Modern Spiritual Gifts as Analogous to Apostolic Gifts

For a long time I’ve been wrestling with the role of spiritual gifts in the church today. Cessation theology poses a convincing argument and I’m still slowly figuring out where I stand a midst all of it. Here’s an interesting article I’m currently reading, it may provoke some more thoughts to those who are going through a similar situation. 

The Abstract:
The Book of Revelation is inspired. Modern visions, auditions, and “prophecies” are not inspired, because the canon of the Bible is complete. However, these modern visions and auditions may be analogous to the Book of Revelation, just as modern preaching is analogous to apostolic preaching. Like modern preaching, modern intuitive speech has authority only insofar as it bases itself on the final infallible divine authority of Scripture.

A key distinction here is the distinction between rationally explicit processes, such as those involved when Luke wrote his Gospel, and intuitive processes, such as those involved with the Book of Revelation. One type of process is not inherently more “spiritual” than the other. Both the Gospel of Luke and Revelation were inspired.

Modern preaching is analogous to Luke: in composing a sermon rationally explicit processes dominate. Modern “prophecy” or intuitive speech is analogous to Revelation. Intuitive processes dominate. The general analogy between apostolic gifts and lesser gifts of the present day suggests that rationally explicit processes and intuitive processes can both be used by the Spirit today.

Cessationists argue that New Testament prophecy was inspired and has therefore ceased with the completion of the canon. But there are still noninspired intuitive gifts analogous to prophecy. Therefore, in order not to despise the gifts of the Spirit, cessationists must allow for a place for intuitive gifts in their ecclesiology.

The fact that we have analogy rather than identity means that we must respect certain restraints. Modern intuitive phenomena must be subject to the same restraints that are placed on preaching. Everything must be checked for conformity to Scripture.”

Read it here: [Link to source]

Further Reading: “What are Spiritual Gifts?” by Vern S. Poythress

“Why I Called Out Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer” – By Rick Henderson

Original article can be found here.

Right_Quote-Vector-48 I have been preaching for 20 years. Yesterday I did something that I have never done before in a sermon. I publicly called out false teachers and named them by name. I said,

If you listen to Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer, if you take what they teach seriously, it will not be good for you. It will be detrimental to your long-term growth as a follower of Jesus.

(You can watch the sermon by clicking here)

I used to think that their error was so blatantly obvious that they could just be ignored. I was wrong. They are massively growing in popularity in the evangelical world and are seen as credible and helpful. Before I’m inundated with questioning emails I want to share why I distrust these two and think you should as well. So, don’t shoot met–at least not yet.

This post will be long, very long. And it will link to source material. There is likely more here than you care to ingest in one sitting. Take your time. Work through it carefully. I think you owe it to yourself and as you will see in this blog, we owe it to less fortunate Christians around the world.

When I was a kid I could tell the difference between neighborhood kids who wanted to be my friend from the neighborhood kids who were my friends so that they could play with my toys. Joel and Joyce are the latter. They both teach a twisted form of Christianity that teaches obedience, giving and faith as a way to get things from God. They are both products of what is known as the Prosperity Gospel and The Word of Faith Movement, or the Seed Faith Movement.


John Piper does a great job of defining what the Prosperity Gospel is and why it is so sinister. Please take a few minutes to watch this before moving on the critiques of Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen.


When I first heard her tell her story I was deeply moved and impressed. She is an amazing example of overcoming hurts and abuse. She will forever have my admiration and respect in that regard. Furthermore, she gives spectacular advice. If my wife or if one of my daughters went to her in a moment of crisis, I believe they would return with magnificently helpful advice. If they went to her for teaching, they would return with deadly heresy.

