Hebrews 1:1-2 (NKJV) God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;
One of the major differences between Cessationists and Continuationists concerns the issue of God speaking to His children. Cessationists believe that the only way that God speaks to His children today is from the pages of the written word of God, the Bible. Therefore Cessationists believe that when anyone declares that “the Lord spoke to them,” they are in error, or deception.
Cessationists believe that dreams, visions, prophetic utterances all ended by the end of the first century church age. As stated in an earlier post, Cessationists believe that these manifestations were only for the purpose of establishing the gospel and ministry of the apostles, but have since passed away.
Because of this, they believe that anyone who professes to give a prophetic word from the Lord, or to have seen a vision, or had a dream from the Lord as being deceived. They believe that all such declarations are purely extra-biblical, and that they have no place in today’s church. For this reason, many Cessationists label many Charismatics as false prophets, or false brethren. On numerous occasions I have heard one particular radio host boldly proclaim various Charismatic ministers to be false teachers, false prophets, or even of the occult.
The Authority of Scripture Alone: It is of the utmost importance to realize that everyone that professes to speak for God today does not. Many Christians are ignorant of the clear teachings of the Bible and as such they tend to imagine that anyone who professes to speak for the Lord is legitimate, no matter how wacky or contrary to Scripture what they say may be.
The Church at Corinth had this same problem and the apostle Paul wrote to them so that they would not be ignorant of the workings and manifestations of the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 12:1-3 (NKJV) Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant: 2 You know thatyou were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led. 3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.
Paul told these believers that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God is going to declare something that is clearly contrary to the teachings of Scripture. Therefore, as a Christian you must establish in your understanding that the Bible is your absolute final authority. Anyone who declares that their words are to be received with equal authority of Scripture is in absolute error, and as such, what they claim should be rejected.
No prophetic utterance since the early church is on equal authority with the written word of God. Jesus confronted this during his earthly ministry. The Jewish leaders had come to believe that their authority was to be received on equal footing with God’s written word. They had exalted their oral traditions to equal authority with God’s word and as such were bringing people into bondage to requirements that were not biblical.
Mark 7:13 (NLT) And so you cancel the word of God in order to hand down your own tradition. And this is only one example among many others.”
This is one of numerous differences that I have with the teachings of the Catholic and Mormon Churches. The Catholic church teaches that church traditions are on equal authority with the written word of God, and the Mormon church teaches that the words of their prophets are equal to God’s written word. Nothing could be further from the truth in either case.
If God Still Speaks Today, How Does He Do So? We will examine this subject in part two of this post.