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Pneumatology

Hermeneutical wishful thinking

by Theodore Wright


I am not saying that this is my own hermeneutical wishful thinking nor even that I have such.
This is something I find devoted Cessationists have.

Cessationism is a doctrine stating that spiritual gifts (such as speaking in tongues, prophecy and healing) ceased with the early church. Cessationism says that the Holy Bible has been completely written and should be relied upon solely for God to speak to us. Yet, cessationism does not show us that the Bible actually teaches this. The Holy Spirit still lives in the hearts of believers in Jesus today.
 

There are very few verses in the Bible cited by cessationists to attempt to prove the conclusions of this strange fire called “Cessationism”. Let us take a look at these Bible verses and see what they really say…

 

Hebrews 1:1-2
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,
has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things,
through whom also He made the worlds;

These verses confirm that Jesus spoke to us but they do not say that there would be no more prophets He would speak through.
This also does not say no more COVENANT Word of God would be written, either. No prophets in the New Testament? Absurd!
If this did say that prophesy ended, does every book in the New Testament after that date fail in Holy Spirit inspiration?
The Book of Hebrews has been said to have been written 67 A.D. Did cessation of the gifts happen so soon? Certainly not!
 

Hebrews 2:3-4
how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord,
and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders,
with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?

The Word of God says at the first Lord spoke about salvation and confirmed that with the miraculous.
This Scripture does not say it was “only” at the first but simply acknowledges that this all happened.
Again, were such miracles already ended by 67 A.D. when the Book of Hebrews was penned?
If the gifts of the Spirit ended in the early church then so would also the gospel have ended as well.
 

1 Corinthians 13:8
Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail;
whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge,
it will vanish away.

This passage is frequently taken out of context. The time of the occurance of these gifts ending is mentioned.
For 1 Corinthians 13:12a says,”For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face.
Do all the believers see the face of Jesus Christ in this age or is it in Heaven and the age to come?
Know perfectly well that we have yet to see Him face to face.
 

Ephesians 2:19-20
Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints
and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets,
Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,

Yes! The foundation of our faith is Jesus Christ and none other.

A basic argument of cessationists is that if prophets still existed today, they would be able to write more books of the Holy Bible. Since the Bible is complete, therefore, there is no more need for prophets and hence are no more prophets. Right? Wrong! This actually is not the case.

True prophesy still occurs and is the Word of God but it is not the Covenant of God to be recorded in the Holy Bible. As prophesy goes, the Word of God in the Holy Bible takes precedence!

Even in Old and New Testament Biblical times, the sole purpose of prophets was not the writing of Holy Scripture. Most true prophets never authored “holy writ”. The prophets today are inspired by God but not to further write the Holy Scriptures. There is no Biblical proof for cessation of Spiritual gifts in the early church.
 

Now for Bible verses you need to know!

Ephesians 4:11-13
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;

Prophets, therefore, are given until we come together as “a perfect man”. Have we reached already the whole height of the “fullness of Christ”? Indeed not! Are we perfect in love? Are we face-to-face with Christ in the eternal? Did we all come to the unity of the faith? Therefore, these ministries including prophets, still function up to present. Prophets in the Old Testament were expected to be 100% accurate. Matters are different now. The New Testament principle is “Test all things; hold fast what is good.” just as it is written in 1 Thessalonians 5:21.

The whole argument against the Holy Spirit speaking to individuals today and only though the Holy Bible is not based upon any firm Biblical statement proving this.   Perhaps the Holy Spirit spoke to them individually about Cessationism but I would seriously doubt it.   The Cessationists have such little, weak, and unsubstantiated Biblical evidence to rely upon which they attempt prove their conclusions. This is merely their expression of their own hermeneutical wishful thinking.
 


There are various viewpoints of Cessationism and more than we can list here. Viewpoints of Cessationism include such as the miraculous gifts all ending with the writing of the book of Revelation, or the destruction of the temple, or the early church, or 1600 years ago, or the like. Some say only tongues and prophesy ended or that some other gifts would happen only at the beginning of each of 7 ages in the Church age (Rev. ch. 2 & 3). Others have said that spiritual gifts still occur but only in some lesser fashion. Still others even say that the gifts of tongues still occurs but that it is only “known tongues”.

For more about this, please see page “The gift of tongues is not merely known tongues”.

The fact of the matter is that miracles and spiritual gifts have happened throughout the Church age.
When such is shown to Cessationists, however, they usually only respond that such are human expressions only or of the devil.

For a prime example, please see page “Errors of cessationism against divine healing refuted”.

 

Maybe they will say, “Well, I used to be a Charismatic or a Pentecostal but now I go to a such-and-such church!” How mamy times have we Christians heard this pathetic line from cultists and Roman Catholics? Would Cessationists believe them if they switched churches out of theirs? Just because people who became Cessationists had their negative experience elsewhere, heard some people who were confused, or only got confused themselves it does not mean that everyone should follow their example?

Could it be that they have other motivations to defend the Cessationist belief such as a ministry career? Their denominations have held these beliefs for hundreds of years. Are they going to now finally admit they were wrong all along about Cessationism even if they had, what they believe was, a good purpose back then? They will not back down very easily, therefore, they keep trying to persuade you to increase their flocks while they are not willing to reconsider matters.

The real question is… What do the Scriptures say? That is, the Scriptures correctly understood and in context without implying words into the text which do not appear.

 

Was the model of Spiritual gifts told in the epistles to be only for the Christians during the times they were written, then to have it so quickly done away with after the New Testament was completed? If so, then those letters would only be intended for the audience of the churches, cities and individuals they were addressed to in those times and the Holy Bible would simply be an old book for a previous age.

 

 

 

We like the book 2000 Years Of Charismatic Christianity by Eddie L. Hyatt which demonstrates how the Holy Spirit moved throughout the entire Church age.   Interested? Or perhaps you would rather look only at your favorite historical quotes and forget the rest even exist?
 

About the title…
I read an article authored by Dave Miller on “SBC Voices” titled “God told me that the Bible does not teach Cessationism” where he mentions how Cessationism is “simply not a biblical teaching” and only “hermeneutical wishful thinking”. This encouraged me to publish my own thoughts on this topic. Do you now see how empty the Holy Bible is to prove Cessationism?

 

 

 

Scripture taken from the New King James Version.
Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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