- Cessationism guards the soul from fleshy piety. Far from removing a person from the vivifying activities of God the Spirit, cessationism merely rejects the modern desperation to experience Pentecost by parodying the gifts. I recently downloaded this talk by Terry Virgo, UK Charismatic leader extraordinaire, on how to be baptised in the Holy Spirit! He kind of hooks you in by describing wonderful experiences of the Spirit in Acts (ch 2, 8, 10, 19). He then makes the startling admission that he prayed for 'the baptism' to no avail until he realised that 'God wouldn't speak in tongues FOR him'. As a result he spoke out in faith, believing that God would give the words. In other words, nothing happened until Terry started aping the gift. Remarkable.
- Cessationism makes room for genuine works of the Spirit. If we are able to spot and reject the counterfeit, then we are able to appreciate true works of God the Spirit, i.e. his power in mortification of sin, his flooding the soul with 'joy unspeakable', his growing fruit in the lives of Christians, his power in sharing the gospel.
- Cessationism saves us from subjective tyranny. Christians too often lie awake at night in a sweat worrying about what God is saying to them in their hearts/heads while ignoring what he is shouting at them in Scripture. Too many Christians are enslaved in every decision they make by hankering after 'feelings of peace' or 'leadings of the Spirit' or 'inward nudges'. This is a piety inherent to our fallen-ness. We believe that our emotions are a hotline to the deity and that if something doesn't 'feel right' then God isn't in it. No no no. We are called to freedom. Freedom to act with sanctified common sense. God wants wise sons and daughters who, through constant practise, learn to distinguish good from evil. He doesn't want retards that he has to yank this way and that through inward leadings. Stand firm then and do not allow yourselves to be burdened again by a yoke of emotional slavery.
Thursday, 2 July 2009
A Little Cessationism is Good for the Soul Part 1
I believe that a firm belief in the cessation of the charismatic gifts is good for the soul. In true Piper style, I've got three reasons: