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DocReits November 24, 2014 at 4:24 pm

Great explanation of the Five Fold Ministry Dr. Williams, with one exception,

You state:

“First, is that everything a person says as a self-proclaimed prophet is then claimed to be literally equal to Scripture. Second, if we are still receiving prophecies in addition to the Old and New Testament, then the 66 books of the Old and New Testament are not the completed Bible and this makes Deuteronomy 4:1-2; Proverbs 30:5-6; 1 Corinthians 13:8-12; 2 Corinthians 3; and Revelation 22:18-19 all lies. God forbid!”

You set your premise that Prophecy is equal to Scripture. Then you set the condition that any new prophecy, since it is equal to Scripture, must be in the Bible. You are making the assumption that “ALL” of the Words of God are contained in the Logos…the Written Word. That is not true. The Scripture references you cite to defend your position all relate to God forbidding man to add to His written Word…that does not preclude God continuing to speak to us through other means, including prophecy.

I respectfully disagree with your statements on prophets and more specifically, prophecy. I think you limit God by suggesting that “all” He has spoken , does speak, and will speak is contained in the Words of the Bible. That is just not true as the following Scriptures demonstrate:

Lets start with the OT. There were numerous occasions mentioned in the OT where the Spirit of the Lord came upon men and women and they prophesied in the Name of the Lord. Saul’s cohort to capture David was one example:

“…he sent troops to capture him. But when they arrived and saw Samuel leading a group of prophets who were prophesying, the Spirit of God came upon Saul’s men, and they also began to prophesy”(1 Samuel 19:20).

Saul himself prophesied at times when the Spirit of the Lord came upon him. A more obscure verse that comes to mind was when David appointed minstrels to prophecy in the Name of the Lord:

“Moreover David and the captains of the host separated to the service of the sons of Asaph, and of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who should prophesy with harps, with psalteries, and with cymbals…Of the sons of Asaph: Zaccur, Joseph, Nethaniah and Asharelah; the sons of Asaph were under the direction of Asaph, who prophesied under the direction of the king. (1 Chron 25:1,2)

In the NT… Anna in the temple at the dedication of Jesus was a prophetess:

“And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher(Lk 2:36).

All of these people spoke words from the Lord that are not included in the Bible. The Bible does not contain all of the words of God to His people. They include every Word necessary for salvation but not every Word of God past, present or future, to His people.

Look to Revelation when God will raise up His two witnesses. What will they be doing? They will prophecy concerning the coming judgment against the rulers of the day. Those future Words of God are not in the Bible nor will they be, because the Bible is the completed revelation of God to us but not all of His Words. Here it is:

” And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.”(Rev 11:3)

Obviously their Words of prophecy are not going to be Scripture(Logos) so they will not be in the Bible. Yet they will be the Words of God from future prophets, prophesying the Words of God.

The NT church in Corinth was encouraged to prophesy. Speaking in tongues with interpretation was encouraged. This was defined as prophecy. Yet we do not have what they spoke(prophesied) in the Bible. Here it is:

” I wish you could all speak in tongues, but even more I wish you could all prophesy. For prophecy is greater than speaking in tongues, unless someone interprets what you are saying so that the whole church will be strengthened.”(1 Cor 14:5)

John tells you himself that all of the Words of God are not in Scripture. Here it is:

“And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.”(Jn 21:25)

My point. All of God’s Words are not contained between Genesis 1 and Revelation 22:21. Do not misunderstand, the Bible is the complete Logos of God. We limit God though, by suggesting He cannot continue to speak to us through prophecy.

Blessings,

DocReits

Dr. Michael Williams November 25, 2014 at 6:59 pm

Doc Reit: I agree, not all of God’s Words are in the Bible. I never said they were not. However, the Bible tells us that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God 2 Timothy 3:16-17. It also tells that God spoke to us in these last days through Jesus Christ. Prophesies, tongues and miracles as sign gifts in the Bible have ceased because we have the cometed New Testament. The Apostolic fathers write that they no longer saw those gifts after the first centuy. They failed because that which is perfect HAD come, the New Testament – 2 Corinthians 3! The Apostles heard and saw the ministry of Christ but had a MORE SURE Word of prophesy, the Written Word of God. 2 Peter 1. They wrote the New Testament long after the events happened as directed and brought to memory the events. Try having a Biblical discussion with someone who’s only argument is that God spoke to them and told them “X.” It results in confusion and destroyed lives. Tofay, God speaks to us through the written Word. If we include the gift of prophesy as per pre Corinthians, then then anyone can write another testament and claim it is God’s Word, just written a few thousand years later. BTW, cessationists is a term used to stereo type people who add not to God’s Word lest we be found a liar. As for Jefferson and others, my book Silenced in the Schoolhouse covers the topic well.

