Posts Tagged ‘Cessationism

06
May
16

Ask For a Fish and Get a Snake?

If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?(Luke 11:11-13)

Here we have the wonderful promise of a gift, available to those who ask. And it’s not just any gift; it is the gift of the Holy Spirit Himself, given by the Father.
But how many actually ASK for that gift and expect to receive? And how many merely assume they’ve already been given and have received the gift, despite a lack of asking and despite a lack of evidence of the receiving?
Would the Holy Spirit come into our lives without being noticed?

The effects of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers are illustrated throughout the book of Acts and also in Paul’s letters, such as the familiar chapters 12-14 in 1 Corinthians. If we have received the Spirit, shouldn’t we be experiencing and displaying something similar?

Fire

Sadly the promise in Luke, quoted above, has not only been ignored by many, it has also been misused by a growing number to justify some very strange practices and ideas that don’t have a biblical foundation. The assumption they make is that they couldn’t experience anything not of God, if they’ve been seeking manifestations of the Spirit’s work.

I’ve come across several people who have quoted those verses to “prove” that the strange things they accept are ok, including one local pastor whose church had experienced the appearance of gold dust during one of their meetings.
While I saw problems with his confidence in the legitimacy of that experience, I also found it difficult to challenge his assurance based on the fore-mentioned promise, until I found examples of when man’s error and disobedience had led to God giving something other than what had been expected.

This is one example related to some people who assume they’ve been exercising Spiritual gifts :

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

I see another example in 2 Thess 2:

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie

Those verses show we have a choice, and that choice relates to a “love of the truth”. Without that “love of the truth” we will be susceptible to delusion and ultimately God Himself will be the sender of that delusion.

In the case of present day charismatics, they need to consider, whether it is REALLY the Holy Spirit they are seeking. Or are they seeking manifestations and experiences being promoted by their teachers. They also need to consider whether they desire the truth MORE than those manifestations and experiences. Are they willing to seek the truth by searching the scriptures themselves and testing those teachings, manifestations and experiences?

Returning to the promise that opened this article, I think other parts of scripture make it clear: if someone refuses to love the truth, God may give something much worse than stones, serpents or scorpions.

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24
Apr
14

The Evil of Mens’ Traditions

A strong title?

Maybe it seems a little extreme?

But how else can traditions that create a false image of God be described?

Traditions that misrepresent His character.

Traditions that misrepresent His ways.

Traditions that misrepresent His desires.

Effectively those traditions result in a false gospel and lead to people to follow false paths with a false hope.

There is a big difference between those traditions of men and the Truth of God.

Where do our own desires REALLY lie?

What do WE really want?

Which do we choose?

12
Feb
14

Moving the Theological Goalposts

goalpostsThe goal posts of the cessationist argument have been moved.

After choosing not to post my link to articles detailing post apostolic examples of the gifts still in use, the “Hip and Thigh” blog owner says:

Everyone is aware of post apostolic miracles. I am completely aware of what Sam Storm believes about supernatural happenings after 100 AD. But none of those examples he supplies demonstrates the continuance of gifted people, just that God acts supernaturally at certain times in response to prayer or in the working out of his providence. That is something no “cessationist” as they are called, disagrees with.

So now it seems every historical case of gifts in action is not evidence of the gifts in action, and therefore their continuing availability. Those cases are merely examples of God’s response to prayer or the working out of His providence.

Now the argument is being shifted from the continuance of Spiritual gifts, to the “continuance of gifted people”. And since those gifts allegedly ended with the last of the apostles the term “gifted people” seems to refer to the original apostles.

But the gifts in question have nothing to do with “gifted people” (apostles), and everything to do with a GIFTING God.

The issue isn’t about “gifted people”. The issue is the continuation of the gifts of the Spirit and miracles provided by the God that the apostles worshipped and promoted.
The one and only God who is just as real and no less active in the world today. Any absence of gifts and miracles is not due to a Divine recall or Divine inactivity, but due to human factors (such as lack of belief in the availability of gifts due to false teaching).

Are the Spiritual gifts HE made available to the body (not just the apostles) for the building up of the body, still needed and still available today?
Yes

Did he restrict those gifts to an elite apostleship?
No.

Was their practice limited to an elite apostleship?
No.

Did God withdraw any of those gifts after the last of the apostles?
No.

