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Hi Pastor Jim,

>>Sorry Dr Mark, the Bible does not say the gifts ceased. It says prophesy tongues and knowledge WIIL CEASE ( or WILL PASS AWAY ) when completeness or perfection comes.<<

Well we agree Paul says they "will pass away" [1 Cor. an early epistle] but when he writes his later epistles, Ephesians and Romans and discusses "gifts" of the Spirit at length, there's no mention of the miraculous gifts. In fact, the writer of Hebrews [a later book] looks on miracles as past [Heb.2:3-4]. By this time, the apostolic message & authority needed no further confirmation. Before the 1st century ended, the entire NT had been written and was circulating in churches. The revelatory gifts had 'ceased' to serve any purpose. And when the apostolic age ended with the death of the Apostle John, the signs that identified the apostles had already become moot [cf 2 Cor.12:12].

So tongues is only mentioned in the earliest NT books. Paul wrote 12 epistles after 1st Corinthians and never mentioned tongues again. Peter, James, Jude and John never mention it, and it's nowhere alluded to, or even found in the Apostolic fathers [Chrysostom stated categorically it had ceased by his time]. The only tongue speakers during the first 500 years of the church were branded as heretics.

Tongues were intended as a sign to unbelieving Israel. They signified that God had begun a work with Gentiles and would now speak to all nations and languages. They were a sign of the transition between the old and new covenants. With the establishment of the church a new day had dawned for the people of God. Once the period of transition was past the sign was no longer necessary. Today there's no need for a sign to show that God is moving from the single nation of Israel to all the nations. The history records [and the Bible] indicate tongues ceased.


>>I don't see that having come yet, but I do see tongues, prophecy and knowledge abounding and bringing life to Christians and glory to God.<<

You say the perfect hasn't "come yet", I differ. It's not Christ's return. The expression "that which is perfect" [1 Cor.13.10] is in the neuter gender in the Greek and could not refer to Christ or a person. In none of these verses does the word 'perfect' refer to a future eternal state Mt.5:48 Rom.12:2 1 Cor.2:6 Gen.6:9 Ps.19:7 Deut.32:4. The gifts at Corinth were "in part" [vs.9] when the perfect 'is come' they would be done away. The words "is come" [not "we go"] surely envisages something coming to earth from God. Paul does not say "when we have come to that which is perfect" but "when that which is perfect is come" God was sending it and when it was come, this perfect revelation of truth then the miraculous gifts with the part revelation [the baby ways of the early church] would be "done away".

If Paul refers to heaven then "prophecies and tongues" remain as our mode of receiving our revelation of church truth until then. This is of course nonsense, for we get our church truth today from the Bible and not through miraculous gifts. And the Scriptures claim to be a complete revelation; they reveal God as "face to face", not in a "glass darkly". Today God does not give gifts of knowledge, for if anyone wants knowledge they must study the Bible. Only in this way they can reflect as in a mirror the glory of the Lord [2 Cor.3:18].

You say that you "
see tongues, prophecy and knowledge abounding and bringing life to Christians and glory to God". Yet Paul describes these as "in part" [not perfect] and childish things, and a "poor reflection" compared to Scripture. Only knowing "in part" compared to knowing God as revealed in Scripture. Or, is experience the valid test of truth? I suggest its all a question of authority. What is the authority in your life? Experience or God's Word? Maturity, sanctification, and all legitimate experiences depend on the truth of Scripture. True growth in grace cannot be obtained through an experience. We must let our experience of the Word be based on that, not on inner feelings, supernatural phenomena, or other potentially counterfeit or untrustworthy evidences. And how can Christians be 'built up' when their minds are switched off to enable tongues to function?

The real test of spiritually is not having 'gifts' but in the walk of Christian love [1 Jn.3].

Regards
Mark Purchase



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