The Manifestations of the Spirit Have Ceased

By Sean Finnegan

Christians hold to two main views on spiritual gifts (healing, prophecy, tongues, etc.).  Cessationists believe such miracles have ceased with the death of Jesus’ original apostles while continuationists hold that these activities continued beyond the first century and will remain available until Christ returns.

Five Reasons for Cessationism

  1. The gifts of the spirit are temporary until the Bible was finished
    (1 Corinthians 13:8-10).
  2. The age of the apostles is over and with it that period of intensified holy spirit activity (1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:7, 11).
  3. Manifestations of the spirit seen today are not the same as those in the Bible.
  4. Church history confirms that miracles have ceased.
  5. Scripture is sufficient (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Responding to Objections

  1. In 1 Corinthians 13:10 “the perfect” refers to the coming of Christ not the completion of Scripture.
  2. Non-apostles also performed miracles (Acts 9:17; 11:28; 21:8-9), and we find the expectation that healing will continue in churches (James 5:14-15).
  3. Though the holy spirit field is rife with hucksterism, abuses, and tomfoolery, that does not mean that all miraculous claims are bogus (Acts 19:13-17).
  4. The record of church history includes many references to those who witnessed the manifestations of the spirit as well as some who did not.
  5. Even if Scripture is sufficient for training in righteousness, God has graciously given the church gifts of the spirit to help us.

When it comes to God’s exciting presence in our lives through His spirit, we should not be afraid or close ourselves off from His influence, nor should we haphazardly embrace spirit expressions that break from the pattern we see exemplified in Scripture.  Let us instead step out in faith, knowing that we serve a living God who is at work in our
world today.

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The Manifestations of the Spirit Have Ceased
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