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Perspectives on Pentecost [Paperback]

By Richard Gaffin, Jr. (Author) & Gaffin (Author)
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Item description for Perspectives on Pentecost by Richard Gaffin, Jr. & Gaffin...

A careful examination of the New Testament teaching on the gifts of the Spirit. Makes a case for the cessation of tongues at the close of the apostolic era.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: P & R Publishing
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.74" Width: 5.36" Height: 0.32"
Weight:   0.4 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 1, 1993
Publisher   P & R Publishing
ISBN  0875522696  
ISBN13  9780875522692  

Availability  2 units.
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More About Richard Gaffin, Jr. & Gaffin

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Richard Gaffin is a writer and musician. He has worked as an indexer and editor for the Oxford University Press and the Mars Hill Audio Journal, and writes for the music blog La Musiconomy. When he's not hacking apart other people's prose, he enjoys playing the blues, songwriting, other sorts of writing, literature, film, and learning facts about animals/the human brain. Richard was born in Toronto, raised in China, and currently resides in Fullerton, CA.

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1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology

Christian Product Categories
Books > Theology > Theology & Doctrine > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Perspectives on Pentecost?

Not Distributed To Every Age  Feb 6, 2008
The New Testament church is supposed to provoke Israel to jealousy, says the Scripture. Do we? Does the way we use the gifts contribute to or detract from this biblical injunction? All such are God's gifts to us. 'Every gift is a manifestation of grace, and any manifestation of grace can be termed a gift.' pg 47

Is it that with such simplicity, yet biblical excellence, Gaffin disseminates the charismatic and Pentecostal flaw-filled teachings which evokes such negative response? Gaffin prepares a substantial portion of his book to interpreting what is to follow in the NT church thereafter, with regards to the gifts, thru the interpretive grid of Pentecost. Pentecost was not primarily or secondarily about the 'experiences' of the people there present.

'We do not wait for the Holy Spirit to come: He came on the day of Pentecost. He has never left the Church.' John Stott, Christianity Today, pg 21, 12 June 1981 issue.

John the Baptist prophesied of Pentecost, that the Lamb of God would 'baptize with the Spirit and with fire' - one referring to His earthly reign thru His atoning death, bringing spiritual blessing; the other referring to His eschatological rule, bringing judgment, which will follow with the Second Advent. Yes, partial fulfillment occurred at Pentecost, for there tongues of flame fell on those present, but:

'Its undeniable fulfillment at Pentecost is nonetheless component with the fiery baptism of final judgment set by the NT to be executed by Christ at His return.' pg 17

Describing the once-for-all tongues of flame 'either as indicating that the baptismal fire of destructive judgment has been exhausted in the case of the church and will not consume it, or as signifying the refining, purifying aspect of the Spirit's work in the church.' pg 18

Gaffin indicts charismatics and Pentecostals: 'Even less is it the model for postconversion, second-blessing experience of the Spirit to be sought by all believers in every generation. Therefore it (Pentecost) is no more capable of being repeated or serving as a model for Christian experience than are the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ, with which it is so integrally conjoined as part of a single complex of events.' pg 23
The inauguration of the Spirit's saving presence in the life of the church, and then subsequently in the life of individuals as they turn to Christ, is a once-for-all thing.

'Emerging in our discussion then, is one of the most basic, controlling principles of both the christology and pneumatology of the NT, namely, the absolute coalescence, the total congruence in the church between the work of the exalted Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit.' pg 19 Here we see the error of charismatic subjectivity come into clear view. The Holy Spirit is the exegesato (revealer) of the Son, and a true rendition of His work is only derived from a true understanding of correctly handling Scripture: its normative nature, or its narrative content. For to progress from monotheism to the Trinity, accompanied by the enscripturated Word, would require unique and godly superintendence specific to that transition.

Yes, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, tomorrow. His work on the Cross (and not His Person) is objective, historical and history-making once-for-all. Certain giftings continue today, the Spirit is not quenched - but will we need healings in heaven, will there be a need for prophecy and will the interpretation of tongues qualify any to be an elder in the church, let alone heaven one day? 'The gifts of the Spirit, while particular expressions of this life, are provisional expressions. In this sense then, the variously distributed workings of the Spirit, of which the healings of Jesus and the apostles are an instance, are provisional and, in some instances, function as signs. Necessitated by, bound up with, and shaped by the conditions that make up 'the form of this world which is passing away'(1 Cor 7:31), they are themselves transient, the point of 1 Cor 13:8-10.' pgs 45, 46

Gaffin's initial setting-of-the-scene is the primary defense of cessationism, and the book's subsequent trajectory relates all the acts of the apostles in light of Pentecost - commonly referred to as the apostolic age or the foundational stage of the NT church. It relates to an inclusivity on a scale that only a discretionary God could foreknow and comprehend - an event inaugurating the final eschatological stage of redemption. 'The contemplation of this great plan must redound to the praise of the unsearchable wisdom and illimitable power of Him who devised and executes it.' Loraine Boettner, Predestination, pg 25

This study then draws a line in the sand as to WHEN the revelatory, sign gifts were in use and calls for a recognition of Bible authority today. Revelation is redemptive-historical - the authority of our lives, spoken once-for-all. Gaffin also gains credibility as he claims that the 'perfect' in 1 Cor 13:10 is not the canon closure, but the Second Coming of Christ.
Until then, the God-breathed record holds full sway.
One of the best books on the subject  Oct 9, 2005
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the charismatic/cessationism debate, or anyone simply interested in the function of the gifts today.

In places, the book reads almost like a commentary because of its exegetical depth and objectivity. His purpose in writing is to show what the New Testament REALLY teaches about the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. His subtitle says everything - he really does do an excellent job in this regard.

His reasoning is also very good. He went far beyond the "prooftexting" and hackneyed arguments that is all too common on both sides of the debate.

I strongly recommend this book.
A careful and accurate study well worth reading.  Dec 11, 1998
Finally, a carefully written study in concise and readable form which addresses the heart of the question with respect to the cessation of the special "sign" gifts of the New Testament. Professor Gaffin has represented those with whom he disagrees clearly and fairly, and has provided the Church community with a helpful and balanced resource. Regardless of the reader's position, one cannot help but come away from this short study without a deep appreciation for the sufficiency and unity of Scripture. As a study in the basics of the doctrine of revelation, it is a definite "must-read" for every earnest believer.

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