Q12 for Bryan: The Coffee gambit

In your Q5 answer, Bryan, you proposed a second "to do" for cessationist critics: cessationists should meet with continualists to "discover why exactly they're willing to continue their practice" in spite of criticism -- effectually, he should "take them out for coffee" to resolve the disagreement.

This question obviously drives to motives on the Continualist side, and the assumption is that the Continualists have pure motives. The conclusion, then, is that pure motives ought to close the question.

When I had this same discussion with Adrian Warnock, he asked me the obverse of your question: what are John MacArthur's motives for criticizing Continualists?

Why is it that when this matter is in discussion between Continualists and Cessationists, the default assumption of the Continualist is that Continualism is based on pure motives and Cessationism is based on bad/impure motives?  Asked another way, is there a biblical basis for the Continualist rhetoric regarding the motives of the two sides of this debate?

I don't think there is any general default assumption of the Continualist that Continualism is based on pure motives and Cessationism is based on bad/impure motives. Nor do I think my suggestion #2 in your fifth question can be understood and summarized fairly as me arguing and concluding "pure motives should close the question."

It's so easy for my own motives to be mixed. Sorting them all out is even more exhausting. I'd say equally true are the attempts of both cessatonists and continualists to make sense of the opposing view and to explore what drives or compels it. It's normal--especially if we're convinced the opposing view is wrong or even dangerous--and even more so if we used to hold the opposing view but don't any longer.  

It's easy to project our own self-discovered motives for why we used to believe a certain way--on to someone else who still believes that way. And that's not fair. But let's face it, there are a number of ex-cessationists as well as ex-charismatics (who'd argue from the Bible and experience) who all have their own story to tell which indeed many would personally and immediately identify with, perhaps many of our readers. Yet both groups would still have to accept not everyone will identify with it or walk the same journey they have to arrive at where they are today on this issue. That fact certainly plays a role in what's happening here--both sides weighing in ex-cessationist and ex-charismatic testimonies.  

I think a good example on the Cessationist end of what you've suggested Continualists are primarily guilty of would be John Macarthur's many comments and other things said at Strange Fire, but specifically his comments on John Piper.

The quote can be found here

John Piper's response to Strange Fire is here (which I'm sure you've seen), but I'll let you decide after reading and listening to both if Macarthur's words aren't a little truth and appreciation littered with some false assumptions and attempts to draw conclusions for a huge audience about the views and the motives/reasons why Piper believes the way he does. 

I mention Macarthur's comments on Piper simply to point out that assumptions and motive speculation occur on the cessationist side-- starting with General Macarthur himself. And this is just one example. Should we really tally up who has more? 

So if it’s okay for Macarthur to speculate publicly at Strange Fire about the motives of John Piper and others, who weren’t there to defend themselves for the sake of the listener, why is it unreasonable or “adolescent” as you put it, for Adrian Warnock to ask you why John Macarthur doesn’t seem to be open to allowing more public opportunity for these very men whose motives he’s speculating about, to defend themselves and converse with him in civil public discourse? Seems like a fair question to me Frank. It’s your response to Adrian, frankly, that came across as unfair and adolescent. Adrian's opinion of the conversation is hereAs keen as you and the parrots on your shoulder are at pointing out your opponents' alleged question avoiding and word twisting, I'm surprised no-one has taken you to task yet and bitten your ear for the level of disconnect you are responsible for in that exchange. Instead, all I've heard from your side is how unhelpful the exchange was as if the blame obviously falls on Adrian Warnock.   
That being said, I think asking the question, "Why?", and suggesting possible reasons without precisely knowing them all first, is common to everyone when grappling with how someone believes differently than you do. Perhaps in this debate, one shared tendency is for both sides to argue from their perceived strengths and compare those perceived strengths to the perceived weaknesses of the other side?   

The bottom line is that both sides, if given the benefit of the doubt about the best of their intentions, are attempting to defend and be faithful to what Scripture teaches and protect others from harmful error. I believe that some Cessationists, including you, are sincerely doing that (though in my opinion--from an incomplete perspective), but it shouldn't and doesn't stop me from exploring why they still believe what they do, what they say, and why they present themselves the way they do (as in the rhetoric at Strange Fire conference etc.) ,if I genuinely believe that much of what they're believing and teaching is false. 

At any rate, I don't think you can so easily decide that one camp is doing this motive gazing & guesstimates more than the other, especially in a way that would pin only one side down to have to answer a question like this. Therefore, our side doesn't need to defend that we've some kind of Biblical basis for any rhetoric regarding the motives of the two sides of the debate because we're not assuming in broad-brush fashion that Continualism is based on pure motives and Cessationism is based on bad motives like you've suggested we are. However, I think we can all agree, Biblically speaking, that heart and motive matters. 

What's disturbing about this question Frank is that while John Macarthur can accuse half-a-billion christians of some sort of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, counterfeit worship, and say things such as, "They feel like they have free license to abuse the Holy Spirit and even blaspheme His holy name. And they do it constantly", here we are also getting accused of presumptuous rhetoric about the motives of Cessationists. Really?              

Sitting down with the men I mentioned and other Continualists might just help you work through your own assumptions about their assumptions, and plug that chink in Cessationist armor which you suggest exists only in Continualist outfits.  But if not, in the very least you might discover how they like their coffee.