So a funny thing happened to me last week.  I was going about my normal pastoral duties when suddenly I was laid low by the flu.  I’ll spare you the humiliating details, but the benefit of it was that I was able to sit in an easy-chair and watch several messages from the recent Strange Fire conference held at Grace Community Church.  From all that I saw, it was an outstanding conference which, ironically, seems to have been really blessed by God’s Spirit.  Regardless of your take on the cessation of the Apostolic Gifts, I’d encourage you to listen to as many of the sessions as possible (they don’t call Conrad Mbewe the “Spurgeon of Africa” for nothing!), or better yet, read the accompanying book, Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship.

In reflecting back upon Strange Fire, I thought I’d chronicle a few reflections, for whatever they may be worth.  Though I am a convinced and happy cessationist, I’ll try to enumerate points here which both my cessationist and continuist brethren should heartily agree:

First, all evangelical Christians should unite in decrying the excesses and abuses found within the larger Charismatic movement, especially in impoverished contexts. One of the more helpful things this conference did for me was to enable me to see how Americans perceive the Charismatic movement somewhat differently from much of the rest of the world, due in no small part to our economic prosperity.  We look at someone like Benny Hinn as more of a silly carnival huckster than a true theological threat because Americans, in general, are already healthy, wealthy, and comfortable.  But imagine you’re a poverty-line goat farmer living in a concrete-block shed in Africa whose wife and daughter are dying from AIDS.  And then imagine you somehow come across some teaching from Mr. Hinn which promises you divine healing and financial blessing if you’ll simply send in your monthly gift to his ministry, which happens to be nearly everything you make from a month of goat farming.  Under those circumstances, Mr. Hinn isn’t a silly carnival huckster; he’s a viper as dangerous as any Tetzel of old.  This is how evangelical Christians of all persuasions must begin to think and speak of the abuses of the larger Charismatic movement, which apparently characterize a sizable majority of the worldwide movement.

Second, the cessation/continuation of the Apostolic Gifts is not Adiaphora. For quite some time now it’s been fashionable to view disagreement over the continuation (or lack thereof) of the Apostolic Gifts as a matter indifferent, in the category sometimes called “Adiaphora,” things about which gospel-believing Christians can agree to disagree with little significant consequence.  Disagreement in this area is sometimes likened to disagreement over the identities of Gog and Magog.  I’m convinced that that approach is neither wise nor biblical nor helpful.  If apostolic gifts still exist, they should be fully employed in the life of the church today; if they’ve ceased, they should not be practiced.  Your stance on this issue impacts questions of guidance, the nature of the Holy Spirit’s ministry, what you do and don’t do in corporate worship, the role of the mind in communion with God, the interpretation of large chunks of the New Testament, as well as dozens of other important ministry-related matters.  I’m of the persuasion that pastors and churches simply cannot remain undecided on this matter.  Instead of being in the same category as disagreeing over the identities of Gog and Magog, the debate over the cessation/continuation of the apostolic gifts is far more similar to the egalitarian/complementarian debate.  The Strange Fire conference was a helpful reminder of this.

Third, the exegetical/theological case for the cessation of the apostolic gifts does exist, is substantial, and ought to be thoughtfully considered. The reason I write this point is because I’ve often heard that the case for cessationism essentially doesn’t exist and that cessationists are simply “afraid of the Holy Spirit.”  “Cessationists have blind faith in tradition”; “Anybody reading the book of Acts would never become a cessationist”; “There’s more biblical evidence for unicorns than there is for the cessation of the Apostolic gifts”; or perhaps worst of all, “Cessationists simply want a God they can control, a God they can put in a box.”  Statements such as these are untrue and unfair.  Even if you believe in the full-range of apostolic gifts, you must acknowledge that there is a substantial exegetical and theological case for the cessation of the gifts, a case which many find persuasive.  If you’re looking for an example of this, see Tom Pennington’s message from the conference (session 6), which, in my opinion, was the best brief defense of cessationism I’ve ever heard.  At the end of the day, you may not find the case persuasive, but let us respectfully disagree with each other and engage in theological analysis and exegesis, not name-calling.

Again, these are simply three reflections I had on the Strange Fire conference.  Did you watch any of the sessions?  If so, what were your thoughts and reactions?  Leave them in the comments below and let’s have a respectful Christian discussion.

Timothy Raymond is an editor for Credo Magazine and has been the pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Muncie, Indiana since April 2006. He received his MDiv from the Baptist Bible Seminary of Pennsylvania in 2004 and has pursued further education through the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation.

