“Have The New Testament Charismatic Gifts Ceased?” [Debate] Sam Waldron vs Michael Brown [Video]

Update: Nov. 12, 2013 – MP3 of the debate:


 

Update: Nov. 7, 2013 – Livestream over, but you can watch it here:


 

Debate Waldron Brown YouTube

Date: Nov. 7, 2013
Time: 5pm PST / 7pm CST / 8pm EST
Where: THIS PAGE (via YouTube Live )
Hosted & Moderated: Alpha & Omega MinistriesThe Dividing Line | Dr. James R White

Dr. Michael Brown

v.

Dr. Samuel Waldron

 “Have The New Testament 

Charismatic Gifts Ceased?”  

Format:
1.      Michael Brown (1) Opening – 15 min.
2.      Sam Waldron (2) Opening 15 min.
3.      1) Rebuttal 10 min
4.      (2) Rebuttal 10 min
5.      Cross Examination (1) 15 min.
6.      Cross Examination (2) 15 min.
7.      Closing (1) 5 min.
8.      Closing (2) 5 min.

Update: Nov. 6, 2013 Dr. Brown’s debate announcement.

Author: Jason

link ≠ personal endorsement

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  • John Caldwell

    Why has Michael Brown said that no one from MacArthur’s camp has stepped forward to engage him. Did Phil Johnson not appear on his show after Strange Fire?

    • http://confessingbaptist.com/ Jason Delgado

      think he was talking about a formal debate

  • Joshua Gartrell

    Where the debate fell short…

  • Scott Autry

    I’ve been saying all along, and I hope that others caught it in the debate, that eschatology affects EVERYTHING! The one thing Christian’s say is a peripheral issue is the one central claim that Dr. Brown wanted addressed – the “last days” in Acts 2. Eschatology is a gospel issue, although nothing to divide over. Although I disagree with Dr. Brown wholeheartedly it seems to be a telling sign to me that Sola Scriptura, the shape of the canon, the New Testament constitution of the church, and tongues/healing directly tie into one’s eschatological position. It was the point in the debate by which Dr. Brown seemed to hinge his position on to me at least.

  • Mark Nenadov

    Good work, Confessing Baptist brothers! You (and James White) have done us a very good service! Very fascinating. I’m part way through it and enjoying it immensely. I think they are both great representatives of their positions!

  • http://confessingbaptist.com/ Jason Delgado

    Howdy y’all… FYI: Debate follow-up scheduled with Dr. Sam Waldron. What would you like for us to ask him? http://confessingbaptist.com/?p=7363

    • Gary Marble

      Jason,
      I would like to see Waldron have more time to press the questions on Brown that Brown did not answer. I would like to see less rebuttal when asked a question, and more direct answering, especially on Brown’s part. Since issues were left unaddressed, I would like to see those issue readdressed since both sides had good questions, but not enough cross exam time. So in a nutshell, more cross exam time as a continuation of the first debate.

      Awesome job!

    • John Caldwell

      Here goes:
      1) How does he understand the the fact that the N.T refers to women prophesying in relation to his prophecy on par with scripture view?
      2) If prophecies uttered in the apostolic era – did not make it into the canon – but as he said ‘served a local purpose’ – why can prophecy not serve that purpose today?
      3) How does he respond to Brown’s claim that the signs and wonders were not designed to authenticate the apostles, but rather the resurrection of Christ?

      • Bo Williams

        John,

        I think you are supposed use the link supplied in Jason’s post to ask your questions. Your number one is a bit confusing…at least to me. Could you restate it?

        • John Caldwell

          Ach, thanks. No time to repost just now.
          Yes, Q1 is not clear – largely because it is multi-layered.
          Basically, the NT speaks of women prophets. Yet, as far as tradition goes, no woman contributed to scripture.
          What purpose did woman prophets fulfill?
          Also, if prophecy was always at a level of scriptural authority, would this not put woman in a role of authority?
          Hope that is clearer. I’m having to jot these things down quickly.
          J

    • http://confessingbaptist.com/ Jason Delgado

      Already did the follow-up… got nearly 2 hours of audio with him so some of it will address most questions y’all asked

  • John Caldwell

    Listening to the to the cross examination, Waldron’s cross-examination of Brown is painful. Brown does not answer or seem to understand his questions. Frustrating.

