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Category Archives: Cessation Theology

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For three years or so the Lord has been speaking to me out of the prophetic prediction of Malachi 3:1-6 concerning imminent events that He will be orchestrating in the Church that He is building, i.e., the genuine Body of Christ. In the first quarter of this year, the Lord has been continually increasing the intensity and urgency of what he has been showing and telling me in this regard. I cannot possibly convey much at all of those prophetic insights He’s been communicating to me here in this forum and format or at this time because it is far too expansive and extensive and I have only recently begun to attempt to transfer it from my spirit to paper, so to speak, or in reality, to computer. I will, however, be progressively sharing it in some books and study courses I am currently and concurrently working on.

Anyone who has any substantial experience in “prophetic writing” knows how arduous, strenuous, and time-consuming such an endeavor can be, especially when words so often fail when attempting to convey spiritual impressions, concepts, precepts, and insights into human language as the medium of natural – i.e., intellectual – assimilation. I cannot account for the experiences of other prophets, but I know in my own case, what I “see” in my spirit, is so clear, precise, unambiguous, forthright, apparent, but when I attempt to communicate what I’ve seen in the spirit for consumption by others, words/language fail, and communication methodology conventions hinder rather than help. Or maybe in reality its just my own communication capacities that are lacking.

Many times I’ve wished that God would allow at least momentarily a peeling back of the clouds of human carnality overlaying our spiritual senses (hearing and sight) so that pristine spirit-to-spirit communication could transpire, but as idealistic and desirable as that might seem, it is not His plan or desire. Maybe some of those who are called upon by the Lord to communicate prophetically to God’s people understand what I am trying – probably ineptly and inartfully – to say.

Notwithstanding, I rise today through the auspices of this forum to make a sincere and earnest attempt to convey what I believe I received as a prophetic word from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church, which He has instructed me to convey to the Church He is building, that is, His Body. A few days ago, I heard Him instructing me in my spirit to sit down at my computer, write what He speaks to me, and title it “A Prophetic Prognosis.” I did; He did; and what He spoke is what this article is about. It is too long and would take up too much space to place the whole message into this post format. So I have summarized what He spoke to me here and provided a link to the PDF document that contains the entire prophetic word. Continue reading “A Prophetic Prognosis” »

For years, during my itinerant ministry, when I spoke in churches on the topic of deliverance, I would commence my message by reading aloud Mark 16:15-19. Then, I would ask the congregation to raise their hand if they considered themselves a believer. Invariably, one hand per person in attendance would go up, regardless the size of the congregation. Then I would ask of those who raised their hand, those who had cast out any demons today to raise their hand. No hands would go up. Okay, then, this week, I would ask? No hands. Okay, how about this month. Still, no hands. This year? No hands. Ever? Once in a while, one or two hands went up, but most often, none. Then I would say, “I thought you all said you were believers?” And, pause for reaction. Uncomfortable snickers, would always ensue. Then I would inquire: “Jesus said that believers would cast out devils. Who lied, Jesus or you?” Continue reading “The Great Commission or Omission?” »

