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A Question for Pastor John


askpastorjohn.com

I recently heard a well-known pastor speaking about our sufficiency in Christ, and then he mentioned about how some people today search for something more in their experience of the Lord, and he said, “what more could you want?"

The clear implication was that he was comparing people seeking charismatic manifestations of the Holy Spirit over against just having Christ as he understands it as a Cessationist.

But I have a question.

[actually 1 question asked 3 ways]:

1. Weren't all the New Testament believers mentioned in the Bible - referred to as saints who are sufficient or complete in Christ - weren't they all basically charismatic in a sense? It would seem a part of the reality of that sufficiency and completeness in Christ - part and parcel of their experience as saints - would not be totally foreign to some manifestation of the higher workings of the sovereign Spirit. So while their justification was the same, what about their Christian life - sanctification? Apparently, it “naturally” involved a greater or lesser degree of charismatic, supernatural experience. So assuming Cessationism, is growth in holiness a qualitatively different process since the completion of the canon?

2. How can a Cessationist such as this pastor fully and unreservedly use all that the Scriptures say about experiencing God in Christ, when those saints being addressed in the Bible were evidently living in a milieu of the full panoply of the Holy Spirit’s sovereign workings?

3. Cessationist brethren seem to believe that Christian experience post-canon is something qualitatively and quantitatively different than or other than or less than that life experienced by the believers addressed in the Bible. How is the Cessationist brother not effectively saying that the “sufficiency” and “completeness” in Christ of the original Christian audience meant something dynamically different than what it would mean to we believers today with a completed Bible?


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