Cessationism vs. Continuationism

I've been struggling/wrestling with this issue, give the stuff at my church plus a few of the blogs I read on a regular basis. It's going to take me a while to get through this. I welcome input and I think I'm going to keep everything in this one post, so that it's in one place. That means I'll have to try to update the date 😉

I've got
- "To be Continued?" by Samuel Waldron
- "Keep in Step With the Spirit" by J.I.Packer
- "Wind & Fire" (Ten sermons by C.H.Spurgeon)
- and articles found here.

I guess the short story is that I've experienced what some would call "prophetic words"; others would call them coincidence. I grew up with one of my mom's favorite hymn being "In the Garden"...you know..."and He walks with me and He talks with me...".

Does He? I know He walks with me...but does He talk with me?

Cessationists say, "NO!" Prayer is one-way communication.

Continued later...

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20 thoughts on “Cessationism vs. Continuationism

  1. Milly

    He walks with me he talks with me, He yells, and He whispers to me. I have a story about how He spoke to me. Let's just say I took a while to follow His orders. I'm thankful He gave me time to get out of my whale.

  2. Here's the problem, Milly:

    I'm not a prophet, I don't speak or write canon and I'm not sure that anybody can prove (Biblically) that God speaks today to us the way that He spoke to the prophets.

    Please, if you can, I'd love to put this issue to rest.

  3. MIlly

    I am not a prophet, I do think he speaks to us I think it's different then He did for prophets. I only know my story. Several years ago I heard "Go see him he is going to die." Being me I thought if I don't go he won't die. Being God He kept telling me to go. Then he died, one of my favorite uncles died, they brought him back and I rushed to the hospital. My last words to him were I love you some much. His to me were I love you ******(The nick name he gave me)

    See God told me to go. It was like yelling at times and yet a whisper. It reminded me of the book Old Turtle.It rumbled loudly, like thunder. And whispered softly, like butterfly sneezes.

    I think He speaks to all of us in different ways sometimes it comes from our children sometimes strangers. And at times He speaks directly to us.

    The day my mother passed away I was franticly trying to get to my father and her. At one point I felt her hand on my face I stopped the car calmed down and drove on knowing that it was now to late she had said goodbye.

    I'm not the best at knowing the ins and outs of the Bible I just honestly believe that God is whispering things to us as we need them. Think about how many times you've made the wrong turn only to find the other way had a danger ahead. If I had gone through an intersection seconds faster at least two people would have been killed instead of my bumper. The little voice told me to go the other way then it said slow down when I went that way.

    It has to be God talking to us.

    Has he never given me the "go out and change the world" speach? No.

    I have told my story about my uncle to someone who called an ill uncle and spent time with him before he died.

    Non of that makes me a prophet. Just a neice and a daughter who loved them.

    I think some would like to think they can call themselves prophet in order to make a buck.

    I hope that I haven't rambled on too much.

  4. Milly, my story would tell people the same thing yours does.

    What I am grappling with is:
    what is more important, experience or Scripture.

    If I hold to Sola Scriptura and if Scripture tells me that God does not speak directly (meaning a personal "word of wisdom"), I have to rethink what I believe to be truth.

  5. I think if a person believes God has "spoken" to him/her, the first thing that person must do is determine if it is consistent with the Bible. Obviously, God is not going to tell us to do anything that goes against scripture.

    I am not reall sure where I stand on this issue, but I find it hard to believe that God stopped speaking to anyone with the close of the New Testament.

    Let me pose this question. If God doesn't "speak" to us, then what is the purpose of the Holy Spirit in the world today? Doesn't the Bible say that He would lead us and guide us into all truth?

    Which specific verses were you referring to that say that God doesn't talk to his people anymore?

  6. It's not so much a particular verse that God doesn't talk - it's the many, many verses that describe how God does communicate.

    Read this article and I think you'll see where I'm having a hard time debunking it.

    I'm at the peaceful point where I believe that God has always managed to communicate with me, whether it's through conviction, Scripture or whatever Biblical means He's used.

    And He'll continue to do so.

  7. Cessationists don't believe that prayer is a one-way conversation. They tend to believe that God can speak to us through inward urgings, and they certainly believe God can speak to us through leading us to scriptures or through leading others to say certain things to us. It's just that they don't call such things prophecy. Some cessationists believe the gift of prophecy didn't cease but equate it with the gift of preaching. Others think it has ceased but then take what many consider to be the gift of prophecy to be something else.

