Apologetics Index

Cessationism vs Continuationism

Are the Gifts of the Spirit still available today?

Cessastionists believe that that the gifts of the Spirit (also known as spiritual gifts) ceased at the end of the apostolic age, or when the Bible was completed.

Cessiononism is the opposite of continuationism.

Continuationists believe that the Holy Spirit continues to give these gifts to the present age.

Non-essential doctrines vs. aberrant or heretical teachings and practices

Cessationism versus continuationism involves a Christian theological dispute about non-essential doctrines (as opposed to the essential doctrines of the Christian faith).

But note that continuationists who veer into the kind of execesses and errors (in theology and practice) present in such movements as the so-called New Apostolic Reformation often promote aberrant and/or heretical doctrines — as well as tall stories. Errors include, but are not limited to, false prophecies, fake healings, fake words of knowledge, and fantasized visits to and from heaven.

Examples of the latter would be Rick Joyner, the late Bob Jones, and Mike Bickle of IHOP KC infamy.

Research resources on Cessationism vs Continuationism


Questions Cessationists Should Ask: A Biblical Examination of Cessationism, by Charles Powell [Bible.org]


Spiritual Gifts: What They Are and Why They Matter, by Thomas R. Schreiner. [Amazon.com]. A clear, easy to read introduction to the gifts. Includes many scripture references, as well as a good overview of the the arguments for and against cessation of the gifts.

Note, under “Editorial Reviews,” the section titled Strengths and Weaknesses of the Charismatic Movement quoted from the book. That represents Chapter 1 of the book. It is also available as a stand-alone article. However, the excerpt at the Amazon.com book listing also includes the discussion questions, as well as a portion of Chapter 2, “Defining Spirital Gifts.”

Article details

Category: Christian Doctrine
Related topic(s): ,

First published (or major update) on Tuesday, March 24, 2020.
Last updated on July 07, 2024.

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