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Saturday, July 26, 2014

A defense of the cessation of the apostolic sign gifts - sort of...

Introduction

While I don't agree that the case for the cessation of the apostolic sign gifts is air tight, I do find it helpful to set forth the case for the position in order to make sure the position is adequately understood.  In this article, I hope to put forward the case in a meaningful and charitable way.

Before Jesus Christ went to be with the Father, He spoke of the coming of the promised Holy Spirit. To His apostles He said, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8). When Jesus came, He “drew heaven with Him.”  When He went back to heaven, He did not leave His apostles to their own natural abilities. Rather, He graciously sent the Holy Spirit to give them supernatural gifts for the purpose of establishing the church.

In this article it will be argued that certain gifts of the Spirit have ceased with the passing of the original apostolic church. This article will give most of its attention to the connection between the apostles and the sign gifts. First, a general introduction to the gifts of the Spirit will be given. Next, a connection between the sign gifts and the apostles will be made. Possible objections to the connection between the apostles and the sign gifts will be discussed during the course of the article. After this, a summary of an argument for Cessationism will be given. Finally, some practical implications will be drawn.

Rene Descartes - Bless his heart.

Epistemology of Rene Descartes

Rene Descartes’ epistemology was driven by his desire for certainty.  Unfortunately, he did not find the sort of certainty that he was looking for during his scholastic training at the Jesuit college of La Fl├Ęche.  The abstract theological debates of his time appeared to yield an intolerable amount of disagreement.  In contrast, however, the blossoming fields of mathematics and physics appeared to have the potential for silencing endless controversies.  Descartes thought the simple elegance and the clear deductive moves found in the science of mathematics would yield a more promising method of inquiry than he had found in his scholastic training.

Descartes also sought to bring unity to the sciences.  Rather than having a diversity of methods for studying different objects, Descartes wanted to streamline the scientific process.  His own discoveries were very valuable to his project, for he had shown how geometric figures could be represented in the form of algebraic expressions.  If geometric figures could be described in this way, then perhaps everything could be analyzed by means of the same method of inquiry. He hoped that, by universally applying this method, he could bring certainty and unity to the sciences.