Guess the Good Guy

Since not much has been going on lately, I thought I’d pop up this quote that I got from another Sitter a few weeks back. I don’t have time to clean it up, it’s a rather literal transcription from a lecture, so you’ll have to read it as such. But the point of putting it up is because it has some good stuff to say about recent discussions of the preeminence of the preached word.

Are visual metaphors causing us to dominate whereas the aural ones lead us to being receptive — submission, trust. Is it because of the types of metaphors? I think — and again, Ong, Stephen Webb, Hans Blumenberg lots of these folks who don’t really show much interest in the theological implications nevertheless have made the case, at least convincingly to me that it is inherent in the metaphors themselves and not just in the way they are used. Seeing is incomparable. You have to have that sense and I would argue, I will argue later, that it’s not the eye versus the ear in principle, it’s that the ear corresponds to faith and faith corresponds to how we are supposed to live in this present age. Seeing corresponds to possessing. And we won’t need to hear in the age to come because we will see God face to face. But for now we live by faith not by sight. For now faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Faith and hearing are – Luther and Calvin emphasized this. Luther says the church is an ear house not a pen house. He even thought — here he is translating the Bible into German, he thought everybody should read the Bible, and yet he was nervous that over time people may read the Bible instead of hearing sermons. And they would become visual again. They would become protestant idolaters. And a good thing that hasn’t come to pass [laughs]. It’s really true. I think that when people talk about protestant bibliolotry, it’s not because of a high view of God’s word, it’s because of a tendency to lock our gaze onto either statues or words. And there’s something that happens in preaching, in aural address, that is less susceptible to idolatry. Because it is less susceptible to mastery. Right now you are not in charge. If I were sitting there and you were talking, I would not be in charge. Right now I happen to be in charge because I am speaking and you are passively receiving or hearing. That’s not the same as seeing. If you were in a museum looking at pictures, paintings or sculptures, you would be taking it in. You would be in a sense in charge of the experience to an extent that you are not in charge when you are hearing something. A promise is different from a possession. Hearing about the promise of the land of Canaan is different from walking into the land flowing with milk and honey. You no longer need a promise. You are in the land. And one day, that’s why Paul says in 1 Cor 13 one day we’re not going to need faith, or hope. All that will remain is love.

This is the part where they usually say “you know the drill, no Googling…” but I’m not sure it matters in this case…

Addendum: I was going to put some more quotes into a comment, but it got kinda long, so I decided instead to add it to this Guess the Good Guy. The above quote reminds me (once again!) of Jacques Ellul’s brilliant Humiliation of the Word. In his Prolegomena he discusses the radically different natures of Seeing…:

I look out in front of me, and perceive the sea lit up out to the horizon. I look around me: to my left and right, I see the limitless straight line of the beach, and behind it, the dunes — all in space. With my gaze I make the space my own. … I am at the center of this universe by means of my gaze, which sweeps across this space and lets me know everything in it…

…vs. Hearing:

I hear noises. The wind is blowing through these pine trees. In the distance the sea roars. … Sounds come to me, and I receive them when they are produced. … Noise overwhelms me with uncertainty, because of the very fact of its sequence. Where is it coming from? What does it herald? I cannot avoid asking these temporal questions. A sound is never clear and plain by itself. It always brings questions with it.

And in particular, the significance of Speaking:

Alone among all other sounds there is one that is particularly important for us: the spoken word. It ushers us into another dimension: relationship with other living beings, with persons. The Word is the particularly human sound which differentiates us from everything else. In this connection a fundamental difference between seeing and hearing is immediately apparent. In seeing, the living being is one form among many. A human being has a special shape and color, but he is included with all the rest as a part of the landscape: a discrete, moving speck. When I hear speech, however, the human being becomes qualitatively different from everything else.

Amazing stuff. Read this book (the Google Books preview includes most of the best stuff for free)!

