Lecture 13: The Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Course: Systematic Theology II
Lecture: The Gifts of the Holy Spirit
C. The Holy Spirit in the Church Today
1. Pentecost – the age to come arrives
It would be correct to think that at Pentecost the age to come arrives, not on planet Earth. The age to come arrives on planet Earth when the Messiah comes because those messianic prophecies, because those prophecies that relate to the coming age when God would restore things and make everything right are connected clearly with the Messiah. But as we know Christ when he comes brings with him the Spirit. The question comes, does that do everything for us, does this bring us into that age? The answer is no. Not until the Spirit who has been promised is given to us. So Christ brings with him the Spirit. J.I. Packer in his book keep in step with the Spirit says to Spirit-bearer becomes the Spirit giver. So the age to come arrives for us as the Spirit is given. The day of Pentecost begins that point The Spirit Comes to Glorify Christ The Spirit is here to do two main things both of them under the rubric “to glorify Christ” from John 16:14
John 16:13 “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own
initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak, and He will disclose to you what is to come. John 16:14 “He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. The number one Mark of a Spirit-filled person or a Spirit-filled gathering is not the Spirit, because the Spirit is not interested (sometimes people talk about the Spirit he shy- I don't know if that's an apt metaphor not) in being front and center. The Spirit is interested in Christ being front and center. So a Spirit-filled person is someone in love with Jesus and wanting to live his or her life in a way that pleases Jesus, in a way that follows Jesus as Lord says in First Corinthians 12:3
1 Corinthians 12:3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. When the Spirit comes, we speak “Jesus is Lord” in the way we live our lives.
2. Empowerment for witness in the world
a. Bringing people to Christ.
Under this rubric of the Spirit coming to glorify Christ looks pretty simple. We talk about discipleship and evangelism ministries in churches (actually it ought to be evangelism and discipleship because evangelism's first). They involved two things: people coming to Christ and secondly people being made like Christ. You can think of this you want is the first one being quantitative, Spirit is a quantitative goal that is the full number of the elect come in, the Spirit is interested in advancing the purpose of Christ in building the church. That means that his sheep John 10:16 “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice, and they will become one flock with one shepherd. Those sheep out there need to be brought in so there needs to be this quantitative increase which is not necessarily the same as saying church growth in any given church, it may or may not be, it depends on why the church is growing whether or not you have an actual increase in numbers of people who have come to Christ. Hopefully, that is the case but not necessarily. In addition to the quantitative purpose, there is a qualitative one. These people are made like Christ. So we come to Christ and we are made like Christ and the Spirit is involved in each one of these intimately. So the Spirit not only works in the life of the unsaved person to regenerate the person, to open their eyes to see Christ and respond to the Spirit. The Spirit works in Christians to empower them to speak with boldness
Acts 1:8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” So the Spirit comes and provides empowerment for Christians to be faithful to do what they are called to do and that is to bear witness to their faith in Christ.
An aside. I am concerned that much of the prayer movement that we have as wonderful as is for the nations; praying for people groups, in the 10/40 window, in the global prayer digest, and all of these wonderful things that we have are in fact are in my judgment not quite on target. If you asked the question, how does the New Testament command prayer as it relates to unsaved people? We tend to pray for the unsaved people. We pray for the unsaved in Afghanistan or in Turkey or in China, we pray for people groups. The focus is quite often on those unsaved people or we pray for our
unsaved neighbors, we do the same thing locally, we pray for the guy at work. My question is where do we find New Testament warrant for this? The only possible place is Romans 10, and I find that passage to be not an example of this.
Romans 10:1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation.
“for them” that is Israel I do not view this as an example for praying for an unsaved people group because this is in Romans 9 to 11. Do you remember what Romans 9 to 11 is about? What is the driving interest at all in those three chapters? Have God's promises failed in regard to Israel, God has made a promise to Israel to save them, which Paul makes clear at the end of Romans 11 when the full number of the Gentiles has come in then God will save Israel. So what he is praying is a prayer that he knows is in the will of God which you and I don't know in relation to our neighbor. I don't think this is an exception to the rule namely that if you look in the New Testament for prayer for unsaved people who don't find it. But what do you find? You find strengthening the saints. You find Paul saying pray for me as I go into this new area that Satan will not block my coming there all and when I come I will speak the word of God with boldness. Pray that utterance will be given to me. What you find all over the place is prayer for Christians. Doesn't this make sense? Think of this point. What is the Spirit her to do? He is here to open the eyes of the elect, regenerate their heart. What is requisite for him to do this work by which they open eyes so they see the truth? What is requisite for this to happen? They have to hear the truth. The question is how will they hear the truth? People have to speak it. People have to overcome timidity (think of Paul to Timothy). Overcome timidity, overcome fear, rejection, fear of persecution, fear of ostracization, fear of what people will do. They have to overcome that in order for what is requisite for this to happen. But what is that? Speak the truth. They need to hear the truth, they need to hear the gospel. And then among all those who are Christ's (I have other sheep), all those who are called by God, they will hear and come. So we really don't have to pray for God to open the eyes of the bogies in Indonesia. The bogies, the bogie man, this is a real people group. We have some dear friends who are ministering to them in Indonesia; an incredibly dangerous ministry for this young
couple and their little girl. An amazing thing, this brave couple is over there in their hearts are in it and they love the Lord and they are called to do this and it's just incredible to see them. What is going to give them the strength to do this? The Spirit of God in there. So what we ought to be praying for is them. Pray for the missionaries, pray for not your unsaved friend or a pray for whoever works with him or her, pray for you, ask him prayer for you that you.
