A Question I Was Asked:



Where is it Stated in the New Testament, that Spiritual Gifts Ended with the Apostolic Age?








Where is it stated in the New Testament, that Spiritual Gifts ended with the Apostolic Age?


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UK Apologetics Reply:

Okay, good question. First off, it would be incorrect to state that the Gifts have now ceased, rather God sends Gifts appropriate to the needs of the Church at any particular point in time. The article Signs of an Apostle goes into some of this. Please refer to it. But read on here first. In short, the desire for more spectacular gifts is not Godly but born of vanity.

In so many words the New Testament probably does not state that particular Gifts have now concluded, and many of them have not, but God expects us to use our minds and intelligence to consider Christianity through the ages, and its record. What things were given just for the Apostolic age, and which other gifts were ongoing? I would say that the more spectacular ones, generally speaking, were for the Apostolic Age. Why? Because God wanted the message of Jesus and His Gospel to spread quickly (in an age without the press, or printing or any ability to mass communicate and with many erroneous divine claims floating around - Matthew 24:5). We have no clear New Testament statement on this, but neither do we have on some other things which we all accept. It is pretty obvious, I would say, that certain gifts were not for all time, but served a temporary purpose. Some very, very old books (I mean back in the 'church fathers' time) wrote about the age of miracles which was then passing and the writers accepted this.

Just to consider the Gift of healing, for instance, we must remember that the mere shadow of the Apostles passing before sick people was sufficient to heal those sick people back in the Apostolic era. Consider Acts 5:12-16 very carefully, we all know that does not happen today. There are other clues too on this. For example: why would James - in his epistle - give detailed instructions on how to handle the problem of sick Christians if supernatural healing - as a Gift of the Spirit - would continue to be available post-apostolic era?? James 5:13-16. He refers to individual anointing and prayer for the sick. He was looking ahead to when the Apostles would depart the earthly scene.

On several occasions I have prayed for the sick and they were healed. That does not mean I have any such thing as "the gift of healing," because I have prayed for others - including my own wife - and they were not healed, and have not been healed. I accept this as being God's will. Don't forget that many righteous people in the Bible - including Elisha - were not healed but died of their illness.

God equips His Church - of that there is no doubt - but He decides which gifts go where and at which time. No serious modern Bible commentator teaches that all - I repeat all - the Gifts of the Spirit continue into our modern era because it cannot be established by what we all witness. Any thing which helps the Church and Christians to function effectively may be regarded as a gift of God; some have this view that only the gifts listed by Paul are gifts of God. They go beyond that, Paul just listed a few.

Another point is that during the last few hundred years we have witnessed the lives of some great Christians, people such as the wonderful George Muller. Without question this man was given the Gift of Faith; he accomplished some incredible things simply by relying on God and upon His Word, yet George Muller never (as far as I know, but I have read two or three books on his life) manifested any of what one might call "the spectacular gifts," although what his ministry accomplished among the poor and orphans was certainly spectacular in a somewhat different manner. This should tell us a lot.

Oh, an associated question which could come up is this: Did not Mark say that '...these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues' ? (Mark 16:17). It is clear that this was for the 'Apostolic age' - the witness had to be powerful and dramatic for the good news about Jesus to spread fast which was plainly God's intention. Our own careful witness as hopefully honest, non-presumptuous and non-bragging Christians should tell us these things.

Here is a very good recent article on this general subject from another website: The Holy Spirit and Spiritual Gifts

But, again, I would recommend the careful reading of:
What Are The Signs of an Apostle?

Robin A. Brace. April 24th, 2018.

CHRISTIAN ASSURANCE IS FREELY YOURS (by George Muller)

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