False Doctrine

1. She teaches that Jesus literally stopped being the Son of God on the Cross:

“He could have helped himself up until the point where he said I commend my spirit into your hands, at that point he couldn’t do nothing for himself anymore. He had become sin, he was no longer the Son of God. He was sin.” Joyce Meyer

2. She teaches that Jesus went to Hell and became the first-born again man:

“Do you know something? The minute that blood sacrifice was accepted Jesus was the first human being that was ever born again. Now that was real it happened when he was in hell.”

3. She teaches that Jesus paid for our sins in Hell:

“There is no hope of anyone going to heaven unless they believe this truth I am presenting. You cannot go to heaven unless you believe with all your heart that Jesus took your place in hell” Joyce Meyer (The Most Important Decision You Will Ever Make)

4. She teaches that words have power and you can release the power of Heaven through your words:

5. She teaches that you need special revelation from God to understand what she teaches because it is NOT contained in the Bible:

“The Bible can’t even find any way to explain this. Not really. That’s why you’ve got to get it by revelation. There are no words to explain what I’m telling you. I’ve got to just trust God that He’s putting it into your spirit like He put it into mine.” Joyce Meyer (What Happened from the Cross to The Throne? audio)

“Now spirits don’t have bodies, so we can’t see them. Okay? There probably is, I believe there is, and I certainly hope there is several angels up here this morning that are preaching with me. I believe that right before I speak some anointed statement to you, that one of them bends over and says in my ear what I’m supposed to say to you.” Joyce Meyer (Witchcraft & Related Spirits (Part 1) – 2 A-27 Audiotape)

6. She teaches that she is no longer a sinner:

Unfortunately I could continue with examples of her utter misuse of scripture, false teaching and blatant heresy. In America, Christians have an embarrassment of riches. We can buy more books, download more podcasts and tune into more helpful teachers than anyone else on the planet. The lies that she teaches are easily lost in the hum of all the great teachers we hear. But this is not the case in the third world.

In many other countries their resources are far fewer. Uneducated pastors, who are doing their very best and uninformed Christians have this garbage pumped into their countries through radio waves and TV broadcasts. Because Joyce Meyer is endorsed here, she is trusted there. And, she can afford to spread her message with the money she makes from American Christians who buy her books, CDs and who attend her conferences. Her influence is severely disrupting the church in the third world. Her teachings are the unfortunate starting point for Christians in the third world and it is birthing even greater heresies.

The devastating reality that we have to come to grips with is that when we support her here, we support the churches she is undoing there.

Financial Concerns

There is nothing wrong with being wealthy. I love it when Christians are rich. That should mean more money to fund the mission. But there is a line to how much money we as leaders should spend on ourselves. I don’t know where the line is, but it is somewhere before the ministry purchasing million dollar homes for us and our kids. That line is somewhere before purchasing us a $10 million private jet. The line is somewhere before the ministry spending $261, 498 for 68 pieces of furniture. That equates to $3,845.56 per item. That line is somewhere before spending so egregiously that the U.S. Senate investigates us. Joyce Meyer lands on the other side of that line.

The following link includes audio from Joyce Meyer. Around 5:30 she is asked if people will get more money back to them if they give financially to her ministry:

Not only does she teach giving as a way to leverage more money from God, she is reckless with desperate people. She is not at all concerned if people give to her instead of paying bills. This is intolerable!

Questionable Example and Lack of Accountability

I challenge you to watch a typical message by Joyce Meyer. Here are a few of things you will notice:

  • She pauses about every 5 minutes for applause. And if people don’t applaud she is likely to say something like, “I’m preaching better than you’re acting.”
  • She talks about herself constantly. She is the main character in every story she tells. Even when she talks about herself in a self-deprecating way, some how it comes across in a way that causes people to admire her more.
  • God talks to her and reveals new information to her…a lot!

Her ministry lacks real accountability. Her family and her close friends are the governing board. This is an organization that receives almost $100 million dollars annually, and with no substantive accountability.