Don't pray for the person but pray for the Christian. My point is that if this quantitative increases going to happen as the Spirit empowers Christians to proclaim the gospel which must be heard remember Romans 10
Romans 10:13 for "WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED." Romans 10:14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? Romans 10:15 How will they preach
unless they are sent? Just as it is written, "HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!"
Student Question. This seems true to me and I'm wondering in the debate with the Arminians one of the points that you had against them was? (the question becomes unintelligible)
Answer: yes, although the point still stands the way it was framed there might have invoked this common-sense notion that we pray for unsaved people. But the point is still the same regardless. What are you praying for God to do to these believers? Doesn't he want to use them? The problem with the
Arminian view in all this is that God is entirely love, he wants the best, he's doing everything he can do already. So what are you praying for Him to do? Whereas in the Calvinist view he really does use prayer. Of course, he prompts it to. The way this works is that God is actually behind the scenes prompting the prayer that is necessary for the accomplishment (just as the spoken word is necessary but he prompts it in order to accomplish the saving work that he does)
Student question: unintelligible question
Answer: I think you pray for them God's best in their life. Hear me. I'm not saying that you should never pray for an unbeliever, I'm not saying that. I'm saying that it's clear in the New Testament that the focus of praying viz-a-vie for salvation of people is for Christians to be bold and faithful to proclaim what they should. It doesn't rule out praying in any respect training for unbelievers
Student question: unintelligible question (the two wills)
Answer: Do we not bring all of our cares Lord, my mothers not saved my friends not saved, do we bring all those things? Yes, absolutely. But all I'm saying is that the practice that we have in our praying viz-a-vie for the unsaved is missing in so many cases and what the New Testament puts emphasis on. And that is it is now believers who need to be strengthened through prayer, the Spirit working in them, to be faithful and God will use that in their life.
b. Make saved people like Christ
So all the sanctification processes is involved in the Spirit’s work.
3. Empowerment for service in the church
This is where we ended last time. Four Passages, to chapter fours to chapter twelves. Do you remember they are?
I Peter 4:10-11
This is the designation of serving gifts and speaking gifts.
1 Peter 4:10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
1 Peter 4:11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Ephesians 4 is primarily about gifted people he has given to the church; apostles, evangelists, pastors, teachers and for the instructing people to do the work of ministry. It's not that those gifted people do all the work, they train others to do the work of ministry in the church so that the church grows up to be like Christ. We looked at this right at the end last time, it's amazing statement of the goal in all this to attain to the full stature of Christ. If you go to a church where that's been done in time to move onto another place, yeah sure. But that's the goal to attain the full stature of Christ.
Ephesians 4:11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, Ephesians 4:12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; Ephesians 4:13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of
the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ
What are the two12 passages? First Corinthians 12 Romans 12. Both of those sort of listings of the gifts are there. Let me make a few comments about those gifts and then we will look at the next point on this.
What is clear is if you compare Romans 12 and First Corinthians 12 is it is not identical list gifts. So there is no reason to think that Paul has in mind just this set and no other. I don't think we ought to look at those lists as the only ones that could be or that there are. Perhaps God has other gifts. Some have suggested that there may be a gift of missions, this may be the case is not stated there but it's possible. All I'm saying is that I wouldn't read those lists as an ironclad fixed set of gifts because they differ. It seems to me odd they were that and Paul knew it and he would give various listings of them.
