totality of Scripture teaches about the purpose, function, and temporary nature of the miraculous gifts, the cessationist obeys the commands to “earnestly desire to prophesy” by looking to the perfectly sufficient revelation of the written Word, which fulfilled and eclipsed all previous revelation, and by resting in His once-for-all finished Word.****

            There is nothing about the totality of scripture that teaches that the I Corinthians 12 gifts were temporary in nature. Just looking at the book of Revelation, the two witnesses are to prophesy and do miracles (fire consuming their enemies and shutting up the heaven.) And the blood of prophets would be found in Babylon. I can’t help but see that even a preterist would have to put the ministry of the two witnesses after the close of the book of Revelation. I know some pre-trib dispensationalists try to argue away the issue of these witnesses prophesying and doing miracles after the close of the canon by saying it doesn’t count since it’s after the rapture. (II Thes. 1 has Jesus coming back to give the church rest when he brings judgment on the wicked, not seven years before, but that’s a different discussion.) But that’s just dodging the issue.

            If the continuance of prophecy or miracles somehow challenges the role of the scriptures, the integrity of the scriptures, any prophecy and miracles done through individuals after the close of the canon, even if after the rapture would also be a challenge to the scriptures.

            The Bible doesn’t teach this theory that once the Bible is complete, miracles, prophecy, or other gifts wouldn’t be needed. That’s a man-made theory developed post-Reformation, not something the scriptures teach. Cessationism rests on [scripture] + [man-made theories about the role of scripture] – [scripture that contradicts cessationism]. The Bible does not teach that all the believer needs is the Bible. We also need the stuff the Bible tells us that we need, like love, faith, the power of God at work in our lives, the Holy Spirit, and gifts of the Spirit. The cessationist logic that says that since we have the Bible, we don’t need certain things the Bible shows us that we need is faulty.

            The Bible commands ‘Despise not prophesyings.’
            You wrote,
            *****The first is to observe, simply, that a cessationist (nor anyone else, for that matter) doesn’t hear prophecies, biblically defined. A cessationist hears gut-feelings and impressions brazenly pronounced to be prophecies, but “prophecies” he hears none.****

            And that is sad because the Bible commands he who has ears to hear, let him hear. Not everything that is claimed to be a prophecy is, but your quote above illustrates the problem I was talking about. If there is a true prophecy, the cessationist is likely to reject it as being a genuine prophecy.

            Maybe you’ve only heard gut-feeling impressions put forth as prophecies. But what might be even more dangerous is when a die-hard cessationist hears one of those other types of prophecies– the ones that make manifest the secrets of men’s hearts or that predict the future. You may think all prophecies are vague impressions. I’ve witnessed a number of times where a prophecy would reveal with specific details. Before starting an international ministry, a pastor who did not know me or my wife had a prophecy for us about ministering to people from different ethnic backgrounds. Someone recently shared a dream with my wife about doing ministry in a certain part of town in one of the buildings at a certain intersection– the very place we’d been praying about and had been asked to join in a certain ministry. On many occasions, prophecies and words of knowledge are obviously supernatural.

            So how does cessationism train someone to deal with that? If the Holy Spirit gives a prophecy, is it a good thing if someone attributes it to the Devil? That’s the sort of thing some of Christ’s opponents did after He cast out demons by the Spirit of God. They said he cast out demons by the prince of devils. But he was doing it by the Spirit. They were accusing the Spirit of being Beelzebub, and so Christ warned them that speaking against the Spirit was the unforgivable sin.

            So it is a dangerous thing to hold to an unbiblical belief system that teaches people when they see gifts of the Spirit in operation, that the gifts are either nonsense, tricks, or of the devil.

          • Thanks, Link, for reminding me that I can’t teach someone who doesn’t care to learn.

            Just be advised that if you continue to overwhelm comment threads on this topic with arguments and assertions that have been already answered, your comments will be removed.

          • Link Hudson

            Mike, If we actually look at what the Bible says about spiritual gifts and time periods, there is no Biblical reason to think that they have ceased.
            I Corinthians 1:7 says, ‘So that ye come behind in no spiritual gift, waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.’
            Why would Paul write something like that if he envisioned a time period before the return of Christ during which the very spiritual gifts he was preparing to address in the book would not be available?