[Update: as indicated in the comment trail below, the quote on the top is by OHS Michael Horton, from a student recording of one of his Christian Mind lectures from about 2006.]

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This entry was posted in Friday fun, Guess the Good Guy, Heaven, Pilgrim theology, Protestant preaching, QIRE & QIRC, Quotes. Bookmark the permalink.

54 Responses to Guess the Good Guy

  1. "lee n. field" says:

    Hmm.

    T. David Gordon?

  2. RubeRad says:

    Nope, thanks for the quick guess though! Did you read it before I added the second half of the post (which doesn’t help you guess, it’s just good stuff (although I guess it rules out Jacques Ellul as the originator of the mystery quote!!))

  3. Rick says:

    Wow. I’m going to guess that it comes from one of the speakers at that preaching conference so, Gene Edward Veith?

    But Ed Clowney would be a second guess.

    Good one

  4. RubeRad says:

    Good guesses as well, but no.

  5. Rick says:

    Hans Blumenberg died in the mid-90s and this quote refers to him in the present tense (I think).

    I still have no idea – but I thought that might help someone else.

  6. "lee n. field" says:

    “Did you read it before I added the second half of the post”

    I did read it then, yes. I’m not sure the second part helps me any.

    “(the Google Books preview includes most of the best stuff for free)!”

    I’m going to have to try Ellul again, sometime. The one time I read him I bounced off hard. (oop, there’s also “Christianity and Anarchism”, which I did read, but most of which struck me as Euroleft claptrap.)

  7. RubeRad says:

    Yes, I believe the quote was uttered in 2006-ish, but who knows, perhaps something quite like it is uttered every year…

  8. RubeRad says:

    Yes, Ellul is in a class of his own, and I do remember that I had to work hard to read it. But the book was a gift from one of my elders, so I felt obliged. And it was worth it in the end. I have since convinced at least two other people to read it (and the book is now laying dormant in the house of the sitter who gave me this quote!)

    Looking again at your guess, I’m thinking you’re thinking because of “Why Johnny Can’t Preach”?

  9. "lee n. field" says:

    “Looking again at your guess, I’m thinking you’re thinking because of “Why Johnny Can’t Preach”?”

    Haven’t read that. Life is ever shorter, and I don’t read as quickly as I once did. I was thinking of the series of four lectures he did on media ecology and reformed worship. Sorry, don’t have the link handy.

  10. RubeRad says:

    I hear you! I find lately more and more I am aware of books, and that they are good, and generally what their message is, maybe I’ve heard an author interview or something, which allows me to give the impression I’ve read many books that I haven’t. For instance, I haven’t read Why Johnny Can’t Preach — or Sing Hymns. (I did power through Humiliation of the Word though!)

    Hey, if you ever run across that link, I’d be very interested (in enhancing the appearance that I’ve read some T. David Gordon); drop a comment anywhere here at CO and I’ll see it.

  11. "lee n. field" says:

    Linkey right here: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2009/05/29/why-johnny-cant-preach/

    Those direct links don’t work, but (right now) this does: http://www.amoskeagchurch.org/sermons/?preacher=7

    It’s called “Reformed Worship in an Electronic Age”. 4 lectures, excellent. (Though I do think he got the limits of chirographic culture wrong. They had more to write on back then than a limited supply of expensive goatskin. Papyrus, pottery shards, clay. My impression from reading is that they’d write graffiti on any available flat surface.)

    Did I mention that they’re excellent?

  12. John Harutunian says:

    There’s a good deal of truth here. One major problem, though:

    “we won’t need to hear in the age to come because we will see God face to face.”

    If this is intended literally, the writer needs to be reminded a)of the doctrine Resurrection of the body,
    b)of the fact that a body without senses is a meaningless abstraction, and c)that one of those senses is the sense of hearing.

