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Cessationism: Have the gifts ceased?

Discussion in 'Non-denominational' started by Andrew, Jul 21, 2002.

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  1. Andrew

    Andrew Well-Known Member

    +21
    Non-Denom
    ANATOMY OF A DECEPTION
    by Jack Deere

    No one ever just picked up the Bible, started reading, and then came to the conclusion that God was not doing signs and wonders anymore and that the gifts of the Holy Spirit had passed away. The doctrine of cessationism did not originate from a careful study of the Scriptures. The doctrine of cessationism originated in experience.

    The failure to see miracles in one’s own experience and to locate them in past history required an explanation. How do you explain an absence of miracles in your experience when the New Testament is filled with miracles? There are essentially three possibilities. First, there is something wrong with your experience. Second, God has withdrawn miracles because He only intended them to serve temporary purposes. Third, the answer is locked in divine mystery, like the mystery of election or predestination. The first answer would lead you to expect the miraculous when your experience was corrected. The second answer wouldn’t lead you to expect the miraculous at all. The third answer leaves the question open.

    Should Political Pressures Mold Our Doctrines?

    As far as I know, no one has ever really attempted to argue for answer three. Since the days of the Reformation, many Protestant theologians have argued for answer two, that the gifts were only temporary in nature. The Reformers had two major reasons for formulating and systematizing theological arguments against contemporary miracles. First, their enemies, the Catholics, appealed to Catholic miracles in support of Catholic doctrine. In effect they said, "We have miracles that show God approves of our doctrine. Furthermore, we have a long history of miracles stretching back to New Testament times. What miracles can you point to that show that God approves of your doctrine?" This attack led the Reformers both to deny the validity of Catholic miracles, past and present, and to formulate theological arguments against contemporary miracles.

    But I believe that was not the major reason that the Reformers attempted to use the Scriptures to argue against contemporary miracles. I believe the major reason was their lack of experience of the miraculous. Had they witnessed noteworthy miracles, they would never have attempted to argue that miracles were meant to be temporary.

    Thus the Reformers were confronted with a choice: was their lack of experience of the miraculous due to a defect in their experience or to a divinely planned obsolescence of miracles? They chose to believe the latter. They now had the monumental task before them of explaining why God would be so liberal in giving miracles to the first-century church and so stingy with miracles in the centuries that followed. The trick was to prove that miracles were meant only to serve temporary purposes in the first century. But how could they prove that?

    Three Arguments

    They essentially had three ways of proving this. The first, and by far the best, was specific biblical statements that God intended miracles to be temporary. The second was theological deduction. This way of arguing is not as strong as specific statements of the Bible, but it is a valid way of proving doctrines. The third line of proof was experience. They could draw conclusions from their own experience or from the experience of others in past history. Thus they could examine the preceding 1,300 years of church history to see if there was firm evidence of the gifts of the Spirit among Christians in the preceding centuries.

    The argument from experience is, without a doubt, the weakest of the three kinds of arguments. When we examine past history, we often cannot be sure of the facts or the interpretation of those facts. Moreover, when we look at our own experience we may know the facts but not the reason for the facts. We may know, for example, that we are depressed but not know why we are depressed. Did we do something to bring on the depression? Is it a result of circumstances beyond our control? Thus, even when we can accurately ascertain the facts, we may not understand the reason for those facts.

    The Reformers left no doubt which of three kinds of arguments they valued above all the others. Sola Scriptura ("only the Scripture") was one of the great battle cries of the Reformation. Yet here they faced not only a formidable obstacle but an insurmountable obstacle, for they could not produce one specific text of Scripture that taught that miracles or the spiritual gifts were confined to the New Testament period. Nor has anyone else since then been able to do that.

    Having been deprived of the most powerful weapon in their arsenal, specific statements of Scripture, the Reformers were forced to appeal to theological deductions. But how were they ever going to deduce that miracles were intended to be temporary from a book that begins with miracles, persists in miracles, and ends with miracles?

    The Primary Cessationist Argument

    Here is how they did it. The Reformers argued that the primary purpose of New Testament miracles was to authenticate the apostles as trustworthy authors of Holy Scripture. How would this argument prove that miracles were temporary? Because after the apostles had written the New Testament, miracles would have fulfilled their purpose and would no longer be necessary, for now the church would possess forever the miraculously attested written Word of God. This remains the primary argument among modern cessationists.

    It would be useless for cessationists to prove that the primary purpose of miracles was to authenticate Jesus. If that were true, then there would be no explanation for why the apostles did miracles. If the primary purpose of miracles was to authenticate the Lord Jesus as the Son of God, why did the apostles have to do miracles? Why couldn’t they just talk about the miracles that Jesus did, as many preachers do today?

    Nor can cessationists say that the major purpose of the miraculous was to authenticate the message about Jesus. If that were true, they would have no explanation for why miracles were not still needed to authenticate the message about Jesus. In other words, if the first-century generation of new converts needed miraculous authentication of the gospel message, why wouldn’t the succeeding generations of potential converts need that same miraculous authentication of the message?

    The only defensible position is to maintain that miracles authenticated the apostles. If someone asks why only the apostles needed authentication for their witness to be credible and not the succeeding generations of witnesses, the cessationists have an answer ready at hand. The apostles were not just any witnesses. They were unique in that they were the writers of Holy Scripture. Therefore, more would be required to give them credibility than any other witnesses in history. So the purpose of miracles was not simply to authenticate the apostles as reliable witnesses to Jesus. Miracles showed them to be trustworthy teachers of doctrine and ultimately authenticated them as the divinely accredited human authors of Scripture. In practical terms this means that the real purpose of miracles was to authenticate or confirm the Scriptures. Once they had written the Scriptures, miracles would no longer be necessary, for now the church would possess the written Word of God.

    In order to make their case, cessationists have to prove two things. First, they have to show that miracles authenticated the apostles. Second, they have to demonstrate that this was the primary purpose of miracles. If it could be shown that miracles did not authenticate the apostles or that there were other equally important purposes behind miracles or the miraculous gifts of the Spirit, then their whole case collapses.

    Like most people in my theological circles, I had accepted the cessationists’ explanation of the purpose of miracles, especially as it received its formulation in Benjamin Breckenridge Warfield’s Counterfeit Miracles. Like other fundamentalists, I was sure that I believed this because it was what the Scriptures taught.

