Friday, January 28, 2011

Other Non-Bible Material from God?

Many today consider the Holy Bible to be the only written material we have from God.

But if we assume that writings from God's prophets would qualify as being "from God", then we have to consider that there were other books from God at one time, which have since been lost, such as:
  • the books of Samuel the Seer, Nathan the Prophet, and Gad the Seer, (1 Chron 29:29)
  • the book of Shemaiah the prophet (2 Chron 12:15)
If we further assume that books referenced in a positive manner by the scriptures qualify as "from God" (which I would be much more hesitant to do), then our list gets even bigger:
  • the Acts of Solomon (1 Kings 11:41)
  • the geneaologies of Iddo the Seer (2 Chron 12:15) and his story (2 Chron 13:22)
  • the Book of Jasher (Josh 10:13; 2 Sam 1:18)
  • the book of the Annals of David (1 Chron 27:24)
If we include epistles (not books), then the list grows bigger still:
  • at least one lost letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 5:9)
  • the letter to Laodicia (Col 4:16)
  • the unknown source of the Nazarene prophecy (Matt 2:23).
I can't help but wonder how we would receive one of these documents if the spade of archeology were to dig it up tomorrow, particularly the lost letter to the Laodicians. I suspect that most of us have a theology that wouldn't allow us to consider it as scripture, even though Paul seems to have considered it on a par with his letter to the Colossians. I think it would disturb us greatly.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Orphan Spirit

The message at Fountaingate Fellowship for the past few weeks has been "Overcoming the Orphan Spirit". Here are the characteristics of an orphan spirit according to the sermon last week:

* blames others for their condition. Learn to own your junk. (this point resonated strongly with me)

* a feeling of hopelessness. No surprise: you have no inheritance, you have no feeling of security, heritage, or destiny.

* falls into a spirit of performance. Seeking approval.

* unable to put down roots.

* always on the lookout for something bigger and better; grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

* tend to be emotionally led. Emotions are good, but what's not good is when our emotions dictate to us; we should have authority over our emotions, not the other way around.

* constantly in need of recognition.

* easily offended.

* feelings of abandonment even when one has not been abandoned.

* an attitude of "no one is gonna tell me what to do". I don't trust anybody but me.

* an attitude of "I know".

* a survivalist mentality. Always looking out for yourself because you can't trust anybody else.

* never truly comfortable in the presence of anointed spiritual fathers; a sense of inadequacy.

* reject others before they can reject you.

Ramblin' Ramblin' Ramblin' [whip-snap] Yee-Hi!

No offense to any of you women, but the following thought is really beginning to gel in my mind.

When men talk, it's generally because they have a piece of information they want to communicate. Once that information has been communicated, the man is finished talking.

When women talk, it's generally because they have a need to be heard. A man starts to listen to her, expecting to hear some piece of information, but after hearing about 15 topics over the course of ten minutes, none of which have a point, and which are only loosely connected to each other, he either starts getting frustrated and wants to prompt her along with, "Get to the point", or he starts mentally drifting away (not intentionally; he just doesn't have the energy to keep paying attention to something that doesn't go anywhere).

I suspect women have the need to be heard like men have the need for sex.

I suspect that if men would learn to listen to their women for the 20 or 30 minutes the woman needs to talk, without expecting any information to be conveyed (but at least pretending to be attentive and that they get what the woman is saying), their relationships would be a lot more successful.

Again, men, your woman is not talking to tell you something; she's talking to relate to you. Don't expect a point; just listen.

This does not mean women never need to communicate information; they do. But it's sometimes hard for a man to hear her, because the signal-to-noise ratio is very low. She talks a lot, but doesn't necessarily communicate much real information.

A man can generally only pay attention to one thing at a time (he can listen to her take 20 minutes to say nothing, or he can watch the football game he's interested in, but if he tries to do both, he'll feel like he's missing out on important game time and she'll feel like he's not really listening). Because of this, it's very hard for him to pay attention to her for 20 minutes unless he intentionally tunes out distractions. But he can only do that for so long before he starts drifting, because he really needs to be thinking about what it will take to fix that plumbing leak, or how he's going to rustle up the cash to pay the electric bill, etc etc etc. A woman can think all of these things, plus fifty more, and carry on a conversation, all at the same time, but a man simply can't.