[Editor’s Note: For those myriad ostrich Christians who rarely pull their heads out of the sand for a quick gander at what’s going on in Christendom, and find themselves—miracle of all miracles—reading this article, nascent in this hour are several of what could be called “doctrine wars” going on in the Body of Christ. Our view is that such über-discussions, if you will, are a good thing, because for the most part, purporting Christians as a whole in these last days tend to be an apathetic, uninformed, and far from a studious lot, particularly when it comes to the study-requiring and tedious task of doctrine-formulation. As a whole, they seem to basically not much care about much of anything going on in the Church, the nation, or the entire world, for that matter, except maybe in the “Cliff Notes” version. Regrettably, statistics gathered by professional researchers have over and over proved this to be the case. One of these controversies between cessationists, primarily fundamentalist Baptists (albeit, certainly, other Evangelicals identify with that camp as well) who seemingly out of nowhere (though it does suspiciously coincide with reported precipitously declining Southern Baptist adherents) began an all-out assault against the continuationist camp, comprised chiefly by Pentecostals and Charismatics. The cessationist aggression has been spearheaded by prominent Baptist Pastor, John MacArthur, who authored a book, Strange Fire, and convened a mega-conference of the same name. Charismatic scholar, apologist, and author, Michael L. Brown, whose coming to prominence was augmented by his association with and contribution to the so-called, Brownsville Revival, that evolved primarily from his friendship with the now late evangelist, Steve Hill, with his book, Authentic Fire, along with the inveterate former pastor of Westminster Cathedral, R.T. Kendall, with his book, Holy Fire, are two at the top of the list of authors in terms of notoriety countering the unfounded claims of the cessation combatants. The other spiritual maelstrom is between an ever-increasing spate of recently emerging “hyper-grace” teacher-authors and a number of teacher-authors countering the hyper-grace theories with monographic treatises demonstrating the utter fallacy and falsity of the hyper-grace claims. With his book, Hyper-Grace: Exposing the Dangers of the Modern Grace Message, Brown, perhaps, leads the latter cadre of apologists. At the core of the hyper-grace posits is the matter of the need for repentance that inures from what the Holy Spirit, in the Word of God, terms “conviction” and “godly sorrow.” Hyper-grace teachers adamantly assert there is no need for either, and that claims to the contrary are simply false and unbiblical. The following article, excerpted from a section of the same title of Brown’s book captures the essence of the counter-argument.]

Conviction vs. Condemnation
By Michael L. Brown, PhD

Unfortunately, some believers confuse conviction with condemnation, and the moment the Spirit speaks to them about something wrong in their lives, they feel hopeless and condemned, which only drives them further from the Lord. This is a lie from the enemy that must be exposed, and I stand with my colleagues in the hyper-grace camp when they seek to expose this destructive notion. Let the truth be shouted from the rooftops: the Holy Spirit never speaks condemnation to a son or daughter of God.

As I explained in my book Go and Sin No More, “If you are a born-again believer, a blood-washed child of God, you are not damned and doomed. God is not saying, ‘To hell with you! Depart from Me, you wicked one.’ Absolutely not! He is saying, ‘You are Mine! I accept you fully through My Son.’”[18]

What then is the difference between conviction and condemnation? Conviction says to the believer, “You have sinned, so come to Me!” Condemnation says to the lost and damned sinner, “You are pronounced guilty. Away from Me!” Continue reading “Conviction Vs. Condemnation” »

What George O. Wood Really Thinks About Pentecostals Speaking in Tongues
By George O. Wood, General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God

Several decades ago, I visited the Sistine Chapel in Rome. Looking up to Michelangelo’s great fresco of The Last Judgment, I thought to myself, Why is everyone raving about this work of art? It’s very occluded and dark.

What had happened is that over the last four centuries, there have been so many candles burning in the Sistine Chapel that the smoke had gradually put a layer of gray over the painting. So when I saw how dark it was, I wasn’t impressed at all. Now, many years later, it has been restored. All the smudge is gone and the colors are radiant and alive, and it’s as though the painting had just been done yesterday.

That’s what Pentecostalism, in its purist form, tries to do. It tries to erase the smudges on the church for the last 20 centuries and get back to what the early Christians believed and practiced. That is our goal—to get back to biblical, original Christianity.

I have been asked a number of times by national reporters about speaking in tongues. I was talking with a reporter from the New York Times and told him there’s nothing unusual about what Pentecostals are doing today. If you look at the first-century church, all the writers of the New Testament spoke in tongues and the Early Church spoke in tongues. So Pentecostalism, at its roots, is basically a restorationist movement. We believe that we can cut through 20 centuries of church tradition and get back to the original church. It doesn’t mean that we do everything like the original church, but we’re trying to have the same doctrine and experience of the Early Church.

