Category Archives: Jesus

Of Course, the Ministry of Jesus Continues

6.3-jesus_sends_12

by Scott

It’s a loaded statement to claim apostles still exist today. That’s what I claimed in my most recent post. But the very unique thing is that my first argument is not simply quoting 2 or 3 verses as proof, and dealing with a few verses from those who believe such a ministry would not exist today. In all, the claim that apostolic ministry continues today, I believe, should be based in Jesus – who he is, what his ministry was about.

And that’s where I ground it. It’s founded in the centre of the Christian faith – Christ himself. Think of it this way: Continue reading

Advertisements

The Full Christ Needed Today

christ & church

by Scott

One of my favourite passages in all of Scripture is found in Ephesians. Actually, Ephesians, though smaller as compared to other portions of Scripture, carries a very significant role in explaining some of the greater and more ‘cosmic’ concepts of the work of God. This small letter packs in much wisdom and revelation.

And one passage I really enjoy pondering is found in 4:7-16. It, too, is filled with rich aspects in regards to the purpose of God in Christ for the new covenant age that dawned so long ago. Though a bit of a lengthier passage, here are the words from the NIV: Continue reading

The Holy Spirit Continues the Work

by Scott

In my articles on the Ephesians 4 ministries (part 1, part 2, part 3), also known as the five-fold ministries, I emphasised one very important characteristic to remember about Christ. In Ephesians 4:8-16, we read that, upon his ascension, Jesus gifted people as apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds (or pastors) and teachers. But, even more importantly, I highlighted the fact that Jesus is the greatest apostle, prophet, evangelist, shepherd and teacher that has ever lived.

It still might be weird for us to think of Christ in all five of these ministry roles. We usually note him as prophet, priest and king, which he was. But to think of Jesus as apostle or as evangelist, well, that’s maybe not as kosher. And even to consider Christ as a prophet or teacher can seem quite derogatory, since Jews and Muslims are willing to recognise that about him, but nothing more.

But do take courage. When referring to Christ as apostle, prophet, evangelist, shepherd and teacher, I am not denigrating him. I’m simply recognising that he walked in all five of these ministries. He is still the divine Lord of heaven and earth. But he was the faithful apostle, prophet, evangelist, shepherd and teacher. Continue reading

Pyro Techniques?

By Marv

There was a little girl, who had a little curl, applied directly to the forehead. When she was good, she was very, very good. When she was bad, she was horrid!

Speaking of Team Pyro

As a frequent reader there (Pyromaniacs), frequent writer here (To Be Continued…), I’ve known sooner or later it would happen. I find myself pretty much in their camp on most things–with one major exception–which happens also to be the subject of this blog–Continuationism. I knew eventually I’d have to post something to be applied directly to the horrid.

I figured I’d wait until one of the crew posted some cogent argumentation for Cessationism, and then counter with a well-reasoned, insightful, exegetically-based, Biblical response. But then Dan Phillips today offers a 26-worder in which he basically says: “Don’t bother.”

His pithy posting we can reproduce in toto (plus title):

Tersely put: “continuationism” self-refuting

The very fact that “continuationists” acknowledge the need to make their case to Christians by argument is, itself, a devastating and sufficient refutation of the position.

Now what are we to make of this epigram, which would seem to be a low and inside pitch, or to change metaphors, a little bit of choir practice? Mr. Phillips, sir, you force me to bring out the numbers.

1. As best as I can decipher his meaning, being a bear of little brain, I would paraphrase thus: Continuationism is about the showy-stuff. If you can’t show me the showy stuff, what good is to give me a bunch of telly stuff? Cessationists of this ilk are prone to refer to certain gifts as “spectacular” or  “dramatic,” with razzle dazzle like a kind of magic show:

Give ’em an act with lots of flash in it, and the reaction will be passionate.

While a manifestation of the Holy Spirit may well be impressive, especially to those to whom His work is directed (e.g. 1 Cor 14:24-25), we would be wrong to expect Him to put on a show for us. His effects are deeper, directed toward spirit, heart and mind: “upbuilding and encouragement and consolation” (1 Cor. 14:3); conviction of “sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8).

