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Have the gifts of the Holy Spirit ceased?

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by Andrew, Mar 6, 2003.

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  1. Andrew

    Andrew Well-Known Member

    Cessationists -- Christians who believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit have ceased to exist -- maintain that the gifts died out with the 12 apostles or with the completion of the Bible. They use the following passage to support their argument:

    1 Corinthians 13:8-12
    8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
    9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
    10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.
    11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
    12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

    They say that the "perfection" in verse 10 refers to the completion of the Bible, and since we have the Bible today, the gifts have passed away.

    What is the "perfection"?

    The "perfection" in verse 10 refers to our perfection, not the completion of the Bible. The context itself clearly tells us this, as it talks about "we" and "I" knowing in part, then knowing fully; being a child, then growing into a man.

    * 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
    * 11 When I was a child,...When I became a man,...
    * 12 ...Now I know in part; then I shall know fully,...

    If we say that the perfection refers to the completion of the Bible, then we are actually saying that the Bible -- a non-living thing -- went through these human growth processes.

    So, the passage clearly talks about us (not scrolls of scriptures) knowing partially then knowing fully, and that when the latter happens, the gifts of the Holy Spirit (that help build up and empower the church) will no longer be necessary and hence be done away with.

    From glory to glory

    * 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.

    Again, to say that the perfection refers to the completion of the Bible is to also say that the Bible once saw a "poor reflection" of itself in the mirror, then saw "face to face" with someone once it was completed. This, of course, is ludicrous. So, what is the verse saying?

    Let us look at two other verses for the meaning or symbolism of "mirror". Let the Bible interpret the Bible.

    * 2 Corinthians 3:18
    18 and we all, with unvailed face, the glory of the Lord beholding in a mirror, to the same image are being transformed, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. [YLT]

    * James 1:23
    23 because, if any one is a hearer of the word and not a doer, this one hath been like to a man viewing his natural face in a mirror, [YLT]

    Christians have "unveiled faces" in the sense that they are able to see that Jesus is Lord by the grace of God. But for the Jews, till today, their hearts are "veiled" whenever they read the Old Covenant scriptures -- they cannot see that Jesus is the Messiah. But should any Jew turn to the Lord, the veil is removed (2 Corinthians 3:14-16).

    But Christians don't see the Lord "face to face" now as He is still literally at our Father's right hand, interceding for us, since His ascension. What we see is a "poor mirror reflection" of Him (1 Corinthians 13:12).

    Because we are in Christ and Christ is in us by His Spirit, we reflect His image, albeit poorly, when we "look in a mirror". That is why James 1:23 says that a person who hears the Word but does nothing about it only reflects his natural self (not Jesus) as he "looks in a mirror".

    Despite the dim reflection, the more we behold Jesus, that is, to learn more about Him, the more we are transformed from glory to glory into His likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18).

    This transformation is still ongoing for every Christian, but it will be completed when we see Christ "face to face" -- no longer as a poor reflection in a mirror (1 Corinthians 13:12).

    In other words, when Christ comes back for His church at the rapture, we would be perfected -- complete knowledge with glorified bodies (1 Corinthians 15:51-54, 1 Thessalonians 3:16,17, 2 Thessalonians 1:1).

    Who knows it all?

    Has "know fully" or "perfection" happened to every Christian as cessationists believe? The answer is obvious. Just because we have the Bible, study aids and Bible teachers does not mean that we now know perfectly. No honest Christian will say that he understands perfectly every word or phrase in the Bible, let alone the mysteries of this age.

    Some cessationists then argue that we should not take "know fully" in absolute terms. They say that "know fully" just means knowing God's salvation plan.

    Well, the qualification is in verse 12 -- "even as I am fully known". We are fully known by one person only -- God. So, have we come to the place where we know fully to the same degree and standard that we are fully known by God? Again, the answer is obvious.

    Having versus knowing

    A related argument is that the passage is only talking about us having at our disposal, perfect knowledge, that is, the Bible. But verse 12 clearly talks about us knowing fully, not us having at our disposal, perfect knowledge.

    This means that complete knowledge has to be "in our heads", not in a book we keep on our bedside tables. It is one thing to say that you own a complete set of the Encyclopedia Britannica, but a totally different thing to say that you know perfectly everything that is written in it.