In so many of our American churches today, little emphasis is placed on the Holy Spirit. Those of us in leadership, out of concern over this neglect, urge our pastors and churches to pray and provide opportunities for people to receive Spirit baptism with the initial evidence of speaking in other tongues. But, we must not stop there.

Pentecostals have always believed and taught that speaking in other tongues is the initial physical evidence.

But it is initial. We must have the initial evidence, but we must also go past the initial to the enduring work of the Spirit. The seventh doctrine of our Statement of Fundamental Truths declares that with the baptism in the Spirit “comes the enduement of power for life and service, the bestowment of the gifts and their uses in the work of the ministry.”

This tenet also states: “With the baptism in the Holy Ghost come such experiences as an overflowing fullness of the Spirit, a deepened reverence for God, an intensified consecration to God and dedication to His work, and a more active love for Christ, for His Word, and for the lost.”

We believe the baptism in the Spirit brings the delight of initially speaking with other tongues, but if we stop there, this Pentecostal experience will have no ongoing fruitfulness. I grew up in the Assemblies of God when it was preached that the baptism of the Spirit is for the empowerment of believers for life and service.

In short, the enduring evidence of the baptism in the Spirit results in our fulfilling Acts 1:8. Evangelism and outreach is enduring evidence of the Spirit’s work. If we are not seeing this evidence—fruitfulness—we’re in trouble.###

This article was originally published on CharismaNews. Republished by permission.

Dr. George O. Wood currently serves as the General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God, headquartered in Springfield, MO.
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Dunamis-Power! By Dr. Steven LambertThe Baptism in the Holy Spirit, evidenced initially by the gift of tongues, is a separate and distinct experience to salvation that God offers to all believers. Both salvation and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, however, are a work of the Holy Spirit. In salvation, the Holy Spirit comes to live within the believer — this is the regenerative work of the Holy Spirit. In the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, the believer is enveloped by and immersed in the Holy Spirit; that is to say, the Holy Spirit comes upon the believer in contrast to into the believer. These facts are clearly supported by Scripture and are exemplified by the experience of Jesus Himself, who is our supreme Model. Dunamis! Power From On High, is available in both print and ebook formats. To learn more or order your copy, click on the cover image on the left. Ebook & epub format are available for immediate download.

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Bill Gothard, founder of Institute of Basic Life Principles

Bill Gothard, founder of Institute of Basic Life Principles, resigns due to allegations of long-term sexual misconduct dating back to the 1960s. (Facebook photo)

The prominent principal behind the “Basic Life Principles” Seminars, Bill Gothard, amid sexual harassment and predatory charges by a bevy of whistle-blowing women, has been forced to resign from his multimillion dollar a year ministry organization. Some three dozen women, now in their thirties and early forties, allege the 79-year old, never-married, ordained minister of more than five decades, has engaged in a pattern of deviant sexual misconduct against them and other young, some underage, women, going all the way back to the earliest beginnings of Gothard’s ministry in 1961. Continue reading “GOTHARD-GATE: Bill Gothard’s Free-Fall From Grace” »

John MacArthur—Strange Fire
By David Ravenhill

David Ravenhill, son of late prophetic sage Leonard Ravenhill

David Ravenhill

John MacArthur’s recent attack against the Charismatic/Pentecostal movement has certainly put him in the cross hairs of many. What possessed him to lash out against us is unknown. Was it sheer arrogance, ignorance or was he tempted or troubled by an evil spirit of some sort?

I can well understand some enthusiastic young buck zealously overstating his belief about some pet doctrinal belief he adheres to; but there is no excuse for a father in the faith to do the same.

What grieves my heart and the heart of many I know is the untold damage done to the young of the flock. Jesus warned us about this very thing when He said, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it is better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck, and that he be drowned in the depth of the sea.” It is only when you consider the severity of the punishment that you realize how great this sin was that Jesus was referring to.