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52 Comments

  • Number 1 being true, then the solution would be to invest in sound theological education for the African church. A conference in Southern California isn’t going to help.

    Number 2 is simply false. Adiaphora are things indifferent to salvation, which sincere Christians can disagree on, which scripture does not speak clearly to. But, if it’s not indifferent then . . . see below.

    Number 3 is likewise false, as demonstrated, ironically, by your paragraph. If there were any exegetical case for cessationism, the relevant scriptures would have been cited. The sheer fact that you could not cite even one scripture is yet more evidence that there no scripture for cessationism. Indeed, cessationism contradicts scripture. 1 Corinthians 13:10f tells us exactly when the spiritual gifts will pass away: when the Lord Jesus returns, not before.

    • Interestingly enough, Number 1 is being done quite well by Training Leaders International ( http://trainingleadersinternational.org/ ) which grew out of the Desiring God ministry in Minneapolis (one of the ministries tacitly called out iirc at this conference). Check them out. It would be interesting if JMac has invested in such education similarly as it was StrangFire’s charge that the likes of John Piper and company were not doing enough. This isn’t to say Training Leaders International holds to the same position as Desiring God on the grace-gifts (to use Pauline language) but to reiterate the point, the people being charged with not doing anything are the ones who have spawned off an organization actually doing something.

      I am not affiliated with Training Leaders International nor am I a spokesman. (Though I do think they are doing a great work.)

      • A ministry aligned with MacArthur and cessationism that is having a significant grass roots impact in Africa against the prosperity movement is International Training and Equipping Ministries. It’s worth supporting.

      • Taco, I agree that TLI is doing great work in the developing world but so is TMAI, and TMS, TMC and other ministries affiliated with grace church are training men who go to (and often back to) those places and stand tall for the biblical gospel and against false teaching of all stripes and train indigenous pastors to do likewise.

    • John Carpenter – a few kind thoughts for you to consider.

      1. Adiaphora in Koine Greek literally means “indifferent things”, and that has been the historic theological definition. Common examples historically have included the Gog-Magog identity issue the author pointed to, infra vs. supra lapsarianism and the ubiquitous how many angels can stand on the head of a pin.

      2. A call to listen to a dozen+ hours of exegetical arguments without mentioning a bible verse is not an indication of a lack of exegetical evidence. If you want an exegetical argument that is technical and was not used (that I heard) at the conference here is one of many, both Paul and Luke used glossa in parallel and interchangeably with dialektos, in numerous passages (notably in Acts 2). For more technical arguments, if that is what you crave I would recommend “Understanding the Spiritual Gifts” by Robert Thomas , “The Healing Promise” by Richard Mayhue and even “Showing the Spirit” by D.A. Carson where he concludes that “The evidence favors the view that Paul thought of the gift of tongues was a gift of real languages” (p83) before leaping into his speculative hot vs cold tongue arguments.

      The Christian faith is a thinking and learning faith, and we need to read, hear and be open to viewpoints other than our own and then test everything (including and especially our own conclusions) to the authority of the Word of God.

      • Hi John,

        1. see my comments below

        2. In order for there to be “exegesis” there have to be specific passages to exegete that supposedly teach cessationism. There are none. You’ve demonstrated that again by being incapable of producing a text.

        The Bible doesn’t call the “charismata” “revelatory gifts”, etc. That’s a term made up by cessationists so that they can pretend their cessationism is a product of exegesis.

        Cessationism is a self-contradictory doctrine that claims the Bible is sufficient so we don’t need spiritual gifts (that the Bible tells us we need) but we do need the doctrine of cessationism (that the Bible doesn’t teach.)

        The Bible explicitly teaches us when the charismata will cease: at the second coming of Christ (1 Cor. 13:10).

  • Hi John,

    Thanks for your thoughts. Here are a few responses, which may or may not be helpful:

    1. Yes, the conference was in southern CA, but such conferences often have a worldwide influence. Here I am in Indiana talking about the event. Conferences influence pastors, who influence churches, who give to missions organizations, etc. I believe there will be ramifications from the conference that will undoubtedly help the African church.

    2. I may be wrong, but that’s not how adiaphora has been defined in historic theology. For example, evangelicals have not considered disagreements over water baptism in the adiaphora category, even through we recognize that those with whom we disagree are still Christians, if they believe in justification sola fide. A position on water baptism is necessary in order to do church decently and in order, and thus it’s not adiaphora. I’m just saying the same thing about the apostolic gifts.

