February 22, 2010

Dr. Brown Debates Pat Donahue on Miraculous Gifts for Today

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41 Comments
  1. I think the problem with Pat and a lot of people who formulate such views are, they do not understand that the bible is a library.The Bible was written by about 40 men in about 1600 years, dating from 1500 B.C. to about 100 A.D….you cant take one or two scriptures to argue a point, you have to look at the bible holistically. A true student of the bible recognizes scripture should support scripture.

  2. I think the premise that “the perfect has come” with the completion of the canon is greatly undermined by the fact that we can’t even see face to face with each other. If we had God’s understanding on this matter it seems that this should work itself out.

    I can know God greatly through his Word, but I am waiting for the day when I shall know even as I am known. God knows the innermost parts of my heart, oh how I long to know God in a way that is not possible now.

    What a day that will be
    When my Jesus I shall see
    And I look upon His face
    The One who saved my by His grace
    When He takes me by the hand
    And leads me through the Promised Land
    What a day, glorious day that will be!

  3. If ‘that which is perfect’ is the Bible, when did it become perfect in completion. 90 AD when John finished ‘Revelation’? Was it perfected when the letters were written but still being passed around individually? At the end of the canonizing process?

    This is hardly a rational argument. So Paul wrote 1 Cor. chapter 12 & 14 at aprox. 56 AD and his instruction to the church was only good for about 34 years? Yet, God decided to save it for the Bible though it was no longer relevant after just 34 years? Is that perfection?

    Seems rather silly for Paul to speak so boldly for something that was going to die shortly after he did. Not only is this one scripture about ‘perfect’, out of context (as being the Bible) with the whole Bible, but the argument destroys the value of Paul’s work & writing & standing before the church today. It destroys the very scriptures it is suppose to propose.

  4. Michael, This was a very sorry debate. I coudn’t even listen to the whole show, it was to painful. Mr. Donahue was poorly suited for this debate. This is a great topic I would love to see another debate with someone who can articulate his views from an informed position. Or maybe you can discuss and respond to John MacArthur positions on the gifts. He is a very vocal in this area. I so much appreciate your show. You have been such a blessing to my walk.

  5. Rick,

    The whole argument is so ridiculously weak that hardly any credible scholars use it anymore. Your point is quite well taken, as this alleged meaning of Paul’s words would also invalidate much of the rest of the NT as well.

  6. F.F. Bruce notes that “according to 1 Cor 13:8-10, prophecies, tongues, and knowledge are to be done away, but only ‘when that which is perfect is come.’ That which is perfect is not come yet . . . the literature of the period following the apostolic age makes it plain that the gifts did not come to a full stop with the closing of the New Testament canon.”

    F.F. Bruce, “Answers to Questions,” The Harvester, August 1964

    Edward Gibbons, notes also Gibbons records that the early church

    “claimed an uninterrupted succession of miraculous powers, the gift of tongues, of vision, and of prophecy, the power of expelling (sic) daemons, of healing the sick, and of raising the dead.” He also stated, “…about the end of the second century, the resurrection of the dead was very far from being esteemed an uncommon event; that the miracle was frequently performed on necessary occasions, by great fasting and the joint supplication of the church of the place, and that the persons thus restored to their prayers had lived afterwards among them many years.”

    “Miraculous Powers of the Primitive Church” The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

    Cessationism cannot withstand the scrutiny of Scripture nor the record of history. Great job Dr. Brown. I enjoy listening to your podcasts regularly.

  7. Irenaeus: (180 AD) against Heresies (Book V, Chapter 6)

    “In like manner we do also hear many brethren in the Church, who possess prophetic gifts, and who through the Spirit speak all kinds of languages, and bring to light for the general benefit the hidden things of men, and declare the mysteries of God…”

  8. Dr. Brown, thanks for the interesting “debate”. I am in agreement with you that the gifts of the Spirit have not ceased and are indeed still being poured out. I enjoy listening to debates and thought Mr. Pinedo’s suggestion of having a debate with Dr. John MacArthur was a good idea. He would be one who could argue his point well. I respect both you and Dr. MacArthur, as it is evident that God has given both of you the gift of knowledge. That debate would definitely be interesting.

