Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Peter Masters: Proving that Spiritual Gifts have ceased

Dr. Peter Masters has written an interesting article in the Sword and Trowel on the cessation of the sign gifts, and addresses some of the popular arguments used against Cessationism in the process. While not necessarily agreeing with everything, I do think most of the arguments are valid. An excerpt:

Does the Bible teach definitively that the charismatic gifts have ceased? Can cessationism (the view that they have ended) be proved? Some say that the cessation of the gifts cannot be conclusively proved from Scripture.

We believe, however, that the ceasing of revelatory and sign-gifts in the time of the apostles is very plainly taught in God’s Word, so plainly, in fact, that the opposite view has only seriously appeared in the last 100 years or so.

The term cessationism comes from the great 17th-century confessions of faith, such as the Westminster and Baptist confessions. These both use the same word. Speaking about how God has revealed his will and committed it to the Scriptures, the confessions say, ‘Former ways of God’s revealing his will unto his people being now ceased’. This word does not actually come from the Bible, but the doctrine does.

Not only has revelation been completed and ceased, but so have the signs that revelation is in progress. Here is a brief summary of six biblical proofs that the revelatory gifts have ceased (visions, words of knowledge, words of wisdom, and prophecies), and also the sign-gifts (healings and speaking in tongues). God still heals, of course, but in answer to prayer, and not through the hands of a gifted healer.

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6 comments:

Committed Christian said...

That was an interesting point about the Scriptures bearing witness that the end of the gifts was in process. But I must admit that I, having little church background, when I became a believer and read the Bible came to the conclusion that the gifts were still in existence. I still am not convinced of their total cessation but the article gives me something to think about.

PuritanReformed said...

@Committed:

neither did I. I just did not have a position when I was young in the faith.

mwhenry said...

I recall being rather neutral as a new believer. I would say whatever beliefs are predominant in the church we first attend has the tipping influence, for good or bad. I was influenced by charismatic, and so at first tended in that direction. With study, and not just emotion and human reason, I am about as far away from charismaticism as possible. In any case, that was a really excellent post, thank you.

PuritanReformed said...

@mwhenry:

you're welcome. Indeed, it seems to me most believers would start neutral.

ed said...

Is the Holy Spirit gone..... If not then how can spiritual gifts be gone..they are called gifts of the spirit right?

PuritanReformed said...

@ed:

well, who says that the Holy Spirit must always give the Sign-gifts in order to be present?

Do you believe that there are living apostles today? If not, is the Holy Spirit gone? Do you believe in continuing revelation today? If not, is the Holy Spirit gone too?