Are the gifts of the Spirit for today

SERMON TOPIC: Are the gifts of the Spirit for today

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 15 May 2009


Sermon synopsis: In Christian theology, Cessationism is the view that the charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as tongues, prophecy and healing, ceased being practiced early on in Church history. Cessationists usually believe the miraculous gifts were given only for the foundation of the Church, during the time between the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost … and the fulfillment of God’s purposes in history, usually identified as either the completion of the last book of the New Testament or the death of the last Apostle.
Cessationists argue that since the completion of the NT, the gifts of Prophecy and Knowledge have been rendered useless since no new knowledge from God needs to be given.
They appeal to Church history to substantiate that this cessation of the gifts indeed occurred. However we cannot base doctrine on one’s experience, or lack of it, but upon the Scripture. In any event when we look at the historical evidence, we see that supernatural gifts and tongues were always present to some degree or another.

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The gifts of the Holy Spirit

In Christian theology, Cessationism is the view that the charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as tongues, prophecy and healing, ceased being practiced early on in Church history. Cessationists usually believe the miraculous gifts were given only for the foundation of the Church, during the time between the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost … and the fulfillment of God’s purposes in history, usually identified as either the completion of the last book of the New Testament or the death of the last Apostle. 1

Cessationists argue that since the completion of the NT, the gifts of Prophecy and Knowledge have been rendered useless since no new knowledge from God needs to be given.

In effect Cessationism demands a two-level canon: one for the 1st century and one for the rest of the Church.

They appeal to Church history to substantiate that this cessation of the gifts indeed occurred. However we cannot base doctrine on one’s experience, or lack of it, but upon the Scripture. In any event when we look at the historical evidence, we see that supernatural gifts and tongues were always present to some degree or another.

1 Wikipedia


Justin Martyr (AD 100-165) says:

“For the prophetic gifts remain with us even to the present time,” and “Now it is possible to see among us women and men who possess gifts of the Spirit of God.” 1

“For numberless demoniacs throughout the whole world, and in your city, many of our Christians men exorcising them in the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, have healed and do heal, rendering helpless and driving the possessing devils out of the men.” 2

1 Dialogue With Trypho 2 The Second Apology of Justin

Justin Martyr

2nd century

Ignatius (AD 35-107), as the Bishop of Antioch and student of the apostle John, wrote “To the Philadelphians” just after AD 100. In the letter he makes reference to a prophetic message he spoke to them when he last visited them.

The Didache, a brief early Christian treatise written somewhere between AD 50-200, contains instructions for Christian communities, and also acknowledged the legitimacy of apostolic and prophetic ministries, giving instruction regarding recognizing false prophets.

The Shepherd of Hermes, written after the time of the first 12 apostles, depicts supernatural revelations and visions of the author.


2nd century

Irenaeus (~AD 125-200) was bishop (overseer) of Lugdunum in Gaul, which is now Lyon, France. He was born in Smyrna and a disciple of Polycarp, who was a disciple of the Apostle John. He laments those who “set aside at once both the Gospel and the prophetic Spirit,” emphasizing that Paul, “expressly speaks of prophetical gifts, and recognizes men and women prophesying in the Church.” 1

He states: “For some do certainly and truly drive out devils, so that those who have been thus cleansed from evil spirits frequently both believe, and join themselves to the Church. Others have foreknowledge of things to come: they see visions and utter prophetic expressions. Others still heal the sick by laying their hands upon them, and they are made whole. Yea, moreover, as I have said, the dead even have been raised up, and remained among us for many years. And what shall I more say? It is not possible to name the number of gifts which the Church throughout the whole world has received from God in the name of Jesus Christ...In like manner we do also hear many brethren in the Church who possess prophetic gifts and who through the Spirit speak all kinds of languages, and bring to light for the general benefit the hidden things of men, and declare the mysteries of God.” 1

1 Against Heresies

2nd century

Tertullian states, “For seeing that we acknowledge the spiritual charismata, or gifts, we too have merited the attainment of the prophetic gift.” He speaks of a woman in the congregation, “whose lot it has been to be favored with sundry gifts of revelation,” experiencing visitations from angels and the Lord Himself. She knew the secrets of peoples’ hearts and was able to give answer to some of their deepest needs, including physical healing.