  • Bo Williams

    Robert,

    I find it hard to believe that you listened to the same debate that I did. Dr. Brown was not confusing in the slightest. He asked and answered straightforwardly from the scripture. Dr. Waldron brought up some good points, but started with a presupposition instead of what the Bible actually says. There are gaps in his logic and he could not answer Dr. Brown’s questions about the Spirit being poured out upon all flesh with the expectation of our sons and daughters prophesying because of this last days outpouring. Either the promise is to us that are far off and our sons and daughters or Peter was mistaken in his interpretation of Joel.

    Dr. Waldron was trying to make a point about Paul being the last one to see the resurrected Messiah when in fact John saw Him some 20 years later. Paul’s statement was not the last word on the subject…though it was true when he made it. This statement of Paul’s has nothing to do with who was the last apostle and thus the chain reaction cessation of every other gift. Dr. Brown pointed out that the same list that Dr. Waldron was using to prove his point contained other gifts that he would not claim have ceased. So, not only were there leaps in the logic, there was convenient leap frogging of the facts in the logic :)

    The discussion of “when that which is perfect is come” was interesting but unconvincing on Dr. Waldron’s part. The correlation that Dr. Brown brought up in 1 John 3:2 with 1 Cor. 13:10 was instructive concerning when “that which is perfect” will come…”when we will know even as we are known.” He also pointed out that the gifts were given until we come to the unity of the faith and unto a perfect man from Paul’s listing in Ephesians 2. Well, we do not all believe the same way, we do not know even as we are known, and that which is perfect has not come…obviously!

    Dr. Waldron was unable to show that if prophetic gifts are going on today it would undermine the closed cannon of scripture. Dr. Brown eloquently pointed out that not all prophetic utterances even in the time of the scripture being written were included in the cannon of scripture. The only way that Dr. Waldron’s idea works is if it was all included. Certainly the many hundreds of prophets in the school of the prophets and those in the early assemblies gave some prophetic utterances that were absolutely true, but we have no record of these divinely inspired words. It did not change the cannon of scripture then and if it was happening today, it would not change it either. So the point Dr. Waldron was trying to make is a moot one.

    Much could be said, but I think that you should re-listen with a more open heart and mind.

    Shalom

    • Robert Briggs

      Brother Williams

      Thanks for your exhortation. Let me address some things.

      We all come to Scripture with presuppositions, stated or otherwise, so that point is simply redundant. No matter who we are we all pick up our bibles and study them with certain presuppositions, the issue is whether our presuppositions are sound or unsound. This is something I am happy to open up with you.

      As for Sam not answering certain things, please be fair, there was only so much time and being selective was required. So let me perhaps address the issue for you regarding the Spirit and all flesh etc. No one I know who is a cessationist denies the Spirit has been poured out on all flesh, that is however NOT the point and one that continuationists either miss or choose to ignore. The issue is in what way and with what manifestations has and is the Spirit being poured out ?

      We say the pouring out of the Spirit on all flesh is both historical and experiential in nature, in other words He was poured out at a given time in redemptive history and with specific manifestations for specific purposes at given points in redemptive history. Even you must concede this if you believe as is traditionally the case that there is a 400 year period of silence with regards to divine revelation between the end of the Old Covenant era and the beginning of the New Covenant era. Even further back there are clearly periods in redemptive history when divine revelation is being given and when it is not. This is simply proven by a reading of the Scriptures. EG Abraham receive divine revelation only a few times in his life and lived on that until the next time.

      With regards to the fulfilment of Joel it is evident that Peter viewed it as happening on the Day of Pentecost. Its fruit or its effects for want of a better term then continue to this day but it does not necessarily mean as you assert that its manifestations must, Acts 2 fulfills Joel 2 just as Christ’s death fulfills Isaiah 53. The effects of Calvary flow down to us today but Christ is not dying every day, so the Spirit came and so the manifestations of His work continue to this day.

