Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Cessationist theology rant

This week, I have been looking for the source of a particular quote on cessationism.

It took me a while, but I found it.  I do not have time to source this little post, but enough effort went into the search for a source that I do want to comment. 

Pinnock is right.  The Counter-Reformation was an age of miracles.  The supernatural exploits of Priests and Catholic missionaries were normal post reformation.  Warning, any general statement about millions of people over the vast geography and ethnicities of Europe is probably too specific.  Still, reformers tended to destroy relics and holy sites while Catholics tended to try to promote what was left.  A Catholic missionary would heal the sick, cast out demons, and perhaps even raise the dead.  All of this tended to cast doubt in mainstream Protestantism for the validity of most miracles.  (Wow that statement was too specific.) Pinnock is right that frowning on miracles largely started as a way to discount Catholic missionaries and Catholicism as a whole.

Ultimately, I have found strength in some classic Christian (yes, Catholic too) tests for the supernatural.  Assuming that there will be more false positives for demonic activity than there will be real demonic activity, some developed a series of tests. 
  1. Levitation - Can they fly or make other things fly?
  2. Clairvoyance - Do they know things that they cannot possibly know? Can they find my car keys?
  3. Speaking in tongues - Demons should know other languages than the native tongue of the oppressed/possessed.
  4. Supernatural strength - Contortions or lifting heavy objects
Some of my friends just need to look into people's eyes or see a feat of strength.  I want at least two evidences or hopefully three.   Likewise, if your "word of knowledge", "flag", or prophecy can be replicated by psychics, mentalists, and astrologers, I am going to be skeptical.  Just because you say that it is from God, doesn't mean that I am not going to need proof.  Also, you dream about 14 times a week, about 56 times a month, and about 730 times a year.  I can buy that one or more of them seemed to predict the future and seemed to be from God.  Still, unlikely things happen everyday, so please don't mind my questions. 

The first step to convince me that you spoke in tongues is to get a tape recording of the tongue and the translation.

By having these standards, I am limiting my religious experiences. I don't think that gifts of the Holy Spirit or miracles have ceased, just that most of what is out there is false positives. I don't know if Pinnock would have called this a self-fulfilling prophecy or not. I just want to see some proof.

1 comment:


    Something related--and a lot longer.