No Apologizing

Christian Apologetic, and Social Commentary in a world gone mad

Tag Archives: prophecy

The Bible…Review 3


So…before I get to what everyone is talking about this week let me give my quick two second review of this last weeks episode.  Once again, I feel like they missed a big opportunity by skipping two critical points in the Bible.  For anyone who has read this blog you would see that I am a big advocate of the idea that the Old Testament points to Jesus.  The Bible missed on a huge opportunity to demonstrate this by skipping over the book of Isaiah and his prophecy of the suffering servant.  Additionally, did anyone else notice that they tried to pass off the prophecy of Jesus onto Daniel?  For some reason that stuck out with me.  It would appear that the producers of the Bible wanted to get into the whole prophecy thing but then gave the viewers the cheap and watered down version.  They passed on Daniel’s 70 7’s prophecy which is an incredible prophecy that was fulfilled to the day!  Again…here they can demonstrate the absolute power of God, and pass on it.

Oh and by the way…for a more realistic look at the 3 wisemen READ THIS POST.  I am going to go out on a limb here and say that the producers…probably didn’t do their homework.

And now to the contreversy of the week…

Well...it is a little odd to say the least.

Well…it is a little odd to say the least.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t know if this is intentional.  It’s hard to believe that the producers of the show were sitting in a room saying…”He doesn’t look enough like Obama.”  Look there is no way that Obama is the anti-christ.  If you have read my posts you know where I stand on both the men pictured above.  But I will have to say…that the likeness is…well…funny.

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It’s the FINAL COUNTDOWN!


D'Oh! Is it really?

Okay folks, I am sure many of you have begun to think about everything that is happening in the Middle East.  I certainly have.  Really how could you not.  We are feeling the impact in our pocket books from rising gas prices!  But there is something else happening here.  On Sunday my Pastor offered a brief comment followed by a call to prayer for our nation.  Basically, a lot of things are beginning to unravel or have the appearances of unraveling.  Of course, these comments get the wheels turning.  In December we had dead fish and birds…many thought that this was a sign.  While, I highly doubt that this was a sign…The things happening in the Middle East most certainly could be a precursor to the second coming.

Let me say this before I continue.  No one knows the time or the place of when Christ will return.  Least of all me.  However, the Bible does seem to offer indications of when the time is near, and certain events that take place just before the tribulation.  These are the signs that we should be looking for as Christians.  But folks, if you have friends that have not come to Christ…this would be a good time to begin share your faith with them.  The end may not come in our life time, but their end will most certainly come.  Whether it be from tribulation, old age, or a random accident…the truth is that 100% of us die.  I believe that God is very interested in whether or not we have fulfilled the Great Commission and we will most certainly hear about it as we stand before him.  The clock is ticking…what are you waiting for?

Before we get back to the Middle East let me take another quick detour.  Look at Galatians 4:4.  Paul says that Christ came when the fullness of time came.  Christ came into a world that was prepared and ready for Him, and the spread of the Gospel.  The time had to be just right in order for Christ to preach his word, be rejected and crucified, and for the Apostles to be able to go forth with the good news.  Now many things were needed to make this happen.  Here is a small list… Roman roads, Roman postal system , Israel returning to the promised land, and relative peace.  Overall it took about 500 years for the social, political and architectural circumstances to be prepared for what took place in the New Testament.  Without any one of the factors above… the fullness of time is incomplete.  And so it is today.

When we look at the events taking place throughout the world and ask the question “Are we near the end?”,  I believe that we have to look at it through the same prism.  Is the world in a place where the events depicted in the apocalypse can happen in a relatively short amount of time?  In short, it appears that the answer is yes.  There is a lot of speculation surrounding the timing around the tribulation, rapture and second coming.  The only thing we know for sure about the timing is that the Bible says he will come like a thief in the night and that people will be caught off guard.  This would lead many (including myself, after some convincing from KB) that the world will be caught off guard by the end of times.  However, there are some clues in scripture that allow us to know that certain parts of Revelation are possible NOW that haven’t been before.

