Update on my debate with Charismatic Dr. Brown over 1 Cor. 13:8-12. There seems to be some issues with holding the debate at Calvary Chapel of Charlotte. I was contacted today (10/14/17) by Pastor Terry and it looks like they are in the middle of transitioning to another building (with that move being up in the air) and therefore they couldn’t guarantee that we could have the debate there Nov. 15th. So at this point I’m inclined to look for another platform such as: a conference, seminary, a prominent radio or TV program that could host the debate. I’ll keep everyone updated as I wait to hear back from Dr. Brown and how he would like to proceed on this. Also, if any of you have connections to a larger platform by which we could host this debate (as I mentioned above) — I would love to hear from you.
Debate over 1 Corinthians 13:8-12:
Did the miraculous sign and revelatory gifts of tongues, prophecy and knowledge cease at the “soon” Second Coming of Jesus to close the Old Covenant age in AD 70, or should we expect them to continue in our lives and churches because the Second Coming is still future? Michael J. Sullivan will affirm these gifts ceased in AD 70 at the “soon” Second Coming of Jesus and Michael L. Brown will affirm these gifts continue because the Second Coming is a future event.
Where and When: It WAS at Calvary Chapel Charlotte, NC Nov. 15th., at 6:30 — but now has to be rescheduled. Will let you know when I find a platform for the debate. Contact me if you have any ideas.
Resolved (Mike Sullivan): The Bible teaches that the miraculous gift of speaking in tongues, (and the other miraculous gifts of the Spirit mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13:8-12) would “cease” when “that which is perfect” comes. This was fulfilled in AD 70 at the “soon” Second Coming of the Lord.
Michael J. Sullivan is a Sovereign Grace Full Preterist author and apologist having graduated from Calvary Chapel Bible College and attended The Master’s College. He has co-authored the very popular Full Preterist book, “House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology a Preterist Response to When Shall These Things Be?”, hosted The Living Body Show on Fulfilled Radio and has been a speaker at various Full Preterist conferences. Mike has written over a hundred articles on fullpreterism.com and treeoflifeministries.info addressing such men as John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, James White, Kenneth Gentry, Gary DeMar, Shabir Ally and Michael Brown in areas pertaining to NT imminence and nature of fulfillment as these issues pertain to Christian apologetics. He has also addressed MacArthur, Sproul and Brown over the “Strange Fire” conference lectures as to when and why the miraculous sign and revelatory gifts of tongues, prophecy and knowledge ceased at Christ’s coming in AD 70.
Resolved (Dr. Michael Brown): The Bible teaches that the miraculous gift of speaking in tongues, (and the other miraculous gifts of the Spirit mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13:8-12) are to “cease” when “that which is perfect” comes. This is referring to the Second Coming of Jesus which has not yet come to pass.
Michael L. Brown is the founder and president of FIRE School of Ministry in Concord, North Carolina, Director of the Coalition of Conscience, and host of the daily, nationally, syndicated talk radio show, the Line of Fire, as well as the host of the apologetics TV show, “Answering Your Toughest Questions,” which airs on the NRB TV network. He became a believer in Jesus in 1971 as a sixteen year-old, heroin-shooting, LSD-using Jewish rock drummer. Since then, he has preached throughout America and around the world, bringing a message of repentance, revival, reformation, and cultural revolution. He holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages, has been a seminary professor and is a prolific author having written 27 books including Authentic Fire A Response to John MacArthur’s Strange Fire.
My Goal and the Serious Error of Charismatic Futurism
I will demonstrate in this debate that Dr. Brown’s unbiblical commitment to Charismatic Futurism forces him to have to redefine and not let the Bible interpret it’s self when it comes to: the truly miraculous gifts of prophecy, tongues and knowledge, the meaning of “this generation,” “soon,” “quickly,” “near,” “at hand,” “about to be,” “in a very little while and will not tarry,” the nature of apocalyptic literature and most importantly the spiritual nature of Christ’s fulfilled kingdom today in the NC age. Consciously or unconsciously, the power to uphold unbiblical tradition will seek to make null and void the prophetic inspired and infallible testimony of Scripture in these areas.