These divine gifts did not go unchecked as Tertullian says, “All her communications are examined with the most scrupulous care in order that their truth may be probed.” 1

He gives this advice for newly baptized converts, “Therefore, you blessed ones, for whom the grace of God is waiting, when you come up from that most sacred washing of the new birth… ask of your Lord, that special grants of grace and apportionments of spiritual gifts be yours. Ask, he says, and ye shall receive. So now, you have sought, and have found: you have knocked, and it has been opened to you. This only I pray, that as you ask you also have in mind Tertullian, a sinner.” 2

1 A Treatise on the Soul 2 On Baptism

2nd - 3rd century

He challenges the Marcionite heretics, stating, “Let Marcion then exhibit, as gifts of his god, some prophets such as have not spoken by human sense, but with the Spirit of God, such as have predicted things to come and have made manifest the secrets of the heart; let him produce a psalm, a vision, a prayer - only let it be by the spirit, in an ecstasy, that is, in a rapture, whenever an interpretation of tongues has occurred to him. Now all these signs are forthcoming from my side without any difficulty.” 1

Tertullian also refers to the continued practice of the 1st Century Church, of the laying-on of hands: “the hand is laid on us, invoking and inviting the Holy Spirit through benediction.” 2

1 Against Marcion 2 On Baptism

2nd - 3rd century

And of deliverance from demons he writes:

And heaven knows how many distinguished men, to say nothing of the common people, have been cured either of devils or of their sicknesses. 1

You say we are just another spin-off of philosophy, then. Well why don’t you persecute your philosophers, then, when they say the gods are fake, or bark against the emperors. Perhaps it is because the name of ‘philosopher’ does not drive out demons like ‘Christian’ does. 1

Your own writers pay plenty of testimony to other spiritual natures. The books of Moses make clear their nature - they are corrupt angels, demons… They cause disease, which they are kind enough then to heal! You know how magicians are - imagine what evils the powers they draw upon are like. And such are your gods. Produce one of your ‘inspired’ men, with his demon, and let any Christian you please talk to him. The demon will soon confess that he is a demon! Try it, and if he doesn’t, hang the impudent Christian forthwith. The name of Christ will compel them to talk true, and what then is left of your ‘gods’, if they admit themselves they are demons? 1

1 Apologeticum

2nd - 3rd century

Montanus ministered during the 2nd Century. He and his followers affirmed the gift of prophecy and speaking in tongues under the ‘possession’ of the Holy Spirit. Many list Montanism under the heresies of this period, but it appears to me to be a Pentecostal movement.

Despite the grim picture portrayed by their enemies, Montanism was nonetheless defended by Tertullian, who later joined their ranks. Largely due to this, he was not canonised (i.e. the later Catholic church never declared him a ‘saint’), something that wouldn’t have bothered him.

In later history John Wesley (the founder of Methodism) also defended Montanus, “I was fully convinced of what I had once suspected: 1) That the Montanists, in the second and third centuries, were real Scriptural Christians; and 2) That the grand reason why the miraculous gifts were so soon withdrawn was not only that faith and holiness were well nigh lost, but that dry, formal orthodox men began even then to ridicule whatever gifts they had not themselves, and to decry them all as either madness or imposture.” 1

1 Nehemiah Curnack, ed., vol.3 of “The Journal of the Rev. John Wesley A.M.”

John Wesley

2nd - 3rd century

Origen (AD 185-284) writes, “Some give evidence of their having received through this faith a marvelous power by the cures which they perform, invoking no other name over those who need their help than that of the God of all things, and of Jesus, along with a mention of His history. For by these means we too have seen many persons freed from grievous calamities, and from distractions of mind, and madness, and countless other ills, which could not be cured neither by men nor devils.” He also comments that any diminuendo of signs and miracles are the result of a lack of holiness and purity among the Christians in his day. 1