DocReits November 26, 2014 at 12:17 am

Greetings Dr. Williams,

I do not wish to chase this too far down the rabbit hole before Pastor Jack kicks me off this site. I think it is important, though, to avoid confusion to make an attempt to unravel some ideas here that are, IMO, not only confusing but misleading. This is my humble attempt and please correct me where you see it needed.

Most lay people, myself included, are not as familiar as you on the various terms used by ecclesiastics. There is a difference between “Signed Gifts” and the Gifts themselves. Some in the Cessationist camp will allow that difference, others will not. All believe Signed Gifts such as miracles, prophecy, and/or tongues were manifested and used as a confirmation of God’s message and messenger during the times and only the times of the OT and NT. Such as Elijah confronting the priests of Baal when God consumed Elijah’s sacrifice by fire from heaven. Jesus raising Lazarus, etc.

Some moderate Cessationists believe that the time of the Signed Gifts are now over, after the times of the last apostles in the Bible, but that there still exist tongues, miracles and/or prophecies. These are not employed as signs to confirm the validity of the messenger or the message but are evidenced in individual’s lives. An example of the latter is seeing a miraculous healing of cancer in a friend’s life in response to prayer, or a Christian evidencing the gift of tongues. I do not know, but have an idea, where you come down on that topic.

This will hopefully help and not hinder the understanding of “Signed Gifts” vs the Gifts themselves.

Next:

You have been addressing again the Cessationist argument that if prophecy was for today we would somehow automatically embrace the prophet’s words and include them into the Canon of the Bible whether they be false prophets or true. Second, you make the illogical claim that if prophecy was for today then anyone claiming to be a prophet could include their words of prophecy into the Canon as those words would be the same as Scripture.

An example would be a pastor praying over a missionary heading off to a foreign field, praying for God’s guidance and protection(as we have seen many times). At the end of his prayer he sums up by saying, “God has impressed upon my heart, many souls being won to Christ through your ministry”. That was a word of prophecy. You might counter, “No, that was just wishful thinking”. I’m sure the pastor did wish that. I believe also, that God perhaps gave him those words to say just at that moment…a word of prophecy. How do we know if it was from God? Well, come back in 50-75 years and see if that word was true?

In another place I see I made you upset for which I apologize, when I was trying to demonstrate that unintended consequences are not a proof for your argument “IF” those consequences do not follow the logic of your premise. The reason the Pastor’s word of prophecy above would not be in the canon of the Bible is because the canon is complete and does not need to be added to for the world’s need of salvation edification, reproof or teaching.

But just “maybe” that word of prophecy was needed for that missionaries edification and help in a time of desperate need on the mission field…a reminder of God’s Word of prophecy to him. You will counter that he can find that in the Bible without the pastor’s word of prophecy. Agreed, but we are human, and God knows that, and that pastor speaking on God’s behalf certainly brought a special personal word of comfort to that missionary. I would hesitate to say that was not God’s Word, specifically to him, because then you might be in a place like Paul, of thinking you are right, but in reality, you are perhaps kicking against the goads.

Finally, congratulations on the book. It looks interesting. I just finished “Bible Law vs The US Constitution”:

http://www.bibleversusconstitution.org/BlvcOnline/blvc-index.html

Quite illuminating and shaking. Our roots at Plymouth Rock were as a Christian Nation with many Christian Charters, in the early decades, all using the Bible as their early and only Constitution. By the time of the US Constitution we were far from Christian. Did you know there is no mention of God in our Constitution? Did you know that all forms of Government are theocracies? People just allow different gods to form their charters…whether Islam, Christian or secular humanist. We chose the latter in the US Constitution as God does not determine justice and ensure domestic tranquility within its charter…it is stated in big letters in our Preamble who America’s god is…”We the People”…sobering

Thank you again for your kind remarks…

DocReits

Dr. Michael Williams November 24, 2014 at 7:41 pm

Thanks for your reply Doc Reits. The two witnesses you speak of were prophesied that they would come after the resurrection. Anyone, and I repeat, anyone who say’s they speak of as a prophet of God is no different than those who God spoke to for the written Word. If what you say is true then how can anyone claim the book of Mormon is not part of the Bible? How can anyone say cult leaders do not speak for God and their writings are not Scripture? Modern “prophets” claim they speak on behalf of God so to say their words are not Scripture is denying what 1 Corinthians 13, 2 Corinthians 3, and 2 Peter 1:16-21? We have the completed Word of God. Anything else is adding to God’s Word. Many people do not seem to understand that the written Word of God was spoken first to those who wrote it. A lot of the mess we have had since the 1850s is because people think that those sign gifts that were responsible for confirming God’s Word have started again. That is why Jesus said many would come to him claiming to do these things and he would say, “Depart from me I never knew you!” Look at any commentary written before 1800 and you will not find mention of sign gifts being practiced past 100 AD until the “Toronto Blessing” in the 1850’s where people tried to “recreate the Apostolic experience.” This is what Jesus prophesied.