    When I look back on that period of my life, I know that I did not believe this because the Scriptures taught it. I believed it because I hadn’t seen any miracles, and I needed a biblical justification for my lack of experience. It was a twenty-minute phone call from Dr. John White that led me to examine the cessationists’ argument with a much more open mind. Upon examination I found the argument to have about as much strength as a sparrow in a hurricane. What I thought was my strongest argument against the contemporary ministry of miraculous gifts turned out to be my strongest weakness.

    After my first conversation with Dr. White, I was determined to look up every reference to healing and miracles in the New Testament to see exactly what it said about the purpose of miracles. I had never done that before! What I found convinced me that healing and miracles were not meant to be temporary.

    A Closer Look At Miracles

    The first thing I noticed was that there are very few direct statements in the New Testament regarding the purposes of miracles. I never found a statement to the effect that "God gave miracles in order to .. ." I discovered that the purpose of miracles is sometimes indicated by "function" words accompanying the miracles themselves. Mark, for example, says that miracles "confirm" (Mark 16:20). John says that they "testify" (John 5:36). Peter says that Jesus was "accredited" by miracles (Acts 2:22). At other times the purpose of a miracle must often be inferred from the context or from the results of the miracle.

    One clear purpose of miracles was to authenticate the character of Jesus and his relationship with his heavenly Father. In this regard, miracles demonstrate the following: God is with Jesus John 3:2); Jesus is from God (John 3:2; 9:32-33); God has sent Jesus John 5:36); Jesus has authority on earth to forgive sins (Mark 2:10-11; Matthew 9:6-7; Luke 5:24-25); Jesus is approved by God (Acts 2:22); the Father is in Jesus and Jesus is in the Father (John 10:37-38; 14:11); in Jesus the kingdom of God has come (Matthew 12:28; Luke 11:20); and Jesus is the Messiah (Matthew 11:1-6; Luke 7:18-23) and the Son of God (Matthew 14:25-33).

    A second purpose of miracles was to authenticate the message about Jesus. This was the major function of the miracles as far as the ministry of the apostles was concerned. Mark says that the Lord "confirmed his word [that the apostles preached] by the signs that accompanied it" (Mark 16:20). When Luke was describing the ministry of Paul and Barnabas at Iconium, he said that the Lord "confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders" (Acts 14:3). Notice that in both of these texts the Lord does not confirm the apostles themselves but rather "his word" or "the message" that the apostles were preaching. Signs and wonders do not testify to the apostles but to the message of salvation preached by the apostles. So the two principal things that are authenticated by miracles are the Lord Jesus and the message about the Lord Jesus.

    When I looked up all of these references, I was astounded to discover that not one reference ever said that miracles bore witness to the apostles, confirmed the apostles, or attested to the apostles. In short, miracles do not authenticate the apostles! And if we think about the theology of the New Testament, this makes perfect sense. With the coming of Jesus Christ, God wants all attention directed to his Son. The primary task of the Holy Spirit is to exalt Jesus Christ. God is not interested in bearing witness to his servants but rather to his Son and the message about his Son.
     
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  2. Andrew

    Andrew Well-Known Member

    +21
    Non-Denom
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    The Argument from II Corinthians 12:12

    Sometimes people appeal to II Corinthians 12:12 as a text that seems to say that signs and wonders authenticate the apostles. The translation of the NIV does give that impression: "The things that mark an apostle signs, wonders and miracles— were done among you with great perseverance." This translation, however, is inaccurate. A literal translation is, "The signs of an apostle were performed among you in all endurance with signs and wonders and miracles."

    In this passage Paul uses "sign" (Greek semeion) in two different ways. The first use of "sign" in the phrase "signs of an apostle" cannot refer to miracles, for then Paul would be saying that "the miracles of an apostle were done among you with signs and wonders and miracles." What would be the point of such a statement? Paul does not say that "the signs of an apostle" are miracles, but rather that "the signs of an apostle" are accompanied by signs, wonders, and miracles. If Paul had meant that the signs of his apostleship were signs and wonders and miracles, then he would have used a different construction in the Greek language. What then were the signs of Paul’s apostleship? In contrast to the false apostles (II Corinthians 11:13-15), Paul appeals to his suffering as a vindication of his apostleship (II Corinthians 11:16-33, cf. Galatians 6:17; I Corinthians 4:9-13; II Corinthians 6:3-10). Hughes suggests that Paul’s blameless life was a sign of his apostleship. Plummer suggests that the effectiveness of Paul’s preaching, that is, the many conversions among those to whom Paul preached, was also a sign of his apostleship. In addition to these signs, Martin adds the call of God (I Corinthians 1:1; II Corinthians 1:1). According to Martin, since miracles can be counterfeited by false apostles,

    Paul is insisting in 12:12a that such signs are not the primary criterion for deciding whether or not a person is an apostle. Instead, he is suggesting that the true signs of apostleship—his life and ministry—are the signs that matter the most... To say that "signs and wonders and mighty works" are the primary signs of apostleship goes against Paul’s teachings of chaps. 1113 (as well as chaps. 1-9).

    I agree with Martin’s conclusion that "the works of Paul (in 12:12b) are the workings of, and not the proof for, his authentic apostleship."

    When I really began to ponder the idea that the miracles were given to authenticate the apostles and their ministry, I saw that it was both unscriptural and illogical. If the primary purpose of signs and wonders and miracles was to confirm the apostles, then why did Stephen and Philip do signs and wonders? If someone says that it was because the apostles laid hands on Stephen and Philip, that doesn’t really answer the question. If the primary purpose of miracles was to authenticate the apostles, then why did anyone else have a ministry of signs and wonders or miracles? Why did God give gifts of healing and miracles to the church? (I Corinthians 12:7-10; Galatians 3:5). I have never read or heard of a sufficient answer to that question.

    There is yet another serious problem with this whole argument. Let’s review a point made earlier: If Jesus’ miracles were sufficient to authenticate him as the Son of God and to authenticate his message, why did the apostles have to do miracles? The standard reply is that the apostles had to do miracles to show that they were trustworthy witnesses to Jesus Christ and trustworthy teachers of doctrine. But why couldn’t they just preach about the miracles as much of the church does today? Can’t we be regarded as trustworthy witnesses today without doing miracles? If we can, then why did the apostles need miracles? The Reformers replied that the apostles were more than just witnesses, they were inspired writers of inerrant Scripture. Miracles were necessary to confirm their writings as Scripture. This is the assumption lying at the bottom of the whole argument, but is it a biblical assumption? Were miracles necessary to confirm the Scriptures?

