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   August 2000 Pneuma Informer

In this Issue:

  • Moving: the Pneuma Foundation Website
  • Conference Highlights
  • Pneuma News
  • Excerpts from the Summer 2000 issue of the "Pneuma Review":
    • From "That Glorious Day When Tongues are Not Needed:Until Then . . ." Part 2, from the Praying In the Spirit series by Robert Graves
    • From the article "The Ninth Hour" By Kevin Williams from the Messianic Foundations Series
  • Prayer Requests & Praise Reports

Moving: the Pneuma Foundation Website

Just last month we announced that the new Pneuma Foundation website was open for traffic. Just recently Dave Driggs, the Pneuma Webmaster, informed us that our ISP had decided to "upgrade" us and begin charging more than we felt we could afford. Although the new site is still under construction, as of September 1st, the new site will be located at:

http://members.truepath.com/pneuma/ [This site is no longer valid]

Please excuse our mess as we resume our on-line operation.
Conference Highlights

Have you attended a conference this summer that really impacted your life or has significance for Pentecostal/charismatics? Write us and tell us about your conference highlights. We will be reviewing these highlights in the coming weeks and putting together a presentation for future reference and resource information.

Pneuma News

Society for Pentecostal Studies members who received the Spring 2000 SPS newsletter will see mention of 7 articles that have appeared in the "Pneuma Review" under the Newly Published Books and Articles on Pentecostal-Charismatic Themes, the Theology section, listed by author. All major articles that appeared in the "Pneuma Review" Winter and Spring 2000 issues are mentioned, excluding the Messianic Foundations series by Kevin Williams.

Excerpts from the Summer 2000 issue (Vol 3, No 3) of the Pneuma Review

From the article "That Glorious Day When Tongues are Not Needed: Until Then . . ." Part 2 of 2. From the Praying in the Spirit series by Robert Graves.

[The first four paragraphs are included again to introduce the 8 issues Graves discusses]

Completed Scriptures

For those dating the cessation of the charismata at AD 90-98 and into the second century, the inscribed revelation of the New Testament plays a momentous role'it is indeed the cessation factor. But even among these there is no agreement upon why and when. We go from the New Testament being written, to its being "circulated," to its being made "available," to its being "accepted by the Church."

For some choosing the completed New Testament as the cessation factor, it is only a matter of 1 Corinthians 13:8-13 being fulfilled: "Whether there be tongues, they shall cease . . . when that which is perfect is come . . " (KJV). For these the "perfect" to come is the New Testament, which culminated when the last letter of Holy Writ was penned. But the great majority of commentaries and many cessationists (see Figure 1on page 28) reject this interpretation of 1 Corinthians 13:8-13.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When J was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:8-13

No passage of Scripture has proved as rich to the debate between Pentecostals and cessationists as these six verses of Paul's. If the cessationists are right about this passage, the Pentecostal-charismatic doctrine of spiritual gifts dissolves. On the other hand, if the Pentecostal-charismatic interpretation is correct, the continuity of the spiritual gifts between the Apostolic Age and today is clearly and forcefully affirmed. Within these six verses there are eight issues to resolve. In verse 8 there are the issues of the variation and voice of the verbs; in verse 9 there are the issues of the omission of tongues and the nature of the partial; in verse 10 the nature of the perfect is the issue; in verse 11 the illustration of childhood to manhood is the issue; in verse 12 the issue is the interpretation of the mirror illustration; finally, in verse 13 the issue is the meaning of the word translated now.

. . .

Issue #2: Not only is there variation in the verbs in verse 8, there is variation in the voice of the verbs. The word that controls prophecy and knowledge is in the passive voice'"They are being stopped"'whereas the word that controls tongues is in the middle voice, which may mean that the subject acts upon itself'"They shall make themselves cease or automatically cease of themselves" (Robertson, Word, p. 179). This distinction is claimed as proof that tongues were to cease before the other two gifts (Baxter, p. 64; Dillow, p. 113; C. R. Smith, p. 83-84; Thomas, p. 105; Toussaint, pp. 314-3l5).

Actually, it may just as well prove that tongues last longer than prophecy and knowledge, assuming the variation of voice means anything at all. No one who is knowledgeable of the Greek language would say that when passive and middle voice synonyms are grouped together, the action of the middle verb takes place before the action of the passive verb. Furthermore, there is evidence that Paul could not have used the verbs he did in all passives or all middles. The verbs in question (katarg?th?sontai, future passive; pausontai, future middle) did not regularly occur in both forms (Ervin, These, p. 218). In addition to this, the research of Elbert, which included the examination of 2,000 examples of the middle voice of "will be stilled," confirmed the conclusions of other Greek scholars: The middle voice of this verb is used with the passive sense (pp. 26-27).

