Jimmy Draper is currently writing a week-long series of columns on biblical doctrine that are being posted on the Baptist Press web-site to coincide with "Baptist Doctrine Study" week within the Southern Baptist Convention. Draper is a good friend of my family, and a man I deeply respect. I very much appreciate his leadership in the Southern Baptist Convention and in the Body of Christ at large. As such, I hesitate to voice disagreement with what he has written.
Draper's first article is on "The Baptism of the Holy Spirit." I agree with the view Draper presents on this matter, and was actually considering posting a link to this article stating that the view presented therein is a view on which the vast majority of people on both sides of the "private prayer language" discussion can unite. However, just as I was getting ready to do so, I noticed Draper's next article on "The Bible & Tongues" was up. Upon reading this article, I realized the view being presented, at least in regards to this particular aspect, was not quite so representative of the view I, and others like me, take.
Although Draper does not come directly to the point of defending "cessationism" or arguing against "private prayer language," he does say a few things in this second article that would point towards a more "narrow" view on these issues.
A few years back, sensing the significance of the issues related to spiritual gifts and the "charismatic movement" for the ministry of the church in general, I decided to do an exhaustive study of the various texts in the Bible possibly related in any way to these topics. There seems to be an assumption on the part of many that those who defend a more "open" stance on spiritual gifts tend to do so as a result of an emotional experience they may have had sometime somewhere that has led them to eisegete, or read into the text of Scripture interpretations that back up their experience. I can assure you, however, that such was not the case for me. My intention, at that time, was to free my mind, to the best of my abilities, from denominational prejudices, and try to determine, on my study of Scripture alone, just what the text was actually saying. The conclusions I reached based on my study of Scripture have led me to be more open in regard to certain experiences, and degrees of fellowship with certain groups of believers. But it was not primarily my experience and contact with other groups of believers that led me to reach my conclusions on the teaching of Scripture.
I say all this to point out that some of the conclusions drawn in Draper's article on "The Bible & Tongues" do not square up with some of the conclusions I reached in my personal study on this issue. That is okay with me. I do not make the pretension to be a more accomplished exegete of Scripture than Dr. Draper.
However, this morning, upon checking my Bloglines feed-checker, I noticed that Sam Storms, on his newly inaugurated blog Enjoying God, had commented on Draper's article, pointing out a few points of discrepancy in interpretation. It just so happens that the points that Storms makes are pretty much to the tee the same points that I had noticed on reading Draper's article myself.
In the light of the discussion over "private prayer language" and the IMB, and also the upcoming Baptist Conference on the Holy Spirit (in which Storms is a headline speaker), I hope that all of us who have an interest in these issues will do our best to objectively analyze and exegete the biblical text on these matters. In keeping with this, I recommend you read Draper's article, and I recommend you read Storms's article as well. Most of all, I recommend that, as you read, you take on the attitude of the Bereans, who "received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true" (Acts 17.11).