Skip to comments.'Cessationists Are Wrong' About Speaking in Tongues, Says Pastor Mark Driscoll
Posted on 06/14/2013 10:49:52 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Wash., recently spoke on the gift of tongues as described in the New Testament as part of his "Acts: Empowered for Jesus' Mission" sermon series. The conservative Reformed, or New Calvinist, Christian minister laid out his arguments as to why he believes the gift of speaking in tongues did not end with Jesus' apostles in the first century.
Cessationists, such as influential pastor and traditional Calvinist John MacArthur, believe that 1 Corinthians 13:8 and other Biblical passages indicate that the divine ability to speak in other languages or an unknown tongue (glossolalia) ended with the apostles' deaths, as did prophetic revelations and faith-healings through individuals. Some Christians, however, believe that these Holy Spirit-inspired gifts will continue until Christ's return.
In the sermon excerpt shared online this week by Mars Hill Church, Pastor Driscoll tackles three "common questions about the gift of tongues," listed as: "Can every Christian have the gift of tongues? Does Mars Hill Church believe that the gift of tongues is for today? And what happens when the private use of tongues goes public?"
Before diving into his responses, Driscoll insisted that the only way to know who may be "right" or "wrong" about speaking in tongues was by studying the Scriptures and "not by taking our experience and making it normative."
Although the key text for the full sermon, titled "Empowered by the Spirit to Follow Jesus," was the account of Pentecost in Acts 2:1-13, the megachurch pastor and bestselling author looked to 1 Corinthians 12:8-11 to help frame his responses.
Driscoll relayed a part of the passage: "'For to one is given through the Spirit . . . various kinds of tongues' or languages, heavenly or earthly 'to another, the interpretation of tongues' the ability to articulate in the other language what has been said in the foreign language. 'All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.'"
In regard to whether Mars Hill Church believes that the gift of tongues is an ongoing occurrence, Driscoll stated his agreement with cessationism, while also asking the congregation to consider life in heaven.
"When we get to heaven, the gift of evangelism is not going to be as needed as it is now. You're like, 'I'm going to go out and find the lost people.' There aren't any. This is the kingdom of God. Everybody here already loves Jesus. ... So, evangelism comes to an end," he said, according to the sermon transcript.
He noted 1 Corinthians 13:8-12, which reads: "Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known."
"So, we agree with the Cessationists that yes, certain gifts, at least, they're going to cease. They're going to cease," added Driscoll. "Where we disagree with the Cessationists and we agree with the Continuationists is when they cease. We believe that all of the gifts continue until one very important transitionary moment in the history of the world."
He continued, "So, when do these gifts cease? When? When Jesus comes back, when we see him face to face. So the Cessationists are right: certain gifts will come to an end. But the Cessationists are wrong: the end has not yet come. And the Continuationists are right: all the gifts continue until we see him face to face, until Jesus comes again."
The full sermon, third so far in Driscoll's 10-part series, "Acts: Empowered for Jesus' Mission," is available on Mars Hill Church's website. Driscoll, 42, preached "Empowered by the Spirit to Follow Jesus" on June 9, 2013, at the megachurch's Bellevue, Wash., location.
Some Cessationists, such as Pastor John MacArthur, whose The Master's Seminary shares the same campus as his Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, Calif., agree with Driscoll's suggestion that the "perfect" referenced in 1 Corinthians 13:10 speaks of a future eternal state, a period precipitated by Christ's earthly return. However, the evangelical Christian minister points to other passages he believes serve as strong evidence that "tongues ceased in the apostolic age." Cessationists also argue that the completion of the New Testament writings made the continuation of charismatic spiritual gifts unnecessary. Christians in general, though, believe that the Bible teaches that other spiritual gifts, such as teaching, exhortation, discernment and others, are always present to believers.
"Miracle gifts like tongues and healing are mentioned only in 1 Corinthians, an early epistle. Two later epistles, Ephesians and Romans, both discuss gifts of the Spirit at length but no mention is made of the miraculous gifts," explains an adaptation of MacArthur's 1992 book Charismatic Chaos, published on the theologian's Grace to You (GTY) ministry website. "By that time miracles were already looked on as something in the past (Heb. 2:3-4). Apostolic authority and the apostolic message needed no further confirmation. Before the first century ended, the entire New Testament had been written and was circulating through the churches."
He adds, "The revelatory gifts had ceased to serve any purpose. And when the apostolic age ended with the death of the Apostle John, the signs that identified the apostles had already become moot (cf. 2 Cor. 12:12)."
Listing further Biblical evidence, the GTY.org writing suggests that "tongues were intended as a sign to unbelieving Israel (1 Cor. 14:21-22; cf. Is. 28:11-12). They signified that God had begun a new work that encompassed the Gentiles. The Lord would now speak to all nations in all languages. The barriers were down. And so the gift of languages symbolized not only the curse of God on a disobedient nation, but also the blessing of God on the whole world."
The final Scriptural support given identifies the gift of tongues as "inferior to other gifts" and something that was "given primarily as a sign (1 Cor. 14:22) and was also easily misused to edify self (1 Cor. 14:4)."
"The church meets for the edification of the body, not self-gratification or personal experience-seeking. Therefore, tongues had limited usefulness in the church, and so it was never intended to be a permanent gift," concludes the GTY.org resource titled "The Gift of Tongues." MacArthur, who will tackle the issue in his upcoming Strange Fire conference, reiterates that view in a recent excerpt of his commentary on 1 Corinthians, in which he calls the gift of tongues "(t)he most controversial spiritual gift in our day."