    Furthermore, I believe that God has much more knowledge and revelation in store for us than just what is contained in the Bible. The Bible is silent on many topics, such as how many galaxies God created, the truth about "aliens" or why there is no salvation plan for the fallen angels.

    Total Christian unity?

    * Ephesians 4:11-13
    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. Also, 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.

    Only the apostles?

    Cessationists also argue that Paul was only referring to himself and the other apostles in the passage. In other words, only the apostles came to "know fully" -- supposedly after they had finished writing the various scrolls that would one day make up the modern Bible.

    We have already established that the putting together of the Bible has nothing to do with the passage. But was Paul talking only about himself and his fellow apostles? A clue lies in verse 9:

    * 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part,

    Prophesying was not a gift unique to the apostles. The New Testament records many other Christians prophesying, such as the disciples in Ephesus (Acts 19:6), the four daughters of Philip the evangelist (Acts 21:9) and a prophet named Agabus (Acts 21:10). So, "we" here cannot mean just the apostles.

    Furthermore, if we look at the broader context (the entire chapter 13), Paul was giving instructions to the Corinthian church on their use of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The fact that he was teaching them, not himself, about the gifts of the Holy Spirit and their proper usage proves that he was referring to the church.

    To suddenly say that Paul was only talking about himself and the other apostles from verses 9 to 12 is to be inconsistent in interpretation. Cessationists might as well add that Paul was also talking about himself or teaching himself in the earlier verses 1 to 3, since there he uses "I" too.

    * 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
    1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
    2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
    3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

    But they don't. To them, verses 1 to 3 apply to the church. So, how is it cessationists take "I" here to include the Corinthian church, but "I" and "we" in verses 9, 11 and 12 to mean only Paul and his fellow apostles? There is no consistency in their interpretations.
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  2. Andrew

    Andrew Well-Known Member

    Part II
    Refuting other cessationist arguments

    1. The purpose of miracles was to prove that the 12 apostles were true apostles of God.

    * No verse of scripture states that signs and wonders bear witness to or confirm the authenticity of the apostles. In fact, miracles bear witness to the person of Christ (Luke 7:19-22, Acts 10:38) and to the message preached about Him (Mark 16:20, Acts 4:29,30, Acts 10:44, Acts 14:3, Galatians 3:5, Hebrews 2:4). The Holy Spirit moves in power with signs and wonders to exalt Jesus and point to Him, not to man (John 14:26, John 15:26).

    * If miracles prove that a person is an apostle, then how do we identify false apostles and prophets performing miracles (Matthew 7:15,22; Matthew 24:24, Mark 13:22)? We turn to scripture and their "fruit", not miracles, to test the miracles and the message the "apostle" is preaching (Matthew 7:16, 2 Timothy 3:16).

    * The apostles were not the only ones who performed signs and wonders by the power of God. Stephen, who was not an apostle, performed great wonders and miracles too (Acts 6:8).

    * The church in general performed signs and wonders too, as God gave gifts to the church, including the working of miracles and healings (Galatians 3:5, Ephesians 4:8,11,12, 1 Corinthians 11:8-10).

    2. God performed miracles through the apostles because it would prove that the scriptures they wrote were divinely inspired.

    * The books of Mark, Luke and Jude were not written by apostles. The authors did not perform any recorded miracles. Hebrews is anonymous. Yet, we regard these books as divinely inspired as well.

    * Philip, one of the 12 apostles, performed miracles (Acts 8:6,39) but did not write any scripture.

    3. Miracles were needed as a "rocket booster" to launch the early church and get people saved.

    * There is no scripture proof to support this.

    * This demeans the inherent power of the gospel itself to save (Romans 1:16, Romans 10:8-10). It implies that God had to "add" signs and wonders to a "lacking" gospel to get people saved.

    * It also ignores the power of the Holy Spirit to convict the sinner without Him having to resort to signs and wonders (John 16:8). In fact, most Christians are saved just by hearing the gospel, getting convicted and then believing (Romans 10:8-10).

    * We are saved by grace through faith, not by signs and wonders (Ephesians 2:8).

    4. The gospels and the book of Acts are just "transition books" -- from the Old Testament to New Testament. Acts records an infant, immature church. Hence, Acts does not portray "normalÓ church life.

    * If that were true, it would also mean that the church down through the centuries should not have referred to the gospels and the book of Acts to formulate doctrines that are still being taught and believed today, such as those on unconditional election, holy communion, salvation by faith, the born again experience, forgiveness, dispensationalism, missions and evangelism, eschatology, etc. It would mean that much of our doctrines are based on "abnormal" church life.

