Piper tends to be quite divisive in reformed circles, either people love him for being a reformed baptist with mainstream appeal or they get really annoyed at his stance on the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit. I fall into both camps, on the one hand I think he's a very wise and godly man with a great gift as a pastor. On the other hand, I get annoyed at his stance on extraordinary spiritual gifts.
The reason I bring this up is because a week ago on the Desiring God blog a video was posted of a short interview with Piper on tongues and prophesy. Of the two, I'm going to engage with the prophesy one first, you can watch it here, there's no strict need to watch it before reading what's to follow (but it will probably help).
In the video he defends the continuationist view on the extraordinary gift of the Holy Spirit. It's a view that most people I know who are continuationist would hold to so its worth exploring what the problems with it are. It's probably worth adding that I use the term 'continuationist' to refer to everybody who thinks that the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit - prophecy, tongues and healing have continued to this day. I use the term 'cessationist' to refer to those who think the extraordinary gifts ended with the death of the Apostles and the closing of the canon of Scripture.
On December 29th then I came across a story in the telegraph about the decision of a judge that Christians have no right to refuse work on Sundays because, and I quote, “Christians have no right to decline working on Sunday as it is not a “core component” of their beliefs.” It gets better, he went on to say: The fact that some Christians were prepared to work on Sundays meant it was not protected.”
First it is a really stupid decision, surely the issue is not what other Christians are doing but what the Christian teaching on work on Sundays is? Even if the matter was uncertain then her managers initially agreed to respect her decision that she could, in clear conscience, work on a Sunday. It’s not as if she deceived them and yet her stand for what she believed right is branded wrong because according to a secular judge, who seems to have little understanding of Christianity, working on a Sunday is not a core element to the faith.
I suppose it is to be expected and rant aside there’s a bigger issue to talk about. This isn’t just a testament to the foolishness of the judge; far worse it is a massive rebuke to Christians in Great Britain. The judge was correct in saying that many Christians are prepared to work on a Sunday - the disobedience of these Christians heaps problems on the head of their brothers and sisters who are being obedient!