Interesting read by
Probably you’re like most people, you always wish you had more and more wisdom and spiritual discernment. Maybe then you could avoid the sin that easily ensnare you. You’re now tired of being like the people of Nineveh, who didn’t know their left hand from their right.
I am not a cessationist, I am a continuationist who is Reformed-ish. Therefore, I believe God’s word doesn’t change and his power never ends. If he promised spiritual gifts to all who believe, he is faithful enough to give you if you so desire.
I don’t believe it’s mandatory for you to speak in tongues. But I believe you will reap great spiritual benefits if you do. I believe in the Pentecostal theology and I agree with James KA Smith who observed in his article, Thinking in Tongues:
At the heart of [this] Pentecostal theology is an ontological claim: that the same Spirit who animated the apostles at Pentecost continues to be actively, dynamically, and miraculously present both in the ecclesial community and in creation. Pentecostal theology is a theology of the Creed’s third article and is predicated on the belief that the Spirit is a spirit who surprises us by continuing to speak, heal, and manifest God’s presence in ways that counter the shut-down naturalism of modernity.
But to most Reformed Christians, being a continuationist means, I am not smart enough. It means I am an outsider to their theological tradition. And everything I write is supposed to be taken with a grain of salt.
But I consider it an honor when you read what I write skeptically – it means you’re going to use wisdom and discernment. After all, “Reading a book or listening to a sermon is like eating fish. Eat the flesh and throw away the bones.”
Is Spiritual Discernment A Head or A Heart Issue?
I and continuationist disagree on what spiritual discernment is. As a Pentecostal, I grew up knowing spiritual discernment is the divine gift of separating spirits. I was told a person with a gift of discernment could tell if a person is demon possessed or not.
However, discernment wasn’t isolated to detecting demons. Sometimes a person with a gift of discernment could tell the spiritual climate in a house, church or during an event. So, I have always thought of spiritual discernment as a spiritual thermometer.
However, as I studied the Bible in my own and read more books from Reformed scholars, I discovered they treated spiritual discernment as something entirely dependent on your wisdom and knowledge. For example, John MacArthur argued spiritual discernment is simply the ability to think biblically.
If you’re a cessationist, you probably believe spiritual discernment entails using your mind to decide what is right and what is wrong. And you would use the Bible as the basis of your decision. Therefore, it’s most likely you would treat the Bible as the source of your wisdom.
No matter what your beliefs are, you need to grow in wisdom and spiritual discernment. Continuationist believe discernment is a Holy Spirit directed activity and stems from the heart. Whereas, cessationist believe it is a fruit of effective Bible study and rises from the head.
But have you ever considered that spiritual discernment might be a head and heart issue?
From the cessationist argument, truth births knowledge, knowledge births wisdom, and wisdom births discernment. However, Christ gave the Holy Spirit who leads us into all truth. Importantly, you cannot think biblically without the Holy Spirit opening your mind. I believe discernment can be both subjective and objective.