As the title suggests, this book presents a case for “cessationism,” defined as, “Cessationists believe the Holy Spirit no longer sovereignly gives individual Christians the temporary sign gifts, also known as the miraculous gifts… We do not believe that God is still speaking audibly as He did in the Old and New Testament eras. We also do not believe He is giving revelation through visions and dreams, or even prompting believers through inward impressions and feelings” (pp. 3, 19). (Continuationists on the other hand “believe the miraculous gifts either continued unabated since the birth of the church at Pentecost or waned during most of the church age but were restored in the twentieth century” (p. 4)).
Tom Pennington, pastor at Countryside Bible Church, actually broadens his scope to include the charismatic movement. The author aptly demonstrates that, regarding the miraculous sign gifts, such as tongues, healings, and miracles, the charismatics have repackaged the gifts in such a way that none of the modern expressions resembles what took place in the New Testament. Pennington does an excellent job of examining the gifts and their purposes as found in the NT (chapters 2-6), as well as church history (chapters 8-9). He believes the Pentecostal Movement in all of its waves is a challenge to the sufficiency of the Scriptures defined as, “its comprehensive ability, when illuminated by the Holy Spirit, to save sinners and to fully sanctify believers” (p. 138).
A Biblical Case for Cessationism is a well-written, biblically sound, concise, accessible defense of cessationism and a very helpful primer on the Pentecostal/charismatic movement. I recommend it for those confused by the false teaching of Pentecostalism as well as a review for those who need a reminder of the dangers of continuationalism.
by Tom Pennington (Douglasville, GA: G3 Press, 2023), 184 pp. + xiii, paper $18.99
Reviewed by Gary E. Gilley, Southern View Chapel