            I was reading today that John MacArhur was under the impression that Paul and the other Biblical author’s thought that Christ’s return was imminent, that it could occur during their lifetime. How is that in any way reconcilable with cessationism? How could the apostles believe that Jesus was going to come back at any time, maybe during their own lifetime, and at the same time teach that some time after their own death, there would be this long gap of time before the Lord’s return when the gifts weren’t available?

            Regarding the ‘theology’ of disobedience–Coming up with theological excuses for not accepting the clear didactic teaching of scripture to TO THE CHURCH regarding spiritual gifts does not excuse, justify, or do away with disobedience.

            If you look at some of the cessationist theories, they aren’t consistent with one another. One of BB Warfield’s theories that the Restoration movement (Campbell) people appeal to is the idea that certain gifts were only passed on through the laying on of hands of the apostles. Of course, that doesn’t hold water if we see Timothy received a gift through prophecy with the laying on of hands of the elders and that Paul received the gift of apostleship without it going through the 12. But other cessationists rest their case on a certain strained interpretation of I Corinthians 13. Still others argue based on a not too careful reading of II Timothy 3, or else based on extra scriptural doctrines about the role of scripture. Others base it on time period arguments or dispensations.

            Really I think the reasons many cessationists have boil down to the fact that they haven’t witnessed godly people they trust operating in these spiritual gifts. And some of the ones they see who’ve claimed to operate in the gifts seemed weird, or even sinful or heretical. Yet another reason is the idea that if these gifts are out there, surely someone in our group would exercise them. There are those who won’t believe the Spirit gives these gifts unless they see a hospital ward cleared out, believing only if they’ve experienced it first.

        • Lyndon Unger

          “do you believe that anyone who would answer ‘yes’ to a survey question that asks if God grants prosperity to those who pray in faith, is unsaved and is bound for Hell?”

          No.

          Do people who teach and defend a “gospel” where the atonement is seen as a guarantee to health and or wealth?

          Yes.

          Do people who teach and defend seed faith doctrine (sowing and reaping), especially when applied to money and health?

          Yes.

          Do people who teach things like the “law of return”, especially when applied to money and health?

          Yes.

          People who preach that there’s physical healing and/or material prosperity guaranteed in the atonement, meaning that there’s some sort of divine “rules” that one can tap into to move God’s hand to grant health or wealth don’t preach the gospel.

          Why is this SO HARD for you to grasp?

          As for the rest, You’re arguing in circles. You cannot assume charismatic doctrine and then demand that cessationism prove itself.

          Burden of proof works like this: whoever makes positive claims bears the burden of proving their positive claims.

          Cessationists don’t contradict scripture in the infantile way that you suggest. Your surface understanding of the scripture isn’t synonymous with the scripture.

          Cessationists teach, quite clearly, that the gifts that you list (word of knowledge, etc.) were given during the foundational period of the lifetime/ministry of the apostles and ceased to be given once the foundation of the church was laid.

          You’re the one who says that those gifts are still being given, but the way you do that is to re-define them (i.e. tongues or prophecy get turned into something they never, ever were in the Bible).

          I don’t quench the Spirit. I don’t despise prophesying.

          I look at what you call “prophesying” and call it what the scripture calls it: “false”. That’s right. Probably every single example in your life you can think of too.

          Every single one is likely false.

          In other words, I’d probably ridden more unicorns than you’ve heard legitimate prophesies.

          Why?

          Well, unless you’ve spoke God’s word in God’s place as God’s personal mouthpiece, you’ve never prophesied. Unless someone around has, you’ve never witness legitimate prophesy in your entire life.

          Let me restate in case you missed that.

          Unless you, or someone around you, has delivered a “word from the Lord” and told someone “Thus saith the Lord” and then told them “if you don’t do what I say, you’re sinning”, you’ve never prophesied or witnessed a real prophesy.

          Let me restate in case you missed that.

          Unless you, or someone around you, has spoken words that bear the authority of Yahweh himself, along with his accuracy and truthfulness, you’ve never prophesied or witnessed a real prophesy.

          According to the Bible, every single instance of “prophesy” you think you’ve experienced that didn’t fit the previous standard was false prophesy.

          Ironically, you’re the one who actually despises prophesy because you cheapen it with a redefinition that, at least in the Old Testament, would get you killed. You despise prophesy because you despise the scripture and refuse to submit your own experience to the interpretive authority of God.

