What about the sign gifts?

  1. The position of 4th Baptist Church

    Concerning the Holy Spirit

    We believe that the Holy Spirit is a divine Person, co-equal with God the Father and God the Son (1). He was active in creation (2). He convicts men of sin (3). He indwells each believer (4). He performs various ministries such as regenerating, sealing, guiding, teaching, sanctifying, and strengthening (5). Each believer has been sanctified positionally in Christ, is being sanctified by the continuing work of the Spirit, and ultimately at Christ’s coming will be completely sanctified (6). While the believer can have victory over sin through the power of the Spirit, his sin nature will not be eradicated in this life (7). The Holy Spirit bestows spiritual gifts upon believers, these gifts being special abilities for service. Some gifts, such as tongues, prophecy, and healing, were temporary sign or revelatory gifts and have ceased (8). It is the believer’s privilege to be filled with the Spirit and thus to produce fruit unto God and to live a joyous and productive Christian life (9).

    Some places where taught: (1) II Cor. 13:14. (2) Gen. 1:1-2. (3) John 16:8-11. (4) I Cor. 6:19-20. (5) John 3:3; Rom. 8:14; Eph. 1:13, 17; 3:16. (6) I Cor. 1:2; 12:4-7, 11; II Cor. 3:18. (7) I John 1:8. (8) II Cor. 12:12; Heb. 2:4; I Cor. 13:8. (9) Eph. 5:18.

  2. My own position – Spiritual Gifts:
    • a spiritual gift is an ability or a capacity to serve the Lord through an aspect of the life of the local church.
    • God is sovereign in the bestowment of all His spiritual gifts (Rom 12:6; 1 Cor 12:11, 18, 28-31; Eph 4:7-8; Heb 2:4)
    • Every believer has a function to serve in the church and has been gifted by God accordingly. (1 Cor 12:27; 1 Pet 4:10)
    • Gifts were given for the common good of the church (1 Cor 12:7),
    • the edification of the church (1 Cor 14:12),
    • the service work or ministry of the church (Eph 4:11-12),
    • and the attestation or accreditation of God’s messengers and their new revelation for the church age (2 Cor 12:12; Heb 2:4).
    • Certain gifts prevalent in the church in the first century were miraculous in nature, such as speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, prophecy, and the working of miracles. They were foundational and transitional, having served the church in its infancy and immature stage. These gifts have ceased, being no longer needed because the nation of Israel has dissolved, the Scriptures have been given, the church has been launched and divinely certified, the transition from Law to Grace has been made, and the apostles have gone to their eternal reward (1 Cor 13:8-12; Eph 2:20; Heb 2:1-4).
  3. What were the sign gifts? (with links to John MacArthur resources)
    1. speaking in tongues (explain speaking in tongues)
    2. interpretation of tongues
    3. Gift of Healing (Healing # 1; Healing # 2; Healing # 3; Healing # 4 )
    4. prophecy
    5. the working of miracles (The Temporary Sign Gifts — Miracles)
  4. Warning: God’s signs may be imperfectly replicated?Seen in contrasting / comparing:
    1. Acts 2:22, “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles (δύναμις), wonders (τέρας), and signs (σημεῖον) which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know—”
    2. 2 Thessalonians 2:9, “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power (δύναμις), signs (σημεῖον), and lying wonders (τέρας)”
    3. Note the Greek words!
    4. Compare how the priests of Pharaoh would imitate the miracles of Moses, ““When Pharaoh speaks to you, saying, ‘Show a miracle for yourselves,’ then you shall say to Aaron, ‘Take your rod and cast it before Pharaoh, and let it become a serpent.’” 10 So Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh, and they did so, just as the LORD commanded. And Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a serpent. 11 But Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers; so the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments.” (Exodus 7:9-11)
  5. Two Views on the “Sign Gifts”: Continuity Vs. Discontinuity (Daniel B. Wallace , Th.M., Ph.D.)

    Continuity or discontinuity? In several major ways, there is discontinuity between the first century and the twentieth century as far as the sign gifts are concerned. This certainly raises questions about the legitimacy of such gifts today. We have not even addressed the historical evidence that after the first century those who have practiced the sign gifts have almost always been on the fringes of orthodoxy. From the second century until the beginning of the twentieth, such manifestations were almost unheard of in orthodox circles–yet God somehow was able to bring about great revivals (not to mention the Reformation) without such gifts taking center stage. How is that possible if they are normative expressions of the Christian faith?

  6. The cessation of sign gifts (Thomas R. Edgar Professor). His argument summarized:
    • The Essential Question: From God or Not from God?

      … experiences, which transcend doctrinal considerations and doctrinal boundaries, are the raison d’etre of the movement. They are not merely the daily outworking of one’s doctrine as distinct from his doctrinal position, but are usually crisis events that allegedly go beyond normal, traditional Christian experience. These so-called “spiritual” experiences are either from God or not from God. There can be no neutral or partially true position. Either they are biblically true or they are false experiences.