So men, when your woman needs to talk, find a way to tune out everything else, and just let her ramble, and don't expect her to have a point. She doesn't need to have a point to talk; she just needs to talk. (But sometimes she does have a point; pay especially close attention then.)

And women, when you need to talk, respect your man enough to get his attention and let him know you need him to listen, even if you're not telling him anything he needs to know. If he's in the middle of a project, tell him you need 5 or 20 minutes. Do not interrupt him for 3 minutes, then let him return to his project, then interrupt him again for 2 minutes, then let him return to his project, then interrupt him for 5 minutes, then let him return to his project, and then complain to him that he never listens to you. He can't do two things at once: He can listen to you, or he can do his project, but if he tries to do both, he's gonna fail at both, and you're both gonna wind up getting angry.

Maybe I'm wrong on all this. Maybe this has just been my experience. No offense intended. There's nothing wrong with a woman's need to talk (any more than there's anything wrong with a man's need for sex). It's just that men and women are different, and you women are so different that anytime a little clue into how y'all function enters into my brain, even though it should have been obvious to me long before now, it seems like bloggable material.

Let me know how close or how far I am from your reality; let me know if I've offended; let me apologize if I have --> I'm just a man, idiotically clueless when it comes to you women.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

YHWH in the Tzitzit

In Numbers 15:38 the Israelites were instructed to attach tzitzit (zeet zeet[h]), tassels, containing a blue thread, on the four corners of their outer garments.

Yahshua wore them (Matt 9:20; 14:36).

Modern day tzitzit often are composed of 10 wraps, followed by 5, then 6, then 5, which in the numerology system of the Hebrew alef-bet refers to the letters Y,H,W,H.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Why the Confederacy?

I recently came across the article Five myths about why the South seceded which claimed as the first myth that the South did not secede over states' rights, but rather over slavery, claiming that
Confederate states did claim the right to secede, but no state claimed to be seceding for that right. In fact, Confederates opposed states' rights -- that is, the right of Northern states not to support slavery.
The author quotes some snippets from the Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union to prove his case.

Notice that the author subtly morphs the argument about states' rights into an argument for the right to secede, which is not the same thing. Nonetheless, they did secede over states' rights, stating that encroachment on their rights justified withdrawal from the Federal Union. From the same document the author quotes (emphasis mine):
[South Carolina] declared that the frequent violations of the Constitution of the United States, by the Federal Government, and its encroachments upon the reserved rights of the States, fully justified this State in then withdrawing from the Federal Union....

... the State of South Carolina ... should declare the immediate causes which have led to this act.

Thus were established the two great principles asserted by the Colonies, namely: the right of a State to govern itself; and the right of a people to abolish a Government when it becomes destructive of the ends for which it was instituted.

We assert that fourteen of the States have deliberately refused, for years past, to fulfill their constitutional obligations, and we refer to their own Statutes for the proof.
Referring to the election of Abraham Lincoln, an avowed enemy of slavery, the document continues:
On the 4th day of March next, this party will take possession of the Government. It has announced that the South shall be excluded from the common territory, that the judicial tribunals shall be made sectional, and that a war must be waged against slavery until it shall cease throughout the United States.

The guaranties of the Constitution will then no longer exist; the equal rights of the States will be lost. The slaveholding States will no longer have the power of self-government, or self-protection, and the Federal Government will have become their enemy.
So yes, slavery was the issue that triggered the secession, but the reason given was that the the North was encroaching upon the Southern states' rights, and that the South would no longer have the power of self-government.

That sounds like an issue of states' rights to me.

I think the author is correct to claim that the South seceded over the issue of slavery; but I think he's incorrect to claim that it was not over states' rights. It was both: the South seceded because it wanted to exercise self-rule, particularly in the issue of slavery.

I'm torn about supporting the Southern Confederacy: I strongly believe the states have the right to secede, but I believe slavery is an abhorrent institution, incompatible with Christianity, Humanity, and the principles and Constitution of the United States of America, and this applies to slavery of anyone of any color or nation or gender. (I'm a little softer on "limited slavery" applied to perpetrators of crimes against others.)

I believe the South was inconsistent to claim the right to self-rule for themselves but not for their slaves. Insofar as the South defended slavery, I believe the South was evil.

But, insofar as the right to self-rule, I believe the South was fully justified in dissolving their union with the Federal Government.