          Cessationism doesn’t disregard the Bible. We just go a little deeper than the surface level and try to honor Christ as Lord in our exegesis as well as our practice.

          • Link Hudson

            Would you say that if someone believes that healing is in the atonement, he’s unsaved? If so, would you confidently condemn many members of the Nazarene denomination, some Baptists, and many Pentecostals as unsaved unbelievers destined to Hell?

            Would you also say that it is not enough for someone to repent of his sins, believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died on the cross for his sins, that He was buried, and that God raised Him on the third day, and that He appeared to various witnesses and ascended into heaven to be saved? Would you say that one also has to believe that healing is not in the atonement to receive salvation from sins? Some of the things you write, particularly in your condemnation of other believers, come off as rather doctrinally unstable and too extreme.

            You can call the ‘prosperity gospel’ a gospel, and say that those who teach it are following another gospel. But there are all kinds of false things a Christian can believe in that don’t send him to hell. One could believe the world is flat and be saved, or one could believe the world is round, and still be saved. One can believe that Abraham and Jesus were black and be saved. One could believe that Abraham and Jesus had blond hair and blue eyes and still be saved.

            It is extremely presumptuous of you to declare who God can and cannot save when the Bible doesn’t even back up what you are saying. That sort of attitude is also dangerous to other believers because it can rub off on them.

            Isaiah 53 does say that by his stripes we are healed. Matthew quotes from Isaiah 53 in regard to physical healing.

            I also find some of your comments to be quite rude and offensive, because you set a strawman, assume I believe in it, and accuse of believing in it. I know there are some charismatics who have a really loose idea of prophecy and don’t even think it is a sin to prophesy falsely in the name of the LORD. I don’t believe that way. I believe genuine prophecies have characteristics like we see in the New and Old Testaments.

            I do see that some of the Reformed folks also redefine the meaning of prophecy to basically be Bible teaching. The New Testament lists preaching and teaching as separate gifts. I don’t get the impression that you do this, though.

            You wrote, ****Unless you, or someone around you, has delivered a “word from the Lord” that includes the phrase “Thus saith the Lord” and then something along the lines of “if you don’t do what I say, you’re sinning”, you’ve never prophesied or witnessed a real prophesy.***
            You need to be a lot more careful with your assertions because you overstate your case again, and your statement is not Biblical. There are plenty of prophecies in the Bible that aren’t prefaced by ‘Thus saith the Lord’, though it is extremely common for them to be prefaced by such a statement. Peter calls David a prophet. I can’t even think of a Psalm that says ‘Thus saith the Lord’ though there are portions of them addressed as from the Lord to the people.

            Of course, there are plenty of prophecies, both in scripture, and in modern times that have been prefaced by ‘Thus saith the Lord’ (or ‘the Lord says’ or similar words). And some of them do give directions.
            But Peter describes prophesying of the Old Testament as holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. Caiaphas prophesied that one man should die for the people, and there is no ‘Thus saith the Lord’ in his statement in the book of John. My guess is he didn’t even know that he was prophesying when he said it.
            I suspect you have some sort of idea in your mind of what modern prophecies are like, maybe from someone you have been exposed to.

            Your post also demonstrates despising prophesyings. You haven’t even heard any prophecies I’ve heard, and already you despise them. You also assume I’ve redefined prophecy, listing a number of strawman examples I don’t believe in.

          • Lyndon Unger

            If someone believes a false gospel, he cannot possibly believe the true gospel.

            ” Would you say that one also has to believe that healing is not in the atonement to receive salvation from sins? Some of the things you write, particularly in your condemnation of other believers, come off as rather doctrinally unstable and too extreme.”

            Link, believing what’s true necessitates believing all the unending permutations of what’s false.

            You say “healing in the atonement”, but that’s not specific enough and not what I’m ever saying. You misquote my words to make them far more general than they are. Here’s what I said again:

            “…physical healing and/or material prosperity for this life guaranteed in the atonement, meaning that there’s some sort of divine “rules” that one can tap into to move God’s
            hand to grant health or wealth…”

            I agree that there’s physical healing in the atonement, but it’s not guaranteed for this life. The physical healing in the atonement is provided in the resurrection.

            People can believe lots of wrong things and be saved.

            People cannot change the gospel and be saved.

            People who come to Christ for healing of bodily illness/infirmity in this life (among other things, like health or wealth or “prosperity” in all its other manifestations) and abandon Christ when he doesn’t provide what they want aren’t coming to Christ for what he’s promised to give them. They confuse Jesus with someone else.

