Miraculous Gifts

Miraculous Gifts - Kyle Malcolm Christian Theology I Oct....

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Kyle Malcolm Christian Theology I Oct. 23, 2007 Are Miraculous Gifts for Today? Richard B. Gaffin Jr.’s takes the position that miraculous gifts were used as signs in order to bring people to Christ and build the church and that they ceased following the apostolic age. It is important to note that he does not deny the continuation of all gifts, just some, and in particular his argument focuses on prophecy. Gaffin says that those who believe in the continuation of gifts because of the way in which they were demonstrated at Pentecost make a critical error in their thinking. In his view Pentecost is the final work in the redemption of the world, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon believers. It is of course essential that all believers receive the Holy Spirit, but not in the way that occurred at Pentecost, that was a final work, a one time event, just like the miraculous gifts were only for one time, the apostolic era. Although this is not clearly stated in scripture, it seems to be that all of scripture is pointing towards the final redemptive work of Christ and that this is the clear completion of that work. Gaffin’s paper points out that when the work of Christ was completed, the apostles (those men who He had taught personally), became the foundation of the church (Eph. 2:11-21). According to the argument, the analogy of a foundation also carries with it permanence. The apostles and the work they did does not need to be continually redone, through their gifts they brought about the foundations of the church in a way that was no longer necessary after they died. Gaffin says that because of these things the continuation of miraculous gifts cannot be presupposed. However this argument cannot rule out the possibility that some, if not all of them still continue even if it is probable that they have ceased. Gaffin’s argument that the flow of the Bible demands that this work be final is his strongest, since it is scripturally based, but he also puts forth many other logical problems with a continuation view. His first objection is that an acceptance of the continuation of prophecy would essentially re-open the cannon. This is true, since all prophesy comes from God, it must be as authoritative as scripture since it is pure truth. This opens up another question to those who support the continuation of prophecy, that is, how do we decide what is truly the word of God and what is false? Gaffin says that in some instances this is possible, particularly when a biblical principle is being obviously applied, the problem comes in personal prophesies. There is no way to validate a prophesy concerning a personal situation and certain life decisions. The early church had the apostles to make sure that prophecy was from God, we have no basis except scripture with which to test prophecy and the Bible does not speak on many particular situations. Gaffin also talks about the fact that no one knows the difference between the “word of wisdom” and the “word of truth” and says that this would not be the case if miraculous gift had continued
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Miraculous Gifts - Kyle Malcolm Christian Theology I Oct....

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