Monday, July 5, 2010

Modern Spiritual Gifts as Analogous to Apostolic Gifts

Below is the abstract for this interesting book (booklet?) by Vern Poythress:

The Book of Revelation is inspired. Modern visions, auditions, and “prophecies” are not inspired, because the canon of the Bible is complete. However, these modern visions and auditions may be analogous to the Book of Revelation, just as modern preaching is analogous to apostolic preaching. Like modern preaching, modern intuitive speech has authority only insofar as it bases itself on the final infallible divine authority of Scripture.

A key distinction here is the distinction between rationally explicit processes, such as those involved when Luke wrote his Gospel, and intuitive processes, such as those involved with the Book of Revelation. One type of process is not inherently more “spiritual” than the other. Both the Gospel of Luke and Revelation were inspired.

Modern preaching is analogous to Luke: in composing a sermon rationally explicit processes dominate. Modern “prophecy” or intuitive speech is analogous to Revelation. Intuitive processes dominate. The general analogy between apostolic gifts and lesser gifts of the present day suggests that rationally explicit processes and intuitive processes can both be used by the Spirit today.

Cessationists argue that New Testament prophecy was inspired and has therefore ceased with the completion of the canon. But there are still noninspired intuitive gifts analogous to prophecy. Therefore, in order not to despise the gifts of the Spirit, cessationists must allow for a place for intuitive gifts in their ecclesiology.

The fact that we have analogy rather than identity means that we must respect certain restraints. Modern intuitive phenomena must be subject to the same restraints that are placed on preaching. Everything must be checked for conformity to Scripture.

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