The Charismatic Gifts Debate

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Introduction

The Church as a whole debates many concepts that are in the Bible, in both theology and in practice. One of these debates surrounds the gifts that are spoken of in the Bible. In one corner are those who believe that charismatic gifts are alive and well in the church today. The Continuationist view believes that the gifts have continued on through Biblical times and are still relevant for today. In the other corner are those who believe that particular gifts have ceased to be used in the modern church and that they were only given for a particular reason in Biblical times. This view is called the Cessationist. Today each view, and other views in between, and the practice of the gifts in the current culture will be examined for truth, validity, and application by searching through each view and holding fast to the scripture as the final word of authority.

It would do well to understand what exactly is being debated before the journey is taken to explore who believes what. Charismatic gift are the central issue but that in itself does not say a lot. What exactly is a charismatic gift? Paul gives several lists of gifts in his epistles. There are two distinctive lists that come from First Corinthians 12 and Romans 12 among others. At the heart of the issue is not the all the gifts in general for they include preaching, teaching, and administration. There are not many that would disagree that there are those in the body who have these gifts. The gifts that are in question are more of the super natural gifts such as speaking in tongues, prophesying, interrupting tongues, and healings. Also within the argument one must also have to agree that the gifts are given for different purposes based on their presumptions.

Gifts in Current Culture

Body says that these gifts were given by the Holy Spirit to carry out ministry. However there are those who believe that speaking in tongues is a private communication with God, therefore there would have to be a slightly different position on why they were given. Continuationist with this view often use First Corinthians 13:1 to support this view in speaking of tongues of men and angels, however in context his view has no solid basis. Hodge says that Paul is speaking of a language defined as a known meaning of expression weather divine or human, the main point being that these are worth nothing without love.

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