Thursday, October 24, 2013

Cessationism - The Ultimate Strawman


John MacArthur, pastor of Grace Community Church in California, held a conference a few days ago entitled “Strange Fire”. The theme was basically about the charismatic movement and about the validity of spiritual gifts in the church today. Here is the opening message given by MacArthur.

And as always I am struck by MacArthur’s doctrinal hubris because he castigated the entire movement and then openly suggested that reformed theology is God’s modern revelation of the unbroken stream of truth beginning at Pentecost. He never missed a chance to present reformed theology as the exclusive bastion of truth. In fact, sometimes subtly and sometimes not so subtly MacArthur makes the truth of the Scriptures and the reformed interpretation of those Scriptures as interchangeable.
But what really struck me was that he gave his opinion and read from John Owen and other Puritans, but he did not and could not exegete Scripture to show where the gifts have ceased which would Scripturally suggest that the entire foundation for Pentecostalism is flawed. There is a very real and obvious reason for that. There are no Scriptures that even hint at cessationism.
And yet these are the people who say they reject experience and adhere strictly to the teachings of Scripture even to the point of hubris. But when it suits them they can use their opinions and abuses by others to form their doctrine. They do not need Scripture because they already know what they believe. And as I have said in a former post this conference was professional in every detail complete with air conditioned sessions, accomplished speakers, material tables, motels and restaurant accommodation, and all the “blessings” of a hedonist society. The whole construct is like having a “I love chocolate ice cream” conference and have everyone who loves chocolate ice cream come from all over the world in order to hear how chocolate ice cream is the best and to eat much chocolate ice cream. Everyone goes home to eat more chocolate ice cream and castigate those who have no ice cream. Oh yes, even before they left their homes and headed for the chocolate ice cream conference their refrigerators were already stuffed with chocolate ice cream. Can you not see the irony and vacuous nature of such an event? And yet we are in the midst of a spiritual need much greater than ice cream.
But the people who came already believed what was going to be said and touted. And in spite of the hundreds of thousands of dollars that were spent and the finely crafted atmosphere of the event, in the end it was “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” despite MacArthur’s self serving contention that his camp were warriors in the end times sent and anointed to do warfare with the evil Charismatics.
Yes, there are many false teachers and many damnable heresies in sections of what we call the Charismatic or Pentecostal movement, but the world is in desperate need of something much greater than a doctrinal slugfest fought with self righteousness. The world needs to see and experience Jesus through the thoughts, the words, and the lives of those who know and follow Him. And that, my friends, is a challenge which most of the church has no thirst for. And where are the conferences that are free and call for a serious and sacrificial commitment to day and night praying and a serious return to living what Jesus taught? Making Jesus a champion of reformed or any other theology makes Him your own personal talisman and reduces Him to a doctrinal Savior. And in the end we strip Him of His Redeemer status and we make the gospel our own doctrinal message instead of the everlasting message of hope that it truly is!
But those who are militant about rightly interpreting God’s Word by comparing Scripture with Scripture seem to lose their moorings as it pertains to the gifts of the Spirit. They will quickly condemn anyone who pulls out one unsupported verse and create some doctrine. And yet here is the one, and only one, verse upon which these same people create the doctrine known as cessationalism, which means that the gifts of the Spirit have ceased.
I Cor.13: Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
And this Scripture, which is in the context of the supremacy of love, is what is suggested as foundational concerning the cessation of some of the gifts of the Spirit. So how then can you defend a cessationalist view?
In order for you to be a cessationist you must:

* Take one verse from I Cor.13 and expand it to mean something where there is no other supportive Scriptural hint anywhere else.
* Make unscriptural classes of the gifts ( sign gifts, etc.) because most would agree that helps, governments, teachers, etc. are still in effect today.
* Base your view primarily upon the abuse and misuse of spiritual gifts evident today.
* Believe that God the Spirit wrote how the gifts operated to a very small group and that many New Testament verses are now worthless because the gifts are now obsolete.
* Base most of the argument around the “sign gifts: which are connected to the Pentecostal/Charismatic realm primarily.
* You must deny documented evidence from different parts of the world which point to the miraculous working of the Spirit which seem to be identified as spiritual gifts.
And if you listen to MacArthur and others like him you will hear the points on this list. Are there misuses and abuses and bizarre manifestations which claim to be the gifts of the Spirit prevalent today? Of course, just like there are many bizarre variations and false teachings about the gospel, the Scriptures, and the Person of Christ as well. But the falsehoods do not diminish the authentic. And even though some of the falsehoods are extremely grievous and even blasphemous they still should not be the basis for suggesting that the genuine do not still exist. That contention must be fully supported by Scripture which in the case of spiritual gifts it is not. And in MacArthur’s case he presents a straw man without presenting clear Scriptural truth.
But the cessationist claims are used to form certain doctrinal cliques and they create quite an amen corner. I am no Calvinist. That has always been clear and I have never sought to hide that fact. I take strong difference with MacArthur and others over the five points of Calvinism. But I have been edified by many of MacArthur’s teachings, his Calvinism aside. I can even understand why they embrace their reformed doctrine and the Scriptures they use to support it. I disagree but I understand.
But on this issue I find his Scriptural support to be nonexistent and his Biblical exegesis to be disregarded. And although false teachings must be addressed within the body of Christ, we must not be altogether consumed with them and their teachers. Our calling by our Master is not to go into all the world and confront Charismatics. Our calling is to preach and live the everlasting gospel and the Lord Jesus Christ. That kind of conference I just might attend.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing your evaluation and critique of McArthur's statement. I will copy and save it.
There are horrible people and doctrines that have come from the Pentecostal and Charismatic "streams." I have left entire congregations and sets of friends and acquaintances in order to not tacitly approve of them nor to be defiled by them. Yet, I point out to all dear readers, disgusted as we may be of the dominionist and new age tripe now rampant in these circles, that they do not rather follow icons nor doctrines that have resulted in the torture and murder of true saints of God. The magisterial reformers did that. They murdered christians and laughed about it. They murdered Christians and taught their followers to do so. I cannot overlook that no matter how "correct" a doctrine of justification by faith may be. The Reformers and the Puritans persecuted true saints on the Continent and in America. I believe it is great deception that so many well-meaning believers hallow these men and their doctrines, willingly blinding their eyes to the murder. They thereby place higher value on intellectual and doctrinal correctness than on love, peace, and life in the Spirit of Truth. It is wrong to do so. I will not follow a murderer even if he spouts what is perceived to be "correct" teaching. The Reformers never dealt with the first and root corruption of the church: Constantinianism, also called sacralism: confusing the kingdom of God with earthly government and culture. That root corruption remains and produces its bad fruit these many centuries since Augustine, Luther, Calvin, et. al.