 To be fair, many in the past (dating all the way back to the Thessalonians) have thought the end of the world was near.  They have never been right.  Why?  Because certain events depicted in Revelation would require (by our interpretation) certain technologies to easily occur.  This is not to say that God cannot make it happen simply because he wants it to, it is to say that God has made it happen through “invention inspiration”.  Here is an example to consider:  Revelation 11:1-14 talks about two witnesses with whom the whole world is familiar and over whom everyone gloats when they are martyred.  How is it possible that everyone will see their dead bodies and gloat?  Before the invention of satellite communications and global media this was not literally possible. However, consider that there is now no delay in news (such as what is happening in the Middle East) being delivered to your television, radio, computer or smart-phone.  We are able to see the events unfold in real time – no delay, making the prophecy in Revelation 11 a literal possibility.   

If you look specifically at the current situation in the Middle East, you see some very interesting socio-political events playing out.  To be more direct… do the events taking place in the Middle East set the stage for the tribulation?  I would argue/speculate, yes.  The situation we are looking for are circumstances that would lead to a need for a treaty with Israel.  When you look at a country like Egypt (which has been at relative peace with Israel) there is now a sudden power vacuum that has been created.  Much like post WWI Germany, many are positioning themselves to have the controlling interest of Egypt and Libya.  Some of these groups are openly hostile towards Israel. 

There is no doubt that the end is nearer now than it has ever been.  That is not to say that it is next year, or 5 years from now…but I believe these events are setting the table for a soon coming end.  This, of course, is speculation…I cannot definitively prove it beyond doubt.  Anyone that tells you that they happen to know the date and time is kidding themselves or straight up lying to you.  But as I stated before, start sharing Christ’s love with your lost friends right now.  Even if the end doesn’t happen in our life time…our death is certain.  We will all perish.  Tell them about the good news.  Tell them the reason for your hope!

Meaning of the Dead Birds and Dead Fish… Upon Further Review


We know that a lot of folks are freaking out about what’s occurred… We get it… Things look, well, apocalyptic – not only with the birds and fish dying, but with the global economic meltdown, the pervasiveness of war and evil, famine and disease… There would be a ton to be worried about if there were not a wonderfully powerful God who passionately loves people and has a plan already set in motion to make everything right.

Yesterday we posted an article on the recent mass-death of birds and fish across the globe. In that article we stated plainly that there is no biblical prophecy about this phenomenon.  However, it got me thinking about some things Jesus said about birds and fish. God has some very strong messages in what Jesus said that He wants you to hear and apply to your life – They are found in Matthew 6:25-27 and Mark 1:17. Let’s take a look:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” ~ Matthew 6:25-27, NIV

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” ~ Mark 1:17, NIV

So, what is God saying here? People are massively important to Him… You matter to Him so much that He has pursued a relationship with you! You matter so much to Him that He sent His Son to die in order to pay for all the wrong you have done or will ever do (John 3:16)! And then, He backed up His power and authority by rising from the dead!

The key is that you have to trust Him and what He has said!

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:4-7

Do you want certainty in these uncertain times? Trust in Jesus – accept what He did for you on the cross, then live for Him – If you do, you won’t ever regret it.

 If you have questions on how to do this, CLICK HERE.

KBthejesusfreak

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Dead Birds, Dead Fish…is there a meaning behind this?


So, if you haven’t seen the news…over the new years about 5,000 birds and 100,000 fish died in Arkansas.  The birds appeared to have died from internal injuries from a blunt force trauma, and there is no news on the fish.  The official explanation is that fireworks stunned the birds, and caused them to fall.  The unofficial explanation can span any number of theories.  Many are wondering if there are any biblical prophecies that would predict this.  Some want to tie it into the end of the world.  I however, think that is the wrong way to look at it.

*UPDATE**  Here is a map of the mass animal death’s. There are now reports of hundreds of birds dead in Texas, thousands of fish dead in Florida, and 40,000 dead crabs in England.

