Posted by: Standing Solus Christus | March 31, 2008

How is Christ a Prophet? (Lesson 6: Question 5 Answer)

5. How is Christ a Prophet? 

Upon establishing that our passage manifests the convergence of the munus triplex in our last entry, we will take some time to consider Christ’s office of Prophet in more detail.  In order to elucidate this mediatorial office further we will remain focused on the following verses of our passage: 

18So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” 19Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 22When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

As we begin our task of examining the offices of Christ more thoroughly it is helpful to cite the Heidelberg Catechism question and answer 31 (HC Q & A 31).  It is important to point out that the Old Testament manifestation of all three of these distinct offices required one to be anointed unto the position (2 Kings 2:14-15; Exodus 30:30-31; 1 Samuel 10:1).  This anointing was symbolic of the Holy Spirit empowering these individuals to perform the duties associated with the office.  We belabor this point since the catechism insightfully points out that Jesus was not only anointed as the officers of the old order, but was Anointed with Holy Spirit as is illustrative in the descent of the dove at His baptism.  His anointing was not only symbolized by the pouring of oil on the forehead (ectype), but was administered by the Holy Spirit Himself (archtype) proceeding from the Father in heaven (Matthew 3:13-17).  Hence, the name Messiah or Christ, which means plainly the anointed one, is a title given to Him to acknowledge His special endowment of being anointed with the Spirit beyond measure.  It is this anointing bestowed with significant abundance that enables Jesus to execute these offices in a comprehensive and exceptional fashion.  His execution would be above and beyond the Old Testament figures that merely foreshadowed the coming of this perfect representative, Jesus the Lord and Christ.    

It is also fitting in this consideration to appeal to the Westminster Larger Catechism question and answer 43 (WLC Q&A 43), which provides a succinct summary of the significance of this office.  Almost synonymous with the definition given in the HC, the WLC emphasizes how Christ comprehensively and thoroughly embodies and manifests the revelation of God through His office of Prophet.  The thoroughness of His revelatory accomplishments, are indicative of Scriptural passages such as John 1:18.  We recall in dealing with this verse in a previous section that the point that the apostle was making, as he was concluding the prologue to the fourth Gospel, was that Christ “exegetes” the Father.  Analogous to the way we use this term in studying the Scriptures to elucidate its mysteries and meanings, Christ reveals to us the Father through His incarnation (John 15:15).  The mysteries that God had kept hidden in ages past are manifested in the Person and work of Christ, the Prophet Par excellence (Colossians 1:26-27).  Moreover, these things were not only the privilege of the generation who were witness to Christ as contemporaries on earth, but have been preserved through the written Word (2 Timothy 3:15-17; Revelation 1:3) by the apostles and prophets (Ephesians 3:1-5).  This record preserved through generations in the transmission of the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3) is authoritative, accurate and comprehensive (John 16:14-16).  This revelation is all encompassing and complete to the extent that no subsequent prophecy is necessary or allowed (Hebrews 1:1-2; Revelation 22:18-19).  Thus, we can legitimately conclude that the dispensing of new revelation from the prophetic office has ceased with the completion of the New Testament that testifies of Christ the Word incarnate, as Calvin in his discourse on this office indicates:   

This, however, remains certain: the perfect doctrine he has brought has made an end to all prophecies.  All those, then, who, not content with the gospel, patch it with something extraneous to it, detract from Christ’s authority.  The Voice that thundered from heaven, “This is my beloved Son; …hear him” [Matt 17:5; cf. Matt 3:17], exalted him by a singular privilege beyond the rank of all others. 126 

As Calvin alludes to above those who do incessantly pursue new additions to the complete record of special revelation, “are not content with the gospel”.  The gospel, as cited above, which is the mystery of Christ’s redemption hidden in past ages now manifested completely by Jesus and His apostles (Romans 16:25-27).  This, however, begs a major question; how do we reconcile this conclusion with the other passages in Scripture that clearly promote the role of prophets within the early Church (1 Corinthians 12-14)?  This is the crux of the disagreement between cessationists (i.e. confessional Protestants) and non-cessationists (i.e. Charismatic’s, Roman Catholics and Mormons), which we will attempt to parse out equitably from Scripture.    

We must establish two things in formulating a response to this contention, which includes a proper understanding of the messenger and the message of special revelation in the New Testament.  It is imperative that we recognize the tremendous significance of the chief messenger of New Testament revelation.  The chief messenger is Jesus Christ the Prophet Par excellence endowed with an unprecedented measure of the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 11:2) who is also identified as the Word of God (John 1:1).  This title “Word of God” is indicative of His nature as the fullness of God’s revelation possessing all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:2-3).  Christ is the pinnacle or climax of special revelation in history, the final disclosure to mankind of God’s will and intentions that were to be made known in this age.  All previous and subsequent prophets only proclaimed the Word of God to people, however Jesus was the Word of God incarnate who provides the final chapter of the story.  Therefore, the message that He proclaimed must be considered to be of ultimate importance. 

Jesus entrusted His message to emissaries who were to proclaim this mystery now made known to the whole world (Matthew 28:16-20).  These ambassadors, known as apostles, received the message directly from Christ (Luke 24:44-49) and after His ascension would receive a special endowment of the Holy Spirit to recall the message (see citations from the upper room discourse above).  The apostles of Jesus required special credentials (Acts 1:21-26), however were authorized to spread and preserve the message entrusted to them by their Lord. These credentials inherently would limit the continuation of this office, which is recognized as being temporary in nature not intended as normative (1 Corinthians 15:1-11).  The message they spread and preserved in writing was the Gospel, which was the mystery that was now fully disclosed in Christ (Genesis 3:15; Genesis 12:1-3).   

