Does 1 Cor 13 prove Cessationism?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by PastorSBC1303, Dec 24, 2005.

  1. PastorSBC1303

    PastorSBC1303
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    In another thread the following comment was made in regard to 1 Cor 13 making it clear that cessationism was correct.

    Please show me how they are clear and whether or not 1 Cor 13 proves Cessationism.
     
  2. Charles Meadows

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    I think it is pretty tough to argue that this verse touches at all on cessationism. The point is that EVERYTHING we do, have, and see now with vanish away when we get to heaven. There will be no need for tongues or any gifts when we make it to God's presence.

    Pentecost seen in context was a one-time event. Galations 5 shows us what the REAL fruits of the Spirit are.
     
  3. RandR

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    If one does enough hermeneutical gymnastics then one could make a case for cessationism from 1 Cor. 13. "Perfection" must become a reference to the closing of the canon or somesuch. Spurious.
     
  4. Rhetorician

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    Hello all:

    I have been wrestling with the "did they stop" or "are they here now" question for several years.

    I have, just this week, consulted with two young scholars who are personal friends of mine. I met them both during our tenure at Mid America Baptist Seminary in Memphis, TN. This is one of the most conservative bastions of conservatism in the SBC. They are both GK and Hebrew scholars and teach @ SBC institutions in their respecive fields.

    What I am about to share is just more info to help the critical minds on both sides of the issue consider an alternative or "moderating viewpoint." It is the view that some of MABTS' missions profs shared with them.

    The view goes something like this:

    When the Gospel goes into a new "people group," and let's say for instance that they do not have a written language. The Wycliffe Translators or whomever come along and formulate the alphabet and begin the translation of their language and teach them how to read and write etc. During this time the Gospel needs (you know what I mean here I hope) some form of certification or vindication with the native tribe. This is the time in which the "gifts" are demonstrable. Then, slowly and surely, as the educational process is complete there is no longer a need for the gifts since the Word of God is translated into the vernacular of the people.

    As the people learn the Scriptures the need for the gifts falls away. That way the gifts are present and stop as needed as an interim testimony to/of the Gospel.

    This is a moderating view that has some creedence and would seem to fit the early NT and practices since.

    This is only FYI and not written in stone. But, it does make some sense and helps the discussion along.

    The "tongue talkers" amongst us are going to have some real problems with it I know. They, like the Churches of Christ folk, want to make everything in Acts normative for today; in stead of allowing Acts be a transitional and historical book rather than a doctrinal book.

    Points to ponder & my two cents worth!

    sdg!

    rd
     
  5. Pastor Larry

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    The argument from 1 Cor 13 is admittedly an exegetical one that is not readily apparent without some serious consideration of context and grammar. However, at this time, I don't have the time to lay it out here. I didn't bail out on the other conversation. I simply didn't have the time to continue it.

    Doesn't it seem obvious in the context that "the perfect" is in contrast with the "tongues, knowledge, and prophecy"? It certainly seems so to me. Since tongues, knowledge, and prophecy are all partial forms of revelation (which everyone admits, don't they?), "the perfect" is the completed form. To make "the perfect" refer to something else would destroy the context, it seems to me.

    Those who say that Paul and the readers would have never thought of that would have to demonstrate why. Eph 2:20 and "the foundation" is recognized by most as a body of revelation for the church. Frequent references to "the faith" is recognized as a completed body of revelation for the church.

    This certainly is a valid topic, and perhaps later we can hash it out more.
     
  6. rlvaughn

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    PastorSBC, I didn't respond on the other thread because my view of I Cor. 13:10 is not settled. I was taught the cessationist viewpoint from this and other Scriptures, and I suppose I still generally think that way. I certainly wouldn't call it hermeneutical gymnastics. It's just a matter of determining the meaning of a phrase. My view is not settled does mean I want to speak in tongues, et al. It just means I'm not sure of the proper interpretation of this verse and its fuller pericope. The other interpretations I seen also have some problems and have not been persuasive enough to draw me to them. It does seem to me that the idea "that which is perfect" is the completed Scriptures is losing ground among evangelical Christians.

    One reason I find this discussion intriguing and the interpretation important, is that I am one of those to whom rhet refers, believing that apostolic practice is normative even for today. I do think he overstated it a bit. We don't "want to make everything in Acts normative for today" - just the things in the spiritual/religious realm that the churches consistently practiced.

    While looking for online discussion of the issue, I found the following, which might interest some of you:

    When That Which is Perfect is Come? - by Tony Warren

    The Gift of Tongues and That Which is Perfect

    I Corinthians 13 - a Study Guide

    Have Miracles Ceased?

    If "Tongues" Have Ceased, Why Hasn't "Knowledge"?
     
  7. DHK

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    Please show me how they are clear and whether or not 1 Cor 13 proves Cessationism. </font>[/QUOTE]I'll try to give you some reasons why I think they have ceased.

