Many cessationists would own the Doctor (one of the English speaking world’s greatest examples of a preacher) as their own. Yes, he was skeptical of much of what goes on in the charismatic movement- but to be honest in some circles so am I!
In this quote he seems to imply that what I have called the ‘extreme cessationist’ position is a relatively new one in the church. He rebuts this strongly and this is classic Lloyd-Jones on the need for the empowering of the Holy Spirit.
There are a significant number of charismatic pastors who trace their first encounter with the teaching on the baptism of the Holy Spirit to The Doctor- which may surprise you!
‘What is being taught in Christendom today is this, that since we have got the New Testament canon, since we have got the Word now, we do not need these direct interventions, we do not need God to speak to us directly, as He spoke to Abraham and to Isaac and to Jacob and these patriarchs. We have got the Word now! Is this superior to the direct speech of God? I think we are mad! There is no other word for this. We are mad.
We are meant to be in a superior position to every Old Testament saint because of what has happened in our blessed Lord and Saviour! But this teaching would have us believe that we do not need this direct contact with God now, and that all that has come to an end since the formation of the New Testament canon…….remember that the great point of the whole teaching of the Bible, of all you can deduce from it, is to tell you that God is a God who acts. And our only hope this afternoon is that this is still true. He has not finished acting. He is going on….There is only one hope. That is that He is still the living and the acting God. Christ is at His right hand, and He is seated and waiting until His enemies should be made His footstool…….
I have been defending the faith – and people have praised me for doing it. Rubbish! What a miserable failure it has all been! From now on I am determined to do one thing only, and that is to give God no rest nor peace, until He does prove Himself and show Himself. I have expended so much energy in reasoning with the people about this faith. We have got to do that, it is part of preaching. But if we stop at that it will avail us nothing. But what I now am concerned about and I am concentrating on is this – asking God to show Himself, to do something,to give this touch, this manifestation of power. Nothing else will even make people listen to us. ….Nothing is going to call the attention of the masses of the people to the truth of this faith save a great phenomenon, such as the phenomenon of the day of Pentecost, the phenomenon of any one of the great revivals, the phenomenon of a single changed life. This is something that always arrests attention, maybe curiosity – what does it matter? The people come and listen……We must not be content until we have had some manifestation of the activity of God. We must concentrate on this. This is my plea, that we concentrate on this, because it is the great message of the Bible……. Let us put it like this: Do we really believe that God can still act? That is the question; that is the ultimate challenge. Or have we, for theological or some other reasons, excluded the very possibility? Here is the crucial matter. Do we individually and personally really believe that God still acts, can act and will act – in individuals, in groups of individuals, in churches, localities, perhaps even in countries? Do we believe that He is as capable of doing that today as He was in ancient times – the Old Testament, the New Testament times, the book of Acts, Protestant Reformation, Puritans, Methodist Awakening, 1859, 1904-5? Do we really believe that He can still do it? You see, it is ultimately what you believe about God. If He is the great Jehovah – I am that I am, I am that I shall be, unchanged, unchanging, unchangeable, the everlasting and eternal God – well, He can still do it.
If anyone knows the source for this quote, please let me know. Unfortunately, when I used it in an old sermon on legalism I forgot to mention the reference!!!!