The thought of tongues making themselves cease is indeed very strange. The gifts "cannot cease of themselves, as they are things which do not control themselves . . . but originate with God and are under God's control" (Elbert, pp. 27-28). Saying that tongues will cause themselves to cease operating, according to Elbert, is equivalent to saying a flute will cause itself to cease playing.

Issue #3: "For we know in part and we prophesy in part," verse 9. What happened to tongues in this verse? Paul mentioned knowing and prophesying; why did he not mention tongues? The cessationist answer is that Paul omitted them as a sign that they would cease before the other gifts (Baxter, pp. 64-65, 70; Criswell, Baptism, p. 121; Dillow, p. 114; C. R. Smith, pp. 82, 87; Toussaint, p. 315). We might just as well conclude, however, since tongues are not mentioned here as ceasing with prophesy and knowledge, that only those two cease and tongues go on. Not that I believe tongues outlast these other gifts, but looking strictly at the grammatical form of this verse, it seems that the absence of tongues here might just as easily be construed to mean that prophecy and knowledge cease but tongues remain.

In reality, the absence of a reference to tongues here has no significance. Paul's omission of tongues from this verse may be explained by the awkwardness of including it: "For we know in part and we prophesy in part and we speak in tongues in part." How can one speak in tongues in part? If, as some believe, speaking in tongues is praise from the believer to God, it becomes even more clear why Paul didn't say we speak in tongues in part: Tongues are not partial or fragmented in the sense that prophecy and knowledge are. The gifts of prophecy and knowledge transmit cognitive bits and pieces from an infinite and omniscient God; as finite creatures, we can only comprehend the partial. The gift of tongues, on the other hand, does not find its source in the infinite knowledge of God; it is, instead, man pouring out his finite soul as the Spirit gives utterance to a God capable of receiving all and loving enough to accept the totality of man's expression.

. . .

Issue #8: "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love," verse 13. No one denies that love is eternal. At issue in this verse is the understanding of the word now and the disposal or retention of the two virtues faith and hope in eternity. Is the Greek word translated now to be understood as referring to time ("Today, these three remain") or to logic ("Now in fact, these three remain")? If now is interpreted temporally, it implies a contrast in time'the now of the three virtues (faith, hope, and love) with the then of the three gifts (tongues, prophecy, and knowledge). This interpretation is made to oppose the continuity of the gifts to our day by claiming that faith and hope, unlike love, will be done away with at the parousia. Therefore, if faith and hope are to outlast tongues, prophecy, and knowledge and if faith and hope cease at the parousia, then the gifts must cease before the parousia. The questions are: Is now to be taken temporally or logically? and Do faith and hope cease when Christ comes? (Dillow, pp. 123-124; Edgar, p. 344; Judisch, pp. 46-48; Thomas, pp. 113-115).

As Figure 1 indicates, the vast majority of commentators take now in its logical sense and believe that faith and hope are eternal. The only reasons for arguing otherwise are Paul's references to the dissolution of hope when it is fulfilled and faith when it becomes reality (see Romans 8:24; Hebrews 11:1; 2 Corinthians 5:7). But the contexts of these verses clearly do not point to the parousia. To the contrary, the contexts are, painfully, speaking of this world. It may be true that in His presence certain hopes we have may be fulfilled and particular beliefs we now hold by faith may become certainties, but this in no way eliminates every facet of hope and faith.

Is not faith also trust in God? Will we no longer trust Him? Will all of eternity be experienced in a moment so that it is improper to speak of expectations in heaven? In the words of Gaebelein and Mare, "Trust. . . in the Lord begun in this life will continue forever and . . . hope in the Lord begun now . . . will expand and issue into an eternal expectation of his perfect plan for our eternal existence with him" (p. 270).

The cessationists' application of the three verses in question (Roman 8:24; Hebrews 11:1, 2 Corinthians 5:7) in an absolute sense to 1 Corinthians 13:13 is done at the expense of the contexts of every verse involved. This is one reason why almost every commentator rejects the temporal use of now in verse 13. If contexts do not matter, then I might point out 1 Thessalonians 5:8, where faith and love are inseparably joined as the Christian soldier's breastplate!