    5. 2 Corinthians 12:12 -- "Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds." -- proves that miracles authenticated the apostles.

    * The verse simply says that miracles, among other things, were one of the signs that accompanied the ministry of the apostle. It does not say that only true apostles of God can do signs and wonders, and that if you witness the latter, the person is an apostle.

    * Stephen was not an apostle, yet he performed signs and wonders as well (Acts 6:8).

    * The other "telltale signs" of apostleship which Paul considered more important were his sufferings (1 Corinthians 4:9-13, 2 Corinthians 6:4-10, 2 Corinthians 11:16-33). We could also consider the effectiveness of his preaching as there were many conversions, the call of God (Acts 9:16, 1 Corinthians 1:1, 2 Corinthians 1:1) and a blameless ministry life.
  3. armothe

    armothe Living in HIS kingdom...

    Some good observations.

    Unfortunately, I cannot offer a satisfactory rebuttal without quoting Preterist beliefs, which I don't think are allowed in the General Theology forum. If you would like to move this discussion to another forum to hear my point of view, I'm all for it! Otherwise, I can PM you.

  4. FaithtoFaith

    FaithtoFaith Member

    Andrew, tho are truly blessed with great knowledge and wisdom.

    I have printed your thread so I can refer to it when I am questioned about my gifts in the Holy Spirit today.

    Thank you for taking the time to post this thread and may God continue to bless you greatly.

    My favorite scriptures are the ones from Mark 16:15-20, that refer to the signs that will follow the believers.
  5. Didymus

    Didymus can t spell--can t type

    interesting .must think about this i think some of the gifts are very rare today.
  6. Andrew

    Andrew Well-Known Member

    thank you all for your most kind remarks. i am encouraged. thanks :)

    another thing:

    a lot of cessationists are forced to say that a lot of what takes place out there in churches are all "counterfeits".

    But they fail to realise that in order for the devil to counterfeit something, there must be an original out there for him to copy and pervert, as he is not God and cannot create. IOW counterfeit presupposes the of-God original and genuine.

  7. Ezra

    Ezra New Member

    Some observations:

    1. Putting derogatory labels such as "cessationists" on other believers who differ is certainly not edifying.

    2. You have started out by misrepresenting their position. You have implied that ALL spiritual gifts have failed according to the so-called "cessationists", and that is not true. There were just THREE spiritual gifts which were stated to "fail", "cease" or "vanish away". These were supernatural prophecies, supernatural tongues [actually languages] and supernatural knowledge (1 Cor.13:8). All three were associated with Divine revelation, i.e. the Word of God, the verbal speaking forth of the words of God. This is what Scripture calls "by inspiration" or "God-breathed".

    3. The real question is not what the meaning of "perfect" and "in part" is, since there are numerous interpretations, but did God stop giving Divine revelations -- the Word of God -- at some point in time? If this can be proven from Scripture, then all the quibbling should cease, especially about tongues.

    4. Scripture tells us, which means the Holy Spirit tells us (2 Tim.3:16), through the apostle John, who wrote the LAST BOOK OF SCRIPTURE, about THE LAST THINGS ON EARTH ( the Revelation), that Scripture has ceased with the LAST WORDS THAT HE WROTE, IN THE LAST CHAPTER OF HIS BOOK, that if any one came along later to add or subtract from what was written in His last book calling it Divine revelation, he would come under severe Divine judgement: "For I testify [this is a solemn pronoucement] unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall ADD UNTO THESE THINGS, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: and if any man shall TAKE AWAY FROM THE WORDS of this prophecy, God shall take awy his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book" (Revleation 22:18-19).

    5. Does this or does this not establish that God stopped His revealed Word at the end of the Revelation? And does this not fulfill what Paul said regarding the cessation of the three spiritual gifts connected with Divine revelation?

    6. Now we come to two other "sign" gifts, "miracles" and "healings" (1 Cor. 12:28-30). The Epistle to the Corinthians does not say plainly "they shall cease". However, by the time we come to the epistles to the Romans and Ephesians, as well as 1 Peter, these two gifts are not listed (Eph. 4:7-12). Why did the Holy Spirit not include them if they were to continue for all ages? Because they have nothing to do "with the perfecting [maturing] of the saints" (Eph.4:12-14). They are sign gifts, just like tongues (not babbling but real languages such as those listed in Acts 2:9-11), giving for a specific purpose for a limited time.

