Cessationism is, generally speaking, a doctrine of Reformed Christianity. Prior to the Protestant Reformation, there was no such explicit doctrine, yet neither was there an expectation that most of the gifts of the Holy Spirit would persist in the Church in the day-to-day experience of Christians. Nevertheless, there were sporadic mentions of some gifts, such as speaking in tongues, and more frequently, but still unusually, of healings and miracles. It was when these miracles in the Catholic Church were used as a polemic against the post-Reformation Protestant churches that John Calvin began to develop a doctrine of cessationism, and it was primarily in the Calvinist tradition that this doctrine was developed. The argument was that as the gifts of the Spirit must have necessarily ceased at the end of the Apostolic Age, it followed that the claims of miracles and healings should be met with scepticism and could not be used by believers to determine God’s favour.
As one Reformed theologian says, “John Calvin speaks of miracles as ‘seals’ added to the Word of God, and he warns that miracles must never be separated from the Word. When connected to the Word of God, miracles serve ‘to prepare us for faith, or to confirm us in faith.’ But when miracles are divorced from God’s Word, they ‘bring glory to creatures and not God.'”
Although initial statements of this doctrine held that the miracles and gifts of the Spirit ended with the Apostolic Age, this was soon modified to a view that the gifts faded away over the first three centuries of the Church. Writing in 1918, Benjamin Warfield, a Presbyterian theologian, reasserted the view that the gifts ceased with the death of the last of the apostles, arguing that only the apostles could confer the gifts upon other Christians. With the advent of Pentecostalism, the focus of this doctrine moved away from Catholicism and towards claims of the emergence of spiritual gifts within Protestant groups.
Cessationism is the view that the “miracle gifts” of tongues and healing have ceased—that the end of the apostolic age brought about a cessation of the miracles associated with that age. Most cessationists believe that, while God can and still does perform miracles today, the Holy Spirit no longer uses individuals to perform miraculous signs.
The biblical record shows that miracles occurred during particular periods for the specific purpose of authenticating a new message from God. Moses was enabled to perform miracles to authenticate his ministry before Pharaoh (Exodus 4:1-8). Elijah was given miracles to authenticate his ministry before Ahab (1 Kings 17:1; 18:24). The apostles were given miracles to authenticate their ministry before Israel (Acts 4:10, 16).
Jesus’ ministry was also marked by miracles, which the Apostle John calls “signs” (John 2:11). John’s point is that the miracles were proofs of the authenticity of Jesus’ message.
After Jesus’ resurrection, as the Church was being established and the New Testament was being written, the apostles demonstrated “signs” such as tongues and the power to heal. “Tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not” (1 Corinthians 14:22, a verse that plainly says the gift was never intended to edify the church).
The Apostle Paul predicted that the gift of tongues would cease (1 Corinthians 13:8). Here are six “proofs” that it has already ceased:
1) The apostles, through whom tongues came, were unique in the history of the church. Once their ministry was accomplished, the need for authenticating signs ceased to exist.
2) The miracle (or sign) gifts are only mentioned in the earliest epistles, such as 1 Corinthians. Later books, such as Ephesians and Romans, contain detailed passages on the gifts of the Spirit, but the miracle gifts are not mentioned, although Romans does mention the gift of prophecy. The Greek word translated “prophecy” means “speaking forth” and does not necessarily (if ever) include prediction of the future.
3) The gift of tongues was a sign to unbelieving Israel that God’s salvation was now available to other nations. See 1 Corinthians 14:21-22 and Isaiah 28:11-12.
4) Tongues was an inferior gift to prophecy (preaching). Preaching the Word of God edifies believers, whereas tongues does not. Believers are told to seek prophesying over speaking in tongues (1 Corinthians 14:1-3).
5) History indicates that tongues did cease. Tongues are not mentioned at all by the Post-Apostolic Fathers. Other writers such as Justin Martyr, Origen, Chrysostom, and Augustine considered tongues something that happened only in the earliest days of the Church. It must be pointed out that various “branches” of the “Church” may have “lost” the gift of glossolalia, while other less organised or “important” branches may have continued with this and other gifts without this being noised abroad. The overall effect would have been that the gift/s had disappeared. Some of these “disappeared” gifts are said to have been continuing in some peoples in varying places of the Christian churches, but written and substantiated proofs of this appear to be almost non-existent.
