Why I’m a Cessationist ( yes it’s longish for a post )

Cessationism is essentially the belief that the spiritual powers given through the laying on of hands by the Apostles ( those specifically hand picked by Jesus himself endowed with power ) to attest and confirm the truth of the gospels until all scripture was revealed to the whole world The two reasons why I’m a Cessationist is that I believe the Bible teaches it and because I believe it’s what is revealed by the world. By that I mean we simply don’t see any evidence from all of mankind showcasing their ability to preform miracles such as instantly healing the sick, raising the dead, being able to pick up venomous snakes and not be harmed or suddenly without training speak in language they don’t know so that foreigners can understand it. No one is able to go into St. Jude’s and in a hour heal a dozen kids of cancer by just placing a hand on them.

I think the first thing to understand is why we’re the powers given in the first place.

Mark 16:15-18
New American Standard Bible
15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 The one who has believed and has been baptized will be saved; but the one who has not believed will be condemned. 17 These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not harm them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

Hebrews 2:1-4
New American Standard Bible
Pay Attention

2 For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. 2 For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every violation and act of disobedience received a just punishment, 3 how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, 4 God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders, and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.

The gifts were given to confirm what the apostles were saying was actually true and from God. We see God doing the same thing throughout the Tanakh with the prophets. They spoke with authority because of the powers they demonstrated along with supporting the previous prophets.

But how did this power of laying on of hands come to be fully manifested by the apostles?

Acts 1:1-8
New American Standard Bible
Introduction

1 The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had given orders by the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom He had chosen. 3 To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of things regarding the kingdom of God. 4 Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized [g]with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

6 So, when they had come together, they began asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time that You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” 7 But He said to them, “It is not for you to know periods of time or appointed times which the Father has set by His own authority; 8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and as far as the remotest part of the earth.”

So prior to accession Jesus told the apostles to wait in Jerusalem for the promised power of the Holy Spirit and they would become his witness to the whole world.

Acts 2:1-4
New American Standard Bible
The Day of Pentecost

2 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly a noise like a violent rushing wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 And tongues that looked like fire appeared to them, distributing themselves, and a tongue rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with different tongues, as the Spirit was giving them the ability to speak out.

The message they spoke out was the gospel and Peter was preaching to the Jews at Pentecost. The power of speaking in tongues was part of what convinced the Jews that Peter was speaking on behalf of God leading them this.

Acts 2:37-41
New American Standard Bible
37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what are we to do?” 38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far away, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” 40 And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on urging them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” 41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.

It’s important to note that the promised gift of the Holy Spirit and the forgiveness of sins in baptism is not the same thing as the power of the Holy Spirit as we will see in the next verses.

Acts 8:4-19
New American Standard Bible
Philip in Samaria

4 Therefore, those who had been scattered went through places preaching the word. 5 Philip went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming the Christ to them. 6 The crowds were paying attention with one mind to what was being said by Philip, as they heard and saw the signs which he was performing. 7 For in the case of many who had unclean spirits, they were coming out of them shouting with a loud voice; and many who had been paralyzed or limped on crutches were healed. 8 So there was much rejoicing in that city.

9 Now a man named Simon had previously been practicing magic in the city and astonishing the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great; 10 and all the people, from small to great, were paying attention to him, saying, “This man is the Power of God that is called Great.” 11 And they were paying attention to him because for a long time he had astounded them with his magic arts. 12 But when they believed Philip as he was preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were being baptized. 13 Now even Simon himself believed; and after being baptized, he continued on with Philip, and as he observed signs and great miracles taking place, he was repeatedly amazed.

14 Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, 15 who came down and prayed for them that they would receive the Holy Spirit. 16 (For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) 17 Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit. 18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give this authority to me as well, so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”

Here we see that the word has now reached the Samaritans. One particular Samaritan was called “ Simon the Wizard “ who preformed miracles as well but not through Yahweh. He saw that Philip the evangelist was preforming miracles as well. It convinced him to repent and be baptized as well so that he would receive the Holy Spirit and the forgiveness of sins. But then the apostles who were not scattered and in Jerusalem heard this and sent some to them to lay their hands on them so that they would receive the power of the Holy Spirit. Simon saw this and offered money to have this ability that only the apostles had which caused him to be rebuked.