Reform theology, systematic theology, has hideous skeletons in its vestry closets. Murderers and those promoting murder--of anyone--but especially other followers of Jesus, are disqualified as teachers of "truth", because the nhave transgressed and fallen short of the most basic Truth: Jesus Who is Life and Peace and Love and reconciliation and self-sacrifice.

Everyone has an imperfect understanding of Scripture and doctrine. Thank God our salvation does not depend on our understanding! But on His regeneration and choosing! And those who have received His Spirit as sons of adoption, walk in His Spirit of redemption and mercy, not in murder and ambition for power. There is a lot of wrong stuff we can be in until the Lord instructs, reveals, corrects; but we cannot be in the SPIRIT of the devil who comes to kill and consider that we are born again. Please do not follow men whose theology led to murder of brothers and sisters; nor follow the men who follow those men. Reform systematic theology is not Truth (however little true ideas it may contain.) We are not to follow men nor to call ourselves after our favorite teachers.


Cherie c. said...

But Pastor Rick, If we view Charismatics as brothers and sisters in the Lord, those in authority in the church (men), are to discipline those who are in error, right?

Some preach damnable heresies.

Pastor Rick, I do no single out any one verse to confirm or deny the cessation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, I believe they were only for those in the early church. If you hold fast to that which is happening today, then we deny what Christ said about signs, wonders, and miracles. I believe only through prayer does God the Holy Spirit move.

Matthew 6:6
6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

And in Acts when the brethren prayed for Peter's release from prison:

Acts 12:5

5 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.

There is no mention of miracles other than with prayer.

Since Jesus said:

Matthew 24
23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.

24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

25 Behold, I have told you before.

I will hear the Lord and not man.

Consider who is speaking here. I know the Epistles are God Breathed, but Jesus spoke plainly. And yes, if you mentioned that 1Cor.13:8 is used to prove this, of which this is the first I am hearing this, I must agree that all fit together, not just this one verse. The fact that they use only one verse is suspect, but not a complete misuse either. Just a bit shortsighted. Like Calvinism is shortsighted.

Martin LLoyd Jones preached on this and you will find his take quite reasonable. He takes the discussion of election to a Scriptural and Spiritually based, reasonable theory based on the the first Adam and the last Adam, Jesus Christ. I invite you to listen to it. On the Martin Lloyd Jones trust site you can get his sermons, for free. You can search for a sermon by title, or Scripture.

I can see by this post that you may be a bit angry, and based upon what I know about John MacArthur, I can understand. I told you I spent a few months looking into some church leaders in all areas of this world including America, which has the most visible Christian leaders, so called and all have error.

All, and I mean all have error to some degree. Some most obvious, some not so much. But all have error. How did I come to this conclusion, as primitive as my research was, it was done using the Word of God as the only measuring stick. What I found most troubling is not many support widows and fatherless children like the Word says the church should do. Oh, MacArthur's Grace Community Church has something like that, but I didn't find it on the website. I had to ask. Yes, I called California and asked because it wasn't on the site that I could see. Lots of things for sale though. They did not appreciate my observation of that.

Cherie c. said...

When the focus of any ministry is other than the Gospel of Jesus Christ, then the world will step right up and in and you will find more flesh than Spirit.

However, judgement begins in the House of God, by God and we should all be on our knees in repentance and humility. I would venture to guess that if we had more group prayer meetings we would see true movement of the Holy Spirit and not signs, wonders and miracles we see today. And this is backed up by Scripture. This is proven with our prayers for both Jackie and Kim.

No, I do not believe in the gift of prophecy because we have a more sure Word of it. God's Word.

When Scripture is taken out of context error begins. I know I will be blasted for that so hold your peace please.

I used Scripture in another post to prove that Jesus was seen and heard by all peoples of His time not just those who would believe and be saved. This Scripture in context also says how those who come to Christ were drawn to Him by the Father. He was speaking of those who would be His Apostles. If you read the entire section, other disciples left. He then asked the twelve if they would leave too. So you see, this is one of the places election comes into play; when discussing those who would start the Church and write what we now call the Bible, people interject themselves into the Scripture.