  13. RubeRad says:

    Thanks much! More from our good friends in Amoskeag (love that name!), who also brought us MGK’s Kingdom Prologue lectures. I can’t wait to download & listen, probably next week. (In return, I offer you another really, really excellent (but unrelated to this topic) downloadable lecture: G. K. Beale lecturing on his book The Temple and the Church’s Mission — another book I will probably never read, but can look well-read by dropping references to…)

  14. RubeRad says:

    Yes, I also thought this was a bit of a strong statement. I sure hope at the Marriage Feast of the Lamb, we will have not just sight, but also taste and smell!

    Hopefully what he really meant was, “we will not need to settle for only hearing”, or “emphasis/priority will reverse from this age’s hearing over sight, to sight over hearing,” because I think the point is that this age is characterized by a lack of sight, which explains the importance of faith (by hearing). Our eschatological ache includes a hope for sight, which will be better.

    Oh, and if there is singing in heaven, it seems logical that there would also be hearing (otherwise, the singing can’t be any good!)

  15. John Harutunian says:

    Right. The presence of incense in heaven (Rev. 8:3) makes it clear that the sense of smell will be part of our Resurrected body. And, since that sense is often regarded as the most lowly, “crude”, and earthy (“un-platonic”?) of the five, it’s a pretty safe bet that the other four will also be present.

  16. RubeRad says:

    And fortunately, we will no longer be exiled in an Outhouse…

  17. "lee n. field" says:

    “G. K. Beale lecturing on his book The Temple and the Church’s Mission — another book I will probably never read, but can look well-read by dropping references to…)”

    Already listened to that, long ago. Beale is a very engaging speaker, and it’s worth tracking down other audio from him.

    And, Beale’s book on the temple is very worth getting hold of. I’m contemplating reading it again.

  18. Rick says:

    Beale’s “Temple” is fantastic – you should see the binding on my copy, I wore it out. It’s just a tier below Kingdom Prologue for me.

    As to the quote, here are 4 guesses:

    W. Robert Godfrey?

    Dennis Johnson?

    S. M. Baugh?

    J.V. Fesko?

  19. RubeRad says:

    Wow, you’re really honing in now! (Or circling the drain?)

    At this point I must also confess that I have not yet read Kingdom Prologue. I own it, and the binding is pristine! (I have listened to the ~30-hour lecture series though — twice!). Oh yeah, and I haven’t read Secular Faith yet either. And only one chapter of Dual Citizens.

    Some time one of us should write a post on the top (10) books that give the message of what this blog is about. And given this confession, it probably shouldn’t be me!

  20. Rick says:

    If I copied and pasted the WSC faculty into this comment box, would the answer be there?

    I have 3 more guesses then: Clark, Horton, VanDrunen

    As for Kingdom Prologue – I think you get a pass for not reading it if you’ve made it through all the lectures.

    I have not read Dual Citizens either – but it is next on my list. I’m presently in the middle of VanDrunen’s Natural Law and the Two Kingdoms It has been a very slow reading year for me.

    As for you not reading A Secular Faith yet. Shame. Just, shame.

  21. Bruce Settergren says:

    Horton it is -sez me, who forwarded the quote to RR.

  22. Zrim says:

    …he thought everybody should read the Bible, and yet he was nervous that over time people may read the Bible instead of hearing sermons. And they would become visual again. They would become protestant idolaters.

    I think he’s right, but probably only because I agree with him. So, I wonder if providing congregations with “here, take notes” sections in bulletins is a way to encourage sight over faith.

    How about Ken Myers?

  23. Bruce Settergren says:

    Don’t know about Ken Myers, but I searched for another Horton reference where he quoted Luther who said he (Luther) feared great numbers of people going to hell when all they had was a Bible which they sat in a corner and read, but never heard a proclamation of the gospel. In other words, you can’t preach the gospel to yourself. Couldn’t find the quote though.

  24. John Harutunian says:

    You can’t preach the gospel to yourself -but the Holy spirit can and does use the Bible to convict sinners and awaken faith.
    It’s interesting that you can’t find the quote which Horton attributes to Luther -it doesn’t sound like Luther at all.