A second question that comes up is how do you know what you're gift is? How do you enter into this? There are these gift inventories, tests you can take and all kinds of things that you can do. I have found that the most helpful thing you can do is to start with first Peter four those two broad categories, speaking gifts and serving gifts. Most people can locate themselves in one of those two broad areas. Either you're sort of an upfront person with abilities to speak in certain ways, you are inclined toward a teaching or admonishing or preaching ministry or something like that or that kind of thing just terrifies you (by the way just because you're terrified something doesn't necessarily mean that God has gifted you to do it. The most telling story I know that is John
piper's experience. John Piper is one of the most clearly gifted effective preachers of our era. When he was attending Wheaton college he had to give something like a three-minute speech and he'd never done this before and he was absolutely terrified by it. So much so that he spent hours before it took place pacing around somewhere on Wheaton’s campus praying before he went and gave his speech and God gave him peace about it. And he prayed and committed to the Lord that if you grant this request of mine I will never turn down a speaking opportunity for you because of fear. That was his pledge to the Lord. If you think of the story since. Just because you think that this terrifies you doesn't necessarily mean God doesn't have a gift for you.) But what it does mean to explore and test the waters. Obviously what other Christian people will tell you will be a tremendous help to you. My wife for example, I don't know how many people in her lifetime come up here and said Jodie you are such an encouraging person, which is true. My wife has in the strongest gift of encouragement of anyone I ever have known. She cannot help herself but try to say something or do something would be encouraging other people. Enough people tell her that it helps her understand that maybe this is her spiritual gift)
So things that you tend to do when you're walking with the Lord, that's a key thing, when you're walking with the Lord that satisfies your heart, were you find your joy is likely where your area is spiritual gifting is. When you're walking with the Lord doing what you long to do is likely your area of gifting.
If you're not sure try various things. Kind of test the waters walk with the Lord and see if your heart resonates. It's sort of like a tuning fork principle. If you have a concert “C” tuning fork and you hit B flat on the piano, what's going to happen the tuning fork? Nothing. If you hit A flat on the piano, what is going to happen? Nothing. If you hit a concert “C” on the piano, what is the tuning fork going to do? It's going to ring. And this is going to happen in your heart when you hit the right note, you get into an area that matches your gifting your heart is going to sing. I absolutely love teaching. It's hard for me to attend church or Sunday school class and not be a teacher or preacher. Because I just absolutely love the privilege of teaching and preaching. How did I know
that? Try various things and I just realized two things. People would tell me kind time that they appreciated what I said and it was helpful and clear and biblical sort of thing and in my own soul the tuning fork rings when I get up for class, I just love it. And it's a sign of a gift. I think that's one way to know.
Are you all the gifts here?
This is a controversy area. There is a very helpful book that Wayne Grudem edited “Are the Miraculous Gifts For Today”. I have read that in other contexts, class on the Holy Spirit we are there and in other classes. I would recommend to you if you have not yet settled on the question charismatic gifts. Is a very helpful book. It's one of those worldviews books. He has sort of two variations of no by Richard B. Gaffin and Robert Saucy. Saucy is milder of the two.
Gaffin is the stronger one of the two. And he has two yes on are the miraculous kiss for today? A classic Pentecostal Doug Oss (he's really a very wonderful guy, he is a vibrant Christian man, really fine man and a good theologian). Sam Storms is another friend of mine.
Sam is now teaching at Wheaton College. Sam writes the sort of the Vineyard not classic Pentecostal the second wave sort of theology.
My own view on this is that I would answer to the question no. I don't believe that all the miraculous gifts are for today. I think, here are some things to consider in thinking about this. In regard to classic Pentecostalism in particular I think that the whole notion of the baptism of the Spirit being something subsequent to conversion is a problematic notion in either of the ways that it is conceived. One way is that it's conceived as you don't have the Spirit until you were baptized with the Spirit. That is an earlier 20th-century Pentecostal view, a number used to hold this. Obviously, a problem with that view is the Bible. Romans eight indicates that if you don't have the Spirit of God you don't belong to him.
Romans 8:9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.
Galatians 4:6 Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”
It's very clear that each person who believes in Christ post-Pentecost, remember John 7
John 7:39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
But post-Pentecost everyone who believes in Christ receives the Spirit. That's very clear New Testament. So that viw simply cannot work.
But there is the other view that is held in the Pentecostal Wesleyan variety. There is kind of two tracks in Pentecostalism, more reformed tract and more of a Wesleyan tract. In the Wesleyan tract the really do separate out what happened at conversion; that is kind of Christ as Savior stage and then later there is Christ as Lord's stage, it is the point of real commitment and that is when you receive the Holy Spirit in Pentecostalism and the baptism takes place at the point. It's not that you didn't have the Spirit before you receive the fullness of the Spirit, the release of the Spirit in your life. This is a huge topic but I'll just summarize it by saying there really is no biblical basis for a second stage model of any kind. That is not to say that Christian people don't have experiences like that. But it is to say that if you look biblically, the big difference in the Bible is between saved and not saved. But in two-stage models, whether it's
Keswick or the Dallas model, Savior and Lord model, or Wesleyanism or this Pentecostal model, any of those two-stage models the big difference happens at the second stage. In other words, you are pretty much like an unbeliever after saved except are going to heaven now. But in terms of your life, does this match the New Testament? No way. Think of John light and darkness, think of Paul dead/life. The difference takes place at conversion in the New Testament. And everything else is the outworking of that. So I just think any model that proposes a two-stage thing, you come to Christ first and then the big change happens when this sort of dedication period occurs or whenever it's just not reflecting the Bible.