Sure it is a little creepy that 5,000 birds fell from the sky.  I was telling my aunt last night to imagine the shock of driving while that happened.  I thought about what my reaction would be.  I would probably just put the car into park, put the seat back and think….this is really happening.  That being said, I don’t believe that this has anything to do with the end of the world.  I could be wrong, because nobody knows, but there’s no biblical prophecy about it…  I can tell you though that there is a lesson to be learned.

Probably what is the most shocking of this story is the suddenness that all of this has happened.  Thousands of birds dead for no apparent reason…  Hundreds of thousands of fish dead…  How many times have we thought about something like this?  One moment these birds are roosting…the next dead.  One minute these fish are swimming, the next dead.

All life operates in this manner… including yours.

Take Luke 12:19-21.  In this passage Christ is teaching on the parable of the Rich Fool.  Here a Rich man had acquired all kinds of wealth.  So much that he ran out of room to store it.  He finally came to the conclusion that he needed to tear down a couple of buildings and build bigger ones where he could store more wealth.  Look at God’s response “‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ (Luke 12:20).

Also look at James 4:13-15:  Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

So what does all of this mean?  You have no idea what will happen tomorrow.  One moment you could be driving to work, the next dead.  Nothing brings God’s Word close to home better than reality.

The point of Luke 12 and James 4 is not to say “live for today” or “Just Do It”.  To the contrary, Luke 12:20-21 provides you the key to all of this: “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’   21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

Get rich with God today…. Not with just your money, but with you whole life.  Commit your life to Christ – Live for Him. It is the only way that you can be rich with God.  Tomorrow may never come.

If you need help or have questions please feel free to contact us.

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The Magic eight ball


Everyone is amazed when someone is able to predict something and it actually comes true. The general feeling is one of awe, one of amazement.  I mean….predicting the future must be incredible, then it coming true is all the more amazing.  What if I were to tell you that I have read multiple predictions, and those predictions came true some 700 years after it was written.  What would you say to that?  Forget 10 years, where one could easily trend a prediction and get it right.  We are not talking about the prediction that Mizzou would have beaten Oklahoma this year in football.  We are talking the equivalent of King Edward the II making a prediction that Obama would become president in 2008.  We are talking about pin point accuracy.  Nothing like the two SS of Nostradamus’s famous Hitler prediction.  Pin point accuracy about where Obama was born.  The predictions would have been written about 1310 or so, and would have been 100% accurate.  Can you imagine that?   America had not even been discovered.  The renaissance had not begun.  Flying was for the birds.  The sun revolved around the earth. Newton had not yet described universal gravitation, or the three laws of motion! Can you imagine this for one second?

I have read such a document, and you can too.  These predictions or prophecies can be found generally in 7 books in the Bible.  These are the key messianic prophesies in the Old Testament.  These are the Bible verses that foretold the coming of Christ:

Genesis

3:15                        Messiah to reconcile men to God; fully human, born of woman, he  will utterly defeat Satan.

22:18                     He will be of the family of Abraham

49:10                     He will be of the Kingly tribe of Judah

Deuteronomy

18:15                     He will be a prophet who, like Moses, revealed the Word of God.

Psalms

2:1-2                      he will be tried by gentile rulers and condemned by his on people

16:10                     Through resurrection, by the Father, Jesus’ body will not see corruption

22:1                        He will experience the rejection of the Father at his death

22:6 – 7                 He will be mocked at his crucifixion

22:22                     Christ will glorify God in his church after His resurrection

40:6-8                    Christ delighted in all the Fathers will

69:7-12                 Christ would be rejected by men

89:4                        Christ will be of the eternal seed of David

89:26-28               Christ will be God’s eternal son, his unique first born

110:1                     He will ascend to the right hand of the Father and be coronated

110:4                     His priesthood will be eternal, after the manner of Melchizedek

132:11                   He will be of the lineage of David.

