Another C17th Charismatic Baptist!

After my post on Caffyn, David Lytle on Twitter alerted me to similar sentiments in Thomas Grantham; his only responsibility for the comments below is sending me back to the text to look at it, but that was very fruitful: Grantham argues at length against the idea that the gifts of the Spirit have ceased, and claims to have witnessed in various ways, not shying from the word ‘miracle’, the gifts at work.Thomas Grantham was certainly the most productive General Baptist of the seventeenth century, in terms of published output; it is hard to dispute the claim that he was also the most influential. Christianismus Primitivus was his most lengthy work by some distance, and probably his most important. The basic argument of the book is that the General Baptists are recovering apostolic (‘primitive’) Christianity, and so all should join them in that.In Book II Part II of CP, he discusses church ordinances. The third chapter is devoted to the laying on of hands, which, on the basis of Heb. 6:1-2, had become a required practice for General Baptists. Grantham argues that the laying on of hands is the Biblical way of asking God to fulfil the pentecostal promise to pour out the Spirit on this disciple, too.The first section of the chapter considers what it means to receive the Spirit; the second insists that the Spirit is poured out on women and men indifferently.The title of the third section announces a desire to offer ‘…a more ample disquisition of the nature of the promise of the Spirit …’. This is to be fulfilled by exegesis of 1Cor.12:1 ‘Now I do not want you to be ignorant about spiritual gifts, sisters and brothers.’ The text discussed is more expansive—chh. 12-14—but his prospectus of the discussion includes the intention to show ‘that the Church hath a perpetual right to (though not alwayes a like necessity of) all these spiritual gifts’A subsection is headed ‘That the Gifts of the Spirit … belongs [sic] to the Church of Christ, as her right, to the end of the World.’; there are various exegetical arguments, but the point he returns to is that God calls the church of today to the same duties and ministries as the apostolic church was called to, so it is not credible that God will not give the church of today the same gifts that the apostolic church found necessary to fulfil its calling.He then suggests another exegetical argument: ‘That the gifts and graces intended by the Apostle, are a portion of the right belonging to the Church in every age, appeareth from the nature and extent of the exhortations which she is under to ask or seek for them’ (referencing, inter alia, Lk. 11:13, but also extensively 1Cor. 12-14).He turns next to an argument from experience: he suggests that the only reason anyone doubts the continuation of the gifts is that they have not seen them. But there are many examples in church history, and he himself has seen gifts like words of knowledge and prophecy evident in the ministry of preachers, and miraculous healings—and other miracles. And he has testimony from people whose word he cannot doubt that they have seen similar. It’s not a project for me, at least for the next couple of years, but there’s some work to be done here, surely? Two significant national leaders insisting the gifts have not ceased, with one insisting on personal and reported testimony to miraculous...

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A C17th Charismatic Baptist?

The paragraph below was published by an English Baptist leader in 1660. I first noticed it (I had read the book before) about a year ago, and noted to myself that it sounded very much like a repudiation of (what now gets called) cessationism, and a suggestion that he and his readers should seek a renewal of the Pentecostal gifts of the Spirit. Nothing else in the (admittedly fairly sketchy) narrative we have of his life shows any hint in this direction, and, despite his eminence as a national leader, there is no evidence I know of that anyone acted on this suggestion. As a result, at the time I filed it under ‘puzzling’, with a note to myself to think more about it. I’d be interested to know if others can see an alternative reading–or did a C17th Baptist pre-empt Edward Irving and Azusa Street, at least in exegesis and desire? The paragraph (square brackets are my editorial notes; otherwise exactly as published, with the sort of interesting orthography that is common to the age): Together with these things, let it not be thought a needless work, or besides the business in hand, to consider whether Saints are not now (in these latter dayes wherein ’tis evil, as appears by the Apostle, to depart from the Faith professed in former Apostolical dayes, I Tim. 4.1.) whether Saints (I say) are not now to seek for, and in Faith to wait whereby to receive the Spirit, with the same particular gifts and operations which Saints formerly enjoyed, in order to their carrying on the great Work of the Gospel, both among themselves and others? Since God in his making Promise of pouring out the Spirit upon his People, (which Promise we in these latter dayes flye unto as the ground of our Faith) makes mention also of several gifts of the same Spirit, John 2.28,29. [rd Joel 2: 28-29—or just possibly Jn. 12:28-29??] And withal considering, that the Apostles exhorted the Churches ‘earnestly to covet, and follow after the several gifts of the Spirit,’ I Cor. 12. 28, 29,30, 31. 14. 1, 39. Which exhortations, if they reach us, and speak to us, as much as any other Scripture-exhortations (which for any to deny is hard) then, Oh then! great need have all to pray, Lord, increase our Faith. Matthew Caffyn, Faith in God’s Promises, the Saints best weapon… (London: S. Dover for F. Smith, 1660; Wing2 C207), p....

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