    Does the Authority of Scripture Rest on Miracles?

    None of the writers of Scripture ever appealed to miracles to support their claims that they were writing Scripture. They certainly knew that they were writing Scripture. For instance, Paul wrote, "If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command" (I Corinthians 14:37, cf. I Thessalonians. 4:15). However, Paul did not appeal to the miracles in his ministry to support the fact that he was writing Scripture. Nor did Peter, when he referred to Paul’s writings as Scripture (II Peter 3:16).

    No text of Scripture says that the authority of Scripture rests on miracles! In reality, it is just the opposite. Scripture tests miracles, but miracles are not a test for Scripture. Moses made this plain long ago. He warned the people that if a prophet or a dreamer of dreams gave them a sign or a wonder, and it came to pass, they were to ignore that miracle if it contradicted what had already been revealed to them (Deuteronomy 13:15). If the primary function of miracles was to confirm Scripture, how would anyone judge the miracles of false prophets (Matthew 7:15-23), false Christs and their prophets (Matthew 24:24), or the Antichrist (II Thessalonians 2:9)?

    This theory is also inconsistent with the actual character of the canon of Scripture. We have authors of Scripture who were not apostles and who never did any recorded miracles! These include Mark, Luke, and Jude (the brother of the Lord who wrote the letter of Jude). The book of Hebrews is even anonymous! All of these writers were non-apostles, and none of them have recorded miracles. Do these books have less authority than Paul’s letters? If the authority of Scripture rests on miracles done by its authors, then these writings would of necessity have less authority.

    If those who hold this theory respond that Luke was a friend or a partner with Paul in ministry, and that is why his writing is to be viewed as inspired, then they would have to abandon the idea that miracles were needed to confirm Scripture. They would have to add a new criterion for canonicity: friendship or partnership with the apostles. This criterion for canonicity also lacks any direct scriptural support. If they argue that Peter commissioned Mark to write the gospel of Mark, they are now relying on tradition rather than Scripture itself. That puts them in the awkward place of having tradition establish the authority of Scripture rather than Scripture being our ultimate authority.

    In any case, we have five works that constitute a very large portion of Scripture the Gospel of Mark, the Gospel of Luke, the book of Acts, the letter of Jude, and the book of Hebrews that cannot be explained by the theory that miracles were necessary to authenticate the Bible.

    Orthodox theology has long held that the authority of Scripture does not rest on miracles. The authority of Scripture rests on its Author. Although there may be a number of factors that help to convince us of the authority of Scripture, we are ultimately persuaded of its authority by the inward testimony of the Holy Spirit.

    Were Miracles Needed to Launch the Church?

    Some people teach that miracles were necessary for the gospel message to gain a hearing in the first century. They see the miracles and hearings of Jesus and the apostles as a sort of rocket booster to get the church "launched" and to get the gospel message an audience. Later, after the church was established and the gospel message had a place among other world religions, then the rocket booster could be jettisoned without any great loss to the church. Thomas Edgar expresses this view when he writes:

    The beginning Church was in a different situation from that of the Church after the first century. By the end of the first century the Church and Christianity were established in the major centers of the known world... The initial stages of Christianity, however, had no background from the human perspective. The message was unusual and astounding. A man executed in a very small country was presented as the Son of God, who came to die for all men; to those who trusted in Him, God would surely by grace forgive their sins. Few people outside Israel had ever heard of Jesus. He died before the Church was established. He was executed after a brief career. Such facts at least show the difficulty faced by the early evangelists. Who could accept such a message?

    However, the miraculous sign gifts put this whole message in a different perspective, since the miracles were evidence that the message was from God. The situation since the first century has never been the same. Missionaries going to jungle areas are referring to an individual with a reputation in the world, to a recognized religion and religious Figure, as far as the world is concerned. These missionaries come from groups of believers in countries where this religion is prevalent. It may be considered helpful by many to have miraculous confirmation of this gospel today. This may or may not be true, since full and well-testified confirmation has already been given by Christ and the apostles and is still ignored by those who live in countries where it is well known. There can be little doubt, however, that the need for confirmation at the beginning was greater than the need for this today.

    In other words, the infant church needed miracles to help it grow up, but the mature church no longer needs them. This argument has a contradiction in it which Edgar does not attempt to resolve. If the church in the first century needed miracles for its growth and extension, why would it not need them in the twentieth century? If miracles were beneficial to the church then, why not now? Long ago Warfield charged that this explanation was unscriptural. Indeed, during his whole discussion Edgar does not cite one verse of Scripture to support his theory. Warfield also pointed out that this line of reasoning was illogical and ridiculed it as "helpless."

    Edgar’s explanation is also false because it substitutes worldly recognition for God’s power. Edgar maintains that after Christianity "had become a recognized group with some reputation" (emphasis mine), it no longer needed the power of miracles.

    Were Miracles Meant to Be Temporary?

    Who would want to trade the miraculous power of God for worldly reputation? Warfield answered a slightly different form of this theory when he wrote, "When the protection of the strongest power on earth was secured [i.e., the Roman empire] the idea seemed to be the power of God was no longer needed..." Where in the Scriptures can anyone find support for such an idea?

    Finally, there is something else in this argument that is troubling to me. I have already stated that one of the legitimate functions of the miracles of the Lord and the apostles was to authenticate or testify to Jesus and the message about him. But were miracles ever necessary in order for people to believe in the gospel? Edgar writes as though they were, at least in the beginning of the church. Why? According to Edgar the historical obscurity and novelty of the gospel message seemed to have required miracles to prove it. He asks, "Who could accept such a message?"

    This is dangerously close to demeaning the inherent power of the gospel message. Surely the gospel which "is the power of God for salvation" was sufficient apart from miracles. Surely God did not have to do miracles in order to achieve his ends.

    The greatest miracle in the world is that God loves us and his Son died for us. His love for us is, and forever will remain, an inexplicable mystery. The most amazing supernatural event ever to occur was the incarnation and then the death of the eternal Son in the place of sinful humanity, followed by his bodily resurrection. Surely the greatest wonder is that by faith alone in Jesus Christ we receive the gift of eternal life. Surely the greatest power any human will ever know is the power of the cross of Jesus Christ. Through the cross we not only have forgiveness but also access into God’s glorious presence.