    3. Your comment 3 seems a bit unfair. I wasn’t claiming to lay out an exegetical case for cessationism, though you fault me for not doing so. Pennington does so admirably in his session, which I cited. Are you saying that his case is non-existent? If so, where and how?

    Thanks again for your participation.

    Tim

  • I was in Ethiopia for two years teaching at a Bible college. I doubt very much that people in Ethiopia, largely speaking Amharic, have heard of the conference.

    You maybe right about the definition of adiaphora. You’re certainly right that for a church to live peacefully together, they have to agree on certain secondary issues. As for spiritual gifts, it would seem the solution would be that if someone believes that spiritual gifts (which are not called “apostolic gifts” in the NT) have ceased then don’t show them. Certainly the classical Pentecostal doctrine that speaking in tongues is “the initial evidence” of the “baptism in the Spirit” should be disallowed, not only because it’s inherently divisive but plainly unBiblical, 1 Cor. 12 says all do not speak in tongues. Within those boundaries, I don’t see why there cannot be liberty.

    Yes, the “exegetical case” for cessationism does not exist. When people believe there is an exegetical case for something, they usually cite the relevant scriptures (even if they don’t lay out the full exegesis). For example, when I say that it’s not Biblical to have women elders and pastors, I would almost always cite the scriptures (1 Cor. 11:2ff, 1 Tim. 2:10, etc.). That even with a second chance you still can’t cite any such scripture, again, demonstrates the point. Besides, 1 Cor. 13:10 tells us when the spiritual gifts will cease.

    Cessationism is a modern doctrine. I don’t believe it appears, in its present form until the 19th century. While the WCF, etc., appears to endorse it, that’s a confusion of terms as the Puritans did believe dreams and visions were still on-going, as documented, for example, in Cotton Mather’s “Magnalia Christi Americana” and tragically in the Salem Witchcraft trials (in which “spectral evidence” was foolishly allowed, but demonstrating that they did not believe such manifestations had ceased).

  • John, please support your arguments. I know recently you’ve been going around different blogs trying to stir the pot regarding the Strange Fire conf. You can’t just reinvent the meaning of adiaphora. You are ignorant of church history when you say cessationism is a modern doctrine. Also, you do not understand the term “gift” when you liken a witchcraft to miraculous spiritual gifts given to the church. An exegetical case for cessationationism does exist, but it appears you have not studied cessationism and only read inside your own position.

    Tom Pennington’s message at the conference gave a theological argument of cessationism based on exegesis for various texts. To exegete and preach each text would be beyond a 3 day conference. As for resources, this video is a good place to start:
    http://vimeo.com/37169587#at=0

    For books:
    Are Miraculous Gifts for Today?: Four Views, edited by Wayne Grudem.
    To Be Continued?: Are the Miraculous Gifts for Today? by Samuel E. Waldron
    Counterfeit Miracles by B. B. Warfield

    Also, for some very exegetical works, see:
    Understanding Spiritual Gifts: A Verse-by-Verse Study of 1 Corinthians 12-14 by Robert L. Thomas.
    Perspectives on Pentecost by Richard, Jr. Gaffin
    Final Word by O. Palmer Robertson

    • I did support my arguments.

      As for “adiaphora” see my answer above. Perhaps Tim is right.

      I have a Ph.D. in church history. Cessationism is a modern doctrine and you didn’t understand what I was referring to with the Salem Witchcraft Trials. At those trials, they accepted reports by a girl of seeing people in visions as evidence (“spectral evidence”). If they had held to cessationism (as it is understood today), they would never have accepted the evidence. Of course, in that situation they would have been better off if they had been “cessationist”. In “Magnalia Christi Americana”, Cotton Mather tells the story of an Indian chief (a “sachem”) claiming to have had a dream of Puritan missionary John Elliot preaching to him and telling him to cease wig-wamming, drinking, and start keeping the Sabbath. The Puritan pastors decided that the dream was false as, they concluded, John Elliot would never simply preach the law but would preach the gospel. They did not appeal to a doctrine of “cessationism”.

      There is no exegetical argument for cessationism, as you again also proved: you aren’t able to cite any scripture. That’s because there isn’t any. Scripture does address when spiritual gifts will pass away and says it will happen when the Lord Jesus returns (1 Cor. 13:10).