      Now the issue of in what way does the Spirit manifest Himself today? Are all the gifts of the risen Christ which came with the outpouring of the Spirit in the church today? Yes and no is the answer, not absolutely yes, and not absolutely no.

      Regarding the apostles, they are evidently NOT still in the church as they have gone to glory. Yet the fruit of their labor still exists, it is the body of truth that we have in the NT corpus. Yet they are NOT present in the church in the same way as they were when walking on the earth, and they laid the foundation for the New Covenant community. This being a reality there is no denying if one is reasonable that the manifestation of the Spirit in the church with regards to gifts has changed from the first century, it is self-evident. We do not need a verse to verify it we simply need to understand providence and history and how life generally works. The apostles have gone to glory.

      As for John seeing Christ 20 years after I think you misunderstood Dr Waldron’s point. He was not denying that the apostle John once again encountered Christ in regards to receiving divine revelation, His point was that Paul was required to see the risen Christ for himself to qualify as an apostle as is evident from Acts 1v22 ‘MUST become a witness with us of His resurrection’. A clear biblical qualification for an apostle who carried governing authority in the early church. No leaps in logic my brother, just lack of understanding on your part regarding what he referred to.

      Regarding 1 Corinthians 13 notwithstanding which way we go on the issue, it neither proves the revelatory gifts were to continue or cease and why should it? Paul is not dealing with that specific issue in that passage, it is secondary issue that both sides tend to get embroiled in. Was Paul aware of all that was to transpire in the Christian church for the next 2000 plus years ? It proves nothing either way in my judgment.

      Of course all utterances from God were not placed in the canon, just as not all the miracles of Jesus were placed in the gospels, read John 20v30, scripture itself tells us that selectivity is involved in what is written. The sad fact of the matter is that Dr Brown did not address the process for the selection of the Scriptures we have, ie how we got our bible. Your reasoning is fundamentally flawed.

      We are not saying we have everything ever revealed, we are saying we have all we need for our faith. God has given us all we need in Scripture regarding what we are to believe about God and what He requires of us. Your problem in understanding this is that you presuppose the so called prophecy of today is the same as that in Scripture, and we assert that it is not. So you are not hearing what we are saying because your definition and understanding differs from us.

      You evidently have a two-fold view of prophecy that finds absolutely no support in Scripture. Dr Grudem’s invention of a sub-biblical prophecy definition has done much harm to affirm the error of charismatics who think prophecy can either be of the quality of Isaiah or Joel, or it can be an impression or notion that may or may not be true and needs testing. This is simply novel and unbiblical and in fact dangerous and needs to be exposed as erroneous. Dr Waldron did not have time to get to this stuff and was dealing with the bigger picture in a sense.

      I would ask with all sincerity if you can point me in the direction of a church that practices prophecy or tongues in the same way that the NT lays it out and as Scripture teaches it, ie a prophet with a name who can be tested and a tongues speaker whose tongues gift can be evaluated, ie along with interpretation and I will happily investigate it to see what is going on. We who are cessationists believe in prophecy and in tongues, we simply do not believe what is masquerading as such today is what it claims. It is not always Satanic in source, but it is always borne out of a wrong understanding of the Bible and a lack of willingness to even question the issue.

      I am quite open to discuss and evaluate any charismatic claims my brother, it is vital that we do.

      Warmest regards

      RB

  • Bo Williams

    Robert,

    I meant to post this here instead of as a direct response…oops!

    I find it hard to believe that you listened to the same debate that I
    did. Dr. Brown was not confusing in the slightest. He asked and
    answered straightforwardly from the scripture. Dr. Waldron brought up
    some good points, but started with a presupposition instead of what the
    Bible actually says. There are gaps in his logic and he could not
    answer Dr. Brown’s questions about the Spirit being poured out upon all
    flesh with the expectation of our sons and daughters prophesying because
    of this last days outpouring. Either the promise is to us that are far
    off and our sons and daughters or Peter was mistaken in his
    interpretation of Joel.

