Stop and Consider How Charismatic Christians Should Treat Cessationists

(Unsplash/Mike Powell)

Cessationists generally believe that the gifts of the Spirit have ceased. As a charismatic Christian, I hold to a continualist perspective, believing that spiritual gifts are poured out upon the modern church the same way they were given to the early church in the New Testament. Despite these differences, cessationism and continualism both agree upon the simple, powerful message of the gospel.

The polarizing topic of spiritual gifts can make interacting with cessationists a challenge. We can disagree theologically in ways that drastically shape the way we live our lives, the way we minister and, to an extent, the way we proclaim the gospel. Understandably, embarrassment, fear and anger can emerge on both sides.

I have personally been the recipient of harsh criticism from certain cessationists, especially online, but I hope and believe that is the exception. I have also experienced a more loving side. I have friends who lean toward cessationism, yet they have extended grace and understanding to me, despite our differences.

Even though I've witnessed God's miraculous power, I know that doesn't automatically make all my views correct, and my heart is to address those with opposing views with the same love the Lord has shown me. Jesus was perfect when He walked on earth, and the Holy Spirit is perfect—but I am not. The temptation is to take over the role of judge, when my first role should be to love.

Here are the simple guidelines I attempt to practice when interacting with cessationists:

1. Extend grace and love, leaving room for the Holy Spirit to work. Jesus says in John 13:34 (NASB), "I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, that you also love one another."

2. Forgive where needed. Jesus states His expectations for our willingness to forgive in Matthew 6:15. He says, "But if you do not forgive other people, then your Father will not forgive your offenses." Jesus is showing us what a forgiven heart looks like in practice. It chooses to forgive every time. No, we can't be perfect in our performance, but every time we set out eyes on our Savior, His forgiving power will flow through us.

3. Walk in unity as much as possible. Jesus prays a beautiful prayer for the unity of all true believers in John 17:20-21. "I am not asking on behalf of these alone, but also for those who believe in Me through their word, that they may all be one; just as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me."

4. Rejoice when the gospel is preached. Paul makes a seemingly strange point in Philippians 1:15 and 18. He argues on behalf of those who were attempting to do him harm, saying, "Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from goodwill. ... What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in this I rejoice."

I had a chance to try to put these principles into practice during the sharing of a prophetic word about cessationism I recently released in this episode on My Prophetic Journal on the Charisma Podcast Network.

No, I'm not perfect at extending the grace of God. My track record doesn't show me perfectly loving those I disagree with. Thankfully, that's where the gospel comes in. Jesus' sacrifice on the cross is still enough to set me free from fear, shame, anger and unforgiveness. If I am willing to let the Holy Spirit pour the love of Jesus into my heart every time I interact with Christians who disagree, then I believe true, biblical unity will be the result.

Troy Black is a Christian YouTuber, author and prophetic voice. His ministry and life are led by two simple goals: to be obedient to the Holy Spirit and to get the gospel of Jesus Christ in front of as many people as possible. You can find videos and other resources from Troy at troyblackvideos.com.

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