Saturday, July 30, 2016

Contra Don Codling: Refutation and Conclusion

Final refutation

After his attempts to refute cessationist arguments, Codling tried to put forward a positive case for the modern exercise of charismatic gifts. Here, we see how he fails to take into account the difference between the history of salvation (historia salutis) and the order of salvation (ordo salutis), thinking that Pentecost, while not repeated in full, should be a pattern to be repeated in some manner in the lives of believers (p. 106). Also, he operates from a view that the gifts are there and then presumed they should continue unless otherwise stated (p. 115). But how we should deal with the gifts is to inquire into why they were given in the first place. Their gift was an "exception," not the norm, which is why they are called extraordinary and miracles, instead of ordinary and providence!


Don Codling in his book has tried to prove that the revelatory gifts at least, with an eye to all of the gifts, are present today and can coexist with a high view of the sole authority of Scripture. It is my contention that he has failed. We note that he fails to take into account the church's catholic nature through time in his appeal to the edification of prophecy and thus he fails to show how continual prophecy does not undermine the sufficiency of Scripture. Codling also fails to note that a completed revelation is much more of a blessing than having the revelatory gifts, thus reversing the priority of blessing as if incomplete revelation is better than complete revelation. We further note that he fails to take properly into account the focal point of the revelation of Christ in Hebrews 1:1-2 which points to its definite, non-continuous nature, following which we looked at how non-canonical special revelation fits into the biblical paradigm. Lastly, we have seen how Codling confuses the work of the Spirit in preparing the final revelation with foundational work, noting that not everything has to be foundational work in order for it to be necessary for the final revelation.

We ought to go about the topic of spiritual gifts by looking at their purposes first. God is not a God who just does magic tricks to excite and inspire people, or for no reason at all, but He does anything and everything for a reason. Since these sign and revelatory gifts are extraordinary, it should hint to us that they are a dated occurrence. While God does work miracles, let us not be too enamored of the "supernatural" that we become dissatisfied with creation and providence, and look for God and His works in all the wrong places.

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