    Dr. Waldron was trying to make a point about Paul being the last one
    to see the resurrected Messiah when in fact John saw Him some 20 years
    later. Paul’s statement was not the last word on the subject…though
    it was true when he made it. This statement of Paul’s has nothing to do
    with who was the last apostle and thus the chain reaction cessation of
    every other gift. Dr. Brown pointed out that the same list that Dr.
    Waldron was using to prove his point contained other gifts that he would
    not claim have ceased. So, not only were there leaps in the logic,
    there was convenient leap frogging of the facts in the logic :)

    The discussion of “when that which is perfect is come” was
    interesting but unconvincing on Dr. Waldron’s part. The correlation
    that Dr. Brown brought up in 1 John 3:2 with 1 Cor. 13:10 was
    instructive concerning when “that which is perfect” will come…”when we
    will know even as we are known.” He also pointed out that the gifts
    were given until we come to the unity of the faith and unto a perfect
    man from Paul’s listing in Ephesians 2. Well, we do not all believe the
    same way, we do not know even as we are known, and that which is
    perfect has not come…obviously!

    Dr. Waldron was unable to show that if prophetic gifts are going on
    today it would undermine the closed cannon of scripture. Dr. Brown
    eloquently pointed out that not all prophetic utterances even in the
    time of the scripture being written were included in the cannon of
    scripture. The only way that Dr. Waldron’s idea works is if it was all
    included. Certainly the many hundreds of prophets in the school of the
    prophets and those in the early assemblies gave some prophetic
    utterances that were absolutely true, but we have no record of these
    divinely inspired words. It did not change the cannon of scripture then
    and if it was happening today, it would not change it either. So the
    point Dr. Waldron was trying to make is a moot one.

    Much could be said, but I think that you should re-listen with a more open heart and mind.

    Shalom

    • Gary Marble

      I do not want to start our own debate here, but much of Brown’s responses were aimed at what he thought Waldron was saying, not what he actually meant. If each side only wanted to hear their own view reiterated articulately, then each side will think their guy won (that would explain why you think Brown did so well), but from the stand point of each party truly addressing the other side’s opening statement, I am not sure a lot of progress was made. My assessment is that Waldron needed more time, and that Brown hardly understood what Waldron was getting at.

      • Robert Briggs

        I agree Gary, my sense of the debate exactly.

  • John Caldwell

    As a former pentecostal, I find Brown’s understanding of the closed revelation of scripture worrying. In fact his response to Strange Fire as a whole has been troubling. I blogged on his response here:http://jjcaldwell.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/michael-brown-seeks-to-quench-strange.html
    I can understand him to a point, since I was an ardent continuationist myself. However the commitment to sola scriptura and continuationism is a constant tension. At the end of the day, one will be more dominant. It is sad to see charismatics like Brown, who love teh word, placing gifts above scripture.

  • http://1689reformedbaptist.wordpress.com/ 1689reformedbaptist

    This was a good debate, one point I wanted to make is that it seems that Michael Brown committed the word-concept fallacy: http://pettyfrance.wordpress.com/2013/10/05/thomas-beard-on-the-word-concept-fallacy/

    by insisting that you can’t say the charismatic gifts have ceased since there is no explicit statement in scripture, but this could also apply to prayer meetings, should churches not have corporate prayer meetings since there is no explicit command in scripture, another example is that the Davidic covenant in 2 Samuel 7 doesn’t use the specific word for covenant, berit, but it is clear that it is a covenant by the context, even though it isn’t explicitly called a covenant in 2 Samuel 7, but it is in Psalm 89. During the process of the formation of the canon in the OT would no one have known that the Davidic covenant existed prior to Psalm 89 being part of the canon, or would it not have been sufficient to see that it was a covenant based on the context of 2 Samuel 7 without the explicit use of berit? Another point is that sometimes with discussion on cessationism arguments based on biblical theology are ignored and each side tries to proof-text their position, whereas Dr. Waldron’s cascade argument is a good example of an argument based on a biblical understanding of biblical theology/redemptive history.

