Cessation of the Charismata? Yes and no.


Pentecostés. Óleo sobre lienzo, 275 × 127 cm. ...

An artistic view of Pentecost

I was asked in private mail in YouTube this week if I am a cessationist when it comes to the Charismata, or spiritual gifts such as glossolalia, healings, prophesyings, etc, as outlined in parts of the New Testament. A cessationist would argue that these gifts were for a certain period and then were withdrawn.

I am not sure I would say that I entirely am a cessationist, in that I believe in the sovereignty of God at all times and that God is able to make people speak in tongues or be healed today just as much as He was in apostolic times. The fact however remains that God does not always deal with His people in the same way at all times. When the people of God were led through the wilderness, God led them with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. He gave them manna and quails to eat. When they arrived at the promised land there was no pillar of cloud, no pillar of fire, no manna and no quails unless people went and hunted for quails in the way they would today. So are we cessationist about the pillar of cloud? It’s a mere question of fact that it did indeed cease once it was no longer required and the Bible makes no attempt to cover that up. Therefore we see that particular miracles accompany particular historic events.
Once we entered into the fourth century and the Church was broadly established throughout the Roman Empire and beyond and gaining in popularity, the force of faith and the Gospel only were God’s will to carry the message forward. We don’t see much of the Apostolic Charismata applying to that period. Maybe that’s because they were no longer needed, and maybe they were only withdrawn because the Church sold out at that time to venality and carnal worliness, putting political power and Satan’s agenda before the claims of Christ and the Gospel for 1260 years, as prophesied in the Book of Daniel.

From the time of Constantine until Napoleon the true Church was engulfed by a political Church infiltrated heavily by Satan which nevertheless had many fine believers in it, and during the Reformation amazing things happened all by force of faith without much in the way of accompanying miracles or a charismatic movement.

Believers were put to death by the Roman false church in vast numbers for their proper Biblical faith, and yet none of this was accompanied by the outpourings which accompanied the Charismatic Revival.

After Napoleon, the way the battle worked changed a lot. Now the major seat of Satan was not the Holy Roman Empire invested in the Catholic Church anymore – Napoleon took back that political worldly role of the Catholic Church and handed it over to the New World Order – nation states in the main run by Freemasons and given the semblance of democracies even though their real nature was to enslave men and women as never before. From Bonaparte until the beginning of Tribulation we can trace this penultimate period of human history.

This modern period is hallmarked by the following:

1. Unparalleled numbers of people living on the planet, in fact probably over 90% of people who ever lived have had part of their lives in this period.
2. The sharp rise of secularism and the ubiquitous acceptance of the theory of evolution, and other connecting ideas all serving to undermine the view of a Creator.
3. Unheard of technologies enabling a free market of ideas and debate
4. A situation where those who believe the Gospel are able to communicate more easily than ever before with the world, so that now the Gospel has virtually been made available to every tribe and nation
5. Israel has been restored to something like its original place.
6. The world has increasingly crystallised into three camps, Gog and Magog (China and her allies vs America and the EU and other allies) and Ishmael (Islam) in between.
7. Christianity has splintered into more denominations than ever before and there are an equally large number of counterfeit sects which try to look like Christian denominations.
In the middle of this period the Charismata started to be an issue, with some people needing this boost to their faith rather than the pure faith arguments of the Reformation period. However there is little to compare the work of the Church in this period than in the pre-Constantine period.
At the same time Pentecostalist believers have contained a number of fine Christians who have done great things for the Kingdom. One only needs to look at the amazing growth of the Gospel in China to see their crowning achievement.  They have also spawned more than their fair share of weirdos, charlatans and sects. That may not be a damning indictment as we know that the closer any group of believers is to being on the ball and really making an impact, the more Satan will attack that group, and deflecting onto additional revelations, wierd doctrines, venal practices and political divisions are all weapons in his armoury against Churches that make a difference. So-called Churches than make no impact for the Gospel are, on the other hand, largely left to get on with it or actively assisted by the evil one.