Only this morning I was reading again the story of how a handful of men successfully thwarted God’s purposes. This unbelieving minority caused the majority of God’s people to believe that what God said was possible, wasn’t for them. For the next forty wasted years they wandered aimlessly in the Wilderness. Then they died, never seeing the gifts that God had promised them. Why would anyone follow their example, and in so doing rob God’s people of the very gifts He purchased for them at the cost of His precious blood! “When He ascended on high…He gave gifts unto men” (Eph. 4:8).

You recall the day when the disciples were returning from one of their numerous field trips and began to tell the Lord what they had encountered. “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name; and we tried to hinder him because he does not follow along with us. “Then a few verses later we are told that they wanted to call fire down from heaven and consume those who rejected the Lord. Jesus turned and rebuked them saying, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are of.” One would have to wonder the same about John MacArthur.

While I will freely admit that the Charismatic movement could stand a little weeding in its own garden, I can also testify to the reality of the Holy Spirit’s power. The FBI does not have a host of undercover agents working tirelessly to track down the counterfeiting operation of criminals churning out millions of thirty dollar bills. The reason is simple, there are no genuine thirty dollar bills. The fact that there is false fire is a testimony to the real fire.

One of the sure proofs that the Holy Spirit is at work is evidenced by the presence of the enemy at work. In the parable of The Sower we are told that as soon as the seed was sown, then Satan cometh immediately. Many people mistakenly believe that any demonic or fleshly activity gives them the right to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

The scriptures tell us that where there are no oxen the manger is clean, but from the strength of an ox comes an abundant harvest (Pro. 14:14). Some pastors would rather settle for a clean church with no life, than deal with the aftermath of the Spirit’s activity.

Let’s face it, if you are going to have children, expect spilled milk and dirty diapers. If on the other hand you want a perfectly spotless house, then don’t have children.

My father would often say that he would rather pour water on a fire than try and raise the dead. Some pastors would rather minister in a morgue than a nursery. The former seems to be John’s preference.

The best cure for a cessationist would be to fly them into some heathen jungle where they are surrounded by every form of demonic activity. Only then would they see the need for the Holy Spirit’s power to be manifest. It is a known fact that numerous evangelicals who have gone to the mission field believing that the gifts of the Spirit have been withdrawn from the church; have returned with the very opposite belief. Being confronted by the reality of the demonic, their only hope was to cry out to the living God and see His miraculous intervention through healings, deliverance, signs and wonders. Only when the people see that the God of the missionary is greater than their god, will they believe.

Can you imagine John MacArthur confronting the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel? It takes more than fine expository preaching. It takes the God that answers by FIRE. Perhaps it’s time for him to climb down from his ivory tower of spiritual intellectualism and take a trip to the jungle for a season.###

This article was first published at on David’s blog (see link below).

By Charles Carrin

The False Theory of Cessationism

To absolve itself of power failure, the contemporary Church has invented an escape hatch called cessation theology. This pleasant-sounding expression declares that God has withdrawn the Holy Spirit’s miraculous power from the Church. It says the Church’s power is in a book—the Bible—and nowhere else. This doctrine also says if we have no power it is because God has removed it, that the fault is not ours. (Yet, astonishingly, the Lord did not cause Satan’s power to be removed at the same time ours supposedly was.)

Modern Christianity has convinced itself that Jesus provided two distinct Gospels and two distinct faiths—one for the First Century Church and one for the Church that followed after. Cessationists say the first Church was miraculously empowered while the second was not; the first had the baptismal gift of the Holy Spirit, while the second was merely given a book telling what the Holy Spirit had achieved in the past. Continue reading “Are You An Apollos Or A Paul?” »

IS IT “STRANGE FIRE” -OR- “HOLY FIRE”?
Charles Carrin

You will soon be hearing about two books: Strange Fire by Dr. John MacArthur and Holy Fire by Dr. R.T. Kendall. Dr. Kendall has written only in the emergency to defend Scripture and Charismatic Christians from Dr. MacArthur’s attack.