I hope this doesn't disappoint you Pastor Rick, but I used what Jesus said to convince me that the "gifts" of the Holy Spirit are no longer evident. Only through prayer does He work now, as spoken by our Lord. No man convinced me, Scripture only, and how funny, not the verse you mentioned.

I guess that makes me a Cessationist. And from the sound of your post that might be a bad thing. If what happens in different parts of the world are signs, wonders and miracles, then I am suspicious of them. If they occurred by prayer then perhaps I could believe them, but we don't have a way of knowing, do we?

Grace and Peace from out Lord Jesus Christ and Father God.

your sister in Christ Jesus,
Cherie c.

Jackie, got your email. Will be responding later today. =D

Cherie c. said...

Amen Victoria,

Know the coming persecution will be those who think they are doing the Lord's service.

How are you dear sister Victoria. I have not seen a post from you in some time. I hope all is well.

Please email Pastor Rick and give him your email to pass along to me. I would enjoy corresponding with you.

your sister in Christ Jesus,
Cherie c.

Rick Frueh said...

I am not angry. But my post was to point out that you can be a cessationist however there is no Scriptural support. I have listened to Lloyd Jones for 35 years.

michael said...

Well here's another perspective. I posted this on another site:

Well I speak in tongues and that’s all I’m going to say about that.

I have seen the dead raised and instead of unite the islanders where that event occurred it divided these islanders in that region and in fact a few hours later I was pelted with rocks, yelled act and threatened and had to be removed from the area with the assistance of a number of people who acted as a human shield! Thanks Jesus, oh so nice of You to raise the dead and then some were incited to kill me!

I was at the Baltimore Washington airport waiting with a friend for an older couple to join us. We were picking them up and getting them to the hotel we all were staying at attending a business conference. As the couple came into view, they were the last to get off the plane, the woman was straining walking and being helped by her husband. She was in miserable pain. Once we got them to the hotel and checked into their room I prayed for this woman who had that morning twisted her leg dislocating it at her hip. She wanted to come to this prepaid conference thinking she could endure the pain. God answered my simple prayer and she yelled out loud jumped up and started praising God. Startled my senses right out of me! Within a couple hours she called me back to her room to share with some folks who heard about what had happened and wanted to have me share my faith. When I got to the room it was standing room only! By the end of the week long conference about hundred people rededicated their lives to The Lord with a few accepting the Gospel for the first time.

Another time at a Jewish synagogue I prayed for woman who was paralyzed and could only get around in a wheelchair. As I prayed she said her entire back was on fire and she felt movement in her spine. She didn’t jump out of the chair but did ask for my phone number. About six months later she calls inviting me to visit her at home in the San Francisco Bay Area to have dinner with her because she wanted to bless me for praying for her. I was already scheduled to be in the area so I agreed to pay her a visit. To my surprise when a co worker and I arrived at her house she came to the door herself fully restored walking full of joy!


michael said...

One time in Grants Pass Oregon while out walking and praying to The Lord a little girl was struck by a car. Where I was wasn’t far away from a hospital and I heard the sound of an ambulance go by a couple blocks away siren blaring by. The siren stopped just a couple blocks away from where I first heard it so I walked in that direction. As I came around the corner I saw a crowd of people standing around looking in the same direction and place. There were two policemen standing there too. I walked up to them asking about what happened. They told me so I asked if it would be ok to pray for the little girl. They said I could so I moved myself through the crowd to see her being attended to by the paramedic first responders. I knelt down and said to them the cops said I could pray for the little girl stopping them from what they were doing. I prayed and she jump straight up and began praising The Lord!

While in Sierra Leone I was being introduced to a chieftain of a tribe when a woman came out of the woods yelling horribly going to each hut saying something. I asked my guide what was all the commotion and after listening to her said her dad was just bitten by a black mumba snake. He said it was sad because no one he knew ever bitten survived. I asked him to go ask her if I could pray for her dad. They took me to him deep into the bush. As we came down a foot path I could hear him thrashing on the ground then I saw him foaming at the mouth. As I stepped close to him putting my hand on his head I felt something leave my hand and before I could say one word this guy jerks back and sits up and says his head is spinning! Then he just sat there calm and peaceful. I then prayed a prayer of blessing and we left. The next morning this man and a very large group came to where I was with a goat to offer a sacrifice to their god and me! Of course I protested and was unwilling to allow that. I just shared the Gospel and the Holy Spirit did the rest!

Now I’ve been in church ministry for about forty years but never did these sorts of things happen in a canned way. They happened spontaneously and without me initiating it out in public places or by request. It seems to me these promotions to pay big bucks for entry fees plus food and lodging to get your healing is overshadowing what God is really doing with His people. I don’t believe I have the gift of healing! I can’t just willy nilly go and lay hands on sick, crippled and demon possessed people when I want to. What I’ve experienced was a God initiated set up situation where I was caught off guard or led into a situation to pray. That seems to be what the Holy Spirit teaches and the way His sign gifts work.

I’m always thrilled when chooses me. I take no credit for how God does His miracles, signs and wonders just I’m glad He still does them today!

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!!

Anonymous said...

