So, if any of you are still reading, I would like to pose a few questions:
1) If God doesn't need these gifts any longer then why bother to put them in 1Corinthians in such detail? Just to give us something to fight about? Or was Paul just giving us a history lesson?And here are a few thoughts that Paul from Exiled from Groggs posted at He Lives:
2) Does God no longer need us to minister to each other? Is the model we embrace today a we-have-the-bible-and-don't-need-the-Spirit paradigm? Is ministry now reduced to fleshly wisdom, power, speech and discernment?
3) Is there a lack of reality and transparency in some (large) Charimatic ministries that hype all sorts of healings and miracles? I know that I want to vomit every time a network news show probes into some televangelist's ministry and finds people that are evasive and unaccountable.
4) Does Cessationist theology come out of the pain of being sick and/or having prematurely lost loved ones? I honestly struggle with this idea. Losing my first wife after years of prayer for her and ministry to her was very difficult and challenging.
5) Are people tired of 'super spiritual' people talking down to them? I know that I have dificulty listening to some of these folks on TV ... of course I also have difficulty with the fundamentalist televangelists.
6) Does the bible give us an unbalanced view of spiritual gifts? It seems that the scripture gives us the highlights of the apostles' ministry and could make it seem that healings, miracles and spiritual gifts were the norm for everyday life.
7) Do our expectations around spiritual gifts get in the way? My friends Tony and Livie have a healing ministry and have witnessed all sorts of miraculous healings. Yet they would tell you that healing is a percentage game ... to see one person healed you have to pray for many many people ... not all are healed ... the gift is God's to give not ours.
Who are "missionaries" - not mentioned as such otherwise in the Bible? Wright suggests that they are people exercising the gift (not the office!) of apostleship - which then opens up whole areas of further discussion about what missionaries are supposed to do.Seems that the older I get I have more questions than answers. With regard to gifts I know that I have settled one question in my heart ... whether you are a Cessationist or not ... if you love Jesus then you are my friend and my brother or sister. In the essentials unity, in all else charity.
On what biblical basis do we distinguish between the "charismatic" gifts and the "gifts of the Spirit" that are given to all believers for the edification of the whole body?
Given that prophecy is fundamentally and has always been "forth-telling" God's will that he has already made known, rather than "foretelling" the future, are we clear that this is definitely not what is happening when certain preachers are speaking?
There are others. However, for me, "cessationist" is another label that has come to seem an oversimplification of what the Bible has to say, and probably closes down debates and builds walls rather than allowing people to think.