I think I’ve figured out what bugs me so much about the whole Driscoll/cessationism thing (ref 1, ref 2, ref 3 – read comments as well in each to get an idea of the view I’m talking about). What bugs me the most is that cessationists who have taken it on themselves to preach against Mark Driscoll have taken the approach that he’s in sin because of what he has said. Maybe it’s because I’m not a hard core cessationist, but from my perspective, all I see is people pointing to him and stating things that they don’t like about him personally. “Did you see what he called US?” As far as I know, and from what I heard, he didn’t specifically call out any one specific ministry, church, or person. More than that, when you associate yourself with a definition, you run the risk of having to defend that association. For instance, I’d say that I’m a Calvinist, but what I really mean is that I hold to the doctrines of grace. If someone were to say that “all Calvinists are anti-evangelism” I’d know that they didn’t specifically mean me, and, if they did, I’d hope that I’d have the grace to respond without lashing out at them. But to say that cessationism is the only way to approach the Biblical text is preposterous. We say the same to atheists who say “there is no God”. The problem is that you’re arguing that you have perfect knowledge and you know the mind of God.
Do you know that God is not healing people today? Did He tell you personally? Oh, that’s right, even if God DID tell you personally, you’d have to ignore that because you don’t believe that He CAN or WOULD tell you personally. The problem with a tight-fisted grip on cessationism is that it limits our understanding of the Holy Spirit and His role in the world. The proper question should not be “does this man have the right to tell us that we’re wrong”, but “can he back it up biblically”? I think that Mark Driscoll has repeatedly backed up his view time and time again. If there’s anything that I’ve learned over the years, it’s that the things by which I judge others are usually not all that important. If a man is preaching heresy about core issues such as the infallibity of scripture, the virgin birth, substitutionary atonement, God’s rights over His creation, the sovereignty of God, etc., then that is something that should be discussed and openly proclaimed against. Ultimately, however, if it’s not something where the sheep are at risk of being led into false teaching, I err on the side of grace. I want to be aware of my limitations, and know what is a personal preference versus what is a core doctrinal issue. I will not, I hope, place my personal preferences over doctrine and I will not arrogantly stand in the place of God to tell someone that, outside of disputes over core Christian doctrines, someone is a heretic, which it seems many are willing to do against Mark Driscoll.
Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.