    The power of Christ’s death is so great that no Christian has to live under any moral bondage. No Christian has to be at the mercy of lust, anger, sin, fear, death, or Satan. Surely this good news is the greatest news that has ever been given. Surely this message is greater than any miracles accompanying it. Surely the gospel is capable of capturing the hearts of people without requiring any accompanying miracles!

    When I was seventeen years old and committed to rebellion, my heart was completely captured by Jesus when I heard a friend tell me about the inexplicable grace of the gospel. I knew nothing of the rest of the New Testament, nothing of the other miracles, and yet that night, December 18, 1965, at 2:00 a.m., by faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ I became a new creation. That is exactly what the apostle Paul said the gospel message would do. He wrote:

    I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

    For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith" (Romans 1:16-17).

    Paul had supreme confidence in the great and glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. He did not put his confidence in miracles, in human ability, or even in human godliness. This message is the most glorious message ever heard by human ears. It is the only answer to the human dilemma.

    Edgar says, "Who could accept such a message?" For one, Lydia and her family had no trouble at all accepting this message as they heard Paul preach it without any accompanying miracles (Acts 16:14-15). In the first century the Holy Spirit was perfectly capable of producing conviction and belief without miracles John 16:8). John the Baptist’s ministry also brought conviction and repentance, but John did no miracles (John 10:41). Even the world religions and cults have been born and are flourishing without the power of miracles. Do we seriously want to claim anything less for the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ?
     
  3. Andrew

    Andrew Well-Known Member

    +21
    Non-Denom
    Page 3/3

    I believe that miracles do have an authenticating function, and later I will argue that they can open wide doors for preaching the gospel and even bring people to repentance. However, the simple preaching of the gospel could do all of these things without miracles at any time in history and can still do them today. When miracles are given by God to authenticate gospel preaching, it is done on the basis of grace, not out of a divine necessity to make up for a deficiency in the gospel message. Miracles are a gracious gift from God which may serve many functions, but we should never isolate one function and view it as the ultimate and necessary purpose of miracles unless we have clear biblical evidence for doing so.

    Using the Gospels & Acts to Support Miracles Today

    It has been said that we cannot use the Gospels and Acts as evidence that God heals or works miracles today because they are "transition" books. Acts gives us the record of the transition from the Old Testament era to the New Testament era. Acts shows the church in its infancy, its immaturity. Therefore, we cannot determine what is supposed to be normal in church life based on the book of Acts. All we can determine is what was normal in the immaturity of the church. Above all, we cannot draw doctrine from the book of Acts—or so the argument goes. Doctrine for the church is to be drawn from the epistles of Paul.

    If this argument were valid, it would actually mean that the Gospels and Acts would tell us nothing about Jesus’ attitude toward healing and miracles today. It would only reflect his attitude at the beginning of the church’s birth. This argument is false for a number of reasons.

    First, theologians have always used the Gospels and Acts for doctrine. For example, since Calvin’s day Reformed theologians have been delighted to use John 6:44 and Acts 13:48 to prove the doctrine of unconditional election. Likewise, dispensationalists appeal to the Gospels and to Acts to support their dispensationalism. John 1:17 is used by dispensationalists to prove there is a clear distinction between the dispensations of law and grace. Professors of missions and evangelists regularly use the Gospels and Acts to teach doctrines of missions and evangelism. The Gospels and Acts are major sources for our doctrine of Christology. They are primary sources for the study of how the New Testament uses the Old Testament. The book of Acts is also crucial in determining what we believe about church government (cf. Acts 20:17ff.). It is simply not true that we cannot use the Gospels and Acts for doctrine. Everyone does it.

    What this argument really means is that we may not use the Gospels and Acts to determine doctrine about supernatural events in the life of the church today. In other words, people who use this argument are actually employing an anti-supernatural hermeneutic when they read the book of Acts. Let me explain what I mean by this and then illustrate it.

    Hermeneutics is the science of interpretation. It deals with the rules of interpretation, that is, how we ought to interpret the Scriptures (or any written text, for that matter). An anti-supernatural hermeneutic is a system of interpretation that eliminates the supernatural elements of the Bible. German liberal theologians such as Bultmann did this by "demythologizing" the New Testament miracles. They claimed the miracles did not occur at all; they were stories invented to give expression to myths that had been current in the ancient Near East. Conservative writers who would never dream of treating the Scriptures in this cavalier manner have another way of employing an anti-supernatural hermeneutic. They have a system of reading the Bible which says that all the miracles occurred back then, but they are not meant for today.

    For example, when one of my students would tell me he wanted to become a missionary and plant churches because he was inspired to do this as he read Paul’s story in the book of Acts, I would give him my blessing. I had no problem believing that God would use Paul’s story in Acts to inspire a student to become a missionary and plant churches. I thought this was a valid use of Scripture. But if that same student were to tell me that after reading the book of Acts he wanted God to use him in a healing ministry, I would have immediately corrected him. I would have told him that this was a false use of the Scripture. In other words, I employed a system of interpretation that said, "You are free to copy the non-miraculous elements in the Gospels and Acts, but you are not free to copy the miraculous elements."

    I was reading the Gospels and Acts through the lens of an anti-supernatural hermeneutic. Every time I came upon a miraculous story, these lenses agreed that the story happened, but they filtered out any present-day miraculous application of that passage.

    How does one justify this anti-supernatural hermeneutic? Where in the Scriptures are we told to read the Bible like this? Where in the Scriptures are we given a hermeneutic that says you may copy the things that are non-miraculous, but you cannot copy or expect the miraculous events for today?

    This argument is false for a second reason. In the ancient world, especially in the ancient Near Eastern world of which the Bible is a part, the most common way to communicate theology was to tell a story. Stories were written to communicate theological doctrine. Sometimes modern writers treat the Gospels and Acts as if they were nothing more than "newspaper" accounts of what happened. They are definitely more than this; they are themselves theologies. When Luke wrote his Gospel and the book of Acts, he selected all of his material very carefully to teach definite theological truths to his audience.

    This is still common today in the East. I just returned from a large conference in Singapore, and one of the pastors there told me that it was very common for one of the Chinese Christian fathers in his church to answer his child’s theological question with a story. When we think about how much both the Old and New Testament consist of narrative literature, we are forced to conclude that God also liked this method of teaching theology.

