On Cessationism and Continuationism 1
by: Olamide Falase
Let’s talk about Cessationism vs Continuationism, but first a few thoughts on performance appraisals and what we can learn from them about how we learn.
I had been with the company for nearly one year (more than 6 months but less than one year) and the end of year appraisal session was upon us; and as the Head of HR the task was mine to see to a successful appraisal session.
Appraisal sessions are quite significant because they have consequences which are primarily in the form of rewards or punishments; but of more significance are the end of year appraisal sessions, as it was during these that those to be promoted, demoted, warned or sacked were determined.
Against this backdrop, it thus follows logically that the methods by which we gather the information needed to determine who gets promoted, who goes or who stays, have to be very credible and generally acceptable to everyone that is a part of the process, and not methodologies that are open to undue suspicion.
The company’s executive management team (and in some cases, along with senior management) have the ultimate responsibility of ratififying the appraisal results and this they do by reading the “arguments” put forward by line managers for the decision they may have reached concerning a subordinate. In other words, Executive and Senior management ratify a decision on the strength of the proposition put forward by a line manager.
However, these line managers rely on a different kind of information gathering methodology to reach their own decisions about their subordinates; a methodology that is different from that with which they hoped to convince the ratifying body.
These managers rely on the “observation of patterns” in the work and behavior of their subordinates in order to determine whether or not these subordinates truly deserve a promotion or otherwise. Of course, the subordinates would also present their own set of observable patterns that either corroborate or counter those of their line managers, depending on the outcomes proposed by the managers from such observed patterns. This usually takes the form of a back and forth, until eventually a compromise is reached and agreed upon; based on this method of information gathering-the observation of patterns.
You would notice that no one, during the appraisal process contests these information gathering methods, even if they may have issues with the information so gathered.
Notice also that in spite of the difference in methodology, both the gathering of data by observation and the gathering of data by proposition, are accepted as credible means of reaching an informed decision as to who gets promoted, demoted, etc.
You may be wondering, “What has this got to do with Cessationism vs Continuationism?”
Well, one of the biggest issues I have observed in this debate is how either school of thought arrives at its conclusions; that is, what Scriptural data, if any, drives the conclusions reached by either school.
I have seen, to my utter dismay, people attempting to point to specific verses of scriptures as veritable proof texts for either position; and I say “utter dismay” because any attempt to do this would result in eisegesis (even when none was intended by the “search party”).
The reason I don’t believe we can find any supporting text (propositional declaration) for either position is simply because of the fact that this debate was never part of the context the Biblical writers were a part of, and as such they could not have had to deal with the subject. It comes across to me like someone trying to find something about Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) from a magazine that was published in 1929.
However, I think those of the cessationist bent have an advantage when it comes to the biblical text.
Like the line managers in my appraisal story, they can “observe patterns of data” in the Scriptures and from said observations draw conclusions that would be legitimate.
Of course it is possible that those who are continuationists could also look at the same data patterns and seek to argue for different conclusions, but that, dear readers is where the work begins.
I hope to, over a period of time, discuss these observable data patterns and then seek to reach very well reasoned conclusions in order to prove my position on the matter.
I am a cessationist, but I am one for reasons that I hope to show in the course of time.
I hope my introduction has at least helped you to see that here is how I intend to prosecute my case for cessationism.
Culled from Olamide Falase’s Blog, Africalvinist: http://africalvinist.com/2020/08/20/on-cessationism-continuationism-1/?fbclid=IwAR3E-Cws1pONDr9SlhIK_P4ct9GlX03nhQO0dDX3rwAj66HpJnf663uNXkY
Excellent piece by the Dean! I look forward to subsequent articles in this series.
Most Continuationists comically try to hide behind one or two supposed proof texts for a subject touched upon by myriads of scriptures that must be accounted for in the debate, hence the need for “observation of patterns” as described above.
I do not suppose the debate has come to the fore again in Christendom without purpose, and trust the Lord to exalt the truth on the matter in due time.