Cessationism

The term "cessationism" comes with different shades of meaning. For instance, Classical Cessationism denies the continuation of the prophetic and revelatory gifts while Full Cessationism denies every charismatic gift. However, all these imply one thing in common "cessation" of something. In that case, both Pentecostals and Charismatics who believe in the Final Authority of the Canon and the cessation of Special Canonical Revelation after the Apostles or the completion of the New Testament would be cessationists in that sense of the term; though they would fully disagree that the gifts of the Holy Spirit had ceased since then. Obviously, those who contend that canonical revelation is not closed but continuing are erring; for, all present prophesying even in modern times is called to be evaluated on the basis of the Written Word. The Scripture is Final Authority indeed. Also, teachers on the revelatory gifts would agree that these ministerial revelations are partial and not complete and one's comprehension of these is not always perfect. But, the Scripture is perfect, infallible, authentic, and complete.
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Promises of Love

I love you (John 3:16)

I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. (Isaiah 43:1)

Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee. (Jeremiah 1:5)

Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you (John 15:16)

Since thou wast precious in my sight, and I have loved thee. (Isaiah 43:4)

Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. (Jeremiah 31:3)

How shall I give thee up? how shall I deliver thee? (Hosea 11:8)

Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.
Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me. (Isaiah 49:15-16)

For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand (Isaiah 41:13)

Fear not: for I have redeemed thee. (Isaiah 43:1)

for I am with thee (Isaiah 43:5)

I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. (Matthew 28:20)

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in me. (John 14:1)

I will help thee. (Isaiah 41:14)

When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. (Isaiah 43:2)

Take no thought for your life (Luke 12:22)

But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Fear ye not therefore (Matthew 10:30-31)

For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee (Isaiah 54:10)

Therefore, behold, I will bring thee into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto thee.

And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies.

I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD. (Hosea 2:14, 19-20)

I AM THAT I AM. (Exodus 3:4)

I'm the Lord, your God.

Rise, let us be going (Matthew 26:46)

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Good, Better, Best

God didn't use the words "better" and "best" in Genesis 1. He only used the word "good", for He never creates anything less good than any other. It is only SIN that brings feelings of comparison, competition, rivalry, envy, and pride. Therefore, God resists the proud, or those who have a higher opinion of themselves. But, He exalts the humble and lowly.

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Law and Grace in Church Clothing

There is an increasing trend towards becoming trendy at church, which is not always bad. We must make a distinction between faith and culture; culture is dynamic and flexible; faith has to be absolute. The problem rises when faith attempts to claim elements of culture in order to sacralize them and render them inflexible. When faith tries to do that, then the result is a legalistic religious system that is very fundamentalistic. These issues were earlier discussed here. However, grace is not lawless either. The New Testaments cautions us against those who attempt to turn the grace of God into license for evil (Jude 1:4, NET).

Take the Example of Clothing

Let's begin at the pulpit and one immediately notes at least 5 variants:
1. Those who stick to orthodox robes and cassocks or sacralized color definitions (e.g. white)
2. Those who stress on wearing business suits or traditional suits
3. Those who like to wear designer and more trendy clothes
4. Those who like to wear casuals.
5. Those who are comfortable with two or more of the combinations above
    (a) Those who are comfortable with 1-4
    (b) Those who are comfortable with 2-4
    (c) Those who are comfortable with 1,2,4 but not 3
    (d) Those who are comfortable with 2,3,4 but not 1
    (e) Those who are comfortable with only 2 and 4.
    (f) Those who are comfortable with only 1 and 2.
    (g) Those who stick to 2 and 3 or 3 and 4.

It is not attempted to state here who is right and who is wrong. However, it will become evident to the reader by now that the issue of law and grace is basic even to the kind of dress we choose to wear to church.

Now, while it does seem that the sacralizers (1) are particularly legalistic, the fact is that even those who maintain that only casuals "ought" to be worn to church are not less legalistic. On the other hand, there are those who look at dress in a more instrumental manner, as something to be used to suit some purpose. The wiser instrumentalists also know that dress-forms as cultural forms also communicate meanings and are cautious how they dress up. There are also revolutionaries who dress up to explicitly and blatantly communicate their revolt against some legalistic system. Then, there are the popularists who dress up in order to have a trendy following or to create a brand.
"Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God – what is good and well-pleasing and perfect." (Rom.12:2)
"those who use the world as though they were not using it to the full. For the present shape of this world is passing away."(1Cor.7:31)
"to dress in suitable apparel, with modesty and self-control." (1Tim.2:9)

Suitable apparel refers to dress that suits the occasion and is comfortable to wear in the conditions. Modesty implies that the dress we wear must not be embarrassing and must protect shame, not be shameless and exposing privacy; dress must be honorable. Self-control means that our dress must not be provocative or appealing to the flesh but must exhibit self-control, temperance, and sound mind.
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