Here is the second and final article from guest poster, Sam Storms, head of Enjoying God Ministries. The first article consisted of twelve bad reasons for being a cessationist. This post now concerns the positive (biblical and theological) perspective of being a continuationist. Both of these posts were originally posted at Sam’s ministry website here.
12 Good Reasons for Being a Continuationist
1. The first good reason for being a continuationist is the 12 bad reasons for being a cessationist.
2. A second good reason for being a continuationist is the consistent, indeed pervasive, and altogether positive presence throughout the NT of all spiritual gifts.
3. A third good reason for being a continuationist is the extensive NT evidence of the operation of so-called miraculous gifts among Christians who are not apostles. In other words, numerous non-apostolic men and women, young and old, across the breadth of the Roman Empire consistently exercised these gifts of the Spirit (and Stephen and Philip ministered in the power of signs and wonders).
4. A fourth good reason for being a continuationist is the explicit and oft-repeated purpose of the charismata: namely, the edification of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:7; 14:3,26).
5. The fifth good reason for being a continuationist is the fundamental continuity or spiritually organic relationship between the church in Acts and the church in subsequent centuries.
6. Very much related to the fifth point, a sixth good reason for being a continuationist is because of what Peter (Luke) says in Acts 2 concerning the operation of so-called miraculous gifts as characteristic of the New Covenant age of the Church.
7. The seventh good reason for being a continuationist is 1 Corinthians 13:8-12.
8. The eighth good reason for being a continuationist is Ephesians 4:11-13.
9. A ninth good reason for being a continuationist is the description in Revelation 11 of the ministry of the Two Witnesses.
10. A tenth good reason for being a continuationist is because the Holy Spirit in Christ is the Holy Spirit in Christians. We are indwelt, anointed, filled, and empowered by the same Spirit as was Jesus. His ministry is (with certain obvious limitations) the model for our ministry (cf. Acts 10:38).
11. An eleventh reason to be a continuationist is the absence of any explicit or implicit notion that we should view spiritual gifts any differently than we do other NT practices and ministries that are portrayed as essential for the life and well-being of the Church.
12. The twelfth and final good reason for being a continuationist is the testimony throughout most of church history concerning the operation of the miraculous gifts of the Spirit.
[Although it is technically not a reason or argument for being a continuationist like the previous twelve, I cannot ignore personal experience. The fact is that I’ve seen all spiritual gifts in operation, tested and confirmed them, and experienced them first-hand on countless occasions. As stated, this is less a reason to become a continuationist and more a confirmation (although not an infallible one) of the validity of that decision. Experience, in isolation from the biblical text, proves little. But experience must be noted, especially if it illustrates or embodies what we see in the biblical text.]
Pingback: The Case For Continuationism – Sam Storms « To Be Continued…
I guess if you have more partial preterist leanings like myself, #9 might be somewhat unimportant. 🙂
I would say my own query with regards to #9 is that I hear a lot of soft-cessationists say, ‘Well, it could happen since we read about the two witnesses in Revelation. But prophecy, and other gifts, are still not to be seen as part of the regular practise of the Christian community.’ So there is kind of a statement of being open, but I am not sure you would regularly see the fruit of desiring God to utilise such gifts in them and their local church community.
Thus, I am not convinced the argument from #9 will draw people in to what the gifts of the Spirit are really to be utilised for – edifying the body, even reaching those in our lives who do not yet know Christ.
Oh, Sam. This really made me laugh (well, pro-Continuationist point number 1 did). Very well-reasoned. Simple and true.
However, I agree with the above comment about #9, since I’m at least open to a somewhat preterist view of Revelation, at least up to chapter 18.
If you’re reading this Sam, I want to say I miss Bridgeway. Keep up the great work there. I’ll try and come visit the church next time I swing by Oklahoma.
I really enjoyed Sam Storms when I was a member of Metro Christian in KC. Thanks for this series.