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I've been so busy I haven't kept up here, but I wanted to pose a question that I will also pose in the forums.

I wanted to check out the beliefs of a local church that is closer to home where a family member attends.

Everything seemed to be good until I read their stand on gifts.

We believe that God is sovereign in the bestowing of his gifts, and that these gifts are intended to edify the Church. We believe that the gifts of healing, tongues, interpretation of tongues, performance of miracles, and other gifts associated with the charismatic movement were temporary, sign gifts that are no longer needed after the completion of the New Testament and therefor are not practiced in the Church today. We do believe that the sick may call on the elders of the Church to administer anointing oil and to pray for them. God is the great and divine healer and does hear and answer prayers of faith in accordance with His will for the sick and afflicted.

Where does scripture tell us the gifts were only temporary? How can one say the believe God bestows gifts but then say....except these?

A lot of churches hold this belief, but I've always heard the reasoning as being they "believe" (they believe they were only for the 12 or only for a time...though Paul spoke in tongues but wasn't one of the 12). What I haven't seen is any of them say...this is what scripture says.

So if we say the Bible is truth and the Bible says God gives the gifts of prophesy, tongues, healing, etc., aren't we saying God's Word isn't true?

Isn't it more plausible to believe that people's trust and belief in miracles has grown dim rather than God only giving temporary gifts while saying they follow everyone who believes rather than just the New Testament saints?

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Hello Mark, Thanks for responding to the questions I proposed.

I appreciate you taking the time and effort to answer the questions.

I can see that we are of different persuasions concerning the Word of God.

However the differences has little to do with our salvation, only doctrinal.

So I would like to discuss these questions one at a time, if it is ok with you?

I see that the apostles were not the foundation of the Church, only their message was that which the church was built on, which was the gospel of Christ, as it was in Mat.16:17, “Revelation of the rock Christ Jesus” There is only one foundation and that foundation is Christ alone, the apostles were part of the structure that was built on Christ, “Jesus the Christ”, is the chief corner stone. Jesus is the one that brought salvation to the world, by the sacrifice of Himself. How can a Spiritual Church be built on material things, or on a person, or persons?

WE find throughout the New Testament that Jesus at times spoke from His humanity side and other times He spoke from His Deity side. “Examples” John 5:30, Jesus said “By Myself I can do nothing, I judge only as I hear, and my judgement is just, because I seek not to please Myself, but to please Him that sent Me.” Another alluding to His humanity, when in Rom.8:29,
 “ For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”  I’m sure you know that we become children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

Seems one of the biggest hindrances of understanding Scripture is, intellectualism. Reading a common book and its message, is quite different than reading the Word of God. The Word of God is spiritual, where the common book written by man is interpreted by man’s wisdom and understanding. 1st. Cor.2:10-16,
 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
For the natural man receiveth not the things of God, for they are foolishness unto him, and neither can he know them, for they are SPIRITUALLY DISCERNED. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of CHRIST.

Jo.6:63,  It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
 But there are some of you that believe not. We are transformed by the renewing of the mind. Ro.12:2.

By being led by the Spirit of God and not by our intellect, we can know the will of God, this is why I pray in tongues, when I don’t know what I should pray for “as I aught” The Spirit helps that infirmity, which is in my flesh. Rom.8:26,

I believe in all the gifts are for the New Creation folks, I can’t see anywhere in the Word where they ceased.

There’s a lot that can be said and proven in the Word of God, but I’m not trying to convince anyone, bible says “as Ye have therefore received Christ so walk ye in Him.” Col.2:6

Blessings JB

Would still like to address the other questions if you want to discuss them.      

 

Hi JB,

I won't be able to respond for at least 2 weeks as my plate is completely full till then.

Mark

I'm checking out from AAG for a spell. Don't worry about responding to the other questions. Lord Bless

Hello Mark, I finally got settled in our new house, but not completely unpacked.

For now I would like to thank Seek and Amanda for their posts back in 2015 concerning the subject we were discussing about the passing of the gifts. And whether or not they are still for the church today, which I am a firm believer. I will just repost what they wrote for now, and see what your response is to them. 

AAG Responses to the Question Are the gifts for today

 

 Reply by Seek on July 16, 2015 at 6:57am

Yet, and even though many would also say they know the gifts exist because they have seen them, it's not about what we experience anyway but about what the bible says.

