As we have noted in our About page, part of our desire is to regularly post articles by guest authors. Well, here is our first post from Sam Storms, head of Enjoying God Ministries. Sam has given us permission to post these next two articles, which can originally be found here.
The first article will deal with reasons why one should not be a cessationist and the second article will deal with the reasons why one should be a continuationist.
12 Bad Reasons for Being a Cessationist
1. The first bad reason for being a cessationist is an appeal to 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 on the assumption that the “perfect” is something other or less than the fullness of the eternal state ushered in at the second coming of Jesus Christ.
2. Another bad or illegitimate reason for being a cessationist is the belief that signs and wonders as well as certain spiritual gifts served only to confirm or authenticate the original company of apostles and that when the apostles passed away so also did the gifts.
a) No biblical text ever says that signs and wonders or spiritual gifts of a particular sort authenticated the apostles. Signs and wonders authenticated Jesus and the apostolic message about him. If signs and wonders were designed exclusively to authenticate apostles, why were non-apostolic believers (such as Philip and Stephen) empowered to perform them?
b) This is a good reason for being a cessationist only if you can demonstrate that authentication or attestation of the apostolic message was the sole and exclusive purpose of such displays of divine power. However, nowhere in the NT is the purpose/function of the miraculous or the charismata reduced to that of attestation.
3. A third bad reason for being a cessationist is the belief that since we now have the completed canon of Scripture we no longer need the operation of so-called miraculous gifts.
4. A fourth bad reason for being a cessationist is the belief that to embrace the validity of all spiritual gifts today requires that one embrace classical Pentecostalism and its belief in Spirit-baptism as separate from and subsequent to conversion, as well as their doctrine that speaking in tongues is the initial physical evidence of having experienced this Spirit-baptism.
5. Another bad reason for being a cessationist is the idea that if one spiritual gift, such as apostleship, has ceased to be operative in the church that other, and perhaps all, miraculous gifts have ceased to be operative in the church.
6. A sixth bad reason for being a cessationist is the fear that to acknowledge the validity today of revelatory gifts such as prophecy and word of knowledge would necessarily undermine the finality and sufficiency of Holy Scripture.
7. A seventh bad reason for being a cessationist is the appeal to Ephesians 2:20 on the assumption that revelatory gifts such as prophecy were uniquely linked to the apostles and therefore designed to function only during the so-called foundational period in the early church.
8. An eighth bad reason for being a cessationist is the argument that since we typically don’t see today miracles or gifts equal in quality/intensity to those in the ministries of Jesus and the Apostles, God doesn’t intend for any miraculous gifts of a lesser quality/intensity to operate in the church among ordinary Christians (but cf. 1 Cor. 12-14; Rom. 12; 1 Thess. 5:19-22; James 5).
9. A ninth bad reason for being a cessationist is the so-called “cluster” argument.
[Note from Scott: I believe the ‘cluster’ argument referred to here is that miracles and other such gifts seem to ‘cluster’ around greater revelatory events. Since such great revelatory events no longer exist due to Christ’s coming and that we now have the full canon of Scripture, such miracles and gifts should not be expected.]
10. A tenth bad reason for being a cessationist is the appeal to the alleged absence of miraculous gifts in church history subsequent to the first century.
11. Eleventh, it is a bad reason to be a cessationist because of the absence of good experiences with spiritual gifts and the often fanatical excess of certain TV evangelists and some of those involved in the Word of Faith or Prosperity Gospel movements (as well as the anti-intellectualism often found in those movements).
12. Finally, a twelfth bad reason for being a Cessationist is fear of what embracing continuationism might entail for your life personally and the well-being of your church corporately.
The next post will look at 12 good reasons for being a continuationist.