Convergence or divergence over spirtual gifts and cessationism?

Challies nails his colours to the mast on the charisma debate, making it clear where he stands in a review of a book by Sam Storms which advocates a convergence of Reformed people and Charismatics. As one who has already converged I think I would find this book interesting. Here’s what Tim said:

“While I admire much of Storms’ ministry and have benefited greatly from reading some of his previous writings, and this book was useful in helping me understand how charismatic teachings are blended with Reformed soteriology, it that did little to challenge me or to convince me to set aside my cessationist beliefs. I suppose it is a bit ironic that Storms seems to fall back into the greatest criticism Calvinists have towards charismatic teachings: very few people offer substantial scriptural proof for them and rely instead on experience as the final arbiter of truth. Many arguments in this book seem to boil down to, ‘you will just know when you experience it’ or ‘disbelief is usually the case with such events until they happen to you.’ I am thankful to see Calvinists and charismatics who agree on the foundational doctrines of the faith coming ‘Together for the Gospel,’ but see no biblical foundation to support the type of convergence Storms suggests.”

Two thoughts spring to mind. Firstly I had no idea before today that Tim was definitely a cessationist although I supose if I had thought much about it I would have guessed as much. Why is it that whilst blogging some of these issues seem to matter a whole lot less than they do in the real world – at least until a debate is struck.

Secondly, it fascinates me that Tim feels the main argument charismatics use is from experience. Bizarrely I have always felt that experience, or rather the lack of it is the main argument used by cessationists. I still havent seen a single expositonal point that I feel has any real weight from the other side. O, for sure we can all be guilty of using bad experiences or good experiences as the arbiter, but I honestly believe that if I had never experienced any of the so called charismata I would still have been convinced that they were available today from scripture and would have spend my life following Pauls command to earnestly desire them.

It seems that a debate is brewing. Pyromaniac and Challies in one corner, me in the other (maybe someone else will spring to my defence I hope!) . I hope Jollyblogger will act as referee. I hope that Pyro and Challie will be able to get a chance to interact with some of my old material on this subject (from a debate with jollyblogger) which I linked to in my reaction to pyromaniacs charismatic baiting– it could all make for some interesting blogging. I only hope it doesnt lead to a divergence in the Christian Blogosphere!

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