“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city… to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy….”
“And He shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel… Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples…. To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”
“And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with Him in the holy mount [Mt. 17]. We have also a more sure word of prophecy… knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation.”
2 Pet. 1:18-20
Order of Contents
Charismatic Gifts Generally
Cessation of the Charismatic Gifts
. On the Book of Acts
. Acts 8:14-17
. On 1st Corinthians
. 1 Cor. 13:8-13
. Early Church
. Westminster & Puritans
. Scottish Continuationism?
Webpages of Resources
On the Charismatic Gifts Generally
Encyclopedias & Dictionaries
ed. McClintock & Strong – ‘Gifts, Spiritual’ in Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature 1867-1887
ed. Hastings – ‘Charismata’ in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, vol. 3 1908-1927
Not every interpretation in the article is recommended, but it has a lot of detailed, helpful information.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia – ‘Spiritual Gifts’
Owen, John – ‘Extraordinary Spiritual Gifts, 1 Cor. 12:4-11’ in A Discourse of Spiritual Gifts in Works, vol. 4
Barrington, John Shute – Essay 1, ‘On the Teaching and Witness of the Holy Spirit’ †1734 255 pp. in Theological Works, vol. 1
Barrington (1678–1734) was an Anglican who was friendly to presbyterians. His discussion of the particular spiritual gifts begins on p. 23. The work is not polemical but seeks to organize and explain the Biblical data on the spiritual gifts, their uses, purposes, etc.
The Cessation of the Charismatic Gifts
‘The Original, Duration, Use and End of Extraordinary Spiritual Gifts’ in A Discourse of Spiritual Gifts in Works, vol. 4
Smeaton, George – ‘On the Extraordinary Gifts’ 3 paragraphs
Smeaton was a professor in the Free Church of Scotland.
pp. 227-255 of ‘Prelacy a Blunder’ in Discussions, vol. 2
Prelacy has sometimes taken the ‘charismata’ to be a gifting and anointing of the Holy Spirit conferred by the laying on of hands in ordination, in order to justify apostolic succession, etc.
Dabney, on the contrary, shows that it certainly does not mean this, but is to be taken for the extraordinary spiritual giftings of the Holy Spirit, conveyed by the laying on of the apostles hands, which hence has ceased with the apostles. He also discusses the unique nature of the Biblical evangelists. His discussion is important and very insightful.
‘Spurious Religious Excitements’ in Discussions, vol. 3, p. 456 ff.
Warfield, B.B. – ‘The Cessation of the Charismata’ 1918 32 paragraphs This is the most important section of Warfield’s book, Counterfeit Miracles, being ch. 1.
Edgar, Thomas – ‘The Cessation of the Sign Gifts’ 1988 50 paragraphs
Edgar has been a professor of New Testament Literature and Exegesis at Capital Bible Seminary, Lanham, Maryland.
Masters, Peter – ‘Cessationism — Proving Charismatic Gifts have Ceased’
Stewart, Angus – ‘The Three Waves of Charismatic Christianity’
Macleod, Donald – ‘The Cessation of the Charismatic Gifts with the Apostolic Age’ in The Baptism of the Spirit and the Charismatic Gifts
Schwertley, Brian – ‘The Charismatic Movement: a Biblical Critique’ 85 paragraphs
Judisch, Douglas – An Evaluation of Claims to the Charismatic Gifts Buy baker & Concordia Seminary Press
Judisch is a Lutheran.
Blessed by the Presence of the Spirit: The Authentic Charismatic Church 1997 96 pp.
“A careful cessationist case with exposition of relevant Scripture.”
Spiritual Gifts in the Apostolic Church Their Nature, Function and Cessation in the Light of the New Testament Evidence Buy
“Officers in the apostolic church were of two kinds, extraordinary and ordinary. See Eph. 4:11; 1 Cor. 12:28, and compare, for the grounds upon which the extraordinary are defined to be temporary, 1 Cor. 13:10, etc., with Warburton’s exposition of the passage in his ‘Doctrine of Grace’ [Bk. 2, ch. 2].” – Thomas Peck
Chantry, Walter – Signs of the Apostles: Observations on Pentacostalism Old and New Buy 1973 131 pp.
Gaffin Jr., Richard – Perspectives on Pentecost Buy 1979 122 pp.
Budgen, Victor – The Charismatics and the Word of God Buy 2001 316 pp.
On the Book of Acts
See also many more commentaries on Acts.
Bruner, Frederick Dale – A Theology of the Holy Spirit: The Pentecostal Experience and the New Testament Witness Buy 1970 350 pp.
