Chris Welch's Reply
21 October 2013 at 23:47QUOTE from STRANGE FIRE TALK by Tom Pennington A Case for Cessationism "Charismatics agree that there are no more apostles like the 12 or like Paul. Why? Because to be a true apostle you had to meet three qualifications: (1) You had to be a witness of the resurrected Christ (Ac 1:22); (2) You had to be personally appointed by Christ (Ac 1:2, 24); (3) You had to be able to work miracles (Matt 10:1–2; 2 Cor 12:12).
No one alive today meets those three qualifications. So at least one New Testament gift has ceased. What that means is that there is a significant difference between the time of the Apostles and today, because one of the most miraculous displays of the Spirit, the gift of Apostleship, disappeared with the Apostolic age. It’s also interesting that it ceased without a crystal clear New Testament statement that it would. That means it is neither impossible nor is it unlikely that other significant changes happened with the passing of the Apostles as well. Once you agree that there are no Apostles today at the same level of Peter and Paul, you have admitted that there was a major change in the gifting of the Apostolic and post-Apostolic age. " END QUOTE
Questions of belief raise temperatures. And even more hot air and uselessness if you only hear synopses that end up like Chinese whispers. So it's good to read the original.
Talk One by John MacArthur is his Heart Cry that when he looks at the Bible , especially the Old Testament, he sees the strongest actions taken to root out false worship..either to worship the True God in false ways or to worship false idols. The Strange Fire incident doesn't explain exactly what the ingredients were, but the specific directions for the worship of a Holy God were a life or death matter. My comment is they still are. And we can see this in the Communion text in the serious phrase...some are sick and some have even died because they took the Lord's meal without properly discerning the Body.
Without answering every single point, pure worship comes only from a pure heart. Only the pure in heart shall see God. The Holy Spirit only clarifies once in 1 John 2 the growth stages He takes the believer through to see Jesus birthed out from his newborn spirit into the whole of his soul and body. And each stage is defined. Children,young men fathers. This is not only ain individual matter, but as masses of individuals take these stages on board they became movements. The first level is being properly and knowingly made a part of God's family born from above. This became the evangelical movement, really taking its roots of faith from Luther onwards. The second level is defined as fighting the fight of faith as young men, to stand firm in the new identity of our beings since the Cross. Luther's statement began as cold faith...the righteous shall live by faith, becoming in subsequent generations a swelling movement of those EXPERIENCING in their beings, including their emotions, this salvation by faith. Quakerism and Pietism followed. The Keswick fight of faith became the movement of those experiencing the new Life of the Spirit, a veritable inundation of the Spirit which was baptism in the Spirit. Initially rejected by all but a slender group of pioneers who became Pentecostals, some 50 years later the message swept through the denominations themselves and out the back door, as people wanted complete freedom to pioneer Spirit Churches. But up until recently that is all we experienced: two corporate levels or stages of growth, when St John specifically states there are three levels.
One of the things that happens in the latter stages of the spiritual young men's step of faith...it is a stage, not an age, is the discovery of a whole new identity. Galations 2:20 radically states we are dead. It is Nolonger us who live...but literally Christ Himself at our spirit centre, expressing Himself out of our soul and body.
ALL FRUSTRATION OF THE EVANGELICAL OR REFORMED EVANGELICAL IS IN THIS FACT : Charismatics are not taught, nor know inwardly their new identity, and most evangelicals dont know this either...it just shows up more when you have genuine Holy Spirit stuff, or some unholy spirit stuff going on erected above an identity base that is still as rooted in Genesis 3 sin, as it ever was. The list of sins that Jesus pronounces in Matthew 5 and 6 and chapter 23 are the same lusts and activities of demons then as they are today. It's called flesh life.
That's why there's a third level.
That's where the apostles were in Acts 2.
That's where most evangelicals and Pentecostals are not. It's not taught. It's not believed. It's not confessed with the mouth, and it's not received.
The apostolic level is the third level. You have Christ's identity as consciousness and His Life IS THE CALLING...which is poured out love, to see others come into the same mature life that you now have...or that God has worked in you. Paul DID NOT WITNESS CHRIST...but He saw something better...Jesus as He is NOW at the righthand of God. As this life became firm in him he felt called...but really it is only Christ's own calling manifesting...to see every last sheep in the fold, even if it's the last 99th sheep. And finally yes, Christ cannot help but produce miracles from within the beings of mature thirdlevellers...Jesus is clumsy that way, once He's rooted firmly in someone by the Spirit.
So in this simple passage I demolish the whole of John Macarthur's premise, because Christ is establishing a third level church and not a charismatic or evangelical one. And I demolish Tom Pennington's whole premise because a thirdlevel saint behaves no differently to Jesus or Paul. The problem dear friends is where are the thirdlevellers? It only took the apostles 3 nonstop years with Jesus, and some say it took Paul about 10 to 15 doing a direct Spirit learning course followed by a finishing school in the church at Antioch.
The other lesser point I wish to demolish is from John falling faint in Revelation, to weirder manifestations of pigs jumping off cliffs when demonised people started manifesting with Jesus, through weird trances that Peter had to open up the gospel properly to everyone, through history to every single Holy Spirit move...every one is described in pretty similar ways beginning in early records 200AD right through every move since...they've all been really bizarre. So John is completely wrong. Not even a little wrong. Absolutely hugely massively historically wrong. It's in all the Christian bookshops in the world.Ofcourse , not the ones he visits, which are all narrow textual affairs. But anybody interested in how God really did things, do your own reading online or in older books from Alibris, or John Crowder's books. (Some examples below)
We only have one body. The Holy Spirit of God can manifest through it. Unholy spirits can manifest through it. They both look outwardly crazy, you only need to study Acts 2. Or my life!
But the pure in heart shall see God, and anyone asking the Father in this genuine way for the gift of the Holy Spirit will not be given a stone for bread or a serpent. If these conference speakers even hint that, just a slight bit, they are arguing with the Lord of the Universe, and I just wouldn't do that if I were them.
Dr Patrick Dixon above and John Crowder's Book
are two which really give the proposterous lie to seminary trained theologians that evangelicalism and reformed Christianity is in any way mainstream throughout church history.
The Holy Spirit and Divine revelation from the Bible have been the main stream threads that have caused a continuous stream of reproduction through 20 centuries. Evangelicalism is but virtually the front door to a whole range of experiences with a Divine Supernatural God of Holiness and Love.
Mel Tari's book details one significant revival 50 years ago. David Swan shows clearly the differentiation between the rather "iffy area" that these evangelical leaders describe as the charismatic movement, and the True Holy of Holies which none of the evangelical leaders are that familiar with, so convinced are they that everything only really starts once you are DEAD.