Series - Moritz Cessation

A Case for Cessationism, Part 3

From Maranatha Baptist Theological Journal, Vol 3, No. 2, Fall 2013. Reproduced with permission. Read the series so far.

Approaching the Issue

The issue whether the sign gifts continue or have ceased is closely tied to the question of continuing revelation. Is God giving us Scripture today? Are the sign gifts of the New Testament still in operation today? And is the prophetic gift of the Old Testament identical with the prophetic gift in the New Testament? These issues are connected because the New Testament seems to indicate that the sign gifts were apostolic and that they were specifically given to accredit the apostles as the channels through whom God gave the New Testament revelation.

Our position is that the sign gifts of the Spirit were temporary and are not operative today. Maranatha has held this position since its founding. The Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International states this belief:

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A Case for Cessationism, Part 2

From Maranatha Baptist Theological Journal, Vol 3, No. 2, Fall 2013. Reproduced with permission. Read the series so far.

Claims for Continuing Gifts with a Closed Canon

Sovereign Grace

The Sovereign Grace movement is an example of this. This movement affirms that the Bible is the authority for faith, and it denies that God is giving any additional biblical revelation, saying of the Scriptures:

They are totally sufficient and must not be added to, superseded, or changed by later tradition, extra-biblical revelation, or worldly wisdom. Every doctrinal formula­tion, whether of creed, confession, or theology must be put to the test of the full counsel of God in Holy Scripture.16

The movement further affirms “We are evangelical, Reformed, and charismatic.”17 The Sovereign Grace website avers that all the spiritual gifts are for the churches today.

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A Case for Cessationism, Part 1

From Maranatha Baptist Theological Journal, Vol 3, No. 2, Fall 2013. Reproduced with permission.

The issue of whether revelation from God and the supernatural gifts of the Spirit have ceased is an issue of intense debate in the Christian world today. Perhaps the beginnings of the modern discussion can be traced to 1956 when Christian Life published the article “Is Evangelical Theology Changing?”1 Prior to that time the Pentecostal movement was seen as an evangelical “fringe” movement. The article listed one of the subjects that evangelicals were discussing as “A willingness to re-examine beliefs concerning the work of the Holy Spirit.”2 At that time the discussion was between the Evangelicals and the Pentecostals. The ensuing years have seen the rise of the Charismatic Movement and the Third Wave.

Today the Charismatics are a part of mainstream evangelicalism. And some Evangelicals who embrace otherwise traditional theological positions are also identifying themselves as Charismatics. Several of these influential leaders affirm that at least some of the sign gifts of the Spirit are at work in the churches today.

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