Miscellanies on the Gospel, blogger Rob Wilkerson is putting together a massive survey on the controversy. Although largely taking place in the Reformed strata, it is a question that arises in many denominations. It can be an excruciatingly important issue for individuals. Non Christians probably don’t get it.
For those voices calling for love to override the debate conflicts, I wish that were enough. Christians should address all their controversies with a spirit of humility and efforts of love, but this won’t always make the controversy any less sharp…or people any less stubborn.
If you are struggling with the differing sides of this question, you might want to look through the blogposts listed ( helpfully described by Wilkerson).
I remember years ago when discussing this with a youth pastor’s wife in a church which preached ‘cessationism’. She made the statement that she didn’t feel any need for the gifts or the experience. She felt it was ‘extra’. It wouldn’t have added to her walk with God, IOW. At that, I was only able to leave her with her insistant stance with my own wonderment that anyone could feel they could “do without” something that God had given.
How is it possible that we have this attitude? ..and yet it is common. We feel we do quite well enough, thank you, without anything extracurricular from God.
It is my opinion that God is very precise in His economy; everything that He gives, we need, and everthing has a purpose. It just isn’t something always apparent to us at the time.
I have had this lesson reiterated to me in many ways over the years. We have great need of the Holy Spirit baptism, of the gift of praying in tongues, and of all the gifts. If we are feeling secure and satisfied without them, perhaps it is the constricted and uneventful existance we are now living that convinces us, not the reality. If you have no challenges, need win no one of other persuasions, congregate only with others of like convictions, live safely and have all your needs met…. perhaps you will never see the proof of how these gifts are necessary.
I would venture to say that God’s Grace is often so great that we do get on by without the evidence of what God can do through such manifestations of His power in our midst. We have had a tendency to elevate the piety of our poverty, poverty of spirituality and of situation. We think we are somehow better for our ascetism.
Why would anyone seek to turn down spiritual abundance …. that would be my question. If they could understand the promise and the scriptures concerning it, why would they choose anything less? What would be the profit in that?