    • Evidence Contrary to the Validity of the Phenomena

      To argue that the New Testament gifts could occur today or that no verse rules out such a possibility is not enough; it must also be shown that the modern charismatic “gifts” are the same as in the New Testament. The proponents of the charismatic movement have been unsuccessful in proving either the first (the possibility of the gifts today) or the second (that these are the same phenomena). Are all phenomena automatically from the Holy Spirit simply because someone makes such an assertion, unless a verse can be found that directly states they are not? It is not enough merely to assert that charismatic phenomena are New Testament phenomena. There must be evidence that they are the same.

    • The Evidence Of History

      If the miraculous gifts of the New Testament age had continued in the church, one would expect an unbroken line of occurrences from apostolic times to the present. If they are of God, why should such miracles be absent for centuries?

      The entire controversy exists because the miraculous gifts of the New Testament age did cease and did not occur for almost 1,900 years of church history and certainly have not continued in an unbroken line.

    • “Latter day” Explanations are Inadequate.

      Many Pentecostals hold that the sign gifts did cease and that they have reoccurred in these “latter days.” This must be demonstrated from Scripture, however. There is no biblical evidence that there will be a reoccurrence in the church of the sign gifts or that believers will work miracles near the end of the Church Age. However, there is ample evidence that near the end of the age there will be false prophets who perform miracles, prophesy, and cast out demons in Jesus’ name (cf. Matt. 7:22-23; 24:11, 24; 2 Thess. 2:9-12). During the Church Age there will be false leaders who fashion themselves as ministers of righteousness (2 Cor. 11:13-15).

    • Lack Of Similarity With The New Testament (note his comments on the “Gift of Healing”:

      The New Testament gift of healing is a specific gift to an individual enabling him to heal. It is not to be confused with healing performed by God in answer to prayer. New Testament healings include those with verifiable afflictions and handicaps such as the man who was crippled from birth (Acts 3:1-10). The healings were instantaneous, complete, and obvious to all. The man crippled from birth had never walked, but he was instantly able to walk and jump. The healings in the apostolic age never failed regardless of the faith of the recipient. They did not depend on direct physical contact (5:15). There were no preliminaries, healing meetings, or incantations. The healer merely stated to the individual, even when the individual was unaware of the intention to heal (3:1-10), something equivalent to the words, “In Jesus’ name, stand up and walk.” The healings were usually in public, performed on unbelievers, and often en masse.

      The modern charismatic movement made little impact on the basis of speaking in tongues alone. It was not until “healing” was added that the movement began to grow in significant numbers.

      Today’s healers admittedly often fail. This is blamed on the lack of faith of the sick rather than on the healer. The alleged healings are seldom instantaneous or complete. They usually are not healings of objectively verifiable illnesses; they often pertain to internal disorders such as “emotional healing.” Rather than being irrefutable, they are unverified or even denied by those neutral. They involve healing meetings, preliminaries, incantations, and usually repeated visits. They are not performed in the streets, en masse, or at a distance. In a crowd they are usually performed on only a select few. They are never performed on those who are not aware of the “healer” or his intention to “heal.”

      There is little correspondence between modern-day charismatic “healings” and the healings recorded in the New Testament. The differences are so vast that many of today’s healers are careful to point out that they do not have the gift of healing, but are merely those to whom God often responds with healing. No one heals today in such a way that it is clearly the New Testament gift of healing.

    • Biblical Evidence For Cessation

      No Bible verse specifically states that tongues, signs, and wonders will continue throughout the Church Age. Nor is there a verse that specifically states they will cease at the end of the apostolic age. However, this does not mean that one cannot take a position on this issue. Many doctrines, such as the Trinity, are not directly stated but are derived from the study and correlation of passages of Scripture. There are several indications in the Scriptures that the gifts of tongues, healing, and miracles (signs and wonders) will not continue. The charismatic movement in all its forms rests not on exegetical evidence that the gifts will continue, but on the assumption contrary to history that since they occurred in the apostolic age they should also occur today. The foundation for this assumption is nonexistent.

  7. Doctrinal statement of “The Master’s Seminary” regarding Spiritual gifts:

    We teach that the Holy Spirit administers spiritual gifts to the church. The Holy Spirit glorifies neither Himself nor His gifts by ostentatious displays, but He does glorify Christ by implementing His work of redeeming the lost and building up believers in the most holy faith (John 16:13-14; Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; 2 Corinthians 3:18).

    We teach, in this respect, that God the Holy Spirit is sovereign in the bestowing of all His gifts for the perfecting of the saints today and that speaking in tongues and the working of sign miracles in the beginning days of the church were for the purpose of pointing to and authenticating the apostles as revealers of divine truth, and were never intended to be characteristic of the lives of believers (1 Corinthians 12:4-11; 13:8-10; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Ephesians 4:7-12; Hebrews 2:1-4).

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