Pastor Rick, I viewed the podcast of the opening of John MacArthur’s conference. When he started speaking about what all those other men had written books about the subject of that conference and not using the Bible to dispute the claims made by Charismatics and Pentecostals, I shut it down. I felt as though the Lord was telling me don’t waste your time with this. I have given you a job to do, you take care of that, I will deal with this My way.

I appreciate the time you have taken to research and point out the utter uselessness of these “Conferences”.

Rick, I did not go to Bible College, I went to Farriers’ School (that’s horseshoeing). When I nailed a shoe on a horse I had to make that piece of steel fit the hoof, I could not change the hoof to fit the shoe. It is pretty much the same here with this situation. We use the Word of God to fit our lives to Him through Jesus. God does not change nor can His Word change. So that leaves one thing, we need to change. I am of the same mind that you are, and that is are we going to sit by and watch millions enter hell or are we going to get moving and help rescue the lost and dying.

Cherie, I want to ask you is anything different today than it was 2,000 years ago? I am not talking about technological advances or the such. I am talking about the Bible, where does it say in scripture that God was going to cease doing what He started. I believe it us/we who want to limit God in what He wants us/we to do. I for one am very grateful to God for the way He and only He can keep my broke down wreck of body to keep going every day. One of my doctor’s use to tell me you are going to die, because I did not want to use a certain replacement therapy. I would always tell him “and the problem with that is?”. We cannot limit God.


Anonymous said...

My bible verse for today was Acts 1:8.

The apostles asked Jesus, "Lord, will you at this time restore the Kingdom to Israel?" And He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His authority".

Verse 8: But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth".

AND TO THE END OF THE EARTH. North America wasn't reached until the late 1500's based on historic records. It's obvious that God's word was spread for centuries beyond the apostles lifetimes. So, if the empowerment was only for His Apostles for that time, how could the future generation of disciples reach without that special empowerment? If Jesus says it, why is it so hard for a christian to accept it?


Anonymous said...

Cherie, you are negating your own argument here with this statement, “There is no mention of miracles other than with prayer.” How many other sermons has Pastor Rick put on this blog about being in prayer without ceasing? Also, I think that the most important of all miracles are the ones where a un-believer becomes a believer in Jesus Christ! A changed life, changed for eternity! We seem to get narrow minded when it comes to God still performing miracles. God has never done anything different today than He did in the past. We do not have, because we do not ask.

Jesus, Himself was often in prayer to the Father. When Jesus fed the multitudes, First He Prayed.

Before Jesus raised Lazarus from the grave, He Prayed. We do not have, because we do not ask.


Anonymous said...

Thank you Michael for sharing - I always rejoice when the Lord delivers and heals and uses the Body so mightily -- to God be all the glory, amen!


Anonymous said...

I had never heard of 'cessationism' since these past few weeks. My church experience and bible teachings were done by men with little education, but when they preached, the Word came alive.

I know that these churches had some errors, as so many do. But the errors weren't soul-destroying. We were taught about legalistic holiness and tithing and the church followed the world system with clergy controlling the laiety and keeping them dependent and submissive to the denominational hierarchy. But, with the Spirit's help, I sifted through all the minors and still have more to sift through, but thank the Lord, I know He touched me and I've never been the same.

No one can take away another man's testimony.

The pharisees tried to excommunicate the healed man, from blindness. They reviled him and tried to get him to deny it was from Jesus. John 9 - verse 24-25: "So they again called man who was blind and said to him: "Give God the glory! We know this Man is a sinner." He answered and said: "Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see."


Cherie c. said...

Joel, I said I believe in the power of prayer, not someone laying hands on someone. It is for show. How do I know, the Scriptures. Most people take it out of context. I never said God doesn't answer prayers I said there are no signs, wonders and miracles as the Charismatics and Pentecostals believe.

No, Jesus, God the Father and God the Holy Spirit are the same as they were in the beginning, in the Old Testament, and the New Testament, as well as today. The problem is that people have changed and for the worse. Please read the Bible in Context. I am not a preacher but I can read the Bible. I read it as it is written and it says what it says. I don't know why but people seem to miss very key words and phrases.

I know God heals, I am proof of that. So many times I should have been dead. But He let me live. Someone out there was praying for me and didn't even know it. It has been a while but I believe God has awakened me in the middle of the night to pray and I have, half asleep, but I have. I don't know who or what it was for, but I did as He guided. But that is not a sign, or a wonder or some prophecy, or some grand laying on of hands and demanding something. It was prayer. Prayer. In context....the power given to the Apostles are not for us today dear brother. Jesus said so when He warned us about signs, wonders and miracles. They needed those gifts to start the early church. And tongues, that is another word for language, not some ancient babbling. Other tongues is other languages. The Charismatics and Pentecostals and other apostate churches speak in some strange mumblings and babble. Act 2 is quite clear on what they were speaking.

I am not confining God, who am i to even think i could? I am nothing, but I read His Word and I believe what it says. That is all.

My sister, before she became a Sabbath Keeper was part of some local, so called christian ministry in my area. They were in the local paper a few years back because they would feed the homeless on the streets of Asbury Park, yes that Asbury Park.

Well, the "pastor" was a very evil man. He committed fornication and adultery with many of the women in this ministry, including my sister.

