Q Follow-up #2

teaching, administration
giving, apostle
leadership, discernment
mercy, faith
prophecy, healing
service, helps
healing, knowledge
miracles, tongues
interpretation of tongues, wisdom
pastor, evangelist

(see Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4)

Here is a list of spiritual gifts mentioned in the New Testament.
Have some spiritual gifts expired?
If so, how do we authoritatively know which ones?

Post your comments.


Peter P January 28, 2009 at 8:53 PM  

I believe that none have expired.

How about you?

Brandi January 28, 2009 at 10:28 PM  

Is this a trick question? You know me...I need more...

epic bruce January 29, 2009 at 7:46 AM  

No trick. Just an open question. Some people earnest followers of Christ believe that the more overtly mystic gifts are no longer in use authentically today because they were for the age of the original apostles only... I'm wondering about that.

Peter P January 29, 2009 at 8:47 AM  

I don't see that there is any solid biblical evidence for any gifts to have been 'for the age of the original apostles only'.

As I see it, most of the people who reject spiritual gifts are actually rejecting the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. They are not prepared to give in to him and allow him to call them to do things that take faith and courage so instead they simply say that those spiritual gifts are no longer in use.

For example: it takes a lot of faith and courage for someone to go up to a blind man, make some mud and rubit on his eyes to heal him and it takes a lot of faith and courage to walk up to someone you either don't know or barely know and tell them some deep dark secret about their life that God has revealed to you.

The gifts are still available. Do we want them though?

Brandi January 29, 2009 at 5:00 PM  

No I do not feel there is an expiration date on any spiritual gift…not that what I feel matters…but I have found no scripture that backs up that concept…I think sometimes people are uncomfortable with…lets say…a few gifts of the spirit and decide they are not for them and some may just have not taken the time to find out on there own…researching all scripture that addresses this subject…and go by what they have always been taught…what ever the reason I think when we exclude any Spiritual gift…we are turning our back on powerful tools that God meant for us to have and use…

epic bruce January 29, 2009 at 5:51 PM  

I have to say that I also cannot find any scriptural basis for asserting that select spiritual gifts can be classified as "closed" for this era. It is up to God to decide when to use any and all of the gifts and we have to be kept watching for Him to inspire any and all. BUT, when it comes to the gift of helping, service, leading, or administration for example(s), we don't even wait for inspiration. We operate in those gifts based on need. I'm sure that each gift has it's own nature and therefore are used on a different basis accordingly. The scripture does indication that there will be a time when prophecy will cease as an attribute of the closing of the old earth and heavens. But there is an indication that dreams and visions will surface during that time too. (Sorry, I'm posting this at a time that I don't have those references handy..... I should have been a better memorizer.) So some seem to think that is an indicator by which we have the authority to judge the giving and use of other gifts. I don't agree that that particular authority is given there. I hope that adds to the conversation. There is so much more. Look for a new question tomorrow AM.

Scott January 29, 2009 at 11:54 PM  

I believe that for most people, even perhaps for those who have responded to this blog, the issue of “charismatic” spiritual gifts is mostly experience and only a small part Biblical persuasion. Although I am truly a moderate regarding this subject, I believe that this is also true of my own cautious attitude.

Because of this, I believe that it is perhaps a bit dangerous to discuss such a contentious subject with such definitive terms. When an individual says that there is not any Biblical evidence for a position which continues to be held by a significant portion of the Christian world (those whom we would openly call our brothers and sisters) a red flag tends to go up in my head. If we declare that there is no Biblical evidence which can substantiate the theological beliefs of our fellow Christians, then we are defining their interpretation of scripture to be heretical according to an evangelical paradigm. While there are many theological positions which I do not agree with (including dogmatic cessationism) I am slow to declare such positions as lacking any Biblical grounds until I have studied the position fully and found it to be completely outside of accepted evangelical traditions.

Since our church community is truly a diverse mix of multiple Christian traditions, I think it could be useful to give a very brief example of the Biblical arguments which support cessationism. As I stated before, I believe that most of the reason people come out on one side or the other of this issue is due to their experience. This also includes Biblical interpretation. If a person was raised in (or became a Christian in) a particular tradition, they would most likely have heard Biblical interpretations which primarily (if not solely) align with that tradition. This is why it is often hard for us to find Biblical support for views other than those we have become accustomed to. (Please, don’t get me wrong. I am just as guilty of this as everyone else is.)