Conclusion for Joyce Meyer

What I wrote and linked in the first section should have been enough to completely remove her from our sphere of trust. Her doctrine is horrific. Her hermeneutics are horrible. She is a woman who seems to have an unrestrained love for money and applause. Her finances are questionable at best. Her example is questionable at best. Her impact on desperate people here, as well as churches and pastors around the globe is wildly destructive.

I lament with you a sense of loss if she was a teacher you trusted. I lament that someone who is so wrong has so much influence with so many. I do not regret, however, pointing to her as a false teacher and as one who should be rejected.


Like Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen has some really great things to say. He is encouraging and the man is certainly happy. This should not be held against him.

The man is confused on theology. He has much of the same doctrinal misunderstandings as does Joyce Meyer. They come from the same tradition. His doctrine is difficult to discern for many because he won’t talk about doctrine. He won’t talk about theology. He quickly back pedals when asked hard questions, as seen here in an interview with Larry King:

In fairness, Joel published a letter of apology after this interview:

While I commend him for his humility and courage to publicly declare that he was wrong, this is just one of too many instances. He frequently misunderstands important matters of faith and doctrine when being interviewed. He repeatedly gets the Gospel wrong. And he does so when talking to millions.

If we take Joel at his word, our only conclusion is that he is either incapable or unwilling to understand and explain how the Gospel intersects with all of life.

We recently hosted Hank Hanegraaff (The Bible Answerman) at SMCC. He has some very helpful insights into Joel Osteen’s confused views of faith, doctrine and Scripture:

Joel Osteen and Prosperity Gospel

The Prosperity Gospel is much like all other religions in that it uses faith, it uses doing good things to leverage material blessings from God. Essentially, use God to get things from God.

“God has already done everything He’s going to do. The ball is now in your court. If you want success, if you want wisdom, if you want to be prosperous and healthy, you’re going to have to do more than meditate and believe; you must boldly declare words of faith and victory over yourself and your family” Your Best Life Now, p.132

“If you are believing for your child to find God, go help somebody else’s child to develop a relationship with God. If you’re struggling financially, go out and help somebody who has less than you have….If you want to reap financial blessings, you must sow financial seeds in the lives of others….If you want to see healing and restoration come to your life, go out and help somebody else get well” Your Best Life Now, pp. 224, 250–51

This is not the Gospel. This is a false Gospel. Joel teaches that we open ourselves to God to get more from God. He teaches that we use our words to speak into existence a better reality. This straight from the Word of Faith Movement. This is not what is taught throughout the New Testament. Consider what the Apostle Paul wrote. And remember that he wrote this while in prison.

Philippians 4:10-13 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.


When I was in seminary, Heather and I were poor. There were seasons in which I worked 70+ hours a week while taking a full-time Master’s load. There were times that I had to sleep every other day so that I could get all my work done. This was an extended period of exhausting financial stress.

During this time, I remember reading something from Joel Osteen. He and his wife claimed by faith a new house that they wanted. Joel was unsure, but his wife Victoria was confident. And she lovingly chastised him for his lack of faith. Sometime later, they purchased that house. Still in seminary, my wife and I were walking through our dream neighborhood and that was playing through my mind. As I walked through the neighborhood, looking at all the homes, I wanted so badly for what Joel is teaching to be true. I don’t know if you can understand how desperately I wanted it to be true.

I wanted relief and I wanted more. But I knew that it wasn’t true. I knew that my exhaustion and desperation made me emotionally vulnerable to this false Gospel. I’m educated and well read. I’ve haven’t just read the Bible, I’ve translated large chunks of it from the original Hebrew and Greek. I think I understand it. I think I have a relatively significant level of discernment. But for a moment, I was emotionally vulnerable to this false doctrine.

What about the millions of others who are desperate, searching, hoping and vulnerable without the discernment? We owe it to them to not tolerate this false gospel any longer.

If you made it to the end of this blog post, congratulations. This is a thick and heavy subject. Even though I’ve written much, this only begins to scratch the surface of the repugnant nature of the Prosperity Gospel.

