Why is Cessationism so damaging to the gospel?
Cessationism’s effect on the essence of the gospel cannot be ignored. It must be dismissed as either heterodoxy or heresy because it undermines, or completely overturns, crucial elements of the faith delivered by Christ and the apostles to the church, for which Jude exhorts us to contend:
- Its view of the Lord’s humanity is deficient. In Cessationism, Jesus is God’s representative man soteriologically and ethically, but He is God disguised as a man for power. This is borderline Apollinarian heresy.
- It attributes manifestations of power as attesting to inherent deity, thus undermining Jesus’s self-attested subordinate dependency on the Father and in disregard to subsequent similar manifestations of power through those who were not divine in essence.
- Full realization in time and space of the believer’s union with the Lord is undermined. Cessationism limits the expression of the believer’s union with the Lord to Christ-like character.
- The mystery of incarnational truth (Christ is incarnate again in the church) is openly resisted.
- It is in opposition to God’s eternal plan for redeemed humanity.
- It has a pessimistic and nominal view of the nature of the church, its destiny, and its present role as co-regent of the universe with Christ through intercessory prayer.
- It separates God’s people from the temporal benefits and powers of living in the foretaste of the age to come.
- It under-realizes the significance, responsibilities, and privileges of being the eschatological people of God.
- It artificially separates the power of the Holy Spirit to sanctify the believer from the power to manifest supernatural power through the same vessel.
- It has a deficient view of the effects of sin on man’s intellectual faculties. It mistakes the authority of the interpreter for the authority of Scripture.
- It minimizes or eliminates the modeling role of Jesus and the apostles. Historical passages of Scripture are said to have no doctrinal value in the present age, thus eliminating nearly fifty-nine percent of the New Testament as irrelevant to the modern believer.
- The doctrine of authentication of the apostles by signs and wonders is contrary to Scripture’s testimony that power alone, does not authenticate. God authenticates His message, not necessarily the messenger.
- Cessationism is equivalent to modern Pharasaism: holding orthodox (?) truth but in opposition to genuine spiritual manifestation.
- Occultists and New Age practitioners have filled the spiritual void caused by Cessationism in Western society.
- Reformed Cessationism has stripped the Protestant Church of spiritual discernment. Cessationist discernment is only a matter of agreement to Reformed theology, doctrine, and practice.
Copyright 2012, Dr. Stephen R. Crosby, www.swordofthekingdom.com. This is an excerpt of from our book: Your Empowered Inheritance . . . Now! available at www.goczn.com/srcrosby. Permission is granted to copy, forward, or distribute this article for non-commercial use only, as long as this copyright byline, in totality, is maintained in all duplications, copies, and link references. For reprint permission for any commercial use, in any form of media, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.