Beyond the theological and philosophical arguments against the temporal use of now are the grammatical arguments. Greek scholars enumerate several reasons why the virtues of faith and hope cannot be separated from love.

  1. According to Lenski, the position of the verb "remain" stresses application to all three virtues in the triad (p. 571).
  2. Robertson and Plummer state that Paul's use of the singular verb with the three subjects argues for the durability of all three virtues (p. 300; Edwards, p.354).
  3. The construction of the sentence demands that, if faith and hope be construed as temporary, love be construed as temporary also (Lenski, p. 572).
  4. Faith, hope, and love are inseparably bound by Paul's "these three" construction (Lenski, p.573; Edwards, p.354).
  5. Goudge notes that the now of verse 13 is a different Greek word than the definitely temporal now's of verse 12 (p.121).
It should also be observed that Paul's point in verse 13 is to contrast the three permanent virtues and the three temporary gifts. To make two of the virtues also temporary seems to defeat the very purpose of Paul's comparison.

To eliminate faith and hope in heaven is to eliminate reasons for joy. It is more likely that our joys in heaven will multiply as further faith and hopes are continuously fulfilled from glory to glory throughout eternity:

"For faith will still find scope in the ever-deepening mysteries of the unfathomable wisdom of God, and hope will still look onward with assurance to some fresh fulfillment of God's redemptive purpose" (Abingdon Bible Commentary, p.1188).

Ultimately, 1 Corinthians 13 :8-1 3 provides scriptural support for charismatic continuity and knocks down all theories that would lock any of God's gifts out of the twentieth century. Ironically, when everyone agrees with this . . . when "we all reach unity in the faith," tongues will have ceased (Ephesians 4:11-13)!

Other cessationists who consider the completed New Testament the cessation factor take up an issue different from the fulfilling of I Corinthians 13:8-13. It is a theological issue of immense proportion. For these, the continued use of revelatory gifts, producing "fresh revelations," infringes upon the sufficiency and finality of Scripture.

Pentecostal-charismatic scholars have yet to answer this charge thoroughly. Perhaps it is because the objection seems so outrageously misplaced, given the high view of Scripture the great majority of Pentecostals hold.

Since Scripture says nothing explicit about the cessation of the charismata (except 1 Corinthians 13:8-13, which decrees them until Kingdom come), an extrabiblical argument must be posited. Thus, for some of the cessationists listed in the AD 90-98 column of Figure 2, the cessation of the charismata often becomes an argument based upon the following syllogism: Extrabiblical revelations undermine the sufficiency of Scripture; prophecy and tongues produce extrabiblical revelations; therefore, prophecy and tongues undermine the sufficiency of Scripture.

As much as the cessationists have tried to make the major premise self-evident, it is not. The key term, unfortunately, is the most nebulous'sufficiency. Sufficient for what? The obvious, most general answer is that it is sufficient for what it was given. The basic error of the cessationist is lumping the two'inscripturated revelation and revelatory charismata'into the same category on the assumption that they were given for the same purpose. There is no scriptural or logical reason for doing this.

A major error of the cessationists is that they focus on the source and authority of the charismata and ignore their function. Since the Scriptures and the charismata have the same source, so the argument goes, they have the same authority; therefore, the charismata undermine the sufficiency and finality of the Scriptures. But prophecies, when made subject to Scripture, do not derogate the authority of Scripture. Rather, they exalt it.

If a prophecy is from God, it is indeed authoritative; but though all such prophecies have the same origin, it doesn't follow that they have the same function. One function of Scripture is its service as The Standard. Since it alone serves as The Standard, prophetic utterances can neither attain its glory nor undermine its supremacy. All prophetic utterances are subject to its blazing light. If they survive, they are gold; if not, they are dross and are rejected by the Word-governed Body of Christ. Pentecostals and charismatics indeed shout sola scriptura'and louder than most.

Scripture is sufficient for what it was given; Scripture is final, not to be contradicted or overridden by local prophetic utterances, which are, along with all charismata, given "to each one . . . for the common good. . . All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines" (1 Corinthians 12:7, 11).

* * * * *

From "The Ninth Hour" by Kevin Williams, from the Messianic Foundations series.

