- It respects the biblical miracles. Cessationists refuse to take our questionable experiences and import these back into biblical text. For someone to just 'speak out' in the faith that God the Spirit will give the words, and then to equate that inane babbling to the biblical gift of languages discredits the biblical testimony to the veracity of the gifts. To take Benny Hinn's 'healing' of someone's sore back and equate that to the works of power in the NT, is to tar the apostolic testimony with the same dodgy brush that Benny uses (presumably that same dodgy brush he uses to achieve his massive comb over - now that is miraculous). The world looks on at our dodgy claims and loses respect for the authenticity of the biblical miracles. If Christians are quick to believe a Todd Bentley, why should the world take seriously our belief in Christ?
- It keeps one looking outside of one's self. Many in the church struggle with depression. They need led out of the maze of emotional entanglement. To ask a depressive person, "What is God saying to you?" and then expect them to respond with some personal 'word', only contributes to keeping that person locked in the maze. To be told that Christ is outside of one's self, that his word is objective and that interpreting providence is impossible, is to offer a cool drink of soul-satisfying water to the saint with emotional imbalance. So therefore,
- It saves one from trying to interpret providence. The question 'What is God saying to you?' betrays the attitude that God's word to the Christian is not supremely embodied in Scripture but must be sought by trying to interpret what God is 'saying' through life's events. As R. Scott Clark said in Recovering the Reformed Confession, the proper response to the question, 'What is God saying to you?' should be a relaying of the contents of last Sunday's sermon, or a description of the significance of baptism or the Lord's Supper. Anything else is a dead end and a detraction from Christ.
- It respects the Reformed doctrine of a liberated conscience. If we are to assume the continuing validity of revelatory gifts, then surely my conscience will become enslaved to whatever God told you? For instance, I remember one time listening to a sermon by Charismatic preacher David Pawson. He spoke of the value in 'interrogatory prayer'. During a time of such prayer, he asked God "What do you hate?" God responded to Pawson "Christmas". As a result, Pawson abandoned celebrating Christmas. Now if this is a true revelation, then why is it not binding on all Christians? If God has revealed his hatred for Christmas (to Pawson) then we are all obligated to follow Pawson's example are we not? No no no. This refusal to celebrate Christmas could be put down to a weak conscience (as per Romans 14), but not to the voice of God. If we are to have truly gospel strengthened consciences, then it is imperative that we bin this 'God told me' piety for a mind made strong by God's word.
Saturday, 4 July 2009
A Little Cessationism is Good for the Soul Part 3
Cessationism is good for the soul. Why? Well I gats some more reasons: