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Cessation and Continuation

Dave Black posted some notes on the difference between being a cessationist and a continualist (his term). I agree with his comments.

Most commonly when we talk about “cessationism” we are talking about the gifts of the Spirit. Do these gifts, particularly the more spectacular of them, continue to operate in the church today? (I know that people divide these gifts differently, but in general, the question winds up whether the more spectacular of them, however, grouped, continue.)

The fruit of the Spirit is much less controversial on paper, but do we show the evidence of the Spirit working in our churches? I maintain that the sign of the Spirit’s work that Paul was looking for in 1 Corinthians 12-14 was not the gifts, but rather the one Spirit under which those gifts operated. The gifts of the Spirit put some power behind the fruit of the Spirit, but without the fruit, they are not a sign of the functioning of God’s Spirit.

In my experience, when people are looking for a gift of the Spirit they’re not that interested in gifts of helping or administration. What they want is miracles or prophecy. That is quite often a sign of a very wrong spirit, a spirit that seeks to dominate and stand out rather than to serve.

So I like Dave’s list of things that need to continue. How many continue in your church? In your life? In mine?

It leads one to pray, no?

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