This post is the conclusion of what I began in the last post…
I remember a room-mate of mine many years ago speaking condescendingly of charismatics. “They say that if you haven’t spoken in tongues you have not been filled with the Holy Spirit. Well, then Jesus Himself apparently wasn’t filled with the Holy Spirit because He never spoken in tongues.” In his sarcasm, he was quite sure that he was speaking to someone who firmly agreed with him. But little did he know that I was a closet charismatic at that point!
(Note: Just a few weeks earlier I had wonderfully been filled with the Spirit while worshiping and singing to Jesus. During the experience my heart was so filled with the love of God and a desire to praise the Lord that suddenly my heart began to usher forth in praises that I didn’t have words for. An entirely new language, very beautiful and full, just flowed out of my mouth as I praised the Lord. To this day I can sing to the Lord and pray using this “prayer language”. I have found it such a wonderful help in my devotional times with the Lord.)
So I responded to his statement with a question, “How do you know that Jesus never spoke in tongues?”
He quickly countered, “Because the Bible says so.”
“Oh,” I responded. “Where does it say that?”
He paused and then admitted, “Well, it doesn’t actually say that He didn’t, I suppose. But it never says that He did.”
I then asked him some questions, “Did Jesus ever climb a tree? Or go to the bathroom? Or think that the food he was eating was especially delicious?”
At that point he got quiet and admitted that, yes, Jesus probably did all those things. But the Holy Spirit just didn’t think those things were relevant enough to include in the Bible. But again, this doesn’t mean these things didn’t happen.
Interestingly, at that point he suddenly looked at me and asked, “You don’t speak in tongues do you?”
I chuckled at that point. Had I become his opponent by simply holding to the sufficiency of Scripture???
Suddenly his lack of experience was being shown to be a huge part of his real motivation! So I did like Jesus and answered his question with another question: “What does that have to do with it? Whether I have or haven’t spoken in tongues is not in question. The only thing that really makes speaking in tongues legitimate is that Megan Fox does it.” (Okay, I didn’t really say that last part. The actress was probably not even born when I had this conversation! Apparently, she went public last year about her tongues speaking. Click here for a Wall Street Journal article about it. By the way, she also believes in leprechauns…and says she is bisexual. John MacArthur would not be surprised.)
Okay, so it’s not my experience or your’s (or certainly NOT Megan Fox’s) that is bedrock. What is in question is whether the Bible teaches that these gifts should pass away after the Apostles died or the cannon of Scripture was finalized!
The faulty approach I am exposing is called “arguing from silence.” It’s building an argument based not on the actual biblical data, but on what is NOT there. Logic often will motivate you to do this. And sometimes you might be exactly right in your conclusions. But sometimes you might not be. And in either case you are making an argument based upon a lack of actual data.
This is a large reason why I cannot support the cessationist argument. Never mind that I have personally experienced what they say no longer exists. My experience is not binding upon anyone – especially the Scripture! I don’t find the cessationist argument to be intellectually honest on the basis of the biblical data ALONE. With the Reformers I cry, “Sola Scriptura”.
If this subject doesn’t bore you to death, you might enjoy another article I’ve written on the subject regarding Charles Spurgeon’s charismatic experiences. Yes, the famous “prince of preachers” operated in an amazing prophetic gifting – even if he chose not to call it that. A duck by any other name is still a duck!
Feel free to comment. Just try to avoid arguing from silence and straw manning….