Deconstructing Cessationism: Part 2

Now I will provide the scriptures that support the continuation of the Holy Spirit’s gifts into modern times. I originally had this material grouped in with a previous post, but I decided to split it up to focus the arguments and improve readability. (For Part 1 on cessationism, click here.)

Scriptures that Support Current Manifestations of the Spirit

Let’s begin with the words of Jesus:

And these signs will accompany those who believe [emphasis added]: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well” (Mark 16:17-18).

Notice Jesus doesn’t say “These signs will accompany my apostles” or “These signs shall follow the Early Church believers.” Anyone reading this scripture would logically conclude that Jesus is referring to all believers–past, present and future. However, my NIV Bible lists a disclaimer with this passage of scripture: it’s not found in earlier manuscripts. So if someone wishes to exclude it from the argument, they can. There are plenty of other relevant passages that aren’t in question, such as this one:  Continue reading

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The Holy Spirit: Deconstructing Cessationism

Today I will address the cessationist view of the Holy Spirit–the claim that the miraculous signs of the Holy Spirit ceased with the death of the apostles and the canonization of the New Testament.

First, we must understand that cessationists, like most other groups, aren’t completely unified. This website and others outline four basic types of cessationists according to their theology. However, the overall cessationist view can be summed up as thus: The signs of the Holy Spirit were needed to validate the gospel of Christ and establish the Early Church. Now that Christianity is well established, such signs are not needed.

To be fair, nearly all cessationists stress the vital role of the Holy Spirit today in leading others to Christ and empowering believers to live as good examples of the faith. They accept that the Holy Spirit still moves among us, just not in miraculous signs performed by individuals. A few radical cessationists, however, go as far as to claim that any signs manifesting today are demonic and should be rejected at all costs. It’s this latter view that I wish to counter most strongly.

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