MacArthur has a dispensational eschatology so I'm not sure I'd call him a "traditional Calvinist".
Let’s start with making the lame walk and the blind see and then talk about glossolalia.
Actually, we only have a problem with gibberish that is NOT a language, and its inability to be translated by another.
“Some Christians, however, believe that these Holy Spirit-inspired gifts will continue until Christ’s return.”
Full preterism is the ONLY interpretive paradigm that puts all of the New Testament writings in their proper context.
Demonstrating the legitimacy of modern tongues would be a perfectly simple matter. I Corinthians is very straightforward: “If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God.” The speaking is not meant to be mere noise — it is real speaking, meant to convey information, as passed along by the interpreter.
So you record the alleged tongue-speaking then play it back for several alleged interpreters. If different interpreters all give different translations, then at least all but one of them are fraudulent. If an interpreter gives a different translation for the same recording at different times, he is fraudulent.
My wife and I went to that church a couple of times when we lived in the Seattle area. Three observations:
1. The music is pretty good, but it is mainly “performance” music.
2. The pastor so badly did that “look over the croud” public speaking style that at the end of the sermon I asked the sound guy if the project his notes on the back wall by the ceiling. He spent virtually the entire sermon looking at the seam between the back wall and the ceiling. It was kinda creeping me out.
3. Lots of tatoos and body hardware there (goth, emo, etc.)
I’m not saying any of thest things are bad in my book. They were just kinda “oddities” to me at the time. This was roughly five years ago.
I went to an Assembly of God church from the time I became a Christian (1981) and 1998. I was very involved and the church was very much into tongues, though I never received this “gift”. I’ve done a lot of study’s on the subject and think it is nothing more than a distraction today. The verses that speak of it generally say “don’t do it in public” or when it is in evidence it is people speaking in languages other than their own (e.g. pentacost).
But I don’t commit to it being real or not. If it is your main pursuit as a Christian I think you are very much missing the point.
If you want to argue something really juicy and with more scriptural evidence, how about Saul using a medium to conjure up Samuel, the dead Samuel’s comments, and the context of what the bible says about what happens to people after they die?
If there are no legitimate interpreters, then the alleged tongue-speaker is, at best, just making noise and ought to keep it to himself.
Any Christian, who has attended a Messianic service understands what “speaking in tongues” is all about.
“When we get to heaven, the gift of evangelism is not going to be as needed as it is now. You’re like, ‘I’m going to go out and find the lost people.’ There aren’t any. This is the kingdom of God. Everybody here already loves Jesus. ... So, evangelism comes to an end,”
i.e He is seeing it from a fleshly perspective.
Speaking in tongues and getting messages from God are purely marketing ploys to bring in the tithes the masses provide.
After all, if the guy at the Church across the street regularly converses with God and you don’t, well you’re going to feel it in the cashflow.
If you can make people think that babbling like fools is really God giving them the gift of gab, all the better.
That one will sustain itself amongst the congregants - it becomes a social status thing - who wants to hang out with someone that God doesn’t give the gift of “speaking in tongues”? Nobody. SO you better fake it like everybody else.
If you reverse recorded speech, you’ll find most people speak several languages.
That's my understanding of the issue.
Why is any one person so concerned about how any other person speaks to God? We’re His children. If He doesn’t want us to pray any particular way, He can say, “Shut up and go to sleep now, already.”
The real point that Paul is trying to make with out offending anyone is that even at that time people were seeking the gift of speaking in tongues which is the milk.
Many of these people should have been grown up by then and seeking more important things which no doubt involved work, not works of the law but works of faith.
It does say that prophecies will fail and tongues will cease and i think we should be able to see that they have.
John in rev gave the last prophecies, what more do we need except to live like Jesus said to live.
For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
I believe the Tongue Speaking today is a counterfeit.
Not sure why I'd need a latter day revelation. I'll stick with scripture, which I know can make me complete and thoroughly equipped to every good work.
Even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed." That renders all latter day revelations as either redundant or cursed.
No, thank you.
Only one thing wrong with the argument of “speaking in tongues” still being viable. It was an occurrence that allowed many peoples to understand something even though it was not in their native tongues. Today it is some mystical, “magical” thing where all others hear are guttural noises that do not impart any information. I have a friend who attended a church where the Black female “reverend” spoke in tongues and encouraged her flock to do the same. I had him ask her why nobody could understand what was being said. She told him that she understood it all - because she was “on a higher spiritual plane” than he. I told him to run from that church even if his wife insisted on staying - someone had to be in spiritual condition to witness to the other.
I am not a one who believes God somehow cannot do something, or has quit doing it. However, most people today who speak in tongues do so against scripture.
Yes, I said it. Paul, writing under the influence of the Holy Spirit wrote the letters to the Corinthians, and set up the proper usages and understandings of the gifts of the Spirit.
Most of the charismatics today view the Holy Spirit as a force, or tool, instead of the proper realization that the Holy Spirit IS GOD.
If you look historically at gifts, God gives them for the advance of the Church, just as he did with miracles and healings. These are not primarily for the benefit of the individual believer (although that’s what we focus on).
For example, consider someone raised from the dead in the New Testament (for example, Dorcus). She was raised from the dead, and later, died a normal death (like for example Lazarus). Of course, this had a huge impact on the early Church, but from the perspective of an individual, they still died, just later.
Why is it we want perfection on earth, and our heavenly gifts here? We should be content to wait until our Lord’s return.