Cessation vs Continuation

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.

1 Corinthians 13:8-10

On Tuesdays and Saturdays are talking about ‘spiritual gifts.’ In fact, we are talking about a subset of spiritual gifts. Tongues, prophecy, healing, miracles and so on. An area of fascination for some and confusion for others.

To frame this conversation, it’s worth knowing that there are, generally speaking, two Christian camps. The ‘Cessationist Camp’ who believe that many of these gifts have “ceased” to be given by the Spirit. And a ‘Continuationist Camp’ who believe that all gifts of the Spirit “continue.”

Now, it’s worth knowing that there is no definitive passage that clearly supports either position. And that both faithful Cessationists and Continuationists argue from the Scriptures rather than from personal experiences.

On the one hand, Cessations see in Ephesians 2:20 that the foundation of the Scriptures has finished and therefore there is no longer need for prophecy. We have what we need for trusting and following Jesus in the Scriptures (unlike the first wave of Christians and churches).

On the other, Continuationists say that there is nothing in the Bible that clearly states that these gifts have ceased. Therefore we should assume that they continue and they point to 1 Corinthians 12-14 as evidence.

For me, I do think something has changed since the time of the Apostles. I don’t think we should expect prophecy, tongues or miracles like what we see in the gospels or Acts. Neither should we chase after them. Never forget, it’s not seeing a miracle that saves people. It’s hearing the gospel. Paul himself says,

Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

Having said that, I don’t think every gift has ceased. But that’s enough for now. More on Tuesday.

For Today:
  • Have you ever heard of Cessationist or Continuationist before?
  • Do you think these gifts have ceased or continued?
  • Do you think we should chase after these gifts? Why or why not?

Pray: Praise the Father that He is the supernatural God of power. Give thanks for Jesus Christ who gives gifts to His people. Ask God for His Holy Spirit to help you and others discern wisely when it comes to spiritual gifts.

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