Thoughts on the Gospel and the Charismatic (Part Three)Wednesday, March 09, 2005
In part one of this min-blog I suggested that there were two elements to the charismatic dimension in Scriptures: its relationship to the local church and its relationship to those outside the church. This latter one is dealt with here.
When I refer to those outside the church I refer to those who have not yet received the gospel of Christ and savingly believed its message. I contend here, and in more detail in part four of this mini-blog, that an element of the charismatic is commonly present when the message of redemption was proclaimed, in both Old and New Testaments. Common objections and further questions are given here. And please remember, this is a BLOG! It is not a theological paper. A blog is simply intended to be a web log of thoughts.
If, as cessationism says, signs, wonders, and miracles were performed during the time of Christ and the apostles only or primarily to authenticate or endorse the gospel message (Acts 2:22), what is it about the gospel message in the present that needs no authentication or endorsement by God in these says ways?
In other words, if God sovereignly determined that His gospel was to be accompanied by authenticating signs and wonders - as in fact He has always done since the beginning, as will be shown in later blogs - why does that gospel no longer need authentication?
One argument would be that signs and wonders accompanied the gospel in order to get its message 'off the ground,' established and rooted in the world. Then as believers matured, and the gospel took root, they were no longer needed.
I happen to agree with that, and church history bears this out most of the time. Some people groups or nations who had little if any access to the gospel have experienced signs and wonders which accompanied the introduction of the gospel message into their culture. Yet shortly thereafter, when a church was established and leadership raised up, those things disappeared. I can deal with that and I see that as biblical.
Another argument would be that with the coming of Jesus Christ those things are no longer necessary. We now have the word of prophecy made more sure, as Hebrews 1 teaches. But even after Jesus Christ came why did signs and wonders still occur then? If the word of prophecy was made more sure at the coming of Jesus Christ, then there should have been no more prophecy at all. Yet there was.
Consider these questions further, and consider them seriously.