Returning to the article, the author mentions as his point four that the North did not attack the South to preserve slavery, but rather to preserve the Union. This is clear from Lincoln's own words:
My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. -
So no matter what the reasons were for the South to secede, the reasons for the war was about the North taking away the right of the South to self-rule; the South was a prisoner of the Federal Government. Thus I believe I'm justified in referring to the war as The War of Northern Aggression.

I can understand, and agree with, a war to rescue the oppressed from oppressors. Had the North fought the South to ensure freedom for all, and then to let those Southern states rule themselves thereafter, I could justify that. (It's a tricky situation, because if we're going to do that here in the Continental USA, why not a little further out, or a little further out, or on the other side of the world?) But to go to war to keep the Southern states prisoners to the Federal machine, that I can not justify.

While on this topic, let me add that I can not in good conscience say "indivisible" in the Pledge of Allegiance (although I have no problem with the rest of it, subordinate to the phrase "under God", which takes precedence). That's an outgrowth of the Northern aggression against self-rule. The United States itself is based on the right of the 13 colonies to divide itself from Mother Britain, a right which is built into the framing document of the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government....

... it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
I recommend you go read the Five Myths... article; it's worth consideration.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Misreading the Text

I'm not a good listener, so maybe I misheard, but I think I heard the claim that Titus 2:7 says "show good works in doctrine".

I don't believe that's what it says.

Here's Titus 2:7 (KJV) and its immediate context:
6Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.

7In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,

8Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

The Ghost of Thanksgiving .......Yet to Come

The following was received in an email from Winston T. Ohlhausen:


“Winston!!!! Come into the dining room, it’s time to eat,” Julia yelled to her husband.

"In a minute, honey, it’s a tie score,” he answered. Actually Winston wasn’t very interested in the traditional holiday football game between Detroit and Washington. Ever since the government passed the Civility in Sports Statute of 2017, outlawing tackle football for its “unseemly violence” and the “bad example it sets for the rest of the world,” Winston was far less of a football fan than he used to be. Two-hand touch wasn’t nearly as exciting.

Yet it wasn’t the game that Winston was uninterested in. It was more the thought of eating another TofuTurkey. Even though it was the best type of Veggie Meat available after the government revised the American Anti-Obesity Act of 2018, adding fowl to the list of federally-forbidden foods, (which already included potatoes, cranberry sauce and mince-meat pie), it wasn’t anything like real turkey. And ever since the government officially changed the name of “Thanksgiving Day” to “A National Day of Substantial Regret” in 2020, to officially acknowledge the Pilgrims’ historically brutal treatment of Native Americans, the holiday had lost a lot of its luster.

Eating in the dining room was also a bit daunting. The unearthly gleam of government-mandated fluorescent light bulbs made the Tofu Turkey look even weirder than it actually was, and the room was always cold. Ever since Congress passed the Power Conservation Act of 2016, mandating all thermostats—which were monitored and controlled by the electric company — be kept at 68 degrees, every room on the north side of the house was barely tolerable throughout the entire winter.

Still, it was good getting together with family. Or at least most of the family. Winston missed his mother, who passed on in October, when she had used up her legal allotment of live-saving medical treatment. He had had many heated conversations with the Regional Health Consortium, spawned when the private insurance market finally went bankrupt, and everyone was forced into the government health care program. And though he demanded she be kept on her treatment, it was a futile effort. “The RHC’s resources are limited,” explained the government bureaucrat Winston spoke with on the phone. “Your mother received all the benefits to which she was entitled. I’m sorry for your loss.”

Ed couldn’t make it either. He had forgotten to plug in his electric car last night, the only kind available after the Anti-Fossil Fuel Bill of 2021 outlawed the use of the combustion engines — for everyone but government officials. The fifty mile round trip was about ten miles too far, and Ed didn’t want to spend a frosty night on the road somewhere between here and there.

Thankfully, Winston’s brother, John, and his wife were flying in. Winston made sure that the dining room chairs had extra cushions for the occasion. No one complained more than John about the pain of sitting down so soon after the government - mandated cavity searches at airports, which severely aggravated his hemorrhoids.

Ever since a terrorist successfully smuggled a cavity bomb onto a jetliner, the TSA told Americans the added “inconvenience” was an “absolute necessity” in order to stay “one step ahead of the terrorists.” Winston’s own body had grown accustomed to such probing ever since the government expanded their scope to just about anywhere a crowd gathered, via Anti-Profiling Act of 2022. That law made it a crime to single out any group or individual for “unequal scrutiny,” even when probable cause was involved. Thus, cavity searches at malls, train stations, bus depots, etc., etc., had become almost routine. Almost.

