Today we talked about the Signs and Wonders movement within Charismatic thought that is quite frankly disturbing. But it opens up a whole discussion on what you believe and what I believe about the gifts of the Spirit. Are they alive today? Which ones are real? In your faith journey, what do you do with the idea of these gifts?
We know that the most blessed gifts of our faith in Christ is the Holy Spirit. The Bible makes it clear that everyone receives the Holy Spirit the moment he or she believes in Jesus Christ. One of the primary purposes of the Holy Spirit coming into a Christian’s life is to change that life. The Holy Spirit conforms us to the image of Christ, making us more like Him. And as we are transformed, the evidence is seen in our fruits. Galatians 5:22-23 tells us, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” The fruit of the Holy Spirit is the result of the Holy Spirit’s presence in the life of a Christian.
But what about the gifts of the Spirit? Of course we recognize that God still performs miracles today. We know He heals people, speaks to us, and yes, He can and sometimes does perform miraculous signs and wonders. The question is whether the miraculous gifts of the Spirit, described primarily in 1 Corinthians 12–14, are still active in the church today. Does the Holy Spirit still dispense the miraculous gifts today? Above all else, we entirely recognize that the Holy Spirit is free to dispense gifts according to His will:
“To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills”
The primary purpose of the miraculous gifts was to prove that the gospel was true and that the apostles were truly God’s messengers. The Bible does not say outright that the miraculous gifts have ceased, but it does lay the foundation for why they might no longer occur to the same extent as they did as recorded in the New Testament.
Cessationism is the view that the “miracle gifts” of tongues and healing have ceased—that the end of the apostolic age brought about a cessation of the miracles associated with that age. Most Cessationists believe that, while God can and still does perform miracles today, the Holy Spirit no longer uses individuals to perform miraculous signs.
So even Cessationists believe that God performs miracles. Some of what occurs in the Signs and Wonders movement may very well may be a true work of the Holy Spirit. The question we need to answer for ourselves is, does the Body of Christ need new apostles, new faith healers, or self-styled miracle workers? If I am honest with myself, I don’t know. I need more time to figure out which camp I’m in as far as Cessationism or Charismatic thought. But what I do know is that the Church needs is to return to the Word of God and proclaim the whole counsel of God in the power and love of the Holy Spirit. In every denomination and “flavor” of Christianity, we all need to get back to the Truth of Scripture.
- What does God say about healing? (standupforthetruth.com)
- “Look, I had this vision. Let me tell you about it.” -Mark Driscoll (solasisters.blogspot.com)
- What Cessationism is Not (justificationbygrace.com)
- Signs And Wonders Movement Exposed (standupforthetruth.com)
- What about IHOP? (standupforthetruth.com)