Isaiah

7:14                        Christ will have  a virgin birth, he will be called Immanuel

7:15-16                 He will grow up in a land dominated by a foreign power

9:1-2                      He will minister in Galilee

9:7                          He will be of the line of David, but his kingship will be eternal and he   will be the Son of God.

11:2                        He will be anointed with The Holy Spirit

11:4                        He will minister perfect justice regarding the poor and the meek.

24:16                     Christ will offer salvation to the entire world

40:3                        He will have a forerunner

42:1                        Christ will be the great anointed Servant of Yahweh

42:2                        His ministry will be gentle

42:6                        Christ will be the fulfillment of God’s covenant

49:6                        Christ will be a light to the Gentiles

52:14                     He would be disfigured by the abuses he suffered prior to crucifixion

53:4                        Christ will bear all our diseases

53:5                        He will provide atonement for sin

53:9                        He will be buried in a rich man’s tomb

53:10                     The Father will prolong Christ’s days by resurrecting him from the dead.

Daniel

9:24                        His public ministry to being in AD 26. He would be crucified 3 ½ years later.

Micah

5:2                          Jesus would be born in Bethlehem

Zechariah

9:9                          He would enter Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt

11:12                     Christ  would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver

12:10                     He would be pierced for our transgressions.

Is this pretty amazing or what?  Try to go through that list and find one criteria that Christ did not fulfill.

Remember these words were written anywhere from 2000 years to 500 years before Christ was born.

There is only one explanation for this, God.  Divine revelation to these prophets.  Incredible.

Have tongues ceased? The debate…closing arguments


Robert – If we were to look at the most basic argument against tongues and prophecy not existing today it would come down to 1 Corinthians 13:8-10.  It is here that Paul says they will cease:   “8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.”  So then the question becomes, when, and has perfection come?  Kevin has offered two points here.  He states that because tongues is not mentioned in the Epistles after 1 Corinthians that tongues ceased then.  Then he suggested that perhaps the perfection that is mentioned is the canonized Bible.  If we take both of those statements at face value, then there is a time contradiction.  It has to be either or, and cannot be both. 

There is another point that I have to make here because Kevin has eluded to it on several occasions.  The Bible is clear as to how these gifts are to be used.  Tongues/ Prophesy have abusers just as does many aspects of the Bible.  That fact cannot support the argument against tongues and prophecy.  If you were to base any argument based on that rule, then you would have to eliminate several portions of the Bible. 

History has shown that God can move in a number of ways.  Historically, we have to remember the shock waves that were sent by Martin Luther and John Calvin during the reformation.  They were labeled heretics, not true to doctrine. Similar to today, there are those who would deny any reformation or revival because it does not fit into their world view.  A play that would be and possibly is similar to the response of the Catholic Church during the reformation.  If it was possible then, why is it so impossible now?

Kevin – In total, my impression of Robert’s argumentation reminds me of the old adage “where there’s smoke there’s fire”. We all know that’s not true. It’s like Robert’s saying: Smoke doesn’t necessarily mean a current fire… Maybe the fire was put out… nor does a fire truck roaring by – there could be an accident. But when you see a fire truck roaring by, then you look to the horizon and see smoke and then as you get closer to the smoke you feel heat most reasonable people would say that there is most likely a fire… What’s most reasonable?

1 Corinthians 13 doesn’t say when tongues will cease… so, I guess, they could maybe still be current. Silence in scripture about sign gifts for the most part doesn’t necessarily  mean that 1 Corinthians 13 has been fulfilled… Sign gifts disappearing almost completely off the scene historically from after the apostolic era until about 100 years ago (except in rare and dubious circumstances) isn’t an air-tight case against the biblical validity of their current manifestation – maybe God had no use for them then (why does He need them now?)… But, when you take all these into account… Where there’s fire trucks, and smoke and intense heat… What’s more reasonable… Fire or maybe no fire?