Student question: I have a question that relates to this but comes in another way. In Acts 8:14-17
Acts 8:14 Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, Acts 8:15 who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. Acts 8:16 For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the
name of the Lord Jesus. Acts 8:17 Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit.
The rest of the question is unintelligible.
Answer: The text that was uniformly cited by that earlier Pentecostal group that argued the baptism of the Spirit happens subsequent conversion was this text. Because it does look pretty clear that these were genuine Christians and some days went by because they had to go to Jerusalem to get Peter and the boys and make their way up here before the Spirit was given to them. So isn't this evidence for a subsequent doctrine of the baptism of the Spirit
and that's when the Spirit is given. My answer to that is no, for two reasons. (1) The passages I mentioned a moment ago Romans 8 and Galatians 4 indicate to the contrary. So the clear teaching, propositional teaching of the New Testament, would be in conflict with that, if in fact that passage was teaching that this is the norm; that people can be Christians without receiving the Spirit. The question comes then how do you reconcile the two. It is pretty clear that the didactic teachings are clear. What is happening here in Acts 8? My answer to that is it is explained by its place in redemptive history. Here's what I mean by that. Matthew 16 to whom did he say I give you the keys to the kingdom?
Matthew 16:19 “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”
He said that to Peter. This is interpreted variously. Obviously, the Roman Catholic Church interprets Peter as the first Pope and on it goes, and he has the keys to the kingdom and so on. It looks to me that in the book of Acts is what you see, Acts 1:8
Acts 1:8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
Samaria that is Acts 8, Acts 10 Cornelius Gentile uttermost parts of the world and then Paul takes over as missionary to the Gentiles. Have you ever wondered why Paul, because God called him to be the apostle to the Gentiles, wasn't the one who was given the privilege of going to Caesarea Philippi, to Cornelius and preach the gospel to him? The reason is Matthew 16 He says Peter I give you the keys to the kingdom. So Peter is at Pentecost, Peter announces the gospel in Judea, Peter has to be brought to Samaria for the Samaritans to be brought into this new age reality. The new age
arrives for the Samaritans when the Spirit comes. What Acts eight is again is really a marker how significant Pentecost is. Here is the Pentecost for the Samaritans, they have to received the Spirit. So the Samaritans kind of like the disciples where in Acts 2, they were believers but they had received the Spirit yet. So Peter is brought there and then they received the Spirit. Then of course one who is called go to Cornelius not Paul, not Paul the apostle to the Gentiles but Peter is. I see this as the redemptive-historical outworking of what God has planned and therefore Acts 8 is a unique case, it is not normative. Therefore Acts 8 is completely consistent with Romans 8 and Galatians 4.
Student question: unintelligible question about Acts 19
Answer: the difference there is Acts 19 as opposed to Acts 8. These are disciples of John the Baptist. I do not think that we should conclude about the disciples in Ephesus in Acts 19 that they were believers. They had repented they had been baptized to repentance of their sins as John had instructed them to do Paul's question did you receive the Spirit when you believed? Do you know what that indicates in Paul's mind? When you believe in Christ and what comes next? You will receive the Spirit. This is how intertwined the two are for Paul; becoming a Christian and receiving the Spirit so much so that he can ask these people who he's wondering exactly who they are whether they are really saved or not, he asked them a question, did you receive the Spirit when you believed? No we haven't heard about the Spirit we were just baptized in the baptism of John for repentance of our sins. Ah, so you are not Christians, I see, then they receive Christ and are saved.
What about tongues? Pentecostals argue that tongues is a necessary sign of believing in Christ and receiving the Spirit. If you haven't spoken in tongues then there is not evidence that you have been baptized by the Spirit, that you had the Spirit released in your life. By the way, Pentecostals in the past several decades have tried to downplay to the broader evangelical church the significance of this. We understand that there are godly people and committed Christian people who have never spoken in tongues but here is the evidence to the contrary. In the Assembly of God church they still require that all ordained ministers have spoken in tongues and furthermore it lists in their articles of faith that only when they have been baptized and spoken in tongues will these things follow. And they include things like deeper intimacy with God, stronger desire to follow him in obedience, greater outpouring of spiritual manifestation in ministry. The fact is they still link a lot of benefits to speaking in tongues even though they have tried to downplay this; officially it is still the case.
