I was reading an evangelical theology blog called Parchment and Pen and discovered that there has been a deep and active debate among Evangelicals about something that has always been used as a support for the LDS church: according to the Bible, God would still be sending prophets, angels and visions today. The hallmark of the LDS missionary invitation and the LDS testimony is that we have a “modern day prophet” that leads the church. The book of Mormon especially points out that it makes no sense for God to stop sending prophets.
It may be news to some Mormons like me, who are relatively ignorant of other brands of christianity, that Evangelicals as a group are still wrestling with this question. Some believe that the gifts of the spirit, including prophecy, are alive and well (called Charismatics and “continuationists”) and some affirmatively believe that these gifts were meant to cease shortly after biblical times (the “cessationists”).
The irony of the current situation is that Mormons, whose meetings at the beginning of the church looked a lot like a pentecostal service with speaking and tongues and recounting of visions and dreams, have generally become some of the more boring and mundane in christendom. While Charismatics, who believe in all of the spiritual gifts, seem to completely reject the notion of a modern prophet who is able to speak words worthy of canonization.
Here is the latest Mormon argument regarding the continuation of scripture. Apostle Jeff Holland’s talk from April 2008 general conference asserting that Jesus’ words do not cease.
At any rate I found the discussion on the blog quite interesting and enlightening as to how Evangelicals have dealt with the question of modern day spiritual manifestations.