This message was not about ethereal secret knowledge, mundane musings on worldly wisdom nor even about “practical” living, it was primarily about Christ and Him crucified for sinners (1 Corinthians 1:22-30).  This was the content that the apostles proclaimed to all those who would listen.  Those that heard the message (Romans 10:17) and believed in Christ comprised the assembly of Churches formed in the first century.  As the apostles planted these Churches and subsequently moved on to the next location they appointed Elders and Deacons to serve the congregation.  Moreover, the Holy Spirit gifted “prophets” to proclaim the message of the Gospel in place of the apostles after they departed. We must realize that during this period the New Testament was not yet complete nor in full circulation.  Thus, it was necessary for some to possess this extraordinary gift of prophecy to preach the mysteries of Christ (i.e. the Gospel) during Lord’s Day worship to the congregation.  These prophets did not possess the authority of the apostles, thus their words were to be tested (1 Corinthians 14:29; 1 John 4:1) to ensure that there were no deviations from the apostles teaching.  Furthermore, when they were prophesying in a foreign tongue it had to be interpreted (1 Corinthians 14:27-28) in order for it to be tested as well.  The content of their message would have been synonymous with the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 14:3; 2 Timothy 3:15-17) yet to be completed with the New Testament canon.          

Thus, we can reconcile the contention noted above in acknowledging the extraordinary gift of prophecy discussed in the New Testament was transitional in nature and not intended to be normative throughout the history of the church.  As a result, when the formation of the New Testament canon that preserved the record of Christ and His message was completed, this gift in its extraordinary form ceased. This is not the only transitional practice in the first century that ultimately came to cessation.  For example, the temple and the sacrificial system continued in a fully functional manner until its destruction 40 years after the death of Christ.  This also became obsolete through another office of Christ, however was for a transitional period still utilized by Jews and Christians for a time (Acts 21:26).  Moreover, as we have indicated in other studies it was not unheard of for Jewish Christians to attend Synagogue on Saturday and Church on Sunday, which is another example of the transitional nature of this period.   

We were careful to point out that only the “extraordinary” use of the gift of prophecy ceased with the completion of the New Testament canon.  This is important to emphasis since it is certainly evident that the continuation of this gift in its normative use is valid.  The normative use of this gift is exercised when ministers of the Gospel preach the Word of Christ, from the Scriptures to us in our Lord’s Day worship.  In the manner that they are consistent with the Scriptures they are proclaiming the Word of God authoritatively from the pulpit.  The content of good preaching today in the Church is analogous to the prophetic utterances proclaimed during the first century through this spiritual gift.  However, it is not necessary today for it to be extraordinary or supernatural in the miraculous sense, since we possess something they did not have.  Today we possess the completed canon, which is something they lacked “physically” that the Holy Spirit made up for “spiritually.” 

This is why today it is essential that preachers proclaim the Word of Christ from the Scriptures to their congregations.  This requires extensive training, exhaustive study and careful exegesis of the text to ensure that they do not take their office lightly.  The normative use of the gift of prophecy includes such preaching.  However, it does not include speeches on politics, tips on practical living and a host of other things that could be gleaned from Dr. Phil or political pundits.  It may seem obvious to state, but the Word of God is not preached when the Scriptures are not proclaimed from the pulpit.  Although, when it is done properly on the Lord’s Day the people of God truly do receive a “word from the Lord” when they hear their pastor (prophet) preach the Gospel and exegete the Scriptures.  It may be possible that many in the charismatic movement feel compelled to seek an alleged “extraordinary” word from the Lord, because this proper preaching is not part of their Lord’s Day experience.   The fact that Christ is the purpose for and primary scope of all extraordinary revelation, which is now published in the Scriptures, results in the “modern” version of this gift doing nothing less than diminish the importance of Christ and the fulfillment of His office as Prophet.  

Ever since man’s expulsion in the garden, God has condescended to reveal Himself in diverse manners in many times and in many ways.  These manifestations were progressively more informative than their predecessors as the fullness of time approached.  These further installments of revelation pointed to the coming one who would bring the culmination of God’s disclosure through the unprecedented condescension of the Word incarnate.  God’s eternal Speech became a man and “walked in our shoes” to fully explain the Father.  This explanation has been preserved through an infallible and inerrant witness, which will not fade (1 Peter 1:23-24) or pass away (Luke 21:33).  In this manner Christ is the ultimate Prophet who has comprehensively revealed all that there is necessary to thoroughly equip the man of God.  Thus, it is incumbent upon us to be satisfied with the revelation that we possess, to meditate in its richness and to plumb the depths of its fullness without seeking to add to its boundaries.

126 John Calvin (1559), The Institutes of the Christian Religion Volume I (Louisville, KY WJK Press) 496

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Responses

  1. If the gift of prophecy, as described by Paul in 1 Corinthians, was supposed to be spot on every time and perfect, why are the people told to “let the others judge”? And what yardstick were they using to “judge” prophecies? The revealed word.

    The Bible stands alone as the innerrant, inspired Word of God, which judges every sermon, Bible study, and, yes, every prophecy.

    But, sigh, we’ve been around this tree before, haven’t we?

  2. Albino,

    Nice to hear from you. Excellent question…which I thought I addressed in the 5th to last paragraph. If you have trouble finding it I’ll just cite it here:

    Moreover, the Holy Spirit gifted “prophets” to proclaim the message of the Gospel in place of the apostles after they departed. We must realize that during this period the New Testament was not yet complete nor in full circulation. Thus, it was necessary for some to possess this extraordinary gift of prophecy to preach the mysteries of Christ (i.e. the Gospel) during Lord’s Day worship to the congregation. These prophets did not possess the authority of the apostles, thus their words were to be tested (1 Corinthians 14:29; 1 John 4:1) to ensure that there were no deviations from the apostles teaching. Furthermore, when they were prophesying in a foreign tongue it had to be interpreted (1 Corinthians 14:27-28) in order for it to be tested as well. The content of their message would have been synonymous with the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 14:3; 2 Timothy 3:15-17) yet to be completed with the New Testament canon.

