Premier’s Unbelievable? with Adrian Warnock and Doug Wilson on Strange Fire

Premier’s Unbelievable? with Adrian Warnock and Doug Wilson on Strange Fire November 23, 2013

Earlier today Premier Christian Radio broadcast a conversation between me and cessationist Doug Wilson. It wasn’t really a debate, still less an argument, more a discussion between two brothers who happen to disagree. Justin Brierley did his usual fantastic job of moderating. At one point we both conceded defeat! Anyway, I would encourage you to have a listen and to whet your appetite here is a couple of quotes from Doug in response to the comments MacArthur has made that have led some to conclude he believes charismatics are not saved:

“In the best case scenario MacArthur is painting with way too broad a brush, in the worst case scenario it’s just outrageous. I understand that Phil Johnson said he was not saying this about each and every charismatic. He was not saying it was impossible to be a charismatic and be saved – which would put his statement at the “it was way too broad a brush”. If that was the case then I think John MacArthur needs to come out and say it.

“I’d like to see reponsible charismatics policing their own ranks more effectively. I’d like to encourage the responsible charismatics to give John MacArthur “a pass” on this. He’s a faithful servant of christ, he’s preached faithfully for many years now. I differ with the way he’s expressed himself on this issue. But charisamtics have a long practise of giving a pass to people who do weird things. So, I would encourage them not to take it to heart, give him a pass. But I do want to insist that this conference they had didn’t come from nowhere.”
For Doug Wilson

For Justin Brierley’s Christianity Magazine article on Benny Hinn click here.

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  • Steve

    Just listened to the very beginning so far where Doug defines cessationism. As I understand his view of cessationism, cessationism means that the revelation from the HS that resulted in written scripture has ceased. I agree with this statement. We do not have any more revelation that is to be added to scripture and viewed as authoritative. If THIS is the ONLY thing that cessationism means then I’m a cessationist.

    With all rules there are exceptions. I can see two exceptions here:

    1. what if one of the lost letters is found AND that letter seriously undermined either perspective. charismatic or non-charismatic? Do we really think that we have the intellectual honesty and openness to handle such a find? If we do not then what does this say about our ability to make “inference” reasoning from the scriptures as authoritative as the scriptures?

    2. What do we do with things like Colton Burpo in his vision of heaven (Heaven is for Real)? He is not an isolated case. Where do these fit in. If we find the answer to this then I think we have found the answer to how prophesy is to fit into our lives today.

  • Steve

    On the promptings of the Spirit I’m encouraged to hear that Doug correctly recognizes instances where he has encountered this. My question to Doug is if he rejects the Charismatic explanation of this from a theological viewpoint then what is his theological framework for it?

    I accepted Jesus in a cessationist church and was taught cessationism. I had a lot of good solid teachings except how to “hear God”. Some people picked up on it and others did not, like me. People were getting “promptings” of the Spirit but I did not recognize them for many, many years. The lack of a framework in the churches I have been in is a problem as well.

    The Holy Spirit had to wake me up to what He was trying to do. The Charismatic movement put a theological structure on that to help me connect it to the bible. My non-Charismatic mentors did not have that framework. The result in the non-Charismatic churches I have been in is that they are unable to teach this aspect of the Holy Spirit to new believers leaving them, to a degree, crippled.

  • Steve

    I have never meant a Charismatic Christan that “spoke in tongues” that I had any inclination that there was a demonic problem. Many of these “tongue speaking” Christians have a walk that I can only aspire too.

  • Steve

    One of the senior pastor’s at my current church,, told me this testimony on speaking in tongues.

    Many years ago he was on a mission trip to Mexico with several missionaries from the States. None of the missionaries spoke Spanish. So they hired Mexican believers that could translate. The church they went to help had no local members that spoke English. During their time there one of the missionaries gave an entire lesson in tongues… the Charismatic tongue. All of the local members along with the Mexican translators heard the entire sermon in Spanish – and they heard the same message. The American missionaries heard the Charismatic tongue. The message was verified to be a biblically based message.

    God showed up that day and gave the sermon.

    • Young Calvinist

      I had instances when I understood long conversations between native people in Chinese, despite only knowing few basic phrases in this language. So what, I am a cessationist because the Bible tells me so.

      • Steve

        “So what”….

        This is the problem with cessationists. Your theological paradigm prevents you from seeing the Spirit move. But you attitude is troubling. You are the one who brought up that story. I did not point it out to you. So you must have an inkling that this was the Spirit doing something in your life.

        Cessationism offers no paradigm to understand these things. Let along identify them and “fan them into a flame”. Since you reject the Charismatic view then its upon you to come up with a theological framework that ties things like this back into the bible.

        You have two choices:

        1. Come up with a paradigm that ties this back into the bible. -or-

        2. Reject that is the Spirit. If you choose this option then you are refusing to acknowledge the work of God in you life. How is that being a Christian?

