There is perhaps no more controversial doctrine in the church today than that of the continuation or cessation of the spiritual gifts; that is, whether the charismatic gifts are operative in the church today. The principal reason for the Cessationist denial of the continuation of the gifts is an appeal to the closure of the canon of Scripture which is believed to have marked the end of the manifestation of the gifts. However, the main Continuationist objection to this theory is that the Bible does not offer any explicit text that would support such an argument. Those who reject Continuationism do so by appealing to the principle of Sola scriptura, suggesting that the charismatic gifts represent a second infallible authority in addition to Scripture. Continuationists affirm Sola scriptura by attaching a weaker sense to the term ‘prophecy’ limiting its authority so as not to contain new doctrinal content, and be thoroughly consistent with the Bible.
It seems that no matter what position one takes, there are sound Biblical arguments made in favor of and against both positions. I think one of the hurdles that we need to overcome to understand this controversy is to eliminate the “straw men” and misrepresentation of both sides. Even the hardest of Cessationsists agree that modern preaching, for example, is analogous to prophecy, and they are therefore allowing a place for non-inspired gifts. Meanwhile, Biblical charismatics would never accept a prophetic message that differed from Scripture. Is it possible that there is a middle ground between blanket approval and blanket rejection of the charismatic gifts in the church today?