Look… If Robert’s point is to argue that God CAN assign the sign gifts to Christians in the modern era, I will concede the debate – God CAN do anything He wants. However, if he is trying to talk about what happens currently then the history of how this doctrine came to be debated in modern times needs to be examined. Now, to be fair, Robert has divorced himself from groups who have propagated sign gifts in a way that is inconsistent with 1 Corinthians 14. The problem is that the modern practice of tongues and “prophetic words” had resurgence and kept momentum due in large part to groups and theologians who, by and large,  do not conform to biblical mandates regarding how they should be used (see 1 Corinthians 14) and/or make them an additional requirement for salvation (a notation that is clearly unbiblical). Again, this IS NOT Robert’s position, however the modern manifestation of sign gifts are, to use a law term, fruit from the poison tree. This wouldn’t even be an issue had the current manifestations not happened.  

In looking at the whole picture to determine our present circumstances, one must examine Scripture (1 Corinthians 13:8-10, among others); look at the silence in the scriptures about this issue after Paul said that they would stop; look at the historical use of spiritual gifts in total; look at the history of the use of these gifts in light of 1 Corinthians 14 and then ask themselves: What’s more reasonable and logical? That the sign gifts took an 1800+ year hiatus and are now completely valid. Has God left 1800+ years of Christians without some key revelations that He is just now revealing to these generations? Should we assume that God is erratic or inconsistent or schizophrenic since the end of the apostolic era? Or should we take 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 at face value; cling to the fact that the Bible is perfect and sufficient for instruction and prophecy; and trust that God has been consistent in the post-apostolic era? Which position is more logical and reasonable?

Overall, however, I think a focus on the “powers” of the Holy Spirit is a bit misguided. I think a better focus (especially in light of how the spiritual gifts lists interplay with the theme of love in 1 Corinthians 13) is for us to focus on the FRUIT of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-26). We should use whatever gift(s) God has given us to love one another and to strengthen the church and to point others to Jesus. Let’s do a better job of that and leave the secondary/tertiary issues alone until we get the primary stuff down cold. Let’s focus on how the Holy Spirit empowers us to live a godly life and then submit to His leadings. Robert and I have done our best to do that in our own lives and in our friendship with one another in spite of our differences on this topic.

Have tongues ceased? The debate…Part 2


I have a hard time limiting the ability of God to allow someone to speak in tongues or prophesize.  The whole Bible demonstrates various ways that the Holy Spirit moves.  None of them are identical.

Robert – God is capable of doing anything that is not contradictory to Himself.  Allowing these powers to continue on today is not a contradiction to any Bible verse.  If God wants people to speak in tongues, He can and will make that happen. 

Kevin – Rest assured. No one is trying to limit what God can or cannot do – You or I certainly could not even if we tried. Beyond that, I’m not sure what you are trying to say here. Of course the Holy Spirit does things differently with different people, just look at 1 Corinthians 12:4-6: Gifts are used in different ways to serve the Church and those different means of service are worked out differently by each individual. I have a hard time getting my brain and heart around the concept of Hell… Does that make it any less real… any less biblical? Of course not. God said that tongues and prophecy would cease – Why because He couldn’t sustain them… Again, of course not!

No one is questioning God’s ability to give the gift of tongues or prophecy to people, rather the question is whether He does give people the gift of prophecy and tongues. God could give people any number of abilities… the question is not can He, but why would He? The same has to be asked of tongues and prophecy, especially in light of the fact that (in spite of your dismissing 1 Corinthians 13:8-10) He said He would stop giving those gifts at some point.

One more thing that needs to be pointed out… we need to clarify what we are talking about when we mention prophecy… I am NOT talking about the simple bold proclamation/preaching of the Word of God, but rather the supernatural ability to accurately predict the future – i.e. reveal an, before unforeseen portion of God’s plan. Claiming that gift is still needed is, in essence, claiming that the Bible is incomplete and inadequate – it is saying that God has not sufficiently revealed His plan and intentions for mankind and the earth. I have a hard time limiting the completeness and perfection of the Scriptures that way.

Omission of the prophecy/tongues gifts from the Epistles is NOT admission they have stopped. 