DocReits November 24, 2014 at 11:21 pm

Thank you for your quick reply Dr. Williams,

I think we have different definitions of Scripture. I believe Scripture, as the Miriam-Webster dictionary defines it is:

“Scripture : the books of either the Old Testament or the New Testament or of both : the Bible”

You have said Scripture is every Word of God. Does that mean to you, that every Word that God has ever spoken is contained in the Bible or that there are extra-Biblical Words of God, not contained in the Bible, which you include in your definition of the term “Scripture”? Clearing this up will be very helpful. For:

I gave you many examples of the Words of God spoken by many people in my previous post, in both the OT and NT, not contained in the Bible. Are those Words spoken by those Prophets, I cited, also Scripture, in your meaning of the word? You can see the need for the definition of terms.

Second, you ask,

“If what you say is true then how can anyone claim the book of Mormon is not part of the Bible? How can anyone say cult leaders do not speak for God and their writings are not Scripture?”

(Fallacy of Appeal to Consequences:

An appeal to consequences argues that a proposition must be true because otherwise a consequence will follow which is unacceptable for reasons outside the logic of the argument)

I would add the same way the early disciples decided that Docetism was heresy, as an example. John himself refuted this heresy in 1 John 4:2-3, stating that Jesus had indeed come in the flesh.

Also, to determine if prophecy is true, we see if prophecy agrees with Scripture(meaning the written Word of God contained in the Bible). Next, just as in the OT, does the prophecy come true? Look to Agabus in Acts as an example:

” One of them named Agabus stood up in one of the meetings and predicted by the Spirit that a great famine was coming upon the entire Roman world. (This was fulfilled during the reign of Claudius.”(Acts 11:28)

Famine…prophet. No famine….false prophet.

The slippery slope which Cessationists stands on Dr. Williams is that they must redact, as Thomas Jefferson and Martin Luther did, broad swatches of Scripture to fit their view of God. The entire chapter 1 Cor 12 must be redacted for “we the Church” it was written for if the signed gifts are not for today. Luther wanted to throw the whole book of James into the Rhine….same deal.

Your appeal to the lack of evidence for signed gifts in the later church(after 100 AD) is not proof of their intended demise by God. It perhaps was an indictment by God of the later church’s departure from His Ways. Read what your fellow Cessationists have to say:

“According to their historical study, “the charismatic gifts did indeed decline and were eventually lost sometime between the second and fourth centuries AD”.[12] An interesting thing about their cessationist view is that it is a semi-continuationist view; that is, the gifts could have continued until Christ’s return, but instead ended “sometime between the second and fourth centuries AD”. The conclusion of their historical study is as follows: “Thus, we must discard the doctrine that the gifts were supposed to pass away before Christ’s return. Instead, we must accept the fact that the gifts were supposed to continue as a confirmation of sound doctrine until Christ’s return but were lost as the Church deviated from that sound doctrine given by Christ to the apostles and by the apostles to the early Church of the first few centuries”.[13]” Wiki

I, obviously, am a continuationist. I do not expect my small remonstration to sway your opinion, nor yours, mine. It is a blessing for me, and perhaps others, to hear differences of opinion among brothers in the Lord, to help us all to perhaps dig deeper into this faith we all hold dear. Thank you for the conversation.

Blessings,

DocReits

Dr. Michael Williams November 25, 2014 at 7:24 pm

Fallacy of Appeal to Consequences: Definition: a philosophical term used to deny any a valid Scriptural argument point because there is a consequence. Rebuttal: a Fallacy of Appeal to Consequences: can be inverted to deny ALL arguments of Scripture based simply on the notion that mentioning any consequence makes it untrue. Bottom line.., all Scrupture has consequences because it is alive. Instead of using philosophy to rebuff the question of the book of Mormon, use Scripture. This demonstrates the danger of extrabiblical sources of argument. “Whether there be prophesies, they shall cease.”

David November 25, 2014 at 1:36 am

Dr. Williams, I too disagree about both Apostles and Prophets, never mind.
The prophesies that were made by certain cult leaders that never came to pass, I think, proved that they were false prophets, however, the gift of prophesy is relevant today.
Blessings, David Central Europe.





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