    Now Paul tells us the purpose of sign gifts (1 Cor. 14:22). "Tongues are for a sign not to them that believe, but to them that BELIEVE NOT". God intended to convice unbelievers, especially Jewish unbelievers, through signs, wonders and divers miracles, that the Gospel was from the Almighty and should therefore be "obeyed" or responded to. This too would be limited to the apostolic age, since the clear instructions for Divine healing are given in James 5:13-16 in anticipation fo the ages to come. We know from the earliest Church Fathers writings that miracles and healings were not being manifested, but by the time Roman Catholicism gained its hold, pseudo-miracles and pseudo-healings began to appear. We cannot forget that Satan too has his signs and lying wonders (1 Thess. 2:9).

    7. Peter also lists (1 Pet.4:10-11) two gifts, "speaking", which could mean prophesysing or preaching or teaching and "ministry" which literally includes "service" of any kind, but would also include pastors, teachers and evangelists as well as any believer who did any service for the Lord.

    8. Paul in Romans expands on Peter's list (Romans 12:6-8) in which he lists prophecy, ministry, teaching, exhorting (preaching), giving (liberality), ruling (government), mercy.

    9. You have dismissed the Scriptures that clearly assert that miracles authenticated the authority of the apostles. Why would the Holy Spirit then emphasize the connection? Ask yourself why Hebrews 2:4 specifically states that because the Gospel is "so great salvation" and because it was first spoken by the Lord, it was crucial that the world believe the apostles, therefore "God [was] also BEARING THEM WITNESS, both with signs and wonders, and divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, ACCORDING TO HIS OWN WILL?" If you are prepared to improperly exegete this Scripture and dismiss it, you can do it with any Scripture.

    10. There are genuine spiritual gifts in operation today by the gifting of the Holy Ghost to whom He will. These are according to combined relevant Scriptures: 1) Pastors/shepherds/exhorters/ speakers, 2) teachers, 3) evangelists, 4) "helps" or "ministry" (service of any kind whatsoever to the saints), 5)governments (ruling elders), 6) giving (liberality), 7) being merciful (perhaps for deacons ministering to the needy), and above all, 8)the GIFT OF LOVE [AGAPE] which is given to every believer, since the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit dwell within (1 John 4:15-19).
  8. Andrew

    Andrew Well-Known Member

    why so touchy? its not a derog term. where in the world did you get that? Cessationist is a theological term used to refer to Christians who believe that the gifts have ceased. And cessationism is that doctrine.
  9. armothe

    armothe Living in HIS kingdom...

    I'd have to agree with Ezra on a few points. If we still have "knowledge" and "inspiration" today via the Holy Spirit, why haven't we seen further inspired writings?

    If we still have the gift of prophecy today via the Holy Spirit, why haven't we seen accurate predictions come true - similar to the ones prophesied in the OT all of which were 100% fulfilled. Who's to say who's a prophet and who is not?

    If we still have the gift of healing via the Holy Spirit, how come we havn't seen people being raised from the dead like they were doing in the 1st century?

    I'm afraid the burden of proof is upon the "non-cessationist" to prove, or show evidence of the Holy Spirit being active in someone's life.

    I personally believe the "partial" is the Helper, or Holy Spirit, and the "perfect" is Christ. I believe Christ has already returned, leaving no further need for the "breath of God" (HS) to assist mankind in performing miracles, prophesying, or healing. As a Christian I have the fullness of the perfect spirit of Christ living in me. I do not need, nor am I looking for the partial spirit of the HS.

  10. 4sightsounds

    4sightsounds Not playing games...

    ....I'd also like to add another question..... or should I say 'observation'.

    During the establishment of the church, there were DOCUMENTED cases of SUBSTANTIAL miracles and healings (of ORGANIC illness; like a withered hand being restored completely upon touch....as opposed to a functional disoreder that can be temporarily cured psychosomatically) carried out through man. Why aren't their any DOCUMENTED incidents taking place today?

    At one point, Jesus had literally wiped out disease in all of Palestine. Why don't we send those with the gift of healing to the pockets of disease throughout the world and have them wipe it out?

    One last question.....

    In Philippians 2:25-28, we see that Paul speaks very lovingly about his fellow soldier, his brother, his close companion and freind, Epaphroditus. Scripture says that he was to the point of dying.....and it was difficult for Paul to deal with (v27).

