While cessationists offer Biblical arguments for their position, truth be told, Scripture plays a secondary role in most cessationists’ epistemology/theology. What’s really driving their position is their experience – or more properly, their lack of experience of the supernatural.

They seem to reason as follows: “I have never witnessed a miracle or the operation of any spiritual gifts. None of the people in my church or broader religious organization have experienced such either. I know I am a Christian and the people in my fellowship are Christians, so if God were still doing supernatural he miraculous today, surely we would witness such events in our midst. Since we have not witnessed such events, God must not be doing supernatural things in our day.” From there, one simply needs to determine when and why God stopped doing miracles and giving spiritual gifts.

I understand the skepticism and approach of cessationists, but it does not justify the exegetical torture that is often required to make the Biblical case for cessationism. Also, this approach suffers from the “if the smoke aint comin’ out of my chimney, it aint a fire” fallacy. Just because you aren’t seeing the miraculous in your life does not mean God isn’t doing the miraculous in other people’s lives. Finally, this requires cessationists to consider as false the claims of supernatural events that millions upon millions of Christians have attested to. Denying the veracity of such a large number of claims from such a large number of fellow Christians simply because you have not experienced the same is a poor foundation for one’s theology.

Having said all of this, I understand where the cessationist is coming from. Even though I am a continuationist, and even though I have experienced the supernatural, I often find myself frustrated with the lack of the supernatural in my life and broader Christian communities. To know that God is doing the supernatural in other people’s lives but not in my own is not only frustrating, but can make one question their faith. If God intends for us to operate in the gifts, and yet we are not seeing the gifts in operation, it makes one question the legitimacy of or the level of one’s faith. Is something wrong with me? Do I lack faith? Is their sin in my life? Does God not love me? I think many cessationists, when faced with choosing between believing that God chooses not to do the supernatural in their lives or that God is not in the supernatural business today, find it more comforting to believe that God is not in the supernatural business anymore. Be that as it may, the fact of the matter is that God is still in that business. We should not declare God out-of-business simply because of our lack of experience. It is better to be frustrated and bewildered by God’s choices than to deny His continued activity in the world.