Some Preliminary Thoughts on John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul & Chuck Smith / Calvary Chapel When it Comes to the Charismata and Bible Prophecy
While my attention will be on my opponent, if time allows, I will be opening with a brief response to John MacArthur and R.C. Sproul whom both spoke at the Strange Fire Conference. The reason for this is twofold: 1). because of their influence, the Strange Fire Conference and MacArthur’s book have ignited this debate and discussion on a higher level than it had been before, and 2). both Dr. Brown and myself have responded to them in lectures and in writing. Therefore, let me briefly address the strengths and weaknesses of their positions on 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 and Revelation 22:4-7 since they or their Study Bible’s see them as parallel passages. It is easy to bring healing to this division on an exegetical and logical level. Let me demonstrate:
1). R.C. Sproul is a Partial Preterist who believes the seeing of God’s face today is a spiritual reality according to Revelation 22:4-7 because Christ was faithful to His promise to come “SOON” in AD 70 which caused the first Old Covenant Heavens and Earth to flee while ushering in the spiritual New Covenant Heavens and Earth found in Revelation 21–22:4-7 and 2 Peter 3. However, Sproul’s Westminster Confession of Faith and his Reformation Study Bible instructs us that this “soon” coming of Christ in this text and in verse 20, is the Second Coming event. And his Reformation Study Bible further confirms “that which is perfect” in 1 Corinthians 13:10, “…is referring to the Second Coming of Christ.”
Let me demonstrate how the contradictions within Sproul’s own ministry actually have formed Full Preterism and at the same time form the antidote to Charismatic false doctrine:
Premise #1 (R.C. Sproul): The “soon” coming of Christ in Revelation 22:6-7, 20 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70. This historical event caused the passing of the Old Covenant Creation while bringing about the arrival of the spiritual New Covenant Creation. As a result, we see God’s face today spiritually in the New Covenant Heavens and Earth.
Premise #2 (Sproul’s Reformation Study Bible): But the “soon” coming of Christ in Revelation 22:6-7, 20 is the Second Coming event and is parallel to or the same eschatological event as the arrival of “that which is perfect” in 1 Corinthians 13:10-12. We will only see God’s face clearly when these passages are fulfilled.
Conclusion/Synthesis: Therefore, the “soon” Second Coming of Christ and seeing of God’s face as described for us in Revelation 22:6-7, 20 and 1 Corinthians 13:10-12 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70. Therefore, the miraculous sign and revelatory gifts of tongues, prophecy and knowledge ceased in AD 70.
In other words, if “A” (Rev. 22:4-7) was fulfilled “soon” and spiritually in AD 70, but “A” is also equal to “B” (1 Corinthians 13:8-12), then “B” was also fulfilled “soon” and spiritually in AD 70. Therefore, these three gifts ceased in AD 70 and we see God’s face today more clearly in the New Covenant Heavens and Earth.
2). John MacArthur in his Strange Fire book and conference has failed to help the Charismatics as well. He correctly teaches that tongues ceased in AD 70 and “that which is perfect” is the arrival of the New Creation of Revelation 21-22. But due to his Dispensational Premillennialism, he has had to re-define “prophecy” and “knowledge” in the passage and has them ending thousands or millions of years from when tongues did. His Greek argument alleging a distinction on when tongues ceases verses when prophecy and knowledge will, doesn’t hold water — and this is what professors such as Dr. Smith (who taught Greek and 1-2 Corinthians) were teaching me and other students at MacArthur’s OWN college – TMC!
So let’s help harmonize what MacArthur and some within his own institution are or were teaching on this passage:
Premise #1 (MacArthur): Tongues ceased in AD 70 and prophecy and knowledge will cease or pass away at the arrival of the New Creation. “That which is perfect” cannot be the NT cannon.
Premise #2 (C.W. Smith TMC): But according to the Greek and context tongues, prophecy and knowledge ALL cease together – when “that which is perfect” comes.
Conclusion/Synthesis: Tongues, prophecy and knowledge ceased, passed away or were completely annulled in AD 70 when the “soon” coming of Christ caused the OC creation to pass away and ushered in the NC Creation and the seeing of God’s face more clearly.
