The Doctrine of the    Holy Spirit  The Cessationist debate
Intro: initial points to          clarify• The issue is NOT:  – Whether God is able to work miracles today    (e.g., someo...
Comparison of views Cessationist vs Non-cessationist• 1. The event of    • You can accept this  Pentecost is a       & sti...
Cessationist vs Non-cessationist• 2. Luke tends to          • (a) Miracles were done  connect signs &             by other...
Cessationist vs Non-cessationist• 3. Other NT texts      • Gal 3:5 assumes  also associate signs     God is working  & won...
Cessationist vs Non-cessationist• 4a. Argument from    • Argument only  the closing of the     works if you  canon.       ...
Cessationist vs Non-cessationist• 4b. There are  problems with the  view that accepts  “errant prophecy”  in the NT:  – (1...
Cessationist vs Non-cessationist• 4b (cont’d)  – (2) Eph 2:20 says    the church is built                          • Grude...
Cessationist vs Non-cessationist• 5. There is          • (a) We don’t have a  discontinuity          lot of information  b...
Cessationist vs Non-cessationist• 6. James 5: 14f       • It’s an argument  gives indirect          from silence and  conf...
Cessationist vs Non-cessationist• 7. Just because the       • (a) the NT does  NT does NOT say that        present the  th...
Mediating view: “Open but    cautious” (Saucy)• Times of continuous miracles are  associated with key periods…  – Moses & ...
Open but cautious• There is the tendency in the NT that  miraculous activity is associated with  either the apostles or th...
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A comparison of the different viewpoints on the continuation of the sign gifts.

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  • Point #1 is emphasized because there are those who do argue that Pentecost is a kind of model for what continually happens in the church. Williams, Renewal Theology , 2: 184, “Unlike the coming of Christ in the Incarnation, which was a once-for-all-event, the coming of the HS would occur an unlimited number of times.”
  • In brief – though we will review this later on, the qualifications are: (a) having seen Jesus after the resurrection with one’s own eyes (Acts 1: 22) and (b) having been commissioned by Christ as his apostle.
  • 1. On Moses & the exodus, the terms “signs & wonders” are often associated with these events surrounding the Exodus – Deut 4: 34; 6:22; 7:19; 26:8; 29:3; Neh 9:10; Ps 78:43; 105: 27; 135: 9.
  • 1) Saucy points out the following: (a) Acts 5: 12-16 (also 9: 36-42), we note people are bringing the sick to the apostles; (b) Yes, Stephen & Phillip were not designated as apostles but their ministry was significant enough that it could be called “prophetic.” On the second point- after the close of the NT.
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    1. 1. The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit The Cessationist debate
    2. 2. Intro: initial points to clarify• The issue is NOT: – Whether God is able to work miracles today (e.g., someone healed in response to prayer) – Whether the gifts as a whole have ceased. – Whether God performed signs & wonders in the 1st century church.• The issue is about… – whether the sign gifts are for today or not. – Sign gifts: tongues, prophecy, miracles, healings
    3. 3. Comparison of views Cessationist vs Non-cessationist• 1. The event of • You can accept this Pentecost is a & still argue that unique & non- the sign gifts repeatable event continue today. (Gaffin)
    4. 4. Cessationist vs Non-cessationist• 2. Luke tends to • (a) Miracles were done connect signs & by others who were wonders with the not apostles: special ministry of the – Acts 6:8, “And apostles: Stephen…was – Acts 2:43 performing great wonders and signs – Acts 5: 12 among the people” – Acts 14:3 – Acts 8: 6-7 – Acts 15: 12 • (b) 1 Cor 12: 28 lists “apostles” + workers of miracles.
    5. 5. Cessationist vs Non-cessationist• 3. Other NT texts • Gal 3:5 assumes also associate signs God is working & wonders with the miracles among ministry of the them. apostles. • 1 Cor 12: 28, lists – 2 Cor 12: 12 “workers of – Heb 2: 3-4 miracles” as one of the gifts.
    6. 6. Cessationist vs Non-cessationist• 4a. Argument from • Argument only the closing of the works if you canon. assume NT – The NT canon is prophecy has the closed. same level of – No more authority as OT authoritative prophecy. prophetic words
    7. 7. Cessationist vs Non-cessationist• 4b. There are problems with the view that accepts “errant prophecy” in the NT: – (1) a pragmatic problem: if such • Prophecy needs to prophecy is mixed be evaluated just with error, then it gives the recipient as teaching needs little confidence. to be evaluated.
    8. 8. Cessationist vs Non-cessationist• 4b (cont’d) – (2) Eph 2:20 says the church is built • Grudem: the case on the foundation can be made that of “apostles and this refers to one prophets” but this group – “apostles – creates a problem prophets” if prophecy is mixed with error.
    9. 9. Cessationist vs Non-cessationist• 5. There is • (a) We don’t have a discontinuity lot of information between the sign about how such gifts as practiced gifts were in the NT and how practiced in the they are practiced early Church. today. • (b) Even if less powerful/intense they would still be legitimate.
    10. 10. Cessationist vs Non-cessationist• 6. James 5: 14f • It’s an argument gives indirect from silence and confirmation that such arguments are at least some of not very strong. the sign gifts were not associated with the apostles.
    11. 11. Cessationist vs Non-cessationist• 7. Just because the • (a) the NT does NT does NOT say that present the the sign gifts have qualifications of an ceased is not enough apostle & based on to argue that they this we know there continue because the are no longer any NT does not explicitly authoritative apostles. say that “apostles” • (b) The NT assumes have ceased but we the gifts will continue believe there are no until the coming of longer any Christ (I Cor 13). authoritative apostles.
    12. 12. Mediating view: “Open but cautious” (Saucy)• Times of continuous miracles are associated with key periods… – Moses & the Exodus – Elijah & Elisha – Christ & the apostles• Purpose of such “signs” were to foster belief & confirm the message – Cf. Ex 4:5; 1 Ki 17:24; 18:36; Lk 7:22; Acts 2:22)
    13. 13. Open but cautious• There is the tendency in the NT that miraculous activity is associated with either the apostles or those close to them (see above for texts)• Saucy: the quality & extent of miracles associated with Christ & the apostles is less in the later history of the church.

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