    In my copy of the King James New Testament, the Gospels and Acts take up 205 pages, the Pauline Epistles 87 pages, other epistles 34 pages, and Revelation 22 pages. The Gospels and Acts make up 59 percent of the New Testament. All of the Epistles together make up 35 percent. If the argument were true that we cannot use the Gospels and Acts as sources of doctrine, that would mean we would have to discard virtually 59 percent of the New Testament as doctrinally worthless. That would give us only 35 percent of the New Testament from which to determine our doctrines!

    Of course, nobody really believes this. They only mean you cannot use the Gospels and Acts to determine the relevance of miracles for the church’s present ministry, and this is a completely arbitrary decision. It is not based on the teaching of the Bible but rather on a personal prejudice.

    A third reason that this argument is false is because it contradicts Scripture. The apostle Paul said that "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine[!], for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16 KJV). Paul said all Scripture—not just the Epistles but the Gospels and Acts—is profitable for teaching.

    The argument contradicts Scripture in another way. At least six times in Paul’s writings he either commands Christians to follow his example as he follows Christ’s example, or he approves of those who follow his example (I Corinthians 4:16-17;11:1; Philippians 3:17; 4:9; I Thessalonians 1:6; II Thessalonians 3:9). Paul did not make a distinction between those elements in his life that were miraculous and those that are not viewed as miraculous. Paul copied Christ. Christ had miraculous elements in his life, and so did Paul. Are we only to imitate those non-miraculous elements in the lives of Jesus and Paul? Are they simply to be examples for moral living but not for miraculous ministry? Paul makes no such distinction when he exhorts us to imitate him.

    We must remember that the only inspired record we have, or ever will have of church history is the book of Acts! This is the only period of church history where we can be absolutely sure that our record is one hundred percent accurate. It is the only period of church history where we can be absolutely certain of God’s opinion of the church’s life and ministry.

    The book of Acts is the best source that we have to demonstrate what normal church life is supposed to look like when the Holy Spirit is present and working in the church. Here we find a church that has passion for God, is willing to sacrifice even to the point of martyrdom—and is a miracle-working church. Why would we think that God wants the church to be something different today? Would anyone seriously rather have the church in Calvin’s day or the church in twentieth-century America as the model of normal church life?

    Remember a point mentioned earlier: If you take a new convert, who prior to his conversion knew nothing about the history of Christianity or the New Testament, and you lock him in a room with a Bible for a week, he will come out believing that he is a member of a body that is passionately in love with the Lord Jesus Christ and a body that consistently experiences miracles and works miracles. It would take a clever theologian with no experience of the miraculous to convince this young convert differently.

    Whatever purposes we assign to the miracles of the New Testament period, we cannot say that God did them out of necessity to make up for deficiencies surrounding the initial preaching of the gospel. The healings and miracles were entirely gracious on God’s part. The gospel could have and would have been believed apart from any miracles. Nor can we say that God did miracles to authenticate the apostles or to prove the authority of Scripture. Yet the entire New Testament—including the Gospels and Acts—reveals that God did do miracles, he did heal people, and he had important purposes for these activities.

    _Formerly a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary and the author of the best-selling book Surprised by the Power of the Spirit, Jack has gained international respect as a teacher with rare depth and content and as a popular conference speaker.
     
  4. Thunderchild

    Thunderchild Sheep in Wolf's clothing

    +1
    Non-Denom
    The "answer" be locked away in mystery, right out in the open where all are free to read it. The correct explanation is that experience is wrong. The second "explanation" is simply a matter of accepting the evidence of experience without having to go to all the bother of searching for an answer.

    There are enough people living who have been in receipt of prophecies, and who have witnessed for themselves that signs and wonders still are performed, to show that experience is wrong.

    As to the Biblically provided answer - Miracles, prophecies, healings etc and so forth attest to a true gospel.
     
  5. 9-iron

    9-iron Football Fan

    +145
    Non-Denom
    Single
    Great read Andrew!!!!, Whew!!! that was also the LONGEST post I have ever read on any board!!!! :eek:
     
  6. TruelightUK

    TruelightUK Tilter at religious windmills

    441
    +1
    Of course there are those who would argue that those who claim the persistence of the gifts are arguing from experience rather than Scripture! However, I would definitely agree that both Scripture and experience attest to the continuance of the gifts 'until perfection comes' (which must mean more than simply the completion of the canon of the New Testament).

    Anthony
     
  7. Andrew

    Andrew Well-Known Member

    +21
    Non-Denom
    Thanks for your replies. This post was for the cessationists here.
     
  8. Thunderchild

    Thunderchild Sheep in Wolf's clothing

    +1
    Non-Denom
    EEEKKKK!!!!!!!!! TrueLight: Wash out your mouth.

    Tis not the gifts that remain until perfection comes, but the individual's need for guidance from such as apostles, prophets, teachers, and preachers.
     
  9. TruelightUK

    TruelightUK Tilter at religious windmills

    441
    +1
    Thus the various manifestations of the Spirit continue, to enable the ministry giftings to function in His power to meet that need, to bring insight to a Church in need of the Spirit to lead them into the Truth they are as yet seeing only in part, and to empower Christ's people for the work of ministry to a world still in need of a Saviour!  When all that is complete, the Spirit will no longer be shed abroad on the earth.

    Anthony
     
  10. SnuP

    SnuP A son of the Most High

    +9
    Non-Denom
    <SUP>10But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 11When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.</SUP>

    <SUP>&nbsp;:idea: Christ is 'that which is perfect'.&nbsp; For when He comes,&nbsp;we fill be 'face to face', and I will know Him even as He knows me.&nbsp; Then we shall know all things.</SUP>

    <SUP>God is still using the gifts because His annointing rest upon those who use them to do the work of the Lord.&nbsp; Those who have the gift of discernment of spirits will be able to discern God's presence upon the individual.&nbsp; He desires the use of the gives to edify and exort the body of Christ, and to distroy the works of the enemy.&nbsp;</SUP>

    <SUP><SUP>7But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. 8For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: 11But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

    why would God do away with some gifts but leave others (such as wisdom, knowledge, faith, and discernment).&nbsp; They are all of the same Spirit to profit all.</SUP></SUP>
     
  11. Andrew

    Andrew Well-Known Member

    +21
    Non-Denom
    Amen Snup, I'm agreeable with your interpretation of "perfect" too. as long as it's not the Bible!