    My husband and I have enjoyed listening to you and watching your show “Think It Thru”. Thanks for the work that you do. May God bless you and your family.
    Peace be with you.

  9. I totally agree with Phil’s statement. I actually would really love to see you debate John MacArthur. I know i have listened to a lot of his points in his message entitled, “Charismatic Chaos”, which i believe He also turned into a book. I know he brings up a lot of interesting points on stuff dealing with the whole charismatic/pentecostal movement. I love to hear some of your views on this, and I would love to see you two debate on those views.

  10. Dr. Brown,

    Let me throw out a name for you – Dr. Jack Cottrell. I’ve heard you quote him before so I know you’re familiar with him. In his theology book “The Faith Once For All” he argues for the Cessationist position. He’s been teaching theology at Cincinnati Christian University for 40+ years now. I don’t know if he’d be interested in coming on the radio to discuss / debate cessationism but I thought I’d throw it out there.

    Steve

  11. Dear Michael,

    Shalom,

    Blessings in the name of Yeshua. I am a keen listener to your debates from over the water in the UK. I believe that El Shaddai is quite capable in all His Glory to manifest miracles in the 21st century. What I seriously question though is that which is manifest in todays charismatic, pentecostal, evangelical and even catholic churches is of YHWH. I have studied the phenomena of these manifestations and they do not stand up to scripture at all. The tongues spoken today do not resemble those at Shavuot (Acts 2) or even the confusion in the assembly at Corinth for that matter! Shaul’s letter to the Corinthian assembly is a letter of correction and guidance non of which is manifest in todays church. As for prophets in the 21st century well they are laughable and fallible. Healing ministries do not fair any better.
    The major problem with all of the above is that a large percentage of today’s church are no longer content with Word of YHWH, with prayer and fasting or walking in the will of YHWH, they are looking for the next experience, the next super spiritual fix. I agree with one of the earlier responses. If you are going to debate such a controversial subject then at least have a guest in who can hold his corner, John Mcarthur or Thomas Edgar would give a far better account of what a cessationist believes….

    To finish, if the gift of languages is still available today then let us see it happening in the mission field……..
    If the gift of healing ministries is true then lets see them in hospitals not in healing meetings……..
    If prophets are available today lets have an infallible word from them…………..

    I dont see it, neither has the majority of church history recorded any such manifestations as seen at the time of the early assembly Apostles.

    May the Grace of YHWH continue to shine on you and your ministry,

    Shalom Aleichem,

    Dave
    UK

  12. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” This proverb is the word of God and it is true. I have a worry that to much exegesis and hermeneutics is based on human understanding of scripture rather than The guidance of the Spirit of Truth who was given to us to lead us into the truth. In the early days of the church theological debate existed just as it does now, the difference is that it is clear that the leaders that God appointed looked to His word and trusted in God to reveal the word to them. To them it was clear that it is only the Spirit that opened their eyes to the truth of scripture that remained veiled to the unbelieving masses who chanted and recited the same scriptures sabbath after sabbath! It was this trust in the Spirit’s guidance that allowed them to understand the scriptures in the context God spoke them in. That is why theological debate then did not lead to division.

    God performed miracles through his prophets all through the OT era, why would He suddenly stop performing miracles as a testimony to his word? If those miracles were part of the testimony of the Gospel of the Kingdom and were needed then what has changed?

    “For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ” (romans 15:18-19).

    If one a believer and have not seen miraculous signs that is not enough proof for them or other Christian’s who have not seen signs performed for God’s glory to deduce that these things can not be done any more. I doubt that every Israelite in the days of Elijah and Elisha saw them perform a miracle, yet still they had no reason to doubt God’s ability to use them as prophets of that capacity.

