Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones criticism of Cessationist Argument in 1 Corinthinans 13

Status
Not open for further replies.

davenporter

Puritan Board Freshman
Hi all,

To preface, I am presupposing RBCBob's interpretation of 1 Cor 13:8-13. http://www.puritanboard.com/f15/cessation-tongues-question-74430/#post949498

I was reading through Grudem's Systematic Theology on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit (pp. 1032-1039) and had no problem refuting his views with this interpretation up to the point where he quoted Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, who
"observes that the view that makes 'when the perfect comes' equal the time of the completion of the New Testament encounters another difficulty:

It means that you and I, who have the Scriptures open before us, know much more than the apostle Paul of God's truth.... It means that we are altogether superior... even to the apostles themselves, including the apostle Paul! It means that we are now in a position in which... 'we know, even as also we are known' by God... indeed, there is only one word to describe such a view, it is nonsense."
And then Grudem goes on:

John Calvin, referring to 1 Corinthians 13:8-13, says, "It is stupid of people to make the whole of this discussion apply to the intervening time."
I have two questions:
1. How would a cessationist taking the aforementioned view respond to Lloyd-Jones' criticism? (Or alternatively would any cessationists take an objection/modify RBCBob's exegesis of the passage?)
2. I don't even understand what Calvin is talking about. Could someone explain to me what he means?

Thanks!
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
I have found it is important to be familiar with the whole of scope of a man's teachings to quote them authoritatively. I have heard, but cannot confirm, that the first esteemed gentleman came to an "uncertain" position on this matter and that that is reflected in his later pubic statements.

The greatest theologian did expand and change some views over his prolific teaching career. That happened with his view of the Christian sabbath, many quote only his first writings.

As far as I know, neither man ever taught that special revelation ordinarily comes through the I Cor. 12 spiritual gifts now that Scripture has been completed for the Church until the end of this world.

That is the heart of this matter, not whether God can do miracles (He can), but whether church worship is centered on special revelation ordinarily coming outside of Scripture. Neither man is known for teaching or practicing that, occasional statements of wonderment not withstanding.

If the modern day theologian, right though he is on many things, asserts that special revelation "continues" outside of Scripture, in any ordinary sense, he is quite wrong based on the context of Scripture and, I think, quite wrong in attributing such a few to these two esteemed theologians.
 

Fogetaboutit

Puritan Board Freshman
It means that you and I, who have the Scriptures open before us, know much more than the apostle Paul of God's truth.... It means that we are altogether superior... even to the apostles themselves, including the apostle Paul! It means that we are now in a position in which... 'we know, even as also we are known' by God... indeed, there is only one word to describe such a view, it is nonsense."
1. How would a cessationist taking the aforementioned view respond to Lloyd-Jones' criticism?
Did Paul know what was revealed to the apostle John in the book of revelation when he wrote 1 Corinthians? This is a fallacious argurment In my humble opinion, even if we have the complete canon of scripture before us today we still need the enlightement of the Holy Spirit for it to be beneficial to us. It's not a competition on who's the greatest in the Kingdom of God, the apostles or us depending on the level of "knowledge" or information we have. This sound like gnosticism where "knowledge" is made the object of glory.

The apostles were blessed with special honors, duties and gifts that are not bestowed on us today, but this doesn't mean that they had all of the Divine knowledge.

I lean toward the interpretation that 1 Cor 13 was referring to the complete canon altought I'm not dogmatic, but no matter where you stand I don't think this is a valid argument.:2cents:
 
Last edited:

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Lutheran scholar Douglas Judisch, has one of the best books on this subject, including a chapter on I Corinthians 13:

Amazon.com: An evaluation of claims to the charismatic gifts (Baker Biblical monograph) (9780801050824): Douglas Judisch: Books

Benjamin
"observes that the view that makes 'when the perfect comes' equal the time of the completion of the New Testament encounters another difficulty:

It means that you and I, who have the Scriptures open before us, know much more than the apostle Paul of God's truth.... It means that we are altogether superior... even to the apostles themselves, including the apostle Paul! It means that we are now in a position in which... 'we know, even as also we are known' by God... indeed, there is only one word to describe such a view, it is nonsense."
The Apostles and Christ Himself are rather unique cases, but the Church as a whole has advanced from childhood in the OT, through youth and adolescence, on to maturity. It's a historical and spiritual process.

E.g.
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood,to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, (Eph 4:9-13, ESV)
The Church looks back on OT times as an adult looking back with a new self-awareness on her childhood, a self-awareness she did not have when she was a child.

Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.(I Cor 13:12b,ESV)
 

davenporter

Puritan Board Freshman
The Church looks back on OT times as an adult looking back with a new self-awareness on her childhood, a self-awareness she did not have when she was a child.

Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.(I Cor 13:12b,ESV)
I notice Paul goes from plural (we) to singular (I). Does this have significance in our interpretation of the passage? Why would Paul speak in terms of "we" and then immediately move to "I" if he is talking about the same group of people. Or is it just stylistic?

Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.
 

Eoghan

Puritan Board Senior
I am not sure that 1 Corinthians 13 does specifically refer to the teaching that what is 'perfect' is the completed canon.

However...

...I think DMLJ's argument is false. It is one thing to have the completed canon of scripture it is quire another thing to master it. By master it I mean not only intellectual understanding but to have it in your heart. Yes we have more than the Christians of the NT era (when scripture was still being written) had by way of writings but do we have the life that lives up to them? They had the Apostles and disciples wandering round in itinerant ministries. They had prophets and apostles to bridge the gap - now we have the canon of scripture.

Should they force the gentiles to observe the law? On this the OT was basically silent, it spoke of an in-gathering of the gentiles but not what to do with them. That "gap" was filled with the vision of Peter and the conversions and outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Cornelius's house. When the same issue arises today posed by the Messianic Christians we simply go to scripture and read Paul opposing Peter, in Galatians and the council of Jerusalem in Acts 15.

When the Spirit prophesied Paul's arrest (and death) it was vital to know that this was his home-going and not the end of a Jewish sect. From our perspective this is clear from that of the NT era they needed to know it.

In many ways special revelation helped converts to Christianity find their way, especially the Jewish ones. We having the NT have all we need.

Kinda comin around to "perfect" = NT
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Bejamin
I notice Paul goes from plural (we) to singular (I). Does this have significance in our interpretation of the passage? Why would Paul speak in terms of "we" and then immediately move to "I" if he is talking about the same group of people. Or is it just stylistic?

Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.
He's possibly returning to his analogy of child to adult, for which he uses the first person singular, whereas for his analogy of the Bible being a mirror - an analogy which is used elsewhere in Scripture - he uses the first person plural. If I had Judisch to hand I'd let you know what he says on that particular issue.

When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things......now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face

But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Faith and hope - as we know them - cease at the Eschaton, which is another reason that this must refer to a period before then. If the particular Pentecostals are arguing that they are speaking in "the tongues of angels" (I Cor 13:1) - a particular hyperbole the Apostle uses - then they can be reminded that the tongues of angels don't cease at the Eschaton.

E.g.
For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. (Rom 8:24-25)
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Heb 11:1)
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top