I recently wrote this for a class I am taking but I thought I would share it with all of you since it concerns a question I get asked quite a bit.
Peter Enns in the Moody Handbook of Theology contends that spiritual gifts such as prophecy, healing and tongues are no longer in use today. His basic argument centers on the ideas that each of these gifts were “sign gifts” that were used to verify the validity of the gospel message in absence of a settled canon of Scripture. Now that we have an authoritative canon, these gifts are no longer needed and thus not in use today.
I believe a clear reading of the book of Acts gives this view credibility. When we see miraculous events take place in this book, they are usually in conjunction with a gospel presentation and response. It seems clear that the purpose of these events was to point men to Christ. Since “we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed” (II Peter 1:19) we do not need these same evidences.
When it comes to prophecy and healings, I believe this might just be the case. The argument does make sense. However, absent a specific verse that states explicitly that these gifts would disappear upon the settling of a canon, we cannot be dogmatic about this.
The passage that Enns, and others, use to prove this case is I Corinthians 13:8-10 which states, “Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.” These sign gifts will pass away when that church is perfect comes. The assumption here is that “that which is perfect” is a reference to the completion of the New Testament canon. However, that is not explicitly stated here in the text. This may be a case of eisegesis, reading your particular view into the text. Others would suggest this phrase could be referring to the Second Coming. It seems as though given the context, each of these interpretations have equal standing as the text itself if simply not clear.
I would also contend Enn’s assumption that “There is no evidence that the tongues of Corinthians were different from the ones in Acts” seems to be faulty as well. In Acts 2:1-13, at Pentecost, each men heard the message in his own language. There was no need for an interpreter. However, in I Corinthians 12:10 and 14:5 there is a clear need to interpret what is saying in tongues. Also, it seems as though I Corinthians 14:2 indicates that the gifts of tongues in Corinthians was not given to speak to the church but to speak to God. This is a clear difference between what happened in the book of Acts. This difference would seem to assert that the usage of this particular gift (unlike prophecy and healing) was not merely a sign gift to verify the gospel message absent a settled canon.
I have never spoken in tongues and those who claim to have gifts of prophecy and healing make me nervous. I am concerned that the employment of these “gifts” will lead others away from a firm dependence on the sufficiency of the Word of God. However, I do not believe there is enough Biblical warrant to state dogmatically that these gifts cannot and are not used today.
It is with great excitement that I am able to announce that Ligonier Ministries has now made R.C Sproul’s Critical Questions series available for free download!
To further help Christians know what they believe, why they believe it, how to live it, and how to share it, from today the eBook editions of R.C. Sproul’s Crucial Questions series will be free forever. (click here for the entire post from Ligonier)
While there’s no rush to download these titles, you still won’t want to waste much time placing this valuable resource in your e-library. Click each image below to download from Amazon.
On this edition of the KevCast, we welcome Pastor Chris Brauns, the author of Bound Together: How We are Tied to Others in Good and Bad Choices.
“Our lives are woven together in such a way that the choices each one of us makes have an effect on the lives of others, both for good and for bad. Because much of the pain we endure in life is in the context of relationships, this truth often strikes us as unfair. Why should a child suffer because of the poor decisions of his or her parents? And on a grander scale, why do we all suffer the curse of Adam’s disobedience? Why should anyone be judged for someone else’s sin?”
Perhaps these are questions you’ve wondered about yourself. Maybe you’ve struggled with the concept of a God who slaughters innocent women and children in Jericho or most of the human race in the Noahic flood. Is God unfair? If am bound by the actions of others, what does that say about free will and human responsibility? If these are questions you’ve been thinking, this interview is one you will want to hear.
Pictures from launch party of Bound Together held at the Red Brick Church: (Click on each image for a larger view)
Recently my friend Dr. Tim Johnson (pastor of Rock Valley Chapel) was asked to speak at Beloit College on the topic of the exclusive claims of Christianity as seen in verses like John 14:6. If you know anything about Beloit College, you would know this would not have been what we would call “home field advantage.” The lecture was just posted and thought I would share it with you all.
How does sinful man stand justified before a holy God? The Apostle Paul focuses especially on the doctrine in his epistle to the Galatians.
On this episode of the KevCast, we are honored to have Terry Johnson, pastor of the Independent Presbyterian Church of Savannah, Georgia. Pastor Johnson has authored several books including a new commentary on the book of Galatians published by Christian Focus as part of their Mentor Expository Commentary series.
Join us as first chat about the role commentaries play in the study life of pastors and laymen alike. From there we launch into our look at Galatians and discuss how fundamental the doctrine of justification by faith alone is and how we fight against the dual dangers of legalism and antinomianism. We conclude our time with a frank discussion on how the church plays its crucial role in the life of the believer.
You will not want to miss this episode!
Don’t forget to check out the Bring Me the Books Blog for more information about great books and even learn more about other titles written by today’s guest Pastor Terry Johnson.
Earlier this year I was privileged to have the opportunity to welcome Jefferson Bethke into my classroom via Skype. Jefferson was gracious enough to talk with my students about his video, Why I hate Religion But Love Jesus. The video went viral overnight. Reactions were quick, and varied. While some thought it summed up exactly how they felt, many others (including myself) had some reservations and critiques. How did Jefferson handle his instant fame? How did he handle his critics? Does he want people to abandon all organized religion? Tune in this week and hear the answers to these questions and many more! (Please note, this was a friendly classroom discussion. I purposefully was not confrontational.)