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Posts tagged ‘Spiritual gift’

Respond to Your Call to Influence.


 

group of women
(http://www.stockfreeimages.com)

The church has not always recognized the spiritual gifts of women. But God has fashioned them to be key players in His kingdom.

Let’s imagine for a moment what the world would be like without women. All the wonderful traits women are capable of providing with exuberance—gentleness, nurture, care, refined beauty—would be missing.

Men possess these same qualities but in smaller supply; women, on the other hand, overflow with them. Without women the world would look like an army base where everything’s painted white or gray and designed for efficiency at the expense of beauty. An awful sense of incompleteness would permeate the planet.

Women have many qualities unique to their gender, one of the grandest being the ability to host life. This privilege to shelter another life at such an intimate level has been granted exclusively to Eve and her daughters.

Women can nurture their newborns through the most intimate interaction between a female adult and a child: breastfeeding. The image of a baby being nursed by a loving mother is a picture of total dependency, perfect care and the most sublime transfer of nurture from one being to another.

Women are also the ones who predominantly shape the character of their children during their crucial early years. They plant tender gestures in the inner layer of a child’s malleable soul and watch as, like the seeds in a flowerbed, the spiritual seeds sprout, spreading beauty over the adult landscape in the form of noble deeds.

When were the seeds planted? During the nurturing years when a child spends most of his time with a woman: his mother!

Jesus’ First Teacher
It was a woman, young Mary, who first heard beating within her the heart of God Incarnate when she was pregnant with Jesus. It was her hands that first touched Jesus’ body and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes.

Think for a moment what this reflects: God Almighty, Creator and Preserver of the universe, took the form of a baby and became dependent on the care of one of His creatures. When God experienced human flesh, with all its limitations, who was there to meet His needs? A woman.

Jesus’ mother, Mary, was His first teacher and also later His first disciple. No other human knew Jesus as intimately as Mary did.

Ponder for a moment the scene at Calvary. While most of Jesus’ frightened disciples hid at a distance, Mary and a group of faithful women gathered at the foot of the cross. Despite the pain and suffering Jesus endured, His last earthly concern was for a woman—His mother.

He could not forget that she had taken care of Him when His earthly life began. And now, as His life was about to end, Jesus lovingly turned her over to the care of His beloved disciple (see John 19:26-27).

Women’s Hall of Fame
Throughout the Bible are inspiring testimonies of other brave and brilliant women who were not mere privates in God’s army but key players who were given pivotal assignments at strategic points and in crucial times.

Moses’ mother challenged the pharaoh’s genocidal decree when she preserved the life of the one who would eventually lead millions of Hebrews to freedom (see Ex. 2).

Rahab held the keys to the taking of Jericho. By turning them in the right direction she assured the fall of the fortress city (see Josh. 2).

Hannah cried out to God for Samuel to be born, and he went on to become the greatest prophet and judge Israel ever knew (see 1 Sam. 1).

Deborah was an illustrious judge and a proven prophetess who delivered Israel from the mighty chariots of Jabin, the oppressing king of Canaan. Another woman, Jael, helped to bring total destruction to Jabin and his leading general, Sisera (see Judges 4-5).

Esther courageously risked her life to save her nation, God’s people, when they were in danger of being exterminated.

Sarah was called “mother of nations” by God Himself (see Gen. 17:16) and is listed among the heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11.

Priscilla and her husband, Aquila, instructed and guided Apollos, who had been preaching less-than-perfect theology (see Acts 18: 24-26). The fact that in most tranlations, Priscilla is listed first in this passage signifies the prominence of her role.

On the shoulders of these women—and countless more down through the ages—rested the fate of cities, tribes and nations.

Pillars of the Early Church
One of the main reasons Christianity spread so rapidly in the early years is because its message restored honor and self-worth to half the world’s population: women. Romans had such a low view of women that some men engaged in sex with other men. Jewish rabbis completely silenced women inside the synagogue, and pagans used them as temple prostitutes.

However, early church leaders dignified women by teaching that in Christ “there is neither male nor female” and we “are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28, NKJV). Women were also given positions of honor and leadership.

Priscilla, for instance, was part of the team that founded the church in Ephesus—site of the greatest power encounter recorded in the book of Acts. She was there, inside the crux of God’s power, when God dethroned Artemis and brought down the demonic socioeconomic structure that had controlled Ephesus.

