This is a constructive criticism piece on your work F. Not every sentence of your work will be quoted. Only those with blatant errors that are easy for me to conclusively and logically refute.
However, it is aggravating that the debate has been set up between cessationism and continuationism, because this arrangement diverts attention away from the actual biblical doctrine about this topic of spiritual gifts and powers.
The only way the arrangement can divert attention from the biblical doctrine is if the arrangement is a false dichotomy. I read the rest of F looking for a demonstration of a third doctrine that is neither cessationism nor continuationism (or a proper subset thereof), but instead you presented a doctrine that is a logical subset of continuationalism (“expansionism” is a subset of continuations because every expansionist is a continuationist but not every continuationist is an expansionist).
Your first essay is supposed to be your most powerful piece and we are NOT off to a good start.
Indeed, the Bible teaches that the spiritual gifts would continue until the coming of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:7).
Then why does the author of 1 Corinthians say that as of his writing, only faith, hope and love remained? I am talking about this verse: “and now these three are kept: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13) To say that X, Y, and Z are now kept is to imply that A, B, C, and possibly D weren’t kept. So what are your alternative candidates for A, B, C, and D that Paul implicitly referenced? You must provide them.
It also specifies the exact conditions for the cessation of these gifts. It indicates that by then, we will have received the maximum effects that the gifts could bring, including knowledge, healing, and so on -- not potentially, but actually in our experience -- such that there will be no more room for them to function (1 Corinthians 13:8-12).
This comes from a misunderstanding of Greek grammar. The only way you could interpret that paragraph as saying that the gifts will cease when “we will have received the maximum effects” is if you mistakenly think the word τὸ τέλειον means “perfection.” However, in this context τὸ τέλειον means “the entire…” with the ellipses left supplied to the reader (as Greek and Latin love to do), so what Paul wrote was “the entire thing.” Therefore the correct translation of 1 Cor. 13:10 is “but when the entire thing comes, what is in part disappears.” If Paul were Vincent Cheung, then he would have almost certainly used the word τελειότης instead… were he really intent on communicating “perfection” as a realized eschaton.
[because there is no more room to function] is the only reason for any gift to cease.
How do you explain the spiritual gift God gave to Bezalel to construct the Tabernacle? (Exodus 31:3-5) It is obvious from reading the passage that this gift was a “one-time” dispensation for a very unique occasion, namely, when there was an ark of the covenant. It would be very difficult (read: impossible) for you to interpret this passage without using cessational-style arguments.
Expansionism is the Bible's explicit doctrine on the subject of spiritual gifts, powers, and miracles. This is the only biblical perspective. I am unaware of any official recognition of the doctrine, so I have selected the term for it.
That’s because, from what I gather from perusing your section, expansionism is being defined to mean continuationalism and postmillennialism bundled together, so there’s nothing original enough to justify the creation of more jargon (as if theology didn’t have enough!)
The word is sometimes used in a political sense, but I mean it in a spiritual sense. It is applied to every aspect of the advance of the gospel, but in this context we will focus on the supernatural powers and miracles that God works in association with his people. This is the biblical doctrine that supernatural powers and miracles are to increase in God's people beyond what Jesus Christ himself exercised. They are to multiply exponentially in quantity and frequency, in intensity and magnitude, in the diversity of representation, and in the scope of jurisdiction. There should be an accumulated momentum, so that compared to Jesus and the apostles, and compared to each previous generation, the church should demonstrate more miracles, greater miracles, miracles performed by more kinds of people, and miracles performed in more areas of the world.
This is just the textual evidence that “expansionism” = continuationalism + postmillennialism.
I could start with Abraham, but then I would have to explain how God promised to bless all nations through him (Genesis 12:3), how this promise culminates in the Spirit (Galatians 3:14), and how the Spirit entails miraculous powers and experiences (Acts 2:17-18, Galatians 3:5), so that the doctrine of expansionism had been established since the beginning.
Nothing here contradicts what cessationalists teach, because every cessationalist believes that invisible gifts (e.g. pastor-teaching, apologetics, etc…) are 100% supernatural and 100% of divine origin.
Moses offers us something more direct. When some men received the Spirit and prophesied for a while, seemingly in a context that Joshua disapproved, he told Moses to stop them. But Moses said, "Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the LORD's people were prophets and that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!" (Numbers 11:29).