We read in Acts 3:1 "Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour." Read in passing, we can gather that Kefa and Yochanon (their Hebrew names) were headed up Mount Zion at about 3:00 in the afternoon. This was a time-honored tradition the rabbis tell us goes all the way back to Isaac. "And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide."1

During the period of the second temple, the ninth hour had become wrapped in ritual and significance. As with many Hebrew observances, one only has to look a little while before encountering word pictures and metaphors that point to the person and purpose of Messiah. Join me as we go on an excursion, away from this temporal existence back to the period when Jesus walked the earth.

Imagine if you will, that you are a Levite. You're wearing your white linen robe, and you place the priestly turban upon your head. With practiced familiarity, you walk from the Southwest Chamber out into the Court of Priests in Herod the Great's Temple. The majesty of the temple complex still stuns you, as the golden Holy Place - where the ark of the Lord resides - gleams in the late afternoon sun. All around you are other priests busy about their work'for it is nearly the ninth hour.

Directly before you, the ramp, leading up to the altar, beyond that, a little to your right, is the Holy Place where the Most High dwells.

The shofars, the ram's horns, blare as the doors to your far right thrust open and the High Priest steps out into the late-day sun. It is time to fulfill God's holy Torah, "The one lamb thou shalt offer in the morning; and the other lamb thou shalt offer at even."2 His vestments of gold and jewels shimmer a dazzling array of colors and glory. The golden crown he wears reads, "Holy unto the Lord" and gleams like fire on his head.

A stream of other priests pour in through gates to the south, the north, and the east. Beyond these great bronze doors, you can see throngs of Israelites, milling about expectantly. Across the court, a chorus begins, singing from Psalm 66:15-20:

I will offer unto thee burnt sacrifices of fatlings, with the incense of rams; I will offer bullocks with goats. Selah. Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul. I cried unto him with my mouth, and he was extolled with my tongue. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.

The Cohen Gadol, the High Priest, approaches the great altar. A female lamb is brought forth, innocent and without blemish. It is the last sacrifice of the day'the asham offering'the sin offering that atones for all the sins the Hebrew people were ignorant of committing. Such a God we serve! To cover even our ignorance!

With accomplished skill, the neck is cut, the blood spilled, and the life drained. Speedily, the body of the young animal is dressed and placed on the altar, its fat burning a dark smoke that rises toward the heavens'a pleasing aroma.

Soon, the High Priest turns and utters the familiar words, "It is finished." Israel's sins have been atoned.

The courtyard fills with more Levites as the High Priest now moves toward the Holy Place. He carries with him, a pan of coals from the brazen altar and steps quickly through the gold-plated double-doors that lead into the holy place. These doors are so heavy it takes ten men on each to push them closed.

The final sacrifice has been made, but the day is not yet over. This is the time everyone has been waiting for. Peering back through doors into the outer court, the men have stopped moving, and stare up over the wall, in the direction of the Holy Place. They too, wait.

You cast your eyes to the Holy Place, lifting a hand over your eyes to shield them from the glare. Any minute now the incense will be burned.

Then suddenly, at the first sign of smoke from the Holy Place, the multitudes fall to their knees with their faces on the floor. The choir has stopped. The ram's horns have grown silent. The smoke rises from the Holy Place and a scent fills the air'the sacred incense is been burned. As frankincense, myrrh, cinnamon, cassia, and the smell of other herbs and spices fill your nostrils you once again become aware of your surroundings. All is still. There is no noise, no talking. It is the ninth hour and all of Israel is in prayerful communion with the Creator.

The words of King David come into your mind as you face the floor and direct your heart toward God; "Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice."3

For the next half-hour, no one will stir from their prone positions. No one will speak. The priest and the commoner, the rich and the poor, all are equal before God in prayer.

* * * * *

Prayer Request:
  • Direction about future printing plans is needed. Few methods of printing a journal such as the "Pneuma Review" are available at a price that is remotely affordable. From a purely business perspective, it seems that the Pneuma Foundation should either go into significant debt to finance a marketing campaign to raise subscription circulation; or substantially raise subscription rates. Neither of these options are attractive to the Board because they do not reflect the trust that we have as a ministry for the Lord to meet our needs and bring growth. Pray that the Lord will direct the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors to chose the best path.

Praise Reports:
  • A recent bill for printing aspects of the latest issue (Summer 2000) of the "Pneuma Review" was 4 times greater than expected. Through the generosity of the friends and members of the Pneuma Foundation, this need was met. Praise God for His faithfulness.

  • Please send us your prayer requests and praise reports. We have a great God who always meets our needs.
  • If you would like more information about how you may help in meeting these needs, please E-mail us.