In this episode of The Theonauts, we discuss the hotly debated theories of Cessasionism vs. Continuationism. Cessationism is the theory that some gifts of the Holy Spirit, namely Prophecy, Tongues, and Healings ceased to be given after the Apostolic era in Scripture. Conversely, Continuationism is the thought that all gifts of the Holy Spirit continue to be active and given to this day.
Have These Spiritual Gifts Ceased?
This is a hotly debated part of theology, with denominations creating schisms within the church because of it to this day. With that in mind, we at The Theonauts look at and argue on both sides of the issue.
Proponents of Cessationism argue that signs and wonders were meant to be a building block for the faith, and worked out by the Apostles and those in close relation to them. They were used to show God given authority of Apostleship, and therefore died out with the Apostles (The book of Acts, 2Cor. 12:12).
Proponents also argue that there is no tangible proof of prophecy or signs and wonders in the modern times; therefore they have ceased to be used. The idea that Old Testament Prophets are different from New Testament prophets is flawed because the proof of a prophet is whether his prophecy is found to be true.
We also discuss the nature and purpose of “Tongues” in scripture, noting that these gifts can be taken out of context when focused on, and used as a distraction from the Gospel instead of a sign of the gospel.
Do These Spiritual Gifts Continue Today?
Proponents of Continuation use biblical texts such as 1 Corinthians 12-14 to show that these gifts are listed among other gifts of the spirit still shown to be alive today, and that there is no biblical text that says they have stopped. They use 1 Cor. 13:8-12 to show that these gifts will not pass away until the Second coming of Christ. They also argue that others (such as Stephen) in the New Testament were able to do signs and wonders besides the Apostles.
With the understanding of both sides and arguments, we as Theonauts still believe that this should not be a dividing factor among Christians. These debates are secondary to our first purpose as the church, which is to love others and point them to the Cross of Christ for Salvation. For further study, check out DesiringGod.org and Pastor John Piper’s sermon entitled “Are Signs and Wonders for Today.” Also go to gospelcoalition.org and check out the two friends (Thomas Schreiner and Sam Storm) who stand opposed to one another on this issue.
- Just in case you wanted it for your LP collection: discogs.com
- Gospel Coalition Blog article: Why I am a Cessationist
- Gospel Coalition Blog article: Why I am a Continuationist
- DesiringGod.org and Pastor John Piper’s sermon Are Signs and Wonders for Today?