The Supreme Court is reviewing the statute, but most Americans expect a Court composed of six progressives and three conservatives to leave the law intact. “A living Constitution is extremely flexible,” said the Court’s eldest member, Elena Kagan. “Europe has had laws like this one for years. We should learn from their example,” she added.

Winston’s thoughts turned to his own children. He got along fairly well with his 12-year-old daughter, Brittany, mostly because she ignored him. Winston had long ago surrendered to the idea that she could text anyone at any time, even during Substantial Regret Dinner. Their only real confrontation had occurred when he limited her to 50,000 texts a month, explaining that was all he could afford. She whined for a week, but got over it.

His 16-year-old son, Jason, was another matter altogether. Perhaps it was the constant bombarding he got in public school that global warming, the bird flu, terrorism or any of a number of other calamities were “just around the corner,” but Jason had developed a kind of nihilistic attitude that ranged between simmering surliness and outright hostility. It didn’t help that Jason had reported his father to the police for smoking a cigarette in the house, an act made criminal by the Smoking Control Statute of 2018, which outlawed smoking anywhere within 500 feet of another human being. Winston paid the $5,000 fine, which might have been considered excessive before the American dollar became virtually worthless as a result of QE13. The latest round of quantitative easing the federal government initiated was, once again, to “spur economic growth.” This time they promised to push unemployment below its years-long rate of 18%, but Winston was not particularly hopeful.

Yet the family had a lot for which to be thankful, Winston thought, before remembering it was a Day of Substantial Regret. At least he had his memories. He felt a twinge of sadness when he realized his children would never know what life was like in the Good Old Days, long before government promises to make life “fair for everyone” realized their full potential. Winston, like so many of his fellow Americans, never realized how much things could change when they didn’t happen all at once, but little by little, so people could get used to them.

He wondered what might have happened if the public had stood up while there was still time, maybe back around 2009, when all the real nonsense began. “Maybe we wouldn’t be where we are today if we’d just said ‘enough is enough’ when we had the chance,” he thought.

Maybe so, Winston. Maybe so.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Reading Carefully

The question in the Bible Class Study Workbook asked if Paul wanted to terrify the Corinthians with his letters (with 2 Cor 10:9 as the "proof text").

I'd like to emphasize that
I don't want to seem as though I am trying to terrify you with my letters
is not the same as
I don't want to terrify you with my letters.
And while I'm on the topic of misreading the text,
Now I consider myself in no way inferior to the "super-apostles"
is not the same as
Now I'm in no way inferior to the "super-apostles"
so 2 Cor 11:5 should not be used as a proof-text for the latter (although the point can be proof-texted by citing 2 Cor 12:11).

Saturday, January 01, 2011

The Gifting of the Holy Spirit

HCSB 1 Cor 12:4 Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are different ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are different activities, but the same God is active in everyone and everything. 7 A manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person to produce what is beneficial:


11 But one and the same Spirit is active in all these, distributing to each one as He wills.
As I see it, there are four ways one may receive the Holy Spirit:

1 - Talents
HCSB(m) Ex 35:30 Moses then said to the Israelites: "Look, YHWH has appointed by name Bezalel son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. 31 He has filled him with God's Spirit, with wisdom, understanding, and ability in every kind of craft 32 to design artistic works in gold, silver, and bronze, 33 to cut gemstones for mounting, and to carve wood for work in every kind of artistic craft. 34 He has also given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, [the ability] to teach [others]. 35 He has filled them with skill to do all the work of a gem cutter; a designer; an embroiderer in blue, purple, and scarlet yarn and fine linen; and a weaver. They can do every kind of craft and design artistic designs.
From this passage, we can see that one way a person may have God's Spirit and His gifts is via innate, natural abilities from birth, which are honed through years of study and practice. We would tend to call these capabilities "talents" or "skills".

The indwelling of God's Spirit does not necessarily entail the "miraculous".

The Spirit of YHWH took control of David after he was anointed as a young man by Samuel to some day be king (1 Sam 16:13), but again, we don't see any special outward manifestation of this in the form of miraculous activity.

