What’s new about Pentecost?

A question I have been reflecting on since my second year of seminary is, “what’s new about Pentecost?” In other words, in what ways is the activity of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2 continuous with the Spirit’s work throughout the Old Testament, and in what ways is it new and unprecedented? The question is important, in my opinion, partly because it forces us to think through how the whole Bible fits together, and partly because the way we understand continuities and discontinuities in the Spirit’s work across redemptive history affects the kinds of continuities and discontinuities we might draw…

Apostles and Cessationism

One of the arguments used for cessationism is the presence of apostles in spiritual gifts lists in Ephesians 4:11 and I Corinthians 12:28-29.  Richard Gaffin, for example, writes: “many continuationists are in fact cessationists, in that they recognize there are no apostles today….  A flat ‘all the gifts are for today’ will not do” (Are Miraculous Gifts for Today?  Four Views, ed. by Wayne Grudem [Zondervan, 1996], 45).  This argument deserves a thoughtful response. Its best to begin by asking, what does the Greek term apostolos mean?  This word was not invented in the New Testament.  It was used prior…

Is cessationism the reformed view?

Cessationism refers to the the theological view that certain spiritual gifts mentioned in the New Testament, specifically the more “miraculous” or “spectacular” gifts such as prophecy, healings, tongues, discerning of spirits, et. al., have ceased or passed away at some point in antiquity (usually at the closure of the canon or the death of the last apostle). This view is often presented as the reformed view on the subject of spiritual gifts and charismatic theology and practice. For example, In Christian Spirituality: Five Views On Sanctification (ed. by Alexander, Intervarsity, 1988), Sinclair Ferguson, representing the reformed view and responding to…