John MacArthur is a man of significant Christian stature. He is the author of more than 150 books, a study Bible, other best-selling material, and a college president. R.T. Kendall is equally a man of great achievement. He holds a PhD from Oxford University, authored more than 60 books, for twenty-five years was pastor of London’s Westminster Chapel near Buckingham Palace, and a leading voice in Reformed theological circles around the world. More recently he has become an outspoken defender of the plenary inspiration of the New Testament, including spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12,13,14). Unlike Dr. MacArthur, Dr. Kendall does not believe that portions of the New Testament or miraculous gifts of the Spirit have passed away. Continue reading “STRANGE Fire or HOLY Fire?” »

Dr. Mark RutlandJohn MacArthur, Cessation Theology and Trainspotting for Cave Dwellers
By Mark Rutland

The arrogance of making experience into a theology that trumps Scripture is exceeded only by the arrogance of making lack of experience into a theology that trumps Scripture.

In Irvine Welsh’s dark Scottish novel Trainspotting, a bum living in an abandoned train station tells others he is watching for trains. Of course it is useless. It is useless there, at least, in that abandoned station. Trains still run elsewhere in Scotland. Just not there.

Here is a simple truth: Just because trains don’t run past your house doesn’t mean there’s no such thing as trains. Furthermore, if there are no trains where you are, why not check out other, more active train stations? Trainspotting for cave dwellers is dismally disappointing business, and train denial is absurdly arrogant. Continue reading “Rutland Repudiates MacArthur’s Attack of Charismatic Theology” »

[Editor’s Note: Fundamentalist Baptist pastor and author John MacArthur has always been an outspoken critic of Pentecostal/Charismatic beliefs, particularly those regarding the continuation of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit following the original Day of Pentecost upon “all flesh” as Joel prophesied and Peter affirmed, which outpouring of the Water of the Holy Spirit distributes upon all recipients the supernatural “charismata” or Manifestation Gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:7-11). Recently, MacArthur conducted a “Strange Fire Conference” that he publicized widely devoted entirely to denounce the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the Gifts of the Spirit, and the innumerable myriads—now and through the previous twenty centuries—who have received of the Baptism in the Spirit and the precious and powerful Gifts He distributes to whoso He wills. MacArthur is a vehement proponent of “cessationism,” which is a theological proposition that maintains that Pentecostal outpouring was for the First Century church only, which the fundamentalists regard as “The Apostolic Age,” and the Gifts of the Spirit ceased with the death of John, the last of the Apostles of the Lamb to die. This entirely unbiblical belief has been adamantly held by myriad fundamentalists despite the fact that many more myriads of Born Again believers have been partakers of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and personal operators and beneficiaries of the Gifts of the Spirit in their lives, proving by personal and pragmatic experience that the naysaying view of the cessationists is simply wrong. A number of leading Pentecostal/Charismatic voices have recently published articles to refute the anti-biblical theories of MacArthur and the cessationists he represents and to appeal to MacArthur and his allies to desist from their public diatribe against and broad-brushed condemnation of Pentecostals and Charismatics, as well as their venomous rantings against the Holy Spirit and His Gifts that comes dangerously close to actually being blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, the one and only sin which Jesus Himself said would never be forgiven (Mat. 12:31,32). This article is an excerpt of the writings of the late A.W. Tozer, well known for his prolific and masterful monographs regarding personal intimacy with the God.] Continue reading “REPROOF: Tozer to John MacArthur & 21st Century Fundamentalist Cessationists” »

The Amazing Dual Gifts of God -- The Word and the SpiritThe Day of Pentecost exploded onto the ancient world with such power that it forever changed the work of scribes and the production of books. The overwhelming demand for the written account of Jesus had no precedent in world history. As a result, the New Testament numerically eclipsed all the combined works of Plato, Aristotle, Herodotus, Euripides, Homer, and other ancient writers. The explanation for this phenomenon can be given simply: The book revealed Jesus as the access to God. While other writers informed the reader, the message of Jesus changed the reader. Continue reading “Amazing Dual Gifts From God!” »