Some of the recent discussions concerning cessationism and continuationism have strengthened my determination to offer a contribution, because I believe that this is a very important subject. Seven years ago, out of a great need within my own pastoral ministry, I preached through a series dealing with this important subject. At the end of it all, I had enough material to warrant writing a small book on the subject. In fact, I intended to compile and publish this work, but in the Lord’s providence I was led to complete other works instead – the first of which was recently completed on the subject of Christ’s atoning work on the cross (a post on this will be forthcoming). So, in a sense, I am returning to something that I have left on the editorial back-burner for some time. Over the next several weeks and months, I will lay out (in summary form) the basic contents of this series, with the understanding that I may eventually formulate this into a small booklet. By posting it on The Armoury, I will be able to further the development of this series, rather than allowing it to collect more dust. This post is simply an introduction to what will follow in the series:
A Search for The Treasury of Christ’s Gifts
- Is the Question of Cessationism/Continuationism Worth a Discussion?
- The Absolute Sufficiency of God’s Word.
- God’s Providence in History: A Punctuation of the Miraculous.
- And He Gave Gifts: An Evaluation of Ephesians 4.
- Understanding 1 Corinthians 12-14: The Fruit of the Spirit is Love.
- Arguments of Omission and NT Revelation.
- A Brief Comment About Church History.
As the series progresses, I will decide how many posts will be necessary for each “chapter” in the series. To help you keep track of where we are each time, I will reproduce the above index with each post so that you can have a road map along the way…
And now for the rules – yes rules. After observing some of the internet debates that have been generated over this subject, I have concluded that I need to treat this material like a pulpit series; which means that I won’t be stopping mid-sermon in order to ask people what they think. I would encourage brethren to favor the idea of using e-mail if you have a comment or a genuine question about what I have posted, but beyond this, I intend to restrict the commentary on this series in order to encourage the readers to give the full presentation a careful hearing (James 1:19).
If I appear to be a bit of a dictator by this standard, just remember this: at least I am a benevolent dictator here at The Armoury.
What I don’t want to foster here is a kind of knee-jerk reaction to a series that has not yet been fully developed. Besides, if there is one thing that I don’t like about the weblog forum, it is that it fosters an environment of reactionism rather than contemplation. It certainly doesn’t have to be that way, but I am sometimes amazed by the tendency that some folks have to speak their minds long before they have come to understand the construct of an argument (of course, we all have that tendency). I would encourage that the brethren who read this series carefully consider its contents, with much prayer and enthusiastic examination of the Scriptures. The development of this series will principally be a ministry to our flock and I will fit it in as time allows, but I cannot guarantee the time in which this series will be completed. As a pastor, I have a great need to measure the time that I will give to this – much of it will be from material already completed several years ago – other portions will be brand new.
Finally, in keeping with Ephesians 4:7-13, I have decided to call the series, “Signs & Wonders: A Search for the Treasury of Christ’s Gifts.” This text and title will serve as an anchor for our thinking throughout this discussion, because when we follow the trail of God’s signs and wonders in the Bible, we are led to the authoritative message of Scripture, and ultimately to the gift Giver Himself – the Lord Jesus Christ. If we miss the centrality of the Savior in this discussion, then we miss everything.
Soli Deo Gloria