John Calvin Institutes 3.2.34

Indeed the Word of God is like the sun, shining upon all those to whom it is proclaimed, but with no effect among the blind. Now, all of us are blind by nature in this respect… Accordingly, it cannot penetrate into our minds unless the Spirit, as the inner teacher, through his illumination makes entry for it.

John Calvin Institutes 3.2.34.

Ask Pastor John App

This is a great source for some short audio snippets that answer some common questions and topics in under 10 minutes. There’s over a couple hundred clips, all given by Pastor John Piper from Desiring God Ministries. This app is free and worth a look.

Ask Pastor John Screen 2

Download the Ask Pastor John App on iTunes

Desiring God Online is a great resource for learning and reading material on the word of God, which is all free and available.

(I have no affiliation or connection to Desiring God, I am just a supporter of their beliefs and material.)

Spiritual Gifts – Prophecy

Part 2 from Brian Schwertly’s writing on the spiritual gifts. This article is comprehensive in defining prophecy and its function. Here’s his introduction to this chapter:

We will learn much about New Testament prophets as we interact with the very popular Pentecostal view of this subject. Charismatic churches teach that the prophetic gift is still in operation today. That is, there are men and women who are receiving direct revelations from God. However, most Charismatic churches have a very schizophrenic view regarding this gift. On the one hand, they claim that divine revelation is not closed but continues. Yet, on the other hand they want to maintain the unique authority of Scripture. Thus, what is supposedly direct revelation from God is not treated the same as the Bible. Modern prophecy is treated as a secondary form of revelation that cannot be trusted. In Charismatic churches prophecy is not treated as an authoritative or binding “thus saith the Lord,” but as a vague exhortation or simply an exciting part of the service (like a music soloist). Charismatic intellectuals have even attempted to justify existing Charismatic practice by developing the notion that New Testament prophecy is different than Old Testament prophecy; that it is a lesser form of revelation. Is New Testament prophecy different than Old Testament prophecy? Is it somehow a lesser form of revelation? In order to answer these questions, we must first ask what is prophecy?

Read Chapter

Why the Gift of Prophecy Is Not the Usual Way of Knowing God’s Will

A sermon given by John Piper that distinguishes that the gift of prophecy is different to the prophecy that is used in the NT; scripture is super ordinate and the gift of prophecy is subordinate. Paul regards this as a gift to the church that is good for our edifying, hence we must wrestle with how it functions today.

Man’s Utter Inability to Rescue Himself

By Thomas Boston
The following article has been extracted from Boston’s classic work Human Nature In Its Fourfold State (Chapter 3, pp. 183-197).


We have now had a view of the total corruption of man’s nature, and that load of wrath which lies on him, that gulf of misery into which he is plunged in his natural state. But there is one part of his misery that deserves particular consideration; namely, his utter inability to recover himself, the knowledge of which is necessary for the due humiliation of a sinner. What I design here, is only to propose a few things, whereby to convince the unregenerate man of this his inability, that he may see an absolute need of Christ and of the power of His grace.

Read Article

Shai Linne – Q&A

Verse 1
Who is God? God is the universe’s Creator
And Sustainer plus the only Savior, there is no one greater
He triune, holy, omnipotent, omniscient, absolute
Loving, sovereign and righteous are a few of His attributes
How do we know this? Well, we know this from the Bible
Where God has revealed Himself- anything else is just an idol
What’s the Bible about? Man’s complete ruin in sin
And what God has done in Christ to bring us to Him again
What is sin? Sin is the breaking of God’s law
Plus our condition, which means from birth we all got flaws
What’s the result? The result is by nature we’re God’s enemies
And must pay the penalty unless God provides the remedy
What the remedy? The remedy is the cross of Christ
Where He suffered all the strikes for the lawless type
I’ve been rescued by the Lamb, I’m convinced that He’s risen
And blessed is the man whose sins are forgiven!