John and The Master’s College (at least when I was there) need to logically harmonize the Reformed views and become a Full Preterist (as I have) and prove all three of these gifts ceased in AD 70 (not just one of them), or MacArthur should logically become a Charismatic waiting for all three to “cease” when an imaginary literal transformation of planet earth takes place. It’s not difficult.
3). Charismatics such as Chuck Smith, Michael Brown, Sam Storms and Mike Bickle (along with the last day’s cults) have had to re-define what biblical tongues and prophecy are in the NT in order to try and validate their non-miraculous “tongue” speaking (pure gibberish) and their admitted 80% failure rate of “prophecy” within their movement. They claim NT Prophets were in error just like them! This is the epitome of arrogance and false teaching – reading your failed experiences INTO the Word of God (eisegesis and putting experiences over the Word).
The OT nor the NT affirms there are TWO kinds of prophets – one that was inspired and infallible when giving prophecy that was recorded in Scripture, and the second – subject to being “80%” fallible and guilting of talking to him or herself. There is only ONE kind of prophet in the OT and NT and that is one that speaks infallibly for God. Anyone else claiming to be speaking on behalf of Jehovah and yet who’s predictions do not come true were to be stoned or excommunicated from the body. Period.
And the NT does not support the Charismatic new doctrine that there are two kinds of tongues – one miraculous when people speak known foreign human languages they were never taught, and then just pure gibberish pawned off as a “private prayer language” or “the tongues of angels.”
And I think that Sproul, MacArthur and Charismatics like Brown also fail to understand the implications of either not being consistent with the NT imminent time texts (Sproul) or re-defining them (MacArthur and Brown) — since the NT prophetic record is infallible and inspired.
I remember as a student at The Master’s College we had a Mormon apologist visit the class so that we could ask challenging questions. Of course the first one the class asked and challenged him on was about all the false prophecies of Joseph Smith and other LDS “Prophets” that failed in their predictions of Christ returning in some of their lifetimes and in their generation. His response was classic – “Well, assuming this is true, then we both have the same problem in that Jesus and NT Prophets foretold a Second Coming that would take place within some of their lifetimes and generation.”
No one responded, but since I had just become a Full Preterist we went out to dinner and I shared the flaw in his argument and that of my classes – and how Christ did in fact come when Jesus and the NT Prophets said He would and this does prove the LDS is a false religion with no ongoing “prophetic” “revelations.” And the ones that have allegedly come through the LDS on the Second Coming further prove Smith and the others were false prophets promoting false doctrine. He admitted he had never heard my arguments and he didn’t have an answer for them. Praise God – and that’s how you silence false teachers claiming divine prophetic revelation continues beyond AD 70.
Premise #1: God put His very words in the mouths of the OT prophets and thus their predictions came true when and how He said they would.
Premise #2: Therefore, since God also put His very words in the mouths of the NT prophets their predictions should come true when and how He said they would.
Premise #3: There is no exegetical evidence that NT prophets were subject to error unlike the OT prophets, or that there are TWO kinds of NT prophets – one infallible (that wrote the NT), and another fallible – congregational prophet.
Conclusion: The NT inspired and infallible prophets predicted both WHEN (in their generation and “soon”) and HOW (spiritual “within” “salvation of the soul”) the OT promises concerning the Second Coming and New Creation (“that which is perfect”) would be fulfilled and therefore they were fulfilled by AD 70 with the miraculous sign and revelatory gifts of prophecy, tongues and knowledge ceasing at that time.
4). Calvary Chapel and the Failed History of Pastor Chuck Smith’s “Prophecy Updates” and After-glow “Prophecies” – My special thanks to Pastor Terry of Calvary Chapel Charlotte for hosting this debate (no longer possible but I will leave in my response to CC here). It’s nice to see a Calvary Chapel that is willing to host a debate and engage in the realm of Christian apologetics. It was my experience growing up within Calvary Chapel – that we were an isolated bubble. At one point Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapel Bible College tried purging the library of any Reformed or Calvinistic writings after firing my former teacher and director – Richard Goswiller for being a 4 point Calvinist at the time and expanding the schools library beyond books and tapes of Chuck Smith!