“By their fruits ye shall know them” says the Lord. This doesn’t mean that the evidence of satanic attack on part of Christianity should be regarded as bad fruit. The healthiest fruit is the most attractive for worms. The question is, what is the underlying fruit that is being attacked by the worms? Is it spiritual fruit, or spiritual gifts without real spiritual fruit?

I still say that the fruits of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, etc, as set out in Scripture should be any Christian’s priority. If a person can demonstrate the fruits of the Spirit, then nobody should dare deny that persons Baptism in the Holy Spirit. It should be clear enough – how can a person who demonstrates the fruit of the spirit not be with the Holy Spirit? How can a person say they have had the Baptism in the Holy Spirit if they have not the fruits of the Spirit, even when months or years have gone by since they claimed such a Baptism? If a person lacks the fruit of the Spirit but seeks to make up the lack of them by fooling others and primarily themselves into thinking that they can speak with tongues of angels, then I’m sorry, but they need to do a heart audit and think again.

Nevertheless, a time is no doubt coming when the Spirit will be poured out again as at Pentecost. Joel 2.28 and Acts 2.17 which quotes it talks about this outpouring of the Spirit. “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams” and therefore Joel is likened to what is happening in Acts. However the following verses go on to outline the end of the world scenario, which we now know did not happen in the first few hundred years after the Death and Resurrection of our Lord, although disciples at the time expected it, and were intended to expect it.

I see a lot of the outpouring in Acts and which is in evidence in the Churches to whom Paul writes his Epistles as being a help in Evangelisation – and it surely was as people understood these languages as if they were being spoken to in their own languages. (This of course is not the case in most Pentecostal and other Evangelical churches today – the fact above all other I dare suggest, that leads to many serious-minded Christians who came to faith in Pentecostalism gradually transferring to other churches instead, which happens a lot.) But I also beyond that see them as a renewal of the Joel prophesy, a reminder and more information for us as to what will happen in the last days. I do like what the authors of the Left Behind books have made of the Tongues issue and other spiritual gifts – they show them as being revised in the last days and that is expressis verbis told to us in Acts 2.17ff and the Joel passage. They clearly refer to the end-times period. This is a period which has not started yet, but since all the pre-requisites for the starting of this period are now pretty much in place, and the pace of preparation of the coming Antichrist in this world is is palpably quickening from one week’s end to the next at this time, we can say with confidence that this is the penultimate period, and it is not long now before you really will see New Testament style miracles, unless of course the Church is first raptured in which case it will be only those coming to faith who were left behind who will witness them. And since I think that this planet has not seen the last of the true miraculous charismata, I can’t really call myself a cessationist.

However I do call myself a person who urges faith without the need for miracles, discretion in how we publish abroad the miracles which God does give us (the better we keep these secrets the more we will have of them, as it’s God’s will still for this time that the preaching of the Gospel not be accompanied by miracles in the main, but that He himself grants the holy gift of faith by the pure preaching of the word, nevertheless He is very merciful in alleviating the distresses of believers and answering prayers for them that have understanding…) and most of all in examining ourselves first and foremost for Spiritual fruit, and only after a satisfactory answer to that question (a rare event anyway) to worry about the advanced issue of Spiritual gifts.

 

About David J. James

52 year old accountant who loves languages, literature, history, religion, politics, internet, vlogging and blogging and lively written discussion. Conservative Christian, married to an angel, we have three kids, and live in Warsaw, Poland. I can help you with company set-up, bookkeeping, payroll, tax, audit and due diligence all over Poland and the region.

