Charismatic Visions – A Follow Up

In the second Driscoll lecture Horton links in his piece dealing with the four points of the “Resurgence” movement, Driscoll equates cessationism with “worldliness” and “deism.”  The Westminster Confession of Faith is a cessationist confession, were the divines who penned it “worldly” and “deists” too?  Give me a break.

Driscoll also ridicules the exegetical position of Edwards and Clark concerning 1 Cor. 13:8-13 and outlined in part 1 calling it interpretive “origami.” But, rather than offering a counter argument (assuming he is even familiar or even understands the actual arguments his opponents have made),  he simply asserts that the perfect is Christ.  It doesn’t seem to concern Driscoll that it would be grammatically queer, if not just queer in general, for Paul or anyone else to refer to Christ in the neuter gender “το τελειον” (the perfect or completed thing) rather than the masculine “o τελειο” (he who is perfect). Is Christ referred to as the perfect or completed thing anywhere else in Scripture? The argument is that Paul is anticipating that all the extraordinary gifts of prophecy, tongues, and new revelatory knowledge will cease with the coming of the complete thing; i.e., the close of the canon. The extraordinary gifts are give to the church in her infancy, which is why Paul tells us there will come a time when we are to put away these “childish” things.  Or, as Clark argues; “Miracles and tongues were  for the purpose of guaranteeing the divine origin of apostolic doctrine.” Consequently, if Driscoll thinks cessationists are “worldly deists,” would it be fair to say continuationists are silly little children trying to return to the womb?

And returning to the question of method, Driscoll says:

Even those who believe they have something from the Lord it’s tested and approved by the elders of the church . . . if the elders disagree the answer is ‘no’ and if it’s not in line with Christ centered God exalting biblical theology then it’s to be rejected.

So, if someone claims that God has spoken a new word to them it is only true if the elders say it’s true?  But, and as I addressed in my previous piece,  a problem arises when the so-called “prophetic word” doesn’t explicitly contradict “Christ centered God exalting biblical theology” simply because the “prophetic claim” can neither be found in Scripture or deduced from it.  A good example of this is Driscoll’s own pornographic visions that he employs in his presumed “biblical” method of counseling.  Why don’t the elders of his church say “no” to this or are they all “yes” men?

In any case, Driscoll’s method is purely subjective and rests exclusively on the presumed authority of the “elders” who have the power to affirm prophecies and new words of knowledge that are, by definition, in addition to and apart from Scripture.  Even more disconcerting, they have the power to command the assent of Christians to these new extra-biblical revelations.  What’s a Berean to do?  I thought all Christians are commanded to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”   John did, after all, address this command to the “beloved” and not just elders in the church.  It would seem Driscoll’s view of church has more in common with Romanism than anything remotely biblical or even Protestant.

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14 Comments on “Charismatic Visions – A Follow Up”

  1. hughmc5 Says:

    Sean, this of Driscoll’s

    …if the elders disagree the answer is ‘no’ and if it’s not in line with Christ centered God exalting biblical theology then it’s to be rejected.

    begs a corollary to your earlier post:

    ‘…Driscoll is a hindrance and the Charismatic movement is positively hostile to the truth and opens Christ’s sheep to all sorts of superstitious deceptions and deceits, even those done in the name of Jesus Christ and by the imagined power of the Holy Ghost.

    ‘…I cannot tell the difference between the miraculous signs and wonders Driscoll claims for himself with those of Mr. TBN. Is it because Mr. TBN put his vision in terms of dollars and cents? Since Charismatics accept ongoing prophesy, how can they presume to know the Holy Spirit didn’t tell Mr. TBN what he claims He did? {Ans: Their elders tell them?!}

    ‘…Mr. TBN asserts in the name of the Holy Spirit the very thing he needs to prove from the Scriptures, which I think even the most entrenched Charismatic would have to agree, is impossible. If that’s the case, and I think it is, then Mr. TBN is no different from Driscoll in the slightest.

    ‘…It seems to me that their {continuationists’} proposed “method” for telling the con from the legitimate practitioner of the miraculous gifts is just as mystical and opposed to sound reason and the light of Scripture as the one making the miraculous claims, even Mr. TBN.

    ‘Of course, the real problem with Charismatics is that they deny the biblical and Reformed doctrine of sola scriptura while pretending to uphold it.’

    Adding elders helps little, if the spirit by which the false prophet is deceived be active all the group’s leadership. Rome, the Orthodox, and countless other sects & cults come to mind.

  2. hughmc5 Says:

    Adding elders helps little, if the spirit by which the false prophet is deceived be active in all the group’s leadership

  3. David Reece Says:

    Continuationism is much more dangerous than most heretical doctrines. It makes the sheep ready to believe lying signs and wonders. Keep up the good fight.

  4. Dean Davis Says:

    I haven’t read either Driscoll or Horton, but I believe that you, and the exegetes you cite, are misreading 1 Cor. 13.

    Even many Dispensationalists have surrendered the argument that “the perfect” is the complete canon of NT Scripture. By this argument, when the canon is complete, not just tongues and prophecies, but knowledge itself will pass away. Accordingly, the perfect cannot be the Scriptures, but the perfection of the eschaton, which appears at Christ’s coming, when partial knowledge–and partial sanctification–will be done away with.