  25. John Harutunian says:

    “over time people may read the Bible instead of hearing sermons. And they would become visual again. They would become protestant idolaters.”

    (Can’t believe I missed this.) What’s happening here? Visually “imagining” God as a shepherd is not idolatry -in light of Psalm 23. But equating man’s word -in a sermon or anywhere else- with God’s Word is. _That_ would be Protestant idolatry.

  26. Zrim says:

    John, Luther articulated the theology of the cross versus glory. Vision corresponds to glory. I think Luther could have said it. Or Horton is just making it up? Doubtful.

    But the quote goes on…

    “I think that when people talk about protestant bibliolotry, it’s not because of a high view of God’s word, it’s because of a tendency to lock our gaze onto either statues or words.”

    The point isn’t that “visually ‘imagining’ God as a shepherd” is the problem, but that words can be just as idolized as statues, etc. I mean, haven’t you seen someone bow to the Bible? Isn’t that like worshipping the Eucharist?

  27. John Harutunian says:

    Re: Luther’s theology of “the cross versus glory”, you may well be right. But one reason the quote sounds spurious to me is that in Luther’s day there weren’t many people sitting in a corner reading [their own?]
    Bible. Gutenberg printed the first Bibles in 1455; given the presumed expense of early printed books, it seems unlikely that such scenarios would have been common before Luther’s death in 1546.
    Re: your last paragraph. Those who bow to the Bible presumably regard it holy as a physical object (I’m not sure where “words” come into the picture [no pun intended!]). I think they may be onto something. Bowing doesn’t necessarily signify worship. The Puritans greeted one another by bowing -I believe it was their way of acknowledging the presence of the Holy Spirit in the other person.
    At a rather more secular level, musicians bow to the audience when they come on stage, and after the performance. No worship involved there -though if they’re pop celebrities, the audience might have something to answer for in that respect!

  28. Zrim says:

    But, John, in the context I’m presuming is that of stated and formal worship (sorry I didn’t make that clear), not non-sacred space. Gestures in sacred contexts seem to mean something different than in secular contexts. In the former, it seems to mean worship, the latter respect.

    So, I think Horton (via Luther) is onto something about worshipping words. We Prot’s seem to have a blind spot for it because we think of idolatry in terms of images (“we’re not Catholics”). It’s sort of like thinking of legalism only in terms of substance use (“we’re not Baptists”). Meanwhile, we manufacture our own.

  29. John Harutunian says:

    Zrim, good point in your first paragraph.
    Which brings me to the next question: Why would someone be more likely to worship the words of the Bible (whatever that may mean) than to worship the words of a sermon? Just the fact that the former are read, and the latter are heard?

  30. RubeRad says:

    Yes. Read the quote(s) again. The whole point is that something you see is something you feel you have mastery over (much like the reason for engraving an idol is that it makes you feel like you have control over god — that you have grasped a lever that will actuate desired responses). Perception by sight tends to put you in a mode of dominion, whereas perception by hearing tends to put you in a mode of submission and reception.

  31. RubeRad says:

    Update: as noted above, the quote on the top is by OHS Michael Horton, from a student recording of one of his Christian Mind lectures from about 2006.

  32. RubeRad says:

    Also, I was able to speak with Horton yesterday, and he confirmed that indeed, he did not mean that we would not have the sense of hearing, but more specifically that we would not need to rely on hearing to receive promises, because we would have sight to receive the fulfillment.

    And he said he loves Ellul’s Humiliation of the Word.

  33. John Harutunian says:

    RubeRad, I agree with your last sentence. But I don’t think that Horton should have introduced the concept of idolatry in this context. Although I’m no Augustinian, one thing I’m very grateful to Augustine for is his fundamental recognition that _anything_ that takes the place of God is an idol. It may be received by the eye, or the ear, or the taste buds (foodaholics beware!), etc.
    If, in listening to a sermon, a worshiper hears a certain metaphor, or catch-phrase, or a particular interpretation of a contested verse -then latches onto it and gives it the same weight as Scripture itself, I’d say that he is at least _heading toward_ idolatry.

