Cessationism are Calvinistic and they believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are no longer active for today. They stifle and limit the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit to ever work in them like healing someone or actually speaking in a different tongue to preach the gospel to someone who doesn’t know your language.
Where I Personally Stand On The Issue To Show That I Take Neither Side As They Teach It
I am not a Pentecostal nor am I a Reformer (Calvinist). I believe that you cannot lose your salvation but through the transformation of the Holy Spirit living inside of you by conversion, you will live a life of holiness, not perfect but will strive to please God through repentance when at times you come short through sin. I believe that you have to choose Jesus through faith to be saved. Salvation is not by works but by faith in what Jesus did for us on the cross and afterward rose on the third day.
As you can see, I don’t swing in one camp or the other when it comes to some of their biblical doctrines. Some things that the Pentecostal teaches I believe it is biblical but others are not like losing your salvation. The same with Calvinism. Some things that they teach are biblical and others are not like salvation happens before you believe in Jesus which frankly is really bad theology.
I believe what the Scriptures plainly teach about both issues mentioned in the header of this post. Both views are unbiblical because they go way off the pages of the Bible. I will do my best to show the difference and what the Bible actually teaches.
The Gifts Of The Holy Spirit
Have the gifts of the Holy Spirit which are given to the saints ceased? Does the Holy Spirit speak to the believers today as He did in Acts? Or, after the completion of the canon (the whole Bible) made the Holy Spirit quiet?
First off, what are the gifts of the Holy Spirit which are given to all the saints for building up the church? It is found in two places.
- Gives (financially)
- Shows Mercy
- Word of Wisdom
- Word of Knowledge
- Faith (having strong faith)
- Gifts of Healing
- Effecting of Miracles
- Distinguishing of Spirits
- Various kinds of Tongues
- Interpretation of Tongues
In 1 Peter 4, these gifts are only to bring glory to Jesus Christ and not the one who is being used by the Holy Spirit. If praises comes to you, exalting you in any way, you must quickly correct them by telling them to point their praises to Jesus Christ.
Whoever speaks is to do so as one who is speaking actual words of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. -1 Peter 4:11
Where Did The beliefs Of Cessationism And Pentecostalism (continuationism of the gifts) Come From?
Saying that, do we posses the gifts of the Holy Spirit as mentioned in the list above? The short answer is yes.
John Calvin is the one who came up with the view of Cessationism.
Charles Fox Parham wasn’t happy with the traditional churches of his time which “needed to be revived by another outpouring of the Holy Spirit. He instructed his students—many of whom already were ministers—to pray, fast, study the Scriptures, and, like the Apostles, await the blessings of the Holy Spirit” (britannica.com/topic/Pentecostalism)
Pentecostalism started in the early 1900s. They teach that speaking in tongues, a foreign language, gave clear evidence that the person was now baptized with the Holy Spirit.
John Calvin and Charles Parham are two extreme cases which both men stray in opposite directions from biblical sound doctrine. How fortunate we are that we hold in our hands the Word of God that keeps us from being deceived. How easy it is to know what is sound from what is not. Whenever a person comes up with a teaching that sounds weird, compare it with the Scriptures and if it contradicts it or it isn’t found in God’s Word, just reject that erroneous teaching.
Now, getting back to the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I just wanted to give you guys a quick glimpse of where these teachings of Cessationism and the baptism of the Holy Spirit came from.
The gifts that the Cessationists mostly reject are: Speaking in tongues—must be a real language not gibberish—healing, and prophecy.
There is not one verse in the whole New Testament that says after the completion of the canon the gifts will end. The Scripture has to be our final authority.
Were The Gifts Only For The 1st Century Believers?
No one can have the workings (miracles and wonders) of the apostles, those who saw Jesus and walked with Him on earth. The extraordinary wonders and miracles that the apostles did were signs that they indeed walked with the Son of God and was sent out by Him to preach the gospel.
The distinguishing marks of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs, wonders, and miracles. -2 Corinthians 12:12
To be called an Apostle like the 12, you have to have been with Jesus, involved in His earthy ministry that lasted 3 years.
21 Therefore it is necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us— 22 beginning with the baptism of John until the day that He was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection. -Acts 1:21-22
The type of miracles and wonders that the Apostle did was only for them to do not for us.
Cessationism is a false doctrine. The Holy Spirit is still much involved with the church as He was at the beginning. Nowhere in the Scriptures does it shows otherwise. The gifts of healing, speaking in different languages, prophecy and etc, cannot be performed whenever we want. Not every believer has the same gifts.
All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? -1 Corinthians 12:30
It is the Holy Spirit who will use you with the gifts that have been given to you for the glory of Christ Jesus when He and He alone deems to do so. It is not commonly seen—being rare, nonetheless it is still active in believers today.
A Warning On The End Time False Prophets
The Scriptures give a serious warning that in the last days, many false prophets will arise with false wonders to deceive everyone. I believe that we are witnessing it today. The Charismatic movement is full of false prophets that when they speak in tongues, it sounds like gibberish and not a real language. They claim to perform miracles which is never proven and teach unbiblical doctrines. The Pentecostal movement has become a magnet for false teachers and prophets. Not everyone in that movement is a false Christian. I believe that their false prophets will play the big role of the end times false prophets mentioned in Mark 13.
For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and will perform signs and wonders to lead astray, if possible, the elect. -Mark 13:22
All Scripture quotation was taken from NASB