Increasingly, polemists like the chookwatchers promote a cessationist theology that dismisses the power of the Holy Spirit and denies the promises of God.
Promoting blogs authored and sustained by cessation exponents, they have joined a club that rejects the Biblical teaching on speaking in tongues, prophecy, the gifts of the Spirit, healing and deliverance.
Whilst the unsaved world continues its headlong journey into the abyss of unbelief, these preachers of the demise of the present holistic ministry of Christ deny them the very gifts He gave the Church to assist a sick and demon-infested population towards the power of the cross.
The work of the Spirit goes on
None of these polemists can tell us when the work of the Holy Spirit ended. Sometime between the passing of the last of Christ’s Apostles and the ratification of the canon of scripture in the fourth century is their unscriptural guess.
They claim to stand for Sola Scriptura, yet deny the very Word that teaches us how the gifts, manifestations and power of the Holy Spirit work and operate through His Church.
Yet there are millions of sick, traumatised, fearful and lost people on the planet who need to hear and know the full gospel of God. Jesus is the answer to every problem on earth.
Acts 10:38 God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.
Then Jesus sent out His saints with the same anointing. But how will anyone know what God is offering the masses if the Church is missing some of the most important parts of their armour?
Jesus brought salvation to the sinner who repents, but He also brought release for the captives, and healing to the oppressed. The anointing of the Holy Spirit made it so.
Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
The Word, for sure, is one of our main tools in the ministry of the gospel. But we cannot operate successfully in the Word without the Spirit. It is the Spirit who anoints us for the task. It is the Spirit who confirms the Word with signs following. It is the Spirit who convicts the hearer of sin, righteousness, and judgement as we preach the gospel.
Jesus told His followers to wait to be endowed with power from on high, being the Promise of the Spirit. He said it was expedient that He be raised so that He could send the Holy Spirit to be in, with, and upon every believer, to continue the work He began through the faith-filled people of the Church.
We need the Holy Spirit as well as the Word of God. The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Jesus told us that His words are spirit and they are life.
Paul told us that he did not come with oratory or men’s wisdom alone, but in a demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit. Everywhere the early Christians went, there were signs and wonders following the preaching of the Word of God.
That is why they were called the Acts of the Apostles, but they were just as much the acts of the believers led by the Holy Ghost. They were His works, not theirs. They were the vessels, as are we, if we only believe.
Power of God
The full gospel includes a demonstration of the power of God, and the truth that Jesus Christ is alive today, doing whatever He did during His time on earth, as He demonstrated the love, grace and mercy of God to set people free from sickness, disease, demons, oppression and the works of darkness.
The same demons that ran riot during the time of the Acts of the Apostles are still in the earth today. Satan has been cast down into the earth with a third of the angelic hosts that followed him in his rebellion against God. Woe to the earth.
We need the same power to destroy the works of the devil as Jesus brought to the Body of Christ as they followed His instruction to go into all the world preaching the gospel, with signs following the Word as the Holy Spirit worked with them. Indeed, Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil, and to loose his captives through faith.
Now we have been given the Spirit. He is the same Holy Spirit today. He has the same power. He defeats the same demons as they oppress people today.
Everywhere you go, or look, there are oppressed people. The answer is Christ. The same illnesses pervade society. Thankfully, several sicknesses that were rife in days gone by have cures as science and medicine make advances, but many diseases are still incurable by medical means alone. The answer is Christ.
God still heals today, and by the same methods Jesus employed when He walked the earth, and by the same means the disciples and Apostles used when they brought the gospel to the whole world.
Working against the Spirit
Cessationists reject these truths. They say the gifts, manifestations and power of the Spirit have ended. They criticise believing Christians for stepping out in faith to pray for the sick, cast out demons, prophesy, or minister in the manifestations of the Spirit to people who are struggling with multiple issues, many of whom are in the churches.
They say that the only way forward for people who are in this situation is to suffer. They do not offer relief or release. They imply by their negligence that suffering is a great virtue but that healing could be of the devil. He can do wonders too, they say.
What a fearful, timid and lame excuse for inaction this is. The Biblical power of God is at their disposal if they will only trust Him and step out, doing what Jesus tells us to do, yet they fear it might be the devil who heals the sick. Jesus called this mentality blasphemy.
Whilst suffering for the faith is a reality, it is a perversion of truth to say that God puts sickness and disease on people to allow them to suffer and teach them some kind of callous lesson. He teaches, corrects, and admonishes through the Word and Spirit, and by those He calls into ministry, not by cursing people with illness.
It is the corruption that is in the world through sin from the time of Adam that has brought mortality, sickness and disease. God has given tools that alleviate suffering.
Jesus came to remove the curse of the law from those who believe. He is not cursing people to teach them a lesson.
We live in the New Testament, where exceedingly precious promises have been given us. We are called to partake in the divine nature. We are called to resist the devil and work with the Holy Spirit to help set people free from the bondage that is in the world through sin.
Cessationists, by their own admission, deny both the Church and the lost world of unsaved people the very power of God that has been poured out through the Holy Spirit. They do not believe, so they do not teach their people, who are left in ignorance of the truth.
Their adherents are not subjected to the same gospel that the early Christians enjoyed, with its accompanying signs and wonders that drew crowds to the cross.
Even Jesus came up against unbelief
Jesus could do no mighty works in His own home town because of the unbelief He found there. He was shocked at this.
Matthew 13:57-58 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.” Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
He pronounced woes on some Israeli cities because they refused to recognise the power of the Holy Spirit in their midst as He toured the countryside preaching the gospel, healing the sick, delivering the demonised, and freeing the oppressed.
Yet He lauded the Gentile centurion who understood the power of faith in the Word. If we cannot take the Word at faith value we have no right to claim to be teachers, preachers, ministers, discerners, or even polemists for the gospel.
The cessationists are faint-hearted half-preachers. They herald what they have faith for, which is not the whole counsel of God, but lack faith to see God move if they were to dare to preach the full gospel and invite the Holy Spirit to demonstrate the power of the Word.
Fearing men and failure, they are afraid to lay hands on the sick in case it doesn’t work, so they make up eisegisic untruths to cover their unbelief.
They teach doubt and unbelief out of a heart that is stoney towards faith and the Spirit. They preach a compromised message that leaves out vital tools given to us by God, that are all written and revealed in the scriptures, but are explained into mindless oblivion by those who fear to step out and trust what God says.
And they are angry with it. Accusative. They are proud to be polemists railing against the very scripture they purport to defend.
Their churches are hotbeds of rejection. They mock those in the Body who speak in tongues, as revealed in scripture, who pray for the sick, as revealed in scripture, who cast out demons, as revealed in scripture, who set the oppressed free, as revealed in scripture.
These are the anti-Spirit polemists who train their followers to delegitimise the work of the Holy Spirit.
If there was a woe on Capernaum for their unbelief, then surely there is woe on those who stop the truth and neglect to teach the Body about the work of the Holy Spirit through the Church.
Matthew 11:20-24 Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent: “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you.
And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.”
They did not repent. They did not acknowledge the work and power of the Holy Spirit through the Messiah in their day, and they were rebuked. How much more should we, who have the Word, the Spirit and the grace of God with us, be mindful of the true level of responsibly and honour of the ministry that is before us?
We have no excuse.