Indeed, Moses wished for a good thing. Namely, that all of God’s people would speak God’s words at every occasion. That’s the definition of being a prophet. And there’s nothing stopping that from happening today: just open up a Bible and start reading it out loud. Congratulations, you are now literally a prophet, because you are speaking God’s words. It’s like when people brag about “being an author.” Guess what? Everyone who has ever sent an SMS is an “author.”
When the disciples urged Jesus to stop someone who performed miracles without his authorization, the Lord replied, "Do not stop him. No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us" (Mark 9:39-40, also Luke 9:49-50).
If you were to perform a miracle greater than Jesus', such as transmuting my office desk into solid gold by volume, I’m not going to stop you. But cessationalists believe that there aren’t any miracles to stop, because no miracles are happening. And it does no good for your side to say “Cessationalists are unbelievers so they’ll never see miracles,” because Paul explicitly states that signs are for unbelievers! (1 Corinthians 14:22)
We maintain that the miraculous is integral to the gospel, so that it is not an optional or temporary part of it, but that it is the gospel -- along with every other thing that is the gospel.
(1) For any X, if X is integral to the gospel then all believers believe or do X. (Justification: a priori definition).
(2) Let X be substituted with "miracle-working” in Step 1, yielding the new statement “if miracle-working is integral to the gospel then all believers do miracles.” (Justification: universal quantifier elimination rule).
(3) But all believers do not do miracles (Justification: 1 Corinthians 12:29)
(4) Therefore miracle-working is not integral to the gospel.
Quod erat demonstrandum.
How many times did he say something like this to his disciples?
He also tells his disciples to “give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back” (Luke 6:30) and “if someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.” (Luke 6:29)
Everyone means everyone. Most importantly, everyone includes me. So now I need $10k from you. Would you prefer to use PayPal or a wire-transfer? Or are you suddenly a cessationalist now when it comes to the commandment of giving out your hard-earned cash? 😃
For example, James 5:15 is a promise for miracles of healing.
James 5:15 is a promise for healing for those suffering from divine discipline. Interestingly, you chose to leave out the last sentence of that verse “If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.” Whoops.
Although our focus is on miracles, this doctrine embraces everything Jesus did, and not only his miracles.
I couldn’t agree more. PayPal or Wire-Transfer?
This makes it even more inexcusable to overlook it, to reject it, or to be selective about it.
Yup. Anybody who disobeys Luke 6:29-30 has no excuse. PayPal or Wire-Transfer?
It is flaccid.
Don’t use sexually-charged vocabulary to insult your opponents. It makes you sound like President Trump (“Hillary Clinton doesn’t have the stamina…”) And you are a pastor. You’re supposed to be beyond reproach in your speech (James 3:1) You will not be shown mercy. To quote yourself just a few more pages down:
The fact that you have been trained in seminary makes you even more culpable. Jesus said, "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked" (Luke 12:48).
Although not every cessationist uses the same stupid arguments, all their arguments are stupid like this one, and they sometimes contradict one another.
In logical proof, it’s not a problem if a set of premises P imply S, a set of premises Q imply S, and P & Q are mutually inconsistent.
To use Paul's statement this way in order to make the "Scripture" in this verse identical to the complete Christian Bible, this must not only be the final document, but it must be the final sentence in Scripture.
No it doesn’t have to, because Paul said that “all scripture is sufficient…” not “all scripture up to this point is sufficient…”
Moreover, for the "Scripture" in this verse to be identical to what we have, Timothy must have had access to the Christian Bible in its complete form.
No he didn't have to, because Paul was referencing all scripture past, present and future, not scripture that he had then.
In fact, it is likely that Paul had in mind only what Timothy could access in his infancy, since the verse before says, "From infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 3:15).
This is a completely bizarre train of thought.
Prophecy was spoken to Timothy, and Paul told Timothy to use it, to fight the good fight with it.
That is not at all what the verse said. 1 Timothy 4:14 said that Timothy should use the gift, and that the gift was given through a prophetic message. Timothy was using the result of the prophecy, not prophecy itself. But besides all that, the prophecy was given out in a different era.
I know someone who started preaching when he was sixteen, right away to people who were thirty-five to seventy-five. He would teach about many topics from the Bible, and counsel these adults about anything from parenting, drug abuse, to sexual dysfunction, having never experienced these things.
"A teacher must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil.” (1 Timothy 3:6)