Saturday, January 14, 2006

A Note On Cessationism.

Definitions are important when you get into some discussions. Ok, all discussions, but some more than others.

The reason I note this now is because of a blog called Pyromaniac . In a post labeled "You're probably a cessationist, too" the author essentially concludes that even a charismatic is a cessationist under the right conditions. The relevant paragraph states

Again, consider the implications of that claim: Deere and Grudem have, in effect, conceded the entire cessationist argument. They have admitted that they are themselves cessationists of sorts. They believe that the true apostolic gifts and miracles have ceased, and they are admitting that what they are claiming today is not the same as the charismata described in the New Testament.
Now this seems entirely reasonable until you go back tot eh beginning of the topic and see what the author's operative definition of a cessationist is:

If you believe any of the miraculous spiritual gifts were operative in the apostolic era only, and that some or all of those gifts gradually ceased before the end of the first century, you are a cessationist.
The problem is that this is not a true definition. Cessationism isn't merely the descriptive position that the author takes, but also a theological/exegetical position that states that in fact there can be no gifts operative outside the apostolic era.

This foundational flaw leads to a series of comments about how charismatics are in fact cessationists to some degree, all based on the descriptive definition. Of course the descriptive is the very thing that many cessationists decry in charismatics: an argument from experience.

I find this to be an equivocation on the author's part, possibly to make whatever position he takes later (there are more installments planned I think), possibly out of honest oversight.

At any rate it is an error that wants correcting. Consider it done.

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