Novatian (AD 210-280) was an elder of the early church in Rome. He was the predecessor to the Cathari movement and many modern-day Baptists cite him as one of the hallmarks of the Christian faith. Novatian writes, “This is he [the Holy Spirit] who places prophets in the Church, instructs teachers, directs tongues, gives power and healings, does wonderful works, offers discrimination of spirits, affords powers of government, suggests counsels, and orders and arranges whatever other gifts there are of charismata; and thus making the Lord’s Church everywhere, and in all, perfected and completed.” 2

1 Origen: Against Celsus 2 Novation: The Trinity

2nd - 3rd century

Cyprian (AD 195-258), a bishop in Carthage, relates, “For beside the visions of the night, even in the daytime, the innocent age of boys [innocent children] is among us filled with the Holy Spirit, seeing in an ecstasy with their eyes, and hearing and speaking those things whereby the Lord condescends to warn and instruct us.” 1

Anthony the Great (c. 251–356) healed sick people and cast out demons. Athanasius writes of him, “Through him the Lord healed the bodily ailments of many present, and cleansed others from evil spirits.” 2

1 The Epistles of Cyprian

2 Life of Anthony

An early representation of Cyprian, influential Carthaginian bishop

2nd - 3rd century

In the 4th century Athanasius (295-373) comments, “We know bishops who work wonders [miracles]…” 1

The hermit, Hilarion (305-385) was born in the City of Gaza. Jerome, who knew him personally, relates, “Time would fail me if I wished to relate all the miracles which were wrought by him.” 2

Hilarion cured a woman from Eleutheropolis (a Roman city in Palestine) who had been barren for 15 years. Later, he cured blindness, raised children from the dead, healed a paralyzed charioteer, and expelled demons.

Hilarion once encountered a paralyzed man: “…weeping much and stretching out his hand to the prostrate man he said, ‘I bid you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, arise and walk.’ The words were still on the lips of the speaker when, with miraculous speed, the limbs were strengthened and the man arose and stood firm.”

1 Athanasius, ‘Life of Antony’ 2 Jerome, The Life of Saint Hilarion

4th – 5th century

Ninian’s mission to Galloway (Scotland) in the late 4th century was apparently made possible by his healing of a local king’s blindness.

Ambrose (338-397) was the bishop of Milan in AD 374. He states, “… as the Father gives the gift of healings, so too does the Son give; as the Father gives the gift of tongues, so too has the Son also granted it.” 1

In the 5th century Jerome (347-420) had a visitation of Christ himself, who instructed Him to turn away from learning worldly philosophy. He recorded the miracles of other Christians.

Augustine the bishop of Hippo (354-443) wrote, “We still do what the apostles did when they laid hands on the Samaritans and called down the Holy Spirit on them by laying on of hands. It is expected that new converts should speak with new tongues.” 2

1 Ambrose, ‘Of the Spirit’

2 Augustine, ‘The City of God’

4th – 5th century

Who originated the idea of ‘Cessationism’?

Cessationism and the argument from 1 Cor 13 comes from the champion of allegorical interpretation, namely Augustine.

On analogy with 1 Cor 13:10, the completion of the canon of Scripture was reckoned by Augustine to have ‘perfected’ the revelation of God, such that personal speaking in tongues and other forms of ecstatic and prophetic utterance had ‘passed away’.

‘Perfection’ here was seen to be a reference to the completed NT and would became a standard Cessationist argument in years to come.

1 Cor 13:8-10 … But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.

This is a controversial way of interpreting this passage, but typical of Augustine’s allegorical interpretation method. Paul wrote:

Romans 11:29 …for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.


But what about the previous quote from Augustine in support of speaking in tongues?

Augustine originally wrote that miracles were only for the foundation of the Church, but later repudiated this position, and in his ‘City of God’ provides samples of over 70 miracles he recorded in and around his churches.