    Hopefully, it is evident that I agree that the “prophets” in the New Testament did not possess the same authority as the apostles. (You’ll have to go back to the post to actually link to the Scripture citations, which I think are critical to argument).

    You may need to keep reading further to really identify where I diverge from your view. 😉

    S2C

  3. The questions were rhetorical.

  4. I get your logic and rather tortured explanation for your cessationist conclusion, but I just don’t see it in the text. To follow your logic, there would be some mysterious point in church history where suddenly, the gifts of the spirit disappeared, just as John breathed his last on the isle of Patmos. Another problem you always have with cessationism is that Paul mixes all the gifts up in a wonderful soup in both his lists, not separating the “charisma” gifts from gifts like administration and helps.

    I admire your hunger to search the Scriptures, but I”m afraid your zeal for your system (or theological grid) has caused you to take huge liberties with the text and read in a false cessation of spiritual gifts. I urge you to “earnestly desire spiritual gifts.”

  5. Albino,

    Not to re-hash old arguments…but Hebrews 1:1-2 is not necessarily taking “huge liberties” on what gifts in their extraordinary sense have ceased.

    Also, I am conceding that “prophecy” in its normative sense has not ceased and continues in the faithful preaching of the Scriptures on Sunday. When I attend Church I am “hearing a Word from the Lord” when my Pastor faithfully exegetes the text and proclaims the Gospel to me. (It took me a while to figure this out and actually concede this.)

    Since you understand the argument how do you respond to the fact that your persistence in affirming special revelation diminishes Christ fulfillment of the office of Prophet?

  6. Jesus is our Prophet, Priest and King. He is also our Shepherd, Elder Brother, and Groom.

    All those things still exist in the world today, and the Bible even calls us a “royal priesthood and holy nation”. Pastors are “shepherds” even though Jesus is our “Great shepherd” — I see no conflict here; and you violate your own argument when you concede that your pastor speaks to you as a prophet on Sunday morning.

    Why not concede that the gifts exist, then work with me on “judging” their validity case by case and bringing the extreme “kookoo birds” back into the fold?

    “Earnestly desire spiritual gifts…”

    And you had no answer for why Paul lumps them all together in a big soup, making no artificial distinction between the ones you claim disappeared the minute the parchment of the last scroll of the canon was completed.

  7. Albino,

    I did not violate my argument. Please remember I am distinguishing between the extraordinary and normative or ordinary use of the gift. The content of my Pastor’s faithful preaching of the Scriptures is synonomous with what the Holy Spirit gifted the “prophets” to preach.

    I did have an answer for your “soup” argument. Hebrews 1:1-2 tells me that the office of Prophet, relative to its disclosure of new special revelation, has been superceded with the coming of Christ. Christ of course is fully revealed for us in the Scriptures.

    I cannot concede that the gifts in their extraordinary sense continue. That does injury to the sufficiency of Christ’s office of Prophet. It also negates our belief that the canon of Scripture is complete if we hold to the continuation of special revelation.

    Aren’t you satisified with the Gospel that is fully proclaimed in the Scriptures? Is there something that we are missing in the Scriptures that necessitates additional prophecies to add to this doctrine? Christ has fully accomplished redemption. Isn’t there enough in this truth that negates the need of new special revelation? Maybe if more time was spent plumbing the depths of this truth there wouldn’t be enough time for these trivial pursuits.

  8. Paul didn’t think these gifts were “trivial”. In fact, he urges you to seek them, for the edification of the church. And the Holy Spirit continues to give them “as He wills” for your edification.

    Are you really saying that we don’t need the gift of helps, administration, or teaching since we have the completed canon? I think both here and way back on another blog you continue to miss the fact that all of these gifts work together for the building up of the church, but no gift supercedes the Scripture, but are judged by the Scripture.

    To buy your argument that God can no longer speak to us outside direct quotes from the Bible, is to go waaaaay over the other extreme edge.

    Can God use events to speak to you? Can God put a strong urge in someone’s heart to call you up and encourage you when you are discouraged? Can God use a “divine appointment” to lead you to your spouse or a job offer? God is God, my friend, and He still intervenes in our world.

    I think we might just have to agree to disagree. I will give you the last word, since this is your house.

    How did you do in your March Madness bracket? I got killed.

  9. Albino,
    Since this sounds like it will be your last entry on this topic, let me teach you how to respond to direct questions. Take notes, class is in session. We begin with:

    Paul didn’t think these gifts were “trivial”. In fact, he urges you to seek them, for the edification of the church. And the Holy Spirit continues to give them “as He wills” for your edification.

    This is a false conclusion that you are making, I never said nor would I ever say that spiritual gifts are “trivial”. This, however, says a lot about what I define as a spiritual gift and what you call it. I would not classify what you call the modern spiritual gift of “prophecy” as a spiritual gift. Rather I think that most of what is purported to be from the Holy Spirit in charismatic circles is nothing but trivial pursuits distracting Christians from Christ.

    Are you really saying that we don’t need the gift of helps, administration, or teaching since we have the completed canon? I think both here and way back on another blog you continue to miss the fact that all of these gifts work together for the building up of the church, but no gift supercedes the Scripture, but are judged by the Scripture.

