Thursday, October 09, 2008

Spiritual Gifts, 2

In my last post, I presented the case that not all spiritual gifts in the church were/are of a miraculous nature, and that they were/are acquired via at least three methods, only one of which -- the laying on of the Apostles' hands -- has ceased.

This leaves two methods for spiritual gifts to still be present in Today's church:
  1. as an unexpected gift from God,
  2. as a gift from God in response to an earnest desire and prayer
A fourth method is implied in several texts, that of gifts simply being given to Christians as a result of being a Christian. We see this, for example, in the following places:
According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts:
Romans 12:6 (HCSB)
But each has his own gift from God, one this and another that....
1 Cor 7:7
Based on the gift they have received, everyone should use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God.
1 Peter 4:10
I think it's fairly safe to say that "miraculous signs and wonders" have always been the exception rather than the rule. Such miraculous gifts usually have the purpose of "confirming the word", and once the word has been confirmed, that particular need no longer exists.

I also think it's fairly safe to say that the "miraculous" gifts, as given through the laying on of the Apostles' hands, have died out with the death of the last Apostle or shortly thereafter.

However, having said that, I think it's a mistake to claim that therefore God can not and will not give miraculous gifts to his church Today. God can do anything He wants, whenever He wants.

I believe the church has created a man-made doctrine that God has claimed that He will not perform miracles after the first century. I don't find that claim to be Biblical. And those who dogmatically claim that "we know God does not perform miracles Today" are treading, I believe, on treacherous ground.

Is God performing miracles Today? I don't know. I've seen a few indications that He is. I believe there are a lot of charlatans out there performing so-called miracles that are not really miracles. But I do not want to limit God in what He can and can not do. If God wants to perform a miracle in the 21st century, that's His business, and I'm not going to deny Him credit for what appears to be His workings in Today's world. I don't want to quench the Spirit.

No comments: