The unfortunate reality of leadership scandals, particularly within charismatic circles, has been glaring in recent years. In my geographical area, known for its prophetic and charismatic fervor, there have been unsettling revelations with the IHOP scandal of well-known figures exploiting spiritual gifts like prophecy for manipulation and abuse. This has caused scrutiny of their prophetic history, revealing all kinds of craziness and error. Other recent charismatic leadership scandals have added to the controversy.  As someone within the charismatic community, I find this deeply distressing and shameful.


Unfortunately, in the aftermath of these scandals, some gravitate towards theological or experiential responses that can also be spiritually harmful. I call them THEOLOGICAL and/or PRACTICING CESSATIONISM. Theological Cessationism believes that Spiritual gifts and supernatural manifestations, as seen in the Bible, ceased to operate after the early Apostolic age or when the New Testament Scriptures were written.

Practicing Cessationism reflects a laissez-faire or indifferent posture where one no longer considers Spiritual gifts or supernatural manifestations necessary or normal today. While one may intellectually acknowledge their existence, no faith drives the daily pursuit of these things. Consequently, they live without actively experiencing or zealously seeking Spiritual gifts or manifestations.

In the house of God, the answer to abuse or wrong use isn’t non-use, but right use.

For some, adopting a theological or practicing belief of Cessationism can be an attempt to distance oneself from the flaws, sins, and excesses of charismatic expressions.  It is an effort to play it safe, so one is not embarrassed or hurt by the crazy expressions or excesses of Spiritual/supernatural things.


The answer to abuse and wrong use isn’t non-use, but right use.   If one leans towards a cessationist theology or practice, they will become a functional “Deist” in their approach to the things of God.  This means God becomes distant and uninvolved in day-to-day life.  They quit fervently pursuing Him, Holy Spirit, and Spiritual gifts and manifestations.  They tend to forget that it is impossible to live with God without living “by the Spirit, ” including gifts and manifestations.

  • Romans 8:14  For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
  • Galatians 5:16 -25 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh…25  If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.

I have seen Christians become functional Diest who were once fully alive and seeking more of Holy Spirit’s power and giftings.  Now, they are just a hollow shell of what they once were.  They may still intellectually believe God’s power and Spiritual gifts but have quit seeking to move in them.

Attempts to Justify Theological Cessassionsim

Some adhere to a Biblical Theology of Ceassassionism, primarily using a passage in 1 Corinthians 13.  THIS IS A VERY UNBIBLICAL APPROACH!!!

  • 1Corinthains 13:8-12  … if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.  (9)  For we know in part and we prophesy in part;  (10)  but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away…(12)  For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.

Theological Cessationists advocate that Spiritual gifts like prophecy and tongues and gifted offices like Apostles and Prophets have passed away because “the perfect has come, and the partial has passed away” (Vs 10).  In their theological attempts to justify their beliefs and experiences, the “perfect” is the Bible.  Once the New Testament writings were formalized as the “canon” (the collection of writings considered the authoritative word of God), they were no longer given by God.

THIS IS NOT THE CONTEXT OF THE 1 CORINTHIANS 13 PASSAGE!!! The text contrasts our life on this Earth, where “we see in a mirror dimly,” with life on the other side of glory being “face to face” with our Creator when He returns (not face to face with the Bible).  Now, we only “know in part,” whereas then we shall “know fully” even as we are now “fully known” by the LORD (verse 12).  All the major orthodox Commentators such as Matthew Henry, Albert Barnes, and John Gill expound those verses as the Lord’s return, not the Bible being written.

There are other major theological problems with the idea that the “perfect” is the Bible; therefore, we no longer need Spiritual gifts.  Was it when the New Testament Letters were written down (between 48-100AD) or when the 27 letters made it into the accepted canon of the New Testament at the Council of Hippo, around the year 393. When did the gifts cease, the early 100s or the early 400s?  How do you account for all the historical and supernatural giftings and happenings recorded during those first 400 years of the church?  Were the Christians in error or false?

Theological or Practicing Cessationism MOTIVATES DISOBEDIENCE TO  GOD’S WORD  

Another big problem with the Theological or Practicing Cessassionist approach is that it motivates people to disobey the Bible.  “Sound Theology” or “Sound Practice” is not sound if it motivates us to disobey God’s word. Consider the obvious passages that the Cessassionist theology or practice leads us to disobey.

  • Ephesians 5: 18-19 NLT Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit (the verb tense of filled is “be continually filled”).
  • John 7:37-39…Jesus stood and cried out, saying, If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink (Thayer’s Greek Definitions, “The three verbs are present tense…One could amplify this invitation this way, If anyone is continually thirsting, let him keep coming to Me and keep drinking from Me.”)  (38)  He who believes on Me, as the Scripture has said, “Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”  (39)  But He spoke this about the Spirit, which they who believed on Him should receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. 
  • 1 Corinthians 12:29-31  All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they?  (30)  All do not have gifts of healing, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they?  (31)  But earnestly desire (G2206 Zeloo “to burn with zeal towards, to exert oneself towards, to zealously seek after”) the greater gifts.
  • 1Corinthians 14:1-5  Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts (G2206 Zeloo “to burn with zeal towards, to exert oneself towards, to zealously seek after”), but especially that you may prophesy (G3123 mallon “to a greater degree, sooner, especially, more”) … (5)  Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy…
  • 2Timothy 1:6-7  For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh (G329 anazopureo “to kindle up, kindle afresh, inflame, like stirring up a fire”) the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. (7)  For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.

ANY THEOLOGY OR PRACTICE THAT DOESN’T LEAD US TO “EARNESTLY DESIRE” AND/OR “STIR UP SPIRITUAL GIFTS” IN US IS A PROBLEM!!!  It leads us away from obedience to God’s word, which is the opposite of what theology is designed for.   The theological or practicing cessationists must ask themselves some important questions.  Are you pursuing with a fervor more fillings of Holy Spirit?   Are you content to live without moving in Spiritual gifts or Holy Spirit’s power?

Sound Theology or Practice is not sound if it motivates us to disobey God’s word.

Instead of falling into a cessationist theology or practice that causes us to disobey God’s word, may we pursue Spiritual gifts and supernatural power in their Biblical context.   REMEMBER, WE WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO ACCURATELY EXPRESS GOD’S KINGDOM WITHOUT HOLY SPIRIT AND HIS POWER!!!

  • 1 Corinthians 4:20 For the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power.

Falling into practical Deism is deadly.  Jesus taught us to PRAY and PURSUE, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”   This includes Spiritual gifts and manifestations of God’s power.