When Samson was arrested and tied up to be handed over to the Philistines, the Spirit of YHWH took control of him and allowed him to break the bonds and kill a thousand men with a donkey's jawbone (Judges 15:14ff). Some people would see this manifestation and call it a "miracle"; others would see it and call it "an amazing feat of human strength". But for those in the latter group, the Bible says that it was due to God's Spirit working through Samson.

But in all these cases, what the Bible describes as being filled with or controlled by the Holy Spirit seems to be what we might call "talented" or "naturally gifted".

2 - Autonomous Pouring Out

Sometimes God pours out his Spirit on people in whatever measure He desires, when He desires. This is what happened with Saul when he went chasing after David to kill him; the Spirit of God came on him, and Saul stripped naked and prophesied as a result (1 Sam 19:23ff). It's interesting to note that Isaiah also spent three years walking around naked while prophesying (Isa 20:1ff).

In Acts 2, the Jewish disciples of Jesus were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues. This again happened with Gentiles on the verge of their conversion to Christianity (Acts 10).

Note that in these cases, God simply "grabs" the person and fills him with the Holy Spirit, and some sort of prophecy or tongue-speaking, etc, is the result.

Peter says in Acts 2 that the event recorded there is a fulfillment of the prophecy in Joel 2, in which God promises to pour out His Spirit on all humanity (not just the twelve closest followers of Jesus), male and female, old and young, and that it would result in prophecy, visions, dreams, wonders, and signs.

3 - Dispensed by Another Human Having Dispensing Ability

Sometimes the Holy Spirit is dispensed by another human. After Jesus' resurrection, he breathed on his 11 remaining closest disciples and told them, "Receive the Holy Spirit" (John 20:22). Earlier he had given them "authority over unclean spirits, to drive them out and to heal every disease and sickness" (Matt 10:1). This miraculous measure of the Holy Spirit appears to have been temporary, in effect while the disciples were carrying out their assigned mission.

In Acts 8:14ff, the new converts did not receive the Holy Spirit until Peter and John laid their hands on them.

Timothy received a gift via the laying on of hands (1 Tim 4:14).

The church leaders laid their hands on Saul and Barnabas, and shortly thereafter Saul/Paul manifested miraculous abilities (Acts 13:2ff).

4 - Desired and Requested

The Corinthians were told to "desire spiritual gifts" (1 Cor 14:1), and to be eager to prophesy (14:39) and that they should pray for gifts (14:13). He also said that a "manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person to produce what is beneficial" (12:7), as the Holy Spirit wills (12:11).

Note that Paul makes a distinction between this "measure" of the Holy Spirit and the measure given to a specially-sent ambassador: he says that the Holy Spirit gives this measure to "each person", but to himself was given the ability to perform the "signs of an apostle", with "wonders and miracles" (2 Cor 12:12). But both "measures" manifest themselves in what we would call "miraculous" activity.

We can see this distinction in Acts 21; Paul exhibits various miraculous powers in his journeys, but on this occasion, it required a prophet (Agabus) with a more "mundane" indwelling to foretell Paul's fate (Acts 21:10ff). (We've heard from Agabus and his prophetic ability before - Acts 11:27ff.)


Of these four methods, only one of them is no longer available to us. When the apostles died out, there was no longer any Biblically-approved human dispenser of the Holy Spirit.

However, the other three methods are still available to us:

* we can still be born with innate talents that we can hone to God's glory;

* if God so desires, He can autonomously grant someone with his Holy Spirit and its manifestations; and

* we can still pray for God's Spiritual gifting, which He may dispense according to His will.

(Note that in none of these methods was the Spirit of God conveyed as mere data/information which could be stored in a book. For those who claim that the Holy Spirit only indwells modern-day Christians via the Bible, let me mention Satan. I'm confident that Satan knows every word of the Bible, much better than any living Christian; what makes him different from Bible-knowing Christians? It's not merely the existence of God's Word in the person's mind. Nor would it seem to be faith, as James tells us that the demons believe. So whatever the indwelling of the Spirit is, it is not merely the storage in a person's head/heart of data between the pages of God's book. The indwelling of God's Spirit is something more than what the text of the Bible by itself can accomplish, or Satan, who has the text of the Bible in his head, would have God's Spirit.)

At this point, someone from my religious background will object that miracles have ceased. They base this argument on three points:

1) Holy Spirit-provided miraculous powers were given to the Apostles only, and from there were able to be passed on through the laying on of their hands; once the Apostles died out, this transmission capability ceased.