Precisely.  How can we have faith if we don't believe God exists?  How can we have faith in the gifts if we don't believe they exist?  Jesus told Thomas, blessed are those that believe and haven't seen. 

I heard it preached once that the reason some denominations do not receive these gifts is because they don't believe they exist and for one to receive them would bring chaos into that church.  God bestows gifts on whom he pleases.  And we never can know his reasons. 

Reply by Amanda on July 15, 2015 at 7:42pm

I'm not sure one could ride the fence on this one -- it's an either/or as far as believing the miraculous gifts have ceased or continue, but one could become the extreme in either belief. You've already stated in other comments that you believe the miraculous gifts have ceased. However, perhaps you are re- considering the issue when saying you're not biased one way or the other. I have studied this extensively. I'm not biased. My beliefs are bible- based. I'm not asking for agreement or trying to persuade. I'm only stating what I believe and why I believe it. Please don't take it personally. <3We must also give room to the explicit and oft-repeated purpose of the charismata: namely, the edification of Christ’s body (1 Cor. 12:7; 14:3, 26). Nothing I read in the NT or see in the condition of the church in any age, past or present, leads me to believe we’ve progressed beyond the need for edification—and therefore beyond the need for the contribution of the charismata. I freely admit that spiritual gifts were essential for the birth of the church, but why would they be any less important or needful for its continued growth and maturation?

We must also give room to the explicit and oft-repeated purpose of the charismata: namely, the edification of Christ’s body (1 Cor. 12:7; 14:3, 26). Nothing I read in the NT or see in the condition of the church in any age, past or present, leads me to believe we’ve progressed beyond the need for edification—and therefore beyond the need for the contribution of the charismata. I freely admit that spiritual gifts were essential for the birth of the church, but why would they be any less important or needful for its continued growth and maturation?

There is also the fundamental continuity or spiritually organic relationship between the church in Acts and the church in subsequent centuries. No one denies there was an era or period in the early church that we might call “apostolic.”

, We must acknowledge the significance of the personal, physical presence of the apostles and their unique role in laying the foundation for the early church. But nowhere does the NT ever suggest that certain spiritual gifts were uniquely and exclusively tied to them or that the gifts passed with their passing. The universal church or body of Christ that was established and gifted through the ministry of the apostles is the same universal church and body of Christ today. We are together with Paul and Peter and Silas and Lydia and Priscilla and Luke members of the same one body of Christ.

Very much related to the previous point is what Peter says in Acts 2 concerning so-called miraculous gifts as characteristic of the new covenant age of the church. As D. A. Carson has said, “The coming of the Spirit is not associated merely with the dawning of the new age but with its presence, not merely with Pentecost but with the entire period from Pentecost to the return of Jesus the Messiah” (Showing the Spirit, 155). Or again, the gifts of prophecy and tongues (Acts 2) are not portrayed as merely inaugurating the new covenant age but as characterizing it (and let us not forget that the present church age = the “last days”).

We must also take note of 1 Corinthians 13:8-12. Here Paul asserts that spiritual gifts will not “pass away” (vv. 8-10) until the coming of the “perfect.” If the “perfect” is indeed the consummation of God’s redemptive purposes as expressed in the new heaven and new earth following Christ’s return, we can confidently expect him to continue blessing and empowering his church with the gifts until that time.

A similar point is made in Ephesians 4:11-13. There Paul speaks of spiritual gifts (together with the office of apostle)—and in particular the gifts of prophecy, evangelism, pastor, and teacher—as building up of the church “until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (v. 13; italics mine). Since the latter most assuredly has not yet been attained by the church, we can confidently anticipate the presence and power of such gifts until that day arrives.

I’d also point to the absence of any explicit or implicit notion that we should view spiritual gifts any differently than we do other NT practices and ministries portrayed as essential for the life and wellbeing of the church. When we read the NT, it seems evident that church discipline should be practiced in our assemblies today and that we should celebrate the Lord’s Table and water baptism, and that the requirements for the office of elder as set forth in the pastoral epistles still determine how life in the church should be pursued, just to mention a few. What good exegetical or theological reasons can be given for why we should treat the presence and operation of spiritual gifts any differently?