We further see a distinction between the power of the Holy Spirit and the indwelling ( gift of the Holy Spirit and forgiveness of sins ) not being related by this verse.

Matthew 7:21-23
New American Standard Bible
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; leave Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

Here we see Jesus refer to people who preformed powers of the Holy Spirit and yet they were lawless ( unrepentant serving sin ) and he did not know them. They were not saved and yet they preformed miracles.

Acts 10:44-48
New American Standard Bible
44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. 45 All the Jewish believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had also been poured out on the Gentiles. 46 For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter responded, 47 “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?” 48 And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days.

Here we see a few things. We see the gospel finally reaching the ends of the earth as it’s taught to the gentiles. Secondly we again see that the power of the Holy Spirit is unrelated to salvation. Before Peter is even finished preaching we see the gentiles speaking in tongues correlating to the visions Peter seen which convinced him that this was of God and so he ordered the gentiles to be baptized for the same reason the Jews were baptized on Pentecost in acts 2. But there are a few more verses that I wanted to show concerning the gospel having rescued the whole world by the apostles who carried out the great commission with power and authority.

Colossians 1:5-6
New American Standard Bible
5 because of the hope reserved for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel 6 which has come to you, JUST AS IN ALL THE WORLD also it is bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth;

Colossians 1:23
New American Standard Bible
23 if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, WHICH WAS PROCLAIMED IN ALL OF CREATION UNDER HEAVEN , and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.

Romans 16:25-26
New American Standard Bible
25 Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, 26 but now has been disclosed, and through the Scriptures of the prophets, in accordance with the commandment of the eternal God, has been MADE KNOWN TO ALL THE NATIONS , leading to obedience of faith;

So we see repeatedly throughout scriptures according to the apostles chosen by Christ that the gospel was made known to all nations by the apostles who demonstrated not only the power of the Holy Spirit but the ability to be the only ones able to lay their hands on others to give them a gift according to the will of the Holy Spirit. As we will also see stated not only in Acts 8 but these following verses.

1 Timothy 4:14
New American Standard Bible
14 Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was granted to you through words of prophecy with the laying on of hands by the council of elders.

This verse makes it sounds like the elders did it but we find out that’s not the case when more in revealed later on.

2 Timothy 1:6
New American Standard Bible
6 For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.

So we know Paul was there with the elders and it was Paul who laid his hands on Timothy to impart a gift.

Acts 19:1-7
New American Standard Bible
Paul in Ephesus

19 Now it happened that while Apollos was in Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples. 2 He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “On the contrary, we have not even heard if there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 Paul said, “John baptized with a baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. 7 There were about twelve men in all.

Here we read of roughly 12 men who were taught about the Holy Spirit and Jesus and after being baptized Paul laid his hands on them and they begin demonstrating the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 1:8-13
New American Standard Bible
8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the world. 9 For God, whom I serve in my spirit in the preaching of the gospel of His Son, is my witness as to how unceasingly I make mention of you, 10 always in my prayers requesting if perhaps now, at last by the will of God, I will succeed in coming to you. 11 For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established; 12 that is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that often I have planned to come to you (and have been prevented so far) so that I may obtain some fruit among you also just as among the rest of the Gentiles.

Here we read that Paul wanted to visit this congregation in order to impart a spiritual gift to them ( through the laying on of hands ) so that they may be able to establish themselves.

So I’m a cessationist not just because I see no evidence of anyone with the power to preform miracles at their will by just laying their hands on someone but also because of what I read in the Bible. The reason why I think this is important, not merely just for the sake of the truth being known, but because many people reject God because they confuse the power of the Holy Spirit imparted through the laying on of the apostles hands for the miracles we see through prayer. They are both miracles but carried out in very different ways with very different purposes. One is to establish the church as Yahweh’s kingdom in earth and the other is the things we often pray for that is according to his will. So while someone may pray for a sick child that prayer may or may not be answered but what we can’t expect is for someone to place their hands on a kid and they are instantly healed. This false expectation generated through bad biblical hermeneutics has resulted in many calling our god a liar and the Bible false.

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We probably both believe in the most important Miracle of all, that of forgiveness

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Thanks for sharing, I will try to go through the Scripture argument in some more detail when I have a bit more time. I happen to hang around a lot of Charismatic Christians and have a few thoughts.

