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What Do Cessationists Have in Common with the Reformers?

Tuesday, June 04, 2013 | Comments (12)

Dr. Steve Lawson is a dedicated student of the Reformation and the great Christian men behind it. His understanding of modern church trends is heavily informed by his knowledge of the theological wars that have been waged throughout church history. And the crucial battles fought by the Reformers in the fifteen hundreds provide valuable lessons in assessing the twenty-first-century church landscape.

In the following video, Dr. Lawson points out the common ground that contemporary cessationists share with the Reformers of five hundred years ago.

The Strange Fire conference will provide a much-needed response to the extrabiblical revelation synonymous with the charismatic movement, and will affirm the authority and sufficiency of Scripture. For more information about Strange Fire, please visit the conference website.

GTY Staff


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#2  Posted by Lois Begly  |  Wednesday, June 05, 2013at 6:22 AM

Dr. Lawson's point is well taken and is foundational in this challenge to those who hold to the continuation of the miracles of the Bible. What you (the folks who are behind the Strange Fire conference) must bear in mind is that those who are the sincere ones in the Charismatic/Pentecostal churches believe every word that he said. They are convinced that what is happening in their circles is the same thing that was happening in Acts. I know, because I am a former Charismatic. Many Charismatic churches are not wild and crazy, but are strong in their belief of scripture. They do not understand what John MacArthur was able to so well explain and document in his book "Charismatic Chaos", that there was a divine reason for those miracles that went beyond the moment, the period of church foundation. The miraculous was not intended to be a common experience for each and every believer. To say this, though, makes the Charismatic feel less important to God, because they believe they are entitled to the same treatment by God as the apostles and early church. If they are not experiencing these phenomenon then something is lacking in their life.

I would encourage the Strange Fire leadership to not focus so much attention on the extreme cases that are seen on TV, the Benny Hinns. Most Charismatics don't even know who he is and don't practice what they preach. What we have today is a much saner and biblically grounded non-cessationist who is open, because they have a poor way of interpreting the Bible and do not have the benefit of expository preaching/teaching. They don't have a grasp of the whole picture of what God was doing through the miracles that are recorded in scripture. I pray for wisdom in how this conference is structured and carried out. Jesus would surely want the sincere Charismatic to be drawn to the truth and not turned off by slinging arrows at the things they don't even see in their midst.

May our triune God be honored.

Lois

#5  Posted by Robin Lane  |  Thursday, June 06, 2013at 4:12 AM

An important question here is whether ‘standing on’ the written Word of God necessarily leads to a Cessationist stance. A vision can provide guidance that is in line with Scripture, both Peter and Paul received specific guidance that way (Acts 10:9-23 and Acts 16:6-10). A prophecy does not have to go against Scripture, or add to it. Some prophecies can forewarn people of forthcoming difficulties (e.g. Acts 11:27-30). Are we not to use the written Word of God as the basis for discerning what is from God and what is not; and for discerning whether someone is claiming inappropriate authority? A Cessationist stance seems to hold the dangers of avoiding some of God’s power, and declining to worship him in spirit and truth – especially in the light of Scriptures like 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22, ‘Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.’

#6  Posted by Pastor Michael Huffman  |  Thursday, June 06, 2013at 9:37 AM

I think what you need to understand, Lois, is John MacArthur and the other members of the Strange Fire Conference, hit on Benny Hinn and Paul Crouch and the other TBN folks, not because they think that is what ALL Pentecostals believe (although there is going to be some resemblance in beliefs), but because they are the face of the movement because they are the only people you see.

You do not see the more "saner and biblical" Pentecostal because they are not on national TV, the other guys are; so they are the face of Pentecostalism. However, even if the more "saner" examples of the movement do not get in spastic fits in their services; there is still the problem of a denial of the Perseverance of the Saints, the absolute inability of Man, the effectual call of the Spirit and the definite atonement of Christ; all major points of sound Biblical Doctrine that is denied by that movement.

God Bless you and I appreciate your comments, I hope that my words were edifying and explanatory to you on this matter.