    First of all, it says they will cease. It doesn't say they will continue. This should be obvious to all in the discussion. It is 21 centuries now since that statement was made. The purpose of tongues, (among many) were: 1) to be a sign to the Jews. It was a fulfillment of Isaiah 28:11,12. When the Jews disregarded that sign judgment came. It came in 70 A.D. The sign is removed because the purpose of the sign has been fulfilled. When a sign saying "Warning! Bridge is out!" is put up, the sign is taken down when the bridge is repaired. Their was a warning sign put out for the Jews. They disregarded it, but nevertheless the sign was taken down, when its purpose was fulfilled (1Cor.14:21; Isa.28:11,12)

    It was also a sign to confirm the authenticity not only of the apostolic message but of the apostle himself. (Heb.2:3,4; 2Cor.12:12). The last apostle wrote the Book of Revelation in 98 A.D. and died shortly thereafter. The signs ceased by the end of the first century when the canon of Scripture was complete. It ended when the apostolic age was ended. It ended when the Jews of the first century passed off the scene. The sign gifts of the Spirit ended because they were signs. These signs are no longer needed for the reasons stated above. Signs don't continue. Signs are temporary. They cease. Why do we have people contradicting the Word of God, changing the word "cease" to "continue"? That is the way that I look at.

    There are also two contextual issues at hand.
    One is that the context is clearly God's revelation. Prophecy is a means of God revealing his truth to mankind. Tongues with its proper interpretation had the same purpose. Revelatory knowledge also had the same purpose. Each of these gifts were directly involved with the revelation of God.

    1 Corinthians 13:8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

    Each of these gifts would also cease.
    Thus the context demands that "that which is perfect" refer to God's revelation. How can it refer to Christ, Christ's Coming, etc. when the context is the revelation of God. God's revelation carries on to chapter 14 where there is a discussion between two of these reveletory gifts: tongues and prophecy. The Bible is God's complete or perfected revelation to mankind. It at one time was incomplete. Christ was never incomplete. The Bible was brought to perfection. Christ was alwasys perfect. The context refers to a completed Word of God, that at one time was not complete. When it was complete, that which was in part (the temporary sign gifts) were done away with. They ceased.
    The other problem most people don't want to deal with is the fact that telion is a Greek noun in the neuter gender. Of course Christ is not neuter, a reason why it cannot refer to Christ. But it cannot refer to the Word of God, keeping in mind that there is more than one word for "Word."

    A Second "context" proves to be very interesting:
    There are three categories of gifts mentioned in 1Cor.13.
    The first is love, which stands alone as a permanent gift. In verse 8, it says that Love abides forever. All the others will cease. But love alone will remain forever. In verse 13: Out of faith, hope, and love; love is the greatest of all. The greatest gift is love. It is a permanent gift in that it alone will continue on into eternity, whereas the others will not.

    The second group is faith and hope.
    Faith will only last until Christ comes.
    "We walk by faith and not by sight." When Christ comes we no longer will need faith.
    The same is true of hope. Christ is our hope. When he appears we will no longer need to hope for him. Faith and hope will end with the Coming of Christ--when we see Jesus. We might call these semi-permanent gifts.

    The third group are the temporary gifts mentioned in verse 8: prophecy, tongues and (revelatory) knowledge. Paul is making a definite contrast. If love lasts forever, and faith and hope last until the coming of Christ, then these three gifts must of a necessity cease well before the coming of Christ. It is a contrast. They are temporary gifts. They ceased at the end of the first century. It was faith and hope that will last until the coming of Christ. Tongues, etc. will cease (and did), when their purpose (as a sign) was fulfilled. I believe also that histroy bears all these things out.
    So taking into consideration all of these factors together, and just not one of them alone, I believe a good argument can be made from this passage for the cessation of tongues.
    DHK
     
  8. PastorSBC1303

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    This is very interesting. It definitely throws another view in to the discussion. Thanks for sharing.
     
  9. PastorSBC1303

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    As others have stated on here I have been wrestling with this topic for awhile. I have always been taught they have ceased, but I have never really been shown how that works. Part of the problem I see is what you mention here. It is not readily apparent, and to me it is not readily apparent after serious consideration of the context and grammar. I think if it was we would not be having this discussion.


    No it really does not seem obvious. I am not going to call it hermeneutical gymnastics, but it does seem you have to put a lot of effort into making it work and it still comes out unclear.


    I hope we can. I respect your views on the board and would like to seriously know how you piece all of this together.
     
  10. rlvaughn

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    I thinking that could be an indictment of the other positions as well.
     
  11. PastorSBC1303

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    I think you and I are in similar places. Thanks for the articles.
     
  12. PastorSBC1303

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    I think you are right. That is why I have a hard time seeing how anyone can definitely say one way or the other.

