Miraculous gifts today? Another temporary purpose (5)

Imagine what it would be like to hold an apostle’s handbook providing guidance for healing a dysfunctional church. Actually, we have held such guides many times. One of them is called 1 Corinthians.

Within this letter, Paul sought to alter the worldly-minded perspectives of a church possessing every spiritual gift (1 Corinthians 3:17; 3:1-3). One of his goals focused on promoting a healthy understanding regarding their participation in the diversity of the Spirit’s work within their church.

Yet it must have been very disappointing to them, to learn that part of Paul’s prescription involved popping their bubble about miraculous endowments. What Paul wrote within 1 Corinthians 12 through 14 provides yet another reason why some believe miraculous gifts have ended. Continue reading “Miraculous gifts today? Another temporary purpose (5)”

Miraculous gifts today? Laying on of hands (3)

Opinions contrast. Some claim God works miracles through his people today. Others say that God no longer gifts his people with miraculous abilities. What should not be overlooked is how definitions of the miraculous differ.  Thus to accurately understand what is being denied or affirmed requires first understanding how someone defines the miraculous.

Once such an understanding exists, the question still remains: why do some reject miraculous gifts today? The first reason revolves around observing how the Spirit chose to distribute these gifts. The baptism with the Spirit appears to have served a special purpose, while a second manner of distribution is no longer possible. Let’s take a look. Continue reading “Miraculous gifts today? Laying on of hands (3)”

Miraculous gifts today? Baptism with the Spirit (2)

What is it within scripture that has led some to conclude miraculous gifts ended with the apostles? An overview of one explanation begins by observing that God chose to impart miraculous abilities through the baptism with the Spirit and the laying on of the apostles’ hands. If neither of these is occurring today this could provide grounds for concluding God no longer empowers his disciples to perform miracles.

Rounding out their perspective is scripture’s stated purpose for miraculous gifts as well as its commentary about their temporary nature. However, first things first. What does scripture teach us about the baptism with the Spirit?

Continue reading “Miraculous gifts today? Baptism with the Spirit (2)”

Miraculous gifts today? Introductory observations (1)

Recently a fellow in our Wednesday class at a senior facility asked, “Why do some people teach miraculous gifts have ceased?” Several others piped in with comments like, “Why would anyone try to limit God’s power?”

In our world today some will deny any miracle is possible either now or in history. Yet for others, miracles continue to occur perhaps even daily. Then there is a third group who deeply believes in God’s power to operate in miraculous ways, yet they suggest that miraculous gifts have ceased. Why do they believe this? Continue reading “Miraculous gifts today? Introductory observations (1)”

How do I pray for the lost?

Last week after a Bible class a lady asked, “How should I pray for lost individuals?” Her question might seem a bit strange. This senior from a retirement home proceeded to explain, “If God has chosen who is going to be saved, then what business is it of mine to pray for someone who is lost?”

Another lady piped in, “The Bible says that God wants all people to repent.” The first lady continued, “These ideas of election and freewill are confusing. I don’t know how to pray for lost people.” Continue reading “How do I pray for the lost?”

A love that is fickle and a love that endures

Engaged couples often describe their fiancé as being their best friend. They can also feel deeply attracted to their fiancé as they experience the feeling that this will last forever. Is this enough?

The data, however, does not lie. We hear, “I fell out of love,” far too often. The love they thought would fill a lifetime evaporated.

Fortunately, there is another kind of love that does endure. When we understand how these types of love differ, we possess the ability to change the odds in our favor. Continue reading “A love that is fickle and a love that endures”

Bewildering hermeneutics, complexity and truth

I recently read a book whose opening chapters were bent on attacking a particular method of applying scripture to today’s world. The author proceeded to break down the process of that hermeneutical model into a series of bewildering charts filled with mind-numbing complexity.

Not only would any typical person want to run away from a process of such inane minutia, most Christians would probably despair of being capable of implementing it. His attack would seem to be successful. However, his assault unravels if we are willing to stop and think about it. Continue reading “Bewildering hermeneutics, complexity and truth”

Was this wise?

Was it wise to spend nearly a whole Sunday school quarter focused on pain, suffering and meaninglessness? Apparently so, if success can be measured by the participants’ enthusiasm each Sunday.

Am I correct in perceiving a tendency exists to gravitate toward the positive, uplifting and empowering? If this be the case why would anyone even consider wallowing for an extended time in such things as human suffering? You are probably already ahead of me in this article. Continue reading “Was this wise?”