    This is confirmed a second time by 13:11-13, which are decisive. Here Paul is saying that the gifts belong to the Church in her spiritual childhood, i.e., throughout her entire pilgrimage through the Church era. When Christ returns, we will no longer need them, for we will see him–and all things–face to face. Now, however, we do need them; hence the exhortation to seek all the gifts, found in 14:1.

    Helpful as they are, the gifts do not perfect us. Despite gifts of wisdom, knowledge, and prophecy, throughout the Church era we know in part and prophesy in part (v. 9). However, at his return, we shall know as we are known, and so, as glorified “adults”, no longer need the gifts that belonged to our spiritual childhood.

    The sum of the matter: This passage positively affirms the perpetuity of all the gifts of the Spirit till Christ’s return.

    Undoubtedly, the closure of the canon altered the tenor of NT worship, thrusting the teachers, preachers, and prophesiers deeply into the written Word of God. I am inclined to argue that henceforth all of these gifts will normally operate in conjunction with the Word, as Paul’s pastorals suggest.

    But neither will I put God in a box, as many in the Reformed community have done, with the result that their life in the Spirit is severely truncated, and their worship so dry that spiritually thirsty souls are forced to look for water in doctrinally unsound charismatic churches, to their hurt and ours.

  5. Sean Gerety Says:

    Dean, your belief notwithstanding, have you read my first post in this short Driscoll series? I suspect not, but you are right, if 1 Cor. 13:8-13 refers to Christ’s return then the “passage positively affirms the perpetuity of all the gifts of the Spirit till Christ’s return.” I don’t disagree with you at all, except that you are wrong and for the reasons I explained in my first post (along with many more reason that I haven’t). So, read my first post and then let’s go at it. 🙂

  6. Hugh McCann Says:

    General query: Why is it that charismatics invariably refer to cessationists so pejoratively? From Driscoll to Davis, we’re ever labeled the “frozen chosen,” and that’s when they’re being polite!

    neither will I put God in a box, as many in the Reformed community have done, with the result that their life in the Spirit is severely truncated, and their worship so dry that spiritually thirsty souls

    But this is rather subjective, one of many of the cessationists’ practical concerns.

    How does Mr Davis gauge spiritual “truncality,” the aridity of someone’s worship, or another’s spiritual thirst?

    Having sung God’s praise with everything from raucous bands that pummel the senses to acapella Psalm singing (just guess which I judge to be more edifying & God-glorifying), I find the attempts at expansive spirit-life, wet worship, & soul-quenching spirituality to be hyped-up, shallow, and decidedly man-centered, not Christ-centered.


  7. 1st paragraph “prophecy”
    Last paragraph “prophecies”

  8. Sean Gerety Says:

    Thanks Patrick for the catch. And, Hugh, are you saying that charismatic worship is worldly? 😉

  9. K. Mapson Says:

    One proposition of the theological theory of pandeism is that people who are somehow able to contact the mind of our Creator as it unconsciously underlies our Universe find that experience so incomprehensible that the human mind automatically defends itself by interpreting such encounters as intentional communications from more familiar ideas of gods, thereby explaining all revelation and scripture.

  10. Hugh Says:

    Sean, often they can be “hyped-up, shallow, and decidedly man-centered,” yes…

  11. Hugh Says:

    Comment from ‘Having Two Legs’ blog:

    There, blogger Sumpter wrote: By Driscoll’s own account, he isn’t always 100% right which means he can’t be claiming to be a “prophet” according to the standards of Dt. 18. At the same time, the point I made several times in my previous post is that Driscoll seems to clearly appreciate the need for accountability and witnesses…
    {/www.tobyjsumpter.com/like-st-pauls-hipster-clone/#comment-835}

    I says, But isn’t he claiming that divinely-inspired images came into his mind?

    If MD truly is a seer of sorts, it’s strange that he publicly disclosed very personal & potentially embarrassing info that cannot be verified.

    All sides should agree that the identities of the people whose very intimate images Driscoll saw SHOULD not be divulged in a breach of ministerial protocol, privacy, & decency. But then, such is rather convenient, as therefore nothing he claimed to have seen can be verified.

    And shouldn’t the images’ lurid nature itself give us pause?

  12. Sean Gerety Says:

    I think the situation is considerably more serious. Driscoll tells of seeing child molestations claiming that these “visions” too have been confirmed by both the victims and perpetrators. Doesn’t he have a responsibility to report these and other crimes he “sees” to the authorities – especially when they’re confirmed, or so we’re told, by the parties involved?

  13. Denson Dube Says:

    “I think the situation is considerably more serious. Driscoll tells of seeing child molestations claiming that these “visions” too have been confirmed by both the victims and perpetrators.”

    Haven’t shrinks been doing this for a while now?
    If one has been abused and knows it, and someone else probably saw it happen and knows about it, what is the relevance of Mr Driscoll’s “visions”?
    The victims could have told Mr Driscoll about their plight — without him having to resort to dubious “visions”. Tell me something I don’t already know Mr Driscoll. This has the makings of the workings of a familiar spirit(demon). Shamans, palm readers and asorted spiritists have startled and entertained people with titilating details about their lives for centuries. However, demons cannot predict the future or know someone’s thoughts. This would be the acid test for Mr Driscoll’s giftings.


  14. The Charismatic “community” places more authority in their leaders and elders than in Scripture. As you say, they have the authority to go beyond Scripture and compel their followers to assent to what is in essence extra-biblical revelation. I saw this problem years ago in several articles published in the Church of God’s official theological journal, The Journal of Pentecostal Theology.


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