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Miracles: The Cessation Of Spiritual Gifts

MIRACLES: The Cessation of Spiritual Gifts

Cecil Willis
Marion, Indiana

In this article, we are concerned with when did or will miracles cease. I maintain that they have already ceased, and others contend that they have not ceased as yet, but that they will cease at some future time. It might aid in clarifying the point of difference if we point out just exactly what the controversy is about. It is not about whether miracles were performed in the New Testament time or not, for I verily believe they were. It certainly is not whether God has the power to perform miracles or not, or believing God did perform miracles through the apostles and early disciples; certainly I believe He has the power to do so. Furthermore, if God chose to work a miracle today, He would definitely have the power to do so, being an infinite God. It is not whether Jews only received miraculous power for both Jews and Gentiles received miraculous gifts. So that is not the point of difference. Well, what is the point of discussion? It is simply whether God is working miracles though men today or not. It is not a question of power, but a question of fact. We want to study some of the passages on the cessation of miraculous gifts in this article. Also we shall note some of the arguments advanced seeking to prove that miracles are yet being performed.

First let us turn to 1 Corinthians 13: “Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall be done away; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall be done away. For we know in part, and we prophecy in part; but when that which is perfect is come, that which in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child: now that I am become a man, I have put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I be known fully even as also I was fully known. But know abideth faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love” (vs. 8-13). In this passage Paul was definitely talking about the time when prophecies would be done away-spiritual gifts would cease. He mentions the time when prophecies would be done away, tongues would cease, and knowledge would be done away. It should be apparent to all that Paul was speaking of miraculous .powers, and the time when they would be no more. Prophecies, tongues and knowledge were miraculous gifts. It is absurd for a person to declare that if one teaches that miraculous gifts were done away there is no knowledge left in the earth. Note the specific knowledge that Paul had in mind: “For to one is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:8). In this passage Paul was enumerating the spiritual gifts. One of them was the gift of knowledge. While I certainly believe that natural knowledge is yet in the world, I do not believe that any man today has supernatural power. The apostles were told to take no thought what they, should say, for it would be given to them of their Father who is in heaven (Matt. 10:19). If these men who claim to have miraculous gifts of divine knowledge have such power, I could ask them to quote any passage in the Bible and even though they may never have memorized it, by divine power they could recite it. Find such a person. We would like for him to be tested.

From Metropolitan Bible Baptist Church, Perth, WA, Australia
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