An Orthodox friend asked me about my position on cessationism. I told him I had some posts on the other blog, so I will start transferring them here.
Whenever I doubt the truth of presuppositional apologetics, I read discussions where TRs doubt that God’s power gifts continue today. Now, I have no problem with someone coming up with a logical argument that the Spirit’s power isn’t active today. Fair enough. I just think a lot of the conversations are funny.
A note on prophesy: this is one of the most debated terms in the Bible. The problem is that the NT really doesn’t give a neat usage of the term. Older Puritan writers often equated it with Preaching, in which case the gift obviously continues today. Most people, cessationist or otherwise, see that usage won’t stand up to five minutes of Scrutiny. Even worse, some say it is the Spirit applying the truths (timeless, of course; not messy historical contingencies) to day-to-day situations. In that case, everyone of God’s children should prophesy. But that seems inadequate and ignores almost all of the NT texts.
A quick rejoinder: But prophesy doesn’t always mean telling the future. Sure. But that did happen.
But God’s word meant the death penalty if your prophesy didn’t come true. Okay, I’ll grant that for the moment (though I think you can find examples in the OT where godly men were less than 100% accurate and they didn’t die). But even with that terrifying injunction, you really don’t see NT believers afraid to prophesy. That’s just the plain truth of the matter. In fact–and it’s funny that the most rabid anti-theonomists become theonomists on this point–Paul urges all to prophesy. I doubt the conversation went like this:
Paul: Pursue all gifts, especially that you may prophesy, but be careful because if you are less than 100% accurate I am going to kill you.
Anyway, to the conversation.
Cessationist: Show me one example of a Reformed Christian believing continuation of gifts continue.
Continuationist: (insert example of Richard Cameron and Donald Cargill prophesying/speaking the truth)
Cessationist: Yeah, well that doesn’t count.
Translation: you have your facts and I have my theory. Too bad for your facts.
Why continue the conversation?