Cessationism versus continuationism
1 Corinthians 13:8 Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. 9 For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 10 but when the complete comes the partial will come to an end.
Meditating on these verses, it was laid in my heart that truly ‘Love never ends because God is love and God has no ending and we are encouraged to love every one of us because in it lies the anchor of every godliness. But not every one of us is given the gift of prophecy and tongue, each with a diverse gift.
Prophecies, tongues and other spiritual gifts end here on earth and are for the building up and edification of the church but love transcended beyond the scope of the church, to the circular world and to eternity. In Matthew 5:44 ‘But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,’ your enemies include those outside the household of God.
Arguably! The church cannot operate and function without all the gifts of the Holy Spirit. At every stage and level, the church ought to be continuously equipped and edified; if not the enemy will feed on God’s children. When we play down on these gifts and fail to use it or compel people not to use their gifts in our congregations, it reduces the power of the church and limits the ministry of the Holy Spirit which is the driving force of every church resulting in a powerless congregation.
You can say the Word, of course the Word! But can you teach the Word without the gift of teaching or pastoring? Don’t accept one and reject the other, for all the gifts are from one Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.
There’s no way God will withdraw some of these gifts while we are still on earth “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. Luke 24:49. You may want to talk about “context” of the Scripture; this promise was for the apostles and for a time, and purpose and by no means does it extend to us. Jesus prayed in John 17:20-23
20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23 “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”
Any Church without these gifts, every one of it cannot stand. That you don’t have it doesn’t mean it’s obsolete and with all due respect, do not argue what you do not understand.
Secondly, do not condemn it totally because some people abuse it, there are still godly people with these gifts bearing witness for Christ: God chooses to when the need arises. It’s clear when you say there’s no Apostle alive, of course the 12 Apostles and Paul have long gone to be with the Lord but has the Apostolic auction ceased? It’s like saying that the ministry of the Holy Spirit has ended.
‘Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues’ 1 Corinthians 14:39. If they have ceased, then why are we encouraged to strive for it? It’s deception! God forbid.
While we are still on earth we are like children, we don’t know what will be set before us when He will be revealed to us (when the perfection comes.)
‘Now faith, hope and love abides’ these are futuristic they abides forever: Faith in God, hope in Jesus’ return and establishment of the new heaven and the new earth for His love for us. These abides even after Jesus is revealed in His glory.
Conclusion: when I discuss with a ‘cessationist,’ I advise not to be extreme about it but let us continue as one fold in Christ. Some of these are the devices of the enemy to plant disunity in the body of Christ.
And I also point people to 2 Peter 3:15-17. Let us not be carried away with the error of the lawless and lose our own stability. The Bible is the Word of God. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you. For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6.
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Tony Francis is from the Middle East. He is grounded in the scriptures and has a licensed degree in biblical studies from MTI, the school of ministry, and a certificate in EPL (effective personal leadership) from LMI. He has authored many books and is the founder of Healed Nations Ministries (www.healednations.com). Tony mentors people in the prophetic and served as the prophetic leader of Patricia King’s ministries. Tony is studying to be a mental health coach.
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