Ad Gloriam Dei

"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." - 1 Corintians 10:31

"Let us pursue the things which make for peace and those by which one may edify another"- Romans 14:19

"As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend." - Proverbs 27:17

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Infrequency of Miraculous Gifts and their Purpose

God can always act supernaturally in answer to prayer, but He has only worked miracles through certain individuals at certain points in redemptive history.

God did miracles through Moses, who brought the Law. The next major activity of miracles was around Elijah and Elisha's ministry, who began the phase of prophecy that was to be inscripturated as the prophets. The next phase was through Christ and His Apostles, who brought us the New Testament. There is only evidence to suggest that the NT miracles were performed either by Christ and His Apostles, or those who God bestowed miracles upon through them. These were the signs of the Apostles (2 Cor. 12:12). As the Early Church leaders state in their writings, the miracles ceased after the Apostles left the earth.

The ability of certain men and women to perform miracles (rather than just God's answer to prayer) was intimately linked with the giving of the major portions of Scripture. This is one reason that we should not expect believers to be bestowed with such charismata.

The NT introduced two new gifts: speaking in other languages and the interpretation of them. Why was this? The Gospel was going out to all nations, so the Apostles were enabled to speak in other languages at Pentecost (Acts 2). To many this seemed like drunkenness, ('Therefore, if I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be a foreigner to him who speaks, and he who speaks will be a foreigner to me.' 1 Cor. 14:11) but to those who spoke the relevant languages, it was evidently miraculous, just like all true miracles are clearly from God. Gobbledegook (a.k.a. modern pseudo-tongues) are not evidently miraculous.

Paul states the following in 1 Cor. 14:21,22:
In the law it is written: “With men of other tongues and other lips I will speak to this people; and yet, for all that, they will not hear Me,” says the Lord. Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe.
He quotes Isaiah 28:11, 12, where Israel would hear God's judgement through the lips of foreigners. Even so, tongues were primarily a sign for unbelieving Israel, even though they contained content that could edify all believers.

The Gospel going out to all nations was partly a judgement upon Israel (Rom. 11:11) and tongues were a sign of this. The purpose for this gift was unique and has passed away. If anything, the only gift of tongues that one might see is Gentiles speaking in Hebrew as a sign of Israel's return to God (Rom. 11:25-29).


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7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Timothy,

Thanks for visiting our blog and leaving a comment. It's nice to meet another Christian in the blogosphere. Looking forward to reading your blog in the future...

Regards,
Tim and Sandra Davis

Thursday, November 09, 2006 10:16:00 pm  
Blogger Allen R. Mickle, Jr. said...

Timothy,

Question. I am starting a new blog on Andrew Fuller. How do you put a picture in your blog (not in a post). Like, how do you add it to your template directly so it shows up in the side bar?

Allen

Friday, November 10, 2006 2:09:00 am  
Blogger Custard said...

I'm certainly coming from a position similar to yours on this. I've written about miracles here, for example.

What do you make of passages such as James 5:15?

Friday, November 10, 2006 7:38:00 am  
Blogger Timothy Davis said...

Allen,

See the e-mail that I sent you. I couldn't include the code in a comment as Blogger complains.

Friday, November 10, 2006 12:49:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, the periods for God working in a miraculous fashion is in quite short periods of time. It is very much at odds with the miracles are everywhere mentality found within the Charismatic churches and Roman Catholicism. I remember the words of Martin Luther on entering a church with the walls lined with crutches of people who were healed saying something like, "What. No articial arms or legs?".

Tuesday, November 14, 2006 2:47:00 pm  
Blogger Timothy Davis said...

Custard,

Sorry for not getting back quicker. I haven't had time. I read your linked article. Thanks for this.

James 5:15 still applies today, but I guess one has to understand it in the light of God's providence with regards to healing even when miracles were happening, e.g. Paul (2 Corinthians 12:7), Timothy (1 Timothy 5:23)and Trophimus (2 Timothy 4:20). It is interesting that the latter two were mentioned in Paul's last letter.

I guess such a verse is a bit like Matthew 7:7-11, John 14:12-14 and 1 John 5:14-15.

Any thoughts on these would be much appreciated. How can we utilise pray more?

Thursday, November 16, 2006 7:51:00 pm  
Blogger Craig Bennett said...

I think we have to take those verses at face value, if Jesus really meant it when he is recorded as saying, "I tell you the truth"

I think the key to it though when elsewhere Jesus says believes and not doubts in their heart. I think this refers to the Holy Spirit gift of faith mentioned in the Corinthian gifts and often we need to be like the father who said to Jesus, "I believe, help me with my unbelief"

I think in prayer we have to be honest with God and tell him that while we do believe, we do have a measure of unbelief, help me in it.

Friday, February 22, 2008 8:12:00 am  

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