Cessationist: Behind the Scenes

Kevin Hay

Cessationist Cover Art v2

With the 2023 G3 National Conference quickly approaching, believers from all over the country, and beyond, will soon be gathering in Atlanta, Georgia. Under the thematic banner of God’s sovereignty, conference attendees will enjoy three days filled with expository preaching, theological discussions, congregational singing, and rich fellowship. This year’s national conference will include thirteen main sessions, as well as fifteen breakout sessions, to choose from. Additionally, conference attendees will get to watch the world premiere of an exciting new film called Cessationist. G3 Ministries has partnered with the creators of Logic on Fire and Calvinist to produce this brand new film, which explores the work of the Holy Spirit and the miraculous gifts.

Recently, I had the opportunity to talk to the makers of Cessationist to get a behind the scenes look at the film’s creation, and to hear why the focus of this movie should be important for all believers. David Lovi (Writer), Les Lanphere (Director), and Tim Cannon (Producer) were kind enough to share their thoughts with me on the significance of this project, ahead of its upcoming release. 

Why a Film on the Holy Spirit?

My first question for the makers of this film had to do with their rationale for exploring this particular subject. Of all the topics within Christianity that could be discussed and explored, why the work of the Holy Spirit? Although they knew there was a likelihood that the movie would be controversial, all three men agreed that they were committed to this project, primarily because they understood how vitally important the work of the Holy Spirit is to the life of every believer. 

David Lovi, the film’s writer, shared the project’s origin story, saying, “Back when I was a new pastor, I saw for the first time the tremendous damage that a bad theology of the Holy Spirit can wreak on a congregation, and I’ve always hoped since then that I could create a tool to help people understand the work of the third Person of the Trinity.” Director, Les Lanphere, added, “People are deceived, treating Christianity like some kind of magic show, and it’s clearly done great damage to the church.”

What Are Your Goals?

Without a doubt, the nature of God and the health of the local church are both clearly at the heart of this film’s creation. Because of that, the makers of Cessationist have produced a movie that lovingly and carefully explores the truth of God’s Word to build a positive case for the real work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of his people, today. So, what goals do these men have for the project?

Lovi outlined his hopes for the film, saying, “I hope that the film is not only watched by those in our Reformed or Cessationist echo chamber, but that it will also challenge Charismatics to reconsider their position and see that there is both biblical and historical warrant to embrace the cessation of the miraculous gifts of the Spirit after the Apostolic period. We believe that the Holy Spirit is alive and active in the world today, and this movie explains how he accomplishes his work from the end of the first century until today. I hope that God uses Cessationist to draw many out of deception and into the truth!”

From a more personal perspective, Tim Cannon, the project’s producer, added, “My biggest hope for this film is that it will not only inform fellow Cessationists with good arguments to answer those friends or family members who are Continuationists, but that it will also help those who might be on the fence about these issues.”

What Aspects Make You Most Excited?

After two years of production, seeing this movie brought to completion is certainly exciting, especially for those who have labored so diligently to make it happen. Lovi provided this helpful insight, saying: “The thing that most excites me about Cessationist is exposing people to real, scriptural pneumatology. I know I can speak for the whole crew when I say that in almost every single case, when we would finish an interview with some expert on this subject, we would find ourselves in awe of the Lord and the beautiful truth regarding the Holy Spirit. Making this film was an exercise in worship the whole way through, and we believe that it will cause those who watch it to worship God more earnestly.”

What Can Viewers Expect?

The work of the Holy Spirit is, indeed, exciting. But what can we expect to see in the film’s presentation? Cannon noted, “I think most people are assuming this is another documentary with interviews, but I think people will be in for a real treat when they see the level of work that we did to bring to life some seriously powerful cinematic moments, along with really well-done animations that help take what the interviewers are saying, to create some visuals that will carry this film along! I am so excited for people to finally be able to see this!”

While viewers can expect to see a movie that has been produced with excellence, there’s no doubt that the greatest expectation is spiritual edification. As Lanphere said, “Whether you’re a convinced Charismatic, or just want to better understand how Christians should understand miracles, we believe this film will be a benefit to your soul.”

And finally, for those who may be hesitant, or intimidated, by terms like Cessationist, Lovi provides this helpful word of concluding encouragement: “Being a Cessationist doesn’t mean that we don’t believe the Holy Spirit still does miracles today—He most certainly does, because regeneration is a miracle. What it means is that the Apostolic sign-gifts accomplished their purpose, and that the completed Word is now sufficient for life and godliness. And that is something to praise God for.” 

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Kevin Hay

Pastor Redeemer Bible Church, Gilbert, Arizona

Kevin Hay serves as one of the pastors of Redeemer Bible Church in Gilbert, Arizona. He is a DMin student in Expository Preaching at The Master’s Seminary and is the editor of the book Assurance: Our Confidence in Christ by Thomas Goodwin. Kevin and his wife, Alicia, have eight children: McKenna, Landon, Meela, Madison, Liam, Levi, Mariah, and Maylee.