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

d. Ephesians 3:14‑21

Paul’s prayer is that the readers may “have power through the Spirit” that in love they “may have power together with all the saints [that must apply to all in the church] . . . to the goal that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to the power that is at work within us, to Him be glory, in the church and in Christ Jesus, throughout all generations for ever and ever. Amen.” See also Isaiah 59:21.

e. Ephesians 4:11-13

“[The ascended Christ] gave some apostles, proph­ets, evangelists, and pastor-teachers (not to accredit the gospel or its bearers, but) for the perfecting of the saints toward the work of ministry, toward the building up of the body of Christ. [But for how long?] These gifts are distributed, in principle (v. 7) “to each” until—an ongoing process of distribution—the following standards are met, i.e., that we all—every last person in the church—arrive: at the unity of the faith, at the full knowledge of the Son of God, into full, mature adulthood, that is, to the level of stature (maturity) of the fullness of Christ.” Note: even Paul has not “at­tained” to this state (Phil 3:12). That level of spiritual maturity for the whole church can only happen in heaven, but the gifts are given until then.

f. Ephesians 4:30

With Eph 1:13-23 above, the time period of the Spirit’s prophetic presence in the believer is restated: “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [an allusion to ignoring prophetic warning, likely a reference to Isa 63:10. See also Eph 4:29] with whom you were sealed [an ongoing mark of ownership and protection] until the day of redemption.”

g. Ephesians 5:15‑19

In the present evil days (characteristic of the time of the Messianic woes [see Mt 24:9-12; 1 Tim 3] preceding the second coming, don’t be drunk on wine, but continue to “be filled with the Spirit (see also Jer 23:9; Amos 2:12; Acts 2:13,15; Lk 1:15). Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs” (i.e., singing in tongues? 1 Cor 14:13-17)—perhaps representative of the whole range of charismatic/prophetic operations to continue during these “present evil days,” that is, “the last days.”

h. Philippians 1:5‑10

“Christ who has begun a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. What work? sharing in God’s grace (and imitating Paul, 3:17; 4:9—necessarily including the charismata (See Mt 28:20 “teaching them all that I have commanded you”) in defending and confirm­ing (a word in this context speaking of charismata, signs and wonders). And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and perception (charismata of revelation), so that you may be able to discern (a gift of the Spirit) what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ.” This passage is very close to 1 Cor 1:4-8.

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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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