    I noticed Pat used a verse from Zechariah as proof for the cessation of the gifts. That verse actually works against Him as it looks to the Messianic Reign of the Lord when he returns just as the verse from 1st Corinthians does. When the Lord returns there will be no need for these gifts as the word that Isaiah spoke by the Spirit of Messiah will come to pass:

    In the last days
    the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established
    as chief among the mountains;
    it will be raised above the hills,
    and all nations will stream to it.

    3 Many peoples will come and say,
    “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
    to the house of the God of Jacob.
    He will teach us his ways,
    so that we may walk in his paths.”
    The law will go out from Zion,
    the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

    He will judge between the nations
    and will settle disputes for many peoples.
    They will beat their swords into plowshares
    and their spears into pruning hooks.
    Nation will not take up sword against nation,
    nor will they train for war anymore.

  13. Shalom again Brothers and Sisters in Yeshua,

    One very important point that is being overlooked about miraculous gifts and are they for today is that at Shavuot they were given by YHWH through the Ruach HaKodesh for ONE reason………as a SIGN………….a sign to who?

    UNBELIEVERS!!!

    In Messiah,

    Shalom Aleichem

  14. looking forward to part 2 – like Rick, i believe that God would not have mentioned spiritual gifts if they were not valid for His future saints.

  15. Well that was disapointing as I had hoped to hear a strong debate from Dr. Brown’s opposition. Perhaps a MacArthur-Brown debate looms on the horizon? Also are there plans for a eschatological debate contemplating the pretrib rapture view and its populatirity as set forth in a certain series of novels vs the parousia?

  16. Dr. Brown,

    I think I Corinthians 1:4-7 is a “slam-dunk” stating the duration of the ALL gifts – and it is within the very letter that I Cor 13 is!

    I Corinthians 1:4-7 – 4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; 5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; 6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: 8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Blessings!

    Pat

  17. Hello Dave,

    “One very important point that is being overlooked about miraculous gifts and are they for today is that at Shavuot they were given by YHWH through the Ruach HaKodesh for ONE reason………as a SIGN………….a sign to who?
    UNBELIEVERS!!!”

    Dave I don’t understand how your point is supposed to be in support of cessationism. I say this because, assume that you are correct, that at Pentecost described in Acts chapter 2, the gifts were given “for ONE reason. . . as a SIGN. . . . a sign to who? UNBELIEVERS!!!”

    That still does not mean they have ceased.

    Or that they also serve no other purposes.

    Or even that that is what their sole purpose was in Acts 2.

    Seems to me that the purpose of gifts would include: as a sign to unbelievers, as a sign to attest those proclaiming the gospel, as an empowering of believers for ministry, as an encouragement to believers (especially in the context of evangelism) and also purely out of compassion for people (didn’t Jesus sometimes heal merely because he was being compassionate on people?).

    Robert

  18. Hello Patrick,

    I was going to make the very same point that you made when you wrote:

    “I think I Corinthians 1:4-7 is a “slam-dunk” stating the duration of the ALL gifts – and it is within the very letter that I Cor 13 is!
    I Corinthians 1:4-7 – 4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; 5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; 6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: 8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

    Paul tells them in 1:5 and 1:7 that they have been given gifts. In 1:7 he makes reference to the second coming when he uses the phrase “awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ” [the revelation of our Lord Jesus is special vocabulary for the second coming]. What is particularly interesting is that in 1:8 he says that God will confirm them TO THE END (“the end” here is telos in the Greek, the same Greek word that Paul uses in 1 Cor. 13:10 when he says “but when the END/TELOS (also translated as perfect) comes, the partial will be done away”. So in chapter 1 Paul says they have gifts and they will be confirmed until the end comes which in that context had to be the second coming. He then uses the same Greek language in 13:10, so he seems to be saying there that the partial things (which in the context of chapter 13 are the gifts) will continue until the end/telos/perfect comes. In other words 1 Cor. 1:7-8 and 1 Cor. 13:10 are parallel passages speaking of the same events (i.e. the second coming of Jesus/the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Robert

  19. Hi Robert,

    Blessings Bro……….