    :)
     
  12. SnuP

    SnuP A son of the Most High

    +9
    Non-Denom
    Why does my post look funny?
     
  13. cougan

    cougan Senior Member

    766
    +6
    Christian
    Ok it will take me a while to go through this article. I will have to look into the history arguement made. But when he says that it is because of a lack of experience or in other words people have not seen visable or real miracles for themselves, that they start searching the bible and figureing out ways to make it show that the miracles have ceased. The reason why there is such a lack of evidence for miracles is because they are no longer here today.

    2 Cor. 12:12

    "Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, by signs and wonders and mighty works." It was necessary that the apostles have credentials, because there were false apostles (2 Cor. 11:13; Rev. 2:2), even as today there are men claiming apostleship, but who cannot produce the credentials. Paul knew well that he could not expect the Corinthians to accept what he said simply because he said it. They were seeking proof that Christ was speaking in the apostle (2 Cor. 13:3). They were proving all things (1 Thess. 5:21), and he was obliged to demonstrate his credentials.

    "In all patience" Paul was willing to demonstrate his authority so they would heed the heavenly message he was speaking, This would give them time to consider the credentials they had witnessed and also to contemplate the Gospel. If he was not an apostle, then he would have grown impatient, not caring for their souls, but being insulted that they did not accept him. Paul knew it was unreasonable to expect people to respond favorably to the Gospel the first time they heard it. Thus, he taught them many lessons in order to bring them to obedience and maturity in Christ. Let us imitate Paul by being patient with unbelievers and new Christians, remembering that, as we preach the Word we are to do it "with all longsuffering and teaching" (2 Tim. 4:2).

    Paul reminded these brethren that he had demonstrated the signs of his apostleship by working miracles, which pointed to his apostolic authority. He also performed wonders, which captured attention, causing the people to pay heed to his authority as an apostle. Furthermore, because of Paul's mighty works, demonstrating superhuman power, the people realized that the ministry of an apostle was not authorized by man, but by Someone greater than man. The Hebrews writer argued in a similar way by asking:

    "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation? which having at the first been spoken through .the Lord, was confirmed unto us by them (the apostles) that heard; God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders, and by manifold powers, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will." (Heb. 2:3-4)

    His argument is that superhuman power was manifested through the apostles, who confirmed the great salvation. However, if a person rejected this salvation, he rejected the Lord and would not escape. Paul was defending his apostleship in the same way. To reject his apostleship, for which he gave ample proof of its authenticity by miracles, was to reject the great salvation.

    The miracles were not just confirming that they were apostles but was confirming that the word they preached was from God which in turn would show their authority. The apostles were the only ones that possesed the ability to lay hands on someone and give them the Holy Spirit. They were also the only ones who could retain and remit sin. This is what distingushed them from men like Philip. Philip did not have that ability as found in Acts 8 that is why after he preached to those people they had only been baptized in the name of Jesus. They didnt receive the Holy Spirit until the Apostles went and laid hands on them.

    Consider this article
    SPIRITUAL GIFTS YET AVAILABLE? (1 Cor. 12:8-11; 1:7-8)

    In an effort to imitate and promote first century spiritual gifts or miracles in today's twentieth century, many denominational teachers (and some brethren) contend that the gifts (1 Cor. 12:8-11) are to remain in the church until the coming of the Lord, and therefore they are still available today (1 Cor. 1:7-8). These appeal to Paul's statement, "But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away" (1 Cor. 13:10), to support their theory and practice. However, this passage does not refer to the second coming of Christ for many scriptural reasons. Thus, their contention cannot be a true and valid interpretation of Paul's statement.

    While Christ is the "perfect" Savior (Heb. 5:9), and he did live a sinless life on earth (Heb. 4:15), this passage is not speaking of the second coming of Christ. Paul is comparing something that was incomplete to that which was to be completed. In that first century when the revelation of the New Testament was in progress, those miraculous signs and gifts were being used by the Lord to confirm the word of salvation revealed through the apostles (Mark 16:15-20; John 16:7-13; Acts 2:43; 2 Cor. 12:12). However, the apostle states that when that "perfect" or complete revelation was finished by the apostles, then those temporary signs and gifts being used to confirm the gospel of Christ would "cease" to be given and would "vanish" (1 Cor. 13:8-9).

    Those gifts which were "in part" were only temporary, childish things, in the then immature and developing infant church of the first century. Those gifts described as the nonessential were the things which would be removed when special prophecies (teaching or revelation) failed to continue, when the speaking in previously unlearned languages or tongues ceased, and when the special knowledge vanished. Any teacher today who declares that he receives special revelation from the Lord is in reality denying the work of the apostles (for they received and revealed all truth), and the all-sufficiency of the New Testament of Jesus Christ as claimed by the apostles (Rom. 1:16-18; 2 Tim. 3:16-17). It is relatively simple for men to claim they have received new revelation and prophecy from God today and then teach "another gospel" (Gal. 1:6-9), but such is a gross denial and rejection of God's written New Testament (1 Tim. 1:3; 2 Tim. 2:2-3; 2 John 1:8-11).

    The word "perfect" is the Greek [@teleios] and is defined as that which is "brought to completion, complete, entire, as opposed to what is partial or limited" (Bagster), and as "having attained the end or purpose" (Arndt and Gingrich). The "perfect" or completed revelation of the gospel, the word, testament, will, or covenant of God, was that testimony which God intended to be the permanent guide of the church into full maturity for worldwide evangelism, and for establishing the individual Christian in the faith (1 Cor. 2:1-16; Rom. 16:25-26; Eph. 1:13-14; 3:1-21). It required approximately thirty years for the full revelation of the New Testament by the apostles, and during this period, until the complete knowledge of God's will was made known, the early church was compared to the growth of a child: "... but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face: now I know in part; but then I shall know even as I am known" (1 Cor. 13:11-12).

    The miraculous spiritual gifts of the early apostolic church ended exactly as the Holy Spirit had prophesied, when that revelation of the gospel was completed or perfected. Paul said that the prophecies would fail, that is "be abolished or wiped out" (Arndt and Gingrich); that tongues would cease, that is be "stopped, or left off" (Bagster); and that knowledge would vanish, which again means "abolished or wiped out" (Arndt and Gingrich). Therefore, because the New Testament has been completely revealed and permanently recorded in written form, and that believers today can confirm the details and doctrine of their faith from this written revelation, the church no longer has or needs those spiritual gifts which were used to confirm the verbal revelation of the gospel in the first century.