As one who grew up in Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, and graduated from Calvary Chapel Bible College in the late 80’s, I am very aware of my hosts position on this issue. So perhaps I’ll say a little on my experience within Calvary Chapel.
While Calvary Chapel Pastor’s have condemned the unbiblical and extreme practices ranging from men like John Wimber to Dr. Brown and the Brownsville “revival,” they have their own unbiblical practices to address. Let me briefly explain. When I attended “after-glow” services (which were services dedicated to practicing the miraculous gifts) I heard a “prophecy” on a regular basis (from multiple people) that went something like this, “Take courage my people, I am coming for you SOON.” This “prophecy” had a context and that context was Pastor Smith’s false teaching (following the heretic Hal Lindsey) that Jesus’ coming was going to take place “soon” in our generation. Smith said from the pulpit and wrote in his books, “…that the generation of 1948 is the last generation.” In his book Future Survival Chuck wrote, “From my understanding of biblical prophecies, I’m convinced that the Lord is coming for His Church before the end of 1981.”
Sadly, some Calvary Chapel Pastor’s continue trying to stretch out the meaning of “this generation” from 30-40 yrs. (1948 + 1988 – 7 trip. = 1981) to now 50-70 and counting – in hopes of continuing this false prediction/prophecy/teaching. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it is! This is what the Jehovah Witnesses have done with the meaning of “this generation” (1874 + 40 yrs. = 1914 to now 143 and counting…) to try and save-face on their failed “miraculous” “prophetic” “predictions.”
Typical conversation with a Christian who comes from this Dispensational – Hal Lindsey / Chuck Smith alleged “prophecy expert” perspective:
Dispensational Futurist = (DF) below
Full Preterist = (FP) below
DF – The Bible teaches us (from the newspapers and current events) that Jesus is coming for us “soon” because our generation saw the “super sign” of Israel becoming a nation in 1948. Israel is the “fig tree” that put forth her leaves and became a nation in 1948. Therefore, we are the terminal last generation that will see the “soon” return of Christ. The signs of Matthew 24 are being played out right before our very eyes in the news everyday!
FP – No, the Bible actually teaches us (through exegesis) that Jesus was coming “soon” toward the end of His contemporary “this generation” (AD 30 – AD 70) to close the OC age and that is why as that generation was ending all the NT inspired writers said His coming was “at hand” “near” “about to come” and “would not tarry.” Luke’s account tells us that it wasn’t JUST the “fig tree” that would put forth her leaves but “and ALL the trees.” Is Israel in 1948 is the fig tree putting for her leaves, then how or what happened to the other nations (trees putting forth their leaves) in 1948? This is not literal Israel (let alone having anything to do with 1948), the putting forth of the leaves of the trees represented the signs of the GC and Jerusalem being surrounded by armies in AD 66, and when those signs were fulfilled “summer” (or the Second Coming and Kingdom) would be “near” in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation.” Pauls says the GC here had already been fulfilled (Rms. 10:18; 16:25-26; Cols. 1:5-6, 23) and the Romans surrounded the city in AD 66.
And in regards to your theory on our generation being the generation from 1948…, you do know this theory started by teaching a generation was something like 30-40 years and so the years 1981 and 1988 were falsely predicted by your Pastors and so-called “prophecy experts” right? And you do know that they had “prophecies” and “interpretation” of tongues in their churches that supported this idea that Christ was coming for us “soon” and they failed right?And you do know that you (and some of them) are trying to now STRETCH OUT that ORIGINAL 30 -40 years “generation” to now being 69 and counting? Does it sound familiar to stretch out the meaning of “this generation” according to Matthew 24:34? It should, it’s what Jehovah’s Witnesses have done when their original “this generation” prediction failed (1874-40 yrs. = 1914). They keep desperately stretching out a 40 years generation just like you are FORCED to do.