Here is the most common Biblical argument supporting cessationism.
1) The apostles, through whom tongues came, were unique in the history of the church. Once their ministry was accomplished, the need for authenticating signs ceased to exist.

a. The biblical record shows that miraculous signs occurred during particular periods for the specific purpose of authenticating a new message from God. Moses was enabled to perform miracles to authenticate his ministry before Pharaoh (Exodus 4:1-8); Elijah was given miracles to authenticate his ministry before Ahab (1 Kings 17:1; 18:24); the apostles were given miracles to authenticate their ministry before Israel (Acts 4:10, 16). Jesus’ ministry was also marked by miracles, which the Apostle John calls “signs” (John 2:11). John’s point is that the miracles were proofs of the authenticity of Jesus’ message. After Jesus’ resurrection, as the Church was being established and the New Testament was being written, the apostles demonstrated “signs” such as tongues and the power to heal. “Tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not” (1 Corinthians 14:22).

b. The miracle (or sign) gifts are only mentioned in the earliest Epistles, such as 1 Corinthians. Later books, such as Ephesians and Romans, contain detailed passages on the gifts of the Spirit, but the miracle gifts are not mentioned (although Romans does mention the gift of prophecy, the Greek word translated prophecy mean “speaking forth” and does not necessarily mean direct revelation).

c. The gift of tongues was a sign to unbelieving Israel that God’s salvation was now available to other nations. (1 Corinthians 14:21-22; Isaiah 28:11-12).

This Biblical evidence can certainly be argued against (if it couldn’t, everyone would be a cessationist). Just from hanging out with Bruce and preparing for last Sunday I can think of two arguments he has probably already thought of even while reading this :).

But my reason for posting this is not to begin a debate. For the sake of the Christian unity in the midst of the diverse interpretations which exist in our community, I simply want to propose the idea that those who may disagree on this issue are not unbiblical.

epic bruce January 30, 2009 at 7:08 AM  

I have to say that I agree with Scott that this discussion is one that is designed to illicit an openness to the multiplicity of responses to thes mystic giftings. The tone thus far in the conversation has leaned toward a theological position upholding the use of such gifts. And Scott points out the biblical arguments for the other side. Thanks for bringing balance to the conversation! We all need to hear each other well.

I guess I make a distinction when I form theology between prescriptive scripture and descriptive scripture. I try to form my opinions based on the prescriptions of what should be (what God intends) and I am very careful about what conclusions I draw from descriptions.

For instance one part of the pentecostal discussion is the idea that the action of speaking with other tonges is the demarkation of having been baptized in the Holy Spirit. In other words, only people who speak in tongues have received the Holy Spirit. This theology is soley based upon descriptions in the book of Acts. I really feel uneasy about way of making determinations about what God would have us to do. I believe this is the mistake that Jesus addresses when he talks about God "allowing divorce because of the harness of hearts". The religious leaders of the day seemed to have taken something that had happened and interpreted it as God's will. Jesus stood against them in that instance.

So, all this to say that I think the discussion of what is biblical is a very important one and one that should not be shyed away from. But one that should be undertaken with an ear for hearing what others bring to the conversation openly on both sides of the conversation. We don't have a conversation without the Bible. And I thank Scott for bringing his references to the post with him.

If we don't have a discussion of the Bible, we don't have a Christfollowing community. So keep the conversation going.

I think I forgot to say something that I had intended to say in this comment... Hmmmmmm.

epic bruce January 30, 2009 at 9:11 AM  

I have spend some time doing something else and pondering as I do. (That's my best way of working things out.) I should have taken that time before posting my previous comment. Here is one thing I didn't say well in there.

I REALLY am appreciative of a discussion with all opinions represented. I'm VERY glad Scott chimed in on this one.

I think I NEED to hear how you interpet the Bible. And I NEED to express how I interpret the Bible. I hope that we are the kind of worhipping community who discusses those things with an openness and excitement about learning from one another, and not the kind of community that get's offended when others express their opinions. And that being said, it's important to express our opinions in an attitude of openness to the expressions of others. I don't think that means understating our position. It means being staying availiable for more information as others bring it to the conversation.

So, I hope that what Scott was responding to in our conversation was not an implication that I may have given by using the term biblical. I believe biblical is the conversation. The Bible is how we know about Jesus. And we can't know Jesus until we know about Him. And the more we know about Him, the more opportunity we have to know Him.

I am sure when you know Him, you will want to follow Him.

That's so much better than my previous comment.

Scott January 30, 2009 at 9:14 AM  

I am completely with you regarding the idea of descriptive and prescriptive. Reading the Bible is wonderful gift and a grand responsibility.

Brandi February 2, 2009 at 4:43 PM  

and a privilege we must never take for granted...

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