6) There are indications that the gift of tongues [speaking in another known earthly tongue not known to the speaker] has ceased. If the gift were still available today, there would be no need for missionaries to attend language school. Missionaries would be able to travel to any country and miraculously speak any language fluently, just as the apostles were able to in Acts 2. As for the gift of healing, we see in Scripture that healing was primarily associated with the ministry of Jesus and the apostles (Luke 9:1-2). And we see that as the era of the apostles drew to a close, healing, like tongues, became less frequent. The Apostle Paul, who raised Eutychus from the dead (Acts 20:9-12), did not heal Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:25-27), Trophimus (2 Timothy 4:20), Timothy (1 Timothy 5:23), or even himself (2 Corinthians 12:7-9). The reasons for Paul’s “failures to heal” are a) the gift was never intended to make every Christian well, but to authenticate apostleship (2 Corinthians 2:12; Hebrews 2:4); and b) the authority of the apostles had been sufficiently demonstrated. The reasons stated above are reasons cessationists believe the miraculous sign gifts have ceased. It is important to remember, though, that cessationists believe God still continues to work through the other gifts of the Spirit. According to 1 Corinthians 13:13-14:1, we would do well to “pursue love,” the greatest gift of all. If we are to desire gifts, we should desire to speak forth the Word of God, that all may be edified.
DOES CALVINISM BELIEVE IN FREE WILL?
John Calvin ascribed “free will” to all people in the sense that they act “voluntarily, and not by compulsion.” He elaborated his position by allowing “that man has choice and that it is self-determined” and that his actions stem from “his own voluntary choosing.”
Continuationism is a distinct theological position that arose in opposition to cessationism. “Spijkman points out that the denial of miracles is often based on a deistic dualism which sees God and the world as independent, entities. For Deists the only time God intervened in the affairs of the world was at creation, when God set in motion the laws that now govern the world. For strong cessationists the time of God’s direct intervention in world affairs is limited to the period before the closure of the canon. Since that time God is seen as working only through the structures set· in place. This is a far cry from the biblical picture of a living God, who not only upholds the world day by day through his sovereign power. but who also listens to the prayers of his people, and works all things for the good of those who love him (Rom. 8:28). “He who sees the miracles of Holy Scripture inseparably connected with the saving and redeeming activity of God knows that there can be no talk of a decrease or diminishing of the power of God unto salvation in this world…. There is not a single datum in the New Testament which makes it certain that God, in a new period of strengthening and extending of the Church in heathendom, will not confirm this message with signs, in holy resistance to the demonic influences of the kingdom of darkness.”
WHAT IS BIBLICAL CONTINUATIONISM?
Continuationism is a Christian theological belief that the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the spiritual gifts, have continued to the present age.
[I am of the opinion that the spiritual gifts have not ceased, for to admit so suggests that God no longer has His eternal creative and sustaining power, and I am fully aware that some will disagree with me. The gifts do not convey extra-biblical revelation but complement them and assist the body of Christ in understanding existing revelation. Anything that claims to be a gift must not say anything contrary to Scripture. If it does it is from the enemy. JMP.]
THERE IS A THIRD POSSIBILITY; THE FACT THAT GOD DOES HIS WILL IN ANY MATTER AS HE SEES IS FIT, HOW HE SEES IS FIT, AND WHEN AND WHERE HE SEES FIT. AFTER ALL, HE IS GOD.
And let us face it, Daniel 4:34 And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation:
Dan 4:35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?
Dan 4:36 At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me.
Dan 4:37 Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and His ways judgement: and those that walk in pride He is able to abase.
DO HEALING MIRACLES STILL OCCUR TODAY?
Healing and other miracles are still found in the Church today, though they aren’t always dramatic and aren’t always spoken of publicly because those who experience them hold them sacred. You may want to look for miracles in your life or the lives of your family members or ancestors.
WHAT IS THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT?
The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. While some Christians accept these as a definitive list of specific attributes, others understand them merely as examples of the Holy Spirit’s work through the faithful.
WHAT IS THE GREATEST MIRACLE ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE?
Matthew 28:5 & 6, “And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” The greatest Miracle in the Bible is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead!
WHAT IS THE ONLY MIRACLE THAT IS MENTIONED IN ALL FOUR OF THE GOSPELS?
Feeding of the 5,000
The first miracle, the “Feeding of the 5,000“, is the only miracle—aside from the resurrection—recorded in all four gospels (Matthew 14:13–21; Mark 6:31–44; Luke 9:12–17; John 6:1–14).
WHAT IS A MIRACLE THAT HAPPENS EVERY DAY?
Still, there are other miracles that we tend to forget: The sun rises and sets each day; small seeds grow into mighty trees; the many components of our body work together, enabling us to breathe, run, dream, and eat.
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT?
The work of the Holy Spirit is ultimately to exalt Christ in our hearts. He forms the image of Christ in us. We owe all to God in salvation. The Father gave us the Son, the Son gave his life for us, and the Spirit gives us life and faith in Christ, and every one of those is a miracle! Jesus in His wisdom sent the Holy Spirit to help us once Jesus had risen from the dead and rose to his heavenly Father. He said before-hand John 16: Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
Joh 16:8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
Joh 16:9 Of sin, because they believe not on me;
Joh 16:10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
Joh 16:11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
WHAT ARE THE NINE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT?
The Holy Spirit produces behavior traits that are representative of Jesus. The apostle Paul referred to these characteristics as the fruit of the Spirit. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23, NLT)
WHAT WERE JESUS LAST WORDS?