    This is another false conclusion that you are making. I have never made this assertion nor argued anything close to what you are saying here. The point of this entire post is that Jesus Christ has comprehensively fulfilled the office of Prophet. Similar to his fulfillment of the offices of Priest and King, the result is that any view that seeks to add to these works ends up diminishing the value of Christ’s work. Of course, there was a transitional period that was an accommodation for the people of God until an appointed time. Just as there were still rituals practiced (by Christians and Jews) at the Mosaic temple until its destruction, there were still “prophetic” (small p) needs until the completion of the New Testament. However, just as the fulfillment of Christ’s work of atonement should not be added to, manifested in the cessation of the sacrificial system in 70 ad, His fulfillment of the special revelation needed to equip the man of God for every good work ceased after the completion of the canon at the end of the first century.

    Moreover, I was very careful to argue that the gift of prophecy does continue in a way more conducive to the times we live in. We live in times where the Gospel has been fully manifested in the Scriptures. Our brothers and sisters in the first century were still awaiting the complete record of this good news, thus needed an extraordinary use of this gift. Otherwise, they would have been lacking the resources necessary to have Christ proclaimed to them during their weekly worship.

    To buy your argument that God can no longer speak to us outside direct quotes from the Bible, is to go waaaaay over the other extreme edge.

    This comment actually got a laugh out me…are you kidding me? Those who deny the continuation of extra-biblical special revelation are extreme! I guess Joseph Smith, Benny Hinn, Mohammed and Brigham Young are mainstream. 😉

    Can God use events to speak to you? Can God put a strong urge in someone’s heart to call you up and encourage you when you are discouraged? Can God use a “divine appointment” to lead you to your spouse or a job offer? God is God, my friend, and He still intervenes in our world.

    I think you are confusing special revelation with God’s Providence. My answer to these questions are please cite the chapter and verse in the Scriptures that tell me who I should marry or what job I should take. This is more like reading tea leafs or chicken guts than Christianity. Yet, before you accuse me of “limiting” God let me say this: God does speak through Providence in revealing His sovereign will. However, a responsible assessment of this can only look back on the past and say that God spoke, yet we still run the risk of interpreting it incorrectly. The secrets things belong to God, yet those things He has revealed are the things that we can use (Deut 29:29). This is basic Christianity that frees us to focus on the essential matters of the faith like meditating on Christ crucified for sinners and risen for our justification.

    I think we might just have to agree to disagree. I will give you the last word, since this is your house.
    How did you do in your March Madness bracket? I got killed.

    Feel free to continue to comment. Especially in light of this response I think you still have some “splainnnen to do” (Lucy).

    I didn’t get to pick a bracket this year, too bad on your losses. It is the toughest thing to predict, though.

  10. […] considering this office, it is imperative that we remain mindful of the how Jesus is Anointed with the Holy Spirit beyond measure.   As this anointing was the source of ensuring the […]

  11. I believe the cessationist view stands and/or falls on the use of the word ‘telios’ in 1 Corinthians 13. When that which is ‘perfect’ is come, etc. It is unreasonable as well as exegetically, contextually, and hermenueutically inaccurate to make the ‘perfect’ in that passage to be the New Testament.

    The creation of the NT, as an accepted 27 book canon did not occur in the first century, in fact it is impossible to see when it exactly did occur. 180, 250, 303, ???

    I cannot fathom that we now ‘know even as we are known’, a state of existence which accompanies the coming of the ‘perfect’.

    And…I see nowhere in the apostolic writings of the NT that Paul or anyone considered themselves to be in possession of an imperfect set of Scriptures. In fact, Paul says the opposite when he declares that ‘all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.’

    Clearly Paul felt that the Scripture that he possessed, the OT was in fact enough to teach, train, and equip the new covenant man of God for every good work.

    Even with the Scriptures, Paul taught the necessity of apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers, along with the gifts of the Holy Spirit to bring the Church, the Body of Christ to its intended maturity.

    Ephesians 4.1-13 clearly gives us a time frame for the working of those things: “Until we all come to the unity of the faith, to the knowledge of the Son of God to a mature (telios) man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ.”

    The arrival of our Lord at the end of history to receive a ‘mature man’ will be that which does away with the ‘imperfect’ gifts. Until then, ‘forbid not to speak in tongues!’

  12. And another thing…

    We need to move beyond the ‘Jesus as Prophet, Priest, and King thing, and see the Lord as The Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Shepherd and Teacher of the Church who gives of Himself in the form of ‘gifts of men’ to bring His full ministry into reality within the Body of Christ, the Church.

    Systematic theologies have created rails on which ‘theologians’ have continued to get stuck on.

    This is all of course…In my humble opinion.

  13. Hello Davie Copp, welcome to Standing Solus Christus.

    Relative to your first comment I am trying discern whether you have read the original post. For in the post I nowhere rely on 1 Corinthians 13, which you believe is the crux of the debate.

    If you notice I do not rely on this passage 1 ounce, so I am not sure that you have properly assessed the argument made for cessation above. Hence, I would obviously disagree with your assertion.

    Relative to your second comment I am also rather bewildered, since you are positing a self-refuting argument. Your accusation that I am imposing systematic theology on the text is denied by the imposition of your own systematic theology. Nonetheless, I am not guilty of what you are accusing me of, since in the previous entry I have gone through the process of supporting this three-fold office from the text.

    Before you accuse me of imposing systematic theology on the text and tell me to replace it with yours, I suggest you review the exegesis already established.

    BTW, are you affiliated with LWC? Your name seems strangely familiar.

  14. You are correct in that you do not use 1 Corinthians 13 for your argument. So, forget I said that and I will leave that for other souls.

    However…in your argument you do not deal with the clear texts which give a specific time frame for apostolic and prophetic operations. You systematically come to conclusions based on conclusions that must be agreed to apriori. I understand that this is a valid method of the study of God and His work with creation, BUT not at the expense of ignoring clear Biblical texts on the subject at hand.

