Sunday, February 20, 2011

"Signs and Wonders" for When? And by Whom?

I have posted before about my opinion of the "miracles" associated especially with the charismatic-pentecostal movement. My position is commonly referred to as "cessationism," i.e., the belief that the miraculous gifts of the Spirit were intended for the apostolic period only, and ceased with the passing of the Apostles. That is not to say that miracles cannot or do not still occur, but rather that they are no longer the norm.

My fellow reformed blogger Andy, himself a converted Pentecostal, has written on this issue much more competently than I can (see here and here), so I refer you to him for a detailed biblical case for cessationism. I wish here only to give some brief thoughts that arose during the sermon in church today.

The sermon was on Acts 2:42-47, and focused on the Lord's vision of the how the church should work. But, as it is wont to do, my mind was sidetracked at verse 43, the latter portion, "many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles." Who did the signs and wonders? Not the whole church, but specifically the Apostles! I was also reminded of Hebrews 2:3-4, "How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will." Again, the miraculous gifts were given to verify the testimony of the Apostles!

I think that this explains why so much of Pentecostalism (by no means am I saying all) degenerates into a circus atmosphere and bizarre doctrine. They are focusing on the signs, instead of teaching what the signs gave testimony to!

No comments: