puritan lad wrote:
As a former Charismatic who has become Reformed, I have a few questions for my "tongues speaking" and "prophecying" brothers.
1.) What ever happened to the "gift of tongues" involving earthly languages (See Acts 2:5-6)? The same is true with the Gentiles in Acts 10:45-47, as Peter said that they “received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” This seems to be strangely lacking in the modern version of the gift, which made its first appearance in the early 1900's. Based on that, we would have to conclude that the modern gift, if anything, is not the same as the biblical gift, but something altogether different.
2. What is the modern "gift of prophecy"? It can't be special revelation from God Himself because that revelation ceased (Rev. 22:18). The Bible is the complete word of God. It is fully sufficient and is the “whole council of God”. There has been nothing held back that was profitable. It is not to be added to in any way, shape or form. A Prophet, by definition, must speak authoritative, inerrant, infallible words of the Living God, words that are equal in authority to the Bible itself. I have met many who claimed to have the “gift of prophecy” in my charismatic years. Trust me, they didn't have it. Their “prophecies” are either vague and meaningless, or they are riddled with errors. The biggest problem. of course, would be to determine what is "The Word of God". If we still have prophets, then we don't have the complete Word of God available in the Scriptures.
3.) How did the church manage to survive for nearly 2,000 years without these gifts? Either the modern charismatics are in error, or every church father from the second century to the 19th are in error. I have to go with the first choice.
I would highly recommend The Final Word by O. Palmer Robertson
First, I realize this is an old topic (the last post being in 2006) but new people come to this site and read these posts so it's new to them (us). I registered on 12-26-10.
The answer to your first question is that the "gift of tongues" in earthly languages as are all of the other gifts of the Spirit are still here in the body of Christ today. Just because we don't see or hear this gift in operation, doesn't mean it has ceased. God does not change and His gifts are irrevocable.
Question 2. The gift of prophecy is defined in 1Cor. 14:3. The gift is to edify, exhort and console the person(s) hearing the message. It does not necessarily involve forth-telling future events. Distinguishing between the gift of prophecy, the role of the Old Testament prophet and the New Testament prophet is extremely important. God gives the gift of prophecy to whomever He chooses and that person is not necessarily operating in the office of the prophet. The OT prophet, gave prophecies that when fulfilled had to be 100% correct, but he had another duty. He was the mouthpiece of God to direct and guide the nation of Israel. He was the watchman on the wall. He was to reveal the problems the Israelites were committing and to exhort them to repent and turn back to God. The NT prophet has the same duty-only it is to the church. He is to be the watchman on the wall. He is to point out where the church (usually the local assembly or even a person) is erring and encourage and exhort them to repent and turn back to God.
The five-fold ministry of God (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers) are still in operation. These five offices are "for the equipping the saints for the work of service,to the building up of the body of Christ; UNTIL we all attain the unity of faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God,to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ." (Eph. 4:11-13 NASU). Yes there are apostles and prophets operating in the church today.
Question 3. The church survived 2,000 years with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. They have not ceased and the gifts will be used more and more as we near the second coming of Jesus Christ. The church will operate in them in greater frequency as the Holy Spirit sheds God's grace (charisma-gifts) on us.
puritan lad, I know that it's been awhile since your post and I'm new here, but I hope this helps those who read this topic from now on.