2. Behind this statement lies a number of Cessationist misconceptions about how “spiritual gifts” work. This type of argumentation (much in the MacAruthur tradition) I call the Unicorn and Jackass show. Insist on a unicorn: a mythological beast, which never existed: such as a “gift of healing,” with which an individual is endued (something like an X-man super power), operating at will, always efficacious, instantaneous, permanent, irreversible. Or inerrant oral prophecy, which neither the Old nor New Testaments teach (the Scriptures yes, oral prophecy, no.) Then with this expectation bring out the jackasses. This can be done in as few as two words: Benny Hinn.

3. Note the formulation of his statement. Quotes around continuationists. Why? The use of “need” (always a red flag for misleading argumentation). I’d like to know who he is purporting to quote here as “acknowledging” this or that. Who knows? Maybe it’s Team Continuo here. I doubt it, but we do acknowledge the importance of Biblical argumentation.

4. Which makes it odd, coming from a blog that otherwise highly values “argumentation,” appeal to Scripture and right reason, that one of them would denigrate such in this case.

5. So often Cessationists accuse their Continuationist bretheren of basing their view on experience rather than the Scriptures–all the while doing this very thing themselves, as in this case.

6. So often Cessationists accuse their Continuationist bretheren of being “an evil and adulterous generation [who] seeks for a sign,” and then themselves insist on a “spectacular” sign, or else they will not believe the Scriptures.

7. It is the Scriptures themselves that teach Continuationism. We see both in the direct teaching of our Lord (John 14: 12) and of His apostles (1 Cor. 12-14), that it is the Father’s will, and to His glory that the Body of Christ continue Christ’s empowered ministry between Pentecost and Parousia. One looks in vain for valid support of the notion that any of this would cease within the first century.

8. We are called to pursue these gifts (1 Cor. 14:1), but to do so we must be convinced that the Scriptures do in fact teach that they are for today as well as for the first century. This cannot be done by experience, but only by examining the Scriptures. Whatever we do, we must do in faith, and faith must be grounded in the Word. Thus argumentation.

9. So anyway, if we show you something “spectacular,” you say, there are “lying wonders.” Just because it’s supernatural doesn’t mean it’s of God. Or if we demonstrate something clearly from the Scriptures, you ask “Tell me about your most recent spectacular miracle.”

10. A Continuationist is not one who can say “Lookie-lookie what I can do.” It’s not about possessing an ability in oneself. It is one who says, “Look here in the Word of God. Shall we not believe what God tells us?”

11. You might as well have someone who insists God is not doing that “prayer” thing any more. God is not answering prayer any more. Go on, show me. Pray something and lets see what happens. Sure, you hear stories about God answering prayer with specific fulfillment, but this is always somebody’s neighbor’s cousin’s hairdresser. Face it, these answers–if they happen at all–are coincidence, wishful thinking, psychosomatic. We many wonder at our lack or efficacity at prayer, when the Bible promises so much (James 5:16).

12. Anyway, to hold to Continuation is not to say that all happens now as it did for Christ and the apostles. Or that history has shown a constant and even presence of these gifts without fluctuation. What continues is God’s purpose, design, and provision, not His church’s specific performance in what He has provided. It is thus with every other aspect of the life of the Church. Why should “spiritual gifts” be any different. Some things nearly lost must be rediscovered (such as salvation by grace through faith), and the Church must always be seeking in the Scriptures to return to the faith taught by the apostles.

Jesus As Prophet, Evangelist, Shepherd & Teacher

by Scott

I’m in the early days of a series on the ministry gifts of Ephesians 4. In my own studies of Scripture, I am convinced of the necessity of all five of these giftings to help equip the body of Christ to accomplish all that God desires. Yes, that means I believe both the ministries of apostle and prophet still exist today, actually are needed today.

Now, I do realise such is a loaded proposition (I am already beginning to dodge the stones left and right). But I am slowly working my way forward as I share why I believe Jesus still desires to gift people in these ministries. In simple form, I listed these 4 points:

  • Jesus, Himself, functioned in all five of these ministries.
  • The Holy Spirit also functions in all five of these ministries
  • The body of Christ, empowered by the Spirit of Christ, is now called to be all of Christ in all of the earth.
  • Therefore, Christ’s desire is to continue to gift people in such ministry roles. Continue reading