Friday, July 1, 2011

Cessationism in the Early Church

The two following quotations are from the 4th Century. The matter-of-factness of both statements is rather startling. Neither author feels that any explanation is necessary. The study of Church History is important, and the following two quotes will show how history can speak to our current situation. Most Continuists assume (and many assert) that the so-called charismata have been uninterruptedly active throughout the history of the Church. Having said that, ponder the two quotations below by Chrysostom (d.407) and Augustine (d.430).

Chrysostom - writing on 1 Corinthians and the gift of tongues said, "This whole place is very obscure; but the obscurity is produced by our ignorance of the facts referred to and by their cessation, being such as then used to occur but now no longer take place. And why do they not happen now? Why look now, the cause too of the obscurity hath produced us again another question: namely, why did they then happen, and now do so no more?" (AD 347-407). Homily XXIX. 1 Corinthians

Augustine - comments on Acts 2:4: "In the earliest times, "the Holy Ghost fell upon them that believed; and they spake with tongues," which they had not learned, "as the Spirit gave them utterance." These were signs adapted to the time. For there behooved to be that betokening of the Holy Spirit in all tongues, to shew that the Gospel of God was to run through all tongues over the whole earth. That thing was done for a betokening, and it passed away." Homily 6 on the First Epistle of John

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