Are those gifts still valid, available and practiced today and throughout history, even from 100AD to 1900AD and to the present day?

Yes! As attested by the absence of biblical evidence that they would be withdrawn soon after Paul wrote about them, and by the presence of historical evidence that they HAVE continued (some of which can be found at the links provided in my earlier post here: https://onesimusfiles.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/cessationist-evasion/ )

11
Feb
14

Cessationist Evasion!

In previous posts I’ve given my reasons for believing in the validity of on-going Spiritual gifts*.

To date I’ve still not seen or been given any argument (supportable by scripture) that could even half convince me that God has withdrawn any of the Spiritual gifts described in the New Testament.
I’ve already addressed the most common “scriptural” claim given by cessationsists – found in 1 Corinthians 13*.

The only recent “evidence” I’ve been given came in the form of a question on a cessationist blog: “how do you explain the fact that the gifts were absent from the church between, say, 100AD and 1900AD?”

My first attempt to answer that question didn’t make it past moderation. The moderator/blog owner wouldn’t approve it.

The question is based on an assumption that ignores available evidence. There are many post-apostolic references to the continuation of miracles in the church, recorded in the writings of the early church fathers. I easily found many sources giving details of their writings – which are too numerous and too lengthy for me to quote at length. Instead I’ll point to these articles here:

http://www.samstorms.com/enjoying-god-blog/post/spiritual-gifts-in-church-history–1-http://www.samstorms.com/enjoying-god-blog/post/spiritual-gifts-in-church-history–2- http://www.samstorms.com/enjoying-god-blog/post/spiritual-gifts-in-church-history–3-http://www.samstorms.com/enjoying-god-blog/post/spiritual-gifts-in-church-history–4-

A link to the above articles was posted on the offending blog in response to his request for an explanation for the alleged almost 2000 year absence of gifts. The comment and the link to the articles didn’t get past moderation.

___________________________

*(see here for my reasons and my comments regarding 1 Cor 13): https://onesimusfiles.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/are-we-mature-enough-not-to-need-gods-gifts/ )
Here is a link to the relevant part of the cessationist blog mentioned above:
http://hipandthigh.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/authentic-fire-chapter-2-review/comment-page-1/#comment-10942

05
Feb
14

Which Celebrity Soothes Your Itching Ears?

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves their favourite celebrity teachers” (2 Tim 4 slightly paraphrased)

Spirit and TruthIn following the arguments being presented by cessationists, I’ve seen little more than duelling with celebrities – where one celebrity preacher is quoted against another. First we had John MacArthur’s Strange Fire, then we had Frank Viola’s rebuttal, Pouring Water on Strange Fire, and Michael Brown’s Authentic Fire. These then became the focus of a cessationist response*.

I am still waiting for BIBLICAL evidence that God has withdrawn any of the Spiritual gifts. I’m still waiting because there is no such evidence.

Criticism of “charismatics” is NOT scriptural evidence, no matter how much that criticism is deserved
Yes, a sizable segment of the charimsatic “movement” promotes and practices terrible things, claiming to be motivated by the Spirit, but even if ALL claimed charismatics were the same that would still not be evidence supporting cessationism.

The problem with Charismatics arises NOT because Spiritual gifts have been withdrawn and therefore everything “charismatic” must be counterfeit – but because many “charismatics” have fallen for celebrity worship, following the word of big name men and women instead of the word of God; running from conference to conference, speaker to speaker instead of taking time to search the scriptures.
But non-charismatics are no less guilty of that, following the word of their own celebs instead of HONESTLY addressing scripture themselves.

Ironically, while charismatic excess is being cited as evidence of the cessationist viewpoint, most of that excess has NOTHING to do with biblical Spiritual gifts. Most of the aberrant behaviour and manifestations at the centre of charismania is extra-biblical. It is not even a counterfeit of biblically cited gifts. But, even their claimed expression of things that do have a biblical precedent (such as prophecy) are EASILY exposed as false by holding them accountable to biblical standards.

spirit and truthjpgAs well as the example of false charismata, the remaining cessationist evidence comes from their perceived lack of genuine charismata. That includes making judgements according to their own assumptions about what genuine gifts should be like. For example, tongues is dismissed by some because they insist tongues should always be recognisable earthly languages, used only for spreading the gospel. Both parts of this claim can easily be refuted by referring to Paul’s statements that someone speaking in a tongue speaks to God not man, and also refers to praying in a tongue as the spirit praying. This doesn’t fit the above mentioned cessationist preconception.

