The Cessationist Documentary Is Wrong for All the Wrong Reasons

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James Lasher

Division, mockery, anger, bitterness and haughtiness are not qualities of God, nor are they manifestations of the fruit of the Spirit.

They are, however, present throughout “Cessationist,” the documentary aimed at disproving the gifts of the Spirit such as healings and the speaking of tongues being in the world today.

So, this is where some in the body of Christ find themselves in the year 2023, almost 2,000 years after the ascension of Jesus into heaven: attacking not the forces of Satan, but those who declare that Jesus is Lord and believe, as the Word of God says, that His Spirit is at work in the world and in our lives to this very day through the giftings of the Spirit.

Love, unity, grace, mercy—none of these things are present in the film aimed attacking the Pentecostal and charismatic communities.

Instead, they are called heretics, seeking nothing but to make a buck off the suffering and infirmities of others.

Using selective and deceptive editing of healing conferences, church sermons and interviews that would make CNN blush, “Cessationist” gives an in-depth view of what modern-day Pharisees look like.

From attempting to pick apart the entire history of Pentecostalism by claiming the Azusa Street Revival was no such thing to declaring women such as Aimee Semple McPherson, founder of Angelus Temple, sexual deviants, judgement and insults reign supreme in the documentary.

Let’s be truthful however, McPherson did have a myriad of controversies follow her. But her founding of Angelus Temple paved the way for an outreach ministry, the Dream Center of Los Angeles, to help thousands upon thousands overcome their addictions through the power of the Holy Spirit.

For those who do not know, Angelus Temple is the church of the Dream Center, and many call that building the place where they accepted Jesus Christ into their heart.

There is of course the focus on the prosperity gospel, and based on the tone and words of the speakers in the documentary, they seem to think Pentecostal and charismatic Christians believe and hold fast to that line of thought.

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I will gladly burst their bubble in letting them know that no, many do not in fact subscribe to that belief.

There is one thing that really stuck out to me while watching “Cessationist,” that I shelled out $20 for, and that was the parts about Benny Hinn.

Has Hinn been a controversial figure in the past and went through seasons of struggle both personally and publicly? Yes.

But the makers of this documentary left out one very important event that happened during Hinn’s life: A public repentance and turning away from the prosperity gospel that he had preached for so long.

There was not a single mention of this, and that is deceptive.

There is also video used of preachers, pastors and evangelists such as Sam Storms, Kenneth Copeland, Mike Bickle and John Piper, but only in short clips and not in any sort of context other than what the producers wanted to get across to the audience.

It is sad to see such energy put into the tearing down of others, especially with the evil that is making its way through the world right now.

Divide and conquer has been a battle tactic that has worked throughout the human history, and it is a strategy Satan has been using against the church of Jesus Christ since its inception.

None of what is written here is intended to tear down cessationists, although I pray they have a radical encounter with God and accept the outpouring of His Holy Spirit. Instead, it is to give glory to the wonderous workings of the Holy Spirit in my life and in the lives of billions throughout the church’s history.

I also pray that this rift in the church is healed. That the pathway forward is one of unity, not division and offense, and in the spirit of which Peter wrote in 1 Peter 3:8:

“Finally, be all of one mind, be loving toward one another, be gracious, and be kind.”

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James Lasher is Staff Writer for Charisma Media.

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