But what hurt the most was that when my niece, my sister's daughter was laying there dying form leukemia, she let this heretic do his routine over her demanding that God heal her. My sister is my twin, and her daughter was my daughter. We were so close. She was the sister my son Jeff never had. As I stood there watching her take her last breathe and try to keep breathing myself, this so called pastor became so cold towards them. I guess he thought they didn't have enough faith to raise her from the dead. I wanted to go and punch in right in the mouth. Anger welled up inside of me and I just wanted to scream at him. It was bad enough she was dying, but what made it worse was his show. It wasn't for Kimmie, it was for him.

He needed to find a way to explain why he failed. He failed because it was Kimmie's time. How my sister could let this happen I still to this day wonder why. What a hold this man had on the women of this so called church.

Cherie c. said...

If God wants you healed, He will heal you when you pray. I agree that God can do anything, but He has told us all in His Word.

No, I am no longer bitter towards this man. He is in desperate need of a Savior, and so is my sister. So am I for that matter and I hope He accepts me. The biggest clue we have is the absence of denominations in the Word of God. John MacArthur is a Calvinist. Calvin was a man. So there you have it. Do I think some of his sermons are good, yes, when he preaches Law and Grace.

I will end this with this:

You can believe in signs, wonders, and miracles if you like. I haven't read that that is a sin, but you will not be prepared for the harlot church or the anti-christ when the time comes. If you're still here when it happens. That is all. I love you enough to be concerned, you too Joel =D You too Michael =D
You too Pastor Rick =D Victoria, Jackie, Kim and the all the Anonymous ones. =D

your sister in Christ Jesus,
Cherie c.

Cherie c. said...

Oops! I forgot to proofread my comment before clicking publish. Please forgive me if I misspelled or was grammatically incorrect. I hope you can understand what I wrote.

Cherie c. said...

Also, please forgive me for my untimely thanks for praying for me.

God Bless.

Cherie c. said...


―Dr. Jack Hyles (Loyal Pastor of First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana for over 42 years!)

Lord let me live from day to day,
In such a self-forgetful way,
That even when I kneel to pray,
My prayer shall be for others.
Others, Lord, yes, others;
Let this my motto be.
Help me to live for others
That I may live like Thee.


Anonymous said...

Michael, thanks for the testimonies of our good God. I can share many similar testimonies of miraculous healings and words of knowledge to guide in situations, in answer to prayer, as we preached and shared the gospel. I pray in tongues.

What is today called charismatic and Pentecostal is seriously flawed and hurts people and hurts faith and hurts the witness of Jesus, but bad religion has always been around and has always sucked in followers.

There is plenty of phoney baloney, but it doesn't invalidate the real working of the Lord and His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is holy, and humble, and loving, and always magnifies Jesus. That's how we are to know if something is of the Lord or not--test the spirit of it.

Thank you for your greeting, Cherie! You bless me. I'm well. I feel the love of a family in Christ among us. Appreciate Rick who is a pastor to create this cyber-place and minister the Word to us.


Anonymous said...

Modern day "healing"...

My concern is this...since I've been a Christian, over 3 decades, I have yet to see "one true, proven" healing...

I don't want to preach, but let me share the "1st" healing done by the Apostle Peter and John...the gate beautiful, we all know let's read the outcome -

Acts 4
And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes, as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?”

The Peter gave his case...and then -

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, saying, “What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.

Point, back then they didn't have TV, radio, newspapers, internet, books of testimonies, x-rays, copy machines ect... and yet - All the people in the region knew that a "true miracle" took place...

Don't you think Jesus walked passed that man once or twice?...could it be God was using this miracle through the hands of the Apostles?

Today, all these claims of miracles and all the modern technology we have to prove them yet all healings I see leave one wondering...

I'm not saying I don't believe, I'm just saying I'm left wondering...every time a preacher is challenged, he can't prove it, yet when Apostle Peter and John were challenged, the miracle spoke for itself...

Anonymous said...

Cherie, I don't beleive a lot of the charlatons on TV or the ones who claim to have that power to demand that God heal someone.

God does not do as we command. Also everything we ask of the Father should be for His glory, His alone.


Cherie c said...

Sorry, I need prayer. Doctor is not very nice.

Anonymous said...

Cherie. I wanted to share this passage with you. It's 1Cor.14:1-4 "Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. But he who prophecies seeks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies, edifies the church."

And also, in chapter 13, "Though I speak with the tongues of men and OF
ANGELS (MY CAPS), but have not love, I have become sounding brass on a clanging cymbal.

I'm not preaching this to you; I need spiritual wisdom too, but just showing that there are passages which confirm that the church, the Body, always needed to minister with more than the law. Yes, all spiritual gifts will fall away, and the Word will stand, but until that time, I believe it was always the Lord's intent, from what I read from Acts to Revelation, that He hand us the keys, His Word through the Holy Spirit through the writers, Paul, John, Peter, etc. We have been given the blueprints on how to "go out into the world" and it's evident from reading here, that there is much more than the traditional churches of past were willing to let on.

I believe that men have taken the Holy gifts and misused them and just because some have, doesn't mean that scripture is wrong. It proves than men are carnal. I would tremble at calling out those who love Jesus will all their soul, heart and mind, dabbling with some other 'fire' before I knew and studied every word from Acts through to the epistles. From reading, it's all laid out that there is no harm in speaking in tongues (other languages or the language of angels). I can't find the verse in there, am still searching, but it was advising the saints when they pray, to pray in the Spirit, and even though they were not decipherable words, to pray in the Spirit, for the Holy Spirit understood the things our heart needed to say, that we ourselves can't sometimes express. Why wouldn't a child of God not want to share this most holy gift with others?