  • Tim

    Thank you, Rob, for sharing this debate with me. I really got a lot out of it. For me, it really pointed out just how much inference and how many assumptions need to be made on the part of cessationists to support their view. Inferences and assumptions most often become the point of departure from Scripture. And when some says, as did Dr Waldron, that they do not have to show explicit Scripture to support their view (not even a single one), it raises a red flag with me because that has always been a sign for me that there is most likely a departure from Scripture. Many of the cults or Christian groups who are in error do the same thing. And when Dr Waldron said, in his closing, that Satan was bound at the beginning of the gospel age, who does he think is our current adversary, the roaring lion looking for those he may devour? Does Dr Waldron think Satan is already in the pit for the 1000 years?

    Maybe it was that Dr Waldron was not as prepared as Dr Brown, or maybe it’s that his argument is not as sound as Dr Brown’s, or has the amount of Scriptural support as Dr Brown’s, but I felt that Dr Brown won this debate by quite a distance.

    One of the points they both spent a good bit of time on was on Prophesy and prophets. Dr Waldon seems to believe that if a prophet speaks, it has to be revelation from God to be included in the Canon of Scripture. And if there were any prophesies in modern day, then the Canon could not be closed (as if every prophecy would have to be added to the Canon of Scripture as instruction to the Church). Yet, in Acts there was a prophet who simply prophesied, after binding himself with Paul’s belt, that the person the belt belonged to would be imprisoned (referring to Paul). That wasn’t an instruction for the Church. It was something specific to a single man, about something that would happen to him specifically. How about the daughters of Philip who prophesied? There are no records in Scripture of anything the four of them ever prophesied (I don’t think). If they prophesied, why was it not added to the Canon of Scripture? I do believe that God can give a word of Knowledge (which has happened to me) or a prophecy about a specify person, to be given only to that person, without it having to be an instruction for the entire church body. This type of prophecy would in no way challenge Scripture, conflict with it, or thought to be added to it. Dr Waldon’s argument that,

    1) any type of prophecy (since the closing of the canon) would mean that the canon would not then be really closed,
    2) any type of prophecy (since the closing of the canon) would be false prophecy because the canon is closed,

    holds no water at all. Since there was prophesy taking place outside of the Canon of Scripture (not recorded in the writings of the New Testament), either for a witness to the reality of Jesus, or having to do with a specified issue for a specific person, why does Dr Waldron believe that this same type of prophecy in modern day would be competing with the Canon when it wasn’t back then? This type of prophecy is not something that is trying to add to or take away from Scripture, or add to the overall instruction to the Church body.

    By the same token, I do believe that there will be false prophets, as the Bible clearly teaches. It say we are to test all things. I do believe there will be false miracles, and false gifts, as the Bible clearly teaches there will be. But to throw it all out as false, instead of testing all things and holding on to the good, is like throwing out the baby with the bath water. And that is not what the Bible teaches us to. The Bible teaches that Satan will do what he can to deceive us, blind us to the truth. I believe he is doing a great job of that with many Christians today. I believe through teachings like “cessationism”, he is robbing the church of a great measure of it’s power to heal the sick, bind up the broken hearted, deliver people from demonic influences, give sight to the blind, open the ears of the deaf, give utterance to the dumb, strengthen and straighten the legs of the crippled…..all to the glory of God.

    If Dr Waldron is correct, then many of the early church fathers, and recorded history are wrong. If Dr Waldron is correct, then what are we to do with the multitudes of healings, deliverences, etc. that have accompanied the gospel message down through history, and been wrought by the name of Jesus? WHat are we to do with the many testimonies by early church fathers that the gifts were given to the church as tools to use in it’s earthly ministry?

  • BoughtWithAPrice

    It was interesting how in the debate Michael kept exhorting Sam to be Sola Scriptura but in my opinion it seemed Sam preferred to appeal to the silence of Scripture, the completion of the canon, and the cascade theory.

