On Sunday, August 9, my blog partner, Jeff Johnson, will seek to answer the question, “Have the spiritual gifts ceased?” In answer to the question, he will offer a Biblical case for Cessationism. He will be addressing the issue at 6:00 PM at Grace Bible Church in Conway, Arkansas, where he serves as the primary teaching elder. Perhaps those of you who live in the Conway, Arkansas, area will be able to drop by for the evening and leave a comment here with your thoughts about it. I’ll keep the rest of the blog’s readers posted and let you all know when the audio and/or video of the teaching is made available. Here is Jeff’s description of what we can expect from the teaching:
On August 9th Grace Bible Church will present a Biblical case for Cessationism in a two part presentation. There are three Scriptural reasons why the spiritual gift of tongues has ceased. One, the nature of tongues indicates that they have ceased. Two, the purpose of tongues indicates that they have ceased. Three, the finality of the cannon indicates that they have ceased.
We will cover these 3 reasons in two sessions. In the first session we will cover the nature and purpose of tongues, and the second session we will cover the finality and completion of the Word of God.
In the first session we will cover the nature and purpose of tongues, which gives us the first two reasons why tongues have ceased. Under the nature of tongues, we will examine the reasons why biblical tongues were not ecstatic utterances as practiced today. After examining (A.) the etymology and the historical use of the Greek word glossa (γλῶσσα), we will (B.) exegete the major biblical texts relating to tongues. In each text, unknown foreign language(s) is the best interpretation of the meaning of the gift of tongues. (C.) Next we will show why speaking in an unknown foreign language was truly a supernatural miracle that testified the divine source of the revelation. Ecstatic utterances are easily faked and thus prove and testify of nothing. This naturally leads to the purpose of tongues. Tongues, according to God’s Word, had a restricted and temporal function that was inherently connected to the apostolic age. That is, tongues gave divine testimony and validation of three things: (A.) new revelation, (B.) apostolic authority, and (D.) divine judgment upon unbelieving Israel. All three of these purpose are temporal by their very nature. Thus, if tongues were given for these three reasons, it is impossible for them to continue past their intended usefulness and purpose.
In the second session we turn our attention to 1 Cor. 13:8-13. Tongues were never meant to continue. They were prophesied to cease when that which “perfect comes.” By studying the context of this passage the best description of “that which is perfect” is the completion of the objective revelation of the New Testament. The infallible Scripture is not only “perfect,” it best fits the context of what was predicted to come and replace tongues, the less reliable source of divine revelation. This session will conclude with some of the important implications of a closed and complete canon of Scripture. Mysticism and the charismatic movement are dangerous, for anything that adds to or competes with the sufficient, finished, and complete Word of God is something that is not harmless.
I am looking forward to hearing more of Jeff’s thoughts on this important issue, and I hope you all will be anxious to hear his teaching on the subject as well.