Tuesday, March 20, 2012

On healing, tongues and special knowledge

It has been a while since I have done a post on theology. But there have been cases now where I have to take a stand on the 'charismatic' gifts. This is a contentious issue, so I want to start off with my presuppositions:
  1. Let me list what I am NOT talking about:
    • "Holy" laughter
    • Falling on the floor (being 'slain' in the 'spirit')
    • Speaking in 'angelic' tongues
    All of these are never mentioned in the bible as occuring, are used by it's proponents to create classes of Christians and are just plain illogical. If the fruit of the Spirit is self control, none of these fall into a category that is consistent with God.
  2. I have ALWAYS been a cessationist (believing that the charismatic gifts have ceased). Before I was a Christian (but wanted to be one), I did not follow this. I have to admit even as a small child I strongly rejected the idea of these gifts working today.
  3. As a cessationist, I do not limit the power of God. God can and does heal every day. When you break a leg, He knits it back together. What I object to is the concept of 'healers' and 'miracle workers' - not healing and miracles

With that out the way, let us look at the bible:
1 Corinthians 13
1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,
5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,
6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 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.
9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part;
10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.
12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.
13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

If we look at the text, we have to see that Paul is saying that prophecy, tongues and special knowledge will cease. The obvious question becomes: When?
James 5:14-15
14 Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord;
15 and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.

Why does James just say call for Pastor Chris or Benny Hinn? Why call the elders? Why is James laying this down if he did not believe that healing had already began to cease?
Revelation 22:18 - 19
18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book;
19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and [i]from the holy city, which are written in this book.

The bible says that prophecy is closed. Anyone claiming to know anything about the future other than what is revealed in scripture is a false prophet.

But besides this, look at 1 Corinthians 13:11. Why is that there? This is something that was brought to my attention yesterday. It is saying that the "childish" things of the church will fade: prophecy, tongues, special knowledge. So someone who practices these are still stuck in childish ways. The mature Christian practices faith, hope and love.

But then what about God? Have I put Him in a box? Of course not. God is free to do what He wills when He wills. But He gave us His word so that we might know and love Him properly. God tells us how He works in the bible. He has told us these things will cease, and so let it be. Does this mean God does not do these things HIMSELF? No - God does these things all the time (He IS the future, He can speak all languages, and He knows all there is to know.)

What this all means is that God can still communicate through time, language, dreams etc, but that if He does it will be PERSONAL. Just for you. There are cases of people being told by God in dreams to do this. God used John Bunyan's dreams VERY mightily. But they are not evidences or for mass edification. The BIBLE is for that.

There is a final point I must make regarding healing. If we are sick, we have to remember that God is sovereign. We may not be ill because of sin, but we are definitely where we are in life so that He may be most glorified. Do not rush to be healed before asking God why He permitted you to be sick. Take some serious stock. These are words coming from a man regarding his sickness, but whom also suffered mightily for the name of Christ:
2 Corinthians 12:9
9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.


Anonymous said...

According to the King James Version

Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

9For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

10But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

It is simply stating , knowlegde , tongues and prophecy will all fall away when we are reunited with our God and King .

To be honest if it is such an issue in your life and you are having problems discerning what is right and wrong you can do a number of things :

1. Pray about it and be patient
2. Medidate on a scripture for year .
3. You can fast
4. You do a spiritual course .
5. You can pray with another person about this over a period of a couple of months
6. You can give an offering to the church in hope of an answer
7. You can tithe in hope of an answer
8. You can research every verse on the subject and pin them up in your house and read them as often as possible and the word of God will reveal the truth to you .
9. You can read bible studies on the matter
10. You can dicsuss and pray about it with your paster
11. You can declare in Jesus name that you will recieve the right answer

These are some of the tools you can use . I would suggest finding tools for spiritual discernement .

Anonymous said...

Please correct your spelling of tongues. Otherwise, I agree with your point of view.

Quintin said...

Good day all, I have corrected the spelling on the blog, but I have also banned Anonymous comments. This is so I can respond to people by name.

Hi Anonymous 1:
There are two options for interpretation:
1. They have EVERYTHING to do with the 'charismatic gifts,' in which case they will only cease when Christ comes.
2. They have NOTHING to do with the 'charismatic gifts,' and is talking about how love will endure, but teaching (prophecy), languages (real languages - not the riddle-dey-piddle-dey that Jesus clearly rebukes in Matthew 6:7) and partial knowledge of things.

Now here are the issues:
1. Where is the sovereignty of God in the lives of the believer?
2. Where is the gospel?

These ARE the two important questions. Why is it that people look for miracles when Jesus says "A wicked and perverse generation" seeks after them? If we should learn anything from the old testament, it is that no matter what, God is faithful and we are not. So often the question posed to me is "Do you deny that God CAN do these things if He wanted to?" My answer, of course is no, but that is not an excuse for 'practicing' them.

So there you have it - wicked and perverse people seek after miracles - note that miracles themselves are not wicked or perverse, but only those who seek after them. Let God do the miracles, you get busy with doing His work. If someone is sick, follow James 4, not someone who is a 'practicer' of miracles - they defy the Glory of God by claiming they have some sort of special ability.

This can even be found in Paul's letters - he has a wound that God would not allow to be healed. If Paul had to deal with it, we have to imagine that sometimes God is bettering us through trial.

I want to thank you for clearing up my interpretation on this verse. I will not go back to it as a reference for Charismania, I will go straight for Matthew 16:4.

As for your solutions, while I agree with some and not with others, we have to remember God is sovereign and the answer may never be given until glory. Putting God on some sort of leash, like giving Him ultimatums and periods of time, is not humbling yourself before God. We need to bow low, like Job, and we are not promised to prosper while in the world at it's current state. I would encourage you to consider the first 10 options you gave, and see which ones fall into the "completely humble before God" category. If the answer is demanded, are we not behaving greedily and obnoxiously before our gracious Father?

However this point:
"11. You can declare in Jesus name that you will recieve the right answer"
Is completely off the mark (I am thankful we got to chat about this personally, so you know when I attack this I am not attacking YOU). There is no scriptual re-enforcement for this to my knowledge (and I looked!). The 'name it and claim it' theology is a detriment to the kingdom of God, just as the 'health, wealth and prosperity' gospel, along with the 'Jesus loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life' and the 'you have a hole in your heart on Jesus can fill' gospels being from the pit itself. I apologise for the emotional reaction here, but there are times to draw lines in the sand, and people who utter these dreadful statements it is evidence of a lack of biblical understanding of the ONLY true gospel, that Jesus came and died, that we may be forgiven to glorify His name, not that we may sit pretty.