I can see no way of agreeing with the proposition that every believer who receives the Spirit or is baptized in the Spirit speaks in tongues because Paul makes clear in First Corinthians 12, tongues is given to some.
1 Corinthians 12:30 All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they?
This is a rhetorical question but the answer to the question is no. Just like all are not apostles, all are not prophets, all do not have any of these other gifts, just some. Now there they say it is not the gift of tongues that he is talking about, just some have. This is the evidence of the Spirit’s coming, he comes upon all people. The burden of proof in my judgment is on the Pentecostal to indicate that when Paul is talking about in First Corinthians 12 is something
different from what happened in Acts 2. Of course, it is the same term, it's language. Unless something can be shown, and in my judgment, nothing has been shown to indicate that the tongues of acts to in the tongues of First Corinthians 12 are different from one another then why would you think that this is the case? That raises the question of why did everybody in Acts 2 speak in tongues? I think the point there is that God gave this gift as the Spirit is poured
out upon the company to indicate: (1) it verified for the entire gathering of those who were there that God had done a miraculous work, it was a verification of God's work by the Spirit through them.(2) do you remember in first Corinthians 14 a purpose for tongues is something other than tongues used as a means for benefit of the believers in the community. Do you know what this other use of tongues is? A witness to unbelievers. Of What?
1 Corinthians 14:13 Therefore let one who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. 1 Corinthians 14:14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. 1 Corinthians 14:15 What is the outcome then? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also.
This is a little bit aside from where I was a moment ago. The argument that Paul talks about tongues as a prayer language. Does it look like he is commending this here? 1 Corinthians 14:14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. Is he commending this? I think that the argument to turn this into a prayer language requires that Paul is saying this constructively or positively. I think a very compelling case can be made that he is not. Look at verse 15, 1 Corinthians 14:15 What is the outcome then? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also. In other words, you speak in a tongue and there is no one to interpret and you don't have the gift of interpreting then it doesn't do anybody any good including you. I think that's the point he's making, it doesn't do anybody any good. It has to go through
your mind for it to do good.
Back to the main point.
1 Corinthians 14:16 Otherwise if you bless in the spirit only, how will the one who fills the place of the ungifted say the “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not know what you are saying?
The emphasis is on mind you have to know what is being said, hence tongues have to be interpreted.
1 Corinthians 14:17 For you are giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not edified. 1 Corinthians 14:18 I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all; 1 Corinthians 14:19 however, in the church I desire to speak five words with my mind so that I may instruct others also, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue.
The main point is saying is people have to understand it to benefit from it. Look at verse 18
1 Corinthians 14:18 I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all; 1 Corinthians 14:19 however, in the church…
What is this about? Paul speaking in tongues but not in the church. This seems to me this is exactly why he launches into the next paragraph, because he brings to mind his speaking in tongues, is not done in the church, but what would that be?
First Corinthians 14:20.
1 Corinthians 14:20 Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature. 1 Corinthians 14:21 In the Law it is written, “By men of strange tongues and by the lips of strangers I will speak to this people, and even so they will not listen to Me,” says the Lord. 1 Corinthians 14:22 So then tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophecy is for a sign, not to unbelievers but to those who believe.
Do you get the point? In Isaiah 28 where this comes it is the tongues of the Babylonians that are going to be spoken to them they don't understand. And the tongues will be a sign of what? With Israel hears Babylonia being spoken, what is that a sign of? Judgment. God is bringing judgment upon them for their rejection of Him. So tongues is a sign of judgment. I take it that when Paul was outside of the church and he spoke in tongues more than all of them he was thinking of his ministry to the Jews. Tongues would be spoken as a sign of judgment to them and hence they would either repent or they would face the judgment that God had for them. I take it, that this is part of the reason of tongues in Acts 2. In Acts you had all of these Jews, this was the Diaspora, all these Jews who were gathered together, so that tongues are spoken in various languages proclaiming the mighty works of God and they function both, because they heard them in their own language, both as proclaiming the words of God and as a warning of judgment unless they would repent and believe.
Should we think that tongues then are the universal expression of the baptism of the Spirit? I don't think there's any good compelling reason for thinking that is the case.
Student question: a question about Romans 8 and tongues.
Answer: there is no connection made by Paul in Romans 8 to tongues. This is strictly made by people who are looking for a link somewhere. In first Corinthians 14 the same thing is true in verses 2 to 4.
1 Corinthians 14:2 For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries
So they say see here it is, this is tongues as a prayer language. I am not at all convinced that this is what Paul was saying, that he is commending people to speak in tongues that nobody else can understand that just speak to God. Because what are the gift given for? For what reason are the gifts given? Building up the body of Christ. So given the fact that all gifts are given for the common good, for the building up of the body of Christ, for edification; these are all terms that are used by Paul in chapter 14. If that's the case then all of a sudden you come along and here's a gift that is just for you and it doesn't help anybody else. It is contradictory.
