Christianity Today is publishing a new blog called “The Christian History Blog“. There is one post in particular that my readers may be interested in: “Signs and Wonders: The Charismatic Power of Early Christianity“. This is how the author begins his post:
When we teach about the early church, we frequently omit the story of spiritual gifts.
Cessationism is the belief that the miracles of Jesus’ lifetime and the apostolic period happened solely to attest to the authority and inspiration of the apostolic writings, and that miracles and extraordinary spiritual gifts ceased after the writing of the apostolic documents was concluded.
As writers such as ex-Dallas Seminary professor Jack Deere have argued, this is a position with no biblical foundation. But it also has a problem with the historical record. That record shows clearly that the early church was quite active in the charismatic gifts at least through 200 AD. There was a decline in the 3rd century, and then again it became active.
The remainder of the article lists historical records of miraculous works through the fourth century. Many of the writers and writings are familiar to me: the Didache, the Shepherd of Hermas, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus of Lyon, Origen of Alexandria, and Augustine of Hippo, for example. But, when I studied church history, no one mentioned the extent of the miraculous in the early church.
I’ve written about this before in a post called “Irenaeus and Miraculous Gifts“. Its amazing what you can learn about this early period of the church when you read their writings instead of what others say about them.