  1. a lot of people believe God is healing other people on a constant basis. They often share stories of divine healing or someone’s condition improving. Those success stories are then shared “virally” so to speak where one person’s anecdote gets shared many more times. I have never traced the chain of transmission but do wonder how much the stories get embellished in that process.
  2. survivorship bias is definitely at play. Any success stories are taken as evidence of God’s handiwork and failures excused away. One common excuse is chalked under the mystery of God’s sovereignty. I think it’s less common today to blame people for their lack of faith or secret sins preventing healing than it may have been in previous decades.
  3. many people do genuinely feel better after “proximal intercessory prayer.” Even if just for a bit due to adrenaline. On rare occasions, some people seem genuinely healed of otherwise debilitating conditions. A friend suggested a psychosomatic illnesses may have been reversed through genuine faith. To her, it wasn’t necessarily that God supernaturally healed them but rather they were naturally healed via processes they believe God designed.
  4. a lot of Charismatic prophecy seems a lot like hot and cold reading tricks that psychics use. I don’t think Christians who use these techniques even realize they are using them, but they are pretty identical.
  5. there are some cases that do appear miraculous beyond that, but I would doubt such miracles occur more often than baseline healing that would be expected without prayer.
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Interesting, thanks for sharing. I assume many hardline YEC are cessationists also, but it’s kind of an interesting position because while it may be “biblically based,” it does require us to look around and actually apply the evidence of what we see and hear to what we read in the Bible. Obviously if the gift of tongues that the apostles had was still around, there would be no need for missionaries to spend years of training in languages just to translate the Bible into one language. And yet there’s nothing explicit in the Bible that says “These gifts have ceased for this particular purpose.” It’s more a case of us having to put two and two together, even though, as you say, that does not mean denying miracles or all manifestations of the Spirit.

But using the Bible as our “authority” in this case does not mean we doggedly hold on to stories in Acts and completely ignore the state of things in the world. For the many times I’ve heard that we need to “start with the Bible” and therefore deny science when it appears to show something different, this seems like a position that is willing to accept both scripture and evidence of the senses.

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We’ve yet to deal with the adult reality that whatever happened in the first couple of waves after the splash of the Incarnation never happens since. I cannot endure services where cold reading from magical thinking is the norm. My cult deconstructed itself from '95 on, over ten years later it was in full communion with the best Ivy League theologians and the superb C. Baxter Kruger, leaving writers like Yancy far behind. One of the Ivy Leaguers, in 2009, told his story of being a young, newly ordained minister, going round healing everyone. This led to him to the home of a still young Roman Catholic mother with several children, dying of cancer. As soon as he got there he realised that he’d been deluded all along. She was ecstatic with anticipation. He confessed and told her that he could not heal her. She flipped and asked rhetorically then what use was God, where was He? The guy desperately, intuitively looked round the room and saw a crucifix on the wall. ‘There.’ he said. It worked. It gave her peace to her dying day a few days later.

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Thanks for putting all of this together. You are very thorough. I need to read through everything later on a different screen, after my eyes have recovered some.

I agree that for these gifts have ceased, although the Lord may perform miracles as He sees fit. They certainly are not of the brand we see coming from “ministries” seeking money or cultic power.

Thanks for boldly bringing up this topic.

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I knew a woman whose son died and she was in so much grief and desperation that even a few days after he was buried she was talking about it at this church she went to and someone from the church, it was in Portland Oregon and was a pretty big church, approached her and said they knew of a real miracle performer in another country and he would email and call her. The guy emailed her videos of supposed resurrections he carried out in Africa and said that he and his team which was something like 4-5 other people could resurrect her son but had to do it in person but don’t have money to come there. So she bought them all round trip tickets and paid for a hotel room and have them this day of dollars for food and stuff. They said she needed to have patience and trust in God and that they needed to be left alone to do prayer warrior work for like a week or something. Then when the day came she got not ect and finally went to see them because she spent like $10-15k total I think band they were obviously gone. Took her ov we s year to come to grips that they played her and was down there on her dollar and was not praying for a week alone but out partying and buying stuff on vacation and went back. I only knew about it because it was a family member of a girl i was with then.

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It should be remembered that the person with a gift does not heal or perform miracles. It is the work of Holy Spirit, no matter who the person is, with or without a gift.