Pastor Michael Huffman

#7  Posted by Michael Stevenson  |  Friday, June 07, 2013at 10:01 AM

How can we have the Word without the Spirit , and how can we have the Spirit without the Word, If we can accept the Word of God then, we can accept the Spirit of God too Heb 4:12 the word of God is quick , and powerful, The Holy Spirit is life Of the Word of God, he is like the breath Of life that made us a living soul, he brought the life or the light of the earth into being. the Word was made flesh,The Spirit allow them to see it.

#8  Posted by Dan Brown  |  Friday, June 07, 2013at 11:33 AM

I trust that this conference will not only speak to Pentecostals and Charismatics but to other strange fire. I am not sure whats burning At WBC in Topeka Kansas but sure looks strange to me. And something been smoking in Hammond Indiana for years, also Oak Brook Ill holds to hermeneutics that interprets scripture by experience. None of those afore mentioned have any type of charismatic leanings yet I think they and others who take similar approachs, deserve the same scrutiny on their handing of Scripture. Thanks Dan

#9  Posted by Michael Stevenson  |  Friday, June 07, 2013at 12:25 PM

Thank you Lois Begly..

#10  Posted by Michael Stevenson  |  Friday, June 07, 2013at 12:31 PM

I don't deny the Perseverance of the Saints, the absolute inability of Man, the effectual call of the Spirit and the definite atonement of Christ; all major points of sound Biblical Doctrine . don't stereotype .

#12  Posted by David Smith  |  Friday, June 14, 2013at 8:52 AM

I have to agree with the others who say that Dr Lawson has misreprented the charismatic movement. The vast majority of charismatics (and pentecostals) fully accept the authority of scripture, and whilst they believe in modern-day prophecy, they do say that it must never contradict the Bible.

I hope the presentations at the Strange Fire conference take a better approach, as it would be very sad if they were found to be using straw man arguments.

#13  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Friday, June 14, 2013at 9:12 AM

David,

I fail to see how Dr. Lawson has "misrepresented the charismatic movement." The modern day charismatics you say claim accept the full authority of God's Word, still appeal to dreams and other similar visions or a "word from God" in order to make daily decisions about their lives and how they interact with others. So even though they may not say their "dream" replaces the authority of God's Word, those dreams and visions are at least on equal standing with the authority of God's Word.

Moreover, if modern-day prophecy in the form of visions and dreams shouldn't ever contradict the Bible, where exactly then are those "contradictory" visions and dreams coming from? If God's Spirit is the source of visions and dreams and prophecy, why would it "contradict" the authority of His own Word to begin with? Are you saying the devil is responsible for bad, contradictory visions and dreams? Where does the Bible teach us that there is bad prophecy and good prophecy coming from the same source which in this case would be God Himself?

#14  Posted by Chris Leduc  |  Friday, June 14, 2013at 7:54 PM

David,

You asked:

" Where does the Bible teach us that there is bad prophecy and good prophecy coming from the same source which in this case would be God Himself?"

I think you will find your answer in 1 Kings 22.

This country is, like Israel at the time, under the judgement of God. I think Dr MacArthur's sermon When God Abandons a Nation will also help back up my statement:

https://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/80-314

#15  Posted by Rod Evans  |  Monday, June 24, 2013at 3:08 AM

Being a true believer, I have a question regarding charismatics, and that is: How does one who says they are a true child of Christ(having been convicted of sin, righteousness and judgment by the work of the Holy Spirit, and having repented of sin, embracing the gospel, and becoming a genuine slave of Christ)remain charismatic? In other words, if someone is a believer, what makes them "charismatic" as opposed to a believer who is not charismatic? And why would one remain charismatic after being reborn of the Spirit? Is this similar to one saying that they are Roman Catholic, then coming to genuine conversion, and still saying that they're Roman Catholic? What separates a "charismatic" believer from a non-charismatic believer? Thank you for your genuine answers; I seek them in love.

#16  Posted by Rod Evans  |  Monday, June 24, 2013at 4:50 AM

It seems that when a "charismatic" says that they hold to the authority of Scripture, they do so as long as they can use it as a "proof text" to justify their actions. If they can't use a proof text, then the Bible is not authoritative. If the Scriptures were truly authoritative to them, they wouldn't be practicing what they practice. The point is, what if Scripture didn't have texts for a charismatic to point to? Where would their authority and justification lie for their doings? And why do so many people take Scriptures out of context?