In Deuteronomy 31-32 we are told that Israel’s “last days” and “the later end” would be “near” when a particular “perverse and crooked generation” arrived. Peter under divine inspiration (being “led into all truth” “concerning things to come/eschatology”) taught that the generation Moses predicted to see Israel’s “end” was HIS contemporary “this perverse and crooked generation” (Acts 2:40). That is why Peter (under divine inspiration) taught “the END of all things is/was NEAR” (1 Pet. 4:5-7). Wouldn’t you rather trust a REAL inspired Prophet like the Apostle Peter over against fraud’s like Hal Lindsey and those so-called “prophecy experts” that have followed him?
DF – Hmmm, you have a good point on Luke’s account “and all the trees” – I never thought about that before. And yes, we have been stretching out the meaning of “this generation” like some of the last days cults. But you can’t be right about Christ’s Second Coming being “near” in their generation AD 30 – AD 70 because time doesn’t matter to God and so “soon” “near” or “at hand” doesn’t and didn’t really mean “soon” “near” and “at hand” to them.
FP – If God’s timing and “soon” “near” “at hand” wasn’t meant to be literally understood for the first century church, then why do these terms literally mean a “near” fulfillment of Christ’s Second Coming for YOU and not those to whom it was originally written to?
DF – Well, obviously you are a heretic, false teacher and false prophet Jesus warned us about and not saved! You destroy the “hope” of the church.
FP – Actually, the Bible teaches that “hope deferred maketh the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.” (Prov. 13:12). So you are saying that while Jesus promised the early church that His coming would be “in a very little while” and “would NOT DELAY,” (Heb. 10:37), in reality you have a 2,000 and counting “delayed” or “sick” “hope deferred;” while I have a “hope realized” and am partaking of Christ – the Tree of Life. And if time doesn’t mean anything, then what does “in a very little while AND WILL NOT DELAY” EVEN MEAN?
The false teachers, prophets and messiah’s Jesus and the NT warn about, were defending an earthly physical messianic kingdom on earth. They deceived Israel both on the nature of the kingdom and that it would come when Rome was destroyed. God destroyed those false teachers, prophets and messiah’s in the events of AD 66 – AD 70 for rejecting Christ and His spiritual kingdom. In essence it is YOU who are teaching the same carnal and unbiblical earthly kingdom the unbelieving Jews taught, the only difference is that you claim it has been “postponed” – when there isn’t a single verse in the Bible to support that theory.
And according to Ezekiel 7 and 12 wasn’t it the FALSE prophets that were tying to change God’s prophecy of His “NEAR” coming in judgment to a “far off one” that kindled God’s anger? If God’s timing isn’t ours and it doesn’t literally mean “near,” then what was all the fuss about in Ezekiel’s day? If time doesn’t matter and to be taken literally (except when you want it to apply to us – after all you are the center of the universe right?), then why did He tell Daniel to seal up the vision because the time was FAR OFF from his day, while telling John concerning the same eschatological promises to NOT seal up the vision because the time of fulfillment was AT HAND in his day? Obviously, God wants us to understand “far off” as being literally “far off” and an event NOT to take place within their lifetimes and generation and “at hand” as being literally “at hand” and thus an event to take place within their lifetimes and generation. And aren’t you the one stretching out the meaning of “this generation” beyond 40 years just like the last days cults?
DF – Well, like I said, you’re just a heretic and not saved. Good day!
FP – Well, as for me and my house we will continue trusting in the words of the NT inspired and infallible Prophets and rejoice in Christ (the Tree of Life) with our hope being realized in Him, while you continue to believe in a “sick” “hope deferred/delayed” “carrot and stick” understanding of Jesus’ “near” Second Coming and kingdom. If you are truly interested in how all the signs Jesus predicted in Matthew 24 were fulfilled prior to AD 70 and how Jesus came upon the clouds at that time please read my exegesis of Matthew 24 here: http://fullpreterism.com/matthew-24-25-and-the-resurrection-of-the-dead-fulfilled-at-the-end-of-the-old-covenant-age-in-ad-70/
Objection – But that was just an extreme example within Premillennialism or Dispensationalism!