He wrote: “But what I said is not to be so interpreted that no miracles are believed to be performed in the name of Christ in the present time. For when I wrote that book, I myself had recently learned that a blind man had been restored to sight… and I knew about some others, so numerous even in these times, that we cannot know about all of them nor enumerate those we know.”

His statement supporting individual speaking in tongues was also from his later years. He previously had proposed an allegorical view, with speaking in tongues being collectively fulfilled by the church taking the gospel to the nations of varying languages.


Yet Augustine’s original opinion was to gain favour in the years to come. Most accounts from here on until the modern era, regarding speaking in tongues came from groups outside the mainstream ‘catholic’ church.

There are still many accounts of miracles although they start to be linked to relics and other such superstitious influences, rather than the power of God in the Spirit-filled believer.

John Chrysostom (347-407) and the Roman bishop ‘Gregory the Great’ (c. 540–604) wrote of the relative absence of the gifts, and surmised either that such “signs and wonders” were no longer necessary to confirm a Gospel now well established within Christendom, or that they had been sidelined because of their abuse.


‘Cessationism’ came to define mainstream Roman understanding… By the 13th century, it had found thoroughgoing expression in the writings of the great scholastic theologian Thomas Aquinas (c.1225-1274). Again, it is important to stress that at this stage, things were still very far from any kind of generic ‘anti-supernaturalism’: miracles continued to be linked with the lives, relics and tombs of the saints, as were healings and exorcisms. 1

As the medieval era unfolded charismatic spontaneity would become ever more associated with fringe groups rather than with mainstream, catholic Christianity. Note the Waldenses confession in 1431:

“Therefore concerning the anointing of the sick, we hold it as an article of faith, and profess sincerely from the heart that sick persons, when they ask it, may lawfully be anointed with anointing oil by one who joins them in praying that it may be efficacious to the healing of the body according to the design and end and effect mentioned by the apostles; and we profess that such an anointing performed according to the apostolic design and practice will be healing and profitable.” 2

1 Charismatic Renewal In Britain - David Hilborn 2 Gordon, The Ministry of Healing

The medieval era

According to the New World Encyclopedia certain of the orthodox Franciscans reportedly spoke in tongues.

Hildegard of Bingen 1 is also reputed to have spoken and sung in tongues, and her spiritual songs were referred to by contemporaries as “concerts in the Spirit”. 2

1300s - The Moravians 3 are referred to by detractors as having spoken in tongues. John Roche, a contemporary critic, claimed that the Moravians “commonly broke into some disconnected jargon, which they often passed upon the vulgar, ‘as the exuberant and resistless Evacuations of the Spirit.’ ” 4 1 Hildegard of Bingen was a remarkable woman. At a time when few women wrote, she produced major works of theology and visionary writings. When few women were accorded respect, she was consulted by and advised bishops, popes, and kings. 2 New World Encyclopedia 3 The movement that became the Moravian Church was started by Jan Hus in the late 14th century Bohemia (now in the Czech Republic). 4 Stanley M. Burgess. “Medieval and Modern Western Churches,” Initial Evidence

Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179)

The medieval era

Martin Luther stated in a conversation with Cochelus, “I have had revelations.” He also said, “I have learned under this Spirit’s guidance,” and that he relied on the revelation of God - through the Word, but via the Spirit in a personal manner. 1 & 2 “Often has it happened, and still does, that devils have been driven out in the name of Christ; also by calling on His name and prayer, the sick have been healed.” 3

The reformer Martin Bucer affirmed prophecy through the aid of the Holy Spirit and the subjective, inner call of the Holy Spirit to ministry. 4

The Anabaptists were more extreme than Luther and Bucer. They insisted upon the ‘free course’ of the Holy Spirit in worship, yet still maintained it all must be judged according to the Scriptures. 5 It was not unusual for them to dance, fall under the power of the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues. 6 In Germany some Anabaptists, “excited by mass hysteria, experienced healings, glossolalia, 7 contortions and other manifestations of a camp-meeting revival.” 8

