So, follow the Cessationist argument now remembering we serve an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent God who divinely inspired the actual texts and certainly would ensure which books became considered His holy word. So, God had Paul, Peter, and Timothy write extensively regarding the gifts of the Holy Spirit, even outlining how they should be used in church services, which would become the blueprint for Christian churches for centuries up until today, even though He knew full well they would cease in operation just 50 years later, 350 years before the canon would be agreed upon, and 1400 years before the first bible would be printed? That is an absurdity in logic. Why would God go into that level of detail for fledgling churches for only a half century? Before some start with the argument that they were only needed for the start of the church, then why did they make it into the final canon of scripture 350 years later? Is God the author of confusion? Was He incapable of properly influencing which books would become the bible, used throughout the world today as the final authoritative word of God? Are we now to believe there are portions of the bible we can effectively ignore as they only applied to first century Christians? The answer to all of these is a resounding no and lead one to must conclude that the inherent premise of Cessationism is wrong.
Which brings us to the Charismatic crowd. Now in full disclosure, I was born again in a Charismatic church and became credentialed as an Assemblies of God minister. The more I read the bible however, the more I realized that a lot of what I was taught was extra-biblical, or as the kids like to say today, wrong. This was never clearer than in the arena of the gifts of the spirit. These are the reasons that drive people into the arms of Cessationism. When we see the bogus words of knowledge scams from Peter Popoff in the 1980s to the cell phone words of knowledge of professional hustler Shawn Bolz today and we have good reason to be skeptical. That said, I know people who have spoken a true word of knowledge to me, and I have born witness to it as well. It is not a psychic parlor trick or gleaning information from social media. We see the clairvoyance scams today that are passed off a prophecy and have every reason to doubt. The wannabe apostate church false prophets were all exposed in 2020 when they all claimed a direct word from God regarding the election that was wildly inaccurate. Then we see silly, stupid prophecies such as David Taylor saying God told him the Denver Broncos would win the Super Bowl one year only to watch them lose 43-8, which was the largest winning margin for an underdog in NFL history. Or we see Pat Robertson prophesy that God told him the following summer would see multiple devastating hurricanes hit the eastern shore of the United States. There was not one hurricane that even reached the eastern US the following summer. That does not mean however that God cannot give someone the ability to speak prophetically into a church setting or someone's life once we understand that prophecy is simply reemphasizing God's word, which is the final revealed will of the Lord anyway. God did not provide us with the bible and the forget to say something that He now is conveying to us through Benny Hinn, please.
We also see the massive abuse in the realm of healing. We see the aforementioned Hinn waving his magic suit coat as swaths of people collapse in supposed healing. Or Todd Bentley punching a man with stage four stomach cancer in the gut to "impart healing." Or we see fools like Bill Johnson, who wears corrective eyeglasses, teach that God always MUST heal us, robbing the Lord of His sovereignty. The bible however teaches us to pray to a God who can heal within His sovereignty. It does instruct us to seek the elders of the church for healing prayer. God can choose to use a yielded human vessel to convey His healing. I know I have witnessed it personally, but it is not the senseless leg growing trick of Todd White. It is not the idiotic healing outings we see on the various Holy Ghost farcical movies. Remember, just because there are charlatans who fake a gift, that does not mean the gift is not in operation. The final example is of course, speaking in tongues. With no apologies to my charismatic friends, baby babble is not a heavenly language. You should know it is fake when you see apostate churches try and teach people how to speak in tongues. Yes, we could get to a breaking point in prayer, private prayer, where we no longer know what to even say and the bible assures us that the Holy Spirit will intercede for us. THAT is the heavenly language. Tongues in scripture referred to known earthly language. Saying shabba in the middle of English is not the gift of tongues. That being said, early 20th century missionaries expressed that they were supernaturally granted the ability to speak in the tongue of the natives they were trying to witness to. I am sure when we get beyond the walls of the corrupt American church that this gift is more readily spoken of correctly.
One of the greatest problems that prevents us from finding any compromise is that we have been conditioned to believe in the binary choice fallacy. Cessationists will go their graves defending their guys. Have you ever tried to be critical of John MacArthur? His acolytes will attack immediately. Listen, I have quoted Paul Washer a fair amount in my life. I find his explanation for Joel Osteen being God's wrath for those willing to sit through his sermons both accurate and hysterical. I do not worship Paul Washer and I like to think he would be the first to say he is just a man. You can like or agree with anyone - Spurgeon, Piper, MacArthur, whoever. They are all men who can just as easily not see their own errors. Again, it is not a matter of maliciousness. I believe John MacArthur thought he was right for sticking his thumb in the eye of the Californian government and reopening his church in the middle of a plague, but he was not. Who knows how many people he potentially led to their deaths by feeding them into the COVID woodchipper for vanity. Mac himself caught COVID as a result and reports say he was close to death from it.
The same is true for the other side and one need to look no further than Dr. Michael Brown, who never met a heretic he didn't like. This is a man with decades of service but still stands by the obvious demonic outpouring in Brownsville. He has defended Benny Hinn and Joseph Prince as good brothers in the Lord. He seems to worship Bill Johnson and even provided cover for one of the dumbest prophecies ever - Jennifer LeClaire's "sneaky squid spirit." It is not just Brown, however. Have you tried to have a rational conversation with an adherent or Joseph Prince? How about sane conversations about music from Elevation, Bethel or Hillsong? Everyone is on board with discernment ministries until they speak about their favorite preachers. I have lost many seemingly grounded believers off my devotional list because I suddenly became divisive after writing about their idol and make no mistake that is what we are dealing with - idolatry. So, the Cessationists all decry the massive false teachings and abuses of the gifts in Charismania while the Charismatics all decry the lack of spiritual power and the false teaching of Calvinism within the Cessationist crowd. No one listens to the other side because all we want to hear is the pleasant assurance of our own confirmation bias found within the recesses of our own echo.
So, what is the middle ground? Clearly the arguments of Cessationism and Charismania are deeply flawed and inaccurate. I would like to suggest a better path. A path that sticks to the bible. A path that acknowledges the gifts must clearly be also meant for today while refusing to accept the abuses of them. It is a lonely path because one of the benefits of the forced binary choice is a sense of belonging to a particular tribe. We were not meant to conform to a side though beloved. We were meant to be set apart. The bible says that narrow is the path that leads to eternal life and few are those who find it. I am just suggesting today that the narrow path is the better path and the bricks are laid by the difficult choices we must make in this world. Do not ascribe to the tribal mentality because the true sadness of the binary choice fallacy is both tribes fancy themselves apart but they are all walking together on the same broad path, screaming at each other that they are right.