Category Archives: Article

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

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?

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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.

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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).


A Reformed View of God’s Love

by Rev. Chris Connors  (Manasquan Reformed Bible Church)

John Knox wrote; “You make the love of God common to all men, and that we constantly do deny.” Why did he write that? He wrote it because he knew that…

Love is one of God’s attributes, along with holiness and righteousness.

Love is an attribute of God (1 John 4:8,16; Romans 5:8).

Holiness and righteousness are equally attributes of God (Josh. 24:19; Ps. 99:5; Rev. 4:8; Psalm 145:7; Acts 17:31).

God cannot love sinners without justice being fully satisfied (Ex. 34:7). God does love some sinners because Divine justice and mercy meet in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on their behalf (Psalm 85:10; Rom. 5:8).

God does not need to love any sinner.

There is nothing about us sinners that moves God to love any one of us (Ps.l4:l-3; 144:3; Gen. 6:5; Rom.3:10-19).

God’s own good pleasure is what moves Him to have mercy and show love to any particular sinner (Eph.l:5/9, 11; Rom.9: 15,16; Exo.33:19; Deu.7:7-9).

Election is the fountain of God’s love for sinners.

Before the foundation of the world. God has set His love upon some sinners in unconditional election (Jer.31:3; 2Tim. 1:9; Eph.l:4). Electing love gives the elect to Christ, and Christ to the elect, as the gift of love to save the elect (Johnl7: 6/11; Eph. 1:4). At the same time God, to show the glory of His justice, leaves others in their sins as objects of His righteous hatred (Matt. 11:25-26; Rom. 9:13,15,18, 21-23).

God’s love always saves.

Because the elect world is loved in Christ (Eph.l:3ff).

Because Christ was given to die on the cross to save the world of elect sinners (John 10: 11, 26-29: John 3:16; Rom. 5: 8; 2Tim. 1: 9, Gal. 2:20).

Because God’s love, flowing from election, produces effectual calling, justification and glorification (Romans 8:28-31; Jer. 31:3; I Peter 1:2; 2 Tim. 1:9).

God loves the elect – God hates the reprobate.

God loves the elect eternally, unchangeably, and savingly (Jer. 31:3, Mal. 3:6). God justly hates the reprobate (Rom. 9:13,18, 22; 2 Peter 2:8).

The hatred of God is sovereign and righteous. Sovereign in that God passes by for no other reason than his own good pleasure. Righteous because God hates them as guilty sinners and purposes that, in the way of their own sins, they should be condemned and damned.

It is NOT true that God loves all sinners, but hates their sin.

Sin can not be separated from the sinner, because it is the nature of man that is sinful (Psalm 51:5; Jer. 17:9; Matt.l2:34-35; Luke 6: 44-45).

The Bible speaks of God being angry with, and hating the wicked, that is people who do wickedness (Ps. 5:4-6; 11:5-6; Prov. 16:4).

The proposition is true only of God’s elect for God loves them in Christ (Rom.5:8-10; Eph.2:l-10). God loves them because He predestinated them unto the adoption of children in Jesus Christ, and He has satisfied His justice against them and their sin when Jesus died in their stead on the cross of Calvary. And, God loves them in such a way that they ALL are all united to His Son for justification, sanctification and glorification – being brought to live unto God, confessing always: “The life I now live, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me” (Eph.l:4-5, Gal. 2:20).

God is not actively loving non-elect men when he gives them good things in this life, like money, health etc, or even when He sends them the gospel to hear.

Prosperity is no sign that God’s loves this or that particular sinner (Ps. 73:18-19; Luke 12:20, 21).

Hearing the gospel preached is no sure sign that God loves this or that particular sinner (Matt.l3:10- 15, 22:14; 1 Peter 2:8; 2 Cor.2:14ff).

A sinner may be assured that God loves him/her only when there is evidence of that love having produced saving faith in their life. In other words. God’s electing, redeeming love, is manifest in their lives through true faith and repentance (1 John 4:19).


The Biblical and Reformed faith teaches that God’s love flows to His elect, and His elect alone, in and through Jesus Christ.

© 2012 Manasquan Reformed Bible Church (Source)