BB Warfield on Cessation

In reading BB Warfield’s Works, we are sometimes astounded by the error of our day in so many places when compared to the biblical theology of folks like Calvin, Warfield, and other solid biblical Reformers. The folly is exhibited in many pulpits today and the true message is either eliminated or watered down with rhetoric, jokes, story telling and the fatal error of lying signs and wonders. The gospel preached and taught in true biblical exposition is the only help for man’s sinful condition and for the believer’s day-to-day sustenance. Man’s “eyes are never full” as the Bible teaches and thus the desire by men and women to “see” rather than believe and walk by faith. It is the love of the flesh rather than the love of God. May it be the “eyes” and “ears” of God’s children are opened by the true, biblical and prophetic teaching of His Word and not the whims, caprice and error of man-centered preaching and teaching to entertain and draw men unto themselves rather than the Sovereign, Omnipotent God who alone is to be heard.

“As Abraham Kuyper figuratively expresses it, it has not been God’s way to communicate to each and every man a separate store of divine knowledge of his own, to meet his separate needs; but He rather has spread a common board for all, and invites all to come and partake of the richness of the great feast. He has given to the world one organically complete revelation, adapted to all, sufficient for all, provided for all, and from this one completed revelation He requires each to draw his whole spiritual sustenance. Therefore it is that the miraculous working which is but the sign of God’s revealing power, cannot be expected to continue, and in point of fact does not continue, after the revelation of which it is the accompaniment has been completed. It is reasonable to ask miracles, says John Calvin–or to end them–where there is no new gospel. By as much as the one gospel suffices for all lands and all peoples and all times, by so much does the miraculous attestation of that one single gospel suffice for all lands and all times, and no further miracles are to be expected in connection with it. “According to the Scriptures,” Herman Bavinck explains, “special revelation has been delivered in the form of a historical process, which reaches its endpoint in the person and work of Christ. When Christ had appeared and returned again to heaven, special revelation did not, indeed, come at once to an end. There was yet to follow the outpouring of the Holy Ghost, and the extraordinary working of the powers and gifts through and under the guidance of the Apostolate. The Scriptures undoubtedly reckon all this to the sphere of special revelation, and the continuance of this revelation was necessary to give abiding existence in the world to the special revelation which reached its climax in Christ–abiding existence both in the word of Scripture and in the life of the church. Truth and life, prophecy and miracle, word and deed, inspiration and regeneration go hand in hand in the completion of special revelation. But when the revelation of God in Christ had taken place, and had become in Scripture and church a constituent part of the cosmos, then another era began. As before everything was a preparation for Christ, so afterward everything is to be a consequence of Christ. Then Christ was being framed into the Head of His people, now His people are being framed into the Body of Christ. Then the Scriptures were being produced, now they are being applied. New constituent elements of special revelation can no longer be added; for Christ has come, His work has been done, and His word is complete.” Had any miracles perchance occurred beyond the Apostolic age they would be without significance; mere occurrences with no universal meaning. What is important is that ” the Holy Scriptures teach clearly that the complete revelation of God is given in Christ, and that the Holy Spirit who is poured out on the people of God has come solely in order to glorify Christ and to take of the things of Christ.” Because Christ is all in all, and all revelation and redemption alike are summed up in Him, it would be inconceivable that either revelation or its accompanying signs should continue after the completion of that great revelation with its accrediting works, by which Christ has been established in His rightful place as the culmination and climax and all-inclusive summary of the saving revelation of God, the sole and sufficient redeemer of His people.”  Benjamin B. Warfield, “The Cessation of the Charismata”

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