Spiritual Gifts! Let’s talk about them again. Now I’m a cessationist when it comes to the issue. I’d better explain what that means. The popular straw-man is that a cessationist is fearful of the Holy Spirit and leaves no room for Him to work in the life of a Christian. This is dumb.
No, a cessationist is someone who acknowledges the spirtual gifts mentioned in the book of Acts but believes they no longer continue. Clarification: This does not mean that God cannot employ the means he thinks necessary for salvation – so cessationism isn’t putting a limit on God.
The cessationist argument in a nutshell is this: The work of the Holy Spirit in the apostolic age was to show the truth behind – (wait for it) – apostolic teaching (2 Corinthians 12:12). Apostolic churches were regularly practicing these gifts, so much so that Paul’s letter to the infant church of Corinth gives language suggesting it to be a normal or common occurrence (1 Corinthians 14:26). As the apostolic age came to a close, so did the expression of Spiritual gifts, as there were no longer apostles which needed validating as they had fulfilled their calling and purpose by establishing the canon of the Holy Scriptures.
So if the gifts are still happening – why are they still happening?
Even with a Biblical why, there’s still the problem of where & how it came to be. That these gifts which were so regular that Paul included them in a discussion about common worship, it seems odd that they only pop up now in select groups. We don’t see a similar pattern of preferential distribution of the fruits of the spirit, but we are led to believe that this is the case for the gifts of the spirit. B.B. Warfield addresses this issue very aptly here and here.
And lastly, if the gifts are still happening, which ones and to what degrees? This seems like a silly question, but there’s no shortage of folks to are cessationist with certain gifts but maintain continuation for others. So which ones and why? Tongues only? Prophesy too? Healing? Working Miracles? Are these gifts a 1:1 representation of those in the apostolic age? If not, is there any Biblical indication as to why this would be? Am I asking enough questions? Are these rhetorical questions?
I guess we’ll work this out in the comments. Or at least, I hope we will.