    Biblical Theology must supersede and inform Systematic Theology. So the question we must ask is: Does the Scripture deal with the issue specifically anywhere? If so, that must be the basis of all subsequent theological conclusions, propositions, and premises.

    My ‘system’ that you say I am imposing is not a system derived from theological enterprise, but based on exegeting Ephesians 3 and 4.

    In Ephesians 3.1-8 Paul tells us that to him was given the stewardship of the ‘mystery of Christ’, which I think we could agree was generally speaking the revelation of the Body of Christ, the Church.

    However, we also find that Paul was given the stewardship of another revelation which dealt with the ‘administration of the mystery’ (Ephesians 3.9). This word was poorly translated by the KJV as ‘dispensation’ which led to all kinds of dispensational entanglements.

    What we see is that Paul gives us the final and authoritative revelation concerning the Body of Christ (the Church) AND its administration, management, or government. This ‘management’, ‘administrative structure’ or ‘government’ is then revealed in Ephesians 4.11-13.

    There is no hint in Paul at all that leads us to believe that the administration/government structure of the Church comprised of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Shepherd and Teacher were separable by either purpose or time. Paul clearly says that they are for the ‘equipment’ of the saints (church) UNTIL the saints/church arrive at a certain position in Christ.

    The word ‘until’ for me sets the chronological limit of those ‘gifts’ given to men. When the state of the ‘saints/church’ comes to the what is described in Ephesians 4.13 then we can look to the cessation of Apostles and Prophets. What is that state of the saints described: “UNTIL we all arrive at the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ.”

    Paul does not say, UNTIL the New Testament canon of Scripture is finished…in fact Paul felt, as I said above, that the Scriptures he possessed were able to equip and train men of God in righteousness.

    So…if we are to get where the Lord wants us to go…we must accept, understand, and release ALL of the gifts of men given to men by the Lord upon His ascension. The apostles spoken of in Ephesians 4.11 are clearly not the 12 disciples who walked with the Lord…they are guys like Paul, Barnabas, Silas, Apollos, and many more throughout the history of the Church, even until today.

    I do not know what you mean by LWC.

  15. The apostles spoken of in Ephesians 4.11 are clearly not the 12 disciples who walked with the Lord…they are guys like Paul, Barnabas, Silas, Apollos, and many more throughout the history of the Church, even until today.

    The only thing that is clear is your bad exegesis. First, I want to clarify if you are trying to say the 12 disciples were not apostles. Of course, this is clearly refuted by 1 Pet 1:1 and Acts 1:26. So I hope I am misunderstanding your point.

    It is also clear your theology has influenced the way you interpret the term apostle, which is more appropiately understood in this manner:

    https://msamudio.wordpress.com/2008/03/29/what-from-the-jewish-community-is-presevered-in-christianity/

    As noted in this post the criteria of an apostle is clearly outlined in Acts 1:21-22. Paul also clearly indicates that he the last would to qualify for this criteria 1 Cor 15:8.

    Your insistance that further special revelation, above and beyond what the Bible contains, is indicative of your dissatisfaction with the Gospel. The Gospel is the “mystery” that was made known completely in Jesus Christ.

  16. 2 Cor 12:12 The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with utmost patience, with signs and wonders and mighty works.

    With that I hear whole buildings collapsing like the WTC.

  17. Respectfully, would you talk about the Ephesians 4.11-13 passage in relation to the time-frame for the existence of apostles?

    I do not understand the personal attacks in your response. I most certainly DID SAY that the 12 were not apostles…of course they are apostles. But, they are not the specific apostles spoken of in Ephesians 4.11-13.

    Paul is clearly not the ‘last’ apostle. Timothy, Apollos, Titus, Barnabas, and more are specifically called ‘apostles’ by Paul. Paul does not qualify their designation as such, but lumps them in with the rest of apostles.

    If Paul was the ‘last’ apostle, how does he call them apostles?

    The qualifications given in Acts 1.21 are the qualifications necessary to REPLACE one of the 12, not universal qualifications for none of those that Paul subsequently called ‘apostle’ would have met the Jerusalem criteria.

    It is interesting to me that you do not deal with the texts that are discussed above. I believe we have to honestly deal and wrestle with them in any discussion on apostles/prophets and/or gifts of the Spirit.

    But…This is your website and I understand that you can do what you want.

  18. Let’s clarify something, you haven’t exactly engaged the arguments presented in the post. These have simply been dismissed. However, they are essential to a proper understanding of the text you are citing.

    Personal attacks? Not sure what you mean, I even gave you the benefit of the doubt by asking to clarify what you mean. And again, I think you mean “DID NOT SAY” in lieu of “DID SAY”. Please clarify since your statement, otherwise is self-refuting.

    If Paul is clearly not the last apostle how do you explain 1 Cor 15:8?

    Please clarify where Timothy and Titus are mentioned as apostles. In Colossians 1, Timothy is clearly differentiated from Paul who idenitifies himself as an apostle and Timothy as a brother. I realize that Barnabas and Apollos are in some instances referred to as apostles. However, does this mean we ignore the clear passage that identifies the qualifications of an apostle (i.e. Acts 1:21-22) and the temporary/foundational nature of this office demonstrated by 1 Cor 15:8; Eph 2:19-20 and Rev 21:14?

    Relative to your skepticism of Paul’s exception to the Jerusalem criteria, it is answered by his careful identification as “one untimely born” and his repeated testimony to his calling in the book of Acts. (If you would have read the link this would have answered your question.)

    I believe that I have already dealt with the argument you are drawing from the text in the post above, which provides the explanation to refute your exegesis. And I believe it is incumbant upon you to consider that the gospel has been fully made known. The faith has been once delivered to the saints. And God has spoken comlpetely to us by His Son. The revelation provided by these means is sufficient for God’s children, except for disgruntle and dissatisfied individuals who insist on adding to the scope of this message.