1 Martin Luther, The Babylonian Captivity of the Church 2 John S. Oyer, Lutheran Reformers Against the Anabaptist 3 Gordon, The Ministry of Healing 4 W. Peter Stephens, The Holy Spirit in the Theology of Martin Bucer 5 John S. Oyer, Lutheran Reformers Against Anabaptists 6 Franklin H. Little, The Origins of Sectarian Protestantism 7 i.e. speaking in tongues 8 George Williams, “The Radical Reformation”

The early reformers

One Swiss Anabaptist document 1 states that the reason for not attending the state churches is these institutions forbid the congregation to exercise spiritual gifts according to “the Christian order as taught in the gospel or the Word of God in 1 Cor 14.” “When such believers come together, ‘Everyone of you (note every one) hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation,’ etc… When someone comes to church and constantly hears only one person speaking, and all the listeners are silent, neither speaking nor prophesying, who can or will regard or confess the same to be a spiritual congregation, or confess according to 1 Cor 14 that God is dwelling and operating in them through His Holy Spirit with His gifts…”

Jacob Hutter… claimed authority from miracles in his life. The Hutterite Chronicle contains several accounts of miraculous events. Among other Anabaptist examples of charismatic expression were the “prophetic processions” (at Zürich in 1525, at Munster in 1534 and at Amsterdam in 1535). 2

1 “Answer of Some Who Are Called (Ana)Baptists - Why They Do Not Attend the Churches” (1532-1534) 2 Klaassen, Anabaptism: Neither Catholic Nor Protestant

Jacob Hutter

The early reformers

Pilgram Marpeck rebukes those who exclude the existence of divine miracles and signs. He says, “Nor does Scripture assert this exclusion… God has a free hand even in these last days.” He speaks of those who had been raised from the dead: “Many of them have remained constant, enduring tortures inflicted by sword, rope, fire and water and suffering terrible, tyrannical, unheard-of deaths and martyrdoms, all of which they could easily have avoided by recantation. Moreover one also marvels when he sees how the faithful God… raises from the dead several such brothers and sisters of Christ after they were hanged, drowned, or killed in other ways. Even today, they are found alive and we can hear their own testimony… Cannot everyone who sees, even the blind, say with a good conscience that such things are a powerful, unusual, and miraculous act of God? Those who would deny it must be hardened men.” 1

Menno Simons says, “Although Peter was previously informed by a heavenly vision that he might go to the Gentiles and teach them the gospel, still he refused to baptize the pious, noble and godly centurion and his associates so long as he did not see the Holy Spirit was descended upon them, so that they spoke with tongues and glorified God… Peter commanded that those only should be baptized who had received the Holy Ghost, who spoke with tongues and glorified God.”

1 The Writings of Pilgram Marpeck

The early reformers

Felix Manz had special revelations where, once or twice in prison and elsewhere certain epistles of Paul were revealed to him as if he had them before his eyes. 1

One man named Martin whom authorities led across a bridge to execution in 1531 prophesied, “this once yet the pious are led over this bridge, but no more hereafter.” Just “a short time afterwards such a violent storm and flood came that the bridge was demolished.” 2

1600’s - The Camisards 3 also spoke sometimes in languages that were unknown: “Several persons of both sexes,” James Du Bois of Montpellier recalled, “I have heard in their Extasies pronounce certain words, which seemed to the Standers-by, to be some Foreign Language.” These utterances were sometimes accompanied by the gift of interpretation. 4

1600’s - Early Quakers, such as Edward Burrough, make mention of tongues speaking in their meetings: “We spoke with new tongues, as the Lord gave us utterance, and His Spirit led us.” 5

1 Horsch, “The Faith of the Swiss Brethren II” 2 Martyrs’ Mirror 3 French Protestants (Huguenots) 4 John Lacy “A Cry from the Desert” The Charismatic Movement. 5 Edward Burrough. Epistle to the Reader, prefix to George Fox, “The Great Mystery of the Great Whore Unfolded and Antichrist’s Kingdom Revealed Unto Destruction”.

