Cessationists basically and generally believe that the supernatural gifts recorded in Scripture ceased at the end of the age of the Apostles, or with the death of the Apostle John. Continuationists basically and generally believe that the supernatural gifts have never ceased, and most don’t agree that the age of the Apostles has ended.
From the research I’ve done, it seems that Cessationists establish their position on 1 Corinthians 13:10, “but when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.”
They interpret “that which is perfect as come” to mean the canon of Scripture. The canonization of Scripture was a critical proof test applied to many documents to determine if they were inspired by God and written by men. The Catholics have additional books, The Apocrypha, in their Bible, believing them worthy whereas the Protestants do not.
While I agree that Scripture, the Word of God, is infallible, I do not believe it is Scripture that 1 Corinthians 13:10 refers to with the phrase “that which is perfect has come.”
The Greek word for the word perfect in this passage is teleios. According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance (5046) the word means “brought to the end, finished; lacking nothing necessary to completeness; perfect.” Additionally the cross references for the word teleios takes us to Isaiah 24:23; 60:19-20 and Revelation 21:22; 22:4-5. These verses clearly refer to Jesus Christ. From this much, I conclude that 1 Corinthians 13:10 refers to Jesus.
While the Son of God does not need to be perfected, His Bride (meaning all Believers), does. I take the position that the supernatural gifts will cease when the Bride has made herself ready, (Revelation 19:7) by the power of the Holy Spirit, and Jesus returns.
The Apostle Paul went to great lengths to teach Christians to use spiritual gifts to withstand the enemy and overcome his evil attacks. The enemy is spirit and by spiritual power he attacks. Christ died to provide us a victorious, abundant life over the enemy. Christ also instructed, often with stern warning, about the increase of all manner of evil in the last days.
It seems entirely inconsistent with the revealed character, will and intentions of God to withdraw spiritual abilities, at a time when Believers need them the most. Does it make sense that New Testament Believers would have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, but that He would be limited in the demonstrations of His power in and through us, in light of what Christ has done?
I welcome your comments on this and the future posts I have planned on this topic. So, what are your thoughts?
Watch for Pamela’s second book in the Faith to Live By book series, Renew Your Hope! Remedy for Personal Breakthrough, that teaches how to have the spiritually effective faith that Christ died to provide. It’s expected to be available late 2014.