Throughout the epistles women are unapologetically exalted as pillars of the faith. Paul identified two women as the headwaters of Timothy’s faith: his mother and his grandmother (see 2 Tim. 1:5). In Romans, a letter intended for wide circulation and public reading, Paul praised several women as people of faith and proven ministry (see Rom. 16:1-15).

The first European convert was a woman, Lydia, and hers was the first household to be baptized (see Acts 16:14-15). She was very assertive in her interaction with the apostles: “She begged us, saying, ‘If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.’ So she persuaded us” (v. 15).

Three centuries later, the driving force behind Constantine’s conversion and the subsequent Christianization of the Roman Empire was another woman, Helena, the emperor’s mother.

Extraordinary Sensitivity
Women have an extraordinary sensitivity to spiritual things. I am not saying that they are more godly than men, but I believe they are definitely more spiritual. This is why Jesus was able to reveal two of the most powerful truths in the gospels to women.

He told Martha that He is the resurrection and the life (see John 11:25-27). To the Samaritan woman Jesus explained that He is the living water (see John 4:7-15). These women were in a state of confusion when Jesus found them, but both were able to hear, understand and believe these profound truths.

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Spirit and Truth, Right Brain and Left Brain.


Michael Brown
Michael Brown

The more I interact with my cessationist brothers and sisters, the more I see that in many ways, we are passing each other like ships in the night, and it has nothing to do with one side being committed to the Lord and the other not.

Instead, it seems as if we sometimes have fundamentally different ways of looking at the same things—fundamentally different perspectives and, in a sense, fundamentally different “spiritual personalities.”

How can we better understand each other, learn from each other and serve together to glorify Jesus and touch a dying world? I take an entire chapter in my just-released Authentic Fire book to address this very question.

Now, to be perfectly clear, I am absolutely convinced that the Scriptures testify clearly to the ongoing nature of the gifts of the Spirit. In fact, the longest chapter in Authentic Fire is devoted to studying that issue in depth.

At the same time, it is clear to me that both charismatics and cessationists have unique contributions to make to the church and to the world and that there are personality traits unique to each camp.

With this in mind, I propose that we take a few minutes and make a real attempt to understand each other better, putting aside our theological differences and focusing instead on our “spiritual personalities.”

Now, there is no question that one person’s strength is often another person’s weakness, and vice versa. Some people are totally analytical, others totally intuitive. Some people love to confront; others love to comfort. Some are didactic teachers, others motivational leaders. Some people are born to invent, others to research and record patents for inventions; some are born to lead armies, others to care for the elderly—and you had better believe these respective giftings are quite different.

It’s the same thing in terms of our spiritual personalities, and the better we understand each other, the better we can be of help to one another. As Paul wrote in Romans 12, “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them” (Rom 12:4-6, ESV).

One believer is circumspect and sober but can tend toward skepticism; another believer is willing to step out in faith but can tend toward gullibility. Each one needs the other.

Consider the words of Jesus in John 4:24, where He said that “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit [or Spirit] and truth.”

Obviously, there is total harmony between spirit (or Spirit) and truth, and it is not a matter of either-or but of both-and. At the same time, Jesus is describing two elements here, spirit (or Spirit) and truth, and on a certain level (and I’m simply using this text here to make a point rather than claiming that this was what Jesus meant), charismatics, who are people of the Spirit, can put more emphasis on spirit/Spirit, whereas cessationists, who are people of the truth, can put more emphasis on truth. Both are equally essential.

Consider also the Lord’s rebuke of the Sadducees in Matthew 22:29: “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God” (NIV). Knowing both God’s Word and God’s power are essential for spiritual soundness and fruitful ministry. Knowing one without the other leads to errors and extremes. Knowing neither is fatal. Jesus emphasized the importance of both.

But it is possible (and all too common) for believers to be so heavily into the Word (in terms of studying the Bible and learning the original languages and getting into proper exegesis and theology) that they lose the vibrancy of their fellowship with the Lord and lack greatly in the empowering of His Spirit (although this ought not be the case, since both biblical study and spiritual passion should go hand in hand).

On the flip side, it is possible (and all too common) for believers to be so heavily into the things of the Spirit (in terms of wanting to see God’s power touch a dying world and cultivating worship and intimacy with God) that they become sloppy in their study of Scripture and doctrinal foundations (although, again, this ought not be the case).

I know that my Scripture-expositing, cessationist brethren sometimes listen aghast to the charismaticeisegetics of some TV preachers, while our Spirit-filled, charismatic brethren look aghast at the power-depleted ministries of some cessationist colleagues.

