Tuesday, May 8, 2018

The Spiritual Gifts (pt 4): Why the Controversy? (ctd)

Are the gifts really not necessary today because we have the canon of Scripture? Why then would the verses about these gifts be included in the canon of Scripture if they were no longer going to be needed? Why would Paul tell the church in Thessalonica not to despise prophecies, but instead test them and hold fast to what is good ? (1Th 5:20) Was that just for them and not later believers? With all this evidence, what it is that makes people want to dismiss certain gifts and claim that they have already passed away? Is it biblical evidence or something else? Let me throw out a couple of reasons. You are welcome to throw them right back at me if you disagree. I believe that there are two different categories of churches or teachers that are in this camOne group is the churches who just don’t believe in miracles at all and certainly don’t give the working of the Holy Spirit any credibility. A lot of old mainline denominations have gone this direction. They have been influenced over the years by a movement called “higher criticism,” a form of “bible study” that tried to explain the bible through secular sources which automatically discounted miracles and the supernatural. Thus, if they could not explain by means of science, or ration an event in the bible, they determined that it must not be accurate and had to find some other explanation.
As an example they would explain the miracle of God parting the Red sea for the nation of Israel to cross over this way. Well, actually the Red Sea was really the “Reed Sea” and it was only a few inches deep. No miracle here. Really? How interesting that Pharaoh’s army all drowned in a few inches of water!
This approach to God’s word has led to the destruction of many denominations that used to be evangelical. Their seminaries deny the basic doctrines of the Bible. Creation (they prefer evolution), a worldwide flood, the virgin birth, the miracles of Jesus, some even deny the resurrection. They have a low view of the Bible and do not believe in its’ inerrancy. So it stands to reason that they would not accept supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit. Is it any wonder that the attendance in many of these churches has fallen significantly?
The second group is, at least from my perspective, harder to understand. These are the churches and teachers who defend vigorously the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible and study it thoroughly. Looking at the scriptures as we have makes me wonder. Why do they come to the conclusion that certain gifts are not available today? Again, is it really from their study of the scriptures concerning this subject or is it something else?
There is one other reason I can think of. I believe it is possible, that seeing the misuse, abuse and some even ridiculous fraud concerning these gifts, they throw the baby out with the bathwater. They don’t want to be associated with this abuse and so they may look at the scriptures with a slightly prejudiced view. I completely understand that. I detest some of the things that go on the name of the Holy Spirit and I know that the Lord must be grieved as well.
It is not, however, necessary to do this. Generally, it is fairly easy to tell the fraudulent appearance of these gifts. Star by looking at who is being exalted. Is it God or man? If it is man, there is a problem. Then do as the apostle John suggested, 1 John 4:1-3 “ Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist,…” 
If a prophecy turns out to not be true, do not listen to the so called prophet. If a word of knowledge is inaccurate, it is not from God but man. If tongues are not used according to Paul’s order in church, then follow his instruction to be silent. But we must stay on course with what the Bible teaches about this and I believe we have seen no biblical evidence to categorize these gifts differently and say that some do not exist anymore.
I have actually heard people misspeak about 2 Pe 1:3 saying that the Bible has all we need for life and Godliness to prove that we don’t need these gifts. Let’s look at it. “seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”.  Note the difference? It says that His divine power has given us everything we need for life and Godliness. The Bible teaches and exhorts us to allow the divine power of the Holy Spirit to do His work through us, but the Bible does not do the work. That is why it is so important to seek all the gifts that God bestows on us.

This is the last excerpt from the book. You can download the ebook for FREE beginning tomorrow, 3/9 until Sunday 3/13. Just go to the right side of the blog and click on the link:)

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