Dr. Bruner was a graduate of Princeton Seminary and the University of Hamburg.
The first half of the book is a description of the Pentecostal movement and experience from their primary sources. The second half of the book (why you need to buy it) is the best exegetical consideration available of the key primary texts throughout Acts that relate to modern Pentecostal issues. Brunner even-handedly argues from the text that the ‘tongues’ of Acts were real languages, argues for cessationism and that Pentecostal theology and practice is not reflective of the experience and teaching of the book of Acts. His treatment of Acts 2 and 1 Cor. 14 is masterly.
“Haled by reviewers, this book is one of the best analyses of Pentecostalism written in the twentieth century. Dr. Gordon Clark called it ‘masterly’, ‘exceedingly well researched’, ‘superb’, and a ‘penetrating analysis’. No one, whether sympathetic or unsympathetic to the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement, should be without it.” – The Trinity Foundation
On Acts 8:14-17, that Conferring Miraculous Gifts to Others was a Prerogative of the Apostles See especially Warfield
Lightfoot, John – pp. 125-128 of Commentary on Acts in Works, vol. 8
Meyer, Heinrich – Commentary on Acts 8:14-17
Gloag, Paton J. – p. 289 of A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Acts
Warfield, B.B. – pp. 21-25 of Counterfeit Miracles
On 1st Corinthians
See also many more commentaries on 1 Corinthians.
‘The Nature of Tongues’ from his Commentary on 1 Corinthians, 12:10, five paragraphs
Argues for the traditional interpretation that Biblical “tongues” were real, intelligible, foreign languages, not unintelligible babble.
*** “The more we use Hodge, the more we value him. This applies to all his commentaries.” – Spurgeon
Clark, Gordon – First Corinthians Buy
Clark was reformed, focuses on exegesis, is very clear and is sometimes humorous. Clark is very good on rightly understanding the charismatic phenomenon from the text.
Thomas, Robert – Understanding Spiritual Gifts: A Verse-by-Verse Study of 1 Corinthians 12-14 Buy 1998 304 pp.
Thomas was a professor of New Testament at The Master’s Seminary and is a dispensationalist (which system of interpretation is highly not-recommended, though they get cessationism right).
1 Cor. 13:8-13
‘The perfect’ that is to come (v. 10), which will do away with the temporary and partial miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit, has often, or perhaps usually, been taken by historic, reformed commentators as Christ in his revelatory 2nd coming, such interpreters still holding to cessationism for exegetical and systematic reasons from other passages of Scripture.
Rev. Phil Kayser notes that if the passage does refer to the second coming there is still plenty of exegetical reason from the passage itself to believe that the gifts would expire to cessation shortly after the apostolic period much before the 2nd Coming. See pp. 46-50 of The Canon of Scripture.
However, the immediate and dominant context of 1 Cor. 12-14 is that of inspired, special revelation for the Church for its upbuilding, and not the coming of Christ, which notion is otherwise absent. Hence, against this strong background of piecemeal, localized, temporary and ephemeral revelatory gifts, there is strong prima facie reason to understand the ‘perfect’ as the full, completed, permanent canon of Scripture, as the Word of God is called in Scirpture ‘perfect’ (Ps. 19:7; 119:96; James 1:25), a glass that shows us the glory of the Lord (2 Cor. 3:15-18) and a mirror that shows us as we truly are (James 1:23-35).
Scripture also gives a perfect understanding of all that is good and spiritually necessary for us to walk before the Lord (Lk.1:3; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Acts 18:26; 22:3; Rom. 12:2; 1 Cor. 2:6; 2 Cor. 7:1; 2 Cor. 13:9,11; Gal. 3:3; Eph. 4:11-13; Phil. 3:15; Col. 1:28; Col. 4:12; 1 Thess. 3:10; Heb. 6:1; 13:21; James 1:4,17; 3:2; 1 Pet. 5:10; 1 John 2:5), it being sufficient and able to make us ‘perfect’ through every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
With this in mind, the cessationist reading of 1 Cor. 13 deserves full consideration. Budgen’s treatment is one of the best.
