As a result of my two recent articles on Pastor John MacArthur and strange fire and holy fire, I’ve had a lot of interaction with cessationists — those who deny that the miraculous gifts of the Spirit are for today — and, to be totally candid, I find it odd that they seem to make such a distinction between the Word and the Spirit’s miraculous work.
Don’t these two fit perfectly together like a hand in a glove?
- The Spirit and the Word work together just as much as the Father and the Son work together. Who would make a distinction there?
- The Word points me to the Spirit and the Spirit points me to the Word, and both point to Jesus for the glory of the Father.
- It is the Word that makes totally clear to me that the miraculous gifts are to continue and play a vital role until Jesus returns to the earth. To deny the gifts is to deny the Word.
- Prayer, worship, evangelism, study of the Scriptures, and fellowship with God are all to be bathed in the Spirit, so there’s no difference between the Spirit stirring my heart in worship and the Spirit convicting me of sin and the Spirit giving me a word of revelation. It’s like swimming in the water or diving into the water or sailing on the water — all just different aspects of the same wonderful experience.
- There is just as much deception that comes through people misinterpreting the Scriptures as there is through people ignoring the Scriptures. Cessationists and charismatics can both be deceived (and are often deceived), and the best way to avoid deception is by living in the Word and the Spirit — with a pure, humble heart before God, in healthy relationship with the people of God.
- I love God with my mind and my heart as a whole human being. Why make such a sharp distinction between the intellect and the emotions? Doesn’t good news bring us joy and bad news bring us sorrow? I can pray in tongues with a deep burden from the Lord, then my mind gets enlightened to something I’ve been praying about for months, then I sit down and began to write on that theme, using all my ancient language sources — and it’s the same Spirit on me the whole time. Why split the heart and the mind? Why split the Word and the Spirit? Or why only recognize the Spirit when He works on our minds and not on our hearts?
- If we liken our lives (and ministries) to a sail boat, the Word is our compass and the rudder; the Spirit is the wind in our sails. Both are essential for us to arrive at our destination.
Those are just a few of my thoughts on this, and while I’m sure that cessationists have things to teach charismatics and vice versa, I can’t personally relate to separating the Word from the Spirit in all His glorious working.
What are your thoughts?