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Piper on Prophecy

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Even by John Piper's standards, this is impressive. In seven minutes, he very gently and fairly debunks the cessationist view of prophecy, and argues for the continuation of the gift today. It's a model of how to respond to claims like those of John MacArthur: careful, patient biblical analysis, and no inflammatory rhetoric (avoiding, for instance, the word "debunks" or any of its cognates or synonyms). You can listen to it here.

His first argument is that the language of 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 concerns the testing of prophecies, rather than prophets, and warns against the danger of “despising” prophecies - which, Piper argues, would only be necessary if (a) individuals prophesied a mixture of true and false, and (b) prophecies were occasionally “wacko”. His second is a challenge to complementarian cessationists: if New Testament prophecy was authoritative and infallible, and if women were not to teach or have authority over men in the New Testament church, then why would Paul allow women to prophesy in the church (1 Cor 11:2-16)? This clearly implies that not all New Testament prophecy was of the infallible, authoritatively binding, Scripture-level variety. His third is the clincher, based on 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 - Paul says that we prophesy ek merous, for now, in contrast to the time when prophecies will cease, when “the perfect comes” (which, in the context, is clearly the return of Christ). Consequently, Paul’s instruction to “eagerly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in languages” (1 Cor 14:39) is for today, and should be obeyed.

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