Robert – My understanding of the Epistles is that they are not a complete look at God.  They were written to answer very specific issues for the growth of specific churches that allow us to learn.  There is theology involved but it is specifically aimed at specific circumstances.  Paul wrote ad nauseam about tongues in 1 Corinthians (Chapters 12, 13 and 14).  Then it seemingly disappears.  That to me is not an indication that tongues ceased… rather, to me it could indicate Paul instructed his students so well that it was no longer an issue.

This issue ties in with the previous issue in my mind.  How about this… Perhaps there was no need for tongues or prophecy during those previous revivals.  I mean let’s be honest here… what would have happened during the medieval age if someone was speaking in tongues?  They would have been drawn and quartered or tried as a witch.  Would it make more sense for the Holy Spirit move in a way that was conducive to the environment?  My answer would be yes.

Kevin – Robert brings up an interesting point… Why did Paul quit talking about how the sign gifts should be regulated? Why do the other NT writers not address the topic? The burden of proof is upon Robert to demonstrate why this topic drops off the face of the earth after Paul says that tongues will cease, if it’s not because they HAVE ceased.

Robert – To answer your other question… Why do the other NT writers not address the topic?  Speaking of hermeneutics you of all people should know that the Epistles are not a complete theology.  These books are Paul and Peter addressing specific theological issues as they arose.  To say that because there is an absence of issue there is an absence of power is insane.  I may not talk to my wife about a communication for months…it doesn’t mean that we aren’t communicating.  Seriously, Kevin!  Your Pastor may not talk about regeneration for a year…it doesn’t mean that the Holy Spirit has stopped!  Burden of proof is on you Kevin because neither of us contest that tongues were there.  You say they simply stopped because they were no longer talked about…Prove it.

Kevin – I never said that they “simply stopped because they weren’t talked about”. I said that Paul said they would stop, THEN shortly after, he stopped talking about it. This is a classic attempt at twisting my words. I’m not going to hang the entire debate on an argument from silence. There’s any number of possible reasons as to why God didn’t speak about these gifts elsewhere, but the silence coupled with 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 and history make it pretty clear as to why. You have to take the argument in context and in light of the rest of the debate. Also, shame on any pastor who would not talk about salvation for a whole year… they’d be completely ignoring the Great Commission – I’d not be a part of a church like that – that’s ludicrous.

1 Corinthians 13 does not mean that tongues/prophecy stopped in the apostolic era.

Robert – There is no date or time stamp assigned to 1 Corinthians 13:8.  There is only the vague reference offered in verse 9 that states when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.  There is only one perfection: God.  Since perfection has not come… then one could argue that these gifts have not ceased.

Kevin – If “tongues and prophecies will (have) ceased” is not what 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 says, then, what does it say? One cannot say that something with seemingly plain meaning doesn’t mean what it plainly seems to mean without offering a plausible suggestion as to what it DOES mean. The text clearly states tongues (one of the “sign gifts”) will cease – the questions are when and why?

You say that the only thing that is perfect is God. What about God’s word (i.e. the Bible)? I would suggest that in light of Hebrews 2, the “perfect” thing spoken of in 1 Cor. 13 is the canon (i.e. the 66 books we call the Holy Bible). Once all the books of the Bible were written and in circulation there was no need for miraculous validation of what was being taught, because by and large early church leaders exclusively taught from the writings that soon after became the “Holy Bible.” These teachings (and the letters from which they came) had already been validated and accepted as truth. Given your high view on the Bible (see your previous post on biblical inerrancy) I am surprised you do not consider the Bible perfect!

Robert – Kevin you want to talk about putting words in someone’s mouth!  I said God was perfect.  I figured that you would know this… that if God is perfection, his word is also.  Lets not be ridiculous.

Kevin you can’t have it both ways.  Did tongues and prophecy end with the apostolic era (approx 33 A.D – 100 A.D) or did they end with the canonization of the New Testament (approx 374 AD)?  If you believe that it ended when perfection came (canonized bible) then that is well beyond the apostolic era.  If you believe they ended with the apostolic era then what is perfection and when did it come?