Paul tells in his letter (1 Corinthians 12) that ‘there are varieties of gifts but the same Spirit’. We should not look just on a particular gift like healing as there are different kind of gifts and effects that manifest the glory of God. Holy Spirit gives as He wants so that the believers can strengthen the church and also as signs, to confirm the spoken word (gospel) in a situation where the gospel is spreading to new areas.

My observation is that different kind of gifts and effects, for example healing, are seen more often in places where people are hearing the gospel for the first time. I assume that Holy Spirit confirms the gospel through this kind of signs. Perhaps also the need is greater there.

I am not a cessationist, mainly for two reasons.
I have seen and experienced the miraculous work of God, also healings. It can be debated whether these should be understood as the gifts told in Acts but I believe that the same Spirit is acting. We should not deny the gifts just because we do not see them working in our surroundings. A miracle means something that is exceptional, so miracles do not happen everyday in every place.

The second reason is what is written in the biblical scriptures. I do not see anything telling that Holy Spirit would have stopped acting.
The passages can be interpreted in different ways and the interpretation is often done through the tradition and beliefs of the particular group. In other words, our beliefs drive the interpretation instead of the scriptures driving our beliefs. In theological terms, eisegesis instead of exegesis. Therefore, we do not necessarily agree on the interpretation of the passages.

The concept of gifts may also be different. I understand them in a wide sense, including many different kind of gifts and effects where Holy Spirit is working. For me, it is not even very important whether these are called gifts of Holy Spirit or something else. The focus should not be in the gifts, it should be in the giver. If Holy Spirit acts, that is enough for me.

Anyway, when Paul tells in 1 Corinthians that we should “earnestly desire the greater gifts”, I take it that the same message is valid also today. Names of ‘gifts’ are not important, what is important is that God is present and acts.

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I agree with the first three sections. I stated the same in the post I made. The power of the Holy Spirit comes from Yahweh and it was given to help the gospel be spread throughout the world by the apostles and those they load hands on and it was spread throughout the world in the first century according to the scriptures. Their understanding of the world was different from ours and what it meant was that it would be spread to the Jews, the Samaritans and the gentiles.

You mentioned that you’ve seen it. I’ve met literally thousands of people who claim this. I’ve met hundreds of people who claim to have seen it first hand and dozens of them were supposedly carried out by local pastors and I’ve went to these churches and I’ve met these men and they could not do anything verifiable. I have a friend named Dustin and he’s crippled and we’ve went to about 15 churches where these miracles take place and everyone who gets in line, except him, are healed. These are the same people who get slain by the spirit , fall over screaming gibberish and shaking about seeing visions and it’s just fake and delusional. I’ve met just as many people who have seen UFOs, had ghost boards move about and seen Bigfoot. But ultimately the truth is this. Is something is real we will have some kind of proof for it. So I’ve seen plenty of things and it’s been fake. I’ve been to a Benny Hinn gathering as a teen and saw hundreds of people magically knocked out by a swipe of a coat in florida and it was all fake.

It’s also a common trope in story telling that the gospel has reached all the first and second world countries and the last remaining ones are these third world countries. These exotic unknown places full of supernatural terror and wonder. But it’s just a trope. Throes world villages of India , the Congo and the Amazonian rainforests are no more supernaturally influenced with miracles and possessions thst what we see in big American cities…. Which is zero.

I feel like anyone can just say “ we have a different interpretation “ but ultimately someone would have to not only present theirs but also counter mine. Since you are not a Cessationist a cordon to the Bible how do you interpret what happened in acts 1, 2, 9, and 10 differently. Or to narrow it down explain acts 8 with Simon, Philip the evangelist ( not the apostle) and the apostles differently.

Lastly Paul did not tell us that we need to earnestly seek the gifts but he told the Christians at thst congregation and time to seek them. They seek them by praying for them and the Holy Spirit. According to multiple other sections it requires an apostle to be there to lay on hands and impart a gift. You simply don’t see it any other way.

What they are called is important. The gift of celibacy, or the gift of love or the gift of teaching is not the same as the powers of speaking in tongues, healing the sick instantly, raising the dead or picking up venomous snakes and not being harmed by them or
By drinking poison and being safe.