1 Corinthians 14:3 But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation. Isn’t his point tongues used this way is not good, prophecy used the way it is good. Isn't that the point.
1 Corinthians 14:4 One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself; but one who prophesies edifies the church. One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, good in light of the purpose of the gifts, I don't think so. But one who prophesies edifies the church, good yes. So I don't think that either this part of chapter 14 or the other part is an indication that tongues as a prayer language. Certainly there is no link made Romans 8 on that. Romans 8 simply indicates that the spirit in his interceding for us, intercedes in ways that we cannot even comprehend, that are beyond our understanding. That doesn't invite you to think in terms of speaking in tongues, it invites you to humility recognizing that he is able to intercede in a way that far surpasses what we can for ourselves or for one another.
Should we think that all people have evidence of the baptism of the Spirit through tongues? No. I think there's no reason for thinking that is the case.
What about the question of whether or not some of these gifts have continued to today; gifts of healing, gift of tongues (even if you were to say somewhere that if given the gift of tongues, does it continue today)? I think there is clear evidence that some gifts listed do not continue. The clearest one that most Christian people agree with is the gift of apostle. There are some who do not agree with this. In fact some people, I won't even say names, whom I respect highly for some crazy reason to think that apostles continue. I think that this is dangerous to think of apostles continuing. Think of the end of First Corinthians 14 and verse 37.
1 Corinthians 14:37 If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord’s commandment. 1 Corinthians 14:38 But if anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized.
Well who do you think you are Paul? An apostle. An apostle trumps everything. If the gift of apostle continues, it is at the level of inspiration. This is really a scary thing. What reason is there to think that apostle has continued? To be an apostle, Paul had been over backwards to justify his apostleship because he was not one of the 12 disciples who lived and walked with Jesus. So how is it that you qualify Paul? That was the question in the early church. His answer
was I had a revelation of Christ. Probably for a few years in the wilderness he and Christ were together. Christ revealed himself to Paul, taught Paul, this is what he indicates in Galatians 1. So one of the reasons is obviously one of the criteria for apostle is over. The other one is Ephesians 2:20, it is such an important verse that indicates the church is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone.
Ephesians 2:20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone,
So just as Christ is in a sense over, his life and ministry death and resurrection is historically finished, and he is the cornerstone of the building so likewise the apostles prophets who are the foundation of the building are over and the church is built upon it. You don't keep building the foundation, the foundation is done, then you build the stones upon the foundation, one by one. So apostle is over. But what else is linked with apostles in that verse? Prophet. So I hold the view that the gift of prophecy is over. I held Wayne Grudem's view for two years when I taught at Trinity because he persuaded
me, I then gave it up because I became unpersuaded by it. The Main problem with Grudem's view in my judgment is that he holds to a category of New Testament prophecy, that number one has no evidence for it and number two is deeply problematic in light of the rest of Scripture. His category is a prophecy that is given to a person from God as infallible true but spoken by a person who is potentially fallible. That's Grudem’s view that the New Testament prophecy differs from Old Testament prophets insofar as New Testament prophets could possibly speak what they claim to be the word of the Lord and it is errant or fallible. Number one he has no evidence for it, I thought he did because he claims to with Agabus. If you look at it carefully, Dr. Schreiner as the one who turned me back because I was talking about this was the one day and laying out Wayne Grudem's evidence and he said it doesn't work. He showed me why and I said to you right and just like that it changed. That was the only biblical evidence that Wayne Grudem had apart
from in First Corinthians 14 evaluating the prophet. That doesn't have to mean that the prophecy is possibly fallible. What else could it be? Evaluate whether the person is a prophet, that's what it could mean. So apostles and prophets Ephesians 2, both of those have ended.
What about tongues? In first Corinthians 14 it is pretty clear that the gift that surpasses tongues is prophecy and it has ended. So why think that's the gift of tongues which actually requires an interpreter, that actually is the inferior gift of the two terms of accomplishing what God wants to accomplish through it, namely build up the body of Christ, because you've got to have an interpreter, and you don't have an interpreter he should just sit down and shut up, That is what Paul says. Of the two why in the world who comes continue and prophecy not? It stands to reason that in light of the greater value of prophecy and it has ended the less valuable gift, tongues, would also cease. Furthermore, it does not seem to be the case historically we see the gift of tongues practiced in the church. The early church fathers regularly spoke of the fact that they didn't see the same kind of miracles or tongues speaking happening that happened in the Bible, that happened in the first century. These were in the second and third and fourth centuries the church fathers
wrote these things that indicated that it was not like what it was then. Furthermore, the tongues speaking that is done today is not in
most, the vast majority of respects, the tongues of the Bible. Because the tongues of the Bible are languages that are translated. They are languages. Tongue speaking today in the vast majority of public speaking that happens at the charismatic or Pentecostal churches has no linguistic structure at all. It doesn't come close to being a language. It is just globally guck, mumble jumble, I don't mean to be insulting but I don't know what to call it but it's not a language. Are you aware that that kind of phenomena happens in many religions of the world, they have this sort of kind of
psychologically induced expression that is just like what happens in charismatic and Pentecostal churches. In my judgment apostles prophets are probably gone.