      Hence, cessationism is an ironically self-contradictory doctrine. It claims that scripture is sufficient so, supposedly the spiritual gifts (taught in scripture) aren’t necessary but then it teaches a doctrine no where found in scripture. If one truly believes in the sufficiency of scripture and thus confined oneself only to what could be found in scripture, one would never teach cessationism.

      • You have a PhD in church history but don’t know that Chrysostom, Augustine, Theodoret, Luther, Calvin, Owen, Matt Henry, Thomas Watson, John Gill, Edwards, James Buchanan, RL Dabney, Charles Spurgeon, Smeaton, Kuyper, WGT Shedd, AW Pink, and BB Warfield were clearly cessationists? Is your PhD from Fuller or something?

        Demonic manifestations are not gifts of the Spirit, therefore the American Puritans could claim to witness such and still be cessationists. Miraculous spiritual gifts are not equal to supernatural occurrences.

        There is no need cite all the verses. See here for a sampling:
        http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/a-whole-world-hangs-on-a-word

        Start by interacting with that instead of bullying us into retyping everything Tom said there.

          • Cessationists commonly do the same thing when asked to show what scripture proves their position: They cite a book, a lecture, an article, but not a scripture.

            It seems if one was really interesting in safeguarding the authority of scripture, one wouldn’t adopt a doctrine one can’t prove with scripture.

          • It seems if one was really wanting to study the exegesis of cessationism, one would open some books and commentaries instead of expecting to find such detailed work on blogs.

        • First, Augustine was not cessationists. He was early on but after some investigation he changed his mind.

          Second, Keven DeYoung had an interesting article just this week about the Westminster Confession of Faith and cessationism: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2013/10/18/the-puritans-strange-fire-cessationism-and-the-westminster-confession/.
          In it he cited a book that showed that while the Puritans, while believing in a closed canon (as the WCF makes clear) were open to experiences with the Spirit, like visions, etc.: Garnet Milne’s published dissertation The Westminster Confession of Faith and the Cessation of Special Revelation: The Majority Puritan Viewpoint on Whether Extra-Biblical Prophecy Is Still Possible (Paternoster, 2007). This is view, which some call “cessationism” (because the WCF uses the term “former ways of revelation having ceased”) would be called “continualist” (or even “charismatic”) today, akin to the view held by Wayne Grudem. And this is likely the view held by people like Luther, Calvin, etc, until the modern era (i.e. the 19th century).

          Third, the “cessationist” view as it exists today appears, then, to be a wholly modern invention.

          Fourth, as above, you’ve misunderstood what I wrote about the Salem Witchcraft Trials. Please go back and reread.

          Fifth, if you’re going to insult other people’s education and character, you should carefully read what you are responding to so as not to be embarrassed.

          Sixth, there are no verses to cite for cessationism. Not one. Period. It’s a theological argument made by extrapolating on conclusions made about a few verses.

          Seventh, Fuller is (or at least was) one of the finest educational institutions in the world. But my Ph.D. was from elsewhere.

          • Third, the “cessationist” view as it exists today appears, then, to be a wholly modern invention.

            I’ve started to wonder if the modern cessationist view is a really bad misunderstanding/reductionism much in the same way that “Once saved always saved” doctrine has been thought to be “perseverance of the saints” in recent history. While the the modern “charismaniac” view is a the unbridled unhinged mess that comes from failing to maintain the historic view as described by Kevin DeYoung.

          • You just tried to rewrite most of church history’s clear teaching on cessationism based on a revisionists view of the WCF? The WCF is clear in what is states, as DeYoung writes, “Milne argues that the Puritans were overwhelmingly cessationists.” So are Luther, Calvin, Augustine, etc. So we see the actual English word “ceased” used 400 years ago and the modern teaching of cessationism is new? It does not fit your assertion that cessationism is a new doctrine, but since they did actually write what they did, we must deal with that.

          • Taco, you’ve made an excellent and wise observation above.

            Michael, you need to repent. Your accusation that I tried to “rewrite most of church history’s clear teaching on cessationism” is false. You have violated the 9th commandment and need to repent.

            And you apparently don’t know much about church history. You need not only to repent of your breach of the 9th commandment but of your arrogant attitude that lead you to do so. Augustine was NOT cessationist. You don’t know what you’re talking about and so you should stop talking.

          • To claim that cessationism is a new doctrine when shown otherwise and then to claim that certain theologians were not cessatoinists is to clearly attempt to “rewrite church history.”