    Notice Paul's meaning and use of the word "perfect" in other passages: "... that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God" (Rom. 12:2); "... among them that are perfect ..." (1 Cor. 2:6); "... but in understanding be men ..." (1 Cor. 14:20); "... till we come unto a perfect man ..." (Eph. 4:13); "... to them that are of full age ..." (Heb. 5:14; see also Phil. 3:15; Col. 1:28; 4:12; Heb. 9:11). The apostle always uses this word to describe completeness or maturity; the word "perfect" is never used to refer to the second coming of Christ! James writes, "But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty ..." (James 1:25); that is, the perfectly designed and completely revealed covenant of God!

    In recent years those who believe in and teach miracles for the twentieth century have claimed that the word "perfect" is never used in the Bible to refer to the complete revelation of God. They base their argument upon the fact that grammatically the word "perfect" ([@to] [@teleion]) of 1 Cor. 13:10 is in the neuter singular, and that the completed New Testament is never referred to in the neuter singular. However, as with all false claims and doctrines, a study of the Bible will reveal the truth and expose the error of men.

    A study of the grammatical construction will show that the "will of God" is always in the neuter singular. The inspired men who wrote the Bible always use this word in the neuter singular, and we encourage all to consult a Greek lexicon or English concordance, dictionary, or language study. For example: "Then saith he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God, He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second" (Heb. 10:9). Here the word "will" ([@to] [@thelema]), is in the neuter singular, but more than that, "the first" (to proton) and "the second" ([@to] [@deuteron]) refer to the complete Old and New Testaments in the neuter singular. Therefore, the argument made by those who claim twentieth century miracles offer a false claim based upon an error! The "perfect" or complete will (revelation, covenant, testament, or gospel) is always referred to and used in the neuter singular. How could the Holy Spirit of truth lead these so-called miracle workers into such gross error and false teaching? It is evident that the Holy Spirit does not lead or work with those who pervert the truth (Gal. 1:6-9).

    While the "will of God" or the complete, perfect revelation of his will is always in the neuter singular in the New Testament, and is grammatically in harmony with Paul's statement (1 Cor. 13:10), the title/name of Christ, Jesus, or Lord, in the Greek language (the language in which the New Testament is written), is always used in the masculine gender and never in the neuter gender. Therefore, because the word "perfect" (1 Cor. 13:10) is in the neuter singular, it cannot refer to Christ! Jesus is not now waiting to become mature or be completed in some way, and then come to earth again.

    It was necessary that the revelation of the New Testament be completed and recorded in the lifetime of the apostles (John 12:44-50; 14:26; 15:26-27; 16:7-13; 17:17-26; 20:30-31; 1 John 5:1-20; 1 Pet. 1:12-21). The revelation of the "will of God" in the New Testament had a beginning and a completion. When it was finished, completely revealed by the apostles, then "that which is perfect" had come! God's "will" for man through Jesus Christ is referred to many times in the New Testament for us to study (Matt. 7:21; 12:50; Luke 11:2; 22:42; John 1:13; 6:38-40; 9:31; Acts 22:14; Gal. 1:4; Eph. 1:9; Col. 1:9; 4:12; Heb. 13:21; 1 Pet. 4:2; 1 John 2:17). When the completion of the New Testament was accomplished by the apostles, the need for confirming their message (as the truth of God) by miracles, signs and wonders was completed in the first century, thus there are no miracles from heaven today. The very fact that today these so-called miracle workers embrace, teach, and practice all kinds of false doctrines, build sectarian denominations, and oppose the truth and church of the New Testament, proves beyond all doubt that they are deceivers and stand condemned before the Word of God (2 Pet. 2:1-3; 2 Thess. 2:9-13; 1 Tim. 4:1-3).

    It must always be remembered that the spiritual gifts were all given for the express purpose of confirming the gospel as God's Word -- and not the words of men.

    "For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues." (1 Cor. 12:8-10)

    Note the nature of these gifts: the word of wisdom and knowledge, prophecy (to teach by inspiration), the discernment of various teachings (spirits), the tongues -- languages and their interpretation for use in teaching those of other nations. These gifts designed to communicate the word of faith were confirmed as divine by the gifts of healing and other miracles of the first century, and that same miraculous confirmation is written that men might believe in the twentieth century (John 20:30-31).

    The perfect will of God for man provides the grace by which the Christian can be complete in Christ today (Col. 2:9; Eph. 2:8-10; Titus 2:11; 3:5). God has revealed the perfect plan of salvation (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:14-47; Rom. 6:3-5). He has built the church upon the perfect foundation (1 Cor. 3:10-11; Eph. 1:20-22; 2:19-22). From the first century to the present twentieth century, all Christians can stand justified by faith, sanctified in obedience and "... perfect and complete in all the will of God" (Col. 4:12).
     
  14. Thunderchild

    Thunderchild Sheep in Wolf's clothing

    +1
    Non-Denom
    Truelight: That applies to the individual new believer's perfection/maturity. There will always be new believers, and they will always need guidance from other people until they become mature enough to heed the prompting of the spirit themselves.
     
  15. Thunderchild

    Thunderchild Sheep in Wolf's clothing

    +1
    Non-Denom
    perfect (teleios) will of God
    perfect (teleios) love casteth out all fear
    strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age (teleios)
    that we may present every man perfect (teleios) in Christ Jesus
    as many of us as be perfect, (teleios) be thus minded.
    If thou wilt be perfect (teleios) go and sell all you have
    Be ye therefore perfect (teleios) even as your Father in heaven is perfect (teleios)

    We know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect (teleios) comes, then that which is in part shall be done away.(katargeo)
    1Cr 13:11 When I was a child , I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away (katargeo) childish things.
    katargeo = put aside or supplanted.

    Is there some passage which uses teleios in conjunction with the word of God or the gospel or the scriptures, to show that they have been consummated?



    It also shows that the need for confirmation of what is true continues in force, and for that cause, the gifts have not been withdrawn. The newly born-again continue to need milk - without it they do not gain to maturity. The unbeliever continues to need demonstrations of God's power so that faith may be built on that, rather than on persuasive words of wisdom.