Anonymous said...

Found it!

In 1 Cor. 14: 1 and 2: "Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. For he would speaks in a tongue, does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries."

And Jesus Himself said, in Mark 16:17 - "And these signs will follow those who believe. In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; They will take up serpents, and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."

Amen and Amen, Lord.


Anonymous said...

James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ wrote in James, by the inspired Word of God, in chapter 5, verse 13: "Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed".

There are so many ways to reach God's mercy and throne, but I thought I'd share this one. We can ask the elders, we can become missionaries, evangelists, preaching the gospel and laying on of hands for the sick, (which Jesus said would follow them that believe). We can pray ourselves in our prayer closet. We can pray at the Lord's supper, while we partake, where Jesus asked us to do it in memory of Him. We can pray in a group, in a meeting, in a home, in our national tongue, or in angels tongues. I still haven't got them all yet. We can pray 5,000 miles away for a friend. We can do all this because of Jesus. It's all there in plain language in the bible. It's like getting a brand new revelation when I read this today. Praise the Lord!!!!!!


Anonymous said...

I would like to state that there is a miracle that is performed countless times a day, but yet we miss it. It is the miracle of a un-believer being changed into a believer in Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit comes upon the un-believer and convicts him of his need for the Savior. That precious blood of Jesus flows over them and washes away the sin stained life. That is a miracle and all glory, honor and praise go to God. The miracle of a changed life, changed for eternity. All miracles have to bring glory to God.

Just as stated in Matthew 9: 1-8, Mark 2: 1-12 and Luke 5: 17-26, only God can forgive sin. Only God can remove the curse of death from sin.


Cherie c said...

I need this distraction. Waiting on the doctor and trying to stay calm. J, please continue reading the entire section, it doesn't stop at verse 4.

Anonymous said...

Miracles were to confirm the word the Apostles were speaking...that was to the Kingdom of God being established because the Jew needs a sign...

Also, there were signs of an Apostle - 2 Corinthians 12:12
Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.

Now the fullness of the word is here, the gentiles believe by faith, no sign needed...

Even towards the end of Apostle Paul's ministry, the signs of an Apostle were ceasing...timothy and others were sick and were not healed...

the transition to the dispensation of grace did not come with all the signs and wonders or they would be here today in the same fullness as they were back then...

We are healed the same way we are saved, by Prayer...

That's why you don't see the signs and wonders that were at the hands of the Apostles...

Agree 100% with Joel...the greatest miracle is being translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of Jesus Christ, a baptism by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ!...Born Again

Anonymous said...

Cherie, you must be home by now. Hopefully, your appointment is over and all is well.

Yes, I read through 14th chapter of 1 Corinthians, which I read before. And yes, Paul in the last verses 18 and 19 say: "I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all; yet in the church I would rather speak five words would have one speak 5 words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue".

I conclude from reading that portion that Paul is discussing the spiritual gifts and their use in the church, for the church. Of course,it is most definitely better to speak to others and preach, but we know there are many cynics out there. God wants them to hear the words of our language, but when they block their heart or ears out, God decides to show them how real He is. Sometimes, a guest in a revival needs to hear the unbelievable and that will draw him to the Lord. Others hear, and easily become born-again. There are so many different ways men come to God, and this example in the Book of acts shows that the jews of the time were cynical and hard to convince. I would say the church today is in that same condition.

It's evident to me from reading through those chapters, that many spoke in tongues, and were encouraged to pray "in the Spirit" not just for the church.

Of course, I agree, scripture isn't exactly clear on some of this discussion. But all I know is this. The Lord, the author and finisher of our faith, came down as a rushing mighty wind and filled all who were waiting for this promise. The crowd's response when they heard it was that they must be drunk. And we read later that this is for non-believers, that they may hear and possibly be ministered to, hearing a word that speaks to their heart, or things that no one else would know about them personally, and they would believe it is God and would be saved. But, why do people recoil when the following generations of believers experience this? What is so difficult or offensive to some when they hear this today? Is it jealousy? Why would the Lord be able to manifest himself in such a way to have a believer like in Acts start speaking in another language or an unknown or angelic language? Wouldn't it not overwhelm the one receiving the gift? If one of you repented and felt the strong presence of God on you and all of a sudden one felt to open their mouth and supernaturally a language came out, wouldn't that person run to the Word immediately and leap for joy and praise God?

I just don't understand why the prophecy of Joel that Peter spoke in acts 2 is waved off as some kind of myth. Why is it that men in our churches try so desperately to avoid this part of scripture?


Anonymous said...

bcorcoran: You say you have never seen a real healing. I appreciate your caution to be careful and sure. But I can say I have seen many many healings; been involved in many. Never in a "showy" situation like the abuses of these celebrity ministers. Always confirming the preaching of Jesus and sharing the gospel. Some over the phone while praying on the phone with someone. Jesus broke the curse of sin and death, of which sickness is a part. We do not demand nor command healing, but Jesus does still heal in large and small ways because He is the same always.
Peace to you, Victoria

Anonymous said...


I've seen 100's of "professed" healings...yet, I wonder, many people love (attention), many come to the front with headaches, arm pains, back pains ect...and are healed...

