In anticipation of the upcoming debate(s) over cessationism in this coming week, which will be taking place at Pyro, Warny, maybe Chally, and other places in the blogosphere, I have posted my position as of right now.
As this has been an interest of mine I have studied somewhat on the issue and I have come to several different conclusions. These are posted below. But here's what I am hoping will happen this week. I'm hoping that someone will show clear Biblical evidence for cessationism. Because if not, then I cannot rely on history and philosophy to shape my thinking.
While I do accept philosophy and history as important guides, if there is no Biblical evidence in the first place for a position, I will not accept history and philosophy on their own.
I am not a cessationist. Here's why.
I believe that the spiritual gifts were given to the church for the spiritual growth of the church.
I do not believe the spiritual gifts were given for supporting ministry.
I do not believe the Bible states that any of the gifts would cease until the return of Christ.
I believe that 'Pentacostalism' (general term referring to all non-cessationists) has redefined the gifts outside of their scriptural context.
I believe that Wayne Grudem gives a good definition of a spiritual gift: A spiritual gift is any ability that is empowered by the Holy Spirit and used in any ministry of the church. ( Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1994.)
I believe that Grudem misapplies this definition when speaking of the miraculous (sign) gifts. (Prophecy, healing, tongues, etc.)
I believe that Scripture teaches that all of these gifts are beneficial to the church.
I believe that prophecy refers to a work of the Holy Spirit and involves the proclamation of truth as revealed in Scripture.
I believe that healing refers to a work of the Spirit and involves the ability to bestow health when all other means have failed.
I believe that tongues refer to known tongues and involve the ability to accurately proclaim the message of the Gospel in a secondary language by the power of the Spirit.
I believe that interpretation of tongues involves the ability to interpret languages by the power of the Spirit.
I believe that the gift of miracles is a gift by which the Holy Spirit works miraculously in an unmistakable fashion through a gifted person.
I believe that Apostolic ministry continues through the biblical teaching ministry of the local church. The Apostles are gone, but their teaching remains for us in Scripture.
At the end of the week I'll let you know if I've changed my mind.