      • I appreciate that you infer the end of the gifts from the scriptures. But I do hope that you realize that there is no Bible passage that makes any explicit teaching that tongues, or other gifts, will cease, except I Cor., which teaches that they will cease when “the perfect” comes, when we know fully, as we are fully known, when we see face to face, when what we now conceive of “knowledge” itself will pass away. In order to see cessationism “taught” by the bible, you have to either infer that these passages refer to something that’s already happened (like the closing of the canon, which is a stretch), or you have to infer that by referring to some gifts as being “foundational” to the church, that Paul was teaching that they would cease. But this too is an inference not required at all by the text. Many things are foundational. Evangelism is foundational. Teaching is foundational. Love is foundational. Grace is foundational. Keeping your elbow straight is foundational to a good jump shot. Saying something is foundational just doesn’t tell us by itself whether that something will or should continue or not. Interestingly, one would think that I Cor. should be consulted when attempting to read this Eph. passage correctly. Because I Cor. does talk about when some gifts cease, but doesn’t say that they will cease when the foundation is done, but when we reach “the perfect”, etc. The fact is that the cessationist combo of inferences is so thin and stretched that it’s become difficult even for scholars at traditionally cessationist seminaries to endorse them. In light of all the express NT commands and teachings that encourage the gifts, it’s hard to argue for cessationism from the scriptures and maintain a straight face. I know of no area of theology (I welcome correction on this!) in which otherwise conservative Christians seek to trump so many express NT commands and teachings and examples with so few passages that are, at best, vague. All the criticisms that conservatives use against those who argue for women elders are present in spades in cessationism: use a few vague passages to overturn multiple explicit NT teachings. Beware, my friend.

  • Steve

    I just posted this on Doug’s FB Page:

    Just listened to this, Doug. I’m glad that there are cessationist that will
    stand up and include the Charismatics as brethren. I agree with you that
    Charismatics need to better police their ranks. I think this is a big
    task given the diversity in the Charismatic movement. I have no idea how
    that might work in practice. Maybe you can write articles on how this
    might be done.

    I accepted Jesus in a Church of Christ back in college. A couple of years
    after I accepted Jesus the International Churches of Christ came along.
    It was very divisive and abusive. Many people spoke against it and
    called out the abuses. That did NOT stop that church from doing what
    they were doing. The International Churches of Christ are still around

    I loved your example of how you “heard” the Spirit in regards to the
    woman. I had many experiences like that after I had accepted Jesus BUT
    because there was no training in it AND no one shared testimonies like
    that I had no idea that it was the Spirit. The Holy Spirit woke me up a
    couple of years ago. Now I’m getting it. I’m growing in my understanding
    of how we hear God. But it took a Charismatic theological framework for
    me to connect my experiences with God. Now I clearly see that they are.

    So, while Charismatics need to develop an ability to police themselves I
    feel that non-Charismatics need to develop a theology on how to “hear”

    I think a task at hand for the non-Charismatic to deal with Mac Arthur’s
    statement that Charismatics are not in the church. If he comes out and
    qualifies that and says that he did not mean that they are not saved
    then, OK. But if, as you indicated, that the worse-case view is what Mac
    Arthur meant then, to be consistent and to show good faith in calling
    the Charismatics to deal with their issues, the non-Charismatic church
    then needs to deal with him.

  • John Mushenhouse

    My friends,

    I find it ironic that people are arguing about the work of the Holy Spirit in the believer yet miss the obvious. I read the downgrading of accusations from all unsaved to the “good”charismatics should police themselves. What insanity and how so unbiblical.

    If one has the Holy Spirit in one’s life, you know that you are saved. One has assurance. 2 Cor 13:15 tells us

    Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

    How do you know this? That you are not cultural/church person but, you are a believer. It is knowing and believing in God promises by faith. John 3:16, acts 16:31, 1 John 2:25, John 5:24, Acts 2:21. Jesus will always keep His word.

    Col. 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

    1 John 3:24

    And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And
    You know that you are a christan. You have the living God living in you and speaking to you. You can’t mistake that. Read His word and pray. He will communicate. What more proof do you need? Surely not some man questioning it. There are many claiming to be Christ’s and are not. They do need this. Do you? I know with all my being that I am in Jesus. You should too. He is so good and ever so faithful. When He is communicating to us, it is so easy to love Him

    1 John4:19

    We love him, because he first loved us.
    What a teacher we have.

    As far as policing one another, it is good

    1 Tim 4:6 If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.

    But the irony is that the Spirit will rebell always agaisnt sin and false doctine. But part of that good doctrine is telling the glory of the gospel too.

    John 16:13

    Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

    Why are we depending on man. Brethern trust in what the Comforter does. And it is a comfort. To be led into all truth, nourished, enriched and taught by the Living God is a comfort.

    Why do we look to man or care what man says. Trust in God and live in your relationship with God and not just pontificate upon this relationship.

    With this in mind, thank God for His living in you, read the word and pray and by all and every means share this with a lost and suffering world.

    Didn’t the church go through this nonsense centuries ago. Didn’t the Spirit revival of the last 100 plus years brought back a dependence on God by His Spirit’s leading.

    Sometimes I think all this bantering over dry orthodoxy and who is right gives us an excuse to be in the profession, to write blogs, to speak at conferences etc.

    Just go out to the highways and byways and share the gospel. Then teach the Bible.

    We have God’s word that He will lead us into all truth. Yes we need to be accountable for what we teach as the prophets are subject to the prophets, but this infighting is not profitable for the Kingdom.

    1 cor 6:12

    All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

    1 Cor 10:23

    All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not

    If there were tears in heaven – All heaven would just weep.

  • John Mushenhouse

    To shorten what I wrote.
    We are fighting over the workings of the Holy Spirit.
    We are fighting over who is saved and how the charismatics should police themselves concerning the false excesses.
    Th Spirit reveals Jesus in us thus we have the assuance of salvation
    The Sirit will teach us all truth thus rebelling agaisnt the strange fire.
    We just have to trust the Lord.

  • Masaj salonu thanks… admin..