I’m someone who takes scripture very serious. I won’t ever believe anything about Yahweh or doctrine if it’s not rooted in scripture.

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But I am the kind of person, like I imagine most here are, is open to different views. But this openness does not mean just acceptance but willing to accept arguments that counter their own points and will use that to either dismantle their beliefs that are wrong or learn to h counter them. Most of my childhood church experiences was in very Pentecostal churches where supposed miracles were performed all the time. I’ve been in a congregation where the pastor starts speaking in angelic tongues ( something not found in the Bible ) and claims to see a river flowing through the aisles from heaven and dozens of members swear they see angels. Not just one congregation but many. It’s the whole very Pentecostal nondenominational movements in America and in other countries. I have friends from China, Japan, Mexico, Russia and parts of Africa who all claimed to have witnessed the sane and realized it was all fake as they grew up. I still do it now. I ask around about these “ super churches “ and I go to them and when they are doing faith healing and everyone before me falls down and nothing happens to me. I call them out. It’s a scam and it causes so much harm. It’s what leads vulnerable people to expecting a magical situation that is never going to happen. I do think it’s important to clearly define as best as possible the differences. The whole God as a genie wish granger seems to be hinged on conflating prayer with laying on of hands and powers. Yet they are all very different in scripture.

No rush on responses though. I’m going to enjoy my day off and head to watch X and then probably hike. I think I’m probably going to start limiting my serious dialogue to just 1-2 threads a week for a few responses on a day or two. Otherwise it becomes not so much enjoyable.

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While I agree that learning to strengthen or defending arguments is important, and I need to work on that, I’ve seen some really brutal exchanges in the forum that look more like a prideful WWF Smack Down than an intellegent conversation. Some folks are here for that. It shows. Others are stubborn or not used to arguing logically. It takes time to learn. Some are out of their league and are being confronted with ideas that they don’t even know how to start with.
Patience is hard, and I lose mine, particularly with people coming to condemn what we’re doing here.

But we’re not here to dismantle the participants. I think a lot of people have already gone through that.

Just the reading is overwhelming, isn’t it?

By your narrow definition, I am a cessationist as well, but I would never describe myself as one because the term usually refers more broadly to denying the existence of all charismatic gifts in the church today, not just the abilities of the apostles to mediate signs and wonders.

I have been a part of congregations where people pray in tongues (not intelligible human languages they haven’t learned like in Acts, they claim it is some kind of heavenly language. I have no reason to think they are somehow “faking” the experience.) and prophesy (not in the sense of predicting the future, but in the sense of delivering a message from God, usually it was in the form of a specific Bible passage they thought applied to a situation). I have experienced people who know things that they claim God revealed to them in prayer. (Like a woman who went up to a leader and said “God told me to confront you about someone named Carla” and it turned out Carla was a woman he was currently having an affair with and he admitted it and stepped down from leadership. That is what the charismatics call a “word of knowledge.” I believe some people have the gift of healing in that they are specially sensitive to other people’s physical pain and their prayers, when prompted by the Spirit, minister a special grace.

I attended a Vineyard church for a while. I frequently have pretty terrible migraine headaches. One day at church, a woman I barely knew and hadn’t spoken to that day came up to me and said something like “May I pray for your headache?” She put her hand on my temple and prayed silently and it felt like warm fuzzies all over my body and the headache just went away in that instant. I’ve had plenty of headaches since, and it’s not like that woman had some kind of super-power and could go around performing miracles at will. But I believe she had a spiritual gift related to ministering God’s healing when she was led by God to do so, and I was not the first person she had prayed for that way who experienced immediate relief from pain.

Pentecostal and charismatic Christians make up a quarter of the world’s 2 billion Christians and I don’t see any reason to categorize that many people’s experiences with charismatic giftings as a complete fraud. I think charismatic gifts are sometimes abused, misused, misrepresented, or pretended, but so are other non-charismatic gifts like preaching and discernment.

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I guess for me all I can say is that I laid out my belief from scripture and it will have to be countered with scripture and in my experience I’ve met one out of many who denies all miracles and the vast majority refer to cessationism as the end of the powers of the Holy Spirit.