    My point Robert is not one of cessation but whether what is happening in todays church is of YHWH, that is my point. Nothing I see in church today is in any way, shape or form backed up by scripture.

    As for ‘Seems to me that the purpose of gifts would include’ surely Robert that is dictated by the Word of YHWH. Slain in the Spirit, Laughing in the Spirit, barking like a rabid dog, running round and round in church……I could go on and on and on. Manifestations of the Ruach HaKodesh or manifestations of deluded, deceived individuals seeking a super spiritual high.

    Shalom Brother,

    Dave

  20. Hello Dave,

    “My point Robert is not one of cessation but whether what is happening in todays church is of YHWH, that is my point.”

    Dave I thought the issue of the debate between Dr. Brown and the other fellow was whether or not the gifts continue today (i.e., I thought the debate was on whether or not cessationism is true or not). That is why I made some exegetical observations comparing 1 Cor. 1 and 1 Cor. 13.

    As for ‘Seems to me that the purpose of gifts would include’ surely Robert that is dictated by the Word of YHWH.”

    Dave you suggested in your earlier post that there was **only** one purpose of gifts, as a sign to unbelievers. I questioned that stating that there are multiple purposes for the gifts. When I said “seems to me” each of the purposes which I mentioned can be found in scripture. So the purposes that I listed **are** “dictated by the Word of YHWH.”

    Do you deny that Jesus did miracles out of compassion?

    Do you deny that one of the purposes of the gifts was to authenticate the messengers who were bringing the gospel?

    My point was that there are multiple purposes for the gifts, you had only limited it to **one**.

    Regarding the present day claims regarding gifts wouldn’t you agree that first we need to establish exegetically whether or not cessationism is true. Next if it is not true, if the gifts continue today, then should we not evaluate them by the criteria given in scripture?

    If cessationism is false (and I believe the exegesis of scripture is strongly against it, decisively so), and so the gifts continue today, if we automatically throw out every manifestation isn’t it possible that we would then be “throwing away the baby with the bathwater?”

    Robert

  21. “If cessationism is false (and I believe the exegesis of scripture is strongly against it, decisively so), and so the gifts continue today, if we automatically throw out every manifestation isn’t it possible that we would then be “throwing away the baby with the bathwater?””

    It seems like there is an ocean of bath water with a baby in there somewhere.

    Doug

  22. Doug,

    Actually, the reverse is true: There is an ocean of God’s power moving around the world, accounting for millions of conversions every year, with some flaky stuff taking place too — a very big ocean of the Spirit’s power, quite well documented these days, and a small baby of spiritual abuses, quite over-reported and exaggerated, for the most part. Prof. Philip Jenkins book, The Next Christendom, is worth reading here.

  23. If current spiritual manifestations are demonic counterfeits, what exactly are they counterfeiting should the gifts of the Holy Spirit no longer be in operation?

  24. Shalom Brothers,

    Blessings in Yeshua,

    Thankyou for the book recommendation Ben, I will get myself a copy. I have a number of Michaels books and enjoyed them immensely.

    Robert,

    Thankyou for your reply, I think we could go round in circles here. Of course I believe Yeshua carried out miracles out of compassion and you correctly say the gifts were an authentication from YHWH to the Apostles but to correlate what is happening in the church today and throughout church history with what happened in the Apostolic age is nothing short of scandalous in my humble opinion. I think ‘CIRO’ hit the button when he/she said ‘We do not know fully’ but a little discernment would not go amiss.

    Michael,

    You mention in reply to Doug ‘a small baby of spiritual abuses, quite over-reported and exaggerated, for the most part’. The evidence of ‘Spiritual Abuse’ is overwhelming in our churches, on christian TV and at revival meetings, Florida and more recently Dudley in the UK being prime examples, an absolute abomination. The Holy Scripture says ‘We shall know them by their fruits’ I see very little Spiritual fruit in relation to Spiritual gifts Brother that is going to edify the body of Messiah.