            The Reformed folks who redefine “prophecy” to be “bible teaching” are wrong too, though they’re a lot closer to the proper definition.

            “There are plenty of prophecies in the Bible that aren’t prefaced by ‘Thus saith the Lord’, though it is extremely common for them to be prefaced by such a statement. Peter calls David a prophet. I can’t even think of a Psalm that says ‘Thus saith the Lord’ though there are portions of them addressed as from the Lord to the people.”

            You’ve got to be kidding me.

            I mean seriously.

            You DID see how I gave three different explanations, assuming that you’d do exactly what you did.

            I’m not suggesting something as idiotic as “true prophecy includes the statement ‘thus saith the Lord’ and if that statement isn’t included, it’s not true prophecy.”

            True prophecy is speaking God’s words in God’s place with God’s character. All true prophecy could include the phrase “thus saith the Lord” since it’s the Lord and not the human agent speaking, but all true prophecy doesn’t necessarily need to include that specific phrase in order to make it prophecy.

            “Your post also demonstrates despising prophesyings. You haven’t even heard any prophecies I’ve heard, and already you despise them. You also assume I’ve redefined prophecy, listing a number of strawman examples I don’t believe in.”

            Well, let me try to be clear again. These three following statements are meant to be synonymous:

            1. Prophecy is when God puts his words in another person’s mouth (i.e. Ex. 4:10-16).

            2. Prophecy is when a person’s mouth opens but God’s words come out.

            3. Prophecy is when a human being speaks as if he/she were God: speaking with his full authority and truthfulness and moral character.

            These three following statements are also meant to be synonymous:

            1. If you’ve ever heard a prophecy where you were commanded to obey (there’s no such thing as a prophecy that doesn’t demand a response) and weren’t sinning if you didn’t obey it, you’ve heard a false prophecy.

            2. If you’ve ever heard a prophecy that didn’t come to pass in meticulous detail, you’ve heard a false prophecy.

            3. IF you’ve ever heard a prophecy that was not entirely and meticulously true (including doctrinally), you’ve heard a false prophecy.

            If you make a list of the people who’ve ever done #1-3, you now have a list of all the false prophets you’ve met.

            Is there anyone at all left that you’ve run across who’s claimed to have prophesied?

            No?

            Well, there you go.

            Also, I don’t need to hear a prophecy that you’ve heard in order to give you general biblical principles to evaluate any possible prophecy.

          • Link Hudson

            Lyndon Unger,
            “Link, believing what’s true necessitates believing all the unending permutations of what’s false.”

            Do you apply that to all aspects of doctrine, or just doctrine related to healing and material blessing? For example, if someone has an eschatology you deem wrong, do you think he is unsaved?

            When I asked you questions about this, I was expecting some actual scripture or scriptural reasoning for your additions to the requirements of salvation. Yes, I said additions to requirements for salvation. What do I mean by that. Generally, Bible-believing evangelical Christians will agree that to be saved one must believe that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that He rose from the dead. Generally evangelical’s don’t believe one also has to believe that healing is not guaranteed in the atonment to be saved. Where does the Bible indicate that one has to have a particular belief on this subject to be saved?

            How is a belief on that subject related to any of the teaching of scripture on what is required for salvation. Show me from scripture that those who disagree with you on these doctrines you’ve mentioned that you consider damnable– healing guaranteed in the atonement or

            I don’t know if a lot of people actually read the replies and conversations this far down on the page, but I’m surprised some of your fellow Cripplegate posters who agree with your article are not commenting on your beliefs about salvation. Maybe they have or will offline. I hope they do.

            You wrote,
            ***You say “healing in the atonement”, but that’s not specific enough and not what I’m ever saying. You misquote my words to make them far more general than they are. ***

            I didn’t misquote you. I asked a question for clarification.

            You quoted your previous statement

            ****”…physical healing and/or material prosperity for this life guaranteed in the atonement, meaning that there’s some sort of divine “rules” that one can tap into to move God’s
            hand to grant health or wealth…”***

            Specifically, what scripture do you have in mind to support the idea that this is a damnable belief?

            And again, I’m not seeing a difference between healing guaranteed in the atonement (I added guaranteed for clarity), and what you say here, at least as it partains to health.

