Living God vs Dumb Idols

Cessationist theology adds a strong ironic aspect to Paul’s introduction to his teaching on Spiritual gifts in 1 Cor 12:

“…concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant: You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols…”

Why mention past involvement with “dumb idols” in an introduction to spiritual gifts: Spiritual gifts that reveal God as living, active and speaking to and through His people?

The cessationist view gives me a hint why.

I thank God that He continues to speak and act to and through His people. That He is true to His word, continuing to equip believers with the gifts His word promises. That He is different to the dumb idols referred to by Paul.

One thought on “Living God vs Dumb Idols

  1. Hi, brother:

    On this verse too, Paul says his purpose is that we not be “ignorant” about charismata: the Greek is agnoein, “not know.” It’s the origin of our English word “agnostic.”

    I’m pondering why Christians WOULD be ignorant. Obviously, not all failings can be addressed by instruction/teaching: but ignorance can. The take-away has to be that “cessationism” can only take root amongst the uninstructed.

    This clearly can’t be said of the Ph.D theologians who teach it. But it’s probably widely true amongst the ordinary believers led astray by them. And that’s where my question lies, since I live much more among ordinary believers than Ph.d “Reverends.”

    Two scriptures on instruction seem particularly relevant. Proverbs has much to say on the subject: the one that resounds for me here is Proverbs 15:33, “The fear of the Lord is the instruction for wisdom…” The second is II Timothy 3:16: “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness…”

    This ties in, of course, with “cessationism’s” lack of scriptural attestation. And it seems to be verified in my experience of ordinary believers who reject what scripture teaches about charismata. We pay a lot of lip-service to the idea that Christians should study scripture, meditate on God’s word, spend time in prayer, etc. To my observation, that’s as far as it usually goes in American Christianity: lip-service, without practice.

    The deceivers have fertile fields among us. We have many ignorant (Paul’s word), who’ve trained themselves to follow men they consider more knowledgeable in scripture (which could be almost anyone). This too ties in with many of the problems among believers’ you’ve addressed here.

    A related question. I’ve always found it curious that most who denigrate the supernatural gifts of the Spirit would hold that we are in the last days. Revelation cites prophecy and other supernatural works as among the signs for which God gives “authority” to His two witnesses in the last days (Revelation 11:3-7). Following his murder of God’s two witnesses (and their resurrection), the dragon similarly gives his authority to the Beast to “perform great signs” (Revelation 13:4-14). (And this following after, and attemptimg to imitate, comes very close to all that the “anti-” in “anti-Christ” indicates.)

    It’s always seemed strange that anyone believing Revelation’s account of these future events could yet denigrate the existence of God’s Spiritual gifts, which scripture attests will be in operation then. Strange also to deny that God so uses His power in manifestation of His rule among men, yet allow that satan does !

    In Jesus, Steve

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