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Signs of the Apostles Paperback – September 1, 1973
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His own position is not defended well and proves itself to be nonsystematic. Counterproductive to the volume's own effort pentecostalism serves as a representative for the use of spiritual gifts, which is way off base. Spiritual gifts are here wrongly defined as mainly touching supernatural visible or audible manifestations. The logic seems to be "pentecostals are doing it, therefore it is wrong", motivated by "there are no more ordained apostles; alas, spiritual gifts are all gone!". This logic in practice boils down to that if we reject abusive and false spiritual manifestations (which we should, of course), as well as tongues and prophesies in general, we need to categorically reject all other biblically recorded spiritual gifts as well, as these were all solely enclosed in the body of verifying apostleship. Nothing beyond that. Thus, to be consequential and consistent, we need to reject things that the apostle Paul actually encourages us to seek! Everything is thrown out at once, the baby with the bathwater. Left is though a reasonable notion of spirit baptism for our day, however such an experience may never manifest itself again as it did in Acts, as that would be to reject the efficacy of Scripture(!).
While the basic error of pentecostalism rests on the belief that the Acts of the Apostles is normative and universal for church life regardless of era, the error of cessationism rests on neglecting the many pauline epistles that do imply the presence of spiritual gifts. Even such gifts that were NOT aimed at establishing or validating any office or ordinance, but were to be properly used to serve and care for the flock (see Romans 12 as an example). Chantry entirely fails to see this perspective. The risk with such neglect is very obvious. We are as much on loose ground if we seek to establish doctrine or practice solely based either on examples of apostolic practice, or the lack thereof. There would also be more things than just spiritual manifestations, signs and wonders, that could well be argued for having "ceased" with the disappearance of the twelve apostles that protestant christians would cling to. Why just single out spiritual gifts?
Although this work had its first edition back in 1973 I don't find that as an apology for the basic mistakes and shortcomings that this volume contains. The issue of spiritual gifts and their relation to revelation and church offices are but far anything new in church history and not typical of just a certain time period. Spiritual gifts have always been part of normal church life, inclusive of and prior to, during and after the reformation. Not in exact identical form and shape, as with the twelve jewish apostles who were completing the revelation of God and fulfilling prophecy. Not in the form of erring montanists, ecstatic "mystics", spiritualists or modern day pentecostalism with its typical lunatic expressions. But in the form of that biblically perpetrated principle of the body of Christ with its "members one of another" serving one another in accordance with "having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us".
As a rebuke against pentecostalism I believe this work at worst may do more harm than good. Since its mistakes are so easily seen, at least by would be well-versed pentecostals and bible thumping charismatics who would, using the very same method as Chantry, argue for their position respectively. However, at best, the historical and accurate records included at least bring some credibility to the cause of the book, which is still right: to denounce the errors of pentecostalism as a movement. But as the majority reader of this book will be the "already saved" reformed christian (of the BOT stock) there would be more accurate and updated sources to educate oneself about the error in question.