Vern Poythress on the Charismatic Issue

Vern Poythress on the Charismatic Issue November 30, 2006

As part of my series of resources on the Holy Spirit that I think are helpful for those who are interested in finding out more about the charismatic issue in light of some of the posts I have written on this blog on that subject, I would like to share links to three free articles by Vern Proythress on charismatic issues.

The first of these – Modern Spiritual Gifts as Analagous to Apostolic Gifts: Affirming Extraordinary Works of the Spirit within Cessationist Theology [Published in The Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 43 39/1 (1996): 71-101. Used with permission.] – is perhaps the most widely known. I was first told about this article by Justin Taylor. I agree with him that a read of this article will do more than probably any other piece of writing of similar length to aid in understanding the positions and concerns of those sitting on the other side of the charismatic debate. I have linked to it before, but I think it is vital that if you are interested in this subject at all, you should go and read this article right now. This is, of course, an attempt at consensus building, so – like me – you will probably find something here to disagree with. I hope that you will, however, find much to agree with, and may even find your opinions shaped a little after spending some time with Vern on this.

There are also two other very interesting articles on tongues which speak for themselves. Don’t expect to be entirely comfortable as you read these, but do expect him to be honest and very clear as he outlines some of the options available to us as we consider the reality of the modern phenomena. I am tempted to cheekily chide those who say, “I don’t believe in tongues” – Get over it! Tongues exist today and millions of people demonstrate it! The issue is, of course, how we define the behaviour termed glossolalia or tongues both now and in the Bible (asking along the way, of course, whether the two phenomena are the same). Vern does a great job in these shorter articles of doing just that.

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