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.
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., 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
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)
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.