            Actually, I only know from church history what I have read from the authors themselves, like this quote from Augustine’s Retractions, written within the last two years of his life,

            “For those that are baptized do not now receive the Spirit on the imposition of hands, so as to speak in the tongues of all the peoples; neither are the sick healed by the shadow of the preachers of Christ falling on them as they pass; and other such things as were then done, are now manifestly ceased.”

            As for repenting, I certainly need to repent of my sins daily. But not sin has been committed by me in simply citing the facts of church history. Although putting words in the mouthes of certain church theologians of the past in considered a sin…I will let others decide.

          • Augustine’s “The City of God”, Book XII, Chapter 8 is entitled “Of Miracles Which Were Wrought that the World Might Believe in Christ, and Which Have Not Ceased Since the World Believed”.
            There, he writes, “For even now miracles are wrought in the name of Christ, . . .” He then goes on to record many claims of miracles, some he says to have witnessed himself, such as “a blind man was restored to sight”.
            http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/120122.htm

            So Michael, whatever source told you that Augustine was a cessationist was demonstrably false.

          • First, Retractions was written much later in life than City of God. PhD in church history, really?

            Secondly, I think you misunderstand what the doctrine of cessationism is. It deals with the cesssation of miraculous sign gifts, not cessation of miracles. There is a difference in miracles and gifts. Consult any theological dictionary.

          • Michael,

            1. You’re a smart aleck. You need to repent.

            2. I simply don’t believe you had a copy of Augustine’s “Retractions” lying around and I was unable to find the quote you provided through google. Can you link it. Or did you copy it out of some cessationist book? Further, the quote you cited doesn’t say all gifts passed away. And it doesn’t retract what he wrote in

            3. Read Augustine’s chapter on miracles.

            By the way, asking you to actually cite a scripture to support cessationism is not a “begging the question” fallacy.

          • 1. So now that I have shown you that cessationism has been held at least since the time of Augustine and Chrysostom, and is not a new doctrine, you still persist that it is, deny historical quotes, call me a “smart aleck” and command me to repent?

            2. What matters is not that I had The Restractions laying beside me, but whether Augustine really wrote that.

            3. By the way, read Augustine’s Retractions 1.13.7.

            Do you really have a PhD in church history? From whence did you obtain such?

          • Michael said:
            “Milne argues that the Puritans were overwhelmingly cessationists.” So are Luther, Calvin, Augustine, etc. So we see the actual English word “ceased” used 400 years ago and the modern teaching of cessationism is new?

            To which Milne explains what the Divines did -not- mean by cessation in the following:
            “However, many of the authors of the WCF accepted that “prophecy” continued in their time, and a number of them apparently believed that disclosure of God’s will through dreams, visions, and angelic communication remained possible.”

            So no, what is taught by cessationists as Strange Fire is -not- what cessationist like Milne and apparently DeYoung and the Divines taught.

          • Fred, study immediate and mediate prophecy , then you can understand the Milne quote correctly. You can’t say that because the Puritans believed in dreams form God that they were not cessationists. The Puritans were cessationists in every sense of the word as modern cessationism is defined. The problem is that most charismatics don’t know what cessationism really is.

          • Michael,

            Augustine did NOT hold to cessationism as I’ve proven by a direct quote from him. Even your quote, which you’ve been unable to authenticate, doesn’t prove that. And the Chrysostom quote doesn’t prove that either. You’re reading cessationism into those quotes.

            If you’re going to continue to insist that Augustine was cessationist, contrary to the clear evidence otherwise, you need to examine yourself whether you’re really an honest person.

            Puritans were NOT cessationist in the modern sense of the Word, as I’ve proven. You’re insistence otherwise is plainly false and that you continue to say it after being given evidence otherwise suggests you simply are an honest person.

            You need to examine yourself as to whether you are really “in the faith” (2 Cor. 13:5). Lying is a sin. All liars go to hell.

      • As a PhD in church history surely you know then that Agnes Ozman (as well as C.F. Parham) thought she was speaking Chinese, and even at Azusa street that was the claim until white Chinese speakers pointed out that what was being uttered was neither Mandarin, nor Cantonese, and only then was the private prayer language, angelic language and “hot” tongue arguments formulated.

        • The idea of “tongues of angels” is found in the Bible (1 Cor. 13:1). That some speaking in tongues is not to be understood by people is stated clearly by Paul: “For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him but he utters mysteries in the Spirit” (1 Cor. 14:2, ESV).

          • Clearly? Peruse a few recent exegetical commentaries on the matter and see how difficult this passage is to interpret.

