I recently received an email asking a question that I have been asked from time to time. It pertains to the topic of spiritual gifts and cessationism. In today’s article, I’ve summarized the question and provided my response.
Question: You mention Charles Spurgeon as an advocate of cessationism. But Spurgeon confessed that on several occasions, while he was preaching, he received impressions from the Holy Spirit that gave him extraordinary insights to expose specific sins in people’s lives with incredible accuracy. From my perspective, those impressions seem to align with the gift of prophecy. How do you reconcile Spurgeon’s impressions with your claim that he was a cessationist?
It is important, at the outset, to note that Scripture – and not Spurgeon – is our final authority in these matters. I’m confident that Charles Spurgeon would agree with us on that point. Whatever we conclude about Spurgeon’s experiences, we need to remember that our convictions must ultimately be drawn from the Word of God.
Having said that, I do think it is helpful to think carefully about the issues you raise in your question. With that in mind, I’ve summarized my response under the following three headings.
A) Was Spurgeon a Cessationist?
Yes. The nineteenth-century ‘Prince of Preachers’ taught that the miraculous gifts of the apostolic age (including the gifts of tongues, prophecy, and healing) had passed away shortly after the first century.
In a sermon entitled, “Final Perseverance” (March 23, 1856), Spurgeon spoke of the spiritual power that was available to his congregation with this qualification: “Not miraculous gifts, which are denied us in these days, but all those powers with which the Holy Ghost endows a Christian.” Continue Reading…