The early reformers

The Huguenots (16th-18th Centuries) … exhibited the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit. Thus they were called, ‘The French Prophets.’ They affirmed, “God has nowhere in the Scriptures concluded Himself from dispensing again the extraordinary gifts of His Spirit unto men.” 1

They “fell on their backs, they shut their eyes, they heaved with the breast, they remained a while in trances, and coming out of them with twitching, they uttered all that came into their mouths.” 2

John Venett, one of them, also was amazed that his mother could speak French, “because she never before attempted to speak a word in that language, nor has since to my knowledge , and I am certain she could not do it.” 3

Sir Richard Bulkey, a wealthy English nobleman, tells how he heard John Lacy, one of their leaders, “repeat long sentences in Latin, and another refugee speak in Hebrew, neither one of whom could speak a single word in these languages when not in spiritual ecstasy.” 4

In the 1700s Wesleyan revivals across Europe and North America included many reportedly miraculous events, including speaking in tongues. 5

1 Michael P. Hamilton, The Charismatic Movement 2 Hamilton – 3 Lacy – 4 Cutten, Speaking With Tongues 5 Source: Daniel R. Jennings supernatural occurrences of John Wesley -

16th – 18th century

John Wesley defended the contemporary supernatural ministry of the Holy Spirit to one doubter by referencing the example of the French Prophets, “Sir, your memory fails you again… It has been heard of more than once, no further off than the days of Dauphin.” 1

Under George Whitefield’s ministry “often as many as 500 would fall in the group and lay prostrate under the power of a single sermon. Many people made demonstrations, and in several instances men who held out against the Spirit’s wooing dropped dead during his meetings. Audible cries of the audience often interrupted the messages.” 2

The intensity of Jonathan Edward’s preaching “sometimes resulted in members of the audience fainting, swooning, and other more obtrusive reactions. The swooning and other behaviors in his audience caught him up in a controversy over ‘bodily effects’ of the Holy Spirit’s presence.” 3

In the 1800s Edward Irving, a minister in the Church of Scotland, wrote of a woman who would “speak at great length, and with superhuman strength, in an unknown tongue, to the great astonishment of all who heard.” 4 Irving further stated that “tongues are a great instrument for personal edification, however mysterious it may seem to us.” 1 Vol. 10 of The Works of John Wesley 2 Source: 3 Wikipedia 4 Source: “Edward Irving: An Ecclesiastical and Literary Biography”

18th – 19th century

On the evening of the same day in which Finney received the pardon of his sins, he received a mighty overwhelming baptism of the Holy Spirit which started him immediately to preaching the gospel. He describes it as follows: “But as I turned and was about to take a seat by the fire, I received a mighty baptism of the Holy Ghost. Without any expectation of it, without ever having the thought in my mind that there was any such thing for me, without any recollection that I had ever heard the thing mentioned by any person in the world, the Holy Ghost descended on me in a manner that seemed to go through me, body and soul. I could feel the impression, like a wave of electricity, going through and through me. Indeed it seemed to come in waves and waves of liquid love; for I could not express it in any other way. It seemed like the very breath of God. I can recollect distinctly that it seemed to fan me, like immense wings… No words can express the wonderful love that was shed abroad in my heart. I wept aloud with joy and love; and I do not know but I should say, I literally bellowed out the unutterable gushings of my heart. The waves came over me, and over me, one after the other, until I recollect I cried out, ‘I shall die if these waves continue to pass over me.’ I said, ‘Lord, I cannot bear any more;’ yet I had no fear of death.” 1

1 Source: J. Gilchrist Lawson, “Deeper Experiences of Famous Christians” (1911)

Charles Finney

The “Autobiography of Charles G. Finney” is perhaps the most remarkable account of the manifestations of the Holy Spirit’s power since apostolic days. It is crowded with accounts of spiritual outpourings which remind one of the day of Pentecost. 1

