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The Four Groups Of Cessationists.

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In Christian theology, cessationism is the view that the charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as tongues, prophecy and healing, ceased being practiced early on in Church history. Cessationists usually believe the miraculous gifts were given only for the foundation of the Church, during the time between the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, c. AD 33 (see Acts 2) and the fulfillment of God’s purposes in history, usually identified as either the completion of the last book of the New Testament or the death of the last Apostle.

Cessationists are divided into four main groups:

•Concentric Cessationists believe that the miraculous gifts have indeed ceased in the mainstream church and evangelized areas, but appear in unreached areas as an aid to spreading the Gospel (Luther and Calvin, though they were somewhat inconsistent in this position).

•Classical cessationists assert that the “sign gifts” such as prophecy, healing and speaking in tongues ceased with the apostles and the finishing of the canon of Scripture. They only served as launching pads for the spreading of the Gospel; as affirmations of God’s revelation. However, these cessationists do believe that God still occasionally does miracles today, such as healings or divine guidance, so long as these “miracles” do not accredit new doctrine or add to the New Testament canon. Richard Gaffin, John F. MacArthur and Daniel B. Wallace are perhaps the best-known classical cessationists.

•Full Cessationists argue that along with no miraculous gifts, there are also no miracles performed by God today. This argument, of course, turns on one’s understanding of the term, “miracle.” B. B. Warfield, J. Gresham Machen, F.N. Lee.

•Consistent Cessationists believe that not only were the miraculous gifts only for the establishment of the first-century church, but the so-called fivefold ministry found in Eph. 4 was also a transitional institution (i.e., There are no more apostles or prophets, but also no more pastors, teachers, or evangelists).

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