We've seen above that this is only one method of four wherein such powers were acquired. We've also seen that Holy Spirit-provided miraculous powers were not prophesied to be given only to the Apostles, but to all of humanity.

2) The purpose for miracles, to confirm the word, has been fulfilled.

Whereas miracles did indeed confirm the word, the Biblical text never makes the claim that this is the only purpose of miracles; this is a claim made by humans, not by the Biblical text. Furthermore, Paul explicitly says that tongues were a sign for the unbelievers (who would need the word confirmed), but that prophecy was a sign for the believers (who had already accepted the word), for their edification (1 Cor 14:22ff).

John 9 implies that miracles also serve to demonstrate God's workings (v 3) and to open stubbornly-closed eyes (v 39). Acts 4 indicates that the lame man was healed as a good deed (v 9) and to spur people to give glory to God (v 22).

The context of 1 Corinthians 14 says that at least one purpose of miraculous workings is to teach (v 19), not "to confirm", but to teach something that is freshly revealed (v 30), so that everyone can learn and be encouraged (v 31), in order to build up the church (v 26).

So whereas "a" purpose of miracles was to confirm the word, it was not the only purpose.

Even so, if God so desires to confirm his written word in the modern day with miracles, that's His prerogative. If we consider the Bible as a single witness (as opposed to a collection of multiple witnesses), then a second witness is needed, for by the mouths of two or three witnesses shall a thing be established. It might be argued that since much Biblical doctrine is derived from patching various texts together, such a doctrine is established by a single witness (no one witness in the collection of witnesses by itself supporting the doctrine), and therefore needs a second witness to fully establish the doctrine.

3) 1 Cor 13 teaches that miraculous powers have come to an end.

Here's the relevant text:
HCSB 1 Cor 13:8 Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for languages, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10 But when the perfect comes, the partial will come to an end. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put aside childish things. 12 For now we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, as I am fully known. 13 Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.
The argument goes that prophecy and languages and knowledge were partial when Paul wrote this, but once all the text of the New Testament had been written, the prophecy, languages, and knowledge God intended to give to humanity was complete, therefore prophecy, languages, and knowledge (and other miraculous powers) came to an end. The argument is further developed by appealing to James 1:25 which refers to the "perfect law of liberty" and to Jude 3 which says the faith was delivered once for all to the saints, and piecing these verses together to form a jigsaw-puzzle theology that the New Testament is the "perfect law of liberty" which, being "perfect" means it is complete, therefore the "partial" revelation from God has now become perfect/complete, meaning that prophecy, languages, and knowledge have ceased. It doesn't seem convincing that the "perfect" in 1 Cor 13:10 is referring to the "perfect law of liberty" in James 1:25. Nor does it seem convincing that the "perfect law of liberty" in James 1:25 refers to the New Testament as a completed document. The logical steps necessary for this argument seem to me to rely on definitions stretched out of context.

When we look only at 1 Cor 13, notice that the text does not say that miracles will cease when the New Testament is completed. It says that when the partial (whatever it is, prophecy, knowledge, etc) is perfected, it's no longer partial. It does not say that this perfection would occur with the death of the last apostle, or the writing of the last New Testament book. In fact, Paul clearly states that when the "perfect" arrives, he will know fully as he is fully known. I for one, do not fully know, so if the test applied to him applies to me also, then the "perfect" has not yet arrived.

In fact, in another place, Paul writes:
HCSB Eph 4:11 And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God's Son, [growing] into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ's fullness. 14 Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit.
Unless the 21st century church has attained, not merely a greater unity in the faith and knowledge of God's Son than did the church of Paul's day, but a complete unity, and unless we've reached maturity unlike them, then we still need apostles and prophets and evangelists and pastors and teachers. So have we reached complete maturity? Have we reached unity?

In short, the idea that 1 Cor 13 says that miracles have ceased is a stretch. The most one can say is that it teaches that prophecies and the like will someday cease, but that when it happens, we'll "know fully". I, for one, don't yet know fully.

So in final summation: God gives various spiritual gifts to whom He desires, when He desires, for whatever reasons He desires, resulting in various manifestations, via at least four methods, and the idea that He does not do so in the present day is based on biased interpretations of the text rather than on clear statements to that effect. I would recommend caution in quenching the Spirit on the basis of fallible human reasoning rather than on clear Biblical teaching.