When the Spirit Says to Put a Sock in It

“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16: 11)

The Basket Case Chronicles #172

“Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints” (1 Cor. 14:29–33).

Paul has already taught us that no more than two or three people can speak in tongues in the course of a worship service, and, if they do, then the words they spoke must be interpreted. This implies that they need to go one at a time so that the words can be made out distinctly, and translated for the congregation. Some might want to represent this as a view of mine, in which I am seeking to quench the Spirit. It is actually the view of the Spirit, working through Paul, in order to quench us. Quenching ego-babbling is not the same thing as quenching the Spirit.

The same principle applies to any words of prophesy that are given. Two, or at the most three, may speak words that the Spirit inspires. The first principle noted here is that the prophets must be accountable for what they say. The others sit to judge and review what is said. No one gets to speak for God on their own authority. The second principle is that courtesy and deference apply even here. When a word comes to another prophet, the first prophet gives way. Spiritual inspiration does not bring in bedlam. One at a time, with three messages as the most. The result is that everyone learns, everyone profits. The result is that all are comforted. If any are tempted to resist this word because “inspiration cannot be denied,” Paul says no. That’s not right. The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets, meaning that it possible to put a sock in it. Consider that each prophet is capable of restraining himself, and each prophet is to be subject to the other prophets. The alternative to this is disobedience, which would result in confusion instead of peace. And the Spirit’s work is to create order and peace, as in all the churches of the saints, and not disorder and chaos.

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J. Gary EllisonMark B. HansonEric StampherMichaelBarnabas Recent comment authors

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Barnabas
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Barnabas

I appreciate your very measured and scriptural approach to these topics. The cessationist position has been presented recently with much demagoguery and has relied more on youtube scare clips than on the Bible. Of course, I can’t call your analysis cessationist, so far, since I think Sam Storms would agree with you across the board.

Michael
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Michael

Where is the “like” button on Barnabas’s comment?

Eric Stampher
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Eric Stampher

What happened?

Our churches nowadays get one loooong word from one guy only.

Mark B. Hanson
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Mark B. Hanson

Eric –

Yeah, just like they did when Paul preached and Eutychus fell asleep.

Mark B. Hanson
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Mark B. Hanson

By the way, the Alliance for Confessing Evangelicals’ Reformation Society meetings were organized around having three pastors exposit the same passage. I thought it was a good idea.

J. Gary Ellison
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Absolutely! As an Assemblies of God missionary, I have taught this for more than 30 years. But I like the way you turn a phrase: Put a sock on it!

But cessationists are embarrassed by such passages, would have preferred that they not be included in the Bible, and develop a kind of “anti-theology” to dismiss them, much in the same way as liberals treat the miracles.

Thanks for the article. I’m saving it for my students.