Why not have both the accurate Word and the power of the Spirit? And can you really have an accurate understanding of the Word without acknowledging the Spirit’s power for our day? And can you really walk in the fullness of the Spirit without being grounded in the Word?

The truth is, as much as there is some “charismatic chaos,” there is also some “Baptist boredom.” One group sometimes falls into fanaticism, the other group into formalism, and both are equally wrong and dangerous (although each group sees the other’s weaknesses as being far more dangerous, tending to exaggerate them as well because they seem so foreign).

Wouldn’t it be great if, through learning from each other and listening to each other, we could produce fire and faithfulness, power and precision, energetic worship and exegetical wisdom? After all, aren’t we commanded to love God with all our heart and all our mind and all our soul and all our strength?

Just think of what happens when there is holy cross-pollination! To the extent that we have both Word and power, truth and Spirit operating in our lives, it will be life-giving for us and helpful for others.

(Excerpted and adapted from Authentic Fire: A Response to John MacArthur’s Strange Fire, where I give practical examples of how this works out in our daily lives in the Lord.)

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

MICHAEL BROWN

Michael Brown is author of Hyper-Grace: Exposing the Dangers of the Modern Grace Message and host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network. He is also president of FIRE School of Ministry and director of the Coalition of Conscience. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or at @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.

A Great Big Blind Spot.


Michael Brown
Michael Brown

On Oct. 24, I began to write a new book entitledAuthentic Fire: A Response to John MacArthur’sStrange Fire. By God’s grace, three weeks (and more than 400 pages) later, with contributions from Craig Keener and Sam Storms and others, the book was completed and is now available as an e-book.

In the next few articles, I’ll share some of the key contents of the book with the hope that this will help deepen our hunger for God’s truth and God’s Spirit. Here, I’ll focus on Chapter 3 of Authentic Fire, entitled “A Great Big Blind Spot,” where I examine Pastor MacArthur’s claims that:

1. “The charismatic movement as such has made no contribution to biblical clarity, no contribution to interpretation, no contribution to sound doctrine.”

2. “People who have any connection to Judaism and Christianity have a connection to philanthropy. It is a striking anomaly, however, that there is essentially zero social benefit to the world from the Charismatic Movement. Where’s the charismatic hospital? Social services? Poverty relief? This is a scam.”

3. “The movement itself has brought nothing that enriches true worship.”

4. “I’ll start believing the truth prevails in the Charismatic Movement when its leaders start looking more like Jesus Christ.”

I’m sure that some of you are shaking your heads, wondering how a leader of Pastor MacArthur’s caliber could make such extreme statements (either in his Strange Fire book or at the Strange Fire conference).

One answer would be willful ignorance, meaning he knows what he is saying is false and yet he says it anyway. To that I can only say God forbid. My esteem for Pastor MacArthur and my commitment to walk in love toward him does not allow me to consider this possibility even for a moment.

What then is the problem? If it is not willful ignorance, then it must a blind spot—a great, big blind spot, one that is so large that it does not allow him (or those who follow in his footsteps) to see these issues clearly.

In Authentic Fire, I take almost 35 pages to expose this blind spot. Let me take a few paragraphs here to address the first of these four claims, touching very briefly on the last three claims at the end of this article.

Have charismatics, as such, made real contributions to biblical clarity, interpretation and sound doctrine? Absolutely!

Of course, one could immediately challenge the idea that the positive contributions of charismaticscholars and theologians as charismatics can somehow be separated from the positive contribution of charismatic scholars and theologians in general.

This would be like discounting most (or all) of the positive contributions of cessationist scholars and theologians since, it could be argued, they did not primarily make those contributions as cessationists. Not only so, but this line of thinking actually produces a false dichotomy, as if you can easily separate one’s theology and spiritual experience from the whole of one’s life—be it in biblical interpretation, theology, worship, acts of service or character.

Still, let’s answer this question on Pastor MacArthur’s terms, since it can easily be demonstrated that charismatics as such have made wonderful contributions to biblical interpretation, theology and sound doctrine.

To this day, the most widely read devotional is My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. What many readers do not know is that the transforming experience for Chambers as a believer was beingbaptized in the Spirit, and from 1907-1910, he was a traveling speaker and representative of the Pentecostal League of Prayer.

