Article 26. Spiritual Gifts

Purpose of the Offices

God gave the church 5 main offices during the open-canon age: Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, and Teacher. The purpose of these offices was to let people know who were in authority during the open-canon age so that there would be unity and clarity in both orthodoxy and orthopraxy in God’s churches. Ephesians 2:20, Ephesians 4:11-12

Purpose of Spiritual Gifts

God sovereignly bestows spiritual gifts upon individual believers for three reasons: (1) to authenticate the message and authority of Jesus and the Apostles, (2) to mature and strengthen the body of Christ, and (3) to prove that salvation is not only for the Jews but also for the Gentiles. 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 28, 31, Ephesians 4:11-12; Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 13:8-10, Hebrews 2:3-4, Acts 4:10-16, John 2:11, Acts 5:12-16, 1 Corinthians 14:21-22, Isaiah 28: 11-12

Cessation of the Offices

Of the five, the offices of the Apostle and the Prophet have ceased with the completion of the New Testament Scriptures and the death of the apostles. Attesting to the cessation of the Apostolic Office is the fact that Paul said that he was the last apostle (1 Corinthians 15:8) and James the brother of John was not replaced when he died (Acts 12:2).

Regarding the Prophetic Office, the test for a prophet’s authenticity is the accuracy of the prophecy (Deuteronomy 18:15-22 and 2 Peter 1:21), the doctrinal orthodoxy of the prophecy (Deuteronomy 13:1-5), and the personal moral integrity of the prophet (1 John 1:6, 2:4, 15-17). Scripture is consistent that prophecies are (1) verbal, (2) propositional, (3) infallible, and (4) carries the full weight of divine authority. No records are found in Scripture or in antiquity of any person who fits these standards after the completion of the canon, and rightly so because the Bible is now our guide and standard for training in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Hebrews 1:2, Jude 1:3

Cessation of Certain Spiritual Gifts

Because one of the primary purposes of the supernatural gifts was to authenticate the message and authority of the apostles, these gifts have ceased along with the offices of the Apostle and the Prophet. The supernatural gifts include: prophecy, speaking in earthly languages/ tongues (the bible does not leave room for speaking gibberish), interpretation of tongues, miracles, healing, and special knowledge. This is attested to by the fact that (1) the supernatural gifts are addressed comprehensively only once in the entire New Testament, in arguably the most troubled church during that time – Corinth – and never again comprehensively mentioned or even commended elsewhere, (2) Paul downplays the value the supernatural gifts in maturing and strengthening the body of Christ compared to the fruits of the Holy Spirit, and (3) Paul no longer healed Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:25-27), Trophimus (2 Timothy 4:20), Timothy (1 Timothy 5:23), or even himself (2 Corinthians 12:7-9) during the later years of the open-canon era.

This however, does not mean that such miracles would never happen. God is not limited in His ability to perform miracles at His will, but He has chosen to remove these sign gifts from the realm of human performance as a normative occurrence. 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 28, 31, Ephesians 4:11-12; Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 13:8-10, Hebrews 2:3-4, Acts 4:10-16, John 2:11, Acts 5:12-16, 1 Corinthians 14:21-22, Isaiah 28: 11-12.

Baptism in the Holy Spirit

The baptism in the Holy Spirit happens at conversion, when the Holy Spirit places the believer into union with Christ and His body. This was predicted by John the Baptist and by Jesus, and was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost. As such, there is no “second baptism”, “subsequent baptism”, “further indwelling” or any other baptism aside from the one that unifies us with Christ. Mark 1:8 Acts 1:5 Acts 2:1–4, 1 Corinthians 12:12–13, Ephesians 4:5.

Perspectives on Spiritual Gifts

Seeking sensual/ experiential “spiritual highs” endangers the focus of believers, the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, the minds of believers (gibberish does not renew the mind), christian accountability, and christian order within the church. Additionally, seeking prophecy instead of studying God’s Word promotes laziness while seeking supernatural gifts promotes “second class/ inferior class christians.” This is why Jesus equated looking for signs and wonders for sensual reasons as wicked.

God commands us to be transformed by the renewing of the mind and to rely on His Word as the basis of all truth and godliness. Therefore, we are commanded to seek growth in our love for God through our love for Holiness, His Word, His Church, and the Lost. Romans 12:2, 1 Corinthians 13, Matthew 12:39.

 

*We would like to thank the New Covenant Church Cebu for allowing us to study and use their Statement of Faith as a basis of our own with some little or minor revisions to fit our core beliefs. Some articles remained as is because we believe that it accurately describes ours and so changes at this point is not necessary. We believe as a church that we are much closer to New Covenant Theology and furthest away from Dispensational Theology. In terms of the covenants, some of us hold to a pre-fall covenant and an overaching covenant of grace. But generally we are NCT.