While this Premillennial Dispensational view of “this generation” was (still is) a false and popular understanding within this system, it still exposes men like MacArthur and Brown’s attempts to redefine NT imminence and the serious error that it is.
MacArthur actually tells Preterists that we have interpreted “this generation” “too literally.” That is odd coming from a Dispensationalist who is a hyper-literalist. Now if by “too literally” John means we understand it as it is defined elsewhere by Jesus in the gospels – as His contemporary generation, then I’m guilty as charged and proud of it.
Brown actually tried in a debate to defend the meaning of “this generation” as the Jewish race! If Jesus wanted to communicate that thought He would have used the Greek word genos and not genea which Brown admits to in one of his books. Brown’s other views of “this generation” being the generation alive to witness the signs, His coming and end of the age is easily refuted because the AD 30 – AD 70 generation was that Generation that witnessed those events as I have demonstrated in my exegesis of Matthew 24.
Obviously, both MacArthur and Brown are desperate (along with men like Hal Lindsey and Pastor Chuck Smith) when it comes to trying to explain away the NT inspired prophetic position that the “end” (of Israel’s OC age – not world history) was genuinely “near” because they were living in the “last days” “perverse and crooked generation” foretold by Moses and the Prophets. Their Dispensational and Premillennial positions on “this generation” and NT imminence are no less “extreme” and “false teaching” as the Hal Lindsey and Chuck Smith approach is! Selah.
5). As for me and my family, we will trust in the NT inspired and infallible Prophets whom taught the Second Coming would be fulfilled within some of their lifetimes, in their “this generation,” and therefore “soon” to close the OC age and bring to maturity the “about to come” NC age. The truly miraculous sign and revelatory gifts of tongues, prophecy and knowledge were gifts for the maturing early church that were necessary to show WHEN (“soon” in the first century “this generation”) and HOW (spiritually “the salvation of the soul”) “ALL” the promises contained in the OC Mosaic Law and Prophets were being fulfilled “in Christ” and through the Church — bringing the “mystery” Jew/Gentile oneness to it’s fullness and maturity (2 Cor. 1:20; Lk. 21:22-32; 1 Pet. 1; Ephs. 2-4). Between AD 30 – AD 70 the OC and NC overlapped with these gifts assisting the NC Church growing from a child to a mature man. With the passing of the OC age in AD 70, the design and purpose for these gifts have run their course and we have put away these “childish” things.
For a detailed exegesis of 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 which is a response to Cessationist John MacArthur and his inability to deal honestly with the text and a response to Charismatic Michael Brown, go here: http://fullpreterism.com/my-full-pr…
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It’s been 8 years and the co-authors of When Shall These Things Be? have STILL not responded to our response — with many of the authors getting closer to Full Preterism (the coming of Christ in BOTH Mt. 24 & 25 was fulfilled in AD 70 AND the resurrection of Dan. 12:2 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70) while others are trying to flee from the implications of their Reformed Partial Preterism back to a more creedal view! No wonder they CAN’T respond! Amazing.
Reformed Eschatology tries to affirm both of these at the same time which is either a contradiction (“House Divided”) or forms Full Preterism. Either way they have lost this exchange or debate and here’s why:
Proposition #1 (Classic Amillennialism) – The NT affirms “ONE hope” and Second Coming or parousia event which is inseparable from ONE judgment and resurrection for the living and dead and ONE arrival of the New Creation.
Proposition #2 (Partial Preterism – mostly Postmillennial) – NT imminence is to be taken literally, therefore there was a spiritual coming / parousia of Christ in AD 70, a spiritual judgment and resurrection of the living and dead and a spiritual arrival of the New Covenant New Creation in AD 70 when the first OC Creation passed at the fall of Jerusalem to close the “last days” of the OC age.
Conclusion/Synthesis (Sovereign Grace Full Preterism) – The NT affirms only “ONE hope” (the “hope of Israel”) and since NT imminence is to be taken literally, Christ’s ONE Second Coming (or parousia) which is inseparably connected to the ONE judgment and resurrection and the ONE arrival of the New Covenant Creation — these eschatological events were fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 to close the “last days” of the OC age. Selah. It’s as simple as 1, 2 & 3.