Here we have two issues, firstly a wrong preconception of what gifts should be, and secondly the lack of experience of the gifts as defined by those wrong preconceptions. In these I see very little difference between the extreme charismatic and the cessationist. Both have abandoned scripture as their standard of truth and have turned to experience. One assumes their strange experiences are from the Spirit (even when those experiences don’t stand up to scriptural scrutiny) the other assumes THEIR lack of experience** of anything must mean the gifts are no longer valid (despite that claim not standing up to scriptural scrutiny).

What the cessationist fails to consider is that their lack of experience may come down to their lack of expectation. Their denial of the gifts kills any possibility of them having faith to exercise or experience gifts themselves. Paul said “If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith” , and yet how can someone have faith to prophesy at all if they deny the possibility? Likewise with other gifts; how can anyone expect to experience those gifts in their own life if their faith’s foundation is built on denial, if they refuse even the possibility of genuine gifts?

James wrote:

“let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”

If that is true of the double minded man, the man who doubts – what about the single minded man who does not doubt but strongly believes the wrong thing? Someone so convinced that Spiritual gifts aren’t valid that they have absolutely no expectation of experiencing them?

__________________
*examples of which can be found here: http://hipandthigh.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/reviewing-authentic-fire/?relatedposts_exclude=4838 and at this site: http://mennoknight.wordpress.com/

**in a reply to a comment from me, one cessationist blog owner admits that his belief is based on him not seeing any “practical evidence” of the gifts. http://hipandthigh.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/authentic-fire-chapter-2-review/comment-page-1/#comment-10916It has nothing to do with scriptural evidence – claiming that both (cessationist) MacArthur and (charismatic) Michael Brown both provide scriptural support for their (opposing) views, however he qualifies that by saying MacArthur makes a “strong case”. And yet… WHERE IS THAT “strong” CASE?

04
Feb
14

God’s Truth Does Not Need to be Unleashed.

Today I followed a link to an article on John MacArthur’s website and found this statement at the top of the home page:

“Unleashing God’s Truth One Verse at a Time”.

Excuse me Mr MacArthur, the bible wasn’t written in “verses”. It wasn’t written to be addressed “one verse at a time”. That approach is guaranteed to lead to error, resulting in false doctrines that are supported by out of context proof texts.

It’s therefore not surprising that MacArthur has fallen for (and promotes) some very harmful theology (including, but not limited to, an unholy trinity of Calvinism, Cessationism and Supersessionism), a very scary thing when he has such a devoted following, and no less dangerous than the extreme charismanics he has been targeting recently.

spirit and truthjpgGod’s truth doesn’t need to be “unleashed” – He has already revealed His truth and it just needs to be received. A good starting point for us is to ask God to give us a love of the truth, and then receive that love when it is given. Another helpful step is to respect the ministry of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, who has been sent to teach and equip followers of Jesus instead of denying His continuing work.

May our love of the Truth and desire for it exceed our love of any theology we may have been taught – and be greater than our love for the theologians and teachers who introduced us to it.

29
Jan
14

Rejecting the Spirit = Rejecting Christ

Some Cessationists have supported their stance by saying that Charismatics/Pentecostals are “Spirit-centred” instead of “Christ-centred”. Apart from this NOT being scriptural evidence for their theology*, can anyone truly be “Christ centred” if they create a division between Christ and the Spirit as if there’s a possibility of an either/or situation? As if anyone can be Christ centred without giving the Holy Spirit the recognition given to Him by Jesus?

I am wondering why Jesus said this:

“…everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.”

Why can speaking against Jesus be forgiven but not blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?
What kind of importance does JESUS place on the Holy Spirit in that statement?

If we reject the Spirit and His continuing work (including His gifts) then aren’t we also rejecting the Jesus who promised to send the Spirit as well as rejecting the Father who sends Him in Jesus’ name?

______________ 

* Whether Spiritual gifts continue to be valid or not should not be determined through judgement of the actions or beliefs of any group. The validity of ALL doctrinal viewpoints should be determined through reference to the scriptures.




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