By Mark Jones
September 26, 2010
The Charismatic Gifts Debate
For my research paper I choose the charismatic gifts debate because coming from a Pentecostal/Charismatic background growing up in church, I know a little about the gift. With growing up in a Charismatic church, I saw the gifts in action. There is a lot of debate on whether the gift is relevant for today or have they ceased from the church. One side says that the gifts are in the past and is not relevant for the day that we live in and another side says that the gifts are still relevant for today. There is one group that says that if you do speak in tongues, then you are under demonic control and are not really saved. Both sides of the argument use scripture from the bible to justify their means. In the grand scheme of things, whether or not the spiritual gifts are for today is not a salvation issue. Therefore we should be gracious when it comes to debating this issue. In Romans 14:5, Paul wrote “One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.” (New American Standard Bible, 1960) As you can see, the bible leaves room for debate and the differences of opinion when it comes to the non-essential doctrine. The issue of whether the charismatic gifts is still around is still an issue that needs to be debated or not and needs charity from both sides of the argument. This is not an issue to divide the church over but many of them I hate to say has made chosen to make this an issue. I believe in my opinion that the charismatic gifts are still in use today. I don’t think that the gifts have ended with the apostles or with the completion of the bible. I will state the standard objection to the continuing of the spiritual gifts and then I will give what I believe is a basic but true evidence for the charismatic argument. One argument is that since we have the Bible we don’t need the charismatic gift. To prove their point they use 1 2
Corinthians 13:8-13. The verses say that “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. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love." (New American Standard Bible, 1995 revised) Some argue that “perfect” is the completed Bible and therefore the charismatic gifts are no longer needed. But I do not think in my opinion the verses can’t support their argument and here is why. In verse 12 it says “…then we shall see face to face.” The word “then” refers back to the phrase “when the perfect comes.” Since the only interpretation of scriptures is scripture, a quick examination of the way God uses the term should help understand the passage a little bit better. The phrase is used throughout the Bible and always means an encounter with that person. When God uses it in reference to himself, it means a visual and a personal encounter with God (Gen 32:30; Ex. 33:11; Num 12:8; Deut. 5:4; and Jer. 32:4). In the New Testament it is also used in speaking of a personal encounter (2 Cor. 10:1; 2 John 1:12; 3 John 1:14). “When the perfect comes… then we shall see face to face” seems to refer a personal encounter with God when the phrase is used. If the position taken that the “perfect” is the completed Bible, how then do we encounter God in the manner as the verse suggests an encounter with a person? Another “then” is mentioned in verse 12 “then I shall know fully, even
as I am fully known."...