Most sickness is in someone's own mind...a bit of positive reinforcement, some excitement, a bit of screaming and hollering from the pulpit, oil and laying on of hands and bingo, people sometimes even fall down, stand and give testimony the pain is gone...

But what about the mentally retarted, the wheelchair bound, the one wheeled in on a stretcher, the "true" cancer victim, the one that has a blood disease or heart disease...I never see these people healed...NEVER

All I am saying is I was saved 30 years ago, brought up in the healing and prosperity arena, found that the prosperity preaching was not scriptural and I'm seeing the healing meetings with the "big name" coming to town watching those I know that are sick, broken, dying and not getting's always the people that you can't prove they are sick that are healed and the only reason to believe they are sick or in pain is because they say x-rays, no testimony of a 3rd party, no stated, much pain and sickness is in someone's own mind...

Look up a minister by the name of "Justin Peters"...he has a wonderful testimony of going to a Benny Hinn Crusade...listen as he gives a breakdown of his experience...


Anonymous said...

God can speak against blood disease or any ailment that befalls His creation. It is His sovereign decision and He will not change His thinking on the matter no matter how "popular" a tele evangelist is.

Anonymous said...

Believing you can speak a supernatural tongue or language to spread the gospel is lunacy!

I don't talk in tongues and the whole subject leaves me baffled, for I can't see how any student of the Bible who feeds himself on food that God has supplied for man to eat can't see that one of the forms of tongues that was in existence at the time of the early church is no longer in existence!

People no longer have the supernatural ability to speak in different languages to other people about the good news. That unique episode of history is long over, for God Himself put an end to it!!

Anonymous said...

bcorcoran: I saw a man whose hand had been useless for years resulting from the tendon being severed by a machete, who when he placed his faith in Jesus after hearing preaching in the jungle of southern India, was instantaneously healed and he grasped onto my husband's arm with startling gusto. We did not know why this man grabbed my husband so strongly as we prayed with him, not having any knowledge of what he was about because we cannot understand Telegu and he cannot speak English; so after awhile we moved on to place our hands in faith in prayer for the next hungry and desperate soul in the press of people. Only until the following evening when that man gave a humble testimony did we learn of the dramatic miraculous healing, and that only because one of the native humble poor preachers told us. A woman who was blind also received her sight during that time of preaching and prayer, and many other "signs" that confirmed the word preached that Jesus has conquered sin and bondage to it. The woman was led into the meeting by friends; she was able to walk out seeing light and shapes, and her sight improved more over the next few days.

True, there is not much of this that is genuine in the first world, but among the unreached and desperate, the Lord confirms the preaching of Jesus in powerful ways, and many come to trust in Him as the testimonies and witness go forth. Praise you, Jesus! He loves the least and has boundless compassion.

By the way, we ourselves felt nothing but fatigue, heat, sweat, flea bites, sore butts from sitting in tiny vehicles and on wooden benches for days,and boredom during the hours of preaching in Telegu which was unintelligible to us, but we were there to share Christ and His gospel, and so we did what we were asked to do by our native hosts. We sometimes preached with an interpreter, but mostly late into the night we prayed for people one by one coming in faith and repentance to seek the reality of Jesus. Sometimes we went into the jungle to a mud and grass hut to pray for one too sick, too insane, or too demonically afflicted to make the journey to the pendal where the meeting took place. How priviledged I have been!

Steve said...

Rick's most important point seems sufficient: there's no solid scriptural basis to support "cessationism."

It also seems wise to be skeptical of any interpretive system that says scripture's teachings don't apply to our time, society, or selves.

In Jesus, Steve

Anonymous said...

I believe there is takes more than a reply on this blog to prove it...the proof is in the pudding so to speak...

Where are the miracles that were being done at the hands of the Apostles?

I can pretty much believe anyone that has children suffering from cancer, yes they pray, but I can bet the child goes in for scientific, medical help... why?... because we don't want to say we don't believe in healing, but we are saying that by our actions...

Anything more than aches and pains in our children, it's not the elders of the church we go, it's off to Dr. so and so...

Back in the days of the Apostles, believers didn't have that luxury...

So, we say, well, God uses Doctors...I believe He does...but that's not the "signs and wonders" that the Apostles were walking in...

2 Corinthians 12:12
Indeed, the signs that indicate a [genuine] apostle were performed among you fully and most patiently in miracles and wonders and mighty works.

Apostle Paul was "the last" Apostle of Christ, therefore the signs and wonders that accompanied that office are gone...

We have apostles of the church today, they call them missionaries, but they are not the office of the 5 fold ministry...the foundation is already laid, therefore, an apostle that was inspired to write epistles is no longer needed...we have the fullness of the word...

Do people get healed today supernaturally?...absolutely, the same way they are prayer and faith...


Rick Frueh said...

Everyone is entitled to an opinion. However you still have not provided clear Scriptural evidence. There is none.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I misunderstood your post I guess...I thought this was pretty much proof -

2 Corinthians 12:12
Indeed, the signs that indicate a [genuine] apostle were performed among you fully and most patiently in miracles and wonders and mighty works.

Apostle Paul was the last Apostle of Jesus Christ because the qualifications of an Apostle was you "had to see the risen Lord"

1 Corinthians 15:5-8
and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles.

Then "LAST OF ALL" He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.

How did Apostle Paul know he was the "last" to see the risen Lord?...there was no media back then...How could he say he was the last one?...he must of know by "revelation"...