  34. Zrim says:

    John, I’d up the ante and say that anything that wants to even share space with God (versus replace God) is an idol. Indeed, sharing space is craftier than replacing, sort of like saying that we are justified by faith and works. After all, does the devil really come with pitchfork and cloven hooves, or as an angel of light?

    But I don’t think there is any dispute that idolatry can find various avenues (as in no “eye has seen, no ear has heard and no mind has conceived”), but rather that idolatry and a theology of glory have a mode of preference, namely sight.

  35. Bruce Settergren says:

    I thought it was obvious from the original quote, but maybe that’s because I don’t snipe Horton, ever.

  36. Bruce Settergren says:

    Referring to hearing vs. seeing, not Ellul.

  37. Lacie says:

    “…he thought everybody should read the Bible, and yet he was nervous that over time people may read the Bible instead of hearing sermons. And they would become visual again. They would become protestant idolaters.”
    Did Luther the one referred to here?
    I can’t believe any intelligent person would say such a thing (let alone find it useful for quoting). Harutunian is the only person on this posting that makes sense–and he’s Anglican!

  38. RubeRad says:

    Yes, I believe that’s referring to Luther. Out on the interwebs, I found a couple of articles. From this article on Luther’s view of preaching, we hear that “one must see the word of the preacher as God’s Word” and “The ministry of the New Testament is not engraved on dead tablets of stone; rather it sounds in a living voice”.

    From another article:

    Even if [God’s people] do read it,” Luther insisted, “it is not as fruitful or powerful as it is through a public preacher whom God has ordained to say and preach this

    And here’s the blowhard we all love in Luther:

    You see, unless the Word is preached publicly, it slips away. The more it is preached, the more firmly it is retained. Reading it is not as profitable as hearing it, for the live voice teaches, exhorts, defends, and resists the spirit of error. Satan does not care a hoot for the written Word of God, but he flees at the speaking of the Word.

  39. John Harutunian says:

    “Satan does not care a hoot for the written Word of God, but he flees at the speaking of the Word.”

    This is surely a characteristic Luther overstatement. But overall, yes -it definitely looks like I was wrong about Luther’s view of preaching vs. his view of the written Word.

  40. Jonathan Bonomo says:

    It’s not just Luther though. The Reformed confessions speak of preaching as a means of grace on a higher level than the reading of the written word (and when they speak of “the reading” of the word as a means of grace, they generally have in view reading *out loud* in the setting of corporate worship). And 2 Helvetic calls preaching “The Word of God.”

  41. John Harutunian says:

    “The Reformed confessions speak of preaching as a means of grace on a higher level than the reading of the written word”
    -I’m surprised, though I don’t doubt your word that they speak this way. When they said preaching was “a means of grace on a higher level” -were they speaking empirically on the basis of their perceived operation of the Holy Spirit? Or did they believe that they were making an absolute statement rooted in the objective authority of the Bible itself?

    “when they speak of “the reading” of the word as a means of grace, they generally have in view reading *out loud* in the setting of corporate worship”

    But of course, whether read individually in private, or publicly in corporate worship, the *content* of the Bible is the same. Which leads me to think that they were being empiricists at this point: rightly or wrongly, they were drawing their conclusions from their spiritual experience.

  42. Lacie says:

    The Westminster Shorter Catechism #89 says “the Spirit makes the reading, but esp. the preaching of the Word is an effectual means of convincing and converting sinners, and of building them up in holiness and comfort, through faith, unto salvation.” These, it says, are the “outward and ordinary means” as opposed to the inward and extraordinary.