To God, his Father: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
To all: “I thirst.”
To the world: “It is finished.”
To God: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”
WHAT IS THE MAIN PURPOSE WHY THE HOLY SPIRIT GAVE US SPIRITUAL GIFTS?
The purpose of the spiritual gifts is to edify (build up), exhort (encourage), and comfort the church. It is generally acknowledged that Paul did not list all of the gifts of the Spirit, and many believe that there are as many gifts as there are needs in the body of Christ.
HOW DOES THE HOLY SPIRIT INFLUENCE OUR LIVES?
The Spirit reveals God’s truth, and God’s truth renews our conscience, and so convicts the world of sin (John 16:7-11). As the Spirit educates the believer’s conscience with the things of God, the personal standard formed by the conscience begins to align with the standard of revealed truth.
HOW DO YOU EXPERIENCE THE HOLY SPIRIT IN YOUR LIFE TODAY?
If you want to be open to the Holy Spirit, it’s often useful to pray and meditate in a quiet place. You can also feel the Holy Spirit when you pray and read the Bible. When you take time to study God’s words, you show Him that you truly want to know Him and learn from Him.
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT?
The work of the Holy Spirit is to exalt Christ in our hearts. He forms the image of Christ in us. We owe all to God in salvation. The Father gave us the Son, the Son gave his life for us, and the Spirit gives us life and faith in Christ.
CAN YOU RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT WITHOUT BEING BAPTISED?
In other words, every Christian, by definition, has the Holy Spirit. If you want to be re-baptized out of obedience to Christ, that is one thing. But, if you are already a Christian, then there is no need for you to be baptized again in order to receive the Holy Spirit – you already have the Spirit!
HOW DOES THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT CHANGE PEOPLE’S LIVES?
It is the Holy Spirit’s job to produce Christ-like character in you. This process of changing us to be more like Jesus is called sanctification. You can’t reproduce the character of Jesus on your own or by your own strength. New Year’s resolutions, willpower, and best intentions are not enough.
ARE THE HOLY GHOST AND HOLY SPIRIT THE SAME?
The English terms “Holy Ghost” and “Holy Spirit” are complete synonyms: one derives from the Old English gast (ghost) and the other from the Latin loanword spiritus. Like pneuma, they both refer to the breath, to its animating power, and to the soul. © 2000-2022 Google.
HOW DOES THE HOLY SPIRIT SPEAK TO US?
The voice of the Spirit is described in the scriptures as being neither loud nor harsh, not a voice of thunder, neither a voice of great tumultuous noise, but rather as still and small, of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it can pierce even the very soul and cause the heart to burn. 1Kings 19:11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:
1Ki 19:12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
CAN A MIRACLE HAPPEN WITHOUT FAITH?
You cannot have a miracle without faith Faith (absolute trust in Almighty God through genuine belief in the miraculous works of Jesus Christ, and by His Holy Spirit, resulting in our complete obedience to the Will of God) is always necessary for healing in the gospels – we can see this every time Jesus healed someone. Miracles strengthen faith. Therefore, the miracle has to happen first and then a person will trust and have faith. Salvation is by Grace alone, through Faith alone, by Christ alone. Unfortunately, people today require proof in order to have faith. [Read Hebrews chapters 11 and 12 and be excited at what Almighty God can do through mortal human beings].
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE HOLY SPIRIT COMES UPON YOU?
Acts 1:8 says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” This power that comes from the Holy Spirit allows you to stand strong for the things of God, and above all other things, witness for Jesus!
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN OUR LIVES?
The purpose of the Spirit is to strengthen us. Some believers mistakenly think the main purpose of the indwelling Spirit is to give us knowledge. The Spirit does give us knowledge. His two main gifts are knowledge and power. However, the principal purpose of the Holy Spirit is to endue people with power to share the gospel with others and lead them to Grace and Faith in Christ! Proverbs 11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.
WHAT IS THE FRUIT OF LOVE?
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…”
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE DON’T USE OUR SPIRITUAL GIFTS?
“God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another” (1 Peter 4:10 NLT). [1Corinthians 12:7 KJV But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
1Co 12:8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
1Co 12:9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
1Co 12:10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
1Co 12:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will.
[What is the point of Almighty God giving us one or more of these various heavenly spiritual gifts, if we don’t bother putting them to good use for the kingdom of God. It would be like Adam and Eve who selfishly disobeyed God and ate of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, so they could be “as God”. Read Genesis 3:1-24. It’s worse than shooting yourself in the foot, as the saying goes!]
(Matthew 16:24) Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any person will come after Me, let them deny themselves, and take up their cross daily, and follow Me.
(Mat 16:25) For whosoever will save their life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose their life for My sake shall find it.
(Mat 16:26) For what is a person profited, if they shall gain the whole world, and lose their own soul? or what shall a person give in exchange for their soul?
CHRIST GAVE HIMSELF FOR YOUR SOUL!