Saturday, 4 July 2009

A Little Cessationism is Good for the Soul Part 2

Cessationism is good for the soul. It is not a mere belief that the miraculous gifts of the NT gradually ceased after the close of the cannon. It girds a whole approach to piety. I got some more reasons why it's good:
  1. It guards the church from wackos. Why is it that charismatic gifts seem to attract Christians who seem about as balanced as a Labrador puppy on Viagra? For every godly charismatic Wayne Grudem-type, there are ten Paul Cain's who are surrounded with craziness and questions over their moral integrity. Even the most sensible continuists wouldn't distance themselves fully from Todd Bentley until it all went pear shaped. Even the most sensible continuists were popping off to Toronto to fall down laughing like a hyena. Even the most sensible continuists embraced the Kansas City Prophets before they were exposed as wicked men and sexual predators. No, cessationists reject these muppets at first base because of our theology of the work of the Spirit, which in turn helps protect the integrity and purity of the bride of Christ.
  2. It values the integrity of Christian speech. Wayne Grudem's views on NT 2nd order revelation has provided fuel to the fire of nutters ready to jump on the 'fallible prophecy' bandwagon to justify all their erroneous utterances. I remember one of the Kansas City Prophets telling Phillip Jensen that God was going to kill him. He's still here and the 'prophet' has been discredited. During one of Grudem's talks at a Bethlehem Conference for Pastors, he warned against accepting prophecies that predict the future! If the gift is still being given, then you have to ask why? Is it because they are invariably wrong? No, the speech of the Christian should always promote truth. Salt water and fresh water cannot spring from the same well.
  3. It keeps the main thing the main thing. Like it or not, if we are to assume the continuation of prophecy, words of knowledge, etc, then they become de facto the dominating factor in our church gatherings. Despite all the warnings and safeguards put in place by those who practise 'prophecy', the Gospel gets sidelined and the work of Christ becomes a mere stepping stone to experiencing the power of God. Would that be the case if these were genuine works of the Spirit? Perhaps, as in the Corinthian abuse of tongues. Nevertheless, true prophecy in Corinth, I believe, functioned the way that Scripture does in our churches, i.e. to bring the words of God to the congregation. That's why tongues had to be interpreted, otherwise they were a meaningless word from God. Now, post-cannon, we ALREADY have God's words in our hands. Any further prophecies detract from the sufficiency of that word and the Gospel.
There might be a Part 3 if the Lord leads...

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh I forgot to ask. What's a 'little' Cessationism? What's too much? When is Paul's injunction not to forbid tongues exceeded and that commanded violated?

Nick Mackison said...

A 'little' cessationism is just a soundbyte-ish title to the posts. Thought that was obvious.

Tongue's speaking should not be forbidden. Modern babbling which claims to be the gift should.