Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last
dayshe has spoken to us by his Son…Hebrews 1:1-2
No one can deny that the Southern Baptist Convention is drifting. Once opposed to claims of prophecy outside the Bible – commonly claimed by cults like Roman Catholicism, Mormonism, Seventh Day Adventism and Montanism – some have suggested that SBC stands for slowly becoming charismatic. Southern Baptist president, JD Greear, recently did a video for The Social Gospel Coalition in which he stated an open-but-cautious view to prophecies outside the Bible.
Baptists, at one time, were known as People of the Book and defended the Sufficiency of Scripture. The Sufficiency of Scripture is undergirded by Cessationism, the orthodox and Biblical position that the Apostolic Sign Gifts – like the gift of miracles or prophecy – have ceased with the Apostles. This belief is taken from 2 Corinthians 12:12, which states that these types of First Century phenomenon were meant to designate Apostleship. Without Apostles, the Christian Church has uniformly held to a belief in Cessationism since the second century.
The Montanists were a group of heretics who were denounced by the early church for claiming that God continues to speak outside of Scripture. The belief of God speaking directly to people (as opposed to the Spirit leading us through Scripture) was altogether absent from church history between the time of the excommunication of the Montanists and the revival of Montanism in 1906 at Azusa Street. During the 20th Century, Baptists were at the forefront of opposing the notion of extra-Biblical prophecy. As the Southern Baptist publishing house, Lifeway Christian
JD Greear speaks about his open-but-cautious view below.
Greear claims in the video that God can speak in an audible voice should he want to. While it may seem wise to “not put God in a box” (by the way, the Ark of the Covenant demonstrates that God doesn’t mind putting himself in a box) or to claim that an omnipotent God can’t do something, God can’t do that which is against his own Word or something contrary to his own nature (see Titus 1:2 as an example). And, God has been very clear (see Hebrews 1:1-2 above) that how he now speaks to us has been relegated to
The danger of the open-but-cautious approach is that it leaves open the Charismatic Window. This is the means by which most false teachings today enter the church.
If you want to know how dangerous Greear’s view is on this issue, consider the lauding it received by Charisma News. This publication promotes material from the New Apostolic Reformation, Bethel Church and Bill Johnson, Benny Hinn, and televangelist convicted felon, doomsday prophet and accused rapist, Jim Bakker. It is the worst of the worst promoter of the worst of the worst charismatic false prophets. And it loved JD Greear’s video.
In the article from Charisma News, it ask’s whether this is “a turning point for the Southern Baptist Convention.”
And the answer is no. The turning point is when Lifeway indiscriminately began to pump the SBC with charismatic resources more than a decade ago. It is just now bearing fruit.