Friday, October 10, 2008

Spiritual Gifts, 3

In the Law of Moses it was established that a matter must be confirmed by the mouth of two or three witnesses, as we see here:
15 "One witness cannot establish any wrongdoing or sin against a person, whatever that person has done. A fact must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.
Deut 19:15 (HCSB)
and as reiterated in the New Testament:
On the testimony of two or three witnesses every word will be confirmed.
2 Cor 13:1 (HCSB)
When the Apostles were first teaching the Good News of Jesus, their testimony sufficed for one of the necessary witnesses, but for the second witness, God provided signs and wonders:
3 So they stayed there for some time and spoke boldly, in reliance on the Lord, who testified to the message of His grace by granting that signs and wonders be performed through them.
Acts 14:3 (HCSB)
20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word by the accompanying signs.
Mark 16:20 (HCSB)
Sometimes a man's conscience, via the Holy Spirit, might act as a confirming witness to that man: conscience is testifying to me with the Holy Spirit....
Rom 9:1 (HCSB)
Other times, other men might act as confirming witnesses:
27 Therefore we have sent Judas and Silas, who will personally report the same things by word of mouth.
Acts 15:27 (HCSB)
Today, we have the Bible as a witness. Where's our second witness?

One possibility is to consider the Bible as a collection of witnesses.

Another possibility is to consider extra-Biblical history as the second witness.

A third possibility is to consider that our conscience still may serve as a witness when led by the Holy Spirit.

A fourth possibility is to consider that perhaps miraculous gifts might still serve as a witness. This fourth possibility would be most effective to those who do not know or do not accept historical claims about Jesus, such as in third-world countries, or among atheists.

I'm only saying that if God wants his Word to be confirmed to non-believers, He's free to use whatever method He wishes, including signs and wonders. Just because I may not have witnessed a bona fide miracle, that doesn't mean that God can't and won't perform one at His will. If a pagan becomes a believer because the Word has been testified to him by a teacher, and then that Word has been confirmed by the testimony of a miracle, praise be to God!

Maybe modern Americans don't need signs and wonders because we don't need them as a second witness, and therefore God doesn't grant them to us often (if ever).

Someone once said that we don't believe in modern-day miracles, not because that's what the text teaches, but because that's what we experience, and then we impress our experience onto the text and conclude that's what the text teaches.

Far be it from me to persuade you to become a "holy-roller". But I do want to warn that our culture may have adopted a false doctrine that has managed to quench the Spirit. I'm content to recognize that modern-day miracles are questionable, but that if God so wants to use His Spirit, I'm not going to deny Him that right. And as Paul encouraged in 1 Cor 14:1, I want to:
Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. (HCSB)
So far, nuthin'. But that's not gonna stop me from my eager desire.

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