Warburton, William – Book 2, ch. 2, ‘An Explanation of 1 Cor. 13:8, showing, from the express declaration of the apostle, that the extraordinary or miraculous operations of the Holy Spirit were to Cease with the First Ages’ 1763 10 pp. in The Doctrine of Grace, or, The Office and Operations of the Holy Spirit Vindicated from the Insults of infidelity, and the abuses of Fanaticism, pp. 70-80
“Officers in the apostolic church were of two kinds, extraordinary and ordinary. See Eph. 4:11; 1 Cor. 12:28, and compare, for the grounds upon which the extraordinary are defined to be temporary, 1 Cor. 13:10, etc., with Warburton’s exposition of the passage in his ‘Doctrine of Grace’.” – Thomas Peck
Henderson, Ebenezer – Concluding Lecture, ‘The Cessation of Revelation, 1 Cor 13:8’ in Divine Inspiration, pp. 510-542 1836
Budgen, Victor – Ch. 5, ‘When do the Gifts Cease’ 2001 16 pp. in The Charismatics and the Word of God, pp. 73-89 Buy
Very helpful exegesis.
McDougall, Donald – ‘Cessationism in 1 Cor. 13:8-12’ Master’s Theological Seminary 14/2 (Fall 2003) 177-213
Compton, R. Bruce – ‘1 Cor. 13:8-13 and the Cessation of Miraculous Gifts’ 2004 48 pp.
Compton is a professor at Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary.
Woods, Andy – “The Meaning of ‘The Perfect’ in 1 Cor. 13:8-13” 2012 69 paragraphs
Dr. Woods is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary.
Swanson, Dennis – ‘Bibliography of Works on Cessationism’ 17 pp., 5 sections
Swanson is a librarian for The Master’s Seminary. The bibliography includes numerous general works and works that are pro-Continuationism, as well as about the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements generally.
Jones, Charles Edwin
Guide to the Study of the Pentecostal Movement, 2 vols. Buy Scarecrow 1983
The Holiness-Pentecostal Movement: A Comprehensive Guide Buy ATLA Bibliography Series
The Charismatic Movement: A Guide to the Study of the NeoPentecostalism with Emphasis on Anglo-American Sources, 2 vols. Buy Scarecrow 1995
Black Holiness: A Guide to the Study of Black Participation in Wesleyan Perfectionist and Glossolalic Pentecostal Movements Buy Atla Bibliography Series
Newman, John Henry – Essay 1: ‘The Miracles of Scripture’ 1824 93 pp.
This was when Newman was a protestant. On this work, see Warfield, pp. 54-55
Atwater, Lyman – ‘Miracles and their Counterfeits’ in The Biblical Repertory and Princeton Review, 1856, p. 255 ff.
Atwater was an old-school presbyterian.
Stewart, Angus – ‘Eight Facts Regarding Biblical Healings’
Pine, Leonard – ‘The Gift of Healing in the Scriptural Record’ 2007 7 pp. in the Western Reformed Seminary Journal
Schwertley, Brian – ‘Miracles-Healings’
Zaspel, Fred – ‘The Gifts of Miracles & Healings Today?’
See Warfield, pp. 60-61
Add on history of miracles
On the Early Church
Bernard, J.H. – ‘The Miraculous in Early Christian Literature’ 1891 43 pp
Busenitz, Nathan – ‘The Gift Of Tongues: Comparing the Church Fathers with Contemporary’ Masters Seminary Journal 17, no. 1 (Spring 2006): 61-78
Abridged: A Free Inquiry into the Miraculous Powers which are Supposed to have Subsisted in the Christian Church, from the earliest ages through several successive centuries upon the authority of the primitive fathers 1749 180 pp. Unabridged 405 pp.
Middleton (1683-1759) was an Anglican clergyman.
“After a century and a half the book remains unrefuted, and, indeed, despite the faults arising from the writer’s spirit and the limitations inseparable from the state of scholarship in his day, its main contention seems to b put beyond dispute.” – B.B. Warfield
See Warfield, Counterfit Miracles, pp. 28-31 for more background to these works.
Montanism – Early Church
ed. McClintock & Strong – ‘Montanists’ in Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature 1867-1887
Stewart, Angus – ‘Was the Church Right to Condemn Montanism?’
On Westminster & the Puritans
Milne, Garnet – The Westminster Confession of Faith and the Cessation of Special Revelation: the Majority Puritan Viewpoint on Whether Extra-Biblical Prophecy is Still Possible Buy 2007 362 pp. See the Buy link for a detailed table of contents through the ‘Look Inside’ link
This is an excellent, exhaustive historical defense of the cessationism of the Westminster Confession and Assembly, in light of some who believe the Confession allows for “Reformed Charismatics.” Milne proves the historical claims of Wayne Grudem, regarding reformed history and continuationism (especially with regard to the reformers and Scottish puritans), wrong. The book also explores the interesting variety of expressions and nuances of the cessationist doctrine amongst the puritans, for which it is chiefly valuable.
Milne, Garnet – Ch. 6, ‘Prophecy and the Scots’ 2007 37 pp. in The Westminster Confession of Faith and the Cessation of Special Revelation: the Majority Puritan Viewpoint on Whether Extra-Biblical Prophecy is Still Possible, pp. 219-256 Buy
This is the best and most detailed treatment of the topic.
“The durability of the view that Reformation and post-Reformation ‘prophecy’ was mediate revelation as an application of Scripture to providence by the leading of the Spirit is seen most clearly where Westminster theology took hold and had its greatest success…”
Ch. 5, ‘Whether these prophets and prophesyings in the primitive church, 1 Cor. 14; 12:28; eph. 4:11; were extraordinary and not so to continue; or whether they are precedents for the preaching or prophesying of such as are neither ordained ministers nor probationers for the ministry’ in A Treatise of Miscellany Questions
Gillespie is arguing against the Independents who claimed that their practice of unordained lay-preaching was warranted from the ‘prophets’ and ‘prophesying’ of the NT,, which they took to include gifted, non-ordained lay-persons.
In the midst of the discussion, Gillespie expresses his belief that the NT prophets were extraordinary and inspired, and that at the Reformation and afterwards such persons, whom he in part names in a list, were raised up with gifts greater than that of ordinary pastors. He does not express though, that ‘prophet’ is a continuing office in the church or ordinary thereto, or fallible. As Gillespie regards the phenomenon as extraordinary and ceased in most periods of the church, his view is very different than that of most Continuationists. Gillespie, while using the NT verses of ‘prophets’ as proof-texts for cessationism in other parts of his writings, wonders here whether these Scriptures may bear the additional nuance of including the non-inspired, modern, Reformation ‘prophets’ that Gillespie cites:
“and upon what Scripture can we pitch for such extraordinary prophets, if not upon those Scriptures…?”
Gillespie’s implicit premise seems to be: Finding the accounts of the Reformation ‘prophets’ to be self-evidently true, he seeks Scriptural warrant for them, for it would be strange for God to give ‘prophets’ to his continuing Church, and yet for Scripture not to mention such at all. Therefore, perhaps this modern phenomenon may be grounded in these specific Scriptures?
Garnet Milne, p. 247:
“Thus a careful analysis of Gillespie’s wider thought brings Gillspie far more nearly into line with his cessationist colleagues at the Assembly than may have been supposed by recent scholars such as Berends. Nothing that Gillespie concludes necessarily separates him from the majority view of the Reformed orthodox. He appeals to the same texts which others applied earlier to immediately-inspired prophets, but these texts, as we have seen, can also be used to justify a later non-miraculous though otherwise analogous gift of the Holy Spirit, as John Own and other Westminster divines maintained. Neither does anything Gillespie says preclude an explanation like Rutherford’s of the Knoxian foretellers- namely that modern ‘prophets’ were applying Scripture principles to providential circumstances under the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Non of the Scottish commissioners, including Blair and Gillespie, therefore, needs to be understood as a proponent of a continuing immediate revelation. Indeed, there is insufficient evidence to allow that conclusion concerning any of them.”
Ch. 7: ‘Of Prophets and Evangelists: in what Sense their work and vocation might be Called Extraordinary, and in what sense Ordinary’ in A Treatise of Miscellany Questions
Gillespie takes’prophets and evangelists’ as having both extraordinary and ordinary aspects and functions. The offices are not ordinary to the continuing Christian church, but upon extraordinary occasions, ecclesiastical assemblies may commission persons for the ordinary work of messengers to make communications with other assemblies. Yet Gillespie does not see the office of evangelist has having a permanent place in the church or that there is warrant for them having a distinct ordination, and what he describes as their continuing functions takes place in historically reformed denominations already, such as the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing), which, from the Second Reformation in Scotland, never inherited an office of the NT evangelist.