    The proof texts are Neh. 8:8, I Cor. 14:24 & 25, (interp of prophesy–irrelevant to many Presbyterians); Acts 26:18, Ps. 19:8 (nothing here about preaching or reading out loud!) Acts 20:32 (ditto from last); Rom 15:4 (ditto again); 2 Tim 3:15 & 16, 17 (ditto, ditto); Rom 10:13-17.

    Again, confessions (WCF and the 2nd Helvetic, which is most often quoted in this context “the Word preached is the Word of God”) must be submitted to the searchlight of Scripture to see if they are true.

    Now, try to prove that 2nd Helvetic to me, anybody!! (I’ve read everything I can on it and remained unconvinced). In fact the statement is either 1. blasphemous; or 2. ridiculous. I’ve seen the ridiculousness of it in my own denomination. My preacher says Eph. X:X says “x” and my same denomination’s preacher down the freeway says Eph. X:X says “y”. (Not on any fundamental doctrine, but a doctrine concerning the church). I would count neither heretical, but it shows the faultiness of the 2nd Helvetic’s statement.

    And I believe Harutunian right: the Puritan divines in the WCF were being empirical more than Biblical. The Word of God is powerful–read, preached, written on buses, spoken in secret, yelled aloud, read in sermons, heard in sermons, listened to as a child recites it. It is God’s revelation! How wonderful and precious!

  43. John Harutunian says:

    Well, thanks for the affirmation, Lacie! Perhaps we can all “come together” on this note: If indeed the confessionalists were being empiricists on this point, nevertheless spiritual experience is *a* source of authority. We just need to keep our authority-categories distinct.

  44. Lacie says:

    Amen.

  45. Zrim says:

    Now, try to prove that 2nd Helvetic to me, anybody!! (I’ve read everything I can on it and remained unconvinced). In fact the statement is either 1. blasphemous; or 2. ridiculous.

    Lacie, this is a tall order: “prove to me what I fundamentally reject as blasphemous and ridiculous.” It seems to me you have a presuppositional beef nobody can cut through. Or maybe it’s mustard?

    But have you considered that what your two pastors are preaching might be complimentary messages instead of contradictory?

  46. Jonathan Bonomo says:

    To prove it would require making an argument that would induce a fundamental paradigm shift in your entire way of thinking about the Christian faith. That’s not something I have the time to attempt, nor do I have any confidence that, were I to attempt it, I would have any success, since you’ve already declared the Reformed tradition on this point to blasphemous and/or ridiculous. My only purpose was to state what the Reformed tradition on the preaching of the word is (and, for that matter, the magisterial Protestant tradition, since it is common to both the Lutheran and Reformed perspectives).

  47. Jonathan Bonomo says:

    And just a point of clarification: “Word of God” in the context of preaching, does not = infallible/inerrant. Nor does it mean “word of God” in a universal sense. So, for instance, when you read old sermons you’re not reading the word of God, but when the word is preached in your congergation you are hearing the word of God. Preaching is the “word of God” only in a particular liturgical context.

    But again, it would take a fundamental paradigm shift for those who hold the individual as prior and superior to the corporate to begin to understand any of this.

  48. RubeRad says:

    “the Word preached is the Word of God…Now, try to prove that 2nd Helvetic to me, anybody!!

    Maybe I’m the fool that rushes in where Z and J.B. fear to tread, but I would point to Rom 10:14, with careful attention to the prepositions:

    How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?

    ESV footnote strikes that “of”, and NASB just translates it without ‘of’ in the first place. The greek uses “eis hon” for the first “in whom”, but no “eis” (in) in the second phrase. Read carefully this way, there is an explicit connection between “hearing Christ” and “someone preaching”.

    See also Eph 4:21(NASB).

