Timothy Keller on Spiritual Gifts
Have you ever wondered what Tim Keller thinks about Spiritual Gifts?
Well, I transcribed a portion of a message from May 4th, 1997, entitled “Tongues and Worship.”
Of course, this is only a small clip of the message (the rest can be heard here), And this is transcribed, so please forgive the abundance of grammatical mistakes.
“The understanding of prophecy in the Old Testament was very simple: God gave special revelation to certain people, and that revelation was so powerful, so pure that what they said, and what they wrote down was God’s word… Now, in the New Testament, suddenly, we see this word prophecy everywhere… in every church in these days… people are prophesying all over the place. Everybody that wants to give an exhortation, Paul says that (is) a revelation; he calls it a prophecy. Several people prophesy now what is this all about? Here is the first question: does this mean that every Christian in every one of those services was bringing new revelation from God just like Moses, just like Abraham, just like Isaiah? Is that what it means? And a lot of people think so, and I just think common sense says that’s ridiculous. Paul would have been saying write everything down and send it to me. Can you imagine every church everywhere, all upon the Mediterranean every week were getting reams and reams of new prophecies? It couldn’t be. And not only does common sense say it couldn’t be… but Paul says that when the prophets are done, evaluate them, evaluate the prophets, but does he say evaluate me? Oh no! As an Apostle, he has what he calls the Lord’s command. His words are the Lord’s command; he doesn’t say now listen when 1 Corinthians is read, evaluate it. Oh no, he doesn’t do that. He would never do that. He says if you will not listen to my word, 1 Corinthians, you are ignored. In other words, Apostolic revelation evaluates prophecy… However, the prophets don’t evaluate back… What this means is that this (type of) prophecy is not the same.
I do not want to misrepresent Tim Keller and portray him as a continuist … he was clearly not one.
However, it is interesting that he makes a clear distinction between the classical Cessationist view that the New Testament gift of prophecy was “inerrant words from the mouth of God” and his belief that prophecy served a different purpose.
So, how does Tim Keller describe himself?
In the message, he describes himself as a moderate or 80% Cessationist.
He says, “I don’t believe miracles are over… (but) I believe an awful lot of purported miracles are just purported.”
So then I guess if he is 80% Cessationist, he is 20% Continuist… well, maybe not… but you never know.