            Your wording hear about divine rules to tap into to move God’s hand sounds negative the way it is worded. That may be the perspective that some of the big name Word of Faith preachers present. But many Christians believe that if God gives a promise to believers, and believers meet the conditions for the promise, that they can have what is promised. For example, an elders may read James 5 and read a guarantee there that if they pray the prayer of faith, the sick who calls them will be healed if they anoing him with oil in the name of the Lord. Would you consider that believing in a divine ‘rule’ to tap into to move God’s hand to grant health? Is a church elder who beleives that way damned unless he changes his viewpoint in your opinion?

            Also, what is wrong with someone believing that if his life fits the description of the man in Psalm 112, that he will also enjoy the material blessings the Bible says that the one who meets these conditions will enjoy? How is that a damning approaching to scripture? As Christians, we aren’t to be coveteous or materialistic, either. But we shouldn’t deny that promises and teaching of scripture aren’t too… in reaction to WOF prosperity teaching.

            Your statements about salvation go way too far. If someone disagrees on certain doctrines you don’t like, you say he isn’t saved. You haven’t shown any scripture to support these ideas. And I don’t see how you come to the conclusion that the belief that healing is guaranteed to those who believe for it is damning. It has nothing to do denying Christ’s deity or humanity, His death on the cross, His resurrection or ascension.

            *****People who come to Christ for healing of bodily illness/infirmity in this life (among other things, like health or wealth or “prosperity” in all its other manifestations) and abandon Christ when he doesn’t provide what they want aren’t coming to Christ for what he’s promised to give them.****

            If someone professes faith in Christ, seeking him healing and abandons Him later, I agree that’s a real problem. If you want to argue that such a person will not be saved (unless he truly repents) I wouldn’t have a problem with that. He that endures to the end shall be saved. We are made partakers with Christ if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence steadfast until the end.

            You wrote,
            ****I’m not suggesting something as idiotic as “true prophecy includes the statement ‘thus saith the Lord’ and if that statement isn’t included, it’s not true prophecy.”****

            I’m not trying to offend you. I don’t know what you are thinking. I can only go by what I read on the screen. What I notice is sometimes when you are trying to make a point, the details of what you say don’t always line up with the word. I don’t know you well enough to think, “Lyndon is a reasonable fellow. He must have accidentally overstated his case.” Add to that, I’ve also reading some of your ideas about beliefs that will make someone unsaved.

            Could I make a suggestion? Could you first spend some time in prayer about your own beliefs and attitudes towards others who profess faith in Christ who disagree with you on issues like healing, financial blessings, or God responding to prayers made in faith, and then spend some time discussing the issue with some brothers in Christ who are sound in the word. Ask their opinion about your point of view that someone who believes “that there’s some sort of divine “rules” that one can tap into to move God’s hand to grant health or wealth” is not saved, and discuss specifically how that applies to various others who profess faith in Christ? I think that would be very beneficial for you and others influenced by your ministry. I’ll also pray for you about it. You can pray for me, too, if you want.

            Thanks,
            Link

          • Lyndon Unger

            I’ll try to respond to your shotgun approach of 9 topics and 30 questions.

            False gospel is not the same as false theology.

            The prosperity gospel is a counterfeit gospel because the “prosperity” part changes the actual message of the gospel.

            I can share the gospel with someone without mentioning eschatology, or egalitarianism, or any number of other things.

            The guys who add the whole ‘healing in the atonement” to the gospel are doing just that: adding to the gospel.

            It would be equally false if I added something else to the atonement, like say the necessity of good works to activate the application of the atonement. I’m not going to write a book on this all because it’s so utterly unnecessary.

            You want some scripture?

            How about this: http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?strongs=G2098

            There you see the noun euaggelion appears 76 times in the New Testament and is connected with the kingdom, Jesus Christ, God, salvation, and peace. It’s never once spoken of in relation to physical healing in this life. Physical healing is never, ever promised to those who believe the gospel of the kingdom/Christ/God/salvation/peace.

            Not once.

            Not a single place in the New Testament.

            That’s my positive claim and I’ve just backed it up.

            If you want to disagree with me, feel free to produce a single passage of scripture that connects physical healing, in this life, to the noun euaggelion. Simple.

            There are plenty of passages in the New Testament that clarify the gospel: Acts 2:22-41, 10:36-43, 13:26-41; Eph 1:3-14, 2:1-22; Col. 1:9-23; 2 Thess. 2:13-14; Heb. 9:11-10:25, etc.