    Now I have a question, why are you dissatisfied with the gospel message?

  19. Hey guys .. what can you say about this one?

    And Paul said:

    1Cor:15:9-10: For I am the least of the APOSTLES, that am not meet to be called an APOSTLE, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I LABOURED MORE abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

    And Jesus Christ said:

    Rv:2:2: I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are APOSTLE, and ARE NOT, and hast found them LIARS:

    And Paul said:

    Gal:1:20: Now the things which I write unto you, behold, BEFORE GOD, I LIE NOT.

    And Jesus Christ said:

    Mt:5:34: But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne:

    Mt:5:37: But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

    eyes2eyes.wordpress.com

  20. Another one, what can you say?

    EPHESIANS 1:1: Paul, an APOSTLE …:

    Rv:2:1: “Unto the angel of the church of EPHESUS …”

    Rv:2:2 “…”

    eyes2eyes.wordpress.com

  21. Eyes,

    Thanks for your contribution, I agree Paul is definitely presented as an exception to the rule in the commission to the apostolic office.

    We will wait to hear Davie Copp’s response.

    S2C

  22. Hello Boys,

    Let’s clarify a few things.

    1. There was a typo regarding the 12 disciples…yes, of course they are apostles. My point was simply that they were not the only ones, and the criteria set forth in Acts 1 did not apply to subsequent apostles such as Apollos, Barnabas, Silas, etc.

    2. Let me give you a couple of scripture reference to apostles other than the Jerusalem 12 and Paul. First, Apollos (1 Corinthians 4.9 – Paul clearly calls Apollos and himself and Peter as apostles). Second, Barnabas (Acts 14.14 – Luke clearly calls both Paul and Barnabas apostles). Third, Silas & Timothy (1 Thessalonians 2.6 – Paul here uses the phrase ‘as apostles of Christ we’, the ‘we’ being himself, Silas and Timothy – see 1 Thessalonians 1.1). These are called apostles by the Holy Spirit in the canon of the NT scripture. They clearly did not walk with Jesus and do not meet the criteria of the Acts 1 passage–yet they are apostles. Not all apostles write Scripture. In fact, Martin Luther considered himself an apostle and that calling was the source of his authority to speak to the Church in the way that he did…as an apostle.

    Third, your incessant parroting of Calvin’s phrase about why I am ‘dissatisfied with the gospel’. Sigh…I am completely satisfied with the gospel, just not your gospel. For me the gospel is the ‘gospel of God’ and the ‘gospel of the kingdom’ that centers in the Son (Romans 1.4). No doubt the ONLY source of revelation and knowledge of God and His work in Creation is in the Son (Hebrews 1.1-3). However, my problem with your ‘gospel’ is that you have the Lord Jesus mute after the closing of the canon. (Which is quite tricky to date by the way, and however, you date it cannot be equated with the first century).

    Jesus is not gagged while He sits on His throne ruling in the affairs of men. He is alive and STILL speaks. Nowhere in Scripture does the Lord say that He would cease to speak to His Church after the NT was finished. In fact, the NT is filled with non-recorded and non-canonical speaking by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit can and does speak to the people of God. Of course anyone who claims to ‘speak for God’ (which is the most accurate definition of ‘prophecy’) must be judged by the Lord’s past speaking as recorded in the Scriptures. The Scriptures are a ‘canon’, a rule or measure of all ‘speaking’ about and/or for God.

    So am I dissatisfied with the gospel…Absolutely not! It still speaks to us in our world as it did in the world of Abraham, David, Isaiah, Jesus, Peter, Paul, Calvin, Wesley, Seymour, and Us.

    Jesus Christ is still our Apostle, and as such, He still speaks through those whom He gives to the Church to do so.

    Well, I am sure that this will not be received in the spirit in which it is given, so I will leave you boys to study the Heidleberg, Small, Large, Westminster, and other catechisms. I will continue to ask the Lord for ears to ‘hear what the Spirit is saying to the Churches’.

    Peace to you all!

  23. Davie, let’s review in detail:
    .

    There was a typo regarding the 12 disciples…yes, of course they are apostles. My point was simply that they were not the only ones, and the criteria set forth in Acts 1 did not apply to subsequent apostles such as Apollos, Barnabas, Silas, etc.

    How do you know this?

    2. Let me give you a couple of scripture reference to apostles other than the Jerusalem 12 and Paul. First, Apollos (1 Corinthians 4.9 – Paul clearly calls Apollos and himself and Peter as apostles). Second, Barnabas (Acts 14.14 – Luke clearly calls both Paul and Barnabas apostles). Third, Silas & Timothy (1 Thessalonians 2.6 – Paul here uses the phrase ‘as apostles of Christ we’, the ‘we’ being himself, Silas and Timothy – see 1 Thessalonians 1.1). These are called apostles by the Holy Spirit in the canon of the NT scripture. They clearly did not walk with Jesus and do not meet the criteria of the Acts 1 passage–yet they are apostles. Not all apostles write Scripture. In fact, Martin Luther considered himself an apostle and that calling was the source of his authority to speak to the Church in the way that he did…as an apostle.

    So you think these implicit references trump the explicit citations in Acts 1 and 1 Corinthians 15:8? Even if a concession is made on this point, it still does not refute the argument above. There is no proof in these references that apostolic succession was to be normative in the Church.