Rutherford, Samuel – Ch. 7, ‘Of Revelations and Inspirations’ in A Survey of the Spiritual Antichrist, part 1. Quote from pp. 42-44:
“There is a third [category of] revelation of some particular men, who have foretold things to come… as John Hus, Wyclif, Luther, have foretold things to come, and they certainly fell out, and in our nation of Scotland, Mr. George Wishart… Mr. Knox… Mr. John Davidson… [and] diverse holy and mortified preachers in England have done the like… now the differences… I place in these:
1. These worthy reformers did tie no man to believe their prophecies as Scriptures, we are to give faith to the predictions of prophets and apostles, foretelling facts to come, as to the very word of God; they never gave themselves out as organs immediately inspired by the Holy Ghost, as the prophets do, and as Paul did… yea they never denounced judgment against those that believe not their predictions, of these particular events and facts as they are such particular events & facts, as the prophets and apostles did…
2. The events revealed to godly and sound witnesses of Christ are not contrary to the Word… They had a general rule going along that ‘evil shall hunt the wicked man’: only a secret harmless, but an extraordinary strong impulsion of a Scripture-spirit leading them, carried them to apply a general rule of divine justice, in their predictions to particular godless men, they themselves only being foretellers not copartners of the act.
3. They were men sound in the faith opposite to Popery, Prelacy Socinianism, Papism, Lawless Enthusiasm, Antinomianism, Arminianism, Arianism, and what else is contrary to sound doctrine, all these being wanting in such as hold this fourth sort of revelations we cannot judge them but Satanical having these characters. 1 They are not pure and harmless; but thrust men on upon bloody and wicked practices forbidden by God…”
My assurances are not the Marvels of Merlin, nor yet the dark sentences of profane prophesies, but:
1. the plain truth of God’s Word;
2. the invincible justice of the everlasting God, and
3. the ordinary course of his punishments and plagues from the beginning are my assurance and grounds. God’s Word threatens destruction to all unobedient; his immutable justice must require the same. The ordinary punishments and plagues show examples.
…[George] Wishart was basely betrayed into the hands of the cardinal by the earl of Bothwell, under a pledge of personal safety… and after a mock trial, during which he was grossly insulted, mocked, and even spit upon by his judges, he was condemned to the stake as an obstinate heretic. The crimes of which he was accused were, such as denying… inventions of the Romish Church; and he defended himself with great meekness and fidelity…
He was fixed to the stake with a heavy chain. The fire was lighted… “This flame hath scorched my body,’ said the sufferer,
“yet hath it not daunted my spirit. But he who from yonder high place beholdeth us with such pride, shall, within a few days, lie in the same as ignominiously as now he is seen proudly to rest himself.”
This happened on the 1st day of March, 1546. Nothing could be more unlikely, at the time Wishart uttered this memorable prediction, than that it should be fulfilled. The cardinal himself paid no regard to it; he dwelt securely in his fortified castle; the people of the town were at his command; and he had so powerful friends throughout the country.
A late writer is so perfectly sure that our ancestors could, in no instance, receive premonitions of future events, that he maintains it to be ‘more probable’ that Wishart was privy to some conspiracy against the cardinal, ‘than that he should be endowed with the spirit of prophecy.’
But is there anything inconsistent with reason or religion in supposing that God may, on special occasions, such as in times of hot persecution, have granted to his faithful and prayerful servants premonitions and forewarnings of coming events, beyond what could be discovered even by ‘an extraordinary degree of sagacious foresight?’ ‘That the Supreme Being,’ says Dr. Cook, ‘may, in seasons of difficulty, thus enlighten his servants, cannot b doubted.’
To hold that this opinion is inconsistent with the perfection of the Holy Scriptures, is to mistake the matter entirely. Our worthies never pretended to be endowed with the spirit of prophecy, in the sense in which this is true of the ancient prophets; thy did not lay claim to inspiration, nor require implicit faith to be placed in their sayings as divine; thy did not propose them as rules of duty, nor appeal to them as miraculous evidences of the doctrines thy taught. But they regarded such presentiments as gracious intimations of the will of God, granted to them in answer to prayer, for their own encouragement or direction; and they delivered them as warnings to others, leaving the truth of them to be ascertained and proved by the event…
Th truth is… [regarding] the cardinal… his assassination was the result of a more private conspiracy which was formed some time after Wishart’s death… not exceeding twelve persons in all. early on the morning of Saturday, 29th May, 1546, this small band… burst into the chamber of the cardinal, and after upbraiding him with his perfidy and cruelty, fell upon him with their swords… and the conspirators… exposed his dead body on the very tower from which he had, a few months before, in savage pomp, witnessed the execution of George Wishart.
Calvin, John – 3 Quotes
Webpages with Further Resources
“Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.”
The Third Commandment
“But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak… even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken?’ When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously…”
“In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David… for sin and for uncleanness. And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that… I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land. And it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, ‘Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of the Lord’: and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the prophets shall be ashamed every one of his vision, when he hath prophesied… But he shall say, ‘I am no prophet…'”