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Husband of one, Father of two, Fly for Fun, Get paid to wait.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

God's Word IS Alive!

I have been reminded of John Piper's "The Morning I Heard The Voice Of God" again this week. Matthew Tilley had a short post on hearing from God over at his blog. Here is my comment on his blog if you would like to see what I said there; which in part led to this post. I also have recently purchased the new Casting Crowns CD: The Altar and the Door. There is a song on this CD that also caught my attention that is related to this subject.

The Word Is Alive
Written By: Mark Hall & Steven Curtis Chapman

Looking out from His throne, the Father of light and of men
Chose to make Himself known and show us the way back to Him
Speaking wisdom and truth into the hearts of peasants and kings
He began to unveil the Word
That would change the course of all things
With eyes wide open, all would see

Simple strokes on a page
Eternity's secrets revealed, carried on from age to age
It speaks Truth to us even still
And as the rain falls from Heaven,
Feeds the earth before it returns
Lord, let Your Word fall on us
And bring forth the fruit You deserve
With eyes wide open, let us see
The Word is alive
The Word is alive

The Word is alive
And it cuts like a sword through the darkness
With a message of life to the hopeless and afraid
Breathing life into all who believe
The Word is alive
And the world and its glories with fade
But His truth, it will not pass away
It remains yesterday and forever the same
The Word is alive

Wow. Powerful words. But these words from God Himself are even more powerful.

What Has God Said About This?
  • II Timothy 3:16-17: "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work."
  • Isaiah 55:10-11: "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it."
  • Isaiah 40:8: "The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever."
  • Hebrews 4:12-13: "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do."
  • John 1:1-5: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
  • I John 1:1-4: "What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life--and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us--what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete."
  • Romans 1:16: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek."

What I Am Thinking About This?

I have always been taught that the charismatic or sign gifts of the Holy Spirit have ceased. These gifts are speaking in tongues, prophecy, and healing. The theological term for this is cessationism. The following is from Grace Community Churches doctrinal statement:

  • We teach that God the Holy Spirit is sovereign in the bestowing of all His gifts for the perfecting of the saints today, and that speaking in tongues and the working of sign miracles in the beginning days of the church were for the purpose of pointing to and authenticating the apostles as revealers of divine truth, and were never intended to be characteristic of the lives of believers(1 Cor. 12:4-11; 13:8-10; 2 Cor. 12:12; Ephesians 4:7-12; Hebrews 2:1-4).

After studying this hot-button issue for myself; I still agree with the above position of Grace and of my church, Twin City Baptist Church. Now the other position is continuationism or noncessationism. This position holds that these gifts have continued to the present age.

From what I have seen most of the pentecostal or charismatic movement abuses this teaching, and it harms or hinders the message of the gospel. Probably the best example of this is Benny Hinn.

Now there is the side of this movement that is strong in doctrine, has a high view of God, and denounces the extreme side of their movement. Organizations like Sovereign Grace Ministries, and Godly men like C.J. Mahaney to just name a few. I apologize to C.J. for comparing him in any way to Benny Hinn. I just wanted to point out there is truth being preached, and Benny Hinn and others like him do not preach truth.

Final Thoughts, Maybe?

Piper gets the point across that I have been trying to make for this entire post from this quote in the article linked above-

  • “Something is incredibly wrong when the words we hear outside Scripture are more powerful and more affecting to us than the inspired word of God…O God, don’t let us be so deaf to your word and so unaffected with its ineffable, evidential excellency that we celebrate lesser things as more thrilling, and even consider this misplacement of amazement worthy of printing in a national magazine...”

Now if you want a more complete explanation of Piper's position listen too or read his sermon entitled: By Signs and Wonders: Where Christ has not been named. He preached this sermon on August 20th of this year.

The only reason I bring up this side of the discussion is the fact that the Word of God should be central in all that we say and do, but I feel those who see the sign gifts of the Holy Spirit still at work today focus all their energy in that direction, and forget that God does still speak, but through His written Word. His written Word that He has preserved over thousands of years, it continues to stand the test of time, and is sufficient to meet every need. That should be our focus and that is what we should celebrate.


jAsOn said...

Hi Matt,

I just discovered your blog. The gifts issue is one I have looked at just a little bit. I'm not sure where I stand on it; certainly not with Hinn! Thanks for providing the quotes and your thoughts.

Matt Mabe said...

Yeah, I know what you mean. I have not studied it enough to be personally dogmatic about it, but have heard a lot of people who have studied it in depth over the years though. Hinn and those in that crowd are definitely wrong.
On another note, I also have read many of your post on your blog but have never commented.

jAsOn said...

I hope to some day study this topic in more depth and develop my own, solidly bible based position which I can defend...so many theological topcs, so little time :)

I understand about posting comments, most of the blog articles I read, I never post a comment on.

Thanks for reading some of the articles on my blog...sometimes it seems like you're the only one reading your blog. I've decided that God is humbling my inflated ego :) and making me understand that He is the audience to whom I should write, I mean for His glory alone and not mine...not even in part!