    Third, your incessant parroting of Calvin’s phrase about why I am ‘dissatisfied with the gospel’. Sigh…I am completely satisfied with the gospel, just not your gospel. For me the gospel is the ‘gospel of God’ and the ‘gospel of the kingdom’ that centers in the Son (Romans 1.4). No doubt the ONLY source of revelation and knowledge of God and His work in Creation is in the Son (Hebrews 1.1-3). However, my problem with your ‘gospel’ is that you have the Lord Jesus mute after the closing of the canon. (Which is quite tricky to date by the way, and however, you date it cannot be equated with the first century).

    Apparently, you have not understood the post above. I have never claimed that Jesus is mute. In fact you will see that I affirm that God speaks to His people through His Word and the proper preaching of it.

    I don’t quite understand your definition of the Gospel. Are you saying the Gospel is more than the good news of Jesus Christ’s vicarious atonement for His people and His fulfilling of the law on their behalf that allows His righteousness to be credited to them? The Gospel was the mystery that was hidden in past ages, but made fully known in Christ. Please clarify what your definition of the Gospel is.

    Jesus is not gagged while He sits on His throne ruling in the affairs of men. He is alive and STILL speaks. Nowhere in Scripture does the Lord say that He would cease to speak to His Church after the NT was finished. In fact, the NT is filled with non-recorded and non-canonical speaking by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit can and does speak to the people of God. Of course anyone who claims to ’speak for God’ (which is the most accurate definition of ‘prophecy’ must be judged by the Lord’s past speaking as recorded in the Scriptures. The Scriptures are a ‘canon’, a rule or measure of all ’speaking’ about and/or for God.

    As stated above I agree with this statement, unless you mean the Holy Spirit is revealing information above and beyond what is already revealed in the Scriptures. The Holy Spirit does not need to do this since He has already guided the authors of Scripture to reveal all the truth we need (John 16:13; Col 2:2-3). So if that is what you mean, then you must think that He did not complete His job or that the mystery revealed in Christ (the Gospel) is insufficient.

    <

    blockquote>So am I dissatisfied with the gospel…Absolutely not! It still speaks to us in our world as it did in the world of Abraham, David, Isaiah, Jesus, Peter, Paul, Calvin, Wesley, Seymour, and Us.

    Again define the Gospel, because it really sounds like you are dissatisfied.

    Jesus Christ is still our Apostle, and as such, He still speaks through those whom He gives to the Church to do so.

    I agree with this statement as qualified above.

    Well, I am sure that this will not be received in the spirit in which it is given, so I will leave you boys to study the Heidleberg, Small, Large, Westminster, and other catechisms. I will continue to ask the Lord for ears to ‘hear what the Spirit is saying to the Churches’

    The standards you just mentioned all identify Scripture alone as our authority. They also indicate that it is sufficient for all we need in salvation. As demonstrated from your statements made above, you conclude that Scripture is not sufficient for this.

  24. The passages describing Silas, Timothy, and Apollos as apostles are not implicit, but explicit. They are clearly considered and called apostles. So we have to ask what was their role? They most definitely did not write Scripture, but were considered apostles. My point in this is that modern-day apostles function without writing Scripture.

    My definition of the ‘gospel’ is definitely more than “the good news of Jesus Christ’s vicarious atonement for His people and His fulfilling of the law on their behalf that allows His righteousness to be credited to them?”

    The ‘gospel’ is the gospel of the Kingdom which begins with Christ’s vicarious work on the Cross, but continues through His resurrection, ascension and current work of both priest and ruler of the kings of the earth. Does He speak through the written Word of God? Absolutely. Does He ONLY speak to His Church today through the words in the Scripture? No. The written Scripture is the ‘canon’ or ‘rule’ by which all subsequent ‘speaking’ is to be judged, but not the sole content of His speaking.

    There is more to the Gospel than the work of Christ in atonement and personal salvation. The gospel is the gospel of the Kingdom which speaks of God’s purpose being accomplished and the entire earth being filled with the glory of God with Christ and His reigning in the earth. The ‘mystery’ revealed in Christ is not the gospel, but the reality of the Body of Christ, the Church and it being the vehicle for the manifestation of the wisdom of God (Ephesians 3.10).

    Jesus Himself through the Holy Spirit alone is our sole authority. We say that “Scripture alone” is our authority, but what we mean is our interpretation of Scripture. God speaks in and through the Scripture, however, He also speaks in and through His prophets. This is not something that we have set up and decided, this is what He Himself has decided to be the means by which He governs His Church.

    Revelation 19:10 reads, “…the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy”. This does not mean that prophecy is the testifying about Jesus, but that the means by which Jesus speaks/testifies is in fact the spirit of prophecy. The Lord speaks through the written Word (Scriptures) AND as the Living Word (through His prophets).

    We do not disservice to the Scripture when we affirm that the Lord chooses to speak to through His prophets as well as the written Word. This is as He pleases and who are we to disagree with Him and His administration of the mystery.

    Thus, the Lord administrate the ‘mystery’ via the 5-fold gifts called apostle, prophet, evangelist, shepherd and teacher. They continue, in each of their functions, UNTIL…(Ephesians 4.11-13). The function of the prophet is speak FOR God into the life of the Church, the Body of Christ. The Scriptures become the means by which prophetic speaking is to be judged as legitimate or false. This is not a dissatisfaction with the Scriptures, nor is it an addition to the Scripture. It is simply the Lord speaking to His Church through the Holy Spirit.

    The Scripture is clearly sufficient and complete as the final and authoritative judge of all ‘speaking’, but the Holy Spirit can and does still speak to the Church in words not written in the 66 books that we call the Scripture.

  25. but the Holy Spirit can and does still speak to the Church in words not written in the 66 books that we call the Scripture.