Kevin – Actually, I’m not trying to have it both ways. The epistles and books that became the Bible were in wide circulation well before the formal settling of the cannon. The cannon was settled upon (through God’s direction) the miraculous and wondrous signs that helped confirm the validity and authority of the apostles and other church leaders, was no longer required, because they were already accepted as scripture (check out 2 Peter 3:15-16). The acceptance of the cannon supports the idea that prophecy had ceased because the church fathers in 374 AD determined that there was no further revelation that was required past Revelation (widely considered the last of the biblical books to be written), and they therefore closed the canon. Further “revelation” and “prophecy” had not occurred from the end of the apostolic era (approximately 85-86 AD) through 374 AD when the canon was finalized – this is STRONG evidence for the cessation of the type prophecy you are advocating.

Why again would it cease? Because we have the only source needed to know with certainty what God wants and requires. There is no need for further “prophesies” (foretelling of the future of the Church), or revelations, etc. Because God has already given us enough material to chew on and apply in our lives – the Bible is complete, and perfect and sufficient for one to study without supplement – all other theological instruction should be commentary upon God’s Word, not addition to it – this is where many cults get in trouble (i.e. Mormons, Muslims…) by saying that the Bible is insufficient and needs to be added to and/or correction – that is what both Joseph Smith and Mohamed claimed.  But hey, if you think the Bible is inadequate for instruction and that God needs to reveal more prophecies, knock yourself out – I just can’t go there.

The lack of historical evidence of prophecy/tongues/healing in historical revivals does not mean that they have ceased, it only means that perhaps God had no use for it then.

Robert – I look at it this way… If historically a group of people thought that the earth was flat, would they live their lives according to that idea?  If, historically, men are closed off to the idea that there is healing/prophecy/tongues would they exist?  The fact that tongues/prophecy was not used previously for revivals does not mean that they no longer exist.  As I have already established…There is no repetitive nature to the Holy Spirit.  What is good for one age/revival may not have been good for another.  God knows what will work and when it will work.  Not you.

Kevin – This argument of Robert’s doesn’t hold water. God predicted that at some point sign gifts would cease. Then they disappear off the scene for like 1800+ years only to be resurrected and we are supposed to just accept that God has suddenly, without reason or precedent decided to start granting the gifts of tongues and prophecy? In Acts, tongues were used to validate certain movements of the Spirit and yet there are no records of tongues during the Reformation or prophecies of that movement beforehand. One would think that these would be immeasurably useful to legitimize the massive changes taking place in Christianity… And yet, nothing. Strange.

Another thing Robert fails to answer is: Why tongues now? Why additional prophecy now? Robert’s only defense is “Why Not?” I don’t know why God chose to inspire Paul to write 1 Corinthians 13:8-10. I don’t know why God has done or refrained from doing a lot of the things He has, and I don’t worry myself with much of it – His ways are higher than mine. However, in light of Christian History, Scripture, and the history of the manifestation of spiritual gifts and the circumstances surrounding the relatively recent resurgence of tongues and prophecies these current manifestations are dubious at best.

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Have tongues ceased? The debate…Part 1


Robert – Here are the points where I believe that gifts (or sign gifts as Kevin would call them) are still active today:

  1. The gifts were given to fulfill the great commission (Acts 1:8).  The great commission is not fulfilled thus the gifts have not stopped.
  2. I have a hard time limiting the ability of God to allow someone to speak in tongues or prophesize.  The whole Bible demonstrates various ways that the Holy Spirit moves.  None of them are identical.
  3. Omission of the prophecy/tongues gifts from the Epistles is NOT admission they have stopped. 
  4. 1 Corinthians 13 does not mean that tongues/prophecy stopped in the apostolic era.
  5. The lack of historical evidence of prophecy/tongues in historical revivals does not mean that they have ceased, it only means that perhaps God had no use for it then.