Sometimes the power of God was so manifest in Finney’s meetings that almost the entire audience fell on their knees in prayer or were prostrated on the floor. When in the pulpit he sometimes felt almost lifted off his feet by the power of the Spirit of God. In Finney’s meetings remarkable physical manifestations seemed to accompany the work of the Holy Spirit… Often a hallowed calm, noticeable even to the unsaved, seemed to settle down upon cities where he was holding meetings. Sinners were often brought under conviction of sin almost as soon as they entered these cities. 1

Finney seemed so anointed with the Holy Spirit that people were often brought under conviction of sin just by looking at him. When holding meetings at Utica, New York, he visited a large factory there and was looking at the machinery. At the sight of him one of the operatives, and then another, and then another broke down and wept under a sense of their sins, and finally so many were sobbing and weeping that the machinery had to be stopped while Finney pointed them to Christ. 1

1 Source: J. Gilchrist Lawson, “Deeper Experiences of Famous Christians” (1911)

Charles Finney

According to R.A. Torrey, “Moody knew he had ‘the baptism with the Holy Ghost’; he had no doubt about it. In his early days… he had a tremendous desire to do something, but he had no real power. He worked very largely in the energy of the flesh. But there were 2 humble Free Methodist women who used to come over to his meetings in the Y.M.C.A. … These 2 women would come to Mr. Moody at the close of his meetings and say: ‘We are praying for you.’ Finally, Mr. Moody became somewhat nettled and said to them one night: ‘Why are you praying for me? Why don’t you pray for the unsaved?’ They replied: ‘We are praying that you may get the power.’ Mr. Moody did not know what that meant, but he got to thinking about it, and then went to these women and said: ‘I wish you would tell me what you mean’; and they told him about the definite baptism with the Holy Ghost. Then he asked that he might pray with them and not they merely pray for him… Not long after… he was walking up Wall Street in New York… and in the midst of the bustle and hurry of that city his prayer was answered; the power of God fell upon him as he walked up the street and he had to hurry off to the house of a friend and ask that he might have a room by himself, and in that room he stayed alone for hours; and the Holy Ghost came upon him, filling his soul with such joy that at last he had to ask God to withhold His hand, lest he die on the spot from very joy. He went out from that place with the power of the Holy Ghost upon him…” 1

1 R.A. Torrey – “Why God Used D.L. Moody”

D.L. Moody

Once he had some teachers at Northfield - fine men, all of them, but they did not believe in a definite baptism with the Holy Ghost for the individual. They believed that every child of God was baptized with the Holy Ghost, and they did not believe in any special baptism with the Holy Ghost for the individual. Mr. Moody came to me and said: “Torrey, will you come up to my house after the meeting tonight and I will get those men to come, and I want you to talk this thing out with them.” Of course, I very readily consented, and Mr. Moody and I talked for a long time, but they did not altogether see eye to eye with us. And when they went, Mr. Moody signaled me to remain for a few moments. Mr. Moody sat there with his chin on his breast, as he so often sat when he was in deep thought; then he looked up and said: “Oh, why will they split hairs? Why don’t they see that this is just the one thing that they themselves need? They are good teachers, they are wonderful teachers, and I am so glad to have them here; but why will they not see that the baptism with the Holy Ghost is just the one touch that they themselves need?” 1

1 R.A. Torrey – “Why God Used D.L. Moody”

D.L. Moody

R.A. Torrey (1856-1928)

I shall never forget the 8th July, 1894, to my dying day. It was the closing day of the Northfield Students’ Conference… Mr. Moody had asked me to preach on Saturday night and Sunday morning on the baptism with the Holy Ghost… It was just exactly 12 o’clock when I finished my morning sermon, and I took out my watch and said: “Mr. Moody has invited us all to go up to the mountain at 3 o’clock this afternoon to pray for the power of the Holy Spirit.” 1