    On the other hand, many non-cessationists insist that the gift of prophecy in the NT is not like the gift of prophecy in the OT. In the OT, prophecy had to be 100% accurate, or someone was not a true prophet. In the NT, there seem to be examples where God leads someone to say something and the person goes beyond what God led them to say. Wayne Grudem and D.A. Carson are two examples of non-cessationists who take prophecy to be fallible in the NT. So they would agree with those who say that nothing like the infallible OT prophecy exists today, but they're not cessationists. They believe the gift of tongues, the gift of prophecy, miraculous gifts of healing, and so on all exist today.

  8. Jeremy, thanks for stopping by!

    this is the set of articles that threw me.

    In part 4, the auther says, "New Testament prayers are the communication of the heart and mind of the believer to the Lord. They are not two-way communication. This concept is totally foreign to the New Testament.

    In "To Be Continued?", Sam Waldron makes what appears to be a solid Biblical case for the cessation of "miraculous gifts".

  9. Anonymous

    Lets suppose you have received prophetic words of some kind.

    Lets say further, that you are going to take up an action on the basis of these words.

    My recc: Dont. That is dont pursue that action unless its also something that you can justify via Scripture. God's primary way of talking to you is via the Bible.

    There are several people out there who have had prophetic words, and acted on them... and have had a collapse, and futher dissillusionment.

    I have a friend who said that he experienced some prophetic words that so and so would be his wife. He told so and so. They started dating... within a year their marraige collapsed.

    Everything has to cohere... Scriptural principles, reason based on scriptures, wisdom from the wise... and prophecy (if its still valid today). Other wise it is bum.

    People do similar things with providential happenings in their life. They overinterpret or misinterpret the things going on in their life, and then get burned... badly. I speak from personal experience. Sorry to say.

  10. Anonymous, I'm not even talking about "words", the total cessationists that I have read seem to be saying that there is nothing outside of Scripture, the Holy Spirit shows us where in the Bible.

  11. Milly

    What is more important, experience or Scripture?

    Both are important if used correctly. I can take an experience as was described by anonymous and twist it into something. Marriage is hard it takes a lot of work with out scripture in it it fails. With out experience it fails. Most marriages have something that shakes its foundation God holds it togeather through His words and how we have lived.

    I don't know that we are to know everything. Doesn't it say in the Bible even if He explained it to us we wouldn't understand?

    I honestly believe He speaks to us. I also believe we hear what we want to hear at times. I also believe that the evil one speaks to us when we listen. We have to learn to live in Gods words.

  12. Milly, there's I'm going to be updating this post with an answer to your comment. I'm getting so that I can argue both sides pretty well...

  13. Ellen,

    When I say he still "speaks" I think I am mostly referring to that inward conviction more than actually "hearing" specific words. I have never experienced that. But there are times when I feel absolutely compelled to do something that I otherwise wouldn't do. For example, one day I was in the grocery store and there was an elderly lady in line behind me and I overheard her say something about having to call someone to pick her up. I didn't think much of it and I got in my car and drove away. I didn't even make it a mile when I felt an overwhelming urge to go back and ask her if she needed a ride. I then thought to myself, "I am not going to do that. What if she thinks I am crazy?" So, I kept driving. But, the feeling kept getting more intense until I had to turn around and go back. When I went back she was still there waiting and I offered her a ride. She was very thankful and told me that she had been dropped off by a relative and didn't know how she was going to get home because often she would have to wait for long periods of time until she could find someone to come and get her. She said that sometimes she even had to walk.

    Another experience I had involved God dealing with me about something I needed to do and didn't want to do. I couldn't sleep, I cried, I made myself sick and rationalized why I couldn't do this particular thing until finally I prayed for God to give me the strength to do it. After I did, the feeling left me immediately, and I was free from that guilt that I had been carrying.

    These are the kind of ways God speaks to me.

  14. MIlly

    Gina 🙂

    I'm not saying we always get a conversation. I'm glad you were able to help some one and be helped.I know I've heard words real words in a real voice. Others have told me the same thing.

  15. Milly,

    I am not implying that I don't believe you at all. I am just saying that I haven't experienced it in that particular way.

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