    Greg,

    Something does not have to be in operation to counterfiet it. I could make a wonderful copy of an old one pound note (UK) I would not be able to spend it but it would still be a counterfeit. HaSatan is the father of all lies, all it takes is a bunch of gullible, unsatisfied, spiritually barren believers and as the Good Book says’ Broad is the way’.

    What end time revival?

    Blessings in Yeshua,

    Shalom shalom,

    Dave
    UK

  25. Dr. Brown, I enjoyed this interview and think you presented Biblical facts very well. Your message really blessed and encouraged me. I have a few observations of my own that I would like to share with you and would very much like your opinion.

    The sentence of 1 Corinthians 13:10 is interesting in that I do not see a noun in the sentence. The word “perfect” is an adjective, which modifies a noun or a pronoun. I searched the Bible and found Matthew 5:48, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” I believe the “perfect” which is to come is our Father, Yahweh.

    The “knowledge” which shall “vanish away” is the knowledge gained in the garden from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:9). We will return to the original relationship of truth which was in the garden before the fall.

    As far as speaking in tongues, I know this gift is still very active. I speak in tongues, and I sing in tongues every day. I know these songs to be praise and worship of our father Yahweh.

  26. Greetings and Blessings in Christ to you Dr. Brown!

    This was the first time I’ve listened to one of your debates. There are so many voices and so much noise today in the realm of “the Church” that I have generally disregard most online “debates” or “discussions” the past few years.

    Although your guest was disappointing I enjoyed the way you handled yourself and your responses. I am in agreement with your position and most of the comments made on your discussion board.

    In response to Dave’s pessimistic views towards charismatic and pentecostal claims and abuses I can sympathize as I have seen what he speaks of as I am sure you and others have also. It can be disheartening and cause one to grow cold towards the truly awesome miracles that do take place today.

    If one is not careful, they can lose sight of the Omnipotent God they serve. Jesus did not heal all at the pool of Bethesda nor did He do many miracles in His home town. Some were even foolish enough (because of their unbelief) to give the enemy of our Lord credit for the miracles Christ had done. To this Christ responded by declaring an unpardonable sin…the blaspemy of the Holy Spirit.

    A Professor I highly respect gave me some good advise, “hold loosely to those things which you cannot prove or disprove absolutely. Remain teachable.” History, for those who truly determine in themselves to be students of, will demonstrate the continual workings of the gifts of the Holy Spirit for one who has “eye’s to see and ears to hear.”

    May God’s Word continue to be a “lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path” Dr. Brown. Thank you for your Berean aproach.

    Living to serve, 1 Thes. 5:16-22

  27. Shalom,

    I know I’m a little late to post but I just listened to the podcast today, so bear with me. I’ve been doing some investigation into the words in my Greek lexicons today. I have 3 Bible software programs to check and I am, by no means, a Greek scholar (although I am learning Hebrew s-l-o-w-l-y).

    What I found was interesting. In 2 Cor. 1:13-14 we see Paul also telling the Corinthians that he isn’t writing anything to them they can’t understand and that “as you have understood us IN PART, you will come to UNDERSTAND FULLY…” These words in the Greek are the same ones used in 1 Cor. 13 about understanding in part and then understanding fully.

    The kicker is this…in 2 Cor. 1 Paul notes that they will understand fully in the day of the Lord Jesus. Which seems to CLEARLY indicate to me, once again, that the perfection and the full understanding is on the day of the Lord and not the completion of the Biblical canon or the end of the apostolic era.

    Just my humble 2 cents worth.

  28. The reason the gifts have stopped is because we as humans did as exactly God would have known we would have done and made the church become a comfort to us and to be done in a fleshly way that was comforting to us. God said I will pour out my spirit on all flesh and I believe God is opening our hearts and spirit in these last days and revealing himself to us to become the church that was originally started in acts to once again come alive. I pray for Baptisms of the Holy Spirit for us to once again to be willing to take our own cross and follow the Lord Jesus Christ ” The Word Of God ” and not hold back anything from the the Lord God Almighty and fully trust in the Lord and die of our flesh so that God’s spirit can fully live in us – For by man it is impossible but with God all things are possible -Amen

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