Go back and read Chambers again, noting the depth of his spiritual penetration, his exaltation of Jesus and his pointing to the work of the Spirit, and recognize that this beloved author believed in the baptism of the Spirit and ministered as a Pentecostal, although he opposed division over the question of tongues.

And how about A.W. Tozer, read more today than he was in his lifetime, famous for extraordinarily rich books like The Knowledge of the Holy?

Tozer was mentored by F.F. Bosworth, author of Christ the Healer and an early Pentecostal leader who was touched at Azusa Street, and Tozer believed the gifts of the Spirit were for God’s people today.

It was Tozer who once wrote, “If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95 percent of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference.”

This makes much more sense now.

In the realm of biblical scholarship, some of the world’s foremost New Testament scholars speak in tongues (and/or affirm the gifts of the Spirit for today), including Gordon Fee, Craig Keener, Ben Witherington, Peter H. Davids, and N.T. Wright. (Wright described tongues as being “like a private language of love.”) There is no question that their spiritual experiences have enhanced their scholarship (think of Fee on 1 Corinthians or on the Holy Spirit in Paul; think of Keener on Acts or on miracles, past and present; think of Davids on healing in 1 Peter and James [Jacob]).

And then there are leading philosophers like J.P. Moreland, committed to integrating rigorous intellectualism with the power of the Spirit, and scholars like Wayne Grudem, general editor of the ESV, whose theological studies include an emphasis on continuationism. (In fact, the emphasis on the continuance of the gifts of the Spirit is an important doctrinal contribution by the Charismatic Movement.)

This is just the tip of the iceberg, but it is enough to expose this massive blind spot in the Strange Fire camp.

As for the question of “Where is the charismatic hospital?” how about Calcutta Mercy Hospital, founded by Pentecostal missionaries Mark and Huldah Buntain, serving 100,000 needy Indian patients every year? This is actually one of countless charismatic hospitals and ministries of mercy.

And what of Teen Challenge, a ministry of compassion birthed in the Spirit and carried on by the Spirit? (Again, the list is almost endless.)

As for the charge that the Charismatic Movement has made no real contribution to worship (!), just think of Hillsong or the Vineyard or even Jack Hayford himself (author of “Majesty”), just to mention a very few out of many.

As for the charge that charismatics need to look more like Jesus before their truth claims can be taken seriously, think of Corrie ten Boom of Hiding Place fame, one of the most beloved, godly women of the 20th century and a committed, tongues-speaking charismatic—and she is one of millions.

You can read more in the Authentic Fire book, but enough has been said here to render this great, big blind spot exposed.

And that is good news, not bad news, since all this is to the glory of God, not man, with the help of the Spirit and for the good of the world and the church.

Rather than argue about it, we should rejoice.

(Print versions of the book are only available through our ministry at AskDrBrown.org.)

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

Michael Brown is author of Hyper-Grace: Exposing the Dangers of the Modern Grace Message and host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network. He is also president of FIRE School of Ministry and director of the Coalition of Conscience. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or at @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.

Michael Brown’s ‘Authentic Fire’ Book Answers John MacArthur’s Accusations.


Michael Brown
Michael Brown

John MacArthur set off a firestorm of debate in November when he launched his Strange Fire book and conference flatly charging the charismaticchurch with irreverence to the Holy Spirit, heresy through prosperity teaching and other offenses.

Now charismatic Bible scholar and theologian Michael L. Brown is offering an in-depth response in an e-book entitled Authentic Fire: A Response to John MacArthur’s Strange Fire. Indeed, the book confronts one of the most explosive current debates among Christians.

“We feel there’s a real urgency to get this message out,” says Tom Freiling, director of Excel Publishers and founder of Xulon Press. “That’s why we’re releasing Authentic Fire as an e-book. MacArthur unfairly criticizes charismatics in his book, and the body of Christ deserves a response. There’s no better scholar and author than Michael L. Brown to make the biblical case for charismatic theology.”

In direct contrast to the “collective war” launched by MacArthur, Brown makes a biblical case for the continuation of the New Testament gifts of the Spirit and demonstrates the unique contribution to missions, theology and worship made by the charismatic church worldwide.

Brown also calls for an appreciation of the unique strengths and weaknesses of both cessationists andcharismatics, inviting readers to experience God. And he demonstrates how charismatic leaders have been addressing abuses within their own movement for decades.

“This project is innovative on many levels,” Freiling continues. “First, the author wrote the book miraculously in less than one month—all 420 pages with hundreds of endnotes. Second, we designed, typeset and produced the e-book in a mere two weeks.”