    &nbsp;

    Less pondering and more research might have been in order. God has appointed in the church, first apostles, then prophets, then healers, then workers of diverse miracles .... and so on down the list. No Biblical record shows that only apostles had the authority to perform signs. That authority was distributed among the congregations.... earnestly desire the greater gifts. These things were prophesied as being part of the New Covenant by the Old Testament prophets. Are we living under the New Covenant, or is there some post New Covenant that we are living under, and which God never saw fit to tell anyone would be brought into effect? And where is the record of blood being shed which is necessary to&nbsp;bring this post New Covenant into effect and annul the old New Covenant?&nbsp;
     
  16. cougan

    cougan Senior Member

    766
    +6
    Christian
    Does the Authority of Scripture Rest on Miracles?

    Of course it did. There was a MAJOR difference in the miracles that false prophets and the likes were performing compared to those of what the apostles and prophets were doing. How could somebody back then know weather or not what the apostles or prophets were speaking were true? It was by confirmation through signs and wonders.

    Mark 16:20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord
    working with them, and confirming the word with signs
    following. Amen.

    1Cor 14:37 is saying that Pauls written word is the word of God and if those that think they are spiritual will not acknowledge it being the word of god then they are not being lead by the spirit but are being lead by a false spirit. 1jn 4:1 When the apostles spoke or wrote it down it was not their own wisdom but it was revealed to them by the Holy Spirit what to say and what to write. 1Cor 2:6-13.

    The books of Mark, Luke, Acts, Heb, and Jude. I don't belive I have ever heard that arguement before. Just because the bible doesnt come right out and say that Mark did this Miracle or Luke did this miracle doesnt prove that they didnt do miracles. I know that these had to been led by the Holy Spirit to write what the wrote because all scripture is by the inspiration of God. 2tim 3:16-17. All though this is a interesting arguement it doesnt seem to be that strong of one to me.

    Were Miracles Needed to Launch the Church?
    No they were not used to launch the church but they were used to confirm the church. When the church/kingdom began at the day of Pentacost it was established by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles as they spoke the many different languages that were there preaching to them that christ was the son of God. I cant say it enough the purpose of the Miracles were to confirm the word being spoken was from God.

    In regards to letting someone be locked in a room with the bible and see what the come up with, I know of several stories of groups of people that just had the bible and they formed their own church and they did not have any outside influence. It was quite interesting to learn that they belived the bible almost exactly the same as I do. They did not use musical instruments in their church. They didnt allow women to preach or take a leadership role where men were. They taught that faith alone doesnt save you but that you must be baptized into christ before you are saved.

    Based off the word of God I cant see any reason why the miracles would still be here today. They had a purpose and that purpose has come and gone. The word of God is complete Miracles and all. There isnt any new revelation or anything to add to the completed word. If people will not except the word of God there not much different than those brothers of the rich man in the story of Lazaus. Abraham tells him if they woulnt listen to Moses and the prophets they surely wouldnt listen to one raised from the dead. So you see there is no reason for the word to be reconfirmed again today because we have everything we need to know found in the scriptures and we have to decide weather or not we will accept them. We are now under a system of faith.
     
  17. cougan

    cougan Senior Member

    766
    +6
    Christian
    Just 1 question. Do you think that the unity of the faith in Eph 4:13 is in refrence to heaven, that is when we get to heaven then we will have this unity of the faith?

    This will greatly help me in how to reply back to you.

    Thanks.
     
  18. Andrew

    Andrew Well-Known Member

    +21
    Non-Denom
    cougan, I answered this in another thread, so if i may postit here again:

    Total Christian unity?

    Ephesians 4
    11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
    12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
    13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:


    Here, it clearly says that God gives gifts to the church for the perfecting of Christians, for ministry work, for the edification of Christians, and that He will continue to do so until all of us are united in the faith and knowledge of Jesus -- perfect men with the stature of the fullness of Christ.

    The latter has obviously not happened, given the many different Church denominations and doctrinal arguments that continue to exist. And as regards the former, much ministry work still has to be done, such as missions and evangelism. Christians still need to be edified and encouraged. All this tells us that the church still needs the gifts, in fact, all the more in these last days.

    Whether it's gonna happen here on in heaven is not important for the argument here. We shld ask ourselves if we ARE ALREADY united in the faith and knowledge of Jesus. Can we say that all Christians all over the world are united in the faith and knowledge of Jesus? I dont see how that is the case now. Christians can hardly agree on "the fatih". eg some still believe baptism is a must for salvation. Christians dont all agree on the person of Jesus. Our friend Louis for eg, believes Jesus fell sick from time to time and that He was only spiritually perfect.
     
  19. Andrew

    Andrew Well-Known Member

    +21
    Non-Denom
    quote: "There was a MAJOR difference in the miracles that false prophets and the likes were performing compared to those of what the apostles and prophets were doing."

    If this is true, then why wld Christ warn us that many of the elect wld be deceived. eg those against the faith movt here think all their supporters have been deceived. or that those who watched the VCDs I sent you and believe them (like me) have all been deceived.

    "Mark 16:20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord
    working with them, and confirming the word with signs
    following. Amen."

    Notice it says confirming what was preached. not what's written down in the scrolls. do we still preach today, yes, so does God still confirm what's preached today, yes. as the article says, signs and wonders of God bear witness to the word being preached about Jesus as Saviour. That still holds true today since we still preach Christ to the unsaved today.

    quote"Just because the bible doesnt come right out and say that Mark did this Miracle or Luke did this miracle doesnt prove that they didnt do miracles. I know that these had to been led by the Holy Spirit to write what the wrote because all scripture is by the inspiration of God."

    but to assume that they did would also be pure speculation. but pt is, your pt is that miracles authenticated the scriptures written. So how would a man today, know that Mark and Luke are divinely inspired? Just tell them to assume that they did miracles? Wldnt that defeat the whole purpose of your pt that miracles confirm the scriptures?
     
  20. Thunderchild

    Thunderchild Sheep in Wolf's clothing

    +1
    Non-Denom
    13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
    Does this say we will all come into the unity of the faith, or that we will all come in the unity of the faith? "All" (pas) in this passage = each or individually.

    1) individually
    1a) each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things,
    everything
    2) collectively
    2a) some of all types
     
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