Friday, February 14, 2014

John 14:12


  1. And Matt's rebuttal to the response,

    1. Well, Fred, here's their subsequent exchange:

      Matt Waymeyer said:
      February 12, 2014 at 4:02 am

      Someone just sent me a link to this response to my article. I am content to let the reader decide if Dr. Brown has sufficiently answered my arguments, but I do want to correct one very significant misrepresentation. In his response above, Brown claims that one of the main arguments in my article is “that signs, wonders, and miracles were the exclusive domain of the apostles.” But this is simply not what I wrote and not what I believe. The view articulated in my article is that the promise of John 14:12 was given to the apostles alone and therefore cannot be claimed by believers today. But nowhere did I deny that other Christians in the first-century church were given the ability to perform signs and wonders. What I denied (and what Brown affirms) is that every Christian in the first century and throughout the history of the church has been given this same ability. I can only assume the misrepresentation was unintentional.

      Michael Brown said:
      February 12, 2014 at 1:22 pm

      Thanks so much for interacting here. Much appreciated!
      I’m actually surprised to read your comments, which do, in fact, misrepresent what I wrote, including in your clarification here to Mr. Alt (I’ll leave that to the reader to see). As for my allegedly misrepresenting you (which, of course, would have been unintentional), did you not say that John 14:12 applied exclusively to the apostles, that they alone did these unique works of Jesus, and that verses like 2 Cor 12:12 pointed to the unique grace for signs and wonders that was given only to the apostles? That was the point I was making, and as far as I can see, I accurately presented what you wrote.

    2. Cont. Matt Waymeyer said:
      February 12, 2014 at 2:38 pm

      Dr. Brown,
      Regarding my supposed misrepresentation of your position, I could use some help. In your discussion of John 14:12 in Authentic Fire, you write that “it is difficult to escape from the conclusion that whoever believes in the Son will also perform miraculous signs” (p. 189). But now it sounds like you deny “that every Christian in the first century and throughout the history of the church has been given this same ability” (from my comment above). You’ll have to be patient with me if I’m unable to reconcile these two statements. I work hard to represent the views of others accurately—can you help me understand how I’ve failed to do so in this case?
      Although I disagree with it, I fully understand your qualification that only those believers who respond to the invitation implicit in John 14:12 and who successfully apply the promise in this verse will actually perform miraculous signs. But your interpretation of John 14:12 means that every believer at least possesses the ability to perform Jesus-like signs and wonders, doesn’t it? If not, I may not be the only one who could use some clarification.
      Put simply, do you believe that John 14:12 promises that every believer has the ability to perform miraculous signs? If so, then I’m confused as to why you think I’ve misrepresented you. If not, please help me understand what you intended in writing that John 14:12 indicates “that whoever believes in the Son will also perform miraculous signs” (Authentic Fire, 189).
      The way you qualify the promise in John 14:12 in the article above makes it sound like Jesus said: “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in Me may (or may not) also do the works that I do.” Is that fair? Try inserting that same qualification into the other “he-who-believes” promises in John’s Gospel and see what you come up with—He who believes in Jesus: may or may not have eternal life (John 3:15, 16, 36; 6:40, 47); may or may not be judged (John 3:18); may or may not live even if he dies (John 11:25, 26); may or may not believe in the Father (John 12:44); and may or may not remain in darkness (John 12:46). This is another reason why the universal scope of these promises is both the greatest strength and greatest weakness of your argument. I think we’ve agreed to let the reader decide whether the strength trumps the weakness, or vice versa.
      With regard to my own position, I’ll simply repeat what I wrote above: The promise of John 14:12 was intended for the apostles alone and therefore cannot be claimed by believers today like some continuationists say it should. But I did not (and do not) deny that other Christians in the first-century church were also given the ability to perform signs and wonders.

      Michael Brown said:
      February 12, 2014 at 4:35 pm

      Prof. Waymeyer,
      Thanks for your gracious interaction! And thanks for your attempt to gain full clarity on my position.
      Yes, I do believe that POTENTIALLY, through faith in Jesus, every believer can see the sick healed or demons exorcised — both of which would be miracles — but I do not see that as our ABILITY, hence my difference with your terminology and again, as you note, it is part of the invitation.
      Do I believe that you and your fine seminary colleagues could be used by God to heal the sick and work miracles? Absolutely. Do I believe that as elders, we should be expected to lay hands on the sick and pray in faith for their healing? Absolutely. Do I see the gifts of healing and miracles as being something different than (or more consistent) than the general promises? Yes, I do, as outlined in my article.
      - See more at:

  2. The very next two verses talk about asking in Jesus' Name.

    13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

    If cessationism is true, should Christians stop asking and praying in Jesus' Name? It seems arbitrary to separate verse 12 from verses 13 and 14. Knowledgeable continuationists and charismatics acknowledge the fact that asking in Jesus' Name means according to His authority, power, will and purposes. Jesus would never answer a prayer for something that's sinful (e.g. a request to walk through walls in order to successfully rob a bank since Jesus Himself may have walked through a wall [cf. John 20:19]).

    It seems to me that all three verses go together. Either cessationism is true and we should stop praying in Jesus' Name, or continue praying in Jesus' Name and allow for the possibility that at anytime a miracle greater than any that Christ performed while on earth might be "performed by us." The phrase "performed by us" is in quotes because ultimately any such miracle is actually performed by Christ Himself empowering us to so do via the Holy Spirit.

    Also, I don't think Jesus meant that everyone who truly believes in Him will in fact perform greater miracles than He had done. That would mean that if anyone dies never having performed greater works than Christ did has never truly believed on Christ. I doubt even all 12 of the Apostles each performed works greater than Christ's before their deaths. It seems to me that Christ was speaking hyperbolically, while at the same time speaking about what is potentially true.

    1. Dr. Brown's ending paragraph makes a great point:

      The fact is that there are scores of promises in Scripture that are often challenging to apply (promises of answers to prayer in certain circumstances; promises of joy and peace in the midst of trials; promises of divine comfort in the midst of loss; promises of power to overcome sin), and we will find ourselves in an endless cycle of reinterpreting the Bible based on our experience if we try to explain why these verses really don’t mean what they appear to mean because we haven’t experienced their reality. Rather, as people of faith, we believe God regardless of what we see, feel, or experience, and as believers, we proclaim John 14:12 to be true, expecting God to use us to bring healing, deliverance, and salvation to a dying world, just as Jesus did, to the glory of the Father.

    2. No, Brown isn't making a "great point." If your interpretation predicts for a universal experience, and your interpretation isn't borne out by universal experience, then that's a good reason to reconsider your interpretation.