          • Michael, there is nothing unclear about the passage unless, like MacArthur, you want it to say something other than what it does.

            You’ve yet to even cite one scripture for your position. That’s because you don’t have any. And then you try to muddy the scriptures that teach differently than you believe.

  • I too would heartily recommend the Hamilton/Grudem debate [the vimeo link Michael shared]. Follow the points carefully and you’ll see that there is a substantial case to be made for cessationism. I think one of Hamilton’s strongest points is that if the miraculous gifts still exist today, what then are “the signs of a true apostle” (2 Cor 12:12)? I’d be interested in hearing a continuationist’s answer to this question.

    At the same time, I acknowledge that there is an exegetical case for continuationism. I don’t charge scholarly continuationists with sinister motives, with hard hearts, pride, etc. They have a rational exegetical/theological case, which I simply do not find persuasive. I’m simply asking for the same respect from my continationist brothers.

    • Sorry, there is no exegetical case for cessationism. I can’t give you what doesn’t exist. Certainly the scripture you provided isn’t it. (To make it so is eisegesis.) Obviously Paul, in 1 Cor. 12-14, gives instructions for the gifts of the Spirit to all the church, not at all implying that they were confined to the Apostles and only for the purpose of designating the Apostles. And, again, Paul tells us when those gifts will pass away (1 Cor. 13:10).

  • One wonders why people continue to consider that 1 Corinthians 13 refers to the second coming. As Victor Budgen point out in The Charismatics and the Word of God, Nowhere else in the Bible is that event referred to as the perfect thing.

    • That 1 Corinthians 13:10 refers to the second coming of Christ is, I believe, the over-whelming conclusion of most commentators, including many cessationists. I’d challenge you to present one serious scholar who does not believe it refers to the second coming of Jesus. It’s not the “event” but Christ Himself, whom we will see face-to-face.
      The idea that it would refer to a completed canon is also never found in the Bible, and a completed canon is not something we can see face-to-face.

      • “I’d challenge you to present one serious scholar who does not believe it refers to the second coming of Jesus”

        If one was to conduct some actual research on this verse, one would find the following:

        F.F. Bruce thought the perfect referred to “love itself.”
        B.B. Warfield took it as the completed canon.
        Robert Thomas thought it was the mature church.
        Thomas Edgar interpreted it as “the believer’s entrance into the presence of Christ.”
        John MacArthur thinks its the eternal state in a general sense.

        • Only Warfield tried to argue it referred to the completed canon and he is essentially the inventor of the modern doctrine of cessationism. He was also a systemitician, not a Bible scholar.
          Since the last two, the presence of Christ and the “eternal state”, are all part of the second coming of Christ, they support what I said.
          I don’t know who “Robert Thomas” is.
          Only Bruce (according to you) is the exception and that interpretation makes no sense because love isn’t absent in the context.

          • You didn’t ask for us to cite scholars who held positions that made sense to you or scholars you knew, but you said “I’d challenge you to present one serious scholar who does not believe it refers to the second coming of Jesus.”

            The eternal state is not equal to the second coming. Warfield’s view can not be dismissed simply because you assert he start the idea of cessation.

  • Perhaps Credo Mag could have some discussion and working through the exegetical works of D.A. Carson Showing the Spirit and Richard Gaffin jr. Perspectives on Pentecost?

  • The case for cessationism certainly doesn’t rely entirely on a particular interpretation of 1 Cor 13:10. MacArthur, for example, sees the “perfect” as Jesus’ return, but obviously believes the apostolic gifts have ceased (see Charismatic Chaos). I tend to agree that it’s Jesus’ return, but still have several other strong reasons to believe the apostolic gifts were for the foundational (i.e., Apostolic) era of the church.

    • And others, I believe Robert Thomas is in this camp, see it as the completed canon. Either was it is not the lynch pin of the argument for or against the sign gifts.

    • Except that the Bible doesn’t call the “charismata” “apostolic gifts”. That’s a term made up by cessationists so that they can pretend their cessationism is a product of exegesis.

      Except the fact that the Bible no where teaches cessationism. And so cessationism is this self-contradictory doctrine that claims the Bible is sufficient so we don’t need spiritual gifts (that the Bible tells us we need) but we do need the doctrine of cessationism (that the Bible doesn’t teach.

      Except that the Bible explicitly teaches us when the charismata will cease: at the second coming of Christ (1 Cor. 13:10).

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