  49. John Harutunian says:

    RubeRad: since you are obviously skilled in both exegesis and Greek -and I’m a lowly church organist who knows nothing about either- *I* may be rushing in where angels fear to tread! Nevertheless, it seems clear to me that Romans 10:14 is a missionary mandate. I can’t see that the relative efficacy of Scripture vs. preaching is what’s in view here.
    And here’s a related point (this would make Scott Clark wince!). I think that most of us are “cessationists” (to use his term) in one way or another. Here’s how I see the concept applicable here: before the New Testament was finished and in place, the actual preaching of the Gospel had a kind of existential significance which it no longer has. Don’t misunderstand: it is still extremely important that the Gospel be preached. But since it was not codified and set down in permanent, authoritative form, then *within the context of that situation* the preacher became the *de facto* authority -and was rightly was accorded a *kind* of authority which he no longer has, since all of us now have access to God’s completed written Word.

  50. Lacie says:

    John: Exactly (re: before the NT was finished)
    “How can they believe if they’ve not heard?” Until the printing press the Word was not widely available to the mass of men. In scroll form it was somewhat unwieldy even when available. John Frame has pointed out that much of the “preaching” in the NT refers to evangelistic preaching, not the weekly preaching we think of. And Apostolic authority was definitely different from that of non-Apostolic preachers.

    JB: 1. I really cannot follow your thinking (old sermons vs. in person preaching). 2. And when you say I need a paradigm shift in my thinking about the Christian faith I think you are saying I interpret verses in Scripture differently than you do and you are pressed to show me where I’m mistaken. 3. You say, the “word of God” is not infallible and inerrant when preached, i.e., it is then not “the Word of God.” My point exactly.

    Because I do not follow the Escondido paradigm does not make me one whit less Reformed than you. It might actually make me more 🙂 (No offense intended!!)

  51. RubeRad says:

    since you are obviously skilled in both exegesis and Greek

    You must mean “apparently”, because I am neither. I learned that tidbit from the same OH Sitter that gave me the quote that started this whole post.

    before the New Testament was finished and in place, the actual preaching of the Gospel had a kind of existential significance which it no longer has

    Now that’s very interesting, an argument from cessation. So you do see our point, but only contend that it is no longer valid.

    I take probably a different view of cessation than most around here. I’m no tongues-talker, and I don’t believe biblical tonuges = gibberish. I do believe that tongues and other miraculous gifts existed at least for the purpose of attesting the not-yet-closed canon, so now that the canon is closed, those gifts are not ordinary.

    But I could imagine, for instance, that bringing the gospel to a new tribe, with an unknown language, God might again attest the de novo introduction of the gospel with miraculous signs (such as telling in their own tongue the mighty works of God (Acts 2:11)).

    So I would say that the miraculous gifts are not ordinary, indeed at most extrememly extra-ordinary and un-ordinary. But you I guess would say that “prophetic preaching” (is that the kind of idea you’re getting at?) has completely ceased?

  52. Jonathan Bonomo says:

    Lacie,

    Your response, “I cannot follow your thinking,” demonstrates precisely why I said it’d take a paradigm shift for you to grasp the magisterial Protestant (Lutheran and Reformed) position on this point. I don’t do blog debates anymore… they waste a lot of time that could be much better spent otherwise. I can do short discussions that consist of seeking better understanding. But challenges to debate online I do not entertain. If we were able to meet face to face then it might be different. But such is not the case, so I’ll leave you to your own thoughts.

    And for the record, I couldn’t really care less about who considers themselves “more Reformed.” (And, while I’m appreciative of much that comes out of Escondido, those who know me know that it can hardly be said that I “follow the Escondido paradigm.”) On what it means for one to be “Reformed,” again, we obviously fundamentally differ.

    Blessings,

    Jon

  53. John Harutunian says:

    A fascinating analogy. I’d be the last person to put a limit on the Spirit’s extraordinary activity -regarding either tongues or prophetic preaching. I do think that the analogy breaks down insofar as tongues are not generally regarded as a means of grace. But otherwise, yes: I see the connection between your point and what I said earlier about empirically drawn conclusions.
    And since I do consider experience to be *a* source of authority, I have no problem with this.

  54. RubeRad says:

    since I do consider experience to be *a* source of authority

    That scares me.

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