    Please think about this objectively and honestly.... Since Paul had the gift of healing....and ALL gifts are used voluntarily by the one posessing the gift, why didn't Paul heal Epaphroditus?
  11. SpiritPsalmist

    SpiritPsalmist Heavy lean toward Messianic Supporter

    United States

    Be incouraged brother, you did a good job.
  12. Andrew

    Andrew Well-Known Member

    not sure what you mean here. the gift of the Word of Knowledge and speaking by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, eg thru prophesying "unto comfort, exhortation and edification" are not given for the purpose of adding new chapters to the Bible. Where did you get that idea?? As mentioned in the Bible, the gifts are for building up/equipping the church. not for writing new chapters of the Bible.

    The NT 'version' of prophesying is mainly "unto comfort, exhortation and edification", not so much 'predictions'. The latter of cse still happens. I can cite you a few examples from my church. But I doubt you can believe.

    I can cite you many examples of people raised from the dead, the latest being Reinhardt Bonke Ministry's video of a pastor who was dead for 3 days and then raised to life. I cld cite you examples of people in my church healed miraculously of cancer. I cld point you to many books containing testimonies of healings down thru the centuries. But I know your reaction is prob the cessationist stand - that all these are just fakes and one big worldwide conspiracy (it takes more faith to believe that!).

    On the contrary, the truth is that its the other way round. The cessationists simply brush aside all the evidence out there and refuse to see the workings of the Holy Spirit. Scripture does not support their doctrine and neither does the evidence out there. that is so sad.

    btw: there is a poster here by the name of Pray4Israel who shared his healing testimony here. He was miraculously healed of CFS after being prayed for by his pastor. His testimony is here...

  13. Disciple2003

    Disciple2003 New Member

    Well, I'm not sure where to start.  We have already been discussing this topic in a different thread so I am not sure why another one was necessary, but oh well.  In the other thread, Andrew, I dealt with the fact that the bible is clear that Satan WILL attempt to deceive through signs and wonders.  I also mentioned the false prophesies of ones like Kenneth Hagin and Kenneth Copeland.  You did not respond on this issue.  Why would God use false prophets?

    You began this post talking about 1 Cor 13:8-13.  You claim that the perfect is us in heaven.  Two main reasons why that thought must be rejected: 1) The pronoun 'that' used in verse 10 (that which is perfect) is neuter in the original greek.  It was meant to describe a thing not a person.  2) Scripture never suggests that there is ever a time when our knowledge will be perfect or complete.  God alone is omniscient or all-knowing.  We will not achieve this state even in heaven.  The context of these verses is this: Paul has been rebuking the Corinthian church for there abuse of miraculous gifts, especially the gift of tongues.  He is now telling them that an attitude of love is more important than any miracle that could be performed.  He gets to a point where he wants them to realize that the very gifts they are elevating are temporary in nature.  They are causing division because of these gifts that won't even be around forever.  But love will be.  Their focus must be their love for Christ and one another.  He tells them that the gifts of revelation (prophecy, tongues and knowledge) will cease or be done away with.  So Paul is dealing with spiritual knowledge; revelation.  That is the theme.  He says that what they knew at that time was in part.  Their prophesies were in part.  When Paul said "we know in part", who is the 'we'.  This is how we study scripture.  Seeing that Paul was not rebuking all Christians for their misuse of the gifts but only the Corinthians, we must assume that the 'we' in this statement meant himself (and those that were with him) and those he was writing to (the Corinthians).  Therefore, Paul meant that at the time he was writing, they knew in part and prophesied in part.  "But when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away". (verse 10-NASB)  If Paul was speaking of spiritual knowledge given as a gift and said that it was only in part, then the perfect (also meaning complete) must somehow be related to knowledge as well.  Paul knew that he was bringing the word of God to these Gentiles, but he also knew that his revelation from God was not finished yet and neither was the revelation God had been giving to others.  So he must have meant that the perfect was the completion of God's revelation concerning His Son.

    In verse 11, Paul then says "When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things."  Again, keeping with the theme of this whole section being about partial and perfect knowledge, Paul is saying that it was time to begin to put away the things that were for the childish (or infancy) stage of the church.  The gifts were not childish.  They were absolutely necessary for a time in the church when they did not have anything to remind them of the teachings of Paul or others who came.  Their understanding and revelation was totally dependant upon these gifts when Paul was not there.  As the revelation of God (the bible) was being completed and distributed, there would be less need for these revelatory gifts.  They could put away the 'childish' things as they came into maturity.