At 3 o’clock we all gathered in front of Mr. Moody’s mother’s house… There were 465 of us in all… Mr. Moody said: “Have any of you students anything to say?” I think about 75 of them arose, one after the other, and said: “Mr. Moody, I could not wait till 3 o’clock; I have been alone with God since the morning service, and I believe I have a right to say that I have been baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 1

When these testimonies were over, Mr. Moody said: “Young men, I can't see any reason why we shouldn’t kneel down here right now and ask God that the Holy Ghost may fall upon us just as definitely as He fell upon the apostles on the Day of Pentecost. Let us pray.” And we did pray, there on the mountainside… as we began to pray our prayers seemed to pierce that cloud and the Holy Ghost fell upon us. 1

1 R.A. Torrey – Torrey was an American evangelist and pastor who headed the Bible Institute of the Chicago Evangelization Society (now Moody Bible Institute).

Historian Walter Hollenweger considers the South African Dutch Reformed minister Andrew Murray to be a forerunner of Pentecostalism. 1

One Sunday evening, during the youth fellowship meeting, an African servant girl arose and asked permission to sing a verse and pray. The Holy Spirit fell upon the group and she prayed. In the distance, there came a sound like approaching thunder. It surrounded the hall, and the building began to shake. Instantly everyone burst into prayer. The assistant minister knelt at the table. 2 Andrew Murray had been speaking in the main sanctuary to the service there. He was notified and came running. Murray called in a loud voice, “I am your minister, sent from God. Silence!” No one noticed as all continued calling out loudly to God for forgiveness. Murray asked his assistant to sing a hymn, but the praying continued undiminished. 2 All week long, the prayer meetings were held. Each service began with profound silence. “But as soon as several prayers had arisen the place was shaken as before and the whole company of people engaged in simultaneous petition to the throne of grace.” The meetings often continued until 3:00 a.m. and as the people reluctantly dispersed, they went singing their way down the streets. 2

1 Source: 2 Source:

Andrew Murray

Services were moved to a larger building because of the crowds. On Saturday, Andrew Murray led the prayer meeting. Again, the mysterious sound of thunder approached from a distance, coming nearer until it enveloped the building. Everyone broke out in simultaneous prayer. Murray walked up and down the aisle trying to quiet the people, but a stranger in the service tiptoed up to him and whispered, “Be careful what you do, for it is the Spirit of God that is at work here.” Murray learned to accept the revival praying. 1

In the face of criticism Murray insisted that the believer can expect to receive the fullness of the Spirit. As Murray put it, “I must be filled; it is absolutely necessary. I may be filled; God has made it blessedly possible. I would be filled; it is eminently desirable. I will be filled; it is so blessedly certain.” 1

He often prayed, “May not a single moment of my life be spent outside the light, love, and joy of God’s presence and may not a moment without the entire surrender of my self as a vessel for Him to fill full of His Spirit and His love.” 1

“I have learnt to place myself before God every day, as a vessel to be filled with His Holy Spirit.” – Andrew Murray 1

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The fact is, there is no plain, unambiguous statement in the New Testament that the charismatic gifts will cease. 1

One of the hermeneutical rules of interpreting scripture is to cross-reference the usage of the word we wish to interpret with it’s usage in other passages.

The Cessationist theory relies, instead, on a particular interpretation of 1 Corinthians 13:10 that equates the phrase – “when that which is perfect has come” - to mean “when the New Testament Canon has come”, however, that construction of the word “perfect” is inconsistent with every other analogous N.T. reference to the concept of “perfection”. In contrast, almost every other N.T. reference to the concept of “perfection” refers instead to the believer’s ultimate state of maturity and perfection in Christ, e.g. Ephesians 4:13, Colossians 1:28. Neither of these two example verses would make any sense if read as references to the perfect New Testament Canon itself. No other N.T. reference, which contains the words “perfect” or “perfection”, can be read in such a manner as to refer to the New Testament Canon itself. Therefore, this suggests that the Cessationists interpretation of 1 Cor 13:10 is an isolated and distorted interpretation that is out of kilter with the other analogous verses of similar subject matter. 1

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