I hear all these kinds of stories all the time and all I can say is that I believe that you truly believe you experienced those things. I can’t disprove those events. All I can say is that whoever did that needs to head to a hospital if they think they can do what the apostles did and prove it. Otherwise it’s really no different to me than saying , I experienced a demon that prevented me from moving and tormented me for years in nightmares and they all stopped when a guy stacked up rocks on my property and poured butter over it instead of oil and then it mostly stopped happening for years and the guy did not do it in the name of Yahweh but in the same of a dream cat he worshipped that was supposed to be a god. That’s also a real story and real event in my life. But as I grew older I simply realized what placebo effects are, what sleep paralysis is and became convinced that no such inter dimensional cat exists that mostly defeated some demon.

As for the “ praying in angel tongues “ it’s just not something I see theologically. I see no examples of it in the Bible and since it’s a completely unknown language it’s impossible to say “ hey that’s not the language of angels” anymore than me making a bunch of burping , gurgling sounds and saying it’s the language of angels. I met a guy once “slain in the spirit “ that would shake and rattle off pig sounds saying god gave him the ability to speak in the language of animals and then someone would interpret it.

There is no reason for me to not presume someone knew the dude was having an affair and it came into the open under the guise of spiritual revelation. Which I’ve seen happen too. A seen a jealous girl tell a whole church god revealed to her that so and so was having sex in a vehicle and it turned out the two teens did sneak away and were in fact naked in a truck in the parking lot.

When I was a kid I also once got mono. I was so sick I could not eat or drink. Was given Tylenol3. I called my youth pastor at that time. He said to have faith and prayed for me. I instantly felt better. I even tested it by drinking some water and it did not hurt. I went to sleep and woke up l feeling super bad and ended up being taken to the emergency room for severe dehydration. I drank like half a cup of water and ate a yogurt and that was all I ate for almost a week. It messed me up so bad that even once I got over mono and out of the hospital I missed a whole month of school and had to take evening classes and go to Sumer school to catch up.

But I sincerely felt better for that hour or so before going to bed. But in reality I think it was just some sort of placebo effect. I still believe in the power of prayer and in miracles, as do most cessationist. But a corpse can’t experience a placebo effect and a crippled person can’t just have enough faith that they can walk. So when these things happen we know it’s a miracle. The problem is when these miracles occur and can’t be confirmed by anyone and the people who did it can’t just do it anywhere. The problem with angelic languages is that it can be just simply delusional peer pressure but when you know you don’t speak Japanese and suddenly a hundred people hear you speaking Japanese and understand the gospel that can’t just be written off as coincidence.

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Are you familiar with the miracle stories of the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship? It seems that the Holy Spirit had been giving people gold fillings or gold caps on their teeth. People actually believed this. It’s so bizarre. Why not just give people healthy and normal teeth?

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No. But the guy who said he was speaking in the language of animals said something about Toronto something I believe. Is it near Detroit? I’ll have to google it but I think the guy said something about living in Detroit and going into Toronto for the blessings or something.

For me it just seems that the Bible clearly states that there was something associated with powers of the Holy Spirit and the laying on of the apostles hands. It’s something separate from prayer and seems to be associated with speaking unknown languages, raising the dead, healing the sick, casting out demons, being immune to poison and snake venom and prophecy. It seems the congregations would pray specifically for certain powers but ultimately it was decided by the Holy Spirit upon the laying on of hands of the apostles. It’s purpose was to show signs and wonders to support their claim as prophets of God sharing his message with mankind.

I don’t believe any of that undermines prayer. But prayer can’t be the same thing as the power becsuse we can all do it.

That’s pretty well said. I’ve also read some fairly strident cessationists, and it’s interesting to see how they would be careful not to completely exclude the Spirit’s direction or illumination to the believer.

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Have you read any of Wayne Grudem’s stuff against cessationism?

I got into this not too long ago, and can go back and take another look. There was a really good survey from Grudem with interpreting the Bible on this question, but it’s a little foggy for me right now.

As someone that has been a cessationist for over a decade I can’t recount how many books, blogs, articles, and videos I’ve seen on both sides. All of it led me to the position I lined out as the only interpretation I can see.

But again if someone can prove it through theological reasoning or take one of these superhero’s to a hospital and heal a dozen people of problems like death, cancer and being crippled instantly with just their hands I’ll accept it. Heck even if they can make a pink fingernail grow back something.

I’ve heard of people barking like dogs when under that influence.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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