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

Are Church Leaders Responsible for Church Members?.


Church service

(Lightstock)

Several times, the apostle Paul wrote about the church as the “body of Christ” (Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor. 12:12; Eph. 4:12; Col. 1:24). While this image is only one of dozens of images of the church in the New Testament, it is a most helpful one.

Thinking and applying this image properly should lead us to consider several implications for the church and church leadership:

1. The church is God’s, not ours. This point is clear in 1 Corinthians 12. Everyone in the church is empowered by the same Spirit (vv. 6, 11). We were all baptized into God’s body through the Spirit (v. 13). God arranges all of us in the body as He chooses (v. 18). He appoints leaders in the body (v. 28), and He can do so as He desires because the body is His body. This simple truth reminds us that while we may be the leaders, the story is not about us. God can, and will, raise up other leaders if we decide the church is ours.

2. We really are family. The body of Christ is genuinely family, even if we do not share a physical lineage. All of us hurt when one of us hurts; all rejoice when one rejoices (vv. 25-26). God somehow takes people who previously worshipped mute idols (vv. 2-3) and makes them part of His body. We then share the love so beautifully described in 1 Corinthians 13.

3. Every member matters. The body is made up of many members, but all of the members form one body (vv. 12-13). In fact, God gives spiritual gifts to each member of the body (vv. 4-11), and the body needs all the gifts. No person is insignificant in God’s eyes. That means I must love even the church member who seemingly can give little in return.

4. The seemingly less significant need more attention, not less. It’s easy to focus on only those members who are equipped, ready and willing. Those less ready to serve require time and energy. On the other hand, Paul said that God gives attention needed to the “less presentable” so they fit well in the body. We must do the same. Sometimes the “less presentable” are that way because no one has given them time.

5. We must be comfortable with diversity. If everyone were an ear, there would be no body (vv. 17-19). We need ears, eyes, noses and arms to be a body. Let’s be honest, though: If I’m an ear, I’m more comfortable hanging out with others who are also ears. That kind of thinking only hinders the body.

6. Every member has a role in the body. He may be an eye, or she may be an ear—but each one has a purpose. This truth has huge ramifications for the church. Not only must we assume that each member has a purpose, but we must also help these members find their place in the body.

7. We learn to serve within the body. We have different gifts, but the same God grants these gifts (v. 4-11). By implication, we help one another recognize these gifts as we serve—that is, we do something—in the context of His body. The ear serves, others recognize and affirm his abilities and gifts, and he begins to see how he fits in the body. Hence, we must have in place a means to help people serve in entry-level positions. We must help them discover their giftedness.

These next two implications, I suspect, will raise some questions. I separate them here to encourage you to give them some extra thought.

8. We are responsible for uninvolved church members. I hear it all the time: “My church members just won’t serve. They just won’t get busy.” Here’s my response to that thought: If church members come to our churches and “only sit,” they do so because we allow them to do so. They do so because we have not done our job as leaders to help them find their place of service and then hold them accountable.

9. We are responsible for overworked church members. We love the members who are committed to serving anywhere, anytime, doing anything. We appreciate the person who is willing to be an ear, an eye, a hand, a leg and a nose—perhaps all in the same week. Here’s the problem, however: God does not intend for one church member to play all the roles. Our members get overworked, too, because we fail to lead our church to understand and live out New Testament “body life.”

Perhaps I’m overstating my case, but I don’t think so. Let me know your thoughts.

Written by Chuck Lawless

Chuck Lawless serves as professor of evangelism and missions and as dean of graduate studies at Southeastern Seminary. You can connect with Dr. Lawless on both Twitter and Facebook.

For the original article, visit thomrainer.com.

{ Day 301 }.


Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. —Romans 5:1-2

There is no way anyone will understand justification by grace appropriated only through faith without looking at it from God’s perspective. When we see the holiness of God on one hand and the depth of mankind’s sin on the other, a lot of things come into a new light. Justification by faith alone makes sense only when you realize that no amount of human effort could bridge that immeasurable gap. No amount of consecration or sanctification could earn the right to the gifts of the Spirit any more than indulgences could gain forgiveness or Simon’s money could purchase God’s power. Gifts of the Spirit are given based on the grace of God, not on the maturity, wisdom, and character of the vessel.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, there is a great gulf that stands between Your perfect holiness and the sinful, hopeless condition of mankind. Nothing but a simple faith in You can bridge that gulf and cause Your forgiveness and mercy to flood over my soul.

