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Ephesians 2:20 - The Cessationist's "Go-To" Text (an on-going response to Strange Fire)

October 24, 2013 | by: Sam Storms| 7 Comments


G Thomas

Oct 25, 2013

Could you address how a continuationist argues for the close of the canon and how Hebrews 1:1-2 fits in the continuationist framework? I most often see this text cited because it is cited by WCF 1.1 to mean there is no more speaking from God since Jesus has come and the NT has been finalized.

paul abeyta

Oct 25, 2013

What you would you make of R.C. Sproul's discussion at SF in which he said the multiple prophesying and speaking in tongues were four separate Pentecost moments that were necessary for redemptive history and that it followed the pattern given in Acts 1 (Jews, Samaria, God Fearers and then Pagans (granted, Acts makes only 3 distinctions)?

Matthew Abate

Oct 25, 2013

I'm grateful that you decided to tackle Ephesians 2:20. It's a text that keeps coming up in my own study of the spiritual gifts. Before I read your article, I saw a video debate from 2010 between Wayne Grudem and Ian Hamilton. Justin Taylor posted it on his blog. I'm sure you saw it, or at least know about it. In that video, Hamilton uses the Ephesians text like a trump card against Grudem's position and those who hold to continuationism.

I encountered the same argument in an online article from R. Fowler White, who leaned heavily upon Richard Gaffin's position. White interacted with Grudem's position because Gaffin did in something that the latter had published several years ago. The long and the short is that those who believe that gifts of prophecy, tongues, and healing have ceased put forth Ephesians 2:20 as the interpretive monolith for continuationists to overcome.

Now, I understand the cessationist argument as it relates to the Ephesians text; however, it's not a monolith to be overcome. Ephesians 2:20 says nothing about the gifts of the spirit ceasing or continuing or how they operate in the life of the believer and the church. For those things, we must go to 1 Corinthians chapters 12 through 14. Anyway, thank you for posting the article...

Ryan L

Oct 24, 2013

@JohnW, read on to 3:5. They were contemporay to Paul: "it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit."

steve small

Oct 24, 2013



Oct 24, 2013

This conference opened the door it seems for the good by giving opportunity to explain from Scripture reasons for opposite view. God is so wise!

John W

Oct 24, 2013

Could another possibility be that the prophets being referenced are not NT prophets at all but rather OT ones? In which case Paul is identifying the human writers of scripture, Old and New Testament as the foundation. In effect he is saying the church is built upon the Bible.
I find it easier to think that a weighty Hebrew prophet such as an Isaiah or a Jeremiah should be part of the foundation than a minor figure like Agabus

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