Kevin – Let me clarify… I have never said that Spiritual Gifts are not active today. They absolutely ARE. I do believe, however, certain Spiritual Gifts (a.k.a. “sign gifts”) have served their purpose and, according to Paul’s prophecy in 1 Corinthians 13:8-10, have ceased.

Robert – First let me begin by saying that these points were not chosen randomly.  They are the most common points argued for and against the use of tongues and prophecy.  I hardly think that we will be breaking new ground here but at the very least these arguments will be our own.  So the first point…

The gifts were given to fulfill the great commission (Acts 1:8).  The great commission is not fulfilled thus the gifts have not stopped.

Robert – Acts 1:8 provides a pretty clear connection to the commission (Matthew 28:16-20).  The Holy Spirit delivers these powers for the witness.  As the great commission has not been fulfilled… the gifts of the Holy Spirit are continuing to be delivered.

Kevin – Again, we are not talking about ALL gifts here… However, the premise that spiritual GIFTS were given to fulfill the Great Commission is based on a flawed hermeneutic – Robert here is confusing a function/role of the Spirit (Empowerment – which is general and thus universally belongs to all believers to carry out the Great Commission), with specific gifts of the Spirit (of which there are many and assigned individually to believers at salvation – i.e. no believer has every spiritual gift.)

When studying the Holy Spirit one should look at Him from every angle: His Role, His Work, His Fruit… We don’t have time and space to chase all that down here, but suffice it to say that empowering people to live the Christian life and imparting Spiritual Gifts to believers are two different aspects of the Holy Spirit’s work that should not be confused.

  • So, why are they given? Spiritual Gifts ARE given to build up the body (1 Corinthians 12-13, especially 12:7) and to confirm the validity of authoritative teaching of the apostles (cf. Hebrews 2:3-4)

The context here points to the surrounding passage as talking to believers in how they are to function together within the context of the church. Spiritual gifts (especially the ones listed in 1 Corinthians) are, then, more for the building up of the Church rather than evangelism. An integral part of building up the early church was confirming what teaching should be considered authoritative and what should be disregarded as heretical. God used spiritual gifts to confirm which teachings were false and which were true (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:1-3)

Robert – Kevin, you talk about how the gifts were to be used.  I am confused.  Weren’t ALL gifts given to build the church?  If the body of Christ is the Church then don’t all gifts support the body of Christ?  I understand that not every believer has every spiritual gift, and I make no assertion of that kind.  You say that I am confusing the function and role of the Holy Spirit with the specific gifts, but I make no mention of former.  I think you are unnecessarily bringing in the function and role of the Holy Spirit.  You call it bad hermeneutics, but I call it plain reading…

Acts 1:8 – “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Emphasis on and you will be my witnesses. 

For  some reason you are wanting to isolate two specific gifts (tongues and prophecy) from the list.  Do these two gifts not build up the body of Christ as well?  According to Paul they do if done correctly (1 Corinthains 14).  If tongues and prophecy were not intended to be a gift, why did Paul list them?  Kevin…you have the last word.

Kevin: When I say your interpretation of Acts 1:8 is a case of bad hermeneutics it is because Acts 1:8 doesn’t specifically talk about spiritual gifts, yet you are tying it to spiritual gifts – forcing scripture to say something it doesn’t isn’t plain reading it’s bad logic. Acts 1:8 says that “you will receive power”. Without getting overly technical the original Greek word here is not the same word as is used for spiritual gifts… Therefore, to say that God is talking about spiritual gifts here is mistaken. I draw the distinction between different roles of the Holy Spirit because there is no link between Acts 1:8 and spiritual gifts. The word for “power” used in Acts 1:8 does not refer to specific talents, skills, or spiritual gifts, but rather the general strength to complete the task God has assigned – One of the roles of the Holy Spirit is to empower us to obey God (in general) and to embolden us to fulfill the Great Commission.

Robert, before linking spiritual gifts to Acts 1:8 you should take a hard look at 1 Corinthians 14:20-25. This passage clearly states that not all spiritual gifts are for evangelism, therefore, they should not be linked to the Great Commission, which is a command to evanglize.

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