God’s solution on the cross makes sense
when you realize that the human effort
equation is hopelessly flawed.

By MIKE BICKLE.

The ‘Strange Fire’ of John MacArthur.


John MacArthur
John MacArthur

As a lifelong Pentecostal-charismatic, I recommend that every Pentecostal-charismatic leader read Strange Fire by John MacArthur. I say this because we need to see how the bizarre “spiritual” behavior and doctrinal extremes by some in our movement are viewed by those on the outside, and used to whitewash the entire movement.

We have done a very poor job of addressing these problems from within, so I do not doubt that God has raised up a voice that is fundamentally opposed to our movement to address these extremes. If God could use a pagan Babylonian king to discipline His people in Israel for their sins (see Jer. 25:8-11), could He not use a merciless fundamentalist preacher to point out our shortcomings?

That being said, MacArthur’s latest book does not represent an honest search for truth. It is obvious that his mind was already made up when he began his research for Strange Fire, and he found what he was looking for. He presents a circular argument, beginning with a faulty premise and proceeding with selective anecdotal evidence that determines the outcome.

He begins with a commitment to cessationism, i.e., the belief that the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit were withdrawn from the church after the death of the 12 apostles and the completion of the writings of the New Testament. That being the case, then modern expressions of spiritual gifts must be false. He then utilizes the selective anecdotal evidence to buttress his presupposition, which leads him back to his starting point of cessation.

It seems that MacArthur wants to believe the worst about the movement of which he writes. At times I felt he was embellishing the bad to make it even worse. For example, Oral Roberts was not a Christian brother with whom he had profound differences but a heretic who did much damage to the body of Christ—“the first of the fraudulent healers to capture TV, paving the way for the parade of spiritual swindlers who have come after him,” he wrote.

Make no mistake about it, MacArthur is not out to bring correction to a sector of Christianity with which he disagrees; his goal is to destroy a movement he considers false, heretical and dangerous.

MacArthur is either unaware or purposely ignores the historical evidence for the continuation of the miraculous gifts of the Spirit as was presented in my book, 2000 Years of Charismatic Christianity. He ignores clear statements of church fathers such as Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian and Augustine about healings and miracles in their time. He uses Augustine’s statement about tongues being “adapted to the times” as an argument that the gifts had ceased. He ignores, however, Augustine’s later works, including Retractions, in which he acknowledges the ongoing miraculous work of the Spirit and tells of miracles of which he is personally aware.

MacArthur’s biblical argument for cessation is also very weak. He relies primarily on Ephesians 2:20, where Paul told the Ephesian believers that they were being built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. He then argues that the gift of apostleship was only for the foundational period of the church, which in his mind is the first century. He goes on to say that the other gifts of the Spirit passed away with the gift of the apostle.

This, at its best, is convoluted thinking that goes far beyond what the text actually says. Paul’s point in this passage is not to teach cessationism, but to show the common faith of Gentile and Jewish believers in that both are built on the same foundation, which is Jesus Himself, and this fact is witnessed to by the Old (prophetic) and New Testament (apostolic) writings.

MacArthur’s disdain for women and their prominence in the Pentecostal-charismatic movement spills over when he refers to 1 Corinthians 14:34, which carries the admonition for women to be silent in the churches. He then says, “Given the nature of typical Pentecostal and charismatic church services, simply following that final stipulation would end most of the modern counterfeit.” He fails, however, to address the fact that Scripture itself states that women will have a prominent voice when the Holy Spirit is poured out on all flesh, as Peter so eloquently stated in Acts 2:17-18. The prominence of women, therefore, may be seen as an indication that the modern Pentecostal-Charismatic movement is a genuine work of the Holy Spirit.

In summary, we who embrace the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in the Church and the world must not flinch or compromise our commitment because of Strange Fire. At the same time, may we be diligent to address the errors and extremes that always creep in to any Spirit-filled movement, whether the church in Corinth, early Methodism or the modern Pentecostal-charismatic movement.

This article originally appeared at pneumareview.com.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

Eddie L. Hyatt is a seasoned minister of the gospel, having served as a pastor, teacher, missionary and professor of theology in the U.S. and Canada and having ministered in India, Indonesia, England, Ireland, Sweden, Poland and Bulgaria. His ministry is characterized by a unique blend of the anointing of the Holy Spirit with academic excellence and over 40 years of ministerial experience. Visit him online at eddiehyatt.com.

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