What about healing? Do we know for sure if the gift of healing is here or not? The answer the question is no we don't know for sure. Here is something that we do know. Number one the healing gift was in the New Testament times associated fundamentally with attesting to Jesus or an apostle for their identity. When new revelation came there was an attestation that took place or a verification that took place that came through certain kinds of supernatural entailments one of them being healing. You can chart this through biblical history. You can see how various times miracles were more prominent and they tended to be in periods where more and greater revelation was given. So there is good reason to think that the miracles you saw in the life and ministry of
Jesus would not necessarily continue afterwards. The patterns in the Bible would indicate no. The pattern in the Bible would indicate that they are here to attest to this, but necessarily here to stay. The same thing with the apostles. The signs of an apostle were done among them (2 Corinthians 12:12 The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs and wonders and miracles.) This indicates that there was something significant about the apostolic office and ministry that was attested by signs and wonders and miracles that may not necessarily continue.
Think of the difference between these two questions; has gift of healing continued and has God continued through history to heal? Do you see the difference between those two questions? I would answer the first one in all likelihood no. I would answer the second one with the joyous yes. In other words, God can anytime he wants to answer prayer of his people, in fact we are encouraged to take the sick to the elders of the church and pray for them, God can in fact anytime he wants to heal someone without there being a gift of healing that would be like a gift the apostle Paul had. Whenever someone too a handkerchief from him and whoever got it was healed, or his shadow fell upon them and they are healed. Where is that happening? This helps in understanding some of the supernatural gifts. There's a difference between the gift continuing, which I think in most cases they were be good reason to
think they did not continue as gifts, and those functions happening like God's prerogative and discretion at various points through church history.
I hold what is commonly called a cessationist view that most people are cessationist at some point. Hardly anyone out there holds all of the gifts including the gift of apostle continues. So most of us are some version of a cessationist. The only question is where you draw the line and why. In my judgment, I see good reason to draw the line also prophet, also with tongues, and in all likelihood with healings in terms of gifts. But at the very same time open to the fact that God can do whatever God wants to do. For example, with prophecy if He wants to give to individual some kind of special revelatory message he sure can do that. But that's different than saying that there is a gift of prophecy that continues.
Some of you know the story I am here at southern seminary in no small part owing to a dream of a woman in our church who came up to me on a Sunday morning at the very end of my quest to know if the Lord wanted me here not. It was an incredible dream and when she told me, I went home and I worked on this the whole afternoon thinking through the implications of what she had said and became convinced that this was from the Lord as answer to my heartfelt prayer, just let me know, will do what you want, whatever it is you want but I need to know. If I don't hear from you on this I'm staying put. That's the way I left it with the Lord that morning which would stay at Trinity divinity school. He called me here, I feel that my ministry has been blessed here I cannot leave unless you make it clear that you want me elsewhere. That is what the Lord used.
Can he do that? Yes he can, anytime he wants to do that sort of thing. That's very different, in my judgment, of thinking that there is person out there has the gift of prophecy. If that is the case, a view that I do not think works in a church if you hold that view, yeah I believe all the gifts are here but we don't have tongues in our church. If all the gifts are here, what are the gifts given for? For the common good. Then why in the world wouldn't you want the gifts to be exercised? Why wouldn't you be seeking is a pastor or elder board or pastoral staff to be allowing a full expression of the gifts that are given for the building up of the body of Christ. But I don't think that's a tolerable view to be a continuationist but to say we don't practice those in our church.
Student question: a question that relates to prophesy as foretelling or forth-telling.
Answer: Whatever it is, prophecy in the New Testament is a supernatural enablement to proclaim truth that you may not have known before. So it can be in either category. It might be forth-telling or it can be foretelling of truth, predictive prophecy, either one of those categories that it is a supernatural enablement that doesn't come out of years of study, God just did this to you right there on the spot, that’s what prophecy is. So if you've been reading First Corinthians 12-14 and equated preaching with prophecy, I don't think that is the way First Corinthians 12 -14 ought to be read, it is not preaching. This is a gift of prophecy where it is a revelation from God.