Contrary to popular belief, there is consistent testimony throughout most of church history concerning the operation of the miraculous gifts of the Spirit. It simply isn’t the case that the gifts ceased or disappeared from early church life following the death of the last apostle. Space doesn’t permit me to cite the massive evidence in this regard, so I refer you to four articles I wrote with extensive documentation (see “Spiritual Gifts in Church History”).

Cessationists often argue that signs and wonders as well as certain spiritual gifts served only to confirm or authenticate the original company of apostles and that when the apostles passed away so also did the gifts. The fact is no biblical text (not even Heb. 2:4 or 2 Cor. 12:12, two texts I explain in articles here) ever says signs and wonders or spiritual gifts of a particular sort authenticated the apostles. Signs and wonders authenticated Jesus and the apostolic message about him. If signs and wonders were designed exclusively to authenticate apostles, we have no explanation why non-apostolic believers (such as Philip and Stephen) were empowered to perform them (see especially 1 Cor. 12:8-10, where the “gift” of “miracles,” among others, was given to average, non-apostolic believers).

Therefore, this is a good reason for being a cessationist only if you can demonstrate that authentication or attestation of the apostolic message was the sole and exclusive purpose of such displays of divine power. However, nowhere in the NT is the purpose or function of the miraculous or the charismata reduced to attestation. The miraculous, in whatever form, served several other distinct purposes: doxological (to glorify God: John 2:11; 9:3; 11:4; 11:40; and Matt. 15:29-31); evangelistic (to prepare the way for the gospel to be made known: see Acts 9:32-43); pastoral (as an expression of compassion and love and care for the sheep: Matt. 14:14Mark 1:40-41); and edifying (to build up and strengthen believers: 1 Cor. 12:7 and the “common good”; 1 Cor. 14:3-5, 26).

All the gifts of the Spirit, whether tongues or teaching, prophecy or mercy, healing or helping, were given (among other reasons) for the edification, building up, encouraging, instructing, consoling, and sanctifying of the body of Christ. Therefore, even if the ministry of the miraculous gifts to attest and authenticate has ceased, a point I concede only for the sake of argument, such gifts would continue to function in the church for the other reasons cited.

Still Final and Sufficient

Perhaps the most frequently heard objection from cessationists is that acknowledging the validity of revelatory gifts such as prophecy and word of knowledge would necessarily undermine the finality and sufficiency of Holy Scripture. But this argument is based on the false assumption that these gifts provide us with infallible truths equal in authority to the biblical text itself (see my article “Why NT Prophecy Does NOT Result in ‘Scripture-Quality’ Revelatory W...”).

One also hears the cessationist appeal to Ephesians 2:20, as if this text describes all possible prophetic ministry. The argument is that revelatory gifts such as prophecy were uniquely linked to the apostles and therefore designed to function only during the so-called foundational period in the early church. I address this fundamentally misguided view at length here. A close examination of the biblical evidence concerning both the nature of the prophetic gift as well as its widespread distribution among Christians indicates there was far more to this gift than simply the apostles laying the foundation of the church. Therefore, neither the passing of the apostles nor the movement of the church beyond its foundational years has any bearing whatsoever on the validity of prophecy today. One also hears often of the so-called cluster argument, according to which supernatural and miraculous phenomena were supposedly concentrated or clustered at unique periods in redemptive history. I’ve addressed this argument elsewhere and demonstrated that it’s altogether false.

Finally, although it’s technically not a reason or argument for being a continuationist, I cannot ignore experience. The fact is I’ve seen all spiritual gifts in operation, tested and confirmed them, and experienced them firsthand on countless occasions. As stated, this is less a reason to become a continuationist and more a confirmation (although not an infallible one) of the validity of that decision. Experience, in isolation from the biblical text, proves little. But experience must be noted, especially if it illustrates or embodies what we see in God’s Word.

 

Sam Storms (ThM, Dallas Theological Seminary; PhD, The University of Texas) is lead pastor for preaching and vision at Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City founder of Enjoying God Ministries, and a Council member of The Gospel Coalition. He has written numerous books, including Packer on the Christian Life and Practicing the Power.

Sorry but I just got in from work and too tired to write for myself.

Lord Bless. JB

 

 

 

 

 

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