Do you follow Cessationism?
For those who do not know, Cessationism believes the gifts and manifestations of the Holy Spirit ceased with the death of the twelve Apostles. God no longer speaks to His people, and therefore what is known as Sola Scriptura (Latin: by scripture alone), is the only means by which we can “hear” from God or know what He is saying to us. There is no longer communion with God in prayer which affords us the ability to hear His voice. There is no longer healing, miracles, tongues, or any other manifestations. All of those things have officially ceased, hence the term “cessationism”. Cessationists also claim that experience has no validity in the life of a believer. If that is true, Church history is essentially worthless, and the testimony of believers who are living witnesses for the Lord Jesus Christ, have no legitimacy.
Those who abide in the cessationist camp are extreme. Those who believe in Cessationism are called “Cessationists”.
Sola Scriptura, however, deserves further explanation. Sola Scriptura does have validity when properly understood and practiced, going hand-in-hand with the Berean approach (which we teach). In the broader definition, Sola Scriptura is the belief that scripture is the final authority on all spiritual matters pertaining to doctrine and theology by which we test, approve, and measure absolute truth. Sola Scriptura, therefore, is practiced among most Christian denominations — Cessationist or not. And although God still speaks to His people clearly (rhema), even the Apostles instructed us to test and approve all things, and to rightly divide the word of truth (logos). No rhema word spoken by God will transgress the scriptures (logos), but rather affirm them. The scriptures, therefore, are considered the final and inerrant authority by which all believers are to live and abide — being entirely sufficient, even if God should remain silent on a matter. If ever a word is in question, the scriptures become the sieve which will sift and settle all accounts. God cannot lie, and therefore every word God speaks has equal absolution — whether rhema (spoken) or logos (written). The key is knowing how to test and approve His Word according to biblical exegesis.
With that said, scripture clearly refutes and debunks the proposed theology of Cessationism time after time on numerous points, both in Old and New Covenant. There are a plethora of holes to fill in the Cessationist doctrine and theology — biblical, historical, and logical. It is biblically refuted by the fact alone that God does not — and will never change. And as if that is not enough, Cessationsim is also proven false by the legitimacy of the work of the Holy Spirit in the Church and in the lives of individual believers throughout Church history. If what Cessationists say is true, the world we live in today would be very different indeed.
Important points worth noting are with regard to believers in the global populous who do not have a written language, a Bible, or who are illiterate. How do they hear from God without the scriptures? According to Cessationists — they don’t. They would be excluded from the Gospel, although they have a professing faith. Yet the witness of Jesus Christ, even in the most remote areas of the world, is something much different. There are thriving churches that do exploits for God by the power of His Holy Spirit. There are Christians who live extraordinary and powerful lives — even miraculous lives — that would put most of us in the Western world to shame.
Cessationism, according to its most base theology, sadly makes God powerless. He is no longer the God of the Bible. In fact, He’s not God at all. By scriptural standards, He’s unrecognizable. He is deaf, dumb, and mute. He is powerless — and He has made His people powerless as well. On the contrary, some of the most powerful Christians in the world today have never read or seen a Bible. They know nothing of scripture. All they know is the indwelling presence of Jesus Christ and the abiding power of His Spirit. They know the voice of God by His Spirit who is resident within them. And they do great exploits for Him. Miracles abound in these remote areas where believers are persecuted unto death. They live, being hard-pressed into a faith by which they have an intimacy with Jesus Christ that would embarrass most of the western civilized Church.
Because Cessationists believe God no longer speaks, they are absolved of weighing any rhema word. Because they believe personal experience is illegitimate, they are absolved of any witness for Jesus Christ. When examining the cessationist doctrine and theology closely, one can clearly see that it’s fueled by fear, and embedded in ignorance. It’s much easier to say “God does not speak” than to learn how to hear His voice and obey Him. It’s much easier to say “my experience is not valid” than to be a living witness for Jesus Christ — and remain accountable for a living faith that actually produces fruit.
Case and point: Jesus Christ does not change. His word is true: He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And if the Church is going to fulfill the Great Commission as He commanded, the Spirit of God must be manifest in His fullness, fully operative within believers. The Apostles demonstrated that for all who would believe on Jesus Christ and follow Him.
In closing, we believe in, and embrace, the fullness of the Holy Spirit. We believe every true disciple of Jesus Christ can and should walk in the power and authority of the Holy Spirit as Jesus Christ taught, instructed, and demonstrated. That power and authority is one we are to wholly submit toward — living a life of humility, love, servanthood, obedience, and sanctification.
Paul taught that the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. It is my hope that you now understand why. In the absence of God’s written Word, the Spirit of God is wholly sufficient for all who would believe, obey, and follow Jesus Christ. That is the power of the Gospel. It transcends all racial, socio-economic, and even linguistic boundaries. It is for everyone who would believe — every tribe, nation, and tongue. Even for those without the written (logos) Word of God.
Nothing has ceased. Of this, you can be absolutely sure. Anyone who truly knows Jesus Christ is living proof of that.