Student question: Can you comment on the First Corinthians 13:8-12. (relates to the middle voice)Piper argued that in the last section of the paragraph (unintelligible exchange)
1 Corinthians 13:8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 1 Corinthians 13:9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 1 Corinthians 13:10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 1 Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.
Answer: In terms of the argument tongues will cease by themselves. That is a good point because he does say, he picks up on in verse 8 the gifts of prophecy, tongues and knowledge. But in verse 9 he picks up just two of them. 1 Corinthians 13:9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 1 Corinthians 13:10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. I think the problem there is that this makes clear, not just the effects of them that is the prophecy that was given that we now know today but still this is part but the actual gift of prophecy continues till coming of Christ. That is what is not stated by the passage and yet this argument depends upon that. So all I can say is that what Paul talks about here is satisfied with simply by saying that what was revealed then in the first century is a still partial until Christ comes. Because when Christ comes the partial will be done away and the fullness comes.
Student question: You were saying that in order to unlock times that requires the gift of interpreting, is that correct?
Student question: If I speak in a tongue only a prophet can interpret the tongue, is that right?
Answer: No, I didn’t mean to say that. You need an interpreter. There are three gifts: A gift of prophecy a gift of tongues and the gift of interpretation. Are you wondering about my link between prophecy and tongues? Clearly in first Corinthians 14 prophecy is the more elevated gift. That is the way he starts the chapter if you desire spiritual gifts desire the greater gifts, that you may prophesy. So he is really elevating prophecy. Tongues is subordinate. So if prophecy is gone, Ephesians 2:20, it is hard to imagine why the lesser of the two still be here. That was part of my reason for thinking that it is gone. The other reason both are revelatory. It is not that you need a prophet to interpret that tongues by its nature is a revelatory gift, prophecy by its nature is a revelatory gift and it looks like he Ephesians 2:20 would cancel out both of them. That is, these revelatory gifts of apostle or prophet are done away with.
Student question: when people come to you and say that they have spoken in tongues or such and such healing happened what do you say to those kinds of situations?
Answer: I think we have to be very charitable with people. For one thing we don't probably know unless there what the experience was, so we ought to be charitable and we ought to avoid a kind of instant cynicism with stories and so on. On the other hand, we ought to be encouragement to them to think about these things biblically. I will give you an example of when I was a student at Fuller seminary, this is what the signs and wonders movement hit. They had signs and wonders church growth class with John Wimber. They had these lab sessions after the evening class that would go on for two or three
hours with a healing service that took place that John Wimber presided over the and my wife at the time worked in the school of world Mission office in Fuller seminary and was good friends with the secretary there who was very ill one night and was not going to go to class because she was sick and it dawned on her what better time to go because they have this healing service. She went that night on a Friday night and came to work on Monday morning and said to my wife, Jody guess what, I was healed Friday night. Oh Nancy that is wonderful. What were you healed of? I had the flu, I was horrible, I was throwing up. So just like that you were healed? Actually, I had nausea on Saturday for a while. This was anything but. John Wimber’s ministry (he has passed
away now) the Vineyard ministry was very disappointed, so is John Piper because John Piper flew his whole staff to California and met with Wimber and kind of got involved in the Vineyard thing for a while and they too were very disappointed in terms of what they anticipated with the power of the kingdom manifestation was to be has not really been what they anticipated it or hoped would be.
Student question: It seems to me that one of the biggest problems with tongues and prophecy is that it would introduce the possibility of a new canon. If that is the case, if that is the main case, it seems to me that the time Paul writing he gave instructions on how they gift should be used. He didn't say or comment on whether or not they existed he was talking about I would rather I would rather you prophesie or when two or more you speak, speaking of it in the present tense. Then he goes so far as to say to evaluate the prophecy gives an indication of dismiss the prophecy because prophecy does not exist, but evaluate the prophecy when it does occur or is what is he saying is true. Am I misunderstanding, when Paul was writing the gift of prophecy was
Answer: Yes absolutely, otherwise why would even bother with it?
Student question: There is a sense in which the gift of prophecy is present with the prophets are not speaking (unintelligible question)
Answer: This is one of Wayne Grudem's arguments that I think is true. There is a difference, he even ends first Corinthians 14 as I mentioned
a moment ago.
1 Corinthians 14:37 If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord’s commandment. 1 Corinthians 14:38 But if anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized.
There is still that apostolic role trumps the prophet. This is one of Wayne Grudem's arguments. Wayne Grudem has been one of the strongest defenders of biblical inerrancy, inspiration, and authority of anybody in the past 30 years. Yet he holds this gift of prophecy. He does not believe that prophecy is at the same level as the inspired word of God. That is the complete and final and cannot be added to. I don't agree with him that the gift continues but I do agree that he makes a distinction between the two and that's a legitimate distinction. And you even see that in chapter 14.