Just fall back, and with the eyes of faith
Behold the beauty of surprising grace
Because the Lamb has died, third day He had to rise
He’s magnified- God’s wrath is satisfied
Just fall back- there’s an atonement now
The cross of Christ is holy ground
Because the Lamb has died, third day He had to rise
He’s magnified- God’s wrath is satisfied

Verse 2
Regeneration- the Holy Spirit’s true work in His love
To the elect, who receive new birth from above
Expiation- expiation means God’s removed my filthiness
The old testament type was the goat into the wilderness
Redemption- we’ve been freed from slavery to sin
And His very own blood is the price He paid, my friend
Propitiation- Propitiation means since the Lamb has died
His work is finished- God’s wrath is satisfied
Adoption- adoption means God is now my Father
I got the hottest Poppa and by the Spirit holler Abba
Reconciliation means there’s no more enmity
God is now a friend to me, we’re no longer enemies
Justification- God declares us righteous
Sanctification- we’re being made into His likeness
Glorification- that’s what happens at the finish
When God conforms believers perfectly to Christ’s image!


Verse 3
God’s grace is magnificent, He slayed His innocent
Son- through faith and repentance we get the benefits
What is faith? Faith is a gift from God- when we receive this
We trust and treasure the person and finished work of Jesus
Repentance? Repentance is turning from your sin
And trusting Christ as the Spirit cleanses you within
What is grace? Oh, grace is unmerited favor
Our inheritance major ‘cause we cherish the Savior
Right, and if I may quote again, we were doomed with Satan
But believers get Jesus’ righteousness through imputation
Imputation? God takes Jesus’ righteousness amount
Through faith He credits it into the Christian’s account
Anything else? Well, I guess this overview must suffice
But none of this is possible apart from union with Christ
And finally, once you know the ways of the Lord than the
only thing that you can say is Soli Deo Gloria!


Two Wills in God

Sam Storms – Nov 8, 2006 

Series: Theology of Jonathan Edwards

“When a distinction is made between God’s revealed will and his secret will, or his will of command and decree, will is certainly in that distinction taken in two senses. His will of decree, is not his will in the same sense as his will of command is. Therefore, it is no difficulty at all to suppose, that the one may be otherwise than the other: his will in both senses is his inclination. But when we say he wills virtue, or loves virtue, or the happiness of his creature; thereby is intended, that virtue, or the creature’s happiness, absolutely and simply considered, is agreeable to the inclination of his nature. His will of decree is, his inclination to a thing, not as to that thing absolutely and simply, but with respect to the universality of things, that have been, are, or shall be. So God, though he hates a thing as it is simply, may incline to it with reference to the universality of things. Though he hates sin in itself, yet he may will to permit it, for the greater promotion of holiness in this universality, including all things, and at all times. So, though he has no inclination to a creature’s misery, considered absolutely, yet he may will it, for the greater promotion of happiness in this universality. God inclines to excellency, which is harmony, but yet he may incline to suffer that which is unharmonious in itself, for the promotion of universal harmony, or for the promoting of the harmony that there is in the universality, and making it shine the brighter” (Misc., 527-28).

Again, he insists that

“there is no inconsistency or contrariety between the decretive and preceptive will of God. It is very consistent to suppose that God may hate the thing itself, and yet will that it should come to pass. Yea, I do not fear to assert that the thing itself may be contrary to God’s will, and yet that it may be agreeable to his will that it should come to pass, because his will, in the one case, has not the same object with his will in the other case. To suppose God to have contrary wills towards the same object, is a contradiction; but it is not so, to suppose him to have contrary wills about different objects. The thing itself, and that the thing should come to pass, are different, as is evident; because it is possible that the one may be good and the other may be evil. The thing itself may be evil, and yet it may be a good thing that it should come to pass. It may be a good thing that an evil thing should come to pass; and oftentimes it most certainly and undeniably is so, and proves so” (Misc., 542-43).