    —–

    HS speak because he guides you into all truth and most of all: for he shall not speak of himself.

    eyes2eyes.wordpress.com

  26. DC,

    Your reference to Silas and Timothy is weak. The reference to 1 Thessalonians is far from “clear” especially in light of Colossian 1:1 where Timothy is “clearly” distinguished from Paul as a brother not an apostle. In reviewing your reference to 1 Corinthians 4:9 to support Apollos’ apostleship, this also is weak. Apollos’ is not explicitly referenced in 1 Corinthians 4:9, which you are assuming is demanded by the context of all chapter 4, I presume. However, this could very well just be referencing Peter and Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:22. This leaves your only strong case to be found in Acts 14:14 with Barnabas who can definitely be included within the group of apostolic men (original 12 + Paul + James the brother of Jesus – see Gal 2:1-9). Thus, one possible anomaly exists if Apollos is granted (which is a stretch) and does not trump the truly “clear” criteria of Acts 1:23-24 (he could even be included within the above-mentioned group). Moreover, these references do not even come close to supporting your assertion that apostolic succession is normative for the life of the church. Just be honest and concede that you’re imputing your theological system on these texts. I think you should heed your own advice and allow the Bible to interpret the qualifications of an apostle.

    DC says:

    My definition of the ‘gospel’ is definitely more than “the good news of Jesus Christ’s vicarious atonement for His people and His fulfilling of the law on their behalf that allows His righteousness to be credited to them?”

    It doesn’t sound like your definition of the Gospel is biblical then. Rom 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek”. I warn you to tread very lightly in deviating from what Scripture defines the Gospel as (Gal 1:6-9)

    DC Says:

    There is more to the Gospel than the work of Christ in atonement and personal salvation. The gospel is the gospel of the Kingdom which speaks of God’s purpose being accomplished and the entire earth being filled with the glory of God with Christ and His reigning in the earth. The ‘mystery’ revealed in Christ is not the gospel, but the reality of the Body of Christ, the Church and it being the vehicle for the manifestation of the wisdom of God (Ephesians 3.10).

    ??? This is loaded with a theological agenda and I advise that you take your own advice and allow the Bible to interpret what the mystery is. Your interpretation flies right in the face of Paul’s own interpretation of this term found in Rom 16:25-26, “Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which had been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all nations, leading to obedience of faith.” Incidentally, this passage also makes reference to the completeness of God’s revelation that has (past tense) been known to all nations already through the Scriptures.

    Is God’s glory “good news”? Not according to Israel who begged to be spared from his awesome and terrible presence on Mt. Sinai (see Heb 12:18-19). How does God’s glory save us and fit within Paul’s definition of the Gospel “as the power of salvation”?

    DC says:

    Jesus Himself through the Holy Spirit alone is our sole authority. We say that “Scripture alone” is our authority, but what we mean is our interpretation of Scripture. God speaks in and through the Scripture, however, He also speaks in and through His prophets. This is not something that we have set up and decided, this is what He Himself has decided to be the means by which He governs His Church.

    I don’t get it. How do you jump to this conclusion? Now you are in direct contradiction with author of Hebrews who says in 1:1: “God after He spoke long ago to the father in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son.” Your statement is based on your theological assumptions, which is in direct conflict with Scripture.

    DC Says:

    Revelation 19:10 reads, “…the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy”. This does not mean that prophecy is the testifying about Jesus, but that the means by which Jesus speaks/testifies is in fact the spirit of prophecy. The Lord speaks through the written Word (Scriptures) AND as the Living Word (through His prophets).

    I don’t get it. How do you jump to this conclusion? Now you are twisting the apostle John’s words who also says in 22:18-19, “I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.” It seems like you continue to have problems reconciling your theological view with the Scriptures. Will you subject yourself to their authority or persist in holding to your theological persuasions?

    DC Says:

    We do not disservice to the Scripture when we affirm that the Lord chooses to speak to through His prophets as well as the written Word. This is as He pleases and who are we to disagree with Him and His administration of the mystery.

    I am nothing, but the inspired writers of the New Testament instruct us on what is allowed and what is not (Heb 1:1; Rev 22:18-19).

    DC Says:

    Thus, the Lord administrate the ‘mystery’ via the 5-fold gifts called apostle, prophet, evangelist, shepherd and teacher. They continue, in each of their functions, UNTIL…(Ephesians 4.11-13). The function of the prophet is speak FOR God into the life of the Church, the Body of Christ. The Scriptures become the means by which prophetic speaking is to be judged as legitimate or false. This is not a dissatisfaction with the Scriptures, nor is it an addition to the Scripture. It is simply the Lord speaking to His Church through the Holy Spirit.

    Sorry, but your theological interpretation of this passage does not comply with the rest of Scripture as noted above.

    DC Says:

    The Scripture is clearly sufficient and complete as the final and authoritative judge of all ’speaking’, but the Holy Spirit can and does still speak to the Church in words not written in the 66 books that we call the Scripture.

    I just like this quote, because it says it all. You are perfectly aligned with the Roman Pope, Joseph Smith and the Mormons, Mohammed, the Gnostics, Benny Hinn, Pat Robertson, and all the rest. With company like this, who needs heretics.

  27. DC,

    BTW, for a discourse on Jesus’ office as King please see the following:

    https://msamudio.wordpress.com/2008/04/14/how-is-christ-a-king-lesson-6-question-7-answer/

    I think you will find it informative and maybe clarifing.

    S2C

  28. Well my Dear Standing Solus Christus,

    Thank you for your time but we most definitely both come to the Scriptures with our own horizon of understanding and sight.

    I do indeed smell bacon and therefore must clam up.

    Davie Copp

  29. Davie Copp,

    Thank you for your interest in this very important topic. I pray that you will be satisified only with the true Gospel of God revealed completely through His Son and preserved through the testimony of the Scriptures without any addendums, additions or amendments.

    Farewell,

    S2C


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