Posted on 29/01/2012, in Answers to your questions, Blog only, Creation v Evolution, Religion and Philosophy and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I think, that the central point seems to be, that since the times of the Roman emperor Constantine the State was in many cases friendly to Christianity. In the 19th century France protected the Roman Catholics, Britain protected the Protestants, and Russia protected the Orthodox Christians. Christianity was respected widely. And we were convinced, that we could do a lot by ourselves. But now, things have changed. Christianity has no longer the protection of the world powers. And besides of it, we see more and more, that we really, really need the Holy Spirit to work in us and through us. The result is the massive growth of Christians world wide amongst the poor in Latin America, in Africa and in Communist China in spite of persecution.. After the apostolic time in the first century the charisms became more and more rare, because the Christians thought, they could go on well without them, as long as they were faithful to the traditions given to them by the apostles and to the bishops installed by the apostles and their successors. But when you compare the biblical writings with the writings in the centuries following, you see a gigantic decline in the quality and spiritual depth. Today we come more and more to the point, that we really need God. Jesus said about Himself: The Son of man can nothing to out of Himself, but only, what He sees the Father doing, that does he do the same way. If Jesus was totally dependent on His Heavenly Father, then it is the best thing for us to be dependent on God too. And for that we need the Holy Spirit and all the gifts He wants to give us.

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  2. I must say the Calvinist emphasis on the sovereignty of God shines through very clearly, and I agree with your take on this.

    Though it’s maybe not very central to this topic, why do you say Freemasons are running the (at least so-called) democracies? (I assume you mean countries like the US, UK, Norway, and so on, and right next to the Norwegian Parliament building is, in fact, a building with “Den norske frimurerorden” [the Norwegian Order of Freemasons] written on it.)

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    • The fact is that the Freemasons were very active in the arrangement of new-style nation states from older Empire states. 13 of the 39 signers of the American Declaration of Independence were open Masons – I believe most of the remainder were either secret Masons or simply friends of Masons who were influenced, and that this was a model of Masonic influence in Statecraft followed closely afterwards by the people who cemeted Germany and Italy as modern nations in places of the mess of principalities left by the old system.

      The fact that we are born and brought up in the new system and it is all we know means that most people are familiar with what they have and regard it as the best of all possible worlds – certainly the less-reformed parts of the world are less well-off than us, and also I am convinced that most Masons thought that they were doing the world a big favour by their mission to unwind the old religious-based hegemonies. Of course in a way they were. But now the Prince of this World is running the world through Statecraft, largely vested in that organisation, which at the 33rd degree is wilfully anti-Christian (even though many misguided Christians are included in the lower levels – in fact Nordic Masonry is specifically aimed at Trinitarian Christians, unlike other branches of Masonry).

      If you look at the Establishment bods of almost any country, the people who are going to be having their say and their influence regardless of what Norwegians or British people decide at a ballot box, you’ll see a lot of Masons among them. There are 5,000,000 Masons in the world today, and I am only talking about one in a thousand of these being really involved in the big decisions. But you can be sure that one of the purposes of the highly hierarchical structure, whereby people study and work through many levels in order finally to reach the final degree, is all a waiting room for the core team where the real action is.

      If you look at people like the Bilderbergers who are having secret meetings the secrecy of which is oddly respected by the press whose very job it is to let us know what is going on, these are people made up from the 5,000 inner circle people, and trusted women also who per se cannot be Masons but who are on the inside anyway, like Hilary. Of these people, again a tiny minority really take the decisions and the rest are involved with upper level implementation.

      This is how the devil controls this world now. You can be sure that the top people are absolutely controlled by the prince of this world. But it is all permitted anyhow as history had to play out in some way or another and whatever they do God is in control anyway.

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      • Is this a conspiracy theory? Surely you must admit that it’s hard to not be skeptical about this, so what makes you so certain about it?

        Whatever is the case, I also trust that God is ultimately in control.