            Non of them any talk about physical healing of the body in this life.

            None.

            God never makes the promise that believers will be physically healed in this life, not even in James 5:14-16. Psalm 112 doesn’t even promise material blessing to Christians.

            Finally, there are no comprehensive lists in the scripture that spell out what a
            person should NOT believe. The New Testament clearly spells out what the good news of
            Christ is, and that clear definition rules out any and all competing
            definitions.

            By definition, the prosperity gospel is ruled out as a false gospel.

          • Link Hudson

            Yes, I have heard prophecies. And you shouldn’t ‘despise prophecies’ that you haven’t heard or have no knowledge of. Unless you are claiming to have some extraBiblical supernatural revelation that every prophecy I’ve heard is false, you shouldn’t make such an assertion. The Biblical revelation that applies is ‘Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things.’ And, if you haven’t heard the prophecies I’ve heard, “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.”

            Sometimes you’ll make mistakes in your arguments or overstate your case, like,

            “If you’ve ever heard a prophecy where you were commanded to obey (there’s no such thing as a prophecy that doesn’t demand a response) and weren’t sinning if you didn’t obey it, you’ve heard a false prophecy.”

            Rebecca enquired of the Lord and learned of the twins in her womb that the younger would serve the elder. The prophecy let her in on some of God’s plans for Jacob and Esau, but without any commands for her. She wasn’t told to tell Jacob to deceive his father. The knowledge may have helped her raise the boys or comforted her later. But it didn’t contain a command.

          • Lyndon Unger

            Too bad for you.

            I don’t need to drive every single Ford Mustang to know that none of them are a Chevy Camaro.

            I also don’t need to hear every single self-professed prophecy to know which ones don’t fit the biblical model.

            You really don’t read closely at all.

            I never said that every prophecy has a command to be obeyed. Every prophecy requires a response.

            There was a response required in Rebecca’s prophecy. Think hard and try to figure out what it was.

            As for your cookie monster attacks on cessationism, you’re simply confused. The driving force behind my cessationism is the definitions of the gifts.

            I agree that prophecy will be around until the end. I’ve read Revelation 11 and know all about the 2 witnesses. They’ll be prophets in the biblical sense.

            They’ll speak God’s words in God’s place with God’s authority. They’ll be verified by miracles. They’ll look like the Elijah/Moses/Jesus kind of prophets that are in the Bible. They won’t look like the kind of blatant frauds that are running around today who speak inaccurately or deliver messages where obedience isn’t required without question.

            You cannot possibly hold to the biblical definition of prophecy. You don’t even show evidence for having familiarity with the biblical definition/example of prophecy, or tongues, or healing (like the kind that Jesus and the apostles did).

            As for Ephesians 2:20, walk through the text Link.

            Show me Paul’s metaphor in the passage and explain what he was trying to communicate with the passage.

            Go through Ephesians 2 and show me your exegesis.

            In fact, let’s narrow down the discussion.

            I won’t respond to anything else.

  • Franco

    Why would Charismatics need to build hospitals if they believe the gift of healing is still around? Would that not be a huge waste of money and a contradiction to their theology?

    • Lyndon Unger

      Agreed. The other question then is “why aren’t the ones with the gift of healing coming into all the Baptist hospitals and healing everyone?”

    • Link Hudson

      Charismatics have a wide variety of beliefs. It’s a label for those who believe that gifts of the Spirit operate today, especially those associated with a movement in some of the ‘mainline’ denominations starting in the late ’60’s, and the churches or denominations that grew out of that movement. Like “Calvinist”, it’s a label for a theological belief. There are a wide variety of beliefs on healing, though if someone is Charismatic, he’ll believe that God can heal through the gift of healing as well.

      But that doesn’t mean that God can’t heal through natural means, including doctors. Luke was a physician and Hezekiah was healed after a poultice of figs was applied, even though he’d received a prophecy that he would live.

      • Lyndon Unger

        So are both beliefs right?

        Does God normatively heal both supernaturally and naturally?

  • Eric Davis

    Thanks for continuing to serve us w/ these reviews Lyndon. Very helpful.

    • Lyndon Unger

      Glad I could be of help Eric. The reviews touch on a whole lot of issues in the debate with some very real examples of disagreement. I learned a lot writing and researching the content that has gone into them.