Ricky Roberts, Just When Did Spiritual Gifts Cease? (Florida: Creation House, 2003), 112 pages, ISBN 9781591852353.
The basis of this short book is that the spiritual gifts have never ceased. Roberts divides his argument into scriptural and historical evidence. Roberts builds a case that the spiritual gifts were not intended to be temporary, (tied to the apostolic age) but rather continue until the age of perfection (the second coming of Christ). The author uses scriptural interpretation and the church fathers to support his case. In this, he does a fairly good job.
However, in the historical section of the book, Roberts case left me disappointed. Roberts does not give a complete view of the reformers and he uses a Gnostic gospel as support. Roberts also defends Montanism as a legitimate group, but falsely accused. While they may have started out as a legitimate group, they did not end that way. This historical evidence is shaky at best.
Roberts makes an interesting claim in his book that the tongues (i.e. language) will cease because in heaven we will communicate mentally. After speaking with some colleagues, among them some theologians, there was a 50/50 split on whether this idea might be correct. There is also a problem with his transliteration (for example, διδομι [didomi] is written as thethome). Roberts may also hit a nerve with some readers because of his claim that all for whom Christ prayed were not healed (in places other than the account in Mark 6:5). He further claims that God places disease on His children as a punishment or test.
I requested to review this book because it pertained to my dissertation topic, however I was disappointed with it. Any reader looking for a better overview of the understanding that church leaders had of the Holy Spirit and His work should read the trilogy on the Holy Spirit by Dr. Stan Burgess. Even though I have had personal experience with this subject, Roberts did not convince me that the gifts had not ceased. This book is by no means scholarly and I would only recommend this book as an example of how not to write.
Reviewed by Patricia Riley
This review was originally published on the Pneuma Foundation (parent organization of PneumaReview.com) website on September 12, 2007.