    Sam said since Michael believes the canon is closed and that the canon was written by apostles that there must be no more apostles and therefore Michael is really (at the very least) a partial cessationist. Michael responded by pointing out that a) There is
    nothing that states the sole purpose of apostles was to write Scripture b) Most of the apostles did not write any Scripture c) Therefore most of the what the apostles taught (whether verbally or written) never became Scripture d) That some of the New Testament was written by people who were not even considered apostles (e.g. Luke, Mark [although tradition says it was dictated by Peter], and Hebrews [no one knows who wrote it]), e) There is no mention in Scripture that the church no longer needs apostles. f) There are more than 12 apostles mentioned in the Scripture (although only twelve have their names as part of the 12 foundations in Rev 21:14). Yes, the Scripture is closed and the twelve foundation apostles are passed away, but God is still sending certain chosen people–apostles–as missionaries to establish lamp stands in unreached areas of the world in the name of Jesus. Btw, the Greek word for apostle is a generic word which according to Thayer’s Lexicon means a delegate, messenger, or one sent forth with orders.

    When Michael appealed to Jesus’s words in John 14:12 about “whoever believes” will do works like Jesus, Sam responded that Jesus’s words in John 14:12 were only meant for the apostles! So does Sam believe all the words of John 14, 15, 16, and 17 and all the other many, many other verses of Scripture of Jesus speaking to His apostles are just for the apostles? Does Sam say John 14:1, etc. is also not applicable to Christians and John 14:6, etc. is not applicable to everyone? Can you imagine how many of Jesus’s words would not apply to Christians today if we disregarded everything Jesus said to the apostles?

    Michael got to a point in the debate of practically begging Sam for a single Scripture that would nullify clear New Testament commands and truths regarding the gifts of the Spirit and Sam could not. These Scriptures included:

    + 1 Corinthians 14:1 Pursue love, and DESIRE the spiritual gifts, but ESPECIALLY that you may prophesy. (EMTV)
    + 1 Corinthians 14:31 For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. (EMTV)
    + 1 Corinthians 14:39 Therefore, brothers, SEEK TO prophesy, and DO NOT FORBID to speak in tongues. (EMTV)
    + Ephesians 4:11-13 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, (12) for the perfecting of the saints for the work of ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ, (13) UNTIL we ALL arrive to the UNITY of the FAITH and of the KNOWLEDGE of the Son of God, to a MATURE man, to the MEASURE OF THE STATURE OF THE FULLNESS OF CHRIST; (EMTV)
    + 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 (19) Do not quench the Spirit. (20) DO NOT despise prophecies. (21) But test all things; hold fast that which is good.
    + Acts 2:17-20 “And it shall be IN THE LAST DAYS”, says God, “that I will pour from My Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your
    daughters shall prophesy; and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams;” (18) “And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy. (19) And I will give wonders in the heaven above, and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and vapor of smoke. (20) The sun shall be changed into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome Day of the Lord. (EMTV)
    [In other words, is it not clear that we are still in the “the last days” since the “Day of the Lord” as not yet occurred?]
    + John 14:12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. (ESV)

    While I DO believe there have been many counterfeits within the charismatic movement, do we dare disregard Scripture based upon counterfeits?

    I can’t understand for the life of me how sincere cessationist Christians like John MacArthur can discount whole entire segments of the church as not even being Christian simply because they believe in and operate in the gifts of the Spirit. That is scary because I know in the same way we judge others God will judge us in the end. Some of the audio clips from MacArthur’s Strange Fire conference which Michael Brown played in his interview with Phil Johnson were almost too hard to believe. Link:
    http://www.lineoffireradio.com/2013/10/21/dividing-over-truth-or-just-plain-divisive-dr-brown-interviews-christian-leaders-regarding-the-strange-fire-conference/

    Have cessationists never heard of the explosion of Christianity happening through charismatic, Spirit-filled Christians in persecuted areas of the world like Asia and the Middle East?