    I think of all the positions I have heard the one that rhet listed above is the most consistent with where I would be labeled at the moment. But I am sure the journey will continue.
     
  13. Rhetorician

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    Gentlemen, Gentlemen!

    I am persuaded that whatever presuppostional exegetical opinion one brings to the discussion will influence the outcome of said discussion!

    Will it not?

    Are any of us truly open to new evidence? "Please do not confuse me (any of us) with the truth, my mind is already made up!"

    This is probably like talking a "tongues talker" out of their gift of toungues after the fact. It is hard to argue with someone else's experience or presuppostional exegesis; is it not?

    sdg!

    rd
     
  14. PastorSBC1303

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    rhet shouldnt we be open to the truth whether it agrees with our presuppositional opinions or not?

    Part of my problem is that I have talked with many men with whom I have a great deal of respect in my personal life and it seems that the majority of them teach cessationism, but yet none of them can really tell you why from a Biblical standpoint.

    It seems to always come down to the following "well I know this is not real clear, but this is what Baptists believe and therefore this is what I believe." I just do not think we should settle for such logic.

    If Cessationism is the correct Biblical stance, then we should be able to present a sound case from Scripture. If it is not, then we should stop saying this is what "baptists" believe.
     
  15. PastorSBC1303

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    Yes it does say they will cease. That is not the issue. The issue is has that time already come?

    Here is a question for you. If it has ceased why do we have situations like this following story that I shared in another thread taking place?

    I am not referring to the gibberish garbage that we see taking place in many places in our world. I am referring to legitimate stories like the above that seem to provide validation for the gift of tongues still being active today.
     
  16. rlvaughn

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    I think you are correct. I know that is true of my own experience. Yet if we keep in mind that surely we don't know all there is to know, and that the Bible is the author of our faith and practice we are subject to changing once in awhile.

    In my circa 25 years as a minister, I have come to really believe some things (and get a firm grip on why) that I initially held because I was taught that way. But I have also had to discard some things I believed and add some I didn't, a few of which were major changes. For example, I have embraced sovereign grace, feet washing, anointing with oil, plurality of elders and a lot of other things, most of which were not only not a part of what I was taught, but were a part of things I was taught to NOT believe. For the most part, though, my study has confirmed what I already believed.
     
  17. DHK

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    Yes it does say they will cease. That is not the issue. The issue is has that time already come?

    Here is a question for you. If it has ceased why do we have situations like this following story that I shared in another thread taking place?

    I am not referring to the gibberish garbage that we see taking place in many places in our world. I am referring to legitimate stories like the above that seem to provide validation for the gift of tongues still being active today.
    </font>[/QUOTE]I have heard of such things happening, all of them anecdotal. I am very skeptical because of the outlandish claims I hear from Charismatics. Yet at the same time I wouldn't limit God to cause such a miracle to happen. That would be out of the ordinary, not the norm. I also am a missionary to another nation (other than Cananda). We were forced to learn another nation, just as the Charismatics that were over there were forced to learn to speak the same language. In fact the United Pentecostals who make speaking in tongues as a requirement for salvation, still have to learn the language themselves. It becomes quite apparent that the real gift has ceased. The "gift of gibberish" is very common, but of course that is no gift at all. If the gift of speaking in a foreign language were truly in effect today it would be commonly used today. We would see it in many churches. But the fact is we don't. It has ceased. Other than the one exception that you mention, I never hear of anyone speaking in an actual foreign language and an interpreter actually translating it for the benefit of others--all on a miraculous plane. It just doesn't happen today. None of the sign gifts are in operation today. Where is the evidence that they are?
    DHK
     
  18. PastorSBC1303

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    Are you not contradicting yourself here? You say you would not want to limit God...but then you turn around and say it is not happening.

    Why would it have to be used more for it to be real? Maybe it is only supposed to be in certain, special situations? Just because you are not seeing it happen in your area of ministry or in ones you know about does not mean it is not happening in places.

    I have absolutely no reason to doubt the professor that shared this with our class. He was one of the most real, sincere men of God I have ever known. He told us that he was a die hard cessationist until that situation.
     
  19. DHK

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    A question:
    If God gave one individual the power to speak in a foreign language, according to his divine grace and power, does that necessarily mean that the gift of speaking in tongues is in operation today?
     
  20. gb93433

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    Rhetorician

    Good point. A friend of mine who returned from the mission field in Ethiopia after about 25 years told me that it was like going back into the book of Acts. He also told me that he does not share those things in America because most people would not understand and label him a pentecostal. He and his wife were both in the Navigators at one time. He is certainly not pentecostal at all.

    He also told me that near the end of his stay that if he went to a public school and told them he would like to tell them about Jesus they would close the classes and have an assembly for that express purpose.
     

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