Did the Gifts of the Spirit Cease?
The first thing that we have to figure out in dealing with the subject of spiritual gifts is the question “are spiritual gifts for today”.
There are two streams of thought concerning this question.
There are those that believe that spiritual gifts ended with the death of the last apostle. They believe that the spiritual gifts talked about in first Corinthians 12 are not for today but that they were part of ushering in the church age.
This theological viewpoint is called cessationism coming from the fact that they believed the gifts ceased.
They base this viewpoint on a passage in first Corinthians 13 verse eight where it says that prophecies will fail, tongues will cease, and knowledge will be done away with.
They tie that verse with a belief that there are no recorded instances of spiritual gifts being used in history after the death of the apostles.
The other viewpoint concerning spiritual gifts is that there was no “age of apostles” but that there is only the “church age”. This viewpoint is called continuationism.
This viewpoint believes that at the ascension of Christ and the subsequent pouring out of the Holy Spirit ushered in what is called the church age.
They believe that from that time until now we have been living in the church age.
Because of this, they believe the spiritual gifts or not limited to just the apostles but were and are available to every believer. They do not believe that the gifts of the spirit died out with the last apostle but were used throughout history up until our modern era.
They will wholeheartedly admit that there were times in history where the use of spiritual gifts waned but credit this to the spiritual condition of the church rather than believing it was God’s will that the gifts died out.
Their answer to the question are spiritual gifts for today is a resounding yes.
So let’s take a look at the scripture used by both camps to prove their viewpoint and let’s take a look at the historical record to see whether or not spiritual gifts are for today.
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