Bud writes for Pulpit & Pen. He calls himself the Pen. He’s a cessationist, meaning he claims that the gifts and manifestations of the Holy Spirit have ended.
He has been focusing on tongues lately, denying that there is still a use for speaking in tongues, and proposing that the gift of tongues as outlined is scripture has ended. Of course, there is no scripture to back this up.
Elevating the role of Reformed theology in an article strangely entitled, ‘Tongues: The Final Word…Got Better not Lesser’, Bud the Pen proposes the following rules for his own theology of the Word.
For believers who are part of the glorious, contemporary revival of Reformed theology spreading across the globe, the pillar of sola Scriptura – Scripture Alone – is a well-known feature revived during the 16th-century Protestant Reformation. We recognize that Scripture is THE sole rule for our Christian faith and life. It is the infallible and inerrant authority. It is completely sufficient.
Implicit in sola Scriptura is the concept of tota Scriptura. The entirety of Scripture as the whole counsel of God must be embraced, comprehended, and obeyed by the believer. We cannot selectively excerpt from the Holy Writ those portions we deem personally acceptable upon which to build the framework for our understanding of God, of ourselves and our faith. The fullness of Scripture must be our source. Favored passages and teachings from Scripture we find soothing to our souls and easily digested by our understanding must be reconciled – as they can be – with the more difficult, and often seemingly abrasive, instruction from the Word that can be hard to swallow. Sola Scriptura necessarily means tota Scripture. We must not miss anything, avoid anything, or omit anything … nor should we want to.
A third ‘Scriptura” concept reborn in the Reformation is analogia Scriptura. The analogy of Scripture does not imply that the Word itself is an analogy to something external to it. Rather the phrase reveals the inherent characteristic of doctrinal consistency within the Word that must drive our study. Scripture must be compared with Scripture. God’s Word does not contradict itself. Thus, if we arrive at an understanding of a particular text’s meaning from one portion of Scripture, that understanding will rightly always correspond with the same, perhaps more fully illumined, meaning from another portion of Scripture.
This is all well and good, and has an element of accuracy we can mostly agree with, whether we’re of the Reformed theology persuasion or not, but, of course, Bud conveniently misses out the truth that whilst Scripture is indeed the basis of our faith, there are important rules to the use of scripture in doctrine, and the canon is complete, we also need the leading of the Spirit, and, along with sound scripture-based doctrine, we need to come to the measure of the fulness of Christ through the ministry gifts given to us by Christ.
We need the Word and the Spirit
As Paul reminds us, the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. We need the Word and the Spirit as our guide. If we do not have the Spirit we are none of His. We also have a new heart in which is written the law and the prophets, so that we have understanding of the will of God that works with the Word of God in our reading and hearing of the gospel.
It is also true that we have been given ‘the mind of Christ’, and an anointing from the Holy Spirit that assists in our understanding of the Word and our role in the Body. Therefore scripture operates in cooperation with the Spirit. That is why we have to be born again, or born of the Spirit.
As Jesus told us, we cannot understand the kingdom, including the Word of the kingdom, if we are not born again, that is, born of the Spirit.
We can be showered with the Word of God and be experts in memorising it and repeating it by rote, but if we are not born of the Spirit the Word will not make any sense to us. It will merely become law we cannot live up to, and not grace that is accessed through faith that comes from hearing the Word as Spirit-born believers.
Indeed, it is the unction that helps us understand the Word. The Apostle John reminds us of this in his first letter to the Churches.
1 John 2:20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.
1 John 2:27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
There are many ways in which scripture can be misinterpreted, or worse, misrepresented, so we need the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit to help us navigate through the doctrines from one agency that contradict the theology of another.
The Holy Spirit, by the unction, is the Teacher. Yes, Jesus has gifted the Church with teachers through the ascension gifts, but it is the Holy Spirit who teaches us through the Word and by His anointing.
Breaking the rule he made
But having told us that Sola Scriptura is the ‘framework for our understanding of God’, and that we ‘cannot selectively excerpt from the Holy Writ those portions we deem personally acceptable’, Bud proceeds to break his own rule in his attempt at removing the gift of tongues from the Body of Christ.
In addressing scripture that tells us that believers will speak in tongues, he lays claim that these verses in Mark 16 do not count, citing John MacArthur, who teaches that the key passage in Mark 16 should not be in the Bible at all, on the basis that it didn’t show up in some early manuscripts. But, of course, it shows up in the vast majority of manuscripts, and is also present in some of the key translations, and comes up in early patristic writings.
Do you see what has happened, already, here? Bud has broken his own code that says we should not remove scripture from scripture. He has rejected scripture that appears in the majority of koiné Greek texts. The translators of the AV certainly considered these verses to be part of the canon.
The question should be, according to Bud’s own rules, are the verses in the longer ending consistent with other scripture, and we have a resounding ‘yes’. Were people saved through the preaching of the gospel? Yes. Will they be condemned if they reject it? Yes. Were people healed by laying on of hands of believers? Yes. Did they cast out demons? Yes. Did they speak in tongues? Yes. Were they protected from serpents and poison? Yes. The accounts are there in scripture in the Book of Acts.
Tongues have ended, apparently
Even if it were true to say these passages were not trustworthy, which many of us contend, we have the witness of many other instances in scripture that are not contended.
What does he do with this? Well, Bud proceeds to tell us that other scripture that is beyond any dispute and exists in all translations today referring to speaking in tongues has actually ended.
He claims that those verses in Sola Scriptura that give instruction about speaking in tongues are now superseded by some unaccounted for ending of the same.
Rather than seeking God to learn from Him how he can enter into the teaching on speaking in tongues according to scripture, Bud rejects the teaching without showing scripture that confirms his eisegisis.
‘Scripture must be compared with scripture’, he declares, and then proceeds to make unscriptural claims. A person who is content with following the contextual teaching of scripture regarding speaking in tongues can very easily enter in to all it teaches, including speaking in tongues, as can be testified throughout the Pentecostal and charismatic movements, but a person who rejects these will not be able to enter in because they do not believe.
Bud begins with a premise he cannot confirm through scripture and proceeds to reject all scripture that refutes his own argument. His premise is that tongues have ended. He makes himself blind to verses that clearly teach on the current and relevant phenomenon of Biblical tongues as a prevailing element to Christian living, and in so doing he breaks his own rules of Sola Scriptura.
Whilst it would be true that tongues have ended for those who declare it ended, who, by their determination to reject the existent sound teaching in scripture on the gift of tongues, it is, nevertheless, not true for those who refuse to denounce the teaching and have entered into the truth and indeed practice the gift according to scriptural guidelines.
The gift is an important part of our walk with God at this time. God doesn’t give gifts without purpose. Neither is there any place in scripture to suggest He has changed His mind about their validity or importance.
It should be suggested to those who read and follow the teachings at Pulpit & Pen and the polemic of Bud that they read scripture for what it says rather than accept the rejection of truths that are crucial to our effectiveness as disciples of Christ.