Back to Cessationism & Charismania: opposing poles of the Church spectrum
“In Acts we see the disciples reaching Jews and Gentiles with great power and effectiveness. When Jews and idol-worshiping Gentiles heard the gospel and saw or heard of the confirming miraculous healings, they turned to Christ in great numbers.
Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was great joy in that city. …But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. (Act 8:5-8,12)
We see other instances in Acts of the miraculous opening the hearts of multitudes to believe the gospel of Jesus Christ:
Act 4:4 But many who heard the message believed; so the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand.
This took place after Peter healed the lame beggar at the temple gate.
Act 9:34 “Aeneas,” Peter said to him, “Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and roll up your mat.” Immediately Aeneas got up. 35 All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.
Then later in this chapter we see many people in Joppa believing in Jesus after the Lord used Peter to raise Dorcas back to life.
Act 9:42 This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord.
We see that with the help of the miracles which only the One True God can perform, great numbers of Jews and Gentiles in Acts were persuaded that Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father. That was the wonderful grace of God.
This is no longer true. In today’s dispensation this grace is no longer available to unbelieving Jews and Gentiles—the latter to include billions of Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, idol-worshipers, and those who believe in witchcraft. The miracles recorded in Acts which accompanied the preaching of the gospel by the disciples ceased after they died and went on to their eternal reward. The power and authority resulting in confirming miracles are no longer available to us today when we preach the gospel to present-day Gentiles on the foreign mission field, and for that matter, to Jews.
Since the New Testament is complete and available to the Church, we no longer need miracles to demonstrate the absolute truth of the gospel to hardened Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and idol-worshipers who never heard the gospel and for whom Christianity is an utterly foreign religion imported from the west. For these resistant peoples, Christianity is the religion of the Europeans who conquered, colonized, and exploited them in their recent past. Unfortunately, however, the great miracles recorded in Acts are no longer available today to convince them that Christianity is not a western religion, but rather that Jesus Christ is the way, the life, and the truth. Such miracles have ceased because the supernatural power and authority over sickness and demons entrusted by Christ to his early disciples has disappeared. How unfortunate this is for these resistant peoples. Nevertheless we must adhere to the theological truths we have been taught. The Word of God alone should be sufficient for them to enter the kingdom of God: sola scriptura.
Things have changed in this current dispensation
The grace of God available to the early disciples for preaching the gospel to Jews and Gentiles with accompanying miracles to confirm the truth of the message has ceased. Things have changed. Today we preach the gospel to resistant Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and idol-worshipers with words alone. If they cannot accept the gospel just by hearing the word of God—without any confirmation through the miraculous—it’s just too bad for them. It sounds cruel, but the Bible teaches that “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Perhaps the names of these poor pagans are simply not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. What a shame. But it’s their own fault that they were born into an idolatrous, completely pagan culture, and not in the christianized west where it’s so much easier to believe in Jesus. We must hold to the inerrant words of John the Apostle: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
The inescapable conclusion is that the multitudes of souls we read of coming to Christ in Acts chapters 4, 8, and 9 above after seeing or hearing of the miracles must not—we repeat not—have been blessed by God. After all, His ways are above our ways.”
We hope you have been challenged reading this bit of satire. Please click on “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed“ for the proper interpretation of this verse.