Continuationism Introduction

by Rick Pidcock

As I’ve shared in the series of articles entitled, “Drawn By Grace,” my theology has taken quite the paradigm shift over the past twelve years from an extreme Arminean view of salvation, to a growing dependence on the doctrines of grace.

More recently, God used our search for a local church to cause us to consider our views of cessationism vs. continuation of spiritual gifts.  Over the past year and a half, we have been searching for a church that teaches, values, and lives the gospel.  And over time, we believe that God led us to Sovereign Grace Church, which is part of Sovereign Grace Ministries–a Reformed, Charismatic network of churches.

Though our view of salvation was essentially reformed, our understanding of the continuation of all of the spiritual gifts was that they had ceased at the closing of the canon of Scripture.  In our minds, because the more “miraculous gifts” were simply “sign gifts” that confirmed the authenticity of the apostles message, they were no longer necessary for the church today.

I would like to write a short series on how we believe that God has led us to a belief in the continuation of all of the spiritual gifts.  The first article will be entitled “Continuationism & The Sovereignty of God.”  The second article will deal with “Continuationism & The Sufficiency of Scripture.”  And the third article will deal with, “Continuationism and Orderly Worship.”

One common problem in discussing these issues is to draw conclusions based on experience and fear.  Many cessationists will say that they have not experienced these gifts, and that they are afraid of the extreme over emotionalism found throughout the charismatic movement.  On the other hand, many continuationists communicate fear of being dead and dry if they were to adapt a cessationist mindset.

My goal in these articles is to let the Scriptures define my theology, rather than my experiences.  And I pray that as you read, you will do the same.  And whether or not we agree on every last point is not the most important thing.  But I pray that you will have a greater appreciation for the Sovereignty of God, confidence in the Sufficiency of Scripture, and passion for orderly worship as a result of this series.

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