Dr. Jim West has irritated a bunch of pentecostals. The good doctor commented on an article in which the ‘revival’ of speaking in tongues about the Anglicans.
And, by the way, the ‘Gift of Tongues’ is one of those temporary, ‘bridge’ gifts granted by the Spirit until the establishment of the Church as institution and the ascension of the New Testament documents to the status of ’scripture’. Once those two events took place, such ’sign gifts’ (like tongues and healings and the like) became unnecessary. Once one has Scripture, one no longer needs ’signs’
Nick Norelli responds in his usually eloquent manner with a post entitled Verbal Diarrhea:
Jim’s post was fine for the most part but apparently he had a bout of verbal diarrhea and just couldn’t stop himself from typing that last paragraph, a paragraph that one might expect from the likes of a dilettante like Jessica Simpson but certainly not one who possesses the ability to actually engage in exegesis. I thought perhaps I’d see this posted in the ‘humor’ or ’sarcasm’ category but sadly it’s only marked ‘biblical studies’ and ’theology.’ I welcome any defense of this indefensible position that Jim might care to offer.
It is evident that Dr. West is a cessionist – I believe he is a Baptist -while Nick is somewhere between Catholic and Charismatic Pentecostal (according to Nick) and Book Iconist, I think.
I of course, have my own opinions.
For this reason does the apostle declare, “We speak wisdom among them that are perfect,” terming those persons “perfect” who have received the Spirit of God, and who through the Spirit of God do speak in all languages, as he used Himself also to speak. 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, whom also the apostle terms “spiritual,” they being spiritual because they partake of the Spirit, and not because their flesh has been stripped off and taken away, and because they have become purely spiritual.
Further, it seems that Justin identified at least the remains of the prophetical gift, which we can stretch to mean speaking in tongues,
The prophetical gifts remain with us, even to the present time. And hence you should understand that the gifts formerly among your nation (Israel) have been transferred to us. (1.240)
Further, Tertullian defended tongues during his Montantist days. We know from history that speaking in tongues did not suddenly cease at the close of the canon, there is plenty in the works of the Apologists to show that ‘signs’ did not cease. (There is an equal amount, however, to suggest that too many people understood these ‘signs’ to indicate that any person who performed them was a member of the Church.)
Did they cease after the Apostolic Era?
And do the Pentecostals have the right idea?
No, I do not think they ceased, and nor do I think that many Pentecostal/Charismatics have the right idea. Most charismatics that I have met would deem it a good service if everyone spoke in tongues for the 2 hours of Sunday morning service. Personally, I have not read one instance in the bible where teaching, doctrine, and brotherly love was every sacrificed for ecstatic worshiping.
That is my .347 cents