    Verse 12-"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part but then I shall know fully just as I also have been fully known."  The key to understanding this verse is in knowing what is meant by 'now' and 'then'.  We must keep this in context with everything else that has been discussed.  'Now' means now.  The time in which Paul was writing this epistle.  So the 'then' must refer to the time when the perfect will come.  Notice the two parts to this verse and see how Paul connects them.  "For now we see in a mirror dimly" and "now I know in part" go together.  "but then face to face" and "I shall know fully just as I also have been fully known." go together.  They saw in a mirror dimly because their revelation was only partial.  They would be able to see face to face when the full revelation came.  They would be able to see Jesus as He was meant to be seen; through God's word.  Face to face cannot possibly mean seeing Jesus at His second coming because that would have no bearing whatsoever on Paul's discussion here.  When he says that he will know fully, he means that he will have the completed revelation of God, not that he would actually have ALL knowledge as God.  Paul knew better.  And 'just as I also have been fully known' would imply that God has always known His creation.  Paul was saying, God has fully known me and now I will be able to fully know Him because of His completed revelation of Himself.

    Verse 13 says, "But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love."  Paul is saying that when this partial knowledge ceases, these three things will continue, especially love.  This rules out 'the perfect' being the second coming of Jesus because when He comes, faith and hope will no longer be necessary (Romans 8:24).  Even after these revelatory gifts to the church are gone, faith, hope and love will continue on.  Praise God!!

    Just a couple of other notes: Paul was dealing with the maturity of the church.  If the 'perfect' is centered around the second coming of Jesus, is it likely that Paul was actually telling them that they could not achieve maturity until then?  Also, we can tell that Paul was trying to help the Corinthians understand that they did not need to elevate these gifts as they had been.  If the gifts were to continue on, why would he even mention them going away at some point thousands of years later?  What bearing would that have on the Corinthian church if there was no possibility of the gifts going away in their time?

    This is a long post for just this one issue, but it is a critical one.  I am certainly open to discussing other aspects of the topic of miraculous gifts.  We must all remember that God's word is our ONLY guide to true understanding.  His revelation is final and complete.  We do not need to look for more.

    "God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world."  (Hebrews 1:1,2)

  14. armothe

    armothe Living in HIS kingdom...


    Uh, the New Testament (and OT) was written by those inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was given to the apostles to help them build the church, help them endure, and procliam the gospel of Christ (writing the NT books). If the Holy Spirit exists in today's Christians, why aren't we writing inspired books for the purpose of spreading the gospel?

    Wow, ONE person being raised from the dead.....that is certainly evidence enough for me that the Holy Spirit is granting gifts of healing in the lives of Christians today.

    Honestly, out of all the Christians I know, NONE have admitted ever being able to heal people, NONE have ever cast out a demon, NONE have ever claimed to be a prophet, and NONE have ever claimed to have inspiration from the HS.

    If the HS were as much at work in today's church as it was in the 1st Century, we'd be seeing undoubtable evidence. And please don't bring up FAITH as the issue. In the NT, even the most professed skeptics could not even explain the wonders the apostles demonstrated.

  15. Ephesian

    Ephesian Member

    I just don't think it works that way.

    I have been on the receiving end of a healing, (nothing spectacular like cancer or aids, but still important to me) so I have no doubt that the gift of healing is for any age and all generations.

    I was also on the other end of a healing where I prayed for someone and they were healed. In this particular instance, however, God basically told me before hand that if I prayed they would be healed. I prayed (voluntarily) and they were healed. This happened some years ago and I have not experienced anything like that since. I have prayed for many since then, self included, knowing full well that my prayer was a petition (which we are told to do) but without the authority of that one prayer some years ago.

    In other words, we don't send people anywhere, God does. Paul probably did not heal Epaphroditus because God did not tell Paul that He was going to heal Epaphroditus. 
  16. Ezra

    Ezra New Member

    Paul was saying, God has fully known me and now I will be able to fully know Him because of His completed revelation of Himself. --  Disciple2003

    Something which is almost never addressed in this issue about "perfect' is 2 Timothy 3:16-17: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God [Gk. theopneustos=God-breathed] and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; THAT THE MAN OF GOD MAY BE PERFECT, throughly [thoroughly] furnished unto all good works
    [fully furnished, mature, complete in doctrine and practice].

