Doctrine of Cessation and Doctrine of Prosperity

I Corinthians 12:31 "But earnestly desire the greater gifts"

I am meeting with four other men weekly to discuss I Corinthians 12: 31 “But earnestly desire the greater gifts”.  We are seeking to understand that which Paul commands us to eagerly desire the greater gifts.  The spiritual gifts are listed in I Corinthians 12: 1-12 and include the spiritual gifts of wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, distinguishing of spirits, tongues, and interpretation of tongues.   

This week we discussed a sensitive topic that is dividing the Christian church.  On one side we have part of the Christian Church following a doctrine of cessation.  The doctrine of cessation says that the spiritual gifts died with the apostles following the completion of the Canon of scripture. The other side is the doctrine of prosperity or the “health and wealth” gospel followed by millions that teaches God provides health and material prosperity for those He favors.  There are many scriptures that are used to support each side and many arguments for both sides that I am not qualified to unpack, but you can find many articles for both sides.  For further reading see:  A Better Argument for Cessation or Charismatic Chaos? Or Quenching Spirit?  In the spirit of writing brief blogs, I will share a couple of our comments to serve as food for thought and a conclusion that I hope we all can agree upon as we continue to grow in knowledge and understanding of our God.

Comments from our discussion:

  1. We viewed YouTube videos of church leaders using sermons from other church leaders as examples of false doctrine.  It is a dangerous practice for Pastors and Leaders of the Church to publicly denounce another church leader and brother in Christ.  Not that it should never happen, but we must be very careful.  
  2. In many areas of life men take positions on both extremes of the spectrum.  We all seek the truth and have seen evidence of truth at both ends of the spectrum.  How can we deny the cessation of tongues, prophecy, and knowledge when these gifts and others are still evident in others praising God throughout the world? 
  3. As fathers of young children we see the bigger picture, allow natural consequences of sin, discipline out of love, and withold privilege because we have a greater understanding and a higher purpose for our children.  Our children may not understand, but accept our authority when completed in a spirit of consistency and love.  As “children of God” would it not be plausible that God allows us to be pruned or refined in the fire so that we can be used for a greater purpose and not because we do not have the faith to claim it so?

Conclusion:   I recognize that there are many strong opinions on this topic.  In conclusion, I find agreement with the comments of Dr. Ed Young.

  • In the ESSENTIALS (Basic tenants of the Church) there must be Unity
  • In the NON-ESSENTIALS there must be Liberty
  • In ALL THINGS there must be Love.  

When we come together, we stand as a light that testifies to God’s greatness, diversity, and love.  Check out Dance Your Shoes off  YouTube video where Second Baptist Church celebrates the King of Glory and the gift of Easter that all Christians share. 

It is a privilege and joy to work out and share some of my thoughts each week and to know that many are reading and sharing in this journey.  Please feel free to comment on this or any article as healthy debate in a spirit of love benefits all.  If you enjoy these musings and articles, please let me know and share them with others.

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