If special signs of an Apostle were given to the Apostles, and Paul was the last Apostle, then the special signs that were given the Apostle to prove they were Apostles have ceased because there are no more order to be an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, you have to qualify...that's why only "two" in the upper room qualified...You must see "the risen Lord"

1 Peter 1:8
whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory

Again, maybe I'm not answering the question in your blog because I don't understand...blessings

Rick Frueh said...

So why would the Spirit inform the Corinthian believers concerning spiritual gifts if they were only and exclusively for apostles?

Anonymous said...

I don't believe I said they were for Apostles exclusively...I have to believe (although) you can't prove by scripture, that those gifts operate because of the love of God for His creation...

Many parts of the world don't enjoy hospitals, medicine and such as we have here in the argument is:

I've never seen a true miracle in 30 years, ie cancer, blood diseases, jumping out of wheel chair and backed by proof of a doctor statement or an x-ray...the only healings I've seen are neck pains, back pains and such and only because the person says so...

if those gifts are operating, they must be operating somewhere in 3rd world countries where they don't enjoy state of the art hospitals, medication, doctors and nurses...I can't say the spiritual gifts in Corinthians have ceased because there is no scripture...I can say the "signs and wonders" that accompanied the Apostles have ceased because Apostle Paul was the last one...

Else, fox news, MSNBC, ABC, NBC would carry the news, God is healing in America!...the only thing those news channels carry is "false healers" are taking people's money...

Remember, the first healing at the gate beautiful in Acts, everyone knew that man was crippled and the Pharisees couldn't say one thing about it...

sorry for debating...please don't post, I don't want to go back and forth on your blog...blessings

Anonymous said...

The most important thing to know is that the LORD can and still does cure cancer and blood diseases! He has the phenomenal ability to cure any disease! What diseases He decides to cure is His sovereign decision.

Reine Gnade

Anonymous said...

Yes, that's true Reine...God can do is the big issue...

If, and I emphasize (if), we are in the last days, why would God have "signs and wonders" still available, yet warn of the following:

Matthew 24:24
For "false christs" and "false prophets" will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

The average nominal Christian get "hoodwinked" by these individuals...why?...they seek signs and wonders...

Makes me wonder about "signs and wonders" in the last days...yes God can do anything, but seems strange He would have "signs and wonders" operating in the last days, knowing this is going on so close to deceive the elect if possible...that is pretty much (image), close as possible looking the real thing...

Bottom line, if we are in the last days, these "false signs and wonders" are in our midst...and many are being deceived...

So, who out there is going to separate the "true" signs and wonders from the "false"

Rick Frueh said...

Yes, those are legitimate questions. However there still is no Scriptural evidence of any partial cessation of certain gifts. In fact there are many verses about the operation of the gifts and how to guard against their abuse.

Cherie c. said...

@ brcorcoran

You and I seem to be the only ones who can see that Scripture explains Scripture. That Jesus' warning means nothing anymore. That in Context, tongues and the sign gifts are not continued in the chronology of the early church. That the early church fathers did not have those abilities after John went home to the Lord. That prophecy is all inclusive of the Bible and nothing outside of God's Word is of God. This is according to Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Who speaks for our Father. I am only going by what the Word says. I could be wrong. I was told today in few words from my sister that sinners will not go to heaven, and that truly born again believers no longer sin. That if I repent everyday, I am not saved. I have begged the Father to tell through His Word if this was true. And one of the Scriptures I came across was

John 9:16
16 Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them

As there is division today. Now I will go through the next few days wondering with tears and trembling if I am saved and if I should observe the Sabbath this coming Saturday. My sister says she doesn't sin, that she is able to bring her thoughts into submission when the enemy puts thoughts into her head. That she is able to avoid sin that she is only tempted. How can this be? How can this be? Since my mean words to my husband the other day, I am now wondering if I am saved and today is like a knife to my heart when all I have is belief in the Lord. I do not know what to do to be accepted by Him. So unless I am not reading the Word of God in context, and it doesn't say what I think it says, I am doomed.

So many views on God's Word, but no one wants to teach the truth. What do we agree on? What hope do we have if so many are so divided in the house of God. And those of us who are desperate to have a relationship with the Lord are left alone to wonder. Can we ever truly feel joy and enjoy our faith? I wish we could have what the early church had, true fellowship and oneness in the Lord. There are so many sides. Which is right? Does anyone really know? My heart breaks to think I have it wrong and I am going to hell.

Anonymous said...

@ Cherie c.

oh my dearest sister...Christ is the end of the law...Glory!...your sister is in deep, deep trouble...if you live by the law, and break just one part of the law, you're guilty of all...

Jesus Christ is your salvation Cherie...

I walked in "legalism" most of my Christian say this..."legalism" is a Christian's way of putting others into bondage to what they believe the truth is...

You are "free" in Christ...I find the most liberty in doing my best to "imitate" God and loving others as Christ loves me...

Rest in your faith in the following

Romans 10:9-10
King James Version (KJV)
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Anything added to this is "another gospel"...

Jesus Christ loves you more than you can fathom...put your trust totally in Him, He never fails...

Anonymous said...

Hey Pastor Rick's post entitled (IS IT LAW OR IS IT LIFE)? it's a post a couple up from this one

I'm sorry if I misread...I thought you said your sister goes to Church keeping the Sabbath...apologies...