    Now if we pause to carefully think upon these two verse, we see that in verse 16 the Holy Spirit (through Paul) is already anticipating a complete written Divine Revelation, even though the book of Revelation has not been penned. When we go to Rev.22:18-19, we find that the Holy Spirit has completed the Scriptures which He calls "all Scripture" and John emphatically says so. Is God's word perfect, complete, sufficient, a mirror for our souls and a reflection of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ? The answer is obvious.

    Bu then when we go to verse 16, the believer is shown to be perfect, complete, mature, fully furnished throough the same Scripture. So the perfection that Paul is talking about in 1 Corinthians 13:9-12, is clearly connected to a partial written Revelation (55 A.D. perhaps) and a complete written Revelation (90-95 A.D.). Yet we seem to ignore these verses while quibbling over "perfect" and "in part"? Is that because of an agenda?
  17. Disciple2003

    Disciple2003 New Member

    I think we are getting confused again.  When you say your healing was nothing spectacular, that alone is reason to believe that your experience was NOT the miraculous gift of healing.  Weigh your experience with scripture.  All examples of the gift of healing in scripture were miraculous and INSTANTANEOUS!  There was no waiting or wondering what God was going to do because the Holy Spirit had granted to the individual this amazing gift and they could use as they saw fit.  Your healing may have been unexplainable because God intervened by His sovereign will in answer to prayer.  That is not the gift of healing in scripture.

    That one prayer did not have any special "authority".  You were probably moved by the Holy Spirit to pray specifically for that person, and God chose to answer that prayer (along with the prayers of whomever else was praying).  This did not mean that you had the gift of healing.  Your other prayers for healing do not have less "authority"; it may just be that God has other things in mind for the individuals you are praying for.  The healing is not based on you, but on the power and will of God.

    God never told any of the apostles to specifically heal anyone.  He gave them these miraculous gifts for them to use when they saw the need.  They had the discretion to use them.  See Acts 3:1-10 where Peter healed the lame beggar at the gate to the temple.  Also Acts 20:7-12 where Paul raised the young man Eutychus from the dead.  In both examples, God did not speak to the apostles to tell them to do what they did.  They simply did it.  These were men who were entrusted to carry the gospel message to all nations and to use whatever means necessary to include the use of miraculous gifts when they saw the need.  I do not consider these men to be some sort of saints greater than other believers (like Catholics do).  But the bible does show us that they had a special place in the preaching of the gospel and in the foundation of the church.  They were hand-picked by our Lord.  That means that they were given a certain authority and function that no other Christian will ever have again.  I personally think that the way some Charismatics try to bring themselves to the same level as the apostles is a disgrace.  Let's just accept the place and work that God has for us, and go about the work of the kingdom.

  18. Andrew

    Andrew Well-Known Member

    thank you for your comments. but i'll leave the debate to others as i find the whole thing rather silly. Cessationists seem to be living in a self-contained bubble and ignoring all the tons of testimonies out there. anyway, even if a person was healed right in front of them, they'd just attribute it to the devil.
  19. Ephesian

    Ephesian Member

    That's not what I ment. It was spectacular TO ME, and instantaneous as far as I can tell (I went to bed with it and woke up without it). What I ment by spectualar is that it was not a life threatning disease.

    That was the point I was trying to make.

    Actually, we don't know that.

    And we are entrusted to do the same. Why wouldn't God equip us the same?

    I believe the Gifts of the Holy Spirit are Gods gifts to give if and when He sees fit. I don't believe it is anything like the Benny Hinns of the world would have us believe. 

  20. armothe

    armothe Living in HIS kingdom...

    I have no doubt that God still takes an active part in His creation. I also have no doubt that prayer can indeed be answered.

    However, us praying that someone is healed, is a lot different than us laying our hands on a sick person and healing them.

    I realize many of you have had "experiences" and have spectacular testimonies...but why not all of us? Why are these miracles only given to certain individuals?

    Can't be faith. I spent 4 years of my life fully believing I had the Holy Spirit, but I was unable to heal others, cast out demons, or receive inspiration. I became discouraged several times yet this caused me to strengthen my faith and be more wary of sin. Still no gifts.

    Eventually I was led to understand that we shouldn't yearn for the Holy Spirit. We were to yearn for Christ/God.

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