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Bible Answers about Continuing Spiritual Gifts for Your Non-Charismatic Friends

The following diagram (see p. 12) shows how we live in an overlapping time when we alternately experience both suffering and victory, uncertainty and knowledge—a time when we “know in part and prophesy in part,” awaiting the fullness of our inheritance in Christ.

The first coming of Jesus represented “D‑Day” the decisive battle (properly at the resurrection) which rages on, with its sufferings, victories and defeats, toward its ultimate victory at “V‑Day” (the second coming).

 

We now move to specific verses illustrating the Pentecost principle, above.

4. Many New Testament verses demonstrate that “miraculous” spiritual gifts continue to today.

George’s friend assumed that charismatics had no Biblical grounds for their experiences. The following is a long section of verses showing that gifts of power and revelation have continued in the End Times (the “Pentecost Principle”). These New Testament passages show two elements: 1) the presence of identifiable charismata, which, 2) continue during this age, building up the church toward the (as yet unrealized) goal of its complete maturity when we are presented holy and blameless to God in Christ.

Before we can read these passages properly, we must, of course, get their vocabulary straight. First, numerous Biblical theologians have shown statistically that the divine “Spirit” as presented in Scripture is associated primarily and essentially as performing charismatic operations (prophecies, miracles, etc.). Second, the same can be said of the term “power” (dunamis), which is not simply excitement or enthusiasm about salvation, but refers in most New Testament contexts as miracle power. Third, in the passages below, scholars can show that the terms, “wisdom,” “knowledge,” “word,” etc., must be seen primarily as spiritual gifts operating.

Note also, that when Paul says he is praying for the readers’ involvement in the charismata (Eph 1:17; 3:14f; Phil 1:5-10; Col 1:9-12), we cannot believe that his prayer is an empty, hopeless gesture. However, if these gifts have ceased, then Paul’s prayers mean little more than “warm greetings.”

a. 1 Corinthians 1:4‑8

“I always thank God for you because of God’s grace (including the whole range of charismata) because in every way you have been enriched in him—in every kind of speech (this must include prophecy) and in every kind of knowledge (including the gift of revealed knowledge). You are doing this now exactly as (kathos) the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you (that is, charismatic­ally, by the apostles and/or evangelists who first demonstrated/articulat­ed the gospel to you)—with the result that you do not now lack any spiritual gift during the time you are awaiting the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. (The Lord) will also (not merely when the gospel first came to you, or even only now, but will) continue to confirm/stren­gthen you (in the same way as you are now experiencing the charismata in the time you are “awaiting” the end) until the end, so that (via the strengthen­ing and purifying charismata which generates growth and progressive maturity) you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

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Category: Spirit, Winter 2000

About the Author: Jon M. Ruthven, Ph.D., spent his entire adult life in ministry, starting with David Wilkerson in Boston and New York City in the mid-60s. After spending a dozen years pastoring, a couple a years as a missionary in Africa as the head of Bible school, he ended up teaching theology in seminary for 18 years. Always interested in training and discipleship, Jon is developing a radically biblical approach to ministry training that seeks to replicate the discipling mission of Jesus in both content and method. Jon has written numerous scholarly papers and books including On the Cessation of the Charismata: The Protestant Polemic on Postbiblical Miracles (1993 and 2009) and What’s Wrong with Protestant Theology? Tradition vs. Biblical Emphasis (2013). He continues to emphasize the biblical grounding for a practical ministry of healing, signs and wonders in the power of the Spirit. Facebook.

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