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        • I didn’t give you much by way of theories, I mainly gave you verifiable facts! There are conspiracy theorists who make wild claims about the Masons, but I have only said fairly balanced and well-documented things such as their role in statecraft in the 19th Century and the fact that there are five million of them which you can verify from both their own and unbiased sources. The link between groups such as the Bilderbergers and freemasonry you can see by looking at the attendance lists and the lists of country grandmasters and seeing how high the overlap is. The exact nature of the link I do not know and I expect it is a very well-kept secret.

          In any event, people who say that there are no such conspiracies are a bit naive, if you ask me, Given that there are some super-rich people, knowing what you do about human nature wouldn’t you say it’s inevitable that from time to time they are going to form societies for mutual protection and benefit? The world is actually full of such societies, most of them wide open. How unlikely would it be that there is no ueber society that links many others and provides an ultimate self-interest block for certain people, shrouded in an image of humanitarianism and philanthropy? The Masons bother me more because they are a) hidden and cryptic and b) you need to renounce that you are in the light to become a Mason, something no Christian ought to do, but so many do, looking to be “in” on better deals. The whole deal with them is very Faustian and I definitely see them as a big weapon in Satan’s armoury as Prince of this world.

          I think I was very fair in saying that a lot of them are misguided into thinking that they are just part of a big social and charitable organisation with no bad sides at all, and have bought into the standard Mason denials of what most Catholics or Evangelicals alike woiuld lay at their door. God is their judge and not me. There are those within the higher ranks who are more aware of what they are doing, and these people are more sinister.

          There is enough coverage by the Guardian on Bilderberg for you to know that is a pretty strange and counter-democratic institution. Most other newspapers and media studious avoid covering it. That in itself should really make us think.

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          • I’m sorry about the way I worded my reply. Most of the things you said are undeniable, and the reason I suspected a conspiracy theory was the use of “New World Order” and “Freemasons” in the same context, since those tend to go hand in hand in several crazy conspiracy theories. I guess I made a connection that wasn’t there, so I apologize.

            Your point about denying conspiracy theories completely is a good one, though. Usually I only hear about the most far-fetched theories, so my immediate reaction has become skepticism towards any and all conspiracy theories (and things that are not necessarily conspiracy theories), no matter how plausible they are, or how trustworthy the the person telling me is.

            I just recently found out (kind of) what Freemasonry is, and I don’t like what I hear about them or their requirements. It’s weird that I haven’t heard much about them before, given that their building in Oslo is as big as the Parliament building, and situated right next to it, for everyone to see. Maybe it’s because of my very limited exposure to television and newspapers.

            Thank you for your patience in explaining. I always learn a lot from you.

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            • You’re very welcome. It is wise to find out as much as possible about these groupings, but also to bear in mind that the whole “truther” community is made up of very different people with different outlooks and different axes to grind. There is a large number of people who are pretty left wing and into the idea of researching the self-advancement groups and blaming everything on them as capitalists. They are the sorts who regard all religion, even christianity, as part of a great big conspiracy to enslave people. There are also a bunch of right wingers who use the same arguments to blame the Jews for everything. I know a few Freemasons who blame the Jews for everything and say that all this Bilderberg stuff is nothing whatsoever to do with them. It is difficult to know what the truth is, and people get very adamant about their versions.

              I say to people, that the whole thing is more complex than we think, and while there are almost certainly conspiracies and plots and plans there are almost certainly far more independent and conflicting ones than we can possibly keep track of. Probably the devil himself is running a number of them and influencing a whole bunch of other ones, but also there is the idea that Tommy Boyd came up with of Conspiracy By Default. I put that radio essay on YT and it’s well worth a listen to. Conspiracy By Default isn’t the whole answer either, but it’s in my opinion a useful PART of the answer.

              Joseph in the Bible says to his brothers when reunited with them, words to the effect of “don’t sweat it brethren, you may have had a bad intention towards me but God overruled it for good.” The interesting thing is that people can have the best of intentions, these are turned into something bad by others who have a mix of good and bad intentions, and in the end God sorts it all out anyway.

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